October 09, 2012 8:34am EST
Ready for late night television to throw you for a loop? Well, if you missed it Monday night, Ben Affleck was in two places at once: on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!. But it gets weirder than that. Not only was Affleck on both shows, it was as if the Jimmys shared their interview notes beforehand — both hosts had similar questions to ask Affleck.
But without further ado, here's what happened last night on late night television:
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Ben Affleck truly is making the late night rounds. He stopped by Fallon Monday night to share a story about sneaking to New York City with Matt Damon as a teenager to audition for different parts... and to get some underage booze. "In Boston, they were pretty tough on the liquor laws," Affleck said. "Here, any Korean grocer of any kind will sell an 11-year-old a case. So the whole point of coming up here wasn't so much the audition as it was the three-day blackout." The actor-director also talked about his new movie, Argo, which will be released Oct. 12. Affleck compared the experience of directing himself to, ahem, spending some alone time with his hands. "I have never said this before," he stated. "It's a little like masturbation. You kind of know what you want, where you're going. It's intuitive."
Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!
Besides Fallon, Affleck also appeared on Kimmel! And the late night host also asked Affleck the same question that Fallon had: What it was like for Affleck to direct himself in Argo? But Affleck answered differently. This time, he said that he was wary about having people stay on set too long to refilm different takes of his scenes. "I talked to Kevin Costner, Warren Beatty. I talked to George Clooney," Affleck said. "The one thing they all said was, 'There's a tendency to film 10 takes, and then the camera gets to me, and I'll just do one and go home. You are embarrassed. The thing is, you get to the editing room and you don't have enough material.' It got to me... to take number nine... you can see everyone wants to go home. I was running around being like, 'Warren Beatty thinks you guys should stay here.'" Good maneuver, Captain Affleck.
Late Show with David Letterman
Max Greenfield told Letterman the story about how he was attacked by an ostrich at the Six Flags Great Adventure drive-through safari in Jersey as a teenager. "We went there and I was a senior in high school," Greenfield recalled. "They say don't stop the car. Sure enough, [my friend] stops the car by the ostriches. I'm in the backseat and our other friend Ryan is in the front seat. He keeps reaching back knocking my arms away because I'm trying to hold up the windows. As one ostrich is coming this way, and I'm looking out the window face-to-face, these guys are having so much fun." But it wasn't just one ostrich that was after Greenfield. "Meanwhile, this side, this one pops its head into the car," Greenfield continued. "I turn around and all of a sudden... this is it. I'm looking at it right in the face. He could have killed me at any second. He looked at me in that moment, much like my father has looked at me, which is like, 'I'm not angry with you, but boy, I'm disappointed.'"
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
Arnold Schwarzenegger continued his contrition and book tour promote new memoir Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story and win back his ex-wife, Maria Shriver. He talked to Leno about how uncomfortable it was to watch his 60 Minutes interview last week during which he was grilled about the secrets he revealed in his memoir about his affair with Mildred Baena. "It was very tough to do the interview and be questioned by Leslie Stahl and probably even more painful to watch it," he admitted. "It's my fault. It's my doing." He then again confessed to still having strong feelings for his estranged wife: "I'm very much in love with her." Do you feel bad for Schwarzenegger yet?
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
[Photo Credit: Fallon]
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October 04, 2012 8:13am EST
Was watching Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama debate just not satisfying enough for you Wednesday night? Were you craving more political banter with some humor mixed in? If so, hopefully you tuned in to catch Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, David Letterman, Jay Leno, or Conan O'Brien's late night shows last night because they were all up on their political game, especially in the presence of comedy queens like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. But if you missed it because you were put to sleep by the debates, don't worry. We've got your back. Plus, for those who just don't care for politics, Jennifer Garner and Christina Applegate also stopped by to share some matronly humor.
Here's what happened last night on late night TV:
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Martin Short is making the late night rounds. On Tuesday, he stopped by Letterman, and by Fallon on Wednesday night. Leaving the Snooki's tanning regime out of the conversation this time, Short opted to complain about having to change his phone number because the telemarketers won't leave him alone. Also, Short's feelings on Canada's politics: "It's a different country," Short, who is a dual citizen of both the U.S.A. and Canada said. "We have affordable universal healthcare, but it's based on a concept that beer is a disinfectant."
Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!
Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler chatted up Kimmel about this year's Emmys and how Julia Louis-Dreyfus pretended to take her acceptance speech at the award show. "It was all Julia's idea," Poehler admitted. "She called me the day of the Emmys and said, 'I have this idea. Do you want to do it with me?' We decided if either one of us won, we'd do the bit." Poehler also shared that Presidential debates make her miss her time on Saturday Night Live. "When presidential debates happen is when I miss SNL the most," she said. "It used to be 40 comedy writers in a room, we would order food and watch the debates. It was like a sporting event."
Late Show with David Letterman
Hollywood's other funniest lady, Tina Fey, sat down with Letterman and shared some rather disturbing video images of her one-year-old daughter Penelope taken with a baby monitor. "I sleep with it (right here) by my head," Fey describes of what it's like to see her daughter on the monitor. "If she fusses in the night, you pan across the camera to see if they're up. Sometimes, what happens is, you pan across and the camera gets to the little baby, and the baby is already looking in the camera and it's the most terrifying [thing]." Judge for yourselves by watching the video below.
