Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday Questions

Use sunscreen and read Friday Questions.

Brian begins this week:

What do you think of "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"? I thought the first two seasons were pretty funny, but it’s getting repetitive in season 3.

I have not watched season 3 yet although I have seen seasons 1 and 2 and quite enjoyed them. I think the show is very funny. It’s a live cartoon. I appreciate that they strive to really make you laugh and the jokes come at you fast and furious. And there are even jokes in the margins. If I have a problem it’s that they will break reality at times to get a laugh and that undermines any honest emotional moment they try to have.

But I’m actually looking forward to season 3. I hope it’s as good, or at least as funny. 

It's still hard to believe NBC let that show get away. 

cale Blalock asks:

I'm just curious to when you do radio, how do you not feel like a nut talking to yourself?

Is there something I should know???

In my headphones I listen to the station coming in over the air. That allows me the sense that I’m actually broadcasting and there may just be, by some miracle, another person or two listening. But that’s on the radio.

When I record my podcast I could just be some nut talking to himself. Hopefully not. But that’s up to you. Please listen.   Just click the big gold arrow under the masthead.

From Shelly:

When you were nominated for an EMMY how was the experience? Were you expecting it? Who gave the news first. Share your happiest moment Ken.....

Back in those days the nominations weren’t broadcast. (Can you imagine???)  A press release was just sent out, and so at about noon we’d get a call either from the studio or our agent with the word that we were nominated. It was always a tremendous thrill but I think my two favorite times were our first nomination and last CHEERS nomination.

The first one was for the “Point of View” episode of MASH. I wasn't expecting it, but I was hoping.  When I got the word I remember calling my parents and girlfriend. My parents were very proud and my girlfriend ended up marrying me so I guess they all were suitably impressed.

Our last CHEERS nomination was in 1989 for an episode called “Death Takes a Holiday on Ice.” I was announcing minor league baseball for the Tidewater Tides the day the nominations were announced. We were in Pawtucket, Rhode Island to play the dreaded Paw Sox, and I got word while up in the broadcasting booth. Cheri Steinkellner, one of the showrunners, gave me the good news. As before, I was hoping but not expecting the nomination. 

I was able to then announce it over the air.  Anything to fill a pitching change. 

And when the players got word after the game I was given a huge round of applause when I entered the clubhouse. Not many Emmy nominees in the International League. That was a special moment.

By the way, we lost both of those Emmys.

And finally, from Richard:

Friday Question related to Actors.

Ken, have you ever helped a friend or an acquaintance or anybody who asked for your help, get a gig (at least a walk-on part) in one of the TV series that you have worked on?

Sure. I got my dad into a bunch of shows. And my trainer who is also an actor. I got a couple of radio buddies a couple of one-line parts. One time I got Rick Dees on CHEERS but he was cut out.

Also on CHEERS, although they had no lines, I got a few friends to sit at the bar so they could at least be on camera.

But that was in the good old days. Today networks are so controlling that you have to send them three choices for every part, even one-line parts, and they select. It’s ridiculous, not to mention insulting. My dad used to do great, and never once did he bring down CBS.

What’s your Friday Question?


Shelly said...

Thanks a lot Ken.

"my girlfriend ended up marrying me" - now that is some nomination you won :)

Richard said...

Thanks for answering Ken.

Yes agree with you - studio executives just want to show who is the boss.

Linda said...

Hi Ken,

My Friday Question -

Was just going thru your Wiki page

It seems longer and detailed now. I remember a year or so ago, it was very short. I dont know how this wiki page editing works, but did they ask you to send more details or just someone researched your profile and updated.

Is it complete and accurate now or is something still missing ?

How do you feel when you first saw your own wiki page? Quite exhilarating I bet 😀😀😀


ADmin said...

When I went to Broadcasting College (way back in the Aristocart days) The old instructors would encourage us to stick a picture of someone up on the glass of the news booth, or somewhere in front of you.

I tried it a few times but I never really felt like it worked. Mostly, and I wasn't alone in this, you'd just imagine a listener or friend. But it was hard sometimes. Occasionally the mind would wander to the "who the hell is listening to me?" thought.

Nowadays, I hear a ton of radio shows with 2 or more hosts, co-hosts, "morning teams" - etc.
I really think it's made radio better. Especially in sports radio. You feel like you're in a group conversation.

Max said...

The latest offering of Nolan has everyone praising. But here is a lonely review which has got Nolan "Fanboys" all riled up.

I found this good and clearly unmasks Nolan and his pompous pretensions.

The other day you replied to a reader where you ripped apart Daniel Day Lewis as someone who promotes the theory that he is the greatest.

