Comedy Wrap

Everything that is going on in the comedy world

Bill Cosby, Comeback?

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Will Bill Cosby continue to perform stand up? According to his publicist, Andrew Wyatt, Cosby has “been talking to a number of promoters and comedy club owners”.


Cosby, 83 years, was freed recently after serving more than two years out of his three to ten year sentence at a Pennsylvania state prison after a dozens of women accused him of rape and sexual assault. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided that a “non-prosecution agreement” the actor struck with a previous prosecutor should have prevented him from being charged in a case that stemmed from a 2004 encounter with accuser Andrea Constand.

Here’s Cosby’s social media post after his release.

Many in Hollywood were stunned to learn the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Cosby’s conviction. Many celebrities turned to social media to decry what they believe to be a miscarriage of justice. One prominent supporter was Cosby’s former “The Cosby Show” co-star Phylicia Rashad, tweeted that a “terrible wrong is being righted.” However, she subsequently had to walk that back by issuing a statement saying she supports survivors of sexual assault coming forward.

What’s next for Cosby? Not sure but his publicist suggests that the Cosby camp are exploring potential opportunities to get Cosby back on stage. Other controversial celebrities who have lost their platforms tried to mount a comeback. For example, Bill O’Reilly, the former Fox News Channel primetime anchor, launched a speaking tour with comedian Dennis Miller after the Fox Corp terminate and cancelled his show in 2017. Another comedian, Louis C.K., has had a semi-successful return to stand-up in the wake of admitting he masturbated in front of five women in 2017. However, he has not been full embraced by studios and streaming outlets.

Some speculate Cosby may launch his own direct-to-consumer property, via a podcast or Substack newsletter. Most insiders believe major studios would not risk a backlash from viewers and audiences. In addition, many media executives, actors, show runners, directors and other top talent would protest working for or with Cosby again. They believe if Cosby still wants to have any kind of public-facing career, his only option would be to operate on the fringes of the industry.

Various media outlets reaction…



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What Will Happen to Late Night Comedy?

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The future of American late night comedy is uncertain. Combination of media fragmentation, emergence of streaming services and ongoing Covid pandemic is impacting how, what and when we consume content.

Anyone in interested in late night comedy can check out Bill Carter’s produced CNN documentary, “The Story of Late Night” to understand the origin and evolvement of late night comedy on TV. This six-part series is a a historical deep dive into the origins of the genre that still resonates today as well as a love letter to the medium.


With that history lesson in mind, it makes for interesting discussion of the genre’s relevance in today’s world. Nearly every industry is experiencing seismic landscape shifts thanks technology and Covid. Late night comedy is no different as its also undergoing a transition sparked by cord-cutting which has greatly accelerated the decline of linear TV viewing.

That’s what makes Conan O'Brien’s recent announcement of him leaving his current self-titled TBS series really interesting. After 28 years of playing the late night game, he will now pivot to focus on a new variety show on HBO Max streaming service and his podcasting endeavors. His announcement represents the current dilemma that many industry veterans in front and behind the camera as well as many comedy fans discuss amongst themselves. Conan showrunner Jeff Ross told Deadline that he’s questioned the future of the genre and believes late-night shows are now “kind of dinosaurs in the business,” adding that linear networks are “just like death” due to lower ratings.



Remaining include broadcast talkers as well as handful of ad-supported and pay cable network shows like Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Other successful weekly shows on both basic and premium cable include TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Real Time with Bill Maher and Showtime’s bi-weekly Desus & Mero.

Late night comedy may not even air in late night hours. Perhaps the genre will evolve to topical comedy format. As Hollywood recalibrate to fold digital streaming into its offering, it’s possible not a lot of new nightly shows will launch on cable in the future.

On the other hand, streaming services haven’t figured out how to make this genre successful on their platforms. Netflix tried with Chelsea Handler’s Chelsea or Hasan Minaj’s weekly topical that tackles and deep dives into one issue.

Arguably its most talked about the show in this arena is David Letterman’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, a longform interview show with guests such as Barack Obama and Kim Kardashian. The service, which prides itself on its watch-when-you-want offering, is unlikely to jump back into the more traditional topical talk space, instead focusing its attention elsewhere for the time being.

