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Scott Aukerman & Patton Oswalt developing sitcom for Fox

Feb 19, 2015

Patton Oswalt
Patton Oswalt is Developing a New Fox Sitcom

The quest to bring the very funny Patton Oswalt back to network TV continues: Vulture hears that Fox is developing a half-hour single-camera comedy series as a showcase for Oswalt's on- and off-camera skills. Oswalt has teamed with former Mr. Show writer Scott Aukerman to write and executive produce a comedy series in which Oswalt would star as a man whose wife of 20 years splits, forcing him to re-enter the dating world and fend for himself. Oswalt and Aukerman have collaborated before, with Oswalt regularly appearing at Comedy Death-Ray, the L.A. alternative comedy showcase (and podcast!) curated by Aukerman. The duo's TV project, which is being produced by 20th Century Fox TV and American Work's Scot Armstrong and Ravi Nandan, comes three years after Oswalt ended his run on King of Queens, and months after NBC and Lorne Michaels hired (and then un-hired) Oswalt to star opposite Matthew Broderick in the ultimately failed comedy pilot Beach Lane.
LA General

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The Sit Down and Shut Up NYPD Variety Hour Reviewed on

Feb 19, 2015

The Sit Down and Shut Up NYPD Variety Hour @ UCBT-NY - 10.22.10

The Sit Down and Shut Up NYPD Variety Hour is 30 minutes of well-crafted, pun-laden cop humor involving three NYPD police officers (Joey, Patty and Davey) trying their hands at comedy, proudly exclaiming in the show's opening number: 'We're cops, hilarious cops!' Thankfully, they are revealed to be so much more.

Writers Adam Levy, Conor Izzet and Darren Nelson, all former sketch students at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, have crafted a slick combination of comedy and tragedy, offering a sharp, refreshing perspective on what could have been nothing more than cliched retread of standard vaudeville.

Joey, played by Dan Black, is a stereotypical Brooklynite who makes no bones about the fact that he views his wife Sheila and her best friend Tanya (played by Kate Riley and Nicole Shabtai) as over-the-top, gum-smacking loudmouths. His fiery repartee with the two women borrows from a tradition of blue-collar sitcom characters who hate their wives yet are unable, for whatever personal flaws, to leave them. The constant swing between high-status torturer and low-status whipping boy intimates a modern kindred with TV-culture icons Archie Bunker and Al Bundy, ultimately creating an immediate likability that saves the character from itself. The way Black approaches Joey, with constant winks and nods to the audience, allows the character to become the joke when so many of the jokes he tells are inevitably humorless.

Beth Appel plays Patty, the lone female officer desperate to shed her butch affectation by revealing a series of romantic exploits with fellow officers. Though this character is funny and has her moments to shine, she is easily the weakest of the three officers and her presence sometimes feels shoehorned. I suspect this has more to do with the difficulty male writers have with convincingly writing a female voice. After all, her character's depth is explored via sexuality. Despite that handicap, Patty is never reduced to mere totem through which male characters learn and evolve; an accomplishment owing more to Appel's subtle performance and natural charm than the material itself.

Shaun Diston's Davey, an African-American rookie cop who's hazed by Joey and lusted after by Patty, delivers one of the more memorable moments of the night -- a delightfully heartwarming solo spinning anew the relationship between cop and donut. Davey earnestly laments being the 'only chocolate donut in the box' whose heart has a "donut hole" in it. It's a clever song that gets laughs, but it's also here where the soul of 'The Sit Down and Shut Up NYPD Variety Hour' truly emerges.

It's not about cops poking fun at their loveless marriage, hopeless romanticizing or ignominious rank. 'The Sit Down and Shut Up NYPD Variety Hour' is about pathetic characters making pathetic attempts at escaping the lives they're doomed to remain in. In this way, above all, the writers and cast successfully tap into the true spirit of the American narrative: chasing down a dream that will never be arrested.

* THE PLUG: Don't miss 'The Sit Down and Shut Up Variety Hour,' happening FRI, NOV 19 @ 7:30PM and MON, NOV 29 @ 9:30PM at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.
Get tickets here

Lucas Hazlett is a comedy geek who improvises with anyone he can. He can be seen performing in the monthly variety show "The Soul Glo Project" at The UCBT-NY and with Herschel SAT, NOV 6 @ 11PM at the Peoples Improv Theater.
NY Shows

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ABC wins war for blog-based comedy 'Dealbreaker'

Feb 19, 2015

ABC Wins War For Blog-Based Comedy 'Dealbreaker'

American Dad executive producer Nahnatchka Khan is emerging as the comedy star of this buying season with a second half-hour project that sparked heated bidding. A month after Fox won the bidding war for her single-camera family comedy Connected, ABC just landed Khan's relationship comedy Dealbreaker in a similarly competitive situation. Both projects are produced by 20th TV where Khan is under an overall deal. Khan will co-write Dealbreaker, which landed a premium script commitment with penalty from ABC, with American Dad writer Laura McCreary. It is based on the blog by comics Dave Horwitz and Marisa Pinson and their recent book of the same name. The blog and the book are described as a "hilarious reference guide to the qualities that, when discovered, transform the 'date you hope to go home with' into the 'date you pray never calls again'" and as a catalogue of characteristics that serve as early warning signs of possible relationship discontent. Ted Field and Mike Weber of Radar Pictures, which had optioned the rights to the book, will serve as executive producers on the TV project. Dealbreaker is not related in any way to Dealbreakers, the fake dating-advice talk show on NBC's 30 Rock that was built around Liz Lemon's catchphrase, "That's a dealbreaker, ladies." It is the latest in a string of comedy projects based on blogs/books/Twitter accounts picked up by the networks in light of the successful launch of CBS' Twitter feed-based comedy series $#*! My Dad Says. CBS is developing 2 more Twitter feed-based comedies for next season, Dear Girls Above Me and Shh... Don't Tell Steve, while ABC is working on a series based on the Awkward Family Photos blog/book. Showtime is developing Boycrazy, a half-hour comedy based on Alexi Wasser's provocative blog, while ABC is developing a comedic drama project based on the blog and the book The Lost Girls. Khan and McCreary are with WME.
LA General

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