Saturday’s game at Commonwealth Stadium was a fun one and it came at a time →
KSR’s take on recent non sports related happenings
By now you all have seen South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst’s failed hurdle attempt over Chris Westry. People across the nation have chimed in on Hurst’s lack of athletic prowess and poor decision making skills. What most don’t know, however, is that Hurst’s hurdle was not the product of a ridiculous attempt to avoid a tackle. Rather, it was part of a coordinated plot to put a little spark in the South Carolina and UK football teams and fan bases. The following oral history tells the story of how two college players and their coaches attempted to recreate one of film’s most iconic scenes. The following transcript is
completely made up lightly edited.
Mark Stoops (University of Kentucky Football Coach): The whole thing started with Will Muschamp. I think he recognized that both of our teams needed a pick-me-up and I think he was right.
Will Muschamp (University of South Carolina Football Coach): After our lackluster start against Vandy and Mississippi St I did what I always do when I needed some inspiration. I popped in my Dirty Dancing VHS and got lost in the magic.
Chris Westry (University of Kentucky Cornerback): Coach Stoops called me in his office during game prep for New Mexico St. He handed me a blu ray of Dirty Dancing and told me to study the scenes where Johnny and Baby practice the lift.
Hayden Hurst (South Carolina Tight End): Coach and I watched the scene with the left, you know, the one at the end of the movie. I never knew I could want something so bad, but the minute I saw Baby go up I knew what I wanted to do.
Westry: I called Hayden and we were both excited about it. I started practicing here in Lexington with Charles Walker because he loves Dirty Dancing.
Charles Walker (University of Kentucky Wide Receiver): I’ve always seen myself as a modern day Johnny Castle.
Hurst: I practiced with Coach Muschamp. He wore a leather jacket and insisted I call him Johnny. At one point he busted a window out of his car with a wooden post.
Westry: Neither one of us knew how hard this move was actually going to be.
***To get an idea of the difficulty of the move, Funkhouser reached out to the originators of the iconic moment.
Jennifer Grey (played Frances “Baby” Houseman in Dirty Dancing): Patrick (Swayze) and I worked on that move a lot. There were a lot of rumors about our strained relationship on set, that move was why.
Patrick Swayze (played Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing, comments received via psychic medium Oda Mae Brown): It’s a very tough move. You have to be in great physical shape and have a lot of focus. Fortunately, I was more than able to do it.
Grey: I didn’t know the players were going to try it until I saw the attempt.
Swayze: Being in heaven has a lot of advantages, like finding out about things like this. When I heard about it I was really rooting for them. By the way, I do watch football up here. When I showed up they built a sweet replica of the bar from Road House where I watch all the games.
Stoops: I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Chris more nervous about something.
Westry: The week leading up to the game was nerve wracking. Whenever I would get stressed I would do a lot of meditating. I listened to “She’s Like the Wind” probably 100 times that week.
Hurst: Coach Muschamp was so excited. He cancelled practice on Thursday and then Thursday night we had a dance party at a random shack Coach owns.
Muschamp: What can I say? I can mash potatoes. <Muschamp shrugs>
Westry: Hayden and I met up right before the game. I could tell right away that things may not go as planned.
Hurst: When I got on the field and saw all the fans I started to get a little nervous, but I felt good about the lift.
Swayze: I saw Westry from my seat at the Double Deuce as he was warming up. He had hungry eyes, I knew he was ready.
Westry: On the play before the lift I told Hayden to not hesitate. Just run and jump.
Hurst: I hesitated.
Westry: I tried to ease his fall a little bit.
Muschamp: I ran out to the parking lot and and smashed a car window with a wooden post.
Swayze: It reminded a lot of Jennifer’s early attempts at the lift.
Grey: Of course Patrick said that.
Stoops: You know, even though the lift didn’t go so well, I was pleased with the effort. Chris was in great position and made a great play.
Muschamp: After the game I was so made I made Hayden sit in the corner of the locker room.
Hayden: I deserved to be put in the corner. I blew it.
Westry: My twitter feed has been blowing up about it. I wish we could’ve executed better, but overall I feel good about my effort. I’m just glad we were able to give the fans something they could enjoy.
In a year with a lot of forgettable football, the lift-that-almost-was has provided a moment for fans to remember. Hopefully more moments like this are on the football horizon.
Be sure to come back next week for the next edition of Funkhouser Oral History: “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!”
Funkhouser Announces 2016 Extra Life Gaming Marathons To Raise Money for Kentucky Children’s Hospital
By Richmond Bramblet on ©September 27th, 2016 @ 10:46am
In 2015, we at Funkhouser ran our first Extra Life Tabletop Gaming Marathon in support of Kentucky Children’s Hospital, playing tabletop games for over 12 hours. During that fundraiser, we raised $2000 for Kentucky Children’s Hospital. This year, we’re back at it again and we’re doubling down on the gaming action! Our goal for this year is $3,000 (Donate Here) and with the bigger goal, we’ll now be having two different 11-12 hour gaming marathons over two days in November:
We are hoping by having two events over two days, we will be able to both raise more money for Kentucky Children’s Hospital, but also open the dates up for people who can’t make one day or the other. November 12th, Kentucky Football will be away at Tennessee and we will have the game on the projector that day during the gaming marathon. Kentucky Basketball will be playing at Rupp Arena against Canisius on that Sunday, not that far at all from Legendary Games, so we hope you come play with us before heading to the UK game! We have raised our goal this year to $3000 and hope that you can donate to a great cause and come play games with us.
Extra Life started in 2008 as a way to honor a young lady named Victoria Enmon, who was battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia. A gaming community was inspired by her story, and after she passed, created a 24-hour gaming marathon to raise money for Enmon’s hospital who helped her fight. Seven years later, Extra Life raised 8.3 Million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in 2015 alone, and this year we’re going to do our part to help again.
If you would like to help us in our efforts to raise money for Kentucky Children’s Hospital through this fun event, there are a few ways you can do so:
- Click Here to go to our donation page and make a donation to the Funkhouser KSR Team and Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Any donation would be greatly appreciated.
- If you would like to reach out to your friends to donate and help raise money on your own, you can Join Our Team and any money you raise will be added to the Funkhouser team total.
