Listen to me on KTRS/St. Louis every Friday, 3-6pm CT

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Safe In Vegas

Last night, my third at the Rio, the safe in my room stopped working. I had returned from a late-night poker session and was putting my valuables away, but after unlocking the safe and inserting my wallet and other items, it wouldn't lock. In fact, the numbers on the keypad did nothing and the display remained blank. It was too late to call for someone to come fix it, so I went to sleep, hoping that whatever was wrong with it would magically be repaired when I woke up.

It wasn't, so I called the hotel operator to report the problem and she said, "I'll transfer you to Safe Assistance. But first, is there anything else I can help you with?" What kind of question is that? I'm not sitting here in my room making a list of things. This is the thing I need dealt with right now, not some tangential issue like, "Oh, and I don't like the color of the carpet."

That's what I was saying inside my head. Meanwhile, my mouth replied, "No, just someone to fix the safe, please." She then transferred me to hold-hell. We've all been there, where you can't speak to a human being, but are reminded every 30 seconds how important your call is. Oh, and by the way, it's being monitored for customer service purposes.

No, it's not. There's no one monitoring every call. They might be recording it so they can use the audio later as justification for firing someone, but it's like the surveillance cameras in the casino -- it would be impossible for a human to watch everything that's going on at every minute. Besides, if they were monitoring this call, they would have noticed that I stayed on hold for five minutes without anyone picking up.

The same thing happened to me yesterday afternoon. I tried to make a reservation for dinner at Martorano's, the very good Italian place here. But when I called the Rio's restaurant reservations number, I could not get through to a living, breathing person -- despite my call being very important to them. While I was waiting, I used the Open Table app on my iPhone and reserved a table for four at Martorano's in about 40 seconds.

Back to the safe story. Frustrated by my inability to reach a Safe Assistance Technician, I hung up and called the front desk. After another minute of recorded prompts about how much the Rio appreciated my call and how important I was -- gee, this must be how high-rolling VIPs are treated! -- a woman finally picked up. I explained my dilemma. She asked if the safe was open or still locked with my stuff inside. I told her I'd taken everything out and it was unlocked. She informed me that someone would come by some time later today to fix it, and I wouldn't have to be in the room.

We'll see. In the meantime, I have hidden my few valuables as if they were the Passover afikomen, and hope none of the children find it before the Safe Assistance Technician can effect repairs, which probably involves nothing more than putting in a new battery. I'm sure it won't be long, because my business is so important to the Rio.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Colossus Update

Well, that's that. I just busted out of the third flight of the Colossus tournament at the World Series Of Poker. I didn't play badly (I am brutally honest with myself about this) and I didn't suffer any bad beats. I just couldn't get anything going. Frustrating as hell.


The only positive is that I was knocked out relatively early in each flight (4 hours, 2 hours, 3 hours respectively), instead of staying alive for a long time but not getting into the money. In this tournament, the first person out ties with the 19,000th person out -- neither gets a return on their investment -- but the former didn't waste as many hours for that zero payoff.

So, now I'm off to my favorite Chinese dim sum restaurant in Vegas, Ping Pang Pong, and then I'll find a cash game and try to win back the money I tossed away in the Colossus.

Worth A Link

Friday, May 29, 2015

Colossus Day


I won't be on the air this afternoon because I'm at the Rio in Las Vegas for the World Series Of Poker.

When most people hear that, they assume I'm playing in the WSOP Main Event, because that's what they see on ESPN each fall. But the WSOP is actually made up of hundreds of tournaments -- 67 of which culminate with a winner getting a gold bracelet -- starting this week and continuing through the Main Event, which begins July 5th.

Some of the tournaments last one day, others take several days to complete. Some of them are no-limit hold'em events, others are stud, Omaha, draw, or other forms of poker, all with varying buy-in amounts. There are a lot of satellite tournaments, where you can win entry to bigger events, as well as single-table tournaments, where ten players compete against each other for all the chips and prize money. And while all of this is going on at the Rio, there will also be lots of poker games at Bellagio, Aria, Venetian, the Wynn, and many other Vegas venues.

Although I've made a few final tables, I'm not much of a tournament player. I enjoy cash games much more, with their freedom to start and stop anytime, to pick up my chips and walk away, to switch games or tables, to mix it up at different stakes, and to take a bathroom or meal break whenever I like. However, I can't resist the huge event that's beginning today -- The Colossus -- which will have more entries than any other live poker tournament in history. It's going to be so big that there won't be any tables left for cash games (or much else).

The Colossus will run in four flights (10am and 6pm today and tomorrow) and players can enter any or all of them -- if you bust out of one, you can enter one of the others, which I expect a lot of people to do. That means there will be much looser play today, with people putting all of their chips at risk on big draws, knowing that if they are eliminated, they can buy in again tonight or tomorrow (or both). By the time the cards are shuffled and dealt for the first hand, I expect that Flight A will have sold out all 4,600 seats, with the others likely to do the same eventually. My original guess for entries was about 15,000, but it could approach 20,000 by the time Flight D rolls around, with late waves included.

I pre-registered for The Colossus and will give it my best shot, beginning this morning, but I had a small glitch yesterday. After arriving at the Rio, I discovered that the Will Call line was much longer than I expected -- several hundred people were ahead of me. It took over 2 hours to get to the counter, and then the staff couldn't find my paperwork. It took another 40 minutes before a supervisor went to the cashier cage to manually reprint my entry tickets. With those in hand, I went to dinner with my friend (and WSOP Media Director) Nolan Dalla. Then it was off to bed to try to get a good night's sleep before we start this thing at 10am.

If you're interested in my progress, I'm going to post updates on my Twitter account (@PaulHarrisShow), which will feed both this site (upper right) and my Facebook page.

