Sunday, July 08, 2007

How many of you contestants are from out of town?

The life of an aspiring stand up comedian is a grueling one. Years of knocking around, working crappy comedy clubs, first on open mic nights before eight drunks, then being banished to “the road”. Playing towns where you’re the first Jew they’ve ever seen, waiters talking and serving during your set, hecklers, hecklers who are funnier than you, “half price beer and weapons welcome” night, retirement homes where it’s hard to hear over the oxygen tanks, endless meals at Shoneys, all for little or no pay. It’s a tremendous sacrifice with absolutely no guarantees. But if you’re good, REALLY good, and you pay your dues, catch a few breaks then maybe – just MAYBE you could grab the brass ring –

…and become the next Wink Martindale.

It seems that the new pot of gold at the end of stand-up rainbows is hosting game shows. Howie Mandel, Bob Saget, Louie Anderson, Elayne Boosler, Jeff Foxworthy, and now Drew Carey are leading contestants through bonus rounds. This is bad news for TV weathermen, disc jockeys, and Regis Philbin. Its yet another reason why we need to revive sitcoms because they’re a much better showcase for comics’ talents. Somehow I think the brilliance of Roseanne would have been lost had we known her merely as the host of THE WEAKEST LINK.

And now the TONIGHT SHOW of game shows is open – THE PRICE IS RIGHT. Rosie O’Donnell has already been contacted but turned it down (didn’t want to move to LA and be farther away from Donald Trump). I’m sure Gallagher has been calling them daily. (“How much is this smashed watermelon?”)

I’m only sorry Sam Kinison isn’t still alive. Couldn’t you just see it?

No, you stupid bitch! $135.95 for a Hamilton Beach 4-slice toaster? Do you live in a FUCKING CAVE?! It’s $42.99. It’s a fucking toaster! It cooks up bread. How much do you pay for things? That shitty T-Shirt you’re wearing on NATIONAL TELEVISION, how much did you pay for that? $4000?! Jesus, even the dumb motherfucker next to you was only off by ten bucks and he couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel!

Wait a minute. Does anybody have Lewis Black’s number?

The bottom line: if you’re a young comic coming up, don’t worry about your material, just memorize the rules for the wet T-shirt contest and never miss a chance to emcee karaoke night.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I’m only sorry Sam Kinison isn’t still alive. Couldn’t you just see it?

Now that's a Price is Right, I would watch!

The Crutnacker said...

The image of that is priceless. I can just see him doing a slow burn, followed by... "Alright Johnny, who's the next idiot f---er we have to play this piece of shit game? Could he "come on down" with a shotgun so I can end it all?"

Personally, I always wanted the showcase showdown wheel to come off the axle and roll into the audience, wiping out the first three rows.

To be fair, Bob Saget is still on a sitcom, at least as a VO.

Senior Stiffy said...

Why not get Denis Leary? He could steal Bob Barker's act, but do it for a wider audience.

Anonymous said...

Ken, you do a fabulous Sam Kinison!

Beth Ciotta said...

When will I learn not to read your posts while drinking my morning coffee?

Excuse me while I wipe off my screen. :)

billoxley said...

Yea! Lewis Black! Come on down!

Mary Stella said...

But if you’re good, REALLY good, and you pay your dues, catch a few breaks then maybe – just MAYBE you could grab the brass ring

Back in the 80s, Bill Maher was a regular on the comedy club circuit in central Jersey. I thought he was terrific. The first time he showed up on The Tonight Show I was impressed that the guy I'd seen doing his routine at a restaurant's comedy night had hit the big time.

A comedy team named Schmock and Vallely played that same circuit. They were hysterical. Vallely went on to be a tv writer/director. Not sure what happened to his partner.

Anonymous said...

That's just perfect.

In the late 80's, maybe early 90's I was a P.A. on a movie called "Atuk", starring Sam Kinison. It was a fish-out-of-water story with him playing an Eskimo in NYC. On the first day of shooting, we all sat around while Sam and the Director screamed at each other in front of the crew. After lunch we tried our first take, and Sam had to be held back from hitting the director. The end result of the day was that we had exposed about 30' of film and the producers trashed the next day's call sheet and told everyone that tomorrow's call time would be 8:00am at the rental houses to unload the trucks.

