0 Comments · Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Louis C.K.’s dark comedy offers serious
commentary on show business, parenting and life’s unexplainable quirks,
making Louie more than just a sitcom about the fictionalized life of a foul-mouthed comedian.
by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
its latest Easter egg of a search tool last week, inducing “bacon number” madness. Now when
you’re playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, instead of cross-referencing IMDB,
Googlers can simply type in the actor’s name and “bacon number” for an
After hours of
furious research, it was found nearly every human remotely involved in show
business over the years (including ‘90s Nickelodeon star Kel Mitchell and silent
actor Charlie Chaplin) are within just 2 degrees of Mr. Bacon. The only stars I
could find with a higher number are Paula Abdul and Humphrey Bogart (who both
have a whopping BN of 3). Here’s to Google: the company responsible for
incredible technological advances that continues to make us waste time on the
Internet and screw off at work.
Netflix Picks of the Week: Looking for something new on
Netflix now that you’re all caught up on Breaking Bad and Celebrity Rehab? Check out Bobcat Goldthwait’s over-the-top pop culture massacre God Bless America and Winnebago Man, the humorously touching
documentary about the angry star of an early viral Internet video.
Saturday Night Live returned for its
38th season Saturday. Jay Pharoah debuted as Barack Obama, with
Fred Armisen handing over the presidential torch. We also saw Taran Killam will
serve as Paul Ryan and Jason Sudekis will continue to play Mitt Romney
(squashing the rumors that he’d leave SNL
along with Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg). The trio is expected to appear
on SNL Primetime Edition, the special
election season show to air this Thursday and Sept. 27 on NBC. Seth McFarlane hosted
Saturday’s premiere, and to sum up his performance in one word: VOICES. HuffPo
breaks down the episode.
And as one
television show kicks off, another comes to a close. Sunday brought the
one-hour series finale of Showtime’s pot dramedy, Weeds. Without spoiling too
much, the finale gave us a peek seven years into the future. The good news about 2019:
the Botwin crew (plus Doug and Andy) is alive and mostly well. If the show's predictions pan out, fan-made renderings of an even-thinner, transparent future iPhone
were totally spot-on; the next diet craze will feature Regina George’s all-carb regime; and, most importantly, marijuana will not only become legalized, but sold
like cigarettes in stores and in edible forms at coffee shops. The bad news:
Shane grows a bad ‘80s cop mustache.
Everyone has an
opinion on TLC’s hillbilly hullabaloo, Here
Comes Honey Boo Boo, especially regarding the series’ matriarch, mama June
and her scary Jabba neck. But have you seen The Real Housewives of Miami? I
give you Mama Elsa: the stuff of surgical nightmares.
In music news, Ben
Folds Five is back and showing some love to Jim Henson in this new video.
Steven Spielberg's Lincoln is due in theaters this November, and the trailer has just been released. Apparently 90 percent of Hollywood is in the film, including what I’m guessing is an Tupac-inspired Abraham Lincoln hologram (seriously, though, Daniel Day Lewis is scary good). I was
totally captivated, swept away to the 19th century, up until Adam
from Girls arrived on the scene. From
1:37 on, it was all union suits and depraved sex acts to me.
Alison Pill apparently
didn’t learn one lesson explored in the show on which she stars, because
homegirl accidentally tweeted a topless pic last week. The photo tweeted was meant for
boyfriend, actor Jay Baruchel, which reveals that Alison Pill has no idea what Twitter
is or how it works. It was removed immediately and, in the best reaction possible, Pill
owned up to the flub and apologized for being just as technologically inept as The Newsroom's MacKenzie.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 12, 2012
The 1920s is an era romanticized and
glorified, often by individuals who weren’t even alive at the time. Boardwalk Empire takes what we love about the ’20s, backed with
historically based events and characters, and serves it up with whole a
lot of darkness.
