‘Roseanne’ Is Getting The Band Back Together

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It sounds like “Roseanne” is about to become the latest ‘90s sitcom to jump on the ever-growing revival train.

Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva reported Friday morning that Roseanne Barr, John Goodman and Sara Gilbert have all signed on to get the band back together.

“I hear an eight-episode limited series revival of the hit ABC blue-collar family comedy ‘Roseanne’ is in the works,” Andreeva wrote.

The Hollywood Reporter went one step further, confirming the rumor that the show was coming back for an eight-episode stint. Supposedly, Gilbert is the main engine behind the project and will act as one of the executive producers.

It’s unclear as of now where the episodes will live. But predictably, both outlets are reporting that Netflix is in the mix, which is par for the course for the company, which is basically reviving every nostalgia-inducing show it can. But ABC, where the show originally aired, looks to be interested as well.

“Roseanne” originally ran from 1988 to 1997 and was, at one point, one of the most popular shows in the country.

During a recent interview, Goodman expressed interest in the idea of doing some more “Roseanne” episodes. “Oh, hell yes … if we could get everyone together,” he told “The Talk” co-host Julie Chen. “The Big R [Barr] and I did a pilot about five years ago that didn’t go anywhere … but we were very happy to work together.”

Oh, and not to give away any spoilers, but in an absolutely wonderful 2009 blog post entitled “reunion show,” Barr predicted what would have happened with everyone on the show.

dj gets published
mark dies in iraq
david leaves darlene for a woman half his age
darlene meets a woman and they have a test tube baby
becky works at walmart
roseanne and jackie open the first medical marijuana dispensary in lanford illinois, and pay off the mortgage before the house is foreclosed on.
arnie becomes the best friend of the governor of Illinois
mom sells a painting for ten grand
nancy and arnie remarry
jerry and the grandsons form a band like the jonas brothers
dan shows up alive after faking his death.
leon has a sex change op.
bonnie gets busted for selling crack.

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Written by huffingtonpost.com

Cast Of ‘The Godfather’ Reunite

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Al Pacino was considered too short, Marlon Brando was required to do a screen test, and director Francis Ford Coppola was almost fired.

The director and cast of “The Godfather” reminisced on Saturday in a 45th anniversary reunion in New York about the trials, perseverance and inspiration that resulted in the Oscar-winning Mafia movies.

“I haven’t seen these movies for years,” Coppola said. “I found (watching) a very emotional experience. I forgot a lot about the making of it and thought about the story, and the story used a lot of family and my personal stuff.”

The two films won nine Oscars and their tale of how an orphan from Sicily emigrated to the United States at the turn of the 20th century and formed the Corleone crime family became movie classics.

But the film had a less than auspicious start. Coppola recalled that Hollywood studio Paramount wanted to set the movie in the 1970s and make something “cheap and quick.”

Coppola was almost fired several times and met stiff resistance to the casting of both Pacino as Michael Corleone and Brando as the titular Godfather.

Brando, who died in 2004, had made several box-office flops after a stellar career in the 1950s and had a reputation for being difficult.

“I was told (by studio executives ) that having Brando in the film would make it less commercial than having a total unknown,” Coppola said.

The studio later agreed “if Marlon will do a screen test and do it for nothing and put up a million dollar bond that he wouldn’t cause trouble during the production.”

Brando created the rasping voice, jowly cheeks and oiled hair for Corleone in the screen test. Yet three weeks into shooting, there was more trouble.

“They (the studio) hated Brando. They thought he mumbled and they hated the film…It was very dark,” said Coppola. Brando went on to win an Oscar for his performance.

Newcomer Pacino had to screen test “countless times” for the role of Michael, the college-educated son who takes charge of the Corleone business of casinos, gambling and racketeering. Studio bosses though he was too short and wanted to cast Robert Redford or Ryan O’Neal.

Yet Coppola persevered because “every time I read the script, I always saw his (Pacino’s) face, especially in the scenes in Sicily.”

Pacino said he originally wanted the part of the hot-headed son, Sonny, and thought Coppola “was really nuts” about wanting him to play Michael.

“I thought this is either a dream or a joke…and then started the whole trial of them not wanting me and Francis wanting me,” Pacino recalled. The film launched his career as one of the most honored actors of his generation.

Luck played a part in the creation of some of the most memorable scenes in the two films. The revelation by Corleone’s wife Kay (Keaton) that she had aborted their baby because of horror over her husband’s criminal activities was suggested by Talia Shire (Connie).

And the cat Brando cradles in the opening scene of “The Godfather,” making for a stark contrast with his intimidating presence, was a last-minute addition.

“I put that cat in his hands. It was the studio cat. It was one take,” said Coppola.

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Written by reuters.com

Zak Starkey Premieres Bob Marley ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ Cover

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Throughout the past three decades, drummer Zak Starkey has enjoyed a unique career that shows no signs of slowing down. The son of legendary Beatle Ringo Starr (real name: Richard Starkey), the younger Starkey inherited the drumming bug and has successfully navigated the upper echelons of rock ever since, whether drumming for Oasis or joining the performing lineup of The Who in 1994.

Aside from prepping for an upcoming summer tour with The Who, Starkey is hot off of a series of gigs at South by Southwest with latest project SSHH alongside partner Sshh Liguz. The long-gestating electro-punk project is readying for an album later this year, and today on Billboard, Starkey premieres the video for a SSHH cover of the Bob Marley/Peter Tosh-penned classic “Get Up, Stand Up.” He also talks life on the road with The Who, how SSHH came to be, and teaming up with Mick Jagger’s activist daughter Lizzy to spread a message of equality.

