Monday, September 24, 2012

A night of live Emmy tweeting

Highlights from my Twitter Feed last night at the Emmys going from end of the ceremony to the beginning:

Winners: Game Change, Tom Berenger; Hatfields and McCoys; Kevin Costner, Hatfields and McCoys; Julianne Moore, Game Change; Jessica Lange, American Horror Story; Director Jay Roach, Game Change

Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp

2 performances of Sarah Palin have won Emmys but I think the best Palin inpression isn't even on tv: on youtube wins

Edward Copeland@edcopeland
Actually, I'm beginning to think Romney might do Palin the best. He doesn't get voice, but captures essence.

Annie Barrett@EWAnnieBarrett

If Claire Danes and Julianne Moore stared at each other's dresses, would they go blind at the SAME TIME?

Jaime Weinman@weinmanj
I don't care how prestigious TV gets, I still think a part of Kevin Costner tells him that "Emmy winner Kevin Costner" is a come-down.

Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp21h

I'd agree w/you in TV directing or producing but he never won an acting oscar

Todd VanDerWerff@tvoti
When is Kevin Costner gonna get his own FX series with an occupational irony narrative?

Price Peterson@pricepeterson

They should just distribute Emmys with, like, a t-shirt cannon.

Alan Sepinwall@sepinwall
 For the most part people who work in TV don't watch TV, then are asked to pick what's best on TV.

[In response to a Mad Men actor won in the screenwriting category for miniseries]
Abe vanderBent@abevanderbent
Miniseries awards: the cure for the common Mad Men actor Emmy drought

Seth MacFarlane@SethMacFarlane

RT : did you just draw that up in the men's room? Behind-the-scenes // Yes but don't worry, I washed my hands.

[In response to Julianne Moore thanking director Jay Roach and his brilliance]:
Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp
Jay Roach, for those of you who dont know, directed Meet the Fockers and Austin Powers. He's hardly brilliant
Kevin McFarland@km_mcfarland
If only this was and the camera could cut away and back real quick to reveal Tom Hardy was winning this award. .

Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp
Tom Bergeron and Tom Berenger both won tonight and more importantly, I finally realized they weren't the same person

Dan Hopper@DanHopp
In Memoriam of anyone who's ever been on, or near, a television.

Sara Benincasa@SaraJBenincasa
Time to roll out The Deadies!

Sara Benincasa@SaraJBenincasa
Aww, man, Patrice.

Cory Barker@corybarker
Tom Berenger is taking it on a lot of faith that we've seen Hatfields and McCoys.  

James Poniewozik@poniewozik
Is there an ABC show whose stars have not yet presented at this thing other than SHARK TANK?

Nathaniel Rogers@nrogers
: I'm starting to admire the creativity Hollywood shucksters employ when inventing new forms of category fraud

Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp
Disliking Ryan Murphy and liking Jessica Lange's role in AHS are 2 different things

James Poniewozik@
Inclusion of MISSING in Miniseries makes me wish there really was an Emmy for Best Cancelled Series" never heard of this one

Doug Benson@DougBenson
OMG, a prostitute just passed out in my hotel room, turn on ABC right now.

Doug Benson@DougBenson
"This is the first win for Damien Lewis. Jon Hamm has still never won an Emmy." -Mean lady announcer really rubbing it in on the

Cory Barker@corybarker
It would have been amazing had the audience booed when Jessica Lange said "Ryan Murphy." " heh

Winners: Daily Show with John Stewart; Director Glenn Weiss, 65th Annual Tony Awards; Louis CK, Live at the Beacon Theater
Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp
I'm skipping the variety portion of the program, wake me up when the miniseries go back and Jessica Lange wins

James Poniewozik@poniewozik
Jon Stewart does physical comedy bit upon winning, nearly kills self. Love it.  

Sara Benincasa@SaraJBenincasa
I want to give Jon Stewart the MVP Award for doing the most amusing shit this evening.

Edward Copeland@edcopeland
Thankfully, the Emmy Awards is the only thing on TV that is ineligible.

Winners: Homeland; Damien Lewis, Homeland; Claire Danes, Homeland; Maggie Smith, Downtoan Abbey; Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad; Director Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire; Homeland's Writing Team

Todd VanDerWerff@tvoti
I am in favor of and 's KickStarter to buy Jon Hamm a used Emmy. Get on board, everyone!

