Jay Martel with Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key on the set of Key & Peele
Alternatino with Arturo Castro

Alternatino with Arturo Castro

When I returned last year from nine months in South America with my family, one thing was clear: I needed a job. Cue “Alternatino,” a Comedy Central project that had already piloted and been greenlit for ten episodes. In some ways, it was a dream situation: I stepped into a show that was already defined, already (by virtue of the amazing pilot) successful. I worked with the star/creator Arturo Castro and the director Nick Jasenovec to hire some of my favorite (available) writers and we were off and running.

Alternatino with Arturo Castro on Comedy Central

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Channel Blue by Jay Martel

Channel Blue

Alien TV executives are planning a disastrous finale for their “Big Brother”-style show, in which we’re the stars. In just three weeks, their show will go out with a bang. The trouble is, so will Earth.

“Skip the blurbs and start reading this very funny book.”
— Michael Moore

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Get Hard

When millionaire hedge fund manager James King (Will Ferrell) is nailed for fraud and bound for a stretch in San Quentin, the judge gives him 30 days to get his affairs in order. He turns to Kevin Hart for help.

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Unscripted Presentation

I directed this presentation in one weekend. It features the brilliant Heather Anne Campbell, a flame-throwing performance by Ian Roberts, and a hilarious turn by Eddie Pepitone. I’m less funny as a beleaguered editor.

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This small, no-budget film was inspired by post-9/11 craziness and features great performances from Ian Roberts, Jessica St. Clair, Jason Mantzoukas, Zach Woods, Rob Riggle, and many more.

 It went on to win a Special Jury Prize at the Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival and the Audience Award at Cinequest.

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TV Nation: The Oppressed White Male

I’ve worked with Michael Moore on many projects — why single out this small, unassuming piece? I guess because having the inspiration to turn a bunch of interview footage nobody knew what to do with into a nature mockumentary was one of those exciting moments that makes being a writer worthwhile. 

And I enjoyed channeling my inner “Masterpiece Theater” host for the voice-over. Also, the piece is even more relevant now than it was two decades ago. 

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Don’t Just Sit There

Here’s a small sampling of the roles I played on the Nickelodeon show “Don’t Just Sit There” from 1989-91. I began as an actor in bars, performing sketch comedy for people more interested in drinking and eating. This partly explains a style that could be charitably described as “attention-getting” and less charitably as “scenery chewing.” It only took two decades to tone this down (an ongoing process).

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Warning: Parental Advisory

For years I was trying to write a comedy that explored the true motivations behind political power (see the play “Death in a Landslide” in Writing for Pages for another example). This is the VH1 version of that: The story of how the PMRC tried to censor music in the mid-80’s. Starring Griffin Dunne as Frank Zappa, Dee Snider as himself, and Jason Priestly as a lobbyist (for more on Jason, see the cover story I wrote on Beverly Hills 90210 in Writing for Pages).

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Death in a Landslide

This play, which ran for a few weeks Off-Off Broadway in 1996, deals with efforts to get Death elected to the presidency. Though well reviewed, it was probably ahead of its time and would do better now (or maybe would feel too close to reality).

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“Heartfelt and sweet, and not in a tear-jerking way.”

—Revolution Science Fiction on Channel Blue