You’ve been playing with The Who since 1994 and have a tour coming up with them this summer. How do you prepare for something like that?

How it started last time was, I walked off the plane in London and went straight straight into a windmill. We arrived at 10 in the morning, was in rehearsal by 11 and we were in three days rehearsal for Tommy and then we did the Tommy shows, and then four of our hits shows. We do very little rehearsal. When John Entwistle was alive, we didn’t do any!

As the years go on, does this touring lifestyle get easier or harder?

I think it gets easier. Especially with The Who because I think everyone is a little bit mellower and more comfortable with how it rolls since it’s more of a hits show now, and not the kind of freeform blood bath that we sometimes used to do. Me and Roger (Daltrey) find this a bit more fun. It’s always an ordeal that’s always worth it. Though Pete (Townshend) can hurt himself some nights. Those guys have still got a bit of energy, but they also got to take it easier at their age, I hate to say it.

Your dad is Ringo Starr and you were very close with Keith Moon. What’s your earliest memory growing up?

Keith Moon was my dad’s best friend, or one of them, and he kind of took me under his wing. Me and my brother used to stay with him and spend weekends, stuff like that.

I think my earliest memory is watching man walking on the moon on a tiny little TV. I think I was about three. When it comes to music, when I was a kid it was pretty normal apart from all the music that was going on, but that was normal for us. I saw T. Rex play when I was six and that’s when I decided I wanted to play music for sure. I said, “I want to do that.”

The longevity of your career is impressive. Not many people are still in the game as long as you’ve been and are still concocting new projects and releases like SSHH, a video from which we’re premiering today. Your dad is still touring and working too. Where does that ethic come from?

Well, I don’t know how to do anything else — this is it! I’ve been playing in pubs and clubs since I was 12 years old and have been doing it ever since just on different levels. It doesn’t matter if it’s for three people or three million people, you do the same gig. My home base is in London but we’re currently in New Orleans to play shows with Cyril Neville. His son Omari is playing drums with us and he’s an absolute drumming genius. We’re here for three weeks and are just trying to immerse ourselves with the music. We’ve been getting invited to play with a lot of people, it’s really cool. It’s just me and Ssshh here on our own. The musical culture down here is just hopping up on stage and going at it. It’s really relaxed until you get on the stage… until it’s not.

When you hit the stage, especially with The Who, do these shows speed by or go slow?

It speeds by! Especially the show at the moment. It’s very well structured and it goes by very fast. It’s always gone fast, you always want it to go on longer.

What’s the genesis of the SSHH project?

We met 12 years ago and became a couple 11 years ago. We started writing music immediately and have been putting out a couple of indie singles under different names over the years. We recorded an original record which was due for release in 2015 by someone really fucking cool- a female artist with her own label but the label shut down and the deal went to shit. We did radio show with Sirius XM so we could play our music and cite our influences. We went ‘Okay, what if we found the bands who influenced us the most and got their original rhythm section and record with them?’ We decided to release (the songs from the radio show) for a good cause, and it all wound up benefiting the Teen Cancer Program. It was a record called Issues by default, but it was originally supposed to be just a promo. Our real record is coming out later this year.

We’re premiering the video for SSHH’s cover for “Get Up, Stand Up.” What can you tell us about it?

To promote Issues, we did a series of shows and for one of them we flew out to Kingston, Jamaica where we were invited to play at the opening ceremony of the Peter Tosh museum where we were played “Get Up, Stand Up.” Then we flew to L.A. and did two club shows with Peter Tosh’s band The Soul Syndicate. One of those nights we were approached by Lizzy Jagger, who’s working with an organization called ERA, the Equal Rights Amendment. So we spent the night with her and then they donated the footage that’s in the video. I think the Equal Rights bill is very important and it’s something I think everybody needs to get their fucking heads around.

It seems like the song has never been more relevant.

If you can do something, you should do to something. That song is extremely relevant, any day of the week, anytime — especially now with what’s going on. The thing is, you don’t have to reiterate what’s going on, everyone knows. Strange times… Didn’t think we’d ever see this kind of thing.

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Written by billboard.com

The New ‘Gong Show’ Host Is….Who?

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And the reboot’s rotating celebrity judges will include Jack Black, Will Forte and Zach Galifianakis, among several others.

The Gong Show has found its host.Sony’s reboot, which is being produced for ABC by Will Arnett’s Electric Avenue, has tapped an unconventional emcee befitting the nostalgic talent show. And while no party involved will confirm it, that host is believed to be Mike Myers. In a twist without much precedent, the comedian behind Wayne’s World and Austin Powers seems to be going full method for the gig. His name is unlikely to be found on any literature, promotions or even credits tied to The Gong Show. No, the host is technically “Tommy Maitland,” an elaborate character created for the sole purpose of stepping into the Gong Show role once famously filled by the late Chuck Barris.

The variety show, which will premiere with much fanfare June 22, is being filled out by an impressive rotation of celebrity guest judges, who will appear as themselves. In addition to Arnett, who will turn up in multiple episodes, Zach Galifianakis, Alison Brie, Andy Samberg, Elizabeth Banks, Joel McHale, Dana Carvey, Will Forte, Jack Black and Anthony Anderson are among the others. Each is expected to praise, critique and “gong” the contestants, as those on the original did some four decades earlier. The series, which also counts Den of Thieves and Principato Young’s Peter Principato as producers, is the latest retro game show reboot for ABC. Of late, the network has found success with Celebrity Family Feud, Match Game and $100,000 Pyramid.

