In the mid-1990s, Sam Seder starred, directed and co-wrote the mocumentary Who's The Caboose?, which had a group of New York film students follow comedian/actors Max (Seder) and Susan (Sarah Silverman) out to Los Angeles, where they both get caught up in the madness that is Hollywood's TV pilot season.
The cast is full of comedians you may know a bit better in 2011 than you did in 1997: Andy Dick plays Silverman's manager, while H. Jon Benjamin is an entertainment lawyer who becomes fond of Seder. Kathy Griffin looks like a completely different person, because she was back then. David Cross, Andy Kindler, Laura Kightlinger, Laura Silverman, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Marc Maron, Todd Barry, Slovin and Allen, Mark Cohen, the late Lauren Dombrowski all had roles in the film, which is only out on DVD today.
Here's a brand-new trailer for it, with new footage of Seder spliced with clips from the movie. Roll it.
It's funny. It's satirical. It's cutting. And yes, it's dated. You can tell it's the mid-1990s, because people smoked in restaurants, and nobody was ever looking at a cell phone, nevermind talking on one -- well, Benjamin's character does use a car phone in one scene. Oh, memories.
The film spawned a TV mini-series sequel in 2004 called Pilot Season, which reunited the cast, and added Isla Fisher. You can watch the episodes of Pilot Season online via My Damn Channel.
Seder, who himself acted in 10 different network TV sitcom pilots, told The Comic's Comic that he's not that involved in the sitcom game in 2011. His focus, if you follow The Sam Seder Show or The Majority Report, is squarely on politics these days -- although you can hear his voice in a few episodes of the new FOX animated series, Bob's Burgers.
I asked Seder how he feels Who's The Caboose? holds up when compared to the current TV climate, as Hollywood's studios are just now finishing up casting for the 2011 pilots. Seder's reply:
I haven’t watched the film in a while and haven’t engaged in Pilot Season in quite a while. With that said... I think the mechanics of the business, development season, pilot season have changed quite a bit -- the rise of cable which develops on a different schedule and the rise of reality shows has contributed to making pilot season more diffuse. The essence of the business and the people who populate it I imagine is the same. There’s the same delusion, the same fictions, the same mental problems which drive people to seek fame... I used to describe the exchanges in the film and the ones I experienced in L.A. as ones where two people’s lies and false projections meet somewhere in between them -- they tell each other lies which satisfy each other’s delusions and then they go on their way. I suspect that dynamic is the same. I’m also quite sure the notion of “who’s hot” in the industry remains the same. I actually think that the numbers game which agents and managers play as we depict in the movie has gotten worse for actors/comedians... I’d wager that if an agent repped 25 actors 15 years ago they rep 50 today -- same with managers.
Would you like to relive Who's The Caboose? on DVD? Buy it via Amazon.com or iTunes:
I know there are two sides to every story, and Andy Dick said just that on his Twitter feed last month when he got arrested in West Virginia after a comedy stop there.
That said, this alleged re-enactment of the events by Apple Action News -- which for reasons not quite explained, have been coopted by the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim -- is too silly to be true. Obviously this isn't how Dick behaved before the cops were called. And yet. It's funny to imagine a world in which this could have happened? Alternate universe Lost reality in 3, 2, 1...roll the clip:
Showtime offers something new in an old-fashioned way tonight with the premiere of a six-episode summer stand-up showcase called Live Nude Comedy.
Shannon Elizabeth hosts, and before you start thinking you'll see her perform stand-up in the nude, well, not quite. Elizabeth (who became famous going nude in American Pie, and later learned professional poker, then Dancing With the Stars) will perform in brief comedy sketches with a group of performers that incluldes Josh Fadem, Chad Fogland, Michael Busch and Ramsey Moore. Each episode also will include two burlesque performances. Oh, and yes, there will be stand-up comedy. In fact, each half-hour will spotlight two stand-ups and give each an uncensored 10-minute set. Whitney Cummings, who performs on one of the episodes, also helped put the production together. She sat down with me for a few minutes during the Just For Laughs Chicago comedy festival to explain her motivations, including what she felt was a need to put new stand-ups in their best possible light (as in, longer sets, no censorship, fewer fake reaction shots). Watch:
The full schedule and listings (and a teaser video!) appears after the jump...
Comedian/actor Andy Dick got his break along with many other alt-comics of the 1990s on the short-lived Ben Stiller Show, but he really got the public's attention later that decade with his portrayal of a wacky radio employee on NBC's NewsRadio. But somewhere along the line, his life became, well, a little Less Than Perfect, and the exploits offscreen became his persona and his reputation. Several trips to rehab later (including one televised on Sober House), Dick is attempting to come back again. This time, he's doing it online via his Atom.com talk show, House Arrest with Andy Dick, and a live touring musical production that shows its influences from another "crazy" Andy, Andy Kaufman. That tour comes to NYC this weekend at Carolines.
I saw Andy Dick's live show last month at Just For Laughs Chicago, and the next day, sat down with the performer to talk to him about that and more, including his new pilot deal to develop a talk show for Comedy Central. You'll notice he's not quite as wild and crazy as the guy who was getting press for all of the wrong reasons a couple of years ago.
Here's the first part of that chat, in which he talks about the differences between him and Kaufman, how he uses Twitter and technology to stream his shows free to fans, how he and his Los Angeles neighbors are all revolutionizing the talk-show game, and more:
After the jump, I asked him how it felt, a year clean-and-sober, to reflect on his career in terms of where he's been and where he could be going now...
I'm making my plans to jet over to Chicago on Wednesday for the start of the inaugural Just For Laughs Chicago comedy festival, and guess who else will be there? Bob Odenkirk and Andy Dick! Bob's teaming up with his longtime comedy partner David Cross for something special, while Andy is going back to his comedy roots. What better way to get in the mood than a video featuring both of these guys, as Bob stops by the second-season premiere of Andy's Internet talk show, House Arrest. It's on Atom.com, Comedy Central's home for original online comedy productions. Enjoy!