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Good news for The Good Place fans

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 16:24

On Tuesday, NBC announced that critically-acclaimed show The Good Place will be returning for a fourth season next year. It is the second show to get a confirmed spot in NBC’s 2019-20 lineup, the announcement coming after NBC had already picked up a new season of the Will & Grace reboot.

“Congratulations to Mike Schur and an exceptional cast and crew, all of whom collaborate to create a thoughtful, mind-bending and hysterical series unlike anything else on television,” said NBC’s Tracey Pakosta and Lisa Katz, the co-presidents of scripted programming, in a statement. “We can’t wait to see what unexpected stories the new season will bring.”

Premiering in 2016, The Good Place was created by Mike Schur (Parks and Recreation, The Office, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and has an ensemble cast starring Ted Danson, Kristen Bell, Jameela Jamil, William Jackson Harper, Manny Jacinto, and D’Arcy Carden. It is currently NBC’s highest-rated comedy, with an average 4.6 million viewers according to Nielsen Media Research. The show received two Emmy nominations earlier this year, with Ted Danson being nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy and Maya Rudolph being nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy.

The show’s last episode of the fall will air this Thursday night on NBC at 8:30 p.m. ET, with 3 more episodes in January rounding out Season 3.

Marvelous Mrs. Maisel pop-up shop draws lines around the block (Photos)

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 11:00

The Marvelous Mrs. Masiel Season 2 comes out today and New York City is losing its mind. The hit Amazon series set up a pop-up shop in NYC’s SoHo neighborhood as an homage to Jewish food and 1958 New York. The show takes place in 1958 and follows one woman’s journey to try to make it on the bourgeoning stand-up scene in Manhattan and the pop-up will make you feel like you are right there with her.

The pop-up revives the recently closed Carnegie Deli. The shop was an 81-year-old institution when it was forced to close its doors in December 2016, but until Demeber 8, patrons can experience Jewish food at the legendary deli. The pop-up takes the visitor straight into the world of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. From the posters featuring Lenny Bruce on old tube TV sets to the 1950s era taxi parked outside, the whole block has been taken straight back in time.

Even the menu screams 1950s—all the prices are ’50s accurate, making possible the only place in Manhattan you can get a 99¢ pastrami sandwich (aptly named the Masiel.)

But before you run down to SoHo, know that the lines have consistently wrapped around the block with reservations booked out before the opening.

The Mrs. Masiel spirit is captured throughout the promotional experience. They even hosted their own “all-comedienne” stand-up show featuring Lane Moore, Liz Miele, Priyanka Wali, Shalewa Sharpe, Sarah Kennedy, and Amanda Hurley Tuesday night.  

“The space felt super authentic and Lane killed it as a host,” Kennedy told Laughspin. “Also, the cheesecake was delicious and the staff is amazing.

Even if you don’t brave the cold for 50¢ cheesecake, season two is out on Amazon Prime to get your 1950s comedy fix.

The huge line outside the pop-up, fake storefronts, posters for ‘The Gaslight,’ and yes, the world’s best pastrami.

Margaret Cho: 7 fun facts for the comedian’s 50th birthday

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 09:00

Margaret Cho turns 50 today. And 50’s never looked so good! With over two decades in stand-up comedy, Cho has dabbled in everything from fashion design to acting to experimenting as a singer-songwriter. The Dancing With The Stars contestant has never been one to shy away from dealing with heavy material in her stand-up, often exploring Asian-American stereotypes, eating disorders, LGBT issues, and substance abuse. In honor of her sprawling career and 50 fabulous years on this planet, here are seven things you may not have known about the give-no-fucks comedian.

• Her 1994 ABC sitcom All-American Girl was one of the first shows to prominently feature an East Asian family (she starved herself so badly before the filming of the debut that her kidneys collapsed, causing her to be hospitalized).

• Her 1999 off-Broadway one-woman show I’m The One That I Want was made into a best-selling book and feature film of the same name.

• In 2007, Cho toured with Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry and Erasure, and The Dresden Dolls as part of the True Colors Tour that benefited the Human Rights Campaign.

• Her mother was unable to provide for Cho on her own, so she sent Cho to Korea to live with her father and grandparents.

• She was kicked out of Lowell High School because she had a .60 GPA, but was later accepted to McAteer High School for the Performing Arts.

• She started doing stand-up comedy at the age of 16 and traveled with Janeane Garofalo (they blame each other for their smoking habits).

• Her favorite band is Canadian group Broken Social Scene.

Happy birthday, Margaret!

South Park teases Amazon Unfulfilled episode (Video)

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 09:00

South Park has a brand new and very timely episode coming up on Wednesday. In the episode titled Unfulfilled, the 9th episode of Season 22, the town of South Park has been chosen to be the site of an Amazon fulfillment center. Everyone in the town enjoys the benefits of letting Amazon run everything until tensions between the workers and the company inevitably come to a head. The episode continues South Park’s 21-year legacy of directly satirizing current events in the show, such as references to cartoon depictions of Muhammad or a season 9 episode about Scientology that caused cast member Isaac Hayes, a Scientologist, to quit the show.

Gripes with Amazon sound familiar? On November 13, Amazon announced that, after a year-long campaign soliciting sweetheart deals from cities around the country to build their new headquarters HQ2, they would be building in Long Island City, Queens and Arlington, Virginia. Many residents of those cities have expressed concern about extremely favorable tax incentives given to Amazon and the displacement effects of gentrification that come with a giant corporation moving into an area. Maybe South Park with give New York Mayor Bill De Blasio some ideas.

Unfulfilled airs Wednesday, December 5 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on Comedy Central. It will then be available for streaming the next day on cc.com and the Comedy Central App.

Kevin Hart is your 2019 Oscars host

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 22:06

Kevin Hart will host the 2019 Academy Awards. The blockbuster comedian confirmed his newest job in an Instagram post Tuesday evening. Hart called hosting the Oscars “the opportunity of a lifetime” and thanked his family, friends, and fans for their support.

Hart is a great selection by the Oscars’ producers. In addition to being one of the biggest movie stars out there, the Night School actor has already worked on his hosting chops. In 2011, he hosted the BET Awards and then MTV Video Music Awards the following year. He’s hosted the Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber (for some reason) and Saturday Night Live three times.

Hosting the Oscars is a dream come true for him. “To be able to join the legendary list of host [sic] that have graced that stage is unbelievable,” he wrote. “I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now.”


View this post on Instagram


For years I have been asked if I would ever Host the Oscars and my answer was always the same…I said that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me as a comedian and that it will happen when it’s suppose to. I am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars. I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time….To be able to join the legendary list of host that have graced that stage is unbelievable. I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now. I want to thank my family/friends/fans for supporting me & riding with me all this time….I will be sure to make this years Oscars a special one. I appreciate the @TheAcademy for the opportunity ….now it’s time to rise to the occasion #Oscars

A post shared by Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real) on Dec 4, 2018 at 5:01pm PST

It’s a good thing Hart is excited for the gig. Ever since the calendar turned to December, countless posts from industry writers wondered who would accept what has been become ‘the least popular job in entertainment.’ typically the gig is long booked by now so the host can start watching Oscar-nominated movies and brainstorm a show. The 2018 Oscars, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, was the lowest-rated broadcast in its history. Many of the 21st century hosts have said they would never do it again and the Academy has struggled to find a strong, consistent master of ceremonies like Johnny Carson (who hosted five times), Billy Crystal (nine times), and Bob Hope (a whopping 19). (Check out Stephen Galloway’s poorly-timed but solid article for The Hollywood Reporter for more on this downward trend.)

Many have reportedly turned down the job. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (who crushed the Golden Globes), Oprah Winfrey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Jerry Seinfeld have all apparently been offered to host—and declined.

