Day: December 2, 2007

Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project

Just finished watching my advance copy of Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project, which debuts tonight at 8 p.m. on HBO (re-airing several Tuesday, Friday and several other times this month), and I’ve got to say, it’s great that director John Landis took the time to get this documentary done while we can still enjoy Rickles live on the road or in Vegas. If only every comedian who has lasted as long as Rickles — he’s 81 and still touring — got their proper due. They should. Thank goodness we get this look back at Rickles and his career. Landis notes up front that he first encountered Rickles when Landis was a gofer on the set of Kelly’s Heroes in the former Yugoslavia in 1969. Many people weigh in with thoughts and comments in the doc, including Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro, Richard Lewis, Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, longtime friend Bob Newhart (and you see footage of the Newharts and Rickles vacationing together over decades), Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Lawrence, Roseanne Barr, Dave Attell, Christopher Guest, Billy Crystal, Regis Philbin, Sidney Poitier, Penn Jillette, Bobby Slayton, Mario Cantone, Kathy Griffin, Ed McMahon, Jeffrey Ross, Geroge Wallace, Martin Scorsese, George Lopez, Jay Leno, Larry King, Ernest Borgnine, Carl Reiner, Debbie Reynolds, Jack Carter, Roger Corman, his wife Barbara Rickles, Joan Rivers, James Caan, Jimmy Kimmel, Keely Smith, Harry Shearer, the Smothers...

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Kathy Griffin: Straight to Hell

Some comedians get accused of not having punchlines. So what to make of Kathy Griffin? In one word: Snark. Jerry Seinfeld got and understood Griffin almost a decade ago when he included her in two episodes of his sitcom Seinfeld. She likes to mock celebrities. If you engage her, that only makes her mockery that much stronger. If you think you’re getting her into trouble, you’re only adding fuel to her comedic fire. Example A: Her Emmy acceptance speech this year, which gets put front and center in her new Bravo special, Straight to Hell. You have to hand it to her for her ability to carve out a career as a comedian who revels in her "D-list" status and uses it to maintain enough snarky commentary about celebrity encounters to film a new Bravo special every year. This is her sixth Bravo special (it reairs Monday, Dec. 3, at 9 a.m., Tuesday at 1 a.m. and 5 p.m., Dec. 8 and Dec. 13). In it, Griffin dishes about Paris Hilton, Paula Abdul, The View, Martha Stewart. It’s very Bravo-oriented. Or in another word:...

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December 2007
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