Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: Top 10 Quotes from Day 1

The death march with cocktails begins anew!

The Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour kicked off on January 5th with the MTV family of networks offering up panels from TV Land (“Retired at 35” and “Hot in Cleveland”), CMT (“Working Class”), Spike (“Coal”), and Comedy Central (“Onion SportsDome” and “Tosh.0”). From there, it was on to a working lunch, where we learned of the TV Guide Channel’s new reality series, “The Nail Files,” while indulging in a grilled chicken salad and, to ruin any possible health benefits, followed it with a cupcake. With our bellies full, we moved on to the National Geographic sessions: “Beast Hunter,” “Explorer,” “Alien Invasion” and “Area 51 Declassified,” and “WILD on Snakes.” Next, we got a look at two new TV One shows, “Love That Girl!” and “Way Black When,” took a gander of Peter Lik’s new series for The Weather Channel, and the whole thing wrapped up with ESPN’s presentations for “Year of the Quarterback” and the BCS title game.

No, wait, I forgot: after all of the panels had concluded, the Comcast networks threw us a cocktail party which was attended by folks from E!, G4, and Style series. By then, though, I was running on fumes, so all I really did was enjoy the food (petite filets, buttermilk mashed potatoes, turkey sliders, and deep-fried mac & cheese balls…mmmmmmm), throw back a few bourbons, listen to Chris Gore rant about how awful “Tron: Legacy” was, and talk to Bruce Jenner for 15 minutes about his acting work, including “Can’t Stop the Music.” Indeed, the only time “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” came up was when one of his daughters called to tell him that they’d won Favorite TV Guilty Pleasure at the People’s Choice Awards. (He applauded me for “going retro” with my questions.)

Also, somewhere in between all of those panels, I had a chance to ask Betty White a couple of questions, share an interview with Jane Leeves, and do one-on-ones with Wendie Malick, Henry Rollins, Phil Morris, and the anchors and executive producer of “Onion SportsDome.” Arguably my most impressive accomplishment, however, was talking to Jerry Rice, asking a question provided to me by David Medsker (and tightened up slightly by Anthony Stalter), and having him seemingly believe that I know something about sports when I absolutely do not.

I’ll be revisiting some of the individual panels on a case-by-case basis as time allows, but in the meantime, here are the top 10 quotes from Day 1 of the tour. Hope you enjoy them, and see you after Day 2!

1. “What is this Betty White business? This is silly. Really, it is very silly. You’ve had such an overdose of me lately. Trust me. I think I’m going to go away for a while. It’s hard for me to say no to a job because you spend your career thinking if you say no, they’ll never ask you again, and if you don’t take the job, you know, that may be the end of it, but my mother taught me to say no when I was a girl, but that wasn’t about show business. So the result is I’m trying to cut down. I really am.” – Betty White, “Hot in Cleveland” (TV Land)

2. “Betty White is in the building. Did you hear that? I hope I get to touch her. I just had cataracts, and I’m still adjusting, but what I see is looking pretty good.” – Ed Asner, “Working Class” (CMT)

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A Chat with Rob Riggle

Given how long Rob Riggle has been doing stand-up, it’s actually kind of funny to think that there are lot of folks who don’t even know that he does stand-up. Then again, given that he’s been on “Saturday Night Live” and “The Daily Show,” as well as in “Talledega Nights” and “The Hangover,” it’s not like you can’t understand why some people only know him for his TV and movie work. On March 5th, however, Riggle will be taking the stage once more for an episode of “Comedy Central Presents,” where he’ll be giving viewers 22 solid minutes of stand-up. I had a chance to chat with him about the special, as well as his work on “SNL,” his two and a half year stint as John Oliver’s officemate, and some of his upcoming film projects.

Bullz-Eye: Hey, Rob!

Rob Riggle: Hey, Will! How are you doing?

BE: Pretty good. Well, welcome back to the stand-up scene on Comedy Central!

RR: I know! I’m excited! Very excited…and I haven’t even seen it yet!

BE: It’s very good. I caught it on the online screening room.

RR: Oh, well, thank you. I’m glad to hear that. I’ve literally only seen a couple of clips, so that’s good. You never know how those things go, because I think I did, like, 34 minutes, and they cut it down to 22, so you’re, like, “Uh, okay, I hope it’s good.” I’ll be very interested to see what they cut!

BE: I can only presume that the 10 minutes they cut were the slowest minutes. (Laughs) So how often do you even get to do stand-up? Because you’ve certainly got plenty of acting keeping you busy.

RR: Yeah, well, actually, I’ve been very lucky with the acting, but I try to get out as often as I can…which, in my humble opinion, is not often enough. But I book gigs whenever I can, and to answer your question directly…I dunno, I’d say probably two times a month. At least right now. There was a time where I was a lot more consistent. It just depends on the work schedule, y’know? If there’s a gap, I’ll get out there and pound it out three or four times a week, but it just depends on my work schedule, that’s all.

