Justin Timberlake has become an undeniably reliably strong host for Saturday Night Live, so much so that some would like to coax him into becoming a full-time member of the cast. Timberlake himself has even teased as much when answering questions from the entertainment tabloid media. But having him on once a year to host (and occasionally pop in for a surprise cameo here and there) plays much better, reminding us how well JT works with the cast, without overstaying his welcome.
So penciling him in as host for the 36th season finale was a no-brainer. As was booking Lady Gaga as the musical guest. Not only does she have a new album to promote this week, but the first time she performed on SNL, she fared admirably well in both her musical slots as well as multiple sketches.
Ready to go out big and go home? Let's recap!
We open with the big news of the week in the world. No. Not Arnold Schwarzenegger. We're talking about the IMF head, Dominique Strauss-Khan, accused of sexually assaulting his hotel maid before skipping out of NYC and America.
On the May 8, 2011, episode of The Simpsons, "Homer Scissorhands," comedian Kristen Schaal guest-starred as the voice of Taffy, a potential love interest for Milhouse who also may have made Lisa Simpson a little jealous in the process.
Except the show got Schaal's name wrong last Sunday on FOX, crediting her as Schall (see inset, right).
So this Sunday, the producers and writers of The Simpsons apologized to the comedian. Right in the intro...
Fun for folks on YouTube today: Seeing Kristen Schaal see herself on YouTube. Thanks to Sony Ericsson for hiring Schaal for this series of ads.
Roll 'em while we've got 'em!
Watch the other four ads after the jump!
The Writers Guild of America handed out its annual awards last night in simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York.
Modern Family co-stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet hosted the West Coast show, while Kristen Schaal hosted from NYC and opened with some jokes as well as a song-and-dance number, which you can watch:
And now for the awards in comedy writing...
Modern Family, Written by Jerry Collins, Paul Corrigan, Alex Herschlag, Abraham Higginbotham, Elaine Ko, Joe Lawson, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Dan O'Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Brad Walsh, Ilana Wernick, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker; ABC
EPISODIC COMEDY – any length – one airing time
“When It Rains, It Pours” (30 Rock), Written by Robert Carlock; NBC
ANIMATION – any length – one airing time
“The Prisoner of Benda” (Futurama), Written by Ken Keeler; Comedy Central
COMEDY / VARIETY – (INCLUDING TALK) SERIES
The Colbert Report, Writers: Barry Julien, Dan Guterman, Eric Drysdale, Frank Lesser, Glenn Eichler, Jay Katsir, Max Werner, Meredith Scardino, Michael Brumm, Opus Moreschi, Peter Gwinn, Rich Dahm, Rob Dubbin, Scott Sherman, Stephen Colbert, Tom Purcell, Peter Grosz, Paul Dinello; Comedy Central
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN WRITING – DERIVATIVE NEW MEDIA
“Strip Pong,” “Tear Jerks,” “Brainstorm,” (Frank vs. Lutz), Written by Jon Haller; 30 Rock New Media, www.nbc.com
When people accused Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart with playing fast and loose with sexuality by hiring Olivia Munn as a correspondent, the show somehow failed to answer its critics with the same adequacy with which it calls out the rest of the media for its failings. Weird. But nevertheless true.
So it's fortunate that last night, the show called upon correspondent Kristen Schaal to report upon Playboy's financial straits, and in doing so, finally addressed the problem women face in our 21st century society. Or as she said: "The first step toward women breaking the glass ceiling is pressing our boobs against it."
Roll the clip!
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!
As you may have gathered from the headline, Village Voice's 2010 "Best of NYC" issue is out this week, and managed to have room for two comedy categories this year.
Is that good news?
It is if you're Kristen Schaal, whom the VV named Best Comedian. You can see Schaal perform Monday nights with comedy partner Kurt Braunohler in the revival of their Hot Tub variety show at Littlefield in Brooklyn, many Wednesdays with The PIT's house team Big Black Car, sometimes on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as a correspondent, and in a variety of other TV and movie projects.
It also is if you're Murderfist, the outrageous collection of individuals named by VV as Best Sketch Comedy Group. You can see them get raunchy for laughs monthly at The PIT, and sometimes elsewhere around the city.
Congrats to both of them.
