After 15 years, American Idol has been cancelled by Fox. The show has produced six legitmate stars (Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry, Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert and Phillip Phillips), hundreds of blooper reels and tens of thousands of delusional singers. Well, with the mother of all singing competition shows obliterated (granted a haggard looking mother after several childbirths now ditched by the Dad of American TV ratings for the younger and hotter trophy wife known as The Voice) there will be a refugee crisis to rival that of the exodus from Syria over the last couple of years. I am, of course, writing about where the literally millions (AND MILLIONS – Rock voice) of singers in America will go now that one of their homes has been destroyed. I tweeted a couple of years ago that if America could figure out how to turn aspiring singers hopes and/or delusions into energy we would be able to provide clean energy (well almost clean – there is bound to be some unprotected sex between singers and managers/producers) to the world for decades. Well fortunately there is a place where failed singers… and just failed people in general can find a home – stand up comedy!
Like Jesus feeding 5,000 people in the story of the fishes and the loaves, stand up comedy seems to have an unlimited space for people who want to perform (and upon the first unpaid performance change their career listing on Facebook). So come on singers! Join the world of comedy. You aren’t making money as a singer so comedy will simply be a lateral move. Plus you will probably have some stage charisma and might be fu*kable looking which are two of the top four things you need to make a splash in comedy right now. The other two are youth and being related to Bill D’Elia.
So if you are a waiter or waitress or unemployed person with a great singing voice in reality or just in your shower, google comedy open mics in your city and join the community of stand up comedy. It honestly doesn’t matter if you have any experience or even a sense of humor. Being funny is only one of literally dozens of avenues to success in comedy in 2015.
For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast oniTunes and/or STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe for free!
Just as technology has exponentially increased the rate at which humans achieve scientific advances and breakthroughs (cell phones do not count), it appears that our society’s thirst for fame at all costs is increasing in a similar fashion, only faster.
Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the White House Crashers, are an especially shameful example of what otherwise is a fairly logical extrapolation from our culture. Somehow fame has become a goal in and of itself in America. I feel like fame used to be a by-product of the talented, the accomplished and the insane. But now a fourth group has muscled its way into this group – the average piece of sh*t.
And we are all accomplices in this culture. With the exception of one reality series, which I watched during the time period of 2007, during which much of my rational decision making processes were impaired temporarily, I think all of these shows are wretched. They feature trashy people catering to the trashiest impulses of viewers (basically it took 15 years for Jerry Springer guests to clean themselves up and become celebrities). Not satisfied with giving these people a platform on television, viewers bolster the bank accounts of these talentless fools by purchasing their “books” and other items they are able to market (for the record I don’t consider shows like American Idol “reality television” since they are just contests).
The White House Crashers have managed to put this process on steroids. They managed to disrespect the Office (and the man) of the President of the United States, in a way that I think is worse than Joe Wilson screaming “You lie” in Congress. All in a quest to get on a television show. There current fame is not a validation of hard work or talent, but a means to itself.
I have been making the point that in this age, which seems more self-absorbed and concerned with self enlightenment and self-importance, with ever decreasing importance of religion and other formerly potent forces that stressed things other than the self, we are entering a very dangerous era. We have things like blackberries and Facebook which present the illusion of more inter-connectedness and community, but deep down that is all a joke. We are now sinking quickly into an era where the self is king and being famous is its commandment.
My brother came up with a great scenario that could make me ok with what happened at the White House. Michaele Salahi hopes to be on The Real Housewives of D.C. (The Real Housewives series could have been just called Cu-ts, but Bravo did not want to disrespect cu-ts in America with such a poor portrayal). Well, Rahm Emmanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff is the brother of Ari Emmanuel, the super agent who is also the basis for Ari Gold on HBO’s Entourage. Here is how Ari Emmanuel’s phone call should have gone this weekend (in Piven-esque delivery) to the producer of the Housewives series:
“I am going to make this as clear for you and the trash you work with and employ. If this Ann Coulter looking skank and her pus-y whipped husband get within 1000 feet of any AIDS infested brothel you call a reality television show, you will no longer work in this town. You and all the skanks on your shows will be lucky to be hired to clean the lint out of Andy Dick’s taint if they are even mentioned on your entire so-called Network. Not only have you insulted me, but you have insulted my brother, the President and this country. Consider yourself warned and not just like that time I told you the condom broke. (Hang up) LLOYD!!”
