Ken Tucker reflects on the genius that was comedian Jonathan Winters, a tragic and triumphant figure.
No one thought, moved, or sounded like Jonathan Winters, who has died at age 87. A comedian who worked in nightclubs, on television, and in movies, he was always the very odd man out, a deeply original, neurotic eccentric who was admired by contemporaries, idolized by the generation represented by his closest adept, Robin Williams, and encouraged and then chewed up by an industry that could never find the proper showcase for his unique talents. He fought depression, alcoholism, and a free-floating sense of never belonging, and in the latter regard, he was poignantly correct.
Actor-comedian Jonathan Winters. (NBCU Photo Bank, via Getty)
Winters in his 1950s-to-early-1960s prime bridged mainstream and hipster comedy. He came to prominence during a time when new terrain was being cleared by comedians such as Nichols and May, Dick Gregory, Mort Sahl, Bob Newhart, Redd Foxx, and the so-called “sick” humor of Lenny Bruce, Shelley Berman, and—invoked just last week on the season premiere of Mad Men—Milt Kamen.
It’s his first single since ‘Gangnam Style.’ Is the Korean pop star here to stay—or will he and his new ‘Gentleman’ go the way of Vanilla Ice and Chumbawumba? A look at notable second singles that struck out.
Psy: Gangnam Style
This pony-dancing extravaganza from the South Korean megastar is the most-watched video in YouTube history. Nuff said.
Kate hooked on US reality show, report says
We'll file this one under maybe.
Kate Middleton's spokespeople were last year forced to deny rumours that the Duchess was sent (or sent back) bundles of free clothes from Kim Kardashian, but the young royal apparently can't get enough of Kim's show Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
Left: Duchess of Cambridge smiles during her visit to the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Scotland on April 4, 2013. Right: Kim Kardashian attends the opening of Tracy Anderson Flagship Studio in Brentwood, Calif. on April 4. (Pool photo by Danny Lawson; Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic, via Getty )
This dark new movie, in theaters Friday, explores communication—or the lack thereof—in the digital age and the Internet’s underbelly. The director and stars, including Jason Bateman and Alexander Skarsgard, discuss the film.
The Internet can be a pretty sinister place.
It’s a gateway for identity theft, which scammed Americans out of some $48 billion in 2012; it’s the delivery system for cyberbullying, which affects almost half of all American teens, according to the National Crime Prevention Council; and it’s led to the proliferation of child pornography, with the FBI reporting 5,900 pending child-pornography/child sexual-exploitation investigations as of April 2012—up from just 80 in 2001. And it has fundamentally changed the way we communicate—or connect—with the ones we love.
(L-R) Hope Davis, Jason Bateman, and Haley Ramm in Henry-Alex Rubin’s “Disconnect.” (Phil Bray/LD Entertainment)
‘I thought boxing was what I was born to do, but it’s not,’ the former champ says. A talk with the star of Broadway’s ‘Undisputed Truth,’ his one-man show.
The downside of interviewing Mike Tyson on the phone: I don’t get to see what his face tattoo looks like up close. Upside: I can ask anything I want, with little fear of getting my jaw broken.
So when the former heavyweight boxing champion, ear-biter, convicted rapist, born-again vegan, pigeon racer, movie star, politician, philanthropist, and “prostitute hunter” (his words) called Friday morning, I had high expectations for Charlie-Sheen candor. “Kid Dynamite” would be weeping by the time I was through with him, and next thing I knew I’d be on a plane to Vegas for a green smoothie and a hug.
‘Gentleman’ sounds almost exactly like ‘Gangnam Style.’ Will it also take over the world?
Because Kim Jong-un said if he heard “Gangnam Style” one more time he was going to press launch (unconfirmed), Psy has released his long-awaited (loose definition) follow-up, “Gentleman,” a day early. Audio of the new track was posted on YouTube Thursday afternoon.
How does it sound? A little bit like “Safety Dance” by Men in Hats, kind of like an LMFAO club track, exactly like “Gangnam Style,” and a lot like noise. The lyrics are, like “Gangnam Style,” a mix of Korean and English and made-up English (as Vulture queries, “What is a ‘mother-father-gentleman’?”) There is bass pumping and beats dropping and lyrics repeating in a way that they will get stuck in your head so easily that you’ll curse Psy on a daily basis. If you liked that “Gangnam Style” song, you will like this “Gentleman” song, because it is, basically, the same song.
The famous rapper slams those blasting him over his controversial trip to Cuba with a new song. But do Republicans even listen to rap?
Barack Obama. Politicians. Critics. Zoolander. All are invoked in “Open Letter,” the track released by Jay-Z Thursday directly addressing the controversy over the hip-hop mogul’s trip to Cuba with his wife, Beyoncé.
STR / AFP
Earlier this week, photos surfaced of music’s First Couple out in Havana on a trip timed to their five-year wedding anniversary. Cuba, as every American who took third grade social studies knows, is an isla non grata. It’s been illegal for Americans to travel there for more than 50 years. Once the photos hit the web, lawmakers, including Florida senator Marco Rubio, demanded to know how the celebrities made it into the country and didn’t let up on the criticism even after it was found out that Bey and Jay entered Cuba legally.
TV’s go-to weirdo chats with Kevin Fallon about playing a hopelessly awkward body man on ‘Veep,’ reviving eccentric son Buster Bluth on ‘Arrested Development,’ and his talent for playing oddballs.
Tony Hale is very good at being weird.
The legions of crazy-obsessed Arrested Development fans—so passionate they brought the canceled sitcom back to life—already knew that from his three seasons as the neurotic, quasi-Oedipal Buster Bluth on the cherished sitcom. Now Hale is doubling up on the odd, reprising his role as Buster for the relaunch of Arrested Development on Netflix, set to premiere May 26, and starring as eccentric body man to Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s vice president Selina Meyer on the second season of HBO’s political comedy Veep, which premieres Sunday.
Tony Hale appears in a scene from VEEP. (Lacey Terrell/HBO)
The only male singer left on 'American Idol' is a disaster, but he's still getting a lot of votes. Ramin Setoodeh explains why.
This season of American Idol really does feel like the End of Times. The singers are dull, half the judges hate each other, and now the show has been hijacked by Lazaro Arbos, the inspirational crooner who was selected by producers for overcoming his stutter. He can't sing on key or remember his lyrics, but Lazaro still outshines all the other divas. He's become the best worst contestant in American Idol history. Even Sanjaya Malakar didn't make it this far.
American Idol contestant Lazaro Arbos. (Michael Becker/Fox)
On Wednesday's episode, the contestants each performed two songs. The judges gave everyone vague praise—including mediocre singers like Janelle Arthur—until it was Lazarro's turn. And then they turned into Mean Girls. After Lazarro's first song, Close to You, Randy Jackson seemed to wake from a long nap. "Yo. Wow. I'm actually kind of speechless," he said. "I think that's the worst performance you've ever had." Mariah Carey broke into a long, incoherent critique—"I say, what's the word, darling? Help me out! Lord in Heaven! Um..."—about key change that was far more painful to watch than the singing. While this was happening, poor Lazarro was wearing a suit that looked like pajamas from The Brady Bunch.
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So Long, Dunder Mifflin
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After more than a decade impersonating everyone from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Liberace to the Queen of England, Fred Armisen is reportedly joining the growing list of 'Saturday Night Live' stars who are calling it quits. Here's to a versatile and stellar 'SNL' career.
FLOTUS parts to the left, Twitter explodes. More