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2015 Emmys: The Righteous Prick Reactions

Obviously you should have already listened to this week’s Righteous Prick Podcast thoroughly and hilariously making Emmy predictions, but if you have not now is the time to do it because the Emmy nominations are out and there are some successes (where they agreed with me) and some abject failures (where they disagreed).

The Good:

The usual suspects were nominated in drama, but good on AMC and the Emmys for getting Better Call Saul several significant nominations, including drama, actor and supporting actor.

In comedy, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt takes its rightful place among the nominees and Girls is nowhere to be found.

I am this excited about all the nominations for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

In best TV movie, I was beyond pleasantly surprised to see Hello Ladies: The Movie, get nominated, as it gave a beautiful and hilarious 90 minute finale to the most underrated and under-appreciated show of the previous nominating cycle.

Wil Forte for best actor in a comedy in The Last Man on Earth (see my blog praising Wil Forte HERE). The show was overlooked unjustly, but not its star

The Bad:

Netflix – shame on you. You almost certainly played politics (pun intended) and the Emmy voters fell for it. Both House of Cards and Orange is the New Black got best drama nominations after bad seasons.  Meanwhile, Daredevil, which ranks up there with Guardians of the Galaxy and The Dark Knight as the most inventive and surprisingly excellent comic book adaptations of my life is completely ignored (and I am not a comic book nerd type who thinks everything that is remotely enjoyable from a comic book deserves to be in the Library of Congress). Netflix clearly sold out Daredevil and is content to use it like a hot slutty escort that turns heads at a club, while taking House of Cards and OITNB to classy wife functions with dignitaries.

Possibly the best drama of the year gets zero major nominations.

Louie and Transparent – Granted I am biased because Louis CK killed a character that may have been more than loosely based on me, but neither of these shows has been particularly funny.  I think some Emmy voters just recycle their ballots from year to year.  I quit Louie a season ago, so I must admit ignorance, but it never struck me as very funny.  And Transparent is absolutely not funny (here is a post I wrote about “the rise of unfunny comedies” that got some traffic).  I cannot remember a show or movie winning such undeserved praise solely for the political and social climate but get ready for the least funny nominee by a wide margin to somehow walk away with best comedy, so Hollywood can pat itself on the back (I am left of center on most things, but with awards I am all about merit).

Key from Key & Peele for best supporting actor in a comedy?  How can your name be the show and then you sneak in with a “supporting” actor nod?  At least Peele didn’t get nominated (my east favorite of the two) – that should be awkward at the next writers’ meeting.

Based on nominees (and the seasons eligible) here is who I would pick:

Drama – Better Call Saul (Mad Men will win probably, for a subpar season)

Comedy – Kimmy Schmidt (Transparent will win, proving the best way to defeat a 5 time champ – Modern Family – is to have a comedy with no laughs – BOLD!)

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes and/or STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe for free!

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The GOP Primary Is The Real Last Comic Standing

This month Last Comic Standing will begin another season on NBC, giving 100 comedians a chance to gain wider exposure for their comedy and, for some of them, increase their bookings and earning power.  It will feature men and women of different backgrounds and orientations and eventually a gay comedian will be named the winner (last year I correctly predicted before the season began that a black man would win. This year, given the political and social climate, as well as the fact that there has never been a gay winner of Last Comic Standing – and producers, not audience pick the winner, I am confident a gay person will win), But at the end of the day that is only a comedy contest on television and will have little impact on most of our lives, except perhaps for struggling feature comics who will be bumped down the list at clubs in favor of 3 year veterans with 11 minutes of material – BUT I DIGRESSS.  The more meaningful and almost certainly more hilarious reality competition show that has already started is the Republican Party’s nomination for president process.  They are up to 14 nominees and by the end of the Summer they may be close to the 100 of Last Comic Standing.  And much like LCS, the large Republican field has a diverse array of gender (well, 1 woman), races, sexual orientations (I see you Lindsey Graham) and body types (the angry Louie Anderson/Bobby Bacala himself Chris Christie).  So if you can handle more than one reality comedy competition here’s your LCS style breakdown of the Republican field:

Donald Trump – the only candidate that could cross over and win both the bigoted, insane base of the Republican party AND make the finals of Last Comic Standing, as long as they believed he was an alt-comic character (i.e. hiding his general lack of comedy writing behind one long, uncomfortable note of “a character”)

Carly Fiorina – a woman who failed as CEO of Hewlett Packard… in other words proof that women can ruin businesses just as well as men. And I am sure she is hilarious because women have been and always will be as funny as men, if not funnier.

