The 'Saturday Night Live' Nose for News
Burk Plans Golf Outing
CMT Offers 'Hazzard' Pay
It has been a while since Saturday Night Live regularly inspired an “I can't believe they did that!” reaction in viewers, but the March 12 show came pretty close. Close observers of a sketch about a celebrity roast of Clint Eastwood might have noticed something peculiar about how the show's host, David Spade, was made up to look like Owen Wilson. His nose looked like a penis. Not kind of like a penis; it looked like a urologically correct appendage, right down to what we believe is called the dorsal vein.
We took a digital photo of the screen image (posted above) and showed it to an NBC spokesman, who said, “I don't see what you're seeing,” which made us wonder if we just had a dirty mind. But, no: A source at the show confirms that Spade was indeed fitted with a penile proboscis.
“It was hilarious,” says the source. “Owen Wilson has a bad nose, but not that bad.” Our SNLer was surprised that we had detected what amounted to an inside joke. Indeed, when viewed on a medium-size TV, Spade's customized schnozz is not that obvious. But in this case, size does matter: On the large-screen TV we happened to be watching, it was as plain as the whatever that is on your face. All of which may help explain why the FCC reports that it has not received any complaints about the sketch. Not even from Owen Wilson, whose publicist declined to comment. Mr. Spade's rep did not return a request for comment.
Readers of the New York Times could have been excused for groaning at the sight of a Q&A with Martha Burk in a recent edition of the newspaper's Sunday magazine. After all, Burk, chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations, was joined at the hip to former Times executive editor Howell Raines during their two-pronged crusade a couple of years ago to force Augusta National Golf Club, the host of the Masters tournament, to open its membership to women.
In 2002, Burk assailed CBS and the tournament's TV sponsors for associating themselves with discriminatory practices; the Times endlessly cheered her on—to the point where Raines resisted printing dissenting opinions from his own staff.
But, miraculously, the March 6 story made no mention of old battles, aside from playfully asking Burk if she planned to “attend” the Masters. Of course not, she answered. Then the Q&A moved on to other topics.
But, wait—as it turns out, the Burk/Augusta/CBS controversy may actually heat up again. After defusing the issue by dropping all sponsorship (and forfeiting more than $5 million per year) for its CBS telecasts, the Masters is once again going to have corporate sponsors for its CBS broadcast. And Burk now has the right to stage a much more prominent protest than the one she mounted during the 2003 Masters, when the city of Augusta kept her and about 50 protestors half a mile from the golf course. A federal court ruled last spring that the protest was unfairly restricted. “We have some things in the works,” Burk promises, “but I just can't talk about them yet.” Stay tuned.
Last month: Country Music Television (CMT) kicked off its newest feature, not-so-new reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard, by showing a marathon of the Reagan-era good ol' boy action comedy. And the MTV-owned channel pulled in audience numbers sweeter than granny's iced tea. In January, CMT's prime time average audience was 319,000. At 8 p.m. ET on Feb. 27, there were 1.96 million viewers watching Luke Duke (Tom Wopat), Bo Duke (John Schneider), Daisy Duke (Catherine Bach, without whose short-shorts an entire generation of hip-hop divas would be costume-deprived) and that paragon of automotive muscle, the General Lee.
This month: CMT announces a new job opening: Vice President, CMT Dukes of Hazzard Institute. (Apply, or just check out the amusing site, at http://www.cmt.com/interact/promotions/dukes_institute.) The one-year position pays $100,000. Duties include watching all 147 hours of the series; running a blog that functions as an advice column, where viewers can write in and the VP/CMTDHI replies with wisdom gleaned from the show; and making public appearances at events like the upcoming DukesFest 2005 in Bristol, Tenn., June 4-5. We hear it's BYOM: Bring Your Own Moonshine.