Tag Archives: Keith Olbermann

It’s Been Real

Sure, the event coincides with the availability of a new 6-disc DVD called The Ernie Kovacs Collection which hits the shelves on April 19. But paying tribute to one of television’s true pioneers is always a good thing, so I have no problem spreading the word.

On April 12th, Keith Olbermann will moderate a panel discussion that will focus on the impact Ernie Kovacs has had on television and on specific creators, long after his death in a car accident in 1962. The program will incorporate a wide range of Kovacs’ work in its original form and some repackaged to address specific themes. 

Most of these shows, which have never been screened since their original airings, have been newly transferred from original 16mm kinescopes and curated by noted film/television historian Ben Model. Much of Kovacs’ works have been archived at the Paley Center since his widow Edie Adams delivered original kinescopes and tapes dating back to the 1970s.

Model will participate on the panel at The Paley Center along with comedian and Kovacs fan Joel Hodgson,(Mystery Science Theater 3000), humorist-comedian-writer Robert Smigel, Laugh In creator George Schlatter, and Jolene Brand, a Kovacs cast member on his ABC specials.

Video: The Aesop Broadcasting Company (Weekend Update, prostrate thyself and pay homage!)

Ernie Kovacs transformed television’s early era with offbeat humor, sight gags and lunacy that had not been seen before. Scholars have remarked that Kovacs understood the impact and possibilities of television before many of his contemporaries. In fact, Kovacs is credited with shaping the medium’s visual possibilities rather than simply putting a picture to a popular radio show. Pretty much any television host or program with a taste for the absurd can be traced back to Kovacs, from Monty Python, SNL and Pee Wee’s Playhouse to late night hosts like Carson, Letterman and Ferguson.

As Kovacs said. “nothing in moderation“.

Click here for more information about the event.

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T.G.I.F. – Ten Tips For Sanity

Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” (JFK)

You’d probably guess that I’m not a staunch right-wing Republican, but if you have me pegged as a radical left-leaning Democrat you’d be just as wrong. I’ve been an Independent since the age of 18, and while that prevents me from voting in the primaries for the two major parties, it hasn’t stopped both of them from peppering my phone, my email, and my daily life with a flood of nonsensical negative advertising. Really, people – is anyone swayed by these ridiculous scare tactics? If anything it makes me want to avoid the booth on Election Day…but I suspect that’s just what they want.

How sad is it that the only rational bi-partisan discussions of the issues are occurring on a comedy channel? And how ironic is it that the most trusted newsman in America – a title long held by Walter Cronkite – is now Jon Stewart…who is not a newsman?

While I’m no hardcore conspiracy theorist, I do believe that corporations have become more powerful than countries, for they are single-minded beasts focused upon their own survival and they will eat their young to accomplish this. And yes, in a world where money doesn’t talk – it screams – I firmly believe that there are many movers and shakers perfectly content to keep us fat, drunk and happy in front of our televisions and game consoles. The literacy rate in America is frighteningly low, and the isolation of our people through the very technology that was supposed to make our lives better is absolutely terrifying. And there are many who will feed on that weakness to instill fear and panic. And yes, they will eat us if we let them.

I’m amazed at how brazen some of our political crooks have been, and almost as shocked at how dim-witted some of our most popular political wanna-bes are. The job of President has changed from trusted leader to blame victim, where the rocks fly at the pedestal before the winner is even sworn in. I don’t believe that George Bush was an evil man, just a guy in way over his head who was being controlled by more sinister people on the background. And no, Obama is not the Anti-Christ, just a guy trying to solve a dozen crippling problems at once with a lack of support and not enough time. Our problems didn’t appear overnight, and it will take a while to rectify them.

But there is Fox News, spouting hyperbole through the mouths of con artists like Limbaugh and Beck and religious zealots like Hannity. And on the other side, Olbermann and Maddow swat down their foolishness with the same slanted logic and carefully chosen arguments, just from the other side of the coin. Both Fox and MSNBC trot out a legion of experts and analysts who are simply echoing the party lines, and this madness is just escalated to that much more white noise when elections draw near.

Enough!

If you made it this far, you can read and think, and that’s a lot more credit than you are getting from the panic media. So as we approach this important mid-term election, I encourage you to do just that – read and think – and make up your own mind. Refuse to honor these negative ads. Look at a candidate’s statements and accomplishments. Challenge blanket bullshit statements like “I will cut taxes” and “I will create jobs” – ask how! And then when you get in that booth, enjoy that freedom that our forefathers fought so hard to attain.

Tomorrow is the Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear at the Mall in Washington DC. Maybe there’s one final chance for people to stop listening to the fringe maniacs and realize what we already know – most of us are sane, logical, caring people who love our country and way of life and are tired of being lied to and taken for granted. Whether you learned the lesson 234 years ago or you learned it this decade, remember that we stand together or we perish.

Here are Ten Tasteful Themes for your rally signs…don’t fall for those political Jedi mind tricks!

Let’s keep the scares limited to Halloween where they belong.


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The Teabag Party

Maybe the way to defeat a stupid idea is with a stupider idea.

That’s what the Tea Party seems like to me. Hey, I’m no fan of lame politicians who get free lifetime health care benefits yet can’t seem to understand that affordable healthcare for the rest of us is an important issue. Or the radio zealots who twist and turn everything into an urgent problem because that’s what gets ratings and lines their pockets. I’m an Independent; I think the function of the Republican and Democrat parties has devolved to the point where they exist just to battle each other. Both have forgotten who they work for – you and me.

So the premise of flushing out lazy incumbents is a good one, but unfortunately the Tea Party is not ambivalent in their cause; they’re simply focused upon a hardcore right-wing agenda. These are the people who think Ronald Reagan was the greatest President in American history rather than an emasculated B-movie actor who consulted psychics but succeeded only because he was an actor who could read the cue cards.  (The Republicans apparently forgot the value of this gimmick in recent years.)

I just can’t believe so many people take the drivel they’re given and follow it like sheep. But no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American Public.

America has a long legacy of brilliant, inventive women leaders, yet the first female presidential candidate might be one of the most ill-informed pinheads ever to walk the Earth. And I’m not sure what’s more frightening – the fact that she could actually win or that a large percentage of the population doesn’t realize that she is as dumb as a rock when it comes to foreign policy, economics, world culture or any critical issue facing our country.

So if I’m going to wallow in political hysteria, at least I’m going to get some laughs out of it. Enter Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who (along with a staff or crack writers and performers) probably bring more sanity to the whole damned thing despite the comedy than Glenn Beck or Keith Olbermann do with their passionate yet slanted perspectives.

So I’m going to side with what I will refer to as the Teabag Party. See you on October 30th in Washington DC! If all else fails, and we don’t restore sanity to the masses, at least the day after the rally is Halloween. Then we’ll have two reasons to have the shit scared out of us.

And as for America and the elections? We’ll get what we deserve. To paraphrase Tiny Tim…”God help us, every one“.

Jon Stewart’s Rally To Restore Sanity

Stephen Colbert’s  March To Keep Fear Alive

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