In 1993, Artwork Bell, advertising and marketing head for the fledgling Comedy Central community, commissioned an advert marketing campaign to run on New York Metropolis buses for a brand new present referred to as “Politically Incorrect,” starring comic Invoice Maher. In his earlier position as co-head of programming, Bell greenlit the present, giving Maher his huge break.
Simply after the marketing campaign debuted, Bell took a name from a clearly irate Maher, who requested him, “What the f–ok had been you considering with these bus advertisements?”
The advertisements featured politically incorrect statements on the aspect of buses directed on the passengers, akin to, “Does this man’s head look pointy to you?”
“In the event you assume that is good promoting, you then clearly don’t know what the f–ok you’re doing,” Maher stated. “I’ve made some calls, and I’m attempting to get you fired.”
Bell shares this and numerous different anecdotes in his new memoir, “Fixed Comedy: How I Began Comedy Central and Misplaced My Sense of Humor” (Ulysses Press).
Bell began interested by an all-comedy community consisting of quick, humorous clips from films and TV reveals whereas pursuing an MBA at Wharton. Whereas doing financial modeling for HBO in 1987, his dream turned actuality when he efficiently pitched the thought to CEO Michael Fuchs.
Bell named it The Comedy Channel, and HBO legal professionals negotiated with the key leisure unions for the rights to air clips.
Fuchs introduced the channel on Could 17, 1989. However two days later, Bell’s pleasure was quashed when MTV introduced their very own all-comedy community, which might function outdated sitcoms, referred to as HA! The TV Comedy Community. Then, eight weeks earlier than The Comedy Channel’s launch, the Director’s Guild rescinded their permission to make use of clips. A corporation board member balked, and it was “rumored to be Woody Allen.”
Bell’s whole technique collapsed, as they may now solely use clips that aired on HBO.
Over the following two months, Bell purchased quick movie libraries and added unique programming.
The Comedy Channel launched on November 15, 1989. Critics hated the repetitive content material, with New York Journal calling it “the largest cable flop in years.”
Whereas attempting to maintain the channel afloat, Bell additionally found the problem of coping with expertise.
Their clip present “Brief Consideration Span Theater” was hosted by comedians Patty Rosborough and Jon Stewart. Channel executives shortly realized solely considered one of them was mandatory.
“We instantly acknowledged that Jon Stewart was a standout performer and destined for larger issues,” Bell writes. “He and Patty had been cute collectively . . . however Jon was the present.”
However when Rosborough was fired, Stewart give up in solidarity. It was left to Bell to speak him down.
“You possibly can’t do that!” Stewart yelled. “You possibly can’t simply fireplace Patty with out even speaking to me about it. We’re companions, we’ve been working collectively for 3 months. If Patty goes, I’m going.”
Stewart in the end agreed to remain “. . . to be truthful to you, and my dedication to SAST.”
In the meantime, HA! launched on April Fools Day, 1990, additionally to poor opinions. Many referred to as for the networks to merge, and it was little shock when the merger was introduced round Christmas.
Comedy Central debuted on April Fools Day, 1991.
In early 1992, they employed Al Franken to mock the State of the Union speech because it occurred for a heavily-promoted particular referred to as, “The State of the Union: Undressed.”
This present turned step one towards Comedy Central growing a novel id.
The evening of the speech, Bell was on the studio watching Franken and producer Billy Kimball put together. By 7 pm, Kimball stated to Franken, “Al, you’ll want to get to make-up. We go reside in two hours.”
Franken shot Kimball a look.
“Did you simply say, ‘We go reside?’” Franken requested. “I assumed we had been taping it. No method I’m doing this reside.”
“He began strolling towards the studio door and stated to no one particularly, ‘I’m calling my supervisor,’” Bell writes.
Bell thought he was kidding, however he wasn’t, and Bell watched him go away in “confused horror.”
Laurie Zaks, the community’s VP of Expertise, hurried after Franken, and bought him to return a couple of minutes later. She by no means revealed how.
And with that, Comedy Central had its first hit.
“As I watched, I felt we had been getting into unclaimed comedy territory and planting our flag,” Bell writes. “It was our first foray into utilizing information and politics as a platform for comedy. That evening was a turning level: we found what we had been good at.”
Comedy Central coated political conventions and returned to the State of the Union. However the reside broadcast format would additionally trigger extra issues.
The 1996 version discovered Dennis Miller dealing with the comedy.
The published went easily till an hour in, when, Bell writes, Miller interrupted his commentary to inform the reside TV viewers, “I’ve to take a leak actual unhealthy.”
As soon as once more, Zaks watched, then adopted, as their host bolted out of the studio, however this time it was reside on the air.
“Oh man, the place’s the lavatory?” Miller stated on reside TV, nonetheless sporting his headset. “There’s gotta be a males’s room round right here someplace. Or a lady’s room. Maintain on. This’ll need to do.”
