IFC has announced 11 new comedy projects as part of their development slate for 2018 series consideration. Included, with respect to this blog’s interests, are:
— Sherman’s Showcase is a sketch show inspired by Soul Train, from writer-actors Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle (photo of the duo above). You might recall that the pair previously set up an Atlanta-set comedy series at HBO which the networked passed on last year. It looks like they’ve found a new home with a new concept. Per IFC, Sherman’s Showcase will travel through time via music and comedy drawn from the forty-year library of a legendary, but fictional, Soul Train-esque musical variety show called, Sherman’s Showcase. Salahuddin and Riddle will star, as well as write and executive produce the series.
— Frank and Lamar is based on the IFC Comedy Crib series, and follows Frank and Lamar, two best friends who live and work together as middle school teachers in New York City. Workplace drama and romance issues cause havoc in their otherwise smooth friendship so they are forced to decide whether to stick together or go it alone. Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins are creators of the series and will also star.
— Finally there’s NGO, which follows the charismatic head of a private American-backed West African charity, as international conflicts and “Non-Governmental Organization” philanthropy collide, threatening to shut down the operation. It reminds me of a Kenya-set web series we featured on this blog in 2012 titled The Samaritans, which revolved around the Kenyan field office of a fictional NGO that does a whole lot of nothing. If you’re familiar with NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations – a broad term that is used to describe usually non-profit organizations that are in business, whether operational or advocacy, often to further the political or social goals of their members), you’ll be familiar with the many criticisms leveled against them, despite their best intentions. I won’t expound here, but the fact that there’s an organization called the NGO Monitor, which does exactly what its title says, should indicate something. No word on what approach this IFC series will take, but it’s likely to have a white male lead, but we can assume there will be a supporting cast of that includes some black/African actors. NGO is written and executive produced by Collin Friesen and executive produced by Oliver Platt and John Lyons.
“We are privileged once again to be working with a variety of incredible talent on projects with unique comedic points of view, as well as creating more linear content from our digital platform, the Comedy Crib,” said Jennifer Caserta, president of IFC. “These projects come from gifted creative teams and are great examples of the distinct comedic storytelling that embodies IFC’s trademark ‘slightly off’ sensibility.”
The rest of the projects IFC has given episodic script orders to follow below:
— How To Rig An Election: As previously announced, IFC is developing the scripted series How To Rig An Election, based on the book of the same name by former political consultant Allen Raymond. How To Rig An Election is a scathing satirical look at the electoral process through the eyes of a recently paroled political campaign manager who is pathologically determined to reclaim his place atop national politics. Written and executive produced by Emmy-nominated writer Tom Ruprecht.
— Elna: A half-hour scripted comedy about what it’s like to be Mormon and lose your faith. Elna Baker, a 27-year-old virgin in NYC, must cross over to the dark side in her search truth, life experience and autonomy. Starring written and executive produced by Elna Baker, and written and executive produced by Eric Gilliland. Executive produced by Left Right Productions.
— Greener Grass: Based on a short film of the same name, the small town of Greener Grass is a living Norman Rockwell painting whose welcome sign boasts “Nothing bad ever happens here.” However, beneath the town’s gilded facade lies a world of bad things happening. Starring, written and executive produced by Upright Citizens Brigade alums Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe.
— The Last Hotel Detective: Ainsley Steele is an in-house private detective employed by the historic and luxurious Palace Hotel to solve guests’ minor crimes and delicate mysteries. He is a character out of a Raymond Chandler novel living in a digital world and the last of his kind. Written and executive produced by Gabe Delahaye.
— Dr. Taco: Based on the non-fiction book by the same name. Six American misfits, unable to get into medical school in the U.S., instead find themselves getting a very hands-on education in a small medical clinic in Mexico, deep in the cartel-controlled mountains of Durango. Written and executive produced by Mike Barker, Carlo Hart, Evan Sandman, and Keshet Studios.
— Bad Beta: A brilliant female scientist, with relationship issues, is forced to care for the botched version of a billion-dollar artificial intelligence cyborg she created that unfortunately has the personality of a frat-jerk/party guy. Written and executive produced by Emmy-winning comedy writer Jay Kogen.
— New Hope: New Hope University is a well-known evangelical Christian college in the Midwest run by a world famous but aging and increasingly senile religious leader where a power struggle is afoot between jealous family members for control of the church and school. Written and executive produced by Emmy-nominated writer Boyd Hale.
— Lee’s Kill List: Trapped in an oppressive work environment, Lee takes matters into her own hands by killing the bullies and bosses that threaten her job as a cleaning solution salesperson. Created, written and directed by Josh Ruben and Vince Peone.
— Mama Tried: A show about the seamy underbelly of new motherhood, Mama Tried follows the struggles (and occasional triumphs) of Liz Callahan who’s finding that she could care less about being a “super-mom”- she just wants to survive. Mama Tried weaves Emily Flake’s darkly funny animation to help bring to life all of motherhood’s graphic, and sometimes gruesome, realness. Written by Emily Wilson and animated by and based on the graphic novel by Emily Flake, executive produced by Jax Media.
Comedy Crib digital series:
— Janice and Jeffrey: Out comedians (and series creators) Matteo Lane and Mollie Merkel play a closeted (and delusional) couple named Janice and Jeffrey. They met at a Christian recovery program for converting gays into heterosexuals and got married the same week. When their marriage hits a rough patch, Janice and Jeffrey go to extreme (and hilarious) lengths to solve their intimacy issues. Created by Matteo Lane and Mollie Merkel. Produced by Mustache. Available now on IFC.com.
— Commuters: Commuters follows Harris and Olivia as they move across the river to the suburbs for cheaper rent, earlier nights, and all the joys that come with no longer trying to be a young hip player in the city that never sleeps. Created by Jared Warner, Nick Ciavarella and Tim Dean. Directed by Adam Wirtz and produced by Post Everything Productions. Available now on IFC.com.
— Neurotica: A Dominatrix struggles with her OCD and fights to maintain her business when a fancy new MegaDungeon opens in her small town. Created by and starring Jenny Jaffe and produced and directed by Jetpacks Go!. Premiering August 21 on IFC.com.
For more information on IFC, check out: Website: http://www.ifc.com/.