Friday, April 29, 2005

At Times They Even Drive Alike
My Aunt E has the the worst driving record. I don't know if she's a bad driver or just has bad luck, but her accident-per-year ratio is at least 1-1. On Wednesday evening she was driving home through the streets of Montclair when another driver ran a stop sign and crashed into her, completely totaling her car. After her car stopped spinning around, E, who was fortunately unscathed for the most part, stepped out of the vehicle to talk to the driver of the other car... and that driver turned out to be my Aunt L, E's sister, who also lives in Montclair (but on the other side of town). L feels bad because she totaled her sister's car, E feels bad because she's got bruises all over her body, and both are paranoid that the insurance companies will find it fishy that they are related and will screw them out of proper reimbursement.
What are the odds?

Thursday, April 28, 2005

More from the TRL Graveyard
Another cold open that was never made (this was for yesterday's show with XXX: State of the Union stars Samuel L. Jackson and Ice Cube), due to the fact that I write for TRL. I do wonder what percentage of TRL viewers on any given day have actually seen Pulp Fiction...

(Quddus is walking down the backstage hallway, where he runs into Ice Cube)

-Yo Ice, have you seen Sam anywhere?

-He's in his dressing room.

-Oh, which one's that?

-The one that says "Bad Motherfucker."

(Camera pans to the adjacent dressing room, which has a sign on the door reading "Bad Motherfucker." The door opens and Sam steps into the hall.)

-TRL starts now!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Had to see a screening of House of Wax last night. Any guesses on what I thought? If you answered terrible, you are correct. I also would've accepted horrible, awful, stupid, horrendous, and waste of time. Although Paris's acting skills are so bad (especially when she's supposedly running in fear from a killer), they must be seen to be believed. The only thing that made the movie tolerable was that I was sitting next to a friend who has an irrational fear of statues (seriously), which made me nearly burst out laughing knowing his discomfort during close-ups of the wax figures.

And by the way, why does the movie poster look like Paris was in the center of a circle-jerk?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Time for some quirky news stories from the past few days:
- Canadians suck. (be sure to watch the video)
- Beware exploding toads.
- Worst corporate sponsorship ever.

Very disturbing article in Sunday's New York Times in which Matt Groening says The Simpsons "has almost reached its halfway point, which means another 17 years." 10 years ago I never thought I'd say this, but unless there is an extreme revitalization, I don't think I can take another 17 years. It has become so tedious to watch every week, and yet I'm compelled to watch it every week just because it is The Simpsons and it earned my constant viewership thanks to seasons 3-8 (and the first episode of 9). But looking into the future, it will be a sad sight indeed to see me as a 42-year-old, sitting in front of my TV on Sunday night, lamenting the days when the jokes were the least bit amusing.
And speaking of freshness, I'm bothered by the fact that critics are saying the show has vastly improved over the past couple seasons due to a renewed freshness of stories. Just because a plot is current doesn't make it funny, and the fact that they are blowing chances to satirize topical issues is so frustrating and aggravating.
It's definitely time to put this show out of its misery.

Monday, April 25, 2005

I know this is last-minute, but it's been a long day taping two shows... now you didn't hear this from me, but if you live in NYC and go out drinking tonight and happen to find yourself at Bar None, you may just notice a certain female star of a certain retro-based Fox sitcom tending bar (and if that's not enough incentive for you, it's 80's night!).

Friday, April 22, 2005

TRL Moment of the Week
On Wednesday we sent Vanessa outside during the show to chat with fans standing on the sidewalk beneath the studio. We found a fan from Ohio who wanted to propose to girlfriend live on the air. He did so, and the girl said yes, although her answer lacked any enthusiasm and afterwards kissed him on the forehead. We then brought the happy couple upstairs to the studio, where Quddus talked to them some more. He asked if they planned on having a large or small wedding, and the groom-to-be replied “Big.” Quddus, looking surprised, asked, “You can afford that?” The guy said he could. Quddus pressed on: “What do you do, if you don’t mind my asking.” The guy replied, “I own a small record studio and two flooring companies.” Quddus the asked if they planned on having any kids. The guy said "Yeah, like 12." His fiance looked at him as if he was speaking in tongues, and the interview abruptly ended.
I'm not quite sure why one would need to own two flooring companies in a small Ohio town, unless it's a scam in which the first one does a crappy job and then recommends the second one to fix the problems. Regardless, I give the marriage five months, if it happens at all, and of course nobody took up one of our segment producers when he offered to bet $20 that Quddus could hook up with the newly-engaged girl by the end of the show.

