The Way They Were: Today’s Stars on The Rosie O’Donnell Show

The Rosie O’Donnell Show ran from 1996 to 2002, and even though we watched it to the bitter end we somehow always associate it with the ’90s. When I think of Rosie guests, it’s people like Macy Gray, cast members from Ally McBeal, and throwbacks to Rosie’s 1970s childhood like the Osmonds. However, there are some modern stars we always forget were active in the Rosie era, so it feels like a total time warp seeing them as guests on The Rosie O’Donnell Show.

The Cast Of Harry Potter

Harry Potter and The Rosie O’Donnell Show had a brief overlap – Rosie even campaigned to play Molly Weasley, and while Julie Walters defined the role I bet she would have been great. However, with the last movie coming out in 2011 I tend to forget that Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone was a 2001 release: firmly in the early 2000s. It doesn’t seem possible that it has been 15 years since Harry Potter first hit the big screen, until you see how tiny the kids were here and it feels like when one of your friends posts a #TBT baby picture.

Mae Whitman

We have long loved Mae Whitman as Parenthood’s Amber Braverman, a real-life Friday Night Lights superfan, Ann Veal (her?), and a Dawson’s Creek Live Reading participant. But let’s not forget that before all this, she was one of those 90s child actors who was in EVERYTHING. You might remember Mae from One Fine Day, When A Man Loves A Woman, Independence Day, and as Sandra Bullock’s daughter in Hope Floats. It’s rare that a child actor maintains such a solid career through adolescence and adulthood. It’s even more rare to create such distinct child and adult personas that we almost forget this adorable moppet is the same cool girl who cracks us up on Twitter on a weekly basis.

Lea Michele

Lea Michele first entered our consciousness thanks to Spring Awakening, but there’s a wide audience who didn’t really know who she was until Glee. We didn’t know it, but we were actually familiar with little Lea long before that. In 1998, Ragtime was all the rage (in our circles, anyway) and Lea was the wide-eyed, precocious little girl. Also: AUDRA.

Jimmy Fallon

We certainly knew Jimmy was around in 2001 – we had massive crushes on him that we’d discuss in study hall and at lunch – but it was early in his SNL career and he wasn’t really doing much press yet, so it’s surprising that he was on Rosie. We had no clue he’d be a wildly popular talk show host in his own right over ten years later.

Alas, there is no video of the appearance, so enjoy this photo of Jimmy and Horatio Sanz as Rosie.

Lil Bow Wow

I know he was  lil when he started, but Bow Wow as an actual child rapper on Rosie is something I cannot quite remember. But it’s true, he was there – sadly, with no video to prove it. Woof.

Jennifer Garner

Jennifer may be a rom-com and movie mom favorite now, but in the early 2000s she was best known as the star of Alias … to other people. To us she was primarily the flirty, 30 and thriving Jenna Rink in 13 Going On 30, which didn’t come out until 2004. That’s why it feels so weird knowing that Garner was on Rosie in 2001 promoting Alias, a show I admittedly never watched.

Lauren Graham

We briefly mentioned Lauren’s appearance earlier this week, as she showed off her “skills” during a craft corner segment on Rosie’s last show of the series. But months before, and nearing the end of season two of Gilmore Girls, Lauren appeared on the show for the first time, and Lo and Ro kicked it off right away. I have always been a fan of LG’s TV interviews because she always comes off charismatic, fun and awkward all at the same time (see: all Ellen interviews), and in 2002, this was just the beginning of Lauren’s rise to fame and her journey with Gilmore Girls. BECAUSE I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S HAPPENING.

Hayden Panettiere

I sometimes forget Hayden was a child actor. But then I remember she played Ally McBeal’s daughter and it all comes screaming back to me. Before she played a country music star on Nashville, she proved she had the chops to be a pop star by singing Britney’s (You Drive Me) Crazy during this interview and bless her heart, it feels like she’s been practicing the bit with her stage mom, whom she keeps looking at off camera. Young Hayden is cute, but I think I prefer confident adult Hayden much better.

Josh Groban

Speaking of Ally McBeal… actually, let’s back up a bit. Josh Groban was just 17 years old when superproducer David Foster called Josh’s vocal coach asking if he had any students good enough to rehearse with Celine Dion at the 1999 Grammys. She was set to perform The Prayer with Andrea Boccelli, but because he couldn’t make it, Josh filled in, and Rosie was in awe after hearing him during rehearsals – this was the year she hosted the Grammys. She invited him to her show, as seen above, and because of this interview, Ally McBeal creator David E. Kelley created a role for Josh on his show, and the rest is history. Also, Josh is so nervous and shy here it’s adorable and nothing like what he is now.

Lea DeLaria and Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Sometimes when you know actors from two completely different shows, it throws you off when you hear they’ve been friends for years. That is the case for Orange is the New Black’s Lea DeLaria and Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who both starred on Broadway long before their respective award-winning shows. Here they are performing a number from On the Town, and it’s nothing like you’ve seen them before. Ok, maybe excluding Jesse.

Kobe Bryant

When doing research for this, I saw the third guest in a season one episode titled as “High school student and NBA draftee Kobe Bryant”. I’m not even a big basketball fan, but this is iconic. Kobe, 18 at the time, had signed a three-year $3.5 million contract with the Lakers and he hadn’t even played college basketball. Again, like Bow Wow video from 1998 is scarce, so just trust he was on the show.

Kate Winslet

Technically Kate had a few films under her belt before this interview, but it’s just a treasure of a vid because she is actually doing press for Titanic. It’s her first time on the show, and Rosie wishes her the best of luck as an actress. And like we all knew in that steerage party when she went up on her toes, she’s been knocking it out ever since. Also she talks about Leo and their true love.

BONUS:

When the maybe first female president sings a Bye Bye Birdie song. Also note Rosie in her Rosie-est getup.

HamilTour in the Greatest City in the World

It’s finally happened. You bought your Hamilton tickets,  and if you’re like us, you were willing to wait for it (we booked ours 11 months in advance). You’re finally in the Greatest City In The World and by 8pm you will be in the room where it happens. Assuming you’ve already been to New York a number of times and don’t need to hit the biggest tourist attractions, you might want to take in some A.Ham-based sites. Here’s a slate of activities that you can fit in before showtime, answering the ever-important HamFan questions: would it be a good place for a duel? Is it a good place to cry? And, should you throw away your shot to see it?

Alexander Hamilton: Striver, Statesman, Scoundrel at NYPL

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Would it be a good place for a duel?

NO. It is very small and crowded, which means you would hit somebody, A, and also couldn’t get the requisite steps apart, B.

Is it a good place to cry?

Pretty good, yeah. We both got emotional looking at a letter from Alexander to Eliza strictly because an informational plaque contained the word “orphanage.” Also libraries are quiet and respectful, so it sort of feels like crying at church which is not at all an unusual comparison to make, right?

a letter from alex to angelica aka MY DEAREST,

a letter from alex to angelica aka MY DEAREST,

Should you throw away your shot?

No. It’s FREE and primary sources are a total riot. Plus I think the makers of the exhibit threw in some sly Hamilton refs in some of the documentation.

THE REYNOLDS PAMPHLET

THE REYNOLDS PAMPHLET

Also, if you’re looking for Hamilton-based books and tchotchkes, the library store is A+.

Alexander Hamilton statue in Central Park

Would it be a good place for a duel?

It’s not bad.  There are people around but it’s not packed and there’s a lot of space. In terms of places to duel within Manhattan, it’s probably one of the better ones.

Is it a good place to cry?

It didn’t make us emotional and we wouldn’t necessarily cry there.

Should you throw away your shot?

If you happen to be nearby at the MET or something, swing on by, but otherwise it’s just a (nice) statute.

Trinity Church

Would it be a good place for a duel?

