Even though 2010 is barely over, it’s never too early to start budgeting your discretionary income/time for the coming year. Spoiler alert: you’re about to go broke/overbooked, because 2011 is shaping up to be a banner year for funny business. Over the next 12 months your comedic betters will unfurl a steady stream of hilariousness so unrelenting you’ll barely have time to stop and wonder what happened to your life.
Here are some of the things we’re most looking forward to in 2011:
• The Green Hornet (January 14th) is Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s first collaborative screenwriting effort since Superbad (if you don’t count Drillbit Taylor, which you don’t). It may be a superhero movie, but any superhero movie that casts Rogen as its lead has to have a sense of humor, so hopefully this one will.
• The world has been waiting to see Saturday Night Live’s Jason Sudekis’ in a starring role for some time now, and the wait ends with Hall Pass (February 25th), co-starring Owen Wilson. The only problem is that it’s a movie from the Farrelly Brothers, who haven’t exactly delivered their last few times out. With a decent premise seemingly cribbed from the fourth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm (wives allow husbands a limited-time free pass to cheat on them), and a supporting cast that includes Stephen Merchant and Curb Your Enthusiasm scene stealer, JB Smoove, this one looks to break the streak.
• Take Me Home Tonight (March 4th) is a post-college coming of age comedy that unfolds over the course of one day and one party. The late-1980s period piece stars Topher Grace and Anna Faris, and it looks promising – despite a cast that includes Dan Fogler.
• Not much is known about The Hangover Part II (May 26), except for the fact that it definitely will not have a cameo from Mel Gibson and that it will make a jillion dollars.
• Hollywood’s insatiable urge to remake everything continues apace with an update of the seminal Adventures in Babysitting. Now titled The Sitter (July 15), the remake stars Jonah Hill in the Elizabeth Shue role (naturally!) and is directed by the very busy David Gordon Green, who also directed Your Highness.
• Aziz Ansari’s big screen potential will be tested with his starring role in 30 Minutes or Less (August 12) a movie about a pizza delivery driver forced to rob a bank. Directed by Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer, 30 Minutes also stars funny dudes, Danny McBride and Nick Swardson.
• Improbably enough, comedian and director David Wain broke into the mainstream with his commercial and critical hit Role Models in 2008. Now Wain is back with that movie’s screenwriting collaborator, Ken Marino, and star, Paul Rudd, in the new Wanderlust (October 7), about an urban couple branching out to live a more countercultural lifestyle.
• Based on the strength of the vampire musical in his Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Jason Segel was tapped to write the new movie for The Muppets (November 23). Although the movie doesn’t come out until Thanksgiving 2011, expect a constant trickle of news about it emanating from certain nerd circles all year long as more cameos are filmed.
• The feature length debut of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, is also scheduled to arrive at some point in 2011, produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.
• Patrice O’Neal – Elephant in the Room (February)
• Daniel Tosh – Happy Thoughts (March)
• Reggie Watts recently recorded a live album at Jack White’s Third Man studios and that should see the light of day in the coming year. Considering that the improvisational aspect of Reggie’s performance is part of what makes it so exciting, a live album seems like a perfect complement for him.
• Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die is the name of a band that features Paul Rust and Harris Wittels, and their first LP is due in 2011
• The Lonely Island surprised a lot of people in 2008 with a rewarding debut album of goofy white guy rap done right. Will they be able to do it again? The Lonely Island’s still-untitled sophomore set is due in 2011 and the first single, I Just Had Sex, was released just before Christmas to much chuckling.
• Jen Kirkman and Morgan Murphy are headlining the 3rd annual Women in Comedy Festival in Boston on March 9th – 13th. (Jen Kirkman also has a new album coming out in 2011.)
• The 10th Annual San Francisco Sketchfest is taking place January 13th – February 5th. This year’s show features Garry Shandling, Upright Citizens Brigade, and a reunion of Viva Variety (Tom Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, Kerri Kenney, and Michael Ian Black.)
• Chris Rock will be on Broadway in March, but it will be a totally different Chris Rock than we’re used to seeing. Instead of staging a one-man show, Chris Rock will join Bobby Cannavale and Annabella Sciorra in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Motherfucker with the Hat, as the sobriety sponsor of Cannavale’s character.
