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Aisha Tyler

Aisha Tyler

Aisha is one of the funniest women in the entertainment business. She is best recognized for her appearance on the TV shows "The 5th Wheel" "Talk Soup" and "Friends." Born on September 18, 1970, in California, USA, Aisha N. Tyler began her comedy career at the Improv classes she would often sneak off to when bored with her regular high-school studies. But as passionate as she was with acting and comedy, she went on to study Political Science at Dartmouth College, though her attendance was irregular at best. While in college, Tyler continued to perform improv and sketch comedy, and even joined a campus a cappella group and a blues band, which allowed her to explore her love of music. As if doing covers of Stevie Ray Vaughn and the Doobie Brothers wasn't enough, she also gave snowboarding lessons. Following graduation, Tyler got a job with an advertising firm in San Francisco, but as great as it seemed, she realized that it wasn't her true love. She made the gutsy decision to pursue comedy full-time and after working in clubs across the country, finally moved to Los Angeles in 1996. Aisha Tyler quickly found a permanent job, as the host of E! Entertainment Televisions's Talk Soup, an Emmy-winning satirical look at TV talk shows. As the first female and black host of the show, Tyler's rousing comedy was a hit with audiences and critics alike. And along with the success, came deafening buzz about comedy's newest queen.

Some of the buzz included Esquire calling Tyler "sweetly wicked," and securing a place among the lists of loved women in entertainment and hot newcomers. In addition to Talk Soup, Tyler has appeared on The Tonight Show, The Today Show, Politically Incorrect, the 2002 film Showtime, starring Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy, as well as the HBO series, Curb Your Enthusiasm, all the while earning raves. Tyler also made time to appear on a celebrity edition of The Weakest Link, and even won the top prize as the strongest player. Despite the May 2002 cancellation of Talk Soup and stepping down from the dating show The Fifth Wheel, Aisha Tyler is keeping busy with an appearance in the big-budget The Santa Clause 2, starring Tim Allen. She also took her witty style to print, as a part-time contributor to Glamour and Jane magazines. In 2003, she appeared on the hit NBC sitcom Friends in the recurring role of Charlie Wheeler, the love interest of both Joey and Ross.

Aisha Tyler was born on September 18,1970 in San Francisco, California, USA .

More fun facts about Aisha Tyler

Height 6' (1.83 m)

Spouse: Jeff Tietjens (1992 - present)

Graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Political Science.

Moved to Los Angeles from native San Francisco in 1996.

Minored in environmental policy at Dartmouth College.

Her parents divorced when she was 10, and she was raised by her father, Jim.

Is a stand-up comedienne


CBS Casting: Tyler Sees Dead People, Taylor Commutes

The combination of Jennifer Love Hewitt and Aisha Tyler doesn't necessarily sound like a obvious pairing for a drama about a women who communicates with the dead. CBS is going out on a limb, though, adding Tyler, best known as a comic, to the network's untitled John Gray drama pilot.

Also at CBS, familiar faces Johnathon Schaech (aka Mr. Christina Applegate) and Christine Taylor (aka Mrs. Ben Stiller) are coming on board the comedy "The Commuters."

The untitled John Gray drama (known in some reports as "Ghost Whisper") is based on the psychic work of James Van Praagh and features Hewitt ("Garfield," "Party of Five") as a newlywed who can talk to dead people. According to The Hollywood Reporter. Tyler will play her best friend. The actress signed a talent deal with CBS back in October and stated her willingness at the time to do either a drama or comedy pilot.
Tyler, the former host on "The 5th Wheel" and "Talk Soup," established her reputation as a comic, but has spent the past year slowly building a foundation of dramatic work. She has done series turns on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "24" and "Nip/Tuck" in recent months.

"The Commuters" is a dramedy from Paramount Network TV and focuses on three couples in suburban New York. All three husbands commute to work in the city. David Arquette and Jeri Ryan were previously announced for the pilot.

