To a generation, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg will forever be linked. The trio of comedy talents hosted the groundbreaking "Comic Relief" specials from 1986 to 2006. Over those two decades all three stars had major ups, major downs and ended up hosting the Academy Awards (OK, technically Williams hosted the Oscar show four days before the first "Relief," but it had been announced). And when one hosted you could almost guarantee one of the remaining two would appear as a presenter on the show with a wave or a kiss back to his or her good friend.
Latest Blog Posts
By this point, I would have been entirely unsurprised if "The Expendables 3" was somewhat lazy, unfocused, and entirely too pleased with itself. That is, after all, the way the series works. The second film may have improved on the first film, but that didn't make it a "good" movie suddenly. It was just an agreeably not-good movie. And by now, I figured that was what I would expect any time they squeezed out another one of these.
And, to be clear, I think this new chapter in the series also has some weird issues, but it does indeed feel like each time they make one of these, they get closer to getting it right. I'm impressed that this is the direction they're heading, instead of just getting lazier and more diluted. None of the films have the same tone, and none of them really feel like part of a series. Instead, each film has sort of reinvented the idea of what an "Expendables" film really is.
“Dexter’s” Michael C. Hall is set to return to TV in a Stanley Kubrick miniseries
Hall is set to play one of America’s most successful bank robbers in “God Fearing Man,” an unproduced play from Stanley Kubrick that is being shopped to various networks.
Louis CK tweets goodbye to “Louie” guest-star Robin Williams
"Goodbye pal. Thanks for everything,” Louis CK tweeted this morning of Williams, who appeared in a 2012 “Louie” episode that involved visiting a cemetery.
TBS and MTV will share “New Girl” reruns
The Zooey Deschanel comedy will debut in syndication in fall 2015.
Shark Week accused of lying to scientists to get them to appear in documentaries
One scientist, Jonathan Davis, says he was hoodwinked into giving certain answers in a certain way. He says he had no idea he’d appear in a documentary called “Voodoo Sharks.” PLUS: Shark Week is making more things up.
“Running Wild with Bear Grylls” hits a high with Channing Tatum
The NBC reality show is the top new summer unscripted series.
Chord Overstreet expects to return for all of “Glee’s” final episodes
"I assume I will be in all of the episodes,” he says.
“Royal Pains” casts “That ‘70s Show’s’ Danny Masterson as Kyle Howard’s brother
Howard is returning after first appear in Season 3.
Robin Williams was asked on “Actor’s Studio” what he hoped heaven would look like
“If heaven exists, to know that there’s laughter, that would be a great thing,” he told James Lipton. “Just to hear God go, ‘Two Jews walk into a bar…’” PLUS: Norm Macdonald remembers his 1st Letterman appearance with “Jewish tailor” Robin Williams, Fox News’ Shepard Smith apologizes for calling Williams’ death “cowardly,” Fox News used a fake “Mrs. Doubtfire” in its coverage, ABC News apologizes for using live helicopter footage of Williams’ home, and TMZ reports that Williams left no note behind.
Fast National ratings for Monday, August 11, 2014.
With "MasterChef" and "Under the Dome" leading the way, FOX won Monday night among young viewers, while CBS was victorious overall.
While "American Ninja Warrior" was down for a recap episode, Monday night saw positive results for "Running Wild with Bear Grylls," "Mistresses" and The CW's "Whose Line Is It Anyway."
The CW notes it was actually the network's best Monday 8 p.m. hour since 2010.
FOX's "Hotel Hell" was down week-to-week and "MasterChef" also dropped among young viewers.
On to the numbers...
Sinead O’Connor has always courted controversy, but in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the scandal was often accompanied by music so meaningful and resonant that it remained in the forefront (until the 1992 Pope/ “SNL” incident)
Not so in recent years. For the last five years or so, she was best known for getting into an online feud with Miley Cyrus, asking for help with her love life on line and, generally, going from eccentric to seeming distressingly mentally ill.
What a relief to listen to “I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss,” out today, and hear occasional glimpses of the unflinching brilliance from her earlier work that made her so compelling.
