Palm Springs Comedy Duo

(Above: Ileana Douglas in ‘Easy to Assemble’)

Tomorrow, the first Palm Springs International Comedy Festival will present actress Illeana Douglas with its “Pioneer in Comedy Award” for her creation of the “first-ever branded web series,” Easy To Assemble. The festival will also hold a standup competition, with the winner getting a special on Step 1 TV.

In Easy to Assemble, produced for Ikea from 2008 to 2012, Douglas starred in dozens of short-form episodes as a version of herself trying to quit acting and working at her local Ikea. Then Justine Bateman, also playing “herself,” starts doing a talk show – titled Forty and Bitter – from the floor of the store. Tom Arnold also plays “himself” in the series.

Easy to Assemble was originally distributed by MyDamnChannel, and you can still watch the entire series free on YouTube. Here’s episode two, where the plot gets going:

The Palm Springs International Comedy Festival, which continues next weekend, will also feature Kathy Griffin being feted as “Comedian of the Year,” performances by Judy Tenuta and three other pros, plus 100 other comics competing in its standup competition.

The winner of the latter will receive $1,000 and a half-hour special on Step 1 TV, a new free channel airing over-the-air in the Los Angeles area (channel 35.10 out of Lancaster) and nationally at or via an Android app.

Step 1 TV, billed as an urban network, currently features a court show (Ghetto Court), an animated comedy series (Masterfreak Theatre), a music video series (The INDIEpendents), and lots of infomercials (a particular one, for Time Life’s The Best of the Three Stooges DVD collection, seems to be airing every other time we tune in!).

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About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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