NBC will debut new sitcom, Whitney, at 9:30 p.m. Thursdays (8:30 p.m. Central/Mountain) after The Office in Fall 2011. This means moving Parks and Recreation back to 8:30 p.m. and pushing 30 Rock to midseason due to Tina Fey's pregnancy.
The pilot for Whitney was created and written by Whitney Cummings, who also stars in it alongside fellow stand-up comedian Chris D'Elia as a self-described "happily unmarried couple." When NBC made the series order last week, both Cummings and D'Elia told me a little bit about their parts on the sitcom.
Here's what Whitney had to say about Whitney to the NBC cameras:
And now watch the full trailer and individual clips for the pilot episode...
By far the belle of the ball among the early network TV pickups for Fall 2011 is comedian Whitney Cummings, who went two-for-two on the pilots that she had a hand in writing and producing.
NBC has ordered Whitney to series, which Cummings wrote the pilot for based on her stand-up act and starred alongside fellow stand-up comedian Chris D'Elia (most recently seen in Glory Daze on TBS). Then this afternoon, CBS ordered Two Broke Girls to series, which Cummings co-created and co-executive produced with Michael Patrick King. But Cummings is just behind the camera on that series, leaving Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs to play the broke girls working at a Brooklyn diner.
I got Cummings and D'Elia on the line to talk about Whitney, the new NBC series they'll be introducing to advertisers and the media on Monday.
From Whitney herself:
"It's amazing! What can I say?????? It's obviously phenomenal. So excited to have gotten Chris for it. I wrote for him in mind and to be working with him every day is going to be a blast. I had Loni Love in the pilot as well. So the key for me is just surrounding myself with amazing comedians and staying honest and trusting my instincts because it seems to be working.
NBC was so amazing about letting me do what I wanted to do -- the show is crazy edgy, provocative, and untraditional. They didn't limit me at all and encouraged me to stay true to what I do with my stand-up."
And about getting two TV shows picked up in one pilot season? "It's surreal to say the least," Cummings told me.
From Chris D'Elia, whom I asked: From what I've read, you play her boyfriend. Live-in boyfriend? Do you have to, er, I mean, get to kiss her? Ha. What's the background on your character? And how close is the TV Whitney going to be to her real personality?
"I play Whitney's live-in boyfriend and yeah I'm assuming that we have to kiss haha. That's what boyfriends and girlfriends do. I play a guy who sold a huge video website and has some dough. He wants to be with Whitney forever but the two aren't so sure about the institution of marriage. The real Whitney shines through in her character. That's why she's so good in this. I'm very fortunate to be working on TV right now and I'm extremely happy I get to work with my close friend Whitney. She's keeping me employed!"
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.
Yes. Yes they did.
The photo of Whitney Cummings is from the (gold) red carpet last night at the Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump. The photo of Angelina Jolie is from 2009. This must be why Cummings stood next to me and yet never saw me. Just like Angelina.
Quick roundabout from the trades...
It was much to be expected, but IFC officially has renewed The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret for a second season. Six new episodes starring David Cross will debut in October.
TBS, on the other hand, has decided not to give Glory Daze a second chance. The comedy followed college frat boys in the 1980s, and also featured Tim Meadows as a professor and Chris D'Elia as an older stoner student.
D'Elia, however, just booked himself a part as half of a couple with Whitney Cummings in the NBC sitcom pilot that she's starring in (as well as writing/executive-producing). Should be interesting to see how they play together on camera!
As first reported here on The Comic's Comic more than a month ago (!), MTV announced today that comedian Whitney Cummings will host this year's New Year's Eve coverage from Times Square to ring in 2011 with the cast of MTV's Jersey Shore. The network also announced that Flo Rida will perform, that "Snooki" will drop from inside a plastic ball, and that the GTL boys will try to lead the Times Square yahoos in a collective fist bump.
It may be only Nov. 1, Whitney Cummings leaked news earlier today about where she'll be ringing in 2011, and it'll bring her back to her first big employer: MTV.
Cummings says she'll be hosting MTV's New Year's Eve Bash from Times Square, alongside the cast of MTV's Jersey Shore. When she mentioned it on Twitter, she joked: "Plan accordingly while I get an IUD."
