for 2:00 to see Tammy & Steve was
an anxious couple of minutes for me.
I sat at the MSNBC lounge at 30 Rock
and watched the ticker outside... What the
fuck Spike? Tweeting Zimmerman's address
is stupid enough, but then it isn't
HIS ADDRESS? Goddamn.
it was finally 1:50 and I could go up
there without looking ridiculously early
even though I was sitting down there
for close to an hour. LOL.Met with Tammy,
we went into Steve and I handed them both
the blu-ray of The Journey. Ahhh, Steve.
Was good to be back in his office. Been
over 4 years since I had.
The story of Steve
Friedman is a long one. He's the man responsible for
Katie Couric's career and singlehandedly made The
Today Show what it is today and eventually moved onto
CBS where he tried to do the same for The Early Show.
He did a lot of things right, but as I found out
in the little over a year that I worked with them...
it isn't the tightest ship. To illustrate that I
always love telling the story of how I saw the 3 acts
I had to write about for The Egos. All I had to
see was the submission tapes that they selected in New
York. Didn't need a copy of them until later, but to
write the bit I had to just witness the
submission tape. What would've taken anyone with a
webcam in New York a few minutes to do required
(producer) had to give her tapes or files to
someone in a control room at CBS News.
2) They set up
a live feed with a control room in LA. That took
3) The control
room would tape the feed in LA.
4) Someone else
would then transfer that to a DVD.
A messenger drove to CBS, picked up the
DVD and drove it to my house.
6) I put
the DVD in my DVD player and hit
was 2007, not 1997. Point a webcam at your TV, it's
done in mere moments. This happened weekly and it held
things up incredibly. Then of course I had to
stay up for 48 straight hours to meet their deadline
for Monday morning which was artificially noon on
Sunday because they simply couldn't do things any
faster... yet I'm editing what should take
WEEKS in hours. It was quite a battle, but I loved the
challenge and am very proud of the
Once Steve was
fired of course everything was scrapped and he moved
on. He started his own production company and we had a
meeting about producing something Egos related. Was
very excited ('round 2008). His idea was to marry the
content with advertisers ahead of time and sell it
that way. Of course in the middle of a recession, new
ideas are worthless and after spinning his wheels for
a few years he took a stable consulting gig at MSNB,
and for the past 2 years has executive produced The
Dylan Ratigan show. He brought Tammy on board (who
went on a TV hiatus after CBS) and the team is
back together. We still have a great relationship,
would all still love to work together, it's simply a
matter of how.
Meeting up with
her again was great. She's sooooooo much happier. The
end of CBS (which went another year after Steve was
fired) was hell. You can read all about it in the
gossip rags. Shelly Ross's tenure at The Early Show
was the stuff of legend and completely expected. It's
why we were all surprised at the hire... everyone at
ABC's Good Morning America knew this about her - and
it was quite public - so why bring her on? And when
they got rid of her 6 months later, some of the
ABC anchors were caught saying: "How were
they able to get rid of her so FAST?" LOL. The
politics of morning TV is almost as fun as late-night
TV. Now of course The Early Show is dying. They lost
their studio, their talent... it's a shell of what it
was before and although ratings were never that great?
They just seem lost.
to go back there and see it. Totally empty
now with the CBS sign still up there
because no one else has the space. Kinda
eerie. They changed their name too, and
I can't place it. It's funny
I think it sounds like ABC's Good
Morning America now? Why change your name
to something reminiscent of the
competitor? LOL. "CBS This Morning".
only way you're gonna beat The Today Show
is hire a HUGE talent. If "Ellen"
headed "CBS This Morning"? You'd be in the
running to beat The Today Show. Why the
hell Ellen would do that is beyond me.
Anyway, who cares? Why am I talking about
this? Let's get back to MSNBC.
So we giggled
about CBS for a bit, and I asked Tammy how things
were going. They're in a great slot on
MSNBC because it's not really part of the morning
or primetime so they don't have the pressure those
slots do. They've been pretty left alone and have done
well. The problem for me of course is that their show
is barely political. It's financial first and
of all the shows on MSNBC it's the least fit for me to
even do a tiny piece. I gave Tammy the Gingrich
video and though she liked it, there's just nothing
there for them to use. Chris Mathews? Sure. Hell any
of the primetime shows could've used that to intro
into a bit about Newt, etc. but not Ratigan. And
there's very little interplay between the shows. They
don't even see the other people... ever. Everyone has
their own little section of 30 Rock and rarely do they
meet. So this will take some doing to find any
...but I got
to sit and talk with Steve alone for a bit and it's a
guy who has seen it all. We talked about the state of
news, how it's working now, what works. Talked about
Maddow who is now not only the flagship of the
station, she's becomeing an outright celebrity for,
gulp, actual journalism. If you think she's just the
"liberal" equivalent to Fox News you really,
really, really aren't watching. Of course she has a
bias and expresses it, but she's incredibly smart and
remarkably thorough. And when/if she makes a mistake?
She will address it immediately and apologize. She's
rare and she's getting the credit she
But talking about
her brought up a good line from Steve. "You Gotta Be
You". Obvious, right? But it was in the context of who
you are. Your life. It doesn't just mean "If you're
liberal, do a liberal show." It said to me: "If you're
a singer, sing. If you're a comedian, make me laugh.
