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October 22, 2014

Phil Hartman

Five Stars Launched On 'Pee-wee's Playhouse'

by Ryan McKee, posted Oct 20th 2010 6:00PM
After nearly two decades, Paul Reubens is becoming Pee-wee Herman, that silly man-child in the tight gray suit, again.

Reubens stars in the revival of the 1981 production, 'The Pee-wee Herman Show,' which premieres Oct. 26 on Broadway. And the character isn't just making a comeback on stage -- Reubens and Judd Apatow are also working on a third Pee-wee Herman film.

It's wonderful to see our favorite childhood comedian working again. It inspired us to watch a few episodes of 'Pee-wee's Playhouse,' and we were surprised to see how many faces we recognized. Not just because we remembered the characters, but because many of them have gone on to be acting stars themselves.

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Six TV Stars Who Deserve a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 22nd 2010 3:30PM
LettermanEvery year the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and Hollywood Historic Trust award sidewalk stars to celebrities who have made an impact in the entertainment world. More than 2,500 stars line the streets of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine.

Last week, it was announced that several TV stars would be getting stars in 2011, including Oprah Winfrey, Tina Fey, Neil Patrick Harris, Danny DeVito, Ed O'Neill, John Wells, the Muppets, and 'Cops' producer John Langley.

How do you get a star? You have to be in the biz for at least five years (or dead five years, if the award is given after a celebrity is deceased), and there are 20 stars awarded every year.

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Pee-wee Herman's comeback show is fun and nostalgic - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 18th 2010 8:02AM
Paul Ruebens as Pee-wee Herman introducing his 2010 stage showSaturday night, I decided to get away from the hotel and join a small group of critics on a field trip to Club Nokia in downtown LA to see Paul Ruebens' new stage production of The Pee-wee Herman Show.

It was a heck of a lot of fun, which is saying a lot because I've never been a huge fan of Pee-wee or his classic CBS Saturday-morning show Pee-wee's Playhouse. But most of the people who were there were die-hard fans, many of whom either caught Pee-wee's original stage show in the mid '80s, grew up watching his movies or Playhouse, or likely spent their Saturday mornings in college working on their first weekend high while watching his show.

For fans, it was pure comfort food. The stage was set up exactly like the set of Playhouse, complete with his complement of talking household items: Chairry, Magic Screen, Clocky, Pterri, Fish, etc. Jambi was also there to grant Pee-wee his wishes.

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Have you ever seen the SNL auditions of Belushi, Carvey, and Hartman?

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 16th 2009 11:39AM
This is an interesting find: the Saturday Night Live audition tapes for Phil Hartman, John Belushi, Will Ferrell, and Dana Carvey. Below is Hartman's audition, and after the jump Carvey's two audition bits (Choppin' Broccoli!).

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Why isn't Jan Hooks famous?

by Eliot Glazer, posted May 9th 2009 12:50PM
Radner. Louis-Dreyfus. Poehler. Fey. Shannon.

jan hooks snlSuffice it to say, the number of women who became famous on Saturday Night Live before graduating to solo success is few and far between. Sure, Gilda Radner can be considered a pioneer in the art of sketch comedy. And Julia Louis-Dreyfus undoubtedly honed her comedic skills before becoming a sitcom icon on Seinfeld. And, yes, Tina Fey can easily be considered a heroine to comedy nerds everywhere who have witnessed her climb from Weekend Update anchor to Mean Girls scribe to single-handedly decimating the vice presidential chances of one certain gun-wieldin', six-pack-totin' Alaskan governor.

But, sadly, the number of men who left Studio 8 for the superstardom of Planet Hollywood (not the theme restaurant) easily outnumbers the ladies. For every Amy Poehler, there's a Will Ferrell. And a Bill Murray. And a Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler (although, to be fair, there's also a David Gary Kroeger, A. Whitney Brown, and Charles Rocket for every Melanie Hutsell, too). (And for the record, no, you shouldn't recognize those names.)

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How well do you know the work of Troy McClure?

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 23rd 2008 1:24PM

Troy McClureAre you familiar with the works of actor Troy McClure? You might know him from Locker Room Towel Fight: The Blinding of Larry Driscoll. But as the IMDb notes, he has had quite a long career.

