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September 30, 2014

PhilHartman

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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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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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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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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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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DVD review: NewsRadio, season 4

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 28th 2006 12:30PM
Khandi AlexanderSeason three of NewsRadio is the best season of the show. Having said that, season four has quite a number of gems too. You can see that this was the season that they started to tinker with the show: they brought in new cast members, they switched around the jobs of a few characters, they fired Matthew, introduced more of story arcs over several episodes, and they started to have more surreal moments. Not all of it works (I, for one, was a fan of the Dave/Lisa romance, and breaking them up and then having them switch jobs put the show out of whack in a way), but this set is a lot of fun.

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More on the Newsradio season four DVDs

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 15th 2006 6:18PM
NewsradioSony has issued an official press release regarding the season four DVD set of Newsradio, which will be released on June 20. The bonus features on the set will include:

  • Gag reel
  • Commentaries on several episodes
  • The "One Man's Newsradio" short film.
Season four contained some great episodes: "Jumper," with Jon Lovitz as a suicidal man threatening to jump off the ledge outside Dave's office (Lovitz is funnier here and an earlier ep than he was as a later regular); "The Public Domain," where Bill buys a piano and sings political songs (funny as hell); "Super Karate Monkey Death Car," about Jimmy's autobiography; "French Diplomacy," where we learn Matthew used to be a dentist; and "Catherine Moves On," Khandi Alexander's last episode (though she did make a return appearance in the first episode of season five, after the death of Phil Hartman). Season four also includes a multi-episode appearance by Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls, playing Andrea, brought in by Jimmy to get the office in shape.

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