Seth Meyers, Tiffany Haddish, John Mulaney, John Oliver & Sarah Silverman Go Green With Anti-Trump Comedy Event

Read on: Deadline.

Seth Meyers, Mike Birbiglia, Tiffany Haddish, Hasan Minhaj, John Mulaney, John Oliver and Sarah Silverman will band together in New York City next month to save the Earth: Meyers will host the all-star “Night of Comedy” event to benefit a n…

‘Saturday Night Live’: Robert Kraft, Jussie Smollett Seek Help on Legal Edition of ‘Shark Tank’

Read on: Variety.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s sex scandal and “Empire” star Jussie Smollett’s alleged staging of a hate crime took center stage on the Mar. 2 episode of “Saturday Night Live,” in a “legal edition&#8…

‘Saturday Night Live’ Cold Open – Ben Stiller’s Michael Cohen Throws Trump Under the Bus

Read on: Deadline.

Saturday Night Live fired up this weekend’s cold open by taking on Michael Cohen’s jaw-dropping testimony earlier this week before members of the House.
Ben Stiller returned to SNL as Cohen, and arrived with comments for the House Oversight…

Pete Davidson, John Mulaney Reveal Some Crazy Stories – Including One Involving a Cannibal (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“SNL” cast member Pete Davidson and this weekend’s host John Mulaney joined Jimmy Fallon in a smokey room on Thursday for some “True Confessions.”

Here’s the way the “Tonight Show” game works: Participants take turns confessing a random fact while the others interrogate them to determine whether it’s a truth or a lie. Each player is armed with one real story and one fabricated one, the others pick which envelope is opened.

Mulaney was up first: “My neighbor was arrested by the FBI for being a cannibal.”

That one can’t be true, right? Think again. Yeah, this is a messed up world.

Also Read: Watch John Mulaney Completely Blow His 2009 ‘SNL’ On-Camera Debut (Video)

After Fallon shared a blackout drunk story, which was also true, Davidson opened Envelope No. 1.

“Lorne Michaels and I went to Jamaica together on vacation for New Year’s,” Davidson recited.

“I … really want that to be a lie,” Mulaney said.

Also Read: Pete Davidson Says Louis CK Told Lorne Michaels His Weed Habit ‘Makes People Uncomfortable’

The story doesn’t make sense for a number of reasons, especially if you know “Saturday Night Live” boss Michaels.

“There’s really nothing in Jamaica that you haven’t duplicated here in the United States,” Mulaney quipped, clearly referring to Pete’s very public pot-smoking habits.

Making the story even less believable, Davidson said this was during his very first season on “SNL.”

Also Read: Judd Apatow’s Pete Davidson Comedy Set for Summer 2020

“The first season, you’re never really that close with Lorne,” Fallon reasoned.

“Eight episodes in, a man your senior goes, ‘That kid, Jamaica’?” Mulaney said.

Both guessed it was false. Both were wrong.

Watch the video above.

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Watch John Mulaney Completely Blow His 2009 ‘SNL’ On-Camera Debut (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

John Mulaney, who is hosting “SNL” this weekend for the second time, didn’t quite stick the landing in his 2009 on-camera debut, back when he was a “Saturday Night Live” writer. Thankfully, Jimmy Fallon has the video evidence.

Mulaney guested on Thursday’s “Tonight Show” to promote his weekend gig down the hall. While he was there, the stand-up comic shared his “SNL” journey, from failed cast-member audition to present.

Despite not making the cut as a performer, Mulaney was brought aboard as a writer in 2008. The following year, he was called on to be a gloried extra in an Activia Yogurt commercial spoof starring Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis and Abby Elliott. Mulaney didn’t quite nail that very supporting role — and fans can half-blame Bobby Moynihan for that.

Also Read: David Spade to Host Comedy Central’s Latest Attempt at Filling Post-‘Daily Show’ Time Slot

Playing a clapboard operator, Mulaney did his “Take 1!” line without a hitch — and then he got caught celebrating a little too much.

“Then I walked off camera … and then Bobby Moynihan was there, and it was my first time on-camera,” Mulaney recalled. “So we start high-fiving — like, a lot. Like, way too much for one line.”

“And then I look over and Lorne [Michaels] is starring at us,” he continued, “and then I realize that I’m late and I missed my cue. And I ran back on and was like ‘Take 5!’ It was a full lull.”

