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I have long harbored the ambition to host a television talk show: a program that would subtly tweak genre conventions and breathe new life into late night TV.
The broadcast would begin with a blast of lively big band music, a small nod to Parr, Allen, Carson -- the greats. But here the traditionalism ends: rather than striding onstage to begin the show with a monologue, the camera would capture me in the regalia of a Renaissance Venetian -- plaited tunic stretching down below the knees; white linen shirt, ornamented with fine gathers and ornately embroidered; brocaded pourpoint vest; hose; high-heeled poulaine shoes; and, of course, a hat festooned with colored plumes -- the camera would capture me thus, engaged in disputation with like-costumed merchants and tradesmen in the middle of a bustling piazza. Soon my character would grow impatient with the argument; all at once, I would whip off my hat and pull from under it a giant can, emblazoned with the legend "Comedy Whup-Ass." I would then turn to the camera and say the following: "I think it's high-time I opened up a can of whup-ass on these fools!" Naturally, I'd open the can (in one fluid motion); the screen would dissolve; and THEN you'd seen me dash onstage though parted curtains, to begin the show with a little casual schtick.
I would welcome three guests each night. First out would be an A-lister (Brad Pitt, Debra Messing); next, an up-and-coming actor or novelty guest (zoo keeper, spelling bee champ); finally, a musical act. I want these musical segments to be cutting edge; I'm far more interested in "breaking" new artists than in hosting established stars. And there would be other innovations. Between guest segments, rather than trading jokes with a jovial band leader, I would trade barbs with members of the live studio audience. The comedy would be edgy, no-holds-barred, and unapologetically politically incorrect -- not your grandfather's late night gabfest. And when a guest (e.g., Pitt) came on the show to promote his latest film, I would have him set up "the clip," but rather than indulging in what is frankly shameless hucksterism, I would cut instead to a claymation reenactment of the very conversation that had just been taking place between Pitt and myself. There's an additional twist: in the claymation cartoon, the host (me) and guest star (Pitt) would be depicted not as human beings, but as animals. Also, my program wouldn't have some generic name ("The Nightly Show"); indeed, the show would have NO TITLE WHATSOEVER, and be represented in the title sequence (and in the TV Guide) by a glyph of my design.
Obviously, such a program is not Big Three Network fare, but it would make a terrific fit on one of the more adventurous cable channels -- Bravo springs to mind -- or even on the WB (because I am a Negro).
Date Written: March 15, 2004
Author: Craig Lewis
Average Vote: 3.5