Logo, MTV Networks' GLBT channel, chipped in to extend The Sarah Silverman Program one season longer than Comedy Central would have had it, and in its newly-released development slate, there's a new project in the works involving Silverman, Tig Notaro and friends.
Actually, it's called Tig and Friends, and the potential series -- executive-produced by Silverman -- would have Notaro interview the cast of a different TV show, movie or band each week, plus more. Erin O'Malley, e.p. on Curb Your Enthusiasm as well as Silverman's Comedy Central series, would be the show-runner.
The other comedy on Logo's 2011 radar is called Queen of Harts, and comes from Peter Marc Jacobson, co-creator and producer of The Nanny. Jacobson's new project also involves a nanny. Except in this case, the nanny is man who's struggling as a hairdresser, so he disguises himself in drag as a woman (Mrs. Doubtfire meets Tootsie meets The Nanny?!?) to get a nanny job for the family of a 1980s rock star.
Have you wanted to see live comedy, but not wanted to leave your house to find parking, pay for tickets, deal with drink and food minimums and worry about where you're sitting? Hold on. I could've stopped you at leave your house.
Because Tig Notaro is filming a TV pilot that comes to you. It's called Tig Notaro's Untitled Comedy Tour.
Hey, look! That's Matt Braunger performing in somebody's back yard!
What you have to do to get Notaro and her "surprise celebrity guests" to perform at your house: Post a two-minute video to the Tig Notaro Untitled Comedy Tour Facebook page, by Nov. 23, 2010, telling them why your house should be a tour stop. Be sure to tell them where you live and how you'd present the show, from the staging, lighting, promotion, audience, and where inside or outside you'd like it all done.
Like I said, Sarah Silverman took part in a conference call this afternoon to talk about season three of The Sarah Silverman Program, which debuts Feb. 4 on Comedy Central -- and also on Logo, the gay and lesbian cable channel that helped fund production costs for the third season.
The first episode, "The Proof is in the Penis," has a more cinematic sweep and tone to it, even if it may set a new record for the number of times the word "penis" is said in 22 minutes -- including one scene in which Silverman screams "I swallowed my penis!" over and over. You'll also find out that Silverman's donning of a mustache at the Emmys might not have been a prank as much as it was a tease. But the look and feel of the third-season debut definitely feels like a movie, and with a sisterly duet thrown in, reminded me of Silverman's movie, Jesus is Magic. The second episode, "The Silverman and the Pillows," written by comedian Chelsea Peretti, also opens with a musical number, and might have some people mistakenly trying to draw a parallel to the Leno/Conan debacle at NBC. That'd be silly, although Silverman said she's on Team Conan.
"I think the first one, 'Proof is in the Penis,' feels really cinematic to me," Silverman told me today. "We haven't been on the air in 14 months." With such a long wait for new episodes, she wanted to return to the air with something big and "special" for the fans. "We weren't on the air in 2009 at all," she said. "You'd think we were The Sopranos or Lost with all of the gaps in production, and not a 21-and-a-half-minute show about fart jokes."
As for the added musical element, Silverman said there's no hard and fast rules about it this season. "It's very uneven," she said. "I think the second episode has three songs. It's just however it works with the story and however we were moved...Usually in the (writers) room, someone will get a snag in their brain. There's an episode where Steve writes a song that becomes famous called 'I'm Glad You Hurt Your Hand.' That just came from me, and Rob Schrab hurt his hand, and I just started singing, (singing) 'I'm glad you hurt your hand. I'm glad you hurt your hand.'"
The Bentzen Ball opened its inaugural comedy festival in our nation's capital last night, and The Comic's Comic was there for what seemed like a flash (because I was only there for about as many hours as I actually spent on the bus back and forth between NYC and DC from yesterday afternoon to this morning). But there I was in the shadows alongside Kyle Kinane, enjoying Rory Scovel's "country bumpkin" act during the Patton Oswalt and Friends show that served as the ball's opening gala at DC's Lincoln Theatre. Did I say country bumpkin? Yes, I did.
