When Bill Maher Wanted Me Fired From Comedy Central: Art Bell

When Bill Maher Wanted Me Fired From Comedy Central: Art Bell

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My guest for Episode #57 is Art Bell, the creator of The Comedy Channel (which later became Comedy Central). He's also the author of the book Constant Comedy: How I Started Comedy Central and Lost My Sense of Humor, and co-host of the podcast “Constant Comedy.”

Today, we talk about Art's “favorite mistake” (it involves the comedian and talk show host Bill Maher) and topics and questions including:

  • The ad campaign for “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher” and how that ended up leading to an award
  • Why it's bad to surprise the talent
  • Did Al Franken walk out on “State of the Union: Undressed” because he didn’t know it was going to be live??
    • Was that show a better fit, the next year, for Dennis Miller?
  • Having to often talk Nancy Grace into going on the air on Court TV
  • Is it risky to write a memoir like this? Did you need lawyers involved to make sure you weren’t making a mistake?
  • Jon Stewart – on “Short Attention Span Theater, was it a mistake to fire his co host Patty Rosborough without taking to him? – telling or asking? He was surprised…
    • Mistake for them to not make him the original host of The Daily Show?
  • Mistake for Michael Fuchs to say the programming quality was a 2 or 3 out of 10?
    • You decided quickly it was a mistake to say you were quitting?
  • New York mag called the channel “the biggest flop in years”
    • Making adjustments?? PIVOTED and made changes as quickly as we could
  • Getting fired from Comedy Central and lessons learned

Scroll down to find:

  • Video player
  • Enter to win books from Art and other guests
  • Quotes
  • How to subscribe
  • Full transcript

You can listen to or watch the episode below. A transcript also follows lower on this page. Please subscribe, rate, and review via Apple Podcasts or Podchaser! You can now sign up to get new episodes via email, to make sure you don't miss an episode. This podcast is part of the Lean Communicators network.

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)


Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.