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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Rob Riggle to Go "Chasing the Dragon" in Non-Green Screened China

POSTED BY: TheInDecider

Photo By Noah WeinzweigJust heard word that next week -- while the world watches in horror as the Olympic Games unfurl -- The Daily Show's Senior Foreign Correspondent Rob Riggle will be behind the Bamboo Curtain in China (not in front of a green screen projection of China) reporting on the country's growing position as the superpower that will destroy us all.

From a press release that some guy chick wrote or something...

"Rob Riggle: Chasing the Dragon" features Riggle reporting in and around Beijing including Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall of China and also interviewing some of China's leaders in media and business.

This marks the second time that field producer Glenn Clements has teamed up with Riggle to produce international nightly reports for the show. In August 2007, they travelled to Iraq for "Operation Silent Thunder."

This should be the most exciting piece of journalistic television since Geraldo Rivera found the Lindbergh baby inside Al Capone's vault.

Photo by Noah Weinzweig

Take a look at some "Operation Silent Thunder" after the jump.

Original here

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I was originally hoping to have this roast recap up for you to read yesterday. Unfortunately, I'm a lightweight Midwesterner and it was both my first business trip and first after-party. In a nutshell, I drank too many pink squirrels, woke up yesterday morning naked at the top of the "Y" on the Hollywood sign, and it took a while for me to put together bail money. Luckily I took notes and photos, so the memory of the night can live on in the blogospere, even it's been erased from my brain.

After the jump, you can find my complete wrap up, beginning with the red carpet. But if you find it to be TL;DR, just know that the show-stealer was without a doubt Cloris Leachman. She may be an 82-year-old Oscar winner, but she tells and takes pussy jokes with the grace and aplomb of a 35-year-old featured act at The Laugh Factory. She completely killed and also provided more than ample fodder for the other comics on the dais. See for yourself:




Anyway, on with the recap.

The Red Carpet

Like I said, I took notes. And they were great notes too, because I'm a journalist. Actually, I'm a journalist like a veterinary assistant is a doctor, but I got the same press badge as everyone else.

So I arrived for the red carpet, which was actually blue, and hung out for a while with the press people. The guy next to me struck up a conversation, and after a few minutes I realized he was Marc Price, who played Skippy on Family Ties. He was covering the roast for iJoke.tv and was a nice dude.

After a little while the guests started showing up. Here are a few highlights...

Alonzo Bodden

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Gilbert Gottfried

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Dave Coulier

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Brian Posehn

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Susie Essman

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Doug Benson

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Paul Provenza

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After a few minutes, the battery in my camera died. Did I mention I'm bad at my job?

The Roast

After the red carpet, I made my way inside. There was a goat ahead of me.

I enjoyed the bread basket at our table and some free beer delivered by a pretty lady, and before long, the show was starting. Needless to say, lots of dirty, mean things were said about everyone onstage, and a few people who weren't. Here's a selection of my favorite lines from the night:

John Stamos

"Jeff Garlin went on Jenny Craig. He cracked three of her ribs."

Greg Giraldo

On Jon Lovitz: "There hasn't been a more effeminate Jew in the closet since Anne Frank."

Jeffrey Ross

"In honor of the late George Carlin, here are seven more words you can't say on TV: 'And the Emmy goes to Bob Saget.'"

Brian Posehn

"I don't even know Bob. I'm just here because Lisa Lampanelli finally got murdered by one of her black boyfriends."

Cloris Leachman

On Bob Saget: "You didn't just kill sitcoms. You raped them and left them for dead, just like I did to Gavin MacLeod in 1975."

Norm Macdonald

[Ed. Note: Norm did this brilliant anti-comedy set of clean old-timey insult jokes that left half the audience baffled and the other half laughing their asses off. The delivery was so essential to the effect, so it probably won't come across in print.]

"Susie Essman may be a vegetarian, but she's still full of bologna in my book."

"Bob takes vitamins A, B, C, D, E, F and G, but he still looks like H!"

Jeff Garlin

On Susie Essman: "Whenever Hollywood needs a loud-mouth bitch, you're the fifth person they call."

