Grammys: Wild On …

David Wild is a busy man these days, so it was very impudent of me to pester him, but I have his email address, so there wasnt much he could do about it. Hes a contributing editor for Rolling Stone magazine and has written a few books, including the Friends? farewell retrospective two years back. But the reason hes appearing in this blog is he writes awards shows in the past, hes done the Emmy Awards, the MTV Movie Awards, the Peoples Choice Awards among others (he received an Emmy nomination himself for co-writing the post-9/11 tribute special America: A Tribute to Heroes?). Today, hes working 24/7 as head writer for the 48th annual Grammy Awards, airing Feb. 6 on CBS. And, as youll find out in this little Q&A, not only is he a busy man, but hes a very diplomatic fellow, as well.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge in writing an awards show?
A: My biggest challenge is to keep things moving, to get out of the way of all the much more talented people onstage, and to get invited to all the afterparties.

Q: How much of the music do you have to listen to in order to write the Emmy ceremony? How much of it do you like?
A: I listen to all sorts of music constantly — the only difference is that the Grammys provide me with the perfect excuse to my family. Often my wife will have to say, “Boys, leave Daddy alone, he’s busy listening to Kanye West for work.”
Q: How much of the writing is comic material and how much is place-keeping stuff like “He’s the funniest man in America; she’s not: Ladies and Gentlemen, Jim Carrey and Dame Judy Dench?”
A: I write jokes. I write serious stuff. Sometimes I write jokes that turn out to be serious stuff. Sadly, I do not write the songs. (Blogger’s note: This apparent reference to Barry Manilow strips Mr. Wild of half the cool points he earned for the Kanye West shout-out. Sorry, but those are the rules.)
Q: How do you feel when presenters mess up their lines or go off-script?
A: As for messing up, I cannot imagine such a circumstance. In terms of people going off-script? I prefer to think of it as celebrating the improvisational spirit at the heart of so much of our finest musical expression.
Q: How often does something bizarre happen during a ceremony that forces you to hastily write a bunch of punchlines referring to it? What was the oddest thing that happened on a show you worked on?
A: Suffice to say, live TV is never boring. The most surreal experience was having the leader of the free world tell my joke — not the current one, the guy from a place called Hope. Upon reflection, I’d have to say these questions are the oddest things I’ve ever had to respond to. (Blogger’s note: And that observation, from a guy who wrote Les Moonves’ material when he presented CBS’s May upfronts.)
Q: Is there any sort of factors that can predict how professional a presenter will be? Such as, say, a presenter who’s just there to plug an upcoming project not taking it very seriously as opposed to someone who’s dedicated to their work?
A: I love all my presenters — they’re like my children. Except the kid presenters, who are like my adults.
Q: How far in advance do you know the winners?
A: I know the winners when the viewers do — sometimes later because I’m backstage sweating. In fact, I’m sweating right now.

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