Thursday, February 18, 2010

is my soul prepared

Yesterday's Ash Wednesday post generated some reaction in my email box from a local mom:
I read on your blog about Beth's problem with the public school's attendance policy. I worked with a public school as the attendance secretary, which required entering the tardies, absences and excuses. I was told that the absence or tardy was black or white. You either were or you weren't. The excused or unexcused piece is where the religious holiday allowance would come. In other words, going to the orthodontist in the morning still makes you tardy but it is excused and not held against the child. Most perfect attendance awards do not take into account tardies. When my daughter took part in the Bishop's installation, all three of my children were excused from school -- but they were still absent.
After I had uploaded the blog entry, I watched the beginning of "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and noticed that both Guillermo and Cleto Sr. were proudly wearing their ashes on national television. Too bad Joe Biden's priest merely put a thumbprint on the vice-president's forehead instead of a bold cross like Guillermo and Cleto got.

My Facebook friend count dropped by one on Wednesday. A friend from church had posted that she was giving up Facebook for Lent. I didn't realize she was going to deactivate her account.

Fr. Ragan Schriver did not give up Facebook for Lent. He is fairly new to the social networking site and has been adding friends rapidly. It's not surprising to me. Whenever we meet for dinner at Trio Café, it is impossible to walk across Market Square without meeting several people who know Fr. Ragan.

I saw a post on Fr. Ragan's wall that is worth sharing here even though it involves one of my least favorite songs of all time. When I was general manager of the student radio station at George Mason University, it was a running joke how much I hated "King of Pain" by the Police. It was overplayed by the volunteer deejays who picked their own songs.

Someone shared a link to a "King of Pain" parody called "This Time of Forty Days." Obviously the comedy stems from the line "There's a little black spot on your head today." I was amused and will look for more material online from Catholic comedian Nick Alexander. Had I known about it, I could have used his "YMCA" parody a year ago when I sponsored a friend into the church.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

ya hear about this?

All the attention being paid to NBC's mismanagement makes it seem like their late night shows are the only ones that matter. Yes, "The Tonight Show" is a storied franchise and without it, none of the other shows would exist. However, if I were to rank the various talk shows on after 10:00 p.m., NBC's entries would be at the bottom of the list.

Jay Leno
has no business returning to 11:35. If NBC wanted him to stay there, they shouldn't have promised the time slot to Conan O'Brien. I do like Conan's statement in which he refused to participate in the destruction of "Tonight" by moving it to "tomorrow." I hope his future success makes NBC regret the way they are treating him now.

The real winners in the latest late night controversy should be Jimmy Kimmel, David Letterman and Craig Ferguson. All three of them do a better show than Leno, O'Brien or Jimmy Fallon.

It's no secret that I would choose to be on "Team Kimmel." His show has had a season pass on my DVR since day one. This afternoon my son and I couldn't stop laughing as we watched Jimmy's show from last night. He did the whole hour made up to look like Jay Leno. It was reminiscent of his appearance as Jay on the reenactment of the Michael Jackson trial.

My favorite part was the way they mocked the lame musical notes that Kevin Eubanks plays after each of the real Leno's jokes. At dinner tonight, my wife said she wished she had seen it. Because I had already deleted the program from the DVR, she will have to watch the whole episode via or she can catch the highlights on YouTube.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, June 08, 2009

pink ribbons

The silent auction items are starting to arrive for the charity event my friend Maureen is co-chairing. She owns Fox Chase Farm in Middleburg, Virginia, which will host the Ride for the Cure Virginia to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The media sponsor for the October event is WJLA-TV in nearby Washington, DC. Maureen is thrilled that Greta Kreuz and Suzanne Kennedy are planning to ride horses at the function.

Susan Olsen has promised to send an autographed copy of her upcoming book "Love to Love You Bradys: The Bizarre Story of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour." Maureen sent me photos of two autographed items that have already arrived. Melissa Etheridge sent a copy of her greatest hits CD. My pal Jimmy Kimmel sent a personalized basketball jersey.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

coco chris

It's unfair to judge "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" after only two episodes but I thought the first two shows were okay. Tom Hanks was, no surprise, a great guest. Green Day was fantastic. They should have booked both of them for night one instead of Will Ferrell and Pearl Jam.

Many people I know posted the cold open from Conan's first show on their Facebook pages on Tuesday. I was proven wrong when I thought for a moment that the whole bit would be recorded in the New York and Los Angeles areas. I loved it when I saw that he was really traveling across America.

As they showed Conan running through Wrigley Field, I grabbed my cell phone and called my son, who was downstairs in his room. I said, "you've got to come up and watch this." I rewound the show to the beginning and noticed that NBC started the show at 11:34 but my DVR didn't start recording until 11:35. It stopped recording at 12:35 while the show continued until 12:37.

I also got a kick out of Conan hijacking the Universal Studios tram. They took it out onto Lankershim Boulevard. I pointed out to my son that they drove past Toyota of North Hollywood and the 99¢ Only Store, which were both walking distance from the Kling Street apartment where I lived before my family moved West to join me.

The first two nights of Conan's show felt more like the real "Tonight Show" than Jay Leno's ever did. Some of that comes from the set, which mimics Johnny Carson's and the "More to Come" bumper art. The music helps too. Max Weinberg plays with an energy more like Doc Severinsen than the sleepy slow jams Kevin Eubanks played.

