Fantasy football leagues have become so widespread and commonly accepted as a hobby that it’s the focus of a long-running sitcom on FX, The League. Why not spin the concept out, and have a fantasy comedy league?
That’s what the comedians at SiriusXM decided. Last Friday on “Fridays with Breuer,” host Jim Breuer gathered a select comedy crew to draft a Fantasy Comedy League for 2013. Team owners Breuer, Tom Papa (host of “Come to Papa” on Friday nights), Mark Says Hi! (Mark Seman, host of “Comedy By Request” weekdays at noon, as well as “The Alternative Comedy Show”), Sue Costello (“The Kadoozie Kast with Sue Costello“)and a listener drafted five picks each. DJ Lou Witzki is serving as their Fantasy Comedy League commissioner.
But wait. Before we find out who they drafted, we should know how they’re even comparing the performances of comedians who aren’t officially competing with one another or earning points for their career accomplishments over the calendar year.
Here are the scoring rules that Witzki, Breuer and company have agreed upon:
On the upside, comedians can earn fantasy points for their owners in the league by winning a major award (Emmys, Oscars, Tonys, etc. = 200), appearing in a movie or TV series (20-100 points, depending upon the role), starring in a stand-up special (40 for a half-hour, 80 for an hour), appearing on a late-night TV show or Roast (60-80), hosting a radio show but not a podcast (60-80), doing Broadway (60-100), a TV commercial (50), major newspaper/magazine article (20-40), performing in an arena (80, 100 for sell-out), writing/producing credit (60), guesting on Howard Stern (50), and working with Jerry Seinfeld (50).
Comedians also can lose points for their owners, if their show gets cancelled (-200), apologizing publicly for a joke (-100), getting booed off-stage (-50), or bad-mouthing another comedian publicly (-40).
So now that you know what they knew, here is how the draft went down. Picks, plus instant analysis from the other team owners.
- Marc Maron
- Tom Papa
- Jim Breuer
- Maria Bamford
- Vinnie Brand
Maron stars in an IFC series which already wrapped its first season and will debut later this year, which means he’ll likely also rack up plenty of promotional appearances for it. “I have a funny feeling with the amount of eyes on Marc Maron, he’s going to blow up,” Breuer said, making Maron the top pick overall. That’s no funny feeling. Just a solid pick. His next two picks, curiously, went to two of the team owners, including himself, saying: “I’m going to be ballsy and go all out for me.” Costello replied, “If you don’t believe in yourself, who the fuck will?” And Papa quipped about Breuer’s final draft pick, “Somebody wants to play the Stress Factory!” Is there any other explanation?
- Chris Tucker
- Charlie Murphy
- Mike Bocchetti
- Iliza Shlesinger
- Artie Lange
Tucker had a supporting role in the critically-acclaimed movie, Silver Linings Playbook, and recently announced plans for a big tour and a stand-up film. “He also owes the IRS money, so that’s a guaranteed motivation!” Costello said. As for one of her other picks, she noted: “Mike Bocchetti’s probably going to shit his pants when he finds out he’s in this.” Shlesinger stars in a syndicated TV dating show, Excused. And Bocchetti’s radio boss, Artie Lange, began 2013 by fronting his own radio talk show (co-host Nick DiPaolo left at year’s end). All in all, a big first pick, with some gambles on the rest.
LISTENER ROB FROM NJ
- Jim Jefferies
- Gabriel Iglesias
- Russell Peters
- Larry the Cable Guy
- Tracy Morgan
Rob, a SiriusXM listener from New Jersey, picked a hot comedian up top with Jefferies, whose new TV series, Legit, debuted last week on FX. His other picks all are top draws on the road. But Morgan’s 30 Rock ends this month. Iglesias has fronted two seasons of his own Comedy Central stand-up showcase. But Papa quipped of that pick: “Are there points for selling a lot of ‘Fluffy’ T-shirts?”
- Kevin Hart
- Amy Schumer
- Chris Rock
- Jim Gaffigan
- Al Madrigal
For himself, Papa proved he has been paying attention when he’s at the Comedy Cellar comedian table. His picks were shrewd. Kevin Hart is as big as it gets, with multiple TV and film projects coming out in 2013, as well as another concert film he recorded during sold-out shows last November at Madison Square Garden. “He’s a monster,” Papa said of Hart. “He’s only going to get bigger.” Amy Schumer has a new Comedy Central sketch series debuting this year, and is a fixture now on the channel’s annual Roasts. Rock is working on a new hour of stand-up, so he’ll be touring probably later this year. Madrigal is a Daily Show correspondent and stand-up who continues to rise, with TV commercials to boot. And Gaffigan has a new book coming, plus a CBS pilot he’s producing and starring in. “I know he’s got a couple of things in the works,” Papa said of Gaffigan. “He’s someone you can count on.”
MARK SAYS HI
- Hannibal Buress
- Aziz Ansari
- Bill Burr
- Chris Hardwick
- Tim Minchin
Mark Seman focused his draft picks on comedians who are popular and still gaining more popularity and higher-profile projects. Buress is on an Adult Swim series, has his own TV deals and just cameo’d on The Mindy Project. Ansari sells out theaters, co-stars on Parks and Recreation, appears in multiple movies and has another special in the offing. Burr is only getting more popular, too. Seman called Hardwick “a little bit of a dark horse, but he hosts everything.” As for Minchin? Well, he’s currently starring in the new season of Showtime’s Californication, and is behind the musical adaptation of Matilda that hits Broadway this spring. So he could be looking at multiple award nominations (and wins) plus TV appearances in the coming year.
Who’s left on the big board of comedy undrafted for calendar year 2013?
Louis C.K. for one. But remember, his FX series doesn’t return until 2014. Among top names in ticket sales on the road and on screens, there’s Dane Cook, Jeff Dunham, Zach Galifianakis, Ray Romano, Lisa Lampanelli, Kathy Griffin, Lewis Black, Chelsea Handler, Bill Cosby, Whitney Cummings, Joan Rivers, George Lopez, and I haven’t even dipped deep into Google yet. Plenty of great comedians still on the rise put out top-notch CDs and DVDs in 2012 — perhaps that left them undrafted, with fantasy owners thinking they wouldn’t be putting up equally high scores again this year? Bo Burnham still has an MTV show coming, with perhaps more to show for himself. T.J. Miller also is co-starring in a FOX sitcom and always seems to pop up in big-budget movies.
Who would you pick if you had five choices for the Fantasy Comedy League in 2013? Sound off in the comments, and weigh your selections with the SiriusXM league. We can check back later this year and see how they (and you) are doing.
You can friend and follow the Fantasy Comedy League on Fridays with Breuer on Facebook. Let’s all meet back later this year to see how reality impacts this fantasy.