Sunday, November 24, 2013
**Classic Nickelodeon Alert** ~ Bill Cosby from “Picture Pages”
This is both an alert and my Classic Nickelodeon Wednesday article on Sunday for two reasons. 1) This special will air tonight on Comedy Central and 2) Since Thanksgiving is this Thursday it might be a good idea to take this week off so that everyone can enjoy the holiday with friends and family and not have to worry about posting unless they just feel like it.
I hope that you enjoy this article as I did. I didn’t write it but since it masterfully captures the spirit of this special I thought it only fitting to post it as is. Enjoy.
Bill Cosby Is As You Remember Him in Far From Finished
By Matt Zoller Seitz | 11/17/2013 at 8:15 PM
The Comedy Central program Far From Finished is being advertised as Bill Cosby’s first full-length stand-up special in three decades, but he only stands up once, not including his entry and exit. This isn’t an age thing or a laziness thing; it’s a style thing. Cosby has been a sit-down comic for three decades, and this matches his M.O. perfectly. The sight of America’s funny-cranky dad in a chair has always sent the not too subliminal signal that you’re in for an evening of stories, as opposed to jokes, so you might as well settle in (or settle down). Cosby looks his age here, absolutely, and that means that his brand of humor no longer seems amusingly incongruous. For most of his career, he was an old fogey trapped in a younger man’s body, waving a cigar and gabbing about the good old days while mostly avoiding politics, drugs, profanity, and other mainstays of post-sixties stand-up. He still has that beguiling mix of conversational smoothness and vaudevillian overreaction that made him a star in the sixties and led to TV shows (I Spy, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, The Cosby Show), feature films (Uptown Saturday Night, Let’s Do It Again), and countless ads (he was a pitchman for Ford, Del Monte, Jell-O, and Texas Instruments and earned a place in Madison Avenue infamy by helping to launch New Coke). His much-imitated facial tics—the tilted head, popped eyes, incredulously pursed lips—have never seemed more natural than they do here. They’re the gestural tools of a blustering grandfather or uncle, somebody who’s here to tell it like it is and is a good enough storyteller that he knows you’ll keep listening even as you wonder what the point is. But even when Cosby is going big, he goes big in a small way. When overeager fans try to “help” him with his Comedy Central performance, he rolls his eyes heavenward, like Grandpa telling the grandkids that he’s not as helpless as they think—that, in fact, he’s still in charge, damn it.
Far From Finished isn’t an instant classic on the order of Bill Cosby: Himself or his stand-up albums Revenge, Why Is There Air?, and Wonderfulness. It’s more like a pencil sketch by a master painter or a late film by Woody Allen or Clint Eastwood: Which is to say that it’s Old Man Art and that a big part of its pleasure comes from seeing how economically the artist expresses himself and how intuitively he reads and manipulates the room.
Cosby’s material has a long white beard. It’s mostly bossy-wife-henpecked-husband material, the sort of thing you’d see on a mediocre domestic sitcom or in a quasi-Neanderthal newspaper strip such as “The Lockhorns.” But for a comic who was born in 1937 and always fetishized the Ozzie-and-Harriet model of domestic bliss, Cosby mines this material with subtlety. He’s the unreliable narrator of his own fiction. He gets big laughs portraying himself as a beleaguered, emasculated old man, utterly dominated by his wife, Camille (who, Cosby repeatedly points out, is not his “best friend,” although society requires him to say that she is). But by his own admission, he’s a mediocre mate, forgetful and lazy and a poor listener. In Cosby’s narrative, marriage is about trading pride for comfort; when he resists his wife’s orders or endures her needling, it’s often because he knows she’s right but has just enough male ego to refrain from rolling over too quickly. The special is filled with metaphors of gamesmanship. Fencing is invoked more than once. Ditto chess: “The queen moves anywhere she wants, picking off people,” Cosby says at one point, “and what happens to the king? He’s moving one square!”
Cosby’s great innovation was to reject setup-punch-line rhythms and align stand-up with good old-fashioned yarn-spinning. Other comedians got there first (notably Lenny Bruce onstage and Bob Newhart on vinyl), and Cosby had a few near contemporaries who equaled his inventiveness, including Richard Pryor and George Carlin, but there was something quietly daring about his approach, which swapped the “Keep it moving!” ethos for “Relax, we’ll get there eventually.”
