But this is a TV site, so the big part of this list is the things I am thankful I can see on the rundown TV in my office that makes a horrible cranking sound when I try to play DVDs, ot downstairs when I'm not bothering anyone by trying to catch up on thirteen discs of the Steve Coogan Collection.
My Local Library
Don't laugh. I have a rule that I won't watch an episodic TV series unless I've started it from the beginning, which means I wind up missing a lot of shows everyone else is screaming praises for.
There are a lot of heartfelt stories about Richard Pryor and Mooney's own personal life, but there is a lot of fun TV trivia, as well. Mooney talks about getting forced onstage by a couple of friends to do his first solo stand-up spot in the early 60s in San Francisco. Mooney is drunk and nervous, and winds up doing the act of a comic named Ronnie Schell, who would later co-star with Jim Nabors on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Mooney admits whenever he catches the show in reruns, he feels a little guilty.
But eventually, the show evolved into a 60-minute scream fest of recurring characters spouting catchphrases over and over and celebrity satire that taught lessons about the proliferation of pop culture and ignorance. Important lessons, such as "Boy is Anna Nicole Smith dumb and fat!" and "Hey, is that Paris Hilton a whore or what?" Every episode felt like a hand was reaching out of the TV and rubbing a cheese grater across my face. Now 14 years after its inception, Fox has finally decided to pull the plug on Mad TV and let it die a slow horrible death instead of taking it out Old Yeller-style, the way God intended.
Richard Pryor, like the Marx Brothers, is one of those rare forces in comedy whose contributions to the form seem to transcend time and space. His work is just as hilarious and scathing now as it was when he first shocked audiences with frank talk about his own tumultuous life. These days, Pryor is in his mid-sixties and struggling with MS, but he claims that the disease didn't ruin his life, it saved him from what could have been an inevitable end fueled by drugs and alcohol. I hate to admit that part of me wonders how anyone would consider being near paralyzed by disease as a blessing from God, but Pryor's optimism is uplifting to say the very least.
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