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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Memes used to be inside jokes, and they were funny because they were so incredibly stupid that they felt safe. It once seemed crazy to think that a photo of a grumpy-looking cat could ever be used to try and subversively advertise Cinnabon and Camaros, but now that memes have gone mainstream, it’s clear that was a naive belief. Now we know that anything we’ve ever found amusing can be used to sell Cinnabon and Camaros—and that maybe grumpy-looking cats are the most likely of all candidates.

    Which is why it makes sense that Lifetime has paired with Grumpy Cat Limited to produce an 85-minute commercial for Grumpy Cat hats (and Cinnabon and Camaros) with Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever. It’s a real trip down memory lane, a strange brew of stuff like Grumpy Cat awkwardly held in front of a green screen while the Keyboard Cat video plays in the background. But you won’t scratch the same nostalgic itch with this as you would with, say, The Lego Movie. It’s more like a piece of evidence in a trial against something you used to enjoy. It makes you wonder: If this movie’s the endgame, the high-water mark of a meme’s existence, should we try even harder to ignore the remaining memes in our Facebook feeds? Is Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever a punishment for holding onto the concept for too long? Probably. But I watched it, and now you don’t have to. Unless it’s on TV and the remote is out of reach, in which case I might slightly recommend it. It’s also probably also fine for kids, as long you remember to change the channel after it’s over.


    Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever is an origin story, kind of like Iron Man, Batman Begins, or The Amazing Spider-Man, but with Grumpy Cat stuck in a pet store called Whiskers in a large indoor mall that is, according to the exterior shots, located inside a strip mall. A cruel businessman wants to see Whiskers closed so he can open a chicken restaurant in its place. For some reason, this business man is played by a 15-year-old wearing a suit and carrying a piece of luggage instead of a suitcase. Next to the fact that the mall is shot entirely in shallow focus to avoid showing any store names, and the fact that the film skips animating the animals’ mouths, the suitcase is probably the smallest of the film’s budgetary concerns. But it might be the funniest one.

    Besides Grumpy Cat, there are other animals in Whiskers, too, like a snake that’s a gypsy and a hamster that’s skeptical of the snake. These animals aren’t too important, although there’s one scene in the third act where they all team up and attack some Bad Guys, resulting in the snake being thrown at a wall and subsequently disappearing from the film, leaving us to conclude that it’s probably dead.

    The one animal that is important is the Million Dollar Dog, because the owner of Whiskers plans to sell this dog to “keep Whiskers open for a long, long time.” That’s ostensibly a good thing, because it’s the only place that the protagonist, Crystal, feels truly accepted. Crystal is around 13, still too young to realize that mall pet stores are extremely depressing, and her schoolmates all hate her. Things are rough for Crystal. Her mom keeps telling her to make friends, but her mom works at the mall, and that’s unfortunately every young person’s favorite place to call Crystal a dork.

    Eventually, Crystal meets Russell Peters, who’s dressed as Santa Claus and looking half-drunk on a bench in the mall. He tells her that he usually dresses as Santa Claus at another mall, but that he’s filling in for somebody today, and then he tells her to toss a Christmas coin into this mall’s fountain and make a wish. (Later, we learn the mall he’s from actually closed down many years ago, which can only mean one thing: He’s a ghost. Which is good, because the idea of there being multiple malls in this town might have threatened to confuse this otherwise water-tight narrative.)

    It turns out that Crystal wishes for a friend, which is a sweet and humble wish that the ghost grants by allowing her to hear Grumpy Cat talk, which is shocking because she talks with Aubrey Plaza’s voice. It’ll probably get Crystal institutionalized in the long run, but it’s a favorable thing for the time being, because it results in her sneaking away from her mom’s work-related Christmas party, breaking into the mall, and helping Grumpy Cat defend the Million Dollar Dog from burglars. Crystal’s mom thinks that she’s off making friends somewhere at the party the whole time, because she’s still in denial about everybody hating Crystal so much.

    The burglars are two wannabe rock stars that want to buy a tour bus, and a mall security guard whose evil motive is to buy a small house that he can retire in. They’re the sort of criminals that would really get under Steven Seagal’s skin. Crystal shoots them with paintballs, hits them with gardening tools, and drives a Rascal scooter. Grumpy Cat ultimately does nothing in the struggle, which means that it’s entirely possible that Crystal is just hallucinating having heard the cat talk in the first place. This raises a lot of questions. Was this whole story just Crystal’s fever dream? Did Whiskers ever even exist?

    Like Inception’s spinning top, these questions will surely be debated for years to come, hopefully in the form of extremely threatening tweets. In the meantime, we can probably look forward to a whole slew of wonderful meme-related films. Maybe we’ll get Good Guy Greg’s Best House Party, where we can finally learn how Good Guy Greg got that joint that he’s smoking. Maybe we could get some sort of Confession Bear film, but I think he may have already appeared in Milo and Otis.

    Screengrab via Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever


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    The holiday season is upon us, and that means it is once again time to subject ourselves to the never-ending barrage of Christmas-themed TV specials and movies.

    When they make their annual appearances on our TV screens, classics like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Christmas Story add yet another festive layer to a season full of family get-togethers, tree decorating, and rigging up exterior lights. Unfortunately, real life tends to get in the way, causing us to miss the network TV airings of our favorite programs.

    However, all is not lost. Thanks largely to video-streaming sites like Dailymotion, Putlocker, and even YouTube itself, all of your favorite holiday entertainment is right at your fingertips, ready to be played on your schedule. Even better, these streaming videos don't have interruptions every 15 minutes for repetitive commercials!

    So grab another cup of eggnog, kick off your boots, and settle in with the gift of free streaming video.

