FOX has announced it will roll out an extended sneak preview of its upcoming animated series, Bob's Burgers, on Thanksgiving night during its two-hour broadcast of The Simpsons Movie.
It's another early sign of support for Bob's Burgers, which is good news for comedy fans, since the series is voiced by comedians: Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Kristen Schaal, Eugene Mirman and Dan Mintz. The series officially debuts in January 2011. Last month, the network ordered six additional scripts for the series.
Here's a clip of the cast and creators discussing the show during Comic-Con in San Diego. Roll it!
There are lots of panels going on in San Diego this weekend as part of Comic-Con International 2010. Here is a group photo taken from one such panel, for FOX's upcoming midseason animated series, Bob's Burgers. I feature it here because all of the main characters are voiced by actual comedians. Happy happy joy joy. The show debuts in January 2011.
Related: Bob's Burgers on Facebook.
FOX has ordered 13 episodes of the animated half-hour sitcom, Bob's Burgers, but with a long lead-time in production meaning the series may not air until early 2011, according to Variety and other trades. But what about that cast??? The show, which centers around a family-run burger joint and is co-created and executive-produced by Loren Bouchard (Dr. Katz) and Jim Dauterive (King of the Hill), featured a voice cast in the pilot presentation of H. Jon Benjamin, Kristen Schaal, John Roberts, Eugene Mirman and Dan Mintz. The trades, however, said that 20th Century Fox was still working out contract details with the cast -- Bouchard told The Hollywood Reporter he hoped to have them all on board. Wish them all luck and congrats!
So Zac Efron hosted this week's edition of Saturday Night Live, and we knew there would be at least one if not more High School Musical references to be satirized, but what else could we look forward to? And yes, I ended my first question with a preposition. What of it? Let's get to the recap. By the way, if you're expecting Efron to distinguish himself or extinguish himself, then please do not place your bets. That's not to say all will be lost. Alrighty then!
We opened with Vice President Biden (Jason Sudeikis) acting all too comfy in the oval office. Sure, of course. Biden has been in the news. Why not give Biden an open. President Obama (Fred Armisen) returns from his European trip, but no gifts for Biden. I get what they're going for here, but, well, whatevs.
The monologue poked fun at Zac Efron's limited demographic appeal. First, his tween fangirls wouldn't be up this late. Second, a couple of his fans (Abby Elliott, Kristen Wiig) are in the crowd, along with a non-tween (Armisen), and they all want to show how much they lurve him. OK. Well. Yeah.
We get another look at the fourth hour of The Today Show on NBC, aka the crazy hour with Hoda Kotb (Michaela Watkins) and Kathie Lee Gifford (Wiig). Gifford had her first anniversary on the show this past week, so SNL skewers that, with Gifford and Kotb drinking (again), and a musical performance by Gifford's son, Cody (Efron). If you have watched this in real life, then you know that almost every segment is worth mocking. This effort is not quite as crazy, although it does give SNL a chance to offer up impersonations of celebs sending well-wishes to Gifford, including Penny Marshall (Armisen). OK. Just Marshall.
Please forgive me if my excitement was neither fast nor furious over the prospect of a second hosting gig for Seth Rogen at the helm of Saturday Night Live. I simply have not jumped on the bandwagon that everything Rogen (or, for that matter, the Judd Apatow crew) touches turns to comedy gold. And if, as you recall, Rogen/Apatow films don't exactly give women much of a role to play other than furthering the bromances, this might help guide you. So with expectations sufficiently diminished, perhaps I would be in for a treat this weekend...
And yet, the cold open did not start things on the right foot. We began with a message from President Barack Obama (Fred Armisen), and from the get-go, Armisen's vocal impersonation was not up to par. Not sure why. But it just wasn't there. The premise, that Obama taking a break from the European lovefest had to prove that the hands-on approach to the auto industry was not a fluke by announcing he'd make rulings on individual companies in every other industry, had merit. But what followed just seemed so random. Like a series of non sequiturs, with Armisen's Obama weighing in on major American companies in riding lawnmowers, air conditioners, blue jeans, coffee makers, light bulbs (GE alert!), reclining chairs, baseball gloves, toothpastes, frozen shrimp, ballpoint pens, trench coats, plastic vomit, window shades, mens underwear, colleges, NFL teams, stroke magazines, and soft drinks. A couple of chuckles, but just due to the randomness of it all.
The monologue gave Seth Rogen a chance to acknowledge his weight loss -- "For one thing, I lost about one million pounds" -- and also other things that had changed since the first time he hosted SNL. Rogen learned how to pronounce Lorne's name. The writers have stopped helping him write the monologue, which he used as the excuse to take questions from "the audience": Kristen Wiig mocked him for doing a mall cop movie right after Paul Blart, while Jason Sudeikis took the cue-card material to a higher level by outright mocking him, Bill Hader appeared as Rogen's angry pizza delivery guy (read: weed delivery guy), and Bobby Moynihan appeared as a guy angry because Rogen's weight loss ruined his game as a guy who impersonated Rogen to pick up the ladies (he had to switch it up to Jonah Hill to hit on Abby Elliott's audience member character).
