Today's guest contestant on the 'Not My Job' segment of the NPR quiz show Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! is Grammy-winning Hip Hop artist Big Boi. His interview with host Peter Sagal takes an unexpected turn when they talk at length about his love of animals. If there isn’t a lot of applause and laughter compared to usual, that’s because…oh, you know – it was recorded after the coronavirus broke and so there’s no audience.
One of the most iconic record album covers has brought about a couple of interesting photos that I thought wer worth passing along. This first comes in a tweet from a British TV writer --
And then, with thanks to Eric Boardman for the head's up, there's this social distancing fix --
Thanks to a heads-up from Eric Boardman, he let me know about a remarkable collection of videos on YouTube from a fellow named Don Giller. Over the decades, Giller recorded pretty much all the episodes of Late Night with David Letterman, and has uploaded about 1,200 clips, comprising full shows, individual appearances, musical numbers and collections that's he's cataloged. I have to believe they're authorized because you don't hide 1,200 video clips.
It's a remarkable archive of TV and cultural history, and I'm going to post a bunch of them. We'll see how long this goes on.
To start with, we'll go with a full show from 1984, this is their 2nd Anniversary Special, since the conglomeration not only gives a wonderful look at the show in its earliest year (after all, being the 2nd anniversary, that means all the clips come from the first season), but also provides a good idea of the talent and lunacy to come.
The NPR quiz show Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! had a seriously-impressive guest lined up for this week’s ‘Not My Job’ segment. They don’t say who, but give enough hints that makes it hilariously obvious. And yes, it would have been impressive. But no doubt because of the news these days, the guest had to cancel. So, instead, host Peter Sagal called their back-up at home – Stephen Colbert. And not surprisingly, it’s absolutely wonderful. Making it fun, too, is that Colbert plays the quiz with the same questions they had planned for their planned guest (something they’d done once before with Colbert when he filled in for another guest who cancelled that time, as well). Today, they call the game – “The Sneaker of the House.” Perhaps you can figure out who the planned guest was supposed to have been, and why that person had to cancel…
On this week’s Al Franken podcast, he dives largely back into entertainment, though with a detour to politics over health care. His guest is Jimmy Kimmel (on whose TV show Franken was a guest just the week before), and notes that the two “discuss his radio days, Jimmy Kimmel Live’s rough start, then success, bad guests, his emotional appearance after his son’s birth, and his passionate support of universal health care.”
Today's guest contestant on the 'Not My Job' segment of the NPR quiz show Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! is actor Will Arnett. His conversation with host Peter Sagal is very enjoyable as they discuss his career path that has ended up with him playing “broken” but somewhat-endearing characters. Or as he says, “As other people put it – ‘a-holes.’”
At my local grocery store yesterday, amid the hoarding, almost all varieties of soup were sold out. All except one type. There were empty shelves -- and dozens and dozens of cans of cream of mushroom soup.
What's odd is if it clearly is such an unpopular soup there, why does the store carry so much of it??
Mind you, I know that once upon a time, cream of mushroom soup was in most-every recipe in the 1950s. And I can see them selling a lot around Thanksgiving for that spinach-fried onion crisp casserole . But not being Thanksgiving (let alone Thanksgiving in the '50s...) and clearly it isn't selling now, that's what's so weird about them having SOOO much of it.
It was really funny -- empty shelf after empty shelf after empty shelf, except for all that cream of mushroom soup. People really didn't want cream of mushroom soup. Even in a hoarding panic. I mean, seriously people cleaned out ALL the cans of soup. All of it. Except the cream of mushroom soup.
I wrote about this on social media, and people were trying to come up with explanations and not all the things people really do use cream of mushroom soup for. What I tried explain was that -- whatever the reason it's the only soup still there and however many reasons there are to use it -- the only point is that it's odd. Odd that cream of mushroom soup is the only one left on the shelves, and odd that the store still stocks a soup that clearly isn't being bought like all others. (Shelf space is tremendously valuable and competitive. If a product doesn't sell enough, it's replaced.) So, that's the only point -- that it's odd. And really noticeable. And funny.
This photo doesn't even do it justice, since you can't see how far the looooong rows of empty shelves go -- empty except for the cans of cream of mushroom soup. And yes, all those cans are only cream of mushroom.
