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If you’re not funny and you don’t want to discuss politics, then you better have a niche, and Megyn Kelly should find hers fast, because her first day on the job did not deliver. Megyn Kelly Today is as awkward as it gets, and she clearly hopes to snow the public into forgetting that she worked for an evil empire. To quote a close personal friend, “Regardless of whether she believed it or not, she parroted right wing propaganda during one of the most decisive times in American history, and now she’s trying to get everyone to forget it.” Her shameless promotion of her memoir is also infuriating, as is her cheesy, planted display of affection with her husband in an attempt to humanize her. Authenticity is everything, and I smell a rat.
If you thought retribution would bring sense to Bill O’Reilly, you thought wrong, because the former Fox News host is adamant that his hands are clean. Though Matt Lauer asked hard-hitting questions about O’Reilly’s alleged history of sexual harassment and the legal settlements associated with the cases, O’Reilly insisted it was more about a media take-down or left wing conspiracy than justice. Why would Fox axe their biggest asset if there’s no fire with that smoke? Watch below to see what’s become of the boisterous blowhard whose spin zone tactics are still at play.
There’s a reason Andy Cohen’s ‘Watch What Happens Live’ on Bravo is a success, and it’s because the shrunken studio space demands big questions, and Cohen delivers. During Maggie Gyllenhaal’s appearance on the show, Cohen asked whether Maggie has Taylor Swift’s scarf at her house, which was relayed in her hit song, “All Too Well.” The song was rumored to be about Maggie’s brother, Jake Gyllenhaal, who allegedly was too in love with Taylor to return the accessory. Watch her funny reply below.
It’s been a long Labor Day vacation filled with Distillery tours, The Cliffs of Insanity/Moher (see The Princess Bride), a valuable history lesson on Northern Ireland, and an odd story about a giant disguised as a baby (Giant’s Causeway). Plus, some killer Irish pub music featuring a fiddle. As I journey back home and think of my friends and family currently battling IRMAgeddon, I feel it my duty to post the most superficial reprieve possible, which involves my tabloid gossip reel. So what did I miss? Click the links to discover who’s shtupping who, fame-driven feuds, and more.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s supermodel obsession has reached new heights. The Sun
Kristen Bell saved Josh Gad’s family from hurricane Irma. E Online
Kirk Cameron thinks hurricane Irma is God’s punishment. Us Weekly
Sharon Osborne called Kim Kardashian a non-feminist “ho”, and Kim responded. Buzzfeed
John Mayer hit on Nicki Minaj, and he might have a shot. EW
If you’re Taylor Swift, you’ve got a lot of explaining to do. For starters, she landed in a fight with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian after she bashed Kanye’s song lyrics during her Grammy speech, only to later have her very clear approval exposed via Kim’s snapchat. The act was itself illegal, given that Swift was allegedly recorded by Kanye without her permission and did not give consent for its release, but team Kimye is smart enough to know that any subsequent lawsuit would further damage the Swift brand, so they’re in the clear. Plus, a pissing match with rich people is pointless. Kimye is also tough to take down given that their image has so little to do with propriety. If you entered the public arena via a sex tape, it’s pretty challenging to soil your brand.
It’s clear that Taylor Swift’s song “Look What You Made Me Do” is a direct hit on the Kimye debacle and the lyrics are brilliantly and strategically crafted. She’s mad, she doesn’t like Kanye’s dumb “tilted stage” and has risen up “from the dead.” Also, if she got her karma, then everyone else will to.
A close friend in the music industry classified this song as a lazy double-down on the Kanye drama, which is personified by the Right Said Fred “I’m Too Sexy” hook. Those Right Said Fred songwriters were given credit on this track, presumably because of that whole Robin Thicke “Blurred Lines” judgment. So is my friend correct? The short answer is that I’m not sure. Swift has absolutely zero choice but to address this feud, and she can’t do it in a magazine interview, because each and every time she addresses controversy in magazine interviews she makes it ten times worse. Music is the only way, and re-invention is the key. We all know she has mastered the victim lane, so isn’t it better to flip things around and go for a more angry spin? That being said, the song has to be GOOD for this strategy to work, and Swift’s songs nearly always are. This song might be a little soulless and repetitive, but it does the trick. She’s either on the cusp of her next chapter or this is the beginning of the end. We shall see.
