Category: Entertainment

Comedy, community and church

I’m a big fan of comedy. The schedule on my DVR will tell you that when I want to relax at the end of a day, a sitcom or sketch show or comedy talk show is where I’m likely to turn. A few comments from comedians I appreciate lately have gotten me thinking about how the comedy I like the most creates a sense of relationship and community. It makes me, the audience member, feel like a friend and an…  [more]

Miranda Sings and the many faces of narcissism

YouTuber Colleen Ballinger’s malaprop-mad persona, Miranda Sings, has a lot of “suscribers” pretty “essited” by her cat sweaters, garish lips and blaring songs. As Miranda, Ballinger burpily parodies everybody from illiterate online commenters to basic girls to inspirational speakers to do-it-yourselfers to inept webcammers. Next month, Miranda will be sharing her wisdom in a book…  [more]

Louis C.K. is not a good person

Louis C.K.’s recent Saturday Night Live monologue drew fire by surmising that child molestation must be really, really fun - otherwise, why would molesters risk so much to keep doing it? He generally survives the outrage that such jokes evoke by being the first to admit his own moral failings. No one in public life today is quicker to point out that, “Yeah, I’m not a good guy. I am not. I wish I was…  [more]

Podcasting’s still, small voice

I sing the praise of Ira Glass, Sara Koenig and Jad Abumrad. I tout the triumph of closely produced programming: This American Life, Serial, Radiolab. I hail the voice of the podcast. At Slate, Jonah Weiner extends this paean by suggesting that the podcasting voice can increase the range of what we care for. He refers to the “empathic encounter” of audio fare that “knocks us outside of a blinkered…  [more]

Is it a good thing that Jon Stewart’s minions are multiplying?

News broke earlier this week that Trevor Noah will be taking over The Daily Show when Jon Stewart steps down later this year. Although Stewart is stepping out of the limelight, numerous Daily Show personalities are stepping into it: Samantha Bee is developing a show for TBS; Larry Wilmore’s The Nightly Show has taken over Stephen Colbert’s time slot; John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight is a hit; and, of…  [more]

Ringling Bros., elephants and serving as creation’s stewards

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus was a regular part of my childhood. I don’t remember feeling too strongly about the use of elephants in the show either way. To be honest, I was more into the tigers (although the elephants certainly ranked higher than the clowns). Things look differently through adult eyes, however, which is how I’ve experienced the Ringling Bros. circus in recent years.…  [more]

Colbert Catechism covers Lent and Pope Francis

Perhaps to help us bide time until he takes over as host of The Late Show, Stephen Colbert recently made a video (embedded below) for the Catholic magazine America that showcased the same comic-religious sensibility that defined the best episodes of The Colbert Report. Called “Colbert Catechism,” the video features a casual interview between a newly bearded Colbert and James Martin, editor-at-large of…  [more]

Russell Brand on the problem of porn

It’s not every day that a celebrity known for shocking behavior, tight pants and over-the-top comedy crafts a homily on the catastrophe that is modern-day porn culture. The fact that Russell Brand has just issued one of the most powerful, personal, effective and even prophetic messages on the subject of pornography is simply fascinating. Comic dandy Brand may not be the first person that comes to mind when…  [more]

Birdman (or, the unexpected virtue of the Academy Awards)

Birdman won the Best Picture Oscar at last night’s Academy Awards ceremony, something I predicted partly because it’s a movie about making movies, a subject of which Hollywood never tires. The fact that it’s also about the artistic ego – and how pride goes before the fall – could be seen either as the icing on the cake or the definition of Hollywood hypocrisy. With the somewhat…  [more]

Why “normal Barbie” might not be the answer

Who knew a bunch of second-graders could make me so defensive about Barbie? You’d think I’d be past this. After all, I’ve had a lifetime of concerns about the plastic blonde. I’ve worried her famously out-of-proportion physique could lead to body image problems. I’ve recoiled when a talking Barbie declared that “math class was tough.” (Even though, honestly, I agreed with…  [more]

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