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I vould like to feed your fingerteeps to the volver-eenes

In honor of Saturday Night Live's 40th season, Grantland has been publishing an ongoing series of essays, remembrances, podcasts, and interviews, as well as asking you to cast your votes in The Battle for the Best SNL Cast Member. (They're already down to the final eight; sorry, your favorite cast member has already been eliminated.)
posted by not_on_display on Aug 25, 2014 - 85 comments

John is the new Jon

With a combination of humor and fearlessness, Last Week Tonight has done an unlikely thing: spurred action. John Oliver’s segment on net neutrality this past June perfectly summed up what his HBO show Last Week Tonight is so good at: transcending apathy. It’s an ingenious formula that’s making a difference in the real world. “Making a difference” isn’t hyperbole. The FCC’s website actually crashed from overwhelming web traffic the day after Oliver’s segment originally aired. The Atlantic looks at How John Oliver Beats Apathy.
posted by Room 641-A on Aug 16, 2014 - 89 comments

RIP Robin Williams

Robin Wiliams famous for his impressions, role as Genie in Aladdin, standup comedy, Mrs. Doubtfire and many other comedy roles has died at the age of 63.
posted by Carillon on Aug 11, 2014 - 856 comments

"You can sort your life out anytime, the pub closes in five hours."

"Surprisingly, Black Books has no affliction with the BBC whatsoever; created by Dylan Moran (who also plays the lead) and Graham Linehan, the show was filmed at Teddington Studios and broadcast on Channel 4. It centers around Bernard Black (Dylan Moran), the careless, grumpy, wine-inhaling owner of Black Books, his friend Fran (Tamsin Greig) and his assistant shop keeper Manny (Bill Bailey). Specked with a few fun cameos by people not yet famous at the time, this show is a hilarious roller coaster ride that will make you laugh until you cry." Black Books: 4 Reasons the British Sitcom Remains a Classic [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 6, 2014 - 90 comments

Rule number one is: young men die. And rule number two is...

Doctors can't change rule number one.

The televisions series, M*A*S*H, developed by Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds, was broadcast on CBS for over a decade, from the pilot on September 17, 1972, to the highly-rated final episode on February 28, 1983. Yet reports of its demise are fictional, M*A*S*H is alive and well. [SPOILERS within if you haven't seen the series.] [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 2, 2014 - 130 comments

How bout them Oar Doovers, ain't they sweet?

About the multi-talented Mason Williams [previously, and best known as composer of the iconic "Classical Gas"] -- Throughout his years in the Navy and college he wrote a series of poems he titled Them Poems. As he entered the folk music scene in the early 60's he wound up rooming with long time friend Ed Ruscha in Los Angeles. Some of the language from Them Poems is a consequence of creative word play that Ed and Paul Ruscha riffed on with Williams over the years. Ed Ruscha provided us with this recording [also released as "The Mason Williams Listening Matter", and reviewed here on allmusic by Eugene Chadbourne] from 1964. Recording starts around 35 seconds in. Also, here's Mason performing "Them Tummy Gummers" on Johnny Cash's variety show. Finally, Mason Williams Online.
posted by not_on_display on Jun 23, 2014 - 12 comments

Nathan for You

Nathan Fielder's Ingenious Dumb Humor - "How the star of Comedy Central's 'Nathan for You' makes the most of uncomfortable moments." (via; previously 1,2,3)
posted by kliuless on Jun 14, 2014 - 10 comments

Bah-beee!

"The Demo" [SLYT] is the original pilot episode of the animated tv show, Bob's Burger's (previously).The theme remains the same, although the art style is a bit rough. The plot is exactly the same as the first episode, "Human Flesh", with minor differences in animation and timing. Oh, and Tina was originally a Daniel! [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on May 30, 2014 - 23 comments

“Where do left and right meet? At the truth.”

