Idol, a Try

Hey there, ‘Redheads… On Tuesday, I offered you a peek into the future of reality competition shows. An innocent looking Luvs commercial…

It’s a metaphor for all of these shows. We judge the crap that comes out of people. And the one that mirrors the Luvs commercial the most is the recently revamped American Idol. I will admit that I only caught a very brief bit of the show last night. Thankfully, it was on DVR so I could beep boop past all of the self-aggrandizing introductions of the new judges, right to the auditions. That’s the meat of this first wave of episodes that we judgmental jackals drool over. We delight in watching the deluded masses get a reality check and get told that their years of training by singing in the shower hasn’t prepared them for super stardom. When they introduced the new panel, my first thought was, “Wow, Kara DioGuardi looks like shit.” Turns out that was Steven Tyler. Idol had a tough job of restoring the great balance of mean and overly nice/batshit crazy that Simon and Paula provided. Well, they got it half right. Now batting for batshit crazy is Steven Tyler, who looks and sounds like Gary Busey in drag. And in the role of overly nice, we have Jenny from the block. Essentially, they cut Paula in half (lithium poured out) and, like a Fantasia broomstick, both halves grabbed a bucket and began stumbling around. Randy is still there, but only so people can play the “dog” drinking game. The panel is now nice and batshit crazy without the harsh truth to pop the bubbles. The monster has had its teeth pulled and its meds doubled. Like I said, I saw about five minutes through my drooping eyelids, so maybe I just need to give it an awake and alert chance before I pass judgment, but where’s the fun in that?

Tonight is the home stretch of Magooby’s world record comedy marathon. I’m on at 8:00pm. The show is FREE. They just ask that you donate to Special Olympics. Get some bulk laughter and watch comedy history get made.

See you there…

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Closure

Hey there ‘Redheads… Welcome to the eagerly anticipated season finale of the blog, where all of your questions will be answered. Questions like, “Seriously?” or “Really?” or “No, seriously, really?” One question I’d love to answer is why I put off fixing the air conditioning in my black truck. It hit 90+ degrees today and I’m pretty much driving a solar panel with cup holders. I tried to beat the heat with a frosty float, but that melted faster than that guy’s face at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. I’m here to wrap up all of the nebulous minutiae into a neat little package. I feel like I’ve got to keep pace with the Fantasia broomstick army of finales that’ve ambled down the pike over the last week, each carrying its own bucket to douse our expectations. I had varying degrees of emotional stakes in the big three tv finales of Lost, 24, and American Idol. I’ve seen maybe 3 episodes of Lost, I’m a huge fan of 24, and I always seem to get sucked into American Idol.

Like I mentioned, I had no idea what was going on with Lost, outside of the fact that there was a bunch of them marooned on an island. For all I knew, the Professor was going to make an airplane out of coconuts just as the Harlem Globetrotters arrived. My thinking was, if I caught the last 15 minutes of the finale, everything would be made clear. I could get the payoff without the five year emotional investment in the characters. No fuss, no muss. The person who got a payoff was M. Night Shamylan, who apparently sold the ending of The Sixth Sense to the show’s writers. So, they were all dead. The whole time. The island was some kind of purgatory. They’ve been blowing the smoke monster up the viewer’s ass for five years. They could’ve pulled the plug on this thing at any point during the five year run and played the “They’re Dead” card. Like I said, I’m not pissed about it, because I’ve spent about three hours with this show, but there are some fanatics out there who have a few more questions…
http://www.collegehumor.com/moogaloop/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=1936291&fullscreen=1

After the Lost dud, I dusted off the edge of my seat to gear up for the last two hours of the last very bad day for Mr. Jack Bauer. I’ve been all-in with 24 since the very beginning. Jack had me at, “You probably don’t think that I can force this towel down your throat. But trust me, I can. All the way. Except I’d hold onto this one little bit at the end. When your stomach starts to digest it, I pull it out. Taking your stomach lining with it. For most people it would take about a week to die. It’s very painful.” Bad. Ass. I’ve seen Jack tear out a terrorist’s jugular with his teeth, fake his own death, and tangle with just about every cast member of RoboCop. My friends and I have made two 24 fan films (feel free to watch Guys Watching 24 I & II, conveniently linked to your right…I’ll wait). So, with a heavy heart, I watched Jack take down a presidency for the greater good one last real time. The 24 finale pistol whipped Lost in the catharsis department. Everyone got what was coming to them. I especially loved seeing President Logan put a cowardly bullet in his brain as his world crumbled around him. Very Shawshank. And at the last real minute, Jack was saved for the greater good…the 24 movie. Which will hopefully be in 12 parts. Otherwise, you can only call it 2…or 2 1/2. Jack, you have the thanks of a grateful nation.

Last night, I checked out the culmination of weeks of semi-decent elimination karaoke to crown a new American Idol. And it was craptastic. In one corner was the dry white toast of Lee DeWyze versus the clearly more talented 5th Non-Blonde, Crystal Bowersox. The evening was duet after duet with some crusty rock legend. Seacrest might as well have cracked open a sarcophagus for some of these acts. Joe Cocker? That’s the target demo you’re shooting for? He looked like he was just barely getting by with a little help from his friends. They also devoted some time to some Simon Cowell retrospective, since he was leaving the show. My favorite moment of the night cam during an attempted roast of Cowell by none other than Dane Cook. He had a guitar of his own and was singing a ditty comprised of insults that Simon had hurled at the most delusional of the contestants he’s heard. Then, in a decision the producers would later regret, they let a bunch of these lunatics on stage to dance around. Long story short, Cook had his mic stolen by another idiot who thought he was being funny.

