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Through the Wire

6/02/2006 8:00 PM Eastern

Contributor: Kent Gibbons.

Lewis Black: Too Raw for the KenCen

The Daily Show’s Lewis Black is featured in his second Home Box Office stand-up special June 10, from a sold-out venue in Washington, D.C. The venue is not the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, though, and there’s a story behind that choice, according to the comedian.

During a recent tune-up performance at a comedy club in Ontario, Calif., Black told the audience the special was planned for the prestigious KenCen. But then someone from the center sat down and viewed Black’s last HBO special, Black on Broadway, from 2004 and added up all the f-bombs dropped by the social and political humorist.

Black said he was surprised someone had the time to do that. More than 40 were recorded during the hour, which apparently was too big a number.

He wasn’t banned from the Kennedy Center. No, he could still film there, he was told. As long as he didn’t call the special “Lewis Black from Kennedy Center.” Or film the exterior of the building. Or use any other shots that would identify the location.

The upshot: the city’s Warner Theater is the backdrop for his new special, Lewis Black: Red, White and Screwed. An online rant (devoid of f-bombs) he shot to promote the special is now on HBO.com.

People With No Life Help Kathy Griffin Get One

As of last Friday morning, nearly 200,000 people had either logged onto Bravo.com or called a toll-free number to tell comedienne Kathy Griffin what tabloid-certain strategy she should select in order to escape D-list celebrity status.

The promotion was set up to help kick off the second season of her eponymous series on the cable network. At that point, the odds were looking good for a sex scandal between Griffin and Dame Judi Dench.

At our deadline on Friday, 167,784 people had voted on the site, and another 23,489 had called 1-888-kathydlist, according to Bravo. They are selecting from among proffered suggestions, and at deadline 39% said Griffin should spend some “meaningful time” with the grand dame and then release a sex tape.

Coming in second was the suggestion she adopt a baby from Namibia, followed by a plan to join Tom Cruise’s favorite organization, Scientology.

Trailing the leaders: a plan to give a manicure and pedicure to American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, a villain to Griffin fans because he tore her rented blouse and humiliated her during a past award show performance.

Won’t Come to Your Thing If You Don’t Give the Bling

Maybe it’s that we spend lunches at McDonald’s and can only afford vacations at the Best Western, but we remain fascinated by the gift bags used to lure rich celebrities to award shows.

The latest example is from the graft bag to be given to participants such as Colin Farrell and Jessica Alba on June 8 for participating in the MTV Movie Awards.

According to the network, the freebies include “the SUV of iPod speaker systems” by Altec Lansing Inc.; a free consultation with a Beverly Hills reconstructive surgeon, complete with complementary Restalyne; tequila in a VIP-only designer case; a free reading (“by phone or in person”) from an L.A.- area psychic; a $500 celebrity card to play poker online; a 40-Year-Old Virgin doll; crystal-studded license plate frames; La Costa Spa getaways complete with free services and a certificate from Mattel for collector Barbie and Hot Wheels brands (think Monte Carlo Barbie). The list goes on and on.

Recipients take care: that kind of swag is what got Lauren Bacall mugged by a jealous Christopher in a recent episode of The Sopranos.

Lyrical Stull Finds New Gig On the Public Radio Dial

Ex-Adelphia Communications public relations ace Erica Stull, who left the cable company at the end of 2005, has resurfaced as vice president of community outreach for Colorado Public Radio.

“I decided a year ago that this was where I wanted to be, and I’m thrilled it worked out,” she e-mailed The Wire last week. “There’s a lot of great work going on here, and it’ll be great fun to build visibility for an organization I really believe in. I’ll miss cable, but after my wonderful time at Adelphia, anything else would’ve been a letdown.”

Importantly, she’ll co-chair this fall’s annual Cable Positive event in Denver, a musical pastiche that pays tribute and pokes fun at all things cable while raising money for a local day-care center for families with HIV/AIDS.

Since the first “Positively Cable” in 1995, she’s also written or co-written song parodies performed there. (One memorable Stull number, to the tune of the Beach Boys’ California Girls, lamented the consolidation shift of cable jobs from Denver with the chorus “I wish they all could be Colorado jobs.”)

We’re sure she’ll stay current, but if you want to send her any cable song ideas, The Wire would happily forward them.

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