Python Live Linking

TheĀ  Monty Python Live Facebook page just went live last week, and it looks like it might be a very good place to check in for occasional updates. Of course, this will, I hope, continue to be another very good place to check in for occasional updates. Why not keep using us both?

BTW, a couple of people have asked me if Terry Gilliam will be taking over Graham Chapman’s roles in this show. As I understand it…not quite. First of all, Terry and Graham are rather different types. Other Pythons may fill in for Graham in some circumstances, but there will also be clips and recordings of Graham filling in for Graham.

I should point out that while the show will include lots of favorite old sketches, there’s going to be new material, and new twists on old material. If you’ve seen or heard Monty Python Live at City Center or Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, you haven’t seen Monty Python Live (mostly). Tickets are still blah, blah, blah…

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David Koechner on A-hole roles and Cobert taking over “The Late Show”


My old pal Dave Koechner is probably best known to most folks as Champ Kind of Anchorman, or Todd Packer of The Office, but he’s much more than that. He’s currently touring with his standup act, and is well worth checking out. Here’s an interview.

Originally posted on WGN Morning News:

[ndn id=25801582]

Actor, Comedian David Koechner joins WGN Morning News

View original

Used Cars…

This instructional video from 1990 wouldn’t ordinarily be of much interest, except that it’s presented by Eric Idle. The bits without Eric have conveniently been edited out, though what remains will still teach you a little about buying and selling used cars. Enjoy.

Happy Birthday Committee!

Fifty-first anniversaries are never quite as flashy as 50th anniversaries, but it’s always worth remembering the opening night of The Committee on April 10, 1963! Scott Beach, Hamilton Camp, Garry Goodrow, Larry Hankin, Kathryn Ish, accompanied by Ellsworth Milburn, stage managed by Dick Stahl, and directed by Alan Myerson, took the stage at 622 Broadway in San Francisco.


(The Dick Cavett Show appearances, including the one with Janis Joplin, above, didn’t come until much later.)

Since that evening, a lot of talented folks took the stage as part of The Committee, and they influenced countless others, most of whom don’t even know it. Hopefully, Jamie Wright, Sam Shaw, and I will be able to change that in the next couple of years. Jamie and Sam, who do a terrific job producing the San Francisco Improv Fest every year, are producing a documentary on The Committee, and I’m working on my Committee book.

Anyone who has ever performed The Harold (or any other kind of longform improvisation), or been to the iO, UCB, Groundlings, The Annoyance, or so many other theatres and schools, or enjoyed the work of some of their alumni (including the much-in-the-news iO and Second City alum Stephen Colbert), owe an awful lot to these pioneers, and the upcoming documentary and book will tell you why.

The Best Argument Against the Anti-Vaccination Arguments…

…is by Penn and Teller. If you don’t have time to watch the whole 26 minutes, then the first minute and a half pretty well sums it up. Note: there is some brief nudity toward the end (which may cause a few more people to suddenly have time to watch the entire 26 minutes).


Cup of Woe…

In 2008, Starbuck’s Coffee announced that by 2015, they would offer recycling at all of the stores owned by the company. A lot of people probably thought they were doing that already. But last week, they announced that their 4 billion disposable coffee cups each year weren’t going to make that goal by 2015, and maybe not ever. Turns out that it’s a lot more complicated than they had thought.

Mickey Rooney …

A few days ago, I wrote that “nearly everyone who ever appeared in a silent movie is gone.”

Now, we’ve lost one more.

In 1988, Terry Jones invited me to visit him on the set of Erik the Viking, which he wrote and was directing. It was one of Tim Robbins’ first lead roles, and also featured John Cleese, Eartha Kitt and Terry.

When we were walking to the soundstage, Terry mentioned casually “Oh, and for Erik’s grandfather, we’ve also got Mickey Rooney.”


Rooney had been appearing on stage in London in Sugar Babies. Apparently, he was bored during the daytime when he wasn’t performing, and so happily agreed to do Terry’s film. He was, at that time, a mere youth of 68.

After I got on the set, I looked around for Rooney. It wasn’t difficult to spot him. I just looked for the biggest crowd, and there he was at the center of it. I got close enough to hear him regaling the extras (mostly younger girls) with stories of his past. And boy, did he have stories. He ran the gamut, everything from Hollywood Past to the dangers of smoking (something to do with enlarging the pores and aging too quickly, which made you look much older on camera–with Mickey, everything eventually led back to Hollywood).

He happily offered to do an interview with me for an article I was writing on the film, and regaled me as well. And all the time I was listening to him, I kept thinking “This is Mickey Rooney! This is Hollywood history!”

A recent article noted that he had an 88-year show business career, setting a world record, longer than George Burns, longer than anybody. He starred in silent movies. He was featured in Manhattan Melodrama, the movie John Dillinger saw just before he was shot, which puts it into an amazing perspective. And he just finished filming a role in Night at the Museum 3.

The word “legend” is thrown around a lot in show business, and is very seldom deserved.

Mickey Rooney was a legend.

Last Late Night

The older I get, the less late night TV I watch. Sad, but true. Although I don’t watch him regularly nowadays, I’m still not ready for David Letterman to retire. He was always the man back in the old days, and whenever I’ve tuned him in over the past few months, I usually have a good time. I’ve got friends and acquaintances who work for a few of the various shows, and just about all of them are big Dave fans. So, it’s going to be sad to see him leave.
The next year will be interesting to see the parade of guest stars coming by to say one last farewell. You can bet, however, that the final guest of the always loyal Dave will be the always loyal Bill Murray. The two of them have a great chemistry, and Bill is always an audience-pleaser. Bill was his first guest on his first late night show in 1982, and this clip shows why he comes back regularly. Legend has it that Bill came into the writers room that afternoon with a bottle of vodka and forced the writers to imbibe, and that is the explanation for the final segment here. Enjoy.