You know, we talked about it and we felt that it would feel disrespectful to the dead to duel there. On the other hand, at night it would be a good place for a duel for spooky atmospheric reasons, if you’re going to really go for it.

Is it a good place to cry?

Listen. We cried at  the word “orphanage” on Eliza’s plaque and the pennies on her grave and on her being placed in front of Hamilton’s and the marker next to them explaining that Philip is buried in the same cemetery but the location is unknown and at Angelica being around the other side of the church.

Also it’s a cemetery. That’s probably the most normal place anyone could ever cry.

angelica RIP

angelica RIP

Should you throw away your shot?

No, we found it emotionally gratifying to see where Hamilton lies and it connects you to the real history of real people.

Hamilton: An American Musical

Would it be a good place for a duel?

It would kind of be redundant, no?

Is it a good place to cry?

If you DON’T cry at the Richard Rodgers, I’m seriously concerned for your mental health.
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Should you throw away your shot?

If you even get a shot to be inside the room where it happens, you’re more than lucky to be alive right now. So, the answer is and always will be a resounding no.

Non-Hamilton Side Trips

A few bonus places we made it to this trip:

The Best Pizza – Rubirosa

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Would it be a good place for a duel?

OK you know those restaurants that are really hip in the front, then there’s a back room that’s for, presumably, less front-of-house appropriate customers (ahem, us), then somehow MORE rooms after that? That was this place. It was deceptively large so there is probably enough space to duel. Plus, this pizza would make a phenomenal last meal. Also the cruelest thing I can think of is to shoot somebody right before they were able to eat a slice from here.

Is it a good place to cry?

No, it’s like Pizza Disney. I have never heard so many people refer to something as “the best” of ANYTHING. I bet it’s an honor just to work there because you know that you are helping people to have the best pizza of their lives. You could cry happy tears like at a wedding, I suppose.

Should you throw away your shot?

Absolutely not, this was the best pizza I could ever hope to have.

New York’s Finest…. Audio Tour – Central Park

We’ve both been to Central Park, but neither of us have done any sort of a tour or read any sort of a guidebook. This time we pulled out our cell phones, resigned ourselves to racking up a ton of data, and listened to the audio tour narrated by notable New Yorkers . It’s extra fun to guess who is going to be up next.

Would it be a good place for a duel?

This really depends. Would I duel on the bow bridge, about which Julia Louis-Dreyfus made a Beau Bridges joke in her segment? Probably not. Too crowded, and a raucous group of schoolchildren who wouldn’t SIT DOWN in their paddleboats would really tempt me to throw away my shot.  But would I duel at The Mall, about which Jerry Seinfeld did not ask what the deal was? Yeah, maybe. Once I stopped recreating key scenes from When Harry Met Sally.

Is it a good place to cry?

It didn’t make us want to cry. However, if you were adjacent to Central Park and had to escape somewhere to cry, I think you could find a good spot. Maybe from the audio tour.

Should you throw away your shot?

If you have time, get there and do some sort of tour or guidebook thing. We couldn’t believe how much we missed on other visits.

All the Art – The Met

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Would it be a good place for a duel?

The Met is one of the more popular museums in NYC, so there would be a lot of witnesses. But also, due to the high number of valuable pieces of art, if you accidentally shoot a bullet through a Degas, that might be worse than losing the actual duel. If you live, that is.

Also, if you are going to duel first you need to decide how much you’re going to pay to get in (there’s a “suggested donation” and we are not the kind of people who would stiff a museum, but also $25 was a lot since we could only spend a few hours there, so it is a very stressful situation for a very particular kind of person). Do you tell the ticket lady you’ll pay $0 and face the shame of it, or do you pay $25 and hope that you live to take a leisurely stroll through the 19th Century European Impressionist galleries?

PS, it’s also an excellent location to take photos pretending that you’re Blair Waldorf on the front steps. We did so for a WHILE.

Is it a good place to cry?

I think in general, people don’t frown upon being emotional and moved by art, so it’s acceptable here.
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I should note that I actually did tear up when a class of 8-year-old schoolchildren was discussing a mural, and it was honestly just because this one little girl was so smart and articulate that I was just very happy for her.

Should you throw away your shot?

No! We were sad we didn’t have enough time to go through the entire museum and thoughtfully look at all the pieces. Like Disneyland, The Met needs one of those two-day passes so you can see everything.

Working on my (To)Night (Show) Cheese – 30 Rock


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Would it be a good place for a duel?

No. Security is so tight at 30 Rock that they won’t even let you take a picture inside the screening room where they show you a video on the history of NBC before the actual tour. 

Is it a good place to cry?

Yes, if you’re the type who gets emo at seeing the Saturday Night Live set IRL.

Should you throw away your shot?

Meh – the tour is fine, and worth the $30ish ticket. If you plan ahead, you can get into a taping of Late Night or the Tonight Show like we did, and that was a lifelong dream come true.  The taping was free, but getting a high five from Jimmy himself – priceless.

 

Best of Hams & Best of Ham4Hams

Welcome to #Hamilweek! The Tony Awards are this Sunday, and until then we’re going to write like we’re running out of time (sorry). Hamilton is one of the first hit musicals of the social media era. Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast realize that a majority of the fans can’t make it to the show, so they try their best to bring an up-close experience to their supporters through the magic of the internet. Case in point: Ham4Ham. Originally intended to give people who don’t win the ticket lotto a consolation prize, it has grown into a must-watch YouTube sensation. We could easily put every damn Ham4Ham on the list, but we tried to narrow it down a bit. Here are some of the best of Hams and best of Ham4Hams:

 

We Three Kings

Hamilton has been #blessed with three (now four) very talented men to play King George – Brian d’Arcy James, Jonathan Groff and Andrew Rannells. The great tragedy is that they never get to grace the stage at the same time. So it was invevitable that a Hamilfan suggested the three of them get together to sing The Schuyler Sisters. Request on Twitter and ye shall receive, so Lin organized this lip sync version featuring royalty. I love this because someone actually cut all the best angles together to create the best supercut. The fandom is great. – T

Star Techs

An amazing example of the behind-the-scenes coordination and dedication needed to produce a single number in the show. Ladies and gentlemen, I present stage manager Jason Bassett calling cues with the rhythm and timing of a star performer. -M

I Don’t Own Emotion, I Rent

For the 20th anniversary of Rent, we dedicated a week of posts to the revolutionary rock musical. Similarly, Lin sang What You Own with a very special guest (still not over this). -T

Patti LuP-owned It

Whenever I’m tempted to half-ass something from now on, I’m going to remember that Patti LuPone does the whole damn introduction to Give My Regards To Broadway that NOBODY DOES. -M

I’ma Compel Him To Include Women in the Sequel

First the Kings take over for the Schuyler Sisters, then the fierce women take over for A. Ham and the rest of the squad for My Shot. There was a rumor a while ago that the touring production was auditioning females for the male roles and vice versa – it proved to me false, but this video alone shows the ladies are more than ready to go. – T

THIS IS PAVEMENT YOU GUYS.

