Late Nite FDL: What’s That Giant Sucking Sound?
Okay, so I was over at Sadly, No! seeing if I could steal any ideas from Retardo or Gavin for tonight's post, and I found this photo from the set of Pox News's new "comedy" show "This Just In". "Please, God," muses Gavin, "Let this be the alleged screenplay that Jeff Goldstein is working on."
Uh, Pasty's writing a screenplay? What a ghastly announcement. But that's a whole other post.
No, Gavin, I'm afraid this photo is all too real. There is no Santa Claus. This is not a drill. And tonight I'm going to tell you all how I can tell that this show is going to be a massive, ugly train-wreck just from this one still. Of course, I could be wrong, but something tells me I am not mistaken. I mean, look! Lordy mercy, where does one begin?
Let's start with the set. Now, granted, we've all heard Jon Stewart crack wise about how being on cable and all, the "Daily Show" set is cheap and flimsy, although it did get a recent bit of gussying up, but whatever its flaws may be, at least their art director has had the sense to keep the lights low, paint most everything black, and create at least a sense of depth, whether that's done with camera angles and spray-painted refrigerator boxes, I don't know, but it looks pretty good. Now, look at the set in this photo.
What the hell is going on here? Wood panelling? An entire chartreuse wall? What are those back panels supposed to be, the ones that appear to be alternating baby blue and some surface that looks like they caught and skinned three disco balls and tacked their hides to the wall? That set looks like ass! Of course, they may have some special lighting tricks planned, or something, but in this photo it looks like they bought that stuff off Craigslist when Mtv's "Singled Out" went off the air. This does not bode well for their creative team. But nothing in this photo does.
Let's have a look at the two tech guys. Aren't they cute in their matching outfits? Do you suppose they got to design their uniforms themselves? Black jeans, black jackets with gray turned-out lapels, black t-shirts. (Is there anything a baby fascist likes better than a uniform?)
Now, camera and sound people are never known for being particularly interesting to look at. They kind of thrive on being the only people on a set with cameras who get to stroll around in jeans and Hard Rock Café sweat-shirts and we love them for that, but there's something extra dismal about these guys. Particularly the one on the left. Someone needs to quietly take them both aside and explain that the heavily gelled-back ponytail was butt ugly back in the day when that "Rico Suave" Gerardo guy was doing it. It's even worse now. So, why are both of these guys still doing it?
I keep looking at tech guy No. 1, here, standing around with his hands in his pockets at his new show's first taping. Shouldn't he be doing something rather than standing there and running his mouth? I've worked with a lot of soundmen, engineers, camera people, and other techies, and one of the things that all the good ones have in common is that they're ALWAYS doing something, coiling cables or placing mics or checking the monitors or SOMETHING. This guy just looks like a mealy-mouthed jerk to me. Like his name is Sean or Erik. He has a pit bull with a spiked collar and a bladder problem, no girlfriend, and he sits up all night doing rails of coke and angrily playing "Real World Golf" on X-Box. His apartment smells like a cross between a bong and a spare tire and it's littered with little fantasy figurines of ax-wielding orcs and trolls. The other guy looks like his name is Troy and he does whatever Sean/Erik tells him to, cos Sean/Erik's the Cool Guy, although no one can tell you why they think he's cool or anything that he's ever done that's cool. Really, it's just because he's the biggest asshole and no one has the energy to argue with him.
And then we have our illustrious host, who bears the unlucky distinction of being the worst-dressed individual in this particular shot, though only by a hair. Cripes, but those Mexican waiter shirts were a bad thing to bring back. They really only look good on the wafer thin gay boys who revived them, and they wear them mostly open with a tank-top undershirt underneath. On this guy (otherwise unemployable "comedian" Kurt Long), it only serves to highlight his stubby arms and emphasize his protuberant gut. And the whole ensemble is brown, which, combined with Mr. Long's spray-on golf course tan, makes him look like an over-inflated football that's been left to soak in a vat of cheap whiskey for a week. Couldn't they find a coat and tie for this loser? Or do you suppose that was one of those board-room arguments? ("I got inta dis bizness so I wouldn't have to wear a coat and tie!" he grumbled before diving back into his pastrami sub…)
One of the goals of the show is to, quote, "take aim at what executive producer Joel Surnow, the co-creator of '24', calls 'the sacred cows of the left' that don't get made as much fun of by other comedy shows", which basically means they intend to bully people like Cindy Sheehan, the 9/11 widows, and whoever else they can think of; gays, women, blacks and Latinos. Because, of course, that's a right-winger's idea of great comedy. (See "Clay, Andrew Dice" for more details.) And it looks like Mr. Long will be just perfect for that. You can look at him and see that he's one of those ass-patting, arrogant, sexist jerks who has left an army of violently pissed off waitresses, flight attendants, female counter clerks, and strippers in his wake.
Ohhhhh, yeah. This is going to be one hella funny show. To people who say "hella".
See, the thing that makes the "Daily Show" so effective and hilarious is, well, Jon Stewart. Maybe off camera he's a totally pissy prima donna, but his on-camera presence is totally sweet, goofy, and lovable. He can say brutal, scathing things about powerful people and it's hilarious because, really, he seems like such a smart, likeable guy. Reich Wingers do not understand this, much like they don't understand that jokes about boobies are really only riotously funny to 10-year-old boys and the grown men who think like them.
Good luck with your little comedy show, Pox News. I am gazing into my crystal ball and seeing a big opening pop, a few weeks of mild interest by die-hard mouth-breathers, and then a cancellation before the next sweeps week. Maybe you will prove me wrong, but I wouldn't bet real money on it.