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Updated: 55 min 29 sec ago

The Oscars Get Personal

Mon, 2/23/2015 2:29 PM

Just when it seemed like the perfect evening to snuggle up next to the fireplace and watch the Oscars, my city jumped into the spirit of filmmaking and made it worthwhile to dress up and bundle up to celebrate the 2015 Academy Awards. Other than Valentine’s Day (which doesn’t ring a bell for everyone), Groundhog Day (Really? An undependable rodent gets its own day?) and maybe skiing (Sorry, I’m challenged in that department, so I definitely know this isn’t on everyone’s “to do” list), February’s biggest attention-grabber is the countdown to crowning the best in Hollywood. So why wouldn’t non-L.A.-based fans want to get in on the glamour and fun-filled anticipation?

These days, cities all over the country roll out the red carpet for Oscar night. From Atlanta to Las Vegas, big screen parties have become a tradition for many. And who better to celebrate than those who have witnessed the positive impact of filmmaking in their region? The Pittsburgh Film Office, a non-profit dedicated to bringing filmmakers to the region to make their films, notes that the region has experienced nearly $1 billion dollars in film-related economic impact. In fact, many feature films have played a role in that financial picture including The Dark Knight Rises, The Fault in Our Stars, Jack Reacher, and the 2015 Oscar nominee-generating Foxcatcher. So it seems fitting that the organization would choose Oscar night to host their annual gala benefit.

photo courtesy of Perfectly Planned by Shari, photo by George Thomas Mendel Pittsburgh's Lights! Glamour! Action! Oscar "Champagne Goddess" (far right) (photo courtesy of Perfectly Planned by Shari, photo by George Thomas Mendel)

Proving that they could one-up the celebrity-studded Dolby Theatre, party planners for the Pittsburgh event added a red carpet that ended with a live model (Her dress train WAS the red carpet–a fact that guests learned only after their flashbulb moments and walk of fame had ended. Thankfully, they must have literally cut her a lot of slack, because she didn’t seem any worse for wear.). Of course, that surprise was just a kickoff to the quirky (the Champagne Goddess perched high above the crowd witnessing the festivities), the gory (actors dressed as zombies in a nod to Pittsburgh’s legendary film Night of the Living Dead and its producer Russ Streiner who celebrated with guests), and the glamour (Fashion editor Natalie Bencivenga was spotted interviewing more than a few fabulous fashionistas.).

Photo courtesy of Perfectly Planned by Shari, photo by George Thomas Mendel Pittsburgh "zombies" (Photo courtesy of Perfectly Planned by Shari, photo by George Thomas Mendel)

Is it worth heading out in the cold to watch the Oscars in style? Absolutely– especially if you want to feel like a celebrity.

Nancy Berk, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, author, comic and entertainment analyst. The host of the showbiz podcast Whine At 9, Nancy digs a little deeper as she chats with fascinating celebrities and industry insiders. Her book College Bound and Gagged: How to Help Your Kid Get into a Great College Without Losing Your Savings, Your Relationship, or Your Mind can be seen in the feature film Admission starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.

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Categories: Entertainment

Exclusive Clip: ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic Sings in My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders

Mon, 2/23/2015 2:28 PM

It’s no surprise that My Little Pony Friendship is Magic has aired nearly 100 episodes since it premiered in 2010. The show is consistently excellent, has super-catchy songs, features fantastic messages for kids of all ages, and even has an enormous audience outside of just what you might expect the “target” audience for a show about talking, singing ponies to be.

One of the character groups that doesn’t get nearly enough screen time, however, is the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Young ponies Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Apple Bloom have yet to find their cutie marks (which appear after they figure out their own unique characteristic), but they still love to have hilarious adventures. So it’s nice to see them get their own DVD collection, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders (in stores tomorrow), highlighting some of their very best episodes.

Parade is excited to premiere this exclusive clip from the My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders DVD (in stores on February 24). The clip features the male Earth pony named Cheese Sandwich (voiced by the amazing “Weird Al” Yankovic) singing a tune called “Cheese Confesses” where he basically tells Pinkie Pie that it was one of her parties that turned him into a self-titled “super duper party pony.” From the season four episode “Pinkie Pride,” the song is one of several songs in the episode and gives viewers a good glimpse into how “Weird Al’s” persona really plays into how Cheese Sandwich himself acts. Fans will love this.