This is one of those Ham4Hams that has nothing to do with the show – not the performers, not the music, just members of the New York City ballet making my brain explode by performing on the sidewalk so beautifully that it made me want to cry. -M

WERK

For one day, the #Ham4Ham turned into #Bam4Ham, as the the cast took a field trip to Washington D.C. to perform for the president. Naturally, Lin took advantage of the setting and recorded three digital Ham4Hams, including this one, which again features the ladies of the show. I still get chills every time I watch it. Which is a lot. It’s a reminder that the story they’re telling at the Richard Rodgers stemmed from real events, not just made up characters for a Broadway show. That Hamilton and the rest of the founding fathers built this nation from the ground up, and these beautiful actors have the privilege of telling their story.  -T

Fun Ham

If you’ve read Chernow’s biography, or just engaged in some deep-Googling, you probably know that Alexander and Eliza had eight children. And if you’re a youngest or middle child, you won’t be surprised that everyone only talks about the oldest. The Fun Home kids bring the other Hamilton sibs to life and tell you a little about their accomplishments. Is Oscar Williams old enough to play Phillip when Anthony Ramos leaves (long may Anthony Ramos remain, though)? -M

Minamahal Kita

This Ham4Ham holds a special place in my heart because it was the video that informed me Lin’s longterm girlfriend in college was Filipino. And like the type of Filipino that taught her boyfriend conversational Tagalog. And that Lin is the type of person that would compose a song in Taglish (Tagalog and English) to mack on his girl. My brain exploded and all that came out were the emojis with heart eyes. Oh, also Queen of the Philippines Lea Salonga is in this too. -T

Heights4Ham

Chances are if you love Hamilton, you loved Lin’s first venture, In The Heights, as well … and this miniature ITH reunion was better than I even hoped for. Karen Olivo, everyone! -M

Funny Girl

Has anyone proven that Jasmine Cephas Jones ISN’T magic? At least a little bit?

Silky Strikes Again

Leslie Odom Jr. could me the McDonalds value menu and I’d be so enthralled by it that I’d buy every damn thing. But when you mix my fave track Wait For It with an emotional song like Stars from Les Mis – forget it. I am undone. -T

~*BFFLs*~

I love Jimmy Fallon. I love Lin-Manuel Miranda. They are both equally cinnamon rolls too precious for this world. So when they get together it’s sugar overload. What? Yes. Just watch. – T

If I Was A Schuyler

Tevye’s daughters from the Fiddler On The Roof (including Lin’s former intern!) make their best case for appearing as the Schuyler sisters. I’m sold. -M

Kyle Jean-Baptiste

Summer 2015: in addition to the diverse cast playing the founding fathers in Hamilton, Broadway had its first black Valjean in Kyle Jean-Baptiste. You could, and can, feel theater changing. This is bittersweet now: Kyle died tragically at just 21 years old, but thanks to this Ham4Ham we can still appreciate his talent.

A Little Verklempt: Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special

It’s a good thing I get President’s Day off, because otherwise I’d be taking a mental health day today. The SNL 40th Anniversary Special had me up to my eyeballs in feelings. I knew it would, because I remember how it felt watching the 25th Anniversary Special as an SNL-obsessed toddler teenager. Obviously we were primed to love everything on our screens last night, but here’s what I loved the most of the most:

Opening Musical Number with Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon

Did you start off counting the throwback references and quit because the number was so jam-packed? There were shout outs to Lazy Sunday, Dick In A Box, the Ambiguously Gay Duo, Matt Foley, the wild and crazy guys, Debbie Downer, the cheerleaders, the “don’t make me dance” lady, the Blues Brothers, cowbell, Mary Katherine Gallagher, and a bunch more.

The Opening Credits

The only thing missing was Don Pardo. Yes, I’m talking about the list of people who would appear in the show. During our high school masses sometimes they’d roll out the litany of the saints, where the school chorus would just bust out a list of Catholics. The opening introduction of SNL 40 was the closest I’ll get to a personally relevant litany of the saints. But with Sarah Palin in there also.

The Bass-o-matic

Do you ever have that dream that you’re on stage and you’re supposed to be performing a play you were in years ago? And you worry that you’ll screw up your lines and blocking, and in the good version of the dream as soon as you’re out there it all comes rushing back. I bet this felt like a real-life good version of that dream to Dan Ackroyd.

Jeopardy

ALL of my favorite Jeopardy idiots in one go? AMAZING. From Kate McKinnon’s spot-on human piddling puppy Justin Bieber, to Sean Connery’s filthy misreads of Let It Snow and Who Reads (Le Tits Now and Whore Ads), it was hilarious and – success! – went on for exactly the right amount of time.

Audition Reels

If there’s one thing that makes me verklempt (and there are a billion things, we did a whole week on it), it’s seeing successful people during those little tenuous moments before things started for them. Just the idea that they were living a normal-isn life and couldn’t know how much things would be changing is so sweet. The one that really got me was seeing a baby-faced, slightly nervous looking Amy Poehler. Andy Samberg as a jogger from 1982, Jimmy Fallon looking like he took a cab over after junior high, Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig debuting some of their most famous characters – it was like when you see baby pictures of people you’ve only seen as adults.

The Californians

Everyone I know loves the Californians, and I only ever just liked it. This one was different. Laraine Newman cracked me up, Betty White making out with Bradley Cooper was the best thing I’ve seen in weeks, and even Taylor Swift’s wacky accent and hair-mustache were hilarious.

WEEKEND UPDATE DREAM TEAM!

Highlight of the night, here. I had hoped for a Tina/Amy reunion, or a Tina/Jimmy, Amy/Seth showdown, but I hadn’t even dared to dream we’d get Jane Curtin. Watching the clip reel of past Update moments, it’s really clear that some people are just better at it. They have the right combination of charisma and crisp, sharp delivery to make the jokes land hard. I’m not here to name names of the people who weren’t as good (though let’s just say that everyone I listed was amazing, and I think Cecily Strong had the makings of being darn good too). Anyway, whenever anyone starts the job, I think they should sit in a room and watch tape of Jane to see how it’s done.

[Sidebar: my favorite Jane Curtin story is also a Gilda Radner story. Compared to the coked-out masses of the early Not Ready For Primetime Players, Curtin was always very straight-laced and diligent. She had a stable marriage and was basically just normal. Gilda would go over to Jane’s house just to watch Jane and her husband Patrick Lynch make dinner and act like regular people. Jane felt like it was a little weird, but of course she let Gilda keep coming over because she so loved seeing regular, happy people in their natural habitat. So while Jane Curtin pulls off the stern, ball-busting news anchor thing, she’s a giant sweetheart at the same time.]

The celebrity tributes to their favorite characters was an adorable way to bring back Roseanne Rosannadanna (Emma Stone, who nailed it and looked like she was living a Gilda fan’s dream) and Matt Foley (Melissa McCarthy, physical comedy for DAYS). They were perfectly framed not as an attempt to replace Chris Farley and Gilda Radner, but as recognition of what all fans did growing up, impersonating recurring characters. And of course, no Update segment would be complete without the return of Seth Meyers and Stefan and the land shark at the update door.

Maya Rudolph as Beyonce

With appearances by Garth and Cat, Marty Culp and Bobbi Mohan-Culp, Opera Man, What’s Up With That, the Love Theme from Jaws, and the Blues Brothers.

Jerry Seinfeld Q and A

The audience Q and A is a classic SNL opener, and this one with an all-celeb audience was great. Ellen Cleghorne really stole the show though, didn’t she?

Tracy Morgan

Yes, I shed a little tear when Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin introduced a clip of Tracy Morgan, who is still recovering from last year’s car accident and couldn’t be there last night.

Digital Short: That’s When You Break

Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler are a perfect pairing, and it felt so right to celebrate the many times cast members have cracked up over the years. But mostly Fallon and Sanz.

In Memoriam

Look. I cannot watch Gilda Radner without my heart breaking and singing at the same time. I knew that part would make me cry a bit, and it did. There are some other cast members, like Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks, who were taken far too soon. But I was especially touched to see the tributes to the crew members who have passed on. Next time you watch SNL, pay attention to one non-performing aspect of the show, whether it’s sets or costumes or props or cue cards. The show wouldn’t have made it 40 years if they didn’t have one of the best crews in television. It felt so special to acknowledge their efforts, especially in a room full of performers from all different eras who knew firsthand how important these workers were. It was also fitting to end with a moment of levity, mourning the untimely loss of John Lovitz.

Mega-Goodnight

I should probably watch the goodnights in slow-mo, because it was like a Where’s Waldo of awesome people who I love. The whole night was, really.