Also Read: Amy Schumer, John Mulaney Support Boycott of Jerry Media Over Lifted Jokes and Memes

It sure was. Mulaney thought maybe nobody else noticed, but he learned otherwise at the “SNL” after-party that night.

Watch the video above. Sudeikis’ face as he waits for Mulaney is pretty priceless.

Better luck this weekend, bud.

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‘SNL’ Promo: John Mulaney Coulda Been A Not Ready For Prime Time Player

Read on: Deadline.

Just imagine, John Mulaney, who hosts Saturday Night Live this weekend, could have stood next to John Belushi, Gilda Radnor, Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd as an original Not Ready For Prime Time Player if only he’d been hired when he first audition…

Idris Elba to Make ‘SNL’ Hosting Debut Next Month

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Idris Elba is set to host “Saturday Night Live” for the first time next month.

The “Luther” star will be joined by R&B singer Khalid, also making his “SNL” debut, on the March 9 episode of the NBC sketch series.

Elba’s appearance comes in support of his upcoming Netflix comedy, Turn Up Charlie,” which Elba co-created and stars in as a struggling DJ-turned-nanny to his famous friend’s problem-child. Also starring Piper Perabo, JJ Feild and Frankie Hervey, the series premieres Friday, March 15.

Also Read: Alec Baldwin Asks if Trump Twitter Rant ‘Constitutes a Threat’ to His Family’s Safety

The duo follow the previously announced John Mulaney, who is set to return to the show for the second time on March 2. He’ll be joined by country singer Thomas Rhett as musical guest.

Coming to #SNL in March!


— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) February 20, 2019

“Saturday Night Live” airs live coast-to-coast Saturdays at 11:30 ET/8:30 PT on NBC.

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Amy Schumer, John Mulaney Support Boycott of Jerry Media Over Lifted Jokes and Memes

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

F—Jerry, the wildly popular Instagram account that’s gained millions of followers and built a media company by posting jokes and memes without acknowledging their real creators, hasn’t had a great week.

The account has lost hundreds of thousands of followers as the social media movement, started by Vulture writer Megh Wright, has gained support from a bevy of top comedians: Amy Schumer, John Mulaney, Patton Oswalt, Whitney Cummings and Paul Scheer, among many others have backed the digital boycott.

Also Read: Instagram Boss Apologizes After Users Flip out Over Accidental Horizontal-Swipe Update

“It’s not the most pressing issue of the day, but yeah, unfollow this garbage account,” Mulaney said on Instagram. “They have stolen jokes from me and many other comedians and profit off it.”

In Vulture on Wednesday, Wright outlined several reasons why she launched the hashtag. First, Jerry Media, the marketing company founded by Elliot Tebele on F—Jerry’s success, was portrayed as an innocent victim of Fyre Festival ringleader and convicted felon Billy McFarland in Netflix’s recent documentary on the failed music festival, rather than a firm that helped market the event through its network of influencers.

Coincidentally, Jerry Media helped produce the Netflix documentary.

#fuckfuckjerry Thanks @megh_wright for leading this charge.

Posted by Paul Scheer on Friday, February 1, 2019

Also Read: Instagram Cracks Down on Phony Comments and Follows

Most importantly, Wright wanted to know why F—Jerry hadn’t “been effectively called out and held accountable for all of its scammy, exploitative behavior?”

The account, created in 2011, built a massive Instagram following of 14.3 million users — and 40 million followers across all platforms — by stealing memes, posting them, and often erasing the handles of their creators. That strategy clearly violates Instagram’s policy to “post authentic content, and don’t post anything you’ve copied or collected from the Internet that you don’t have the right to post.”

An Instagram rep, in a statement to TheWrap, said it “takes intellectual property rights seriously” and works to “quickly remove infringing images when they’re reported.” The rep added: “If a rights holder sees their image being improperly used on Instagram, they can submit a report and we will evaluate and take the appropriate action. If someone continues to infringe the copyright of others, we will remove their account from Instagram.”

Also Read: Instagram Co-Founders Resign From Company

Instagram did not immediately respond to a followup on how many complaints it has received about FuckJerry posting content without creator consent.

F—Jerry’s success has helped its braintrust launch several satellite accounts with big followings, including chief content officer James Ryan Ohliger’s @krispyshorts Instagram, which has more than 300,000 followers. Even more upsetting for comedians, though, is that Jerry Media has parlayed its audience into big money. Marketers spend upwards of $75,000 for sponsored posts on F—Jerry, according to ABC News.

