Yesterday, TMZ reported that Saturday Night Live‘s 40th season would be the final one for cast member Kenan Thompson. More specifically, it was revealed that his intentions were to leave after last season, but he decided to stick around Studio 8H at the request of executive producer Lorne Michaels. At this point, 36 year old Thompson has been on the show the longest out of everyone in today’s cast (joining in 2003) and he also holds the record for longest-running black cast member.
Fortunately for all of you Thompson fanatics out there, Saturday Night Live has confirmed that TMZ’s notice is inaccurate. A spokesperson for the show stated, “The season has not even started and cast decisions are not made until the end of the season.” So does this mean he is definitely staying? No. Does this mean he is definitely leaving? No. This seemingly means that nobody knows what is going to happen until later down the road this season.
You can see Thompson, along with newcomers Michael Che and Pete Davidson, as well as the rest of the cast, on NBC this Saturday (September 27th) at 11:30 p.m. (EST) for the show’s premiere. The host is Chris Pratt with Ariana Grande as a musical guest and you will not want to miss it.
Here is Kenan Thompson sitting down for an interview with his former Saturday Night Live co-worker Seth Meyers on Late Night from last March:
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Last week, Time magazine released its latest compilation of the world’s 100 most influential people and next to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Pope Francis are a couple of familiar faces from the comedy world: Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. They weren’t the only comedians to make this prestigious list, late night talk show host Seth Meyers was included as well. While this would obviously be a big deal for anyone, they are simply having fun with it. In fact, Key and Peele already cracked a joke, stating together, “It’s all downhill from here.”
This pair, who worked on MadTV back around 2003, has found a tremendous amount of recent success with their Comedy Central sketch show Key and Peele, which is certainly one of the most popular comedic programs on-air right now. When the show premiered in 2012, it drew 2.1 million viewers, which is still the highest launch in the history of the network to this day. Now the show is soon to enter its fourth season and Key, 43, and Peele, 35, are even building some solid connections with the film business.
Judd Apatow, who directed Funny People and This is 40, wrote these exact words about Key and Peele and their significance for Time: “We are writing a screenplay together, and I hope one day we make a movie. But regardless, every time I leave a meeting with them, I feel like I have been a part of something very special. It is comedy and love dancing together, and it is the best of the human race. (I think I went too far — but they are funny.)” You can read everything Apatow had to say about the comedians by clicking here.
It still hasn’t been announced when season 4 of Key and Peele will air, however, judging by the past couple of seasons it’ll probably be in September. Be sure to tune in then for your fix of sketch comedy and keep your eyes and ears open to see where their project with Apatow leads to!
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Saturday Night Livereturned this past weekend after having roughly a one month February break and the episode was highly anticipated, particularly for one reason: Colin Jost taking his seat behind the “Weekend Update” desk alongside Cecily Strong for the first time. The episode featured Jim Parsons of Big Bang Theory fame, along with Beck who covered the musical guest duties, marking his seventh time performing on the show. Aside from a few minor appearances here and there since 2006, Saturday was the first time America got a true glimpse of Jost as a performer on SNL in a moment he sincerely described as, “A dream come true for me.”
Although he’s new to anchoring the show’s topical humor segment, he’s certainly no rookie when it comes to working at Saturday Night Live, or in the comedy industry in general for that matter. His first real taste of writing came at college, where he served as the president of Harvard’s prestigious Harvard Lampoon, a publication which has also employed a bunch of other big names in comedy such as Conan O’Brien and B.J. Novak. After graduating, the Staten Island-native was then hired as a staff writer at Saturday Night Live, an impressive feat for any humorist, let alone a 22 year old. From here, his comedic endeavors continued to look promising as he was promoted to writing supervisor, a position he held for three years before taking over as co-head writer.
Throughout all of his journey at NBC, from 2005 all the way to the present day, Jost has also managed to find the time to become one of the brightest young stars in New York City’s stand up comedy scene. In fact, in 2009 he was chosen as a “New Face” at the Montreal Just For Laughs festival and made his way back in 2010 and 2012; this is something even some of the best comics out there don’t get the chance to do. As far as more television credits go, he also had the privilege of doing a spot on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Sure, it’ll take some time for America to identify Jost’s comedic voice and style behind the Update desk, just as it did with any other past anchor such as Norm MacDonald or Colin Quinn, but believe me when I say there’s not a better fit for the job. We’re looking at a new chapter in Saturday Night Live history folks and eventually, Jost will be saying his farewells just like Seth Meyers did on February 1st, so lets enjoy him while he’s here!
Are you interested in seeing Colin Jost perform stand up comedy? He makes his rounds to our club regularly! Please visit www.StandUpNY.com and follow us on Twitter @StandUpNY to make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to catch him live before he’s the next big star.