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
Christina Applegate revealed some stories from her own childhood. Do you remember seeing Applegate's little face on a Spam commercial? Me neither, but Applegate claims she did one when she was younger, along with a spot for Kraft. Leno even shard one of Applegate's better commercials: a Cat Chow piece with the tagline, "Chow, Chow, CHOW." See the commercial in the middle of part 2 of Applegate's Leno interview.
Jennifer Garner talked with Conan O'Brien about the pains of raising three children. "Three just put me right over the edge," she said. "I was going up to anyone, people on the street, saying, 'Will you come work at my house? Will you please come and just help me, take a child, just do something?'" O'Brien was right: "That's bad," Garner.
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
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October 04, 2012 5:00am EST
Funnyman Jack Black pretended to be U.S. Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney during an appearance on U.S. TV programme The Late Show With David Letterman on Tuesday (02Oct12) so the host, who has grown increasingly vocal about his desire to have the politician as his guest, could conduct his dream interview.
October 03, 2012 7:49am EST
Can't sleep? Television has the natural cure for you: late night shows! Snuggle up under your comforter and pull out that remote, because in the late hours the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, David Letterman, Jay Leno, or Conan O'Brien are prepared to give you a laugh or two. And on Tuesday night, they did just that, chatting up with Anderson Cooper about the likes of Teresa Giudice and Ashley Greene about on-screen chemistry with Olivia Wilde. And that's just the beginning!
Here's what happened last night on late night TV in case you missed it:
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Anderson Cooper and Fallon had quite the laugh at the expense of The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice (who visited his talk show last week). Neither host can get past all the drama on RHONJ. "Nobody listens to anybody else," Cooper said. "It's like Thanksgiving at Oz, like watching an old episode of Oz. It was stressful. I'd be like, 'I can't watch this anymore,' and I keep watching." Fallon admitted that he first got addicted because of his wife, but now watches the show without her.
Cooper also shared his fascination with Here Comes Honey Boo Boo mother June Shannon. "June is so brilliant because while she's looking at the camera, she'll let out a huge burp and she just continues straight looking at the camera," he explained. "There's no apology. There's no 'excuse me.' A combined look of sweetness and dead eye." He even said that he would rather hang out with Shannon's family instead of the Kardashians. Sorry, Kim.
Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!
Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson spoke with Kimmel after their Dancing with the Stars elimination. "I feel like I got kicked in the nuts," the former 'N Sync star said. "If I didn't have a lot of weight in my waste area, maybe I would have moved a lot faster." Despite saying goodbye to DWTS, Fatone also did have a good laugh with Kimmel about his choice of attire during his final run on the floor. "I was a combination of Hitler and Charlie Chaplin," Fatone joked.
Late Show with David Letterman
While Mitt Romney and his wife may be ignoring Letterman's calls, Martin Short and Kat Dennings sure aren't. Both stopped by to visit Letterman last night and what a fiesta it was! Short and Letterman chatted about the upcoming debates, and Short pointed out the extensive amounts of bronzer Romney has been wearing throughout the campaign so far. "Move over Snooki," he said to emphasize his point.
2 Broke Girls star Kat Dennings, on the other hand, refrained from talking politics. She instead described her "cute" appearance as a child: "When I was nine, and I started acting, I had very large front teeth. They really stuck out. I was kind of a farm girl and I would wear overalls and had hair down to my hips, and it was very, very curly." It's hard to imagine that look now, given Denning's straight and shiny locks and trendy wardrobe.
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
Carol Burnett told Leno that she wants to do a parody of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. "I would love to do the Karadshians," she said as she imitated Kim Kardashian's infamous blank stare. "I have to say I'm sorry about them [reality shows like Kardashians]. There are very few good writing and television comedies today. When we were on, our Saturday night line-up was All in the Family, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, and us. The writing was incredible on all the shows." Yikes! Your serve, Kim K.
Part 1 of the interview:
Part 2 of the interview:
And last but not least, Ashley Greene opened up to Conan O'Brien about making out with Olivia Wilde in Butter. "Part of the reason I took the role, I thought, 'How do I get a male demographic? Make out with Olivia Wilde, right?' So I took the role," she said. "We did it. It was fun and easy. She's a good kisser, just so everyone knows." After admitting that, the guys are sure to check out Butter when it hits theaters Oct. 18.
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
[Photo Credit: Randy Holmes/ABC]
October 01, 2012 1:51pm EST
Somewhere along the line, someone decided that people weren't interesting. At least not on their own. That's why just about every television comedy, from I Love Lucy straight through Three's Company, needed a hook. As much as each of these shows might have worked to flesh out their characters earnestly, there was always that presence of the "The husband runs a nightclub, and the wife always wants to be in the show — wacky high jinks ensues," and "The guy has to pretend he's gay in order to live in an apartment with two girls — crazy misunderstandings ensue."
