Here's something you weren't expecting to see this summer. Crista Flanagan, the 34-year-old comedic actress who performed for several seasons on MADtv before moving on to a minor part on Mad Men, represents the ladies of Mad Men posing topless (while covering anything NSFW) on the cover of the August 2010 issue of Playboy, and also inside the magazine. On Mad Men, Flanagan plays Lois Sadler, who perhaps is best remembered for riding a lawnmower through the advertising office with disastrous results. (Via Styleite)
Furthermore: Full NSFW photo spread of Crista Flanagan topless in Playboy (via Now That's Pimpin')
Perhaps you heard that Apple announced its latest "tablet" super-sized version of the iPhone, except it's not a phone, but it still runs on 3G courtesy of AT&T, and it's called the iPad. So many jokes. So. Many. Jokes. Most people made the same joke. But what would happen when Pee-wee Herman got his hands on one of the first available iPads and showed it off to his friends, including one Magic Screen? Roll this "chosen one" clip from Funny or Die and find out?
Meanwhile, more people than you might think hit iPad into Google and found out that MADtv already spoofed a potential Apple iPad product a few years ago, with Arden Myrin using it as a tampon. Someone else used the computer technology to make it the real deal, though, so Steve Jobs actually was in on the joke this time. Roll the clip and you'll see what I mean.
This might not be the news anyone was expecting, but as soon as I get done with an obligatory "blame it on the alcohol" reference, it's time to tell you that MTV has added Jamie Foxx's "Untitled Sketch Comedy Show" to its development slate of upcoming TV series (read the press release). The logline reads: "Jamie Foxx executive produces the next generation of In Living Color." And he'll be doing it alongside Fax Bahr & Adam Small, who wrote for In Living Color and are also responsible for The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, Blue Collar TV, Chocolate News, as well as co-creating, executive producing and writing MADtv. It had been said that Bahr & Small were shopping MADtv after its demise earlier this year on FOX, but lacking any news to report on that, perhaps we can speculate that reuniting with Foxx on an MTV series will take the top spot on their priority list now.
Mark your calendars for May 16, 2009, because that's the date FOX plans to air the final episode of MADtv. Arden Myrin, who just launched her own blog, included a couple of pics from the finale. Here she is looking lovely with the finale's dapper guest star, Fred Willard. Wishing all of the cast members from this 14th and final season luck in their next endeavors. As for Myrin, she already has joined in the fun with the UCB New York's Saturday night long-form jam, "Let's Have a Ball," and is set to provide monologues for this coming Sunday's ASSSSCAT 3000.
The rumored demise of MADtv hit the fans on message boards two days ago, then Defamer and later FOX itself confirmed the news yesterday that the 14th season would be the last for MADtv, which never quite emerged out from the shadows of NBC's Saturday Night Live. MADtv's co-creator David Salzman told both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter that he's already looking at shopping his sketch show -- as well as the archives, which end its licensing/rebroadcast deal with Comedy Central at year's end -- to other networks. The 326th and final episode will tape in December but air in May. "We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, we’re appreciative of what Fox has done and we don’t think it should be over yet," Salzman told THR.
Even longtime fans of the show realized the end was near, what with wholesale changes in format and the cast in the past couple of years. As SNL rebounded from the writers strike with heightened buzz and record viewership, MADtv failed to get much of a mention, no matter what they tried. Was it their fault, or the network's? This past year, the show seemed to enjoy a new infusion of talent from the likes of Erica Ash, Eric Price and Matt Braunger, a wild variety of skilled celebrity impersonations from Nicole Parker, a multi-episode arc on critical cult fave Mad Men by Crista Flanagan, and one of the better takes on Obama around from Keegan-Michael Key. And yet. Still no goodwill carrying over to the show. I knew the proverbial writing was on the wall two weeks ago when the ladies of The View could not be bothered to care or evern acknowledge they had been spoofed by MADtv, overlooking them for SNL. Not all of the news is dire, though. A few past players, including Alex Borstein, Frank Caliendo, Nicole Sullivan and Artie Lange, have gone on to bigger, higher-profile gigs. Parker herself already left the show this month to return to Broadway for a role in Wicked. Bobby Lee was working on a pilot for Comedy Central. Perhaps everyone will look on this cancellation as a chance to look forward.
So how should we look back on MADtv? How about focusing on some of the highlights. Here are 10 of their better efforts from the past 14 years. Everyone can agree that the show loved spoofing pop culture, and this sketch starring Will Sasso as The Sopranos get edited for PAX-TV nails the concept and execution:
For all of the heightened awareness of Saturday Night Live this fall, you'd think that perhaps the media or viewers likewise would tune in to see how MADtv is spoofing current affairs. But, ah, ha, no. You would be wrong. Both SNL and MADtv spoofed the women of ABC's The View on Saturday night, but when The View convened for "Hot Topics" this morning, they didn't even mention MADtv. It's as if it didn't air at all. Talk about a snub. Not that the folks at FOX are trying to get heard or mentioned -- as I type this on Monday afternoon, they still hadn't posted their episode online at Hulu.