Hart is extremely popular not just with adults, but with young comedy fans too. He has proven able to carry R-rated movies just as much as PG flicks. Maybe that’s why the Academy Awards producer Donna Gigliotti tapped the Jumaji juggernaut to emcee the biggest night in Hollywood. The Oscars is scheduled for February 24 and will air once again on ABC.

The entertainment mogul will likely staff up an impressive group of writers and comedy minds to put on a show that could save the annual broadcast’s ratings woes. Though we were tickled to see Stephen King suggest the most unlikely-yet-perfect comedy host: Patton Oswalt.

Let me add my vote: Patton Oswald to host the Oscars. A perfect fit.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) December 4, 2018

Even Ron Burgundy is starting a podcast, but first picks Twitter fight with Don Lemon

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 17:12

Ron Burgundy is coming back with his own podcast—and the fictional character popularized by Will Ferrell is already in a Twitter feud with CNN’s Don Lemon. There are conflicting reports if Ferrell will be reprising his role as the iconic Anchorman character on the iHeartRadio Podcast Network. Episodes of The Ron Burgundy Podcast will be available starting in 2019.

The new podcast was announced on Twitter through the show’s account @BurgundyPodcast during a Twitter fight with Lemon. The Burgundy account started the feud by Tweeting about a hot dog contest.

Hello, @donlemon! It’s your good friend, Ron Burgundy. Don’t know if you heard, but I recently had my White House press credentials pulled. They accused me of eating too many hot dogs in the press break room.

— BurgundyPodcast (@BurgundyPodcast) December 3, 2018

The account then replied to a tweet from Lemon announcing the podcast.

Don, I am laughing out loud! So about that favor: the media landscape is changing so fast and I DO NOT CARE FOR IT. That’s why I’m starting a “podcast!”

— BurgundyPodcast (@BurgundyPodcast) December 3, 2018

The back and forth went on until Lemon bowed out asking Burgundy to stop contacting him causing fans of the 2004 comedy to say, “Boy, that escalated quickly.”

Okay, so no podcast plug. Got it. By the way just so you know, our friendship is over. YOU GO STRAIGHT TO HELL. DO NOT DISRESPECT ME IN A PUBLIC FORUM. DON IS A GRADE A JERK. BURGUNDY, OUT.

— BurgundyPodcast (@BurgundyPodcast) December 3, 2018

The podcast comes as a joint production between iHeart Radio and Funny Or Die and has already been given a two-season order. The 2004 comedy classic was given a sequel in 2013, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Both films were written, directed, and produced by Adam McKay. While it is not clear if McKay is involved with the podcast, his legendary character lives on.

“To be honest, we don’t want to do this podcast and we just want to get this announcement over with as soon as possible,” Conal Byrne, president of the iHeartPodcast Network, joked. “Ron quite literally forced us into making this podcast with him, first calling us more than one hundred times in a single day and then proceeding to actually show up at our doorstep and physically force himself into our studios. We do hope the podcast is well-received, but in the meantime, we hope by agreeing to do the announcement he will stay away.”

Comedy Central Stand-Up Month to bring new specials from these four comedians

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 13:15

Comedy Central is making January Stand-up Month with new specials from Ron Funches, Chris Distefano, James Davis, and Roy Wood Jr. They will also be producing a new digital stand-up series featuring 14 up-and-coming comedians simply titled Comedy Central Stand-Up.

New hours from the four comedy powerhouses will premiere each Friday starting January 4. The site also released a promo featuring the four…and a unicorn.


Ron Funches: Giggle Fit will premiere on January 4 followed by James Davis: Live From The Town on January 11. Chris Distefano: Size 38 Waist comes out January 18 and, lastly, Roy Wood Jr.: No One Loves You premieres January 25.

The new digital series will start on January 8 and will be available to stream on YouTube, Facebook Watch, Twitter, and Instagram with new episodes every Tuesday and Thursday. The list of names set to appear on the series includes Tom Thakkar, Petey DeAbreu, Dina Hashem, Natasha Vaynblat, Ian Lara, Clare O’Kane, Stavros Halkias, Hanna Dickinson, Joyelle Nicole Johnson, Yedoye Travis, Marie Faustin, Ryan Beck, Martin Urbano, and Chris Cotton. The first round of videos was filmed at Littlefield in Brooklyn, NY and a second round has been set for Los Angeles, but the location has not been announced yet.

The series comes from a legacy of Comedy Central programming dedicated to showcasing new stand-up like Adam Devine’s House Party and Live at Gotham. The big difference with the new program is it will be shown online instead of through its TV network. Comedy Central already hosts online-only content with web series like Genies or Irrational Fears, but this will be one of the first stand-up ventures to debut as digital content. Previously, Ari Shaffir’s This Is Not Happening debuted on CC Studios (now Comedy Central Short Form) before migrating to your cable box.

Exclusive: Meet the man suing Conan O’Brien for joke theft (Interview)

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 12:05

Most, if not all, comedy writers dream of performing on, writing for, or hosting a late night talk show. The opportunity to showcase your abilities to millions of viewers at home is at the peak of many comedians’ dreams. So imagine you’re watching The Tonight Show (or Late Show or Full Frontal) and see one of your beloved jokes come out of the mouth of the host…and you weren’t attributed. That’s what allegedly happened to 60-year-old Robert “Alex” Kaseberg, the man suing Conan O’Brien for joke theft.

The San Diego retiree filed a lawsuit against O’Brien, Conaco, TBS, and Time Warner on July 22, 2015 in California federal court claiming that five jokes he posted on Twitter and his blog were lifted and performed on Conan. Three of those jokes are at the center of this unprecedented trial, which will move forward presumably next year.

You don’t commonly see comedians in court suing each other over this joke or that joke. That’s because it is extremely hard to prove that someone stole a joke and didn’t simply think of the same bit. To showcase how possible this is, I myself wrote a joke about Martin Luther King Jr. Day many years ago. The premise was that Arizona was the last state in the Union to adopt MLK Jr. Day as a federal holiday (actually, it was North Carolina). The punchline was, “How much do you have to hate black people to not want a paid day off of work?” Except after 3 years of doing the joke, a fellow comedian came up to me after an open mic and said, “I think Ralphie May has a joke just like that.” I turned on his Too Big to Ignore special on Netflix. Not only was it ‘just like’ that—it was that. Our bits were 95% identical, even up to our first tag of, “I’ve got black friends who would celebrate National Ku Klux Klan Day if they got a paid day off.”

Now, I had never seen May’s stand-up. Ever. And yet here we were with identical jokes based on shared observations.

Kaseberg will have to prove that his jokes are so unique that they warrant copyright protection or that a writer on the Conan staff actively stole his jokes. But his case could have a monumental impact on the comedy world should he prove victorious, so joke writers everywhere should start paying attention.

Stand-up comedians don’t have a union. We don’t have an HR office to file a complaint. Most disputes over joke theft get solved amongst one another or on social media or in the press, as has been seen with Louis C.K. v. Dane Cook, Patrice O’Neal v. Amy Schumer, or Everyone v. Carlos Mencia. The interesting twist in this story is: Kaseberg is not a stand-up comedian. Though he has written freelance jokes for Jay Leno and The Tonight Show for roughly 20 years, he has never been on a writing staff. He never got his moment in the spotlight or the closing credits. He’s just a guy who thinks he’s really funny. And his writing chops must be pretty good if multiple jokes he wrote, stolen or not, came out of O’Brien’s mouth.

“Anyone can file a complaint, but supporting it with evidence is quite another thing,” said a Conan rep. “We are looking forward to our day in court.”

