This summer, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve overheard a line like, “Oh, I love Conan, but to be honest, I haven’t been watching [The Tonight Show].” Conan’s ratings, which continue to fall and have been widely scrutinized in the media, reflect this trend. Today, it was announced that The Late Show with David Letterman has bested The Tonight Show for four consecutive weeks, a record dating back to 1995. What I find curious about these aforementioned statements from fans, besides their frequency, is that so often they express guilt. Many 20somethings share a bond with Conan O’Brien incomparable to any late night host, and by not watching, it stings of geek treason. But these lounging confessions also pack a subtle tinge of Nikki Finke-like cutthroat satisfaction, and this is what I find most worrisome in terms of the long haul. Why is this?
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The NYT has a massive feature on Conan O’Brien taking over the reins of The Tonight Show. We haven’t had a chance to check it out just yet, but it includes the first look above at the set that will appear on millions of TVs (and broken grads’ monitors) for years to come. Conan makes his debut in the NBC slot on June 1st with guest Will Ferrell and musical act Pearl Jam.
First impression: it isn’t straying too far from the iconic, classic days of Johnny Carson or the lesser ones of Leno. Here’s a funny quote from Conan from the feature per the design: “I said, I don’t want a desk made of onyx and baboon skulls.” Let us know what you think below. In addition, am I the only one who thinks it would be a sly move on David Letterman’s part to hire Norm MacDonald as a wing-man to create extra fireworks against Big Red? Norm’s recent guest spot on The Late Show was nearly as badass as his uncensored stint on Howard Stern. Time will tell.
How Many Spider-Mans Can Fit Inside Jamba Juice?
The Pitch: In this 2007 clip, David Letterman asks the question: “How many people dressed as Spider-Man can fit inside Jamba Juice.”
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Rumors continue to circulate that Sarah Palin will appear on Saturday Night Live to combat Tina Fey‘s gosh darn perfect impression of her. No official confirmation as of yet. The Chicago Sun-Times parlays that in lieu of a rerun this Saturday, Palin may pop up on the first Weekend Update prime time special, airing this Thursday at 9:30 p.m. EST on NBC: “some sort of Palin tweak of Fey’s American Express commercials is [rumored to be] in the works.” We think it would be more appropriate if Palin teamed up with Mark Wahlberg to talk to a moose and then winked it to death in front of a live and horrified studio audience. Meanwhile, Vulture reports that SNL‘s Congress-skewering bailout sketch has been yanked from Hulu and NBC.com, possibly igniting a censorship controversy.
In semi-related TV news, the NY Post reports that John McCain may reschedule a much publicized and abruptly canceled appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman for mid-October.
Discuss: Do you think SNL should have Palin on? If so, what should happen?
Kid’s movie posters that command you to do something are next levs. Still, there’s not a chance in hell that Space Monkeys will reign supreme over 1987’s Project X as the top monkeys-in-flight-afternoon-delight movie of our times. Even with voice talent including Cheryl Hines, Jane Lynch, Kenan Thompson (did he start taking funnay pills?), Andy Samberg, and Stanley Tucci. Not happenin’.
This is not as funny as it could be, but a trivial animal cruelty controversy is brewing over Space Chimps on IMDB, if you want to squeeze one out or feign outrage.
Discuss: David Letterman’s question in Cabin Boy…
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“My face stayed like this permanently. Isn’t it funny?”
As you may have heard, the word is out that Jimmy Fallon, the SNL alum and general entertainment phantasm, will be taking over as host of Conan O’Brien‘s Late Night on NBC in 2009. This will put Fallon head to head with CBS’s “TV’s Craig Ferguson,” who has ascended in the ratings and in the funnay-ness as of late. Does a great Aquaman, too. And of course, Conan takes over for Jay Leno on The Tonight Show, putting him against one David Letterman.
