Comedy Wrap

Everything that is going on in the comedy world

Dave Chappelle Receives Mark Twain Prize

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This weekend President Donald Trump was booed at Game 5 of the World Series at Nationals Park in Washington, however cross town the vibe was the joyous at the Kennedy Center where Dave Chappelle was awarded the Mark Twain Prize. Many of his fellow comedians and showbiz stars showed up to give Dave his props. In attendance was Neal Brennan, Marlon Wayans, Chris Tucker, Jeff Ross, Michelle Wolf and George Lopez.

At the event, Chappelle was asked about his eclectic network of friends and collaborators to which he replied “It’s not a secret sauce. It’s just that I love these people, and I’ll try to find any excuse to be around these guys. They inspire me, they make brave, they make me humble, they make me work harder, they make me edit myself by example.”

SNL co-head writer Michael Che shared his thoughts on Chappelle’s appeal, “He can perform, he can write, he can do characters, he can do everything that you want out of a comedian — and that’s why I think his fan base is spread so wide. Dave is a master of all trades, and it’s amazing to watch.” Onstage, SNL creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels shared he wanted Chappelle to host the first show after the 2016 election. Lorne Michaels told the Kennedy Center audience…“Whichever way the election went, I knew I needed someone to explain what had just happened. He’s a truth teller and the funniest person in comedy today.” BTW - this episode won the Emmy for the variety series. Check out this monologue for that show.


Aziz Ansari toured with Chappelle and told the audience “He’s an incredible human being. This man is very deep. He treats every moment like it has the potential to be a wonderful memory.”

In his acceptance speech that will broadcast on Jan 7, 2020 on PBS said, “I know comics who are very racist — and you watch them on stage and you think, ‘Oh, that motherfucker means that shit.’ Don’t get mad at them, don’t hate them. We go upstairs and have a beer and sometimes I even appreciate the artistry that they paint their racist opinions with. It’s not that serious. The First Amendment is first for a reason — the Second Amendment is just in case the first one doesn’t work out.”

'Late Night' Host Seth Meyers Quickly Staffed Up After Trump's Election

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The election of Donald Trump caught nearly everyone by surprise including the media and entertainment industry. For example, over at NBC’s “Late Night” Seth Meyers team scrambled to hire a bunch of news researchers to support ‘A Closer Look’, a longform segment that provides context and jokes about the non-stop breaking news that is bombarding national and international audiences. CNN Jake Tapper interviewed Meyers at its “Citizens By CNN” event recently.

Seth’s debuts each ‘A Closer Look’ segment on his show and later posts them on YouTube which has climbed over 11 million views online. These segments have allowed Seth to distinguish himself from the other late night talkers. These news recaps makes me feel smarter because the most critical details are highlighted in these segments.

Meyers, who has had a long history of mocking Trump, going back to the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner, said that the Trump presidency didn’t just change late night TV. Check out the killer jokes that many say motivated Trump to run for president.


Meyers has been hosting NBC late show since 2014. For comedy fans will be able to see Meyers return to his comedy roots in an upcoming Netflix stand up comedy special.

Netflix Celebrates 25 Years of 'Def Comedy Jam'

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In 1992 HBO premiered Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam and Netflix is marking the show’s 25th anniversary by bringing back those comedians to pay tribute and celebrate this ground-breaking stand up comedy show. Many of today’s biggest African American comedians got their first big break and national television exposure on Def Jam. Today’s biggest comedian starts that include Dave Chappelle, Monique and Mike Epps will be there to give their props.

Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos spoke of his passion to air the special at the event. “We’ve been doing stand-up comedy particularly in the last couple of years. This felt like a natural home for [the special] to keep the legacy going and keep the history going,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.

One of the best moments from this show happened between segment tapings where comedians D.L. Hughley and Dave Chappelle joked about their public school education onstage and led a sing-a-long with the audiences.

Patrice O'Neal Doc Coming to Comedy Central

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Stand-up comedian Patrice O’Neal, who died in 2011 at age 41, will finally get the recognition he so richly deserves. Nine months before he passed he taped a Comedy Central stand up special, Elephant In The Room.

