Friday, April 18, 2014

Are You There, People Who Find Chelsea Handler Funny?

Chelsea Handler has been in the news a lot lately. First, she was one of the names thrown about as possible replacements for David Letterman, who is retiring in 2015. Then, more recently, she made herself a the name throw about as a possible replacement for Craig Ferguson, who by all accounts is not retiring at all. Then Handler took herself right out of the running to replace the non-retiring Ferguson by saying she will never ever work for a "regular network." Whether that was her decision, or CBS' decision, we'll never know.

Seeing her name bandied about reminded me of a question I have asked myself many times since I first heard of the host of Chelsea Lately: is Chelsea Handler funny?

My first experience actually listening to Chelsea Handler was when she was a guest on the Howard Stern Show in October of 2012, and I found her to be...offputting. I couldn't put my finger on what it was, but something about her bothered me. She was an interesting interview, to be sure, but she seemed too quick to make fun of people she had met or dated or interacted with. Plus I felt that she wasn't as thankful to Howard as she should have been, as (in my estimation at least) she wouldn't have the career she's had without him paving the way.

But regardless, that really wasn't enough of a Chelsea Handler experience to make a determination as to her funniness. So I posed the question on Facebook, to ask if anyone found her funny and if so, why. The only responses I received were other guys who also didn't understand what about Handler was funny.

So I decided to watch her show on E! to see if I could figure out what made her so popular. Chelsea Lately has been on since 2007, its YouTube page has over 300,000 subscribers...so it's gotta be funny, right?

I watched a week's worth of episodes. The format seems to be: a brief opening monologue by Handler, followed by the opening credits, followed by Handler introducing her panel. It's three people, most if not all stand-up comedians, although I had never heard of any of the panelists from any of the four shows that I watched that particular week.

Handler then goes topic-by-topic, with each panelist getting a chance to make a joke about the subject matter, with Handler getting the final line. She then goes to the next topic; rinse, repeat. The final segment is a celebrity interview - the ones that I watched seemed more about Handler than the guest. (I certainly didn't learn anything about the guest, although to be fair, the late night show format as a whole - Daily Show and Colbert Report not included - is pretty lame when it comes to the interviews.)

My assumption is that the panelists are also writers on Chelsea Lately, which, if true, makes me wonder if the stuff they're writing for Handler is really their best jokes. I mean, if you're going to be on the show yourself, would you really want to give your best material to someone else to use?

Regardless of who is writing for whom, I didn't find anything anyone said particularly funny, and that includes Handler herself. Her comedy doesn't seem to be comedy per se, she just says things that are inappropriate or just plain mean. She goes to the stereotype well too quickly; there isn't any substance or intelligence behind her jokes.

In a recent appearance on the Stern Show, she told a story of a joke that E! asked her not to use. The joke was about Ryan Seacrest and how it's weird for a straight man to be covering the Oscars. The punchline was that any straight guy who covers the Oscars should be forced to have gay sex. Handler said E! asked her not to go with the joke because it's making fun of Ryan Seacrest. I say E! asked her not to go with the joke because it's terrible. Not funny. Just terrible.

But that's her "humor." That's what constitutes comedy for her. We all know people, men and women, who say ridiculous things as a way to get a laugh, and Chelsea Handler seems to fall in this category. Obviously this has worked quiet well for her, at least on E!. (It did not work so well on her sitcom on NBC. And this is NBC we're talking about.) I've never seen her live. She has had four successful books - full disclosure, I've read nary a one. My wife couldn't get past the first few pages of Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea.

Having listened to Handler twice on the Stern Show, I think she's interesting. She's obviously very smart and she has good stories to tell, when she's not resorting to weak stereotype punchlines. But I just don't see her as a late night host on a major network. I think E! suits her because she doesn't have to worry about ratings and she can get away with a lot of "jokes" that she probably wouldn't be allowed to say on CBS/NBC/ABC. FOX, maybe. But not the other three.

Many people have correctly stated that it's ridiculous that there are no women on late night, and I agree with that. I know Tina Fey's name has been thrown about, but she's executive producing TV shows and starring in movies, so I don't see her jumping into the late night rat race anytime soon (if ever). Ellen Degeneres is very funny, but why would she want to leave her successful day-time talk show? Samantha Bee is a possibility, but my guess is that TV executives would want someone with hosting experience to take over one of the main late night shows. With Colbert moving to Letterman's spot, Bee would be an excellent choice (maybe along with her husband Jason Jones) to take over the slot after The Daily Show.