    TV specials

    1) A Charlie Brown Christmas

    Honestly, what would Christmas be without the classic 1965 Charlie Brown special? Relive everything from the peaceful "Christmas Time is Here" melody to the needle-shedding tree.

    2) Frosty the Snowman

    The Rankin-Bass animation team is the name in holiday entertainment. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, they produced a string of holiday specials that have entertained generation after generation of children and parents alike. Frosty the Snowman—narrated by the late, great Jimmy Durante—is one of their 2D animated staples. Sing along to the title song as young Karen helps her magical talking snowman escape the villainous Professor Hinkle while he makes his way to the North Pole.

    3) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

    Perhaps the Rankin-Bass team's best achievement, the 1964 special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer also shows off the team's signature "Claymation" skills. Filled with original songs, the hour-long special made characters like Yukon Cornelius, Hermie the Elf, and of course the abominable snowman "the Bumble" timeless characters on par with Rudolph and Santa.

    4) Twas The Night Before Christmas

    This little-known entry in the Rankin-Bass Christmas universe sort of contradicts the message that the team tried to share in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. While Rudolph was all about embracing your individuality, Twas The Night Before Christmas goes in the opposite direction, seemingly stating that you can only share in holiday cheer if you conform. Nevertheless, the 2D animated tale gives enjoyable life to the classic poem, following the Trumble family as they try to make amends with an angry Santa Claus.

    5) Santa Claus is Comin' To Town

    Rankin-Bass returned to their Claymation style with this upbeat 1970 special, starring singer and dancer extraordinaire Fred Astaire. Sing along with memorable tunes as mailman S.D. Kluger tells the story of how exactly Kris Kringle came to be.

    6) The Year Without a Santa Claus

    This 1974 Rankin-Bass special is loosely based on a short story of the same name that was released by Phyllis McGinley in 1956. Filled with classic songs like "Blue Christmas" and "Here Comes Santa Claus," watch as a pair of bumbling elves try to convince a skeptical southern town that Santa Claus is indeed still the spirit of the season.

    7) Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

    Debuting almost 35 years before the Jim Carrey film of the same name, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a timeless, surreal television special that made the furry green Grinch the best holiday antihero since Ebenezer Scrooge. Chant "Fahoo Fores" as you watch the lonely, mischievous creature (voiced by horror movie veteran Boris Karloff) attempt to rob the residents of nearby Whoville during the merriest of holidays.

    8) "The Hanukkah Song"

    Adam Sandler exploded in popularity on Saturday Night Live with his original tune "The Hanukkah Song," which lists a cavalcade of Jewish celebrities with whom little Jewish boys and girls can celebrate the holiday while everyone else is focused on Christmas. Two updated versions of the song have followed, and one lyric, "Eight Crazy Nights," was the title of an animated movie about the holiday starring Sandler.

    9) Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo

    As popular as Sandler's music is, he isn't the only one celebrating a non-Christmas holiday each season. During South Park's first season in 1997-1998, Trey and Matt introduced us to Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo, who comes out of the toilet to cheer up Kyle Broflovski, the group's resident Jewish member.

    10) A Very Brady Christmas

    This 1988 made-for-TV movie reunited almost the entire original cast of The Brady Bunch (minus Susan Olsen, who played Cindy Brady). Nearly-retired parents Mike and Carol Brady invite their six children and their spouses—and of course housekeeper Alice—back for a big holiday get-together. As the corny cheer rages on, everyone reveals, and eventually solves, their various life issues.

    Movies

    11) A Christmas Carol

    Charles Dickens' classic tale has been brought to life countless times by everyone from Patrick Stewart to Jim Carrey to the Muppets. 1984 saw the release of one of the best adaptations, starring classic actor George C. Scott (best known for his work in Patton) as the cranky Ebenezer Scrooge. Relive the classic tale as Scrooge learns the true meaning of the holiday with a little help from three spooky ghosts.

    12) Miracle on 34th Street

    While this beloved Christmas story has also been remade several times, nothing will ever hold a candle to the Oscar-winning 1947 original. When a department-store Santa confides in young Susan that he is indeed the real deal, she must convince an otherwise-skeptical community that the spirit of the holiday is not yet dead.

    13) It's a Wonderful Life

    It's a Wonderful Life goes hand-in-hand with Miracle on 34th Street and A Christmas Carol as a classic holiday favorite. Jimmy Stewart never fails to delight as the grumpy George Bailey, who is visited by angel-in-training Clarence to see exactly what life would be like had he never lived.

    14) A Christmas Story

    Are you too impatient to wait for the annual 24-hour Christmas Story marathon on TBS? If so, pop on over to Putlocker to check out Jean Shepard's nostalgic 1983 holiday staple. Based on the humorist's life in 1940s Ohio, A Christmas Story follows young Ralphie as he tries to navigate a rather unlikable cast of characters in his quest for a Red Rider BB Gun.

    15) Scrooged

    Groundhog Day isn't the only calendar date that Bill Murray has cemented with a classic movie. Smack in the middle of Murray's illustrious comedy film career in the 1980s sits Scroogedan updated version of A Christmas Carol. Murray is perfect as sarcastic TV executive Frank Cross, who is visited by three imperfect spirits that attempt to teach him the meaning of Christmas.

    16) National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

    Since its release 25 years ago, the third entry in the National Lampoon's Vacation franchise has skyrocketed to "modern-day holiday classic" territory. In the comedy of errors, Chevy Chase's Clark Griswold tries to survive insane in-laws, string up 25,000 lights, and earn the respect of his crotchety boss. Before you enjoy it, make sure your shitter isn't full.

