Roger Friedman writes: More from my hilarious interview with Jerry Lewis last week at the Museum of the Moving Image. Jerry had been interviewed earlier by his “The King of Comedy” director and old friend Martin Scorsese. Remember Jerry played Jerry Langford, a Johnny Carson-like talk show host in “The King of Comedy” who is kidnapped by Robert DeNiro and Sandra Bernhard.
Lewis, by the way, regularly guest hosted for Carson back in the day. He told me once did a six week stint for Johnny. When was that, I wondered?
“When Johnny went to have a sex change,” Lewis snapped back with glee. He is 89 and faster than you or I will ever be. Listening to him with Scorsese reminded me of the last time I saw Milton Berle perform– at Denise Rich’s famous original Angel Ball at the Sheraton circa 1999-2000. Berle was over 90, I think. I don’t know if anyone recorded it, but his 15 minutes at the podium were historic. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Late Show: Celebrity Rot-Fest Concludes with Lame ‘Top Ten Things I’ve Always Wanted to Say To David Letterman’Posted: May 21, 2015
An all-star group including Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Peyton Manning, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Chris Rock, Jim Carrey, Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Martin, Barbara Walters and Alec Baldwin salute David Letterman in his last Top Ten List.
Letterman will officially retire from late-night television on May 20 after 33 years.
“I realize when you retire this is it – I am never gonna wear a fancy dress again,” she said. “My gift to you is I wanna give you the dress.”
Fey then asked Letterman to unzip her blue ensemble for her….(read more)
Admitting that the way we were getting news was desperately flawed—at least until a few years ago—is really admitting to a larger failure in ourselves. So, of course, we will never do it.
“What gets lost is a proverbial sense of communal experience. We’re not all getting it through Walter Cronkite. We’re not all going to experience him choke back a tear. The danger is that we become isolated in our own echo chambers—that we don’t get different points of view that open us up to thinking about other people. That’s the dystopian view. That’s the fear—that everyone’s essentially in their own bubble.”
— Jordan Levin
The reality is the opposite: The protections that we now know need to be provided to TV journalists—the expectation that they could be human, that they could quickly admit to mistakes without being permanently reviled, that they could unveil their process while reporting on what they know and don’t know—are really only provided to comedians.
Comedy and news collided not because comedy needed the news, but because news needed the protections of comedy.
Here’s how we know it: The most prominent cases of clear government corruption that were brought to light—and eventually killed—by a TV show in the last year did not come from the Nightly News, a tepid-by-design, rote reconstruction of the day’s events told slowly and dispassionately, as not to ruffle the feathers of the powerful.
Those scoops—acts of journalism in the truest sense—happened, instead, on places like Last Week Tonight, hosted by Daily Show alumnus John Oliver.
His show, for example, highlighted an FCC Commissioner—one whose last job was the head of the telecom lobby—proposing rules that would have allowed that same cable lobby to rake consumers over the coals by artificially slowing down the speed of some websites while simultaneously raising prices. His show launched a protest that was so swift and immediate it crashed the FCC’s servers. That commissioner, Tom Wheeler, did a 180—and last week proposed different rules that would protect the Internet against that kind of throttling.
[Note: If Ben Collins actually thinks the Obama administration-pressured FCC’s 300+ page stack of regulations aimed at transforming the internet into a highly-regulated government-controlled public utility is as simple as consumer-advocacy “rules that would protect the Internet against that kind of throttling” one might conclude that guys like Ben are also among those Kool-Aid drinking journalists who shamelessly promoted the Affordable Care Act as a popular, successful “reform” package that made health care “more affordable”. If this sloppy comment about Tom Wheeler raises serious doubts about the credibility of everything else Ben’s article, so be it.]
— Barracuda Brigade (@BarracudaMama) February 10, 2015
Then it happened again with payday loans, which prey only on the poor. (The Consumer Protection Agency, as of three days ago, is trying to put an end to them.)
And then again with civil forfeiture—a process that allowed police to seize assets from citizens who were never arrested or charged with a crime. (Attorney General Eric Holder laid out an edict effectively putting an end to it.)
These issues were on the fringe of public consciousness. Fifteen minutes, a lot of reporting and a little bit of comedy later, three pieces of legislation that would’ve negatively affected less fortunate Americans—or, in the first case, all Americans—were about to be killed.