Jim Norton

"Cloris Leachman's pussy is so big Baby Jessica had to be rescued when she fell in it."

Gilbert Gottfried

"Cloris Leachman is so old, her tits are marked 'White' and 'Colored.'"

Bob Saget

On Jeffrey Ross: "If you looked any more like a horse, Norm Macdonald would lose ten-grand on you."

The Post-Party

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In a word, the party was fun. In two words it was really fun. Fun, but hazy. I think someone might have spiked my vodka with alcohol. I should probably press charges. Anyway, it was held on a WB backlot that looked like a city neighborhood, and everyone from the roast was there. Also they had a churro station. Why doesn't everyone have one of those? I'm going to talk to my wife about getting a churro station installed at our house. Wish me luck.

Brian Posehn and Jeff Garlin

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Bob Saget and Jim Norton

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In conclusion, I loved being at the roast. I love my job. I love churros. I love you. The end.

Original here

The Clash's Shea Stadium Gig Heading To CD


Long bootlegged and sought after by collectors, the Clash's Oct. 13, 1982, performance at New York's Shea Stadium will finally see official release Oct. 7 via Legacy.

The gig found the Clash opening for the Who on the latter band's "farewell" tour, and features a wealth of favorites, from "London Calling" and "Police on My Back" to "The Magnificent Seven" and "Clampdown."

The band, which at the time was touring in support of its recent album "Combat Rock," also offered up the singles from that effort, "Should I Stay or Should I Go" and "Rock the Casbah." According to Legacy, late guitarist Joe Strummer found the Shea tapes while preparing to move into a new house.

In other Clash news, a new biography culled from extensive band interviews, "The Clash by the Clash," will be released Nov. 4 via Grand Central Books.

Here is the track list for "Live at Shea Stadium":
Kosmo Vinyl Introduction
"London Calling"
"Police on My Back"
"Guns Of Brixton"
"Tommy Gun"
"The Magnificent Seven"
"Armagideon Time"
"The Magnificent Seven" (return)
"Rock the Casbah"
"Train in Vain"
"Career Opportunities"
"Spanish Bombs"
"Clampdown"
"English Civil War"
"Should I Stay or Should I Go"
"I Fought the Law"

Original here


Piracy could put film industry out of business, warns group

By Jacqui Cheng
Illegal downloads of popular films are nearly as numerous as box office visits, a French antipiracy association claims. The Association Against Audiovisual Piracy (ALPA) analyzed P2P traffic in France between November 2007 and June 2008 and concluded that a number of popular films had been downloaded so many times that the phenomenon could endanger the entire film industry.

ALPA monitored 100 of the most popular films (both French and foreign) on P2P networks during this time period and found that these films represented some 90 percent of all P2P downloads. The association says that there was a daily average of 450,000 downloads (in December, it was 536,000 per day), and a monthly average of over 14 million downloads.

For example, ALPA told the AFP that French film Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis averaged 9,800 downloads per day after its box office release in March, and it has been downloaded 682,000 times so far. That's a lot of downloads, but compared to the 20 million box office tickets the film has sold in France, we would hesitate to say that the box office is going to be closing down anytime soon.

Still, ALPA apparently believes that the evidence is strong enough to warrant some pretty strong language. "We are facing a major phenomenon that can endanger the film industry and audiovisual industries. We did not expect such figures," ALPA director Frederic Delacroix told the AFP.

He added that the association believes these numbers are just the beginning, as ALPA only examined the most popular films and not the industry as a whole. "The piracy of films requires urgent measures," he added.

Delacroix noted that a proposed anti-filesharing plan could be one solution to the problem. The plan, backed by French president Nicolas Sarkozy, would have repeat offenders lose their Internet connections (known as the "three-strikes" rule) and would require ISPs to strictly monitor their networks for copyright infringement. The total cost of Internet service may also rise, as ISPs will apparently have to spend time and money enforcing copyright on their networks with expensive deep packet inspection (DPI) gear.

Subscribers detected illicitly sharing or downloading copyrighted material will receive warnings. If the behavior continues, then Internet access would be guillotined. Most of this will be carried out by a government-funded independent authority overseen by a judge.