And, for you sci-fi movies fans, while at The Colossus, I'll be sure to keep an eye out for Dr. Forbin.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

More Things They Won't Say About Me

  • He often stood atop tall buildings in a cape and looked down upon the city he guarded.
  • He considered Kid Rock his role model.
  • He can't wait to see the upcoming reboots of "Full House" and "Coach."
  • He was the first person described as "on fleek."
  • He loved nothing more than watching people sing Journey songs in karaoke bars.
  • He once owned the world's largest collection of IBM Selectric font balls.
  • He would have made a great lumberjack.
  • He secretly yearned to own a John Deere dealership.
  • He once took the Hippocratic Oath despite having no medical training whatsoever.
  • He loved the smell of fresh asphalt in the morning.
From the earlier lists:
  • He always referred to animals as "varmints."
  • He had an extensive collection of tuxedoes and wore them often.
  • He enjoyed "Parks" but was so-so on "Recreation."
  • His favorite sound was the noisy modem handshake of the dial-up AOL days.
  • His favorite vacation destination was the Mall Of America.
  • He loved to boogie oogie oogie till he just couldn't oogie any more.
  • He spent up to 10 hours every day doing Hot Yoga.
  • He longed to have John Travolta paw his face during an awards show.
  • His favorite snack was a bowl of lentils.
  • He was once horribly addicted to Sorbitol artificial sweetener.
  • He loved cold weather and couldn't wait for winter.
  • He enjoyed his years as a featured dancer in "Riverdance."
  • He loved websites with video/audio that started as soon as a page loaded.
  • He was known in the industry as "The Eighth Wayans Brother."
  • He loved making jars of preserves and home-brewing beer for friends.
  • His handwriting got better as he got older.
  • He had just two sports passions: cricket and curling.
  • He longed for more of the brilliant comedy of Mr. Pauly Shore.
  • He was the world's foremost expert on monster trucks.
  • He referred to friends as "peeps."
  • He often spoke of the pompatus of love.
  • He wished more foods included cilantro in their ingredients.
  • He regularly turned heads with his impeccable fashion choices.
  • He regretted not listening to more bagpipe music.
  • He was this close to being inducted into the roller derby hall of fame.
  • He enjoyed spending his free time on plumbing and auto repairs.
  • He was jealous of Boxcar Willie being named America's Favorite Hobo.
  • He would have been a masterful interior designer.
  • He lived to surf.
  • He enjoyed being surrounded by large crowds of drunken people.
  • He loved every second of every "Sharknado" movie.
  • He was one of the world's greatest soccer enthusiasts.
  • He was an early adopter of many Microsoft hardware products, particularly The Zune.
  • He never missed a moment of the Monday 8am physics lab in his freshman year of college.
  • He couldn't get enough of debates about how to achieve peace in the Middle East.
  • He enjoyed working on actuarial tables in his free time.
  • He once got stuck on a roller coaster that stopped in the middle of a ride.
  • He yearned to spend more time in the deep south.
  • He once considered a career as a clergyman.

This Should Make My Daughter's Head Explode

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

MYMNK: "Let It Ride"


The newest addition to my Movies You Might Not Know list is "Let It Ride," a 1989 comedy starring Richard Dreyfuss as a gambler who gets inside information on a horse and decides to act on it. The tip comes via David Johannsen, a fellow gambler and cabbie, who records two men in the backseat talking about how they've had their jockey hold a horse back in its last few races to make it seem like a loser. Having run up the odds, they plan to put a big bet down the next day and have him run all-out.

Dreyfuss and Johannsen head to the track, but only the former bets on the horse, which does beat the others to the finish line. After he collects his modest winnings, Dreyfuss goes to the paddock to thank the owners, surreptitiously. They're wary until he hands over the cassette that is the only record of their taxi conversation. Then they accept his appreciation by showing him some of their own -- they recommend another horse he might want to bet on and give him tickets to sit in the jockey club, instead of the grandstand with his fellow losers.

That's where he encounters a different class of race track customer, with bigger bankrolls and drinks served by tuxedoed waiters -- a more upscale group of losers. One of them is Allen Garfield (a character actor you've seen in over a hundred movies) and his girlfriend, Jennifer Tilly, in the most form-fitting red dress you've ever seen and won't be able to take your eyes off.

"Let It Ride" was directed by Joe Pytka, his first and only big-screen live-action effort after several years as one of the top TV commercial directors in the world (his only other movie was "Space Jam" with Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny). To support Dreyfuss, in full blustery mode from start to finish, he brought in Teri Garr as Dreyfuss' long-suffering wife, plus Michelle Phillips, Cynthia Nixon, and Robbie Coltrane -- who steals every scene he's in as the track's ticket clerk who at first despises Dreyfuss than befriends him as the day goes along.

"Let It Ride" is very knowledgeable about the low-lifes who populate horse tracks, every one of whom is sure they're an expert on which animal will win the next race. It's also pretty damned funny.

See my full Movies You Might Now Know list here.

If Only We Were More Like Scotland

The USA is not only less religiously progressive than Ireland, which became the twentieth nation to make same-sex marriage legal -- and the first to do it by referendum, with 62% of the vote -- but also Scotland, which has banned the teaching of creationism in science classes. While the former might eventually happen here, the latter never will, unfortunately.

Weekend In Ogunquit

I'm just back from a long weekend in Ogunquit, a small beach town in southeastern Maine, where we celebrated my daughter's 21st birthday. I started writing a column about the place, then realized I'd already done it -- on August 20, 2001 -- and everything I said then still applies:

Now that I’m back from summer vacation, I have an important message for all American men: Put Your Shirt On!

On this vacation, I saw far too many guys walking around shirtless. That’s not a problem at the beach or the pool, but there’s no reason for anyone over the age of 12 to be walking around town topless. I don’t care how hot the day is, I don’t want to walk into the supermarket to pick up a gallon of milk and be confronted with the sight of some guy letting his chest hair and pot belly hang out.

This doesn’t mean that young in-shape guys are exempt, either. Trust me, no one wants to see you showing off how you spent your summer tattoo allowance to proclaim your torso-laden devotion to the reptile gods. If we let you do it, we have to let everyone do it, and before long we’re back to half-naked middle-aged guys with droopy man-breasts gassing up at the Sunoco. So slap a tee on that bod, you Red Hot Chili Pepper wannabe!

Speaking of shirts, I’m going to extend this ban to those t-shirts with the huge armpit holes. For some reason, these seem to have particular appeal to the hairier members of my gender. Here’s a rule of thumb: if you’re so hirsute that, when naked, you look like you’re still wearing a sweater, then pull on something with sleeves when you’re out and about. Spare us the display of your personal underarm rainforest.

We spent several days in a coastal Maine town, where there are only three things to do: eat, shop, or go to the beach. When I say “go to the beach,” I don’t mean swimming. The ocean water is far too cold for normal people -- about 55 degrees on the hottest day of August.

