Lorne Michaels – How He Persevered

The man, the myth, the legend – Lorne Michaels is opening up about the continued success of Saturday Night Live. The show first debuted in 1975 and is currently in its 45th season proving that Michaels has remained committed and determined to continue its success.

When asked in a recent interview with Deadline, Michaels discussed some of the aspects that have helped shape the show and how for him, its permanence was solidified as the show reached its 40th season five years ago. In the spotlight feature written by Biography, show secrets are revealed as well.

First of all, the show name was not originally Saturday Night Live. This name was owned by ABC for a different show but purchased by NBC at the beginning of Michaels’ second season in the fall of 1976. Secondly, the show is purposefully made to look “run-down.” Michaels said that he didn’t want the set to look “terribly slick.” It gives it a New York look and feel that has become an iconic component of the show and to give it a theatrical vibe. Additionally, Michaels left the show in 1980 for five years but returned in 1985 and has been back ever since.

Saturday Night Live is filmed at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Studio 8H where it has been since the beginning. Hosts for this season have included Adam Driver, Harry Styles, and Eddie Murphy. Remaining shows for the season will have JJ Watt and RuPaul – others will be announced as the season progresses.

When asked about the future of the show, Michaels is quick to assert that each new generation brings a new generational perspective and cultural references. In a separate interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Michaels says the production team “doesn’t have much of a wide shot, so when you see somebody going into the lens and taking it to some level that you hadn’t seen even at the dress rehearsal, it’s a magical thing.”

Be sure to catch new episodes of the show every Saturday night at 9:30 pm MST or here on the official NBC site.

Laurence Fishburne To Produce New ABC Comedy

Laurence Fishburne of Matrix fame, has announced that he is going to produce a new comedy for ABC in 2020.

The new comedy will feature 30 minute episodes and will be produced by Fishburne’s Cinema Gypsy Productions. It will star Eddie B, his real name is Eddie Brown. While details are still coming out, the premise of the show centers around Eddie – a teacher that aspires to become a comedian. Furthermore, the plot is inspired by Brown’s own personal stand up routine.

The official press release states that the show will follow ” an outspoken, stubborn middle school football coach (Eddie B) who, due to budget cuts, finds himself forced to teach 8th grade science if he wants to keep his job.”

In real life, Eddie B is a Houston-based teacher that became a comedian. He has been able to achieve fame and success with a strong social media following since his comedic start. A popular, recurring segment that helped him gain attention was one called “What Teachers Really Say”. To check out some of his clips, click HERE. From this segment, he is now considered by many to be an official “voice of teachers”, having tapped into the specific teaching professional niche, as only a previous educator could. Eddie B has also toured the country a few times with his famous “I’m Already Professionally Developed” and “Teacher’s Only” tours.

Laurence Fishburne’s company, Cinema Gypsy, has previously produced films such as Akeelah and the Bee and popular television shows, Black-ish and Mixed-ish. Both of those shows also air on ABC and its affiliate networks. To see a list of the production credits for Cinema Gypsy, click HERE.

This show will be a great addition to ABC’s diverse fall line-up. We will be sure to circle back as the show’s premiere date and more details are released.

Iliza Shlesinger To Star In New CBS Sitcom

Details are starting to be announced already for the much-anticipated fall premieres for all of the major broadcast networks! Exciting news! Comedy Works alum, Iliza Shlesinger, has announced that she is going to star new CBS sitcom.

The show, while still untitled, will center around Shlesinger. She will portray a young woman that moves back home to Austin, Texas to help run the family business with her mom and sister. In addition to starring in the show, Shlesinger will also serve as co-writer of the pilot episode along with collaborator Michelle Nader, who has a current contract with CBS. The show will be classified as a family comedy that will be shot using multiple cameras. It hits close to Shlesinger’s roots since she grew up in neighboring Dallas.