I spoke with Kaseberg on the phone last month about what led up to his potentially groundbreaking case, how he got into comedy writing, and the very simple gesture Team Coco could have extended to avoid a big, embarrassing lawsuit.

So their failed attempt to get the case thrown out is good for your case, huh?

They weren’t trying to dismiss the case. It was a copyright law—basically, this is the thing I’ve learned about doing this is this isn’t as much about joke stealing as much as it is about copyright infringement.  And that’s really what the case is. You have the statutory laws that protect people’s copyright when you print something or put something on the internet. Taking something off of Twitter or a blog or Facebook applies in this case, and that’s basically how it started. It really was about five jokes. Two have been sort of dismissed in terms of the copyright aspect of this. But the case is still about five jokes. There’ve been articles that’ve come out say it’s three jokes, but the reality is it was five jokes. Two were sort of dismissed for technical reasons, but we can still talk about them in the case.

It was interesting to see that a judge said, “You can sue over these three jokes over here but not these two jokes over there.”

Yeah, they were sort of technical reasons why the other two were sort of tossed away. One was—they changed it enough so that they said, “You can’t really say that’s your joke.” The joke is—and what made it really strange is it was a very obscure story, no one was talking about it in the news—that the University of Alabama at Birmingham decided to get rid of its football program. My joke was, “The Oakland Raiders said, ‘You can do that?’” If you’re doing a show in LA, obviously there’re gonna be some Oakland Raiders fans there because that’s where they used to play. So they changed it to the Jets—which was really smart. But it’s still the same joke as far as I’m concerned. It would have been stupid for them to make it the Oakland Raiders because then someone in the audience would have gone, “Boo!” So they changed it to the Jets, and that was enough of a change for them to toss it. We didn’t really care.

You say you’ve written for Jay Leno?

Yeah. The first time I did stand-up was at UCSB and I was working at a restaurant. And they had a sort of talent show thing, so I got up and did stand-up. I loved it. My idols growing up—I loved three things growing up. I loved comedy. I loved playing running back in football. And I did the decathlon in high school and college. In order, my idols were Bill Cosby, OJ Simpson, and Bruce Jenner. [Ed. note: Now Caitlyn Jenner.]

Quite the list in 2018!

Yeah, and we saw how that turned out. So I loved stand-up. I thought, “Do I want to do this?” I ended up selling computers and working on Wall Street. While I was on Wall Street, I lived almost right across the street from the Comedy Cellar. I thought, “Wow, I could do stand-up right after work. I could wear my suit and be this Wall Street stand-up guy.” But I never did that. When I moved to La Jolla [in California], I did stand-up at the La Jolla Comedy Store. When I was still a stockbroker, someone said, “Hey, you’re really funny. Can you write jokes for a speech of mine?” He said, “You did such a good job. I have Jay Leno’s phone number. He accepts freelance submissions.” And I had the first joke of the year! So I thought, “Oh this is easy.”

You had the first joke of the year on The Tonight Show?

Yeah. I wrote a joke for this guy for a Christmas party. He found the freelance number and knew someone at NBC and I had the first joke of the new year. So I thought, “This is what I’m going to be doing next.” And I decided to be a comedy writer.

The other thing that was really great was people would call in all the time asking for people on their staff to write jokes for them for a toast or a wedding or whatever. Instead of burdening their writers, because legally I don’t think they were allowed to do it anyway, they would say, “Hey, this guy’s a writer. He writes jokes for The Tonight Show,” and they would give them to me. So I did, for a while, a lot of the freelance stuff from The Tonight Show.

How long were you doing that?

From the first time—I don’t want to put Jay Leno in this. He’s been great. He’s been wonderful. I still write material for him. I had a joke—he was the host of The Nobel Peace Prize Awards and I had a joke on that.

So you have a decades-long working relationship with Jay Leno?


But you don’t do stand-up anymore?

I don’t do stand-up anymore. I did stand-up in the La Jolla Comedy Store, and that was great. They always give the advice of Jimmy Brogan, who was Jay Leno’s writer, he said, “You do it because it’s the best way to hone your comedy writing. You learn about timing.” Then I sort of fell in love with it—it seemed like a sport. It reminded me of being in sports again. I continued doing independent investing for myself, but I was also doing freelance jobs for local media places: radio shows and TV shows.

What made you not pursue stand-up as a career?

That’s a great question. I actually had more success sooner than most people did.

Yeah, most people don’t get to write jokes for The Tonight Show right away. That’s not the normal first gig in comedy.

I talked to Jim Brogan. “So Jim, am I going to be on the staff?” He goes, “Yeah. This is where we hire people from. We hire from the freelance contributors.” And it just didn’t happen. [None of the writers] leave The Tonight Show. Why would you? But he suggested doing stand-up and I got good enough at it that The Comedy Store was sending me to do corporate gigs. I wasn’t the funniest, but I was the cleanest. So they could send me out and not worry about getting in trouble. You know?

But I just saw this was leading down the path to performing at the Funny Farm in Tallahassee. I wasn’t Richard Pryor and I wasn’t Eddie Murphy. So when I saw The Tonight Show and all these other people were way, way better than I was—it took them 10 years to get anywhere—I just said, “Nah. I want to do the writing.” I have a kid. Do I really want to do that for 10 years? There’s no such thing as an overnight success in comedy that I’m aware of.

Did you ever try to get staffed on other shows?

What I ran into was—there’s a way people in TV shows turn people down, that way producers don’t have to deal with waiters handing them scripts—is they say, “No, it has to be submitted by a Writers Guild agent.” They’ll say, “How many packets have you submitted?” Well, you need to have an agent to submit the packets, so I focused on finding an agent. I’m still doing that. It’s hard to impossible, sending out hundreds of letters. I’m still talking to about two or three people because, you know, publicity comes up from the Conan thing and people go, “Are you being represented? No? Okay, well, we’ll get back to you.” Getting the agent was the big step.

What are some shows you’ve tried to get staffed on in the past?

I had a joke on Letterman. I’ve had jokes on a lot from the freelance angle. They all say, “Oh, we don’t accept freelance jokes.” Until it’s really funny, and then all of a sudden they do accept freelance jokes. For a period, I focused really hard on getting a WGA agent, but mostly I thought the comedy would be what would get me in there. If I could write funnier jokes and more jokes that that was the key.

You also have this blog with an insane amount of posts on it. Tell me a bit more about what these outlets like your blog and Twitter mean for you.

I discovered [blogging] not long after 9/11. I thought, “This will be an avenue to get my material out there.” That was it. It’s really nothing more than an online diary.

It looks like a lot of late night jokes.

It started out kind of as trying to try different jokes, or now and again a different take on something. I actually sold some of the articles on the blog to various things—newspapers or magazines. It’s been a good marketing tool sort of by accident. The blog is sort of R or PG. Twitter is sort of R or PG. Then Facebook is G. These things sort of pop up as ways to get jokes out there.

Have you had any big stars or staff writers follow you on Twitter?

All the time. I’ve had direct message conversations with Whitney Cummings and Louis C.K. and I don’t even know if they remember them. They just sort of responded, “Oh, I like this joke.”

Judd Apatow, I had a great discussion with him recently [on Twitter]. I was thinking, “Oh jeez, I would love to kiss up to him!”

In comedy, we don’t have a union. We don’t have a lot of protections for our material—unless you go on Netflix and do word-for-word the exact same material as someone else’s Netflix special. I find it interesting you say the case is more about copyright infringement than joke stealing. What’s the difference between the two for you?