    17) Home Alone

    John Hughes' 1990 blockbuster, which put Macaulay Culkin on the map, is a modern-day seasonal favorite. In the days leading up to Christmas, young Kevin McCallister finds himself unexpectedly left home alone by his vacationing family. His carefree fun is cut short once he realizes that he needs to prevents a pair of burglars from stealing his family's valuables.

    18) Bad Santa

    Not everyone enjoys the Christmas season. Bad Santa is the ideal movie for modern-day Scrooges. If you hate Christmas, chances are you'll see a bit of yourself in Billy Bob Thornton's chain-smoking, alcoholic shopping-mall Santa, who aims to score one last heist from a department store in suburban Phoenix.

    19) The Santa Clause

    At the height of his popularity in the mid 1990s, Tim Allen's star rose even higher in Disney's modern-day Christmas classic The Santa Clause. Allen stars as Scott Calvin, a man who inadvertently becomes jolly Old St. Nick, aided the entire way by his young son's strong belief. Avoid the mediocre sequels; the 1994 original is all you need.

    20) Yule Log

    While not technically a movie (though it does have more plot than most modern-day Hollywood fare), the 10-hour-long Yule Log provides the perfect backdrop for your otherwise cozy holiday home. Pop it on to enjoy the sights and sounds of a crackling fire without any of the cleanup or danger.

    Photo via Matthew Paul Argall/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed


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    Imagine an exotic lasagna recipe that totals more than 33,000 calories and 2,169 grams of fat, and you know it has to be from the mad food scientists at Epic Meal Time.

    In the latest installment of the wildly popular YouTube series that spawned an equally outrageous cable TV show, Epic Meal Empire, we find film buddies Seth Rogen and James Franco creating a Korean BBQ Lasagna that represents a thinly veiled promo for their new film, The Interview. The movie reunites the Franco-Rogen team (Pineapple Express, End of the World) as a talk show host and producer who go on a mission to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

    Aside from the brief mention of The Interview at the end of the episode, this heavily bleeped installment is all about the dynamic duo kicking the show’s star Harley Morenstein out of the kitchen (they call the bearded one “Harvey Morgenstein”) where they take over creating a mess-terpiece that blends together all things fatty with all things spicy. The net result is something that would require an asbestos palate.

    As in many Franco-Rogen bits, the shtick is either very funny or extremely labored. Their improv take on the Six Degrees of Kevin Kimchi Bacon is clever but the mumbled asides aimed at demeaning Epic’s host Morenstein are fairly laugh-free. Rogen, an experienced comic has much better chops than his cinematic friend which was made obvious in their Kim-Kanye sendup, Bound 2 and on Discovery’s Naked and Afraid.

    While this Epic Meal Time take is far from the series’ best, it’s all in good fun. That is, unless you try and cook and digest this heart attack waiting to happen. To that, I say haeng-un-eul bil-eo yo (행운을 빌어 요).

    Screengrab via Epic Meal Time/YouTube


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    While The Fine Bros continue their quest to have everyone react to everything on YouTubeSeth Rogen and James Franco continue their media tour promoting the upcoming film The Interview. Thankfully the two paths have collided in an epic Fine Bros reaction video to Rogen and Franco's iconic original partnership, Freaks and Geeks.

    To be specific, The Fine Bros have Rogen and Franco react to an animated game they created that captures the iconic moments of Freaks and GeeksThe video of Rogen and Franco reacting gives us a lot of great moments, as the duo is blown away by the faithfulness of the video game version to the TV show. They also reveal some cute behind the scenes info, like that Rogen cut his chin open breaking a guitar in one scene. The pair also laughs over moments from the show they can't remember happening, and, when faced with an actual math question, Rogen quips to Franco, "you're in school, you should know this." 


    When it's done, the guys tell The Fine Bros to keep going with the game, jokingly giving them the rights to their individual characters. There's also another three minutes of bonus reaction footage for diehard Rogen, Franco, or Freaks and Geeks fans. 

    Screengrab via TheFineBros/YouTube


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    We’re all gearing up for the hatewatch of the month (despite what Allison Williams says) when Peter Pan Live! debuts Thursday night. But oh what could have been.

    NBC has said little about who else auditioned for the role of Peter Pan before Williams nabbed it, although if you take it from Funny or Die, 30 Rock’s Jane Krakowski had a pretty memorable impression in the audition room in this NBC “leak.”

    She embraces her Inner Jenna Maroney again and may have been going a lot darker than NBC wanted to go for—this version of Peter is addicted to pixie dust, has an insufferable accent, and needs applause to live again—but it’s certainly a side worth exploring. Peter Pan may be the boy who never grows up, but how does that affect him? And what does he look like when he’s no longer putting on that happy persona?

    A parody it might be, but we’re really missing out here. We’ll feel it more than ever once the actual Peter Pan Live! airs Thursday.

    Screengrab via Funny or Die


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    James Blunt has taken another shot at Atlantic Records in what is apparently a very public campaign to get dropped by his label. This time, Blunt is claiming that Atlantic asked him to quit using Twitter, even though they were the ones who forced him to start using it in the first place.

    Blunt, who joined Twitter in late 2009, is arguably one of the funniest celebrities on on the platform, which he mainly uses to fire back at trolls who tweet about not liking him or his music. Along the way, he frequently puts himself down (“Am I the only one who thinks I look like Alan Partridge?” was a particular joy) and chides fans who tweet about their love for him. Yet despite his Twitter presence being called “quite brilliant” by comedian Ricky Gervais, Blunt told RadioTimes.com that Atlantic Records has asked him to stop tweeting.

