Archives For February 2014

To celebrate Oscar week, Rev. Hollywood is giving an Academy Award-related sneak peek from an interview Tim Jackson did with Tom Schulman. Tom won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for 1989 for his screenplay, DEAD POETS SOCIETY. This interview was conducted during the 2013 WRI Film Forum where both Tom and Tim were on the faculty. Enjoy the Oscars Sunday and check back here in the coming weeks for more original video content about movies, making movies and the people who make movies.

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John Goodman, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray: THE MONUMENTS MEN — in theaters now.

One of my favorite haunts in Los Angeles is Musso & Frank – the celebrated restaurant that’s been in continuous operation in Hollywood since 1919. Legend has it Dashiell Hammet wrote The Maltese Falcon at the bar. In the years that followed, he and Humphrey Bogart drank there together. Sometimes Lauren Bacall joined them. F. Scott Fitzgerald frequented the place during his Hollywood sojourn. Orson Welles had his own table. Being in the heart of Hollywood near the venerable Stanley Rose Bookshop, Musso & Frank became the intersection where the brightest lights and biggest names in American Cinema and American Literature crossed paths in the 1930s and 40s.

Musso & Frank

Snapped this pic with my iPhone the last time I was at Musso & Frank, Hollywood.

Musso’s current executive chef is only its third since opening. You can order the fish or chicken but don’t. It’s a steak, potato and Scotch kind of joint – but it’s no dive. It’s a place of comfort, class and style from its dark paneled décor to the formal uniforms worn by the middle aged and older male wait staff. And while it may have fallen in and out of fashion many times in the last ninety-five years, it remains a spot that locals frequent and tourists seek out for a quintessential Old Hollywood experience. The standards are high, the food is excellent, and the experience is memorable. But nothing there suggests anyone is trying to break new ground. They’re not trying to start trends at Musso & Frank. They’re striving to continue a tradition with excellence, integrity and pride in their work.

THE MONUMENTS MEN is the Musso & Frank of movies. It’s a straightforward, solid, Old Hollywood entertainment about a Big Idea. It’s made with all the modern technology but favors traditional elements from big time movie stars and memorable character actors right down to the film’s vintage score. (I’ll grant you the difference between dated and vintage is in the eyes and ears of the beholder.) If the film had been more thoroughly considered in this light – as an intentionally old fashioned movie, I feel it might have gotten a more admirable nod from the critics who panned it. Even so, I’m at a loss to understand how anyone thinks “there’s no there there” or that the film “never gets started.”

THE MONUMENTS MEN’s greatest sin against modernity seems to be that it is not an orgy of violence with no consequences, dripping with irony, driven by an incomprehensible plot, slathered over with physics-defying CGI. In other words, they don’t make ‘em like this anymore. Except they did kind of make one like this recently. To be more precise: Quentin Tarantino made one like this with the exception that his was on an acid trip. And as much as I’d hate to confirm this hunch, I suspect INGLORIOUS BASTERDS might have shaded the way THE MONUMENTS MEN was received by tastemakers.

INGLORIOUS BASTERDS is the only movie Quinten Tarantino has made that I care to see again. I don’t mean to damn it with faint praise. There’s a lot about that movie that I genuinely love and am still blown away by. But let’s be honest, INGLORIOUS BASTERDS is a twelve-year-old boy’s fantasy. I don’t know Tarantino personally so it’s not for me to say who he is or what he’s like as a person. As a filmmaker he is a precocious, perpetual twelve year old — an uber talented enfant terrible. He got off on answering the biggest “what if” wish fulfillment scenario he could think of. As such, INGLORIOUS BASTERDS can only be taken seriously as a film. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

THE MONUMENTS MEN can be taken seriously as a film and as an effort to shine light on a little known story, while posing a relevant question: what would have happened to the human spirit if all the art stolen by the Nazis from France, Italy, Poland, Brussels, etc, had been destroyed?

MONUMENTS is the movie version of a true story about a volunteer squad of art historians on a mission in the last months of World War II, to reclaim and return art stolen by the Nazis. It’s the same kind of heartfelt, high-minded entertainment that was de rigueur of the studio system. From the early days until its demise, the Studio System put out all kinds of content but it prided itself on telling stories that inspired our better angels to aspire to ideals of beauty, fairness, courage… and all that jazz. When The Moguls ran The Studios, they could be persuaded to make a picture because it was important for people to see and hear what the film was about.

