Thursday April 27, 2017

Elisabeth Moss talks The Handmaid's Tale.  I'm going to watch this before I bludgeon you with interviews and more.

"It’s not official yet but word is that 13 Reasons Why, Netflix’s adaption of the bestselling 2007 YA book by Jay Asher, would be getting a second-season renewal soon.

Here's a list of all of the talent who was cut loose by ESPN yesterday.

More deserved applause for Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.

The origin of the driving off and listening to Papa Roach joke from Silicon Valley.  Joseph Bernstein of Buzzfeed News even wrote an article entitled How Last Resort Became The Internet’s New Favorite Joke Song.  The 1200-word piece referenced all the times the 2000 Papa Roach hit has been used as a punchline, framed around a tweet from TV writer Justin Halpern (previously of Sh*t My Dad Says, currently of Powerless), who last month Photoshopped a fake kicker onto a New York Times story about Paul Ryan’s post-canceling-Obamacare-replacement-vote press conference."  Oh internet.

A first look at the set of Comedy Central's The President Show.  The premiere episode airs tonight after The Daily Show.

Eva Longoria talks about a potential Desperate Housewives reunion.  Don't get your hopes up.

"The Mindy Project creator/executive producer/star Mindy Kaling has optioned the rights to Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House?, the bestselling memoir by former Barack Obama White House deputy chief of staff for operations Alyssa Mastromonaco. The book, which was published last month, will be adapted as a TV series with Kaling producing alongside 3 Arts Entertainment. It would follow in the footsteps of such White House TV classics as The West Wing and Veep."

"Doris Roberts died more than a year ago, but it seems some people are just now hearing the news ... and sending SUPER belated condolences. For some reason ... Doris was trending online Wednesday, and a lot of folks seemed to just now realize the actress had passed away ... linking back to TMZ's exclusive story as evidence. Doris' 1-year death anniversary was actually last Monday ... so we're not too sure how to explain the delayed reactions. Either these well-wishers have been living under a rock all this time, or ... no, that's the only explanation."

"AT&T Audience Network has set a May 30 premiere date for its new original series, Fear(less) with Tim Ferriss, featuring self-help guru Tim Ferriss.  Fear(less) features in-depth, long-form conversations between bestselling author, entrepreneur, and investor Ferriss and top performers, focusing on how they’ve overcome fears and made hard decisions, embracing discomfort and thinking big. Ferriss will kick off the series, which airs at 8 PM, with renowned illusionist David Blaine. Other guests include Blake Mycoskie (June 6) Kyle Maynard (June 13) Yael Aflalo (June 20), Michael Gervais (June 27), Bill Rasmusssen (July 4), Phil Helmuth (July 11), Stewart Copeland (July 18), Tom Morello (July 25) and Bill Burr (August 1)."

"Khloe Kardashian is being sued for sharing a photo of herself on her own Instagram account. According to a lawsuit filed in California court on Tuesday, Kardashian is being sued by the U.K. photo agency Xposure Photos for copyright infringement after allegedly posting a paparazzi photo on Instagram without permission and removing the credit. The photo, which Kardashian posted on Sept. 14, was taken by Manual Munoz as outside of a Miami restaurant as Kardashian and her sister Kourtney were heading to dinner. According to the suit, the photo is part of a series licensed to the Daily Mail a day prior."

Per TVLine, "FX has enlisted a million-dollar baby for its forthcoming limited series Trust.

"The cabler announced on Wednesday that two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank will star opposite Donald Sutherland in the 10-episode drama, which hails from Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle.

"Per the official synopsis, Trust 'tells the story of John Paul Getty III, heir to the Getty oil fortune. It is set in 1973, when the young Getty is kidnapped in Rome and his Mafia captors are banking on a multi-million dollar ransom.' Swank is set to play Gail Getty, mother of J. Paul Getty III, who though 'determined and resourceful' is 'left to negotiate with increasingly desperate kidnappers. Problem is, she’s broke.'