Copyright protection is the protection of whatever you write. I wrote the jokes. So they automatically fall under copyright statutes. You can’t steal stuff—that’s the bottom line. Everyone knows that. You learn that when you’re a little kid. If you’re brought up right, you don’t steal anything. Getting away with it isn’t enough of a reason to keep doing it. There are laws that protect people from stealing someone’s writing. This is not Clarence Darrow—I’m not a legal genius discussing this. That’s what this is about. Just because you have the means and the fame to fight it, doesn’t mean it’s okay to steal jokes from freelance writers. It gets into legal ramifications over what’s copyrightable, and I can’t get into that without hurting my case.

How did you feel when you first heard the jokes? Were you a big Conan watcher?

I was always a Conan fan. That’s why I was watching the monologues and went, “Holy crap.” I had been watching for 25 years or 20 years or however long he’s been on and that’s never happened before. That’s never happened on any show that I was watching where I go, “Oh my god. What just happened?” I thought he’s brilliant. I still think his speech to Harvard is one of the greatest things there is in terms of going out there and facing the real world and it being funny. I was a big fan. I wouldn’t have been watching so carefully if I hadn’t been.

So how did it feel when the jokes went up?

We’re back in the case again.

Well, you can talk about your feelings, no?

No…no. That could be used in a court of law against me.

Okay. It seemed like at first, from what I’ve read, you weren’t positive it was joke theft until you saw a certain volume of your jokes on air.

No, no, no. I was positive from the first one.

You didn’t even think, “Oh, shared life experience.”

There’s a show on Vice. They had Patton Oswalt—this is talking about the case, which I probably shouldn’t do—but Patton Oswalt used to be their expert comic witness. Vice did an episode, and they quote Patton Oswalt, “You instantly in your gut know when you’ve had a joke stolen.” I agree with their former comedy expert on that. It was a gut feeling.

Do you remember the first season of Last Comic Standing? Dat Phan won it. Arguably, one of the least funny people I’ve met in my life. I did stand-up with him in San Diego. Because they didn’t really have the format tweaked, the winner was the guy who had just an ironclad 10 minutes. That was that whole thing. He spent his whole life ironing out an absolute bullet-proof 10 minutes. If a heckler, god forbid, said something to him, he looked like a robot whose battery sort of gave out for a second. He didn’t know how to respond. I was hosting one night at the Comedy Store in La Jolla, and I introduced him as, “Here’s Dat Phan. He’s the cousin of the rich guy Dat Com.” First thing I saw [on Last Comic Standing] was him use that joke. [Dat Phan had no comment on the allegation.]

So this is isn’t the first time you’ve had a joke stolen. Have their been other incidents?

No, no. There are coincidences. Here’s a recent example: There was the caravan, right? In Mexico? Before the midterm elections, the Republicans were talking, ‘caravan, caravan, caravan.’ And then the New York Marathon started and the joke was Trump thought that was the caravan. Three different shows had that joke. I think [Jimmy] Fallon had it; I think [Seth] Meyers had it. There are coincidences when the joke is obvious. But when the joke is not obvious, and when it’s the 7th or 8th or 20th story that you’ve read that day, then that’s not a coincidence. That’s when you learn the difference. Coincidences do happen, but that was back when Paris Hilton was in the news and the guy was winning the hot dog eating contest, and that’s an obvious connection between Paris Hilton and a guy who eats a lot of hot dogs. Those jokes would come out every July 5th. Those are rare now.

What do you think about the celebrity joke theft claims that are out there, like with Amy Schumer and Patrice O’Neal or Louis C.K. and Dane Cook?

There’s a situation where you can hear a joke and like it and just kind of incorporate it by accident, but most people when they do that go, “Oh crap. That’s not my joke.” And I think that’s the example—Amy Schumer however, that’s a different thing. There’s a whole 25-minute video of boom-boom-boom-boom-boom. I’m like, okay. Wendy Liebman has a very obvious delivery style. “I’m old-fashioned. I believe on the first date the man should pay…for sex.” Amy Schumer did the exact same thing, even with the pause. I’m like, she heard it. She liked it.

First time I ever did a stand-up act, I stood up on stage in 7th grade and recited an entire Bill Cosby bit for 10 minutes, word-for-word, because I had it memorized. I thought it was funny. It was because the material is funny. As you go along, you learn you can’t do that. There’re stories that comedy writers were told not to do new material when Robin Williams was at the Comedy Store. It’s something that, 99 times out of 100, gets worked out between the comedians. There’s no reason to bring in—I don’t believe that. I’ve never had to do that. In my case, when we went to discuss this in a professional way, I got told to pound sand in a very ugly manner.

What’s ‘pound sand’ mean?

‘Go pound sand up your ass. Go screw yourself.’ That was a phone call, but that kind of goes back to the case, so I can’t really talk about. I keep bringing up the thing I can’t talk about.

One problem with dealing with Leno exclusively from the top is he was so professional and he’s so nice and such a good guy. I sheepishly asked for tickets one time to see the show early on and his assistant, Lisa Nelson, said, “Sure!” And oh my god, I get there, and I’m in the green room. I’m sitting next to the band in the front seat. They walk me across the stage. It was amazing. And that’s always the way it’s been. Other people aren’t like that. I learned that the hard way!

Who are you technically suing?

In a case like this, the litigants are named and we’ve named everyone we think should be named. It’s TBS; it’s Time Warner; it’s his production company; it’s the producer, the three specific writers, Conan O’Brien. That’s public record.

But you don’t think…well, you’re not going to answer that. So why would I bother asking?

You were going to ask me if I thought Conan actually stole the jokes, right?

Well, I don’t think you think Conan himself stole the jokes. We both know Conan’s not scrolling through your Twitter looking for jokes.

=laughs= Well we don’t know that.

Maybe he’s secretly your biggest fan.

The fact that he’s blocked me on Twitter pretty much excludes that possibility.

That’s why I asked if any writers followed you before this all went down because maybe they were following you and you thought it was that guy.

As soon as the legal stuff hit the fan, everyone on their staff blocked me. We did find all of these comedy lists on Twitter we were both on though.

At first, you’ve said publicly, you were hoping they would see that someone poached your material and clearly you should be on their writing staff. Wasn’t that an original hope?

Absolutely. The point of the blog and putting jokes on Twitter was just marketing. The blog has led to a lot of freelance gigs. Not all of them great, but it has. A lot of writers have gotten jobs as comedy writers because of blogs.

Did you formally ask Team Coco, “Hey, you guys took my jokes. Have you considered just hiring me?”

Yeah, that’s getting into the case.

Well, you’ve talked about this publicly. It seems like, from what you’ve said publicly, you would have been happy if they hired you as a staff writer as a resolution.

I want this on the record: I never asked them to pay me. I never asked for a job. When I initially contacted them, all I asked for was recognition. I wanted them to acknowledge that those were my jokes. That’s as far as it got.

What would that recognition have looked like to you?

It never got that far. The big thing was attribution. We actually had—

What’s the difference between attribution and recognition?

You’re attributing the jokes to the original writer and giving credit to the original writer. In a magazine, they’d go, “Oh, here’re the jokes from Alex Kaseberg.”

I empathize with that. I have friends who have had jokes stolen by bigger personalities. For example, Brett Druck had jokes stolen by @FatJew on Twitter and he was devastated, seeing his image and jokes on someone else’s page with his name cropped out of the bottom corner. He just wanted to be tagged or for hundreds of thousands of people to see his name on the image where his joke was. In your ideal world, what would this attribution or recognition look like to you?

I don’t know. It didn’t get that far. It was angry denials and insults. And that was it.


Yea, that’s pretty much what triggered the whole thing. My reaction to his reaction was he was insulting, and that was the last straw as far as I’m concerned.

Suffice it to say, I contacted them and their reaction was borderline horrific.

Wait, who was ‘he’? Who was ‘they’?