On first single, the upbeat, propulsive “Take Me To Church,” she begs to be taken to church, “but not the ones that hurt,” as she confesses “I’ve done so many bad things.” Ultimately, she concludes “I am the only one I should adore.” It’s a mantra and message repeated through the album.
Throughout “Bossy,” she takes on personas of different women and their relationships with their lovers, their gods, their demons and, most indelibly, themselves. They are either the one doing the snake charming, such as on wily, swaying “Kisses Like Mine,” where she declares she’s the femme fatale men call in after the divorce to get their mojo back, or the one being tricked by love, as on “The Voice of My Doctor.”
O’Connor has always infused her music with a carnality—mixed the sacred with the profane—and that duality is alive and well on “Bossy.” On “Kisses Like Mine,” she declares her kisses make grown men weak, even though she’s not the keeping kind. On “The Vishnu Room,” the spiritual and sensuality are interchangeable.
Her voice is still piercing and haunting and instantly recognizable. It may not have the scalpel-like fragility that it once had on songs like 1989’s “Mandinka,” but now there’s a harsh edge that only time and experience can bring, such as on aforementioned, guitar-driven “The Voice Of My Doctor,” a vitriolic tale of twisted love, or on “Where Have You Been,” one of the album’s most inviting tracks, when she asks why her lover’s eyes have gone black and what does he want from her.
Musically, O’Connor still enjoys a good loop and she has unerring good taste to never go overboard on the electronics so that a tune loses its humanity. As she has for much of her career, she manages to artfully incorporate organic and electronic instrumentation artfully, especially on “James Brown,” a fetching, toe-tapping track featuring legendary Nigerian artist Fela Kuti’s son, Seun Kuti, on saxophone.
The emotional pivot of the album is “Harbour,” a spindly ballad about a woman who has been let down by every man she’s ever met as she goes from one father figure to the next. About half-way in, the song turns to a drum-filled, electronic guitar miasma that builds like a cyclone picking up speed. It’s messy and ugly, but certainly hits its target and provides a catharsis of sorts.
She closes the album with “Streetcars.” Accompanied only by an occasional piano, O’Connor declares she will be the love she wants to see in the world as she realizes it will never be found above her or under her. She asks if she were dying, who would she want to see, and remembers a time when all she wanted was for her husband to lie over her and keep her safe. Her voice is strong, even when she reduces it to a whisper. If the rest of the album hasn’t captured you yet, this bravura, honest, vulnerable track will grab hold and won’t let go long after you’ve finished listening to “Body.”
Robin Williams mourned by his “Crazy Ones” family
The talent was legendary. But equally inspiring, perhaps more so, was his kindness and humanity,” David E. Kelley said in a statement. “A gentle soul who touched us all. A very special man, and our hearts are broken.” Meanwhile, Sarah Michelle Gellar said "my life is a better place because I knew Robin Williams. To my children he was Uncle Robin, to everyone he worked with, he was the best boss anyone had ever known, and to me he was not just an inspiration but he was the Father I had always dreamed of having.” PLUS: U.S. Secretary of Defense pays tribute, Questlove recalls Robin Williams as an expert on The Roots, watch Williams’ 1986 “60 Minutes” profile, and Williams examined fame on “Mork and Mindy” in an episode titled "Mork Meets Robin Williams."
Comedy Central renews “@midnight”
Chris Hardwick’s late-night pop-culture show will return for a 40-week run in 2015.
Jimmy Fallon to unveil a “House of Cards” spoof
“House of Cue Cards” debuts on Tuesday's "Tonight Show."
She's a two-time Academy Award nominee who has delivered impressive performances in films such as "The Tree of Life," "The Help," "Take Shelter," "The Debt," "Zero Dark Thirty," "Mama" and the upcoming "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby." She's been called the next Cate Blanchett or Meryl Streep (take your pick). Yes, Jessica Chastain is well on her way to earning the title of America's finest actress, and it turns out we may have Robin Williams to thank for her.
Conan O’Brien learned of Robin Williams’ death while finishing taping tonight's show
An emotional Conan, one of the few late-night hosts not on vacation this week, brought back out guest Will Arnett to pay tribute at the end of his show to pay tribute to Williams.
