Author Archives: Christopher Arnott

Whither the Late Night News?

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Interesting that the day after he announced his retirement, the Associated Press prepared a list of nine “possible successors” for his Late Show. (It ran in the Hartford Courant and many other papers.) The next day, CBS announced a successor, and it wasn’t any of those nine.

It was Stephen Colbert of course, whose Comedy Central news-satirist colleague Jon Stewart had made the AP list. Before Stewart took over The Daily Show, he indeed had his own talk show (syndicated by MTV) and I remember him doing a bang-up job subbing for Tom Snyder, who had the Tomorrow Show when Letterman had Late Night on NBC.

Rachel Maddow was one of the few commentators to speculate that Colbert—even though he won’t be doing the new show as the same Conservative character he’s developed on Comedy Central—might bring some needed political commentary to late night talk shows. That actually seems to already be happening with Seth Meyers, who, on one of his earliest episodes of Late Night, brought on New Yorker David Remnick to talk about the situation in Crimea. Jimmy Fallon is doing a less newsy monologue than Jay Leno did, but Meyers is doing more of one, and going deeper into current events than Leno ever did. On other networks, Craig Ferguson certainly has opinions on world events. But more would be great. Otherwise, someone might have to revive Nightline.

Mired in Malevolence

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Last year Swamp Thing survived the global apocalyptic cataclysm known as The Rot. Then he had to battle to maintain his role as the key liaison between the plant world and humankind. Now he’s been suckered into giving up his Swamp Thing form and getting contained in unworkable human form. He never catches a break, this green guy. Continue reading

Monkee See, Ugly Do

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The 36th issue of Ugly Things, the singular garage rock zine that’s been exalting obscure brilliant bands for over three decades, is a must-read for followers of an extremely popular ‘60s band: The Monkees. A nearly 50-page treatise on the versatile, long-lived, barely famous California rocker Craig Smith contains a lengthy digression about his being cast to star in a ‘60s TV series called The Happeners, a more realistic version of what The Monkees were doing around the same time. A later chapter gives details of then-Monkee Mike Nesmith’s interest in Smith’s band Chris & Craig. Nesmith met the group while they were rehearsing in a recording studio, and he ended up producing their first album. The article also mentions that Smith had attended the same school as Micky Dolenz. Nesmith was interviewed for the story, and while he seldom gives interviews about his Monkee days, he’s very open about other bands and projects of that time. Ugly Things (named in honor of one of editor Mike Stax’s favorite bands, The Pretty Things) has the power to raise the importance of bands thought minor, and can add fascinating tidbits to the legends of bands you thought you knew everything about.

British Invasion, British Perspective

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MOJO Magazine, which has maintained a rep as the most thoughtful and historically minded of rock magazines throughout its 20-year history, is published in England. They had no real need to weigh in heavily on the 50th anniversary of The Beatles appearing on Ed Sullivan, since there’d been numerous Beatle 50th anniversaries in the past couple of years which could have been considered a higher priority to British readers. Continue reading

The Nattering of the Not Cool

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Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War on You

By Greg Gutfeld (Crown Forum 2014)

This attack on contemporary values comes from the author of the bestselling The Joy of Hate, who’s also the host of The Five and the Fox News show Red Eye.

There are myriad books out there mocking hipsters. This one actually bothers to build them up before knocking them down. Continue reading