A new late-night talk show is here, adapted for a Northwoods palette. Andrew Kirov is joined by Steve Wyeth and others, who script and improvise Twin Ports Tonight—a half hour of skits, interviews, and musical ditties.
Most of the show is performed live with recorded segments at Duluth’s Teatro Zuccone, then broadcast on Saturday nights on WDSE-TV at 10 p.m. Tickets cost $10 at the door. The 120-seat theater is cozy and dark, perfect for a late-night setting.
Photo by Ryan Swanson
Local newscaster Andrew Kirov is the face of WDSE’s new late-night talk show, Twin Ports Tonight.
Twin Ports Tonight’s big name is Andrew Kirov, who has been interviewing people since high school. He parlayed that passion into studying Media and Theatre at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Currently, he is a broadcaster and minor local celebrity on Fox 21 KQDS-TV on weekends and occasionally during the week.
Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show legacy is felt throughout Twin Ports Tonight. The template is there, changed slightly for the better—farce piled up by an ensemble that pulls it all together. Having surrounded himself with talented people, Kirov is the hood ornament on a properly tuned machine with parts seen and unseen.
Kirov’s delivery is fresh and relaxed, letting the humor come to him naturally during skits, where the live audience can relate to his style, judging by their chuckling participation.
Slightly less visible is Madison-based Steve Wyeth, who can play to a crowd and supports Kirov from his second-banana role.
Twin Ports Tonight gets many things right. The genre requires a nimble pace (many shows like this are moving to a half-hour format to keep up with shrinking attention spans). Kirov’s lightness on his toes ensures he has chemistry with the local celebrities and artists who appear as guests. The first episode featured well-known chefs Lil Stocke and Bea Ojakangas, who whip it with a Pizza Roll story.
The planning, writing, and performing is all done on a small budget with rotating availability of the players. They don’t have all week to work on material like Saturday Night Live, nor do they have SNL’s substantial budget and A-list talent.
Minor technical fixes would improve the show. Unsteady audio levels could be corrected with a few clicks of a mouse in post-production. Skits filmed on location are set a little too far from the camera, creating a distraction that a tighter frame would avoid.
That said, the show is consistently entertaining from one episode to the next. It is a light affair that showcases the often very funny people who live here. Perhaps most impressively, the show marries stage and screen with equal aplomb.
Twin Ports Tonight has aired six episodes so far, featuring local brew masters and cooks, to cartoonist Chris Monroe. From root beer to reptiles, the show mostly fires on all cylinders, and quickly recovers from the occasional fail.
Minute for minute—and production dollar for production dollar—Twin Ports Tonight gives the bigger names and bigger networks a run for their money.