One of the books I read this summer was The Late Shift, which was an insanely detailed reporting of what happened following Johnny Carson’s retirement from The Tonight Show. The major players were both NBC and CBS execs, and then obviously, Jay Leno, David Letterman and Conan O’ Brien, who wasn’t nearly as important as the first two back in the early 1990’s. Lorne Michaels - who the more you read about, the more you wonder how any man can become that powerful/awesome – plucked Conan out of relative obscurity as a writer, and despite the push by some NBC suits to get someone a little more famous (they were all about Dana Carvey, who was loyal to Letterman and wouldn’t follow Leno), made the red head a star.
In the coming months, Bill Carter might want to brush off the notebook and get back to work, as a Late Shift 2: Electric Boogaloo could very well be written from the fallout surrounding Conan’s replacing of Leno in 2009. Leno named his nightly lead-out as his successor in an effort to avoid a repeat of the Letterman fiasco and to make sure Conan didn’t change networks, but there were some rumblings earlier in the summer (back when NBC was courting Jon Stewart) that perhaps Leno wasn’t quite ready to leave and the network had forced him out. Considering Jimmy Kimmel is far from a roaring success at ABC, everyone wants to keep their assets locked up.
Which leads us to perhaps the funniest news of the week: NBC is thinking Jimmy Fallon might be a good late night host. This would be the same Jimmy Fallon whose Best Of SNL collection contains all of his Weekend Update song parodies and the grand total of three skits he made it through without cracking up in his time with the show. I imagine every movie or taped segment Fallon ever made is just like the 30 Rock episode where Jack makes the product placement video, needing hundreds of takes to do it correctly because he’s so nervous. Instead of nervous, Fallon just busts out laughing at himself or anyone else in the room all the time.
But then you start thinking about the positives of Fallon going to late night. As mentioned in the first comment to The Onion AV Club’s look at why he might be a good host (they’re all in jest, but read them anyway), putting Fallon on late-night and making him 40+ weeks out of the year will mean you can simply not watch NBC between 12:30 and 1:30 and you will probably never encounter Jimmy Fallon in your daily cultural consumption. If that’s our gain – no Jimmy Fallon, who perhaps can bring on Horatio Sanz and Carlos Mencia to play his Ed McMahon/Andy Richter – then NBC biting the bullet would be an absolute boon to the rest of entertainment.
One clear point to make, however: none of this is as important as it was in the early 1990’s. Back then, much like SNL and literally everything else that entertained people, there was just less to do. Fewer cable channels, no internet, no Netflix to rent any television series or independent flick you want; just a lot less to do. If there’s any debate, I point you to the last time a late night hire by a major network was made and how much buzz that brought to the entertainment world:
Despite my love for him, I don’t frequent Gilbert Arenas’ NBA blog, but perhaps I should. A few days ago, Agent Zero decided to muse on shark attacks, and while this was apparently stolen from some HBO Def Jam special, the fact an NBA all-star took the time to plagiarize it for his blog brings me joy.
I know this is random, but I just want to clear this up for people out there.
There are these things called shark attacks, but there is no such thing as a shark attack. I have never seen a real shark attack.
I know you’re making a weird face as you’re reading this. OK people, a shark attack is not what we see on TV and what people portray it as.
We’re humans. We live on land.
Sharks live in water.
So if you’re swimming in the water and a shark bites you, that’s called trespassing. That is called trespassing. That is not a shark attack.
A shark attack is if you’re chilling at home, sitting on your couch, and a shark comes in and bites you; now that’s a shark attack. Now, if you’re chilling in the water, that is called invasion of space. So I have never heard of a shark attack.
When I see on the news where it’s like, “There have been 10 shark attacks,” I’m like, “Hey, for real?! They’re just running around? Sharks are walking now, huh! We live on the land, we don’t live underwater.”
Arenas’ running mate in 2008, Barack Obama, isn’t doing too bad himself, as he continues to raise boatloads of cash and dance around any real issue with a giant sign that says “HOPE”. I agree with most of the criticisms towards Obama, but is that going to stop me from buying the t-shirt? Um, hell no.
I wasn’t in love with The Simpsons Movie, but I didn’t hate it as much as Rob did. It seems like the entire Absurdly Over-The-Top Government Conspiracy angle has been done by South Park so well over the last few years that even though the movie’s version was pretty funny – “My company built the dome” – it felt a little bit old. There also wasn’t nearly enough of the supporting characters, which is where I get most of my Simpsons enjoyment. Maybe you wouldn’t enjoy Moe, the Wiggums and the rest if they got as much face time as the title family, but it’s a theory I would love to test.
While it might have been far from perfect (I have no idea how it got so high a rating on RottenTomatoes – seemingly a complete anomaly), I can nearly guarantee you it would be better than any Family Guy film.
We don’t talk about the Pirates on here anymore because A) Nobody cares about them and B) It’s embarrassing, but if you wanted to know what the reaction was when they traded for a probably-peaked, 10-million-a-year starting pitcher at the trade deadline – when his team was trying to give him away because of the salary – you could do so here and here.
Although I don’t watch them as much as I used to, I’m a strong believer that the X Games are a lot more fun than the Olympics. They also feature some of the toughest dudes you will ever see. Dill and I turned them on towards the end of Skateboard Big Air Thursday night just to see Bob Burnquist pull it out (I like it when skaters that were in the original Tony Hawk video game win events), and notice the guy who got second, Jake Brown, being carted out in a wheelchair. We didn’t know what had happened to him, then I saw this yesterday. Holy. Hell.
If anyone could help me acquire this poster, I’d be eternally grateful. I suppose it makes sense they wouldn’t exactly be printing unlimited amounts of it, but give a guy a break.
The new Real World: Sydney is going to be either really good or just too annoying to watch. It’s nice when there’s someone in the house somewhat normal that you can see the zaniness bounce off of, allowing them to concur with the commentary you’re providing. They don’t have to be perfect, as one of my examples urinated in public right in front of the police, but they do have to smarter than most everyone else in the house (recently: Tyree in
Also, how is there no black guy? Do they think having a Muslim somehow cancels that out? Is there a need for two southern guys with really weird names, Dunbar and Cuhutta? I’m definitely looking forward to the premieres of both this and the new Hills season to coincide with the start of the semester, as nothing wastes an afternoon better than some crappy MTV television.
A few throwaway links just to clear out the two browsers I have tabbed out:
I knew I hated 50 Cent, but I don’t read nearly enough about or listen to enough rap to be sure why, but now I know. Yep, the only way for art to be good is for it to be successful. I still think that all of 50 Cent’s success just shows how amazing Dr. Dre and Eminem are: they took a guy with zero charisma who you can’t understand when he talks, let alone raps, and made him into a star. Well, a rap star; not a movie star.
And finally, there will be much, much more on this, but if it passes, South