The Gorilla Ball is Saturday. The event is a competition among Atlanta TV stations to see which can produce the most entertaining blooper reel. The reels are always worthy viewing. CNN typically enlivens the event by providing a blooper reel, though CNN is ineligible for the Otto Focus Award, the plastic trophy handed over to the station judged to have the winning reel.
There are a few somewhat interesting facets to this year’s Gorilla Ball. The first: It appears WGCL is declining to participate, despite its production of excellent blooper reels in past years. The reason is unclear. (If I’m wrong, please feel free to correct me.)
Second: Because there was no Gorilla Ball in 2008, this year’s reels should be better-than-average because of the backlog of material.
Third: The Atlanta Press Club was apparently desperate enough for an emcee that it asked yours truly to co-host. I accepted. The good news is that I’m co-hosting with Tom Regan. I’ve golfed and had adult beverages with Regan. I’ve also gotten my ass kicked on stories by Regan, an excellent reporter at WSB. We know each other well.
Started by individuals employed by Atlanta TV stations in the early 1980s — when such folk drank and abused substances with reckless abandon — the Gorilla Ball began as a raucous, off-the-record party (the first one I attended was at the Limelight). It got some stability when the Atlanta Press Club began sponsoring it. It also became tamer. As an old guy, I’m quite OK with that.
WAGA has been on a roll, winning the last several Otto Focus awards. Editor Larry Winokur isn’t obsessive about gathering material for it, but he misses very little — especially when Good Day Atlanta erupts into something unexpected. GDA typically dominates the WAGA reel. The CNN reel is always entertaining because it includes off-air audio from the control room. (“Camera two! Why are you doing a 360 when you’re supposed to be on a closeup? Holy f@#!”)
The Gorilla Ball is at Zoo Atlanta at 6:30pm Saturday. You can join the APC and pay ten bucks for admission (but you have to do so by noon today. It’s $15 at the door). Non-members pay more. Buy advance tickets here.