Friday, February 26, 2010

Brian and Steve Get Married

Congratuations to Brian and Steve, two television love birds who got married last night in the latest episode of The Sarah Silverman Show. Maria Bamford guest starred as the nasty, hypocritical May Kadoody who became Mayor of Valley Village and hated gay marriage and brunch. Small problem. She liked woman and loved eating eggs and bacon off her chest while watching people in panties. Not a problem - but well...let your flag fly, girl.

Steve and Brian's story is one for the ages. Nice surprise guest appearance by Rich Fulcher.

Also, Happy Birthday to the real Steve Agee, who mentioned last night at the Hollywood Improv (which streamed live online) that he turned 41 at midnight last night.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Zach Galifianakis to Host SNL March 6th

Zach Galifianakis will be hosting SNL on March 6th with musical guest Vampire Weekend. (Source: NBC)

Star of HBO's Bored to Death, FunnyorDie's Between Two Ferns, and big time theatrical hit The Hangover, Zach's brand of surreal humor will lend a nice insane twist to the show. It's great to see him reach his current streak of success. He was on Late Night with Conan O'Brien a few years back. He tinkered dreamily on a piano while cracking funny and brilliantly clever comments. He just had that something. Comedy fans at LA' s Largo, a venue where he performed often in those days (and today as well), knew of his brilliance. The Late Night gig was a glimpse into their secret. On that night, I could sense we'd be hearing more from him. He was endearing, sublime, furious, sweet and raunchy. How wonderful to see his talents recognized and now allowed to flourish on one of comedy's biggest stages. I'm looking forward to this!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret

When David Cross was introduced at Upright Citizens Brigade in New York for a special live podcast recording of Comedy Death Ray last month, this is what the audience saw...

Yes. A hairy dude in a Nefertiti sweat dress. I was there. It was amazing. Cross's time with CDR host Scott Aukerman was short. He was getting ready to fly to London to do some work on a program he's been writing and starring for the UK's Channel Four called The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret.

New York Magazine has posted the premiere episode with Will Arnett in a funny bit of Arnett-ness. (All installments of the 25 minute episode is on their site)

NY Mag appears less than thrilled with the comedy. Can't say that I disagree. Call me jadded, burnt out, bitchy...but there is a bit of the old Ugly Americanism in this show, where U.S. capitalism and our brand of corporate greed is thrust onto those punchy, hip Brits. Cross is one of the writers, and American, so it's hard to say if this is just him dealing with an underdog caught up in the machinations of a corporation, or just a dig on inflated American consumerism.

There are improbable situations that lean on the broad side, such as a scene where the jet lagged Todd Margaret absent mindlessly leaves his travel trunk on the sidewalk, and it is (albeit realistically) deemed suspect by the police. What's frustrating is that it's immediately blown up as Todd unsuccessfully tries to explain the truth while being ignored and over-talked to by a bomb squad specialist. Perhaps this humor is geared more British humor than American, or maybe ironic comedy has made me a stickler for funny to come from realistic, organic situations. Still, this scene felt tiresome. And I say this fully aware that my idols, Monty Python, have always done this. But they laid the ground work from which all good comedy should build on. They didn't form a boilerplate for others to just copy.

Nevertheless, Cross has made his hero sympathetic. The British - not so much. Here, they are portrayed as snarky, unmotivated bullies who do not suffer American fools gladly. There is one kind English ally in the mythical cycle of archetype (Ok, so I'm re-reading 'The Writer's Journey'), and that's in the form of a waitress who quickly and contritely befriends him.

All bitching aside, it's worth giving the show a chance. But so far, it's not as stellar a project that I have come to expect from the often hilarious Cross.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Ricky Gervais Show

If you've ever listened to Ricky Gervais' podcasts you are most likely familiar with the likes of Karl Pilkington. He's an oddball who carries bizarre perceptions of the world that are so wild, it sends Gervais and his partner Stephen Merchant into wails of laughter and incredulous commentary. If one could open the top of Karl's brain, you'd most likely find a Willy Wonka factory of weirdness in there. That is why Gervais and HBO have teamed up to bring you the animated version of The Ricky Gervais Show. Audio is combined with Hanna-Barbera type characters to bring Ricky's, Stephen's and Karl's strange online chats to life.

The Ricky Gervais Show premieres this Friday on HBO.

NYTimes has an interesting feature on how the creators married animation to podcast audio. 'Animating Ricky Gervais'. Here's the related article by the terrific Dave Itzoff.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Funny or Die Presents...

I'm waiting not-so-patiently for HBO's new comedy series Funny or Die Presents. The show kicks off on February 19th, and each day bring a new sneak peek. Today's clip is Just 3 Boyz, with Tim & Eric and Zach.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ghosts of Boyfriends Past

The end tag of last night's 30 Rock was...amazing. This is the best Valentines Day ever!

Breaking Bad: Season 3

It's time to gird your loins for the roller coaster ride that is Breaking Bad. Season three is coming back to AMC in March, and previews are hitting the web. When we last left Walter White, the sky was literally falling in on him. His secret life of cooking meth and dealing was starting to be revealed to those he kept in the dark. Even the plane that exploded above his house connected to his wrong doings.

It looks like the new season will be filled with some exhilarating surprises. Breaking Bad has always been a rough, yet satisfying journey. It looks like we have more in store when Walter, Jessie and family return next month.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Funny or Die Presents on HBO...More Sneak Peaks

Funny Or Die Presents premieres on HBO Friday, Feburary 19th. Here's another sneak peek. 'Hold Up' was written by Rob Huebel. He also co-stars alongside Ed Helms, Tom Lennon, Creed Bratton and Rachael Harris. Looks super fun.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Betty White Should Host SNL

Various mega blogs like The Huffington Post and Gawker are reporting and supporting the grassroots effort to get the wonderful Betty White on Saturday Night Live as guest host. Facebook has a fan group that's growing everyday with votes, and the momentum to get White in front of that SNL camera is one that can't be ignored.

After 35 years on air, why hasn't Betty been on this show yet? After sitting (and at times avoiding) some recent guest host stints that resemble the cast list of Twilight or a Disney teen fest, why hasn't the terrifically acerbic, sweet like vinegar White been asked? At 88 years old, this lady hasn't lost one bit irony and wit. Her zingers are juicy. Her timing is impeccable. Her sense of humor is current in that it captures that "thinking on top of one's intelligence" brand of comedy, producing clever quips that are fresh.

I met Betty White years ago during an NBC thing, and she was sweet, kind and professional. Seeing a surge in her already esteemed career is refreshing. I'm hoping Lorne Michaels will listen to those internet voices and give that lady a shot.

Her appearance in this Super Bowl Snickers commercial should seal the deal:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Spike TV Series: Players

Spike TV has added a new series called Players to their comedy program lineup. Created by Upright Citizens Brigade founding father Matt Walsh, it also stars his fellow UCB partner (and co-founder) Ian Roberts. They'll play brothers with opposite personalities who are proprietors of a popular sports bar. June Diane Raphael, Danielle Schneider and James Pumphrey also star.

Players Promo

Source: UCB

Funny or Die Presents...

Coming this month on HBO. Here's an excerpt from Designated Driver: Office Pranks