The second season of Archer, the animated spy spoof with an attitude, premieres tonight on FX. The series takes the idea of James Bond and takes it to a darker, bawdier place, with more than a healthy dose of snark.
The voice cast is headed up by Jon Benjamin as Archer, and surrounded by talent with Jessica Walter as his boss and mother, plus Aisha Tyler, Chris Parnell, Judy Greer, Amber Nash and George Coe. If you need catching up, as well as an idea of what you're in for, here's a PSA the show put together using clips from the first season.
To prepare for tonight's debut, FX also has a few things to help get you in the mood.
For a soundtrack, you can listen to the "Archer Horizontal Mambo Mix" on the show's own Pandora channel. When I looked it up online, these were the first dirty dozen tracks to shuffle onto my laptop...
Big Lake debuts a week from tonight on Comedy Central, and the guys producing the show from Gary Sanchez Productions (aka the guys who run Funny or Die) decided to reveal the backstory on how they found Chris Gethard to star in the sitcom. As you may recall, Gethard was a replacement after Jon Heder was not a dynamite fit for the part. So to speak. Anyhow. You UCB comedy fans may think you know everything about Chris Gethard. Adam McKay and Chris Henchy want to fill you in on the other part of the story, wherein they found him in the wild and then tamed him for TV. Sounds about right.
And if you don't know what Big Lake is about, then watch this extended trailer. Roll it.
Chris Gethard, Horatio Sanz presented an exclusive preview of their upcoming Comedy Central sitcom, Big Lake, that was more than just your basic sneak peek. For one thing, the audience last night at the UCB Theatre would be providing the live laugh track for two episodes that already were taped as a multi-camera sitcom (without an audience) at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City.
Well, I guess that one thing would be enough, wouldn't it? But Gethard and Sanz themselves acknowledged it was their first time seeing any of the footage themselves, too! Gethard joked for the packed audience -- which also included fellow cast members Chris Parnell and Dylan Blue, others from Gary Sanchez Productions (Funny or Die) such as Owen Burke and Chris Henchy, and still others from UCB's L.A. branch who'd come "home" to catch a glimpse of FoD's first sitcom. We didn't get to see the pilot, but we did get to watch two of the other first 10 episodes ordered by Comedy Central (with the network holding an option to order 90 more).
In the lead role, Gethard told us that everyone in the supporting cast plays a different level of crazy, which is odd, because as he said: "My character singlehandedly brought down a bank. An institution. And I'm the straight-man."
"You say straight-man. I say Irish Woody Allen," Sanz added.
So Gethard's character, having squandered $200 million and losing all $385,000 of his parents' retirement fund, moves back in with them. I forgot to write down his TV mother's name, but Deborah Rush plays his TV mother, while his father is played by character actor James Rebhorn (whom I once saw at a comedy show at Rififi, so how's that for nerd cred), while 14-year-old Dylan Blue plays Gethard's younger brother who's operating a secret crime ring. Sanz plays Gethard's longtime friend who's also a lovable loser. And Parnell plays a burned-out high school teacher who hangs out with Sanz and Gethard. The second episode they screened for us, described as "Chris falls in love," was a stand-out. I don't want to give anything away, but I did write down one of the many laugh-out-loud lines from that episode, as Parnell's character answers a question thusly: "If I told you what was under it, that would defeat the purpose of the tarp."
Big Lake debuts Aug. 3 on Comedy Central.
NBC devotes two hours of its prime-time programming tonight (9-11 p.m. Eastern/Pacific, 8-10 p.m. Central/Mountain) to a look back at Saturday Night Live in the 2000s, and if you think it's all about 2008, well, you're only partially right. There's plenty to mine here, and even from the preview clips NBC has made available, you can see how SNL slowly but surely found its way back into the zeitgeist in the latter half of the past decade.
For instance, here are Jason Sudeikis, Amy Poehler and Bobby Moynihan talking about the "Palin Rap" that happened live on Weekend Update in front of a bouncy then-VP candidate Sarah Palin. Weird but true. We learn how much Palin loved Sudeikis pretending to be her husband, Todd, and also realize that was Moynihan in the moose costume.
SNL really got our attention in recent years thanks to rap, and "Lazy Sunday" kicked it off the SNL connection with the online generation. Here are writers Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer talking about what went down behind the scenes with Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell.
Speaking of Parnell, here's a segment devoted solely to his raps.