Schaech's credits include "Models, Inc." and "Time of Your Life," while Taylor has appeared on multiple episodes of "Arrested Development" and in the two "Brady Bunch" feature films as Marcia Brady.

Aisha Tyler and Jeff Tietjens

Who They Are:

She's a comedienne; former host of E!'s "Talk Soup," and love interest of David Schwimmer's character on the hit NBC comedy, "Friends." She's been a model, an actress, a writer and an account executive along with holding a degree in political science.

He's a lawyer and, as of 2000, was a practicing general civil litigator in Los Angeles County.

How They Met:

The two were college sweethearts at Dartmouth where she studied political science. The couple resides in Los Angeles.

Where you’ve seen her:
Working the mic as a stand-up comedienne, as the saucy hostess of Talk Soup on E!, and in recent flick Showtime with Eddie Murphy and Robert De Niro.

We’ll take the former:
“You know the deal with guys, you either have to make out with them or make them laugh. So to keep from making out with dozens of men every night, I have to crack them up.”

Every comic needs a sidekick…or two:
“On my second show, the buttons on my shirt betrayed me, and I did a segment with my shirt open. I thought I was so funny, but everyone was, like, ‘You are, but not for the reasons you think.’”

She’s corny:
“I know that there’s this porn-supported myth that girls get together in their underpants and hit each other with pillows, but it does not exist. One girl will go, ‘I have a corn, and it’s killing me,’ and another one will go, ‘Oh, I have something for that.’”

Does Aisha Tyler Have 24 Jobs?

Aisha Tyler is everywhere — and we're impressed. The former Talk Soup host turned a very memorable guest spot on Nip/Tuck into starring roles on two of prime time's smartest shows. Here's how this sexy multitasker pulled it off...
TV Guide Online: You've played a paleontologist on Friends, a DNA specialist on CSI and now a data analyst on 24. Have you got a thing for lab coats?
Aisha Tyler: Someone asked me the other day, "Are you being typecast as a scientist?" And I was like, "Am I going to complain about being typecast as smart? I don't think so."

TVGO: How did you end up on both CSI and 24?
Tyler: I did a very intense episode of Nip/Tuck [last] spring. I played a Somali model who was a victim of female genital mutilation. A lot of people saw that, and I got calls from four dramas within a week.

TVGO: Speaking of Nip/Tuck, have you ever had any work done?
Tyler: I don't believe in it. I think it's freakish when you look at a 50-year-old woman and she looks 35 or she looks surprised, like she saw a ghost.

TVGO: So you're just going to let the wrinkles show?
Tyler: I'm just going to let it go. You know [laughs], I'm black, and black don't crack. It does droop. But I think, unless it's some kind of freakish deformity, just leave the damn face alone. Maybe it's just me. But in 20 or 30 years, directors are going to be looking for women to play mothers and nobody's going to look like a mother. Then you're going to have women who look 30 playing the mothers of other 30-year-old women because they can't find anybody who looks normal.

TVGO: How do you juggle the two shows?
Tyler: It's really exhausting. But [the shows] work it out, then they call me and tell me when to show up and where.

TVGO: Who has tougher dialogue, your CSI character or your 24 character?
Tyler: The more technical dialogue tends to be on CSI. But I wanted to be an engineer, so none of the dialogue is difficult for me.

TVGO: Which show has the better caterer?
Tyler: I don't want to rag on somebody's food. But on the CSI set, they have homemade soup every day #&151 which I know doesn't sound exciting, but it is always good because they keep that set cold to keep all the bodies, livers and maggots fresh.

TVGO: Will your CTU character be the next Sherry Palmer?
Tyler: I can't tell you. Honestly. They bring the scripts to my house in the middle of the night with a note that says, "Do Not Divulge Any Story Points."