Adding to Wright’s campaign, comedian Vic Berger created a video late last week, titled “F—Jerry: Easier to Steal,” blasting the company’s history of lifting from creators without consent. In the video, Berger shows Ohliger told him to “shut up” when he asked the account to either delete or credit him for a Ted Cruz video it had reposted. The video quickly racked up thousands of views and shot to the top of Reddit, but has since been pulled from YouTube for copyright infringement after Ohliger filed a complaint. The video is still up on Twitter and Vimeo.

Also Read: Twitter Finally Reports Daily User Base, Posts Strong Q4 Revenue Growth

FuckJerry: Easier To Steal#FuckFuckJerry

— Vic Berger IV (@VicBergerIV) February 1, 2019

“Here’s how they appear to have amassed their fortune,” Berger wrote Tuesday in a Rolling Stone op-ed. “They stole people’s tweets, removed credit and monetized it. That’s all. It’s very simple. And enraging.”

F—Jerry has dropped from 14.3 million to 14 million Instagram followers in the last week, after Berger’s video went viral and stars like Cummings and Schumer backed the hashtag.

The company seems to be well aware of the backlash. Jerry Media did not respond to TheWrap’s request for comment, but Tebele, in a Medium post earlier this week, said he’s aware he’s “made enemies over the years for using content and not giving proper credit and attribution to its creators.” Tebele said he’s made a “concerted, proactive effort” in the past few years to credit creators. That still wasn’t going far enough, Tebele conceded.

Also Read: Netflix Cancels Eric McCormack Drama ‘Travelers’ After 3 Seasons

“Effective immediately, we will no longer post content when we cannot identify the creator, and will require the original creator’s advanced consent before publishing their content to our followers,” Tebele added. “It is clear that attribution is no longer sufficient, so permission will become the new policy.”

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Pete Davidson Jokes About Suicide Scare, Reviews ‘The Mule’ In ‘SNL’ Return

Read on: Deadline.

Pete Davidson was back in full force on Saturday Night Live’s first show after the holiday break, doing a no-holds-barred Weekend Update segment with comedian and SNL alum John Mulaney, which skewered the latest Clint Eastwood movie The Mule and …

‘SNL’: Pete Davidson Addresses Suicide Threat – And Reviews ‘The Mule’ With John Mulaney (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Pete Davidson joined “Weekend Update” anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che for the “Saturday Night Live” news segment’s first installment of 2019 to do two important things: 1) reassure “SNL” viewers he’s OK after the cryptic suicide threat he made on social media last month and 2) give a film review with John Mulaney.

“I’m great,” Davidson told Jost and Che. “As you know, I’ve had a really crazy month and I want to talk about something that matters a lot to me.”

“Mental health?” Jost asked.

“No, the new Clint Eastwood movie, ‘The Mule.”” And there to help him open up about the 2018 drama was former “SNL” writer John Mulaney, who Davidson has apparently been hanging out with a lot recently.

Also Read: ‘SNL’: Alec Baldwin’s Trump Plays ‘Deal or No Deal: Government Shutdown Edition’ With Congress (Video)

“I’ve been spending time with Pete to show him you can have a life in comedy that is not insane,” Mulaney said. “A sober domestic life.”

“Yeah, and after observing John’s life, I publicly threatened suicide,” Davidson joked, while laughing and getting the “Update” studio audience to chuckle too. “I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t make that joke. It is funny though,” he added, while laughing some more.

Mulaney then turned to Davidson and said, “Pete, look at me, look me in the eye. You are loved by many and we are glad you are OK. Now back to ‘The Mule.’”

Also Read: ‘Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Star Rachel Brosnahan to Host First ‘SNL’ of 2019

Then Davidson and Mulaney launched into a minutes-long review of their new favorite obsession: “The greatest, weirdest, most bananas movie ever made about a 90-year-old drug mule.”

Davidson appeared for a few sketches Saturday night, including the cold open, in which he played a Clemson football player who manages to end the government shutdown during a game of “Deal or No Deal” with Alec Baldwin’s Trump.

Watch clips from the “Weekend Update” segment below.

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Does ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Have a Post-Credits Scene?

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” may not be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but with a 99 percent Fresh rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, we’re pretty much all in agreement that it’s worth your time even so.

The question, however, for this particular post is not whether you should go see this crazy thing, but whether you need to stick around after the movie is over for some kind of bonus post-credits scene. Bonus scenes after the credits have been a staple of the MCU since the beginning, but not so for big-screen “Spider-Man” movies — which have often eschewed the practice.