If you see a comedy nerd acting extra weird today, it's because they're slowly figuring out the news that Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre fixture Chris Gethard reported for work today as the new lead of the untitled Gary Sanchez Productions Comedy Central series that also features Horatio Sanz and Chris Parnell.
Yes. That's correct. When Gethard said on Twitter that he had to get up this morning for work, he meant this.
The sitcom that Comedy Central greenlit for 10 episodes, with an option for 90 more, was supposed to begin production March 31 with Jon Heder in the lead role, until Heder dropped out last week. We can speculate all we want on why Heder dropped out. I have my theory. Anyhow. With the sets ready to go in New York City, producers quickly looked to fill the lead role and auditioned several comedians over the past week. Gethard, as a UCB fave and ASSSSCAT regular, obviously already has chemistry with UCB original Sanz. Gethard also has generated buzz in his ESPN basketball commercials, his Christmas morning appeal to Sean "Diddy" Combs, and making an Ohio comedy nerd's dream come true.
Welcome to karma. In his biggest break yet, Gethard will play a young man who loses his job and has to move back in with his parents. Sanz plays one of his friends, an ex-con, while Parnell plays a "burn-out" high-school teacher, as they plan a variety of schemes to save their hometown. Adam McKay had this to say on the record just a couple of weeks ago: "Anyone in the comedy world knows that Horatio Sanz and Chris Parnell are two of the funniest guys around. So we're absolutely giddy that we got them for this show." McKay is an executive producer along with his Gary Sanchez cohorts Will Ferrell and Chris Henchy. The series is set to premiere in the third quarter of this year.
Good news for comedy fans came late Sunday night with a series order and some additional casting news.
First off, let me say how happy I am that USA ordered 11 episodes, along with the 90-minute pilot for new drama Facing Kate, which stars Sarah Shahi and co-stars comedian/actor Baron Vaughn. (THR) It's a drama, yes. But Vaughn, who has appeared on multiple episodes of the long-running drama Law & Order, is such a great talent that it's great to see a network finally see that and put him on your TV. Don't know if this series will showcase all of his range. Here's what I do know. Vaughn's character, initially written to be a love interest for Shahi's legal mediator, shifted in the pilot to be something else when it filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, over the winter. What exactly, you'll have to wait until later this year to see.
You'll be able to see Baron Vaughn perform comedy on your TV on April 9 with the debut of Victor Varnado's stand-up documentary film, The Awkward Kings of Comedy. Let's celebrate with some "classic" jokes from Vaughn as performed at the UCB in NYC for CollegeHumor Live. Roll it!
In the other comedy TV news, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay have tapped two of their former SNL colleagues to join Jon Heder in the 10-episode series that remains untitled. As reported back in July 2009, Comedy Central ordered 10 episodes (with an option for 90 more) of a sitcom starring Heder and produced by Gary Sanchez Productions. Now comes word that Horatio Sanz and Chris Parnell will co-star with Heder in the project, which will debut sometime later in 2010. (Variety) Congratulations to both Sanz and Parnell! Parnell has been great in a limited recurring role on 30 Rock as Dr. Spaceman, while Sanz has been criminally underrated and overlooked since leaving SNL, even after dropping a ton of weight.
Good news for fans of the risque animated spy agency comedy caper, Archer, as FX announced it has ordered a 13-episode second season for its 2011 schedules.
H. Jon Benjamin voices the lead role of spy Sterling Archer, with the rest of the voice cast filled out by Jessica Walter as his mother, Aisha Tyler as his ex-girlfriend and colleague, George Coe as his butler, Chris Parnell as an agency administrator, Judy Greer as a lovesick secretary, and Amber Nash as the human resources director. Through seven of its initial 10 episodes, Archer has averaged 1.2 million total viewers (853K in the 18-49 demo, 573K in adults 18-34). If you're curious, the other new FX comedy to launch over the winter, The League, is doing even better, with 1.3 million total viewers (and 1.076 million 18-49, 829K 18-34).
"Executive Producers Adam Reed and Matt Thompson are delivering a hilarious series and it truly earned a second season," said FX exec Nick Grad. "H. Jon Benjamin, Aisha Tyler, Jessica Walter, Chris Parnell and Judy Greer comprise one of the best voice casts of any animated series on TV. We're very happy with the audience response and critical acclaim for Archer and are excited to move forward with it."
FX plans to air four episodes of Archer back-to-back from 10 p.m. to midnight this Thursday, Feb. 25, before the final three episodes pick back up beginning 10 p.m. March 4.
(News release via The Futon Critic)