Monday, June 15, 2009

Misc.-takes

When Arnold Palmer orders an ice tea/lemonade at a restaurant does he say, “I’ll have a me”?

If you want to see THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 rent the 1974 version on Netflix. I love Denzel Washington but I’m sorry, he’s no Walter Mattau.

Eddie Murphy’s latest family film is another disaster. IMAGINE THAT.

Congratulations to the Lakers, winners of this year’s NBA Finals. The downtown parade is Wednesday. Opening night of the 2009-2010 season is Thursday.

Here’s how crazy they are in Great Britain: When one of their teams wins a national championship they don’t riot, set fires, overturn news vans, or go on looting sprees. And they have the nerve to call themselves sports fans.

The funniest woman in show business is a man. Dame Edna.

The latest reality show woman who is now a man: Chastity Bono.

Jeff Zucker’s continual quest to completely destroy NBC continues. Now he’s sacrificing the 50 year TONIGHT SHOW franchise. Conan O’Brien is already losing to David Letterman. That took long. Two weeks.

So who’s the new King of Late Night Television? Craig Ferguson. I loved his recent monologue. "That’s right,” he said, “I am the new King of Late Night TV. I can hear what you are saying, 'Craig many, many, people get more viewers than you, lots of people in late night, nearly everyone in late night, gets more viewers than you -- how can you be the King of Late Night?’ Cause I have a plan! I put out a press release saying I was the new King Of Late Night. What constitutes royalty in late night television? Saying you are! And as your king I demand you disrobe.”

I had to stop following Alyssa Milano on Twitter. I guess I just don't care what she'd doing... every single minute.

Recent headline in the HuffingtonPost: IOWA WOMAN DISCOVERS NEW CLOUD TYPE

Which network will be the first to blame their shitty ratings on the changeover from analog to digital?

I'm closing in on a date for my free teleseminar. Stay tuned. I just need to confirm when Mercury is in retrograde.

I hate interleague play. It really takes the luster out of that upcoming Cincinnati-Kansas City World Series now that they've met during the regular season.

How soon before dethroned Miss California Carrie Prejean is crowned Miss Texas?

At the new Yankee Stadium drivers pay $19 for parking AFTER the game, as they’re leaving. Yes, it makes getting out of there a three hour affair but the good news is if your car is stolen during the game you save the parking fee! God bless those Yankees. Always thinking of their fans first.

Oh boy! AMERICAN IDOL Season 9 open auditions are going on right now! It’s our national roundup of idiots. Register in Atlanta today and tomorrow.

Red Sox announcers are not thrilled the team drafted Seth Schwindenhammer.

Worst headline ever. Not surprisingly, it’s from the NY Post. This is how they reported David Carradine’s death: HUNG FU.

And finally, I’d like to say hi to all my readers in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. This blog is huge in India.

40 comments:

Mike said...

Ron Santo said he knew they were trying to get him fired when the Cubs signed Kosuke Fukudome.

Toby O'B said...

The Post headline could have been worse, considering how Carradine was found and what rhymes with Bangkok.....

Noah said...

I think the people who have to stitch the names on the backs of the jerseys might be even less pleased.

Anonymous said...

I looked at her/his picture and thought she already had the operation and then found out she/he didn't have it yet. Wow! After she/he has it, he will be so manly he'll look like Wolverine.

Dimension Skipper said...

And Walter Matteau's no Walter Matthau either.

;-)

Paul said...

Conan > Letterman

kathy ireland jesus twitters said...

Fatigued by Alyssa Milano's Tweets?
Her excess pales in comparison to Kathy Ireland. Kathy is jonesing for Jesus dollars like a bat outta Hell! Jesus H. Christ, who knew dollars and her own personal saviour were SO interchangeable.
I think I'll smoke some medicinal and call 'er a night.

Zanuck said...

Great post Ken. You sure covered a lot of topics. Does Larry King know you're doing his column better than him?

Popular said...

Don't even bother with Netflix -- The 1974 version of "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3" is available for rent or purchase on iTunes. And hurry, because watching the original after seeing the 2009 version actually washes a quarter of the stink out of your clothes.

