Great week for Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the South Park creators who almost ran the tables at the 2011 Tony Awards for their hit musical, The Book of Mormon.
On Wednesday night, the duo appeared triumphantly on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to rejoice in stories about the Tonys, as well as some comments about their most recent episode of South Park, in which they addressed their cynicism.
But how about those Tony Awards?!
Amid all of the TV news making waves this week, Comedy Central put out a press release acknowledging the grand future of TV -- which, of course, is on our computers and our telephones.
What the release actually announced was Comedy Central's biggest traffic week ever online, with close to 26 million videos streamed digitally online for the week of May 2, 2011.
Thank Osama bin Laden, or rather, his death, for that? That's what the network said drove viewers to clips about it from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report.
Two other figures jumped out from the release:
The South Park episode, "Funnybot," was Comedy Central Digital's most-watched content, with upward of 1 million starts and more than 2.5 million overall streams. I wonder how that compares with online audiences for the broadcast networks.
And Daniel Tosh's series, Tosh.0, became the first Comedy Central app to hit the 1 million download mark via iPhone and iPad. That's building and maintaining a loyal audience for the series, which returns with new episodes next week.
With the help of Robert Lopez and a cast led by Josh Gad, the South Park team of Matt Stone and Trey Parker have created Broadway's one truly smash success of 2011 with their musical The Book of Mormon -- not just the hottest ticket of the year, but now also the biggest critical hit, earning a leading 14 nominations today in the annual Tony Awards.
This season has witnessed an unusually large number of stand-up comedians making their Broadway debuts as well, but none of them earned Tony nods.
Chris Rock's The Motherf**ker with the Hat, however, did receive multiple nominations, including Best Play, Best Performance By A Leading Actor for Bobby Cannavale, and nods for his co-stars Yul Vázquez and Elizabeth Rodriguez.
Robin Williams' co-star, Arian Moayed, also received a Tony nomination for his performance in the play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.
But zip for Rock or Williams, or even Colin Quinn, Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman, Kathy Griffin, Jim Gaffigan, Kathy Griffin, or any of the other comedians. That leaves the focus squarely on Stone and Parker and the very real possibility that you'll get to see and hear them deliver a speech on live TV this June during the Tony Awards. Buckle up!
SPOILER ALERT! Comedy Central's South Park team usually has lightning-fast turnaround to current events, but this week's new episode is lampooning The Comedy Awards (which Matt and Trey won an award from Comedy Central at, btw).
It's OK, though, because they already covered the whole let's have Osama bin Laden get shot in the head by U.S. special ops rappelling down to the ground from a helicopter routine. That episode, "It's a Jersey Thing," (season 14, episode 9) will air at 9:30 p.m. EDT/PDT Wednesday, after an encore of "Osama bin Laden has Farty Pants" (season 5, episode 9) at 9.
Roll the clip!
Matt Stone and Trey Parker are on tonight's episode of Late Show with David Letterman to promote their new Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon (it's in previews until March 24).
But since it's the day after the Academy Awards, Letterman just had to remind them about the time they were nominated for Best Song at the Oscars for their South Park movie, and their decision to wear infamous outfits previously worn at awards ceremonies by Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow. Turns out they have a timely defense. They were on drugs, and those drugs were Charlie Sheen!
Roll the clip:
Related: Get info on The Book of Mormon, now on Broadway.
It's fairly well accepted that to be a great comedian, you need to get onstage as much as possible. Perform every night, multiple times if you can, to as many kinds of audiences. Learn what works, what's funny, how to adapt to situations. I bring all of this up today because last night's edition of Nightline on ABC opened with a feature on talented people and why they're talented. They talk about singers, musicians and athletes. It's something worth watching for comedians and bloggers alike. Which reminds me. Time to get us all back in the loop with the latest headlines and subplots in the comedy world:
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.
The folks at Just For Laughs announced part of its 2008 slate for Montreal yesterday (proving once again, that a blogger cannot take a day off!)...
This year, Montreal introduces its first "industry conference" -- Just Comedy -- with Ivan and Jason Reitman talking father-son comedy shop on July 17, and Judd Apatow getting honored as "comedy person of the year" (year unspecified) on July 18.
The Galas (the biggest shows in size and scope) include hosts Craig Ferguson (July 18), Jimmy Fallon (July 19) and an "all-star" gala with Ron White, Paula Poundstone and Larry Miller (July 20).
Special events listed include: Stiles & Proops: Unplanned (July 15) featuring, well, whatever Ryan Stiles and Greg Proops feel like doing that night; South Park Live (July 16) with Matt Stone and Trey Parker; Omid Djalili (July 17); and Apatow For Destruction (July 18) featuring the aforementioned Apatow with cohorts Seth Rogen, Craig Robinson, Russell Brand and others.
Club shows, which often get grouped into themes, include The Nasty Show with hosts Nick DiPaolo and Patrice Oneal; The Ethnic Heroes of Comedy hosted by Frank Spadone with Steve Byrne, Gabriel Iglesias, Maz Jobrani and others; AMP'd, the Music Comedy Show with host Craig Robinson; Laugh-rodisiacs, the Relationship Show hosted by Greg Behrendt; the midnight Alternative Comedy Show hosted once again by Andy Kindler; the Best of the Uptown Comics which in Canadian means "urban" which means "black," hosted by Bruce Bruce with JB Smoove, Craig Robinson and others.
Tom Papa gets promoted from New Faces host in 2007 to the "Richard Jeni One-Person Show Series" with his show, "Only Human" (July 14-20).
Of course, the real treats for fans and the industry come in the New Faces showcases (to be hosted by Greg Giraldo and Dana Gould), and we won't know who makes it to Montreal until this weekend's final New York City auditions: May 1 at Comic Strip Live, May 2 at Stand-Up NY and May 3 at Broadway Comedy Club.
The mystery continues to spur online debate. Let me say a couple of things right off: First, I did point out the sudden flip-flop by Isaac Hayes about the "Trapped in the Closet" episode of South Park. Quoted his Onion interview in my original story on March 14, before FOX News started floating rumors. Last week, I noted that Matt and Trey would quickly respond to the mess by skewering Hayes and his Chef character. My first two paragraphs: “South Park” is responding to Chef’s departure the only way the show knows how - by mocking it. The 10th season of Comedy Central’s highest-rated series premieres tomorrow night with, of all things, “The Return of Chef.” Coincidentally(?), CNN Headline News that morning had its entertainment reporter, Adrianna Costa, talk about South Park's intentions with these lines of dialogue: "South Park is responding to Chef's departure the only way the show knows how - by mocking it! The 10th season of Comedy Central's hit series premieres tomorrow night with, of all things, 'The Return of Chef.'" Yeah, I know. Pretty gosh darn familiar. I tend to catch part of Headline News in the mornings before I head out the door. Last Tuesday, I did a double-take and rewinded (thank you, Comcast DVR) to make sure I wasn't dreaming it. Yes, she did read my lines. Plagiarism? Or flattery? Since it's Costa, I'm going to go with flattery. It's nice to know that the folks down there in Atlanta read my witty prose. That said, this past week has seen some buzzing about whether or not Hayes actually quit the show -- or whether his Scientologist minders did it for him. Why would this even be up for debate? Because Hayes suffered a mild stroke in January. Before stroke? Hayes was upset but OK with Matt and Trey. After stroke? Hayes quits the show. Or did he even have a stroke? A Google search turns up an E! story that says no stroke, but a Philadelphia Inquirer report from January says yes stroke. Somebody is telling the whole truth, and somebody is spreading lies. Care to guess which is which?
For my part, I thought the South Park episode last week was hilarious.