Tag Archives: Zach Galifianakis

Muppet Monday: Oscars the Grouch

If you had a chance (or the misfortune) to read our tweets from last night’s Oscars telecast, you’ll know that we were very sore that Bret McKenzie was not given a chance to perform his Oscar-nominated “Man or Muppet” (and one would assume a theoretical performance would include Jason Segel & Walter, if not the Muppet cast), and we took every opportunity to point out an uninspiring three minutes that could have been better spent with a Muppet musical interlude (which, basically, was any three minutes in the show, save for Tom Hanks’ presentation and Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis’s own musical interlude).  And, despite the hope that we foolishly granted ourselves in our most private moments, the Muppet contribution to the show was limited to a short bit with Kermit & Miss Piggy introducing Cirque Du Soleil (so you had time for those freaks and not the Muppets? C’mon).  So with that you could consider the chance to do something fun and different and special officially thwarted, in favor of the same old pabulum (and the new old Billy Crystal).

BUT, despite all that, the Muppets did deliver two of the night’s best moments.  First, of course, was Bret McKenzie’s triumph (although, let’s be honest, if the song from Rio won, we should just pack it in.  That would have been worse that Meryl Streep’s victory (which, by the way, was a win for lazy white people everywhere)), winning the Oscar for a film that deserved much more acclaim and recognition than it received.  The second moment was McKenzie’s gracious, earnest acceptance speech, and, more to the point, Jason Segel’s reaction when McKenzie offered his gratitude to Jim Henson.  That moment of pure joy could warm the coldest heart.

We can’t find that clip online (thanks a lot, the man!), but this almost approximates that joy and innocence:

On a related note, for the better part of the last year we’ve been slogging our way through Michael Davis’ Street Gang, the wonderfully detailed and thoroughly researched history of Sesame Street.  Not surprisingly, we found the most engaging excerpts to be those that touched on Jim Henson’s contribution to the show, and, in a macabre way, the description of his passing and his now legendary memorial service.  We finally came to this event towards the end of the book as we were riding along the E train yesterday; at one point the doors open, we look up and what should we see?  Jim Henson, surrounded by his greatest creations, a poster for their exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image.  It was a bit eerie, but even more it felt special, serendipitous.  And, then, mere hours later, McKenzie invokes Henson’s name, providing another fitting tribute to a man who remains an inspiration to so many of us.

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Filed under Bert-n-Ernie, Muppet Mondays, Muppets, Tyranasaurus Sex

This Is Exactly the Kind of Thing They Should Have Featured on ‘SNL Backstage’

A few weeks ago we griped that the recent prime-time special Saturday Night Live Backstage was thoroughly underwhelming, in large part because it recycled previously seen interviews and failed to deliver any new insight into what goes on behind the scenes.  What kind of stuff you ask?  Stuff like this:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Wouldn’t had it been great if they talked about Galifianakis’ last hosting stint, when he shaved his beard late in the show, only to don a fake beard for the goodbyes?  Or just gave us an-depth look at your run-of-the-mill costume change.  How do they change clothes so quickly?  How do they adhere the wigs?  Do they get notes about the upcoming sketch?  Do they ever change the order of the sketches mid-show?  Wouldn’t have those all been fascinating parts of the show to learn about?  Instead we heard again what a genius Will Ferrell is (which he is, but still).

Or, take for example, the Titanic sketch that closed out Galifianakis’ show.  This sketch seemed to require an immense amount of tech and an elaborate middle-of-the-ocean set, especially for a two and a half-minute sketch at 12:55am (and, indeed, it seemed to suffer a misstep towards the end).  We would have loved to see the frantic scramble to get this kind of sketch safely to air (and to see the reaction when it doesn’t go off exactly as planned).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

So hopefully they’ll heed our advice and showcase all of this in the eventual sequel, SNL: Behind the Comedy.

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Filed under Analysis, Saturday Night Live

(Belated) This Thanksgiving We’re Thankful For Jason Segel

It dawned on us a couple of weeks back when we caught Forgetting Sarah Marshall on TV (and cemented this past weekend when we suffered through The Muppet Christmas Carol on The Hub), that we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Jason Segel, as he’s almost single-handedly saved the Muppets.

Read on: The dark days of the Muppets and Segel as their Moses

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Filed under Lady Holiday, Mickey Mouse Club, Muppets

Dreams Do Come True: Paul Rudd is in for the Muppet Movie!

