Edge

The 4-1-1 on Crank: A dyslexic dialogue with Crank Yankers creator Daniel Kellison

For those of us who don’t know what crank yanking is, we must never pick up the phone, or in this case: turn on the TV. After a successful first season and proportional sales of an “uncensored” album, Crank Yankers (a prime time show on Comedy Central featuring clever little puppets making real, reckless prank calls to unwary victims) has rung its way into the heart of the network’s producers.

As a result, it has been picked up (Get it? “Crank Yankers”…Picked up… OK, never mind) for another 20 episodes. So, before those hit the air, this reporter decided to “yank the crank” of one of the minds that spawned the series: Daniel Kellison, who also is the executive producer/co-creator of The Man Show and has produced in the past David Blaine: Street Magician and The Late Show with David Letterman.
The phone rings and, yours truly-disguised as this Special Ed fried-chicken-eating puppet-gets hold of Mr. Kellison:

Q: Did you get called Daniel-San a lot when The Karate Kid came out, Daniel-San?
DK: No.

Q: How many Emmy nominations does it take to never want to watch the Emmys again?
DK: They are boring even when you’re nominated. Most people leave immediately after their award is announced. I would guess that by the end of the show, it’s 95 percent seat-fillers.

Q: Do you think Rosie O’Donnell and Ralph Macchio (the original Karate Kid) would make a cute couple?
DK: Sven, I love the nonsensical free-association. Even with the earlier Daniel-san question, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Maybe that they’re both forever ingrained in people’s memories with bad 80s hair? Still, Rosie once yelled at me in her bra and panties. If that is the kind of thing that turns your crank, then yes, I suppose you’d find the two of them cute.

Q: Could David Blaine freeze, or possibly levitate, Rosie?
DK: Sven, are you from a non-English speaking country? Do non-sequiturs pass for humor in your homeland?

Q: In a Clash of the Titans-esque battle between Letterman and O’Donnell (in puppet form), which puppeteer’s hand would cramp up first?
DK: I’m going to just start playing along: Rosie.

Q: How many ziggy-zoggies (the beer chugging chant on The Man Show) would it take Paul Schaeffer (Letterman’s sidekick) to MC for Rosie? Three, perhaps???
DK: Again, I have no idea what this even means.

Q: Now that you’re down with Wu-Tang: do you think O.D.B. (Old Dirty Bastard) has a future in narrating a children’s show?
DK: I once saw Old Dirty Bastard-or Little Baby Jesus, as he prefers being called-with bloody Q-tips coming out of each nostril (draw your own conclusions), and his arms around two girls who couldn’t have been more than 15 or 16, staggering towards his dressing room trailer. So my answer is “yes.”

Q: Most things ABC-related are “critically acclaimed” so should 1991’s super group Another Bad Creation, the tender 10-year-old R’n’B trio (hit song: “At the Playground,” ya know?) release an album of magical music soon?
DK: Wow! I’m speechless. I have no fucking idea what you’re talking about.

Q: Ok here’s the crank: would you consider a dramatic Christmas special on Comedy Central, hosted by Letterman with Ralph Macchio as Santa and Rosie O’Donnell as Mrs. Claus, vs. David Blaine as a Magical Polar Bear that Steals Presents, ODB as Ol’ Dirty Rudolph and Another Bad Creation as the singing (perhaps evil) elves, to be a feasible idea?
DK: I’d definitely watch it.

Q: And would having a drunk Paul Schaeffer to MC the affair help things at all?
DK: Paul is a very good, funny Master of Ceremonies. So, yes.

Oh, my section editor has a question too:
Q: How “Manly” have you ever gotten with a girl?

We’re still waiting on a reply to the last question; but, perhaps the answer lies in the fact that Daniel Kellison was taking care of his three-year-old daughter while the first two questions of this interview took place.

Now, on to another question: could a pitch for an episode of Crank Yankers disguised as an interview be brought to an executive-producer/co-creator of the show? And, would he enjoy the “interview” and even like the whole idea? Well, we’ll have to see… right?

(Update: Nothing happened. Big whoop.)

Sven Barth can be reached at big_sven@hotmail.com

December 6, 2002

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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