Monday, April 20, 2015

Conan Writer Blasts Late Night Comedy, Gets Blasted by Conan

Posted By on Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 1:58 PM

In a social media rebuke of what he called "Prom King Comedy," which had television executives buzzing on both coasts, a writer for Conan O'Brien blasted the complacent status of late night television—and got some pushback from an unlikely source: his own employer.

In a series of tweets, Andres du Bouchet wrote statements like "comedy in 2015 needs a severe shakeup." He pointed to what he said were "celebrities, parodies, pranks, mash-ups and hashtag wars," taking particular aim at staples of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

"Shove your lip-synching up your ass," du Bouchet wrote. "Prom King Comedy. That's what I call all this shit," 

On April 20, Conan O'Brien took notice. He tweeted, "I wish one of my writers would focus on making my show funnier instead of tweeting stupid things about the state of late night comedy."

Du Bouchet has since deleted his earlier tweets but late Sunday, he tweeted this: "Geez, I wish this many people gave a crap about my opinions when I was THE leading oncological researcher in the world."
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Monday, March 2, 2015

Mr. Cope's Cave: Dammit, Spock

Posted By on Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 9:46 AM

The heroes of the young are not always who would think of as heroes. They don't have to save a cat from a burning house or fall on a grenade or land a plane safely in the Hudson River, these heroes of the young. They only have to represent something—hopefully something bright and good in the human experience—that the young person admires and would like to emulate. They don't even have to be real, these heroes. They just have to have a quality that the young person would wish for himself.

So I don't feel at all silly in admitting that Spock was a hero of mine when I was young. And I don't mean a child. I was in my early 20s before I even started to watch those old reruns. Yet I thought of him as one of three men I wanted to be like: my dad, Pete Rose and Mr. Spock. My dad for the same reasons every well-raised young man wants to be like his dad; Pete Rose because he was as passionate about what he did as I wanted to be about whatever I did (this was "Charley Hustle" Pete, not Pete the gambling hustler); and Spock because even atheists need a little spirituality in their lives.

Which is what I admired in the Vulcan, what I wanted to have in my own life. As much as any character in pop culture, fictional or not, Spock followed—most of the time, at least, when he wasn't getting mixed up with some mind-altering, pollen-spitting flower, or a mating ritual back on the home world—a creed, alien as it was to our standard human sensibilities, that called on him to conduct himself in a manner respectful of intellect and curiosity, resistant to emotional extremes and violence and kind to all creatures living—all while behaving with honor and integrity. Maybe it was the slaughter going on in Vietnam, maybe the cruelty of those opposing the civil rights movement, maybe the corruption of Nixon and the loud-mouthed stupidity inherent in the rise of Jerry Falwell's "silent majority," but something was making me think even then (late '60s, early '70s) that Mankind could definitely use a better model, even if he was a fiction.

I don't really know what kind of man Leonard Nimoy was. By all accounts, he seems to have had a lot of Spock rub off on him, and I am sad he's gone. I'm not young anymore, and not prone to worshipping heroes. Especially actors acting as heroes. But it doesn't mean I still don't think this particular heroic vision has a lot to offer. Even, perhaps, some salvation for an emotional and violent species, on their own in a dark, cold vastness.
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Monday, February 9, 2015

'America's Got Talent' Auditions in Boise on Tuesday, Feb. 10

Posted By on Mon, Feb 9, 2015 at 12:35 PM

Auditions are from noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at the Taco Bell Arena. - SCREENSHOT FROM AGT WEBSITE
  • Screenshot from AGT website
  • Auditions are from noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at the Taco Bell Arena.
For the first time in a decade of being on air, NBC's popular national TV show America's Got Talent will hold auditions in Boise. 

The auditions, which are for the show's upcoming 10th season, are from noon until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at the Taco Bell Arena on the Boise State University campus. Those interested in auditioning can start lining up at 6 a.m. near the loading bay between entries 1 and 2. 

Other cities where auditions have been or will be held this season include Tampa, Fla., Nashville, Tenn.; Richmond, Va.; New York, N.Y.; Chicago, Ill.; St. Louis, Mo.; San Antonio, Texas; Albuquerque, N.M.; San Francisco, Calif.; and Los Angeles, Calif.

Though auditions have never been held here, Idahoans have been on the show. Coincidentally, most of the acts from the Gem State use ropes: the Summerwind Skippers, Flight Crew Jump Rope and the Rhinestone Ropers. If someone who wants to audition for the show can't make it to tomorrow's auditions in person, online auditions can be submitted here through March.