I haven’t seen Iron Man 2 yet, but if it’s half as cool as this, I’m in…

To be continued…

Bracketology

Hey there ‘Redheads… Welcome to Day 20 of Blog-A-Day in May. Shame on those of you who didn’t vote for Adam Lambert on American Idol. Actually, coming in second on that show is the best thing that could happen to him. First of all, he doesn’t get saddled with that albatross of a song that is the winner’s first single. This is the eighth season, and none of the final songs has been more than pseudo-inspirational pablum. If they’re going to insist on the power ballad about achieving your dreams, then they should hire the master of the genre, Stan Bush.

If you aren’t swelling with the inner fire to tackle your demons in the eye of the angry hurricane, then check for a pulse. This’ll be the first time I’d actually buy an American Idol contestant album. I’ve been waiting to hear him cover Run to the Hills by Iron Maiden, but I think that’ll be a long wait.

On a smaller scale of competition, I took part in a comedically gladiatorial contest tonight. I took the stage at the Comedy Spot to spit hot fire in the first round of the May Madness tournament. This is an NCAA-style bracketed tournament…so, sixty-four comics in total. We were very lucky to have a great responsive crowd to handle the laughing duties. The interesting thing about the format is that it truly is a head-to-head match-up, so I only had to beat one other comic tonight. I was up against the very funny, Kyle Martin. Other great clashes included Jake Young vs. Big Al Goodwin, Lucas Bohn vs. Eddie Bryant, and Vince Barnett vs. Lisa Lanham. Here’s how the rest of the bracket breaks down…so you can fill one out and start a pool…

After tonight’s show, with the top left bracket, Sonny Fuller, Al Goodwin, Adalah Banks, Eddie Bryant, Vince Barnett, Ayanna Dookie, and yours truly advanced to the round of thirty-two. Should be a fun bunch of shows. Click the link for tix and info.

See ya Thursday…

Blockage

Hey there, ‘Redheads… My brain is a giant cramp right now, but I wanted to get an installment in this week, so February doesn’t stagnate completely. They say the easiest way to gnaw through writer’s block is to just keep typing, so let’s see if I can pour some dran-o through my headpipes and clear out the wad of hair that’s clogging the idea chute. Maybe TV is finally rotting my brain. I’ve been watching more than usual, since I gained access to a TiVo. And not the good kind of TV…nothing of any intrinsic value, absent of decent writing or compelling characters. I’ve been mainlining cheaply produced reality TV, and I don’t even have the commercials that allow me to flip channels to find something even slightly better or more shiny. I have grown to love the beep-boop sound of commercials being blipped away. Unfortunately, it concentrates the crap you’re watching into its most corrosive form.

Recently, the crap du jour has been American Idol. Thousands of mildly talented fame-grabbers has been whittled down to 36, and now they’re crooning their little hearts out, lest their dreams be squashed on national television. I caught the singing round on Tuesday night, mostly to check out one particular contestant. She carries with her the pressure of potentially having one of the most epic on-screen meltdowns in television history…and we’re all rooting for her. Her name is Tatiana Del Toro, and she is the poster girl for delusions of grandeur (the poster is HUGE). Since we were introduced to her in the early audition rounds of the show, it seemed pretty clear that this girl was a natural for reality TV because she already assumed that her life was being taped for the world to see. Her big break could be around the next corner, so she dare never break character. But here’s the thing: she’s not horrible. Not like previous Idol punchlines like William Hung. The judges have kept her around…not solely on the basis of talent, but also because they think it’ll make for compelling TV when she snaps. She’s been a blubbery mess every time an inkling of failure has popped up. Imagine their surprise when she sang on live TV and a) didn’t suck and b) held herself together. They were agape. They were ready to put on their fake creeped out faces. Instead, they stammered through an actual critique of her singing. Paula even marvelled, “You’re supposed to be crazy, right?” Paula had been looking forward all week to seeming lucid by comparison to this girl. This is where the judges and the producers of the show screwed up. You have to let batshit crazy flow naturally. You can’t try and force it. You can’t create the monster, then get pissed because it figured out how to sing “Puttin’ On The Ritz.” Short of dumping a bucket of pig’s blood on the girl, there’s nothing they can do to make her unravel. I didn’t catch tonight’s results, but I didn’t see her name on the list of people who made the cut. If the producers got their wish, she ended up like this…

Wishing for the breakage of a young woman’s paper mache psyche, awaiting the candy shower of train wreck television is a bit morbid. Here’s something that’ll make you laugh those evil thoughts away…

Keeps getting funnier every time I see it.

Speaking of crushing hopes and drowning dreams, I’ll be judging one of the preliminary rounds of the DC Improv’s District’s Funniest College Competition at my alma mater, the University of Maryland on Friday night. I’ll have a full…ok, half-assed recap in the next installment.

‘Til then, keep your ass on the couch and keep reaching for the remote…