- Make a donation ($5 minimum) at the Extra Life Event on November 12 at Cafe Meeples in Richmond -or- November 13 at Legendary Games Lexington and come play with us. You can stay the full 12 hours if you want, or you can drop-in and drop-out over the course of the day if you would like.
By Matthew Mahone on ©September 26th, 2016 @ 8:30am
Parenting is tough: there’s no doubt about it. No matter how hard you try to avoid it, eventually every parent will need to have “the talk” with their kids. Depending on your child’s stage of emotional and mental development, this discussion typically takes place around the prepubescent years (10-13 years old), but it could come earlier. Regardless, it comes suddenly and unexpectedly and it’s always the same:
Child: Dad, can I talk to you?
Parent: Sure honey.
Child: Well, there’s something I need to ask you about?
Child: Can I watch Jaws? All my friends are doing it. And you saw it at my age!
While it’s only natural to want to protect the innocence of your child’s psyche from the brutal realities in the world—like what happens when you drink too much and go skinny-dipping in the pre-dawn hours off the shores of Amity Island—you ultimately shouldn’t ever decline the opportunity to bond with your progeny, by watching the same great 80’s kid-flicks which shaped you during your own childhood. You turned out just fine didn’t you? Although these movies have stood the test of time, don’t let that nostalgic feeling blindside you. Honestly, if you haven’t watched the following beloved films in a while, do yourself a favor and read this—because it might just help you avoid some of the more awkward, cringe-worthy, white-knuckled moments you might experience in the company of your little ones.
The Dark Crystal (1982) Rated PG
Every kid loves puppets right? What about life-size, disgusting, rag-wearing, roadkill looking bird puppets who eat, torture and even kill other puppets? If watching a haggish, bearded, grey-haired, nipplish old muppet woman get attacked by a giant crab doesn’t give them nightmares, then the scenes in which the Skeksis suck the very life essence from the Podlings surely will. Are you ready for that? If not, it’s gonna be a long night.
Gremlins (1984) Rated PG
An imaginative and funny movie which is best watched around the holidays, when your kids are badgering you about getting them a new pet for Christmas. Gremlins can teach kids great lessons on the responsibilities and dangers that come with pet ownership. But it’s not the trench-coated, flashing Gremlin that will scar them forever. It’s the nearly one-minute long story about Kate’s dad, who intended to surprise the family by dressing up as Santa and climbing down the chimney, only to get stuck and die on Christmas, that will put you in a tight spot too. Is this really how you want your kids to find out that Santa’s not real?
The Neverending Story (1984) Rated PG
You probably watched this movie as a kid, and loved it right? Not me. I hated it. The film is overwhelmingly depressing, in every respect. From learning about Bastian’s mom to Artax, the horse, the movie makes it clear that everyone and everything you care about is going to die. Yup, you too junior. In addition to that sad fact of life, the cast consists of a hodgepodge of odd, capitulating characters including: a dejected rock guy, a crying princess, a young hero who essentially yells his lines during the entire movie, a phallic-shaped, mustached dragon dog-like thing, and a villain which amounts to nothing. If you choose to watch it with your family, it’s best to have the names of a few professional child counselors in mind afterwards.
Back To The Future (1985) Rated PG
No film is filled with more nostalgia than Back to The Future. In just two hours, your kids will get a back-in-my-day, time-traveling history lesson of life during the late 1950’s and early 1980’s. The iconic film can open up some great, post-viewing, parent and child dialogue centered around: your own family lineage, inventions, life choices, bullying, terrorism, and the space time continuum. However, have the earmuffs ready, because there’s a hell of a lot of cursing in the movie. While your kids have probably heard you utter the same words, the excessive foul language isn’t the worst part. You better be prepared to look your kid in the eye and answer some tough questions surrounding some lascivious sequences in the movie including: voyeurism, borderline incest, and also a scene depicting sexual assault, because there’s absolutely nothing funny about that.
Labyrinth (1986) Rated PG
While there’s no doubt the fantastical tale about a 16-year old girl’s journey to save her kidnapped baby brother from the mysterious Goblin King and his muppet minions will delight and entertain your kids, you’ll need to remember things in The Labyrinth are not always what they seem. Sarah’s odyssey isn’t to find her lost sibling, because it’s clearly evident during the entire film, she doesn’t give two ****s about him. Rather, it’s a coming-of-age quest plain and simple. She’s clearly experiencing a sexual awakening, no doubt triggered by the sight of David Bowie’s magical bulge. You might want to wait a little longer to watch it with your kids, or else you’re going to have to explain what the “Magic Dance” is really all about.
Well, our time is up today and we’ve only begun to scratch the surface. I think we’re off to a good start though, so it’ll be interesting to see where we go from here. See you at our next appointment.
By C.M. Tomlin on ©September 23rd, 2016 @ 1:30pm
Earlier this week we learned, via USA Today’s high school sports blog, that our own Coach Cal is wowing recruits all over the country via his cutting-edge techniques, which include a virtual Rupp Arena presentation which — according to Tampa Catholic’s Kevin Knox — is both like you are “actually there” and “crazy.” But in this day and age of high technology and savvy youths, sometimes Cal has to pull out other stops to impress recruits. These techniques, according to those in the know, include:
1. A Bleacher Report YouTube Video About Kentucky’s “NBA Empire”
Cal can say it all he wants, but it helps for high school basketball players to hear it from other sources as well — Kentucky is a breeding ground for professional basketball potential. Knowing how the world views UK is valuable in instilling what Kentucky has become under Cal’s watch.
Nothing will pump up a recruit like an explosives show/metaphor guaranteeing all the thrills and excitement of playing basketball for Rupp Arena. It’s like guard Junior Braddy once famously told reporters in 1989: “Playing ball for Kentucky is like holding four or even five sparklers in your hand at one time. Just imagine how many sparklers you can hold in your hand. That exciting.”
A tour of Rupp Arena is one thing, but most recruits are already aware of the noise generated by a rowdy Big Blue Nation. Lesser known is the fact that Lexington hosts one of the only two Stein Marts in the state of Kentucky, a fact beneficial as Stein Mart’s comparable prices continue to impress shoppers in 29 states.
3. Cal’s Sweet Body Mods
It’s a new era; youths of 2016 are more extreme than they were back when an ear tweak and some Freedent would have gained a child’s love forever. That’s why Cal’s always ready with some extreme body mods in his back pocket. You know, as a last resort.
