EXCLUSIVE: Standup comedians used to rule primetime comedy in the 1980s and 1990s with Seinfeld, Home Improvement, Roseanne and Everybody Loves Raymond. The trend has cooled off in the past decade, but in a rare pilot deal for a standup, NBC has bought a comedy project co-written and starring comedian Tommy Johnagin.
The untitled project, which Johnagin will co-write with Mike Pennie (My Name Is Earl), is based on the standup comedy and life of Johnagin and chronicles the evolution of a modern relationship, where moving in together, getting married and having a baby don’t always happen in that order. After dating for a year, a couple decides to take the next step and move in together and then quickly learn that they’ll be skipping a few steps when they find out that they’re pregnant. The comedy, which has received a script commitment, will be produced by Universal TV and Avalon TV. Pennie will executive produce with Avalon’s David Martin, Kara Baker and Jon Thoday, with Johnagin co-exec producing. Johnagin, who has been a standup since the age of eighteen, is a familiar face at NBC — he was a contestant on the seventh season of the network’s reality series Last Comic Standing where he finished second. Johnagin, repped by APA, Avalon and Leigh Brecheen, has made five appearances on CBS’ The Late Show With David Letterman (watch his most recent one from May below). Avalon TV is with Gersh.