I'm fairly sure few people in the audience knew what kind of a show they were getting from Scovel, who joked about needing to smoke pot to enjoy this summer's rash of 3D animated movies, about fulfilling the WWJD motto, and at one point, telling the audience: "This is like Christmas, but I'm eating it!" Oswalt may have been the big draw for opening night -- and certainly did his part closing with a 50-minute set that touched upon routines from his latest CD/DVD, as well as a few memories about his start in stand-up in D.C. clubs, plus a rant about the Christmas song, "Christmas Shoes." He also encouraged the crowd to check out many of the not-so "famous" comedians performing at this weekend's fest. Not that they had to go very far, for they got treated to sets from Kinane (he received prolonged spontaneous applause after his performance, which closed with an adventure in a Chicago public bathroom -- so no need for him to be consoled by one of the festival's organizers, Andy Wood, afterward (as pictured!)), Ian Edwards (who provoked them into rethinking their attitudes on race and sex, and even made them gasp during his closer), and sets by the more famous acts of Todd Barry and Mary Lynn Rasjkub, and host/curator Tig Notaro. For a full set of photos from last night, check out Dakota Fine's full collection courtesy of fest organizer Brightest Young Things.
I also checked out the late show at the Bohemian Caverns, which has a basement set up to look like a cave. Nice touch? Maybe, but the stage lighting was a bit off, and the upstairs had turned into a dance club, factors that made it tough for many of the performers Thursday night -- although Seth Herzog and Morgan Murphy both seemed to get the crowd's attention in a good way. The local comedians, meanwhile, were showcasing over at HR 57, and there was an open mic advertised at Ben's Chili Bowl, which I don't remember seeing when Barry, Herzog, Reggie Watts and I went over there to sample the local institution's Chili Half-Smoke (online, the menu says it's named after Bill Cosby!).
Oh, did I mention that the Question Mark Suit Guy (informercial guy Matthew Lesko) was there, opening the festivities with a horrible comedy sketch that he and DC Councilman Jim Graham planned out? You can see that and more in this short highlight reel I put together from my brief sojourn to DC:
When the D.C. Comedy Festival decided it wasn't returning in 2009, the folks at Brightest Young Things -- who know a thing or two about throwing a party -- asked comedian Tig Notaro -- who knows a thing or two about funny people -- to help them fill the comedy void in our nation's capital. They're putting on the inaugural Bentzen Ball this weekend, Oct. 22-25, in Washington, D.C.
I sat down at my computer and typed out some questions, and Tig Notaro took whatever position she takes when she types on a computer (I'm going to imagine she's straddling this motorcycle), and the power of the Internets brought our fingers and thoughts together for an interview. Ready, set, read!
Do you think D.C. needs comedy more and/or differently from other parts of the country?
I can't imagine any place where someone would say, "Nope, no more comedy needed here folks, thanks though. Move it along." I guess DC strikes me as even more prime of an area though due to the increased interest in the city itself and politics in general since Obama took office. Comedians obviously have something to say, and DC is the perfect city to speak their minds in, regardless of the topic. Who isn't up for a debate in that town? Politics, comedy or otherwise.
How would you compare putting together the Bentzen Ball with your previous installments of Tig Notaro and Friends?
Tig and Friends never takes place in DC or with 60 comedians. It's just me and maybe 3 comedian friends at Largo in LA. There's no rounding up sponsorship, never thousands of dollars on the line, you know, that sort of thing. A few slight differences. Spreadsheets and whatnot.
How did you feel about being spotlighted by Bob Read and Mark Ross online in their very first "Laugh Squad" post online for The Jay Leno Show? Is that better than being on The Jay Leno Show itself? Do you feel like Bob and Mark could have/should have given you more of a showcase via Last Comic Standing? What's your philosophy toward achieving true success as a comedian, and knowing when you've achieved it?
I appreciated that Bob and Ross spotlighted me on the website the night of Leno's premiere. I imagine it was nice exposure to some extent. The morning after though, my life changed like crazy. I immediately started riding around in a stretch Hummer with all the windows rolled down. I think its important to keep up appearances. As for Last Comic Standing, I'm more than fine with the exposure they gave me. I never wanted anything more from the show than what I got. I didn't want to win or be solely known as "from Last Comic Standing." When people do know me from that, I'm always shocked. I was at a hot dog stand in Santa Barbara once with Natasha Leggero (I'll explain later) and got recognized from the show. It was a very glamorous time. In that moment, Natasha got a glimpse into how good things could be one day. I think Natasha was pretty impressed. Just as I imagine the guy that recognized me from Last Comic Standing was quite impressed to find me at that hot dog stand. I think that's when I knew I had achieved true success as a comedian. It felt like everything had finally come full circle. I'm not going to lie, it felt pretty darn good to have that guy see me step into my Hummer and drive off from that Santa Barbara hot dog stand.
