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Pop Culture . . . whatever

Aflac fires Gilbert Gottfried, voice of duck in commercials, after tasteless Japan tweets.


Aflac Severs Ties with Gilbert Gottfried

COLUMBUS, Ga., March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ —

Aflac announced today that it has severed ties with comedian Gilbert Gottfried.

“Gilbert’s recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac,” Aflac Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Michael Zuna said. “Aflac Japan – and, by extension, Japan itself – is part of the Aflac family, and there is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times.”

Aflac will immediately set plans in motion to conduct a nationwide casting call to find a new voice of the iconic Aflac Duck. It should be noted that Gilbert Gottfried is not the voice of the Aflac Duck in Japan.

Last week Aflac announced that the company was donating 100 million yen to the International Red Cross for disaster assistance.

Gilbert Gottfreid has never been known for his taste. He’s been an offensive comic his entire career and I cannot believe that AFLAC is so short-sighted. Can the new duck sound like him? I’d hope not. Gilbert’s ‘voice’ is very unique and it’s Gilbert’s voice, not AFLAC’s.

Here’s a Tweet that describes how I feel:

owengood Regarding Gilbert Gottfried‘s firing, without defending him or his remarks, who the hell did Aflac think it was employing?

March 15, 2011 Posted by | Employment | Comments Off on Aflac fires Gilbert Gottfried, voice of duck in commercials, after tasteless Japan tweets.

Jon Cryer responds to Charlie Sheen calling him a TROLL

March 14, 2011 Posted by | Jon Cryer | Comments Off on Jon Cryer responds to Charlie Sheen calling him a TROLL

Russell Brand hosts SNL — Chris Brown is Musical Guest

Russel Brand is a trending topic on Twitter. Too bad his name is spelled RUSSELL BRAND. I have never in my life met somebody named Russel. Have you? He’s hosting SNL to promote his new film, Arthur. Some people really dislike Russell Brand and others find him hilarious. The musical guest is Rianna-beater Chris Brown. Remember the days when Nora Dunn wouldn’t perform on the show with Andrew Dice Clay because she found him sexist? (May 12, 1990).

Nora Dunn exited from the show in 1990. Rumor has it that her contract was not renewed, but it probably didn;t help that she boycotting Andrew Dice Clay’s May 12, 1990 hosting gig.

Nora Dunn, as a result of her boycott against Andrew Dice Clay, did not perform in any sketches during the May 12, 1990 episode. From

As far as I know, Andrew “Dice” Clay has never smashed a woman’s head against a dashboard. I’m disappointed in NBC for having on Chris Brown. Meanwhile, I love Russell Brand and I’m glad he was on the show and that Hulu (where I will watch it later) doesn’t usually show the musical acts.

I’ll admit that I don’t know Chris Brown’s music. I don’t care. There are many other musicians, famous or unknowns, that deserve to be showcased on SNL before Chris Brown gets his ‘second chance’ at charming his public.

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Advertising, Russell Brand, SNL | Comments Off on Russell Brand hosts SNL — Chris Brown is Musical Guest

22 Fictional Characters whose Names You Don’t Know (From

You know the characters, but you might not know their full names. Store these away for future trivia nights.

1. Did you know the Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons has a name? It’s Jeff Albertson. But that wasn’t the decision of creator Matt Groening. “I was out of the room when [the writers] named him,” he told MTV in 2007. “In my mind, ‘Louis Lane’ was his name, and he was obsessed and tormented by Lois Lane.”

2. Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. (Ken’s last name is Carson.)

3. Cap’n Crunch’s full name is Captain Horatio Magellan Crunch

4. Snuffleupagus has a first name—Aloysius.

5. In the Peanuts comic strip, Peppermint Patty’s real name is Patricia Reichardt.

6. The Wizard of Oz rolls off the tongue a lot easier than his full name, Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs. From Frank Baum’s Dorothy And the Wizard in Oz: “It was a dreadfully long name to weigh down a poor innocent child, and one of the hardest lessons I ever learned was to remember my own name. When I grew up I just called myself O.Z., because the other initials were P-I-N-H-E-A-D; and that spelled ‘pinhead,’ which was a reflection on my intelligence.”

7. Mr. Clean has a seldom-used first name—”Veritably.” The name came from a “Give Mr. Clean a First Name” promotion in 1962.

8. In a deleted scene in the 2006 Curious George movie, The Man With the Yellow Hat’s name was revealed as Ted Shackleford. (Since the scene was deleted, perhaps this doesn’t count.)

