Carson and Barnes Circus, in the 1960s

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Memo to Leno: How to Sharpen & Save Your New Show


Dear Jay:

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

5 comments:

arlee bird said...

Here's another one. I don't know if it would boost ratings in general, but I sure would watch more. How bout some variety acts? This used to be a staple on entertainment variety shows. We need another Ed Sullivan Show. Even Johnny Carson used to have a good juggler or magician or the like now and then. It doesn't always have to be about music and comedy.
Lee

Showbiz David said...

superb, arlee. it could also juice up the pace.

Amy Shmamy said...

I agree whole heartedly Dave! Personally I have always been more of a Conan fan, but Jay needs to get more inventive if he wants to stay in the game.
Amy Scott
PS. One of the local radio hosts up here writes jokes for Jay.

Showbiz David said...

Hi, Amy. So you are one of the Conan fans. I tried him several times a few years ago, but was left numbingly unamused. I just didn't get it. Maybe I am Conan dead?

Amy Shmamy said...

David,
Don't feel bad about being "Conan dead" as you put it. Feel blessed you actually got to experience Johnny Carson, better than both of them from what episodes I have seen. I fell in love with Conan when we went to Florida and the timezones were all funky and he used to have this bit where he would pull a lever and a random scene of Walker Texas Ranger would come on. Quite funny. Conan is also not afraid of looking looking like a complete goober on television. His physical comedy reminds me more of the great comedians of the past. I just believe you got to do more than deliver a punch line.
Amy