"Sutherland, as previously reported, will portray J. Paul Getty, patriarch of the Getty family oil dynasty.

"Production on Trust is set to commence in both London and Rome this June, with an eye on a January 2018 premiere."

Per The Ringer, "Rob Delaney’s face is an exquisite and phenomenally crude string quartet consisting of his mouth, his chin, and his separately billed eyebrows. He furrows, he cringes, he puckers, he beams, he glowers. It’s like watching the bear emoji flawlessly impersonate all the other emoji. The best moment in Season 3 of Catastrophe, his fantastic and caustic BBC-Amazon romantic-comedy series with Sharon Horgan, is a wordless two-second throwaway reaction to a throwaway line, and as funny as any actual joke I’ve encountered on any screen this year.

"At yet another excruciating dinner party, a woman is describing the fictitious plot of the next Woody Allen film — 'Robert Duvall and Emma Watson play star-crossed lovers in Vienna' — and for a quick flash, the corners of Delaney’s lips symmetrically plunge into a sort of Revulsion Goatee. He stops chewing; he strikes the Mona Lisa of disgusted poses; he resumes chewing. The woman just keeps talking. It’s amazing. You could easily miss it. Please don’t. I’ve painstakingly rewound it about 15 times now; I would watch the Vine for hours.

"Catastrophe premiered in 2015 as a black-licorice M&M, an anti-rom-com lovingly committed to its misanthropic sentimentality. It is You’re the Worst fused to Married With Children. Delaney and Horgan, as the costars, cowriters, and cocreators, play Rob and Sharon, an American ad exec and Irish schoolteacher, respectively, who meet in a London bar and have a weeklong one-night stand while he’s still in town. Their meet-cute, which occurs six seconds into the pilot, is required viewing, or rewatching. The fourth thing Rob says to Sharon is that he quit drinking 'after I shit my pants at my sister’s wedding'; the sixth thing he says to her, after she initially declines his offer to buy her a drink, is, 'Don’t make me fight a stranger.' Within a minute or so, they’re flopping ungracefully onto his hotel bed, Sharon’s back landing directly onto a slice of cold pizza. To defuse the awkwardness, Rob smashes the plate against the wall; 'That was exciting,' she observes.

"Anyway, she gets pregnant, and they get shotgun-married and make a stumbling go of it. Season 1 ends with Sharon going into labor; Season 2 leaps forward and starts with their son, now a toddler, interrupting Rob and a once-again pregnant Sharon midcoitus. Season 2 ends with the couple, now raising two young children, tentatively reconciling after an unsightly trial separation; the last image is Rob’s puckered face, preparing to confront Sharon about the Plan B receipt he just found. Season 3 starts literally a second later, with that confrontation.

"This show is a full partnership and double-billed star vehicle, onscreen and off. Horgan is a cringe-romance visionary: She’d previously cocreated and starred in the equally gnarly BBC comedy Pulling, and is the mastermind behind the current polarizing HBO show Divorce. (She and Delaney are both happily married, with children, to other people.) But Delaney is the MVP of Catastrophe’s third season, its funniest and most affecting yet, in large part due to how thoroughly he is willing to debase himself. Rob says terrible things and makes terrible decisions, but does so with enough feral charisma that you’d still vote for him as Husband of the Year, if not quite Father of the Year. One of this indispensable show’s slyest unspoken arguments, in fact, is that it’s awfully hard to be both at the same time.

"The occasional pizza toss aside, Catastrophe doesn’t rely much on slapstick, but Delaney’s facial gesticulations and line-readings are their own kind of sublime physical comedy. At one point this season, a contrite Sharon offers to sleep on the couch, or head-to-toe in one bed, and Rob’s response has a halting, stammering quality, like he’s carefully composing a viral tweet in real time: 'No, I don’t want you to … lacerate my face with your … White Walker toenails.' The gigantic smile that blooms on Sharon’s face is the show’s immense appeal incarnate.