Oh, good times.

-Nathan

Anonymous said...

I blame Groucho.

Alto2 said...

That Sam Kinison crack was dead on. The only thing missing was his trademark "Oh, OH, OOOHHHHH" somewhere in there. G-d rest his twisted soul. ROTFL!

Ian said...

Hi-freakin'-larious!

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Personally, I always wanted the showcase showdown wheel to come off the axle and roll into the audience, wiping out the first three rows.

That's all I ever thought of when watching the Showcase Showdown spin, especially those who would spin it hard enough. In fact, I would sometimes hope for that.

D. McEwan said...

Nothing new about comics hosting game shows though. DO YOU TRUST YOUR WIFE? was hosted by a young comic named Johnny - ah - what was his last name? Started with a C. Dead now. Can't remember him, because he lapsed into game show obscurity after WHO DO YOU TRUST?

Nobody seems much interested in releasing Groucho's lame sit-com pilots, but I love my YOU BET YOUR LIFE DVDs.

And come on, Phil Silvers hosting DEAL OR NO DEAL? Wouldn't you like to have seen that, maybe AFTER Bilko's run? "Gladda see ya. So do we have a deal? Or do we have no deal? Wait! You didn't tell me you were a FASHION MODEL? LOOK! I want everyone to see how MAGNIFICNETLY BEAUTIFUL this young model is! What was your name again? Mrs. Hall? You're married? All AMERICA IS SUICIDAL! And how old are you? I'm sorry, these old ears. It sounded like you said 47. You did? You lie! I will not stand here and be lied to by this 18 year old fashion model. Expecially one who is taking the deal. Are you taking the deal my dear? Just sign here. What shade of blue are your eyes?"

Will Teullive said...

Foxworthy, Carey, Saget, and maybe even Mandel all have F-U money. Not sure why they want to host a gameshow even a primetime gameshow?

Mike B. said...

Except the Winkster wasn't a comedian before his gaming career. He had your start. Radio DJ.

The Crutnacker said...

I picture Sam's little muted chuckle saying, "Nhohohohohohohoho.... Not $44.95.......and then BOOM into Ken's speech.

Anonymous said...

Being a disc jockey is also a good startoff to game show stardom: Bob Eubanks, Jim Lange, etc. Alex Trebek was a Dick Clark type in Canada, I think. And Pat Sajak was a --what, TV weather guy? -- in Nashville.


Please, Ken, some more "new" Sam Kinison material. I'd forgotten how much I miss the Big Guy.

Mike McCann said...

Love the idea of casting Sam Kinison on PRICE... Reaching back a couple more generations, why not use either of The Sultans of Sarcasm -- Frank Nelson or Gale Gordon -- as the show's next MC?

D. McEwan said...

Speaking of DJ to Game Show Hosts, Lohman & Barkley BRIEFLY hosted a game show titled NAMEDROPPERS. Actually, the IMDb states that it's full, correct title was LOHMAN & BARKLEY'S NAMEDROPPERS.

Didn't work, of course. Team-game-hosting seldom does.

As I recall, there was a panel of three celebrities, a mystery guest, and contestants. The mystery guest was connected to one of the celebritiy panalists, and the constestants had to guess, was this Charles Nelson Reilly's gardner? Ken Berry's uncle? The only person who knew why Britt Sommers was considered a celebrity?

I remember seeing one where the mystery guest was Ruth Buzzi's animation director. Actually it was Ward Kimball. I remember turning it on, instantly recognizing Ward Kimball, and wondering about the mindset that thought Ruth Buzzi was a celebrity, and Ward Kimball was a nobody.

The least-famous people on the show? Lohman & Barkley. Beloved by us LARPs, unknown outside Los Angeles.

John S said...

In reference to mary stella's comment...

Schmock was Johnathan Schmock, and the last time I remember seeing him was as the maitre'd in FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF.

Anonymous said...

I thought Jonathan Schmock was one of the producers on that "Sabrina" show a few years back

FrEd's Blog said...

When I would be in SF a few years ago, I used to enjoy listening to Jim Lange on his morning DJ show. The station he was on had the A's and he always had the late Bill King on his show giving an A's report...Lange was excellent and this was in the early 2000s