A reassessment of Chevy Chase's failed late-night show for Fox:
"That fateful minute of time also showed just how not hip Chevy Chase had become by 1993. At that moment, everybody collectively realized that somebody messed up and let Ty Webb become a month away from turning 50 years old. Unlike David Letterman, who we were used to seeing age one day at a time, and Jay Leno, who had appeared on Letterman's Late Night show and guest hosted Carson enough throughout the 80s and early 90s to where he also aged in front of the country, the lovable, scurrilous, charismatic bastard that made Ted Knight ca-razy was now just some nervous and overwhelmed middle-aged man."
PUBLISHED: April 25, 2013
LENGTH: 8 minutes (2232 words)
Scovell, a former writer for Spy magazine, joins a group of up-and-coming writers to work on a Fox late-night show called The Wilton North Report:
"In October 1987, I was offered a job on a new, late-night variety talk show and, without thinking twice, I relocated from New York City to Hollywood, where the sunshine and palm trees seemed cartoonish. When Thanksgiving rolled around, I wanted to head back East, but with the premiere two weeks away, we had only Thursday off. The best I could do was spend the day with two other Wilton North writers who were also New England expats. We headed to Westwood, home of UCLA, saw a movie, and looked for a restaurant. Most places were closed or too fancy, so we landed at a bar patterned after an English pub. It was dark, smelly, noisy — everything the Pilgrims had tried to get away from when they came to the New World. The hostess directed us to the one open table on the second floor. We trudged up the steep steps and plopped down. The evening could have been depressing. In fact, it should have been depressing. But it wasn’t. I got to spend Thanksgiving with Conan O’Brien and Greg Daniels."
PUBLISHED: Dec. 11, 2012
LENGTH: 20 minutes (5192 words)
A writer-comedian reviews his successes and failures, realizing there's not much difference between the two:
"You might be thinking to yourself, 'How do you know the fear never goes away?' It could just be me. It could just be pessimism, or cynicism. The realization hit me like a ton of bricks a few years back after witnessing an eye opening conversation in the green room of the UCB Theater. I saw two very accomplished comedians talking in one of the side rooms. One of these people was a cast member on SNL. The other was a correspondent for The Daily Show. (Luckily being at UCB there are multiple people who have passed through that have gone on to those illustrious jobs and I can use those specific examples without outing anyone. Please don’t ask who they were. It’s not important.) Person one said something along the lines of 'I’m just not sure what I’m going to do.' Person two said, 'Yeah, things have been so fucking dry lately. I’m really, really worried.' The conversation proceeded from there and sounded like the exact type of conversation I was having with my own friends who were in the trenches performing all around NYC with me. (To give you the context of where I was at, this was around 2008 or 2009, before the Comedy Central show, before my book, when I really was just a guy who was known on stages throughout NYC but could not catch a break for the life of me and was kind of becoming sadly infamous for it.)
"These were two people who both had careers I would kill for. Being on SNL! Being on The Daily Show! I think for any of us whose dream it is to do comedy, those would be two crown jewel jobs. Those would be two jobs that most of us would think feel like a life-altering accomplishment. Getting those gigs would feel like grabbing on to the brass ring we’ve been chasing. Those are the types of gigs that you imagine lead to the validation, wealth, and fame that we chase so hard. You have to imagine that’s true, right? Those jobs? You will feel like you did it. You made it. Your life can have a movie ending where the sun rises and the credits roll and the hard times are over, you’ve done it. You’ve won.
"But I eavesdropped on those two individuals, and realized – the fear is inside us. It’s part of why we do what we do."
PUBLISHED: Aug. 9, 2012
LENGTH: 25 minutes (6411 words)