4. A printout of an email Cal received from Kevin James in 2001.
Rumor has it that when Anthony Davis almost spilled lemonade on this, Calipari came very close to ending his recruitment of the future Kentucky superstar. If there’s one thing that’s been made very clear by John Calipari over the years it’s that he treasures the amicable buffoonery of comedian Kevin James. Sources have whispered for years that this is how we landed the Harrison Twins.
According to assistant coach Kenny Payne, when called for Cal is not opposed to heading out to the car for an hour and creating a shockingly accurate illustration of a player to gain a recruit’s goodwill. This is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. And the rest is history. That’s why Cal’s the best in the biz.
By C.M. Tomlin on ©September 22nd, 2016 @ 11:52pm
(A report from guest writer Brad Morris for KSR Funkhouser)
Ah, the sounds of sports at UK during Autumn. The popping of football pads at Commonwealth , the squeaking of sneakers at Rupp, and. . . the sloshing of skates at the Ice Center???
For almost three decades, the UK club Hockey team has been tearing it up, always at midnight, at Lexington’s only dedicated ice rink at 560 Eureka Springs Dr on the east side of town. And for those who’ve never been, you’re missing out on a great event. Fueled by some liquid courage, a maxed out crowd of 502 packs and stands the whole game.
The atmosphere at these events is hard to describe. The low ceiling helps to generate more noise. The booming music during breaks is always spot on. However, the chants fans yell after UK scores a goal are the stuff of legend (I can’t yell it on here, NSFW). We’ve had debates over the years of how cold and quiet Rupp can be, and this is the exact opposite. If I was to bring a small child, which I have, I’d invest in some ear plugs. We’re talking NASCAR decibels.
The history of UK hockey got a big boost in 1998, when super fan Ashley Judd appeared on the poster for that season, wearing only. .
And what better way to kickoff the 2016-17 season than little brother himself, Louisville. This Friday, for only $7 per person, the puck drops at midnight against the Cards. While the game starts then, it’s recommended you show up early, since last year they had to close the doors at max capacity and leave 150 people on the outside.
So supporting the hockey club is an adventure, and these guys deserve it. They have to actually pay to play, anywhere from $2,500 to $3,000, just to play one season. Drive their own cars to away games. Drink the cheapest beer they can find (Ok, I made that up, but all their money goes to just getting on the ice). And who knows, you may show up to see a fight in the rink, and a hockey game may break out. Go Cayts.
By Matthew Mahone on ©September 21st, 2016 @ 8:30am
Somewhere in the late eighties a raw yet beautiful sound—a mixture somewhere between punk and rock music—emerged from the ethos, from the most unlikely of places, the Pacific Northwest. I admit it, I abhor labels, but what is now considered alternative music, was formerly known by a different, less alluring name. With its heavily distorted, reverberating guitars, war-like drums and bleak, disillusioned lyrics, grunge music—the vernacular of the time—was a powerful impetus during the last decade of the twentieth century. And while it’s not exactly clear when the grunge movement was birthed, some point to Neil Young’s 1987 album Rust Never Sleeps as an early influence, one thing’s for certain, it died April 5, 1994, when Kurt Cobain killed himself in his Seattle, Washington home.
Many people consider Pearl Jam’s debut release Ten as the breakthrough album—and it was—but it merely cracked open the door of the American consciousness. While Nirvana’s sophomore album Nevermind, released a month later on September 24, 1991, on the other hand, ultimately kicked it completely off it’s hinges altogether. No other band captures the zeitgeist of the 90’s more than Nirvana, and I would argue, despite their brief existence, one would be hard pressed to find another band that shifted the American cultural and musical axis more than Nirvana since. Millions of disenfranchised youth—the nobody’s, freaks, social outcasts, misfits, non-conformists—who were often marginalized by society—were now given a powerful voice, becoming the poster children—flannel shirts, ripped jeans and all—influenceing an entire generation, namely mine. It’s hard to imagine that it’s really been 25 years since it was released.
When Smells Like Teen Spirit premiered on MTV officially on September 10, 1991, I was 16 years old. To be honest, I couldn’t begin to process the sights and sounds as I watched it over-and-over. First, the video looked like the film was soaked in piss. What did he just say? Mosquito? Bloody nail or a denial? Do those cheerleaders have tattoos…is that underarm hair? Looking at it now, it seems tame, but at the time it was scary, raw, loud, yet extremely beguiling. I had listened to Pearl Jam and some other bands including, the Pixies and Sonic Youth, but Nirvana was different—you just got the sense that things were about to change. And they did. Nevermind was released weeks later, and I had to borrow some money from my parents to buy the CD (what are those?!?) at ear-X-tacy in Louisville. Dammit, the lyrics weren’t in the liner notes! The album spent 252 weeks in the Billboard charts and sold over 30 million copies. Nevermind’s success was the rising tide that elevated Nirvana and contemporary alternative bands including, but not limited to: Soundgarden, Mudhoney and Alice In Chains into the mainstream.
Because of the nostalgic milestone, I wanted to give our readers a chance to share their perspectives on the iconic album, and also to see if Nevermind still resonates with them years later.
“I first listened to this album when I was a freshman in high school, so the album had been out for about 12 years. I was just learning to play the acoustic guitar at that time, and soon thereafter I went out and bought my first electric guitar and began teaching myself how to play. The first guitar solo that I taught myself to play, by ear, was the solo in ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’ It might be cliche, but I felt awesome, and it really helped launch my interest in playing music and being the musician I am today.” —Sable S.
“Nothing. Pearl Jam’s Ten was the real nuance to popular alternative music in the early 90’s. The Nirvana/Cobain-Love impact on pop-culture via the alternative moniker is comparable to Brittany Spears. The longevity of Pearl Jam and Dave Grohl/Foo Fighters is the real story. Pop-culture likes the drama story, the rest of us like the great music.” —Ben M.
“It’s one of my top ten fav albums of all time and had such a huge impact on me as a teenager and still as an adult. So many aspects of the album: the lyrics, the guitar, the drums, all of it put together was able to speak for me and convey how I felt when I wasn’t able to or didn’t know myself. It helped me get through hard times, teenage angst of course, and to this day I can’t hear the opening beats to any of the songs without being totally captivated. Music is such an important part of my life, a building block, and I am who I am, in part to Nevermind.” —Tiffany D.
