Sunday March 2, 2014
After a month long break so that NBC could air the Winter Olympic Games, Saturday Night Live returned this week with The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons acting as host for the first time. Though he has well-proven comic chops, Parsons was a generic host overall; except for one serial killer sketch (the best of the night), there wasn't anything he did that couldn't have been done by anyone else. That's not totally on him, though; he was a game host and just didn't have the kind of material that distinguished him from a lot of other guest hosts. If it was announced he was coming back to host next season, I wouldn't be angry but I wouldn't be all that excited, either. It was that kind of show.
The big story this week was the debut of head writer Colin Jost joining Cecily Strong behind the "Weekend Update" desk for the first time. It's impossible to know what kind of job Jost will do; the only observations I had were that he seems very young and that he wears a smug smile not unlike the ones made famous by past "Update" anchors Chevy Chase and Dennis Miller. Maybe he'll be great after all...(Read the full SNL Jim Parsons recap)
Photo courtesy NBC
Saturday March 1, 2014
It's that time again. The 86th annual Academy Awards are taking place this weekend with Ellen DeGeneres returning as host.
Good thing DeGeneres will be on stage, as it's pretty much the closest any comedian will come to any gold statues Sunday night. Former stand-up Woody Allen is the only comedian nominated this year for his Blue Jasmine screenplay, but he has bigger things to worry about these days than whether or not he wins another Oscar. Besides, even if he did win he most likely won't be in attendance. Woody never goes. When he won Best Director and Best Picture for Annie Hall in 1977, he was famously playing with his jazz band instead of attending the ceremony.
Sure, some comedians will be on stage as presenters -- including Bill Murray, who is scheduled to present for the first time ever -- but the Oscars rarely recognize the contributions of comedians. And when they do, it's usually for dramatic performances like Jamie Foxx's turn in Ray or Mo'nique (pictured) in Precious.
With that in mind, take a look back at all the comedians who have been nominated or won Academy Awards in the last 85 years. Don't worry; it's a pretty short list.
The 86th annual Academy Awards air Sunday, March 2nd at 6 p.m. CST.
Mo'Nique photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Saturday March 1, 2014
Add comedian Nick Thune to the endless list of comedians with their own sitcoms.
Deadline reports that Thune has just been cast in the pilot for Old Soul, co-created by Amy Poehler for NBC. The show stars Natasha Lyonne as a former party girl who takes a job caring for the elderly. Thune will play her roommate on the sitcom. The Old Soul pilot is being directed by David Wain.
This will be at least Thune's third go-round with an NBC sitcom. In 2010, he was hired to replace Patton Oswalt on the pilot for Beach Lane, a sitcom starring Matthew Broderick was was ultimately never picked up. In 2012, NBC bought Untitled Hipster Project starring Thune and produced by Jimmy Fallon. It's obvious that the network is interested in making Thune a star, so maybe Old Soul will be the project on which everything finally falls into place.
Thune's latest stand-up special Folk Hero made its debut on Netflix earlier this year.
Photo by Edward M. Pio Roda/Getty Images
Sunday February 23, 2014
Jimmy Pardo, host of the hugely popular Never Not Funny podcast, could be making the move from podcasting to television. TBS has ordered a pilot for a new talk show, The Weekly Awards with Jimmy Pardo, to be produced by Conan O'Brien, the guy it seems is developing the entire late night slate at the network.
The weekly show would be a roundup of all the top stories and popular clips, personalities and oddities being talked about. Also, Pardo will wear a tux. So it sounds a lot like The Soup or the Paul F. Tompkins-hosted incarnation of Best Week Ever
TBS already has The Pete Holmes Show, hosted by comedian Pete Holmes and also produced by Conan O'Brien. Holmes has his own popular podcast, You Made It Weird, which just makes me think that TBS is getting all of their talk show ideas from listening to comedy podcasts. That's not such a bad thing.
The Weekly Awards will shoot its pilot on Conan O'Brien's Burbank stage on March 7. We should hear whether or not TBS is picking it up shortly after that.
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images