“If you want to send a message, call Western Union” is a quote often attributed to legendary producer (and co-founder of MGM) Samuel Goldwyn.  But he didn’t say it. I’m confident he didn’t say it for two reasons: 1) his biographer, Scott Berg, has found no evidence that he ever said it and 2) the movies he chose to make were full of messages – universal themes of human ideals and foibles. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES is arguably the crowing achievement of Goldwyn’s producing career. It is a message movie if ever there was one.

I saw THE MONUMENTS MEN at my neighborhood theater (it’s still my favorite way to see a movie) with my wife (still my favorite person to see a movie with) on Valentine’s night. We both enjoyed it very much. The theater was three quarters full on this, the movie’s second Friday night. Saturday morning’s numbers showed that MONUMENTS was only experiencing a 28% drop in Box Office from it’s opening weekend. That’s an impressive, enviable hold for any film. I think that demonstrates there’s an audience hungry for this kind of movie. MONUMENTS had already opened stronger than expected the weekend before. I suspect it will have a longer, better life than the chances given it by those who’ve called it corny.

Having read some of the dismissive criticism of MONUMENTS before I saw the film, I couldn’t help but think of Frank Capra after seeing it. Today it might be easy to see why some consider Capra’s work corny. But here’s the kicker: they called it corny when he was making it in the 30s and 40s. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE — “Capracorn” they called it.

The thing is, MONUMENTS is both homage and manifesto. It’s made in the tradition of classic American filmmaking and it makes a statement not just about the beauty of art but the essential nature of art to culture and the human experience. We already know what Tarantino would do with the basic subject of the Nazis manipulating an art form for their own twisted purposes. Scorsese might have made a three-hour epic with nary an hero in site. I’m not saying either would have been better or worse than the movie Clooney made. I’m just saying it appears Clooney made the movie he wanted to make. I’m glad he did.

I have a favorite booth at Musso & Frank. I love walking in and seeing waiters who’ve been on the floor since the late ‘50s. Old men who, when they were younger, waited on John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, Jimmy Stewart and Rita Hayworth. And I have many fond memories of sharing meals with friends there. The place reminds me of something about our past and it inspires me to respect certain classic lines of continuity in our culture. It’s the same feeling I get when I watch a classic movie – or a new movie made in the classic tradition.

The Monuments Men on IMDb

I had to take care of some personal business the last couple of weeks. I’m back.

Yesterday, we closed on the sale of my parents’ house of 40 years — my childhood home. We moved into Echo Valley when I was eight years old and I moved out the day of my wedding a little over twelve years later.

We’d previously lived in a parsonage. That’s a house owned by a church to provide a residence for its pastor. About eight years into my Dad’s pastorate of Forest Highlands Baptist Church in Little Rock, my parents – with the help of a developer, a banker, a contractor, a decorator, an architect and a building supplier in our congregation – decided to build a house. It was a good decision.

From the day we moved into the house on Echo Valley Drive in 1974 until the day my parents – both in failing health at the time – moved out in late 2013, it was filled with people making good memories. It’s where my three brothers and I, our wives and children and their children, gathered for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Extended family and friends near and far were always welcome. Mom is a great cook and both my parents have the gift of hospitality. It is no exaggeration to say that over the 39 years Johnny and Carlene Jackson lived there, guests numbering into the thousands from across the United States and all over the world ate at their table and slept in their guest rooms.

I grew up in what most of my friends would have considered a strict household. There was no alcohol in our house. A deck of playing cards was frowned upon. (We did play dominoes like it was nobody’s business.) No one smoked. No one cussed. Mom and Dad tried to keep a close eye on the music that came into the house. Beatles, yes. Stones, no. Our household was strict but it was not oppressive. Laughter, music, and sports were always present and enjoyed. And we grew up going to movies and watching TV. (That made us out and out liberals to some of our more strict brethren.)

Dad was more than just a fan of classic movies. He was a devotee and authority on them. He grew up going to the local movie houses in South Arkansas. Dad introduced me to Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and many more. He was the first person I ever heard make the case that 1939 was the greatest year in movie history. He didn’t claim it was an original position but he did adhere to it. He was eleven in ‘39 and a number of the movies released that year were still on his must-watch-whenever-they’re-on list.