It’s official!  As we, and everyone else on the Internet, predicted, Paul Rudd is joining his Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and I Love You Man co-star Jason Segel in The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made (but we maintain we called it first).  As soon as word leaked the Segel was writing the movie with his Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stoller, we began speculating which members of the Apatow-verse would be joining in, and Rudd was at the top of the wish list.  When we learned that Apatow-charter Rashida Jones and comedian of the moment Zach Galifiniakis were also slated to appear, Rudd seemed like an inevitability.  And, now, according to Production Weekly, it’s a reality, with Rudd on board to voice the new “anything Muppet” Walter, who, as we previously noted, will portray Segel’s roommate in the movie.  And this, even without any direct Judd Apatow involvement, cements The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made‘s status on the Judd Apatow Chart.

But that’s not all!  Production Weekly also reports that fellow Apatow-charters Jack Black and Jane Lynch are in, as is Rashida Jones’ former TV flame John Krasinksi (who we suggested over a year ago might make for a great Muppet), Krasinki’s Office co-star (as well as Galifiniakis’ Hangover castmate) Ed Helms, Krasinski and Helm’s NBC Thursday night comedy brother Donald Glover, and Danny Trejo, who cameo’d in the Apatow-produced Anchorman (and Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet, whom we’re having trouble connecting to the rest of the cast).  So in a word: WOW.

Oh, and Lady Gaga, apparently.  Whatevs.

Here’s a preview of what the Muppet-Rudd collaboration might look like:

via Vulture

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Filed under Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam, Freak Out Control, Intersection of the venn diagram of things that I love, Judd Apatow, Mancrush, Muppets

Halloween ‘SNL’ & Jon Hamm: Tricks, Treats and the Return of the Old Guard

Last week we hypothesized that the Halloween episode of SNL hosted by Jon Hamm would either be the best of the season or the laziest.  Hamm, making his third hosting appearance, has already proven to be a go-to, top-notch host, one that brings out the best in the cast and crew.  But, on the other hand, what often happens when the show is blessed with a skilled host is that they relax, relying too much on the host’s charm and natural comedic talents (see: Galifiankis, Zach).  However, what we were treated to this week was something in between, and something, in hindsight, typical of a third hosting go ’round.  During a debut performance the material can often be safe, figuring out if the host has what it takes, a bit of a feeling out process.   If that host succeeds, then when he or she comes back for a second stint the crew is energized, knowing that they have someone who will deliver.  You could see that confidence, motivation and excitement in Hamm’s second hosting job last winter.  But when a host comes back for the three-peat, the crew is now so comfortable and at ease that they’re willing to taking more chances, throwing more caution to the wind.  So what you receive is not mainstream yuks and recurring sketches, or weary, unmotivated punchlines and recurring sketches, but a sense of adventure laced with apathy for the viewer.  This is what happens when you have a host who no longer needs to prove himself, who has tenure, which is why so many of Alec Baldwin’s shows are peppered with offbeat sketches, some that delight (like last season’s bizarre “Timecrowave“) and some that crash and burn (like “Arizona Evenings” from the same episode).  Judging from this past weekend’s show, it seems that Hamm is now in that class.

More: Mustaches, kisses, Rihanna, Star Wars & Sam Kinison! Plus, WHOM did they rip off this week?

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Filed under Analysis, Lady Holiday, Makes You Think, Mancrush, Saturday Night Live

Zach Galifianakis to Play Fozzie Bear in the New Muppet Movie!

Okay, not quite (as far as we know, Fozzie is NOT holding out), but the word from Mr. Galifianakis himself is that he will be popping up in The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made.  This comes on the heels of the news that Rashida Jones, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper are joining the cast of the Jason Segel/Nicholas Stoller penned film.  Still waiting on Paul Rudd, but we can only imagine it’s only a matter of time.  And now that Galifiankis is on board, this opens up the whole Todd Phillips corner of the Judd Apatow ChartWill Ferrell, Owen Wilson, Tom Green, they are all now in play.

But, just in case Fozzie does decide to play same hardball, what do you think?

via A.V. Club

 

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Filed under Judd Apatow, Muppets, The Big Screen

‘SNL’: Plain Jane

Not that Jane Lynch was sub-par in her first (of hopefully many) outing as host of SNL,  quite the contrary, but it’s that, once again, the material failed to live up to the vast talents of the host.  It’s confusing, bewildering and frustrating that they keep wasting their resources.  Perhaps, as we felt with the Zach Galifianakis show last season, the writing staff is actually less motivated by a talented host; they rely on the host to elevate the material, so what they deliver is second-rate.  It’s just a theory, and probably misguided and misinformed, but you also can’t ignore the body of evidence, because, while this week’s show was better than last week, it wasn’t a great improvement.  We saw plenty of Jane Lynch (and plenty of wigs), but nothing truly memorable.

Read on: Gilly on Glee? Is that all you got? Also: who did SNL rip-off this week?

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Filed under Analysis, Conspiracy Theory, Saturday Night Live