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Unsolicited Landsharking On “SNL 40″ (Schwing, It’s Pat)

– watching this special you’d never know exactly how rebellious “Saturday Night Live” was at its inception or various other points in history; every clip package was a parade of smash cuts set to a steady beat, like a home run highlight reel, which robbed many classic moments of the comedic tension that made them so memorable in the first place; three and a half hours and they didn’t even show the very first “SNL” sketch in its entirety (“I would like to feed your fingertips to the wolverines”), the program’s mission statement, still one of the weirdest things that’s ever been on television

– there was so much hoo-ha about Eddie Murphy making an appearance, finally burying whatever cold hatchet he had with “SNL”/his “SNL” legacy, but he didn’t do anything, he just came out and expressed some gratitude while making very awkward clapping gestures; maybe Eddie does have a disease that prevents him from being funny these days

– Joe Piscopo seemed as stiff and unhappy as the real elderly Sinatra; I’m sure he was hoping for a tearful on camera reunion with Murphy; I’m sure he burst a blood vessel during Chris Rock’s monologue about Murphy being “SNL’s” Superman (Rock wasn’t wrong, though)

Wayne’s World remains the most profitable “SNL” spin-off so we’re going to have to endure Wayne and Garth reunion sketches (no matter how pointless or meandering) until Mike Myers and Dana Carvey are both dead (if Carvey dies first I’d put major cash on Myers replacing him with Bill Hader); I wish they’d let the characters age, I’m far more interested to see Wayne at fifty

– Kanye seemed pretty excited to be caught in Wayne’s World

– the best part of “SNL 40″ was of course an unscripted moment: Norm Macdonald trying to swerve the Chevy Chase introduction into the nearest ditch, a fine reminder of how brutally unsentimental the show can be (times like that are when “SNL” is tops) and how you can always rely on Norm

– related to that last point: it was wild to see the varying levels of talent on display, in the sense that you have to give Fred Armisen some kind of prop or character but Norm or Bill Murray can just come out and be themselves and everyone’s delighted

– it was cool to see Jane Curtain Weekend Updating with Tina and Amy

– it was cool to see Ellen Cleghorne

– it was not cool to see famous people “covering” their favorite characters

– I don’t know how to feel about Miley Cyrus as an entertainer or a human but she clearly has talent, by which I mean she made me give a shit about a Paul Simon song; I’d buy that rendition on vinyl

– the audience kept the applause at fair levels throughout the dead person montage; doesn’t feel like anyone was slighted, and they chose really wonderful/wonderfully evocative photos of each figure

– all those fucking montages and not one devoted entirely to the rich history of musical performance on “SNL”; sorry, legendary artists who so often were the only bits of the program worth watching, this “Californians” sketch has to be eight decades long

– ego probably prevented a lot of great comedy from happening

– “SNL” has constructed a successful enough business model that it may never go off the air; I’d like it to, only to see if another comedic incubator of its caliber would ever come along

– what a shame [obscure cast member] didn’t get any shoutouts

Unsolicited Odelay On Beckghazi

– every year we endure the Grammys and every year a not insignificant number of people are outraged when the awards fly wildly off target, as if this ceremony has ever accurately reflected anything

– theories abound that Beck’s Album of The Year win last night was the voting body’s mea culpa for snubbing his genius work Odelay! nearly two decades ago; there should just be a category called “Oops!” wherein they grant themselves the opportunity to reverse decisions from years past

– I think we all appreciate Kanye going through the motions for us

– wouldn’t it be great if all this lead to a Beck/BeyoncĂ© collaboration?

– Beck: Scientologist; BeyoncĂ©: Illuminati demigod; they each have five Grammys now, so let’s end this pointless conflict and get back to uncovering the evidence that will prove Lorde is actually in her late forties

Other Highlights From My Six Months As A Perkins Bus Boy

…In addition to fishing unused jelly packets out of the trash to rinse off and put back on the dining room tables (previously referenced in this post); what a feeling it is to watch an oblivious diner fiddle with a little plastic bin of grape jelly you rescued just fifteen minutes prior from a muggy grave of chewed hash browns and sausage upchuck.