In light of how the White House crashers got so close to President Obama, security implications are more than a little frightening. The last hit on a president was John Hinckley on President Reagan in 1981. He was motivated by some delusional intent to impress Jodie Foster. The White House Crashers (I even hate using a name they are probably hoping becomes a brand – have they trademarked it yet?) certainly did not attempt anything like that (which is only partially relevant), but how long before we get to the point where the next John Hinckley takes a shot at a President to get on Bravo or E!? Sadly, I don’t think it is far-fetched at all. Let’s just hope he’ll be allowed to Tweet from prison – wouldn’t want to miss all of their insights.
For years the Endangered Species Act has been protecting animals in America from becoming extinct at the hands of man. But one species seems to have avoided being placed on the list despite an incredibly rapid descent: the White American NBA player. In keeping with my new obsession (NBA playoffs have replaced American Idol seamlessly), I will be focusing on some NBA issues in my blog.
It is hard to believe that 17 years ago four white players and a played on the original Dream Team (Larry Bird, John Stockton, Chris Mullin and the Ringo Star of the Dream Team – Christian Laettner). Earlier than that were legends like Pete Marivich and Jerry West who were studs. And in the 1980s and 1990s you had guys like Tom Chambers and Dan Majerle who were all stars and as athletic as any black basketball player. Now the only white Americans who get near an all star game are Jack Nicholson and the referees.
The question is why? Well – some possible theories:
Race can be eliminated right away. Three of the last five MVPs have been white. Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash are elite level talents and are white. But they are German and Canadian, respectively.
No single institution may be more responsible for flooding the NBA market with overrated white talent. They are like a tech stock after the bubble burst. Jay Bilas, Chris Collins, Danny Ferry, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, JJ Reddick, and Josh McRoberts are just some of the guys who have been great at the college level and then been astounding failures in the NBA (Fool me once shame on you, fool me 14 times – shame on me). But Duke is only one school and there are plenty of other white players who do not play for the most hated team in college sports. (We will address Mike Dunleavey Jr. later who as it turns out is the exception that proves the rule).
Dolph Schayes was a Jewish basketball player (probably included in the leaflet Ted receives on “Famous Jewish Athletes” in Airplane!) in the 1950s and 1960s who dominated the league and is a Hall of Famer (but not a doctor). His son, Danny Schayes was a mediocre back up center (and not a doctor, but now is a financial investor). Rumor has it Danny’s son David just got cut from his Hebrew School team, but may become a doctor. So as success has opened new opportunities for the sons and grandsons of old white people, their skills/desire have lessened with each generation.
This I think is the answer. Our sports are becoming very compartmentalized based on our assumptions on race. I had an Irish bartender tell me last night while laughing that white guys shouldn’t play basketball. He did not mean anything malicious by it (but still sort of a dumb comment), but his perception was that white guys were something weird and unfamiliar in the NBA (it did not help that he was looking at Chris “Birdman” Andersen, who looks like a meth addict who also happens to have a ridiculous vertical leap.
