Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Jimmy Kimmel’s Shocking Upfront Rant Exposed! (Spoiler: Not So Shocking.)

kimmelDid you hear about Jimmy Kimmel’s shocking rant at ABC’s “upfront” sales presentation this week? The New York Times said the comedian’s routine, presented to an auditorium full of potential ad buyers, generated a “mixture of uneasy laughs and the occasional gasp.” That’s because he said things along the lines of this:

Every year we lie to you and every year you come back for more. You don’t need an upfront. You need therapy. We completely lie to you, and then you pass those lies onto your clients.

Predictably, this generated lots of gasping in cyberspace, but it shouldn’t have. The networks always bring comedians onstage during upfronts to poke fun at themselves and their competitors.

That’s because they need to. The upfronts, where the TV broadcasters show off next year’s shows to advertisers, are a week-long hard-sell. Without some “hey, we’re in on the joke” levity, these things would collapse of their own weight.

And as far as “the occasional gasp”? I was at the 2004 upfront where GE’s (GE) NBC rolled out its animated show based on Siegfried & Roy–a year after Roy had been attacked by one of his own tigers–and attempted to assure advertisers that this was OK by rolling an interview with the mangled entertainer. Now that generated some gasping.

Anyway, no need to trust either me or Deadline Hollywood’s Nikki Finke, who patiently walks through all of this as well. Here, via the miracle of Google’s (GOOG) YouTube, is Kimmel’s routine in its entirety. Enjoy it now, in case the Disney-owned (DIS) network sends a take-down notice. Warning: Contains a couple curse words that people in the advertising business have heard before.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work