It makes perfect sense that Fred Armisen, known both for his eleven years spent on Saturday Night Liveas well as for his work on Portlandia, will be leading the band on the new and anticipated Late Night with Seth Meyers. In fact, when Meyers tweeted a photo of Late Night’s 8G Band which included Armisen front and center, a switch flicked in my head and I thought, “Of course!” Luckily, especially for all of you Portlandia fans out there reading this, there’s no need to worry; Armisen will balance working on the sketch show with spending time at 30 Rock studios making music for NBC.
In case you didn’t know, 47 year old Armisen has an impressive background in music, even aside from his gags on SNL that involved a guitar or drum kit. Not only was he the house drummer for Chicago’s Blue Man Group in the 1990’s, but he also toured with the punk rock band Trenchmouth before then. Although the group broke up in 1996, they still achieved success with a couple labels, having worked with both Skene! Records and East West Records. This all came before making the leap to comedy, so as you can see, music was definitely the first love for this guy.
If you’re interested in knowing the rest of the line up for the G8 Band, here it is: Seth Jabour (Les Savy Fav) on guitar, Kimberly Thompson (session drummer who has played for Beyoncé, amongst many others) on drums, Eli Janney (Girls Against Boys) on keyboards, and Syd Butler (Les Savy Fav) on bass.
Check out this video of Armisen playing with Trenchmouth in 1992!
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Jay Leno is officially done at NBC as of last night, February 6th. The 63 year old stand up comic and late night television host said his goodbyes as well as his thank yous to the writing staff, crew, producers, and fans of the show. As he puts it, hosting The Tonight Show was the greatest 22 years of his life, and now the torch is in Jimmy Fallon’s hands.
On Tuesday, January 14th, the second season of Kroll Show premiered on Comedy Central. Kroll Show has been described by SNL’s Seth Meyers as a “sketch-uation comedy,” or more basically a hybrid of a sketch show and a sit-com. Kroll has created a few well-defined characters like a Jersey Shore Guido named Bobby Bottleservice, a ditzy public relations worker named Liz, and an old man from the Upper West side of Manhattan named Gil Faison. These characters, among others, have their own season-long character arcs in the form of multiple short sketches.
This is a sketch comedy show that values the characters that inhabit a sketch over the actual premise of the sketch. This tendency to value character over premise is a trend that I have noticed grow in popular comedy for the past few years.
For decades, some of the smartest and most successful sketch groups found humor in developing a strong premise for a sketch. The game of the sketch was the engine that drove the comedy rather than particularly memorable characters. For instance, the show Monty Python’s Flying Circus hardly ever produced a singular cult character that stood out, but the writers were more interested in experimenting with structure as a way to find humor. One example that comes to mind is the sketch about a coal miner coming home to is disapproving playwright father.
The sketch above takes a character paradigm that exists in plays and movies and reversing it for comedic effect. The characters themselves are not necessarily all too memorable, the premise of the sketch is what the audience is reacting too.
Mr. Show with Bob and David is another sketch show that valued premise over characters. Like Monty Python, this program interwove numerous sketches together throughout the episode, rarely focusing on one particular character for more than a few minutes. One brilliant Mr. Show sketch is a faux-documentary that follows a Civil War reenactment over the course of a couple of days.
Like the Monty Python sketch, Bob Odenkirk and David Cross find humor by taking a familiar topic and altering it to find the comedy. The characters are not necessarily the driving force of the humor.
Today, however, with shows like Comedy Bang Bang, Key & Peele, and Kroll Show, it seems that most of the humor does stem from the characters, themselves, rather then conceptual premises. In Comedy Bang Bang, Scott Aukerman provides a fake late night talk show as a platform for comedians like Paul F. Tompkins, Horatio Sanz, and many others to come on in character as guests to interact with both Scott and different celebrities.
On Key & Peele, the sketch’s premise is often literally just that a character is an absurd human being. Like in this sketch with a substitute teacher who pronounces names incorrectly.
This is not to say that one type of sketch is superior to another, it is just a recent trend that seems to have taken place within the world of popular comedy. Comedians like Nick Kroll, Scott Aukerman, Jordan Peele, and Keegan-Michael Key seem more interested in using sketch comedy as a medium to develop funny and fully developed characters rather than focusing on creating conceptual premise-based comedy.
The year 2014 is officially here, so there’s a whole new chapter of comedy to be written; stand up specials, maybe a new Saturday Night Live cast member, fresh television sitcoms – they’re all coming our way! With that being said, posted below is a list of a few things/projects that are currently in the works and will happen over the course of the new year.
