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One of Community's most notable and popular writers, Megan Ganz, has announced in a Reddit post that she's taken a position at ABC's Modern Family. While it's sad to see her go, it's hard to blame her for leaving when there is constantly a question about Community's future. But at least we'll get to see two more episodes in Season 4 that were written by Ganz, and she'll be staying on to oversee the editing of those two episodes ("Paranormal Parentage" and the season finale, "Advanced Introduction to Finality"). Said the scribe:
We filmed the bottle episode in chronological order so this was the first line that we shot and I remember sitting at the monitors at 7am on the first day thinking, "If they call action and no one runs in here screaming 'stop the TV-equivalent of presses,' then I will have written a line that will appear on a television show. I'll be a television writer." And the director did call action–as they do–and so I was. Just like that. ...
This isn't the end of me and Greendale. Community was my world for four seasons and my job for three, and has hold of my whole heart like a bad-news high school boyfriend. I'll never really get away. The chemistry is too perfect and the writing room couches aren't really that uncomfortable to sleep on and I just can't stop writing for Britta. Plus I still have to do my editing pass on the finale. I think I left a box in my office, too. Bobrow probably misses me. Better stop by on my way home.
Ganz's voice on Community will definitely be missed, but I prefer to see her gainfully employed rather than suddenly silenced or underutilized. I will probably also really, truly have to start watching Modern Family now.
Photo of Megan Ganz and Annie's Boobs via Community Wiki
As part of its first comedy issue -- or as I like to call it, "The Sexiest Humans Alive" issue -- Vanity Fair has featured a photo shoot and (unembeddable) interview with the lads of The Lonely Island, Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone. They provide exactly zero information on their future plans and talk about fake cookbooks instead, and I'm okay with that. (via Vanity Fair)
(Video link) In this preview of IFC's Portlandia holiday special, Candace and Toni, the persons who run feminist bookstore Women & Women First (Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein), have been surprised with a last-minute babysitting request from Candace's son, played by Bobby Moynihan, who can no longer be bribed with free vagina pillows. Alas, another victim of the patriarchy. "Winter in Portlandia" will air Friday, December 14 at 10:30 PM EST on IFC. In addition to Moynihan, Jim Gaffigan and Matt Lucas will be stopping by! (via IFC)
What's the deal with texting? Are you being sarcastic? Are you mad at me? Are you typing this while on the toilet? I don't wanna be a meme! Did you ever stop to think about how incredibly perfect Seinfeld would be in today's social media-crazed world? Thanks to the newly formed Modern Seinfeld Twitter account, you can get a 140-character (or less) idea at what a current episode of the "Show About Nothing" would cover. And when you consider all the "nothing" we do all day and how much awkward human behavior it causes, Seinfeld could probably find enough material to last twenty years. (via Twitter)
In this web series pilot, actor James Urbaniak documents his new life with his estranged adult son. Co-starring Griffin Newman and Renie Rivas. Directed by David Avallone.
Comedian and writer Tig Notaro was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. On the Oct. 2 "Professor Blastoff" podcast, she announced that she has undergone a double mastectomy, and there is currently no known cancer in her body. She also spoke about her experience on "Fresh Air" this week.
I note that a number of news outlets are reporting about her post-treatment (?) phase as "cured," or "cancer-free," and wince at that language because the disease is never that simple, and those terms imply something that we hope for but cannot guarantee. But it sounds like her course of treatment was successful and that she is in an excellent place.
I am not glad Notaro has cancer. But I am glad people with cancer now have someone like Tig to point to all that is laughable, and all that is darkly humorous, about the experience of being a person with cancer.
Now, the Machinima YouTube channel is publishing a new version of the show, "Sifl & Olly Video Game Reviews." Twisted Junk has an interview with Liam about the reboot, and Chris Hardwick's NERDIST has a Q&A with him here.
The September 16 recent episode (above) included a bit about pandas (around 3:05 in), and then, just like magic, a baby panda is born at the National Zoo in Washington, DC. This is a sign that all is right with the universe.
* Some DVDs of the old MTV originals are available on Amazon.
I've always admired Steve Martin. He's smart, funny, and avoids engaging in the kind of behavior that ends up in celebrity tabloids. (He's also a terrific banjo player.) I recently read his autobiography, Born Standing Up, and now I admire him even more.
This short book is about Steve Martin's career as a stand-up comic, which lasted about 20 years and ended abruptly (by his decision) in the 1980s. Martin starts with his childhood, which is full of wonderful anecdotes about working in the magic trick store at Disneyland as a young teenager, and doing magic and comedy routines at Knott's Berry Farm. Martin highly praises the old vaudevillians and magicians he worked with at the theme parks. These stage show veterans took Martin under their wings and mentored him in the art of timing, patter, trick presentation, and joke delivery. Fortunately for Martin, the Orange County high school he attended didn't assign homework, so he was able to spend every waking minute outside of school at the theme parks, learning his craft. (If he had been required to do as much homework as a student does today, he may very well have ended up working alongside his dad as a real estate agent, albeit a funny one.)
