Friday, July 23, 2004

I Heart Alf

Who else is with me? Alf rocks! The gruff yet lovable hand puppet crash-landed into the Tanners' house and wackiness ensued. I love me some Alf. My freshman year I wrote an essay comparing Alf to Arnold from Diff'rent Strokes. My thesis, as it were, was that both Alf and Arnold are attention-craving children, with Alf being the destructive child and Arnold the needy ass-kisser. I didn't even get an F on the paper; I got a "See Me" from the professor. A "See Me!" That's how much Alf rocks!

Remember when Alf got a newspaper route, but couldn't deliver them in public, so he forced the dad, Willie, to do it? "Willie, people need to get their news, their sports, get their Doonesbury," Alf said. "Well,
it's hard to get Doonesbury nowadays, it's too esoteric." (I know, I'm not doing Alf's jokes justice!)  IMDB's memorable quotes page brings back more memories:

Alf: Do I smell bacon?

Willie: No.

Alf: Well, I'd like to.

My brother and I do the best Willie Tanner impressions: "Alf! Mrs. Ochmonek called. Apparently her cat… is… mis…sing!" (HA! I slay me!) And, of course, in 2004, the Year of the Ben Stiller Movies, who can forget Ben's best movie: Permanent Midnight, the hilariously black comedy about a junkie who writes for the ALF sitcom.

For years there was talk about Alf hosting a talk show. There were even commercials where Alf indeed hosted a talk show. Alf appeared on late night talk shows and the puppet just plain tore it up (I credit the quick wit of Alf operator Paul Fusco). And now, finally, on July 7, on TV Land, Alf hosts Alf's Hit Talk Show, with his second banana, Ed McMahon.
This could be the second-greatest show in TV history.

- Media Yenta's Brother

LA Times finally finds the hottest show in LA

To get tickets on line go to

From the LA Times:
Copyright 2004 The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles TimesAll Rights Reserved Los Angeles Times
July 22, 2004 Thursday Home EditionSECTION: CALENDAR WEEKEND; Calendar Desk; 

 THE ALTERNATIVES; A modern man of leisure; Wisecracks, whips and back flips: They're all in Johnny Fayva's revue.
BYLINE: Leslie Gornstein, Special to The Times

A leisure suit clinging to his generous behind, pinkie rings gleaming, Johnny Fayva, the self-described champion of the old-school variety show, just wants to do it for the kids.Every few weeks, the swingingly single Fayva co-produces and hosts a comedy-musical revue that combines Borscht Belt camp with modern twists.

After the house lights come back up, Fayva reverts to his mild-mannered real self: Russell Steinberg, a New York-born actor married to Tatiana von Furstenberg, daughter of fashion designer Diane. He's also the father of a 4-year-old daughter.

Since the show's introduction two years ago, Steinberg's character has attracted a growing fan base of anti-clubbers eager for alternatives to throbbing DJ riffs, self-important rock bands, iffy stand-up comedians and other hazards of L.A.'s live-entertainment labyrinth.A typical show? Start with a fan dancer here, a baton twirler there, a yo-yo champ from some South American country. Throw in some new-school stuff -- say, a sexy modern number by a foxy skirt like Kelly Osbourne.

Bookmark the whole beautiful shebang with one or two sweaty cover performances by the man himself. And you get a night that's -- well, as Fayva might say -- Boom. Gorgeous.Steinberg prefers to be interviewed as Fayva, the Catskills vernacular rolling off his silver tongue."I'm influenced by everything from Allan Sherman and Mickey Katz -- old Jewish comics -- to the more obvious masters, like Mr. Tony Bennett, Mr. Frank Sinatra," Fayva says over the phone. "I also like the rock 'n' roll, you know? The Ozzy Osbourne, the David Lee Roth -- whatever the kids are listening to today. "

His other line clicks in."Hold on, honey, that's Taryn Manning," Fayva says. "I'm trying to get her to sing on my show."Alas, the "Cold Mountain" actress was calling with bad news. "Oy, she canceled on me," Fayva growls. "Now you're gonna see me hustle."(Within hours, Fayva would rope in Kelly Osbourne.

The following night, Fayva and the baby-faced heavy-metal heiress belted out an over-the-top rendition of Bonnie Tyler's 1980s power ballad "Total Eclipse of the Heart.")Fayva likes to begin and end each show by singing lounge-style covers of current pop tunes. Fayva's finale tends to involve stripping down to pasties, thong, socks, garters, gold chains and very little else, all while blasting out a teen anthem.

His latest sign-off performance? Reinterpreting Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful," followed by a full back flip in his black socks."He's quite unexpectedly nimble," marvels Valerie Michaels, a Hollywood publicist who frequents Fayva's shows. "Like a cat landing on his feet."The modern origins of Fayva's shtick date back to the grand opening of the Standard Hotel in downtown L.A. two years ago.

