Monday, June 19, 2006

Standards & Practices

Any creative person trying to make a living as a creative person will eventually have to deal with suits - non-creative people. From DaVinci to Coppola, artists have had to "play the game" to get their work paid for and seen.

For a television producer currently working on two comedy shows, my "suits" are the networks' Standards & Practices departments. The folks who make the call whether something is "appropriate" for air or not. In more basic terms, not get them sued or fined.

I could write forever about television, radio and movie standards in this post Janet Jackson/FCC world but I won't.

The thought behind this post is so you can see some of the great conversations I have on a daily basis. Conversations spoken with straight faces, purely business. It perfectly illustrates the age old conflict of creative people being scrutinized by non-creative people. I have to sit back and laugh or I would kill myself. But it does reminds me how lucky I am that these are my work conversations as opposed to whether I filled out my TPS reports correctly.

These are excerpts from e-mails and conversations I have had regarding the content of my shows. One of my shows is a hip hop comedy show so you will see forms of the "N" word frequently. No dispect intended. Just the facts...

- "The sketch you wrote is called 'Gaywalking.' Did you mean 'Jaywalking' or is this refering to how gay people walk? We feel uncomfortable using this stereotype as a premise. Can you tweak this one a bit?"

- Please drop "nigga" when the guy says "Nigga you guilty."

- We make fun of midgets 5 times in this episode. Can we offend someone else?

- We can "hear" the Judge be excited, but we can't show a boner, but we can hear it hit the bench.

- Please drop "bitch" when the Judge says "This bitch is gonna give me splinters."

- In the restaurant sketch menu selections, you have "Salad Tossing". However since salad tossing is an act, we think the menu selection should actually be "tossed salad".

- Please don't use a real cat if possible. Using a stuffed animal would be ideal. We need to make it obvious that no cats were in danger during this bit.

- Since the name of the school is "American Stripper College" we feel that "Ho's" should come out of the line "Certified and Knowledgeable Ho's and Strippers Guide you Every Step of the Way".

- Not all Chinese people eat dog. Please revise.

- Mississippi boot lip is a derogatory term. Can you switch it out with something else?

- Can you let me know what Jesse "Soul in the Hole" Jackson is referencing? The other guys names all made sense to me, but I'm not getting this one. Hopefully it isn't talking about someone's 'hole'.

- Please drop "niggas" when Jesse Jackson says "Keep hope alive...niggas..."

- Please drop "bitches" when MLK says "I have a dream team... of bitches."

- Please drop "nigga" when Malcolm X says "Hey, White Man, look at that nigga over there with that white woman."

- Completely bleep the word "hand" (as part of "hand job").

- I want to make sure that "muff diver" was NOT in the show. Thanks.

- We just reviewed the segment and would like the following items removed:

Finger in the butt reference
Anal reference
Hitting reference
Hitting with a closed fist punch reference
Tongue in ass reference
Sit on face reference

The rest of the jokes will probably work although a few items (doggie style and 69) will be bleeped in a version of the show that will air in early day parts.

- We can not infer the Pope masterbates.

- We can not say Mother Theresa was anally raped.

- We need her dad to sign a release saying he will not sue over her saying he walked out on their family.

- As a rule, we like to avoid talking about Nazis.

...and the #1 one conversation from a network S&P department...

"She refers to sleeping with 'Ramone the night editor.' A few questions. 1) Do you have a night editor named Ramone? 2) Is there any one on the staff named Ramone? 3) Did she in fact sleep with him? 4? If not is she willing to sleep with him before this airs so the statement is a fact?"

You gotta love my job.


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