- - Monday, October 24, 2011

Will Ferrell receives Mark Twain humor prize

Will Ferrell, who refined his impersonation of President George W. Bush on “Saturday Night Live” and later took his presidential act to Broadway, was awarded the nation’s top humor prize Sunday night.

The 44-year-old TV star went on to make movies and co-found the popular website FunnyOrDie.com in a career that won him the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

It was the Bush impression, though, that might have made the Washington crowd laugh — and cringe — the most Sunday.

“Washington is not a city much known for its comedy — at least not the intentional kind,” said PBS news anchor Gwen Ifill, who mentored Mr. Ferrell on his journalistic skills for the movie “Anchorman.”

She introduced a clip of Mr. Ferrell playing Mr. Bush in “You’re Welcome, America: A Final Night with George W. Bush” on Broadway. Dressed in a flight suit under a banner that read “Mission Accomplished” in a mock Oval Office he explained how Morocco had sent a special unit of 2,000 trained monkeys to fight terrorism “and make children laugh.”

With that kind of comedy, Mr. Ferrell had accomplished something amazing, Miss Ifill said.

“He got Democrats to pay and see and applaud George W. Bush,” she said.

Conan O’Brien, Jack Black, Matthew Broderick, Ben Stiller and Billie Joe Armstrong from the rock band Green Day performed Sunday in Mr. Ferrell’s honor, joined by Molly Shannon, Tim Meadows and Andy Samberg from Mr. Ferrell’s “SNL” days.

The show was taped for broadcast Monday on PBS stations nationwide.

Mr. Black opened the show with a song-and-dance routine for his friend and tried to lead the crowd in chanting “Will will, Will will rock you.”

Mr. O’Brien thanked Mr. Ferrell for being his first guest and his last guest when he was host of NBC’s “Tonight Show.”

“It’s a rare friend who’s going to stick with you for 5 1/2 months,” he said.

Some of Mr. Ferrell’s famous sketches from “SNL” were played on the big screen, including his “more cowbell” routine and performance as Craig the Spartan cheerleader.”

When he finally received the prize, a bronze bust of Twain, Mr. Ferrell promptly dropped it on stage and tried to pick up the broken pieces. He joked that he had turned the prize down 13 times before but decided to accept this time because of the prize money (there isn’t any) and to be watched on PBS “by hundreds of people across this country.”

He thanked the Kennedy Center as “one of the few places that uphold comedy as what it truly is, an art form.”

Thirteen other people have won the Mark Twain Prize since 1998, including Tina Fey, Bill Cosby, Steve Martin and Whoopi Goldberg. It recognizes people who have followed the tradition of Samuel Clemens, the writer known as Mark Twain who used social commentary and satire to have an impact on society.

‘Jersey Shore’ house available to renters

Fans of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” can get a firsthand look at the gym-tan-laundry lifestyle by renting the house where the reality series is taped.

All you need is $2,500 a night and your own drama.

Renters of the home in Seaside Heights have access to the duck phone and the double bed in the Smush Room — but they won’t find the usual mess because the landlord cleaned the place, the Associated Press reported.

Joe Ambrosini of Philadelphia, who rented the house, told the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey that people took his picture anytime he went out on the deck. The 33-year-old said it was like “buying 15 minutes of fame.”

Jennifer Bauer of Toms River, N.J., said it was cool sleeping in the same bedrooms where the cast stayed. But Miss Bauer said she brought her own sheets.

Bieber, Aguilera, Maroon 5 set to perform at AMAs

Justin Bieber, Christina Aguilera, Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson and Maroon 5 are set to perform at the American Music Awards next month.

Producer Larry Klein announced the latest group of AMA entertainers Monday. They join previously announced performers Katy Perry and Pitbull.

Fans can vote online for the winners of the AMAs, which will be presented Nov. 20 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

Mr. Klein said the host-free show will feature unusual pairings such as Miss Aguilera performing “Moves Like Jagger” with Maroon 5.

The AMAs will air live on ABC.

Chord Overstreet returns to ‘Glee’ in December episodes

It’s official: Chord Overstreet will reprise his role as Sam Evans on “Glee” for a multi-episode arc this December, Fox confirmed Monday. The Hollywood Reporter confirmed last week that he was in talks to return to the show.

“We love Chord and have always said that we wanted him back,” show creator Ryan Murphy said. “So here’s an early Christmas present for all the Gleeks — Sam is coming back to McKinley, and just in time for sectionals!”

The actor parted ways with the series last season after seeing co-stars Darren Criss (Blaine) and Harry Shum Jr. (Mike) promoted to series regulars. On the show, his character moved out of state after his father lost his job.

The show returns to Fox with new episodes at 8 p.m. Nov. 1.

Netflix expanding service to Britain in 2012

Netflix Inc. plans to offer its online subscription service to Britain and Ireland starting early next year, providing access to movies and television shows.

The company said Monday that subscribers will get unlimited TV shows and movies streaming online to their televisions, computers, tablets and cellphones for a monthly fee, the Associated Press reported.

The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company said details about pricing, content and support devices will be disclosed closer to launch.

Netflix started streaming to the U.S. in 2007 and added Canada in 2010 and 43 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in September. The company has more than 25 million members in the U.S., Canada and Latin America.

From web and wire reports



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