Comedy Wrap

Everything that is going on in the comedy world

Will President Snowflake Go to 2020 Nerd Prom

| Comments

The White House Correspondents' Association (aka Nerd Prom) is bringing comedy back to its annual dinner. This is an event that brings together about 3,000 people that span the world of journalism, politics and an assorted group of power players beyond the Beltway.

This annual event began in 1914 and was supposed to be a friendly gathering to celebrate political journalism, but in recent years it has become a schmooze fest where journalists and Hollywood players try to establish relationships in order to influence the most powerful politicians to support their personal causes. Not surprisingly, this event has drawn criticism for its fostering of increased coziness between the White House press corps and the current serving administration. The dinner’s basic agenda in recent years has typically included a live or video skit by the sitting U.S. president in which he mocks himself for the amusement of the press corps. The press corps, in turn, hobnobs with administration officials, even those who are unpopular and are not regularly cooperative with the press. After the 2007 dinner, New York Times columnist Frank Rich announced that the Times would no longer participate in the dinners and wrote the dinner had become “a crystallization of the press’s failures in the post-9/11 era” because it “illustrates how easily a propaganda-driven White House can enlist the Washington news media in its shows”.

Other criticism has focused on the amount of money actually raised for scholarships, which has decreased over the past few years. The public has become more aware as the dinner’s profile has been elevated because of its growing “more Hollywood” guest list. The attention given to the guest list and entertainers often overshadows the intended purpose of the dinner, which is to “acknowledge award-winners, present scholarships, and give the press and the president an evening of friendly appreciation”. Now, it has become an event for most to “see and be seen”.

Two years ago, Michelle Wolf performed and caused a stir for her funny and no holds barred routine that reflected on the past year’s political news that drove a few news cycles as both conservatives and liberals either vented or celebrated the comedy portion of the event. Of course, Trump allies claimed the jokes went too far and proved liberals (and by extension the press corps) hatred of Trump. Of course, the President was not at the event but that didn’t stop him from tweeting that the dinner was “embarrassing” and the event was “dead.” Judge for yourself.

On the flip side many writers, activists and comedians defended Wolf for roasting both the administration and the news media. Unfortunately, the correspondents' association caved and apologized and expressed regret that Wolf’s jokes overshadowed the dinner. After that fallout, the president of the association the following year, Olivier Knox of SiriusXM, and others decided to book a historian instead of a comedian. Famed author Ron Chernow was the featured speaker at last year’s dinner. Chernow only mentioned Trump by name once, but the president’s “enemy of the people” rhetoric came up repeatedly. “When you chip away at the press, you chip away at our democracy,” Chernow said. Chernow’s speech was well-received, but many observers felt that by scrapping the comedian on dais was a form of capitulation to Trump.

In a break with decades of presidential tradition, Trump boycotted the dinner for three straight years. Instead, he opted to counter-program by holding rallies. So, it’s unlikely Trump would the attend this year. ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, this year’s president of the association, said “Every president since Calvin Coolidge has attended the dinner. I have no idea whether President Trump intends to come this year.”

Headlining this year’s 99th annual White House Correspondents Dinner (WHCD) will be some much needed comedic relief to journalists and correspondents and all Americans in this tense moment in the country. The dinner will be hosted by actor and comedian Kenan Thompson, the longest-tenured cast member of “Saturday Night Live.” Hasan Minhaj – host of “Patriot Act ‘’ – will again serve as the featured entertainer. He also headlined the event in 2017. The event will be on Saturday, April 25, 2020. Thompson is the sixth African American entertainer and fourth comedian since the single entertainer era began in 1983. He follows in the footsteps of stand-up comedian David Adkins, known professionally as "Sinbad,” singers Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Cedric the Entertainer, and comedian Wanda Sykes. He is also the sixth SNL writer or cast member to host, as Conan O'Brien, Al Franken, Darrell Hammond, Seth Meyers and Cecily Strong also hosted between 1994 and 2015.

“Kenan and Hasan are two of the most engaged and engaging entertainers in America. I’m thrilled they’ll help us celebrate the role of a free press in our democracy,” Karl, also president of the WHCA, said in a press release. “We’re looking forward to a lively evening honoring the most important political journalism of the past year.” Check out Hasan’s routine from the last time he hosted the event.

Check out comedians from past dinner events

Bloomberg Campaign Strategy to Use Humor to Needle Trump

| Comments

Real Time with Bill Maher Valentine’s Day episode featured an interesting bit of political comedy news to excite comedy nerds in this current 2020 Presidential contest.

The Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary has managed to winnow down the number of Presidential candidates that is still in the game for the 2020 Democratic primary race. While other candidates have left the race, Mike Bloomberg looms large as the latest player, who is putting his money where is mouth is. Bloomberg is investing millions in TV and digital ads to shape his Presidential candidacy pitch to American voters, and at the same time, needle President Trump who spends a considerable amount of this “Presidential time” watching cable news.

Katie Couric joined Bill Maher’s weekly political roundtable and broke news by discussing the ongoing feud between Trump and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. In her reporting of Trump and Bloomberg’s tweet tiff this past week, she said “He said, we’re both from New York, we know the same people, behind your back people are calling you a — what did they say? — a carnival barking clown who inherited a ton of money but through stupid deals and incompetence lost it all, or something like that,” she said with a laugh. But the most intriguing news she shared was right after when she described one component of Bloomberg’s campaign strategy was its focus on how to exploit this adversarial dynamic between Trump and Bloomberg.

Couric said, “I talked to somebody from the Bloomberg campaign, they said they’re hiring an expert on narcissism and combining that — no, this is for real — and combining that person with a comedy writer to get in Donald Trump’s head,” Couric reported. “When they go low, we go lower,” Couric joked. “Isn’t this a great country!”

Check it out:

At this point we all know is that if there is anyone hates being laughed at its President Donald Trump especially if he’s the butt of the joke. That’s why its so bizarre he agreed to be a subject of Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump a few years before he became President. Check out the highlight clip from the event.

Despite Trump agreeing to getting roasted in the past, it seems like he’s become thin skinned snowflake lately as he’s avoided the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner as President. That’s what makes this Washington Post column so interesting and potential blueprint the Bloomberg campaign tried to use. Maybe Bloomberg will pass this strategic tactic to Biden or Sanders as both are still running for POTUS in 2020. Stay tuned.

Oscars 2020 Hostless Again

| Comments

2020 Academy Awards (92nd telecast) will be on ABC Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles. For the second consecutive year, the 2020 awards show will be hostless.

Billy Crystal stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live and quickly commiserated about the Oscars ceremony. Between the two of them they have hosted Hollywood’s biggest event 11 times (9 for Crystal & 2 for Kimmel). So, it would make sense for these guys on the eve of this year’s telecast to talk about show going hostless again.

“This year is another no-host show, which is like having a trial without witnesses,” said Crystal alluding to Donald Trump’s impeachment proceeding. “It moves faster, but it’s not quite the result that you want.”

Kimmel asked Crystal if he thought having a host was important. “Well, yeah! Don’t you?” the comedian responded. “It seems like it,” Kimmel said.

Check out their exchange…

Despite not having a host, plenty of stars will be on hand to pass out golden statues. Here’s what to expect from the 2020 Oscars.

In addition to airing on TV, the ceremony will be available to live stream on and the ABC app, which can be accessed by signing in with a participating TV provider. Those living abroad will be able to watch the ceremony. The Academy announced that the Oscars will again be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

To make things interesting for those going or hosting their own Oscar viewing parties to watch the red carpet to fawn over best or hate on the worst dressed celebrities, FanDuel is trying to get in on the action. FanDuel has made it easier and more fun for everyone watching by providing a printable pdf list of all nominees across all categories to make it easier to wager and get through a show that might as long as 3+ hours.

Democrats Need to Fight Dirty Like Republicans

| Comments

This week Senate Republicans voted to block any witnesses from appearing in front of the judge at the impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. On late night’s Real Time With Bill Maher, the host didn’t hide his disappointment as he opened Friday night’s episode with a defeatist attitude. “Good news: the impeachment trial is almost over. The bad: so is rule of law in America.”

He goes on to say …“It’s a done deal” when it comes to Trump’s acquittal. “ This is going to happen. Trump will be acquitted on Wednesday. Republicans have nothing left to do but dot the i’s, cross the t’s, and f*ck the u’s.”

But it was his “New Rule” segment, Bill Maher offered his advice to Democrats … it’s time to fight dirty and offers two political ads to help them get started.

Preview of 2020 SuperBowl Ads

| Comments

SuperBowl remains one of the last annual programming events on TV that can deliver a massive US TV audience. Every year, big brands look to the SuperBowl as the best opportunity to put out their best creative work and/or launch new campaigns.

This year FOX will host the SuperBowl and will collect a large portion of this year’s biggest ad budgets. Initially, FOX sold 77 30 second ad units, but brands are going long with their ads, resulting in fewer spots in the game. So after FOX sold out its initial ad inventory by late November, they managed to find new real estate by creating an additional 2.5-minute ad pod opportunity to rope more brands into the big game. That means this year viewers can expect to see about 50 total commercials in Super Bowl 2020. It has been reported that FOX is selling 30 second ads going as much as $5.6M per ad spot (one 30 second ad).

Here’s a sneak peak of this year’s biggest commercials for the Big Game that will feature the matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Feb. 2.

Smaht Pahk — Hyundai Features Chris Evans, John Krasinski, Rachel Dratch, and Big Papi himself, David Ortiz, Hyundai had fun with the traditional Boston accent. This year’s 2020 Hyundai Sonata features Remote Smart Parking Assist or, as the three Massachusetts natives and the New England sports legend call it, “smaht pahk.”

Whassup Again — Budweiser/Uber Budweiser teamed up with Uber to bring back Budweiser’s classic “Waaaassssup” commercial that will feature an entire house full of smart home devices taking center stage.

Monologue — Doritos Doritos brought Sam Elliott and Lil Nas X together for some comedic relief.

Where It All Began — Cheetos MC Hammer is featured in this Cheetos ad appears has the legendary hip hop star revisit where his hit 1990 song U Can’t Touch This began.

Dirty Laundry — Tide Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Emily Hampshire from Schitt’s Creek features the pair of actors literally going through their own dirty laundry.

Before Alexa — Amazon Features Ellen Degeneres and her wife, Portia de Rossi, at least briefly wonder out loud what people did before Alexa.

Jimmy Works It Out — Michelob Ultra Jimmy Fallon buddies up with John Cena and viewers will see these two guys hang out.

2020 Big Game Commercial — Pringles Rick and Morty bring their meta, fourth-wall-breaking antics to push Pringles.

Famous Visitors — Walmart Playing off the slogan “out-of-this-world convenience,” plenty of otherworldly figures will be featured.

As Good as The Original — Mountain Dew Running with the tagline “as good as the original,” Mountain Dew creates a shot-for-shot remake of an iconic scene from The Shining.

Daniel Craig vs. James BondHeineken Heineken ad has some fun playing up the differences between the real-world Craig and fictional 007.

Winona in Winona — Squarespace Winona Ryder travels to Winona, Minnesota, to find out what Winona is really all about.

Let it GoAudi Audi’s ad mixes Frozen‘s Let it Go with a Game of Thrones fan favorite.

All People Are Tax People — TurboTax Tries to convince viewers that doing their taxes are actually fun.

Throw a Punch for the Children

| Comments

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” Friday night after officially sending the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate.

A lot has been said about Speaker Pelosi, but even her most harshest critics begrudgingly respect Speaker Pelosi for her ability to play Trump like a fiddle. In the season 18 premiere of Real Time, Pelosi was greeted as a rock star. She took questions on a whole host of issues and got props from Maher and his audience for her resiliency and perseverance she demonstrated in her current role as Speaker.

Maher also discussed with Pelosi on her reputation in the Democratic Party. “A lot of your accomplishments, instead of standing shoulder to shoulder with you and saying this is the person who saved the country, helped Obama from going into a depression by passing the stimulus, saved the automobile industry, got Dodd-Frank passed, and got health care, got Obama care passed, you’re kind of our Iron Lady here on the left,” Maher said to raucous applause. “I feel like the Democratic Party very often is the victim of their own purity tests.”

“Oh, I don’t worry about that,” Pelosi said of how younger members of the Democratic Party view her. “But in terms of me because I’m in the arena, you go in there, you go in, you have to be ready to take a punch, and you have to be ready to throw a punch, for the children.” “Love the children,” Maher said as the audience laughed. This got one of the biggest laughs for the night.

“What I am concerned about for the children is the future of this country and we have to have our common ground a mainstream message,” she said. “Now in [the most] recent election, we won, we showed in the House we know how to win, disciplined, focused, cold-blooded in terms of just winning.”

Here you can watch her full interview.

Dave Chappelle Endorses Andrew Yang

| Comments

Comedian Dave Chappelle officially endorsed Andrew Yang, a tech entrepreneur, for president. According to Yang’s campaign press release, Chappelle said “I’m Yang Gang.”

Chappelle is set to perform two shows in South Carolina, a crucial early-voting state, later this month to benefit Yang’s campaign. The shows will be in Columbia on January 29 and North Charleston on January 30. Chappelle joins actor Ken Jeong and actor/singer/rapper Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, as the latest celebrity to express support for Yang. Yang and Glover launched a merchandise collaboration at a one-time-only pop-up store in Los Angeles last month. Glover has also taken on a creative consultant role on the campaign.

“Dave is one of the most important voices in our country today and I’m thrilled he has thrown his support behind this campaign,” Yang said in the statement. “He and I share similar concerns about the future and hopes for what it could be. We are also parents who see the world that we are leaving to our kids and believe they deserve better.” Chappelle is among the most famous comedians in the US.

