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G FORCE | KENT JONES

Nude cycling? That’s funny!

Kent Jones is the comedy relief on Rachel Maddow’s nightly news show on MSNBC. His two-minute segment is called “Just Enough With Kent Jones.’’ Kent Jones is the comedy relief on Rachel Maddow’s nightly news show on MSNBC. His two-minute segment is called “Just Enough With Kent Jones.’’
By Matthew Gilbert
Globe Staff / June 19, 2009
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Most of the news on “The Rachel Maddow Show,’’ which airs nightly at 9 on MSNBC, is pretty serious. You know, what with the economic crisis, election protests in Iran, and, oh yeah, the wars. But if you stay with Maddow until the end of her hour, you get a guaranteed exclamation point: a two-minute segment called “Just Enough With Kent Jones.’’ Nude bicyclists, anyone? Comic book Archie proposing to Veronica, not Betty? Zombies in Texas?

An Emmy-winning writer for “The Daily Show’’ in the late 1990s, Jones began working with Maddow in 2003 on Air America Radio. A curator of oddball new tidbits, he is the show’s resident “pop culturist.’’

Q. What is a pop culturist?

A. It’s a word I made up. I’m the pop culture guy, compared [with] what Rachel spends her energy on.

Q. What are your favorite “Just Enough’’ items?

A. I always like the ones when people are trying to do something noble in a weird way - like the nude bicyclists. I’m all for opposing oil dependency, but I’m not sure painting yourself and riding around naked is the way to get that done. But I applaud the effort. Those are the kinds of stories I love. I love it when some higher purpose and some silly thing collide.

Q. Rachel clearly enjoys your segment. Do you ever crack each other up uncontrollably?

A. No. We don’t have enough time. We were on the radio together for years. And you can stretch out a little bit on the radio, let a moment happen. But this is 53 minutes, and we don’t have time to let go, much as it would be fun to.

Q. What does Rachel bring to an already crammed news cycle?

A. Preparedness, for one thing. She’s a one-woman data-mining operation. She has a tremendous capacity to process information. . . . And she doesn’t spend a lot of time fighting with the right-wing pundits. She doesn’t spend her hour on that. It has never been interesting to her. She didn’t do it on the radio.

Q. I was glad to see you were on top of the Archie engagement scoop.

A. I was very fond of Archie and Betty. I grew up with that. And he picked the brunette. He’s gonna have trouble. He’s in for a tough life with Veronica. He can’t afford her, and he has trouble committing.

Q. Imdb.com says you wrote and directed a film about the Statue of Liberty with Martin Scorsese.

A. There’s a well-known film critic named Kent Jones who used to be at Lincoln Center. And he is a very erudite film scholar. And he is not me. . . . He has spent all his whole career doing all this wonderful work and he has to be confused with my goofy career.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at gilbert@globe.com. For more on TV, visit www.boston.com/ae/tv/blog.

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