All posts by MR

Review: Bo Burnham – Inside

Bo Burnham has released his latest comedy special on Netflix entitled Inside. It was written, directed, filmed, and edited last year during the pandemic by Burnham, performing it entirely in one room in his house.

Inside is essentially a musical in which Burnham sings various songs reflecting on random things he is thinking about. The special gives serious “Weird Al Yankovic mixed with Book of Mormon” vibes with its satirical commentary and lyrics. Except in this case, these songs are not covers but original pieces. Each song focuses on very reliable topics, most of them things that people did during the pandemic – FaceTime your mom for example. The beats are generally funky and catchy so they reel you in and hold your attention. Burnham’s comedic commentary around the stigma of turning 30 was also very relatable especially as everyone has now experienced a “COVID birthday”. The lyrics to this particular song and some of the other songs are absolutely hilarious and capture a lot of what life was like during the pandemic, especially as people spent a lot of time alone. There were several times during the special that were “laugh out loud funny”. Burnham also sings some songs about Jeff Bezos, the current CEO of Amazon congratulating him but never really reveals what the reason behind the praise leaving a lot of ambiguity. The overall delivery of the various performances gives off a very psychedelic feel with the utilization of stroke lights and various background video.

Overall the special has been receiving mostly positive reviews from viewers since it debuted May 30th. Rotten Tomatoes reviewers have given the special a 97% approval rating. The popular website describes it as “a claustrophobic masterclass in comedy and introspection” as well as “beautifully bleak, hilariously hopeful special from Bo Burnham.”

Inside is the fifth comedy special that Burnham has been released. He has been on the comedy scene since 2008 when he met director and producer Judd Apatow. His four other specials include Words, Words, Words, what., and Make Happy.

The special was definitely one way to spend the pandemic – creative but rather strange. It is disjointed and doesn’t follow much logical order or rhythm much like the world during the past year and a half. Check out the trailer HERE and catch the full special on Netflix! The songs are also available to hear on Spotify.

Five Exceptional Comedic Podcasts for 2021

While many people are still working from home, there are many good comedic podcasts to help ease into the workday and make things just a little brighter. Five podcasts that provide some laughs to get you through the day are listed below.

1) Smartless – this podcast is hosted by actors Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes. In it, they discuss topics that cover shared experiences that bond and connect all people in life. The conversations are generally improvised and unscripted, adding to an authentic feel and genuine funny remarks. Guests have included Judd Apatow, James Corden, Conan O’Brien, and many more. Check it out HERE!

2) You Made It Weird – Pete Holmes hosts this very popular podcast. It explores everyone’s unique and often private quirks that makes them stand out as individuals. Holmes has interviewed actors Paul Bettany, Justin Long, and Kumail Nanjiani to just name a few. Download episodes from Apple or Spotify!

3) Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend – This podcast is hosted by O’Brien himself. After realizing that he is missing real and true friends, he has decided to invite guests onto his podcast to see if they are friendship material. Potential “friends” to be vetted have included Mike Birbiglia, Fred Armisen, Amy Sedaris, and John Cleese. Take a listen HERE!

4) Office Ladies – If you are missing the adventures at Dunder-Mifflin paper company, The Office co-stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey are there for you! They are re-watching every episode of the popular television series commenting on each and providing some behind-the-scenes secrets that will keep you laughing and wanting more. To hear all of the details about the show from Jenna and Angela, click HERE!

5) Fake Doctors, Real Friends with Zach + Donald – If you are a big Scrubs fan, this is definitely a must-listen for you! Similar to the “Office Ladies” podcast, each week the Scrubs stars, Zach Braff and Donald Faison, provide commentary for each episode, share some behind-the-scenes memories, and even chat with some Scrubs “super-fans”. You can find new episodes on Apple, Spotify, or iHeartRadio.

A list of more recommendations appeared on the Oprah Magazine website HERE. Happy Listening!

Comedy Central Celebrates Black History Month With Comedy

With February being Black History Month, the cable television network, Comedy Central, is going to celebrate by airing a special docuseries featuring prominent Black comedians entitled Dark Humor.

According to Vulture, the series will have nine parts and focus on a mixture of current topics and how these issues are intertwined with comedy. The first episode airs this week to kick-off the month, airing on Comedy Central’s YouTube channel with new episodes being released each week at 12pm EST on Mondays. Dark Humor will include many notable appearances from Tommy Davidson, Lil Rel Howery, Eddie Griffin, Roy Wood Jr., Sinbad, along with others. Many of them have been in the comedy scene for a while with some having performed at Comedy Works. In addition to these well-known Black comedians, the series will also share commentary from Harvard professor, Glenda Carpio, who teaches African and African American studies, and famous talent producer Bob Sumner.

Topics that will be covered in the different episodes range from comedy and politics, Black women in comedy, the art of speaking out on current social issues of the time, and the experiences of performing for different types of audiences. While some of the topics can admittedly be a little tough, the creators behind the series believe that with a little bit of laughter and light-heartedness, they might just be a little easier and more authentic. When asked, participant Roy Wood Jr. said “Black comedians are some of the most important journalists in America. We are the ones that are responsible for taking complicated and painful issues and sprinkling a couple of laughs inside of it so you can actually digest what the hell is going on.”

Click HERE to watch the first episode right now. In addition to raising awareness, Dark Humor is also serving as a fundraising source for Comedy Central’s partner for this docuseries, Color of Change, who is leading the charge for equality while aiming to provide some humor in the interim.

Review: Yearly Departed Special

There are many things that people are not sad to see go with 2020. Amazon Prime’s “year-in-review” comedy special, Yearly Departed, was no exception.

