It’s about breaking the formula.
Art is about risk, and in today’s era too few are approaching the edge, that’s the Michelle Wolf story, the inability of the status quo to recognize the soul of our society, which is not conformity, but uniqueness. The more you try to fit in, the blanker you become, the more irrelevant. Which is why art rules the world, artists test limits, even Steve Jobs, first and foremost he was an artist, never forget the original iMac was just the same old chip in a brand new box.
Obama on Letterman was a flop. Too much media training. Too guarded. That’s what was wrong with his Presidency, the reticence, the thinking before talking, the fear of scratching the surface, when the truth is underneath the waters were roiling, and when he was gone Trumpism surfaced, not surprising to those truly taking the pulse of America. As for Hillary, she allowed the right to define her and she didn’t ring true. You cannot lose your identity, you must stand up to critics, you must define the game, you must keep playing.
Or you lose.
As Hillary has.
It’s no surprise the only triumphs in late night TV have been by Kimmel and Colbert, speaking their truth, calling out Trump. Fallon has refused and his ratings have sunk, he’s being beaten by nearly a million viewers. Fallon’s doing the same old show in changed times.
And the rest of his late night compatriots are not that different. Suits and ties, monologues, skits, guests promoting projects. It’s so tired, I don’t watch, and most others don’t either. Same deal with SNL. A sketch show without a viewpoint, WHOOP-DE-DOO! That was what was so great about the original five years/cast, it was TV made for a generation, pushing edges the oldsters could not see. Now only oldsters think it’s funny, when they read about skits in the newspaper.
The truth is SNL should be YouTube only. A skit every day.
It needs to take a side.
It needs to be different.
Kinda like the writers’ room.
That was what Tina Fey said, you get women involved and the whole picture changes, people of color too. They find stuff funny that white males do not. But women make up half of society, actually, a little bit more.
The media does not know what to do with Netflix. It’s virtually ignoring the service, except on the business page. The media still pays fealty to movies, even though attendance is down, even though only a few are financially successful. It’s like covering curling. Great during the Olympics, interesting during awards season, other than that, no one cares.
They’ll review a movie the day of release.
But not a Netflix show.
You won’t see the media promoting Tina Fey on Letterman, for that you need a Netflix subscription, where it comes right up. Netflix is like free form radio of the sixties, the in-the-know know, and everybody else does not. Netflix is where all the action takes place, the experimentation, where there are albums instead of singles, where there’s a plethora of product we just cannot get enough of.
People e-mail me every day about cable shows. I’m not watching. We live in an on demand society. If I can’t have it all, right now… Isn’t this what Queen sang about so emphatically DECADES ago? Apple kills not only ports, but the CD drive and the iPod, yet studios are still propping up the movie theatre, WHY? And if you e-mail me and complain, you’re part of the problem. Once upon a time, in the late nineties, Apple was a joke, but when the company broke the rules it became the most valuable in the world, think about that.
So Letterman won’t shave his beard. And he’s not a puppet for writers. It’s all about his off the cuffs witticisms. Reminds me of high school, where puns ruled, where being quick and funny was everything. I don’t want to be a late night host, but I do want to be David Letterman. Did you see him at Oxford, with Malala Yousafzai? He was so inappropriate and obnoxious you could only love him, decorum is to be challenged, limits are to be tested, you don’t know where the line is unless you’re willing to cross it.
And I’ve got no interest in George Clooney, but damn if his episode wasn’t so good, especially the segments with his parents, and the Middle Eastern dude they were supporting in their town.
As for Tina Fey, she was sharp and quick and didn’t need to overact in a prepared way, just roll with the punches. Furthermore, she said she never smoked dope, that she was uncool. This isn’t today’s millennials all claiming to be nerds, this is a TRUE NERD!
And the nerds have inherited the earth. Because they refused to compromise, they endured the hate and continued to march forward.
And Letterman humanized Buddy Guy more than any awards show, he let Buddy talk, be himself.
Meanwhile, musicians are worried about everything but the music, sponsorship, cash… Hell, Tina Fey joked that she’d already spent all of the “Mean Girls” cash. Proving, even though it was a joke, that she ain’t a billionaire.
But she’s got more influence than one.
Usually, innovation comes from outside, because the established players are too afraid to take a risk. Kinda like today’s Apple. If you’re not confused whether you’re in your library or the streaming Apple Music service, you must work in Cupertino.
I’m looking for fulfillment, I’m looking to have my horizons expanded, I’m looking to be touched and titillated, taken places I cannot foresee.
And that’s what Letterman’s doing here. It’s just not endless hijinks, there’s substance along with the glaze.
All you’ve got to do is pick up the remote and click.
On your smart TV, via your Roku or Fire Stick or other streaming device. Hell, you can download episodes to your iPad for traveling. And multiple people can use the same log-in. Netflix isn’t limiting you, scolding you, telling you how to live, but allowing you to do it your way.
We want it all right now at our fingertips. Realize this quickly, or die, like the movie studios.
Meanwhile, a septuagenarian who doesn’t need the money puts his reputation and legacy at risk to try something new. Let that be a lesson to you. That’s why I’m reluctant to see the oldsters play their hits. And the youngsters execute formula. Music triumphed when it was about wowing us.
Letterman on Netflix has got me thinking.
And that’s exactly what I came for.