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TOP 40 FAVORITE TV COMEDIES

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I'm going to try and get at least 10 done today, then 5 per day after that.

 

#40 is coming up shortly!

 

40. Late Night With Conan O'Brien

40. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

40. The Larry Sanders Show

40. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

40. The Dick Van Dyke Show

40. Chappelle's Show

34. Flight of the Conchords

34. Frasier

34. Entourage

31. Night Court

30. My Name Is Earl

29. Fawlty Towers

28. The Colbert Report

27. Taxi

26. The Mary Tyler Moore Show

25. I Love Lucy

24. How I Met Your Mother

24. The King of Queens

22. Friends

21. 30 Rock

20. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

19. South Park

19. The Honeymooners

17. Saturday Night Live

17. Everybody Loves Raymond

15. The Cosby Show

14. That '70s Show

13. M*A*S*H

12. Monty Python's Flying Circus

11. The Office (UK)

10. Married...With Children

9. Family Guy

9. All In The Family

7. Cheers

6. The Office (US)

5. Scrubs

4. Curb Your Enthusiasm

3. Arrested Development

2. The Simpsons

1. Seinfeld

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40. (tie) Late Night with Conan O'Brien (1993-present)

 

250px-LateNightTitleCardHD.jpg

 

(3 of 18 lists - 30 points - highest ranking #5 3E8)

 

Late Night with Conan O'Brien is an Emmy Award-winning American late-night talk show on NBC. The second incarnation of NBC's Late Night franchise, O'Brien's debuted in 1993 after previous host David Letterman moved to CBS to host the Late Show opposite The Tonight Show. The show features varied comedic material, celebrity interviews, and musical and stand-up comedy performances. Late Night airs weeknights at 12:37 a.m. Eastern / 11:37 p.m. Central in the United States.

 

O'Brien's show originated as a replacement for Late Night with David Letterman. For the first seven years of the show, Andy Richter served as O'Brien's comedy sidekick, but since then O'Brien has been the show's sole featured performer. The show's house band is The Max Weinberg 7, led by drummer Max Weinberg.

 

O'Brien is currently scheduled to leave Late Night in 2009 to replace Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.[1] On April 24, 2008, Fox News reported that Jimmy Fallon has been selected to replace O'Brien in 2009. Fallon selected Lorne Michaels, from SNL, as producer. Fallon must still select a band for the show.[2]

 

History

 

Upon Johnny Carson’s retirement from The Tonight Show in 1992, executives at NBC announced Carson's frequent guest-host Jay Leno would be Carson's replacement, and not David Letterman. NBC later said that Letterman's high ratings for Late Night was the reason they kept him where he was. Letterman was reportedly bitterly disappointed and angry at not having been given The Tonight Show job; and at Carson's advice, Letterman left NBC after eleven years on Late Night. CBS signed Letterman to host his own show opposite The Tonight Show. He moved his show over to CBS virtually unchanged, taking most of the staff, skits, and comedy formats with him. However, NBC owned the rights to the Late Night name, forcing Letterman to re-christen his show Late Show with David Letterman.

 

NBC was faced with an unexpected need to replace not just Letterman, but Late Night itself. They still owned the name, but needed to essentially build a new show from scratch. The show was first offered to Dana Carvey and Garry Shandling, who both turned it down.[3] Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels was brought in to develop the new show and auditions were held for the host. Comedians Jon Stewart, Drew Carey, and Paul Provenza auditioned.[3] Michaels had suggested to O'Brien, a then-unknown comedy writer for The Simpsons and former writer for Saturday Night Live, that he should audition for the job, which he did on April 13, 1993. His guests were Jason Alexander and Mimi Rogers.[3] O'Brien was offered the show on April 26, 1993.

 

O'Brien's Late Night was rushed into production and debuted on September 13, 1993, with Andy Richter as O'Brien's sidekick. The premiere episode featured John Goodman (who received a "First Guest" medal for his appearance), Drew Barrymore, and Tony Randall. The episode featured a cold open of O'Brien's walk to the studio with constant reminders that he was expected to live up to Letterman, parodying a popular sentiment expressed in the media at the time. After seeming to be unaffected by the comments, O'Brien arrives at his dressing room and cheerfully prepares to hang himself. However, a warning that the show is about to start causes him to abandon his plans.

 

O'Brien's on-camera inexperience showed and the show's first three years were generally considered mediocre.[3] O'Brien, an unknown, was constantly at risk of being fired: NBC had him renewing short-term contracts, thirteen weeks at a time.[3] He was reportedly on the brink of being fired at least once in this period, but NBC had no one to replace him. The show, and O'Brien, slowly improved through experience, and the show's ratings gradually increased to a level which allowed O'Brien to secure a longer contract, and not have to worry about cancellation.

 

In 2000, Richter left Late Night to pursue his acting career. The show's comedy bits and banter had usually depended on O'Brien's interaction with Richter. O'Brien's wacky non sequitur comedy became more pronounced as he played all of his comedy and commentary directly to the audience instead of towards Richter.

 

Ratings and reviews continued to improve for Late Night and in 2002, when time came to renew his contract, O'Brien had notable offers from other networks to defect.[4] O'Brien decided to re-sign with NBC, however, joking that he initially wanted to make a 13-week deal (a nod to his first contract). He ultimately signed through 2005, indicating that it was symbolic of surpassing Letterman's run with 12 years of hosting.[4]

 

In 2003, O'Brien's own production company, Conaco, was added as a producer of Late Night. The show celebrated its 10th anniversary, another milestone that O'Brien said he wanted to achieve with his 2002 contract. During the anniversary show, Mr. T handed O'Brien a chain with a large gold "7" on it:

“O'Brien: But Mr. T, we've been on the air for ten years!

 

Mr. T: I know that, fool, but you only been funny for seven!”

 

In early 2008, Conan O'Brien accused his show for being the sole cause of presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's status in the votes due to his use of The Walker Texas Ranger Lever while Chuck Norris was coincidentally sponsoring Huckabee. Stephen Colbert made the claim that because of "the Colbert bump", he was responsible for Mike Huckabee's current success in the 2008 presidential race. Conan O'Brien claimed that he was responsible for Colbert's success because he had made mention of him on his show. In response, Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, claimed that he was responsible for the success of O'Brien, and in turn the success of Huckabee and Colbert. This resulted in a three-part comedic battle between the three faux-pundits, with all three appearing on each other's shows. The feud ended on Late Night with an all-out mock brawl between the three talk-show hosts.[6]

Talent

 

The show's house band is The Max Weinberg 7, led by drummer Max Weinberg, who also serves as a sounding board for O'Brien on the show (more notably since Andy Richter's departure). The other six members are Mark Pender on trumpet, Richie "LaBamba" Rosenberg on trombone, Mike Merritt on bass, Jerry Vivino on saxophone and brother Jimmy Vivino on guitar, and Scott Healy on keyboard. James Wormworth serves as backup drummer when Weinberg goes on tour with Bruce Springsteen. One of O'Brien's long-running jokes is that there's a lack of chemistry between O'Brien and Weinberg, made evident in their banter.

 

"LaBamba" is also used as the butt of many of Conan's jokes and Mark Pender is also a talented singer who is known for his songs on current events where he rages out of control. Bassist Mike Merritt, the only African-American member of the group, was also featured in a series of skits in the fall of 2006, parodying Survivor: Cook Islands in which the band was divided up by race in a series of music competitions. A couple of skits have made fun of the band's lack of talent or penchant for laziness and drunkenness, but in reality they are accomplished musicians. All members of the 7 have successful side careers as studio musicians.

 

Following a format featured in many talk shows with live bands, the Max Weinberg 7 plays the show's opening and closing themes, plays into and out of commercial breaks (they actually play through the entire break for the studio audience), and until recently, also played after O'Brien's monologue as he went to his desk (in April 2008, the show's format changed slightly, inserting a commercial break immediately after Conan's monologue, thus eliminating the Max Weinberg 7's short feature) . Conan always jumps in the air and points to the band seconds after he enters the stage. The show's opening theme was written by Howard Shore and John Lurie (a finalist for the job as band leader). The show's closing theme song is called "Cornell Knowledge," a song lifted from Jerry and Jimmy Vivino's first album togther. However; on Late Night it is played in much quicker time than the album version.

 

The band plays a wide variety of songs during the show's commercial breaks — usually popular music from a variety of eras. Weinberg sometimes takes extended leaves of absence to tour with Bruce Springsteen as the drummer for his E Street Band. During his absence, temporary replacement drummers are hired (currently James Wormworth), and the band is led by Jimmy Vivino ("Jimmy Vivino and the Max Weinberg 7").

 

Joel Godard, a long-time announcer for NBC shows (including the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade), has been the show's announcer and an occasional comedy contributor since O'Brien started hosting the show.

 

Members of the show's writing staff frequently appear in sketches on the show, such as Brian McCann. McCann's recurring sketch characters include the "FedEx Pope" and "Preparation H Raymond." Other frequent performing writers (with some of their recurring characters) include Brian Stack (Hannigan the Traveling salesman, The Offensive Radio Singer Ghost, The Interrupter, Clive Clemens, Frankenstein, etc.), Kevin Dorff (Coked-up werewolf, Mansy the half-man/half-pansy), and Andy Blitz (Awful Ballgame Chanter, Vin Diesel's brother, Leonard Diesel). Blitz went so far as to travel to India for one skit in which he carried his computer through the streets of India to get computer help firsthand from the telephone representative at NBC's technical help center.

 

Late Night employs a number of extras, many of whom are frequently reused in different episodes. O'Brien's show also launched the career of Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog. Prior to joining the cast of Saturday Night Live, Amy Poehler often appeared as a bit player.

 

More recently one of the shows graphic designers Pierre Bernard has been featured in skits such as: "Pierre Bernard's Recliner of Rage" and, after leaving a heartfelt message about his concern for the safety of the staff's free dinner due to that night's pasta "poking his tongue" causing it to "hurt a little".

 

Production

 

Late Night is a production of Lorne Michaels' Broadway Video (and, since 2003, O'Brien's Conaco). It is taped in studio 6A at the GE Building in New York City; the same studio in which Letterman, Carson, and Jack Paar each hosted shows. The studio holds just over 200 audience members. The show is taped at about 5:30 p.m., and is taped as an uninterrupted hour-long program, with the band playing music through the portions that will be filled by commercials. The show routinely airs entire weeks of reruns while the staff takes the week off. The show will sometimes film remotes during these breaks.

 

The show's format typically consists of an opening monologue from O'Brien, followed by a "desk bit" — a comedy piece which occurs while O'Brien is at his desk. In the show's second act and fourth acts (segments between commercial breaks), O'Brien interviews two celebrity guests, between which in the third act O'Brien lists the next night's/week's guests. There is often a comedy bit as well during this segment. The show's fifth act is usually reserved for a musical or stand-up comedy performance, or occasionally another guest interview. The show's final act is usually a quick "goodnight" and the closing credits, which sometimes features part of an earlier sketch.

 

During the live tapings and prior to the show, the audience watches a montage of highlights from the show, and Brian McCann greets the audience (this task was formerly undertaken by head writer Mike Sweeney). McCann tells a few jokes, tells the audience what to expect, and finally introduces the band and then Conan. Conan then thanks the audience for coming, meeting as many audience members as he can. After the show has finished taping, Conan sings the "End of the Show Song", which he purports has never aired and never will air on TV.

 

Broadcast

 

Late Night began broadcasting in 1080i ATSC on April 26, 2005, with a downscaled letterboxed NTSC simulcast (unlike The Tonight Show, whose NTSC simulcast is fullscreen). Conan celebrated the conversion to the widescreen HDTV format with jokes throughout the week.

 

On December 6, 2005 Late Night with Conan O'Brien segments began selling on the iTunes Store. Most segments were priced at $1.99, as were most episodes of other shows, with "special" best-ofs and other longer segments priced at $9.99. In December, 2007 NBC stopped selling all its television shows on iTunes. The show is now offered free at Hulu.com and the NBC website.

On Location, Special, and Memorable episodes

 

"Remotes" (pieces shot on location) have always been a staple on Late Night, but occasionally entire episodes have been shot on location. These are usually in correlation to sweeps months. The first vacation for the show was a week-long stint of shows in Los Angeles the week of November 9-12, 1999. This was the only location week for the show while Andy Richter was with the show, and the only time the show's theme was altered for the week, with a more surf-style version of the show's normal theme (though the Toronto shows ended the normal theme with a piece of "O Canada"). The show was broadcast from NBC's L.A. studios and an L.A. themed set was built, very similar in layout to the New York set.

 

From February 10-13, 2004, Late Night broadcast from the Elgin Theatre in Toronto, Canada. The shows were highly publicized, and demand for tickets was significant. Those desiring tickets e-mailed in and tickets were distributed by a lottery system. Despite the inhospitable winter weather, line-ups for the shows stretched around city blocks and some fans lined up the night before the shows to get good seats. More tickets than seats were distributed, and many without tickets lined up in hopes to get standby tickets, but were turned away. By the Friday taping, fans were encouraged not to bother. Those with tickets that could not fit in the main theatre were allowed to go to the Winter Garden Theatre (above the Elgin) to watch the show on a closed circuit feed from downstairs. The guests for these episodes were all Canadians, with the exception of Adam Sandler, and included such stars as Jim Carrey and Mike Myers. As the show was taped at a theater, unlike the trip to L.A., the set built was not like the show's standard set. A Toronto-themed backdrop painting was hung at the back of the stage, and a copy of the New York desk (with maple leaves on its front instead of circles), a maple leaf coffee table and a standard guest chair and couch were on a riser at center stage. O'Brien did his monologues standing in front of this area. The stage was otherwise bare. Max's drumkit was on the end of stage-right, while the rest of the band was placed in the lower private boxes next to the stage. Joel did his announcing from the upper box nearest the stage on the same side.

 

From May 9-12, 2006, the show made a very similar venture to the Chicago Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, taking cues from their previous trip to Toronto. Between April 30-May 4, 2007, the show originated from the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco, California.

 

One episode, broadcast on March 10, 2006, was compiled mainly of footage from O'Brien's trip to Finland. The episode was not strictly taped as a live episode there however, but was prefaced by an introduction by O'Brien taped in New York. The Finland episode came as the culmination of a long running joke on the show. Earlier in the season, Conan had been informed by some Finnish audience members that he bore a resemblance to their (female) president Tarja Halonen who was running for re-election. Conan subsequently made a running joke of the resemblance, often putting a picture of Halonen side by side with his own face. Conan's interest in the joke increased when he discovered that Late Night is quite popular in Finland, and that his running joke had made its way into actual news commentary about the Finnish election. After this discovery, Conan began making satirical commercials in support of Halonen and vowed to travel to Finland to meet her if she won re-election. When she did indeed win re-election in January 2006, Conan traveled to Finland and met with Halonen as well as with one "lucky" Finnish fan.

 

Aside from more "traditional" location shows, the show also did special one-shots in its early years. In 1995, one episode of the show was taped aboard a New York City ferry in NY Harbor. Dubbed "The Show on a Boat" by the showtunes-style song-and-dance number performed by a trio of "sailors" at the start of the show, O'Brien, Richter, the band and guests were all crammed onto the deck of the ferry. The show was taped at its normal afternoon time, while it was still light out.

 

Another, more unexpected, "location" shoot occurred on October 10, 1996, when a five-alarm fire in Rockefeller Plaza rendered the 6A studios out-of-commission for the remainder of that week. The fire happened on early Thursday morning, which left O'Brien's staff precious little time to assemble a show elsewhere. Pressed for time as 12:35 approached, Conan taped the show outside, near the outside walking area in front of 30 Rock, after dark. Being October, it was quite chilly outside, and despite Conan and company being bundled up in winter jackets, they were still visibly cold (Max Weinberg could be seen huffing hot air onto his hands during the opening strains of one of the night's numerous fire-themed cover songs.) Furthering the unfortunate nature of the evening's circumstances was the final guest, Julie Scardina, who brought along wild animals, including birds that Conan explained: "We were supposed to have you on, and let [the birds] fly around the studio, and it would have been GREAT, then fire destroys our studio, we have to tape outside, and so we have to keep the birds tied up. You were the worst possible guest we could have scheduled for tonight!" (paraphrased) Earlier in the show, Conan and Andy walked into a nearby department store, camera crew in tow, and bought a massaging leather recliner for the first guest, Samuel L. Jackson. Chris Kattan was also a guest on this episode. The second of the two "fire shows," on Friday night, was taped in the Today Show studio, which wasn't affected by the fire. Conan and company dressed in conservative sweater vests and had the Sauer family as their in-studio "audience." Conan's guests were Eric Idle, Peter Gallagher and Los Lobos.

 

During the Northeast Blackout of 2003, Conan and the staff taped a short 5-minute introduction explaining that the episode they had planned would not be taking place due to the blackout. Studio 6A was powered by a generator and lit by battery-powered floodlights. A standby show was aired in-progress after the intro.

 

Other shows that were taped in the regular 6A studio were augmented by special gimmicks: "Time Travel Week," four episodes from early 1996, where Conan and Andy (and the rest of the crew) "time-traveled" to a different point in time each night. Times/locations included The Civil War, Ancient Greece, The Future and The Early 80s (featuring a cameo by David Letterman in the cold open, who occupied Conan's studio in 1983, cruelly brushing off Conan and Andy's attempt at explaining their presence in Letterman's dressing room by saying "Why don't you two fellas go find a nice, warm place to screw yourselves. Security!").

 

In 1997, a special episode was taped where the studio audience was composed solely of grade-school age children, primarily 5-10 years of age. Conan interacted with the children in innovative ways, respecting their intelligence and getting them to boo whenever the guest (Dave Foley) became too long-winded and boring.

 

A 2003 episode was re-shot entirely in clay animation several months after its first airing, including the opening credits and commercial bumpers. The episode's originally broadcast soundtrack was retained while the visuals were reproduced to mirror the original footage in a small-scale reproduction of the studio 6A.

 

On October 31, 2006, a similarly conceptualized Halloween episode was created from an episode which originally aired in May and featured Larry King, among other guests. Using a process the show called "Skelevision", all the visuals were re-shot with human skeletons adorned with a few identifying articles of clothing and accessories (such as Larry King's suspenders) in place of all humans, including those in photographs. This re-shoot was shot using the actual studio, and the puppeteers moved the skeletons with wires and cables while being visually obscured by green screen technology. Once again, the opening and bumpers were altered, this time including a model of a hearse funeral car winding through a foggy landscape and cemetery, and a ghoulish intro announcer in place of Joel Godard.

 

After two months of being off-air, the first show to air during the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike on January 2, 2008 featured a small musical segment at the beginning of the show detailing O'Brien's newly grown beard in a show of support for the striking writers. At the beginning of the January 28th episode, it was revealed that Conan had shaved his beard, which was followed with a similar musical segment.

 

Several times during the episodes produced during the writer's strike, O'Brien would kill time by spinning his wedding ring on his desk, which he previously only did during rehearsals. His personal best was 41 seconds, achieved during an un-aired rehearsal. After several unsuccessful on-air attempts to break his record, during the show originally broadcast on February 9, 2008, O'Brien broke his record for endurance ring spinning, setting a time of 51 seconds by coating his wedding ring with Vaseline and spinning it on a Teflon surface. The feat was accomplished with the help of MIT physics professor Peter Fisher.

 

 

Early on in the later half of the 2007-2008 Writer's Guild Strike, Conan O'Brien accused his show for being the sole cause of presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's status in the votes due to his use of The Walker Texas Ranger Lever while Chuck Norris was coincidentally sponsoring Huckabee. Stephen Colbert made the claim that because of "the Colbert bump", he was responsible for Mike Huckabee's current success in the 2008 presidential race. Conan O'Brien claimed that he was responsible for Colbert's success because he had made mention of him on his show. In response, Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, claimed that he was responsible for the success of O'Brien, and in turn the success of Huckabee and Colbert. This resulted in a three-part comedic battle between the three faux-pundits, with all three appearing on each other's shows. The feud ended on Late Night with an all-out mock brawl between the three talk-show hosts.[7]

 

 

Anniversary episodes

 

In 1996, a 3rd Anniversary episode was taped, though it aired in the regular 12:35/11:35 late night time slot. The show was composed of clips of the best of the first three years, and featured cameos from many former guests, including Janeane Garofalo, Scott Thompson, Tony Randall and George Wendt. In 1998, Late Night aired a 5th anniversary special in prime time, mostly consisting of clips from the first five years. It was taped in the Saturday Night Live studio, also in the GE Building. The special was later sold on VHS tape. In 2003, a similar 10th anniversary special was taped in New York City's famed Beacon Theater and later made available on DVD.