Organizers booked Fayva to do a set in the lobby, while celebrity guests such as Tobey Maguire milled about. Soon afterward, Fayva was invited to perform a few gigs with Camp Freddy, an all-star rock band fronted by Donovan Leitch and Dave Navarro. Fayva went on to play other gigs, , eventually moving his show to the Argyle Hotel on the Sunset Strip.

Fayva's fans skew a bit older than the typical 11 p.m. crowd over at the Spider Club or Concorde. Sporting the telling bright-red lipstick of the Silver Lake set, the women in the audience seem less interested in being seen than in seeing their friends, or whatever kooky thing Fayva's up to onstage.

Fayva fans also seem to keep the cellphone shenanigans to a minimum.Fayva has found favor among a slew of celebrities, sitting in on live performances with other bands and getting his photo taken at events with Carmen Electra, supermodel Rachel Hunter, Guns N' Roses musician Slash and others.

Starting Tuesday, Fayva plans to move his variety act to flamenco and sangria joint El Cid.

The rich interior and too-cool Silver Lake locale attracted Fayva instantly."It's red inside. All red," he says. "Red's sexy."Tagging along with him will be his ever-shifting stable of oddities, including Kristen Andreotti, lovely assistant to Brian Chic, whose business cards bill him as a "bullwhip artist."

For several minutes during every show, Chic, primly dressed in business attire, appears to whip the leggy Andreotti while '60s-style tropical lounge music burbles in the background. It's a stunt act; Chic is a bullwhip master whose lashes only sound as if they draw blood.Andreotti -- a professional fetish model, fantasy wrestler, go-go dancer and construction worker -- says Fayva never auditioned the partners before hiring them. Fayva heard about the performers through another of his acts, a magician who goes by the name Christopher Wonder, and that was good enough."

The acts are all old school; different, like Elvis meets 'The Full Monty' meets I-don't-even-know," Andreotti says. "
And the audience is bizarre and trippy in its own right."As Fayva might say, it's just a gorgeous thing.*

Johnny Fayva
What: A kitschy-cool Borscht Belt-style lounge act with guest performers ranging from fan dancers to baton twirlers
Where: El Cid, 4212 Sunset Blvd., Silver LakeWhen: 9:30 p.m. TuesdayPrice: $10Contact: (323) 668-0318;
show contact (323) 653-4361

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Pop Will Eat Itself Dept.*
Q Ratings be damned, who's the S.O.B. green-lightingtalk shows with athletes as hosts?

Those expecting "McEnroe," MSNBC's new talk show, to
be as bad as "The Magic Hour" will be disappointed. While the show is indeed dreadful,
it's just nottrain-wreck awful (hint: it's dull). The set's thebest part.

There's wacky shit spewed all over it, likea pinball machine and a black piano (meant for themaiden guest, Sir Elton John).

Why "McEnroe" will go down in the pop-cult historybooks has to do with its opening credits. John walksthe nighttime streets of NYC like a native, doing NYC things.  (The show is actually shot in the right to work state of NJ, avoiding those unions.) It ends with John getting an actual tattoo parlor, a first for a live-action show. I say"live-action" because cartoon anchorman Kent Brockman already got a tat in the opening montage of "Eye onSpringfield," a phony newsmagazine show featured on"The Simpsons."

That's right, Mac, Simpsons did it.*

 In other news, reported a sequel is already lined up for "I, Robot," with the unfortunate title "I, Robot II." It's not the worst sequel title ever --"More American Graffiti," "Breakin' 2: ElectricBoogaloo," and "Zapped Again!" come to mind -- butsince "I, Robot II" features three "I"s, why not cutyour losses and call the sequel, "II, Robot"?

- Media Yenta's Brother

Note From the yenta:

John McEn-NO is terrible idea gone wrong. It's a train wreck (no offense to train wrecks). Who says we want another late night talk show rip off? Johnny Mac is a known trouble maker and passionate debater. Have on more sports guys, political guys, make a show that would fit JM, not make him fit a show.

How does this happen?

Well it's called the "Wheel of Shows." When you are a falling or rising star you walk into a network office and they rent the wheel. (It is considered rude, for the network not to suply the wheel or coffee.) On the wheel are different genres of talk shows. No matter what you are known for you must pickt ehshow that comes up on the wheel.

Late night talk
political talk
four women just sitting around chatting
four men just sitting around talking
cooking chat show
self help show
daytime one hour topic
psychic talk show

The last one is very tricky and most people don't want to get it. Tony Danza originally got the psychic talk show, but they gave it up after he kept telling people, "You will have zitti for dinner." 

Well the great tennis star's wheel landed on Late night talk show, even though it's on at 9 PM and on a network for finacial news. 
Durring the day, CNBC is very popular with all business people around the country putting the channel on the background with the ticker tape running. So why not use that time to advertise a late night show that those veiwers will want  and need to see? You come home from a long day at work, pull out an Amstell Light and check out Johnny Mac yell at someone.