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IFC (the Independent Film Channel) started airing a new half-hour talk-show, "The Henry Rollins Show", featuring the titular actor/singer/author. Though he looks like a muscle-headed metalfreak, Rollins is anything but when he speaks. Much like Dennis Miller and Bill Maher, his monologues/rants at the beginning are thought out, creatively written and hit the mark. Most of his guests are not media-darlings (Oliver Stone, Chuck D) and often only familiar to the true film autuer (director Werner Herzog). The questions Rollins asks his guests are intelligent and stick to the topics at hand, rather than rely on blatant promotions for their latest projects.
In the middle of the show, there are skits/sketches featuring either Henry Rollins or the "man/woman on the street" (the IFC "Soapbox"). Rollins sketches stick to his style and acerbic wit, whether it's his "Letters from Henry"(letters to Laura Bush, Pat Robertson, Ann Coulter and others) and "Rollins Reconsiders" (Henry "changing his mind" on topics as the Blackberry, the NRA, cosmetic surgery, etc.). Rollins' own sketches are good fun, especially the animated shorts based on his stand-up concerts. The "Soapbox" stays on a more serious level (which is the point).
The last part of the show is devoted to his musical guests, showcasing bands that are not in the mainstream but deserving to be heard (Sleater-Kinney, Jurassic 5, Frank Black, Death Cab for Cutie). The recording studio provided gives their performances a raw "unplugged" feel, which makes it more honestly entertaining. During the "End Credits", Rollins gives props to two different-yet-noteworthy persons for the week. It's always a historical figure very few have heard or know about, compared to a modern-day celebrity. Rollins' genius once again shines through as he finds the similarities between the two.
The show itself displays the basic necessities for a talk-show, showing its low-budget roots. Henry Rollins makes the most of it by providing not just his presence but with an intelligent presentation that makes it both informative and entertaining to watch. All other talk-shows should learn from this; "The Henry Rollins Show" proves that less can really give a lot more.
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