Conan won't get me to switch away from "Jimmy Kimmel Live." On nights that I'm up late, I might watch Conan or David Letterman for their first half hour before switching over to ABC. I have a season pass set up to always record Jimmy's show whether I'm awake or not. That reminds me. There is something wrong with the HD feed from WATE. I've been meaning to call or email somebody about it for the past week or two. They've got eight days to get it fixed.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

all natural

Tazy Phyllipz and his wife are visiting Tennessee this week. He and I worked together on the Kevin & Bean show. Like me, Tazy and his wife Maria enjoy looking for Roadside America attractions when they travel. I suggested they go to the Sunsphere and the Dolly Parton statue before heading west to Graceland. Last night they came to see Einstein Simplified perform.

In an unfortunate stroke of timing, Tazy will still be traveling when Weenie Roast tickets go on sale Thursday. He was an early supporter of many of the bands on the bill, especially Rancid. I hope he is able to find a way to get into the show. After KROQ, Tazy hosted The Ska Parade show on stations in San Diego and Orange County.

Tazy is probably going to write a book about his Forrest Gump moments. I didn't remember that he was involved in the argument between Jimmy Kimmel and Michael the Maintenance Man that led to the "Bleeda in Reseda." He also was answering the phones at KROQ when Adam Carolla first called in to offer his help as a boxing coach.

I do remember Tazy being the unintended victim of a practical joke that Jimmy tried to pull on Adam. On his April 2nd podcast, Adam said that Snapple was his beverage of choice back when he first started at KROQ. I had downloaded the show because several people emailed to tell me that guest Chris Hardwick mentioned my name as he told the story of his being hired as a deejay at the station.

One day Jimmy saw an unopened Snapple bottle in the office I shared with "Loveline" producer Ann Wilkins. He took the bottle and sat at Ann's desk, where he tampered with the product. Without going into too much detail, let's just say that Jimmy left a film of baby powder on top of the drink. I was recently reminded of that old prank when Jimmy had Guillermo do something similar but not exactly the same to the Marshmallow Peeps that Dane Cook stuffed in his mouth on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" just after Easter.

Jimmy and I waited for Adam to come out of the studio and swig his drink. Instead Tazy walked into the office and said, "Oh there's my Snapple." Jimmy and I were horrified that he had defiled Tazy's bottle, thinking it was Adam's. I emailed Jimmy yesterday and asked if he remembered Tazy Phyllipz. He replied, "not only do I remember him, LAST NIGHT I told the story about... his Snapple!" Over dinner at Patrick Sullivan's, Tazy erased some guilt I had been carrying all these years when he told me something I had completely forgotten. He said that I stopped him from drinking the tainted tea and made him put it in the trash. However I had every intention of watching Adam quench his thirst with the Jimmy-flavored juice.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

wow, the clarity

ABC showed some love to "Jimmy Kimmel Live" by finally making the switch to high definition with Tuesday night's show. There wasn't much advance publicity about the upgrade. I had missed an article on the TV Week website from two weeks ago. On Tuesday afternoon, I was scrolling through the onscreen guide and noticed that the magical HD logo had been added to the listing for Jimmy's show. I shot him a quick congratulatory email and asked if the program grid was correct. His reply was "that is the plan."

During the monologue, Jimmy pointed out that they were finally going hi-def after almost six-and-a-half years on the air. They did a fake countdown to the switch, at which point Jimmy was replaced by "handsome devil" John Stamos. Panel guest Jorge Garcia amusingly referenced the higher quality at the beginning of his interview.

A while back I had written to Jimmy and mentioned that I thought it sounded like the "Nightline" anchors were turning the transmitter off for the night when they ended the show. Since then, the newscasters have changed their closing. They now mention that "Jimmy Kimmel Live" is on next. It's great to see his show getting some respect. Even Jay Leno had nice things to say in a new GQ interview.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, January 31, 2009

spring forward

Late night expert Bill Carter literally wrote the book on David Letterman and Jay Leno. In the years since the publication of "The Late Shift," Carter has written many, many articles for the New York Times about Letterman and Leno. This past week Carter deviated from the norm to write about Jimmy Kimmel, which he's done at least once before as Jimmy prepared for his first show six years ago.

The good news for Jimmy is that Carter's sources say ABC is considering moving "Jimmy Kimmel Live" from 12:05 a.m. to 11:35 p.m. They see an opportunity to compete head-to-head with NBC when Conan O'Brien takes over "The Tonight Show."

If such a move happened, it could mean the end of "Nightline." Or the news program could be moved to 12:35 a.m. One TV Squad commenter suggested that ABC move "Nightline" to 10:00 p.m. where it can continue to go head-to-head with Jay Leno.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

what brought you here

There's no question that 2008 was a pretty good year for my blog. I won the "Best Local Blogger" award in the Knoxville News Sentinel readers' poll and had a couple of days with big readership spikes. So, which posts were the most read this year? Not surprisingly, a 2006 post about Abby Ham was the number two ranked entry. If I filter out the old stuff that still turns up in people's Google searches, here are my most viewed posts from 2008:

1) Jimmy Kimmel mentioned me when I sent him a funny obituary from the News Sentinel

2) Stacy McCloud's boots will turn up in my search results for years to come

3) This December entry about Julianne Hough's concert in Knoxville made a strong late-year showing

4) Gentlemen's Top Cuts has gone out of business but it got a lot of attention when it first opened

5) Oh and Paris Hilton showed up in Pigeon Forge

6) Fans of Randy Rhoads linked to my post on their message boards

7) Game on! The Osmonds are competing with the Houghs to be the most popular Mormon showbiz family among my readers

8) Fans of American Idol's Ace Young lit up their message boards too

9) Of all my posts about Dr. Bill Bass and the Body Farm this year, this one got the most views

10) Stacy McCloud got promoted to evening anchor but didn't give up the noon news

11) A lot of clicks from Derek & Julianne Hough fans came via the message boards, take that Osmonds!

