If Comedy Central plans on turning this largely unnecessary award show into a yearly event, they need to make some massive changes in order to make it remotely compelling. Not that, say, the Kids' Choice Awards are really necessary either, but at least they have the decency to douse people in green slime. And the MTV Video Music Awards usually generate buzz there with the musical performances and unscripted inappropriateness. But aside from the profanity, the Comedy Awards could have been the SAG Awards, and that's something no award show should aspire to.
They should keep the profanity, The Roots as the house band, the alcohol and definitely not add a host. With a room full of stand-up comedians, letting one have the limelight the entire time isn't going to work. And I was impressed by the amount and caliber of people they got to actually show up for this -- and some of them weren't even guaranteed to get awards. That's not bad for a first-time awards telecast, but there's plenty of room for improvement.
Make It Live
The fact that this show was pre-taped and edited worked to keep it within the two-hour time allotment, but really made the show suffer, as I've seen commercials for all the funny moments for the last two weeks. And if it was live (even with a 10-second tape delay for cussing), there would be a lot more room for outrageous behavior that doesn't seem quite so rehearsed and staged. Stephen Colbert pushing Jon Stewart off and taking over his acceptance speech (though laugh-worthy) would have been funnier if it seemed more impromptu.
Keep Speeches Short and Funny
Though staged, the best acceptance speech of the night was for The Other Guys as a mass of faux-producers monopolized the stage and didn't let Will Ferrell talk. I'm all for anything that limits the amount of time I have to hear anyone (particularly Will Ferrell) thank people. And as for thanking people, some folks seemed to think that this was a "real" award and did straight-up non-comedic speeches. I expected something wildly outrageous from Trey Parker and Matt Stone who only acknowledged the awkwardness of getting an award from their parent company, or Icon Award recipient Eddie Murphy, who just kind of stood there. Let's remind people on the invites that these are supposed to be the Comedy awards.
If I wanted to watch an award show that gave trophies to Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin and Modern Family, I'd watch the Emmys. I really, really don't need another one. It's not that 30 Rock and Modern Family aren't entertaining shows -- they are -- but I thought that maybe these awards would have more of an Independent Spirit tone and give attention to underappreciated fare like Eastbound and Down. I'm sure Tina has enough shiny trophies for her writing ability in her office that this one really means something special... or not. Oh, and her second prize of the night was for her acting in Date Night. Did the voting committee actually see that mess? Her speech was funnier than anything in that movie: "The only thing I knew for sure while making this movie was that I was crushing Helen Mirren at acting."
The only real shakeup was Children's Hospital beating out SNL for Sketch/Alternative comedy series. And I'm glad, because Rob Corddry knows how to be grateful. He thanked Shonda Rhimes "for so consistently making television that is bonkers... the balls on that lady!"
Only One Lifetime Achievement Award
There were two awards for body of work. One was the Icon Award (the first ever, as they needlessly reminded us about eight times), which went to Eddie Murphy. The footage of Murphy was great and Tracy Morgan introducing him was great ("I love this man and recently found out he was my father"), but Murphy on stage... not so much. At least it was short. Then there was the Johnny Carson Award, which went unsurprisingly to David Letterman. But before Letterman could get his ugly microphone trophy and make obligatory jokes about not getting The Tonight Show gig, we had to sit through five minutes of clips of Carson's career, then five minutes of clips from Letterman's career and then Bill Murray talking for a while (which was actually OK). Then Letterman finally gave a several-minute speech, which basically was just about how awesome Carson was. "Giving me this award is the equivalent of NASA giving this award to balloon boy." Letterman was his bitter and witty self, and it made a good closer to the show, but it didn't need to be such a long segment. We all know that Carson was funny.
More Live Performances
The only live performance of the night was Lonely Island (with Akon) doing "I Just Had Sex" with a whole bunch of scantily clad women shaking their asses. And it was mediocre. I expected Jimmy Fallon to be in here somewhere. Actually, there was another "singing" performance, but I'm trying to block it from my mind: Jon Cryer tried really hard to be funny by saying that he had been working on an album in his downtime, and then had two rappers come out and croon the lovely tune "Jon Cryer Gonna Fuck You Up." Yeah, it's about as funny as it sounds. The Gregory Brothers doing an a capella acceptance speech was more amusing.
Do a Better Job with the Dead People Montage
These recently deceased folks were comedians, so let's do really peppy music! Yeah, bad idea. It would have been better off doing no music at all. Also, it seemed like the whole thing was rushed. There were no beats left after the jokes; it just moved quickly from one person to another. Let's give these late comics a moment to actually shine.
Cut the Backstage Footage
In and out of commercials, the shows had presenters or winners backstage talking about who makes them laugh, when they got their first laugh... good idea in theory, but none of it worked.
Keep Presenters in Check
While Jon Cryer went on far, far too long, he wasn't nearly as bad as Garry Shandling, who maybe thought he'd been booked for a stand-up gig and just bounced from one topic to another while never really hitting anything or getting big laughs. Basically, he bombed and just kept going. Presenters should be quickly amusing and give out their award. Case in point, Bruce Willis: "I'm constantly running from giant fireballs." Or Colbert, who gave out the Best Comedy Writer award while railing at writers in general: "Writers are useless parasites riding on the coattails of charismatic, telegenic, much better paid (albeit still underpaid) superstars." Maybe he can give lessons to Shandling before next year?
Did you watch? Would you watch again? Sound off below.
What are people saying about your favorite shows and stars right now? Find out with Talk Without Pity, the social media site for real TV fans. See Tweets and Facebook comments in real time and add your own -- all without leaving TWoP. Join the conversation now!
MOST RECENT POSTS
Warning: file(http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.com/index.php?app=core&module=global§ion=rss&type=forums&id=101) [function.file]: failed to open stream: HTTP request failed! in /var/www/mte41/mt41-blogs.televisionwithoutpity.com/telefile/2011/04/comedy-awards-what-they-need-t.php on line 429
Warning: implode() [function.implode]: Invalid arguments passed in /var/www/mte41/mt41-blogs.televisionwithoutpity.com/telefile/2011/04/comedy-awards-what-they-need-t.php on line 429
Warning: DOMDocument::loadXML() [function.DOMDocument-loadXML]: Empty string supplied as input in /var/www/mte41/mt41-blogs.televisionwithoutpity.com/telefile/2011/04/comedy-awards-what-they-need-t.php on line 431