TVGO: On a cartoon scale, how evil will she get?
Tyler: I keep referring to her as Jessica Rabbit; she's not bad. She's just drawn that way. She's not evil — to me, she's a little misunderstood. She's ambitious and she's pushy and she's difficult. But I wouldn't call her evil so much as just driven.

TVGO: If you could be on any reality-TV show, which would you do?
Tyler: On general principle, I boycott shows that don't employ actors. But if I was forced, I'd say Survivor just because I'm scrappy, I like camping and it would be cool to kill a pig and s--t like that.


The Africana Q&A: Aisha Tyler

After stunning the TV world as the first and only black recurring character to be cast on Friends before the show's finale, Aisha Tyler's definitely bound to earn a few more "black firsts" tags throughout her career.

Aisha Tyler is the epitome of what we now call "the black nerd." For Kathy Wilson of the Cincinnati City Beat that means a black person who's "Not Easily Read or Dissected." For James Hannaham of The Village Voice that means black "outsiders" making their mark while separated from the racial mainstream. And for those in need of an example, BET's Comicview would be the mainstream that Tyler, who does mostly standup comedy, would stand out in. Tyler instead has been making her mark on shows like the E Channel's Talk Soup, HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm and — probably most famously — as "the black girl from Friends," a temporary role playing a paleontologist named Charlie Wheeler who dated Russ on the show. Friends received much flak for portraying an unrealistic image of New York City since it was rare that a black face was ever seen on the show. Although Gabrielle Union was actually the original "the black girl from Friends," Tyler was the first black character with a recurring guest role. But since she was a young self-confessed nerd growing up in San Francisco's creative-class neighborhood of Haight Ashbury, Tyler's had a fair amount of experience in the "only black" role. However, she was born to parents heavily entrenched in Civil Rights and black cultural movements so her blackness never escapes her — though she won't let it lasso her either.

Tyler's turn towards celebrity began shortly after graduating from Dartmouth University where aside from doing standup comedy her acting career began taking off. She won an NAACP Theater Image Award for her role in the play Moose Mating. She then began popping up in films like Showtime, Never Die Alone and the black independent Dancing in September, a movie that tackled the exploitative arrangement television has with its black audience and black employees much like Spike Lee's Bamboozled that proceeded it.

Earlier this year she released Swerve: Reckless Observations of a Postmodern Girl, a collection of essays she wrote that reads like a side-winding ride through her views on life — views that literally "swerve" conveniently around race while still addressing issues of feminism, popular culture, Missy Elliot, bikini-waxing, women who "sass" or talk back, the squares at Ms. Magazine and why she kicks ass.

Africana recently spoke with Tyler and here's what she had to say

In bios you're described as the female Chris Rock or Eddie Murphy. We know that's for marketing purposes, but in that respect how come you can't be the female-Tom Hanks or Seinfeld? Or do you even need to be the female-insertmalecomedianstarhere? Especially since few can boast being an Ivy League grad and author as well as comedian.

I hope I get to the point where I'm not the female-insertmalecomedian forever but the comparisons I think have more to do with performance style rather than legacy. Cosby was a very clean, very straightforward, pared-down comedian but what he was doing was saying, "I'm going to be my own individual with my own brand of comedy." But the Rock and Murphy comparisons are more about my energy on stage and the fact that I'm really physical in my delivery. It's hard to compare me to any female comedians because there's so few of us.

You speak a lot in your book about being an individual. However your parents were really entrenched in the Black Arts Movement that really shunned individualism for more collective thought. Where did you get this penchant for being what black Greeks call a "GDI"?

When I came up there were The Last Poets and there was Miles Davis and there was a distinct individualism in those artists. You look at our popular culture today and it's all the same. The music artists all look the same, the videos are all the same and everyone talks about the same stuff. There's no forward-thinking artists. Hip hop was always a cultural force and the vanguard for social criticism but everyone now is talking about getting laid or getting paid. I don't wanna be a part of that. It's not teaching anyone or elevating anyone. I understand why it's so attractive but the answer is not about how many cars and bitches you have. I think it's the individualists saying and doing the most progressive work, although we're not always the most popular. We're trying to push the limits of what people will listen to and spend their money on and also getting them to think while they're doing it. It's very frustrating because you want to say something as an artist but there's this overwhelming emphasis on the meaningless and on consumerism.