Shlesinger started on the comedy scene by winning Myspace’s So You Think You Are Funny contest in 2007. The following year, she became the first and youngest woman to win NBC’s Last Comic Standing during the show’s sixth season. After winning, she appeared on the nationwide Last Comic Standing Tour.

Since that time, she has released five Netflix comedy specials, including the latest one, unVeiled, this past November. Click HERE to check out the trailer of the newest one! Along with the streaming, Shlesinger had a role in the recent feature film, Instant Family, starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne. She also has published a book entitled Girl Logic, which in her words is a “subversively funny collection of essays and observations on a confident woman’s approach to friendship, singlehood, and relationships.” To read more about the book, click HERE.

Be sure to check back as more information becomes available and don’t miss Iliza when she passes through town in early 2020! For a list of all tour dates, check out Iliza’s official website HERE.

Eddie Murphy makes his triumphant return to SNL!

Eddie Murphy has already made a big splash in 2019. He just released a hilarious movie on Netflix titled Dolemite Is My Name, which I highly recommend, and appeared on the infamous Jerry Seinfeld show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. On Comedians in Cars, Murphy talked about wanting to make a return to stand-up comedy. It has been more than 30 years since he has released a stand-up special, with the last being the monstrous Eddie Murphy: Raw in 1987 that grossed over $50 million. Since then, he has starred in huge blockbuster movies, released music with his band, and has generally laid-low and been a family man.

Murphy is often cited as the reason Saturday Night Live survived through the 1980s when Lorne Michaels left the show for five seasons to pursue a career at Paramount Pictures. Murphy left the fame sketch show in 1984 and has only been back to Studio 8H once for the SNL 40th Anniversary Special. Murphy was quoted from Actors on Actors presented by Variety Studios saying, “they had this 40-year anniversary a few years back, so everyone that was ever on the show was there, and it was this really great night. I got this big wave of nostalgia and great feelings and seeing all these other actors that have been on the show. There was such a strong kinship with everybody, I felt like I was at my old high school. I decided, this Christmas, I’m going to go back and host the show. I hope it’s funny.”

We will be seeing more of Eddie in 2020. It is reported that he is in talks with the streaming giant Netflix for an undisclosed number of comedy specials for a price tag of $70 million. We are hoping to see him on stage somewhere to test new material before the special release but until then, catch him on SNL on December 21st!

Kristin Chenowith To Star In Disney+ Comedy

Comedy specials are starting to be announced for Disney+, the new streaming service that debuted in November from the entertainment mogul.

One of the first to be announced is a new comedy starring Kristin Chenowith. She will be both starring in and executive producing the new series entitled The Biggest Star in Appleton. Currently the show is in the early stages of production without a release date; however, details are starting to surface.

The new show will be shot using a single camera and is a concept that was originally vetted by 20th Century Fox, now a part of the Walt Disney Company with the recent acquisition. Paul Rudnick from popular hits, In & Out and Addams Family Values, is the new show’s creator.

So far, the premise of the show chronicles Carol Dannhauser (played by Chenowith) who is a mother, wife and, waitress in the small town of Appleton, Wisconsin, who gets her deepest satisfaction from local stardom as she performs at the community theater. This sense of bliss becomes threatened when a down-on-her-luck chorus girl from New York comes to town.

Best Holiday Comedies

To get you in the holiday mood, we have complied a list of the best holiday comedies of recent years to help put you in the spirit of the season and fill you with laughter.

In an article in Esquire, they list the top 50 best Christmas movies. On this list, there are multiple comedies including Last Holiday, Elf, and Love Actually. To check out the full list, click HERE.

Holiday comedies are a staple for the season, with new ones coming out each year. Below is a list of our favorites picks for this year along with a short synopsis of each.

A Bad Moms Christmas – While this is a sequel, it follows three moms through the holiday season in their efforts to create the perfect Christmas for their families while each of their moms come to town for a surprise visit. Can they deliver on their vow for larger-than-life celebrations? Click HERE to watch this laugh-out-loud trailer.