12) People looking for this post could have been Natasha Henstridge fans, "Lost" fans, WATE news fans or maybe even George Michael fans

13) We're back where we started with a follow-up to the most-viewed post about Jimmy Kimmel mentioning Knoxville

14) I think readers of this post about local news were mostly interested in diamond rings or the lack thereof

15) Mmm... cupcakes

16) Melinda Doolittle may not have as many fans as Ace Young but they found this post

17) Who do you think the readers of this entry were searching for, Chef Walter or Stacy McCloud?

18) Like everyone, I was surprised and saddened by Tim Russert's passing

19) It looks like the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra will have a successful blogger night in January

20) My recent story of a young girl's Christmas wish for a styrofoam penguin got mentioned on the local news

21) Pope Benedict XVI might have ranked higher if he visited Knoxville

22) DSRL!

23) The last Haunted Cave might have inspired people to read about Cherokee Caverns

24) Sam's Club gets me hooked on raspberry chipotle sauce and then cuts me off

25) Wasn't it great when the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Rickrolled us?

Happy New Year! See you tonight?

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, November 14, 2008

classic roq

A former colleague from KROQ recently emailed me to say that he was digging through some old stuff for his Facebook page and found an archived copy of on a floppy disc. Can you imagine an entire radio station website fitting on a floppy disc nowadays?

Gary Cohen was the computer whiz kid in the KROQ engineering department. He's gone on to bigger and better things, of course. You can read more about him at LinkedIn and IMDB. Gary put much of the old KROQ site on his own server. Clicking through it brought me back to the early days of the World Wide Web.

Gary wanted me to see a photo on one of the Kevin & Bean pages. It shows the late Calvert DeForest posing with Kevin & Bean and Jimmy Kimmel and me.

I remember being present when most of the other pictures were taken too. I was the one holding the camera for some of them. The photo of Air Supply reminded me of the story I told here about the concert they did for us. I submitted this same picture to the trades with the caption: "Kevin & Bean with either '80s pop icons Air Supply or Mark & Brian, we're not sure which."

I wish I could remember exactly why we needed to make a video of Kevin & Bean on the beach with Jenny McCarthy and Ed McMahon. It might have been for an awards ceremony that they couldn't attend, perhaps at a radio convention or a Starlight Foundation banquet. Because nothing says helping the kids like Jenny McCarthy in a bikini.

Labels: , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

lower third

WVLT seemed to be channeling "Jimmy Kimmel Live" during the noon news today. One of the guests in the interview segment was Jennifer Wenger, who moved from Union County to Hollywood where she dresses as Wonder Woman and poses with the tourists on Hollywood Boulevard. She was here to promote her appearance as Wonder Woman at the Union County Heritage Festival this weekend.

Jimmy often features costumed superheroes on his show to perform stunts or reenact scenes from other shows. There's also a documentary about these particular street performers called "Confessions of a Superhero." From the photo below you might think that Channel 8 was trying to emulate Jimmy's "This Week in Unnecessary Censorship" instead.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, October 10, 2008

in the pie hole

Which is better, cake or pie? It's an age-old dilemma that pits brother against brother. Or in my case, co-worker against co-worker. During my KROQ days, the morning show staff used to travel to New York for the MTV Video Music Awards. One year Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla posed the cake or pie question to the rest of us. The friendly argument continued during the award show as all the people sitting near us in the Radio City Music Hall balcony weighed in.

I had an opportunity to resurrect the debate in Knoxville at one of the now-defunct stations where I worked. Although I don't dislike pie, I argued convincingly for cake. I mean, who has birthday pie or wedding pie? I also opined that a cheesecake is actually a pie. I used to have an aircheck of the bit visible on my website but now it's stuck in a little-used subdirectory.

Last year I was asked to judge a cake decorating contest. I found out after I got there that there would be no tasting the cakes. Tonight it was pie's turn. When I was invited to judge a contest at the St. Joseph School Fall Festival, I made sure to ask in advance whether or not the judges would get to taste the pies.

St. Albert the Great pastor Fr. Chris Michelson, school booster Jim Humphries and I tasted small pieces of seven different pies. A very light pumpkin mousse pie barely edged out an excellent pecan pie as the winner. For third place, we had a very difficult time choosing between a chocolate chess pie and a Ritz mock apple pie that completely fooled us. After dessert, we had some of the festival's famous BBQ. I chose the chicken dinner over the ribs. Chopped pork gets added to the menu on Saturday.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, September 22, 2008

the tribe has spoken

The highlights of last night's Primetime Emmy Awards for me were Josh Groban's medley of TV theme songs and Jimmy Kimmel's presentation of the award for best reality host. Groban showed a sense of humor about himself that was only hinted at in Jimmy's infamous Ben Affleck video. He used his operatic voice to sing "The Simpsons" and comedic voices to sing lyrics from "South Park" and other shows. Thankfully in this day and age, the video clip is only a click away.