At that temperature, there are parts of the male anatomy that retract completely. Forget shrinkage, this is more like regression. The only humans who can endure extended exposure to water that cold are: children, who have no natural body thermostat and will remain in the Atlantic until they turn six shades of purple; and Canadians, who flock south for the summer to discover the miracle of water that isn’t being Zamboni-ed. We watched dozens of Quebecois (Quebecians? Quebecers?) frolic in the waves like drunken polar bears.

Fortunately, the frigid temperatures do have an upside: they help keep the sharks away. You’ll notice that all the shark bite stories of late have come from Florida (whose name is an Indian word meaning “giant mutant mosquitoes that will suck your blood through your socks”), mostly in the Daytona area. Gotta wonder how those shark stories are going to affect Spring Break next year. Will Murray Hamilton ever allow the beaches to be closed? Will MTV still go? This could be the ultimate reality series -- don’t be the first one eaten off the island!

There hasn’t been one report of a shark attack off the coast of Maine. The closest they’ve come was in late July when one guy got his index finger stuck in a lobster claw, but a liberal application of drawn butter solved that problem quickly. Once we retrieved the kids from the shark-less arctic water, we mostly sat on the beach, watching them dig holes in the sand. For parents, the greatest thing about this childhood activity is that it has no logical end. Thus, it keeps them busy for hours, for no matter how many friends they have buried in the sand or how many castles with moats they have designed, there’s always another hole to dig.

At one point, my daughter asked me the same question I once asked my father, “Dad, could I really dig all the way to China?” I started to give her a geographic and geological explanation of why that was impossible, but I stopped and gave her the same answer I got from my father, just as generations of other kids have gotten from theirs: “Sure, go ahead and try!” I couldn’t help but wonder if, on some beach in China, there’s some Dad telling his kid to try and dig a hole all the way to America.

While the kids were digging, the adults were doing what we do best on a trip -- discussing where we would eat our next meal. My family is particularly good at this. Since we don’t like to cook and clean up all that much at home, we look at vacation as an opportunity to do even more eating without performing any chores. Thus, the near-constant discussion of where to go for the next meal. We have even talked about where to have dinner while walking to the place we’re about to have lunch!

On the way to and from each meal, we would have to stroll past the various tourist-trap boutiques that keep the village economy going. If you’ve ever been to one of these towns, you know what I’m talking about. Every other store carries a full supply of the same two dozen hats and shirts with the town’s name printed on it. Or you can have a keychain made out of a shell. Or a lobster-shaped stuffed toy (not to be confused with stuffed lobster, which will cost you about thirty bucks in any local restaurant).

Then there are the stores with signs saying “Summer Sale.” These are businesses that stay afloat thanks solely to the influx of vacationers from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and they’re trying to con us into thinking they have discounted some of their merchandise just for us. As if they raise their prices back to normal once winter returns. What they really mean is, “It’s Summer, And We Have Lots Of Crap For Sale.”

The store owners could do us all a favor by offering a summertime special. Give a small discount to any man who comes in, buys a shirt, and puts it on!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Worth A Link

  • Bill Scheft, who wrote monologue jokes for David Letterman for a quarter-century, explains the behind-the-scenes of how the day of the final show went.
  • I don't care how much it might help my vision -- I'm not sticking this in my eye.
  • The story behind Bob Seger's rock classic "Night Moves."

Sunday, May 24, 2015

She Was Funny First

I'm bothered by headlines referring to Anne Meara as Ben Stiller's mother rather than half of a classic comedy team with husband Jerry Stiller.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Showbiz Show 5/22/15


On this week's edition of the showbiz segment I do each Friday on my KTRS show with Colin Jeffrey we review "Tomorrowland" (George Clooney and Britt Robertson) and "Good Kill" (Ethan Hawke and January Jones). We also discuss Maggie Gyllenhaal not getting a movie job because, at 37, she's been deemed not young enough to play the romantic interest for a 55-year-old guy. I also have some final thoughts on David Letterman's finale. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Harris Challenge 5/22/15

This week's Harris Challenge -- the most fun you can have with your radio on -- includes categories "Late Night Hosts Not Named Letterman," "Where In The World," and "George Clooney Movies." Listen and play along, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Want more Harris Challenges? Click here.

Knuckleheads In The News® 5/22/15


On this edition of Knuckleheads In The News® I have stories about a bride who shouldn't have trashed the dress, a glass of skin milk, and an unsophisticated purse-snatcher. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Want more Knuckleheads In The News®Click here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Deadline Hollywoody Allen


In an interview with Deadline Hollywood, Woody Allen reveals some of the scenes he cut out of early movies (e.g. "Bananas," "Love and Death," "Manhattan"), why he's never seen any of his films after they were released, and why he hates them all. Allen doesn't say that everything he's made has been terrible, but rather that it's difficult to go back and see the finished product, knowing he'll find fault with something in there and be unable to repair it. As a content provider, I completely understand that. Once I've done an interview or a show segment live on the air, and then perhaps posted the audio to this site, I never want to go back and listen to it again. If I do, I know I'll be yelling at myself internally, "Why didn't you ask this question? Why didn't you say that? Why didn't you tell the story about the time that other thing happened?"

In another portion of the interview, Allen says he doesn't have a computer and has never seen anything online, which seems odd considering he's signed a deal to do a TV series for Amazon:
I don’t even know what a streaming service is; that’s the interesting thing. When you said streaming service, it was the first time I’ve heard that term connected with the Amazon thing. I never knew what Amazon was. I’ve never seen any of those series, even on cable. I’ve never seen The Sopranos, or Mad Men. I’m out every night and when I come home, I watch the end of the baseball or basketball game, and there’s Charlie Rose and I go to sleep. Amazon kept coming to me and saying, please do this, whatever you want. I kept saying I have no ideas for it, that I never watch television. I don’t know the first thing about it. Well, this went on for a year and a half, and they kept making a better deal and a better deal. Finally they said look, we’ll do anything that you want, just give us six half hours. They can be black and white, they can take place in Paris, in New York and California, they can be about a family, they can be comedy, you can be in them, they can be tragic. We don’t have to know anything, just come in with six half hours. And they offered a lot of money and everybody around me was pressuring me, go ahead and do it, what do you have to lose? And I have regretted every second since I said OK.... I haven’t had a pleasurable moment since I undertook it.
I can understand Allen's anxiety about having to develop the idea, but I don't believe he doesn't know about content streaming online. Sure, he's 79, but my mother is 90 and watches videos on YouTube and movies on Netflix. Besides, Allen's wife Soon-Yi is 43, and they have two teenage children. While he may be a low-tech luddite, are we to believe the rest of the family doesn't watch anything on YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.?