“I was about 5 years late to the party on the whole Nirvana thing. I didn’t buy that album until ’96 or ’97 because I didn’t really get into rock until then. It was a good album but it didn’t really do anything for me personally but it did for the rock genre. I don’t think there’s been another rock album more iconic than Nevermind since—and there probably won’t be anytime soon.”
—Shannon The Dude
“I was in 8th grade when Nevermind was released. That album changed the way I looked at music, the world, and my entire generation. To say it impacted me is a huge understatement.” —Ashley S.
“I never cared for them much. It gave me a headache!” —My Mom
“I was working at Del Taco and my friend brought in a promotional advance cassette single he got from the local CD shop. He accidentally recorded over side A which was ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ so we listened to the B-side ‘Even In His Youth’ about 50 times that night. I was hooked. The album came out a week later and it was on constant rotation for what seemed like forever. It had energy, felt real and was basically a collection of raw, dirty and unpolished but extremely well written pop songs that still sound fresh today. It is my favorite album to come out during the early 90’s Seattle/Grunge period. It signaled a long overdue changing of the guard in what was popular music at the time. I think the world could use another Nirvana to shake things up but I’m probably too old to care anymore. Oh well. Whatever. Nevermind.”
With Nevermind, Nirvana opened a Pandora’s box both artistically and aesthetically for future bands, including: Blind Melon, Stone Temple Pilots, Green Day, the Foo Fighters, as well as a gazillion egregious ones which I refuse to even acknowledge. So the real question remains, does Nevermind have the same emotional effect on me as it once did after nearly three decades? Before I can answer that, the reality is, I’m no longer the long-haired, carefree, angsty, kid I once was in my formative years—those days are long gone. I’m dealing with middle age questions now. Am I saving enough for retirement? Is now the time to shop for new tires? Should I refinance my house? Is $15 too much to pay for a haircut? How do I use Snapchat? Back to the essential question. In short, hell yeah it does! Despite my age, Nevermind is as potent today as it was 25 years ago. Like a virus, it imprinted itself on my psyche long ago and its familiar sounds finds a welcome host in my soul. And while my 16-year-old self might disapprove with some of my life choices, scoff at my attire, or maybe even call me a sell-out, one thing we can agree on, Nevermind has been, and will continue to remain, one of—if not the singular album of prominence ever recorded.
Throughout the week KSR will be the place to be for info on the UK-South Carolina football showdown. While Freddie Maggard and Nick Roush will break down the upcoming match-up on the field, I’m here to breakdown the match-up on the big screen. Using celebrity alumni from each university we’re going to break down the pop culture match-ups through Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Each university has a team of three alumni and a song used in athletic events. Each separation string gets a rating (up to five stars) and the highest overall rating wins. Everybody on board? Great, onwards and upwards then!
Darius Rucker→Jack Black (Shallow Hal)→Ben Stiller (Pick of Destiny)→Matt Dillon (There’s Something about Mary)→Kevin Bacon (Wild Thing) Rating: 4 stars
Leeza Gibbons→Kurtwood Smith (Robocop)→Angelina Jolie (Girl, Interrupted)→ James McAvoy (Wanted)→Kevin Bacon (X-Men: First Class) Rating: 3 stars
Lilían García→John Cena (WWE Battleground– IMDb lists this as a tv movie, just go with it)→Mark Wahlberg (Daddy’s Home)→Jack Nicholson (The Departed)→Kevin Bacon (A Few Good Men) Rating: 4 Stars
“Sandstorm”→Jim Carrey (Fun with Dick and Jane)→ Carey Elwes (Liar, Liar)→ Robin Wright (The Princess Bride)→ Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump)→Kevin Bacon (Apollo 13) Rating: 5 Stars
South Carolina total rating: 16 Stars
Ashley Judd→Samuel L. Jackson (A Time to Kill)→Robert DeNiro (Goodfellas)→Al Pacino (Heat)→Johnny Depp (Donnie Brasco)→Kevin Bacon (Black Mass) Rating: 5 Stars
Walter McCarty→Denzel Washington (He Got Game)→Russell Crowe (American Gangster)→Ed Harris (A Beautiful Mind)→Kevin Bacon (Apollo 13) Rating: 5 Stars
Pat Riley→ Peter Falk (Columbo– Also a tv movie on IMDb so it works)→Alec Guinness (Murder by Death)→Harrison Ford (Star Wars Episode IV)→Willem Dafoe (Clear and Present Danger)→Meryl Streep (Fantastic Mr. Fox)→Kevin Bacon (The River Wild) Rating: 5 Stars
“Bitter Sweet Symphony”→Sarah Michell Gellar (Cruel Intentions)→Jennifer Love Hewitt (I Know What You Did Last Summer)→Ethan Embry (Can’t Hardly Wait)→Tom Hanks (That Thing You Do!)→Kevin Bacon (Apollo 13) Rating: 5 Stars ( what Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jennifer Love Hewitt lack in acting chops they make up for with style, or something like that.)
Kentucky total rating: 20 Stars
So there you have it everybody, Kentucky is your Six Degrees of Separation winner! Sure there are better and shorter paths available for all of the above, but I am completely biased and wanted to make sure Kentucky won the match-up. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ As it happens, the final margin of victory for UK in the Six Degrees throwdown is also my prediction for their margin of victory this weekend over South Carolina, but the score is probably going to be a bit higher. Cats 42-USC 38!
In Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue, he came out of the gates on fire. We re-re-lived the OJ Simpson car chase as Kimmel hurried to get to the Emmys on time. We re-remembered how much we love carpool karaoke with James Corden. We were re-reminded how fake the dragons look on Game of Thrones. Kimmel’s opening monologue proved that John Travolta is a joke killer and that Cuba Gooding Jr. is a joke enhancer. He even threw in one last good Jeb! joke.
Kimmel was light on his feet throughout the actual presentation of the awards. He pondered if “topple the patriarchy” was something that he should get behind. Sadly, there were a few missteps along the way. The fake Dr. Bill Cosby introduction was painful. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich bit was trying too hard, but those Stranger Things kiddos will help sale any gag that might be struggling.
* Edited after the lunch note gag *
At first, handing out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches seemed too much like when Ellen brought pizzas to the Oscars. But luckily, Mamma Kimmel sent a note to Cuba, the joke saver. I’m a sucker for any Snow Dogs reference.