The Taco Bell Arena's event posting on the website warns that outside food and drink, weapons, backpacks, pyrotechnics and 'selfie sticks' are not allowed inside.
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Friday, January 9, 2015

Netflix Drives Off With New Tina Fey Sitcom

Posted By on Fri, Jan 9, 2015 at 11:48 AM

Tina Fey and Robert Carlock are pretty durable, too.
  • Tina Fey and Robert Carlock are pretty durable, too.

After reading her 2011 laugh-out-loud-funny biography Bossypants, it wouldn't have been surprising to learn that if someone pitched the idea of Tina Fey doing another sitcom, she would have said, "No to the way to the Jose. Shut it down." In Bossypants, she makes it clear that creating, running and starring in 30 Rock on the heels of a career at Saturday Night Live was hard, exhausting (albeit fulfilling) work. The bigger surprise, though, came when NBCUniversal gave the greenlight to a new Fey project only to then stomp on the brakes and let Netflix take the wheel.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt premieres Friday, March 6, on Netflix and stars Ellie Kemper (The Office, Bridesmaids) as a young woman restarting her life in New York after years living with a doomsday cult. The show is co-created by Fey and Robert Carlock, a writer and producer for Friends, Joey, SNL and 30 Rock. reports that NBCUniversal filmed the first season, and Netflix has already renewed it for a second; and Fey and Carlock's thoughts on the change at the Television Critics Association. Read the article here.

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Mr. Cope’s Cave: Halloween Treat

Posted By on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 at 11:23 AM

I wrote this last spring, after spending a Sunday evening switching the channel every few seconds between one show I just had to know the outcome of, and another show I just had to know the outcome of. I then submitted it to The New Yorker magazine for consideration in their short humor feature. Their website explained I would hear back from them in 90 days or less. It has now been more than 160 days and I am relatively confident I will never, ever hear back from them.

However, I am not one to let 1,500 words go to waste. So I have waited until today to put them to work in
Mr. Cope’s Cave. In the unlikely event I do hear back from The New Yorker, and that they do indeed want to publish it, remember, you saw it here first. I call it…

The Walking Downton Abbey Dead

On the grounds:

“It looks okay, dad. I don’t see any of them.”

“That’s what we thought about the prison, Carl. We thought it looked… ‘okay’, remember?” Rick wipes a bead of sweat off his cheek, wondering if he will ever again see another safety razor. “We can’t afford to think anything is ‘okay’. Not anymore.”

A few paces away, Michonne growls, “Not... anymore.” She squats, glowering through the legs of a ragged topiary. Possibly a steed, possibly a lion, she can’t be certain, the yew is in such desperate need of trimming. Her eyes soften as she imagines what she and her samurai sword could do for it.

“So, uh, what’ll we do?” Carl peers around Rick, who peers around a marble column. Corinthian, if Rick is any judge of marble columns. A hundred yards farther on, the great house itself juts out of the countryside like the last remaining tooth in a Yorkshire gum.

“Son, we clear. Room by room, floor by floor. And no firing. Not until we’re sure there isn’t a herd of them shuffling around in the servants’ quarters. Use your poker, Carl.”

Michonne hisses, “Rick, we should wait for Daryl and Glenn.”

“We can do this, Michonne,” Rick rasps. “We. Can. Do! This.”

Around the staff dining table:

“Lady Violet will be here within the hour, and in view of this infernal plague of... of...“

“Ambulant corpses, Mr. Carson. Or cadavers, if you prefer.”

“Yes, thank you, Mrs. Hughes... this infernal plague of vagabond cadavers, Lord Grantham expects that we will carry on as usual so as not to overly alarm the family. When Her Ladyship arrives, we will present ourselves on the drive as we always have. That includes you, Thomas, if you can tear yourself away from your scheming and your plotting long enough to attend to your duties. And I’m going to need you in footman’s livery, as it appears we have lost Alfred.”

“Took that job in London, did ‘e, Mr. Carson?

“No, Daisy. I’m afraid Alfred has been eaten.”

Thomas stiffens. “Mr. Carson, I remind you I have been made Mr. Branson’s valet. It is beneath my station to... “

“Save it for your friends down at the Cock and Bullocks, Thomas,” Mr. Carson rumbles. “Our duty today, as always, is to strive for normality. And until recently, it was most normal that you were a footman.”

Ivy and Daisy drop their gazes to the floor as Thomas surveys the staff for any hint of support. Mr. Bates hides a bemused smirk, turning to where his beloved wife Anna would be, had not Lady Cora been forced to split her undead skull with a Tiffany hand mirror a day earlier.

In the drawing room:

“P’pah, do you think it wise that Grandmother should be coming over this evening, considering the circumstances.”

