|—||From an interview with Brian Stack. Louis CK was the voice of Mike Tyson on the old Clutch Cargo’s? I feel like I didn’t know that. The best Clutch Cargo character was Bill Clinton, but still… (Also: Brian Stack interviews are always like a cup of hot chocolate. He talks about the origins of Wikibear!)|
Jack McBrayer and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog visit the Wiener Circle.
All-Time Favorite Stuff Week: Any Kind of Late Night Talk Show War. Will there ever be another one? Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers are too boring to get into a halfway decent late night war— it’d be like watching wonder bread fight wonder bread. But Kimmel attacking Leno, Letterman attacking Leno, Conan giving speeches— and that was round two. I don’t know how many times I saw that movie The Late Shift— that’s a movie I could never turn off when I came across it, and I came across it a lot.
It was just millionaires squabbling over the most ridiculous job. Who cares? Why would would anyone care? But what villain in any movie is as compelling or as craven or as disturbing as Jay Leno? I enjoyed rooting against Jay Leno more than I rooted against Darth Vader or Regina George or that creepy Nazi from Raiders of the Lost Ark or anybody. Because Leno’s not just a right-wing bad-joke greedy boogeyman hiding in closets and stealing people’s jobs— he’s also a metaphor for our deepest fears that mediocrity will prevail, that good people are outnumbered in this country by goon-people on every issue (climate change, education, health care, everything), that there is a lowest common denominator and that those dancing for it will forever win, that this is a country whose refusal to properly educate its citizenry has put it on an irrevocable road to a gaudy obsolescence, that all hope is lost p.s. SNAKES SNAKES(! snakes!). People may think Jay Leno took himself off the air, but I like to think Jay Leno lives on, lives everytime you read about who the “box office” winner for the weekend was, lives everytime a 24 hour news channel spends weeks and weeks trying to find a plane missing because Earth has oceans on it (news coverage brought to you by jay leno superfan #1 who got put in charge of the news oh fuck shit), lives everytime they hold the Grammy’s. In that respect, the only movie villain I can compare him to comfortably is the Candyman. And Candyman at least had reasons.
I could not get more excitable and more involved when these things have happened, thanks to rooting against that horrible man. Conan’s doing great comedy still, the same way Letterman ended up doing fine with his show, but man, I wanted it to end with someone blowing up Leno’s garage and all those fucking cars. I like having something in American life that I can feel that completely unambiguous about while being at the same time as completely frivolous (i.e. that you don’t have to feel bad about actual people getting their lives ruined, like you do with a Rumsfeld or a Dick Cheney or whatever Monster made up that TV commercial where people are waiting in line for cell phones and then some guy’s like “I own a different kind of cell phone that lets me do pointless photo things" all smug). Everything else has nuance and you have to be like "Well, I read an article that pointed out that"— but Jay Leno? Man, fuck Jay Leno. Totally unambiguous!
So on Toy he dug out some of his oldest songs. These were the work of a man who never charted, whose shows had never sold out, whose name barely got into the music trades. The David Bowie of 1968, the Bowie of “Laughing Gnome” and “We Are Hungry Men,” was the Uncle Floyd of his day. The hipsters (John Peel, Penny Valentine, Pete Townshend) knew who he was but the radio wanted nothing to do with him. It was tides and cross-tides of history: what if these songs had been hits? Or what if Bowie in 1968 had given up music, had gone off into cabaret, and Toy was just an actor’s indulgence, a tribute to a lost, failed youth?
Toy‘s finest song used Uncle Floyd‘s lost chance at fame as a way to frame the album. Imagine a ghost world where Bones and Oogie star in films (promoting Uncle Floyd’s Big Adventure, Amy Adams gushes in an interview about how much she loved Bones Boy as a child. “I can’t believe we’re working together!”), a New York where Oogie is inflated to the size of a city block as a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day float.