When I first became aware of Jake Johnson's work, it was in the film "Paper Heart," and it's a very canny performance, an interesting one to see as somebody's first work. In the film, directed by Nicholas Jasenovec, Johnson played Nicholas Jasenovec, the director of a documentary about Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera falling in love. I saw it first at Sundance, then ended up moderating a Comic-Con panel for the film with Johnson, Cera, Yi, and Jasenovec all participating. Over the course of those encounters that year, I saw a good deal of Johnson, and he invariably made me laugh like an idiot at least once per conversation.
"New Girl" appears to have been the thing that finally opened the door for Johnson in terms of audiences understanding him and seeing him showcased properly. In the pilot, he was paired with Damon Wayans Jr. and Max Greenfield as his two roommates, but Wayans ended up on another show, with Lamorne Morris stepping in as a new character.
"Let's Be Cops" allowed Wayans and Johnson to work together again, and when we sat down to talk about the movie, two things were clear. First, Johnson can still make me laugh like an idiot, and second, Wayans and Johnson have very easy chemistry, something that is essential when making a comedy that hinges almost entirely on the relationship between the two leads.
Rob Riggle was also part of the conversation, which is pretty much always a good thing. Riggle's one of the most striking comedy performers working right now, and beyond that, a really good guy who has always been an easy interview. I really like where they go with his role in "Let's Be Cops," and we talked a bit about that.
Overall, this movie isn't brain surgery. It's a broad comedy that walks a very careful line in terms of how far they push some of the ideas in the movie, and we talked about that first. I think Johnson and Wayans and Riggle make it clear that they considered how far was too far, and you'll get a chance to see if you think they got it right this weekend.
"Let's Be Cops" is in theaters everywhere on Friday.
Last summer, at a press conference to promote what would turn out to be the final TV series of his career, CBS' "The Crazy Ones," Robin Williams was asked what it was like to spend decades walking into rooms where everyone expected him to be instantly, wickedly funny.
Appreciating Robin Williams: Mork from Ork taught kids that weirdness was OK
“Like any American child, I loved the Fonz,” says James Poniewozik, a child of the ‘70s. "But the Fonz was a grownup, with his motorcycles and dates with triplets. Mork, who soon got his spinoff in 1978, was something else: an adult, and a kid, and a magical being. He was a grown man who looked at our world with the delighted surprise of a baby. The Fonz was cool. Mork was weird — popping-out-of-an-egg, rainbow-suspenders, scat-riffing-about-the Shah of Iran weird. And he communicated an idea that I hadn’t seen in non-cartoon pop culture before then: that weirdness was OK. No, it was great. It was energy. It opened up worlds."
—Henry Winkler recalls Williams’ “Happy Days” debut
—Williams changed TV forever: "I have always believed that television didn't create Robin Williams as much as Williams recreated television comedy"
—Here is Sarah Michelle Gellar’s tribute to her “Crazy Ones” co-star
—Williams’ most memorable TV moments, from “The Richard Pryor Show” to “Mork and Mindy”
—Listen to Marc Maron’s emotional tribute -- and his revealing 2010 interview with Williams
—Read the 1978 TV Guide profile that introduced America to Williams
—Pam Dawber is "completely and totally devastated”
—Mindy Kaling, named after “Mork and Mindy,” says: He meant so much, to so many, so far away"
—“Chaos in Television”: See some of Robin Williams’ magazine covers
—Relive Robin Williams on “Sesame Street” from 2012
—Read Williams’ Reddit Ask Me Anything from Sept. 25, 2013
—Read The NY Times’ full obituary on Williams
—"Robin Williams' scene on 'Louie' was an incredible joke of the darkest kind"
—Jay Leno has known Williams from their early days in standup: "It's a very sad day"
—Read President Obama’s tribute: “He arrived in our lives as an alien…"
—3 hilarious Robin Williams standup specials that showcase his genius
—Watch his 1st appearance on Johnny Carson
—I was lucky enough to spend a few moments with Robin Williams 2 days after he won his Oscar