The first full week of the year is often a time for all manner of big announcements and developments in the comedy world, but the disturbing, dark edges of this week’s events were unprecedented. Two terrible tragedies defined this week, the first being possibly the most terrifying incident ever recounted in This Week in Comedy. Seattle comedian Dylan Avila received a double skull fracture after an unexpected, wholly unnecessary assault while on stage running his usual open mic. The Laugh Button and the entire comedy community wish him a full and speedy recovery, and our thoughts are with his family at this time. Feel free to donate via a link in this article. Outside the country, the Charlie Hebdo incident dominated headlines and shook up the satire community, which took the time to respond to the crisis. We also wish the best for the victims’ families, as well as a speedy recovery for those alive but injured in the attack. Elsewhere, on the more typical, positive side of things…
-Rob Lowe left Parks and Recreation for good reasons. Need proof? Catch this trailer for his upcoming animated sitcom Moonbeam City, set to premiere on Comedy Central sometime this year.
– We interviewed Robert Kelly, whose new special Live At the Village Underground arrived at TV this week after much anticipation. And what’s real cool is that we even did it in two parts to keep that anticipation going.
– Ever wanted to play that super fun-looking game that everyone on Brooklyn Nine-Nine is all about? As of this week, you can get Kwazy Cupcakes! on your phone.
– Nick Cannon’s Wild ‘N Out turns ten this year, so it feels appropriate that its sixth season began its second half this week.
– We got to see a trailer for David Cross’s film directorial debut, Hits, and like its name, the trailer suggests the movie will be a hit.
– Jennifer Saunders informed fans that there’s been a script for a movie version of her TV show Absolutely Fabulous in the making for just as long as this writer’s been alive.
– International travels and comedy seem like a solid combo, but this year’s Akumal Comedy Festival in Mexico will be a bit bittersweet. Of course, there will be tons of laughter during its April 14-18 run, but it’ll also be the first edition without recently passed co-founder Gus Lynch.
– Alison Rosen graduated The Adam Carolla Show this week to spend time working on her own podcast, the details of which are scarce at the moment.
– E! announced a fitting choice of Grace Helbig to replace its comedy talk show network in the wake of Chelsea Lately‘s final run. Her show, the self-titled Grace Helbig Project, has no exact air date set, but it’ll start sometime in April.
– Comedy sketch group WOMEN (comprised entirely of dudes, by the way) found a new home at IFC, where they’ll post new sketches every week on the network’s website for their Comedy Club. In fact, their first one already dropped.
– Comedy Bang! Bang! returned with a bang for its fourth season. All puns totally intended.
– New year, new radio: SiriusXM Insight, a comedy news channel, will replace SiriusXM Public Radio. Check out this full list of the channel’s shows, which will begin Monday.
– Didn’t 2015 just start? It’s pretty wild to already be getting news about 2016, but when it’s hearing that the movie Michelle Darnell, the co-creation of married couple Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone, will be released in April of next year, we’re glad we know this early.
– Jerrod Carmichael had a pretty solid year in 2014, and 2015’s already looking up for him: we learned this week that none other than David Alan Grier has been cast in the upcoming Carmichael sitcom Go Jerrod Go.
– Lena Dunham may be one of the most controversial figures of last year, but that didn’t stop HBO from renewing her super successful, now infamous TV series Girls for a fifth season this week.
– The new year may just be starting, but Saturday Night Live is just around the corner. We’ve already learned that Kevin Hart will host the first episode of 2015 on January 17; now we’re even more thrilled to know that Blake Shelton will host the following week.
– At pretty much the last moment possible, Nate Craig announced that he’d be recording an album this week! He spent three days in Chicago creating the follow-up to 2013’s Infinity.
– With Barbie Adler’s excellent production record, the stakes are already set high for her Kevin from Work pilot that ABC just ordered.
– Killer podcast Serial reimagined as a romcom? Yes, it’s a thing. A truly killer podcast indeed.
– Hype can really determine a project’s success. In light of the whole Interview scandal, the Franco-Rogen comedy has become the highest-grossing VOD film ever, with $31 million in earnings.
– The freakout over all things Wet Hot American Summer continued this week, with final confirmation that a prequel miniseries will indeed make its way to Netflix…eventually.
– National Geographic doing comedy? What was once thought impossible will soon happen, with the guys from Silicon Valley offering a hilarious world history on the channel sometime this fall.
– Tina Fey and Jane Krakowski, back together for a TV series again?! Are you not freaking out yet? Add co-creation credits to Fey and Robert Carlock, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘s March 6 Netflix premiere is definitely not something to be missed.
– Jon Stewart brought some much needed levity to Staten Island, where the sociopolitical climate hasn’t been too fun as of late.
– Esther Provitsky gave one of the first stand-up performances of Drew Carey’s Late Late Show hosting run, and it was pretty hilarious.
– Short notice! Ari Shaffir’s gonna be all over our small screens real soon. We already knew about his new show This Is Not Happening, but now we’ve got even more to look forward to: his newest special, Paid Regular, premieres January 16 on Comedy Central.
– We couldn’t stand having him gone for too long, so it’s good that we’ll have John Oliver back within a month, especially in light of recent tragedies.