My Dad was a born entertainer. He grew up singing with his brothers — their mother at the piano. I learned the art of storytelling and the timing of a good joke from him. Growing up in the South, in a Baptist pastor’s home is a pretty good place to learn such things. Dad appreciated the inherent drama of a good story whether it came from the Bible, the newspaper, an article in Sports Illustrated, a classic novel or one of his favorite TV westerns or cop shows. He also knew how to share his own life experiences in a way that was engaging. Pay attention to structure, details and payoff – that’s how you tell a good story.

Johnny Jackson Sr. died this past October. He had 85 good years and about three really bad months health-wise. It became clear that with Mom’s ongoing health challenges she was not going to move back into the house. So, through the fall, holidays and first of this year we’ve been going through their things as carefully and respectfully as possible and getting the house ready to sell.

Dad was an inveterate list maker and record keeper. He kept incredibly detailed notes on his more than sixty years in the ministry. He kept notes and mementos of big and small moments in the lives of all his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He kept news clippings and his own hand written notes on the seasons of his teams: Arkansas Razorbacks, Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees.  So, I was delighted but not surprised to find a couple of movie lists in a file folder kept in the “nest” near his recliner.

In the folder he kept AFI’s original list of Top 100 movies that he tore from the pages of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. There was also a piece of Imagestationary filled with his scrawl, front and back, listing several categories of movies he liked. They were cross-referenced with how many were on AFI’s list and how many of them were released in 1939. I studied his list with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes.

This blog is a tributary that springs off the river of my Dad’s legacy. Talking about movies, making lists, offering help, passing along information, telling a good tale – it’s in my blood. Thanks for coming along and taking part.

We’ll take kindness By The Glass, if you don’t mind. Thank you!

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Doris Roberts on the set of TOUCHED – a new movie premiering tonight (Feb 8) on PixL

“In the time of your life, live — so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it all.”

These words from William Saroyan’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, The Time Of Your Life, have a connection to Doris Roberts in more ways than one. First, her appearance in the 1955 City Center production of that play was her stage debut. More importantly, these words seem to capture the essence of her life and career. She seems determined to live every minute of her life. And for that, we can all be grateful and inspired.

Doris and I chatted earlier this week about her career, acting, life, and the importance of courage. Here’s our conversation:

You had your stage debut in the 1955 Broadway revival of William Saroyan’s The Time of Your Life. That’s astounding. It was astounding. (laughter) The performances were incredible. Did you hear who was in the cast?

Tell me. Gloria Vanderbilt for one. Carol Marcus Grace Saroyan Saroyan Matthau. I say all her names because that’s how many she had. She was married to Saroyan twice. Harold Lang was in it. It was a long time ago. It was quite something. I had three lines. That’s all I had. After Gloria Vanderbilt came on stage and did her scene, which was not very good unfortunately, I came out and said, “It’s floozies like her that raise hell with our racket.” Well, the audience went crazy. They stomped and whistled — their hands went flying into the air. (laughter) At the opening night party, Mr. Saroyan came to me and said, “I’m going to have to cut that line.” I grabbed him by the lapels and I said, “No, please! I only have three lines. Don’t take that one away from me.” So, he didn’t and every night the audience went insane. It was a lot of fun.

In light of the career you’re having and the all the years you’ve already put in, I think it’s poetic your debut was in a play called The Time of Your Life.  And I’m still kicking!

You’ve won five Emmys for your work in television. Some might be surprised that your first Emmy was not for your role as Marie on Everybody Loves Raymond. The first one was in 1983 for a dramatic role on St. ElsewhereI loved that because I played with my dear friend, Jimmy Coco. I loved the work that I did in that show, too. And I’m glad I won the Emmy for it.

