Tag Archives: Will Ferrell

A black athlete’s intelligent take on the “n word.” Ron Burgundy anchors a N.D. newscast. And TV shows with Internet stories in the 90s crack me up

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I’m not sure if athletes today are smarter than in days past, or if there are just many more media outlets with which to express themselves.

But it seems like over the past year we’ve seen a whole bunch of well-written articles on important sports topics by men and women who’ve played the game.

I thought this was particularly fantastic; Coleman Collins (above), a former standout basketball player at Virginia Tech and now a pro player overseas, talks about how he feels about the “n word,” his fellow African-Americans’ embrace of it, and what it means to hear it in a foreign country.

Here’s a quick excerpt:

Though I dislike the word, what I dislike even more is people moralizing as if poverty, discrimination and institutional racism are the proper rewards for a few slips of the tongue. These critiques are almost always classist and sometimes explicitly so, with privileged people bemoaning a “lack of class” or a “bad upbringing.”

Really, really interesting stuff.

**Next up, you may have heard a thing or two about “Anchorman 2” coming out in theaters soon.

Will Ferrell, God love him, has been pimping this movie on every single media outlet in America, including a TV station in North Dakota last week. He did a whole half-hour newscast as Ron Burgundy, and it was pretty damn funny. Check it out above.

And here’s Burgundy interviewing Peyton Manning

**Finally today, you know I love good “Internet back in the day” stories, and this is great stuff from the wonderful website MentalFloss.com. They went back to 1990s TV shows and found 11 storylines that referenced the Internet, and how in hindsight how laughable they are.

From Jackie on “Roseanne” getting addicted to America Online, to “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” using online matchmaking to have Carlton and Hillary accidentally set each other up with each other, this stuff is great. I love the “Friends” clip above, too.

Ah, the mid-’90s, when Google wasn’t even a glint in our eye.

In praise of Howard Stern, master interviewer. A great Harry Caray/Lumineers mash-up. And “20 Feet from Stardom” a must-see

MrMet**So this has nothing to do with anything except I feel I must share it: Last week, the wife and I were at Shakespeare in the Park in Central Park (we only got to see about 25 minutes before a thunderstorm washed it out) and before the show we were getting a bite to eat in the park when, totally out of nowhere, Mr. Met, the Mets mascot, walked five feet from us.

Startled, I of course called out “Hi Mr. Met!” and he waved. But what the hell was Mr. Met doing in full costume at 7 p.m. on a Thursday, nowhere near a baseball game?
I’ve been wondering ever since. On a related note, can you imagine sitting behind Mr. Met at a theater? No way you’re going to see anything.

OK, on with the show…

I have zero love for Howard Stern. In fact, I pretty much loathe him.
This has led to heated arguments with two of my best friends, who both worship him and listen to him all the time.
I admire his success, but always found his brand of filth just pretty unfunny.
However, I have to give the man props for this: He’s really an excellent interviewer. He gets celebrities to open up and be totally revealing, and he lets them talk about their worlds in a way you don’t get anywhere else on TV or radio.

Last week he had Jerry Seinfeld on, and I was alerted by several websites I look at that this was one of his best. I checked it out and it was indeed fantastic. It’s 90 minutes of Seinfeld letting loose on his iconic show, comedian’s insecurity, his childhood, and a host of other topics.

I know you probably don’t have 90 minutes right now to listen to it, but if you listen 15-20 minutes a time like I did, it’s worth your time.

**Next up, something I found hilarious. Someone on the Internet took the time to mash-up The Lumineers’ big hit “Ho, Hey” with Will Ferrell’s brilliant Harry Caray impression from “Saturday Night Live.”

I watched it three times and laughed harder each time.

**Finally, a quick plug for a great documentary I saw the other night. It’s called “20 Feet from Stardom,” and it’s about the history of backup singers in rock and roll. And it was really, really fascinating.

So man of these great women (and they were mostly women), like Darlene Love and Merry Clayton, have been forgotten by history, or at least marginalized. In the movie we get to hear their stories (Clayton’s tale of being the incredible voice on the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” is worth the price of admission alone), hear their voices, and learn what their lives have been like.

Some of the lucky ones got to make it as a solo artist; but most of them had to be content standing in the shadows, making the “talent” sound good and getting very little credit.