For decades, all of the best and most successful shows on television operated under this mentality: "A man and a woman get married, but they already have three kids each — wholesome life lessons ensue," (The Brady Bunch), "It's a family in Queens, and the whole thing is a vehicle to attack contemporary prejudices — sociopolitical commentary ensues," (All in the Family), and "A woman moves to Minneapolis and gets a job as a producer at a harebrained television studio, despite almost no experience — 'having it all' ensues," (The Mary Tyler Moore Show). Nobody seemed to think that a show that was simply about people could work. And then... Cheers came along.
And at first, it didn't look like the now-classic bar-set sitcom would last. Cheers premiered on NBC on September 30, 1982 — making the show 30 years old as of Sunday. Cheers boasted a first season that finished dead last in the ratings. Maybe at the time, viewers were looking for more than just day-to-day human interactions, patient character development, and an honest illustration of interpersonal relationships. But they'd come around soon enough. Three seasons later, Cheers would breach the ratings' Top 10 for the first time, and remain there straight through its final year on air in 1993.
More than this, it'd spawn the most successful spin-off series in sitcom history (Frasier), and earn the favor of just about every credible force in comedic television. In May of 2011, New York magazine approached a handful of contemporary showrunners with questions about their favorite programs, and their own inspirations for getting into television. Writers/creators Dan Harmon (Community), Michael Schur (The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Saturday Night Live), Craig Thomas (The Late Show with David Letterman and How I Met Your Mother), Bill Lawrence (Spin City, Scrubs, and Cougar Town) each sang the praises of Cheers, with Thomas spelling out the show's mastery with precision: "It had an intriguing darkness in its DNA," he told New York. "A washed-up relief pitcher and ex-alcoholic (who owns a bar!) surrounded by people who drink all day. And yet we understood and cared about them all."
And that's the real home run of Cheers, and the reason it managed a rare 11-season ride as one of America's favorite series. Cheers was a show about people like television hadn't really seen them before: people who were inherently sad, and because of this, inherently funny. People whose lives existed beyond the 22-minute stories we'd see week by week — from the grand consistencies of Sam's and Diane's irrefutably self-destructive characters to blink-and-you'll miss-'em tidbits like Coach's repeated offhand mentions of an old flame named Rosie McGonagall, it was clear that Cheers wasn't working to build these people solely for their time on screen. Everything going on in their homes, in their pasts, in their heads, that was all there. It's what made these characters so much more than so many of their sitcom predecessors.
It might seem funny to attribute such superlatives regarding the richness of a fictional universe to a show that rarely traveled beyond the limits of a single stage. Nine-and-a-half out of 10 Cheers episodes took place entirely within the titular tavern: Sam behind the bar, Carla serving drinks, Norm cemented atop his stage-left stool. From this lack of variety in setting and stage direction came room for something else: the construction of these people and their relationships. The lack of introduction to the main characters' homes and workplaces allowed for a much greater amount of time availed to finding out who they were. We didn't need to spend time with Cliff on his mail route, to watch Frasier offering therapy to a patient, or even, in the entire run of the series, to ever see Norm's wife (save for one noteworthy pie-covered instance) to have a vivid idea of these people's lives outside the bar. We learned enough about them through simple conversation, the same way you learn about your own friends' lives, jobs, families, and purposefully decaying psyches.
But of course, just as important to these people as their very occupations and families were their lives inside of Cheers. And it didn't take elaborate, event-driven plots to illustrate these characters' significances in one another's lives. Most of the time, viewers were treated to entire episodes — at the very least, entire B-stories — consisting solely of conversation. Carla chiding Diane, Frasier disagreeing with Woody, Norm and Cliff babbling on about any inane piece of subject matter. Full episodes were built around these back-and-forths; they weren't filler, they were the meat. The way these people interacted with one another is what the show was about, not a vehicle to establish some other presence or plotline.
A terrific example of the show's early understanding of its purpose was the Season 1 episode "Truce or Consequences." Diane and Carla, two very dissimilar people whose differences always stood in the way of any semblance of camaraderie, stayed late after work and got drunk together. The entire episode was about these two people who, very simply, didn't get along. This was the conflict. Not because they needed to band together to accomplish some external goal, but simply because how you feel about the people in your life is important on its own.
Cheers knew what it was about from the get go, and never forgot. This is why it succeeded at a task with which so many shows have faced difficulty: new cast members. Two separate instances forced Cheers to bring on new actors to replace old. First, when Coach portrayer Nicholas Colasanto passed away, Cheers brought in Woody Harrelson to fill the void left by Coach's childlike spirit with Boston newcomer Woody Boyd. Second, when Shelley Long left the series, the show hired Kirstie Alley as Rebecca Howe, a new female lead. Superficially, Woody and Rebecca could be called Coach and Diane 2.0, but they were very much their own characters.
The show had this terrific appreciation of how full and authentic every one of its characters needed to be. When Coach was written off the show, they needed a new "slow" character. But Coach and Woody were incredibly different in their internal makeups and in their roles on the show. With Sam Malone as the epicenter of Cheers, Coach represented a tie to the ex-ballplayer's former glory days, as well as his former hell as a tortured alcoholic. On his own, Coach was a merry but weathered old man who graced the world with an attitude of descent. Like Sam, Coach knew that his best days were over. He didn't let it defeat or embitter him, he simply rode out his final years (the character himself did pass away in the reality of the series) trying to make people happy — his best friend and old protegee especially.