It seems unlikely to me that at no time in their young lives have his kids said (as my daughter has so often), "Hey, Dad, I found this online and want to show it to you." And at the other end, with Allen's perspective on movie history, I'd think he'd want to expose his children to works he considers important by other filmmakers -- many of which can be easily accessed online.

One thing I've always admired about Allen, which is emphasized in the Deadline Hollywood interview, is his independence and insistence on making whatever kind of movie he wants. He doesn't answer to a studio, never gets notes on his scripts, doesn't even tell his investors the plot or stars of his movies. He just does what he likes, a movie a year, and the results have been positive enough that people continue to give him money. It would be impossible for every one of his projects to be a masterpiece, but he's made more than enough classics for one lifetime -- and on his own terms.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mad Men Finale

I didn't find last night's "Mad Men" finale very satisfying on the Don Draper front, but I loved the way the stories moved for Peggy, Joan, and Sally -- three very impressive characters and performances, all of whom (unlike Don) grew tremendously over the show's run. I don't have much else to say that hasn't already been said by James Poniewozik, Alan Sepinwall, and Ken Levine.

The Williams-Stephanopoulos Problem


I haven't had much to say about Brian Williams (who I doubt very much will be returning to the anchor chair of "NBC Nightly News") or George Stephanopoulos (who it seems will retain his stature at ABC News despite his donation of $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation), but I'll share a couple of thoughts.

In the latter's case, anyone who thinks Stephanopoulos didn't have at least a slightly pro-Clinton slant -- considering he helped get Bill elected and then served in his administration -- was fooling themselves. Even if it was never as over-the-top as others in the industry, that bias was always there, regardless of how much he may have tried to shade/hide it. I'll bet that Diane Sawyer still believes her one-time boss Richard Nixon wasn't such a bad guy.

But there's more to it than that, and Alessandra Stanley makes some very good points about why both of these Williams and Stephanopoulos would do something so professionally dumb:
There is a fundamental incongruity between being a celebrity and a trusted news anchor. Stars of that magnitude live in a bubble where ordinary rules don’t apply; big-name journalists who sometimes have to confront politicians on camera can’t afford to exist in that same space.

But they do. And one obvious reason is that anchors don’t report, they represent: As Mr. Stephanopoulos has proved on the unbearably peppy yet top-rated “Good Morning America,” every broadcast, overseas assignment and special report is a red-carpet opportunity with lights so blinding it’s hard to see the sidewalk, let alone the fine type of the office ethics code.
She's exactly right. Williams and Stephanopoulos would scream themselves hoarse claiming they're still journalists and/or reporters, but they are neither. A better job description for them would be News Host. They usually host from the comfort of their New York studio, but when a big story breaks, they can host from anywhere without even a mild upgrade in their skill set. They may have some editorial say in what goes into the broadcast, but their real role is to look pretty while hosting news stories that someone else has reported.

Does that mean a different ethical standard? I'm not sure there was ever such a thing as an objective news anchor, but the bigger question is whether -- considering how little attention is paid to network television news in the morning or the evening -- it even matters.

Picture Of The Day

Remarkable footage from NOAA -- taken at a depth of 20,000 feet off the coast of Puerto Rico -- shows sea creatures you've never seen before (some of which don't even have names yet):

Worth A Link

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The King Of The Blues


The first time I saw BB King I was 18 years old and had no idea who he was. I'd had no exposure to the blues and since this was decades before Google and iTunes and YouTube, and he'd never appeared on any TV show I watched, I had no way to see what kind of performer he was. But when a friend asked if I wanted to go to King's concert, I said sure.

The 3,000 seat gymnasium was packed with other college students and lots of adults. When the lights went down, ten men walked onto the stage in brown suits with ruffled shirts. They picked up their instruments and jumped right into a blues vamp. I was thrilled to see that the band included a three-piece horn section. I was enamored of that sound from listening to Chicago, Earth Wind and Fire, and Blood Sweat and Tears.

After a minute or so, one of the band members said, "Ladies and gentlemen, the King of the Blues, Mr. BB King!" The crowd leapt to its feet as King entered, wearing a tuxedo. He plugged in his guitar, strolled to the microphone, and played along with the vamp in that distinctive style that, from then on, would make it easy for me to pick out a BB King solo. Next, he told us all how happy he was to be there, and rolled right into "Caledonia." The horns punctuated the song, the rest of the band was tight, and my ears were wide open.

At one point, King told the story about why his guitar was named Lucille, and said that he'd once been asked why he didn't sing and play her at the same time. He explained that when he's on stage, he's having a conversation with Lucille. First he talks, then she talks, then he talks, then she talks. He paused for emphasis before adding, "And as with other women, I realized a long time ago that when she's talking, I have to shut up!"

In the intervening decades, King's stature and popularity had grown tremendously. He'd come a long way since the mid-1950s, when he once played 347 gigs, in different clubs, in a single year. If James Brown was the Hardest Working Man In Show Business, BB King must have been a close second. Those weren't just one-nighters on stage. King was so popular with his female fans that, by his own count, he had 15 children by 15 different women. Safe to say he wasn't going to get an endorsement deal with Trojan.

The next time I saw King in concert was 30 years later, at one of his annual blues festivals at the Fox Theater in St. Louis. By then, I'd learned a lot more about the blues and collected recordings by some of its masters, but the evening still exceeded my expectations. Susan Tedeschi, then an up-and-coming talent from Boston, blew us away with her opening set. She was followed by Buddy Guy, to me the second-best bluesman I've ever seen. In fact, Guy was so entertaining that night that he actually overshadowed King's headline set.

By then, King's diabetes had taken a toll, and his weight had gotten out of control, so he had to sit while performing. That didn't diminish his talents one bit. He still played and sang with gusto, and the band (no longer wearing frilly shirts and brown suits, but still nattily attired) never missed a beat during his 75-minute set.

After that, my only other exposure to King was on video, whether he was being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, becoming a Kennedy Center honoree, or receiving more than a dozen Grammy Awards. And whenever I'd hear him play, I'd flash back to that gymnasium and be thankful I'd been introduced to BB King's music all those years ago.