Will Harris@NonStopPop
Wow! Not complaining about Damian Lewis taking the win. Cranston's great, but it's not like his mantle's devoid of Emmys

Jill Mader@jillemader
I've had countless people to tell me to start watching Homeland lately. Now the are too. Geez guys, I have a job you know. 

The Onion@TheOnion
Bryan Cranston definitely deserved another win for 'Drug People Show.'

Did the Emmys people put presenters together based on who they ship? First Poehler and CK, now Fey and Hamm...
Matthew Seitz@mattzollerseitz
At this point I kinda hope Jon Hamm never wins an Emmy for MAD MEN. It'll cement the character as supremely off-putting.

[In response to ABC letting us know that we all can tweet a certain way]
Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp
ABC is so obnoxious, stop telling me how to tweet! 

Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp
Oooohh! finally a guy who's never won before on stage!

Kevin Haley@KevinPHaley
Lt. Winters wins!!! That is what I am talking about. An Emmy to Hamm would be retroactive at this point.

Alan Sepinwall@sepinwall
And with Aaron Paul's win, it's time to watch him on "The Price Is Right" again  

Matthew Seitz@mattzollerseitz
Aaron Paul is so likable he could play a guy who slow-roasts babies and I'd still think, "He means well. There's good in him."

Todd VanDerWerff@tvoti
The best way the could improve is to have people who actually watch television vote on them.

Kevin McFarland@km_mcfarland
"Thank you so much for not killing me off!" Aaron Paul, being awesome.  

Boy it must be fun to be on a show where you thank your bosses for not killing you off

Responding to a barrage of Maggie Smith bashing:
Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp
haven't seen Downtown Abbey but maggie smith has been awesome since the 60s, come on!

Frank Conniff@FrankConniff
"Maggie Smith couldn't be here tonight because she's had an incredible career and doesn't need this shit."

Nathaniel Rogers@nathanielr
I honestly think Christina Hendricks is world class. The things she can do when scenes aren't even about her. Let alone when they are.!

Nathaniel Rogers@nathanielr
so sad for Christina Hendricks. But then this Academy thinks Jon Cryer deserves acting prizes so she's better off.

Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp
Julian Fellows = Bernard Lee (from the James Bond series) ?

Reality Shows
Winners: Amazing Race; Tom Bergeron, Dancing with the Stars

Tom "Harrison" Bergeron wins for Dancing with the "Oh my god it's full of" Stars. 

Alan Sepinwall@sepinwall
Bergeron only outlier so far RT : line about "the easiest way to win an Emmy is to have already won an Emmy" looking strong

Todd VanDerWerff@tvoti
I can never figure out what it is the Emmys value in a "reality host." So far as I can tell, it involves showing up for work.  

[Getting kind of bored]

Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp
I just gave my mom a lifetime achievement award for best awardshow watcher. If she had a twitter account, shed kill it

Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp
w/out even checking the feed, I'm guessing twitter bashing goes up 500% w/MacFarlane onscreen
[After which I saw.....:]

Les Chappell@Lesismore9o9
I was deeply hoping that microphone bit wasn't intentional and the Emmys realized no one wants to hear Seth McFarlane talk.

Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp
Julian Fellows = Bernard Lee (from the James Bond series) ?

What if Modern Family cast members did a season of Amazing Race? The Emmys would fold upon themselves."

Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp
That's a lot of amy poehler's boobs we're seeing. How is that classy?

Winners: Modern Family; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep; Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men; Julie Bowen, Modern Family; Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family; Director Steve Levitan, Modern Family; Writer Louis CK, Louie

Big Bang sketch. To watch the Emmys, you would have no idea that this is actually a wildly exciting period in history for TV comedy. 

Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp
Though there were worse choices, I'd argue Julia L-D's not Emmy worthy b/c Armando I.'s script is the real star of Veep

You SEE!!! THIS is why Amy deserves the Emmy!! That bitch is hilarious. I’m not even calling it the anymore. I wanna win the
On the best actor race:
Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp
I might like House of Lies if I knew what it was. Other than that, b/w ppl who've already won and people who play themselves, who is there to root for?

