Tag: Lewis Black (Page 1 of 2)

Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: Top 13 Quotes from Day 8

No proper panels today, but we did a heck of a lot of driving around. It was TCA Day, which meant that we went to this studio and that, visiting the sets of various shows and meeting their casts and creators. It started bright and early with trips to “Lopez Tonight” and “Conan,” then it was over to 20th Century Fox, where we were treated to panels featuring stars from “Glee,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Raising Hope,” and “Modern Family,” divided up into men and women, with Jimmy Kimmel moderating the panel for the guys. After that, we hit the sets of “Cougar Town,” “Parks & Recreation,” and “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.” Good times all around, especially for someone like me, who lives in Virginia and rarely gets to enjoy these kinds of experiences. After that, I headed over to the Vanguard for the taping of two episodes of Season 2 of “The Green Room with Paul Provenza,” which was phenomenal. How can you go wrong with an evening that includes appearances from Ron White, Kathleen Madigan, Lewis Black, Margaret Cho, Richard Lewis, Jeffrey Ross, and others? Can’t wait to see the final cut of the episode. (They run 30 minutes, but the taping’s more like an hour and a half.)

But I know, you’re wondering, “Why 13 quotes?” It’s a weird number, so it’s a valid question. Originally, it was going to be 15 quotes, but for reasons unknown to me, we have yet to receive a transcription from our trip to the “Parks & Recreation” set, which contained at least two more solid quotes. Oh, well.

1. “I’ve said it before and I sincerely mean it, in the modern landscape of television there is only a few ways to stay on TV, and one of them is to be, you know, lucky as shit and have a huge giant hit, and everybody in the world watches you, and the other is to cultivate a loyal and hopefully intelligent audience that follows you around, and that is in no great part due to people that champion the show if they like it. First and foremost, I wanted to say that for those of you that don’t like the show, fuck you guys. But those of you who have really taken the time to champion the show and write about it and say nice things, I’m grateful. It’s not just for ego reasons, in this day and age it really means something.” – Bill Lawrence, “Cougar Town” (ABC)

2. “On April Fools’, I was talking to Usher, and I said, ‘You have three kids.’ He said, ‘No, I don’t.’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He goes, ‘No, I don’t. Don’t you have research people that tell you?’ I mean, and he looks at the audience, and he says, ‘You would think that a host would do his research and know facts about a guest before he asks a question.’ And then he said, ‘April Fool’s.’ He got me, yeah.” – George Lopez, “Lopez Tonight” (TBS)

3. “I’ve never considered myself particularly interested in media. I mean, I’m someone who likes to come in and do my job, and then I like to go home and play with my kids. I wasn’t used to being a media story. It was never a goal of mine. So the strangest thing about immediately after the (end of ‘The Tonight Show’) was my wife decided the next morning, early on, we should just drive up to Santa Barbara and check into a hotel and decompress for three days because she thought this guy needs to decompress. He needs to. So we got up really early in the morning. We got in our car, and we pulled out of our house, and two cars followed right in behind us and followed us all the way to Santa Barbara and then just hung outside the hotel for three days. And, you know, I’m not Brad Pitt. I’m not George Clooney. You know, I’ve been blessed with their DNA, but I just thought, ‘Who are they following?’ So that was weird.

“And there were a lot of highs. I walked into a restaurant that day, and everybody in the restaurant applauded. And I thought, ‘Well, that’s nice. This is weird. And, also, this isn’t a living. I don’t see how to do this as a job, walk around and get applauded in restaurants.’ So there was an initial sort of high, but then I went back to my house, and we had a lot of stuff to figure out. And one of the first things I did was…you know, this show and these shows have been the organizing principle of my life for such a long time that I thought, ‘I’ve got to call my assistant and get to work.’ So I called my assistant, Sona, and I said, ‘We should get together and go over all of the things we need to do.’ And she said, ‘Okay. Where?’ And my wife wanted me out of the house, and so I said, ‘Okay,’ and we decided to meet at a Marie Callender’s pie restaurant.

“I’m not kidding. I hosted ‘The Tonight Show.’ I think the last show was a Friday. I hosted that ‘Tonight Show’ on a Friday, and on Monday, I’m in a Marie Callender’s pie restaurant, and my assistant has a laptop, and we are sitting there. And there’s two other customers in the place, you know, stabbing at a pie at 11:00 in the morning, and this was now my new headquarters. And I pass this Marie Callender’s a lot, and I think about that shocking…I mean, it was just the juxtaposition of these insane images of ‘Tonight Show,’ iconic, Marie Callender’s restaurant, meeting / office. This is where I work now. And that kind of summed up the madness, I think, a little bit of that time.” – Conan O’Brien, “Conan” (TBS)

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Back from Hell: A Tribute to Sam Kinison

Originally broadcast on Comedy Central in February of this year, this one-hour show features over a dozen comics paying heartfelt tribute to one of the true comedy greats, with footage of Kinison routines both well-known and previously unreleased serving as the anchors to the topics that the comics discuss. There isn’t much here about Kinison’s life that hasn’t been covered before, but it’s still fun to watch guys like Denis Leary, Chris Rock and Ron White talk about Kinison’s influence while opening up about the differences between his on-stage persona and the off-stage teddy bear. The discuss his love of rock music (and even include the promo video and a live performance of “Wild Thing”), and how he brought the rock and comedy communities together, and even include a snippet of a religious sermon Kinison gave when he was still a preacher. The one thing they glossed over – and to be honest, we’re not at all surprised that they did this – was how much the quality of Kinison’s material dropped when the ’80s were over, when he stopped writing jokes and started screaming “Fuck You!” at the top of his lungs. It’s all right to acknowledge an artist’s decline and still love them; John Lennon was a shell of his former songwriting self when he died, but people still love him, and rightly so. It would have been nice to see these comics, and this special, do the same.

