There’s no reasonable explanation for why I wake up at 4 a.m., other than I usually gotta empty the bladder. But then, once that little task is over, I’m wide-awake. Often the TV will be on, usually the same channel that features The Late, Late Show with James Cordin: CBS. Which means I also watched part of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Sometimes though, I fall asleep even earlier. How do I know? Comedy Central is on.
Southpark might be on, or a stand-up show, the comedian marginally funny. I don’t know, maybe I’m just not hip, but audiences don’t laugh at comedians anymore, they applaud the funny bits, or more accurately, the bits intended to be funny.
Here’s how you can tell most stand-up isn’t as funny as it used to be: watch The Daily Show With Trevor Noah followed by The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. You’ll be laughing for the entire hour — the shows are scripted and improvisational, both use current events for their humor and both are hosted by very funny men — like their predecessors Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
Ah, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. Those were the salad days of late night television comedy. After Colbert I’d flip over to Letterman, followed by Craig Ferguson … but I digress. If you have even a marginal sense of humor, you would have been laughing out loud the entire hour.
Not just you either. The studio audiences were laughing their assses off too. In fact, Stewart and Colbert are so funny they couldn’t keep from laughing themselves. That’ was actually funnier with Colbert because he was trying to play the overly serious, conservative idiot pundit.
- Seriously, Stephen Colbert may be the funniest, most insightful comedian ever on television. On occasion, his satire skipped the humor and went directly to the point and that’s when he was at his best.
If you’re not watching that hour on Comedy Central — followed by @Midnight — every night, well, four nights a week, you’re missing the funniest and most accurate portrayal of the news on TV. I seriously jones on the weekend at 11 p.m., Friday through Sunday. Comedy Central should replay both programs throughout the weekend, just to keep us diehard fans happy.
Most of the movies they play aren’t funny. I mean, seriously, does anyone really laugh at the Police Academy movies? And then there are those movies with the cheesy soundtracks trying to sound like Beverly Hills Cop, but don’t. They just sound cheesy.
The only other consistently funny programming on Comedy Central are the roasts. Remember when “The Situation,” Michael Sorrentino. tried being funny on the roast of Donald Trump? Just watching The Situation bomb was funny. The comedians just scorched Trump, and he took it with a smile. These guys — and women — got nasty too. Things I wouldn’t even think to think, they just said out loud.
By comparison though, the Conedy Central roasters were easy on Trump. The funniest — most accurate — roast of Donald Trump didn’t take place that night. No, that happened during the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner when Seth Myers and President Obama took Trump to school. It was the time when Trump was the frontrunner in the Republican primer to the primaries, going on and on about President Obama’s birth certificate.
- Remember when Trump was a birther? The leading, most vociferous birther?
At that moment, during that correspondents dinner, we thought the best part of that roasting was watching Trump, who was in the audience, fuming at the president and Meyer. Turns out, the best thing about the president’s weekend was that he was overseeing the eventual demise of Usama bin Laden — a job with just a little more real world significance than whether it would be Meatloaf or Gary Busey getting booted from Celebrity Apprentice.
While the president was roasting Trump and his fateful decisions on Celebrity Apprentice, members of Seal Team Six were getting ready to enter Pakistan to kill the most wanted terrorist in the world. The exclamation point came the next night, Sunday, when President Obama delivered the message that bin Laden was dead.
- To all the people who insist President Bush was responsible for the raid that killed bin Laden: had the Bush Administration actually been instrumental in bin Laden’s death, he would have been killed when Bush was president.
- Bush failed.
In your effin’ face Donald Trump. Now that he is actually running for president, and losing steam and press coverage, Trump isn’t much of a birther anymore. He’s learning the fine art of avoiding the subject or backtracking when need be.
Anyway, getting back to late night television. After waking up to pee at an ungodly hour, most of what’s on in the early morning are infomercials and Morning Joe on MSNBC. Oh yeah, and that funny trio on Fox News.
Remember when the trio was Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and the blonde with the perpetual “Deer in the Headlights” look in her eyes, Gretchen Carlson. She used to be a reporter for ABC News. She and Doocy, one of her co-anchors, were made for each other. Carlson was actually offended by Kilmeade back in 2012 and walked off the set after one of his most egregious sexist remarks. As she walked away Kilmeade doubled and tripled down with the sexism.
