Let me say something in complete honesty: I have never watched a full episode of The Tonight Show. I mean, I get why people like it, or at least intellectually I do: Jay Leno is a man of the people! He loves cars! His jokes appeal to the lowest common denominator and his sketches are so completely innocuous as to not offend anyone (except the celebrated figures they mock,) that they actually transcend themselves to pieces of bizarre performance art.
But as Leno left his perch as the host of The Tonight Show for the third time last night–waved off the stage by a host of celebrity friends and MC’d in the most ridiculous music segment of all time by Billy Crystal–I just had to pause for a second. This is a time for reflection, to actually sit and look at the broad expanse of 5,742 shows (approximately) and ask “What the hell WAS that?”
How lucky is Jefferson Mays? In the vigorously homicidal new Broadway musical farce A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder at the Walter Kerr Theater, he is the first actor in history to die eight times in every performance. Talk about stealing the show!
As we were otherwise unoccupied on Sunday night, we turned on the television to watch the 84th Academy Awards. “You’re only two years older than me,” Christopher Plummer crooned to his newly acquired gold statue, “Where have you been all my life?” Mr. Plummer won Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Beginners, giving him the distinction of being the oldest actor to ever win an Oscar. But by the end of the telecast, we’d all aged at least a couple of decades, as did Billy Crystal, who seemed to have peeked inside the Ark of the Covenant right before the broadcast.
The whole night was full of non-surprises.
As painful and alienating spectacles go, this year’s Academy Awards ceremony at least had the virtue of a certain grim efficiency. Billy Crystal, hosting the awards for the ninth time, desperately reprised his never-funny opening montage bit, where he’s cut into scenes from the year’s marquee films; when he launched into his still less-funny medley Read More
Last night’s Oscars were as draggy as ever–perhaps it’s time to give up the ghost of the hope that they can magically become a breezy ceremony, or at least to stop complaining annually that the jokes are hackneyed and the show’s self-congratulatory. The jokes being hackneyed are kind of the point, and, given that this Read More
It’s been a rocky year for the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Not only did Brett Ratner resign from producing the show, but the ballots were so confusing! Plus, no more appealing to the youngsters with hotties James Franco and Anne Hathaway; this year the Academy is going with their old hosting standby, Billy Crystal. (That’s after Eddie Murphy and a bunch of others turned down the duty.)
So how will the awards show get that critical 18-35 demo to tune in? By marketing “funny” commercials for the most venerable and respected film event of the year, obviously. And having said commercials directed by a viral comedy site. Your parents are not going to understand this Oscar commercial (or why there is a commercial for the Oscars this year), so get ready to explain the Internet to them again.
Because you really don’t have to see New Moon for the fourth time in less than a week, Hollywood is pulling out all the trimmings this Thanksgiving. By which we mean yet another movie about the apocalypse (The Road) and one that could potentially cause it to happen (Old Dogs). As we do every Friday, Read More
It’s only been a week, but the strike has done plenty of damage. Late night TV is kaput. Saturday Night Live, too. (Poor Jonah Hill, of Superbad fame, was slated to host.) But it’s Mondays that may suffer the most. Production of 24 has been delayed, with the possibility that Fox may even Read More
The illuminated marquee of the Beacon Theater on Wednesday night read “Hillary’s Birthday Party.”
But despite the flashiness of Hillary Clinton’s 60th birthday celebration—jokes by Billy Crystal, music by the Wallflowers and Elvis Costello—it was first and foremost a political event.
The tickets counted as fund-raising contributions and brought in $1.5 million for the campaign. Read More
The summer 2005 hits The Wedding Crashers and The Aristocrats have reinvigorated fans of brainy comedy. Back in the summer of 1998, one of the genre’s true geniuses, director and writer Harold Ramis, was filming Analyze This with Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro.
Harold Ramis, director of the movies you know cold, has a Read More