TV critics attending Summer TV Press Tour 2014 wanted to talk to the cast and crew of Fox’s new Mulaney about its similarity to NBC’s long-running comedy series Seinfeld. In the new multi-cam comedy, from NBCU and originally developed for NBC (the network passed on the pilot), former Saturday Night Live writer John Mulaney plays a fictionalized version of himself — a standup comic trying to take his career to the next level. Martin Short co-stars as a comedy legend and now game-show host, for whom Mulaney works; Elliott Gould plays his wacky next door neighbor. Nasim Pedrad, Seaton Smith and Zack Pearlman round out the cast. Mulaney is exec produced by Lorne Michaels, David Miner, Dave Becky, Jon Pollack, Andrew Singer and Andy Ackerman.
Exec producer/director Ackerman, perhaps best known for his work on Seinfeld after directing nearly 90 episodes, was asked to discuss the new series’ many similarities to that long-running NBC comedy. After turning to Mulaney and murmuring, “You’re no Jerry Seinfeld,” he turned to TV critics and said, “This is a cast I’m really excited about… I had the privilege to work with that great cast, and I see so many similarities in terms of the chemistry. And we have an opportunity to take John’s voice, and what he’s doing I’m really excited about…and if I have any small percent of [Seinfeld’s] success I’d be thrilled.”
It was completely appropriate that AFI‘s 41st Life Achievement Award honoree Mel Brooks made his entrance at the Dolby Theatre to the Steven Sondheim song, “Comedy Tonight”. It set the tone immediately for a very different evening than any that had come before at this annual event. Look at the list of the 40 previous AFI honorees, and there’s not a single solely comedic filmmaker or actor in the whole bunch. Yes, there are some — like Billy Wilder, Mike Nichols, Shirley MacLaine and Tom Hanks — who have made a few classic comedies but no one whose whole screen career is built on laughs. The AFI finally corrected that glaring omission Thursday night.
“Ladies and gentlemen, tonight the American Film Institute honors the art — and the farts — of American film,” said AFI Board Of Trustees Chair Sir Howard Stringer in welcoming the star-studded crowd. “When I telephoned Mel to tell him the AFI had voted him in as the 2013 recipient, he responded instantly, ‘What took you so long?’ Fair enough. Comedy is routinely short-changed at many awards ceremonies , particularly the Oscars. It is often said comedy is harder than drama because funny is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. That makes Mel, without question, Hollywood’s principal lightning conductor.” Read More »
Comedian John Mulaney is surrounding himself with some comedy heavyweights on his NBC pilot. After lengthy negotiations, Elliott Gould and Martin Short are set to co-star opposite Mulaney in his untitled multi-camera comedy, from Lorne Michaels, 3 Arts and Universal TV. Written/exec produced by Mulaney and exec produced by 30 Rock‘s Robert Carlock, the project is a young ensemble loosely based on Mulaney’s life. It centers on John (Mulaney), whose naïve, and often pointless, desire to “be a good person” challenges his friendship with his roommates Jane and Seymour. APA-repped Gould plays John’s gay neighbor. WME-repped Short plays Lou, a game show host John writes jokes for.
Martin Short returns for his third hosting appearance December 15 for Saturday Night Live‘s Christmas show. Paul McCartney will appear for his fourth stint as musical guest. SNL also confirmed that Jamie Foxx will host the December 8 episode ahead of the opening of his next film Django Unchained on December 25, with Ne-Yo as musical guest for the first time.
Martin Short, age 60, is best known for his comedy work on SCTV and SNL and as Ed Grimley or Jiminy Glick. But his serious turn as attorney Leonard Winstone on the FX legal thriller Damages earned Short a drama supporting actor Emmy nomination, a category that finds him competing against Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), John Slattery (Mad Men), Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age), and Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn (Lost). Short spoke with Ray Richmond for Deadline Hollywood about why playing against type is his new way to stave off career boredom.
Deadline Hollywood:People were surprised that you could play a dramatic character who isn’t supposed to make people laugh.
Martin Short: When someone can be effective at something that’s not predictable for them, it tends to get extra attention.
DH:Was this trying to stretch your performing muscles?
MS: It isn’t as if I’d felt unrequited never playing the assassin. Whether arrogantly or what, I view myself simply as an actor. I’ve always been drawn to comedy because there aren’t too many people who can do that in an odd original way. And I take great pride in that. But that isn’t to say I couldn’t one day play George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
DH:So we may see you do Shakespeare next?
MS: You never know. I’m an actor who loves doing comedy. But I’m now entering the most interesting phase of my career. When you have to worry about paying the rent, you’re never … Read More »