You don't speak much on race in your book, yet much of your publicity materials make a point to tout you as the first African American woman on the TV show Friends. That says a lot for that particular show, but how much do these "First Black to …"-tags mean to you?

There's a certain amount of satisfaction in that and there's something nice about being able to break barriers down. Part of individualism is wanting to do things that have never done before. It was satisfying to be the first black woman on Friends because we're so underrepresented in TV comedies. You don't set out to be a ground-breaker but you don't want to be a follower either. But as an artist you're just trying to get a damn job. Like Angela Bassett, there's certain roles I won't take. I just don't want to do stereotypical work. I don't feel like I need to contribute to that body of work. There's people who do that very well and I'm not hating on them but sometimes you just have to say no.

You just test-piloted a comedy where you played a strong leading black executive in the corporate world. The show had all the right people backing it but it didn't get picked up. Yet it seems every other week a brand new black comedian-driven family sitcom pops up. Is that the only kind of black show they'll allow on TV?

I can see that. There were these character-driven shows to come from the '90s like Seinfeld, Friends and Frasier that came out really well, but we're still locked in family sitcoms. Television is real imitative and diversity of ideas suffers on television. Even in drama there's, like, four Law and Orders and three CSIs. From an artist's perspective that's a very narrow slate and it makes work less available for actors and for writers — especially with all this reality TV. It would be nice if we could do more than what is expected of us. I think what's been great about Dave Chappelle is he's doing more than just jokes about race, you know, by spoofing Rick James and Prince. He's wonderfully insightful when he does jokes on race but he's doing other stuff about the entire black experience. But it's also your own individual experiences that makes your voice unique.

Black people are the least likely to date outside their race of any other minority, but it seems like we make the biggest deal about it. You have a white husband and have had white boyfriends/husbands in many of your roles. Do you get challenged on that often?

I was raised by people very involved in the black liberation movement. My mom was a member of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and she went to Howard University so I was raised to be self aware and proud as a black person, but also to not judge people based on their race. I was raised to know people as individuals and not as one racial designation. I never had any goal in mind as to what particular kind of guy I would marry in life. I wasn't raised to believe that my only meaningful relationships could be with black people, though. It was never a choice for me one way or another. I've had very meaningful friendships with both black and white people. You can be self-aware and connected to your community without precluding yourself from having relationships with other people from other races or cultures.I can appreciate why a group of people would think that way. If you're part of a socially or economically depressed racial group it urges you to want to close in among ranks, but I don't see a conflict.

You call out Ms. Magazine and The View in your book for being pseudo-feminists and borderline corny. Have you heard any responses from them?

No. Who knows? Maybe the women at Ms. read it and they're pissed at me. I don't know, I don't read it. Haven't heard from The View, I don't watch that either. Maybe Star Jones wants to go to war with me, but I think I'll win that one. She doesn't have the reach on me but she might have me in weightclass.

Aisha Tyler: Talk Soup, E!

In a perfect world, Aisha Tyler would have Dan Rather's job. But the one she's got—hosting Talk Soup, E!'s drive-by compendium of the rest of talk TV—will have to do for now. Since Tyler took over as host, her serene self-amusement has become the best reason to watch the show. If she's got any neuroses, including a performer's usual hunger for approval, she sure knows how to keep them under wraps. In fact, she seems like the most sensible human being on television. For a six-foot-tall African-American stand-up comic with a model's looks and a degree in government from Dartmouth, it's clearly a choice between that and going stark bonkers.