One of the recurring themes when other actors are asked about you is how hard you work and how much you work. Your Raymond cast mates are all on record about your tireless work ethic. Where does that drive come from?  Very simple — I love what I do. I can’t think of anything else in the world better to do than act. I just adore doing it. I am happiest when I’m working. It’s just great. I’ll tell you a little story that happened to me recently. I was sitting in a little, tiny coffee shop on Robertson and a woman sitting at another table came over to me and said, “God put you here.” And I looked at her and said, “Oh… ok… thank you.” (laughter) She said, “No, no, no — I’m from Iraq and I lost my son in the war. And you – only you — brought me back to want to live. I would watch you on television every night when I came home and you would make me laugh.”  Then she told me, “I’m here to be operated on and I came into this little coffee shop and of all the millions of people I could meet in America, YOU are sitting there? Only God could do that.” Isn’t that something? That I act and I love what I’m doing and that I could make someone’s life better – oh my goodness. If I have a bad day, I think of that moment.

The ability to touch someone through a performance goes beyond talent. When that’s going on there’s usually something happening at the heart level. At that point you’re bringing something of yourself to the character that touches the audience. How much of being able to do that came from your training with renowned acting coach Milton Katselas?  He was the best. He asked me once to do Anastasia. So I read all these books on Anastasia the Empress and I came in with a Russian accent. I did two sentences in Russian. The first was directed to the two men on the stage who were my guards – to tell them to pick this young woman up and throw her out of the room. And the second was to tell them to go get her and bring her back in. Both sentences in Russian. At the end of it the class was very responsive and they gave me a little standing ovation, which was lovely. Then Milton said to me, “I don’t like the way you’ve done your hair.” I pulled out a picture of the Empress and showed him that I had imitated the way she wore her hair. He said, “Yes…but that’s the way Anastasia’s Empress did it. What’s Doris’s Empress like?” (pause) That boy changed my acting. I didn’t hide anymore. I bring more of myself to everything I do now. So, he did a lot for me. He gave me the courage to do that. And I will always be grateful to him.

Courage is a word I associate with actors the more I’m around them and watch what they have to do. Where do you summon that courage from when you’re stuck or afraid in your work?  You go to what the character is doing and you try to focus only on that. You don’t worry about the response from the audience. You do your homework. It’s a craft. A lot of young actors think showing up is enough but that’s not what it’s about. It’s a real craft. A lot of homework should be done. It’s exploring and improvising. Then it’s very exciting when that character comes alive.

What are some other things you saw Milton Katselas do that helped actors learn and grow in their craft?  First of all the room was filled with love. There were no cliques. If anyone went on stage we all went on stage. You were quite secure that you were going to be taken care of.  You knew you were going to be approved of and accepted and you were going to be given the best chance to do your work. I love going to class. I still go to class every Saturday morning.

At the Beverly Hills Playhouse? I sure do. Every Saturday.

What’s a typical Saturday class like for you? Are you teaching, being taught or all of the above?  All of the above! (laughter) It’s wonderful.

Doris Roberts as NORMA in PixL’s TOUCHED

TOUCHED is a new movie that premieres on the PixL movie channel February 8. It’s a dramatic movie and you have the lead. It’s a meaty role and you have to carry the film. What was your experience like from an acting perspective working on this movie?  The courage it took was to be as mean as I had to be, because actors all want to be loved. It’s a role that’s really acerbic. She screams at people and treats them very badly. But there’s a scene in which she asks one of the nurses to stay. And the nurse says, “Why should I? You’ve already fired me.” And my character finally tells her the truth – that she’s afraid of dying and she doesn’t want to be alone. That’s why she behaves the way she behaves. It’s not right, but that’s why.  So, I had to have the courage to play that character really mean.

How challenging is it to play a character who is making choices you would never make in real life? Or that you hope you wouldn’t make. Once I have the character down in my brain and my imagination, I’m pretty free to follow whatever the right path is for her. But I have to do that work first so that I’ll be on the right road. And I have a good imagination.  When I was in kindergarten I was in a play and I had one line: “I am Patrick Potato and this is my cousin Mrs. Tomato.” (laughter) And I heard that laughter and that’s the bug that’s been biting me ever since. I love to be able to make you laugh and cry in the same sentence. I’m blessed that I’m doing what I do. Just blessed. I can’t think of anything that would give me the joy that I have from acting.

What’s different about Norma from any other character you’ve played? I don’t think I’ve ever played a character as mean as this one. But you understand her in that one scene when she admits she’s afraid of dying. Because we’re all afraid of that in some way, but in order to let people really know who you are, you have to have the courage to let them see that fear. That is the underbelly of this woman – the softness about her that she’s in pain, that she has problems with her son. You have to have courage to let others see that – and she finally does have the courage to let others see it. When you see that in another person, you have to take another look. You have to say, “Wait a minute, I’ve misjudged this woman. She has pain in her life and she’s doing the best she can with it.” [Norma] does end up doing the best she can – there’s a happy ending and a love story. It’s all there.

