Thursday, December 18, 2014

Why Cosby Can't, Won't and Shouldn't Talk about the Scandal

The circus is in town. Friday night, Katie Couric unveils the contrite Stephen Collins.

And what has he gotten for it? Angry victims who don't like his apology, various people who are demanding juicier details, and fans disappointed and disgusted with him.

Who won? Couric did, and so did Collins' wife, who had leaked personal tapes made during therapy sessions. Leaking tapes is legal if it's for a good cause. Maybe? The point isn't whether Collins is guilty (proven), or whether Cosby is guilty (no convictions, one settlement).

It's the fact that in some situations, "No comment" makes the most sense, and anything else makes it worse.

According to Collins, his ex, Faye Grant, secretly recorded him during a therapy session and then sneaked the material to TMZ. Now? "I'm a human being with flaws" is not cutting it, any more than the Republican politician who is against homosexuality but got caught propositioning some guy in a men's room. On Couric's show, she pointed out that he played a Protestant minister on "7th Heaven." He dare he.

The moment you start defending yourself, in any way, you show a weakness that will be exploited till you bleed. And you better bleed vividly to the point of near-death, otherwise nobody is going to be satisfied.

What did Gloria Allred's posse scream last week? That aside from money to be pulled from his bank, Cosby's Emmy awards should be pulled from his home. Anything else? That, probably, would depend on how profoundly Cosby apologized. Does he do this to each person individually? To ones who he merely "tried to kiss," to those who thought they were drugged but weren't, etc? ETC?

Again, this isn't about whether or not there aren't women out there with a legitimate reason to be upset. It's about what the public falsely thinks the answer is: a huge mea culpa that is somehow devastating enough and degrading enough to be satisfying.

We see this in courtrooms all the time. People who've done nothing, and people who've done heinous things, both have to be brilliant actors in an apology before the judge.

In this case, Cosby's lawyers have wisely told him to just zip it. He doesn't HAVE to appear before a judge. Issuing any kind of apology is going to create more complaints, animosity and questions.

Woody Allen issued one final "I didn't do it, and I won't be discussing this ever again" in the case of Dylan Farrow. By that time, Dylan was demanding that Cate Blanchett somehow apologize for appearing in a Woody Allen film, and insisting nobody should ever work in one of his films again. Cosby's wife and one of his daughters have made breif statements insisting the Cliff Huxtable character is the real deal. Perhaps if they were hounded as much as Woody Allen, they'd have to revert to "No comment," or "I won't be discussing this ever again."

Collins' apology has only drawn ire and opened him up for more questions, and fueled the controversy. It's doubtful the Couric show will sate enough people to let him go back and earn a living. Should he be shunned and NOT allowed to earn a living? Interesting question...one of many that are only sparked and re-sparked every time the story is once again in the papers.

More interesting questions: should every song Phil Spector produced be banned from the radio? Forever? Should Mark David Chapman be banned from conjugal visits with his wife? Should Manson's marriage be prohibited? Should all of O.J. Simpson's records be given an asterisk or removed entirely from the football record books? Should the movie studios Photoshop his face out of the "Naked Gun" movies and insert...oh, the face of a football player who merely beat up his wife, was a drunk driver, or exposed himself?

One day we'll have the technology to Photoshop a movie ourselves, if we want to. Maybe the decision should be left to individuals. Is it American to demand that theaters refuse to book Cosby? Judd Apatow suggested just that...that theaters NOT book Cosby and NOT give the public a chance to decide by buying tickets or not. Apatow Tweeted yesterday that people should go see "The Interview" and defy anyone telling them what they can or can't see.

Derek Jeter mentioned the other day, that the best thing a celebrity can do to "stay out of trouble" is to say "No Comment" and "I don't know."

On this topic, I'll now only state "No Comment." How long I'll stick with that, "I don't know."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

PHUK KIEU

It's dangerous to say Phuk Kieu, and it's dangerous to KNOW Phuk Kieu.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The 24 Hour Comedy Record Marathon

Congratulations to Al Roker, for ROKERTHON!

I don't know the specifics (bathroom breaks, nap time if any) but I know how TIRING such a thing is.

Well before I wrote "Comedy On Record" and "The Goldmine Comedy Record Price Guide," I set some kind of record via "The Comedy Record Marathon." I took over the turntables at WSCR and played nothing but comedy records from 10am to 10am.

