Fred Willard was arrested for allegedly masturbating in a porno movie theater. Most shocking detail: There are still porno movie theaters!
Recently, three shows on Comedy Central left an impression with me. Talking about my impressions is this blog’s reason for being, so here we go.
Somehow I was enticed to watch the Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson. I never watched Baywatch. I did see her over-the-top private detective show, “VIP,” more than once.
I was impressed by Pamela, not because of her acting (because I didn’t really think there was acting involved in that show) but because of her ability to make fun of herself and do it in a way I felt was attractive.
It’s not a physical attraction I’m talking about. She just made herself seem like she was having a good time.
With all this in mind, I DVR’ed the roast. Awful. Terrible. Disappointing. Filthy too.
There were too many comics reading their material. There was too much that wasn’t funny. And, if Courtney Love has really been off drugs for a year… wow, it’s just very sad.
Next up on the hit parade is the new show, “Too Late with Adam Corolla.” Like Pam, Adam is someone I’ve found funny. Not all the time, but often enough that I’d tune in.
I’d better make a confession here. At one time, one of my best friends was his manager. That relationship won’t affect what I write, but you certainly should know about it.
Within the first fifteen seconds of this show, I began to smell the giblet gravy. This was a major turkey unfolding!
The first, then second, then third joke bombed. I’m talking about deathly silence from a studio audience that came to have fun.
Less than a minute in and I was breaking out in a sweat!
It was just unbearable to watch. The smart alec persona that drives so much of what Adam Carolla does began to seem smarmy and mean spirited.
I hit the buttons and erased the show. Then I unset the auto record function.
Maybe I did rush to judgment in the first minute or so, but it seemed so unsalvagable. If somehow I hear a good buzz, I’ll try again… but that seems so unlikely right now.
OK – that’s two bad. Now the good.
I am a huge Jon Stewart fan. He is the funniest man on television and has the only show I watch religiously. On top of that, he’s really smart. I value that above nearly everything else.
Of all the things Stewart does, what impresses me most and what I’ve never seen mentioned elsewhere, is his ability to be a straight man. This is one of the most difficult things a comedian can do and certainly one of the most valuable.
A good straight man must hold a moment. The natural reaction for a comedian, after someone else tells a joke, is to move on to the next laugh or try and top it. Not Jon Stewart.
Often Stewart can extend the laugh for one of his supporting players, making that person even funnier. And, to climb this comedic pinnacle, he has done little more than look into the camera. But, he has intensified what preceded him.
He is of George Burns or Bud Abbot quality.
Overall, the power of The Daily Show is to shine a light on the absurd, even if it didn’t seem absurd at the time. What people say… what they do… often seems comical once you step back and take a closer look.
Of the secondary players, the best by far is Steven Colbert. He is consistently funny. Coming on strong is Rob Corddry, a modern day, hipper, edgier, Fred Willard type.
What I don’t like about The Daily Show are the majority of their ‘field pieces.’ Often, they take advantage of people who are too innocent to realize they’re being made fun of. The Daily Show staff is too smart to need to do this. I just hit fast forward.
Helaine, Steffie and I went to see Anchorman – The Legend of Ron Burgundy tonight in North Haven. It was enjoyable – though this is certainly no Oscar contender.
I thought I already knew the story, yet it was different. I was unhappy with Christina Applegate’s character, who falls into bed with Ron much too easily. Actually, I was unhappy with the story in general, which is the weakest link here.
Before I go on, let me answer the most asked question. Do I know any anchor like Ron Burgundy? Superficial anchors? Sure. Superficial and dumb? No. I’m not saying Ron Burgundy types don’t exist. I just haven’t run into them yet.
There were loads of Saturday Night Live cast members in this movie, and by and large they were under used. I’m a big Fred Armisen fan, but his part (similar to a character he plays on SNL) was pretty weak. Same goes for Chris Parnell, playing Fred Willard’s constant companion/lackey.
No one plays Fred Willard better than Fred does.
If you’ve seen Will Ferrell on any of the commercials or interviews, you know what he’s all about. This character is one dimensional.
The biggest standout was Steve Carrel, from the Daily Show, as the imbecilic weatherman. He actually didn’t do anything remotely connected with the weather, so I’m still safe from comparisons. His dead pan characterization of a guy who just doesn’t get anything is priceless. Very impressive.
Also excellent was Jack Black, in a cameo as a biker who drop kicks Ron’s dog off a highway bridge! The dog, Baxter, wasn’t too shabby either, and since he saves the day in the end, Helaine and Steffie were thrilled.
Interestingly, one of the most previewed scenes, where Ron slaps the tush of a woman who then exclaims, “Mr. Burgundy,” wasn’t in the movie.
We sat near the back of the theater, but not far enough back. A group of teens behind us kept up a running commentary, while keeping time with their feet on our seat backs.
There were two enticing coming attractions. One “Mr. 3000” with Bernie Mac looks very funny. The other, “Wimbledon,” credited to the Bridget Jones production team, looks like a fun date movie/chick flick.
I sat and watched Saturday Night Live tonight with Steffie. It’s a fairly regular ritual for us. She wanted to watch this week because of the appearance of the Olsen Twins (it’s good to be the Olsen Twins).
This was the last episode of the season. Jimmy Fallon said goodbye. I’m not sure anyone else is leaving.
Saturday Night Live has had its share of break out stars… and flops. I think this cast has at least two huge stars and one guy who will work constantly, making more money than nearly everyone else.
First the stars:
Horatio Sanz – Laughs all the time, especially at his own stuff. There is some non-quantifiable attribute that certain people have, which makes them likable on TV. He has that something, and has a lot of it. I know nothing about him but fear he might have a self destructive side.
Fred Armisen – I was not impressed when I first watched him last season. I sense that writers need to find the performer’s sweet spot on Saturday Night Live. This year they found Fred’s. He is very funny playing hapless geeks. He is funniest when he’s totally over-the-top.
Now, the guy who will always work:
Chris Parnell – He is Phil Hartman, Fred Willard, Harry Shearer, Dan Akroyd funny. There will always be a need for him, though probably not as the lead.
These guys are great. It was a pretty good (though not the best) year.