The 2018 Sammy Awards – Part II

Welcome back to the 2018 Sammy Awards as we continue our fond farewell to the past year. After some amusing observations from host Michael McIntyre it’s time to move forward with the show.

 

 

 

 

 

The Sammy Awards doesn’t shy away from controversy, and we tend to lean in a rebellious direction. So to present our next award please welcome two of the more successful actors in Hollywood. First, he’s a two time Academy Award winner and has come out as gay, although that may have possibly been a weak PR attempt to divert attention from “sexual misconduct” allegations (for which he was fired from his successful TV show House of Cards). Please give a pensive & slightly confused round of polite applause to Kevin Spacey!! Joining him is a young man who has starred in about a dozen lightly regarded & easily forgotten alleged comedies in the past few years. He was all set to host this year’s Academy Awards until politically incorrect jokes that he tweeted several years ago were suddenly discovered by ill-humored old curmudgeons who compelled him to quit. Give a warm welcome to Kevin Hart!! And the nominees are:

 

 

The Twitter Award for Most Interesting Water Cooler Topic

 

Tide Pods

I love Tide Pods…to do my laundry. But in 2018 some folks had a different idea & decided they’d make a good snack. Stupid people are the best job security doctors will ever have.

 

Stormy Daniels

She’s a stripper & a porn star, and apparently she got busy with Donald Trump many years before he ran for President. Those of us with critical thinking skills couldn’t possibly care less, but the media has made Ms. Daniels famous. No one is saying Trump is a saint, but that’s not really breaking news. Everyone knew about his shortcomings from Day 1, and the vast majority of folks outside of the heathen strongholds of New York, California, & Chicago decided he was still a better choice than Hillary Clinton. But kudos to Ms. Daniels for making the most of her 15 minutes.

 

Roseanne Barr

I was never a fan of Barr or her eponymous 90’s sitcom. The reboot of that show didn’t interest me in the least, despite her “coming out” as a Trump supporter. The reboot did monster ratings, but ABC cancelled it in a fit of self-righteous rage after Barr tweeted a comparison between Obama disciple Valerie Jarrett and a character from the recent Planet of the Apes films. The tweet was deemed racist, even though it clearly wasn’t meant to be. Jarrett actually does look eerily similar to the movie character. At any rate, ABC quickly realized their mistake and gave the show new life, albeit without Barr. The Conners has struggled in the ratings and will likely be cancelled, meaning no one in this unnecessary melodrama wins.

 

Mueller Investigation

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election almost as soon as the results were announced. Nearly two years later a handful of indictments & a few convictions have occurred, but as far as the election goes it seems like the best he can come up with is that the Russians may have posted some anti-Clinton propaganda on social media. Oh the horror!! If that kind of thing is deemed “interference” then perhaps all campaign advertisements & TV commercials should be banned. The simple truth is that The Establishment hates Trump and has conducted a witch hunt to destroy him since the day he became a legitimate threat to their power, and the sad part is that someday their plot just might work.

 

iHOB

Last summer people were legitimately stunned when restaurant chain IHOP announced they were changing their named to IHOB. Of course what many seemed to miss was that the restaurant was never actually going to change their name at all. It was simply a marketing campaign to promote a renovated lineup of burgers on their menu. About a month later the chain announced that they were “changing their name back” to IHOP, and still a lot of folks just didn’t get it.

 

Fleetwood Mac

Lineup changes & squabbles amongst bandmates are nothing new to music, so I suppose that it shouldn’t be a total shock that 70’s supergroup Fleetwood Mac recently tossed aside longtime guitarist Lindsey Buckingham after he’d been with the band for four decades. One would expect more mature behavior from 70 year olds.

 

Fortnite

I don’t know. It’s some sort of video game that the kids are into. I don’t care.

 

Bill Cosby

Cosby was nominated for this same award back in 2014, at which time it was stated that “nothing has been proven and it never will be because the things that allegedly occurred happened far enough in the past that statutes of limitations have all run out”. That was wrong, because in April 2018 he was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault and sentenced to 3-10 years in prison. What a sad fate for the 81 year old comic legend.

 

Water On Mars

Back in the summer researchers discovered a lake about 12 miles wide under the south polar ice cap on Mars. Previous research found possible signs of intermittent liquid water flowing on the Martian surface, but this is the first sign of a persistent body of water on the planet in the present day.

 

Papa John

John Schnatter, founder & CEO of the pizza giant, stepped down about a year ago after allegedly controversial comments made about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his poor handling of the infamous anthem protest. He then landed in hot water again last summer after using a racial slur in a conversation about the anthem protests. The truth?? Schnatter is a Republican & a Trump supporter, and the things he said wouldn’t have been that big of a deal if he wasn’t.

 

Yanny or Laurel??

Last May social media & other outlets were abuzz due to an audio recording in which a person heard a voice say either the word “Yanny” or the word “Laurel”. I heard “Laurel” clear as a bell, as did the majority of my friends & family, though there were exceptions. The whole thing is an auditory illusion, as both sounds are on the recording. Some people focus on the higher frequency & hear “Yanny”, while others zero in on the lower frequency of the word “Laurel”. At any rate, it was a frivolously fun bit of conversation for a day or two.

 

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

Roseanne Barr. Do I care that her show was cancelled? Not at all. Do I care about the fate of The Conners? Nope. However, I do believe it is sad how overly sensitive we’ve become in America. I think Barr should have been smarter, more aware of how tenuous her position was (given her “controversial” political opinions), & mindful of the fact that comedy has…unfortunately…been put under a politically correct microscope. I don’t consider what she tweeted to be the least bit offensive, and it actually has elements of truth, but one must understand how The Game is played in 21st century America. One must be ready to conform or suffer the consequences. Social media is a minefield, and the punishment can be swift & harsh…or even catch up to a person many years later. The rules are rather fluid.

 

 

 

To present our next award we are proud to introduce a young lad who became somewhat famous this past year after being discovered by talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. He is a YouTube sensation whose brutally honest videos critiquing odd recipes are absolutely hysterical. Jesus take the wheel…it’s Kalen Allen!! And the nominees are:

 

 

 

The DB Cooper Award (For the Person Who Most Needs to Disappear)

 

Don Lemon

Is there a bigger douchenozzle in the media than CNN’s Don Lemon?? Since he’s black AND gay he is beloved by leftists everywhere, but what strikes me is just how angry & bitter he seems. The man is 52 years old, has a great TV gig, & the world is his oyster. What’s his freakin’ problem?? Remember the days when the folks reporting the news were atleast pretty good at hiding their bias?? Those days are gone, and Lemon is the poster child for everything wrong with his profession.

 

Samantha Bee

Full disclosure…I’ve never watched an episode of Bee’s TBS show Full Frontal. However, I watch enough reruns of The Big Bang Theory on that channel to have seen multiple ads for the show, and I just don’t get it. Okay okay…I understand political humor and the fact that Jon Stewart made such shows cool, and I can be as snarky as anyone. I have no issue with any of that, even if I disagree with the views being expressed. But humor…like great music & good food…requires a certain dexterity & finesse. Bee’s brand of bombastic sarcasm seems to be turned up to 11 all the time, and I can’t imagine sitting thru thirty minutes of that is enjoyable for anybody. It’s the same issue that has ruined late night talk shows. You want to go after President Trump?? Okay, that’s fair. But full throttle?? Every day?? At some point the beatdown becomes tedious and people want to laugh at different jokes.