by Mike Breen
The alleged Buddy Holly curse and mocking Perry Como and Jack Johnson (flip flops)
Though today he is known as one of the strangest characters on "celebreality" TV, Gary Busey was once thought to have the potential to be one of the greatest actors of his generation. On this date in 1978, The Buddy Holly Story — featuring Busey in the title role — premiered. The film covered Rock legend Buddy Holly's all-too-short life, up through when he died in a plane crash in 1959 at the age of 22. Busey was 34 when the film came out, but his portrayal was very strong. In fact, it earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Busey never quite had that kind of critical reception again, going on to appear in such films as D.C. Cab, Predator 2, Point Break and the upcoming Piranha 3DD. Busey is known to younger generations as the "out there" guy from Celebrity Rehab, Celebrity Fit Club and Celebrity Apprentice. Is there a Celebrity Mental Institution yet?There is allegedly a "Buddy Holly Curse" that may explain Busey's jagged career path since starring as the singer. This site details some "proof" of the curse, including the deaths of many artists who had some connection with Holly (Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Ronnie Smith, Cowboy Copas, David Box, Joe Meek and many others.) Busey was involved in a serious, near-fatal motorcycle accident after he completed filming on the Buddy Holly movie. The film's screenwriter Robert Gittler committed suicide just prior to the movie's release. (The Who's Keith Moon made his last public appearance at a preview screening of The Buddy Holly Story; he was found dead the next day.)Luckily, only Busey's career has suffered since the film and his close-call wreck. Here he is in his greatest role doing "Oh, Boy!" Busey was praised for singing his own parts instead of lip-syncing over Holly's originals. I have to agree with that praise. Maybe Gary needs to make a Rock & Roll album?Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a May 18 birthday include one of the men most responsible for Rock & Roll ("Shake, Rattle and Roll"), Blues shouter Big Joe Turner (1911); founding guitarist with Art Punk greats Wire, Bruce Gilbert (1946); singer/songwriter/producer and pops of The Strokes' guitarist, Albert Hammond (1944); keyboard wizard for Prog kings Yes, Rick Wakeman (1949); cofounder of New Wave renegades Devo, Mark Mothersbaugh (1950); Country legend George Strait (1952); Power Pop/New Wave rocker "(I'd Go the) Whole Wide World") Wreckless Eric Goulden (1954); singer with Christian Rock band dc Talk, Michael Tait (1966); Hip Hop artist ("It Takes Two") Rob Base (1967); and two Easy Listening giants of two very different eras — Perry Como (1912) and Jack Johnson (1975). Como and Johnson both had/have a very easy-going way about themselves, musically and personally. That opened them up for a pair of pretty funny parodies on television.In 1981, the brilliant late-night sketch comedy show SCTV ran the skit "Perry Como: Still Alive," which presented the way laid-back host making a Disco comeback. Eugene Levy — known today as "the dad from American Pie" — does a brilliant borderline comatose Como. Former surfer (because what else could he be?) and smooth Pop singer/songwriter Jack Johnson has gotten the business from another late-night NBC program. (Cargo shorts) Saturday Night Live's (soon to be gone?) Andy Samberg has played the super-mellow Johnson in a few sketches, notably as the host of his own talk-fest The Mellow Show. (Flip flops.) Here, "Jack" interviews fellow mellow yellows Dave Matthews and Jason Mraz, as well as Ozzy Obsourne (played pretty well by Mr. Matthews himself). (Vegan cookies.)
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 25, 2012
If I had to pick fictional television characters to represent 2000s-era humans for a future generation, 30 Rock’s
Liz Lemon would be my No. 1. Tina Fey’s character, while over the top,
really represents the average snack food-loving workaholic.
by Mike Breen
R.I.P. Punk fan John Belushi, plus The Proclaimers and Scotland's greatest hits
On this day in 1982, comedian John Belushi died from an overdose of cocaine and heroin. Belushi came to prominence as an original "Not Ready For Prime Time Player" on Saturday Night Live, where he debuted his tribute to classic American Rock & Soul with cast mate Dan Aykroyd, The Blues Brothers, and later pushed for the show to feature representatives from the burgeoning Punk Rock scene. In 1981, after he'd left the show, SNL asked if Belushi would make a cameo. Belushi agreed, but only if L.A. Punk act Fear could be musical guests that week. The band's performance on the show that Halloween was a wild introduction to Punk for many Americans, as the band blazed through the songs "Beef Bologna" and "New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones" in front of a stunned studio audience (who booed when the band announced it was "great to be in New Jersey") and a group of Punk Rock dancers brought in to mosh (Belushi joined the dance team, which also included Punk luminaries Ian MacKaye, Tesco Vee and members of Negative Approach and the Cro-mags). The show cut to a commercial as Fear revved up "Let's Have a War," and the band and dancers reportedly caused $20,000 in damages to the studio (Fear singer Lee Ving later bragged it was more like $500,000). The damage wasn't enough to keep Ving off of TV — a bit actor, Ving appeared on shows like Fame, Three's a Crowd and Who's the Boss in the ’80s.Clearly, Belushi was a music die-hard. His tombstone reads: "I may be gone, but Rock and Roll lives on." Here's John Joseph of the Cro-Mags talking about being on the set that fateful night, followed by footage of the performance. And you can check out Ian MacKaye's recollection of events here. Fear - I Don't Care About You Live On SNL 10.31.81 by stogrefClick on for Born This Day featuring Scotland's greatest hits, including two from The Proclaimers.
by Jac Kern
Jac's favorite pop culture and Internet findings of the week
to Facebook friends with good taste, my mom's stream of animal photo chain
emails and my voracious appetite for gossip and craft blogs, I'm constantly
exposed to some of the greatest items from the far-reaching corners of the internet. Here's what I just can't get enough of this week.
so M.I.A.'s video for "Bad Girls" came out a couple weeks ago, and
despite looping it for hours on end since then, I cannot get enough of it. It's
one of those tunes that makes me want to dance in public even without a (few)
cocktails in my system. With a penchant for controversy, the video (filmed in
Morocco) depicts what seem to be Middle Eastern women in
traditional-yet-pimped-out garb racing cars in the desert and dancing to music
with strong, sexual, pro-femme lyrics.Though it’s been said that the political
standpoints M.I.A. makes in her music contradict her lifestyle,
or sometimes don't even make sense, the “Paper Planes” singer is the queen of juxtaposition when
it comes to her videos. It's also important to note that “Bad
Girls” comes during a time when women in Saudi Arabia are banned from driving.
