Since becoming "The Daily Show's" (Comedy Central, 1996-) first-ever Senior Latino Correspondent in 2011, writer and comedian Al Madrigal transitioned seamlessly into the faux-news network satirical s...
Reclusive funnyman Dave Chappelle is returning to the spotlight to headline a U.S. comedy tour with the Flight Of The Conchords duo. The cult comedian, who was once considered among the world's funniest people, abruptly walked away from his hit TV programme, Chappelle's Show, in 2005 and has kept a low profile ever since.
He made a handful of impromptu stand-up appearances in New York earlier this year (13), joining pals including Chris Rock and Kevin Hart at the famous Comedy Cellar venue, and now he has announced plans to hit the road for a 13-date trek.
The Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Tour, presented by Will Ferrell's Funny Or Die website, will also feature New Zealanders Brett McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, aka Flight of the Conchords, in addition to Al Madrigal, Brody Stevens and Demetri Martin, among others.
The shows will kick off in Austin, Texas on 23 August (13) and will touch down in New Jersey, Colorado, Arizona and Michigan before wrapping up in Mountain View, California on 20 September (13).
Don't worry, everybody — things are going to be just fine.
The summer looked bleak when we found out that Jon Stewart would be high tailing it out to Hollywood to direct his first feature film, leaving the Daily Show desk in the hands of one of his bespectacled lackeys. We wondered how our weeknights at 11 PM could possibly live up to those that have occupied the past decade and change, if it would even be worth it to keep up with current events without Stewart's trademark nebbishy bite lining every story.
When the news broke this weekend that the NSA has been tapping our phones and Internet histories, we weren't even sure where to turn for a stimulating, intellectual takedown of the political atrocity. We were at a loss.
But again, we need not worry. It’s going to be okay.
Oh, not the phone-tapping thing. That's still going on, and it's pretty f**king terrifying. But the Daily Show thing will be fine.
On Monday night, longtime correspondent John Oliver took Stewart's desk, at which he'll stay seated throughout the host's summer-long hiatus. Coming right out the gate with a self-mocking bit about his own inability to fill Stewart's shoes (a shtick carried on by costars Jason Jones, Samantha Bee, Jessica Williams, Al Madrigal, and Aasif Mandvi — each of whom expressed mock outrage at Oliver's promotion to temporary headliner).
Quickly, Oliver leapt right into the NSA story (which, understandably, maintained a stronghold on the episode's subject matter), covering the entire ordeal with the sort of clever wit we'd expect from any episode of the show.
Of course, we will miss Stewart, and will always hold him at a plateau beyond the reach of any competition or successor. As such, we might find Oliver's gags just a little too drawn out, his interview (Monday faced him with Seth Rogen for This Is the End) just a bit too fawning, his overall demeanor just a smidge too… non-Stewart. But as far as non-Stewarts go, we got a bargain with Oliver. We'll look forward to our New Jersey-born Jonathan Leibowitz's return come autumn. But until then, we're in for a few pleasant months with Oliver at the helm.
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There’s nothing not to love about Hank Azaria. He’s always hilarious, and even when his lines aren’t that great he brings something entertaining to the table. That’s why I really, really want to like Free Agents. There’s just one significant issue: other than Azaria, the series isn’t all that lovable.
It centers on two Corporate PR executives, Alex (Azaria) and Helen (Katheryn Hahn), who’ve both recently become single. Alex is going through a divorce, though he’s still distraught over the loss of his family life, and Helen is going through grief stages after losing her fiancé to a heart attack. Naturally, these two sad saps find themselves falling into bed together and that’s where we come in. There’s just one thing in the way of this love connection: Helen’s stone cold refusal and Alex’s emotional instability.
They traverse the office landscape which consists of flat, obnoxious supporting characters (including comedians Natasha Leggero, Al Madrigal, Mo Mandel and Buffy vet Anthony Head) that do nothing to prop up our main characters. So they’re left carrying the weight. When Helen refuses Alex after their accidental tryst, he’s forced to accept an office mate’s invitation to be his wingman. They agree to stay friends, but according to the dialog a platonic relationship is impossible. The only snag here is that other than the words coming out of their mouths, there’s no evidence of their overwhelming chemistry.
Alex’s night out of course doesn’t work out, and as soon as Helen, who’s on her inhumanly possible second bottle of wine and staring at her 21 portraits (22 if you count the wine mug) of her deceased fiancé, he immediately comes running to her side. It’s sweet, but again, I’m not feeling the unrelenting force between them. The crux of this show rests on this couple and the audience’s desire for them to get together, but it’s just not there.
It’s not that the show isn’t without its funny moments -- like everything Azaria says or Hahn’s Helen freaking out at the grocery store clerk when he judges her plentiful wine purchase. We've got two very funny, capable actors at the center of the series, but without the romantic pull, it’s hard to find the attachment necessary to stick with it. Perhaps it’s just pilot jitters, but unless the chemistry comes around, I’m not sure we’re looking at a winner.
If you missed Free Agents’ soft premiere last night, watch the full episode here or tune into NBC on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 8:30 p.m.