TRL Moment of the Week (Honorary Mention due to the fact that it happened to me...)
Partly in response to the gash under my eye, and partly to keep Damien entertained during the show, I wore a Miami Vice t-shirt and sunglasses while floor-producing Monday’s show. The outfit, which was sent to MTV as a promotional tool for the release of Miami Vice Season 1 on DVD, was a long-sleeve tuxedo t-shirt, but instead of looking like a tuxedo, it looked like a pink t-shirt covered by a white sports jacket (with the jacket sleeves rolled up, complete with fake arms).
Towards the end of the show, Damien said “Before we go any further, I just have to show you something.” He then pulled me out in front of the camera and said, “This is our cue-card guy and writer, Brian… I just had to point him out… he’s super creepy dressed like that.” Not expecting it, and not wanting to simply stand there looking like an idiot, I proceeded to mug for the camera, making me look like an even bigger idiot. The crew had a ball making fun of me after the show, and I returned upstairs to find a voicemail and three e-mails from friends who had seen me and had to ask what the fuck I was wearing.
(And no, my valued readers, you cannot get a copy of the tape)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Jack Black + Mike White + Jared Hess + story about a Mexican priest who leads a double life as a wrestler = movie I will definitely see.

For all of my friends who have moved out to L.A. (which is altogether too many of you), you can get your morning weather reports from David Lynch on his site.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

As my friend who sent me this pointed out, it would be a much better story if you replaced "underpass" with "underpants."

Rolling Stone recently put out the 2nd half of its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time (the 1st half can be found here). Inexcusably missing: Pink Floyd. This blows my mind. The list is supposed to represent the most significant artists of the past 50 years. Pink Floyd not only released some of the most popular albums of all time ("The Wall" is the 3rd highest selling album ever, "Dark Side of the Moon" holds the record for most weeks on the Billboard Album chart), but their innovations in the studio revolutionized the way albums were produced. And I defy you to name another group who managed to write a hit rock song in 7/4 time.
I have nothing against other artists who made the list, such as Gram Parsons, Frank Zappa, or The Drifters, but to say their importance to music is greater than Floyd is ludicrous. Even a band like Radiohead, who I think are brilliant, should take a backseat to them... would "OK Computer"even exist without Floyd's influence?
What a travesty.

A couple interesting things in the news today:
- Denzel Washington claims that should a cell-phone ring during a performance of Julius Caeser, he'll respond in iambic pentameter, saying "Answereth that, my lord. My lord, it is for you." Unfortunately for him, that's two syllables too long for iambic pentamenter... it's actually hexameter. No wonder the production has been getting panned.
- My high school pal Mary Carey was arrested at Club Paradise in Washington for "touching [herself] in a sexual manner." Frankly, I'm shocked. Who would've thought that a porn star would do such a thing, and in a strip club of all places?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The good news: License to Drive is finally coming out on DVD.
The bad news: Corey Feldman won't get to profit from it, as it looks like Corey Haim ate him.

Don't forget to get your free ice-cream cone today...

Monday, April 18, 2005

On Saturday night I was out drinking with a few friends at an unnamed LES bar. While waiting to order drinks, two girls started brawling. Being such a good Samaritan, I tried to help separate the girls. In the process of restraining one of them, she swung her hand back and clocked me just under my left eye, ripping open my cheek with her ring. Long after the girls were thrown out of the bar, blood continued to trickle down my face. I now have a nice bloody gash on my cheek, which I attempt to cover up with sunglasses (a la Daniel LaRusso covering his black eye with those giant sunglasses in The Karate Kid), and it's a bitch dealing with my contact lens. But I guess no good deed goes unpunished

Nepotism at Loch Ness
Over the weekend I rented Incident at Loch Ness, written / produced / directed by and starring my cousin, Zak Penn. Without giving too much away, it's a movie about a documentary about the making of a documentary about the Loch Ness Monster. The trailer does very little to convey the tone of the film, but it's basically a mockumentary inspired by the Michael Vick Powerade commercial that combined home-video footage with cutting-edge visual effects. The first half hour is a bit slow, but once it kicks in, it's extremely clever and well-executed. It's especially fun for me to watch Zak play an asshole version of himself (and see Kitana Baker, the brunette from the infamous Miller Light "Catfight" ad, get some big-screen work). But even for those of you not related to me, I recommend it.