 

Set design

 

Late Night has gone through a number of set changes, including several complete redesigns which have come to be used by fans somewhat as denoting 'eras' of the show. Each set has basically had the same structure, however, with changes being primarily cosmetic. The set is broken into two areas: The desk area, to the viewer's right, where interviews are done, and the performance space at the viewer's left. The desk area has always been designed with a desk for O'Brien, a chair and couch(es) to the viewer's left for guests (and originally Andy Richter), and a coffee table. The area is designed with some type of facade. The performance area is where The Max Weinberg 7 are, in the corner between the stage-right wall and the wall in front of the audience. O'Brien does his monologue in this area, emerging at the start of each episode from the area where musical guests perform.

 

The set was tweaked significantly in the early days of the show. The band was given more decorative risers, and most of the members were given podium-style music stands. The desk area was also changed, most notably by the addition of a much larger window behind O'Brien where there had previously been a simple wall. The Empire State building was moved to this new window, along with the Twin Towers, which had previously been added to the original window. In the old window, the Chrysler Building took their place, though the two views continued to be tweaked over the years. The full moon was eventually reportedly removed. The carpet was also changed from a sandy color to a mauve. In 1996, a few other changes were made including leaving the curtains open for the monologue, and a new bandstand. Max got a new red drum riser, and the rest of the band got a two-level bandstand - a format still used today.

 

The first major overhaul to the set came during the 1996 Olympic break. The new desk area facade feaured a balcony instead of windows. At the sides of the set, as walls, were a checkerboard of blue and purple cushioned panels. The guest chair and sofa were replaced with a more traditional shaped set in a purple-blue, with yellow wavy-lined pattern. Behind the desk and the guest chair, was a lattice of metal bars forming a transparent wall. Behind the wall was a stone balcony edge, beyond which was a cityscape. Many buildings were depicted, and they were much "closer" to the set than in the original windows. Buildings spanned past the ceiling of the backdrop, and none appeared to be actual well-known New York City buildings. A new desk and coffee table were constructed, similar to the originals, except with a diamond-like set of columns instead of the ribbed rings. The desk was also placed parallel to the chair and couch for the first time. The rest of the set was also redressed in accordance with the style of the desk area. Four black & white pictures hung on the wall to the right of the desk (possibly also present on the original set), of Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, and David Letterman as a tribute to those who have hosted late night shows in New York City. Allen, Paar, and Carson have died during O'Brien's reign as Late Night host; after each of their passings, O'Brien took the time to remember them on the show, discussing personal anecdotes and how each one was supportive of him when he first started hosting Late Night. The pictures hang in about the same spot on the current set.

 

In mid-1998, the set was retooled again. However, the only major change came to the backdrop behind the balcony in the desk area. Instead of the grey and off-white dominated background of many close buildings, the backdrop was replaced by a blue sky with only a handful of buildings in the distance, mainly in silhouette with lights. The Chrysler Building was the only building "near" the set, behind the guest chair, while the Empire State Building was farther away between the chair and the desk. The light blue faded to darker blue at the top of the set and a few stars were visible, along with a large full moon well to the right of the desk. The camera rarely caught the backdrop high enough to see this part of the set though.

 

The backdrop continued to be retooled and in early 1999, the sky was darkened to a deep blue fading to a purple horizon, and a starfield was added. The buildings were also given some more realistic detail, and the full moon was retouched into a crescent moon. New lighting was added, and lighting of both the desk area and the performance area would continue to be periodically tweaked from time to time. By 2001, more purple had been added to the sky.

The latest desk area before 9/11; with the curtain blocking the Twin Towers; with the Twin Towers removed; and with the curtain returned as decoration.

The latest desk area before 9/11; with the curtain blocking the Twin Towers; with the Twin Towers removed; and with the curtain returned as decoration.

 

In late August 2001, while the show was on break, the set was completely redone for the second time in the show's history. The balcony concept was used again, but instead of a fake window separating the balcony, the balcony rail was directly behind the seating area. A new desk, with a field of circles within squares on its front was created, and a new chair and sofa were brought in, with a pattern of multi-colored layered squares. The view behind the balcony was a fairly realistic (relative to past sets) view of New York City looking south from a tall building, though it is by no means geographically accurate. The buildings were far away and only the Empire State Building, between the desk and chair, and the Twin Towers, slightly to the right, were notable. The Chrysler Building was off to the right of the desk near what would be the Hudson River - not where the building would actually be. Unlike past sets, almost all of the buildings on the backdrop reached no higher than the head of a seated guest. Most of the backdrop was plain sky, though the crescent moon from the previous set remained in about the same position. In the performance area, the back wall which previously appeared to be an un-dressed studio wall was fitted with a pattern of blue triangular outcroppings. The floor had a similar circles within squares pattern to the desk, and the monologue and musical performance area had new squared arches framing it. The band also got a new performance area, laid out the same as the previous one. From the ceiling of the desk area, several white orbs could be lowered, which O'Brien showed off in the set's debut. The orbs have never been used functionally on the show aside from as decor.

 

Tragically, and in a case of bad timing, the September 11 attacks occurred about a week after the new set's debut. Late Night, like the other late night shows went on hiatus again after the attacks. When they returned, a curtain had been added behind the balcony with gathered material at intervals designed to obstruct the spot where the Twin Towers were depicted. After having a chance to retouch the backdrop image and remove the Twin Towers, the curtain was again removed. The buildings were also retouched, with more light showing in the skyline. More contrast was added to the sky as well as a light starfield. Perhaps deciding that vast sky was too plain of a backdrop, the decorative curtain was once again added, without the bunched material. Like the past set, color tweaks continued to be made for a while after, but the set has remained fairly unchanged since the curtain was re-added.

Late Night around the world

 

Broadcasts in Europe

 

Late Night with Conan O'Brien is broadcast across Europe on CNBC Europe. The program is broadcast at 9:45pm CET (8:45PM GMT) on Saturdays and Sundays in an uncut 45 minute version. Late Night used to be broadcast on CNBC Europe on weeknights but in March 2007 CNBC Europe decided to relegate the show to weekend broadcasts only to make way for more business programming on weeknights. Broadcasts across Europe are around 1-2 weeks behind first transmission in the US.

 

Broadcasts in Australia

 

Late Night with Conan O'Brien is broadcast across Australia on the Comedy Channel (Foxtel/ Austar). The program is broadcast weeknights at 11:45pm ESDT (11:15PM CST) Broadcasts across Australia are only 1 day behind first transmission in the US.

 

Broadcasts in the Philippines

 

Late Night with Conan O'Brien is broadcast across the Philippines on JackTV (Global Destiny Cable). The program is broadcast at 11:30pm local time (UTC/GMT +8 hours). Broadcasts across the Philippines are only 1 day behind first transmission in the US.

. . .

 

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40. (tie) The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1999-present)

 

Jon-Stewart.jpg

 

(3 of 18 lists - highest ranking #3 Balta 1701)

 

The Daily Show is a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning American satirical television program produced by and airing on Comedy Central. The half-hour long show premiered on Monday, July 22, 1996, and was hosted by Craig Kilborn, who acted as its anchorman. Kilborn left the show in December 1998; Jon Stewart has hosted since January 1999.

 

Providing news-related comedy in the tradition of several popular comedic forerunners (Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" segment, HBO's Not Necessarily The News, Channel 4's The 11 O'Clock Show, the BBC's The Day Today and That Was The Week That Was, CBC's This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Global TV's Shhh, It's The News and TQS's 100 Limite), and CBC's 60's groundbreaking Nightcap, The Daily Show reports with a satirical edge about the foibles and hypocrisies of the real world.

 

Current format

 

The Daily Show's format has remained relatively stable throughout the years. Each episode opens with a deep or low voice stating the date and the introduction, "From Comedy Central's World News Headquarters in New York, this is The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." This used to be followed by the statement "The most important television program...ever," but this line was eliminated from the introduction on September 20, 2001, the show's first episode following the September 11, 2001 attacks. The show was also previously credited in the introduction, as a parody of ABC News' slogan, as the place "where more Americans get their news … than any other nationality."[1]

 

The show begins with the host's monologue of news headlines. This is often followed by "on location" reports from one of its "senior" specialists in the subject at hand. The correspondents' stated areas of expertise vary depending on the news story that is being discussed, and can range from relatively general (such as "Senior Political Analyst") to absurdly specific (such as "Senior Child Molestation Expert" or "Senior Subterranean Structure Analyst"). These correspondents are said to be on location, but are taped live in the same studio in front of a greenscreen, which is filled in with an appropriate location backdrop. This is occasionally made the subject of jokes; for example, by having correspondents report from unlikely locations such as a press base on Mars. In another instance, this was parodied when two correspondents filed consecutive "live reports" from Washington, one against a backdrop of the city during daytime and the other in front of the city at night. The correspondents typically present absurd or humorously exaggerated takes on current events against Stewart's straight man.

 

A few reports have been filmed on location; for example, Jason Jones was actually in Denmark for a March 28, 2006 report, which he proved by shoving the person behind him (an uncredited passerby). During the week of August 20, 2007 the show aired a series of segments called "Operation Silent Thunder: The Daily Show in Iraq" in which correspondent Rob Riggle reported from Iraq.

 

The show formerly split the news into many segments known as "Headlines," "Other News," and "This Just In," though these titles were dropped sometime around 2003. Stewart and company rely on a technique of intercutting footage with commentary, in which they stop the action at a telling moment so as to leave political clichés, dud imagery, or self-contradictory statements hanging in the air, to which the host or correspondent then registers skeptical reserve or pained dismay.

 

Following the regular news portion are correspondent pieces and interviews, the order of which varies from episode to episode. Correspondent pieces feature a rotating supporting cast who sometimes break out as comedy stars, and involve the show's members actually traveling to a different location to make a report or interview people important to the story. Topics have varied widely, ranging from the invention of hufu, a tofu-based human flesh substitute, to a piece highlighting the lack of Asian men in pornography. Local media have reported on visits from Daily Show correspondents.[2]

 

Some segments recur periodically, such as "Back in Black" with Lewis Black, "This Week in God," "Trendspotting" with Demetri Martin, "Are You Prepared?!?," "Wilmore-Oliver Investigates," and "You Don't Know Dick" (a segment centered on Vice President Dick Cheney). Since the early days of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a common part of the show has been "Mess O' Potamia," focusing on the troubles in the Middle East, especially Iraq. A newer theme, called "Clusterf@#k to the White House," covered the 2008 presidential race in 2007, however since the primaries began, the show has defaulted to its traditional Indecision 2008 moniker.

 

In the show's third act, an interview is conducted by the host with one guest. Guests come from a wide range of cultural sources: movie and television celebrities, authors and politicians (current and retired). A light tone is generally established by the host, but if the topic demands serious consideration, the interview may veer from comedy for the few minutes that it lasts. The same politicians that are joked about in monologues will generally be treated with respect if they show up to be interviewed.

 

In a closing segment sometimes referred to as the "toss," host Jon Stewart checks in with "our good friend, Stephen Colbert at The Colbert Report." This check-in was done daily in an initial period of the Colbert Report but in 2007 was cut back to twice per week. After a brief exchange, there is a segue to the closing credits in the form of "Your Moment of Zen", a surreal piece of video footage that has been part of the show's wrap-up since the series began in 1996.

 

Studio

 

The program features Stewart sitting at his desk on an elevated island stage in a "theatre in the round" type studio. On July 11, 2005, the show moved its "World News Headquarters" to New York City's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood at 733 11th Avenue, between 51st and 52nd Streets. The set changed along with the move, gaining a sleeker, more formal look, including a backdrop of three large projection screens which at first was not well-received by many fans of the show. The set change immediately spawned a backlash among fans and served as impetus for a campaign to "Bring Back the Couch" as it was not a part of the new set. The campaign was subsequently mentioned on the show by Stewart and supported by Daily Show contributor Bob Wiltfong. The couch was eventually made the prize in a Daily Show sweepstakes in which the winner got the couch, round-trip tickets to New York, tickets to the show and a small sum of money. Their old studio is now used for The Colbert Report, a spin-off of the Daily Show starring former correspondent Stephen Colbert.

 

On April 9, 2007 the studio was changed again, the projection screens were revamped (one large screen behind Stewart, while the one behind the interview subject remained the same), a large, global map with certain points glowing directly behind Stewart, a more open studio floor, and a J-shaped desk (with the show's logo on the front) with a globe serving as a de facto leg on one end. The intro was changed as well; the flag graphic, and the display names, dates, and logos were all streamlined. For the first two shows after the April 2007 update, live staff were visible through a window into a "control room" set directly behind Stewart, in emulation of network newscasts. However, the movement of the people proved a distraction, and they were removed.

 

Production

 

According to an October 7, 2003, USA Today article, the show is pulled together by researchers scanning major newspapers, the Associated Press and cable news channels. Then, they give possible topics to the ten writers. The writers meet to discuss headline material for the lead news segment. By 11:15 AM they meet with Jon Stewart, and by 12:30 PM they have come up with jokes for the day's show.

 

The Daily Show tapes four new episodes a week, Monday through Thursday. Taping of the program begins in front of the audience at 6:30 PM; the show is then broadcast at 11 PM Eastern/10 PM Central, a time when local television stations show their real news reports and about half an hour before most other late-night comedy programs begin to go on the air. The program is rerun several times the next day, including an 8 PM Eastern/7 PM Central primetime spot.

 

While the studio capacity is limited, tickets to attend tapings are free and can be obtained if requested far enough in advance.

 

Comedian Jon Stewart took over as host on Monday, January 11, 1999. Stewart had previously hosted two shows on MTV (You Wrote It, You Watch It and an eponymous talk show), as well as a syndicated late-night talk show, and had been cast in films and television. His first guest was Spin City's Michael J. Fox, who quipped, "I've been on The Daily Show more than you have!"

 

In taking over hosting from Kilborn, Stewart retained much of the same staff and on-air talent, allowing many pieces to transition without much trouble, while other features like "God Stuff", with John Bloom presenting an assortment of actual clips from various televangelists, and "Backfire", an in-studio debate between Brian Unger and A. Whitney Brown, evolved into the similar pieces of Stephen Colbert's "This Week in God" and Colbert and Steve Carell's "Even Stephven". Since the change, a number of new features have been, and continue to be, developed as well. The ending segment "Your Moment of Zen" developed from a random selection of humorous videos to often being recaps or extended versions of news clips shown earlier in the show (though sometimes are completely unrelated to any previous segment). The show's theme music, "Dog on Fire" by Bob Mould, was re-recorded by They Might Be Giants.

 

Unlike Kilborn, whose dialogue and character were written entirely by others, Stewart served not only as host but also as a writer and co-executive producer of the series. His influence is noted for heading a significant shift in the way the show handled news. Stewart had a markedly different style, bringing a sharper political focus to the humor than the show previously exhibited. This satirical edge, combined with the show's 2000 election coverage, presciently dubbed "Indecision 2000", helped to catapult Stewart and The Daily Show to new levels of popularity and critical respect. With Stewart on board, the show has won ten Emmy Awards and two Peabody Awards, and its ratings more than doubled according to a 2003 Associated Press article.[3] By 2004, the show had emerged into a pop culture hit and one of the most popular programs on cable television.

 

Writers' strike

 

Due to the writers' strike, the show went on hiatus on November 5, 2007, meaning that it was not able to cover much of the lead-up to the 2008 Presidential Election Primary season. The show returned on January 7, 2008, despite the continuing strike. The show continued to honor the strike, with neither the show's writers nor Stewart performing their normal writing duties. To acknowledge this fact, the show was referred to as A Daily Show with Jon Stewart rather than The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, until the end of the strike.[4] Stewart largely ad-libbed the show around preplanned topics while the show was aired without writers.[5] As a member of the Writers Guild of America, Stewart was barred from writing any material for the show himself which his writers would ordinarily write.[6] With the Writer's Guild of America ending their strike, Stewart acknowledged on the February 11 episode of A Daily Show that, "Tomorrow (February 12, 2008) will be the last A Daily Show," further explaining that the big news over the weekend of February 8-10 was that, "The writers will be coming back Wednesday!" On Wednesday, February 13, 2008, the show began with the "A Daily Show" title, but was corrected to the show's proper name after about a minute of joking about having a script and teleprompters again.

 

Interviews and guests

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Daily_Show_guests

 

In addition to news stories, The Daily Show includes interviews with celebrities of various degrees of notoriety and fame, authors, musicians, and political figures. The political interviews have featured many prominent guests such as:

 

* Former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

* Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

* Bolivian President Evo Morales.

* Former Mexican President Vicente Fox.

* U.S. Vice President and Nobel Prize winner Al Gore.

* Second Lady of the United States Lynne Cheney.

* U.S. Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, James Baker, Henry Kissinger (also a Nobel Prize winner) and Colin Powell.

* U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.

* U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen.

* U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.

* U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings.

* U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer, Lincoln Chafee, Hillary Clinton*, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole, John Edwards*, Russ Feingold, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry*, Joe Lieberman, Trent Lott, Chris Dodd*, Joe Biden*, John McCain*, Zell Miller, Barack Obama* and Rick Santorum.

* New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson*

* DNC Chairmen Howard Dean* and Terry McAuliffe and RNC Chairmen Ed Gillespie and Ken Mehlman.

* Former CIA Directors George Tenet and James Woolsey.

* Former United States Ambassador to the UN John R. Bolton.

* Former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card.

* Former White House Press Secretaries Ari Fleischer, Scott McClellan, Tony Snow and Dana Perino.

* Former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan

* U.S. Representative Ron Paul*

* Consumer rights advocate Ralph Nader*

(*Running for President at the time of the interview)

 

As described in an October 2006 cover story in Rolling Stone, "Stewart's show has become the hot destination for anyone who wants to sell books or seem hip, from presidential candidates to military dictators. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf arrived at the Daily Show studio with bomb-sniffing dogs and a bulletproof facade for the anchor desk."[7] Musharraf and Morales to date have been the only sitting heads of state to appear on The Daily Show. During his interview with Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, Stewart quipped that she was apparently the only sitting member of the Bush administration who was "not allergic to" him, referring to the fact that until Spellings' interview, prominent members of the Bush Administration had only come to the show after they had resigned or retired. During an interview with Stewart on May 24, 2007, Al Gore stated that The Daily Show was one of the best places to get news, saying that now, much like the 13th century, the jester is perhaps the only one who can tell the truth without getting his head cut off.

 

Through Kilborn's run and the early years of Stewart's, the celebrity interviews would most often take place midway through the program. In recent years this has changed to the interviews being placed near the end of the show. Recent years have also seen the show's guest list tend away from celebrities and more towards non-fiction book authors and various political pundits, as well as many prominent elected officials. In one notable 2004 interview, former president Bill Clinton appeared on the show to discuss his autobiography, My Life. In the course of the interview, Clinton discussed the attacks on presidential candidate John Kerry's war record and the admissions of fraud by and no-bid contracts awarded to Halliburton, the company closely associated with Vice President Dick Cheney.