Woody could not have been more different. He was a young man with eyes wider than the world around him, hungry for every life experience and unfazed by the multitude of things that he didn't understand. They were both sweet, simple, well-meaning characters, but were two wholly different people. The important fact there, they were both full human beings.
The show even invested this degree of effort into its smaller characters. Dr. Frasier Crane was introduced in the third season premiere of Cheers, meant only to be a short-term character. But thanks to the comic talent of Kelsey Grammer and the immaculate density of his neurotic, arrogant, self-loathing psychiatrist, he not only lasted until the end of Cheers' run, but earned his very own highly successful spin-off series.
Spending inordinate amounts of time between the subterranean Boston tavern's walls, these people found something in one another, and in the bar itself, that they couldn't find elsewhere. To borrow from the unfathomably recognizable theme song, Cheers was a place where, for better or worse, people were all the same. Broken marriages, dead-end careers, oppressive parents, unattained dreams, contentions with alcohol abuse — Cheers wasn't satisfied doling out comical bar chatter (although it excelled at this). The show was rooted in these people and their sadness, their aloneness. Throughout every one of the show's important plot turns — Sam and Diane's toxic relationship, Carla's loss of two husbands (one to divorce, the other to his death) and her challenge with raising eight children by herself, Rebecca's insurmountable self-esteem hurdles, Cliff's curse with alienating everybody he knows — there existed the theme of being alone. There's a reason the Cheers pilot introduced Diane via a broken engagement and a lack of fallback plan, and a reason Sam had plenty of one night stands but nary a steady girlfriend. There's a reason that Carla, Norm, Cliff, Frasier, Rebecca, that just about everybody who stepped down that icy flight of stairs, passed the Tecumseh statue, and entered the bar did so: they needed to be there. They needed to be around people who understood them. That's what Cheers was about: sharing humanity, especially when the world doesn't seem to have any left.
Thirty years after the debut of its pilot and almost 20 after the show's eventual conclusion, Cheers maintains the strength of its original on-air run. That's because there is nothing time sensitive about the issues on the show. People will always need each other. Why it took so long for television to recognize that this — not this with the twist that the wife is a genie or that they're all stuck on an island or that Bill Bixby's a martian — is the most interesting and relatable conceivable idea for a story.
Many shows owe their substance to Cheers. Considering the words of their creators, we can assume that the likes of Community, Parks and Recreation, and How I Met Your Mother would not truly exist without this bar-set predecessor. But beyond these, sitcoms like Seinfeld and Friends, and even hit dramas like Lost, could be considered the aftermath of Cheers' influence on the media. Stories about people who have built a world for themselves when there seemed to be no place else for them to go.
And what better place to find home? A place where nothing outside the rigid walls really matters, because you've got all the people you trust, rely on, understand, and love surrounding you. A place with the people you want to see, because they're the people you get and the people who get you. That's what Cheers was about: a place where you can find people like this. A place where everybody knows your name.
I know, that was super corny. But give me a break, it's my favorite show.
[Photo Credit: NBC]
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September 28, 2012 2:16pm EST
When it comes to the touchy subject of Michael Richards' infamous onstage meltdown at the Laugh Factory in 2006, in which the Emmy-winning star repeatedly hurled racial slurs at a heckler during a stand-up performance, the 63-year-old often relies on his old pal Jerry Seinfeld to open up about it. Weeks after the disturbing moment went viral and upset and stunned fans, Richards appeared via satellite during an episode of The Late Show with David Letterman when Seinfeld was a guest to apologize. ("I'm deeply, deeply sorry," Richards told Letterman's viewing audience.)
Richards has largely stayed out of the spotlight since the unsettling incident, but he recently appeared on Seinfeld's web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee where the topic of the racist rant came up. "I busted up after that event. It broke me down," Richards told his former costar. "It was a selfish response. I took it too personally. I should’ve just said, ‘You’re absolutely right, I’m not funny'." The actor, who was last seen on screen in 2009 alongside Seinfeld during their unofficial reunion on Curb Your Enthusiasm, added, "Inside it still kicks me around a bit."
While Richards' legacy has been pretty badly tarnished by the shocking moment (South Park all but assured it would go down in infamy with their brilliant and scathing episode "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson") the actor — unlike so many other stars who have done irreversible damage thanks to their controversies — seems legitimately remorseful. Does Richards have a shot at making it right? Or is it all too little too late? You can watch the moment with Richards' and Seinfeld's honest and sincere discussion here, and the entire, fascinating video here and decide for yourself. More: What’s Jerry Seinfeld Working on with Larry David, Ricky Gervais, & Alec Baldwin? Tracy Morgan's Offensive Comments Might Inspire '30 Rock' StoriesAshton Kutcher Criticized for Racist 'Brownface’ Ad
September 23, 2012 8:59pm EST
It's easy to find out who won trophies and who could only speak to what a thrill it was to be nominated. (Oh, what a prescient joke about Jon Hamm losing again in the monologue.) In fact, if you want to know who won, just click here. We already did the work for you. But the hard work is deciding who walked away with the most — and least — love from the TV viewing audience. Don't worry, I'm here to break it down for you. You can disagree with me if you want, but then you will be wrong. How does that feel?
