Monday, December 27, 2004

DB on TV: Adam Carolla to Get His Own Talker

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Adam Carolla of Loveline and Crank Yankers and The Man Show fame is heading back to Comedy Central, this time to get his own half-hour, nightly talk show. He’ll likely take over the slot vacated by the cancellation of Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and therefore be paired with The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, one of Comedy Central’s top shows.

It was sad that Tough Crowd got canceled. It was raw and had its down moments, but overall it was a bright spot in late night comedy. Quinn’s gruff but endearing camaraderie with an often goofy band of fellow comics -- kibitzing and talking trash over the news of the day -- was a great and innovative concept, improving upon Bill Maher’s work on Politically Incorrect with its penchant for snoozer guests and uneven forays into serious analysis. Tough Crowd went for laughs first, but it often hit home with a satirical zest only matched by the modern king of that art: Jon Stewart himself.

If anyone should replace Quinn with a new show, it is Carolla. Somewhat marginalized by his long-time status as late night co-host of radio’s Loveline with Dr. Drew Pinsky, it’s easy to miss one of the funniest and sharpest comedians working today. The trick will be to harness Carolla’s sharp wit and ability to take almost any topic and develop an outlandish rant (recent example: the Jews are a fire-retardant people; the reason? They manage to light eight candles during Chanukah whilst possessing long curly beards, untucked shirts, and long flowing prayer shawls with nary a fire), so format will be key. The Man Show was testament to this: while at times funny, it stifled Carolla’s ability to let-it-fly. I also think that losing the amiable but less talented (as showman and live comedian) Jimmy Kimmel will allow Carolla to further shine.

In other potential good news, Norm Macdonald is developing a half-hour sketch comedy show for Comedy Central. If Macdonald can pull off the deadpan sarcasm and straight-faced lunacy that he honed over at Saturday Night Live, there could be good things afoot.


Jay said...

OH, yay! I love and miss Norm.

Eric Berlin said...

I thought his sitcom, Norm, was one of the funnier shows on television. The premise was sort of wacky: Norm has to work as a social worker as part of some kind of court-order -- but then again, there are far worse. I think a sketch comedy show may suit Norm's talents best.

An aside: I was watching one of my favorite goofy comedies of all time last night, Billy Madison. I just love it at the end when old Norm stands up and shouts, Hooray for Billy! Billy's great!" Norm's all about the delivery -- very funny guy.

Jay said...

That is so weird, because I just watched Billy Madison last night also, although I watched it with the director's commentary on.
I love his ability to deadpan lines, he can say the most ridiculous things with a completely straight face...and that's a talent.
I love the movie Dirty Work, which is probably not a movie that anyone should love, it doesn't even make sense, but it keeps me in stitches, so what can I say?

Eric Berlin said...

I wasn't aware that Billy Madison had a DVD with Director's Commentary -- I'll definitely have to check that (my copy is an old busted up VHS copy).

The version I watched was on USA, which is the busted-up, cut-up version with two added scenes not in the original release (one is where they're all playing kickball). The two new scenes are obviously well-cut from the original version and don't add very much to the proceedings.

I've only seen a few minutes of Dirty Work, though it looked watchable enough. I know the title well enough from listening to The Howard Stern Show. Artie Lang, the relatively new replacement for old-time Sterner Jackie "The Joke Man" Martling, was in Dirty Work (and has made appearances in many comedies, including a small part in the brilliant Old School) and likes to laugh about how bad it was.

Eric Berlin said...

I wanted to add that I absolutely love Billy Madison, yet feel that Adam Sandler movies are very good to great about half the time (which, for comic actors, is actually a good percentage and testament to his box office value). I'll do a Film Careers series on Sandler at some point. Here's a quick run-down, off the top of my head:

- Billy Madison

Very Good:
- The Wedding Singer
- 50 First Dates
- Mr. Deeds

- Little Nicky
- The Waterboy
- Happy Gilmore
- Anger Management
- Airheads

- Big Daddy (or whatever that thing was called)

Didn't See (But Want To):
- Punch Drunk Love
- Spanglish

DrPat said...

See, I thought Big Daddy was brilliant—it even has a part for Jon Stewart! The growth of Sandler's character Sonny from an under-achieving welfare bum to, well, Daddy material was even and reasonable, and driven by the situation he was in. That's acting, something Sandler does only inconsistently. I'd bump Wedding Singer up for the same reason.

Now, Little Nicky, that was terrible!

Eric Berlin said...

DrPat - glad to see you join the party.

I actually think that Sandler is getting better as an actor, which is why his work in relatively serious roles such as The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates work. (It's interesting how many talented comic actors, from Robin Williams on down to Jim Carrey, trend toward better serious roles as they progress through their careers).

That said, I don't Big Daddy or Anger Management can be considered "Sandler mediocrities." You're right, Big Daddy was consistent and reasonably... contrived. I just felt as though we'd seen the misfit bond with the cute-but-fatherless rascal so many times before, and BD just didn't add a thing to the miss. The only thing saving it was the remarkably large cast of talent that Sandler seems to drag around with him from film to film (Rob Schneider and especially John Turturro come to mind).

I must admit that The Wedding Singer grows on me every time I see it. Sandler and Drew Barrymore have an undeniable chemistry on screen which make TWS and 50 First Dates giddily up-beat and fun flicks.