The world of entertainment has always been about beauty, talent and innovation.
In most cases in the golden age of TV for instance, these categories had clear and defined lines.
There might be a gorgeous new vocalist emerging onto the scene but an established star with a long track record of success was the one to bring the new pretty thing into the light.
Talent and reputation has always been both the rock of fame and the desired destination of every singer, comedian, actor or artist.
Names that last in any industry are hard to come by. Entertainers like Milton Berle and George Burns were loved and respected for over 60 years.
Imagine a Clay Akin or Kelly Clarkson being a major draw in Las Vegas in the year 2055.
The American Academy awards lifetime achievement goes to Ashton Kutcher for movie excellence for 50 golden years. I seriously doubt that.
We have created a disposable society that simply uses and discards talent or should I say vessels and throws them in the can, not unlike a spent bic lighter.
Since the days of vaudeville, people with a dream would hone there skills by appearing in front of small audiences over and over again. The better they got the bigger the audience. Confidence and excellence grows with every standing ovation. Bigger rooms, better pay and more exposure is what builds the confidence and ability that makes a star.
Whether it is acting, comedy, variety artistry or instrumental ability it all applies.
20 years ago I got to know veteran actor Al Lewis (Munsters/Car 54) and we would talk about “the circuit” which for Al was what was left of the Vaudeville circuit and mostly lived in the Catskills, Pocono’s and small theaters in the North East Coast.
Back in the day, they did the circuit over and over and got better and better and finally hit. Something clicked and you were discovered and “brought into the light of Television”. These days, every show is The next big thing, America’s next top model or American Idol.
How can you create an idol if no one had ever seen or heard of that person 2 weeks before or even worse, your new idol has only 5 performances in total under his belt, size 28? Are you ready to carry a 50 year career with 5 performances in front of humans and not a brush or comb in a mirror at home?
The next new thing should include seeing what is already out there.
It is the hard working and diligent artists that come up the hard way by working and perfecting the craft. Fame from exposure does not make talent or the ability to handle a career.
America’s next top Model: Does a TV show producer have the right to force feed a bunch of novice poster children with anorexia down your throat and make you believe that indeed this angry, hungry and arrogant skeleton will indeed be the next super model?
Can they do that? Is that what we have become? A somewhat obscured version of 1984 is here and is living in your 42” Panasonic plasma.
Simon says….”you’re a hit…so now you are.” The worst part of this situation is that young America takes it as fact when a TV host say “yes, this is the best”, and you are to step in line and agree. Buy the CD, go to see them live in concert and get the T-Shirt to prove it! Hurry, the tour will end half way through the booking schedule because by the time the NEW THING is in your town….THE NEXT new thing is what were are talking about and the old new thing got…..uh……old.
What exactly is the shelf life of the Next new thing?
I recently went to see veteran comedian Marty Allen, who I have become friends with over the last few years. Being a nostalgic entertainer and always paying tributes back to everyone from Red Skelton and Jerry Lewis to Elton John, I wanted to see what an 85 year old comedian does on stage for 70 min. Around me sat a family with 2 teen age boys (obviously dragged there by there parents) and a 12 year old little sister who was mostly playing a hand held computer game. I wasn’t sure if it was autism or she was checking the wires to see what the next thing had become since breakfast.
Marty and his wife came on and suddenly the audience remembered what the THING was.
IT IS TALENT AND SEASONING.
Marty and Karin put on a great show filled with music, laughs and some great relating both to each other and most importantly the audience. As I looked back at the “teen table”, no cells, Ipods or hand held games were visible and the kids were glued to the stage one with his mouth stuck open. The little girl with autism emerged from her media cocoon and was clapping and laughing louder than anyone in the room. A Miracle.
The Ed Sullivan show introduced America and the world to established and working variety performer and the like. Ed didn’t say “hey, would you like to try juggling instead of being a janitor?” Today we take people from obscurity with not a moment of practical experience and tell the world that this is the next Rod Stewart, Barbara Streisand, George Carlin, Robin Williams or Jim Carey.
It can’t happen that way or at least not for long.
I declined to be on a show called “The Next Best Thing”. This was a show that took look- a-likes and showcased them on TV. What the producer really wanted was a parade of head cases, wanna-be’s and off balance fanatics. The judges were mostly comedians that have not worked in years and people we have never heard of. These were the judges?
The connotation was that if the real artist isn’t available, the “next best thing” was someone dressed up like the artist and performing the same songs. Sad.
As if it was that easy. Imitation may be the best form of flattery but it’s no second to being unique, talented and one of a kind. There is no next best thing. The real thing is head and shoulders better than any imitation imaginable.
The fall out from the reality TV situation is painful to watch. Forgetting that being famous for being famous does not work on a résumé, many “reality stars” find themselves craving the lime light long after the 15 minutes are over. But what will they do?
You need a platform or talent to remain in the limelight.
People like Amerosa and Richard Hatch will do anything for TV face time.
I remember seeing Hatch on Regis before Kelly joined the show.
Hatch mentioned 3 times during his interview that he would make a great co-host for the show. How?
Did he really think that being in the jungle on a reality show gave him the seasoning to be a co-host on a popular show with a man that has been on TV since the days of Jack Parr?
What are these people thinking?
The last I saw and heard of Richard Hatch was in a Gay themed comical movie last year where he appeared in the film completely naked. I don’t know what was worse, his acting or the sight of a full frontal Hatch. I was in counseling for 2 months after seeing that…and the nightmares….geeesh!
I appeared in 2004 in the William Hung “she bangs” video as William’s Manager.
Not only did people get enough of William Hung but now there are a dozen websites in the world that are dedicated to the mass hatred of Hung. One is entitled www.Killwilliamhung.com.
Where will it end? Are we destined for a world of 12 month careers and a constant stream of mediocrity?
Will hard work and tenacity lose to fame and recognition because a show simply says that this person is the next big thing?
Stay tuned children, but please singers, dancers, actors, musicians and comedians, don’t stop getting better. There is nothing like real talent and when you do hit some day, you’ll enjoy the longevity that only true individuality and talent brings.
Practice, practice, practice.