If you think back to the opening lines of the Anchorman (just about the only lines you and your friends don't quote compulsively whilst intoxicated), you will recall a vivid establishment of the film's setting:
There was a time — a time before cable — when the local anchorman reigned supreme. When people believed everything they heard on TV. This was an age when only men were allowed to read the news.
And on it goes, specifying the location to be San Diego and the subject of the story to be Will Ferrell's now iconic Ron Burgundy. But the 2004 comedy's sequel looks to be taking on a different time and place — as it seems, the focus of the forthcoming Anchorman: The Legend Continues will be distinctly more contemporary than that of its predecessor. Adam McKay, Anchorman and Anchorman 2 director and cowriter (along with Ferrell), recently gave The Playlist a few bits of info about his developing followup, specifying the area of interest that will be satirized this time around: the era of the 24-hour news cycle.
"It's all about the rise of the new media and 24 hour news cycle," says McKay. "And there's a lot of interesting points to make about that while being silly." It's a well-tread territory in the world of satire, that's for certain. The likes of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have made livings from their often scathing commentaries about today's news. And Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom jumped on the bandwagon this past summer, painting the industry in a more reverent (yet hardly flawless) light.
But beyond taking down the contemporary media, McKay is clearly interested in having fun with his movie: "We have some songs already written ... whole song sequences for sure." So, we don't have to worry about the movie shirking its silly side in favor of sociopolitical commentary. Anchorman 2 looks to revisit the charm that its predecessor gave us with rainbow rides, milk-fueled hobo tantrums, and dog/bear conversations through the gift of music. And cameos! "We're talking about for Anchorman 2 ... having every single one line or three line role, just be someone we just love. Someone like Ian Roberts or Rob Huebel or Paula Killen." They got Tim Robbins the first time, so I imagine we're in for some pretty quality bit players in Round 2.
[Photo Credit: DreamWorks Pictures]
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Having a baby: a joyous occasion in any couple's life. Also…a scenario primed for comedy?
Adapted loosely from the pregnancy guide of the same name, What to Expect When You're Expecting follows a handful of couples preparing themselves for life with a young one. Whether they're discovering the news, plotting the future or knee-deep in pregnancy, "expecting" has its ups and downs, but aims to find laughs in every moment.
The premise may sound inherently feminine, but don't fret gentlemen. What to Expect When You're Expecting paired some of the funniest ladies in the biz (Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, Cameron Diaz, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Rebel Wilson) with actors equally adept at wisecracking (Chris Rock, Thomas Lennon, Ron Huebel). The men of What to Expect form "The Dude's Group," a collection of baby-caring husbands who know their way around a stroller and a burp cloth. As you'll see from this exclusive pic from the movie, just because guys like Rock and Lennon are caring for children, doesn't make them any less hilarious.
What to Expect When You're Expecting arrives in theaters May 18. You way want to leave the babies at home for this one.
Find Matt Patches directly on Twitter @misterpatches and remember to follow @Hollywood_com!
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You may know him as Tom Haverford, or Raaaaaaaandy (with 8 A’s), or that dude from Human Giant, or maybe you just know him as who’s-that-guy-with-all-the-energy? No matter how you know or don’t know Aziz Ansari, something tells me you’re about to know him a lot better. With the Best Comedy Series Emmy nomination for his NBC sitcom, Parks and Recreation, and a hefty role in this week’s 30 Minutes or Less, there’s no better time to get on the Ansari bandwagon. We’ve got a comedy crush on him and by the end of this, we’ll bet you’ll have one too.
Just a few years ago in 2001, Ansari was going to NYU, hoping someday he’d realize his comedic potential and performing at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (which also gave us Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Zach Galifianakis, Bill Hader, Donald Glover and basically every other funny person you can think of) and here he is, in a big-budget movie with Jesse Eisenberg and Danny McBride and starring in one of the best shows on television. It doesn’t get much better than that.
So, what did he do to deserve our admiration and giggle fits? We’ve got a few ideas.
In 2007, Ansari along with comedians Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel, started the MTV series Human Giant alongside their weekly UCB comedy show, Crash Test. Known for its over-the-top, boundless range of comedy, the sketch show ran for two seasons and there are murmurs of a potential full-length feature version, though that may be somewhere in no man’s land with the Arrested Development movie, so we’re not holding our breath. But what was it about this early Aziz comedy that made us want more? For me, it was the fact that while he wasn’t exactly the king of physical comedy and his timing was never perfect, his delivery and tone were offbeat and awkward enough that it brought something hilarious, even when the sketches were just a little too Generation X for my tastes.