But that's another story for another day. I know I've only watched four episodes of Chelsea Lately, but I still don't get what makes her funny. I feel I have a pretty normal sense of humor. I think Family Guy is funny. I love Parks and Rec. I'm a huge Howard Stern fan. I listen to the comedians on SiriusXM's comedy channels and I laugh. But Chelsea Handler just doesn't do it for me. Is it a guy thing? Is that why I don't get her? I could see her being good on a Bill Maher-type show, where she can host a panel that discusses various topics, where she can give her honest opinion rather than make jokes. For me, jokes are not her strong suit. I'd like to think that it's not me, it's her, but I'm just waiting to hear from someone who finds her funny.

So I guess what I'm asking is, Are You There, People Who Find Chelsea Handler Funny? It's Me, Someone Who Doesn't.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

When Reporters Troll

After UConn defeated Notre Dame in the women's basketball championship, ESPN reporter Holly Rowe asked Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma,  "What is it about your standard of excellence that's different from other coaches?"

I can't tell you how much this question, and this type of question, bothers me. Oh wait, I can. And will.

ESPN is already pretty well known. It's the world-wide leader in sports, for crying out loud. Do ESPN reporters really need to go out of their way to troll coaches for sound bytes? What other possible reason would Holly Rowe have for asking that question? She's basically setting Geno up to say something critical about other women's basketball coaches, therefore getting ESPN in the news "UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said on ESPN after the game..."

If Holly Rowe, and ESPN, really cared about finding out what makes Auriemma and UConn tick, maybe a better question would have been, "talk about your standard of excellence and what you expect from your players, even in the late stages of a blowout win."

But no, Rowe went for the troll question, which apparently is what passes for reporting these days.

In Rowe's defense, she's not the only one. Nor is ESPN the only organization that resorts to these tactics. I just think it would be nice if we saw more attempts to report the news, and fewer attempts to become the news.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

How I Met Your Series Finale

SPOILER ALERT: this contains the ending to the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. If you are a fan of the show but haven't seen the finale yet, stop reading. If you've never watched the show but believe that you will one day binge watch the entire series, who are you kidding you never will. Keep on reading.

CBS' hit show How I Met Your Mother called it quits after nine seasons, with the season finale on Monday, March 31. I thought the finale was great, until the final two minutes. It was sweet, it was silly, it was honest (friends drift apart - who knew?!) and it was funny. Then came the final two minutes, when older Ted - now played by actual Ted (Josh Radnor), not voice-over Ted (Bob Saget) - finishes the story to his kids about how he met their mother, who we now know passed away.

We realized that something bad was probably going to happen to the Mother in an earlier episode, when Ted got choked up talking about mothers not making it to their daughters' weddings. Well, some of us realized it, anyway. My wife had to point it out to me.

Regardless, the season finale made our worries come true, as it showed time going by with Ted and Tracey getting together, having a baby, getting married, Tracey getting sick, etc. Then we got to the weird two minutes. Ted ends his story about how he met their mother, and the daughter immediately tells him that the story was really all about Aunt Robin and how Ted wants to ask her out but doesn't know how to tell his kids. Short two minutes short, Ted goes to Robin and the show ends with him standing under her apartment window with the blue trumpet he stole for her earlier in the series.

The How I Met Your Mother creators, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, are certainly not against writing episodes that deal with the death of a loved one (see dad, Marshall's). I have no problem with the story line including the Mother passing away. My issue is the show ended in such a way as to make it seem like Robin was Ted's destiny, not the mother of his children, the focus of the story (and name of the show).

Ted and Robin did not work together. He wanted kids, she wanted a career. He was a sentimentalist, she was...not. He was a romantic, she was...also not. The finale showed us how well Ted and Tracey went together. But if we take the ending at face value, he had to go out and have kids with another woman so that he could end up with Robin. Yes, we are told that six years has passed since the Mother passed away, but for me that wasn't enough. Not in terms of time - it could have been six months for all I care. I needed to know that Ted knew what we all knew - that Tracey was the love of his life, his soul-mate.

All it would have taken for the season finale to be perfect was one line. All we needed was for Ted to say "you know kids, your Aunt Robin will never replace your mother" or something similarly as cheesy. That way we know that Ted knows what we know.

I understand that ending a show is hard, that you're never going to appease everyone. Like I said, I loved the season finale. I'm just a little surprised, with the job that Bays and Thomas have done with the show so far, that they didn't think to add in that one tiny line.

Because the way the show ended, it kind of made msnbc reporter Adam Serwer's tweet from January of 2013 come true:

How I Was Totally Into Your Aunt Robin For A Decade But She Married My Best Friend So I Settled For Your Mother.

