Tag Archives: Comedy

Director’s Cut: The 60 Yard Line

This week on Director’s Cut, we take a break from our documentary-heavy lineup and welcome writer-actor-producer Ryan Churchill to discuss his film The 60 Yard Line.

The 60 Yard Line from Gravitas Ventures on Vimeo.

Ben “Zagger” Zagowski is a diehard Packers fan. While he and his fiancée Amy prepare for their wedding, Zagger uses their savings to seize a rare opportunity to buy a house next to Lambeau Field, which he names The 60 Yard Line. His superfan status is elevated, as he spends his days parking cars for money, getting drunk and befriending actual pro football players. In all his drunken tailgating glory, he loses his job and Amy. He must figure out what is most important in his life. Also, where did this cow come from? Based on some true events.

Read more about this film, and about my interview with filmmaker Ryan Churchill.

Continue reading Director’s Cut: The 60 Yard Line

Dowager Insults: The Complete Collection

If you watch Downton Abbey, you’re likely in awe of the Dowager Countess’ (Maggie Smith) wit. Stubborn wouldn’t even begin to describe Lady Violet, but despite her faults, there’s no doubt that Downton Abbey just wouldn’t be the same without her sharp tongue.

Luckily, Slate Magazine has taken all of the Dowager’s sassiest moments and compiled them into one hilarious video. With only two more episodes to go until Downton Abbey: The Final Season is over (sadly), what better way to prepare to say goodbye than with a reflection on the Dowager’s best moments?

The Downton Dish: Episode 3

The final season is getting into full swing, and there’s a wedding in sight! Hospital drama just keeps coming and Thomas can’t seem to find a decent job outside of Downton, but there is still a lot to celebrate! Tune in to our third installment of The Downton Dish, and we’ll see you next week!

Watch the complete series of “The Downton Dish” here.

A word on Episode 3 from our resident Downton expert and guest contributor Analiese Smith:

I have to say, I was really looking forward to this episode. I am so excited about Mrs. Hughes’ upcoming wedding! Sadly, it seems the wedding is still getting away from her (who hasn’t been there?). One more reason we love her!

I’m also loving the sassy Mrs. Patmore. More of this, please! She is only outdone by the Dowager Countess, who has a nice dig about marriages as a nice transition to the drama upstairs. Continue reading The Downton Dish: Episode 3

The Downton Dish: Episode 2

Who knew that a mid-season pig show could stir up so much trouble! Edith had her hands full in episode 2 of Downton Abbey: The Final Season, and the battle royale over the management of the hospital started to get pretty intense. So much drama, so little time!

Watch the complete series of “The Downton Dish” here.

Notes on Episode 2 of the final season from guest contributor and avid viewer, Analiese Smith:

Marigold. My first thought is that Mary is so cold! How is she so oblivious to the whole Marigold situation? And Anna says she’s the kindest person – just such different views! Also, the whole Anna situation totally sucks. I wonder If Mary is going to try to pawn Marigold off on them. Seriously – the writers need to throw these two a bone. I also wonder if the Drewes will move. If they do, will Daisy’s father-in-law take the open space? It would be a nice solution to a few different problems. Two birds, one stone?

Changing times. The discussion about “systems” is interesting; they really seem to be focusing on how much the system is changing. Daisy hates the system, and Thomas Barrow is struggling to find a new job in a world that doesn’t seem to need assistant butlers anymore. The Carsons’ wedding planning might be another example of this: Mrs. Hughes wants to make her own way and celebrate independently.

Hospital drama. All of the medical stories are very telling about progress as well. The whole “do we retain control of our hospital” debate has Isobel focused on progress, while the Dowager is focusing on history. Poor Robert is stuck in the middle, not wanting to choose sides. It made me think of earlier seasons: Robert trying to let go of traditions for the first four seasons was a very big theme, but then the topic was dropped for a bit because he seemed to have resigned himself to the fact that times were changing, especially with his decision to accept his son-in-law, Tom. It’s interesting that they are reviving that struggle in the last season when it seemed resolved, but perhaps that is a statement that they are trying to make: Change is never easy to accept.

What did you think about the episode? Who are you annoyed with? What should we expect from the next episode? 

Would you like to be a guest contributor or share your opinions on the latest episode? email us at bemoretunedin@wpt.org – we’d love to hear from you!

The Downton Dish: Season 6 Premiere

It’s finally here – the last season of Downton Abbey! We’re recapping each episode and speculating on things to come with our weekly blog post, The Downton Dish. Let us know what you think! What would you like to hear us discuss? What are your thoughts on the latest episode?

Watch the complete series of “The Downton Dish” here.

Notes on Episode 1 of the final season from guest contributor and avid viewer, Analiese Smith:

“The first thing I noticed was Mary’s comment about safety before going on the hunt on horseback. I wasn’t sure if that was foreshadowing or if she was still anxious over losing her hubby, Matthew. I know it was a car accident, but it’s enough to make anyone nervous about staying safe, horse or car, right? But after falling off her horse, it definitely seems like she was just foreshadowing a bit.

Who is this crazy lady who is willing to try to blackmail Lady Mary?! Fun fact: 1,000 British pounds in 1925 would be almost $60,000 in today’s currency! Quite the extortion!

It’s really interesting that the Dowager suddenly has a strong opinion about the fate of the clinic. I’m pretty sure she didn’t care about the hospital before Isobel got involved! On another note, seeing Isobel and Dr. Clarkson disagreeing over the hospital’s management – especially after their close relationship in the past – is adding a lot of tension to an already complicated situation!