9. The real name of Monopoly mascot Rich Uncle Pennybags is Milburn Pennybags.

10. The policeman in Monopoly has a name, too. You can thank Officer Edgar Mallory the next time he sends you to jail.

11. On Night Court, Nostradamus Shannon was better known as Bull.

12. On Entourage, Turtle’s real name is Salvatore Assante.

13. Sesame Street‘s resident game show host Guy Smiley was using a pseudonym all these years. He was born Bernie Liederkrantz.

14. The Michelin Man’s name is Bibendum.

15. On Gilligan’s Island, Jonas Grumby was simply called The Skipper.

16. Staying on Gilligan’s Island, The Professor was Roy Hinkley.

17. The unkempt Shaggy of Scooby-Doo fame has a rather proper real name—Norville Rogers.

18. The Pillsbury Doughboy’s name is Poppin’ Fresh. He has a wife, Poppie Fresh, and two kids, Popper and Bun Bun.

19. The patient in the classic game Operation is Cavity Sam.

20. The true identity of The Lone Ranger was John Reid.

21 & 22. OK, these last two aren’t fictional, but just in case it comes up, Bono was born Paul David Hewson, and The Edge’s name is David Howell Evans .

January 31, 2011 Posted by | Pop Culture | Comments Off on 22 Fictional Characters whose Names You Don’t Know (From

Happy New Year 2011

January 1, 2011 Posted by | Reality TV | Comments Off on Happy New Year 2011

Will Durst Christmas Wish List


For Mel Gibson: A muzzle. Permanent. Steel. Welded with titanium rivets.

For the Economists who insist the recession ended in June of 09. An opportunity to collect 99 weeks of unemployment insurance.

For Charlie Sheen. A date with Lindsay Lohan. Matching ankle bracelets at Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab.

For WikiLeaks Founder Julian Asange: A slip of paper naming whoever leaked details of his sexual assault charges tucked into a dictionary in the fold of the page with the “irony” entry.

For Betty White. 30 more years.

For Ireland. Far fewer reasons to drown their troubles.

For Juan Williams. A prayer rug for his Fox News cubicle.

For the American public. A case of antacid to get through the next two years watching the heartless pummel the spineless cheered on by the clueless.

For Conan O’Brien. Half the on- air excitement he inspired off- air.

For Barack Obama. An electron telescope to focus on jobs. American jobs. Democratic jobs. Obama administration jobs. His job.

For Mrs. Clarence Thomas. A six pack of Coke.

For Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. A used set of Spanish language cassette tapes.

For the Cast of Jersey Shore. Watches that only measure increments of 15 minutes.

For the Texas Board of Education. A railroad car stuffed full of historical blinders.

For Bill Clinton. A presidential appointment to the position of Secretary of Secretaries.

For Toyota. A new corporate motto. Because after 4 recalls involving acceleration problems, “Moving Forward” might be a bit too apropos.

For Katy Perry. A bigger bra.

For the Tea Party. Kissable wallets. Because its time to put their money where their mouth is.

For Willie Nelson. A THC patch.

For the TSA. Extensive training to perfect the impromptu prostate exam.

For John Boehner. A deal with Fruit of the Loom to market a line of “Mister Speaker” monogrammed handkerchiefs. And hand towels.

For former BP CEO, Tony Hayward. Now that he has his life back, a reason to live it.

For Medical Science to Study. Dick Cheney’s heart, Joe Biden’s mouth and Rod Blagojevich’s brain.

For New Gingrich, Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican field taking sidelong glances at 2012. Something on Sarah.

San Francisco based political comic, Will Durst, writes sometimes, this being a conventional example. Catch Durst in stand- up mode at The Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show XVIII. Dec. 26- Jan. 1. 6 comics. 7 cities. 8 shows. 2,437 laughs. Facebook. Twitter. Blah- blah.

December 27, 2010 Posted by | Reality TV | Comments Off on Will Durst Christmas Wish List

Ryan Murphy: Glee and Nip/Tuck both have terrific casting

GLEE makes me happy. I spent the past few days watching Season One and I find myself singing more, humming more and wanting to break out into song and dance. I was a big fan of Ryan Murphy’s Nip/Tuck and I see much of the same humor and phenomonal character development in Glee. I always felt N/T lost it’s mojo after a few seasons. Was that because Murphy was busy casting and writing Glee? I don’t care. N/T had a few great seasons and introduced me to some wonderful actors. Julian McMahon was the first actor I actually ever googled because I wanted to learn more about this gorgeous actor.