 

 

Laughing All The Way: The Best SNL Holiday Sketches

The holidays are a time for being with friends and family, giving presents, getting presents, eating too much, etc. etc. And at the root of all this is something so simple – cheer. We revel in being around people and doing things that make us happy, because that’s what this time of year is all about.

One of the things that make us joyful, not only during Christmas but all year round, is Saturday Night Live. It has a storied history of making viewers laugh every Saturday night, and in December, there are sketches that dreams are made of. For our final December playlist installment, we present to you the sketches that make us laugh, make us cry from laughing, that just make us happy. And hopefully you’ll catch the contagious cheer this season and all year round.

Molly’s Picks

Consumer Probe (1976)

I’m going to yank you back into memory lane for a second. I started watching SNL regularly when I was 10 or so, because I’m the fourth kid and my parents DGAF. But before that, I’d get to stay up and watch when my family swarmed my grandparents’ house for the holidays. Around Christmas, that often meant ancient repeats or compilation episodes, which is how I got acquainted with the original Not Ready For Primetime Players. This sketch, with Dan Aykroyd schilling unsafe children’s toys like Bag O’ Glass and Johnny Switchblade, played right into my silly little-kid comedy sensibilities. As a grownup, I find it even funnier. [watch here]

Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood (1984)

Would I find this one so funny if, during the Cabbage Patch craze, my uncle hadn’t sold my parents a bootleg Cabbage Patch Kid that was stuffed with gasoline-soaked rags? They took the rags out, restuffed it, and gave it to my siblings. We’re all adults now so I think I can write that without fear of us being removed from their custody. Anyway, I think the answer is yes. Yes, I would still find it so funny.

Steve Martin’s Holiday Wish (1986)

At Christmastime, we all say stupid stuff about wanting world peace and for the children of the world to join hands in perfect harmony or whatever, but deep down, we all want stuff. Stuff, and revenge.

The Sweeney Sisters Bells Medley (1986)

Watching Nora Dunn and Jan Hooks’ characters try a bit too hard to sell the unfunny Christmas banter and the Carol Of The Bells now just makes me think of how darn funny Jan Hooks was. Which reminds me of another family Christmas tradition – my pessimistic grandmother chiming “laugh today, cry tomorrow!” over the laughter of children.  [watch here]

Dysfunctional Family Christmas (1990)

Is your family passive-aggressive, or just aggressive-aggressive? Is your only family tradition disappointing your parents and drinking to forget? Does someone always call someone else fat? Then screw Jingle Bells, this should be the soundtrack to your family festivities. [watch here]

Mary Katherine Gallagher’s Christmas Concert (1996)

This is 90s as heck: Molly Shannon’s Mary Katherine Gallagher character, Rosie O’Donnell as a Catholic school nun, Penny Marshall on piano, and Whitney Houston as that one girl who gets all the solos. This is the cast that was on SNL when I started watching religiously, and rewatching this sketch reminds me that I came in at a good time. [watch here]

Martha Stewart’s Topless Christmas Special (1996)

Once again, take yourself back to the 90s. Before the market was saturated with celebrity chefs and DIY empires, Martha Stewart was the WASP-y face of American perfectionism. Ana Gasteyer posing with a boys’ choir while wearing just a dickie cracked me up in 1996 – and it still does.

The Narrator That Ruined Christmas (2001)

We were all so unmoored those first months after 9/11 that it felt disrespectful to do anything without acknowledging that something awful had happened. Even our high school homecoming t-shirts had an American flag on the back that year. I was reminded of that last month, when my family drove through an outdoor light display. There, in megawatt glow, were the twin towers with the words “Never Forgotten” underneath. I’m sure that display was purchased in Christmas 2001, when it felt like even a charity light setup should nod to our collective grief. Anyway, that’s how my 5-year-old nephew learned about 9/11.  This Saturday TV Funhouse takes you right back to that feeling, with the stop-motion snowman narrator giving up on holiday joy. Writers of this one included Stephen Colbert and Louis CK.

Two A-Holes In A Live Nativity Scene (2007)

The two a-holes are recurring characters that never really got their due. They played off the mid-2000s reality tv, conspicuous consumption, vocal fry trope, and you will never hear “myrrh” the same way again. [watch here]

Do It On My Twin Bed (2013)

This music video highlights how solid the current female cast is. Lil Baby Aidy and the gang are the stars of this “funny because it’s true” new classic: everything, from surly neighbor Jean to a high-status family member sprawling out in the guest suite, from the awkward junior high photos to the time capsule-like childhood bedroom, is part of the Christmas experience when you’re spending the holidays with your family.

Traci’s Picks

Motivational Santa (1994)

I got into SNL around middle school, so like the Cheerleaders, Superstar, Leon Phelps, Mango era. I didn’t do my research before that and admittedly have only seen a select sketches from anything before like 1996. Among those select sketches was Chris Farley as Motivational Speaker, Matt Foley. You know, the guy who lives in a van down by the river? He sometimes moonlights as a Santa, therefore making him a Motivational Santa that is even more frightening and alarming than ever before. Screen your Santa before taking your kids to them, folks. {watch video here}

Delicious Dish (1998)

This sketch is not only one of the most famous holiday sketches but SNL sketches of all time. As NPR hosts, Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon have the perfect tone to their voice as they talk about culinary delights on their talk show. When Alec Baldwin joins them, the NPR ladies secured themselves in the SNL Hall of Fame. Of course throughout the sketch, they make double entendres left and right, but it isn’t until Alec says, “No one can resist the taste of my Schweddy Balls”, did the audience go crazy and millions of viewers knew the skit would go down in history.

Wish it Was Christmas Today (2000)

I am a total FalPal (Jimmy Fallon fan, obvs). My love for Jimmy started around his era on SNL. This particular sketch I remember finding so ridiculous, yet so catchy. My friend and I used to crush of Jimmy  so hard and just sing this song a lot, which is definitely not annoying at all. While it started as a Christmas sketch, they went on to do it multiple times, altering the lyrics for different holidays. While I am a purist and enjoy the OG one from 2000 the most, the 2011 version when Horatio, Chris and Tracy surprised everyone while Jimbo was hosting, comes in at a close second.

Weekend Update Characters

It was already extremely hard for us to pick our favorites for this list because we are insane and just love SNL, so here’s a group of the best recurring characters of Weekend Update and their Christmas-themed visits to the desk.

This segment has everything – Tranderson Cooper, Taylor Negron, Kite Enthusiasts and human parking cones (it’s that thing of when two jacked midgets paint themselves orange and you have to parallel park between them).

Kids today just leave Santa almond milk and Instagraham crackers. Can you put some quinoa in my spin class, please?

Look, I loved when Cecily was at the desk with Seth, but I’m also glad she’s not on the desk anymore so she can do this character. Everything coming out of her mouth is ridiculous and perfect.

Oh, how I love Garth and Kat. Fred and Kristen make a great team as it is, but when you put them in substitute teacher outfits and make them sing songs, it’s even better. On top of that, there’s not only the element of improv on Fred’s behalf, but like double improv with Kristen just copying every word of improv Fred’s saying. It’s a masterclass in Yes, and.

Taran Killam plays a newspaper movie critic from the 1800s and he hates everything. And he’s not afraid to say it. And the audience is also not afraid to let him know when they don’t like a joke. The best part might be when Seth laughs when one of the jokes gets absolutely no response from the crowd.

Glengarry Glen Christmas (2005)

Alec Baldwin is obviously brilliant every episode he’s done (16, the record for most times hosting), and per this list, he’s a staple in class holiday sketches, too. This one is a Christmas spoof on his popular role in Glengarry Glen Christmas, but this time, he’s taking over Santa’s factory and having a talk with the elves. I had seen this version before the original, which I suggest you watch here, but I still thought it was hilarious. After having seen the scene in the movie it was based on, it’s even more hilarious and spot on. Rachel, Fred, Amy, and Seth (who wrote the sketch!) are all perfect in this scene, and so is Alec, who accidentally makes a perfect slip-up in the middle.

