Tag: Amy Schumer

LeBron James’ Production Company SpringHill Entertainment Makes Overall Deal with Warner Bros.

Lebron James GQ

After a scene stealing turn in the Universal comedy Trainwreck, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James is taking his talents to Burbank. He has partnered in a content creation deal with Warner Bros. Entertainment that will put his SpringHill Entertainment banner on the studio track to generate content in TV, movies and digital. Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros, James and his SpringHill cofounder Maverick Carter are calling the arrangement unprecedented.

“LeBron James has one of the most powerful, well-known brands in the world and we are excited to be in business with him and his partner, Maverick Carter, and SpringHill Entertainment,” said Tsujihara. “The combination of LeBron’s global media presence and Warner Bros.’ unmatched production and distribution expertise is a big win for fans everywhere. We’re excited to welcome LeBron and Maverick to the Warner Bros. family and look forward to partnering on incredible projects that will connect with consumers across a variety of platforms.” Said James: “Connecting with my fans and telling meaningful stories have always been my passion. In everything I’ve done, from Nike commercials to Uninterrupted and Survivor’s Remorse, it’s always about connecting with people of all ages and providing unique content they can all enjoy. And I’ve always loved movies, which makes Warner Bros. the ultimate partner to help us continue to push the envelope. I can’t wait to see what we come up with.”

James had been courted by several studios before he made his splashy acting turn in the Judd Apatow-directed Trainwreck, opposite Amy Schumer and Bill Hader. Among those projects that had heat at one time or another was Ballers, a film that had Kevin Hart poised to play the brother of an NBA superstar (James), who after living in his sibling’s shadow gets a chance to prove himself at a basketball camp operated by his bro.

There is a long record of basketball stars who’ve tried to transition to movies and TV. Most of it has ended in futility. Michael Jordan made a splash in “Space Jam,” and while he certainly had the poise and good looks to go further, he seemed to lose interest. Shaquille O’Neal had a few forgettable onscreen turns that included “Steel” and “Kazaam”, Julius Erving had “The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh.”  Ray Allen got strong notices starring opposite Denzel Washington in Spike Lee’s “He Got Game.”  Magic Johnson had a short lived late night talk show. Then there is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who made two of the most noteworthy acting turns by a hoops star, shining as an airline pilot in the Zucker Brothers spoof “Airplane!,” and squaring off against Bruce Lee in that actor’s final film, “Game of Death.”  Jabbar also developed projects as a producer, and that is where James can make a mark. SpringHill’s output so far includes Disney XD’s inspirational series Becoming, the Starz’ scripted comedy Survivor’s Remorse; Uninterrupted, the multimedia platform for unfiltered athlete content hosted on Turner digital platform Bleacher Report, and an upcoming primetime game show for NBC.

article by Mike Fleming via deadline.com

Dave Chappelle Surprises at Hartford’s 2014 Oddball Comedy Festival, Wins over Formerly Hostile Crowd

Dave Chappelle at 2014 Oddball and Curiosity Comedy Festival
Dave Chappelle at 2014 Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival

HARTFORD — One year after he bombed in one of the most notoriously disastrous stand-up sets in memory, Dave Chappelle made a surprise return here — and no one seemed more surprised than he.

“I didn’t think I’d ever come back to Hartford,” he said on Saturday, closing out a star-studded Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival show that was the biggest blockbuster in stand-up this summer.

After being roundly booed and heckled in 2013, Mr. Chappelle had promised that he would never return to Hartford, “not even for gas.” He also joked that if North Korea were to drop a nuclear bomb on the United States, he hoped it would fall on Hartford. He did not retract his criticism (“It was your fault,” he reminded the crowd), but on the day before his 41st birthday, he struck conciliatory notes. “I was really immature,” he conceded, before apologizing for making T-shirts that cursed the city.

The crowd embraced him without restraint, roaring when he appeared onstage, laughing throughout his set and remaining carefully quiet in between jokes. Mr. Chappelle, dressed in a long black dress shirt and smoking a cigarette, said that doing so poorly was hard on him. Then he confessed that he had not prepared anything for this show. “I figured showing up is funny enough.”

The warm show was in a stark contrast to last year’s Oddball performance, which began boisterous, turned contentious and ended with him running out his allotted time by, among other things, reading a book aloud onstage. Media accounts situated the show as part of a pattern of mercurial behavior, including his quitting his hit show on Comedy Central. Some described the evening as a meltdown, others as a crowd run amok.

As Mr. Chappelle has deftly done before, he turned bad press to his advantage, using it for comedy, starting with his next show in Chicago, where he described the Hartford crowd as “evil.” The jokes must have stung, since they earned a response from the mayor of Hartford, Pedro Segarra, who tweeted, “Dave Chappelle needs to quit whining, do his job and try some yoga.”

Mr. Chappelle’s return capped a dynamite night of stand-up comedy featuring a murderers’ row of comics, including Sarah Silverman, Hannibal Buress, Dave Attell, Amy Schumer, Aziz Ansari and Louis C.K. In a nice bit of suspense-generating stagecraft, Louis C.K., the final act on the bill, finished his set, started walking offstage, only to stop, return to the microphone and dramatically tell everyone to stay, before introducing Mr. Chappelle.

Last year’s Hartford show was so infamous that at several points, jokes by comics evoked the controversy. When after Mr. Ansari made his entrance and thanked the crowd, he made a joke demanding to know whether the audience would finally be quiet and let him speak.

Louis C.K. made an even more pointed jab by opening his set by saying of Hartford, “Nice area,” then making a wry face. The large screens picked up his smile and raised eyebrows when he held onto the moment, extending the pause, and repeating sarcastically, “Really nice.” With a new set dense with jokes, Louis C.K. was in peak form, returning to bread-and-butter subjects like raising two kids and also mining humor through some of the most unpredictable punch lines in comedy. After a setup about trying to answer the question of why babies always cry on planes, he concluded, “They are upset about gay marriage.”

Mr. Chappelle made a callback to this joke in a bit he does about Chaz Bono. While Mr. Chappelle comes off as the absent-minded enigma, he has a showman’s sense of event honed over a lifetime of performing. (He did his first stand-up set in Washington at the age of 14.) But on this night, he also seemed genuinely moved by the response.

“Are you sure this is Hartford?” Mr. Chappelle asked toward the end. Then, not much later, looking pleased and a little mischievous, he pointed to the front rows and said, “There’s someone giving me the middle finger.”

article by Jason Zinoman via nytimes.com

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
%d bloggers like this: