If you're watching AMC's Breaking Bad, or just catching up to this Emmy-winning drama, then you're well-aware of Bob Odenkirk's rascally role as attorney Saul Goodman. In season four (which premiered last night), Saul has hired himself a bodyguard, Huell, who is played by none other than stand-up comedian Lavell Crawford.
Here's a clip of their first scenes together in Breaking Bad. Not spoilery!
Crawford has been a touring stand-up for years, and finished runner-up to Jon Reep in the 2007 season of NBC's Last Comic Standing. He has a new comedy CD out this month called Can A Brother Get Some Love?, which also will debut on Comedy Central on Aug. 12, 2011.
It's always interesting to see popular comedians cast in TV dramas. Enough stand-ups have done the trick on Law & Order that you could host a full night's show and then some with them.
But how many comedians have made the successful transition from stand-up stage to small screen drama, particularly when it's a critical and commercial TV hit?
Let's take a look back...
Wait enough months, and eventually, Funny or Die will make good on its tease, in which it sanctioned the production of a lengthy short film, written and directed by Eric Appel with writer/star Charlie Sanders. Yes. "The Big Dog" is up in its 17-minute entirety.
Also featuring Bob Odenkirk, Nelson Franklin (The Office, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), Rich Sommer (Mad Men) and Jessica St. Clair (Best Week Ever). Read my previous interview with Charlie Sanders about "The Big Dog," then watch the full short film. Would you eat "The Big Dog"? Are you already eating it? Roll it!
For its second year in the Second City, Just For Laughs Chicago is bringing back Ellen DeGeneres for another TV variety show, recording a special with Cedric The Entertainer, and welcoming Aziz Ansari, Russell Peters, Denis Leary's "Rescue Me" tour, a Nasty Show hosted by Greg Giraldo with special guest Jim Norton, and a daytime sketch show for kids produced by Bob and Naomi Odenkirk.
There's much more to come for the Just For Laughs Chicago 2010 schedule, happening in various theaters and clubs around the city from June 15-19, 2010, including a third TV special to be announced later.
But here is the initial slate of headlining acts. Tickets for all shows go on sale March 29.
THE CHICAGO THEATRE
Ellen’s Somewhat Special – Wednesday, June 16, at 7:30 p.m. (Taped for TBS)
Cedric The Entertainer’s Urban Circus (working title) – Friday, June 18, at 8 p.m.
Featuring comedians, sketches, music and more. (Taped for TBS)
The Rescue Me Comedy Tour with Denis Leary – Saturday, June 19, at 8 p.m.
Featuring Lenny Clarke, Adam Ferrara and music with The Enablers and the Rehab Horns. Portion of the proceeds benefits the Leary Firefighters Foundation.
Russell Peters - The Green Card Tour - Saturday, June 19, at 8 p.m.
THE VIC THEATRE
Aziz Ansari – The Dangerously Delicious Tour – Thursday, June 17, at 7 p.m.
The Nasty Show hosted by Greg Giraldo with special guest Jim Norton – Friday, June 18, at 7 and 9:30 p.m.
Lucha VaVOOM – Wednesday, June 16, at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – 21+ only show
Featuring Mexican masked wrestling and not-so masked burlesque.
The Not Inappropriate Show – Friday, June 18, at 4 p.m. and Saturday, June 19, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Made especially for kids ages 6 and up, this sketch comedy show stars Bob Odenkirk and Kate Micucci, along with some of Los Angeles’ hottest sketch performers. The show, which is being produced by Naomi Odenkirk, will feature a collection of specially chosen sketches and songs designed for kids who love great comedy.
They obliged with their thoughts about reuniting onstage, their own instant-review of their show, working with Chicago improvisers, how they're like the new Carol Burnett Show, what they learned from the David's Situation pilot they shot for HBO, what they have tried to pitch to HBO and Showtime, and Bob's sitcom script for NBC. "David and I continue to write so well, and enjoy working and writing together, that it's definitely a possibility," Bob told me, then turning to David: "In fact, I told you I wrote a part for you in the NBC thing." His idea at the Peacock network would have Bob & David working with Jeff Garlin and Andy Richter, at least in Bob's mind. Just in case NBC needs some primetime programming for midseason, maybe? Just maybe??? Watch the video and let Bob & David explain themselves:
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!
Some of you comedy nerds already knew about this, because comedy nerds are more likely to spend time debating who's funnier or sending fan mail to a comedian via message boards such as A Special Thing (who am I kidding here? obviously this is going to sound loony the minute I decide to launch my own message board and pander/beg for you all to contribute to it). Did you make it this far? Great. Here's the news: A Special Thing's home page is now a comedy blog. At least I don't have to update my blogroll for that. (But if I am missing your page on my blogroll, please let me know!)
One of the first things AST did on the blog was shoot its own YouTube video, this one promoting Dana Gould's latest stand-up DVD via a backstage conversation with director Bob Odenkirk.
For those of you who think my home page has too many embedded videos, I've placed it after the jump!
