Title Card Tales: Mike Royce’s Snowpants Productions
End cards or “vanity cards” as they are known derisively/accurately, are those logos and nonsense that flash at the end of TV shows for two seconds. To be accurate, this year it was cut from 2 seconds to 1 ½ seconds. I don’t know why the studio needed that extra half second but I assume they sold it to Bud Light somehow.
Generally a vanity card is a perk afforded the creator(s) of the show and/or some of the executive producers. Most of the time it’s the same logo over and over but some people change it up. My old boss Phil Rosenthal’s “Where’s Lunch” featured a different meal at the end of every episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. Chuck Lorre is well-known for squeezing entire short stories onto his.
I first got to have my own vanity card on HBO's Lucky Louie, AKA the show that Louis C.K. did before the one that won all the awards. Around that time my dad digitized all his old Kodachrome slides, and I found a lot of the images hilarious and some of them made me cry. I cry easily so that’s just sort of a side note. Fuck you? Anyway it made me decide to make my end card a different old photo each episode. My friend Bill Rapp lovingly did the graphics. And here they all are for you Mike Royce completists out there AKA “Mike Royce.”
Sometimes the picture is tied thematically to the episode but not always. The first four photos rotated through all of Lucky Louie and the first four episodes of Men of a Certain Age. My production company name comes from the fact that “snowpants” is the punchline to the first joke I did onstage that ever got a laugh. Some would say the only joke.
My mom walking me in the Syracuse snow -- sometime in 1967, I’m guessing. I’m not sure why everything’s kinda pink. It was the Winter of Love, man!
This is my sister Jennifer sitting on the hood of a car, because in 1970, you were totally allowed to drive around like that. Nowadays, of course, you have all the worrywart parents and their “car seats” and whatnot. It’s a shame.
This is my sister Katie who we adopted from Korea just a few months before this picture. So behind that smile is a girl going, “What is this cold white shit and when can I go home?”
Me and my brother. I’m on the left, displaying one of my many faces that ensured a career behind the camera.
My grandfather, around Christmas 1965. That’s a box of Old Spice in the background but I’m sure he’s wearing it IRONICALLY. (End card from Men of a Certain Age, "Powerless")
Midstate Youth Hockey Association game circa 1972, and the classic end-of-game handshake. My brother and I are on the red team, “Burdick's Sports Shop.” The handshake is a hockey tradition that says “Sorry I just got done punching you forty times.” (MOACA, “Go with the Flow”)
My other grandpa owned a clothing store for 50 years. This never translated into me knowing how to dress. (MOACA, "Father's Fraternity")
My Great Aunt Aggie and my Uncle George, late 1960s. George was a bit of a wild child and so was Aggie. She smoked three packs of cigarettes a day and her favorite drink was Coke “with a little something in it.” She lived to be 94 and she is my hero. (MOACA, "You Gonna Do That the Rest of Your Life?")
My wife’s family on the Atlantic City boardwalk in the '60s. My wife’s dad is the guy with the pipe and the weird leather jacket, her grandma is in the white fur and beehive and my wife is the girl with the lollypop. I consider this possibly the greatest photo ever taken. (MOACA, "So You Want to Be an All-Star")
I love hockey. I played ice hockey for my whole child/teenhood and I still play street hockey to this day. I also was in musicals in high school. This is why you see me on the left, about to unleash a monster slapshot while wearing my white Jesus pants from Godspell. (MOACA, "Back in the S#!t")
My brother and a bunch of neighborhood playing kickball in the street because it was 1978. (MOACA, "If I Could, I Surely Would")
This cute little girl is my wife! And now I feel creepy. (MOACA, "Same as the Old Boss")
Me flanked by my cousins Danny and Brian, 1982 or so. This is about as cute as any of us ever got. (MOACA, "Cold Calls")
My wife's mom and grandmom sometime in the early '40s. They came from Germany to Louisiana, which requires a term stronger than "culture shock." (MOACA, "The Bad Guy")
My brother, sister and I, Halloween. I'm Robin Hood, ladies. (MOACA, "...And Then the Bill Comes")
Classic Aunt Aggie. (MOACA, "Let the Sunshine In")
This is my Aunt Agnes (not to be confused with Aggie). Sometime in the late '70s she tried getting into meditation, so naturally everyone in our family made fun of her and somebody snuck this picture to goof on. Keep sending out those space signals, hippie! (MOACA, "The Great Escape")
This is one of my favorites. My grandmother in the middle, my Aunt Mary in back, great aunts around... There's something about the overall disapproval vibe that makes me understand my Catholic upbringing. (MOACA, "The Pickup")
My sister Katie, BRINGING THE WIFFLE THUNDER. (MOACA, "A League of Their Owen")
My grandparents. These are the types of gifts you put on after a few beers. (MOACA, "Can't Let That Slide")
My other grandparents and their beloved dog Rusty. Here come the waterworks! Damn it I promised myself I wouldn't do this. (MOACA season 2, "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night")
Since this was possibly (and as it turned out, definitely) the last episode of Men of a Certain Age, I wanted look to the future somehow, so here are my kids essentially giving one of the great wonders of the world the finger. (MOACA, "Hold Your Finish")
These last few are from 1600 Penn. They're square because I share the screen with Josh Gad's card.
My daughter would rather YOU NOT TAKE HER PICTURE PLEASE. (1600 Penn, "The Skiplantic Ocean")
My dad with his actual '57 Chevy, looking cool. (1600 Penn, "So You Don't Want to Dance?")
My son back when I could still beat him at chess. (1600 Penn, "Meet the Parent")
My mom in front of 30 Rock, 1964! (1600 Penn, "Frosting/Nixon")
And finally from tonight's episode "Skip the Tour." I chose this because my son looks a lot like Skip does at a certain point in the show.
Thanks for looking at all these! If you made it this far you really need to cut down on your Internet usage.
There are seven more cards ready to go this season on 1600 Penn, so don't let me down NBC! I hope you guys are watching. It always takes comedies a little time to find their rhythm, and in tonight's episode we find it quite nicely I think. So if you watched earlier episodes and hated them, I hope you check this one out. Those other episodes are dead to me!
Mike Royce is executive producer and showrunner on NBC's 1600 Penn, which airs Thursday nights at 9:30 p.m. Eastern/Pacific, 8:30 p.m. Central/Mountain, and other time zones when applicable.