Friday, April 15, 2005

TRL Moment of the Week
Everyone on the show hates the part of Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" song that goes "It's bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!" It's cringeworthy. On Wednesday, Qud-dus displayed his brilliant improv skills during the back-announce to the video. He put his hand to his ear and said "This just in, Gwen will be pairing up with Gwyneth Paltrow for the remix of that song: 'Apple.'" After pausing for laughter and instead receiving an uncomfortable silence (and a "what the hell was that?" from the control room), he finished his read and retreated to the backstage area to sulk. Hopefully from now on he'll stick to the script.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

It's nice to see Jews getting the proper respect they deserve on television, courtesy of VH1 Classic's Matzo and Metal: A Very Classic Passover.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I don't mean to brag, but I broke this story about a 7th season of The Sopranos months ago...

Last night I get onto an uptown 2 train at Times Square. I'm in the front car, closest to the stairs. A guy in his mid-20's carrying a bomber jacket comes racing down the stairs trying to catch the train, whose doors start to shut. He gets close enough to stick his hand between the doors, but the conductor refuses to open them wide enough for him to step inside, only enough for him to remove his hand. He finally does, but the doors close on his jacket sleeve. When the doors don't immediately open back up, he starts banging on the window.
And that's when the train starts moving.
I see him brace himself, holding on to his portion of the jacket, but as the train picks up speed, the jacket rips right out of his hands. And we ride the rest of the way to 72nd with half a sleeve inside the car and the rest of the jacket flapping like a kite outside the car.
Now a decent person would take the jacket when the doors open and return it to a station agent (not me, of course, but somebody). But when we arrive at 72nd St., one of my fellow passengers grabs the jacket, puts in on, and walks away wearing his brand new bomber jacket.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

If we ever need to name a new National Anthem, I say we vote for America We Stand As One.

Oh wait, did I say new National Anthem? I meant Worst Song Ever.

Former Smashing Pumpkins have been all over the web lately: Melissa Auf der Maur has a blog... SP's entire catalog of unreleased rarities and b-sides is now available for purchase online... or if you're too cheap, you can download some for free...

Monday, April 11, 2005

Killer Queen Tribute
Saw the Loser's Lounge tribute to Queen at Bowery on Saturday night. Incredible show. No bullshit. A six-piece band, 3 back-up singers, and a revolving crew of soloists. These were serious musicians who don't take themselves seriously. They played for nearly 3 hours, covering all the hits, a ton of album cuts, and even their forays into soundtracks (Flash Gordon, Highlander). Highlights included "'39," "Bicycle Race," and a pitch-perfect "Bohemian Rhapsody" (the low point was the soloist for "Fat Bottomed Girls," whose two-octaves-too-low snarl drowned out beautiful backing harmonies). Supposedly their next show will be The Smiths vs. The Cure, and I'll do my best to be there.

Crack is Whack!
Things in my apartment seem to be deteriorating rapidly. I returned home from work on Friday to find that the elevator was broken... the doorman took me up to my apartment in the service elevator, but when he returned to the lobby I was effectively trapped on the 17th floor (as I was too lazy to walk down). The crack in my living room wall has extended to a 2nd wall. Chunks of the ceiling where the water damage is especially bad have crumbled to the floor. This is becoming eerily reminiscent of the trailer for the new Jennifer Connelly movie, but without the annoying little girl who sings creepy nursery rhymes at wildly inappropriate times. More on this story as it develops.