    My record label signed me up to Twitter. It’s not something I would choose to be on because I think it's remarkable that in this day and age we allow people to voice their opinions as if they were fact, and the fact that people take it seriously is remarkable...I thought: I am not going to take that seriously; I am going to laugh at them and I am going to laugh at myself. So as soon as I was on Twitter I started doing that. My record label immediately asked me to stop as it opened Pandora’s box.

    Here are some of Blunt’s notable burns:

    This isn't the first time Blunt has spoken out against his corporate overlords. Earlier this year, he publicly apologized for the over-proliferation of his 2005 hit “You’re Beautiful,” saying, “I think, at the end of the day, I was marketed by a record company to appeal to women during Desperate Housewives commercials and you lose 50 percent of the population in doing so."

    Despite the pushback from Atlantic, Blunt hasn’t quit tweeting to his 920,000+ fans and foes. He has offered to quit singing if you pay him the right amount of money. As long as he doesn't quit Twitter, we're fine with him crowdfunding an end to his career.

    Photo via thesupermat/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)


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    With only a couple more weeks of The Colbert Report left, Stephen Colbert may still have a few tricks up his sleeve (and under his desk).

    We never see what’s on the other side of his iconic desk, but over the course of the past nine years, he’s pulled plenty of things out from under it to the amusement of his audience. And we can relive it all thanks to a supercut from Comedy Central.

    Based on what he’s pulled out from under there, his underground desk space must be expansive. He’s easily got a petting zoo, multiple rooms to hold Michael J. Fox and a washing machine, his TV-ready family, and a bunch of comedians, at least one fridge for food and booze, and a place to hang his Lord of the Rings swords and house his Emmys. It sounds like one giant party, and perhaps that’s where Colbert’s character can reside once the show ends.

    We can only imagine what else he'll reveal down there before his show ends.

    H/T Brobible | Screengrab via The Colbert Report


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    Two films that premiered on digital platforms are on the short list for Oscar nominations in the Documentary Feature category.

    Virunga, from Grain Media, premiered on Netflix in November. Directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, the film follows a group of park rangers who are trying to protect endangered mountain gorillas from poachers, militiamen, and other dangerous forces in Africa’s oldest national park. Prior to the film’s release, Netflix partnered with Leonardo DiCaprio to promote the film and the issue it documents. As a result, the actor received executive producer credit.

    The other documentary on Oscar’s short list is The Internet’s Own Boy, from Luminant Media. The film tells the story of Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz, who was a prominent social and political activist campaigning for internet freedom before his untimely passing. Written, directed, and produced by Brian Knappenberger, the documentary initially screened at Sundance and South by Southwest. FilmBuff and Participant Media partnered to release the film on Vimeo in June.

    The full list of potential nominees are bulleted below. Final nominees will be announced on Jan. 15. The 87th Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 22.

    • Art and Craft (Purple Parrot Films)
    • The Case Against 8 (Day in Court)
    • Citizen Koch (Elsewhere Films)
    • CitizenFour (Praxis Films)
    • Finding Vivian Maier (Ravine Pictures)
    • The Internet’s Own Boy (Luminant Media)
    • Jodorowsky’s Dune (City Film)
    • Keep On Keepin’ On (Absolute Clay Productions)
    • The Kill Team (f/8 filmworks)
    • Last Days in Vietnam (Moxie Firecracker Films)
    • Life Itself (Kartemquin Films and Film Rites)
    • The Overnighters (Mile End Films West)
    • The Salt of the Earth (Decia Films)
    • Tales of the Grim Sleeper (Lafayette Film)
    • Virunga (Grain Media)
    Screengrab via The Internet's Own Boy/Sundance

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    “Of course, the biggest question of all remains: How will my final broadcast close?”

    Stephen Colbert himself posed this conundrum on the Oct. 13 episode of The Colbert Report when he finally told the Colbert Nation that his final show would air Dec. 18. It’s something people had wondered ever since CBS announced in April that he would be taking over David Letterman’s job as the next host of The Late Show—although if you take it from Colbert’s character, the right-wing satirical persona he’s portrayed on the show for the past nine years, it’s because“it’s become clear to me that I’ve won television.”

    With its host ever the type to put on a spectacle (remember his “Get Lucky” music video?), that final episode’s probably going to be nuts. We’re saying goodbye to Colbert the character, but not Colbert the person (or, as he’s quick to point out, Americone Dream)—and Colbert the person is still pretty awesome. Maybe he’ll even attempt putting on a regular show before he sails east down 54th Street and down Broadway to the Ed Sullivan Theater?

    “I don’t know,” he said in regards to his character’s fate, according to a redditor who attended a recent taping. “I hope he’ll be OK.”

    But how’s he gonna do it? The only people who truly know that right now are probably Colbert and his writers, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to guess. It’s been something I’ve mulled over a little bit ever since I went to see a taping of The Colbert Report in late September with a friend. It’s like asking someone how a long-running drama will end, only this is a satirical news show with a real character heading it—and without the fervor of Serial conspiracy theories that have taken over the Internet as of late. While we’ve seen talk shows end in lavish fashion in the Internet age, they haven’t really involved saying goodbye to a beloved character, so we might be in uncharted territory.

    For example, wouldn’t it be awesome to see Colbert (who’s probably one of the biggest Lord of the Rings fans alive) emulate Frodo Baggins at the end of The Return of the King—no longer fitting in or finding joy in simpler pleasures now that he defeated television—only to be led into the West by someone like Jon Stewart, Letterman, or even Gandalf himself? (It’s a theory that’s only just popped into my head, but don’t you really want that to happen now?)

    Seriously, it could be anything.

    We’ve rounded up some of the more popular Internet conspiracy theories, but no matter what he ends up pulling out from under his desk, he’s bound to have the final Word.