 

On December 1, 2005, the White Stripes became the first musical guests to perform on a regular episode of the show. After a brief interview with Stewart, the duo performed their songs "The Denial Twist" and later, "My Doorbell." In a press release, Stewart said, "We've never had a musical performance on the show before — not because we haven't wanted one — but because we were holding out for a reunited Spandau Ballet. This will have to suffice." They Might Be Giants's appearance on the December 15, 1999 special "The Greatest Millennium" where they performed the theme (Bob Mould's "Dog On Fire"), incidental music, and their song "I Can Hear You" is not counted, as the producers do not consider it to be a part of the regular series. Another "unofficial" performance came on September 29, 2003, when Tenacious D played from the couch. Most recently, the November 28, 2006 show — also Stewarts birthday — featured a live performance by guest Tom Waits, who played his song "Day After Tomorrow" during the closing credits.

 

When Stephen Colbert started his own show, The Colbert Report, which airs immediately after The Daily Show, Stewart began ending his show "checking in" with Stephen Colbert, usually exchanging notes on each other's shows, which is then followed by the Moment of Zen. On August 8, 2006, Stephen Colbert turned the tables and "checked in" with Jon Stewart as Stewart was leaving to go home.[8] On August 10, 2006, Stephen Colbert reappeared on the set of The Daily Show to demand that Jon apologize to Geraldo Rivera, who on The O'Reilly Factor said that Stewart and Colbert "counted for nothing" and showed "clips of old ladies slipping on ice" for humor. Colbert, in character, condemned The Daily Show for angering Rivera. When Stewart refused to apologize, Colbert proclaimed him "On Notice", though Jon averted the crisis by appearing on The Colbert Report the following Monday and apologizing (after "walking a mile in Geraldo's shoes" by wearing his mustache). When former correspondent Steve Carell appeared on The Daily Show as a guest, Stewart asked him if he had a report to file, to which Carell responded in a deadpan joke, "I don't file reports anymore. I do movies."

 

On September 13, 2006, a new portion of the interview segment began called "The Seat of Heat", wherein the host would ask a guest one hard question to be answered. On September 18, 2006, for example, former United States President Bill Clinton was asked how Hillary Clinton could be defeated should she run for president.

 

Democratic Party Presidential hopeful Barack Obama was the show's featured guest on August 22, 2007 and joined in the spirit of the program when, asked by host Jon Stewart if he should consider running a smaller country first, Obama jokingly replied he had thought about "invading" a smaller country.[9]

 

At least two former guests, author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and journalist Tim Russert, have been honored by "The Daily Show" upon the event of their deaths with a special tribute "Moment of Zen" featuring a clip from a past interview they did on the show.

 

As a news source

 

Television ratings show that the program generally has 1.45 to 1.6 million viewers nightly,[10] a high figure for cable television. In demographic terms, the viewership is skewed to a relatively young audience compared to traditional news shows. A 2004 Nielsen Media Research study commissioned by Comedy Central put the median age at 35. In fact, during the 2004 U.S. presidential election, the show received more male viewers in the 18-34 year old age demographic than Nightline, Meet the Press, Hannity & Colmes and all of the evening news broadcasts.[11] Because of this, Howard Dean posited during an appearance that Stewart and Bill Maher serve as a real source of news for young people, regardless of their intentions.

 

The show's writers often repeat the fact that The Daily Show is a comedy program and not a reliable news source by itself. The show does not follow normal rules of journalistic integrity, but much of the schtick of the program involves questioning whether establishment television news sources in the United States, notably the cable news channels CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News Channel, are holding themselves to normal rules of journalistic integrity.

 

The Washington Post ran an article on August 24, 2004 in which it quoted Nightline anchor Ted Koppel, who said to his viewers in a telecast from the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston: "A lot of television viewers — more, quite frankly, than I'm comfortable with — get their news from the Comedy Channel on a program called The Daily Show." Stewart took issue with Koppel's comment, saying Daily Show fans watch "for comedic interpretation" of the news. "[They watch] to be informed", Koppel replied, refusing to budge from his position: "They actually think they're coming closer to the truth with your show." Stewart shot back: "Now that's a different thing, that's credibility, that's a different animal." Appearing on each other's shows a few weeks later, Koppel and Stewart downplayed the idea that the two had any mutual animosity. Also, in America (The Book), written by the staff of the Daily Show, Ted Koppel was one of only two political interviewers that the authors deemed credible (the other was Tim Russert). Later, Koppel even participated in one of Jon Stewart's ongoing jokes, temporarily taking the moniker "The Giant Head of Ted Koppel", berating Stewart from a massive video screen on the set. This job was normally performed by Brian Williams, who was scheduled to be a guest on the show that day.

 

The National Annenberg Election Survey at the University of Pennsylvania ran a study of American television viewers around the same time and found that fans of The Daily Show had a more accurate idea of the facts behind the 2004 presidential election than most others.[12] The study primarily focused on comparing the audiences of TDS with that of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman, but Daily Show viewers also beat out people who primarily got their news through the national evening newscasts of ABC, CBS, and NBC and those who mostly read newspapers, while roughly matching the knowledge level of viewers who watched a considerable amount of cable TV news. The study attempted to compensate for the fact that many viewers of TDS get information from many sources, including the Internet.

 

The National Annenberg Election Survey is, however, contradictory to a survey by Pew Research Center (the study does not focus on The Daily Show specifically, but on 'comedy shows' in general). According to Pew Research Center on their 2004 campaign survey, those who cited comedy shows as a source for news were among the least informed on campaign events and key aspects of the candidates' backgrounds while those who cited the Internet, National Public Radio, and news magazines were the most informed. People who cited newspapers, public news TV shows, and talk radio were also nearly as knowledgeable as people who used the Internet as a source. Even when age and education were taken into account, the people who learned about the campaigns through the Internet were still the most informed, while those who learned from comedy shows were the least informed.[13]

 

In 2006, a study published by Indiana University tried to compare the substantive amount of information of The Daily Show against prime time network news broadcasts. Julia R. Fox, an assistant professor of telecommunications at the university, showed in her study, "No Joke: A Comparison of Substance in The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Broadcast Network Television Coverage of the 2004 Presidential Election Campaign"[14] (to be published in the summer of 2007), that when it comes to substance, there is little difference between the Daily Show and other news outlets. By using coverage and footage of the 2004 presidential election, she analyzes and compares both communication media. What she found was that neither actually offers more, since both programs are more focused on the nature of "infotainment" and ratings, making them both "equal" in content.[15] The analysis indicates that the Daily Show offered more humor than substance in their coverage, but that same study also found that the typical network coverage preferred to offer more hype than any real political substance.[16] The study seems to indicate that either The Daily Show has become a legitimate 'news source' or the mainstream media has ceased to be one.[17] Julia Fox states that "In an absolute sense, we should probably be concerned about both of those sources, because neither one is particularly substantive. It's a bottom-line industry and ratings-driven. We live in an 'infotainment' society, and there certainly are a number of other sources available." According to Fox, the study was less of an endorsement for The Daily Show; rather instead was meant to indict the negligence of news networks for their failure to uphold high standards in their political coverage.[18]

 

More recently, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey, released on April 15, 2007, that shows that regular viewers of The Daily Show tend to be more knowledgeable about news than audiences of other news sources. Approximately 54% of The Daily Show viewers scored in the high knowledge range in comparison to 34% of network morning shows viewers who scored in the same range. The survey shows that changing news formats have not made much difference on how much the public knows about national and international affairs; however, it notes that there is no clear connection between news formats and what audiences know. In addition, the survey gave a breakdown of the percent of people who regularly watch certain news sources and listed that 16% of respondents regularly watch The Daily Show and/or The Colbert Report.[19] The Project for Excellence in Journalism also released a content analysis report suggesting that The Daily Show comes close to providing the complete daily news.[20]

 

Stewart was half-facetiously floated as a possible successor to Dan Rather of CBS Evening News according to Time (this is partly because, at the time, Comedy Central and CBS were both owned by media conglomerate Viacom). The Daily Show writers authored a best-selling text, America (The Book), published in September 2004. It remained a bestseller even after the election, despite a decision by Wal-Mart to cancel its order because Chapter 5, on the Judicial Branch, includes obviously doctored photographs of the then current Supreme Court justices, with their heads superimposed on appropriately aged naked bodies. On the page opposite the photographs, the reader is invited to "restore their dignity" by covering each justice with a cutout of his or her robe. A Wal-Mart spokeswoman was quoted in USA Today as saying, "We felt a majority of our customers would not be comfortable with the image." The book was also banned from some Mississippi public libraries for its ribald "centerfold". (The ban was lifted within 24 hours of its announcement after the library board received complaints.) Stewart responded to this on air by saying, "Of course the go-to joke here would be, 'They have libraries in Mississippi?' But we're not going there."

 

Stewart, along with Stephen Colbert, was featured on the November 16, 2006 cover of Rolling Stone Magazine, being called "America's anchors."[21] Also, Stewart was mentioned in Al Gore's The Assault on Reason. Gore used Stewart's criticism of Vice-President Cheney's statement that he had never "said that representatives of al-Qaeda and Iraqi intelligence met in Prague" (a clip with this statement and another where he did say it was juxtaposed) as an example of just how laughable the administration had become (Gore 2007:111).

 

Criticism

 

Accusations of liberal bias

 

Conservatives, including Bill O'Reilly and Bill Kristol, have argued that The Daily Show has a liberal bias. Stewart says that the show does have a point of view but that its aim is not to do political work, and he pointed out that it was not his fault if conservatives provide more causes for criticism than liberals. He asserts that the show is not "a liberal organization," rather an "equal opportunity offender".[22]

 

As of February 2008, Bill Kristol has been a guest on the show seven times and Bill O'Reilly has been on twice. In a 2004 appearance by Jon Stewart on Bill O'Reilly's own show[23], the FOX News commentator made it clear that he thinks Jon Stewart aims his comic barbs at both right- and left-wing politicians.

 

Stewart is often critical of Democratic politicians for being weak, timid, or ineffective. He said in an interview with Larry King, prior to the 2006 elections, "I honestly don't feel that [the Democrats] make an impact. They have 49 percent of the vote and three percent of the power. At a certain point you go, 'Guys, pick up your game.'"[24] He has targeted them for failing to effectively stand on some issues, such as their stance on the war in Iraq. For instance, regarding Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller's criticism of exaggerated intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Stewart said, "Democrats: always standing up for what they later realized they should've believed in."

 

In an interview in 2005, when Stephen Colbert was asked how he responds to critics claiming that The Daily Show is overly liberal, he said, "We are liberal, but Jon's very respectful of the Republican guests, and, listen, if liberals were in power it would be easier to attack them, but Republicans have the executive, legislative and judicial branches, so making fun of Democrats is like kicking a child, so it’s just not worth it."[25]

 

Ben Karlin, then the show's executive producer, said in a 2004 interview, "If you're asking whether we require a loyalty oath, the answer is perhaps. There is a collective sensibility that, when filtered through Jon and the correspondents, feels uniform. But hey, if you have a legitimately funny joke in support of the notion that gay people are an affront to God, we'll put that motherf***er on!"[26]

 

Interviews

 

When asked, Jon Stewart and others connected with the show describe it as an entertainment program dealing in "fake news" and reject the idea that they are a news show that undertakes any kind of journalism. Critics, including Tucker Carlson and Lizz Winstead, one of The Daily Show's creators, have chastized Stewart for taking a journalistic approach to his solo segments and then, in interviews with the same politicians and newspeople he often lampoons, rarely taking them to task face-to-face. Winstead said, "When you are interviewing a Richard Perle or a Kissinger, if you give them a pass, then you become what you are satirizing."

 

During Stewart's appearance on CNN's Crossfire, Stewart criticized that show and said that it was "hurting America" by reducing issues to a left vs. right screaming match and enabling political spin. When co-host Carlson complained that Stewart did not ask John Kerry substantial questions when Kerry appeared on The Daily Show, Stewart countered that it was not his job to give hard-hitting interviews. Suggesting that a "fake news" comedy program should not be held to the same standards as real journalists, Stewart said, "You're on CNN! The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls! What is wrong with you?"[27]

 

Enabling complacency

 

In a March 4, 2006, article in The Boston Globe, "Why Jon Stewart Isn't Funny", Michael Kalin argued that Jon Stewart's laughs come at the expense of idealism and too easily enables American college students to adopt a self-righteous attitude toward politics, ultimately rendering them complacent and apathetic.

 

"Stewart...leads to a "holier than art thou" attitude [among students] toward our national leaders. People who possess the wit, intelligence, and self-awareness of viewers of The Daily Show would never choose to enter the political fray full of "buffoons and idiots." Content to remain perched atop their Olympian ivory towers, these bright leaders head straight for the private sector."[28]

 

A Daily Reflector article about The Daily Show viewers concluded that they trust their own knowledge in politics, rather than the news media or the elites who run the political-media system. The article suggests that citizens who believe they understand politics may be more active in the system than those who do not. Yet the article also points out that cynicism can be a voter turnoff.[29]

 

There are those who do not agree that watching The Daily Show is harmful to the youth or a cause of apathy in young voters.[30][31] Defenders of the show point out that Stewart is putting a humorous spin on a faulty system. They contend that as long as Stewart's jokes are factually correct, then responsibility for increased cynicism should belong to the political and media figures themselves, not the comedian who makes fun of them.[32]

 

Stewart has said that he does not take any joy in the failings of American government. "We're not the guys at the craps table betting against the line," he said on Larry King Live. "We'd make fun of something else," Stewart said, "if government suddenly became inspiring...we would be the happiest people in the world to turn our attention to idiots like, you know, media people, no offense."[33]

 

Editions for various markets

 

An edited version of the show, called The Daily Show — Global Edition, is run outside of the U.S. on CNN International once a week on several weekend time slots. This edition is prefaced by the following announcement, which is also displayed in written form against a Daily Show background:

 

"The show you are about to watch is a news parody. Its stories are not fact checked. Its reporters are not journalists. And its opinions are not fully thought through."

 

However the announcement is not used by all other international broadcasters. Viewers are invited to send comments regarding the show to CNN by email.

 

For the Global Edition, Stewart provides an exclusive introductory monologue in front of an audience, usually about the week's prevalent international news story, and closing comments without an audience present. The segments for the Global Edition are usually culled from Monday and Tuesday's episodes. Strong language is often censored on CNN, even if it means losing a punch line.

 

Westwood One had broadcast small portions of the show to many radio stations across America. This ended, unannounced, in 2006.

 

International broadcasters

 

In Australia the program airs on The Comedy Channel Monday through Thursday, hours behind the American broadcast. The Global Edition airs intermittently on SBS. It is aired with bleeps heard on the American broadcast removed.

 

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Global Edition is aired uncensored on OBN, every Saturday.

 

In Brazil, the show airs on Sony Entertainment Television, a cable channel, every Tuesday.

 

Canada was the first country after the US to broadcast The Daily Show. Since September 1999, cable channel The Comedy Network airs a simulcast of the day's show four nights a week, and re-run at various points the following day. On November 3, 2003, Canadian television network, CTV, began re-airing the same show, becoming the first, and only, national terrestrial network to broadcast The Daily Show.

 

In Denmark, the show is aired on DR2, a public service channel, at 23:30 local time and then rerun the following day at 19:05.

 

Canal+, home of France's own popular news satires Les Guignols de l'info and 7 jours au Groland, began broadcasting The Daily Show in 2007. New episodes air the day following the American broadcasts. [34]

 

In Germany The Daily Show is available since 23 January 2007 only online on the German Comedy Central Homepage Video Viewer, where it is stored for one day due to the German-American time shift difference. [35] Also, since the inception of Comedy Central Germany, the Daily Show is available via the German homepage of Comedy Central.

 

The Global Edition, as aired on CNN International, is rebroadcast in various large cities and towns by the state television (ERT).

 

In Indonesia, The Global Edition is aired on CNN International via some cable satellites.

 

In Israel, The Global Edition airs on the Yes+ satellite channel every Thursday night, with reruns throughout the following weekend.

 

The Daily Show Global Edition has begun showing in the Netherlands on Comedy Central Netherlands as of May 2007. It can also be seen on CNN International.

 

In April 2006, the show began screening weekly in New Zealand on music channel C4, but since 30 January 2007, C4 has been screening the US version of the show four days a week, roughly five hours behind the US broadcast.

 

In Norway, the show is aired on NRK2 and NRK3[36].

 

In the Philippines, cable channel Jack TV airs The Daily Show at a half-day delay every (given the time difference), alongside other Comedy Central shows.

 

The show airs in Portugal on the SIC Radical cable channel. (It stopped airing for a while in 2006, but viewer feedback brought the show back.)

 

In Sweden, the show is aired on Kanal 9.

 

In Switzerland, the show is aired on Saturdays on BBC.

 

In Turkey, Global Edition airs on e2 channel, Mondays at 11pm.

 

Since October 10, 2005, both the Global Edition and the weeknight program have been shown in the UK and Ireland the next calendar day to its US broadcast. As it is shown on the free-to-air digital channel, More4. Each episode is repeated later in the same day. The Global Edition (without the preface shown on CNN International) is shown on Monday, with the regular Monday through Thursday editions shown on a one-day delay Tuesday to Friday.

 

Middle East

 

Through out the Middle East The Daily Show with Jon Stewart airs weekdays on Showtime Arabia’s ShowComedy at 7:00 pm GMT at a day delay.

The Daily Show Global Edition airs Mondays on CNN International.

 

Latin America

 

In September 2007, Sony Entertainment Television announced that it would be airing the Global Edition. After starting in November, the show was quickly cut by the Writers' Strike just three weeks after starting. After airing repeats for some weeks, the show had to be taken off the air due to lack of new episodes. Finally, Sony resumed broadcast with one or two weeks of buffer (making the show slightly outdated) at the end of January. On February 26, the first Global Edition with the writers back was aired. The Daily Show - Global Edition is aired all Tuesdays on Sony as part of the P.I. (Pollitically Incorrect, also named for the sound of a bleep in Spanish) programming block.

 

Nordic countries

 

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart became available to viewers in the Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark in August 2004, when the premium pay channel Canal+ started airing the show. [37] Since then, basic networks have also started broadcasting the show. The Danish public broadcaster DR2 started broadcasting it on February 26, 2007, roughly two days behind the US broadcast. The Norwegian public broadcaster followed suit on the autumn of 2007, broadcasting it on NRK2 with reruns on NRK3. [38][39] The show is broadcast one week after the US schedule. NRK also broadcasts The Global Edition every weekend. In Sweden, the basic cable channel Kanal 9 began broadcasting the show in February 2008.

 

Other countries

 

It can also be seen on the American Forces Network. The show airs on AFN Spectrum in Iraq, weekdays at 8pm. The website for this program, however, has been blocked from access by service members on government computers because of a general ban on streamed media.[40]

 

Spin-offs

 

Main article: The Colbert Report

 

A spin-off, The Colbert Report, was announced in early May 2005. The show stars Stephen Colbert, and serves as Comedy Central's answer to the programs of media pundits such as Bill O'Reilly. The word "Report" in the show's title, like "Colbert", is pronounced with a silent "t". Colbert, Stewart, and Ben Karlin pitched the idea of the show to Comedy Central chief Doug Herzog, who agreed to run the show for eight weeks without first creating a pilot. The Colbert Report first aired on October 17, 2005, and takes up the 11:30PM ET/PT slot following The Daily Show. Initial ratings satisfied Comedy Central and the show was renewed for a year.

 

The Colbert Report is produced by Jon Stewart's production company, Busboy Productions. Comedy Central announced in October 2007 that it had picked up another series from Busboy. Important Things with Demetri Martin features the Daily Show contributor but is not a spin-off.[41]

 

Awards

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_award..._The_Daily_Show

 

Correspondents, contributors, and staff

 

The correspondents normally have two roles: "experts" with satirical "senior" titles that Stewart interviews about certain issues, or hosts of original reporting segments which often showcase interviews of serious political figures. The show's contributors have their own unique regular segment on the show.

 

Correspondents

 

* Samantha Bee (July 2003 to present) — "This Week in God", "Are You Prepared?!?"; married to correspondent Jason Jones.

* Jason Jones (September 2005 to present) — "Are You Prepared?!?", Jason Jones 180; married to correspondent Samantha Bee.