ALPA's full report won't be publicly available until September, but as Variety has pointed out, parts of it were leaked over the Internet this week without ALPA's permission. Ironic, that.
Original here

Show Tracker: What you're watching

Ejo250_jy05gonc Months before its final 10 episodes begin airing in January, we now know for certain that "Battlestar Galactica" will live on -- in the form of a two-hour special on the Sci Fi Channel to air in 2009 after the series concludes.

The unnamed feature will be directed by the show's co-star, Edward James Olmos, and written by "Battlestar" writer and former "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" brain Jane Espenson.

The stand-alone will document the Cylons' attempts -- those of two agents in particular -- to grapple with human survivors, both those aboard ships and those left alive on planets, shortly after the Cylons' destruction of human home worlds.

So it's a flashback, but not all the way back.

Three confirmed cast members are Michael Trucco (Sam Anders), Aaron Douglas (Galen Tyrol), and Dean Stockwell (Cavil, Cylon model No. 1) -- all Cylons. Shooting will begin promptly in Vancouver, Canada, and Sci Fi promises women regulars are being cast as well, with more names coming soon.

"Razor," the "BSG" event-movie that aired last November, was a successful test. "Not only did it do well on the air, it did phenomenally well in the international and DVD market," said Mark Stern, executive vice president of original programming for Sci Fi.

Produced by the newly-formed Universal Cable Productions (of which Stern is also a co-head), there is also "a disproportionately larger amount of money from foreign and DVD money," more than would be devoted to an average pilot, he said. (Both "Razor" and the two-hour event/pilot of "Caprica" have been produced in this fashion.) "I think it is the Holy Grail for us, in which we get high-quality programming for a lower license fee," Stern said. He declined to reveal the budget, saying that it was "expensive" and "very healthy," and that they were at first "skeptical" that the studio could get it.

"I was impressed with how high they were able to make it," he said.

So the transformation of Sci Fi and its related and parent entities into essentially a film studio was the hold-up to the deal. "What you don't want to do is do them in some half-assed way where they're not as good as they needed to be," he said.

The channel came to executive producer Ronald D. Moore once the finances were set. The story idea Moore brought back from the writers is the one indeed being made, although there was some back-and- forth, with the network's concern being that a new viewer could jump right in. "What was more of a burden to Ron in this particular case was the availability of who's out there," said Stern.

So did the cast, now more well-known thanks to "BSG," play hardball for their rates in the event-movie? "The cast are lovely," said Stern. "That's not to say we're not getting phone calls from their agents saying, 'They're huge now.' And we're respectful of that. We're not expecting anyone to do it because they owe us. There are actors that have come to some prominence; they're helping us out because they want to do it."

And, on the other side, have the news-hungry fans been driving the network crazy? "The short answer is absolutely not," said Stern, who has been a regular target of angry fans. (He was blamed for the death of "Farscape," even though he arrived at the network after it had been killed.) "The longer answer is all of our fans are kind of rowdy and invested," he said. "There's no question that there's an appetite for wanting more -- by the way, which started with us! We're all feeling, 'Does it have to be over already?' "

So, it does not entirely, though Stern said that more specials would not be produced at the same time as the first, even though some cast and crew would be assembled.

"I promise you that, not having shot a frame of footage, it will blow you away," Stern said.

Oh yes? Let's let the real experts decide.

"I'm a big fan of Edward James Olmos as a director," said Erica Blitz, co-editor of the blog Galactica Sitrep. "All his episodes have been highly unique and really wild, especially that one from Season 3, 'Taking a Break from All Your Worries'? That was wild!"

"I want to see more Jane Espenson," said Annalee Newitz, editor of sci fi blog io9, when consulted, pre-announcement, about her "BSG" future wish list. "I really like her, I like the episodes she's done. She does a really great job with dialogue and character development. She did the episode 'The Hub,' which was like super-amazing."

Original here

Exclusive: A look The Script For V: THE MOVIE!

By El Mayimbe on August 6, 2008


El Mayimbe here with more of my post Comic-Con scoops.

If you were a kid of the 1980’s like I was, then you remember how huge V was back in 1983. How big was V?

