Good Night and Bad Schtick

Mar 13, 2006  •  Post A Comment

NBC Universal Television Group CEO Jeff Zucker accepted Gold Medal honors in what may be record time from the International Radio & Television Society Foundation. He promised the NBC Universal colleagues-“The mandatory attendance thing seems to have worked,” joked Mr. Zucker-and industry peers who packed the ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan last Thursday that he’d have them fed, entertained and headed for home by 9:30 p.m., and he did.

That meant a brisk act by emcee Conan O’Brien at his biting best, nipping at the hand that feeds him (and that signed the contract guaranteeing he gets “The Tonight Show” in 2009), plus three songs by Zucker fave Natasha Bedingfield before the crowd had even been served what Mr. O’Brien called “filet of boof.”

All the more time to drink wine, m’dears, which made the full-frontal flop by Jim Cramer, the mad-manic host of CNBC’s “Mad Money,” all the more inexplicable. Mr. Cramer was unfunny in a very big way. He stayed too long on the stage. He stuck to a script of many pages.

“Booyah” when it’s read, rather than shouted, is not at all amusing. Throwing squooshy red bulls at well-appointed banquet tables and well-dressed people is not as amusing as throwing little red bulls at overenthusiastic “Mad Money” studio audiences that think Mr. Cramer’s “booyah” is as funny as William Shatner saying “Denny Crane.” For the millionth time.

If Mr. Cramer were a stock, Friday would have the day to sell. Short.

Still, he seemed to tickle some funny bones at one of the “Law & Order” tables that seemed ready to ride to the rescue more than once during the evening. When Ms. Bedingfield’s mike stand dropped from the stage to the dinner floor, Sam Waterston gracefully restored it to its proper place. And Chris Noth led multiple choruses of “booyah” from what The Insider has nicknamed the Booyah Boys.

But to paraphrase Mr. Cramer (The Insider thinks if you’re going to steal, steal from the worst, because they’re less likely to sue), this column is not about him.

It’s about an otherwise laudatory evening with Mr. Zucker, who, after receiving a hug from Mr. Cramer, said, “I have no idea what to say.”

The Insider does, and she’s certain it would cut another few minutes off the evening, should these circumstances ever arise again.

Putdown of the Week

Reporter to HBO press representative: Have I done something to offend you? I learned during host chat on “Live With Regis and Kelly” you had a “Sopranos” premiere party last night.

HBO press rep to reporter: We only invited 450 people.

Reporter to therapist: Could we take my antidepressant dosage up? And is it all right if I share it with Jim Cramer?