James Holzhauer is perhaps the biggest name in Jeopardy! that’s not Alex Trebek right now. The record-smashing Jeopardy! contestant took the game show world by storm earlier in 2019, and his return for the upcoming Tournament of Champions is the biggest buzz the show has gotten in some time. The other news that ran concurrent to that, unfortunately, is the pancreatic cancer diagnosis of Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek.
Holzhauer himself will joke that game show scandals a few decades ago mean that Holzhauer and Trebek can’t exactly be best friends, but they have had a warm relationship both on and off the show. Holzhauer, for example, made a large donation in Trebek’s honor to a pancreatic cancer research walk earlier in the year.
“I felt like I had to do something in Alex’s honor, and it was a great opportunity to show my hometown some love,” Holzhauer said according to the Las Vegas Journal Review.. “I was definitely surprised when that donation went viral.”
The interview centered around the heh of Trebek, who last week detailed how a second round of chemotherapy for his Stage IV pancreatic cancer has impacted his heh and possibly his ability to host the show. That’s tough to hear for Holzhauer, who called the news that he needed another round of chemo a “gut punch” earlier this year.
“I’m not sure I can give you a more poignant reaction than ‘this really sucks,’” Holzhauer told the Review-Journal on Wednesday in an email. “It’s basically the same thing I felt when I first heard the news of his cancer diagnosis in the ‘Jeopardy’ green room.
“I will say that during the ToC taping, Alex’s voice and delivery sounded as good as ever.”
Holzhauer called Trebek a trouper, noting, “I’m sure it’s getting more and more difficult for him to keep showing up to work …”
He told the Vegas paper that Trebek’s uncertain future on the show is tough to take.
“Whatever happens from here, I’m glad I had the opportunity to be on the show with Alex,” Holzhauer wrote. “I can’t imagine ‘Jeopardy’ without him.”
That’s a sentiment a lot of Jeopardy! viewers certainly agree with, and hopefully there’s more good news for Trebek on the horizon. For now, he continues to host the show through Season 36, including Holzhauer’s return to the Jeopardy! stage in November.
Helena Bonham Carter did some…interesting research for her role in The Crown The Walking Dead overseer suggests that ninjas could be involved going forward Alex Trebek is staying realistic about his chances to continue hosting Jeopardy! Netflix’s The End of the F***ing World gets a season 2 premiere date And more!
When Helena Bonham Carter was cast as Princess Margaret in The Crown, the actress says she reached out to Margaret who died in 2002 via a psychic – and she claims she actually got some advice from her. According to The Guardian:
“She said, apparently, she was glad it was me. My main thing when you play someone who is real, you kind of want their blessing because you have a responsibility. So I asked her: ‘Are you OK with me playing you?’ and she said: ‘You’re better than the other actress’’ … that they were thinking of. They will not admit who it was. It was me and somebody else. That made me think maybe she is here, because that is a classic Margaret thing to say. She was really good at complimenting you and putting you down at the same time.
Then she said: ‘But you’re going to have to brush up and be more groomed and neater.’ Then she said: ‘Get the smoking right. I smoked in a very particular way. Remember that – this is a big note – the cigarette holder was as much a weapon for expression as it was for smoking.'”
We’ll see how effective that advice was when season 3 of The Crown debuts on Netflix in November.
CinemaBlend was at a New York Comic Con panel for Seth MacFarlane‘s The Orville, where they learned that the third season – which is coming to Hulu in late 2020 – will consist of eleven episodes, and “they will be much longer on Hulu than they were on Fox.” We’re not sure how much longer the runtimes are expected to last, but that’s good news for patient fans who have an extra-long wait between seasons two and three.
Netflix has unveiled the key art for season 2 of The End of the F***ing World, which revealed the release date of November 5, 2019. I’m getting a real “the ending of The Graduate” vibe from this poster, but we’ll have to see how James and Alyssa’s relationship evolves over the course of this new season.
