TV Features

Can Laugh Tracks Make Anything Funny? A "Gutfeld!" Experiment

The new Fox News late night show strains the limits of what can be considered humor.

Last week Fox News introduced their latest attempt at late-night comedy: Gutfeld!

Previous forays into the genre have included the short-lived, criticially panned The 1/2 Hour News Hour — the network's response to The Daily Show — and Gutfeld's own show Red Eye, which aired in a 3:00 AM time slot, and The Greg Gutfeld Show, which ran on Saturday night's at 10:00 from 2015 until just a few weeks before the Gutfeld! premiere. But in a new weeknight spot at 11:00, Greg Gutfeld of The Five is officially up against the traditional late-night hosts like Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon.

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Dolly Parton

American hero Dolly Parton bravely continues to keep our faith in humanity alive.

Parton recently appeared and informed the public that she turned down disgraced former president Donald Trump's Presidential Medal of Freedom, not once, but twice. She cited scheduling conflicts — the first time she was offered the award her husband was ill, and the second time travel was banned because of the pandemic.

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Culture Feature

Flaming Lips' Space Bubble Show: a Live Music Fix For COVID, or a One-Shot Gimmick?

Is the safety of personal bubbles worth the logistical hurdles?

Live music was one of the first cultural casualties of COVID back in early 2020.

Before the United States was a hotbed for anti-mask, anti-lockdown disinformation — and the surge of cases and deaths that have come along with that — before we had registered any notable outbreak at all, concerts and music festivals were already being canceled. And with the slow pace of vaccine rollout, a date for their return is still a long way off.

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popular

Colbert, Fallon, and Kimmel to Host a COVID-19 Benefit That Could Be the Biggest in TV History

One World: Together at Home is likely to draw a huge global audience

Global Citizen

On Saturday, April 18th, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, and Jimmy Fallon will be joining late-night forces to host a global television event.

The event, entitled One World: Together at Home, will promote the international fight to end the COVID-19 pandemic and raise money for the World Health Organization. From 8-10PM EST, it will be broadcast live on the big three American TV networks—ABC, CBS, and NBC—as well as around the world and on a number of cable networks and streaming platforms.

Any TV event set to be broadcast on all three of those networks would automatically be a pretty big deal, but with a huge portion of the world currently under some form of shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order—and a lot of TV and movies being shut down or delayed—this event has the potential to draw in a truly historic number of viewers. Of course that depends on whether the organizers can put together the kind of entertainment that will convince people to put down Animal Crossing to tune in. With that in mind, let's take a look at the lineup as it currently stands.

Along with the hosts of The Late Show, The Tonight Show, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the event—which has been curated by Lady Gaga in cooperation with Global Citizen—will feature appearances from Alanis Morissette, Italian opera star Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Nigerian singer Burna Boy, Chris Martin of Coldplay, David Beckham, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, Elton John, Idris Elba, Colombian Singer J Balvin, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Kerry Washington, Chinese pianist Lang Lang, Lizzo, Colombian Singer Maluma, Paul McCartney, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan, Stevie Wonder and some of the muppets of Sesame Street.

In other words, there will be recognizable stars for just about any part of the world and any age group. While it might not reach the level of the World Cup final—which draws an audience of over 500 million—One World: Together at Home has the potential to far-surpass the viewing numbers of an event like the Oscars. With any luck, it will, because the money raised will go to the WHO's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, which equips healthcare workers around the world and helps to provide food, shelter, and healthcare to people in need.

So tune in on Saturday at 8:00 PM, and donate if you can afford to. Because right now everyone could use the entertainment, and the whole world needs some help.

MUSIC

This Week, Lady Gaga Released the "Chromatica" Album Cover—and Raised $35 Million for COVID-19 Relief

Gaga's album has been delayed, but she's rolling out imagery that reminds us of the fashion that made her famous—and channeling all her time into raising money for coronavirus funds.

Lady Gaga has performed so many different roles over the past decade that it's easy to forget that in her early days, she was a fashion pioneer.

Gaga's wild outfits—from the iconic meat dress to the Haus of Gaga "Bad Romance" music video creations—earned her a front page spot on tabloids and helped launch her pop career.

She's just released the cover art for her new album, Chromatica, and it's as futuristic, complex, and opulent as anything we've seen from her before.