I was both the DJ and the engineer, so the longest break I could take was about 20 minutes...one side of an album. But since I didn't bring an alarm clock or a timer with me, I couldn't risk taking a break and falling asleep! So it was indeed, 24 solid hours.

Just why I thought of doing this, I have no idea. I'd never stayed up all night in my life. I just figured that if Dick Van Dyke (that sitcom episode, "The 100 Terrible Hours") wasn't punchy until the second or third day, I could survive one day.

Things went pretty well until around 9pm, when I realized I still had a half a day to go. A slight panic attack set in, as I wondered about my back-up plan. Coffee? Tea? I was never a coffee drinker. I most certainly never took ups (or downs). I hadn't even thought of asking people to bring up a lot of Pepsi (there was no Red Bull back then). So all I could do was settle in for the long, solitary hours. I'd made my bed...an upright chair in a radio station...and I'd have to sit up in it.

I think around 6am, 7am, I knew the worst was over. I had only a few hours of reel-to-reel tape, so I was conserving it by only recording myself for about 10 minutes at a time. I haven't heard the recordings in years, but I remember that my voice was very weary (this was no longer funny!) and I was a bit spaced out. "This is Ronald L. Smith, and I've been Ronald L. Smith for 20 hours now..."

I also remember trudging back to my room, lying down, and NOT being able to fall asleep. Not for a little while, anyway.

Like Al Roker, the main comment I had after it was over, was two words: "Never again!"

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Spelling is not in their vocabulary

There was an inspirational piece in the London Daily Fail, er, Mail, today.

It was about Jennifer Bricker, 27, who was born without legs. She hopes to put together a dance act, in addition to her current work as a motivational speaker.

Speaking of the handicapped, it's nice of the paper to hire one-eyed proofreaders.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

"The Big Zuckerberg" - using Facebook to "Go Viral"

"Let's make it GO VIRAL."

It's the phrase that's replaced Mickey Rooney shouting to Judy Garland, "Let's put on a PLAY!"

The idea is that you create some lame comedy piece, sing some ridiculous novelty song, or hoist some "cute" video of your pet to YouTube...and then NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK on Twitter or Facebook and magically get infected. Uh, "go viral."

Let's see. You can have 5,000 Facebook "friends," most of whom never look at your page because they just collect "friends" to have, not to read. But those 5,000 are going to...watch your video and push it to the "viral" level of 100,000? 500,000? A MILLION HITS?

Sorry, "The Big Zuckerberg" (annoying your friends on Facebook) is not going to make it. Tweeting isn't going to do it, either. Most of the YouTube videos I see don't even get 50 hits. 2,000 (which I don't think even reaches "monetization" level) is probably the average. Steal somebody's song and post it, and maybe 20,000 people will check it out, if it isn't already on Spotify.

It seems pretty naive to think "networking" will make it so. Yet every day a brief glimpse at Facebook posts yields some giddy, pie-in-the-sky post that's the equivalent of crap on my shoe:

How awfully cynical, too, that big corporations are using this ploy: "Make a commercial for us. If yours GOES VIRAL, you WIN." Win what? Well, you win the contest, that's all. It's like the Jimmy Kimmel game: "Tell your kid you ate all his candy. A thousand kids will be crying and howling in agony, but we might pick five that pout and are funny. Those five...get bragging rights."

Not that I want to crush anyone's inane dream. It goes like this:

"Let's all get together and help somebody we don't even know BECOME A STAR! Let's watch somebody's TV commercial. Bad song. Awful comedy routine."

"Hey gang, Old Blind Pew wants to be a movie critic. If enough people watch his demo review, I just know we can persuade "Entertainment Tonight" to sign him up! Come on, gang! Make it GO VIRAL!"

This is the new paradigm: reach for the brass ring by throwing your time and effort into uploading something onto YouTube. The odds are 50 million to one, but "you got to be in it to win it."

What can you do? You hit the BLOCK button. If you want to be dishonest, you say "Thanks, I'm doing it RIGHT NOW." If you say you don't appreciate blatant "networking," or point out the long odds and the waste of time involved, you'll get a torrent of abuse for being a spoilsport, a killjoy, a bastard..." all the synonyms for A REALIST.

You sure can't let 'em know: "I think it wouldn't interest anybody, outside of a small circle of friends..."