Sunday, October 04, 2009
Memo to Leno: How to Sharpen & Save Your New Show
I really want you to succeed, for two or three reasons. I love being able to watch a late night show early night. You’re a nice guy. Your opening monologue usually lands a few big zingers. And some of your other stuff (the frenetic google search bit) is very amusing, even refreshing.
Since I read today that your ratings on Thursday night last sunk to a new low (something around a 1.5, whatever that means), in a fit of charitable selfless intervention, I am sending you this list, pro bono, of the things you need to do to save your new program, the sooner the better, and spare me reverting back to our local daily Bay Area body count (aka: the 10 o'clock News):
1. Move OUT of that sprawling and flashy mall walk through of a set. At times, you look like a rejected spouse cruising a pricey boulevard for supplementary late night relief. Find yourself a smaller apartment, cozier and less flashy. Get yourself just one comfy chair, preferably a rocker or one with desk. And settle in. I don't tune in for the neon, stupid. I tune in for the talent. And that includes yours.
2. End once and for all that pandering hand-shaking opening when the audience (or audience extras) crowd around you like a flock of stricken pop star groupies. This odious ritual is gratuitously time consuming and it makes you look like one needy guy. Are you that insecure, or that determined to prove what a universally loved icon you are? We get it, icon! We really do. I don't want crowd supplication. I want solo star delivery. And I want it now.
Go right into your monologue. Are you getting my drift?
3. Okay, one more big -- or little -- thing, before another: What’s this rather lame ongoing gag between you and Kevin alluding to a secret love? Calculated pandering to a gay demographic? Problem is, the strained schtick just isn’t very funny. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell falls flat on your show.
Now, as for the material. Some of it (like that Wendy’s girl) clicks. Some doesn’t. I found the twittering orientation at the senior center delightfully inventive, though uneven. The kids toppling into the talking photo booth kept me giggling.
Sharpen and shape. Cut the chaff and go straight for the laugh. Focus and fight, guy. Now go do it!
Showbiz David / provisional twitterless 10 p.m. follower