    1) The Colbert character will die

    Drastic and heavy-handed? Sure, but it’s by far the one that makes most sense. Colbert himself has said that his character won’t appear on The Late Show, but he could shout himself blue and some people will still hold out hope that the pundit could pop up at some point.

    What better way to put an end to that talk by putting a few literal nails in that coffin?

    On the surface, this is the ending that Colbert and his writing staff are heavily foreshadowing. Even before the host had announced his final show, Kevin Spacey made a surprise appearance in-character as Frank Underwood and suggested that Colbert “take the last train down, I’ll meet you on the edge of the platform.” House of Cards fans know how well that went for one character last season.

    And when Colbert made his announcement on Oct. 13, we were introduced to a foreboding, now-recurring character: Grimmy. He looks like a Grim Reaper, and in his first appearance, he flipped an hourglass over and showed the number 32 with a skull and crossbones. Character Colbert, naturally, plays oblivious.

    Just two weeks later, Colbert mentioned that he might go on vacation after the show ends, and who better to get suggestions than from his travel agent Grimmy. Grimmy’s top pick? Somewhere warm and with horns. Hmmm.

    The main thing that Colbert conspiracy theorists can’t pin down is how it’s gonna happen.

    One person has suggested that Bill O’Reilly, who’s often mocked on the show, will do it. Another put out the idea that a bear, the “godless killing machines” who’ve long topped Colbert’s ThreatDown lists, will ultimately deliver the final blow. Still another person has theorized that Grimmy could be Larry Wilmore, host of The Nightly Show, already poised to takeover Colbert’s timeslot next month, in disguise.

    However, the elaborate setup may end up being a ruse after all. During the Aug. 6 episode of The Colbert Report, Colbert seemed to squelch the very idea that his character would die after the show ends, which he does out of character.

    “We are working on that right now, actually,” he told the audience. “We have lots of ideas, but I can tell you for sure, he will live on. Don’t worry… he’s not going to die.”

    Could he be pulling our leg? Who knows?

    2) He’ll be played off by Ben Folds

    Colbert knew how he wanted to end the show years ago—even before CBS wanted to bring him in to replace Letterman. In an out-of-character Q&A session at the 2011 Montclair Film Festival, he revealed how he would ideally like it to end.

    “If I was going to have a last show, and I was going to have a last musical guest—and I hope I never do—but I think I would want to have Ben Folds on and do this song with him,” he told Jonathan Alter.

    The song Colbert was referring to? “Best Imitation of Myself,” and he charmed the audience by performing an a cappella cover of it. The following year, Colbert told Fresh Air’s Terry Gross about his love for the song and originally thought “he had written it for me.” He ended up having Ben Folds Five on in October 2012.

    How possible is it for Folds to show up? He has a concert in Melbourne on Dec. 19, the day after Colbert’s final show, but with the 16-hour time difference, by the time Colbert will presumably tape his final show (which usually happens around 7:30pm ET), it’ll be almost noon on Dec. 19 in Melbourne. To show up on that final day and go back to Melbourne in time for a concert is impossible excluding any secret twin theories.

    But Folds does have a 10-day gap from the previous concert in Hobart to Melbourne. He could, hypothetically, travel to New York and shoot something in secret.

    Or, as Third Beat speculated a while back, the performance might have already been taped and saved for just this occasion.

    3) He’ll make a fake scandal forcing the character to go away

    Colbert has been the subject of many fake scandals over the years (and one very real one), and he’s been the subject of ire to many Gamergate supporters ever since he interviewedAnita Sarkeesian and tackled Gamergate on his show. It might have even gotten some to believe that Colbert’s last show was a result of of having Sarkeesian on his show. It’s not.

    A fake scandal would be more in tune with the character’s tone, and knowing Colbert, whatever gets him out of the way (and into obscurity) is bound to be bonkers.

    “Creating a storyline (or a “game” in improv/Report terms) that stays open-ended when the Report is done, and causes or explains ‘Stephen’s’ removal from the air, is a perfect way to create that division,” Sharilyn Johnson wrote at Third Beat Magazine.

    4) His character will run off with Charlene

    Colbert is happily married in real life, but before his conservative persona became a newsman, he was apparently the lead singer of an ’80s-style band called Stephen and the Colberts. And on the Feb. 9, 2006, show, Colbert showed his audience a music video dedicated to a very special girl in his life.

    “I think it would be funny if the famed Charlene (could make it a big name celebrity whose ‘nickname’ would be Charlene) made an appearance and finally took Stephen back,” cone3663 wrote on Reddit.

    Years apart (and a possible high-profile next move for the character) may have worn away some of the hard feelings, but it’s entirely possible that Charlene still has that restraining order against him.

    5) He’ll sign off with as much patriotism as he can muster

    Some fans are taking a leaf out of Colbert’s book when trying to guess how the show will end. Colbert loves America, so naturally they think it’ll be damn patriotic.

    Absurd? Completely. But we wouldn’t put anything past Colbert at this point.

    6) He’ll just mash up every other TV series finale

    Colbert said it best on Oct. 13 as his character spun around some possible theories on how the show will end. And wouldn’t it be surprising if the ending was right under our noses the entire time?

    “Will I wake up next to Suzanne Pleshette in a snow globe, after Rachel gets off a plane to be with me, while BJ Honeycutt writes out ‘Goodbye’ in rocks until we cut to black in the middle of a Journey song?” he pondered. “Or will I get sued for copyright infringement?”

    As unlikely as it may be, I could see someone like Jimmy Fallon ending his tenure on The Tonight Show like this in a number of years.