The original four hour mini-series was a landmark event in television. The initial broadcast in North America drew and kept 80 million viewers! It was NBC’s highest rated program for two and a half years. The ratings still places it among the Top 15 mini-series in all of television history. V was named by TV Guide as Number Five among The Top 25 Sci-Fi Legends in TV History and was selected by Entertainment Weekly as one of the The 25 Greats: The Best Sci-Fi TV & Movies of The Last 25 Years. V’s 2001 DVD release became an instant best-seller worldwide with no advertising or promotion. Video sales are over 2.5 million units. Damn! I don’t have my dvd yet, hopefully Mr. Johnson can send me an autographed copy after he reads this.

For a hot minute now, Kenneth Johnson, V’s creator has been trying to get the movie and a true sequel to his original mini-series made (V: The 2nd Generation based on his novel). The juggernaut that was V, I’m sure it will find a home soon. As little as two weeks ago on Kenneth Johnson’s website, he claims that folks are working hard to bring it before cameras.

I loved it as a kid and was thrilled when I was able to score the 145 page script dated September 1, 2007. V: THE MOVIE is a film adaptation of the critically acclaimed 1983 two-part television mini series. I read the script on the nightmarish plane ride home back to New York from L.A. and the read kept me occupied.

So what’s the verdict?

Loved it then, and love it still. The script’s biggest success is modernizing the premise into a well-paced story that draws parallels to the modern war in Iraq. As a script, V: THE MOVIE tells an epic story solidly. The plot follows many key and important characters but focuses mainly on news cameraman Mike as he fights his way to expose the true nature of the hostile alien threat, while joining a small but growing number of human resisters against the alien occupation.

The story worked 25 years ago and still works today. The lead characters, the central conflict and the overall plot are extremely similar to INDEPENDENCE DAY and V FOR VENDETTA and in fact V: THE MOVIE could be pitched as those two mentioned rolled into one. Drawing upon the major Orwellian themes found in the aforementioned films, while coupling it with a blood thirsty hostile alien race looking to steal earth’s resources and enslaving mankind, the script is no doubt HUGELY commercial!

Here is the summary of V: THE MOVIE. Warning spoilers lay ahead…

MIKE DONOVAN, 35 a news cameraman, is caught in the middle of a war between rebel fighters and government military somewhere in Africa. He films the bloody battle unfold with the help of his assistant and partner TONY LEE, 35, just as a military attack helicopter explodes in midair. Confused, the pair look up into the sky to see a giant, looming alien craft engulf the sky. Meanwhile, JULIE PARISH, 26 and a med student, sits in her bioresearch lab showing off her cancer treatment discoveries when a TV is turned on and a newscast reveals that huge alien crafts have arrived at all major cities around the globe.

Later in New York, a huge alien ship looms overhead and asks to speak to the head of the United Nations. Once the Secretary General agrees to speak with the aliens (the Visitors as they will be referred to as), the aliens reveal they come in peace and seek human help to save their dying planet. They ask to transform existing chemical plants to manufacture their needed element. In a gesture of good will, they invite humans onboard their craft. Having come home from Africa, Mike is selected to board the alien craft to take pictures and forward them to the rest of the world.

Having now established human trust, the Visitors and humans implement a joint law enforcement task force to curb violence. With this, the Visitors secretly and menacingly start killing and kidnapping many scientists worldwide. With the public still unaware of what is occurring, they broadcast a message to the world saying that scientists have implemented a conspiracy against the Visitors and that they are endangering their efforts to help mankind. Just as soon as it’s started, a global hatred for scientists and their families springs up.

Mike and Tony uncover evidence that the Visitors may not be who they say they are. Mike is able to sneak onboard the alien mother ship in an effort to gain some answers. He’s shocked to discover that the Visitors eat live animals and are reptilian in appearance, instead of human like they present themselves to be. A Visitor sees Mike and attacks him, ensuing in a small struggle. Mike is able to escape the ship with some wounds, but in the process alerts the aliens to his hostile intentions. Mike is able to get most of what he saw on video and tries to air the footage at the television station, but is blocked by the Visitors who label Mike as a terrorist and offer a substantial reward for his capture.