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders arrives on DVD on February 24.

Courtesy of Shout! Factory My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders arrives on DVD on February 24! (Courtesy of Shout! Factory)
Courtesy of Shout! Factory My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders arrives on DVD on February 24! (Courtesy of Shout! Factory)
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Categories: Entertainment

Jeff Probst Digs Deep Into Survivor: Worlds Apart, The 30th Season Of The Hit Reality Series

Mon, 2/23/2015 2:21 PM

Fifteen years ago, Richard Hatch waltzed around the beaches of Borneo, in the buff save for his buff, on the warpath toward his predestined million-dollar check. Twenty-nine seasons later, Survivor still stands.

The legendary reality competition series premieres its milestone 30th season on February 25, titled Survivor: Worlds Apart. And yet, to hear Jeff Probst tell it, it’s just the show’s 30th season. Survivor won’t mark the occasion with a bevy of all-stars, as it has done in the past. The greatest heroes and villains the game has ever seen won’t return for a second (or third, fourth, even fifth in two cases) chance at the title of Sole Survivor. There are no fireworks, no celebrity cameos, no grand plans to celebrate 15 years of Survivor — just straight-up Survivor, with all-new players, a few new twists, and the classic formula that’s kept this show on the air since 2000 with no signs of slowing down.

I spoke with Jeff about what we can expect from the new season, the idea of splitting the contestants into three tribes based on social class and approaches to life, and his take on a few of the players by way of high school yearbook superlatives. Plus, I dished out some superlatives of my own for the new Survivor class; launch the gallery to check that out.

Jeff, you’ve been talking about how Survivor: Worlds Apart is “just” your 30th season. How are you so relaxed about this? Is there no part of you that thinks, “Holy [expletive], this is season 30!”

Well, it’s an odd thing to experience, because Survivor has been on for so long now that we’re used to it being on. But when I intellectualize it and just look back, I can’t believe it’s still on. I live simultaneously in both worlds, which is why on one hand, we looked at our 30th season as this giant celebration, but on the other hand, we were reminding ourselves, “It is just our 30th season. We’re going to have seasons 31 and 32 as well!” That’s where we kind of landed with it. But it’s completely changed my life. Everything about my life is somehow related to Survivor, including meeting my wife through [Survivor executive producer] Mark Burnett at a party.

I’m the crazy Survivor fan in my social circle. When I tell people who don’t watch the show that we’re hitting season 30, the reaction is always the same: “Survivor has been on for 30 years?!” And I have to tell them, no, but it’s been on for 15 years. Their jaws still drop.

Yeah, mine does too. And I’ll tell you: I think this is the season that if you’ve never watched Survivor, or if you used to watch and then you dropped out, watch this premiere. If you’re not in all the way, you’ll never be in. This is a good season.

For the past few seasons — the first Blood vs Water and Cagayan, specifically — I feel like you played your cards close to the vest in terms of your enthusiasm. And yet here you are, on record, saying that Worlds Apart cast is one of your favorite seasons of all time. What makes you feel so confident about stepping up right now and making such a big declaration?

You know, I learned a lesson years ago that the audience is always right. This season is only good if the audience thinks it’s good. That taught me what not to say. Just do the show and let the audience decide. But I had such a good time with this season. I was riveted for so many days over what was happening, that I just gave myself a gut-check and decided, “Why am I going to hold back my enthusiasm when I feel this strongly?” Survivor fans trust me, I think. I’m pretty honest and candid. For instance, I’ve said that last season was not one of our best, and it was my mistake. I’m saying now, you should pack in and enjoy the season, because it’s going to be pretty damn good. If I’m wrong, I’ll go back in my hole and keep my mouth shut. But I don’t think I’m going to be wrong.

Tell me more about the season’s theme — pitting White Collar versus Blue Collar versus No Collar — in terms of the origin. Did the concept for the season come from the cast, or had the concept been on the board for a while, and now was the right time to pull the trigger?

The biggest lesson we learned from season 29′s Blood vs Water is that we made a mistake in that we put the theme ahead of the cast, and had to cast to the theme. That’s not how we typically do it. So for 30, we went back to what we always do: Let’s find the best people and then figure out how to divide them. Once we had our 18, then we figured out the theme. The theme always comes from different places. This one came from me. I had the pictures of everyone [on the cast] on my coffee table, and for about five days, I was just staring at them, trying to figure out what these people have in common, what are their differences.