Homeland: Yes, this show won all the awards — Claire Danes wasn't the only person to pick up a trophy. It brought home awards for Outstanding Writing and a shocking victory for Damian Lewis in a very tight field for Outstanding Actor in a Drama, beating out both repetitive winner Bryan Cranston and heavy favorite Jon Hamm. This was the first win for Showtime in the Outstanding Series category, and the pleasant surprise couldn't go to a more deserving show.
Taped Segments: The only funny portion of Jimmy Kimmel's opening was a pre-taped sketch featuring the host crying over his overly Botoxed Real Housewives face in the ladies' room with the Oustanding Actress in a Comedy nominees (with some great cameos by Ellen DeGeneres and others). And then, in another win for pre-planned content, there was also the cute idea of mashing Breaking Bad with The Andy Griffith Show in a sketch that showed poor Barney Fife taking a bullet instead of fiddling with one. And let's not forget Modern Family's cute (but pointless) riff about a demonic child actress on the set and the cast of The Big Bang Theory finally finding at least a moderately amusing way of introducing the accountants who count the votes.
Lucy Liu's Dress: I don't know what it was, but it looked like it was made out of Ryan Lochte's grill. Jeah!
Jon Stewart Calling Out the Emmys: There is nothing better than a 10-time Emmy winner calling the Academy out for how predictable it is and dropping the F-bombzilla while doing so. Didn't keep him from giving up his trophy though. Maybe after 10 he'll finally pull an Oprah and stop entering his show into contention so someone else can win?
Bits: Tracy Morgan (or is it Jordan? I can never remember) showed serious dedication by reclining on the stage for 15 minutes without his nunchucks, even while Hayden Pain Quotidien couldn't figure out what the heck he was doing. (He was trying to help make the Emmys happen on Twitter, which was a bust, because if you paid attention to Twitter at all, you could tell that is all everyone was already talking about.) Amy Poehler pulled off another one of her great comedy moments during the Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Category after winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus began reading from the wrong acceptance speech — Amy's. And Jon Stewart enlisted the help of Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert for a little bit of horseplay that we never would have expected. Where is the GIF of that?
Women: Women didn't win any awards for writing or director or doing anything other than acting while in the possession of a vagina (oh, the male-dominated Hollywood biz), but they still managed to steal the show. Not only did we watch a funnylady-led sketch open the show (I only want to see Lena Dunham naked and eating a cake from now on) and Poehler rock her category without winning, but we also laughed along with Tina Fey's funny gag about reading the Teleprompter without her glasses and Melissa McCarthy cracking up Mindy Kaling by sexually harassing all the Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series contestants (nominees, whatever). Who runs the world? Girls.
Louis C.K.: Sure, his Emmys came in the writing category (he's better at that than acting anyway), but if anyone ever deserved top honors, it's this guy. Speaking of which...
Gingers: Between Louis C.K., Damian Lewis, Julianne Moore, the fiery-haired people were on fire last night. Cartman is so pissed right now.
Jimmy Kimmel: Not only did he deliver a snooze of a monologue, but most of his comedy segments during the broadcast were self-involved and uninspired. His "In Memoriam" reel that only featured moments from his own career was the most tediously unfunny moment at an awards show since David Letterman rambled on about Uma and Oprah at the Oscars. Having his parents escorted out by security after he didn't win an Emmy was also pretty darn dumb. He killed it with the videos, but the hosting duties left a lot to be lacking.
Predictability: Yes, Modern Family is a great show, but this is the third year in a row that it has dominated the comedy categories. Snoozeville. And while The Daily Show churns out laughs more consistently than the Duggers have babies, isn't it time to switch things up a bit, Emmys? Give some new people a try. Not only would it make the show more exciting, it would, well, make the show more exciting. That's really what you need. And seriously, stop giving a damn trophy to The Amazing Race. Actually, I think this needs its own subheading.
F**K The Amazing Race: Seriously. F**K it through nine different countries and 14 different cities. It is well past its prime, it is no longer exciting, and whoever wins the first leg of the race always wins the whole show. Spoiler mother-f**king alert. Its year after year win is as boring and predictable as the menu at the retirement home — or, let's face it, the Comedy categories at the Emmys as long as Modern Familiy is in contention. The Amazing Race simply should not win. Voters, do you even watch reality TV? Does everyone with a ballot and a number two pencil think that they can cast a vote for this show and maybe get a free vacation out of it? That's not going to happen. Give it up already. And while you're at it, just give Cat Deeley her damn Emmy too. I mean, Tom Bergeron is nice and all, but he is no Cat Deeley. Admit it, Emmys — we don't care how highbrow you might be, you are still in the same business as the Kardashians.
Ricky Gervais: Sadly, the Brit may have outlived his wit and charm at Awards shows. Not only did he give a tepid performance at the Golden Globes this year, but while presenting two awards Sunday night, he provided barbs with as many teeth as the entire cast of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Give it a rest already, Ricky.