It’s a moving film about a group of people who we never hear from, and you’ll walk out of the theater feeling good.
It’s in limited release but check out this site to see if it’s playing hear you.

Seeing Barry Manilow on Broadway=one happy Me. The Super Bowl commerical you never saw. And the man who inspired the Baltimore Ravens all year.

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I saw Barry Manilow on Broadway last Thursday night, and it was wonderful.

My love for Barry Manilow and his music started right after I came out of the womb, practically.
As a baby my mother used to sing a variety of songs to get me to stop crying, but the one she sang the most was “Can’t Smile Without You.” To this day, it gives me a warm glow inside.

Pretty much since childhood, I’ve loved Barry. You can mock all you want; I’m sure I’ve heard all the jokes you might make about the man who wrote so many awesome songs in the 1970s and 80s.

I have suffered my Fanilow status like a badge of honor, and was thrilled to finally see him in concert in Las Vegas in 2008.

Why do I love him? Lots of reasons. One is that he’s never pretended to be anything but what he is: A composer who writes and sings simple, beautiful songs about life.
Another reason is he seems to get such joy out of singing, and playing with his audience. He knows he was just a Jewish kid from Brooklyn who was fortunate enough to be exposed to music and had a gift for it, and he seems to revel in every moment of his fame.

And for a third reason, he just writes great songs! “Weekend in New England” is a beautiful mixture of melody and lyrics; so is “I Made it Through the Rain,” and of course, “Copacabana,” the song that will be mentioned first in his obit.

Oh, I know he’s slipped in recent years; at Thursday’s show, (which, I’ll have you know, had plenty of under-40 people besides myself) his voice was a little weaker than usual, he didn’t move around all that well, and yes, his face bore the damage of way too much plastic surgery.

But for 90 minutes, he told stories and laughed and had a killer backup band helping him along. He gave the crowd exactly what it hoped for, and I think that’s all you can ask in a performer.

So go ahead and mock us Fanilows if you want to. We’re thrilled the guy’s strill around and performing, giving us all a few more smiles.

**If you were watching the Baltimore Ravens get awarded the Lombardi Trophy after that scintillating and bizarre Super Bowl on Sunday, you may have heard coach John Harbaugh immediately pay tribute to O.J. Brigance when he was interviewed, calling him “an inspiration.”
Brigance is a former Ravens player who suffers from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and ESPN did a beautiful and touching piece on him a few weeks ago. Watch, and then be thankful for all that you have in life.

**Finally today, here’s a pretty funny Will Ferrell commercial that most of America didn’t get shown during the Super Bowl; sort of a “rebuttal” to the GoDaddy.com ad with supermodel Bar Rafaeli and the computer tech dude. Glad we didn’t get any close-ups of Will Ferrell, yeesh.

Good News Friday: Will Ferrell reinvents the P.A. announcer job, hilariously. Big Man’s nephew to play with E Street Band. And Jeremy Lin, the NBA’s Harvard superstar

To start off Good News Friday, here’s Will Ferrell, being Will Ferrell. He was the guest P.A. announcer at the New Orleans Hornets-Chicago Bulls game Wednesday night, and here was his hilarious performance. I love the Bulls’ introductions better, but the Jarrett Jack one from the Hornets is awesome, too.

**Next up we have some great news from the world of Bruce Springsteen. No, it’s not that he’s excited that I’m going to see him for the first time ever (whoo-hoo, can’t wait until April 9).
It’s that as many hoped, he has decided to tap a relative to fill the enormous shoes of Clarence “Big Man” Clemons, the hugely important saxaphone player in the E Street Band who passed away last year.
Jake Clemons is an accomplished saxaphone player in his own right, and has played with the E Street Band before. I’m sure he’ll do an awesome job, though there’ll only ever be one “Big Man.”

**I loathe just about everything about the New York Knicks, but it’s impossible not to love this Jeremy Lin story. Lin is a Knicks rookie guard who was cut by two other teams and buried on the Knicks bench for the last several weeks, only to finally get a chance to play last week.

He’s responded with three straight awesome games, scoring 20 or more in each, and leading the Knicks to a trio of wins. But Lin’s story is even better: He’s from Harvard, which doesn’t exactly produce a bevy of NBA players. He’s a great kid who totally deserves all the attention he’s been getting.

Here’s a great take on Lin and his background from SI in 2010, and a new story from the N.Y. Times’s Howard Beck on the Asian star.