White Collar and Blue Collar kept coming up. But that wasn’t enough for us in our 30th season. We needed a third element to triangulate things. And then I looked at these pictures that were left over — and I don’t even know if “No Collar” is a phrase, but it became a phrase for me. What I realized with this group of people is that they’re rule-breakers. I started thinking backwards: White Collars tend to make the rules, Blue Collars tend to follow the rules, and No Collars tend to break the rules. Once we had that concept, we went to CBS and pitched it.

It took them a bit to figure out. This is a building full of White Collars. They didn’t understand No Collar. I thought it was really interesting. We joked about it over a period of weeks, while I was pitching it. We joked that there’s something here in that nobody even knows what a No Collar is. But anybody who is a No Collar, says they are one. So, when they said, “Well, what’s an example of No Collar?” I said, “Me! I’m a No Collar! I hate authority, I don’t like Corporate America, I’m certainly not Blue Collar, I’m a rule breaker, I do what I want, when I want, with who I want. That’s a No Collar.” As the conversation continued, we realized there was something compelling here. They finally said yes.

The first few moments of the show was a test to see how each of the players, once they were divided, would react. And every one of them owned their tribe. The Blue Collars couldn’t have been more proud to be Blue Collar. The No Collars were laughing and giggling and dancing on their mats, saying, “Oh, we’re definitely No Collars.” And the White Collars, as expected, said, “Yes, reluctantly, we’re White Collars, but we hate being labeled that, because we know nobody likes White Collars.”

That’s a hard label to come into this game with. I feel like that’s the group that I’d look at as the big threat.

Yeah, it depends. You know, Joaquin, who is on White Collar, says, “I don’t mind being on White Collar, because my job doesn’t define me. Yes, I’m a White Collar. I work in an office. I wear a suit. I’m in charge. But there’s more to me than that.” And with the Blue Collars, if you judge them as hard-working but not bright, you’re probably going to get blindsided. With the No Collars, if you think that they have such an easygoing way of life that they’re not hard-working enough, you might be in for a surprise as well. You can’t judge a book by its cover. But there are certain tendencies that each of these three groups have, and that certainly plays out this season.

In Survivor: Cagayan, you divided the cast into three tribes of six players, built on a theme, and the result was your best seasons in years. How inspired were you by Cagayan when you were coming up with the Worlds Apart concept? Was there a feeling in the room that you had something special in season 28, and you wanted to repeat that success with season 30?

Honestly, we don’t look at it that way, so much as we look at it as this: Three tribes offer us a few things that are working right now in terms of where the show is. One is, with a tribe of six, you get to know people a lot faster. That’s good for the audience, because they can go, “I know those two guys from that tribe, and I know those two girls from that tribe.” With three tribes, it changes the numbers part of the game, in that it’s no longer ten on ten. It’s six versus six versus six, so that when we merge, there’s a lot more dynamics in terms of how the numbers can play out. That’s been working really well for us. It makes it less desirable to have a strong alliance and hold onto it, because you can’t trust it through switches and merges. That forces people to play a more aggressive game. As a result, the players playing aggressive realize, “It actually behooves me to play a bit more aggressive because it’s the only way to keep in control of my destiny.”

Having three tribes of six players also means there are very few places to hide.

You’re right. That’s another good element. There’s nowhere to hide. Every Tribal Council becomes an event.

The game is going to begin with the reliable Day 1 twist of charging specific tribe members with making a choice between an immunity idol clue or food for their tribe — except this time, you have two contestants making this call instead of just one, and even if they take the immunity idol clue, they get a smaller supply of food to share with the tribe.

Right.

But there’s another twist I’ve seen you talk about, too…

Yeah, there is another twist. Something we’ve played around with for quite a while, but didn’t feel it was appropriate yet for the show. This season, we decided these people could handle it. So there is a new twist, and no one is going to see it coming. It plays out beautifully. Everything you would hope a twist would bring you, it brings you.

I wanted to get your opinion on some of the players this season, but rather than run down the line of contestants, I thought I’d try something different. I’m going to list off some superlatives, and you tell me who fits where.

Let’s start with the Class Clown.

Ha! That’s a good one. Let me think for a sec, because there are a couple of good choices. [Pauses, then laughs.] I’m going with an odd choice, but for the Class Clown, I’m going to go with Rodney, who some people will say, after seeing him play, “Class Clown?” I think Rodney’s intention was to be funny, jovial, light-hearted. I’m not sure he achieved that, but I think he was going for it.

