Friday, February 27, 2009

That "monkey washing a cat" clip

Fans of "Late Show with David Letterman" and "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" know it well: the brief black and white clip of a monkey washing a cat in a sink. After seeing it for the zillionth time on last night's "TDS," Talk Show News began to wonder: where the heck did that clip come from?

A little research brought us to the NationMaster Encyclopedia, which states the following:

The Monkey washing a cat footage, as it is generally known, is a comic scene of black and white stock footage which has been widely distributed on the internet, as well as played on a number of notable television programs, including Late Night with David Letterman and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The scene actually depicts a chimpanzee, not a monkey, bathing a Siamese cat in a sink with a wash cloth. It is only about 4 seconds long, but is frequently shown repeating in a continual loop. The footage was taken in 1947 at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center.
OK, so it must henceforth be known as the chimp washing a cat clip.

Yerkes "has long been the object of agitation and protest for its treatment of animals," according to its Wikipedia entry. So were the chimp and the Siamese well cared for? Why was the chimp washing the cat? Who filmed it, and how did it wind up becoming such a popular piece of stock footage? I'm guessing no one who worked at the center back in 1947 (or the chimp and the cat, for that matter) are still around to tell us, so the world may never know. In any case, if anyone has further insight into the clip, please let us know. Since Wikipedia deleted its page on the clip, we are happy to be your one-stop source for chimp washing a cat information.

Edited to add: the self-explanatory has a longer version of the clip -- fans of the footage really need to check it out! -- but sadly, no more info regarding the clip's history.

Ed McMahon hospitalized

Former "Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" sidekick Ed McMahon has been hospitalized for the last three weeks with pneumonia and other medical problems, according to his spokesman.

"Ed's a big, strong, hearty guy and his family and I are hopeful and optimistic about his prognosis," said Howard Bragman about the 85-year-old TV personality.

McMahon was in the news last summer when it was revealed that he was behind on payments on his multimillion-dollar Beverly Hills home and was fighting to avoid foreclosure.

Fallon snags an exclusive: Jack McBrayer's response to Bobby Jindal

After Bobby Jindal's Republican response to President Obama's address to Congress, there was some speculation that Jack McBrayer, whose Kenneth the Page on "30 Rock" became an instant point of comparison to the Louisiana governor, would become the latest hot "SNL" impressionist -- McBrayer isn't in the "SNL" cast, but he has appeared on the show before. However, "SNL" is scheduled to air a rerun tomorrow night and by March 7, when the next new ep will be televised, the Jindal/Kenneth meme will seem like old news. What to do?

Enter Jimmy Fallon, who has been airing web-only shows in anticipation of his TV premiere next week. (Thanks to Foma for the tip.)

Looking at Fallon's first two weeks of guests, he's obviously going to start out by drawing heavily on his fellow NBC stars, including Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan from "30 Rock," Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg with his "Lonely Planet" digital short team from "SNL," Brian Williams from the NBC evening news, and "The Apprentice" star Donald Trump. Even many of his non-NBC guests have shown up frequently on "SNL": Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz have both racked up numerous appearances.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Conan and Andy, together again

NBC just announced:

Conan O'Brien will have a familiar face when he begins his new "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" on NBC where he will reunite with Andy Richter ("Late Night with Conan O'Brien") -- for the first time on a daily basis in almost nine years -- as the network announced that Richter will return to its late-night lineup as the announcer for the new show that begins June 1. In addition to his announcing duties, Richter will participate in comedic pieces.

Few performers enjoy the chemistry that Richter and O'Brien developed over their seven years together on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." Richter will join O'Brien for the first time on a daily basis since May 26, 2000.

"Andy is one of the funniest people I know and we've maintained a close friendship since he left "Late Night," said O'Brien. "We have a proven chemistry that will be an incredible asset to "The Tonight Show." I'm looking forward to working with Andy on a daily basis again, particularly since he owes me $300."

CBS wants to remind you: Craig Ferguson's on!

CBS press release. Hmm, what else happens on March 2? Jimmy Fallon takes over "Late Night"? It sounds like the Eye Network wants to give you a little reminder that you can keep your dial set to CBS instead of tuning into NBC to sample its new show.

Craig Ferguson will host CBS's Monday Night with a series of primetime comedic spots on March 2 and 9. The interstitials will lead into "The Big Bang Theory," "How I Met Your Mother," "Two and a Half Men," "Rules of Engagement" and "CSI: Miami."

Paris Hilton joins Ferguson in a cameo role in the five distinct primetime comedy spots on March 2, the last of which teases her guest appearance on "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" later that evening. Jim Parsons makes a special guest appearance as his character, Sheldon, from "The Big Bang Theory" in the five unique spots on March 9.

