The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: The Reeducation of Tracy Morgan

June 11, 2011

That chill wind Hollywood liberal Tim Robbins warned about is indeed blowing and every stand-up comic and performance artist should be worried. However, it isn’t coming from some frustrated, prudish Christian right winger. It’s coming from the open minded, diversity embracing, tolerant other side of the aisle. Free speech is just a concept that was rejected at the pitch meeting. Artistic expression isn’t for the less enlightened. Tracy Morgan is now officially under reeducation by the Hollywood left.

In case you missed it, here is the back story: Tracy Morgan, stand-up comic and one of the stars of the NBC hit sit-com “30 Rock” was busted doing a stand-up routine at the Ryman Theater in Nashville. Unlike back when Saint Lenny was being busted the cops didn’t rush the stage and drag Mr. Morgan off. No, a single audience member got offended and reported Mr. Morgan to “the authorities” through Facebook.

The verboten topic was lack of empathy for homosexuality. The “authorities” are the liberal media. A gay man in the audience, Kevin Rogers took offence and wound up on CNN chatting about how horrible the show was.

I wasn’t there and I doubt there is a recording or transcript but from reports the “bit” was pretty raw. What I have read and seen on the internet is that Mr. Morgan was doing a rant where he imagined his son came home and announced he was gay. Mr. Morgan said if that happened he would stab him.

Yeah, I know, it’s not exactly knocking me of my chair either but that’s not the point.  

I have seen Mr. Morgan perform and found a lot of his act to be tasteless. I didn’t find a lot of his material to be funny. I don’t condone bullying or violence against anyone. However I also don’t condone drawing lines for performers or establishing sacred cows. Does anyone think that this was the first Mr. Morgan performed this routine? Doubt it! Now, under pressure from NBC, Tina Fey and uber -hypocrite Alec Baldwin, Mr. Morgan says his rant was “not funny in any context.”  Even though according to one person who attended the show, “No one was booing him. Everyone was laughing…”

Let’s step back and imagine for a minute that instead of the word “gay’ in his routine he had used the word “Republican” or “conservative.”  What if he had said, “… if my son came home and said he was joining the GOP I would stab him!” The audience and liberal media would still be praising his talent. Genius! Let’s further imagine the next day Reince Priebus issued a statement asking for an apology. More howls of laughter and perhaps a statement from Mr. Morgan telling the GOP leader he could plant one where the sun don’t shine. High fives all around!

So why isn’t the outspoken Mr. Morgan telling the GLAAD folks to kiss off? Simple, he’s worried about his job. He’s got plenty of reason to worry.  Isaiah Washington got canned from Grey’s Anatomy after using a gay slur and he did the entire apology tour. The movie “The Dilemma” was roundly criticized for using the dreaded “f’ word.  The “f” word, by the way, is not “fuck.” If you tried to stop comedians from using that word because you find it offensive Hollywood types would brand you a Nazi, fascist or worst some sort of Christian zealot. 

Meanwhile a congressman is sending pictures of his penis around the country and is being defended by Charlie Rangle who is saying “He wasn’t going out with little boys. He wasn’t going into men’s rooms with broad stances.”  That statement sounds offensive and more that a little homophobic to me. GLAAD, where are ya?


The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: Jay and NBC

January 9, 2010

 

I first met Jay Leno back in the early 80’s. I had gotten my first television gig as a reporter on WJBK in Detroit working for the local version of PM Magazine.  At that time Jay was the hottest comic on the booming comedy club circuit and he was coming to the Comedy Castle. I called his publicist and asked if Jay would be interested in doing an interview with me. He graciously consented and we did a few funny bits and a short interview. My cameraman went nuts with the taping that night, I needed thirty seconds of Jay on stage and he taped almost the entire set. Jay was a little miffed but he never held it against me. A few years later we met again in Hollywood and he invited me over to “the house.” I got to go to Jay’s a few times and got a personal tour of the cars and bikes he was keeping there. Through the years whenever we ran into one another, usually at the Comedy Magic Club in Hermosa Beach when we were working together, he was always quick with a comment to let you know he remembered the last time you had talked.       

The recent war of time slots and words between Jay Leno and NBC brings two thoughts to mind. First is that Jay should adopt the old hook of Rodney Dangerfield because he isn’t getting any respect. Second it reminds me of one of the most brilliant and simplest things ever written about show business. One of my favorite books about show business is “Adventures in the Screen Trade” by the great screenwriter William Goldman. Perhaps the most significant insight he gives about show business and especially those who try to run things is that, “Nobody knows anything.”

This has never been a more perfect example of this than in the recent actions by the geniuses running NBC Television. Starting about two years ago the top brass at the peacock network made a decision that the smug hipness of Conan O’Brian was more important than the steady high ratings and common man touch of Jay Leno. Jay’s real sin was that he was getting older. His shock of black Elvis-like hair had gone salt and pepper and then gray. He wasn’t the young hip motorcycle guy with a beef, he was a late middle aged guy who told great jokes and had great numbers. Not good enough!

