Monday, April 27, 2015

Random TV Thoughts

At the White House Correspondents Association Dinner over the weekend, Obama killed (again) with his standup routine -- particularly with the help of Keegan-Michael  Key as Luther, the president's anger translator, a reliably funny bit from "Key and Peele." What made the routine work was Obama's timing and his rising anger as he discussed climate change deniers, eventually getting too mad even for Luther. Very clever concept by his writers, perfectly executed.

Cecily Strong of "Saturday Night Live" had the unenviable closing spot after Obama. Unfortunately, she couldn't deliver with her litany of Seth Meyers-like material a la "Weekend Update." Every joke followed the same vocal pattern -- the setup in her regular voice, then the punchline in a slightly higher voice, as if to say, "this is the funny part, people!" But just like when she did "Update," the humor was seriously lacking. Proof again that being a good sketch comedian does not make you a good stand-up comic. I wish the WHCA had the ball to book Will Durst, who has long been one of the best political comedians in the USA. He would set a new standard by which all other performers at that dinner are measured.

My wife and I have watched every episode of "The Amazing Race" and are still baffled every time a couple on the show can't drive a stick shift in a foreign country. You'd think that before going on the show, teams would have watched all the previous seasons and seen that this is an obstacle the producers always put on the show -- giving everyone manual transmission vehicles to get from one destination to another. Knowing that, and having sufficient warning before the race begins, at least one person on each team should have practiced driving a stick before heading for the starting line. Even though I drove a manual in the 70s and 80s, I know I'd still need a refresher course before I went on a race for a million dollars.

The same is true of contestants on "Survivor" who don't know how to swim. For years, each season of the show has placed the tribes on beaches and included multiple water-related challenges. If you can't swim, you're automatically handicapping yourself, so why not learn before going?

Speaking of "Survivor," the biggest problem with this season is that there isn't one likable contestant. In fact, some of them are do downright rude and obnoxious to each other that it seems they've forgotten the importance of the social game in an attempt to win. After all, the people you've voted off are the ones who will decide who gets the million, so berating them about having no friends or picking at their emotional scabs (as Will did last week with Shirin) or essentially challenging another player to a fight (Rodney vs. Mike) seems more than a little counter-productive. Ever since Russel Hantz, Jeff Probst and his producing colleagues have picked increasing numbers of loudmouth bullies and irritating people for the show in the belief they make for better television -- if you're a quiet thinker on "Survivor," you don't get much airtime -- but there's got to be a limit on how much psychological abuse one player can heap on another.

Domestic Violence and Sports

Floyd Mayweather has been convicted of domestic violence five times. Top NFL prospect Jameis Winston has been accused of sexual assault and shoplifting. Yet this week, both will be promoted and reported on by news and sports outlets as if they'd never done anything wrong -- because only the money matters in sports. Here's a great commentary on the subject from Keith Olbermann, who will boycott both the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight and the NFL's draft day hype, and thinks you should, too...

Sunday, April 26, 2015

My Showbiz Show

Every Friday, I devote an extended segment of my KTRS show to talking about movies and show business with Colin Jeffrey, who steps out of his role as News Director to become his alter ego, Showbiz Boy. The response on the air has been good, so I'm posting the audio here. Please let me know if you like it and want more in coming weeks.

In this conversation, we reviewed "Ex Machina" and "The Age of Adaline," Colin talked about problems on the set of Adam Sandler's first Netflix movie and when you'll see the next chapter in the "Furious" franchise, and I recommended one streaming movie and bashed another. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Jon Macks On His 22 Years With Jay Leno

Over the course of 22 years, my friend Jon Macks wrote 500,000 jokes for Jay Leno to use on "The Tonight Show." He's also written for Billy Crystal, Chris Rock, Steve Martin and others who hosted the Academy Awards, as well as the Emmys, Tonys, Golden Globes, and pretty much any other awards show you can name. For several years, Jon was also a contributor to my radio show, doing a weekly segment in which he'd joke about the news, celebrities he'd run into, and more.

Now Jon has written a book about his experiences, "Monologue: What Makes America Laugh Before Bed," so he returned to my show for this extended interview. We talked about:
  • the process of writing, on average, 100 jokes a day;
  • whether jokes he wrote for Leno would have worked for Letterman, Fallon, and Kimmel;
  • what went wrong the night James Franco hosted the Oscars with Anne Hathaway;
  • what happened the night Arnold Schwarzenegger announcing he was running for governor of California on Leno's show;
  • what went wrong with Leno's primetime show when he was booted off "The Tonight Show";
  • Letterman's long sad goodbye and how Leno wishes he's ended his 22-year run.
Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Harris Challenge 04/24/15

This week's Harris Challenge -- the most fun you can have with your radio on -- includes categories "Let's Go Blues Movies," "Where Was That?" and "Have You Been Paying Attention?" Listen and play along, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Want more Harris Challenges? Click here.

Knuckleheads In The News® 4/24/15

On this edition of Knuckleheads In The News® I have stories about a prom-posal gone wrong, a dog in the driver's seat, and a long-distance call to the cops. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Want more Knuckleheads In The News®Click here.

Worth A Link

Friday, April 24, 2015

KTRS Friday

Today on my 3-6pm CT show at KTRS, I'll talk with my friend Jon Macks, who spent 22 years writing jokes for Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" monologue and has worked on the Oscars, Emmys, and just about any other award show you can think of. Jon's new book is "Monologue: What Makes America Laugh Before Bed."

You'll also have another chance to play The Harris Challenge -- the most fun you can have with your radio on -- plus a brand new batch of Knuckleheads In The News® and Colin Jeffrey's movie reviews ("The Age of Adaline" and "Ex Machina") and other showbiz news. You can listen over the air, via the station's free smartphone app or via

Thursday, April 23, 2015

From My Twitter Feed

Edward Snowden must be thinking, "Petraeus got probation for leaking military secrets and I'm stuck in goddamn Moscow????"

Worth A Link