The Couple That Changed Late Night TV


Not only has David Letterman given a few interviews as his final "Late Show" approaches, but so has Merrill Markoe, who deserves at least as much credit as he gets for changing the late night TV paradigm in the 1980s. In an extended interview with Mike Sacks, she reminisces about how their personal and professional relationship began, the rules they had to follow (and break) when they began his NBC morning show and then "Late Night," and how she and her staff learned to write in Dave's voice.

There's also this:
Markoe: I never much liked The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Dave used to say that Johnny Carson seemed like the hip uncle whom he wanted to please. But to me, that show was a place where they never booked any smart women. I couldn’t help but view it through the prism of my U.C. Berkeley Art School experiences, which boiled down to a simple “fuck that plastic showbiz shit.”

Sacks: What smart women in particular were missing from The Tonight Show?

Markoe: Any smart women, of any stripe. Writers, reporters, producers, filmmakers, artists, scientists, eccentrics. No comediennes ever appeared on that show besides Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller. Certainly none of the comediennes my own age appeared on the show.

On The Tonight Show, women were either amazingly glamorous actresses or they were booked to create cleavage-related humor and flirt with Johnny. I guess there must have been exceptions I am not remembering—the opera singer Beverly Sills, for example, or Carol Burnett.

But, as a whole, there never seemed to be any cerebrally oriented female content. I thought of it as one more example of the old showbiz sensibility that I was so sick of. Johnny reminded me of Hef in Playboy After Dark. Dave could look at Johnny and see a guy with whom he could joke and communicate. I would only see the kind of guy who would want no part of me and my kind.
Markoe has a very selective memory, because while the majority of Carson's guests may have been men, his "Tonight Show" gave major career boosts to Roseanne, Ellen DeGeneres, Rita Rudner, and several other comediennes -- not to mention Bette Midler, whose performance on his penultimate show set a new standard for TV appearances. Meanwhile, I wonder how many modern female comics Markoe thinks would claim their careers started by doing Letterman's show. And Dave has certainly flirted with tons of women in his guest chair (e.g. Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore). Her entire complaint seems disingenuous.

That says nothing about her immensely inventive contributions to Letterman's success. Whenever anyone talks about Classic Dave, it's usually from the years when Markoe was his head writer. For proof, see a piece she did for Time in which she remembers her favorite "Late Night" bits.

As for Letterman, one of the interviews he's granted was with Rolling Stone, in which he talks about his anxieties, his mistakes, his son, his wife, why he loves Montana, and what he might do after his final "Late Show" on Wednesday night. On that subject, there's this telling passage about how he spends his average day at the office:
Letterman spends a few hours doing preproduction: talking to producers, making phone calls, reviewing monologue jokes. But he rarely goes to meetings, and he doesn't do rehearsals. "My input now is less than it's ever been," he says. "They're sick of me saying this, but I tell the producers, 'I'm not a producer, you're the producers. You come get me when the show is ready, and it will either go smoothly or it won't.' " A knowing pause. "Which is maybe an indicator that you shouldn't be hosting your 11:30 comedy show much longer."
That lack of caring has been evident for some time, although the month of shows leading up to his finale have included enough people he likes as guests to have perked him up -- on the air at least.

Previously on Harris Online...

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The History of "Mad Men"


Time magazine's TV critic James Poniewozik has an epic history of "Mad Men" in the current issue, so I invited him to talk about the show and its impact. Among the questions I asked:
  • Was the show about Don Draper falling through his life, as he does in the title animation?
  • Why didn't we see more of Don Draper doing what he does best -- creating ad campaigns (e.g. the Carousel slide projector)?
  • While Don may have been the central character, wasn't Peggy was the soul of the show?
  • Are you happy with the way Betty, Pete, and Joan's stories have ended?
  • What about the growth of both actress Kieren Shipka and her character, Sally Draper?
  • "The Sopranos" changed TV dramas -- what was the impact of "Mad Men"?
  • Did AMC give creator Matthew Weiner a lot of freedom from the beginning?
  • How much did the show obsess about getting even the smallest details right?
  • Did the show lose its way at any point in its run?
Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Read James Poniewozik's history of "Mad Men" here.

Carl Reiner, "What I Forgot To Remember"

Comedy legend Carl Reiner returned to my show to talk about his new autobiography, "What I Forgot To Remember," in which he shares memories he didn't include in his two previous autobiographies.

After I opened with "The Dick Van Dyke Show" theme, Carl revealed that he's already working on a new book about that sitcom classic, which he created. Since he brought it up, I proceeded to ask him several questions about that show, including where he got thousands of pounds of walnuts for one episode, why he wrote a part for Dick's brother Jerry Van Dyke, and who he based his character Alan Brady on. We also discussed how Carl may hold the record for oldest person to publish a book and for the longest career in television -- eclipsing Betty White's entry in the Guinness Book! Other topics included the awkward honeymoon apartment he and wife Estelle shared with two other couples, and David Letterman's impending retirement.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!
Previously on Harris Online...

Showbiz Show 5/15/15


On this week's edition of the showbiz segment I do each Friday on my KTRS show with Colin Jeffrey we discuss blues legend BB King (who died Thursday at age 89) and review Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron in "Mad Max: Fury Road." Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Harris Challenge 5/15/15

This week's Harris Challenge -- the most fun you can have with your radio on -- includes categories "So Long Mad Men," "Amazing Races," and "American Idol." Listen and play along, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Want more Harris Challenges? Click here.

Knuckleheads In The News® 5/16/15


On this edition of Knuckleheads In The News® I have stories about a pepper spray problem, a macaroni salad trail, and a jujitsu takedown. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Want more Knuckleheads In The News®Click here.

Friday, May 15, 2015

BB King

I have a couple of stories about the late, great blues legend BB King that I'll share with you later, but for now, while lots of people are tweeting and posting "The Thrill Is Gone," I prefer to remember him this way:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mr. Perspective on Dead Comedian Holograms

Once again, I step into my alter ego role as Mr. Perspective to unravel a story a huge number of media outlets mis-reported last week. In most cases, the headline read something like "Dead Comedians To Perform Classic Standup As Holograms."