 

The Obamas

Most former Presidents & First Ladies fade away into the sunset, shunning the limelight & letting their successors do their thing, whether or not they agree politically. Not these two. They seize every opportunity to soak in the adulation that people still inexplicably shower upon them, and never miss a chance to criticize & undermine the current Administration. It’s disgusting.

 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

I cannot believe that the people of New York actually voted this imbecile into Congress. Let’s face it…there are two political parties, and depending on one’s education, background, lifestyle, etc. there are going to be some politicians that we agree with & some we don’t…but generally we can all concede the fact that the folks representing us in cities & states nationwide as well as those populating Washington DC are reasonably intelligent people regardless of philosophical differences. I’m not sure that’s the case with this one. She’s the youngest person ever voted into the United States Congress and it shows. She seemingly has a very tenuous grasp on economic reality, common sense, & critical thinking, and appears to have the maturity level of the drunken sorority babes that I used to chat up in bars at 1am twenty-five years ago. I’m not familiar with Ms. Cortez’s district or the circumstances that led folks there to believe for a single solitary second that she was a reasonably good choice, but it is difficult to fathom that they could’ve have had worse options.

 

Robert DeNiro

Not only did DeNiro stop making good movies over a decade ago, but now he fancies himself a political commentator & socioeconomic expert. The truth is that he’s just a foul-mouthed, washed up, angry has-been like so many of his Hollywood friends. Stay in your lane Bobby.

 

Omarosa Manigault-Newman

I don’t watch reality television, and that includes Trump’s old show The Apprentice. Apparently this woman was a controversial contestant on that program over a decade ago, and then she became a staffer on the Presidential campaign a few years back. After Trump won the election he hired her to be part of his staff at the White House, but she lasted less than a year before resigning or being forced out (depending on who you believe). Since her departure from The White House Omarosa has gone completely off the rails, publicly turning against her old boss, releasing tapes of private conversations, & writing a “tell-all” book that the President’s staff has said is basically a load of poppycock. I have always been amazed by how some reality TV “stars” are successful at remaining in the spotlight far longer than they deserve, and in this case President Trump has to share part of the blame for helping the woman retain a shred of relevance before she used his kindness against him for her own gain.

 

Oprah Winfrey

For a brief moment in 2018 there was actually a movement afoot to persuade Oprah to run for President in 2020. Please…give me a freakin’ break. She’d be ten times the nightmare Donald Trump has been at his very worst.

 

Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, & Jimmy Kimmel

I’m over the whole late night TV thing. Oh sure I get a bit nostalgic occasionally & miss the good ol’ days of Carson, Letterman, Leno, Snyder, Costas, & Ferguson. I might even tune into Fallon for 5 or 10 minutes once in awhile. But for the most part I have become quite comfortable spending time after the late local news reading a bit, watching a movie, playing a game on my phone, catching up on whatever I’ve DVRed, chillin’ with some tunes, or even going to sleep at a decent hour. And it’s all because of these guys. Sadly they are all young enough that they’ll probably be hosting their shows for another two or three decades, but it’d be nice if they’d all just disappear from television and be replaced by hosts who would return the format to its former glory and decide that being funny is more important than being a political hack.

 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I wish no ill will toward Justice Ginsburg. I hope she lives until she’s 150. But the fact is that, at 85 years old, she no longer has the mental capacity to sit on The Supreme Court. A Supreme Court justice should be one of the sharpest individuals with one of the keenest minds on the planet, and there are very few people that age that meet such criteria, no matter how brilliant they once were. I am a strict constructionist when it comes to The Constitution, so I hesitate to advocate for a mandatory retirement age or term limits for The Court, but one would hope that Justice Ginsburg will do the right thing sooner rather than later, despite what she may think about the current President or feel about his power to replace her with someone with whom she might not agree.

 

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

All of Them. Y’all know the drill by now. These people just need to shut their pieholes. Go away. Get out. Good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you.

 

 

 

 

 

To present our next award we are honored to welcome a big screen legend who began his career on television and has the perfect voice for radio. He is an Academy Award winning actor who has starred in classics like The Shawshank Redemption, Deep Impact, Now You See Me, Christoper Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, & Bruce Almighty. Let’s raise the roof for Morgan Freeman!! And the nominees are:

 

 

 

 

Favorite TV/Radio Program

 

This Is Us

After winning this award in its first two seasons I feel like This Is Us has kind of slacked off in its third year. Now that the mystery of how & when patriarch Jack Pearson met his demise is in the rear view mirror some of the luster has worn off for me. It’s still a well-written & performed program, but I must admit that I lost interest a few episodes into Season 3 and still need to do a bit of catching up before the show returns from its “winter break” this month.

 

Pardon the Interruption

Tony & Mike continue to represent curmudgeons & cantankerous old fogeys everywhere in the glut of sports debate programming. One or both are absent with some frequency, but “Fill In” Frank Isola has become a decent substitute.

 

The Young & the Restless

I’m really going to be interested to see the direction Y&R heads in during 2019, because this past year was a bit of a roller coaster. Too many new characters, too many familiar characters absent without explanation, and plots that drag on far too long are some of the key issues the show faced in 2018, although it was still entertaining enough for me to DVR on a daily basis and catch up on late at night at a time when I used to be watching talk shows that were once funny.

 

WV MetroNews Hotline

Dave Weekley is back!! The original host of West Virginia’s late afternoon statewide radio show returned in 2018, and he hasn’t missed a beat. The program is still a potpourri of sports, news, current events, entertainment, & whatever else one might deem interesting. I need to make more of an effort to catch the podcast this year…it’s not like I have anything else better to do.

 

Highly Questionable

The only other show on ESPN besides PTI that is worthy of space on my DVR. Dan, Papi, & a rogue’s gallery of co-hosts offer intermittently biting, mostly irreverent, & always entertaining commentary on hot sports topics, and they throw in the occasional goofy video of random people doing something completely stupid. It’s a great formula with the right personalities.

 

General Hospital

I love my DVR, and one of the few shows that I record on a daily basis is GH. A big reason that I have been unable to pull the trigger on giving up my soap operas completely is because GH is still such a well-written & entertaining program with solid performances & compelling stories.

 

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…..

 

 

Highly Questionable. This might be considered somewhat of an upset, but amongst the competition HQ has become the most consistently entertaining program on a daily basis. I think what I like best is that it is a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The problem with ESPN the past several years is that so many of its reporters & hosts want to make sports more important than it really is. I love sports. Football, baseball, basketball, golf, & all the rest of it has been an essential part of my life, but at the end of the day it’s a game…frivolous fun designed as a distraction from the rigors of real life. Dan, Papi, & their revolving door of itinerant co-hosts understand that. They are comfortable with their relatively low spot on the television totem pole and have fun with it rather than try to convince the masses that the next thirty minutes will be life changing. I respect that, and more importantly, I laugh almost every single day at a goofy video shown on HQ or the hosts’ reaction to it. Shouldn’t that be the goal of a good TV show??

 

 

 

 

 

This seems like the appropriate place to take another break. Please join us soon for the exciting conclusion of the 2018 Sammy Awards!!