The spots are set in Ferguson's shabby, but not chic, faux home, where Hilton and "Sheldon" join him, separately, for TV dinners and a night devoted to watching CBS's five Monday night series.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Martha Stewart and Jimmy Fallon: what's in those brownies?

We got a newsflash from "The Martha Stewart Show" that Monday's program is titled "The Pot Show." Her guest? Future late night host Jimmy Fallon. (What, Michael Phelps wasn't available?) Of course, Martha's email states that the show will feature "one-pot recipes, potbellied pigs and pottery," but the promo video on the site makes it clear that Stewart is having fun with her theme: "Once a pot lover, always a pot lover. Something fun to share with your very best friends." Jimmy brings her a plate of brownies: "Are those what I think they are?" "And what would a pot show be without a few munchies?" Oh, Martha, you naughty lady.

Guests of the Week: Feb. 22-27, 2009

Lots of reruns this week: David Letterman, Craig Ferguson, Jay Leno and Carson Daly all take the week off, and it's your last chance to catch "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" on the tube, as a week of repeats will precede Jimmy Fallon's debut on March 2.

"The Daily Show" returns from a vacation week with a quartet of good guests, mostly old favorites: on Monday, honcho Jeff Bezos, who we guess will be discussing the new Kindle, which will be released tomorrow; Tuesday, Ricky Gervais; Wednesday, Tom Selleck; and Thursday, Brian Williams. Jimmy Kimmel welcomes one of his comedy idols, Don Rickles, who is always a lot of fun on the show. "Bachelor" Jason Mesnick will discuss his choice on Friday's "The View." One of Talk Show News's favorite novelists, T.C. Boyle, chats with Tavis Smiley on Monday.

Tonight after the Academy Awards, Jimmy Kimmel will be doing a special show with guests Mel Gibson and Robin Thicke. (It airs at 11:30 PM on the West Coast.) If you miss it, it'll be repeated on Friday.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Conan's Favorite Clip

On last night's "Late Night" finale, Conan O'Brien showed what he said was his favorite clip from all 16 years he's been hosting the show. It's the remote segment where he joins a group of historical baseball reenactors who play the game as if it were the 1860s:

He also welcomed a couple of "surprise" guests, Will Ferrell and former sidekick Andy Richter (I love Andy, but is it just me, or is he looking more and more like Chris Farley?). At the end, he gave a classy shout-out to David Letterman, Jay Leno, Lorne Michaels, his family, and many of his longtime staff members. The show ran a few minutes long, so if your DVR cut off the end, here are the last 10 minutes.

Conan will be back on the air June 1, when he takes the helm of "The Tonight Show."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

First week of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" guests announced

The celebrity guests for the premiere week of Jimmy Fallon's new talk show have just been revealed, and he's managed to bring in some big names, as well as some old friends. Robert De Niro (one of the worst "Saturday Night Live" guest hosts of all time) and singer Van Morrison will be the guests on the March 2 premiere. Also slated to appear on the show during its inaugural week: Tina Fey, Jon Bon Jovi and Santogold (Tuesday, March 3); Cameron Diaz and Billy Crudup (Wednesday, March 4); Donald Trump, Serena Williams and Ludacris (Thursday, March 5); and Drew Barrymore and Mario Batali (Friday, March 6).

Monday, February 16, 2009

Guests of the Week: Feb. 16-20, 2009

This is a pretty slow week, guest-wise -- is everyone gearing up for the Oscars? The obvious choice for late night viewers is the final week of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," and NBC's been keeping a lot of the guest bookings under wraps. The White Stripes are so far the only act announced for the final show. We'll keep our ears to the ground and continue updating the lineups page with any new discoveries.

Bonnie Hunt's own chat show is in reruns this week, so she'll stop by "Late Show with David Letterman" tonight and "The View" on Wednesday. Jay Leno should please both sides of the political spectrum with Arianna Huffington (Wednesday) and Dennis Miller (Thursday), while Regis & Kelly cater to boy band fans of the present (the Jonas Brothers, Monday) and past (New Kids on the Block, Thursday).

Rerun alert: Tuesday's "Colbert Report," with Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton and a recap of Glenn Beck's new FOX News show, was one of the funniest episodes in memory.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dave really, really, really likes U2

U2 will be the guest for an entire week of shows on "Late Show with David Letterman." They'll be plugging their new album No Line on the Horizon from March 2-6. It's the first time a band has gotten a week-long gig on "Late Show."

