There I was the other night, lying on the couch, flipping through channels, when I came across it: the blooper show. No, seriously. They still have these things? I felt as though I’d tripped across a Betamax. Apparently people still watch these things, and I had to question who among us still watched. As the clock ticked away I had my answer: apparently, me.
And I don’t know if you saw that show or not, but let me tell you, that guy’s balls were totally asking for it.
I thought about the blooper show when I foundmaybe even looked forthis clip of Alex Trebek drunk. Alex Trebek drunk! For $200, this is the number of beers it takes to bomb one game-show host.
It made me wonder what other game-host bloopers were out there. Let me tell you something sad: chuck woolery blooper and wink martindale blooper came up empty. But not so, pat sajak blooper! Here, Sajak shows us why he’s just not cool.
Bob Barker is too classy for blooperswell, that’s not true, and there are lawsuits to prove itbut bloopers made me remember this classic Showcase Showdown, which proves once and for all that we should add a few Jet-Ski lessons to our classic public school curriculum.
My friend and I used to have a joke about Family Feud. Whatever the question waswhat do 100 people surveyed eat when they’re hungry, what do 100 people surveyed think is the best condiment?the answer was always the same: fiberglass! Fiberglass is a great catch-all answer in Family Feud. Because people are always saying the darnedest things. Anyway, here is a montage of weird game-show moments. Do you feel like you’re watching that bloopers show the other night? Yes, you just tripped over a Betamax.
And what would this Friday be if I didn’t leave you with footage of a hamster stuffing Cheerios in its pouch? I only hope you can be so resourceful today.
The other day I saw a woman wobbling down the street in high heels, texting someone as she walked. You see these people every so often in New York, weaving around like a Kennedy after a July 4th celebration, when really they’re hunting for the backspace button. So this woman was sort of winding down an empty sidewalk dramatically when her heel caught, twisted, and she landed spread-eagle on the cement. Oh my God! said the woman next to me, running over to her. Is that an iPhone?
Good lord, the iPhone. I still don’t even know what they do. What do I care? I’m stuck with this crappy Nokia for the next six billing cycles. In the meantime, geeks everywhere rejoice as Tom Dickson asks the most important question: Will it blend?
Shirley Bassey is the throaty alto behind the classic Bond theme songs to Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever. Now a foxy 70-year-old, she decided to jump back into the mainstream with cover of Pink’s Get This Party Started. Obviously.
I don’t know how much Spoon pays for their videos, but perhaps Britt Daniel could just pocket that money for a nice white linen suit. Somehow, this stupid little yellow robot thingie is like the most adorable dancer since, I don’t know, Webster.
Don’t get me started on Scientology. OK, dobut give me about an hour and a stiff vodka tonic. This week, Scientology posted their own video on YouTube discussing the evils of psychiatry: They basically believe that everyone is mentally ill. Oh, Scientology. You’re giving me engrams.
About two years ago I wrote an article for this magazine about Battle of the Network Stars. It was an attempt to defend the 70s and 80s kitsch showas an early example of reality television and, thanks to some clever soul at VH1, what has become known as celebreality programming. What strikes me now is how earnest that piece is. I’ll leave it to the academics to speak on art; I’ll be in my foxhole, lashing out at Virginia Heffernan for dismissing Scott Baio in tube socks. Joel Stein, watch your back.
Anyway, what that article needed, more than anything, was video clips. This is where YouTube comes in. Since then, kind souls have uploaded dozens of classic moments, some of which I will now curate for you. Don’t care? Join Team Heffernan. Team Hepola will be here, cheering on Shatner to win the Tug of War.
These are the first moments of the first Battle of the Network Stars in 1976. It’s a bit draggy, but I adore the way Howard Cosell treats every moment like a battle between Ali and Foreman. And it always knocks me out to see the first competition, the swimming relay. Here we have Wonder Woman in a swimsuit next to Adrienne Barbeau. Yikes, you could write a paean to these nipples. (And don’t think I haven’t!) I guess I’m just an 80s dork, but I still think this is so cool. It would be like seeing the cast of The Office compete in the Olympics.