Elf – As a toddler Buddy, accidentally grows up at the North Pole and then returns to New York City as an adult to discover the harsh realities of adulthood by searching for his real father. Buddy has to adjust to his new life but also helps restore the Christmas spirit to those who need it. Click HERE to watch the trailer.

Bad Santa – This raunchy comedy follows two con-men as they try to pull off their annual holiday robbery; however, one of the partners isn’t into it this year. Click HERE to check out the trailer for a preview of the hilarity that ensues.

Some honorable mentions include Eight Crazy Nights, Home Alone, The Night Before, and A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas. For some other funny movie suggestions, check out the list compiled by Harpers Bazaar HERE.

Season’s Greetings!

Maria Bamford is back with a new special in 2020!

Maria Bamford is making sure we all start the new year the right way! On January 28th, 2020, Maria will release her newest special titled Weakness Is the Brand. The special, unlike others being released currently, will be available to stream on multiple platforms through Comedy Dynamics including Comcast, Amazon Prime Video, Spectrum, Apple TV, Dish, Google Play, DirectTV, Vimeo, and YouTube. There are plenty of places to stream and watch this comedy’s veterans fourth hour-long special.

Maria came to Denver in September 2019 to headline the High Plains Comedy Festival with special guest Aparna Nancherla. Maria worked out a lot of the material in her new special with us and we are excited to see what other hot bits she included. Bamford has a unique way of creating and testing new material. She often writes her new bits at a coffee shop and invites individuals on Twitter to join her for one-on-one comedy show. Don’t worry, this isn’t free work on your end. Maria pays well in treats and coffee. She often calls friends and runs through her material over the phone. Such a unique approach to the creative process from such a unique comedian!

“This is my finest, richest chunk of hot new bits. Enjoy with your favorite cool beverage and a nice piece of fudge,” Bamford said in a press release. Maria’s high energy comedy is sure to have you falling off the couch. Let her be the poor example from which your greatness is determined.

Follow Maria on Twitter here for a chance to join her in a coffee shop as she starts writing new material again. We are excited to see the new special and can’t wait for Bamford to make another stop in Denver.

Watch the trailer now for Weakness Is the Brand with streaming starting on January 28th, 2020!

The 500 with Josh Adam Meyers

Music and Comedy have very similar purposes to society. Can you name a civilization in the history of the world that didn’t have a version of music or comedy? It is a universal constant throughout the history of the world. The 500 with Josh Adam Meyers combines the incredible world of music and comedy into an hour and a half of podcast gold.

This Spotify exclusive podcast counts down the top 500 albums according to Rolling Stone magazine but with a twist. The host Josh Adam Meyers, a hilarious comic, invites his funny friends and uses “facts from the albums and song meanings as a road map to interview each guest.” The guests are either already fans of the artist/ album they are talking about but you can really tell they did their homework before going into the studio to chat with Josh.

Comedians are also the most suitable people in the entertainment business to comment on such albums. The best of both music and comedy evoke deep emotion from their audience whether it is a song that makes you cry or a joke that makes you laugh (or in today’s society enraged), there is always a reaction. The journeys of a musician are so similar to comedians as well. It takes experience to become a respected musician and years of rejection (for the most part, at least the artists of the albums on The 500 list), which almost every comic has had to experience. There is not one comic that doesn’t have a story about them bombing or a bad show.

It is self-described as “The 500 is the first Music Album Book Club representing the next decade of his life’s work talking to creative about the greatest recorded music in history. The first episode is the last and the last episode is the first. This is the only podcast where you know when it will end, on May 31st, 2028.” You will want it to last forever but unfortunately there is an expiration date.

Josh has gotten great comedians! Every episode has something to offer but here are some notable episodes

  • White Stripes White Blood Cells with Bill Burr
  • BB King Live in Cook County Jail with Ryan Sickler
  • Elvis Costello Armed Forces with Dana Gould
  • Marvin Gaye Here, My Dear with Roy Wood Jr
  • Cyndi Lauper She’s So Unusual with Big Jay Oakerson
  • The Smiths (Self-titled) with Christina P
  • The Fugees The Score with Andrew Santino

For a full list of episodes click here! The podcast world is evolving and can sometimes feel like listing to the same story from the same people. The 500 stands out in the sea of interview podcast! Take a listen!