They announced that Jay would give up The Tonight Show to Conan at the end of his contract. In a moment of lucid thought somebody realized that Jay might not like riding off into the sunset in his mid fifties. He could go to another network. So another genius made up some goofy Tonight Show/non Tonight Show for the 10 P.M. slot and offered it to Jay. It sank like a stone in the ratings. Jay’s fault? I don’t think so.

So now the rumors are flying and Jay is taking verbal jabs at NBC. His recent monologues are vintage Leno and show what a master of the art of stand-up he is. A long time ago when I was hanging with Jay one night he was asked by another comic why he worked so much. Why with The Tonight Show and other money he was making would he jet up to Vegas and do a weekend at Caesar’s? I remember Jay saying something like you only have so much time on top so you have to make the money while you can.  He has done that.

I think Jay is past caring if NBC keeps him or not. He has always said he is a comic first and that his ability to do stand-up is the base of everything he does. I think he’ll always find a gig; he’s still at the top of his game. Years ago he begged NBC for a shot on late night TV, now they should be begging him to stay. Personally, I’d like to see him after American Idol on Fox.


The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy:Law and Order, My Two Cents

December 15, 2009

I’ve noticed a lot of my brothers and sisters on the right are up in arms at Law and Order especially the SVU brand after last week’s episode. I did not see the whole episode in question but did see a clip where a character played by John Larroquette mentions three well known conservative talk show hosts and calls them a cancer on the land.

Before I get rolling, in the spirit of full disclosure I will admit to being a Law and Order junkie. My DVR is full of my favorite Law and Order: Criminal Intent episodes, which is by far the strongest of the three series. I will also admit that in my mind Law and Order: SVU is to the Law and Order brand what Deep Space Nine was to the Star Trek brand. It is a weak cousin that may have been spreading the brand a little too thin.

I know I have said this before, as a conservative if you start only watching and listening only to things you agree with politically then we are stuck with Magnum P.I. reruns, the 700 Club and Toby Keith CDs. I was just about to type the word “records” but I remembered this is the 21st century. Not that there is anything wrong with any of those choices, I just want a wider selection.

So, back to Law and Order, a lot of the chatter I have been hearing is true. Yes, Dick Wolf and a lot of other Hollywood types are far left politically. Yes, they often put their politics into their work, many times without balance. Yes, it is unfair that they verbally smack Bill O’Reilly and others around and misrepresents their positions. This week’s episode of Law and Order had some material that I found more offensive than a little name calling. The show which was a riff on the Big Hollywood expose of ACORN.  First the police use an unlawful search and seizure against a “conservative” guy because he doesn’t bow to their demands to be questioned. Later in the episode, every time Detective Lupo, played by Jeremy Sisto asks him a question he mocks his political beliefs by pretending he is talking to “the government” on his cell phone. When the “conservative’s” friends  show up to protest his wrongful arrest they are depicted as a group of gun toting, flannel shirt wearing, poorly educated, red necks. Yep, that’s me alright.  

The question is this; how should conservatives react to this? I think we should take a page from the playbook of the far left and try to bring some economic pressure to bear on the advertisers of NBC. The left has started strong campaigns against both Dr. Michael Savage and Glenn Beck trying to silence them by hurting them economically. There was even the recent laughable “revelation” that Glenn Beck gets paid by his sponsor Goldline. So let’s try to do the same. Here are two big ad buyers on NBC; McDonalds and American Express. Let’s start by dropping an e-mail to both companies politely asking them to stop buying ads on NBC and see what kind of response we get.


The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: American Idol

May 19, 2009

I have never really watched American Idol until this season. My wife is a huge fan and every year I would watch the first few “audition” weeks with her for the same reason people slow down near a car accident. I want to see the blood and ugliness! I love the people who didn’t have any friends to tell them they couldn’t sing and other train wrecks that show up with the delusion that they might be the next Kelly Clarkson.  

My major problems with these talent shows is they try to give the impression that all of the contestants are just diamonds in the rough that took an hour off from the Burger King to come down and give it a shot. The people at American Idol want you to believe they have discovered some guy with a day gig and a dream and they helped polish up their act and transformed them into stars. Adam Lambert and Kris Allen did not go stand in line with the rest of the mob. They were somehow prescreened and told when and where to report. Is there anyone in American who thinks that Adam Lambert wasn’t a professional singer before he was on American Idol? 

The same is true of NBC’s Last Comic Standing. The people who are going to make the top twenty or ten or whatever it is are all long time professional comics. Many already have deals in place with NBC, or an agent and a manager before they “audition” to be on the show.  

Here’s my point, after a certain point the show gets boring for me because all of the people have chops and a reasonable shot at winning. After a point in the elimination rounds all of the people on the show are already show business professionals who are acting out a charade for your entertainment.

I have noticed an embarrassing trend on the show this year. A few times this season if the “star” guest singer had been in the competition they would have been voted off of the show! Several of the guests were, as Randy Jackson might put it, a little pitchy.

Enjoy the final tonight, American Idol fans and rest easy because no matter who comes out on top they are both going to have great careers.  Besides the real winner has already been determined, the producers of American Idol and Fox who are raking in billions. Hey Congress, how about a windfall profits tax?