According to Variety.com, New Line Cinema has purchased “The Come Up,” an original comedy screenplay pitch from “Sorry to Bother You” co-star Jermaine Fowler. Fowler, who also starred in the CBS series “Superior Donuts,” will star and also serve as executive producer.
The project will also feature Lil Rel Howery (“Get Out,” “Uncle Drew” and the upcoming Fox series “Rel”) and brothers Keith Lucas and Kenneth Lucas as co-stars. The screenplay will be written by Michael Starrbury (“The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete” and “Central Park Five”).
“I am excited to be collaborating with New Line Cinema, Wrigley Pictures and our screenwriter Michael Starburry on ‘The Come Up’ – a project I have been passionate about for years now,” Fowler said in a statement. “Since bringing the concept to them it’s been nothing but synergy and raw excitement. As an actor, it is a dream come true to be working opposite my comedy brothers, Lil Rel Howery and The Lucas Brothers. I am grateful they’ve come on board to tell this hilarious and inspiring story with me.”
YouTube Premium has ordered a comedic sci-fi anthology series from co-creators Jordan Peele and former “Key & Peele” writer Charlie Sanders, Variety has learned.
“Weird City,” as it is called, is set in the not-too-distant future metropolis of Weird. Each episode is an exploration of issues that pertains to present day life, stories that could only be told now through the prism of sci-fi and comedy.
The series is written by Jordan and Sanders and produced by Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions, Sonar Entertainment, Mosaic, and Raskal Productions. Jose Molina will serve as showrunner and executive producer. The six-episode series will debut on YouTube Premium in 2019. Emmy winner Adam Bernsteinis set to direct the first two episodes.
“Writer/creator Charlie Sanders and I collaborated on some ‘Key & Peele’ sketches that took on everything from the ‘Black Republicans’ to ‘Continental Breakfasts’ to ‘Family Matters’,” said Peele. “Now, with YouTube we present a series of comedy driven twisted-ass science fiction stories that take place in a world close to ours but just a little bit off.”
In addition to his film work, Peele currently has multiple TV projects set up across a range of networks and streaming services. He is also an executive producer on the Tracy Morgan-led comedy “The Last OG” at TBS, which just wrapped up its first season. At HBO, he is executive producing “Lovecraft Country,” based on the book of the same name by Matt Ruff.
On the streaming side, in addition to “The Twilight Zone” reboot, Peele has set up the Nazi hunter drama “The Hunt” and a Lorena Bobbitt docu-series at Amazon. The Oscar-winner and his Monkeypaw Productions banner recently signed a first-look television deal with the streaming giant.
Tiffany Haddish has signed a first-look deal with HBO.
The two-year pact with Haddish and her She Ready production company comes on the heels of a breakout year for the comic, who won a New York Film Critics Circle best supporting actress award for her performance in 2017’s “Girls Trip.” Her book “The Last Black Unicorn,” released last month by Gallery Books, was named a New York Times best seller. Her new stand-up special “Tiffany Haddish: She Ready!” premiered on Showtime last year, and Haddish recently announced 2018 dates for her new stand-up tour.
Haddish will next star opposite Tracy Morgan in TBS’ “The Last OG,” which premieres in April on TBS. She will also star alongside Kevin Hart in Universal’s feature film “Night School,” set to premiere in September.
Among her other upcoming projects are starring roles in New Line’s “The Kitchen” and Universal’s “The Temp,” with Haddish set to serve as executive producer on the latter film. The comic also has “Limited Partners” in development at Paramount, and is set to star in and serve as an exec producer on the project. She recently wrapped production on “The Oath” alongside Ike Barinholtz.
Tiffany Haddish’s love for Groupon is sending her to the Super Bowl. The Girls Tripactress went viral last summer, when she told Jimmy Kimmel a story about taking co-star Jada Pinkett-Smith and husband Will Smith on a Groupon swamp tour while filming in New Orleans (watch below).
The hilarious re-telling, which included the revelation that the Smiths had no idea what Groupon was, apparently spread quickly through the ranks of the discount e-commerce site. The company decided that they wanted to work with the actress and offered her a role as spokesperson. Now, she’ll be featured in a series of ads for the company, including its first Super Bowl commercial in seven years, which will air during the fourth quarter of the game.
