Stars walk strike’s picket line



Tina Fey


There’s a hilarious Associated Press story that was moved on the wires this week showing Tina Fey and Saturday Night Live cast member Seth Myers walking the picket line in front of NBC’s Rockefeller Center headquarters in Manhattan, with a big double-decker, open topped tour bus parked next to them – as predicted, the best stargazing for the next few weeks at least will be on the picket lines.


In a Washington Post story, the indispensable Lisa de Moraes surveyed the scene, and noted how many on-camera personalities are also writers, and even producers. Lorne Michaels, executive producer and creator of SNL, admitted to the New York Post that he’d likely be doing his time on the picket line, and the set of The Office was reduced to shooting just two scenes on Monday when star Steve Carell didn’t show up for work and Rainn Wilson called in sick, while B.J. Novak joined fellow actor/writers such as Mindy Kaling walking the picket line.

As promised, late night talk show hosts such as Jon Stewart vowed to pay their production staff for at least a couple of weeks even if their sets are dark, and Jay Leno was spotted at the NBC picket line in Burbank handing out Krispy Kreme donuts. A writer on a weekly Fox talk show was injured on the picket line outside Hollywood’s Sunset Gower Studios when a man in a Honda Element made good on his threat to run over striking writers who didn’t get out of his way.

Responding to yesterday’s column on the strike, a reader wrote that “It comes as quite a surprise to read that the unfunny drivel Jay Leno spews out in his monologues is actually written by someone (who even has the nerve to accept payment for it). They should be embarrassed.

Any time I've watched the programme, there's always another lame, hackneyed Bill Clinton ‘joke’, for e.g., or something equally ho-hum. Isn't it considered against the child labour laws to hire grade 7 kids as writers?”

Right on cue, Ellen Gray of the Philadelphia Daily News speculated that Craig Ferguson and David Letterman were the late-night hosts most likely to come back from reruns with shows tailored for these writerless times – during the 1988 writer’s strike, Letterman was the first to return to the air during the 22-week strike delivering his own monologues, even shaving on air to kill time, while Gray imagined that Ferguson’s monologue sounded like it was delivered off the top of his head. Leno, on the other hand, is supposed to use his writers as water wings and safety net, so let’s hope he upgrades the Krispy Kremes to muffins or low-fat cookies; he doesn’t want them coming back to work porked-out and sluggish.