Friday, January 31, 2014

My 15 Minutes Of Shame

I have been listening to the Howard Stern Show since 1997, when my brother-in-law turned me on to him. My first career choice, radio, came about because of the Howard Stern Show and his movie, Private Parts. I joined twitter simply because Howard joined twitter. I started watching America's Got Talent simply because Howard was a judge on the show. I get irrationally angry when I hear people criticizing Stern, or the show. I immediately take a liking to anyone who is a fan of the show.

So for me to say that I wanted tickets to his upcoming Birthday Bash at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York is an understatement.

I really, REALLY wanted tickets.

I can't remember the last thing I've wanted as much as I wanted tickets for the Birthday Bash. Hearing Howard talk about it day after day, hearing the acts that would be appearing, the famous people who would be there just as fans...I WANTED tickets. The day the online sweepstakes was announced, I entered. When I got an error message, I tracked down Sirius' support twitter handle to find out what the issue was and make sure that my entry was good to go. Every chance there was to sign up for tickets, I took it. I knew it was a longshot that I would be successful, and it was, because I wasn't. But I also knew that there was another way: Howard was giving away tickets on his show, a pair each day. So I hatched a plan.

For the three weeks leading up to the bash, I was going to wake up at 5:30am and call in before the show started, hoping for a chance to play for tickets. I had a topic in mind that I thought was interesting ("I" being the operative term - see the note at the bottom of the page), so I was ready to go. Day one of my plan, I start calling at 5:40am and finally get through at 5:56am. I gave my name and location, "Trevor from Linden, NJ," and the call-screener (Steve Brandano) said, "hey, Trevor Linden!" Me being the comedic genius I am, I hit him back with "yeah, you got it." So he knows I'm going to be radio gold.

I learned a valuable lesson on that first day, which was NOT to call in using your home phone. When I had to leave for work, I had to hang up and call back on my cell phone. And it is not easy to get back on hold. But approximately 30 calls later, I finally get through again, and I say, "Hey it's Trevor Linden again" (remember, I'm a comedic genius who's going to be radio gold). The call screener (Steve Brandano) had no idea what I was talking about and I was forced to go back to "Trevor in Linden, N.J." with the topic I wanted to discuss.

So this went on for two weeks. Sometimes I got through, sometimes I didn't. Those times I got through, I was kept on hold for the entire show as Howard kept giving other people opportunities to play for tickets. There was also the time I got through and immediately hung up on myself, not to get through again that day.

Then, quickly, too quickly, we get to the final week. Three more shows before the Birthday Bash. Three more chances to get tickets. I call in on Monday morning at 5:40 am and finally get through at 5:55 am. I give my name and location and topic. The call screener (Steve Brandano) asks me, "you sticking with that topic?" "Excuse me?" I ask. "I've been putting you up with that topic for two weeks now and Howard hasn't picked up on you," he replies. "Well I do have another question for him, if you think that would be better," I say. "What's that?" he asks me. (On an aside - a very cool move by him. He could have put me on hold with the same dopey topic, but he went out of his way to give me a better chance.) I give him topic number two, he seems to think it's better, he puts me on hold.

On hold is where I still am after the show ends, with nary a sniff at being on air. Tuesday is the same story. On hold at 5:55am, still on hold when the show ends.

So we get to Wednesday. Last live show until the Birthday Bash. Last chance for tickets. Comedian/Actor/Producer Jeff Garlin was a guest on Tuesday's show, and he was terrific. Really, one of the best guests ever. It was his first time on the Stern Show and I was blown away by how funny and interesting he was. So I decide to change it up and I tell the screener (Steve Brandano) that I want to talk about how good a guest Garlin was. The screener (Steve Brandano) puts me on hold.

At around 6:10am, Howard takes a caller who talks about how good a guest Garlin was. "That's it," I say to myself. "No chance Howard picks up on me now that he's already covered that particular topic." Howard lets the guy play for tickets, he wins, and Howard starts to discuss something not Jeff Garlin. I resign myself to two facts: 1) I will not be getting tickets to the Birthday Bash, and b) I will be on hold for another four hours without getting on the air.

I always assumed that when Howard picked up on a caller, there is be some sort of click to alert the caller to the fact that they are on the air. But when the voice in my phone said: "Trevor in Linden, New Jersey," it took me half a second to realize that that was me, and that I was on the air. I'm still not sure how I was able to start speaking right away, because my brain slowed to a crawl while my heart sped up to a mile a minute. I was sure that they would be able to hear my heart beating on the air, that's how loud it felt to me.