According to Groupon’s head of marketing for North America, Jon Wild, when the company looked into Haddish, they not only found that the actress is a bonafide fan of its service, but that she is actually in the top 1% of most frequent purchasers. “She knows our product better than a lot of Groupon employees,” Wild said. “She could name what she’d done, the experience she had and how much she’d saved.”
That expertise not only landed Haddish the spokesperson gig, but also effectively made her an honorary employee. Groupon has also given Haddish her own section of the site, given her access to the employee app, and “put some Groupon bucks in her account.”
The winners of the 49th NAACP Image Awards were announced last night during the live broadcast from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium which aired on TV One. The two-hour live special was hosted by Anthony Anderson and opened with a powerful moment in support of #TIMESUP featuring Angela Robinson, Kerry Washington, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Laverne Cox, Lena Waithe and Tracee Ellis Ross.
Ava DuVernay was honored as the NAACP Entertainer of the Year. NAACP Chairman Leon W. Russell presented the NAACP Chairman’s Award to William Lucy, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson presented the NAACP President’s Award to Danny Glover and several members of the Memphis Sanitation “I Am A Man” Workers were also in attendance – they were presented with the NAACP Vanguard Award earlier in the week during a press conference at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN.
Gap Band leader Charlie Wilson was honored with the Music Makes a Difference honor which is bestowed upon an individual within the recording industry who has achieved worthwhile success and inspiration for civic engagement, criminal justice, education, economic opportunity, or criminal justice.
“Girls Trip” triumphed as the winner in the Outstanding Motion Picture category, and picked up a second award for its breakout star Tiffany Haddish in the Supporting Actress category.
Jordan Peele‘s horror opus “Get Out” received three awards, including Best Actor honors for lead Daniel Kaluuya, and Best Director and Best Writing wins for Peele. “Black-ish” took home the award for best television series, while host Anderson won Best Actor, Tracee Ellis Ross repeated as Best Actress and Marsai Martin won for Best Supporting Actress in a TV series.
In recording, Bruno Mars took home awards for Outstanding Male Artist, Outstanding Music Video/Visual Album and Outstanding Song – Traditional for “That’s What I Like.” Kendrick Lamar owned the Outstanding Album, Outstanding Song – Contemporary and Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration categories (the latter with Rihanna).
The winners of the 49th NAACP Image Awards in the non-televised categories were announced during a gala dinner celebration that took place Sunday, January 14, 2018, at the Pasadena Conference Center – the event was hosted by The Real’sAdrienne Houghton, Loni Love, Jeannie Mai and Tamera Mowry-Housley.
The NAACP Image Awards is the premiere multicultural awards show. It celebrates the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film, and also honors individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.
While taking over hosting duties for “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on Tuesday, Tracee Ellis Ross used the platform to speak out about the current wave of sexual harassment allegations surrounding Hollywood.
“I wrote a book,” she said, introducing a bit about “The Handsy Man,” her new children’s book that breaks down the issue of sexual harassment so that grown men can understand.
“It’s kind of like a children’s book for men that is going to make it really simple and bring it back to the basics,” she said before opening the cover and reading a passage.
“There is a guy, with 10 long fingers/ creepy glares and hugs that linger./ If you’re a woman, you’re not a fan./ I speak, of course, of The Handsy Man,” she read.
Ross went on to read all the things that “Handsy Man” may not do. “You may not compliment my butt. You may not call me ‘ho’ or ‘slut.’ And even if you’re stoned or drunk, do not expose me to your junk,” Ross read, showing a drawing of “Handsy Man” exposing himself to a woman.
Other passages included instructions to not “grab my boobs while I’m asleep,” an apparent reference to the photograph of Sen. Al Franken groping a sleeping Leeann Tweeden’s breasts, and one final message: “I’ll say it clearly, nice and slow. If she doesn’t consent — the answer is NO.”
Angela Means made it in entertainment. She walked runways for Jean-Paul Gaultier and Betsey Johnson, did stand-up and opened for Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx and Sinbad, and appeared in the Nickelodeon show Cousin Skeeter and the movie Friday. (She’s Felicia.)
If you already think she sounds like a Renaissance woman just from that, check this out: She’s currently unleashing her creativity at the King’s Donuts on Crenshaw Boulevard in the Jefferson Park area of Los Angeles. Means is using the kitchen there to operate a plant-based restaurant called Jackfruit Cafe.
“All I can say is that the spirit led me. And now I have a vegan cafe in the ’hood.” That’s the short version. The longer version involves a lifetime love of cooking, a football-playing son (soon-to-be pro athletes eat so much food) and a family tragedy that jump-started Means’ interested in health.