Now Fox & Friends features Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade … [no comment].
Ah Fox News … but usually I’m not watching Fox, MSNBC or CNN.
So, one morning, on some channel (don’t know which) there was an infomercial for a male enhancement supplement. What caught my attention about this infomercial wasn’t the product, Extamax, it was the spokesperson promoting it: Dr. Victoria Zdrok. “Well who’s that,” you might be asking?
She really is a doctor of sorts, as she holds doctorates in Juris Prudence (Drexel University) and clinical psychology with a post doctorate qualification in sex therapy. Both doctorates before she was 25 and the sex therapy thing not long after. She’s also written several books about sex and hooking up, all of which have had some success. She ain’t your average dumb blonde, if such a stereotype really exists (I don’t think it does. Stupid, dumb people come with all hair colors).
Dr. Z, as she is known, first came to prominence in 1994 when she was named Playboy’s Miss October 1994. Oh yeah! Now we’re talking! Then she went into some porn movies, presumably after getting her doctorates, and became a celebrity sex therapist, becoming a Penthouse Pet of the Month and Pet of the Year along the way, all before the tender age of 30.
You might be wondering why a woman with all of that education in “respectable” occupations like the law and psychology would resort to the sex business. I don’t wonder at all, she’s made millions and has had a great time making her fortune. She’s far more famous than your average Playboy Playmate or Penthouse Pet.
Think about the truly famous Playmates over the years. None are more famous than Marilyn Monroe and Pam Anderson, but there are the other Playmates that appeared on the hit TV show, Baywatch, and Miss April 1997 Kelly Monaco, a star on the soap opera, General Hospital.
There is a list of Playmates who have gone on to fame and some fortune, but most people wouldn’t recognize them, by name or face. Jenny McCarthy was famous for a while, became obscure, then got famous again, was a co-host on The View for about 30 seconds, married a Wahlberg and is famous again for … oh yeah, she’s one of those anti-vaccination people.
Ana Nicole Smith was famous for a while, with her own reality TV show — what a trippy reality that was — and she married a very wealthy old man, got into a legal battle with his adult children — then died of an overdose.
What a sad end for Smith. It’s too bad she will be remembered for that, more than anything else. Her one remaining child is now with her biological father. Smith’s son died shortly before she passed away.
This is getting off track and far afield. I started looking up other Playmates with various levels of fame, remembering the one time I spoke to Donna D’Errico on the phone for business. She seemed pleased that I remembered her from the pages of Playboy and her days on Baywatch.
To be honest, I really didn’t watch Baywatch, and had no clue about her character. She wore one of those skimpy lifeguard suits that made the TV show an icon of American style and culture. Talking about the highlights of her career probably help seal the deal.
- If you don’t think Baywatch was an icon of American culture, remember this: it was on from 1989-2001, with a short hiatus in 1990-91. It had one of the largest worldwide fanbases ever. Of course that doesn’t mean it was a good TV show.
At any rate, my mind wanders, in very predictable directions, often at 4 a.m. in the morning. Sometimes I watch Sports Center. Remember when ESPN was known for showing sports few people watched? They had to because the network couldn’t cover any of the major sports.
Today they have all the major sports, with games from the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, college sports — they actually have sporting events now and half a dozen channels, including Español. They are downsizing at the moment, so we will be getting even more of Sports Center.
Go back to the hours and hours of billiard and darts championships, the bowling and curling coverage. Couldn’t they bring back some of that? I like Sports Center as much as the next guy, but after the third viewing I’m ready for something else.
How about martial arts tournaments? Not the MMA, but maybe Thai kickboxing tournaments, or go really old school and show national championships with teams of martial artists that compete by performing katas as well as fighting.
What can I say? It never shuts down, That’s my 4 a.m. brain. And to think all of this was inspired by the appearance of Dr. Victoria Zdrok pitching a male enhancement product. Twenty-one years after first appearing in the centerfold of Playboy, Victoria Zdrok is still enhancing,
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative college newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment issues, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the business of government and business was so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that reality.