American Idol – 50’s Week Didn’t Suck!

When I learned it was going to be a 50’s theme for American Idol this week, I shuddered at the potential awfulness of the performances.  And then when I learned that Barry Manilow was going to be involved, my shudder became a full-blown fever of fearful expectation.
Well, I was wrong.  Most of last night’s performances were pretty good, and the interpretations of the songs (thanks in part to Barry, who seems like a super smart arranger) were much better than I anticipated they’d be.
Onto the singers:
Mandisa – She always has a pretty face, and last night her very pretty face was surrounded by a fantastic hairstyle.  She wore a slimming black dress that did an amazing job of taking attention away from her oh so large posterior.  Of course, the camerapeople helped too, by not zooming in on it.  (and yes, I realise there’s a joke there about how, with the size of her ass, could the cameras *not* zoom in on her ass – her ass is a constant zoom shot, but I won’t go there.  I just won’t)  Her performance was stellar.  She’s been progressively improving each and every week, and her first week starting point was already top-notch, so she’s a threat to win it all.  Except, you know, she has a huge ass that America will never allow to become top Idol.
Bucky – I realised last night that Bucky doesn’t sing.  He rasps.  And he often rasps out of key.  I thought his performance of Buddy Holly’s “Oh Boy” was pedestrian and bland.  While it may have been a good song choice to fit his style and personality, I don’t think it’s a good choice to show off his singing (lackof) abilities.  Hmm.  Since he’s not a great singer, maybe a song that doesn’t show his lack of ability is a great choice.  Anyway, not very good tonight, Bucky.  And I’m partly saying that because I cannot get past your hair, both on your face and on your head.  Awful.  He’ll be Bottom Three.
Paris – She looked fantastic and she sang “Fever” even better.  I thought she rocked.  She seems so incredibly in control of her stage presence that it is frightening to think she’s just 17.  Wow, great performance.
Katherine – I’ve not yet liked anything that she’s worn.  None of her tops seem to fit properly, like she’s trying to keep the secret from her mother that she’s pregnant.  She looked pretty great last night, though, in an ill-fitting dress.  From the introductory segment on her experience with Barry, I was expecting to not like her song and song choice, but she did a super job.  Maybe the best I’ve seen from her.  She’s always in danger of bombing, I think, but last night she more than rose to the occasion.
Chris – My (and others) odds-on favourite to win the competition.  His rendition of I Walk The Line was superb.  If that was recorded today, it’d be a radio hit tomorrow.  Guaranteed.  This guy has it all and should be one of the final two.  Wonderful job.
Lisa – Apart from Kevin, Lisa is, in my opinion, the least talented of the remaining performers.  Some nights she shows glimpses of her potential, but last night it was a pretty uninspired performance.  She’s a Bottom Three finalist tonight.
Taylor – Taylor should be hoping that his fans remember the excellent performances he’s done in previous weeks because last night was terrible for him.  A terrible song choice, much too repetitive and not very challenging, vocally.  He tried to sell it, though, as best he could, but I didn’t buy it at all.  One of the evening’s three worst performances, but he’s built up enough good Karma to not be in the bottom three tonight.
Elliot – This was the most difficult song choice of the night, in terms of being a vocal challenge.  Elliot always seems to choose the most difficult songs and I’m never sure he succeeds in pulling them off.  Last night, he had moments where he seemed out of synch with the music, like he was trying to rush through his lyrics.  He seemed quite nervous early on, but by halfway through the song, he found the groove and was pretty sharp to the end.  I loved his honesty, though, about not really digging Manilow’s songs.  Good for him.
Kellie – I absolutely hated this performance.  Maybe I’m soured on Pickler (get it?), but I seem to have lost any ability to adore her naive stupidity any longer.  I wonder when America will tire of her?  I thought her Walking After Midnight was very much a “by the book” performance, without heart or feeling.  Barry is all about finding the story of the song, and singing the emotion behind that story, and she totally failed, in my opinion.  She should be a Bottom Three, but America will love her ditziness for a few more weeks, before they crash from her sugar-rush sweetness.  No, wait.  I’m changing my mind.  She’ll be a Bottom Three contestant tonight.  America is tiring of her.  Just wait and see!
Kevin – I’ve voiced my opinion of Kevin a few times.  Basically, I don’t think he belongs in the competition, and the only reason he is there is because he’s willing to play along with the “untalented nerd pretends he’s sexy and talented” angle.  Last week, he did an okay job with his song (still it was the worst of the week, IMO).  Last night, his performance was actually pretty good.  Great song choice for him, and performed as well as he could perform it.  Enough to keep him around for another week (or two?).  I loved Simon’s noncommittal comment about how his performance will really be appreciated by those who like Kevin’s performances.
Ace – Oh, Ace!  You are free-falling to the bottom of the talent pool.  Expectations were so high for you a few weeks ago, but a couple of poor performances since have made people look past your oh so pretty looks.  Maybe our ears were blinded (huh?) by your beauty all along.  Maybe you were always just mediocre?  Anyway, this week was a bit better than weeks past, enough to keep you safe from the Bottom Three (unless America has a hate-on for you, in which case you’re sunk).

