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Alec Baldwin is Funny, but...

April 11, 2017

 

I love Alec Baldwin's Trump impressions.  They're funny, they're spot on, and most importantly, they make me laugh out loud, but...and it pains me to write this, but...what the impressions are ARE NOT news.

 

Five different news sites, (and probably more) had the Alec Baldwin impressions as one of the Top Stories of the Day on Sunday, April 9, 2017.  And I'm not talkin' about crappy blogs like Beacon of Speech.  

I'm talkin':

Time

CNN

Daily Beast

Huffington Post

USA Today

 

Surf on over to RT, and their first 5 stories were:

Syria

Syria

Egypt

Syria

Syria

No SNL.  ANYWHERE.  I scoured the site.  

Which makes me want to go back into the way-back machine.

Back in 1975, the Saturday Night Live cast were the "not-ready-for-prime-time players."  All edgy 20-somethings from places like National Lampoon and Second City.  Saturday Night Live lived week by week, year by year, all under the haze of possible not existing in the future.  By 1981, all the original members were gone and Lorne Michaels was building a brand with interchangeable moving parts.  40, yes 40, years later, SNL is on the top of the comedy food chain.  A comedy factory not unlike how Ohio State is a football factory.  

 

Today Alec Baldwin is the definition of a prime-time player. Women love him, men want to be him, and he has been successful on TV and in movies alike.  He is pushing 60 and for all of his accolades, the one thing he's clearly not, is cutting edge.  George Carlin at 60 was still touring and dropping comedy albums that barely sold while appearing in bit parts of Kevin Smith films.  

 

Everyone has to chose their own path, so I don't condemn Alec Baldwin.  I like him.  I like the New Match Game.  I watch 30 Rock re-runs.  If I see Beelejuice on, I don't turn it off.  But what's happening today is that the media in America today have attached a certain gravity to Baldwin's impressions that haven't existed since the collective media drooled all over Jon Stewart's Daily Show.  The same thing goes for Jon Stewart.  I like him too, but there's a certain degree of packaging, and then the like minded media talk about what a genius he was and then it's kind of a circular loop. 

See, because I like these guys, it's hard to criticize them and still get my point across.  Okay, let me tell you a personal story that may clear things up.  My wife and I went to go see Jay Leno in the mid-90's.  First 20 minutes was run-of-the-mill, Late Show Schtick, but then a little light went off over Leno's head and he shifted gears.  For the next hour he was the funniest comedian I had ever seen before, raw and uncut.  Quite frankly, more than a few people were left stunned.  There were no news outlets, I don't even think the local alternative weekly covered the show.  It didn't matter how funny Jay Leno was, his little performance that night at the casino didn't fit the agenda that the media wanted to advance.  Leno hopped back on his plane and did his normal monologue the next night on the Tonight Show, didn't even mention the night before.

 

There was no synergy, no cross promotion, just comedy.  Leno was on top of his game, but you could see he had to alter his act a bit for his audience and time constraints on his show.  Jay Leno was a prime time player, but for an hour you could see where he had come from.  

 

The backlash against the media includes examples like Alec Baldwin.  I'm sure there's people that don't like him, but the media covers him like he's reinventing the comedy wheel.  All he's doing is putting on a good show....in a prime time slot...for a multi-national corporation and its subsidiaries. TV is rarely news, unless corporate media is looking for clicks instead of content.

 

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