Playing People Off: The orchestra revved up and played winners off the stage an alarming number of times. Sure, the director of the show joked about it when he won (for directing the Tonys), but by the time Alex Gansa won for Homeland, so many people heard the fat lady sing that he had to complain about it. Even Steven Levitan heard the harpsichord when Modern Family won for one of the night's two big awards. And the orchestra even played off Julianne Freaking Moore when she won for Best Movie Star to Be on HBO This Year. The only person who didn't get the play-off treatment was Kevin Costner, who pretended it was 1994 again by winning an award again and not wearing a tie. That said, good on the orchestra for cutting off Tom Berenger, who used his acceptance speech to ramble on about garden gnomes and moonshine and rabid racoons or something. Maybe he was talking about what he and Costner were doing in the bathroom during the commercial break.
Maggie Smith: Seriously, lady, you've won two years in a row. I know you're old enough to remember when Betty White still had her original hair color, but can't you show up? How dare you deprive us of what must be the best acceptance speech of the night?
Steve Bu-scemi: When did we change the pronunciation of this Boardwalk Empire actor's last name?
Condescending to Michael J. Fox: It's incredibly brave that he continues to work with Parkinson's Disease, but that doesn't mean he wants the whole crowd to stand up just because he walked out on stage to present an award. He does five episodes a season of The Good Wife — let's applaud him for his work on that!
Tom Hank's Mustache: Yes, the actor's wearing it to play Walt Disney in a movie, but we haven't seen anything that spotty since, well, Jimmy Kimmel's monologue.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: ABC]
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September 21, 2012 6:43am EST
Back in June, the stellar third season of Louie opened up with an episode titled "Something Is Wrong". And something was wrong, something has been wrong with our flawed hero throughout most of the season. Louie (played by the Emmy-poised Louis C.K.) has been wanting and hoping to connect all season. Be it with a lover (parts 1 and 2 of "Daddy's Girlfriend") or a friend (the poignant "Miami") or with himself (as evident with his midlife motorcycle meltdown in "Something Is Wrong"), Louie has been looking for something bigger than himself.
When the "Late Show" saga started, Louie was skeptical and nervous. All of his looming insecurities and unfair bouts of s**t luck put Louie's most dangerous obstacle in front of him once again: himself. But, against all odds, and with some not-so-gentle nudging from his ex-wife, Louie pushed through. He made it to "Late Show: Part 3", the penultimate episode of Season 3. The devastatingly great episode was all about lessons. Lessons in life and in disappointment and in starting all over again. But it wasn't just about Louie learning lessons (though he certainly walked away with some big ones) it was about him teaching them to his wonderful daughters Lilly and Jane (the tremendously talented Hadley Delany and Ursula Parker). Everything Louie does is for his girls, they're the reason why he pushed himself to really try for The Late Show with David Letterman gig. Louie teaches his girls something every time they're together; in "Late Show: Part 3" he taught them that you have to try hard and make sacrifices and do things you wouldn't necessarily do. The girls could see it in their father's eyes and his newfound determination to turn from a "fat Daddy" to talk show host, that he wanted his job. Not just for him, but for them. But Louie still had to keep climbing, he hadn't reached the peak just yet. He still had to meet with the intimidating, unreadable Jack Dole (the return of the dryly hilarious David Lynch, who had one of the best lines all season with "Here's the thing with that champ…that's short for champion") and Jack Dole's intimidating, unreadable hair. Jack wondered when Louie, who he thought was a newsman on par with Tom Snyder or Ted Koppel, was going to be funny. In fact, he asked him in the most devastatingly straight-forward way possible, "Have you ever had experience being funny?" After Louie cried that he wasn't the type of comedian that could turn it on on a dime, Jack shot his excuse right down. "You're whatever you have to be to make people laugh… get that belly moving," he told him, before comparing him to a "kid at a talent show with a number on his shirt". It was a comment that cut Louie to his core. Jack may have had him pegged, but he wasn't ready to let his fear get the best of him. Not this time. "This is either a door or a wall for me," he told Jack, and really, himself. Louie always has at least one kick-in-the-gut moment in an episode, but for anyone who has ever hit a major crossroad in their lives, that line didn't just make your heart sink, but your whole being. And in 3…2…1, Louie made it happen. He stepped out of himself and out of his insecurity and went for a laugh, no matter what the cost. "Pencil penis parade," he sang, accompanied by a silly dance and fart noises, making it my second favorite Louie original number after this gem. Was it beneath his sharp comedy style? Of course. But it got him out of his comfort zone and earned him another week of training with Jack. And in 3…2…1, Lynch earned the funniest moment of the night, when, completely deadpan, he told Louie's agent, "Please leave this room". The next week with Jack, Louie learned what it was like to sit at the host's desks, conduct an interview (albeit a disastrous one with a cleaning lady named Elaine who he made cry) and continue to get his ass kicked at the boxing gym. But Jack's giant-haired bizarro-world Mr. Miayagi was working on Louie. Louie practiced in front of the camera and put on a suit and just wanted get this damn thing right the night before his test show. And the minute doubt set it (well, a string of gloriously hilarious expletives, anyway) his girls showed up, as if on cue, in a moment he needed them most. Showing up unexpectedly at his door, his ex-wife explained that his girls insisted they see him the night before his big day. Louie is undoubtedly a show that taps into the psyche