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Category Archives: celebrity

Really Bad TED Talks

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The Jimbo List is all about the spread of good ideas and the whole TED philosophy, but there are some combinations of people and ideas that perhaps shouldn’t be encouraged. With that in mind, here are some TED Talks to avoid at all costs.

HOW TO HOST THE OSCARS, by Seth McFarlane

A MOTORIST’S GUIDE TO DOWNTON, by Matthew Crawley

PROPER HYDRATION, by Marco Rubio

FICTIONAL NATIONS I HAVE VISITED, by John Kerry

CYCLES OF SUCCESS, by Lance Armstrong

ONLINE DATING FOR ATHLETES, by Manti Te’o

GASTRONOMIC WONDERS OF THE GULF COAST, by Carnival Cruises CEO Micky Arison

PENMANSHIP 101, by Jack Lew

THE ART OF IMPROV, by Clint Eastwood

WHY I ADMIRE TAYLOR SWIFT, by Kanye West

You get the idea. By all means – add to The List!

Celebrity Breakfast Cereals

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You’ll be happy to know the staff here at The Jimbo List has come up with a great way to combine America’s love affair with cereal and its fixation on famous people: celebrity themed breakfast food! This wouldn’t be a mere endorsement. It would involve celebrities in the look, taste and texture of the product. Of course, it also would need a catchy name.

TOASTED LOHANS

RAY RICE KRISPIES

SNOOP LOOPS

HONEY BOO BOO BERRY

COCO CHANEL PUFFS

ALMOND PACINO’S

BIEBER BITS

TOM CRUISE SNAPS

TIGER’S EX CHEX

APPLE JACK NICHOLSONS

KORN FLAKES

DENNIS LEARY-O’S

SPECIAL KALEY CUOCO

VANILLA MORRISONS

AL FRANKEN BERRY

GOLDEN LINDSEY GRAHAMS

SEAN PENN POPS

FROSTED MINNIE DRIVER WHEATS

B.B. KING VITAMAN

RUSSELL CROWE CRUNCH

Eat your heart out, Kellogg’s!

SNL’s Masters of Mimicry

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I’ve always felt that SNL is at its best when it has one or two top-notch mimics. That’s especially true during presidential election years, when millions of people tune in to get a weekly dose of political satire. Even beyond political sketches,  the show’s best casts tend to include at least one great impressionist. These are my favorites, through the years.

DAN AYKROYD

Aykroyd was the gold standard for SNL mimics during the show’s early years. He had a way of channeling the inner intensity of subjects, from Richard Nixon to Jimmy Carter. What made it even more impressive was that he did those impersonations while keeping his mustache! For my money, the best Aykroyd impression was TV host Tom Snyder.

EDDIE MURPHY

Murphy was a much different sort of mimic. He didn’t try to sound like a recording of his subjects. He picked out a couple of mannerisms and a hairstyle, then added his own bit of attitude. It made his Stevie Wonder, James Brown and Buckwheat incredibly memorable.

JOE PISCOPO

Here was a guy who lost himself inside his characters. I think fans forget how great Piscopo was, as Frank Sinatra and David Letterman. He combined voice skills with makeup and acting – all to wonderful effect. He should have stayed on the show a few more years before going solo.

PHIL HARTMAN

To me, Hartman was a genius. All of his characters, including Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Ed McMahon, were infused with a comic insanity. Yet he kept them firmly in place, because his acting chops were so solid. And his crazy version of Ross Perot running mate James Stockdale in 1992 still makes me laugh.

DANA CARVEY

A good case can be made that Carvey was the best mimic SNL has ever had. George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Stewart, Ross Perot, Regis Philbin, Johnny Carson. Carvey absolutely nailed those impressions, and you could tell he loved every minute of them. He was like a heat-seeking missile of mimicry. If the audience reacted to a particular gesture or word, Carvey would refine it and build on it. Perfection.

WILL FERRELL

Ferrell reminded me of Eddie Murphy, in the sense that his impressions were great without necessarily sounding like the person. His George W. Bush, Harry Caray and James Lifton capitalized on very insightful study by Ferrell. He got at the inconsistencies and oddities of each subject, then took it to the extreme.

DARRELL HAMMOND

For quite a while, Hammond was the show’s go-to impressionist. He could do Al Gore, Dick Cheney, Donald Trump – and of course Bill Clinton. The line, “I. Am. Bulletproof,” is as good a description of Clinton’s last two years in office as any I’ve heard. Same with Al Gore and “Lockbox.”

AMY POEHLER

Amy Poehler was so talented that her mimicry skills were sort of secondary. But remember how funny she was as Nancy Grace? Or Hillary Clinton? To me, one of her best moments was when she did a pitch-perfect Christopher Walken, in front of Christopher Walken.

BILL HADER

I consider Hader a stealth-mimic. For some reason, he goes in for obscure characters who take you by surprise. He does a fantastic Alan Alda, Al Pacino and James Carville. Hader is a craftsman with those impressions, copying the voices with care and giving them demonic grins. His Keith Morrison from “Dateline NBC” is a masterpiece.