I so wanted the five nominees for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program to be eliminated one by one. Jimmy made a joke along those lines by saying that they were each "in the bottom two." I thought I was going to wake my wife with my laughter when Jimmy said that the winner would be revealed "after the break." And then really did go to commercial. Because "Survivor" is the granddaddy of the genre, it made sense that Jeff Probst would win. Over the years, his questions during Tribal Council have become a more and more important part of the show. However it's still a little weird that he always says the exact same things when "immunity is back up for grabs" or when he'll "go tally the vote." Phil Keoghan deserved a nomination for "The Amazing Race," which has won the Emmy for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program six years in a row. Of the five nominees, I would have voted for Tom Bergeron. He consistently exhibits grace and wit under the pressure of a live show.

It sounded like they almost muted the sound of the audience during the "In Memoriam" segment. So often the photo montage of the deceased at awards shows becomes a referendum on their popularity based on the amount of applause they get. They probably should have eliminated the laughter and applause from the original clips too. Just play the sappy music while showing the faces and names of the departed. Do you think they showed George Carlin twice on purpose or by accident? He was both the first and last person in the montage.

Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin and "30 Rock" all deserved their awards. Although as Fey pointed out, the wrong episode won the writing award. The voters chose to honor a script that mocked the government rather than a funnier script that poked fun at a '60s-era comedy writer. I guess they couldn't honor Tommy Smothers and drag out some "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" cast members and then give an award to an episode with Carrie Fisher as an out-of-it writer of a show just like those. By the way, how uncomfortable were you during the "tribute" to "Laugh In"? That should have been prerecorded and edited. And rewritten. Or omitted. There were enough other stars who griped about their bits being cut due to time. They should have cut that awkward moment instead.

As much as I like "Dexter," I was still delighted to see Bryan Cranston win for "Breaking Bad." His victory was a mostly unexpected surprise. As I wrote back in January, his performance is riveting.

I'll admit that the Emmys were mostly forgettable. Perhaps a better show would be the Tubey Awards from Television Without Pity. It's fun to see who they pick as their favorite and least favorite characters. They hit the nail on the head by saying that Maya from "Heroes" is both the most unwelcome new character and the character most in need of being killed off. I guess we'll see if that happens when "Heroes" returns to the NBC schedule tonight.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, September 01, 2008

hide and reek

Happy Labor Day. In honor of the holiday, I won't work too hard tonight. Instead I'll share with you a few leftover pictures from my vacation. This won't be the last of them.

At the time, something struck me as funny about the sign for "Taxidermy Drop Off and Archery Range." It's at the Fanning 66 Outpost, better known as home of the World's Largest Rocker.

Here's a store in St. Louis that apparently sells Lit Cigars. Imagine how tough it must be to keep those in stock.

We parked next to a car in Hot Springs that belongs to someone who must watch the same late-night talk show as me. I should ask Jimmy Kimmel where I can get one of his "I'm a Friend of Jimmy K." bumper stickers.

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

prison guard's son

Gavin DeGraw played the Tennessee Theatre tonight. Yesterday afternoon, I had the opportunity to interview Gavin during a fill-in shift. If you were listening yesterday, you heard parts of the interview. Because we ended up talking longer than format constraints would allow, I'm posting the entire eleven-and-a-half minute interview as a podcast for your aural enjoyment.

Gavin called from Asheville before performing at The Orange Peel. We talked about that venue and the Tennessee Theatre. His tour continues in Nashville tomorrow and Memphis the next night. Thanks to Steve Wildsmith's interview with Gavin in the Maryville Daily Times, I knew to ask about the autobiographical aspect of "I Don't Want to Be." I was interested to learn that Carson Daly gave Gavin a big break by putting him on TV first. Meanwhile Gavin was interested to learn that Carson got his big break as Jimmy Kimmel's intern at a radio station in Palm Springs.

When we got to the topic of his latest song, Gavin sang a little bit of "In Love With a Girl" and described his songwriting process. Because he's known as a songwriter, I asked if there was a song or artist he likes that we would be surprised to hear him cover. He mentioned Hank Williams Jr. and Hank Williams III. I told him that Hank Williams Sr. was one of three famous artists who died after being in Knoxville and that a local festival honors him. Then Gavin told me that Hank Sr.'s heavy drinking may have been due to pain from spina bifida.

Before tonight's concert, I made the stage announcements about upcoming shows (Chris Isaak), muting cellphones and fire exits. Then I went backstage for a meet and greet with Gavin and some listeners.

Opening act Griffin House closed his set with a song about his grandparents. He made sure that the audience understood that the lyrics said "proud to have your blood in my veins." He said many people mistakenly think he's singing about their butt in his face. Yuck.

Labels: , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, July 17, 2008

the tonightline show

Jay Leno slipped in a joke about moving to ABC on his show the other night. Nobody I know saw it but there was a write-up on the Internet that tells us all we need to know. Jimmy Kimmel responded by doing a funny bit at the network president's press conference the following day.

