Saturday, May 11, 2013

Recommendations

As longtime readers of this blog can imagine, I am sooooo broken up over the cancellation of WHITNEY that it's hard to write a new post today.  What is NBC thinking?  (Note for new readers:  I'm joking. I can't believe WHITNEY lasted two years.   A full updates on pilots arrives Monday.) 

So instead I will offer  some recommendations. I have not been paid or compensated in any way for these.  I offer them because I genuinely think you'll enjoy them and I'm in mourning.  You'll notice I'm not plugging my own books although that's, y'know, IMPLIED!

Miriam Trogden is a hilarious comedy writer.  She just returned from Paris and was interviewed by a fashion blog (of all things).  Her answers are priceless.  You can read it here.

Phoef Sutton has written a terrific novel called 15 MINUTES TO LIVE.  Fun twists and turns, and one of the weirdest romances you'll ever fine.  Treat yourself.


Baseball fans -- and especially Dodger fans -- Josh Suchon has written the definitive account of the charmed 1988 Kirk Gibson season.  You may think you know all that happened but you don't.  It's a great inside look at the game of baseball and the oddballs who play it.  WARNING:  Not for Oakland A's fans.  You can find it here.
I'm often asked who my comic influences were, and since I'm a radio geek, a big influence was Bob & Ray.  They were a comedy team that consistently performed the most inspired, silly but smart material.   Always funny, always dry, and as you will hear from this example -- absolute MASTERS of comic timing. 

Bob's son, by the way, is Chris Elliott.  Anyway, there's a new book out about them by David Pollock.  It's a nice chronicle of radio, the early days of television, and there's also some great stuff about MAD magazine in there.   And along the way, lots and lots of laughs, and comic pointers.  It's available in paperback here. 
For good beach reading there's Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg's THE HEIST.  Available here. 


29 comments:

Jenny&Brian said...

Been eagerly awaiting your Whitney response.

Michael said...

I see that "Back In The Game", a show about a mom who coaches a Little League team that you mentioned in a post about baseball shows got picked up by ABC. It will be interesting how much of the focus will be on the team vs her family life.

Johnny Walker said...

Cool, I'm going to check out that Phoef Sutton book!

I've been reading John Swartzwelder's (the most prolific and reclusive Simpson's writer) first book, THE TIME MACHINE DID IT. It's very silly, but very funny. Have you read it Ken? If so, did you like it? His writing reminds me of yours.

404 said...

While I didn't watch Whitney, it seems like just about every show I have been watching also got the ax. At least 10 shows gone that I really liked, or at least followed. Whatever will I do next year with all that free time?

Anonymous said...

Without MAD Magazine, I'm not sure if I would ever have become familiar with Bob and Ray.

David Whitham said...

That Dodger book is not for Mets fans, either. I still have nightmares over that curve ball that Doc hung to Scioscia...

Igor said...

FYI: The book about Bob & Ray is listed at Amazon as hardcover.

And one person, who hasn't read it, has posted this 4-star review:

"I would love to purchase this book, I am a Bob & Ray fan. I have a lot of their recordings. I just do not have enough room for another book on my shelf. I would happily purchase this book in electronic form. In this day and age when almost everything is written on a computer, or at least goes through some kind of electronic system in the writing and printing process, there is no excuse for not offering all new books as ebooks."

Jason said...

Two years?! What kind of loser show gets cancelled after just two seasons?

Phillip B said...

Watch Kickstarter for a chance to contribute to the Whitney movie....

Julie Ann Sipos said...

But wait, why you didn't like Whitney if you're a fan of the weird Hollywood romance? Is that where they were? I was never sure. Some apartment, somewhere. Okay, I never watched it, either.

Julie Ann Sipos said...

Footnote: I am down with the Phoef Sutton book. I saw a live pilot taping of his a few years back. All I remember was a) it was hilarious, and b) Dan Castellaneta sat on a ball of bread dough because he "kneeded" it bad.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of logical, after all their network scheduling-as-interference to knock out loyal "Community" followers, as well rid the show of its voice Dan Harmon, etc... it had its season finale/finale episode, and NOW despite any surge in viewing numbers, is renewed for another season.... A war of attrition.

Kirk said...

On top of everything else, we get some Mort Drucker artwork.

Leon said...