Cummings confirmed the news to me this afternoon, as well as the fact that "Punk'd was my first gig." But this news is unrelated. One other thing she said you can count on from her when she returns to MTV in a much higher-profile gig? "And yes, there will be a roast of the Jersey Shore!"
If it seems like only about a year ago that many of you didn't know who Whitney Cummings is, then your memory is not fooling you. Cummings burst on the scene in a big way last year when Comedy Central promoted her from roast joke-writer to roast joke-teller for its honoring of Joan Rivers, and brought her back to the dais once more this past month to take down David Hasselhoff.
But Cummings has been plying her stand-up for more than a few years, in addition to playing character roles in major motion pictures, and has certainly gotten our collective attention -- something she didn't need to speak loudly, or wear loud lipstick to do, although she does both of these things on Money Shot, her new one-hour special that debuted late Saturday night on Comedy Central. Cummings jokingly described her Money Shot look to me as "tranny lipstick and Al Sharpton hair, bedaZzled shirt," then boasted, "I'm the Lady Gaga of comedy." I don't know. Lady Gaga gets me all hot and bothered. When Cummings found that out, she reconsidered: "No, maybe more like the RuPaul of comedy." You work it, girl.
If you've become a fan of Cummings already, then you probably have picked up her 2009 CD, Emotional Ninja. Much of the material on Money Shot -- shot in her hometown of Washington, D.C., -- covers the same territory, albeit in different orders and with updated tags, as Cummings discusses the differences between men and women in the bedroom, and how Cummings is different from her friends when it comes to dating, marriage and babies.
Here are a couple of clips. In this one, Cummings lets us know that women know when men have been watching too much porn:
Here's what Cummings has to say about men's balls. Balls. Roll it!
And finally men learn about the art of the "pump fake." I never let a lady pay, so I don't know what she's talking about!
If you like what you see and hear, then you may also want to take a gander at Emotional Ninja.
The Comedy Central Roast of David Hasselhoff taped on Sunday night in Los Angeles, and will air on Aug. 15, 2010, and to get us more interested in actually watching the darned thing, the network has produced some one-liner clips of quips from the dais.
Would you like to see Seth MacFarlane do his "Stewie" voice to talk about Pam Anderson's breasts, or Whitney Cummings slam Lisa Lampanelli, or Lampanelli slam the Hoff, or Jerry Springer slam the Hoff, or Greg Giraldo and Jeffrey Ross take on MacFarlane? Well, then click click on this vid vids. We'll start with Ross, because he is our generation's Roastmaster, no matter what Comedy Central says, and since he takes down MacFarlane for something he should be taken down for, if he ever submits to a full Roast himself, so roll the clip!
In its 28th year, the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal has featured just about every big name in comedy. But Steve Martin, having "quit" stand-up comedy before JFL's debut, was not among them until last night, when he made his debut hosting two Gala-type showcases at the fest. (Photo by Montreal Gazette)
Word on the street has put forward the idea that Martin, now 64, may in fact be making a return to comedy. Though I couldn't talk to him personally to confirm or deny that word, I do know that on his current banjo and bluegrass tour with The Steep Canyon Rangers (who also accompanied him in Montreal), Martin has been making audiences laugh with his banter between songs. And Martin has plenty of experience as a host, doing so three times at the Academy Awards. He pulled it off quite nicely last night, as well. He told the audience that hosting brought forth a lot of responsibility to be funny. "But then I remembered that my friends John Cleese and Marty Short hosted last year, and I thought, well, I'm funnier than those idiots," he joked. Martin then acknowledged that he had finally come to Just For Laughs, which he called "comedy mecca. And we all know how funny Mecca is."
They played a highlight reel of Martin's greatest JFL moments, which, of course, amounted to footage from the first few minutes of the show, paused to allow latecomers to find their seats -- at which point Martin cracked, "You would think in a place discovered by Cartier, they'd know how to get to places on time" -- and Martin performed a custom tune with the band singing along called "Atheists Don't Have No Songs." Most Galas have goofy sketches for the host to perform, but Martin was not required to be wild or crazy on this evening. He did, however, play an audio recording of one of his phone calls to his wife, so as to make sure he wouldn't get the Mel Gibson treatment. And he closed out the night with a performance of "King Tut" (sans Egyptian outfit).