For some reason, this season of American Idol has been the first in many years that's failing to hold my attention. Don't get me wrong, I still know enough to know that Megan changed her last name and looked purty the other night, and that there's a teen finalist who looks like someone I know, and that the TV doesn't know what to do with the blind guy, that there's a guy who's so fierce he's like Constantine and Clay made a supergay baby, there's seriously someone named "Lil," there's a widow who everyone already thinks has won and that Anoop, Anoop, Anoop is on fire. But even with a new judge that I like (Team Kara) and perhaps despite that new judge's opening sequence, it all seems a little tired. Are they trying too hard this year? How would I know? What I do know, however, is that the folks over at Funny or Die have constructed a far more entertaining parallel universe called American Contestant. And in episode three, Matt Braunger tells Jon Daly he's ready for his audition, and yet, somehow, judges Bob Odenkirk, Natasha Leggero and company are not having it. And I want more of this. Thank you.
The credits say Eric Appel directs, with appearances also by Brandon Johnson, Angela Trimbur, John Bowie. Background: Tiffany Haddish auditioned in episode one.
Here's another thing to be thankful for this holiday season, tis the end of an unmistakably mistake-ridden era in American politics as President George W. Bush prepares to leave the White House. Bob Odenkirk directs this series of exit interviews with W. called "Face to Bush" on Atom.com, with James Adomian as the lamest of lame ducks and Stephanie Courtney as your host, Mary McQueegle. You may recognize Courtney, a Groundlings company mainstager, as the cashier Flo in a popular TV ad for Progressive auto insurance (among other ad gigs, as well as a recurring role in the ad shows of ad shows, Mad Men). As for Adomian, he has auditioned in the past year for SNL, and if he doesn't get called up there, some other shrewd producer and creator of a future TV sketch show will find room for him and his many character studies. Here is the interview in which W. weighs whether he was the "Worst President Ever":
Bob Odenkirk talks about a newly released clip from the HBO sitcom David's Situation, which he and comedy collaborator David Cross self-aborted before it could ever debut. The clip features Zach Galifianakis visiting Cross, only to find he's the subject of a TV experiment called "Good Morning, Predator." That's OK by Zach, so long as he can sing for his supper. Or something like that. It's amusing and slightly NSFW, but I can see why Bob and David probably looked at it and said, let's go back to the anti-sitcom sitcom drawing board. As Odenkirk writes on Bob and David: "We all had such a good time that David and I are working on a new show that will let us kick ass. I put this video up because I think it kicks ass." So here it is. Do you think they made the right call?
Bob Odenkirk laid down the news tonight that he and David Cross have decided to scrap their own HBO pilot that played with sitcom conventions, called "David's Situation." Although they all thought the pilot succeeded, they felt that the format they had created, well, why don't I just let Odenkirk say it himself: We "lost interest in the overall concept. The show was a strange hybrid with a "sit-com" base. We used the actual set from Everybody Loves Raymond. The sitcom framework really felt like a drag on our energy and sensibility. This was fairly obvious to us and not as disappointing as it might sound because the whole experience energized us to create something new and more better." Maybe it was the Curse of Raymond?! At any rate, Odenkirk promises he and Cross will try to figure out what their next TV project should be and give the fans something to see and laugh at.
Related: Odenkirk this week did release three spoof ads he did for a new giant Samsung phone thingy, based on the new types of "mobile professionals" for jobs that do not exist, such as a Carousel Booking Agent, Brothers for Hire, and a freelancing firefighter (played charmingly by Paul F. Tompkins). I don't know that any of these ad-type videos make you want to buy the Samsung, but they are fun to look at for a few minutes. Well, maybe not the carousel one.
Bob Odenkirk treats us to a peek today at the upcoming sketch showcase at the 26th annual Montreal Just For Laughs festival. Odenkirk will co-host with SNL's Bill Hader. Odenkirk's wife manages Hader, he says, "so that's how he got swindled into it. The shows are the 16th and 17th... and will also feature Casey Wilson (SNL), Andrew Friedman and Michael Naughton (Naughton but Friedman), and the groups Sach and Dixon, the Apple Sisters, Back Pack Picnic, and Dance Party of Newfoundland. I know nothing about the groups. The festival picks them, and they do a fine job of it."
Here are some linky links so you can learn more about each of them...
the apple sisters
dance party of newfoundland
the groundlings (main stage cast includes Andrew Friedman and Michael Naughton)
The early words are all good surrounding Mike Birbiglia's sitcom for CBS. L.A. Weekly's Nikki Finke reported last week that the network suits were "very happy with how reading went" and thought the pilot looked strong, though that they'd like change the name of the show from its initial title, Mike Birbiglia's Secret Public Journal. Audience members at the pilot taping also weighed in with positive reviews, saying that Birbiglia filmed intro to the scenes, which include funny turns from Bob Odenkirk playing his brother (renamed Don), as well as parts for Nick Kroll and Rob Corddry. Hooray on all fronts. Network upfront presentations are only a couple of weeks away, so stay tuned.
While most people today probably will visit Vanity Fair online to get all pervy over Miley Cyrus, please allow me to redirect you to this VF online interview with Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, in which Bob and David rehash Mr. Show and then some, talking about dealing with obsessive fans, the networks, and how their new show, David's Situation (pilot taping May 9, with a cast including Matt Besser, Eric Hoffman and Mo Collins), will be unlike both Mr. Show and The Ben Stiller Show.