Aloha. Here are some Friday Questions from paradise.
Wayne starts us off:
Now that Mike Nichols is no more, who is the top director of comedy plays?
I don’t think there is only one. Joe Mantello is pretty hot. So is Scott Ellis. And Jerry Zaks. I’m sure there are one or two others. Or seven. At the moment I'm 7,000 miles away from Broadway. What do I know?
From Stephen Robinson:
Do you think late-night TV has gotten too overtly political? My memory of Carson or Bob Hope specials might be too rooted in youthful nostalgia but it seemed like the political humor was less "personal" and could appeal to anyone regardless of their political affiliation. Yes, these are very contentious times but so were the 1960s. This isn't to say that I don't think there's a place for political humor but I've seen clips of Samantha Bee and even Seth Meyers and they come across more like slightly funnier Keith Olbermanns (and I say this as someone who enjoyed Olbermann's COUNTDOWN series).
Political humor is in now. Jon Stewart on the DAILY SHOW and Stephen Colbert on THE COLBERT REPORT showed there was an appetite for political comedy. With the 24 hour news cycle I think world affairs are more in the forefront of people’s consciousness and late night hosts are just reflecting that.
But let’s see how funny this all seems in another month when we have our new president. When the insanity is too real we might not be laughing. (NOTE: Let this not be a cue to start arguing politics in the comments section. I will delete them. I’m on vacation and not in the mood. Thanks.)
Friday Question from Jim S.:
Whose career would you have rather had, Larry Gelbart's or Ernie Harwell's?
Boy, that’s a tough one. For those who don’t know one or both of these gentlemen: Larry Gelbart was a brilliant comedy writer – the Mozart of the form. Among his many credits are TOOTSIE, FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, OH GOD, and creating the TV version of MASH.
Both were consummate gentlemen. I was honored to be their colleague, friend, and in the case of Larry Gelbart, co-worker.
At the end of the day, if I was forced to choose, I think I’d pick Larry. But I’d be lucky just to have half the career of Ernie Harwell.
The deciding factor: As much as I love baseball announcing, comedy is just part of my DNA.
And finally, from ScottyB:
Last night, I was watching the latest episode of "Designated Survivor," which has been pretty damn riveting. However, the first five minutes (or a similarly painfully long amount of time) were spent listing what seemed like 50 producers, co-producers, executive producers, co-executive producers, associate producers, consulting producers, etcetcetc. I'm sitting there thinking holy shit, the number of producers on this show must outnumber the number of extras.
So my question: What the hell?
Most of these are writers. A “produced by” credit means a line producer, someone who is in charge of the actual production. But all the co-executive producers and supervising producers and co-supervising producers – they’re just writers. They get bumps in pay depending on their title.
Ironically, the one title that isn’t given (because it isn’t sexy enough I guess) is the only title that matters. Show runner. He or she will be listed as “Executive Producer.” But when you see those titles go by just think “writer, writer, team of writers, writer.”
What’s your Friday Question? Leave it in the comments section. Mahalo.