Entertainment in which the subject is some other form of entertainment.
Today, meta-entertainment is more prevalent than ever, producing a high-concept blockbuster like Last Action Hero (a meta-shoot-‘em-up starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Schwarzeneggerian movie character caught in a Pirandellian fiction-reality vortex) as well as low-budget drivel like The Jackie Thomas Show, a recently canceled metasitcom starring Tom Arnold as the idiotic star of a lousy sitcom.
—Michael Grunwald, “Meta-morphosis,” The Boston Globe, August 8, 1993
E!, which mixes upbeat coverage of the entertainment and fashion worlds with reruns of old broadcast series, is one of the more telling examples of cable channels that have succeeded with few if any truly original programming ideas or major hit shows. Other niche channels — whether the History Channel or the Sci-Fi Channel, the Nashville Network or Black Entertainment Television — have built followings by focusing on narrow audiences. But E! stands out, analysts say, in part because it is meta-entertainment — entertainment about entertainment .
—James Sterngold, “A Wasteland, and Proud of It,” The New York Times, September 7, 1998
The second clip showed Chris doing his impression of Marlon Brando. The idea behind the running skit is that the hefty Brando, uninvited, has started hanging out at the Letterman show. On this particular segment, Brando persuades Paul Shaffer‘s band to play “Alley Cat,“ while he dances around in a jazzy shuffle, ending each musical stanza with a goofy grin and the exclamation “Bananas!“
The brief clip had most of the “Morning“ camera operators and stage crew sputtering with laughter. But a few observers watched with puzzled frowns.
That‘s to be expected, say those who appreciate the Dadaesque, meta-entertainment Elliott pursues.
—Bob Sipchen, “Daddy dearest,”, Los Angeles Times, June 18, 1989