* John Oliver (July 2006 to present) — Senior British Correspondent; "Wilmore-Oliver Investigates"; has in many ways become the show's new lead correspondent, in the tradition of leaders of the past like Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and Rob Corddry. He appeared in a 2008 episode of The Colbert Report in a piece of Englishman's luggage.

* Rob Riggle (September 2006 to present) — Senior Military Correspondent; hired to replace departing correspondent Rob Corddry.

* Aasif Mandvi (March 2007 to present) — Senior Middle East Correspondent; started as an occasional contributor in August 2006, later promoted to full correspondent in March 2007.

* Wyatt Cenac (June 2008 to present) — New Correspondent; made his first appearance on June 3, 2008.

* "Gitmo" (June 2008 to present) — Senior Imprisoned Correspondent; gag correspondent of Elmo hand puppet with beard and moustache (as a Guantánamo Bay prisoner) performed by Stewart. In a segment on June 19th, 2008, Stewart's free hand could be seen several times accidentally blocking "Gitmo"'s camera angle.

* Larry Wilmore (August 2006 to present) — Senior Black Correspondent, "Wilmore-Oliver Investigates"

 

Contributors

 

* Lewis Black (July 1996 to present) — "Back in Black"

* Demetri Martin (November 2005 to present) — "Trendspotting", Youth Expert

* John Hodgman (January 2006 to present) — Resident Expert, "Exper-teasers"; appeared on the show once as a guest in November 2005 to promote The Areas of My Expertise

* Buck Henry (August 2007 to present) — "The Henry Stops Here", Senior Historical Perspectivist

* Kristen Schaal (March 2008 to present) — Senior Women's Issues Commentator, first appearance on March 13, 2008.

 

Alumni

 

Former correspondents and contributors to the Daily Show include:

 

* Dave Attell (1999 to 2002) — "The Ugly American"

* Dan Bakkedahl (2005 to 2007) — Hired to replace departing correspondent Stephen Colbert in 2005. Filed his final report on September 25, 2007.

* Mary Birdsong (2002) — Contributing correspondent

* Michael Blieden (1996 to 1999) — original host of "Ad Nauseam"

* John Bloom (1996-1998) — "God Stuff"

* A. Whitney Brown (1996 to 1998) — "Backfire", had his own The Daily Show special in 1998 called "Weirder Than Whitney"

* Rich Brown (1996 to 1999) — "Public Excess"

* Sameer Butt (1997 to 1998) — Contributor

* Steve Carell (1999 to 2004, occasional pieces in 2005) — "Even Stephven", "Produce Pete", "Dollars and 'Cents'", "We Love Showbiz", "Slimmin' Down With Steve", "Ad Nauseam". In 2005, Steve Carell became the first former Daily Show correspondent to star in a major Hollywood studio film (The 40-Year-Old Virgin). Carell was also the first former correspondent to be the show's featured guest when he promoted The 40-Year-Old Virgin on August 15, 2005; (John Hodgman and Dave Gorman were guests on the show to promote their books before they became contributors). The interview began with a very prolonged, feigned awkward silence, which Stewart ended by gasping out, "Why did you leave us!?" and with feigned crying. He is also married to fellow former correspondent Nancy Walls. Carell visited the show again in June 2007 to promote his movie Evan Almighty, this time appearing to have a young servant, poking fun at his success after the show. The servant was portrayed by Daily Show segment producer and columnist Elliott Kalan. Carell was a guest again June 18, 2008, to promote the Get Smart movie.

* Stephen Colbert (1997 to 2005) — "Even Stephven", "This Week In God", "The Jobbing of America". Although no longer a cast member of The Daily Show, Colbert currently appears at the end of the show twice a week in a promo for The Colbert Report. But, on the October 16, 2007 episode of "The Daily Show", Colbert returned to the set of The Daily Show quirking thoughts about running for president. In addition, on February 8, 2006, a recurring segment called "Klassic Kolbert" debuted on The Daily Show, consisting of a previously aired segment featuring Colbert. Colbert currently holds the record as the longest serving correspondent on The Daily Show.

* Nate Corddry (2005 to 2006) — The younger brother of correspondent Rob Corddry. As a running joke on the show, older brother Rob would often appear in Nate's segments usually picking on him. This eventually lead to the two brothers having their own "Even Stephven"-style debate segment called "Brother vs Brother".

* Rob Corddry (2002 to 2006) — "This Week In God", "Come On!", "Popular Music Omnibus", and as he liked to call them, "Poop jokes". Rob left the show in September 2006 to start a film career and to star in The Winner, a Fox comedy that ran from March 4 to March 18, 2007. On the September 10, 2007 episode of The Daily Show, Corddry appeared as a guest to cover the Larry Craig men's room scandal. He and Stewart ran a joke where Corddry thought he was still on the payroll, explaining his in-depth investigation of the scandal in the men's room. He also appeared in a Samantha Bee segment on celebrity rehab on October 17, 2007. On June 12, 2008, he made a guest apperence as the "Senior Lipizzaner Correspondent." They jokingly stated that John had sent him to Europe in 2006 to be the "Lippizaner Correspondent." Rob even acted shocked that the camera was on.

* Frank DeCaro (1996 to 2003) — "Out at the Movies"; he currently hosts his own program on Sirius Satellite Radio and was a celebrity panelist on GSN's revival of I've Got a Secret

* Vance DeGeneres (1999 to 2001) — "Dollars and 'Cents'", "A Tale of Survival", had his own The Daily Show special in 2000 highlighting his popular "Tales of Survival" segments.

* Eric Drysdale (2001) — Long time writer for The Daily Show, was a one-time correspondent and often appeared in other various comedy bits for the show.

* Susie Essman (1996) — Contributing correspondent

* Adrianne Frost (2002) — One-time correspondent

* Jon Glaser (2004) — One-time correspondent

* Dave Gorman (2006) — "Poll Smoking"; appeared on the show once as a guest in 2001 to promote Are You Dave Gorman?

* Rachael Harris (2002 to 2003) — "Mark Your Calendar", "We Love Showbiz"

* Ed Helms (2002 to 2006) — "Digital Watch", "Ad Nauseam", "Mark Your Calendar", "We Love Showbiz", "This Week in God". Helms and fellow correspondent Rob Corddry had their own The Daily Show special in 2003 called "I'm a Correspondent: Please Don't Fire Me". Helms began a recurring role on The Office in 2006, and was promoted to a regular character halfway through the third season.

* Laura Kightlinger (1999) — One-time correspondent

* Andy Kindler (2000 to 2001) — "TV Guy"

* Beth Littleford (1996 to 2000) — "The Beth Littleford Interview", "bETh". In 1999, Beth had her own The Daily Show special called "The Beth Littleford Interview Special", highlighting her popular celebrity interviews. Beth has the distinction of being the only original correspondent to stay with the show after Jon Stewart took over as host.

* Jerry Minor (2000) — One-time correspondent

* Molly Pesce (1996-1997) — Originally co-hosted The Daily Show's movie review segments with Frank DeCaro. Eventually, DeCaro would go solo with his own segment "Out at the Movies" in 1997.

* David Pompeii (2001) — One-time correspondent

* Caroline Rhea (1996) — Contributing correspondent

* Mo Rocca (1998 to 2003) — "Dollars and 'Cents'", "Mark Your Calendar" Rocca went on to parlay his Daily Show persona in numerous cable appearances, such as VH1's I Love the 80s and at the 2004 political conventions for Larry King Live. Rocca also does occasional correspondent pieces for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and is often a panelist on NPR's weekly comedic round-up of the news, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!. Has also appeared numerous times as a judge on Food Network's Iron Chef America.

* Jeffrey Ross (1996) — Contributing correspondent

* Michael Showalter (1996) — Contributing correspondent

* Tom Shillue (1998 to 1999) — "This Week in Hate"

* Denny Siegel (1999) — Contributing correspondent

* Jeff Stilson (1998) — Contributor

* Miriam Tolan (2000 to 2001) — Contributing correspondent. Also occasionally filled in for Nancy Walls' on "Dollars and 'Cents'"

* Paul F. Tompkins (1998) — "Us People's Weekly Entertainment"

* Brian Unger (1996 to 1998) — "Backfire"; he currently also does commentary for the NPR show Day to Day, VH1's I Love the 70s, I Love the 80s, and I Love the 90s incarnations and is also a frequent guest host on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann

* David Wain (1996) — Contributing correspondent

* Nancy Walls (1999 to 2002) — "We Love Showbiz", "Popular Music Omnibus", "Dollars and 'Cents' Money Bunny", married to fellow former correspondent Steve Carell

* Matt Walsh (2001 to 2002) — News You Can Utilize, "Dollars and 'Cents'", had his own The Daily Show special in May 2002 called "Matt Walsh Goes to Hawaii"

* Lauren Weedman (2001 to 2002) — "We Love Showbiz"

* Bob Wiltfong (2004 to 2005) — Contributing correspondent

* Lizz Winstead (1996 to 1997) — Original correspondent and co-creator of The Daily Show

* Stacey Grenrock-Woods (1998 to 2003) — Contributing correspondent

 

Writing staff

 

The Daily Show writing staff, as of June 2008:

 

* Steve Bodow (Head Writer)

* Jon Stewart (Head Writer)

* Rory Albanese

* Rachel Axler

* Kevin Bleyer

* Rich Blomquist

* Tim Carvell

* Wyatt Cenac

* J. R. Havlan

* Scott Jacobson

* David Javerbaum

* Rob Kutner

* Josh Lieb

* Sam Means

* John Oliver

* Jason Ross

 

Other staff

 

* Bill Clarey (1982 - December 10, 2005) was a 23-year-old staff member who worked as an intern for The Daily Show and receptionist for Comedy Central. Clarey committed suicide on December 10, 2005, prompting the network to suspend production of its show [2] the following Monday night. That Monday's episode was to have Howard Stern as a guest, but after Clarey's death, Comedy Central aired a repeat. On Tuesday, December 13, 2005, Stern appeared as the guest, and the Moment of Zen was dedicated to Clarey, with a short clip from his favorite show, Dynasty.

 

. . .

 

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wouldnt it be easier to just link the wikipedia page instead of copying it word for word? :P

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I was thinking with the passing of George Carlin we should do a list for top standup comedians. Maybe not the next list since we just now did tv comedies but just an idea I'm sure there's plenty other good ones we could do.

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QUOTE (Cali @ Jun 23, 2008 -> 06:56 PM)
wouldnt it be easier to just link the wikipedia page instead of copying it word for word? :P

Maybe, but then again, who has time to type all of that?

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40. (tie) The Larry Sanders Show (1992-98)

 

LarrySandersShow_cas.jpg

 

(2 of 18 lists - 30 points - highest ranking #6 Controlled Chaos, RibbieRubarb)

 

The Larry Sanders Show is a satirical television sitcom that originally aired from August 1992 to May 1998 on the HBO cable television network in the United States. It starred stand-up comedian Garry Shandling as vain, neurotic talk show host Larry Sanders, and centered around the running of his TV show, and the many people behind the scenes. It is notable for featuring celebrities as themselves (often parodying themselves, by being themselves) and its character-based humor, which is similar to other series like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage and Extras, all of which also air or have aired on HBO.

 

The series, in which Shandling used his experience as a guest host on The Tonight Show, is ranked by various critics and fans alongside Seinfeld as one of the best TV comedies of the 1990s. The series also ranked #38 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time and was included in Time magazine's list of the "100 Best TV Shows of All Time."

 

Premise

 

Different kind of sitcom

 

The Larry Sanders Show mixed video-taped footage of the fictional broadcast show (which was recorded in front of an actual live studio audience) with "behind the scenes" footage shot on film (for example, Larry talking to his guests during the commercial break or the everyday workings of the office between shows). As such it featured real-life celebrity guests as they appeared on the talk show, but also as they appeared behind the scenes. This gave the writers and the celebrity guests the opportunity to send up their media images while making the show appear more realistic.

 

Guests

 

Most episodes featured celebrity guests who usually played themselves appearing on the fictional Larry Sanders Show, and who were often the primary source of conflict between Sanders and his co-workers. Guests included Robin Williams, David Duchovny, Roseanne Barr, Elvis Costello, Chris Farley, Sharon Stone, Jon Stewart, Danny DeVito, Rob Reiner, Alec Baldwin, Jon Lovitz, David Spade, Dana Carvey, Jim Carrey, John Ritter, Bob Saget, Bruno Kirby, Ellen DeGeneres and Howard Stern, among others. Jeff Cesario was the butt of a long running joke, being frequently "bumped" when booked to appear.

 

On the season 1 DVD, Shandling says the guests were invariably very happy to parody their media images and generally shared the same sense of humour as himself and the other writers.

 

Regular cast and characters

 

In addition to Shandling, the show featured the following regular primary actors and characters [2][3]:

 

* Rip Torn as Arthur ("Artie"), the show's producer

* Jeffrey Tambor as Larry's sidekick Hank Kingsley

* Penny Johnson as Larry's personal assistant, Beverly

* Janeane Garofalo as the show's booker Paula (until episode 76)

* Mary Lynn Rajskub as the show's booking assistant/booker Mary Lou (from episode 69)

* Jeremy Piven as head writer Jerry (until episode 25)

* Wallace Langham as writer/head writer Phil

* Linda Doucett as Hank's personal assistant Darlene (until episode 48)

* Scott Thompson as Hank's personal assistant Brian (from episode 50)

* Megan Gallagher as Larry's second ex-wife Jeannie (episodes 1-13, 53)

* Kathryn Harrold as Larry's first ex-wife Francine (episodes 14-30)

* Deborah May as network executive Melanie Parrish

* Bob Odenkirk as Larry's agent Stevie Grant

 

Crew

 

Directors and writers of note include Judd Apatow (The 40 Year Old Virgin) who also became an executive producer on the show, Todd Holland (Twin Peaks, Malcolm in the Middle, Friends), Ken Kwapis (The Office (US), Malcolm in the Middle), David Mirkin (The Simpsons, Get A Life), Jon Vitti, (The Simpsons, Da Ali G Show), Joe Flaherty (SCTV), Carol Leifer (Seinfeld), comedian Jeff Cesario (Dennis Miller Live), Adam Resnick (Late Night with David Letterman, Get A Life) and Paul Simms (NewsRadio).

 

Ken Kwapis and Todd Holland, who directed the bulk of the first season, were particularly instrumental in determining the style of the program

 

List of episodes

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_L...s_Show_episodes

 

 

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QUOTE (knightni @ Jun 23, 2008 -> 08:52 PM)
40. (tie) The Larry Sanders Show (1992-98)

 

I forgot how good this show was.

 

 

 

 

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40. (tie) It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (2005-present)

 

sunny_wall.jpg

 

(2 of 18 lists - 30 points - highest ranking #5 MHizzle85)

 

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is an American comedy series created by Rob McElhenney and developed by McElhenney and Glenn Howerton. It premiered on FX on August 4, 2005. The show is about four friends in their late 20s who run an unsuccessful Irish bar, "Paddy's Pub," in South Philadelphia. The series deals with a variety of controversial topics, including abortion, gun control, physical disabilities, racism, sexism, religion, the Israeli/Palestinian situation, terrorism, transsexuality, slavery, incest, sexual harassment in education, the homeless, statutory rape, drug addiction, pedophilia, child abuse, mental illness, gay rights and prostitution. The show is rated TV-MA.

 

History

 

The show began as a pilot called "It's Always Sunny on TV" and was shot on a digital camcorder by Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton and Rob McElhenney. After viewing the pilot, FX Network executives ordered the first season. Although it is often stated publicly that the pilot was shot for $200,[1] the makers of the show have claimed that the cost was much lower because the only costs were videotapes.[1] Danny DeVito, who joined the show in Season Two, said on The Daily Show (August 3, 2006) and on The Late Show with David Letterman (September 6, 2007) that the cost was only $85.

 

According to Rob McElhenney,[1] word of mouth on the show was good enough during the first season for FX to renew it for a second, which premiered June 29, 2006. DeVito joined the cast, playing the father of Dennis (Howerton) and Sweet Dee (Olson).

 

The first season finale aired September 13, 2005. Reruns of edited first season episodes began airing on FX's parent network, Fox Broadcasting, in 2006. In the UK and Ireland, Bravo broadcast the first season in early 2006, with the second season to be broadcast in November 2006 according to the Sun's TV magazine. It is also shown on Channel 6 in Ireland. The show is also shown in Sweden, and in Canada where it airs on Showcase. The show premiered in Australia in 2007 on the Seven Network. Seven recently began airing season 2- it screens at 11.30 pm Sundays. The first season aired in the Arab world on Showtime Arabia's Paramount Comedy Channel in November 2006. The third season premiered on September 13, 2007.[2] On August 18, 2007, a preview episode from a third-season episode "Mac is a Serial Killer" appeared on the group's MySpace page.

 

The third season ran from September 13, 2007 to November 15, 2007. On March 5, 2008, FX renewed It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia for a fourth season. [3]

 

In June of 2008 Season 4 teaser commercials began running on FX with the date September 18, implying that Season 4 will begin on Thursday, September 18.

 

Cast and characters

 

Main cast

 

* Glenn Howerton as Dennis Reynolds: Dennis is co-owner of Paddy's and Dee's twin brother. He is a vain, self-absorbed prep and a self-described "ladies' man". Dennis' self-esteem is derived chiefly from his appearance, so he takes criticism of his looks very poorly. A running joke throughout season three showed Dennis constantly removing his shirt to display his physique. Dennis was popular in high school, but his prom date dumped him for another man. Despite making less than $400 a week at the bar, his family's wealth enables Dennis to wear stylish clothing and drive a Range Rover. He earned good grades at the University of Pennsylvania and minored in psychology, though his original ambition was to become a veterinarian. He listens to glam rock and Rick Astley.

 

* Kaitlin Olson as Diandra [4]"Sweet Dee" Reynolds: Dee is Dennis's twin sister and a bartender at Paddy's. She dropped out of Penn (where she had majored in psychology but failed her classes) to become an actress, but has put little effort into realizing her ambition. Although she identifies herself as a compassionate liberal, she will always put herself first and often has the same prejudices as her friends and brother. She is highly sensitive about her appearance and her professional failings. She was unpopular in high school due to her severe scoliosis, which forced her to wear a back brace and earned her the nickname "The Aluminum Monster". Since high school, she has had a long string of failed relationships. Like the other members of the gang, she drinks heavily, especially to calm herself after meeting an attractive man. Diandra also harbors a phobia regarding the elderly. Despite her many insecurities, Dee is aggressively outspoken and prone to violence when angered. Dee was the only major character in the show to be conceived without an actor in mind. Although Diandra was originally written as a female voice of sanity to contrast with her ill-intentioned co-stars, the character became an equal participant in the gang's activities after Olson was cast. Although most of the characters call her "Sweet Dee," the script still lists her as "Diandra Reynolds." Many times, her name is misspelled as "Deandra" (which is phonetically correct), but it's actually spelled "Diandra"[5]

 

* Rob McElhenney as Mac: Mac is Charlie's childhood friend and Dennis's high school friend, later roommate. He is co-owner of Paddy's and generally the pub's most active manager. He comes from a broken home, as his father was an incarcerated meth dealer, and Mac sold drugs to popular students in high school to gain their friendship. Mac constantly seeks the acceptance of others, especially his parents, but his over-earnest efforts more often than not cause him to be considered an "asshole". Mac also makes frequent attempts to be "hard", usually to impress his criminal father, but he generally flees from confrontation and fares poorly in fights. Mac is Catholic and the only member of the group to profess a religious faith, but this has done little to affect his general lack of ethics (though he is opposed to abortion, unless he is the father of the child).