Scott Baio was the undisputed MVP of BONS. He may have been a shrimp, but the boy could MOVE. He won the obstacle course, like, eight times in a row and eventually came back as a host in the late 80s so he could chill with Cosell and chat up Heather Locklear and Nicolette Sheridan. I enjoy watching Cathie Lee Crosby running against Randi Oakes (who, if memory serves, met her husband Gregory Harrison while doing Battle), because you can’t imagine top-dollar actresses hurtling themselves through obstacle courses these days. But the real money is at 4:09, when Baio takes the course. He may be 45 and single now, but back then, the boy had skills.
The dunk tank was a sexual awakening for many an 80s boy. But for me, it was a drag, because I always wanted to be an actress, and I can remember thinking, well, I can’t be an actress because I won’t be comfortable wearing a swimsuit in the dunk tank. Somehow THAT was the only obstacle I thought I faced. Gee, if only I’d had a more flattering bikini, I might be starring right now on the WB.
Every Battle came down to the last face-off, the tug of war. It was a fitting, end-of-summer-camp finale. And how could you not love it? Come on, look at who’s here: Gabe Kaplan, Billy Crystal. Freakin’ Shatner. I want to play for this team. I want to drink at the bar afterward. God, it just made being a celebrity seem like so much fun. And that’s the lasting impact of Battle, anyway. Who wants to be an actorwhen you could be a STAR?
My favorite breakfast as a kid was iHOP’s chocolate-chip pancakes. The kind with the whipped-cream smile? Blech. These days, I’d just as soon pour Nutella in my morning coffee. Wait, that sounds delicious. How about: I’d just as soon eat pancakes made from human blood? Argh. Well, you get the point. As an adult, I crave savory breakfastseggs and bacon and melted cheese and tortillas. In Austin, where I used to live, all of these ingredients live happily together in a brilliant concotion known as the breakfast taco. Try one. You will believe.
Sadly, if you don’t live in Texas, you probably can’t try a breakfast taco. Lucky for you, director Robert Rodriguez is teaching the world how to make breakfast tacos. I am making these at my place next week. You are invited.
If you can’t come to my place for breakfast tacos, don’t worry. Because chances are, they will suck. I’m a terrible cook with no attention to detail, and I do horrible things like use flour when I was supposed to use sugar and smoke a cigarette when I was supposed to roll the dough. I don’t have the patience. But I am trying to learn. And the problem with the Food Network is that it seems so simple and easy while I’m watching it, and then I get in the kitchen and sear off my eyebrows. So I do sometimes rely on Video Jug. I’m pretty sure this is not an authentic recipe, but the soothing narrative voice makes me feel like I’m cooking for Masterpiece Theater.
The Food Network actually has their own collection of online video clips, but I wanted to go to Ye Olde YouTube and see what cooking shows the kids were watching. First up? Hard Gay, the lovable, over-the-top, groin-shaking Japanese character beloved by our friends in the East. I also love Hard Gay. But I would sooo not let him in spitting distance of my toddler.
Mmm, green pepper sushi roll with peanut butter! Sounds delish. Taste really isn’t the point in this next video, either. It’s part of the Cooking With Marijuana series, in which two dudes in chef whites and doctors’ masks teach you how to fry up your home stash. If you are watching these guys, you must already be stoned.
An incredible resource for winein fact, just an incredible resource for entertainmentis Wine Library TV. Our esteemed Morning News editor Rosecrans Baldwin turned me on to this site a while ago. Gary Vaynerchuk just wants to talk with you about wine. Don’t resist him. Newbies will have it all explained here.
I cannot separate the songs I loved as a child from their videos. Rio? That’s a song about sailing the Caribbean and pouring melted pink ice cream on yourself. Billie Jean? Requires light-up tile floors. Hello is about some blind chick in Lionel Richie’s acting class (a video that is really, really creepy, by the way). These weren’t songs that happened to have videos. They were videos that happened to have songs. It was something of a loss to leave the golden age of music videos. But MTV had seven horny strangers to film, and I had college classes to skip and mainstream culture to ignore.
Do kids these days care about music videos as much? No way. They’re too busy IM’ing the staff of Dateline’s To Catch a Predator. But the art of the video endures, and I decided to compile a few recent ones here. There’s no Caribbean yachting adventures in the bunch, but we’ll leave that to the rappers.
