Posts Tagged ‘Jimmy Kimmel’

The Return of Conan

If you haven’t been paying attention to this blog for the last 11 months, then you may not have realized that I was looking forward to last night’s premiere of Conan on TBS. I haven’t even minded all the commercials and the endless promotion during the baseball playoffs.

The main reason for the excitement wasn’t just that a great comedian was returning to television, but that the return represented a chance to finally move on. Conan O’Brien has been active since he lost The Tonight Show to Jay Leno in January: He got a new job, he went on a live tour, he grew a beard, he appeared on 60 Minutes, and he even got on Twitter. What has been frustrating, though, is that the most common subject in his comedy during this interregnum has been Conan himself—namely his departure from NBC and his new job on TBS.

Back in January, when The Tonight Show essentially became about its own future, it was refreshing to see an unleashed Conan mercilessly go after his own bosses at NBC. Unlike Jay Leno, who played dumb during the whole process, Conan wasn’t afraid to be honest and hilariously vicious. Unlike Jimmy Kimmel, who had nothing to lose by being vicious, and David Letterman, who played the role of elder statesman throughout, Conan’s attacks were also endearingly honest and personal, since he was going through the ordeal himself and had something to lose by attacking his employer. Continue reading

The Conan Travesty, Part 3: Jay Leno’s Story

On Monday night’s The Jay Leno Show, Leno finally took the time to seriously address the confusion over at NBC. Predictably, the statement received a lot of attention, and has certainly helped boost the arguments of the new group of Leno-defenders. While certainly not the as good as the dignified masterpiece Conan O’Brien penned a week ago, Leno’s comments do go a long way toward rectifying his “nice guy” persona and showing that Jeff Zucker and his band of NBC idiots, and not Leno himself, are really to blame.

But it would be disingenuous to let Leno off the hook. The logic he employed in his statement, while reasonable, was not exactly airtight, and a closer look may show why the public has taken Conan’s side so decisively. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while making our own pact with the devil:

  • Critical of Norv Turner’s clock management at the end of the Jets-Chargers game, Joe Posnanski wonders why NFL head coaches consistently make such simple time management mistakes. Speaking of the Jets-Chargers game, here is more evidence of Rex Ryan’s awesomeness.

The Conan Travesty

In case you haven’t heard by now, NBC has decided to screw one of the best comedians of the last decade. Conan O’Brien, less than a year into his run as the host of The Tonight Show, is being bumped from 11:35 p.m. to 12 a.m., to make room for The Jay Leno Show. NBC’s experiment of moving Leno to primetime has not worked out for the network, not so much because of its lackluster ratings (which NBC always expected and planned to offset with lower costs) as its effect on 11 p.m. local news broadcasts. Advertisers, who NBC had evidently warned to expect lower ratings, were not unhappy, but local NBC affiliates generate a lot of revenue from ads during the local news. With Leno providing these broadcasts with an especially weak lead-in, affiliates complained, and some allegedly threatened to drop Leno.

From NBC’s perspective, this move does make sense: They can undo the Jay Leno mistake at 10, and hopefully revive their 11:30 slot. Conan has been losing to David Letterman in the ratings—a battle Leno always won—since June, even occasionally to Letterman repeats. Surely, NBC hopes that Leno can retake his lead in his old timeslot. Conan, meanwhile, will supposedly get bumped back to 12. Continue reading

The Roast of Joan Rivers

Comedy Central aired the Roast of Joan Rivers on Sunday, so NPI Roast connoiseurs  John S and newcomer F.P. Santangelo (not related to the former Montreal Expo) sat down to discuss it:

John S: The Joan Rivers Roast wasn’t the best roast Comedy Central has ever done, or the worst; at this point the franchise has become so entrenched that consistent viewers know who and what to expect. The target at this point is incidental to the mere act of roasting. I’m not really a Joan Rivers fan, and I certainly wasn’t tuning in to see Kathy Griffin, but I think these Roasts are an underrated comic venue. The knock against them is that they seem to be exercises in repetition: Each comedian takes his or her turn making the same jokes. For this particular roast, the jokes seemed to oscillate between “Joan Rivers is really old” and “Joan Rivers has had a lot of plastic surgery.” What’s great about a Roast, however, is that it allows each comic on the dais to showcase a personal flair and interpretation of the same basic jokes. Sure, some of these comedians turn in jokes that are stale and boring and probably written by some intern, but plenty of comics have turned the Roast into a personal showcase. Gilbert Gottfried and Jeff Ross have each created a distinct voice in Roasts, and both were in traditional form at the Joan Rivers Roast. By far the funniest man on the dais, however, continues to be Greg Giraldo, who always seems to find the perfect balance of edgy, clever, and original humor. Giraldo is the Michael Jordan of Comedy Central Roasts, and he turned in another stellar performance on Sunday. Do you think Giraldo lived up to his own high standards?

F.P. Santangelo: Sure, Greg Giraldo was great. Of course, you’d probably forgive a guy that talented if he didn’t bring his best material to a Roast of someone like Joan Rivers, but I thought he turned in a solid set. Hopefully he’ll catch a little more publicity after his upcoming  special (“Midlife Vices,” Sunday, August 16 at 10 pm on Comedy Central). I agree that he represents the gold standard for roasting, but what also distinguishes him is his versatility as a comedian. I’ve never seen Jeff Ross or Gilbert Gottfried excel in any other venue (Aladdin doesn’t count), but Giraldo is a great stand-up comic. I guess it’s just interesting that to be branded as a lethal roaster might have been the best thing to happen to Jeff Ross, and only a bittersweet success for Greg Giraldo. Of course, what’s frustrating is that many members of the dais aren’t even comedians, so the supposed opportunity to “showcase a personal flair” is often replaced by mediocre material delivered by terribly unskilled celebrities like Maureen McCormick, Donald Trump, and of course the completely inept Farrah Fawcett. If laughter really is the best medicine, that’s probably why she died. Continue reading