As the Visitors tighten control on the world and implement marshal law, Julie decides she’s had enough of the Visitors and the backlash she faces for being involved in science. She creates the Resistance organization, aimed at ousting and exposing the Visitors, and manages to find some people that are willing to fight for the cause. Meanwhile, Mike and Tony enter a Visitor chemical plant to sabotage it, but are faced with Visitor Troops. They lose the battle and are hauled off to the mother ship. Onboard, Mike gets a glimpse of the shocking truth when he discovers humans being tortured and imprisoned. MARTIN, a 40-year-old Visitor sympathetic to the Resistance, tells Mike he’ll help him escape and to get away as fast as he can.

Having now established a small Resistance movement, Julie takes in the newly escaped Mike. She offers Mike insight on the movement as Mike tells of his experience on board the ship. They agree that Mike should once again go onboard to see if he can get more answers and somehow sabotage the Visitor effort. Once Mike sneaks onboard, Julie and the Resistance attack a military armory to stock up on much needed firepower.

Mike makes his way through the depths of the mother ship. He runs into Martin, who tells him that the Visitors are there to take all of Earth’s precious water and that they want humans for food and for slave troops back on their home planet. They don’t want to share the water, but take it all for themselves. Meanwhile outside the mother ship, many Visitor fighter crafts attack the humans and Resistance fighters below. The Resistance furiously battle back, with the help of Mike and his stolen alien fighter, and are able to take down a few fighter crafts. They taste victory as they win the battle with the Visitors.

Three months later, one of the girls in the Resistance gives birth to a half-breed baby from an apparent earlier sexual encounter with a Visitor. The Resistance realizes that the only hope of survival and victory against the Visitors is to send out a distress signal into space in hopes of another alien race, enemies to the Visitors, pick up the signal and come to help out mankind. Out in space, an alien insectoid ship picks up the signal and decides to head to earth to assist humans in battling the Visitors.

Yes, the movie ends on a cliffhanger which leads into V: The 2nd Generation. I also managed to score the script to the sequel, V: The 2nd Generation and will take a look at it in a future script review.
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The 36-Year-Old Virgin

If you’re one of the many who paid to see the $150 million–earning Knocked Up last summer, then Craig Robinson’s face should trigger a laugh or three. In his first mainstream film role, he made an impression as a nightclub bouncer denying entry to the pregnant heroine (Katherine Heigl) and her 40-plus-year-old sister (Apatow’s wife, Leslie Mann). Largely improvised, the scene is Robinson at his best, equal parts scolding and sweet as he tells Mann, “It’s not that you’re not hot. I would love to tap that ass. I would tear that ass up. But I can’t let you in ’cause you old as fuck—for this club, not, you know, for the Earth.”

Now, a year later, Robinson is starring in Pineapple Express, the latest Apatow outing for which the producer has teamed up with Knocked Up’s Seth Rogen. Needless to say, he’s thrilled. “It’s like being a role-player on a championship team’s bench,” he says. “Come in, shoot a three, then go back to flirting with the cheerleaders. But now I’m trying to become a starter.”

His early days are the stuff of Apatow’s films, in fact—full of dead-end jobs, rejection and girl trouble. After graduating in 1994 from Illinois State University, the Chicagoan followed in his mother’s footsteps, working as an elementary school music teacher by day. But by night, he’d work the mics as a struggling stand-up comic. One particularly unforgiving gig was at a place known as Heckler’s Heaven—a Chicago bar that regularly held open-mic nights and was known for its make-or-break audiences. There, if your joke bombed, you’d be assaulted by a cavalcade of rubber chickens, culminating in an offstage yanking à la Sandman Simms. “Man, did I suck the first time I played there,” says Robinson. “With all the boos, you’d have thought it was bin Laden onstage.”