* * *
Recently, there were complaints that the 2012 Olympic logo was causing epileptic seizures. Those people should not watch this video. It’s like staring into a strobe light after an evening of pounding Tuaca. Dallas photographer Hal Samples has made a flipbook video from 70,000 snapshots. Cool idea. Good video. But would it be too much to ask for a foxy blind student to sculpt frontman Tim DeLaughter in clay?
Green Day, a band who used to sing about masturbation, sure has gotten serious. When did they turn into U2? Or, more aptly, John Lennon? This cover of Lennon’s Working Class Hero comes off an album to benefit Darfur. Nothing says party like a benefit album. I give them props for not collapsing into a mountain of groupies and cocaine, but I miss the bombast and rage of American Idiot.
Now this is a video. Sadly, it’s not much of a song. Upgrade U? Can’t wait for Beyoncé’s next hit, Hard Drivin’ All Night. But hey, the video has a crocodile, seven different sets, and a budget that rivals the GNP of most African countries. So what if it was written by a drum machine?
My girl Feist knows how to make a video. And she knows how to make a great album, too, as anyone whose heard The Reminder can tell you. This has all the poetry of a month of Missed Connections classifieds.
Back in my day, if you wanted a popular video, you had to do one of two things: Drop boatloads of cash, or hook up with Rob Lowe at the Democratic National Convention. These days, you just have to slap up some green-screen challenge and some poor, stoned undergrad does all the work for you. And you know what? The results are really, really good.
* * *
Man, this is dumb-looking. Man, this is a bad song. Man, this makes me miss music videos. And also Big Macs.
As a kid, I loved candy cigarettes. I was obsessed with Hollywood glamour, with being an adult even as I was just learning the wobbly letters of my first name. It was a powerful feeling to slip that sweet, chalky stick between my lips and puff away. If you sucked in the powder just right, you could actually expel something vaguely resembling smoke. You could also accidentally choke. Whatever, it made good bubble gum. Eventually, hardnosed anti-smoking advocates (along with every sensible bureau in the country) put that kibosh on those things in favor of such nourishing candy as Gummi brains and chewable intestines. Honestly, I don’t know what the big deal was about selling candy cigarettes to kids. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I just need to ash this Camel Filter and untangle my iron lung.
Candy cigarettes were on my mind this week, because I saw this ad for children’s beer. Sheesh, back in my day, children drank real beer. Fake beer is for sissies.
This seems like an appropriate time to segue to a discussion of Sicko, Michael Moore’s documentary about the healthcare industry. The trailer was recently released, and it looks just as exciting, hilarious, infuriating, and factually loosey-goosey as any Moore tour de force. Maybe by the time it comes out, I’ll actually have insurance.
There is no other way to break this to you: The next clip is a man getting a massage from baby goats. People, this goes on for five minutes. And maybe all the nicotine and cyanide are getting to me, but it’s also kind of zen, the visual equivalent of pan flute and a waterfall sculpture. Like, wouldn’t this world be awesome if the baby goats could travel with you? If you could unfold them in your hotel and let them pad all around your sore trapezium? Next time my back is sore, I’m visiting a farm.
And then, we have a clip from Wheel of Fortune. Eh, big deal, right? Except this Wheel of Fortune features James Brown, Little Richard, Weird Al Yankovic, and Lee Greenwood? I know, I know: It’s my fantasy dinner party, too. For some reason (drugs), Little Richard and James Brown are playing as a team. Poor James. The last time he tried to buy a vowel, he smoked it all under the bridge in one hit.
I know you would never forgive me if I didn’t leave you with this clip of a kitten in a box. Ladies and gentlemen, that kitten is not giving up the box. Long live the box kitten. See you next week.
I’ve never been a big fan of House, the television show. I find it painfully contrived, annoyingly outlandish. I’m a kid who grew up on St. Elsewhere and General Hospital; if a medical drama strikes me as unrealistic, then we know things are bad. That said, I’ve always been a fan of Hugh Laurie, the British actor who plays Dr. House. He’s a closet charmer, hobbled by an American accent. I recently came across a clip of Laurie from his ‘80s-era sketch comedy show, A Bit of Fry & Laurie, in which he showcases his easygoing comedic chops, as well as his decent baritone.
Finding the clip made me think about other television stars who spent the ‘80s in unexpected ways. Of course, I thought immediately of Ricky Gervais. I’m pretty sure I’ve posted this clip before, but I could watch it all day. And sometimes, I do.
