There’s been a little discussion that it was insensitive to start the Emmys with a plane crash bit, considering the Comair crash that had occurred only hours before. I can see why they didn’t cut it - the crash is really incidental to the rest of the sketch but necessary to set up the Lost bit. (I’m sure that there was no time to shoot another bit at the same production value probably factored in as well.) It’s obvious their intentions are to parody Lost not attack a recent tragedy. I don’t think they had to cut it for that reason alone. Intentions trump an uncomfortable setup.
But perhaps the setup wasn’t necessary - could the skit have worked just as well if it began with Conan wandering out of the ocean? After all, anyone watching the Emmys probably knows how the Lost castways got there. What do you think?
Update: Well, NBC apologized. No real need to - nobody was making fun of the victims. Everybody feel better now?
I’m going to be wrapping up all the shows and events I saw in Aspen below, but I wanted to give you the winners from 2006 now:
Best Stand-up – Aziz Ansari and Mitch Fatel
Best Alternative – Kristen Schaal
Best Sketch – Whitest Kids U Know
Best One Person Show – Rick Cleveland, “My Buddy Bill”
Entertainment Weekly Breakout Award – Eliza Coupe
As you can tell, there’s a huge representation from both New York and UCB (a fact Matt Besser pointed out to me with deserved pride). Film winners after the jump.
Filed Under Awards
We’re not too far away from Oscar time now. It’s been fascinating to watch how much media coverage there’s been around Jon Stewart hosting the show this year, every question being “Are you nervous? How about now? Now are you nervous? Now? NOW?”
Jon’s handled every single one of these incredibly well but my favorite responses have been from his interview Monday with Larry King. On bombing:
“I bombed in front of, you know, a lot of different audiences. This will just be the most famous audience that I bombed in front of.”
His defense of Letterman’s stint as Oscar host was also interesting. I remember nothing of it save for the “Oprah? Uma?” bit. He points out that his follow up line, “Oh, and also I want to introduce you to my friend Keanu” killed. The memory is different from the event itself. If I remember anything of previous Oscar’s host performances, it’s only a single bite. All I can think of from Chris Rock’s appearance was his line about how few stars there are and how Jude Law is just a “popular person.” Jon, of all people, from satirizing how the media reduces the political process to a bite, knows that he can’t control which of his lines he’ll be remembered for. So his conclusion: do the show and enjoy it.
As predicted, Chris Rock won the 2006 Grammy for Comedy for his album “Never Scared”, his third after winning in ‘99 for “Bigger & Blacker” and in ‘97 for “Roll With the New”. Richard Pryor also was posthumously awarded a lifetime achievement award, which was accepted by his widow Jennifer Lee Pryor who recalled what Richard said about the honor: “It’s about fuckin’ time.” (The guy won five Grammys for albums that are sadly mostly available only in the boxed set: “And It’s Deep Too”)
I think the real winner from the Grammys might be Rick Moranis and his li’l bit country/li’l bit comedy album “Agoraphobic Cowboy”, which has seen a bit of press in his native Canada (including Ottawa Citizen and Toronto Star - What? No Backbacon Journal?). The backstory of his dropout of the entertainment industry due to his wife’s death and his subsequent discovery of this little sidepath makes for some fascinating reading. I haven’t picked this up yet, but I’m curious after reading about it. Being recognized for a lark is a wonderful thing.
Chris Rock deserves all the accolades he gets, particularly since comedy, perhaps deservedly, doesn’t have an award show of its own. I don’t think Grammy judges know what’s funny, but I’m divided about whether we need awards for comics anyway. Though it’s cool to get recognized by your peers, comedians are supposed to deflate high status but ridiculous events like winning an award for having the genetic material to make your vocal cords that vibrate just so. Roasts are the perfect comedy awards as far as I’m concerned. Do we need a comedy awards show or not?
Previously: And the Grammy Might Go To…
I imagine it’s pretty likely Chris Rock is lock for this (considering he’s won twice already and still putting out quality material ), with Larry the Cable Guy a close second. Lewis Black has an outside chance, considering the Daily Show audio companion to America the book won last year. I’m a little surprised Dane Cook’s Retaliation, with it being the biggest comedy album in years sales-wise, didn’t make it. Of course, Dane lives in a strange fame forcefield - a number of blog posts I read about his recent hosting of SNL started with “I’ve never heard of him, but…” And of course, it’d be a bit more interesting to see something a bit more experimental and independent on the list, like The Absurd Nightclub Comedy of Eugene Mirman or Todd Barry’s Falling Off the Bone. I know, I know. It rains puppies and gumdrops in my chocolate Shangri-La!
Any favorites in this group? Anything else that should have been nominated instead? Comment below.
The 2005 Emerging Comic of New York Award nominations have been set and are now open for voting. If you lust after a particular downtown comic, this is the best way to get their attention, outside of a balloon bouquet sent to their temp job. Vote now!
On Blogging Sundance, Jason Calacanis wonders if there should not be a separate award at the Sundance Film Festival for Comedy, citing that funny films just can’t compete against films that are “socially important.”
I’m of two minds on this. I can see the value of having an award… comedy is far too often overlooked, not just for awards, but as something that does contribute to society in valuable ways. Having a separate award would certainly give some well-deserved attention on people not grinding out ha-ha films for Hollywood. And it could start creating a higher standard for film comedy, which tends far to often to rely on premises that are only sketch-thin.
But I dislike putting comedy aside, like it’s something incapable of reaching the heights of a dramatic film. It can and has (see “Doctor Strangelove”). Look at how powerful late night monologues have come about defining our political leaders, traits that were broadly stroked by Johnny Carson have become pinpointedly defined by Jon Stewart. There’s no reason why film comedy can’t be as effective in defining our times.
I’m also well aware that a reason why comedy can reach people better is that they’re guard is down. They aren’t expecting something good for you… something “socially important.” Let dramatists beat people over the heads with “points” and receive the accolades. Far better to be ignored and have the ideas sink in the back way.