Tiffany Haddish New Netflix Special

To add to the amazing list of talented comedians releasing new specials this year, Tiffany Haddish has released her new Netflix special, Black Mitzvah. The name of the special came to Haddish after she took an ancestry DNA test that revealed she was of part Jewish descent on her father’s side. The special is now available for streaming and is quickly gaining both traction and notoriety.

Haddish describes the special as a celebration of her own bat mitzvah, the Jewish coming-of-age ceremony that traditionally occurs when one is around thirteen. She adds, “I want to do something that represents growth and maturity.” Haddish’s late father was a Jewish refugee from Eritrea, which she discovered as a teenager. She even had some experience working as an entertainer and dancer at various bar/bat mitzvahs as she started her career.

Early reviews of Black Mitzvah have been favorable and have praised Haddish for her comedic chops. An article by FastCompany claims that it is a “comedy special as PR and it works.” The special highlights her humorous commentary on life, including the moment she discovered she was part Jewish. Check out the trailer HERE. To prepare for the special, she spent time reading the Torah and learning the Jewish language to prepare for her actual upcoming bat mitzvah ceremony she is having to celebrate her heritage as well as her 40th birthday.

Haddish has come on to the comic scene from film roles in Night School, Girls Trip, and Like A Boss. In addition to those credits, she also was part of NBC’s show, The Carmichaels, that aired from 2015-2017 and TBS’ The Last O.G. with Tracy Morgan. Black Mitzvah is her second Netflix special, the first one being They Ready, which premiered earlier this year in August.

Be sure to stream it on Netflix now!

The HoneyDew With Ryan Sickler

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt there was no escape? Have you ever experienced something that you didn’t think you could come back from? Do think about it now and realize that it only made you who you are today?  When you tell the story of it now, are you able to laugh at it?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then The HoneyDew with Ryan Sickler is the perfect podcast for you.  Every Tuesdee, you can hear some of the best storytellers talk about some of their lowest points in life. Hear how they bounced back and are able to laugh at it now.

If you answered no to any of these questions then this is the perfect podcast for you too. Listening to Sickler and his guests talk about some of the darkest moments can provide some much needed therapy and perspective. As the tagline says, The HoneyDew is “Highlighting the Lowlights”. There hasn’t been a more concise and accurate motto ever.

The HoneyDew is only a year old but with 300+ episodes of CrabFeast, Sickler is a professional interviewer at this point. Having been in the game so long, he is able to bring the best storytellers in the entertainment landscape. Guests like Adam Ray talking about his childhood sheds light on Ray’s origin story to becoming a comic. You can “hear in the throat clear”.  Joey Diaz, who has more stories than anyone, talks about fighting a nun. Brad Williams virginity story is hilarious. Relive the stroytelling show Comedy Works had in January 2018 with Ari Shaffir by listening to Steve Simeone’s episode. It always goes deep but is able to remain playful and fun because Ryan Sickler’s ability to guide the conversation, his authenticity, and of course his laugh. This podcast is more than just your usually interview and people aren’t just going to promote things. Everyone seems excited to be there.

One of the most interesting things about this podcast is the format and what it will become in the future. The HoneyDew was made with the fans in mind. Not just to make a podcast that entertains fans but also to involve fans. Eventually, once the podcast becomes huge, which is just a matter of time; there is a chance you can be on it! Comedians aren’t the only people that have crazy stories and Sickle Cell knows that. He knows there are plenty of you out there with great stories and wants to provide an outlet in which fans can highlight their lowlights. With an ever-changing platform, fan involvement is just the next step in podcasting. Plus what better way to get through the hard times than to have Ryan Sickler’s laugh as constant reminder that it going to get better.