Much like Ricky Gervais, I spent the ‘80s finding new ways to make my bangs fight gravity. Another victim of this? George Clooney. Long before he was the poor man’s Cary Grant, he was the poor man’s Steve Guttenberg. What strikes me about this clip is not Clooney’s frightful hair, or his charming grin. It’s the fact that this show was actually on the air for nearly a decade. Woof. And I thought King of Queens was lame.
Back then, I was too busy licking my pictures of Johnny Depp and playing with my sequined Michael Jackson dolls to realize that George Clooney was a total hottie. But I always, always, liked Patrick Dempsey. In fact, when the whole world went McDreamy, it kind of pissed me off. Because I knew he was hot. I’d known for decades. Seeing everyone coo about it now was so grating. It was an ‘80s teen movie fan’s version of REM having a #1 hit. Now I hate him. Thanks, world.
As we know from countless nostalgia pieces, only half of which were written by me, the ‘80s were a funny time. We got some things wrong (Simply Red, Andrew McCarthy). We got some things right (U2, John Cusack). Some stars of the era, like Kiefer Sutherland and Paula Abdul, are still stars. Somewhat unaccountably. Honestly, I never would have pegged those two for longevity. But I would have pegged James Spader. Why? Because Spader rules. As we all know, he was sensational in Pretty in Pink. But do you remember him in Tuff Turf?
And did you catch that cameo of another oldtimer? Sigh. It’s Robert Downey, Jr.
Rosie O’Donnell is leaving The View. Shh, shh, little bear, it’s going to be OK. I know what you’re wondering. You’re wondering: What will my day be like without a kneejerk, vaguely incoherent lesbian to organize my day? Watch this video. Why? Because it would piss off Elizabeth Hasselbeck and that’s reason enough.
Somebody put together this 30-minute clip of ‘80s cartoon introductions. If this doesn’t distract you for at least 10 minutes, then I don’t even know you anymore.
So, Jack Black sang on American Idol this week. Have you been watching AI? Honestly, he was the best singer this season.
Ross the intern, who made a name for himself on the Tonight Show, has started his own video blog. Of course he has! Do you feel a little bit like Ross the intern might be living your life, if you’d bothered to apply for that internship at the Tonight Show? Well, this won’t change your mind.
However excited you are, about whatever is happening in you life, I defy you to be this excited.
Also, I defy you to do this (untrue; Sarah is not defying you to do anything, least of all attempt a crippling spinal injury at TMN’s behested.).
Finally, no matter what you do, you will never be this adorable. Because you can never, ever beat a hamster and his first broccoli.
I spent my college years working at a daycare with four- and five-year-olds who screamed a lot, hurt themselves easily, and sometimes wet the bed. They reminded me a lot of my friends at the time. Turn on loud music, blow some atmospheric bubbles, and the only difference between my toddlers and my college buddies was 15 years and a bottle of Goldschlager. This lead me to a theory, which I still hold today, that children are just a bunch of drunk people. I’m sure someone funnier and smarter and less lazy than I am has written a ribald essay on this topic. In the meantime, here are a few videos which prove my point.
Frankly, this is funnier than Blades of Glory. Forget John Heder. Will Ferrell’s next sidekick should be Suri Cruise. (Shout-out to Rachel for sending the video.)
* * *
Here is a YouTube chestnut of yore, the crazy laughing baby who seems to have just loaded up on whip-its. If this baby isn’t diaper-deep into a Jack Daniels bender, then I just don’t know my alcoholics anymore.
Also, here is a baby named Theo who probably murdered his parents shortly after this video was shot:
And now, an imitation of me last Sunday morning at 4 a.m. How did this baby know I was wearing that basketball jersey?
* * *
Well, I think I’ve proved my point. It wasn’t like I was proving the existence of God, after all; this is kind of a no-brainer. But to bring this whole spiel together, here’s the Baby Jesus Prayer as performed by Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights. Haven’t seen it yet? No need. Just watch this. Amen.
Video Digest: April 13, 2007; Video Digest: April 6, 2007; Video Digest: March 30, 2007; Video Digest: March 23, 2007; Video Digest: March 16, 2007; Video Digest: March 9, 2007; Video Digest: March 2, 2007; Video Digest: February 23, 2007; Video Digest: February 16, 2007
The Morning News is an online magazine, published weekdays since 1999