    7) The last nine years were a dream

    It might’ve worked for St. Elsewhere and Newhart, but ending a series, one that many were invested in, by suggesting it was a dream will cause wrath in the fandom. It’d be pretty hard to write around the real-world headlines Colbert’s character has made (just look at his turn at hosting the White House Press Correspondents’ Dinner and the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear), but it would explain how Colbert became, well, Colbert. Logistically, it might be even more polarizing than even those series finales past.

    ...That LOTR ending isn’t looking so ridiculous now, is it?

    Screengrab via The Colbert Report


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    One of YouTube's clearest markers of the passage of another year has arrived: DJ Earworm's 2014 United States of Pop mix is now available.

    Earworm has been mixing since 2003, but after  fan-made video to a mashup of his went viral in 2007, he turned to videos and exploded. Starting in 2008 he's released a Year in Pop video mashup annually, piecing together the years' most popular songs into a fantastic new creation to encapsulates what pop music meant in the months past. 

    “I’m trying to make pop songs, not mixes,” Earworm told the Daily Dot in 2012. “It’s a different angle than a lot of people take, and when you’re trying to get all these songs in, it’s really easy to just make a mix instead of a pop song.”

    This year's mashup, subtitled "Do What You Wanna Do" after a line in Maroon 5's hit "Animals," heavily features 2014's big-name stars like Taylor Swift, Iggy Azalea, and Meghan Trainor. Prior to this iteration, Earworm has already racked up more than 95 million views collectively across his year-end mashups, and 2014 will likely push him over the 100 million mark.

    Below are this year's included songs:

    A Great Big World feat. Christina Aguilera - Say Something
    Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea - Problem
    Bastille - Pompeii
    Dj Snake & Lil Jon - Turn Down For What
    Hozier - Take Me to Church
    Idina Menzel - Let It Go
    Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX - Fancy
    Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora - Black Widow
    Jason Derulo feat. 2 Chainz - Talk Dirty
    Jeremih feat. YG - Don't Tell 'Em
    Jessie J feat. Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj - Bang Bang 
    John Legend - All Of Me
    Katy Perry feat. Juicy J - Dark Horse
    Lorde - TeamMagic! - Rude
    Maroon 5 - Animals
    Meghan Trainor - All About That Bass
    Nico & Vinz - Am I Wrong
    One Direction - Story of My Life
    Passenger - Let Her Go
    Pharrell Williams - Happy
    Pitbull feat. Ke$ha - Timber
    Sam Smith - stay with me
    Taylor Swift - Shake It Off
    Tove Lo - Habits
    Screengrab via DJ Earworm/YouTube

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    It’s often hard to tell where Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson ends and actor Nick Offerman begins. Both have thick moustaches, love Megan Mullally, and enjoy the fine art of woodworking. Actor and character also share a passion for a certain dark Scottish spirit—but only one has taken to his guitar to sing about them.

    Yes, Nick Offerman has turned himself into a troubadour on behalf of Diageo spirits. The makers of fine single malt whiskeys like Oban and Lagavulin asked the actor to saddle up in the Scottish isles and sing a song about his devotion to the drink. 

    Watch Offerman ride horses through moors, cut peat, herd sheep, and generally be a manly Scot while he strums a delightful tune about his love of whiskey. 

    H/T Elite Daily | Photo via EliteDaily/YouTube


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    Bill Burr’s new Netflix standup special, Bill Burr: I’m Sorry You Feel That Way, won’t be streaming until Friday, but the trailer indicates that the title might be more than a little facetious.

    Bill Burr specials have a tendency to tread familiar water early on, with him doing his own takes on controversial topics that are pretty standard fare. Here, he’s tackling overpopulation, helicopters being great escape vehicles, and Scientology. Sure, they’re decent topics, but it’d be tough to beat what Doug Stanhope, Louis C.K., and, well, Doug Stanhope (again) have already done with them.

    But that last clip really shows why Burr’s one of the greats. He might start off soft, but he’ll eventually cross a line that’ll blow your mind, and defending Donald Sterling’s behavior is the kind of stuff that earns that silly disclaimer at the trailer’s start. He’s gotten better with every special, and that bit, opening with “I think he did well for an 80-year-old white guy,” could potentially be the funniest hole he’s dug for himself yet—and he’s dug some deep ones.

    H/T Video Ink


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    Ayelet Waldman, author of several successful novels and a bestselling book about how hard it is to be a mom, has never come across well online. Whether she’s stoking rage with a contrarian blog, lashing out at trollish critics, or venting spleen over the $120 tab her 11-year-old son ran up playing Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, she evinces a keen delirium.

    Her latest outburst concerns one of those year-end lists that tend to clog media sites come December. The New York Times, you see, rounded up “100 Notable Books of 2014,” and among the thousands of eligible volumes excluded is Waldman’s latest work, Love and Treasure—which previously garnered a favorable review in those same pages. That enviable distinction is apparently moot, and the perceived snub well worth public complaint.

    Not even a nod to Love and Treasure in a Washington Post list of the year’s top 50 fiction booksacknowledged with a brusque sense of entitlement, could allay Waldman’s existential despair. When will literature’s movers and shakers do the right thing and bestow all arbitrary seasonal accolades on well-known writers who truly, madly, deeply feel they deserve them? I can’t help but think of Herman Melville, who died penniless and obscure—probably because he didn’t use Twitter.

    Photo by James Lee/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    "Gangnam Style," the 2012 viral sensation from K-pop superstar PSY, is going on to break more than just records in 2014. It's breaking YouTube itself.

    According to a YouTube post on Google+, the company never anticipated any video would be watched "in numbers greater than a 32-bit integer." That made 2,147,483,647 the magical view limit. However, "Gangnam Style" has leapt beyond YouTube's wildest dreams, forcing the service to upgrade to a 64-bit integer. Now the problem is fixed—at least until a video his 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 views.