KRISTEN WIIG

Wiig was smart to downplay her mimicry on SNL, since her stock characters were so strong. Still, she was amazing when she did Kathie Lee Gifford, Suze Ormond, Megan Mullally and Tanning Mom.

JAY PHAROAH

Jay Pharoah has a ton of talent, but I’m waiting for him to fulfill that potential. He does a devastating Denzel Washington and Will Smith, and his Barack Obama is coming along. If he can bolster his acting ability, he’ll be an SNL mainstay.

I guess a few more great mimics on the show is too much to ask. Wouldn’t be prudent.

What Felix Baumgartner Thought About During His Jump

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As Felix Baumgartner showed the world this weekend, 24 miles is a long way to fall. Here are some of the things that crossed his mind as he hurtled back down to Earth.

I SHOULD HAVE HIT THE MEN’S ROOM ONE MORE TIME

SERIOUSLY, I’M FALLING FASTER THAN MY FACEBOOK STOCK

OH!MY!GOD!

EDDIE MONEY SURE DIDN’T AGE WELL, DID HE?

NEXT TIME, GET THE “RELAXED FIT” SPACE SUIT

WOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOW

GREAT, I’VE GOT THAT “GANGNAM STYLE” SONG STUCK IN MY HEAD

DID I REMEMBER TO TIVO CHARLES OSGOOD?

THOSE ANTS DOWN THERE BETTER NOT BE ANTS, OR I’M IN BIG TROUBLE

Congratulations, Mr. Baumgartner.

What If Someone Else Walked On The Moon First?

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Neil Armstrong’s recent passing gives us occasion to honor a great American hero. It also prompts us to reflect on his glorious moon walk and speculate as to what others might have said if they’d been in his space boots.

YODA: “Giant leap for mankind, it is.”

DR. SEUSS: “One foot, two foot, here’s the first moon foot.”

SIRI: “I found 4 craters and the Sea of Tranquility a little ways from you.”

SARAH PALIN: “I can see Russia!”

AL GORE: “I invented NASA, you know.”

SNOOP LION: “One small fo shizzle in my capsizzle.”

WEREWOLF: “Awwwooooo!”

MICHAEL JACKSON: “Moon walk? This gives me an idea…”

BROOKLYN HIPSTER: “Totes historic!”

SNOOKI: “OMG! These f*!?$& shoes are the worst.”

RATSO RIZZO: “Hey – I’m walkin’ here!”

Bless you, Neil Armstrong.

More TV Jobs for Steven Tyler & Jennifer Lopez to Consider

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Just because Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez have announced their departure from “American Idol,” doesn’t mean they have to leave the TV scene completely. There are any number of shows where one or both would fit right in – with some minor adjustments.

JENNY FROM THE DOWNTON ABBEY

AEROSMITH’S GOT TALENT

SCARF BOSS

REAR FACTOR

THE BIGGEST LOSER: ROCK STAR EDITION

LOPEZ, LOPEZ & TYLER TONIGHT

CELEBRITY PLASTIC SURGERY: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT

LOTS AND LOTS OF FRINGE

TWO AND A HALF MEDS

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN PRANCE?

KUDLOW & J.LO

That’s just for starters!

Two-By-Two: A List of Twins

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Adam Sandler’s new movie, “Jack and Jill,” has me thinking about famous twins. It’s amazing how many there are. This List could easily have been doubled.

LUKE SKYWALKER & PRINCESS LEIA

Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are fictional twin royalty. Their family ties were at the heart of the “Star Wars” mythos, first providing a nice plot twist and then fueling the emotional arc of the main characters.

THE WINKLEVOSS TWINS

You have to give Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss credit for tenacity. First they were (at the very least) outmaneuvered by Mark Zuckerberg for control of Facebook. Then their various lawsuits went nowhere. Then they came off looking less than sympathetic in “The Social Network.” Yet they still held their heads high and got a pistachio commercial.

“THE PARENT TRAP” TWINS

No offense to Lindsay Lohan’s legion of fans, but I prefer the 1961 version of “The Parent Trap,” with Hayley Mills. The craziness of this movie slaps you in the face when you sit there and realize how screwed up the parents are. They each take a twin in the divorce and NEVER TELL THEM. Wow.

THE MINNESOTA TWINS

Named after the Twin Cities, baseball’s Twins began playing in Minneapolis in 1961. This may sound odd, but the thing I kind of loved about them was that their home field for many years had a right field extension wall made of plastic. Everyone called it the “Baggie.”

THE BUSH TWINS

Barbara and Jenna, the daughters of former President George W. Bush, turn 30 later this month, on Nov 25. I think they, like all presidential children, deserve a lifetime of peace, quiet and dignity.

EVIL TWINS

Evil twins are just plain fun. There’s no pretense; it’s simply a group of creative people telling an audience: “We’re taking one of our boring, nice characters and letting her raise some hell. Possibly while wearing a dark wig.” My favorite was Serena, Elizabeth Montgomery’s evil twin on TV’s “Bewitched.”