Aisha Tyler: Talk Soup's New Chef on Geeks, Freaks and Private Underwear Performances

The San Francisco native has been tickling funny bones since coming to Los Angeles in late 1996. She has appeared on Politically Incorrect, VH1's The List and The Martin Short Show--and flexed her acting muscles in Dancing in September, Metro and Grand Avenue.
Tyler, who regularly performs at L.A.'s Laugh Factory, was picked by Daily Variety as "a breakthrough talent headed for an impact on comedy." Now, from her perch on Talk Soup, that just might come to pass.

Why did hosting Talk Soup appeal to you?
It has been a great springboard for the people who have done it. But more than that, for a comedian, there's such an endless wellspring of material. It's a comedian's medium. You get to sit there every day and make fun of people. A comedian couldn't come up with a better job, except for maybe sleeping and playing Nintendo.

How would you describe your stand-up?
I do a lot of sexual-politics material, which is not bashing men or women. It's more about how men and women interact. I hate that kind of comedy where girls are all, "Guys are dogs." It makes me want to vomit.

Here's my favorite hackneyed female set: "Guys leave the toilet seat up, and they never let me have the remote control. When I'm on my period, he doesn't listen to me, and his dick is really small. Thank you, good night." I don't do those bits.
When you auditioned for Talk Soup, what do you think you brought to the table that other people couldn't?
I think I'm--this is so egotistical--a really good comedian. I'm really funny. That's the first thing I brought to the table. The other thing that appealed to them was that I'm smart. Talk Soup is a very smart show. People are sometimes confused by the fact that the clips are of daytime talk shows, but the tone of the show is very sophisticated. And my comedy is very guy-friendly. It doesn't alienate their core audience.

Are you an addict of daytime television?
I'm quickly becoming a connoisseur. When I'm home alone, I watch the Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.

What's your favorite cartoon?
The Batman Beyond series on the WB. I get up every Saturday morning and watch cartoons. I drink, like, two pots of coffee and sit in front of the television.
You're not a fan of Scooby Doo?
What's so funny is how much I loved that as a kid and how sucky that show is. Look at it critically now. The animation is so poor. Instead of reanimating a whole scene, they'll just move one person's mouth or just rotate the background for four minutes. Early Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? That was some fine cartooning. But when it became Scooby Doo Meets Jed Clampett, omigod.
Word has it you're not a big fan of daytime talk shows.
I thought they were mean, and they always made me sad. I was like, It's not that guy's fault he has four teeth.

How are you going to handle watching those clips every day?
Now that I get to mock it on national television, I'm much more eager to watch.

You'll get over that sadness?
I'm already over it. What's great about Talk Soup, if I can plug my own show...let's see how often I can say "What's great about Talk Soup" in this interview? What's great about Talk Soup...

That's three times.
Thank you. We give you the choicest parts of the shows, so you don't have to slog through 17 "Dork to Hottie" segments. We give you the juiciest part of the steak and leave the gristle for everyone else.

In your bio, you say, "I take the most wrenchingly painful moments of my life, brush them off and present them for the amusement of others. Lucky for me, my childhood was torture." Did you really have a difficult childhood?
I did have a bit of a crappy childhood. I was very geeky, bookish and tall. I went to a private school where I was the only black kid. I was very, very not fitty-inny.

At private school, people were too stuck on image. Their shoes had to match their velour sweaters. My parents didn't own a television set, so I read a lot and had glasses. I didn't know what shows were on. When Pong came out, I didn't have a videogame player because I didn't have a television set. I was kind of a loner.
When did things turn around for you?
When I was a sophomore in high school. Then I got really popular.

What changed?
I wish it was something exciting, like I had sex with a lot of people, but it wasn't. I moved to a public school, and there were other strange people like me. It was this kooky arts school. It was like hippie central. I had the best time.

I also read that in high school, you snuck out of class to go to improv classes.
That was me pulling it all together. Part of my blossoming was cutting class. I showed up every day, and eventually they let me in the [improv] class.