Superfluous 7 Favorite Stand-Up Comedians

My man Michael Wilbon recently posted a video commentary…for no apparent reason…on comedythe PTI Facebook page about his Top 10 stand-up comics. Because Wilbon, as erudite as he seems on TV, is subconsciously a militant black man and a throwback 60’s radical his list was, shall we say, just a little bit prejudiced. It wasn’t too terrible I suppose, but it had Wanda Sykes for God’s sake, a woman who is only mildly amusing at her best, while leaving off 2 or 3 certified comedy legends. My dismay with this absurd display of racially biased poppycock has inspired me to create my own ranking. I have made a concerted effort to eschew the kind of poor taste & obvious sociopolitical slant shown by Wilbon, but to be fair we are all a product of our background, bound to be influenced by the time & place in which we were raised and the things to which we were or were not exposed. I’m about 15 years younger than Wilbon, was raised in small town WV as opposed to Chicago, and watched way too much TV as a kid. I am a child of the 80’s (with fond memories of the late 70’s) and became an adult in the 90’s. I do think my rankings are better & more reasonable than the list that motivated this effort, but others may disagree. So be it.


comedy2In pondering this idea I had a lot of names pop into my head. It became necessary to create parameters. The focus here is on stand-up comedy…just a guy (or lady) on stage with a microphone in front of a live audience. Many of the best comedians have gone on to star in TV series or become movie stars. That’s fine, but that’s not what this is about. Jimmy Fallon may have once done stand-up comedy, but in my mind he is an SNL alum who went on to do a few forgettable films and now hosts the Tonight Show. Same deal with David Letterman. To me he is a talk show host that has been a centerpiece of late night television for ¾ of my life. At any rate, even with those self-imposed boundaries the list was overflowing, so we will begin with some Honorable Mentions that didn’t quite make the cut for one reason or another.

 

Honorable Mention

Tim Allen
His stand-up routines landed him a successful sitcom which he parlayed into a mediocre film career, so I think of him primarily as a comedic actor.

Billy Crystal
I LOVE Crystal, but to me he is an actor & awards show host.

Bob Newhart
His standup career was before my time. I remember him as the star of two of TV’s more underappreciated sitcoms.

Don Rickles
He’s funny, but his career trajectory plateaued before I was born.

Johnny Carson & Jay Leno
I know them primarily as two long time hosts of the Tonight Show.

Bob Hope
An undisputed legend, but one whose career peaked long before I was born and who I fondly recall as hosting the occasional variety show special on TV.

Steve Martin
I realize he was a revolutionary stand-up comic in the 70’s, but I know him mainly as a film actor and for his numerous appearances on SNL.

Garry Shandling
Funny, but not quite elite. I recall him as a frequent guest host on the Tonight Show and remember his first sitcom on Showtime in the late 80’s.

Buddy Hackett
He was before my time. I remember him mostly for his guest appearances on Carson’s Tonight Show in the 1980’s.

Sam Kinison
Sadly Kinison was gone far too soon, killed by a teenage drunk driver at the age of 38. Kinison was obnoxious, controversial, & often blasphemous, but he was funny. It would have been really interesting to see how he might have evolved. Would he have softened with age?? Would he have become a caricature of himself, still trying to be the loud, abrasive rebel even as an elder statesman of comedy?? Or would he have just flamed out & faded away once his shtick started to grow old?? We’ll never know, and that’s too bad.

Steven Wright
Wright’s deadpan delivery is unmistakable yet kind of defines him as a one trick pony. Amusing in small doses, but there is a reason he never became a huge star.

Ron White
I gave this spot to White over Jeff Foxworthy because I think he is funnier. His humor seems kind of restricted to a specific southern demographic, which is fine by me but limits his star power and accessibility to the masses.

Gallagher
You know & love him as the prop comedian who busts watermelons with a sledgehammer. It’s a gimmick that has narrowly defined his career for four decades.

Andrew Dice Clay
He’s funny & memorable enough to get a mention, but just too vulgar to be ranked amongst the best.

Andy Kaufman
It is difficult to describe exactly what Andy Kaufman did on stage. He was more of a performance artist than a traditional standup comedian. It seemed as if he was trying to entertain himself more than anyone else, and if that meant offending, annoying, & confusing the audience then that was just dandy. Kaufman is another artist that we lost far too early, as he succumbed to lung cancer at age 35. I remember him mostly as Latka Gravis on the sitcom Taxi, a role that he allegedly despised.

Redd Foxx
To me he is iconic junk king Fred G. Sanford from the 70’s sitcom Sanford & Son. However, before that role he had a long & successful career as a crude & profane stand-up comic. That was in the 50’s & 60’s though…way way way before my time, and in an era when profanity was actually shocking instead of the accepted norm.

 

Okay, so now that the honorable mentions are out of the way it’s time to move to the main attraction. To be honest I wish more of these guys worked “clean”, but it’s rare to find a comedian who does that nowadays. We live in an era in which F Bombs and sexual humor sells, so that’s what many do. It’s not my preference, but for the most part I think my choices would still be funny if they took the road less traveled instead of conforming to low worldly standards. At any rate, sit down, enjoy a cold beverage, and maybe chuckle, chortle, guffaw, & giggle as I present…..

 

 

 

From the home office in Happy, TX…..

 

 

 

My Superfluous 7 Favorite Stand-Up Comedians:

 

 

 

7 Eddie Murphy / Richard Pryor
murphyY’all should know by now, there will be ties. These guys are legends, with Pryor being the trailblazer who heavily influenced Murphy. Pryor’s stand-up career was en fuego in the 1970’s when I was just a baby. By the time I got to the age where I was consciously making entertainment choices and discovering what I enjoy Pryor, like so many others, had segued into acting. It is really interesting that a vast majority of comedians cite Richard Pryor as a huge influence. He really did make it look easy. His comedy was edgy & vulgar, yet accessible to the masses. Perhaps one of the most regrettable byproducts of Pryor’s legacy is that so many comics believe that peppering their act with a plethora of F-Bombs & other profanities is hysterically funny. I suppose it was humorous in a shocking kind of way when he did it, but now it’s just derivative & tedious. Murphy’s career has been all over the place, with a prominent chunk of the early 80’s spent as a cast member on SNL followed by a three pryordecade movie career with some hits (48 Hrs., Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America) and a lot of misses (The Golden Child, Vampire in Brooklyn, Pluto Nash, Norbitt). In between those gigs, for a brief time in the mid-80’s, he was a comedy rock star that did a few really good HBO specials that became big sellers on home video. Unfortunately Eddie Murphy seemed to buy into the whole movie star fantasy and has become more aloof & pretentious over the years.

 

6 Chris Rock / Dennis Miller
rockI don’t often agree with Rock’s politics, but there is no denying that he is an intelligent, thoughtful guy whose observational comedy is a cut above. Much of his humor has racial overtones, but I’ve rarely found it racist. It is more like a brutally honest, undeniably subjective worldview to which I can’t relate. In contrast, Miller’s philosophies & attitudes are much more in line with my own. He also is a smart & solicitous dude whose comedy was tinged with insightful commentary about life even before he became a regular guest on political talk shows. Miller doesn’t dumb down his comedy for the masses. You either get the odd analogies & obscure references he makes or you don’t, and he’s not going to slow down and draw a picture for you. Both Rock & Miller had notable runs on Saturday Night Live. Rock has gone on to be a run-of-the-mill movie star in mostly pedestrian films, millerwhile Miller has dabbled in the whole talk show host thing (I really wanted him to be the guy to replace Letterman), did a season in the booth on Monday Night Football (not a good fit), & in recent years has become bogged down as a political pundit. I’d love to see him get back into doing stand-up.