Not quite. It's true that a guy who runs an annual Lucille Ball festival in Jamestown, New York (her hometown) announced that his "National Comedy Center" -- which at this point is nothing more than an artists' rendering -- wants to do with dead comics what other venues have done with Michael Jackson and Tupac Shakur (i.e. hologram performances).

But there's one important phrase that, while right there in the story, was ignored by the headline writers and editors who carried it in their publications:

The comedy club hopes to produce 10 to 12 routines of approximately four minutes apiece from legendary comics. While Benson tossed out George Carlin, Bob Hope, Milton Berle and Rodney Dangerfield as some of the comedians they hope to recreate, the center has yet to agree to terms with any comics' estates yet.
In other words, there's no deal to do holograms of those comedians -- or any other. All you have is a guy with an idea, not a venue with executed contracts. Besides, if you want to see four minutes of a routine by any famous comedian, you don't have to go to Jamestown, New York. Just search YouTube.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Disappointment Rant


My wife and I had looked forward to seeing Lewis Black at the Peabody Opera House Saturday night. We've been fans of his "Back In Black" segments on "The Daily Show," and enjoyed him opening for his friend Kathleen Madigan at The Pageant several years ago.

Unfortunately, his Peabody show just wasn't funny. Sure, Black ranted and juggled his jowls and pointed his fingers in anger, but there were no punchlines. He had plenty of topics to discuss (e.g. presidential candidates, climate change, colonoscopies, building sports stadiums with taxpayer dollars), but he sounded less like a comedian and more like an angry guy on a bus loudly expressing his point of view to everyone within earshot. Time and again, he'd take off on one issue, raise his voice to a crescendo, and then leave us hanging with no payoff.

As he's done at other stops on his tour, Black finished by answering questions submitted by the audience in a segment that he streams online (video and audio). Comedy improvised in the moment is rarely as good as a bit that's been written, re-written, tried out, re-written again, honed some more, and then put into the act permanently. This was no exception. Some of the queries seemed like good jumping off points, but never landed anywhere. The best one was a rant submitted by an audience member who was sick of people who prayed for his sick aunt but wouldn't donate money to help her -- it received a rousing ovation from the crowd, but Black did nothing more than read it to us without any followup.

I had a similar problem with George Carlin in his last decade. He was still clearly able to identify topics worthy of his commentary, but couldn't turn them into anything other than angry recitations of the problem without adding a touch of wit, a punchline, or any sense of a comedic resolution.

On the other hand, Black's opening act, John Bowman -- who has toured with him for years -- was very good. I was surprised that Black had another topical comedian opening for him, but Bowman's bits were much funnier as well as more localized (he went on for several minutes about the rivalry between St. Louis and Kansas City, where they had performed the night before). Bowman also did a few song parodies on his electric ukelele (!) that were clever, quick, and funny. He built the crowd up nicely -- but then there was a 15-minute intermission so the audience could go to the lobby and buy Lewis Black bobbleheads -- and by the time the show resumed, any momentum Bowman had built up was gone.

It's rare that the opening act is more enjoyable than the headliner, but that was the case Saturday night.

Worth A Link

  • Joshua Alston on what may have been Bill Cosby's last-ever standup comedy performance.
  • David Goldenberg on no one will break Ken Jennings' 74-game Jeopardy record.
  • Steven Novella on a school that turned off its wi-fi because a teacher complained it was hurting her -- even though there's no proof it's harmful.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Movie Waiting To Happen


Somewhere in Hollywood, there must be a screenwriter preparing a pitch based on a story in today's NY Times about NCAA basketball players being recruited to play Australian Rules Football down under. It would be a classic fish-out-of-water story, similar to Disney's "Million Dollar Arm," which starred Jon Hamm as a sports agent trying to find a cricket bowler in India who could become a major league pitcher here, thus expanding baseball's popularity to the sub-continent.

According to the NYT story, Australia has a dearth of men over six-and-a-half-feet tall, while the NCAA has plenty of them, so recruiters come to the US to audition potential players, whose height advantage would serve them well as "ruckmen" in Aussie Rules Football.

The guys who play that form of football may be the best athletes in the world. I was introduced to the sport when I befriended a guy from Sydney who was living in the US for a few years. At the time, ESPN would show some Aussie Rules games, including the Grand Final, their version of our Super Bowl. Russell had played semi-pro football at home and explained the intricacies of the sport to me. Then, when my wife and I went to visit him in Sydney a few years later, he took us to a game and I was amazed at how the players wore no padding -- despite lots of bone-crushing tackling and blocking -- and they were in constant motion over a field larger than our football fields. He told me that a starter could be on the field for 90% of the game, during which he would run anywhere from eight to ten miles.

Converting college basketball players into ruckmen sounds like the basis for an easy movie plot. Get a couple of tall young unknowns as the leads, hire Russell Crowe as the coach, add in a female love interest or two, have them learn real Aussie slang and food, and you're off.

You're welcome, Hollywood!

Shame On You, ABC Radio

Shame on ABC Radio for leading its Noon CT newscast today with the conspiracy theorists in Texas who believe that upcoming military exercises by the Pentagon are part of a plan to takeover their state and take away their guns. The anchor even included audio of an extreme right-wing radio host whose main agenda is to spread paranoia and fear, particularly about anything the Obama administration does.

There are even politicians who are falling into this trap -- the same intelligence-challenged meatheads who can barely go a week without reminding us to support the troops. Apparently, that only applies to men and women in uniform outside this country. If they're on domestic soil, they must be engaged in a hostile takeover, right? Wrong! These military maneuvers are part of a regular program our armed services practice, not something nefarious dreamed up the dreaded black-guy-in-chief.

It is disgraceful for a respected national news organization to give wackos a platform for their garbage theories -- just as much as letting Jenny McCarthy spew anti-vaxxer lies or oil-industry-paid propagandists deny climate change.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Harris Challenge 5/8/15

This week's Harris Challenge -- the most fun you can have with your radio on -- includes categories "Mom, You're In The Title," "Animal Moms," 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.