The sound went lifeless because the viewers at residence watched the State of the Union, unmocked, whereas, Bell writes, Miller peed right into a rubbish can within the hallway.
Miller aced the remainder of the printed, however when it ended, he “ripped off his headset, slammed it onto the desk, and stormed out of the digital camera body.”
“F–ok!” he screamed. “Oh God, what have I carried out?”
He bumped into the lads’s room, and Bell adopted to speak him down.
“Dennis was sitting on the ground between the sinks and the stalls, his again towards the wall, his head down, and his palms over his face,” Bell writes.
“What have I carried out? I simply killed my profession,” he stated.
“You had been nice on the market,” Bell stated.
“Artwork, I took a leak right into a rubbish can. On TV. In entrance of what, two, three million individuals?”
“Audio solely,” Bell replied, earlier than lastly convincing him the injury wasn’t that dire. They left, and Zaks gave Miller a comforting hug simply as a lady who labored for her ran up and stated, “Guess what? The switchboard’s lighting up like a Christmas tree — tons of individuals are calling about Dennis peeing!”
Regardless of this, the episode generated stable viewership, the opinions had been optimistic, and Miller lived to pee one other day.
But when Bell survived the debacle, outlasting leisure business politics was one other matter.
Round this time, MTV govt Doug Herzog took over Comedy Central and introduced his workers with him. Bell was fired shortly after.
He spent a number of years consulting earlier than changing into president of Court docket TV and serving to form that community’s future.
Not solely was Bell’s idea for a 24-hour comedy channel an amazing success, he additionally bought some revenge on Maher.
Whereas Maher was attempting to have Bell fired, the bus advert’s creator, Allen Kay, knowledgeable Bell that the marketing campaign was nominated for a Effie, the award for the best promoting within the business.
That yr’s Effie’s had been hosted by Invoice Maher.
As Maher learn the nominees, an image of every marketing campaign appeared on display behind him. When he learn the title of his personal present, he turned, noticed the bus marketing campaign, and stated to the group, “Now that’s promoting!”
Then he learn the winner: Korey Kay and Companions for ‘Politically Incorrect.’ ”
On the finish of the evening, Kay and Bell accepted congratulations as Maher walked by.
“From the nook of my eye I noticed Invoice strolling by way of the group towards our desk,” Bell writes. “I began to face up. When he reached our desk, Invoice seemed proper at me, nodded barely, and continued strolling with out saying a phrase.”
Bruce Springsteen’s new album, ‘Letter to You,’ is reassuring nostalgia
Bruce Springsteen’s new album, “Letter to You,” appears like a postcard from a bygone period — one lengthy earlier than texts, FaceTime and Zoom.
Launched on Friday, it would as effectively have arrived by Pony Categorical from a long time in the past.
Definitely, this can be a nostalgia journey again to a extra harmless, much less scary time with an previous pal — and his previous buddies. That might be the E Avenue Band, which, after not showing on final 12 months’s “Western Stars” LP, is again working with the Boss for the primary studio album since 2014’s “Excessive Hopes.”
Much more considerably, that is the primary time Springsteen and the E Avenue Band have recorded a whole studio album whereas enjoying all collectively since 1984’s traditional “Born in the usA.”
Little doubt, this was a household reunion in each sense. Even Clarence Clemons — who handed away in 2011 — is there, within the spirit of his nephew Jake Clemons on sax.
That heat household feeling is a well-recognized, comforting presence all through “Letter to You,” which is a sonic tonic for these troubling instances. That sense of historical past and deep-rooted connectivity from having rocked by means of the ages collectively extends to George Theiss — Springsteen’s final surviving comrade from his first band, the Castiles — whose 2018 demise impressed the brand new LP.
From the second he sings “One minute you’re right here/Subsequent minute you’re gone” on the opening observe “One Minute You’re Right here” — which serves to bridge the wistful country-folk of “Western Stars” to “Letter to You” — there’s a way of loss and longing on the coronary heart of all of it.
Gracefully confronting his personal growing old, the 71-year-old Springsteen instantly addresses being the “Final Man Standing” from the Castiles on one of many standout songs: “Rock of ages carry me by some means/Someplace excessive and onerous and loud/Someplace deep into the guts of the gang/I’m the final man standing now.”
Regardless of the fragility of mortality in counting “the names of the lacking,” there’s a muscularity to the music with the E Avenue Band that, pre-pandemic, was clearly meant for these tunes to be taken on tour in arenas and stadiums.
“Letter to You” — which, though framed as a romantic rocker within the title observe, continues the careerlong dialog Springsteen has been having each along with his followers and his beloved band — ends with hope amidst the heartache on “I’ll See You in My Desires”: “We’ll meet and stay and chortle once more . . . For demise will not be the top.”
Alexandra Holzer on rising up in a well-known ghost looking household
Ghosts are Alexandra Holzer’s household enterprise.