 

5 Jim Gaffigan / Bill Cosby
gaffiganOkay…let’s first address the elephant in the room. I am not here to judge what Cosby may or may not have done in his personal life. That’s not my place, and I think the damage that has been done to his legacy speaks for itself. Both of these men do basically work “clean”, which is good. The foundation of their humor is family, marriage, children, & relationships. They tell stories that many folks recognize from their own lives. It’s easygoing & affable. Their comedy isn’t meanspirited, edgy, or brash. Cosby, of course is…or was…a living legend that has done movies & TV shows and has generally been a part of the entertainment landscape for a half century. Gaffigan has been around for about a cosbydecade. He’s a soft-spoken, self-deprecating guy who likes to joke about being fat & lazy, comedy to which I can relate. Young comedians need to study these guys and understand that intelligent, relevant, witty comedy doesn’t need to be vulgar, obnoxious, or malevolent.

 

4 Frank Caliendo / Denis Leary
caliendoBy far my favorite kind of comedian is one who can do spot-on impressions. If I could ask God for any fun & frivolous talent I’d probably choose being able to do impressions over singing, dancing, or playing an instrument. Older generations might prefer Rich Little, but to be honest I was never that enamored with Little. Caliendo hasn’t become the sort of superstar that landed his own sitcom, but he’s done a wide variety of media appearances…MadTV, Fox NFL Sunday, & a ton of radio shows…and is a regular in Vegas. He does awesome impressions of folks like Al Pacino, Morgan Freeman, President George W. Bush, & Robin Williams, as well as a ton of sportscentric impersonations such as ESPN personalities Mel Kiper Jr., Adam Shefter, & Stephen A. Smith, former coaches John learyMadden & Jon Gruden, Charles Barkley, Jim Rome, and Bill Walton. I think Caliendo is brilliant. Leary has segued into acting now, but at one time in the early 90’s he was a chain smoking, fast talking, “angry” comedian…kind of a toned down Sam Kinison…and he was hilarious. His comedy album No Cure for Cancer is classic and helped make dreary days at a tedious job more tolerable for me in the mid-1990’s. Leary was a much better stand-up comic than he is an actor, and I hope he goes back to what he does best someday.

 

3 Jerry Seinfeld
Yes I am aware that Mr. Seinfeld starred in a highly rated sitcom. As a matter of fact I chose Seinfeld as my favorite TV show of all time just a few years ago. However, that show was based, atleast partly, on the observational comedy of its star. Seinfeld was a celebrated comedian throughout the 1980’s, with his casual, conversational style playing really well on television in appearances with Johnny Carson and David Letterman. Seinfeld comes across as a kind of everyman, a guy it’d be fun to have lunch with or go on a road trip. Much like the beloved television show his standup comedy is about the trivialities, conundrums, seinfeldfrustrations, & contradictions of daily life. In contrast to guys like Kinison or Leary he isn’t particularly angry, and unlike Pryor, Murphy, or Dice he is far from profane. I would describe Seinfeld as perpetually bemused by the fickle nature of humanity. People like him just have a whole different way of looking at the world. They see things that most people overlook…and then they tell funny stories & jokes about what they perceive. Thankfully that perception is often quite entertaining. I always thought Seinfeld would end up hosting a late night show, but the stardom he achieved with his sitcom skyrocketed him past that. He doesn’t have to work that hard or often now. He hosts an amusing talk show called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which you can find online, and thankfully he has gone back to doing standup. Maybe one day I’ll get the opportunity to see him perform live.

 

2 Robin Williams
Robin Williams was like Jerry Seinfeld on cocaine. Literally. Sadly we lost Williams last year, but his legacy is rock solid. He, of course, became well-known in the early 80’s on the sitcom Mork & Mindy, and after that starred in a plethora of mostly good films. But Williams began as a standup comedian and never completely left it behind. On stage he did it all…jokes, stories, improv, pratfalls, impressions, observation. It is hard to put him in a box and categorize his williamscomedy. Robin Williams was manic, silly, intelligent, & creative. He was brilliant. His energy was unmatched. He always made me laugh. And not just a light snicker. I’m talking about wall shaking, tears in my eyes laughter that made others think I’d lost my mind. Hindsight informs us that the energy level was often drug induced, and sadly we also know that the comedy that made us laugh hid pain & depression that would ultimately lead to suicide. I don’t really know what to say about all of that. Unfortunately the tragic ending will likely forever alter the opinions of many about Robin Williams. I understand that, but for the purposes of this exercise choose to remember the good times.

 

1 George Carlin
George Carlin had a career unlike any other. He began doing standup in the 60’s and was still working nearly 50 years later. He dabbled a little bit in television & movies, but pretty much stuck to being a standup comedian. His observational comedy was a bit more acerbic, and many might say that in later years he bordered on meanspirited & angry. Carlin was a product of the counterculture 60’s and always had a bit of that “I’m smarter than you” attitude. In the 70’s he came up with his well-known routine The 7 Words You Can Never Say on Television, which seems a bit quaint now. I won’t repeat any of the words, but I will say that, as carlinopposed to four decades ago, I think I’ve heard atleast 3 or 4 of the forbidden words on network TV just this week. I didn’t really discover Carlin until the 80’s when he had several specials on HBO. By then he’d started doing a lot more sociopolitical commentary, much of it the complete opposite of my own worldview. However, I can usually overlook such disagreements and still find someone funny. While Jerry Seinfeld seems amused by humanity’s shortcomings they seemed to really tick George Carlin off. Sometimes this was hilarious, sometimes it wasn’t. The stuff I preferred from Carlin were his observations about language. He would talk about how language had evolved, mostly due to political correctness. Battle fatigue has become PTSD. Used cars are now pre-owned. Stewardesses are now flight attendants. Deaf people are hearing impaired & a person isn’t blind but has a visual impairment. I could go on but you get the point. Carlin was at his best when he was dissecting the idiocy of political correctness, something it seems like he hated as much as I do. That alone vaults him to the top of this list, despite everything he believed in that I disagree with.

The 2014 Sammy Awards – Part II

SammyAwardWelcome to Part 2 of the 2014 Sammy Awards. Please take a moment to check out Part 1 if you have not already done so.

 

 

 

 

After another brief song & dance by our host Billy Crystal it is time to present our next award. Please welcome an old-fashioned yet still moderately amusing leno tuxcomedian that NBC helped make disappear almost a year ago. Give a warm welcome for the former host of The Tonight Show…Jay Leno!! And the nominees are:

 

 

The DB Cooper Award (For the Person Who Most Needs to Disappear)

 

 

Justin Bieber
I keep nominating him but he just won’t go away. But now not only is Bieber an affront to those with good taste in music, but he has evolved into a menace to society off stage as well. Last January he was arrested for a DUI because he was gooned on pot & pills. Last summer he was charged with vandalism after throwing eggs at a neighbor’s house (what is this guy…8 years old??). Then in September Bieber was arrested in Canada for reckless driving & assault. At this point even Lindsay Lohan is probably like “Dude…chill out. Lay off the booze & drugs. Act like an adult.”

