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October 6, 2015


Here's what it's like to write for David Letterman

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 3rd 2009 8:31PM
Bill Scheft has been writing for David Letterman for years (as well as being a novelist), and in the video below, he gives a behind the scenes look at what it's like to write for the show, including how much input Letterman has, what he's looking for, and what jokes you shouldn't do. I wonder who wrote the Sarah Palin joke? (You can see Scheft most nights standing on the stage off to the right.)

[via TV Tattle]

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Craig Ferguson on why everything sucks

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 23rd 2009 2:29PM
I'll give Craig Ferguson credit, he really is doing monologues in a different way. This clip from the opening of Tuesday night's show isn't your typical joked-filled opening, it's more of an essay. Ferguson talks about why everything sucks, and it has to do with you damn kids.

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Inside the Tonight Show control room during the opening and monologue

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 17th 2009 6:34PM
I love seeing behind the scenes footage of what goes on during the production and taping of a TV show. Aaron Bleyaert, who does the Tonight Show blog, took a camera to the control room of the show to show us what goes on in there during the opening of the show and the monologue.

Hey, someone should make a TV show about the behind the scenes goings-on at a late night variety show. Oh wait...

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Craig Ferguson says farewell to Michael Jackson

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 8th 2009 8:05PM
Last night, Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson talked about the death of Michael Jackson, specifically about going to a Michael Jackson concert years ago. This clip gives a good example of what Ferguson's monologues are like, if you've never seen them before. He also inadvertently comes up with a great idea for a new MTV reality show, Surprise The Skank With A Camera. (Jackson part starts around 2:16).

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Leno tries out some new jokes for his new show

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 1st 2009 4:41PM
We're still not sure what The Jay Leno Show is going to be, exactly. From all of the clips we've seen and the hints that Jay and NBC have given, it looks like it's going to be more monologue/comedy sketch-driven than The Tonight Show., though with many of the same elements ("Headlines," etc). Leno is going to comedy clubs (as he always does) and trying out some new jokes, which are actually quite good. (Both clips start out the same but they are different... the second is after the jump.)

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You knew someone would joke about Jackson's death (and you kinda knew it would be Kimmel)

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 26th 2009 12:25PM
I was on Twitter all night last night, and there were actually a lot of Michael Jackson jokes mixed in with the tributes and the breaking news tweets. I was wondering if the late night talk shows would either talk about Jackson passing away or if they'd make a joke about it or both. I especially wondered about Jimmy Kimmel, because he has not only made a ton of jokes about Jackson in the past (as they all did), but he actually had correspondent Jake go out to events like the Jackson trial and act like a nut. Here's Kimmel's monologue from last night.

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Point/Counterpoint: Letterman's joke about the Palins was just that

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jun 16th 2009 2:01PM
Sarah Palin and David Letterman A lot of dissecting and exploratory surgery has been done on the jokes that David Letterman made about the Palin family. Even after Dave apologized and Palin accepted, people still want to perform a comedy autopsy to figure out what Dave's intent was and why Palin was so vocal in her reaction to it.

The problem is it's an unnecessary surgery and it fails to attack the root of the problem while the real cancer spreads like a California wildfire. E.B. White once said about such procedures that, "Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it." The only reason this frog hasn't died is because someone wants to keep it alive and no one has dared to touch the heart.

This is the side I will debate in the never-ending Letterman vs. Palin "Joke-gate" controversy while our very own John Scott Lewinski will offer a rebuttal later in the day that a public figure's children should always be off-limits.

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Jay Leno is going to be on TV every single night this summer

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 10th 2009 12:26PM
LenoAre you ready for Jay Leno's new show? NBC is going to make sure you are.

The network is starting to air little snippets of Leno every night at 10. They've already started, and soon they won't be just quick hits they'll actually be small hints of the monologue that Leno will do on the show every night. NBC wants viewers to get used to Leno being on at 10PM now.