I’m being cute about this. When this whole thing happened—I just figured out what I can talk about—I posted a blog post about my experience. I was so upset. I was so disappointed. So I described the situation on my blog—that was public. It was Mike Sweeney. He’s the head writer. As soon as the case broke, guess what, he wasn’t the head writer anymore. I don’t know if that’s coincidence or not. But I describe very clearly, and that’s public, about the experience. The first joke was like, ‘They stole my joke. Big deal. It’s one joke. There’s nothing I can do about it.” Happens again. “Okay, this sucks. I’m going to send an email.” No response. Okay, well I tried. Third time, I go, “No. Sorry. This will not stand,” to quote The Dude. “This aggression will not stand.” Contacted them. He got on the phone—that’s where the expression ‘go pound sand’ came from. It was very unpleasant. I posted the experience on my blog and then I wrote a fourth joke that was used, and that’s when we filed the lawsuit.

This is all he would have had to do. This is all he would have had to say was, “Send us some jokes via email and we’ll consider using them.” That’s all. The whole thing would’ve been avoided if he had just been decent enough to do that. I didn’t really pick this fight—they did. I wasn’t going to back down.

I’ve since found out that their legal approach of scorched Earth—you know, everything they’ve asked us, we’ve generally provided. Everything we’ve asked them, they’ve told us to pound sand. That’s a type of legal approach and the goal is to scare someone away. And they picked the wrong guy. You just can’t do that. I don’t care who you are or who I am not. You can’t do that to someone. You can’t take someone’s jokes.

Have any comedians reached out to you privately in support?

Oh, yeah. But a lot of them said, “Hey, look, I don’t want to be on the record.”

[When asked for comment regarding the phone call, a Conan rep shared, “What Mr. Kaseberg claims Mr. Sweeney said is not true, much like the “facts” underlying his lawsuit.].

Ellen DeGeneres Netflix special her first in 15 years!

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 11:13

Ellen DeGeneres is coming back to stand-up with a new Netflix special available to stream starting December 18. Today, Netflix released a trailer for the special titled Relatable.

Netflix has boasted that Relatable will be the talk show host’s “first stand-up special in 15 years.” Rumors that DeGeneres was working on a new hour started circulating last year when fellow lesbian icon Tig Nataro tweeted out a photo of DeGeneres performing on her stand-up show in Los Angeles.

When your friend @TheEllenShow returns to standup after 15 years and decides to do so at your @LargoLosAngeles show last night… pic.twitter.com/G72LI85NNG

— Tig Notaro (@TigNotaro) June 5, 2017

Back in August, the daytime giant did a limited-run comedy tour on the West Coast called An Evening With Ellen DeGeneres before the new special was announced.

Between her game show and talk show duties, many people forget that DeGeneres started as a stand-up comedian. DeGeneres started doing comedy in New Orleans and by 1981 she was the emcee at Clyde’s Comedy Club. In 1984, she was named Showtime’s funniest person in America. DeGeneres’s last comedy special was 2003’s Here and Now which came out on HBO.

DeGeneres also premiered The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2003, which she still hosts. She has become a household name ever since her sitcom, Ellen, premiered in 1994. The show is most remembered for 1997’s The Puppy Episode, an episode where the fictionalized Ellen comes out as gay. The episode caused controversy and led to the cancelation of the show in 1998. Some said, at the time, the fact that DeGeneres was an out gay person damaged the star’s relatable brand of comedy.

In the trailer released by Netflix, Ellen talks candidly about her perceived relatability. Making jokes that she has only ever flown first class on a flight and how people told her that “no one wanted to watch a lesbian in the daytime.” So relatable.

See DeGeneres back on stage in the full trailer below.

The Office reunion photo is…just a photo

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 10:47

The cast of the Office has reunited! Again! Well, at least for a picture. Multiple members of the cast posed at a brunch at The Office creator Greg Daniels’ house. Jenna Fischer posted the photo to her Twitter causing the internet to speculate on whether a reunion is in the works.

I had brunch with these oddballs today. Love you #officemates #theoffice pic.twitter.com/UWnkOaU1p3

— Jenna Fischer (@jennafischer) December 3, 2018

In the front row of the picture are, left to right, Rainn Wilson, Angela Kinsey, Fischer, Daniels, and Ed Helms. Appearing in the back are Creed Bratton, Paul Lieberstein, Brian Baumgartner, Leslie David Baker, Phyllis Smith, and Oscar Nunez.

Fischer followed up the tweet with a reply that showed the iconic Office Christmas photo that they were trying to recreate. The cast all appears in their original positions, except Daniels, who is standing in Steve Carell’s spot. She included a caption in the follow up tweet saying they missed, “Steve, Ellie, John, BJ, Mindy, Craig, and Kate” in reference to Carell, Ellie Kemper, John Krasinski, B.J. Novak, Mindy Kaling, Craig Robinson, and Kate Flannery, all of whom were also a part of the principal cast of the iconic sitcom. She ended the tweet with “We will see you soon!”

We were attempting to recreate this photo

Samantha Bee, Full Frontal producer launch Swimsuit Competition production company

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 16:22

Prepare for more Samantha Bee on TV! Or at least more ‘Executive Producer Samantha Bee’ on TV. The Emmy Award-winning host of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee announced Monday the formation of her new production company, Swimsuit Competition.

The resounding voice of The Fed Up Feminist is excited to create original series that even she would watch. In a press release, Bee says, “Fine, if none of you are gonna make TV I want to watch, I’ll make it myself.” Exactly what kind of TV that would be remains to be seen.

Joining the TBS host will be producer Kristen Everman as Head of Development. Everman was nominated for two Emmys for her work on Full Frontal’s “Not the White House Correspondents’ dinner” special and The Rundown with Robin Thede. The two are hoping to get ideas from lesser-known voices, people flying under the radar, or those the industry underestimated long ago. And, shockingly, Swimsuit Competition says it is willing to consider working with men.

Bee has found her place at TBS—hosting a late night topical comedy show. Like the creators she wishes to work with, she has often been passed over, overlooked, or rejected from the biggest late night openings. When David Letterman stepped down from Late Night, we thought she might have a shot at the chair. When Stephen Colbert was to move to CBS, we surely thought Comedy Central would give the Daily Show alum the 11:30 slot (which ultimately went to Larry Wilmore and then Jordan Klepper). Craig Ferguson announced he would step down from Late Late Show, so, you know, CBS chose another white guy: James Corden.

Bee has been here, ready to lead her own program, for a very long time. It’s too bad Comedy Central didn’t capitalize on that while she was still there as a Daily Show correspondent. Before the network announced Trevor Noah as Jon Stewart’s successor at the end of March 2015, TBS already snatched up the comedian to host her own show, which would become Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Since then, her show has received 14 Emmy nomination and Everman’s win for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special.

New episodes of Full Frontal’s third season will begin this Wednesday.

Swimsuit Competition has already signed a first-look deal with TBS, so expect to hear much more from these two women. They’re hoping to put the ‘original’ back into ‘original content.’ “If your senior superlative was ‘Most Unaware of His or Her Appeal,’ call us!” says Everman. “Or rather, email us, because honestly voicemails feel kind of rude.”

The Hollywood Reporter can do better than Lena Dunham (Opinion)

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 16:00

I love women: being a woman, writing about women, supporting art created by women. So when I heard that The Hollywood Reporter was releasing its annual Women in Entertainment: Power 100 issue, I was jazzed. But when I learned that Lena Dunham would guest edit the issue, I was…well let’s just say that I was less than jazzed.

This is because everything I’ve come to know about Dunham—everything I’ve read, or seen, or heard—has been negative, at least in part, which is why her selection as guest editor is questionable. Let’s delve into why.