Oh, and there were plenty of stand-ups, too. The bookings were all over the map, and most certainly not hand-picked by Martin, with one notable exception. At the 10 p.m. show, Martin introduced Dane Cook as a "surprise guest." Cook told me he flew in just for this opportunity to perform for his comedy idol, arriving just in time for the late show, and departing this afternoon. At the showcase, Cook told the audience: "People say to me, Dane, why don't you come up and do the festival more often? Because the sets are fucking ugly!" (Photo by Tim Snow)
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?
When Comedy Central announced its special "Hot List" showcase of new talented comedians, I could not say the list surprised me. Many of these people got multiple mentions here at The Comic's Comic in the past year, and when I thought about Kumail Nanjiani's achievements in the past year, even I was duly impressed with what he's been able to accomplish since moving to New York City from Chicago. So I talked to him briefly outside of Comix during the club's holiday party this week (holiday parties already!) and asked him to put it into some perspective -- Letterman, Kimmel, Live at Gotham, Michael and Michael Have Issues, The Colbert Report, and a development deal with NBC. Where does he go from here? Roll the clip! (Warning: Includes improvised absurdity from Eugene Mirman, who actually fits into Kumail's NYC story, as well as a joke at John Mayer's expense, and a cameo by Nanjiani's newlywed wife, Emily) Roll it!
Of course, Nanjiani isn't the only one on Comedy Central's Hot List special, which airs on Sunday, Dec. 6. Here's a clip featuring all nine -- Anthony Jeselnik, Aziz Ansari, Nick Kroll, Matt Braunger, Jon Lajoie, Whitney Cummings, TJ Miller, Donald Glover and Nanjiani -- describing why they made the cut. Roll it!
Chelsea Handler's long-term relationship with E! has not only been good for her own career, but also has provided a boon to many aspiring stand-up comedians who live in Los Angeles. Handler's Chelsea Lately includes a nightly roundtable panel in which she dishes about the celebrinews of the day with three of her friends in comedy. She has given them an additional TV credit boost with this summer's Friday-night series, Comedians of Chelsea Lately, which she hosts with her sidekick Chuy.
Tonight is the second week, featuring stand-up sets from Heather McDonald, John Caparulo and Whitney Cummings. Not that you would know that by going to, say, the E! network website. I tried looking for episode breakdowns and whatnot last week for the debut and came up empty. Certainly by now, they'd have something something, right? Here's what came up today when I entered "comedians of chelsea lately" in E!'s search bar:
To be fair, to the far far right of this screengrab, you can see that they did have a video clip from last week's debut to view. And if you root around on the Chelsea Lately pages, you can find some additional short clips (also on Hulu). But this show is not considered an actual show, according to E! Which is saying something, considering this is E! Is that what that "Awful Truth" button is for? I know that's not what that button is for, unfortunately, because I have been to this website before, and if I left my TV on E! around-the-clock, I may come across an ad for the show, but by then, I would have lost all sense of humanity.
But I won't leave you completely empty-handed...
Dog days, am I right? While I cozy up to the air conditioner, please allow me to share with you a few things I have posted recently to the recently redesigned Comedy.com site for funny things by and about comedians, aka The Laugh Track:
Joan Rivers got roasted on Sunday night in Los Angeles, and Comedy Central will broadcast an edited version of The Comedy Central Roast of Joan Rivers on Aug. 9, 2009. You'll see some of the usual suspects on the dais (Jeffrey Ross, Greg Giraldo, Gilbert Gottfried), but no Lisa Lampanelli, and the early reports from the scene all seemed to agree that Whitney Cummings made the most of her onscreen debut as a roaster. Let's roll a clip, and then we'll talk with Cummings all about it.
Hey Whitney! This was your first big roast, correct? If not, then please correct me! "I've been a writer on the roast for the past couple years so I'm very familiar with them and roast jokewriting but yes, this is my first big Comedy Central roast as a roaster. I had done a charity roast for a producer in LA named Steve Tisch. Tom Arnold was there, Pete Berg, a bunch of athletes. It was taped and Comedy Central saw it so I'm sure that played a big part in me getting a spot as a roaster."