There's not much new to say about the rumors of a possible move by Leno since my last post on the subject. Except that Leno says he will definitely leave NBC and that Jimmy sent me an email to say thanks for the kind words.

If you clicked on the two links in the first paragraph, you saw lots of comments from people theorizing about whether Jimmy's show should be moved to 12:35 or whether he should bolt to Fox. Here's something for them to over-analyze: Jimmy read my last post and liked it. But which part? The suggestion that "Nightline" could be replaced by a 30 minute Leno show? Or that Jimmy himself should be allowed to compete at 11:35? Or that in the age of DVRs, it hardly matters what time he's on.

Oh yeah, Jimmy's ex got an Emmy nomination for her Matt Damon video.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, June 28, 2008

taking it on the chin

A story in The Hollywood Reporter suggests that the best post-"Tonight Show" option for Jay Leno is to join ABC. We've heard this idea again and again and again over the past year and a half. The article also spells out scenarios for Leno to move to Fox, CBS and into syndication. Their conclusion is that the only job Leno really wants is "The Tonight Show."

As bad as Leno's show is, it would make a better lead-in to Jimmy Kimmel's show than "Nightline." However I think that if "Nightline" were to go away, Jimmy should get the chance to compete with Conan O'Brien's new "Tonight Show" at 11:35. If ABC ends up hiring Leno, they should only give him a half-hour show. He can do his monologue and his Jaywalking (or whatever) and skip the celebrity interviews that are not his strong point.

Quick side note: It bugs me when the "Nightline" anchors sign off by saying "good night America" followed by ten seconds of instrumental theme music as they show the New York skyline. Their tone of voice and the dark picture also seem to say "and now, ABC ends its broadcast day. Join us tomorrow for 'Sunrise Semester.'" It reminds me of something I learned about in college. Two political candidates each bought an hour of radio time, back-to-back. The first candidate ended his speech after forty-five minutes, said good night to America, and then deliberately ran fifteen minutes of dead air before his opponent could begin.

Because I always record "Jimmy Kimmel Live," it doesn't matter to me all that much whether it starts at 11:35, 12:05 or 12:35. It will still look the same when I watch it the next day. However it would be easiest for me if NBC figured out a way to keep Jay Leno, even if it means a big payment to Conan O'Brien for delaying the start of his "Tonight Show" era. That way I won't have to modify the Season Pass for "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on my TiVo.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, June 07, 2008

comedy conundrum

If the world's worst comedian makes me laugh every single time I hear him, shouldn't that make him the world's best comedian? Not in the case of Sam Meneshian, the Armenian Comedian. I laugh at him but not for the reasons he wants. His jokes are consistently off-target. I find his failed efforts, many of which are chronicled at, to be hysterical. Sam was a fixture on the Kevin & Bean show before I worked there and continues to be to this day. Jimmy Kimmel has put him on "The Man Show" and his late-night talk show.

Brilliant comics like Andy Kaufman, Sacha Baron Cohen and Robin Williams have created characters that attempt to be what Sam Meneshian is in real life. He tries very hard to become famous without putting any effort into improving his jokes, his singing, his ventriloquism, or his balloon animals. I'm not too sure about his hair-cutting skills either.

The Armenian Comedian's familiar face flashed on my TV screen yesterday while I was watching the previous night's episode of "Last Comic Standing." They ran a quick montage of terrible auditionees and promised to count down their ten worst. I knew that Sam deserved a place in the top three but didn't think they would show him since he had not yet turned up in any audition footage. Numbers 10 through 2 were gradually revealed during the course of the two hour program. They were all comics whose auditions had been shown in the first three episodes of this season. At the very end of the show, they revealed that the number 1 worst audition was, in fact, by Sam Meneshian.

He tried to make something under a bandanna disappear but loudly dropped the object. He took off his shirt and pretended to inflate his stomach by blowing into his finger. Finally, he dropped his ventriloquism dummy while trying to put a live microphone in front of the dummy. Yes, in front of the dummy! In typical fashion, Sam had told the KROQ crew that his audition would be shown next week. As a result, they all missed it on Thursday. My friend Bean asked if I could send him the audio clip for them to play on Monday morning.

Sam is utterly clueless. When he returned from the Miami audition, he said that his audition had gone great. He probably misconstrued the reaction of that week's talent scouts (two guys from "30 Rock"), who stood and applauded the failure of the ventriloquism part of his act. Maybe there's something wrong with the part of his brain that detects sarcasm.

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, May 03, 2008

wake the kids and call the neighbors

During May sweeps, you would expect to see my pal Jimmy Kimmel turn up on "Good Morning America" and "Live with Regis & Kelly," especially since he has to be in New York to host ABC's upfront presentation again. It's a lot more surprising to learn that Jimmy will be a guest on "Late Show with David Letterman" this coming Monday. When Jimmy and Jay Leno appeared on each other's shows, I was reminded that Leno used to be a great talk show guest. No one expects Letterman to show up on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" however.

On April 3rd Jimmy reached the 1000 shows milestone. had an impressive section on Kimmel's 1000th show. Of the thousand, I have watched all but about five or ten shows due to an occasional DVR error or sporting event that pushed the show out of its regular timeslot.