There’s another guy vying for Class Clown honors, and that would be Dan, also from the Blue Collar tribe. I’m not sure he achieved it. I think both guys had different approaches, but with the same goal: Bring some fun to camp.

How about Best Hair? Is it even a contest when you have Vince Sly on your season?

Best Hair? Yes, it is a contest. It’s between Vince and Joe, both No Collars. What’s interesting is, both of those guys are adversaries from the beginning. One is envious of the other. It’s interesting that you asked that question, because it really is a great way to categorize their relationship. You could call it a “Battle of the Hair,” and it’s a pretty decent metaphor for what goes down between them.

Who is the Biggest Flirt?

Well… I think Mike does a pretty good job of flirting. I think Jenn from No Collar does a good job of flirting by being an anti-flirt. She appears to care not at all what anybody thinks, which is oddly appealing. It draws you in. I would put those two as the flirts.

I would assume this next one goes to someone on White Collar, but maybe not: Who is Most Likely to Become President?

That’s another good one. Most likely to become President… I’m thinking through the names. Who is the most diplomatic? I would say Tyler, from White Collar. And you know what’s interesting again about your question is, the reason I’d give it to Tyler is that he’s a bit of an outlier on the White Collar tribe. I think that might have to do with the fact that he survived being an assistant to a talent agent, so he literally lived through the darkest chasm you can go through, the darkest hole, and came out of it alive. As a result, though he’s still White Collar, he’s got a little bit of, “You know? It’s not that bad. We can get through it.” He has a little bit of No Collar in him. That might make him the best candidate for President.

Who out of this cast will leave Survivor and win a Nobel Prize?

Hali. She’s a No Collar who is getting into the criminal justice system, not because she has White Collar tendencies. She’s getting in because she wants to go in and blow up the established rules of the criminal justice system, so she can help the underserved. That’s a woman who goes on to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

There are no cars on Survivor — well, not anymore — but who would have the Best Car of this crew?

Oh, yeah, I think that’s gotta go to Rodney. I think Rodney is a guy who, if he drives — and he’s from Boston, so I’m not sure that he drives — but he’s the guy who would have a truck with the wheels a little too big, and the muffler a little too loud, maybe a gun rack in the back, and then he’d tell you about how he’s all about peace and love and he loves his mom.

How about Most Likely to Succeed? Go back to your first time looking at these contestants. Sight unseen, who was your pick to win it?

My guess in the beginning would have been Mike. He’s from Texas, he works in the oil fields, he has the gift of gab, he is incredibly enthusiastic, and has a lot of gusto. He can push it too far and annoy you, but he’s pretty good at recovering. I think he’s not afraid to pull a fast one. So, going in? I’d say Mike.

You listed your Top Ten Survivor Winners of All Time. Obviously, it’s way too early for you to be specific, but where do you think this season’s winner will ultimately fit in the mix? When the dust settles on Worlds Apart, what kind of conversation are we having about the winner?

I think you’re right, that it’s with an asterisk — we have to see how it all plays out — but it would not surprise me if the winner of Season 30 became one of the favorite winners of all time. I do think when this season is over, the audience will feel that whoever has won has absolutely earned it, and this is a very good season of Survivor played very hard by very good players. That’s why I like this group. They play. There is no monkeying around. There won’t be anyone saying, “Well, there wasn’t really any strategy this year…” No. There’s strategy from the get go.

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Categories: Entertainment

The Daily Cute: Monday Melange

Mon, 2/23/2015 2:10 PM

You never know how a week is going to go, so here’s a little smattering of cuteness to improve any mood, situation, or sudden stress you may encounter today. Launch the gallery to see them all.

Click here to see “The Friday Fifteen” and check back every weekday for a new Daily Cute!

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Categories: Entertainment

Jadium – February 23

Mon, 2/23/2015 6:00 AM

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Categories: Entertainment

Reader Comments that Are Just Plain Wrong

Mon, 2/23/2015 5:00 AM

B.J. in New York, New York writes:

I notice that you don’t log in and correct the misstatements in your readers’ comments. Some errors are egregious! Why is that?

