Monday, June 20, 2011
Clip Joint: Duke & Freddie
Clip Joint was a television series I created in response to The Larry Sanders Show starring Garry Shandling, Rip Torn and Jeffrey Tambor which is one of my all-time favorites along with Absolutely Fabulous and Fawlty Towers. Clip Joint was set in the studio where the real-life Duke Maltin (cousin to movie reviewer Leonard Maltin) played a fictional Duke Maltin who reviews movies--a sort of inverse reality show before the fact scripted but made to look improvised. Duke's catch-phrase was, "If the director didn't gyp you, I'm going to clip you!"
The show was meant to be a Terry Southern-esque look at the hubris and insincerity of show business and to examine the ego-centric personalities that reside and abide in that environment. The fictional show was always creating enemies amongst a wide variety of offended vested interest groups that would vehemently protest until the Howard Hughes solution was brought to bear and their protest was nullified by adding the party in question to the Clip Joint payroll as a 'consultant'.
The show was produced in three component parts--on-air show segments as seen by the fictional TV audience, direct-to-camera interviews by those working on the show and grainy, cinéma vérité footage captured as though a documentary film crew were shooting the action as it happened. If you think this sounds like The Office, you are right. A few years later, on a trip to England, I saw a show starring Ricky Gervais and thought, "Hmmm..." The US version of The Office had not yet been produced.
One of the clips seen here is a short cinéma vérité scene where Duke receives a visit from an old college buddy Freddie. Duke receives him in time-honored showbiz style. The other clip is the intro to the show and served as a promo. Only four pilot episodes were shot and though it was hard work to produce featuring ten-minute takes where I would wander through the studio with the camera on my shoulder from one cluster of actors to another catching the staged action, it was a great deal of fun. The Clip Joint theme is the work of the very talented Michael Chanslor.