Thursday, January 28, 2010

Late Night Redux

This is where stupidity and genius collide. (Brian Stack, Jon Glaser, Andy Blitz)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

SNL with Guest Host Jon Hamm

Jon Hamm is returning as guest host of Saturday Night Live with Michael Buble this week.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mad Men Lets Batt Loose

As per TV Guide Magazine, not only has Mad Men's Salvatore Romano lost his job with Sterling Cooper, but Bryan Batt has lost his as well. Showrunner Matthew Weiner has confirmed that the character of Sal will not return to the show, much to Batt's surprise. “I was supposed to be notified by December 31, and nothing." Sadly, it meant he was not coming back for season 4.

What a shame. Although the firing of Batt's TV persona was sad, it worked well within the context of the times. However, Weiner has given us this character, a gay man living a lie in a world where he is yet to be accepted. It was expected that we'd see his personal tragectory continue as the cultural shifts of the decade unfold and sexual liberation prevades. The 60's ended with the Stonewall uprising in 1969 after all.

Surely, Sal could have snagged another job at another agency and found himself working competitively against Sterling, Cooper, Draper and Pryce? Advertising can be a small world. It's disappointing that we won't see Sal's character finding his own way among societal changes - especially with that heart of gold he carries around inside. My hope is that Sal found himself, lives the way he wants to live, with the person he wants to love openly - and is the wealthy proprietor of a Soho art gallery. In my mind, Sal lives righteously.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Conan O'Brien and I are the same age. We started out at NBC within a few years of each other. I remember Conan's first day working at SNL. We were in an elevator together. I remember this tall, skinny, redhead guy chatting with an SNL member of staff with whom I was familiar. He was giving Conan a first day orientation of the building ("Commissary is on 7...etc."). With that height and that hair, he stuck out everywhere. I'd run into him at 30 Rock all the time.
We both lived in the same neighborhood, and we'd run into each other on the street often. I might remember we had a relationship where we just nodded to each other, but I could be wrong. Those details faded.

When he got Late Night, it blew my mind. It was like hearing that Harry from accounting got his own TV show. He was just another employee, albeit a talented one who would appear in SNL sketches sometimes.

Now that he's leaving, it feels like I'm saying goodbye to those memories. Wow. Over 20 years gone by now. I left NBC in 1990 after almost five years of internships and various jobs. But the network always felt like a family to me. Yes. Family. Those were good times at NBC. Leaving it was a hard decision for me too, but with the recent take over of GE and various lay offs, the network made it hard for drones like me to stay. I apply this disappointment to Conan's in a small way. It's crushing when a dream is dashed due to corporate decisions.

I can't add any more than what everyone on internet land has already said. Conan is class all the way. He'll be back, and things will be funny again.

He also talked about cynicism, and how there is no place for it in life. Sadly, this blog has been filled with all the snark and smirks of a television cynic. That is why I've been slowly pulling away from TVBlogster. Much like Conan, I might take a break and come back when there are television shows to love and write about again.

Having said that, goodbye Conan. For now.

Flashback: The Office

Last night's episode of The Office entitled "The Banker" was a flashback clip show. The premise was that Doug (David Constabile) from Flight of the Conchords is a banker employed by Dunder Mifflin's new owners. He visits the folks in Scranton to check their finances and possible liabilities. And boy, what a trunkful of liabilities to behold, all told thru clips of zany moments displayed by those wacky office drones. It was sometime after the cascade of scenes of Michael being careless in the warehouse, Dwight lighting a trash can on fire, and seeing that fucking cat crash through a ceiling again, when I turned it off. Yes, there were new scenes laced throughout with Michael zipping around on a Segway, Dwight acting like an Idiot-bot, Pam playing up the international sales queen and the fake Stanley. Nevertheless, it was all filler to set up old scenes we've seen many times over in first run, syndication, iTunes and DVD. Also, Jim was no where to be found - except in flashback.