Politically Incorrect was an American late-night, half-hour political talk show hosted by Bill Maher that ran from 1993 to 2002, first on Comedy Central and then on ABC. Four guests (usually including at least one comedian) would debate topics across the political spectrum in what Maher once described as “The McLaughlin Group on acid.” Of the 1300+ episodes produced, 190 can be viewed on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 23, 2014 - 66 comments

I bet this FPP is even scarier inside!

"Looking back on it, one of the things that's crazy is I don't think I even realized that first of all, Joe Flaherty is supposed to be a vampire but he's howling like a werewolf. [laughs] I just took that for granted, and it must've been years until I saw it and was like "Wait a minute, that's a joke!" Furthermore, Count Floyd's always wearing a turtleneck which is the least vampire thing ever." "Splitsider kicks off its new column, Sketch Anatomy, with television writer Bill Oakley breaking down SCTV’s "Dr. Tongue’s Evil House of Pancakes" (previously). Oww owww oowoooooo!!!
posted by Room 641-A on May 20, 2014 - 73 comments

A HUNDRED SEASONS AND A MOVIE, WW FOREVER RICK AND MORTY DOT COM

Are you a fan of inventive, black-humored sci-fi/fantasy animation? Desperate to fill the Futurama-shaped hole in your heart? Look no further than Rick and Morty, the superb new Adult Swim series from animator Justin "Lemongrab" Roiland and Community darling Dan Harmon. Inspired by a (terrible and very NSFW) Back To The Future knock-off, the show pairs a naïve young teen (Morty) with his cynical, alcoholic, mad scientist grandfather (Rick), each episode exploring a trope -- dreams, aliens, innerspace, parallel universes, virtual reality -- and turning it inside-out with intricate plotting, eye-catching art, and dark, whipsmart humor (with plenty of improvisation along the way). A ratings hit already secured for a second season, the show returns from an Olympics-induced hiatus tomorrow -- in the meantime, why not sample the six episodes aired so far: Pilot - Lawnmower Dog - Anatomy Park - M. Night Shaym-Aliens! - Meeseeks and Destroy - Rick Potion #9. Want more? Promo/highlight reel - AV Club reviews - TVTropes - Reddit - Rick & Morty ComicCon panel - Storyboard Test - Soundtrack samples - Play the "Rushed Licensed Adventure" point-and-click game
posted by Rhaomi on Mar 9, 2014 - 84 comments

Fawlty Towers without the Fawltys

John Cleese: "I remember at a party I met these chaps from Viacom, who said they were working on a new Fawlty Towers. My ears pricked up at the sound of cash registers and said, 'That's wonderful, are you going to change anything?'. They said, 'Well we have changed one thing, we've written Basil out'. And that's absolutely true, they took Basil and Sybil's lines and gave them all to Bea Arthur." The resulting effort was a 1983 ABC series called Amanda’s By the Sea which could charitably be described as a fiasco. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 24, 2014 - 68 comments

"I'm mad about you baby. Mad About You...."

"Did you just kiss me?"
"No."
"I didn't think so."
[more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 14, 2014 - 57 comments

This post courtesy of the little green guys and the red jammies

♪ "Believe it or not, I'm walkin on air.
I never thought I could feel so free....
Flying away on a wing and a prayer,
Who could it be?
Believe it or not, it's just me."
[more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 7, 2014 - 88 comments

Matt Berry is the Toast of London

Toast Of London stars Matt Berry (IT Crowd, Snuff Box, Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place) as troubled theatre actor Steven Toast, an eccentric middle-aged actor with a chequered past who spends more time dealing with his problems off stage than performing on it. With a recent divorce, a highly controversial play to perform every night, a shell shocked army officer for a brother and an audition in a prison - it’s turning into another very busy day for Toast in this, the pilot episode for the Channel 4 series. [SLYT] [NSFW] [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Dec 31, 2013 - 25 comments

This ain't chemistry. This is Art.

