Fall 2017 TV Rookies To Watch

It’s that time of year again! Kids are going back to school, and we’re going back to our regularly scheduled programming. Well, new programming that is.

Every year, we break down which fairly new actors in new shows you should pay attention to (see: Chrissy Metz, Bryan Tyree Henry, Donna Lynne Champlin and Priyanka Chopra). This year’s talent is no different, and we can’t wait to see them at work. Which rookies are you most excited to see?

Brandon Micheal Hall {The Mayor}

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Previous Work: Search Party, Broad City

Why You Should Watch Him: Brandon Micheal Hall plays young rapper Courtney Rose, who decides to run for public office as a publicity stunt. Except he ends up winning and becomes The Mayor. Brandon is charming and charismatic both as the character and as an actor – it’s no wonder why he won the popular vote. He’s also got a strong bench on the screen with Yvette Nicole Brown as his mom and Lea Michele as a rival campaign manager, but also off – one of the executive producers is Hamilton’s own Daveed Diggs.

When You Can Watch Him: Tuesdays @ 9:30pm on ABC (watch the trailer here)

Iain Armitage {Young Sheldon}

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Previous Work: Big Little Lies, The internet

Why You Should Watch Him: Speaking of Hamilton and Daveed, enter nine-year-old Iain Armitage, who Broadway nerds might know as his online persona, Iain Loves Theatre. Don’t know him as that? Watch him rapping at a #Ham4Ham with an assist from Daveed. Or you might know him as Shailene Woodley’s son on Big Little Lies. He’s only nine but going from BLL to a starring role in a network spinoff show of one of the most popular sitcoms ever, yeah, Iain’s not doing too bad. And he deserves all of it.

When You Can Watch Him: Mondays @ 8:30pm on CBS (watch the trailer here)

Bobby Moynihan {Me, Myself and I }

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Previous Work: Saturday Night Live, Sisters, When In Rome

Why You Should Watch Him: Not gonna lie I was pretty sad when one of my fave cast members left SNL, but like the Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader before him, he had to leave in order to get the proper stardom he deserved. In Bibby’s first starring TV role, he plays the middle aged version of Alex, a character we see at 9, 40, and 65 years old. Of course we all known Bobby’s hilarious, but he’s also got a ~sensitive side too, and that comes through just in the first look. While CBS comedies usually have a bad track record in my book, I’m hoping this one sticks around.

When You Can Watch Him: Mondays @ 9:30pm on CBS (watch the trailer here)

Anthony Ramos {She’s Gotta Have It}

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Previous Work: Hamilton, Younger, Law & Order: SVU, my dreams

Why You Should Watch Him: Never forget this tweet from Lin-Manuel Miranda in 2014: “This is Anthony Ramos. You don’t know him yet, but boy, will you. Kid’s a star.” Cut to a life-changing role in Hamilton, a role in Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born remake, and a new (old?) Spike Lee joint, all making this kid from Brooklyn a true star. The trailer that’s out now isn’t that good, but Anthony’s scene made me smile obnoxiously to myself, and if he can make me do that in 45 seconds, he’s bound to do that for all of us with an entire TV series.

When You Can Watch Him: The entire season comes out on Thursday, November 23rd on Netflix (watch the trailer here)

Josh Hutcherson {Future Man}

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Previous Work: The Hunger Games franchise, Journey to the Center of the Earth franchise, The Kids Are All Right

Why You Should Watch Him: The movie stars just keep coming over to TV. And for the bread boy, he opted to go with a reliable streaming service in Hulu with an even more reliable premise: he plays a time-travelling janitor who’s attempting to change the future without messing up the past. Does this mean it’s an alternate dystopia and he WON’T act like a lil bitch in The Hunger Games?

When You Can Watch Him: The entire season comes out on Thursday, November 13th on Netflix (watch the trailer here)

Sarah Gadon {Alias Grace}

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Previous Work: 11.22.63, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Belle

Why You Should Watch Her: I don’t think I’ve ever seen this talented woman on screen before, but judging by the trailer for this show, I am all freaking in. Margaret Atwood (who wrote the novel Alias Grace is based from) is having a great year.

When You Can Watch Him: The entire season comes out on Friday, November 3rd on Netflix (watch the trailer here)

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#TransformationTuesday: Ariana Grande

Hi. It’s Tuesday and we’re still talking about Ariana Grande.

Yesterday, we recapped some of the our favorite moments from the One Manchester concert, which Ariana helped put together to benefit the victims of last month’s attack. It was beautiful, full of tears, and best of all, raised over $3 million. Since the deadly event, Ariana has been praised for her compassionate eloquence in response to a heartless tragedy (unlike certain world leaders).