But somehow, someway, I knew that I had to speak. I went with my first thought, which was to say "Hey Howard, how are you," which is actually a mistake, because Howard doesn't like when callers waste time with small talk. I realize this as soon as the "you" comes out of my mouth and after a brief awkward pause, I launch into why Jeff Garlin reminded me of Howard (in a good way), and how great a guest he was. (In my mind, I'm speaking a mile a minute and no one can understand me. Listening back to my few minutes on the air, I sounded almost normal.) Howard and I have a brief discussion about how good a guest Garlin was, and then I realize it's my time to ask for a chance for birthday tickets. Howard says he isn't sure if he has any to give away (I'm fairly certain he knew full well he had tickets to give away), but I point out that they didn't give any away on Tuesday. Gary chimes in to say that these are the LAST PAIR OF TICKETS TO GIVE AWAY.

The game: they gave Beetlejuice (this guy) a line from a commonly-known song with a few words missing, and he has to fill in the missing words. The line: the wheels on the bus go ____ __ ____. Of course, the answer is "round and round," or anything with the word "round." "He knows it," I say. I'm pretty confident with this answer - Beetlejuice has shown in the past that he knows children's songs. But I ask to poll the room anyway. Fred thinks he knows it, Robin thinks he doesn't, and Howard isn't sure. I say I'm going with he knows it. But Howard won't let that be my final answer. He keeps talking about what Beetle knows and what he doesn't know, and how he knows what he knows, and how the odds are higher that Beetle doesn't know, and how it's rare for Beetle to get the right answer twice in the same game. THAT'S the line that gets to me. THAT'S the line that makes me change my answer.

To make a long story longer, Beetle knew the answer was round and round. Howard teased Robin for changing my mind, but I did it to myself. I made the classic mistake of not sticking with my first instinct. Howard asked Judge JD (one of the Stern staffers) if I should get a second chance, but JD said no. And I understood. I probably wouldn't give me a second chance either, if I were in his shoes. Howard hung up on me as I was saying "no problem, I understand." I stood their in my kitchen for a minute or two, before I went upstairs to give my wife the good bad news.

After three weeks of waking up at 5:30 am, after hours spent calling and calling, after hours spent on hold, I finally got my chance to play for tickets, I got the answer right, and then I got the answer wrong. I will not be going to the Birthday Bash.

I know there are many cool things about my story. For one, I got to speak to Howard. For two...well, ok, there's only really one cool thing about my story. And to be honest, even going into the final day, there was a part of me that hoped that Howard would not pick up on me, because I had heard multiple people get the answer wrong when they played and I didn't want to get a chance to screw up my one opportunity at tickets.

But I did get my chance, and I did screw it up, and I wouldn't change it for anything.

Except winning the tickets. I would change it for that.






NOTE:
To put a nice big bow on this therapy session that hopefully will help me move past the fact that I had Birthday Tickets in my hand and gave them away (something I've been kicking myself for non-stop since it happened), here are the topics I went with during those first two+ weeks of calling. One was based off of Howard's joke that he can bench 95 pounds 10 times. I was going to give him an easy way to increase his benchpress by not bringing the bar down all the way to your chest. It totally works. I don't want to brag, but over the summer my 14-year-old niece told me I had big pecs. In retrospect, a pretty boring topic and a smart move on Howard's part not to pick up on me. My second topic was to ask him if his dad is or was a sports fan. Ben Stern always strikes me as someone who would at least follow baseball, perhaps not as a die-hard fan but with a mild interest. Howard is NOT a sports fan, so I was curious if his dad ever talked with him about sports while he was growing up.

Both topics were legit, in the sense that they were things I really did want to discuss with Howard, but the end goal was always to play for tickets. It could be that on that Wednesday morning at 6:20am, Howard really wanted to talk about Jeff Garlin again (not as likely) or it could be that he had seen me on hold multiple times and decided to give me a chance (much more likely).

Friday, January 24, 2014

This Hanes Commercial Makes Michael Jordan Look Like A Jerk (But I Can Fix It)

Michael Jordan has been a spokesman for Hanes undershirts for as long as I can remember. Most of the commercials are fairly forgettable (aside from the Hitler Mustache of 2010), but a recent one stood out to me. See if you can figure out the reason why.



Did you see it? Watch it again, for the specific moment this commercial makes MJ look like a giant d-bag.


HE THROWS THE TAG INTO A RANDOM PERSON'S SODA. I mean, who does that? You're sitting there, enjoying the movie, drinking your $20 soda, and all of a sudden some guy throws the tag of a shirt into it. You're not going to drink your soda after that! That's $20 right down the drain! What an a-hole whoever that guy who threw the tag in your soda is!