With the momentous series finale of Breaking Bad just hours away, fans of the show are hungry for something, anything to wile away the time before the epic conclusion tonight. So why not kick back and chew the fat with your fellow MeFites with the help of a little tool I like to call "The Periodic Table of Breaking Bad." [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 29, 2013 - 974 comments

Turing it off

So Breaking Bad isn't the only series having it's final episode this weekend. The IT Crowd hits end of program with a one off special.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Sep 27, 2013 - 121 comments

“Live, from New York, it’s ‘Saturday Night’!”

The God of ‘SNL’ Will See You Now. "How do you please Lorne Michaels? Twenty-two ‘Saturday Night Live’ cast members – and one who came close – share tales of the audition that can make or break a career." Also, extended interviews with Kristin Wiig, Will Ferrel, Chevy Chase, Dana Carvey, Jimmy Fallon and Molly Shannon, on what it took to get hired for 'SNL.' Check out audition tapes from: Phil Hartman, Andy Kaufman, John Belushi, Jimmy Fallon, Dana Carvey: 1 & 2, and Dan Aykroyd. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 22, 2013 - 27 comments

"The greatest trainwreck...ever."

SNL's Bill Hader, Rob Klein, and Jon Solomon discuss "Song for Daddy", the sketch with host Justin Bieber that never made it past dress rehearsal.
posted by Room 641-A on Jun 27, 2013 - 32 comments

John Oliver: "The most formative comedy of my teenage years."

There was no wink and they never sold it out for these half-hour, densely, beautifully produced pieces, which is, for all possibilities, obscuring that this doesn’t at all sound like a comedy show. It is all the production elements you would use in a full-scale news production. All the gravitas, but just inflated to a point that it has no gravitas whatsoever. And I think that is where it became this excitingly subversive thing because it just showed that BBC Radio 4 and everything it stood for was just a big bag of shit.
John Oliver on why he's a fan of On the Hour. On the Hour, of course, is the legendary BBC news radio program created by, among other people, Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It, In The Loop, Veep), Christopher Morris (Jam, Brass Eye, Four Lions, Why Bother?), Stewart Lee (41st best stand-up comic ever), and Steve Coogan (Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge, I'm Alan Partridge). Short-lived but influential, On the Hour mimicked the tone and production of other radio news shows but replaced the content with what Oliver describes as "unremitting bullshit". On the Hour was aired in two six-episode series (S1E1 S1E2 S1E3 S1E4 S1E5 S1E6; S2E1 S2E2 S2E3 S2E4 S2E5 S2E6), and begat a television series called The Day Today. That show in turn added Graham Linehan (Black Books, Father Ted, The IT Crowd) to On the Hour's already all-star lineup, upped the already-insane levels of overproduction, and ran for six short-but-glorious episodes (one two three four five (WAR!) six), as well as a special 9/11 radio report. [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Jun 10, 2013 - 64 comments

Nobody tuned into Dynasty to watch Alexis & Krystle tweet at each other

You Can Be Better Next Season, American Idol. Here’s How. By Dave Holmes [more inside]
posted by nadawi on May 16, 2013 - 13 comments

So good they cancelled it.

Somewhere between Buggin' Out and Gus Fring, Metafilter favorite Giancarlo Esposito starred as Paul Gigante, a city cop transplanted by family circumstances into a dysfunctional small town police department and frustrating partnership with the imbecillic Wade Preston, in Bakersfield P.D., a short-lived comedy gem from Fox Network. Partially available for your viewing pleasure in grainy video on a YouTube playlist, with German subtitles and no laugh track. [more inside]
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth on Feb 15, 2013 - 12 comments

Robert Dudley is HOT

Horrible Histories, the historical sketch show on the BBC inspired by the books of the same name, has been featured previously on Metafilter. Not mentioned, however, were the real gems of the show, Historical Desktops [MLYT]: [more inside]
posted by primer_dimer on Dec 20, 2012 - 10 comments

I didn’t dream up the helicopter. My memory is Jerry said a helicopter.

