Hostess with the Mostest

This year’s Oscars should be co-hosted by Wanda Sykes, Tiffany Haddish and Viola Davis. Wit, class, diversity and what the Motion Picture Academy most seems to be looking for – an expansion of its viewing audience.

That’s industry parlance for higher ratings

AKA MONEY #timetogetreal

I partly suggest this because I am so sick of men.  That’s quite a statement coming from a gay guy, but, trust me it’s true.  If I didn’t already have a husband I’d be taking a break.

After the Electoral College POTUS, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Kevin Spacey and Les Moonves of it all we get…Kevin Hart as THE choice to host the annual TV show that gets the biggest ratings of the year?  Well, among the biggest ratings these days because that number has rapidly been decreasing, among so many numbers for network television.

I can’t

Still, this pick (rescinded two days later) says so much about the entertainment industry – in this case quite an apt stand-in for our immediate world – and its ability to perceive what’s going on in the zeitgeist.

That’s Chair parlance for reality.

Let’s be clear – I don’t want to get rid of all men, or shall I say, all straight men.  Some of my best friends are…

We know, Chairy.

I’m only advocating we, well… try to take a look around and through, inside and out, and up and over.

Kevin Hart.  If you want the full details of his tweets, have at it here.

But here’s a quick summary.  He’s admitted to being physically violent with his wife, even spent a night in jail for it.  There was also a sex tape of him cheating on her when she was eight months pregnant but let’s put that to the side because, well, who doesn’t cheat on their pregnant wife?

The Chair bringing the shade

Mr. Hart has joked more than once that if he caught his son playing with a doll house it would mean he was gay and he’d hit him over the head with it and say, stop it, that’s gay.  In fact, that’s gay or that’s so gay seems like it was his go-to twitter insult from, ok…2007-2011.  He even made an AIDS joke about Damien Wayans back then, saying his social media pic looked like a gay billboard for AIDS.

Explaining himself in a 2015 Rolling Stone interview, Mr. Hart said he wouldn’t do those jokes anymore because, the times, when I said it, weren’t as sensitive as they are now.

Yeah, we need to talk

See…this is the crux of the problem

For some people, the times only become sensitive when they get caught or called out for their… stuff.  Or as All in the Family’s Archie Bunker once eloquently stated nationwide on CBS –TV in the early 1970s:

She (Eleanor Roosevelt) was the one who discovered the coloreds in this country.  We never knew they was there!

When you talk crap so publicly so often and gain any sort of success or profile (Note: Or even if you are unknown and just say it too loud or to the wrong person) you get held accountable for your actions these days.

On the same token, when YOU are the one to bring up what someone said and challenge them on it it’s likely you will get called out in some corners for being the PC police. That pejorative is sort of like the alt-middle version of fake news but without the knee-jerk mass revulsion now finally beginning to be associated with Trumpism.

Yet, when we face the issue, we can see how one is the outgrowth of the other.

When someone tells you — Racism, sexism, homophobia – we just weren’t aware of this stuff pre 1960’s.  It was a different time – you can answer : Yeah, you did and well, sure it was.  What was different is that people didn’t make fun en masse about your minority group because you won the genetic lottery ticket of the moment that excluded you from marginalization.  (Note: Or you were in the majority).

So, big congrats on that.

To which they might answer:

But before we complain and lament about oversensitivity and political correctness – can’t we joke about anything, anymore??? 

“Everyone is just SO sensitive” says the white men who lament a “War on Christmas” #HappyHolidays

To which you reply:  Okay, but let’s look at what’s being asked for.  All that’s being asked for is – a look.

I got called out on social media this week by one woman who wrote that as a Jewish person she’s heard many celebrities go on anti-Semitic rants, including members of the LGBTQ community and that SHE never asked that they not work.

Oh lady, I haven’t had enough coffee to deal with you

Well, no one is saying Kevin Hart should never work.  I mean, I’m not hiring him but, hey… knock yourself out, he’s a movie star…ish.  He’s just not the right host for the Oscars.  Would you want Mel Gibson hosting the Oscars, lady???

Not to mention, you HAVE to know I’m Jewish.  Who else but a Jewish gay man from New York with the insatiable need to always have the last word would ever take the time to answer you back so incessantly, Ms. Laurie Freedman Fannin?!

Oh yes, that is her real name.  Look her up on Facebook.  Especially if you agree with me.  Please.

LOL, you shady Chair, you!!

