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Posts Tagged ‘American Broadcasting Company’

Find Out Why the Funniest Comics Get Bruce

Friday, September 29th, 2017

Boulder Jewish News
Find Out Why the Funniest Comics Get Bruce
By Kathryn Bernheimer ??September 25, 2017


Why the title “Get Bruce?”

The title has two meanings. The first is a command issued by any high-ranking comic in need of a good joke. As in, “I have just been invited to host the Oscars! Get Bruce!

The other is a question: Do you get Bruce? Do you get his humor?

The documentary, being screened at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm Wednesday at the Boulder JCC, makes sure we do get Bruce, a flamboyant, sweet, outrageous giant of humor. He appears in person at Reel Hope on October 14 at the Boulder JCC. The ACE screening is in anticipation of the Jewish Family Service fundraiser.


Best known for writing the best lines and gags at the Academy Awards, where he has been head writer since 2000,Vilanch supervises the entire telecast. He is also in high demand for roasts and other Hollywood extravaganzas where actors try to be funny, and comics try to top them. Vegas shows and touring acts also demand his talent.

His jokes are told by legions of stars, including Bette Midler, Robin Williams, Elizabeth Taylor, Lily Tomlin, and Billy Crystal.

Vilanch spent his first 20 years as the king of the one-liner, comfortably behind the scenes, his name and face known only to the comic elite who employed him.


That invisibility ended when he was promoted from a writer on Hollywood Squares to having his own box as a celebrity, right next to long-time customer Whoopi Goldberg.

“Get Bruce” solidified his status as a celebrity writer, quick with a quip, a role he plays with relish.

He has since appeared on Broadway as Edna Turnblad in “Hairspray,” and is regularly recognized at airports.

He also continues to be a gay icon, long celebrated for his openly gay status in closeted Hollywood. (Read a 2013 Westword interview here.)

Prepare to meet Bruce by watching this hilarious 1999 documentary, which is filled with celebrity interviews. Prepare to be in on the joke, a comedy fan who “gets” Bruce.

Bruce Vilanch To Appear At The GRABBY’s Saturday, May 28, 2016 (Chicago)

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016


4-27-2013 4-00-51 AM

Memorial Day Weekend also means your favorite adult stars are flocking to Chicago for the annual Grabby Awards, hosted by Grab Magazine. Come see some of the hottest names in the industry as they announce this year’s best top, twink and more. The 2016 Grabbys return to The Metro, 3730 N Clark, for a show hosted by ChiChi LaRue and Honey West and the sexy studs Mickey Taylor, Levi Karter, Diego Sans, JJ Knight and Dallas Stelle.

This year’s show also includes an appearance by celebrity and funnyman Bruce Vilanch and special performances by Dida Ritz, Bebe Sweetbriar and Mickey Taylor.

“I think everyone comes back to celebrate the industry every year because it’s such a loose, fun event centered around something we all love: sex,” Stacy Bridges, editor for Grab Magazine, told ”It’s also a change to meet and mingle with some of your favorite fantasy men.”

A host of events surrounds the Grabbys, most of them teetering with special appearances and performances from the weekend’s nominees. On Friday night Falcon Studios is taking over the Lucky Horseshoe, 3169 N Halsted, while the CockyBoys are appearing live at Sidetrack, 3349 N Halsted, for an underwear auction and more. After Saturday’s event, join your favorite stars at Debauchery, the the official Grabby’s 2016 Afterparty at Charlie’s, 3726 N Broadway. Round out your weekend at the Kink E Post Grabby Brunch at North End, 3733 N Halsted, on Saturday for interviews with the winners and nominees and to meet the stars you danced drunk with the previous night.

More information and Grabbys tickets are available online.

Bruce Vilanch shares what it’s really like to write jokes for the most prestigious awards show

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Business Insider
Bruce Vilanch shares what it’s really like to write jokes for the most prestigious awards show
February 29, 2016


When you hear the word “Oscars,” big stars, stunning gowns, emotional acceptance speeches, and the red carpet probably come to mind.