“I’ve been a huge fan of Tommy since I first saw his stand-up in the U.K. while traveling as a teenager. He was so funny and original. I had the good fortune to cross paths with Tommy a few years ago and ever since we’ve talked about working together,” said Arnett, playing into the gag. “I tried for years to come up with a vehicle that was suitable to expose his immense talent on a bigger stage, and The Gong Show is the perfect fit.”

Maitland not only has an extensive backstory but also a wide-ranging social media footprint via @MrTommyMaitland. Highlights of his biography include a teenage stint in the British Army, a cult following in Italy thanks to a collection of spaghetti westerns and a few James Bond knock-offs and numerous past credits hosting other game shows — including the unfortunately-titled Australian project Dingos Got the Baby.

The Gong Show seems to be a return from retirement for the 72-year-old U.K. native, who is the first to admit he’s doing the variety show for the money. With a sing-song British accent, “Maitland” spoke by phone about his aspirations, his catch phrases and what he can’t wait to do here in Los Angeles.

U.S. audiences aren’t familiar with you yet. What should they know?

Well, I love to entertain, but I can be a bit of a cheeky monkey. Nothing terribly dirty, just a little naughty at times. And I really enjoy America — they’re very good, Americans, for the most part. I’m excited to see the underbelly of American talent, and what you have to offer here. Of course, I’ve been to America before. Been to Philly, Frisco, Bean Town, the Big Apple….

Why is this, The Gong Show, your first U.S. foray? What was the appeal?

Well, I did have some money problems back in England. Some terrible investments, I overspent and taxation during the ’70s was a killer. And they waved a tremendous amount of cash under my nose, which for me, at this time in my life, is welcome indeed. I will retire to Malta. Do you know how to make a Maltese cross?

I do not.

Punch him in the face. Punch a person from Malta in the face. I’m happy to explain all of my jokes.

What else would you like to do while you’re here in Los Angeles?

I’d love to have a fish taco, I think. That would be nice. There’s a place called The Pink Taco, which if Freud was alive today would make him sweat profusely.

With The Gong Show, you’ll be filling some big shoes. In what ways will you model yourself after Chuck Barris?

Well, first, I’d like for the acts to speak for themselves. While it’s true many of them have willingly crossed the line of dignity to come onto the stage, you do have to salute their bravery. I’m hoping this will be a place for people who don’t normally have a venue to do things like play the bagpipes with their nose or do anything with a unicycle. But Mr. Barris’ are very big shoes indeed. We didn’t really get The Gong Show in England, but when I would come [to the U.S.] now and then on different tours I’d watch.

You can expect to see a lot of wacky talent come through. What would be the dream skill?

Well, there are standards and practices that intervene in terms of what I’d really like to see.

So, if there were no standards?

Ping pong balls being shot out of places that they shouldn’t. But there is a strident team of people who are there to make sure nothing gets shot out of anything or into something else and that’s as specific as I can get, contractually.

How about the format? Any tweaks you’re making to spotlight your talents?

The big thing I wanted to stress was that people are there by choice. If they should unfortunately get gong-ed, you know that they chose to be there. On the other hand, I do not want them to feel bad about what they do. Who, ultimately, are we to judge?

If you look around the landscape here, is there a host who inspires you? Perhaps even a role model as you approach this?

I like Jimmy Kimmel a great deal. He has old school sensibilities. Jimmy Fallon is a natural entertainer, and I love that about him. And Colbert is very smart. Scary smart. But my inspirations come from England: Bob Monkhouse, Terry Wogan… Bruce Forsyth is a huge, huge influence on me. A man who had both catchphrases and catch poses, which is a huge achievement in the hosting annals.

Have you given any thought to your Gong Show catchphrase?

Oh, I’ve had one for years, darling.

Apologies. What is it?

I say, “Who’s a cheeky monkey?” Then the audience goes, “You are.” And I go, “No, you’re a cheeky monkey, and that’s why I love you.” The other catchphrase of mine is, “You’ve got no proof.” So, when I say something slightly cheeky, I’ll say, “Well, you’ve got no proof.” My second memoir was titled, “You’ve Still Got No Proof.”

And your first?

“You’ve Got no Proof.” The third one is in the works, “Still No Proof.” The fourth one will be “You Might Have Proof But Not All of it’s Correct.”

Anything else I should be asking you?

I don’t think so. Personally, I’m spent.

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Written by hollywoodreporter.com

‘If You Take Out Kenan Thompson, The Studio Will Explode’

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Kenan Thompson took the stage in an oversized three-piece suit and an awkward wig bursting with Jheri curls. He looked, objectively speaking, completely and utterly ridiculous.

Seconds before, a BET logo flashed across the screen as SNL cast member Will Forte, playing a talk show announcer, introduced the sketch: “It’s ‘What’s Up With That!’ Tackling the issues of today with soul,” Forte bellowed. “Now, here’s your host: Diondre Cole!”

It was October 17, 2009, and unlikely as it seemed, Thompson was finally about to have his moment with the debut of a Saturday Night Live skit that would define him.

He boogied in with a silly zip to each step. Perfectly in time, perfectly in tune and perfectly in control, Thompson began to sing, “Ooo―eee! What up with that? What up with that?” along with his two go-go dancers, played by Nasim Pedrad and Jenny Slate.

What, exactly, was happening? Almost no one seemed to know, most especially the bewildered guests of the fictional show, which included James Franco played by James Franco, Abby Elliott as a famous environmentalist and, inexplicably, the Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham performed by Bill Hader.

Eventually, the music stopped, and Thompson took a seat next to his guests. Behind him rested a candelabrum with three unlit candles. Nothing about what was happening made sense, but Thompson looked calm. “All right!” he yelled. “This is ‘What’s Up With That.’ We’ve got three wonderful guests here joining me. We’re going to talk about people.”