– the dish washer who was obsessed with Dream Theater and tried to convert me every night

– the dish washer who was obsessed with Canibus and was constantly complaining about ringtone rappers

– the regular customer who always brought his own tiny briefcase of specialized condiments

– the other bus boy who exclusively addressed me as “James Bond Jr.”

– my employee evaluation; the only negative bit was “needs to smile more”

– the day I wore Converse to work instead of my regulation grease-proof boots to prove some kind of point (i.e. I won’t CONFORM to YOUR WORLD, oppressors); I slid around on the kitchen floor the entire night

– the Billy Drago-esque manager who raced Kawasaki motorcycles in his spare time and who could never walk out the back door without taking a deep breath, looking up at the clouds, and saying, “What a beautiful day to die!” (he was later fired for sexual harassment)

– being scheduled weekday mornings and having jack shit to bus

– being scheduled on Sundays and feeling like I was in trench warfare

– never being too mad about the servers not sharing their tips because they all had families to support and I was just some bozo in college

– the in-store satellite radio playing the craziest post-grunge (deep cuts from Green Day’s Nimrod, the 1999 Alice in Chains “reunion” song, etc)

– getting pied in the face on my last day of work by one of the servers (it was a hearty apple pie and I had pieces of fruit caught in my hair for hours)

– running into the lead manager at a nearby Waffle House several weeks after I quit; she told me I was a great employee and that I could come back any time (this was very nice to hear)

I’ve not set foot in that Perkins or any other since hanging up my bus tub.

JG2’s Toppest Albums & Singles Of 2014 (Annotated Edition)

I only continue to do this because Village Voice forces me via the Pazz & Jop ballot. The 2014 lists are dedicated to young one Rik Mayall. Rik, your death continues to fill me with profound sadness.

JG2’s TOPPEST ALBUMS OF 2014

1. Babymetal – BABYMETAL

Who knew Kawaii could save metal from itself? Japanese school girls bring ABBA-esque melody and untold charisma to extreme rock’s grim battlefield, setting off an hour that would wow Francis Scott Key. BABYMETAL is the year’s black and blue dance party pinnacle.

2. Run The Jewels – RTJ2

Another swift upper cut from the dynamite Killer Mike + El-P combo. No time wasted, so space misused, so very authentic. Any other rappers who might brag about “teabag[ing] a piranha tank” would be laughed off the Internet. Extra points for the Zack De La Rocha cameo.

3. Cannabis Corpse – From Wisdom To Baked

Death metal and pot have paralleled each other in ascent to the mainstream, so perhaps death metal about pot was inevitable. A hilarious grind even if you’ve never cradled a bong or owned Eaten Back To Life on vinyl.

4. Riff Raff – Neon Icon

All the benefits of cotton candy with none of the hangover. Sealed his place on this list the second he referenced Mario Kart in the slippery party starter “Kokayne.” What a crime that song wasn’t released as a single.

5. Ghostface Killah – 36 Seasons

“Staten Island ain’t the same”; thankfully Ghostface is, which means we’re in a renaissance. This hip hop + soul gumbo simmers on the stovetop. You can feel the heat but it’s oh so comforting.

6. Brody Dalle – Diploid Love

If Dalle is looking to secure a Joan Jett legacy this is a rabbit kick in the right direction. Feisty, self-assured, endlessly anthemic (thanks mostly to Brody’s smoky vocal heft). Extra points for the Shirley Manson cameo.

7. The Oath – The Oath

Roaring doom rock worthy of soundtracking your next exorcism. Johanna Sadonis’s ghostly wail has a numbing effect, which is perfect salve for the sonic panzer behind her. Unfortunately, these evil nieces of Heart have already broken their Oath (the band dissolved last year).