Bottom Three – Bucky, Kellie, Lisa

Contestant to leave – Lisa

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PopCultured – No Longer Bottom Of Barrel

Well, Canada, you have a new contender for worst comedy show on television.  For a couple of years now (is it really more than one year?), PopCultured has reigned supreme as worst comedy show.  But at least you could see their writers/producers/performers trying.  Failing miserably, but trying.
Now, though, there is a show so bad, so far below the poor quality of PopCultured that it makes it look like The Daily Show in comparison.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I give you Girls Will Be Girls.
When I first saw commercials and previews for this program, I immediately thought to myself “uh oh, that’s gonna suck”.  Rather than just sit idly by and stew in my assumptions, I decided to watch some of it when it first aired.  It was atrocious.  Far worse than I could have imagined.
For those who don’t know its premise:  basically, it’s four “cool” women who do “outrageous” things in candid camera style streeter videos.  Unfortunately, the things they do (and I admit I’ve only seen a handful of their pranks) are so intolerably unfunny that it makes me seethe with anger.  There’s the girl who stands on the street and pretends to be schizophrenic, arguing with the voices in her head.  There’s the girl who walks down the street with her skirt caught in the back of her panties.  There’s the girl who stands next to a guy on the street and imitates his movements.
I suppose the premise of the Girls pitch to The Comedy Network was that “hey, girls can be funny and outrageous, too!  Our show will be like Just For Laughs Gags, but with chicks!”  It’s not funny, nor outrageous, though.  Not in the least.  It is only juvenile.  And while “juvenile humour” can be funny, it just can’t be juvenile by itself.  It still needs to have an inkling of humour within it.  Girls Will Be Girls has not one iota of humour. 
With PopCultured and Girls Will Be Girls as “Comedy Network” original programs, it’s quickly becoming apparent that the people who run that network don’t have much of a sense of humour.  Which is odd for a network called “Comedy”.  Hopefully, they’ll kick those shows to the curb post haste.  Either that or start renting the laff-trak machine that Just For Laughs Gags uses.  Because, seriously, the only way I know that GWBG is supposed to be funny is because it’s on a channel with Comedy in its title.
I’ve seen Just For Laugh Gags a number of times, and every time I do, I always get angry at how unfunny it was.  But now, with GWBG as the new base in base comedy-less comedy, I may have to start giving the Gags people some props.  At least I can see that they put some thought and effort  into creating the gags.  It’s just that they fail so hugely in their execution.  I always am bugged by the Gags fakey-fake lafftrak, and by the mostly puzzled, confused looks from the public, the people who are supposed to be getting punk’d.  The laughtrack works so hard at trying to convince us that what we are seeing is funny, but it’s almost always belied by the “whatever” reactions of the people being tricked. 
GWBG doesn’t stoop to a laughtrack, and, sadly, it seems to be a mistake.  I think the incalculable lack of humour in their video segments might benefit from fake laugther.  At least it’d clue us tv watchers in that what we are seeing is supposed to be humour. Perhaps they do use a laff-track but the canned laughter just gets sucked into the suckiness of the segments that we don’t hear it.  Kind of like the old saying:  If a joke bombs in the forest, does anybody know they’re supposed to laugh?
So, Elvira, rest a bit easier this year.  Your show isn’t the worst one on The Comedy Network anymore.