Before he could get in another word, a high-hat started playing in four-four time. Suddenly, Thompson’s eyes widened. He turned to his guests with a mischievous smile and a boyish excitement. His words took to the rhythm of the beat.

“We’re going to talk about places,” he continued. “We’re going to talk fingers. We’re going to talk about faces.” Then, he worked with the horns, which had also joined in. “We’re going to talk about things pertaining to you, and you, and you, and you, and you. You too! Not you, but you and you. Everybody sing!”

Just like that, a gyrating Thompson was in the audience ― leaving behind his bewildered guests ― the go-go girls were back at it, and a dancing Jason Sudeikis had appeared on stage in a red Adidas jumpsuit with an enormous gold chain around his neck. Fred Armisen was there, too, with a curly Kenny G-style wig on his head and a saxophone in his hands.

It was a hypnotic, confusing mess. Why was a Fleetwood Mac guitar player appearing on BET with James Franco and an environmentalist? Why weren’t they talking? Had we missed something ― a previous version of the sketch, perhaps? What was the point? But for some unexplainable reason, it was funny.

To many viewers, SNL is most memorable in seasons like the current one, when national elections lead us back to the show on NBC to make sense of the world around us. But to the people on stage at that moment, this was the show at its best ― a sketch based around the absurd outer reaches of their collective imagination, not the political windings of the week. And Thompson was the maestro orchestrating it all.

After almost a lifetime on television, Kenan Thompson might be on a first-name basis with the general public, but he doesn’t come close to registering as one of the most famous people to walk through the doors of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. His time on the show has never translated into Hollywood stardom or his own TV show. Even at SNL, there has always been someone else who took the title of favorite ― a Tina Fey, or an Andy Samberg, or a Kristen Wiig, or a Kate McKinnon.

But quietly, Thompson, who joined the cast in 2003, has strung together a run at SNL that will soon be without precedent.

Should he return next fall for another season, Thompson will make SNL history, becoming the single longest-running cast member ever at 15 seasons.

The Huffington Post spoke with a dozen current and former SNL writers and cast members for this story. What emerged is a portrait of excellence, and of a man who has mastered a set of skills that many of his peers feel have not gotten enough recognition.

What makes Thompson special is not best utilized in movies, or on a pre-recorded sitcom, or behind a desk ― but right there, live on air at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night.

“If you were designing the person perfect for SNL, most of the components would look like Kenan,” Lorne Michaels told me in a phone interview earlier this year.

Thompson makes everything at SNL better. The writers can rely on him to bring them back a laugh. The cast members know that he’ll set them up for their own moment. And the crew members know that they’ll have someone who will act as an on-stage director, controlling the tempo of the sketch and the people around him.

Back in 2009, however, when he walked on stage as Diondre Cole for the first time, Thompson felt anything but perfect. By then, it had already been six long years since he had joined the show, and many of his peers had long ago established themselves with signature characters. Hader had Vinny Vedecci. Kristen Wiig had the Target Lady. Andy Samberg had his pop star persona in his digital shorts.

Thompson had a few minor hits here and there, like “Deep House Dish” and “Scared Straight.” But by and large, he had yet to find a niche on the show. A couple of times early on, he even “donuted,” a phrase used by SNL cast members to describe when someone doesn’t appear on camera a single time in an episode.

In person, Thompson is soft-spoken, polite and reluctant to talk about himself. When we met at a restaurant near 30 Rock one afternoon in January, he wouldn’t even eat his chicken wings until the official interview had ended for fear of seeming rude. During our conversation, he admitted that he quietly struggled with himself during those early years at SNL.

He couldn’t find his voice, and the situation led to panic and uncertainty. He had difficulty watching himself on screen. In a moment of frustration, Thompson said, he asked his manager, “Why you even got me on this fucking show?”

Later, he would realize “donuting” is rather normal for young players. But for a while, it left him feeling self-conscious, especially considering an awkward truth: He was different from the people around him. He hadn’t arrived by way of the improv world of Second City or The Groundlings, nor as an up-and-coming comedian in the stand-up scene, like most other cast members. He was Kenan Thompson, former child star of Nickelodeon’s “Kenan & Kel” and “All That.”

His time at the children’s network had helped get him to SNL, but it also led to insecurity once he was there. He had trouble getting work after leaving the network, and privately started to fear people would never see him as anything more than one part of a comedy duo.

“People made it seem at first like we couldn’t do anything without each other, like we weren’t funny individually,” Thompson said. “Kel and I, we both decided that we wanted the world to know that there was a Kel Mitchell and a Kenan Thompson.”

At SNL, Thompson did what he could to reshape his image. He became close friends with Bryan Tucker, who joined the show as a writer in 2005. Once, Tucker, who is now a co-head writer on the show, asked Thompson if he would be willing to pair up with another cast member for a sketch. Thompson agreed, but in a moment of vulnerability, he admitted to Tucker that he wanted to do something by himself.

“I think he was just trying to forge his own road,” Tucker said. “Especially early, he hoped to make his mark as an SNL star, not as a guy who you used to watch on cable.”

It would take time. To other people at SNL, Thompson clearly possessed a knack not only for memorizing his written parts, but calmly delivering them so consistently that he would become a safeguard for the writers on the show. He also enjoyed a comfort onstage that he had been building since his Nickelodeon days, and an ability to play any number of small parts on short notice. But what, exactly, did he do better than anyone else? Even he wasn’t sure.

“The first couple years, [I was] just panic-stricken, not knowing if I’m doing good or not knowing if I’m making an impression or the right impression,” Thompson said.

