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SF Artists Attempt to Bring Variety Back to TV

Posted by on Jun 23, 2011 in BLOG | No Comments

One thing you’ll never be able to fault Sam Jack for is a lack of vision. The videographer and veteran of the 48 Hour Film project is launching his most ambitious mission to date: an attempt to bring back the late night variety show to San Francisco viewers. In Living Color, SNL and Kids in the Hall are templates of sorts for Jack’s Variety Society, set to air soon (with the help of sponsors, hopefully VERY soon) on San Francisco’s KOFY.

Thecommich met Sam a few years back on the production of a brilliant but yet to be released indie film. Ever a supporter of small businesses with big dreams, she decided a blog post might be in order. Sitting across from the “Yawning Zombie” – as he was called on set way back when – I found a passionate and focused dude with a real jones for entertainment. Here are some snippets of the convo:

THECOMMICH: What possessed you to start the Variety Society?
SAM: I grew up in the Bay Area and always loved the diversity in the people and their talent. I also grew up being a BIG fan of sketch comedy and late night shows.  I’ve always wanted to be involved in a show like that.  


Also,  why are there only late night shows coming out of LA and NY?  There’s tons of celebrities, actors, performers and musicians that either call the Bay home, or come through on their touring schedule.  I thought, if there’s a way to tap into that, to bring a show from the SF Bay Area to a national stage would be the ultimate.  


Finally, you only see actors, comedians sometimes, musicians and filmmakers on late shows.  What about other performers?  Community organizations?  Non profits?  Innovative start-ups?  Tech-savvy entrepreneurs? I’d like to break through that – hence the slogan”bringing variety back to late night.”


For instance: check out magician David Blatter as he takes a nail through the nose:



THECOMMICH: Who is the core group that works with you? How did you all come together?

SAM:  I’ve been working with Justin Lanelutter, the head writer, Frank Slodysko, audio technician, Colin Murray the director; George Brendon Fox VI, the assistant director.  We came together to work on the 48hr Film Project where you have to write, shoot and edit all in 2 days.  Over the years we realized we’ve galvanized quite a crew of production people, why not formalize it into something we can call our own. 


Dave Chappelle: Future guest?
Colin and I founded a video production company Viral Media Network, in 2010. We wanted to create a real network, of filmmakers, production staff & content. The host, Dan Sullivan and I are neighbors. He told me he was an improv actor, so we started talking about collaborating and discovered that we had a vision to do a late night talk show. 


THECOMMICH: Name 3 guests you would love to have on Variety Society


SAM: The first 3 that come to mind would be Mike Rowe, Dave Chappelle & Robin Williams.  All three either live in the Bay area or stay here a good part of the year.  Not only are they all funny,  but they all started small & continue to not let their success take over them.  For music guests, I would love to get Zion I, Crown City Rockers & Green Day on the show. 

THECOMMICH: What are the challenges putting up a show like this in San Francisco?

SAM:   Basically money related.  None of us are trust fund babies or have ties to venture capitalism so now we are trying to get sponsorship.  What we need is medium to larger companies to believe in us enough to take a small risk. The best part for them is they get advertising out of it. We’ll take that money, make a quality produced show and produce some compelling advertising, as commercials and incorporated into the show.


THECOMMICH: In one sentence – why should people watch your show?
SAM:  Because we’re not your typical late night show, and you’re going to see guests you won’t see on other late night shows: we’re bringing variety back to late night. 


Interested in performing, sponsoring or otherwise being a part of Variety Society? Check out their new Promo Video and head over to their website to contact them.


We’ll leave you (as most variety shows do) with a musical performance by hip hop group The Dime. Best of luck to the Variety Society!


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