“Mary, your grandmother will do what she will do, regardless of what I think. It is Saturday if I’m not mistaken, and on Saturdays, the Crawleys have dined formally for centuries. Mother insists we carry on, circumstances be damned. It is Saturday? I am right about that, aren’t I?”

Lady Cora takes Mary’s arm in hers. “Mary dear, your grandmother is having some difficulty adjusting to all of this rotting undead folderol. We must be understanding. And no, Robert, it’s actually Monday. I’m sorry to say we lost a day or two when Edith was eaten. But I see no reason we can’t adapt.”

Lord Grantham clasps his hands behind his back and gazes stoically through the drawing room windows, into the distance of the estate. “Sometimes, Cora, I don’t know how I would get by without you.”

Cora’s eyes twinkle puckishly. “This might not be the time to bring it up, dear, but if there is anyone left downstairs to choose from, I do need a new lady’s maid. And the next time you’re in London, you might pick me up another hand mirror.”

On the road leading to Downton:

Careening out of a curve onto a straight stretch, Daryl throttles the chopper up while Glenn holds on to his shoulders in panic. “Slow down, Daryl! You don’t know what might be around the next bend. Besides, Rick wouldn’t try to clear a place that big without us.”

“Ya’ll don’t know what Rick might try. Not after what went down at the prison. And don’t hang on so tight, dammit. M’ crossbow’s pokin’ me in the ribs.”

From the other direction:

Lady Violet regains her poise after the Bentley lurches out of a curve onto a straight stretch. “Do slow down, Molesley. You don’t know what might be around the next bend. And if it isn’t too much trouble, could you kindly tell me what happened to my normal chauffeur?”

Mr. Molesley meets her sagging eyes in the rearview mirror. “He was eaten, M’ Ladyship. By your gardener, if I recall correctly. And your gardener was eaten by Lady Isobel, who was eaten by Doctor Clarkson. And pardon me, Mum, but the faster I drive, the less chance there is of any bitey people catching up.”

Lady Violet crosses hands atop her parasol and sighs. “My, how I miss the days when staff knew what details are best left unspoken.”

In the foyer: 

“Look sharply now,” Mr. Carson booms. “When Her Ladyship’s motor car approaches, we will file out in two rows. Mr. Bates, you will lead on the right. Thomas, on the left. And Thomas... gloves, if you please.”

Lord Grantham paces nervously. “Mary... Cora, come now. She could be here at any moment. And we must all keep an eye peeled for those filthy cannibals.”

The staff nod solemnly. Mary and Cora exchange roguish glances, a sly secret they often share whenever the Earl feels the need to state the obvious.

On the grounds:

“Ready, Carl? Michonne? Remember. We. Can. Do! This.”

“Dad, I think I hear Daryl’s chopper.”

Michonne tenses and slides her blade from its sheath. Rick rubs his chin, thinking that, surely, a house this grand will have some aftershave lying about. “Yeah, that’s it. Let’s move. We’ll meet Daryl and Glenn on the driveway. Stay! Low!

In the foyer:

“Lord Grantham, if I am not mistaken, I hear the Bentley coming up the drive.”

“Thank you, Carson. Now everyone, put on your best face as we greet Mother. This all has been very hard on her. And keep an eye peeled for those... those...”

“Yes, dear. Those filthy cannibals.” Elizabeth’s eyes twinkle, ever puckishly, as she once again takes Mary’s arm.

“Lead the way if you would, Thomas.”

“As you wish, Mr. Carson.”

On the drive:

Even as Rick, Carl and Michonne come scrumbling across the open yard, the staff files out onto the drive. Mary and Cora strike statuesque poses on the portico while Lord Grantham strides out to greet his mother. Lady Violet hardly notices them. She has seen the chopper coming towards her Bentley, and even more-so, the scruffian astride it.

“Molesley, would you be so kind as to tell me what that is?”

Mr. Molesley cannot conceal his alarm. “I’m afraid it is a motor bike, M’ Ladyship. As if they weren’t bad enough already, now the bitey people have motor bikes!”

The Earl fumes, “What is this? Mary, are you expecting anyone else?”

“No, P’pah. But look there, scrumbling across the lawn. Do you see them?”

“Oh dear God. It’s those filthy cannibals! Carson, get Mother into the house!”

“Yes M’ Lord. Thomas, would you attend to the coach door please? And your gloves. Where are your gloves? I distinctly told you...“

Rick’s voice sounds like a rupturing lung. “It’s a herd! Michonne, cut us a path! Carl, stay behind me! And use both hands on that poker.”

