Thank you, ladies and germs…

Most people who go into what we call ‘this business of show’ are narcissistic, drunken, bitter bastards–  and those are the people who succeed.  In fact, everything ever needed being said about Hollywood could be succintly put in two quotes by two God-like men, one living and one dead:  “Nobody knows anything,” William Goldman once said, and here’s the late, great Gonzo journalist:  “The Hollywood film business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.  There is also a negative side.”

No, not this Gonzo.

With that said, and the infighting of NBC executives and late-night hosts has been well documented, every now and then a Hollywood persona (who knows what these fracking people are like in real life?!) says something utterly idealistic.  And that happened, terrifically heartfelt, it seemed, on Coco’s last show, when the now-imbibing-whiskey-at-an-alarming-rate former host of The Tonight Show said: “Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism. For the record, it’s my least favorite quality. It doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”

The show, featuring genuinely funny appearances by Steve Carrell, Tom Hanks (Who gives better talk show than Tommy Hanks?  No one!  Please make another comedy, sir!) and Will Ferrell (if you haven’t seen the ‘Freebird’ clip, it contains more joy than Jay Leno’s life; it’s here), was everything late-night should be and often isn’t:  Hilarious bits, a free-for-all, go-for-broke, other-cliched-phrase here, an engaging guest (not just some inguene plugging Transformers 8: The Robots Are Melting!) and a big, final romp.  There was a ‘let’s put on a show!’ ethos to it that reminded me of the greatest late-night variety show of all time… The Muppet Show.

Ladies and germs, Conan O'Brien!

Yes, The Muppet Show.  It’s really behind-the-scenes late-night TV (seriously, it’s 30 Rock and Studio 60 decades before they existed) and was always fresh, funny, silly, spirited.  (If you’re ever in a sour mood, toss this in the CD player.)  And perhaps that’s because the show came from one of the least cynical minds ever to grace entertainment, Mr. Jim Henson.

Andy Richter

Jim Henson once said: “When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world.  My hope still is to leave the world a little bit better for my having been here.  It`s a wonderful life and I love it.”  But enough of this, let’s get back to cynicism:  Here’s a guy who knows something about hosting a show, Milton Berle, battling Statler and Waldorf.  At least Conan never had to deal with them.  Good luck, Coco!

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One Response to “Thank you, ladies and germs…”

  1. “The Muppet Show: Sex & Violence” « Wally's Blog Says:

    […] written before about how I first learned about comedy through the antics of ‘Pigs in Space‘ and […]

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