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Neil Patrick Harris was the perfect choice to host the Oscars — but maybe not for the obvious reasons.
When Variety broke the announcement of the host Wednesday, industry reaction was positive. He’s like the Sara Lee of performers: Nobody doesn’t like Nph. But some shrugged that he was a safe choice.
Here are three reasons why TV viewers and the Academy should be excited:
1. He actually Is edgy: True, he has proven his ability when hosting the Tony and Emmy Awards. But Harris is also capable of being edgier than that. On Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” he showed a demented energy, like a combination of Al Pacino in “Dog Day Afternoon” and Anna Magnani in just about everything she made.
- Tim Gray
What better way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain than this: Saturday Night Live announced Tuesday that Prince will fill the role of musical guest on the show's November 1st episode. The rocker will be joined by his backing band 3rdEyeGirl, with whom Prince recorded his two new albums Art Official Age and PlectrumElectrum. Chris Rock will host the episode, which marks the comedian's first SNL visit in 18 years.
Prince will perform and Chris Rock will host the new Nov. 1 episode of "Saturday Night Live." Here are the various reasons why you already know this is good news. 1.This is Prince's first televised appearance in support of his two (2!) new albums, "Plectrumelectrum" and "Art Official Age." Prince doesn't just play for anybody, so you better bet he's got some tricks up his sleeve. 2. Prince played "SNL" in 1981 and 2006. YouTube may not let you revisit it, but it was awesome both times. He is due back. 3. Prince also happens to be one of the best performers to play the Super Bowl Halftime Show ever. You know he can play to a television national audience, on a big or small stage. 4. Chris Rock interviewed Prince back in 1997, you know he brings out a little something special in the Purple One. 5. Chris Rock loves Prince. "SNL" benefits from an appreciation society, »
- Katie Hasty
Last week, Single Palm Tree Productions hosted an international showcase called America Meet World at the famed Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. A project created to introduce Americans to new voices from other regions, including Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, the showcase saw top international acts entertain the crowd in the club’s main room, which has also seen the likes of Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, and more.
Featuring local acts Alex Barnett, Subhah Agarwal, and Ben Kissel, the stars of the night were two of Africa’s top comedians: Emmy nominated Loyisa Gola (pictured above) and David Kibuuka. No subject was left untouched. The showcase was just a snippet of Single Palm Tree Productions’ goal for America Meet World, a global comedy platform designed to produce and curate short form comedic content from around the globe that will not only entertain but introduce Americans »
- Georgette Pierre
Dave Chappelle made a brave stage return to Hartford, Conn., on Saturday — free of boos. The stand-up man surprised the audience of the Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival, where he was booed off the stage last year and later notoriously referred to the audience as "evil" and "young, white alcoholics." "I did not think I would ever come back to Hartford again," Chappelle told the crowd, according to The Courant. "It was a year ago tonight. I had 364 nights to think about that fatal night, one year ago. … I was really immature about what happened." After being introduced by Louis
- Ashley Lee
A year ago, Dave Chappelle was heckled off the stage in Hartford, Connecticut, during his Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival tour. (Soon after, he called a Chicago audience "young, white alcoholics" and joked that he hoped a nuclear bomb fell on the city.) But on Saturday night, after finishing up his own set in Hartford, Louis C.K. announced that Chappelle would come out for a surprise performance. After last year's incident, some of the audience members thought it was a joke, but — lo! — Chappelle appeared to raucous applause, prompting him to say, "This city is schizophrenic."He told them, "I swear I thought you would have booed me the minute I came out." After apologizing for his reaction last year, he did a set on the joys of having sex with older women, getting into a fight with a lesbian, and the difference between weed girls and coke girls. »
- E. Alex Jung
Apple's Beats Music has released a short documentary in honor of the 25th anniversary of Spike Lee‘s 1989 film “Do the Right Thing.” The 23-minute film (above) follows Lee as he revisits the Brooklyn block where the Oscar-nominated drama was filmed. He reflects on the experience with residents and cast, including Danny Aiello, who played pizzeria owner Sal — a role that earned him his first and only Academy Award nomination. Also read: Apple to Cut Beats Staff by 200 Following $3 Billion Acquisition The doc culminates with a block party featuring guests Dave Chappelle, Wesley Snipes, Mos Def and Public Enemy, who performed their anthem. »