 

* Charlie Day as Charlie Kelly: Charlie is Mac's childhood friend and a co-owner of Paddy's. He is a volatile loser who displays little ability to cope with day-to-day problems. In addition, he lives in filth and is known to be poor; his apartment is often referred to by friends and acquaintances as a "s*** hole." Throughout the show, Charlie shows signs of several learning disabilities, including dyslexia, and is often accused of being "retarded" and illiterate by other characters. All of the most tedious and disgusting tasks at the bar are called "Charlie Work", even when he is temporarily spared from performing them. He tends to squander the little money he earns from the bar on "bad investments". He has an extremely short fuse and is prone to Al Pacino-styled outbursts. Mac and Dennis frequently manipulate him into tests of his fortitude, and consider him to be almost impossible to injure. Charlie has no success in dating, and harbors an unrequited crush on a cafe waitress. Despite his apparent lack of intelligence, Charlie is the most skilled musician in the group and has concocted elaborate plans to achieve his desires. He spent the majority of his life without a father figure until the finale episode of season two, when he learned who his father is.

 

* Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds: Frank is the legal father of Dennis and Dee. Frank is a successful businessman and he has a long history of shady business endeavors. He was introduced in the first episode of the second season as a man undergoing a midlife crisis. He divorced Dennis and Dee's mother and decided to join in his children's lazy, scheming lifestyle. Frank became co-owner of Paddy's by purchasing land underneath it, and then using this leverage to forcibly join the gang. Frank is a master manipulator and frequently takes the lead in the gang's schemes. Frank knows many sordid characters around town, including a ring of Asian gamblers who the gang find creepy. He claims to have his children's best interests at heart, but frequently exploits and insults them. Frank is shocked and disgusted to learn that Dee and Dennis are not his biological offspring but that Charlie is.

 

Recurring cast

 

* Mary Elizabeth Ellis as The Waitress: A nameless, recovering alcoholic waitress at a cafe, with whom Charlie is madly in love. The Waitress has no interest in Charlie, but harbors her own unrequited crush on Dennis. Charlie goes to great lengths to woo her, and she goes to equally great lengths to attract Dennis' attention. Mary Elizabeth Ellis is Charlie Day's real-life wife.

 

* Anne Archer as Barbara Reynolds: Frank's gold-digging ex-wife and the mother of Dennis and Dee. She is a cold, cruel, and selfish woman with little affection for her family. The finale of season two revealed that Barbara tricked Frank into raising the twins because she thought he was wealthier than Dennis and Dee's biological father, Bruce Mathis (Stephen Collins). She has a vindictive streak, sleeping with Mac solely to make Frank jealous during their divorce, and cutting her children out of her will for petty and illogical reasons. She passes away in the third season.

 

* Stephen Collins as Bruce Mathis. The antithesis of Frank Reynolds. Bruce devotes most of his time to helping suffering children in Africa, several of whom he has adopted. He first appears in Episode 210, "Dennis and Dee Get a New Dad." He later appears in Episode 303, "Dennis and Dee's Mom is Dead", where he inherits Barbara's fortune.

 

* Lynne Marie Stewart as Bonnie Kelly: Charlie's mom, a sweet and timid woman who is attracted to cruel men. She had a one-night stand with Frank Reynolds 30 years ago. She later reconnects with Frank through myspace.com, enjoying his harsh treatment and becoming his "bang-maid", but quickly transfers her affections to the malevolent Luther after meeting him at a dinner party. Lynne Marie Stewart is fondly remembered as Miss Yvonne on the popular children's show Pee-Wee's Playhouse.

 

* Gregory Scott Cummins as Luther: Mac's father and a convicted felon. In his first appearance in the episode "Dennis and Dee Get a New Dad," Mac and Charlie visit him in prison to bond with him, and he attempts to get them to smuggle heroin into the prison. He plays a larger role in "Dennis Looks Like a Registered Sex Offender," this time out on parole and convincing Mac to help him "take care of some people." He is tall, has numerous tattoos, and mentions that he rarely blinks, giving him a generally intimidating appearance. The warm and gentle Bonnie Kelly is attracted to Luther's aloof behavior and criminal past, and the two begin a relationship.

 

* Sandy Martin as Mac's Mom: Always seen smoking and watching TV. First appears in "Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom" when Dennis attempts to exact revenge against Mac by having sex with her, only to have his advances refused. She remains equally apathetic when Mac's dad returns from prison.

 

* Nate Mooney and Jimmi Simpson as The McPoyle Brothers: Creepy former elementary school classmates of Mac and Charlie. It is hinted that Ryan (Mooney) and Liam (Simpson) have an incestuous relationship with each other and their mute sister Margaret (Thesy Surface). They have numerous other siblings (all noticeable from their unibrow, acne and eczema) numbering around 14 as seen in "The Gang Gets Invincible" including "Doyle McPoyle". They are enemies with Charlie since he foiled their plan to become rich through a false molestation lawsuit against the school district.

 

* Artemis Pebdani as Artemis: Friend of Dee's from her acting classes. In the episode "Charlie Has Cancer" Artemis was hired to work at the bar in a move to make it more like the Coyote Ugly Saloon, but rejected when Dennis sees that she is a freak. Also appeared in "Charlie Goes America All Over Everybody's Ass," now with a fondness for performing in the nude, and in "The Gang Gets Invincible," as Frank's acid trip.

 

* Brittany Daniel as Carmen; The transsexual Mac dated in episode 104 ("Charlie Has Cancer") and the episode "Mac Is a Serial Killer".

 

* David Hornsby as Matthew Mara AKA Rickety Cricket: A high school classmate of the gang. After high school, he ended up becoming a priest. He first appears in "The Gang Exploits a Miracle", in which it is revealed that he had a crush on Dee in high school. She used to exploit his feelings for her by getting him to do her math homework or even eat an entire horse turd in exchange for a kiss.

 

Each character can be described as very dishonest and antagonistic. At varying times members have lied for the sake of personal gain. In most episodes these character flaws result in unhappy endings for the main characters as well as the innocent bystanders caught in their path. Conflicts that arise from their mutually competitive natures are the basis for many plots. This has ranged from competition over women between the guys, Dee proving she is as strong or competent as the others, who can steal more things, or even who can amass the most religious followers. In almost every episode, the entire gang, or most of the gang, gets into an arguing match in which they try to shout over each other. Notable instances include the fight in Paddy's bathroom between Charlie and Dennis and the entire gang arguing over who might have been responsible for their potential deaths in "Charlie Gets Crippled". The gang can also often be seen squabbling and generally acting rude and unprofessional when seated in front of someone's desk in a professional environment, such as a lawyer ("Dennis and Dee's Mom is Dead") or a businessman ("The Gang Sells Out").

 

The characters always receive their just punishment. If no good deed goes unpunished, the price for the gang's (mis)behavior is living in a constant state of purgatory. The major difference between them (and most other "famously irreverent" situational comedies) is that the gang has an irrepressible and unrelenting zeal for digging their own graves and then lunging into them.

 

The gang tends to flee confrontations constantly throughout the show. In the episode "Dennis and Dee Go on Welfare", Mac and Charlie are unable to pay off their hired prostitutes, and are forced to "handle this situation the way we handle every situation"—by running away.

 

Episodes

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_It%27...elphia_episodes

 

Selected guest stars

 

* Autumn Reeser (The O.C.) appears in Episode 102, "Charlie Wants An Abortion", as Megan, a pro-life activist that Mac meets at a pro-life center.

* Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville) appears in Episode 105, "Gun Fever", as Colin, a gun-loving thief who steals from the neighboring bars in Philadelphia by manipulating their female bartenders.

* Dennis Haskins (Saved by the Bell) appears in Episode 107, "Charlie Gets Molested", as Coach Murray, a coach being prosecuted by the McPoyle brothers, who falsely claimed that they were molested by him.

* Eddie Mekka (Laverne and Shirley) appears in Episode 205, "Hundred Dollar Baby", as Bobby Thunderstorm, Frank's old boxing rival from the 1960s (and the father of Dee's new boxing rival).

* Stephen Collins (7th Heaven) appears in Episode 210 & 303, "Dennis and Dee Get A New Dad" & "Dennis and Dee's Mom is Dead", as Bruce Mathis, the kind and selfless true father of Dennis and Dee.

* Faizon Love, the TV and movie actor, appears in Episode 302, "The Gang Gets Invincible", as the head trainer and coach of the Philadelphia Eagles development team.

* Judy Greer (Arrested Development) appears in Episode 305, "The Aluminum Monster vs. Fatty McGoo", as fashion designer/clothing store owner Ingrid Nelson (aka Fatty McGoo), as the former schoolmate Dee used to torment (which she used as inspiration to ultimately become far more successful than Dee).

* Brittany Daniel (Glenn Howerton's That 80's Show co-star) appears in Episode 104 and 310, "Charlie Gets Cancer" & "Mac is a Serial Killer", as Carmen, a male-to-female transsexual that Mac has an on-again, off-again relationship with (sometimes to his nervous embarrassment).

 

. . .

 

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40. (tie) The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-66)

 

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(2 of 18 lists - 30 points - highest ranking #2 BigEdWalsh)

 

The Dick Van Dyke Show is an American television situation comedy which initially aired on CBS from October 3, 1961 to June 1, 1966. The show was created by Carl Reiner and starred Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. Reiner had in fact starred in the original, unsuccessful pilot episode, Head of the Family (this was seen on the Nick at Nite service of the Nickelodeon cable channel, shortly after the series itself was added to its schedule in the 1990s). After its rejection, Sheldon Leonard took an interest and helped Reiner revive the project, convincing him to recast, and to switch to the three-camera/studio audience production format.

 

Totalling 158 episodes and five seasons, the show was also produced by Reiner, who wrote many episodes and played the part of Alan Brady. Reiner based the main character on himself and the Brady character on his former boss Sid Caesar. Many of the show's plots were inspired by Reiner's experiences as a writer for Your Show of Shows (which starred Caesar).

 

Main characters

 

* Robert "Rob" Petrie (Dick Van Dyke), the head comedy writer for a fictional New York TV variety series called The Alan Brady Show. The role of Rob Petrie was almost given to Johnny Carson, but Sheldon Leonard, the show's executive producer, suggested Van Dyke.

* Laura Meeker/Meehan Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore), Rob's wife. A stay-at-home mom and former dancer in the U.S.O. (where she met Rob). The role of Laura proved to be the most difficult to cast. About 60 actresses auditioned for the part before Moore was signed, and she almost didn't go to the audition.

* Maurice "Buddy" Sorrell (Morey Amsterdam), an energetic (and at times facetious) "human joke machine" (as was Amsterdam himself), one of the comedy writers; he's constantly making fun of Mel Cooley (the show's producer) for being bald (and dull). His character is loosely based on Mel Brooks who also wrote for Your Show of Shows. He makes frequent jokes about his marriage to his wife "Pickles". On several occasions it is hinted that he is a non-practicing Jew. He owns a large German Shepherd and plays the cello. Amsterdam was recommended by Rose Marie as soon as she had signed on.

* Sally Rogers (Rose Marie), another of the comedy writers (and the comedy trio's designated typist), who is always on the lookout for a husband. She never drinks and quotes frequently from her aunt Agnes (though she always gets the quotes wrong). She has an on again off again relationship with her boyfriend Herman Glimscher who seems to be too much of a mommy's boy to get married. She frequently scares men off with her sense of humor.

Supporting characters

 

* Richard "Ritchie" Rosebud Petrie (Larry Mathews), Rob and Laura's son.

* Melvin "Mel" Cooley (Richard Deacon), the balding producer of the "Alan Brady Show" (and Brady's brother-in-law), who is constantly fighting with Buddy, who often calls him "Mr. Potato Head".

* Jerry (Jerry Paris) and Mildred "Millie" Krumbermacher Helper (Ann Morgan Guilbert), the Petries' next-door neighbors.

 

Other less frequently seen characters include:

 

* Alan Brady (Carl Reiner), the egocentric, toupee-wearing star of the "Alan Brady Show".

* Stacey Petrie (Jerry Van Dyke), Rob's brother, banjo player, and one-time sleepwalker, played by Dick Van Dyke's real-life brother.

* Fiona "Pickles" Sorrell (Barbara Perry/Joan Shawlee), Buddy's slightly nutty wife.

* Herman Glimscher (Bill Idelson), Sally's occasional and "nerdy" boyfriend. In the 2004 Reunion Special, Sally and Herman had been married for years. (In an early episode Sally referred to him as Woodrow)

* Sam and Clara Petrie (Tom Tully/J. Pat O'Malley and Isabel Randolph), Rob's parents.

* Mr. and Mrs. Alan Meehan (Carl Benton Reid and Geraldine Wall), Laura's parents.

* Freddie Helper (Peter Oliphant), Millie and Jerry Helper's son.

 

Storyline

 

Storylines deal with Rob and his two coworkers, Buddy and Sally, who write material for the TV show. Mel Cooley, a balding straight man (and recipient of numerous insulting one-liners from Buddy), is the show's producer and the brother-in-law of Alan Brady, the show's seldom-seen star. As Rob, Buddy, and Sally write for a comedy show, the premise provides a built-in forum for them to "be funny." Other stories focus on the home life of Rob and Laura, who live in suburban New Rochelle, New York. Frequently seen is their young son, Ritchie, as well as their neighbors, Jerry and Millie Helper.

 

Influence

 

The show was an excellent vehicle for Van Dyke's physical comedy and sight gags. The classic example is the scene in the opening titles, in which Van Dyke enters through the front door and trips over the ottoman. (This opening was added beginning in the second season of the series. The first season's opening credits were a composite of promotion stills and screen grabs from the pilot episode.) Producers filmed three versions: one in which Van Dyke trips over the ottoman, one in which he steps around it, and a rarely seen third variation in which Van Dyke avoids the ottoman and then trips on the carpet. Viewers were kept wondering which version would be used on any particular episode, as the show's editors were instructed to use them randomly.

 

The series was considered a trailblazer for its comparatively realistic portrayal of relationships — although the Petries slept in separate beds — and caused some mild controversy because of Mary Tyler Moore's decision to wear capri slacks in an era when most sitcom wives wore dresses and skirts, even though Lucille Ball had previously worn capri slacks on I Love Lucy.

 

The show included humorous but intelligent portrayals of other subjects not previously seen on sitcoms, including religion, race, death, infidelity, and psychiatry. One episode dealt with Ritchie Petrie's use of profanity; another involved his parents' explaining to him the "facts of life."

 

The storylines gave viewers an "inside look" at how a TV show was run and written. This was rare at a time when situation comedy was limited to occupations other than show business. It also gave the cast an opportunity to do "variety" episodes that included stand-up comedy, music, and other non-situation segments.

 

Carl Reiner originally planned to produce and star in the series, which was going to be titled Head of the Family. A pilot episode was made in July of 1960, but it was unsuccessful. Executive producer Sheldon Leonard liked Reiner's concept but felt that Reiner was miscast. Leonard cast Dick van Dyke as Rob Petrie, and Reiner was recast to better effect as Alan Brady (a character called "Alan Sturdy" in Reiner's unsuccessful pilot), the egotistical television star for whom Rob works. In the early episodes, Reiner was only shown with his head turned away from the camera. His voice would also be heard in many commercial announcements when the characters are watching TV or as a radio DJ. Both Leonard and business partner Danny Thomas also appeared on the show guest roles.

 

Reiner always maintained that he never intended for the series to run more than five seasons, making this one of the first successful American TV series to end on its own accord while still popular rather than through cancellation. It has done extremely well in syndicated reruns, most notably on Nick at Nite from 1991 to 2000, then on its sister cable network TV Land from 2000 to 2007.

 

The Dick Van Dyke Show is considered to have been an inspiration for many later sitcoms, in particular the long-running Mad About You. Carl Reiner even reprised the role of Alan Brady for an episode.

 

Van Dyke returned in 1971 in an unrelated vehicle, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, which despite running for three years is rarely shown in syndication and has been largely forgotten.

 

Reunion special

 

On May 11, 2004, CBS aired a reunion special, The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited. Produced by Carl Reiner, who referred to the hour-long special as "The 159th Episode," the show reunited cast members Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Larry Mathews, Ann Morgan Guilbert, Jerry Van Dyke, and Bill Idelson. Reiner reprised his role as Alan Brady. Deceased cast members Morey Amsterdam, Richard Deacon, and Jerry Paris were remembered in flashbacks.

 

The main plot of the special involves the relatively healthy Alan Brady asking Rob and Sally to write his eulogy so that he knows in advance what will be said about him after he dies. The Petries and Sally, along with Rob's brother Stacey and longtime friend Millie, discuss ideas that are illustrated by way of flashbacks to the old show. The special ends with Van Dyke and Moore, out of character, reminiscing about the series as more flashbacks are shown. Ray Romano hosts the special.

 

Van Dyke and Moore reprised the Petrie characters as they were in 1979, and also later in life as seniors, in an episode of "The Mary Tyler Moore Variety Hour" on March 25, 1979. [1]

Episodes

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_D...e_Show_episodes

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40. (tie) Chappelle's Show (2003-08)

 

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(2 of 18 lists - 30 points - highest ranking #2 DrunkBomber)

 

Chappelle's Show was an American comedy television series starring comedian Dave Chappelle. Created by Chappelle and Neal Brennan, the series premiered on January 22, 2003 on the U.S. cable television network Comedy Central. The show ran for two complete seasons plus three "lost episodes".

 

After numerous delays, production of the third season of the show was abruptly ended when Chappelle left the show. Three episodes were compiled from the completed work and these episodes aired from July 9 to July 23, 2006. Re-runs frequently air on Comedy Central and around the world on Comedy Central in Germany, The Comedy Network in Canada, The Comedy Channel and the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) in Australia and FX in the United Kingdom. It has been announced that the series will be syndicated by MGM Television under strategic relationship with New Line Television.[2][3]

 

Today, Chappelle's Show is shown on Superstation WGN and is syndicated to various television stations across the U.S.

 

Format

 

The show opens with Chappelle being introduced over a riff from the song Hip Hop, from the album Let's Get Free by Dead Prez. Chappelle performs a short stand up in front of a live audience, which serves to introduce the upcoming skit. The focus then shifts to a live skit that appears on a screen that is to Chappelle's left (or right for the first episode). The show is notorious for its handling of the topic of sexuality, and Chappelle's casual usage of racist epithets. The show also handles such topics as prostitution, the entertainment industry, gun violence, numerous drug references (particularly marijuana, PCP, and crack cocaine) and music, all performed in a comedic fashion with a touch of antagonism.

 

Cast

 

* Dave Chappelle

* Anthony Berry

* Neal Brennan

* Bill Burr

* Drake Hill

* Sophia Brown

* Yoshio Mita

* Paul Mooney (recurring)

* Charlie Murphy

* Randy Pearlstein

* Donnell Rawlings

* Wayne Brady

Episodes

 

Main article: List of Chappelle's Show episodes

There have been three seasons of Chappelle's Show produced, totaling 28 episodes. There have also been four "mixtapes" and one "music jump-off" episode, highlighting the best sketches and musical acts of each season, respectively. Combined, this makes 33 complete episodes.

 

Popular skits

 

Main article: List of Chappelle's Show skits

 

Instead of being a traditional sketch comedy show, the show has a style that is much like BBC's Big Train in that the skits are pre-recorded (shot on film). However, a laugh track is not used and it is the actual laughter from audiences that is present at the episode's taping (the one exception to this was the 'Dude's Night Out' sketch. Neal Brennan admitted in the Season 2 DVD commentary that they had to air in laughs due to the lack of reaction from the audience) for that specific episode.

 

Frontline - A spoof of the PBS series Frontline. The first Frontline sketch, Blind Supremacy, featured the life of Clayton Bigsby (played by Chappelle), a biography of a blind white supremacist who is not aware that he is actually a black man. This was in the opening episode of the first season and helped Chappelle gain significance for the way that the sketch gratuitously used the word "n*****" (mostly spoken by Chappelle's character). Other Frontline sketches featured stories of racist animal actors and gay versions of everything from the DMV to the KKK.

 

Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories - Charlie Murphy (who also wrote the sketch) retells events of the 1980s, the most popular being the Rick James story with Murphy as himself and Chappelle as James, including incidents such as James slapping Murphy, interspersed with scenes of the present-day Rick James, trying to cover up for his past behavior, saying, "Cocaine's a hell of a drug." The sketch spawned one of the show's popular catchphrases, "I'm Rick James, b****!", which Chappelle as James repeatedly declares.

