If my understanding is correct, the phenomenon known as "TV Upfronts" are the time for networks to show off their success — compared to the competitors — as well as highlight all the great things that the future holds for said channel. Is that right, resident expert?
"Seems about right. Also, open bars. And Kanye concerts."
—Andy Greenwald, Grantland TV Critic
"Staging a Kanye West concert" was the way Cartoon Network holding Adult Swim showed off at their upfront, held last night in Manhattan's Roseland Ballroom.
While it was a good show, and every bit the spectacle that was expected (expectacle?), in retrospect it was an appropriate venue to highlight the full range of emotions, reactions, and realizations that a Kanye West fan goes through at a Kanye West show.
Chris Elliott helped define the dominant comic mode of the '80s as a writer and featured performer on Late Night With David Letterman, headlined the ahead-of-its-time Cabin Boy in the '90s, and played Lily's deadbeat dad on How I Met Your Mother in the '00s. Now, as the star of Adult Swim's Eagleheart (produced by Conan O'Brien's Conaco), Elliott is doing for U.S. Marshals what Childrens Hospital has done for pediatricians: making them seem totally demented. Upon the release of Season 1 of Eagleheart on DVD (with dozens of extras, including the absolutely indispensable Kill Reel), and on the eve of its Season 2 premiere (midnight tonight), Elliott spoke with us about death punches, how to age-up a dead body in a bed, and the physical toll of playing a fake U.S. Marshal.
The Season 1 Eagleheart DVD set features clips from the show's first pilot. Can you describe the original concept for the show, and how it evolved?
The original concept that Andrew Weinberg and Michael Koman and Jason Woliner wrote and created was a show about an actor doing a show like Walker, Texas Ranger — Chuck Norris — so it's about a Chuck Norris actor, onscreen and off. So the onscreen stuff was a number of show-within-a-show snippets of the pretend show that this actor was doing, and then we follow him backstage. We did that pilot, and it came out fine; it was a half an hour, but Adult Swim responded more to the show-within-a-show aspect of the pilot, so what they picked up, really, was the fake show.