James Poniewozik@poniewozik
"This is crazy!" --Jon Cryer
": Oh gross. Now I wish Modern Family had picked someone for the leading actor category."my thoughts exactly

So, who else should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actress? Sing out, Followers!
In response:
cheryl hines, suburgatory; anna chlumsky , veep, those 2 worthy subs

lara cohen@Larakate
every time they say modern family i'm just going to pretend they're saying parks and rec. cc:

Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp
": My only wish is that "The Breaking Bad Show" had been longer." Agreed!

Libby Hill@midwestspitfire
I love it that Modern Family kind of hates their audience. And now we'll throw Community fans a bone. FUCK. YOU. A. B. C.

Alan Sepinwall@sepinwall
That Louie episode was my least favorite episode in that category, but can't begrudge Louis CK for overall genius of Louie s2.

Is there any way we can vote for new Emmy voters?

Worthy Snubs for Best Supporting:
Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp
how 'bout rex lee, suburgatory, james van der beek, don't trust the b, jack mcb 30 rock, or mike omalley glee?

Orrin Konheim@okonh0wp
Happy to see Eric stonestreet win once but 2X is a bit much, especially w ed oniell and max g. in the running nice speech though
Dan Hopper@DanHopp
Who's the Lead Actor on SNL? Lorne Michaels?

Jill Mader@jillemader
Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson are my favorites on Modern Family, but I'm so tired of seeing that category dominated by one show.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

94-95 Season

This blog entry is incomplete in terms of research and polish but I wanted to put it up anyway to gague reactions
The 94-95 Season of SNL is by many accounts considered among the worst in show history. It was in this year that a well-known hit piece on the show was published in New Yorker by a writer with exclusive access to the show backstage. His piece painted a rather dreary and depressing picture of both the show and critical reception to it.

Three of the four cast members of the show who's tenure fell entirely within that season-Laura Kightlinger (in her own book), Chris Elliot (in Tom Shales' noted oral history of snl book) and Janeane Garofalo (in the press at the time and everywhere else)-remembered their experiences of being on the show negatively. The tension was so bad between Janeane Garofalo and some of the writers she had alienated that Fred Wolff and others didn't miss out on the opportunity to trash her eight years later when Tom Shales' book was published. For all I know, the fourth cast member Morwenna Banks, also had negative experiences.