Ben Carson – a doctor with an inspiring life story who also believes Obamacare is the worst thing to happen to America since slavery.  Here is where Republicans and the comedy industry blend perfectly – both love black men who believe that racism is a thing of the past and would rather spin tales to make white people completely comfortable

Black + Hates Race Talk - Someone at CAA - comedy division sign him if he doesn't get the GOP nomination!

Rand Paul – also a doctor, but being an eye doctor next to Ben Carson’s pediatric neurosurgeon, he might as well be a podiatrist and not even mention it.  He would be the type of comic that fans would love until they saw him pandering with safer, time-worn jokes to win over the tepid NBC/rabid GOP crowd.

Chris Christie – might do better on LCS because fat comics have always been more welcomed than fat politicians.  H will “tell it like it is” which would serve him well for a while on LCS until people realize he is not that funny. Just full of bluster and trans fats.

Marco Rubio – would go far in Last Comic Stading because Latino = good diversity and then, much like his presidential campaign and most Latin comics, people would realize that he is not interesting (not funny) and should get the equivalent of a John Leguizamo one man show – a stint on Fox News.

Jeb Bush – famous name is good for ratings, good experience and from a key state full of funny stories, Jeb Bush would go far on LCS.

Bobby Jindal – also very trump like ability to do better on LCS than the GOP nominating process.  He practically looks and sounds like a Jeff Dunham puppet. Ultra religious conservative Indian American Rhodes Scholar with a southern accent. Jeff Dunham’s next closer.

Jeff Dunham's new closing puppet

Ted Cruz – Recently posted a video of himself doing impressions of Simpsons characters.  It was the least funny thing in the history of the Internet. But he is Canadian and Latin and unattractive and those are all things that tend to do well in comedy, regardless of actual funniness so don’t bet against Cruz crushing it on LCS.

Rick Santorum – that comic that has made the semi-finals a few times but never goes on. Boring, but still gets to headline all the Comedy Zone clubs.

Lindsey Graham – If this were Last Comic Standing, Grahams’genteel nature, southern accent and confirmed bachelor status would put him right at the top of my list for potential winners, but as for the GOP nomination, it doesn’t matter how many brown people he is willing to bomb, without a wife and kids he has no chance.

YOU KNOW IT GIRLFRIEND!

Mike Huckabee – the guy who used to charm with some jokes and speaking to some of the more compassionate angles of Christianity, he has reverted back to being fat and more sarcastically hateful with his rhetoric.  So even if LCS wouldn’t work out, he might land a spot with Anthony Cumia on a podcast.

George Pataki – the veteran who missed his chance but will still get to compete.  He is tall, has good experience and is moderate by the modern GOP’s inquisition-level of tolerance in 2015. But alas, he is boring. Perhaps if he hits himself in the head with the mic, pretending it is a penis, during either a debate or an LCS performance, he might move on

Rick Perry – although Ben Carson is the only black nominee, Perry did vacation at Nig*erhead Ranch so he might be able to rally Black Twitter to support him, as long as they don’t see that he actually looks like a dusty Josh Brolin.  Still could do well in LCS if he remembers all three part of the rule of 3.

(and about to become 15) Scott Walker – Midwestern, white, solid experience, trashes gays and unions – would have been a top choice for LCS for the first 5 years, but is clearly the front runner for the GOP in 2015.

So I am thinking that a  gay comic wins Last Comic Standing, but that a gay-bashing Midwesterner wins the GOP nomination.  But all of them are really just in this to up their speaking fees and lobby for appearances/shows on Fox News  (the Sarah Palin plan).  It is the same thing the real comedians will be doing on Last Comic Standing, except there is no danger there since none of the comics will have a 50/50 chance of running the country.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes and/or STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe for free!