In an interview with a Canadian television station, longtime Jeopardy! host and national treasure Alex Trebek gave an update about his chemotherapy treatments, saying that he’ll stay on the air “as long as [his] skills do not diminish.” But the treatment is causing sores in his mouth that’s causing him to slur some of his words, and he’s aware that his days may be numbered.
“I’m sure there are observant members of the television audience that notice also, but they’re forgiving,” he said. “But there will come a point when they fans and producers will no longer be able to say, ‘It’s okay.'”
He also said he wasn’t afraid of dying, and that he’s lived a good, full life. You can watch the full interview here if you’re interested.
The Walking Dead put up some series low numbers during its season 10 premiere this past Sunday, but those numbers may not be as bad as they appear. As Deadline points out, AMC isn’t releasing hard viewership numbers for its AMC Premiere commercial-free service, which had the episode available a full week early. And with new episodes dropping 48 hours in advance on that service, it’s going to be tough to get a handle on the overall number of eyeballs that consume this show moving forward.
Speaking of The Walking Dead, franchise overseer Scott Gimple was asked at New York Comic Con if he could tease anything about the upcoming Rick Grimes-centric Walking Dead movie spin-offs, and Gimple said one word: “ninjas.” But don’t get too excited, because he later said that answer had been “terrible” – does that mean it wasn’t accurate, or it set expectations too high? In any case, he gave a more reserved answer:
“There are a lot of things that have been going on in The Walking Dead outside of these characters’ imaginations, of what they know. We will be exploring this through the movie, through Rick Grimes, and even beyond that, opening up the world of The Walking Dead.”
It’s not hyperbole to note that the Monty Python comedy troupe changed the state of comedy. The six men who made up the group — Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin — came together as an unstoppable force that reshaped what TV comedy could be, before they then upended expectations of what film comedy could be in the late 1970s. But it all started with the sketch TV series Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which turns 50 this month. That’s when the first episode aired on the BBC in 1969, providing a brief glimpse into what the future of sketch comedy, years before Saturday Night Live was a blip on anyone’s mental radar. So now, let’s look at the 10 best sketches in Python history. One important caveat: these are only sketches from the show, nothing from the many brilliant Python films.
10. “Funniest Joke in the World,” Season 1 1969
The first episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus is, like the very concept of a sketch-comedy series would suggest, a bit hit or miss. Not every moment of the first half-hour is hilarious, but the climactic sketch is still incredibly funny. In the sketch, we watch a fairly unassuming man Palin, naturally writing in his room before he apparently lands upon the funniest joke in the world. How do we know it’s the funniest joke in the world? Not just because the stentorian narrator tells us it’s so, but Palin’s character reads it to himself and then laughs himself to death. Within a couple minutes, the sketch has turned into a wartime story in which the Allies use the joke as a major weapon in the later days of World War II. The cascading goofiness of the sketch — plus its various settings and characters — is still a high watermark of Python comedy.
9. “Cheese Shop,” Season 3 1972
Not all of the sketches from Monty Python’s Flying Circus followed the same setup of John Cleese being continually more and more frustrated at the straight-man calmness of Michael Palin, but two of the show’s best-ever sketches have that similar DNA. Here, Cleese plays a man who walks into a cheese shop. All he wants is some cheese. And so, he asks for a specific kind, only to find that the shop has none of it. And then he runs down…a lot of different types of cheeses, none of which they have. What makes the sketch so funny, aside from its rapid-fire pacing as Cleese lists out — literally — 44 different kinds of cheese, are Cleese’s fussy replies in between.
8. “The Spanish Inquisition,” Season 2 1970
The notion of the fourth wall being broken sometimes went as deep as characters within a sketch being frustrated at the other characters in their sketch. Such was the case with the Spanish Inquisition sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus’s second season. We first watch a fairly dry bit of melodramatic acting in an English period setting before one of the actors Chapman says the key phrase: “I wasn’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition!” In pops a group of extremists, led by Palin’s mustachioed inquisitor, replying “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!” From that point, he and his comrades lose the thread, continually adding onto the chief ingredients — fear, then fear and surprise, then fear, surprise, and so on. The absurdist sketch stands out because the other characters get more and more vexed each time the inquisitors appear.
7. “Mr. Hilter,” Season 1 1970
No, that’s not a typo. This is a sketch about a perfectly nice man named Adolf Hilter. According to his friend Ron Vibbentrop, he’s running in the Minehead by-election as part of the National Bocialist Party. OK, but seriously: this sketch is based on the premise of what would have happened in the early 1970s had a handful of the worst, most evil and odious Nazis hidden in plain sight and attempted to adopt the tenets of the Nazi Party in very small English elections. What a crazy idea that has definitely no resonance in 2019 politics. Ahem. What makes this sketch so funny and absurd is how painfully obvious it is who this…uh, Hilter person is, and how desperately Hilter Cleese and the others try to hide it. Perhaps the funniest part is near the end, as a young mother Idle tells a film crew, “I gave my baby to him to kiss, and he bit it on the head!” You can’t hide your true colors, fake name or not.
6. “Ministry of Silly Walks,” Season 2 1970
If you know Monty Python’s Flying Circus, you may well know it for the image of John Cleese, dressed to the nines, in the middle of a long-limbed gait down the streets of London. That, of course, is from this sketch, all about a man who works for the Ministry of Silly Walks. The dialogue in this sketch isn’t that important at all — though it’s once again Cleese and Palin on screen, the latter playing a man who wants to have his own purportedly silly walk given a government grant. The physical humor of it, as we watch how a simple walk around an office turns into a miniature performance of flailing limbs, spilled food, and knocked-over office supplies, makes this truly hilarious.
5. “Self-Defense Against Fresh Fruit,” Season 1 1969
John Cleese excelled at playing authority figures on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, never more so than when he got to play such leaders who have a screw or two loose. In this sketch, he plays the militaristic teacher of a class meant to teach grown men self-defense when they’re attacked by an assailant wielding…fresh fruit. As it turns out, we’re not watching his first class with these students. They’d rather learn about fending people with real weapons, and they’ve been in enough sessions to list off the fruit they’ve already learned about, such as cherries “Red and black?” “Yes.”, plums, and mangoes in syrup. But the group hasn’t learned about bananas, and so we get to watch the murderous farce which involves gunplay, of course play out. This show rarely blended wordplay with silliness so well.
4. “Nudge Nudge,” Season 1 1969
The “Nudge Nudge” sketch is building to what is perhaps an obvious punchline, but it’s no less funny because of the zeal with which Eric Idle dives into his lecherous character. Two men — Idle and Jones — are at a bar, and the former asks seemingly lascivious questions of the latter and his unseen wife. The more Idle’s character keeps making innuendos — “Well, she’s been around, eh? Been around?” to “Your wife interested in, uh, photographs? Candid photographs?” — he eventually gets to the point, wanting to know what it’s like to sleep with a woman, because he’s clearly never had the pleasure. No better way to end that sketch than the episode in question does: by ending.
3. “Homicidal Barber/Lumberjack Song,” Season 1 1969
You likely already know about the Lumberjack Song, in which a young man Palin sings about how much he’s always wanted to be a lumberjack, and how the song devolves into his reveal of his latent homosexuality. But the sketch leading into the song is just as funny, as the character played by Palin is seen as a barber with a specific problem: when he thinks about cutting hair, let alone holds a pair of scissors or a straight razor, all he thinks about is letting loose streams, rivers of blood by “cutting, cutting, cutting” into the bodies of the people whose hair he’s supposed to cut. The sketch then transitions into the song, simply ening the silliness to a new, even odder level with an earworm that climaxes with the singer talking about “pressing wildflowers”.
2. “Upper Class Twit of the Year,” Season 1 1970
The era of Brexit has made it so this sketch feels even more timely. As narrated by an offscreen announcer voiced by Cleese, the Upper Class Twit of the Year is an annual competition in which five young men compete to be the biggest twit of all. Each of the main performers in Python Terry Gilliam appeared in some sketches, but his work were the various animated interstitials in each show plays a twit of a certain kind, gleefully stupid from top to bottom. The various activities in the competition, from jumping over a row of tiny matchboxes to waking someone up from their bed, are truly inane. It’s all coupled with Cleese’s intense shouting to make for a sly, satiric look at British men of the era. Or, British men of today.