I’m not surprised at how attached Daisy is to her father-in-law – after her marriage to William she might feel responsible for him. I just hope she’s able to keep her temper in check as she tries to work something out.

Loved the nod to the Bloomsbury Set, the group of writers that included John Maynard Keynes and Virginia Woolf! They would’ve been active in London around that time.

All of the concern over the potential sex scandal with Lady Mary was an ironic continuation of the whole discussion on taboo relationships. Overall, I have to say I don’t remember any other episode that focused so much on sex, marriage, and trying to have children. It’s clearly an homage to the changing times. It will be great to see what’s to come!”

Would you like to be a guest contributor or share your opinions on the latest episode? email us at bemoretunedin@wpt.org – we’d love to hear from you!

Isthmus of Misfits on Director's Cut

This week, Director’s Cut welcomes Andrew Butts to discuss his film Isthmus of Misfits. This documentary explores Madison’s stand-up comedy scene through the eyes of comics who have been performing for years and others who are just starting out. Despite the fact that the film’s subjects are a bit green, they are not camera shy and are very eager to discuss comedy stylings, theories and venues.

Pete Schwaba and director Andrew Butts on the Director's Cut set
Pete Schwaba and director Andrew Butts

Not only is the energy of the comics the most compelling part of the film, Isthmus of Misfits actually depends on the charisma of its ‘actors.’ That is the definition of a low budget film. Butts had all of the comics sit on the same couch in the same spot and started recording.

From struggling parents, to people working three jobs to recovering addicts, this film definitely captures what it’s like starting out in comedy and pursuing a dream. As a recovering stand-up myself, it was fun to revisit those days of uncertainty and the idea that the whole comedy world awaits you.

Misfits is not fancy or visually stunning by any means, yet Butts does a nice job of bringing out the artist behind the performer in the film. During the interview we welcome two of them to the set – Jackson Jones and Ian John. This is Butts’ first feature length documentary and with his connections to the burgeoning Madison comedy scene, the subject of his first film is a no-brainer. Be sure to check out my interview with Andrew Butts on Director’s Cut this Friday night at 9 on Wisconsin Public Television. Hope to see you then!

Julie & Julia Pairs Hilarity With History

Watch "Julie & Julia" 9:30 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, March 20 on Wisconsin Public Television.
Watch “Julie & Julia” 9:30 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, March 20 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Julia Child’s magnetic personality is undeniable. Watch one of her past television programs and you’re bound to say, “Now that’s a lady I could have been friends with.” (Plus, good cooks make great friends.)

The 2009 comedy-drama Julie & Julia, airing 9:30 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, March 20 on Wisconsin Public Television, follows New Yorker Julie Powell (Amy Adams) as she embarks on a daring project, vowing to prepare all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s landmark cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”

Julie & Julia expertly intertwines fiction with fact by also telling the true story of how Child (Meryl Streep) conquered French cuisine with finesse, humor and of course, lots of butter. Streep does an amazing job of playing the iconic chef, even replicating her unmistakable voice.

If you haven’t seen this movie, I can attest that it’s well worth your time. And if you have seen it, you might want to watch it again … that’s what I’ll be doing.

Julia Child

An "Ode to a Snowmobile Suit"

“When it’s thirty below, there is no substitute for the comfort and warmth of a snowmobile suit.”

Guys on Ice, the uproarious Wisconsin musical tradition from Northern Sky Theater in Door County, is coming to Wisconsin Public Television 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 4.

Watch this exclusive premiere preview song now. I think we can all agree that “Ode to a Snowmobile Suit” couldn’t be a better fit for our Wisconsin winter weather! Rooty-toot-toot-toot-tooty-toot-toot!

PBS Stars Join In On Colbert Farewell

For last night’s finale of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert invited a couple familiar Sesame Street friends, Ken Burns and Charlie Rose to join him and an all-star group of actors, news reporters, musicians, writers, politicians and more for the rousing – and dare I say, epic! – musical farewell that you can watch below.

Together they sang, “We’ll Meet Again,” which of course is correct since Colbert (minus the TV pundit character he’s played on the Report) will be taking over hosting duties on The Late Show on CBS after David Letterman retires in 2015.

"Moone Boy" Season 2 Premieres Tonight

Moone Boy Season 2 premieres tonight at 8:56 p.m. on WPT.

Have you been watching Season 1 of Moone Boy, the hilarious British sitcom starring Chris O’Dowd? If not, many would say you’re missing out.

In fact, the show has generated enough buzz that it’s received a nomination from the 2014 British Comedy Awards for best sitcom, and is even going to be adapted into a U.S. version.

The show just feels genuine, likely because it is based on O’Dowd’s own childhood. “Moone Boy is a fantastic comedy which centers on a 12-year-old boy [Martin Moone] who has an imaginary friend [played by O’Dowd]. It is set in the late eighties/early nineties and all of the experiences are ones that I had,” said O’Dowd.

Childhood is a strange time. It’s easy to sympathize with 12-year-old Martin Moone’s sometimes cringe-worthy attempts to carve out his own path, despite his hectic home life.

If you’ve been watching, you’re probably already excited about tonight’s premiere of Moone Boy Season 2 at 8:56 p.m. And if you haven’t been watching, here’s your chance to join in on the laughter.

Moone Boy, Season 2: Episode 1 premieres tonight at 8:56 p.m. on WPT.