The ad makes MJ look like, well, MJ. But here are a couple ways Hanes can fix this commercial.

1) MJ shows off his long-range game and throws it into a trash can. Commercial ends with the tag saying "what is that, moldy cheese sauce? NOOOOOoooooo" (fading away). This way it tells people that a) tags are bad and b) throwing trash away into trash receptacles is good. This option would be safe, but boring.

2) This option is my personal favorite. Michael Jordan throws the tag towards the front of the movie screen and it lands in some guys drink. The camera pans up and the drink owner is....future Survivor winner Clifford Robinson! (see if you can pick him out in the picture.) With the camera getting both men in the shot, Uncle Cliffy looks behind him all angry, sees MJ and then drops his head Charlie Brown-style. The camera zooms towards MJ, and he does this:



BOOM. Michael Jordan would still be a jerk who throws a tag into a random person's drink, BUT IT WOULD BE HILARIOUS.

Commercial solved. You're welcome.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Are You There, Football Gods? It's Me, A Fan.

For the first time in I don't know how long, I don't know whom to root for in Sunday's AFC and NFC Championship games.

Usually it’s pretty easy, for reasons as varied as "that's my team" or “if my team is going to lose, it better be to the Super Bowl champ” or “that coach/player/owner/GM is a bit of a douche and I don’t want good things to happen for them” or “Aaron Rodgers is dreamy.”

But this year? I got nothing.

Let’s look at the specifics. For one thing, this is the Final Four that I’m fairly certain 99.9 percent of the NFL viewing audience wanted, or at least expected. When’s the last time that happened?! Usually it’s some sixth-seed that goes on a run to get to the big game. 

For another thing, all four teams have something imminently likeable about that.

Even the Patriots. You heard me.

In the NFC, the main storyline is the two head coaches. Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll, who went from the NFL (Harbaugh as a player, Carroll as a coach) to college (Harbaugh at San Diego and then Stanford, Carroll at Southern Cal) and then back to the NFL. They have faced each other numerous times, first in the Pac 12 and now in the NFC West. They were both successful college coaches and have continued that success in the pros. They seem to be well liked by their players, though perhaps not by their peers. But since JimSchwartz is no longer the head coach of the Lions, perhaps that second part is no longer applicable.

Regardless, both men are respected by everyone. Carroll is the cool guy who looks fun to hang out with. Harbaugh is the tough guy who looks, um, tough. And sometimes angry. Advantage: Seahawks

Both teams play dirty tough. The Seahawks’ players talk. A lot. And not just Richard Sherman. Pretty much all of them. Watch each play – you’ll see them jawing at opposing players long after the play is over. San Francisco’s Anquan Boldin also talks a lot, but I like him. Even though he went to Florida State. Advantage: 49ers

Both Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson are extremely talented, smart, fun to watch players. If I was a sideline reporter who had to interview both players, I would give the advantage to Wilson, as Kaepernick always seems to be doing his best Gregg Popovich impersonation, but since I’m not a sideline reporter, I find that hilarious. Advantage: neither

Both teams have representatives from the Florida Gators. 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald is a Gator, as is Seahawks’ wide receiver Percy Harvin. Seattle has a slight edge here, because two of its coaches have UF ties. Seahawks’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn held the same role at Florida in 2011 and 2012 before re-joining Seattle’s staff as the DC and Defensive Assistant Marquand Manual is a former UF player. Plus, Seattle’s wide receiver coach is named Kippy. Advantage: Seahawks

I really like Anquan Boldin. I love the way he plays. It doesn’t bother me as much as it does Troy Aikman that he talks a lot inbetween plays. That guy is one tough dude. Might not be the fastest, but he puts himself in the right place at the right time and he makes tough catches. Plus, there’s a small part of me that says, “man it would be a real slap in the face to Baltimore if one of their key cogs from a year ago gets back to the Super Bowl.” (I don’t dislike Baltimore – I just thought it was a dumb move to let Boldin go.) Advantage: 49ers

Final tally: 49ers 2, Seahawks 2

Then you look at the AFC. After the Patriots defeated the Broncos in overtime earlier this season, my wife and I said to each other that if the Football Gods didn’t give us a Denver-New England rematch in the playoffs they were not doing their job. Well, those wild and wacky gods listened, and here we have one of the best AFC Championships in recent history (on paper at least).