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Are Comedians the Most Insecure of All Contest Show…

Last Comic Standing is back after a 4 year break and it only took about ninety minutes of airtime before shock waves rippled through the comedy community.  Ben Kronberg, a comedian I know and like personally and as a comedian (he is “alternative” if I were to categorize him, but he has the calves of a top tier athlete – at least the last time I saw them in Summer 2013 – so I think that always made me less prick-ish about his alternative stylings).  Well the first episode of LCS was going smoothly until Ben got on stage and began his set with, depending on your perspective, a tired-stock joke or a somewhat modified industry standard (Ben fiddled around on stage, getting himself settled while not addressing the audience and then after about twenty seconds looked at the crowd and said (paraphrasing) “Oh like you start right away at your job.”  The set was then edited and there was a seemingly heated exchange between judge Roseanne Barr leading to Roseanne saying “Go fu*k yourself” to Ben.  This led to a viral hashtag on the Internet and the rest is history, depending on how important you feel stand up comedy is.

Now I interviewed Ben a couple of days ago on my podcast as part of my running commentary/analysis of the show this Summer. He was gracious and I tried to ask some serious and some funny questions about his experience with LCS this year (you can listen to the podcast episode here).  However, I was disappointed in myself for failing to ask Ben’s opinion on one other thing regarding this incident: do you think, despite being a beneficiary of some nice community vibes, that other comedians took Roseanne’s words too personally or defensively?

The response directed at the incident and some of the vitriol aimed at Roseanne would have seemed acceptable if this was just a show at a comedy club, but it is reality television.  From America’s Got Talent to American Idol (not to mention the glee our society, and many in the comedy world, take in watching the train wrecks that occupy the non-contest reality shows) it is clear that these shows are partly about talent promotion and all about ratings.  Simon Cowell is a mega rich television personality, in part, because he tore people new assholes on live television.

Now I know comedians are mostly sensitive types (despite whatever confidence or swagger they display on stage) who only manage to speak up with hashtags or when Carlos Mencia steals a joke.  But for people who get on stage and try to entertain strangers, the defensive posture to rally around one of their own seems a bit weak.  I mean, what do people expect from reality television?  Ben, in our chat seemed to know that anything was fair game and was disappointed how it was portrayed, but not startled and certainly not of the “Never Forget” mindset that some of the comments on social media would seem to indicate.   Maybe other reality show contestants are just as sensitive to their fellow artists, but I am not friends with many emo musicians “just trying to share their gift with the world,” though every time I see an Upworthy article in my Facebook news feed I feel like I am that much closer to being immersed in a world of annoying sensitivity training supervisors.

My only real thought on this is comedians – you cannot have it both ways. You cannot be the tough guys (and gals) of the First Amendment – getting a pass for everything you say about anyone or anything, but then, when someone gets sh*t on on a reality show (as rigged, as GOTCHA and as edited an entertainment format as there is) start calling out how uncouth it was. WELL I NEVER!

So good luck to Ben, who seems to be getting some nice traction from the hashtag (Can we get a #YesAllWomenTellBenToGoFu*kHimself tag going?) and will be more than fine (as he said in our talk – it may not do as much for him as being a finalist, but he already is being talked about a lot more than any of the other people eliminated), but to the portion of the comedy world who found Roseanne beyond the pale and jumped to Ben’s defense – lighten up. If comedians cannot accept the harshness of entertainment and television gimmicks, why should regular folks be so open to your next edgy joke about (insert edgy thing).

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic, iTunes and NOW on STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!

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The 10 People Likely To Replace Jimmy Fallon

Yes, I know we are 20 years away from having to replace Jimmy Fallon, the newly appointed host of The Tonight Show, but why not get an early start on people likely to bid for his spot.  After a brilliant podcast discussion debate yesterday (if I do say so myself) on who should/will replace Letterman, I thought why not start extrapolating into the future. And since Jimmy Kimmel is still establishing his brand as a late night staple it made sense to explore the potential replacements for Jimmy Fallon (and then maybe 20 years from now some enterprising Internet nerd will unearth this blog, if one of my suggestions is picked, and say, “this former comedian, now coaching girls’ youth basketball as a sentence for violating the 2021 federal statute against cyber insults of female athletes, called it all along!” Partially inspired by the podcast (seriously give it a listen) and also by a desire to not scorch the Earth of the comedy industry for a day (scratch that), decided on this definitive list. Enjoy!