The real point is, any of the above-mentioned information about Mr. Hart, et. al was available to the Academy through a quick Google search weeks, months and years before they made that choice.  You can be edgy, more than edgy, and still proceed with due diligence and basic consideration.

This is how we get to Wanda Sykes, Tiffany Haddish and Viola Davis.

Here for this!

All women in the #MeToo era.

All people of color in a year when Black Panther and BlackkKlansman seem like sure bet nominees (and perhaps winners in multiple categories).

Wanda Sykes – One of the best standups in the country who happens to be an out lesbian, thus satisfying the mantra of trying to get a comedian host and knowing there are also multiple LGBTQ themed films that will receive nominations.

I’m on my way!

Viola Davis – A past Oscar WINNER (Fences) and multi-nominee (The Help, Doubt) who has had a hit show, How to Get Away With Murder, on ABC (the network that also broadcasts the Oscars) for the past five years.

You know Annalise would slay #nobrainer

Tiffany Haddish – A younger comic actress who WON the prestigious New York Film Critics award last year for a breakout performance (Girl’s Trip) and now STARS in her own movies. In fact, her latest is the current box-office hit, Night School, where she gets to beat the crap out of Kevin Hart!

Heck knows, I’m not that smart.  I just put in a tiny bit of thought on the matter and used The Google.

You’d think the Academy would do the same.  Or would you?

Aretha Franklin – “Respect”

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A Snore, A Bore, A Chore: The Emmys

They should have done more Trump jokes.

So what if they would have alienated 36% (Note: And going lower) of the country?  They wouldn’t have bored the other 64%.

And whom did they think would be watching, anyway?

Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels and his Weekend Update co-hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che play it so safe as producer and co-hosts of the 70th annual Emmys they send most of America to their collective freezers and prompt 798,000 lb. weight gain in three hours!

That would be the headline if I were writing it, if headlines were that long or if most people still even called them headlines anymore.

Oh we’re with you, Alec.

A simpler way to put it is Saturday Night Live wins the 2018 Emmy for best variety sketch show for its biting political satire in the age of #MeToo #TakeAKnee and #DonaldtheTerrible, yet steam cleans all of its best jokes and bits when let out of its demographic for a primetime audience.

That’s like seeing an Orange Elephant in your house every day for the last year but choosing to never mention it to your family, neighbors or roommates for fear of making the Elephant uncomfortable.

Or hedging your bets because you are afraid too many in that inner circle will hate for bringing Him up.

I mean, can’t we just have a couple of hours to ourselves away from that god damned ELEPHANT?!! 

#seriously

You knew we were in trouble when early on the broadcast managed to make Maya Rudolph unfunny.  Then there was the opening bit with….oh, why relive it.

Can we talk about this now?!?!

Most watchers would agree the high point came in the acceptance speech for best director of a variety special.  That was when Oscar’s director Glenn Weiss shared his Mom had died two weeks ago and that she always loved his girlfriend.  And then preceded to tell his girlfriend that rather than answer why he never referred to her as his girlfriend when he introduced her to people he would instead show his love by marrying her

Spontaneity!!!  Yes!!!!

We were all with Leslie (plus that suit is #FIRE)

The audience screamed, the girlfriend smiled incredulously and was then ushered on the stage where Glenn pulled out the ring his Dad gave his Mom 67 years ago, got down on his knee and proposed.

Of course, she accepted.

I’m not made of stone!

But what if she said no, you ask?  What then?

Well, that would have been even BETTER TV because it took a risk that anything MAY happen when you’re being REAL and that in the long run it works out for the better.

You’d think SNL would know better since the word LIVE is in its title.

There were moments of consolation to be sure.  The comedy sweep of Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in the series, actress, writing and directing categories.  The FIRST win for beloved Henry Winkler in 43 years  (and five previous nominations) for his work on HBO’s Barry.

MAISEL TOV!

It was also cool to see John Mulaney pick up a solo writing award for his special Kid Gorgeous since he is one of the best in the biz at what he does at the moment.  #AndtheLavenderTux

Giving us Hipster PeeWee realness

Not to mention, who could argue with spreading the best drama and best limited series awards over Netflix’s The Crown, FX’s just ended The Americans and HBO’s Game of Thrones?….

I COULD!

Did they even see season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale???  Oh, take it as just another denial of what’s REALLY going on in Trump America.

