Tag Archives: Kumail Nanjiani

All The Easter Eggs From The Twilight Zone Premiere “The Comedian”

There are plenty of new adventures to be had in the new “Twilight Zone” series from CBS All Access, but the past is still very important to this modern reboot of the series. The premiere episode, “The Comedian” (which we reviewed at this link here), was filled with nods and references to the past, and here is a list of everything we saw during those 55 minutes.

Beware! This article is filled with spoilers, so if you have not seen the episode yet, we suggest you watch it here before reading.

This is one of the earliest shots in the episode, and of course it turned out to be a very important element later on (which we will discuss further below). Were you as creeped out by me about the wallpaper at the comedy club? If you were paying attention, you might have noticed some of the denizens of this image have smushed features, including lips and noses.

This references the classic “Eye of the Beholder” episode, where those pig-faced people were the truly beautiful ones in a very memorable show. Maybe not so pretty by todays standards, but it’s something that everyone who knows about the original Twilight Zone remembers to this day.

This wall is important at the end of the episode as well, and is a reference to another thriller, but not The Twilight Zone. It turns out that the comedians who accepted this deal with the devil all ended up as part of the wallpaper, a reference to the end of Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”.

While we are still in the club, did you notice some familiar faces on the side of “Eddies'” stage? You may recognize those from the episode “The Mask”, where a group of people are waiting for the death of a rich relative and are forced to wear masks that mirror their personalities.

Here is a real subtle one for you. Did you wonder why that bus stop looked so different from everything else in the episode? It was meant to stand out, and is a reference to another episode from the OG series. “The Fever” starred Everett Sloane as Franklin Gibbs, who is pursued by a maniacal slot machine. The bus stop was named in honor of this character, and it looks like his spirit has joined the electronic world after all.

You should never trust a name in The Twilight Zone, as chances are it references someone. Case in point, the jerkbag comedian who antagonizes Samir is named Donner. This character is most likely named after Richard Donner, who directed many episodes of the original series, including “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” with William Shatner.

You may also know that name from “Superman”, “Superman II”, “Lethal Weapon”, “The Omen”, “Free Willy”, and plenty of other huge movies and TV shows.

Speaking of names, there were a bunch of references in Samir’s contacts on his phone, as well as his notebook when he was researching victims. There was Al Cadwallader, who was the alter ego of the devil in “Escape Clause” (more on him later), James Corry from “The Lonely”, Henry Corwin from “Night of the Meek”, Al Denton from “Mr Denton on Doomsday”, and James Embry, who we will talk about more in-depth further down this article.

Other names that show up happen while Samir is searching his social media for more people to take out. This list includes “Mouth” McGarry from the episode “The Mighty Casey”, Paul Grinstead from “Mirror Image” (which was also the inspiration for Jordan Peele’s latest horror movie “Us”), and Joey Crown from one of the more hopeful and optimistic episodes of the original show, “A Passage for Trumpet”.

Dee Dee is drinking Kanamit Lager, a fake beer that we wish existed. Why? Because it’s a reference to another classic episode that we love, “To Serve Man”. Kanamit is the name of the aliens that planned on cooking up all the humans on earth, so it makes sense they would lull us into a false sense of confidence while boozing us up, making us easier to conquer.

At one point in the dressing room, we see a ventriloquist’s dummy hanging out. You may recognize that dummy from the original series episode, “The Dummy”, as well as a few others. In fact, that is THE actual dummy from that episode, and not a replica. Believe it or not, there is actually more to that Easter Egg than just his appearance.

While Samir is having his fight with JC Wheeler, he says, ““I wanted to be Chris Rock, not evil David Copperfield!” Turns out that the dummy is owned by the real David Copperfield, and that was a subtle nod to him.

Oh, and in case you were curious, the dummy’s name is Willy. Now you have a name to go along with the puppet when he comes to haunt your nightmares.

“It’s the actual dummy from the original ‘Twilight Zone.’ David Copperfield owns it and he said, “I’ll let you borrow it for free, if you just make a reference to me,” Morgan explained to The Wrap. “And so Kumail had that joke.”

Since we are in the dressing room, let’s talk about that wall of names there. Surely there had to be an Easter Egg in there? Don’t call me Shirley (I don’t think that joke works as well when it’s written), and yes it was!

The name James Embry stands out, because it’s the main character from “King Nine Will Not Return”. Also worth noting, that original series episode was the first episode where Rod Serling appeared on camera at the beginning to introduce the show.