We will never be able to understand why events like this take place because it is not in our nature, which is why we shouldn’t recoil. We will not quit or operate in fear. We won’t let this divide us. We won’t let hate win. {x}

For many of those who just thought of Ariana as another female pop star, their minds changed after she released that statement (per the posts I saw on Twitter, at least). And when she took the stage on Sunday, it was evident that the attack had a profound effect on her, and she wanted to do anything she could to try to lift spirits and help the victims and their families in any way she could. That’s the day Ariana Grande wasn’t just an international pop star anymore. I’m not saying she wasn’t before, but to a lot of people who weren’t paying attention, she became a respected celebrity idol that day.

For the uninitiated, Ariana, 23, has been in the game since she was a teen, and has gone through many career changes to get to where she is today. So on this Transformation Tuesday, let’s take a look back at all the major points in Ari’s life that have led her to become the (Dangerous) Woman that she is today.

2001: Rite of Passage

You know how when you go to a kid’s dance recital or see a community theater show and there’s one, maybe two kids who are actually really good or have the potential to be? That was Ariana. Growing up in Florida, her main connection to the arts was the theater, performing in shows like Beauty and the Beast, The Wizard of Oz, and of course, Annie.

2007: Slaying Judy Garland

When you’re an aspiring pop star, you obvs have to make the rounds at random events, like singing the National Anthem at a sports game, or singing at a birthday party for a 95 year old. Can’t turn down a gig.

2008: The (Great White) Way

When she was 15, Ariana was cast in 13, a musical by the genius that is Jason Robert Brown. She was in a supporting role as a cheerleader called Charlotte, and it even earned her a National Youth Theatre Association Award. Being cast in any Broadway show is maj, but to be a part of the Original Broadway Cast is an honor. I mean she’s on the OBC cast album! What does it say about me that I think this is one of the more impressive feats in her career?!

2009: The Nickelodeon Machine

The following year, Ari was cast as Cat Valentine in Victorious, a Nickelodeon sitcom starring Victoria Justice and set in a performing arts high school. Now, I’m not above telling you that I watched a lot of Disney Channel shows way past the age I should’ve been (#BestofBothWorlds), but I never got on this Nickelodeon train. It’s a total blind spot for me. But what I can say is that Ariana made the right decision in going through the Nickelodeon machine, which is v similar to the Disney machine (see: Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, etc.). Ari gained a fan following by playing a slightly ditzy yet lovable character, who would help her get her first starring role. More on that later.

2011: YouTube Star

Keeping music in the foreground, Ariana continued to connect with her fans by posting covers on YouTube. And just like the teens who posted their covers online all over the world, Ariana did the same, asking her fans to “tweet her”. Also, I remember watching that Emotions cover and thinking, “WHO DA FUQ IS THIS CHICK??!” Get into those whistle tones!!

2011: The First Single

Ariana released her first single, Put Your Hearts Up, in 2011. It’s a sweet bubblegum pop track that was fit for her Nickelodeon persona (and still features her signature Cat Valentine red hair). But as you can tell, this is definitely not the same music she’s singing today.

June, 2013: On To The Next One

In 2012, Victorious was not renewed for a fourth season, but Ariana still had a job because it was announced that she would star in a spin-off called Sam & Cat, which starred iCarly’s Jennette McCurdy (Sam). This is obviously next level stardom, but the show only lasted one season over the course of one year, and there was a lot A LOT of drama towards the end. It involved salaries, reported feuds, and the rise of Ariana’s music career, so Nickelodeon just cut the cord and the last Sam & Cat ep aired in 2014.

August, 2013: The Breakthrough

As mentioned, Ariana had still be working hard on her music career, and worked on her first real album over the course of three years. It was finally released in September, 2013, and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, making her the first female artist since Kesha to have her album debut at the top of the charts. The lead single, The Way (ft. now boyfriend Mac Miller), was a jam for the summer of 2013. For me too. Remember when I told y’all to add her to your playlist?!

2013: Just Beliebe

It was all happening for her in the fall of 2013 and at that point there was no stopping her flow. Ariana, who shares manager Scooter Braun with Justin Bieber, joined him for a few dates on his massive Believe Tour, and she also embarked on her own headlining mini-tour, called The Listening Sessions.  But it was the American Music Awards where she blew the crowd away with a stripped down performance of Tattooed Heart, and she won her first major award for Best New Artist.