Overall, Kimmel made parading celebrities across the stage as entertaining as it can be. It still was a little tedious so, let me save you three hours of your life and give you the highlights of all the acceptance speeches.
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Louie Anderson, Baskets
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “Ma, we did it!”
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Aziz Ansari & Alan Yang, Master of None
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “There are 17 million Asian Americans in this country and there are 17 million Italian Americans. They have The Godfather, Goodfellas, Rocky, The Sopranos. We got Long Duk Dong. We got a long way to go.” –Alan Yang
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live!
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “I’m really crying. I’m not making that up.”
Comedy Series Directing
Jill Soloway, Transparent
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “People ask me if it is hard being a director and I tell them no. Life is very hard… Being a good person is hard.” Close Second: “Topple the Patriarchy!”
Outstanding Lead Actress
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “I’d like to take this opportunity to personally apologize for the current political climate. I think that Veep has torn down the wall between comedy and politics…. So, I certainly do promise to rebuild that wall and make Mexico pay for it.”
Also, her remarks about her father had me like 😭😭😭😭
Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “May I be very clear about something, there is no ‘best actor.’”
Outstanding Reality Series
Accepted by: Mark Burnett, The Voice
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: His Hillary Clinton joke bombed. It was too painful to re-write here.
Outstanding Writing in a Limited Series or Movie
D.V. Devincentis The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “I share this award with you guys, I’m going to keep it at my house.”
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Regina King, American Crime
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “I’m so proud of this show. To have the opportunity to tell stories that provoke necessary conversation.”
Outstanding Directing in a Limited Series or Movie
Susanne Bier, The Night Manager
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: * listed people she’d like to thank, somewhat painful *
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Sterling K. Brown, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “Thank you to the academy. A lot of you didn’t know who I was but you checked the box anyway and that makes me very, very happy.”
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Sarah Paulson, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: (to Marcia Clark) “I have been superficial and careless in my judgment and I am glad to be able to stand here in front of everyone here today to tell you I’m sorry.”
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Courtney B. Vance, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “last but not least, to the woman that rocks my chain. ANGELA EVELYN BASSETT, this one is for you, girl!”
Outstanding TV Movie
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “I have a list of people I’d like to thank, but I’m not going to…so I’m just going to go home and phone them.”
Outstanding Limited Series
The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: * super awkward playoff music *
Outstanding Writing in a Variety Special
Patton Oswalt, Talking for Clapping
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “I wish I’d brought that juice box.”
Outstanding Variety Talk Series
John Oliver, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “Please play me off…I’ve never had the chance to do this before.”
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special
Thomas Kail, Grease: Live
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: they didn’t reference Grease once.
Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
Key & Peele, Key & Peele
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “We love you Detroit”
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones
Best Acceptance Speech quote: “Thank you to our parents for letting us have television and comic books and Dungeons and Dragons and all the other things that taught us how to do our jobs.”
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Best Acceptance Speech Quote- (From Jimmy Kimmel after Maggie Smith didn’t show up) “Maggie, if you want this it will be in the lost and found.”
Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series
Miguel Sapochnik,Game of Thrones
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “I’m hungry, I don’t know about you guys.”
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “Please tell me you’re seeing this too”
Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series
Tatiana Muslany, Orphan Black
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “I should have had this written down.”
Outstanding Comedy Series
Accepted by: David Mandel, Veep
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “Holy crap. I have 9:30 library shift at my son’s school tomorrow.”
Outstanding Drama Series
Accepted by: David Benioff, Game of Thrones
Best Acceptance Speech Quote: “We have the best cast…that has ever been assembled.”
Goodness, this post is almost as long as the Emmys felt.
Reviewing the new horror Blair Witch leads to a lot of conflict, and a lot of that conflict hinges on the most oft-asked question of moviegoers who’ve seen a movie which you yet haven’t: is it good? In order to accurately answer this question, it’s important in this case to determine what you, personally, find to make a “good” film. Or, more importantly in Blair Witch’s case, a “scary” one, since “good” will be defined here as “scary,” generally. So to do that, ask yourself the following questions:
-Do you find unidentifiable noises and/or the dark frightening?
-Are you afraid of the woods at night?
-Would a pile of rocks mysteriously placed outside your tent, while camping, evoke a quantifiable feeling of dread in you?
-How about stick people? That do anything for you? You know, hanging around your campsite?
-Have you seen the original 1999 The Blair Witch Project?
-Did it scare you?
-Would you like to see it again, only made with more money?
You see, the 2016 Blair Witch update is in fact “good.” And, truthfully, it is also “scary.” It’s also, oddly, both a sequel and a remake in that it contains a very light backstory (which strangely requires you to remember a LOT of details about the original film) yet also happens to be, in essence, the same exact film as its predecessor.
The story this time focuses upon six campers – one documentarian, one younger brother of the original film’s disappeared lone female, two skeptical friends and a couple of iffy locals – heading out to get little bro some answers as to what may have happened to his sister lo those sixteen years earlier.
From there, well, it goes just about how you’d expect: kooky night sounds outside the tent, the aforementioned terrifying rock piles and some falling trees. Oh, and this time there’s an enigmatic foot injury which may or may not have something weirder going on and which isn’t really explained in any way.
If all this makes Blair Witch sound unappealing, I don’t mean it to. It’s just that it’s basically what happened the first time around. In its defense, it does work again. It moves slowly and deliberately without showing our villain, like Jaws for the camping set, before ratcheting up the suspense in the third act for a super-spooky grand finale. It’s also a lot better-looking this time around; it’s less grainy with all new types of cameras of recording the action. There’s even a drone involved this time around, but don’t get too attached to it.
Director Adam Wingard, who secretly shot Blair Witch away from the watchful eyes of the internet fandom by disguising the film under the title The Woods for the past year and a half, is a strong director who gives the script as much as anyone could. His last two films, You’re Next and The Guest, were perhaps two of the best respective horror and thriller films of the last five years. The problem is that those movies were clever and tricky, and that same clever trickery never pops up in Blair Witch, even though I guarantee you will keep expecting and hoping it to. It never gets better than simply what it is.
Think of it like this: it’s kind of like watching a movie called The Exorcist Comes Back, and the kid in the new movie is the daughter of the girl from the first movie, and this kid gets possessed and then the cousin of the dogged priest from The Exorcist eventually wrangles a demon out of her. Sure, it’s exciting, but it’s not bringing anything new to the table. Blair Witch will probably incite the same claustrophobic or freaked-out feelings you felt during The Blair Witch Project. So…er…success? I don’t know. Again, does that make it good? Maybe?