I was at this show taping and it was incredible. What I noticed he starts off his show by picking on people in the crowd, but as he engages with people I realized he’s not exactly performing … it’s more like a stream of consciousness that is peppered with on-the-spot jokes. A lot of his material revolves around relationships, stereotypes, and offers advice about women. This hilarious special includes deleted scenes and 20 additional minutes from this special. Note for snowflakes…this guy is probably not for you.

Comedy Central announced their partnership with Bill Burr and Al Madrigal’s company All Things Comedy to produce an in-depth documentary that will cover the comedian’s life and career and will feature interviews with the comedian’s family, friends, and fellow comedians.

“Patrice was a tour de force in comedy who left an indelible stamp on the stand-up community and beyond,” Comedy Central execs Sarah Babineau and Jonas Larsen said on the project. “Comedy Central had the incredible opportunity to work with him throughout his career from Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, to the Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen and to his last stand-up special Elephant in the Room. Patrice was a fearless and fierce comedian and we’re honored to be able to shine a light on his life and career with this documentary.” Bill Burr added, “So happy that Mike Bonfiglio and Comedy Central are going to make this happen. Patrice was the best that I ever saw.“

Video below includes a collection of Patrice O'Neal’s appearances on Comedy Central’s Tough Crowd w/ Colin Quinn.


Stephen Colbert Stays With CBS Late Night

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Stephen Colbert just signed a contract to keep him as host of CBS Late Show for three more years (his new contract extends his stay til 2023.) His current deal was set to expire next summer.

“Stephen Colbert is one of the most entertaining, influential and relevant voices in America today,” said David Nevins, chief creative officer of CBS Corp. and chairman and CEO of Showtime. “His monologue has become a vibrant part of the national discussion, and a spot on Stephen’s couch places guests from the worlds of entertainment, news and politics in front of late night’s largest and most desirable audience. We’re incredibly proud of the broadcast and thrilled to extend our relationship with Stephen for years to come.” Joked Colbert, “I’ve been asked by CBS to host The Late Show until 2023, and I have every intention of honoring their subpoena.”

Colbert took over after David Letterman retired as host of CBS The Late Show in 2015. According to CBS audience research, the Late Show has had the most-watched network late-night series for the past three seasons. In fact, the 2018-19 Colbert managed to beat NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to deliver the highly coveted adult 18-49 advertising demographic. Check out this video to see why CBS wanted to keep Colbert.


Late night talk show landscape will likely be stable for the next few years. Below is a list of the current late night hosts tenure at their respective networks.

Jimmy Kimmel (ABC): 2022 Stephen Colbert (CBS): 2023 James Corden (CBS): 2022 Trevor Noah (Comedy Central): 2022 Bill Maher (HBO): 2020 John Oliver (HBO): 2020 Jimmy Fallon (NBC): 2021 Seth Meyers (NBC): 2021 Samantha Bee (TBS): 2022 Conan O'Brien (TBS): 2022

General Mattis Got Jokes

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The 74th annual Alfred Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner was held recently in New York and is one of the few events that brings politicians and notable public figures from both sides together for some good natured ribbing.

This dinner represents a living memorial to an uncommon public figure, best known as the first Roman Catholic presidential candidate, who died more than six decades ago.

For comedy fans …the best part of this dinner are the jokes and digs from the dinner’s honorees. Watch General Mattis respond to the shade he received from Donald Trump.

Streamers Seeking Sitcoms

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Sitcoms

Comcast, Disney and WarnerMedia are racing to stand up their direct to consumer streaming services by 2020. Their respective parent companies have made millions licensing their content especially classic sitcoms from the last 25 years to linear broadcast stations and cable networks.

The tides have turned because more consumers are fed up with their high cable bills and opting to cut the cord. Fall of 2014 Nielsen Media estimated about 116.4 million US TV households and 97.8 million received their TV signals via cable or satellite. Four years later, roughly 93.5 million of 119.9 million total US TV households were getting their services from either cable or satellite. That difference from 97.8 million to 93.5 million households translates to more than 10 million people. Over the same four-year period, Netflix, Hulu or Amazon could be found in less than half of all US TV homes, but in 2018 the number of subscriptions to these services jumped to three-fourths of all TV homes. That’s a significant audience shift.