• Possibly as early as February, Mike Birbiglia will return off-Broadway with his new show, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend. If it’s anything like his Sleepwalk With Me, it will be very funny, heartfelt, and it will run for many months with discounts for NY college students.
• Patton Oswalt has a love of words that becomes more apparent on every hyper-literate, hilarious album he puts out. If any comic should be writing a book, it’s him, and on January 4th, he’ll be releasing Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, a collection of essays. It will be amazing.
• Jon Glaser’s book, My Dead Dad Was in ZZ Top: 100% Real, Never Before Seen Documents from the World of Rock and Roll, comes out on February 8th. Anyone who’s heard Glaser’s ZZ Top bit on the Invite Them Up CD can vouch that this is a good idea.
• Michael Showalter’s comedic memoir, Mr. Funny Pants, is available on February 11th.
• Comedy legend Carol Burnett’s memoir, This Time Together, and Tina Fey’s memoir, Bossypants will both be released in April – just in time to give to your mom for Mother’s Day. Unless you hate your mom or something.
• Mindy Kaling’s collection of essays, The Contents of My Purse, is due in Fall 2011
• Parks & Recreation returns for its third season on January 20th
• Bob’s Burgers, which features the voices of Kristen Schaal, Eugene Mirman, H. Jon Benjamin, and Dan Mintz premieres on Fox on January 9
• Louis CK’s special, Hilarious, will air on Comedy Central January 9th, and the second season of his show, which you may have heard some complimentary remarks about, should be running on FX later in the year.
• The Onion News Network is coming to IFC on January 21, and Onion SportsDome premieres on Comedy Central January 11. Which one will you skip?
• Portlandia is the miraculous intersection of Fred Armisen (known for comedy, but possessing a musical background) with Carrie Brownstein (known for music, but possessing an acting/writing background). It starts on IFC January 21.
• Funny or Die Presents returns to HBO on January 15th, hopefully with 20% more “Drunk History.”
• The second season of twisted cartoon Archer starts January 27th on FX.
• Nick Kroll’s comedy special, Thank You Very Cool, premieres January 29 on Comedy Central. This special updates the familiar one-hour format by weaving in short films, and appearances by his characters Fabrice Fabrice, Bobby Bottleservice, El Chupacabra, and Oh, Hello (featuring John Mulaney – who is also in need of his own special.)
• Amazingly enough, Norm MacDonald has never had a one-hour special, but that is all about to change when his hour-long stand-up set premieres on Comedy Central in March.
• The show Ugly Americans on Comedy Central features frequent guest turns from people like Maria Bamford, Julie Klausner, and Natasha Leggero, so we’re glad to see it coming back for a second season in June
• Is it okay to say that Curb Your Enthusiasm is better than Seinfeld at this point, or is that still the contrarian view? Whatever, they’re both very funny. Curb’s eighth season airs on HBO in 2011 with a plot that will see Larry in New York for several episodes, and feature guest stars Rosie O’Donnell, Michael J. Fox, Scott Aukerman, Ricky Gervais, Ana Gasteyer, and of course, the return of Leon (J.B. Smoove.)
• Speaking of Ricky Gervais, he and writing partner Stephen Merchant are returning to television with their friend and collaborator, the diminutive Warwick Davis, for the BBC series, Life’s Too Short. Hopefully the show will be released before year’s end, but in the meantime, Ricky’s Karl Pilkington show, An Idiot Abroad, comes to Discovery Science on January 21st. Also, the animated Ricky Gervais Show will be returning to HBO January 14th.
• Some twitter feeds have been adapted into TV shows already, but there will be something very different about Mother of All Something – it will probably actually be funny. Kelly Oxford is the first Twitterer to get a deal based on how witty and talented she is, as revealed by her tweets, rather than the popularity and novelty of her Twitter feed’s conceit. The show will be loosely based on the hilarious ex-model’s life as a stay-at-home mom, and hopefully, you can look for it in the fall. (And with regards for Twitter-based television deals – Rob Delaney next, please!)
• Also in development is Eric Slovin and Leo Allen’s Mars-set show for Comedy Central, which will hopefully get picked up and put on the air for twelve seasons, until we start arguing over whether at what point it lost its initial promise.
• Finally, the revived theatrical version of The Pee Wee Herman Show is being filmed for a special on HBO, which will premiere sometime in 2011.