Kanye West is about to explode onto the music scene once again, this time with his upcoming sixth studio album and the followup to his critically acclaimed 2011 release My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Over the past few months ‘Ye has been working hard on the album at an undisclosed recording studio in Paris, France. It was only until very recently that the rapper resurfaced with new material. His most public debut of two brand new tracks came last night when he performed “New Slaves” and “Black Skinhead” on Saturday Night Live. The album titled Yeezus has an overall dark tone according to those few who’ve heard samples from it already, and that description is immediately apparent upon hearing the new tracks. ‘Ye embodies a form of rage with distinct political flair here, a quality fans of the genre would typically attribute to Lupe Fiasco. See for yourself in the SNL performances embedded after the break.
A day before his visit to Studio 8H, Kanye tweeted a link to his website that provided fans with a map of highlighted cities around the world; 66 buildings located in cities like New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Berlin were specially marked for fans to flock to to get a first listen of ‘Ye’s new sound. A giant image of Kanye’s face was projected onto these buildings, looping the fresh track “New Slaves.” Though it hasn’t been confirmed, sources say Frank Ocean is featured singing towards the end of the track. See how the unique fan experience went down in a clip posted after the break.
Yeezus is expected to drop June 18. For a sneak peek at the “golden” album artwork, you know where to look. (Click here for more…)
A trio of SNL veterans may be departing Studio 8H this weekend when the late-night sketch comedy show closes its 38th season. One is definitely confirmed to make an exit and that’s Bill Hader. The talented comedian-actor joined the cast of SNL as a featured player in 2005 and a year later he became a main member of the cast. After eights years of so many laughs (his wildly outrageous Weekend Update character Stefon will forever remain in our hearts) Hader is ready to leave his game-show host personas and impressive impersonations (James Carville and Clint Eastwood come to mind) behind.
“It was a hard decision, but it has to happen at some point,” Hader told The New York Times. “It got to a point where I said, ‘Maybe it’s just time to go.’ ”
This Saturday’s episode will be Hader’s last. But what about Jason Sudeikis, who has been fiddling with the idea of leaving the show since last year, and Fred Armisen, a 10-year vet? A New York Post article claims they will be joining Hader on the outs, but the report has not been confirmed by the actors or SNL boss Lorne Michaels.
Michaels praised Hader’s tenure with the Times. “He was so completely committed to the art of it, and enough a student of it, that there’s something strikingly original. He didn’t explode onto the air, but gradually he found his voice, and that became a huge thing.” He also commented on the rumors involving Sudeikis and Armisen. “I think they’re making their decisions, and we’ll know soon enough. I’ve said what I wanted to say to both. You never keep anybody there who doesn’t want to be there, and there is a right time to leave, but it’s more about where they are in their lives.”
Bill is one of the best talents to grace 30 Rock’s Studio 8H and he will sorely be missed next season. And if Fred and Jason leave too, next year one will be one of transition for the long-running sketch show. Also departing in early 2014 is Seth Meyers who is leaving the Weekend Update desk to take over NBC’s Late Night when Jimmy Fallon moves to The Tonight Show.
Last month it was announced that Jay Leno is going to re-retire as host of The Tonight Show in the spring 2014. His successor, Jimmy Fallon. With Fallon leaving his Late Night post, rumors began to swirl as to who would take over that soon-to-be vacant position. All signs pointed to SNL cast member, head writer, and anchor of Weekend Update Seth Meyers. The signs pointed the right direction.
Today NBC made it official that Seth Meyers, who has spent twelve seasons with SNL (eight as head writer, seven as Weekend Update anchor), will become the next host of Late Night after Jimmy Fallon transitions to The Tonight Show. Lorne Michaels will executive produce Late Night with Seth Meyers, along with The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and Saturday Night Live. Michael Shoemaker will remain with Late Night as a producer.
