RUSSEL HARVEY'S "BUT SERIOUSLY, FOLKS..." (The pilot for "Politically Incorrect.") 1991. 30 min.
In 1991, I conceived, hosted and produced the original round table, politically incorrect comedy talk show, "BUT SERIOUSLY, FOLKS..." In my on-air comments during the pilot, I characterized my show as "politically incorrect." The four guests on my pilot were friends and colleagues from New York City Comedy Clubs, Mark Cohen, Mike Ivy, Adrianne Tolsch and Sarah Silverman, all making their television debuts. I sent a videotape of my pilot to Brad Grey, who was representing me as a writer and performer at the time. Today, Brad Grey is the Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. Back then, he was one of Hollywood's top young talent managers and was beginning his partnership with Bernie Brillstein: "Brillstein-Grey." Brad and I had been friends since 1968, when I was seven-years-old and he was ten. We grew up together at Camp Chipinaw which we both attended for many years as children and teenagers. When I pitched my show to Brad, I said, "I think it's something that could work on 'Comedy Central.'" I trusted Brad, "as an extension of our camp friendship." After viewing my tape, Brad wrote back: "Thank your for the videotape of 'But Seriously Folks'. I believe that round table shows... are a form that should come back to television, in fact it's a form that I've been working on for some time. I'd continue to pursue your show, however it's not something that my company can get involved with at the moment... the timing is unfortunate." Two year later, in 1993, Brad Grey produced "Politicaly Incorrect," hired Bill Maher as his host, and concocted with Maher the lie that "Bill Maher created 'Politically Incorrect' in 1993." When you watch my show, you will know that's a lie, because "Politically Incorrect" is virtually an exact copy of my show, in every relevant detail, from its tone and format to its set design. "Politically Incorrect" made tens of millions of dollars for Brad Grey, Bill Maher, Comedy Central and ABC, but I've never seen a penny. Brad Grey and Bill Maher built their reputations on the success of "Politically Incorrect," and have deprived me of being recognized as the true innovative genius who created the show. I'm now fighting back, and my first step in fighting back is by speaking out.
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