Top Story: Crosby Arrested on Gun and Drug Charges
Rock musician David Crosby was arrested early Saturday on marijuana and felony gun possession charges at a New York hotel, Reuters reports. According to the police report, a hotel manager at the Doubletree Guest Suites hotel called police after a maid searching for identification in a green canvas bag Crosby left after checking out of his room discovered a small quantity of marijuana, a .45-caliber gun, ammunition and knives. The 62-year-old musician, who rose to fame with the Byrds and later Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in the late 1960s and 1970s, was charged with the third-degree felony of criminal possession of a weapon and unlawful drug possession, Manhattan District Attorney spokeswoman Barbara Thompson told Reuters. Crosby, who spent a year in prison after a drug charge conviction in 1985, could serve up to seven years in jail if convicted of the gun charge. He was freed after appearing in court and posting bail of $3,500.
Return of the King DVD Bows in May
The Lord of the Rings enthusiasts can look forward to the DVD and VHS release of The Return of the King May 25, three months earlier in the year than its predecessors, The Associated Press reports. In recent years, New Line had held off until August to release The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers to generate anticipation for the trilogy's next theatrical release. Now, with the trilogy concluded--and riding high on the 11 Oscars the film won at the Academy Awards--New Line has decided to roll out the third and final installment earlier. AP reports the initial DVD release of The Return of the King will include a bevy of behind-the-scenes material--and, as with the other two installments, an extended version of King will be released sometime around the holidays. The three extended versions will push the saga's running time to more than 11 hours.
Schwarzenegger Heads Up Fitness Weekend
Arnold Schwarzenegger's got a busy schedule, what with running the nation's largest state and all, but still managed to take time out for his first love--bodybuilding. Reuters reports the Governator visited Columbus, Ohio, last weekend to officiate the Arnold Schwarzenegger Fitness Weekend and its centerpiece, the Arnold Classic bodybuilding contest. The three-day event--which dates back to 1989 and includes 600 exhibitors, 11,000 athletes and some 80,000 attendees--coincided with Schwarzenegger's appointment as executive editor of Muscle & Fitness and Flex magazines, two American Media-owned bodybuilding mags that have featured the former Mr. Universe on their covers some 50 times, Reuters reports.
Lost in Translation Feted at Comedy Fest
The Oscar-winning Lost in Translation was one of the big winners at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colo. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Sofia Coppola's film about two lost souls in Tokyo won the audience award, along with best performance (Bill Murray), first-time director and screenplay prizes at the festival's second annual Comedy Film Honors. Al Madrigal took the jury award for best standup performer, while Dave Gorman won for the second time in the best one-person show category.
Role Call, Part I: McConaughey Swings Hammer, Universal in 11th Hour
Matthew McConaughey is in negotiations to star in Hammer Down for DreamWorks, a story about a disgraced NASCAR driver who becomes a wheel man in a heist in hopes to get his life back on track, Variety reports… Universal Pictures has acquired the project The 11th Hour, by first-time director and Shattered Glass scribe Billy Ray. According to Variety, the biopic tells the story of Robert Hanssen, the traitorous FBI agent who sold government secrets to the Soviet Union and centers on Hanssen's assistant Eric O'Neil. No cast as been set as yet.
Role Call, Part II: Malick Postpones Che
The trades also report eccentric director Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line) has abruptly shelved his biopic project Che, about Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara, and will instead direct The New World, a drama about Pocahontas and the cultural collision of European explorers and Native American tribes starring Colin Farrell. Che was due to start filming in July 2004 in Bolivia with Benicio Del Toro set as the title character and Franka Potente, Javier Bardem, Benjamin Bratt and Ryan Gosling as his lieutenants. Malick, who co-wrote the Che script with Del Toro and Ben Vanderveen, has told the film's producers, Laura Bickford and Steven Soderbergh (Traffic), and financiers that he still intends to direct the film in July 2005, Variety reports. Despite the delay, Del Toro plans to stick with it. He and Bickford came up with the project in 1997, and they and Soderbergh own it. According to Variety, Del Toro is already fielding acting offers to fill his sudden summer vacancy, and Che will apparently wait until Malick returns.
Acted opposite Jeffrey Tambor in "Welcome to the Captain"
Since becoming "The Daily Show's" (Comedy Central, 1996-) first-ever Senior Latino Correspondent in 2011, writer and comedian Al Madrigal transitioned seamlessly into the faux-news network satirical stable of writers. A latecomer to stand-up comedy, he worked for his family's human resources firm for over 10 years, firing more than 1,500 people in the process before trading in his 9-5 punch card for the comedy stage in his late 20s. Mining comedy material as a half-Mexican, half-Sicilian married father of two, Madrigal's skewering of Hispanic stereotypes and political absurdity paved the way for his future gig at Comedy Central.
University of San Francisco
Half Mexican and half Sicilian
"I got into this to do stand up, and everything else just comes as a result of acting, but stand up will always be there for me." from SF Standup, Feb. 27, 2008
"I think Seinfeld says in the I Killed book that we have one of the coolest jobs. Baseball player, astronaut, stand up comedian. I can’t help to think about that." from SF Standup, Feb. 27, 2008
Graduated high school as Salutatorian
Co-founded the San Francisco sketch comedy troupe Fresh Robots.