Ansari’s got this strange combination of styles that somehow find harmony when he’s performing. He’s got the mousy, nerdy delivery alongside high-pitched, overzealous reactions. He pits the everyday mundane against the Hollywood life. He’ll spend part of his set talking about his younger cousins and come back out as Raaaaaaaandy and tell jokes about getting blow jobs. And somehow, all this hodgepodge of mismatched items works together in wonderful cacophony.
Now, this alter ego isn’t exactly the opposite of Ansari’s normal persona, but rather a hyper-stylized douchetastic version of Aziz. After debuting in the movie Funny People, as that typical terrible comic who’s somehow successful despite being disgusting, obsessed with talking about sex, vacuous, and makes up for these failings with flashy, ridiculousness. The character gained some cult popularity thanks to a few viral videos on Funny or Die, including one in with Raaaaaaaandy claims Justin Bieber stole “Baby” from him. Raaaaaaaandy’s standup is obviously deliberately rude and uninspired, but Aziz’s delivery is so committed, so spastic and so perfect for poking fun at flashy gimics that it just works.
It’s his over-the-top range, awkward delivery, fake swagger, screaming reactions and the almost childlike obsession with all things “classy as shit” that combine beautifully on NBC’s critically acclaimed series, Parks and Recreation, when Ansari steps in as Tom Haverford. Part of what’s so great about Tom is the writing behind his character, but Ansari really brings it home. Tom’s like a small-town, muted version of Raaaaaaaandy, but minus the bold-faced, obnoxious arrogance, plus a little character development that makes him more of a likeable human being. Of course, besides the “Tom Haverford face” and his food nicknames, the thing that ties it all together for me are his little ditties. Whether he’s on the phone, singing along to the hold music so he can complain about his eye cream or serenading his boss with a tune about “dating” these little made-up songs hold all the innocence of a five-year-old’s bathtub tune tinged with adult humor and Aziz’s signature tone. It’s what we love about him in a nutshell.
Check out our 30 Minutes or Less gallery by clicking on the photo below.
For a second, it seemed Megan Mullally was destined to be remembered solely as Karen, the buxom babe with a shrill voice and an acidic tongue, on Will and Grace. But then she started popping up in the best alternative comedies of the past few years and she cemented herself as one of the funniest actresses today. Her appearances on Parks and Recreation as Ron Swanson's (played by her real life husband Nick Offerman) second ex-wife -- and his second Tammy -- are classic episodes and when she replaced Jane Lynch on the cult hit Party Down she found herself in another memorable role. After Party Down's too soon cancellation (RIP), she was roped into Childrens Hospital which features a lot of the same talent. On the show, she plays Chief who, in her own words, is "most disgusting woman ever, but everyone wants to fuck her." We talked about filming the show, how it compares to her earlier work, and how she can possibly make Chief even uglier next season.
How do you prepare for an episode of Childrens Hospital when everything is so absurd and different episode to episode?
Yeah, well you can’t really prepare. The thing that’s good about it is, you can literally do anything and it will fine. Nothing is too big, nothing is too weird, you can just sort of let it all hang out. It’s fun in that regard because there aren’t any, like this episode a few weeks away is super innovative and conceptually really ground breaking the way its shot considering its a 15 minutes show on Adult Swim. But next season Rob (Corrdry) said he said he doesn’t want any continuity, there’s very little now, but next year he doesn’t want any. He doesn’t want any relationship between two characters to last for more than one episode because there’s no rhyme or reason. There’s just jokes.
What’s the biggest challenge in filming Childrens Hospital?
Just not laughing (laughs). It’s really funny and the situations are so absurd so its hard not to laugh sometimes. And the other thing is we film in the most disgusting dirty, gross, abandoned hospital that you could ever imagine. It’s actually condemned and may be being demolished as we speak. It’s super dirty and I’m sure we’ve all only got three years to live but it was worth it.
The set seems really fun, how do you balance the serious side of getting the job done with having fun with your costars?
It’s a fun run on the show because its so absurdest, the tone. Half the cast comes from UCB, that kind of world, while the other half comes from more regular acting. It’s me, Lake Bell, and Malin (Akerman), I guess the girls come from straight acting background and the guys come from sketch. It’s just have to ride that line of parody but still bring your own POV.
Will & Grace is the classic example of a three camera, live studio audience show while Childrens Hospital is the newer single camera show, how does that difference effect the comedy, the timing, on set sensibilities?
Well its so different because Will & Grace was filmed in front of a live audience and Childrens Hospital is shot like a film and I think the other real major difference is Will & Grace is character and story driven while Childrens Hospital is joke, joke, joke, joke. I always think about my character and what she looked like and what she would wear and all that but its not about that at all. It’s just about jokes. It kind of takes the earnestness out of being a serious actor which you might want to indulge in.
Was that a conscious decision on your part to go from Karen on Will and Grace, a beautiful woman, to Chief on Childrens Hospital, a cripple?