1. “Dead Parrot,” Season 1 1969
Here is the brilliance of Monty Python boiled down into a nutshell. The premise of this sketch is maddeningly simple: a man enters a pet shop, angry because the parrot he bought from the shifty proprietor is dead, and the pet-shop owner refuses to acknowledge the obvious. The tetchy byplay and chemistry between Cleese, as the customer, and Palin, as the owner, is the kind of thing that you can see time and again in plenty of Python sketches including a few others on this list. But it just does not get better than Cleese’s apoplectic fury at Palin’s pet-shop owner’s excuses, getting more and more ridiculous throughout. The “ex-parrot” set the tone for Python’s wordy sketches.
has been two years since Adult Swim has graced us with a new episode of “Rick and Morty”—the fourth season finale “The Rickchurian Mortydate” aired October 1, 2017—and boy has it felt that way. But now there's light at the end of that “Rick and Morty”-less tunnel, as the trailer for the upcoming fourth season has officially dropped.
Like the trailer's voiceover guy says:
“It's been way too long. The smartest Rick and Mortiest Morty in the universe are back. And things are pretty much the same. All fucked up.”
Well, that and Morty might die. But what else is new? The Taika Waititi-voiced alien seen in the trailer, for starters.
Created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, “Rick and Morty” follows the misadventures of gruff mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his grandson Morty Smith both voiced by Roiland as they travel through dimensions. Since its premiere in 2013, the animated series has garnered a rabid fanbase that often has to wait impatiently for new episodes, as well as critical acclaiming, winning an Emmy in 2018 for Outstanding Animated Program.
Last May, Adult Swim ordered 70 more episodes of “Rick and Morty” as part of a new long-term deal between the show and a the network. And with Season 4 on the way, it's worth noting that Roiland and Harmon are already hard at work on writing Season 5. This fourth season is set to have 10 of those new episodes, split into two parts.
More Rick and Morty coming. Looking forward to all the tweets asking where it is! #theydrawingit pic.twitter.com/KZild3B9rP
— Justin Roiland @JustinRoiland May 10, 2018
The animated misadventures of “the smartest Rick and Mortiest Morty” return for the first half of Season 4 on Sunday, November 10. Watch the trailer for the new season below.
Premiere Week for the new Fall TV season is behind us now and New York Comic Con is kicking off today, so a proudly geekfest themed review seems perfectly in order for our determination of what is the show you have to watch this week.
Admittedly, unlike some weeks, there's also a fine plethora of contenders to select from, all with superpowers of their own in one way or another — as you can see in my video review above.
In fact with a trio of veterans back in the saddled and Gotham set newbie in the ring, at least a couple of this week's best of the best will be at NYCC over the next few days with the likes of the world premiere of HBO's Watchmen and a sneak peek at some AppleTV+ shows like For All Mankind from Outlander EP Ronald D. Moore.
Peaky Blinders is distinctly not a presence at NYCC this year. However, back for a fifth season that has already aired in the UK, the Steven Knight-created and Cillian Murphy-led saga of the Thomas Shelby run crime family is certainly right in the thick of it with its October 4 launch on Netflix.
With the clan boss now a powerful Member of Parliament, the six-episode season steps into the quicksand of the Great Depression, the swamplands of politics and the forming fascist forces swirling around the beginning of the 1930s.
Politics and other forces also swirl around the fourth and final season of Mr. Robot, which debuts on USA Network on October 6. Back after a two-year absence from the small screen, the Sam Esmail created series steps back to 2015 with star Rami Malek as tormented hacker deluxe Elliot Alderson. This 13-episode last hurrah of sorts also sees the Oscar and Emmy winner joined again by Golden Globe winner Christian Slater, FBI agent portraying Grace Gummer, Portia Doubleday and Carly Chaikin.