Showbiz Show 5/8/15


On this week's edition of the showbiz segment I do each Friday on my KTRS show with Colin Jeffrey, we reviewed "Hot Pursuit" and "Lambert and Stamp," discussed why "Avengers: Age Of Ultron" underperformed in its opening weekend, and praised Amy Schumer's Comedy Central show. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Knuckleheads In The News® 5/8/15


On this edition of Knuckleheads In The News® I have stories about a polite bank robber, a truck in a swimming pool, and a woman who called the Navy for a ride. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Want more Knuckleheads In The News®Click here.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Worth A Link

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Phone Privacy

Congratulations to the ACLU for victory in the appeals court ruling this morning that the NSA's collection of all of our private phone records is illegal -- and thanks again to whistleblower Edward Snowden for making that information public in the first place. Now let's see if Congress has enough guts to decimate Section 215 before renewing the godawful Patriot Act.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Amy Schumer


I wasn't much of an Amy Schumer fan until last fall, when I was visiting my daughter in New York and we went to the Comedy Cellar (the club seen in the opening credits of Louis CK's FX show "Louie") for a Saturday night show. There were five performers scheduled, and the only one we'd heard of was Judah Friedlander of "30 Rock." But in clubs like that, more well-known comedians will drop in occasionally to get onstage and do 10-15 minutes of new material they're working on.

Halfway through, the emcee surprised the crowd by introducing Amy, who said she was a few days away from appearing on Letterman and wanted to try some stuff she might do on his show. She was very personable, self-deprecating, a total pro onstage, and very funny. The crowd gave her a great response and, when she did the TV spot the next week, her material went over just as well with Dave and his audience.

Before that, having only seen one of her cable stand-up specials, I'd had the same problem with Schumer that I've had with Sarah Silverman. They're both witty and clever, but their reliance on raunch-shock material turned me off. It had nothing to do with their gender -- I'd hold up Paula Poundstone and Kathleen Madigan on any modern list of Best Comics -- but Amy's and Sarah's jokes about their vaginas were no more amusing to me than a male comic doing dick jokes. Plenty of people like that stuff. I don't.

Still, after the Comedy Cellar experience, I vowed that I would give Schumer's Comedy Central show, "Inside Amy Schumer," a shot when its new season began -- and wow, am I glad I did. In her season opener a couple of weeks ago, she did a "Friday Night Lights" parody with Josh Charles that served as a brilliant commentary on sports' rape culture. The bit she did with Tina Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Patricia Arquette about when female stars lose their sexual appeal was even better.

Her piece de resistance was last night's "12 Angry Men" parody, which took up the entire show, with an all-male jury deciding whether Amy is hot enough to remain on TV. It's yet another example of how Schumer has become the best feminist voice in comedy, and she does it while barely appearing in the pieces, allowing her co-stars to shine -- in this case, Paul Giamatti, Jeff Goldblum, John Hawkes, Dennis Quaid, Vincent Kartheiser ("Mad Men"), Kumail Nanjiani ("Silicon Valley"), and Nick DiPaolo.

Schumer is confident enough to stay behind the scenes as writer/director and let them carry the load while their characters say terrible, often funny, things about her. She also was able to convince Comedy Central to let her parody a movie most of its target demographic hasn't seen -- though they should -- even to the point of shooting it in black-and-white and recreating some of Sidney Lumet's shots from the 1957 original (which starred Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Jack Klugman, Martin Balsam, Robert Webber, Jack Warden, John Fiedler, and Ed Begley).

In a conversation with Alan Sepinwall, Schumer says her "12 Angry Men" parody "was really hard work, and I think that it's special. I'm more proud of it than anything I've ever done." She should be. Amy and her colleagues are creating the best sketch comedy television has seen for a very long time. Yes, it's still raunchy, but there's so much depth there, too. I'm glad that night in Greenwich Village opened my eyes to her talent and turned me into an Amy Schumer fan.

"The Price Is Right" Didn't Fail


"The Price Is Right" received some criticism yesterday when a contestant in a wheelchair won a game and was rewarded with a treadmill and a sauna. The video went viral, often with the word "fail" attached.

The criticism is completely wrong. The producers of the show couldn't have known ahead of time that the woman in the wheelchair would get up there with Drew Carey at that moment, so they couldn't have planned that she'd be playing for a treadmill. And it would have been impossible at that point to have switched out the prizes for something else -- not just logistically, but legally, since game shows are quite regulated to ensure that no one has a better chance of winning this instead of that. Besides, the winner seems thrilled and, even if she's physically unable to use the treadmill, she may have a partner/spouse for whom it's the perfect gift.

So the "fail" tag doesn't belong to "The Price Is Right" but rather (as is true so often) to the trolls online.

Bizarro Poker

Over the last several years, tournament directors have tried to come up with new ideas for poker events. There have been all-in-or-fold tourneys, where you either bet everything or release your cards. There have been ante-only tourneys, where there are no blinds, but every player must add to the pot on every hand. There have been 50/50 tourneys, where you only have to out-last half of the field, and then the tournament ends with everyone getting paid equally.

This weekend at the PokerStars European Poker Tour Grand Final in Monte Carlo, organizers introduced another new idea: the Second Best Hold'em tournament, in which the player with the second-best cards won each hand. I heard about this from poker pro Jennifer Shahade, who live-tweeted as she played in the event. At one point, she reported that she had four-bet jammed pre-flop with seven-three offsuit and been called by a guy with six-deuce offsuit. But when the flop came six-deuce-seven, her one pair was worse than his two pair, so she won the pot.

Martin Harris at the PokerStars blog told of a couple of other odd moments:

The first hand saw the UTG player raise 4x and get one caller, then check after the flop came 6♦T♦3♣. His opponent fired a bet and he laughingly folded his hand face up -- T♠3♦ for two pair. (The winner had 5♣2♣.) On the next hand a player open-folded K♣K♠, and the table broke up in laughter again.
Later, Martin quoted Jennifer on the strategic thinking necessary in a second-best tournament:
"Multi-way is actually pretty hard," said Shahade, referring to how tricky it can be with several in the pot to finish with exactly the second-best hand, not to mention figure out how to negotiate your way through the betting. "If there's two people who are engaged in playing against you and one of them is making a mistake, then that mistake can hurt you. So it's an interesting in terms of game theory, but I can't really figure out anything past that yet. Heads-up is easy, though -- there you're just thinking of hand values and reversing them."
In case you're wondering, no, the prize money for second place in the event was not bigger than for first place -- although that would have made for an interesting heads-up matchup. All you'd have to do is leave the table, so your blinds and antes increased your opponent's stack while yours diminished.