“My apologies, Mr. Carson,” oozes Thomas with ophidian charm, “but I inadvertently left my gloves at the Cock and Bullocks.”

Against all convention, Lady Violet does not wait for a hand to steady her. The dowager clambers out on her own as though she’d been clambering out of Bentleys all of her life. She gains her feet just as Rick scrumbles around the boot of the motor car and comes face to face with her. “Hideous!” she shrieks, and whacks him with her parasol.

“Hideous!” he croaks as he drops to his knees, stunned. “As if they weren’t bad enough already, now they have parasols!

The chopper squeals to a stop and Daryl swings his crossbow into action. Mr. Bates is the first to fall, a bolt through his broad brow. Ivy and Daisy can no longer keep their poise. In spite of a disapproving cluck from Mrs. Hughes, they pick up their hems and run, but only until Michonne takes Ivy’s head off with one stroke and Carl puts a slug through Daisy’s eye.

“Carl! I said no firing! Daryl, where’s Glenn?”

“I’m no good with a poker, dad! I’ve been trying to tell you, but you never listen!”

“Glenn done must o’ falled off,” barks Daryl, taking aim at the back of Mrs. Hughes’ head. “I told ‘im to hang on tight.” (thwang!)

Lord Grantham surveys the carnage unfolding on his family’s estate. “Enough of this! Carson, fetch me my Webley!”

Eyes twinkling more puckishly than ever, Lady Cora turns to Mary. “Oh dear. Now he wants his Webley.”

Stay tuned for scenes from coming episodes of The Walking Downton Abbey Dead.
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Friday, October 24, 2014

Aaron Paul Angry 'Breaking Bad' Action Figures Pulled from Toys R Us Shelves

Posted By on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 1:41 PM

It's OK to sell guns and violent video games but not action figures of a couple of meth-makers, tweeted Aaron Paul, who played Jesse Pinkman on the wildly popular AMC show, Breaking Bad.

After a Florida woman successfully petitioned to have Breaking Bad figures pulled from Toys R Us stores, Paul followed co-star Bryan Cranston in taking the store to task and in getting three times as many signatures on a petition to get the mini Jesses and Walts/Heisenbergs back on store shelves.

The worst part about this story isn't that Toys R Us caved to pressure. It's that CBS News called the figures "dolls." Yo, bitch... action figures.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Boise Added to America's Got Talent Audition List

Posted By on Sat, Oct 18, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Flight Crew Jump Rope appeared on the most recent season of NBC's America's Got Talent. - FLIGHT CREW JUMP ROPE
  • Flight Crew Jump Rope
  • Flight Crew Jump Rope appeared on the most recent season of NBC's America's Got Talent.

Idaho's sent more than a few acts to the nationwide televised talent show known as America's Got Talent. Strangely, most of them include ropes—like the Summerwind Skippers, Flight Crew Jump Rope and the Rhinestone Ropers

KTVB reported that NBC's America's Got Talent has added Boise to next season's city audition list, as well as Tampa, Fla.; Nashville, Tenn.; Richmond, Va; New York, N.Y.; Chicago, Ill.; St. Louis, Mo.; San Antonio, Texas; Albuquerque, N.M.; San Francisco, Calif.; and Los Angeles, Calif.   

Auditions in the City of Trees will take place on Feb. 10. This is the first time auditions have ever been held here.

The show—hosted by Nick Cannon with judging by Howie Mandel, Mel B., Heidi Klum and Howard Stern—boasts the highest summer viewership nine years in a row.

Online auditions can be submitted through March 2015.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

OMG... HBO Go Solo

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 1:37 PM

During an investors' conference earlier today, HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler announced that the premium pay channel will offer a standalone online streaming service starting in 2015.

Huffington Post reports the new service may be a slimmed-down version of the channel's popular HBO Go streaming service, while The Wall Street Journal describes it as an "expansion." Plepler revealed few details and wouldn't discuss how much the service might cost consumers each month, but the move will likely be a lucrative one for HBO: Plepler suggested the company could capture hundreds of millions in revenue by making its offerings more widely available. 

The new streaming service is targeted at (ugh) "cord cutters" and (double ugh) "cord nevers," people—usually millennials—who have either canceled their cable subscriptions or never had one in the first place but who subscribe to services like Netflix and Hulu Plus. 

"There are over 80 million homes that don't have HBO, and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them," Plepler said.
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Mr. Cope’s Cave: Dammit! What Is Wrong With Those Teevee People!?

Posted By on Mon, Oct 13, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Mr. Cope, would this be a good time to…

No, dammit!

Goodness, you sure seem angry about something.

