Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Links of Interest 1/20

A good essay trying to realize sympathy for Jay Leno. It does a nice job of explaining how I feel. But here’s my quick take that I know you’ve all been dying to hear.

I never saw Jay Leno’s standup act. All I have seen is his Tonight Show (and Jay Leno show) stuff. I imagine his stand up is different. That said, I don’t enjoy his humor. I think it’s safe, easy repetitive. Don’t get me wrong. He’s a professional joke teller and he has the cadence down to a science. And that’s a skill. I won’t say he’s not talented. I just don’t think he’s doing too many fresh things with humor.

I’ve been a Conan fan since show one. Sure, those first shows were extremely awkward and difficult to sit through, and it’s possible I said I was a fan just to be a contrarian to the majority of people who said they abhorred him. Still, I continued to watch, and enjoyed his outlook on humor. And slowly, he got comfortable, and turned his show into something worth watching.

So while I certainly would back the Conan horse in a race, the late night show debacle isn’t a race. It’s a clusterfuck. And neither Jay nor Conan had much to do with that.

It was NBC.

NBC has fucked this whole thing up from the beginning. And that’s a shame. I agree Conan didn’t get a lot of time to get comfortable in his timeslot and so it’s not fair to hold him accountable for the ratings. But I also have to give that excuse to Jay, for he didn’t get much time at all in his new timeslot. Do I think his show would ever work at 10:00? No. Especially when it’s a rehash of all his Tonight Show bits sans desk. For the love of God Jay, try something different. Especially now – what exactly do you have to lose? Look at the Towering Inferno Conan has turned his show into! It’s a mess and brilliant!

Getting back to the point though…Leno has positioned himself as a company man, while Conan is positioning himself as the noble man. You can like one more or less based on this, but neither position is bad. Yes, company man has a negative connotation, but think about it. With few exceptions, we’re all company men. We work to better the larger organization that employs us. And that’s not a bad thing. Sure, we want to root for a hero like Conan, but Jay did nothing wring here by NOT supporting Conan. He’s supporting himself, and his staff. Something we’d all find noble if we were on his staff.

My point is this. If you want to get angry and pissed off, get mad at NBC. Direct your vitriol at Zucker and Ebersol (seriously, Ebersol – perhaps you might want to simply keep quiet on the matter). NBC is in a constant state of fuckups right now, and I think the next one is putting Leno back at 11:35 and thinking it will all be business as usual. Honestly, I think the horse is out of the barn on that one, and barring another Hugh Grant situation, #1 won’t come easy.

And please, don’t make me defend Jay Leno again.

(I will take this one shot at Jay Leno. That whole Jimmy Kimmel thing – where everyone said Kimmel came on and crushed Leno by bringing all the Conan stuff up? 2 things struck me that I haven’t seen brought up.

  1. By bringing Kimmel on to kill Leno, (and don’t think Leno didn’t have an idea of what Kimmel was going to do) painted Leno as a sympathetic figure. And Kimmel also pretty much said all the things Jay probably wanted to say to NBC. So it was a strategic move.
  2. Why isn’t anyone pointing out that Jay Leno brought on and promoted the competition of Conan? You want to get mad at Jay? That’s a sneaky, bullshit move to get mad at.

Interview with Harrison Ford.

Remember when a talk show was just a talk show? Yay Mike Douglas.

Rock stars are insane.

No it’s not photography of Mars. It’s Earth!

Ben talks about the end of Lost.

And why not see what the producers of Lost have to say?

Comic strips that need to die.

Cool movies for 2010.

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