BE: So are you forever honing material, just in case you might have a free night for a gig?

RR: Yeah, that’s the constant work, I guess. I’m constantly waking up in the middle of the night and jotting down notes, and I have a stack of notes and thoughts and premises that I am dying to explore… (Laughs) …and I hope to have the time work them out, but I just haven’t been able to get to them yet. But one of these days I will, and hopefully I’ll be able to develop a new set. That’s what everybody’s got to do.

BE: So what was the case with this Comedy Central special? Was it planned out well in advance, or did you just get a last-second phone call saying, “Hey, Rob, come on back to the family”?

RR: No, y’know, I was just very fortunate that they came and saw me do stand-up at…I think it was right there in New York, at Comics Comedy Club. I was doing a weekend there and they came down, saw me, liked what they saw, and asked if I wanted to do it. And I was flattered. I was, like, “Yeah! Count me in!” So that’s how it all came about. And, y’know, I love Comedy Central. The people over there are awesome, and I have a good relationship with them, so…it’s all good.

BE: Well, in particular, the routine during the special that hit home for me was the bit about men’s rooms in stadiums.

RR: (Laughs) Oh, how true is it, my friend?

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Comedy Central greenlights pilot based on Onion Sports Network

The Onion Sports Network has only produced 14 videos so far, but it’s consistent hilarity has already caught the eye of executives at Comedy Central. The network just ordered a pilot for a half-hour series in the same vein as the popular videos.

From the press release:

The as-yet untitled series will take on the whole universe of modern sports – teams, players, leagues, sycophantic fans, ridiculous products and over-hyped sports coverage – with an eye towards appealing to sports fanatics and more casual fans, as well as long-time followers of The Onion and The Onion News Network.

The Onion is the biggest, most fearless, most influential news organization in the free world,” said Steve Hannah, CEO of Onion, Inc. “And we see a collaboration with COMEDY CENTRAL as the next logical step in the expansion of the Onion Sports Network’s hard-hitting coverage.”

Executive produced by Onion News Network producer, Julie Smith and director Will Graham, the half-hour scripted comedy takes its cue from The Onion Sports Network video content which authentically replicates the flashy look, breathless pace and general insanity of modern sports coverage.

At last, The Onion and Comedy Central have partnered for an excellent project. I’m even more pleased it revolves around sports.

  

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Greg Giraldo: Midlife Vices

After dutifully earning his bones as one of the more reliable roasters at Comedy Central’s annual events (to Larry the Cable Guy: “Why are you so popular?”), Greg Giraldo finally gets his first one-hour special, and he makes it count. His take-no-prisoners approach is intact here, and in fact he saves a lot of his best bits for third rails like children (they’re fat, sickly and autistic). He does come a tad too close to a bit that popped up in Bill Burr’s act a year or so ago (the ‘I’m not a racist, but…’ routine), but he makes up for it by hammering a “sleepy Rasta” who nodded off in the third row, and by saluting a “gaggle of squawking twats” who refused to let 9/11 ruin their friend’s bachelorette party. The bonus features include the unaired pilot episode of “Adult Content,” a Comedy Central show about, well, porn. It’s a pretty decent show, though it makes sense that they would have had trouble following it up. With any luck, “Midlife Vices” will allow Giraldo to carve out a name for himself as something other than “that roast guy,” because the material here is most worthy.

Click to buy “Greg Giraldo: Midlife Vices”

  

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“Secret Girlfriend” has interesting premise, solid execution

secret-girlfriend

“Secret Girlfriend” is the latest series from Comedy Central, and it stars…you. Sort of.

I had no idea what to expect going in, other than what the network showed during its promos for the series. Basically, those were just quick-fire shots of hot women (Alexis Krause, Sara Fletcher) intercut with a couple of schlubby guys (Michael Blaiklock, Derek Miller).

The premise is this: you are part of the show. Your friends (Blaiklock and Miller), ex-girlfriend (Krause) and new girlfriend (Fletcher) all interact with you by talking directly to the camera, texting you via phone, or video chatting with you on your computer. Hijinks ensue.

The show is based on an internet series and was re-cast for television. After watching the premiere, I can safely say that I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s fast-paced, crass, and quite funny at times. Most guys will appreciate the constant barrage of sex that’s thrown at the viewer. In the first half hour, the main character sees his half-naked ex (twice), swims with a bunch of scantily clad women, holds an “audition” for some other scantily clad women, and goes to a strip club (twice).

If this sounds interesting to you, check it out at 10:30 PM/9:30 PM on Wednesdays.

  

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