Another name you can spot on the wall is William “Fitz” Fitzgerald, who was the protagonist of the episode “The Purple Testament”, where Fitz can see when one of his squadmates will die in battle during WW II.

If Tracy Morgan was not playing the Devil, he was certainly portraying some malicious entity – and having a lot of fun doing it!

Making deals with the devil is not uncommon for the original Twilight Zone series. In fact, the Devil appears plenty of times in the show in different ways. You can find this creature in “The Howling Man”, “Escape Clause” and “A Nice Place to Visit” to name a few.

Most of the time, he is wheeling and dealing, but “The Howling Man” is a different story entirely, and if you have never seen it, I suggest you track it down and watch it right now.

And that is every Easter Egg from the Twilight Zone season premiere “The Comedian”, at least as far as we can tell. If we missed anything, let us know. As for future episodes, good luck hunting – we will report back to you soon after we watch it!

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The Twilight Zone “The Comedian” Review

“The Twilight Zone” revival just kicked off on April 1, as the Jordan Peele hosted iteration of the classic joined CBS All Access’ lineup. The series premiered with two episodes on their streaming platform, but they were kind of enough to offer the debut for free on Youtube (which you can watch below). We checked out the first episode and have some thoughts about. Beware, there will be spoilers, so we suggest you watch the first episode and then read out review.

“The Comedian” stars Kumail Nanjiani as a down on his luck comedian, Samir Wassan. Maybe down on his luck isn’t accurate, since he is really just a terrible jokester, with his routine based around the second amendment. After a particularly awful set, he runs into famed comedian JC Wheeler (Tracy Morgan), who tells him if he wants to make it big, he has to “give a little of himself” into his comedy. One night, Samir drops the political jokes and talks about his dog named “Cat”, and the audience loves it. After the set, he goes home to tell his girlfriend about how well he did talking about their pet, but it turns out they never owned a pet. I think you can see where this episode is going.

If you were able to figure that out, you can understand how quickly this 55-minute episode turns into a repetitive mess. The entire episode examines how far Samir will go, and how much he is willing to lose, to get fame and fortune. Most of the time, however, he is eliminating people we only just met moments earlier. I feel like he could have made a few less people disappear and the episode would have remained effective, and could have also been tighter. Instead, it drags towards the middle and loses some of its power. By the last act of the episode, I was all in as I was curious to see how it ended, but the journey to reach that point felt like a chore.

The biggest pluses of the episode were all of the actor’s performances. Nanjiani portrayed a tough role, struggling with making the best decisions for his career and life, remaining sympathetic even while he was making folks vanish. By the end of the episode, there’s a very tense scene that made me anxious for the fate of Samir, and that’s a testament to Kumail’s acting.

The obvious analogy here is that fame comes with a price, and that often means losing your closest friends to make space for the faceless fans and latcher-on’s who dominate your social media feeds, but can’t help you out in real life. It’s one of the aspects I like about the new Twilight Zone, offering actors who mainly do comedy a chance to show their dramatic chops. Most have great abilities to act these parts because great comedy is often about truth, and the truth usually means suffering. In that way, “The Comedian” offers an interesting perspective on what it means to play that part in life. It’s about being vulnerable to connect on stage while trying to feel invulnerable through fame, and by the end, Samir makes the most vulnerable choice of all.

On the up side, and almost unrelated to this episode, I did enjoy when Samir used his powers of comedy to make his “Deathnote” and started killing off scumbags and other things. This is another analogy for the power of humor to defeat evil things in the world, but this may have been a little too far-fetched to make that metaphor work. Still, it made me want to re-watch “Deathnote” and that is a good thing in my book.

The show is as creepy as ever, with a few Easter Eggs from the original series scattered throughout the show in subtle ways (speaking of, we have a huge list of every Easter Egg and reference in this episode over here). Many fans are very pleased with the “cinematic” look of the new series, but I think people are confusing a cinematic look with depth of field and bokeh. I won’t disagree that it looks very good, but I think in 2019, this is what is expected from most high-end TV shows. Relying on shallow depth of field and some jarring camera angles may ultimately be the aesthetic for the show, just like how another CBS All Access show, “Star Trek Discovery”, frequently employs upside down shots that rotate to normal orientation. I can’t say I like either much, but it’s something I will have to get used to.

