Friday, February 10, 2012
Shameless plug: The Being Frank Show
This seemed unlikely. The Mayan calendar doesn't end for another 10 months.
Still, I found a copy at my local convenience store (still just 50 cents!) and there I am in the middle of a full page ad on page 33 as one of the guests on The Being Frank Show (late tonight at 1 a.m. on CHCH. Set PVR's accordingly).
The Being Frank Show is a once-a-week, late night talk show hosted by Toronto entrepreneur Frank D'Angelo. You know Frank--he's the guy behind all those Ben Johnson "Cheetah" ads. He's been seen for years on other ads where he's a goalie getting drilled in shinny games, all in the name of hawking one of his beverages.
Among his other enterprises, D'Angelo has a restaurant down on King St. West right opposite the Bell Lightbox. I was invited to his Forget About It Supper Club a few weeks ago to tape tonight's show along with fellow guests Peter Howell, film critic at the Toronto Star and stand up comedian Jeff Elliott.
Have to say this for D'Angelo; he treats his guests well. Lunch with wine, a full gift basket on the way out.
The show is shot down in the basement of the restaurant, but, really, if you've ever been in Craig Ferguson's tiny little studio in CBS Television City, there's not a whole lot of difference. There's even a fish tank in Frank's Green Room.
One thing D'Angelo has that Ferguson doesn't have is a band, and a pretty good one at that.
The first guy I see at the restaurant is Jim Tatti, the former Global sports anchor. He is D'Angelo's announcer and stands behind the bar on the set. As the show begins, Tatti gives the show a nudge toward broadcast legitimacy. D'Angelo comes out and banters with the band.
D'Angelo is no Leno or Letterman. He is, however, a big personality. He has the ego of a late night talk show host, an essential ingredient based on the ones I've been around. The man also looks good in a suit. What he could use is a Peter Lassally, a veteran late night showrunner, somebody who could cut the excesses and just say no now and then.
What surprised me and also Howell, I think, was that D'Angelo is great at the desk, mainly because he actually listens. There's no one-upmanship or joke attacks. He respects his guests and drives the conversation forward.
Given the dearth of late night talk shows in Canada, it is interesting to see the D'Angelos and others step up, buy time and try to create something. You could say that fools go where networks fear to tread. Would I say that about D'Angelo? Fagetaboutit.
Hamilton's J.R. Diggs has been trying for years and is still at it over on Another Crappy Canadian Later Night Talk Show (airing Saturday nights at 2 a.m. on Global). Former self-confessed drug dealer Jay Stoyan co-hosts The Jay Stoyan Show with Ashlee Monroe. It airs on Rogers and as of the last few weeks over on the Fox Buffalo affiliate WUTV (also tonight at 1 a.m.). Stoyan and Monroe are the Sonny and Cher of the new millennium, with a little Borat thrown in.
Stephen Kerzner, of course, paved the way as Ed the Sock, taking a local little Toronto show and exporting it all the way over to Australia and beyond. Ed's Nite Party and various incarnations ran for 16 seasons!
All of these guys have lured big names onto their shows. D'Angelo managed to get Tony Bennett to appear and says he's working on Al Pacino. You tell him it can't be done.
Tonight the guests aren't big names, but D'Angelo treats them that way. Check him out, then judge.