This week's installment of "In other news…" examines a few mainstream media stories over the past week that took the time to cover comedy, but could have spent just a bit more time asking questions before going into print. Or, as the recently departed radio broadcaster Paul Harvey would say, it's time for…the…rest…of the story.
— The AP yesterday wrote an ode to How I Met Your Mother's love of fake Web sites, and while that's interesting and all, there's no mention of how this is becoming more widespread (The Office, SNL, 30 Rock are among others that spring to mind). More importantly than achieving network balance, though, I wish there had been an exploration into how much time, effort and money was going into creating and maintaining all of these sitcom offshoots.
— The Wrap made a big to-do a couple of Fridays ago about how comedian Frank Nicotero has been able to get millions of viewers to his most popular "Primetime in No Time" wrap-ups of TV on Yahoo! Once again, it's a nice profile piece, but again, it could have used some added perspective or sourcing. I wouldn't quite call Nicotero an Average Joe, as they did, and his show is sponsored by Verizon and pushed by Yahoo! Nothing about the What the Buck show on YouTube that really did allow a previously-unknown guy to make a living out of his house? And what about Maria Sansone, who had a daily online show on Yahoo! that has since moved over to YouTube, POPTUB (coincidentally, they just uploaded a new video this afternoon with Reggie Watts)?? POPTUB is sponsored by Pepsi; Nicotero's show by Verizon. It's not a coincidence that major corporate backing is a key to these successes. Even so, it's not a guarantee. While The Wrap was hailing Nicotero's Yahoo! show, VH1 was shuttering its popular Best Night Ever podcasts, which were boosted the profiles of up-and-coming comedians both online and via iTunes. If "Primetime in No Time" was such a great idea, why no mention of "Best Night Ever"? Hmmm.
— So some Hawaiians are unhappy about last week's SNL sketch that portrayed former Hawaiian resident Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Fred Armisen as unhappy hotel performers entertaining ungrateful tourists. Who are the unhappy people? Politicos and tourism bureaucrats who don't get satire. Even the AP story itself quotes Hawaiians who found the humor in it.
— Finally, Anne Thompson (still on Variety.com for now) notes the rise of a new site that combs through other sites to get you to free, legal streaming and downloads of feature films. But what comedies can you watch for free so far thanks to SpeedCine? Glad you asked. The list includes Bananas, The Girl Next Door, Groundhog Day, The Karate Kid (not a comedy, you say?!), A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, and Mr. Laughs: A Look Behind the Curtain. Some other gems to be found, too.