This week the big news was the upcoming festival week: Moontower in Austin Texas, the Women in Comedy Festival in Boston and the new Connecticut Comedy Festival all will be underway in the coming week. You can read our top picks for what to do in Moontower, and our interview with Emilio Savone about the inaugural Connecticut festival. We’ll be covering as much as we can of all three next week. Elsewhere in comedy news, Comedy Central has a new voice, Jimmy Kimmel is remaking two classic sitcoms for one night only, Fox gave the heave-ho to a stand-up centric series, and SiriusXM launched a list of podcasts, including a bunch of comedy podcasts on Pandora. In features, we gave rave reviews to Hulu’s new series Ramy from Ramy Youssef, delivered a 5 about gingers, and took a look at the history of comedy’s use of fat people.
But we only scratched the surface of everything that happened in comedy this week. Here’s everything we missed.
Julia Louis Dreyfus is reaffirming what many women who worked on Saturday Night Live have said in the past. “It was so misogynistic and not female-friendly whatsoever,” she told Porter Magazine. Louis-Dreyfus was only 21 when she worked at the legendary comedy show, but most of the SNL team. She says she learned quite a bit from the experience. Source: Porter
Michael Che‘s Instagram stories made the news again this week. He called out a writer for Uproxx magazine who criticized Che’s Weekend Update partner Colin Jost as being the “epitome of white-male mediocrity.” He said the writer “sucks off stray dogs and rescue dogs. And like, nobody knows why.” The original article that annoyed Che was titled “Why Does Everyone (Still) Hate ‘SNL’s Colin Jost?”. The writer responded that he wasn’t upset by the reaction. Che doesn’t post on Twitter anymore, and his Instagram feed is relatively blank but he frequently vents anger in Instagram’s more temporary “stories” platform. Source: Instagram
And finally, our third SNL story, it was revealed this week that Paul Rudd and Emma Thompson will host the final two episodes of Saturday Night Live this season. Rudd will host the finale on May 18th, with Thompson helming the penultimate show on May 11th.
May is a giant month for fans of comedy pioneer Ernie Kovacs. There are big celebrations coming to celebrate the centennial- he would have been 100 this year- one in Culpepper Virginia and one in Trenton New Jersey. The Virginia celebration will take place on May 10th and 11th with an evening of highlights from the Kovac’s career hosted by hosted by Kovacs Archivist Ben Model & Josh Mills from the Ernie Kovacs & Edie Adams estate on the 10th. On the 11th the center will honor another comedy pioneer, Kovac’s wife Edie Adams, with memorable moments from her career. Edie’s son, Josh Mills will host the event. Later in May the city of Trenton will pay tribute to the Kovacs at the New Jersey State Museum Auditorium. The special tribute will feature a clip program of Kovacs groundbreaking work with Secretary of State Tahesha Way, Mayor W. Reed Gusciora and the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission. Further Information: Virginia and New Jersey.
This week Jim Jefferies was on Conan. Jefferies gives the impression of being both difficult to impress and difficult to rattle, but he told a story the showed he’s as human as the rest of us when it comes to wanting love from beautiful celebrities. He told Conan that he got completely nervous when an A-lister didn’t answer one of his text quickly enough. The A-lister was Brad Pitt and the text was a Happy Thanksgiving. Jefferies said he was in agony until he finally got a response hours later, thinking Pitt didn’t like him. Brad Pitt had appeared on Jim’s Comedy Central show as the show’s official weatherman with about half a dozen appearances before Jefferies swapped him out for Seth Rogen. Watch: YouTube
Netflix put out a trailer giving a first look at Tuca & Birdie, a new animated series voiced by two powerhouses in comedy- Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong. The trailer was released on Twitter. Watch it here.
There’s a trailer for a new Comedy Central sketch series. Alterino comes from Arturo Castro (“Broad City”) who will play 45 different characters showing the world from the point of view of a Latino millennial. The series debuts on June 18. Watch it here.
That Conan show joke theft lawsuit is going to trial this summer in federal court in California. Plaintiff Alex Kaseberg is alleging that the show stole at least three of his Twitter jokes to use in monologues without credit or compensation. The judge has barred two experts for testifying for the Plaintiff. One of those experts who had hoped to testify was Elayne Boosler who wanted to speak to the similarity of the jokes. Also banned was expert David Barsky who was also slated to discuss whether the pattern suggested coincidence or theft. Patton Oswalt, Andy Richter, and several Conan writers will be permitted to testify. Source: THR.
On the talk shows this week, Taylor Tomlinson performed on Conan and Jess Solomon did a set on the Tonight Show. Click the links to watch both great sets! Tomlinson talked about her new relationship with a guy who has no emotional baggage, and Solomon talked about moving to America from Canada with her Muslim wife.
Fran Drescher is saying that if the her beloved series The Nanny got a reboot, she’d want Cardi B to play the role of of Nanny Fine. She made the revelation on SiriusXM’s Michael Yo show, saying the two are often compared on social media and that its clear from watching Cardi B that she was influenced by Nanny Fran’s style. But it’s all academic because there isn’t any reboot in the works. Drescher did say that she is working on something Nanny related that will make fans very happy. Source: Buzzfeed.
Queer standup comedian duo Christine Medrano and Theresa Lee are debuting a short film at Tribeca Film Festival this year. Their short 9 minute film is directed by Bridey Elliot, the award winning director who premiered her film Clara’s Ghost at Sundance in 2018. “I Think She Likes You” is a short film about a threesome through the female gaze. The film stars Medrano, Lee, and also Josh Fadem (Better Call Saul, Twin Peaks). “I Think She Likes You” is one of 14 programs by LGBTQ creators at Tribeca Film Festival this year, and was selected out of 5131 short film submissions. “I Think She Likes You” will be playing in the Fun House shorts program, and Will screen on Friday April 26.