But much of what happens behind the curtain — the elements we don’t see, like the writing — makes the award show the prestigious and memorable event it is each year.

Comedy writer and six-time Emmy award-winner Bruce Vilanch, 67, has written jokes for the Oscars since 1989 and served as head writer for the show from 2000 to 2014.

In the book, “Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today’s Top Comedy Writers,” he talks about this huge responsibility.

“Out of the hundreds [of jokes] that we write — really, hundreds — if one or two are used, it’s a big deal,” he told the books author Mike Sacks.

Vilanch told Sacks that some of the writing team’s best jokes are ones made up on the spot in the wings during the live show. But, he explains, the writers actually start coming up with jokes for the Oscars about two months in advance and keep them in a 300-page “playbook.”

This huge outline is kept just off stage so the host can flip through it during commercial breaks to refresh their memory.

The idea to make this mega-outline each year came from Billy Crystal, who has hosted the show nine times and wanted to help out future hosts with the burden that comes from having to recall so many lines and so much information.

The playbook contains a complete rundown of the show, which typically lasts between three and four hours, as well as numerous jokes. Out of the hundreds of jokes the writers come up with ahead of time, Vilanch says it’s a big deal if one or two are actually used in the show.

Vilanch says the writers are aware that certain celebrities are off limits to joke about, either because the situation is too embarrassing for them, the joke would be too cruel, they will be in the audience.

“You have to be careful to not cross the weird line,” he told Sacks.

Vilanch remembers a joke from the 2003 Oscars in which host Steve Martin would have said, “I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that my fly was open throughout the monologue. The good news is that the camera puts on ten pounds.”

Vilanch, his team, and even the network censor thought the joke was hilarious, but Martin didn’t feel comfortable delivering it at such a classy event.

Vilanch understood Martin’s dilemma though, because a joke at the Oscars will stick with you throughout your career.

“The choice you have to make is, do I, as a comedian, want to be remembered for this joke or not?” he told Sacks.

HitFix Interviews Bruce Vilanch And Bruce Cohen About The Oscars

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

HitFix Interview: Bruce Cohen and Bruce Vilanch tease the Oscars
By Daniel Fienberg
Tuesday, Feb 15, 2011

If you watch any ABC programming at all, you probably know that James Franco and Anne Hathaway are in the midst of extensive training for their gig hosting the 2011 Academy Awards on Sunday, February 27.

The youthful hosts may be doing Oscar curls and preparing for speedy bathroom breaks and potential wardrobe malfunctions, but they’re hardly the only ones preparing for the ceremony.

On Tuesday (Feb. 15), I grabbed a few minutes of phone time with the Oscar telecast’s extremely busy head writer Bruce Vilanch and with Bruce Cohen, who will be producing along with Don Mischer.

The conversation should mostly whet your appetite for the February 27 telecast on ABC, providing a hint of what to expect from the two hosts, as well as how the tone of the Oscars will differ from last month’s Ricky Gervais-hosted Golden Globes.

Click through…

HitFix: So how are you approaching the show differently with your dual hosts and your dual young hosts? How are you looking at this year’s telecast?

Bruce Cohen: We’re looking at this year’s telecast as a celebration of everything that’s new and fresh about having James and Anne hosting and Anne being the youngest Oscar host in history, James and Anne being the first male and female host, combined with taking a good look back at some of the great moments in film history and some of the great performances and some of the great moments in Oscar history. So we’re really trying to blend yesterday and today together.

Bruce Vilanch: So romantic.

Bruce Cohen: The present and the past in one extravaganza on the 27th of February.

HitFix: For Bruce Vilanch, how are you approaching writing for these two?

BV: Well, it’s in an unconventional way, because they’re not stand-up comics, so they don’t have to come out and go, “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen!” They have characters that they can play. They have big personalities and we write for them, but they don’t have that stand-up comic routine that other people do. So it’s going to feel different. It’s going to feel fresh and different.

BC: But they’re incredibly talented.

BV: They’re really funny people.

BC: The characters that they’ll be playing will be the two of them as Oscar hosts. So it’s not that they’re not themselves, but it’s a heightened version of themselves, because they’re both so excited about doing the show. So it’s been fun watching them create, you know, who is the James Franco that James wants to present to the world in his role as co-host of the Oscars?