Finishing Season 1 of Glee brought tears to my eyes. Well, a cold wind could bring a tear to my eye but the Glee club singing To Sir With Love (with Sue watching) was emotional on many different levels.

I think Ryan Murphy’s greatest strength is his terrific casting. In N/T Season 1, the villian was played by Robert LaSardo and all these years later I still remember him and now recognize him in older roles and new roles. I also see great casting in Glee. Lovable Kristen Chenoweth and Stephen Tobolowski have recurring roles that always make me laugh and highlight their great talents.

The young people are all unknowns and their talent surpasses many famous recording artists/entertainers. They are not polished and marketed all pretty but seem like real people, real kids, real representatives of people we all know.

Ryan Murphy is a genius and I want to thank him for the hours of entertainment he’s brought into my life!

December 12, 2010 Posted by | Glee, Hunky Men, Inspiration, Julian McMahon, Kristin Chenoweth, Lady Gaga, Nip/Tuck, Ryan Murphy | Comments Off on Ryan Murphy: Glee and Nip/Tuck both have terrific casting

Joe Scarborough’s Lennon Eulogy


Every December 8th for the last 30 years, I have quietly paid tribute to my fallen hero. Last year, I went to John’s memorial in Central Park to remember the man who changed the world in a way few have. For so many fans of John Lennon, the relationship remains deeply personal, even after all these years.

Throughout high school, I spent much of my free time locked in my room with headphones on studying every beat, every note, every second of every Beatles song. My love of their music inspired me to play the guitar and write songs. And when my band wasn’t playing our songs in the basement, we were in my room marveling over the magic of Abbey Road’s medley or speeding up the end of Strawberry Fields to hear John’s “I buried Paul” or isolating the vocals to hear Paul’s voice crack for a split second on “If I Fell.”

We would then consume books and devour documentaries like “15 Hours With the Beatles.” We would have heated debates over albums and songs. Since I was the unabashed McCartney worshiper, I would take on the unenviable task of arguing how “London Town” matched up to “Abbey Road” or how “Girl’s School” was every bit as driving as “Get Back.”

And while our friends at school were listening to AC/DC, Kiss and Cheap Trick, we were isolated in the corner of the cafeteria talking about “Somewhere in New York City” and laughing over lines from the “Rutles.” This lonely obsession that started in 1977 made us seem more than a little quirky to our friends. It also had to be the cause of more than a few raised eyebrows from our parents.

I can understand now why they didn’t get it back then. That disconnect was laid bare the night we heard the news from Howard Cosell that John Lennon was dead. I sat watching Monday Night Football stunned and silent as my Dad walked through the room muttering that he liked Paul better. A friend on twitter, @Otoolefan, remembers his father telling him the next morning that “they shot Jack Lemmon last night.”

Many parents who suffered through the Great Depression and lost loved ones during World War II surely saw our angst as a little too much to bear. But my mother was a musician who understood the transcendence of music. She also understood that it was probably best to leave me alone with my headphones and Beatles records for the next several weeks.

What I found alone in my room is what I rediscovered last year when a dream of mine came true backstage at Radio City.

As a young congressman, I had been blessed to be able to meet any president, prime minister or politician. I had also met music heroes from B.B. King to U2 to Elvis Costello. All were exciting to meet, but none were Paul McCartney.

That chance came when Carole King was sweet enough to take me backstage to meet Sir Paul. Even the possibility seemed surreal since McCartney had impacted my life more than anyone outside of my family. As the day of the concert neared, a strange ambivalence swept over me. The day before the concert, I even told my wife I was thinking of skipping the chance at shaking my hero’s hand.

“What???” Susan asked incredulously. “I’ve never seen you scared of anyone or anything. Why in the world would you be afraid to meet Paul McCartney?”

It was a good point. People are people. Nothing more, nothing less. I have yet to meet a star who was worthy of worship. They just don’t exist anymore. In fact, I’m pretty sure they never did.

But I still couldn’t answer why I wanted to skip out on my lifelong dream of meeting Macca. Maybe it was Paul Simon’s fear that everything looks worse in black and white. Or maybe it was the fact that I could never tell him in a few seconds how he brought so much joy to so many years of my life. I just knew that the meeting would be short, awkward and leave me feeling a little empty.

Better not to pull back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz.

But I went ahead to Radio City, met Sir Paul McCartney, got my picture taken and managed to get out a few words. I don’t remember what they were but it was so surreal that I wouldn’t be surprised if I blurted out “I like purple” before quickly being escorted from the room.

