Mere weeks after saying goodbye to both of its new sports-themed comedy series, Comedy Central has ordered series pickups for two sketch-comedy ideas: One starring Nick Kroll and all of his characters, The Nick Show Kroll; and the other, an untitled project reuniting MADtv alums Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key.
Interestingly enough, the press release from Comedy Central seems to indicate that Kent Alterman ordered both pilots to series without even seeing them. In fact, his quote says just that!
"I haven't seen either pilot yet, but I think so highly of the talent involved, I can't imagine the shows won't be great," said Alterman.
Nick Kroll proudly announced his show to friends, fans and followers on Twitter...
On last night's episode of Conan, comedian/actor Nick Kroll showed off a bit of his Latino radio DJ, El Chupacabra, explained a clip of him as Bobby Bottleservice, and told Conan O'Brien about the first time he ever performed stand-up in college, and how that didn't go quite as planned.
If you want to see Kroll's appearance on Conan last night, then just roll the clip!
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...
A comedy fan named Danielle who goes by schwaggology on Tumblr was up late the other night watching the first season of the Upright Citizens Brigade's Comedy Central series from way back in 1998 when something caught her eye.
Sitting alongside UCB members Amy Poehler and Matt Besser were mostly college-aged fresh-faced kids (just as you'd see in many UCB show audiences today in NYC or Hollywood). But in the third episode of season one, "Saigon Suicide Squad," check out a few faces in particular. As Danielle points out with arrows, you can see what Paul Scheer, Rob Corddry, Nick Kroll and Rob Riggle looked like many years before they were TV famous themselves.
I wanted to find out more about how this episode could attract so much future talent, so I asked Paul Scheer how he got this very early TV credit. Scheer told The Comic's Comic:
"As far as Saigon -- I was in every episode of UCB season 1 sometimes twice an episode (as an extra -- I think I eventually got one line). They used all their students as extras, none of us got paid but they had great snacks. Saigon was a taping of their amazing stage show, so that was an easy one but that was a super fun night up in Harlem.
I think Nick was a freshman in Georgetown. I was still in NYU. But if you watch the 1st season everyone is there. It's fun looking back."
This photo also works as a great advertisement for taking classes at the UCB's Theatres: From students to stars!
When Zach Galifianakis first hosted Saturday Night Live last season, he starred in a digital short called "Zach Drops By The Set" that featured unexpected cameos by the comedian on various TV shows. The first scene has him wheeling around in a chair behind Brian Williams during a news update.
Cut to last weekend, when Galifianakis literally dropped by the set of MSNBC after watching his Hangover co-star Ed Helms host SNL. Just as he did in the SNL Digital Short, but for real this time, Galifianakis wheeled around in a chair behind the MSNBC anchor, in this case Veronica De La Cruz, during an overnight news update. Bonus: Sitting on either side of Galifianakis are Nick Kroll and Al Madrigal.
Here's the art...
I certainly wouldn't consider myself a successful alcoholic. But who could, really? And yet, that's the title of the 25-minute short film written by TJ Miller and directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival back in 2010. It's finally online in its entirety for you to enjoy. Certainly Not Safe For Work. Miller and Lizzy Caplan star in Successful Alcoholics, with featured roles for Nick Thune, Matt Braunger, Nick Kroll and Whitney Cummings.
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.
This is an actual joke contest hosted by Bobby Bottleservice (aka Nick Kroll) on behalf of Malaria No More.
Roll the clip!
Details? Enter the Bobby Bottleservice Joke Contest for the chance to win a trip for two to Los Angeles to see Hollywood Bites Back! at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on April 16, a live comedy show featuring Conan O’Brien, Sarah Silverman and more to benefit the nonprofit Malaria No More. All you have to do is create a short YouTube video finishing the joke “Why did the mosquito cross the road?” Then, submit your YouTube URL to www.MalariaNoMore.org/Joke. See your video posted with other submissions at www.YouTube.com/MosquitoJoke. Winner will be announced by April 8, and if the joke is good enough, you might be invited to tell it on stage at the show! For official contest rules, go to:www.MalariaNoMore.org/official-contest-rules
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.
Nick Kroll has said that he pitched his first one-hour special to Comedy Central as his "one-man Muppet Show." But he gets a lot of help from his friends in Thank You Very Cool, which aired Saturday night on the network. And speaking of Saturday night, what's remarkable about Kroll's comedy is just how much he is an Saturday Night Live kind of star without being on SNL.
Kroll doesn't even tell jokes onstage as himself until after the first commercial break.
Before then, we get introduced through taped pieces not only to each of Nick Kroll's characters, three of whom -- Fabrice Fabrice, Bobby Bottleservice and El Chupacabra -- are as popular as any recurring character on SNL, except Kroll has honed and refined his alter-egos live on smaller club stages and online through Funny or Die and podcasts. We also get to meet Gil Faizon (Kroll) and George St. Geegland (John Mulaney, who writes for SNL), the duo's "Oh, Hello" caricature of Upper West Siders who in this special, play the Muppet version of Statler and Waldorf.
