Press Tour Notes: Joan Rivers trashes Leno, ‘Spartacus’ redefines Kirk Douglas

07.30.09 8 years ago


Wednesday (July 29) marked Day Two of what I’m already beginning to call the Twitter Television Critics Association Press Tour. Yes, I’ve been tweeting for the past three or four years, but these are the first two days that I’ve ever felt that the depth of available stories was sufficiently thin that they could be dispatched in a handful of 140 character quotes, comments and news bytes.

If you’re following my Twitter feed — and you sure should be… @HitFixDaniel — you learned that Starz’ “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” will premiere on Jan. 22, that Kevin Bacon is narrating NatGeo’s “Human Family Tree,” that Michael Eisner is hocking a Nickelodeon animated show and that Jeff Dunham bombed disastrously. All of those things were 140 characters of exciting and newsworthiness, but probably not more.

The big quote that most of my colleagues turned into stories was Joan Rivers’ observation on the state of the late night TV wars.

“I think it”s brilliant that they put Leno at 10:00 now because Americans get bored more easily and go to sleep earlier, and that will — that”s all I have to say about that,” Rivers said. “When was the last time you said, ‘Did you hear what Leno said last night? Ahh.’ Never. So it”s nice for the Midwest because the crops will be greener.”

It’s a great quote. Don’t get me wrong. But since when is Joan Rivers being catty worth more than one sentence? 

Click through for a few of the day’s other standout quotes, both funny and serious, including Lucy Lawless talking about merkins, DJ AM talking about his plane crash and some more wisdom from Rivers…

Joan Rivers on her TV Land show “How’d You Get So Rich?”: “So our show is ringing the doorbells, walking in and talking to nouveau riche people. It is so great because they will answer you. And they are stupid enough to tell you where their money came from. You know, ‘Oh, well, I don”t think I should talk about it.’ No, ‘Oh, yes. It”s $4 million, and my husband made it in drugs.’ I mean, it is so refreshing. Then our follow-show, which Larry doesn”t know is, ‘How”d You Get So F***ing Poor?’ And that will be hosted by the Madoffs. Everyone will say the same thing, ‘Because of you.'”

Jonnie Penn of MTV’s “Entourage” meets “The Bucket List” meets “Pay It Forward” reality series “Buried Alive”: “Honestly, so many things on our list are technically impossible because everything we do, we do on our own. Number 100 is go to space. Number 95 is to play basketball with Obama. Different things that we”ve been trying over this summer, which you”ll see in the fall or in the winter — I think December is when it premieres — we deliver a baby; make a toast at a stranger”s wedding; enter a krump competition, which I”m not sure if you”ve seen the documentary “Rize,” David Lachapelle”s documentary – it”s something we”ve always wanted to do, but being four white kids from Canada, it was not something that would be technically possible for us to try.”

Joan Rivers on why she still happy doing what she’s doing: ” I must have washed lepers” feet in a previous life. I am doing what I love. From the time I could put two words together, I wanted to be in this business, and I”m still in this business at 197? And I”m still relevant? And I fill rooms of college kids? I”m not working hard. [O]h, yeah, really, it”s tough to go out in the street, makeup, hair, pretty clothes, and asking people questions and getting a check at the end? That”s not bad. That”s better than Auschwitz.”

Howard Zinn responding to a critic calling his book a depressing perspective on history: “If you stop reading halfway through, you might feel depressed. I mean, I”ve had so many reactions, different reactions to the book. So by now I know that there are people who read the book, and they read about the struggles that people have made and the oppression that people have endured, and they come away depressed, which then depresses me because I know different. But if you read through the whole book – and I”ve had so many reactions like this – so many people are inspired by the fact that people fought back all the way through. The slaves fought back. The ex-slaves fought back. The Revolutionary War soldiers fought back against their conditions. The working people fought back against employers. Victories were won. There weren”t just defeats. And the victories were won not because the government, the three branches of government, came through and did the right thing. The victories were won because ordinary people, ordinary citizens got together and struggled, whether they were against slavery or for the eight-hour day or for the rights of women or against war.”

DJ AM reflecting on his relationship with Travis Barker after they survived a plane crash together: “[O]nly he and I know what we went through that night. I don”t know what more there is to say about it, other than it”s a miracle. It”s terrifying. It”s, you know, bizarre. It”s unique. And yes, him and I, when we look at each other, have this strange tension of like, ‘Wow, remember that night?’ And it”s almost at first we kind of wanted to avoid it, and then we started talking about it. And it”s terrifying, you know. It was life-changing, and it gave me a whole second wind at life.”

Joe Pantz of National Geographic’s “Rescue Ink Unleashed” on Michael Vick: “We believe in second chances, that”s why we give the animals a second chance. However, it is a shame that somebody with the notoriety of that person with all the kids that followed him would choose to do something that he did. It”s just very unfortunate and it shows people that it doesn”t matter how much money you have, it doesn”t matter how much fame you have, if you do these types of things, you will be brought to justice and you are going to be punished. So it is something that shows everybody that the society that we live in today is not going to tolerate this anymore. And he is a person that couldn”t get out of it even though he tried as hard as he could and he had to pay his penalty.”

Rob Tapert on an unexpected homage to Stanley Kubrick’s “Spartacus” in Starz’ “Spartacus: Blood and Sand”: “[T]here”s a great deal of nudity, both male and female. And some guys are not as well-endowed as other guys, so we had to create the Kirk Douglas, as it was aptly named, so that certain actors would have a prosthetic that they could wear and feel comfortable.” (To which series co-star Lucy Lawless added, “That thing gets shared around, though. At the moment it”s pinned to the wall next to all the merkins in the makeup truck.”)

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