Gaga's album release has been delayed due to COVID-19, which she announced in another Instagram post:

That doesn't mean that the perpetually and often mind-blowingly active star has been taking a break, though. Tonight, she's speaking (virtually) at the World Health Organization's press conference to announce the next #TogetherAtHome virtual concert series, slotted for April 18, which will feature Paul McCartney, Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Alanis Morissette, Billie Joe Armstrong, Common, Kacey Musgraves, J Balvin, and of course, Lady Gaga herself.

The show will be co-hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and Stephen Colbert.


In a recent briefing, Gaga announced that along with Global Citizen, she's raised $35 million in the last week for The Who's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.


In the meantime, while we wait for Chromatica, we can rewatch the futuristic "Stupid Love" video and bask in the glory of Gaga's "kindness punks" dance cult.

Lady Gaga - Stupid Love (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

TV Features

Welcome to Guerilla Late Night: What's So Funny?

Filming segments on iPhones, conducting interviews through video chats, and forced to recruit their spouses and children as their lighting and camera operators, this is the age of guerillla late night.

Late night talk show hosts are a strange cohort.

They're invited into our living rooms every week night, like filthy rich close family friends. but if they don't entertain us we get to mute, cancel, or tweet mean things at them at no personal cost. But with regular filming schedules interrupted by current events, late night hosts have been forced to continue their torrid relationship with the American public from their own homes. Filming segments on iPhones, conducting interviews through video chats, and forced to recruit their spouses and children as their lighting and camera operators, this is the age of guerillla late night.

So is it funny?

Honestly, when was the last time any talk show was genuinely funny? In fact, why do we still tune into late night talk shows? For sardonic wit and mockery of public figures, we have Twitter. For average-looking middle-aged men in suits droning into microphones, we have Congress. For celebrities making fools of themselves, we have Instagram.

But why, then, did it feel so disruptive when the regular slog of late night talk shows came to a halt in mid-March? As TIME's Judy Berman wrote, losing the late night personalities felt "especially bleak," because "if news programs help us understand what's happening in the world around us, then it's talk shows that often aid us in processing that information." Without them, we're left with the average daily frenzy of bad news and angry talking heads, offering "neither perspective nor catharsis."

But late night wasn't dead; it took to YouTube, and it changed focus to reflect American experience and identity more than ever.

If there's a still-beating heart to American talk shows, then the current crisis has brought it to light: empathy.

Late night hosts aren't just inviting the public into their homes (and, if you're Stephen Colbert, your bathtub); they're also sharing their family dynamics. Jimmy Fallon has taken to allowing his daughters, Winnie and Frances, to steal the show. "For us, these shows have been about the presenting idea that we're all going through this together," said Gavin Purcell, an executive producer for The Tonight Show. "People are adjusting to working from home, and what is it like to be stuck there? People have let Jimmy into their homes forever, and he thought it might be cool to let them into his home."

Similarly, The Daily Show host Trevor Noah said, "We're in a weird space...It feels like the end of the world, and it's not, but we also cannot treat it like nothing is happening. So we do have to find that balance." Accordingly, this week marks the return of many programs to their normal time slots. The New York Times noted, "Now that their shows are up and running, the people behind them say their continuing challenge is to provide viewers—for whom television has become one of a few remaining outlets for information and fresh entertainment—with a sense of comfort and continuity while commenting on events that have turned increasingly dire."

While we make take comfort from seeing familiar late night hosts also taking drastic steps to follow social distancing rules and staying self-quarantined, we all need reminders about our safety now and then. So in addition to using their time slots to show that we're all in this together, some hosts are making sure to spread vital information. Last month, Trevor Noah was commended (and viewed over 10 million times) for his frank and straightforward interview with the director of the National institute of Allergy and infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci.

More recently, delivering a similar safety message with his unique flair, Samuel L. Jackson used his video chat with Jimmy Kimmel to share a helpful clip of his dramatic reading on how to stay safe. For Jimmy Kimmel Live, Jackson read a new poem by Adam Mansbach, author of the bestseller Go the F**k to Sleep, called: "Stay the F**k At Home."

Samuel L. Jackson Says Stay the F**k at Home youtu.be