I have some good news to share with you regarding Funny or Die, but before you get the good news, I have to deliver the bad news. Which comes to us via James Serafinowicz, brother of Peter, who announced today via his Tumblr that the Funny or Die UK site would be shutting down on Friday, after only 18 months as an Internet destination. He wrote:
It’s been a great 18 months and I feel like we’ve made some really good stuff along the way.
Would really like to thank everyone who watched and supported the content that we were making.
Where are all of the Brits watching their original funny videos, then? YouTube (which celebrates its fifth anniversary this week)? Or somewhere else? What does this say about our Internet habits?
And what does it say that one of the FOD UK exclusive front page videos today is from Pablo Francisco? No, it doesn't mean that we're already deporting our Arizona comedians. But if you'd like to see Francisco's new video, roll it! He's offering personalized voice mails for you Brits (but not Britneys).
A few things to mention before we get back to our regularly scheduled blogging:
Today we have multiple tidings of joy to relay your way...
HBO has heard us and listened, granting us with a second season of Eastbound & Down. What will Kenny Powers do next? We'll find out in 2010.
Comedy Central has announced that it's next roast "victim" will be Joan Rivers, taping in Los Angeles on July 26, and airing on Aug. 9, 2009.
Comedy Central also has announced a deal with Levity Entertainment to release 12 stand-up specials over the next two years. The deal includes orders for Christopher Titus, Gabriel Iglesias, Pablo Francisco, Jim Breuer, Mitch Fatel, Pete Correale airing this year, and six more to shoot this year and air in 2010, including ventriloquist Jeff Dunham. It's all business. Longtime Levity client Dunham recorded the highest ratings ever for Comedy Central with last year's "Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special." A couple of weeks ago, the network inked Dunham individually to a deal that included not just another special and DVD, but also consumer products (his fans love to buy his puppets) and a new series(?). All of this also means the network is moving ahead with Levity on a fourth season of Live at Gotham, the showcase for up-and-coming stand-ups (also read as comedians who have yet to appear on Comedy Central in a half-hour or hour). Casting is happening now for the new Gotham lineups.
And Netflix announced it has lined up the first nine seasons of South Park for immediate streaming by its subscribers. Which sounded great until I remembered that you can watch any past episode of South Park already via the show's South Park Studios site.
Apple did not tell me how it came up with its list of Best of Comedy 2008 in iTunes, so I cannot tell you if this lineup is based on sales, judged rankings or something else entirely. But I can tell you who made the iTunes cut in 2008 (I've reviewed half of these CDs, which means I still have some work to do). Whom do you think they overlooked?
Robert Kelly, Just the Tip
Steve Byrne, Happy Hour
Gabriel Iglesias, Hot and Fluffy
Josh Sneed, Unacceptable
Lisa Landry, Put Your Keys in the Keybowl
Pablo Francisco, Ouch! (Live from San Jose)
Jimmy Dore, Citizen Jimmy
Dov Davidoff, The Point Is
Bill Burr, Why Do I Do This?
Jeffrey Ross: No Offense, Live from New Jersey
Comedy Central's annual "Stand-Up Showdown" airs today, rebroadcasting the top 20 stand-up specials as voted online by fans over the past month. It's airing now!
The full schedule/countdown...which began at 11:30 a.m. today...(with applicable taping season)
20) Loni Love (season 11)
19) Doug Benson (season 8)
18) Chelsea Handler (season 11)
17) Steve Byrne (season 10)
16) Maria Bamford (season 11)*
15) Rich Vos (season 7)*
14) Dane Cook (season 3)
13) Stephen Lynch (season 12)**
12) Mike Birbiglia (season 10)*
11) Demetri Martin (season 8)
10) Mitch Hedberg (season 1)
9) Jim Gaffigan (season 3)
8) Pablo Francisco (season 4)
7) Kyle Cease (season 10)
6) Mitch Fatel (season 11)
5) Lewis Black (season 6)*
4) Frank Caliendo (season 8)
3) Lisa Landry (season 11)
2) Josh Sneed (season 11)
1) Jeff Dunham (his Spark of Insanity hourlong special)
* These comedians have multiple half-hour CCPs. Rich Vos has one upcoming this season.
** Stephen Lynch is the only one from this current crop of CCPs to make the list. Which, of course, is unfair to the many comedians this season who also taped with Lynch but haven't gotten on the air yet. Then again, this whole "showdown" is essentially just a test to see which comedian wants to mobilize his or her fans to vote early and often for them to get an extra TV airing. Really, that's it. No big cash prize. No trophy. But it certainly got us paying attention to Comedy Central on a Sunday in January, right? Of course, if I were one of the comedians who made the top 20, I'd probably still feel pretty good about it (while also looking at the other comedians who got listed ahead of me and behind me and wondering where I stood, which is why you have to realize and remind yourself that this isn't a "showdown" at all).