Christmas for the Jews (2005)

One of the best ‘modern’ Christmas songs IMO is Darlene Love’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). It’s not the holidays until you hear this song, which is why she was the perfect choice to sing this tune for Saturday TV Funhouse. Christmas for the Jews tells a tale of how Jews revel in the fact all the Gentiles are inside celebrating Christmas, and they are free to ‘go see King Kong without a line’ or ‘Eat in a Chinese restaurant and drink some sweet wine’. Darlene’s legit-ness is what makes this song so good and another ‘modern day’ Christmas classic.

Dick in a Box (2006)

There was a period of time when I was in college that I wasn’t able to watch SNL as religiously as I had been before, which was sad for me, but also, it meant I had a some semblance of a social life? (LOL) I was at my friend’s apartment when she asked if I had seen Dick in a Box yet, and I hadn’t. We immediately watched it online (because this was when the whole YouTube/viral thing was just becoming a thing), and I basically died. Like Christmas for the Jews, Dick in a Box is actually a great song, lyrics aside. Lyrics included, still a great song. Speaking of lyrics, don’t mind the Spanish subtitles. Or do, it’s take D in a B to a whole new level.

Santa’s My Boyfriend (2006)

Just like Dick in a Box, I may know all the words (and maybe some harmonies) to this cold open from the SNL queens, including Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig. You think at first it’s going to be a cute song about Santa and Christmas, but alas, this is SNL.

The Kissing Family: Holiday Affection (2010)

Like a bad car wreck, the Vogelcheck family is something that you should drive right past and not pay attention to, but you just can’t look away. Paul Rudd is the best at this sketch, because he just goes for it. I mean, anyone who agrees to do this sketch has to go for it, but he just goes.for.it. And so does Hader. Bless. {watch video here}

Jimmy Fallon’s Monologue (2011)

When Jimmy Fallon walked on stage as a host for the Christmas show in 2011, it was the first time he had been in Studio 8H since he left in 2004. I made no plans the night he hosted, and watched this episode ‘live’ west coast time in my bedroom, standing next to my TV 90% of the time because I was just SO EXCITED. And it all started with his monologue, because as soon as he hit his mark, you could tell it was a big moment for him. And just like Jimmy, he just wanted the monologue to be Fun with a capital F. I have a feeling he came up with the idea to just have the entire cast sing and dance with him at the end and if you’re not watching this without a big smile on your face, you’re a big ol’ grinch. By altering the lyrics to Darlene Love’s hit song, this cold open embodied exactly what’s at the heart of the holidays – ‘It’ so good to be home’. {Watch video here}

Everybody Who’s Anybody Is On Sesame Street

I have been waiting YEARS for someone to tell me how to get to Sesame Street. They drop the question in the theme song, but the show debuted 45 years ago today and still nobody has answered it.

When I was 3, one of the kids who hung around Mr. Hooper’s store looked like my neighborhood best friend, and I stewed for days over how she got on the show.

In preschool, Sesame Street led to my first ever wave of nostalgia. On a class field trip, my teacher turned on Sesame Street for us in her conversion van, and I realized that the show was still airing every day without me – when I was stuck playing duck duck goose with a bunch of sticky-handed tots who couldn’t even read yet. Remember, this was 1990, when there were no 24-hour children’s networks or YouTube clips. The only way to get to Sesame Street was to stay home from school.

A few years after that, one of my friends was convinced she was going to be on Sesame Street because of a donation her mom made during the annual PBS drive. Nope, that’s not how you get to Sesame Street either!

And now, as a full adult, I’d like to get to Sesame Street more than ever. Sure, part of it is that it represents a time in life when you could watch t.v. in your pajamas during the day. But mostly, these days it’s all about the guest stars. These clips make me feel as mad as I did in 1990, realizing that Sesame Street dares to go on without me every day:

Comedians Are On Sesame Street!

Jon Stewart delivered the fake, fake news.

Amy Poehler exercised (sort of!) with Elmo.

Ricky Gervais says “stumble” so many times it no longer sounds like a word.

And Cedric The Entertainer makes me wonder whether canteens are more relevant to kids’ lives than I realized. I grew up in the era of juice boxes.

Tina Fey is some sort of a book pirate.

What’s more adorable than Jimmy Fallon? Jimmy Fallon with Elmo. It’s all a bit much  for me.


Maya Rudolph raps, sings and dances with Elmo. Also I think she has a real future in children’s television, if she wants it.

Conan O’Brien does startlingly good dog impressions.

Even Saturday Night Live itself is on Sesame Street.

Actors Are On Sesame Street!

John Kraskinski talks about the meaning of the word soggy, interacts with a non-Elmo Muppet, and is just generally as cute as a bug’s ear.

And he’s not the only cast member of The Office to make the trip from Scranton to… is it supposed to be New York? Steve Carrell teaches us about the importance of voting and snacks.

Melissa McCarthy learns choreography from a penguin with Elmo and it’s exactly as delightful as it sounds.

Jonah Hill is making sure today’s youth are aware of the inexplicable mustache trend that’s sweeping the nation.

Benedict Cumberbatch is just generally rakishly charming, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Tom Hiddleston. See comments re: Cumberbatch, Benedict.

Kristen Bell instructs us on the word “splatter” but does not instruct us on how she has managed not to age since Veronica Mars.

Our hometown hero, Taye Diggs, makes a three-year-old puppet drive him around.

Musicians Are On Sesame Street!

Remember when you couldn’t get away from Call Me Maybe? Well, it even made it to Sesame Street (no Carly Rae Jepsen, though).

Bruno Mars doesn’t want you to give up if you’re the kind of child who is bad at catching balls.

Usher teaches the alphabet and it’s just really, really good.

Even Queen Bey herself made it to Sesame Street, during her Destiny’s Child days.

You may remember this Katy Perry performance because a bunch of parents got mad that their toddlers, who stopped breastfeeding probably under 2 years ago, were exposed to Perry’s boobs. I really don’t know.

Delightful tap-percussioned group Tilly And The Wall even swung by for kids parents who are a bit more into the indie scene.

Political Figures Are On Sesame Street!

Sandra Sotomayor is hanging out with Abby Cadabby,  melting my cold lawyerly heart, and letting kids know that princess isn’t a job.

Kofi Annan suggests that the muppets resolve their conflict “the United Nations Way”; thereby creating a “choose your own punchline” moment for the grownups watching.

Michelle Obama does a little light gardening.

And lest you think Sesame Street is partisan, Laura Bush reads a book.

Assorted famous people of 1991 are on Sesame Street!

We focused on currently famous folks, but Sesame Street has been hosting celebs since before the age of the remote control. This video features a number of early 90s superstars, but if you search through the Sesame Street archives you can find many more guest stars who were on the show while you were stuck in school, wishing for another field trip so you could hop in a conversion van and get to Sesame Street via the grainy tv set.

 

 

 

Man Crush Monday: John Krasinski

I think it’s only appropriate that today’s Man Crush Monday goes out to one of the loves of my life, John Krasinski – this, on the day of his 35th birthday.

You probably know John as the only sane guy working at Dunder Mifflin in The Office. You may also know him as Emily Blunt’s husband, Hazel Krasinski’s father, or the dude who does the voiceovers for Esurance. To me, he is one of those people that always ends up on the short list of my ‘celebrity crushes’ (I definitely don’t have that written down somewhere) because of his charm, wit, and acting abilities. So to celebrate the anniversary of his birth, let’s go over just a few of the reasons why JKras is my Man Crush for this Monday and all Mondays to come.

