The one thing Christopher Titus wants you all to know is that his ABC series “Big Shots” has NOT been canceled.
“It hasn’t been picked up, but it hasn’t been canceled,” he says, sipping on a cup of coffee at Tommy T’s Comedy House in Pleasanton before tonight’s show. “So I’m not getting paid, but I’m not going for unemployment yet.”
Titus says he was hired as an actor, not a writer, on the show. But he started doing some writing before the Writers’ strike and hopes to get back into scriptwriting. He says he’s still a member of the Writers Guild, so he can’t work during the strike. And he says he’s amazed that people are getting hostile towards the writers.
This YouTube shows Titus and his son, as well as an array of stars supporting the strike
“The producers are making a lot of money on the Internet, and they are going to make even more, so why shouldn’t the people who are actually creating the shows and writing the shows get some of that money?” Titus asks. “The writers got ripped off with DVDs and they don’t want that to happen again with Internet sales.”
Brody (Christopher Titus) finds the charms of a sexy stranger (Charisma Carpenter guest starring as Heather) increasingly irresistible when “Big Shots” returns with new episodes at 10:02 p.m. Jan. 10 on ABC. (ABC/VIVIAN ZINK)
He apologizes for his messy hair, and the fact that he just woke up from a nap. The night before he was on a $20 mil boat partying with people who are interested in producing his movie about drag racers. Then he had to zip up to the Bay Area for a round of interviews before his stand-up show tonight, Saturday and New Year’s Eve at Tommy T’s in Pleasanton.
The workaholic still works his stand-up routines, joking that he needs to build up his bank account after getting wiped out in dealing with his divorce. His act centers on his break-up with wife Erin. The two grew up in Newark and were high school sweethearts. Working through the pain is what Titus does best. He cut his comic teeth on joking about his father’s multiple marriages and having a mentally ill mom.
“I asked God for some new material for my act. Turns out you have to be very specific with God when you ask for things,” Titus quips. “He gave me a divorce to write about. Here’s some pain for you.”
Even more pain may await Titus when he does the New Year’s Eve show. He says that it’s insane working on that night because people tend to be more outrageous on that night.
“There was a club owner who handed out noise-makers right before the show,” Titus says. “Now there’s a guy who just doesn’t get it, because nothing’s better than being a stand-up comic in front of a lot of people who are loud and drinking and have noise-makers too.”
Yet, Titus wouldn’t want to be any other place than on stage making people laugh as they ring in the new year.
“There’s only one time in 23 years that I wasn’t on stage for New Years and it just didn’t feel right,” Titus says. “I need to be up there.”
Our favorite “Office” blogger Jennie Tan of Palo Alto scored in the first “The Office” convention in Scranton, held Oct. 26 to 28.
The Tanster was as much a celeb as the folks from the series, with a blogger fan giving her a parking sign for Dunder-Mifflin with her name on it. She was featured in a TV news story.
As you know, Jennie and Angela Kinsey of “The Office” did a SueTube talking about the show. Jennie’s an amazing woman who clocks in way too many unpaid hours on her Web site.
To find out everything you ever wanted to know about “The Office,” check out officetally.
Next week on “The Office,” –After Ryan (B.J. Novak) excludes Michael (Golden Globe winner Steve Carell) from a corporate wilderness retreat, Michael heads into the woods for his own survival adventure with nothing but the suit on his back. Back at work, Jim (John Krasinski) tries to revolutionize the office birthday party.
Check out my video interview with Jerry Seinfeld on SueTube.
And if that’s not enough for you, here’s ANOTHER Jerry interview:
Jerry Seinfeld says he’s happy I have a digital recorder.
“I just had a lovely chat with (another reporter) and she kept her head down the whole time writing,” Jerry says right after I walk into the interview room at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco. “I told her, while you were writing we could have been chatting. Instead, I’m trying to talk to the top of your head.”
My interview comes after Jerry has dropped into San Francisco by way of a trolley car festooned with fake bees. He walked down the yellow carpet, chatting it up with radio and TV news folks before going into a screening at the Metreon for a few lucky people _ journalists mostly.
Here’s Jerry and the trolley and, of course, the yellow carpet:
Here’s Seinfeld taking a few questions from the audience:
You can go here to check out the trailers and other cool stuff about “Bee Movie.”
Anyway, then Seinfeld headed a few blocks uptown to the Ritz, were he spent hours doing rounds of interviews, both for print and TV and Web casts. We’d already had our video interview, which you can see on SueTube. Then it was time for round two for the print stories.
Me: So, how is it going so far?
Jerry: After a while, my head starts to swell. It’s like going to an amusement park with too much noise and too many people and you start to feel a little dull. If one more guy asks me `How did you come up with the idea for the Bee Movie. Did you make it for your kids?’ I’m going to just lose it and say, You’re a journalist. A 10-year-old could could come up with a better question.
Me: Wow. That just took care of my first two questions.
Jerry, looking a little sheepish: Oh. Really?
Me: No. I was yanking your chain. I wouldn’t ask those questions. I’d rather ask what YOU would ask if you were a journalist interviewing Jerry Seinfeld about “Bee Movie.”