Comedian Tig Notaro and Brightest Young Things announced a brand-new comedy festival coming to Washington, D.C., in October, and their Bentzen Ball sold more than 800 tickets since going on sale at noon today. We can see why. Just check out this list of performers that Notaro has assembled to perform with her in our nation's capital...
Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, Todd Barry, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Jimmy Dore, Morgan Murphy, Dave Hill, Reggie Watts, Matt Braunger, Chelsea Peretti, Natasha Leggerro, Nick Thune, Paul Rust, Aubrey Plaza, Laura Silverman, Ian Edwards, Steve Agee, A.D. Miles, Nick Offerman, Kyle Dunnigan, Jen Kirkman, Nick Kroll, Jessi Klein, Jackie Kashian, Kyle Kinane, Jesse Thorn, Ben Kronberg, Brendan Walsh, Chris Fairbanks, Cynthia Levin, David Huntsberger, Lizz Winstead, Martha Kelly, Stephanie Escajeda, Adam Cayton-Holland, Alex Koll, Duncan Trussell, Hugh Moore, Peter Spruyt, Ruby Wendell, Seth Herzog, Andy Wood, and even some surprise guests not yet mentioned. I just noticed Rory Scovel and Erin Jackson on a new new list since I first posted this. So, yes, more.
The festival will take place at D.C. venues up and down U Street and 14th Street (including Lincoln Theatre, Bohemian Caverns, The Black Cat, 930 Club and the Studio Theatre), from Oct. 22-25. Tickets range from $15 to a single show ($30 each for Oswalt and Silverman's shows), $40 for a three-show package, $110 for a weekend pass, and $210 for a VIP pass.
Plus, a portion of the proceeds will go to the Walter Reed Memorial Hospital. So what are you waiting for? Get your Bentzen Ball tickets here.
If you have had your television tuned to any station owned or operated by NBC Universal, then I do not need to remind you that The Jay Leno Show debuts tonight. They're clobbering that news into our heads so we cannot escape it. But what they haven't really let you in on just yet is much about all of the new comedy correspondents that Leno will be employing and deploying across America. Despite debuting a cleaner design for the show's online home, you can see in the credits who'll be writing and producing the show, but so far, no page for the correspondents? Hmmm. I guess you'll have to settle for my recap of everyone known to be a comedy correspondent for The Jay Leno Show.
But the show does have a new section online called Laugh Squad. What is that, you ask? The first entry reveals it'll be a place where the show's bookers, Bob Read and Ross Mark, share comedy and comedians they enjoy with us. They also remind everyone that in addition to booking stand-ups for Leno when he was at the Tonight Show, they were the original audition judges for NBC's Last Comic Standing. Is this also a ploy to get aspiring comedians to submit their tapes for Leno? While we ponder that, let's hear them talk about wanting to introduce us to comedians, with this first installment, featuring footage of Tig Notaro. Notaro has a recurring role on The Sarah Silverman Program, appeared this summer on Showtime's Live Nude Comedy series (explained previously), and had her own Comedy Central Presents half-hour. So it's not as if she's not known, though many more people could stand to know her. Which is where the Laugh Squad comes in? And if Read and Mark show a comedian online, is that as good as booking him/her on TV? Some of these questions are rhetorical. Roll the clip!
Showtime offers something new in an old-fashioned way tonight with the premiere of a six-episode summer stand-up showcase called Live Nude Comedy.
Shannon Elizabeth hosts, and before you start thinking you'll see her perform stand-up in the nude, well, not quite. Elizabeth (who became famous going nude in American Pie, and later learned professional poker, then Dancing With the Stars) will perform in brief comedy sketches with a group of performers that incluldes Josh Fadem, Chad Fogland, Michael Busch and Ramsey Moore. Each episode also will include two burlesque performances. Oh, and yes, there will be stand-up comedy. In fact, each half-hour will spotlight two stand-ups and give each an uncensored 10-minute set. Whitney Cummings, who performs on one of the episodes, also helped put the production together. She sat down with me for a few minutes during the Just For Laughs Chicago comedy festival to explain her motivations, including what she felt was a need to put new stand-ups in their best possible light (as in, longer sets, no censorship, fewer fake reaction shots). Watch:
The full schedule and listings (and a teaser video!) appears after the jump...