Ellen DeGeneres built her career on being nice. Now that’s in jeopardy.
If you’re like me you might be wondering what is the controversy with Ellen DeGeneres. Apparently, it has to do the working environment offstage at The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Many reports of a toxic work culture, discrimination, and sexual harassment is beginning to tarnish the 17-year-old, feel-good talk show’s reputation.
The cracks in this veneer started off thin and narrow. As the show became a daytime TV juggernaut over the past two decades, rumors simultaneously circulated, that DeGeneres was not as nice in person as the show portrayed her to be. But the cracks grew bigger over the past year, and became glaringly obvious during a memorable, uncomfortable interview on her show in November with Dakota Johnson and months later former employees began to speak up.
Here’s how the Today Show reported the Ellen controversy
DeGeneres acknowledged that the show had its faults.
“On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness — no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect,” DeGeneres wrote, apologizing in a letter to her staff about the reports’ allegations. “Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show.”
Clip of Ellen guest clap backs while appearing on her show.
Of all the guests featured in this clip, I’m most impressed with how Minhaj politely, respectfully and humorously taught Ellen the correct way to say his name. Great job, Hasan! Also, the next time I go to Starbucks I’ll tell them my name is Ansel Elgort!
New comedy albums featuring previously unreleased material from the late and great Joan River.
Comedy Dynamics will produce and distribute its acquisition of hundreds of hours of content from the Joan Rivers Estate. They plan to release a box set and digital albums. Rivers rose to prominence in the mid 1960s, best known for her quick wit and caustic style. She was truly a pioneer in the comedy world and influenced generations of comedians.
In 1986, Rivers made history by hosting her very own late night talk show, “The Late Show with Joan Rivers”. She won a Daytime Emmy for hosting “The Joan Rivers Show” and was also a bestselling author, playwright, screenwriter, film director, columnist, lecturer, and radio host.
“Joan is the icon of icons in every sense of the word,” said Brian Volk-Weiss, CEO of Comedy Dynamics. “Not only was she a comedic pioneer, she was an entrepreneur, author, actress, director and more. We’re excited to honor her career, and her life’s work for many years to come.”
To really appreciate Joan Rivers you need to watch her documentary, “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work”
Joan Rivers on the E!’s Red Carpet Fashion Show
Joan Rivers on Howard Stern
On the 60th Anniversary of Bob Newhart’s groundbreaking 1960 comedy album, Newhart discussed how it all came together.
Picture this: In early 1960, a 30-year-old unknown comedian with no stand-up experience walked onto the stage of a Houston nightclub to record an album which not only changed his life but also influenced generations of comedians and comedy fans.
On Aug. 1, “The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart” reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts, the first-ever comedy album to do so, launching Newhart’s storied 60-year career, including the iconic CBS sitcoms “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Newhart.”
Bob Newhart On The Comedian Who Stole His Material - CONAN on TBS
Bob Newhart Remembers His Friend Don Rickles - CONAN on TBS
The one thing that separates Newhart from all classic TV series is the most clever twist TV series finale endings. During the last two minutes of series finale of Bob’s 2nd TV series, Newhart had spent the previous eight seasons playing Vermont innkeeper Dick Loudon.
He wakes up in an oddly familiar bedroom. “Honey, wake up, you won’t believe the dream I just had,” he says, right before bedmate Suzanne Pleshette, who played his wife in his first series, Emily, on the popular 1970s sitcom “The Bob Newhart Show”, rolls over. Big reveal! The eight seasons of Newhart — and thus the very existence of Dick, his charming wife, Joanna (Mary Frann), and even dimwitted woodsmen trio Larry, his brother Darryl, and his other brother Darryl — had been nothing but a wacky, indigestion-fueled fantasy within the more realistic world of Newhart’s earlier comedy series. “To me, it was the ultimate wink-wink, nudge-nudge kind of thing,” said Newhart. He can thank his real-life wife, Ginnie, for this idea.
Check out the finale
This series ending was the most-discussed series enders ever. “People still come up to me and talk about it,” says Newhart. “It’s held up to other shows as the standard.”
In his Tweet video clip, West seemed to mellowed, and maybe even upbeat with a group of friends. At one point, he asked Chappelle to tell a joke: “Alright Dave, can you please make us smile? The world needs some — we need some joy, we need a smile.” “The brotherhood is real,” Chappelle replied. “Love is real.”