For a while, Jimmy has had his Uncle Frank and parking lot security guard Guillermo do pre-recorded commercials during the show. Now Jimmy and Guillermo are doing "live" commercials for Pontiac in the middle of the show. Whenever one of these commercials come on, I stop fast-forwarding and watch it. Similarly the only commercial I ever watch on "American Idol" is the weekly Ford spot that looks like a music video.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, April 19, 2008

how 'bout a monster for breakfast

The rain today made it feel right to stay in my pajamas and plop down in front of the TV with a bowl of cereal. The only difference from childhood was that my bowl now contained exactly ¾ cup of Kashi GOLEAN instead of something with marbits. And that I was watching EWTN instead of Saturday morning cartoons. I had another childhood flashback last week when I saw a box of Quisp at Dollar General.

After finishing breakfast, I clicked around the Internet for a while. Coincidentally I found more cereal reminders. First I saw a funny movie poster that wonders what it would be like if they made a live-action film about Count Chocula. Then I saw an older Count at an imaginary cereal mascot reunion.

Last Halloween Jimmy Kimmel dressed as the Count while t
he rest of his on-camera staff dressed as other cereal icons. Together they looked like Chris Burney's arm. A couple of years earlier my friend Bean wore a Count Chocula costume to the KROQ Halloween party.

Before last Tuesday's Einstein Simplified show, Dave Snow and I thought of a new twist for the "Race for Coffee" game. Instead of sending someone across the street for coffee during a guessing game, we can send them to the Knoxville Pearl for a bowl of cereal and milk. I visited the place when it first opened and saw the images of the General Mills cereal monsters painted on the wall.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ballroom brawl

Adam Carolla got some good news last night. He wasn't the first celebrity booted from the current season of "Dancing With the Stars." Although the judges gave him a low score, enough viewers voted to keep him on for another week. I suspect that more than a few of those votes came from fans of his dancing partner Julianne Hough, but it still counts.

I have some remorse about the way Adam and I first met. He was trying to get his foot in the door at KROQ while it was my job to try and keep the door shut. KROQ is constantly bombarded with people who want to get on the air. Every day the music director is asked to consider dozens of songs by both new and established artists. The Kevin & Bean show hears from people wanting airtime for their movie, TV show, book, restaurant or any type of event you can imagine. As one of the gatekeepers, I had to help keep the show from getting overrun.

Jimmy Kimmel
and I were both up for the morning show producer job at KROQ. I got the job and Jimmy was hired a couple of months later as our comedy writer. He developed an on-air character as Jimmy the Sports Guy and eventually got into a comedic dispute with another morning show regular. Michael the Maintenance Man and a KROQ van driver would go out to a different neighborhood each morning to give away prizes to listeners. Somehow Jimmy and Michael had a disagreement that they decided to settle with a boxing match. After it was announced, I got several messages from a guy named Ace offering to coach one of the fighters. Ace is Adam Carolla's nickname. I kept having to put him off until we could have a morning show meeting and figure out how we were going to proceed. Adam had experience as a boxer and as a carpenter and as a cast member at the Acme Comedy Theatre. Thanks to his talent and persistence, Adam became Jimmy's boxing coach. It was the beginning of their beautiful friendship.

The fight between Jimmy and Michael came to be known as the "Bleeda in Reseda." I booked some celebrity judges including Pat O'Brien and John Wayne Bobbitt. At the time, O'Brien refused to pose in a group photo with Bobbitt so as not to harm his reputation. Bobbitt shocked me by knowing who I was from my days at WAVA and from his days in Manassas before he became famous as a news story.

Boxing and Adam are back together again in his new movie, "The Hammer." it was recommended by both Not Siskel and Not Ebert on a recent edition of "At the Movies." I hope it plays at the Downtown West, otherwise I'll have to wait for the DVD.

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

hope your day is snappy

The rule of three compels me to write about "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" today. The show, which was a childhood favorite of mine, turned up on my pop culture radar three times in the past few days. Jimmy Kimmel celebrated the 40th anniversary of the classic PBS program with some of his famous Unnecessary Censorship.

Then I saw a news story that Speedy Deliveryman Mr. McFeely is on YouTube urging us to wear a sweater on March 20 because it would have been Fred Rogers' 80th birthday. Mr. McFeely is played by David Newell, another of the people I interviewed for "Where Are They Wednesday?" on the oldies station. Did you know that McFeely was actually Fred Rogers' middle name? It was also the last name of his grandfather. TV's Mr. McFeely says we can send photos or videos of ourselves wearing sweaters via email (the speediest delivery) to

I saw yet another reminder of Mister Rogers while shopping at Food City. They're having a sweater drive that ends this Friday. David Newell was in Knoxville last month to promote it. I missed him on "Live at Five" but thanks to the Internet, I can still see the interview.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

of ice and men

The two most interesting stories from Oscar night had nothing to do with the awards themselves. One happened before and one after.

On Sunday night I mentioned that I was looking to see Stuart Weitzman's million dollar shoes on the red carpet. It's become an annual tradition for him to adorn a pair with diamonds and let an actress or nominee wear them to the ceremony. Diablo Cody was fitted for the shoes but decided at the last minute that wearing them would ruin her street cred or something. I think it backfired on her. She looks more foolish now than if she had just worn the pumps. Maybe she'll offer a better explanation in her next Entertainment Weekly column. I cannot believe that a pop culture maven like Diablo never heard about the million dollar shoes. I've known about them for at least six years.