August, 2014: My Everything

Ariana released her second studio album, My Everything, that August, led by the mega hit Problem. The song became one of the best-selling singles of all time with 10 million sales, and the video itself has been viewed over a billion times. Her second single, Break Free ft. Zedd was yet another charttopper, and just because she’s that talented, the song she featured on, Bang Bang with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj was also a hit. All three songs hit the Billboard Hot 100’s top 10 in the same week, making her the only female artist besides Adele to have three top 10 hits simultaneously as a lead artist. Get it girl. My Everything also included jams like One Last Time, Love Me Harder ft. The Weeknd and Best Mistake, ft. ex-bf Big Sean.

2015: World Domination Continues

Ariana embarked on The Honeymoon Tour in support of the album, which was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album at the Grammys that year (her other nom came in the form of Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for Bang Bang). She also returned to acting with a guest-starring role in Scream Queens, and gave fans a little holiday treat by releasing an EP called Christmas & Chill (which is V GOOD). Oh, also she did the Wheel of Impressions game on Jimmy Fallon and I’ve watched it like 5 times since.

January, 2016: Returning to Her Roots

Hey remember when I said I was the most impressed when I found out Ariana was in a musical by Jason Robert Brown? It’s because I think he’s a genius who created one of my favorite musicals of all time, The Last Five Years. And I’m the type of nerd who would go to one of his cabaret shows, but when he played in LA, I decided to be “smart” and save my money. Turns out I’m a dumb-dumb, because that night Ariana was a surprise guest and she sung a song from 13. I love this so much because it shows that she hasn’t forgotten where she came from, and is willing to sing at a random small venue in LA for her friend. In fact, she asked JRB to write a song for her that ended up being a bonus track on her Dangerous Woman album, called Jason’s Song (Gave It Away). She even performed it on Jimmy Fallon – and asked JRB to play piano. Read all about it on his blog.

March, 2016: Live From New York, It’s Saturday Night!

To promote her new Dangerous Woman album, Ariana was the host and musical guest on Saturday Night Live. It was hands down, one of my favorite SNL episodes ever – she killed in each sketch (and all of them were actually funny – Jennifer Lawrence you guys!) and her musical performances  were perfect (I think about the Be Alright performance a lot).

December, 2016: A Checkerboard Chick

Ari got to live out a lifelong dream of playing Penny Pingleton in the annual NBC live musical, Hairspray, and was one of the standouts from the entire show. And again, my love for Ariana runs deep yet again, because she confessed her love for OBC member Kerry Butler, proving yet again, she’s a theater nerd just like us.

2017: Full Circle

Ariana has been on her Dangerous Woman World Tour since February, and that leads us to Manchester, where she brought the show on May 22nd. Here she is at the One Manchester show singing Over the Rainbow once again, filling us with emotion to see just what a Dangerous Wonder Woman she’s become.

The ‘Donald Trump Is Hosting Saturday Night Live’ Drinking Game

Face it, you’re going to need a little liquid courage to make it through this week’s episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Donald Trump, Your One Racist Uncle Except Rich. We’re here to help. Just remember, drink responsibly and maybe consider going with a nice, nerve-settling chamomile instead of alcohol. Except don’t chug hot tea. You know what? Actually, just do what you have to do.

Drink Just A Little

  • You reach the end of the show and it was actually just a boring, if below-average, episode; nothing to see here; seriously bring a book.
  • There’s a toupee joke.
  • Trump appears in a sketch with Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton.
  • Donald appears as himself in more than 50% of the sketches.
  • You nod off before Weekend Update (not sure how you’re going to drink while sleeping, but I guess it’s like an IOU situation).
  • The cold open features a presidential debate.
  • The cold open features an array of cast members in Trump wigs.
  • The cold open features audience questions to Donald.
  • Donald is not great with the cue cards.
  • There are awkward, arm-clappy hugs during the goodnights.

Drink A Moderate Amount

  • There’s a joke about how all of Trump’s wives have been immigrants.
  • You think the words “I hate this” at any point in the show.
  • In a debate sketch, Megan Kelly or an immigrant gets the better of Donald.
  • There’s an Apprentice sketch.
  • They bring out Lorne at any point.
  • There’s a sketch about a future world in which Donald is president, complete with an ostentatious Trump Towers-y White House.
  • You have to turn off the TV before the musical guest performs.
  • Trump and Maddie Ziegler appear on screen at the same time.
  • One of the Weekend Update hosts (probably Michael Che), or possibly another cast member takes Trump to task during WU,  but like, not… really.

 

Drink And Keep Drinking

  • The Apprentice sketch features other presidential candidates.
  • Donald appears in a sketch with Taran Killam as Donald Trump.
  • A cast member displays thinly veiled disdain for the Donald.
  • You speak the words “I hate this” at any point in the show.
  • You hate yourself for watching.
  • Trump appears in a Drake Hotline Bling sketch.
  • Sia pointedly ignores Trump.
  • Sia trades her swollen blonde bob wig for a Trump wig.