So he made himself essential in other ways. Behind the scenes, his kindness became a calming presence. “It’s a real hard job,” former cast member Darrell Hammond admitted. “I looked for him every day just to talk, just to shoot the shit about something. He made me feel good.”

But after six years of working at SNL without ever quite thriving in it, Thompson finally found something in “What Up With That.” It was bizarre and disorganized and unlike anything else on the show. And it was a hit ― and his hit to boot.

“Once it happened once, I was like, ‘Oh, this is a great formula,” Thompson said. “Then when we did it the second time, I was like, ‘Oh, I can do this.’”

“What Up With That” gave Thompson confidence, and it gave SNL writers an understanding of his greatest strength: his ability to act as an on-stage director, calmly and selflessly pulling the most out of the people around him amid confusion.

“He’d make me look funny,” said Hader, who would return as the always-silent Buckingham many more times. It was a generosity multiple cast members mentioned.

But Thompson, Hader said, had another weapon. Unlike most of the show’s actors who might have pre-performance jitters, Thompson was never nervous. Instead he’d mess with other actors seconds before they went on air, sending them onstage with a laugh and an air of confidence. He watched sketches when he had free time, offering words of encouragement when something fell flat. And onstage, Thompson didn’t compete. He facilitated.

When I told Thompson how often his peers brought up “What Up With That” as being one of their favorite skits, he brushed it off with a joke. “I love a good party!” he laughed. But later on, his willingness to put the sketch above himself became clearer.

“I just love for the sketch to go right,” he said. “If I’m involved in it and it’s my thing, it has to be right.”

Inside SNL, Thompson’s innate understanding of sketch comedy, built over a lifetime of practice, has become an anchor for the show, providing a steadiness that can be hard to come by, even among the world’s best comic actors.

In January, Tina Fey, dressed as Princess Leia during a guest appearance, told host Felicity Jones, “If all else fails, you should know that back in Season 35, I put a fatal flaw in the system: If you take out Kenan Thompson, the studio will explode.”  

The ability and willingness to adapt on the fly to the writers’ desires is one of the most important skills a cast member can acquire, and it’s what makes Thompson indispensable, Hammond told me. And boy can he adapt. According to the SNL fan site SNLarchives.net, he has already impersonated well over 100 people during his time on the show, more than any other cast member in the show’s history. He’s played Al Roker, David Ortiz and Cee Lo Green, as well as Tyler Perry, Whoopi Goldberg and Sway. He has also played Sir Mix-a-Lot, Maya Angelou and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

“He’s a thing that almost doesn’t exist anymore, which is: He’s a variety performer,” Lorne Michaels said. “He can sing. He can move. He can do comedy, and he knows who he is in front of an audience.”

“If you were designing the person perfect for SNL, most of the components would look like Kenan,” said SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels.

SNL is currently enjoying its most successful season in more than two decades, thanks in large part to the near-constant material provided by the election of President Donald Trump. But James Andrew Miller, author of “Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live,” noted that SNL needs to survive in years when political news is slow, too.

That’s where Thompson comes in, he said. While many others have made their name with political impressions, Thompson began to make his through what Miller described as “the blocking and tackling of the show — bringing memorable characters to life who aren’t connected with topical news, but are flat out funny,” with spectacular moments like this year’s David S. Pumpkins bit, or driving a Family Feud sketch as Steve Harvey.

Then, there is that look. You know the one: A wide-eyed Thompson turns toward the camera as it zooms in ― the closest thing humans have produced to a real-life cartoon character. “He’s the person who can steal a sketch with not even a word ― a cock of the eyebrow,” said Will Forte, who joined the show one year before Thompson.

SNL writers would also come to understand the power of that look. When they expected a sketch to lean a tad weak, the writers learned to tuck in a “KENAN REACTS” line to the script. It can easily wrap up a joke, but it also does something else: It allows the audience to feel as if they have a friend onstage, someone they can relate to even if they’re alone on Saturday night.

As Forte explained it, “I would imagine people watching must feel like he’s one of their buddies, or family members.”

Thompson’s understanding of what makes a great sketch, and his ability to improve it on the fly, slowly became a source of amazement among writers and cast members alike.

“There are times when the director will have the wrong shot and Kenan, in real time, will be pointing to the other camera just instinctively knowing how shots should go,” said Colin Jost, a current co-host of “Weekend Update.”

Thompson has found a unique niche onstage in the bizarre, silly world where “What Up With That” lives. But when the camera stops rolling, he plays a role on the show that runs almost counter to his on-screen persona: that of the mentor.

He tells new insecure writers when they wrote a good joke. He watches new cast members from the side of the stage to give them a vote of confidence. “He’s so supportive,” said former SNL writer Tim Robinson. “He’s always the first to give it up.”

When Leslie Jones arrived in 2014, she was already a fully formed stand-up comedian. “I thought I was the funniest motherfucker that lived and nobody could tell me different,” she said. But Jones found herself feeling frustrated by the the show’s rules and more laborious requests.

The time-consuming pre-taped segments, in particular, bothered her. Eventually, Jones told Thompson she didn’t want to do them anymore. “How are you going to sit here and say you aren’t going to do pre-tapes anymore?” Jones recalled him asking her. “You’re part of the cast. Yes, you are, and don’t come in here telling me that you’re not.”

Jones credits Thompson’s insistence that she take all aspects of the job seriously, from the pre-taped segments to the table reads, as one of the main reasons for her success on the show. “I don’t think I would have took the place the way I was supposed to take it if it wasn’t for him,” she said.