Worth A Link

  • Almost 40 years after Carl Sagan showed Johnny Carson a light sail, which would move through space powered by solar wind, Bill Nye and the Planetary Society are about to launch it.
  • David Letterman and a couple dozen former writers remember jokes and skits that didn't make it to the air.
  • Julia Sweeney -- whose one-woman show "Letting Go Of God" was phenomenal -- talks about her struggles to get sketches on "SNL" during the Adam Sandler/Chris Farley/Rob Schneider/David Spade days.
  • No, thanks, I won't be swallowing PayPal's new password pill.
  • Eating honey is not a cure for hay fever? Damn -- I just bought 4 boxes of Honey Pollen Crunch cereal!

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The Periscope Problem Continues

Three weeks ago, I predicted that content providers would have problems with people using Periscope and Meerkat to share live events, movie previews, and premium-TV broadcasts with others who hadn't paid for the privilege. One of the first big companies to have a problem with this was HBO, whose "Game Of Thrones" premiere was being watched online by lots of non-subscribers.

Now, we have a report of dozens of people at the Mayweather-Pacquio boxing match pointing their smartphones at the ring and sharing the action with Periscope users around the world. The company, a division of Twitter, says it tried to take down any copyright-violating streams, but this is only going to become more widespread. After all, if YouTube can't keep that kind of stuff off of its massive service, no one can.

Cue the lawyers.

Monday, May 04, 2015

In Case You Missed It

From my Twitter feed...

  • Lots of talk this weekend about Floyd Mayweather’s serial abuse of women. I miss the days when boxing meant pure good guys, like Mike Tyson.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Talk Like Real People!

Three years ago on this site, I wrote:

One of my pet peeves as a broadcaster is when people on the air don't speak like real people. What was the last time you asked someone if they knew the weather for tomorrow and they said, "there's a chance of precipitation" or "we'll probably get some white stuff" when they meant it might rain or snow?

I once made a traffic reporter on my show stop saying "motorists, use caution," because he would never say that to anyone if he weren't on the air -- he'd say "drivers, be careful." There's no real reason to remind people of that in the first place, I told him, but if he felt compelled to play the role of traffic nanny, he should at least do it in plain English. And while you're at it, stop referring to a "vehicle" on the side of the road, when you can see from the helicopter or traffic cameras whether it's a car or truck.
In a similar vein, I recently heard a sportscaster use these phrases:
  • "On the bump," referring to the pitcher, who works on the mound. 
  • "Southpaw hurler," referring to the same pitcher, who is a lefty.
  • "Blanked," referring to a shutout.
I've been around a lot of sports conversations in my lifetime and have never heard non-broadcasters talk like that. No one in a bar has ever had this exchange:
John: I'm going to the Cardinals game tonight.
Jim: Great! Who's going to be on the bump?
John: Their young southpaw hurler.
Jim: Oh, he's good. I was there when he blanked the Phillies.
Bartender: Would you two nitwits stop talking like that and order something already?

Worth A Link

Conan on Dave


As I wrote recently, when people praise David Letterman as he approaches his final "Late Show," they rarely mention anything he's done in this century -- it's always about the way he revolutionized television comedy on NBC in the 1980s. Here's another one of those, from Conan O'Brien, on the day he discovered Letterman's morning show:
The guy didn’t look right. His hair resembled an ill-fitting vintage leather motorcycle helmet. His front teeth had a massive gap that looked almost painted-on as a joke. He was wearing the requisite broadcaster’s tie, but khaki pants and Adidas sneakers. His set looked wrong, as if he had thrown it together minutes before the show—strange photos of dogs decorated the wall behind him. And then there was his manner. His smile was not ingratiating, but mischievous and ever so slightly malevolent. He was not comfortable in his own skin at a time when everyone on television, by definition, was comfortable in their own skin. And on top of it all, he was doing a comedy show in the morning. What the hell? Who does a comedy show in the morning? What’s wrong with this guy? Who let this happen?

Like every comedian of my era, I watched Dave’s subversive, untamed morning show with delightful incredulity. The show didn’t last long, but quickly morphed into his late night program—and then Dave was really off to the races. Throughout college, everyone my age watched Dave and discussed his show the next day. The late night talk show had existed at that point for 30 years in more or less one form, but Dave and his writers completely re-invented the format.
Read O'Brien's full piece here.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

David Steinberg on Colbert and Stewart


David Steinberg returned to my radio show to talk about the new season of his Showtime series, "Inside Comedy," which debuts Tuesday night with guests Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart.

But before digging into that, I asked him about a story my friend Mark Evanier told on his site about a night in 1970 when David was guest-hosting "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" and several big-name comedians made surprise appearances: Milton Berle, George Burns, Jack Benny, and finally Johnny Carson (sitting in the guest chair on his own show!). That jolted David's memory, and he happily recounted the experience.

Then we got into David's shared Second City history with Stephen Colbert, and his thoughts on what Colbert did for years on his Comedy Central show and how he'll do when he takes over Letterman's slot on CBS. I also asked him about Jon Stewart's impact on television and how David's unlikely friendship with Groucho Marx began.

By the way, in the background of that photo of Steinberg and Colbert (above) you can see Alan Zweibel, one of the producers of "Inside Comedy" who also worked with David on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and has appeared on my show several times.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Previously on Harris Online...

CBS' Exploitative New Reality Show


Andy Dehnart of Reality Blurred returned to my radio show to talk about CBS' upcoming reality show, "The Briefcase," which we both find exploitative, and the reaction of the show's producer to his criticism (preview video of the show here). We also discussed the emotional abuse on this season of "Survivor" and whether ABC's "Shark Tank" spinoff is worth your time. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Showbiz Show 5/1/15


Here's another edition of the showbiz segment I do each Friday on my KTRS show with Colin Jeffrey. This week, we talked about "Avengers: Age Of Ultron" and whether, with CGI and stunt people, you even need big-name stars for a special-effects blockbuster like this. We also discussed a reboot of "Gremlins," news about the upcoming "Star Wars" sequel, and why "Ex Machina" tanked at the box office. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Harris Challenge 5/1/15

This week's Harris Challenge -- the most fun you can have with your radio on -- includes categories "Things About Kentucky Besides The Derby," "Showbiz and Sports This Week," 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® 5/1/15


On this edition of Knuckleheads In The News® I have stories about a Facebook firing, another sleepy burglar, and a tooth that opens beer bottles. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Want more Knuckleheads In The News®Click here.