Most of the gripes this morning centered not on how SNL mocked them, but rather about how they left out co-hosts Barbara Walters and Sherri Shepherd, with Walters adding later, perhaps it's for the best not to ask for further mockery. They had SNL head writer Seth Meyers on the show Monday, too, and talked to him about SNL's politics.
But the fact that both SNL and MADtv parodied the same thing on the same night gives us a chance to compare apples to apples, so to speak. So. How did they break it down and try to make it funny?
We haven't forgotten about MADtv, which also aired its third new episode of the season on Saturday night, and really put a focus on new cast members Eric Price and Matt Braunger, having them open the show as guys wanting to live like Mad Men, which was fun and would have been more meta-fun if Crista Flanagan had reprised her actual Mad Men secretarial character!
Coincidentally, on the same night SNL made repeated jokes about Facebook, MADtv had the social networking site in its sights, with Braunger playing an assistant to John McCain (Bobby Lee) trying to help him learn Facebook in a recurring sketch. Braunger also got his own segment portraying John Mayer, while Price got additional face time in a recurring sketch as a reporter covering the launch of a new iPhone, a shot at Tim Gunn, and played host of "Albania's Got Talent." Also of note: Nicole Parker turned in more than passable interpretations of Dina Lohan, Kathy Griffin, Sharon Osbourne and Sarah Palin, in the latter character taking questions from the audience. Though it seems as though this show arrived late to the Palin parody sweepstakes. And oddly, at the end of the show, only six cast members were on hand to wave goodbyes?! Hmmm. The episode is not yet up on Hulu. Further hmmmm.
MADtv embraced its spoofiness even more than usual last night, as only one routine in the entire show was not based on an actual person and/or existing TV/movie concept. And that bit involved Bobby Lee and Johnny Sanchez interacting with people on a Los Angeles sidewalk, getting them to taste an awful "Rice and Beans" protein bar, all to see how desperate people are to get on TV. Which, as you already may suspect, is quite easy these days as people love getting themselves on TV. Which, as you may or may not have suspected, makes it all the more convenient that this episode also featured Audrina from The Hills, aka the one with the dark hair who has shown her breast implants to the world. New cast members Matt Braunger and Eric Price got more camera time in a couple of sketches -- one, a series of eHarmony ad spoofs; the other, a segment from "Best Damn Sports Show Period" in which they play rival members of the Brett Favre Fan Club (Green Bay vs. New York). A back-and-forth bit alternating from an "Ikeaclasts" show and a "FOX News" breaking report going negative on Obama was a highlight. Nicole Parker does a really good impersonaton of Ellen DeGeneres. And, heck, why don't I just show you the entire episode, through the magic of Hulu, and let you take a look. Then you can weigh in with your current thoughts about MADtv!
The 14th season of MADtv began on Saturday night, not quite live and about a half-hour before that other, longer-running, better-known sketch show. But these kids have spunk. And they certainly tackle current pop culture landmarks more frequently than their live competitors.
The show opened before a live audience, at least, with an otherwise lackluster entrance by Obama (Keegan-Michael Key) and McCain (Bobby Lee). That's right. Bobby Lee as McCain! Media critics went all a-Twitter last year debating whether a black comic had to play Obama, but will they bother to critique FOX's choice of an Asian comedian to play the former Vietnam War POW? Just wondering. In the hair and makeup, Lee does more than a passable job at playing the old coot. The duo then introduced the new cast members. Sort of. We met Erica Ash. This intro did prove, at least, that this first hour of the season would be the Key and Lee hour.
First sketch had Lee as a Thailand cable access host named Johnny Gan showing us his audition tape to take over for Jay Leno. It had an amateurish Tim-and-Eric vibe to it, albeit with a bad Asian humor accent.
Three separate bits poked fun at The Hills, with Nicole Parker as Lauren Conrad and that gal who couldn't cut it as Don Draper's secretary (Crista Flanagan) as Lo, interviewing prospective new roommates. Mocked the vapidness of it all, including the over-the-top music soundtrack selections. New cast member Lauren Pritchard played big and crazy. Fellow newcomer Eric Price played up a pervy Nigel Lythgoe (while Pritchard took a stab at Mia Michaels and Flanagan was a scream as Mary Murphy) in the cast's special Presidential Election version of So You Think You Can Dance.
Jerry O'Connell, ostensibly promoting his new FOX sitcom, endured relentless questioning by Key in character as a dumb guy wanting to know about how the chubby kid from Stand By Me ended up with Rebecca Romijn. O'Connell also starred in a music video taking off from Coldplay and making fun of the John Edwards affair in "Viva La Cheater."
Key returned to the forefront as his overactive gym teacher (Coach Hines) filling in to deliver sex ed tips on a Saturday to his students (thank the recent Gloucester schoolgirl pregnancy pact for this premise), with Lee getting most of the other lines, and Price playing a closeted gay student. We got our first glimpse of newcomer Matt Braunger. But that's it?! We want more Braunger next week!
MADtv loves to do red carpet ambushes, so Arden Myrin got to joke around and improvise with FOX stars at the so-called "Eco Party."
And in case you didn't take the hint that Key is now the big player in the cast, the hour ended with outtakes and deleted scenes allowing Key to riff and flub his lines for additional laughs.