The opening scenes also feature fellow comedian Chelsea Peretti in the green room, and Lake Bell getting the TSA treatment outside from bouncer Bobby Bottleservice. Mindy Kaling (The Office) gets surprised later when she finds Bottleservice working in the women's restroom.
Bobby B. also gets to be the first performer shown onstage in front of the crowd at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, where the special was filmed in November. Very Cool, indeed. In giving the announcements to the audience, Bottleservice spouts off such wisdom as "Safety first! But also, be dangerous." He lays down the ground rules and reveals more than a bit about "himself." For one thing, his DJ name -- DJ Oriental Immigrant -- isn't racist. For another, although he has gone online and made his case to join the Jersey Shore cast, he's not about the GTL. For him, it's VJR. "Vodka. Jesus. Revenge."
As for Kroll's stand-up as himself, it's not breaking new ground, exactly, to describe the woes of visiting the DMV, comedians going on job interviews, or the differences between dogs and cats.
But his ability to act out the premises, either as himself or in character, overcomes the banality of the premise, when you see him twirling his body around as a kitty cat, or watch him figuring out how to pack for a trip to Jamaica while he's extremely drunk. Even when he's just being himself, he manages to get away with a Michael Jackson joke by imagining having to explain the late singer to his future child.
Roll the clip:
Remember, though, that Kroll is trying to pull off something that's more than just stand-up and actually lives up to the special part of the comedy special. As he told The AV Club in a recent interview:
"I feel like we have so many different ways to express ourselves now, and I relish, I feel very lucky to be doing comedy at this time. It’s a real democratic time for comedy, and I think my special is a sign for that. You don’t have to just be a classic stand-up to get a special, or you don’t just have to be on Saturday Night Live to do characters and sketch on TV. The web has allowed me to show that there are different ways to make people laugh, and the special is a combination of those things. For me, the goal wasn’t to turn the stand-up special on its head, but to do what I do specifically, and hopefully that reads as something new."
So we get just as much time away from the stage as we do with Kroll as himself telling jokes.
Brandon Johnson (last seen by many as the DJ for Aziz Ansari's alter-ego, Raaaaaandy) has to put up with the "Oh, Hello" guys when they make a break for the bar and prepare their own custom cocktail, the Martuna. Yes. Tuna. Notice how Kroll remains committed to the bit.
We also get to see El Chupacabra -- a Mexican radio DJ who pops up in podcasts (relive my encounter with Kroll as El Chupacabra interviewed for WTF with Marc Maron) -- realize his full potential in his own scenes. Hello, baby! Dumb baby. Oh. When you see a website address flash on the screen, if you do visit www.911punto9.com, you'll head to an El Chupacabra site with plenty of videos from this special.
Fabrice Fabrice also gets to saunter away from the crafts services table and onto the stage. Kroll has brought Fabrice Fabrice out in public before (see last year's John Oliver New York Stand-Up Show, for example), but here, he let hims improvise slam poetry based on audience suggestions. In an unaired bit, which will show up later on the extended DVD version of the special, Fabrice Fabrice also took questions from the audience.
While Fabrice Fabrice is onstage, the camera cuts back to Kroll, shown backstage muttering, "This is eating time out of my special."
More like chewing up the scenery. Which when Kroll does it, is very cool thank you.
If you were out and about on New Year's Eve, then perhaps you didn't know that MTV had employed several comedians to help end your 2010 with some ha-has. Whitney Cummings did an admirable job hosting the live portions, considering she had to do so alongside the cast of Jersey Shore -- while JWOWW lived up to her name, Mike "The Situation" looked like he would have been better off not showing up (as he had threatened).
Meanwhile, the MTV New Year's Eve broadcast opened big with Bobby Moynihan's impersonation of "Snooki" mirroring and then making out with the little orange demon herself. Roll the clip!
Later on, Nick Kroll inhabited his own Jersey-type character, Bobby Bottleservice, to "summerize" the year that was 2010. How was he not added to the cast in time for season three? Roll it!
When I saw a video early this morning depicting Bobby Bottleservice in Africa, I thought, that couldn't be right. Perhaps my weekend cold/flu/bug had prompted this hallucination.
But no. Nick Kroll wasn't the only comedian to make the trip to Senegal. Ed Helms, Natasha Leggero, Riki Lindhome and others did so, and it's all part of a project called Malaria No More. Say that three times fast, why don't you. Or let these comedians and actors tell you.
So why, exactly? According to the site:
"Comedy Fights Malaria shows that the disease is no laughing matter—every 45 seconds, a child in Africa dies from malaria—but humor can keep malaria in the spotlight and in the conversation. The result is always amusing, often absurd and sometimes downright bizarre messages from a broad range of stars. Our goal is to engage people in a new way of talking about malaria and see how each person can contribute their own unique skills to keep malaria at the forefront of the conversation."
They're going to spread the message also through their Malaria No More Facebook page.
Here, meanwhile, is a clip of Ed Helms explaining the project to Jay Leno, as well a clip of his clip for the project.