Tom Brady is going for his fourth Super Bowl, but first since 2003. Peyton Manning is going for his second Super Bowl. Both are incredibly good at what they do, hard-nosed, tough on their opponents (and teammates) but somehow still likeable. My wife really wants Manning to get another ring, but I dunno. I’m torn. Advantage: neither

Both head coaches have been around for a while and are well-respected in the NFL. Both once served as defensive coordinator for the Giants. Both got head coaching gigs after being a part of a coaching staff in New Jersey: John Fox was the Giants DC before getting the Panthers job (where he lost in Super Bowl XXXIX to Bill Belichick, Brady and the Patriots); Belichick was Giants DC before getting the Browns job and then the Jets DC before getting the Jets and then the Patriots job. Fox seems like a decent fellow, but he’s been able to stay under-the-radar guy. Belichick is…Belichick. I don’t know how else to describe it. I’d like to see both of them win a Super Bowl, but perhaps the fact that Fox has yet to get a ring puts Denver ahead. Advantage: Broncos

The Broncos have a LOT of talent on offense, especially at the skill positions, with three receivers who could be the No. 1 guy on a lot of other teams and a tight end that plays like a wide receiver. The Patriots have Tom Brady and a bunch of solid, dependable players, none of whom really strike the fear of God in anyone. If Rob Gronkowski were playing, he would be that guy, but he’s not, so he isn’t. To some degree, the Patriots are the underdog here. Advantage: Patriots

The Gator connection is pretty sparse on both sides. The Patriots had Aaron Hernandez, but…yeah. Let’s move on. Linebacker Brandon Spikes was put on IR last week after apparently missing a team meeting. So…yeah. Two-for-two. The Broncos have three Gators on their roster in wide receiver Andre Caldwell, defensive end Jeremy Mincey and linebacker Lerentee McCray. Caldwell plays sparingly, Mincey plays not at all, and McCray is on IR. Peyton Manning never beat the Gators while he was at Tennessee. Sure, that really isn’t a Gators connection, but it’s fun to remind people of that fact. Not a single time did Peyton Manning defeat the Florida Gators. Fun thought. Advantage: neither

As for coaches names, the Patriots’ Linebackers Coach is former Giant and Patriot Pepper Johnson. The Broncos’ Offensive Assistant is Jim Bob Cooter. JIM. BOB. COOTER. That is outstanding. But he also went to Tennessee, so that eliminates any pulling for that may have happened because of his awesome name. Advantage: neither

Final tally: Broncos 1, Patriots 1

So after going through the numbers, I still have no idea which team(s) I would like to see win on Sunday. So instead of pulling for a particular team, I’ll root for the games themselves. I want games that get talked about for years to come. Games that leave us shaking our heads in amazement. Games that we feel lucky for having witnessed.

I don’t remember the last time I was this excited for the AFC and NFC Championships. I hope the games live up to the hype in my head.

Football gods, do your thing.

Monday, January 13, 2014

BALLS OF GOLD


Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are hosting this year's Golden Globes. I feel ready to laugh, so hit me ladies!

8-8:10pm Amy Poehler welcomes all the gay men and women watching the broadcast. I guess that means I’m either gay or a woman. Either way, my wife says it’s an improvement.

Tina and Amy crush. They work the crowd, they tell their jokes, they do their bits, and they just crush. Even the jokes that don’t quite work are amusing and cute. The winning joke of the open: that Gravity proves George Clooney would rather float away and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age. BAZINGA.

Everyone knows Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are funny. At least, I thought everyone knew that. But then I read an article on the Huffington Post that asked if Kat Denning and Beth Behr were the next Amy Poehler and Tina Fey.

The short answer: no.

The long answer: no way.

Sure, Denning and Behr have hosted an awards show together (they just co-hosted the People’s Choice Awards). Sure, they are both attractive. Sure, one is a blonde and one is a brunette. Sure, they are on a TV show together. But that’s where the similarities to Fey and Poehler end. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are funny on their own. They were funny as they came up through the improv ranks, writing AND performing comedic bits. They were funny as they were writing and performing on Saturday Night Live (where Tina Fey was head writer, for crying out loud). They were (and are) funny writing and starring in their NBC hit television shows.

Do you really think Denning and/or Behr write any of the jokes on Two Broke Girls? For that matter, is Two Broke Girls even funny? (Hint: the answer is no). Denning and Behr are actors. They receive whatever lines are written for them and perform them. I watched the open of the People’s Choice Awards, and it was about as you’d expect it. Bleh comedy, performed by two actors who were staring pretty hard at the teleprompter. They looked comfortable on stage, which is a step in the right direction, and they weren’t as bad as Franco/Hathaway, which also was probably the best joke of the open, but that’s as far as it goes.

