Happy to hear last night (at Haru, which is way too loud) that a new format, "The News Has No Clothes," is gaining momentum. After a successful experiment at the Aspen Ideas Festival
, it's now getting packaged and shopped for TV.
The format brings a performance element back to topical (political) comedy. As Craig Minassian
puts it, "stand up comedy is really an editorial." The format gets interesting when you think of the combos, like a Michael Chertoff and a DL Hughley talking about torturing Somali pirates, and whatnot.
Craig's a political mastermind, who's been a longtime sherpa
for the Clintons. He also co-founded Comic Relief and the HBO Comedy Festival, way back. Minassian Media advises some top TV networks and non-profits on how to become (or stay) relevant. I have worked with Craig a few times, and I've always been impressed at how he fuses comedy, politics and humanitarianism in smart new ways I suspect larger audiences are ready for, now.
Together with Stu Smiley and Robert Morton, I feel like what they're doing can really work on the right platforms. I say platforms, plural, because if I were running it, I'd make sure this thing can be sliced & diced for web-wide distribution, becoming news, sometimes in advance of each episode's TV premiere.
Here's an already outdated story on what these guys are up to. Curious to see where this show lands...
NEW YORK -- Veteran comedy producers and masterminds of the defunct U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen are returning to the mountain resort as part of this week's Aspen Ideas Festival to try out a format mixing politics and comedy called "The News Has No Clothes."
If the stage show works, producers could end up pitching the concept -- described as "The View" and "Politically Incorrect" meet old BBC show "That Was the Week That Was" -- to TV networks for a possible late-night slot.
The team behind the idea includes Joe Lang, director of festival producer Jazz Aspen Snowmass and former local producer for USCAF; Craig Minassian, assistant press secretary and director of TV news in the Clinton White House and USCAF director; Robert Morton, former executive producer of "Late Show With David Letterman" and Comedy Central's "Chocolate News"; and Stu Smiley, executive producer of "Flight of the Conchords" and "Everybody Loves Raymond" and a USCAF founder.