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An Interview with Maria Thayer

October 20th, 2016 by Raef Harrison

A quick chat with one of the stars of ‘Those Who Can’t’

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Holy Squirrel Munchin’… It’s “Trailer Trash”

March 8th, 2011 by Todd Goldman Creator of Trailer Trash

Hi, I’m Todd, the professional doodler behind “Trailer Trash.” Otherwise known as the most awesomest job in the world. If you know my art, you know I’m no stranger to pushing the envelope — and if you don’t, you’ll understand after watching “Trailer Trash.” From my art to my clothing line, or my books to my latest entertainment projects, it’s important for me to stay true to my voice … and I don’t mean singing.

Speaking of stirring the pot, my latest Web series “Trailer Trash” just premiered exclusively on Hulu. It’s a squirrel munchin’ good time, more fun than watching a three-legged catfish on a broken ferris wheel! The concept is pretty simple: four redneck trailer trash — Billy Bob, Cooter, Light Beer and Peggy Sue — watch movie trailers. In front of their trailer. In a trailer park. Basically movie night at my parents’ house.

For this project, I joined forces with Lionsgate Digital and Hud:sun Media to bring the world an animated series that is funny, raunchy and most importantly, distasteful (of course, in the most creative and innovative way imaginable.) We wanted to create a show for the people out there with the same sense of humor as me (meaning: just plain wrong). “Trailer Trash” is like a 5-year-old kid who doesn’t know any better — there are no politics, no morals, and absolutely no filter. We say what everyone else is thinking, but is too afraid to say.

With tons of user-created content flooding popular video sites it can be hard to decipher the good from the ugly. Now I’m not saying we’re not ugly. But we’re good. Real good. Lionsgate recognized this, and made sure “Trailer Trash” is the same great quality as all of their other programming.

Lionsgate breaks down boundaries and delivers content that is edgy and unlike anything people have seen before. (Lionsgate brought us “Mad Men” and “Weeds,” for example.) Getting into web production was something the studio put a lot of thought into, and they patiently waited for the right time, the right project, and the right platform for people to view it on. Hulu was our first distribution choice because we understand that audiences know and trust Hulu as a premiere viewing destination for the best premium content and we wanted it to be showcased among the finest. We basically put the Dream Team of digital animation together … even though we’re all white and none of us can play basketball.

I truly believe “Trailer Trash” will resonate with online audiences. Whether it’s for the ridiculous stupidity of the characters or the blatant stereotyping, it is guaranteed to make you laugh, cringe, wet your pants … or get so offended, you write us a letter. Please make sure to spell my name right! [Hulu Ed Note: Please direct all correspondence directly to Todd Goldman.]

People are drawn to animated humor because it appeals to our imagination. With animation, we’re allowed to take our imaginations to places you can’t with live action.

I really hope you enjoy watching “Trailer Trash” as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it. And most of all, I hope the whole fist-bump-flick-off thing catches on!

Now go squirrel munch yourself! I gotta go!

Last comment: Nov 6th 2016 18 Comments

Carvey’s Show Carved Out Some Great Careers

February 4th, 2011 by Ben Collins Editor

If you’re wondering why Dana Carvey is hosting Saturday Night Live this week, it may be because he’s the best ambassador to great comedy that the show has ever had.

Nope, this isn’t because he’s doing SNL this weekend in a Love of the Game sort of situation. (Even though he is—he has nothing specifically to plug.) It’s because his forgotten-about self-titled show in 1996 may have been a better breeding ground for today’s most influential comedians than Saturday Night Live was in that entire decade.

And The Dana Carvey Show didn’t even last a whole season.

It was, at the time, critically panned. That’s probably a mild way to put it. It was critically devastated. It was ridden off television for, mostly, being in the wrong timeslot.

Yes, in an era of TGIF and Full House in primetime, The Dana Carvey show was premiered at 9:30 p.m. on ABC right after Home Improvement, and it opened with a skit in which President Clinton had milkable udders that could breastfeed babies, puppies and kitties. The President also had implanted a ducktail onto his lower-back for the purpose of nesting eggs to help save money for school lunch programs.

This didn’t go over well. ABC had ordered ten episodes. They cancelled it after seven.

But Dana Carvey helped launch four of the most pivotal comedy careers for today’s culture in those seven episodes.

The idea of the opening sketch came to the show’s head writer, a then-absurdist comedian and recent SNL reject, on the way to work one morning. He thought it would be funny to see “Bill Clinton breastfeeding a baby on national TV.” Then it aired. He got letters about how this deeply offended some viewers. He said it helped him grow into the comedian he is today.

That writer was Louis C.K., one of today’s best and most famous standups.

You can hear more about his time at the doomed show at the 11:00 mark of the WTF Podcast with comedian Marc Maron, which aired on KCRW.