Giant entertainment companies were asleep at the wheel and are now racing to stand up their own streaming services and reduce their reliance on Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu. But why are they buying up these sitcoms?

According to VOX, 7% of all Netflix viewing was for the sitcom “The Office”. Wedbush Securities Media Analyst, Michael Pachter says older, popular entertainment properties are still mainstays for these companies. He points out… “There is a lot of security in knowing that 20 or 30 million people have viewed a particular series, so you know that it has appeal.” Add to that. . sitcoms don’t have to be watched in order making it easier for viewers to tune in and follow along.

Ironically, these entertainment companies will fork over hundreds of millions (some of these shows are fetching over $400 million) for their own content for their yet-to-launch platforms. So, how will consumers be able to watch your favorite sitcoms? It depends on what sitcom they want to watch.

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Friends, The Office, Seinfeld and The Big Bang Theory are scoring deals north of $400 million from these new streamers: Comcast’s Peacock, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and Netflix.

Netflix spent over $500 million to get global rights for Sony TV’s Seinfeld for the next five years. Sony TV struck another a rich syndication deal to move Seinfeld’s basic cable rights from its longtime home at Turner to Viacom in 2020. All this for a show about nothing … not that there’s anything wrong with that" Stay tuned.

Will Farrell Launches Podcast Network

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Set to launch in 2020, Will Ferrell new podcasting company, “Big Money Players Network” will debut on iheartpodcast network. His new company plans to drop 10 new comedy podcasts over the next two years and Ferrell will serve as one of the executive producers. It will be distributed through the iHeartPodcast Network and elsewhere online.

Stay Classy!

The Big Money Players Network will revolve around top comedic talent in both a scripted and unscripted format. “Will Ferrell is one of the greatest comedians of our lifetime, and the unique synergy between Will and iHeartMedia will continue to lead us in accomplishing even more great audio content together,” said Conal Byrne, president of the iHeartPodcast Network.

Apparently, he’s been having a lot of fun hosting and producing ‘The Ron Burgundy Podcast’, playing off his iconic Anchorman character has been greenlit for two-season that will have 12 episodes. “The iHeartPodcast Network has been such a pleasure to work with. I love hanging out in the offices and I’ve only been yelled at once for using someone’s computer, which I shouldn’t have done,” Ferrell joked in his own statement.

Eddie Murphy Returns!

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Fall 2019 looks very promising for Eddie Murphy fans as he embarks on a series of projects that will remind fans why they’ve been his fans for the last three decades and win over a new generation of fans.

Asked why he’s coming back in a funny R-rated movie…“I didn’t want to just pop back up. I wanted a funny movie to remind them that they (fans) liked me. This movie turned out so strong that I figured this is a great way to come back.”

His first Netflix movie, “Dolemite Is My Name” will be available on October 25. It’s receiving rave reviews for his portrayal of Rudy Ray Moore.


For those unfamiliar with Moore, he was a struggling performer who developed a unique comedian persona called Dolemite — a rapping, wildly dressed, pimp-like character with a raunchy act that was definitely not ready primetime. This biopic will follow his journey from unknown comic to Moore becoming one of the first blaxploitation stars of the 1970s. Check out the trailer.

In December, he’ll return to host SNL for the first time in 35 years! General consensus among SNL fans is that he is one of the greatest cast members in the show’s history. His body of work on SNL is legendary and probably the best place to showcase his incredible talent for impressions, timing and unique characters that injected a racial social POV to the show. He managed to be funny and cool at the same time - first ‘Rock n Roll’ comedian - who dominated the stand-up comedy world in the 1980s and movie stardom for the next three decades.


In some interviews promoting Dolemite, he teases he’ll bring back some of his iconic characters – Mister Robinson, Gumby and maybe Buckwheat!


After SNL, he will revisit some of more his iconic movie characters – Prince Akeem in Coming to America sequel followed by Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop 4.

Finally in 2020, he will make good on his word and return to stand up. Apparently, he’s been working on material for the last three years and may be ready to start workshopping it to get it ready for a comedy tour and Netflix comedy special. Hopefully he won’t wear a leather suit. Can’t wait!