“We think Seth is one of the brightest, most insightful comedy writers and performers of his generation,” said NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt. “His years at SNL‘s Weekend Update desk, not to mention being head writer of the show for many seasons, helped him hone a topical brand of comedy that is perfect for the Late Night franchise. We couldn’t be happier that Seth and Jimmy Fallon will be continuing their careers at NBC after growing up in this network’s late night legacy.”
Added Meyers, “I only have to work for Lorne for five more years before I pay him back for the time I totaled his car. 12:30 on NBC has long been incredible real estate. I hope I can do it justice.”
Both Meyers and Fallon made the successful transition from the SNL Weekend Update desk to a late night host; so now the big question remains: who will replace Myers as Weekend Update anchor? Make sure to tune into SNL next Saturday (with host Ben Affleck and musical guest Kanye West) to watch what may very well be Meyers’ final go at the desk.
Andy Samberg made a surprise return to Saturday Night Live last weekend, and he brought with him his Lonely Island pals. Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer teamed up with host Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and NBC’s The Voice and musical guest and up-and-coming rapper Kendrick Lamar to cook up a new music video called “YOLO.” It’s some of their best work yet. Watch it here. And like most of TLI’s clips you’ll have it on repeat in no time.
It was only a matter of time before Saturday Night Live produced a sketch parodying the uber-popular Showtime series Homeland. Anne Hathaway proved that she’s got what it takes to over-exaggerate Claire Danes’ “crazy” Carrie Matheson, Bill Hader can add yet another spot-on impersonation to his list with his subtle portrayal of Mandy Patinkin’s Saul Berenson, and Taran Killam has the look and just the right sized mouth to pull off a believable Nicholas Brody; Kenan served as David Estes and Nasim popped in at the end for a brief but effective poke at Brody’s annoying daughter Dana. From the re-creation of the opening credits sequence to Carrie’s obsession with corkboards and her quivering chin, SNL did a stand-up job parodying the show that’s on everyone’s DVRs. Though they had the opportunity to do so much more with it (where was Saul’s ruler and peanut butter…anyone?), it’s an instant classic in my book.
As we inch ever so close to the 38th season premiere of Saturday Night Live, it’s been confirmed that three new featured players will take the place of the departed Kristin Wiig, Andy Samberg, and Abby Elliot. They are Aidy Bryant, Tim Robinson, and Cecily Strong and they all hail from Chicago’s Second City improv comedy club.
In other SNL news, although the most recent reports had Jason Sudeikis eyeing an exit from the late-night NBC show, head honcho Lorne Michaels informs us that the actor will remain on the show “at least until January” so that he can reprise his roles as presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Vice President Joe Biden as we head into election season.
And there’s one more thing: Michaels has shared that featured player Jay Pharoah will be replacing Fred Armisen as President Obama on the show this season. In an interview with the New York Times Michaels said, “Jay has been doing Obama in his act this summer, and Jay is coming into his own. I just thought it might be time to shake it up.”
SNL returns to NBC’s lineup this Saturday night (9/15) at 11:35PM with host Seth MacFarlane and musical guest Frank Ocean.
Though it hasn’t even started and we’re already missing Kristin Wiig and Andy Samberg, the 38th season of NBC’s Saturday Night Live is going to start with an exciting bang. The late night comedy sketch show has tapped Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane to host the upcoming season premiere with musical guest Frank Ocean. A man of many talents, MacFarlane is a great choice to start the season of right and so is Ocean who is hot off his debut release Channel Orange. In the weeks following the September 15 premiere, Studio 8H will be visited by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (promoting Looper, out 9/28) and Mumford & Sons (airing September 22) and Daniel Craig (promoting Skyfall, out November 9) and Muse (airing October 6).
In addition to Wiig and Samberg, it has been confirmed that Abby Elliot will not be returning this season. Jason Sudeikis is still on the fence but all signs point to a no-show.