What do you hope the audience takes away from TOUCHED? That you have to give people a second chance. You have to look closer. Sometimes we hide from showing people our pain.  You know, we cover it over. We don’t want to show that we’re weakened. Or we don’t want to cause anyone discomfort by making them listen to our story so we cover up. But we shouldn’t have to cover it over. Friendship accepts all of that.

It’s interesting that you bring up friendship – because friendship is a major theme in TOUCHED. In the movie we see some characters struggling to have authentic friendships and others pressing on until they achieve an authentic friendship. Sometimes women, unfortunately, think that in order to survive you have to be tough. We don’t. We just have to be honest. If you keep that tough shell over yourself, you’re never going to let people know who you are – who you really are.  You have to have the courage to show who you are and just know that some people will accept you and some people won’t. The people who can’t accept you – that will be their problem, not yours.

Was there pain or loss in your life that helped you come to these realizations? Oh absolutely. My second husband* died – a few years ago now. I was alone. My son was out of the house – he was in school. I had no one. I loved this man very much. I didn’t know which way to turn. So what I did was put a lot of my energy into the acting and it kept me occupied. I didn’t allow myself too much time to mourn because you have to move on. You have to move on or else you’re just left behind and you get sicker and weaker and more afraid. And that’s not good for anybody. (*Doris’s husband was celebrated author, William Goyen. They were married from 1963 until his death in 1983.)

This film is a kind of entertainment that some would say is in short supply today.  I’m so proud to be a part of TOUCHED. I go to the movies and I see all the movies when it’s Oscar time. I’m so tired of watching the violence that’s in movies today, and the pornography that’s in the movies. To think that a movie so full of life, like TOUCHED is available at home without commercials, is just amazing. And I look forward to many more of these kinds of movies. I hope a lot of people watch it and enjoy it.  And I hope we see many more movies like it.

TOUCHED premieres on PixL on Saturday February 8. For more information visit PixL’s website.

Doris also appears in THE LITTLE RASCALS SAVE THE DAY premiering March 18.

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Jay Leno is David Letterman’s guest on one of the many nights Letterman guest hosted The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. (photo: 1979 by Paul Drinkwater NBC)

The Tonight Show starring Jonny Carson still occupies a big place in my memory and my heart. My parents were avid fans of the show. Dad watched most of the Tonight Show every night before bed. Like pencil marks on a doorjamb tracking my height, I could measure my advancing age by how much of the Tonight Show I was allowed to watch. As a pre-teen I could watch the monologue on Friday night, then straight to bed. In junior high I could watch the whole show on Fridays and the monologue on weeknights, then straight to bed. By the time I’d reached high school I was allowed to watch the whole show every night if I wanted but had to be in bed before Letterman started. That was a problem for me because Letterman was my generation’s Carson – we couldn’t get enough of him or his show.

The first time I ever saw Jay Leno was on Late Night with David Letterman (NBC). Kids who only know Leno from the Tonight Show of late might be shocked at how edgy and out there Leno was back then. He and Letterman were the elder statesmen of the stand up comics and they worked well off each other. The bitter break in their relationship in the post-Carson Tonight Show shake up may have been inevitable but it seemed so unnecessary.

I’ve curated some of what I think are the most interesting, compelling artifacts of the Letterman/Leno/Conan epic tale. These are ultimately very human stories woven through incredible plots of corporate intrigue in the world of big time entertaiment. If such things interest you, you’ll enjoy…

Three books…

Leno-Letterman-Late-Night-Books

Bill Carter wrote the definitive book on the battle for The Tonight Show in the unprecedented “The Late Shift”. There was no way he — much less anyone else — could have imagined that an eerily similar scenario would play out years later. He captured it all again in “The War for Late Night”. William Knoedelseder’s “I’m Dying Up Here” captures the Los Angeles Comedy Club scene and Stand Up Comic culture of the 70s and early 80s in vivid detail. Letterman and Leno are right there — on the cusp of their incredible success. It’s a rare, heartbreaking and fascinating look at that world.

