Tulsa TV Memories: Prologue      

Beef Baloney
"Beef Baloney" left the air in Tulsa on 5/15/2004.
It was really great while it lasted,
the best since Mazeppa.
But the BB guys have moved to L.A.
I bet we'll see them on the small screen again soon.

Beef Baloney News

10/3/2008: Matt Zaller interviews Bill Maher for National Lampoon's "The Zaz Report".

6/16/2006 (from Guestbook 215) Bryan Storkel said:

I don't know if you guys know about this or not, but Robert (Kurtz) is producing Tom Green's new TV show.

Check out the live show Monday through Thursday 10pm Central at TomGreen.com and ManiaTV.com.

Nate and I will be there too. It is shot in Tom Green's house.

Also, check out the documentary I just finished with another Tulsa guy: StrictlyBackground.com.

6/26/2006: Matt Zaller skipped out to New York to start his own show produced by National Lampoon. Check him rappin 'with Adam Sandler about poop and pubic hair at National Lampoon's TogaTV.com. After the commercial, look for Comedy Academy.

Matt Zaller with Adam Sandler


"Beef Baloney just signed on for a season with National Lampoon and will start airing on their network September 1st as their new big hit fabulous show produced by 4 financially-challenged losers from Oklahoma.

"Cruise NationalLampoon.com after Sept 1st fo' moe!"

Webmaster, 3/5/2004:

Late last year, after maybe a couple cans of Milwaukee's Best, I wrote in Guestbook 154:

"Just watched another episode of Beef Baloney...lots of laughs...I would go so far as to unequivocally dub them the Tulsa Beatles of comedy in the '00s."

At Beef Baloney's recent presentation at TU, So you want to produce a TV show?, newest cast member Matt Zaller made a surprisingly parallel comment.

He said that with the ready availability of digital cameras and computers today (or, "in the new millenium" as Beef Baloney likes to say), young people are able to creatively slam together films and videos in the same way kids in the 60s got hold of guitars and started writing songs and performing.

Also apropos: a few days ago, I watched the DVD of the 2002 tribute concert to George Harrison, "Concert for George". Monty Python's Terry Gilliam said, "He (George) was absolutely convinced that whatever that spirit was that animated The Beatles just drifted across to Python".

So it seems that Milwaukee's Best really sharpened up my wits for me, allowing me to observe that the same peripatetic spirit has now emigrated to Tulsa.

Here are a few magical moments from Beef Baloney episode 18. I've watched it about 6 times now. This is the funniest local TV since Mazeppa, and like the Jeffersons, they will be movin' on up, so be sure to catch them while you can!

General Wesley Clark and Bryan Storkel, with Elaine Dodd (Doug's wife) in the foreground.
General Wesley Clark and Bryan Storkel
Beef Baloney reporter Bryan Storkel goes one on one with the general of command, Wesley Clark, in Tulsa.

The story of the millenium!

Storkel voiceover: "I could easily see that this was the story of the millenium!"

Matt Zaller Brian Carrol

Matt Zaller conducts a distracting interview with the Tulsa Drillers' director of media relations, Brian Carrol.

Beef Baloney 18 excerpt

Click left or right to watch 4+ minutes of Beef Baloney. File size is just over 1 meg with either player, and should work on a dial-up connection. Real is a little sharper, WM is slightly smoother.

Beef Baloney 18 excerpt

(from Guestbook 115) Nate Gray heralded the coming of Beef Baloney:

Hey there. This is all very famtastic. I anticipate the arrival of a fantastic new show following in the footsteps of Sartain and Dr. Pompazoidi. Beef Baloney's the name. Keep pert thine eyes and ears for a soon arrival. We will cameo other Oklahoman film-makers' video shorts. so Holla! BEEF BALONEY ten years from now, featured on Tulsa TV Memories dot com! love, Nate

(from Guestbook 143) Robert Kurtz of Beef Baloney said:

Hey Doods and doodets!

Tulsa's new comedy TV, BEEF BALONEY, premieres this Saturday night (August 2nd) on FOX23 at midnight. And to kick it off we are throwing a huge block party on Brookside, 34th and Peoria. The party is free for everyone. Live entertainment, alcohol, and prizes.

After that, everybody is invited to the Suede for free food from Jason's Deli and Hideaway Pizza.. And we will all watch the first episode of Beef Baloney on the big screen!! Followed by even more partying with Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey.

How can we afford to throw this awesome party that's free for everyone? ...We're sponsored by Red Bull!

Hope to see you all there!

The party started at 7 pm, then headed to Suede at 11 pm. Afterparty VIP passes were obtained from a "Beef Baloney" representative at the street event. Music provided by Omnichron, Aqueduct, the Ills, and the Matt Edwards Jazz Force (featuring a subset of Jacob Fred).

I made it out to the party for awhile. It was well-organized by Red Bull and well-attended. Aqueduct and the Baloney Boys were good. The frozen T-shirt contest was...good. Sadly, I had to go to work in the late evening, but I'll be watching the show on tape tomorrow.

Television Good Enough to Eat:
How "Beef Baloney" and TV Shows are Made

By Wilhelm Murg
, 8/2003

On Saturday, August 2nd, Rose Rock Media's new locally produced television show, "Beef Baloney," premiered at midnight on KOKI, Fox 23. Following in the traditions set in the Golden Age of local, Tulsa-made, late night television, like "The Uncanny Film Festival and Camp Meeting" in the 1970s and "Creature Feature/The Groovy Movie" in the 1980s, "Beef Baloney" is an irreverent mix of man-on-the-street interviews, sketch comedy, and straight-up surrealism. The show also repeats on cable channel 71 on Wednesday nights at Midnight, and on Fridays and Saturday nights at 2:30 AM.