The Nightly News couldn’t dream of doing this that efficiently. Read the rest of this entry »
Failure to Report for Duty: Stars And Stripes Publishes Full Brian Williams Interview Because He Canceled On David LettermanPosted: February 9, 2015
Some industry navel gazers say he’s missed a great opportunity by canceling. But Williams’ loss, and Letterman’s, is Stars and Stripes’ gain
“The reason we decided to publish it now is because Williams backed out of this appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. We felt there was a lot of interest out there to hear him, in his own words, really address these questions and hear his response, unfiltered…”
Williams will not appear on the Late Show with David Letterman this Thursday, yesterday canceling a long-scheduled appearance in the wake of an investigation into his inflated claims about taking enemy fire while in a helicopter in Iraq. Some industry navel gazers say he’s missed a great opportunity by canceling. But Williams’ loss, and Letterman’s, is Stars and Stripes’ gain.
“…so everybody can listen for themselves and judge…Williams has not come forward and answered questions. He has made statements on his own but he hasn’t sat and answered questions about it.”
— Travis Tritten
“The reason we decided to publish it now is because Williams backed out of this appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman,” Travis Tritten, who did the interview, explained this afternoon to CNN. “We felt there was a lot of interest out there to hear him, in his own words, really address these questions and hear his response, unfiltered — so everybody can listen for themselves and judge,” Tritten added. Read the rest of this entry »
Critics: Hong Kong’s TV Industry Hits New Low with Derivative Talk Show Clone of Shows Like David Letterman, Jimmy FallonPosted: February 3, 2015
Vivienne Chow reports: Hong Kong’s television industry has hit a “new low” as TVB’s latest talk show Sze U Tonight was accused of copying popular American hosts such as Jimmy Fallon and David Letterman.
“A TVB spokesman said Lee had already announced that his show would ‘take references’ from U.S. talk shows. But Lee insisted the show did not copy US shows entirely.”
Critics said the TVB show, hosted by comedian Johnson Lee Sze-chit, reflected the lack of creativity in the city’s TV productions – and even warned the alleged similarities in format and set designs could lead to legal action.
Sze U Tonight, which debuted on TVB Jade on Sunday, features Lee behind a desk interviewing celebrities sitting on a sofa, against the backdrop of Hong Kong’s skyline. It apparently bore a striking resemblance of the likes of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC and Late Show with David Letterman on CBS.
Lee’s desk, complete with an old-fashioned microphone, a pencil holder full of pencils and a coffee mug, was said to look like Letterman’s. The show also has a live band, a signature of Letterman’s show.
“Sze U Tonight risked falling into copyright traps, but it will depend on whether the U.S. networks decide to take legal action.”
Sze U Tonight achieved 16 rating points on Sunday – an equivalent to a TV audience of more than a million, accounting for a 93 per cent share. A TVB spokesman said Lee had already announced that his show would “take references” from US talk shows. But Lee insisted the show did not copy US shows entirely as it featured local content.
The South China Morning Post contacted NBC but the broadcaster has yet to comment on allegations its show has been copied.
Barrister Albert Luk Wai-hung said it was common for TV stations to customise foreign shows. ATV screened quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? while TVB broadcast The Weakest Link in the 1990s. But ATV and TVB acquired the rights from foreign stations which had originally broadcast them overseas.
Mainland China has also acquired the rights to foreign shows, such as South Korea’s Running Man and Dad! Where Are We Going?
However, it is understood that TVB did not acquire the rights to any of the US talk shows for the production of Sze U Tonight. Read the rest of this entry »
Network Succession: Beloved Left-Wing Icon Colbert to Replace Liberal Grumpy-Pants Letterman on CBS “Late Show”Posted: April 10, 2014
Stephen Colbert, the host, writer and executive producer of “The Colbert Report,” will replace Letterman in 2015.
Here’s the official announcement from CBS on Stephen Colbert taking over as Late Show host. pic.twitter.com/gggTzmx5X1
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) April 10, 2014
Like Ace, I don’t know why you’d hire a comedian who got famous playing a character to host a show out of character. It’d be like giving Larry the Cable Guy a sitcom but insisting that he play mild-mannered Nebraskan Dan Whitney. Then again, Colbert’s always sort of “in character” even when he’s not playing a faux-conservative pundit like the one he plays on “Report.” If you go back and watch “Strangers With Candy” or his bits as a correspondent for “The Daily Show,” you’ll find that his style’s consistent even though neither of those characters was overtly political. He’s so arch, so far over the top in exaggerating his target’s ideas or persona while retaining a deadpan affect, that his shtick always feels like caricature. Even his famous takedown of Bush at the 2006 WHCD, with the president sitting right in front of him, was delivered as a pretend Dubya supporter. I don’t think he’s comfortable playing comedy any other way; I’d be surprised if his CBS show is any different. Instead of playing the faux-conservative, which works during Comedy Central’s 11 p.m. hour of right-bashing power for a millennial audience but might not work for an older, more diverse crowd on CBS, he’ll probably play the faux-late-night-host, mocking the conventions of the format. Which wouldn’t be terrible: After 50 years of the same crap, right down to the demographics of the various personalities, anything different at that hour is good.