Jerry. Oh, you’re good. OK, I would ask what got you really frustrated making this? Animation is a very technical, very sophisticated, very detailed puppet show. Now I don’t get to work the puppet, I get to talk to the puppeteer, so my ability to communicate to the puppeteer what I wanted the puppet to do determined what that puppet did.
Instead of being funny, which is what my whole career has been, I’m now describing funny to, in most cases, a not funny person. It’s like describing a bris. I’m comfortable with challenges of vocabulary, but even for me it got hard. It’s that telephone game; I’m going to tell you to tell him. There’s too many steps. With a live actor, you tell him to do that thing where you whip your head around and we’re done. One step. He says, yeah, I know that thing.
Now I’m working with 60 different animators, with video conference not even in same state. For four years I’m doing this. Frustrating.
Me: But you love perfecting your comedy routines and on “Seinfeld” you were known to spend a lot of time polishing your comedy to perfection.
Jerry: The was the good thing about spending four years on ‘Bee Movie.’ I got to really work it over and over, which I love to do. I’m a good noodler. I’d be a good whittler or model maker, sitting in a woodshop all day. Like that.
Me: So you’re a whittler of comedy?
Jerry: Let’s say sculptor. It sounds a little more artistic.
Me: So, did you say you got your start in comedy in San Francisco?
Jerry: I didn’t start here, but it was one of the first places I got work. Oh baby, it was romantic, new things in comedy were happenign all the time. It was the mid-’70s and we were going to clubs and young people were getting on stage, and doing acts we hadn’t seen before. Not hacky joke-jokes. It was a sexy thing.
Me: What was the sexiest thing about it?
Jerry: I went from being just a guy to a GUY. Actually, I didn’t get lucky in San Francisco, but it didn’t matter. Suddenly girls were interested in me. I found out after I was in (comedy) that it would help you (get lucky).
Barry tries to get lucky too.
Me: What comedian knocks your socks off?
Jerry: Bill Cosby and still does. Impresses me more now, and I can’t say that about any other comedian I’ve seen. He has gotten better and better and better. Chris Rock and I went a couple of years ago to the Apollo in Harlem. You never saw two such sad faces, so depressed. Guys like Chris and I, everybody we see, we say we could do that..and think we could do better. Not him. It takes observational humor and no one makes it more funny.
Me: Some people might say the same about you. Are you working on any new stand-up material?
Jerry: I have a new routine about the OnStar system. They have those commercials where they play the tape of person calling in for help. Saddest development in human culture. The key goes with you when you leave the car, people. Then, they not only do something that stupid, but then they let themselves be used in a commercial. Not sure I have my dog and kids…oops, maybe I should have checked inside the car before I locked the door.
Me: Did doing those ‘Bee Movie’ ads on NBC make you nostalgic for your old stomping grounds?
Jerry: They are, what?, in fourth place now. And I still love them. There was time when they had David Letterman and Johnny Carson and they were just the coolest network ever. I think some of it is systemic and cultural. Look at how media is expanding laterally and at lightening speed. It’s hard for a network to survive as a central place. We’re not going back to Life magazine where everyone read it every week. And people aren’t going to just watch one network.
Me: What do you think of TV shows like “Heroes” or “Lost” who have all these components like online, comic books, and all that. Could you have done that on “Seinfeld’?
Jerry: No, I couldn’t do all those platforms. People are sometimes little overconfident in what it takes to make a good show. I remember when Larry and I were doing the show, we’d hear about these successful producers who grabbed these deals to put two more on the air. We’d scratch our heads. Two? It’s impossible to do one right. People don’t quite take it seriously. When I am working on anything in comedy, it’s serious. And it’s all I do.
The standup is like taking your dreams and turning it into funny stories.
Doing a movie is a tightly structured, arcs of movement, extremely discipline, like a TV show. You have to do comedy but with storytelling. Trying to wed these two crafts is like animal husbandry and sometimes they want to do it and sometimes they don’t.
Me: You took the movie to test audiences to see what they thought of the rough cut of “Bee Movie.” How hard on your ego was it to hear them hand out negative comments?
Jerry: Oh, honey. This is not new to me. Listening to negative feedback is hard. I know the poison of success and that’s one of them. People who don’t want to know nobody liked it. Well, that’s not the business. Some times when it was hard, when I thought I really had it and audiences didn’t respond well. I have such respect for people who make movies now. I will never trash a movie, because now I have respect for what you are tackling. It’s like doing the pilot episode and the series finale all in one shot and tell a great story in between.
We made changes based on what the test audiences said. They filled out cards and we tried to establish general trends. If tell a joke in front of 50 people, 10 laugh that’s good. Two laugh, probably not.
Me: So what did the audiences tell you?
Jerry: We don’t want this guy to be too arrogant, which I have been in the TV series, playing myself. I would say things that were mean sometimes, but it was fun. But this character, it goes back to animation and creating just the right physical movements. We couldn’t get what we wanted from the animated characters, because you can’t get to the live action, nuanced subtle performance. You can’t get the audience to see the twinkle in the eye. Take the medicine, that’s what I learned.