- Greg Gilman
- Sasha Stone
It’s been a quarter of a century since “Do The Right Thing,” and yet the film’s themes could not be more current, particularly in light of the events unfolding this week in Ferguson, Missouri. To celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary, Spike Lee teamed up with Beats Music for a short documentary on the film (via Variety). “Do The Right Thing 25 Year Anniversary: A Beats Music Experience” is comprised of two halves. The first focuses on the trio of Lee, Danny Aiello and production designer Wynn Thomas walking around the film's iconic Bed-Stuy block —Stuyvesant Ave. between Lexington and Quincy Aves.— revealing some interesting details about production alongside some quick interviews with current residents and a few members of the film’s cast. The latter half takes place at a block party Lee hosted in June with special guests including Dave Chappelle, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Wesley Snipes »
- Cain Rodriguez
Neal Brennan's new series “The Approval Matrix” takes the most highbrow, brilliant infographic ever to appear in a magazine and uses it as a springboard to talk about television, internet scolds, and his favorite subject, race in America. The co-creator of “Chappelle's Show” is also a standup comic, writer and director of films like “The Goods” and shows including “Inside Amy Schumer.” But his most celebrated work is his collaboration with Dave Chappelle, including sketches that focused on the most uncomfortable questions about racial dynamics. Also read: Neal Brennan Updates Tracy Morgan's Recovery Status on ‘Late Night’ (Video) He's become something of a. »
- Tim Molloy
For a pop culture aficionado, one of the most popular magazine features is New York’s back-of-book Approval Matrix grid that ranks dinner party-worthy factoids based on where they fall between highbrow and lowbrow and despicable and brilliant.
Of course, what’s brilliant and what’s not so hot is open to debate, so SundanceTV started one. Premiering at August 11 at 11 p.m., host Neal Brennan (“Chappelle’s Show” “Inside Amy Schumer”) invites a panel of guests each week for six episodes to ruminate on where various people and topics fall on the spectrum. Each episode has a different theme, ranging from entertainment (Is this really the golden age of television?) to the more serious (Can Donald Sterling say what he wants in the privacy of his own home?). Prerecorded segments also offer glimpses into Jon Stewart, Chris Rock or other high-profile comedians’ takes on the topic.
Brennan is aware »
- Whitney Friedlander
What’s most intriguing about the cinematic treatment of Brown’s life – both on- and off-screen – is that so much of it took place in front of a camera. In fact, Elvis Presley aside, it’s hard to think of a more physical performer that spent so much time being captured on film in the early days of the rock n’ roll/rhythm and blues era.
Brown’s popularity rose and sustained itself for so long that it’s often easy to forget that while he was a fixture well into his more funk-driven days of the 1970s alongside the likes of George Clinton, he got his start as a contemporary of Little Richard.
By time 1964 rolled around and The Beatles and The Rolling Stones »
- Shane McNeil
The word “millennial” has become a buzzy term over the past year thanks to online outlets that have supplied readers born between the ‘80s and early-‘00s with an endless supply of nostalgic content that has allowed them — or rather, us — to relive the good and bad of everyone’s younger years. (It’s not just BuzzFeed or Vulture. VH1 has also built a brand on nostalgia with I Love the… and our own online content that has us revisiting our favorite films and albums of a certain age.)
When it comes to one film studio (and brand) that has been a pivotal part of the millennial experience, it’s MTV Films. Founded in 1996, the studio was an offshoot of the music TV channel and has since produced the big screen versions of a number of MTV programs, such as Beavis and Butt-head and Jackass, as well as original hits, »
- Stacy Lambe
On stage, Ron Funches’ warm, teddy-bear persona and low-key, unhurried delivery and double entendres ensure that his deadpan R-rated zingers (check out his “Fuck Linda neck tattoo” and “Fat Pussy” bits) wouldn’t offend a church lady.
It’s an art he’s been honing for eight years since the Chicago native — whose appearances on “Conan” and “Chelsea Lately” are far removed from the days of being a “shy teenager” — relocated to Oregon and started working clubs in Portland.
“Originally I tried to be more high-energy, more aggressive, like a lot of black comedians I saw, but it just wasn’t me,” says Funches, 31, whose easygoing manner made him a natural fit as the “nerdy, shy space cadet” Shelley opposite fellow nerds Brent Morin and Rick Glassman on NBC’s “Undateable.”