How did you go about writing your roast jokes? What kind of tone were you going for? Were you trying to balance out the barbs among everyone on the dais? Did you write them all yourself? (I know some stand-ups who help write for others) "When I was a writer on the roast in previous years, we would start about two weeks out, but sometimes the best jokes are written the day of or the day before. The roasters are always dropping out and being added. For example two weeks prior we had Lily Tomlin, then it was Suzanne Somers, then Tom Arnold was added two days before this year. So you overwrite a ton. Last year Artie Lange dropped out the morning and Garlin was added, etc. So you're writing until the last minute. it's just crazy because when you're in roast writing mode, jokes hit you all the time. You'll be walking by Subway and you'll be like "Tom Arnold is like a Meatball Sandwich...blah blah blah joke" or I'll wake up in the middle of the night and be scribbling in a notebook and the next day I'll be trying to make it out and its just like, the words "balls" and "obama." And you're like "what was the balls obama joke?" Any L.A. comic can tell you that a week leading up to the roast I was running around to clubs and trying jokes out onstage. Everyone who ran rooms were supportive, letting me pop up in the middle of shows. When I'd come off stage comics were so supportive and throwing out tags. So, I would say I got a lot of help and support in that regard. Even comics saying "that's going to kill" is really helpful. If a comedian thinks it's funny, it's probably funny."
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...
In the theater, you could barely hear Lemmy from Motorhead, and not a lick of his theme song, but everything comes through a-OK on TV, including some fun banter between Norton and Lemmy. Also, making this episode his debut is quite a statement, whether Norton intended it that way or not, as he booked both Jim Florentine, a comic Norton introduced as getting him his first gig in 1990 (which makes it odd that it's now Norton giving Florentine a break), as well as Artie Lange, who as they used to say in the biz, works for a competing morning radio program. Lange's stand-up, which hadn't impressed me as much as his personal health deteriorated, sounded different on TV. His jokes about drug use sounded more like a plea for help from the audience. I know he since went into rehab, and hope he's doing better. The other two performers on the debut episode were relative youngsters Anthony Jeselnik and Whitney Cummings. They both did well, as they usually do. As I wrote after watching two of the other episode tapings, it really does come across as a white, suburban, rock version of Def Comedy Jam. Not that that's a bad thing. It will be interesting to see what Norton does next with the series.
The next new episode airs between 11:59 p.m. Friday and 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
If you missed last night's finale of Last Comic Standing, then you also missed the melodramatic conclusion of the ancillary Last Comic Driving contest, which forced 10 other stand-up comedians to tell jokes to paid actors while sitting cramped in a hot car without air conditioning, as nice Brit Lady Cotton Fearne read her lines over and over again. And comics had to tell jokes over and over again. But we did have a winner...Whitney Cummings! Cummings wins $10,000. A lucky viewer also would win a Honda Pilot. Congrats!
OK. So we've had more than a few weeks now of this silly little Last Comic Driving contest, and it's time to spill some beans. For one thing, anyone else consider it odd that NBC put the first contestant, Andrew Norelli, up on Hulu, but no one else? Conspiracy? Or did they just think, er, maybe no one wants to see this again?
So far we've seen Andrew Norelli, Whitney Cummings, J. Chris Newberg, Jacob Sirof, Alycia Cooper and Eddie Pence take the not-so-hot seat in the Honda Pilot. In the back seats, it's often hard to even hear what's going on in the front. How do they fix this? Well, first off, the pay the passengers. Sure, you guessed that part already, didn't you? I read online elsewhere that someone thought the other contestants were the passengers. Oh, what misery that would be. No, no. You shall pay me to sit in a car and listen to multiple takes of comedy. Also, you shall put this car on a trailer, because I don't trust Brit lady to drive and talk and look at the camera at the same time. I like Brit lady. I really do. But, no driving in Los Angeles, please. In that case, why don't you just park the car for a while? OK. Done. And, well, how are we supposed to hear what you're saying with the air conditioning on? Alrighty then. Turn it off. That sounds like fun. I hope you're not sweating too much back there in the back-back seats. Oh, you are? We're not going to pay you extra for that. Sorry. This is so much more horrible than the last parallel online contest the show ran, and yet, well, someone will win $10,000, so at least one of the comedians will have something happy to remember from this miserable experience. Four more contestants to go...