But all of our sports have become self-fulfilling racial prophecies. Latinos are King in baseball, whites are right there with them and those are the players most marketed (despite a recent black MVP in the National League) so not coincidentally there is a relatively minuscule number of black players in the MLB. NBA commercialsnow resemble a Chinese Restaurant in Harlem – one Chinese guy (Yao Ming), a bunch of black guys with tattoos (almost everyone) and a few Europeans who wandered in from some hostel. Hockey is for – they still play hockey? I think that is for Russians and Canadians. The point is that the marketing of the sports may have influenced the people who play. Just look at the Top 5 American born players from 1989 and 2009:
Larry Bird, John Stockton, Chris Mullin, Tom Chambers, Kevin McHale (6th man – Mark Price)
Mike Dunleavey Jr. (looked like a typical Duke Dookie, but has developed into a quality NBA player), Troy Murphy, Kyle Korver, Kirk Hinrich, Chris Kaman (David Lee off the bench)
In this match up the score would be 145-82 in favor of 1989. How is this possible? Well for many years basketball has become associated with the inner city, probably because it has been able to deliver so many people out of struggles and poverty (albeit a microscopic percentage, but enough of a Horatio Alger style tale for communities to believe in) that it has become a game for foreigners and for inner city youth to excel at. White Americans, perhaps, no longer have the same hunger on a mass scale (except for the poor ones who may harbor gun-clinging resentment towards things like affirmative action,which would make the NBA unappealing to them because of all the black people and the fact that they themselves might be viewed as affirmative action sports cases) and have given up on basketball as a serious choice because of all the cultural bias (is it a coincidence that the decline of white American basketball players accelerated after the release of White Men Can’t Jump?).
If this is what has happened then the reverse could be beginning now. If Obama serves two terms and someone like Corey Booker, the Mayor of Newark, is president after him then perhaps black men that would be looking to go to the NBA will go into politics and vice versa for white American men. That would be a very tall Congress.
This was my first thought when I heard that a barber shop quartet of terrorists, including one Haitian man, were planning on bombing two synagogues in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, only to have their plot foiled by the FBI. See, my parents live in Riverdale and my Dad is Haitian, which based on the Jewish and Irish dominance in the neighborhood demographics gave my Dad a 1 in 10 chance of being involved. I am also surprised that my Mom did not report him to the FBI just because it would get him out of the house. Til death or Patriotic Act do they part.
In all seriousness I ran by the synagogues all the time (which I can probably no longer do without arousing suspicion) and have attended Bar Mitzvahs at one of them so it is sort of creepy. But perhaps now when I say I am from Riverdale, people will not say “like the Archie comics.”
But can it be a shock that Haitians are quickly becoming the hot new thing in terrorism? They are like the Zac Efron of global jihad and this is their High School Musical 3. A few years ago, a “plot” to bomb the Sears Tower was uncovered and involved a handful of Haitians in Florida. I quickly began joking that this was preposterous. I believe my joke was – “Really, Haitian terrorists? What were they going to do give the Sears Tower poverty and AIDS?”
The fact is that Haiti has been sitting right near the United States for 200 years and is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It is also full of brown and black people. Poverty and melanin are, after all, the two biggest indicators of future terrorists/enemies of the United States. There may be a silver lining though – if eventually Haitian detention camps are started I feel like my blog and Tweets will be followed by many more people, even if most of them work for the government.
Furthermore, it turns out this latest plot was wrught by prison converts to Islam and not by some homegrown Haitian sect. Alexis de Toqueville famously wrote that you can judge a country by its prisons. So apparently our country can be defined by rape, weight rooms and turning people into worse people than they were before. In other words America is a 300 million member fraternity.
I have said it repeatedly; there are only a few ways Haiti can save itself and get help from the United States:
Become Communist so that everyone can get a Coast Guard Escort to stay in the United States.
Find Oil. Or…
Try to become the 51st State.
And since these plots have been foiled perhaps we can focus on the atrocity that America has committed, namely, voting Kris Allen American Idol over Adam Lambert. I have not been this angry over a vote since John Kerry lost to George W. Bush.
The last night of American Idol has arrived. Last night Adam Lambert did what he had to to defeat Kris Allen (i.e. prevent the release of compromising gay sex photos, which is the only thing that could hold off Adam last night). His version of A Change is Gonna Come was great, with the exception of a wailing part where he looked on the verge of awwkward tears (phew – just his musical theater acting chops shining through). Kris Allen did well, despite the John Mayer/Muppet faces he made while singing. However, the deciding factor was the final big “I can do it, I can beat the odds, I am a champion” song that both contestants have to sing (why does American Idol insist on the first single from every season being something that sounds like it belongs on the Karate Kid III soundtrack?). Not only did the scope of the song better fit Lambert’s big voice, he also provided the best unintentional comedy for the season this side of Scott McIntyre’s fangs when he sang the lyric, “You can go deeper; there are no boundaries.” Was this song written before or after Glambert was voted a finalist?