In October, Chappelle received the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

Laughs Stop at CollegeHumor Media

| Comments

Shortly after CollegeHumor launched its online brand it was regarded as high-flying comedy brand that featured edgy sketches and satire.

Unfortunately the laughs will stop at CollegeHumor as they become the latest victim of the fast-changing digital media landscape. The humor site struggled to monetize its video content and couldn’t keep up with emerging streaming services like Netflix. Many online brands are finding it difficult to keep their audiences.

IAC has owned CollegeHumor since 2006. Founded in 1999, CollegeHumor targets people aged 18 to 49 and has more than 15 million unique monthly visitors, according to its website. IAC has been shifting its portfolio to focus on growth areas like online dating. it’s looking to spinoff one of its biggest moneymakers: Match Group Inc., which also owns dating app Tinder. It agreed to buy caregiver marketplace last month for $500 million, including debt. IAC owns more than 150 brands and products, including the video-sharing platform Vimeo and the Daily Beast news website.

CollegeHumor brands include CollegeHumor, Dorkly, Drawfee, and Dropout — only five to 10 people are left, according to Bloomberg.

Academy Awards Hate Funny Movies

| Comments

One has to wonder who exactly determines what movies are worthy of Academy Award nominations. Is it based on box office performance? This year’s (2020) Oscar nominations were either box office winners or had a populist revolution theme.

Below is a full list of Best Picture nominations and their box office grosses (as of Jan. 14) for 2020 Oscar best picture nominees:

“Ford v Ferrari” Domestic box office: $111 million Global box office: $211 million

“The Irishman” Domestic box office: N/A Global box office: $961,224

“Jojo Rabbit” Domestic box office: $21.9 million Global box office: $30 million

“Joker” Domestic box office: $334 million Global box office: $1.06 billion

“Little Women” Domestic box office: $74 million Global box office: $107 million

“Marriage Story” Domestic box office: N/A Global box office: $317,060

“1917” Domestic box office: $39 million Global box office: $60 million

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” Domestic box office: $141 million Global box office: $372 million

“Parasite” Domestic box office: $25 million Global box office: $132 million

Review of Monday’s most notable Oscar snubs and you’ll see a common disqualifying factor (no comedians or comedy actors): Eddie Murphy in “Dolemite Is My Name,” Adam Sandler in “Uncut Gems” and Awkwafina in “The Farewell.” Despite recognition of their respective performances, no nominations for them.

Sandler was named best actor by the National Board of Review, Murphy was nominated for a Golden Globe and won a handful of prizes from critics’ groups, and Awkwafina won best actress in a comedy at the Golden Globes.

In my opinion, past Academy Awards slights include two broadly comic performances: Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder”, Melissa McCarthy in “Bridesmaids”, Tiffany Haddish in “Girls Trip,” and Kristen Wiig in “Bridesmaids,” just to name a few.

Use post holidays and back to work doldrums of January to catch up on the Oscar nominated movies you may have missed over the past year. But don’t skip “Uncut Gems,” “Dolemite Is My Name” and the sublime “The Farewell.” You’ll see these movies got the last laugh on the Oscars.

PBS Will Broadcast Dave Chappelle's Mark Twain Prize Ceremony

| Comments

PBS will broadcast Dave Chappelle’s award ceremony of him receiving the Mark Twain Prize for Humor for merit back in October 2019. Peers and friends will gather to celebrate Chappelle’s genius. The program will includes footage from the ceremony and a stand-up set performed the night before.

Chappelle, who co-created Comedy Central’s “Chappelle’s Show,” told the Oct. 26 2019 DC Improv audience it was his wit that served as his protection shield while growing up in the nation’s capital.

It also be known that Chappelle does not shy away from controversy. In his most recent Netflx stand-up special, “Sticks & Stones,” the comic questioned the validity of sexual abuse allegations of Michael Jackson accusers and downplayed Louis C.K.’s sexual misconduct.

From that same DC Improv stage, Chappelle said he was honored to receive the award. “Man, I cannot tell you what it is like to get an honor like this in the very city I started from,” he began. “In fact, a little trivia for you: The first show in this very room, I was the first comedian on stage. It was me, a guy named Brian Regan, and some (lesbian) named Ellen DeGeneres. We didn’t know she was gay back then. We were all trying to get (with her)”.

The stand-up’s candor was applauded during the Kennedy Center ceremony by “Saturday Night Live” cast member/comedian Michael Che. “When we talk about honesty, we talk about not being afraid to tell people the truth about how we feel. Because that’s the connection that comedians can have with people, and I think nobody does it better than you, ever,” Che told Chappelle. “He’s willing to make fun of everybody, whether you’re white or gay – end of list.”

What does Chappelle mean to comedy nerds? I’ll let Neal Brennan (co-creator of Chappelle show) explain.