Also, Blair Witch has the unfortunate albatross around its neck that The Blair Witch Project, and this can’t really be argued, completely invented the “found footage” style of horror, a style which has been emulated over and over again for the past fifteen years. So it’s hard to duplicate the feelings of fear you had for the first one when you’ve seen 14,000 rip-offs of that same exact film. It just all seems kind of unnecessary. Plus, don’t forget that a lot of us believed, in 1999’s Paleozoic Era of the Internet, that the footage we watched might even be real, a gimmick which could never be replicated again in today’s eagle-eyed web age. So why even tackle it?
I can probably tell you why – because for a new generation, this new film will stir the same feelings it did for those of us who saw it in theaters at the turn of the millennium. In that way, Blair Witch works mightily. It’ll make a ton of money, and you’ll see a bunch of commercials of audiences featuring night-vision shots of people jumping and screaming in the movie theater. Because for what it is, it is a good horror movie. It’s just another Blair Witch Project. Just like the original, it’s frightening, tense and haunting. Unfortunately – and in this age of tepid remakes and underwhelming reboots, this shouldn’t really surprise 2016 audiences at all – it’s sadly nowhere near as inventive and clever as its source material. Unless you’re still afraid of creepy rock piles. In which case, you’d better cover those eyes, bud, because you are IN FOR IT.
Recently there has been a trend of predicting football games using unscientific methods. Blind goldfish, uninformed grandmothers and “expert” opinions have been cited as prophecy for who will win the sports game. This Sunday will be the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards Ceremony. Deciding who is the “Outstanding Lead Actor” is decidedly less scientific than which team can score the most points on a field with specific rules and referees. Today, we turn to some of the more unconventional ways of predicting Sunday’s Emmy winners.
Outstanding Drama Series – Nostradamus’ Prophecies
The outstanding drama category is full of tinfoil nuts, conspiracy theories and corseted drama queens. This category naturally leads itself to Nostradamus and his elaborate prophecies. For years, readers have interpreted and reinterpreted Nostradamus’ words. One way to profit off the “prophet’s” words is to use his quotes as a guide. The great seer once said:
“A great war shall burst forth from fishes of steel. Machines of flying fire.”
Obviously, according to Nostradamus, Game of Thrones will win the Emmy in this category. The quote speaks of Valyrian Steel and machines of flying fire, which I can only assume are dragons.
Outstanding Comedy Series – Rhapsodomancy
This year’s field for the outstanding Comedy series is full of sassy, unique women (Veep and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) families at different levels of contention (Transparent, Modern Family and Black-ish) and hipsters (Master of None and Silicon Valley.) The category might be too close to call, that is if you use the more conventional means. Rhapsodomancy is when you pick a random line from an important text to help give you insight into the situation. Using the bible seems sacrilegious, so I used Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing In America (a choice that would make Thompson cuss in the most eloquent way.) As you can see, Thompson refers to Washington D.C. which can only be interpreted as a win for Veep in this category.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series – Anthropomancy or Spaghetti Noodles
For the most part, this is a battle between Kevin Spacey’s performance in House of Cards and Rami Malek’s hooded character in Mr. Robot. There are a lot of options for who could win, but there is only one way to decide. In ancient times, people would read the “entrails of dead and dying men.” That sounds way too messy. So I read some spaghetti noodles instead. If you look closely, the noodles say “ooooodcoollooo,” but if you read even closer you can catch a faint “robot” in the pasta. It might be an upset, but the starches have spoken. Mr. Robot it is.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series – Pet Talents
It has been said that pets can predict when tornados and earthquakes are coming. Let’s see if pets can predict if a troubled CIA agent, murder professor, sassy felon, numerous clones, soviet spy or an asymmetrical dress-loving first lady wins this category. I had my dog Blue weigh in on this question. He was like my very own Punxsutawney Phil. He wasn’t very helpful, but it seemed like he leaned toward Keri Russell’s performance in The Americans. (Most likely because of Keri’s outfits in the series…woof.)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series – Twitter Followers
Part of the criticism of the Emmys is that the show selects winners based on popularity and who can rally the votes, rather than who is actually the best talent. For this category, I chose to look at who has the most twitter followers to identify who would win the pointy-globe-holding-statue. Jeffery Tambor was automatically ruled out because he doesn’t mess with Twitter. Will Forte was the last man on the Twitter list with his 155K followers. Anthony Anderson, Thomas Middleditch and William H. Macy (surprisingly, who knew he tweets!?) are all runners up. According to the little blue-winged prophet, Aziz Ansari will win on Sunday. This might be the prediction that I feel most comfortable with.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series – Gut Feeling
All of this is hogwash. Even the awards themselves are kind of silly. It is all relative. But, if I had to go with my gut, Julia Louis-Dreyfus will win and should win. She makes a disgustingly terrible president likable and funny on Veep. She is gorgeous and grotesque. She makes you forget Elaine from Seinfeld and miss her all at the same time. She deserves to win, even though The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s theme song is fire.
This summer’s a cappella sensations are on the brink of stardom. One of ten finalists, the Louisville singing group Linkin’ Bridge will go for $1 million tonight on America’s Got Talent.
The only musical group left in the competition, this quartet is composed of Ekoe Alexanda, Montre Davis, Shon “China” Lacy, and Big Rome Kimbrough. Their rough facade does not match smooth and soulful sound.
You can learn more about the group’s rough upbringing in a story that aired before their quarterfinal performance of Willie Nelson’s “You Were Always on My Mind.”
If you’re not into the oldies, this performance of Lukas Graham’s “7 Years” got the group to the finals.
The two-part NBC finale begins with performances starting at 8:00 tonight, before the winner is announced in tomorrow’s 8:00 results show.
I have this innate ability to be very good at dexterity type games. The more obscure the game is, which involves some sort of muscle memory, there’s a pretty good chance I’ll do alright in it. KLASK, however, is a game that has challenged me a little bit, but I keep going back to it because it is impossible to play just one game. KLASK not only challenges you in a game which is reminiscent to both soccer and air hockey combined, but it also forces you to be aware of your surroundings, as your opponent is going to force you to avoid the built in obstacles of the KLASK board.
