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Why Late Night Needs a Woman

With David Letterman retiring, it’s time to break comedy’s glass ceiling. And Chelsea Handler is just the woman to break up network television’s vaunted boy’s club.

David Letterman announced Thursday that he will retire next year after more than two decades of hosting CBS’s Late Show. As one of the most revered hosts in late-night television history, he will be leaving some very large shoes for the next host to fill in 2015.

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It’s high time that they be a pair of heels.

GOOD NIGHT

Letterman’s Surprise Sign-Off

The ‘Late Night’ host phoned his boss then walked on stage Thursday to tell the audience—and the world—he’s quitting next year.

David Letterman is retiring next year from his late-night show on CBS—ending more than three decades on two networks as a television comic and talk show host.

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John Paul Filo/CBS

“We don’t have the timetable for this precisely down,” the 66-year-old Letterman told his studio audience in a surprise announcement during the Thursday afternoon taping of the Late Show With David Letterman. “I think it will be at least a year or so, but sometime in the not too distant future, 2015 for the love of God, in fact, Paul and I will be wrapping things up,” he added, referring to his longtime bandleader Paul Shaffer.

Happy Anniversary

Dave's Wildest Interviews

Drew Barrymore flashed him. Madonna shocked him. He made Lindsay Lohan cry. Watch his most memorable interviews.

Jay Leno has his man-on-street bits. Jimmy Fallon has his viral songs, and Jimmy Kimmel has his star-studded sketches. But David Letterman has always been, and still is, the best interviewer on late-night TV.

Late Show Host David Letterman

Actor Joaquin Phoenix waves to the audience during his interview with the host of ‘The Late Show With David Letterman’ on February 11, 2009. (John Paul Filo/CBS, via Getty)

Last August, Letterman celebrated a two-decade reign as the genre’s king of the tongue-in-cheek cross-examination. Through the years, Letterman has shown an unflappable ability to crack through the most polished celebrity veneers, catching his guests off-guard with biting, provocative, and playful inquisition. The result: great TV.

Smell of Napalm

Morning Show ‘Hunger Games’

ABC is furious that Josh Elliott has walked out to join NBC Sports. Many insiders believe a deal with the Today show is behind the dramatic switch.

For all the happy talk, gleaming smiles, and warm vibes of familial affection, the network morning shows--specifically NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America—are savagely Darwinian behind the cameras.

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The Daily Beast

The abrupt departure this week of GMA newsreader Josh Elliott for NBC Sports is a case in point, revealing the rich irony that  trash-talking and personal invective are a behind-the-scenes staple of the network news divisions' traditionally friendliest, mushiest programming. Elliott's move has inspired some network spinners to argue that his sudden disappearance will throw a monkey wrench into GMA’s 19-month juggernaut at No.1—and has encouraged others to argue, conversely, that he will, in due course, join a fierce and wounding rivalry at 30 Rock to succeed Matt Lauer as Today’s reigning alpha male.

Predator

ScarJo’s Alien Seductress

Under the Skin

The ‘Sexiest Woman Alive’ plays an otherworldly being who lures men to a dark room with the promise of kiss kiss bang bang. Is there a better metaphor for movie-going?

My advice is, don’t arrive late for Lost in Translation, or you’ll miss what most men dutifully forked over the price of admission for. The first thing we see is Scarlett Johansson’s rear end, laid sideways on a bed, the full, unhindered view of it only just sheathed, hurtfully, by the thinnest pink underpants known to man, in an overt act of provocation against man. Come now to the new movie Under the Skin, and what do we have? Scarlett Johansson’s behind, in a scene where she struts through a mall in tight jeans, the camera trailing her at an eye level so low there is no mistaking what we are made to gawk at. What has Johansson done to deserve this?

The same question can be asked of all movie stars. Fame really is a pain. Professional celebrities, those gods among us (to borrow from the title of Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr’s zesty history of stardom), are made to slip into a new skin for every new role, all the while exhibiting their bodies before us and staging their most private and vulnerable emotions, all in the name of enticing us into a dark room for a couple of hours. And we don’t leave it at that, either. Once we get out into the real world, we continue to follow their every step, hounding them everywhere. It’s no way to live.