of cynics but if the moment in which Lilly and Jane handed their father encouraging paintings they made for him didn't make you as misty-eyed Louie, you're not a cynic, you're just plain cold. In fact, any and all cynicism went right out the door for the conclusion of the "Late Show" trilogy. By the time Louie got to the day of his test show, there was only overwhelming hope and faith that our hero would pull through. After receiving a suit, encouragement ("You're a good guy…I hope you get it") and the three rules of show business from Jack, which were "1. Look 'em in the eye and speak from the heart, 2. You gotta go away to come back, and 3. If someone asks you to keep a secret their secret is a lie" Louie was as ready as he'd ever be. That was until Jerry Seinfeld (hey, we wouldn't lie to you about that sort of thing) came in to tell him that the Letterman job was a done deal, he had already signed the contract. CBS was still making him do this as a negotiation tactic, that they were simply putting on a show to put on a show. The news clearly gutted Louie, who saw a future for himself and his daughters disappear right before his eyes. Then, a saving grace. "Keep it a secret, nobody knows about this yet" Seinfeld told his friend with a knowing glint in his eye. Louie knew he wasn't out of the running just yet, so he went out there and gave it his all. And the weeks of agonizing and doubt and practice paid off as Louie put on one hell of show. He was a natural, from a fast and loose opening monologue to funny and sincere interviews with guests Susan Sarandon and Paul Rudd. Louie was born to do this. When they cut to the CBS head (a quick return from guest Garry Marshall) telling someone over the phone "I got an option" hope was still beating out cynicism. Even Louie looked as hopeful as ever, a few hours later at the bar to celebrate, despite being surrounded by his cynical comedy buddies (played by Louis C.K.'s real life stand up comedy cohorts Jim Norton, Todd Barry, and Nick DiPaolo) and his perpetually nervous-looking agent Doug. The five men then watched with baited breath as Maria Menounous announced on TV that Letterman's Late Show gig would go to…David Letterman. The Late Show host would stay at his post for another decade. Doug informed Louie that he was used as nothing more than a pawn to get Letterman's asking price down from $60 million to $14 million. That taking money out of Letterman's pocket ensured he'd never come close to that show again. The moment that followed was an all too familiar scene for Louie. A deflated-looking Louie walked the unforgiving streets of Manhattan wondering how he got here. Louie found himself right in front of the Ed Sullivan theater, home of The Late Show. A pensive Louie looked up at the marquee, a shining symbol of a terrible lesson learned, cursed Letterman's name and vicariously cried, "I did it!" He did do it in his own way, really. He didn't go out sulking or running to the bodega to buy a pint of ice cream like old Louie would have done, he'd come too far and turned a page. He didn't get Letterman's coveted post and he learned that even in our greatest disappointments, if you gave it your all and put your heart into it, it couldn't be considered a failure at all. And what better lesson could Louie have taught his children than that? As far as bittersweet episodes of Louie go, this one was about as sweet as they come. While it was devastating to watch Louie's dream slip away from him, this won't be a wall for our hero as he feared it might be. Louie has been looking to turn a corner all season and he's finally there. The finale act of "Late Show" was three strongest of three, not to mention one of the strongest of Season 3 — and the entire series — as a whole. [Photo credit: FX] More: Louie Recap: Louie Will Do Anything For Lynch, But He Won't Wear a Suit Louie Recap: Better Late Night Than NeverEmmys Idle Threats: Give Louis C.K. an Emmy or I'll Make You Babysit Never
September 19, 2012 7:21am EST
The recently released video of Mitt Romney making controversial remarks at a private fundraiser has come at a particularly inconvenient time for the Republican Party's presidential candidate: right before a scheduled The Late Show appearance for President Barack Obama. The POTUS paid a visit to David Letterman (an outspoken supporter of Obama) on Tuesday night. The pair discussed, among a variety of things, Romney's recent candid camera faux-pas.
On The Late Show, Obama addressed the heavy dichotomy in the voting public's leanings to which Romney referred in the video (in the former governor's words, "There are 47 percent of the people that will vote for [Obama] no matter what."). Obama declared that in 2008, 47 percent of Americans voted for Sen. John McCain for the presidency, adding, "What I said on election night was, 'Even though you didn't vote for me, I hear your voices, and I am going to work as hard as I can to be your president.'" You can watch Obama discuss the issue in the video below.
Additionally, the president touched on his plans to rejuvenate the economy if he gets a second term, lamented how much more impressive he considers his wife Michelle Obama to be than himself, and expressed fatherly woes about his growing daughters. "It worries me," Obama said, "But they're surrounded by men with guns." Every dad's dream.
You can watch the entire interview over at CBS' website.
[Photo Credit: CBS]
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September 14, 2012 10:49am EST
When we last left our hero, he had just faced off with his arch nemesis: the inner workings of his own mind. On the previous installment of Louie, the hapless comedian was met with the greatest career opportunity he has yet to see — the opportunity to earn a spot as the new host of The Late Show. A CBS chairman played by Garry Marshall took note of Louis' prowess following a particularly successful endeavor on The Tonight Show, invited the stand-up (and his invertebrate agent) into a meeting to declare the classified information of David Letterman's imminent retirement, and to present Louis the chance to do a screen test to take on the hosting gig permanently. While on any other show, this would incite ecstasy and excitement in the parties involved, Louis has experienced nothing but dread.
