Living in balmy Los Angeles where only occasionally WGAW pickets get rained on this time of year, it’s easy to forget the hardship of frigid weather that WGAE strikers are enduring back in NYC. For instance, the WGAE last week picketed in intermitten snow squalls and wind chill that made temps of 31 to 33 feel like the high teens. Yet the picketers still turned out in Rockefeller Plaza last Wednesday and in front of News Corp last Tuesday. (That media giant owns My Space TV which came to town to hear pitches for new shows for its website). The NYC picketers walk the line bundled up against the cold in layers of clothes, including two pairs of gloves.
Which is why it’s all the more impressive that comedians and performers lending support that week have included Jerry Stiller (see photo left), Buck Henry (see photo below), Richard Belzer, Paul Shaffer, Alan Zweibel (see photo below), Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler, Richard Belzer. Plus, the writing staffs of all the NY-based comedy/variety shows — Saturday Night Live, The Late Show With David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. In addition, screenwriters Terry George (see photo right) and Andrew Bergman, and writing producers David Chase, Barry Levinson, Tom Fontana, Warren Leight (see photo below).
Hot coffee and donuts were on hand for the picketers at HBO last Thursday on the coldest day yet of the week — 24 degrees and windy. More than 200 WGAE striking writers were joined by members of the WGAW, SAG, DGA and AFTRA. The crowded swelled to the point that NYC police were forced to extend the barricades into one lane of the very trafficked Avenue of the Americas to accommodate all the picketers. In addition to the striking writers, on hand were Rob Morrow, B.D. Wong, Griffin Dunne, Evan Handler, Rachel Dratch and Seth Meyers (see photo above), Linda Dano, Ilene Kristen, and Gilbert Gottfried. One of the day’s chants was “Hey, hey, ho, ho; HBO, show us the dough.” David Letterman’s Late Show head writer/producer Eric Stangel gave out hand warmers. “You want to wrap up this strike quickly? Make the WGA and AMPTP negotiate outdoors in these conditions,” he wrote on lateshowwritersonstrike.com. “This sumbitch would be signed sealed and delivered before lunchtime.” Great idea. Maybe the locale for the next round of negotiations needs to be the hotel’s meat locker.