    You might not remember the last time you watched Psy's video, but the views just keep coming in. Since YouTube's update, the video has racked another 5 million additional views.

    Screengrab via OfficialPsy/YouTube


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    BY SAM GUTELLE

    At the beginning of 2014, YouTube and DreamWorks began an experiment in news programming by announcing YouTube Nation, a daily webseries that spotlighted a combination of trending and under-the-radar videos from its titular site. Now, YouTube’s one-year partnership with DreamWorks one the project is set to expire, and the two companies have decided not to renew YouTube Nation. As a result, the Dec. 5 episode of the show will be its last.

    YouTube Nation was conceived as a kind of Epic Fu reincarnate and means through which YouTube could offer support to its creative community. Each episode was featured on the YouTube Spotlight page, which gave the series exposure to more than 22 million subscribers. This exposure allowed YouTube Nation to rack up many subscribers of its own (one million in its first four months and more than two million to date) and a substantial amount of views (more than 54 million to date, with tens of thousands of views per daily installment).

    As the channel grew, it expanded beyond its basic news format. For instance, a recent episode featured Timothy DeLaGhetto as he attempted to learn how to dance like a K-pop star:

    Despite YouTube Nation‘s relative success (the aforementioned subscriber counts and views are not too shabby), YouTube and DreamWorks ultimately decided to spend their resources elsewhere.

    The online video landscape has changed since the January 2014 launch of YouTube Nation and both parties involved in the program have embarked upon new initiatives to support their goals in the online video space. YouTube Nation, it seems, was deemed less impactful than the other avenues through which YouTube has begun to support its creators, including its YouTube Spaces and its creator-focused print, television, and massive billboard advertising campaigns. DreamWorks, on the other hand, is most likely more interested in devoting resources towards building AwesomenessTV (which it wholly owns and is rapidly expanding) and its nearly six-month-old DreamWorksTV channel.

    A YouTube spokesperson offered the following statement:

    “We want thank the team at YouTube Nation for working so hard over the last year to bring fans an in-depth look at the amazing breadth of creators on YouTube. We are always looking at ways to spotlight our creator community, and plan to focus our efforts around other initiatives, including our global advertising campaigns and YouTube Originals.”

    If you’ve enjoyed the past year of YouTube Nation, tune in on Friday to send the series off. And for viewers who wish to relive old episodes, the show’s official channel will remain accessible to the public.

    Screengrab via YouTube Nation/YouTube


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    by Kyle Kramer

    If there's one thing we know about music, it's that people like to listen to it. Sometimes, increasingly, they like to listen to it over streaming services like Spotify, which has spent the year in the spotilight as it has started to turn a profit, been at the center of discussions about how artists can make money, and feuded at various points with Taylor Swift.

    Given all that listening that occurs on Spotify, the company has a shit ton of data that's helpful for telling us what people are really listening to, where they are listening from, when they are listening, etc. We can look at some of this information on a rolling basis and determine, for instance, that people can't stop listening to "All About That Bass." But now the company has shared the highlights of 2014, and we can determine even more. Like the fact that the biggest song of the year in the U.S. was Iggy Azalia's "Fancy," the most streamed album worldwide was Ed Sheeran'sx, and the breakout genre of the year was something Spotify made up called Metropopolis.

    Metropopolis is a genre that includes Charli XCX, St. Vincent, and Bleachers. It has the distinction of being a word that has never been used by anyone except for Spotify algorithm-makers Echo Nest and two people who like a misspelled version of the movie Metropolis on Facebook. I can imagine that this will soon change because another popular name for this genre is "music that is slightly cooler and more alternative than large-scale pop" or "music that sounds good in ads and stuff." But beyond the discovery of a new genre, what else lies buried in the Spotify year-end report, which you can scan for yourself here?

    Well, Coldplay was the world's top group, Ed Sheeran was the world's top male artist, and Katy Perry was the world's top female artist. The song played most on repeat was something called "Shine" by Benjamin Francis Leftwich. It is kind of a garbage song, but it is harmless, and I can see why people would play it on repeat. In the winter, people listened to Pharrell's "Happy," in the spring, people listened to John Legend's "All of Me," in the summer people listened to Magic!'s "Rude," and in the fall people listened to Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass."

    Photo via Andrea Labate/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

    Read the full story on Noisey.


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    The next James Bond movie will be called Spectre, an allusion to the terrorist organization S.P.E.C.T.R.E. in the original novels, the film's production company announced Thursday morning.

    Director Sam Mendes introduced the main main cast of the film, which will be released in Fall 2015, in a live webcast from the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios in London. Mendes quashed the widespread rumor that Christoph Waltz would be playing the iconic Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofelt, who has appeared in six Bond films to date. Instead Waltz will be playing someone named Oberhauser, although it's still entirely possible that Oberhauser is just a pseudonym.

    Daniel Craig is back as 007, rejoined by Skyfall's British spy team: Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Whishaw as Q, and Rory Kinnear as Tanner. The most high-profile new cast member is surely Monica Belucci as a rare example of an age-appropriate Bond Girl, 50 to Daniel Craig's 46.

    French actress Léa Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Colour) also joins the cast as Madeleine Swann, along with Andrew Scott (Sherlock's Moriarty) as Denby, a new character at MI6. Former wrestler Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) plays a character named Mr. Hinx, who we can reasonably assume will be the villain's bodyguard or sidekick.

    Because this is a Bond film, the casting announcement wasn't complete without some blatant and egregious product placement in the form of 007's new car. Bond fans will not be remotely surprised to hear that it's another Aston Martin, a silver DB10. It goes very fast and has a wheel at each corner.

