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Nothing Serious

Bob Colacello:

"Andy, as usual, wasn't sure what he wanted to do with TV, and, as usual, was constantly polling his friends and associates for ideas. When I told him about Marshall McLuhan's observation that the word phony entered the language after the invention of the telephone, and that 'People are phony on the phone,' Andy saw a new way to use an old idea.'Let's just do a TV show on the phone'. It can be people calling each other up and fighting.' He loved the idea of people fighting on TV, just so long as he wasn't in the middle of it.' But Andy,' I protested, 'you said I should do my book over the phone, and Pork is all phone calls; it's the same old thing.''No, it's not, argued the artist... One's a book, one's a play, and one's a TV show' (BC)

They started videotaping with Brigid Berlin and Charles Rydell as the people fighting, with Warhol coming up with a new title: Nothing Serious. Warhol thought it would be best to combine the fighting with interviews, soap opera and a talk show. Instead of fighting over the telephone, Warhol thought it would be better to fight over dinner, with celebrities talking about their new projects while the regulars battled. He thought the dinner table could be Maxime de la Falaise McKendry's because she wrote a food column in Vogue which she was hoping to develop into a cooking show for television. Warhol thought she could give recipes "when she wasn't interviewing and fighting... The day after each shooting when it was all played back at the Factory, we'd realize that it was just too amorphous and amateurish to make it into anything viable. Nothing Serious was really nothing serious." (BC141)

Vincent Fremont, producer of Andy Warhol's TV, Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes, and more recently, Pie in the Sky: the Brigid Berlin Story was also involved with the Phoney project which started out as Soap Opera. Fremont lists the date of the video as 1973. The tape of Brigid Berlin and Charles Rydell fighting was named Fight (1975). Fight, along with segments of Phoney were shown at the Whitney Museum in 1991 in Andy Warhol's Video & Television Retrospective. (UW72)

According to Vincent Fremont, Warhol's video project Nothing Special was "another idea that Andy had for the name of another TV series. There wasn't really a complete idea of what this TV series would be about, but we did various tests including monologues by different people, the best done by Brigid Berlin. Her monologue about money is one of the highlights. We also practiced with Brigid doing newscasts. I taped Paloma Picasso and Nicky Weymouth for a talk-show format, Angelica Huston and Joan-Juliet Buck as well." (UW74)

Later, Vincent Fremont and Andy Warhol also approached Lorne Michaels from Saturday Night Live with their video ideas:

Vincent Fremont:

"I was working on a TV version of Andy's Chelsea Girls with Victor Bockris. We took the idea to John Head who was working with Lorne Michaels at SNL. At that time, they had one Saturday a month available for other programming and were looking for other people to fill the slot. Lorne Michaels came to the Factory to meet with me, Andy and others. Andy did not accept the proposal because he felt we were not ready to do a one-hour special... Instead, Andy asked me to put together a video crew and learn about producing a TV show from the ground up. The art director for Interview magazine, Marc Balet, suggested I speak to a director, Don Munroe, who I hired to be the director for our TV shows and we built a team around him. Andy bought a broadcast quality Ikegami camera, and we started creating shows. We started on Manhattan Cable, Channel 10, and they Madison Square Garden network, and by the time Andy died, we had a series on MTV called Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes." (ibid)


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