THINKING COMEDY: 2. SETH ROGEN

In the second of our new series Thinking Comedy, film comedian Seth Rogen ruminates on the benefits of analysis on his Comic Art.

Many comedians believe that over-thinking comedy can be the death of a joke, that to think (in the words of Keats) is ‘to be full of sorrow’, and so they avoid any kind of analysis at all, preferring to work on instinct and adrenalin.

Andrew ‘Dice-man’ Clay at his height eschewed comic theory and Eddie Murphy in the Raw years likewise boasted of his unschooled approach to the comedy scene. 

However, I’ve always been a comic who has taken succor and encouragement from the intellectual and philosophical approach to my art. When I was making Funny People with Adam Sandler, Adam and I would sit for hours discussing Freud’s 1905 masterpiece Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious. By the way, if you are going to read it I would advise you read the original German Der Witz und Seine Beziehung zum Unbewußten. As with most humor, too much is lost in translation. 


Sandler is a supremely rational comic. It isn’t enough that he is funny; he has to know why he is funny. This is what makes him so similar to the British comedian Ricky Gervais, the man we all look up to as the true intellectual heir of Benny Hill’s comedy crown. 


For my own part, for a joke simply to be funny isn’t enough. It has to say something and it has to say something that is coherent with my political and ethical outlook on life. For instance, some people have seen a consistent strain of misogyny in my comedy, especially in Zack and Miri Make a Porno and Knocked Up. Other people give me the benefit of the doubt and think of me as a lovable doped up man child but the truth is I do hate and fear women and those films are deliberate expressions of my anxiety. I mask my very real and sometimes frightening hatred in an easy-going laid-back style, but this makes it all the more pernicious and effective. Some of you no doubt are thinking: ‘Ah ha! Intellectual coherence, analyzing comedy? But what about Green Hornet?’ Well, to that I’m afraid I only have two words: Cash Grab.

For more Thinking Comedy CLICK HERE.

SETH ROGEN GOES ON FOOD DIET

HOLLYWOOD – Comedic actor and Steve Wozniak impersonator Seth Rogen opened up today to the Studio Exec about his radical food diet.

Seth Rogen has had a hard year with his appearance in a rare straight role co-starring with Michael Fassbender in Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs and appearing once more alongside Zac Efron for Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.

You look great Seth. What’s going on?

Well, I knew that this year was going to be a tough one for me. I had a lot of challenges to confront and frankly after The Interview I’d begun to take a new perspective on life. It was time to get myself in shape so I started to think about it properly.

So what did you do?

I went on a special food diet.

Sounds crazy, what does it involve?

You have to eat food. Breakfast: food. Lunch: food. Dinner more food.

Jesus!

I know it’s pretty strict. Of course I can, if I feel hungry in-between ‘meals’, I can have a snack but it has to be food.

So it’s basically food, food, food.

That’s right. Of course I can drink sometimes as well, but if I do it is only liquids, fluids, that sort of thing.

Sounds very strict.

It is but you can see the results and standing next to Zac Efron, I don’t have anything to worry about this time around. I think people are going to be really surprised.

This is Christian Bale like dedication to your craft.

It is on the scale of the Machinist. Yes. Or Night Crawler.

How do you keep your sanity?

Every week I have one cheat day.

Ah ha! And what do you have on your cheat day?

Wool. I just go and hit the wool stores. I buy like two barrels of that shit and I just wolf it down. But because of the food diet my body is fooled into thinking it’s food and so it doesn’t effect my diet.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising will be released in 2016.

 

AMY PASCAL JOINS THE STUDIO EXEC

HOLLYWOOD – Sony Executive and email writer-strordinaire Amy Pascal has joined the Studio Exec team, expressing her relief to finally find a job ‘which is genuinely important’.

Amy took time out from her busy schedule of interviews to speak with her new employer The Studio Exec.

Frankly SE, I’m relieved. When I worked at Sony, the pressure was unbelievable. You had to work up enthusiasm for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and pretend Seth Rogen was the new John Belushi. It was soul destroying. And then there was the constant danger of being strangled to death by Emile Hirsch.

Jesus!

Yeah. I know.

How did it feel being fired?

Of course it was upsetting at the time, but I also had a list of things I wanted to do if I left and at the top of that list it was to write for a genuinely subversive and hilarious satire blog.

Great.

Unfortunately, The Onion weren’t hiring so I came over to you.

Whoa!

I’m kidding. I kid.

Not funny, Amy.

Okay so I’m already fitting in.

