Tonight, VH1 kicks off five nights of comedians and celebrities debating pop culture icons in a new series called The Great Debate. Actually, they just completed a live promotional kickoff event this afternoon in New York City's Herald Square, with Ivy League students taking on comedians Pete Holmes and Amy Schumer (and judged by Chuck Nice). The first hour premieres at 10 p.m. Eastern, with further episodes following nightly. Here's a sampling from the fifth hour, in which several panelists offer their opinions on Star Wars vs. Star Trek, Alf vs. E.T., real vs. fake boobs, Jurassic Park vs. Titanic, and in what seems, well, timely and yet also whoops, Madonna vs. Michael Jackson. Watch:
If it seems like it's VH1's attempt to put its own "I Love the 80s" spin on 2008's Comedy Central show, Lewis Black's Root of All Evil, well, then you had the same thought that I had. In fact, the show does come from the "I Love the" folks, so it's not that much of a stretch Even if we feel like we've seen it all before. And we have.
Apparently, when Best Week Ever with Paul F. Tompkins goes off the air this week (Friday, June 12), it'll do so for the rest of 2009...and beyond. Mark Graham over at NYMag's Vulture blog claims an exclusive on this tonight, but PFT's own fiancee broke the news via her vlog on Friday (skip ahead to minute seven for the relevant BWE news). For his part, Paul F. Tompkins wrote Friday on Twitter that he didn't know what VH1 was thinking, exactly. I wish I had asked PFT about this when we crossed paths Sunday afternoon at the cinemas. Argh. Wondering what this means for the Best Week Ever blog, and also thinking that they're probably taking extra advantage of their open bar party tonight with Thrillist.
The cast of comedians from VH1's Best Week Ever with Paul F. Tompkins (11 p.m. Fridays on your TV) will interact with you, the general populace, in real life, and not just in a comedy club, but in a bar, to do things involving Twitter and the beginning of the end of another season of American Idol. Does that sound like something you would be interested in? If so, then look at the instructions on the handy color invite! In addition to appearances by Tompkins (@pftompkins), Chuck Nice (@nicechucknice) and Doug Benson (@DougBenson), VH1 also teases there shall be special guest surprises...
In case you missed it, John Hodgman moderated a highly amusing panel and performance last night at the 92YTribeca by the folks at VH1's newly revamped Best Week Ever with Paul F. Tompkins, including not only PFT but also Doug Benson, Chuck Nice, executive producer Sean Johnson and writer/producer Caissie St. Onge.
Hodgman and Tompkins have begun an equally compelling comedy sideshow in 2009 on Twitter, where the two comedians carry on a continuous conversation as @Hodgman and @Twitterkins -- in between moments of online oneupsmanship, they managed to pose for a photo, which they naturally posted last night on TwitPic. PFT told me after the show that Hodgman turned him onto the 140-characters-or-less mode of communication with friends and fans, and that he realizes that their "private" dialogue is, in essence, another type of performance. But you clicked on this post looking for details, details, details about Best Week Ever, didn't you? Alrighty then. Let's do this thing.
Before that, actually, this side note of news for PFT fans. Mr. Tompkins said he'll be recording his next comedy disc on March 14 at the Lakeshore Theatre in Chicago, so if you'd like to bear witness to that, you shall plan your Ides of March Eve accordingly. Tompkins and Janeane Garofalo also will host a monthly comedy showcase at the 92YTribeca in NYC. OK. Now to matters concerning the network formerly known as Video Hits One.
Hodgman and Tompkins had a running joke last night in which they continued to introduce each other onstage. Cute. Acknowledging his look (as seen in the above photo), Tompkins said at one point, " I thought it'd be appropriate tonight to dress up as Indiana Jones's dad." Before the panel began in earnest silliness, Tompkins, Nice and Benson each did about 10-15 minutes of stand-up, and then they showed a highlight reel of moments that had gotten cut from VH1, as Tompkins said, "because it was too hot to handle...or it was too long!" Among the unaired clips, a bizarre Outside the Actors Studio sketch filmed on the street between PFT and Andy Richter, a recap of the CSI: Miami episode that revolved around a "Doug Benson" (though that did air, as I recall), and PFT's "Yes We Can" music video set to Lindsay Lohan's ill-fitting leggings.
Paul F. Tompkins had alerted all of his Los Angeles area fans that he'd be leaving the West Coast for a year due to the show business. We learned he'd be hosting a new version of VH1's Best Week Ever. But what would that mean, exactly? The weekly recap mockery of pop culture didn't have a host before, but rather a seemingly endlessly rotating cast of comedians offering their best quips of the moment. So now we know.
This week, PFT began hosting a 3.5-minute nightly edition at 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday of Best Day Ever. And in a press release, VH1 offers these details of Best Week Ever with Paul F. Tompkins, which debuts at 11 p.m. Oct. 24. The cast: Doug Benson, Mike Britt, comic duo Frangela (Angela V Shelton and Frances Callier) Christian Finnegan, Greg Fitzsimmons, Nick Kroll, Chuck Nice, Melissa Rauch and Jessica St. Clair. And some of the cast will tour colleges together this fall. From the press release: "For almost five years, Best Week Ever has been a destination for anyone who loves pop culture and comedy. By adding a guide like Paul, a comic with a truly unique voice, we'll be better able to expand our coverage and make the show even stronger," said Jim Ackerman, Senior Vice President of Development, VH1.
In today's NYT on BWE with PFT, our new host notes this will now make the show seem more like E! show The Soup. We also learn the show will keep "The Sizzler" segment (really?), but overall, it will adapt to the personality of its new host. I'm just happy that Tompkins will get more and more airtime. If you recall, he got a weekly segment years ago on the debut season of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, but they never really allowed Tompkins to show his strengths as a comedian and as a quick-witted commentator. Here's hoping VH1 doesn't get in the way of a good thing.
"Damn! You were here last night? Now I've got to tell new jokes," Chuck Nice told the fans who said they came back for more tonight (which is now the first minutes of Thursday morning). "I was drunk last night. What'd I talk about?"
So he asked for a beer and a Scotch. "I've got nothing to hide from you people," he said. "I'm like the black Lindsay Lohan. Just without the freckles, and the red rug going on down here."
The energy in the room is hot. Thank Joe Matarese and Wali Collins for that. They knocked down 46 minutes between them talking about relationships and explaining New York City to the out-of-towners in the crowd. I'm mostly focused on how that first Red Bull is still hitting me. And now the 10 o'clock hour is going strong with Chuck Nice, who you may know best as host of The Sizzler segment on VH1's Best Week Ever. "Welcome to the comedy gang bang!" Nice exclaims. He jokes that to get through these days and nights, we'll need a lot of meth. Really, though, he just wants some liquor. He wonders if he can order an Amstel Light from the stage. Yes. Yes, he can. "Can I get a scotch, too?" he asks. He might as well, as a black guy, he says he must have a scotch, too. "It's like peanut butter without the jelly!" As I type this, Nice is bumping and jumping and screaming onstage, describing the loud girl in a group you see out at night. The audience is liking this. It is 10:14 p.m., so far into what could be my own best week ever. Time will tell.