“200 M.P.H.” is the greatest example of this attitude: a 23-minute routine about a new car that takes up a whole side of the 1968 album of the same name. Far From Finished has three comparably protracted examples of slow-burn humor, including a bit in which Cosby gets up in the middle of the night, triggers the security system in his house, has a Newhart-worthy phone conversation with a security-company agent who won’t deactivate the alarm until Cosby tells her his “code name,” and confidently insists that he doesn’t have one. The fact that you can see where the routine is headed doesn’t lessen its payoff; like the rest of Far From Finished, it reminds us of the wellspring of Cosby’s career: his knack for intimate, laid-back stand-up. And it might make us mourn all the stand-up specials he didn’t tape because he was too busy revolutionizing the sitcom, making a mint as a commercial pitchman, stinking up the big screen with Leonard Part 6, lecturing young people on the virtues of pulling their pants up, getting caught in various hypocrisies that belied his self-styled Father of the Century image, and otherwise making us forget about his greatness as a storyteller. We shouldn’t. Far From Finished reminds us why.
Far From Finished: Bill Cosby. Comedy Central. November 23 at 7 p.m. and again on November 24 at 6 p.m. Central Standard Time.
*This article originally appeared in the November 25, 2013 issue of New York Magazine.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Classic Nickelodeon Wednesday – on ThursdayNickelodeon's Marc Summers + 30 Creators, Stars, Writers + More
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
**My apologies, I meant to post this after church last night and I totally forgot.**
After watching a video that Andy posted in my “A New Beginning for Classic Nickelodeon” group I stumbled on this video that was made during the launch of “Slimed: An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age” by Matthew Klickstein.
Brought to you by 92nd Street Y and hosted by Marc Summers and Matthew Klickstein this almost three hour videos features a rotating panel of Classic Nickelodeon starts, writers, creators and more dish on the inside stories of some of favorite shows.
“Nickelodeon's Marc Summers + 30 Creators, Stars, Writers + More”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfrq7ZDy6co
Published on Oct 2, 2013
“Double Dare we say it—a Nickelodeon celebration? Network executives and creative staff who helped create the foundation of the entire channel will also be joining us to explain exactly how Nick happened at all!
Nickelodeon icon Marc Summers—with creators, stars, writers, producers and musicians from such classic 80s/90s Nick shows as "You Can't Do That on Television," "Double Dare," "Salute Your Shorts," "The Ren & Stimpy Show," "Doug," "The Adventures of Pete and Pete," "Clarissa Explains It All," "Nick Arcade," "Welcome Freshmen," "Wild & Crazy Kids" and "Hey Dude." Many of these guests haven't been together since these shows aired. Bringing it all together is master-of-ceremonies Mathew Klickstein, author of Slimed: An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age.”
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Classic Nick Wed. – Bambi Meets Godzilla
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
For those of you who grew up watching Nickelodeon in the very early 1980’s you may remember “Bambi Meets Godzilla” from a number of different airings. At times it was shown in between programs, it was also seen on Livewire’s festival of short films and again on Turkey Television. But no matter where you saw this short film you will remember it as you watch it from the link provided.
First created in 1969 Marv Newland Bambi Meets Godzilla was listed as #38 in the book The 50 Greatest Cartoons in 1994.
Originally scheduled as a live-action film Newland abandoned the idea when he lost an essential magic hour shot and settled for an animation version instead.
When we first meet Bambi he is peacefully grazing in a small patch of grass as “Call to the Dairy Cows” from Rossini's opera William Tell (1829) plays in the background. As the credits scroll by he hasn’t a care in the world until he looks up to see Godzilla's foot coming down, crushing him with The Beatles' "A Day in the Life" played at half-speed. After a moment, the closing credits scroll over the image of Godzilla's foot. At the very end, Godzilla's claws twitch once.
Screenings & DistributionThis cartoon prefaced Godzilla 1985 on some VHS releases. Two sequels were later made without Newland's involvement: Son of Bambi Meets Godzilla and Bambi's Revenge, giving Godzilla a hot foot.
Directed by – Marv NewlandProduced by – Marv Newland
Written by – Marv Newland
Cinematography – Marv Newland