It may be the most notorious Thanksgiving promotion of all time. It is the 40th best television episode of all time. It's available in (semi-)entirety on HULU. And the classic TV blog offers an oral history. Happy thanksgiving, and, as God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.
posted by Bunny Ultramod on Nov 21, 2012 - 102 comments

Vicious Old Queens

Here's a sitcom with an unusually high pedigree: Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi to play an old married couple in a new british sitcom from Itv, airing in april 2013!
posted by aldurtregi on Nov 2, 2012 - 43 comments

♪ Where Everybody Knows Your Name! ♪

"Everybody Knows Their Names: The GQ Oral History of Cheers." (Single page version.) On the thirtieth anniversary of the premiere of Cheers, GQ "sat down with just about everyone who made it." Also, Christopher Lloyd, Amy Poehler and Shawn Ryan talk about what they learned from the show. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 27, 2012 - 145 comments

My Name is John Daker

John Daker is going to sing a song that's very popular nowadays, it's Christ The Lord Is Risen Today, and he's going to do Amore too, okay? There is a subtitled and animated version also.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Aug 3, 2012 - 35 comments

writer/director/actor

Louis C.K. on eating pressure and providing an alternative to The Man - "I ask him to think about what he really needs; when he tells me, I give him a little more. It buys me goodwill with this person; I feel good about what I'm paying them. I like to give people a little more than they want, and I like to ask people for a little less than they're willing to give." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 6, 2012 - 40 comments

Bobby Bittman

In all seriousness, although Bobby Bittman (né Herschel Slansky) is famous as a funnyman and singer, he has also done heavy acting in On The Waterfront Again, Caesar, and The Poor Slob.
posted by Trurl on Jun 6, 2012 - 22 comments

Gertrude Berg

Winner of the first Emmy Award for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, winner of a Tony Award in 1959, a pioneer for women as writers and producers in radio and television, and the inventor of the situation comedy, Gertrude Berg is - in the words of her film biographer Aviva Kempner - "the most important woman in America you never heard of". [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jun 3, 2012 - 10 comments

The Strange Art of Picking a TV Title

How TV show titles are picked, aka why "Friends" wasn't named "Across The Hall".
posted by reenum on Mar 19, 2012 - 74 comments

It's the way I told 'em

RIP Frank Carson, an Irish comedian of the old school.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 23, 2012 - 21 comments

Plonkers

The long running English sitcom Only Fools And Horses is going to be remade in the US…. The Guardians showbiz spies reveal the subtle tinkerings that have been made to the original formula. The funniest thing ever on television. Allegedly. (This is funnier)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 30, 2012 - 37 comments

Day at Night, half-hour New York public television interviews from the 70s

Day at Night was an interview series on the public television station of the City University of New York that aired from 1973-4. CUNY TV is in the process of digitizing and uploading the 130 episodes that were produced, with 46 done so far. The episodes are just under half an hour in length. Among the people interviewed by host James Day are author Ray Bradbury, actress Myrna Loy, medical researcher Jonas Salk, singer Cab Calloway, writer Christopher Isherwood, nuclear scientist Edward Teller, comedian Victor Borge, tennis player Billie Jean King, linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, composer Aaron Copland, actor Vincent Price and boxer Muhammad Ali.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 16, 2012 - 6 comments

Promising TV Series That Weren't Picked Up

The Internet often discusses shows that died before their time. Splitsider looked at "10 Promising TV Series That Weren't Picked Up". Television Without Pity also has its "Brilliant But Cancelled" blog, taken over from the original site. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jan 13, 2012 - 260 comments

White girls are broke like *this*...