Unless you’re sponsored by Ambien, I’m sure everyone has an opinion about how this plays out next year. Does Fallon piss you off or is he a quaint guilty pleasure? Will Conan’s “me no talk comfortably with women, hee hee” aging sense of humor play to the Activia-slurpin’ Leno crowd? Does Carson Daly continue to starve himself for no apparent reason? Oh, yeah, and Jimmy Kimmel. Let us know in the comments. Does the Internet rule these shows out completely for your insomniac lifestyle? And no, this isn’t patented Slashfilm fodder, but it’s not a major sign of the apocalypse either. Or is it?
My take: I hate Fallon. He’s friggin’ terrible. I’ve met him twice in person, and he’s just like he is on screen. Smug and distant. Craig Ferguson will pwn the time slot. Conan will bomb like Couric in his new gig. Leno finds a new home and him and Dave continue their non-feud feud. Saw The Late Show live in the Rotten Apple on Monday and it was a strange experience (and subpar show). Being told to clap and laugh over and over while you’re shivering (cliche, but true) and half-way listening to Billy Crystal’s pope jokes was like subtle science fiction. But Letterman’s still the man, as is Chris Elliot and his gut.
Discuss: How will Fallon do? How about Conan vs. Letterman? Why not give one of these time slots from the Land of Predictable Monologues to Paul Scheer and Human Giant? Shake it up…
The WGA has inked a deal with David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants to allow writers to return for Letterman and Ferguson. While making an individual deal like this comes off as a big FU to the AMPTP, having some writers working while others stand in the streets, may cause trouble among members in the writers union. And that is not something the WGA needs right now. They need to stand together and not apart. Below is the memo sent out to WGA members:
To Our Fellow Members,
We are writing to let you know that have reached a contract with David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants production company that puts his show and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson back on the air with Guild writers. This agreement is a positive step forward in our effort to reach an industry-wide contract. While we know that these deals put only a small number of writers back to work, three strategic imperatives have led us to conclude that this deal, and similar potential deals, are beneficial to our overall negotiating efforts.
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David Letterman’s production company Worldwide Pants has announced the start of a yet-to-be–titled feature documentary following five teenagers running for office. Production will begin this weekend and run through Election Day (November 6). Michael Moore’s former assistant Jason Pollock is directing the film which follows five men and women aged 18-20 who are trying to get elected. The film will feature:
- Â Ytit Chauhan, 18, Atlantic City, NJ, City Council: A first generation Indian-American, he wants to clean up one of the most corrupt cities in the country. After completing his first year at George Washington University, Chauhan is taking time off to run for office.
- Raul De Jesus, 20, Hartford, CT, Mayor: A first generation Puerto Rican-American who grew up in public housing in a poor family, at the age of 19 De Jesus was approved for a loan and bought his family their first house. Now 20, he is the youngest Latino to run for mayor in Hartford’s history.
- George Monger, 18, Memphis, TN, City Council: Before Monger’s campaign, the minimum age for candidates in Memphis was 23. Monger appealed to the local election commission and his name appeared on the October 4 ballot. Monger was the youngest person to run for elected office in the city’s history.
- Eric Smith, 18, Hobart, IN, Mayor: A member of the Indiana Army National Guard, Smith is running a non-partisan campaign that stresses respect for a diversity of opinions. He’s bringing a fresh perspective to the campaign and challenging his opponents on everything from how to pay for sewer repairs to how to revitalize downtown Hobart.
- Tiffany Tupper, 18, Hampton Township, PA, School Board: One of the few teen women running for office, Tupper hopes to make a difference in this community outside Pittsburgh by adding her unique voice to the political discourse. Negative chatter has never influenced Tupper’s aspirations and she won’t let it influence her decision to run.
I’m not quite sure if this new film is being played for comedy or seriousness, it definitely lacks that serious issue concept that most political documentaries play off of.
The political documentary I would most like to see be made right now is one following Steven Colbert’s run for President. I think that film, if done correctly, could gain a huge audience, be hilarious, and teach young folk about the political system without them knowing it. Which, if I’ve learned anything from Jerry Seinfeld’s wife’s cookbook, it is that sometimes we must be deceptive and covert in order to help our children.