It was rumored and now it’s true: Andy Samberg has left the building; Studio 8H, that is. Following Kristin Wiig’s emotional exit from Saturday Night Live, fellow castmate Samberg has also decided to call it quits after spending six seasons with the late-night sketch comedy. In an interview with the New York Times, the original of the Digital Short made it official. “It’s an incredibly emotional and strange moment in my life,” said Samberg. “Obviously it’s not a huge shock, but I did officially decide not to come back.” He admits that leaving SNL is “one of the hardest decisions [he has] ever made.” Samberg shared that Wiig gave him insight into her decision to ultimately step away from the show, and this helped him make one. “She kept saying it just feels like it’s her time,” he said. “I connect with that. Something about it just feels like it’s the moment. My contract’s up and I did so much more than I ever thought I would ever even do.”
Though it’s certainly sad to see Samberg go, this does not spell the end for some of his most memorable characters and sketches. When asked if he would be willing to return as a host: “Well, hopefully things will work out well enough that they’ll want me.” And although “Lazy Sunday 2” served as the pitch-perfect closing to his SNL Digital Shorts era, Samberg hopes that he’ll get the opportunity to reunite with his Lonely Island crew to sporadically produce more Shorts for upcoming seasons of the show. “That’s the kind of thing that I really do hope happens,” he said.
Like Wiig, Samberg is leaving SNL to pursue a career in film; he stars in the upcoming Adam Sandler comedy That’s My Boy in theatres June 15. The only other castmember whose contract is up is Jason Sudekis; unless he pulls a Samberg and quietly leaves via an online interview, we might not get an answer until the season 38 premiere credits roll in September.
From “Dick in a Box“ to “Jizz in my Pants“ and “I’m on a Boat“, “I Just Had Sex“, “Motherlover“ and everything before, in between, and after, Andy Samberg helped launch Saturday Night Live into the digital age and contributed to the definition of the viral video. And for that he will always be remembered as one of the most influential cast members to come and go on the show. Now if that’s not high praise, I’m not sure what is.
Last night Kristin Wiig made it official with a curtain call at the end of the season 37 finale. After spending seven wonderful years as a member of the Saturday Night Live cast, Wiig has decided to move on to shift her focus on other projects including film ventures. In her final episode Wiig played some of her most memorable characters including the bizarre small hands freakshow in the “Lawrence Welk” cold opening (with Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm!) and the theatrical Mindy in “The Secret Word” game show sketch. Also brought back was the instant classic “The Californians” for a second round before her departure. (I probably could have done with one more Kathy Lee Gifford impression, Gilly (with Will Forte!), the Target lady, and movie reviewer Aunt Linda); but we’ll always have the archives.) At the very end of the show she “graduated” and received hugs from all her castmates and SNL head honcho Lorne Michaels in a very emotional send off. In case you missed it, you can watch the goodbye after the break.
It was rumored that Andy Samberg and Jason Sudekis would also be leaving this season because their contracts are up, too. In the past two weeks Samberg and his Lonely Island crew celebrated 100 Digital Shorts and brought back SNL alum Chris Parnell for a sequel to their breakout viral rap “Lazy Sunday.” You can watch both of these hysterical clips after the break. For Samberg this feels like a nice send off; Sudekis, however, was featured in only a handful of sketches as of late. Though nothing has been confirmed by NBC yet, don’t be surprised if these two aren’t included in next season’s opening credits. We can hope that Samberg will return every now and then for a Digital Short, and Sudekis should reprise his role as Republican Mitt Romney (especially if he becomes the next POTUS).
For now, farewell Kristen Wiig. The show will go on, but it will never be the same without you. (Click here for more…)
Well that was fast. In under two months Saturday Night Live honcho Lorne Michaels has found a replacement feature player for NBC’s late night sketch comedy show. One Kate McKinnon will be filling the void that Paul Britten left vacant when he rather abruptly left the show in early February. An active member at New York City’s Upright Citizens Brigade theatre since 2008, McKinnon for her time spent playing Fitzwilliam, a young British boy who wishes to be a girl on the LOGO program The Big Gay Sketch Show. She also has experience voicing animated characters on shows like Venture Brothers and Robotomy on Cartoon Network and Ugly Americans on Comedy Central. Interestingly, McKinnon will become SNL‘s first openly gay cast member since Terry Sweeney in 1985. The plan is for McKinnon to make her debut next weekend when Modern Family‘s Sofia Vergara has hosting duties on April 7.
