Screen Savors: Saturday night shonda

In Galili's case, she needs to leave serious interviews to the news and stick with the funny stuff.

einav galili 88 (photo credit:)
einav galili 88
(photo credit: )
Actor Harvey Korman, a The Carol Burnett Show regular and, of course, Hedley Lamarr in Blazing Saddles, died not too long ago. We couldn't help but miss him as we suffered through Einav Galili Ba'a B'tov last Saturday night. We thought of Korman and The Carol Burnett Show because that successful variety show was the antithesis of what Galili, a funny gal herself, offers here. In fact, it might be worth it to summon the ghosts of Korman and Ed Sullivan to school Israeli TV bigwigs on what not to offer in a variety show. With all their bad attempts at variety programs, it may be that Israel isn't ready for them. Of course, we all know Galili from the fast-moving political comedy Mischak Machur and from Ha'olam Ha'erev, alongside Erez Tal and Avri Gilad, with whom she hosted the morning news until not too long ago. She is a charming, gfted comedian who is undermined by her material, which, at times, she can't even sell. Any opening monologue that relies on guys baring their bottoms for laughs is definitely in trouble. There were other dumb sight gags propping up the act such as Amir Peretz, the usual comedy punching bag. One other scene featured a man in Rome who, in setting up a rather sexist gag, tossed a coin into a fountain with his wish immediately fulfilled - babes frolicking in the water. Then, in a triumph of good taste, the opening segment ended. Regardless of gender, Galili, as a comedian, should have objected to this lowbrow stuff in pursuit of some real laughs. The result, of course, elicited huge guffaws from the hyperactive studio audience. OK, so the monologue wasn't great, but what about the acts, the interviewees, the sketches - anything better? Nope. The problem is that the program doesn't quite know what it wants to be. The first of two serious interviews featured an Israeli criminal attorney, in the wake of last week's bombing of a lawyer's car in Tel Aviv. The second was with a filmmaker who followed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert around. Neither was particularly revealing, other than to suggest that Olmert - shown working out - might have more luck touching his toes than avoiding an indictment. Galili's well-honed skills served her as an interviewer, but the guests weren't interesting. Then came time for pinot, funny sketches offered by Galili's co-stars. First up was Nati Kluger (Elvis, Haretzua), telling a bedtime story about a mother who always wanted to be a star, but something got in her way - a tractor. The skit ended with a swipe at the rival weight-loss program concurrently being shown Channel 10. Hilarious indeed. Actor Rami Heuberger (Mishak Makhur, Cameri Quintet) was totally wasted delivering an impassioned plea in favor of junk mail. Then, in another interview, this time with Ofer Shechter (Ha'alufa, Exit), Galili only managed to extract certain anatomical details better left unshared with everyone, let alone a family audience. By the time Sheri Alfi appeared to deliver a mind-numbing karaoke number we were anxiously waiting for the tape to run out. Did someone at Reshet (the show's production company) really think this was funny? Enough of Galili and back to the bigwigs. Here are some hints for future variety shows. We know Israelis love the lowbrow stuff, but have some respect and aim a tad higher - at least above the waist. Get interesting guests who people care about. And, here's a good one, let them do something entertaining, like going against character or having some fun. Have the hosts get out from behind their desks. Take a lesson from Ellen DeGeneres, who moves around her studio and New York, too. Even Letterman still moves around once in a while when his parts work. Leno's got "Jay-Walking," where he gets out and about on the street to ask dumb people easy questions, albeit with predictable results. These are people with Emmys, so I hope you're paying good attention. And most important is the host's identity. In Galili's case, she needs to leave serious interviews to the news and stick with the funny stuff. But first, you crazy bigwigs, check out a few episodes of The Carol Burnett Show and Saturday Night Live in its heyday. Israelis deserve a good variety show they can enjoy; something that blue and white should get right. Einav Galili Ba'a B'tov airs Saturday nights on Channel 2, shortly after 10 p.m.