Monday, January 07, 2008

Levine on the picket line

After a delightful holiday break it was back to the picket lines Monday. Very big turnout at 20th. Too big.

There was a guy wearing nothing but a speedo, necktie, black shoes and socks. It's shocking to think you’d see something like that in Los Angeles. He held a sign that said Computer.TV supports the writers. Just what we need – some idiot in a speedo supporting our cause. Actually, representing our cause since I’m sure he’ll be the sole focus of any news coverage. And you wonder why the AMPTP has zero respect for us.

Needless to say, the abuse he took on line was biblical. Giving a couple hundred disgruntled comedy writers a moron in a speedo is like giving a dog a pork chop.

Other topics discussed: Roger Clemens (guilty as hell), Hillary (lots of Captain Queeg comparisons), the Golden Globes cancellation (so something good has come out of this strike), NFL playoffs, Jimmy Kimmel appearing on Leno’s show (What a coup! Getting a guy who won’t be on TV again for at least two minutes), and Leno going on Kimmel’s show (because an hour of Jay just isn’t enough), LET THERE BE BLOOD and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN – two movies that the critics fawned all over but a lot of people on line hated, it’s time for Dick Clark to finally give up NEW YEAR’S ROCKIN’ EVE (I understand your reluctance to turn it over to Ryan Seacrest, Dick but's time, buddy.), all the possible side deals the Guild is making with indie production companies like UA (hard to believe Tom Cruise is not aligning himself with Sumner Redstone), and Mike Huckabee crossing our picket line to go on THE TONIGHT SHOW and claiming he didn't "know" about the strike. Yeah, right. Which is why they hustled him in and out through the Univision entrance.   It's been in all the papers, Mike!

We’ve been on strike now for two months. 20th is on its fourth giant billboard already. Have we really been out since MR. MAGOO’S EMPORIUM or whatever the hell that bomb was?

20th was flying a frayed and torn American flag. Uh, isn’t that against the law? I’m just sayin’.

In a week or two I'm sure there will be seven AMERICAN IDOL billboards. It returns in a few weeks. FOX is counting on that to get huge ratings and bury the other networks who can’t compete because of the strike. One of the features of this blog is that I review AMERICAN IDOL after each performance show. Despite some flack I take for it, it’s my most popular feature of the year. Traffic goes way up, I acquire new readers, etc. But this season, as long as we’re on strike I don’t want to do anything to help promote a FOX show. So no AMERICAN IDOL reviews until this mess is resolved. Sorry fans. Hope you understand.

On my sportstalk show Sunday night on KABC I was heartened that no one wanted to discuss the AMERICAN GLADIATORS. This month we're in for a blizzard of new crummy reality shows. I hope they all fail.

Back at it tomorrow morning. It’s supposed to be colder. If the speedo cretin is there we can really test the theory of shrinkage.


Bitter Animator said...

Seeing as you're not doing any Idol reviews, how about talking us through some of your favourite 'America's Next Top Model' moments? I like that show.

Sounds to me that the speedo guy was less about supporting the writers and more about advertising And possibly speedos. Have you had many people try to get in on the publicity of the strike?

Rob said...

So what's the official position on Leno, Kimmel, Colbert, and Stewart?

Stewart looked very uncomfortable last night, but seemed to imply he wanted to do a Letterman type deal but wasn't allowed to by the union.

I haven't seen Let There Be Blood, but PT Anderson's always struck me as one of the most overrated directors of the past 15 years, with a tin ear for dialogue (except profanity, he's a master of the unnecessary F-word).

Anonymous said...

"Stewart looked very uncomfortable last night, but seemed to imply he wanted to do a Letterman type deal but wasn't allowed to by the union."

I think it's safe to say all the late night hosts would jump at an interim deal, but unfortunately for them they work for AMPTP stalwarts and the last thing the WGA is going to do is cut those companies some slack.

CarolMR said...

Why didn't Hollywood boycott the Critics' Choice Awards?

