Production wrapped last month on a dark new independent film, Circus Maximus, starring Julian McCullough as a struggling screenwriter and Mario Cantone as the studio producer who's demanding his writer finish his script in a week or else. The results get weird and very NSFW. The cast is rounded out by Kevin Corrigan, Sal "The Stockbroker" Governale, Joe Gannascoli, Rachel Feinstein and Bianca Hunter. It's in private screenings currently. But you can watch the trailer right now.
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.
Just as ABC is refuting a report in today's New York Times that it may move Jimmy Kimmel a half-hour earlier into Nightline's spot, the late-night ABC news program just happened to devote a segment to stand-up comedy. What a delightful coincidence!
Nightline stopped by the Comedy Cellar, talked to Colin Quinn and broadcast economic jokes from Quinn, Jim Norton, James Smith and D.C. Benny, and also ventured over to Carolines to interview Mario Cantone. Suffice it to say, the premise is that when times are tough, people want to laugh. If ABC News would embed videos, you could see it here. Until then, click here to watch the Nightline "Economy of Comedy" report.