To the rest of you, you're still the best in my eyes. Except for those of you who aren't. You know who you are.
Hey, remember three years ago when Pete Karinen and Brian Sacca, aka Pete & Brian, debuted a nine-minute short casting themselves as magazine fact checkers who paid Bill Murray a visit, and then talked to me about it?
In September 2007, Pete told me the idea was to break out the FCU guys as a series, "whether that's a Web series or a TV series. We're also looking into developing it for commercial uses." They've done that now with the debut of the first of eight Webisodes of FCU for NBC.com. The FCU site is live and will post the premiere tomorrow. Kristen Schaal returns as one of their co-workers at the magazine, Dictum. The first episode, "Paranormal Factivity," has the guys visiting with Luke Perry to find out if his house really is haunted.
New episodes will appear on Tuesdays. The rest of the cast includes Jim Connor, Zach Steel, Sara Simmonds, Lillie Sakren, and cameos as themselves by Luke Perry, Donald Faison, Karolina Kurkova, Jon Heder, Dave Navarro, Zach Gilford, Pauley Perrette and Alex Trebek.
So perhaps you know who Kristen Schaal is because you are a comedy fan already, or you saw her as the one true fan of the Flight of the Conchords on their HBO program, but in the past week or so, she has given us all more reasons to follow her.
1) With only a bit part in Dinner for Schmucks, Schaal went on Late Show with David Letterman and had Letterman eating out of her hands. Figuratively.
2) With her reappearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Schaal helped remind feminists and post-meta-feminists to shut up and just enjoy a woman being funny.
3) With her new book, The Sexy Book of Sexy Sex (co-written with her boyfriend, Daily Show writer Rich Blomquist), you can laugh about sex again without feeling weird about it. At live shows in New York City, Schaal has taken to reading selected excerpts, such as last night, when she read from her Taint Monologues, and threatened to eat all of our taints! She told me she doesn't have a book tour scheduled just yet, so please go to your local bookstore and demand to have Schaal invited to your town to read to you.
4) With her comedy partner, Kurt Braunohler, they are resurrecting their popular weekly variety show, Hot Tub, starting this coming Monday at Littlefield in Brooklyn.
If you need more reasons, I'll keep going.
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.
Hey kids. Would you like to see the pilot for Penelope Princess of Pets, the comedy in which Kristen Schaal talks to pets (voiced by Daniel Kitson, among others!) and with the help of sidekick Kurt Braunohler, saves the world and takes down the evil MP Julian Barratt of The Mighty Boosh, all with a theme song by Reggie Watts (who's on tour with Conan O'Brien all spring)?
If you live in the U.K., then you can watch the pilot at 11 p.m. on 21 April on Channel 4. If you live in New York City, then you can attend a viewing party at 8 p.m. April 26 at Union Pool in Brooklyn. If you live anywhere that has access to YouTube, then you can watch the trailer right now. And if you like what you see, then ask for more. Go!
What happens when you take a French film, get Andy Borowitz to adapt a contemporary American screenplay for it, have Jay Roach direct it, and cast Paul Rudd and Steve Carell as the leads, with Rudd playing that "Paul Rudd" character and Carell playing that shades of "Michael Scott" character? It's called Dinner for Schmucks, and it hits a cinema near you this July.
The plot is pretty straightforward, if you read the title and know what a schmuck is. Do you know what a schmuck is? Do Zach Galifianakis and Jeff Dunham both count equally as schmucks? This trailer also features Kristen Schaal, Andrea Savage, Larry Wilmore and Ron Livingston. That should be more than a satisfactory amount of information before you watch the darned clip. So watch the darned clip!
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!
We're about to see a bunch of new live stand-up comedy on our basic cable TV sets thanks to Comedy Central. The fourth season of Live at Gotham debuts this weekend, and in the first week of November, 24 stand-ups get to tape their very own half-hour Comedy Central Presents specials to air in early 2010. In between those two things, the network has given the go-ahead to John Oliver to present his very own stand-up showcase. If John Oliver & Friends sounds like something as fun and magical as the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, well, then you can pretty well guess the lineup. It's going to be good.
There will be three tapings (Oct. 23-25) at NYU's Skirball Center, which will produce six half-hours of stand-up comedy, featuring Oliver and his friends. A few names appear multiple times, which is curious and suggests the format could spin a bit. We'll just have to wait and see, won't we!