Denning and Behr are comedic actors. They are good at what they do. But they are not comedians. To compare them to two of the best funniest people of our time is really not fair to either party.

8:11pm Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock are such good actors, you’d think that they could act like they gave a crap about presenting the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Movie.

8:11pm Golden Globes came prepared – there was a guy waiting to help Jennifer Lawrence up the steps.

8:13 pm Can Jennifer Lawrence stop being so damn likable? It's really annoying.

8:13pm Now we’re 2-for-2 with presenters reading in monotones.

8:15pm Apparently there’s someone named Jacqueline Bisset from some movie. Three minutes into her rambling and incoherent speech, she says she’s going to get it together. I don’t have a lot of faith. She did drop some swear words though, and then refused to get off the stage.

8:17pm It always amazes me that people who act in movies are so terrified and uncomfortable speaking live on stage.

8:20pm A commercial starring Giuliana Rancic airs. It’s not very good. I wish I could tell you what it was for. I was distracted by her skinniness.

8:23pm Behind The Candelabra wins for Best Miniseries, and they show Lorne Michaels clapping. I’m not sure why I point that out, other than it seemed strange. Couldn’t go with Matt Damon or someone, I dunno, actually associated with the movie?

8:24pm How did Speaker Boehner get a seat with Michael Douglas? Holy Orange, Batman!

8:25pm ZOE BARTLET WINS AN AWARD!!! And then she swore. And then they tried to music her off the stage. And then she closed by saying it was for her mom. WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN

8:28pm NBC shows clips of stars talking to stars before going to commercials. Seems like a real slap in the face to us normal folk. “Hey look at us, we’re famous celebrities and we’re hobnobbing with other famous celebrities! You know who’s not here? Non-famous people!”

8:35pm The president of the Golden Globes opens his speech with the joke that the President’s Speech is also known as bathroom break. He’s right. Back in a second.

8:36pm Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie (whom I had to google to find out who she was) come up and the teleprompter had the wrong lines. They handled it well. But I think that would be a great bit for future award shows. See what we can get the presenters to say before they realize they’re reading the wrong thing!

8:38pm WHAT IN GOD’S NAME IS PAULA PATTON WEARING?! Blurred Lines indeed.

8:39pm I really hope that was Michael Sheen’s daughter sitting with him. (It was. I checked. Also found out that the mom of said daughter is Kate Beckinsale. These are things I now know.)

8:39pm Let’s all take a minute to remember that Bryan Cranston was also in King Of Queens, How I Met Your Mother, and Malcolm In The Middle. Just goes to show, even character actors can act.

8:40pm Paula Patton is back out. Her dress is, um, is…something. It is something.

8:41pm I like how the Golden Globes created a maze for the winners to walk through before getting to the stage. That was a nice touch.

8:43pm Aaron Paul needs just two words to bring the house down. “Yeah bitch” indeed. And isn’t it nice that bitch is a word that can be said on national TV without being bleeped. Bitch bitch bitch.

8:53pm “Everyone just keep drinking, it’ll be over soon.” –Puff Daddy
“We can’t, you already drank all the booze.” –Everybody else

8:55pm Hey, the guys who wrote Spider Man the musical just won a Golden Globe! That’s good, I was worried they would fade into obscurity after their musical bombed.

(at this time I would like to point out that I beat professional comedian Billy Eichner to that joke. I’m pretty sure that means I get his TV show now. Get ready for me to be asking random New Yorkers random questions!)


9:02pm After hearing “Josh Charles, The Good Wife,” Josh Charles immediately gives a kiss to his wife. Which is good.

9:06pm Robert Downey Jr. comes to present. Based on his performance last year, I’m not sure whether I should be nervous or excited. I think I’m both. He doesn’t disappoint.

9:10pm Amy Adams just told the Golden Globes music to eff off. Well, that’s what she meant anyway.

9:14pm Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon would make a cute couple. And the fact that Kevin Bacon knows Miss Golden Globes proves Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon beyond a shadow of a doubt.

9:15pm Is there anything Tina Fey and Amy Poehler can’t make funny? Good lord are they hilarious. No chance in hell that Kat Denning and Beth Behr can do what Fey/Poehler do. It’s unfair to Denning and Behr to hold them to such a lofty status that they will never reach.

9:22pm The lead singer of 30 Seconds To Mars wins for Best Supporting Actor in a movie. Don’t you hate people who are good at everything?

9:28pm Emma Thompson is wonderful in everything she does and I will not say anything about how kooky her presenting was.