Today's guest contestant on the 'Not My Job' segment of the NPR game quiz show Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! is director Barry Sonnenfeld, whose works include Men in Black, Get Shorty and The Addams Family. His conversation with host Peter Sagal is very funny and self-effacing, saying that he learned “strength through weakness” from his mother.
As you likely know at this point, Chris Matthews retired from his show Hardball on MSNSBC. I only saw a video of his comments resigning, so I didn’t see what I was told about subsequently, Steve Kornacke's on-air reaction of sadness. I’m sure it was a very tough position for him to be in, from what was described.
Not much is known in great specifics. As far as I know, nothing that happened is “bad,” but more that he just crossed the line one too many times and too far. The issue came to a head last week when journalist Laura Bassett wrote a harsh op-ed column here in GQ. It not only put Matthews career in larger perspective, but linked to a 2017 article she wrote about an awkward and very uncomfortable experience appearing on MSNBC with an unnamed host -- who she now identifies as Matthews, and details much of what was said.
In 2016, right before I had to go on his show and talk about sexual-assault allegations against Donald Trump, Matthews looked over at me in the makeup chair next to him and said, “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?”
And apparently – from another profile of him a few years ago, as well as Ms. Bassett's – this is an issue he’s had for a long time, where women on his staff have had to sort of block him and steer him away before he makes the women guests too uncomfortable. Nothing physical, but overly squeamish. So, this seems to be an ongoing things with him – I don’t think MSNBC fires him for just being too uncomfortably “complimentary” one time only – for something that, even if it's happened a couple times with a warning, you suspend a guy for a few weeks or whatever. It seems like something they’ve discussed with him. And it comes on the heels of him having to apologize a weeks for his odd comments about the rise of Nazi Germany in relation to the Sanders campaign. So, it was probably crossing the line one too many times, too much, and it went public.
As for his on-air comments explaining his resignation, I wasn’t bowled over by them. To be fair, I don’t expect anyone to lay out their guts on the table in public. That’s their choice and up to them. So be it. Furthermore, he wasn’t apologizing, but saying that he was quitting. However, I found it nonetheless a disingenuous statement. He wasn’t retiring because, as he said, he just made some inappropriate compliments. It was clearly much more than that (from the recent complaints and the article in the past), and came right after his Nazi comment. But still, none of it was mean-spirited, none of it was to hurt, some of it probably was to compliment. But I’m sure it was way too much, offending and happened A LOT.
As some readers here may know, I’m not a fan of his. I even wrote a long article about it several years back on the Huffington Post. (What prompted it was when he had Ann Coulter on for a full hour and gave her an open platform to spew her hate.) I finally gave up watching him for a few years. Only recently did I start watching Hardball again, though only for a segment or two at most. But my not liking his work was never because I thought he was a bad guy. He clearly adores politics. It’s because for a smart guy -- which he is -- I find that he doesn’t think enough before he talks. To me, he just blurts out words. Some are really smart, but far too many need a big filter. And this unfortunately appears to be part of that. Honestly, I’m actually sorry to see him go for this reason. But I understand the reason. And I’m sure that it’s much more than what he said, some inappropriate compliments. You don’t fire a guy for that. I just sense that it’s gone on for a long time, and finally got too much.
Today's guest contestant on the 'Not My Job' segment of the NPR game quiz show Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! is Tracy Letts, of the Steppenwolf Theater company in Chicago, both an actor (this year alone he was in two films nominated for Best Picture, as Henry Ford II in Ford v. Ferrari and the book publisher in Little Women) and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright (August: Osage County). He also wrote the play Superior Donuts that the CBS sitcom was based on. Not shockingly, his conversation with host Peter Sagal covers a lot of ground and is fun and very interesting.
Robert J. Elisberg is a two-time recipient of the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. He's written for film, TV, the stage, and two best-selling novels, is a regular columnist for the Writers Guild of America and was for the Huffington Post. Among his other writing, he has a long-time column on technology (which he sometimes understands), and co-wrote a book on world travel. As a lyricist, he is a member of ASCAP, and has contributed to numerous publications.
Feedspot Badge of Honor