Johnny Carson, by Henry Bushkin (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin, 294 pp., $28)
Review by City Journal’s Stefan Kanfer: “I started out in a gaseous state, and then I cooled,” said Johnny Carson when asked about the reason for his success. That tongue-in-cheek assessment was on the money: in the 1970s and 1980s, Carson was the coolest television personality on the planet. Though he retired from show business in 1992 (after 4,531 Tonight Show broadcasts) and died in 2005, he still inspires great devotion from fans—and fierce resentment from colleagues. Carson’s longtime lawyer, Henry Bushkin, is a member of both groups, and his new book about the late-night king has provoked full-throated responses from the corridors of NBC in New York to the broadcast venues of Burbank, California.
Bushkin was an inexperienced attorney when Carson consulted his law firm in 1970, took a shine to the young man, and elevated him to the role of personal consultant. Their arrangement lasted 18 years and ended, like so many of Carson’s relationships, in acrimony and charges of disloyalty. Before the fadeout, though, there were high times, incessant laughter, generous helpings of loot, and a steady flow of A-list celebrities. These perks came at a cost. Among them: Bushkin’s self-respect (one of the job requirements was losing to Carson at tennis in order to sweeten the boss’s disposition); his peace of mind (the mercurial Carson was constantly splitting with his wives, reconciling, and then divorcing them, a process that involved millions of dollars and reams of documents); and, eventually, Bushkin’s own marriage, when the lawyer emulated his employer’s tomcat proclivities.
By Jim Treacher
Is Leno still beating Letterman in the ratings? He is? Well then, it just makes the following all the sweeter.
Jay Leno continued his humorous attacks on the White House Friday.
In a series of opening monologue jokes targeting Barack Obama, the NBC Tonight Show host said of the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, “If he really wants to close it, turn it into a government-funded solar power company. The doors will be shut in a month.”
Leno knows he’s got nothing to lose. He knows he’s on his way out. Again. He knows if he wants to keep working after he leaves the Tonight Show, he’ll have no shortage of opportunities. And if he doesn’t, he already has more money than he can spend for the rest of his life. (Unless he decides to finish the job and purchase every single motor vehicle in North America.)
So why not say what he really thinks about the Obama administration? Why not do what late-night comedians are supposed to do, and mock those in power even when it’s not considered fashionable? Even when it’s considered somehow “racist,” just because the guy is black?
I was obsessed with David Letterman in the ’80s. From the moment I first saw his short-lived summer daytime show back in 1980, when I watched this fellow Hoosier doing the same stupid, irresponsible stuff I did in school and yet he got to be on TV for it, I was hooked. When he moved to Late Night, I was a devoted viewer. All the way up until he stomped off to CBS in a huff, which was when the slow decline began. I still appreciate the work he did back when he was young and good, but it makes it all the more tragic that he’s turned into such a bitter, partisan old Democrat Party hack.
I hope he watches Leno telling these jokes, to a bigger audience, and seethes with impotent rage. His hated rival has thwarted him again.
via The Daily Caller
This summer, David Letterman used his perch as a late night TV host to rant against hydraulic fracturing as some sort of environmental nightmare, reciting the same debunked talking points (water contamination, flaming faucets, etc.) that we hear from professional opponents of oil and gas development on a daily basis.
Most folks are smart enough to know that Mr. Letterman is neither a scientist nor a go-to expert on well completion technologies, something the “Late Night” host volunteered at the beginning of his soliloquy: According to Mr. Letterman himself, when it comes to hydraulic fracturing, “I’m not smart enough to understand it.” (you don’t say!)
Nonetheless, to quote The Dude, this aggression will not stand.
So in the spirit of David Letterman’s trademark “Top Ten” segments, EID has produced a top ten of its own: The Top Ten Mistakes David Letterman Made on Hydraulic Fracturing.
- Video: ‘The top ten mistakes David Letterman made on hydraulic fracturing’ (aei-ideas.org)
- David Letterman: Don’t Vote For Mitt Romney Unless He Comes On My Show (mediaite.com)
- Hydraulic Fracturing Services in the US Industry Market Research Report Now Available from IBISWorld (prweb.com)