Anonymous said...

Here’s how crazy they are in Great Britain: When one of their teams wins a national championship they don’t riot, set fires, overturn news vans, or go on looting sprees. And they have the nerve to call themselves sports fans.

Yeah, they do it during the games, it's called soccer.

Heidi Germanaus said...

Travolta couldn't carry Shaw's jock strap!

Arun Kumar said...

You don't have any readers in Hyderabad. You have one from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and thats me.

Rob said...

Ken, speaking of late night television, have you spoken yet of Sarah Palin's gross overreaction to David Letterman's jokes about her and her daughter?

Huffington Post has numerous instances where other shows had something similar or worse and they were ignored, including SNL.

Just wondering what the writer's perspective is on the whole thing.

VW -- Brapter. Sarah Palin's eldest daughter was pure until A-Rod brapter.

Sebastian said...

I'm also closing in on a date for your teleseminar.

We met on Craigslist...

*Ba-dum-dum-tsch*

Sebastian said...

My WV was "patingn".

Via phone?!?

Another zinger... I'm on fire...

sephim said...

Sebastian - if only that were true.

Pat Reeder said...

To Rob: I'll give the perspective of a comedy writer who writes a daily topical humor service for radio hosts worldwide, since the Letterman thing was exactly the type of material we do. And I have no political ax to grind with Dave (I'm a fan and even have a friend on his writing staff).

After his non-apology apology last week, I said that Letterman really screwed the pooch, and anyone who disagrees is letting his partisan hatred of Palin blind him. I don't care what other jokes were told about Palin; that's just rationalizing. This wasn't a joke about Palin, it was about her 14-year-old daughter. It's like the difference between making a political joke about Barack Obama and doing a sex joke about his daughters. If you think Palin is "overreacting," then try telling a sex joke about any 14-year-old girl to her mom and see if you walk away with all your teeth. (BTW, the SNL incest joke some are citing came from a sketch that was actually mocking the provincialism and liberalism of NY Times reporters, so both liberals and conservatives who cite it as a jab at Palin's family are quoting it way out of context).

What happened with Dave's joke, pure and simple, was that the writer got the premise wrong. Someone read that Palin was in town with her daughter, assumed it was the one who had the baby, bing-bam-boom, go for the lowest common denominator and write a lazy sex joke. (It's what we call "falling back on the comedy template": "Clinton horny, Bush dumb," etc.) Problem was, the daughter with her was the innocent 14-year-old. Rule #1 of my business: "Read the story before writing the joke." When we make a joke that turns out to be based on an incorrect premise (it's rare, because we really research first, but it happens), we alway put a prominent correction out ASAP. It's bad business to send jokes to your clients that get them sued or burned in effigy.

Dave tried to bluff his way through, claiming he obviously meant the 18-year-old, and tacitly mocking anyone who assumed otherwise, when the 14-year-old was the only one within 1,000 miles of the baseball game that formed the premise, which meant the joke would've made no sense whatsoever. (In case you haven't noticed yet, I'm more offended by the bad joke writing than by the subject matter.) Now, he wasn't just insulting Palin's daughter, he was insulting the audience's intelligence.

He should've just said, "We made a mistake and got the premise of the joke wrong, in the process inadvertently smearing an innocent 14-year-old girl. We sincerely apologize to her and her family, and we'll try to make sure it never happens again." That probably would've been the end of it. Instead, his defensive dissembling just handed ammo to his critics until he ended up having to say that anyway.

Now, I sincerely hope last night's apology ends this because I'm sick to death of the subject, and I hate news stories that drag out forever because we have to keep writing about them every day. When O.J. went back on trial for the third time, I almost cut my own throat.

Mike Bell said...

I sincerely hope the whole Palin/Letterman dustup is over as well.

What I found offensive about the whole thing was Palin trying to manipulate the situation in a way to appear as if she still matters.

Isn't she supposed to be keeping an eye on Russia?

rob! said...

Craig Ferguson would have been the best, most Carson-esque choice to take over The Tonight Show. Shame that it didn't/couldn't happen.