Before actually talking about the gameplay, we must first talk about the components. The playing field itself is a beautiful wooden board, finished in a matte blue color and if I’m not mistaken, each game is handmade, which makes it even more incredible. On each side of the board is an indented circle, which serves as the goals players are aiming for. They are not overly deep, so it allows the ball to kind of circle in and out. So, every time the ball goes in, it’s not necessarily an automatic goal. The KLASK game is fairly lightweight, comes in a box about the size of a console game, and has an attached handle for easy transportation. All of the remaining pieces are made of plastic. The game comes with a yellow ball, which serves as the object which you are trying to score. It also comes with three white magnets that are placed on designated spots in the middle of the board. Players try to use these white magnets to knock into their opponents to try and score a point, or move them around the board as almost a trap to their opponents. Lastly, but most importantly are the player pawns or ‘strikers’. The top half of the striker sits on the top side of the board, while the bottom half is a magnet that players place under the board to control the pawn on top. These magnets are incredibly strong, and you’ll see when you pull the components out of their bag, they will all be stuck together and a little hard to get apart.
Play begins with a player starting from one of the two corners on their side of the board and they will kick it off to their opponent. Play will go back and forth as the two players use their ‘strikers’. A player’s hand can be moved anywhere under the board up to the midpoint line, where there is actually a wooden vertical divider to stop the player from crossing the midpoint. Once a point is scored, the player who just got scored on will start the ball into one of their two corners and will kick off to start a new point. If the ball goes flying off the board, it will be placed back on the nearest corner from which it went off, and play resumes. The first person to six points wins, and the game comes with a score track built into one side of the board.
There are four ways to score in KLASK: 1) You knock the ball in to your opponents goal. 2) You are able to get 2 (or 3) of the white magnets in the middle of the board stuck to your opponent’s striker. 3) Your opponent gets their striker stuck in their own goal. 4) Your opponent loses control of their striker and are unable to get it reconnected to their magnet. This is where the wooden divider underneath the board comes into play. If you try to slam your “striker” too hard while moving forward, it may fly off into your opponent’s half, and you won’t be able to get control of it again, giving your opponent a free point. It is the most rare of the scoring opportunities, but still a possibility, especially if you’re trying to knock a white magnet on your opponent’s pawn.
Because of the four scoring rules, KLASK becomes so much more than your typical tabletop air-hockey game. You now have to pay attention to the surroundings of your striker, where you are on the pitch, etc. If you start chasing after a ball that is coming towards your goal, you have to make sure that you are able to stop it, while also not putting your own pawn in your own goal (which is much harder than it seems). In fact, the first 1-2 times you play KLASK, your opponent will probably score half of their points just from you putting your pawn in your own goal. On the underside of the board, there is no indention for the goal, so you can’t really tell exactly where it is when chasing a potential goal. Through longer points, you’re going to have the white magnets rolling all over the pitch, and with a) the strength of the magnets and b) the position of the ball, you have to carefully maneuver your striker around the magnets without picking up two. I have found that it’s almost easier to just go ahead and surrender to one white magnet on your piece, because in reality, it’s one less magnet rolling around on the board to be dangerous. You also find yourself playing to different games. Do you try to use the ball to push all the magnets to your opponent’s side, or do you try and just play the “simple game” of trying to just score the ball in the hole?
You can see a couple of rounds of the game being played below:
As state before, I’ve never played just one game of KLASK. It ALWAYS turns in to best 3 out of 5 games, which turns into best 4 of 7, until it just gets late or someone needs to go somewhere else. It’s easy to pick up for all player skills, but still a little difficult to master with the four ways to score. You’ll find yourself making rookie mistakes each game, but will laugh every time it happens. KLASK was recently picked up by Target and is available for purchase for $49.99, but may be on sale from time to time. KLASK is one of those games that you will want to take on vacation for those rainy days that you’re stuck inside, but still want something to do. If you have a big family, there’s a good chance you’ll see yourself breaking out KLASK tournaments, over and over again. I highly recommend KLASK and you should definitely check it out!
In a few short days people from around the world will huddle around their tvs/computers/tablets/phones/twitter feeds for the 2016 Emmy Awards. The Emmys air this Sunday at 8:00 on ABC and it’s going to be…exactly like every other Emmy’s before. Don’t get me wrong, I love host Jimmy Kimmel and I’m a big fan of many of the nominated shows and actors. What I am not a fan of is watching a 3+ hour show featuring jokes, clips, and a TON of commercials. I am also not a fan of watching the same shows being honored for what seems like the hundredth time. There a lot of things to not like about the Emmy’s, here are a few of them.
These awards don’t matter!
Spoiler alert, I’m not the biggest award show fan. The red carpet, the pomp, and all that jazz just isn’t my style. Perhaps my biggest gripe, though, is that these awards really don’t matter. Unlike the Oscars and Grammy’s, which can feasibly serve as a recommendation guide for movies and music which are completed works, the Emmy’s focus on media which are in the middle of their production. I’m much more likely to watch a Best Picture or listen to Best Album than I am to watch the winner of Outstanding Drama. Tv shows require a much bigger commitment than a movie or an album, so if I start watching Dexter because I saw it was nominated for Outstanding Series in season four and then everything after season four is awful, I just wasted a lot of time. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “I’ve never started watching a show because it won an Emmy Award.” Exactly.
It’s too long!
So many commercials! The show will go on past its allotted three hours. You know it, I know it, and they know it. Regardless, it will and all the stuff at the end will be rushed and disjointed. You want to know a secret, all the funny moments will end up as vines and gifs on twitter. You can do something more fun than watch commercials, like pulling weeds, and still catch all the internet-breaking moments in near real time. Here are some things you can do in the time it will take to watch the entire Emmy’s broadcast: watch Titanic, prepare all your lunches for the coming workweek, look for ways to fill that RB void on your fantasy football team, or even have a child read a Clifford the Big Red Dog book to you (NSFW Louis C.K. link below). The point is, you don’t have carve out over an eighth of your day for something that you can digest in a much easier way.
By the time the Emmy’s roll around everybody assumes that spoilers are okay. Twitter, entertainment sites, and everything else on the internet will be full of spoilers with their Emmy coverage. Didn’t see that one episode of Game of Thrones, you’ll wish you had when someone retweets @iliketvmorethanyou’s tweet about that Jon Snow revelation. Also go ahead and prepare yourself for when Aunt Clara posts the ending to The People vs. O.J. Simpson on Facebook.