In the same vein, my question is "Is Christopher Nolan trying to promote himself with all this publicity as a director who uses real stunts, thousands of extras and props and not CGI like other lesser mortals. All the crap about IMAX camera shooting - all the while trying to show himself off as a genius and a champion of old technology?"

P.S.: I read that entire Hollywood came out in force to see the premiere. There were so many, that they ran another show at 10 pm. Ha Ha Ha..... looks like the academy members have risen to this Oscar-bait movie.

Rashad Khan said...

Well, Mr. Levine, it finally happened: Jennifer Aniston has come back to TV. Per TV Guide, she and BFF Reese Witherspoon are doing a series about the behind-the-scenes doings of a morning chatfest. They plan to shop their pet project around (although, I have a hunch it'll land on Netflix or Amazon).

Bud Light said...

"Today networks are so controlling that you have to send them three choices for every part, even one-line parts, and they select. It’s ridiculous, not to mention insulting. My dad used to do great, and never once did he bring down CBS."

This must explain why I do not watch any network shows anymore.

***** Also, is this lunacy for network owned shows, independently produced shows or both?

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Linda: people are specifically prohibited from editing their own pages. Instead, what happens is that anyone who feels like it - me, you - edits the page and adds material based on published sources. So you could, for example, compile a list of Ken's plays and add them to his entry (if they're not already there) and use his blog postings about them as confirmation, or you could use links to published reviews, or whatever.


Linda said...

@ Wendy M. Grossman,

Thanks for the information.

Jeff said...

Max, Thanks I read the article. Nolan Fanboys as they are called, can't take any criticism of their "God". The comments for that review is a really a slugfest between the fanboys and Nolan haters :)

To all Ken's readers: Look out for the Dec 22's post or Jan 12 onwards, because that's when his "Holiness" Spielberg is gonna release his movie "The Papers", no doubt an Oscar Bait movie. And look out for Ken's review, it should be fun ;)

Anonymous said...


June Foray passed away late this week. I don't know if you ever encountered her while working in TV, film or radio...but even if you didn't, I figure you may have a thought or two on a true giant in the world of voice actors.

Wossamotta! Hats off to you!
To thy colors, ochre and alice blue!
We shall ere be faithful and true!
Hey, Wossamotta, hail! Better we should be in jail!
Hey, Wossamotta U!


Kate said...

Ed, June Foray passed away ???!!!!!

The GREATEST voice actress.

Chuck Jones - "June Foray is not the female Mel Blanc, Mel Blanc is the male June Foray."

"On of these days, one of these days, POWWWWWW right in the kisser!!!!"

RIP Granny.

katey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aaron Sheckley said...

LOL, going by the above comment, I think the contract for designing the "Please prove you're not a robot" feature on your blog must have gone to the lowest bidder.

Ted O'Hara said...

I was reading the original MASH novel, and Hawkeye and Duke Forrest arrive at the 4077th in the snow. We never saw snow on the series, probably due to the expense. It made me wonder - were there any story ideas you would have liked to have done that were too expensive to shoot?

Edward said...

Friday Question:

Can you do a "Friday Questions" podcast as a regular week-ending episode?

Mike said...

Pencey: What are we going to do tonight, Brain?
Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pencey. Plan to repeal Obamacare.
It's Pencey & the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain...

Albert Giesbrecht said...

There was snow in at least one Xmas episode.

Albert Giesbrecht said...

There was snow in at least one Xmas episode

bryon said...

Hi, Ken.

I'll just leave this NYT piece -- How to Make a Movie Out of Anything - Even a Mindless Phone Game -- here. Perhaps you'll want to comment on it. Or just scream privately.

Richard Anderson said...


Hi Ken,

I'm thinking about writing a pilot based on an existing movie. Would this be a good idea, or is it better to just stick to writing an original pilot?

slgc said...

I haven't heard you promote Blue Apron on your podcast for a while. I guess things aren't going too well for them, but I thought you'd get a laugh out of this McSweeney's piece -

Craig said...

Friday Question:

Hi Ken,

Have you got any advice for people living outside of the US on how to break in to TV writing?

Steve said...

Hi Ken,

Was looking into possibly trying standup, but wanted to take a few standup classes to gain confidence/get some helpful tips. But all the classes I looked up (in LA) were 7-10 weeks and over 500 bucks!

What do you think of classes like this that charge so much money? Also, is there really THAT much to learn about standup?Admittedly the classes got great reviews, but I'm not ready to drop that much cash especially for something that I'm not looking to make a career out of, and I don't think I can commit for such a long period of time.

Do you know of any helpful classes in the area?