Flashback shows have always shown up like that odd weird looking candy drop in a package of Skittles. The machine will be running along, one Skittle after another, some good, some not so much, until suddenly the candy drop machine malfunctions for lack of substance, and a strange formation has arrived in the bundle. That's what a flashback show is for me. The only difference it - that weird candy is a fun curiosity. The odd TV clip show in a string of episodes on a long running series like The Office feels like wasted time and laziness. What was also a very bad two weeks for the NBC network was made a little worse when promos for "The Banker" built up the viewer for a new episode after six weeks of repeats - only to find a plethora of space filler. And Angela's damn cat.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Human Giant Marathon Weekend

This is serious. This weekend I'm hunkering down with a big ol' bag o' Doritos and acting like it's nuclear winter outside (that is until I have to go out because I have stuff to do). Comedy Central is airing a Human Giant marathon Saturday and Sunday. Season one and the hard to find complete season two will be shown. This is going to be pretty awesome. Set those DVRs,

Episodes are mostly airing during the morning hours, so check out the schedule.

Thursday Night

NBC. What can I say? You suck. But you still air Community, Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock. I want to hate you tonight, avoid you like the evil you are, but like a platter of tantalizing cupcakes you lure me into your house made of gingerbread. I'm going to have to play Gretel to your big bad witch and be tempted inside your door because apparently I love metaphors, and I love the guest stars you have lined up for tonight's comedy block.

Are you kidding me? Jack Black and Joel McHale in the same 30 minutes of hilarious continuing college education fun on Community? Yes, I'll have another cupcake, Mr. Zucker.

Will Arnett guest stars opposite his real life lovely, funny and awesome wife, Amy Poehler on Parks and Recreation, portraying a potential love interest for Leslie Knopes.

It's around this time the hallucinagens start kicking in from the roofie laced cookie I snagged and Team Zucker has me under a spell. I'll fall asleep during a rerun of 30 Rock (Secret Santa), until an NBC programming executive hoses me with ice water in time for...

James Franco on a new 30 Rock (Klaus and Greta). Franco plays himself as the pretend boyfriend to Jenna in an attempt to stir publicity; however, that crazy blond with daddy issues is actually falling for him. (Hey guess what? I was wrong. It's a whole new hour of 30 Rock, and its super hilarious.)

You got me, Jeff. I want to boycott the network. Yet, I love these shows. I will watch them and buy the DVDs. I will also worship Conan until he goes off the air. But I will not be be lured into your dungeon and made into a Leno sex zombie slave.

(Check local listings) is not evil. In fact, it's angelic...if the angels got drunk, smoked weed and mooned a bunch of nuns. Here is a Parks and Recreation audition reel with Wu-Tang Clan.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Conan Speaks

And it's a thing of beauty.

Source: NYTimes: Conan O'Brien Says He Won't Host The Tonight Show

People of Earth:

In the last few days, I’ve been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I’ve been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I’ve been absurdly lucky. That said, I’ve been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.

Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.

But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.

Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn’t matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.

There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.

Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.




The NFL Wildcard game on NBC pushed SNL back about 45 minutes on Saturday night on the east coast, so all our DVR's recorded post game and local news before the show got started. (Why did NBC have SNL produce a live show that night?) So, I missed a good portion of the show, hosted by Charles Barkley with musical guest Alicia Keyes.

Thanks to HULU, I saw this:

Monday, January 11, 2010

Conan Deserves Better

Is there any way to reverse this video where he's running back to New York?

As reported, it was confirmed by NBC's Jeff Gaspin at the Television Critics Association NBC press conference yesterday that The Jay Leno Show at 10pm has indeed been canceled. Jay will get an 11:35pm timeslot, shortening his show to 30 minutes, thus pushing Conan to 12:05am. This does not really make it a "Tonight Show", but more of an after midnight talk show hosted by a guy that NBC loves to screw. And Jimmy? Sadly, he's being left to whither out there in the land of paid programming and infomercials, just when he was gaining some well deserved recognition.

The word is that Conan is not very pleased, and hasn't officially accepted this new line up.

It's this blog's hope that he keeps NBC's loins roasting slowly over the fire pit until he finds a better option. Not only does he have to deal with the reality that he's NBC's late night "stepchild" (as it's been bandied about), but he now has to make a decision on behalf of a whole staff of people who have changed their lives to work on a program that's being treated like a temporary place marker.

I'm just a fan, but I do have a wish. I want Conan to walk. I want him to get a good deal from Fox, negotiate raises for his staff and have total control of his time period, much like Johnny Carson and David Letterman have done. If he moves back to New York, all the better. But, since he's made it out to LA, he should stay there.