Click to buy “A Tribute to Sam Kinison”
Click to read Bullz-Eye’s induction of Kinison into their Comedy Hall of Fame
Click to read Bullz-Eye’s 2009 interview with Sam Kinison’s brother Bill Kinison

Epix secures new Lewis Black special


Epix is a brand new premium channel owned by Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, and MGM Studios. Minimal information has been released regarding the fledgling network. Based on what’s known, things haven’t been looking good. DirecTV, Comcast, and Cablevision have confirmed that they would not carry the channel due to the saturated market. With HBO, Showtime, Starz, Encore, Cinemax, and others already on television, it’s clear why Epix would have a tough time getting picked up. You see, the cable providers are the ones who pay out the premium channels in these relationships. There really isn’t any dire need to add Epix to their bills. Luckily, on July 28th, Epix reached a deal with Verizon Communications Inc.’s FiOS network, who became the channel’s very first distributor.

CEO Mark Greenberg has inferred that Epix will be more similar to HBO than Starz, airing comedy specials, original series, and other special features. It’s first original pilot, “Tough Trade,” created by “Weeds” writer Chris Ouffut, is in the works. A mini-series adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged has also been suggested. Today, Epix took one step forward towards their vision, nabbing Lewis Black’s newest comedy special “Stark Raving Black.”

Standup will star in the special “Stark Raving Black,” which reps the burgeoning pay channel’s first original comedy event.

Spec, to be filmed at Detroit’s Fillmore Theater, will run in December. It will also unspool this fall in theaters in 20 U.S. markets, as well as 25 international territories. An introduction to Epix will be featured during the screenings.

Besides the special, which will run on Epix’s TV and broadband platforms, the deal also includes an online event featuring Black, who will participate in a chat via Epix’s website following the show.

Epix will launch on October 1st and give America yet another reason to stay inside.

Black on “Big Bang”

CBS has let slip…and by “let slip,” I mean that they’ve released a formal press release…that comedian Lewis Black will be appearing on the second episode of the new season of “The Big Bang Theory.”

Black will guest star as Professor Crawley, a brilliant professor of entomology – he even has a dung beetle named after him – who works at Caltech with the guys. Unfortunately, Crawley’s life is falling apart: his department’s being shut down because of budget cutbacks, his wife left him for someone who studies birds, and he’s moving in with his daughter in Oxnard…not Oxnard on the beach, but Oxnard by the onion fields. None of these things, however, prove nearly as aggravating as Sheldon, who keeps pestering him to settle a bet with Wolowitz about a cricket.

The third season of “The Big Bang Theory” premieres Monday, Sept. 21, at 9:30 PM, so Black’s episode should – at least in theory – air on the 28th.

In tribute, here’s a clip of Mr. Black talking religion with Bob Schieffer, followed by my favorite moment in “Big Bang” history:

TCA Tour, Jan. 2009: “George Carlin: The Mark Twain Prize”

There were an obscene number of celebrity deaths in 2008, but very few of them hit quite as hard as the loss of George Carlin. He’s one of those guys who I just kind of figured would be around forever, secretly suspecting that he couldn’t die until he had nothing left to grouse about. So much for that theory. It’s particularly bittersweet that, only four days before his death, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced that Carlin would be the 2008 honoree of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The good news, however, is that the decision was made to give him the prize posthumously, the first time such a thing had been done.

As you can imagine, it didn’t take much effort to accumulate a star-studded list of names to pay tribute to Carlin, and the PBS panel to promote “George Carlin: The Mark Twain Prize” included two of them: Richard Belzer and Lewis Black.

The first question posed was one that should’ve been expected by anyone familiar with Carlin’s work: how can PBS properly pay tribute to a man whose most famous routine involved the seven words you can’t say on television?

“I learned a long time ago that if you’re in a church, you don’t do certain things, and if you’re in someone’s home, you don’t do certain things,” said Belzer. “If the philosophy of the network is not to offend people who they think might be offended, I don’t think this hurts this show. George Carlin is so brilliant, his use of language is vast and compelling, that a few bleeps might even be enticing. I don’t think it diminishes how great George is, how important the show is, and the function that PBS serves over time. I mean, civility in manners are defined in different ways. If it were up to me, we’d have all the words you’d want, but I am not a network.”

Executive producer Peter Kaminsky followed up on Belzer’s comments, clarifying, “It goes beyond the
network. It’s the law. The Supreme Court will come down on you heavy. This case is…I mean, I think one of the legacies of George is he started something in the Supreme Court and 40 years later, or whatever, 30 years later, we’re still arguing about it. It’s very much front burner, and we hope to see that change in a new administration.”

Black, unsurprisingly, chimed in on the matter as well. “What will happen if the words were actually said?” he asked. “Children would panic? They don’t hear the words at home? I think what Richard
said is absolutely true, and I think it’s bullshit.”

For her part, Kelly Carlin McCall – George’s daughter – finds the whole matter hilarious. “My dad’s view on this was that if you actually bleep the words, they become dirtier, so it’s a beautiful irony for me,” she said. “I just find it very strange.”

She also acknowledged that her father was extremely happy when he got the news about the Twain prize, which is impressive, given that he didn’t tend to take awards very seriously. “He saw the game of it all,” she said. “It was a bunch of bullshit. But there was something about this prize that meant something to him. He did call me when he found out about it; he was very excited. I think in the last five years he really started to take in that he was the elder statesman of this genre, of these people. He took that seriously. I think he was really getting that, wow, these people really want to honor him in that way. I don’t know how he would have sat there and taken it all in. I would love to have known.”

The best series of comments from the panel…?

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