 

 

Carter Bays & Craig Thomas
Bays & Thomas are the creators & executive producers of How I Met Your Mother, which was a pretty great show. Atleast it was good right up until these idiots ruined the ENTIRE series during one final episode. More on that later, but for now I’ll just say that karma is…not very nice. The duo created a spinoff show called How I Met Your Dad, which I had already decided I wouldn’t bother with since I was so disappointed with the HIMYM finale. However, it seems as if the show isn’t going to make it on the air at all. You reap what you sow…morons.

 

 

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz
This “lady” is the chairperson of the Democratic National Committee and…frighteningly enough…a U.S. Congresswoman. The problem is that she is an idiot. I will not rehash her stupidity because I realize that a majority of The Manoverse doesn’t care. Suffice to say that almost every time Ms. Schultz (I don’t do obnoxious hyphenated surnames) appears on TV she embarrasses herself, her constituency, & her party. Surely the Democrats can do better.

 

 

Mayor Rob Ford
It’s unfortunate that comedic actor Chris Farley died in 1997 because he would be the perfect choice to play Mayor Ford in an SNL skit or maybe even a parody film. Ford is the former mayor of Toronto (that’s in Canada for those who are spending their first day out of the holler at The Sammy Awards) and is an admitted crackhead & boozehound. Late night TV hosts have had a field day the past few years poking fun at Ford, who still retains a seat on Toronto’s city council. The jokes are funny, but it is kind of sad that such a lost soul can be elected to political office in the 21st century.

 

 

The Duggar Family
We were first introduced to the Duggar family back in 2008 as a part of some stupid reality show. I’ve never watched it, but apparently the hook is that these people have 19 kids. I don’t even want to know why anyone would subject themselves to that kind of insanity. Anyway, I guess a few of the kids have grown up now and are dating and even married. Again…I don’t care, but I suppose someone out there does because we hear about it every time someone in this family makes a move, no matter how insignificant it may be (hint…it’s always insignificant). I am tired of hearing about what they watch or don’t watch on TV, what kind of clothes they will or won’t wear, & all about their sexual morality. Look, I am glad that they are servants of the Lord. Their beliefs are just dandy, but the world doesn’t need to be informed about everything that’s going on in their lives. I despise reality television and am a little suspicious of anyone who would sign up for that kind of gig. In light of their stated religious faith it seems a bit duplicitous.

 

 

Selena Gomez
Is she still dating Bieber?? Who knows & who cares. Anyone with that kind of poor taste in men needs help. Plus she isn’t all that talented at singing or acting. But hey…atleast she is hot, which is something I guess.

 

 

Melissa Harris-Perry
What is it with raging liberals and hyphenated last names?? I suppose it’s a feminazi thing. At any rate, this “journalist” is employed by MSNBC, which tells you all you need to know. I run across a story online atleast a couple of times per week in regards to the latest asinine thing she has said. It seems like MSNBC goes out of their way to hire folks like this who can’t simply report the news with some degree of intelligence. Look at your horrific ratings MSNBC…the proof is in the pudding. No one is buying what you’re selling, and providing a forum for laughably vapid mental midgets like Melissa Harris-Perry to spew her silliness has made you the laughingstock of TV news.

 

 

Jesse Ventura
I always liked Jesse “The Body” Ventura. He was a pro wrestler when I was a kid and then became a rather good wrestling announcer. He even acted a bit. When he ran for Governor of Minnesota in 1998 and won I thought it was pretty cool. But then Ventura left the reservation. He became a talk show host & conspiracy theorist, as well as…much to my surprise…a whackjob liberal. A couple of years ago Ventura sued noted sniper & American hero Chris Kyle for a story Kyle wrote about Ventura in his autobiography. Then in 2013 Kyle was murdered. The honorable thing to do would have been to drop the lawsuit, but Ventura persisted and won the suit in 2014. So now he is seeking to extract nearly $2 million from Kyle’s widow. I don’t know whether the incident occurred or not. All I know is that after Chris Kyle’s tragic death the matter should have been dropped. The financial situations of those involved is unknown to me, but I suspect that Ms. Kyle and her children need that money much more than Ventura. Gov. Ventura is a classic bully & narcissist, and I have lost all respect I ever had for him.

 

 

Gwyneth Paltrow
I was never a huge fan, but I never really minded Paltrow, especially in decent flicks like Seven, Shakespeare in Love, Shallow Hal, & Iron Man. But it is with a heart full of sadness that I have decided to consciously unfan Gwyneth because she is an out-of-touch twit who equates her tough life as a spoiled actress with things that soldiers face during war and believes that President Obama should be given as much power as he wants to do whatever he pleases. I guess they don’t teach kids about The Constitution in Hollywood.

 

 

Rep. John Boehner & Sen. Mitch McConnell
The Republicans may have taken solid control of both houses of Congress after the November elections, but it will be meaningless as long as these two sellouts remain in power. Boehner, the presumed new Speaker of the House, and McConnell, the apparent incoming Senate Majority Leader, don’t have the cahonas to stand up to President Obama and he knows it. The results of the election were a clear mandate by the American people to stop the Obama agenda, but Boehner & McConnell are more concerned with compromising, reaching across the aisle, and protecting their own careers. We’ll see how that works out for them the next time they are up for re-election.

 

 

 

And the Sammy goes to…..

 
Bieber. I am tired of hearing about him. I am tired of having to nominate him for this award year after year. Hey…The Hohan had a quiet enough 2014 that we didn’t biebernominate her this time…maybe Bieber can stay out of the spotlight in 2015.

 

 
To present our next honor The Sammy Awards is pleased to bring back a young man that hosted the show just last year. He is an award winning singer and a timberlakemarginally talented actor. Please welcome back Justin Timberlake!! And the nominees are:

 

 

 

Favorite Radio Show

 

 

 

The Rush Limbaugh Show
I’ve been a Dittohead for over two decades. I agree with most of what Rush says and oftentimes laugh at those who criticize him because they are usually either outright lying or just don’t get Rush’s unique brand of humor and how he intentionally goads the liberal media. Having said all that, I have listened to Rush far less in the past couple of years than I once did. I just get too worked up about what President Hussein Obama has done to our country and I choose to avoid the strife as much as possible. I still tune in occasionally, but I don’t ever see myself getting back into being a hardcore daily listener again.

 

 

Intelligence For Your Life w/John Tesh
Most remember Tesh as the co-host of Entertainment Tonight from 1986-96. However now he hosts a syndicated radio program where he imparts bits of helpful wisdom to parents, spouses, employees, pet owners, students, and those looking to improve their health. Most of the factoids mentioned are from studies, polls, articles, & interviews that Tesh’s researchers track down. He is kind of like a DJ in that he only speaks briefly between songs. I listen to the show on my way to church on Sunday mornings but I believe it airs a few times during the week.

 

 

Soap Box w/ Lilly & Martha
My sister & I had a babysitter when we were kids that got us hooked on soap operas. 35 years later I still watch Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, & The Young and the Restless. Last summer I discovered an online network called TRadioV. All the shows are radio shows that also air on “online” TV. There are several programs on TRadioV, but I instantly became a fan of Soapbox, which is basically two former soap stars talking about soap related news and interviewing various soap opera actors. Unfortunately they haven’t aired a new show since October so I don’t know what’s up with that.

