6 items from 2014
To (very) loosely paraphrase Shakespeare, some comedians are born great and some have greatness thrust upon them. By his own admission, Amy Poehler’s kid brother Greg falls squarely into the latter category.
“I got started in standup when a friend literally pushed me up on stage at a club in Stockholm and told the manager I was a famous U.S. comedian,” recalls the Boston native, who’d moved to Sweden in 2006 for love. “I had only an hour to prepare. But I was ready. I was always ready, just waiting for someone to give me a microphone.”
That first performance got posted on Facebook and landed Poehler an offer to open for Tom Arnold at a new club in San Diego. “I met Tom backstage, and he asked how long I had been doing standup. ‘Umm, 10 minutes?’”
See Also: Gallery: Variety’s 10 Comics to Watch
Since that “big break, »
- Iain Blair
Bridesmaids, Identity Thief, The Heat. For the last three years, Hollywood’s most-anticipated comedy output has become synonymous with Melissa McCarthy’s foul-mouthed, arrogant loser schtick. This summer’s offering, Tammy, penned by McCarthy and husband Ben Falcone – who takes on directorial duties – carries on her commitment to wringing the humour from the ridiculous circumstances of unlucky schlubs.
Whereas Bridesmaids and The Heat rewrote the rules of convention for women in comedy, Tammy prefers to trot a familiar path. Another frumpy Midwesterner, Tammy can’t catch a break. Her rustbucket Corolla is totalled. She’s fired from her job. Her boyfriend is dining the classy waif from next door. This trifecta of blows provide the catalyst for the down-trodden ex-fast food employee to get out of dodge. Penniless, there’s only one escape route: with her sexaholic, alcoholic grandma Pearl (Susan Sarandon), eager to offer up her car and $6,700 on one condition. »
- Gem Seddon
Previously, on a very special episode of Clone High...
“Way, way back in the 1980s, secret government employees dug up famous guys and ladies and made amusing genetic copies. Now the clones are sexy teens and they're gonna make it if they try.”
So goes the theme tune to Clone High, the MTV animated series that ran for one season from 2002 to 2003. As a concept for a TV series goes, there's a hell of a lot of mileage in doing a teen drama featuring the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Joan of Arc, John F Kennedy and Cleopatra in school together.
The series was animated in the style of Genndy Tartakovsky’s hand-drawn animated series, such as Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack, with stylised character design and slightly more limited movement, making »
The future predicted by videogames is almost never good. Everybody’s at war with either other countries or with different factions in some post-apocalyptic landscape, or we’ve been enslaved by robots and/or aliens, or we’ve lost all our rights and humanity to technological advances. And that’s just the Ratchet and Clank series. Who in their right mind would want any of the horrible futures depicted in videogames to come true?
Well, nobody, obviously, although we wouldn’t be surprised if a significant portion of DayZ players use the frightening open world game to train for the actual zombie apocalypse that they’re sure is coming, and will revolve mainly around the collection of baked beans. But that’s not to say that games aren’t good at predicting the future; obviously we won’t be sure if we’ll end up in a war-torn »
- Tom Baker
When a voice-actor passes away for any cartoon, the writers have three options: re-cast with a similar-sounding actor/actress; send the character on a “long vacation” until a decision can be made; or permanently retire said character(s) out of respect for the deceased. After being on the air for 25 years, The Simpsons have, unfortunately, seen their fair-share of voice-actors pass on. Very few of their “permanent” voices, but enough in-house- as well as special guests who voiced themselves and reoccurring characters- have passed that the writers have had to make those decisions.
Sixty-three voice-actors and actresses- three considered “regular cast” and the other 60 “special guest stars”- have been silenced over the last 25 years. Some of the more familiar guest stars you won’t see in this list include: Steve Allen, Johnny Carson, Gary Coleman, Linda McCartney, Tito Puente, Elizabeth Taylor, and Barry White. The ones listed within »
- The 'House
Comedy writer Ben Starr, whose career stretched from radio through 1980s sitcoms, died Sunday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 92.
Starr was a co-creator of NBC comedies “The Facts of Life” and “Silver Spoons.” During his long career, he wrote for TV comedies ranging from “All in the Family” to “Diff’rent Strokes” as well as “Mr. Ed,” “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Petticoat Junction,” “The Brady Bunch” and “Chico and the Man.”
Starr inadvertently helped create the famous catchphrase from “Diff’rent Strokes” — “Whatchu talking ’bout Willis?” The line as written in an early script for the show was “What are you talking about, Willis?” but after star Gary Coleman gave it his distinctive delivery, Starr knew it was a keeper.
- Variety Staff
6 items from 2014
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