Monday, January 18, 2010

The Leno/Conan Debacle

It looks like NBC is going to pull the plug on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, and replace him with Leno.

I understand that NBC is a network, and doesn't have any vested interest in "loyalty" or "promises" so I don't feel particularly betrayed, as many people seem to feel. Still, their plan to replace Conan with Leno doesn't make much sense since Leno's new show has faltered as Conan's lead in, which certainly didn't help the new Tonight Show.

NBC executives have blamed Conan for not tweaking his show to appeal to mass audiences, but I disagree. I think that Conan has absolutely taken his new time slot into consideration while trying to retain some artistic integrity. His show isn't as off-beat as "Late Night" was, but he isn't Leno, and executives can't expect him to be.

That said, I don't see why they would want another Leno anyway. Jay Leno isn't funny, and never has been. Again, I realize the network doesn't have an interest in the quality of their programming as long as the ratings are good, but regardless, Leno's audience is getting older, going to nursing homes, having strokes, losing their sight and hearing, and just generally dying off. Conan's audience on the other hand can drive cars, feed themselves and most importantly, buy shit, so I do think he was a good investment, but what does NBC know about good investments? The Olympics, I am looking at you. Plus, this whole public relations nightmare can't bode well for the new, old Tonight Show.

I've been a fan of Conan for a long time. I've been watching since Andy was on "Late Night" the first time-- back in the days of the Masturbating Bear and The Fed Ex Pope, so I have to admit I'm a little biased, but I think Leno is done. Personally, I'll follow Conan anywhere, and I think his show would probably be better on another network that doesn't try to dilute his sense of humor.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Whitest Kids U' Know

Lately, I've been watching a sketch comedy show called "The Whitest Kids U' Know."

This show is brilliant. Sketch comedy by nature is very hit or miss. They throw a lot at you, and most of it isn't going to be that funny. Take Saturday Night Live for example. Even in its hey day, I thought it was only about 40-50% funny. WKUK though, has the highest ratio of hilarity I've ever seen in a sketch comedy show.

The greatest thing that the WKUK has working in its favor, is artistic freedom. As is apparent from the show's content, and from cast interviews, IFC is fairly permissive with the troupe, allowing them to incorporate more extreme content. The WKUK, however, is never frivolously offensive. Their sketches are dark, ironic, often socially conscious, and genuinely creative. And unlike other sketch comedy shows, their work is less topical, so you can watch it more than once and it will still be funny.

Go find yourself The Hitler Song and The Never Song on Youtube.

Trevor Moore, the head writer of "The Whitest Kids U' Know"

...I have to admit, I'm kind of obsessively in love with him and his comedic genius.