Ten years ago, the kids from The State had grown up enough to get nostalgic about their childhood days attending summer camp, and Michael Showalter and David Wain wrote a movie about it, with Wain directing, called Wet Hot American Summer.
Released in two theaters on July 27, 2001, the film didn't break big at the box office. But over the past decade, it has earned an allegiance of loyal and adoring fans (some of whom showed up to a NYC screening last night in costumes dressed as the film's characters, with one even standing in front of the screen, Rocky Horror-style, to mimic a character's big monologue moment) and offered early glimpses at the humorous potential of Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Christopher Meloni, Elizabeth Banks and Bradley Cooper. Not to mention Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon and several members of The State.
As part of last night's anniversary screening in Manhattan, Wain and Showalter were joined in a discussion by Jake Fogelnest and director Jason Reitman, who was paired up with Wet Hot American Summer ten years ago at the Sundance Film Festival for his short film, Gulp.
Michael Showalter has a new book out called "Mr. Funny Pants." It's funny! And Showalter is wearing pants! At least he is during the winter, because it's too cold not to. C'mon, people. Think about it for just a second, would you?
Back to Showalter now. He's celebrating the release with a couple of events here in New York City, tonight at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square with special musical guest Neko Case (show her some love! no, seriously, show her some love, because she is like me and like you and wants to have some lovin' in her life, and don't make me link to the evidence of such). On Sunday, Feb. 27, Showalter and "Pretty Good Friends" throw a sold-out party at The Bell House in Brooklyn, with Eugene Mirman, Reggie Watts, Kumail Nanjiani, a cappella group"Nonsequitur" and special guests.
In between, and afterward, Showalter's book tour and shows will hit Philadelphia, D.C., and several other cities. Check the Mr. Funny Pants tour page for your nearest location and time.
But what about the book? Would you like to hear Showalter read the beginning of it? He'll read for you via Vanity Fair. Would you like to hear someone more famous, like, say, Kevin Kline, read from it? Showalter can arrange that for you right now via YouTube:
Buy the book:
Here's something you didn't see almost 20 years ago. It's rare footage of The State in their first MTV office in the early 1990s, singing a version of "The Boner Song." See how young they all look! Also, they're college kids singing about boners.
If you think it's unusual for footage from The State to linger in archives for more than 14 years, then you probably also didn't know that it took that long for their January 1996 recording to become public. But that's exactly what happened with their CD, "Comedy For Gracious Living." It captures all of them at their youthful indiscretioniest. Is that a word? Who knows. This is an actual CD, though.
Michael Showalter has a new thing he's tumbling on Tumblr called Lost in Plot, in which he talks to other creative types about the writing process.
Today Showalter questions comedian Mike Birbiglia about it, which is timely since Birbigs has a new book out called "Sleepwalk With Me: And Other Painfully True Stories."
A couple of excerpts from the beginning and end of Showalter's chat with Birbiglia:
Do you ever get writer’s block? If yes, please elaborate.
I don’t call it that, but sure. I feel like I’m in a constant state of tricking myself into writing. I have to block out like 6-7 hours where there is no agenda except writing. Blocking that time is hard for me to do b/c there are so many distractions, like the Internet and also the Internet.
What’s your favorite movie cliché? (Eg: The montage where the guy/girl practices introducing himself to the love interest in the mirror.)
Tough one. I could make a joke but I kind of hate movie clichés because they remind me that there’s a studio executive somewhere doing a rewrite with the artistic intention of “How can this make more MONEY?”
Michael Showalter had some issues with Michael Ian Black, and now he is moving on to the issue of TV advertising, launching a new web series exclusively on Babelgum called "The Making Of."
In four installments, Showalter will break down the creative process of your better-known commercials, such as this first episode, in which he shows us how Intel's "bah-buh-bah-bum" choir was drilled into precision. Maybe they should have watched Glee? Roll it. And no, I have no idea what's going on in this photo, but stay tuned and we'll all find out the answer in a future episode of..."The Making Of."
Fans of Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter may be excused for feeling a bit of deja vu right about now, because in a repeat of what happened when they teamed up with David Wain for their 2005 series, Stella, they've found out that their 2009 series, Michael and Michael Have Issues, also is done after only one season on Comedy Central. No formal reason has been given yet for the show's cancellation, or non-renewal.
Maybe if Black and Sho still have "issues," they can try taking their longstanding friendship feud to NBC's The Marriage Ref to solve them?
According to the show's online site, these were the guys' favorite moments from the season. Here's Showalter's favorite moments, which include sweatpants, bunny stomping, pee, and poo. Roll the clips!
And here's Black's favorite moments, which include Showalter as a "quiet" weatherman, mattresses, farts and frogs. Roll the clips!