Martin goes on to describe how he went on the road, spending years developing his unique style of stand-up. As he describes it, he was not doing stand-up. Instead, he played the role of a foolish comic doing stand-up. In the 1960s, he experimented with his routines in the small clubs of San Francisco's North Beach, sometimes to a completely empty room, save a bartender.
Martin's rise to fame was gradual. But that all changed in the late 1970s when his brand of quirky humor caught on in a big way (thanks in large part to his frequent appearances on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show). Martin went from filling 100 seaters to 1000-seaters. His success begat more success. In a period of months, his audience grew to arenas filled with 20,000, then 40,000, then 60,000 people. His brand of physical humor was impossible for most people in a mega-sized venue to appreciate. Martin was just a white dot on the stage.
The resulting fame, while not entirely unwelcome, was often a drag for Martin. An admittedly shy and private man, Martin said he felt uncomfortable when people on the street would excitedly recite his jokes back to him and expect him to be a wild and huh-razy guy."
Martin rode the wave for a few more years, but when he realized that he was no longer doing stand-up, but instead had become a kind of party host for giant throngs of people who wanted to hear him deliver the same stuff over and over again, he called it quits and never did another stand up show. Martin says that until he wrote this book, he rarely gave a thought to the stand-up up career that had made him famous.
I think the best way to read Born Standing Up is to listen to the audiobook, read by Steve Martin himself. That way, you get to hear the way he says his stock lines ("Excuuuuse meeee!") and you get to hear his emotions when he talks about his father (a cold-hearted man who wrote a negative review of Steve Martin's
movie The Jerk first appearance on Saturday Night Live, in the company real estate newsletter he produced).
I hope Martin writes a follow-up book that covers his movie and music career, too.
[Update] commenter Petzl says:
Speaking of Martin's self-effacing manner, for years he's been (quietly) famous for handing out these cards.
They're brilliant: he doesn't have to give his personalized signature (which must get old after the first 1000 or so); he gives his fan something uniquely Steve Martin to take away, as well as giving them a "funny story"; it allows him to exit cleanly and quickly.
Jim Meskimen is a talented impressionist, as the videos in his YouTube channel attest. In this clip, he offers his version of Christopher Walken, reciting poetry in the ancient Haiku style of Japan; three lines of five syllables, then seven, then five again. Below, his Morgan Freeman haiku. Read the rest
Read the rest
The un-bylined author of the Cookies for Breakfast tumblog publishes the story of two female friends attending a standup performance by Daniel Tosh, host of the notably unfunny Comedy Central show Tosh.0, in which the comedian made some stupid rape jokes. Not that there are any other kind of rape jokes.
“Actually, rape jokes are never funny!,” the woman in the published account says she replied from the audience.
Snip from her version of what followed:
I did it because, even though being “disruptive” is against my nature, I felt that sitting there and saying nothing, or leaving quietly, would have been against my values as a person and as a woman. I don’t sit there while someone tells me how I should feel about something as profound and damaging as rape.
After I called out to him, Tosh paused for a moment. Then, he says, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…” and I, completely stunned and finding it hard to process what was happening but knowing i needed to get out of there, immediately nudged my friend, who was also completely stunned, and we high-tailed it out of there. It was humiliating, of course, especially as the audience guffawed in response to Tosh, their eyes following us as we made our way out of there. I didn’t hear the rest of what he said about me.
Now, proposing that an audience member sitting right in front of you in a crowd of mostly men "get raped by, like, 5 guys right now" is in my opinion a whole lot heavier than letting a few random rape jokes drop in your lame standup act. Not that rape jokes are lulzy. But, Christ, what an asshole.
By way of this non-apology, Tosh appears to confirm the woman's story: Read the rest
Read the rest
A report from Louis CK's no fees, no scalpers direct-sales concert tour: Mr CK is up more than $6 million, and scalping is down to less than one percent (compared with 25 percent for his other, traditional-sales events). CK has been approached by scalpers who defend their practice by saying it's legal. He replies to them in this statement to Laughspin:
Contact with these scalpers has been enlightening. They tend to respond with indignance and a defensive posture “Hey man! Scalping is NOT a crime!” We’re not treating it as a crime or even a wrong-doing. We are just competing with them, on behalf of my fans, to enforce the terms and conditions of our ticket sales and to keep the prices down. It’s worth the effort, it’s working and it’s even been kind of fun.
Which is a pretty good reply. "I'm not trying to get you outlawed, I'm trying to make you obsolete."