Day: May 3, 2010

Politico digs up Leno’s recycled Tonight Show monologue jokes for WHCD: Scandal or not?

When you have a very big, high-profile gig coming up, you want to practice your routines and hone them so they'll really pop when it's showtime. You'll likely want to show off your best new material, or the best of your old stuff. That's how most stand-up comedians prepare for a TV set. Not Jay Leno. Leno famously still continues to perform stand-up in addition to his Tonight Show duties. So what to make of the news that Politico dug up — apparently either a slow day in politics or because they're on Team Coco — finding out that Leno barely brought anything new or special to the dais as the paid headliner for the White House Correspondents Dinner. Sure, Leno got upstaged by President Barack Obama, whom we learned hired writers from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to craft custom zingers for him. But to see that Leno didn't even put the same amount of professional delivery into his old Tonight Show monologue jokes the second time around? That's just embarrassing. But is it scandalous? Watching Leno look down and have such a difficult time reading jokes he already had delivered, it looks more pathetic than anything else. It's like he didn't even try. He had the president, the nation's press corps and A-list celebrities all with their eyes on him. And he just went through the...

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Tribeca Talks: Will Forte, Kenan Thompson on “MacGruber” and writing their own SNL sketches

Running around the city, but here's a brief glimpse inside the panel discussion that followed Sunday's Tribeca Film Festival screening of Saturday Night, James Franco's documentary look behind the scenes of a week in the life of SNL. Dave Karger of Entertainment Weekly wondered if cast members had a grand plan in developing a new character for the show, and the panelists — Will Forte, Kenan Thompson and Jenny Slate — said no. Slate said she just hopes to make her fellow cast members laugh at the table read, and that her first recurring character as a rookie (Teena Teena Cheneuse) came about in one of those late-night writing sessions when her original sketch (which did feature a broken doorbell) wasn't going so well. Thompson agreed that he merely hoped to be funny, rather than hoping that a character would take off and become a regular. When Karger turned his attention to Forte, he wondered about how a character can take off and become a movie, as Forte's MacGruber will do later this month. That led to this discussion between Forte and Thompson, not just about MacGruber, but also about the importance of writing your own sketches. Roll the clip (with my apologies for not getting a better spot for audio/visual quality control...

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