While the future is uncertain, one positive thing is that is that more diverse comedians are getting opportunities to showcase their talents. On streaming, Amber Ruffin is making arguably the closest thing to a nightly show, albeit weekly. The breakout star of Late Night with Seth Meyers records and airs her self-titled show on Fridays on Peacock. She is seven episodes into her run and hopes to be renewed for a second season in 2021. But it’s unclear, as it is with all streamers, how many people are tuning in. Ruffin told Deadline that even she isn’t told viewing figures by NBCU brass, largely so that she doesn’t spill the beans to press. Personally, I find it very difficult to believe that but that’s their stance.

Ruffin’s show sits alongside Larry Wilmore on the service, although the Black-ish exec producer has previously said his show would be done after its 11-episode run. “Is it going to get picked up? No,” he told the New York Times. “This is going to be done, and then we’ll sit down at the right time and say, ‘Is this something we want to do as a permanent thing?’”.

Streaming will figure out the late-night medium at some point — it’s the direction that television is heading towards and may yet entice a few more established faces like O’Brien over to help. Basic cable, however, is getting ready to say goodbye to one of its hall-of-famers.

Checkout some of the funniest moments caught on talk shows


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Elon Musk, SNL Host?

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Donald Trump is still banned from social media platforms and Americans, if not the whole world, are enjoying a much needed respite from 24/7 Trump news coverage. How do we know they’ve tuned out of the news? American news media have seen its TV viewership and online traffic plummet. During President Biden’s first 100 days in office, weekly full-day CNN and MSNBC cable ratings have been trending downward according TV industry’s audience metric currency gatekeeper, Nielsen.

So, America is now auditioning new personalities or topics that could serve as an agitator of profitable controversy. Enter Elon Musk. When SNL announced this 49-year-old Tesla CEO would host its Mother’s Day show (5/8/21), it provided some much needed fuel to gin up media faux outrage. The choice of Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, to host SNL left many to suspect this may reverse its ratings slump. For Musk, SNL seemed more like a brand management strategy to rehabilitate some of his public statements or appearances. Whatever the reason, Elon Musk as SNL host proved to be a colossal waste of time.

For those unfamiliar with Elon Musk…many would describe him as the inspiration of Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark character in the Iron Man movies. Others would agree but would quickly add “he’s really socially awkward.”


Depending who you ask, Musk is a media attention seeker willing to tweet trollish or nonsense statements. He’s a self-styled savior of mankind who also downplayed the threat of COVID-19. He’s a white man who thinks he’s funny but who really, really isn’t. Some pundits chided SNL for elevating a figure who has used public platforms to bully and spread misinformation. Others cheered open discourse, pro-capitalism and an opportunity to hear cryptocurrency jokes about Dogecoin. BTW - Musk’s weekend update as financial advisor character, Lloyd Ostertag, admitted that cryptocurrency is a just a “hustle” which resulted in Dogecoin losing 30% of its value.


It’s worth remembering that Musk wields huge influence outside of hype. He commands billions in capital and has credible designs to transform human civilization. Yet when watching him perform sketches with little intrinsic comedic value but lots of self-referentiality, his true significance becomes obscured. He comes across as a celebrity who managed to get enough people to think of him as a celebrity. Critics aren’t wrong to say that this sort of portrayal can be dangerous. The reaction to the episode will cleave into the familiar clans of a culture war—fans and haters—when really the audience should be united in wariness. Comedywrap consensus: Good try but let’s stick with entertainers who have some comedic chops.

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Dana Carvey: Master Impressionist

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Master impressionist, Dana Carvey, has launched his very own podcast called Fantastic. Most people may remember Carvey as an SNL cast member that also included Phil Hartman, Jan Hooks, Kevin Nealon and Dennis Miller. He joined the cast in 1986 and stayed on until 1993. His body of work on SNL is legendary with killer impressions of George H. W. Bush and Ross Perot and original characters like the Church Lady, Garth Algar (Wayne’s World), Hans (Hans & Franz) and Grumpy Old Man (Weekend update segment.) His seemingly freestyle routines may mislead aspiring comedians into believing its so effortless for him. I think he could be one of those rare comedians where that might actually be true. Post SNL Carvey seemed to dabble in movies, potential Letterman replacement on late night talk show and stand up comedy.

He recently appeared on Stephen Colbert to promote his new podcast. During this interview Carvey riffs on new characters like his no-nonsense movie gangster version of Dr. Anthony Fauci and Joe Biden.