8. Nashville Pussy – Up The Dosage

Meanwhile, below the Mason-Dixon Line, gnarly shit-kickers tell it like it is, even when it doesn’t benefit their agenda (see “The South’s Too Fat To Rise Again”). If rock is dead Nashville Pussy’s trying to punt the corpse, and that’s plenty entertaining.

9. Del The Funky Homosapien – Iller Than Most

Technically a mixtape that Del himself described as “nothing super heavy,” but Iller packs plenty of finely focused disco robot punch. The Homosapien flow slips and slides all over, never going off track, occasionally offering refreshing candor (see the Beastie Boys shout out).

10. Blood Red Shoes – Blood Red Shoes

Delightfully growling and disaffected effort from this Brit pop garage duo. May not be their strongest composition-wise but it sets a fine mood (if you enjoy standing in moderate rain at the bus stop).

JG2’s TOPPEST SINGLES OF 2014

1. Riff Raff – “Tip Toe Wing In My Jawwdinz”

Captures all the bleary intrigue of staying awake until sunrise.

2. Brody Dalle – “Meet The Foetus/Oh The Joy”

A cold, futuristic ballad whose melancholy crashes into nihilistic punk sneer.

3. Run The Jewels – “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”

This density traps you under its rigid thumb, slowing you to an intense crawl.

4. Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”

To paraphrase J. Lydon, don’t accept the old order, destroy it.

5. “Weird Al” Yankovic – “Handy”

If Al decided to focus on nerdcore rap I don’t think any of us would complain.

6. Primus – “Pure Imagination”

Just demented enough to satiate.

7. RHCP2014 – “Abracadabralifornia”

Jon Daly gets the Chili Peppers in his cross hairs and I shit myself laughing.

8. Sia – “Push (Feeling Good On A Wednesday)”

More uplifting than a “South Park” spin-off has any right to be.

9. Kidz Bop – “Wrecking Ball”

This is probably how Disney era Miley would have approached it, right?

10. The Oath – “All Must Die”

Sexy swagger de la muerte.

Unsolicited Musings On Humanoids From The Deep

– answering the question: what if Creature From The Black Lagoon combined elements of Jaws, Alien, and Halloween without managing to be more entertaining than Grease 2 and also there’s a ventriloquist?

– it’s astounding how many dead dogs this movie serves up in the first 15-20

– it’s astounding how this movie portrays ventriloquism as an aphrodisiac

– Doug McClure isn’t the most swashbuckling hero but I was with it until they put him in a hooded rain slicker; suddenly he’s the sad child waiting at the bus stop, fighting back tears because Papa won’t take him to “Barney: Live”

– disturbingly realistic: the gore; disturbingly unrealistic: tie between the dj who cannot correctly pronounce “salmon” in a town whose entire economy appears salmon-based (maybe that’s performance art, who knows) and the kids who go sunbathing at a beach in Washington state mid-Autumn

– you gotta respect the fact that once a character gets a black eye they keep it for the rest of the movie (Anthony Pena takes so many shots to the face by the end he looks like a rotten plum)

– I’m surprised Ann Turkel’s infamous “I’m a professional scientist!” line has never made it to a t-shirt

Humanoids From The Deep is a dramatic and evocative title but a more accurate one would be Rapist Cabbage People vs. The Noble Indian, Sex-Crazed Teenagers, & Other Cinematic Stereotypes

– it’s a shame this was one of Vic Morrow’s final movies; at least he commits, and I’ll be damned if his perm + creeper mustache combo ain’t happenin’

Unsolicited Yule On “Christmas At Pee Wee’s Playhouse”

– this special has a higher rating on IMDb than Home Alone, proof Chris Columbus faulted by not hiring Charo to play Macaulay Culkin’s mom

– Spellcheck knows “Macaulay” but not “Culkin”