Jones owes her career at SNL to Thompson in more ways than one. On Oct. 14, 2013, TV Guide published an interview with him in which he announced that he would no longer play black female characters on SNL, which had lacked a black female cast member since Maya Rudolph left in 2007. When asked why the show hadn’t hired a black female member since Rudolph, Thompson replied, “They just never find ones that are ready.”

TV Guide took the soundbite and ran with it, entitling the piece, “Kenan Thompson Blames SNL’s Diversity Issue on Lack of Talented Black Comediennes.”

Just weeks earlier, fellow SNL cast member Jay Pharoah had told a reporter for the black news site The Grio that he was unhappy that the show lacked a black female cast member. The two events together led to the largest controversy of Thompson’s career.

Black female comedians created a video entitled “WE ARE READY!” to protest his comments. Color of Change, a racial justice organization, demanded Lorne Michaels address his show’s lack of diversity. Jones, who didn’t know Thompson at the time, made her anger known too at a Los Angeles comedy club called Inside Jokes.

“He should come battle me,” Jones reportedly said. “Give me ten minutes and I’ll ruin his life.”

The situation upset Thompson. Non-confrontational almost to a fault, he continues to insist that he was quoted out of context, and that he did not mean to imply there were no adequate black female comedians at that time. But as a result of the TV Guide article, Michaels held a special audition for black female comedians less than two months later, which led Michaels to hire Sasheer Zamata as a featured player and LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones as writers. (Jones would later make the transition to cast member.)

Thompson’s comments briefly hurt his reputation, but ultimately they helped to diversify the racial makeup of the show. He’s fine with that tradeoff. “If I was the villain of that whole thing, I don’t really care,” he says now. “Because at the end of the day, Leslie is my homie, and Sasheer is my homie, one of the sweetest people I know, and LaKendra got her shine.”

SNL remains largely white and male. But with Thompson, Jones, Zamata and Michael Che all on board in Season 42, and Melissa Villaseñor joining as the show’s first Latina featured player, there’s reason to feel optimistic that Michaels is getting serious about diversifying the cast.

“It’s just cool to see walls getting kicked down while I’m there,” Thompson said, adding jokingly, “It’s an epic time for black people on the show.”

He dismissed the idea that he had a role in the show’s increasing diversity, instead pointing out that Che is the first black man to host “Weekend Update.” “He broke down real barriers,” he said. “He should be on the cover of Ebony like almost every week!”

But in his own way, Thompson has done what he can at SNL to make sure black Americans are better represented on the show. Bryan Tucker said Thompson has taken the time to patiently explain that diversifying the show isn’t beneficial because it silences public pressure but because “making these hires and doing this allows us to have this whole new perspective on things ― opens up new doors of the show.”

Kenan Thompson has quietly advocated for “Saturday Night Live” to become more racially inclusive during his time on the show.

That was clear last last October, when host Tom Hanks joined Zamata, Jones and Thompson onstage as a rural Trump supporter for a sketch called “Black Jeopardy.” The sketch connected the political concerns of white Trump supporters and African Americans in a way that few journalists or politicians could do in the months leading up to Trump’s election, and it quickly became one of the most talked about moments of the season.

When will Thompson decide to leave SNL? Darrell Hammond, who is tied with him for longest run on the show, decided that his time was nearing after he didn’t win a role portraying anyone in the Obama administration. Tim Meadows, who held the record before Hammond, said that after a decade, “I kind of felt like at a certain point, you have to sort of give somebody else a shot.”

Should Thompson want to return next season for a record 15th season ― and he says he does ― he’ll be welcomed back. “I dread the day when he actually leaves,” Michaels said. “I would have him back for the next 20 years if I could figure out a way to keep him.”

It sounds like he will. Thompson has thought about leaving at times, but famous as he is, he knows he isn’t a movie star, and he isn’t a stand-up comic, either. He’s a sketch comic actor ― one that has finally distinguished himself as the singular comedic force he wanted to be.

This season, only Kate McKinnon is more popular than Thompson among regular viewers of SNL, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted in December and January.

“I thought that SNL was just going to be that bridge into being an adult actor,” he said. “They’ve not only been a bridge. They’ve been a fucking highway for me.”

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by huffingtonpost.com

Jason Alexander To Star In Audience Network Comedy ‘Hit The Road’

Categories: Uncategorized

Jason Alexander is returning to scripted television.

The multiple Emmy-nominee is set to star and exec produce Audience Network’s straight-to-series comedy Hit the Road, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

From Primary Wave Entertainment and Fabrik Entertainment, the 10-episode comedy is about a dysfunctional family of would-be rock stars who travel the country in a cramped tour bus searching for fame and fortune. Alexander will star as Ken Swallow, the patriarch of the family.

“I am so honored by the faith and support we’ve been given by AT&T Audience Network and our producing partners,” Alexander said. “We are so excited to bring this funny, fearless, chaotic musical family to life. And we are so grateful for the opportunity.”

Created by Peter Tilden, Hit the Road serves as a reunion for the writer with Alexander as the duo previously teamed for ABC’s short-lived comedy Bob Patterson. Tilden will pen the script alongside British screenwriter Dean Craig (Death at a Funeral). Both will exec produce alongside Alexander, Audience Network’s Christopher Long, Primary Wave’s Bart Peters, David Guillod, Mark Burg and Fabrik’s Melissa Aouate and Henrik Bastin. Primary Wave will co-finance the series.

“Working with a comedic genius like Jason Alexander is truly an honor and we know our viewers are going to fall in love with their quirky and hysterical twist on the modern-day Partridge Family,” said Audience Network head Chris Long. “Jason has been responsible for some of the most memorable comedic moments in TV history and we are thrilled that they are joining the Audience Network family as we continue to develop and grow our original programming platform.”