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Kevin Covais, the Shitty… An American Idol Rant

You can see it in his eyes.  He now thinks he is something.  And I blame you, Randy and Paula.
I’m talking about the 16 year old American Idol contestant Kevin Covais.  He’s a deer-in-the-headlights dweeb with a weak voice who somehow managed to make it to the final 12, and inexplicably survived through last night’s first top-12 elimination (he wasn’t even in the “Bottom Three”!!!).  The “somehow managed”, though, isn’t such a mystery to my eyes.  The AI producers saw early on that this guy was their joke contestant.  The go-to guy, good for a few laughs, the odd funny line, and willing to play along and make fun of his own funny looks and nebbishness.  You could practically see the producers rubbing the Endearing Glue on his back, tossing him on the Big Map Of America and seeing if anything sticks.  Well, he stuck.  Only problem is, he can’t sing.  Not a bit.  He’s terrible, in fact.  But that doesn’t matter, because America Lervs him.
Well, enough of America loves him to keep him in the competition for at least another week, despite being unquestionably the worst singer of the bunch.  He’s miles worse than anyone else still competing.  No, I fear that Shitty Kevin Covais will last through at least a couple more weeks.
Normally, I wouldn’t care (and truthfully, I don’t, except in that totally meaningless superficial “who wore the best gown at the Oscars” kind of way), except that I see a disturbance in the Endearing Force of Kevin Covais.  Now, he is starting to believe the hype.  You can see it in his eyes.  No, of course he doesn’t believe the claims that he’s a legitimate sex-symbol.  Everyone gets that joke, even him.  But, I’m afraid that he’s starting to believe that he actually belongs in this competition.  That he’s on par, vocally, with the rest of the competition..  Kevin…honey… you’re not.
I blame, of course, the producers for letting the joke go this far.  I blame Randy and Paula for never really questioning his vocal talents and only commenting on how much they like his performing-monkey antics.  Well, Paula I can’t blame, because, well, who can blame the rainbow that bursts within your heart?  She’s the joke judge, so naturally she’s beyond blame. 
It’s “shame shame” on Randy, though, for playing along with the charade.  Man, he’s so frustrating, Randy is, because he seems like he should have better sense than he displays, but he continues to side with Paula.  And, yes, there is his general lack of ability to communicate a complete thought, but we can forgive him that.  We can’t forgive him his decisions to side with Paula, all for the sake of “making Simon the bad guy”.  Too bad, Randy, that by willingly doing so, you are tarnishing any position of respect you’ve earned.  I know why he does it though, why he sides with Paula.  He’s a huge delicate bubble of a man, you see, and everytime he venture into the negative constructive criticism world, the “boos” of the audience are like pin-pricks on him, and his soul bursts.  He simply cannot handle people not liking him.  So, he lies, and says exactly what the audience wants to hear.  Or rather, he bullshits himself through all of his criticisms so that it really doesn’t matter what he says, since it doesn’t really make sense.
Back to Shitty Kevin Covais.  The only one who refuses the play the game is Simon.  He’s the only one who ever comments on Kevin’s lack of singing chops.  And while I expect the audience to boo him for it, I get angry when Randy and Paula complain about his speaking the truth. I hate it when Ryan calls him out on it, too, because Ryan calls him out on exactly the wrong reasons.  Ryan always claims that Simon never gives constructive criticism, but in fact, Simon is usually the only one who does so.  Anyway, that bugs me.
And, now, I blame Kevin, too, for his part in the charade of his participation.  Because, now he is believing he’s deserving.  You can see it in his eyes. He’s believing he belongs.
And he so doesn’t belong.
Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!!!! I hate this show so much!!!!
Can’t wait for next week!

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Those Who Hate Them, Hate Them A Lot

Two of the more annoying TV pitchmen in recent Canadian television history have recently ended their run.
First, a couple of weeks ago, the very annoying Fake Scottish bloke who rudely confronted drinkers of Keiths beer was released from his contract, due to alleged dalliances into child pornography.
While I wish it could have been for something far less seedy, I am, of course, thankful that he’s gone from the airwaves.  Because Those Who Hate Him, Hate Him A Lot.

And yesterday it was announced that The Canadian Tire Guy has been retired from the Canadian Tire advertising cycle.  Again, good news, I think, as I suspect that the shark has long been jumped by that campaign.
The Canadian Tire Guy has, actually, become quite a national phenomenon.  Especially the Hate that many people feel for him.  This very site happens to be the number one Google search result for “Canadian Tire Guy” and “I hate the Canadian Tire Guy”.  Ironic, I think, since the post referencing him ‘Why I Hate That Canadian Tire Guy’ has very little to actually do with him.   I find it curious that so many people actively enter the search parameters “Hate Canadian Tire Guy”, and I find it kind of funny that when they come to my post, they get a post that must leave them a bit miffed, due to the lack of reference to him.