– it’s just now dawning on me that despite his physical adultosity Pee Wee Herman is supposed to be a child and therefore lacks the maturity to always make correct judgments or decisions; it helps to consider this when viewing, for one minute PW is telling us that giving to others is the real meaning of Christmas and the next he’s enslaving Frankie & Annette to draw his Xmas cards so he can play in the snow with Magic Johnson

– every celebrity you’d expect to appear on a Pee Wee Herman Christmas special from 1988 does: Cher, Little Richard, Dinah Shore, Zsa Zsa Gabor, the Del Rubio Triplets, k.d. lang, and Grace Jones (who arrives en route to a White House visit; because she is Grace Jones, however, she is traveling via the U.S. postal system in an oversized Christmas present box; probably cheaper than a plane ticket)

– similarly, every “Playhouse” regular you’d expect to appear does: Pterri, Randy, Chairy, Floory, Konky, Miss Yvonne, the King of Cartoons, Reba, Cowboy Curtis, Clocky, the Countess, Cool Cat, Chicky Baby, Dirty Dog, Penny, the dinosaurs in the wall (who are Jewish!), and of course Billy Bologna (my personal favorite for reasons I will never be able to fully convey/understand)

– this is the tv special that birthed the famed “Feliz Navi-blah” exchange; Ricardo does a great job keeping his patience as Pee Wee butchers his native language (does PW even go to school or is he just another dirty uneducated backwoods truant?)

– there’s a scene where Randy, the obnoxious marionette whose usual rap is cruelly teasing Pee Wee/the Playhouse denizens, attempts to make a point about the commercialization of Christmas; PW counters with something like, “Fine, then we won’t give you any gifts!”, which prompts Randy to backtrack; I don’t know why I expected PW to acknowledge Randy’s point or allow the least likable character to engineer a teaching moment, I don’t even know why PW lets Randy live in his Playhouse when all he does is disagree with and shit on everyone else (I have to assume they’re brothers and they were willed into joint ownership of the Playhouse)

– Joan Rivers cameos for a nanosecond from the set of “Hollywood Squares,” the only indication all of this is taking place in “the real world”

– Little Richard should have received an Emmy/Golden Globe/extra pinky ring for his dramatic “I quit ice skating!” speech

– the climax of “Xmas @ PWP” occurs when Santa Claus shows up to basically announce he’s canceling Christmas because Pee Wee asked for too many toys; this could have been the tipping point for PW’s transformation into complete sociopath, but (SPOILER ALERT) the man-child quickly remembers “the true meaning” of 12/25

– at first the fruitcake jokes seem like they aren’t going anywhere, but trust me, they pay off in a marvelous visual gag

– they should have added another hour to this gaudy cheese-fest and released it theatrically in place of Big Top Pee Wee

– if you’re forcing a grade out of me, how about A for vision, B for execution

– speaking of execution, I’d like to see Randy die in the electric chair

Unsolicited Bantha Poodoo RE: The Star Wars Episode VII Teaser

– they’ve finally discovered the best way to move a robot around the desert: glue it to a beach ball

– every single film made in this day and age must feature a sequence that takes place in the rear of a cargo plane; if you don’t like it, move to Siberia

– yo, that girl is driving a giant stick of deodorant

– yo, that lightsaber has a mustache

– YOU WANTED THE BEST YOU GOT THE BEST THE HOTTEST SPACESHIP IN THE GALAXY THE MILLENNIUM FALCON [guitar solo]

– can America accept a Millennium Falcon with a square satellite dish?

– no shot of C-3PO clasping hands w/ Chewbacca a la Predator?

– this entire movie might take place in one afternoon on the last day of school (excuse me, the last day of space school)

– overall these table scraps make Star Wars 7 look reasonably exciting; guess I should start working on the Bib Fortuna costume I will wear when I camp out for opening night

– on the other hand, if I find out Max Rebo isn’t in this I’m switching to Battlestar Galactica (the original, with Dirk Benedict)

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