Hey hurtful. Not cool.

There I go again. I thought you’d like it. Mixing it up with the boys here.

Yeah well, if we’d wanted an asshole we would have hired Scott Rudin.

Okay, okay, gotcha.

So Amy what’s your first column going to be about?

It’s going to be called Kim Jong Un is Big Fat Whiny Bitch.

Amy Pascal’s new column will be published every Sunday on www.thestudioexec.com

POMPEII SNUBBED AT GOLDEN GLOBES

HOLLYWOOD – Paul Thomas Anderson might have scored hits with There Will Be Blood and Magnolia but his latest film Pompeii was roundly snubbed by the Golden Globes where it failed to pick up a single award.

The washout will undoubtedly dent its current status as an Oscar front-runner (Click Here for more on that story), calling into question the widely heard rumor that it might take home a record breaking 14 Oscars, beating Peter Jackson’s slightly inferior Return of the King.

Awards commentator Dulex DeBrav spoke with the Studio Exec EXCLUSIVELY:

There are certain awards that I think Pompeii missed out on because of the peculiar category divisions in the Globes. For instance, Kit Harrington didn’t even get a nomination, perhaps because the category is divided between Best Actor (Drama) and Best Actor (Comedy or a Musical). Now is Pompeii a drama, or a comedy? It really depends on where you’re sitting. And perhaps more importantly, is Kit Harrington really an actor? I don’t know.

You know nuthin, Jon Snow.

Yeah, that’s f*cking hilarious.

Sorry.

Also you have to realize that these awards ceremonies are intensely political and you have to canvas. But with Paul Thomas Anderson working so hard he also directed Inherent Vice this year, there’s a case for saying he might have dropped the ball and neglected to do the schmoozing that I’m afraid is necessary.

Pompeii wasn’t the only upset. A Million Ways to Die in the West failed to glean anything and The Interview despite a staunch internet campaign by North Korea to bring the movie to the attention of voters also left empty handed. George Clooney produced gasps in his acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award, when he failed to announce his candidacy for the US Presidential elections, making it the seventh year in a row in which he has omitted to do so.

The Golden Globes will be back again in 2016.

GERMANY BANS INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

HOLLYWOOD – News came in last night that Germany have banned Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 war film Inglourious Basterds citing ‘numerous historical inaccuracies’.

The move is only the latest following a spree of banning across the world including the banning of The Interview in North Korea because of offensiveness, Exodus: Gods and Kings in Egypt and Morocco because of historical and political inaccuracies and the censoring of Pompeii in Italy ‘because it’s crap.’

A spokesperson for the German Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture explained the Verboten decision to the Studio Exec EXCLUSIVELY:

Tarantino’s film is inaccurate on many different grounds. From the career of famed film director Leni Riefenstahl to the way Jews were rounded up in German occupied France. However, the climax of the film [SPOILER ALERT] is particularly wide of the mark. The director of Hostel at no point during the course of the Second World War assassinated Hitler and Goebbels. He hadn’t even been born when Hitler died.

But there’s artistic license, surely? Tarantino isn’t suggesting that the director of Hostel really killed Hitler so much as he wanted to.

No. That’s not good enough. It didn’t happen. It is plainly wrong. And false. And not true.

But why now? The film was released in 2009.

Yes, well we didn’t think you could ban films for being inaccurate, but then Egypt did it and we thought okay, why not? Herr Tarantino’s film has been particularly irksome to us for some time and confusing. Look at Downfall. Now there’s a film about Hitler. Except of course that Bruno Ganz who plays Hitler is Swiss, which is to be precise inaccurate.

Quentin Tarantino was unavailable to comment at the time of publication, but the Hateful 8 will be out soon.

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT THE SONY HACK

HOLLYWOOD – The Sony Hack has been one of the most startling and confusing incidents of last year and the Studio Exec FACT squad have been on the case behind the firewall and under the radar.

1. North Korea are responsible for the Sony Hack. The DPRK were angered by the James Franco/Seth Rogen ‘comedy’ The Interview because of the way it ridiculed the country’s leader Kim Jong-un.

2. A Sony insider is responsible for the Sony Hack. The ex-employee was angered by lay offs that Sony had recently carried out.

3. President Obama is responsible for the Sony Hack to distract the liberal mainstream media from the conspiracy that caused deaths in Benghazi.

4. Seth Rogen and James Franco are responsible for the Sony Hack because they wanted to boost business for what is a tediously dull frat boy comedy.

