Saturday, September 26, 2009

What's a "Bono"?

In between the time Sonny Bono wore fur vests and became a US Congressman he owned an Italian restaurant on Melrose Ave. in LA named “Bono’s.” He picked a bad location. Within months it went belly up. Since then, every time I drive by that place it’s something else – Japanese, Indian, American diner, etc.

When we’re in production on a show it seems that every week there is that one nagging joke that doesn’t work. It’s replaced on Tuesday. That joke doesn’t work. Wednesday, same story. On and on throughout the week.

That joke is called a “Bono”. And like I said, there’s ALWAYS one (at least one). The term was coined by Denise Moss, a fabulous writer on MURPHY BROWN.

What it teaches you is to stick with it, never settle, try new areas. And never just go for the easy joke…which is why I’m refraining from any reference to skiing.

23 comments:

jviolette73 said...

And never just go for the easy joke…

It was all downhill from there.

Anonymous said...

and a 'Nobu' - the one that gets picked...

Mike Bell said...

Back in 1990 I interviewed for a morning radio gig in Palm Springs. The PD took me to Sonny's restaurant and he stopped by the table. When the PD mentioned why we were there, Sonny said, "Scoot over and let me tell you about my town."

He hung out at the table for a good 45 minutes Talking about what a great place PS was to live.

I was sure that the radio station had set it up to impress me and get me to take the job (which I did). But the PD insisted that it wasn't.

I was genuinely sad when he passed.

D. McEwan said...

"Mike Bell said...
I was genuinely sad when he passed."

At the time I lived in his district, so he was my representative, so I was glad when he died (That it was a slapstick gag death helped), as he was an embarrassing idiot as a legislator, and took very much the opposite of my positions on any and all issues. So then they replaced him with his widow, who still holds the job. Her qualification for office was that she'd been married to a man even Cher had had sense enough to dump.

I was very glad when I moved out of that district.

As a teenager, my mother used to try to discourage me from doing something she called by a phrase very similar to "pulling a Bono."

blogward said...

Say what you think, D McEwan! At least he died as he would have wanted - hugging a tree.

Mike Bell said...

Ooh. Tough room. Tough room.

Anonymous said...

There has been a cover up. No one talks about the note they found next to his body that said "Stop cutting us down to use as firewood or we'll kill again. Signed: The Tress."

Larry said...

What's all this hating on Sonny Bono? He was a talented songwriter/producer who was involved in a lot of great records. He made Cher into a star. And then when their act was going through hard times, his smarts gave them a new life as the stars of the hottest show on TV, along with new hit records.

Then, instead of being just another pampered Hollywood millionaire making political pronouncements from his villa in France, he actually put his money where his mouth is, ran for high office, won, and spent years serving the public. For this he deserves contempt, and mockery for dying in an accident?

Kirk Jusko said...

As he was a Republican, I wouldn't think Sonny Bono would have wanted to "hug a tree."

blogward said...

Oh yes he did - don't you remember "I Got Yew, Babe"?

David A. Paterson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Serving the public? The copyright extensions were a gift to Disney and other corporate interests, denying the public domain.

He was many things, but in the end, he worked for big business.

Larry said...

The Sonny Bono Act passed after Bono died. Copyright law is a tricky thing. Maybe you're right, maybe all creativity belongs to the people after its first run and Ken Levine should never get any residuals, but both sides have an argument. Just because you believe big business is on one side (or actually is on one side) doesn't mean it's wrong.

By "serving the public" I mean he worked in government. Or does someone only serve the public if he shares your politics?

D. McEwan said...

"Larry said...
By 'serving the public' I mean he worked in government. Or does someone only serve the public if he shares your politics?"

So George Bush "served the public"? He served the public badly. And Bono was an ignorant clown. Read the stuff on him that Joe Wambaugh (a man who hardly can be accused of sharing my political views) wrote about him in one of his novels. (I forget which one. It was set in Palm Springs.) Bono was a clown and an embarrassment to those of us who had the misfortune to live in his district.

That said, I am all in favor of extending copyrights. Excuse me, did the public domain write my books?

"Anonymous said...
There has been a cover up. No one talks about the note they found next to his body that said 'Stop cutting us down to use as firewood or we'll kill again. Signed: The Tress' [sic]"

Damn it, anonymous, you made me laugh out loud. Three small suggestions, though:

1. Spell "trees" correctly. "The tress" makes no sense. (Proof-read. It's a chore, but whenever I neglect it, I end up chagrinned.)

2. You didn't need "to use as firewood," as the trees would object to being cut down for any reason. "Oh, it's to build a house? Well then, cut me down!" Strunk and White's least-taken advice: "Omit needless words."

3. Sign your name, especially when you have a good, strong joke like that.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I was rubbing my eyes while typing that because my allergies were driving me crazy. Must have been that damn TREE pollen! I'd type more but the words are needless.

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Anonymous said...

"Did the public domain write my books?"

Depends. How much did you crib from the Brothers Grimm? Shakespeare? The Bible? Or other public domain sources? Take a away the public domain, and Disney's back catalog starts getting rather thin...

Providing protection for, say, the old 28+28 was OK (says I). But for how long should those protections extend? Should Matthew, Mark, Luke and John's descendants be able to sue Andrew Lloyd Webber for a share of the royalties on "Jesus Christ Superstar"? How about good old Bill Shakespeare suing Sondheim et al for West Side Story?

How long is long enough? How many generations of your kids should draw royalties? How long before a young up-and-comer should be able to extend and expand a world you created (Laurie King and Sherlock Holmes come to mind)?

Jonathan Stark said...

A 'Bono' , huh? I'll use that... next time I have a job.
BTW - I worked at that restaurant shucking clams and oysters for the rich and beautiful clientele. The guy I worked with spit in them. Lesson: Always have your shellfish shucked in front of you.

Mike Barer said...

My guess is that Sonny is out having beers with Ike Turner

Kirk Jusko said...

I just re-read Ken's blog. It's not really about Sonny Bono at all. It's about taking a joke that doesn't work very well and trying to improve on it.

Sometimes, that's what happens here in the comments section.

Mike Barer said...

I liked Sonny Bono as an entertainer, much like I liked Steve Largent as a football player. Neither of those two would ever get my vote. I'm a Democrat.

David said...

Ohhh but you slipped the skiing joke in there anyway. Just couldn't resist. It's hard I know.

But once you start with the skiing joke it's a slipping slope--

Doooh!

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I loathe Bono because he was a Scientologist. Rumor has it he got elected by members of the cult stuffing the ballot box with out-of-town cultist voters. Don't know if it's true, but I wouldn't put it past them.