Just when Lorne Michaels was starting to utilize the underused featured player Paul Brittain the comedian decided to part ways with Saturday Night Live. EW scooped that he left the show “effective immediately” as of January 31. A source close to Brittain spilled to EW that “he had the opportunity to pursue other projects, and he and the show parted ways amicably.” And so when you tune into tonight’s new episode of SNL you won’t be surprised when the opening title sequence doesn’t look Brittain freely riding his bike in the Big Apple. But don’t mourn the loss of talent; instead celebrate Brittain’s contributions. After the break you’ll find hilarious installments of his original characters “Sex Ed” and Lord Wyndemere.
At the Television Critics Association press tour Lorne Michaels announced that all of his Saturday Night Live cast from last season will be returning this September. Last year newcomer Jenny Slate was dropped and Taran Killam, Paul Brittain, Vanessa Bayer, and Jay Pharoah joined the funny crew led by current movie stars Kristin Wiig and Jason Sudeikis. Though it hasn’t been made official yet, we can expect the 2010 newbies to remain as featured players and 2009 entrant Nasim Pedrad to fold into the main cast. Though Killam, Brittain, and Pharoah didn’t receive much screen time last season, I’m glad the NBC honcho is giving this bunch another chance to shine in Studio 8H. During their roles sprinkled throughout the season they proved to have potential and I can’t wait to see the new material they tackle this year. Auditions to fill up more featured players spots are happening this month.
In related SNL news, NBC announced that 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin will host the season 37 premiere. This marks the record-breaking 16th time he’s hosted the long-running show. Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) will play host in episode 2.
Saturday Night Live returns September 24 on NBC.
Update: Radiohead and Lady Antebellum have been penned in as the first two musical guests of the season.
The Dudes are back. In anticipation of their second studio album (the followup to the incredible Incredibad), the Dudes of the Lonely Island (Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer) released wickedly hilarious SNL Digital Shorts like “Motherlover,” “Threw It On the Ground,” ”I Just Had Sex,” “Shy Ronnie 2,” “The Creep,” “We’re Back,” and their most recent creation “Jack Sparrow.” You’ll find all of these tracks and more on Turtleneck and Chain, available in stores now. The guest list is insane: Justin Timberlake, Akon, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Michael Bolton, Beck, Snoop Dogg, and Santigold all make memorable appearances.
Two versions of the album exist. The standard version (iTunes) contains 19 tracks. The deluxe version (Amazon/iTunes) packs the 19 songs, adds the bonus track “Reba (Two Worlds Collide) featuring Kenan Thompson,” and nine videos. All but one of the included videos are Digital Short fare, a never-before-seen video for “We’ll Kill U.”
Oh, and there’s one more thing. Should you opt to purchase the album at a local Best Buy make sure you bring this coupon with you. With it for $15.99 you’ll get the CD/DVD package and a super cool and exclusive Lonely Island-branded t-shirt. Or you can use it to get the album itself for a low $7.99.
Now check out a bunch of the album photos in the gallery below, then jump after the break to sing about the adventures of Jack Sparrow with Michael Bolton! It doesn’t get any better than this.
This weekend The Lonely Island (aka The Dudes, comprised of Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer) premiered the first single off their upcoming (rap) comedy album due out in 2011. The SNL Digital Short features vocals from Akon and outrageous cameos from Blake Lively, Jessica Alba, and John McEnroe. Watch the viral hit here and begin anticipating the followup to 2009′s sensation that was (and still is) Incredibad.
Look after the break to watch their “Huge-Ass Announcement”.
Update: The single is now available for purchase on iTunes. And it managed to break the iTunes top ten singles chart; it currently sits at #9.
Excellent! Schwing! Saturday Night Live premieres this Saturday (9/25) at 11:35PM on NBC. Hosted by Amy Poehler with musical guest Katy Perry.
