November 25, 2019

Get a look at the trailer for Netflix's Kenya Barris-produced Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show

The history of Netflix’s forthcoming sketch comedy show, Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show, actually dates back to 2014 when the New York-based improv troupe of the same name was first formed. Its founder, James III, wanted to put together a group that could audition for a spot at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. They would go on to become UCB’s first all-Black house team.

While their initial purpose was clear, co-head writer and player Jonathan Braylock admits to The A.V. Club that the group’s name—which was originally supposed to be a temporary placeholder—is a bit more complex. “We like to say the name means different things to all of us,” Braylock said, “so depending on who you ask, the meaning has a different answer. Kind of like the Joker’s origin story in The Dark Knight.”

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November 8, 2019

‘Magical Negro Rehab’ Attempts to Fix One of Hollywood’s Biggest Tropes

Last year, sketch team Astronomy Club debuted a digital series on Comedy Central that we called the network’s best yet, and at least one person agreed, because now the ensemble is heading to Netflix with the launch of their very own sketch-comedy show. Ordered back in July, Astronomy Club features Keisha Zollar, James III, Monique Moses, Jerah Milligan, Caroline Martin, Ray Cordova, Jon Braylock, and Shawtane Bowen in a series of sketches covering “an array of topics ranging from pop culture and social issues to the black experience,” and both Black-ish creator Kenya Barris and I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson EP Daniel Powell are behind the show as executive producers.

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July 16, 2019

Astronomy Club Sets Netflix Sketch Comedy Series With Kenya Barris Producing

“Instead of doing the normal sketch show, we kind of have a show within a show,” Braylock told Variety. “So our interstitials will be kind of a heightened fake reality show with all of us living in one house together because Netflix doesn’t have money to give us a bigger house. So we kind of have all these wonderful characters that are heightened versions of ourselves. And we have very, very loose plot lines that take us through each episode. So that way people can have a break from the sketches, they get to know us.”

The eight performers first formed in 2013 and soon became the first and only all-black house team at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. They then became known for their recurring sketch show “A Journey Thru Black History,” in which they used their own experiences to satirize racial oppression in modern America. The group then brought their comedy to the screen with their self-titled Comedy Central series, which debuted last year. In it, the group performs a variety of bits, including one that brings them together as different historical black innovators attempting to one-up each other’s inventions.

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July 12, 2019

Comedy Central's New Comedic Social Commentary Series Franchesca & Show Has Arrived

Franchesca Ramsey has no idea what a coat check is.

Or, at least, that’s what she wants you to think in the premiere episode of her new Comedy Central digital series Franchesca & Show, where her solution to nightclub storage is to throw all of your belongings in the middle of the dancefloor and sing about it in a bonafide club hit.

The latest project from the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore comedian and YouTube personality, Franchesca & Show finds Ramsey putting a unique spin on issues no one else is addressing—the aforementioned nightclub storage, the nuances of woke porn and what it means when someone has a black woman trapped inside of them—in the form of sharp sketch comedy.

The series, which also features Joel Kim Booster, Jaboukie Young-White and other comedians alongside Ramsey, debuts three times a week on Comedy Central’s YouTube channel.

Continue reading on Paste Magazine.

July 8, 2019

Comedy Central Launches In-House Studio-Production Arm; Inks 5 First-Look Deals

Comedy Central continues its brand expansion with the launch of Comedy Central Productions (CCP), a new in-house studio-production arm, along with five first-look development deals to create original programming for third party platforms.

The network has deals in place with Paul W. Downs and Lucia Aniello’s (Broad City)Paulilu, writer-producer Anthony King (Beetlejuice), Daniel Powell and Alex Bach’s Irony Point (Inside Amy Schumer) and producer Stuart Miller (Klepper, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah).

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April 26, 2019

Tim Robinson's Netflix Sketch Show Is Comedy Perfection

This week, comedian Tim Robinson’s new sketch show I Think You Should Leave premiered on Netflix with six 15-minute long episodes. The show is, in a word, perfect. In a few more words, it’s silly, grotesque, loud, and absurd. What more could you want, really?