Burr’s book, a survey “on movie stardom and modern fame,” as the subtitle put it, was such a welcomed entry because performance is often the least discussed part of cinema. As Matt Zoller Seitz wrote recently in an essay, critics always talk too much about plot and not enough about the mise-en-scène, the camera placements, and the rest of the nuts and bolts of visual storytelling. But there’s even less quality analysis of acting, of what makes a performance work and what doesn’t. We say someone’s turn was “powerful” or “disappointing,” but really not much else. It’s the hardest thing to do in film criticism. Writing on stars are mostly about gossip and scandal, a degeneration into lifestyle reporting.

CELLULOID HEROES

The Witty Genius of CinemaSins

Ding! YouTube sensation CinemaSins systematically reveals mistakes, inconsistencies, and grievances in movies like ‘Batman & Robin.’ Spoiler: No film is perfect.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the only perfect films in the history of cinema are the ones which everyone praises and through some fault or another, no one can ever watch. The missing reels of Erich von Stroheim’s Greed. Orson Welles’s Don Quixote. Victor Fleming’s The Way of All Flesh. Those that remain, even the most beloved classics, eventually show their age as the fads of one age become fodder for the next.

Cinema Sins

CinemaSins

Yet the distinction between good, bad, and likeable remains one of the most difficult mysteries to unravel. The most beloved movies (Star Wars, The Godfather, The Harry Potter series) are often far from the best, while the most technically proficient films (2001: A Space Odyssey, Last Year at Marienbad) can be as boring as the day is long.

Listen Up!

Rock’s Most Magnetic Frontman

Future Islands’s achingly sincere rendition of ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’ on ‘Late Show with David Letterman'—replete with jaw-dropping dance moves—blew up the Internet. Get acquainted with indie rock’s next big thing.

The dreaded late-night talk show performance.

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Josh Brasted/Getty

With its sanitized setting, roving cameras, zillion-watt lights, and wonky acoustics, it’s reduced many a musical act to a pathetic shell of themselves.

Goolybib

‘Silicon Valley’s’ Nerd King

The man behind ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ and ‘Office Space’ skewers incubators and venture capitalists and programmers and billionaires—simply by ripping real details from the headlines.

“I love Goolybib’s integrated multi-platform functionality. Yeah!”

Silicon Valley

Isabella Vosmikova/HBO

If you think that line is hilarious—especially when it’s the first thing a newly-minted twentysomething tech millionaire shouts after grabbing the mic from an unimpressed Kid Rock at Goolybib’s lame launch party—then you are going to get a huge kick out of Silicon Valley.

Bromance

@SirPatStew + @IanMcKellen = <3

Patrick Stewart

Twitter

As Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen finish their time on Broadway in 'No Man's Land' and 'Waiting for Godot,' we look back at their epic bromance.

Tweets

Lingerie Selfies and Nickelodeon

Jennette McCurdy might be upset that her selfies leaked on the Internet. Or she hates her network. We’re not sure.

Nickelodeon’s Sam & Cat is about two roommates who run a babysitting service while taking selfies of themselves in thongs. That is, at least, what you’d think the show was about after a naughty picture of 21-year-old Jennette McCurdy surfaced on the Internet.

Jennette McCurdy

Nickelodeon

McCurdy has said that the sexy selfie was only intended for “just one person.” Who was this special friend?

Some speculate that it’s Detroit Pistons player Andrew Drummond—who has reportedly been in romantic cahoots with McCurdy. McCurdy made fun of Drummond on a podcast, saying his kissing wasn’t up to snuff. “It just didn’t go great…no sparks. The mouths…the shapes weren’t right,” she said. Shortly after this confession, the photos went viral.

Meanwhile, McCurdy skipped the Kid’s Choice Awards last weekend. She’s angry. And she tweeted that she was. “I was put in an uncomfortable, compromising, unfair situation (many of you have guessed what it is) and I had to look out for me. I chose to not go because sticking up for what is right and what is fair is what my mom taught me is ALWAYS the most important thing.”

Short-Lived

Cooper Talks Child Model Career

DAYTIME EMMY AWARDS - SHOW

Anderson Cooper during The 38th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards at the Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, NV on Sunday, June 19, 2011. (Cliff Lipson / Landov)

The news anchor tells Howard Stern why his modeling career didn’t last long.

After keeping silent for thirty years, the dashing Anderson Cooper has opened up regarding the definitive cause for the premature end of his child modeling career. On Monday, the CNN news anchor spoke to Howard Stern about his three-year stint modeling for the likes of Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Macy's.

"I got propositioned by a photographer...a male," Cooper, who began modeling at age ten, told the radio personality. "He somehow got my number and called me up and offered me money, and so it freaked me out. I never told anybody. I just stopped. I was, like, 'Forget it.'"