You’d think with all of today’s innovation, women would feel a little less pressured to breastfeed. We don’t build fires in the woods anymore or kill animals with makeshift tools. Though it certainly seems like a nice idea to breastfeed, I think my only motivating factor would be saving money, rather than bonding with the baby. Screw the baby. They don’t need those boob nutrients! Anyhow, Whitney Port (The Hills) created a really honest video about the process, in which it’s clear she’s exhausted, perhaps experiencing depression, and feeling a great amount of guilt, courtesy of other moms. Watch below.
Many of you are aware of my criticism against Jay Z’s anti-Semitic song lyrics on his new ‘4:44’ album, which includes the line, “You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it.” After being rightly called out for his bigoted choice of words on “The Story of O.J.”, the rapper has finally responded, and his viewpoint is both predictable and highly disappointing. According to Jay Z, the Jewish community is filled with hypocrites. He said, “As the Jewish community, if you don’t have a problem with the exaggerations of the guy eating watermelon and all the things that was happening [in the song’s music video], if you don’t have a problem with that, and that’s the only line you pick out, then you are being a hypocrite. I can’t address that in a real way. I got to leave that where it is. He went on to suggest that it is not to be taken literally because “of course I know Jewish people don’t own all the property in America.”
For starters, let me apologize for bothering Jay Z, because it’s clear from his tone that he finds this entire to do tiresome. That being said, I was not aware that exposing anti-Antisemitism demands that I also expose any and all racism simultaneously. But since it is in fact a requirement, I think it’s necessary to point out that his example is NOT analogous. The racist imagery used by Jay Z is done to make a point through exposition. He does not advocate that imagery. It’s used to point out the pain. It’s used to show us how far we’ve come, and to remind us how far we have to go. It’s both shocking and effective. Do I agree with his use of the N-word or anyone’s use of the N word for that matter? No. But that’s entirely different conversation, and I’m happy to have it at another time. As my law school torts professor would say, “Let’s not mix our boxes while we analyze the facts.
The same cannot be said of the anti-Semitic lyric. Yes it’s an exaggeration, as Jews do not in fact own ALL the property in America. It’s clear Mr. Carter is also aware of this, given that he owns property and he is not Jewish. This might seem obvious, but Jay Z specifically said, “I mean, I own things” as an example of how he doesn’t believe his statement is LITERAL. But that is so far from the point it is laughable. He might not literally believe his statement to be true, but his dismissal once again discards the history of this Anti-Semitic comment, and the danger in perpetuating it. He’s not using it to draw some sort of distinction between the past and present.
I was told to lighten up by many members of the Jewish community when I first pointed this out, and while I respect the viewpoints of others, I cannot help but think the Jewish community should also educate themselves on why this is use as an insult. And in light of Charlottesville, it’s ever-the-more important.
The notion that Jews own everything is the same idea used by the Nazis to incite Antisemitism in the community at large. If we own everything, then is our success to the detriment of others? Are we cheap? Are we taking things from you? Are we hogging the wealth, pushing others out, and only promoting other Jews in our secret inside circle? Are we therefore taking over the world and do we need to be stopped? To discard how easy it is to walk the same road as our history, is reckless, unrealistic, and dangerous. You call it an “exaggeration,” and I call it Antisemitism. Jay Z might not get it, but you should.
Buoyed by his boisterous fan base and the electricity of Los Angeles’ best music venue, Steve Earle graced the stage of The Troubadour for a tireless show that proved he lives up to all that live-performance hype. Steve Earle is a bit of a legend. His country music outlaw status is backed up by some seriously good interview quotes, including one recent gem that went viral. When asked about modern country music in an interview with The Guardian, Earle said:
The best stuff coming out of Nashville is all by women except for Chris Stapleton. He’s great. The guys just wanna sing about getting fucked up. They’re just doing hip-hop for people who are afraid of black people. I like the new Kendrick Lamar record, so I’ll just listen to that.”