What class did you end up missing?
Who knows? The benefit of going to a private school was that by the time I went to a public school, I was, like, 14 light-years ahead of everybody. It didn't matter if I cut class. Compared with a lot of the kids there, I was a genius. It wasn't their fault. They were victims of low expectations.
When you went to college at Dartmouth, you majored in political science and minored in environmental policy. How did you make the transition to comedy?
I always had a great creative outlet. I was in a band in high school and did sketch comedy, but when I started working after graduating college, I was very sad and couldn't figure out why. It turned out I didn't have anything creative to do.

So, what did you do?
I'm not the kind of person who likes to wait for things to happen. I was like, What can I do where I don't have to audition, know anyone or pay money? Comedy was the thing. That's something I can do without the permission of anyone.

Where were you working?
In San Francisco, at a company that acquired land for conservation and parks. It was a very noble cause, but the not-for-profit world smells, because everyone has to hug 42,000 times before they decide anything. I really got tired of it.

Another thing about the not-for-profit world is they don't fire anybody. There's just hacks running around for years because nobody wants to be mean. In the for-profit world, they just cut your head off and stick it on a post in the lobby.

You stayed two and half years before leaving to take your comedy on the road.
I was out for four months with two people in a van. They hated me, and I hated them. It was hell, but it was good for my comedy because it was horrible. I became very strong.
Then you moved to Los Angeles in 1996 and started doing stand-up?
I moved here because I was sick of not making any money. Comedy pays nothing. Let that be a lesson to all the people out there who want to be comedians. It's great if you don't mind being on the road all the time, living away from home, not having a life or friends or ever having sex.

Sounds like some great benefits.
Depression is another one. And scurvy is quite common among comedians. It's very important to have an orange a day. Or at least some Tang.

You still do shows at the Improv and Laugh Factory, and your bio states that you perform daily in front of your living-room television in your underwear.
That's a special VIP ticket that's not given out very often. My husband has a lifetime pass, but everyone else has to send a video. It's a very difficult qualification process.

Meet Aisha Tyler

Her sultry looks brought E!'s "Talk Soup" to a boil. Now Aisha Tyler is serving up a spicy spread in the august issue of Maxim. She says fans of her TV show shouldn’t be surprised to see her in a men's magazine.
She says, “I’m a guy's girl. I can play poker and drink you under the table"

Maxim editor Steven Russell says the magazine picked Aisha for her comedy as well as her curves. "I think when you’re clicking around you’ll stop because Aisha is so beautiful. You’ll stay because she's fun and engages her audience"

But Aisha is a bombshell with a brain, as she proved on “The Weakest Link" by trouncing the competition on the celebrity edition.

She says, "I have a degree from Dartmouth College in political science. That's $100,000 down the drain. I got into comedy right out of school"

Her experience as a stand up comic helped pave the way to a movie career. She's moved on to a much more important part, as Eddie Murphy's love interest in the just-completed "Showtime."

Aisha sells her sex appeal on screen but her home life is a different story. She says, “I’m married. I’m married to my college sweetheart. He's not in this business at all he's constantly saying ‘you’re crazy and everything you do is crazy.’"

And now a growing number of fans are just crazy about Aisha Tyler.

Sass and sensibility

Former "Talk Soup" host Aisha Tyler went on to wow Joey and Ross as a sexy paleontologist. Now she swerves into bookstores with a collection of comic observations.

