At the will-call table outside the taping of the James Franco roast, I'm handed a manila envelope with my name and affiliation written on it in Sharpie. Inside that envelope, there's a smaller black envelope, and inside the black envelope there's a thicker envelope of glossy white card stock, held together with tabs, like the little document pouch that comes with a new iPhone. The word FRANCO has been die-cut into the top flap, with scorched edges, as if from a brand or a wood-burning kit. Inside this envelope, there is the actual ticket to the James Franco roast, and a pass to the after-party on a little chain, and underneath that, printed on the inside of the last envelope, there is a picture of James Franco making a sexy face. He has a little mustache in the picture. It's kind of the first James Franco joke of the night. Although I guess the truly Francoesque envelope would be a series of envelopes within envelopes within envelopes. Each one would be (deceptively) transparent, but no matter how many you opened, there would always be another layer between you and James Franco and his little mustache.
After I finished taking my SNL notes but before I sat down to write this recap, I decided to take the temperature on Justin Timberlake’s fifth ride on the host pony and check in with some of the other media responses to last weekend’s show. Despite theglowingtweets and my own enjoyment of this episode, some of the reviews were lukewarmat best.
Maybe people have reached the JT hype-saturation point? That’s understandable. I think that one of the reasons I loved this episode was the fact that Timberlake is the kind of performer you don’t have to worry about. As is the case with many vets, but particularly one who’s still in the golden career bubble of relevancy, you’re able to put aside any concerns about sweat stains, stutter fumbles, and any kind of projected post-one-a.m. anxiety attack that you imagine he or she will experience when thinking back on a particularly bad sketch. You can relax.
You can't have her, Jack. Jennifer Lawrence is the world's girlfriend now. She is the rarest, most charming butterfly and can never be pinned onto a piece of decorative corkboard and imprisoned in a frame. Cradle her essence in your hands and then set her free, laughing and dancing against the backdrop of beautiful nimbus clouds in the skies of freedom. Watch the rain tickle the antennae of her many talents, Instagram her wings glittering in the dark night of awards-show disappointments and awful missteps. Don't ever make her a "poor Oscar spouse." Hope. Freedom. Change. Obama. Lawrence. Jennifer. Love. That's a poem, and it's also what I'm going to name my future children. I plan to have at least 15, so I'm going to look ahead to next year's Academy Awards for more ideas. Foxcatcher would make a really beautiful name for a little girl. Definite prom queen potential.
Hey, remember that cop comedy Andy Samberg is doing? The one that's coming to us on Fox? From the mighty brains of Parks and Recreation’s executive producers Mike Schur and Dan Goor? Well, now it's also got Andre Braugher, who's the kind of guy you could wake up in the middle of the night, blindfold, drop in a burlap sack, drive to an abandoned field, make act alongside only animatronic Chuck E. Cheese creatures, and still get a pitch-perfect "tough cop oozing professionalism" performance out of. Which means all signs here point to "slay."
The last time we checked in on Andy Samberg he'd just signed up for a low-risk, short-run BBC show called Cuckoo, and his Adam Sandler movie hadn't yet bombed. Meaning: It wasn't really clear yet how his post-SNL run was shaping up. These days, though, the picture is a bit clearer — and things are looking good! Deadline reports that Samberg has been cast in an untitled Fox comedy pilot from Mike Schur and Dan Goor, the Parks and Recreation executive producer duo. He'll play the lead detective of a diverse precinct on the edge of New York City (but, like, in a comical fashion, and not in a Darkness on the Edge of Town fashion?). This seems like a real juicy situation for Samberg: The Parks and Rec pedigree speaks for itself, but the clout of Fox — which, with New Girl and The Mindy Project, has a recent track record of supporting sharp comedies — means the show has true (as in, not in the NBC cult-style) hit potential.
After a seven-year run on SNL, Andy Samberg is now officially a free agent, and he's already got his first big post-show-era project lined up: This Friday's archetypal Sandler-ian comedy That's My Boy, which, depending on how good a mood I happen to be in, either looks like it'll be low-expectations sneak-hilarious or the worst thing of all time. But now there's another, lower-stakes move in the works for our dude: BBC Three has announced a six-episode series called Cuckoo that will star Samberg as the title character and will hit the air later this year.