5. I am responsible for the Sony Hack because Sony are shit and one of the shittest things that they have done beyond their normally shit things is obviously  The Interview.

For more Movie FACTS CLICK HERE!  

KATE MIDDLETON’S ROYAL TWINS TO BE CALLED SONY AND KIM

LONDON – Pregnant British royal Kate Middleton will use the twins to save the day from the escalating tensions between Sony Pictures and North Korea.

Maybe in a bid to show the old gal it’s time for another woman to lead the Commonwealth, Prince William’s lady wife Kate Middleton announced she will single-handedly resolve the conflict over Hollywood comedy The Interview by naming their brewing twins Sony and Kim in honor of the electronics giants and its current nemesis, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The effort, she feels, will significantly dampen the current climate of anger and mistrust by immortalizing those two names side by side for eternity.

Prince William, speaking EXCLUSIVELY with The Studio Exec, explained the Royal decision.

Britain civilized the world, and will keep doing so for as long as it takes. Luckily, Kanye West gave his spawn such a colossally ridiculous handle that no other baby name henceforth will ever sound idiotic. That left us free to use our own progeny in forcing those two entities to stop acting like Kanye on his honeymoon and look at the bigger picture: A Seth Rogen comedy is no laughing matter, but for far different reasons.

The next in line to the throne declined to comment on how this decision would impact their son George, whom sources inside Buckingham palace say is already planning a use of his future siblings to swede the film at the center of this whole situation. Prince William did however convey his satisfaction with the pregnancy so far, citing the positive impact the twins are having on the “other twins”.

No word yet on possible terrorism threats from the alleged hackers to stop Kate from releasing the twins.

 

FRANCO AND ROGEN HANDED OVER TO NORTH KOREA

HOLLYWOOD – Seth Rogen and James Franco have been captured and handed over to North Korea, following an executive order by President Obama.

Barack Obama told the White House press corp that he had interrupted his family vacation to sign the order, after a private screening of the film The Interview which has been at the center of whirlwind of controversy and has led to heightened tensions between the two countries.

The President stated:

At first I was angry at Sony for folding to the pressure of North Korea, but after I saw the film I was furious at them for green lighting The Interview in the first place. It’s a complete piece of shit. Adolescent brain dead humor, and James Franco trying to invent himself as a comic actor? No, no, no.

The FBI picked up the two actors who were due to make an appearance at a Boxing Day screening in Los Angeles and they were immediately handed over to the CIA who flew them to China where they were taken across the border to North Korea, where it is believed there is a very real possibility that they will not be treated well.

President Obama responded to accusations that he himself was folding to pressure from a dictatorship:

It’s got nothing to do with Kim Jong-un and him being displeased. It’s to do with the fact that these guys have made a shitty film and the American people need protecting from shitty films. Franco and Rogen are now in the hands of the DPRK and their ability to make a sequel to The Interview or for that matter Pineapple Express is severely depleted.

The Interview review is available here. 

THE INTERVIEW: REVIEW

THE INTERVIEW: REVIEW – After all the fuss, the hack, the threats, the censorship, the President’s comments, the executives replies and the final release, what is the James Franco and Seth Rogen film The Interview actually like?

Continue reading “THE INTERVIEW: REVIEW”

STUDIO EXEC: TOP TEN

HOLLYWOOD – Everyone is doing a top ten, so I’m doing a top ten, but I don’t know if it’s a top ten of the best films, the worst films, the most middling films: it’s a top ten of something. That’s all.

1. A Most Wanted Man. This is the top of the ten films that came out this year featuring a final performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman. If you weren’t pissed about PSH dying watch this and you’ll be pissed once more and depressed. A fantastic John Le Carré adaptation. Perhaps even better than the sprawling and unfocussed Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Read the review here.

2. Boyhood. Richard Linklater’s weird sociological/anthropological experiment is a kind of epic Seinfeld episode, essentially a film about life itself and nothing at all. The bildungsroman is epic, rich and beautiful, and this from the man who brought us the wonders of the Sunset/Sunrise trilogy. And School of Rock. Read about Ethan Hawke’s new project here. 

3. Whiplash. Crash! Bang! Wallop! What a Picture! Miles Teller is brilliant as the young drumming student and so is J.K. Simmons as the sadistic teacher. For the review, Click Here.

4. Birdman. Michael Keaton is back and he is kicking ass in this superlative satire on the film industry, acting, theatre, journalism, YouTube, oh Jesus, everything. Read the review here. 

5. Pompeii. I didn’t see it but it’s supposed to be brilliant and there’s a chance it will win all the Oscars. Read about that here.