Over at NYCC, long time alum The Walking Dead and the much anticipated Batwoman are both set for panels and screenings at Madison Square Garden's Hulu Theater this weekend.
Having already debuted on the AMC Premiere subscription service a few days ago, the Danai Gurira, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride and Jeffrey Dean Morgan-led zombie apocalypse series is back for its 10th season on October 6. A remarkable achievement for any show, this latest season marks the second year that Angela Kang has run the show based on Robert Kirkman's now finished comic series and one of many appearances that crowd favorite TWD has made at NYCC over the year
Also premiering on October 6, the Ruby Rose starring Batwoman is set to swoop into NYCC that same day and just hours before it hits the small screen. In fact, like a San Diego Comic Con, the confab crowd will get to see the pilot at MSG for the CW's latest DC Universe addition. Sadly for fans, Rose herself will not be in attendance as the actor is working on the upcoming Arrowverse crossover.
So, fanboys and fangirls, which one of that quartet is the show you have to watch this week? You'll have to watch my video review above to find out — and for those of you in NYC have a great Comic Con. For those of you not at NYCC this year, follow all the news here on Deadline throughout the weekend.
Jason Zuffranieri gave the Jeopardy! record books quite an impressive run, but much like James Holzhauer, he ultimately fell far short of the huge numbers that Ken Jennings put up on the quiz show back in 2003-04. The schoolteacher from New Mexico cracked $500,000 in winnings earlier in the week, with 19 straight victories that had made him the only champion in Season 36 of the show, which came back earlier in the month.
Zuffranieri lacked the astounding numbers of James Holzhauer’s earlier run in 2019, where he routinely blitzed competitors out of the game before the first commercial break and claimed many of the show’s highest single-game scores during his 32 straight wins in Season 35. But Zuffanieri was consistent and in control during his weeks atop the game show world, winning enough to put him third all-time in regular season earnings and making some wonder if a new Holzhauer was among us.
But like all streaks on Jeopardy!, his time came to an end on Thursday night, when he failed to find any Daily Doubles and missed a Final Jeopardy question about the Sydney Opera House. It’s probably not fair to compare three very different Jeopardy! champions purely based on numbers alone, but Zuffranieri’s 19-game winning streak is ultimately very different than Jennings and Holzhauer’s epic runs.
What’s wild about this streak is that, in basically any calendar year other than 2019, it would be seen as truly remarkable. His 19 games won is tied for fourth most in the show’s history, and he now sits firmly in third all-time in regular season winnings. Even factoring in all other tournaments and areas of play, Zuffranieri now sits eighth in all-time Jeopardy! winnings.
But that his $532,496 is barely more than a quarter of what Holzhauer won earlier this year truly shows how crazy those numbers were, and how difficult it is to properly evaluate other contestants on the show. Jason was dominant during his time as Jeopardy! champion, but the numbers look far more like everyone else’s performances on the show than Holzhauer or Jennings. Even Holzhauer had to joke about it in a tweet as Zuffranieri’s winnings piled up.
All he needs to do is average $126,570 for his next sixteen games and the prophecy will come true https://t.co/XkEb3kpHYS
— James Holzhauer @James_Holzhauer September 23, 2019
James was rooting for Jason, it should be made clear, and anyone who wins that much on Jeopardy! is a force to be reckoned with. But even putting up record book-worthy performances on Jeopardy! looks paltry compared to what Holzhauer did earlier in the year.
Much like Holzhauer it appears that he’s tweeting now that his time on the show is at an end.
TFW you get beaten to the buzz on a manatee question while having a Lucky Manatee in your pocket. #Jeopardy pic.twitter.com/Y67UMBxQtt
— Jason V. Zuffranieri @jvziti September 26, 2019
The only bad news about Zuffranieri’s run is this: he won’t get a chance to compete in this year’s Tournament of Champions, as the field was already set before he stopped winning. When he does make that tournament, though, he’ll certainly be one to watch out for.