Some comedians make their names via commercials, and some commercial campaigns seek out name comedians to lighten up and brighten up their brands. This new holiday gift TV ad blitz by eBay definitely falls into the latter group, going to go-to guys Jim Gaffigan, Kevin Hart, Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter to make you think about looking up an online auction or two for your gift ideas this winter. I saw one of Gaffigan's spots on my TV last night. There is a bunch of extra videos and insider insight on the ad campaign on eBay's site. Here is his advice on homemade gifts:
After the jump, all of the other new eBay ads with stand-up comedians!
Sorry, comedy fans. The Comic's Comic did not don something scary or silly this Halloween, but that didn't stop plenty of our favorite comedians from celebrating (and sometimes even performing) in costume on Saturday night. And in the age of the Internets (the age...of the...INTERNETS) that also means going online to share our Halloween disguises with our friends and followers. Here are some of my favorites that I spotted over the weekend. Who were yours? Did I miss it? If so, please share!
To kick things off, though, how about a "doodle" from Michael Showalter about Halloween parties:
If I were to tell you that an upcoming episode of Law & Order (any edition) would feature a comedian in a bit part, then you would say, sure, why not. It has happened before plenty of times. In fact, enough times that the second annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival has a themed show called The Comedians of Law & Order, happening Saturday at the Bell House in Brooklyn.
Now in it's what got to be a whopper of a coincidence, the original Law & Order just wrapped its fourth episode of the upcoming 20th season, and that episode, called "Reality Bites" and tentatively slated to air Oct. 16, features five -- count 'em, FIVE -- comedians: Jim Gaffigan, Michael Showalter, Livia Scott, Baron Vaughn and Cole Escola. And there's nothing funny about the episode.
As Vaughn relayed to me -- no spoilers, promise! -- the plot revolves around a family of special-needs kids who were going to be portrayed in a reality TV show. "It's the opposite of funny," he said. "Just tragic."
Vaughn has two lines as a medical examiner. Scott plays the foreperson on the jury, and said being in the custom-built L&O courtroom was something else. "It's so impressive," she told me. She's also thrilled to become part of the L&O fabric. Showalter plays the reality-TV producer, so obviously, he gets to have some villainous lines, even if he may or may not be a villain. But we know in our hearts he's a hero, because he provided us with these lovely photos from the set via Twitter (@mshowalter)! Escola (Logo's new Jeffery and Cole Casserole) plays an autistic son of Gaffigan's character, and Escola wrote on his blog, "I have dialogue and a couple of scenes and that's all I should say because I don't want to give away any of the plot. I'm all wet 'n' sticky with excitement!!"
For Gaffigan, this Law & Order stuff must be old hat, right? He has been on regular L&O, SVU and Criminal Intent. He told me that walking onto the set and seeing so many familiar faces from comedy was a treat, but it wasn't intentional by any means. "We all got the jobs. It wasn't like, wouldn't it be cool if we had five comedians in one Law & Order episode," he said.
How did this episode differ from your past L&Os? "I play a guy who is somehow associated with possibly being a participant in a reality show," he said. "Considering that one of those (previous) times, I played a pedophile clown, and one time I played a plumber with an incredibly Greek name. And then the other ones I play a character where I was just the dim-witted guy...for New York actors, it's just so exciting to do that show, because it's been a staple for so long. It's also fun to do."
"When you're guest-starring on Law & Order, you get to play someone who, very close to you someone has just died, and then they say, 'Do that scene.' Or you've been accused of murdering someone. 'Do that.'" You'll have to tune in Oct. 16 to see if Gaffigan did either of those things.
I was busy moving (or rather helping the movers move) on May 28, when the upcoming Comedy Central production, Michael and Michael Have Issues, taped a show in NYC before a live audience. But through the magic of cameras and Internet access, we can bring you some snippets of stand-up that Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black and show writer Kumail Nanjiani performed for that audience during the breaks, as well as for the show itself. Clips after the jump! (thx, CCInsider)
When you throw a party for a TV show, much less a Web series, you're never quite sure how it will translate as a live experience for audiences to sit and enjoy. No such worries last night at the 92YTribeca, which hosted "Wainy Days Live," a party that not only marked the start of the fourth season for David Wain's amusing ode to seeking love and finding plenty of sex jokes along the way, but also the relaunch of a newly designed My Damn Channel, which made Wainy Days possible.
Rob Barnett, head of the small, plucky crew at My Damn Channel, told the audience at the start: "My Damn Channel is a brand-new thing today." The redesigned site features a larger player and a cleaner design. Barnett told me that his strategy all along has been to focus on a small group of talented performers and give them free reign to do what they do. That's how My Damn Channel can stand out from the many other players in Web comedy. He told me that Sam Seder's "Pilot Season" had gotten two million views in its first two weeks as a reborn Web series. So far, so good.
