Day: April 15, 2010

Funny or Die goes long with Charlie Sanders’ “The Big Dog,” debuting at L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Fest

The second annual L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival kicks off tonight with a sold-out collection hosted by Frangela that includes films featuring Jane Lynch, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Patrick Warburton, Mindy Sterling, Nicole Parker, Cedric Yarbrough, Scott Lawrence, Dax Shepard, and the world premiere of Funny or Die's first venture into short films that aren't so short. It all used to make sense before the Internet changed our definition of shorts, didn't it? I spoke yesterday with Charlie Sanders, star and co-writer of Funny or Die's 17-minute-long short film, The Big Dog. Co-writer Eric Appel directed, with a cast that includes Nelson Franklin, Rich Sommer, Bob Odenkirk, Jessica St. Clair and Andrew Astor. After its debut tonight, you should be able to see it online via Funny or Die or at the film's site for Famous Andy's Pizza. Sanders plays Ron, an unemployed former pizza chain manager who schemes to get his job back by winning the company's contest. If you haven't seen the trailer yet, watch it now: Sanders, who moved from New York to Los Angeles as "part of a migration wave of UCB-NY people," acknowledged that "the allure of Funny or Die is what gets people interested" in living in Los Angeles, considering how many UCB Theater players are involved in the original content on FoD. How'd the film come about? "Eric Appel, who directed it and co-wrote it...

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See how Nasim Pedrad’s SNL “Talk Show with Ravish” sketch almost didn’t air: Live TV!

I remember during the Jude Law episode of Saturday Night Live last month (#35.17), when late in the night, newcomer Nasim Pedrad got to carry a sketch as a precocious kid named Ravish who hosts her own talk-show from inside her living room. Something didn't seem right from the start — not in terms of laughs, but in terms of the set itself. You could see it wobbling and wondered what was up (as I noticed in my original recap of SNL)? Now we know. The show released this rare behind-the-scenes footage from the commercial break, when it looked as though the set wouldn't be ready in time. You can hear producers and others saying "We're screwed," and scrambling to find a parody — "any parody" — and almost re-air a spoof ad for Cialis. But at the very last second, cast members Fred Armisen, Jenny Slate and Bobby Moynihan take their positions, and when the screen fades to black to start the scene, the audience applauds even more enthusiastically than usual. And this is why there's always something a little more special about going live. The more you know! Roll the...

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Even Ellen DeGeneres recognizes how big Aziz Ansari is getting (clip from today’s show)

Is there any crossover between Aziz Ansari's fan base and that of Ellen DeGeneres? Would you be surprised that I'm even asking that question? Either way, Ansari sat down for a chat with Ellen that airs today (4 p.m. in NYC, check your local listings), and she recognized just how big he is blowing up these days. In this clip, Ansari doesn't work any of his usual stand-up into panel, but he does have a couple of clever tricks up his sleeves. Roll...

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Trailer for “Penelope Princess of Pets,” airing 21/4 on U.K.’s Channel 4; 4/26 viewing party in Brooklyn

Hey kids. Would you like to see the pilot for Penelope Princess of Pets, the comedy in which Kristen Schaal talks to pets (voiced by Daniel Kitson, among others!) and with the help of sidekick Kurt Braunohler, saves the world and takes down the evil MP Julian Barratt of The Mighty Boosh, all with a theme song by Reggie Watts (who's on tour with Conan O'Brien all spring)? If you live in the U.K., then you can watch the pilot at 11 p.m. on 21 April on Channel 4. If you live in New York City, then you can attend a viewing party at 8 p.m. April 26 at Union Pool in Brooklyn. If you live anywhere that has access to YouTube, then you can watch the trailer right now. And if you like what you see, then ask for more....

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Watch plenty of sneak previews of Saturday Night Live’s “In the 2000s” primetime documentary

NBC devotes two hours of its prime-time programming tonight (9-11 p.m. Eastern/Pacific, 8-10 p.m. Central/Mountain) to a look back at Saturday Night Live in the 2000s, and if you think it's all about 2008, well, you're only partially right. There's plenty to mine here, and even from the preview clips NBC has made available, you can see how SNL slowly but surely found its way back into the zeitgeist in the latter half of the past decade. For instance, here are Jason Sudeikis, Amy Poehler and Bobby Moynihan talking about the "Palin Rap" that happened live on Weekend Update in front of a bouncy then-VP candidate Sarah Palin. Weird but true. We learn how much Palin loved Sudeikis pretending to be her husband, Todd, and also realize that was Moynihan in the moose costume. SNL really got our attention in recent years thanks to rap, and "Lazy Sunday" kicked it off the SNL connection with the online generation. Here are writers Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer talking about what went down behind the scenes with Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell. Speaking of Parnell, here's a segment devoted solely to his raps. Even within this, Parnell — who'll co-star in a new Comedy Central sitcom later this year — gives props to the writing team of Eric Slovin & Leo Allen for helping him find the right words to rap...

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