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Guests of the Week: Feb. 9-13, 2009

Talk Show News is soaking up the sun on vacation this week instead of absorbing the cathode rays of late night television, but if we do decide to hunker down with some TV this week, here's who we'll be watching:

David Letterman's got the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover reveal on Monday and will feature an interview with the newly crowned covergirl on Wednesday. In between, the crew of US Airways "Miracle On The Hudson" Flight 1549 fits Dave into their busy media schedule. A pair of reliably good guests, Martha Stewart and stand-up comic Jake Johannsen, will visit Dave on Friday. Loopy "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul has rebooked her date with Jay Leno for this Wednesday. Lewis Black is "Back in Black" with Craig Ferguson on Thursday. Conan O'Brien starts saying farewell to 12:30 with some heavy hitters, including Norm Macdonald (Tuesday), his time slot successor Jimmy Fallon (Wednesday) and Alec Baldwin (Thursday); tell your tween sister that the Jonas Brothers will be stopping by on Friday. (The boys will also be the musical guests on this weekend's "SNL," with Baldwin as the host.) Jimmy Kimmel welcomes a contestant from "Dancing with the Stars" Season 8 on Tuesday -- we're betting it'll be his old pal DAG (David Alan Grier). Demetri Martin plugs "Important Things" on Thursday's "JKL." The wonderful Neil deGrasse Tyson's talk with Tavis Smiley is now scheduled for Friday. Phil Keoghan of "The Amazing Race," Talk Show News's favorite reality show, globetrots over to Bonnie Hunt's set on Friday.

Don't Bother: We love Jimmy Kimmel, but really wish he would stop booking Andy Dick (Wednesday). After the Ivanka Incident, we notice they're only putting him on with other male guests now (actor Grant Show will follow him).

Monday, February 2, 2009

"Chelsea Lately": New air time begins Feb. 16

If you're a "Chelsea Lately" fan, be advised that the popular E! channel show will begin airing at 11 PM starting Feb. 16. It currently airs at 11:30 PM, following a repeat airing of "E! News." On the 16th, Chelsea and the "E! News" rerun will switch places.

"Chelsea Lately" will continue to have additional airings at midnight and 2:30 AM ET/PT.

In a press release promoting the move, E! announced, " 'Chelsea Lately' has shown 18 months of consecutive growth among total viewers since its debut in July '07... The show's largest demo continues to be women 18-34, which has increased 48% from the year-ago time period. With a median viewer age of 35, well below the broadcast late night talk shows, 'Chelsea Lately' remains the clear choice for the young entertainment consumer."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Guests of the Week: Feb. 2-6, 2009

Here are our picks for the guests who will be worth watching during the coming week. Feel free to weigh in if you have a guest to recommend. Though last week, which featured a last-minute addition of Paul McCartney to Wednesday's "Colbert Report," reminds us that everything is, of course, subject to change.

David Letterman welcomes Steve Martin, fresh off his "SNL" hosting stint, on Monday; he stops by "Live with Regis and Kelly" on Tuesday and "The Colbert Report" on Thursday. Good thing he's usually a funny guest, or this would be getting perilously close to overload. Tomorrow's "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" features the always hilarious Kathy Griffin. "Slumdog Millionaire"'s Dev Patel (love his real-life British accent!!!) will be on "The Daily Show" Tuesday night, while "TDS"'s Senior Black Correspondent, Larry Wilmore, takes a seat on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Friday. If you can't get enough of Neil deGrasse Tyson, he's scheduled to appear with Tavis Smiley on Thursday. And we love the strange-bedfellows aspect of Thursday's duo of guests on CBC's "The Hour": Former Prime Minister of Australia John Howard, and the co-star of numerous Kevin Smith comedies, Jason Mewes.

Don't Bother: We realize funny is a subjective thing, but Robin Williams, appearing on Tuesday's "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson," always gives us the hives when he appears on a chat show. Dial it down a notch, Robin.

Pluggernaut of the Week: A tie between the stars of the upcoming comedies "He's Just Not That Into You" and "Pink Panther 2." Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Aniston, and even phrase-coiner Greg Behrendt will make numerous appearances, and co-star John Cleese will share "Panther" promotional duties with Martin, covering the West Coast while Steve handles the East.

Conan and Jay's "Super" ads

The Super Bowl featured a couple glimpses of NBC's late night stars. First, there was Conan O'Brien's hilarious Bud Light ad:

Yes, that was a real Swedish tag line; well, kind of ("Skillnaden är drinkability": "the difference is drinkability").

Jay Leno showed up in a brief but clever promo, driving a race car with the number "10" on it, plus a license plate reading "FALL," in honor of his upcoming 10 PM time slot. And there was a promo for "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" featuring Martha Stewart and Tina Fey.

As for Jimmy Fallon, he was AWOL during the Big Game, but apparently he did make an appearance during the approximately 42 hours of pre-game coverage.