Anonymous said...

After all that “abuse” yesterday, if the guy returns disgruntled with any suspicious bulges, I’d suggest somebody pat him down real good. Could be wearin’ one o’ them suicide speedos. Now there’s an image. Does he get to lose the tie on casual Friday?

Anonymous said...

I'm here in spite of AmId reviews. You are amazing and the blog has become a daily show for me. I've been spreading your name around in my circle and hope you just keep going; no matter what you choose to talk about.

Anonymous said...

The only reasons I ever read your Idol reviews were 1) So I got the Sanjaya jokes elsewhere (me being a Limey) and 2) Because, y'know, you're a damn good writer. You should work up some spec scripts for Hollywood or something.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Aw, next year on New Year's Eve at midnight, let's just let Dick Clark press the ball-drop button and wave. Then, after he passes, he can BE the ball.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...


We watched both shows and there was just something wrong with the way both of them spoke about the strike.
Sure, it all could've been sardonic, sarcastic or just plain silliness, but it was hard to tell.
It was almost like they think the whole strike is silly.

Colbert did several things that HAD to be scripted before hand.

I don't understand what a host can or cannot do when it comes to speaking "off the cuff". What skits can or cannot be done.

Mary Stella said...

Let's hope that the strike ends sooner, rather than later.

I love your AI recaps.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, by posting the website address, you did exactly what the speedo guy wanted you to do.

Also sadly, ratings for American Gladiator were pretty huge.

Anonymous said...

Aw, c'mon, Ken. You can't tantalize us with "Giving a couple hundred disgruntled comedy writers a moron in a speedo is like giving a dog a pork chop" and not give us some samples of what was said. Spill, if you remember. Or better yet, just make up some shit.

Unknown said...

Hate to say it, but I watched Gladiators. It came down to that or the BCS Championship Game, and I went with the one that has the most meaning.

By Ken Levine said...

Van -- GREAT comment. Yeah, wasn't that game a dog? 8 of 10 BCS bowl games have been horrible.

Michael -- I don't think one of our jokes were suitable in blog-company.

Richard Cooper said...

Mr. Magoo's Emporium? I'd watch that:

Mr. Magoo opens a Dollar Emporium on Hollywood Boulevard and inadvertently starts a fashion frenzy by wearing knock-off speedos and black socks in public.

BTW, the shrinkage experiment won't work because that bulge you were eyeing is just another sock stuffed in there...

Anonymous said...

Guys, the correct title is "There Will Be Blood," which is also a phrase they should use to promote "American Gladiators."

I reluctantly watched last night's installment of AG (missed the 2-hour premiere). Pretty much everything the contestants said sounded scripted, just like all of those so-called reality shows on MTV, such as "Next" and "Parental Control" (you can always tell when a non-actor is delivering a line). The Tennessee guy's dialogue was full of references to hog wrestling and the like, and he attributed his speed to calling up memories of his mama chasing him with a belt.

Anonymous said...

I thought Colbert zeroed on in the central issue very well: No writers = no words on the TelePrompter. Then he filled some time with film of himself eating grits. Settle this thing!

In case you were on the line and missed it, we may have had a Gulf of Tonkin-type incident with the Iranian navy. But by all means, keep us updated about the Speedo guy and American Gladiators.

Sorry to post anonymously, but Google is screwing me over again.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I went to see Juno. Of course, we saw four or five previews. All of them were the same romantic comedy formula.

I heard the studios rushed many scripts into production because of the then-looming strike.

Are we to blame studio haste or general February crap for the next Patrick Dempsey vehicle.

Rob said...

I watched Dick Clark on New Year's Eve and saw him there with Dick Clark and several teeny boppers and thought, "there isn't a damned person on this show who was alive when Dick started doing this.

Granted, I was only 1, but still.....

I want Dick to do this until he's dead. In fact, if it means less Ryan Seacrest, you can put his corpse up there and have Rich Little do the countdown.