Congratulations to Bill Hader, Hasan Minhaj and Hannah Gadsby on the news that they’ll be honored at the 78th Annual Peabody Awards this year for Barry, Patriot Act and Nanette respectively. The Good Place will also receive honors as will “The End of the F***ing World”, “Killing Eve”, “he Americans”, “Pose”, and “Random Acts of Flyness.” About Nanette, the Peabody board said that the comedian made “a major statement about the social costs of laughing at someone, and about what it means to be the brunt of a joke” and “delivers the thunderous message of the destructive power of heteronormativity, toxic masculinity and male sexual violence, and how easily society tolerates each.”
Mike Myers will play multiple characters in a new comedy series that is Netflix bound. The streaming platform ordered six episodes of the half hour series. That’s about all the information that is available for now. Myers two most recent roles- in the Gong Show and in Bohemian Rhapsody both involved him going into deeply prosthetic-ized transformation to play characters that are unrecognizable. Source: Deadline.
Kristin Wiig and “Bridesmaids” co-writer Annie Mumolo are collaborating again. They’ll write and co-star in “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar.” Josh Greenbaum will direct for the movie which should be out in 2020.
Meme-ing Instagram account @Sarcasm_Only is going to be the first to start paying comedians for “borrowing” their content after getting called out by Whitney Cummings for grabbing and reposting one of her tweets (without credit) to their 14 million followers. The accounts owner told Vulture.com that he is only reposting with credit to the original writers, and later agreed with a little urging from Vulture editors that they will pay $15-$25 to creators who spot their work being used, and ask. It’s a small step, and not really a very impressive one considering they’ll continue to post without permission, without notifying creators, and $15 isn’t exactly game changing. But its a start. Source: Vulture.
HBO is getting ready to premiere Los Espookys, a new Spanish-language series hailing from New York comedians Julio Torres and Ana Fabrega working with Fred Armisen and Lorne Michaels. The series follows a group of friends who turn their love for horror into a peculiar business, providing horror to those who need it, in a dreamy Latin American country where the strange and eerie are just part of daily life. Starring series creators Ana Fabrega and Julio Torres, with Cassandra Ciangherotti and Bernardo Velasco as The Espookys plus José Pablo Minor and recurring guest star Fred Armisen.
Ramon Rivas has a new podcast out this week- released on 4/20 (of course). The show is Prebaked and promises to blend cannabis and comedy seamlessly as Rivas uses his weed sommelier skills to pair a strain that embodies the characteristics of each episodes guests. A quick description of the strain is followed by an in depth, off kilter interview with each guests which gets us to the bottom of what ingredients went into getting them where they are today. Or at least what kind of snack they’d be. Each episode gives listeners the opportunity to learn more about the evolving cannabis culture while listening to the supple sounds of Ramon sounding like he just woke up from a nap. Guests planned for Season One include David Gborie, Kenny DeForest, Langston Kerman, Giulia Rozzi, Jenny Zigrino and more to come.
The American Black Film Festival named finalists for their 7th annual Comedy Wings competition. The comedians will face off for the top spot in Miami on June 14 during the 23rd American Black Film Festival. Deon Cole will host the finals. Congratulations to Allan Cunningham, Atlanta native Brian Tucker, Chicago-born and raised Kevin D. White, writer and productive stoner Reg Thomas, and Maryland based Tyana Davis. The Semifinals Showcase was held at the HaHa Comedy Club in Los Angeles, hosted by Chris Spencer. Judges for the semifinals included J.B. Smoove; “Def Comedy Jam” Producer Bob Sumner; Comedian and Actor Jay Phillips; Television Executive and Producer Rikki Hughes; Comedian and Actor Guy Torry; and others.
NBC has named six comedy writers will join their Late Night Writers Workshop. The initiative is the first of its kind and is designed to offer opportunities to writers who are members of groups that have been historically marginalized by the business. Jill Cepela, Dylan Eshbaugh, Shenovia Large, Alexandria McCale, Mona Mira and Chloe Radcliffe were chosen from among 1,000 applicants and will participate in an intensive five day program that will help them learn skills that help in the late night writers rooms. Alumni of the program are producers and writers on top late night and sketch comedy shows, including Jenny Hagel (“Late Night with Seth Meyers,” including onscreen apperances in the “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell” segment), Kate Sidley (“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”) and Nedaa Sweiss (“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”). The 5 day course will include tours, tapings, panels, and intimate conversations with Jim Bell- the Tonight Show’s showrunner, as well as Trae Crowder, Jourdain Fisher, Sam Jay, Dulce Sloan and others who are already working in the business. The writers will leave the program with new sketch material and insight into the dynamics of a late night writers’ room, and plenty of helpful networking.
Vancouver based Canadian record company 604 Records has pledged to support Canadian comedy more aggressively in the wake of the JFL/SiriusXM controversial earlier this month and are now officially open to third party content on their YouTube channel, “Comedy Here Often?” The move gives young Canadian comics another outlet to gain exposure and monetize their recordings. Joanne O’Sullivan’s “Just for Once: podcast will be the first to take advantage of the new policy. Just for Once chronicles the ups and downs of Joanne’s re-entry into stand-up comedy after a 10-year hiatus to focus on television, as she pursues her decade old dream of performing at Just for Laughs in Montreal. Episodes are short, funny and offer unique insight into the life of a stand-up comic.