It was clear there was tension on the set of the show but did that translate to a noticable drop in quality for the viewer? Other than Phil Hartman, the other departing cast members from the year before were Melanie Hutsell, Rob Schneider, Sara Silverman and Julia Sweeney which weren't tremendous losses.
If anything, the new cast was an improvement in the women's department: Janeane Garofalo might have hated her time there and been berated by the hosts but she was thrown into practically every white female role and was never less than decent in all of them. Featured player Laura Kightlinger was awkwardly tall and gangly and didn't put up much competition while Ellen Cleghorne was limited by That's called range, folks, and a lot of women and men on the show did not have her versatility: She played everything that season from a Japanese housewife on the Japanese game show sketch to a groupie of David Spade's Kato Kaelin to Hillary Clinton to a 19th century school girl in Little Women. Additionally, Laura Kightlinger showed promise as a featured player as someone with a unique personality. Her subtly depressing monologues on Weekend Update were bizarre in an entrancing way. Elsewhere, Morwenna Banks and Molly Shannon were added on midseason after a frustrated Garofalo successfully won out of her contract and took off. Banks (somewhat of a bigger deal in her native Britain) was added as a full cast member and Molly Shannon was initially featured but it did not look that way on screen. While Banks got a weekend update bit on, Shannon racked up far more air time. As for the men, the loss of Phil Hartman was clearly irreplacable and created a vaccum that got filled by Sandler and Farley. The most cited complaint about the season was that SNL was a boy's club and while one wouldn't get that sense about the show if they watched it out of order, placing it in the context of a tv viewer in 1995 would be different: in other words viewers must have been getting sick of Adam Sandler and Chris Farley. Very much like SNL started to become too Kristen Wiig-centric in the last couple of seasons. An inordinate number of sketches centered around Farley and Sandler and their frat boy humor and one can even see a sort of degredation of Sandler. Some of his better sketches like Canteen Boy and Opera Man didn't appear and Alec Baldwin's monologue even went so far as to apologize for canteen boy. The Hartman vaccum was also filled in by Michael McKean in terms of impressions. McKean took over Clinton but because he didn't do as much with it, Clinton was used less frequently. McKean who had joined the cast midseason one year prior, was in his mid-40's when he joined the show and having already boasted a part in his own tv series two decades prior (Laverne and Shirley), McKean was from a different generation. Although a capable actor, he never seemed like a guy who could steal a scene or make a sketch memorable solely through his performance. Kevin Nealon, in his ninth and final season, might have been a better choice to fill in some of McKean's airtime as he had just relinquished the Weekend Update desk to Norm McDonald. Another cast member who joined this season (and one of the five who lasted to the 1995-1996 season) , Mark McKinney, made his name on another show and became better remembered for his work outside of SNL. A memorable sketch, in which McKinney was being punked by Chris Elliott in a cyber chat room (hard to believe they existed in 1994) , had a definite Kids in the Hall sensibility.
The season also took what was one of the first events to spark 24-7 news coverage, the OJ Simpson trial, and ran with it. Nine different sketches parodying the OJ trial appeared this season and they were more creative, in my opinion, than the average political sketch. The show also used the trial as a springboard for everything from a Jonnny Carson impression from Dana Carvey and a love story between Judge Ito and Mona Lisa Vito from My Cousin Vinny the week Marisa Tomei hosted.
At the end of the season, nine of the fourteen cast members would leave under varying circumstances:
  • The decision to let Farley and Sandler go came from above Lorne's head but it was quite possibly better for the show that way.
  • Chris Elliot, a very unhappy camper, begged to get out of his contract (his daughter would join the cast in 2009, survive rocky cast changes in the shadow of Kristen Wiig, and would eventually quit 3 1/2 seasons in).
  • Michael McKean was amnestied
  • Kevin Nealon set a new record for longevity with nine seasons and retired to pursue new projects
  • Jay Mohr got a few more sketches on then the previous season but felt underappreciated and the contract negotiations that summer would wear him out to the point where he decided to walk away. Whether he would have survived is something that has been debated. It probably didn't help that, in a moment of desperation, he stole a sketch idea from a stand-up comedian who sued the show
  • Laura Kightlinger wasn't particularly happy on the show so its fair to assume that negotiations for 95-96 weren't even discussed by her agents
  • Morwenna Banks, as previously mentioned, was almost invisible on the show and didn't have much of a future although I'm not sure if she left or was let go.
  • Similarly, I have no idea what the circumstances of Ellen Cleghorne's departure were.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Glee starts a new season

Glee is a show that invites the viewer to celebrate the here and now of the show without thinking too hard about how that specific episode ties coherently into any other episode. The list of "headscratchers" (or plot holes) listed under Glee on is immense. One would figure that the majority of Glee viewers have decided that the best way to enjoy the show is not to take it at face value.

But to become invested enough into the show that you're at the "never want to miss an episode" level, you have to understand that the show does have an internal logic that simply doesn't exist in normal space or time.

The show's about the rush of school from the perspective of a student caught up in the whirlwind of it. When you're in high school, popularity often feels like the be-all-end-all goal of your experience.
You might go through high school without ever getting slushied, but the (admittedly, often exxagerated) fear that you'll get picked on for not being in the in-crowd is often very real and almost universal.

It's true that there might be a lot of colleges out there and viewers thought it was silly that Kurt and Rachel thought their life was over if they didn't get into NYADA and Finn didn't think he'd be able to go to college as if FAFSA didn't exist. But to a high school kid who doesn't know any better, getting into your first choice college choice seems like the most important thing in the world.

Glee's decision to continue the characters past high school could be seen as a cheap and easy way out. In fact, a quick glance at this past summer's entertainment news confirms that keeping Kurt and Rachel on the show was the cheap and easy way out. At the same time, the decision to keep Kurt and Rachel makes complete sense from the aforementioned point of view.  I'd even argue that there'd be less truth to a high school show that graduated its seniors and released them from the cast.