1. Justin Timberlake – Sure he is too young and charismatic now and he is still hoping to have a second act to his musical career imitating Robin Thicke or a first act for his movie career, but around 50 Justin Timberlake will realize he is the perfect combination of famous, friendly and vanilla to kill it as a late night show host. And imagine the joy of Midwest moms twenty years from now if JT starts dancing in the aisles with them like a more feminine version of Ellen?  It will be like that moment so many of us felt seeing John Travolta dance for the first time in years in Pulp Fiction!

2. Chelsea Handler – She is never going away and she has fudged her age this long.  I am sure we will all accept her as 46 years old in 2034.

3. Mindy Kaling – I have heard she is funny, she is brown, but in a tech support way that even real Amurrrricans find useful and she is a woman.  This could work for sure in the future  if she does not branch out to movie stardom, but just remains a friendly TV presence.

4. Jay Leno – Think of it almost like a re-boot to end our love of re-boots and, with continued advances in medicine many of his fans may still be alive in huge numbers in 2034.

5. A transgender woman who identifies as she-male with tomboy tendencies.  Isn’t it a matter of time before every group clamors for not just social acceptance, but social elevation?  I look forward to the XOJane.com article, “Isn’t it time we had a host that was not restricted by Facebook’s 50 puritanical choices for gender identification?”

6. Mark Normand – NYC comedian is friendly, funny, has a late night show host’s cadence and has been on more top ten up and comer lists than Belle Knox.  This is the 10,0000 to 1 shot I would place a $50 bet on today.

7. Chris Hardwick – As Twitter and other forms of social media continue their onslaught on what comedy used to be this guy has already hosted so many television programs Jesus Christ refers to him as the Lord of Hosts.  And maybe by 2034 late night television will be some virtual reality experience where only the technically superior reign.  Like the future in the Terminator movies except with some guy screaming “POINTS!”

8. Mario Lopez – If George Lopez has not eviscerated America’s hopes that a Latino/Chicano can be funny, given the demographics of the country and Mario Lopez ability to be on television for two decades, maybe he could be a Tonight Show host.

9. This Kid 

10. Belle Knox – The aforementioned Duke University porn dabbler whose story continues to change and be modified to avoid criticism has proven that she is media savvy, intelligent and is willing to do the thing most important to advancement in Hollywood: suck di*k.  So hopefully by 2034 we can be done with the oppressive patriarchy of society and pick a host willing to turn late night television into HBO’s Real Sex, so kids without cable can see fun stuff too (assuming the Internet has blown itself up by 2034)

Sadly the list is still heavily male dominant, but I have to leave something for the Jezebel 2034 website to complain about (and then nominate the first group of famous women they can think of).

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on PodomaticiTunes and NOW on STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free! 

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Conan & Obama – Hard Work, Nice Guys &…

It was a tough week for professional comedians and half black men, but it was also a tough week for Conan O’Brien and Barack Obama.  Conan O’Brien’s dignified speech towards the end of The Tonight Show was very impressive and inspirational, but at the same time felt like a scolding for me.  He said not to be cynical (too late) and that nice people who work hard do have good things happen to them (apparently he missed the Cohen Brothers’ “A Serious Man”, and the bringer system of NYC comedy clubs).  I feel like the motto this week should have been “Be Careful What You Wish For” for two of America’s most prominent public figures.
See you on Fox Conan.

In The Untouchables, Robert DeNiro’s Al Capone said to a reporter, “We have a saying in my neighborhood, ‘you get a lot further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word.'”  Despite its cynical undertone, Conan and Obama would be wise to consider it (metaphorically, at least in Conan’s case) from here on out.

