DID YOU READ

The 10 most groundbreaking “Saturday Night Live” stars

The 10 most groundbreaking “Saturday Night Live” stars (photo)

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“Saturday Night Live.” It’s a comedy franchise unparalleled, launching the careers of dozens of legends of the industry. As it heads into its 36th year, there are so many stars of this show that have become comedy staples and heroes to comics everywhere that it’s hard to contain them all in a list. Stalwart geniuses like Dan Aykroyd, Phil Hartman, Jan Hooks and many more have their esteemed place among the beloved, reliable and versatile cast members, but here’s a quick list focusing on the most innovative talents in the show’s history – the people who changed how things were done.


1. John Belushi (1975 -1979)

We should really put the entire original Not Ready For Prime Time Players on this list (plus Bill Murray, who replaced Chevy Chase after the first year) for starting it all, but that would crowd everybody out. So we’ll go with Belushi, star of the first ever sketch, who grew into a primal force of nature and a whirlwind of creativity alongside Dan Aykroyd, and who also set the precedent of SNL stars dying young. Just think about the things he did. The Blues Brothers would not be possible today. Could any two other cast members ever go rock out on the road and perform blues songs earnestly with barely a hint of winking comic irony? That’s how strong his presence alone could be.


2. Eddie Murphy (1980 -1984)

People tend to forget about the early 80s SNL era, but it sported such notable names as Billy Crystal and Martin Short, and brought us the revelation that was Murphy. A talented mimic, he balanced his street-smart sensibility (evidenced by his going undercover as a white man) with a love of getting completely goofy (he’s Gumby, dammit!) and his high energy brought a really different feel to the show. Murphy is likely the main reason SNL survived the departure of the “Golden Age” original cast members and made it to its late-80s, early-90s “Silver Age,” so to speak.


3. Dana Carvey (1986 -1993)

Here’s the amazing thing about SNL’s most renowned impressionist – he didn’t really impersonate people, at least not in the chameleon-like way guys like Darrell Hammond would later. Instead, he dove into their sound and mannerisms, picked up a few things and cranked those up to 11, making everybody else’s impressions just an inferior version of his. He turned George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot into a series of nasal noises and it worked. Seriously, he got the actual President Bush to say “Nah gah dah.” Carvey was a character factory and a catchphrase machine, and he really spearheaded the SNL Silver Age.


4. Dennis Miller (1985 – 1991)

Say what you will about his post-SNL career, but Miller put his signature on the show every night he did Weekend Update. What used to be a straight-up parody of news shows transitioned (with the help of early-80s anchor Brad Hall) into the haven for cutting-edge comic voices who were not really the kind of people that belonged in sketches. With dry-wit commentators like Al Franken and A. Whitney Brown doing guest spots, Miller’s endless sarcasm about the week’s top stories and his deeply stylized delivery gave SNL a place where the writers could put the bombastic characters aside for several minutes a night and just speak their minds between the jokes. Not that Miller wasn’t a bombastic character in his own right – check out Carvey’s brilliant impression of him for proof of that.


5. Adam Sandler (1990 – 1995)

Sandler’s freshman class came in at just the right time to stretch out that Silver Age a few more years, and you know the rest. That twitchy little persona vascillated from quiet nerd to loud and absurd, never afraid to completely humiliate himself in the stupidest of ways… and then he’d pull out an acoustic guitar and singing dorky-sweet holiday songs. His egghead (not intellectual egghead, but his head is actually shaped like an egg) sensibility was all over the show in the early 90s, and his singular popularity really cemented the show’s transition from the edgy underdog into the mainstream mainstay.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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