Getting the Giggles on the News Set

Joe’s got a good post over at his website about funny moments that hit the air live. I hate to admit it, but I got the giggles one night while reading copy at WJSU in Anniston, Alabama.

The story was about an 80 year old man charged with killing his wife for hiding the remote control to the tv. I know, that’s not funny at all. But the next line in the story was “Police say the elderly man then tried to commit suicide by hitting himself in the head with a hammer.”

When the words came up on the TelePrompter, I clearly pictured this old man with claw hammer in hand. I somehow snickered my way through the rest of the story and tossed it to my co-anchor who was far more mature than I was. I’ve got the tape of that somewhere. Maybe I’ll post it on YouTube someday.

But this discussion also reminded me of the absolute funniest clip I’ve ever seen from a live tv show. It’s out of Holland and the anchor is interviewing a couple about sex with a handicapped spouse. The anchor is fine, until he finds he hears the man’s voice.

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2 Comments

Filed under Misc.

2 responses to “Getting the Giggles on the News Set

  1. Anonymous

    Several years ago, when WHNT was still on the mountain, we had a weekend anchor named Hoyt Harris. One Sunday night he was doing the 10 PM news and the story delt with the execution of a Saudi Prince who had killed the Saudi Arabian King. Something set him off about the end of the story and I had to go to black and the commercial so that he could settle down.

    Bob Alverson

  2. Hoyt Harris

    Bob is absolutely correct, for I was that weekend anchor at WHNT in the mid-70s. King Faisal had been assassinated, in full view of many witnesses, by his nephew, who was to be examined in the coming days by psychiatrists who would determine, as I wrote, “whether he was in complete control of his FACULTIES when he allegedly killed the king last week. But when I read it on the air, I said, “whether he was in complete control of his FACILITIES….” When I realized my error, I went back and corrected myself on the air. This is what started the laughter bubbling deep in my stomach. But it erupted in uproarious laughter by the time I had to read, “when he allegedly killed the king last week.”
    Bob Alverson, who was directing, punched out to black and to a commercial (a Pringle’s New-Fangled Potato Chip commercial, to be exact). My life, my career was flashing before my eyes. I had to get my s*** together because I was anchoring alone. Somehow, I managed to get through the rest of the newscast, after which someone told me there was a phone call for me. (I figured it was the boss, calling to fire me on the spot.) It turned out to be a viewer, who was practically choking with laughter when I picked up the phone. This person said, “That was the most hilarious newscast I have EVER watched. I LOVED IT!!”
    Ultimately, I wasn’t fired and, having survived the horrifying experience, am still anchoring some 33 years later. But I learned my lesson: when you have to read a story on the air about the assassination of a world leader, save the laughter for later!

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