Instead of a fake ad in this slot, we got a fake movie ad, and, hello, if you know anything about the movie canon of Seth Rogen, you know it's full of bromantic gayish without being gay comedies. So why not have Rogen and Andy Samberg act as if they're going to make out in a trailer for The Fast and The Bi-Curious, with Elliott on the sidelines as the hottie they're nottie interested in. Knowing these guys makes it less of a surprising choice, but does it lessen the comedic impact? I don't know.
It might be easy to forget that B.J. Novak is a stand-up comedian, because he's still in his 20s and pretty much everyone knows him as the writer/producer/actor from NBC's The Office. At Sunday night's "B.J. Novak and friends" show at Town Hall to close out the 2008 New York Comedy Festival, the biggest applause from the audience came for mere mentions of the sitcom, Novak or his friend from the show, Mindy Kaling. When Paul Rust opened the show with his "solo performance piece," aka "Salvation Through the Ring," aka his mimed tribute to a popular morning children's television program, then promptly disappeared, the crowd didn't quite know what to expect on this night.
Not to worry, though, as Novak's friends also included college chum Dan Mintz, who seemed more at ease in his 15-minutes of absurd one-liners than I'd seen him in a while (perhaps New York City is growing on him), and John Mulaney, who hosted the show and provided more than a half-hour of funny at the start and also in between acts. This could have just as easily had been this year's "Young Comedians" special, if HBO still was in that business. I wish Rust had done more to showcase his talents, and wonder why Simon Rich only performed for a New York minute by reading a very short tale about firehouse dogs. Kaling entered to adoring approval from the crowd, who didn't seem to mind that she read from notes throughout her 13-minute set, even to note that Obama won the election. She recovered nicely with a quip: "I had to look at my cheat sheet to remember that, because I have Memento disease." Her best bit examined how and why people use the phrase "devil's advocate," although Perez Hilton will likely be more eager to learn that Kaling said she her fellow Office writers are regular readers of his gossip site.
As for Novak, a suspicious opening routine about a guy who posted a Craigslist ad looking for a date to that night's show revealed itself to be a true story and therefore more auspicious than suspicious, with the guy arriving to his loge seat solo. (Note: If a friend reads this review and says Novak did this bit elsewhere, revert back to suspiciousness) Novak used him to good comic effect and also displayed his stand-up know-how with a couple of callbacks later in his 45-minute set. His showcase set pieces included a reading from "Wikipedia Brown and The Case of the Missing Bicycle," an alt-ventriloquism routine with "Shy Puppet," which ends with Novak asking the audience to take pictures of him with the puppet to litter the online landscape, and ends with close to 15 minutes of jokes on index cards that he "tries out" on the audience, with keepers going back into his briefcase and losers going into the trash can next to him onstage.
You see what Novak looks like now. Here is what he looked like as an aspiring young stand-up comedian on Comedy Central's Premium Blend more than five years ago, with a version of a bit he told onstage Sunday:
Mulaney spent more than a bit of his summer writing for the upcoming Comedy Central sketch and variety show, Important Things with Demetri Martin, still tentatively slated for an October debut. The writing staff there included head writer Michael Koman (previously on staff at Conan), Jon Benjamin, Dan Mintz, and of course, Martin himself. "It was great. I was working with some of the funniest people I've ever met," Mulaney said of that experience. "The bar was set high. It was challenging. You wanted to make people like Jon Benjamin laugh. It feels good when you do."
That wasn't Mulaney's first TV writing credit, either. "I had done a couple of small projects, and I'd written a pilot for Comedy Central with Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter before." No, not the show the network greenlighted this summer, but a previous pilot project from last year.
Though still relatively young as both a stand-up and a writer, Mulaney offered this perspective on his recent experience with Martin's show versus writing for himself. "It wasn't easy or hard. You could be more comfortable because you're working with other people, sitting around with people you trust," he said. "That was great to be writing for someone like Demetri who is really open to a lot of different ideas...and is extremely hilarious."
Now Mulaney has an even bigger pool of talent to work with at NBC's legendary Saturday Night Live.
Dan Mintz is the new guy at the Comedy Cellar, and he couldn't be happier about it. At least that's what Mintz told me last weekend before going up for another spot. He's on the schedule this Saturday, and again on Tuesday-Wednesday. If you cannot imagine Mintz playing to a Cellar crowd on a Saturday night, then you don't have an imagination -- because throwing Mintz and his one-liners in between crowd-working New York comics is such a jolt to the system that audiences love him even more. So much, at points, that they even have gotten Mintz to crack up and break his vocal rhythm. Good times.