 

The sketch attained even greater public attention when, in 2005, a candidate for city council in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, also named Rick James but unrelated to the singer, had many of his Vote Rick James campaign signs defaced or stolen by fans of the sketch.[1][2]

 

Black Bush - an African-American "interpretation" of George W. Bush and his administration. It was controversial due to its set-up segment (which had Dave Chappelle mocking fellow comedian Dennis Miller over the comedian's infamous "free pass" comment regarding not saying anything bad about George W. Bush) and its overall theme that if Bush and his top aides were black, the public would be more willing to be critical of the President and his decisions. The sketch also features cameo appearances by actor Jamie Foxx, who appears as "Black Tony Blair", Mos Def as "Black Head of the CIA, and Blaire Reinhard as the female newscaster.

 

A Moment in the Life of Lil Jon - Chappelle plays rapper/producer Lil Jon doing normal, everyday tasks, with a vocabulary consisting of almost nothing but the words 'Yeah!', 'WHAT?!', and 'O-kay!'. The real Lil' Jon appeared in one sketch, as does Chappelle's character, his catchphrases with speech in an excessively dignified accent, perhaps as a reference to Lil Jon's upper class background.

 

Samuel Jackson Beer - A parody of the Samuel Adams beer commercials. Features Chappelle as a very profane and extremely loud Samuel L. Jackson dressed in colonial-style clothes as a play on Samuel Adams beer with the name of the brewer/patriot Samuel Adams.

 

Wayne Brady's Show - After Dave Chappelle quits the show in an opening segment that very intriguingly mirrored the contract negotiations for the aborted third season, Wayne Brady takes over as host and is ordered to emcee the remaining episodes of the series since Chappelle had already filmed the remaining sketches (in an ironic twist, this actually occurred when Comedy Central aired the three "Lost Episodes" of the aborted Season 3). After several segments showing Dave at home, enjoying life off of TV (and having his friends, such as Big Boi, suddenly turn their backs on him), Dave decides to take a walk but goes crazy when he sees his son with Nick Cannon and finds out that he wants him to be his new daddy. Vowing to get his show back, Chappelle returns to the show and confronts Wayne Brady. The ensuing confrontation leads to the airing of a flashback to a night of misadventure involving the two that portrays Wayne Brady (contrary to his friendly public image) as a murderous, pimping and seriously disturbed psychopath (a parody of the film Training Day). The sketch spawned the lines "Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a b****?" and "I'm Wayne Brady, b****!" The skit also contains a popular clip from a previous bit, Negrodamus (about a black Nostradamus), wherein Negrodamus tells someone who asks about Brady's success, "White people love Wayne Brady, because he makes Bryant Gumbel look like Malcolm X." Chappelle has said that this clip was the inspiration for the Wayne Brady sketch, with Brady referencing Mooney's comment as though it may explain his violent criminal behavior in front of Chappelle.

 

I Wrote This Song A Long Time Ago is a skit about rapper Tupac Shakur, also known as 2Pac, and how there have been so many albums released after his death, as well as the belief by many fans that Shakur is actually still alive, using evidence in the lyrics of his posthumous songs, which Donnell Rawlings and Charlie Murphy note are a little too ahead of their time. In this skit, Dave is featured dancing in a club, when a newly-released Tupac song is played by the DJ, ?uestlove. The song's lyrics refer to events that have happened in the 10 years since Tupac's death, such as Blackberry devices, the War in Afghanistan, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as well as rappers Beanie Sigel and Slim Shady. Eventually, the song begins to make references to events that are actually happening in the club, such as a fellow dancer hitting the table and making the record skip, a female dancer whose shirt doesn't match with her mini-skirt and a pudding stain on the back of her shirt, and Dave Chappelle dancing with a woman who turns out not to be his wife. Despite these references, Shakur maintains that he "wrote this song in '94" and that he is not alive. As the song comes to a close, Shakur stops singing. The DJ asks that the rapper rest in peace, after which Shakur responds "Okay, I Will!".

 

Zapped - Is a sketch about him making his hidden camera show, similar to Punk'd, based on his unaired show The Dave Chappelle Project in 1997, which he was sued for. This sketch is about him pulling pranks on other people, and after they have a negative reaction, he would say that they've been zapped; though in addition, someone gets hurt or their lives ruined. One part of "Zapped" plays a prank on a man who comes home from work to find his wife 'cheating' on him with Chappelle. The man, enraged at his wife's infidelity, confesses that he himself has been sleeping with his secretary for years; to which Dave happily reveals the truth behind the prank. In another part of "Zapped," Dave and his cohorts go to a local bank to stage a robbery. After taking everyone hostage, shooting a man, and taking the money, Dave again exclaims "YOU'VE BEEN ZAPPED!" and reveals the ruse. What Dave didn't know was that somebody had already called the police; who then enter the bank and shoot one of the pranksters.

 

BYAHH!!!- Is a spoof of Howard Dean's presidential rant. He spoofs the speech, an interview involving Dick Cheney, and made a music video entitled "BYAHH". This skit was later discussed by Dean in an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman.

 

Recurring characters

 

* Robot Dancing Man - Set designer Karl Lake does the Robot dance in random places, including a barbershop, club, and a courtroom (in a deleted scene). In the skits, he is never acknowledged, despite the out-of-place behavior, nor does he acknowledge anyone. There have been a few exceptions to this rule. One of them is during the Slow-Motion skit, in the club, when Dave acknowledges him by saying "The Robot", and emulating him. Another is when Wayne Brady "takes over" the show, during one of the commercial break intros; Wayne is looking at Robot Man's moves and then proceeds to dance with him. There has also been an exception in the opening theme for Season 3 in which Charlie Murphy and Donnell Rawlings have hogtied and taken the place of the two men who start off the show. Robot Man is seen in the background doing his dance and the harmonica player yells out "Robot, help us!", to no avail.

* Tron Carter - a cocaine dealer (played by Chappelle) originally shown in a sketch where he has received reparations for slavery and due to a "hot hand in a dice game" becomes the richest man in America. When asked about the infant he carts around in a stroller, Tron says, "I bought this baby straight cash." He is also one of the roommates in The Mad Real World. Later in a spoof of Law & Order, Tron gets the same lenient treatment as those involved in White-collar crime, invoking the "FiF" in response to every question. Tron also appeared in the first episode of Season 3 in a skit in which he described an altercation with Method Man and was tortured by the methods described in the song "Method Man" from Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). In the reparations episode he is shown gambling in Brooklyn but in another episode he is shown in his house on "Everglade Boulevard" bagging up cocaine and watching the fictitious R. Kelly music video "Piss On You" and he receives a phone call from the Dade County Police Department , suggesting he either lives in Miami or Brooklyn

* Negrodamus - a black prophet and fortune teller (played by Paul Mooney). In the sketch, people (mostly white) ask him various questions such as "Negrodamus, why do white people love Wayne Brady so much?" to which he replies "White people love Wayne Brady because he makes...Bryant Gumbel look like Malcolm X." (This clip was later shown as a drug hallucination in the Wayne Brady sketch).

* Tyrone Biggums - A squeaky voiced crack addict recognized by his crack lips and constant scratching. His character is considered by many fans as the most popular character in the show's history[citation needed]. His first appearance was in the second episode of Season 1. He is often heard saying "I smoke rocks" and "SHAZAM!" Tyrone enjoys eating Peanut Butter and crack sandwiches.

* Andy "Silky" Johnson - A notorious player hater who won the fictitious "Hater of the Year" award twice (one of which was for calling a bomb threat on the Special Olympics), and who later traveled back in time to "hate" in the past.

* Chuck Taylor - The lead "white" anchor on the fictitious "News 3", is played by Chappelle in whiteface makeup and a blonde wig. Taylor has appeared in a few skits, the first of which was the Reparations skit from Season 1.

* Leonard Washington - A family man with a hardassed attitude, Washington first appeared in the first season sketch Trading Spouses, wherein he acted as the patriarch of a white family for a month. Notably, when entering rooms unfamiliar to him, Washington will look out the windows to see if he is being followed. He also expressed his displeasure that many white families do not use washcloths when taking a shower or bath. One of the only things that can make Leonard Washington back down is being shot. When asked for his hometown in the World Series of Dice skit, Washington replied, "Where I'm from? A little town called none ya goddamn bidness [business]." He has a wife and a son, T-Mart. He is seemingly unaware of pop culture, unknowing of Renee Zellweger (as he stated in "Trading Spouses" after reading "White People Magazine"

* Ashy Larry - A shirtless black man with flaky-white skin and chapped lips, who is always seen wearing a pair of white boxer shorts (played by Donnell Rawlings). He appeared on the World Series of Dice skit, in one of Chappelle's daydreams during a boring dinner conversation, and was seen holding Dave Chappelle's $50 Million dollar check in one of the Lost Episodes. "Ashy Larry" is also one of the names Wayne Brady calls the PCP he gives to Dave in the Wayne Brady sketch.

 

Frequent or notable guest stars

 

Main article: List of Chappelle's Show guest stars

 

Many guest stars have appeared on the show, including RZA, GZA, Damon Dash, Redman, Wayne Brady, Common, Mos Def, Eddie Griffin, Susan Sarandon, Rashida Jones, Jamie Foxx, John Mayer, Carson Daly, and Fear Factor's Joe Rogan. Brady was the only guest to appear on stage. Musical guests who appeared on the show include De La Soul, Mos Def, Ludacris, Talib Kweli, Fat Joe, Wyclef Jean, Killer Mike, Big Boi (as OutKast), Common, Kanye West, DMX, Busta Rhymes, Slum Village, ?uestlove, Snoop Dogg, Cee-Lo, Vida Guerra (in the Piss On You video),and Erykah Badu.

 

Third season delays

 

2005

 

After the success of the first two seasons, the third season of Chappelle's Show was scheduled to premiere in February 2005. This date was pushed back to May 31, 2005 when production fell behind schedule in December 2004 because, according to Comedy Central, Chappelle had fallen ill with the flu (Chappelle later told Oprah Winfrey that this was untrue and that in actuality stress had caused him to leave).[3] On May 4, 2005, just weeks before the anticipated premiere, Comedy Central announced that Chappelle's Show would not be ready by the announced date and that production had been suspended "until further notice." No reason for the delay or suspension was given and there was no response from Chappelle.[4] One week later it was reported (most notably by The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly) that Chappelle had previously flown to South Africa on April 28 to stay in an undisclosed psychiatric facility.

 

On May 14, TIME announced that one of their reporters, Christopher John Farley, had interviewed Chappelle in South Africa, and that no psychiatric treatments were occurring or necessary. Chappelle returned shortly thereafter and quelled rumors of psychiatric or substance abuse problems, and emphasized that his trip was a "spiritual retreat" intended to keep his sense of reality outside the bubble of intense pressure and fame and to keep his humor fresh.

 

Shortly after his return from South Africa, Chappelle returned to his home in the town of Yellow Springs, Ohio. Since then he has given a series of surprise performances at small comedy clubs near his home. The small-town community has been supportive of his return, and has worked hard to honor his wish to live a normal life and escape constant public attention.

 

On July 14, Comedy Central president Doug Herzog announced that Chappelle was welcome back any time, but that the comedian had said he was still not ready to return. Herzog put a positive spin on negotiations, but conceded that he did not expect Chappelle's Show to return in 2005. It was also reported in the New York Times that Chappelle explained to Herzog, over dinner, that his success was getting to him and that "he wanted to be wrong again sometimes, instead of always being right."

 

In an August 2005 interview with TV Guide, Charlie Murphy said that Chappelle's Show was finished. Chappelle, on the other hand, had yet to announce this to the public.[5]

 

On December 11, during Comedy Central's Last Laugh '05, a promo for the third season of the show was aired.

 

2006

 

On January 24, 2006, the program premiered uncensored on the UK's FX, starting with the second season. The first episode featured the Slow Motion skit, one of the most famous in the United Kingdom, popularized by the Internet. It was well received by critics, with outspoken TV critic Gary Naysmith declaring it, "The finest piece of television I've seen all year."

 

On February 3, 2006, Chappelle made his first television interview since production ceased on Season 3, on The Oprah Winfrey Show. He stated that burnout, losing his creative control, and a work environment that was uncomfortable, were some of the reasons why he left the show. He also stated that he's open to producing the remainder of Season 3 (and perhaps a Season 4) only if his demands are met, one of which is to ensure that half of the proceeds of future Chappelle's Show DVD sales go to charity. Chappelle claimed that if Comedy Central aired the unaired episodes, the show would be finished. After that announcement, Comedy Central stopped advertising the release of the third season for a period of time.

The "Lost Episodes"

 

In April, the network wrapped up production of the third season, taping the live studio audience segments for three episodes. In place of Chappelle, the last episodes were co-hosted by regular cast members Charlie Murphy and Donnell Rawlings. Advertised as the "lost episodes", they began airing on July 9, 2006. The third and final episode aired on July 23, 2006. The DVD collection of the lost episodes was released on July 25, 2006, although the controversial Racial Pixies sketch appeared heavily censored from its original debut. The banjo player had been edited out, some dialogue was removed, and various cuts have been re-edited in that particular scene. This skit allegedly contributed to Chappelle's departure from the show, although it is unclear specifically as to why the skit was edited.

 

When asked if he feels guilty about carrying on with the lost episodes without Chappelle, Donnell Rawlings replied:

 

“I’m a loyal person, but I know that as a professional, I’ve got to keep my career going, and I felt it was an opportunity for me, for people see what I do as funny...without knowing what Dave Chappelle’s agenda is, the reasons why he left, with no communication saying, ‘Hey guys, I feel this way. I would much rather you not be a part of this process.’ Had I had a conversation with Dave like that then there’s a possibility that I would reconsider me hosting it."[6]

 

There are many unaired skits on the DVD but some were shown in front of an audience but weren't present in the broadcast.

 

. . .

 

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34. (tie) Flight of the Conchords (2007-present)

 

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(3 of 18 lists - 31 points - highest ranking #5 DrunkBomber)

 

Flight of the Conchords is a television comedy series that follows the adventures of the Flight of the Conchords, a folk duo from New Zealand, as its members seek fame and success in New York City. The show portrays a fictionalized version of the real-life duo, Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, who play themselves.

 

The show was created by James Bobin, Clement, and McKenzie. Bobin serves as the show's main writer and director. The first episode of the series aired on HBO on June 17, 2007.

 

Plot

 

The series revolves around the day-to-day lives and loves of two musicians, Jemaine and Bret (Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, playing fictionalised versions of themselves), who have uprooted themselves from their native New Zealand to try to make it big as a novelty folk duo in New York City. The two have frequent appointments with their band manager, Murray (Rhys Darby), a Deputy Cultural Attaché at the New Zealand consulate, who is overly officious and ineffectual. Jemaine and Bret constantly fend off the amorous attentions of Mel (Kristen Schaal), a married woman who is their sole fan and stalker. Their friend Dave (Arj Barker) works at a pawn shop and gives them advice on dealing with American women and culture. Other recurring characters include their landlord, Eugene (played by Eugene Mirman), Bret's short-term girlfriend Coco (Sutton Foster) and Jemaine and Bret's ex-girlfriend Sally (Rachel Blanchard).

 

Most episodes revolve around the five main cast members. The antagonists outside of this small group are usually either their girlfriends or Australians (see "Bret Gives Up the Dream", "Sally Returns").

 

Jemaine or Bret break into song periodically throughout each episode. The songs are built into the narrative structure of the show in several different ways. Some songs form part of the actual plot of the show. In these instances, Bret or Jemaine sings to another character. Other songs serve as the internal monologue of one of the two. Typically, at least once per show, a song is shot in the form of a music video. Some songs use a combination of the styles. For example, in the first episode, "Sally", the song "Most Beautiful Girl in the Room" is a mix of Jemaine's inner thoughts, which are inaudible to those around him, and his spoken invitations to Sally to get a kebab and to go back to his place, while the music video for "Business Time" (from "Sally Returns") depicts a daydream that Jemaine is having.

 

The enthusiastic manner in which the characters express themselves through song is in stark contrast to the very low-key, monotone manner in which the characters express themselves throughout the rest of the show. Thus, when the characters cannot verbalize their feelings, the songs serve as inner monologues and explain the thoughts and feelings they are unable to communicate to others.

 

Cast

 

Main cast
Name 	Played by 	Description
Jemaine Clemaine[2] 	Jemaine Clement 	Band member. Bret's roommate.

Bret McClegnie[2] 	Bret McKenzie 	Band member. Jemaine's roommate.

Murray Hewitt 	Rhys Darby 	Murray is the band's manager. His day job is Deputy Cultural Attaché at the New Zealand consulate. He has few friends and an on-and-off relationship with his never-seen wife, Shelley. While he is passionate about the band and aspires to be a successful manager, he is largely incompetent in his well-meaning attempts at promoting the Conchords.

Mel 	Kristen Schaal 	Mel is the Conchords' lone fan and stalks them obsessively in pursuit of a romantic liaison despite the fact that she is married to Doug, her former college professor. In the episode "Bowie" it is revealed that she is a Junior Professor of Psychology. In "New Fans" it is implied that she has been through legal trouble for stalking.

Dave 	Arj Barker 	A friend of Bret and Jemaine who works at a pawn shop and dispenses advice. He lives with his parents, though tries to cover it up by pretending they are his roommates.

 

Recurring guest stars
Name 	Played by 	 Description 	                                                                                                        Episodes
Greg 	Frank Wood 	Murray's assistant at the consulate. In the episode "The Actor", it was suggested that he is Murray's only friend besides Bret and Jemaine. 	101-102, 105-107, 111-112

Eugene 	Eugene Mirman 	Bret and Jemaine's landlord. 	101-103, 105, 108, 111-112

Doug 	David Costabile 	Mel's husband. When Doug appears in an episode it is usually because he is driving Mel to a band gig or stalking mission. In the episode "Bowie" it is revealed that he was previously the Senior Professor of Psychology at the university which Mel attended, but was fired and is now unemployed. It's implied in the episode "New Fans" that he and his family had a restraining order against Mel at one point before he married her. 	101-102, 106, 109-110

Coco 	Sutton Foster 	Bret's girlfriend for several episodes. Bret and Coco meet while working as part-time sign holders. They break up in the "Sally Returns" episode because it's clear that Bret still has feelings for Sally. 	102, 104-105

Sally 	Rachel Blanchard 	Bret's former girlfriend. She dates Jemaine briefly on two separate occasions, but eventually accepts a marriage proposal from a rich Australian in the episode "Sally Returns". 	101, 105

 

Other guest stars
Name 	Played by 	Description 	                                                                                                       Episode
Sinjay 	Aziz Ansari 	A fruit vendor who discriminates against Bret and Jemaine because he mistakes New Zealand for Australia. 	107

Greeting Card Company Manager 	John Hodgman 	The manager of the greeting card company with which the Conchords sign a recording contract. 	106

Demetri 	Demetri Martin 	A keytar player who joins the Conchords after Bret leaves the band. In the end, he joins Todd, the bongo player, and they become famous after forming "The Crazy Dogggz" with the song "The Doggy Bounce" 	112

Todd 	Todd Barry 	A bongo player who joins Bret and Jemaine as "The Third Conchord". He convinces Jemaine to kick Bret out of the band, but in the end joins Demetri (a keytar player who formed a band with Bret) and becomes famous after forming "The Crazy Dogggz" with the song "The Doggy Bounce". 	112

Ben 	Will Forte 	An actor the band hires to speak with Murray about a record deal rejection. 	111

 

Cameo appearances

Several famous people have made a fleeting cameo appearance in various episodes.