SHOW 1 ~ Friday - Oct. 23 - 6:45 p.m., with Marc Maron, Janeane Garofalo, Maria Bamford, Hannibal Buress, Wyatt Cenac and Pete Holmes
SHOW 2 ~ Saturday - Oct. 24 - 7:45 p.m., with Paul F. Tompkins, Maria Bamford, Greg Fitzsimmons, Nick Kroll and Eugene Mirman
SHOW 3 ~ Sunday - Oct. 25 - 5:45 p.m., with Brian Posehn, Kristen Schaal, Wyatt Cenac, Greg Fitzsimmons, Eugene Mirman, Pete Holmes and Mary Lynn Rajskub
If you're going to be in NYC and are at least 18 years old, go to The Black List's John Oliver page and follow the instructions to request tickets.
What kind of comedy festival offers free butterscotch pudding to its audience members? And if you're lucky enough to have a wristband like this, you also got to munch on turkey, potato salad and other savories. "VIPs" also could dine on caviar inside a cardboard room?! Then again, if you're wearing a wristband like this, then you must be at the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival!
The opening-night gala on Thursday, hosted by Mirman, opened with Pete Holmes, featured videos from Leo Allen, Max Silvestri, Seth Herzog, and Tim & Eric, live music from Jon Auer of the Posies (performing a solo version of Big Star's "Thirteen"), and if that wasn't enough, how about a half-hour or so of absurdity with Kristen Schaal followed by an hour of Daniel Kitson? Yes, you say. Splendid!
Schaal opened with a mime routine. "That was me seducing and then assassinating Adolf Hitler. It's a new dance move. I hope it catches on!" She also showed off the trailer for her pilot project, The Midwife, which is quite dramatic once you remove the boiling water; played a live game of MASH (in her Colorado rules, it's MASHO, where the O stands for Outhouse); and got possessed by the ghost of a sexist stand-up from the early 1980s.
I'd heard many good things about Daniel Kitson. Turns out these people saying good things about Kitson know of whence and what they speak. I'll have more to say about him after I see him perform his own show later this weekend. But I should probably tell you now that among last night's highlights were watching Kitson fall offstage and into the front row whilst making a point; comparing the people taking photos of him onstage to pedophiles; noticing that a woman trying to sneak a text message from inside her purse set her aglow as if she were conducting magic tricks; and making a necessary diversion to explain his Scrabble strategies.
Here is an older video of Kitson performing in Melbourne back in 2003. Since you probably don't have tickets to his sold-out shows this weekend, this may be the best you can get for now:
Related? Nerve.com asked Mirman for sex advice.
Everyone is hungry for laughs this year, and cue the rest of this metaphor, because the fifth annual edition of Sketchfest NYC certainly delivered with a healthy appetite (Zoinks!) of fun times, served up with a side of...you know what I'm trying to say, right? Food was on the brain and onstage in many of the highlights from this past weekend's celebration of sketch comedy in the Big Apple. Harvard Sailing Team reimagined the callback auditions for a Pizza Hut ad. Elephant Larry screened a "viral video" for Subway that never went viral, in a special edition of The Rejection Show. Kristen Schaal claimed that her comedy partner had gotten turned into a stuffed bird. Rue Brutalia handed out rolls of Rolos and compared fast-food sandwiches in a job interview. Pangea 3000 interrupted a sketch to eat ribs. The Apple Sisters modeled "ration fashion" featuring watermelon muffs, hats and shoes. The 3rd Floor served up pancakes to one lucky audience member. Kevin McDonald put on his one-man and one-guitarist show, "Hammy and the Kids" (ham not included). Let's review some of these things in further detail, shall we?
The Apple Sisters made a triumphant return to NYC, having all moved out within the past year to Los Angeles and showcasing a new 1943-era radio programme set aboard the USS Sketchfest Intrepid en route to Hawaii. Cora, Candy and Seedy were looking to get lei'd with the seamen, but first had to deal with a mutiny, a pirate, an emergency SOS call and more. Quite saucy and sassy, these broads! A fun moment when the captain declared: "You can't just ovulate all over the ship!" To which Candy replied: "Well, what am I supposed to do with this?" thrusting her hands to her pelvis. Funnier still, when the ladies modeled their "ration fashions," with actual juicy watermelons getting all over themselves and the theater floor. "Anybody hungry?" Cora asked afterward.