His unapologetic attitude also goes for his personal life. Recently divorced from his sixth wife, he said, “She traded me in for a younger, skinnier, less talented singer-songwriter,” but that’s okay because now if he goes to a baseball game he can now stay for the whole thing.”
Earle’s new album, ‘So You Wannabe an Outlaw,’ is inspired by Waylon Jennings’s ‘Honky Tonk Heroes,’ which is best evidenced by his remake of Jennings’ “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way.” Earle is backed on the new album by his long time band The Dukes (guitarist Chris Masterson, fiddle player Eleanor Whitmore, bassist Kelly Looney, and new members drummer Brad Pemberton and pedal steel player Ricky Ray Jackson). The record began when T. Bone Burnett asked Earle to write a song for the television show, Nashville.’ A year later, he wrote another, and the experience moved him toward his country record. Since Earle integrates important social themes into his music, you’ll find his stance woven into the record, most notably with “Fixin’ to Die,” which is about death row. According to Earle, it was inspired by witnessing an execution in Texas. Though Earle has somewhat moved away from his 1986 ‘Guitar Town’ country debut, adding Willie Nelson to your title track certainly allows for a raucous return to form.
I spend a lot of time at concerts watching crowds, because the audience’s behavior says a lot about who’s on stage. In fact, there’s an LA movement to eliminate all talking during shows, out of respect for the performer (see SoFar Sounds). Though an interesting idea in theory, there’ s a deeper issue at play, and it’s important. If the audience is talking during your set, something is awry on the stage. Sure there’s always some drunk schmuck making unnecessary noise, but if no one’s looking, that’s very important data that can help the singer. What if the audience at The Comedy Store was told to laugh, for example, even if the jokes weren’t funny, out of “respect” for the comedian? How would that comedian then know that their set needs tweaking? Or what if the audio is sub-par, thereby impacting the audience’s attention? These things are KEY, and they are all factors as to why I watch those crowds. Having said that, Steve Earle’s crowd is worth mentioning, and not just because it was a sold out show. The crowd listened intently, enjoyed every moment, rarely disrupted their experience with cell phones, and often got excited during his set. Steve Earle commands attention, and that attention is well deserved.
My hunt for new artists has brought me Oriel Poole, an electro-soul singer/songwriter whose debut EP, Sunday, is produced by Max Savage and represents quite the risk, given that Poole put aside her successful career as a production designer to pursue music. Of her decision to follow a new path, Poole said, “It’s crazy, but I feel like the economic climate back in 2008 gave rise to the art form I felt most deeply connected to. If it wasn’t for a challenging couple of years post college, I would have never given music a realistic consideration, but I am so grateful I did.” Poole is UK born and self taught, and her retro-synth vibe sets her apart. She’s the girl you play in the background at your cool house party where your guest stops you, mid-conversation to say, “Who is this artist?”
I've seen a lot of bad pilots in my life, many of which never made it to air. It's also widely known that pilots are generally tough. It takes time to find the right rhythm, and only a keen eye can spot its potential. So when I see a strong pilot, I'm stunned. Such is the case with The Sinner, starring Jessica Biel. The series is also executive produced by Biel, and this is her first regular role on a television series since 7th Heaven. Biel's producing partner, Michelle Purple, also serves as an executive producer, and this was done through their company Iron Ocean Films.
Episode one makes it very clear that we're in for a ride. Biel plays a young mother named Cora who commits an unspeakable act of violence in public while sitting on the beach with her family. There's no explanation for her behavior, and Cora insists that there's simply no motivation behind her act. But Detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) thinks differently.
In just one episode I can safely say this is Biel's finest role. Were it not for the trailer, you'd be shocked by her act, while also being able to watch it again and spot the signs that something about her behavior is slightly awry. This requires a great amount of nuance and intrigue, and she plays it perfectly. And I'm not the only one who thought so. The series drew 3.5 million viewers making it the summer’s top cable drama series debut.
Tune in to the anthology drama on Wednesdays at 10/9c on USA Network