Although she always loved to cook and enjoyed plant-based cuisine — she was vegetarian as a kid, and is now vegan — she’d never considered combining these two passions professionally until several years ago. She had stopped pursuing acting roles when her son was born so she could focus on raising him; when he got older, she started experimenting with cooking gigs. With no prior professional experience, she got hired as a personal chef and then moved on to preparing her own line of raw puddings and desserts. She started selling them at RAWkin Juice in Burbank, where she’s now a shareholder.
Last year, Means stumbled upon King’s Donuts. The space wasn’t even for rent, but she felt like it was meant to be hers. Her instincts panned out, and she opened Jackfruit Cafe on Sept. 1.
Means reports a pretty warm reception right off the bat. “People were like, ‘Oh my God, thank you. Where have you been?’” she says. “People are waking up now, watching films like What the Health. A lot of younger people are getting their older relatives to come in.”
Means describes her cuisine as soul food, and it has global influences. The Thai green curry jackfruit is rich with coconut milk and garlic and galangal. There are Jamaican jerk flavors and plays on Korean barbecue. If you’ve never had jackfruit, know that, despite the name, it doesn’t have to be sweet. When canned and brined, it’s perfect for savory dishes and shreds very much like pulled pork or crab. (There’s a cornmeal-crusted vegan fish cake on the menu that is a standout. It comes with a side of tartar sauce — vegan, of course.) You can get the jackfruit in tacos, slathered in hot sauce and slaw, or with rice and beans and collards. Prices hover around $9 for most plates.
When asked how she came up with the jackfruit concept, Means says, like so many other adventures in her life, it came to her. Now 54, she often works 13- to 14-hour days, seven days a week. (Her schedule happily fits around that of the doughnut maker, who comes in for the night just as she’s closing up.) Jackfruit Cafe is currently a one-woman show, but Means plans to bringing on prep help after the new year.
She says she couldn’t be happier. “I leave here and I can’t wait to get back. I love what I’m doing.”
2959 Crenshaw Blvd., Jefferson Park, Los Angeles, CA; (818) 694-3050, jackfruitcafe.com.
Haddish is in talks to join the ensemble of “The Kitchen,” which is the directorial debut for “Straight Outta Compton” screenwriter Andrea Berloff, who is also writing the script. The film is based on the comic book series by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle for Vertigo from DC Entertainment. The series has gained a cult following since debuting in 2014 to critical acclaim. The Irish mafia story is set in Hell’s Kitchen, N.Y., in the 1970s. When the FBI comes in and does a sweep of the mob, several men are arrested. Their wives end up taking over and running the business much more viciously than the men ever did.
“The Temp,” which is set to be produced by Will Packer, who also produced the hit comedy “Girls Trip” featuring Haddish’s breakout performance.
Universal acquired the original pitch for “The Temp” from Dana Fox, who will also write the female-driven comedy. Fox will produce alongside Packer who will produce through his Universal-based Will Packer Productions. Will Packer Productions’ James Lopez will also produce and Haddish will serve as executive producer.
Haddish’s other upcoming projects include starring alongside Tracy Morgan in TBS’ “The Last OG,” which will be released in 2018; she recently wrapped production on Universal’s “Night School” opposite Kevin Hart. She also has “Limited Partners” in development with Paramount, which she will star in and serve as an executive producer on the project as well.
Outside of her film and TV projects, she is also set to release her book “The Last Black Unicorn,” which comes out Dec. 5, and just announced 2018 dates for her new stand-up tour “She Ready.”
When comedian Tiffany Haddish was 9, her stepfather tampered with the brakes on her mother’s car, hoping to kill his partner and her four children. Rather than going out with her mom that day, Haddish asked to stay home and look after her younger siblings—sparing her from the horrific accident that left her mother mentally impaired. As the oldest child, Haddish did what she could to help for three years, from tying her mother’s shoes to paying bills, but eventually Haddish and her siblings were placed in foster care.
Haddish used the trauma and tragedy of her upbringing to ignite what is now a blazing comedy career. As a child, the Girls Trip star was teased for being a foster kid, but Haddish has also talked about maintaining a strong sense of self worth in her recent Showtime standup special, She Ready!: From the Hood to Hollywood. “The state of California paid so much money to make sure I don’t die ‘cause they knew I was gonna be special,” Haddish tells her audience. “They knew it. They was like, ‘This one right here, she gonna be a unicorn.’ And they was right. I’m the last black unicorn, bitch!”
