Showing posts with label Tonight Show. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tonight Show. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Same thing, different particulars

Baton Rouge (La.) State-Times, Sept. 18, 1969

I like to look through old newspapers, which to me is a much cheaper way of revisiting my long-lost youth than combing my remaining hair over the bald spot, buying a flashy convertible and having an affair with a nearsighted woman much younger than myself.

Which brings us to the nearsighted, much-younger woman part.

I remember what a media sensation it was when arch pop-culture weirdo Tiny Tim married Miss Vicki . . . on The Tonight Show.

MISS VICKI, otherwise known as Victoria Budinger (or "the pretty New Jersey teenager"), was 17. Tiny Tim, otherwise known as Herbert Khaury, was 37, but everybody thought he was a decade older. In 1969, "Me Too" was more like "Me Can!"

As I said, it was a media sensation.

At this juncture, your woke-ass, under-50 self might be thinking "WHAT THE FUCK?!"


You see, we westerners -- particularly we Americans -- always have been all about the weird shit. 1969's "Isn't that cute? Kinda weird, but cute" has become 2019's "Lock him up and cut his nuts off! Then sue!"

On the other hand, we fail to bat an eyelid at believing there are something like 73 genders today, that "men" can have babies and that we all must state our preferred pronouns. (Mine is "My Lord and Master / My Lord and Master." If you don't think that's an actual pronoun, you are a hater, and you're making me feel threatened.)

AMID ALL the suckage of middle age and aging, the one benefit is having developed (at least one hopes) a finely tuned bullshit detector and an appreciation for the waves of bat-shit crazy that periodically roll through -- and roil -- what's left of our society. So, if you're just floating through postmodern America right now, and you think everything looks pretty normal to you, boy is your old self gonna be embarrassed by your young self in about 50 years.

Assuming, of course, we survive the absurdity that is President Donald Trump. That right there is a big-ass assumption, so we'll see.

Friday, June 12, 2015

He meth have misspoken

This is your anchorman. This is your anchorman on . . . meth?

At least this is your anchorman with meth on the brain. Well, this certainly explains a lot about Channel 6 here in Omaha.

I understand this clip made it to the Tonight Show.

They don't call it Channel Sux for nothing. And remember, pass the meth pipe from the left-hand side. Now, name that '80s pop-culture reference.
Now back to Mary Jane at the anchor desk.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Nostalgia with some jazz on top

I am 50, heading fast for 51. By all rights, I ought to be 70-something, heading fast for the nursing home.

This is because I'm pretty sure I was born too late. This is because I'm pretty sure it would have been a grand thing to be a young man in New York in, say, 1961 -- the year I was born too late in a city far to the south.

One of my great joys nowadays is buying old jazz albums to play on my old record changer. And if I have to, I'll buy 'em on compact disc, too -- just not for playing on an old record player. That would be bad.

An old CD player will suffice.

This, obviously, is nostalgia, the yearning for an idealized past lost to the outgoing tide of history. In my south Louisiana hometown, 1961 was no walk in the park, and much less so for blacks.

I'M SURE that, to whatever extent, the same went for New York in '61. Or '58. But there was the music -- the wonderful jazz. The rock. The roll. The street-corner symphonies in rhythm and blues.

It seems to me that the time of my life --
the one I was late for -- was one of higher culture, if not always higher ideals. We may not have behaved better then but, by God, we kept up a good appearance, didn't we?

So live from 1958, here's the inimitable Blossom Dearie on the Jack Paar-era
Tonight Show. My spirit sits in the audience, enjoying the time I was born for -- and the respite from the time I'm stuck in.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's always 10:30 on the Internet

Boy, we had some good news today about the Internet.

How good was it?

It was so good, that you'd have thought they'd announced that every surviving recording of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson was being uploaded to the Web.

And if you thought something do deliriously, wonderfully nutso . . .
you are correct, sir!

YES! IT'S TRUE! We found this ABC News story a bit down the Information Superhighway, just past the Slauson Cutoff:
Johnny Carson went off the air long before the age of YouTube and viral video, but now, 18 years after stepping down from "The Tonight Show," he's making a comeback online.

Carson Entertainment Group (CEG), which owns the archive of the late-night host's 30 years on "The Tonight Show," announced today that it has digitized all 3,300 hours of existing footage from Carson's reign and created a searchable online database for media professionals.