"Delaney, notably, is an author and stand-up comedian who first rose to prominence as a viral Twitter personality: His account has nearly 1.5 million followers and mixes earnest liberal activism with phenomenal crudity. On the show, he is the walking manifestation of the Large Adult Sons meme, hulking and hirsute and harmless; when he walks into a “big & tall” modeling agency looking for a job, he announces himself as 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds. The receptionists just laugh at him. He looks like the Incredible Hulk version of Steve Carell. A major plot thread this season, in fact, is that Rob is both gaining weight (someone calls him “Fat Morrissey”) and falling off the wagon, challenges he faces with his usual mix of oafish charm and virtuosic command of profanity. His mid-argument blurt of “Fuck you for a second” is a neat way to suggest both the grizzly bear and, soon enough, the teddy bear.

"The oft-unhappy couple’s children rarely appear onscreen and hardly make a peep. Catastrophe suggests that when it comes to kids, it’s tough to keep your own head together, let alone your marriage. (For harried new moms and dads, one of the show’s biggest selling points is that each episode is just 20-odd minutes long, with just six to a season. More time to sleep.) Each new batch is sprinkled with just a few deft, surprisingly affecting touches of familial melodrama: Another, far weightier scene from earlier in the series that I replay a lot is Sharon’s brief, sincerely lovely moment in an airport taxi line shortly after a medical scare. Rob gets a few moments that hit that hard this time, doing just the right amount of capital-A Acting in a season that delves into infidelity, alcohol dependence, acute economic anxiety, and death.

"They’ll survive, and it’s heartening to watch them survive. Delaney is, in real life, self-deprecating to the point of absurdity; many of the onscreen Rob’s least appealing qualities are pulled from the offscreen Rob’s real life. His recent Reddit AMA includes the question “What happened to your hot bod,” delves into the 2002 car crash that marked the end of his own history with alcohol, and references his running Twitter joke about his wife sleeping with his karate instructor. There are times on Catastrophe when it feels like he’s reading his filthiest thoughts directly off his phone, when what he’s doing doesn’t even seem like lowercase-A acting. But he’s even better at this in Season 3, affable and addled, with the gravity to handle a scene where he helps carry a coffin and the goofiness to turn it into a joke about how much taller he is than everyone else. He is a TV role model for people who know better than to find their role models on TV.

"Rob’s rapport with Sharon, and Delaney’s with Horgan, is astounding, how perfectly imperfect they are together, laughing at their cruelest jokes at the other’s expense. (That amused-by-your-own-script trick never worked on, say, Entourage, but it’s totally logical that these people would find each other as funny as we do.) You root for them even as you pray that you never actually meet them. You laugh at jokes with punch lines like “I don’t care about Chinese people,” the people onscreen happy to absorb any shame you might be feeling on your couch.

"Catastrophe’s theme music is a loopy, synthesizer-driven instrumental with some whistling and yodeling thrown in, evoking Raising Arizona and capping off each episode with, generally speaking, a particularly humiliating or upsetting plot development. Which itself evokes the eminently meme-worthy Curb Your Enthusiasm: You hear the song and you can’t help but cringe. It is to Horgan’s and, this time around, especially Delaney’s credit that their darkest moments leave you weirdly inspired and uplifted instead. They are often terrible parents and/or spouses and/or people, but they are trying so hard, and failing so spectacularly, that you can’t help but love to love them. “My family is my Syria,” Rob tells a flabbergasted friend at one point, spooling out a patently offensive extended metaphor for how his wife and kids have ruined him, and given him the only thing he has to live for. He is, very often, the worst. That’s what makes him the best."

Per CBS, "[i]n the hyper-competitive world of venture capital, few have had the success of Chris Sacca. That makes his decision to retire from the business at the age of 42 and walk away from the hit reality TV show Shark Tank all the more noteworthy.