One of the first projects now famous film director, writer, and producer Judd Apatow ever worked on was a spec script for The Simpsons, however, it never made it’s way to the screen roughly 22 years ago. Fortunately, the script has found light again and is currently being rewritten. Something to look forward to over the next twelve months? I think so. What could be better than a combination of Apatow and The Simpsons? P.S.: This will be the first time ever that the show uses an outside script.
This new special will debut on January 17th, on the cable network Epix, and it’s something we at the club have been excited about for awhile now. This special, which was taped at Spreckels Theatre in San Diego, is a major snag for Epix, who has been placing emphasis on their stand up comedy programming as of late, having released specials from other big names such as Jim Breuer and Sherri Shepherd. Another comedy special from the great Patton Oswalt is certainly what we need to get this new year started on the right track.
The show has caught a lot of slack recently due to the lack of diversity within their current cast, and regardless of whether we agree or disagree with this, we’re absolutely excited to see a new performer mixed into the bunch. In fact, Lorne Michaels held two showcase auditions late last year and he explained to Times that the show will be taking certainly one of the female performers, if not two of them. Do you think this is what the show needs? Or is it fine the way it is? 2014 shall show us.
We’ve all been looking forward to this transition for awhile now, but in case you’re unaware, Seth Meyers will be taking over for Jimmy Fallon at Late Night. As you could expect, Fallon will be taking the throne at The Tonight Show, so it’s a win-win for both of them, as well as all of us who enjoy their comedy. The only sadness that will occur here is when Meyers says goodbye to Saturday Night Live in February, despite sticking around to work in the same building.
John Mulaney, the New York based comedian notoriously known for his writing contributions at SNL, has finally landed his own series with Fox. Mulaney was developed as a multi-camera sitcom with NBC, but ultimately, it wasn’t until after they passed on it that Fox took their chances with the 31 year old Chicago native. Judging from his work on the popular “Stefon” sketches (amongst many others), as well as his special New In Town, it’s very possible that Mulaney will quench the thirsts of many comedy fans who want something fresh this year.
Which on this list are you most excited about? Is there anything on this list that you’re not excited about? Tweet us @StandUpNY and let us know!
Saturday Night Live has always provided a unique perspective which allows audience members to witness the growth of each cast member. With stints that last for years, it’s no wonder that stars like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have emerged victorious with their own shows, all built on the staple writing and improv experience provided by Lorne Michaels’ SNL. Now, Seth Meyers is the most recent member to part ways with SNL (though he’s not going very far away) after a twelve year run that saw his growth from cast member to head writer and anchor of the Weekend Update.
2013 has been a dynamic year for Meyers, who has both accepted his wife’s hand in marriage and also accepted a position to replace Jimmy Fallon on Late Night. It’s doubtful anyone could say he’s undeserving of the promotion, since Seth has hosted the Webby Awards and the ESPY Awards on ESPN each twice, made cameos in various movies, and was even chosen to be the keynote speaker at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in 2011, where he made waves by repeatedly taking digs at Donald Trump (who was present) and insinuating that Bin Laden wasn’t missing, but actually hosting his own afternoon on the network CSPAN. Little did he know, that less than 24 hours later it would be revealed that Bin Laden had been successfully found by the U.S. Navy Seals.
Seth seems both worried and excited for his transition to Late Night, as he told Amy Poehler, admitting that he can’t imagine a week without writing, and plans on being as heavily involved with it as Fallon was with the music portions of the show. Still, even now, the comedic star, who has been the head writer for SNL since the 2006-2007 season, has not forgotten his roots. Somewhere between planning for his February transition to Late Night, continuing to work on SNL and producing the animated show The Awesomes, Seth found time to return to Amsterdam (a city he explored as a young improv actor in 1997 and 1998) for an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s new show TheGetaway, airing on DirecTV’s new Esquire channel.
After graduating from Northwestern University, where he took part in an improv sketch group called Mee-Ow (with friend Peter Grosz, who now writes for The Colbert Report), Meyers began his professional life as a cast member of Boom Chicago, an English language improv troupe based in Amsterdam, alongside his brother. The group is still there, and Seth continues to stop by the group’s show when he’s in town, after which he sticks around for some “night-clubbery” (his words) at the Chicago Social Club.
It’s possible that working in Amsterdam gave Seth the edge he needed to become the comedian and improv actor he is today. After all, it wasn’t long after his return the United States that SNL scooped him up in 2001. It’s Amsterdam where Seth claims he was able to create his first “building blocks of comedy”; Since Seth got little stage time in Chicago, Amsterdam became his stomping ground to begin perfecting his comedic skill. As he told Boston University student Justin Soto in an interview this past March, “[In Amsterdam] I got on stage a lot more than I did in Chicago. It was really competitive then. Being in Amsterdam, there weren’t a lot of American comedians. I did about 200 shows — it was great.” And because he was forced to leave behind most of his American-pop culture material that a foreign audience wouldn’t understand, Seth had to instead search for more universal themes.