Hit the Road becomes Audience Network’s latest scripted foray following Rogue, Kingdom, Mr. Mercedes, Ice, Loudermilk and Condor. It’s the second series Primary Wave will produce for the former DirecTV, joining Peter Farrelly and Bobby Mort’s Ron Livingston comedy Loudermilk.

For Fabrik, it joins a list of originals including Amazon’s Bosch and TNT drama pilot Deep Mad Dark. The company’s credits include The Killing, Burn Notice, The Comedians and American Odyssey.

Alexander, meanwhile, earned seven Emmy noms for Seinfeld and most recently earned a Tony for best musical actor for his multiple role performance in Jerome Robbins’ musical revue Broadway, which he wrote and starred in. He’s repped by Innovative.

Presented by Elliott Cowan

Written by hollywoodreporter

 

Erin Moran Passes Away At 56

Categories: Uncategorized

Erin Moran, the former child star who played Joanie Cunningham in the sitcoms “Happy Days” and “Joanie Loves Chachi,” died Saturday at age 56.
A statement from the Sheriff’s Department in Harrison County, Indiana, said the dispatcher “received a 911 call about an unresponsive female. Upon arrival of first responders, it was determined that Erin Moran Fleischmann was deceased. An autopsy is pending.”
The dispatcher confirmed to The Associated Press that the woman was the actress, who had been married to Steven Fleischmann.
A Burbank native, Moran began acting in TV and movies before she was 10 years old. She had several years of experience when she was cast in 1974 in “Happy Days” as Joanie Cunningham, the kid sister to high school student Richie Cunningham, played by Ron Howard. Other cast members included Tom Bosley and Marion Ross as Joanie’s parents and Henry Winkler as the lovable tough guy Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli.
“What happened with all of us was like we were this family,” she told Xfinity in 2009. “It was so surreal with all the cast members. They were my family, get it?”
Debuting at a time of nostalgia for the seemingly innocent 1950s, the sitcom was set in Milwaukee and became a long-running hit. Howard and Winkler were the show’s biggest stars, but the smiling, freckle-faced Moran also became popular. In 1982, she was paired off with fellow “Happy Days” performer Scott Baio in the short-lived “Joanie Loves Chachi.” Moran returned to “Happy Days” in 1984, the show’s final season.
“I would love to do a feature (film), I’d love to do a play,” she told CNN in 1981 when asked what she’d like to do after “Happy Days.”
Her more recent credits included “The Love Boat” and “Murder, She Wrote,” but she never approached the success of “Happy Days” and was more often in the news for her numerous personal and financial struggles and was reportedly homeless at times.
In 2011, she and Ross and former “Happy Days” actors Anson Williams and Donnie Most sued CBS, saying they were owed money for merchandising related to the show. The lawsuit was settled the following year.
Moran told Xfinity that she had been working on a memoir, called “Happy Days, Depressing Nights.”

Presented by E.Cowan
Written by latimes.com

Kurt Russell, ‘The Most Famous Cult Actor In The World’

Categories: Uncategorized

Kurt Russell can sum up his 55-year acting career in one word: “Brandy.”

Not the alcoholic beverage. Russell makes his own wine. He’s not going to betray his beloved Pinot with another drink. No, “Brandy,” the 1972 hit song, the one with the parenthetical (“You’re a Fine Girl”) in the title, the song about the whiskey-and-wine-serving barmaid, a “fine girl,” who makes the mistake of falling in love with a sailor whose life and lover and lady is the sea.

Russell sings “Brandy” in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” as a way of explaining why his character, Ego the Living Planet (more on that name later), hasn’t been around much for his son, Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord. Ego calls “Brandy” Earth’s greatest composition, a line that, thinking about it, makes Russell laugh (and Russell is a man given to great laughter) loud and hard.

And then he relates the song to his career. And because this is Russell talking, the explanation is insanely detailed and delivered with enthusiasm and takes more than a few left turns. But here’s the gist:

“A lot of the movies I did, that were misunderstood at the time, live in that world of ‘Brandy.’ That level of humor. ‘Is this cruel but funny? Or not cruel at all but kind of cool? No, they don’t seriously think “Brandy” is the greatest song ever written, do they? Nooooooo!

“Well, I want all those feelings in there. I want to run the gamut of having people say, ‘Oh my God, yes! Finally somebody realizes that “Brandy” is the greatest … song ever recorded’ to snickering, ‘Oh, that’s funny. “Brandy.”’

“And I’ve spent my whole career making movies that run that fine line. And sometimes they’re out of whack with what’s going on out in the world. If you’re doing ‘The Thing’ the same year ‘E.T.’s’ coming out, you are not in step. ‘Big Trouble in Little China.’ We did so many things in that movie that had not been done at the time. That’s ‘Brandy.’ It all falls into the ‘Brandy’ world. Can you make them laugh but also have them say at the same time, ‘But I kind of love that song.’ And not let the fact that it may not be the most successful commercial venture at the moment stop you from saying, ‘Do it.’ Because eventually people will get it and say, ‘Oh, there was a method to this guy’s madness.’”

“Guardians of the Galaxy” writer-director James Gunn describes Russell as the “most famous cult actor in the world,” which, for Gunn and many of his contemporaries, gives the 66-year-old a supreme coolness and cachet. Russell’s movies usually turn a profit, but few have been huge hits and fewer still earned Oscar nominations. (Russell himself has never been recognized by the academy. He’s not even a member. His awards rap sheet is criminally small: A Golden Globe nod for “Silkwood” and an Emmy nomination for his title turn in “Elvis.”) But forget all that, Gunn says. Russell’s films — “Escape from New York,” “Death Proof,” “Hateful Eight,” “Stargate,” “Tombstone” (it’s a long list) — remain more relevant today than those of many of his peers.