In a recent interview about this podcast, he talks about having total creative freedom to do whatever he wants. “This is the only way I could have ever done this podcast,” Dana Carvey told Vulture. If his podcast is anything like his talk show appearances, this is gonna be fun.

Dana Carvey’s Fantastic podcast has been described as a crazy, fun, mixed-bag collection of bits, riffs, and conversations in this week’s first installment. He’s got a co-host, Chris Rios, who has never been on mic before (she’s the woman who cuts his hair). He calls Larry “Bubbles” Brown, a comic from San Francisco who has been his opener for years, to talk about one-liners. And he talks to his younger sister, Lori, about some vacation adventures of growing up Carvey.

But the bulk of the show is Carvey doing what he does best: freewheeling characters and impressions to express his take on everything from COVID-19 (in an argument between Dr. Fauci and Donald Trump) to blue-collar comedy as he tries on a new persona as Red Rednecky, the Redneck Comedian. It’s still a bit rough, with stray music and wild sound cues as his son Dex gets a handle on his role as executive producer. It’s all beautifully madcap as Carvey and his crew find their way, and I can’t wait to hear where he ends up next episode.

Below are some of my favorite Carvey appearances

Carvey as Scarface on Thanksgiving


Dana Carvey - Johnny Carson Gets Pulled over


Carvey on Letterman (Johnny Carson & Garry Shandling)


Carvey At The White House (George H. W. Bush)


Dana Carvey - Critics Choice


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Superbowl Parties

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In pre-Covid days, many of us would get together for the Superbowl. It’s one of the biggest events right after the holidays. This year is different because many of us are going to watch this game alone. No socializing or drinking or eating fun snacks.

Coming to the rescue is Bill Burr. Maybe it won’t be as bad. Listen to him break down Superbowl parties for Conan.

Enjoy!


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RIP Larry King

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Longtime iconic CNN host, Larry King, passed away at 87.

King hosted “Larry King Live” on CNN for over 25 years, interviewing presidential candidates, celebrities, athletes, and everyday people. After conducting over 30,000 interviews in more than 6,000 shows, he retired in 2010.

Throughout his life, King battled a number of health problems and suffered many heart attacks. In 1987, he underwent quintuple bypass surgery, inspiring him to establish the Larry King Cardiac Foundation to provide assistance to those without insurance.

In an era filled with star newsmen, King was a giant – among the most prominent questioners on television and a host to presidents, movie stars and world class athletes. With an affable, easygoing demeanor that distinguished him from more intense TV interviewers, King perfected a casual approach to the Q&A format with his unique look. In his oversized glasses with very visible suspenders, he was always leaning forward and listening intently to his guests, rarely interrupting.

Jokes aside, King’s influence is evident today in the generation of podcasters is his pioneering conversational Q&A format. Among all the things that made Larry King great was that he had a sense of humor. Here is a sampling of Larry King moments with comedians. RIP Larry King





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Netflix to Release Extended Cut of Chris Rock Tamborine

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Chris Rock’s 2018 Netflix stand-up special, Tamborine, is getting extended is said to include never-before-seen jokes, interviews, and behind the scenes footage that was not in the original special. This new release will clock in at over 90 minutes.

The new version of the special, titled Chris Rock: Total Blackout: The Tamborine Extended Cut, makes its Netflix debut on Tuesday, January 12. Rock first revealed the news of the special on Twitter and Instagram on December 23, and today Netflix announced the premiere date.

Rock inked a two-special deal with Netflix back in 2016 for a reported $40 million, and Tamborine — released ten years after his 2008 HBO special Kill the Messenger — was the first.

Here is the teaser trailer of the upcoming special.



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Coming 2 America Trailer!

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Sequel of the 1988 comedy is set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video on March 5, 2021. Check out the trailer!


Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall return to a new Zamunda-to-New York City adventure. Coming 2 America sees Prince Akeem (Murphy), now set to become king, discovering he has a son he never knew about, a street-savvy Queens native named Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler). Honoring his father’s dying wish to groom his son as a newly crowned prince, Akeem must return to America.

Nearly all the characters (played mostly by Murphy and Hall) will return and many actors from the 1988 movie. They include James Earl Jones, Shari Headley, John Amos and the memorable barbershop crew. Newcomers include Jermaine Fowler, Wesley Snipes, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Bella Murphy, Rotimi, KiKi Layne and Teyana Taylor.

