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Tweet-A-Palooza From the Death March With Cocktails, Vol. 1

Hugh Laurie, PBS, MTV Networks, Jerry Lewis, tweet-tweet

A lot has happened on The Death March With Cocktails, but not all of that has appeared online at The Hollywood Reporter. This is an event that just begs to be a Twitter-fest. So, while gathering up info from the panels, execs and whatnot, while also live-blogging and prepping columns, I’ve been tweeting regularly. Here’s a backward timeline of what’s been seen and said so far at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, in 140 characters or less per entry.  You can always follow along at: @BastardMachine. The event never ends. Well, no, it just feels that way. It ends on Aug. 8. Until then, tweet-tweet. Here goes:

TCA Summer 2011 Coverage on THR

PBS: Great Performances: Hugh Laurie: Let Them Talk -- A Celebration of New Orleans Blues

Hugh Laurie is about to be here for his Great Performances, Let Them Talk: A Celebration of New Orleans Blues. Yes, he plays the piano.

“This is closer to my heart than most things I’ve done.” Hugh Laurie

I can tell you from the clips that Hugh Laurie is having a blast doing this special. And no, he’s not like Davis from Treme.

“The first blues record I ever heard was Willie Dixon. The first artist I got into when I was very young was Muddy Waters.” Wah-turs.

STORY: Hugh Laurie Could Forgo Acting for a Musical Career

Was he seen as interloper? “That’s still in the balance. Jury’s still out.” He’s got a record out. And this film.

“I haven’t had a verdict one way or another from New Orleans.” 

“That reference is completely lost on me.” Critic uses MLB reference...

“There I was sharing a room with my heroes...And who do I think I am...They were to a man and woman incredibly generous.”

Laurie says that if they were rolling their eyes behind his back, which he says self-deprecatingly, they didn’t let him know at all.

“Oh, a million miles” from their talent. He’s honest.

It’s always dangerous, as you Treme fans know, to walk into New Orleans and try to play. He didn’t embarrass himself, is my guess.

“I think of that time with great affection.” His early comedy days. “I’ve been allowed to reinvent myself by coming to this country.”

The original question was how he feels when people in the States have no idea that he’s considered a comic genius in his native country.

“I do. I’ve had that in my head for many, many years.” Does he have thoughts about dropping acting to play music for a few years.

“I can’t deny I had the most extraordinary experience doing this record and this film.” Says he’d do it again tomorrow at 6 a.m. if asked.

“I have seen some of them, I haven’t seen them all.” Laurie on Treme. He doesn’t like to watch dramas while he’s doing his own show.

“Say that I love it.” - Laurie on what he thinks of the music on Treme. He hasn’t seen enough of it.

“It has always to me exuded a spirit of love and live, happiness and joy. But at the same time it has a mournful side to it.” New Orleans.

“It was without a doubt the most frightening thing I’ve done. To stand up and play music to an audience...”

Singing with an American accent. “Yes, you’re right.” “I think it simply demand an Americian approach. It’s an American idiom.”

“Personally I don’t want to hear Puccini in English.”

“I can only say that’s how it came out of me. Having spent 40 some odd years listening to this music, that’s how it came out of me.”

Laurie did check out some of the Katrina damage, of course. But the city’s natural desire to rebuild, carry on, express joy, moved him.

“This city will rise again and again and again, because it is indomitable.”

Hugh Laurie, vinyl album collector.

“I was grabbing handfuls of the stuff.” - Laurie at a record story in N.O. Featured in the film.

“This is not going to come my way again.” He almost said no to the idea of the record, then caught himself before the word got out.

Laurie’s crazy passionate about music. This is undeniable. He said he leaves “House” and dreams of playing songs on the ride home.

He hears a song in a production truck, wonders why he’s never tried to play it, gets home, plays it until 2 a.m. and has to be up at 4 a.m.

Why is it that the Brits love our old blues and jazz more than we do? Laurie is just one of many w/stories about devouring record bins.

Smokey Robinson is up next. Then he’s going to play some tunes while we nosh. Just fyi. But, back to Hugh Laurie...

Ooh, Laurie is now explaining why the Brits love our music while we turn our backs on it. “It’s odd. I don’t know why it is.”