Friday, April 08, 2005

TRL Moment of the Week
Green Day paid us a visit on Thursday and kept our sensors' fingers on the button the entire time. Here's a list of their infractions:
- Tre gyrated and pelvis-thrusted at the window overlooking Times Square.
- Mike used the word "dipshit" in telling a story about go-cart racing with Simple Plan.
- To make a mark in our Touch of Fame (handprint in cement), Tre said he would go the Plaster Caster route, then said he needed a few minutes to "build up some flow" before turning his back to the camera, reaching towards his crotch and bouncing up and down.
- Billie Joe flipped the bird for his mark on the Touch of Fame.
I for one can't wait to have them back!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Hello, the Pope Is Dead
This is many days late, but here's the clip from Fox News in which a producer is heard calling out "Hello, the pope is dead!" It happens right around the 37-second mark. The resulting on-air reaction to her remarks is pretty funny too.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

At the risk of being ridiculed, I have to give a shout-out to The Contender. Yeah, the challenges are overly-complicated and stupid, and there has never been a more manipulative show in terms of getting viewers to sympathize with the fighters... all that matters is that the fights are bad-ass, and last week's was the most hardcore of them all. The fights last 5 rounds... for the first 5 episodes, they all went the full 5 and have been unanimous decisions. Then this week, the fight was a pummeling that had to be stopped by the ref. You don't need to know the backstory of the West Coast fighter betraying his teammates by calling out a different opponent than he'd agreed to, or that his opponent is a reformed-alcoholic-and-felon-turned-Jesus-freak. All you need to know is that one guy simply kicked the other guy's ass. Most of the fight is posted here, but if you can catch the rerun somewhere, I highly suggest it.

As if Star Wars fanatics needed yet another reason to be mocked...

The Majestry of Rock
Starting this Friday there will be a Christopher Guest retrospective at the MoMA, featuring screenings of all of his movies and his SNL sketches and short films. The highlight will be Saturday night's live acoustic performance by Spinal Tap (Guest, Harry Shearer, and Michael McKean), followed by a Q&A with those three plus Parker Posey and Bob Balaban. I'm pretty sure you can't buy advanced tickets (you probably need to buy at the museum box office), and the MoMA website does little to clear things up. But if you go, I'm sure it'll be a great show.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Time for another edition of Strangest Keyword Searches That Led People To My Site. Here are the Top 3 for the month of March:

#3: when the fuck is jesse mccartney coming to vermont?!?!?!?
- First of all, nobody should be this worked up over Jesse McCartney. And second of all, are people from Vermont so dumb that they think they can Google a question like this and get an accurate answer? No wonder all they do is smoke weed up there...
#2: fargo socialites
- That's an oxymoron if I ever heard one.
#1: masons with foreskins
- Um, if you're a male mason, wouldn't you typically have foreskin? And of all the foreskins one could look at, why go for a mason? They're basically on the same level as plumbers and cable guys. I expect my readers to have higher standards.

It's Baaaaaaaaaack!
Yes, the crack in my wall has returned. I'm as shocked as you all that simply painting over it the first time didn't solve the problem. But the crack is being sneaky this time... it's appearing slowly and is not quite as long or visible this time, but it's definitely there. And it's ganging up with the leak, which has tainted quite a large section of the ceiling and wall in the living room and in my roommate's bedroom a disgusting yellow-brown. My roommate and I hardly stand a chance against such an onslaught. Our landlord received an angry letter from my roommate this morning, so the countdown to it being fixed begins now.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Finally moved into an office at work... at least 5 months later than I should have. But it's nice to have a big desk and a couch and not be forced to listen to intern chatter all day long.

I also managed to work this sexual innuendo into today's script without getting caught, although it wasn't delivered with the proper emphasis for anyone to have noticed:
"Now it's time to finish off today's countdown, with a happy ending for Snoop and Justin Timberlake."

Friday, April 01, 2005

TRL Moment of the Week (Sign of the Apocalypse)
I know our viewers don't have the best taste in the world. But there is absolutely no excuse for what they did earlier this week. In honor of TRL School'd (a.k.a. High School Week), for Monday's show we had our viewers vote for celebrity superlatives. Beyonce won Homecoming Queen, Ashton was named Class Clown... and the winner of Class Brain? Drum roll please...
P. Diddy!!!
P. Diddy and Class Brain go together about as well as Jeff Foxworthy opening for G-Unit.* If I had any dignity, I should've quit out of principle. Alas I don't, and I didn't. But I'm still disgruntled.
* weak joke, I know, but my mind is elsewhere today.