lorne michaels

Tina Fey

While Tina Fey has made her mark in the film world through a number of movies even before she ruled the proverbial comedy club as Liz Lemon, her film career has been characterized by two important factors: those movies have often been flops, and she hasn’t gotten her due time as the star of her own vehicle yet. Obviously, Fey gets top billing whenever she’s in a film, but it’s often shared with the likes of another extremely likeable comedian who’s there to split the limelight — and a little bit of the downfall, if we’re going to be honest — when it comes premiere time: Paul Rudd (Admission), Steve Carell (Date Night), and Amy Poehler (Baby Mama). Now Fey finally has the chance to shine on her own with a film that she’s also producing alongside Lorne Michaels. The Taliban Shuffle is an adaptation of journalist Kim Parker’s book “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Fey will be portraying Parker back in 2002 as she travels on assignment to Kabul, Afghanistan. Parker has little experience with world travel and does not speak Arabic, so her job proves to be difficult from the onset. But as she continues to push on through and get her assignment done, she grows to love the Middle East and the people who live there — while also feeling like peace is impossible for the turmoiled region.

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snl-logo

There’s little debate that Saturday Night Live’s recent addition of Sasheer Zamata to its featured player cast is in direct response to continued outcry over the lack of diversity on the show (or, more realistically, there should be little debate over that particular subject), and while those are perhaps not ideal conditions for a new talent to be added into the venerable show, Zamata has one thing going for her – she’s very funny and she’s in possession of a whole mess of skills the show needs. Sure, it would have been great if she could have been folded into the show in a “normal” way at the beginning of a new season, but that time has passed and now it’s time to look forward to the funny lady’s first show and what she can add to the show on her own merits. (And, as it happens, she’s far from the first addition to the show in the middle of season – recently, Kate McKinnon joined the show in the spring of 2012, and that’s worked out pretty damn well so far.) Of course, when SNL creator and producer Lorne Michaels finally doubled down on the controversy surrounding the show’s lack of an African-American star, he really doubled down on it – telling the press that the show would be adding in at least one new comedienne of color before the it picked up again after the holidays, possibly two. Turns out, Michaels was underselling their additions – because Saturday […]

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Sasheer Zamata

The long-simmering drama around Saturday Night Live and its lack of diversity in its cast (principally pinned on the fact that the cast has not included a black comedienne since Maya Rudolph left the show five years ago) has now finally come to its logical conclusion – as our Dustin Hucks shared yesterday, when the show returns later this month, it will include the talents of Sasheer Zamata as a featured player. The team at SNL (and especially Lorne Michaels) has been under pressure to add an African-American female to their already bloated cast for a few months now, and while the addition of Zamata pushes the cast into straight up crazy numbers (seventeen people, you guys, seventeen), she’s a great pick from a very impressive pool. To recap, the show has been under fire for months now, as its new season saw the addition of six new featured players – all white, five of whom are men – leaving the cast still lacking a black comedienne. Star Kenan Thompson was asked about it later, kicking off still more chatter, which was then actually answered on the show…by finding host Kerry Washington saddled with lots of jokes acknowledging the issue, some of which were funny, all of which sort of missed the mark. With pressure not abating, Michaels and company went hunting for a new comedienne – both in New York City and Los Angeles – with news soon hitting the wire that Michaels had vowed to hire at least […]

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More Cowbell

The morning’s best writing from around the movie website-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Channel Guide - Large

With most of the sitcoms that debuted in the fall (and managed to escape cancellation) winding down this week, I think it’s time to crown a winner. Which one of these brand new sitcoms most deserves to stick around?  Which was the most memorable? Which came out on top? Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl has already been renewed, Whitney was a thing that happened, but the show that worked the best for me was NBC’s Up All Night. Executive produced by Lorne Michaels and created by former Saturday Night Live writer Emily Spivey, Up All Night is a funny and relatable look at the life of a married couple, played by Christina Applegate and Will Arnett, trying to adapt to life with a new baby. Arnett is Chris, a former lawyer who has decided to stay home with their daughter while Appelgate’s Regan returns to work where she struggles to balance motherhood with the demands of her larger than life boss Ava—an Oprah-like talk show host played by Maya Rudolph. The show was this season’s best new sitcom and here are four reasons why.

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