DRAAAANKdonald

  • You really, really hate yourself for watching.
  • Trump sings.
  • Trump is the adult dancer in Elastic Heart. Or any other Sia song for that matter.
  • Protesters do something.
  • Donald appears in a sketch with Taran Killam and Darrell Hammond as Donald Trump.
  • The punchline of a joke is that Trump is racist, anti-immigrant, or xenophobic … but it’s less of a joke and more of a truth.
  • Trump debuts a new hairdo, like a relaxed buzz cut or a more chill color that doesn’t look like gerbil fur.
  • You almost sort of wish you were Amish or something so television isn’t an option. Do Amish people vote, anyway? Better check on that.
  • You check social media and wish you hadn’t. If you were Amish, you wouldn’t have that problem.

 

Semi-Homemade Halloween Costumes – From Cory Matthews to Doonice

I think everyone grew up with certain things that just Were Not Done in their house. In my family, store-bought costumes fell in that category. It was a waste of money, and besides, Halloween was an opportunity to think hard, dream big, and get creative. Every Halloween involved a blowout trip to Goodwill or Salvation Army.

Don’t get me wrong. When I look at those elaborate handmade costumes floating around the internet this week, that age-old refrain pops into my head: ain’t nobody got time for that. I will not bedazzle a sweatshirt to turn myself into a human disco ball. I am not going to painstakingly dye and mold foam pieces to be a human hot dog. I’m not going to buy a glitzy minidress, craft an elaborate headpiece and become a sexy snowball.

No, I take my cues from Sandra Lee. Have you all seen Semi-Homemade With Sandra Lee? She takes storebought cakes and gussies them up, basically. That’s where I’m at with Halloween. I don’t want to walk into a Halloween party in a costume straight from Target, but I will buy something from a big-box store or Salvation Army, tweak a few elements, and come out with something more creative than what’s on the bag. But less creative than becoming a human carrot with a friend dressed as a giant cabbage. Come on. Who ARE these people? Let’s think simpler:

The Schuyler Sisters

See this generic Colonial woman? You can buy this costume at any of those pop-up Halloween stores, and there are versions at Target, too.

Grab two friends. Put one in the same, or almost the same costume.

Now, do you have that one friend who always insists on being a Sexy This or a Slutty That?

Cool. Get her this Little Bo Peep get up:

Now she’s Slutty Peggy Schuyler, AKA Maria Reynolds.

 

Anne(ie Hall) Of Green Gables. Or Pilgrim Felicity Merriman. Whatever.

annie hall of green gables

Let me tell you something about kids. They’re basically idiots. Even the smart ones. It’s not their fault, they just haven’t been alive long. If you have a daughter in that 6-12 year old range where they’re really into books and movies set a long time ago, you have it made. All you have to do is buy a long dress, or pair a maxi skirt with a blouse. It does NOT have to be a style that people actually wore at the time. You may know that shirtwaists didn’t come into vogue until the late 19th century, but if your nerdy kid wants to be Jo March, just give her a button-up and a long skirt and she’ll be none the wiser.

I’m not sure why I was wearing these weird old glasses and dorky hat for my Anne Of Green Gables costume when I was about 11, but I like to call the look Annie Hall Of Green Gables.

When I was Felicity Merriman in second grade, I wore a frilly blouse under a long, brown floral jumper dress that my mom wore in the ’70s. It was like Revolutionary War-era girl meets pilgrim meets hippie. Loved it. Anyway, that is my half-assed costume advice: put your daughter in a long dress or skirt and she’ll feel fancy.

Cory Matthews, Season 1

cory matthews

This was semi-homemade at its finest. I bought a $3 afro wig and trimmed it down a bit. I wore early 90s stonewash jeans, but any straight leg will do. I layered a flannel shirt over a $2 Phillies shirt. Bam. Cory Matthews from Boy Meets World, circa 1994.

Clarissa Darling

This works especially well if you’re a smaller adult. Just go to the children’s section of a thrift store and buy some cheap, bright leggings. Layer under overall shorts or a skirt. Put on a loud button up. Can you find a sunflower hat? Great. That’s great. Blonde wig if necessary. May I present Clarissa Darling of Clarissa Explains It All?

A Six Pack Of Diet Cokec65b266c-c687-4fd9-b2c9-6284f755b8f9_zps81e03060

Yes, my family really did this. Corrugated cardboard, spray paint, and apparently zero sense of shame went into this one. I’m the tiny one whose face isn’t obscured.

