Monday, October 20, 2014

Hannibal Buress v. Bill Cosby

Your Blog is feeling #conflicted, right now.

First, some back story...

Your PC has been a stand up comedy junkie for as long as he can remember.

In my earliest days, I remember watching people like Bob Newhart, Rodney Dangerfield, Joan Rivers, and SeƱor Wences do their comedy thing on Ed Sullivan.

In my teens, there was George Carlin, Cheech and Chong, Flip Wilson and David Steinberg.

In my youth, I aspired, for a while to be a stand up comedian. I also aspired to be a circus clown, a mime, a magician, a cartoonist and/or an actor. In the cold light of adulthood, I realized that, if you were not one of the very lucky and exceptionally talented few, every one of these professions were a ticket to sadness, loneliness, public derision and, in far too many cases, eventual suicide.

Instead, I chose a much more stable career as a Hollywood make-up artist. (Place irony font, here.) So, okay, I have been very lucky, in my risky career choice. Maybe even exceptionally talented. But, that is open for argument. Discuss among yourselves.

In the '80s, I worked on "A&E's Evening at the Improv" with such future comedy icons as Bill Hicks, Ellen DeGeneres, Jim Carry, Rita Rudner and John Fugelsang.

In the last years of the 20th century, I worked with the likes of Sarah Silverman, Margaret Smith, Pauley Shore, Gilbert Gottfried and Louis Anderson.

In recent years, I have had the pleasure of working with Ron White, Bill Engvall, Katherine Madigan, Kate Rigg and the late John Pinette.

Anyhoo... Somewhere between the Sullivan stable and the 1970's comics, there was Bill Cosby.

At some point during the early '70s, the Blog Dad brought a couple of Cosby records home. We all listened together as a family, and I listened over and over again to this funny, funny man.

I idolized Bill Cosby.

To an extent, I still do.

Which brings us to my conflict.

If you are paying attention to what is trending on the Book of Faces, you may have seen this.

The brilliantly funny Hannibal Buress has publicly called "The Cos" out as as a hypocrite and a rapist.
Here is one of the many versions of this story that you can find online, if you Google it, there are more. Feel free to Google "Buress Cosby" for more.

Strong and ugly words from Buress. But...

He is not wrong.

Hollywood, and by "Hollywood" I mean Hollywood, New York, and entertainment industry hubs in between, is a small town.

We have all heard the stories and accusations.

Stories of womanizing and racism about "America's favorite Dad," are common among the people, mostly women, that I work with.

And, as Hannibal points out, there are accusations of drugs and date rape.

Your PC got to scratch, "Working with Bill Cosby" off his professional bucket list.

Bill... excuse me... Dr. Cosby, as he prefers to be addressed...

...Was arrogant and empirical. He treated make-up (me) hair and wardrobe as annoying worker bees. Beneath his respect.

So, what?

"Rapist? Racist? Womanizer? Passive aggressive, asshole?"

Yes, yes, yes and yes.

And yet...

I still admire him as one of the funniest humans on earth.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Phil Hartman Didn't Have to Die: A "What If" Story

A new book about the wonderfully talented Phil Hartman includes a detailed chronicle of his early morning murder. It is a fascinating and tragic read.

Read the excerpt, here.

It is a fact that every decision we make holds unforeseen, future consequences, good and bad. Each path we take presents alternative outcomes. Life is a big "What If?" story.

In the month of May, 1998, production began on "Baywatch" star Pamela Anderson's action/comedy "V.I.P."

Your Blog was there.

In an early production meeting in the weeks preceding the filming of the first episode, we were given a list of the expected cast, stars and guest stars.

At that time, Phil Hartman was in final talks to guest star as the "has-been" 1970s TV action star Colt Arrow. For whatever reason, negotiations broke down in the eleventh hour, and Phil declined the role.

Had Phil taken the role, he might still be alive today.

"What if?"

Had he taken the role, instead of being a sleeping sitting duck for his, (I'm gonna call it like I see it,) psycho third wife Brynn Omdahl, her temper and a gun, in the early hours of May 28th, 1998, he would have been hard at work, (or at least, enjoying a catered breakfast, sitting in my make-up chair,) at a port in San Pedro, CA.

But, he didn't take the role. And the rest is tragic history.

"What if?"

And, now, also, too...

Your PC doesn't want to trivialize Phil's murder, or suggest that backing out of a "V.I.P." guest star role came with some sort of superstitious curse....

(Even though, for four seasons, we regularly joked, darkly, about the "V.I.P. Curse." "David Cassidy has backed out of his cameo and will now be replaced by Ian Ziering? Has anyone warned David?")


In that same first episode, some guy named Charlie Sheen was originally slated to play movie idol Brad Cliff. (No one in casting was delusional enough think they could get Brad Pitt to play Brad Cliff. Get it?) Charlie, like Phil, passed at the last minute. And Charlie, instead of working a more or less honest living doing the acting thing that he does, found himself, instead, cooling his heels in a Las Vegas jail, charged with disorderly conduct. (Which takes some effort in Las Vegas.)

"What if?"

"What if?" Indeed.

Post Script...

The part of Colt Arrow went to a, mostly, unknown "working actor" by the name of Bryan Cranston.

Your Blog wonders whatever became of him.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Once Upon a Time: Some Thoughts

So you all know that "Once Upon a Time" is one of my most favorite, current TV shows. I have not yet seen tonight's episode, (it's Tivoed.) but, based on last week's season premier, I am feeling a bit ambivalent.

The thing that I have loved about the show is it's subversive deconstructionism.

"OUAT" has taken characters and stories that are the lifeblood of ABC's parent company, Disney, and totally screwed with them.

Think about it. "Once" writers created an eighth dwarf and promptly killed him. Mulan is a lesbian. Peter Pan is a scary, Mafia Don, cult leader. And Captain Hook is a pretty decent guy. And let's talk about Rumplestiltskin, aka: "Mr. Gold." Not just the guy who spins straw into gold, but Belle's "Beast," and Hook's "Crocodile," Another bad guy, in fact, not just a bad guy. but the embodiment of evil, as "The Dark One." But, still, a decent person, deep down, fighting his own demons, tooth and nail. And, maybe even winning.

And, speaking of evil fighting demons, Regina, Snow White's evil queen stepmother, and mayor of Storybrooke. Gotta love her and gotta root for her as she fights her own demons on her off and on journey to redemption.

Meanwhile, the show is loaded to the gills with the most delightful "Easter eggs."

For example, the town's resident therapist is "Doc Hopper." A soft spoken guy with a penchant for green clothing and umbrellas. Get it? And, he has a dalmatian named Pongo.

And not just Disney characters. Storybrooke is the home of Ruby and her Granny, Dr. Whale and a hat maker named Jefferson.

Like I said, subversive.

So, why does the first episode of this new season, featuring the characters from "Frozen" feel so, I don't know, corporate? Like "Frozen II." Maybe I will feel better about this story arc after I see tonight's show. Or the shows that follow. We will see. I love the show and have faith that the show's creators know what they are doing and that Disney has given them carte blanche to do what they will.

So, moving on... I got to thinking about what "OUAT" should do next. And I had the most amazing idea.

How cool would it be to introduce Jack Skellington and the "Nightmare Before Christmas" cast to the world of Storybrooke?

Attention "OUAT" writers and producers... Feel free to use this. If you feel that you should send me a royalty check for this idea, I will not refuse it. But, I will understand if you don't.