The special is set in a funeral parlor viewing room and features an all female cast as they say goodbye to things that won’t be missed from 2020 and that they hope are now dead. The cast features fake eulogies from Tiffany Haddish, Sarah Silverman, Rachel Brosnahan, and several others and sheds a light on what each of them is happy to bid a final farewell.

From a personal standpoint, overall the special has some funny moments and provides some good comic relief. It is a fun way to leave 2020 and bury some of the things that have been in the news and top of mind. There are some political and racial topics discussed but overall in a light-hearted, comical tone while still driving the message of the need and call for more acceptance and equality home. Topics included pants, having more children, band-aids, and “making America great again.” For me, the most relatable topic discussed was the death of pants. Brosnahan comments on how 2020 brought the death of pants due to most people working from home and opting to wear more lounge clothes compared to traditional, more formal apparel. Despite this being the most universally comparable topic, the need to show the pants-less star wasn’t necessary.

The end credits showing the “behind-the-scenes” was very insightful and interesting to see as it showed how through the technology of green screen, the actresses could be all placed in the scene together while keeping all parties safe.

Reviews from IndieWire and Decider gave the special “middle-of-the-road” reviews as well, noting some of the funnier moments that make it worth watch but leaving room for viewers to decide on their own what parts resinate with them and what they deem funny. If nothing else, its cathartic nature helps to close the chapter on a tough year with some laughs.


Top Comedy Specials Of 2020

With the rollercoaster year that was 2020, it is a good time to spend the last few weeks enjoying some much-needed laughs by highlighting the top comedy specials that were released this year.

Many people have been spending more time than usual looking for quality programs to watch with comedy helping to brighten the day. Vulture magazine announced their picks for the year earlier this week in this article. Top picks from the magazine include a variety of talent from Kevin Hart to Maria Bamford. The magazine’s top pick is Marc Maron’s End Times Fun which was filmed prior to the widespread shutdown seen this year by the pandemic. One notable piece in the special is Maron’s Book of Revelation–style closing segment which Vulture describes as “a mishmash of spiritual systems that combines Jesus, Iron Man, and current politics into a bizarre fantasy sequence.”

Other top-pick specials included Leslie Jones’ Time Machine, Patton Oswalt’s I Love Everything, and Fortune Feimmster’s Sweet and Salty. The best platform for viewing all of these comedy specials seems to be Netflix with a majority of them being available through that streaming service.

Sklar Brothers’ Dumb People Town Podcast

Comedy Works alums, Randy and Jason Sklar, have their own podcast series – Dumb People Town. The podcast started in January 2017 and chronicles dumb people doing dumb stuff, the instant recipe for laughter and comedic humor.

The dynamic duo partnered with Daniel Van Kirk to present this hilarious podcast to the world. Since its first episode, there have been multiple famous guests including Will Arnett, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Margaret Cho, and Harland Williams. A full list of available podcasts is available HERE. Some examples of topics for Dumb People Town are pickle juice, drunk people that like to brag, and many other offbeat subjects. The episodes also don’t miss an opportunity to poke fun at current events and politics.

The Sklar Brothers are well-known in the comedic industry from their multiple web series and podcasts that also feature Sklarbro Country and Cheap Seats. The brothers are also the creators behind the popular History Channel show, The United Stats of America, that can now be viewed on the AppleTV platform. They just finished a comedy tour, including some shows at Comedy Works this past fall. Daniel Van Kirk is also a well-known comedian that is recognized for his podcast, The Pen Pals Podcast, as well as his debut comedy album, Thanks Diane. If that weren’t enough, he has also been on the popular FOX television show, Bob’s Burgers, and The UCB Show on Starz. When they get together and join forces, the result is pure comedic gold.

The podcast has a few live tour dates that have been announced for 2020. Be sure to check out their Facebook page for upcoming dates! If there isn’t a stop near you, new episodes are released about once a week and are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud while listening and become a true “Townie” fan!

New Andy Samberg Comedy Goes To Hulu

Comedy news coming from the Sundance Film Festival is reporting that Andy Samberg’s new comedy film, Palm Springs, will be coming to Hulu soon. To add to this announcement, the streaming service purchased the rights to the new movie for a record-breaking sum, making it the largest sale at the festival during its first weekend. In true comedic fashion, this title only out-sold the previous record holder by 69 cents for a total of $17,500,000.69.

Palm Springs centers around Samberg’s character who is attending a wedding as the guest of one of the bridesmaids and encounters the unenthusiastic maid of honor. After the initial meeting, the two decide to “begin wreaking spirited havoc on the wedding celebration” drawing some inspiration and concepts from much beloved comedic classics. The film was produced by Samberg and his Lonely Island partners, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer. Other notable actors in the film include J.K. Simmons, Camila Mendes, and Peter Gallagher. Click HERE to check out some clips and interviews on the IMDb page. Additionally, the film has received early positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb, and Metacritic.

Samberg is well known for both his time on Saturday Night Live from 2005 to 2012 and The Lonely Island. Check out some of his infamous SNL skits with a “Best Of” reel HERE. He is also one of the main stars of Brooklyn Nine-Nine which was picked up by NBC for a 2019 mid-season premiere after being dropped from FOX. The seventh season is going to start in February 2020. Alongside Samberg’s television credits, he has starred in the well-known theatrical releases of Hot Rod, I Love You, Man, and lent his vocal talents to the Hotel Transylvania films.

As of present there is no set release date for Palm Springs on the Hulu platform but be sure to check back for a date to watch it!

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.