First, let me admit that I’ve never watched a single episode of Girls. I heard about its debut, its loyal fans, its unparalleled rawness, and of course, the buzz that it was a show about being a young woman created by—gaspa young woman!

Despite the buzz, it just didn’t interest me. I couldn’t identify with a show consisting of all-white characters traipsing around New York City living in comfortably-sized apartments existing as questionably-employed twenty-somethings. As a black woman living in a major American city, it’s difficult to relate.

What made the lack of diversity in Girls even more problematic was that Dunham claimed to be a feminist promoting feminist values, but she missed the intersectionality part of feminism that makes it inclusive and effective. (Eventually, she added some characters of color into the show.)

In November 2017, critics went from simply citing racial bias to calling her flat-out racist. Zinzi Clemmons, a black writer for Lenny Letter, the newsletter Dunham co-founded, left the publication, accusing Dunham of perpetuating a type of “hipster racism”. She encouraged other writers to boycott the publication.

But what landed Dunham in the most hot water was not the lack of diversity, or critics’ words. It was her own words.

Dunham’s 2014 biography, Not That Kind of Girl, detailed scenes where she explored her younger sister’s genitalia, asked her to kiss her passionately, and masturbated beside her in the bed. Dunham even likened herself to a “sexual predator.”

Critics pounced on her, labeling her a child molester, while Dunham defended her actions as normal child’s play.

She did, however, admit that it was insensitive to comically joke about interacting with her sister as a “sexual predator,” and apologized if anything she wrote was “painful or triggering” to survivors of assault and abuse.

This wasn’t the first time Dunham distastefully joked about molestation. After she appeared nude in a 2014 Saturday Night Live sketch, a fan tweeted her, “You don’t always have to get naked!” To which Dunham replied, “Please tell that to my uncle, mister. He’s been making me!”  Dunham later apologized for trivializing molestation.

However, she would get into trouble a few years later for seemingly trivializing a rape allegation. In 2017, after actress Aurora Perrineau (a black woman) accused Girls writer and executive producer Murray Miller of rape, Dunham and Jenni Konner (Dunham’s former business partner) issued a joint-statement voicing their support of Miller, only to publicly denounce it shortly thereafter, saying, “We regret this decision with every fiber of our being.”

These incidents highlight questionable choices about how Dunham is wielding words about the assault of women’s bodies. Her own account of being sexually assaulted does not excuse her actions. It seems a staunch feminist would know better and do better. It seems a thoughtful feminist writer wouldn’t make these sorts of missteps.

Sure, no one’s perfect, and celebrities endure a level of scrutiny that ordinary folks will never know. But to be asked to edit the Women in Entertainment issue of The Hollywood Reporter—you’d hope that someone less marred in controversies surrounding portrayals of women of color and sexual assault on women might be chosen for the job.

There are myriad writers that could have been given the honor, like writer Jennie Snyder Urman, (executive producer of Jane The Virgin), and Issa Rae, (executive producer of HBO’s Insecure.) These writers have penned stories that have a universal appeal because they are intersectional. Additionally, their words aren’t doused in controversy.

Viral humorists like Megan Amram rise from the Twitter trash heap (Opinion)

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 12:33

Ten years ago, you could be a comedian without a social media presence. Back in 2008, saying, “Oh, I’m not on Twitter,” or even, “What’s Twitter?” was commonplace. If you can believe it, there were comedians wary of putting their material on the internet for free or worried someone across the country would steal their jokes. But something has changed. While those who achieved celebrity status before the mid-2000s can stay off social media—your Larry Davids, your Bill Murrays—up-and-comers need those likes and follows to show the men with the money (it’s sadly, still, usually men) that they have a proven product.

Social media is a weird thing when it comes to comedy. It is usually cyclical; fans start following you after seeing you perform and more followers beget more followers and finally, at some point, having enough of them opens doors to more opportunities to perform. It all goes back, and I can’t believe I am saying this, to Dane Cook. Cook is commonly viewed as the pioneer of social media fan interaction. He was an early Myspace adopter and used it in 2005 to market his stand-up, which led his second album, Retaliation, to go double platinum. What people often forget in that story was that Cook had been performing in comedy clubs since the ‘90s. He had put in years of hard work before ever logging online. He already had something to sell and used the internet to market it. What I’m saying is, he was certainly not a new guy who rose through the ranks via social media.

The internet also became a place to show off your own comedy videos. Bo Burnham used YouTube to self-publish his funny songs in high school, leading to Comedy Central handing him a half-hour special his freshman year at NYU. Web series like Broad City and Diary of an Awkward Black Girl showed networks that funny women get views—which led to critically acclaimed television shows. Though media empires have shifted their focus towards video content—Mic, Condé Nast, and Vice all cut down jobs for writers and hired more video producers—the online video boom hasn’t worked for everyone. Vox and humor site Cracked both had to layoff video content creators after the pivot didn’t get them the profits they had hoped for.

Video content creators will always have a place on the internet even if it can’t be corporatized in the way media companies had dreamed. While YouTube continues to be a way for up-and-comers (notably musicians) to showcase their talents, a new type of content creator is rising from the trash heap that is Twitter: the viral humor writer. These writers don’t do sketches. They don’t upload stand-up clips. They aren’t always performers or even, sometimes, comedians. Their appeal lies within their ability to produce jokes and tell stories in epic #LongRead threads.

One incredible example is Megan Amram, who got her start on Twitter and now writes on NBC’s The Good Place. In 2010, she graduated college, moved to Los Angeles, and started posting jokes on Twitter. She wasn’t trying to get people to come to her live performances or watch her web series. She was just posting jokes and TV writing jobs followed.

Earlier this week, it was announced that humorist Jonny Sun is teaming up with Fox Family to write his first feature film, Paper Lanterns. When Sun joined Twitter in 2009, he was still an undergraduate studying engineering. With a doodle of an alien as his avatar and a pen name of Jomny Sun, the humorist didn’t even promote his actual name until after he published a book (which was released under his Twitter name Jomny.)

Twitter accounts based on a concept have been turned into TV shows before. Sh*t My Dad Says, an account run by Justin Halpern, was turned into a short-lived CBS show in 2010 starring William Shatner. Halpern was already a comedy writer before starting the Twitter account, and as of this writing, the handle hasn’t tweeted in over a year. Accounts like Sh*t My Dad Says feel different from the Twitter humorist of today. In the 2000s, we fell in love with concepts like that. Now we are falling in love with writers.

Sun and Amram are not in the top 50 most followed people on Twitter. The only comedians on that list are Jimmy Fallon, Kevin Hart, and Ellen Degeneres. But Sun and Amram do have massive fan bases that support the people behind the words. They are in a new class of writers like Darcie Wilder (aka @333333333433333) and K.T. Nelson (aka @KrangTNelson) whose successes have been tied to a legacy of 280-character remarks.

This trend is exciting because the next generation of comedy writers might never have to get on a stand-up stage or go to a prestigious writing program. They won’t need videos of their jokes or even a proper profile picture. This new class of writers can make a name for themselves.

Saturday Night Live recap: Claire Foy keeps SNL ship afloat

Sun, 12/02/2018 - 11:55

This week’s episode of Saturday Night Live featured Claire Foy as the guest host. For a first-time host who isn’t known for her comedy chops, Foy did really well. She was often the best part of the sketches she was in. The Crown star showcased her range, committed to characters, and even showed off a multitude of accents she can do. While Foy shined, the episode overall had some hits and some misses. See what we had to see about each sketch and how they rank on our patent-pending SNL star scale!

Disagree with our ratings? Let us know in the comments below!