And still the Curiouser keeps getting curiouser.  Today I received an email from a woman at The Ottawa Citizen asking if she could interview me for an article she’s writing on his retirement.  My initial response was “no thanks. I have nothing of value to add to such a story.”  But then I stopped and asked myself “What’s the more interesting and potentially, more exciting thing to do?  Be interviewed or not be interviewed?”  Since the obvious answer is “be interviewed”, and even though I still believed I had nothing of value to add to such an interview, I decided to do it.
So, I just got off the phone with the journalist.  We had a nice little chat about The Canadian Tire Guy, and also about the weirdness of how such an innocuous little post on such an innocuous little blog can lead to an interview (admittedly, on a rather innocuous little topic such as the Canadian Tire Guy’s retirement).  I think I ended up offering a few interesting sound-bites.

And, what the whole thing has taught me is that I’m pretty tired of saying, hearing and typing the phrase Canadian Tire Guy.

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The Fleshy Simpsons

For the longest while, I thought it’d be neat if someone was to do a live-action version of an episode of The Simpsons. You know, take an existing episode and reproduce, shot for shot, angle for angle, an entire episode, using real-life actors.
With this video, looks like somebody’s one step ahead of me.

25% Funny, 40% Shocking, 35% Bad

About a month ago, I was, inexplicably, asked via email if I’d like to review Comedy Central’s Roast of Pamela Anderson – Uncensored.  Apparently because of what I write on this blog, I “seem like a reputable influencer”.  I guess one of my posts which mentioned Sarah Silverman (who appears on the roast), was the bridge between my blog and the company M80, which, according to their website, “is a unique Entertainment and Lifestyle Marketing company specializing in online grassroots marketing, online publicity and promotion, creative services, lifestyle and offline marketing, fanclub service, market research and consulting.”
Intrigued by the process and by the absurdity of the whole ‘reputable influencer’ concept, I agreed, and a couple of weeks later, I received the DVD in the mail.  I watched it yesterday and today.
Here’s what I think:
I used to be a fan of the Dean Martin roasts, years ago, that would occasionally air on television.  I enjoyed the idea of celebrities and barely-celebrities coming together to insult the roastee.  I always thought they were rather tame, though, and quite likely heavily censored.  That, of course, was par for the era.  My curiousity was further piqued a couple of years ago when I had heard about the existance of Friars Roasts.  Apparently, these were anything but tame, and I’d read all kinds of articles and reviews of No-Holds-Barred insults and bad language and filth and foul, etc.  I’d always wanted to see one of these roasts.  Not because I wanted to be entertained by filth and foul (although I have nothing against it), but moreso, because I was curious to see if my limits and sense of “crossing the line” were on par with those of so-called professional comedians and entertainers.
So, that was kind of my history and experience with roasts, before I put this DVD into the player.
And how was the Pamela Anderson Roast – Uncensored? 
I knew of most of the comedians who roasted Pamela – Jimmy Kimmel (host), Adam Carolla, Sarah Silverman, Andy Dick, Eddie Griffin – and didn’t know others – Jeffrey Ross, Nick DiPaolo, Greg Giraldo, Lisa Lampanelli, Lady Bunny (a female impersonator.  Actually, a Divine impersonator, if you ask me). Some of the guests weren’t comedians, but acquainted with Pamela Anderson – Tommy Lee and Courtney Love-Cobain, and for some strange reason, Bea Arthur was on hand too.
Rather than go through each performer’s performance, I’ll just say that, like the title of the post says, I’d guess that 25 percent of the jokes were funny, 40% shocking and 35% simply bad..  Some jokes made me laugh out loud, but there weren’t enough really funny jokes to make me glad I watched it.  Of the 40% shocking, some of it was very vulgar, and a lot of it was pretty personal.  Honestly, I was rather fascinated with these personal, shocking, vulgar jokes, and while many of them weren’t really funny, and a lot of them covered the same ground – Tommy Lee has a huge penis, Pamela has a large vagina and is a “loose” woman – I was interested to see how far, how personal, the comics would go.  Of course, a lot of the material fell completely flat and was rather painful to watch.  But even that was somewhat interesting to me, because it seemed that a lot of this material was written specifically for this event, for Pamela.  So it was interesting to see comedians trying out what I assume to be new material.  Some of the comics are naturally funny and made jokes work despite themselves, and some of the jokes didn’t work because you could tell the comics didn’t have the timing quite right yet.  So, that was interesting to me.  Not funny, for the most part.  But interesting.
Part of the tradition of roasts, I believe, is to also make fun of the other guests.  So, through this tradition, I now know that Jimmy Kimmel has a small penis and large balls.  Andy Dick is gay and Bea Arthur may be a man.  Again, some of this was funny, some was interestingly shocking and personal, and a lot of it was just boring.  It was usually interesting to see how the various people reacted to insults that you just know had to hit a personal nerve with them.
Specific things to mention:
Courtney Love-Cobain is a mess.  And not a funny mess.   There’s not a lot of humour to anything Courtney Love-Cobain does.
Andy Dick’s bit wasn’t very funny.  He pretended to be Pamela’s plastic surgeon, and the bit didn’t work very well.  I’m usually a fan of the characters and bits he does for things like the MTV awards, but you could tell not much effort went into this bit.
Tommy Lee performed a song, which I fast-forwarded through, because, well, why would I watch it?  He also had a monologue that was painfully unfunny and boring.
Sarah Silverman was funny, but not as funny as I had hoped she’d be.
Bea Arthur was pretty funny, surprisingly.  All she really did was read excerpts from one of Pamela’s novels (she’s written two, apparently).  So, it was funny seeing Bea Arthur, with what’s left of her dignity (there were a lot of pretty mean jokes recited about her throughout the night), reading these rather soft-porn soft-literature passages.

