I saw his new movie, The Hangover, last week, and thought it was very funny. Zach really couldn't be a more compelling figure on screen, and he just destroyed the packed audience in the screening I saw.
Jesse Armstrong is one of the co-creators and writers of the BAFTA-winning BBC sitcom Peep Show. (A BAFTA is like a British Emmy.) Now entering its sixth series, with a US version in development at Spike TV, Peep Show is a funny, but cringe-inducing, depiction of the lives of two twenty-something flat mates, played by past TSOYA guest David Mitchell and comedy partner Robert Webb (above). Its first season recently became available in the US on Hulu. No less an authority on UK comedy than Ricky Gervais called it "The only British thing that I was really blown away by in the last few years."
Armstrong has also written for other acclaimed television series, including the sketch series That Mitchell & Web Look and the political satire The Thick of It.
MaxFun Contributor Matthew Phelan spoke with Armstrong from the UK.
Matthew Phelan: You've said that you and co-creator, Sam Bain, and the show's stars [David] Mitchell and [Robert] Webb, met in something called a "writing team experiment" within the BBC …
Jesse Armstrong: Yeah. [laughs] It was fascinating because there is a definite mystique around American writing techniques in the UK--the long runs, the more successful audience figures. We have a problem getting mainstream comedies to work and people often think that it may be something to do with [not using] the team system. I think there are interesting things about having teams of people on a show, but I definitely don't think it's a magic bullet.
So, this was a really ill-thought-through plan to create a British, team-writing situation. The people behind it thought that, to do a team show, you got six people (in this case who didn't know each other) in the room with a producer and a one-line idea--which was, "What if there was house that was squatted and these people all lived together." We wrote the script between the six of us. Each taking, one sixth of the script and we came up with this horrible, kind-of "Frankenstein's monster" as anyone would imagine. Anyone with any knowledge of the US system knows that you still have a show creator who writes the pilot, sets the tone.
So, that was disastrous, but we went into it not knowing David [Mitchell] and Robert [Webb] and came out knowing them quite well, as we sniggered behind our hands and went, "Oh, god. This is terrible what we're doing, isn't it?"
Click "Read More" for more with Peep Show Co-Creator Jesse Armstrong, including audio of the full interview.
"It's ceremonious, it's celebratory, it's important."
Legendary non-fiction writer and reporter Gay Talese on being suited & booted. My only disapointment: no discussion of his signature lapel shape.
Peter Serafinowicz is the comedian co-creator of Look Around You and star of The Peter Serafinowicz Show, both of which are fantastically funny. You may have enjoyed "Kitchen Gun," a sketch from the latter, which I posted a couple days ago.
Well, he recently posted this (spectacularly hilarious) tweet on his twitter account: "Went to the gym this morning. As I left, everyone said I was the best!"
Apparently Time Magazine, and a website on which they were reporting whose name I will not mention, do not understand what a joke is. In fact, they reported on that tweet as evidence that Serafinowicz is one of "Twitter's Biggest Egos."
Luckily, they asked Serafinowicz for a comment, and reported his response similarly literally and credulously:
In fairness, some of the more outrageous messages appear to be gags (let's hope so). But others, unnervingly, are not.
Peter Serafinowicz, an actor, says there's a perfectly good explanation for his tweet — "Went to the gym this morning. As I left, everyone said I was the best!" — an observation that earned him a spot on the site's all-time worst list. "At my local gym, most of the guys (losers) are jealous of me, as (I don't wish to boast) I'm in great shape. I'm pretty sure that they call me names when I'm not around," he wrote in an e-mail. So when his gym-mates congratulated him for bench-pressing 180 pounds, "I suppose I felt vindicated in some way, and wanted to tell the world about it."
Oh Time Magazine... your endless search for new angles on the Twitter story has bitten you in the rear.
via Graham Linehan
Noted humor publication The Wall Street Journal just published a lengthy story about one of Kasper Hauser's two (count 'em - two) forthcoming books, "Obama's Blackberry."
This is how Rob from Kasper Hauser describes their writing process: "It’s kind of like four clowns driving a clown car and each one has a steering wheel and at any time two of them are sad and there’s no food.”
They even get a comment from Joe Biden's press representative. Apparently, the book isn't funny, because Joe Biden would never actually ask the President if he can leave at 4:45.
Brian Michael Bendis is an acclaimed comics writer. His work has ranged from independent crime comics to the artist-controlled superhero imprint Image to helming some of the most important characters in superhero comics for Marvel. Several years ago, he re-created Spider Man for the 21st century with Ultimate Spider Man. He now steers Marvel's most important superteam, The Avengers. We spoke with Brian at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival in Portland, Oregon.
|RENO 911!||Wednesdays 10:30pm / 9:30c|
Clash of the Titans!
I like country music, but I know next to nothing about it. What should I be listening to? I tend to like pretty traditional country, not to poppy, rocky or folky. I like fiddles, steel guitars, and great singers, but sometimes the tinnyness of pre-60s recordings can grate on me a bit.
Any particularly great albums or collections I should get?
Would it be possible for me to marry both David Letterman and past TSOYA guest Amy Sedaris? I'd rather not divorce my wife, either, because she's way cool and super foxy. So I guess it's like a love square? California Supreme Court: please advise.