After showing a dazzling versatility at poking fun at and being part of pop culture, it was only a matter of time before the witty (and dishy) Aisha Tyler, 33, wrote down her views on everything from celebrity to her big feet. Her literary debut, "Swerve: Reckless Observations of a Postmodern Girl" (Dutton, $21.95), has the same cool sensibility that made her shine as the host of E!'s "Talk Soup" and charm two of TV's "Friends" (Joey and Ross). Married since 1994 to a lawyer, Jeff Tietjens, the Dartmouth-educated comedian-actress riffs on a range of topics from her book:

TV DIVERSITY: A lot of people never interact with a gay person or a black person, and TV does that. It humanizes them. [It] can be a force for cultural change. "All in the Family," "The Jeffersons" -- those shows changed people's minds. "Sex and the City" or "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" are just bringing different perspectives.

BETWEEN THE PAGES: I was a huge geek when I was a kid. I read constantly; walking down the street, on the bus, on the back of my dad's motorcycle. He built a little harness to keep me from falling. I'd put the book on his back and read.

LOOKING GOOD: If you have fabulous nails, are well-groomed and smell nice, you are fly. It's not about the stuff. It's about you.

HER SHOE FETISH: We're renovating [our home], and I just want to get to the part where we do the closets. The rest of the house can be a shack as long as I have walk-in shoe closets. I have all my shoes in their original boxes, all Polaroid-ed, stacked by color, group and height of heel. [Pause.] I'm so anal!

AND HER BIG FEET: I have size 10 feet. I prefer to think of them not as big, but as proportionate to my size. [She's 6 feet tall.] If I have kids, I'm sure I'll shoot up to a 13. I always wore flat shoes because I was so tall. About four or five years ago, I decided I was sick of tiny girls wearing all the fly shoes. So now I just wear a 4-inch stiletto.

I ONLY PLAY A SINGLE GIRL: Girlfriends think I know a lot about guys. I've always been one of those girls who's like, "Don't call him. Look at what you're doing!" I try to be the voice of reason. My husband thinks I know nothing about men. He thinks I'm crazy. All people think their spouses are crazy.

VANILLA OR CHOCOLATE?: Oh, no. Neither. I like busy ice cream like mocha almond fudge and big marshmallows. I like it to be an activity.

REALITY SHOWS: I'm sick of the Trista-and-Ryan thing. How can anybody develop an authentic relationship on television? People can barely get it together in the dark!

Racial Diversity on 'Friends'?

Former Talk Soup host Aisha Tyler has denied that she was cast for a long-running storyline in Friends as a way for the producers to respond to charges that the show lacks racial diversity. In an interview with the Boston Globe, Tyler said that she competed against white actresses for the role of a paleontologist who winds up in a love triangle with the Joey and Ross characters. "There's not even a little reference to race in the script," she told the newspaper. "I don't think anyone is trying to redress issues of diversity here. There wasn't a sense of 'We're bringing on a black character to change something.' ... Hopefully, I was cast on the merits and not as some kind of instrument to prove critics out there wrong about whether the show is diverse or not."

'Talk Soup' Host to Join 'Friends'

Aisha Tyler, whom Variety called "a breakthrough talent headed for an impact on comedy," and whom Playboy profiled under the heading "Woman on the Verge," has joined the cast of Friends. Tyler, a 32-year-old black comedienne, hosted E! Network's Talk Soup until it was canceled last year. News reports indicated that her character is being written into the show because of persistent complaints from TV critics and the black community that Friends rarely features actors who are not white, despite the fact that it is set in New York, which is renowned for its racially diverse population.

A Post-Game Show -- About The Ads

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) will be airing its own post-game show following the Super Bowl -- analyzing not the game itself, but the commercials aired during it. Titled Super Commercials: A Mental Engineering Special, the program will be based on the Minneapolis-produced Mental Engineering and will be hosted by that show's John Forde. Panelists are expected to include Lizz Winstead, co-creator of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, Aisha Tyler, host of E! Channel's Talk Soup, former Letterman writer Merrill Markoe, plus Mental Engineering regulars, Leolo Johnson, professor of communication studies at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, and Chris Vigliaturo, a computer programmer. Forde recently told he Minneapolis Star Tribune: "We're hoping to give PBS its highest ratings ever."


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