6. Interstellar. Christopher Nolan not only makes a film complete with worm holes, black holes and plot holes, he also spectacularly illustrates the uncertainty principle, how can someone so clever, in such a clever film, occasionally do things which seem so stupid. I went with it. Read about that here.

7. The Interview. I haven’t seen the film, but I’m going to have to. So thanks for that Kim Jong-un. I think you won round one. Read some of the stuff we wrote about it here.

8. The Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel are now following the Pixar model of basically making old fashioned Studio era comedies dressed up as films for kids. Funny and clever and a bench mark for the Marvel house style. Click here to read about Chris Pratt’s celebrations.

9. The Nightcrawler and The Babadook and ’71: three cracking movies, all feature débuts, all fantastic with the promise of great things to come. Also all genre films. Here are the reviews of Babadook and Nightcrawler.  

10. Leviathan, The Look of Silence and Mommy: Just to prove I can read, these are the films that are in foreign which you might want to have a look at.  I saw them at the Cannes and Venice Film Festivals. Here are some reports from them.  

Happy Xmas, Happy Hanukka, Happy mid-winter atheism for those who still enjoy food and giving. 

NORTH KOREA NATIONAL DEFENCE COMMISSION STATEMENT IN FULL

HOLLYWOOD – The North Korean National Defence Commission issued a statement in response to President Obama and the FBI’s contention that they sponsored the Sony hack.

This is the statement in full:

Strange thing that happened in the heart of the U.S., the ill-famed cesspool of injustice, is now afloat in the world as shocking news. Sony the biggest producer of film and movie things has been hacked by the righteous opponents of Terrorist film, The Interview. President Obama is doing things, pulling off people who had nothing to with it and Mike Myers the Austin Powers man who plays his own nemesis was on SNL, proving once more that the funny things that come out from the front of his face are not as funny as he thought they were when he sat on his own in a room and thought about funny face front spewings. The US have sunk in their quagmire.

All of this came about because James Franco and Seth Rogen made a filmogram which viciously and evilly attacked the supreme leader of a sovereign nation – we’re talking Kim Jong-un here in case you were thinking, ‘what?’ First off, Pineapple Express was totally awesome and the DPRK would be totally blissful if they were to make a sequel of the stoner comedy highlight entertainment. But, no. Instead, they use their powers for comedy good, for political evil and make The Interview. We know for a fact that President Barack Obama directed the film in person, and even had his own chair with ‘Director – Barack Obama’ written on the back, for reals. This film includes a very funny scene of Seth Rogen sticking something up his posterior seat. If only Mr. Rogen had stuck up more things up his posterior seat and spent less time trying to make the commentary on the politics he knows nothing about.

Fortunately, film distributors in all the US states including Canada, which is the biggest US state, have banned the film, because they didn’t think it was any good. Likewise Sony have withdrawn it and this is all because of the work of The Guardians of the Galaxy. Chris Pratt can expect a nice big pie being brought to his room along with flowers of his choosing, courtesy of North Korea and the NBA’s Dennis Rodman.

The best thing that everyone could do now is like chill and stop with the who hacked who and all that confusion and worry. We at the DPRK are willing to let the things that go by to continue to have gone by without calling them back, if Sony agree to make a new Police Academy movie starring our Supreme Leader, side-by-side with Steve Guttenberg, but Steve Guttenberg will now have to be the sidekick. Because that is only what is right. Denis Rodman can do funny noises with his mouth and Chris Pratt can be in it too.

The U.S. should reflect on its evil doings that put itself in such a trouble, apologize to the Koreans and other people of the world and should not dare pull off others.

For more on the Sony Hack READ HERE.

SONY GREEN LIGHT THREE NEW KIM JONG-UN BIOPICS

HOLLYWOOD – Sony are rushing three biopics about the life of our glorious leader Kim Jong Un, the Supreme Commander of North Korea, into production in the hope that this will appease the Guardians of Peace.

A spokesperson for Sony said that they had known nothing about The Interview and don’t even think it actually got made. She told the Studio Exec EXCLUSIVELY:

You know Seth and James both toke the medical marijuana, so there’s a good chance they just smoked the budget and stayed in bed and then pretended to do the film. Those production stills look like Photoshop to me. Anyway that’s all bridge under the water now. What I want to talk about is how excited and thrilled we are to be making something that is finally going to give the world a more balanced view of Kim Jong-Un who, here at Sony, we revere kind of like a God.

So what films are in production?

