Despite being "retired" from stand-up after a weird couple years of meltdowns and arrests, Katt Williams is taping a new hour-long comedy special for HBO to be directed by Spike Lee.
Williams' last special was 2012's Kattpacalypse, but in the time since that aired Williams has been in and out of legal trouble, even cutting short two performances in late 2012 after getting into physical altercations with audience members that were reportedly heckling him. He announced at the time that he was retiring from comedy, then un-retired a few days later.
Spike Lee's last movie was 2013's disastrously received remake of Oldboy, which bombed with both critics and audiences alike. He's no stranger to shooting stand-up comedy, however, having directed the excellent 2000 concert film The Original Kings of Comedy, which chronicled the most successful stand-up tour of all time. He also recently directed a special for Jerrod Carmichael, who can currently be seen on screen in Neighbors.
The special will tape May 17 at the Citizen's Bank Arena in Ontario. No premiere date is set, but expect it to debut on HBO some time later this year. Who knows? Katt Williams may have already retired again by then.
Via The Laugh Button
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The Just for Laughs festival in Montreal continues to be the biggest comedy festival in the world -- a month-long monster with hundreds of shows and comedians performing from the biggest names in the business to up-and-comers and everything in between. Many of the acts for this year's fest have now been announced and, unsurprisingly, it's pretty huge.
This year's JFL festival will include shows and appearances by Seth Rogen, Andy Samberg, Russell Peters, Don Rickles, Lewis Black, Ron White, Chris D'Elia, T.J. Miller, Mike Birbiglia, Aziz Ansari, Chelsea Peretti, Kathleen Madigan, Doug Benson, Jim Jefferies, Jim Norton, Al Madrigal, Pete Holmes, Nikki Glaser, Brody Stevens, Nick Thune, Fortune Feimster, Kurt Metzger, Iliza Shlesinger, James Adomian, Andy Kindler, Marc Maron and many, many more.
In addition, there will be live recordings of podcasts including The Benson Interruption and Doug Loves Movies with Doug Benson, You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes, The Smartest Man in the World with Greg Proops, The Seanpod with Sean Cullen and others.
With the news that the annual Just for Laughs Chicago festival is on a hiatus (or has been permanently retired), this fest will be the only one this year under the "Just for Laughs" brand. It runs July 9 - July 28 in Montreal.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Just for Laughs official site.
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Amazing Spider-Man 2 star Andrew Garfield hosted the show for the first time this week, demonstrating that he is charming and adorable and very British and women everywhere (my wife included) are right to love him. When given the opportunity to create a character and be funny, Garfield delivered; sure, he's got some of the same overly-enthusiastic earnestness as Joseph Gordon Levitt, but I'd rather have a host that tries too hard to be good than one who phones it in or seems embarrassed to be there. I had no idea what to expect from Garfield, since he's never really been funny in a movie before (this is because he hasn't made any comedies). He handled the show better than I expected he would.
His real-life girlfriend and Spider-Man co-star Emma Stone also showed up a couple of times (in the monologue, which was cute, and in the kissing sketch pictured to the right, which wasn't) to be the female version of Garfield -- charming, adorable and a good deal more natural on the show. Should the two of them ever break up (and, being Hollywood, there is a good chance of that happening), their sketches together will depress me when I catch the episode in reruns on VH1. If these two cute kids can't make it work, who can? (Read the full SNL Andrew Garfield recap)
Photo courtesy NBC
Legendary Canadian sketch comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall will tour five American cities this summer for the first time in six years. Yay!
The tour, called "Rusty and Ready," follows a couple of performances in Toronto and at Austin's Moontower Comedy Festival. Perhaps those gave the Kids the confidence and motivation to continue the tour, which promises to include new material mixed in with classic sketches and characters made famous on their HBO show, which ran from 1988 to 1995.
The tour kicks off June 6 at Boston's Wilbur Theater and wraps up eight days later at the Royal Oak Music Theater in Detroit. Maybe if the dates sell out (and I have to assume they will) they'll add more and audiences outside of only five cities. That would be even better news! Maybe it will kick off a full-blown Kids in the Hall renaissance. Anyone up for Brain Candy 2?
(Via AV Club)
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Well, Seth Meyers is on a roll.
In the span of just six months, Meyers left his gig as head writer and anchor of "Weekend Update" on Saturday Night Live, took over for Jimmy Fallon as host of Late Night on NBC and now has been named as the host of this year's 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards. He succeeds past hosts including Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Neil Patrick Harris.
This week, Meyers was also named one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World" by Time magazine. How did this happen? Meyers was always fine on Saturday Night Live and even I will admit to missing him already on "Weekend Update" after getting through a couple weeks of Colin Jost. But how did he become the go-to guy for hosting things? Hopefully this means he does at least one bit with Amy Poehler. Then I'll watch.
The Emmys will air on NBC on August 25th.
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Whether or not Ferguson was ever in the running to succeed David Letterman as the host of The Late Show (his current lead in and the anchor of CBS late night) I can't honestly say, but once it was revealed that Stephen Colbert was hired as Letterman's replacement, most of us expected Ferguson to take a walk. It probably doesn't help that Seth Meyers has been scoring higher ratings over on NBC's Late Night, most likely sending CBS into a panic. But of course Late Night is going to attract more viewers right now. It's new.
The media being the media, the conversation has of course already turned to who will replace Ferguson. One early rumor has Neil Patrick Harris taking over as host, which is...interesting? I would assume Chelsea Handler is a lock seeing as she's leaving her show at E! and was rumored to be taking meetings at CBS, but the network publicly ruled her out as the successor. Of course, network executives might not be telling the truth, because water is wet and sky is blue. I'm guessing whoever is chosen will be yet another white male, which is too bad. I don't love Handler's comedy, but she deserves the gig.
Ferguson began hosting The Late Late Show in 2005 and built a huge following over the last decade, earning an Emmy nomination in 2006 and a Peabody nomination in 2009.
Photo courtesy Comedy Central
Later 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
Like 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:
- Craig Robinson & the Nasty Delicious
- Taran Killam and Friends
- T.J. Miller
- Hannibal Buress
- Sasheer Zamata
- Rory Scovel
- Neal Brennan
- Seth Herzon
- Emily Heller
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
Last 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
Comedian 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.
Best wishes to any family or loved ones Petersen leaves behind.
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