On Monday morning, a couple of the entertainment blogs and I were all about Jimmy Kimmel's star-studded music video with his new pal Ben Affleck. It aired on his post-Oscar special, which will be repeated Friday night. The rest of the world caught up last night and today. There are great articles about the making of the clip in the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, People and on

On the same day that Jimmy's show is the most talked-about late-night program, Bill Carter writes in the New York Times that ABC is interested in hiring Jay Leno. Boo! Carter says that if ABC landed Leno, he would replace "Nightline." I guess that means Jimmy could be pushed to 12:30. Boo! Fortunately there are a couple of other deep-pocketed suitors also interested in hiring Jay when his NBC contract expires in January 2010. There is also enough time for "Jimmy Kimmel Live" to continue gaining momentum and to solidify its place in the late-night lineup. By the time all is said and done, Carter will have enough material for a sequel to his book "The Late Shift."

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, February 25, 2008

egos checked at the door

As soon as the news leaked out that Jimmy Kimmel had booked Ben Affleck on his post-Oscar show, we could all guess that they would do a response to Sarah Silverman's hugely popular Matt Damon video. However nobody could have predicted exactly how fantastic Jimmy's Ben Affleck video turned out to be. It's the talk of the entertainment blogosphere this morning on sites like Best Week Ever and Pop Candy.

The best place to find clips of "Jimmy Kimmel Live" is on visiontellie2's YouTube page. He/she/they make it easy to see the whole progression of the Matt Damon feud, the Silverman video and the Affleck response.

Not surprisingly, visiontellie2 also has the most complete list I've found of all the celebrities making cameos in the new video, even catching some that Best Week Ever missed. It makes me wonder if visiontellie2 has some inside information. In addition to Ben and Jimmy, look for Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, Joan Jett, Robin Williams, Don Cheadle, Meat Loaf, Pete Wentz, Dominic Monaghan, Macy Gray, Perry Farrell, Lance Bass, Huey Lewis, Josh Groban, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Joel Madden, Benji Madden, Dicky Barrett, Rebecca Romijn, Christina Applegate and Cameron Diaz.

When I needed help trying to post the video of Jimmy mentioning me, I wrote to visiontellie2 for advice. Better than advice, I got back a link to the video that he/she/they had uploaded for me!

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, February 21, 2008

party hat

How great is this? Jimmy Kimmel mentioned me on his show last night. It was a very pleasant surprise. If you read Saturday's post, you know that I emailed Jimmy about a funny photo in the obituary section of the Knoxville News Sentinel. He then had someone on his staff track down a copy of the paper. I figured he would use the picture but I didn't expect him to credit me. By the way, I got a spike in readership on Sunday thanks to a nice plug by Jack Lail on

I am trying to figure out how to make a YouTube clip of Jimmy's shout out to Knoxville. I don't think that I have the right software to convert the file on my TiVo to anything usable. I sent a message to visiontellie2, who posts a lot of Kimmel clips online, in the hope that he or she can help me.

As a radio guy, I know how to make an audio file off the TiVo. I had some great editing software on my old computer but I needed something for my current laptop. My friend Kathy (of the cream-filled cupcakes) sent me a link to a free program called Audacity. I downloaded it today and it worked great when recording and editing this mp3 file of Jimmy's comments:

The best way to actually see Jimmy display the News Sentinel is via the streaming video on Go about 8 minutes and 20 seconds into the second segment of the February 20th show.

Hearing my town talked about on late night television is something I was involved in once before. You might also want to read about the time David Letterman said hi to Washington.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, February 16, 2008

coed naked bar hopping?

Okay, here's what happened. On Thursday, one of my co-workers asked if I had seen the obituaries. I had not but there was a copy of the News Sentinel within reach. By coincidence, Terry Morrow, the paper's television columnist, was visiting. We opened the paper and saw the photo my co-worker had noticed. It showed a now-deceased man during happier times. He's wearing a hat that says "Coed Naked Bar Hopping."

Like anyone else would, we laughed about it. Our conversation was not on the air. I knew from past experience that my boss doesn't like me to joke about local deaths on the radio. I told Terry that someone in another market might be able to have fun with it even if I couldn't. We all know that comedy equals tragedy plus time. Sometimes comedy also equals tragedy plus distance. Because Terry and I both know Jimmy Kimmel, we thought it would be a good idea to send the obit to him.

When I got home, I dashed off a fast email to Jimmy. I complimented him on the Matt Damon video and sent a link to the death notice. His one-word reply was "Hilarious!" Quick tangent: I can't wait to see the next volley in the Kimmel/Damon "feud" which reportedly includes Ben Affleck.

Anyway, as I was scanning the Knoxville Blog Network tonight, I saw a link to a post titled "Knoxville on Jimmy Kimmel Live!" As soon as I clicked, I saw the man in the CNBH hat on "The Sunsphere Is Not a Wigshop." The writer explains:
a friend of mine that is a production assistant on the jimmy kimmel live show called me and told me i was the only knoxville connection that anyone on the crew had and they needed a copy of thursday's knoxville news-sentinel.
He spent $30 to FedEx the newspaper to California and says it may turn up on Tuesday night's show (Mondays are usually reruns). Jimmy must have known I would be too cheap to spend the money.

