This Is Not About Jon Stewart

Despite the dearth of press coverage (the weather having soaked up most of the available ink and air time), most of you will have learned by now that I did not, in fact, get the Jon Stewart job.

I realize that my readers will want to know the full story, so here goes:

My agent at William Morris, Ari Emanuel, suggested that I “take a meeting” (agents really do talk like that) at Comedy Central, so I caught the red-eye from BOS to LGA and headed down to their studios on Manhattan’s Lower West Side.

The interview did not go well; largely, I believe, because of the linguistic barrier created by the roughly 60 year age difference between their HR VP and myself.

He started out by saying that “all you people with actual journalistic experience think you can handle this job. This is not just about ‘fake news’, bro, Fox has already got that covered.

Also, you have to be able to convincingly simulate righteous indignation, on cue. This isn’t journalism, dude, it’s acting!

And, finally, you actually have to be Jewish. A cultural tradition of kvetching is a prerequisite for the job. Your just looking Jewish doesn’t hack it, nor does casually dropping colorful Yiddish expressions into your blog.”

The interview obviously wasn’t going anywhere, so at this point I excused myself to use the men’s room, and never went back.

I’m confident that my agent, Ari, will quickly sign another client, especially if his brother Rahm decides to take a run at the White House.

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This is Not About Brian Williams

Ever since the trade press broke the news yesterday that I had turned down NBC’s offer to replace Brian Williams as anchor of the Nightly News, I have received such a deluge of inquiries from my readers that I feel compelled to respond, despite my concern as a widely-followed blogger not to become “part of the story.”

While the network’s offer was not as “generous” as the media has made out (you’ll recall that Williams had just been bumped up to $10M a year), money was not the deciding issue.

Nor was my longstanding close personal relationship with Brian, whom I have been mentoring since he was a busboy at Perkins Pancake House in Middleton, New Jersey.

Furthermore, it had nothing to do with my foggy memory regarding whether or not I actually ran into a burning tenement to rescue a baby, back in 1960, an incident that uninformed ill-wishers have since uncharitably characterized as “stolen valor.” I was totally up front with the details of that episode at the time, and I don’t care to revisit it 55 years later just because NBC is overanxious about its so-called “reputation.”

Finally, I have just heard from my agent that he is huddling with executives at Comedy Central about my taking over The Daily Show from Jon Stewart, a far more congenial “fit”, I feel, for someone with my liberal leanings and penchant for irony.

Stay tuned for further developments

EXTRA: Summer Season Cancelled!

Osterville, MA – Even veteran members of the Cape Cod press corps reacted with stunned disbelief at the announcement today by the Cape Cod Commission that the 2015 summer tourist season has been cancelled.

The bombshell was delivered at the Commission’s annual Press Luncheon held in the Grand Ballroom of the posh Motel 6 in Osterville.

Asked for clarification, CCC spokesperson Mercy Otis responded, “this action, which to some may seem draconian, is intended to relieve the psychic toll on Cape Codders triggered by the annual onslaught of thousands of tourists determined to have a ‘good time’ at whatever cost to the Cape’s infrastructure, environment, and peace of mind.

Asked about the potential impact of this move on the shaky economy of the EU, since guest workers from Europe will no longer be needed, Otis admitted that it would undoubtedly cause widespread hardship, but that “Europeans will simply have to figure out some other way to finance their kids’ college education.”

“Furthermore”, she noted, “this hiatus will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to finally complete the repair work on the Sagamore and Bourne bridges begun immediately following their completion in 1935. Additionally, it will give the DOT some breathing room to finalize the footprint and design of the proposed new carbon fiber toll bridge over the canal.”

Among those in attendance at the luncheon was abecedarian Governor Charlie “Too Tall” Baker, who, having good-naturedly endured a blizzard of “Mutt & Jeff” selfie requests from all the short people in the room, was asked to comment on the Commission’s plan. “OMG”, he responded, “it will be a disaster”, thereby inadvertently triggering the release of $250M in disaster-relief funds to be shared by the Cape’s towns and villages whose tax base will evaporate with the shutdown.

Shortly thereafter, the open bar closed and the conference rapidly dissolved.

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This item was originally published under my byline in “Reflections”, the literary journal of The Academy for Lifelong Learning of Cape Cod; June Calender, Editor.

Choppergate

Rightly or wrongly, Brian Williams will now undergo a trial by fire in the social media that may be even more damaging than the negative press.

And the pity is, it could have been avoided.

As press agents have been telling their wayward celebrity clients since David offed Uriah: “get out in front of the story.” Had Williams been the one to first tell the world of his “mis-remembering”, the issue would by now have been long forgotten, and his career unendangered.

Confession is not only good for the soul, but – for the celebrated – it’s good PR, provided of course that it’s preemptive, not reactive.

Williams also denied NBC News the opportunity to get out in front of an issue which damages its journalistic integrity just as much his own. Will NBC scramble its forces to back him up, or just throw him under the truck?

Stay tuned.