Why “JERK”? Because “The Idiot” was already taken. Plus, a disgruntled reader once scrawled the word “Jerk” over the photo that accompanied my newspaper column and then mailed it to me, so I figured, yeah, that’s as good a title as any.
Read the book and you will understand why “JERK” is a more or less suitable title for this thing. Or maybe you won’t. Whether you get it or not, “JERK” is supposed to be a personal history of the TV business from the mid-1980s to the present, the era in which I covered it as a journalist. Whether it succeeds as “personal” history or any other kind of history, I leave that to others to determine.
This memoir drops a lot of famous names — Howard Stern, Jerry Seinfeld, David Letterman, Jay Leno and a bunch of others — in order to get more people to read it. At the same time, though, I’m proud to say that I didn’t have to contrive any of these name-dropping yarns either; every word of them is true.
“JERK” is also a brutally honest critic’s critique of his own work and behavior — something most critics would never attempt.
A very lively segment on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”
Our topic: Jimmy Kimmel, and what his move to 11:35 p.m. means for ABC’s “Nightline.” Watch:
Then we got into another topic — the dust-up in which Mika Brzezinski clashed with her “Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough on MSNBC. She called him a “chauvinist,” and he disagreed — to say the least. Watch:
FUNNY BUSINESS: Five late-night comedy writers came together Tuesday night (March 30) in New York for a panel discussion on the art of comedy writing for television. The writers (front row, l-r): Erik Kenward, “Saturday Night Live”; Bashir Salahuddin, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”; Jason Ross, “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”; J.R. Havlan, “The Daily Show”; and Diallo Riddle, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” Back row (l-r): Alaina Bendi, Center for Communication; Adam Buckman, moderator, TVHowl.com; and Dr. William Baker, Fordham University. Photo: Center for Communication
By ADAM BUCKMAN
NEW YORK, March 30, 2010 — Many thanks to our panel of five late-night comedy writers who all participated in a live panel discussion before an audience of several hundred college students and others Tuesday night (March 30) in Manhattan.
The event, sponsored jointly by the Center for Communication and Fordham University and held at Fordham’s Pope Auditorium on West 60th Street, brought together representatives of three New York-based late-night shows: “Saturday Night Live” (writer: Erik Kenward), “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”(writers: Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle) and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” (writers: Jason Ross and J.R. Havlan). The moderator was yours truly, Adam Buckman.
Among other things, the audience learned, from Erik Kenward, that “SNL” writers observe the results of their sketch-writing work in the company of the show’s uber-boss Lorne Michaels during the show’s traditional dress rehearsal, the dry run just before the live broadcast when the evening’s sketches are audience-tested. It’s during that dry run that Michaels will sometimes yank a sketch altogether or order changes.
All the panelists urged audience members to start working on their comedy writing if they ever hope to break into the big time and become staff writers on some of TV’s biggest shows. The panelists advised prospective comedy scribes to produce visual content for the Web as a way of practicing this comedy art form and also as a way of assembling a body of work to show prospective employers.