Get your Friday Questions answered here!
VincentS is up first.
Was it ever on the radar to make Bebe Neuwirth a regular on FRASIER?
Since I’m not really qualified to answer that, I got one of the shows creators, David Lee to graciously respond for me.
One always considers such things if for no other reason than trying to find areas that will open up stories. The problem with making the character of Lilith a regular on Frasier was both creative and pragmatic. We liked the focus on Frasier's extended family and it felt like if she were around things would shift too much to Freddie the kid and plots about the ex-wife. Those seemed to serve us well when we did do them--indeed gave us some great moments--Frasier faking an orgasm jumping on a bed for one--but it didn't seem like material we wanted to visit too much. It was special when she did appear every year, usually in sweeps, and very promotable. We wanted to keep it that way. Then there is the fact that Bebe Neuwirth, a creature of the theater, loved living in NYC and was not interested in moving to LA for extended periods. Now that I think about it, that sorta makes all the creative concerns moot, doesn't it? Bottom line: it worked out great for everyone.
Thanks so much, David. And thanks for letting me and David Isaacs write most of those Lilith episodes. They were great fun to do.
From Gregg B:
I'd like to know your opinion on the whole Seinfeld flap going on. He says he won't play college campuses because they are too politically correct. Some say his jokes are no longer funny, he is a hack and that he is just doesn't get the modern generation's humor like Louis CK and Amy Schumer. Others say that he is right and they are too PC. What is your take on this?
Jerry Seinfeld has nothing to prove. Nor does he have to do anything he doesn’t want to do. I’m thrilled that he still does stand-up – in any venue.
I saw him recently on Seth Meyers and he was still very funny. He probably reached more college-aged kids with that national TV appearance than any college tour.
To his point that college audiences are too PC and are quick to accuse comics of being racist or sexist based on material, this charge obviously comes from his experience. And I guess it’s happened enough that he feels it’s not worth it. That said, I’m a little surprised. Current hot comedians like Louis C.K. and the divine Amy Schumer don’t just push the envelope, they shred it. Maybe Jerry has been playing Oral Roberts University.
But in fairness, Chris Rock will no longer play college campuses for the same reason. So it’s not just one comedian’s perception.
MikeK.Pa. has left a follow-up to last week when I partially blamed network development departments for the dearth of good sitcoms.
If approached would you ever consider working for /heading up a network development dept.? Do any of those development execs have any writing background?
I think that’s one of the reasons why development executives give so many notes. They can. (Although, in the spirit of fairness, some of their notes are good and helpful.)
There have been development executives along the way who have had some experience writing and producing, but they usually return to the trenches where there’s more money and fewer staff meetings.
For years now in comedy, once a pilot is in production the showrunner usually brings in top flight writer friends to help punch up and rewrite. I always thought networks would be wise to adopt the same policy. Put together a list of proven writers who know how to spot and solve problems and let them give notes after network run-throughs. Pay them a nice per-night fee. Showrunners would much rather get notes from people they trust. To me it’s a win-win. Networks get the benefit of experienced writers and executives would never feel threatened because the writers clearly would not want to take their jobs. And the pilots would come out way better.
And finally, YEKIMI asks:
On the issue of Jay Thomas dissing Rhea Perlman: If you had another sitcom in which he would be a good fit.....would you use him again or do you consider him "persona non grata" as far as you are concerned?
I’d definitely use him again. Jay is a very talented and funny guy. I still feel bad I had to kill him.
What’s your Friday Question?