Author Archives: lightray

Louis C.K. and Albert Brooks on tap for TBS animated ‘Cops’ comedy

USA TODAY | link ›

By Gary Levin


A new animated comedy starring the dynamic duo of  Louis C.K. and Albert Brooks has landed at TBS.

The cable network has ordered 10 episodes of The Cops, which the comedians also created and will produce with Greg Daniels (The Office).

The series follows two Los Angeles officers, Al (Brooks) and Lou (Louis C.K.), “trying their best to protect and serve, sometimes failing at both,” the network said.

“Ride with them as they patrol one of the biggest cities in the world, then go home with them and be glad you’re not married to either.”

The pair are no stranger to animated projects: Both co-starred in The Secret Life of Pets, while Brooks is fresh off Finding Dory.

FX Productions, where Louis C.K. has a development deal, is producing the series for TBS.

The series, due next year, continues a push by the network into animated comedy. It resurrected American Dad, canceled by Fox, and two other new series, Tarantula (about people in a seedy hotel) and Final Space, an “interstellar comedy.”

When Reality was a Joke: The Making of Albert Brooks’ Real Life

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By Tom Teicholz

Today, reality TV is a genre for which they award Emmys, from which careers are born, love is found, and fortunes are made. Reality TV represents a huge share of the television industry, and we accept that these shows are cast, produced, and edited to enhance their drama. Yet if we see humor in the self-seriousness of the participants and delight in the outrageousness of their antics, if we see the irony in the genre’s ability to produce stars (and even presidential candidates!) and acknowledge it as part of “show business” — then we’d do well to recall that these insights have already been abundantly elucidated in Albert Brooks’ prescient 1979 debut feature film, Real Life.


Brooks realized, long before anyone else, that cameras filming real people’s lives would not only affect and change their subjects, but would also affect those making the film. Brooks understood that, in the end, any production was inevitably show biz, and that show biz is a beast which must be fed and whose gravity, like a black hole, sucks up every imaginable cliché and past convention. In other words, this was a subject ripe for the comic intervention of Brooks, whose style was avant-garde and cerebral and rooted in the deconstruction of the creative process and the exploding of classic comedic tropes. Brooks was meta before meta was cool. Continue reading

Exclusive: Albert Brooks films are swimming to Netflix

usatoday | link ›

By Gary Levin

Albert Brooks may be best known as Marlin, “the adorable clownfish” from Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, or the sweaty reporter from Broadcast News, a role that won him his only Oscar nomination.

But he’s also starred in, written and directed seven often-acclaimed films, all of which will surface on Netflix for the first time starting Friday, where they’ll be available to U.S. subscribers.

Brooks’ output covers a 26-year span from 1979’s Real Life, a spoof of the seminal 1973 PBS reality program An American Family, to 2005’s Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World,  and also included better known titles such as Lost in America, Modern Romance and Defending Your Life, with Meryl Streep, celebrating its 25th anniversary. In many, he plays neurotic characters in showbiz coping with professional or relationship woes.

But until now, the movies have been available only on cable channels or for purchase or rental on iTunes or Amazon Prime Video.

What changed? Though he’s no advocate of kidnapping, Brooks dryly jokes in a promotional video, “picking the right child, from the right executive, had a very good result.” And he’s pleased that a younger generation who may only know his voice from Nemo or Dory, “can now see that I have had a very interesting life out of the water.” (His voice also can be heard in The Secret Life of Pets, out next week).

“Albert Brooks and his films have been a huge influence on American comedy,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer and a big Brooks fan, in a statement. “His innovative early short films and comedy albums led to a body of film work that thrives in the culture and keeps us laughing today. We are proud to have our U.S. Netflix members revisit these great works and to help introduce Brooks’ comedies to the next generation of fans.”

The full slate:

  • Real Life (1979): In his directorial debut, Brooks plays a documentary filmmaker who lives with, and films, a dysfunctional family for an entire year.
  • Modern Romance (1981): Brooks plays a film editor having relationship issues with his patient girlfriend (Kathryn Harrold).
  • Lost in America (1985): A married couple (Brooks, Julie Hagerty), inspired by Easy Rider, quit their jobs, sell their house and set out in their Winnebago to explore the country and re-examine their lives.
  • Defending Your Life (1991): Brooks’ character dies and arrives in the afterlife, where he learns he must stand trial to justify his fears before advancing to the next phase of his existence, or else be sent back to Earth to live it again.
  • Mother (1996): Here he plays a neurotic sci-fi writer, in the midst of his second divorce, who moves in with his mom (Debbie Reynolds) to better understand why his relationships failed.
  • The Muse (1999): Brooks plays a Hollywood screenwriter with a dry spell, so his friend recommends a muse (Sharon Stone) who can inspire him. But she comes at a steep price.
  • Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World (2005): In his most recent effort as writer-director, Brooks is sent by the U.S. government to India and Pakistan to issue a report on what the followers of Islam find funny.

‘Defending Your Life’ at 25: Albert Brooks on Making a Comedy Classic


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By Jennifer Wood

The funniest man alive on his heavenly film’s 25th anniversary: “I got a letter from a parent who said their kid memorized the whole movie”


If heaven exists, what would it look like?

It’s one of life’s big questions, and if you believe what you see in the movies, it’s a place full of white fluffy clouds and friendly angels pining for their life back on our Big Blue Marble. But that’s not how Albert Brooks sees it.

Twenty-five years ago — and less than a year after Ghost stormed the box office — Brooks wrote, directed, and starred in Defending Your Life, the story of an ad man who buys himself a Bimmer for his 40th birthday, then promptly drives it into a bus. The bulk of the movie happens in a place called Judgment City, a pleasant enough pit stop for the dearly departed that operates a lot like a Fortune 500 company. Continue reading

Louis C.K., Albert Brooks Prep Animated FX Pilot


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Louis C.K. and Albert Brooks will co-create, co-producer and co-star in an as-yet-untitled animated comedy pilot for FX Frederick M. Brown/Getty, Paul Drinkwater/NBC/Getty

Two of comedy’s most cynical commentators, Louis C.K. and Albert Brooks, are teaming up to create a new animated pilot. The duo will co-write and executive produce the show, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and they will voice two of the as-yet-untitled show’s lead roles. The show, a pilot order that will be prepared for FX, will run 30 minutes.

The pilot will mark the first time Brooks has served as creator of a television series. He’s previously lent his voice to The Simpsons and portrayed a character on Weeds. Prior to those shows, the last television show he worked on was Saturday Night Live in its first season.

Albert Brooks in ‘Concussion’: Another Oscar nomination for a scene-stealing performance?

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While much of the talk about “Concussion” has been about Will Smith’s stand-out performance as Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist who first discovered the football-related brain injury CTE, equal attention should be paid to Albert Brooks’ turn as Omalu’s friend and mentor, Dr. Cyril Wecht. The beloved funnyman, who shaved his head for the role, could reap his second Oscar bid almost three decades after contending for “Broadcast News.”

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