The writing was on the wall, but like invisible ink, you can’t really read the writing until it’s illuminated under the special black-light glow of a publicist’s confirmation. And so we learned, on Friday, that Andy Samberg was officially on Lazy Saturday Night Leave, moving on to the Sandlier pastures of the upcoming Adam Sandler vehicle That’s My Boy, which also, bizarrely, features Vanilla Ice and James Caan (and, less bizarrely, Rachel Dratch and Will Forte). Comparing his seven-year tenure at SNL to a war, and the aftermath to being (“nicely”) shell-shocked, comedian Septimus Smith joked that he will now be peddling his wares on the straight-to-YouTube circuit. See you in the hall of fame, comrade.
Last weekend, the topic of the short-lived but supposedly really great (11 Emmy nominations! Conversational endorsements!) Buffalo Bill came up. I haven’t seen Buffalo Bill, and there was no time to fix that between when it drifted across the table of La Scala salads and when I hopped Griffith Park and took it to the 5 freeway where I drove “forever,” but there were only 26 episodes, so I’ll probably get around to it next weekend when I have no SNL episode to recap for you. Apparently, canceling Buffalo Bill was Brandon Tartikoff’s biggest professional regret: It showed up at the party, dazzled everybody, ate some appetizers, and breezed out the door in a cloud of little question marks asking what could have been. The gripe about Saturday Night Live is usually just the opposite — a once-beloved sketch stops by for a martini, then leaves and comes back five minutes later, just real quick, to grab its coat. Door closes, everyone breathes a sigh of relief. But wait! Then it stumbles back inside, apologizing, because it just wanted to tell you one more thing that it forgot to mention earlier. You shoo it away. At midnight it returns because it wants to know if anybody’s got any cocaine. At two in the morning it wants to sleep on your sofa, and it keeps repeating the same story, except now it’s drooling and smells like the subway and you just want to beam it to the moon and import some other entertaining alien in its place. Still, a few weeks after you’ve Febrezed its odor off of your futon, you remember it with fond nostalgia (well, not always). The sketches and cast members of every golden period of SNL have to get dumped into the Lorne Michaels recycling bin eventually, but when the door shuts for good there’s a creepy feeling of uncertainty that hangs in the air, empty Solo cups of butts and booze.
Nobody panic, but SNL might be getting rocked this offseason. According to US Weekly — the most trusted name in tabloid journalism — Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg, and Jason Sudeikis are all flying the coop.
Deadline is reporting that Ryan Murphy has netted a deal with Sony Pictures for a music comedy called One Hit Wonders. And your one-hit wonders are — Reese Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz, and Gwyneth Paltrow! They'd all play pop stars who had one big song in the '90s before fading away; now, in the harsh light of day, they decide to form a super group and to make their return. Also: Andy Samberg and the Lonely Island will be writing the songs. Also: Beyoncé is involved somehow (best guess: she'll play the mean-girl reigning pop star who is at first dismissive, but then ultimately supportive in a major way, of the plucky trio's chances of redemption. A backstage awards show group hug is not out of the question here). Murphy will write the script with his Glee team, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, and is hoping to direct after he's done with the long-gestating adaptation of Larry Kramer's AIDS crisis play The Normal Heart.
Mindy Kaling's great "Flick Chicks" piece in this week's New Yorker (an excerpt from her forthcoming book) attacked common female-character cliches in romantic comedies (Sassy Best Friend, Love-Starved Type A, Sexy Klutz, etc.) But what of the menfolk and their tropes? Every romantic comedy needs a dude willing to do what women do in most movies: Stand around and wait for the main character to take some action and make all the crucial decisions that will ultimately determine their fate.
Like a femme High Fidelity, What's Your Number? takes the traditional romantic comedy suitor and multiplies him by thirteen. The whole movie seems like it might just be a ruse to find the next big male romantic-comedy lead. We divvied up the What's Your Number? harem of actors and assessed their chances at romantic comedy guydom. Since we can't cast Ryan Gosling in everything all the time, there will have to be some alternates.