One doc…

CONAN O’BRIEN CAN’T STOP gives the viewer an unrelenting look into the pain, sorrow, anger, creativity, acceptance and opportunity that came in waves after Conan left his dream job following one of the most bizarre series of events in network television history.

And something much better than a footnote…

Perhaps no one has done more to celebrate, mediate and demonstrate the comedic bond and unique fellowship of Jay and Dave than Jerry Seinfeld. Most recently Seinfeld has posted a stand alone video from his outstanding series COMEDIANS IN CARS GETTING COFFEE that features side by side observations about Leno & Letterman by Leno & Letterman. The video reminds me that if we’re fortunate enough to live through our petulant youths and past our know-it-all early adulthoods, we have an opportunity to remember what’s truly meaningful in our lives and who was there when we first were discovering it. Check out Seinfeld’s video here.

It’s been a while since I was backstage at The Tonight Show. The last time was in September 2010. That night I was a guest of Zac Levi. He’s been kind enough to let me tag along to a lot of events over the years that I’d probably be hard pressed to get into otherwise.

That Friday night Zac was promoting  CHUCK, his NBC series. Dwyane Wade was also on the show. Zac’s a big NBA fan and Wade is a big, well, NBA star – so there was a lot of chatter about the upcoming season both backstage and on camera.

Zac Levi and Dwyane Wade backstage at The Tonight Show (09/10)

Zac Levi and Dwyane Wade backstage at The Tonight Show (09/10)

About an hour before the show started taping, Jay Leno wandered in to say hello. He was wearing his ubiquitous denim work shirt. He greeted everyone and wished the guests a good show, then went off to change his clothes and get into make up. This was a good seven months after Leno had returned to the Tonight Show following the whole Leno/Conan debacle created by the now deposed NBC brain trust.

Tonight will be the last time Jay Leno and his staff  do their jobs at Studio 11 on the Burbank Studios lot. Leno is leaving the Tonight Show for the second time. He’s been asked to leave twice – before he was ready and while he had the number one show in the time period. It’s a crazy business. It’s crazy, but it’s not that different from the places many Americans work.

I’ve been backstage at a lot of talk shows and sitcoms in L.A. What always strikes me after being there for a while is what typical workplaces they all are.  I mean, other than the occasional Oscar or Emmy winner strolling by, you could easily imagine you were in the back offices of any going concern in any city in the USA. People do their jobs. They stop to swap stories. They swing by the break room during their appointed rounds to scope out the snacks. They talk sports, family, politics, etc. And they talk about the shows they watch and the music they listen to. They put in long hours then they go home to their non-work lives. Then they come back and do it all again the next day – just like a big chunk of the rest of us.

That describes people who work behind the scenes of these shows. But it also describes the stars.  It’s easy to look at Leno, Letterman, Conan, Fallon, Kimmel, Stewart, Arsenio and Ferguson as chess pieces on a late night game board. But they are flesh and blood people who care about the same things we all care about. No matter the level of competition, the personal axes they have to grind or perceived level of their talent – I’d be willing to bet each of them has a healthy measure of respect for the others. They all know what it takes to do a show and how precarious the perch is they each sit upon.

Identifying yourself as a Leno fan or a Letterman fan has been a kind of Rorschach test in different circles for years. As if to like one is to necessarily dislike the other. The thing is I like Leno. I like Letterman. I like Conan for crying out loud. I’m a fan of Fallon and Kimmel. I’m happy Seth Meyers is joining the ranks. I may prefer one’s sensibilities to another and I think some do a better show than some of the others but I like them all. One reason I like all of them is that I’m a fan of the genre. And I respect anyone who does it, does it well and keeps grinding it out year after year long after he has to for financial reasons. The work ethic and the love of the work are inspiring.  Because I learned a long time ago that even doing something you love still takes hard work to make it work.

It’s a safe bet that Leno is done for good with The Tonight Show. But I wouldn’t be quick to think he won’t show up soon and often elsewhere. Like most stand up comics, it’s in his nature to keep grinding. I love that.Leno-Tonight-Show-Pass

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Later tonight I’ll post some links and recommended reading for more on the Leno/Letterman/Conan/Tonight Show dramas over the years.