Just follow your heart." None of this is new advice
(Hell, I wrote "Listen to My Heart" at 19), but
something about telling him I was gonna be a dad,
us talking about kids and then him saying that? Struck
me. Who am I really? Something I never
really answer because I'm happy doing so many
things. I was no happier doing "Adam & The
Egos" on CBS than I am writing and recording a
great song... because I know I can always do
the other thing. But to be successful on TV, in
the mainstream, you have to be easily labeled. And
I don't mean that in a bad way, I mean for
viewers? It's more comforting for them to see what you
do, and be able to put it in a place in their head
that they "Get". Understand what the entertainer's
priorities are. We know Jon Stewart is funny first,
progressive second. We know Ratigan is financial
first, political neutral. Rush Limbaugh is right-wing
first, second and third. Who are you? What do you do?
While thinking about that I made this
It doesn't really
matter if I was good at announcing the winner of
that season of Living Room Live... is that me? People
hear my voice and assume that's what I should
do... but then they hear me play piano and that's what
they assume I should do... then they watch an Egos
epiosode and their head explodes. They can't even
process that I'm Spencer let alone wonder what
I should do. I've officially LOST the audience
because they can no longer relate. It's literally too
much. Although impressive? In the end? It hurts me. My
brand is completely scattered. On the flip side
though? Artistically? I've never been happier... but
"The Journey" is, not, sellable, to the mainstream
audience. It's too goddamn much. So we watched some
Wait, what? Sorry,
there's no good way to segue into that pic. The entire
office was watching a live feed of this Eagle having
babies and screaming when one would poke its head out
of the shell. It was pretty funny. Every sentence with
Tammy would alternate from the show to the Eagles. Ha.
Back to Steve...
He wants to help.
But he was clear: you gotta be yourself. You just keep
thinking up angles and scheming. It's what I've said
and done for decades now and when it works it's
beautiful, when it doesn't it makes you feel pretty
lost. When I did 4tvs in 2000-2002 I had a
night where I said "Choose My Career" to the
people in the audience. Watch this bizarre show and
tell me what you think it equals? You know what they
all said? "Just keep doing THAT. THAT was cool."
That drove me NUTS. But guess what lead to my big
break on CBS? 4tvs. Ya know? Gotta Be You. So who am
I now? Or more importantly for me, who am
I am not
Daniel Tosh. The more I watch him, the more I
happily admit I could never do what he does.
I cannot tell you how good it feels to say that.
To be able to see the spark he has to make every WORD
funny, and the niche he has found making fun of the
idiots on the internet. It's brilliant. It's much like
the niche Jon Stewart found in pointing out the
audacity of politics. I am neither of those
people. I could not fill in for them, I could not copy
them, I simply watch them and enjoy them. When it
comes to funny? I have to be subtle, or it comes off
arrogant. Because of how I look, I almost have to
be in character to do what I think is funny. As
"Adam"? It doesn't come off well. When I look my
best weight-wise, hair, etc? I come off egotistical
when trying to be funny. I don't have that likeability
quality unless in character. For example, my
"Caviar" dream if I ever got famous was to
remake "Skindeep", the unbelievably underrated John
Ritter vehicle. But you know what? I'm no John Ritter.
I don't have that quality. He plays the loveable
womanizing drunk. If I did the role? I'd be that
drunk womanizing asshole. He has an intangible quality
to him that you love no matter what. It's funny, he
has a beard in the movie and it makes him somehow
dashing? I have a beard and I look homeless.
It just is what it is. Knowing that is 85% of the
battle. So who the hell am I?
Clearly I'm a
singer-songwriter. I want nothing to do with that
business, so it's almost a moot point. I love singing
and writing though, and that'll never change. My
political view is rooted in common sense no matter the
issue. I have no political or religious
affiliation, no bias, I have an uncanny ability
to think without emotion/bias actually. But how does
it translate on TV without a character being involved?
Or is a character involved? That kitchen rant
I did about politics got some traction and it
really was just a disheveled me talking shit in my
kitchen. After speaking with Steve (and watching a few
daily rants on Ratigan's show) I can see me doing a
few weekly rants throughout this season and try to
feel where my voice is. I do know that it's not being
heard often. My big pet peeve is that people confuse
"conservative" with Republican when that party
has been anything but conservative for decades. Sides
are now, absolutley, corporation vs. people. And
although it isn't black and white, Republican vs.
Democrat? It's most certainly black and grey. There is
far more "Corprate" strongholds on the right. I love
pointing that out while keeping a balance as most
"liberal" values annoy the balls off of me. But
considering their history? Uhm, if you're gonna spend
all our money killing people in war? I'll choose
health care and welfare you fucktards. I like
Ratigan in that respect, and we do agree on those
points so, bottom line after all this rambling? I'm
gonna do a few rants, long and short, and I will have
an audience that will watch at MSNBC and give me
feedback. Can't ask for anything more than
I mean, I'm
just happy. Steve was excited for the coming baby and
told me the first 2 years were the best times.
Kinda cool to hear that as I never have before. I
guess he likes babies too. I just feel so lucky.
So lucky to have the family I have, the contacts
I have are good people... you know? Considering
how transient the Comedy Central folks were (and
3 Arts - WOW), Tammy & Steve are just good
people. As I left, Tammy told me to watch a
satirist they're gonna have on the 5ht and 19th of
April and she pulls out a post-it note to write down
the dates. I said "What the hell am I gonna do that,
post it to my phone?" I guess a little of that
CBS 1980s dysfunction is still in her veins. LMAO. I
wrote a note in my iPhone and I made her promise
to watch the blu-ray of my documentary. Then she has
to strap down Steve and make him awtch it. More
because, they singlehandedly made it
Good day, good
times. Unlike DC though. Poor Talya is friggin'
miserable. That 2nd trimester cannot come fast