See Also: Gallery: Variety’s 10 Comics to Watch
“It wasn’t a big stretch, and I love doing the »
- Iain Blair
One imagines that if one cracked open Michel Gondry’s brain and looked inside, it would look a lot like Mood Indigo — an elaborate, endless clown-car of whirligig contraptions and unreal images, with little bursts of romantic melancholy peeking out here and there. You might be tempted to assume that his work thrives when it’s matched with a countervailing intelligence — someone to temper his charming madness — but his best collaborators, people like Dave Chappelle, Charlie Kaufman and Jim Carrey, are as inventive and all over the place as Gondry himself. Together they’ve created works of limitless soul and emotional fluidity. So what’s holding Mood Indigo back?Of course, this film isn’t exactly a case of Gondry being left to his own devices. He’s adapting the cult novel L’Ecume des Jours by Boris Vian (which was translated into English as The Froth on the Daydream, »
- Bilge Ebiri
In a world where anything can be created in a computer, we need filmmakers like Michel Gondry more than ever. The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind director has a real affinity for practical, tangible special-effects that have a certain handmade charm, and he's never stuffed more of them into a movie than he has with his new effort, Mood Indigo, a whimsical tragi-romance where the courtship between Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou is threatened by a water lily growing inside her lungs. (For more proof of Mood Indigo's out-there visual sensibility, check out our collection of crazy GIFs from the film.) Gondry called up Vulture yesterday to discuss how he made the movie his own, his sometimes-confusing friendship with Dave Chappelle, and why he wasn't as successful a music-video director as you might have thought.Is there any part of Mood Indigo that we might be surprised to find »
- Kyle Buchanan
Dane Cook is one of the most financially successful comics of all time -- he's also one of the most controversial.
Cook exploded onto the national scene with two certified platinum comedy albums and historic sold-out shows, though many people questioned the origin of several of his jokes. But whether you believe he's "stolen" material from other comics (like Louis C.K.) or not, there's little denying his talent and presence as a performer. With starring roles in "Good Luck Chuck"(2007) and "Dan In Real Life" (2007), Cook is no stranger to the silver screen. This summer, the comic/actor returns as the voice of Dusty Crophopper in "Planes: Fire & Rescue."
From his superhero audition to his embezzling brother, here are 21 things you probably don't know about Dane Cook.
1. Dane Cook was born March 18, 1972 in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Donna Jean Ford and George F. Cook.
2. Cook's family was Roman Catholic.
3. He »
- Jonny Black
It's been 20 years since Forrest Gump was released in theaters. The movie went on to win Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor for Tom Hanks, Best Director for Robert Zemeckis and Best Screenplay. It's one of the most universally loved movies ever made, but at the same time it has also been listed as one of the most overrated. I personally love the film, and I pop it in the dvd player to watch it at least once a year.
With every transition of Forrest's age, one thing remains the same- in the first scene of each transition he wears a blue plaid shirt.When Forrest gets up to talk at the Vietnam rally in Washington, the microphone plug is pulled and you cannot hear him. According to Tom Hanks, he says, "Sometimes when people go to Vietnam, they go home to their mommas without any legs. Sometimes they don't go home at all. »
- Joey Paur
You've probably seen "Forrest Gump" so many times in the 20 years since its release (on July 6, 1994) that you can recite the dialogue by heart, starting with the line about life being like a box of chocolates.
You probably know that the film won six Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director (for Robert Zemeckis), Best Actor (for Tom Hanks), and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Eric Roth). You may even know about the digital trickery that was used to insert Hanks's low-iq Everyman into historical footage of real-life events from the Baby Boom years, or to erase Gary Sinise's legs for his role as double-amputee Lt. Dan.
Still, there's a lot you may not know, including what Forrest really said (in Winston Groom's novel that inspired the film) about life being like a box of chocolates, or what Hanks's Gump actually said at that protest rally, or which famous actors »
- Gary Susman
It's been 25 years today, June 30, since director Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing film hit theaters, and this drama not only holds a lot of significance for many across the country, it was also the film President Barack Obama took First Lady Michelle Obama to see on their first date.
Related Pics: President Obama and First Lady Michelle's Pda Moments
To celebrate the movie's anniversary, a celebration was thrown in Brooklyn -- where Dave Chappelle, Public Enemy's Chuck D and Erykah Badu were in attendance-- and the Obamas made a video message for the special occasion. "Do The Right Thing was actually the first thing we saw together on our first official date," Michelle, 50, admitted. "He was trying to show me his sophisticated side by selecting an independent filmmaker."
The President quipped, "I took her to this new movie everybody was talking about directed »
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