Also on Thursday: Kristen Schaal made her fourth Sketchfest NYC appearance, but first without comedy partner Kurt Braunohler (who was performing in Tennessee at Bonnaroo); Team Submarine took on "Who's On First" but with 69 jokes; Rue Brutalia played good-cop, bad-cop to investigate the ultimate riddle: Who farted? and also unveiled a sketch that somehow didn't work when they tried it in a Brooklyn hip-hop club; A Week of Kindness fashioned an awards show completely around Bee Movie; Murderfirst wanted to prove that being loud, fat and naked makes any sketch idea funnier (did it work?); Sam and Timmy from The Whitest Kids U Know tried to tell a story about when the kids got interviewed by High Times; and Olde English deconstructed the plot to Pixar's new hit movie, UP, to such a degree that you wonder how the film ever got made in the first place.
If all you know about Kristen Schaal is her delightfully quirky turn as loyal fan Mel of Flight of the Conchords on the HBO sitcom, then you will want to tune in tonight as Comedy Central debuts Schaal's first half-hour special. With a medieval royal backdrop (that happens to timely coincide with this weekend's return of The Tudors), Schaal lets us in on her one-woman show about Anne Boleyn, sexy dreams, her audition for Law & Order: SVU, the journals of Clarence the caterpillar, George Washington, marriage and birds. Her comedy partner, Kurt Braunohler, also got into the mix several times, carrying Schaal onstage. "Now I know what Obama feels like!" she said to applause. As for why this is not a Kurt and Kristen special, Schaal said: "We both wanted to do it together. Because I'm more famous, they said just I could do the special."
Watch a couple of clips from Kristen Schaal's Comedy Central Presents:
|Kristen Schaal - Birthday Surprise|
|Kristen Schaal - Sex Dream|
If Eugene Mirman could pull off his own comedy festival, then what would he have in store for the release of his first book, The Will to Whatevs? We had to take the first B75 or F train we could get to the Bell House in Gowanus Brooklyn to find out last night for ourselves (why do I refer to myself in the first-person plural? not relevant). A sold-out crowd watched what turned out to be two hours of comedy and a full set by GnR tribute band Mr. Brownstone, and before you ask, why Mr. Brownstone, note that Eugene's brother joined them on guitar for "Knocking on Heaven's Door," with Eugene and David Cross taking over one of the microphones, and Todd Barry and Cross' girlfriend Amber Tamblyn joining them all onstage.
Of course, it wasn't all rock and roll. After all of that, Sarah Vowell took over the turntable with a more leisurely mix of tunes.
But first, Mirman welcomed the crowd with a multimedia presentation about his new book (related: read my interview with Mirman about The Will to Whatevs). John Hodgman took the stage and immediately apologized for being sick with the cold/flu bug that has circled New York City. Although that's not how Hodgman caught it, as he claimed instead: "I got sick hugging Al Gore last week at the TED conference." If that wasn't odd enough for you, Hodgman talked a bit more about the personalities who show up to talk hot topics at TED each year, and revealed that he once tried stand-up comedy at one of Mirman's shows. "Eugene was nice enought to let me come up and insult his profession, and now he has insulted mine," he said. And now that they're competitors in the book world, Hodgman decided to plug his own book and read from it.
In real-life, the New Zealand comedy music duo Flight of the Conchords won a Grammy this year and is up for another one in 2009. In their HBO show, however, Bret and Jermaine are still trying to catch a break as the second season opens. Funny or Die gets to bring us the premiere a month before it airs on HBO, for American audiences only (sorry, not my call), so watch it now, and see what happens. Greg Proops, Andrea Rosen and Andrew Secunda make appearances, as well as season one regulars Kristen Schaal and Arj Barker. There's also a subplot for Crazy Doggs (the competing band from Todd Barry and Demetri Martin).
Watch to the end, and you'll also get a sneak peek at the HBO comedy, East Bound & Down, featuring Danny McBride, Will Ferrell and Andrew Daly. Enjoy!