Will Smith is heading to Quibi.
The soon-to-launch streaming service has secured yet another of the world’s biggest stars to headline one of its short-form shows designed to offer “quick bites” of entertainment to subscribers. Smith is on board to host and executive produce a series called This Joka, which unfortunately does not involve him explaining actor’s cinematic portrayals of the DC Comics character Joker. Bummer – the episode reuniting him with Suicide Squad co-star Jared Leto would have been great. Instead, it’s a stand-up comedy series that will be shot on location at…Topgolf? Get the details below.
Deadline brings word that a Will Smith Quibi series is on the way, courtesy of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith‘s Westbrook Studios and Topgolf Entertainment Group. Yes, you read that correctly: Topgolf, the company primarily known for driving ranges with microchips embedded into its golf balls, has branched out into the entertainment world. It looks like they have several shows on YouTube including one called Who Will Rock You that’s co-hosted by Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider, but this appears to be their first foray into a platform beyond that.
So what the heck is This Joka? Here’s the series description:
In This Joka, Smith invites a diverse lineup of up-and-coming, established, and legendary comedians to explore the nature of comedy and its unique ability to bring people together. Shot on location at Topgolf and other popular venues across Las Vegas, the series will showcase stand-up sets, as well as one-on-one conversations between Smith and the comedians, intimate interviews, and docu-style moments backstage and around the city.
Comedians featured in the show include Baron Vaughn, Megan Gailey, Punkie Johnson, Sean Patton, Rosebud Baker, Shane Torres, Clayton English, Christi Chiello, Vanessa Gonzalez, Martin Urbano, Sam Tallent, David Gborie, Jackie Fabulous, Chris Estraded, Rell Battle, and Daphnique Springs. That’s a cool opportunity for them, but as a viewer, the aspect I’m most excited about are the special guest appearances by Shawn Wasabi, George Wallace, and Demi Adejuyigbe – the latter of whom is one of the funniest people on the internet. Chances are extremely high that you’ve seen one of his viral videos – he’s made several. I specifically can’t wait to see Adejuyigbe come face to face with Will Smith, since he is a huge Smith fan and has parodied the actor/rapper multiple times over the years in videos like this one:
As for Smith himself, in addition to being one of the biggest stars on the planet, he’s carved out a nice niche for himself on YouTube over the past couple of years, so hosting a mobile-only show like this should be a breeze for him. If you’re only...
Right now, everyone is looking for some kind of reprieve from being locked up at home due to the spread of the coronavirus across the United States. That doesn’t appear to be in the cards anytime soon, but The Office executive producers Paul Lieberstein and Ben Silverman think they’ve figured out a way to make light of the situation by crafting a new workplace comedy series inspired by the sudden rise in employees working from home due to the outbreak of coronavirus forcing people to practice social distancing.
Deadline was first to learn of the currently untitled coronavirus comedy series, though it’s not necessarily about the pandemic. Paul Lieberstein and Ben Silverman, better known to The Office fans as the frequently maligned Toby Flenderson and one of Jim’s business partners at their company Athlead, are creating the series that is said to focus on “wunderkind boss who, in an effort to ensure his staff’s connectedness and productivity, asks them all to virtually interact and work face-to-face all day.”
The series is in the works at Big Breakfast, the comedy production banner Silverman runs, where he’ll executive produce the series along with and Luke Kelly-Clyne College Humor and Kevin Healey Scare Tactics. They’ll also be working with Howard Owens’ Propagate Content, which will have Rodney Ferrell serving as an executive producer as well.
Silverman, who was also once an NBC executive, explained the inception of the series and his hope for what it will become:
“So many of us are jumping on daily Zoom meetings — for work and beyond. We are in a new normal and are personally navigating ways to remain connected and productive at work and in our home lives. With the brilliant Paul Lieberstein at the helm, we think we have a series that not only brings humor and comfort during this troubling time but will also be an inventive and enduring workplace comedy for years to come.”
While the prospect of trying to craft a series around the coronavirus outbreak sounds like a bad idea at this time, there’s no indication that the pandemic will actually play a part in the overall concept of the series. In fact, it would be easy to pull something like this off without introducing such a grim plot device.
What I’m envisioning with this series is a show with a format that echoes what we’ve seen accomplished with movies like Unfriended and Searching. Both of those films play out entirely on computer or mobile device screens and successfully tell a solid narrative. Modern Family did something similar with an episode that unfolded across the ensemble cast’s various screens, and it worked pretty well. But if that’s what this series will be like, can that concept be sustained for an entire series? Or will they need to take...