 

 

Metronews Hotline w/Dave Weekley
This is a statewide show here in West Virginia. Weekley has been a news personality at various places in the state for about 30 years. I remember him as a sports anchor at one of the local stations when I was a kid. A couple of years ago he got the dream job that I never knew I always wanted. Hotline airs from 3-6pm each weekday and is the kind of eclectic show that appeals to a wide audience. It covers news, sports, pop culture, finance, and anything else that Dave deems appropriate. He even has a segment called Beer Friday in which he interviews an enthusiast on the subject each week. My favorite daily segment is called In or Out in which Dave, a news reporter, & the show’s producer Coop give a thumbs up or down to various things.

 

 

 

And the Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

Hotline. Like I said, I realize when I am listening that it is exactly the kind of thing that, had I been exposed to it as a youngster, I might have said “That seems cool. That’s the kind of job I want.” The show is laid back, as opposed to more sociopolitical programs, and I love the fact that it has such an assortment of subject matter. When it first aired it replaced Sean Hannity on my local radio station and I was rather upset, but hindsight is 20/20 and I am so glad the change occurred. I’m not nearly as into politics as I was a couple of years ago, and I’d much rather listen to an easygoing discussion of sports, pop culture, & a little bit of news. I don’t listen every day and certainly not for the whole three hours, but the little snippets I catch here & there are a pleasant diversion and absolutely better than most of the “music” on the radio.

 

 

 

To present our next award please welcome actor, writer, producer, and one of the most popular stand-up comedians in the world. Give it up for Louis CK!! And thelouisck nominees are:

 

 

 

The Twitter Award for Most Interesting Water Cooler Topic

 

 

 

Minimum Wage
The first minimum wage in the United States was passed into law in 1938 and was 25 cents/hr. There have been incremental increases over time and the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25/hr. Of course the problem is that costs oftentimes rise faster than wages. A gallon of milk in 1938 cost 50 cents/gallon and movie tickets were a quarter. In 2014 those two things cost an average of $3/gallon and $8.50 respectively. Anyway, the minimum wage was a hot topic for debate in 2014. Various states and even some cities have passed their own minimum wage laws. Seattle, WA approved a plan to phase in what will eventually be a minimum wage of $15/hr. That sounds good, but we all know that bean counters & management types always figure out a way to tip the balance sheet in their favor. How many employees will lose their job?? How much will prices be raised for the consumer?? Technology allows some jobs to be done by machines now, so there will be employers that will explore such options rather than pay workers more money. It’s a slippery slope and an interesting discussion.

 

 

The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy, Orange is the New Black, Scandal, True Detective, Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, American Horror Story, Veep, House of Cards, Revenge
These are all the TV shows that I constantly hear people raving about. I’ve never watched a single episode of any of them. Either I am missing out or I have better taste than the masses. I suppose I just march to the beat of a different drum machine.

 

 

Pot in Colorado & Washington
These two states passed laws in 2013 that legalized marijuana. Those laws went into effect in 2014, making those two states the butt of many comedians’ jokes. I have no idea how it’s going in those places because I live far far away. And I don’t smoke pot (anymore).

 

 

HIMYM Finale
How I Met Your Mother was a really enjoyable sitcom on CBS for 9 seasons. The framing device was a father (narrated by Bob Saget) telling his children (in the future of course) how he met their Mom way back in the day. Hardcore fans debated, deciphered, & dissected every episode in order to figure out which one of Ted’s various girlfriends would ultimately be The One and become The Mother. We finally met her near the end of season 8 (and she was enchanting) and waited anxiously for Ted to meet her in season 9, which he did. And then in a flash forward during the series finale the writers all-too-casually had The Mother die. It turns out that the whole framing device was just Ted trying to work up the courage to ask his teenage kids if they’d be offended if he got back together with his old girlfriend Robin. One of the biggest storylines during the last few seasons was the love story between Robin and notorious womanizer Barney, who eventually married only to all-to-casually get divorced in the finale, with Barney returning to his lecherous ways (and fathering a child with the 31st woman he’d slept with in a single month) and Robin eventually reuniting with widower Ted. The audience was split about 60/40, with the majority hating the last episode. The writers had planned the ending a decade earlier and stubbornly stuck with their plan instead of assessing how the show had evolved. It is one of the biggest blunders in television history and the reason why I will NEVER watch a HIMYM repeat.

 

 

Dying With Dignity
Typically nominees for this award lean toward more lighthearted & superficial subject matter, but in 2014 this was a thing. Why?? Well, back in the fall the world was introduced to 29 year old Brittany Maynard, an Oregon woman with a brain tumor who announced her intention to take a physician prescribed pill that would end her life before she began to suffer debilitating pain & anguish. Maynard became an advocate for “dying with dignity” and was regarded by many as a hero before indeed ending her life on November 1st. Of course the other side of the debate is that ending one’s own life under such circumstances is “playing God”. I can see both sides. My faith & beliefs tell me that it is wrong. However it is far too easy for others to criticize when most of us haven’t had to face such unique circumstances. I’ll just say this. Brittany Maynard made a choice. It isn’t up to me or anyone else to decide whether she was right or wrong. That is between her & The Lord. It is a free country and she did something that was legal where she resided. However, I think we need to be very cautious when referring to that choice as heroic or inspirational. She took the easy way out. I realize that sounds harsh but it isn’t meant to be. It’s human nature. Most folks spend their entire lives looking for the easiest possible way to get things done on a multitude of levels and that’s okay…it just isn’t brave or noble. What would you do in a similar situation?? What would I do?? To be honest I’m not sure I know that answer.

 

 

Kim Kardashian’s Ass
Speaking of superficial. Kardashian is well known for being a useless waste of oxygen. Anyone whose claim to fame is a sex tape and who then goes on to marry & generate offspring with a piece of garbage like Kanye West isn’t a person I’d want to know. Anyhow, I guess Kim was feeling a little ignored so she decided to grab the spotlight again the only way she knows how…by taking her clothes off. A few months ago a now infamous photograph was published in some snooty magazine (they still have those??) that featured KK’s much talked about backside. It was all oiled up and everything!! I’ll give that family credit for one thing…they know how to create publicity and keep that cash rolling in. All I know is that the generations of my grandparents & great-grandparents would be horrified by the type of inelegance that has made the entire Kardashian clan famous for no apparent reason.

 

 

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
For about 6 weeks last summer one couldn’t peruse The Internet for longer than five minutes without seeing a video of someone accepting the Ice Bucket Challenge. The setup was simple…shoot a video of yourself having a frigid container of ice water poured over your head and then publically challenge a few friends to do the same. It was to raise awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which by all accounts is a horrifying & debilitating disease that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle amid concerns about cancer, AIDS, whatever weird version of the flu is freaking everyone out at the moment, & a dozen other maladies. Those who did the “fun” part of the challenge were also supposed to send a donation to the ALS Association, which did see contributions of over $40 million in just a month compared to less than $20 million during the entirety of 2013. In other words it worked. Using social media to get people involved by doing something silly & pretty easy is pure genius. There were some folks that had an issue with the idea that people were having fun with the challenge and forgetting about the reason behind it, and I am sure there were many people who dumped water on their head but didn’t bother to write a check. However, the proof is in the pudding and the whole thing obviously worked…atleast in the short term.

