Friday, January 19, 2007

Spat between WHCA and Rich Little


First, we learned that the White House Correspondents' Association, hoping to avoid anything as entertaining as last year's WHCA Dinner, invited 70s-era comic superstar Rich Little to perform at this year's event.

Then, we learned that Little was asked by the association to avoid making fun of Bush during his peformance.

Now, the head of the WHCA says that's not true.

The [Las Vegas Review-Journal] had reported that Little said organizers of the event made it clear they don't want a repeat of last year's controversial appearance by Colbert. "They got a lot of letters," Little said. "I won't even mention the word Iraq....They don't want anyone knocking the president. He's really over the coals right now, and he's worried about his legacy."

But [WHCA President Steve] Scully replied: "I cannot be more clear that we never mentioned Iraq, we never gave him any guidelines," says Scully, who is also a senior producer at C-SPAN. "The only thing we told him is that we want to follow the policy of the Gridiron Dinner, which is 'singe, don’t burn'."
Is Scully calling Rich Little senile, or a liar?

If I was Little, I'd be feeling a little unloved right about now. I mean, look at the list of comics Scully says they tried to get before settling on him.

Scully acknowledged that Little is "not hip. But the other thing you have to keep in mind is that we don't have a half-million dollars to get Will Ferrell."

Scully said even President Bush asked a few years ago, but Ferrell declined. And what Billy Crystal wanted was "exorbitant." The organization has only in the low five figures to spend.

David Letterman? "We asked. He will not do it," Scully said. He even sent a Top Ten list of why David Letterman should perform.

Chris Rock? "We asked him the last three years, and he said he's doing movies."

Jon Stewart? Didn't want two Comedy Central guys in a row. Jay Leno has worked this room before a lot, too. "Jerry Seinfeld would have been a great guy to do it," Scully said, "but he doesn't do political humor and doesn't like doing political events."
If I was Rich Little, I think I'd tell Steve Scully and the WHCA to stuff it. And, I'd do it as Bob Hope.

Anyway, if they can't patch things up, and need to arrange a last-minute substitute:

    Fred Travalena
    Travlo Productions, Inc.
    P. O. Box 260171
    Encino, CA 91426