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Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts star in new Spike TV comedy Players

Mar 2, 2015

Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts Star in New Spike TV Comedy "Players"

 Series Follows The Hilarious Antics Of Two Completely Opposite Brothers Who Run A Sports Bar

Spike TV expands its comedic slate with Players, a series created by and starring one of the founders of the acclaimed improvisational comedy troupe, the Upright Citizens Brigade, Matt Walsh. Players follows two brothers (Walsh and Ian Roberts) with conflicting personalities trying to run a successful sports bar. Spike TV's new original half-hour comedy premieres Tuesday, March 2 at 10:30 PM, ET/PT.

Players stars Walsh as Bruce Fitzgerald, a free-spirited, fun-loving, guy's guy who is living out his fantasy of owning a sports bar that allows him to bet on games, drink for free and date the cocktail waitresses. His older, uptight brother, Ken (Ian Roberts), tries to keep the focus on turning a profit while avoiding lawsuits and health code violations. The series also features Krista (Danielle Schneider), the promiscuous waitress who has an affinity for B-list athletes and married men, Barb (June Diane Raphael), the insecure and neurotic waitress who falls in love with Bruce, Hickey (Jack McGee), a retired cop who got Bruce out of a gambling debt and was rewarded with a job where, instead of actually working, he spends most of his time bidding on sports memorabilia on eBay, and Calvin (James Pumphrey), the young, simple-minded bartender who lives in the store room and is an aspiring fitness model who idolizes Bruce.

Spike.com will feature original video content and editorial from the off-beat comedic minds of the show's stars Walsh and Roberts. The players.spike.com site will also include exclusive outtakes, cast bios and photos for each of the main characters. After the series premiere, fans will be able to catch sneak peek scenes leading into each week's new episode and other episodic content.

Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts, Jay Martel, as well as Peter Principato, Paul Young, Tucker Voorhees and John Lynch of Devlin Entertainment serve as executive producers. Jason Woliner (Human Giant, Parks and Recreation), who directed the presentation and multiple episodes, serves as a co-executive producer. Walsh, a Chicago native, is a former Daily Show correspondent who was a founding member of the successful improv comedy troupe, Upright Citizens Brigade. Walsh has appeared in such popular comedy films as The Hangover, Old SchoolSemi-Pro and Bad Santa.
NY General

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Aziz Ansari profiled in Nylon Guys

Mar 2, 2015

Park Life 

Aziz Ansari's understated brand of humor has opened the doors of NBC and now, Apatow Towers

When he's not performing stand-up, starring in NBC's Parks & Recreation, making movies with Judd Apatow, or writing, producing, and starring in the comedy collective Human Giant, Aziz Ansari is... eating.

"I'm really into food," he admits, "I basically used my last stand-up tour as a way to eat everything I could, everywhere I went.  It was more a food tour than a comedy tour. I ate at every great place I had heard or read about. Burgers, sushi, tacos, barbeque..."

At this moment, a waitress interrupts to ask for his order. He shakes his head and claims he's not hungry -- such is the strange irony of Ansari.  In a world where successful comics are generally a depressed and anti-social bunch, Ansari is pleasantly good humored and easygoing. In an industry that usually calls for dog-eat-dog ambition and the selling of souls, Ansari is loyal to his friends and funny, without being a jerk. Miraculously, his laid-back attitute toward his own success manages to seem matter-of-fact, rather than fake.

"People think everything happened all at once, but I've actually been doing this for eight years," he explains. "I was 18 when I started.  I was hanging out with some friends, and they asked if I had tried stand-up before. I hadn't, but I thought, What the hell? So I went to an open mic night, and I liked it. I mean, it was terrifying the first time, but it was fun. And people laughed."

Soon after that, Ansari formed the comedy team Human Giant with Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer, and director Jason Woliner. The groups's popular live shows eventually lead to a deal with MTV... which led to a part in Apatow's Funny People... which led to an offer to star as a series regular in Parks & Recreation. This January, Ansari appeared in an hour-long stand-up DVD entitled Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening. Oh yeah, and he has a three-picture deal with Apatow.

"Jason Woliner and I pitched Judd an idea, and he was like, 'Why don't you guys work on a few films, instead of just one?'" says Ansari, with a shrug. "And he's a smart guy, so we said, 'Sure.'"

The deal comes on the heels of the Internet release of the Raaaaaaaandy documentary, directed by Woliner and starring Ansari -- based on the profane and swaggering comedian he created for Funny People. "I thought it would be funny to make fun of the kind of crass, egotist comics that just talk about getting laid and making money," says Ansari of Randy.  "I just tried to imagine if, like, Soulja Boy was a comic.... And I wasn't trying to mock Dane Cook, if that's what you're thinking."

Cook satire aside, Ansari, in portraying a comedian with a bloated ego and knack for obscenity, does a pretty good job of skewering exactly the kind of comedy he isn't about.

"I don't know. I guess I just don't think a lot of that kind of humor is funny. For me, it's more about taking a joke and really refining it. After you do a joke a few times, you have material that you know works.  Although sometimes I have a joke that has worked a bunch of times, and then one night it'll flop. And that's when I take a really hard look at myself and say, 'Well, that crowd is obviously wrong. That crowd has absolutely no idea what it's talking about.'"
LA General

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Aubrey Plaza featured in Bust Magazine

Mar 2, 2015

Plaza Sweet

Horsing around with Parks and Recreation's taciturn intern

It wasn't long ago that 25-year-old Aubrey Plaza was spending her days at NYU film school and her nights doing improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade.  One week in the summer of 2008, however, changed all that.  The comedian was in L.A. on a callback for the Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler movie Funny People but ended up also meeting about the upcoming Michael Cera comedy, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and NBC's Parks and Recreation. She didn't have any plans to relocate to the City of Angels at the time, but after nabbing roles in all these projects in one fell swoop, she had no choice.  

"Yeah, the past year has been the biggest of my life. It changed everything," she tells me in a voice a few shades sunnier than the one she uses for April Ludgate, the ultra-blase intern she plays on Parks and Rec.  

It's no surprise, though, that Plaza's career took off like a rocket.  She knows exactly what she wants and has been tireless in her quest to get it  From her decision to move to New York from Wilmington, DE, to study film writing and directing, to regularly hitting the improv stage, to relentlessly faxing her resume to Saturday Night Live for an internship, Plaza has been ready for years. "I'm not a very patient person," she says, laughing, "so when I graduated high school, I was like, 'All right, I'm ready, let's go!'"

It's not hard to see Plaza as representative of a new generation of ass-kickin' female comedians in the tradition of ladies like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. "Being around is the best," she says of her cast-mate and mentor.  "Listening to her stories about SNL and all she's had to fight for is really special for me.  I try to remember it, and I keep the excitement that I felt when I came to work the first day, because if I lose that, that's when things start to go stale."

Besides Poehler, Plaza has another role model: Adam Sandler. "The fact that he went from SNL to writing and making his own movies like Billy Madison, that really influenced me," she says. "I'd love to do something like that." In fact, she's already in the process of writing a comedy herself, rather than "just auditioning to be, like, the love interest in the next romantic comedy."

In the upcoming Scott Pilgrim, her character, Julie Powers, is another funny lady with a bite.  Although she doesn't get any action sequences -- Pilgrim, played by Cera, has to fight seven evil ex-boyfriends to win the heart of Ramona V. Flowers, the girl he loves -- she does get some choice bitchy bits. "Michael is the funniest person I think I've ever met," she says, "so getting to scream and yell at him all day was a dream come true."
LA General

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