Doonice – Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Livedoonice

You’re going to need the following:

  • a wig cap – to move your hairline back
  • a wig, placed about 4 inches back from your natural hairline
  • a lounge singer-y dress with long sleeves and cuffs
  • a doll to dismember

Then watch the magic happen. People LOVED this one. Be sure to act extra creepy:

doonice 2

Joan Holloway Harris

In case you hadn’t caught on, I usually go with TV-based costumes. Joan’s an easy one: just pair a shift-dress with a pen on a chain around your neck, a broach, a bouffant hairdo, tan hose, and possibly some fake boobs.

 

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.

 

 

Pop Culture Inspo for Yo’ Mo(vember)

We’re more than a week into the month so for you fellas participating in Movember, perhaps you’re at the point where you’re thinking what exactly to do with that cool ‘stache of yours (BTW, if you aren’t familiar with Movember, it’s an annual event in which men grow their mustaches to raise awareness of men’s health issues. It might explain why your weird co-worker is even weirder this month). There are so many directions to go with the newly acquired batch of facial hair that you want to make it perfect for the rest of the month.

And since there have been plenty of iconic mustache designs in television, film, theater, etc. it’s worth looking for some inspiration from some of the manliest of men on stage and screen. While I obviously can’t list all of them here, I have compiled a list of some of my personal faves who rocked the ‘stache loud and proud.

Gordon from Sesame Street

Aw, Gordon and Elmo! He’s first in honor of Sesame Street’s anniversary this week. Also, I have this vision of me meeting Gordon as a tot at some kind of book signing, but I actually think I stole a friend’s childhood memory. If this is your anecdote, reveal yourself. Also I am sorry.

Chandler Bing as Dr. Richard Burke on Friends

It goes without saying that if you do a word association with Tom Selleck, most of the time you’ll think ‘mustache’. I figured that putting him on this list might be a cop out, so here’s the next best thing – Chandler attempting to grow a Richard mustache. Obvs this was pre-Mondler, and Joey and Chan thought Richard was the coolest, hence trying to look and act like him. Not quite the same effect.

 

Ron Burgundy from Anchorman

You stay classy, San Diego/whatever city you live in/Movember dudes everywhere.

Paul Rudd during the Admission press tour

Speaking of Anchorman, Paul Rudd was in the middle of filming the sequel when he has to go off and do press for his movie with Tina Fey, Admission. And of course, Brian Fontana sports a sweet ‘stache in the film, and since hair doesn’t grow into a beautiful handlebar like Rudd’s overnight, he opted to wear it loud and proud. Paul Rudd: American treasure.

Kristen Wiig in the one sketch of The Californians

I’m 90% sure this was from the time Kristen went back to host SNL and she came back from the dead. Or at least in The Californians world. There have been some epic mustaches on SNL, but for some reason this one stuck out to me.

Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York

I’ve never actually seen Gangs of New York (ugh, I know, I’m a horrible Leo fan), but damn DDL can grow a mustache. In any film that requires some sort of lip blanket, he’s on point. Also, remember Daniel Day-Lewis? It’s like he goes into hibernation every 5 to 7 years and comes back to collect an Oscar.

Carl Winslow from Family Matters

Guys. This picture of a faux video game. I cannot.

Borat

**it’s creepy but niiiiiicee*

Captain Kangaroo

*it’s creepy but… nope still creepy. I DON’T REMEMBER CAPTAIN KANGAROO BEING THIS SCARY*

 Gene Shalit from Today

Anyone else a random watcher of the Today show and understand the magic that is Gene Shalit and his magnif bow ties and ‘stache?

Walter White from Breaking Bad

This sweet photo was taken from the actual Save Walter White website (caution, comic sans ahead).

Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation

“Leslie, you need to understand that we are headed to the most special place on earth. When I’m done eating a Mulligan’s meal, for weeks afterwards there are flecks of meat in my mustache and I refuse to clean it because every now and then a piece of meat will fall into my mouth.”  *Nick Offerman thanks you for your time.

Yes Please, Amy Poehler

This is not brand new information: we love Amy Poehler. We’ve paid tribute to her on her birthday, we’ve endlessly praised her and her comedy wife Tina at the Golden Globes, we cry at all her Ask Amy videos, and today we raise our glass to her as an author. Her very first memoir/autobiography/life bible comes out today and it has the perfect title for how we view everything about her – Yes, Please. Amy P on SNL? Yes, Please. Amy P on Parks and Rec? Yes, Please. Amy P and her Smart Girls, Yes, Yes, Please.