West asked Chapelle again to tell an uplifting joke, to which the comedian quipped, “Now you know I don’t write them.” That made the Yeezy designer laugh and he and Chappelle exchanged hugs with Chappelle looking to get the hell out of there.
What Happened At Kanye’s Presidential Rally?
For some reason West was wearing a bullet-proof vest and had “2020” shaved into his hair. West spoke incoherently at his rally this past Sunday without a microphone to a crowd that was not observing social distancing despite the escalating pandemic. In his presidential rally he ranted on a range of topics that seemed to be random thoughts similar to what we see from a Trump rally.
Abortion (he’s anti, but believes in giving women proper financial assistance as an alternative). “My mom saved my life,” West said while discussing the issue of abortion. “My dad wanted to abort me. My mom saved my life. There would’ve been no Kanye West because my dad was too busy … I almost killed my daughter.”
Addiction (he derided the availability of prescription painkillers),
Gun Control (he’s anti; “Shooting guns are fun,” he said)
Black Vote (“The most racist thing that’s ever been said out loud is the idea that if Kanye West runs for president, that I’m gonna split the black votes”). West spoke out negatively about abolitionist icon Harriet Tubman: “[She] never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people,” Audience groans.
Earlier this month, West withdrew his long-running support for President Donald Trump and expressed his intention to run for office. “[I’m] taking the red hat off,” he said in a lengthy interview with Forbes. “It looks like one big mess to me. I don’t like that I caught wind that he hid in the bunker,” he said, referring to reports that Trump hid in a White House safe room during recent anti-police brutality protests in Washington, D.C.
Is Kanye running or not running for President? I still don’t know.
Despite the belief that Fox is Trump’s favored news outlet, the Chris Wallace interview did not pull any punches and checked Trump on his incorrect and inaccurate assertions. This clip from “The Daily Show” where Trevor Noah praised Wallace’s ability to interrogate the president on an assortment of topics.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her daughter were taken to the hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this week. The former Miss World is one of Bollywood’s most famous faces, is being treated at Mumbai’s Nanavati Hospital, ANI agency reports. Unfortunately, her other famous family members have also contracted Covid-19. They include her husband, Abhishek and father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan and both are in the hospital. The 77 year old patriarch, Amithabh, tweeted he had tested positive for the virus.
T 3590 -I have tested CoviD positive .. shifted to Hospital .. hospital informing authorities .. family and staff undergone tests , results awaited .. All that have been in close proximity to me in the last 10 days are requested to please get themselves tested !
News that the family, often described as Bollywood royalty, had been affected by the coronavirus sent shockwaves across India. This week, thousands of fans have held prayers for the family’s recovery. On Friday India recorded a record 35,000 new cases of coronavirus cases in 24 hours, surpassing the one million mark. Unfortunately, India now has now the third-highest number of cases in the world, after the US and Brazil. The current death toll is 25,602.
Check out Rai hold her own on with David Letterman
Coming off 1978’s wildly successful and crazy funny National Lampoon’s Animal House, Studios began to think they could own the summers with big studio comedies. This $2.7M budgeted rude and crude snobs-vs-slobs frat-house comedy managed chug up $140M at the box office that summer and managed to blow past Mel Brooks’ classic Blazing Saddles as the highest-grossing comedy of all time.
National Lampoon’s Animal House original trailer
Blazing Saddles original trailer
As an encore, the creative team behind the 1978 classic, split into two camps to focus on other projects. John Landis and SNL’s John Belushi went to Chicago to work on The Blues Brothers while co-writers Harold Ramis and Doug Kenney went to Florida to make the anarchic country-club satire, Caddyshack. So, its no wonder no one paid any attention to Airplane!.
Blues Brothers original trailer
Caddyshack original trailer
Big bets and egos were on the line as industry insiders were glued to these chaotic productions and desperately trying to figure out who will come out on top and which cast and crew will consume the most cocaine. So, it’s no surprise no attention was paid to Paramount’s absurdly tiny movie filled with a barrage of slapstick humor that flew under everyone’s radar.