But at this point the post-credits scene concept is so ubiquitous in comic book movies that even DC is doing it after thumbing its nose at Marvel over this for so long. And Sony even got in on the post-credits scene fun with its recent standalone “Venom” movie.

Also Read: ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Film Review: Clever Superhero Saga With Animated Arachnids

So what’s the answer? Does “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” have a post-credits scene?

Yes, there is extra content after the credits start to roll. There is one minor bit, a nod to the late Stan Lee, midway through the credits — and at the very end of the credits we get a bonus scene that serves to introduce us to yet another Spider-Man. A Spider-Man that could very well end up in a future “Spider-Verse” film — and since Sony has already greenlit a sequel, you can start getting your hopes up now.

I’m being intentionally vague here about what’s in the post-credits scene, but if you found this post because you’ve already seen it and want to know what the deal is with it, you can click here for an explainer post that will sum up who exactly that was in the post-credits scene and why you should expect him to play a bigger part next time around.

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‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Post-Credits Scene Explained

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

(In case it wasn’t clear from the headline, there are spoilers here for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”)

The live-action version of Spider-Man may be contained within the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the foreseeable future, but Sony can still do what it wants with animated “Spider-Man” flicks — and thank goodness for that, because “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” totally owns with the way it embraces all corners of the Spider-Canon.

But if you thought the seven Spider-People who participate in the plot in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” — Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), Peter Parker (Chris Pine), Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson), Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn), Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage) and Spider-Ham (John Mulaney) —  represented the full breadth of the Spider-Verse, well, you are sorely mistaken.

The post-credits scene for “Into the Spider-Verse” introduces us to another important Spider-Man from the comics, and also visits a past small screen incarnation of Peter Parker. And it feels pretty likely that should “Spider-Verse” get a sequel, that one of these other Spider-Men will be a part of it.

Also Read: ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Film Review: Clever Superhero Saga With Animated Arachnids

That bonus Spider-Man is Miguel O’Hara, better known to fans of his comics as Spider-Man 2099. Miguel is from a version of New York dubbed Nueva York. Miguel, from his lofty perch in the distant future, has been monitoring the whole Spider-Verse situation as it went down, and once it all ends decides to dabble a little bit by traveling back in time.

And he pays a visit to none other than the Spider-Man from the 1967 animated series, where he stumbles into the meme in which two identical Spider-Men are pointing at each other. You know what I’m talking about. This one:

You didn’t think a movie about a bunch of alternate universe Spider-People would avoid that joke, did you? It’s a hilarious bit that initially feels like just a fun throwaway gag until you discover that none other than Oscar Isaac is providing the voice for Miguel O’Hara.

Also Read: Is the Box Office Ready for More Spider-Man With ‘Into the Spider-Verse’

Given that star power, it’s tough not to assume that Spider-Man 2099 will have a part to play in any potential “Spider-Verse” sequels — one has already been greenlit, actually. So for those who, like me, were mildly disappointed that Miguel missed out on the bulk of the shenanigans this time around, that post-credits scene provides an enticing prospect. Though, to be clear, we still don’t know for sure that Spider-Man 2099 be in the next “Spider-Verse” film. But we can’t help but hope, either way.

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‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Film Review: Animated Arachnids Cross Paths in Clever Superhero Saga

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If you’re of the opinion that Spider-Man has been rebooted too many times in the last two decades, hold onto your hats: the animated adventure “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” introduces no less than seven new versions of the character within a single film.

Miraculously, instead of feeling like too much of a good thing, “Into the Spider-Verse” is simply a very good thing. The film, directed by Bob Perischetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman, captures the sprawling interconnectivity of comic-book universes in a way that no other feature film has. Anything can happen, and it usually does. It’s incredibly thrilling to watch, impressively emotional throughout, and easily the best Spider-Man movie since “Spider-Man 2.”

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” stars Shameik Moore (“Dope”) as Miles Morales, a half-black, half-Latino teenager torn between his overbearing yet good-natured police officer father Jefferson (Brian Tyree Henry) and his more relaxed, sketchier uncle Aaron (Mahershala Ali). While Miles practices his graffiti art with his uncle, he’s bitten by a radioactive spider, and we all know what that means.