Btw, Ken, nice piece on HuffPo yesterday.

Tom Quigley said...

Nobody's mentioned it yet, but -- I wonder if ARod has demanded an apology from Letterman for being trapped in the same joke as Palin's daughter?

John said...

A follow-up to "Pelham 1-2-3" could have crazed Laker fans taking control of a Red Line train during another NBA championship celebration. But since it's Los Angeles mass transit, hardly anyone would be affected by the disruption. The other option would be "The Taking of Woodlawn 7-8-9", where a gang takes over the No. 4 train and charges passengers $19 per person to board at 161st Street after a Yankees game.

My favorite Post headline remains "Mayhem in Our Streets", which involved a shooting at a bar across the street from where I lived. Since this was in the very low-crime 13th Precinct, I picked up the paper Saturday morning, read the headline and started looking around for all the mayhem. Which appeared to be limited to drivers honking at the M-15 bus for blocking two lanes of traffic at the stop.

willie b said...

Hey, a question for Friday: We're all familiar with how cheap networks and studios are (see: Jay at 10). So why are writing partners or rooms of writers the norm in TV? Seems to me the networks/studios would be happy paying just one writer instead of a whole roomful.

mcp said...

Ken,

Great comment about Craig Ferguson. He does more with less than any other late night host. His show has no band, no HD, no sidekicks, and is taped in a former rehersal hall at Television City. And yet, he's consistantly funnier than any of the others.

And now for totally useless fact checking. Carrie Prejean can't run for Miss Texas USA. The second rule on the Miss Texas USA page states:

"Must never have participated in a previous national MISS USA Pageant."

Alan Coil said...

I've come to the conclusion that some movies (Eddie Murphy movies in particular) are made without concern as to whether or not they will be successful.

They are made so as to have something to run ad nauseum on the lesser cable channels.

odocoileus said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Football_hooliganism#United_Kingdom

Always a good idea to do some basic research before you make a claim.

The Brits have taken bad behavior after ball games to a whole new level. Yanks are just amateurs by comparison.

Jeff said...

The last four days of news have taught me at least one thing: In certain places around the world, people take to the streets for democracy and freedom. In the U.S., we take to the streets for...sports victories? Hmmm.

Grant said...

The new Pelham 1-2-3 is actually okay, but yeah Denzel was miscast. He's supposed to be some blue-collar guy who worked his way up through the ranks. As much as I like him, try to imagine Denzel hanging out with the guys drinking PBR from a pounder can...

KJ said...

Maybe if Conan O'Brien makes a joke about Sarah Palin's daughter, and Palin get's back by implying he's a pedophile, O'Brien's ratings will go back up

D. McEwan said...

"Anonymous said...
I looked at her/his picture and thought she already had the operation and then found out she/he didn't have it yet. Wow! After she/he has it, he will be so manly he'll look like Wolverine."

It took me a minute to work out that you were referring to Dame Edna. Barry Humphries, who plays Dame Edna, won't be having "the operation," as gender reassigment would seriously displease his extemely beautiful wife, upset his four children, and be difficult to explain to his grandchildren.

You see, he's a straight comic actor playing a female character (He plays male characters as well), not a gay drag queen, let alone a pre-op transexual. ("pre-op"? What would he be waiting for? He's 75.)

Sadly, he looks very little like his fellow countryman Hugh Jackman.

But is Ken's assessment of him as the funniest (wo)man in the world correct?

Oh yes.

"Toby O'B said...
The Post headline could have been worse, considering how Carradine was found and what rhymes with Bangkok....."

To continue the Barry Humphries theme, as his lust-besotted male character Sir Les Patterson, Barry once said, "BangKOK, the fella who named that town had his head screwed on straight."

playfull said...

odocoileus said...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Football_hooliganism#United_Kingdom

Always a good idea to do some basic research before you make a claim.

The Brits have taken bad behavior after ball games to a whole new level. Yanks are just amateurs by comparison.