I am, dammit!

Want to tell me about it? Maybe I can help.

I doubt it. Not unless you can change television schedules, and do it in the next few minutes.

Uh, no. I can’t do that, but maybe if you talked about it, you’d feel better.

It’s Walking Dead dammit! The first show of the new season starts in a little over an hour.

Oh, I know. I was hoping to get this interview wrapped up in time to…

And Masterpiece Mystery starts in 15 minutes. Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!

So? I don’t get it. What’s the problem?

What’s the problem!? What’s the problem!? The problem is that Masterpiece Mystery runs an hour and a half! It won’t be over until mid-way through Walking Dead! That’s the problem!

Ah. I see. You’re angry that television schedules don’t conform to your particular whims.

Yeah. Yeah. OK. I see where you’re going. When you put it that way, it sounds like I’m a spoiled brat or something. But why do they have to cram all the good stuff into one lousy night, huh? Why couldn’t they spread the stuff worth watching out over the rest of the week, huh? I mean, don’t they know there are two kinds of people? Huh?

Two kinds of people?

Yeah. Everybody knows that. There’s your Walking Dead/Masterpiece Mystery people, then there’s your Duck Dynasty/Honey Boo Boo people. And dammit, they could spread the good shows out onto different nights, and it wouldn’t hurt the Duck Dynasty/Honey Boo Boo people a bit because those people don’t even know there’s better stuff on than Duck Dynasty and Honey Boo Boo! Isn’t that right? Doesn’t that make sense?

Well, you’re certainly right about one thing.


You absolutely do sound like a spoiled brat. And an elitist, to boot.

I’m no spoiled brat, dammit! And this isn’t about me being an elitist! It just makes sense to me that if there’s only about four or five hours a week… if that!… of good, semi-intelligent, well-written, well-produced stuff on the damn television, to not put it all on the same damn night! Is that too much to ask?

You know, there are all sorts of ways you might watch everything you want, even if they are running at the same time. You could record one program while you watch the other. Ever heard of TiVo? Or you could wait until the whole season comes out on Netflix. Or you could stream…

Look, I don’t want to do any of that. I just want to see what I want to see, and I don’t want to fubble-nuts around with no TeeNixFletVo whatever. Before you know it, I’d be up to my neck in those Geek Squad smart-alecks explaining to me… real slow like I’m some kind of doddering old dimwit… how to hook it all up and turn it on and such. Dammit!

Mr. Cope, aren’t you in that age group of people who are always bragging about how you didn’t even have a television in the house until you were 10 or 12 or 20 or something? And how you had to find ways to entertain yourselves when you were kids? And that’s why you’re so much more industrious and inventive and active and smart than kids today? How you’re so lucky to have lived before television took over the world and turned everyone after your generation into mindless boobs? Aren’t you one of them?

Uh, yeah. I don’t know if I would call it “bragging,” but yeah, I may have mentioned to a youngster or two how we were actually a lot better off when we weren’t all squatting like house plants in front of a picture tube.

So what happened to you, Mr. Cope? How on earth did you ever become such a pathetic whiner cry-baby, just because a couple of shows you want to watch happen to be on at the same time?

Hey, that’s not fair, dammit! I’m no pathetic whiner baby! All I want is… hey, wait a minute! What time is it? Oh jeez, Masterpiece Mystery started five minutes ago. You made me miss the opening scenes. Dammit!

I guess I’ll be seeing myself out then.

Yeah. Good idea.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

'Trailer Park Boys' Season 8 Premieres on Netflix Friday, Sept. 5

Posted By on Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 12:54 PM

“Nobody wants to admit they ate nine cans of ravioli.”
—Ricky, Sunnyvale Trailer Park

Pot, kitties, Bubbles, cheeseburgers, liquor, Ricky, pepperoni, Julian

If the above looks like a list of people to invite and things to take to a frat party, you have some homework to do. If, however, you immediately recognize those words as coming from Canadian TV show Trailer Park Boys, you'll be happier than a bottle kid on recycling day to learn that the long-awaited Season 8 (Season 7 ended in 2007) of TPB begins airing Friday, Sept. 5, on Netflix—Season 9 is in the works. Seasons 1-7 are available for streaming, as are films Trailer Park Boys: The MovieTrailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day and more.

Mike Smith (Bubbles), John Paul Tremblay (Julian) and Robb Wells (Ricky) have also been working on other projects, like Swearnet: The Movie, scheduled to hit theaters Friday, Aug. 29. Visit for more on that. Before you do, though, here's a little caution from your friends at Boise Weekly: Absolutely nothing TPB-related is safe for work. Nothing.

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