Well, spring is turning into summer, and that means it's time for The League's stars to address the situation officially, as they do in this new round of promotional clips.
Let's start with their demands for the NFL:
But the situation deteriorates from there...
As the NFL lockout continues into the spring, what will its impact be on the third season of FX sitcom The League, which is set to return this fall with or without football?
The whole series revolves around a group of guys and a woman who compete in fantasy football. So I asked two of The League's stars, the husband-wife team of Mark Duplass and Katie Aselton, on the red carpet for The Comedy Awards. Duplass' film, Cyrus, received four nominations for The Comedy Awards, which airs April 10, 2011 on Comedy Central and several other Viacom networks.
In related news, the couple's comedic co-stars from The League -- Paul Scheer, Nick Kroll, Jon Lajoie and Stephen Rannazzisi -- all will be performing stand-up live at Bonnaroo this June in Manchester, Tenn.
FX announced tonight that it had renewed fantasy-football sitcom The League for a third season, to go into production this summer with a fall premiere, in time for, well, football season. If the NFL doesn't suffer a lockout or strike, that is.
But check out this quote from FX e.v.p. of original programming, Nick Grad:
“We’re pleased to announce the third season pickup of The League, and are fired up to continue our partnership with Jackie and Jeff Schaffer and the ensemble cast,” said Grad. “We love the show, and the reaction the cast received across the country during their recent comedy tour is a sign the show is really building momentum.”
Last fall, several members of the cast -- which includes Mark Duplass, Stephen Rannazzisi, Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer, Katie Aselton and Jon Lajoie -- embarked on a stand-up comedy tour together. You bought tickets. You showed up at the comedy clubs. And FX noticed.
In ratings terms, The League averaged 1.4 million viewers during its second season (1.1 million in ages 18-49) in its initial airings (2.5 million over the course of its multiple-run airings each week), which was up slightly from the first season.
Summer music Wednesday continues here in this corner of the Internet, and also wherever you live, unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere, because then it's much much closer to winter where you are. Now that I've explained seasonal differences, how about letting Jon Lajoie explain how the music industry manufacturers and markets popular music to the kids (and adults who think like kids)? Alrighty! It's Lajoie's new song, "Pop Song." And yes, that's Lajoie in all of the roles. Except for the hot girl. I think. Roll it!
The only thing people love making more than year-end list are decade-end lists, and some of them seem as much about generating page-views as they are about subjectively ranking things that should not be ranked. That's rank! So where are my lists? I've got something else up my sleeves for this December, but in the meantime, I thought I'd share with you the iTunes list of their choices of the 20 best comedy discs from 2009, along with my thoughts on said list.
For one thing, it's really across the board. Any list that puts Brent Weinbach side-by-side with Katt Williams is looking to appeal to all sorts. I'm not exactly sure I agree with everything on here, but then again, I haven't quite listened to all of them just yet -- there are stacks of CDs and DVDs in my apartment, and I hope to get through them all by year's end and share my own thoughts on them with you. I have listened to and reviewed eight of the iTunes 20; most of the rest are waiting in my queue, and a few I don't even have my hands on just yet? My loss or yours? Also, iTunes missed some great ones from the past year. No John Mulaney? I haven't heard Paul F. Tompkins new disc yet, but would presume it's worthy. And no ladies on the list? Not even Maria Bamford? Harumph. Here, then, are the iTunes choices from the year in comedy -- I'm not sure if they have a ranking order from iTunes, so I'll list them alphabetically:
When Comedy Central announced its special "Hot List" showcase of new talented comedians, I could not say the list surprised me. Many of these people got multiple mentions here at The Comic's Comic in the past year, and when I thought about Kumail Nanjiani's achievements in the past year, even I was duly impressed with what he's been able to accomplish since moving to New York City from Chicago. So I talked to him briefly outside of Comix during the club's holiday party this week (holiday parties already!) and asked him to put it into some perspective -- Letterman, Kimmel, Live at Gotham, Michael and Michael Have Issues, The Colbert Report, and a development deal with NBC. Where does he go from here? Roll the clip! (Warning: Includes improvised absurdity from Eugene Mirman, who actually fits into Kumail's NYC story, as well as a joke at John Mayer's expense, and a cameo by Nanjiani's newlywed wife, Emily) Roll it!
Of course, Nanjiani isn't the only one on Comedy Central's Hot List special, which airs on Sunday, Dec. 6. Here's a clip featuring all nine -- Anthony Jeselnik, Aziz Ansari, Nick Kroll, Matt Braunger, Jon Lajoie, Whitney Cummings, TJ Miller, Donald Glover and Nanjiani -- describing why they made the cut. Roll it!
Intrigued by the comedian collaboration that is the new fall sitcom on FX called The League? Well, how would you like to see these guys show off their individual funnyman skills? If you're in Los Angeles tonight, you can do so at Largo.
Nick Kroll hosts, with guests including Jon Lajoie, Steve Rannazzisi and others from The League -- plus appearances by Fabrice Fabrice, Bobby Bottleservice and other very special guests. One night only?
FX debuted a new comedy on Thursday night called The League that's about a group of guys who take their fantasy football league much too seriously. Although if the premiere is any indication, it's also a semi-improvised romp that dives headlong into a pit of profanity and sex, and sometimes sexual profanities. In fact, most of the early reviews go out of their way to mention how they cannot mention what's said and implied in the sitcom. You cannot really judge a sitcom by its pilot (although that's exactly what network executives do), so for now, let's focus on the fact that The League stars at least three comedians in Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer and Jon Lajoie. Expect other cameos, too (Matt Walsh and Rob Huebel appear in the premiere).