I walk up to "2 Broke Girls" co-creator Michael Patrick King, offer my hand and say, "Mr. King, I'm sorry things got so ugly there, but I wanted to say that it came from a place where a lot of us in the room like the parts of your show involving Kat and Beth, and want the rest of the show to live up to that." King, stone-faced, silently turns and walks off the stage.
posted by no regrets, coyote on Jan 11, 2012 - 118 comments

Gillian Jacob's nickname is 'Walking NPR'

As fans of the television show Community wait through a Whitney induced hiatus of indeterminate length, they might be wondering what the cast and crew has been up to. At least one of those things was squaring off for a game of Trivial Pursuit hosted by Dan Harmon.
posted by codacorolla on Jan 5, 2012 - 43 comments

"It's not as though [the ten commandments] were written in stone, darling."

The Powers That Be was a short-lived, irreverent sitcom about a dim US Senator (John Forsythe, in his last major starring role on television) and his dysfunctional family, that aired on NBC between 1992 and 1993. Created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, who would go on to create Friends, the show co-starred David Hyde Pierce (pre-Frasier) as the Senator's suicidal son-in-law. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 25, 2011 - 21 comments

"Bob Shuter, suburban vigilante. Driven by rage to wage a one-man war on the underworld of Kent, Bob Shuter is... The Reprisalizer."

"You're going nowhere, son. Just you, me ad the walls. So wipe that bloody grin off before it's shot off, and don't slouch. You toe rag. You bin. Pay attention when I break you. And break you I will, boy. You're in my manor, now." Buck up! It's Terry Finch's THE REPRISALIZER! Follow Bob Shuter, whose mission of reprisal against his brother's killers, their families, associates, progeny and property takes him across the desolate wasteland of 70s Britain, primarily Kent AKA FINCHLAND. Finch, writer of The Reprisalizer and DRAW!, the cowboy whose name means death, is soon to be the subject of a major motion picture from Matthew Holness, creator of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace.
posted by Artw on Dec 13, 2011 - 15 comments

Is the 2011-2012 Sitcom Schedule the Worst in a Decade?

Splitsider asks "Is the 2011-2012 Sitcom Schedule the Worst in a Decade?"
posted by reenum on Nov 10, 2011 - 163 comments

Televisual journalists report forthcoming same-sex nuptuals on Conan

Conan O'Brien may be about to push the envelope on late-night television
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Nov 3, 2011 - 173 comments

The Benny Hill Show

Thanks to his work in television, especially The Benny Hill Show, Benny Hill is the most universally recognised of British comedians. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Sep 27, 2011 - 68 comments

"Dana is playing Bill Clinton literally breastfeeding puppies—that was our introduction to America."

GQ: Teats Out: An Oral History of the Rise and Fall (and Rise) of "The Dana Carvey Show." "Steve Carell. Stephen Colbert. Louis C.K. Charlie Kaufman. Robert Smigel. Some of comedy's greatest minds got one of their biggest breaks on the short-lived but much-loved "The Dana Carvey Show." Fifteen years later, in this exclusive oral history, the players recount the brief but fertile life of a truly unusual show", all eight episodes of which are available on Hulu. (Previously) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 9, 2011 - 33 comments

Orange you glad you got your Nickelodeon?

Two and a half years ago, we explored the early history of Cartoon Network... but it wasn't the only player in the youth television game. As a matter of fact, Fred Seibert -- the man responsible for the most inventive projects discussed in that post -- first stretched his creative legs at the network's truly venerable forerunner: Nickelodeon. Founded as Pinwheel, a six-hour block on Warner Cable's innovative QUBE system, this humble channel struggled for years before Seibert's innovative branding work transformed it into a national icon and capstone of a media empire. Much has changed since then, from the mascots and game shows to the versatile orange "splat." But starting tonight in response to popular demand, the network is looking back with a summer programming block dedicated to the greatest hits of the 1990s, including Hey Arnold!, Rocko's Modern Life, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Double Dare, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Legends of the Hidden Temple, and All That. To celebrate, look inside for the complete story of the early days of the network that incensed the religious right, brought doo-wop to television, and slimed a million fans -- the golden age of Nickelodeon. (warning: monster post inside) [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jul 25, 2011 - 116 comments

"Don't steal from *this* show! That's like taking pants from a hobo!"