DOMINICK AND THOMAS BIRDSEY

Connecticut’s own Wally Lamb put twins at the center of his novel, “I Know This Much Is True.” I won’t ruin the plot here for people who want to read this masterful work, but I will say it put the lie to any notion that New Englanders lead boring lives.

THE WONDER TWINS

Let’s see. You’ve got a group of superheroes called the Super Friends, with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. What’s missing? Bingo! A twin brother and sister who can only activate their powers when they touch hands. Thanks, Zan and Jayna. Problem solved.

TIKI & RONDE BARBER

The Barbers were highly enjoyable players to watch, even if Tiki did get a little mouthy about his former teammates after he left the New York Giants. Seeing him and Ronde in opposing uniforms had a way of looking like a promo for a sci-fi movie about cloned athletes.

THE OLSEN TWINS

They make the List for two reasons. One, they were hugely popular from the time they were TV toddlers on “Full House.” And two, their success always baffled me.

ROMULUS & REMUS

Fittingly, the story of Romulus and Remus is like two myths in one. First is the miracle of their survival. They were left to die as infants, only to be nursed by a she-wolf and then adopted by a shepherd. As adults, they discovered they were royalty. So they retake their land in ancient Italy – only to fight over where to build a new city. Remus is killed; Romulus builds the new city and calls it Rome. That’s harsh, man.

THE BOBBSEY TWINS

One set of twins wasn’t enough for this long-running series of children’s books. There were two duos: Nan and Bert, and Freddie and Flossie. They had adventures and solved mysteries, all very mild, in such ripping yarns as “The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore,” and “The Bobbsey Twins at School.” Call me when “The Bobbsey Twins Change Their Smartphone Plan” is published.

THE DOUBLEMINT TWINS

The folks at the Wrigley Company have kept twins gainfully employed as spokeswomen for years. Their ranks include future TV stars Tia and Tamera Mowry and Jean and Elizabeth Sagal, sisters of the terrific actress Katey Sagal.

THE TWIN TOWERS

Ten years on, I still experience very strong, very complicated emotions when I see a photo or film clip of the towers. You do, too.

Peace out.

6 Celebrity Impressions (of Other Celebs)

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There are few things The Jimbo List enjoys more than a good celebrity impression. Frank Caliendo’s John Madden, Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin, John Byner’s Ed Sullivan (take my word for it) – all superb. But I have a special place in my heart for impressions of famous people performed by other famous people. It bends reality one extra step. Here are some of my favorites.

 

Kevin Spacey as Christopher Walken

 

This was a classic SNL bit where they had Spacey and others pretend to be famous actors auditioning for a part in the original “Star Wars.” This is Spacey as Walken, auditioning for the part of Han Solo. It’s brilliant.

 

Matt Damon as Matthew McConaughey

 

I try not to miss Damon’s appearances on Letterman, because Dave invariably asks him to do his Matthew McConaughey impression.

 

Tony Curtis as Cary Grant

 

One of the best movie comedies of all time, “Some Like It Hot,” features Tony Curtis imitating Cary Grant’s voice in a number of scenes. Here’s a clip of Curtis talking about Grant, along with a snippet of “Some Like It Hot.” While it’s not the most precise Cary Grant impression on record, it’s still pure fun.

 

Jamie Foxx as Terrence Howard

 

What I love about this one is how spontaneous it is. It’s like overhearing a private conversation that happens to be about famous actors.

 

Rainn Wilson as John Krasinski

 

Fans of “The Office” will note that this comes after an earlier bit where Jim (Krasinski) imitates Dwight (Wilson). Not only is it hilarious, but it taps into the whole workplace-as-performance-space thing that happens at any normal office.

 

Andy Kaufman as Judd Hirsch

 

I’ve adored this “Taxi” moment for 30 years. Kaufman went about it in such a cool way, choosing to “be” Hirsch’s character, rather than sound like him.

So, what others are YOUR favorites?

7 Celebrity Scandals Our Grandparents Would Never Understand

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The recent misfortunes of U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and his Twitter account are hardly the first time a public figure has had to explain away a potentially embarrassing situation. But it does represent a relatively recent phenomenon: activities involving the use of technology that would leave our elders wondering where they went wrong. And asking what a DVR is.

Pulling A Weiner – Using your Twitter account (or allowing a hacker) to send out a digital photo of your legislative package. See also: Favre-ing

Going Lohan – Texting in court after being caught “borrowing” items you could have paid for with the millions you earn each year. Related: Going Winona

The Full Britney – Stepping out of a limousine in a short skirt, in front of a phalanx of photographers, with no cover page for your legislative package.

Texting While Tiger – Trashing a world class career by cheating on your wife with multiple women and leaving a digital trail as long as the fairways on the back nine at Pebble Beach.

Being Balloon Boy – Pretending to accidentally launch your 6-year-old son into the atmosphere in a balloon, just to get on TV.

Setting Foot in Rex-Ville – Completely distracting your NFL team’s focus when videos pop up on the web showing you calling a blitz against a woman’s foot.

Lights! Camera! Kendra! (And Kim, Pamela, Paris, etc.) – Starring in a sex tape and later being shocked when it surfaces on the Internet.