Maybe you’re unaware. Maybe you’re too cheap to pay for Max, one of the worst apps ever, technologically. As for the name change, the most watched shows are still those from HBO.

Or maybe you wait until the episode hits YouTube. Well, now you’ve got to wait until Thursday, HBO doesn’t want you to get anything for free, they want you to pay up, that’s how streaming works these days, they’re stopping leaks, trying to make the numbers work, but they only work at Netflix because the Silicon Valley giant keeps making new product, and it’s all about new product. Netflix does what the major labels do not. It’s not only searching for hits, it’s playing to the niches too. Not worrying about nurturing one project, adding songwriters and remixing in search of success, just handing the reins to the talent and the result is some misses, but some stuff that absolutely wows you. Like “Squid Game.” You’re still talking about that, when was the last time you talked about a record?

Actually, we watched one of Netflix’s new programs last night, “Lover, Stalker, Killer.” I found it via a RottenTomatoes search. It had a 100% critics’ score, and an 81% from the public. Sure, there were only nine critics, but there were one hundred plus rank and file raters.

I don’t recommend it. But it’s only ninety minutes. The story is fascinating, but it’s too much like “20/20” or “Dateline.” Then again, the underlying facts engender conversation. It’s so whacked. People. You can’t trust ’em. Or should I say those who look normal may not be.

And after talking about “Lover, Stalker, Killer,” we pulled up “Last Night Tonight with John Oliver.” Sure, it premiered the night before, but you can never tell when a series stops and starts these days, when there’s a new episode.

And Oliver’s show has a formula. Bits and pieces and then a deep investigation into a single topic. In a world where they tell us to keep it brief. And Oliver’s got this indignant style with attitude, but with a sense of humor and self-deprecation involved. It’s Howard Stern on steroids, Oliver’s words are often delivered at a rapid clip. And last night it was all about a lack of trust in the Supreme Court, a major issue, and the undeclared gifts to the Justices.

Now if you’re a dedicated follower of the news, as I am, there was nothing in the twenty or so minutes that I was unaware of. Then again, I loved how he contrasted today’s behavior to the resignation of Abe Fortas, which was a big deal, and certainly amongst the mishpucha, for he was Jewish.

And there was footage of Clarence Thomas bloviating.

But then when it was all wrapped up, when the curtain was about to fall, Oliver whipped out one more thing.

During the piece John emphasized that Thomas had complained he couldn’t make enough money as a Justice. And Oliver posited that Thomas was staying on the Court for the perks of the penumbra.

So, with that nerdy smile that endears you to him, John made an offer.

He’d pay Clarence a million dollars a year to resign. He had a contract and everything. You knew it was real. Oliver’s pranks, Oliver’s offers might be outrageous, but they’re beyond jokes, they have follow-through. And sometimes they succeed. He’s messing with the establishment, people who take themselves too seriously. Who love the rules. It’s the sixties reincarnated.

Yes, Thomas could make enough money to pay for all the perks himself, until he or Oliver passed, when one did the deal was over.

Sure, it’s HBO’s money.

But NO! Zaslav ain’t going to part with any of his dough. This was Oliver’s personal cash. It’s his money on the line. He’s putting his mazuma where his mouth is, which almost nobody does these days.

And now I’m excited, laughing. While I’m calculating how much Oliver actually makes, how much of a hit to his pocketbook this will be.

But wait, there’s more!

Oliver leaves the set, goes backstage, where you can see how phony the set is, walks through the halls, and ultimately goes to a room (yes, it was prerecorded, you could tell by the audio, but the effect was the same), where he revealed a multi-million dollar Prevost motor coach. Far superior to the one Thomas owns. Yes, this was the sweetener, Thomas would get the motor coach too.

And I’m literally howling. Clapping my hands, exclaiming loudly. You think you’ve seen it all, and then you haven’t.

You see...this would be a good deal for Clarence Thomas. He’d end up with much more than he would as a Supreme Court Justice.

And, he’d find out who his friends really are. Were Harlan Crow and the rest just buddies because he was a Justice, or...

And when I finish howling, smiling, I go to the internet. After all, its twenty four hours later. And the story is all over the news, but it hadn’t reached me.

You see that’s not enough. Most people no longer trust the news. They only trust their friends. They’re waiting for their friends to tell them something, for no financial advantage, only to share the joy.

And that’s what I’m doing here.

I’d love to tell you about a record. Records can zing you in a way that television cannot.

But we’ve lost the forebears in music. Acts are imitating Mariah Carey, that’s what TV competition shows are all about. And Carey broke over thirty years ago. The heritage, the meaning of the music from the sixties and seventies is long gone.

We don’t have a Frank Zappa, never mind a David Crosby speaking his mind.

Everybody just talks about the money. What it takes to get the money.

Or they complain that no one is paying attention.

They don’t know it comes down to the music itself.

And it’s not how well you play, it always comes down to the IDEA!

The sound, the record can be dead simple, as are many of the greatest hits of all time. “Satisfaction.” “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” They didn’t need cowriters, remixers, weeks in the studio. Their essence was baked in, the music was raw, unhindered by the sheen. You didn’t have to know who the act was to get it.

Never mind the Mothers of Invention singing about losing status at the high school.

Then again, the best and the brightest don’t go into music anymore. It’s not a sea of college graduates, rather kids who’ve been pushed by their parents since puberty. They’ve got no frame of reference, got no background, what you see is what you get. Whereas with the greats, you’re always confounded, HOW DID THEY COME UP WITH THAT?

I mean it’s not like John Oliver’s act is new. It’s a formula. But he doesn’t change it up to try and stay current, he’s sticking to his guns, tweaking it to his and our advantage along the way. He’s not a weekday late night talk show host. He’s sui generis. And he’s forty six. Takes years to mature, to achieve greatness, enough with the teenage phenoms.

So just like Freddie Garrity, I’m telling you now. Sure, I gave you the punch line, but I’d still check out the show.

It may be comedy, but it’s underlined with facts. Like Leonard Cohen wrote, everybody knows. We just need someone we can trust to say it.

And we trust John Oliver more than we do Lindsey Graham, never mind Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

The tools are out there. In plain sight. But no one picks them up.

Acts can’t write a bridge, never mind a chorus.

There’s an entire music business, firing on all cylinders financially. Then again, the major labels are firing people as they’re making more and more profits.

But not in the live business, which is why all the action is there today.

Dig down deep. Forget the surface. It’s what comes to you in the shower, when you’re not working, that is gold. We want to be wowed, we want to be amazed, we want to be enticed, we want you to provide that which we could not conceive of so we can tell everybody about it.

Like I’m doing now.

By: bob | 2024/02/20 | Life and Life Only - Television - The Music | Trackback | Comments [RSS 2.0]

Comments are closed