He’s a Boston Boy

John was born and raised in Newton, Massachusetts, which is right on the outskirts of Boston. Being that Boston is like a second home to me, I feel like we have a connection – especially since he is proudly wearing all that Celtics/Red Sox garb making him even hotter. Also I have friends who are from Newtown and we may or may not have found out where he grew up/his parents’ house is and may or may not have done a drive by. It’s fine. Not at all creepy.

He’s An Ivy League Grad

While attending Newton South High School, John starred a play (which The Office co-star BJ Novak wrote) but it didn’t really make him want to become an actor. He was accepted to Brown University but was put on the wait list so decided to go to Costa Rica to teach English before heading off to college for the second semester. While at Brown, he helped coach a local youth basketball team. I mean smart and philanthropic? Are you real? So he went in as an English major and didn’t get the real acting bug until he was part of a staged reading for David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, which, full circle, he adapted for film and starred in directed in it in 2009. It was during that reading that he realized he could use his talents to become an actor and writer. He ended up graduated from Brown with honors in English as a playwright.

He’s Charming As All Hell

Salesman Jim Halpert was a charming motherfucker who was just too good to ever stay at Dunder Mifflin, but it all worked out since he got the girl in the end. But that charm and wit is not just Jim Halpert – it comes from John Krasinski. It’s hard to see anyone else in that role because JKras made it what it was. In fact I think both Adam Scott and John Cho were up for the role, so can you imagine how much more different Jim would be if they were cast. If you’ve seen any of his TV interviews, you know how personable he is, and this video is just one example. If you listen closely, you can hear women all over the world droppin their panties during the vid.

He Was Meant To Be Jim Halpert

After he decided to be an actor, John moved to New York City in hopes of being living the dream – being paid to act. He was waiting tables and not really getting any work and got to the point where he was ready to give up. He said he would go on one more audition, and if it didn’t work, it would be a sign that he needed to pick a new career path. That audition was for The Office and the rest is history. John has said that the show has changed his life in more ways than one, not only with all the professional success in his life, but if he had never moved out to Los Angeles to shoot the show, and if the show never took off the way it did, he would have never been able to meet his wife, the lovely Emily Blunt. He was meant to be Jim Halpert, just like Jenna Fischer was meant to be his Pam. ❤ ❤ OTP ❤ ❤

He’s the Most Adorable When He Breaks

With all the hilarious material the folks at The Office were given, it’s nearly impossible to not laugh during a scene. This is evident in all the bloopers from the nine seasons of the show, which I admittedly have watched way too many times. While John is a tall drink of a man, when he breaks, he kind of turns into a giggly little girl. It’s totes adorbs.

He Is Great At Physical Comedy

John wasn’t given a lot of physical comedy during The Office, but if you want to see his lanky self do some hilarious bits, watch License to Wed or Leatherheads. Or just watch him doing this amazing marionette bit over and over and over again.

He Is Great At Drama, Too

Because he’s most known for his role on The Office, people don’t automatically think of him as a dramatic actor. But that will change if you see him in one of my personal favorite movies, Away We Go. I originally saw this movie strictly for him, but I was delightfully surprised to see that it was actually a wonderful film. Plus you can’t go wrong when you share the screen with Maya Rudolph, Allison Janney and Chris Messina.

He Has The Greatest Wife

When your celebrity crush gets married, the only thing that will cure your shattered (delusional) dreams is if the person they’re marrying is equally as awesome. Luckily, John married the equally awesome Emily Blunt who is devastatingly beautiful and talented and funny. And when they’re together, it’s even better. Have you checked out their Ice Bucket Challenges?!

He’s The Greatest Dad

LIKE, CAN U NOT, KRASINSKIS? CAN U ACTUALLY NOT.

He Wins All The Lip Sync Battles


I AM NOT STOPPING WITH THE CAPS LOCK BECAUSE I SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST. YOU MAY HAVE SEEN EMMA STONE AND JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT CHALLENGE JIMMY FALLON IN A LIP SYNC BATTLE, BUT THE PERSON WHO STARTED IT ALL WAS JOHN KRASINSKI. AND WHEN THEY DID THIS FOR THE FIRST TIME I’M PRETTY SURE I LIT’RALLY SWOONED. I STILL SWOON. MAKE SURE YOU’RE SITTING DOWN BEFORE YOU WATCH THIS.

Playlist of the Month: Birthday Dance Party For Poehler

Today is one of our favorite days of the entire year, and I know what you’re thinking – yet another post dedicated to National Stepfamily Day. Well we’re here to shake things up a bit because today we get to celebrate the birthday of, essentially, the patron saint of this blog, Amy Meredith Poehler.

Amy is everything we could ever want in a person with high celebrity status – gorgeous, hilarious, charming, talented, philanthropic, and an inspiration to us all.

So in honor of the most beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk ox on the day of her birth, we’ve compiled a collection of songs by Poehler or remind us of her infectiously bright aura. And we’re going to do it up just like Smart Girls at the Party videos end – with a dance party!

PS: Shoutout to Eileen and William Poehler for bringing this ray of sunshine into the world.

Molly’s Picks

Sarah Palin Rap: Amy Poehler feat. Eskimos

It’s hard to believe that Amy could gestate a healthy human child while nursing such sick rhymes. However, everybody knows that exceptionally pregnant women make the best rappers. From M.I.A. at the 2009 Grammys, to Amy right here, when a lady is super-pregnant it seems like anything could fly out of her at any time — be it a baby or an iconic rap performance.

Shake It Off – Taylor Swift

Who, us throw shade? Nah. T.Swizzle may have had a hard time understanding that Amy and Tina Fey made jokes about her … during an awards show when they were being paid to make jokes about people … but you know what? I bet she’s shaken off all those hard feelings by now. I like to think that there are special places in hell for both of them.

Back To School: A freestyle rap battle from Comedy Bang Bang, featuring Amy Poehler, Adam Pally, and Scott Aukerman

It’s no mistake that we’re both including Amy Poehler’s signature freestyle raps on the list. I first heard this ditty on a Comedy Bang Bang podcast when I was out running jogging walking in workout clothes, and I swear I replayed it three times – which was hard, because I was exercising so hard  also eating a soft pretzel.

Five Foot Two Eyes Of Blue – Guy Lombardo & Kenny Gardner

Did you know that seeing a smiley face on paper makes you happier? It’s true! That’s why waiters leave smiley faces at the end of the bill sometimes – so you cheer up and pay up. Did you know that dancing around like you’re from the 1920s with fake Charleston moves is also proven to make you happier? Okay, proven by me. But still, if you make every dance party a Gatsby dance party, you’ll feel downright sunny.

If you’re 5’2 and have blue eyes, chances are at some point a very old person has sang the “Five Foot Two Eyes Of Blue” song at you. If somehow Amy Poehler has survived 43 years without that happening, we’re here to change that. Other than that part the song doesn’t really apply to her, as it is a missing persons report for a flapper. That’s how they had to find missing ladies before Nancy Grace.

Protect Ya Neck – Wu Tang Clan

Did you know that RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan almost snagged the role of Leslie Knope? Although it didn’t exactly pan out that way, ?uestlove does have a point: Parks and Recreation is the Wu-Tang Clan of the sitcom world, which I’m pretty sure makes Amy Poehler the RZA of her show. Or ODB, maybe. This particular song isn’t necessarily Poehler-specific, but if we’re talking about Wu we have to include the best song from their best album. Maybe don’t listen if you’re sensitive about swearing, violence, or name-dropping the 90s mall brand Aeropostale. It was a different time.

