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Cocktail chatter with Jeff Garlin and Mark Cuban in Los Angeles

Posted by: Neal Justin under Behind the scenes, Television Updated: August 5, 2013 - 3:23 PM

Rebel Wilson, star of ABC's "Super Fun Night"

 

LOS ANGELES -- What happens when a network hosts a press day without providing much of anything press-worthy?

That's the question that faced TV critics Sunday when ABC decided to post a schedule so low key that the biggest news was a week-long tribute to "Shark Tank" featuring favorite repeats of past episodes.

The lone exception: A private screening of Joss Whedon's "Agents of SHIELD." It's a little cornier than it needs to be, but overall it's got some great jokes, great stunts and a great performance from lead Clark Gregg. Along with "The Michael J. Fox Show," this is the closest thing to a slam dunk that the networks have this fall. More info closer to the launch.

The rest of the day was so uneventful, that critics were more intent checking out Facebook than listening to panels, something comic Jeff Garlin noticed from the stage. "The Goldbergs" star playfully ripped into the distracted even approaching one writer who had his headphones on.

I talked to Garlin later that night at a rather lackluster party in the hotel ballroom.

"Yeah, it took me about 10 minutes to figure out the room and then Idived in," Garlin said. "That's what happens when you've been doing comedy for 31 years."

Also at the party:

"Shark Tank" judge Mark Cuban ranted on and on about the stupidity of the baseball commissioner, knowing full well he couldn't get fined. The Dallas Mavericks owner also predicted that, if the Timberwolves could stay healthy, they would be a playoff team. He sung the praises of Kevin Love. "I'd sign him in a minute," he said.

Simon Templeman, who plays the ego-driven alien on the properly silly "The Neighbors," seems genuinely thrilled that his sitcom had been picked up for a second season. We talked at length about Americana music and our mutual love for Bob Dylan  and Richard Thompson. His jaw almost dropped to the floor when I told him that Dylan had recently covered Thompson's "VIncent Black Lightning" in concert.

Finally, got a chance to chat with Isiah Whitlock Jr., who stars in the upcoming drama "Lucky 7." You best know him for playing State Sen. Clay Davis on "The Wire" and for his sweet supporting role in "Cedar Rapids." Despite being a fan, I had no idea that he attended Southwest State University in Marshall, Minn.

Huh.

 

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