So I voted for only the second time in an American Idol finals (the first was for Carrie Underwood) and it took me 75 minutes to get through, which I did in between two of the harshest sets I’ve performed (I have officially eliminated every possible topic from my “off limits” comedy folder). What is amazing is that I had to wait 90 minutes to vote for Obama. So for the first time in 8 years we have a president who is more popular than American Idol. Take that cynics. Although I guess the true test will be when the American Idol front runner is a handsome black man (interestingly enough the only black man winner is one of the least popular, but probably because he is fat and sweaty).
But all the good vibes from American idol and infanticide jokes wore off late last night when I watched the Los Angeles Lakers eke out a two point victory over the Denver Nuggets. Normally I would root against a team with as many tattoos as the Nuggets (JR Smith looks like he has a skin condition and Chris Anderson, Carmello Anthony and Kenyon Martin look like members of the world’s best prison basketball team – especially Carmello who sports a Warna Brotha (WB)” tattoo encouraging kids not to cooperate with law enforcement – the NBA, where caring happens.
But the Nuggets are playing Kobe, Sasha and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers. To put it in perspective I look at the Nuggets like Sunni insurgents and the Lakers as Al Qaeda. Sure I don’t like either team, but am willing to make a deal with the insurgents to defeat Laker Qaeda. To continue this ridiculous, and possibly offensive analogy, I will now refer to Kobe Bryant as Kobe bin Laden.
So hopefully Lambert wins tonight and the Nuggets can get ther sh*t together and defeat the evildoers tomorrow.
Just got back from Orlando (wedding and a trip to Universal Studios). A few things I learned and confirmed this weekend.
JetBlue is a fantastic airline. The leg room, unlimited snacks and television are all great. The old European bitch sitting near me with her poodle was the only drawback. She got into it with a flight attendant about placing the dog underneath the seat (it was a small one), to which she proclaimed, “I travel to Europe all the time with the dog,” as if the flight attendant was supposed to reply, “Oh, you travel often… and to EUROPE, welllllll I did not know – excuse me and my provincial sensibilities.” People should not be able to bring dogs onto an airplane unless they are blind. At one point, as the dog started whimpering I almost shouted, “Somebody get these motherfu-kin’ dogs off my motherfu-kin’ plane.”
Caricature drawings are interesting experiences. I had one drawn of me at Universal Studios. As people walk by you know they are judging. They are saying one of two things:
Damn! – that dude is fu-ked up looking and she is drawing all of it or
That artist sucks and that dude sitting right there is getting ripped off.
Fortunately I think it came out well (resembling me, but funnier looking). However, it is the first time I feel like instead of Obama-Adam Sandler my combo has come out to look like Billy Zane mixed with Milton Berle. Enjoy:
So this week has a lot of promise. Tonight is my first trip to Yankee stadium and the season finale of 24 (can it possibly suck any more?), Tuesday more Laker basketball to hate and The American Idol finals to enjoy (Lambert has been the star all season and must win) and then Thursday is Terminator Salvation. Stay tuned. Or stay whatever it is when you read stuff.
Last night America added insult to widowery when they voted off the soulful sound of recent widower Dany Gokey. On pure talent the finals should have been Dany Gokey versus Adam Lambert. But like many elections, especially those involving reality shows, women flex their pop culture suffrage in greater numbers than men and Gokey could not measure up. See, Adam Lambert is the talented gay friend that every girl, not from the Bible belt (and maybe secretly in the Bible belt – “Daddy, it ain’t a sin if I just watch him sing his songs!”) wants (think Sex and the City or Rupert Everett) .
Kris Allen is the cute boy next door that will sing a girl an acoustic song on a beach somewhere (think Owen Wilson’s take on Hutch in Starsky and Hutch).