9:30pm Spike Jonze didn't take long enough to get to the stage. Totally threw me off.

9:34pm I am way more excited than I should be that Andy Samberg won a Golden Globe. Also kudos to Seth Meyers for his Julia Roberts impression: “Best night ever.”

9:40pm The Golden Globe for best foreign film is being announced. Which means it’s a good time for a break. Being snarky is hard!

9:44pm Melissa McCarthy and Jimmy Fallon try to go with a bit where McCarthy thinks she’s Matt Damon. To give them credit, they’re likeable enough that the bit doesn’t fail spectacularly; it just fails.

The Golden Globes then spends a LOT of time on the career of Woody Allen, who was given the Cecil B. Demille Lifetime Achievement award. Allen is of course too cool to show up for said award. I’ll be honest – I’m not a huge Woody Allen guy. I’ve seen some of his movies, I’ve liked some and not liked others. I’ve heard good things about Blue Jasmine and I look forward to seeing it. He’s certainly had a prolific career and I get why he would receive a Lifetime Achievement award. But for me it’s hard to get past Woody Allen the person to Woody Allen the writer/director. Let's face it: if you make good movies, Hollywood forgives all. “You left your longtime partner for her 20-year-old adopted daughter? Yeah, but Annie Hall! You allegedly molested your own adopted daughter when she was seven? Yeah but Crimes and Misdemeanors! In conclusion, here’s an award!”

I believe next year Roman Polansky will be honored. Can’t wait.

10:20pm Tina Fey with the zinger on Michael Bay. In my opinion, the weakest of the jokes they’ve put out today. Uma Thurman and Chris Evans really bring the funny to the announcement for Best Comedy. Seriously, did the Globes tell the presenters to check personality at the door?

10:22pm Brooklyn 99 is cleaning up! It now has more Golden Globes than Parks and Rec. If I were the creator of Parks and Rec, I’d be pissed.

10:29pm THEY ARE PLAYING LEO OFF THE STAGE. WHEN WILL THIS MADNESS STOP?!?!

10:30pm To announce the clips from 12 Years A Slave, here comes the whitest of all white women, Reese Witherspoon. Solid choice, Golden Globes!

10:31pm As they show clips from 12 Years A Slave, I think this is a good time to point out that Chiwetel Ejiofor also appeared in Love, Actually and Serenity. Also, Salt. Thank you and please drive through.

10:35pm CHRIS HEMSWORTH IS BRITISH?!?!?!

Oh, wait, that’s not a British accent.

CHRIS HEMSWORTH IS CANADIAN?!?!?!

10:41pm American Hustle wins Best Comedy/Musical and immediately my twitter feed is filled with “the worst one of the group just won.” I loved that movie. So everyone else can shut up.

Some people (including Leo) find it weird that Wolf of Wall Street was nominated under Best Musical or Comedy, but I disagree. I think a movie about corruption and Wall Street directed by Martin Scorcese can’t help but be funny! Plus think about it: Gravity can’t be a comedy, because as Robin Quivers and Tina Fey have told us, George Clooney dies. That’s not funny. Captain Phillips might work, but Tom Hanks can’t sing. True fact that I just made up (but also might be true). Then you have Philomena, which stars Dame Judi Dench. The fact that she’s in the movie means it is not comedic and/or musical. She’s a serious actress. Rush involves a guy coming back a horrific car accident. Funny if it’s a cartoon. Not so much if it’s real people. Then finally we get to 12 Years A Slave, which can’t be a comedy for obvious reasons. (Those reasons of course being Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender.)

10:45pm Amazing thing about all the nominees for Best Actress, Drama? The only one under 40 is 38 (Kate Winslet). And they’re all hot. Especially Dame Judi Dench. In your face, Hollywood.

10:49pm Not only did Chiwetel Ejiofor not win Best Actor, Drama, he lost to Matthew McConaughey. MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY WON AN ACTING AWARD. Chew on that for a bit. Just make sure there’s a bucket available when you vomit.

10:50pm I'd say it's a lifetime achievement award for McConaughey, but what exactly has he achieved? Other than a great McConaughey impression. “All right all right all right.”

10:52pm 12 Years A Slave has one more chance to win an award. I gotta say, it would be kind of messed up if it didn’t win at least one award. And this is coming from a guy who hasn’t seen any of the Best Movie, Drama nominees.

10:57pm 12 Years A Slave wins! Which is good. Would have been weird if it had been shut out. I dunno why. But it would have been.

10:59pm The Golden Globes finishes before 11pm. That’s gotta be some kind of record.
  • Knicks Central
  •