Name 	Played by 	Description 	                                                                                                    Episode
Club Owner 	Kate Pierson 	A club owner that turns the band away from a scheduled gig due to their reputation for causing damage. 	109

Club MC 	Daryl Hall 	The MC of the Tuesday World Music Jam at which the Conchords play. He introduces them as "Flute of the Commodores" and ushers them quickly off stage several bars into "Rock the Party". 110

Jim 	John Turturro 	In a scene that runs during the credits, Turturro plays a cop in a fictional Martin Scorsese movie. 	111

Pawn Shop Patron 	Judah Friedlander 	Judah's character tries to pawn a cake to Dave. 101

 

Critical reaction

 

The show has received a generally positive reaction from critics. The best reviews were from the Detroit Free Press, whose critic described it as "TV's most original and irresistible new comic concoction"[3] and the San Francisco Chronicle, whose reviewer stated that it "may well be the funniest thing you've seen in ages."[4] At the opposite end, the Miami Herald reviewer wrote that it "feels less like a sitcom than a Saturday Night Live sketch stretched out to about six times its shelf-life."

Episodes

 

Main article: List of Flight of the Conchords episodes

 

Songs

 

A list of the songs that appear or are mentioned in series one:

 

* "Albi the Racist Dragon" - (107)

* "She's So Hot - BOOM" - (102)

* "Bowie" - (106)

* "Bret, You Got It Going On" - (106)

* "Business Time" - (105)

* "Cheer Up, Murray" - (111)

* "If You're Into It" - (104)

* "Doggy Bounce" - (112)

* "Frodo (Don't Wear the Ring)" - (111)

* "Foux du Fafa" - (108)

* "Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros" - (103)

* "I'm Not Crying" - (101)

* "Inner City Pressure" - (102)

* "A Kiss Is Not a Contract" - (108)

* "Leggy Blonde" - (107)

* "Mermaids" - (109)

* "The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room" - (101)

* "Mutha'uckas" - (107)

* "Pencils in the Wind" (a.k.a. "Sello Tape") - (104)

* "Prince of Parties" - (110)

* "Robots" - (101, 112)

* "Rock the Party" - (102, 109, 110)

* "She-wolf" - (104)

* "Ladies of the World" - (110)

* "Song for Sally" - (105)

* "Think About It" - (103)

 

Second season

 

On August 17, 2007, HBO announced a second season for Flight of the Conchords, originally set to premiere in 2008[6], but which may be postponed to 2009. Prior to the announcement, Jemaine Clement stated in an interview with The New Zealand Herald, "they [HBO] are interested in doing another series but we have to think about it. It's not a definite offer but they have talked about us starting writing but we've got other things we want to do as well".[7] Bret McKenzie has stated in several interviews that the band has used up "97 percent" of their old songs in the first series. In an interview with The Star Ledger, he said "We'd need some time to develop new material. It's like the second album syndrome. It might take a lot longer".[8] Shortly after the renewal announcement, Clement stated in an interview that the second season would likely consist of fewer than twelve episodes "so they could concentrate on 'quality not quantity'". McKenzie and Clement plan to write for the second season in Wellington, New Zealand, before they return to New York City in 2008 for filming.[9] The band subsequently announced via their official myspace.com blog that the second season is in production and set to premiere in January 2009.

Filming locations

 

Filming for the series takes place at a variety of locations and landmarks around New York City. Flight of the Conchords has, however, been consistent with its geography with respect to their neighbourhood. Some of the primary locations are listed below. Information on locations specific to particular episodes may be found on the page for that episode.

 

* Exterior shots of Bret and Jemaine's apartment, for episode 102 onwards, are filmed at 28 Henry Street in the Chinatown area of New York City. Apartment exterior shots for the pilot episode were filmed at a different location further east down Henry Street between Clinton and Montgomery.

* The building that serves as the exterior of the New Zealand consulate is nearby at 232 East Broadway. The real New Zealand Consulate is located approximately four miles uptown at 222 East 41st St in Manhattan.

* Dave's 'pawn shop' can be found just around the corner from the 'consulate' at 10 Montgomery Street.

* Steiner Studios, Brooklyn, New York.[10]

* McGolrick Park, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, was used at the setting for a musical montage.

 

Recurring themes and running jokes

 

Roll call

 

Before every band meeting, no matter where it is held or how few are present, Murray takes roll-call. Bret and Jemaine are not enthusiastic supporters of this piece of meeting etiquette. Often one or the other refuses to respond. Murray's belief that all meetings must start with a roll call causes confusion in the episode "Bowie", when the card company manager's failure to take a roll-call results in Murray being unaware the meeting has started.

 

Mel's obsession

 

Mel is depicted as a stalker with a romantic obsession for the two band members. She is present at every band performance, no matter how insignificant, and is commonly found outside the band's apartment whenever they leave the building. In "The Third Conchord" she feigns innocence over her presence, asking "What are the chances?" Jemaine replies "One in one".

 

Mel's obsession can also be seen from her apparel. She is usually shown wearing a Flight of the Conchords t-shirt - a different one in each episode. Mostly these shirts appear to be home-made and often feature candid photos of a surprised Bret and/or Jemaine.

Australia as nemesis

 

Australia is featured prominently as a source for the boys' misfortune. In "Bret Gives Up the Dream", the band's performance at a travel expo is outshone by a flashy Australian booth. In "Sally Returns", Jemaine and Bret are dumped by Sally in favor of an Australian suitor. In the episode "Drive-By" episode, Jemaine and Bret are the victims of discrimination because a fruit vendor believes them to be Australian. During the end credits of this episode they can be seen releasing their frustrations by "flipping the bird" to the guard outside of the Australian Embassy.

 

Bret quitting the band

 

A number of episodes include Bret quitting or getting fired from the band, only to rejoin later. In "Bret Gives up the Dream", Bret is forced out because his job interferes with the band schedule and Jemaine is left to perform alone, accompanied by a tape player. In "Yoko", he quits in support of his girlfriend, whom Jemaine dislikes. Later in the first series, his fluctuating band status starts to be remarked upon. After Murray quits in "What Goes On Tour", Jemaine says "You can't quit the band. Bret usually quits the band". In the episode "The Third Conchord", Bret is explicitly reminded of his erratic status within the band when he is fired in favor of egotistical bongo player Todd.

 

Murray's lack of musical knowledge

 

Murray often accidentally reveals that he knows very little about the music industry. In response to a remark about Fleetwood Mac, Bret refers to their album "Rumours", to which Murray responds "No, it's all true". In "Girlfriends", Murray is fooled into believing that a shady black-marketeer named A.J. Jones is the brother of legendary record producer Quincy Jones, despite the fact that A.J. Jones is white. In the same episode, when describing Quincy Jones, he asks Bret for some samples of Quincy's work. Bret mention's "Michael Jackson's Off the Wall", to which Murray replies, "Yeah he is! He's crazy! Isn't he going to freeze himself?". In "The Third Conchord" he refers to the band "The Police" as "The Policemen," as well as misquoting John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" as "Give Pete a Chance". He also consistently makes the mistake of booking gigs for the band in the middle of the afternoon.

 

Unsuccessful relationships with women

 

Bret and Jemaine are depicted as being clumsy and inexperienced with women. An example is Jemaine's confusion over how to deal with Sally in the pilot episode. In the episode "What Goes On Tour" they are flirted with, and ultimately duped by, the more sophisticated women of a university sports team. It is also common for Bret and Jemaine to tag along when one or the other goes on a date.

 

Financial failures

 

The band continually fail in their attempts to remedy their poor financial situation. In "Bret Gives Up the Dream" it is revealed the band had $10, but Murray has spent $6 of their money on a strongbox, leaving them with just $4 in savings. In "Bowie", a promising scheme to have their music played in greeting cards emerges, but their poor negotiating skills results in the band receiving just 50 cents in royalties. In "What Goes On Tour", Bret and Jemaine waste their per diems on leather suits instead of "food and necessary items", and blow out the tour expenses with their wastefulness, clumsiness and naïveté with women.

 

Confusion over nationality

 

Other characters are commonly confused over Bret and Jemaine's nationality, often mistaking them for Australians or Englishmen. Their best friend Dave also admits to being unclear on the matter and has at various times described them as English ("Sally", "Drive By"), Scottish ("Drive By") and Irish ("New Fans"). The whole plot of the episode "Drive By" is centred around the misconception of a fruit vendor that New Zealanders are Australian.

New Zealand tourism posters

 

The walls in Murray's office have featured a variety of humorous and odd New Zealand tourism posters. Examples include: "New Zealand...it's not part of Australia", "New Zealand: Don't expect too much - you will love it", "New Zealand...Cool", "New Zealand: Just like The Lord Of The Rings!", "New Zealand...Why Not?" and a poster with a photograph of a rocky outcrop superimposed with the slogan "New Zealand...Rocks!!!"

[edit] New Zealand accent

 

Several episodes have featured scenes where the flat vowels of the New Zealand accent have caused confusion. In two different episodes, women that Bret was talking to thought his name was 'Brit'. In "Mugged" there is an extended sequence where Dave is confused between the words 'dead' and 'did'.

 

New Zealand culture

 

New Zealand culture is depicted as quaint or old-fashioned. For instance, a VHS tape (which Murray refers to as a DVD -- a "dubbed video dub") from New Zealand television contains an advertisement for the telephone, suggesting that it is still an unfamiliar concept in New Zealand. In "Mugged", Bret tells his mother over the phone that there are "more than four" channels on American television. Characters are often confused about the nature and history of New Zealand. In the episode "Bret Gives Up The Dream", for example, Coco believes that New Zealand has Vikings. In "The Actor" the character Ben refers to New Zealand as a "backward country that no one has ever heard of."

"Rock the Party"

 

Whenever the band is seen playing at a gig, the song they usually play is "Rock the Party", though this is often cut short, and never shown played in full. The song's lyrics are very simplistic and the chorus is apparently just "Who likes to rock the party? We like to rock the party". Jemaine is seen practicing "Rock the Party" in his bedroom in "Bret Gives Up the Dream".

Bret's clothing

 

Bret's wardrobe consists of a variety of t-shirts and sweatshirts with unusual designs, many of which feature animals. A number of the shirts and sweaters make regular appearances including Bret McKenzie's "famous" red and black striped top that he has worn many times in "real life" performances. In "The Actor", Bret wears a shirt constructed from an item his character crafted for his girlfriend Sally in a previous episode.

 

Animals with Bret's head

 

The show has depicted Bret's head on an animal body in several episodes. In the episode "Sally Returns," Bret makes a painting of Sally and a wolf with Bret's face on it. In the song "Prince of Parties," Bret is seen riding a horse while singing only for the horse to take its head off and have Bret's head revealed as the actual head of the horse. In the episode "Bowie," Bret describes a dream in which he was a guinea pig, only with his own face.

 

Murray's wife

 

Murray's somewhat secretive and on-again off-again relationship with his never-seen wife Shelley is a feature of several episodes in the latter half of season one. She left him when she found someone online as featured in the film clip for the song "Cheer Up Murray". In "What Goes On Tour", he and his wife have gotten back together but she calls him on his mobile to berate him for using money from their savings account to fund the tour. She is clearly not a supporter of his ambitions to become a successful band manager.

 

. . .

 

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34. (tie) Frasier (1993-2004)

 

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(3 of 18 lists - 31 points - highest ranking #3 Texsox)

 

Frasier is an American sitcom, a spinoff of Cheers starring Kelsey Grammer as Seattle psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane. One of the most critically acclaimed comedies in the history of television, Frasier won a record 37 Emmy Awards during its run, and a poll taken by the British Channel 4 of the sitcom industry voted Frasier the best sitcom of all time.[1] Frasier has also been considered one of the most successful spin off series in television history.[2]

 

Frasier was broadcast on NBC for eleven seasons, from September 16, 1993 to May 13, 2004. The program was created and produced by David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee (as Grub Street Productions) in association with Paramount Television (now CBS Paramount Television). It is aired in the U.K. by Paramount Comedy and Channel 4. David Hyde Pierce, John Mahoney, Jane Leeves, Peri Gilpin and Moose (a Jack Russell Terrier) rounded out the regular cast.

 

Premise

 

Psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane (Grammer) returns to his hometown of Seattle, Washington, following the break up of his marriage and his life in Boston (which was covered in the series Cheers). His plans for his new life as a bachelor are complicated when he is obliged to take in his father, ex-police officer Martin Crane (Mahoney), who had to retire and is unable to live by himself owing to an injury caused by being shot in the line of duty. Frasier and Martin are joined by Daphne Moon (Leeves), Martin's eccentric, British, live-in physical therapist and caretaker, and Martin's dog Eddie (Moose). A frequent visitor to their apartment is Frasier's younger brother Niles (Pierce), a fellow psychiatrist who, like Frasier, is pompous, snobbish, and overly intellectual. Niles' infatuation with and eventual love for Daphne, feelings which he does not confess to her openly until the final episode of the seventh season, form a complex story arc that span the entire series.

 

Frasier hosts a popular radio talk show on KACL 780AM (named to honor the show's creators, Angell, Casey, and Lee). His producer is Roz Doyle (Gilpin), a woman with an active romantic life who, while decidedly different from Frasier in taste and temperament, nevertheless becomes a very close friend over the course of the series.

 

Plot themes

 

Numerous running jokes and themes develop throughout the series. Chief among them are the class and familial conflicts among Frasier, Niles and Martin. The two sons, who possess "fine" tastes, "intellectual" interests and rather high opinions of themselves, frequently clash with their more blue-collar, down-to-earth father. A running theme, particularly in the early seasons, is Frasier's and Martin's difficulty in reaching an accommodation with each other and in sharing an apartment. Despite being similar in personality, interests and sensibilities, the relationship between Frasier and Niles is no less turbulent. Despite their mutual love of sherry, opera and ballet, they are constantly victims of intense sibling rivalry, their jealousy of each other and petty attempts at one-upmanship (which frequently result in chaos) drive many of the plots. Other developing storylines include Niles' growing love for Daphne (of which she remains unaware in the early seasons, despite its increasingly obvious nature) and the breakdown of his marriage to the never-seen Maris (a take-off from its parent series, "Cheers," in which Norm's wife, Vera, was often talked about--and even heard--but never seen), Frasier's search for love in his own life, and the various attempts of the two brothers to gain acceptance into Seattle's cultural elite.

 

Structurally, many episodes center around misunderstandings or elaborate lies which multiple characters are forced to "play along" with in order to conceal the truth. Frasier also featured many "once-a-year" plot devices, such as an appearance by Frederick, Lilith, or Bebe. Season finales sometimes took the form of a "two part" special that was concluded as the series premiere the following season.

 

Cast

 

Regulars:

 

* Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Frasier Crane. Grammer sang the song heard during the closing credits, "Tossed salad and scrambled eggs", by Bruce Miller and Daryl Phinessee. In the episode "Are You Being Served" it is revealed that Frasier and his brother Niles were named after two lab rats their mother was using in an experiment.

 

* David Hyde Pierce as Dr. Niles Crane. In Season 2's "The Show Where Sam Shows Up", one of the first things Sam Malone says when he first meets Niles is how he looks exactly like Frasier when he first knew him back in Boston. In his previous series, The Powers That Be, Hyde Pierce played a very similar character, a stuffy milquetoast with a mad passion for the maid. In an interview, Hyde Pierce explained that the original concept for the show did not include a brother for Frasier. He says a casting director for the show saw a photo of him and commented how much he resembled Kelsey Grammer.[3]

 

* John Mahoney as Martin Crane. In a final-season interview, Mahoney said the first offer he received to play Martin Crane consisted of a phone call from Grammer in which he asked, "Will you be my Dad?" He also said that if he could have anything as a memento of his time on the show, he would like to keep his dressing room key.

 

* Jane Leeves as Daphne Moon. Leeves used a mixture of different Northern English accents to portray a stereotypical working class Briton. However, this contrasts with her natural accent which is south-eastern English, as Leeves hails from Essex. Leeves was once a member of "Hill's Angels", the troupe of female extras on Benny Hill's television shows.

 

* Peri Gilpin as Roz Doyle (named in honor of a producer of Wings, which shares show creators with Frasier). Lisa Kudrow was originally cast as Roz, but was replaced before production began.

 

* "Moose" and Moose's son "Enzo" as Eddie, the Jack Russell Terrier. Eddie received more fan mail than any other cast member in Frasier.

 

* Dan Butler as Bob 'Bulldog' Briscoe, the obnoxious host of a radio sports show. Butler was made a series regular for seasons 4 and 5, and served as a recurring guest star in other seasons.

 

Recurring guest stars:

 

Main article: Minor characters on Frasier

 

* Edward Hibbert as Gil Chesterton, food critic at the radio station

* Bebe Neuwirth as Lilith Sternin, Frasier's ex-wife (also on Cheers)

* Trevor Einhorn as Frederick Crane, Frasier's son. The character was first played in Season 3 by child actor Luke Tarsitano. The following season, Einhorn took over for the rest of the series. The writers had Frasier say that he missed Frederick in the pilot episode so that the audience wouldn't view him as deserting his son.

* Tom McGowan as Kenny Daley, the station manager

* Patrick Kerr as Noel Shempsky, a geeky station employee

* Harriet Sansom Harris as Bebe Glazer, Frasier's amoral agent

* Marsha Mason as Sherry Dempsey, Martin's lady friend

* Saul Rubinek as Donny Douglas, Daphne's fiancé

* Jane Adams as Mel Karnofsky, Niles' girlfriend and (for a few days) wife

* Millicent Martin as Gertrude Moon, Daphne's mother

* Brian Cox as Harry Moon, Daphne's barfly father

* Anthony LaPaglia as Simon Moon, one of Daphne's brothers. Although not noticed by the average American viewer, aside from her mother, none of Daphne’s relatives nor her ex-boyfriend have Manchester accents, despite supposedly being from there. They mostly have Southern English (i.e. London) accents, while her brother Nigel's is Cockney. While three of Daphne's brothers appear in the series finale, none of the actors playing them are English. LaPaglia is from Australia, Richard E. Grant from Swaziland and Robbie Coltrane from Scotland.

* Brian Stokes Mitchell as Cam Winston, Frasier's upstairs neighbor and nemesis

* Wendie Malick as Ronee Lawrence, Martin's girlfriend and eventual wife

 

Records

 

* The series won 37 prime-time Emmys during its 11-year run, breaking the record long held by The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Grammer and Pierce each won four, including one each for the final season. The series holds the record for the most consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series, winning five from 1994 to 1998.

 

* Grammer played Frasier for 20 years (1984-2004), tying the James Arness portrayal of Marshall Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke in terms of character longevity in prime-time American television. The record for all of television is held by Helen Wagner, for her portrayal of matriarch Nancy Hughes on the soap opera As the World Turns. Wagner has been playing the role since the show's first episode in 1956.

 

* Grammer was briefly the highest-paid television star in history, reaching a salary of $1.6 million per episode for the last two seasons; his record was surpassed by Ray Romano within a year.

 

Awards

 

Emmy Awards

 

* Comedy Series (1994-98)

* Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Kelsey Grammer (1994, 1995, 1998, 2004)

* Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: David Hyde Pierce (1995, 1998, 1999, 2004)

* Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

o Jean Smart (2000, 2001)

o Laura Linney (2004)

* Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

o Derek Jacobi (2001)

o Anthony LaPaglia (2002)

* Directing in a Comedy Series

o James Burrows (1994)

o David Lee (1995, 1997)

* Writing in a Comedy Series

o David Angell, Peter Casey, David Lee (1994)

o Chuck Ranberg, Anne Flett-Giordano (1995)

o Joe Keenan, Christopher Lloyd, Rob Greenberg, Jack Burditt, Chuck Ranberg, Anne Flett-Giordano, Linda Morris, Vic Rauseo (1996)

o Jay Kogen (1999)

* Editing: Ron Volk (1994, 1996, 1998, 1999 with Scott Maisano, 2001-04)

* Sound Mixing (1996, 2002, 2004)

* Art Direction (2004)

 

Grammer has been Emmy-nominated for playing the same character on three different shows: Cheers, Frasier and a guest appearance on Wings. 2003 was the first year that Grammer didn't receive an Emmy nomination for this series. David Hyde Pierce's streak remains unbroken.