Is having Leno on at 10pm this summer a good thing?
It's a great idea - people will get used to seeing him245 (24.0%)
It's a bad idea - I want a breather before his show starts110 (10.8%)
I don't care I'm not going to watch the show anyway664 (65.2%)

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NBC airing first episode of SNL as a Carlin tribute - VIDEO

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 25th 2008 12:45PM
Geroge Carlin on the 1st ep of SNLOf the many achievements George Carlin had in his long career, one that gets underplayed a bit is that he was the guest host on the first-ever episode of Saturday Night Live -- then called NBC's Saturday Night, thanks to Howard Cosell -- in 1975. Not a bad choice, I'd have to say; since the "Not Ready for Prime Time Players" were only a part of that first episode (there was a lot of music and odd Muppets about ... the show took some time to find itself), they needed Carlin to carry a lot of the comedic load. And that he did, giving the audience a number of his best routines from that time period.

As a tribute to the recently-deceased comedy legend, NBC will air the entire premiere episode of SNL this Saturday night. For those who have never seen the premiere before (it's on a DVD set of the complete first season), it'll be interesting to see how different the first episode is from the SNL format they know and hate-love today. I'll be DVRing it; will you?

To give you a taste, the opening monologue -- an early version of Carlin's classic "Baseball and Football" routine -- is after the jump.

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WGA not happy at all with Leno

by Anna Johns, posted Jan 6th 2008 3:42PM
jay lenoJay Leno is in trouble with the WGA. When he returned to late night television on Wednesday, he told his audience that he wrote the jokes for his monologue and that he wasn't relying on "scabs" to do his writing. It was a proud proclamation on his part, but it turns out that he was still violating the rules of the WGA strike. As a member of the WGA, he's not allowed to write. The WGA has met with Leno and let him know he broke the rules, and now the guild is trying to determine whether Leno needs to be punished.

Other late night hosts like Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Kimmel returned without writers and obviously without any sort of scripts. Conan spent a good part of last week spinning his wedding ring on his desk. David Letterman and Craig Ferguson also returned last week, but they have writers because Worldwide Pants, which produces both shows, came to an agreement with the WGA.

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Craig Ferguson's monologue is back to normal tonight

by Anna Johns, posted Jul 16th 2007 7:18PM
craig fergusonAngry fans have quite a bit of power over CBS these days. The network tried a little experiment last week with Craig Ferguson's talk show, and it ended up failing miserably. Fans probably noticed that at about 3 minutes into the show, Craig and Co. broke for a commercial. The commercial break forced Ferguson to pause in the middle of his monologue for a word from sponsors and then resume his routine afterwards.

I want to know who on earth thought this was a good idea in the first place? It sounds like some money-grubbing accountant's idea... not someone who actually watches late night television. Amazingly, Craig agreed to the experiment. Fans got pissed off and inundated his show with angry e-mails, forcing an end to the I-coulda-told-you-it-was-a-bad-idea experiment. Now that it's kapput, Ferguson says "I will never do it again. It is over."

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What it's like to be John Hodgman

by Anna Johns, posted Apr 11th 2007 2:19PM
john hodgmanThere was a great piece on last week's episode of This American Life (the radio version) by John Hodgman about how television has changed his life. John Hodgman is, as many of you know, a regular contributor on The Daily Show and also plays "P.C." in those popular Mac ads.

His monologue on This American Life was about suddenly becoming recognized when he's at Radio Shack or at the airport and not knowing how to respond to the stupid things people say to him. For example, the employee at Radio Shack was just shocked that Hodgman would be shopping at Radio Shack in Greenfield, Connecticut! Hodgman lays out all his star struck encounters in his typical Hodgman style, making the things we all do and take for granted sound just plain stupid. I highly recommend listening, it's the first "chapter" and you can listen for free on iTunes for the next week. It can also be streamed at This American Life's official website.

BTW, that episode also had an interesting interview at the very beginning with an astronaut who talks about how much she loves Battlestar Galactica, and also how The Borg figured out the ultimate spaceship.

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Jay Leno's monologue now on iTunes

by Anna Johns, posted Jun 6th 2006 9:41AM
jay lenoIf you can't stay up late enough to watch Leno (and you actually like him), iTunes is your new best friend. Starting today, NBC will offer clips from the previous night's episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. That means Jay's full monologue and comedy sketches (like JayWalking and Headlines) will be available for $1.99. You can also get a season pass-type-deal and get 20 of Leno's monologues a month for $9.99.

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