Battle of the Network Shows hereby starts a new annual tradition by naming an Entertainer of the Year for 2019. In choosing this performer, we consider all of what we consider the BOTNS universe, not just the shows and people we discussed on the podcast in the calendar year.
In fact, to be our Entertainer of the Year, one need not even be alive! Much like the beloved series we talk about on our show, people can enlighten us, impress us, and, yes, entertain us even if they are 30-50 years old. Maybe especially if they are 30-50 years old. The work lives on forever!
Our 2019 Entertainer of the Year is...Ed McMahon!
Edward Leo Peter McMahon Jr. has made multiple appearances on the podcast, yet not once in his most famous role: Johnny Carson's sidekick on The Tonight Show (His ALF appearance was in support of...Alf, not Carson). And we haven't even covered him in his best role: the wiecracking cut-up to Dick Clark's straight man on Practical Jokes and Bloopers. The fact that he gets it done each time is testament to his brilliance as a performer.
In 2019, he charmed us with his brilliant Batty-nominated performance in Legends of the Superheroes: The Roast (losing only to singular sensation Gary Deeb). He told jokes, he kept the program moving, and he did a convincing job of selling the punishing strikes from Solomon Grundy. You really get the feeling Grundy's ham hocks do even more damage than Carson's barbed tongue.
If that wasn't enough, though, Ed taught us all the true meaning of Thanksgiving in this remarkable number:
This presentation is no less spectacular for having occurred 40 years ago. McMahon brought so much goodwill and cheer--and, to be fair, a certain amount of vaguely creepy unease--that it lasted throughout the entire holiday season. Ever since I discovered this, I find myself wishing every day was Thanksgiving Day.
In today's busy world, it's a challenge to pull that off. However, at the click of a button, Ed can make you feel it IS that special time if only for a few moments. That combined with his other outstanding work makes him our Entertainer of the Year for 1979. Congratulations, Ed McMahon!