Off Limits

Joke's on you

The $500-an-hour man, lawyer Steve Farber, was roasted Tuesday at a luncheon benefiting the I Have a Dream Foundation. And how appropriate was that? Farber apparently believes so strongly in the concept of sponsoring kids' education that every year, he adopts the entire freshmen class of the Colorado Legislature, then continues to fund them and keep a close eye on their activities until they graduate from the legislature and become grown-up lobbyists of their own.

Just kidding. We think.

And for more laughs, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, a former member of Farber's firm, appears in a new gag book from Modern Humorist called My First Presidentiary: A Scrapbook by George W. Bush. The book, done second-grader style, includes a memo from Dubya to Norton that begins with this: "Dear Gale: First, I want to say that I know how you gals hate the word 'secretary' so feel free to put 'Administrative Assistant of the Interior' on your business cards." And later: "I have a couple of suggestions for your department. Here are some things I do not want you to put on the Endangered Species list: 1.Hamburgers 2.Veal 3.Tater Tots. Broccoli and canned peas are okay to put on, though."

Joanne Ostrow, radio and TV critic for the Denver Post, could tell Gale a thing or two about what it's like to be on the receiving end of a joke. Three years ago, she was nailed by Candid Camera during a TV critics' convention. In the skit, Peter Funt, disguised as a bellman, tried to put Ostrow in a hotel room without a TV, a perfect scenario since she was at the convention specifically to watch TV.

Even funnier, though, is that Candid Camera, the original reality show, is so square when compared to Survivor and Temptation Island that Candid reruns, including the Ostrow episode that aired a few weeks ago, are now seen on the PAX network, Channel 59, which runs only "shows that embody strong values" and are "free of excessive violence, explicit sex or foul language." These also include reruns of Eight Is Enough and Touched by an Angel.

"I never thought I'd find myself in the same company as Touched by an Angel," says Ostrow. And even though CBS has since canceled Candid Camera, she still thinks it could survive in a Survivor world. "The form holds. And now that they've raised the bar, it still holds up. It's pure and innocent reality TV."

But if that doesn't sell, she adds, "I'm sure they could ratchet it up and make it Candid Camera 2002. I don't know. It's these simple ideas that are always the best."

 
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