Again, high school experiences are highly varied but anyone who had a relatively good high school experience knows that high school doesn't end when you graduate. A part of you stays there for quite a while and there's often an internal struggle between how much to keep in touch with old friends verse making new ones. In that vein, everyone who goes back to homecoming freshman weekend feels like Kurt did when Sue Sylvester commented on how pathetic he was for sticking around.

So while there wasn't anything notably outside my expectations with this week's Rachel subplot -- which can be condensed to Rachel finds New York is tougher than she thought -- the general sentiment of her arc felt true to the show. Not to mention, the show hit these themes very nicely with Kurt.

As for Kate Hudson, it's kind of nice that the part of resident bitch/foil has shifted away from Sue Sylvester but because she doesn't have that tongue-in-cheek delivery or funny dialogue, its kind of a waste.

As for things back at McKinley, the Glee club lost Finn, Kurt, Quinn, Puck, Rachel, Sanatana, Chang, and Rory. Of the remainder, Artie and Tina have never been particularly interesting, Sam's "I'm secretly poor" angle has run its course; and Brittany and Blaine become less interesting with the loss of Santana and Kurt. In this sense, the episode's theme about who to replace Rachel is apt because it doesn't seem like a lot of star power is left.

Fortunately, the newcomers look promising on the whole. I'm disappointed to see the poor angle played again with Marlee but the lunch lady plot was fairly effective and the actress plays the part in a very eager and genuine way which works for me.

Several aspects of Wade's plot were troublesome to me. First off, his desire to be a drag queen seems incompatible with transferring to a public high school: Wasn't Dalton the paragon of tolerance and McKinley its antithesis? It's also worth pointing out that cross-dressing is not allowed in most school dress codes. More to the point, the transformation of Wade to Unique was more ideal to a multi-episode arc. His desire to dress as a woman was insignificant and just plain weird because the why of it wasn't explained and (admittedly, I did likely miss the episode(s) where Wade debuted) and its hard to get invested in the struggle if it is surmounted within the first episode. It also does a great disservice to the LGBT movement because it's a missed opportunity to explain why someone his age would cross-dress.

The character of Jake Puckerman (Jacob Artist) is a little different than his half-brother Noah: Although they both had difficulty with authority, one's an underachiever, the other's an overachiever, and I appreciate that distinction. I also should note that I read no preview of any kind for the episode and did not see that plot twist coming.

Elsewhere, there's a new bitchier version of Quinn that will pick up the venom as Sue softens up. Although Kitty seems like a flat character and will probably remain so, her addition could be the show's saving grace.

Personally, I stopped watching Glee somewhere in the back 9 of last season. I started cringing as Quinn and Rachel became besties, Sue resolved to help the Glee Club, and Karofsky revealed his crush on Kurt. It was essentially the equivalent of the group high five at the end of a Saved by the Bell episode where the kids all learned a lesson and everyone's friends again. To give the closing episodes of a three year arc a joyous tone wasn't necessarily a bad idea, but this tone was stretched out over several episodes which took away from the drama.

In short, throwing in a new foil and having the Glee club fall from grace is what the show needed. Sue was getting too soft and even this show should have a limit over how many times they can revert Sue to her original grouchy form before believability is strained. I'm not sure if this new cast of characters can provide the necessary character drama to make Glee work this season, but it's a welcome change and a good start.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Eleven things I learned from reading Adam West's memoirs

This is what I learned from reading Adam West's book "Back to the Batcave" from 1994:

1. Adam West still defends his work in the original show to this very day, despite the fact that many adults look back at it and see it as melodramatic drivel. He says that Batman was slightly over-the-top but that it was less ridiculous than the comics of the time. He also did not like the use of the word "campy" and did not know what camp meant when reporters suggested it to him. He preferred the word "pop art" and likened the "pow"s and "oomphs" that would appear on screen to Andy Warholesque touches. He maintains that the light-hearted and fun version of the times was exactly what the public needed because it was a very stressful era and tumultuous time. He said that a serious version of a superhero comic would have failed, and he cites the fact that the Green Hornet only lasted one season as evidence of that. Most importantly, Batman would have been cancelled if it weren't for the popularity of the TV show. The sales on the comic were rapidly declining and DC Comics told Bob Kane to hang up his pen at the time.