Hey Ken!

thanks for that wonderful blog! I have a Friday Question for you: have you ever written a feature film screenplay? If so, what was it about and what happened to it? Did you sell it? Or is it all about sitcom with you? Or did I miss a feature film from you that got made? In short: have you ever been involved in any form of feature film? Thanks a lot and keep up the good work!!

Best
Leon

Mike said...

Reckon you're too late to hawk your snake-oil elixir. The horde of young-uns with their disposable incomes have left for pastures new. Just us regular doggies left round the campfire. Yes, siree, pard.

Beans look mighty tasty...

Cap'n Bob said...

That Chris Elliot is Bob's son proves that the comedy gene skips a generation.

Not a Dodger fan since they left Brooklyn.

I recommend your books to one and all.

Whitney who?

bill said...

Friday Question.

Ken, perhaps you can explain the logic behind the following. Not being in the business, but knowing a few things about marketing, I'm baffled:

So I read that Parker Posey has already departed a show that just got picked up. The Family Guide. I see a picture and she is photographed with that guy that is in all the insurance commercials. (in fact that guy works so much I once saw him in a show and the commercials). But wait, I've seen this advertised but with a different name. Wasn't it Family Tool? Did they change Family Tool to Family Guide? And wait, this show is about some blind person, but I don't remember Family Tool being about that. And I don't remember Parker Posey being in it. Did that show run? I saw the ads, never saw the show.

So, We have a guy on show called the Family Tool, which gets cancelled before it airs (as far as I can see) and he moves to the Family Guide which just got picked up except the star Parker Posey leaves after the pilot and it looks like the entire show is based around Parker Posey's character.

Explain.

donald said...

Chris Elliot is awesome.

Harold X said...

Leon: IMDB is your friend.

Rob said...

At least Nancy Travis gets to keep her job; too bad it's not in a better show.

gottacook said...

"bill": See this link to possibly clear up the Family Tools versus Family Guide confusion:
www.thewrap.com/tv/article/abc-renews-neighbors-cancels-family-tools-90991

Cap'n Bob said...

Chris Elliot may be awesome, but he isn't funny, at least not in my universe.

Johnny Walker said...

@Harold -- Not in that instance! :)

Pat Reeder said...

Actually, I thought "Whitney" had improved quite a bit. I was starting to like the cast, and the writing had gotten much better as the focus shifted away from Whitney's obnoxious character. I can't believe "Two Broke Girls" is not only still on, but is actually a hit. The characters on it exist solely to tee up incredibly crude and juvenile jokes about drugs and anal sex. By the time it's over, viewers feel as if they've been drugged and forced into anal sex.

On a more pleasant subject, my "Hollywood Hi-Fi" writing partner George Gimarc and I are also huge Bob & Ray fans. George is one of the top collectors of recorded sound in the US. Years ago, when we were right out of college and sharing an apartment, he was doing an alternative rock show. His station shared studios with one of the venerable old Dallas talk stations. They were cleaning out a storage room, and he brought home enough 10-inch reels of tape to fill a shelf about 15 feet long. They were all Bob & Ray sketches that had been cut up and sent to stations for syndication.

So if you ever want to hear some Bob & Ray, contact George. He has hundreds of hours of their material. My favorite is "Matt Neffer: Boy Spot-Welding King of the Universe." The writers of "SNL" should listen to that to learn how to make an utterly pointless sketch gut-bustingly funny.

Johnny Walker said...

I never saw Whitney, but I did recently hear an interview with Jim Brooks about how he thought the couple in it were brilliant. (Sounded like they were something approaching The Thin Man -- a series that's in desperate need of being rebooted well.)

KB said...

Didn't get further (farther? who cares?) than the My Year of Fabulous blog, and didn't need to. It is not your ordinary "fashion blog" - thanks for pointing to it.

The "why Mothers Day is like Father's year" post is timely and hilarious.

Spent the rest of the day reading from the beginning, when I should have been doing many more important things, but enjoyed it just the same.

Mike Barer said...

Read Lee's book!!!

Kathleen said...

Thank you for the book alerts, particularly the one for Bob and Ray. I grew up listening to them (back when dinosaurs powered Victrolas with their tails) and still find them brilliant. I will definitely read that one. I once performed that Slow Talker skit in a local variety show and had a ball. Their timing is exquisite.

Harold X said...

Johnny Walker said...

@Harold -- Not in that instance! :)

5/12/2013 5:01 AM


Whoops! "Our" Ken is in there; IMDB lists him under "misc. crew: Cheers". Apologies to all.