If you enjoy base humour and a lot of it, you may like this more than I did.  As I said, I laughed out loud a few times, but mostly I was intrigued by the oddity of it, and interested in it from a professional standpoint. It’s a wonder, the depths of degradation that celebrities are willing to go, both roasters and roastee..

The DVD extras were terrible.  Some “rehearsal” footage of Courtney and Andy talking.  Far too much “red carpet” interviewing and banter that was pretty excruciating to sit through.  And a few snippets from other Comedy Central productions.

The funniest thing on the whole DVD, which happened to be the very last thing I watched, and which happened to symbolise, to an extent, my experience with the DVD, was a clip from South Park.  Paris Hilton had just opened a new store in town, called Stupid Spoiled Whore.  As she’s leaving the town in her limo, with her little dog, she’s talking inanity on the phone, and being very preciously spoiled.  The dog, desperate to get away from the blackness that is Paris Hilton’s very being, steals the limo drivers pistol and attempts to commit suicide with it.  The dog tries a variety of positions and finally succeeds in blowing its brains out.

Now that’s comedy!

Boom Goes The Dynamite, Part Three

My nephew, Johnny, has autism. He’s an incredibly good looking 5 year old boy, with a ton of energy and, once he gets to know you, a smile that lasts forever. Ever since he’s been born, I’ve had a soft-spot for stories that relate to the autistic. In fact, I’ve been interested in autism since university when I learned about it when I was an undeclared psychology major.

This story got me choked up when I first watched it. Then, when I called my wife in to watch it too, I welled up and cried tears. Something I don’t do very often. It’s one of those feel-good stories.
Check it out, why don’t you.

T-Dot Doesn’t Want Us

We just got word that we won’t be attending that CBC sketch comedy special in Toronto.  The producers picked another group from the Atlantic Provinces.  That’s the bad news.
The good news is that they didn’t pick any of the other groups that performed that night in Halifax.  That would have been hard to take, since I thought we were the best of the bunch.  They picked a group from Newfoundland, a group that sent in a demo tape since they couldn’t make the voyage to Halifax to perform.  That’s too bad, that they got to submit what I assume to be their best material, while the rest of us were judged on what we did on that night.  I wonder if we would have had a better shot if we had just sent them a DVD of our material?  Probably not.
Anyway, ahead we go, writing sketches for another summer show here in PEI.

At least Charlottetown audiences love and or hate us.

Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog

If you’re not doing anything, and you’ve been interested in Arrested Development, you could do worse than to spend two hours tonight watching the final four episodes of season three (but really probably ever) of the funniest, by far, TV show on American television.

Prince on SNL

I’ve been a pretty big Prince fan since his earliest days. One thing about him that often gets neglected is his ability to rock out on the guitar.
He was on SNL this past weekend and he really rocks out on this new tune.

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