"Beef Baloney" is the brainchild of producers Robert Kurtz, Nathan Gray, and Bryan Storkel, who also write, direct, edit, and star in the show. Its style is freeform and ranges from interviews at local events to pieces that look like outtakes from "Un chien andalou". It's one of the funniest and most intelligent shows on the air.

Kurtz, Storkel and Gray
Left to right: Kurtz, Storkel and Gray

Executive producer Robert Kurtz took time out of his frantic schedule to talk to The Mirror about the show. "I think it's a good format; people can expect to be surprised. We've gotten really positive response, and we're relieved. There's not a cap on the creative material; the sky's the limit, almost, within FCC regulations," Kurtz laughed. "We don't get any sleep now because we're making commercials, and raising money, marketing, and making the TV show."

As for the mixture of influence, Kurtz noted that the blend is from television. "We grew up with all these things and that's who we are, that's what makes us laugh," Kurtz said. "Humor is a big aspect of our lives and we compete with each other. The variety of creative material is what we always wanted to keep on the show. I'm kind of afraid to be too inspired by something, because I don't want to copy anyone."

The show came about when Kurtz and Gray, who were childhood friends, The Auction, with Laylawere living in the same house while they were going to college (TU and ORU respectively). "I grew up with Nathan," Kurtz said. "We were in Kindergarten together and went through grade school, and everything else. We would get home at 2 AM and stay up to watch 'Auction Line.'" (The show was an actual auction of used goods on local television). "It was a funny show, if you remember it. They were just selling junk 'as is,' which always means 'broken.' So we would laugh about it while we were trying to get sober enough to go to sleep. We got the idea that if we put something on late at night, like a stupid little cable access show, people would watch it."

Originally Kurtz and Gray had planned to do the show in their spare time while they were in college but, of course, they had no spare time once they were enrolled. "I started making movies when I was in high school as a hobby," Kurtz said, "Then I started cutting class a lot to go shoot a movie, because the snow was just right or for whatever reason. When I started doing that I realized that my priorities weren't really correct, and I needed to make movies or go to school, so I dropped out. We always had this show in our head, and the name had always been "Beef Baloney" even when we were in school. We would jot something down for it every now and then, we always figured it was going to be on TV at some point, so we started shooting little skits."

Kurtz went to the SXSW film festival and met with some producers who thought he had a good concept. Armed with new inspiration he began to develop the show, and convinced the Tulsa WB station to put "Beef Baloney" on the air at 2 AM. "Having it on late was part of the original idea, to create a simple, cheap show that is local crap programming, but it's better than 'Auction Line,'" Kurtz laughed. "It would be on when people got home from the bars. We worked hard and we had a couple of sponsors interested in it, then the station called us and said the national WB office didn't want to do it, but I never got the whole story because they wouldn't answer our phone call."

Beef BaloneyTheir next stop was KJRH, Channel 2. "We got the business loan and set up a deal with Channel 2 to be on right after 'Saturday Night Live.' We had multiple meetings with them; we screened tapes for them at every meeting and a lot of people from the station watched it and gave us compliments. They had trouble with the gay guys dancing." Kurtz referred to the opening segment of their premiere episode, which was filmed at the 2002 Pride Picnic. Two young men were dancing with each other as a background to a comedy piece. "They didn't want to show that, but we were willing to cut it to get on the air."

Despite having to censor their show for KJRH practices, Kurtz and company let the station know that they wanted to have a good relationship and that they just wanted to get their show on the air. "Of course, we were paying them to get on the air, and that's the kicker," Kurtz said. "We were buying the time, but they were telling us what we could or could not show. Then all of the sudden, a month before our air date, a woman from Channel 2 called me up and said it was going to be a no-go. I argued with her and pointed out that we had a contract and that we had sent them money already. They sent the money back to us. There are a lot of shows that NBC is producing now, which KJRH will not broadcast because they think they are 'protecting' the people of Tulsa from NBC and the rest of the world, which is ridiculous." KJRH has a long history of keeping television shows from the Tulsa audience, such as refusing to broadcast the classic first year of SNL in the 1970s, canceling "The David Letterman Show" in the 1980s, and most recently refusing to show "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" to the Tulsa audience.

Webmaster, 8/15/2003: More about this, and past local preemptions in Guestbook 143.

"Luckily we talked to Fox, and we sent in a tape of our worst stuff and they liked it at the station," Kurtz said. "They did a test screening with some of their interns and it tested really well, so we have a good relationship with them and they don't have a problem with anything we sent them. We're still buying the time, but it's a lot cheaper than Channel 2."

While some local programmers may not think "Beef Baloney" is as moral as the pyramid schemers that usually make up late night television, they are a lot more entertaining, and they have single-handedly started a new chapter in Tulsa's TV history. For more information, visit BeefBaloney.com.

(Printed by permission, © 2003, Wilhelm Murg. All rights reserved.)

(from Guestbook 154) Carl "Uncle Zeb" Bartholomew said of Beef Baloney:

Finally took the time to catch one of the shows. I enjoyed it. Lot of imagination and creativity going on there. I could tell a lot of time, effort, and energy must go into those shows. I was particularly impressed with the posting of the show, i.e., video effects, etc. Overall production is obviously light years ahead of anything I did.

Congratulations to all of those young men.

Beef Baloney

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