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At some point I'll do a defense of Chevy Chase post...

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because I think he's a brilliant, brilliant comedian.

But in the meantime watch the greatest sketch in SNL history.

Kids' Show... Kids Show... Change The Channel For Kids

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There's a great piece in Salon about Wonder Showzen, the brilliant and bizarre puppets-and-children show on MTV2. Season two will apparently feature the "Beat Kids" child reporters encouraging people at ground zero to share their 9/11 memories... while wearing Groucho masks.

More on Wonder Showzen: When Good Shows Happen to Bad People

Rakim Allah on XXL.com

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XXL magazine, the occaisionally good hip-hop rag, has been blogging of late, and they let go a doozy today, an exclusive interview with Rakim. It's pretty interesting, with more on the way. Rakim is one of the only 80s rappers whose style still sounds fresh, though it no longer sounds revolutionary, perhaps because almost every rapper since the early 90s has copped it. This week's show featured two of his classic tracks, "I Ain't No Joke" (an early classic) and "Casualties of War," a classic from the early 90s.

Hard Truth Soldiers

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In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Paris was best known as "The Black Panther of Hip-Hop," a college-educated West Coast version of Public Enemy's Chuck D. He kickstarted some serious controversy when he tried to release an album called "Bush Killa," with a picture of him hiding in the bushes (get it?) of the White House lawn with a big f'ing gun.

In the mid-90s, he retired from the rap game and became (what else?) a capitalist. He made some bank as a stockbroker and real estate investor, then returned to hip-hop with "Sonic Jihad" a couple years ago. That album was really spectacular, with Paris' G-Funk meets Bomb Squad production, heavy on hooks, melody, and big big bass, and his booming voice doing the Chuck D thing with some thought-provoking revolutionary lyrics.

Now personally, I don't think that the President should be killed, or that he planned 9/11 (both of which are among the more... uh... exciting ideas he presents on that album), but I do think that a lot of what Paris was bringing to light in that record was vitally important. And while the inflammatory cover (which featured a jet headed for the White House) may have obscured the music, the music was exceptionally good.

Paris has been working with Public Enemy, Kam, and dead prez on a new record for the label he runs, Guerrilla Funk, called Hard Truth Soldiers. An interesting review below.

Various Artists: Hard Truth Soldiers Vol. 1 - PopMatters Music Review

Here's a question: to what extent do you feel The Sound of Young America should host artists with strong political messages? I'm not really interested in banning politically-active artists from the show or anything, I'm just worried particularly when they're talking about explicitly political projects. I've generally avoided this in the past, partly because I worry about the inherent bias of my cultural situation and personal political views. I'd love to hear thoughts.

New Sincerity: Chevy Chase as Gerald Ford

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Chevy Chase as Gerald Ford
Official Impression of The New Sincerity

Possible Snakes On A Plane Sequel?

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Arrested Development: New News (Same As the Old News)

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The wonderful Brian Palmer (go visit his great site) comes through with this note from the boss of Television Without Pity, a fan forum website with a lot of cred:

I was coming out of my gym here in Toronto today and downstairs outside the Whole Foods market there's a guy with his French pug talking dog talk with someone. Super cute dog so I go in for a little owner-authorized pet.

The owner? One Jason Bateman.

I introduced myself (he's a super nice guy BTW and his hair is mesmerizing) and we get talking about the site and the show.

Here are the things I remember (and he gave full blessing to post the info as he loves the site and you guys but he's too shy and too cute to post on the boards):

- Mitch loves you guys and it was nice to see people getting the show and enjoying the show especially at times when network directives were "make the show 30% dumber"

- Showtime has picked up the show for 2 years at 12 episodes a year (maybe it was 13) with a third year option

- The ball is in Mitch's court and Jason said Mitch will be making that decision within the next 24-48 hours though I don't know if that means we'll know about it at that time or not

At least things seem to be coming to a head. My fingers are certainly crossed.

Link

Also! Here's some news from the Hollywood Reporter that helps seperate fact from fiction.

Mike White + Molly Shannon = Year of the Dog

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Looks like Molly Shannon and Mike White are teaming up...

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - It's dog days ahead for Molly Shannon.

The former "Saturday Night Live" player is in final negotiations to star in the comedy "Year of the Dog," which marks the directorial debut of actor/writer Mike White ("School of Rock," "The Good Girl").

Shannon will play Peggy, a happy-go-lucky secretary who lives alone with her beloved dog Pencil. But when Pencil unexpectedly dies, Peggy embarks on a journey of transformation. The project has no scheduled start date yet. It is set up at Paramount's specialty arm.

White wrote the screenplay for "Dog" with Shannon in mind. The two met on the short-lived Fox TV series "Cracking Up," which Shannon starred in and White created.

Shannon is in West Virginia shooting "Evan Almighty," where she is playing a real estate agent opposite Steve Carell. She appears in Sofia Coppola's "Marie-Antoinette," which will premiere at Cannes in May.

White's only misstep in a sterling career so far was Cracking Up, which was quite the stinker. That said, Shannon shares White's tone... hilarious, but disquieting. I have high hopes for this thing.

The Office's Greg Daniels

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Greg Daniels is the Executive Producer of The Office on NBC, which is the funniest show on television right now, and in my book, the best sitcom since Seinfeld (really? yeah, I'm pretty sure). There's a very interesting chat with him up on the Washington Post's website.

Greg Daniels: It was hard to adapt this show because the British series is so perfectly executed and tailored to Ricky G, who also co-wrote and co-directed it. The pilot was close to the British series because I adapted it before casting the American actors, and after casting I didn't want to open the whole process up to network notes. Once we got past the pilot though, we came up with new stories and wrote the first six. Then we shot the first six, and after that I edited the first six. It was after they were completed that we learned the most about what was working and how to tailor things more to Steve. By the time the second season started, we had also been blessed by Ricky and Stephen Merchant and the critics and the lovers of the English show, so some of the pressure was off and we could start to play around a little more.

Link

Thanks Jon!

On the Air with Jonathan Katz

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I posted once before about Jonathan Katz doing a faux-call-in show for NPR's Next Big Thing. Transom.org has a really cool behind the scenes look at the making of those segments, which features lots of audio from them. Man, is this stuff great.

Jonathan Katz and H. Jon Benjamin - Immortality of the Brain

Jonathan Katz and Al Franken - Pope Calling Collect

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