He's worked too hard, done so much for late night comedy over the years, been promised too much for it all to tossed over for Leno, strictly for the bottom line.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Watch John Oliver Tonight!

Comedy Central is showing The Daily Show's John Oliver some love by giving the very funny British comedian his own show. John Oliver's New York Stand Up Show premieres tonight at 11pm ET/10pm CT.

Read Dave Itzkoff's interview with Oliver at

Time for a Palette Cleanser...

...a la Web Soup. (Watch the show and you'll know what I mean.) After 24 hours of NBC folding in on itself and taking my Conan with it, I need a little breather.

From Funny Or Die, a little promo for 92YTribeca. Just take it from us New Yorkers, we know all the cool spots.

Speaking of, in June of 2009 HBO signed a development deal with the comedy site to produce half hour comedies for the channel. It looks like we'll be seeing them on air in February. (Source of tip:Bill Brasky over at

Craig Ferguson Weighs In

Plenty to read online today about the late night shake down:

Variety: NBC's Late Night Labyrinth.

The Hollywood Reporter: Jay Leno Show Future Uncertain

New York Times: NBC Wants Leno Back in Old Slot

Los Angeles Times: NBC's Endorsement Leaves Conan with Plenty Wiggle Room

Thursday, January 7, 2010

NBC Fumbling Toward Oblivion: Leno and Conan Getting Re-Organized

When the news hit the internet in a tidal wave of TMZ reports and Twitters today, what was an ordinary day in comedy TV land became a mind boggling roller coaster ride of rumors and tales of breath taking network television stupidity. Imagine the gall of taking the career of Conan O'Brien, prepping him for the prime promotion of Tonight Show host for five years, have he and his staff uproot their families and lives from New York to Los Angeles, only to find the new gig to be an experiment that just doesn't work. Then, throw in Jay Leno, who would kindly take back his old job, stand in the midst of this sinking ship, sail through rumors of cancelation, clinging on with various scenarios of 11:35pm start time here, while Conan starts up at 12:05pm there. Meanwhile, the very hilarious Jimmy Fallon, whose show is becoming a blast for the young and farty like me, sort of bangs lightly against the hull of the Titanic known as NBC. Needless to say, despite the bumps, he may be the safest of all.

"I hear Fox is beautiful this time of year."

As a comedy fan and devotee to late night comedy talk shows (a devotion that does not include Mr. Leno's fare past and present), the confusion has made me woozy with confusion. I'm team Conan all the way. The surrealism of him being in Los Angeles has waned, and I've accepted him in the sunny studios of Universal. It's been disappointing to see him temper his act a bit to suit the earlier audiences, and it pains me to find that a portion of America who likes the safe, mediocre comedy of Leno at 11:30pm won't cotton to O'Brien. NBC's patchwork of placating Leno and preventing him from moving on to a competing network, resulted in the 10pm nightly timeslot that killed five hours of originally scripted shows and murdered local affiliates lead in. It diminished their ratings and revenue in the process. Well done, Jeff Zucker.

Bill Carter of NYTimes has posted the latest this evening. There is a possible solution at hand whereby Leno could start after the news at 11:35pm for a 30 minute monologue show, pushing Conan to 12:05pm and Fallon pushed later. Oh God, my head hurts. I just want Johnny Carson to come back to life and kick someone's ass big time.

I interned and ultimately worked at NBC when it was the number one network. Golden Girls, Cosby, Seinfeld, were highly desired shows by local affiliates and O&O's. Brandon Tartikoff, a talented executive who dealt with his own flops from time to time (Hello Larry!), was head of programming and knew how to turn brass into gold. Today, the network is a mess. Patching up the leaky holes in the late night line up is not going to save anyone.

I'm sure there will be more to come in days ahead.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Have You Met Michael Galanes Yet?

No, I haven't! Let's see what he has to say...

Oh, THAT Michael Galanes, the pageant coach and MC of the "Little Miss Perfect" pageants on that show of the same name on WE Television - Television for women who like weddings and watching female spawns of the Succubus act like soul sucking greed monsters while they plan their weddings (aka Bridezillas). WE's LMP is a behind the scenes look at said pageant, which is a very real competition. Very real.