Seinfeld also knows how to get some buzz, like dressing up like a bee and scooting down a high wire at the Cannes Film Festival
Me: What do you like to do when you travel to new cities?
Seinfeld: I like to see where I would live, where intellectual, not-so-good-looking people live. That’s where I would feel comfortable.
Me: So in real life, are you more like “Seinfeld” or more like your “Bee Movie” character Barry Benson?
Seinfeld: I’m more like Seinfeld, more like mean person.
Let’s get this straight. “Women’s Murder Club,” an improbable series about a D.A., a cop, a medical examiner and a reporter _ all women working in San Francisco, won’t win any awards for writing or acting.
But it’s not bad for a show to fold laundry by. After all, you don’t want anything too taxing on a Friday night.
Beside, my two favorite shows air on Fridays: The aptly named “Friday Night Lights” and “Numb3rs.” I’ll slip in “Men in Trees”, but “Women’s Murder Club” won’t be making it to the TiVo.
Still, in my review, I just wanted to acknowledge that sometimes you just want a show that doesn’t make your brain ache.
Since my Thursday column is tied to the vodcast, thank goodness columnist Candace Murphy stepped in at the last minute for the latest edition of SueTube.
The plan was to have a woman in law enforcement, or in a non-traditional job like a paramedic come in to talk about work conditions. A nice guy at the Alameda County Sheriff’s department gave me the name of a cop with a black belt in karate. Perfect.
I called and we had a nice conversation until she said, “Well, I’ve got to go. We’re in the middle of an operation at a massage parlor.”
Ah, I can understand why you’d have to go. In fact, a day later I read about the Richmond bust that she was taking part in as we chatted. Now, there’s a woman who can multi-task.
Has Ryan the temp-now-corporate-honcho-with-a-beard turned evil?
Ryan (B.J. Novak) hitting on Pam (Jenna Fischer)
Angela Kinsey, who plays frosty Angela in accounting, says no, not really.
“He’s not evil,” says Angela. “He’s just this hot shot in New York, and as we say in Texas, he thinks his poop don’t stink.”
On last night’s show, Michael told a little story about a foreign exchange student he called his brother took Michael’s blue jeans with him when he left to go back home.
Which meant that poor Michael spent the winter wearing shorts in the snow. And that’s how Ryan is now.
“He’s a fake brother who steals your blue jeans,” Michael says.
Pam and Jim are now outed as an office romance, which means things can only go bad from here.
Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) share a moment in the Oct. 18 episode where the two go to Dwight’s family farm,which is now a bed and breakfast. NBC Photo: Justin Lubin
And how much did you love Angela and Dwight deciding to go to dinner at a public place, only to have the ghost of Sprinkles rise up from the freezer?
Speaking of that freezer, when talking to Angela last week, she says she was a little disturbed by the line in last week’s episode when Dwight said he put the dead cat in the freezer and she wondered why there were claw marks in the frozen french fries.
“It’s bad enough that he did that, but what was Angela doing with frozen french fries in her freezer?” Angela asks.
SHAMELESS PLUG FOR VODCAST/STORY:
You can read the article I wrote for the Bay Area News Group about Jennie (officetally) and Angela, or check out the vodcast
Also, you were directed to a site at the end of last night’s episode, if you missed it here it is: dundermifflininfinity.
Angela shares a moment with Andy (Ed Helms) in next week’s episode.
We think not. On a recent trip to San Francisco,where she met up with officetally tireless blogger Jennie Tan, Angela talked about herself and “The Office.”
You can read the article I wrote for the Bay Area News Group about Jennie and Angela, or check out the vodcast
But it would have been nice to include all the great stories Angela told during our time together. She told us that Joss Whedon of “Buffy” fame will be back directing an episode in the next two weeks. And that the reason why she doesn’t make eye contact with co-star Rainn Wilson on the set is simple: He makes her laugh.
And we thought it was to protect the office romance.
Our favorite was when she talked about the anniversary present she and her sibs were giving to their parents.
Angela’s parents live in Archer City, Texas, where “The Last Picture Show” is set. And it’s right in the middle of what’s known as Tornado Alley. Angela says the skies are so bright and clear, they decided to buy their parents a telescope.
But mom thought for sure they were going for something else.
“My mom said, `I know what you all are going to buy us,’ ” Angela says. ” `You’re going to get us a ‘fraidy hole.’ I told her I didn’t even know what a ‘fraidy hole was. We don’t have them in California. She didn’t believe me that I didn’t know what one was or that I wasn’t going to get that for her for their anniversary.”
Angela’s sister clued her in on just what this might be.
“Basically, it’s a storm cellar in your backyard where you can go when the tornadoes come through,” Angela says. “Maybe we should have gotten one for them. We had a tornado at our wedding. My husband is from Connecticut, so he doesn’t know about tornadoes. I just looked at him and said, ‘Babe, this doesn’t look good.’ But luckily it went to the town next to us.”
Well, lucky for everyone except the town next door.