I knew someone still believed Wikipedia, I just didn't know who it was. Football Hooliganism here was a bad problem in the 70’s and 80’s - to a point where it was often described as the ‘English disease’ by the rest of Europe Which was strange even then, as the violence at English games never reached the levels of the Hard core German or Dutch fans and didn’t routinely involve stabbing opposing fans as in Italy or Turkey. Football hooliganism has in fact been virtually eliminated in England for 20 years now and never in any case did fans ‘celebrating’ run amok looting and turning cars over. Which was I believe the point Ken was making. That strange behaviour I’m afraid is all yours USA...

John Leader said...

Dame Edna IS hilarious!
Seriously.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ken,
I just saw part of an episode of MASH that you produced (or something) where Margaret fears she's pregnant. Anyways, it actually made me wonder why actors don't get their hair cut to match the period for programs like this. Is it that difficult to convince them?

Just Mike from Canada

Anonymous said...

I lol'd at hung fu.

odocoileus said...

Oh please.

Brit football fans running amok in Florence and Milan, breaking windows and setting stuff on fire is well documented.

Your "We don't do that... anymore." argument is weak. The fact is that an enormous police apparatus is required to keep this kind of behavior from breaking out again.

BR said...

I follow your blog on RSS. I read it for the quality of writing and your insight into American culture in general and television creativity. However, your remark about the civility of sports fans in the UK could not have been more off the mark. I know of no sport where American fans are prohibited from attending by statute.

KEN LEVINE said...

I was in London a few years ago when Liverpool won some major European competition. The town went crazy but I was shocked at how non violent everyone was. So I may be wrong but I based that comment on personal experience.

playfull said...

odocoileus said...


Your "We don't do that... anymore." argument is weak.

Sorry Odo, you are of course right - i only live here and go to football games. What do i know? My 37 years as a Nottingham Forest supporter ill equip me to have an opinion. My wife also takes her life in her hands when she goes to every Notts County home game with her 70 odd year old father and Nephew who has learning difficulties.

Don't get me wrong things were bad, sometimes very bad. But the Football association, the Police, the stewards and the fans have worked hard over the last two decades to take the game back from the hooligans - who were never real fans anyway. And they all deserve much credit for this, they don’t deserve their efforts being dismissed with out of date clich├ęs. The FA and the clubs have also run a very successful campaign to 'Kick racism out of Football' over the last few years to the point that The hoards of England fans you describe were horrified and Shocked at a recent friendly international against Spain when the Spanish fans made Monkey noises every time a Black English player touched the ball. Something you won’t have heard at a ground here for many years. So yes the game has changed.
And to re make Kens point, when a team here wins one of the major titles or Cups they have an open top bus tour through their home City where people (whole family’s) line the route in their thousands and peacefully and happily celebrate their teams triumph.
One more thing, please don’t lump the Scots, Welsh, and Irish fans in with the English thugs of the 70’s and 80’s by using the inclusive term Brits. It really pi**es them off as they did not experience anything like the same level of problems.
There are of course many things wrong with life over here and we do have problems with anti-social behaviour from disaffected youths, binge drinking being one example - but none of these are really now sports related. If you are still reading at this point Odo and still wish to bash the Brits i can send you a list of much more fertile topics.
Sorry about the long post Ken feel free to delete it. I will now put my soapbox back under the stairs.

Oh, and sorry BR who is prevented from attending what by statute?

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

"hoards of fans"? Is there a large cabinet or trunk where these fans are being hoarded?

Anent Pelham 1-2-3, I wouldn't watch it on a bet. I've made my feelings about Scientologists well known and I simply refuse to knowingly support them. Anyway, the reviews I read make it sound like a turkey.

playfull said...

Hi Cap’n Bob,
Doh! It was 4am in the morning here when I posted...
I suppose it could have been worse I could have said ‘whores of fans’...

As to the Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 – When a definitive version has been made (How could Shaw be topped?) why re make? Look at ‘The Italian job’ an absolute period classic with a distinctive style and wit ...hang on that is a bad example, the writers of the new one had obviously never seen the original...

Bryan said...

Re the David Carradine headline, how about the headline run by the Sun in the UK?
BILL FROM KILL BILL KILLED BY THRILL.