Football will be on.
The Packers and Vikings will be on NBC for Sunday Night Football. Sunday Night Football is everything the Emmy’s are not. The game may very well be over before the Emmy’s so you might even be able to catch the sped-up ending. Remember that RB void I mentioned earlier? Here you can watch Eddie Lacy and Adrian Peterson go at it and curse the people in your league that got them. You even get to watch Randle Cobb. There won’t be any spoilers as you’ll be watching the action unfold live. It’s a regular season division game so a lot is on the line and the game actually matters!
Quite frankly, the Emmy’s are the Major League Baseball of entertainment award shows. Sure the end can be a little exciting, but nobody cares much until then if they care at all. When it comes down to it, it’s a pretty forgettable event, and anything that does happen you can catch on Twitter and YouTube after the fact. Here’s an idea, instead of contributing to a ratings number which continues to decline, you can get caught up on that show your behind on. You’re welcome.
Nearly 41 years after its release, Jaws continues to reign supreme as one of the greatest films of all-time. This weekend, my 10 year old daughter watched the behemoth on Netflix—much to my dismay—during a sleepover at a friends house. When she returned home the next day, she was eager to learn more about the film. During this father-daughter bonding activity, we researched as much as we could and learned that the behind-the-scenes stories are almost as entertaining as the film itself. So sit right back and sink your teeth into these 10 bloody surprising morsels about the iconic movie.
1) Adding to the suspense, the shark doesn’t make an appearance until the 1 hour and 21 minute mark of the film.
2) Spielberg was forced to use an unreliable mechanical shark for most of the film, which he affectionately named Bruce—in honor of his lawyer at the time, after the real Great White which had been cast, affectionately named Bruce too, attacked several underwater film crew, even killing a production assistant named—you guessed it, Mike.
3) In the film’s climax, special effects were used to create a realistic looking exploding shark, after one of the original live-trained sharks was spooked—following the gunfire and became extremely uncooperative, swimming deep into the sea. However, nearly 27 years after vanishing, it was eventually captured by two fisherman just off the Gulf of California, near Mexico in 2002. Not to worry, they didn’t release it back into the ocean. Don’t believe me? Then go see it for yourself, but there’s only one place you can do it, the Bass Pro Shops (Outdoor World) in Sevierville, TN.
4) Mel Brooks was initially approached to direct the film, but thought the movie would flop and passed. Choosing instead to write and direct the huge summer blockbuster, Silent Movie.
5) Jaws wasn’t the original name for the film.
6) Despite Peter Benchley’s claim, the film was actually inspired by a popular and particularly frustrating Nintendo NES video game by the same name.
7) Actor Robert Shaw, who played Quint, owned the Orca in real life, and took great personal offense to Roy Scheider’s, ad-libbed line “we’re going to need a bigger boat“. Upon hearing it, Shaw stormed off set, shutting down production for two days. Filming was finally resumed when Scheider personally apologized to him by simply saying, “this is the biggest boat I’ve ever seen, and believe me I’ve seen a lot of BIG boats!”
8) If you play John Williams’ “Main Theme” backwards, you can faintly make out Satanic messages including: Sa-ad…Sa-tan. Come-back-baby. Sa-ad…Sa-tan. 6-6…6-6…6666666-66-6!!!!
9) Despite claims to the contrary, marine biologists have recently concluded that sharks do not possess the behavioral capacity for revenge, however they do experience regret.
10) Due to the graphic nature of violence shown in the movie, especially the scene in which Quint is eaten alive, Jaws was initially rated R. In an effort to appeal to younger audiences and obtain a PG rating, many scenes were digitally remastered by Spielberg’s fellow friend and director, George Lucas.
Farewell and Adieu!
A couple of weeks ago SNL fans were surprised to learn of the ousting (by all accounts, an “ousting” is what it would seem to be) of relatively reliable SNL cast members Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah. For my money, not that you asked, both seemed like surprises to me. Killam less so because while he was a good glue guy, a lot of his characters were starting to run together and he didn’t seem like he was engendering any sort of fandom in the audience, which of course is what Lorne Michaels is always seeking. Pharoah, however, really surprised me — not only because I felt like he was just finally really hitting his stride on SNL, but because he’s a tremendously good impressionist. Like, 0ne of the best on that show in a long time. My two cents — again, not that you asked — is that losing Pharoah is a misstep. But oh well. (Jon Rudnitszky is also gone, but you probably had only barely realized he was there after one year, which is known as the “Brooks Whelan effect”).
At any rate they’re gone, and in their steads were rumored to be “several” new cast members, which is always an exciting prospect. But instead, we got two. Just two. So let’s meet the new featured players, Chris Redd and Mikey Day.
If you’ve seen the Lonely Island’s Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (and, sadly, too few of you did, and it’s a very funny movie) you’ll know Redd, though you might not realize it. Redd played filth-rap personality Hunter the Hungry, sometimes touring partner of Andy Samberg’s Connor 4 Real. And he was very good in the film.
Redd’s a product of Chicago, where he studied with Second City and the iO Theater and has collaborated with Tina Fey. Here’s a full stand-up set from him a couple of months ago — see for yourselves. There’s not much in the way of impressions out there to check out, so it’s hard to tell what Redd brings to the table as of yet. But if the Lonely Island’s vouching that’s a pretty strong plug.
In more awkward situations, former SNL writer Mikey Day is replacing his longtime buddy Taran Killam (in fact, Mikey Day co-wrote Killam’s comedy Brother Nature, which opened to awful reviews on Friday). Day hails from the Groundlings in Los Angeles and is currently (formerly? Is this show even still a thing?) also a cast member on the Maya Rudolph/Martin Short variety comedy Maya & Marty. As it’s also pointed out to me, Day was a performer on Nick Cannon’s Wild n’ Out, for those of you who were partial to that. Anyway, here he is as a particularly not-very-funny Orlando Bloom.
Yikes. Here’s Day in a Maya & Marty sketch that shows him in a little more of a sketch situation, though he doesn’t have a lot to do:
So there you go. Are these two amazing hires? Maybe not on paper, but we’ll have to give them a chance first. If there’s one thing Lorne Michaels is good at, it’s picking talent. Usually.