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, January 31, 2008

please, please, please don't go away

The TV in our living room stayed tuned to WATE all evening for "Lost" and the new show that followed. "Eli Stone" was pretty good and worth watching again next week. One of the stars is Natasha Henstridge, who first became famous in the movie "Species." I remember when she visited KLOS to promote "Species II." As I recall, she was pregnant at the time. A few months before I started my blog, I saw Natasha at the 2005 "American Idol" finale party. I would have liked to have had my picture taken with her but the opportunity didn't present itself. Instead I took a picture of Natasha posing with a fellow partygoer because she looked a bit like my Aunt Kitty McArdle. Not Natasha, the other lady. I've been hanging on to the picture all this time in case I ever had reason to write about either Natasha or Aunt Kitty even though she wasn't really a relative but a close family friend.

The 11 o'clock news on WATE had another story about the unusual advertising campaign for "Lost." My grandmother will probably be interested to know that Knoxville has one of only a very few Oceanic Air billboards. Maybe the placement of that billboard means Sawyer is one of the "Oceanic Six." I'll have to ask Grandma if she started watching "Lost" again. She had thought about giving up the show when it became too much about the Others.

Speaking of WATE, I will miss their noon newscast. Terry Morrow reports that the station will drop the broadcast after tomorrow. I was one of the people who watched it almost every day. Other stations owned by the same company have been canceling newscasts and making staff cutbacks. I was glad to see in Terry's report that Lori Tucker is staying put.

There's still one more show on WATE for me tonight. I will record "Jimmy Kimmel Live," as I always do and watch it later. Tonight he celebrates five years on the air. Happy anniversary Jimmy!

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, January 10, 2008

oodles of noodles

Unlike some viewers, I am not suffering from "TiVorexia" because of the writers strike. There are still plenty of shows for me to watch on my assorted DVRs. Here's my advice for those people with nothing to watch: lower your standards. I've started recording some movies on HBO, Cinemax and Starz now that they are broadcast in HD. I haven't watched them yet because I haven't run out of regular shows.

In addition to a backlog of shows like "Smallville" and "Reaper" recorded this fall, I can once again choose to watch every new "Jimmy Kimmel Live" show. The other night Jay Thomas was the guest. I will always be thankful to Jay for casting me as an extra on one episode of his sitcom, "Love & War." He started the segment by saying that he and Jimmy had never met before. It was a little surreal for me. I mean it's not everyday that you see co-workers from two different jobs having a conversation on national television about a third person you know. I worked with Jay at KPWR and with Jimmy at KROQ. Most of the segment centered on Jay's story about going "noodling" for catfish in Oklahoma with my friend Rodney Lee Conover. Rodney now works with Jay at Sirius and also worked at KPWR when I was there.

Jimmy got Jay to name all the cities where he had worked in radio. Knoxville was on the list. I either didn't know or had forgotten that Jay passed through here. I knew that Mark Thompson, a co-worker of mine from KLOS, had Knoxville on his résumé. I think Mark was on the air at WRJZ. Anybody know what station Jay Thomas was on? Sounds like a good question for Knoxville Radio History 101.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, January 06, 2008

drummers drumming

Merry Christmas, still. Today is the feast of the Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas. I once interviewed the Armenian Comedian on this day. He wore a grungy Santa suit to celebrate Armenian Christmas. If you never saw him on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," please watch the clip on YouTube.

A few years back I was traveling on Epiphany weekend and went to Mass at St. Mark Catholic Church in Vienna, Virginia. After Mass everyone went over to the parish hall to see a display of nativity scenes brought in by parishioners. Their creche exhibit is an annual event worth copying at local churches. I think they may have served cookies too.

The other day I heard somebody on ABC News mention a USA Today story about retailers promoting Three Kings Day as a way of extending the holiday shopping season. Stores such as Wal-Mart are using the holiday to appeal to Latino customers.

Since we're still celebrating Christmas, here are a couple of pictures I took last week in the West Hills neighborhood. Both of these were winners in a mailbox decorating contest.

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Grendel's mom has got it goin' on

The family that lived next door to my boyhood home in Crestwood had a cat named Beowulf. That ancient memory came to light when my son said he wanted to see the new movie "Beowulf" to get some extra credit for his English class.

The film is available in regular or 3D. Even though it cost extra, we opted for the 3D version. The 3D technology comes from a company called RealD. Entertainment Weekly said that the glasses they give you are more like the sunglasses Tom Cruise wore in "Risky Business" than the old school paper framed red and blue glasses. I thought they were a little less Tom Cruise and a little more Drew Carey.

The last two previews before the feature were also in 3D. One was for "Coraline." The other was for a remake of "Journey to the Center of the Earth." Once you commit to a 3D screening, you have to keep the glasses on. Without them, the picture is blurry.

The characters are created with motion capture computer animation. The technology has improved a lot since it was used in "The Polar Express." The faces move realistically but, as my wife pointed out, the eyes still seem lifeless. I thought the movie got better as it went along, mostly because I didn't care for the way they designed Grendel. His speech, provided by Crispin Glover, was hard to decipher. The movie builds up to a spectacular fight scene between Beowulf and a dragon.

If the movie had come out a few weeks earlier, Jimmy Kimmel could have dressed his father in chain mail and included him in this year's "Half and Half Halloween Pageant." Mr. Kimmel would be perfect as Beowulf Blitzer.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button