Sunday, January 24, 1999

Dick Clark tunes into Keith Glover




BY JIM KNIPPENBERG
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Herewith a batch of newsy tidbits picked up here and there on the party and bar circuit ...

        NEWS ABOUT VISITORS: Don't know when, but look for Dick Clark to pop into Playhouse in the Park to see Thunder Knocking on the Door, the bluesy play by Keith Glover.

        Turns out Clark is in the throes of developing a musical using Motown hits. He lined up the rights, then lined up writers to do the book. Namely, Glover, a hot commodity in theater circles right now, and the equally hot George C. Wolfe, producer of New York's Joseph Papp Public Theater and Jelly's Last Jam and Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk.

        They're at work already, which is why Glover got so many calls from Clark the past two weeks. As if he didn't have enough to do, fine-tuning and rehearsing Thunder eight and 10 hours a day.

        It opened Thursday at PIP.

        NEWS ABOUT LOCALS: So is it time to update Cincinnati comedian Chip Chinery yet?

        Guess so, 'cause a ton of things are happening right now.

        Chinery, formerly of Anderson Township, was a Channel 9 cameraman who said the heck with it, quit and became a full-time comic.

        A huge favorite locally and on the club circuit, he got fed up with all the travel, said the heck with it and in 1995 moved to Los Angeles to have a real go at it.

        Which is where we find him today and busy as all getout.

        With Jay Leno, for instance: He starred in a skit Mondaycalled “Patch Madam,” wherein he played a john who thought he picked up a call girl for a romp. Turns out she was a female Robin Williams type who couldn't settle down long enough for Chinery to get his money's worth.

        With 3rd Rock From the Sun, for another instance: Last week he taped his fourth appearance as the Maintenance Guy, a bumbling sort who never gets much done. Kind of a foil for John Lithgow's character. No word on when it will run.

        With TV commercials, for still another instance: He has a Bud Light job on even as we speak. Ditto, Ocean Spray, Payday candy, Buy.com, as in Internet shopping, and Geico Insurance. Plus, he was just named national spokesman for KIA automobiles.

        Which has him busy, but not too busy to gloat: “Oh yeah, it's also warm here. How about there?” he asked during January's ice siege.

        We hate snide people.

        NEWS ABOUT EDITORS: Whoa, looks like yet another round of musical chairs, editor style, in the local news business.

        To wit ... the often controversial Randy Katz, last seen editing Everybody's News but let go in April of '98, is editor of the American Israelite, the paper serving Cincinnati's Jewish community. It's his fourth local paper: Rivertown Times in the early '70s, Cincinnati Reporter in the late '70s, News, and now this.

        He's here, confirms American Israelite owner and publisher Ted Deutsch, who also owns Key Magazine here. “I interviewed a bunch of people, and Randy was best for the job.” He's taking over for Phyllis Singer, who's moving to Israel soon.

        Hmm. Katz at AI? That has to mean changes. “It does, but down the road,” Deutsch says. “We'll be going for a more '90s look and new areas of coverage that will help us keep our audience, but also attract non-affiliated and younger Jews.”

        “Yep,” Katz confirms. “No big splash, but new opportunities for coverage. This is the paper I grew up reading; I'm not going to tamper much with all that tradition.”

        Psst! appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Have an item to report? Call Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.

        Psst! appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Have an item to report? Call Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.

KNIPPENBERG ARCHIVE