Watch Video: ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Trailer: Meet All the Spider-People, and One Spider-Pig

The problem isn’t just that Miles starts sticking to his fellow classmates, or that his inner monologue gets louder (one of the film’s most satisfying jokes). The problem is that he stumbles across Spider-Man (Jake Johnson) fighting Kingpin (Liev Schreiber), in the middle of a giant interdimensional rift device. Miles watches helplessly as Spider-Man dies, and he promises to finish what the hero started, namely to prevent the Kingpin from using the machine again, lest it destroy the world.

While he’s wallowing in guilt and self-doubt, Miles stumbles across yet another Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Johnson, again)… and a Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) … and a Spider-Noir (Nicolas Cage)… and a Spider-Ham (John Mulaney)… and a SP//dr (Kimiko Glenn, “Orange is the New Black”). Spider-Persons from throughout the multiverse have been sucked into Miles’s reality because of Kingpin’s machine, and they need to stop him and return to their own time periods before they blink out of existence.

Also Read: ‘Spider-Woman’ and Other ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Follow-Ups in the Works at Sony

The plot seems like it should be too much for one film to handle, but “Into the Spider-Verse” wisely stays focused on Miles and his story, and uses all the other characters for support.

Miles Morales is an incredibly captivating new hero, in a story that challenges him in every conceivable way. His powers force upon him an awkward physicality that robs him of his previous confidence. His oath to save the world is such a heavy weight around his shoulders that he always looks ready to collapse. And his loyalties to his family are strained past the breaking point, in a subplot that has the sort of dramatic heft we haven’t seen in a superhero film in a very, very long time.

That heft is shared by several other Spider-heroes, and it’s impressive how organic the presence of such wildly different interpretations of the characters comes across. Miles, Peter and Gwen take up most of the screen time, leaving Spider-Ham, Spider-Noir and SP//dr to add levity and unusual action beats to the film’s second half. It’s also satisfying to see a superhero film offer this much representation across the board (even though the recurring fat jokes are bound to leave some audience members feeling like they’re still not allowed in the club).

Watch Video: ‘Marvel’s Spider-Man’ PS4 Has the Most Heartwarming Stan Lee Cameo Ever

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” understands all too well that the appeal of Spider-Man, in any form, isn’t just the hero’s powers, and it isn’t just the hero’s tragic backstory. It’s the unmistakable sense that the universe has it out for this person, and he or she is going to persevere anyway, through good humor and good intentions. Miles and Peter seem permanently trapped in violent Harold Lloyd routines, getting hit by cars, falling off buildings, dragged by trains, and hiding their identities behind flimsy excuses.

But as hilarious as “Into the Spider-Verse” is (and it’s easily the funniest Spider-Man movie ever), the film also evokes a greater sense of tragedy than any film in the series since Sam Raimi’s original. The heroes are elastic, but life is fragile, and death is very real. If you include flashbacks, the film has a rather impressive body count. What’s more, each of these deaths still motivates the characters left alive, so mortality is always at the forefront of our thoughts, even when the heroes are effortlessly throwing cars around inside a swirling knick-knack vortex of death.

What’s more, the film’s sprawling cast legitimizes every single version of every single superhero, to audiences who may still wonder why we need yet another “Spider-Man.” Or yet another “Fantastic Four.” Or yet another anything. The realization of each hero that they aren’t alone, and that someone understands their pain, can be shared by every audience member recognizing someone just like them on the big screen. They share similar origins, but they connect with different fans, who each have different ideas about the character and what they represent. And each of those versions of Spider-Man, or any other hero, deserves at least a modicum of appreciation, even if they’re not “our” version of the character.

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” represents some of the best superhero storytelling on the market. The frenetic animation and freewheeling story offer audiences a sense of boundless dynamism. It’s not the first time a director has attempted to incorporate comic book iconography into a feature-film adaptation — see also: Ang Lee’s “Hulk” and Edgar Wright’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” — but it’s the most appealing. Watching “Into the Spider-Verse” evokes feelings of sitting cross-legged on the floor of your bedroom, eating cookies and immersing yourself in outrageous, mostly inviting new worlds.

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Aubrey Plaza to Host 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Aubrey Plaza will host the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards, Film Independent announced on Tuesday.

On Nov. 16, “Crazy Rich Asians” star Gemma Chan and “Private Life” star Molly Shannon announced this year’s nominees at a press conference. Best Feature nominees include “Eighth Grade,” “First Reformed,” “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “Leave No Trace.”

The 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards will take place on Feb. 23, 2019, and will be broadcast exclusively on IFC at 2 p.m. PT.