Here are a couple of other lessons I think they could learn:

1) Young People Can Get You To The Top, But Cannot Keep You There

Obama – all the new voters, especially in the young and African-American communities, (as I stated when he was inaugurated) were excited about Obama the idea and Obama the fad, but not enough were interested in Obama the policy maker or Obama the executive.  Here is an analogy – when Jay Z or Green Day come out with an album it sells well in the first week, but then tails off greatly because of iTunes and an overzealous anticipation of that first week.  However, if you want to sell a lot of albums today you want someone like Susan Boyle – someone who benefits from the media saturation of today, but whose base is old school and will support their artist in a substantial way that lasts longer and in a more traditional way (i.e. massive CD purchases).  Obama played the new technology in a great way making him a superstar, but a lot of his supporters will not support the old, boring white (albeit inspiring to some people) Susan Boyle’s who make the laws year after year (midterm elections).  They are just waiting for 2012 when the new metaphorical Obama album drops.  And by then he will have lost Congress and they’ll be complaining about his ineffectiveness.  See, Republicans are not to blame for all of Obama’s problems.  Just most.

She's not cool, she's not pretty, but no one has been more valuable to a record label in the last year.

Conan – his fans woke up when it was too late.  In the end the folks that eat up the road comics’ jokes on GPS navigation systems, erectile dysfunction and how odd white people can be to black people (and vice versa) have decided they want the safe guy back.  And like Congressional Republicans, Jay Leno had no interest in what was right and only interested in getting (more of) his. 

2) Getting Tough Works

Obama – I hope he stops his moderate, reach across the aisle rope-a-dope and lives up to his recent speech in Ohio.   He will help himself and his country in the long run if he digs in and says enough is enough.  The word moderate has to have an objective value, which it does not for Republicans.  Instead, when Republicans hurl the term “moderate” they really mean, “We will prop up the Glen Becks, Sarah Palins and Tea Parties, pretending they speak for mainstream Republicans, even though we really believe they are far-right crazies, but then we will claim ‘the middle,’ by comparison, which is actually very right of center.  We will then bash the president for not moving halfway between rational and batsh*t crazy.”  But he should also get tough with the far left morons who are calling him George W. Obama.  They still need to live in the real world and not in a progressive utopia that is impossible with the Internet, 24 Hour News and the Constitution.

A tad much progressives

Conan – It may have seemed cynical or mean-spirited, but dropping the hammer on NBC was great (and funny)television.  He may not want to, but I think becoming the anti-hero of late night television would be great.

3) If all else fails, be a little cynical.

They both work in a country where a guy named The Situation may have more enduring popularity than either of  them.

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Inside My Acting Studio

Tonight I begin taking an acting class.  I figure if I can expand my skill set beyond stand up and add acting to my entertainment resume I will double my chance of exposure and “making it” to 1 in 500,000.   Getting into comedic acting seems to be like getting into  SUV manufacturing in Detroit.   Great dramas are not really being made either.  The Sopranos, The Wire and The West Wing have given way Jay Leno’s Comedy Hour on NBC and the largest collection of stupid, unrealistic crime shows ever compiled known as CBS. 

CSI: Crummy Sh*t for Idiots - NOW CUE THE WHO!!!!!!
CSI: Crummy Sh*t for Idiots - NOW CUE THE WHO!!!!!!

So, with the American people and television executives conspiring to produce cheap, thoughtless entertainment I asked the acting coach one question: Can You make Me A Reality Television Star?

She responded with many more questions for me:

Are you an abrasive black woman?  No.

Are you a wealthy, bitchy white woman between the age of 16 and 54? No.

Can you sing? No.

Are you morbidly obese?  Not yet.

Are you incredibly stupid? No.

Can you dance?  Not really.

Can you cook? No.

Are you flamingly gay and good at knitting? No and no.

Are you in a terrible relationship and feel like doing a lot of travelling? Nope.

Are you poor and in need of a new home?  Not yet.

Have you appeared in any sex videos or done anything to completely shame your family? Not to my knowledge.

Do you have a ton of kids and are willing to be a terrible and abusive parent by putting their lives in front of a camera for a voyeuristic and increasingly stupid American people? No and no.

Well then it looks like you better hope that stand up comedy works out for you. 

Welcome to the reality show douchebag track.
Welcome to the reality show douchebag track.