Day: March 5, 2010

Elephant Larry goes to the movies, via the Internet, with its own TV pilot: “The WOW”

You might remember NYC-based sketch group Elephant Larry from their original shorts such as the movie trailer for an adaptation of Minesweeper (which won an ECNY award two years ago; they're up again for best sketch group this year). With pilot season in full swing, the guys — Geoff Haggerty, Stefan Lawrence, Chris Principe, Jeff Solomon, Alexander Zalben — decided to produce and release their own 20-minute presentation. It's called "The WOW," a parody of those "entertainment" programs you see at the cinemas before the coming attractions. So if you want to see their take on Lifetime and Syfy original movies, corporate-sponsored awards and segments, a special behind-the-scenes look at Spider-Man 4, fake ads and more…roll the clip! I got Elephant Larry member/director Alex Zalben to submit to some serious questioning. You know, like, hey, tell me more about your pilot, please? "We produced and shot The WOW around NYC late last year with a bunch of friends because, honestly, we loved the idea. We have a number of scripts we've written, and ideas we've fleshed out, but this was the first one we not only got excited about, but we also thought, "Hey, we can do this." So we wrote, shot, and edited the thing over the course of a month, on basically no budget." What were your hopes and dreams for it? "Our plan was always to...

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Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts give you a reason to watch SPIKE with inspired improv in “Players” pilot

I have to admit that part of me worried that Players, the new sitcom from Upright Citizens Brigade leaders Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts, might not be very good. All of that part of me, it turns out, was worried simply because their series is airing on SPIKE. Let's just say some of SPIKE's original programming seems like it's leftovers that got passed over from other networks. The "sitcom" that airs before Players, called Blue Mountain State, didn't appear to have any actual jokes in it — merely college football jock premises and the hilarity of compromising sexual positions with Cloris Leachman, in the episode broadcasted immediately prior to the debut of Players. The page for BMS calls it a "new original comedy," and yet the reality is the exact opposite. More BS than BMS, am I right? I bring all of that up because for all of the effort that seemingly goes into that series, knowing how Walsh, Roberts and their funny friends are able to take something as basic as an Arizona sports bar and a plot outline, then weave some inspired improvisational punchlines and moments out of it. It's really great. Don't want to take my word for it? You can watch the premiere episode, "Krista's Mom" (no, not "Grand Reopening," despite what The Onion seemed to think), again tonight on SPIKE. Or you can watch...

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Last Comic Standing returns: Season 7 auditions, a June premiere, and advice from a former winner

Are you ready for the seventh season of Last Comic Standing? Dozens of would-be comedians already are, judging by the Tweets I'm reading from Chucklemonkey, who already is in line outside of the Hollywood Improv. Wait. Don't the auditions take place tomorrow? Yep. But as of four hours ago, Chucklemonkey told us there were at least 45 aspiring comedians in line at Hollywood. Yikes. If you follow Last Comic Standing on Facebook, you can learn some "helpful" tips. Not helpful enough to tell you that you'll have a much better shot if you have an agent and manager who can negotiate a scheduled appointment for you, and even better if you're repped by Barry Katz and New Wave, since they're behind the scenes of LCS. Which also means that even though LCS is only holding open calls in Hollywood and New York City, New Wave presided over local comedy showcases in recent months in both Chicago and Boston, so some stand-ups there already have gotten an initial look-see for the show. Among the tips from LCS: Auditions run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (March 6 in Hollywood, March 21 in NYC), with no guarantee on how many people the "judges" will see. No parking. Bring a picture ID and proof of U.S. citizenship. There's lots of paperwork to fill out. You get two minutes for your initial audition....

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Dwight Slade talks about being a teen comic with best friend Bill Hicks in these documentary clips

A new documentary about the late Bill Hicks, American: The Bill Hicks Story, is making the film festival rounds, and it's more than fair to say that it's going deep into the heart of Hicks country this month when it screens at Austin's SXSW. There will be three screenings of the documentary at SXSW, plus a panel discussion remembering Hicks on March 20. Here's a clip from the movie that not only shows the blend of actual footage with animation the filmmakers have chosen, but also includes comedian Dwight Slade talking about he and his childhood friend Hicks had to sneak out of the house on a school night for their first professional stand-up gig in a comedy club. Roll it! Here's another clip of Slade talking about one of the first "characters" he and Hicks performed when they were teens. And so you fans who have questions can ask appropriately, if given the chance, do your homework and watch this footage from last month's Glasgow Film Festival with the filmmakers, Matt Harlock and Paul...

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Brett Gelman and Paul Scheer breakdown this year’s Oscar hopefuls. Hey, That’s Awesome!

Take that, Avatar. Stop feeling so Precious and keep an eye out before you get attacked from The Blind Side and end up feeling all Hurt Locker. Or something like that. Here are film critics "Ryan O'Neal" and "Tatum O'Neal" (comedians Brett Gelman and Paul Scheer) laying down the smack on this year's Oscar hopefuls in advance of Sunday's Academy Awards. Roll this clip. Meanwhile, critics Stinson (Rob Lathan) and Ms. Marjory Maycomb (Lennon Parham, as seen currently on Accidentally on Purpose) had some awesome and wholesome things to say about several of these same movies. Hey, that's...

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