Marilyn responds:

I don’t have the time to monitor all the comments and correct them, so if I were to correct any of them (no matter how few or many), readers would think that the rest of them (the uncorrected ones) must be true. So I stay uninvolved.

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Categories: Entertainment

The Very Best Dresses of the Oscars Red Carpet

Mon, 2/23/2015 1:13 AM

Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore may have taken home top honors at the 87th annual Academy Awards Sunday night in Hollywood, but it was Lady Gaga who stole the show.

 

The often-flamboyant musician hit just the right note as she performed a touching tribute to The Sound of Music and stunned on the red carpet in a silver and white Azzedine Alaia couture gown accessorized with oversized red rubber gloves.

Gaga’s gown shined among a sea of pink, white and spring pastels—a welcome sign after the bitter cold and snowy winter punishing much of the nation.

Here are a few more of our favorite gowns from Hollywood’s biggest night of the year.

 

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Categories: Entertainment

Oscar Watch! Setting the Stage for Hollywood’s Biggest Night

Sun, 2/22/2015 9:36 PM

Getting ready for the biggest night of the year in Hollywood takes months of planning and weeks of preparation. Take a look at workers putting the finishing touches on the red carpet, golden statues and the Dolby Theatre. Plus, learn a few things you might not know about the Academy Awards.

 

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Categories: Entertainment

Numbrix 9 – February 23

Sun, 2/22/2015 7:00 PM
Categories: Entertainment

Jadium – February 22

Sun, 2/22/2015 6:00 AM

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Categories: Entertainment

Jadium – February 18

Wed, 2/18/2015 6:00 AM

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Categories: Entertainment

Depending on the Internet

Wed, 2/18/2015 5:00 AM

Samantha Sakers in Centreville, Virginia, writes:

Do you think our country–and the world in general–is overly dependent on the electronic transfer of information? I keep hearing about hackers breaking into various computer systems and stealing credit-card information, emails, and other personal information. Occasionally I hear about outages of several hours or a day or two at major Internet companies, causing grief for their customers. I wonder how much longer it will be before we have attackers bringing down the entire Internet–or large portions of it–for days or weeks. What do you think?

Marilyn responds:

I’m sure that significant problems lie ahead, but as we become accustomed to electronic dependence, organizations, institutions, and governments all over the world are busily constructing safeguards and fallback measures. The growth of civilization has fostered all sorts of dependencies, such as our reliance on water systems, food transportation, electricity grids, and much more. Scary, yes. But too scary? No

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Categories: Entertainment

Numbrix 9 – February 18

Tue, 2/17/2015 7:00 PM
Categories: Entertainment

Happy Random Acts of Kindness Day! Celebrate with 31 Easy Acts of Kindness

Tue, 2/17/2015 1:46 PM

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” —Diana, Princess of Wales

One of the most beloved members of the royal family, Princess Diana stood as a shining example of kindness. Always in the spotlight, she used her status as British royalty to show the world how and why kindness is important in life. Use your situation, no matter the position, to spread sincere thoughtfulness and encourage others to do the same.

Each year on Feb. 17, Americans celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day. From a simple “Good morning!” greeting to a supersized tip for your hardworking waiter, random acts of kindness come in many forms and sizes. Here’s a list of 31 easy-to-do ideas to spread kindness today and throughout the year:

  1. Buy the person’s coffee behind you in the Starbucks drive-thru line or pick up an extra cup of Joe for a co-worker.
  2. Pick up the tab for a couple’s dinner when you dine at a restaurant.
  3. Put a few extra coins in someone else’s parking meter or leave your change in the vending machine for the next person to find.
  4. Send a “just because” handwritten note via snail mail to an old friend.
  5. Leave a generous tip for your waiter/waitress or drop your change in the tip jar at your favorite café.
  6. Bring a treat to work. (For example, donuts for a busy morning or cookies for after lunch)
  7. Offer to buy a meal for a homeless person.
  8. Let someone merge into your lane on the highway during your morning commute.
  9. Donate your old eyeglasses to a charity such as the Lions Club that will provide them to those less fortunate.
  10. Volunteer at an animal shelter.
  11. Leave a treat in your mailbox for the mailman.
  12. Cook and deliver dinner to a new family or busy parents.
  13. Purge your closets and donate old clothes and shoes to Goodwill or a local homeless shelter.
  14. Compliment someone.
  15. Bake a surprise cake, cupcakes or cookies to celebrate a co-worker’s birthday or give a “just because” treat to a neighbor.
  16. Strike up a pleasant conversation with the stranger next to you on public transportation.
  17. Send a package of recent photos to your parents and/or grandparents. They will appreciate the update and photos to share with their friends.
  18. Greet public service workers and say “thank you.”
  19. Give up your seat on public transportation.
  20. Write a letter to someone who has influenced your life in a positive way and thank him or her (For example, a former teacher, boss, coworker, friend).
  21. Donate towels, newspaper or basic cleaning supplies to your local animal shelter. Check local websites for lists of their most-needed items.
  22. Organize a food drive at your workplace to benefit a local food bank.
  23. Compliment a good server or retail clerk to their manager.
  24. Give an anonymous gift card to someone in need.
  25. Leave flowers on a neighbor’s doorstep.
  26. Fill a backpack with toiletries like deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrush and give it to a homeless person.
  27. Pay the toll for the person behind you.
  28. Visit senior citizens at a local nursing home.
  29. Donate $1 or more when the cashier asks you to help a cause.
  30. Buy a sweet treat from a kid’s bake sale.
  31. Create a kit of fun stationary, pens and stamps to deliver to someone with a long hospital stay.
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Categories: Entertainment

Celebrating One Year of NBC’s Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Tue, 2/17/2015 1:38 PM

It’s hard to believe that it’s been an entire year since Jimmy Fallon took over hosting duties at The Tonight Show. The show and host fit together perfectly.

Fallon previously hosted Late Night which followed at 12:30 a.m., and it was there that he developed his style and built a huge–and loyal–following.

When he came to Tonight, he brought a fresh approach to the show. While he still does a standard monologue and has guest interviews, he also brought the show into the 21st century by using the comedy skills he honed at Saturday Night Live, by utilizing social media (Twitter in particular), and by making viral videos.

There have been so many great moments on the show that it was difficult to pick just a few.

So, sit back and enjoy these highlights from the past year with Jimmy Fallon and his celebrity guests.

Happy anniversary, Jimmy! It’s been a great year. Here’s to many, many more years of fun and laughs!

 

The $100 Bet

A classic from the first show. Jimmy collects on a bet.

 

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Jimmy stars in Saved By the Bell

The cast from the Saturday morning classic Saved By the Bell appears in an updated version of their show.

 

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“Wheel Of Impressions”

The great actor Kevin Spacey stops by and he and Jimmy play a game. These two are incredible together.

 

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The Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing

Will Smith appears (in “Fresh Prince” attire) and he and Jimmy have a “dance-off.”

 

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Hashtags: #MomTexts

Jimmy loves hashtags, and in this clip he reads some texts, submitted by viewers, of #MomTexts.

 

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Jimmy Remakes the Fresh Prince Opening

I love this. I just love this! It’s especially great that some former cast members appear

 

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Lip-Sync Battle with Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart

Snort! I can’t stop laughing. Watch. You will too!

 

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“Password”

It’s time to play the classic game show “Password,” with guest Ellen DeGeneres, Steve Carell, and Reese Witherspoon. (I guess Betty White was busy that day.)

 

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The Evolution of End-Zone Dancing

Justin Timberlake and Jimmy demonstrate their version of the “End-Zone” Dance.

 

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We Are the Champions

Jimmy, The Roots, and a host of musical guest stars perform an a-cappella version of the Queen hit “We Are the Champions.”

 

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Celebrity photo-bomb

Jimmy and Jon Hamm (Mad Men) photo-bomb people who are having their souvenir photos taken on the roof of the studio building (Top of the Rock).

 

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Kevin Bacon’s entrance

Dancing was “banned” on The Tonight Show, and Kevin Bacon recreated his dance sequence for the ’80s classic Footloose. He still has the moves!

 

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“Tensions”

The one-and-only Carol Burnett visits and demonstrates why she is a comic legend. Join Carol and Jimmy for “Tensions.”

 

 

Michele Wojciechowski is the award-winning author of the humor book Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out in a Box, writer of the award-winning humor column, Wojo’s World®, and a not-yet award-winning stand-up comic. Like Fallon, Wojo loves photo-bombing and lip-syncing. Instead of millions of viewers, though, she has her family and her dogs. They are not amused. For more Wojo and lots of funny stuff, check out her website at www.wojosworld.com.

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Categories: Entertainment

The Daily Cute: Orca, Orca, Orca!

