Tuesday, March 24

No More Entertainment #6 - QVC Is Awesome.

The CDP's Top 5 Favorite QVC Clips.

As a child who grew up in the 80's with insomnia and without cable television, Home Shopping has always held a special place in my heart. From around 1 to 4am each weeknight, the local ABC affiliate would switch over to HSN, QVC, Shop At Home, or any other of the dozens of late-night hucksters across the airwaves, shilling next-to-worthless merchandise to lonely housewives and the mentally ill. I never bought any of the stuff, as collecting coins and dusting Tiffany lamps were never my thing, but I still get a kick out of rooting through YouTube and checking out classic (and current) bloopers from the genre.

The reason we laugh at these clips is the same reason we laugh at news bloopers, and one of the fundamentals of Comedy as a whole. These people are trying as hard as they can to cling onto their dignity. They're dressed nicely, committed to perfection on live television, and there's essentially nothing but a thin, brittle veil standing between them and utter embarrassment on any number of levels. If a broken-down shell of a man accidentally stabs himself with a katana sword in his workshop, it's a tragedy. When a television host does it on the air and actually attempts to play it off as if nothing happened, it's nearly the definition of Comedy.

In the upcoming six assembled clips, I've attempted to put together a short glossary as to the primary ways you can be humiliated on live television; specifically, Home Shopping Television.


Honorable Mention - 'The TelShop Blooper Collection.'

Method Of Humiliation - Laughing At Yourself Before Anyone Else Can.

The Skinny - I've included this collection of bloopers from the old TelShop Network for a few reasons. First off, each one of these bloopers is genuinely funny in their own regard. Secondly, the low-budget, public access nature of the programming is charming and nostalgic in a warm, fuzzy way. Thirdly, the compilation was actually posted to YouTube by a member of the TelShop staff, as a way to fondly remember the good times they had while hosting the program. They were more than willing to laugh at themselves, and for the record, it looked like they had a blast every day they walked into the office, and I respect that immensely.

Favorite Clip #5 - 'QVC Host Faints.'

Method Of Humiliation - Pure, Immeasurable Terror.

The Skinny - Whenever AFV does a musical compilation of grown men passing out at weddings, I can barely gather my composure until the commercial break. Reason being that they, through no real fault of their own, have more or less ruined their own (or someone else's) wedding simply by being scared to death and forgetting to breathe. It's only funny if the chump has dignity, and a man stumbling around and puking while wearing a tuxedo is about is close to universally funny as it gets.

I also appreciate the subtlety of this clip. The woman in question clearly passes out (she's the one on the right), but the Floor Director had the presence of mind to cut away when she initially began fading from reality, leaving the audience to simply hear the inevitable aftermath.

Favorite Clip #4 - 'Host Thinks Moth Is Horse.'

Method Of Humiliation - Completely Off-Track Without A Map, And Not Caring.

The Skinny - This is what happens when you blindly read a TelePrompter without...you know...actually checking out what you're hocking to millions of people. The tone in this guy's voice- he's so damn sure that he's talking about a horse- makes the final realization all the more rewarding.

Favorite Clip #3 - 'Prank Caller Loves Porn.'

Method Of Humiliation - The Prank Caller.

The Skinny - This clip comes to us from one of those 'Most Outrageous Moments' TV shows, so don't let the laugh track take away from one of the funnier prank calls in TV history. You can almost feel the hosts squirming in their clothes as they struggle to find a tactful way to move on with the broadcast. Also, the guy making the call is absolutely fantastic. "Okay, porno!"

Favorite Clip #2 - 'The Ladder Fall.'

Method Of Humiliation - Pride Cometh Before A Fall.

The Skinny - When you work for a network like QVC, it's your job to convince as many people as possible that the product on their screen is the single greatest thing ever invented, and you need to do so in somewhere around five minutes. For the most part, this is a relatively easy task, provided you have an advance knowledge of the product and possess even the most basic of assembly skills.

The constant stream of excuses that this host makes for this clearly terrible product more or less sets up his 'work simulation' actor for a guaranteed injury. And the consummate professional even continues to stand up for it when it knocks out most of the other guy's front teeth. This takes either a massive helping of on-air smarts, or an air of jackassery than cannot be measured within the confines of our Earth. Bonus points for the live caller showing more concern than anyone.

Favorite Clip #1 - 'Katana Stab.'

Method Of Humiliation - Hara-Kiri.

The Skinny - Smarmy jerk gets stabbed in the chest by a faulty sword, and is in so much pain that he cannot even pretend to hide it. Broadcast partner comes in for the save, shows no remorse or concern whatsoever, and even makes fun of the guy a little. Does it get any funnier?

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. To tide you over, here are backlinks to every No More Entertainment so far this year:

Oh, I could tell you some stories. Some would be NSFW. Really, really NSFW. Some are tv-shopping urban legends at this point.
I figure as such. You must go stir-crazy in a profession like that, and do whatever you can to stay sane.

So...why don't you tell these stories on your page? If I were you, I'd be cranking those bad boys out like crazy.
This one is my personal favorite - http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=19813450201&h=P7EOB&u=wJc2v
Or try this instead - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZhMfzc9RbU
MIKE - This one just missed my cut; it's a favorite of mine, too.

"See? Now it's locked in." (crash)
I don't consider myself much of a storyteller, so to me many of these events just end up being funnier in my head. Sort of a "you'd have had to have been there" feeling.

There was the one time that our show Director cut his hand really bad while helping us prep a knife show. And the prank callers who try to steer the conversation towards talking about the female guest's boobs. Good times...good times.
Don't sell yourself short, Maus. You update your blog all the time with quality stuff about your current employment. I can see a book like this as something very marketable.

If all else fails, I'll be your ghostwriter, and we'll go 50-50.

Okay, okay. 60-40.
I'm trying to vent less about the employment quagmire, and write things that other people might be more interested in. It's not as easy as I thought, since I guess work consumes my life. And I'm kind of boring, anyway.
I do miss my old job every now and then. I liked being creative and working with amazing people (who happened to be slightly insane sometimes). Working with budgets is very... whatever the antithesis of creative is. Unless by being "creative" you really mean the "fraught with fraudulant and illegal practices" school of finance. In fact, a story just broke yesterday about a couple of people from the Fish and Game department being investigated for authorizing checks to vendors for services - that were never actually provided to the institution. Instead, the vendors split the money with the Fish and Game employees! What did they buy with their ill-gotten gains? The list included a pancake batter dispenser and a book on how to be a better manager.
MAUS - Yeah, writing things that people find interesting is slightly difficult. But hey, if everyone could do it, where would you and I be? I can't go back to the middle of the stack again; I just can't!

Oh, are you looking forward to Parks & Recreation as much as I am? At first, I didn't want to see anything starring Amy Poehler, but the premise is about as close to my day job as anything I'd ever thought I'd see on national television.
I'll probably give parks & Recreation a shot. I'm not the biggest Amy Poehler fan, though. I AM looking forward to Better Off Ted.

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