"Sacca -- a billionaire who made early financial bets on Twitter, Uber and Instagram among other notable tech companies -- on Tuesday announced he is 'hanging up his spurs' in a statement posted on the website of his investment firm, Lowercase Capital. He is walking away from the venture business because he is no longer able to put in the long hours required to invest in startups. Sacca is married and has three children under the age of 6.

"'The only way I know to be awesome at startups is to be obsessively focused and pegged to the floor of the deep-end gasping for air,' Sacca wrote. 'I succeeded at venture capital because, for years, I rarely thought about or spent time on anything else. Anything less than that unmitigated full commitment leaves me feeling frustrated and ineffective.'

"Sacca, a lawyer by training, was an early employee at Alphabet's Google. At Lowercase, he oversees a portfolio of more than 80 tech startups. Venture research firm CB Insights ranks Sacca No. 2 among venture capitalists in 2017 based on the return he delivers to investors. 

"'It's hard to think of a more successful early-stage investor in the cohort of tech investors that arose after the dot-com boom and bust than Chris Sacca,' said Marcelo Ballvé, the research director of CB Insights, in an email. 'He's an investor that has shown the ability to pick founders with the right mix of conviction, vision and ability to execute.'

"Sacca has also made a name for himself by being unusually willing to voice his opinions about the managers of companies in which he has invested. Recently, for instance, he denounced Uber's handling of sexual harassment allegations by former engineer Susan Fowler, who claimed that the ride-hailing company's refusal to take her complaints seriously drove her to quit her job.  

"Sacca also has cooled on Twitter, noting several years ago that he liquidated most of his shares of the microblogging site after co-founder Jack Dorsey returned as CEO in 2015. He told CNBC that the San Francisco-based company would be better off if it were sold, a view held by many on Wall Street. 

"Lowercase Capital will continue to support its funded companies, but it will not make any new investments or raise new capital. The firm will be run by Matt Mazzeo, who Sacca and his wife Crystal brought on as a partner several years ago as he took on a part-time role with the firm. 

"On Shark Tank, Sacca frequently sparred with tech titan Mark Cuban, whom Sacca described as a 'really competitive' good friend on the program. According to Sacca, Cuban was 'bummed' by his decision to leave the show.  

"'When I first sat in that chair, I wasn't sure what might happen and what you all might think,' Sacca wrote. 'Turned out, the Twitter feedback was teeming with high fives, my episodes' ratings were strong, the critics loved it. I invested in some fantastic companies, and most importantly, I had so damn much fun.'

"Sacca isn't completely giving up the spotlight. He is playing himself in a new Zach Braff sitcom pilot for ABC and will appear on an upcoming episode of Celebrity Family Feud. Sacca also plans to launch a podcast, which he promises will be 'different from anything else I've seen out there.'

"With a fortune estimated at more than $6 billion, Sacca can take his time as he ponders his next step."

From People: "Joanna Gaines has an important message for her fans: 'Don’t believe everything you read.'

"In a note posted on her blog At Home, Gaines responded to a recent rumor that she’s leaving her hit HGTV show, Fixer Upper, to get into the cosmetics industry.

“'So many things are happening right now and it feels like we are moving at the speed of light,' she writes. 'At times, it’s even hard to keep our own parents in the loop. It’s true. At this point in our career we can honestly say, we’ve heard it all—from reports of us moving our family to Vegas to us having more or less children than we actually have. So remember, you can’t believe everything you read.'

"The allegation that Gaines is leaving the hugely popular show she’s hosted with husband Chip since 2013 to promote a beauty line appears to have originated with an article popping up in Facebook news feeds with the headline, 'HGTV Nightmare: Joanna Gaines Leaves Show to Start a Cosmetic Line,' WCPO Cincinnatti reports.

"The story, which claims to be from Cosmopolitan magazine, states that the fan-favorite star has tired of Fixer Upper, has 'been showing up late to the construction sites,' and has decided instead to pursue a second career in the beauty industry, promoting a product called Derma Folia Renewal Anti-Aging Serum. A rep for Gaines confirms to People this is untrue.

