Hearne: Lefsetz Rides Again With Last Week’s Greatest Hits


John Oliver

Play it again, Bob…

Seems some of you have been pointing your thumbs up to the occasional weigh ins by entertainment lawyer / blogger Bob Lefsetz. It’s definitely a little inside baseball on much of his writings and as Matt Donnelly pointed out to me at Wakarusa last weekend while complimenting Lefsetz, he’s no spring chicken, but he does have some thought provoking takes.

Here are a few highlights from Lefsetz sum up of  sat week’s most provocative topics:


“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): Climate Change Debate”:

“I watch no television other than Bill Maher. Oh, I pay for it, just call Time Warner and they’ll remind you if you excise TV from your bill, your Internet price will soar. But I’m now going to tune into John Oliver‘s program, all because of this clip.

He substituted on the “Daily Show” when Jon Stewart went off to make a movie, what a mistake that was, TV reaches everybody, films reach nobody, but still, I wasn’t paying attention.

Until this.                                                        

I used to say only animated characters could speak the truth, but today we rely on comedians too.

This is a better explanation of the climate change debate than any article I’ve ever read in the New York Times, never mind the Wall Street Journal, proving once again it’s about conception and execution, anybody can have an idea, anybody can recite the facts, but can you reconstitute them in such a way that they have a dramatic effect?

John Oliver did here.”



“Google Passes Microsoft in U.S. Browser Market Share”

“It’s not quite like what it appears on the surface, Internet Explorer still wins on the desktop, but it’s getting killed on mobile, and we live in a mobile world.

And this matters because he who controls the browser controls advertising.

But really, the desktop computer is now solely for work, we expect to have an encyclopedia at our fingertips, known as the mobile device, please optimize your website for mobile, because the truth is that’s where all the traffic is.”


“Perfection is substandard.”

“Uttered by my friend Shakil Khan, an investor in Spotify.

He makes the point that if you’re taking our money, if you’re providing a service, today the expectation is perfection, anything less and we move on. And we only now care about the exceptional.”




“My English Relationship”

“Watch the whole thing. What do they say, ‘smart is sexy?’

And you wonder why (artist management titan) Irving Azoff is in the comedy business. It’s because these comics are testing limits in the ways musicians used to, in subversive ways those in power can’t even contemplate.

I discovered Mr. Kondabolu on NPR, pushing the SiriusXM buttons on the way back from Palm Springs. I only listen to the satellite, and the longer the trip, the deeper I go.”

The original NPR story: “Why Comedian Hari Kondabolu Is ‘Waiting For 2042‘”


“Frank Rich on the National Circus: Bowe Bergdahl and the Messy End of America’s Longest War”

“Now that Jill Abramson is gone, can Frank Rich come back to the New York Times? Now that the publication is a web first one, and he can write at the length and the frequency he prefers? Because this brilliant thinker must not be left in the backwater known as “New York” magazine.

Many can write, few can think, Rich can do both.

The reviled theatre critic is now warmer and fuzzier and it’s people like Rich, and the aforementioned comedians, who can truly impact America.”


Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 12.46.51 AMGILBERT GOTTFRIED ON SETH MEYERS

“Gilbert just launched a podcast, it’s positively awful, because Gilbert’s a guest, not a host, just because Marc Maron made inroads, that does not mean every comedian can create riveting “radio.”

“But Gilbert shines so brightly in this clip, on the Seth Meyers show nobody watches and nobody talks about. If you desire to have a late night show, you desire to dive into the depths of despair, with all the pressure and none of the audience. As for Jimmy Fallon… People watch the next day on YouTube if at all, otherwise he’s so saccharine and sycophantic you go into sugar shock. But I’m not the only one who sees it this way, I’d tell you to read Emily Nussbaum’s analysis in the New Yorker, “The Host In The Machine”, but it’s behind a paywall. That’s the problem with the holier-than-thou publication; it’s an echo chamber for the better than caste. Today it’s all about mass and influence. Reach is first, economics are second. Because without reach, economics don’t matter. So what we’ve got is every left wing/liberal publication/pundit hiding behind a paywall, scratching their chin wondering why they have no impact. It’s the HITS stupid! Even Arianna Huffington with her execrable link bait site has figured this out. Unlike the Times, never mind the New Yorker, she’s got hits.”

the-flamethrowersTHE FLAME THROWERS

“It didn’t get good until page 200, when they went to Lake Como. Then it got so good, I didn’t want to put it down, I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I was done, I was dying to meet the author, Rachel Kushner, because you want to hang out with the scribe and discover how they came to write this stuff.