Mental Floss has a new quiz up at their site, Troy McClure Film or Actual Terrible Movie? It contains 15 questions about the work of McClure (voiced on The Simpsons, of course, by Phil Hartman - the character was retired when Hartman passed away). They give you a film title and you have to guess whether it's a fake Troy McClure film from an episode of The Simpsons or an actual film that somehow got made (note: just pick a film and the site automatically goes to the next question). I got 10 out of 15, but I think that was more because of my knowledge of bad films than specific episodes of The Simpsons.

Some of the titles of these movies and TV shows are priceless (don't worry, these aren't on the quiz): David vs. Super Goliath, Calling All Quakers, Lead Paint: Delicious But Deadly, Smoke Yourself Thin, Pepsi Presents: Fractions. I also like the telethon Let's Save Tony Orlando's House (today he would be hosting a special for Ed McMahon).

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Nerve picks the best TV commercial parodies - VIDEO

by Bob Sassone, posted May 5th 2008 1:25PM

SNLTV commercials are fairly easy to satirize. If you think about it, advertising is sort of ridiculous in the first place (a TV show is interrupted to ask you to buy toilet paper and gum?), so they're a natural for parody. There have been a lot of great parodies over the years, from shows such as Saturday Night Live and SCTV, and now Nerve has picked the 50 that they consider to be the best.

There are a lot of great choices, from SNL's "Colon Blow," "Schmitt's Gay Beer," and "Compulsion by Calvin Klein" to the Zoloft ad from Mad TV. One of my favorites is SNL's "Happy Fun Ball" spot, which was written by Jack Handey and included in his new book of essays What I'd Say To The Martians. It's a good list all around, though it's also one that I feel is missing a bunch of good ones, only I can't put my finger on which ones are missing at the moment.

The one they pick as number one is undoubtedly a classic, though I think it's overrated. I've always loved the one after the jump.

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The Not Ready for Prime Time Players who made it to the big time: 1986-2006

by Richard Keller, posted Apr 24th 2008 12:04PM

The SNL cast of the early 1990s -- one of the most successful during the show's runAs AOL Television continues their look at the 50 Best TV Comedies -- Ever with numbers 20-11, we here at TV Squad are also looking at television comedy, but with a slightly skewed difference. Last week, we took a look at the Saturday Night Live cast members from 1975-1985 that made it to the big time. This week, we focus on the SNL casts from 1986 to 2006.

Aside from the first season of Lorne Michaels' return to the show he created and the 1994-95 season, this period was a very successful one for SNL, introducing a slew of characters and sketches that fans of the show still talk about today. It also produced a good number of Not Ready for Prime-Time Players who went on to bigger things in television and the movies (and some theater as well). Sometimes those bigger things were movies or television shows based on characters developed on SNL.

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NewsRadio: Review - VIDEO

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 18th 2008 3:01PM
standout episodes(S03E02) Originally aired on September 25, 1996.

First off, can we all agree that none of the episodes in the fifth, Phil Hartman-less season of NewsRadio aren't even in the running for one of the best of the series?

OK, once we start with that, it's still ridiculously hard to pick an episode that stands out. So many episodes from the first three seasons (and several in the fourth) could easily fit into this category. So I'm not even going to attempt to pick one episode to talk about. Thanks for reading, and have a good day.

Oh, alright, if you insist. I'll go with "Review," from the third season.

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Five deaths that rocked television, or at least their shows

by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 26th 2007 2:01PM

John RitterI'm feeling a little melancholy today. This past Friday, a friend of mine lost two daughters in a senseless automobile accident. They were thirteen and eighteen; one having just started college and the other just entering the magical teen years. It was so sudden and insane that I can't really wrap my brain around it. As a parent, I can only begin to understand what he and the girls' mother are going through, but even then I'm sure it pales in comparison to the reality.

As I thought about this blog and things to post on television, I was struck by how death can have a dramatic and instant impact on a fictional show as well. Sometimes when an actor dies, the show is able to move on with relative smoothness, but other times there is an irreplaceable hole that just never seems to be filled.