 

Traci’s Picks

BUTTER: A freestyle rap battle from Comedy Bang Bang , featuring Amy Poehler, Alan Thicke (Paul F. Tompkins), Scott Aukerman, and Neil Campbell

If you don’t listen to Comedy Bang Bang, you should probably start. Host Scott Auckerman invites comedians to his studio and crazyness ensues. It’s really hard to describe, because lit’rally anything and everything happens and there’s no way to anticipate what’s going to come out of the guests’ mouths. But sometimes, there are recurring bits, including these freestyle rap battles. And I mean, where else would you hear Amy Poehler rapping about butter? Yes, butter. Amy Poehler rapping is everything I love about her, and why she is my spirit animal. She seems like a charming gal on the outside, but there’s a side to her that is a hardcore rapper wanting to come out.

Poker Face – Lady Gaga

In the Pawnee Zoo episode of Parks and Recreation, Leslie accidentally marries two gay penguins, and while she is condemned by a lot of the regular Pawnee citizens, she becomes a hero amongst the gays. And when she goes into the gay club, The Bulge, she’s feted like a regular Madonna/Cher/Beyonce and gets wasted and sings Poker Face at the DJ booth. American treasure.

Santa’s My Boyfriend – SNL

There was like a short two and a half season run on SNL where Amy, Maya and Kristen were all on SNL at the same time and it was pure magic. This is one of my favorite Christmas/Poehler SNL sketches and I may or may not randomly listen to it throughout the year.

We’re Not Gonna Take It – Late Night with Jimmy Fallon vs. Parks and Recreation

Sometime during the first(ish) season of Late Night and Parks, Jimbo invited his pal Poehlstar and her fellow co-stars to do one of the earliest digital video parodies, this time for Glee. The two groups were fighting over “sectionals” and an epic sing/dance off ensues. Also, Amy’s sporting a cute baby bump accessory in this vid and doesn’t even act like she’s preggo.

Girls (Who Run The World) – Beyonce

I mean, because, obviously.

I’m Overly Emotional About Chris Pratt

Earlier this year, Chris Pratt was a guest on one of the final Late Night with Jimmy Fallon episodes before he took over The Tonight Show, and Pratt told the story of the first time they met. When he was first starting out in the business, Pratt got nominated for a Teen Choice Award – and lost – but he also presented a surfboard and did a comedy bit that he didn’t think went over too well. A justifiably disappointed Pratt ran into Jimmy backstage, and Jimmy told him, ‘Great job, man. You were really funny tonight’.

Pratt admitted that the moment meant so much to him since the compliment came from one of the best comedians around and Jimbo cheered him up despite the fact he bombed on stage. He then said something that has stuck with me ever since, and maybe made me (and Jimmy) cry a little. He told Jimmy, “I think you deserve all your success because you were nice to me and nice people deserve success.”

It’s so simple but it’s so true. If you put positive energy and good vibes into the world, it will surely come back to you. And that’s why I’m weirdly proud and happy for Chris Pratt becoming a huge movie star.

Let’s get this out there first – I’m obviously not friends with Pratt IRL. I’m just a Parks and Recreation fan who, like many other fans of the show, have watched this guy turn into a literal superhero. His comedic timing and delivery on Parks has always been on point, and creator Mike Schur will even tell you that Pratt is one of the best improvisers on the show – and this show stars Amy Poehler.

When Pratt got cast in Moneyball, it was exciting for me as a fan to see him in this Oscar-nominated film with BRAD PITT. I mean he was sitting next to Brad in a joint interview on Ellen and I was like – CHRIS PRATT – OF EVERWOOD AND THE OC AND FRIGGIN ANDY DWYER IS SITTING IN BETWEEN ELLEN DEGENERES AND BRAD PITT!!! Crazypants. Then he went on to star in two more Oscar-nominated films, Zero Dark Thirty and Her, and I still got a weird feeling of pride, it was like witnessing a friend on the verge of superstardom.

So in 2011, I went to a TV Academy event for Parks and Rec, where they screen an episode and most of the cast is there to talk about the show and convince Academy members to vote for them in the Emmys. After the panel, the actors usually stick around to take pix and and sign autographs for the fans, and that, kids, is how I met Chris Pratt.

Photo Aug 04, 10 26 34 PM

I usually prep myself with like one thing to tell celebs when I meet them, and my point of discussion with Pratt was that I was looking forward to seeing the film What’s Your Number, which he filmed in Boston (seriously guys, I love that movie. Half-naked Chris Evans? What’s not to love?). I told him I went to school there and he started going on and on about how he loved Boston and how excited he was for the movie, and just conversing with me as if we were having a coffee date. I was thinking in my head, ‘Um, there is LIT’RALLY a line of people waiting to take a pic with you, but you just want to chat with me forever? Okay.’ He was so down to earth, and legit one of, if not the nicest, celebrities I’ve ever met, and I will always remember that about him.

Fast forward to present day, where Chris Pratt, a super jacked, funny and charming motherfucker is seemingly everywhere thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy. To many who didn’t know him before the lead in Marvel’s latest film, it was like he became an overnight sensation. I mean it made $160 million in the worldwide box office – that’s a lot of people who have seen Pratt’s abs and had no idea he looked like this at one point:

This one role has made him a MOVIE STAR in every sense of the word, and next year, I’m assuming he’ll become even bigger thanks to Jurassic World. And then, you know, the GotG sequel, etc. etc.

But one thing for sure is that fame won’t get to his head. He hasn’t let it so far and I don’t think he ever will. In all his interviews over the past few weeks, you can tell he’s still the same guy that started out as Bright Abbott or the lovable golden labrador retriever that is Andy Dwyer. He knows how lucky he is to go from living in a van in Hawaii to eventually becoming Star Lord. He can dominate a red (blue) carpet one day

and be extremely happy his wife is making him tater tots the next.

Screenshot 2014-08-04 23.45.24

So seeing Pratt receive all this attention and acclaim has kind of made me (irrationally?) emotional for someone I just met once. But doesn’t that say something in and of itself? That a 2 minute interaction would have such an impact on a fan that it makes her tear up when he gets a rousing round of applause as walks on stage for an interview with Letterman? Maybe I’m too emotional or maybe I’m too obsessed with Parks, but I believe that this is just the beginning of Chris Pratt’s long, successful career. He deserves all his success because he was so nice to me and nice people deserve success.

28 Co-stars Lindsay Lohan (Maybe) Didn’t Deserve

Well folks, she made it. Lindsay Lohan is celebrating her 28th year on earth today and we’re all alive to witness it. We’ve watched LiLo grow up in front of our very eyes – from The Parent Trap to acquiring an annoying celebrity nickname to befriending Oprah, Lindsay’s roots as a child star have putting her in the precarious position of being scrutinized in the public eye while still attempting to have a professional career. And while her heyday came between the late 90s and early 00s, Linds has still been in a number of films and TV cameos in her nearly 20 year career in the business, and many with exceptional co-stars. But let’s be real, how many of these outstanding co-stars deserved better than Lindsay Lohan? Hint: almost all of them. But in honor of Lindsay’s 28th birthday, here’s a definitive list of which of her former castmates deserved way better than a (in some cases, future) drug and alcohol addled LiLo to share the screen with.

28)  Megan Fox from Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen

Who knew Megan Fox would turn into one of Hollywood’s sexiest and most profitable stars? Well she did, even though it may have been hard to tell when she played opposite Lindsay in this teen musical movie. Actually, as I’m looking at this picture, maybe Lindsay’s hat should’ve been on the list instead.

27)  Tim Gunn in Project Runway

Linds served as a guest judge on the season six premiere of the fashion competition series, but let’s be real – the best part of Project Runway is Tim Gunn. And his fabulousness was wasted on Lindsay – like what even are those pants? She couldn’t even make those work.

26) The garbage can she fell into in Mean Girls

Warning: this is just the first of a few Mean Girls co-stars on this list – but I feel like one of the most iconic scenes from the movie is this one, with Lindsay’s legs just sticking straight up in the air. Who falls into a garbage can like that? And what ever happened to the garbage can after filming?