After Kad & Olivier sign off and the Satisfaction production logo fades, viewing audiences are oftentimes treated to a cold open of an empty talk show set... one that quickly becomes the impromptu dance floor for a shameless Frenchman making an absolute giddy fool of himself while lip-syncing pop songs alongside a menagerie of... wait, *what*?! That's right. The Late Late Show's Craig Ferguson appears to have a not-so-secret French admirer -- one who's not above ripping off both his opening titles and his signature dance sequences (including the iconic animal puppets): "ABC" by The Jackson 5, "Flashdance" by Irene Cara, "On the Floor" by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull, "Waka Waka" by Shakira, "Men in Black" by Will Smith, "Let's All Chant" by the Michael Zager Band, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham!, "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls, and "Vive Le Vent (Jingle Bells)" by Tino Rossi. Luckily, Ferguson's sense of showmanship is more prodigious than litigious -- he responded to Arthur's "homáge" by booking a pair of translatlantic crossover shows, with Arthur visiting LA that week and Ferguson flying out to Paris just last month. Video of both shows (plus lots more) inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jul 11, 2011 - 12 comments

Now the story of a wealthy man who lost everything. And the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together.

The much-beloved Arrested Development was characterized by its complex, multilayered narrative jokes; here the A. V. Club analyzed a 50-second-long clip and tried to map out all its references (including one very subtle three-part joke about eggs). Luckily for you, there’s a very exhaustive web site, The Balboa Observer-Picayune, which documents the show’s obscurest jokes (H. Maddas, Blackstool, GOB’s ice obsession), its cleverest callbacks (Hello’s revenge, ”Mom says”, pilot/finale callbacks), its visual gags (yearbooks, newspapers, cartoons, Amazon), and its longest-running gags (I’ve made a huge mistake”, “Her?”, Cloud Mir, ”Hey, brother!”, and the chicken dance). Complete index of references at the Bluthcyclopedia. Complete transcripts of every episode. Bonus songs! All You Need Is Smiles. Yellow Boat. Big Yellow Joint. Hot Cops. It Ain’t Easy Being White. Discipline Daddy. Motherboy. Balls in the Air. You Here With Me. I Get Up. Finally, Fonzie jumps the shark again. [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Jun 16, 2011 - 301 comments

One-Man Show

Louis C.K. has what most artists dream of: total creative control over his show.
posted by reenum on May 16, 2011 - 45 comments

Stonybridge!

Why is BBC Scotland getting all the new comedy shows?
posted by Artw on May 6, 2011 - 43 comments

Everything's made up, and the points don't matter

Years after its final broadcast, the award-winning, pond-hopping, cult comedy hit Whose Line is it Anyway? is returning to television! Sort of! Tonight in just a few minutes, Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza (promo, sample segment) makes its debut on GSN, reuniting Carey with popular "Whosers" Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, Greg Proops, Brad Sherwood, Wayne Brady, and many more. Though the show will air every weekday, you don't have to wait around for new episodes to get your improv fix -- in spite of the lack of DVD box sets, there's a veritable treasure trove of past content available free from multiple online sources, including the complete run of the American Whose Line on both YouTube and fansite WatchWLIIA along with every episode of the original UK run from Channel4's official YouTube channel and their streaming video site 4oD. Too much content? Look inside for selections of the show's most hilarious moments as sampled from the show's burgeoning TVTropes entry. See also: Fan guide - American episode guide (UK version) - List of game types [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Apr 11, 2011 - 49 comments

Albert Brooks' Famous School for Comedians

A look back at 1971's "Albert Brooks' Famous School for Comedians," a founding document for a generation of humorists. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Feb 10, 2011 - 14 comments

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