| LOD MSNBC Penn - 7/20/03
I've been friends with Lawrence
O'Donnell Jr, for over 10 years now. We met doing a
political/comedy panel show that was a forerunner of
Politically Incorrect. Now after LOD doing a lot of
McLaughlin, writing "West Wing" and creating "Mister
Sterling," he has a show on MSNBC called "Saturday Final
with Lawrence O'Donnell." I've done a lot a Politically
Incorrect and LOD and I talk a lot, so he asked me to do
I finally got good at PI, I was comfortable and I did a
pretty good job. There were a couple where I tanked and a
few where I worked harder than I should have, but I got
okay at it. LOD asked me to do the second show of SFWLOD,
and, of course, I said yes. It's a really hard show.
There's LOD and four guests and no one is in the same room.
We're in little electronic Hollywood Square type boxes and
we're doing the show with ear pieces. I was in a little
studio in Vegas with a TV picture of the strip behind me.
It's a good time of day. It's 7pm in the east, so that
makes it 4pm on Saturday here in Vegas and that doesn't get
in the way of anything. It's a little room, and I had the
ear piece, which is always hard for me. The camera man had
a TV with live program that I could kind of see, but
there's a delay, so I could only glance, or I'd get
confused. It's doing a radio show with bad sound and trying
to know that you're on camera all the time. It's hard
work and it's a full hour.
LOD and I talked a lot on the phone and in Email. It's odd
to know the host of a show like this as well as I know LOD.
It's puts another layer on it, because I have to deal with
his "character" on camera while also knowing what he's
really thinking. It's a little nuts. I was on with Miss
America, some Republican guy and some Democratic chick.
That was the four of us. LOD introduced me as a CATO
Fellow and stuff like that. For a political show, we were
doing pretty broad jokes. It was much broader than I would
I hit all the beats we had planned and LOD was happy with
me and he said the producers were very happy. I think I
did a fine job on the "Hunting for Bambi" hunk. I just
said it was fake. They had done the interviews in the
same studio and the camera man gave me some inside stuff
that gave me confidence in that position. Miss America
said it was demeaning to women, and I pointed out that some
said that about swimsuit competitions. It seemed to play
well. I laid back for the first part of the show, and just
hit a few jokes, so I could take off towards the end
without dominating the whole show. LOD is pretty brutal on
keeping the show moving, so you can't really build anything.
I actually had less time than I got on PI to style a joke.
LOD wants a real "get in get out" rhythm and I was
adjusting to that. It's not my usual TV style. It's a
very lonely, lost, experience with just that little ear
piece, but, with luck, I'll get better.
I plugged "The-bright.net" a lot and there was a really
nice package with that. I guess that was about it. I
think I came off okay. The people that matter said that I
looked good, so that made me happy. We did a little magic
trick and it seemed to fool people (not my Sister for a
second, but what do you expect?). So, that's it. I guess
I did well. It's hard work. LOD seems to want me back a
lot and his producers seem to agree, so I guess I'll be
doing it fairly often. It means I have to go back to
reading more of the papers and paying a little bit more
attention to what's going on.
I'm not going to get to "pundit" but I did okay as a nut on
a pundit show.