“I just think he really loves acting and that’s what makes him different,” Gunn adds. “He’s not interested in the accolades and money isn’t the most important thing. He loves the craft and the fact that he’s able to wake up every morning and do this for a living. He just might have more integrity than any actor I’ve ever met, and I love him for it.”

Russell’s enthusiasm for his job is indeed boundless. The word “lucky” comes up often over the course of a 90-minute conversation in Santa Monica, and he measures a movie’s effectiveness, both as a participant and an audience member, based on whether he senses the actors are having a ball. (By his reckoning, both the recent “Moonlight” and “La La Land” passed with flying colors.)

“There’s a lot of criteria that needs to be addressed before you sign on,” Russell says, giving some weight to Gunn’s likening of working with the actor to “wrestling a playful bear.”

“With sequels, it’s like: ‘Rocky I, III and V,’ ‘Star Wars 2, 4 and 7.’ I don’t know. I probably have the numbers off. But what I do know is that you don’t want to be in the one they didn’t like.”

Which means he needed to understand the motivations behind a character named Ego the Living Planet, a shape-shifting mass that gained sentience and assumes human form when it suits his purpose.

“First, you have to consider his name. Now, I’ve seen some people with some pretty huge egos,” Russell says, again laughing with great pleasure, “so putting that self-assurance across was easy. But you have to downplay the power because, for him, that’s nothing. He’s done it for millions of years. What needed to be there was the sincerity in the father-son relationship. Because that’s what an audience can understand.”

There are limits though to catering to the audience. Russell has been adamant in his disdain toward career tribute offers from film festivals and organizations (“That’s really dangerous … I don’t want to get lost in that”) and has long told the Hollywood Walk of Fame that he wouldn’t accept a star before his longtime partner and love, Goldie Hawn, received one. Then, to his horror, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce invited them to a star ceremony together.

“Already, I’m going, ‘Uuuuugh, geez,’” Russell says. “I’m fully prepared for it to be the most embarrassing moment of my life,” and to illustrate the point, he gets up and hides behind a chair. “That’s what I used to do when I was a kid. I’d see the publicity guy come on the set and I’d go hide in the rafters. The crew would be like, ‘I haven’t seen him.’ And then they’d leave and I’d go back to work. Because that’s what’s fun, the doing, not the talking.”

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by latimes.com

 

‘X- Files’ Returning For Season 11

Categories: Uncategorized

It’s official! Fox has ordered a second installment of “The X – Files” event series, meaning it will return for season 11. On April 20, the network announced that 10 more episodes are coming and now fans are super pumped.

The X-Files fans, rejoice! The hit science fiction series will be returning to Fox for a 10-episode second installment, according to a press release from the network on April 20. More than three years after the last revival was announced, it was revealed that stars David Duchovny, 56, and Gillian Anderson, 48, will be returning in their roles as FBI Agents. Production is set to begin this summer and the highly anticipated event series will air during the 2017-2018 season. Viewers couldn’t be more excited about the show’s renewal, with many taking to social media!

Presented by The Griper – E.Cowan

Written by hollywoodlife.com

Paul McCartney Sgt. Pepper: “It Was A Risk!”

Categories: Top Stories

Paul McCartney helps MOJO celebrate 50 years of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with an exclusive interview in the magazine that hits UK shops on Tuesday, April 25. He recalls the circumstances surrounding the group’s most groundbreaking album and gives his verdict on the new stereo mix designed to add legs to one of popular music’s key benchmarks.

But as McCartney reminds MOJO, before Sgt. Pepper became an icon, there was a period of critical bemusement. How dare Beatles band go all weird?

“We were always being told, ‘You’re gonna lose all your fans with this one.’” McCartney tells MOJO. “And we’d say, ‘Well, we’ll lose some but we’ll gain some.’ We’ve gotta advance.”

In 1967 The Beatles ran the gauntlet of a media gripped in a moral panic over the younger generation’s embrace of drugs, and others who regarded Pepper’s stylistic smorgasbord and hints of thematic coherence as evincing ideas above the group’s station. The Lovable Moptops stereotype died hard.

Sgt. Pepper did actually get a terrible review in the New York Times,” recalls McCartney. “The critic [Richard Goldstein] said he hated it, thought it was a terrible mess, and then he was on the streets all week and heard the talk, heard what people were saying, and he took it back [in a subsequent Village Voice piece], recanted after a week: ‘Er… maybe it’s not so bad.’ But we were used to that. She Loves You was ‘banal’. But if we liked it and thought it was cool, we would go for it.

“…I mean, George doing Within You Without You,” continues McCartney, “a completely Indian record – it was nothing anyone had heard before, at least in this context. It was a risk, and we were aware of that.”

But even given Sgt. Pepper’s subsequent rise to peerless status, there’s one aspect of the record that has consistently drawn flak, even (perhaps especially) from fans.

“The original stereo mix is a bit of a period piece,” McCartney concedes. “You’ve got the drums in one corner. You’ve got the vocals in another corner. We would be at listening parties, have some mates around and I’d go, ‘Listen to the drums on this, man!’ …and you couldn’t hear ’em. Oh! They’re over there in the other corner of the room.”

That’s been addressed in the reissue of Sgt. Pepper that’s due on the streets on May 26. A muscular new Giles Martin stereo mix returns the Beatles’ drums and vocals to central positions reminiscent of the original mono mix, and gets McCartney’s seal of approval.

“‘Muscular’ is a good word,” he agrees. “It sounds more like us playing in the room and more like we intended it.”

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by mojoformusic.com

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