Coming 2 America global premiere on Amazon Prime Video will be available in more than 240 countries worldwide.

Below are some funniest moments from original movie. Get ready to laugh!

All barbershop scenes


Randy Watson & Sexual Chocolate


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Jim Carrey Exits SNL Joe Biden Role

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Jim Carrey tweeted just before the final live 2020 SNL telecast hosted by Kristen Wiig announcing that he is retiring his role as President Elect Biden.

“Though my term was only meant to be 6 weeks, I was thrilled to be elected as your SNL President…comedy’s highest call of duty,” Carrey tweeted. “I would love to go forward knowing that Biden was the victor because I nailed that s***. But I am just one in a long line of proud, fighting SNL Bidens!”

Carrey played Biden for six episodes leading up to the 2020 presidential election and first episode after the election. Carrey was a surprising choice to play Biden considering efforts from others like Woody Harrelson and former cast member Jason Sudeikis.


All the excitement of Carrey playing Biden was there, but his performance garnered mixed reviews despite Carrey’s comedic chops. He just didn’t click into the role. It’s unfortunate but sometimes that happens.

“It sounded like a great get at first. Here was a big-time star that could balance out the heft of Alec Baldwin’s Trump. But after three episodes, Carrey still hasn’t managed to break through,” Vanity Fair wrote in October. “Maybe he’s too physical a performer, or too needy a showman, to capture the flapjack earnestness of the former vice president.”

The L.A. Times concurred writing in November that “despite the aviator glasses, silver hair and ‘here’s the deal’ phraseology, the gregarious Carrey has had a hard time exploiting Biden’s demeanor on the national stage this year — deliberate, controlled and understated.”

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Dave Chappelle Gets Netflix to Remove Chappelle's Show

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Earlier this month, Chappelle hosted the SNL right after the 2020 election just like he did in 2016. In his 2020 SNL monologue, Dave Chappelle talked about his great-grandfather, who was a slave until he was 10 years old. “I wish I could see him now and I wish he could see me. I wonder what he would say. This week I flew to New York on a private jet to host Saturday Night Live. Netflix started streaming a show that bears his name, Chappelle’s Show, and HBO Max is streaming it. And I didn’t get paid for any of it,” Chappelle said. “If he could see me now, he’d probably be like, ‘This n—a got bought and sold more than I have.’”

The joke drew some gasps from the show’s live audience, but his most recent Instagram posting goes even further as condemns ViacomCBS for licensing his former series without allegedly compensating the comic for his work.

As Chappelle explained in the monologue, he initially signed a contract to host Chappelle’s Show on Comedy Central as a “28-year-old expectant father that was broke.” “I was desperate, I needed a way out. It wasn’t good money, it wasn’t good circumstances, but what else am I going to do?” he asked.

According to the comic, he had previously approached HBO about the series but was turned down, Chappelle said in the video posted Tuesday, he was reminded of when HBO Max began streaming Chappelle’s Show this month through a licensing deal with ViacomCBS.

“Now, these are executives, all they have to do is say, ‘Yeah we’ll take it,’ or, ‘No, thank you, we won’t,’” Chappelle said of meeting with HBO years prior. “They didn’t say either of those things, they went too far. They said, literally, ‘What do we need you for?’ That’s what they told me as they kicked me out of the office, ‘What do we need you for?’ And here we are all these years later and they’re streaming the very show I was pitching to them. So I’m asking them, what do you need me for?”

Chappelle hosted his eponymous show for three seasons, but famously left after signing a huge $50 million extension with Comedy Central in 2005. After he exited Chappelle’s Show, however, Chappelle claimed he “never got paid.” “They didn’t have to pay me because I signed the contract. But is that right?” he asked. “I found out that these people were streaming my work and they never had to ask me or they never had to tell me. Perfectly legal because I signed the contract. But is that right?” As the crowd said it was not, Chappelle added, “I didn’t think so either.”

Chappelle signed a major deal with Netflix in 2016, and has worked almost exclusively with the streaming platform in the years since. But according to the star, when he found out Netflix had also licensed Chappelle’s Show for its platform, he was left “furious.”

So, you know what he did? Check out his Instagram video.