The movie origin begins with childhood friends David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker (a creative team later re-christened “ZAZ” after the initials of their last names). In 1971, this trio formed a sketch comedy troupe called The Kentucky Fried Theater while attending University of Wisconsin in Madison. They were obsessed over old cheesy B-movies they would watch together and ad-libbed their own nonsensical dialogue. Imagine a very early version of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
One of those B-movies was Zero Hour!, a preposterously straight-faced 1957 B-movie that starred Dana Andrews and Sterling Hayden. Wait of it… the plot revolved around a commercial flight where pilots and passengers were stricken with food poisoning forcing an ex-WWII fighter pilot to land the plane in heavy fog.
Since Abrahams and the Zucker lacked hands-on movie making experience, they began their foray into the movie world in 1977 by collaborating to write and produce an independently financed, buckshot collection of off-kilter sophomoric gags and drive-by film parodies called The Kentucky Fried Movie. Since none of them had any clue how to direct, they turned to a 26-year-old high school dropout named John Landis, whose only directing credit had been a $60,000 cheapie about a guy in a gorilla suit that was appropriately titled Shlock.
Abrahams and the Zucker boys went off to write Airplane! and tried unsuccessfully to get the movie made. Finally, Michael Eisner, then the head of Paramount, read it, liked it and agreed to give the trio a $3.5M budget to go make this movie figuring there was very little downside to this premise.
The key to what makes Airplane! so damn funny is that the ZAZ team made the creative decision to fill their cast with non-comic actors who could deliver absurd one-liners with deadpan conviction while not winking toward the audience.
According to Jerry Zucker, when Graves first read the script, he threw it in the trash, thinking that his pilot character, Captain Oveur, who asks a young boy whether he’s ever seen a grown man naked and if he likes gladiator films, came off like a pedophile. Eventually, he came on board.
Here’s the full scene that almost scared Peter Graves away.
Cut back to that summer 40 years ago. Two of the most anticipated big studio comedies go over schedule and millions over budget (thanks in part to John Belushi’s spiraling cocaine habit), Universal’s eagerly awaited The Blues Brothers opened June 20 to lukewarm reviews. Little over a month later, Caddyshack came out to harsh reviews and weak box office. The immediate sleeper sensation came out on July 2nd. While Airplane! also got its share of bad reviews, movie critics had to admit its sophomoric sensibilities was funny.
Airplane! would go on to earn back its $3.5 million budget in its first five days in wide release and snowballed into a word-of-mouth hit, eventually pulling in $83M domestically and ultimately became the fourth-highest grossing movie of the year behind only The Empire Strikes Back, 9 to 5, and the Richard Pryor & Gene Wilder ex-con caper Stir Crazy.
Forty years later, Airplane! is now in esteem company of films on the Library of Congress Film Registry. Something that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to anyone who can quote large stretches of the film’s indelible dialogue. The movie has held up really well because it’s still crazy funny. It’s a timeless comedy classic thanks to the creative decision by the directors whose only direction after saying “Action” was: “Pretend you don’t know you’re in a comedy.” After all, as long as there are actors—whether they’re A-list stars or bit players—who take themselves too seriously, puncturing and deflating them will never go out of style. Like Airplane! itself, it’s timeless.
One of the great things about SNL is that its LIVE. Anything can happen. Nothing is funnier when something goes wrong and the actors are desperately trying not to break character. Check out some of the funniest SNL on-air bloopers. Enjoy.
In “Inside the Beltway,” when Aidy Bryant’s wardrobe person accidentally walked on in the middle of the sketch and no one could keep it together.
In “Super Showcase Spokesmodels,” when Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig couldn’t stop laughing while announcing game show prizes.
In “Close Encounter,” when Kate McKinnon had a verrrrry different type of alien abduction than Ryan Gosling, and he absolutely lost it.
In “Debbie Downer,” when no one could keep it together and Horatio Sanz literally had to wipe away his gleeful tears with a Mickey Mouse pancake.
In “Corksoakers,” when Janet Jackson tried soooooo hard to not say what was really on her mind and no one could keep a straight face.
In “Dr. Beaman’s Office: Test Results,” when Tim Meadows unexpectedly came onstage, which made it verrrry hard for Will Ferrell to deliver some bad news with a straight face.
In “Smokery Farms,” when the raw meat smell made Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant go wild.
In “Escorts,” when Emily Blunt literally hid under a lampshade because she couldn’t say her “oopsie-doopsie” catchphrase without breaking.
