Day: January 19, 2010

A brief reunion with Matt Iseman, host of TV’s “Sports Soup” and handyman on “Clean House”

Harvard may have Conan O'Brien, but Princeton has me. And Matt Iseman. And many other funny people to claim as alumni, but this is a post about my classmate (and reunion chairman) Matt Iseman, who went through medical school at Columbia after our college graduation and was going to be a doctor — until he decided he really wanted to be a stand-up comedian. It has worked out for him in unexpected ways, as he's now the host of Sports Soup, the weekly show on cable's Versus network that takes the Soup formula (and production team) and focuses instead on the silliest sports highlights. Iseman also is one of the comedians who co-hosts the popular Style Network show, Clean House. And it's that job that brought him back east, as they've been cleaning house in Wayne, N.J., for the past week. Last night, before he and his crew were ready to reveal their handiwork, Iseman commuted into NYC and met up with me to watch another packed fun edition of Whiplash at the UCB Theatre (the lineup hosted by Leo Allen featured Rob Cantrell, Hannibal Buress, Michelle Biloon and Don Glover). Afterward, we shared news about our fellow classmates, and then I talked Iseman into chatting a bit about himself for you guys. Roll...

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NMA News has this whole Leno/Conan/Zucker thing figured out, superhero-style

Far be it for me not to embed this video that everyone else is sharing this afternoon, as NMA News from Taiwan not only animates the NBC late-night TV kerfuffle, but also has the keen insight into Jeff Zucker's thinking and also which superheroes Zucker, Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien would be. Well, they figured Zucker imagined himself as Captain America, Conan turned angry and powerful like the Hulk, while Leno…well, who is Leno supposed to be in this story? Perhaps they're so aware of the situation that Taiwan's cartoon news team understands that Leno himself doesn't know if he's a hero or a villain. Roll it! UPDATED! There's also an English-language version. I don't know. I think I like it better the other way. But for those of you who need to know what the broadcaster is saying in...

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WGA honors Larry David, famous for a show “about nothing” and another show that’s improvised

The Writers Guild of America announced today it would honor Larry David with the WGA-West's 2010 Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television, "given to writers who have advanced the literature of television throughout the years and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the television writer." David will receive his award Feb. 20, 2010, at the WGA's West Coast ceremony. Of course, David famously helped Jerry Seinfeld create, produce and write seminal 1990s sitcom Seinfeld, and David's writing fueled many of the best episodes. He won an Emmy and WGA for writing "The Contest" episode, and earned additional nominations and wins from the WGA for both Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. What's more than slightly amusing about David's honors for Curb — from the WGA, in particular — is that his HBO series is known for having little more than a outline from David to inform all of its characters, who then improvise the actual script. The future of the television writer is…improv! Don't get me wrong. I loved Seinfeld. I love Curb. I think Larry David is responsible for making both of these shows great and should be rewarded. But still. It's more than slightly amusing. Here's the money quote from WGA-W president John Wells: ‚ÄúFor a writer who‚Äôs made a successful career creating hit television shows about ‚Äònothing,‚Äô Larry David is truly something among writers,‚Äù said. ‚ÄúHe has...

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Jennifer Lopez does stand-up on Lopez Tonight; same night Jon Lovitz coaches “The Bachelor” ladies

Was it Monday night amateur hour stand-up comedy night on the TV, and I just didn't see the memo? Or was 2010's weird take on Martin Luther King Jr.'s federal holiday supposed to redefine having the dream as letting any pretty woman become a stand-up comedian on TV? Either way, J.Lo looked good. Are we still calling her J.Lo?  Jennifer Lopez "hijacked" Lopez Tonight, as the show's own site called it, by strutting onstage first and delivering the monologue instead of the Lopez who hosts the show named George. Some of the comments on the Lopez Tonight site are funny in how they're like, oh, no, no, don't replace my George Lopez. When really we should be focused on how confident J.Lo looked delivering jokes (TelePrompter or no prompter). Roll the clip! Earlier Monday night, eight of the remaining women who are willing to be embarrassed on national television by sleeping with the same guy who'll never marry them — aka, ABC's The Bachelor — suddenly seemed more embarrassed by the prospect of writing a short stand-up comedy. Aha! Plus, they got to meet Jon Lovitz and have him coach them at his Jon Lovitz Comedy Club. It was just like Comedy Boot Camp, except with a TV credit and without Kyle Cease! He should sue for copyright infringement. Am I right, ladies? ABC is now on Hulu, but...

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Watch the promo for Pete Carroll’s “A Better L.A.” benefit with Rob Riggle, Aubrey Plaza and more

Hey, sports fans. Pete Carroll may be leaving the University of Southern California and Los Angeles behind to take a job coaching the Seattle Seahawks, but you don't have to go all crazy superfan on him to make him care about L.A. This guy cares. Just watch Rob Riggle and Aubrey Plaza creep him out for the fun of it, then go and buy tickets to "A Better L.A.," the comedy benefit show Carroll is putting on with the help of Will Ferrell, Tenacious D, Demetri Martin, Tim and Eric, Riggle, Plaza, Nick Swardson and more. It happens Feb. 20 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles....

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