So whatever her intended/implied/confusing statements may be, this video is a
pretty hot way to say “F that.”
Go here to watch her response to fans’ YouTube comments on the video.
mega-fest’s initial lineup was released last week, boasting headliners like Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers,
Phish and The Beach Boys. Every year I go back and forth on my
decision to go: Can I afford the ticket plus all the cash and supplies that go
into surviving there (screw anyone who says you just need water and a sleeping
bag)? Can my poor Irish skin bear four days in the blazing sun? What if next
year’s lineup is even better? I still haven’t quite decided, but 2012’s lineup
looks good to me for less-than-obvious reasons.Ben
Folds Five — As in, the original trio reuniting. One of my all time favorite
bands. I’d die. The
Roots — I’ve been a fan of the crew since I first heard “The Seed (2.0)” when I
was in eighth grade. And their day job as house band for Late Night with Jimmy
Fallon has only solidified my love.Ludacris
— Not ashamed.Of
course there’s also this year’s #whoarethey Grammy winners, Bon Iver, Donald
Glover’s alter-ego Childish Gambino, The Shins, jam band supreme Umphrey’s
McGee and dozens more. Aziz Ansari (Parks
and Rec, Funny People) is even
confirmed to perform, though the rest of the comedy lineup is yet to be
announced. It turns out most people go to ‘roo for music, but I will nerdily
admit as a comedy fangirl, the stand-up tent was one of my favorite (and most
air-conditioned) experiences during my trip to the fest in 2010. Ansari also
appeared that year and Conan O’Brien, fresh off his firing from NBC, headlined.
friend on Facebook recently posted a link to Hi-Fructose Magazine’s blog, a page covered in creepy-cute
taxidermy art. Netherlands-based art partners (artners?) Les Deux Garçons
create whimsical pieces in which real taxidermied animals are embellished with
knick knacks, toys and lush decorative ribbons. If that weren’t enough, many
the animals are dual-headed conjoined mammals, or are transformed into unicorn-esque
creatures with crazy horns. These (ethically-obtained) animals are transformed
into their own art form that carefully walks the line between beautiful and
media queen came to town Feb. 22 to speak as a part of the SmartTalk
ConnectedConversations series, and boy, do I have a crush on her. She spoke (in
a sexy Greek accent, BTW) on becoming fearless in love, work and life,
providing many hilarious and interesting personal anecdotes along the way.
Advice she gave included getting more sleep, turning off that negative voice,
or “obnoxious roommate” in our heads and the importance of finding a “tribe” of
friends we can all relate to and depend on. Fun Fact: She launched The
Huffington Post in her fifties, thanks to help of a $100,000 loan from her
tribe-mate Laurie David (former wife of Seinfeld/Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry
David). Pretty inspirational. She ended the evening answering audience
questions with Channel 12’s Cammy Dierking, who clearly also has a bit of a
girl-crush on Huffington, and who nearly made me wet myself when she used the
phrase “That’d go over like a turd in a punch bowl.” It was truly a fun
Bells on SNL
my undying love for Saturday Night Live, even I can’t deny the amount of
lackluster musical performances on the show. Granted, it is one of the few
“really live” shows left, details often aren’t finalized until the last minute, sound is often off and
the tiny stage isn’t ideal, but who could forget Ashlee Simpson’s
career-killing disaster on the show? This year, it’s all about hating on Indie
songstress/mannequin Lana Del Rey’s performance. Personally, I don’t think the
performance warranted such a backlash, but judge both for yourself.
And check out SNL’s hilarious response to Lana-gate (with Kristen Wigg as LDR)
Noise Pop duo (now touring with a third musician) Sleigh Bells killed it on last week’s episode. I wasn’t expecting
the live TV format to do them justice, but they sounded great and were
entertaining despite a nearly naked stage.
Cincinnati native Andre Hyland is ready for his comedy close-up
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 29, 2010
It’s perfect for the Cincinnati native/L.A. resident, an improvisational comic whose guerrilla style finds him inhabiting a broad range of fringe characters, disturbing the audience unaware of the joke and delighting the audience that is. It’s a fine wire to walk, and Andre Hyland traverses it with Wallenda-like agility
SNL spinoff is as dumb as you thought it would be
0 Comments · Saturday, May 22, 2010
Will Forte's obvious parody of the TV show most people knew was lame in the first place, 'MacGyver,' offers an amazing lack of creativity. 'MacGyver' was funny because it was stupid. 'MacGruber' is stupid because somebody thinks it's actually funny. Grade: D-plus.
Comedian Kevin Nealon's act gets more personal
0 Comments · Tuesday, November 3, 2009
In addition to the popular Showtime series 'Weeds,' comedian/actor Kevin Nealon is probably most widely known for his work on 'Saturday Night Live,' where he anchored the "Weekend Update" segment for so many years. While he skillfully parodied current events on that program, these days his outlook is more domestic, and that's reflected in his stand-up set.