Saturday, April 19, 2014

My TCA speech

My post on Thursday on why I really became a comedy writer prompted a number of readers to ask if I could share the acceptance speech I delivered at that TCA dinner.  Kind blogger that I am, I used that request to blackmail you into buying more copies of my book.  It worked.  So thanks very much, and here is the speech.  If you don't like it, please don't return the books.  

There were also a couple of ad libs that got laughs, but I don't remember what they were.  I know I made fun of some of the other acceptance speeches but don't recall the exact lines.  (Maybe Alan Sepinwall or Maureen Ryan or one of the other critics there that night does?)   All I know is Claire Danes laughed.   Here's what I said.


On behalf of Glen & Les Charles and Jimmy Burrows and all the writers and crew, I want to thank you for this prestigious honor. I was fortunate enough to be with CHEERS since the beginning and trust me, it meant a lot to us that you embraced our show initially. Critics were very important, especially since critics were the only people who watched the show. That first year, not only were we getting trounced by SIMON & SIMON, but something on ABC called TUCKER’S WITCH was kicking our ass.

But thanks to your support, and the fact that NBC had nothing else – which is kind of like today -- they decided to stick with us. Truly, it was us or PINK LADY & JEFF. (That won the TCA Heritage Award in 2006, didn’t it?).

But it was a great run. Who knew it would last eleven years? Who knew Woody would be the cast member to become a movie star? Who knew our modest little theme song would one day be used to sell auto insurance?

It was an honor to be associated with CHEERS. Writers from today’s shows tell me all the time how much CHEERS influenced them and then won’t hire me. But knowing I’ve inspired others, and will still get royalties long after their shows have been cancelled is satisfaction enough. (That got applause) So again, on behalf of the Glen & Les Charles and Jim Burrows, thanks so much. CHEERS is a great example that quality can ultimately win out, and that critics do make a difference.

17 comments:

Kerrie said...

I like it.

Pun Gillette Plume said...

We can return the books?????????

parking_infraction said...

Thank you very much for publishing your speech!

Ralph C. said...

Tucker's Witch....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tucker's_Witch

Geesh, she wasn't even a witch. Be sure to notice who played the elevator killer in the 1982 premier episode.

Ray Richmond said...

I was there and remember that speech, Ken. Still the best ever at TCA.

Smurch said...

Tim Matheson was the voice of Jonny Quest???

Mike said...

Pink Lady were robbed.
Walks to podium. Bows to audience. Reads from piece of paper in Japanese for three minutes. Bows to audience. Walks back to table. Waiter comes out of kitchen with order.
Now that's a speech.

Hamid said...

Great speech.

Ray, if you remember the ad-libs, can you tell us please?

Scooter Schechtman said...

Amost as good as Orson Welles' "and none of you would give me a job" Oscar speech.

D. McEwan said...

For the record, I watched and loved Cheers from it's debut on.

No wonder Sid Caesar had at you. At the time, Pink Lady and Jeff was using him as a guest so often, he was almost a regular. (Mostly because on one else in Hollywood was willing to do the show.)

VincentS said...

I hate to admit it, but I remember PINK LADY & JEFF! I actually liked it - one of the last of the variety shows - but, considering what replaced it, no wonder I never missed it

VP81955 said...

Kudos.

Rob said...

Actually, "Too Close for Comfort" on ABC was kicking your ass at the time - and was cancelled at the end of the season!

Johnny Walker said...

It's a shame the lineage of classic sitcoms run and mentored by legendary writers appears to have ended :(

Canda said...

It wouldn't hurt to thank the one person who was far more important than the critics in helping make CHEERS a hit - Bill Cosby.

The COSBY SHOW, as the lead-in on Thursday night, made big hits out of FAMILY TIES, CHEERS and NIGHT COURT. Those 3 shows were having difficulty finding an audience.

Am enjoying "Must Kill TV" very much. But isn't it David Isaac's book, too?

Liggie said...

Speaking of royalties, here's a F.Q. When screenplays are sold in collectible stores (three brad-bound, Courier font, etc.) or in a book format in bookstores, does the screenwriter get a royalty from that?

chuckcd said...

Thanks for posting that!