25)  Bette Midler in Bette

If you don’t remember this show, it’s because it didn’t last long – Lindsay played Bette Midler’s daughter in the pilot, but when production moved from New York (where she was based) to LA, she had to pull out. Probably for the best since the show was short-lived and Bette probs could’ve found another child star.

24) Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday

Jamie Lee Curtis: THE scream queen and certified babe of the 1980s/1990s. She quickly became an A-list actress and then she decided to do this Disney movie with LiLo? Not to mention she came from Hollywood royalty (Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis).

23) Woody Harrelson in  A Prairie Home Companion

I have a renewed love of Woody Harrelson after seeing him in The Hunger Games and True Detective. This guy can act. He’s not just the bartender from Cheers anymore (is that a reference people still make these days?) But his acting skills are severely undervalued and he should be playing quality roles like True Detective more often.

22) Natasha Richardson in The Parent Trap

To be fair, The Parent Trap kicked it all off for Lindsay, when she was still young and full of promise, so working with the great Natasha Richardson before her death is such an honor. Like Jamie, she’s Hollywood/possibly British royalty (Tony Richardson & Vanessa Redgrave) and was taken way too soon – Natasha seemed like a breath of fresh air when watching her on screen and made a simple kid’s film into a movie full of heart and hope.

21) Rachel McAdams in Mean Girls

Rachel McAdams is the actress that Lindsay should’ve become, if it weren’t for the, you know, downward spiral and all.

20) Jane Fonda in Georgia Rule

When Georgia Rule was made, Lindsay was in her prime – it was a post-Mean Girls world and she had so much hope and promise as a young actress that it’s obvious why Jane Fonda, a longtime veteran of the industry would want to work with her. It’s just that also around this time, Lindsay could barely work with herself.

19) Jimmy Fallon in SNL

After appearing in this classic Debbie Downer sketch (its first appearance on the show ever!), Jimmy has always been a fan/supporter of Lindsay – although who ISN’T he a fan of? Anyways, she’s appeared on his show multiple times and even participated in bits like Ew! JFal is one of the greatest comedians of our time and Lindsay’s just lucky he likes her.

18) Chris Parnell in Labor Pains/ SNL

I will say this about Lindsay: she’s actually been pretty good every time she hosts SNL. She’s not afraid to make fun of herself and always goes all in. Except for that last time she hosted – it was like Britney made her first public appearance since the meltdown and you could TELL she was on all these drugs to keep her sane. Anyways, SNL is clearly the breeding ground for the best comedians in the game, so when acting alongside the likes of Chris Parnell, you gotta step your game up. I know it’s hard to be funny sometimes, but you can’t win ’em all.

17) Lily Tomlin in A Prairie Home Companion

True story: when we were in high school, we decided to see this movie in the theater solely based on the fact that Lindsay was in it and singing. It was probably one of the most boring movies of our teenage lives, and a lesson on why you should never go to see a movie you’re not interested in (plot wise) just because there’s an actor/actress in it that you want to see. Anyways, revered funnywoman Lily Tomlin is in this and she sings with Lindsay.

16) The Danny DeVito Chick in Mean Girls

Because Danny DeVito lookalikes are hard to come by these days and she was severely underused.

15) James Franco in the fake movie in The Holiday

Lindsay and James Franco made a surprise appearance via movie trailer as the stars of the film that Cameron Diaz’ character was editing. Like Lindsay, James had already appeared in a bunch of TV shows and films prior to The Holiday, but let’s face the facts – only one of these people has earned an Oscar nomination.

14) Chad Michael Murray in Freaky Friday

Ah, Chad Michael Murray: The teen heartthrob so nice, they named him thrice. It’s hard to believe, but when Freaky Friday came out CMM was in his early 20s and seemed a bit old for Lohan. Only five years had passed since The Parent Trap, and little did we know that in five more years, LiLo would be filming such classics as Labor Pains.

13) Ashton Kutcher in That 70s Show

Take yourself back to 2004. Lindsay Lohan was THE teen queen – I mean, she even had a public feud with Lizzie Maguire herself, Hilary Duff, for goodness sakes – and the teen king of the day was none other than (technically 26-year-old man-child) Ashton Kutcher. Of course, Lindsay’s real That 70s Show love was Wilmer Valderrama. We’ll address that later.

12) Ana Gasteyer in Mean Girls

Imagine what could have happened if Ana Gasteyer had been able to sub in as Lindsay Lohan’s actual mother instead of Dina “Not Really A Rockette” Lohan.

11) Wilmer Valderrama in That 70s Show/Real Life

Wilmer Valderrama dated fresh-faced, attractive, pre-train wreck 2004 Lohan. This makes him fare better, dating-wise, than any other guy named Wilmer – past or present.

10) Chris Pine in Just My Luck

Remember Just My Luck? It doesn’t even air on TBS or  ABC Family, but it was a sort of TV movie-quality theatrical release. It was an early attempt to turn LiLo into a RomCom leading lady a la Meg Ryan or Katherine Heigl (WHY ARE NONE OF OUR REFERENCES CURRENT? Do they even still make these movies? I feel like the last one I saw was in about 2009). Anyway, Chris Pine was a beautiful newcomer at the time.

9) Joshua Jackson in Bobby

Pacey Witter, Dream Man? Now it’s personal.

8) Jared Leto in Chapter 27

I don’t care if it’s skinny Jordan Catalano, ombre-haired Jordan Catalano, or chubby Jordan Catalano, Jared Leto will always be some incarnation of Jordan Catalano to me. But you, Ms. Lohan, are no Angela Chase. Arguably, Rayanne Graff if things really went south for her, but I always imagined she’d find her niche and really ~thrive.

7) Lizzy Caplan in Mean Girls

Proving that “slow and steady wins the race” (s/o to Aesop!), you didn’t hear too much from Lizzy Caplan right after Mean Girls, except for effusive praise from her co-stars. Now she’s winning acclaim for her role on Showtime’s Masters Of Sex, while Lohan is garnering attention for her factually inaccurate list of sex partners.

6) Maya Rudolph in A Prairie Home Companion/SNL

Maya Rudolph is one of those actors who’s able to make anyone she’s working with look good. Plus, she seems like a really fun and nice person. We’re jealous.

5) A Pre-Drugs Lindsay Lohan in The Parent Trap

The frustrating thing about Lindsay’s long, horrible demise is that at one time, she was really good. So how lucky were the people who got to work with Lindsay before all the troubles? Among those lucky people: Lindsay herself, really Orphan Black-ing it as Hallie and Annie in her film debut.

4) Meryl Streep in A Prairie Home Companion

Before Lindsay was accidentally calling out Jennifer Lawrence for saying “I beat Meryl!” at the Golden Globes, Lohan was costarring with Streep herself! But make no mistake: A Prairie Home Companion was still boring. Or, I mean, we thought so when we were 18 anyway.

3) Tina Fey in Mean Girls/SNL

Look, if you can’t build a viable career after Tina Fey wrote your breakout role, I don’t think anyone can help you. And don’t say that Tina didn’t try. Around the era we were all first realizing Lindsay wasn’t doing so great, Tina Fey and the other SNL folks even staged an intervention for her. Remember that show Intervention? If they’d had Tina Fey as the coach instead of that random guy they did have, they probably would have had a 99% success rate.

2) Amy Poehler in Mean Girls/SNL

Again, if having Amy Poehler as a potential mentor cannot help you rise above, I am not sure what can. I mean, Ask Amy videos alone are responsible for thousands of women Lindsay’s age (I mean… teen girls, who are the target audience, right?) getting their shit together.

1) Herbie in Herbie: Fully Loaded

WHO LET HER WORK WITH A CAR?

She isn’t great with cars, guys.

Herbie is an icon. He deserved better.

We all did.