Monday, April 26, 2004

Bob Kerrey just quoted Ed!

" Just like Ed said , 'life is bulls--t'"
Ed has some new photos of him on his site:


Make sure to go by the "TDS stills page" too.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Doug Moe: Drink lawsuit a laughing matter

By Doug Moe
April 14, 2004

IT SEEMS altogether appropriate that Comedy Central came to Madison last Thursday to tape a segment for "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."

So many strange things have been happening around here lately, the only question might be which bizarre episode the comedy network is going to focus on.

Well, it's not the kidnapping that wasn't. Instead, "Daily Show" correspondent Ed Helms was in town last week conducting interviews for a forthcoming piece - it should air next week - on the antitrust lawsuit filed by three UW students against 24 campus bars. The suit claims the "cartel" of bars fixed prices by agreeing not to offer drink specials on weekend nights.

First word of Comedy Central's interest came with a phone call to campus Ald. Mike Verveer's cell phone while Verveer was working at a downtown polling site on election day. Would Verveer agree to a "Daily Show" interview?

"I would enjoy being made fun of," Verveer replied, displaying his knowledge of the show, which treats its subjects with something short of reverence.

The suspicion here is that the idea for doing a Madison segment came from Ben Karlin, the "Daily Show" executive producer who spent seven years in Madison during the 1990s, editing the Onion and writing free-lance pieces for Madison Magazine and other publications.
The "Daily Show" crew arrived last week and set up headquarters at the Mansion Hill Inn. The "correspondent" for the Madison piece, Ed Helms, is a stand-up comic who has been with the show for two years.

The interview with Verveer was conducted in the Madison City Council chambers. Verveer sat in the seat usually occupied by the mayor during council meetings, and Helms sat in the front row of seats where the council members sit. Incredibly, the interview with Verveer took two hours.

"I have every expectation that I will be portrayed as a tee-totaling prohibitionist," Verveer said. He isn't - a number of the bar owners are Verveer's constituents and friends.

But, let's face it, this is a strange lawsuit. When the Wisconsin State Journal made light of it in an editorial, a UW law professor, Peter Carstensen, wrote a serious-minded guest editorial scolding the paper for failing to realize that if the allegations in the suit are true, "the bar owners have violated one of the most basic principles of American antitrust law."

OK, the suit isn't frivolous. It's just stupid. Allow me, with many years in the trenches on this issue, to list a couple of reasons why.

1. The bar owners made a grass-roots, informal effort to curb the worst of excessive drinking on campus by voluntarily cutting back on specials late on weekend nights. They did this as a good-faith response to a possible 24/7 ban on specials that UW officials were thinking of pursuing. Here's a fact: The last thing anyone needs at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night is encouragement to drink more. The late actor Humphrey Bogart, asked in a deposition if it was true that he was intoxicated one Saturday night at midnight, responded, "Isn't everybody?"

2. It didn't save the bars much money and it didn't cost the kids much, if anything. Most of the bars that are named in the suit are packed on Friday and Saturday nights and don't need to offer specials to get people in the door. Some didn't offer them. Those that did often put off-brand items they couldn't move otherwise on special.

As for the students, I doubt any of those three plaintiffs woke up on a Sunday morning after drinking through the "special" hours and wrote down a strict accounting of what they drank and for how much. If they did, shame on them. A brilliant career working for the IRS awaits them. If they behaved the way college students usually behave in bars late on a Friday night, their depositions won't be worth much. As someone once said of the 1960s: "If you can remember it, you weren't there."

As Carstensen pointed out in his guest editorial, a legal argument can be made that the bar owners were technically in violation of antitrust law. Whether or not the argument will carry the day in court, where's the allowance for context and common sense? With some lawyers, there isn't any, which is why they are so universally admired and respected.

Finally, a note to the plaintiffs: Drinking something just because it is on special identifies you as a rube.

Mike Verveer, meanwhile, says he was told the Comedy Central piece will likely air next week, since the show is on spring break hiatus this week. It airs Monday through Thursday at 10 p.m. With his reasoned take on the controversy, and the fact he represents both bar owners and students on the City Council, Verveer would come out the good guy in this exercise except for one thing. He graduates from law school next month.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Ed was great on Cheap Seats [last night]. 'Played a guy named Bradley Wallace.

Ed's character was trying to bring back Roller Derby, and his ways were by infecting random seats in the arena with hepatitis, ("Hepatitis+ Hat Night = $$") and at the end of the roller derby, the lights go down, and a spotlight hits someone in the audience and they get executed. Oh, and he tried to con his assistant (in a little brown skirt) into sounding like she was hitting on him.

And Bradley said if this all fails, he'll go back to his job at the United Way.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

fresyes.com :: information superhighway 99: "In Praise of Ed 'Don't Call Me Jesse' Helms"

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