Cold Open

This political cold open leaves a lot to be desired. There are a lot of celebrity cameos that will get a woo, but there are not that many laughs in the almost seven-minute sketch. Alec Baldwin is back to play Donald Trump after his recent parking space freak out, which he does reference in the sketch, but it is nothing more than a throwaway line that the audience doesn’t react to. The other issue in this sketch might be a personal pet peeve of this reviewer, but can we be done with Trump and Putin are gay for each other jokes? At this point not only is it lazy, but it does real harm to the LGBTQ community. And to do it on World AIDS Day no less. As a side note, they also had Fred Armisen play Mohammed bin Salman. Next time maybe get someone who is Arab.

The Monologue

Foy comes off as likable and cute in the monologue. It is one of the shortest monologues in recent memory and is far more traditional than the show has recently allowed. No cast members come out to join her; there is no song and dance. She just tells a humorous story. It shows that Foy is confident enough to lead the show by all by herself.

Dad Christmas

Dad Christmas is great. While the idea might not be the most original, the jokes are funny and Aidy Bryant really shines. When she starts singing a parody of Last Christmas, you realize that even if the premise is not the freshest, they took it to new places. This sketch is laugh-out-loud funny and I am sure will be aired on many Christmas Best Of episodes in the future.

War in Words

This sketch is funny. The only issue is it feels like they didn’t know how to end it. There is also a lot in this sketch that doesn’t go explained which will lead some viewers to exasperation. Even with its issues, this sketch packs a punch and features the right amount of absurdism balanced with classic sketch writing.

Morning Joe – The Wedding

This Morning Joe sketch is a little played out. Each episode really hits on the same jokes: Joe is in a band, the couple has gross sexual tension, and Joe talks over someone. It feels a little tired, but the impressions are solid and the jokes might not be fresh, but they are well done in this week’s version. For a Morning Joe, this is good but not the most memorable sketch of the night.

Weekend Update

Weekend Update had two things going for it this week: Leslie Jones and Beck Bennett. The always-funny Jones came on to talk about quitting sex. Her energy is great, but she stumbles over a lot of the words causing the timing of jokes to be off. Bennett plays a character named Jules who is hysterical, but sadly the segment is too short to save the whole Update. Colin Jost and Michael Che’s jokes often fell flat, but their most confusing inclusion was a tribute to George H.W. Bush. They intro a clip about how the former president could laugh at himself. In the clip, there is a montage of Dana Carvey doing a Bush impression before an old clip of the president coming on to say he doesn’t talk like that.


This sketch is fun and actually gives better ideas for content than some of what Netflix is actually making. Also, we all know that we would watch Jones in a Van getting Batteries.


This sketch has a funny premise, but it goes on for entirely too long. The ending has a good twist, but before that there is really only one joke and it gets too stretched out.

Good Morning Goomah

This sketch feels very SNL. The series loves a fake talk show that takes place out of two zany characters’ house. This one works because the Staten Island home wreckers who star in it are so pitch perfect. It’s a great twist on a classic format.

Charlie’s Grandparents

This sketch is surprisingly good for the premise “old people having sex is funny.” That being said, it relies a little too much on gross-out humor. Pete Davidson getting a foot to the face is certainly a highlight though.

Nick Di Paolo calls 12-year-old girl ‘dumb cunt’ on Twitter; deletes hours later

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 19:08

UPDATE: Nick Di Paolo has deleted the initial tweet, but not any of the replies to his fans and detractors underneath it. We’ve included a screenshot of the missing tweet at the bottom of this post.

Comedian Nick Di Paolo took to Twitter Friday afternoon to shame one of the nine covers released by Glamour for their Women of the Year edition. The cover features five of the student activists behind March for Our Lives, a group formed to combat gun violence in schools in the wake of the Parkland shooting. One of those students is 12-year-old Naomi Wadler.

Di Paolo tweeted, “Fuck these dumb cunts and their black power salute,” and attached a photo of the cover. Glamour released the cover last month on their Instagram and is now available on newsstands.

The tweet is in extremely bad taste even for the often foulmouthed Di Paolo as it goes after students—specifically children that survived a horrific tragedy. The cover features Samantha Fuentes, Emma González, Edna Chavez, Jaclyn Corin, and Wadler—three of whom survived the Parkland shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Chavez lost her brother to gun violence and joined the movement. 12-year-old Wadler organized walkouts at elementary schools in an effort to get other elementary school students talking about gun violence.

Fuck these dumb cunts and their black power salute. pic.twitter.com/ZmGSRFCAbv

— Nick DiPaolo (@NickDiPaolo) November 30, 2018

While there could be an argument about the “black power salute” being co-opted by other minority groups that should not be able to lay claim to it (i.e. women), his tweet does not make those arguments. Instead, it is a crude attack on young women. As a middle-aged white man and Trump supporter, Di Paolo isn’t the type of person that most people would turn to for nuanced takes on race and gender in America, but this crosses a line even for the controversial comedian.

He followed up the original tweet with an actual joke about deodorant, which while in poor taste, is at least humor-based.

If there was ever a better ad for roll on deodorant

— Nick DiPaolo (@NickDiPaolo) November 30, 2018

Di Paolo prides himself as not being politically correct. His website states, “In this day of watered down comedy, Nick Di Paolo’s brutally honest performances remind us of what great stand-up should be— funny, socially relevant and a little bit reckless.” This isn’t a joke, so it doesn’t fall under the umbrella of reckless comedy. Where’s the joke, Nick? Which part of, ‘Fuck these dumb cunts and their black power salute,’ was the punchline? Which part was the set-up?

This isn’t the podcaster’s first run-in with what I’m sure he’ll call the ‘PC police.’ Last year, the comedian had to defend a rape joke he made at a fundraiser in Boston where he also allegedly called Barack Obama a “monkey,” though Di Paolo insists he never said that word.

This isn’t even the first time that Di Paolo has gone after school shootings as a route to “comedy.” Earlier this year he tweeted, “Dear future school shooters, please confine yourself to coll. campuses, specifically faculty lounges at Berkeley, Fresno State etc.” The now-deleted tweet got him fired from his job at SiriusXM.

Comedians often push the limits of acceptability in their sets and jokes. Shock value is an inherent part of comedy, but comedians like Di Paolo push those limits outside of the realm of humor. Maybe you could call a 12-year-old girl a ‘dumb cunt.’ Who knows? Maybe there’s a joke out there that will make us pee our pants. But once again, where’s the joke, Nick?

JC Cassis debuts Christmas is Bullshit music video (Exclusive)

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 16:00

Christmas is kind of bullshit. At least according to musician JC Cassis. In her latest music video Christmas is Bullshit, which you can watch exclusively on Laughspin.com today, the native New Yorker lets loose her gripes with eggnog, gift giving, and Christmas cookies.

Filmed in New York City, the music video follows Cassis through festive department stores, sidewalk tree sales, and the famous oversized ornaments outside Rockefeller Plaza. You will experience all of the magic that New York-at-Christmas-time has to offer—and then learn all of the reasons to hate it.

Christmas is a time for family and time off of work and naked snow angels, but there’s also a lot of baggage that comes with the holidays. Expensive presents, travel, bad food, good food that makes you fat, bad food that makes you fat, and being around your racist aunt. Wouldn’t it be great if we dispensed with the bullshit and all agreed to take a week off of work at the end of the year?

Cassis has been seen on a variety of TV shows like Oxygen’s Jersey Couture and VH1’s Big Ang. She is also the producer of the popular storytelling podcast RISK! with host Kevin Allison.

Check out Christmas is Bullshit below!

Bodega Boys podcasters get Showtime show Desus & Mero

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 13:38

The Bodega Boys are coming to Showtime. The comedy duo—comprised of Desus Nice and The Kid Mero—closed a deal with the premium cable network for their own weekly late-night show. Episodes of the half-hour show will be coming out in February 2019.