But Louis C.K. didn’t even wind up being the most distinguished writer involved with the show. Robert Smigel was just one of the faceless writers at SNL and Conan before he got a chance to whip out The Ambiguously Gay Duo on The Dana Carvey Show.

This eventually spawned TV Funhouse, some comic shorts that aired on SNL for years after the Dana Carvey Show and eventually won itself its own timeslot on NBC for a year. And a year after becoming a castmember on Dana Carvey’s experiment, he invented a dog puppet that smoked a cigar and made fun of humans: Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

Oh, and if Ace and Gary from The Ambiguously Gay Duo sound familiar, it’s because they’re two of the best, most famous comic actors alive. Gary was Steve Carell. Ace was Stephen Colbert. They were both castmembers on The Dana Carvey Show.

Here they are attempting not to throw up on television, before Carell dresses up as Fabio and shaves his chest. Yep, this kind of thing happened all the time on this show.

In the last three episodes, Carvey’s writers had written some sketches for a young Stephen Colbert to deliver some satirical news as a deadpan pundit.

Thank God they cancelled the show before that. That sort of thing would’ve been a real disaster.

Ben Collins is an Assistant Editor at Hulu. You can find him on Twitter @globesoundtrack or email him here.

Top TV Comedy Moments of 2010

December 15th, 2010 by Martin Moakler Social Community Manager

It’s been a tough year for TV comedy. We lost a Golden Girl, a Designing Woman, and Gary Coleman. Party Down was canceled because the cast was just too successful on other shows. And, worst of all, Ke$ha was on $aturday…er, Saturday Night Live. But no matter to what depths our hearts plunged this year, our desire to laugh allowed us to persevere. And laugh we did, at this year’s outstanding funny television moments that made us feel totally double-rainbow. — Martin Moakler, Video Publisher

Glee Theme Episodes
The musical phenomenon had already proven itself more popular than The Beatles, but this year the kids from McKinley High’s New Directions became event television with theme episodes that utilized the collections of Madonna, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the story’s narrative. Certainly some of the most talked-about television of the year, these Glee episodes revered these musical icons and whetted Gleeks’ appetites for the next target of the show’s adulation.

Katy Perry and Elmo-gate
Katy’s décolletage proved a bit too scandalous for parents who protested her appearance alongside Elmo on Sesame Street this fall, prompting the PBS children’s series to pull the clip altogether from the show. It would seem that Katy got the last laugh as she made a provocative cameo on The Simpsons’ Christmas special, in which America’s favorite yellow family was re-imagined as puppets in honor of her arrival.

Betty White Hosts Saturday Night Live
The power of the Internet was never so apparent as when a random Facebook campaign convinced NBC to invite comedy legend Betty White to host Saturday Night Live … and Betty had never even heard of Facebook! The episode, which honored SNL’s funny ladies past and present, was just one jewel in the resurgent crown of popularity she experienced this year, proving that funny (not to mention muffins) has no expiration date.

Modern Family Wins the Emmy
In their second season, The Pritchett-Dunphy clan proved that they were no sophomore slumps when Modern Family snagged the Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Eric Stonestreet’s performance as the hilarious Cameron.

John Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear
In the midst of the mid-term election, political pundits who preach rather than report and government officials telling us the latest thing we need to fear, Jon Stewart of The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report banded together to host the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Created as a means to hold up a mirror to the three-ring circus that our news and politics has become, the D.C. rally boasted an attendance estimated at 215,000, with an Internet and television viewership of close to 2.5 million. Of course, the rally didn’t solve our current societal woes, but perhaps it did as their motto instructed: “Take it down a notch for America.”

The Office’s In/Out Tray
Less than nine months (ahem) after their wedding, Dunder-Mifflin power couple Jam (Jim and Pam) gave birth to Cecilia Marie Halpert. This joyful arrival was quickly obscured, however, by Steve Carell’s summer “WUPHF” that the 2010 season would be his last, leading to wide speculation as to who in the office will fill Michael’s void. (That’s what she said!)

Late Night Wars
After handing over the reins of The Tonight Show to Conan O’Brien last year, NBC gave them back to Jay Leno in January after his ten o’clock talk show failed to gain any momentum. Outrage from O’Brien’s minions passionately rang in the form of organized protests and Facebook groups, and a Che Guevara-esque icon as your avatar instantly demonstrated that you were “with Coco.” After months of gag orders, high-profile interviews, and a summer-long touring show, Conan is back on the air, albeit basic cable. The hullabaloo has almost totally died down, but it was sure a heck of a ride.

30 Rock Live Episode
There was more frenzy than usual in the halls of 30 Rockefeller Plaza when the madcap comedy did not one, but two shows in front of live studio audiences in Tina Fey’s old SNL stomping grounds, Studio 8H. With the help of Julia Louis-Dreyfus as “Past Liz” to smooth over the sitcom’s trademark jump cuts, the live 30 Rock event was a wild success, and even managed to include jabs at more timely events like the Chilean miners and Brett Favre’s … um, photographic largesse.