See Video: Aubrey Plaza Tells Us Why ‘An Evening With Beverly Luff Lin’ Is a ‘Wild Ride’

“I am truly honored and delighted to host the Spirits Awards this year,” said Plaza. “It is a dream come true to host a show that celebrates my greatest loves… independent film, the people that make them possible and live television!”

“The search for a great Spirit Awards host is never easy,” added Film Independent president Josh Welsh. “This year we said, let’s find someone funny, smart, a cinephile, being a great actor wouldn’t hurt, and it would be an added bonus if they’ve previously won a Spirit Award. Then we realized, oh wait, that’s Aubrey Plaza! So thank you Aubrey, for hosting the Spirits!”

Also Read: Aubrey Plaza’s ‘An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn’ Acquired by UPHE Content Group

Most recently, Plaza starred opposite Elizabeth Olsen in “Ingrid Goes West,” which Plaza also produced,” as well as Jeff Baena’s “The Little Hours” and Jim Hosking’s “An Evening with Beverly Luff Lin.” She currently stars in FX’s “Legion” and will next be seen in Lars Klevberg’s remake of “Child’s Play” opposite Brian Tyree Henry.

This year marks the 34th edition of the awards show, which celebrates the very best of independent film. Past Spirit Awards hosts include Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, Kate McKinnon and Kumail Nanjiani, Andy Samberg, Sarah Silverman, Samuel L. Jackson and Queen Latifah. Joel Gallen of Tenth Planet Production will executive produce and direct for the fifth consecutive year. Shawn Davis returns as producer for his 17th year, while Rick Austin will produce for his fourth year in a row. Danielle Federico and Andrew Schaff return as co-producers.

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How ‘Big Mouth’ Helped Planned Parenthood Fight Its Abortion ‘Stigma’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Last year, two creators of Netflix’s animated teen comedy “Big Mouth” went to a talk about Planned Parenthood — and heard about its frustrations with being known largely for abortions.

So they decided to help.

The two creators, Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin, built an entire episode around Planned Parenthood’s other services — like providing birth control and STD testing and counseling. Along with fellow creator Nick Kroll, who also stars on the show, they created an episode that The Atlantic called “as bold as it is hilarious.”

Also Read: Here’s the One Penis Joke From Nick Kroll’s ‘Big Mouth’ Series That Netflix Didn’t Like

It was a huge win for Planned Parenthood, which in recent years has courted positive portrayals by Hollywood. The talk that Flackett and Levin attended was hosted by Planned Parenthood to try to win positive portrayals in entertainment.

“Big Mouth” was a perfect fit because the show — known for awkward adolescents haunted by outlandish Hormone Monsters and Shame Wizards — targets both teens and their parents, as they struggle with questions about sexuality.

In recent years, Planned Parenthood has also welcomed filmmakers like Joss Whedon and Jason Reitman, director of the 2007 teen pregnancy film “Juno.”

To write the “Big Mouth” episode, Kroll, Flackett, Levin and the entire “Big Mouth” writers room — including Emily Altman, who was once a Planned Parenthood intern — toured a Planned Parenthood with the organizations’s Los Angeles CEO, Sue Dunlap.

Their tour resulted in the Season 2 episode called “The Planned Parenthood Show” in which eighth-graders Nick (Kroll), Andrew (John Mulaney), Missy (Jenny Slate) and Jessi (Jessi Klein) school their sexually inexperienced sex ed teacher, Coach Steve. (The show’s second season debuted last week.)

In the episode, the students perform a series of skits, including one in which a girl must choose between different contraceptives that compete “Bachelor”-style to become her birth control of choice.

But the episode also underscores Planned Parenthood’s message that it can prevent pregnancies, not just provide abortions. 

“There is a lot of stigma around abortion,” Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Dinah Stephens told TheWrap. “So I was grateful when I saw that the ‘Big Mouth’ episode included a range of services.”

Stephens, who helped coordinate the “Big Mouth” visit, said that for all its sexual jokes, a show like “Big Mouth” can help change perceptions while entertaining. 

Kroll emphasized that entertainment, after all, is the show’s first priority. If families can laugh together, it will be easier for them to talk together. 

“My hope is that the show gives a platform and vocabulary for kids to talk to their parents, each other, their educators about what they’re going through,” Kroll said. “You feel very alone at that point in your life. It’s very helpful in general for kids who are at that age to see that this is happening to everybody.”

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