The pair left their Viceland show Desus & Mero after two seasons. Deadline reported that Viceland tried to keep the comedians for more seasons, but the two were too excited by “an opportunity they felt they could not pass on.” The duo has been creating content together since 2013 after the longtime acquaintances reconnected on Twitter. They started with Bodega Boys, a podcast that took the internet by storm and moved to Desus vs. Mero on Complex TV. The two also appeared together on Season 5 of MTV2’s Guy Code as well as Uncommon Sense and Joking Off.

Their new show will have a slightly different format than their past ventures but will have their trademark off-the-cuff energy. The show will feature discussions with guests about pop culture, sports, music, and politics. As a sign the show will have a strong squad behind-the-scenes, the show poached Last Week Tonight writer Josh Gondelman for their writing staff.

The duo is excited about the move to Showtime. “We’re honored and excited to be joining the Showtime family. The brand is stronger than ever and we look forward to continuing to make amazing, authentic television that will make your wiggington explode,” said Nice about the deal. The Kid Mero added, “I’m excited to be joining a network with such a strong foundation and track record of producing fuegooooo and to break new ground with a late night comedy show!”

The wait is over! YA BOYS ARE BACK! – #DesusandMero is coming to @Showtime on Feb 21 at 11pm! pic.twitter.com/vRofhGmn2H

— Desus Nice (@desusnice) November 29, 2018

Jerry Seinfeld clarifies PC culture comments on Ricky Gervais Sirius XM show (Video)

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 12:30

Jerry Seinfeld sounded off on PC culture during Ricky Gervais’s SiriusXM show Ricky Gervais Is Deadly Sirius, and not in the way you might expect.

For years, it’s been rumored that Seinfeld refuses to do college shows because he’s disgusted with the restrictions put on comedy acts by liberal institutions. But on Gervais’s show, he set the record straight. When Gervais brings up the topic, the Long Island native begs, “Please stop with that. No, it’s not true. It’s amazing the legs that [story] got…Can we please put this to rest? I never said it. Here’s what I said: A comedian told me he doesn’t want to play colleges anymore. That’s what I said, and they ran with it.”

And on PC culture in general, he continued, “The mental agility that is required to execute this job is an essential part of it. Comedians complaining, ‘I can’t do this joke now because so-and-so is going to be offended.’ That’s right. You can’t. So do another joke. Find another way around it. Use a different word. It’s like slalom skiing. You have to make the gates.”

Gervais chimed in to say there’s nothing he won’t joke about. If journalists can write about it, it’s fair game for comedians. “Well, you’re talking about it. I talked about it in the form of a joke. It was just faster, and quicker, and it made people laugh.” 

But who, in particular, is laughing?

Gervais’s perspective is in line with his 2018 Netflix special Humanity, criticized for its careless, offensive material, as well as his “tell-it-like-it-is” persona. Earlier this year, comedic writer Lindy West penned a piece for The New York Times entitled The World Is Evolving, and Ricky Gervais Isn’t.

Still, Gervais says he’s paying attention now more than ever. On the issue of having confidence as a performer, he said, “Thinking back, it wasn’t a case of confidence. It was that I didn’t care if they liked me or not. I didn’t care…But now I’m getting worried because now I appreciate them more. I like people more than I ever did.” Well, that’s nice.

The full 90-minute episode of the SiriusXM show will air Tuesday, December 4 at 11:00 a.m. ET on Comedy Greats channel 94.

Awkwafina, Rory Scovel land Comedy Central shows as network hunts for hits

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 15:47

Awkwafina and Rory Scovel are coming to Comedy Central with their very own scripted TV shows. Comedy Central announced in a press release that they are greenlighting eight episodes of Scovel’s Robbie and 10 episodes of Awkwafina’s self-titled series.

Both Scovel and Awkwafina had break-out performances this year. Scovel became an indie darling on TruTV’s Those Who Can’t, but appeared on the big screen opposite Amy Schumer in I Feel Pretty. Awkwafina started her career as a rapper but exploded onto the scene as a comedic actress in blockbusters like Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians.

Awkwafina was joined by SMILF’s Karey Dornetto and Family Guy’s Teresa Hsiao to write the pilot for her new show. The plot follows a 20-something from Queens as she strives for a more meaningful life while living with her dad and grandmother. The cast features B.D. Wong as her father, Lori Tan Chin as her grandmother, and Saturday Night Live writer Bowen Yang as her successful cousin. No word yet on if Yang will stay on at SNL.

Scovel’s Robbie follows a small town basketball coach. He is living in his father’s shadow until he realizes his son could be his way out. Scovel co-wrote the show with Broad City’s Anthony King. He will be joined by SNL alum Sasheer Zamata, Mary Holland, and Beau Bridges, who plays his father. The show will be produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions.

Both of the stars are excited to work with Comedy Central. “I’ve been watching Comedy Central since I was old enough to hold a remote, and so many of their shows have defined who I am today,” said Awkwafina. “I am so honored to be given their platform to tell the story of an Asian-American girl against the backdrop of the city I was raised.”

Scovel joked, “It’s exciting to work with Comedy Central and it’s especially awesome because they said they would never cancel us.”

The whole tone of the announcement is joyful. Sarah Babineau and Jonas Larsen, Co-Heads of Talent and Development for Comedy Central, also joked,  “We’re happy to be used as a pawn in Awkwafina’s elaborate, EGOT endgame.”

All of this excitement arrives at the end of an era at the network. With shows like Inside Amy Schumer, Workaholics, Another Period, and Key & Peele in the rearview mirror and current favorites like Broad City and Nathan For You ending, Comedy Central searches for its new hits and new stars to launch.

Lena Dunham to guest edit Women in Entertainment: Power 100 annual issue

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 15:00

Lena Dunham is in the news, again, for a less enraging reason for a change. The Girls creator will be the guest editor of The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment: Power 100 list, a guide to the leading female creators, producers, dealmakers and executives in Hollywood.

“I am so excited to be guest editing this issue of THR devoted exclusively to women,” Dunham said. “We’re going hard at sex, bodies and power (what I like to call the Holy Trinity). It’s an honor I take seriously, despite having done almost all of it in pajamas.” 

Dunham frequently receives a lot of press surrounding her personal life. Her 7,000-word profile in The Cut went viral this week for all the wrong reasons. Shortly after having surgery to remove her left ovary last month, she shuttered her feminist newsletter Lenny Letters. Despite the controversy in which she appears to thrive, the announcement is one of several recent ticks in the win column. Dunham revealed she is 6 months sober and is directing Steven Spielberg’s next movie.

The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday announced that $1.7 million in university scholarships will be given to girls currently taking part in its Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program.

Eighteen girls selected for the program will receive a $10,000 scholarship to attend the university of her choice, with six girls receiving full-ride scholarships worth more than $250,000 each to attend Loyola Marymount University, a longtime partner in the Mentorship Program. Kesha will present the scholarships at The Hollywood Reporter’s 2018 Women in Entertainment breakfast, taking place December 5 at Milk Studios in Los Angeles.

Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina will present executive Nina Jacobson with the Equity in Entertainment Award, given to an individual in the community who has committed to providing opportunities for women and people of color. Jacobson follows Ryan Murphy and Amy Pascal, 2017’s recipient, in receiving the honor. The founder and president of Color Force production company and former president of Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group, Jacobson is one of only a handful of women to ever lead a Hollywood film studio.

Activist Monica Lewinsky and Australian writer-comedian Hannah Gadsby will also speak at the annual VIP gala. Gadsby is fresh off her smash-hit Netflix comedy special Nanette.

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