After Carole and I left the backstage area and made it to our seats at Radio City, I realized that I had been right all along. I should have skipped the meeting and stayed home with my family. That regret lasted only as long as it took McCartney to strap a Hofner around his neck and rip into a supersonic rendition of “Jet.”

I was immediately transfixed–not by the myth, not by the legend, not by Beatle Paul. Instead, it was the music. As Carole and I jumped to our feet that night, I realized in an instant that the secret to their success had always been simple. The Beatles wrote remarkable songs.

For almost half a century, reporters and critics have tried to dissect why the Beatles had such an staggering impact on our times. After arriving in America in 1964, some suggested that Beatlemania was a needed distraction after the horror of JFK’s assassination. A few years later, critics would claim that the band was an outlet for a youth culture in rebellion against authority. And tonight, I am sure we will hear many try to explain again why so many of us still care about the Beatles 30 years after John’s death.

But in the end, all the philosophizing about the Beatles cultural transcendence is unadulterated bullshit. After all that has been written and said about the Liverpool band over the past 50 years, it still comes down their music.

The same music that moved me in 1980 moves my 7 year old daughter 30 years later. And the same magic that made me smile the first time I heard the back side of “Abbey Road” makes my 2 year old laugh when I pull out my guitar and sing him “Yellow Submarine.”

I spent a few hours today watching a BBC special on John’s life. The most revealing part of the documentary for me was a piece of film taken during John’s “Imagine” session. Lennon was told that a young, burned out straggler had made his way to John’s garden where he was spending much of his time.

The former Beatle left his session and walked outside to try to convince this lost soul to go home. As Lennon shot down every suggestion of cosmic connectivity between his songs and the drifter’s life, the Beatle who often had the sharpest edge revealed an inner sweetness that he seldom showed the world.

“Don’t confuse my songs with your life.”

The kid pushed back. Surely the lyrics to “I Dig a Pony” had a deeper meaning.

“I was just having fun with words” replied the retired dreamweaver.

“I’m just a guy.”

Maybe. But he and his bandmates also happened to create music that will bring joy to generations long after we are all gone. So tonight, I don’t have to go to Strawberry Fields to remember John. All I need are his songs.

I’ll put on my headphones, turn on “Number 9 Dream”, close my eyes, relax and float downstream

December 9, 2010 Posted by | Death, John Lennon, Lennon | , , | Comments Off on Joe Scarborough’s Lennon Eulogy

Chelsea Hanlder vs Angelina Jolie: I’m finally telling Chelsea to STFU

I understand that comedians like to shock and insult their audience. Kathy Griffin recently made fun of Bristol Palin’s weight and the audience booed. Comedians have been making fun of other celebrities for decades but Chelsea Handler made it personal with her attack on Angelina Jolie in a recent stand-up performance.

Chelsea Handler went off on Angelina Jolie during a standup performance in New Jersey over the weekend (via, calling the actress a f**king homewrecker and worse.

“She can rescue as many babies from as many countries as she wants to,” Chelsea said. “I don’t f**king believe you … she gives interviews, ‘I don’t have a lot of female friends.’ Cause you’re a f**king c**t … you’re a f**king b***h.”

Chelsea is good friends with Jennifer Aniston. The two of them of have talked about going on vodka-fueled manhunts together and were recently snapped together in Cabo over Thanksgiving.

I also read:

Chelsea Handler may be BFFs with Jennifer Aniston now, but that doesn’t mean her recent rant about Angelina Jolie was at Aniston’s behest, according to a statement from Handler. IN fact, Aniston reportedly is displeased with all the “drama.”

Chelsea is friends with Jennifer and by going public with this rant (and a stand-up show is public, everybody has cell phones, ask Michael Richards) she obviously feels very strongly that Angelina stole Brad from Jennifer. Many people feel that way and for some reason Jennifer Anniston has become “poor Jennifer” who can’t find love. She seems to be doing fine. She dated Vince Vaughn and John Meyer. She’s making movies. She’s still quite hot at 40 (I’d kill for her butt).

Whatever her reason, IMO Chelsea betrayed a friend by speaking publicly about a friend’s ex-husband’s partner. I love Chelsea but I’m going to have to give her a big STFU about this one.

December 9, 2010 Posted by | Angelina Jolie, Chelsea Handler, Jennifer Anniston | Comments Off on Chelsea Hanlder vs Angelina Jolie: I’m finally telling Chelsea to STFU

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December 9, 2010 Posted by | Reality TV | Comments Off on Searches that brought people to my Snark (TVSnark’s Blog)