First off, he's sure he won't get the job. Opposite Louis in contention is Jerry Seinfeld, who has only one thing going against him: a significantly higher paycheck. Beyond this, if Louis were to get the job, he's got plenty of things to worry about: seeing his children less, turning into something he's not, growing unhappy (or more so) with his lot in life. These are all touched upon in this week's followup episode.
Louis meets with his ex-wife Janet, whom we met via phone conversations earlier this season. Their relationship is a fascinating one. Whereas television divorces tend to produce either hostile enmity or some kind of bizarre friends-with-benefits scenario, Louis and Janet are something else entirely. She does not hate him, or even seem to dislike him... although you wouldn't exactly call their rapport markedly warm. Louis admits the situation to her, lamenting his inability to achieve the position, and vexing over the potential loss of his time with his daughters, and how that might affect them. He produces reason after reason why going after the job would be a bad idea... and then it's Janet's turn to talk.
Another thing that TV divorces seem to get wrong: they often give us no reason to believe the two parties would have ever gotten married in the first place. But we can see easily why and how Louis would have fallen in love with Janet. Like Pamela, she is strong, forthright, deliberate, honest, and intelligent. She knows him better than he knows himself, and comes right out with the accusation that Louis came to Janet hoping that she would forbid him from going after the job. But she tells him — not as a reassurance, just as a fact — that he will get the job if he wants it, and that he should take it. The girls will be fine without him around all the time, and that he'd still see them on the weekends.
When Janet was first introduced into the show, I was a bit disappointed. I enjoyed her as a ghost figure: a mysterious icon of his plummet to failure that added a constant element of loneliness to Louis' beautifully sad story. She was never there, so she was kind of always there, as it was Louis' divorce that seemed to really do him in. But with this episode alone, the show has does such an exemplary job of delivering Janet as a character that I can no longer take issue with the decision.
After accepting Janet's advice, Louis heads over to the office of a CBS executive played by the great David Lynch, one of the film industry's most bizarre, dynamic creative forces. As Jack Dahl (that's "Daaahl," as repeatedly corrected by his secretary), Lynch walks Louis quite abrasively through his screen test, chastising the comic for his lack of timing and understanding of the trade. But Jack seems to soften as Louis opens up. He gives our hero credit for improvement, encourages him to continue and leads by example, and tries to reason with Louis about his absolute assertion that he will never wear a suit.
Following Louis' screen test, he is sent to meet a fellow named Alphonse, who turns out to be a boxing instructor. Alphonse puts Louis in the ring against an experienced young fighter... we're not quite sure why this is part of Louis' training, but we're just as game as he is to find out.
The whole ordeal feels way too earnest and intimate to be completely fictionalized. Louis C.K. might not have ever been in contention for David Letterman's job (Letterman isn't slated to leave the network anytime in the near future; in fact, he recently extended his contract through 2014), but it sure looks like he has some real life experience wrestling with the decision and process of accepting a high profile spot on TV. If not, good for him: the show has created something so vividly real that it's hard to believe it's not actually real. That's just about the best thing fiction can accomplish.
Outside of the CBS studio, Louis gets a call from Jay Leno, playing himself: a sad, shifty figure who insists that Louis will hate the job once he takes it on, proclaiming (a paraphrase), "You're hip right now. What they don't tell you is that nobody can be hip every night." Whether Leno is trying to scare Louis away from the position or is just lamenting his own misery is up to the viewer... either way, it's a strong, dark, somber scene, and a testament to just how much everyone in comedy seems to respect Louis C.K.. Louie is quickly turning into an unprecedented project: a venue for comics and celebrities to take down their own images, to critique their lots in life, to chastise things they themselves have done and been through. Louie has already welcomed Dane Cook and Marc Maron, two comics with whom Louis C.K. has had very public, longstanding spats. The willingness to not only set aside these personal conflicts, but to actually put them on display to highlight all the flaws inherent in both sides of the arguments, is not only admirable, it's fascinating.
After chatting with Leno, Louis goes to see his pal Chris Rock, who encourages his friend to keep at the gig and to forget everything Leno told him. Of course, Chris then goes on to call his own agent and get himself in the running for Letterman's gig (proving right his own advice to Louis of not trusting anybody), which Louis finds out while watching television at the end of the episode. Not only does this knock him down a notch, it also violates the confidentiality agreement that Louis signed to not disclose the information to anyone.
Louie has already proven itself more than capable of delivering "illustrations." Quick vignettes about life and emotion. But this is its first real stab at an overarching linear story, and it's just as engrossing as anything else the show has accomplished. Beyond just wanting to know what will happen, we enjoy every beat: every scene, every odd turn of events, is laced with the same thick gravy of emotion that old episodes an monologues have brought. The ability to meld a story with this degree of vibrance shows that Louis C.K. is hardly just a comedian making observations about our world and ourselves: he is a genius storyteller.
[Photo Credit: FX]
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