Haddish’s ascent in recent years—debuting on NBC’s The Carmichael Show in 2015 and appearing in the 2016 action comedy Keanu and the summer hit Girls Trip—is a testament to her talent and resilience. But her story also offers insight into what it takes for a black woman in comedy to become successful today. Haddish’s rise points to where systemic roadblocks still lie for performers of color, particularly women, when they first enter the business—and how some barriers to entry may be falling as comedy enters a new golden age, with fewer gatekeepers and more platforms for artists to reach their fans.
Even though Girls Trip has a black director and writers, Haddish faced questions about her low profile. Her agent initially told her that studio executives were looking for someone with a bigger name to play her character, Dina. Haddish told her agent to tell them, “I’ve had a name since 1979. Okay? I was born with a name.” In the end, her rare comedic gifts won out, and reviews of Girls Trip regularly singled Haddish out for praise. Continue reading “FEATURE: ‘Girls Trip’ Star Tiffany Haddish’s Remarkable Rise”→
When Larry Wilmore’s Nightly Show got canceled last year, many fans were understandably frustrated. Wilmore’s was one of only two programs in late night to feature a black host—and at the time, it was the only one with a female head writer. Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that Wilmore’s head writer herself, Robin Thede, has moved on to host her own late-night show.
The Rundown with Robin Thede premiered Thursday night on BET, and although it’s got a few kinks to work out—as any new show does—its host has already honed a distinct comedic voice and spirit. And that sensibility gives her program must-watch potential, even in its first week. Thede’s series opened with a tone-setting sketch: Thede spotting an extremely attractive man . . . who is, unfortunately, wearing a Trump/Pence T-shirt. She then embarks on an ill-fated quest to win his attention—first by wearing a Make America Great Again hat, and eventually by getting a Confederate flag tattoo on her bicep. Then she spots his wedding ring and scolds him for wasting her time before turning to her tattoo artist and asking, “Can you turn that into a Kaepernick jersey or something?”
The Rundown is true to its name; it’s a beat-by-beat recap of the week’s news, as curated by Thede and her team. Naturally, their curation yields a different mix of stories from those chosen by the various Jimmies on network TV.In her premiere episode, Thede zoomed her way through several topics, including Eminem’s anti-Trump rap, Jemele Hills’s suspension from ESPN, and a fireman who was dismissed from his predominantly black fire station after he brought a watermelon with a pink bow on it as a gift.
“It’s no surprise that Trump came for Jemele,” Thede said as she wrapped up her opening monologue. “Remember how he attacked Ms. Texas when she criticized him for not calling out the white supremacists in Charlottesville? Of course you don’t, because he didn’t. Trump likes his targets like we like our Magic Johnson theaters: black and loud.” Thede’s show is undeniably guided by her outlook as a black woman, which enables and guides her to tackle topics other programs might ignore.
As the comedian recently told Variety, “I’m going to be able to give a perspective that’s definitely not happening simply because I am a black woman, but I don’t want people to watch just because of that. If that’s the reason you tune in, that’s great, but the reason you’ll stay is because of what I’m saying,” she says. “The jokes will be pointed. The jokes will be sharp.”
Take, for example, this moment during her opening monologue, in which Thede introduced a viral video of one man’s confrontation with local police in California: “Does anyone else feel like they’re watching a magic show happen when white people interact with the cops?” Thede asked. “Well, abra kadabra, here’s a trick you haven’t seen before—and don’t worry, he lives!” The twist? The subject of the video actually was not a white man at all; he was later identified as 22-year-old Yaroub Assad. “He’s brown!” Thede said incredulously. “This cop thought he was letting a white guy work through a temper tantrum, but he was actually proving a great point: cops aren’t afraid of brown people—just brown skin.”
The Rundown could easily shoot to the top of late night’s must-watch list. Its success could come down to how the show uses its digital platform, which will likely attract fans who might not think to turn on BET for their late-night viewing. With a weekly podcast already set to launch Friday, though, it seems Thede and her staff know the game they’re playing—though as of Monday morning, it’s surprisingly difficult to find clips of the show anywhere but BET’s own Web site, which could hinder the show’s growth.
Once the network expands The Rundown’s web presence, though, it seems only a matter of time before a clip from it goes viral—which will go a long way toward establishing this show as the must-watch it looks like it’s going to be.