Here's a little round-up of what some of your favorite comedic actors have been up to:
First of all, Bob Odenkirk and a few others have provided their comedy expertise to a new book from McSweeneys titled Comedy by the Numbers. The book breaks comedy down to its bare elements (see pic on the right) so that anyone can become a funny person. Despite the book's obvious tongue-in-cheek approach, I find it somewhat appropriate since I've often considered McSweeneys approach to humor to be a little too cold and clinical sometimes.
A lot of stories are popping up about the scene in the most recent episode of South Park that shows the Queen of England putting a pistol in her mouth and blowing skull fragments and brain matter all over the wall behind her. These stories, mostly coming from the UK, tell of the "controversial" scene and how it "shocked viewers."
And yet, not a single one of these stories, from what I can tell, gives any real evidence that the scene in question stirred up any controversy whatsoever. The stories merely suggest that, given the series' knack for courting controversy, people were probably bothered by the Queen's suicide, as well.
I'm not from the UK, but I am a South Park fan, and as I said in my review of the episode, the Queen's suicide was so quintessentially South Park I hardly batted an eye. If anything, the whole sequence seemed a little too easy, especially by South Park standards. I'll admit I'm not easily offended, but South Park hasn't shocked or surprised me in several years. That's not a slag against the show, it just means I'm tuned into its sensibility.
- Charlie Rose: Jessica Mathews, President of the Carnegie Endowment For International Peace, and Kanan Makiya of Brandeis University
- The Daily Show: Philip Zimbardo
- The Colbert Report: Clive James
- The Late Show With David Letterman: Rosario Dawson and Bloc Party
- Jay Leno: Will Arnett, Campbell Brown, Johnny Mathis, and Dave Koz
- Jimmy Kimmel Live: Kiele Sanchez and Josh Gardner
- Tavis Smiley: Benjamin Barber and Cyrus Chestnut
- Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Martha Stewart, Brian Poeshn, and My Morning Jacket (repeat)
- The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Jeff Goldblum and Nia Long
- Last Call With Carson Daly: Sofia Vergara and The Bird and the Bee (repeat)
(S11E04) This was a hilarious episode, and yet I couldn't help but feel it's the sort of episode that comes easy to its creators. The "snuke in Hillary's snizz" gag wasn't exactly inspired, considering the very first episode centered on a gigantic satellite in Cartman's ass and just last season another episode focused on Oprah's "minge." Then there was Cartman's fart torture and the scene toward the end where the Queen shoots herself, both of which I laughed at quite uproariously but that still seemed a bit too easy by South Park standards.
- Charlie Rose: The science of living longer
- The Daily Show: Governor Bill Richardson
- The Colbert Report: Jabari Asim
- The Late Show With David Letterman: Al Franken and Isla Fisher
- Jay Leno: Hilary Swank, Carlos Mencia, and Gym Class Heroes
- Jimmy Kimmel Live: Heather Mills, Laura Prepon, and Young Buck
- Tavis Smiley: Jane Arraf and Anne Lamott
- Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Will Ferrell, Tom Everett Scott, and Death Cab For Cutie (repeat)
- The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Sigourney Weaver, Kal Penn, and The Ataris
- Last Call With Carson Daly: Eric Balfour and Andy McKee (repeat)
I mentioned not too long ago that Reno 911! would be going into syndication, and it looks like Superstation WGN has picked up the series for its late night comedy block this fall that will also include Scrubs, Becker and Corner Gas (a Canadian sitcom). WGN has acquired the first three season of the improved series for a two-year run. The series finishes off its fourth season on Comedy Central starting April 1, and it has been picked up for a fifth season, as well.
I think Reno 911! should translate pretty well to syndication. Naturally, some stuff may be have to be censored or edited completely, but one advantage the show has is that it's shot as if its a legitimate reality show, a la Cops, which means naughty bits and swear words are often censored, anyway. I suppose they'd still have to do that even on Comedy Central, my point is that such censoring just adds to the "reality" of this fake program.
The big indicator to me that there's a bit of an ebb is that lately the producers have been booking two guests on a single show; one gets interviewed during the first segment and the other gets interviewed during the usual third segment. Last night, Colbert spoke to Madeleine Albright, and in previous weeks, first-segment guests have included Al Sharpton, Ben and Jerry, and District of Columbia's congressional delegate Elanor Holmes Norton. While I'd imagine these segments do entail some writing, as Stephen tries to figure out the direction of his questioning, much of the comedy in these interviews depends heavily on his impressive improvisation skills.
Well, it only took them twenty-seven years (or however long its been), but the second season of The Upright Citizens Brigade is finally coming to DVD later this year (or so we assume, there's no official announcement yet). That's great news, but what's even cooler is that this Saturday, March 31, you can actually be in the audience for a live audio commentary recording for the episodes "Spaghetti Jesus" and "Supercool." All the information you need can be found here. The recording takes place at 8 p.m. at the UCB Theatre in Los Angeles. Be there fifteen minutes early, or you'll be denied, sucka.
That leaves us with the third and finally season to look forward to. Hopefully it will be getting the digital versatile treatment sooner than later.
Thanks to reader bd, who sent us the tip after I found about the DVD but before I got off my lazy rump to write about it. I consider his e-mail the poke with a sharp stick I needed.
[via TV Shows on DVD]
"Showdown at Justice: Hereunder referred to as the 'Nonvoluntary Lawyer Disemployment Program' vis a vis certain events on or around 7 December 2006 (C.F. Appendix B, Codicil IX, Paragraph 7)": Alberto Gonzalez isn't doing so hot. So, what else is new?
Patrick Goldstein of the L.A. Times spoke to the show's writers, Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck, about the "second life" phenomenon failed pilots experience these days. They have nothing but good things to say about their experience with Comedy Central, but both the writers and Goldstein wonder what the future holds for networks now that failed pilots like this one and Nobody's Watching have found an audience online.
- Charlie Rose: Madeleine Albright and Newt Gingrich
- The Daily Show: Dennis Miller
- The Colbert Report: Madeleine Albright and James Fallows
- The Late Show With David Letterman: Patricia Arquette, Macy Gray, and Paul Mooney
- Jay Leno: Jeff Foxworthy and Dierks Bentley
- Jimmy Kimmel Live: Jenny McCarthy
- Tavis Smiley: Marian Wright Edelman and Rod Paige
- Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Sacha Baron Cohen, Jack McBrayer, and Mastodon (repeat)
- The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Randy Jackson and Piper Perabo
- Last Call With Carson Daly: Timothy Busfield and Colbie Caillat (repeat)
"Showdown in Crisisland": Tehran Bureau Chief John Oliver's New York accent is hilarious. Yup, the only thing funnier than an American with a poor British accent is listening to an English person over-stressing the R's of an American one. Best line: "Iran is the Jan Brady of international evil".
- Charlie Rose: Newt Gingrich and Bill Bradley
- The Daily Show: Senator John Kerry
- The Colbert Report: John Perry Barlow
- The Late Show With David Letterman: Will Ferrell and Kings of Leon
- Jay Leno: Quentin Tarantino, Pete Rose, and Mika
- Jimmy Kimmel Live: Andy Dick, Ivanka Trump, and Nas (repeat - wait a second, they're showing this for the third time in a month??)
- Tavis Smiley: Ice Cube and Eddie Glaude
- Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Robin Williams, Christian Slate, and Panic! At The Disco (repeat)
- The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Rainn Wilson and Joss Stone
- Last Call With Carson Daly: Lizzy Caplan and Taking Back Sunday (repeat)
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