Daily Archives: November 17, 2009

R.I.P., Ken Ober, the greatest Irish-French fight ever, and a truly superb “Curb”

There was a time, boys and girls, when I would rush home from school to watch a game show.

No, not “The 25,000 Pyramid,” my favorite game show ever. Not “Card Sharks” or “The Joker’s Wild” or “Sale of the Century,” all awesome in their own right (whatever happened to Summer Bartholemew, anyway?”

I’m talking about “Remote Control,” still the single-best thing MTV has ever foisted upon our popular culture. For those of you too young to remember (and I weep at that notion), “Remote Control” was a 30-minute trivia contest about music and pop culture. There were fantastic categories like “Sing Along with Colin,” “Inside Tina Yothers” and “Dead or Canadian” (where you had to guess, of course, if someone was dead or Canadian).

There was the wry humor of Colin Quinn. The saucy sexpot assistant, Kari Wuhrer (I totally loved her and her 80s outfits). The questions were hilarious, and when the contestants, sitting in oversized BarcaLoungers, were eliminated, they would be plunged backward through the set. Denis Leary and Adam Sandler, very early in their careers, were briefly on the show, too.

And of course, there was Ken Ober, the host. It often took my teenaged brain a few seconds to get his jokes, but he was funny, smart, and always kept the show moving. Seriously, “Remote Control” was awesome, and I’ve often wished the series would come out on DVD.

It’s been a rough year for us Generation Xers. First John Hughes, and now this. Ken Ober has died, at age 52. I haven’t thought about Ober in years, but it still makes me sad that he died. He was a very happy memory from my childhood, and now he’s gone.

Go ahead, people of my generation. Watch the “Remote Control” clip above. It’ll make you feel better on this Tuesday.

***OK, I’m not 100 percent sure this is real, in fact it’s probably not, but it’s one of the funniest damn things I’ve read in a long time. Here’s the background: Ireland and France are scheduled to play a World Cup soccer match soon in Ireland. So a guy from the French consulate writes a letter to his counterpart in Ireland, asking if a luxury box could be made available for Nicolas Sarkozy, who wanted to attend the game.

And from there, the hilarity and misunderstanding ensues. Seriously, this is awesome.

**Finally, a few words about Sunday night’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” I’ve been hard on the show before, because I felt like the last two seasons just weren’t that funny. But this year has brought several fantastic episodes, and Sunday’s took the cake.

I was wondering all season how they were going to work Michael Richards’ real-life racist rant into the Kramer storyline on the “Seinfeld” reunion, and never in a million years did I think it would present itself like it did. The scenes with Marty Funkhauser were, of course, wonderful, and the African-American, Leon acting like a Jew named Duberstein (“of course you’ve got to re-charge the mitzvah!”) was sublime. I’m glad Richards had the guts to confront the real-life demons in his life. Or maybe Larry David said he couldn’t possibly ignore it and just put it out there.

The final scene? I won’t ruin it for you. Go watch it. Seriously. Brilliant stuff.