This was one of the best reviewed books of the year, that fact will make you decry the New York publishing intelligentsia, because the book is so overwritten and dense and vague that you want to stop reading it. But don’t, because the reward will evidence itself. But I would not tackle “Flame Throwers” unless you’ve got a deep desire.

P.S. Yes, I found all the skiing references riveting.”




“Had Abumrad drives the bus, gets all the press, but this Radiolab cohost knocks it out of the park in this 2008 commencement speech, it’s a crime everybody hasn’t listened to it.

Krulwich says it’s all about story, and scientists have an obligation to tell theirs, to push the envelope and combat falsehoods.

If you’re going to listen to a podcast, start with Radiolab.


534599bb18d73.preview-300CHARLES GRODIN ON LOUIE


“This is not the clip I wanted to show you, but I can’t find that one posted online, wherein Mr. Grodin pontificates about relationships to Louie as they stroll in the snow.

Charles Grodin is in one of my favorite movies ever, the original ‘Heartbreak Kid.’ He was a comedic icon until he got a TV talk show and it buried him. It’s shocking to see him so old on ‘Louie,’ but it’s invigorating and inspirational at the same time. Because he’s keepin’ on keepin’ on, after all, what can we do? Or as Woody Allen says, we need the eggs.

Louie is a conundrum. He’s not ha-ha funny, but you’re rooting for him because unlike the dross that carpets this great nation of ours, from the Kardashians to singing shows to link bait to…he’s trying to get at the underbelly, depict real life and the questions with regard thereto, and therefore, we root for him.

Few others do this, because there’s not enough money in it. They play by the rules, suck up and we can’t identify and oftentimes abandon them, because we’re not stuck to them, there’s nothing to stick to.

But these Charles Grodin moments on Louie’s show… They’re creepy and endearing all at the same time, fatalistic yet hopeful, life-affirming even though Mr. Grodin is 79.

The truth is we all die. The job is to hold on and go through all the passages.

You can’t do this if you refuse to get old, if you get plastic surgery and wear skinny jeans.

It’s tough, especially for baby boomers, who always believed they were going to rule until they died.

But the truth is they’re not.

And if you can look forward instead of back, you’ll be much better off.”


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7 Responses to Hearne: Lefsetz Rides Again With Last Week’s Greatest Hits

  1. the dude says:

    God Bless Charles Grodin, he was in one of my favorite movies, Midnight Run.

    • Stomper says:

      On a side note, Grodin has a Kansas City connection. He married the daughter of film honcho Stan Durwood of AMC fame. Small world.

  2. Lance The Intern says:

    John Oliver’s take on net neutrality was hilarious as well as informative.

  3. rkcal says:

    What does it say when our most credible news sources (Maher, Oliver, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert) are going for laughs? The only reputable journalists are comedians.

  4. Lee says:

    You guys with HBO have to watch John Oliver. This may be the best show on television right now. His previous show on net neutrality was brilliant. It actually explains the issue better than anything I have read anywhere else


    Maher is no longer that good except for his new rules. Whenever he interviews someone, he isn’t well prepared enough when they come up with an answer he hasn’t scripted for. He is just lame.

  5. Orphan of the Road says:

    Again age and guile trump youth and bad haircuts.

  6. NotAtMyMomsNow says:

    I like Lefsetz’s insight, besides the whole mainstream bandwagon stance on global warming. (Purely propaganda to impose even more taxes. An alarming misrepresentation of the true number of actual scientists who don’t believe in the whole anthropogenic scare. And f’ing Bill Nye? Really? THE GUY’S AN ACTOR! Michael Crichton had more credibility than him–and he didn’t believe the global warming B.S., either. I mean, if we’re so pro-planet, then why not invest in alternative fuels even more so? RE: “Who Killed the Electric Car”)

    On the other hand, Lefsetz should write a weekly column on here, Hearne. Invite him. Or what’s his link to the blog?

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