I loved that mop-lady cartoon before The Carol Burnett Show!
Emmy nominations are out, and for the first time I can remember, there are more cable than network nominees in the Best Comedy Series category. I'm thrilled that Girls and Veep were recognized. Girls totally deserves to win, but will never overcome Modern Family (which I still enjoy in spite of increasingly saccharine, tied-with-a-bow endings to each episode).
Even better, Lena Dunham was nominated for Best Actress in a comedy series, along with every other working actress who's ever made a person smile, from Zooey Deschanel to Edie Falco.
Margaret Cho is America's best-kept state secret
Bizarrely—and happily—Margaret Cho received an Emmy nod (Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series) for impersonating Kim Jong-Il on 30 Rock! But otherwise, I'm never truly satisfied with the Supporting or Guest categories. None of the Girls girls or boys?
I'd give all the dramatic awards to Downton Abbey, which is more fun than a week-end.
American Idol failed to get nominated for Reality-Competition Program in spite of six others getting the nod.
Anyone you think was missed or unfairly recognized?
It's been a good few years for funny women in the book department—Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler, Kristen Johnston, the list goes on. Add to it Rachel Dratch, whose Girl Walks Into a Bar... sounds both funny and not a little dishy.
From her People (April 2, 2012) excerpt on her departure from 30 Rock:
"Ater we shot the pilot, I got a call from my agent. 'They're going in a different direction.' Tina [Fey] said that, instead of playing Jenna, I would appear in various episodes as a different character each time, popping up in all sorts of incarnations. I felt way more comfortable doing that than playing Jenna, a diva type who, in the pilot, sort of tries to seduce Alec Baldwin. No one needs to see me try to seduce.
"And then this story became public. News stories speculated that I had been replaced by a more attractive actor, Jane Krakowski, and that this was the only reason I'd been replaced. I started to feel like years of training and performing went out the window because I didn't have a symmetrical face."
As brilliant—truly—as Krakowski is in the role of Jenna, it's hard not to feel for Dratch, and it's a testament to her loyalty that she seems not to have taken this out on Fey.
Devilishly handsome Jon Hamm, 40, is on the cover of Esquire (March 2012), in which the writer fawns over him the way I might were I to be assigned the gig. Some tidbits—he taught high school drama in '95 to students including The Office's Ellie Kemper, he's been pals with Paul Rudd since high school and he once auditioned for "Jack Donaghy" (Alec Baldwin's role) on 30 Rock.
Last night, I joined my autograph-hound friend, lovable mailman Rich, at an obscenely crowded reading/signing for the book Lights, Camera...Travel! (Lonely Planet) edited by Andrew McCarthy and Don George. Along with the editors (including Mr. Doe Eyes himself!), contributors scheduled to appear included Alec Baldwin (who's lost weight and looks terrific...mayoral run?), Paulina Porizkova, Anthony Edwards, Bob Balaban and Sandra Bernhard. Not bad!
Paulina was a model author
I showed up after Rich, who'd kindly somehow saved me a spot on a long bench. There were only a few rows of seating in McNally Jackson's lower level, and as the place filled up, I came to appreciate that bench. It was a mob scene, and the signing afterward promised to be a clusterfuck.
Love is...stalking Sandra!
I overheard some guys razzing a girl who claimed to be a movie and TV blogger who made the mistake of confessing to them that she'd never seen Star Wars or Star Trek. "And you wonder why nobody visits your blog???" the guy chortled.Star Wars is mentioned a lot in situations where people are gathered to get the autographs of famous people.
Jesus, this looked like The Last Supper or something!
The first bummer was finding out McCarthy had taken a last-minute trip to New Zealand so wouldn't be there.
The reading started and was shockingly long. I had figured they'd each say something brief and get to signing, but as it turns out, the lion's share of the people who'd come just wanted to hear them read and gawk at them, not actually buy a book, so it was lucky that each contributor read a healthy hunk of his or her piece.
This year was really fun, with one major exception—I was red-carpet robbed by this jerk who was with Ricky Martin. More on that later.
GLAAD was happy with my past coverage, so they granted me an extra body on the carpet—my partner José attended as my cameraman. We were placed just after a large column and between an adorable guy working for AfterElton (Tim O'Leary) with his pretty friend and someone's tripod. I liked our positioning in that we were at the very front of the online media and the column meant no pushing.
But the first star we encountered had been before we even got to our spots—we'd run into Joe Jervis of Joe.My.God. checking in. Joe was a nominee for his blog (the first time GLAAD has nominated blogs...about time!) and was convinced Pam of Pam's House Blend would win. "I'd bet the Powerball on it," he'd confided. (Later, he totally won, as I expected, but he had no idea until some attendees informed him since the category wasn't deemed worthy of inclusion in the actual program.)
Joe rocks (every time someone said "rock" or "Rokk," Rokk Vodka donated $100 to GLAAD)
Considering some of the stars scheduled, I wasn't altogether thrilled with the carpet—Tina Fey was a nominee but didn't walk (come the fuck on, Tina), Patrick Wilson was a presenter but also was a no-show (perhaps wisely fearing being devoured and eaten a la Sebastien Venable) and the Rev. Al Sharpton was on hand to give an award to Russell Simmons but did not do press. Vinny Guadagnino from Jersey Shore? Fuhgeddaboudit.
We made the evening our belated anniversary celebration
But on the other hand, the stars who actually did the carpet were nice and fun, and even Ricky Martin himself did lots and lots of press. Just not me. We're getting to it.
My first carpet catch was 17-year-old Bianca "Nikki" Peet, a dynamic girl who was initially denied the opportunity to form a gay-straight alliance at her Corpus Christi high school but whose perseverance against Principal James Crenshaw paid off—she now has her GSA club! She was the picture of intestinal fortitude in her wheelchair, her eyeshadow as sparkling as her personality.
