Finally, the ghost of Tom Carvel has his own talk-show, and a real topless woman as his sidekick, too. His first guest, Andy Richter, doesn't seem to know what he's walked into, however.
Here's something you don't see every day...Andy Richter as a talk-show guest, where the host is the ghost of Tom Carvel (yes, the Carvel of Fudgie the Whale and Cookie Puss), and the sidekick is a topless woman. It's about to debut on Funny or Die and it's called -- you guessed it -- The Ghost of Tom Carvel and A Real Topless Woman.
Roll the trailer!
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I chatted with creator Guy Nicolucci, a longtime writer for Conan O'Brien, to find out more.
What more can you tell me about the series? "As for the series, it's about the two best things in the world: breasts and ice cream. If you don't like either, this show is not for you. It's a talk show hosted by Carvel's ghost, who's come back from the grave to keep selling ice cream and to find out more about his mysterious death. (The mysterious death part is true: The real Carvel died at age 79 and some people claim he was murdered....take that Brian Jones and Marilyn Monroe ). If you stay tuned, the cause of his death will eventually revealed."
How many episodes are in the works? "It's going to be 12 episodes featuring comedians being interviewed by Carvel's ghost."
Where in the Tom Carvel did you get this idea? "The idea started as a riff I did to annoy my friends: I'd channel Carvel's spirit (i.e. talk in an raspy, annoying voice) about how Ben & Jerry were dirty hippies, etc.
"Originally, I was going to play the ghost, but I realized that I'm a lousy actor. So I fired myself (I bought me a drink and told me that I was going in a different direction) and hired Brian Stack. He came in and just killed it. What he's doing is harder than voicing a cartoon character. There's no animation, just a picture of Carvel on the desk, and Brian's disembodied voice. He had to sell the whole thing, the main character of the series, just on his vocal chords.
"Andy Richter was amazing. He made every line funnier and his reaction shots are hysterical. He would have been a great silent comedian.
And that's really a real topless woman behind those pixels, correct? "As for "The Topless Woman," she's Dru Mouser, a real actress. She's guested on Medium, House, Entourage, etc. She was perfect - she plays Carvel's sidekick as an underdressed Margaret Dumont: She never seems to notice that she's not wearing a shirt."
The first person we see on tonight's TBS special, Team Coco Presents The Conan Writers Live, is a writer of the online variety as Team Coco's blogger Aaron Bleyaert visits the dressing room of host Andy Richter.
The first person we see performing onstage is Reggie Watts, the musical talent and Team Coco's opening act on this spring's North American theater tour as suggested by Conan's TV writers. Watts provides the special's theme music and also delivers a rather straightforward -- well, in as much as anything Watts does can be construed as straightforward -- song about women who carry big ass purses.
And as Richter notes in his opening monologue, it's a wonder any of the writers are getting primetime TV exposure, joking: "The main reason you're getting to see them at all is because Conan cannot be on TV until the fall. And as I think everybody knows by now, Conan is very easily threatened and unbelievably insecure. So he has been keeping these guys down for years. But not tonight!"
As for the writers who we do get to see on TV, Brian Kiley kicks things off properly with a tight five-minute set of his well-crafted one-liners about parenting. After the first commercial break, Richter introduces Deon Cole by noting that Cole had performed so well as a stand-up on Conan's show that they hired him to join the writing staff full-time. Cole, a native of the Chicago suburbs, joked about curing a hangover with a hangover, what it's like to be the only black person in the writers' room, and closed with a routine about the things black and white people don't want to do in front of the other race.
Jimmy Pardo, the warm-up comedian for Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show audiences, gets a shout-out for his Never Not Funny podcast in Richter's introduction. And I'm going to avoid the trap Pardo set for bloggers, instead choosing to focus on his otherwise meta routine and his one-liner roast of Watts, who remained onstage throughout the taping: "What don't you have: Scissors or a mirror?"
Josh Comers got introduced with the selling point of still having "that new writer smell." Comers wondered why little girls would ever wear a T-shirt saying "You Wish" across the chest, what it's like when your landlord is a Holocaust survivor, and boasted that one joke makes him lose 10 Facebook friends every time he tells it. You'll know it when you hear it.
Andres du Bouchet closes out the special, and Richter introduced him as a veteran of the NYC comedy scene since 1996 and, for Conan's viewers, as the "Tiger Woods joke caddy." Du Bouchet came out in character with a smoking jacket and gave the audience a preview of the one-man musical about his life: "100 and Me Percent: The Andres du Bouchet Saga." And yes, he did include the number about 9/11.
For those of you keeping track, Matt O'Brien and Dan Cronin also performed sets at the tapings which did not make it to broadcast. Eric Andre also provided an energetic stand-up routine as the warm-up comedian.
Team Coco Presents The Conan Writers Live debuts at 10 p.m. Eastern tonight on TBS.
On the road for his North American live theater tour, Conan O'Brien and his crew spent part of their Cinco de Mayo at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., for a YouTube chat with Google's Vic Gundotra (who tried too hard) that showcased O'Brien's talents as a performer and an improviser. During the 48-minute session, O'Brien talked about how the past few months have been such a transformative experience for him, talked about his use of Twitter (and how NBC, among other things they didn't get during this late-night shuffle, may have wanted to shut his Twitter down?), explained to an audience member how Reggie Watts became the perfect fit for his tour as the opening act, let another audience member rub his hair, and brought out Andy Richter to answer a question about Andy Richter. Among the other essential things we learned: Richter apparently never left Conan in the 1990s to become a prime-time star, and even more apparently, he told us that Google's bathrooms have "front-cleansing"?!
Watch the whole thing at your leisure. Contains closed-captioning, and a few choice words of profanity. Roll it!
Ladies and germination fans, it's time once again for a new episode of "Between Two Ferns," the Funny or Die talk show that puts host Zach Galifianakis between two ferns with a special guest. In today's installment, Galifianakis welcomes Conan O'Brien and Andy Richter to the studio. O'Brien wants to crack jokes, but Galifianakis is not having any of it. He has questions. And he goes to dinner with Richter and learns things. "Andy and I have the same trainer."
If you enjoyed the previous episodes with Jon Hamm, Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman, Bradley Cooper, Jimmy Kimmel and Michael Cera, then, well, you already know you'll like this. Cue the crickets on tumbleweeds, hold onto your hats and wait until the end for the M. Nighty Night plot twist. Ready, set, roll the clip!