Yeah, well she was originally written to be the most disgusting woman ever but everyone wants to fuck her. So I try to make her worse and worse every season, which is hard. The first season, I walked on crutches that clasped around your arm so I got gigantic bruises on my white pasty arms. So I switched to the walker which I think you get the same bang for your buck out of that. Then I added the hunch back. I don’t wear any make up. I bought a man’s wig on Hollywood Boulevard and then I have the giant glasses. And 80’s dresses with the giant shoulder pads that make me look like I’m living in one of those bigamist colonies in Utah. So I guess she’s irresistible to all who behold her.
So how are you going to make her uglier next season?
You know, I’m not sure. I’m running out of ideas. I got really mad because they’re doing another show on Adult Swim and this actress wears an eye patch and smokes a pipe and I was like well what am I going to do?? Cause I thought an eye patch and pipe was a funny idea. I do have a traveling mole this season but I don’t know, I’m going to have to put my thinking cap on to up the ante.
You’ve appeared on pretty much all the best comedies of all the past few years, are there any that you haven’t yet that you would like to appear on?
Louie, I love that show.
On Parks and Recreation, who would you like to see as Ron’s first wife, Tammy 1?
Oprah, that was Nick and I’s push. That suggestion came from a guy in Oklahoma City where I grew up who I’ve known since first grade and pitch that and Nick and I fell all over it and told everybody about it.
Has there been any development on getting her?
No, I don’t think they’re going with Oprah. I don’t know who they’re going with. They seem very tight lipped about it, they may not know (laughs). But I don’t think unfortunately that its going to be Oprah, I was so hoping to become best friends with her.
Anything else in the works?
Well, we’re going to do another season of that in the winter. And there’s this other show I can’t say which one because the deal isn’t done. I’m developing shows to produce and I have this one that’s driving me crazy but its going surprisingly well so I feel lucky in that regard. Nick and I are in Austin right now doing a little indie, I just have a cameo but Nick has a bigger part with this indie filmmaker we’ve worked with in the past. I just did the party down marathon here last week. Everyone came and it was a blast. Spent the whole weekend eating and drinking and it was really fun.
Myers’ Guru Pitka could have used a little more back story and a little less shtick. The thin plot has Pitka uttering philosophical piddle like “an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind ” and repeating his mantra “Mariska Hargitay” over and over. But Pitka is not happy with his standing in the spiritual community--especially with the success story of his childhood friend and colleague Deepak Chopra (who cameos in the film). Chopra has been on Oprah for god’s sake! Suddenly Pitka sees the possibility of the fame when Jane (Jessica Alba) the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team summons him to help get back her star player Darren’s (Romany Malco) mojo back after his wife Prudence (Meagan Good) leaves him for the legendarily well-endowed L.A. Kings star Jacques “Le Coq” Grande (Justin Timberlake). Pitka’s spiritual mission? Get Darren and Prudence back together in time for the Leafs to win the all-important Stanley Cup. If you’re looking for one-man shows Mike Myers is your man. Clearly the actor is this generation’s Peter Sellers choosing to play characters far from his own persona such as spy Austin Powers or Wayne Campbell. Guru Pitka fits right in. In Love Guru Pitka throws all sorts of self-help mumbo jumbo around hoping some of it sticks. He is like a distant cousin to other Sellers incarnations in films such as The Magic Christian I Love You Alice B. Toklas and particularly his Indian actor Hrundi V. Bakshi in The Party. But Love Guru doesn’t match those films or even any part of the Austin Powers trilogy largely because the gags take precedence over any true character development. For every Bollywood musical takeoff that works there’s a couple of bits that fall flat. It’s hit and miss despite Myers best efforts to sell this show as something more than an SNL sketch. Surrounding the star is the spectacularly unfunny but still beautiful Alba and the surprisingly funny AND beautiful Justin Timberlake who holds his own in the comedy department especially with his broken Canadian accent. Austin Powers sidekick Verne Troyer is back as the not-so-swell coach of the Leafs and he makes a good hockey puck while Ben Kingsley does his thing as the master Guru Tugginmypudha. First-timer Marco Schnabel is credited as director but it’s a good bet star/co-writer (with Graham Gordy) Mike Myers was calling most of the shots; it appears Myers did not have someone behind the camera reigning him in. Too bad. A sharp comedy director could have shaped the film into more than just a series of sight and sound gags designed for quick laughs at the expense of a coherent story. For his first live action film in five years (he does the animated Shrek films in between) it’s a little disappointing The Love Guru isn’t better than it is particularly from the creative mind behind the Austin Powers trilogy. Myers says he came up with this idea while seeking spiritual guidance from Deepak Chopra after his father died. The opportunity for some sharper satire and a stronger storyline is traded for a hit or miss 88 minute skit that has its moments but never finds it’s true Karma.