Mintz has been in New York City the past few months working on Demetri Martin's upcoming Comedy Central show (Important Things with Demetri Martin), which should follow the Chappelle's Show format: Martin hosting and talking/joking with the crowd between taped sketches. Mintz said he only has been in one sketch so far. But look for Jon Benjamin to show up in a lot of the bits. Debut: 2009?
I made two distinct notes while watching Dan Mintz tape his first Comedy Central Presents half-hour special last summer. First, Mintz seems to go for a lot of awkward silences. Is that a stylistic choice? I must ask him someday. Second, this was the first time I'd seen him do a half-hour set, and I wondered if his offbeat voice and highly witty material could hold an audience's attention as well as he does in five to seven minutes, or say, on Conan. Of course, since this is Comedy Central, the actual program will get broken up into easier-to-digest portions. Also, there was an even more amusing and awkward point in Mintz's set in which he asked: "Can I get a volunteer from the audience?" Well, could he? I'll be interested to see if and how they edit that sequence. In the meantime, here is a segment from Dan Mintz on Comedy Central, which debuts tonight!
More video after the jump. Spaceman suit? "But you dress the job you want, not the job you have!"
In which the author attempts, despite repeated crashes of his laptop computer, to briefly describe the shows he saw Thursday at the 2007 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.
Summer of Tears
Southern California sketch troupe mixed it up with videos. One took political TV ads and made the candidates potential boyfriends. Another looked at a botched submission for “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” And a third crudely wondered what really happened during Johnny Cash’s final recording sessions. Lots of sexual material. The troupe made use of one member’s uncanny Matthew McConaughey to good effect, but as my friend suggested, they might’ve wanted to put that sketch last. Later sketches only reminded us how much the guy sounds like him. Odd. Still funny.
Pete & Brian’s One Man Show
Pete is Peter Karinen. Brian is Brian Sacca. Together, they’re funny in a comfortably awkward way. Wait. Let me rephrase that. They’re comfortable in their awkwardness. Which makes their “one-man show” work. Their opening and closing sequences are simple yet creative. Much like their use of T-shirts to identify the various characters in their show.
“The General” with The Alloy Orchestra
A classic silent film by one of the great physical comedians, Buster Keaton, set to live music by Cambridge’s own Alloy Orchestra. Yes, the guy delivering the intro may have said that the orchestra has been in residence at the Telluride Film Festival for 15 years, but Roger, Terry and Ken are based in Cambridge, Mass. If you haven’t yet seen this movie, you must. It’s brilliant. Keaton is full of wonderful ideas and is a master of execution in delivering the funny without saying a word. And if you see this movie, I suggest you see it with the Alloy Orchestra. Their score is on the money. Hearing it live makes you forget you’re watching a “silent” movie. I only wish more people filled the seats at the Wheeler Opera House for it.
Michael Showalter, Mary Lynn Rajskub, John Oliver
Showalter’s 15-minute set includes much I’d seen before, including his musical selections of songs he’s no longer guilty of loving. It goes over much better in the clubs than in Aspen, mostly because the crowd here is, well, not quite as hip. They do seem to know the show “24,” though, as Rajskub poked fun at her alternate reality as Chloe. Oliver deserved to go last. His set showed he could tap into the local oddities that make up both Aspen and the festival, and he swiftly put a heckler in her place. “I’m guessing you’re not in comedy,” he said. “You smack of privileged local.”
Wright showed a more animated and feisty side last night than I’d seen in a while. He tried to deny it later, but bits such as his “Indian midget” joke or his routine about having a son certainly don’t sound or feel like the Steven Wright most people remember. Regardless, the audience lapped up Wright’s hourlong set. For good reason. He began with material familiar to those who’ve seen “When the Leaves Blow Away,” his 2006 Comedy Central special. But midway through, Wright started opening up. No, really. He’d bounce around the stage. He’d laugh. He’d throw his hands in the air. He’d look to the wings. As my friend and fellow Boston comic Shane Mauss noted during the set, “He looks like he’s having more fun.” Good for him and us both.
Host Eddie Pence brought an oddly low-key vibe to this midnight show. The audience brought an even odder vibe. A woman off to the side routinely shouted out, not quite heckling in a traditional sense, but still bothersome. Lisa deLarios went up first, and fared well despite her slot in the order. Taking what might be a typical relationship joke and shifting it to her dog was funny. Her bit about shopping at thrift stores -- “A onesie for grownups?” -- was very funny. Next up, Dan Mintz. Mintz seemingly stared into space while telling jokes he certainly didn’t tell during his appearance on “Premium Blend.” Young Chris Fleming (we go with a title of young when the performer isn’t old enough to drink in Aspen) had a slightly difficult time connecting with this audience, and it showed. Better luck next time. Michael Kosta: Air high fives. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. But it works for him. Ian Bagg had no trouble at all connecting with the audience, and finally brought some energy to this show. “My career’s going nowhere after this,” Bagg said. Let’s hope that’s not the case.