We have Young Jong. This is going to be a co-production with Pixar and will feature the voice talent of Zac Efron as the Divine Leader when he was only a child. Here we’ll see how Jong was worshipped by his classmates and teachers and how he helped an old man fly a house with balloons.

That sounds like Up.

Yeah, we used some of the Up footage and out takes, but in this version the old man will largely be a passenger and it’s Jong-Un who does everything, as actually happened in real reality.

What else you got?

Next up we have Daniel Day Lewis in a new film directed by Steven Spielberg called Jong-Un. This is more a worthy historical biopic which will show Jong-Un in the crisis period of his life when his father was on the verge of death.

Will Daniel Day Lewis be employing his usual method technique to portray Jong-Un?

He already has been. You remember this year when no one had seen Jong-Un for a few months and then he came back but he was limping… well, I better not say anything else, but he was limping with his left foot, if you catch my drift.

Got it. And finally…?

And finally we have The Expendables 4. Kim Jong-Un has always been a big Sylvester Stallone fan and Stallone is making a new Expendables film but this time the ageing  mercenaries are called by a new charismatic leader to go to war with the evil empire of South Korea. Sylvester and Statham don’t have much to do in this film. They’re captured in the first act and it’s Kim Jong-Un who does all the fighting, killing literally millions and millions of people in an attempt to rescue them.

For more on  the Sony Hack READ HERE.

SONY PLANS THE INTERVIEW TRILOGY

HOLLYWOOD – James Franco and Seth Rogen’s film The Interview is to be followed by a further two films to complete a trilogy, Sony announced today, surprisingly not via a hacked email.

A spokesperson for the studio said that initially Sony had been lukewarm about the film and neither Seth Rogen nor James Franco had been keen on a follow up:

This was to be a one off political satire, but following all the stress that we’ve gone through courtesy of Guardians of the Peace, a North Korean cyber attack, we thought f*ck it, we might as well go for it now, if only to piss those bastards off.

 The remarkably candid spokesperson went on:

You see what the hack represents isn’t some freedom of speech thing like Wikileaks or Edward Snowden. Nor is it some exercise in web freedom and subversion. No, rather this is a form of censorship via extortion. They are basically saying don’t go after us or we can sabotage your entire operation. And if we let it go at that, then what other regime might try similar tactics? When will we get a satirical film about China’s human rights record or Russia’s? Or for that matter a documentary or serious drama? So that’s why we say, listen here Kim Jong Un, you asshole, stop behaving like a dick, or we’re just going to keep getting Franco and Rogen to go after you again and again.

The Interview: Kim Jong Un  will be followed by The Interview: Kim Jong Deux and The Interview: Kim Jong Trois, released in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

SONY EMAIL CALLS JAMES FRANCO ‘TALENTED’

HOLLYWOOD – Already reeling from the revelations of the recent hacking by the Guardians of the Peace, a new Sony email has revealed that top ranking executives thought James Franco was ‘talented’.

The exchange between Scott Rudin and Amy Pascal is much more amicable than the one previously published and involving the development of the Jobs movie. Even though the culprit has been arrested, hacked material continues to emerge.

<<Hey Amy,

Listen. I’m really pleased with the idea of casting James Franco with his buddy and Pineapple Express co-star Seth Rogen. I think the two are dynamite together. They will be this millennia’s Abbot and Costello. Mark my words. Good job Amy.

Scott>>

 <<Hi Scott,

Thanks for the words of encouragement. I know we don’t always see eye to eye (cf. Jobs emails) but I think we can both agree that James Franco is a no-brainer for this one. The guy has the whole package: smart, funny and dreamy to look at. Am I right?

Amy>>

 <<Hey Amy,

No you’re not wrong. Plus he’s a nice guy as well. And I hear he writes novels too. I’ve never read his book but one of my assistants tells me that it’s actually not horrible. Not that horrible.

Scott>>

<<Scott,

We should do more for Franco. I don’t think the world has had the opportunity to truly appreciate what a ‘talented’ guy he actually is. I mean, Spider-man 2 was obviously a game-changer, but he directs and writes poetry and appeared in a documentary about Marina Abramovic, the Eastern European tennis player.

Amy>>

<<Amy,

I love tennis! Jesus, it’s just crazy about how much we agree on this. I think we should just create a massive money pot dedicated to helping Franco do whatever it is he wants to do. Years from now the world will look back on this moment and say ‘Why did they not give the star of Oz: The Great and Powerful more exposure.

The Interview will be released despite all of this.