Robinson may be a new face to some viewers, but he ought to be a household name. A Michigan native who came up in the Chicago comedy scene, appearing most notably on the Second City main stage as well as with his group Cook County Social Club, Robinson was cast on Saturday Night Live in the fall of 2012. His tenure as a cast member was short though not unremarkable — this sketch where he and Bobby Moynihan play middle-schoolers on a double date with adult women is weird and oddly sweet. He was featured in an episode of The Characters on Netflix in 2016. He went on to co-create and co-star in the much beloved, though gone-too-soon Comedy Central show Detroiters with fellow Michigan native and former Second City performer Sam Richardson…

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April 12, 2019

Netflix Sketch-Comedy Show Looks Nuts

Did you know that Saturday Night Live and Detroiters alum Tim Robinson heads to Netflix very soon with his own sketch-comedy show? Well, it’s true, and Vulture has the very first look at the trailer right here. Titled I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson, the six-part series is produced by the Lonely Island and centers on Robinson alongside a ton of his comedy friends as they “navigate awkward workplace drama, host an intervention in a Garfield themed house, talk their way out of a babysitter’s fake hit and run, and much more.”

Read the rest of the article on Vulture

October 31, 2018

IFC Unveils Development Slate With Comedies From Margaret Cho, Funny Or Die & Others

IFC is developing five comedy projects for series consideration, including one from exec producer Margaret Cho and another from Funny or Die.

The shows in the running at IFC are Almost Asian, which chronicles the life of a mixed-race millennial in Los Angeles; Annika Erotica, following a young Colorado pastor who harbors a secret passion for writing erotic novels under a pen name; Art Thieves, an adventure comedy following three misfit criminals who fancy themselves to be the Robin Hoods of the art world; Beth, about a happily agoraphobic man and his uneasy journey back to the outside world; and The Middle Passage, a satirical and politically provocative sketch comedy. Read details about the projects below:

A true adventure comedy, Art Thieves follows three misfit master criminals who infiltrate the houses of the super-rich and attempt to steal their beloved masterpieces. The series is executive produced by Mitch Magee (Funny or Die Presents) and Daniel Powell (Inside Amy Schumer), head of the production company Irony Point.

Read the full article here.

July 30, 2018

Michelle Wolf's The Break is an essential new TV comedy. We need more of it.

It’s a great experience to watch a TV show miraculously becomeitself. The Break with Michelle Wolf arrived on Netflix in June already brimming with confidence. The host was coming off an astounding performance at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, a real burn-this-mother-to-the-grounding for the ages. But initial episodes of The Break had the usual early-going late-night quality, scattershot gags, guest bits that somehow felt overly rehearsed and badly improvised.

And then The Break hit a new gear on July 15, in an episode titled “Sincere and Angry.” In her monologue, Wolf mentioned George Clooney’s motorcycle crash, riffing about how Clooney played Batman in Batman & Robin. “We don’t make fun of him enough for that!” she said. Well, to be fair, even Clooney makes fun of Batman & Robin too much — but shut up, Franich, she’s getting to the good stuff. “He’s the Hillary Clinton of Batmans,” Wolf said. “Perfect on paper, disappointing in reality, and nipples always rock hard.”

Read more at Entertainment Weekly


Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show’ On Netflix, A Constellation Of Bright New Comedy Stars

Opening Shot: We’re at the front door of an office building. Three young black men can’t get in because they forgot the code. Can they convince the older white lady they see in the lobby to let them in?

It’s almost too relatable, but as soon as the men reach the lobby, the sketch begins flipping the script. Would they let in a guy who appears to be a vampire? And then again, heightening the game by asking the vampire to, ahem, check his prejudices at the door. “It’s 2020, baby!” Roll the credits!

Our Take: Astronomy Club presents a balanced comedy diet, equal parts pop-culture parody, commentary on the contemporary black American experience, and evergreen satire. The first episode establishes this formula, on top of a solid framework that places the troupe inside a faux show within the show, a “reality TV” clubhouse where they’re meant to live and work together. It also serves as a solid way to not only introduce them to us viewers, but also explore the group dynamics of and among its individual members.

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