But what category did Dany Gokey bring to the table – soulful white man on the worst rebound imaginable (think Michael Bolton or C. Thomas Howell for the 20 years in between Soul Man and Southland). So the women have spoken and they now have to choose between The Birdcage and The Notebook.
On pure talent, Adam Lambert should run away with it. His voice is so powerful he basically sounds like he is showing off every time he sings. Although I think the judges are now under some hypnotic Prince-like spell with Adam where they are incapableof criticizing him, his performances of Mad World and Satisfaction this season have been the two best performances of the season. But things that are not in his control could hurt him (Katy Perry wearing an “Adam Lambert cape before her performance?). Sidenote: my tweets during the show got Katy Perry to follow me on Twitter.
But Kris Allen emerged as a contender with his first performance in the Top 13 when he did a great version of Do You Remember The Time by Michael Jackson. Since then he has been the competition’s John Mayer (minus strange tattoos and complete douche-bagginess) on “Your Body Is A Wonderland” overdrive, with ooooo-ing and ahhh-ing at his awww shucks charm (which does seem genuine). Two things may hurt him. One is that he does not have the pure talent and showmanship of Lambert and two is that he is from what I have heard is that he is a married Christian, which will lose him the vote of physicists and alternative NYC comedians.
So who will win? It should be Lambert and I think it will be. If he does win I hope his album is some sort of melding of Sebastian Bach and Freddie Mercury and not some trite pop, which would not really fit him anyway.
My two funniest moments from last night’s show:
A female fan in San Diego rushing Adam Lambert while removing her shirt – either she was from a Bible-based re-orientation program or she got some very bad information.
The Real Sex moment. Seeing Jordin Sparks looking quite nice singing her song and then flashingback to Adam and Kris was the equivalent of Real Sex on HBO when one minute it is the “Female Porn Stars HavingLesbian Encounters” segment followed quickly and inappropriately by “Old Men Masturbating” segment. Not cool American Idol.
Last night I was taken to Rock of Ages for my birthday. It was an incredibly well-thought out gift (which makes sense because it was the same gift-giver who got me a Paul Millsap official game jersey for Valentine’s Day) because of my semi-obsession with American Idol (the play stars Constantine Maroulis – the most absurd American Idol finalist not named Sanjaya) and the fact that the play features a couple dozen rock anthems from the 1980s, a/k/a my favorite music.
The theater was packed last night, but I noticed some things that intrigued me. One was the woman sitting one row behind me. On a scale of 1 to 10, she was a 14. Literally looked like a model/movie star. But what made me a little sad was that there was a 90% chance that she was a prostitute. She was there with a below average looking guy in his mid 40s (she looked about 26). Now my first inclination was that she was just a gold digger, but if that was the case, the guy would have been trying to show off with orchestra seats (instead of the balcony where we all were). Second, I heard her speak and she did not have a foreign accent, which ruled out some sort of mail-order/Green Card situation. Third, the guy sitting next to her client/man was talking to them and had his hand on her hip, the way two customers at a video store could look at the same box for a video before both renting it. I cannot be completely sure that she was a prostitute, but I can surmise that she has a terrible relationship with her father (I ruled this option out when I saw them kissing, unless he is her father, but most fathers not named Joe Simpson or Michael Lohan would not let their daughter go out for a father-daughter night out dressed like a Bond girl.
The other thing I noticed is how many douchebags were in the audience. There was never a shortage of men between 30 and 45 hooting and high fiving and saying “fu-k yeah!” during the 2+ hours of the production. And I realized that I love 80s music as well, which raised an important question for me: Am I a douchebag? Or is it just a sad coincidence that I enjoy the same music as these former coke abusing, date raping, collar popping, former “cool kids?” having come to the conclusion that I am more an as-hole than a douchebag I can say safely that our similarities end with 80s music.
If you do not watch American Idol because you never thought to, you should watch this season. If you are someone (probably a guy) who defiantly shouts, “I don’t watch that gay sh*t,” then I urge you to change your mind because I used to think the same think, minus the homophobic sentiments. If you are like a few people I know who have not watched since Clay Aiken got robbed by Ruben Studdard – the time to get over it now. I was upset about Al Gore getting robbed of the presidency and if I could get over that I think you can move on as well.