Joe Henry produced the album. Helped select the songs. Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas on album. Plus, Sir Tom Jones. Hmmm about the last.

Laurie rode his bike around a lot. A journey he loved. Yay for urban biking! Totally into that. No spandex, just ride A to B.

“There’s a lot of bike riding there.” Maybe I’ll interview Laurie about commuter biking.

“I bought a car (for trekking to New Orleans). In fact, the car is parked outside. You can touch it if you want. “

OK, session’s over. Thanks for enduring all the tweets today from press tour. The drinking lamp is lit.

PBS: America In Primetime, featuring a panel of Phil Rosenthal, creator of Everybody Loves Raymond, Felicity Huffman plus Linda Wallem and Liz Brixius, co-creators of Nurse Jackie on Showime.

STORY: Scripted Showrunners: Reality Television is Killing Scripted TV

I like that the first question was about why the series was created, because it’s not meant to be a concise doc of primetime TV. Then, what?

Focuses on 4 TV icons: Man of the House, the Crusader, the Independent Woman and the Misfit.

@BastardMachine Ray and I are in that doc talking #menofacertainage. Tell @PBS that its only fair they pick up Season 3. (Sent from Mike Royce, who created Men of A Certain Age, a show I love. Or loved, since TNT canceled it.)

@MikeRoyce Median age of PBS audience is like 65+. Your show is Gossip Girl to that crowd.

@BastardMachine PERFECT. Always thought our proper role was as some network’s eye candy.

@MikeRoyce Good part is that if the ratings aren’t there, they could do a pledge drive. I think you’re onto something here.

“It’s a beautiful valentine to television.” - Wallem Oh, so that’s the point.

“Our show confused people - is it a comedy or drama?” - Wallem, of “Nurse Jackie.” No confusion here. It’s a drama. Never been funny.

“Let’s not fight. I get so much of that at home.” - Rosenthal, when two critics w/mic’s try to shout over each other.

This four-part series is as flimsy as some of my column ideas.

“Stuff from Jackie is definitely going to influence someone six years down the line.” - Brixius. Like, have a story, not just an idea?

Wallem says Bob Greenblatt, from Showtime going to NBC, is a great thing because he’ll shake it up. Um, not this fall he won’t.

Wallem says “we read you guys.” Uh-oh.

This has been a long session and I still don’t know what the point of the doc is or why the series was made in the first place.

Rosenthal says he’s being told that Raymond will become the most produced show in the world. It’s being exported everywhere.

“This is the best series I’ve ever seen about television.” - Rosenthal. “You’re not going to see a show like this.” Skipping jokes here.

I thought this session was over like 20 minutes ago. Bust out the drinks, PBS. Let the government get us looped.

PBS: Nova: Fabric of the Cosmos.

Brian Greene, PBS’s science rock star (they’ve got a couple of these) about to talk about The Fabric of the Cosmos. Nova: Respect.

Every time PBS talks about string theory and alternative universes, I want to crank the Eels. And if you get that, I adore you.

If you didn’t get the reference, check it: http://bit.ly/Wuu3v Also, my review from SF Chronicle is in the lower links. Go E. Fantastic documentary, fantastic band.

Critic just mentioned reading Greene’s book last night. I’ll believe a lot of things, like multiverses, but not that.

Brian Greene just said he doesn’t have a TV. The room hisses and boos.

Greene says the only thing they watch (with no TV?) is Peep for his kids. Peep is not on PBS. One PBSer yells out Elmo from the back.

Greene does make a good point, theoretically, kids might be able to understand these complex issues because adults stick to old theories.

Brian Greene is blinding us with science. Just had to get that in.

There’s a great moment here where Brian Greene and Woody Allen are being discussed in context with pursuit of knowledge. But, tangent.

It concluded with Woody sending Greene a postcard and inviting him to Midnight In Paris which has - tada—parallel universes!

PBS: A few bits from the executive session:

PBS in the hooooo-uuusse! (Yeah, I know, doesn’t really work in this context.) Anyway, PBS is here for the weekend.

As much as I love PBS, I hate the argument that it continues to make: That you can’t get its quality anywhere else. Not true.

Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS, has spent most of her executive session here pushing that notion. It’s a talker, just not true.

MTV: Just heard Linda Ellerbee. Now they’re showing a clip from Hot In Cleveland. I’m trapped!

After the Hot In Cleveland clip aired, all the MTVN press people clapped and TV Land exec said “Thank you!” Wasn’t us, my friend. Wasn’t us.

We’re now seeing clips from new TV Land series The Exes. Laugh track. Obvious jokes. Again, trapped!

Pretty much just waiting for the Beavis and Butthead panel, which I’ll live blog.

MTV just showed a clip for its new animated series, Good Vibes. I’ll be more likely to review Moby Dick first. Which means...no.

Current MTV session is for Awkward. It premiered July 18. Watched it but didn’t review (time issue). Much better than I expected. Others?

“I don’t think I reinvented the wheel with this show. I just tried to do something that was honest.” Lauren Iungerich, series creator.

Iungerich said John Hughes was a major inspiration for her. Makes sense...

David Janollari, head of MTV, just stunned Lauren Iungerich by saying he’s picking up her project Dumb Girls. 20something girls...

MTV just showed a Jersey Shore clip from Italy. Damn, another Silkwood shower coming up.

New MTV series I Just Want My Pants Back doesn’t look nearly as bad as that awful title. Directed by Doug Liman. Set in Brooklyn.

Series is written and created by David J. Rosen, based on his book of the same name. Yeah, but still.

Got a feeling I Just Want My Pants Back could be a real surprise, ala Akward. That title is killing me, though.

Starz/Encore:

No need to get too worked up about a Torchwood renewal. Chris Albrecht from Starz says it's Russell T. Davies' call. And inspiration...

Chris Albrecht was instrumental in making HBO what it is, but he's really got his work cut out for him at Starz/Encore.

Jerry Lewis just yelled from the green room, "Hey, Chris, I'm gonna have to shave again!" I think Jerry's ready to take the stage.

And the award for least-promoted two-part movie: Moby Dick. Airing Monday. As we just found out on, um, Friday.

Moby Dick - you probably don't need a synopsis - stars William Hurt, Ethan Hawke and Gillian Anderson. I'm sure they're pumped.

Jerry Lewis documentary on the channel. He's in the house, obviously, to talk about it.

Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis is the doc and the clips, filled with celebrities raving about him, looks really good.

Lewis doc is on Encore in the fall. No date announced. Better that than starting on Monday.

Jerry Lewis has now mentioned at least three times how difficult the room is. Again, not Comic-Con.

Jerry Lewis is 85. Harry Belafonte is 84. They've both been here. Just letting you know. And now Lewis is hating on American Idol singers.

"I don't let people in my family use the term TV. That's stupid It's television. It's a miracle. And it deserves that respect."

"You're gonna put Lawrence of Arabia on that stupid son of a bitch?" Lewis no fan of the iPhone.

By my rough count, Lewis has said god-damn or version of it, 7 times, "stupid" 9 times and son of a bitch once. I love him.

Lewis given softball on Twitter and Facebook question...he's not biting...yet.

"We're not going to have human beings in 20 years. That's all. People are not conversing."

This Jerry Lewis session is now officially epic.

"You know damn well who I'm talking about." Nope, not really, but keeping going.

Lewis says he misses Dino every day. God damn it.

"I met him at Phyllis Diller's concert." Producer on first meet up with Lewis. You don't hear that sentence every day. It made laugh.

Also, Lewis has told two women what his room number is.

"Old people get crotchety. I'm told."

Writer next to me: "He's a mixture of funny and obnoxious." That's pretty close to true. Also, kind of a lecturer. Dude's got energy, though

He's lecturing now.

You have to be a good man to do good work." And yet, I heard that as "You have to be a Goodman to do good work."

Still lecturing. Just fyi.

Lewis won't tell us what his role is for the telethon. Why not, critic asks. "Because it's none of your business." Um, really?

That was the last question. He was leaving, then came back to tell a story, which I think is turning into a lecture.

Still going. It's a long story that...wait, it was a joke. Punchline: "I had sex with a parrot and I thought you were my son."

Emal: Tim.Goodman@THR.com Twitter: @BastardMachine