 

 

Clooney & Pitt Marry
No…not to each other. The ladies’ favorite bachelor George Clooney married some Lebanese babe this past autumn, while Brad Pitt finally made an honest woman out of Angelina Jolie in August after they’d lived in sin for a decade and adopted an entire litter of those children that Sally Struthers used to cry about on television.

 

 

Late Night TV Changes
Citizens of The Manoverse know that their humble Potentate of Profundity loves late night talk shows. Unfortunately 2014 saw the landscape change dramatically and I am not sure it was for the better. Jimmy Fallon replaced Jay Leno on The Tonight Show, while SNL alum Seth Meyers took Fallon’s old 12:30am spot on Late Night. Sure Leno was kind of old-fashioned, but I still thought he was funny. The masses rave about Fallon, but I have been disappointed. I really enjoyed him on Late Night, but his version of Tonight seems narcissistic. I can’t imagine that many of the celebrities that come on the show are interested in playing some silly game when they are there to be interviewed about & promote their latest project. Not only did Fallon not tone down his act for the 11:30pm time slot…he’s actually become more hyper & turned the volume up to 11. Meanwhile Meyers is…okay. He’s more of a traditional late night host, but unfortunately that translates into him being kind of forgettable and only mildly amusing. Call me old school, but the more laid back show with customary interviews focusing on the guests should be at 11:30, while the wackier program that colors outside the lines should be on later. I also don’t care for Meyers’ sidekick…fellow SNL refugee Fred Armisen. I don’t get Fred’s shtick at all and don’t find him the least bit funny. I watched Meyers for the first couple of months he was on but got bored and decided to check out CBS’ Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. I had decided years ago that Ferguson wasn’t my cup of tea, but it turns out I was wrong. I am so mad at myself for not discovering his brilliance until less than a year before he too left his gig. Some British dude I have never heard of will take over the Late Late Show this spring, and since I learn from my mistakes I suppose I’ll give the new guy an chance. David Letterman is still around but he has already announced his impending retirement. Stephen Colbert is getting that gig, which doesn’t impress me since I have never really cared for Colbert. I think I see the day coming when I won’t have much of a reason to stay up past 11pm, which kind of makes me sad.

 

 

Bill Cosby
Who knew that lovable Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable…Fat Albert…the guy who made us all crave Jello Pudding Pops…was a total perv?? Well okay…nothing has been proven and it never will be because the things that allegedly occurred happened far enough in the past that statutes of limitations have all run out. However, I am one who believes that where there is smoke there is fire. We could shrug off one or two allegations, but in the latter few months of 2014 several women came forward and accused Cosby of drugging & raping them. So far Cosby has said very little. It is doubtful he ever will, although I have this terrible feeling that if he does decide to speak out Oprah will somehow be involved. At any rate, the damage is done. Bill Cosby’s reputation as a legendary comedian and America’s favorite TV Dad has been irrevocably damaged, which also makes me sad.

 

 

The Latte Salute
To say that I am not President Obama’s biggest fan would be a huge understatement. A few months ago he proved (for the thousandth time to those paying attention) what kind of man he is. Upon exiting Marine One after it had landed in New York the President saluted the serviceman standing beside the helicopter’s stair. However, the hand that he saluted with also held a cup of coffee (or possibly hot tea) and the Commander-in-Chief strutted by the young soldier as if he was gum under the Presidential shoes. The incident quickly went viral and reactions fell predictably among party lines. Conservatives saw it as additional confirmation of the person we believe Obama to be, while liberals were quick to draw (idiotic) comparisons between The Latte Salute and former President George W. Bush saluting a soldier with one hand while holding his dog in the other. In the grand scheme of life it doesn’t really matter, but the whole situation got some major play online and on TV for several days.

 

 

JK Rowling Pontificates
I, like millions of others, loved the Harry Potter books. I enjoyed the movies too…just not as much as the books. Fictional characters have a way of becoming living, breathing entities to fans, as if they really exist(ed). Santa Claus, Sherlock Holmes, Deputy Barney Fife, Huckleberry Finn, Batman, Mr. Spock…the world would be a better place if these were real people, but atleast we have the pleasure of enjoying their make-believe adventures. Harry Potter, along with his pals Hermione Granger & Ron Weasley, can be counted amongst these types of beloved characters. Universal Studios spent hundreds of millions of dollars to bring the world that author JK Rowling created to life in the form of a state-of-the-art theme park. Fans know the books and they know the movies. The problem is that Rowling won’t shut up and move forward. She continues to ponder what she should have done differently even though absolutely no one wants to hear it. Last February she caused an uproar amongst Potter fans by saying that Harry & Hermione should have ended up together instead of Hermione & Ron. That’s like saying that Darth Vader shouldn’t have been Luke Skywalker’s father or that Marty McFly should have never made it back to 1985. It’s heresy. Yes these are fictional characters…but they’re real to us dammit!! It isn’t the first time Rowling has added unnecessary context to something that wasn’t broken. Several years ago she tried to kiss the tushies of the PC crowd by saying that Professor Dumbledore was gay, even though neither the books nor movies come close to going there. So why say these things?? Please Ms. Rowling…just be quiet and let us enjoy this wonderful thing you produced that has been treasured by millions for many years.

 

 

Common Core
Common Core is an educational initiative that aims to define what exactly schoolchildren should know and when they should know it. Personally I thought we had all that ironed out decades ago, but apparently some bureaucrats got bored and decided to re-invent the wheel. The problem is that when government gets involved in things they tend to become completely screwed up. I don’t have any kids (that I know of) so I’m not exactly sure what all the issues are, but my perception is that Common Core has made both teaching & learning far more complex than necessary. Parents don’t like it, teachers don’t like it, students don’t like it. Some states have already opted out of it. It sounds like something that sounded good in theory but in practice doesn’t work as intended. I could be wrong. I don’t know.

 

 

 

And the Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 
The Ice Bucket Challenge. It was fun. It was goofy. It gave people the opportunity to do two things they love…be on camera and challenge others. More ibcimportantly, it achieved its stated goals of raising money for & awareness about ALS. Many took the opportunity amid the irreverent silliness to talk about their personal experiences with the disease, and anyone who took the time to hear or read those stories couldn’t help but be touched. I don’t know what the future holds for the ALS Association. I suspect their fundraising won’t be quite as robust in 2015, which is unfortunate. Something like the Ice Bucket Challenge can’t really be effectively repeated although I am sure some will try. We’ll just have to hope & pray about the future, but we can atleast look back at those few weeks in the summer of 2014 and be happy that an impact was made.

 

 

 

 

This seems like the appropriate place to take another break. Please stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of the 2014 Sammy Awards!!

Superfluous 7 Most Awesome Fictional Dads

Tomorrow is Father’s Day. If you are blessed enough to still have your own father around please take some time out of your day to call or visit and tell him you love him. I daddon’t have any children myself (that I know of), but I’d like to think that I would have been a pretty good father just by following the examples of my own Dad and his father, my Papaw Jim. At any rate, I thought today might be a good time to take a look at some fun examples of fatherhood as presented to us thru the prism of literature, movies, & television. So it is with deep admiration & respect to all good fathers out there that I present…..