2. At the same time, West was also slightly delusional. When it was time to reinvent Batman for the movies, West thought that Tim Burton made a mistake by not casting him, despite the fact that he was well into middle-age and the 1966 TV Batman was way behind the times.

3. Adam West also claims to be a serious actor who actually did research and devoted energy into making his part believable. This is particularly surprising because it looks like West was either a guy who didn't try very hard or a very poor actor whose overdelivery of the dialogue made the show hard to take seriously. But Adam West's overacting was all very calculated and came after months (not hours, I repeat, but months) of thinking about how he'd approach this character and came up with a list of 6 constants that Batman should have.

4. Despite rumors that Adam West was seducing costars left and right, West claims that he had mostly professional relationships with the costars because he didn't want to endanger the show. He said some of them like Julie Newmar were incredibly tempting and it was INCREDIBLY difficult for him to maintain professionalism on the set by Newmar, in particular. The book is rather vague about whether Newmar and West actually did do anything illicit. He does claim to have had a very active sex life having been approached with groupies everywhere who made it all incredibly easy for him. He dated Lana Wood, however, and it also sounds like he lightly dated Natalie Wood. He unsuccessfully pursued Jill St John (guest star from the very first episode). St. John and him are still good friends. Throughout the show, he still pined for his ex-wife with whom he shared kids.

5. Adam West claims life post-Batman was highly depressing because he could not get any work. It took him years to escape the clout of Batman. He was offered the part of James Bond and turned it down because he felt the role should have gone to an Englishman. This takes a great deal of integrity considering how desperate one might be for work.

6. Adam West enjoyed meeting a lot of great actors on set. He was good friends with the Riddler's Frank Gorshin. They went to an orgy once where they started acting in character just for kicks and got thrown out (what's the procedure for being throwing someone out of an orgy? Do you not get your parking validated or something?). He also really admired the worklike ethic of Meredith Burgess and Cesar Romero. He especially enjoyed meeting George Saunders (Mr. Freeze #1), Vincent Price (Egghead), Cliff Robertson (Shame) and Maurice Evans (The Puzzler, poor man's Riddler).

7. He did not enjoy Otto Preminger who played Mr. Freeze and his costars universally agreed. He hit on every woman on the set while simultaneously treating them like dirt. He also bossed everyone around as though he were the director when the show already had that part filled.

8. Many of the great actors who appeared on Batman didn't feel like it was dumbing themselves down to appear on the show. Classically-trained actors like Meredith Burgess, Cesar Romero, Maurie Evans (The Puzzler), David Wayne (Mad Hatter), George Saunders (Mr. Freze), Shelly Winters (Ma Parker), Cliff Robertson (Shame), and Vincent Price (Egghead) enjoyed being part of pop culture and gaining larger exposure and they also enjoyed taking a break from serious acting rules to be animated and comical.

9. Burt Ward (aka Robin) was kind of a brat. He insisted on being the last to leave his tstart at one point which led to a war of attrition between him and Adam West. He started out the show married but succumbed to the temptation of all the groupies and his marraige fell apart. He once came close to being beaten up by Bruce Lee during the Green Hornet crossover

10. Adam West had a few different careers before acting. He was a pilot in Hawaii and led airtours with a partner who later got him into acting on a kid's TV show with a chimp as his costar. He also met his wife in Hawaii- a Tahitian named Nga (short for Ngatokoruaimatauaia) and had kids with her. Despite his wild sex life, he still pined for Nga and was holding out for reconciliation with her

11. West was pretty uncomfortable in that outfit and that cowel restricted his lateral movement pretty intensely

Seven things I learned from reading Tracy Morgan's book

1)  Good thing there's probably some sort of statute of limitations on drug busts because Tracy Morgan flat-out admits to spending his youth dealing drugs (weed later followed by crack) for a living. In fact, I'd even say this book has educational value: I learned things about the illicit drug trade (particularly Bronx circa the late 1980's) that I never knew before reading this book. Tracy Morgan said that he liked drug dealing because it gave him opportunities to talk to people and even try out his comedy routines.

