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Aaron Paul on Conan

Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul stops by the show. Cool interview . . .

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Bullz-Eye’s TCA 2011 Winter Press Tour Wrap-Up: Kneel Before Oprah!

The TCA Winter Press Tour is an event which never quite seems to live up to the TCA Summer Press Tour…but, then, that stands to reason, as the mid-season series rarely match the ones which hit the airwaves in the fall, right? Still, the experience never fails to be one which I enjoy, mostly because you never know what’s going to be around the corner, and Day 1 really set the stage for that: during the course of 12 hours, I interviewed Betty White, Henry Rollins, and Bruce Jenner, and, thanks to National Geographic, I wore a giant snake around my neck. Not a bad way to begin things…

It felt like there was more star power on hand than usual for a winter tour…but, then, having Oprah in your midst kind of skewers your perceptions on that sort of thing. I suppose it’s a testament to how many famous people I’ve met over the years, though, that one of the biggest reasons I look forward to the tour is not because of who I might interview but, rather, because I’ll get the chance to hang out with the friends I’ve made within the TCA. All told, it was another great time, but, as ever, when it was over, I was more than ready to get back home to my family and share my memories with them…and with you, too, of course.

Well, let’s get on with the reminiscing, shall we?

Oh, but one word of warning: if you followed my daily dispatches during the tour, then a couple of these stories will sound strikingly familiar, but please rest assured that the majority of the material has not been copied wholesale and is, in fact, 100% new. Swear to God.

Most entertaining panel by a broadcast network: “Made in Spain” (PBS)

Not being a foodie, I wouldn’t have known José Andrés prior to his kick-off of PBS’s first day at the TCA tour if he’d been standing next to me…and, even then, I wouldn’t have known that I was supposed to care who he was. After several minutes of clips from the first season of “Made in Spain,” however, I was already in love with the series, and when Andres himself took the stage, it was impossible not to be charmed by him. He’s a sweetheart of a guy for whom food truly is life, but he’s also a hoot.

Most entertaining panel by a cable network: “An Idiot Abroad” (Science Channel)

I was seriously bummed when I heard that no one from “An Idiot Abroad” was going to be in attendance for the show’s panel, but I figured, “Okay, at least they’ll be there via satellite.” In retrospect, there’s no way they could’ve been funnier if they’d actually been onsite. Naturally, just being in Karl Pilkington’s presence was enough to inspire Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant to dissolve into a fit of giggles, but they were utterly warranted this go-round.

Here, see for yourself:

Most annoying panel: “Platinum Hit” (Bravo)

Between Kara DioGuardi handling a question about “American Idol” about as poorly as she possibly could have – read more about that here – and Jewel dropping names like they were hot potatoes (“I was talking to Steven Spielberg…”), I’m hard pressed to think of any panel that left a worse taste in my mouth.

Panel which had the least need for an audience: “The Best of Laugh-In” (PBS)

It wasn’t entirely surprising that a panel consisting of Lily Tomlin, Jo Anne Worley, Ruth Buzzi, Gary Owens and George Schlatter would be able keep things moving along without any of the critics in attendance actually needing to ask a question, but they kept passing the conversational ball back and forth until someone in the crowd finally had to stand up and ask if it was okay to ask a question. Schlatter instantly shot back, “We’re trying to talk here!” Laughter ensued, as did plenty of questions about the history of “Laugh-In.” “Are you guys having fun?” Schlatter asked later. “Because we’re having a ball!” Must be what keeps them looking so young: you’d never in a million years believe that Worley – that’s her in the feathered boa, in case you hadn’t guessed – is 73 years old.

Funniest panel that you probably had to be there to appreciate: “Community” (NBC)

The only person not in attendance was Chevy Chase, who was described as being “very under the weather,’ but his co-stars more than made up for his absence. If I tried to tell you about it, though, you’d probably just stare blankly at me. Some of the funniness came from the giggling of the various panelists, some it involved one-liners which would require a lengthy amount of set-up for you to appreciate, some of it was totally visual, and…well, you get the idea. But it really was hilarious, I swear. The most easily-translatable moment is probably Donald Glover’s story about how they had to teach Betty White the lyrics to Toto’s “Africa” on the set. “I assumed she knew ‘Africa,’” he said. “I was, like, ‘Everybody knows that song!’ But, like, that song was out when she was already old. She was already 50-something.”

Greatest Moment of Complete Honesty During the Tour: When I approached Jack McBrayer (“30 Rock”) to ask him a question, he agreed, but then he looked down at my recorder and said, “Oh, my! You’re not going to record this, are you? I’d rather you didn’t.” At this point, he performed a perfect mock aside, holding a hand to his mouth and whispering, “I’m a little bit tipsy!” So I turned off my recorder. Kudos to you, Mr. McBrayer. Would that more actors had that blend of good humor and common sense.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Another trailer: Close encounters of the cowboy kind

Considering the title and the involvement of director Jon Favreau, whose pre-”Iron Man” background was mostly in comedy, I had assumed it was going to be a science-fiction comedy along the lines of “Men in Black.” I was apparently wrong. Anyhow, watch as Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and a bunch of mysterious whatsits face off in the first trailer for the long-awaited, and apparently quite tense, “Cowboys and Aliens.”

Speaking of tension and Harrison Ford, I’m a little bit afraid to watch what might become Mr. Ford’s rather legendary “Conan” appearance last night, in which most viewers agreed Ford was in some way altered — perhaps by booze, perhaps something prescribed as medicinal.

All I can say is that, if true, it wouldn’t be the first time. L.A. science fiction geeks of a certain age remember a radio interview given by a young Ford and Mark Hamill before the release of the very first “Star Wars” in which the twosome, who apparently were convinced they were the stars of a movie that might, at best, become an obscure cult item, were fairly obviously under the giggly influence of some pretty good cannabis. The late host of Pacifica station KPFK’s  “Hour 25″ radio show, Mike Hodel, often said it was a low-point of the program.

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Paul Rudd, Mac, and McDonalds dance contest

My guess is that few, if any of us, remember the movie “Mac and Me.” A movie staring an alien that is separated from his family, searches for them, evades the government and dances in a McDonald’s, all with the aid of a child in a wheelchair (think “ET” but without being able to ride a bike). A post on Filmdrunk shows a clip from “Conan” where Paul Rudd plays a scene from “Mac and Me” instead of one from his movie “Role Models.” It has apparently been a rolling joke on the show, with Paul Rudd going straight to this scene from “Mac and Me,” forgoing the promotion of the film in which he’s starring.

As a way to further jog your memory, here is a behind the scenes clip with the painted one himself, Ronald McDonald, who introduces the movie:

With all the shameless self-promotion done in the name of the golden arches, I’ve come up with a formula for “Mac and Me.” It goes something like this: Ronald McDonald + “Mac and Me” + McDonald’s dance party in “Mac and Me” = the greatest product placement movie in history.

Gives new meaning to the phrase Mac attack.

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