Lajoie plays Taco, the stoner brother of one of the league's commissioner. He's a musical comedian in real life, and in the debut, he performs a special "birthday song" for his niece, and awkwardness ensues. You can watch the FX version of his song on YouTube (no embed). Here's the uncensored complete version of the song, as Lajoie performed it earlier this year for Sirius XM radio (if you're at work, cover your NSFW speakers!):
And here's a short promo for the series...
At the TCA tour this summer, FX's TV programmers spoke highly of two of its comedy pilots but did not announce their additions to the schedule. They rectified that last night, officially ordering 13 episodes of Louis CK's Louie, plus six episodes of The League.
Louis CK said on his site that he was "very, very excited" to get going on the 12 eps to follow the pilot. "This show is insanely fun. I'm starring in it, writing, directing and editing it. The show will be shot in New York City, my home," he wrote overnight. It'll be a mix of stand-up and offstage, revolving around his own life as a stand-up comic and single dad with two daughters, with "extended vignettes" as Variety reports depicting scenes from his life. The one vignette that already has been described in the trades -- about chaperoning a field trip -- already has been a staple of his stand-up act this year. But as he pointed out when he filmed the pilot, "I do some standup on the show and some of it is in narrative film form and some of it gets weird. It's kind of hard to describe. It doesn't follow the pattern of any show I've seen. It's not like Seinfeld or Pulp Comics." We'll all get to see what it is in early 2010.
As for The League, it does have some links to Seinfeld, sort of. It's created by Jeff and Jackie Marcus Schaffer, who have ties to Curb Your Enthusiasm, which like The League, is going to be semi-scripted, and the rest improvised, revolving around a fantasy football league. The cast includes Mark Duplass, Steve Rannazzisi, Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer, Jon Lajoie, Leslie Bibb, Katie Aselton and Nadine Velazquez. It'll arrive later this fall, not only to get on the air during football season, but also to pair up with FX's first successful sitcom, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Reading the trades (Variety, The Hollywood Reporter), however, it struck me as a little more than odd that no mention whatsoever was made of Norm MacDonald's show that he thought was sure to go on FX. The THR piece, in fact, said that FX had ordered series from all three of of its pilots. So where did that leave Norm? Did he get pranked, or was he pranking us?
Jon Lajoie is one of them there musical comedians who came upon the scene in the past couple of years due to the Internets -- that fancy thing you're looking at to read this -- and he whipped up a very NSFW tune yesterday to respond to all of the hypocrites who joked about Wacko Jacko, only to turn around after Michael Jackson's accidental death at 50 to say how much they loved him. Too soon? Too true? Lajoie doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who cares. Watch it yourselves:
Previously: After all, Jon Lajoie has earned millions of views over the past two years for his earlier NSFW raps, such as...
Show Me Your Genitals (more than 15 millions views as of this writing)
Everyday Normal Guy (10.1 million views and counting)
I Kill People (2.7 million views and counting)
The people at Just For Laughs in Montreal decided to recap some of their shows in video highlights, which means you can get a feel for what you saw, or what you missed. Although they don't give all of the New Faces face time (hmmm), but the Just For Laughs video portal (yes, they have their own video portal for you to upload your own funny fun-time videos) includes a highlight reel set to music and with more Galas and French Canadians than any other JFL video. So let's start with that one, with the New Faces, Amp'd and Masters after the jump!
Variety magazine named its "10 Comics to Watch" for 2008 and wrote up profiles on each of them this week. Their choices? Read what they have to say about Russell Brand, Brandon T. Jackson, Anthony Jeselnik, Jon LaJoie, Ralphie May, TJ Miller, Jay Phillips, John Mulaney, Paul Rust, Casey Wilson.
Let's assess. John Mulaney, I've had the privilege to see him several times since moving to New York City, and every time, he slays. This kid, and really, he's still only four years out of college (the same time I finally dipped my toes into professional stand-up comedy) and already so masterful and such a stage presence, it's amazing. He's a writer for Demetri Martin's upcoming Comedy Central sketch show, and he'll tape his own half-hour Comedy Central Presents at the end of the summer. Big fan of Mulaney, I am. Not that I'm a comedy Yoda just yet.
Anthony Jeselnik is a great joke writer. Sometimes a bit dark (a bit?). But yes, keep an eye on this fella. Also getting his Comedy Central Presents this year.
Time Out London named Russell Brand U.K. Comedian of the Year, and he chewed up the scenery in his movie debut this year in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and I'll have much more to say about Brand next week when we meet up in Montreal.
Casey Wilson, well, already has a big "watch me" sign on her as the newest member of Saturday Night Live, joining the cast after the Writers Guild strike this spring. It'll be more than interesting to see what role she gets to play this fall.
When I saw T.J. Miller last year in Aspen, I knew he'd be on TV very soon, and he was the best thing about the short-lived ABC sitcom Carpoolers. But I don't care how much he jokes about it, the caps of the ketchup bottles are the feet. They just are.
Paul Rust works in the Los Angeles, and I saw him last fall doing sketch work in Vegas at The Comedy Festival. I can see how you'd want to keep an eye on him.
Ralphie May: Shouldn't he have been the one to watch in 2003 when he was working on TV projects with Jay Mohr and getting submarined by Dat Phan on the original Last Comic Standing? Curious.
I'm not that familiar with Brandon T. Jackson, because he's a kid and I'm not, but he'll be in the cast of Tropic Thunder, so, OK. Jon LaJoie? Huh? Don't know what to say about Jay Phillips, but I need to get out more (no, I don't). Fine. I'll see you all in Montreal!