I'd imagine that crackheads would be too zoned out to appreciate a good stand-up routine and first-time buyers would be too nervous to be bombarded with a stand-up routine in a shady parking lot drop-off. The more I think about it, in fact, the more suicidally insane it would seem to use your job dealing in a shady parking lot in the Bronx as a platform to hone your comedic skills. If I had known Tracy Morgan at the time, I would have fervently advised him NOT to mix stand-up comedy with drug dealing.

2) Tonally, the book is very interesting in that Tracy Morgan likes to drop the f-bomb a lot and write as though he's speaking in a streetwise (I thought for a good 6 or 7 minutes about what adjective I wanted to use here and still feel like I failed) manner. At the same time, he's clearly picked up a lot from his environment. When he discusses the experience of being on TV shows,  he displays a fairly intellegent grasp of the vocabulary used by people in the TV industry. Additionally, when he's talking about writing comedy or the nature of comedy in general, he sounds very intelligent and clearly knows what he's doing. Other times, he makes really good use of metaphors: "My life growing up was like a twisted Bronx Tale version of The Color Purple." The odd effect of this mix of styles is that when he transitions from talking about a sketch he performed on SNL to something else, it looks as though he lapsed into illiteracy.

3) Tracy Morgan officially confirms the longstanding rumors that he and Tina Fey are BFF's. Tina Fey and Morgan had a strong bond since joining SNL at roughly the same time and notes that he was the first person to be called to be on the show preceding even Alec Baldwin's

Taking advice from one of his comedic idols Richard Pryor, Tracy Morgan believed that everything in his life should be used as comedic fodder. He gave Tina Fey carte blanche to use everything she knew about him for show material and believes that the character of Tracy Jordan was successful largely because he was based on a real person's body of experiences.

4) The after-after-after party cold open from the Season 1 episode "The Source Awards" was based on a wild night on SNL when Tracy Morgan got Tina Fey, Horatio Sanz, and Rachel Dratch among others to ditch the traditional after party and go to what sounds like the shadiest nightclub you've ever heard of. Tina encountered far wilder things than a clingy Wayne Brady that night.

5) If you're looking for dirt on other SNL members, Tracy Morgan reserves exactly two lines of his book to diss two former cast members in a disconcertingly vague way:
"All I have to say about that is, where's Chris Katan now? Where's Cheri Oteri now? That b***h can't even get arrested"
I'm going to go out and say it: This was highly irresponsible of Tracy Morgan. It's highly vague whether Katan and Oteri were actually mean to him or whether he's singling them out becuase they didn't go on to much fame. If Katan and Oteri were legitimately deserving of this, that's fine, but he doesn't go on to say much more, and either way, it's kicking two people when they're down.

In the meantime, the media picked up pretty heavily on that line of the book, with the end result that Oteri and Katan were dragged into the news cycle (Huffington Post,, TV Guide, USA TodayEntertainment Weekly  the AV Club, and the grand mecca of all entertainment news: the Tampa Bay Times) because they were a-holes to Tracy Morgan. Imagine how their agents must have felt that virtually the only publicity those guys got after leaving Saturday Night Live is a vague line in Tracy Morgan's book about how they might be complete jerks. Even if they APPEARED to be jerks to Tracy Morgan, it's highly possible that they were just dealing with their own issues and might have been misunderstood. It's well-documented, after all, that SNL's hectic schedule is conducive to bringing out the worst in people. [Ed. note: apparently, in the reading of the audiobook a few months later, Tracy Morgan went off-script and elaborated a little more on Oteri and Kattan]

6) Tracy Morgan doesn't discriminate between his friends. He has "friends who are black, white, purple, gay, straight, Martian, yellow, old, and young." I'm glad his circle of friends extends to 25% of the solar system. In all seriousness, I love this line because Morgan has a persona that is batshit-crazy enough that I could see him literally believing in Martians.

7) It's entirely possible that Tracy Morgan is unaware of the existence of  Tim Meadows (as well as Dean Edwards and Jerry Minjor). Throughout his book, Morgan refers to himself as the show's only black castmember.
[Ed. note: In a later interview, Morgan clarified he doesn't have any animosity towards Tim but the two rarely interacted because they were from different eras and Tim had so much seniority when he came in]