Recently NBC ordered a pilot for a Maya Rudolph variety show that we really hope gets picked up. Rudolph is one of the funniest ladies in comedy right now. She, like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, got her start on Saturday Night Live and has made the leap from New York to Hollywood. Since we can’t contain our excitement at the prospect of a variety show, let’s look back on Rudolph’s best roles.
Universal via Everett Collection
Up All Night
Although it only lasted two seasons, Up All Night was a hilarious look into the life of new parents. With Rudolph, Christina Applegate, and Will Arnett starring in this series, it’s a surprise it ended so soon.
Away We Go
In this different kind of love story penned by hipster hero Dave Eggers, Verona (played by Rudolph) and Burt travel around the country looking for a place to settle down. It’s cute, it’s funny, and it’s romantic. What’s not to love?
Can we all agree that Bridesmaids was the funniest comedy of 2012? Although Rudolph didn’t play the main character, she was still a part of the craziest bridal party ever seen on TV or film (including all those TLC bridal shows.)
SNL Cast Member
Out of all the women who have ever been part of the cast of SNL, Rudolph is easily one of the funniest (up there with her BFF, Kristen Wiig). Plus, no one could do a better impression of Whitney Houston.
Host of SNL Just because someone was an SNL cast member doesn’t mean they’ll make a good SNL host (Yeah, we're looking right at you, Chevy), but Rudolph definitely proved she could do both. Although she’s only hosted once since leaving the show, we’d love to see her return anytime.
So, you're hanging out with Seth Rogen, when he suggests you head over to James Franco's place for a big party. Nnaturally, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride tag along. At this party, things get a tad out of hand: Mindy Kaling affirms that she wants to sleep with Michael Cera, who gets slapped by Rihanna and blows a handful of cocaine into Christopher Mintz-Plasse's face while Jonah Hill laughs at the lot of them.
All in good, typical Hollywood fun, as you'd imagine. Until fires break out on the horizon, gaping hole opens up in the lawn, swallowing Jason Segel, David Krumholtz, and Aziz Ansari alive. Things look mighty bad — peaking when an axe-wielding Emma Watson robs you of your what little sustenance you have in the wake of this mind-blowing apocalypse. And then ... fade to titles.
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Sounds kind of like that trippy dream you had when you fell asleep during a Freaks & Geeks marathon, doesn't it? That's pretty much what This Is the End looks like — all the people you like (or tolerate, anyway) from Paul Feig's high school drama, 40-Year-Old Virgin, Superbad, Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, and NBC's Thursday night lineup (with a few bonus players thrown in) facing off against a simple, accessible hurdle (the Apocalypse) with the promise of high-stakes fun. In short, it's candy.
Candy that involves an inebriated Michael Cera getting impaled by a lamppost. But candy nonetheless. Check out the red band trailer below!
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[Photo Credit: Suzanne Hanover/Columbia Pictures]
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Looney Tunes: Back in Action revisits an age-old Tunes question: Why does the affable Bugs reap all the fame and glory while the egocentric Daffy gets shafted again and again? Our duck friend quite frankly has had it up to his skinny neck playing second fiddle to the carrot muncher. All Daffy wants is a little recognition from the studio but the brothers Warner (actual twin brothers as we come to find out) decide instead to let Daffy out of his contract on the advice of their no-nonsense VP of comedy Kate Houghton (Jenna Elfman). Bugs however knows they're making a mistake. Even though Daff bears the brunt of the abuse Looney Tunes would fail without him and Bugs convinces the powers that be they need the nutty mallard. If the plot had only followed this thread--perhaps showing Daffy on the skids--then maybe the film wouldn't have spiraled into Looneyville. Unfortunately Daffy ends up hooking up with the hunky D.J. Drake (Brendan Fraser) a studio security guard who finds out that his famous movie star father Damian Drake (Timothy Dalton) is really a secret agent hunting for a mysterious diamond known as the Blue Monkey a supernatural gem that can turn the planet's population into monkeys. The evil head of the Acme Corporation Mr. Chairman (Steve Martin) wants the diamond for his own diabolical plans and he's kidnapped D.J.'s dad in an effort to get it. Now the gang has to get the diamond save D.J.'s dad and of course save the world.
It might be a little hard to act subtly around cartoon characters but these aren't your ordinary cutesy Mickey Mouse types. Bugs Daffy Porky Yosemite Sam and Foghorn Leghorn are pros at comic timing able to spar with the best of them throw out zingers without a second thought and slay you with a droll glance at the camera. It isn't really necessary for the human actors to match their madcap-ness; just reacting would have sufficed. Fraser comes off the best of the human bunch; since he's had practice (Monkeybone) he easily interacts with his animated co-stars and deftly handles the doubletakes and jabs at pop culture. Elfman on the other hand sputters and goes bug-eyed every time she encounters silliness. She looks uncomfortable doing the green screen thing especially when she's trying to look natural when peeling a distraught duck from around her waist. Martin's highly anticipated turn as Mr. Chairman turns out to be the biggest disappointment. The over-the-top character is reminiscent of Martin's hysterically funny Rupert the Monkeyboy in 1988's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels but Martin turns Mr. Chairman--an angry schoolboy with knee socks and matted-down hair who never grew up--into a caricature of ridiculous proportions and unlike Rupert who came in small hilarious doses Mr. Chairman gets very tiresome very quickly.
Back in Action's animation is well done more engaging and ambitious than its 1996 predecessor Space Jam in which the action mostly took place in Looney Tunes land; here animated characters go the Who Framed Roger Rabbit? route and Bugs Daffy and the rest coexist harmoniously with humans in the real world. But despite its aspirations Back in Action leaves out vital elements that made Space Jam appealing. While the earlier film stuck to a simple plot Back in Action guided by director Joe Dante (Small Soldiers The 'Burbs) tries too hard to keep things wild and wacky while incorporating elements of '60s heist pics and action-adventure scenes and in the process loses sight of the most important ingredient in any kids movie: the story. Tykes may have limited attention spans but if the story's good they will watch. Granted some individual bits are laugh-out-loud funny particularly the scene in the Warner Bros. commissary where a stuttering Porky Pig complains about being politically incorrect with Speedy Gonzales while an animated Shaggy and Scooby-Doo berate actor Matthew Lillard for playing Shaggy as such a bonehead in the live-action Scooby-Doo. These scenes prove that if any cartoon characters could pass themselves off as real celebrities in the entertainment industry the gang from Looney Tunes could but moments like these simply can't overcome a contrived plot and juvenile antics.