Next up was Jarrett Barrios, who explained to me how GLAAD decides what's offensive and what isn't; a hard task, I can agree, considering the varied opinions my own occasionally outraged posts sometimes elicit. You think something is duh-obviously offensive—like that Vanity Fair piece casually calling the Glee boys "fags," GLAAD (among many others) points it out, then you read AfterElton sniping that it was no big deal. (In context, the writer was gay and felt it was an ironic or "cheeky" usage...which to me was not as readily apparent as, say, during a viewing Wet Hot American Summer.) I asked him about this more in reference to Ron Howard's "so gay" joke, which I think is a lot more in those troubled waters of nuance where a large part—if not the majority—of the public would not go along with calling it offensive.
Dapper Mike Ruiz, from The Gray List
Mike Ruiz was warm and quite dashing up close—no poodle hair! He was happy to talk about why The A-List: New York seems to have at least as many haters as lovers and to introduce his boyf to anyone who asked.
I'm not a regular The Fabulous Beekman Boys watcher, but José is, and he warned me not to ask about "the pig." I knew it referred to them killing a pig they'd raised, but I imagine, "Don't ask them about the pig!" could be good advice before interviewing just about any reality TV stars.
Boys of the red carpet Zac Young (Top Chef: Just Desserts) & Wilson Cruz
Of course I dirty-love and clean-admire Wilson Cruz—who doesn't, and why don't they? I asked him about the Glee kiss, his recent excursion into shirtlessness in bars and his pet cause (and it's much deeper than that phrase), LGBT teen homelessness.
Gail Simmons of Top Chef: Just Desserts—I don't think it was a boob query
Jane Velez-Mitchell—with her bombshell girlfriend, who she meet at last year's GLAAD Media Awards—was the picture of poise and confidence, picking the Westboro clan as the gay story of the year when I asked her to choose something. The carpet had gotten a bit clogged up, so I almost missed her while jockeying to get some time with the event's host, Andy Cohen.
I'd never met Andy, so wasn't sure what to expect. I think I thought he'd be bubblier or more flirtatious but he definitely wasn't a stick in the mud. I stumped him with a question, but he recovered and was game to talk Housewives a bit. As he departed, he muttered, "My breath is atrocious!" and got some kind of oral relief from his PR walker, but it really wasn't...maybe it was mine!
Laverne Cox of TRANSform Me is as stunning as you'd expect, about eight feel tall and not shy with her "girls" or her opinions—her desire to transform Charlie Sheen was genuine and fierce.
I think Jon Hamm is quite lovely to look at and he was hysterical on 30 Rock, but I haven't gotten around to seeing Mad Men and I really didn't care for him in Howl or The Town. But he seems as nice as he looks good.
One especially interesting quote from his interview:
"I ask him if he feels lucky that his overnight success took as long as it did. 'Absolutely, I don't know how the Twilight kids or Miley Cyrus or whoever handle it. You fuck up, make one bad decision, and people in Thailand Twitter about it.' Hamm's mostly left alone, he says: 'I'm old, I'm boring. I usually just duck the paparazzi. It's literally someone waiting for you to pick your nose or scratch yourself. I'm sorry, I scratched my balls—who doesn't do that? You're really going to run that story? What the fuck?! Everyone has picked their nose at one point in their life too.'"
It's funny, of course, but he misses the point—yes, they're going to run that story, not in spite of the fact that everyone has picked their nose, but because everyone has picked their nose. Seeing that one of the beautiful, famous people picks their nose is deeply satisfying. Almost as satisfying as the sexy Hamm photos after the jump...
"I'm bisexual...buy me something, I'll be sexual!"
José and I got tickets for the opening night of Looped on Broadway starring Valerie Harper as Tallulah Bankhead. If that sounds like a Golden Girls joke akin to "Merv Griffin in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof at the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater," open your mind becausethere was no trace of Valerie Harper, let alone her most famous character Rhoda, on the Lyceum stage—in her place was the ghost of Tallulah Bankhead slithering through a caustic dramedy as satisfying as one of the late, great theatuh actress's patented zingers.
The play, written by Matthew Lombardo with Brian Hutchison and Michael Mulheren and directed by Rob Ruggiero, follows Bankhead as she attempts to re-record (or "loop") a single line from the 1965 Z-grade horror movie Die! Die! My Darling! Working to squeeze the line out of the recalcitrant, substance-addled diva is film editor Danny (Brian Hutchison) and sound man Steve (Michael Mulheren). Danny is as uptight as Bankhead is unraveled, but both harbor a wealth of secrets that will be doled out over the course of their nine-hour odyssey (condensed to two in real time).
And then there are Bankhead's one-liners, delivered with impeccable timing by Harper and devoured gratefully by the audience.
"When I drink...my legs!" "They swell?" "No...open."
The play's gonna have issues luring audiences willing to cough up a hundred bucks to see the story of a legendary thespian no one under 50 can reliably remember. Do people under 35 even remember Bankhead's never-referenced co-star from Die! Die! My Darling!, Stefanie Powers? Do they remember Valerie Harper? Time will tell, but the material is the perfect balance of laughs and a-ha! moments and Harper's performance is guaranteed to be recognized with a Tony nomination—word of mouth can only be positive.
It's marketed as Looped: A New Comedy, and yet it's more than just funny, it's a bittersweet reflection on life, death and which distractions are worth indulging in-between. Don't miss it!
P.S. As it was opening night, we glimpsed some familiar faces, including Eddie Izzard, Bryan Batt, Ron Rifkin, Joel Grey, Katrina Bowden and Matthew Modine (the latter was just passing by):
Izzard plays it cool on the stairs (he watched the show from the last row)