“F–k SNL and the whole cast; Tell ‘em Yeezy said they can kiss my whole ass.” So much for that “Power” verse. Kanye West is slated to make a triumphant return to Saturday Night Live on October 2; Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston will serve as host. Perhaps ‘Ye will use this time in the spotlight to formally introduce his next single “All of the Lights”? Whatever goes down, you can expect one helleva performance because Kanye is on his game right now.
With the unfortunate news of Will Forte’s departure still wrecking havoc in my mind, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels has decided to move forward and hand pick four new cast members for the late-night sketch comedy show. But before he could that, someone had to be let loose. And that someone is Jenny “I said the F-word during my first SNL sketch” Slate. In my opinion she really didn’t bring much to the table in terms of raw comedic talent, so I am feeling good about her leaving.
Moving on to the cast additions, Michaels is bringing on Taran Killam, Paul Brittain, Vanessa Bayer, and Jay Pharoah. If you don’t recognize these names, you’re not alone. The only reason I know Killam is because, um, I remember him as Spalding from Nickelodeon’s The Amanda Show (1999-2002). He’s also been featured in How I Met Your Mother, MadTV, and Wild ‘N Out. The only footage of Vanessa Bayer I could find online is this Blue Shield of California commercial on YouTube featuring just her head. Jay Pharoah, on the other hand, can be seen doing all sorts of celebrity impressions on YouTube. This eight minute “50 impressions” video includes some impressive parodies of Eddie Murphy, Chris Tucker, Christopher Walken, and Owen Wilson. This guy’s got major potential. Look out for him and the other three newbies when SNL premieres later this month.
Speaking of the premiere, we’ve got our first host! It’s SNL alum and star of NBC’s Parks and Recreation Amy Poehler. She will kick of SNL’s 36th season premiere on September 25 with musical guest Katy Perry.
“After eight great seasons, Will [Forte] has made the decision to move on from SNL to pursue new opportunities. He is eternally grateful to [executive producer] Lorne [Michaels] and all of the incredible people he worked with over the years.”
That statement was released last Thursday when it was made official that one of Saturday Night Live‘s brightest cast members is leaving the show prior to the upcoming 36th season. Forte is best known for his laugh-out-loud characters like MacGruber, The Falconer, Mr. Dillon (in the Gilly sketches), politician Tim Calhoun, and his collaborations with Jason Sudekis as Greg Stink (in the ESPN Classic sketches) and a member of the reverse Bon Jovi band, Jon Bovi. He was even lucky enough to star in the very first SNL Digital Short, “Lettuce“, alongside Andy Samberg. Out of all his fantastic performances, there are three that stick out in memory. They are “Close Talkers” with Steve Martin and “Grapes” with Ashton Kutcher and Andy Samberg, and his rendition of George W. Bush. They are all embedded after the break.
I am glad that Forte is leaving the show on his own terms to go out and pursue other opportunities. We all know he star in an action-packed movie (MacGruber) and he has the comedic acting chops to continue to make us laugh no matter where he ends up. I have no doubt he’ll make his way back to SNL in a guest spot at some point. And if you’re a Parks and Recreation fan, you can look forward to an upcoming season 3 episode featuring Forte! Happy trails, Will, and thanks for the laughs.
Bill Hader & company do a fantastic job at poking fun at the world’s most incredulous commercial for “weights.” SNL is a little late to the game with this one, but at least they got it right. Oh, it’s real.
The Loney Island is back with their latest music video off their debut album Incredibad. “Boombox” adds to a growing list of SNL Digital Shorts that have been made featuing songs off the album; they include ”Lazy Sunday,” “Dick in a Box,” “Natalie’s Rap,” ”We Like Sportz,” ”Ras Trent,” “Space Olympics,” ”Jizz In My Pants,” “I’m On a Boat,” and “Like a Boss.” The Dudes (Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer & Jorma Taccone) have made another hilarious video for another great song. “Boombox” features vocals from The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas and is directed by Kiv. Having listened to it many times, this video totally lived up to my imagination.