WILL Highlights

WILL - WILL Highlights - November 23, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Jay Leno: The Mark Twain Prize

7 pm Sunday, Nov. 23, on WILL-TV: Jerry Seinfeld, Kevin Eubanks, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Myers, Wanda Sykes, Betty White and others salute the former Tonight Show host.

Jay Leno on stage with fellow comedians accepting the Mark Twain Prize.

This October, The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize saluted Jay Leno. The program premieres Sunday, Nov. 23, at 7 pm on WILL-TV. Taped at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Oct. 19, the special features a star-studded cast of Leno’s friends and colleagues including top entertainers and comedians, Garth Brooks, Kristin Chenoweth, Kevin Eubanks, Jimmy Fallon, Chelsea Handler, Robert Klein, Al Madrigal, Seth Myers, Jerry Seinfeld, JB Smoove, Wanda Sykes and special appearances by Jamie Foxx and Betty White. The evening pays tribute to the humor and accomplishments of the comedy icon.

Upon learning he will receive the Mark Twain Prize, Jay Leno remarked, “What an honor! I’m a big fan of Mark Twain’s. In fact, A Tale of Two Cities is one of my favorite books.”

It was in May of 1992 when Leno followed in the footsteps of legendary NBC late-night hosts Steve Allen, Jack Paar, and Johnny Carson as Tonight Show host.  Prior to becoming host, Leno had been the exclusive guest host on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson since September 1987. He first appeared as a guest on the show March 2, 1977, and he made numerous additional appearances on the show, as well as NBC’s former program Late Night with David Letterman. An indefatigable performer, Leno loves to test his humor live on audiences across the nation, performing over 100 live appearances in nightclubs, theaters, and stadiums each year, including during Tonight Show hosting.

Leno’s children’s book If Roast Beef Could Fly (from Simon & Schuster) was published in April 2004 and immediately became a New York Times Bestseller. His follow-up kids book How to be the Funniest Kid in Your Class was similarly successful. He has also published the book Leading with My Chin (from HarperCollins), as well as four versions of Headlines, the compilation of books and desk calendars featuring his favorite funny newspaper headlines, and Police Blotter, a book with more humorous newspaper clips involving police stories. When he is not performing, writing, or doing charitable work, Leno keeps busy doing voice-over work in such movies as Cars and Igor and the hit-TV show The Fairly Oddparents (Nickelodeon), where the character The Crimson Chin – a superhero with a chin with superpowers – was inspired by Leno’s own noted jawline. He is also a monthly columnist in Popular Mechanics and in his spare time, he enjoys working on his collection of classic cars and motorcycles, building a number of cars, including an eco-car in his eco-friendly garage. Leno was born in New Rochelle, N.Y., and raised in Andover, Mass.. He and his wife, Mavis, live in Los Angeles.

Watch a preview:


WILL - WILL Highlights - November 23, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Richard Pryor: Icon

8:30 pm Sunday, Nov. 23, on WILL-TV: He changed the rules of comedy.

Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor: Icon tells the story of the groundbreaking entertainer who changed the rules of comedy.

From his troubled upbringing in the slums of Peoria, Ill., to his brave battle against multiple sclerosis, from performing on the “Ed Sullivan Show” to being banned by the networks, Richard Pryor: Icon examines the roller coaster life and times of this comedic trailblazer. Though he was one of the most successful and influential entertainers of his generation, Pryor wrestled with self-destructive behaviors that threatened his life.

The special explores Pryor’s transformation from a straight-laced comedian to one of the most controversial and thought-provoking acts of his time. After walking off stage during a sold-out Las Vegas show, fed up with being forced to limit his self-expression, Pryor took a two-year sabbatical. He returned to the comedy scene a raw and unfiltered performer — and changed comedy forever. Sex, drugs, race…nothing was off limits.  As he was more honest with himself, and his audience, the laughs grew even bigger.

Pryor opened the door for other comedians to inject social commentary and other once-verboten topics into their humor. The program features interviews with close personal friends and comedians he influenced, including Tracy Morgan and George Lopez.

Watch a preview:


WILL - WILL Highlights - November 21, 2014

Giving Thanks: A celebration of fall, food and gratitude

2 pm and 8 pm Thursday, Nov. 27, on WILL-AM: Whether you're in the kitchen or relaxing after the feast, memorable words and great music provide the perfect atmosphere.

fall leaves

With music and stories for Thanksgiving, host John Birge creates a thoughtful, contemporary reflection on the meaning of the holiday. We remember Dr. Maya Angelou, and she shares her Thankgiving blessing and memories. Nikki Giovanni reads food poems from her new book, and recalls the Thanksgiving she got kicked out of college! Also, Simple Gifts from Copland, a Simple Song from Bernstein, and lots of music about fall, food, and gratitude. For listeners in the kitchen, on the road, or relaxing after the feast, Giving Thanks provides the perfect atmosphere for Thanksgiving: the warmth of great music, and truly memorable words.

The show will be repeated at 10 am Friday, Nov. 28.


WILL - WILL Highlights - November 18, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Uncovering the heart of Chopin—literally

From NPR: It sounds like something out of a Dan Brown novel. But a secret group of 13 gathered earlier this year to exhume the preserved heart of one of the world's most beloved composers, Frederic Chopin.


WILL - WILL Highlights - November 18, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Watch online now: Nina Paley interview

Illinois Pioneers host David Inge talks to the animator and cartoonist who became famous for her feature film "Sita Sings the Blues."

Nina Paley




WILL - WILL Highlights - November 13, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Watch online now: Ollie Watts Davis interview

The soprano and U of I voice professor talks wiith Illinois Pioneers host David Inge about her mentors, her work with students and singing as a spiritual act.

Ollie Watts Davis


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