It’s fair to say that we’ve been counting down the days for her book to come out, and our admiration and obsession aside, Amy is an interesting person who has lived a life/lives that I would want to hear about. As someone who grew up from a working class family in Massachusetts and eventually ended up on the most revered sketch comedy program ever to being one of the most beloved celebrities today, I’d want to know about their life, even if it wasn’t Amy. But I mean, it’s better because it is her.

This is the real author’s photo from the book. I mean, come on.

One of the reasons I love her is that in every interview I read or see of hers, she manages to churn out not only a hilarious response, but also give out heartfelt and genuine anecdotes. It’s one of the reasons I think so many people want to be her best friend. It’s like the Mindy Kalings or Jennifer Lawrences or Emma Watsons of the world – there’s a certain accessibility to them in which their aura of “celebrity” doesn’t get in the way of you becoming one of their friends.

A few months ago, Amy attended BookCon in NYC and sat down with her pal Martin Short to talk about the book. Martin told the crowd that he read it and the best part about her book is that reading it is like speaking to her IRL. It’s absolutely in her voice, and that’s what makes it so wonderful and honest.

As for Amy, she described Yes, Please as a book that doesn’t divulge tooo much into her personal life, and gets away with it by evading the reader with humor. She also says her book is an “attempt to speak to the feelings of being young and old at the same time”, because she’s kind of at an intersection of her life where she feels like she’s lived so much but still has so much more to live. And I think that’s what a lot of people who ‘look up’ to her need to hear right now. It’s not necessarily all about her life and what’s happened to her, but it’s what she’s learned and she shares those life lessons with us plebeians who aren’t worthy to hear such sage advice.

But if any of her past interviews are any indication of what her book’s going to be like, then get ready for one of the best books you’ll ever read in your life. Here are just a few of my favorite Poehler convo nuggets that will not only want to make you read her book, but have you saying, Yes. More, Please.

On her best mistake: “Thinking everything is going to run smoothly all the time. It won’t – things will always go wrong – but it never hurts to be optimistic.” {O Magazine, 2014}

Now that I have little kids, I’m up at 5:30 a.m. no matter what. Sleep at this point is just a concept, something I’m looking forward to investigating in the future. But I’d like to say that I maintain that same sense of play and creativity and spontaneity—of being able to get into a room with people and say, “Let’s waste some time.” When you’re a creative person, even when you’re in a position of power, you still have to be able to straddle those two worlds. Power sometimes comes down to knowing the vocabulary, figuring out how the system works and how to work within it. You need to believe that you deserve to be in the room once you get there.

I like to do things that challenge me and make me nervous. You learn early as an actor that creating your own material is the only way to have any control. Hollywood is like a bad boyfriend. You can’t stand around and wait to be asked to dance. I used to say that I wanted to make great art with people I love. Now I have an addendum to that goal: to get things on the air. {Elle Magazine, 2014}

{In which she schools Neil Brennan on being a woman}

I just love bossy women. I could be around them all day. To me, bossy is not a pejorative term at all. It means somebody’s passionate and engaged and ambitious and doesn’t mind leading, like, “All right, everybody, now we go over here. All right, now this happens.” {Glamour, 2011}

Sometimes when you get too worried about how you look, or about how something’s gonna go, you kind of lose what made you special in the first place. I think that ASSSSCAT will really do that to you, really remind you that things are supposed to be dangerous, you’re supposed to feel uncomfortable, you’re supposed to enjoy not knowing, trusting your partner, and not falling back on the same stuff, and I think that that does that for me. It’s the kind of thing that every time, even when I’m really tired, or I feel kind of burned-out, or I feel like I don’t have anything—every time I go out and do it, I feel a thousand times better.  {The A.V. Club 2008}

“You know when you look in your closet and you’re like, Nothing’s working? I say, give yourself a theme. Rashida Jones and I have a game: We decide for three months how we’re going to dress, like Japanese Executive, Little House on the Prairie, Female Sailor on Leave. A couple of months ago, our look was Eighties Art Dealer: black blazers with shoulder pads, high-waisted jeans, air-dried hair and big eyebrows.” {Good Housekeeping, 2014}

 

If I wanted to give you advice as a Bostonian, I would remind you that: (with accent) “Just because you’re wicked smart it doesn’t mean you are better than me.” {Harvard College Class Day speech, 2011}

We’re ushered to a table in the back of the restaurant, and Poehler quickly orders her breakfast without consulting the menu. “Everything here’s good,” she declares. I place an iPhone on the table to record our interview. “Do you need me to hold the phone?” she asks. It’s not necessary, I tell her, iPhones are great at recording conversations. “That’s good to know,” Poehler says. Her eyes dart around the restaurant, then she leans and whispers, “…for spying purposes.” {Paper Magazine, 2013}