Further advice from Meyers, which he seems to be following himself with his production of The Amazings, is that young professionals who want to make it in the TV industry, whether it be comedy or not, must be a “maker.” When Seth and his peers were beginning their careers, there was no such thing as digital cameras or editing movies on personal computers. But now, says Seth, who was a radio, TV and film major in college, “there is really no excuse for people not to be making either short films or things like that. It is very hard now to get a job without being able to show someone what you have done.”
No matter how far you’ve come, or how far you’ve yet to go, it seems even those with a prime-time Emmy like Meyers never quite shake the nerves. But, no fear, says he, in fact, you need those. As he told the Boston Herald, “Most successful performers I know never quite shake the element of nerves. They can be your friend. They remind you about what you are about to take on, that it’s a serious business, the more preparation the better.”
Here’s the video of Meyers at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in 2011 for those who either haven’t seen it, or those who just want a refresher of the hysterical event.
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Cecily Strong, moving into her second year with SNL, has been officially declared the new Weekend Update co-anchor.
Saturday Night Live is set to premiere on September 28th, and while we’re only a couple weeks away, Lorne Michaels has made a few more adjustments involving the cast. These new changes have answered many of the major questions about the upcoming season, but have also left some fans scratching their heads. Regardless, make of it what you will and hopefully this reveal will get you even more excited for the program’s return.
The major question for fans everywhere up until this point has been, “Who will take over on Weekend Update since Seth Meyers is leaving?” Well, now we have that information and the answer is Cecily Strong. Strong was hired as a featured player last season and has developed a cult-following thanks to her smash characters such as “The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party.” Meyers will stick around until February, but then plans on leaving entirely to work on “Late Night.”
Strong attended the California Institute of the Arts, where she received her BFA in Theatre in 2006, before hitting the road for Chicago, where she’d ultimately develop herself as an improviser and sketch comedienne. At only 29 years old, she’s already been apart of The Second City, as well as the ImprovOlympic, which propelled her to perform at various feats such as Chicago Just for Laughs and Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Now, she’s going into her second year with the SNL family, but this time, she holds a bunch more responsibility.
Aside from this, it was also announced that Tim Robinson, a one-year featured player also based out of Chicago, will be transformed from performer to full-time writer. Although he didn’t have a groundbreaking first year, he certainly won the respects of many comedic talents such as Taran Killan, who has stated, “He’s one of the funniest human beings I’ve ever encountered, he’s a tremendous addition here and we’re happy to have him.” So why was he demoted? No one seems to know.
Just because he’s been moved from the stage to the writer’s room isn’t necessarily a bad thing, after all, tons of SNL writers find their major niche in other outlets. Just take John Mulaney for example, who was never credited as a full-time performer on the show, but has become one of the fastest rising stand up stars in the country. It could be worse and we’re sure everything with Robinson will turn out better than he could have ever imagined.
As mentioned, there are an array of reasons to be excited about this upcoming season. Whether it’s Strong taking her hand at anchoring Weekend Update, or seeing how the new cast members will do mixed into the ensemble, there’s no question that this could be one of the more interesting starts to a season in quite some time.
Here’s a clip of Strong performing her character below.
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Well, the summer is just about finished so you know what that means – Saturday Night Live is set to return in just under a month, on September 28th. There are a lot of questions about this upcoming season, mostly due to the fairly high number of cast members who departed from the show, as well as the official statement that Seth Meyers will be switching from his Weekend Update seat to the
“Late Night” seat. Now, time to figure out which new talent will be brought into Studio 8h this season to fill the gaps.
A lot of SNL fans are concerned about who will be taking over for Meyers as Weekend Update anchor, but it’s not necessarily the biggest issue for NBC right now. In fact, Meyers will be opening the season as anchor and will continue to do so until it’s time to start his new gig this winter. So, this means we’ll be able to see one last stint with Meyers behind the desk, but don’t think Lorne Michaels doesn’t already have a plan for when his time is up.
It was also recently announced that SNL hired three members from the Los Angeles-based sketch group known as Good Neighbor. Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett were both hired as featured players, while Dave McCary was hired as a video director. The group met while attending the University of Southern California film school, and their new employment makes them the second sketch video group to be hired by Michaels after The Loney Island in 2005, which of course, proved to be a tremendous success for the franchise.
Good Neighbor isn’t solely a sketch video group, in fact, they also perform live frequently at Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre in L.A., where they’ve built up an impressive resume of credits. Aside from their work at UCB, they’ve also toured the country as a group and even filmed a pilot for Comedy Central entitled The Good Neighbor Show, which was produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Since the group just signed with Comedy Central recently, SNL is working on getting them out of their contract so they can head to New York.