While the library is only accessible to those who license clips for professional purposes, CEG plans later this year to put out 50 full-format shows on DVD and post a rotating group of 40 to 50 historic clips for general consumption on

"I can't believe there's so much interest after all these years, it's wonderful," said Jeff Sotzing, president of CEG, Carson's nephew and a former "Tonight" producer. "The show had such a large audience for such a long time. It was such a big part of people's lives. I don't think you have that anymore because the television viewing audience is so fragmented."

Until 1999, Carson's archive had been stored in a salt mine in Kansas. It was impossible to view as a whole because the show had been recorded in three different media formats. Last year, Sotzig reached out to Deluxe Archive Solutions to transfer the footage to a digital format. Now, producers and researchers can call up Carson clips by plugging a keyword into the online database.

"We realized that if we could make this footage accessible in a non-linear fashion, more people would be able to experience this material," Sotzig said.

WHAT DOES your humble correspondent make of this news? I dunno, how about "HIYOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

NBC's Don't See TV

The award for The Best Thing Written About the Conan-Leno Affair goes to. . . .

Envelope, please. (Where's that damn letter opener when you need it?)

One moment, please.

AHEM. The award for The Best Thing Written About the Conan-Leno Affair goes to . . . Christopher Lawrence of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Roll the videotape:
If you've ever been screwed over at work, don't watch "The Tonight Show." Conan O'Brien passed up lucrative offers, waited five years and moved, along with his staff, across the country to take over "The Tonight Show," but NBC never really gave it to him. By putting Leno on in prime time, with more fanfare and better guests -- not to mention giving viewers who just wanted to watch any talk show the chance to do that and get a decent night's sleep -- NBC set Conan up to fail from the start.

If you have any business sense whatsoever, don't watch "The Tonight Show." During his last two weeks on the air, Conan stopped being intimidated by "The Tonight Show" and started making captivating television. While Leno's ratings ticked up slightly, Conan's surged. Then there was the "Evita"-style scene with hundreds of Conan fans rallying for hours in the driving rain outside his studio. By contrast, Leno played The Mirage two days earlier, only doing one show instead of his customary two, and the venue had to offer half-price tickets. And NBC still dumped its newly minted folk hero in favor of the weasel with whom only 4 percent of Oprah's audience, some of the most forgiving viewers in the world, sided.

If you've ever been bullied, don't watch "The Tonight Show." Between slamming Conan in the press when he's contractually forbidden to respond and the tacky "Get back to where you once belonged" commercials for Leno, NBC's behavior has bordered on the shameless.

If you've ever actually been fired, don't watch "The Tonight Show." For someone who considers himself a man of the people, Leno's whining about how NBC "fired" him twice has been surprisingly tone deaf. Especially considering he doesn't even need the job, as he boasts of living solely off his stand-up money. Millions of Americans, including Conan, have genuinely lost their jobs over the past two years; Leno had his start time moved forward, then back, by 95 minutes.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Conan harnesses the power of 'NUTS!'

In the Great Late-Night War, you can look to history for guidance as to how this thing is going to turn out.

Like, you can look at the
Battle of the Bulge as a historical parallel. NBC is the Nazi army, Jay Leno is the Vichy government in France, and things are not going swimmingly as 1944 draws to a close.

The Allied armies have overrun much of France and Belgium, and they're quickly closing in on the Fatherland. Something has to be done. So the Germans launch the Battle of the Bulge in late December, with the goal of encircling and destroying four Allied armies and forcing a peace treaty.

Leno's Vichy government is quick to agree to whatever the der Führer thinks best. What der Führer thought best was the capture of
The Tonight Show in Bastogne, Belgium. The Nazis would take it, then put their guy back in charge.

C'est tout! C'est si bon! Ist gut!

Finally, with Bastogne and the crippled, beleaguered Tonight Show all but surrounded, the NBC television Nazis made their demand to Allied commander Conan O'Brien: Surrender.

And Conan said "NUTS!"

THE REST will be history. Most notably, NBC and a now-damaged Jay Leno.

Look, all CBS' David Letterman did was screw young female subordinates. In this day and age, that's survivable.

But Leno, on the other hand, was an embarrassing failure at 9 o'clock. And now he looks like NBC's eager toady in sticking a shiv in Conan's back. He's the "Tonight Show Indian giver." He's the butt -- and the chin -- of all the other late-night hosts' jokes.