Tue, 2/17/2015 1:32 PM

Orca whales are a fairly rare sight, both in nature and on the internet, so I’ve gathered several photos here for you to enjoy. It’s tough to call them “killer whales” when they look this adorable playing with their kids or swimming by themselves.

Click here to see “Funny Pets Live: A Retrospective” and check back every weekday for a new Daily Cute!

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Categories: Entertainment

Jadium – February 17

Tue, 2/17/2015 6:00 AM

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Categories: Entertainment

More on Auroras

Tue, 2/17/2015 5:00 AM

Andrew Buchan in Wayne, Pennsylvania, writes:

As someone who has been fascinated by astronomy since the age of three, I’m writing to add to your answer about auroras (or aurorae, the proper plural, the result of being a loan word from Latin). (December 21, 2014) While Earth’s magnetic field channels electrically-charged particles to polar regions like Scandinavian countries, Alaska, and Tierra del Fuego, auroral activity is directly related to the sunspot cycle. Each cycle starts with few sunspots (solar minimum) and corresponds to very little auroral activity. However, different solar latitudes rotate at different rates, winding up the solar magnetic field and creating more sunspots. Solar maximum, eleven years after the start of the cycle, is when the sun has the most sunspots, and thus the most aurorae; the most recent solar maximum was in 2013. Websites like spaceweather.com are great sources for updates on solar and auroral activity.

Marilyn responds:

Thank you, Andrew. Now you can plan ahead, readers!

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Categories: Entertainment

Numbrix 9 – February 17

Mon, 2/16/2015 7:00 PM
Categories: Entertainment

5 Humor Lessons from Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary Special

Mon, 2/16/2015 3:56 PM

Sunday’s Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special, highlighting the Not Ready For Prime Time Players, featured SNL veterans (from Chevy Chase to Tina Fey), former celebrity hosts (from Taylor Swift to Alec Baldwin), and music icons (from Sir Paul McCartney to Paul Simon) smack in the middle of prime time. This star-studded celebration of a rare milestone in show business was also an important demonstration of the power of humor. While there were lots of belly laughs and plenty of reminiscing, the show also illustrated the important lessons to be learned from comedy. And in the process, NBC managed to prove that there’s nothing better than a lesson plan filled with laughter.

Listen to Nancy’s 2013 interview with SNL alum Kevin Nealon here and on iTunes.

Times change, but the need for levity and laughter remains. This is just one part of the formula for SNL’s staying power, but it is a critical one. For centuries, writers and entertainers have been trying to make people laugh and people have been flocking to venues to witness these attempts. SNL jumped on that bandwagon, but the show also rocked with, and accepted, the ebb and flow of its comedy success.

Creating comedy and writing humor requires talent. Not everyone can do Shakespeare. And not everyone can “do funny”. There’s a reason the SNL Anniversary Special audience was filled with celebs and Hollywood power players like Steven Spielberg. They recognize and admire the talent behind great comedy.

Comedy is a team sport. Great humor never comes from isolation. Whether you’re writing or performing, creating a hilarious moment is about connecting–with your audience, with your actors, and with your improv team. The more you know about others and the more you can anticipate their reactions, the better skilled you will be at crafting the best laughs.

Homogeneous humor won’t win a large audience. People’s humor preferences vary. Watch SNL and you’ll laugh like crazy at one sketch and likely find another misses your mark for funny. But it is this variability that allows SNL to strike a familiar chord with a greater cross-section of its viewers. This isn’t surprising to laugh entrepreneur Donna Cavanagh, founder of the popular website HumorOutcasts.com, which features the writing of over 100 humor and comedy writers from every genre. Notes Cavanagh, “I am continually amazed at the variability in trending that we see on our site. To me, it is proof that it is important to offer all types of humor if you want to resonate with a large demographic.”

Like everything else, humor flourishes when there’s a champion with vision behind it. Forty years ago, SNL got that champion in Lorne Michaels. And we’ve been laughing ever since.

Nancy Berk, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, author, comic and entertainment analyst. The host of the showbiz podcast Whine At 9, Nancy digs a little deeper as she chats with fascinating celebrities and industry insiders. Her book College Bound and Gagged: How to Help Your Kid Get into a Great College Without Losing Your Savings, Your Relationship, or Your Mind can be seen in the feature film Admission starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.

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Categories: Entertainment
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