Monday, February 11, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: March Bedtime Stories will be a tribute to 'The Wire'

Comic Vs. Audience has recently learned that the March installment of Bedtime Stories will be a tribute to HBO's critically-acclaimed television masterpiece 'The Wire' on Wednesday, March 5th. And, it will be a fundraiser for Project H.O.M.E. We recently caught up with the founder and host of the show, Gregg Gethard, to learn more and to talk about the show as obsessively as we could.

We'll post a second part of this interview later in the week as well as any future developments, but first off we asked him about the upcoming show.

Gregg Gethard: March’s Bedtime Stories is called “Bedtime Stories Presents- Way Down in the Hole, A Tribute to 'The Wire'”. 'The Wire' is a show on HBO about life in inner-city Baltimore and if you’ve read any critical acclaim of it or ever watched the show, you know that it’s the best show that has ever been on television. Like no doubt about it. It’s my favorite television show of all-time, I’m completely roped into it, my friends are completely roped into it. After my wife and my family and my job, I would say watching 'The Wire' is the fourth biggest priority in my life, even before doing comedy.

You’ve worked in a newsroom, do you think that whole aspect of the current season is accurate?

GG: When I say I worked for newspapers, I want to let it be known, I worked for the absolute, collectively usually the worst newspapers. Like small-town weekly suburban New Jersey newspapers. I did move up the ladder a little bit and ended up at a daily paper, but I never worked nearly anywhere near as big as The Baltimore Sun. So that’s a little disclaimer. But after the first episode [of this season], I knew who each of those characters was in the newsroom, what they represented, who they were supposed to be, what their larger archetype was. And the lingo is spot-on. I was emailing with a former editor of mine, he’s a really good friend of mine whose also a 'Wire' fan, and he was like "I was screaming for more art for the front today." I knew from the very scene, the very first scene of Scott who’s the evil fabricator, Jayson Blair-type. The very first scene of his when he’s introduced, his feet are up on the table and he’s doing nothing. And the editor’s like "what are you doing?" "I’m waiting for phone calls." Which is if you worked at a newsroom you know immediately that this guy is so lazy and so entitled. Because anytime I was half-assing it, and I’m man enough to admit it, I did the exact same thing. I just goofed off, wasted time on my fantasy baseball team or something with "oh, I’m waiting for phone calls."

What do you think about McNulty this year, the whole thing with the-

GG: Yeah, the serial killer.

I think it’s the boldest thing they’ve done since Hamsterdam.

GG: I think of any show on television that should be granted by its audience “let’s see how this story plays out”, which is what you should do with any story in a serialized format, let’s see how it plays out before it you start railing on it. Let’s do that. I love it so far. McNulty’s totally right. Him and Lester are outsmarting the process they’ve had to work with. They knew they could do it, they knew they could get away with it. They’ve dropped hints all along that they could pull it off. When hasn’t McNulty been a self-serving, smug prick on the show? He’s a very rootable smug prick, but he’s still a total jerk. He totally just wants to do his own thing. Lester’s been cagier about it, but he’s played people too. And ‘The Wire’ has done totally ridiculous stuff itself. Hamsterdam is a totally ridiculous set piece. It’s really well done and it’s got this great social message to it, but it’s a set piece that is not something that could actually happen. The cops and media would know about that in a day or two in real life. There’s ridiculous stuff in season two. My favorite ridiculous thing is Nicky Sobotka having a Guided By Voices poster in his bedroom. Indie rock is nowhere near that dude’s vernacular.

With all of that said about ‘The Wire’, what do you expect for the show in March?

GG: I have absolutely no idea what to expect, to be honest. The usual Bedtime Stories regulars want to do stuff. Secret Pants, Meg & Rob, Kent Haines, these people I’ve worked with before want to do things. But a lot of those guys they haven’t watched the show and I’ve pitched the show to them and they want to do it, so it’s kind of an experiment. Then I’ve pitched it to other people from New York, but who knows. I think it’s going to be chaotic planning it until the minute the show actually comes off. I know what I’m doing. I’ve got a killer story about an extra in a movie in which the star of the movie was Councilman Tony Gray. But my dream scenario for this show is I want this to be the best, because ‘The Wire’ is such an important television show and it’s so important to me and it’s totally rechanged my way of thinking about some things like social issues, television, city life and I want this comedy show to somehow pay tribute and reflect that. I don’t know how possible it is, at the very least I want it to be funny for people that love the show as much as I do. And I think it’s also going to be funny for people that don’t watch the show. So I think it’s going to be a good mixture. If you’re a huge fan of the show, you’re absolutely going to love it. But if you’ve never seen ‘The Wire’, I still think there’s going to be enough there that you like.

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