Undeterred, he decided to cull from his own experiences: embarrassing, relatable and hilarious anecdotes from his college days, delivered with a twist. “I figured I’d at least be original,” he says. So he took the stage armed with funny real-life stories and his Roland JV-30 keyboard. “One night when I was in college, I [booty-called some girl and] started singing a Craig Robinson original: ‘Can I Have Some Booty?’” he says. Although amused, shorty wasn’t buying it. “She was laughing, but more at me than with me,” he recalls. Still, he thought: What made one girl giggle could surely make a crowd cheer, right?

Robinson took that logic all the way back to Heckler’s Heaven. And then one night, sitting behind his instrument, switching from spoken-word to singsong, he suddenly didn’t suck. “The crowd was hypnotized,” he says. “I’ve never done a stand-up set without that keyboard since. It’s crazy what not scoring some booty can do for a brother.”

In the realm of up-and-coming black comedians, Robinson is a fresh voice. Rather than shocking and awing like Dave Chappelle, or tapping into our sociopolitical subconscious like Chris Rock, Robinson takes on the everyday—guys-versus-girls issues—with a subdued, sardonic approach. “I sincerely believe in the hope that there’s somebody out there for everybody,” he deadpans. “And the more I date, the more I realize that my person died at birth or something.” His punch lines are delivered with the same matter-of-factness as their setups, leaving audiences simultaneously disarmed and intrigued. “He’s this big guy with a sweet, teddy-bear quality,” says Judd Apatow. “He can get away with being vicious because you’re always sensing the nice sweetheart behind it.”

Robinson really owes it all to heartache. First seen in 2002 on the short-lived HBO variety series Sketch Pad, his “Somebody’s Fuckin’ My Lady”—a narrative slow jam in the vein of the Ron Isley–R. Kelly “Mr. Biggs” duets—is a five-minute ode to infidelity, with Robinson as Chucky the keyboardist and his friend Jerry Minor as crooner L. Witherspoon.

Highlight? As Minor dials the number found in his girl’s pocket, Robinson’s phone rings. Robinson’s defense, delivered with the smoothness of Gerald Levert, is sung so unflinchingly that you can’t tell whether Chucky is feeling remorse or achievement: “I can’t help it, it’s like every time she says, ‘Hello,’ she’s saying, ‘Hello, Chucky, I wanna fuck you!’” (It’s on YouTube—watch it.)

It was enough to win Apatow over. “I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen anything funnier,” he says. Apparently Bill Maher concurred, inviting the duo to perform the heartbreaker on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher a year later. And then came veteran casting director Allison Jones, who, in 2005, called Robinson to read for a single-episode role on NBC’s The Office. “His character [mailroom employee Darryl] was never meant to be a regular,” says Jones, “but the producers loved Craig so much that they started writing for him more and more. His ability to improv is truly a force of nature.” Once an extra, his character is now an Office mainstay, primed for even more screen time on the show’s sixth season.

The can’t-help-but-laugh-at misery of “Somebody’s Fuckin’ My Lady” continued. In late 2006, Apatow invited both Robinson and Minor to perform at a Knocked Up release benefit in Los Angeles, honoring Seth Rogen for the “charity work he was thinking about maybe doing one day.” Playing to a crowded room of movie-studio executives, Robinson was dynamite. “I remember thinking, ‘Things are really heating up,’” he says of that time. “My stand-up shows were already more crowded thanks to The Office, but after that, I could hear the big screens calling.”

For Knocked Up, Jones continued her pro-Robinson campaign, joining forces with Apatow to handpick Robinson for the aforementioned nightclub-bouncer scene. “After that, I became the president of the Craig Robinson fan club,” says Apatow. Chris Rock, who had caught a prerelease, private Knocked Up screening, was such a fan of the scene that he personally called Robinson to cast him in the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Hump de Bump” video, which Rock directed. “I was eating lunch in Los Angeles recently, and he happened to walk by my table,” says Robinson. “He points to me and shouts, ‘This guy is going to be big! Just wait and see.’”

In Pineapple Express, the stoner action comedy, he plays Matheson, a completely inept and sentimental hit man hired to kill two potheads (Rogen and Spider-Man’s James Franco) who’ve witnessed a mob murder. Clad in ragged British Knight sneakers, camouflage pajama pants and a sky-blue sleeveless vest, he’s like a poor man’s Mr. T.