This season is phenomenal. For the record, 4 of my top 5 are still alive in the Top 8, but two people I did not have in my Top 5 I can be excused for. Kris Allen was not featured until after the Top 36 had been picked and not before. And Adam Lambert I genuinely thought was too Broadway for the show. But since then he has been a ridiculous show stopper every show.
But my favorite thing about Adam Lambert, other than a voice that somehow has both Steve Perry and almost early 1990s Mariah Carey range, is his Dad. His Dad clearly is still sort of coming to grips with his son’s homosexuality. They have interviewed Adam’s parents several times and Mr. Lambert has yet to make eye contact with the camera. Sort of like how Derek Zoolander’s father was upset about Derek playing a Mermaid in a television commercial. MERMAN!!!!!
The best, however, was last night when Adam’s mother said, “Adam was interested in everything as a kid – music, reading-” And then Mr. Lambert chimed in – “Not so much sports.” Unbelievably classic television.
Oh and if anyone is wondering if Adam is gay:
Exhibit A: He said that Randy Travis was a “total gentleman” during their rehearsal. What guy refers to another guy as a gentleman when a truck stop or spooning is not involved?
But the fact that this kid is other-worldly talented is undeniable. There were rumors that when Clay Aiken was in his glass closet (everyone could see through it) American Idol did not want him to win so they jammed phone lines to prevent him from winning. Maybe this is true, maybe it is not, but it is undeniable that when male artists come out officially (George Michael and Clay Aiken come to mind) they seem to lose the status they once had as closeted or ambiguous. Even Elton John had to keep up a charade of ambiguity for many years. So although it should not have to take someone as exceptional as Adam Lambert to become the Jackie Robinson of karaoke competition shows it looks good that Idol will not be able to stop his climb to the top. Although I had liked Danny Gokey (powerful-voiced widower) or Matt Geraud (soulful white guy with less beauty, but more singing chops than Justin Timberlake) to win, Lambert’s showmanship (go figure) and vocal range are going to steamroll the competition. You should watch if you are not before he comes out officially and the music biz (and American public) ship him off to the fringe.
2009 trumps 2001 because winning $400 in a pool beats 1 dunk and lots of benchwarming.
Last night I got that rare win that a sports gambler can hope for – a winning result for my favorite team and for my gambling. I was in a tie with a fellow Hoya Lawya for 2nd place in a pool of slightly over 100 people. We both had UNC beating Michigan State (always bet on Izzo, Calhoun and Lute Olson (when he’s healthy/coaching) in the Finals. However I had a total score of 152 and my other 2nd place finisher had 132. Well thankfully UNC and Michigan State scored well over a combined 152 to give me 2nd place. And I am a UNC fan so it’s a double win. And Duke fans are probably upset so it’s like a triple win.
And it assuages the gross feeling from the Yankees amazing debut yesterday. CC Sabathia is my size if I never stopped eating donuts. I don’t mean stopped as in – I am on a diet so no more donuts. I mean literally a conveyor belt shoving donuts into my mouth 24-7. That is how big this guy is.
Now tonight there is the women’s college hoops final, but if I want to watch a woman give a brilliant performance I will watch Adam Lambert on American Idol. And if I want to watch a tall woman give a mediocre performance I will watch Fringe. But I don’t think I can watch the women’s hoops finals. UConn is expected to roll, and that is great for the dudes on that team, but what I am tired of is how women’s basketball gets inserted into conversations of dominance with men’s teams ( your sport needs more than a decade of Title IX/NBA subsidized success before you can discuss the historical dominance of a team). I read somewhere that there is an unfriendly rivalry between Geno Auriemma and Jim Calhoun, the women’s and men’s UConn coaches, respectively. Rivalry? Maybe in that Malone-Stone (Sean Connery and Andy Garcia) Irish-Italian rivalry in The Untouchables, but in terms of basketball? I would think it would be settled when Jim Calhoun says, “Wow, you have five titles! That’s great – I coach men.”