You may know Paul F. Tompkins from Mr. Show, Tenacious D or The Sarah Silverman Program, or for guest appearances on series like Frasier, Weeds and Pushing Daisies, or for the stand-up career that has included Comedy Central specials, pop culture commentary on Countdown with Keith Olbermann and debating pop culture evils like Oprah and PETA on Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil.
But Best Week Ever fans – and as a recent BWE Tweetup in NYC proved, there are lots of us – have come to know and love the Philly funny guy as the host of our favorite pop culture wrap-up series. Tompkins, a regular talking head on the series, brought his comedic sensibilities, his endearing charm and, of course, his spiffy suits to the forefront in October 2008, when VH1 named him as host of the revamped BWE, now officially titled Best Week Ever with Paul F. Tompkins (Fridays, 11PM ET, VH1).
On the afternoon of a new Best Week Ever episode recently, I had the chance to chat with Paul about everything from the show’s new format, how he and the BWE team go about making us laugh every week and his favorite BWE guests to what TV shows he watches for fun, his dream job and his refreshing take on his career and, yes, what the “F.” stands for.
PS – Fans who follow Tompkins on Twitter will be privvy to inside scoop on the show, like recent Tweets from Paul about tonight’s BWE guests, Kris Allen and Adam Lambert.
Hey, Paul! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this today.
Oh, thank you for wanting to talk to me.
So, let me start with the format change. I loved the old show and I love the new format, but how did the change come about?
Oh, well thank you. That’s very nice to hear. I think it came about because the show had been going on for about four, fur-and-a-half years, and I think the feeling was, ‘Hey, we need to change it up a little bit.’ You know, it had been the same thing for awhile, and a lot of other shows on our very network had been kind of copying the talking heads style. So there was plenty of that out there, and I think there was an idea to mix it up a little bit and make it a much more written show, as opposed to the way it was, with comics riffing and stuff like that. It’s a lot harder to control the content (with the old format), but if everybody is there at the same time, I’m here with the writers, we write the show together throughout the week … It’s just a lot easier to produce the show and focus it and have a consistent point of view.
The new format is obviously driven a lot by your personality, too. Was it scary to be that front and center? It would seem to be a lot of pressure …
Yeah it is, because I hope people like me. It’s a lot of me, and, you know, there are people, I’m sure, who thought that a little of me goes a long way, and some who feel the other way, that they would like to see more of me. So it’s a tough thing to consider the people that have been viewers of the show already, and then people who have never seen the show before, maybe had no interest in the show before. How do we get new people, how am I presented to new people … it can be an intimidating thing.
Charlie Sheen, Russell Brand and Louis C.K. are getting most of the attention, but I’m most excited that one of the best new shows of last TV season — Wilfred – returns for its second season on FX tonight (10PM ET). Season one of the series ended with a cliffhanger — had Ryan (Elijah Wood) [...]
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