Indeed, Pineapple Express marks Robinson’s official induction as the first black member of Apatow’s hilarious, genius, money-raking crew. “The man’s got a level of funk that us white Jews can’t compete with,” says Rogen, who will costar with Robinson again in the forthcoming Zack & Miri Make a Porno. “He brings it every time. When you think he’s chilled out, he’s really concocting something special.” Off-camera, there’s a camaraderie as well. “We both share a similar love for music, weed and strippers,” says Rogen, wryly. “People can’t make fun of me for listening to N.W.A. when Craig is riding shotgun.”

Of course, fame can be a fickle game. Before Pineapple Express’ success can even be measured, director David Gordon Green is writing two scripts specifically for the big fella. “They’re fun, aggressive roles that’ll take advantage of his one-of-a-kind wit,” says Green. But is there risk he’ll soon fizzle or, worse, be a flash in the pan? “His appeal is universal. I really think he’s our next great comic actor,” says Green. Apatow concurs: “He’s one of those guys that you just want to know more about when you watch him. The more people see of him, the more of a demand there’ll be. It’s just a matter of time.”

For his part, Robinson doesn’t seem worried. “I’m able to watch geniuses like Steve Carrell and Seth [Rogen] firsthand, and that’s been my training ground,” he says. “I see what it takes to be the lead, and it’s not for no punks. And please believe: I’m no punk.”

Original here

Bernie Mac has it: what is sarcoidosis?

Because of comedian Bernie Mac, new attention is focusing on sarcoidosis, a little known medical condition that affects tens of thousands of Americans.

Mac, currently hospitalized in Chicago with severe pneumonia, has the condition but has been in remission since 2005. His publicist, Danica Smith, says sarcoidosis isn’t responsible for Mac’s current illness.

But people interested in Mac's condition are searching the Web, looking for more information on this little-known disease. So, here's a primer.

Sarcoidosis is an immune system disorder that can make it hard to breathe, inflame lymph nodes in the neck and the chest, and cause bumps and ulcers to break out on people’s skin.

Most cases are mild, but those that are severe can cause serious scarring in the lungs, a complication that occurs in 20 to 25 percent of patients.

It’s not clear what causes sarcoidosis, though experts believe environmental contaminants can help trigger a genetic susceptibility.

Research studies have found an association between this condition and irritants such as tree pollen, insecticides and moldy environments, the New England Journal of Medicine reported in an overview published last November.

Sarcoidosis is “probably the end result of immune responses to various ubiquitous environmental triggers,” the overview stated.

Typically, our bodies fight perceived threats by mounting an inflammatory response. With sarcoidosis, this response becomes excessive and ends up producing small clumps of cells that can cluster together throughout the body.

If these clusters become large enough, they can begin to interfere with the functioning of various organs. Most commonly affected are the lungs (more than 90 percent of cases), the eyes and the skin.

In the worst cases, inflammation causes irreversible lung scarring, serious eye conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma, or aching and swelling in the legs accompanied by arthritis.

Two-thirds of sarcoidosis patients generally go into remission within a decade of being diagnosed; recurrence of the disease after a year of remission affects fewer than 5 percent of patients, the New England Journal of Medicine reported.

One-third of patients have an "unrelenting," progressive form of this illness that typically leads to organ impairment.

This is primary an illness of adults in the 20- to 40-year-old range. African-Americans are more prone to the condition than whites (the incidence rate among blacks is 35.5 cases per 100,000; among whites it’s 10.9 per 100,000). African-Americans women are twice as likely as men to be struck with the illness.

Symptoms include a persistent cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, night sweats, weight loss, small red bumps on the face, arms or buttocks, red, watery eyes, and arthritis in the ankles, elbows, wrists and hands, according to the Mayo Clinic.

There is no cure for this illness. The most common treatment is Prednisone, a steroid that can have serious side effects. Occasionally, physicians prescribe medications known as immune system suppressants (such as Plaquenil and Methotrexate).

While sarcoidosis can be severe, fewer than 5 percent of patients die f
rom the condition. In the vast majority of cases, symptoms are mild and disappear over time.

Original here