Don’t @ me

Still, there was some encouragement to be had with RuPaul’s Drag Race winning best reality competition series and HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver taking best variety talk series.  Not to mention the recognition of the perversely riveting Assassination of Gianni Versace on FX being named best limited series.

Oh, and the 60 second bit lesbian comic Hannah Gadsby did when introducing…something….proved once again no one handles an audience or an uncomfortable moment better than the woman who will no doubt be an Emmy winner next year for her brilliant Netflix special Nanette.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

It should not go unnoticed that not one winner, or even outstanding moment mentioned, came from a series on what used to be considered one of the BIG THREE/FOUR networks.

That is with the exception of the award for NBC’s Saturday Night Live.

This is what happens when you try to grab more viewers by reelin’ it in.

You don’t win Emmys.    Instead, you lose Emmy viewers.

And lose generally.

“Say Something” – A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera

A Bee in our Biden

You don’t get heart attacks, you give heart attacks!

             — An Exasperated Aunt Nan arguing with my Mom

Samantha Bee looked beleaguered – not quite heart attack but trying to hold it together, a fascinating comic stew of emotions – as she picked up a Television Academy honor on Thursday for her TBS show Full Frontal’s coverage of the #MeToo movement.

At least that was my take and I was there – an invited plus one guest of the husband – standing on the sidelines, unable to take my eyes off Ms. Bee’s black and shiny silver striped pants for fear that I’d catch her eye and bore her with too many thank yous and words of encouragement from one more member of the #Resistance she was serving at her own peril.

We’re here for you Sam

By way of explanation for all those lucky enough to be lying under a rock this week – and not being trampled by the many species of vermin who’ve somehow all crawled out from under their own —

On this day Ms. Bee also drew international headlines for publicly taking Ivanka Trump to task for the Downy Ad-Worthy family image she posted on Twitter of a very blonde and beige Ivanka holding up her equally blonde and equally beige young son against a marbled backdrop and smiling dreamily into his eyes. This because it stood in stark, tone-deaf contrast to the numerous other heartbreaking images on Twitter and elsewhere of some 1500 other less lucky immigrant children being pried out of the arms of their parents and placed in temporary non-marbled holding spots (nee who knows where) by armed border guards under orders from the Trump administration.

Right? #tonedeaf

This is, of course, all a polite way of saying that in talking about the immigration issue the night before on the latest episode of Full Frontal Ms. Bee leaned into the camera, admonished Ivanka for being a feckless c-nt, and ordered her to put on something tight and low cut, march into her father’s office and talk some sense into him.

Sounds like a plan to me.

I mean, do you all have anything better?

I didn’t think so.

GURL AMENNNNN

And lest you think Hollywood Democrats, liberals or whatever we all are or aren’t stand together on this, Ms. Bee or anything else, here’s a choice excerpt of the curt, apoplectic rage I boiled over with during cocktail hour beforehand when someone challenged me on that subject:

– So you support what she did?

Yes. Absolutely.

– Well, I just don’t see how this helps. To be nasty to each other.

It helps to keep it on people’s minds. So they’re moved to ACT in some way.

– But two wrongs don’t make a right. Why can’t we be nice to each other?

These aren’t nice times. (And are you kidding, you dickwad?)

– I don’t see how it changes anything.

No single action does. It’s a cumulative effect. (And why didn’t you at least get your suit cleaned – or steamed. Slob).

– What about Congress?

– What about them? Not a lot of activity there. (Pick up a tablet and read, why don’t you).

– I agree (pause) Oh, and don’t get me wrong. I don’t like Him either. (You’re gonna tell me you have a Black friend now, aren’t you?). I’m just saying that….

Blah, blah blah. Blah, blah….blah, blah. Blah.

The polite version

By the end I wanted to rip the guy’s head off along with my own and if I were not a plus one or was unmarried (or wanted to be), I might have done both right there. And this was before Trump called on TBS to fire Ms. Bee. (Note: Or as she’s undoubtedly known at the Oval Office, That F-ckNg CU-T!!).

Somehow this all bled into this year’s #1 hit ABC series Roseanne getting cancelled this week for the racist tweet the real Roseanne sent days earlier where she called former Obama administration senior advisor (and woman of color), Valerie Jarrett, a cross between an ape and a radical Muslim group. (And yes, I’m paraphrasing).

You surprised? #really?

