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Pieces of Eight


Gurnee Shares Experiences

Political comedy on television was the focus of “An Evening with Hal Gurnee,” March 21 in Hendrix Theatre.

Gurnee, former director of television’s “Late Night with David Letterman” show and “The Late Show,” has worked with many of the “greats” in television history, including Letterman, Jack Paar, Mike Douglas, David Frost and Jimmy Kimmel.

During his presentation, Gurnee related his own experience working with Jack Paar, and narrated a clip from the pilot of “That Was the Week that Was,” one of the first successful news parody shows that originated in the early 1960s.

The program laid the groundwork for the popular “faux news” done successfully today by television’s Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert.

Following Gurnee’s presentation, ECU faculty joined together in a panel discussion. The panel was moderated by Bernard Timberg, associate professor in the School of Communication and author of “Television Talk: A History of the TV Talk Show.”

The panel included Thomas Douglass (English), coordinator of the Comedy Film Festival and Conference to be held at ECU in October; Eric Shouse (Communication), who worked as a professional stand-up comedian for seven years; Jody Baumgartner (Political Science), co-author of “Vote for Pedro: Film Comedy, Youth and Electoral Politics”; and Anthony Holsten (Communication), director and founder of the Oops! Improvisational theatre group in Greenville.

The event was sponsored by ECU’s School of Communication, Co-Curricular Programs and Cultural Outreach, the College of Fine Arts and Communication, and East Carolina HumorFest.


This page originally appeared in the March 23, 2007 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at