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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...
When I interviewed Marc Maron a couple of weeks ago he made a really interesting observation about the challenges of working against type when an audience has a really intimate understanding of who you are. He said he isn’t “afforded any mystery” following years of openness on stage and the WTF podcast. It’s something he’s working to push past as an actor and, in a way, it feels like the same kind of thing that could challenge Pete Davidson as he looks to grow his profile outside of SNL, stand-up, and tabloid coverage of his dating life. Because we know Pete, or, to be more on point, we think we do thanks to his willingness to mine his life for jokes and be open about his issues. But in the buzzed-about festival fave Big Time Adolescence which was released a week early and is now available to stream on Hulu, Davidson and writer/director Jason Orley find a way to use that assumed familiarity to their advantage, pulling us in closer to the story with Davidson’s naturalistic and egoless performance.
As Zeke, Davidson is pretty much who we’d imagine he’d be if not for his SNL success or Ariana Grande breakup assisted notoriety. Zeke is a personable, tatted slacker in his mid-20s who likes to get fucked up and play video games with his friends in between shifts as a clerk at a Best Buy stand-in. To 16-year-old Mo, played with appropriate angst and awkwardness by American Vandal’s Griffin Gluck, Zeke is a hero, a friend, and a surrogate big brother. Introduced to him as a kid, Zeke is Mo’s sister’s ex-boyfriend. This sparks an awkward acceptance of Mo and Zeke’s friendship despite mounting concern and jealousy by the boy’s father, played by Jon Cryer, who is great as someone trying to deal with losing his son to adulthood and Zeke’s influence while mostly existing in the margins of this story.
Zeke isn’t necessarily trying to steal Mo from his family, but he does like having the kid around as a tag-along who keeps the flame of his high school glories alive. Something that helps to keep him from getting too far down the rabbit hole of self-realization. Despite his sometimes selfish needs, however, there’s legit affection between the two and tremendous chemistry between Davidson and Gluck. But these kinds of fraternal love stories never suffer from believability. Like, it’s pretty easy to understand why Mo would want to be a part of the lazy rule-free chaos of Zeke’s life as opposed to hanging with his dad, playing baseball, or dealing with high school invisibility.
To a much less substantial degree, I had my own Zeke/Mo friendship when I was a 19-year-old clerk, bullshitting with him at work, downloading his encyclopedic music knowledge, and getting hotboxed in a beat-up Nissan on our lunch breaks. I tried hard to sort of stand on my tiptoes to act like his equal but the power dynamic definitely tilted more toward hero-worship. And then it just sort of faded. I got a girlfriend and a...
NBC medical drama “New Amsterdam” has decided to postpone airing an upcoming episode that would've focused on a fictional deadly flu pandemic in New York City.
Deadline reported that the series, created by David Schulner, had already shot an episode titled “Pandemic,” later renamed “Our Doors Are Always Open”. Schulner supported the network's decision and provided a short essay to Deadline about the episode's postponement, where he stressed that the “world needs a lot less fiction right now, and a lot more facts.”
“During a bad year, influenza can kill up to 80,000 Americans,” Schulner said in his letter. “We wanted to get this message out. And the best way to do that was to scare you so bad you'd be washing your hands during the commercial breaks. We showed what happens when our hospital has to erect tents in the parking lot because every bed is taken. When the doctors and nurses and medical techs have been working back to back shifts because their replacements are sick. When panic sets in. When people are quarantined. When people die. Sometimes, what the mirror reflects back is too horrifying to look at.”
Schulner also noted that members of the series' cast and crew had become sick, including Daniel Dae Kim, who Schulner said tested positive for the coronavirus several days after production was shuttered. All four of the show's infected individuals are recovering, according to Schulner. He added that while many consumers have become more interested in pandemic-related films such as “Contagion” — whose medical consultant tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this week — the episode's New York location mirrored the state's real-world coronavirus crisis too closely for comfort.
New York City has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, with more than 17,000 cases and 200 deaths since March 1. Business Insider reported that 2,500 new cases were reported on Tuesday, with another 2,300 reported Wednesday morning. The city accounts for nearly a third of the nation's coronavirus cases.
“Our Doors Are Always Open” will air at a later date, though a specific date has not been determined. “New Amsterdam” has already been renewed for three additional seasons.
“New Amsterdam” is one of numerous television shows that has been impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. IndieWire is keeping track of all of the entertainment industry's productions and events that have been impacted by the outbreak.
Schulner's full essay is available on Deadline.
Although “The L Word: Generation Q” may have tried desperately to speak to a “new generation” of queer women and non-binary folks, fresher creative voices quickly rose to the top in its place. Though people still watched. Showtime’s “Work in Progress” was the best queer comedy of the year, Netflix’s “Feel Good” was an unexpected delight, and “Vida” is returning just in time for queer audiences to catch up on the best show about queer women of color on TV. Yet another contender released a promising first trailer today: “Betty” is a stylish and youthful portrait of Brooklyn teen skaters that already appears extremely queer.
The six-part half-hour arrives on HBO from filmmaker Crystal Moselle, who quickly made waves in 2015 with her her riveting documentary hybrid “The Wolfpack.” “Betty” is adapted from her second feature, the similarly hybridized “Skate Kitchen,” which followed a group of teenage girl skaters in New York City. The film premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews and was released by Magnolia Pictures that year.
In his B+ review of “Skate Kitchen” out of Sundance, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote: “The streetwise alternative to ‘Girls,’ the movie weaves together such a complete vision of its subjects that the rest of the world barely exists. Of course, there's a long-standing precedent to capturing this subculture — ‘Kids’ did it, with more adventurous storytelling twists, more than 20 years ago — but Moselle's subjects hold their own with the surprising ability to clarify their emotions through the cathartic process of hanging out.”
“Betty” features many of the film’s original stars, most of whom had not acted before, including Kabrina Adams, Dede Lovelace, Nina Moran, Rachelle Vinberg, and Ajani Russell. All accomplished skaters in their own right, the first trailer shows the charismatic crew navigating various crushes and friendship trials with compelling panache and humor.
“Betty” is directed, co-written, and executive produced by Moselle. Lesley Arfin and Patricia Breen are also co-writers. Arfin, who also EPs, is a comedy writer best known for co-creating the Netflix series “Love” with Judd Apatow and Paul Rust.
HBO will release “Betty” beginning May 1 at 11 pm ET. Check out the exciting first trailer below: