Comedy Tonight?

I’m an SNL fan. From remembering my parents watching the beginning cast and laughing – me not getting it until I was older (ex: Richard Pryor and Chevy Chase free association, ‘The Exorcist’ parody, The Loopners), to quoting lines with my friends in high school ( we weren’t having sex or getting drunk/high – we recited SNL ad naseum – see Mary Gross and Julia-Louis Dreyfus’ in ‘Newsmakers’ skit – Jinx buy me a coke!), to my favorites throughout the seasons: Joe Piscopo’s and the late Phil Hartman’s Frank Sinatra, Mary Gross’ Alfalfa,  Maya Rudolph’s Donatella Versace, Kennan Thompson in ‘Deep House Dish’, Bill Hader’s Vincent Price, Tom Hanks (Entertainment Tonight anchor who beeps), Steve Martin (five timer’s club!) and John Hamm cameos, Bobby Moynihan’s Drunk Uncle and everything he does.  I could go on, but I won’t. Ok – 3 more, the infamous P-word sketch (rhymes with wee-ness) with Kevin Nealon, ‘P-whipped’ with Jan Hooks, and ‘The Stand-Ups’ skit w/young Damon Wayans (Why does Fred Flintstone only have 4 toes?).   I. Love. SNL.  Warts and all.

Unfortunately, I think I’ve aged out of the demographic, and haven’t watched much this season.  And I’m sad to admit (thank you, middle age!), sometimes I can’t stay awake that late.

If I can manage to keep my eyes open tonight, I will watch Ms. Sasheer Zamata’s SNL debut.   Break a leg, Ms. Zamata!

In response to the hoopla surrounding Ms. Zamata’s hire, I prepared a diatribe about cultural perceptions and definitions of humor, racial and sexual discrimination in the common workplace and the entertainment industry, racial stereotypes in the media, pros and cons of affirmative action, the inability of institutions to innovate which results in diminished cultural relevance and financial downfall, blah blah blah, but it’s not necessary to present it. One of my resolutions for this year is to take myself less seriously, reduce stress, and enjoy life.

If you truly want to know how I feel, I suggest you read the lyrics to Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows”. (See – I told you I need to laugh more!)

Bottom Line:  Talent is talent and funny is funny, and if you can hack it and not let the jerks who run the jerk store get you down, or become one of the jerks who run the jerk store with integrity and humility and rebrand The Jerk Store to The Store, then go for it!   

Comfort Food TV

The latest episode of Once upon a Time (Once) , “Snow Falls” won me over.  From here on out, it’s on my appointment tv list. As a fan of the program LOST, it’s good to see the parallel universe theme again, as well as strong female lead roles.

The basic premise of Once, produced by LOST writers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, is that the residents of Storybrooke, Maine are actually fairy tale characters cursed to a modern realm with no memoryof their former incarnations.

In the “Snow Falls” episode, we learn how Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) met Prince Charming (Josh Davis). There’s no eyelash batting here.  This encounter involves a carriage heist and kicking some major troll butt!  In the modern realm, Snow’s name is Mary Margaret Blanchard, a schoolteacher, and Prince Charming is a “John Doe” coma patient.  Other cast members include Jennifer Morrison, who plays Emma Stone, and Lana Parilla, who plays Regina Mills/The Evil Queen.  I could go more into their storylines, but it’s better if you watch this tale unfold firsthand. Once Upon a Time . To me, shows like Once give scripted OTA (over the air) network progams a good name.

Other fave characters/show/actresses:

Revenge (ABC sleeper hit) – Emily VanCamp and Madeline Stowe go toe to toe in the high class Hamptons

Lisa Simpson, voiced by Yeardly Smith (I still miss Herman’s Head!) – I can never get enough of the Simpson Family’s pearled, socially conscious, and saxophone playing voice of reason.

Conchata Ferrell of Two and a Half Men  –  I would love to see a Berta spin-off!

Mike and Molly – Melissa McCarthy, Swoozie Kurtz, Katie Mixon, Rondi Reed, and Cleo King are a great ensemble

Ditto for Big Bang Theory‘s  Kaley Cuoco, Melissa Rauch, and Mayim Bialik

Christina Applegate (I miss Samantha Who?) and Maya Rudolph of Up all Night

Pawnee’s Leslie Knope (Parks and Rec, Amy Poelher) and Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) of 30 Rock. What the heck, let’s add every former and current female cast member of SNL to the list.  John Belushi was waaay wrong when he said “Women aren’t funny”.

Speaking of funny women, EGOT (Emmy/Grammy/Oscar/Tony winner) Whoopie Goldberg reigns supreme!

Aisha Tyler – the former Talk Soup and 5th Wheel host is the real deal.  Though I would rather see her on The View than on The Talk.

Zoe Saldana – I’m still a little peeved that she was not on the 2010 Young Hollywood Vanity Fair cover, especially after appearing in box office smashes Avatar and Star Trek. She also rocks in Columbiana.

Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Game‘s Tasha Mack thank you very much)

Mara Brock Akil, writer and producer of Girlfriends, The Game, and Cougar Town.

Before the comments start flying, I do realize that the majority of the aforementioned are not women of color.   I chose the actresses because I admire them for their ability to commit and bring believability to their characters, pure and simple. Talent affords some actresses to pick, choose, and even produce their material, options which unfortunately many actresses of color are not offered. Unless you win an Oscar like Halle Berry, and even today she probably has to jump through an occasional hoop. And don’t forget, actresses have to eat (contrary to rumor they do eat) and make rent, which means sometimes actresses of color have to play to “type” sassy mama/round the way girl/wise old black lady roles. That needs to change. ASAP. (See Mara Brock Akil – she’s definitely a game changer, no pun intended). And don’t get me started on Tyler Perry. I’ll save that for another post, along with my thoughts on neo-blaxploitation film Precious, which I haven’t seen and will most likely NEVER see – I love 30 Rock‘s send up of the film in the episode “Emanuelle goes to Dinosaurland”  (Season 4 Episode 21) where Tracy Jordan’s (Tracy Morgan) oscar-bait film is called Hard to Watch: Based on the Book Stone Cold Bummer by Manipulate.

Perhaps it’s time for an “Occupy Hollywood” movement, where the 99%, including working actors/actresses, refuse to participate in, watch, or purchase content produced by the 1% that’s filled with intelligence insulting race, gender, and ethnic stereotypes.  With today’s technology the whole world really is watching. We deserve better.