Tracy Morgan was born to play the part of JC Wheeler, and I tip my hat to the set designers and lighting crew. These were my very favorite artistic elements of the episode, and set the tone and mood for each scene perfectly. There is never an overt reveal for who, or what, Tracy Morgan’s character is, but we definitely get some big ideas thanks to the art direction. The very last shot of him is chilling – I never knew I would like evil Tracy Morgan this much, but it seems so natural for him, which makes it all the more frightening.

That’s also where my qualms continue, though, as the show looked sort of bland and plain most of the time. It was very sparse and clean, and I wished there was more room for creativity across this premiere. A muddy yellow palette is not too interesting to watch, but this dominates most of the show. I am optimistic future episodes will have a different look, so while it bugged me here it won’t affect my outlook much for the next episode.

The story was interesting, albeit a slog to get through as we mentioned earlier, but it also felt dated to me. That may be because it was based on a Rod Serling teleplay that never got made, or it may be simply that this story just felt too much like the original series but with updated visuals.

“The Comedian” was complicated for me to review. It was a mixed bag of good things, some bad things, and some things that made me go “ugh”, namely how long it felt. It may not have been the best episode to start the series off with, but I enjoyed the performances and the twist ending (a twist you can see coming but start to anxiously question as it comes into that final act). It won’t be a well-remembered episode other than for being the return of the show to CBS, but if it’s a sign of things to come, I have high hopes for the remainder of the season and am excited to see what else they have in store for us.

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Watch the First Episode Of New “Twilight Zone” For Free

April Fool’s is normally a day where websites screw with their viewers and offer all sorts of silly nonsense in lieu of actual news. However, CBS just gave us the greatest gift of all, as they just released the debut episode of the new “Twilight Zone” on their Youtube channel for free.

“The Comedian” stars Kumail Nanjiani, who wants to be a famous comedian. His character meets a famous comedian in a shady bar, played by Tracy Morgan, and his fame starts to rise. But nothing like that truly comes for free, and Kumiail has to pay the price.

Check out the first episode below:

The series is hosted by Jordan Peele, and is available on CBS All Access. Another new episode will be available on that platform as well, “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet” starring Adam Scott, and new episodes of the first season resuming weekly starting on April 11.

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First Two “Twilight Zone” Episodes Get Trailers – “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet” and “The Comedian”

The new Twilight Zone reboot is a week away, and after a quick tease shown during the Super Bowl, we now have our first extended look at the two-episode series premiere.

First up is the trailer for “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet” with Adam Scott:

It looks like this time, the monster won’t be on the window. Instead, it seems this is a very paranoid man who is concerned about some other passengers. In this version of this classic episode, it’s not the monsters outside the plane, perhaps it is the monsters on the inside.

Following that episode, we have Kumail Nanjiani and Tracy Morgan in “The Comedian”:

The new Twilight Zone debuts on CBS All Access, hosted by Jordan Peele, starting on April 1.

Speaking of “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet”, we have a clip with the star of the original episode, William Shatner, telling some stories about working on the original Twilight Zone at this link here!

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WATCH – “The Twilight Zone” Superbowl Commercial Premieres

During Super Bowl LIII, the live telecast was suddenly interrupted it seemed. TVs began to glitch out, and it appeared that CBS was abruptly off the air… at least, that’s what they wanted you to think.

In fact, it was actually a commercial for the new Jordan Peele helmed “Twilight Zone”, giving us our first taste of the new series.

Check out the extended commercial in the video above!

Actors who will be appearing in the new series announced so far include Ike Barinholtz, John Cho, Lucinda Dryzek, Taissa Farmiga, Greg Kinnear, Luke Kirby, Sanaa Lathan, Kumail Nanjiani, Adam Scott, Rhea Seehorn, Alison Tolman, Jacob Tremblay, Jefferson White, Jonathan Whitesell, Jessica Williams, DeWanda Wise and Steven Yeun.

The series officially premieres on Monday, April 1 on their online streaming service, CBS All Access. Following the two episode premiere, new episodes will be available on demand weekly on Thursdays beginning April 11, exclusively for subscribers to the website. There is a free week long trial, so if you haven’t checked out what CBS All Access has to offer, between this and Star Trek Discovery it may be a good time to give it a shot.

Jordan Peele and Simon Kinberg serve as executive producers along with Win Rosenfeld, Audrey Chon, Glen Morgan, Carol Serling, Rick Berg and Greg Yaitanes.

The “Avengers: Endgame” movie also debuted a new trailer tonight, check it out at this link here!

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