 

Golden Globes

 

* Best TV Series - Comedy/Musical (1995)

* Best Performance by an Actor in TV Series - Comedy/Musical: Kelsey Grammer (1996, 2001)

 

Other

 

* Humanitas Prize, 30 Minute Category - Steven Levitan (1996), Jay Kogen (2000)

* Peabody Award (1995)

Critical reaction

 

In a retrospective review in The Radio Times Guide to Television Comedy, Mark Lewisohn called the show a "comedy masterpiece", noting the following (although the first bullet point is correct for the quote, more locations were eventually included in the show such as Niles Crane's apartment):[4]

 

* From just three studio-bound locations—Frasier's fine apartment 1901 in Elliott Bay Towers, with its panoramic view of Seattle; the KACL studio; and the perfectly named "Café Nervosa", where Frasier, Niles and the others meet for coffee—truly great comedy was wrought. In the commentary, the art director of the show mentions that no one could really be that close to the Space Needle to have the view from Frasier's apartment; the Belltown neighborhood, where the Space Needle stands, is an area of many tiny condominiums, but of much shorter stature than the skyscrapers of the downtown district to the south. The picture from the view had to be taken from a mountain, and while Seattle has mountain vistas on three sides, the closest peaks are more than 20 miles away.

* The producers remained determined to keep Frasier adult and sophisticated: the scripts were literate, the plots tight and the one-liners extremely funny and incisive. The writers were never afraid to use classical references in the lines or make jokes about subjects that many of the viewers wouldn't have experienced.

 

Frasier was voted by some sitcom writers, producers and actors as the greatest sitcom of all time in the Channel 4 show The Ultimate Sitcom, broadcast on 2 January 2006.

 

Episodes

 

Main article: List of Frasier episodes

 

The season 4 episode "Head Game" only featured Frasier for the first few minutes, with the rest of the episode revolving around Niles. This role was written for Frasier, but Grammer was being treated for his addiction problems, so it was re-written for Niles instead. This is also the reason why Niles fills in for Frasier on his radio show, because the show is integral to the plot.

 

During season 8, Jane Leeves' pregnancy was disguised by a storyline involving a severe over-eating disorder; later, her pregnancy leave was accounted for by having Daphne go to a health spa to cope with her weight problem. Daphne lost 9 lbs 12 oz (4.4 kg) at the spa, an inside joke referencing the birth weight of Leeves' daughter, Isabella.

 

In conjunction with the final double bill of Frasier in Season 11, an extra special episode/program entitled "Analyzing the Laughter" was aired. The plotline was that Frasier meets with an analyst for a review of his life (effectively the past 11 seasons of Frasier plus brief look at Frasier in Cheers). He discusses his background, his relationships with his family and friends and the major events that have transpired in his life over the past year. The show is simply a collection of flashbacks of past classic scenes from the history of the series, and so is more a thinly disguised walk down memory lane for avid fans' nostalgia. This special was shown two days in advance in the US to the airing of the double-bill finale, but on the same night in the UK for the same respective double-bill finale.

 

Production

 

The show is set in Seattle, Washington, but only one episode, "The 100th Show", was filmed there.[5] The remainder was filmed on Stage 25 ( [show location on an interactive map] location), Paramount Studios, and at various locations in and around Los Angeles.

 

No building or apartment in Seattle really has the view from Frasier's residence. It was created so the Space Needle would appear more prominently. According to the Season 1 DVD bonus features, the photograph used on the set was taken from atop a cliff, possibly the ledge at Kerry Park, a frequent photography location. Only once was there an exterior shot facing Frasier's apartment building, in Season 4 episode "The Impossible Dream".

 

The radio station callers' lines were spoken by anonymous voice-over actors while filming the show in front of a live audience. This gave the cast something to which they could react. During post-production, the lines were replaced by celebrities, who literally phoned in their parts without having to come into the studio. The end credits of season finales would show headshots of all the celebrities who had "called in" that season.

 

Cheers connections

 

* Every regular cast member of Cheers appeared in at least one episode, except for Kirstie Alley (Rebecca Howe) and the late Nicholas Colasanto (Coach).

* Lilith Sternin (Bebe Neuwirth) was the lone character of Cheers, other than Grammer, to become a consistent recurring character on Frasier.

* Kelsey Grammer has said that "The Show Where Diane Comes Back" is one of his favorite episodes. On Cheers, Shelley Long did not like the Frasier character and lobbied hard to get Grammer removed from the show. The producers disagreed, noting that the audience liked him. When Long's character, Diane Chambers, appeared on this show, Grammer said it was an opportunity for them to make peace.[citation needed] Apart from this episode, Long played Diane Chambers in two other episodes. The first was a brief surprise cameo in a 1994 episode, and once again in the 2001 season premiere, both times as figments of Frasier's imagination.

* John Mahoney appeared in an episode of Cheers, as Si Phlembeck, an over-the-hill advertising executive hired by Rebecca to write a jingle for the bar. Grammer and Mahoney shared a few lines. The plot of an episode of Frasier is somewhat similar to the Cheers episode.

* In the eighth season Cheers episode "Two Girls for Every Boyd", Frasier tells Sam Malone (Ted Danson) that his father, a research scientist, had died. In the Season 2 episode "The One Where Sam Shows Up", when Sam meets Martin, he brings up the discrepancies. Frasier explains it away by saying he had just had a fight with his father on the phone and he was very angry with him at the time. In "The One Where Woody Shows Up", Woody Boyd upon meeting Martin says he remembers hearing about him - probably from Sam talking about his experiences in Seattle when he returned to Boston.

* Robert Prosky played the father of Cheers regular Rebecca. He appeared in Season 4 as a J.D. Salinger-like writer who strikes up a friendship with Martin.

* Peri Gilpin was in a Cheers episode titled "Woody Gets an Election", playing a reporter who interviews Woody when he runs for office.

* Niles' wife Maris is never seen (at least her face) or heard from. The same device was used for Vera, Norm Petersen's wife in Cheers. This method is used again when Martin meets the woman he has been watching from across the street via his telescope, and for Senator Adler when he arrived at Frasier's apartment.

* After Cheers had finished filming, the bar was taken down and the sets for this show were built over it. The producers made certain there were no stools in the coffee shop to distance it visually from the Cheers bar.

* Frasier's mother, who in Frasier is always remembered as a sensitive, intelligent woman and a wonderful mother, appears in an episode of "Cheers" (played by Nancy Marchand) when she threatens to kill Diane Chambers with a gun she has with her if the relationship with Frasier is not ended immediately. She was portrayed in a 2001 episode (on Martin's old cine movies) by Rita Wilson, who reprised the role during Frasier's imaginary experiences with the important women in his life. In this case, she was once again portrayed as threatening toward Diane (and Lilith), citing her reasons as concern for Frasier's happiness.

 

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34. (tie) Entourage (2004-present)

 

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(2 of 18 lists - 31 points - highest ranking #3 DrunkBomber)

 

Entourage is an Emmy Award-winning HBO original series created by Doug Ellin that chronicles the rise of Vincent Chase — a young A-list movie star — and his childhood friends from Queens, New York City as they navigate the unfamiliar terrain of Hollywood, California. Doug Ellin, Mark Wahlberg, and Stephen Levinson serve as the show's executive producers, and the show's premise is loosely based on Wahlberg's experiences as an up-and-coming movie star.[1]

Characters

 

Main characters

Name Actor Role

 

Vincent Chase Adrian Grenier A young, up and coming actor who eventually becomes an A-list star.

 

Eric "E" Murphy Kevin Connolly Vince's best friend and manager. Based on Stephen Levinson and Eric Weinstein.

 

Johnny "Drama" Chase Kevin Dillon Vince's older brother. He is Vince's personal chef, and trainer. Johnny is a D-list actor, who was in the fictional show Viking Quest during his younger days. His role in the new fictional hit show 'Five Towns' has begun to resurrect his fame and career. This character is based on Mark Wahlberg's cousin Johnny "Drama" Alves.

 

Turtle Jerry Ferrara Another of Vince's old friends from childhood. Turtle's official role is as Vince's driver and assistant, though his value as such is often brought into question. This character is based on Mark Wahlberg's former "gofer" Donnie aka Donkey.

 

Ari Gold Jeremy Piven Vince's abrasive but lovable agent. Based on Super-Talent Agent and Endeavor Talent Agency Founder Ari Emanuel.

 

Mrs. Ari Perrey Reeves Wife to Ari Gold, She was a soap actress who left her career at her prime at the age of 25 to start a family. Mrs. Ari became a regular in season four.

 

Supporting characters

 

Name Actor Role

 

Shauna Roberts Debi Mazar Vince's loyal, yet hot tempered publicist. Was a regular in Seasons 1 & 2.

 

Lloyd Rex Lee Ari's much maligned assistant. An openly gay Chinese American, his ethnicity and sexual orientation often help in fueling Ari's venomous barbs. Despite his sharp tongue, Ari sometimes shows a deep caring for Lloyd because he knows he cannot function without him.

 

Billy Walsh Rhys Coiro An egotistical independent film director/artist who directed Vince in Queens Boulevard and Medellin. Set to direct Vince in a film he wrote titled Silo.

 

Other series information

 

Recurring characters

 

Main article: List of recurring characters in Entourage

 

Entourage features many recurring characters. Sometimes these characters are played by celebrities such as Malcolm McDowell as Terrance McQuewick and Martin Landau as Bob Ryan, while other celebrities appear as themselves such as Mandy Moore and Gary Busey.

 

Guests and cameos

 

Main article: List of celebrities appearing on Entourage

 

Entourage typically has at least one celebrity guest per episode. Their appearances range from short cameos (such as the ones by Jessica Alba, Scarlett Johansson, Larry David and Kanye West) to minor supporting roles (such as Anna Faris, Mandy Moore and James Cameron).

Upcoming Season

 

Production on Season 5 began in April 2008[2] with 12 episodes to be initially produced. However, Producer Ellin said that if HBO decides to order more at the last minute, then they are up for it.[3] Season 5 planned to satirize the writers' strike but has been scrapped as Ellin feels that most people are over the whole debacle and would prefer to deal with different material. Due to the writers' strike, Season 5 will premiere in September 2008 instead of June.[3]

 

Among the story lines for Season 5 will be the return of Domenick Lombardozzi, the actor who plays Dom.[3] Ellin wrote him in intending for Dom to be a permanent fixture of the entourage.[3] Unfortunately, he didn’t anticipate the audience’s negative reaction to the character, which ultimately led to Lombardozzi’s early exit.[3] Ellin has a personal goal to bring Dom back, but this time with a storyline viewers can empathize with. Giving him terminal cancer is one idea that was considered. It is also rumored that rapper Saigon will return to the series in Season 5. It has been confirmed by various news outlets that Rapper Bow Wow will play Eric's newest client Charlie a young, up-and-coming comedian trying to get a break. [3] Ellin says he has four more seasons of material in reserve, implying that Entourage will probably run through season eight.[3] T.I. is also expected to make a guest appearance in the fifth season.

 

Season Five also promises Johnny Drama a hit show, a break-up and a daytime meltdown on "The View". [4] The scene, taped outside of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, includes co-hosts Sherri Shepherd, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Whoopi Goldberg. [4]

 

Awards and nominations

 

Entourage has been nominated for the following awards:

 

* 2008 Golden Globes

o Best Television Series, Comedy or Musical

o Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (Kevin Dillon)

o Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (Jeremy Piven) - WON

 

* 2007 Emmys

o Outstanding Comedy Series

o Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Jeremy Piven) - WON

o Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Kevin Dillon)

o Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (Martin Landau as Bob Ryan)

o Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series

o Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series (Julian Farino for One Day in the Valley)

o Outstanding Multi-Camera Sound Mixing for a Series or Special (One Day in the Valley) - WON

 

* 2007 British Academy Television Awards

o Best International Programme - WON

 

* 2007 Golden Globes

o Best Television Series, Comedy or Musical

o Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (Jeremy Piven)

 

* 2006 Emmys

o Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Jeremy Piven) - WON

o Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series (Dan Attias for Oh, Mandy)

o Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series (Julian Farino for The Sundance Kids)

o Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (Doug Ellin for Exodus)

 

* 2006 Golden Globes

o Best Television Series, Comedy or Musical

o Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (Jeremy Piven)

 

* 2005 Emmys

o Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Jeremy Piven)

o Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series

o Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series (David Frankel for Entourage (Pilot))

 

* 2005 Golden Globes

o Best Television Series, Comedy or Musical

o Best Television Supporting Actor (Jeremy Piven)

 

. . .

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31. Night Court (1984-1992)

 

NightCourt1.jpg

 

(4 of 18 lists - 33 points - highest ranking #3 knightni)

 

Night Court is an American television situation comedy that aired on NBC from January 1984 until May 1992. The setting for the show was the night shift of a court in Manhattan, presided over by the young, unorthodox Judge Harold T. "Harry" Stone (played by Harry Anderson).

 

Night Court was created by comedy writer Reinhold Weege, who had previously worked on the award-winning and wry series Barney Miller in the 1970s and early 1980s.

 

Description

 

Night Court, according to the first season DVD, was created without comedian/magician Harry Anderson in mind, but Anderson auditioned with the claim that he was Harry Stone. Anderson had developed a following with his performances on Saturday Night Live and made several successful appearances as "Harry the Hat" on another NBC sitcom, Cheers. (For the first several years of its run, Night Court aired on NBC Thursday nights after Cheers.) In later seasons, while Anderson remained the key figure, John Larroquette became the breakout personality, winning a number of awards and many fans for his performance as the lecherous Dan Fielding.

 

The comedy style on Night Court could best be described as broad, almost slapstick comedy. The main characters had personality quirks which made them slightly off-kilter. Logic and realism were frequently abandoned for the sake of a joke: cartoon animal Wile E. Coyote (a Warner Bros. property, like Night Court) once appeared in a brief gag as a defendant ("I know you're hungry, but leave the poor bird alone!"), and a group of Trekkies "beamed out" after stating they answer only to Starfleet Command and not Harry's authority. A typical plot might have Judge Stone trying to stop a group of rival ventriloquists and their dummies from assaulting each other, (then NBC chairman) Brandon Tartikoff bailing out a Nielsen family so they could get home to watch Misfits of Science, or Harry pushing the court staff to meet a deadline of 200 cases to be adjudicated before midnight.

 

The show featured several defendants who appeared before the court again and again—notably the Wheelers (Mr. Wheeler was played by Brent Spiner of Star Trek: The Next Generation), who initially pretended to be stereotypical hicks from West Virginia but were later revealed as Yugoslavians, and at one point even ran a concession stand in the courthouse.

 

Episodes

 

Main article: List of Night Court episodes

 

Primary cast

 

* Harry Anderson as Judge Harry Stone, a young, good-humored jurist and an amateur magician whose father was a former mental patient. Harry loved movies and fashions from the 1940s, and idolized crooner Mel Tormé.

* The public defenders:

o Gail Strickland as Sheila Gardner (in the pilot episode only).

o Paula Kelly as Liz Williams (in the first season only, after the pilot).

o Ellen Foley as Billie Young (in the second season only). A romantic interest for Harry Stone.

o Markie Post as Christine Sullivan (from the third season until the show's end), who, though attractive and voluptuous, was honest to a fault and somewhat naïve. The primary romantic interest for Harry Stone throughout the series' run.

 

* John Larroquette as Reinhold Fielding Elmore, who used the name Daniel R. "Dan" Fielding, a sex-obsessed narcissistic prosecutor who would do anything to get a woman to sleep with him. It is revealed late in the series that his real first name is Reinhold (an obvious joke about the show's writer and producer), and he goes by Dan out of embarrassment.

* The bailiffs:

o Richard Moll as Nostradamus "Bull" Shannon, a (seemingly) dim-witted hulk of a figure who was actually gentle and often childlike. He was known for his catchphrase, "Ohh-kay".

o The various female bailiffs (the first two of whom died early in the show's run), who were acerbic and comically gruff:

+ Selma Diamond as Selma Hacker (in the first two seasons).

+ Florence Halop as Florence Kleiner (in the third season only).

+ Marsha Warfield as Roz Russell (from the fourth season until the show's end).

* The court clerks:

o Karen Austin as Lana Wagner (in the first season only). The original romantic interest for Harry Stone.

o D.D. Howard as Charly Tracy. Clerk for the last two episodes of the first season after Karen Austin's departure from the show.

o Charles Robinson as Macintosh "Mac" Robinson (from the second season until the show's end), a veteran of the Vietnam War, who was very sweet and would do anything for anyone (with the usual exception of Dan Fielding). He always wore a cardigan, plaid shirt, and a knit tie.

* Denice Kumagai as Quon Le Duc Robinson (occasional from second season on), Mac's wife, a refugee from Vietnam who was somewhat naive about America and its customs, but was loving and very devoted to him.

* Mike Finneran as Art Fensterman (occasional throughout the entire run), a bumbling "fix-it man" attached to the courthouse

* Joleen Lutz as Lisette Hocheiser (occasional last two seasons), a ditzy court reporter.

Supporting players and notable cameos

 

* John Astin appeared occasionally as Harry's eccentric stepfather Buddy, a former patient in a psychiatric hospital. His catchphrase was the capper to stories involving his hospital stay or past strange behavior: "...but I'm feeling much better now." He was later revealed to be Harry's biological father.

* Mel Tormé played himself in several appearances (in the first episode, it is revealed that Harry is a fanatic of his).

* William Utay played Dan's homeless lackey Phil Sanders (and, later, Phil's evil twin brother Will).

* Brent Spiner (who later gained greater fame as Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation) played Bob Wheeler in a recurring role.

* Yakov Smirnoff played Russian immigrant Yakov Korolenko.

* Michael J Fox appeared in the first season as a runaway, Eddie Sims.

 

Cast changes

 

The first few seasons of Night Court had an unusually large number of cast changes for such a long-running series. The only actors to appear consistently throughout the show's run were Harry Anderson, John Larroquette, and Richard Moll.

 

* When Selma Diamond, the first female bailiff, died after two seasons, Florence Halop played a replacement character, only to die one season later. Night Court scripts addressed the deaths of both characters, which was uncharacteristic for a sitcom. There were whispers and jokes that both actresses had fallen prey to some sort of "Night Court Curse"; this is said to be one of the reasons that the show decided not to bring in a third elderly actress and instead replaced Halop with Marsha Warfield, who played Roz Russell. All three characters were written as mother-figures for Bull. Warfield's arrival marked the show's final cast change, and the ensemble remained intact for the remainder of the show's run.

 

* Karen Austin only appeared as Lana Wagner for the first ten episodes, after which her character was only subsequently mentioned in the eleventh episode as "out sick" by a one-time character, and never again by regular cast members. She was kept in the titles of the remaining three episodes of the first season. Also cut from the show after the first season was Paula Kelly; the public defender role was filled by Ellen Foley for the second season, after which she in turn was replaced by Markie Post. The character of Lana had been planned to be a romantic interest for Harry Stone, but when Austin departed, that role was transferred to the new public defender characters.

Awards

 

During its nine season run, Night Court received a number of awards and nominations. Both Selma Diamond (in 1985) and John Larroquette (in 1988) earned Golden Globe nominations, but lost to Faye Dunaway and Rutger Hauer respectively. The show has had more success with the Emmys and the first season earned a nomination for Paula Kelly. While the second season came around, the show had more success with the fans and critics and higher recognition came from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. John Larroquette won four consecutive Emmys for best supporting actor in a comedy series from 1985 to 1988, before he withdrew his name from the ballot in 1989. Selma Diamond also earned a nomination in 1985, as a tribute for her sudden death, and the show's star Harry Anderson earned three consecutive nominations (from 1985 to 1987). The show earned three nominations for best comedy series, in 1985, 1987, and 1988. The show also received many minor awards and nominations in the areas of lighting, editing, sound mixing, and technical direction. In total, the show was nominated for thirty-one Emmys, winning seven.

 

 

 

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I'm kinda surprised Fraser was so low. I also see a trend for current, which always happens with these.

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QUOTE (Texsox @ Jun 24, 2008 -> 07:45 AM)
I'm kinda surprised Fraser was so low. I also see a trend for current, which always happens with these.

 

Then again, you never really got used to color television,did you? I know, I know, "the Ponderosa looks fake and you can hardly recognize Little Joe."

 

B)

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