Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.
Dave Coulier Going for a PG (Pure Genius) rating. (From The Hollywood Reporter): The comic hopes to recruit the likes of Jerry Seinfeld and Tim Allen to headline family-friendly comedy specials in movie theaters…Shows typically will run 90 minutes and include five comics performing. One will be a big-name star, with others ranging from journeyman comics to newcomers.
Comment: Coulier, best known for his role on TV’s Full House, says audiences regularly thank him for his clean stand-up show, saying they appreciate the laughs “without the F-bomb aftertaste.” The article also quotes him as saying “Everybody laughs. That’s the beauty of this. It’s not identified with anything other than laughter and entertainment. It’s very basic.” To which Alex Ben Block, the author of the piece, retorts “That might be true, but the reality is broadcast, cable TV and the Internet already are full of “clean” comedy that meets broadcast standards. So it is no sure thing audiences will get off the couch, pack up the kids and pay to see it in theaters.”
I’m personally not sure what broadcast and cable TV networks Mr. Block is watching. Where are these channels that are supposedly teeming with family-friendly fare? What I see is a market overly saturated with dark, violent, sex-obsessed and edgy programming filled with the kind of self-absorbed, snarky and anti-social characters I try to avoid in real life. Channels that attempt to go another direction are usually not placed prominently on the cable dial.
NCM Fathom Events, which plans to distribute the events via satellite to 300 to 500 movie theaters on a quarterly basis, has scored with similar event programs — including, notably, Metropolitan Opera productions. The company reportedly has previously tried beaming a very “blue” comedy show with Dane Cook into theaters but that effort failed to attract an audience. Perhaps, because people get enough of that sort of thing at home via Comedy Central, HBO and a myriad of other channels. I think it’s Mr. Coulier and not Mr. Cook that actually offers an alternative.
Here’s my suggestion which I aim particularly at, say, the head of a struggling broadcast network as you plot your fall schedule. Go contrarian. Run counter to the glut of dark and depressing fare by offering optimistic shows about idealists who are sincerely trying to do the right thing. Contrary to industry wisdom, good people can be at least as interesting as villains and are certainly more pleasant to spend time with. When it comes to comedy, it is possible to go a whole half-hour without mentioning the word penis. It’s not an offensive word. It’s just been crassly abused by lazy sitcom writers. People (including many young people) are, quite frankly, demeaned and just plain sick of it.
Finally, maybe even put Dave Coulier in charge of your comedy development. You just might be surprised at the pent-up demand you’ll have unleashed. Clean comedy still sells. As do simple encouraging messages that may seem trite to Hollywood — especially in tough times likes these. As the (Full House) song goes “When you’re lost out there and you’re all alone, a light is waiting to carry you home.” Everybody sing!
But I digress. Coulier’s in-theater comedy shows are set to start later this year. Tickets will be between $12 and $15 a pop.
Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11