Producers of a Broadway revival of Terrance McNally's "Lips Together, Teeth Apart," announced that Megan Mullally and Patton Oswalt would take the leading roles when the former Off-Broadway hit from 1991 returns to New York City's bigger stages in April 2010. It's set for a limited engagement to run through June.
Oswalt played drama on the big screen this year in Big Fan, but his Broadway debut in the coming year marks yet another stand-up comedian who will learn the lines for the dramatic stage. Is this a new trend or just something we're only now starting to notice? Who's to say? A quick search of my memory and the Internet turns up at least these precedents of going from stand-up to stage:
Mario Cantone has performed in several Broadway productions since 1995. But it seems as though the connection between stand-up and Broadway began heating up in the past six years, when Eddie Izzard received a Tony Award nomination for starring in the 2003 revival of "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg." Since then, musical comedian Stephen Lynch has starred in the stage adaptation of the film, "The Wedding Singer," Bob Saget took a turn as the Man in Chair in 2007's version of "The Drowsy Chaperone," Cedric the Entertainer was part of last year's short-lived revival of "American Buffalo," and of course, the beginning of 2009 saw Will Ferrell romp on Broadway in his one-man show, "You're Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush." Currently, you can see David Alan Grier in David Mamet's new play, "Race," co-starring with James Spader, Richard Thomas and Kerry Washington.
Who else am I missing from this list? Are comedians finally being taken seriously as stage performers? Discuss.
If you haven't noticed David Alan Grier and Kenan Thompson as the voices of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James in Nike's series of puppet ads, then perhaps the addition of KRS-One and Lupe Fiasco on a Christmas rap song will get your attention? They're dunking on reindeer! Roll the clip!
Quick recap. David Alan Grier went on ABC's Dancing with the Stars after Comedy Central didn't renew Chocolate News, then the judges thought because he was a comedian, they could tease him more than the others, then Grier thought he could tease them back with some profanities after he got kicked off, so now he went on Jimmy Kimmel Live to deliver an apology and appear in a mock instructional video for anyone else who wants to go on a "reality" show. OK. I think we're all caught up:
Fun fact: Do you know where David Alan Grier was last night when his stand-up performance was set to begin at Caesars Palace for The Comedy Festival? Festival staff didn't know. They caught up with him in his hotel room, where he was fast asleep! Good thing the show before his in the Palace Ballroom -- a TBS TV taping for the Cheech & Chong roast -- went an hour long, eh? That gave Grier just enough time to make his gig. Afterward, Grier talked with me about his new Comedy Central sketch show, Chocolate News. He says the comparisons to Chappelle's Show aren't really valid, though he understands why they'd say that. Grier's initial pitch? Take Bryant Gumbel's Real Sports, add In Living Color, subtract Wayans brothers. Watch and learn:
With less than a week to go before Election Day, David Alan Grier used his platform as host of the new Comedy Central program, Chocolate News, to beg black people to be cool and not blow it for Barack Obama. It's a tricky thing, playing off ugly stereotypes whilst also mocking them. Does Grier pull it off here? Watch and weigh in:
If you had thought that Comedy Central's new Chocolate News would be a black version of The Daily Show, then this trailer should disabuse you of that notion. It looks more like a hybrid of Daily Show and Chappelle's Show, with David Alan Grier at the helm and playing multiple characters. As he even says at the end of this trailer: "It's only racist if you are." The show debuts Oct. 15. Roll the clip!
Anyone who doubted whether TBS could or would pull together a full slate of A-level comedy talent for its first edition of The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas without HBO as a partner, well doubt no more. Over the weekend, TBS unveiled its first look at the official schedule for Nov. 20-22 at Caesars Palace, which includes Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Seinfeld, Dane Cook, Katt Williams, Jim Breuer, Kids in the Hall, Russell Peters, Jim Norton, a roast of Cheech and Chong, David Alan Grier, Jeff Dunham, Laffapalooza hosted by Tracy Morgan, Andrew Dice Clay, Mike Epps, John Oliver, and Caliente Comedy with Gabriel Iglesias, Pablo Francisco and Anjelah Johnson. The network also says it'll have 25 up-and-coming stand-up and sketch acts performing in a separate LOL Lounge. Full sked after the jump!