Not very articulate but it did the job. ABC promptly fired her for it. Though it might have been better to not have hired someone who has for years posted racist thoughts, rants and conspiracy theories online under the cover of comedy, the first amendment and/or mental illness – take your pick. #TweetersChoice.

Still, if you take a step back you can see the conundrum for entertainment conglomerates and, in a broader sense, all of corporate America.

If you only do business with the certifiably sane you will be swimming in a very small pool – talent or otherwise.

Limit yourself to only the products found only in your household, well, as comedian Steven Wright once said: You can’t have everything, where would you put it?

So that’s not a strategy for the broader market. Which is why for a moment, if you squint and turn yourself into a pretzel, you can see the Roseanne/Roseanne reasoning.

Oh right, and this too.

After all, the reboot was Sara Gilbert’s idea and she’s an out lesbian, Laurie Metcalf and John Goodman are great actors people love, Wanda Sykes is gonna come on as a writer and consultant and she gets it. Plus, we’ve got Whitney Cummings as…co-head writer!!

I, for one, can see…A LOT of pay or play checks being written. But what if it DOES work? Then we’ve got buckets of money AND the REAL ROSEANNE for years. And years. What price #YourHeartAttack?

Speaking of what makes my blood thin, Bernie Sanders showed up on Real Time with Bill Maher Friday night droning on about income equality and the top 1% and smiling goofily when Mr. Maher told him not to let age stop him from running for president again if he was feeling good – right after Sen. Sanders assured him he was, indeed, feeling good. Oh, Bernie.   Oh, Bill. You’re both so coy.

Bromance.

Of course I’d vote for Bernie in a second if I felt my socialist college professor from the seventies could lead the country out of the current shithole we’re in – or that most of Trump America at the end of the day truly understood or believed on a gut level any policy, or even anything, he was saying. But I don’t. Nor should you.

The inverse of Trump’s Electoral College, Russian abetted takeover of the United States is not a national Red, White and Blue Socialist Wave for Bernie. So at this point, he’s just plain aggravating – like one of the relatives I used to find amusing the first 32 times I heard his stories at Passover dinner but now makes me want to run from the room screaming or stuff a piece of my Mom’s gefilte fish in his mouth until we can all get our bearings.

My face.. for about 5 years

Much as I miss him, Pres. Obama’s calm tweets about his faith in young people taking over the world and how we are all still more alike than different are beginning to wear thin as well. OMG, of course he comforts US! Me! Sometimes.

But Kumbaya gentility felt more right 10 years ago – when a Russian villain from a 1960s James Bond film might have tried but failed miserably to hack into our elections and a North Korean hacker-billionaire murderer being welcomed into a now literally White House that we all pay to upkeep could only be part of a staged scene in a sequel to Wag the Dog.

Look even some of the cast is back!

No, the only person who in my mind has measured the pulse of the times correctly is former Vice President Joe Biden when several months ago he explained what he’d like to do with our current American president, albeit outside the Oval Office.

A guy who ended up becoming our national leader said, ‘I can grab a woman anywhere and she likes it’…They asked me if I’d like to debate this gentleman, and I said ‘no.’ I said, ‘If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him….I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms my whole life. I’m a pretty damn good athlete. Any guy that talked that way was usually the fattest, ugliest S.O.B. in the room…..Sexual assault is about power and the abuse of power more than it is about sex.

Now that’s a message that will sell to Middle America. And all across America.   Even Trump America. Wherever the hell it is.

Joe Cool

Sometimes policy can be good. There are other times when a bad joke makes people think. And maybe one, two, three…four times in history an overarching inspirational message motivates millions, if not billions, to do better.

But other times – well, you have to call a c-nt, a c-nt, meet them where they live, and fight fire with fire – bloodying them up along the way in order to save the rest of the kids in the playground – not to mention the whole neighborhood.

In those situations, making nice doesn’t cut it. Making nice is what will give all of us heart attacks.

“Flight of the Bumblebees”

Give it a Rest

Do you ever just need to rest? Pull the covers over your head and hibernate? Put your feet up on the sofa and settle in for a long day’s binge? (Netflix that is, but chocolate works too). Ever need to check out, even if just for a few hours, from the daily deluge of crap that inundates us everyday? Or just close the blinds and pretend it’s still nighttime and the sun is taking an extra siesta with you?

My bones are aching today and my mind is mush. Let’s all just embrace the exhaustion and give it a rest for a week.

But don’t worry — I’ll be back… and well-rested.

Watch out.

Sesame Street – “Take a Rest”