 

Always remember your kid’s name. Always remember where you put your kid. Don’t let your kid drive until their feet can reach the pedals. Use the right size diapers…for yourself. And, when in doubt, make funny faces. {The Daily Beast, 2009}

I would say my interview style is Morley Safer meets Kermit the Frog, with a dash of Christiane Amanpour. And a pinch of Dinah Shore wrapped in the shell of Lois Lane. My goal is to be the Edward R. Murrow of girls.  {The Huffington Post, 2008}

Grab your copy of Yes, Please today!! (we are seriously not even being paid for this we just love her so much}

Things That Needs To Happen When Chris Pratt Hosts SNL

Last weekend, Molly and I spent the weekend in New York City, partly to celebrate her birthday, partly to use up vacation days, and partly to see if we could spot any of our favorite people coming out of 30 Rock (we came at the absolute wrong time when no one was filming and didn’t get to see anyone). If you’re new here, we’re comedy nerds, and honestly, just being in the same building the helped break the careers of people like Poehler and Tina and Jimmy and Kristen etc. etc. etc. was thrilling enough. We were hoping some of the Saturday Night Live cast would be there early to greet us but apparently they weren’t as eager to see us as we were to see them.

But stalking aside, the cast went back to school on Monday for the start of the 40th (!) season of Saturday Night Live, which begins on Saturday, and ‘breakout star’ of the summer, Chris Pratt, taking the helm. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going to be fantastic, because he’s a champ at comedy and imrpov, so it’ll be like second nature for him. But there are a few things I hope to see come Ssaturday, and while I’ll obviously be happy with anything he does, here are my suggestions for the season opener…

Guardians of the Galaxy parody

Pratt obviously has been around for awhile, whether you know him as the guy from Everwood, or Parks or Zero Dark Thirty, he’s paid his dues and racked up a good amount of iMDb credits. But he shot up to B+/low A list status after Guardians became the biggest movie of the summer all over the world, and it’s no wonder Lorne and SNL producers chose him to host the season opener. So it would only make sense that they capitalize on some of that, just like many of the hosts before him. Perhaps something along the same lines as when Andrew Garfield had that ‘kissing’ sketch with Emma Stone and Chris Martin from Coldplay showed up. Perhaps Groot has a more extensive vocabulary and turns out to be a tree that never shuts up? Or GoTG has a crossover with Footloose?

Amy Poehler or Aubrey Plaza or Aziz Ansari or anyone from Parks shows up in a sketch

It would be only fitting for Amy Pueblo to come back home to support her pal Pratt, right? One of the many reasons I love Parks is that the cast is actually really tight and they support each other in everything they do. Pratt was doing an interview during press for GoTG and when asked how her Parks castmates responded to him being this big superhero, he teared up and said he was getting emotional because all of them had been so happy and supportive of his new gig as the StarLord. Even if none of them show up onscreen, I have a feeling a number of them will at least be backstage rooting him on.

Shirtless Pratt

As you can clearly see, Pratt had to lose a lot of weight to play Marvel’s latest super hero, and also during the GoTG press tour, it seemed like everyone was asking about how he got in shape – which is only fair seeing as how he posted the selfie on the right on social media. I mean… come on. Although Chris has already admitted he’s given up on his diet and strict regimen since then, I feel like taking his shirt off might need to be a priority for SNL.

Anna Faris appears in the monologue

Anna has hosted a couple of times before, so she could possibly do one of those ‘hi honey, I have some tips for you’ gags, which Emma did for Andrew earlier this year, and apparently I have to keep referencing them in this post. If you haven’t seen Anna and Chris act together (What’s Your Number? anyone?) they’re the absolute cutest. And if you didn’t even know they were married, then.. they’re married and it’s the cutest. Both of them are great comedic actors and if she shows up for just a super small part, it will be fantastic.

Jurassic Park sketch

Chris Pratt is continuing his domination of movies that will be loved by generations to come by starring in the upcoming installment of Jurassic Park. Details about the actual movie are scarce, but SNL can take liberties with it and make up their own plot. Hell, they could even just have Pratt retroactively do an impression of Sam Neill and I’d be okay with it.

Drunk Uncle

Boy do I love Drunk Uncle. And boy, do I love Bobby Moynihan. And boy, would I love if Pratt came on Weekend Update to play Drunk Uncle’s Drunk Nephew. Hilarity would (continue) ensuing.

Any other ideas for Pratt tomorrow? Not like the writers will read this but, maybe by putting it out into the universe, we can will it so. Good luck, pal! We’re pulling for you!!

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.

