How to Put on a Variety Show in the Modern Age

To think about variety shows is to let your mind travel to the early days of television, when stars would come together to showcase their musical and comedic talents for the likes of Sid Caesar and Milton Berle. And when you think of Milton Berle, undoubtedly your mind wanders to ... you know what? The Muppets! Now, that was one helluva variety show!

A huge, throbbing, variety show. Mmm-mmm.

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There's nothing like a classic variety show today. The concept -- that of showcasing a range of talents for a broad prime-time audience -- has yet to find its place in modern entertainment. If only there were a way to combine the variety show template with YouTube ... and tweeting ... and ... texting! Then, maybe you'd have something.

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Well, guess what? You have something.

And you won't need penicillin for it!

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Tonight, December 13, Virgin Mobile and What's Trending are putting on the first ever Tube-A-Tweet-A-Thon Holiday Spectacular (and since they recognize that their name is way too long to be Twitter-friendly, the hashtag #tubeathon will suffice). To benefit Covenant House, a charity organization that helps homeless teens, this live-streaming variety show will have a celebrity lineup that includes comedian Heather McDonald and the great Stan Lee. And while chances are that there won't be any powder-blue tuxes in the mix, you never know what Kevin Pollack could show up wearing.

Will you get super powers for participating? Maybe. (You won't.)

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Long gone are the days of PBS making its hostages take pledges from a room full of beige rotary phones. The event is giving the old-school telethon model a much-needed upgrade so that donations can be made via tweet, text or -- if you're still stuck in the past -- online. For every tweet that has the hashtag #tubeathon, Virgin Mobile will donate a dollar to Covenant House to help Hurricane Sandy victims.

So, who says everything was better in the old days? Next time Grandma tries to recreate a bit from the Sid Caesar show, you can tell her to shove it. Or post it on her Facebook. Or whatever it is old people do now.

Statistics point to cyberterrorism.

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