New Year, New Hosts
It's 2023: Do you know who's in charge of anything???
Our top stories in comedy are very much a meet the new boss, looks like the odd boss, but something’s different even when things look and sound like old news, am I right? This subscriber knows what I’m talking about!
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The Daily Show’s First Guest Hosts
After Trevor Noah’s surprising exit last month from Comedy Central, everyone has wondered, who’ll become the fourth host of The Daily Show? Earlier transitions were straightforward: Jon Stewart succeeded Craig Kilborn after the Christmas break in 1998-1999, and Noah took over from Stewart after an end-of-summer break in 2015. Not so fast this time around.
Comedy Central has announced the first wave of guest hosts for TDS in 2023, with no rush to anoint a new full-time anchor behind the desk.
Kicking things off? Leslie Jones from Jan. 17-19 (a shortened work week following Monday’s MLK holiday), followed by Wanda Sykes from Jan. 23-26, D.L. Hughley from Jan. 30 through Feb. 2, Chelsea Handler from Feb. 6-9, then Sarah Silverman from Feb. 13-16. Aside from Jones (who hosted the 2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards), they all have previous talk-show hosting experience. Sykes hosted a weekly late-night talker for FOX in 2009 (and had her own Comedy Central series back in 2004); Hughley had his own weekly showcase on CNN back in 2008, won a Peabody Award for his 2012 Comedy Central special, and has hosted a syndicated radio show for years; Handler presided over Chelsea Lately on E! from 2007-2014; and Silverman’s I Love You America on Hulu received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series in 2018 and 2019. As I noted in a previous newsletter, it’s just as plausible that all of these comedians are auditioning for other possible hosting gigs in the Paramount+ family. After all, both Stephen Colbert and John Oliver sat in for Stewart during one of his absences, and they both wound up with different gigs that seem to have worked out quite well for them.
Jerrod Carmichael Tries To Revive The Golden Globes
It’s award season, baby, and the Golden Globes are back?!? We cannot rid ourselves of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which feels very symbolic of our two steps forward, one step back march to progress on all fronts in life. If you have a wild opinion about the film, Babylon, then perhaps you’ve never quite taken a close look at the HFPA, its offensive excesses and and the oversized role its award show plays in our Entertainment-Industrial Complex.
After a one-year boycott, NBC is back on board, broadcasting the 80th annual Golden Globes ceremony tonight. On a Tuesday? On a Tuesday. At least Jerrod Carmichael is hosting, and that should provide a fresh perspective on Hollywood.
Then again, the HFPA has a history of welcoming hosts to skewer them and the industry both (see: Ricky Gervais; Tina Fey and Amy Poehler) on an annual basis, only to see very superficial changes in them or the industry over the years.
So, yeah. Here’s looking forward to tonight’s two steps forward, then?!
R.I.P. Kelly Monteith
Kelly Monteith died on New Year’s Day at his home in California. Monteith was 80, and has suffered two strokes in early 2021 that left him unable to perform due to aphasia.
But long before that, Monteith established the idea that American comedians could enjoy successful careers across the pond in the UK. Originally from St. Louis, he performed multiple times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in the 1970s and had his own variety show on CBS. But it was in Britain that Monteith thrived, starring in a BBC program from 1979-1984, and then again a generation later co-hosting Brit Flix with Kelly, Paul and Two-Buck Chuck on The Anglophile Channel from 2014-2020.
42, a London and Los Angeles management and production company, named Ben Cavey as its first head of comedy, based in L.A. Cavey previously worked at Netflix, where he’s credited with shepherding Kevin Hart: Don’t F**K This Up, I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson, Charlie Brooker’s Death to 2020, and multiple UK stand-up specials. A quote? “I’m very excited to join 42, it is a collection of incredible producers and managers, and I have huge admiration for the company’s culture – innovative, courageous and, of course, committed to quality. I look forward to helping grow 42’s comedy and entertainment offering, as we look to attract the best talent and produce the best content in both scripted and non-scripted for television and film. I also relish the opportunity to further develop the company’s partnerships with Lionsgate Television and 3 Arts Entertainment, which I think represents a really exciting and unique opportunity for everyone involved.”
But the big industry news remains the dramatic scaling back of streaming, mostly due to the suits in charge at the platforms looking to maximize profits and stock prices, so removing programming from their platforms (either to resell them to rivals or merely take tax write-offs) looks better to them than paying residuals to performers and writers or showcasing the work that everyone in front of and behind the cameras put into said programming. Let us all bow our heads and sigh for late-stage capitalism.
Among the latest shelvings:
Demascus, a half-hour series from Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm about a Black man who uses new tech to experience different versions of his own life (with Martin Lawrence in a recurring role), had filmed its first season for AMC, but won’t air there.
Inside Job, an animated comedy from Shion Takeuchi, cancelled by Netflix after one season, despite a season-two renewal last summer.
And Paramount+ put a stop to the Workaholics movie a month before filming was to start.
But all is not lost for Devine: Peacock just announced a season two for his series, Pitch Perfect: Bumper In Berlin, which premiered in November and co-stars Flula Borg, Sarah Hyland, Lera Abova and Jameela Jamil.
