PASADENA, Calif. — What’s in a name? Can mortgages be part of a new gun control plan? Is FX really giving “Louie” a year off? Can Mixed Martial Arts eventually become a more popular sport than the National Football League?
All right, you might think the last question is more off-the-wall than the mortgage question. But a critic at the semi-annual Television Critics Association tour actually asked Ultimate Fighting Champion President Dana White that softball question.
I laughed to myself because Jon Jones, the UFC light heavyweight champion from Rochester, can’t even fight in his home city or his home state because there are laws against it. More on Jones later.
White’s answer? “We’re definitely bigger globally,” he said. “I’d definitely like to be as big as the NFL.”
And I’d like to be Bradley Cooper. In other words, even White realizes that the Buffalo Bills will win multiple Super Bowl before MMA is bigger than the NFL.
Back to what’s in a name? W. Kamau Bell, the host of FX’s late-night show, “Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell,” was asked what the W stands for.
It turns out his first name is Walter but the host wasn’t willing to use that name in the title. “’Totally Biased with Walter Bell’ sounds like an insurance program,” explained Bell to laughter.
Bell’s show, which returns at 11 p.m. on Thursday, is produced by Chris Rock, who also is his mentor. A critic reminded Rock that once upon a time his act included a line that guns should be free but that bullets should cost $5,000 each. Rock didn’t take credit for the movement afoot to charge for ammunition.
“No,” said Rock. “I wrote a joke. It was pretty funny. People liked it. I am a comedian.”
Then he told another joke that gun control advocates might consider using as policy. He believes that people should need to have a mortgage to buy a gun.
“Every mass shooting is done by a guy who lives with his mother,” noted Rock to some laughter. “I honestly believe you should have a mortgage to buy a gun. No one with a mortgage has ever gone on a shooting spree. A mortgage is a real background check.”
Banks shouldn’t worry if Rock’s comic suggestion is implemented.
“You know if you go to jail for 30 years you still have to pay your (expletive deleted) mortgage,” cracked Rock.
Now on to “Louie,” the FX hit. Louis CK, who writes and stars in the Emmy-nominated series, is getting a year off from it because he asked for it.
Yet Charlie Sheen’s “Anger Management” is going to be on FX practically uninterrupted for two years. FX President and General Manager John Landgraf said the plan is to air 45 episodes for the next two years, with the other seven weeks of the year filled by holiday events and specials.
Landgraf added that Martin Sheen, Charlie’s dad, will be a regular character, appearing in about one-third of the episodes. “I think it is a better series if it is a multi-generational family series,” said Landgraf.
If you ask me, that’s a long way down for Martin from playing the President on “The West Wing.” You may remember that the wife of Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, Noureen DeWulf, is one of the regulars on the series so at least she was probably getting paid during the lockout.
Back to “The Ultimate Fighter.” On Jan. 22, FX is moving the series from little-watched Fridays to 9 p.m. Tuesdays as the lead-in to the critically-acclaimed “Justified.” This year, the reality series will focus on the families of the 14 fighters seeking the title. Jon Jones is one of the coaches.
He isn’t happy that he can’t fight in his native New York State and thinks that may eventually change. “I think it is inevitable,” said Jones. “It is growing rapidly all over the world and obviously all over America and it is going to take a lot of persistence and a lot of hard work to get where it needs to be.”
You might think that UJF primarily appeals to men and possibly men without mortgages. Think again. “You’d be surprised,” said White. “It is about 50 percent women.”
I’m very surprised.
I also was surprised that Jon Jones was willing to answer my question on whether he hopes his brother Arthur Jones of the Baltimore Ravens or brother Chandler Jones of the New England Patriots would win the Super Bowl with their teams. Both defensive players, who starred at Syracuse University, are playing this weekend.
“Chandler, being my younger brother, I want him to do extraordinary things,” said Jon. “But Arthur, being one who has been in the league longer, I naturally find myself rooting for the Ravens because I have relationships with individual players. I’ve been to their birthday parties, I’ve met their wives, their families, their mothers, so I feel more connected to the Ravens as of now. But to have the younger brother impress the older brother is every family’s dream, right. You always want the next generation to do better than the past generation. We’re all pulling for Chandler and New England. But Arthur’s the man I root for (now).”
Jon Jones said he is a fan of Syracuse football “forever.” But he isn’t a Bills fan even after the NFL team named former SU Coach Doug Marrone its head coach.
“I’m a Rochester fan,” said Jon Jones. “I love going back seeing all the places I originated from.”
Finally, Lindgraf said the popular comedy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” will have at least one more season and there is a “high likelihood” it will have two more seasons. Hopefully it will eventually outlast “Anger Management.”