David Wain kept the live show moving at a nice pace last night. In between video clips of this week's latest episode (Amanda Peet has a curious fetish in #27, "Jill") and a snippet from #28 that features Lake Bell -- Wain warned before screening it, "If it shows up on YouTube, I will kill you!" -- he treated the crowd to several musical performances from Wainy Days (Wain has skills both on the drums and piano), readings and an anti-chat.
Leo Allen and Callie Thorne re-enacted their performances from Episode #4: Cyrano d'Bluetooth, with Joe Lo Truglio playing Wain's part. Live, the pacing was a bit slower and the reactions a bit more animated. But still quite amusing and over-the-top NSFW. Amy Miles sang selections from an upcoming "two-part epic rock opera" that may not be epic, but certainly provided reason enough to bring Paul Rudd onstage. The crowd also got a sort-of Stella reunion when Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter arrived to perform a sketch the Michaels claim Comedy Central does not want them to produce for their upcoming series, Michael and Michael Have Issues. Though for the life of me, I could not see what could be so wrong about having "extra farts" with dinner. "Can you believe it? They don't want us to do that one," Ian Black said. "But we're going to tell them that the f---ers at 92YTribeca f---ing loved it!" Wain got most of the actors from Wainy Days, plus Thorne and Rudd, to stage a reading of what Wain claimed was his first draft of the series, written when he was 12 (but most likely last week). Let's just say that even as a middle-schooler, he was preoccupied with sex. Best offensively funny line: "That's cool. What's the point of Roe v. Wade if we're not going to use it?" The "Stella" trio also got the audience to indulge them in their own spin on Mad-Libs. And he topped off the evening with an anti-chat segment with Rudd (sample topics: How much fun must it be on a Judd Apatow set? And the cast of Friends really are friends!).
Videos after the jump:
If you want to know what to expect from the upcoming Comedy Central sketch show, Michael and Michael Have Issues, then perhaps this preview sketch might help explain things for you. Michael Showalter tries to guide Michael Ian Black through a voiceover session on farting butterflies. No fooling. Or, rather, much fooling!
|Michael & Michael Have Issues||Premieres Thurs, July 15, 10:30pm / 11:30c|
|Preview - The Farting Butterfly Sketch|
The kids who spawned Reno 911!, Stella, Viva Variety and the upcoming Michael and Michael Have Issues are all grown up now, and they're finally bringing their original 1990s MTV sketch showcase, The State, to DVD. Five discs full of extras, coming July 14, 2009. Here's the trailer!
The team of Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter officially have kicked their upcoming Comedy Central series into high gear, auditioning actors and actresses for sketches, hiring writers (Jessi Klein and Kumail Nanjiani) and prepping production for their first season of episodes for Michael & Michael Have Issues. The network ordered seven episodes of the series back in February, and they're supposed to begin airing in July. On top of all of the work that goes into developing a new show, Black and Showalter also have begun contributing to their own show blog. And on day two, Michael & Michael Have Issues online already has checked off the meme for cat photos.
If you live near New York City, or even in New England, you see the TV ad for the New York Times Weekender subscription a lot. A lot, a lot. Perhaps this ad even runs nationally? Regardless, the new 92YTribeca facility, which has been booking lots of great comedy shows (thank you, Bart Coleman), just released this new advertisement written and directed by Michael Showalter and featuring Paul Rudd and many funny stand-up comedians. How many do you recognize? If you need a hint, just look at my category tags below. Related: The 92YTribeca's comedy schedule. Enjoy!
To Do Thursday: See Wayne Federman host Todd Barry, Dave Hill, Jessi Klein and others in 92YTribeca's weekly Comedy Below Canal series (tickets and info).
This is a big weekend for Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter. Not only are they celebrating a reunion with both The State and Stella this weekend at the SF Sketchfest, but they're also getting a new series together on Comedy Central. I'd heard rumblings that the pilot had gotten picked up earlier this week, today saw they had a MySpace (already 778 friends as I type this) and tonight, MIB himself confirmed that you'll be seeing Michael and Michael Have Issues on your basic cable TV eventually this summer. Congrats! As he wrote:
Michael and I are already hard at work thinking of ideas. The first idea we came up with: try to make a show that people want to watch. This is a radical departure for us, but after a long and successful career spent making television programs which the public says “no thank you” to, we’ve decided to go in the opposite direction.
Related: Rolling Stone has a lengthy Q&A with The State gang about the good old days of the early 1990s.
So, having just witnessed the end of Super Deluxe, we move on to the survivors in the online comedy video business, and it should come as no to surprise to anyone who has watched Wainy Days on My Damn Channel that David Wain has brought his Stella mates, Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter, into the fold. Here is their new original short, Birthday, that debuted this week:
Time Out NY's comedy editor Jane Borden welcomed two-thirds of Stella to her office the other day, and David Wain and Michael Showalter took over the break room so they could show off some of their tips for making a holiday party work despite the tough economic times...