Also new in the development trenches…
Mary Beth Barone and Jared Goldstein inked a deal with FOX to write, star and EP a single-cam called Dicks. Description: “A field-based, comedic take on the true crime format. Best friends and amateur private investigators Mary Beth Barone and Jared Goldstein travel the country, using every resource available, to solve real life mysteries, expose everyday perpetrators, and seek retribution for injustices, no matter how small. In fact, the smaller the better. Mary Beth and Jared can be very petty.”
Claudia Lonow has a deal with ABC to develop Boss, a single-cam inspired by her real life, about two women who are frenemies who wind up hiring each other’s equally opposite daughters as their assistants.
If you cannot make it San Francisco this month for SF Sketchfest, then they’ve got just the ticket for you? Partnering with Moment, they’re livestreaming seven of this year’s festival events.
SF Sketchfest Roast of Bruce Campbell with guests Peaches Christ, Dana DeLorenzo, David Alan Grier, Cassandra Peterson (AKA Elvira, Mistress of the Dark), Kevin Pollak, Ted Raimi, roastmaster Dana Gould and more. Saturday, January 28, 7:30pm PST.
“Viva Variety” 25th Anniversary Tribute: With Mr. and the former Mrs. Laupin and Johnny Blue Jeans, aka Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kenney-Silver and Michael Ian Black, with Ken Marino and David Wain. Saturday, January 21, 7:30pm PST.
Judge John Hodgman with John Hodgman and Jesse Thorn. Saturday, February 4, 7:30pm PST.
Uptown Showdown Debate: In-Person vs Remote with John Ross Bowie, River Butcher, Dana Gould, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Baron Vaughn and more, Hosted by Dhaya Lakshminarayanan. Friday, January 27, 10pm PST.
Varietopia with Paul F Tompkins and more Sunday, February 5, 7:30pm PST.
Avatar: Braving the Elements with Janet Varney and Dante Basco and guests Jack De Sena, Grey DeLisle and Phil LaMarr. Sunday, January 22, 1pm PST.
Hello From the Magic Tavern with Arnie Niekamp, Adal Rifai and Matt Young and guest Guy Branum. Saturday, January, 21, 4pm PST.
NBC’s America’s Got Talent: All-Stars competition premiered last week, with AGT Season 2 winner Terry Fator and comedy mentalist Lioz Shem Tov both eliminated. the other comedians and ventriloquists performing on AGT: All-Stars include Ana Maria Mărgean, Axel Blake, Dustin’s Dojo, Jackie Fabulous, Josh Blue, Mike E. Winfield, and Yumbo Dump. Fabulous was eliminated on last night’s episode.
Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle have extended their co-headlining tour. Tickets went on sale Friday via Ticketmaster.com for these additional arena dates:
Fri Jan 20 – Oklahoma City, OK – Paycom Center
Sun Jan 22 – St. Louis, MO – Enterprise Center
Mon Jan 23 – Memphis, TN – FedEx Forum
Wed Jan 25 – Birmingham, AL – Legacy Arena
Fri Jan 27 – Charleston, SC – North Charleston Coliseum
And two years after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, FBI suspect photographed as #247 remains free. Hmmmm.
Quinta Brunson was on Colbert last Tuesday, and in related news: Starting today, DonorsChoose will accept donations for public-school teachers and their projects, and match donations up to $500,000 in celebration of Brunson’s Abbott Elementary.
Tom Papa also appeared on Colbert last Tuesday, talking about his love of bread.
Ayo Edebiri, who shines on The Bear, went on Colbert last Wednesday.
Roy Wood Jr. went on Seth Meyers last Wednesday, opening up about how even he was shocked by Trevor Noah’s exit, and also expounding upon Flamin’ Hot products.
Seth Rogen spoke to Kimmel last Tuesday about working with Steven Spielberg, as well as that new Peacock series on Paul T. Goldman.
Jermaine Fowler went on Kimmel on Wednesday, and opened up about gigs in London and Mexico.
Colin Quinn talked to Fallon on Thursday about his new one-man show (which I spotlighted in the NYT, more below).
Jerrod Carmichael joked with Fallon on Friday about his nemesis, the “lazy and pushy” people at NBC marketing. “We have no ideas, and we need it done tomorrow by 5.” All of which resulted in promos for the Golden Globes like the one I featured above!
Last Week’s Specials
Steve Hofstetter has earned 95,000 views since Jan. 1 on the release of his new special on YouTube, The Recipe.
Also new on YouTube for 2023: Nick Whitmer’s Always Hungry (Four by Three), and Mike Bridenstine’s Live From The Glendale Room. Bridenstine spoke to me for Last Things First last month!
New on Amazon Prime Video for rent or purchase, Tony Law: Go! Mr. Tony Go! (Comedy Dynamics).
Nothing new yet on Netflix, HBO Max, Peacock, Showtime or Paramount+, although Andrew Santino’s first Netflix special drops today.
Fun Things To Do In NYC
This week’s show(s) I plugged in The New York Times: Colin Quinn! His new one-man show is called Small Talk, and it opened this past weekend at the Lucille Lortel. The schedule through Feb. 11:
Performances are on Fridays at 7 and 9 p.m., on Saturdays at 3 and 7 p.m. and Mondays through Thursdays at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $39 and are available at ovationtix.com.
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