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Jon Lovitz Beats Up Andy Dick

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 17th 2007 12:05PM

Andy DickA lot of people have wanted to do this for a long time, and now Jon Lovitz has done it. It also brings up something from the past I wasn't aware of.

At L.A.'s Laugh Factory the other night, Lovitz and Andy Dick got into an argument about Phil Hartman's death and Andy Dick's drug use. Five months before Brynn Hartman shot Phil and herself to death, Dick allegedly gave her cocaine at a house party that Lovitz also attended. Brynn Hartman had been sober for ten years, and now Lovitz blames Dick giving her the cocaine as the reason why she got hooked again and killed Hartman and herself five months later.

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Special looks at SNL in the '90s

by Adam Finley, posted Apr 8th 2007 4:02PM

wayne's worldOn May 6 at 9:00 p.m., NBC will air Saturday Night Live in the '90s: Pop Culture Nation. The special, as evidenced in the title, will look at the late night mainstay and the actors who called the show "home" during the '90s. Having gone to high school and college throughout the '90s, this is the era that sticks in my memory the most, when folks like Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Norm MacDonald, Phil Hartman, David Spade, Chris Farley and Dana Carvey were just funny guys no one had ever heard of before.

The special will include interviews with former cast members, insight from repeat hosts Alec Baldwin and John Goodman, plus interviews with writers Tim Herlihy and Adam McKay, who went on to successful careers as film writers. If you're a fan of Saturday Night Live, it's probably worth checking out, but especially if you happen to be around my age and these episodes were the ones you quoted and discussed with your friends the next day in school.

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DVD Review: NewsRadio: The Complete Fifth Season

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 23rd 2007 6:06PM

NewsRadio season 5I think it can be universally agreed that the fifth season of NewsRadio - the final season - was by far the worst season of the series. Not only was Phil Hartman killed during the hiatus, but another cast member (Jon Lovitz) came on board and just didn't fit in to what the rest of the group had built over the previous four seasons.

The season kicks off with the "Bill Moves On" episode, where the gang has just returned from Bill's funeral (he died of a heart attack), and everyone mocks Dave's 2 hour eulogy. Matthew doesn't really believe Bill is dead, everyone thinks Lisa is drunk, and Catherine (Khandi Alexander) returns to the show for one episode. This is one of the better episodes of the last season, because it's important to the show's history and (as is revealed on one of the commentaries), they didn't really rehearse it or do any run throughs. It was hard enough getting through it once on tape night. The tears you see are real. It ends with everyone taking an item off Bill's desk to remember him. Jimmy takes the whole desk. A nice tribute.

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Pee Wee movie in the works again

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 24th 2007 5:29PM

ReubensPaul Reubens is thinking about bringing back his Pee-Wee Herman character for a big-screen movie.

At a tribute to him in San Francisco recently, Reubens said (in regular voice - he never appears as the Pee Wee character anymore) that he gave the script, which he's been working on for years, to actor Laurence Fishburne. Fishburne would play the parts that Reubens originally wrote for the late Phil Hartman. Fishburne, who was a regular on the CBS' show Pee Wee's Playhouse. hasn't said yes yet, but Reubens told him "Well, Wesley Snipes has expressed interest." Ha!

Other news from the tribute: Reubens was bitter and angry at not getting a gig on Saturday Night Live, and he has cameos coming up on both 30 Rock and Dirt.

[via TV Tattle]

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This NewsRadio DVD cover depresses me

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 14th 2007 3:16PM

NewsRadio season 5 dvdFor two reasons. The obvious reason is because Phil Hartman isn't in the picture. Instead, we get Jon Lovitz, who pretty much made the last season of the show unwatchable (except for a couple of episodes). He was really out of place as a regular cast member on the show (though he was great in the guest roles he had earlier in the series), and his character was completely unlikable.

But the second reason I'm not thrilled with the pic is that the original artwork on the box actually had Phil Hartman on it (you can see it here). The cast was standing in front of a picture of Hartman. In the new version, the cast is standing in front of a picture of New York City. Yeah, Hartman wasn't in the last season, but wouldn't that have been a nice nod to Hartman in the final set? The first episode of the season is about Bill McNeal's death, after all.

The fifth season set will be released on March 20.

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