"Fans of the show were understandably upset by the story, but Gaines is quick to put them at ease. 'No! I am not getting into the business of facial creams,' she writes, adding, 'And no worries, believing some of these stories happens to the best of us.'

"Gaines also clears the air about a few other rumors plaguing her and husband, Chip: 'And just in case you were wondering, YES! We are currently filming season 5 of the show. And No! We are not expecting baby #5.'”

Seriously people, get a life.

"BET is getting back into the late-night space.

"The Viacom-owned cable network has ordered weekly late-night show The Rundown With Robin Thede, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

"Picked up with a 24-episode order and set to launch in the fall, the 30-minute news satire series will be hosted by former Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore head writer and contributor Thede. She will exec produce alongside Chris Rock and Jax Media's (Full Frontal With Samantha Bee) Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns, John Skidmore and Genevieve Aniello.

"Each episode will see the comedian take on the week's headlines in politics and pop culture with a fast-paced, no-holds-barred show that will feature social commentary, sketch comedy and pop culture parodies.

"For her part, Thede is the first and only African-American woman in history to serve as head writer on a late-night comedy show (for Comedy Central's Nightly Show). In season two of the series, she transitioned to serve as both a writer and performer before being promoted to a series regular cast member. Her bits included White House Creative Media Relations Branding Strategy Consultant Bluejasmine Steeplechase as well as Black Lady Sign Language and popular segment Who Dis?! She was also head writer for Wilmore at last year's White House Correspondents Association Dinner and served in the same role on the syndicated Queen Latifah ShowThe Rundown expands her relationship with BET after she wrote on the first two seasons of The Real Husbands of Hollywood.

"The Rundown serves as a reunion for Rock and Thede, whose first writing assignment was on the 2014 BET Awards that the former hosted. To hear Thede tell it, the two have remained close since and Rock has become a mentor figure to her. The show also serves as a reunion for Rock with Jax Media, who produced feature Top Five.

"For BET, The Rundown arrives as the cable network was identified as one of six core Viacom brands that the media conglomerate is focusing on during its rejuvenation under CEO Bob Bakish. (The others include Paramount Network, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Comedy Central.)

"The Rundown marks BET's latest late-night entry and follows The Mo'Nique Show, whichran for two seasons in 2009 and 2010. For Rock, meanwhile, The Rundown becomes his third late-night series following FX's Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, which ran for two seasons on FX and FXX in 2013, and his Emmy-winning The Chris Rock Show, which ran for five seasons on HBO."

I enjoyed both episodes of Great News.  Here's a (pared down) interview with Great News writer Tracey Wigfield: "A Tina Fey fan is a fan of Tina Fey, and that’s perfectly fine. A hardcore Tina Fey fan, on the other hand, recognizes the comic inheritance of Fey’s protégées — namely, writers like 33-year-old Tracey Wigfield, who steps into her own as creator of her first solo sitcom, NBC’s Great News.

"Wigfield began her tenure on 30 Rock as a green assistant with no credit to her name, and ended the show’s run years later with an Emmy in hand, having co-written the series finale with Fey. In Los Angeles, she rose to co-executive producer on The Mindy Project, furthering the experience of writing the adventures of fearless, funny women and the eccentric ensembles that surround them.

Were you raised religious?
I was raised Catholic. It’s funny — a lot of the people I’ve talked to who have seen the show always say, “Oh my God, you wrote a show about my mom.” It seems to fall along, like, Jewish, Catholic, Italian lines. My mom’s Italian and I was raised Catholic. Not super religious, but I went to Catholic school from kindergarten to college…so, wait, I guess that’s religious, now that I think about it.