In “Cast List,” when Will Ferrell played an overbearing drama teacher and all of the students lost it.
Reiner was a veteran comedian and actor who managed to be relevant for decades, busily maintaining his career and popularity from the day he joined Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows” in 1950 right up to his part in the big-screen “Ocean’s Eleven” family and his role as Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer’s stepfather on “Two and a Half Men.” He was also adept at social media. He maintained a lively presence on Twitter up until the last day of his life. Check out Carl Reiner on David Letterman.
Celebrities shared their memories and offered their condolences to the Reiner family.
My idol, Carl Reiner, wrote about the human comedy. He had a deeper understanding of the human condition, than I think even he was aware of. Kind, gentle, compassionate, empathetic and wise. His scripts were never just funny, they always had something to say about us.
So sad to hear about @carlreiner Not only did he make my favorite TV& movies (see:Where’s Poppa) but his humanity was beyond compare. His heart was so full of love. Never left his house empty handed- book, space pen, Swiss Army knife. RIP to a man that embodies the word mensch pic.twitter.com/mazBmwznkX
@carlreiner was a gift to us all. Hilarious,brilliant and always a gentleman. My relationship with him will always be cherished. He was a hero to me and all of us in comedy have lost a giant. All my love to Rob and the family.
Richard Pryor reached a broad audience with his vivid observations and storytelling style and dominated the American comedy scene from 1970s to 1980s. He is regarded as the one of the most influential stand-up comedians of all time.
Richard Pryor, a student of both Charlie Chaplin and Dick Gregory, channeled his real life experiences and perspectives into his comedy. Pryor was a comedic innovator. He took on subjects most comedians would shy away from, especially black comedians in the 1960s. He put a spotlight on racist policing and his comedy albums and specials in that era laid the foundation for modern stand-up. Pryor once said he was “raised to hate the cops,” He didn’t just say the police beat up black people. They “degraded” them. Check out his “I Spy” bit - a play off the TV show starring Bill Cosby and Robert Culp as an interracial team of intelligence agents. He described how black partners of white officers had to earn their stripes by harassing black civilians to prove their loyalty.
Warning: All Videos NSFW
In his breakthrough 1974 album, That N@#$#$ Crazy, Pryor wondered why police brutality didn’t make black people “go mad.” He used his innate and masterful comedic skills to paint a picture his audience can imagine. He talked about a man who works hard during the week rewarding himself with a night out and getting dressed up, only to be pulled over because of a robbery in the neighborhood. Dramatizing the violation of the pat down, Pryor considers the impact, imitating the deflated man, who abruptly ends the evening to “go home and beat your kids.” That gut punch quiets the crowd, before Pryor adds: You have to take it out on somebody.
Another bit that contrasts white encounters with the police in their own neighborhoods to the lengths black people had go through to prove how nonthreatening they are to the police. Enunciating every word slowly at a volume and tension that performs compliance, he did an impression of what was required: “I. Am Reaching. Into. My. Pocket. For. My License.” That record sold more than one million copies and was so popular that after one show, Detroit officers told Pryor they heard the line repeated from an African-American man they stopped.
The State Of Our Union is not good. Americans are confronted again with our commander-in-chief’s vile verbal rhetoric condemning the protests to police brutality (#BLM). Let’s also not forget we are also going through a global pandemic that has taken the lives of over 120k of our fellow countrymen and an economic depression that has forced 30-40M Americans to collect unemployment benefits.
There are a plenty of things happening to take joy out of your daily lives. With that setup, I would like to suggest to all reasonable Americans with a sense of humor (from liberal ‘woke’ progressives to Lincoln Project Republicans) to collectively agree that’s its so much fun to laugh at all the “Karens” and her friends “Becky” and “Susan”.
Who is Karen? Urban Dictionary defines them as a stereotypical name associated with rude, obnoxious and insufferable middle aged white women who believe to be entitled to do whatever they want. Viral videos demonstrate their short temper and crown bowl haircuts. This Is Karen is a post from Marley K. on medium.com that provides an informative and entertaining perspective.
There are an abundance of viral Karen videos. Great comedians always find a way to offer context that incorporates what we all see, hear or beleive to be true. Check out Tommy Davidson, In Living Color alumni, break it down for you. Warning: NSFW video.