    Mendes is retaining most of the production team from the critically acclaimed Skyfall, one of the most successful Bond films to date. Skyfall's writing team, composer, production designer, and costume designer will be back for Spectre, plus new cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, whose most recent work was on Interstellar

    Photo via 007.com


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    Even the best of us sometimes find ourselves lost for words. Usually it’s because of our own shrinking vocabularies, but sometimes it’s because there just isn’t a word for what we’re trying to describe. It’s a gap that John Koenig has been plugging for the past few years through his project The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, crafting svelte monikers for emotions that have so far remained nameless and neglected. And now he has a webseries to enhance his creations—and it’s fantastic.

    It’s no surprise that Koenig’s work is interesting as the notion of naming something is a fascinating process in itself. It is very hard to substantiate the existence of something that does not have a name, even something as obvious as a color or an animal. It grows even more difficult when what you hope to describe is something less tangible, like a feeling. As such, many have found comfort in the ability of certain poems to articulate experiences and emotions that otherwise would have left them feeling isolated. Names are powerful things, and this is something that Koenig’s work trades on.

    All the episodes are beautifully produced and are lovely to look at—evidence of Koenig’s trade as a graphic designer. The editing is particularly artful: “Vemödalen” features an almost exhausting—yet seamless—fusion of 465 similar photos from different photographers, while “Avenoir” is a collage of his own home movies to piece together an exploration of life’s linearity.   

    The videos also perfectly reflect Koenig’s professed methods of naming: a process whereby after each “sorrow” is “bagged, tagged, and tranquilized” it is then “released gently into the subconscious.” Each episode is a soothing meditation on its subject, fortified by a hypnotic soundtrack and Koenig’s twistingly intelligent narration.

    It’s a depressing exercise, however. There is a common thread of negativity among the “sorrows”; each definition monopolized by terms such as “smallness,” “inadequacy,” “frustration,” and “impotence.” It’s a sad thought to think of those who will ultimately identify with each one, and you’d hope that there is a point at which each viewer will wish for some positive respite to Koenig’s gloomy output. Maybe he will do it on his own steam, illustrating someone else’s happier feelings.

    Screengrab via The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows/YouTube


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    Billy Eichner has a song in his heart just for Taylor Swift.

    The comedian is apparently a big enough Swiftie that he’s been inspired by Swift herself to write a song for her. She’s covering the most important thing out there right now, Eichner told Conan O’Brien: “What happens when your boyfriend doesn't text you back.”

    Eichner already made Swift a video for “Glitter and Ribs,” but since she has yet to perform it herself, he ended up going the peer-pressure route instead—courtesy of a live performance. You can easily hear the passion in his voice.

    If the song sounds familiar, that’s because it’s not entirely new. Eichner really did make a music video for “Glitter and Ribs” for Funny Or Die last July; you can buy the song on iTunes. Even if Swift never produces the song, at least we'll always have Eichner’s version.

    Screengrab via Team Coco/YouTube


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    What happens if you cross the irreverence of Monty Python with the sacred cows of Jewish and Israeli life and history?

    The result is Ha Yehudim Ba'im (The Jews are Coming), a controversial sketch-comedy show from Israeli TV that has the guts to add belly laughs to the execution of a Nazi war criminal and poke fun at the origins (not to mention the pain) of God’s covenant with Abraham that required the circumcision of his son.

    Co-creator Natalie Marcus credits her desire to avoid hard work for much of the show’s success.“My writing partner Asaf Beiser and I are long time history buffs (and Monty Pythons) so the idea came natural for us,” Marcus told the Daily Dot. 

    “If we do a sketch comedy show," she said, "we decided our focus should be history. Besides we are lazy, and the history has been written by other people. All we needed to do was give our interpretation.”

    Ha Yehudim Ba’im was supposed to premiere in October 2013, but right-wing members of the Israeli national legislature, the Knesset, came out against the Israeli Broadcasting Authority’s decision to air it, sparking a mess of political entanglements. After the creators campaigned to get their show on the air and several personnel shifts at the broadcast agency, the first episode finally aired in early November 2014, with a total of 12 episodes scheduled for season 1.

    Marcus said that despite some of the pre-premiere concerns, the reception has been positive and has even changed the profile of Israel’s public TV channel.

    "More than a year ago, the controversial promo aired that made a lot of noise and delayed the show for over a year,” she said. “But now, after it broadcast, we get very warm comments from the audience and critics—people who say they started to watch the public channel after they found it less relevant for many years.”

    While perhaps an unfair comparison so early in its run, Ha Yehudim Ba’im bears a resemblance to the early humor of Saturday Night Live. A bit where Israeli guards have difficulty figuring out the hanging procedure when ordered to execute Adolf Eichmann is as funny as it is meaningful: Up until the execution of Eichmann in 1962, Israel had never put a criminal to death, hence the lack of experience in such matters.

    Marcus said she believed that looking at history through comedic eyes made its lessons far more accessible to a wider range of people.

    “Adults who watch [the show] with their kids and say it sparked discussion about the history and the stories,” she noted. “We recently discovered that sketches were screened in schools, and that makes us really proud.”

    All of this makes us wonder: Are any topics off-limits?

    “In the editing process, we were afraid a few sketches will not to be understood correctly, so they remained on the cutting room floor,” Marcus said. “I don't think there were defined lines we did not want to cross, but on every skit, we thought carefully whether we're saying something just and worthy of saying… and if it's funny of course.”

    Despite the fact the show has only been out for a few weeks, Marcus said that interest is pouring in from the U.S. and Europe. The show has a YouTube channel, and its episodes have English captions and annotations.

    Screengrab via רשות השידור/YouTube


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