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The American Comedy Awards are Returning

Aziz Ansari Buried Alive

For the first time since it went away in 2001, the American Comedy Awards will be held this year to recognize the best in movies, television and stand-up. Check out the full list of nominees here before the awards air on May 15.

American Comedy Award Nominees
Comedians Spotlight10

SNL to Air Three Hour Special for 40th Anniversary

Sunday April 20, 2014

Saturday Night LiveLater this year, Saturday Night Live will kick off its 40th season on NBC late night. 40 years!

I'm sure there will a whole bunch of things planned to commemorate this incredible accomplishment, but the first has already been announced. Variety reports that NBC will air a live three-hour anniversary special on Sunday, February 15, 2015. No lineup of guests has been announced yet (probably because it's still almost a year away), but past and present cast members are expected to appear, as well as special musical guests from the show's 40 year run. I'm holding out for Ashlee Simpson.

I can't wait for this. I'm  total sucker for every clip show and (especially) retrospective special Saturday Night Live puts together, as I love the institution of the show possible more than I love the show itself. I'm a huge SNL nerd, so I'm excited about an entire season's worth of looking back and self-congratulation. The Variety piece speculates as to whether or not Eddie Murphy will take part, seeing as how he's the one cast member who made it huge off the show but refuses to come back and participate in any of the anniversary specials or documentaries. I kind of think that tradition will continue, but it would be nice to see him join in the celebration and not wait until the 50th anniversary in 2025, which will most likely be beamed directly into our brains while eat food pellets and cruise around in our flying chairs.

Photo courtesy NBC

First Comedians for 2014 Bonnaroo Festival Announced

Sunday April 20, 2014

Rory ScovelLike South by Southwest, the annual Bonnaroo Festival has become one of the premiere comedy destinations every year. The first group of performers for this year's comedy tent have been announced, and already it's looking like a good lineup. The first comedians announced are:

A few other comedians have already been announced, with more to come in the next few weeks.

What do you guys think of the lineup so far? I find it interesting that two different cast members from Saturday Night Live (Killam and Zamata) have been announced to perform separately. And who are these "friends" of Taran Killam? More SNL people? Because that's weird for Sasheer Zamata. Is it Robin Scherbatsky? Robin Scherbatsky's baby? These are the things I want you guys to get to the bottom of. Report back when you know.

Bonnaroo takes place June 12-15 in Manchester, Tennessee. For more information or to order tickets, check out the festival's official site.

Rory Scovel photo courtesy Comedy Central

Maya Rudolph Variety Show Finally Set to Air

Thursday April 17, 2014

Maya RudolphLast November, I reported that NBC was giving former Saturday Night Live cast member Maya Rudolph her own variety show, set to premiere during the Winter Olympics. Well, the Olympics have come and gone and Rudolph's show never made it on the air.

Now it appears that NBC is finally ready to air the show. The AV Club reports that The Maya Rudolph Show will take its bow Monday, May 19 at 9 p.m. CST. Not quite the high-profile premiere the network had promised, but at least it's getting on the air at all.

Guest on the special -- once believed to be a pilot for a regular variety series -- will include fellow former SNL cast members Fred Armisen, Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell, plus Kristin Bell, Craig Robinson and Sean Hayes. The musical guest for the show is Janelle Monae, but I'm sure Rudolph will be doing a number or two of her own.

Is the variety show format still viable? I guess that depends on how much of the special is devoted to comedy (since we can technically call SNL a "variety show") and how much of it is reminiscent of something the Mandrell Sisters put on TV in the early '80s. I'll tell you what -- if we somehow find out that Rudolph's partner Paul Thomas Anderson directed any of it, I'll DVR it and watch it every day.

(Via AV Club)

Photo courtesy NBC

R.I.P. Otto Petersen

Thursday April 17, 2014

Otto and GeorgeComedian and ventriloquist Otto Petersen died in his sleep earlier this week. He was 53 years old.

Petersen was half (technically all) of Otto and George, a ventriloquist act best known for being X-rated. Born in 1960 and raised in Staten Island, New York, Petersen began performing with his dummy in the 1970s and was still doing comedy as of his passing. He was a regular guest of the Opie & Anthony Show on SIRIUS/XM satellite radio and gave a memorable performance in the 2005 documentary The Aristocrats.

He was hospitalized last year with bacterial meningitis, but as of now there is no word as to whether or not it contributed to his death.

Petersen is one of several notable comedians to pass away already in 2014. So far this year we've lost Sid Caesar, David Brenner, John Pinette and now Otto and George.

Best wishes to any family or loved ones Petersen leaves behind.

Photo by Getty Images

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