When you told your mom the show was happening, was there anything off limits?
In a weird way, she was like, weirdly not phased by it. I think for a lot of moms who deeply believe in their children more than they believe in themselves, it’s not surprising to her that I am making a TV show and she kind of always thought I would. It would have been a disappointment if I hadn’t. And the fact that it’s about her, I think she thinks is flattering and she’s excited about it. She rolls with things. Maybe it’s just being older but she just rolls with things in a way that I don’t know if a lot of people would.

Whatever Twitter is to budding comedians right now, what tool did young Tracey use that helped you explore comedy?
My best friend from when I was little, my friend Renata and I, used to make comedy videos, and this was way before YouTube. When we were like 11 or 12 years old, we had a little Sony camcorder and we would make sketches, basically, and be super dedicated to it. We would write these scripts and act in them and make our parents watch them over and over again. I remember saving money to buy a wig. Like, we loved doing that. And in a way, it’s really cool how that’s basically what my job turned out to be.

What was your VHS masterpiece?
Our most ambitious one was a parody of Sense & Sensibility called Stupid & Stupidity. It was a period piece, which was very hard because we didn’t have access to the costumes we felt like we needed. Or men. [Laughs] That was always really hard. My dad would have to be in it, and my sister would have to be a boy in a wig. It was really ambitious but I think that one came out really good.

Leaping ahead a decade, what was your first formative career touchstone after college?
A huge game-changer in my life was getting hired as an assistant at 30 Rock. I had just gotten out of college a year or so before, and I worked as a page at David Letterman and as a PA on another show that got canceled. I was about to turn 24 and I had given my résumé in at 30 Rock, because my boss called in a recommendation for me. I got that job and it felt huge at the time, but it really has been, even to this moment, the biggest thing that’s ever happened to me. Even now, I’m working with the same people who gave me my first shot, and now they’re supporting me in this very different way on Great News. Ten years later, I feel like I’m not at the end of that story but in a new chapter of it. It’s really cool and gratifying that Tina and Robert [Carlock] took this chance on me when I never had a job before, and when do you ever get an opportunity to… not pay back, but sort of make them proud in this way?

In joining and helping launch The Mindy Project, how different was your headspace as opposed to starting at 30 Rock?
At 30 Rock, I was starting knowing nothing. I had never written at all, but I was a big fan of Tina and I was learning everything about how to write jokes and craft episodes, like it was my graduate school in comedy writing. And when the show ended, I was a producer but I wasn’t one of the people in charge. On Mindy, I got that experience. Not running a show, but maybe being a person or two under the person running the show. I got more experience editing, being on set, going to production meetings, pitching episodes to the network. All these other skills that they didn’t trust me with on 30 Rock, I got to do on Mindy. And I also got very close to Mindy. She’s a good friend of mine. Like with Tina, I think it was just even subconsciously good for me to work for so long on shows where the boss was a woman who was really competent and good.

What kind of writers’ room did you want to assemble?
It was very important that I not, and you can’t always guard against this, but that I not hire any assholes. Especially in a writers’ room. I wanted a room of people who were real collaborators and really funny obviously but also really interested in building episodes together. You don’t want a rotten apple.

As a kid, what TV show spoke to you on your most creative level?
This might be an over-said answer, but Seinfeld. That show appealed to me in a specific way. It was comedy done like math, in a way. It was so funny and I loved the dovetails of it and how everything connected and it was just so satisfying to watch. As a kid, I remember there was something about Seinfeld that just felt like such pure comedy. And I also loved SNL, always. Will Ferrell and Tina were like right in the sweet spot when I was like 13 and really getting into comedy.

Was SNL ever an option for you? You’re in the NBC family.
Yeah. I feel like there was a time I could have. I knew people and I knew when they were doing auditions to be a cast member, and I feel like there were times when I was actually like, “Oh, maybe!” But I got in on 30 Rock so early, and… I don’t know, maybe I was just chicken and didn’t want to stay up all night. But it never felt like a better deal than what I had, just because I loved working at 30 Rock."