Cooper revealed that the photographer offered him $2,500 for his services. When Stern asked, "At that point, you were obviously aware you were gay, but it wasn’t like you wanted to be with an adult man," Cooper replied, "Yeah, I was 13 years old. I wasn’t even thinking about sex. With anybody. I don’t think he had any idea [I was gay]. You know, maybe he did—I honestly don’t know. I think he saw that I was on my own, that I didn’t have a parent or guardian there."

ACTING UP

Sex Blogs on Stage

For the past three years Blogologues has been transforming online posts, rants, and queries into a live-action variety show. Their latest production, focused specifically on the fringiest sexual communities, combined pointed jokes with respect and empathy for the posters themselves.

As I left the sketch variety show Blogologues: Dat A.S.S, I was singing, perhaps a little too loudly, one of the standout songs of the evening, about those adults who love My Little Ponies, “Bronies who love ponies, both sexually and non-sexually.”

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Lindsay May Cook

You wouldn’t expect the title of a Bronie online forum thread to become a simultaneously hysterical and infectious rap, nor would you expect that women dressed as pink, purple, and blue ponies could pull off gyrating while nibbling on carrots. But such was the hilarious, energetic finale to Blogologues: Dat A.S.S.

Mother Monster

Gaga’s Wild Style Is Back!

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Theo Wargo/Getty; AKM-GSI

Following a minimalist turn, Lady Gaga is back with a vengeance. But are her skin-tight ensembles, crazy headpieces, and sky-high shoes just compensating for her fading relevance?

When Lady Gaga returned from her six-month hiatus in August 2013, her stylist Brandon Maxwell assured the public that the singer’s newfound fashion direction would be “more toned down and pulled back and chic.” To promote her latest album, ARTPOP, Gaga selected a slew of minimalist pieces—long black sheaths, simple designer footwear, and more monotonous, muted tones. Following a series of press appearances related to the album, I dubbed the singer’s new style “Gaga 2.0,” questioning where is there to go when you’ve already done it all.

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AKM-GSI; NCP/Star Max/GC; Michael Stewart/GC

In a new doc, the former defense secretary says he never meant to imply that Saddam was behind 9/11—despite the implications that the Iraqi dictator and al Qaeda were in cahoots.

In The Unknown Known, Oscar-winning documentarian Errol Morris (The Fog of War) turns his infamous interrotron on former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He was one of the key architects of the U.S. response to the attacks of September 11th under President George W. Bush, which included wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Donald Rumsfeld

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld speaks during a briefing October 26, 2006 at the Pentagon. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty)

The title of Morris’ documentary, out April 4, is taken from a controversial response Rumsfeld gave in February 2002 when, as Secretary of Defense, he was prodded about the lack of evidence concerning “reports” propagated by the Bush administration that Iraq was supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups:

Drake Featuring Drake

Why Drake Dissed Jay Z

The Canadian child actor-turned-rapper loves moms, hugs, and sweaters and he knows how easy that is to make fun of. No matter, Drizzy’s poised to eclipse the hip hop sphere.

On a Friday night last fall, Drake joined a handful of friends for drinks in a dark corner of a popular pub in downtown Toronto’s Queen West strip and then stealthily paid every customer’s bar tab before quietly walking out. At another party down the block, the lyrics to half a dozen songs off Nothing Was the Same, his third studio album, were on many lips, despite being only two weeks old.

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Reuters

This is Drake’s Toronto, where sightings of the rapper and his white Rolls Royce, easily identifiable by the Instagram handle-referencing “C PAPI” vanity license plate, are common. He’s already proven himself here, so a move like paying for dozens of strangers’ night out is taken as a genuine display of generosity, a relatively tiny but sincere gesture made by a man who wants his city to know he hasn’t forsaken it. In consistently declaring his allegiance to Toronto—by, among other things, championing local artists, signing on to help promote the Raptors in an official capacity, and launching an annual music festival—he’s opened up the possibilities of success beyond Canada, inspiring a palpable hustle in a city often criticized for having a chip on its shoulder. If Drake could make it, so can we is the unspoken refrain. Here, he’s understood and appreciated: “My city love me like Mac Dre in the Bay.”

Kate Upton Beats a Serial Cheater

In a given year, 4 percent of married people have extramarital affairs. Find out more stats about infidelity tied to the new comedy ‘The Other Woman,’ with Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton.

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