And here is Nick Kroll as Bobby Bottleservice in Senegal, doling out advice, guidance and profanities. Roll it!
If you looked at this weekend's list of comedians taping half-hour Comedy Central Presents and wondered, hey, where's Nick Kroll on that list? Well, not to worry.
Kroll is getting a full hour to showcase not only his stand-up, but also his character work. So if you want to see more of Fabrice Fabrice, Bobby Bottleservice or El Chupacabra, you'll get to see it soon enough. Even sooner if you're at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on Nov. 18.
We're just a few days away from the start of the 12th annual Del Close Marathon -- that's DCM12 for short (and for Twitter hashtag purposes) -- and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre has released the footage from the show that's always a DCM showstopper: That late-late-night Saturday all-star showcase parody of "Match Game '76," where in recent years, the only things you can count on are Paul Scheer doing his own version of the late Gene Rayburn, contestant Jack McBrayer playing himself and seemingly more frightened every year because he doesn't know how or what the dozens of UCB players (in celebrity characters) will do to taunt him. It's at 2 a.m. Sunday this weekend.
Last year, for DCM11, the cast of characters were played by the likes of Rob Huebel, Brett Gelman, Nick Kroll, Doug Benson, Horatio Sanz, Anthony Atamanuik, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, Chris Gethard, Rob Lathan, Jon Daly, Katie Dippold, Seth Morris, Sean Conroy, Owen Burke, James Adomian and yes, that is Sarah Silverman in disguise as Carl Weathers. Oh, and people also did the show completely disguised as Flipper and Dr. Zaius.
Let's just say it's Not Safe For Work, because it most definitely is. See you this weekend. Roll it!
Sometimes events happen at the same time in a way that are coincidental and yet entirely intentional. At this year's Just For Laughs in Montreal, festival-goers can attend with their passes or buy a ticket to a preview screening tonight of the upcoming comedy, Dinner For Schmucks, hosted by director Jay Roach. On Friday, the creative staff from Funny or Die will convene at the JFL Comedy Conference for an afternoon panel on the present and future state of online comedy.
These comedy worlds and questions all collide in this new FoD clip uploaded this morning, featuring Nick Kroll as his craft-services character Fabrice Fabrice, cornering Steve Carell at a press junket for Dinner For Schmucks and asking him questions only a schmuck could love. Funny improv here. Carell plays it straight, but does break slightly. Roll the clip!
My friends at Atom.com caught up with Nick Kroll and Donald Glover at the kickoff of their Axe Twisted Comedy Tour -- they'll be appearing at a college or comedy club near you later this month (April 25 at Comix in NYC), with Chelsea Peretti and Whitney Cummings.
Watch Kroll and Glover talk about the online videos they produced with their friends before they became known on the TV, and why it's important to make your own shorts and find good co-workers. Roll the clip.
And another thing. Funny or Die just released this video to promote its upcoming spring college tour with Nick Kroll, Chelsea Peretti and Donald Glover (not pictured in this video), in which they're supposed to be scientific specialists on decoding text messages. Um. Hmmm. Er. Uhhhh. What? Roll it?
This is one of those cases that always strikes me as more than a little interesting, because what we have here is a comedian who wrote a bit about a topic, and then later finds himself (or herself, but himself in this case) doing a sketch about the same topic, but with that corporate edge that takes away the edge of the thing. If you have not seen it, here was Kroll's routine imagining an award show for text messages called the Texties. Or one version of it. Presenting evidence in 3, 2, 1...
Notice any differences?
The Ed Hardy Boyz have gotten called on a new mystery mission, thanks to a hot Filipino babe with big naturals who had her tramp stamp stolen. Sounds like a case for Bobby Bottleservice (Nick Kroll) and Peter Papparazzo (Jon Daly) to solve, right? Only this time, for reasons that can only be explained by the fact that they're in Hollywood now, they've got the backing of Ed Hardy's actual designer, Christian Audigier, as well as cameos from Fred Durst, Tom Sizemore and Pat O'Brien. I mean, really. Seriously? It's one thing to have a sense of humor. But these guys know what's going on, right? I mean, really. Seriously? This reminds me of the time Sarah Palin went on SNL and had her entire life mocked in front of her and danced along to the insane rap stylings, and was still the leading Republican candidate for president a year later. Oh. Right. I guess that's why these d-bags are more than happy to be in on the joke. What is happening? I feel like David after Dentist right now, because life makes no sense any longer.
HBO has a new look online, and that includes a home page for the upcoming series of sketches from Funny or Die called Funny or Die Presents, and along with it, a fresh "Buzz" video that offers insider looks at FoD Presents (Brett Gelman dancing in 1,000 Cats! Leo Allen with a snake! Will Ferrell in disguise!). That's not all, though. You also get behind-the-scenes with Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington on animated their popular podcasts, a look at the second season of animated series The Life & Times of Tim (with Nick Kroll talking improv!), and previews of Bill Maher's latest stand-up special and season of Real Time. It all debuts Feb. 19.