The final Primetime Kalan was this Saturday past, and I think the occasion warrants a show synopsis.
The audience took their seats to a DVD of the world's worst cartoons, projected on the back wall, and once the (sell out) crowd was settled, things got rolling. Elliott got up and did his monologue, about his recent 25th birthday, and thathis newfound adulthood sadly means that he'll never acquire the label "child prodigy." However, it's the perfect time for a retrospective, so he introduced that evening's show "A Celebration of 25 Years of Kalan."
To help explain why this anniversary show was also the final show, Elliott brought me up to interview him. After some tension, resulting from my no-holds-barred, hardball style (I quizzed him about why he was putting me out of work), he explained that he wanted to end things now so he could go out on top. I disputed his position that doing a show in the basement of an East Village bar was, in fact, going out on top, but Elliott remained unswayed. To my query as to why he refused to sell me the name for $10,000, so I could do "The Primetime McCoy," he said that he felt a spin-off would "weaken the brand," and that it wouldn't serve the core goal of "getting the Kalan name out there." He was firm in his decision to retire to his mansion, play tennis, and contribute the occasional joke to Letterman. When I asked to visit the mansion, he said no.
We then had a video from former Primetime Kalan director (and current assistant on the Flava Flav dating show Flava of Love), Joe Guercio. He wished Elliott a happy birthday, while casually knocking over several videotapes.
This was followed by an audio greeting from Brock Mahan, Elliott's longtime writing partner. He gave Elliott a touching testimonial, taking time out from his busy life of berating a Hawaiian desk clerk for not properly booking the Aloha Suite for himself and "LonelyHousewife69."
It was then time for a look back at Elliott's turbulent life and times. A video montage of scenes from the 80's gave way to the 90's, and then to black and white cartoons and footage of the 1936 Olympics. Finally, the scene shifted to the shooting of JFK, and the eternal flame, ending with a picture of Elliott and the caption "Elliott Kalan, 1981-2006." Elliott objected that the video made it seem like he'd died, but Erik assured him that it was just "in memory" of all the entertainment he's provided, specifically between the years of '81 and '06.
Erik went on to say that there were a few memorial notices from companies whose products Elliott had consumed while alive. Goldfish Crackers sent a notice recognizing Elliott life, and spoke of plans for limited edition Elliott-flavored crackers, "in the shape of all of Elliott's favorite things," including Spider-Man, Frankenstein's monster, and soft-core Cinemax porn. Coca-Cola also sent condolences, quoting Elliott's interview in "Beverage Aficianado Magazine," in which he'd stated his desire to be buried in a casket filled with Coke, and"slowly dissolve into his favorite drink." They also sent a complimentary bottle of Coca-Cola Blak. Lastly, the makers of black t-shirts sent a message saying that "When Elliott stopped wearing black t-shirts with old horror movie posters on them, tucked into black jeans, it stopped being cool."
Then The Daily Show's John Oliver got on stage, to deliver Elliott's eulogy, over Elliott's repeated protests that he was, in fact, still alive ("Please Elliott, this is going to be emotional enough as it is, without you standing there talking.") Oliver spoke about how difficult it was to lose such a man in the same week that we lost Augusto Pinochet, continuing about the parallels between them. He had the audience play a game, in which he invited them to guess whether a given quote was from Kalan or Pinochet. (Surprisingly, "Where's my Woody Allen boxed set" was from Pinochet.) He discussed rumors that Elliott had done marvelous things like invent a new vowel, one that will now be lost to linguistic history. Summing up, he stated that he would always remember Elliott as "A man I met recently, knew for a short bit, and then died."
I had to duck out for holiday-related reasons at this point, but I know that Daily Show writer Scott Jacobson showed up to sing a heartfelt song.
Also, Elliott's son memorialized him, remembering the time his father took an unpaid internship at Dean Witter to become a stockbroker and support his family. "When I felt him hold me in his strong black arms," he said, "and felt his moustache bristling against my forehead, I knew everything would be all right." Elliott was touched, until he realized that it wasn't actually his son, just a guy reading the plot to the hit Will Smith vehicle, The Pursuit of Happyness. Revealed as actor Eric Zuckerman-- best known as "Doomsday Guy" from Stephen Spielberg's War of the Worlds, Eric announced that he would be signing autographs after the show for $5.
Then the show wrapped up with Elliott's traditional Ramble/ Rambo Room and Doogie Howser Computer Journal segments. A fitting end to an always goofy, sometimes great, often poorly-attended show.
However, cry not, because I expect to continue to work with Elliott (pretend estrangement notwithstanding). In fact, I will be appearing on his new East Village Radio show "Fist City" this Thursday the 21st at 9 PM - hopefully just the first of many appearances, that is, unless he gets too big for me, because... (important news to follow in the next paragraph)
...He's gotten a promotion. He's now not a mere Associate Segment Producer on The Daily Show, but a Segment Producer on The Daily Show. Thus, in between buying me drinks and lighting up imported cigars with $100 bills, he can call himself a television producer without the slight twinge of semantic guilt he felt in the past. Congratulations, Elliott! And Happy Birthday!
Elliott Kalan: 1981 - 2006