TV Characters I Need Back In My Life

There are two reasons to be excited about fall premieres. One is finding out which new shows you will absolutely love (only to find them cancelled three episodes in – seriously, whatever new shows I start watching, DO NOT WATCH THEM. Me watching a new TV show is like seeing a wailing ghost woman on the British moors – it means death is imminent.). The other is returning to your favorite characters again after a long hiatus. It’s like the first day of school, seeing all of those familiar faces after 3 months. These TV characters are what Back To TV week is all about:

Drunk Mellie from Scandal

(Spoilers if you haven’t watched S3 yet!)

Oh, Mellie, Mellie, Mellie. If you are taking our advice to catch up on Scandal before the premiere airs, let’s just say that Mellie hasn’t had the easiest go of it for the past, oh, 15 or so years – but why feel those feelings when you can drink them instead? Drunk Mellie is the absolute last person that I would want “not mad, just disappointed” in me, and she does quiet, seething anger at Fitz so well. She also does loud, explosive anger — and sloppy sadness, and giggly goofiness, and calculating creepiness. Last year found Mellie drawing on the White House’s reserves of hooch and her mental and emotional reserves of bad-ass-ishness. Somebody please give Bellamy Young every award ever – or at least a stiff drink. She’s earned both.

Drunk Uncle from Saturday Night Live

And now for an entirely different kind of drunk – drunk uncle! Everyone has a drunk uncle. If you do not have a drunk uncle, check yourself, because you might be the drunk uncle. The thing is, you get to the end of his rants and you go “hmm… am I crazy, or did that almost make sense?” Like real-life drunk uncles everywhere, Drunk Uncle is confused by and angry with twitter, smart phones, YouTube, tumblr, and pressing 2 for English… everything you love, Drunk Uncle drinks to escape from. Bonus: sometimes he brings along his pals, Meth Nephew and Peter Drunklage. Drunk Uncle is just one of many reasons Bobby Moynihan is an utter delight and a true gem in the current SNL cast.

Tamra from The Mindy Project

Tamra is that coworker who drops random bits of information about herself that you’re shocked hadn’t come up immediately upon meeting her:

She’s a perfect foil to Mindy because, like Dr. Lahiri, she also has supreme self-confidence, and she isn’t afraid to call Dr. L. out when she has to:

 

On one hand, you’re pretty sure a lot of the time she’s just joking around and everyone else misses the point and thinks she’s serious:

But on the other hand, she doesn’t have time to pay attention to every tiny little detail at the office:

As written, this character could be aggravating, but Xosha Roquemore has brilliant timing and delivery and it all just works.

Nick Miller from New Girl

Are you a twenty- or thirty- something who could already be described as “crotchety?” Then Nick Miller’s your guy. Do you have absolutely no patience for people’s ineptitude or ridiculousness, yet somehow end up dealing with it anyway because your friends are (occasionally) inept and ridiculous? Yep. Nick, too. The more Nick hates everything, the more I love him.

 

Like Tamra, this is a character that could be insufferable, but Jake Johnson brings out the lovable in “lovable curmudgeon.”

Gina from Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Years ago, after I jaywalked across an intersection, an elderly lawyer turned to me and said “wow, you must be pretty important.” I smiled and said thank you, head in the air and ego boosted by the old guy in tweed who realized that yes, I am important. An hour or so later realized that that was not a compliment. Gina Linetti would have lived her whole life without realizing that wasn’t a compliment, and that is why I love her.

Chelsea Peretti has been on the comedy scene for quite a while now, and I’m so glad this role is giving her the exposure she deserves.

 

The Bravermans on Parenthood

I love these guys. Sure, some of them can only fairly be described as “the worst, ever” (Sydney, a child), but overall it’s such a realistic picture of life in a certain type of mid-sized American family. The dinner scenes with everyone talking at once and the illogistics of getting everyone into one photo are realistic as hell.

Leslie Knope from Parks And Recreation

I could have had a separate entry on this list for almost every character on Parks. From April, who I think secretly loves the whole world, to Worst People In The World, John-Ralphio and Mona Lisa, to avuncular Ron Swanson, to Andy Dwyer Dream Man, there’s not just one reason I’m already getting emotional about the end of this show already – there are about 15 of them. But Leslie Knope ties the whole show together, and I’m just so happy that she exists on T.V. Leslie is driven, kind, cooperative, enthusiastic, and the best friend in the world — all qualities that she displays to a fault. It’s true that we’d love anything that Amy Poehler did, but mark my words, Leslie Knope will be known as one of the best sitcom protagonists of all time. We’re going to miss her when she’s gone but for now, we’re just glad she’s back on our TV screen sometime this fall…ish.