Letterman is having a field day.

ABC's Jimmy Kimmel, meantime, is making fun of Leno . . . on Leno's own show, and Jay was defenseless against the hilariously withering "attack."

That's damaged goods.

OH, YEAH. That's damaged goods.

So now we must quickly switch historical analogies to plumb the true good fortune of Conan O'Brien.

Press reports say
negotiations are being "finalized" to pay Conan $30 million to leave The Tonight Show so Leno can take it back. Imagine it this way -- not only is Conan getting a coveted spot in a lifeboat while the crew of the Titanic is otherwise occupied rearranging the deckchairs, he's getting $30 million for the privilege of saving his own ass.

All because he had the guts to say "NUTS!"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The fo' 'ho'-men of NBC's apocalypse

The sharp analytical minds of Conan O'Brien's writing staff at The Tonight Show may have come up with the best explanation yet of the fine mess NBC has gotten itself into.

Think of the network's suits as favoring something a little "louder" than Brooks Brothers or Armani. Add a little extra bling to go with the Rolexes. Throw in some oversized chapeaus.

And don't forget the fur coats and Cadillacs in this action-packed milieu where "management" sweet talks the fresh talent, the veteran talent is expected to produce, many Benjamins change hands, and everybody will get screwed sooner or later.

WELL, everybody will get screwed until Pam Grier shows up -- in a clever "Conan O'Brien" disguise, no less -- to whoop some serious pimp-daddy ass and try to rescue the desperate old ho who's seen better days and will do anything to avoid being dumped at the Bide-a-Wee Courts with a cap in the . . . assets.

The New York Times picks up the plot line in this peacock-network remake of Foxy Brown:

Less than a week after NBC told him it intended to move his “Tonight Show” to a new time, 12:05 a.m., Mr. O’Brien said he would not agree to what he considered a demotion for the institution of “The Tonight Show” — and his own career — by going along with the network’s plan to push him back a half-hour to make room for his most recent predecessor, Jay Leno.

Mr. O’Brien’s statement Tuesday said that he so respected the institution of “The Tonight Show” that he could not participate in what “I honestly believe is its destruction.”

Pointedly, Mr. O’Brien did not resign or indicate he would not show up for work. But an executive at the network who declined to be identified because of continuing negotiations said that Mr. O’Brien would leave once a financial settlement was reached.

By Hollywood standards, Mr. O’Brien’s letter was an extraordinary gesture — releasing a statement to make public his anger at the company paying him tens of millions of dollars before he even reached a settlement.

The closest episode in history may be when Jack Paar walked off the set of “The Tonight Show” in a huff over corporate censorship.

Mr. Paar returned to the show within a month in 1960, but few are predicting a reconciliation between Mr. O’Brien and the network.

NBC executives continued Tuesday to work toward a financial settlement, though some indicated increasing impatience with Mr. O’Brien’s effort to blame the network for the three-car pile-up in late night.

The host, who saw his brief run as host of “Tonight” cut short when NBC decided to restore Mr. Leno to the 11:35 p.m. time period, has been increasingly upset about how he believes he was treated by NBC’s management.

A representative of the host said Tuesday that Mr. O’Brien finally reached the point on Monday where he “sat up all night drafting the statement.”


“You have to wonder if Jay is damaged goods after all this,” said one former longtime network programmer who did not want to be identified criticizing the network. “But if they give him ‘The Tonight Show’ back, maybe it ends up all right after a while. But it just seems so unfair to Conan.”

The release of Mr. O’Brien’s statement complicated an already messy legal and programming situation. NBC executives have quietly complained for at least a month that Mr. O’Brien himself was responsible for declining ratings on the show because he had not broadened his appeal from his days hosting NBC’s 12:35 a.m. show, “Late Night.”
FOXY . . . er, "Conan" don't take no stuff off no two-bit pimp daddies. She done got the evidence, the vice squad is about to bust down the door, and the jig is just about up for the Peacock Ring's late-night racket.

But alas, Foxy's bravery won't, we suspect, save Old Ho from TV decrepitude -- or from Jeff "Zucky Bear" Zucker, who runs the "enterprise." Last we saw, a salmon-colored Caddy was pulling up to the Bide-a-Wee Courts.