 

from the home office in Worth County, Iowa, which contains the cities of Manly & Fertile…Worth County, where Manly men meet Fertile women…..

 

The (Supersized) Superfluous 7 Most Awesome Fictional Dads:

 

 

 

7 Sam Baldwin (Sleepless in Seattle) & Danny Tanner (Full House)
sbTwo widower Dads. 1989’s Sleepless in Seattle ranks 45th of my 100 Favorite Movies, and even though it is a rom-com there are no shortage of scenes showing Tom dtHanks’ Sam interacting with his young son. The sting of the death of the wife/mother is addressed and it is touching how father & son are getting thru the loss together. Okay sure…Sam loses points for his kid hopping onto a plane for a cross country trek to The Big Apple by himself, but all is forgiven when he chases after the boy and lovingly embraces him after he finds him at the Empire State Building. Bob Saget’s Danny Tanner may be the most unrealistically sweet father in TV history and he too loses points for needing his brother-in-law Uncle Jessie and best friend Joey to move in and help raise three young girls, but who the heck wouldn’t want such a nice guy for a Dad??

 

 

6 Daniel Hillard (Mrs. Doubtfire) & Mike Brady (The Brady Bunch)
doubtfireA divorcee & and the patriarch of one of entertainment’s first blended families. All that needs to be said about Robin Williams’ eponymous character in 1993’s Mrs. bradyDoubtfire (43rd on my list) is that the dude is willing to dress up like an old woman in order to spend time with his children. That’s devotion. I like the fact that Mrs. Doubtfire addresses divorce realistically. The parents don’t magically get back together, but they do find a way to focus on the children and do what is best for them. One thing that always struck me about The Brady Bunch was how the boys called Carol Brady Mom (she was their stepmother) and the girls called Mr. Brady Dad (he was their stepfather). Blending families is rarely that easy in the real world, but in the 60’s, 70’s, & 80’s the powers-that-be understood that folks watch television to escape from reality…a fact that seems to have been all but forgotten these days. I was dumbfounded when as an adult I learned that Robert Reed was a) gay and b) hated his role as Mr. Brady.

 

5 Bob Cratchit (A Christmas Carol)
Cratchit is mostly known as grumpy old miser Ebenezer Scrooge’s underpaid & overworked clerk in Dickens’ tale, but he is also shown to be a dedicated husband and father to six children. One cratchitof those children is Tiny Tim who is what we might call a “special needs child” in modern parlance. It is never explicitly stated what Tiny Tim suffers from, although it is likely to have been rickets, kidney disease, or tuberculosis. The problem is that Bob only makes about $2 per week and can barely afford to feed his family let alone pay for the medical care his son needs. Despite these struggles Bob Cratchit keeps a smile on his face and forges ahead, doing what must be done to provide a decent & happy life for his children. He reminds me just a bit of my own father, who had a demanding job that paid the bills but certainly never allowed us to be wealthy, and also had to spend a disproportionate amount of time, energy, & resources on me because of my disability.

 

 

 

4 Clark Griswold (The Vacation Series) & Howard Cunningham…aka “Mr. C.” (Happy Days)
cgYes Clark Griswold is a dufus. And yes he had a weird flirtation with a nameless babe in a convertible. But when you watch the Vacation movies one thing that is very clear mrcis that Clark loves his children and is devoted to his family. That’s nice to see, especially these days. Howard Cunningham forgot that his eldest son Chuck even existed, but otherwise he is the quintessential sitcom Dad. He was always around to give sage advice to Richie & Joanie, put up with Richie’s goofy friends Ralph Malph & Potsie, and even became a father figure to Fonzie. And let’s not overlook the fact that Mr. C was a business owner as well. Role models rock.

 

 

3 Cliff Huxtable (The Cosby Show) & Vito Corleone (The Godfather)
Cliff HuxtableSpeaking of role models, I have commented previously about the interesting way that the Huxtable family was presented on The Cosby Show. No housing projects or blue corleonecollar jobs for this upwardly mobile & well educated black family. Mom was an attorney and Dad was a doctor. As a father Heathcliff was patient & funny, and even when he became exasperated by the trials & tribulations of raising five children he exhibited an enviable level of composure & mercy. Now I know that mob boss Don Corleone seems like an odd choice (especially paired alongside Dr. Huxtable), but though his…imperfections…are far different from those of the aforementioned Clark Griswold I think there is a lot of similarity in the love & devotion they show their family. When eldest son Santino is gunned down and Vito sees the body in the funeral parlor he completely breaks down, distraught over “what they did to my boy”. He is clearly unhappy about Michael becoming involved in “the business” because he had higher hopes for his youngest son. Don Vito opines that “a man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man”, and I think he’s pretty spot on.

 

 

2 Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)
What can I say about Atticus Finch that hasn’t already been echoed by a plethora of fans of both the Pulitzer Prize winning novel and the Academy Award nominated film?? Atticus is kind,  atticus-and-kidspatient, wise, intelligent, honorable, & decent. He has been hailed as a hero by some…maybe the only time in history that lawyer & hero have intersected. His two children, Scout & Jem, love and respect the man to the moon & back. The entire town of Maycomb, AL admires him. Author Harper Lee based Atticus on her own father, and I have to say that if he was half the man that Atticus is shown to be then Ms. Lee was a lucky girl indeed. Gregory Peck brought Atticus to life in the 1962 movie, and his portrayal is a nearly perfect reflection of the man we see in the book. However I would strongly urge anyone who has seen the film but not read the book to go out right now and buy the book!! As good as the movie is the book is 10x better. And if you have not partaken of either then you need to do so ASAP. The subject matter is far from pleasant, but it is presented in such an accessible way by Harper Lee that anyone who enjoys reading even just a little bit will breeze right through it in a few days. Heck I think I might just have to read the book again myself.

 

 

1 Andy Taylor (The Andy Griffith Show)
No one knows exactly what Heaven is like, but I’d like to think that somewhere up there a TV room exists where The Andy Griffith Show plays on an endless…dare I say eternal…loop. Sheriff atTaylor is a widower with one child, 6 year old Opie. Opie’s mother is never named and barely mentioned. We only know that she died when Opie was a baby. The relationship between Andy & Opie is probably one of the purest, most accurate, & honest father/son interactions we have ever seen in television, books, or movies. I say that because Andy isn’t always saccharine sweet with Opie and he doesn’t treat his son like he’s a perfect angel. Opie gets into mischief occasionally, and when that happens his father exhibits slight anger & disappointment. However Andy isn’t mean. He is always fair with Opie and desires for his son to learn from mistakes. There are times when Andy jumps to the wrong conclusion and discovers that though Opie may have technically done the wrong thing he did it for the right reasons. Sure Aunt Bea moves in to do the cooking & cleaning and to manage the household, but Andy never dodges his responsibility to raise his son. He spends time with Opie, whether it is fishing at Myers Lake, chillin’ on the front porch, or just hanging out at the courthouse on a slow day in Mayberry (which is pretty much every day in Mayberry…a huge part of its charm). He disciplines Opie, but he also talks to him, providing valuable lessons about honor, integrity, love, respect, friendship, accountability, & courage. As a matter of fact Sheriff Taylor seemingly teaches those lessons to the entire town of Mayberry. He doesn’t scream, shout, show off, or crave the spotlight…he just leads by example and does what’s right.