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by Peter Moskos

February 18, 2012

Up with Up with Chris Hayes

I've always loved doing radio interviews and never been keen on TV. Partly because most TV is so stupid. Why should I put on a suit to get driven to Manhattan (they don't like it if you make your own way to the studio) to stare into a camera and then say a talking point to somebody I can't see (and can barely hear)? And then, after the ever awkward slight audio delay, say one more thing. Then somebody says something and the host pats himself on the back for such an in-depth discussion. Sometimes, rarely, it might even last 5 minutes.

Roger Ebert once said, “When writing you should avoid cliché, but on television you should embrace it.” Unfortunately, that's true. TV is a strange medium. And that's what you'll be thinking when you're done.

Or maybe it's one of those craaazy shows. Think about it the next you see somebody on TV--especially somebody huffy and "passionate," particularly if he's conservative and on some trading floor or doing an infomercial (I'd love to see a conservative infomercial on a trading room floor--not certain what they'd be selling)--think of how crazy (and scarily skinny) most TV people would look if they were behaving that way and weren't on TV. It's a very silly game to play.

Up With Chris Hayes was different. Don't like the political slant? Get over it. (Whatever happened to it being unpatriotic to criticize the President during wartime? Oh, I guess that only applied from 2001-2009.) But leave that aside and think of what "Up With Chris Hayes" actually does.

It's an actually conversation. With real live human beings. People with whom, as a guest, you can make eye contact with and touch. It also is long (time flies when you're on the air... but I think I was there for 40 minutes). It's somewhat free form. And yes, the conversation really does continue unabated during the commercial break. (Usually there's just some mindless shuffling of paper until some techie gives the all clear.) Up with Chris Hayes is like the best of radio... but in living color. And at least now, a few years after my first TV appearance, I finally have a suit that fits.

Also, I was really tempted by those pastries in the center of the table. I wonder if they were tasty? I really wanted to shove them into my pie hole and sit back contently spitting out bits of sugar every time I talked. Hey, free is free! You can take the cop out of the uniform... but then you might have trouble getting the uniform back on the cop.

Here's the link to the video. It's segments 4 through 6.

[You can read more about the TV experience in general on one of my older posts.]

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