HitFix: And what is the answer to that question?

BC: Suave, debonair, classic movie star with an irreverent sense of humor. Not that I would presume to speak for Mr. Franco, but being with him preparing, that’s what I would say.

BV: And he’s gotten rid of the one-arm shtick. He’s working with two arms again. Everybody he hugs will be happy to hear that.

HitFix: And what is it that Anne will be trying for?

BC: Well, Anne is a budding comic genius. Her mind works like a sketch comedy writer. You give her a line and while she’s selling that line funnier than you ever thought possible, she’s already coming up with the six other things she wants to try. So I think with Anne, she’s sort of the consummate, polished performer, but she brings this incredible energy and enthusiasm with that. So I think you’re going to see a really funny, high energy performance, but also bringing the glamor back. She’s the first full-on glamorous female movie star to host the Oscars in many, many years and the costume changes and the different designers working with her and the makeup and the hair, you’re going to see all of that too. Part of why people watch the Oscars is the dresses on the red carpet, so the fact that we have that not just with our presenters and nominees arriving in advance, but with our hostess on the show, is a whole new cool element as well.

HitFix: Bruce V. could you talk a bit about what the in-show process is going to be like? Obviously if you have a trained comedian as a host, they can adapt, to some degree, to what’s happening within the show. But these two, without that background, is that going to make more work for you during telecast itself?

BV: Yeah, well, we won’t be jumping on the opportunities to have them come out and ad-lib, unless there’s a perfect moment that allows for it, whereas a comic is always looking for a reason to comment on stuff. They don’t make that pact with the audience, either. The audience isn’t expecting that from them. So if they do, it’s because something absolutely right happened and we want to capitalize on it and we’ve had enough time during the commercial to actually come up with the something.

HitFix: Still, that has to make for a different process?

BV: Yeah. Yeah, it’s different. Certainly somebody like Billy Crystal or Whoopi is ready to say something about whatever just went before, whether it’s appropriate or not. In fact, most of the time we have to kind of stifle ourselves, because we want to say something that we said backstage and that we laughed at, but that we know once you said it on-stage, you’d probably regret having said it.

HitFix: As a last question, I’d love for you guys to talk a bit about tone and what you want the tone in the room to be, perhaps in comparison with what happened at the Golden Globes last month, but perhaps not even that. How do you want the room to feel?

BC: It’s funny, because we sort of had our dream tone set before the Globes and there certainly wasn’t anything that happened on the Globes that made us want to change our tone. That’s for sure. The Oscars is the chance every year to celebrate the movie business and remind the world what they love about movies and what they love about the Oscars. Pretty much everyone in the world, at the his point, they have their connection points to a movie they love, a song from a film that really meant something to them, these emotional or funny moments that they love and remember. Our tone is that we want to try to connect the audience. Don Mischer and I, we’re producing the show, and we have to write a letter and program that everyone reads in the theater, because they make you sit in your seats early, and you’ve got time to read it, so it’s actually something that everybody looks at. So that’s one of the things that we say in the letter, that if we can remind everyone who’s watching that one or two moments during the show when you connect with your favorite movie moment or Oscar moment and you remember why you loved these things in the first place, then we’ll be very happy campers.

HitFix: And Bruce V? Tone?

BV: The audience is different. The Golden Globes, they’re a bunch of drunks who are there having a good time for an award that doesn’t mean a whole lot and that only takes 12 people to actually win one, if they vote for you. There are only like 83 of them anyway. So there’s a whole casual atmosphere, like “We’re here for the personal appearance of it all.” So they can bring somebody on like Ricky, who basically just insults all of them and finds himself hilarious and that’s a different tone right there. This is the Oscars. This is 83 years of real tradition that mean something, as opposed to the Golden Globes, which is just a pie-throw.

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards will air on ABC on Sunday, February 27. We’ll remind you of that plenty during the next week-and-a-half, as HitFix’s pre-Oscars coverage continues to ramp up.