That’s as a result of the fact present star is the daughter of Hans Holzer, who’s usually referred to “America’s first ghost hunter.” He even impressed Dan Aykroyd for the 1984 hit “Ghostbusters.”
Hans, who did the majority of his work within the 1960’s and ’70s, has been deceased since 2009 however wrote over 120 books on the supernatural and was concerned in investigating well-known instances corresponding to The Amityville Horror. His daughter Alexandra continues the legacy on Journey Channel’s “The Holzer Recordsdata.”
Season 2, premiering Oct. 29 at 11 p.m., follows Holzer and her paranormal staff as they revisit her father’s well-known instances. New York native Holzer, 49, talked to The Put up about what it was like rising up because the daughter of a well-known ghost hunter, “The Holzer Recordsdata,” and extra.
What’s it been like so that you can revisit your father’s work for the present?
It compelled me to get to know Dad extra intimately and see how he was working. I grew up within the surroundings of a nutritious diet of the supernatural. In order that [aspect] was nothing new for me, however to really undergo all of his archives and begin digging via the letters and handwritten notes and images and audio recordings…it’s been a very long time, he’s been gone eleven years. It was very emotional to listen to his voice.
Rising up, had been you conscious that your father’s line of labor was uncommon?
Oy vey, after I was in grade college, it was within the ‘70s and we all the time gave presents to the academics. And my mother mentioned, “Let’s wrap up a few of your father’s books.” So [the teacher] sits there and opens the presents, and he will get to mine and I begin scooting again my chair as if I need to develop into indivisible. As a result of no one at the moment thought that [the supernatural] was cool, and I wasn’t extremely popular to start with. The instructor opens up books with “ghosts” and “witches” within the title, and everybody began to have a look at me. I used to be like, ‘I’m so lifeless, I’m not coming again to highschool tomorrow!’
My buddy’s fathers went to work with fits and ties and briefcases. My father’s quasi-briefcase was crammed with tools and ghost images.
You initially didn’t pursue the household enterprise. What made you alter?
It was as a result of [ghost hunting] was continuously in my face. Once I obtained a bit older, my mom additionally went to FIT, so I mentioned, “I’ll go down that route,” as a result of I felt embarrassed. So I sort of did go away from the household enterprise, and I went to FIT for promoting design and graphics. Then, in my late 20s, I had [a supernatural experience] with my late aunt. That actually opened up the dialog with my father, and that’s how I accepted my function within the household enterprise. It’s advanced.
Are there any of your dad’s instances that you simply most loved revisiting on the present?
Service provider Home, as a result of as a New Yorker, it’s there. These are wonderful instances as a result of they’re so layered in historical past of various timelines and individuals who have died and the way they died. Service provider Home is an attractive curated mansion and museum. And that’s my stomping floor. As a local New Yorker who has additionally created her household right here like my mother and father earlier than me, I’m very proud that I’m capable of proceed the work in that subsequent technology.
I taught my son, 7, about intercourse, consent and intervals
This movie star child isn’t even within the double-digits but however he already is aware of concerning the birds and the bees.
“I’m not hiding nothing from my son. My son is aware of what a interval is,” mannequin Amber Rose, 37, stated Wednesday as a visitor on the Fb Watch present “Crimson Desk Speak.”
Rose mentioned how open she is with son Sebastian “Bash” Taylor Thomaz about her menstrual cycle. “He’ll come within the lavatory, and simply be like this,” she stated, smiling, “and be like, ‘Mommy, do you may have your interval?’” Even when she tells him she doesn’t, he’ll ask if she wants a tampon or a pad.
She doesn’t really feel like Bash — whose identify she had tattooed on her brow in February — is just too younger for her to be open concerning the matter.
“As soon as he hits 13 and the ladies in his classroom are getting their intervals and the boys are like, ‘That’s disgusting, she’s bleeding,’ he’ll be like, ‘That’s nothing … I knew that since I used to be 6 years outdated, dude; get with this system.’ ”
Rose opened up about their sincere chats to “Crimson Desk” hosts Jada Pinkett Smith, 49, her daughter, Willow Smith, 19, and her mom, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, 67, in addition to fellow episode visitor Rumer Willis, 32.
She informed them that educating her son so early about often-taboo matters has made him wanting to be taught extra. “He’s very curious now,” Rose went on.
She’s additionally been frank with Sebastian about consent with regards to touching girls’s our bodies.
“He’s like, ‘Mother, you’ve received a jiggly butt,’ and he’ll simply come behind me and jiggle my butt,” she stated, to which she responds by gently telling him, “That’s my non-public space, and also you don’t contact Mommy’s non-public space, OK?”
He understands, she stated, and he additionally will get that the identical applies to different girls — together with when he’s at dad Wiz Khalifa’s home. “His dad’s a rapper,” she stated, noting with refined shade that whereas she believes she and ex-husband Khalifa co-parent very properly, “it’s a special dynamic over there.”