In last night's episode, as the tanned, bedazzled, ultra blond baby Barbies trotted on the stage like bite sized dreams of perfection with their demanding mothers orbiting around them, one little girl stood out in an Abigail Breslin Little Miss Sunshine way. Her name was Shelby. She was a natural beauty who didn't spray tan, didn't dye her hair into threads of silk, and didn't wear sparkle fringed shorts and twirl a baton. She also didn't win. Didn't even place. For the talent competition, Shelby came on stage in a pair of shorts and a shirt with a snake around her neck, walked around, did a split and blew a kiss as Mom coached her from the back of the room. Her Mom, a plain Jane electric wire of a lady proclaimed uncle. No more pageants. They just want the pretty cookie cutter girls.

You've got to be kidding. Now, she figures it out.

Watching spray tanned living dolls dressed like sexy women living out the dreams of their pushy mothers is creepy, depressing and sadly, fascinating. (And yes. These mothers are pushy.) On one hand, you can tell the girls kind of like it, but on the other... are they really enjoying being poked, hair sprayed and conditioned to be judged? What is it teaching them? How to be perfect in order to succeed? How to please other people by being pretty? And how are some of these adults...specifically male...looking at them? Shutter. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

The winners...

As Shelby and snake left the competition with an "L" plastered on their heads, I whispered sincerely, "Good luck little Shelby. Please don't be a stripper."

I fear for these girls. I know, some do go on to be successful and happy, but the ones who fall through the cracks in life...don't.

Little Miss Perfect airs on WE TV...check listings for times. (It'll be on a loop on any given Saturday afternoon, so no need to expend the energy looking for times.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Jean Carroll

Over at, Jen Kirkman started a thread about comedian Jean Carroll, one of the first female stand up comics who paved a way for Phyllis Diller, Totie Fields and Joan Rivers to express their funny bone talents to the masses. She passed away on New year's day at the age of 98. I have to admit, if it wasn't for Kirkman's post, I might not have been aware of this lady's talent. Yet, her story and comedy immediately intrigued me.

Carroll, (whose legal name was Celine Howe) tread the comedy circuit of the 1940's and 50's - when vaudeville's flame was beginning to fade out and the men got yuks off their Catskill experience. She had her own television show on ABC, was a mother, a housewife, and loved telling jokes about sitting by the pool with ladies who talked trash. Carroll was ahead of her time, and sadly a generation of comedy nerds (like me), were out of the loop.

To top it all off, she was a beauty. A jewish beauty. Her jokes are as fresh today as they were then. So, next time you see the hilarious Sarah Silverman sing songs about poop, remember Jean Carroll. Having done a little research into her comedy, I've a feeling she probably liked Sarah, because this lady had some sass beneath her sweet exterior.

Sean McCarthy has a wonderful tribute over at The Comic's Comic.

NYTimes. Obit. Jean Carroll.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Jessi Klein

Photo courtesy of Seth Olenick

If you ever saw David's Spade's The Showbiz Show on Comedy Central a few years back, you'll probably remember Jessi Klein as one of his funny entertainment correspondents. She also lent her funny talent on VH1's Best Week Ever. Flash forward (and somewhat back) to last year's Michael and Michael Have Issues, and you might recall her as the goofy nerd producer who couldn't get laid, but when she did, the Michaels made sure everyone knew about the sordid details. Not only did Klein appear as a character on Showalter's and Black's comedy, she wrote some of that funny stuff as well.

When it was announced on November 30th that Klein was to join the writing team at Saturday Night Live, I did a proverbial jump for joy. They gained a great talent and another female writer on staff to infuse more energy into the material. It's been well documented that the boys out number the girls in the writer's room of talk shows in New York and LA. So it was nice to know a funny stand up, writer and performer such as Klein was added to the team on the 17th Floor. Yeah...girl power. I'm not going to deny it's cool she's representing.

Klein has been a contributing writer on The Daily Beast, and has a non-blog blog that has appeared to have withered on the vine a bit, yet still funny to read.

Here's a clip from her day's on The Showbiz Show. Speaking of girl power...

Showbiz ShowThur 10:30p / 9:30c
Jessi Klein: Search For The Next Pussycat Doll
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