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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    This review contains spoilers for House of Cards.

    When the last season of Netflix’s House of Cards ended, it left viewers with a cliffhanger that should have been surprising but was at most expected. Claire Underwood (Robin Wright), wife of nefarious President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), told her husband she was leaving him. The moment had been telegraphed for almost the entire season, a slow, meandering narrative that never quite found its footing.

    Worst of all, it pit Frank and Claire against each other, undermining one of the show’s best qualities: seeing them pitted against the world (literally in some cases), and how enjoyable it is to watch them work with each other, not against. Fortunately, the fourth season goes a long way to rectify that. It gets the shot in the arm the show so desperately needed.

    The last season had many creative stumbles as it dealt with Frank Underwood’s freshmen year as president, including character arcs and storylines that had no clear direction. It was as if Frank had been muzzled, his tenacious bite nipped in the butt as he realized how little power the president actually has. For Frank’s sophomore year, he comes back swinging, not from a position of weakness but from a position of power. This is Frank’s greatest strength as a character: the fact that his cunning ability to succeed makes you want to root for him even though deep down his success means hell for everyone around him.

    That point is driven home by the return of Lucas Goodwin (Sebastian Arcelus), the former Daily Herald editor who was sent to prison for investigating Zoe Barnes’ death in season 2. Once out of prison, he continues his investigation, this time centered around Frank and exposing the corrupt politician for who he truly is. Goodwin’s character trajectory is a sad and ultimately tragic one, a real consequence of Frank’s actions and how it trickles down to even the most common folk. (This is explored even further as the season progresses.)

    In a way, it mirrors the character arc of Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) from last season, but accelerated. It was as if the writers and producers, led by executive producer Beau Willimon (who won’t be returning next season), heard the complaints of the last season loud and clear.

    For at least the first six episodes, season 4 of House of Cards moves at a breakneck pace, advancing character arcs and subplots with far more precision and urgency than we’ve seen in over two years of the show. Unlike the slow political machinations of season 3 or the drawn-out tediousness of season 2, this latest season moves along steadily because, similar to season 1,  it gives Frank something to accomplish: get back Claire. If you thought the ending of last season would continue pitting Frank and Claire against each other, well, you are in for a surprise.

    Besides giving Frank clear motivation, season 1 also had the advantage of showing how well Frank and Claire work together as a couple and team. If anything, season 3 showed how unengaging Frank is when he’s not out to achieve something and even more so, how uninteresting he is without Claire at his side. There’s a moment in one of the later episodes where Frank actually admits this, to paraphrase: “I’m nothing without you, Claire.” It comes after Frank deals with a very harrowing personal experience, and while it could be seen as Frank just advancing his own agenda by realizing he needs Claire at his side, Spacey plays it genuine. You actually believe him.

    This reversal of events could be seen as the writers and producers realizing they shot themselves in the foot by putting tension between the two. However, this was Frank’s only recourse, as he realizes he cannot work against Claire if he wants to succeed. Even if this was an intentional course correction, it works. Not only is Frank more suited to succeed with Claire on his arm, so is the show.

    One of the more brilliant aspects of the earlier seasons dealt with Frank and Claire’s impenetrable relationship, including a moment in season 2 where they have an intimate moment with secret service agent Edward Meechum (Nathan Darrow). The moment is dealt with very naturally and the characters move on as if that was just another day in their lives. There are similar moments in season 4, introducing concepts such as non-monogamy, which further illustrates the show’s ability to effortlessly present progressive ideas and reflect the modern societal age we live in.

    The topic of non-monogamy isn’t the only contemporary issue the show addresses. Frank’s opponent this season, handsome Republican Governor Will Conway (Joel Kinnaman), enters the show as the seemingly polar opposite of Underwood: He’s young, social media-savvy, and has a great relationship with his wife. The show goes about furthering this by often intercutting between Conway and his family and Frank and Claire. It’s not the only time the show uses this technique to sage effect. It also deals with other hot topics like gun control and a not-so-subtle hint at ISIS, but the writers interweave these concepts far more effectively into the narrative than previous seasons.

    The season slows down as it reaches the final stretch and shifts from Frank trying to win back Claire to actually winning the Democratic nomination and securing his legacy. It returns to some of the political machinations of last season, but unlike that season there’s a difference. Where the beating heart of the show was slowing down the more Frank and Claire were at odds, the show gets a renewed sense of life as the heart now pumps faster and harder, reminding Frank and everyone else that House of Cards wouldn’t be what it is without the beating heart that is Claire Underwood.

    Photo via David Giesbrecht/Netflix 


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    FanDuel has decided against messing with Texas. DraftKings, however, is taking the opposite approach. 

    Either way, the news Friday that FanDuel will cease operations in the Lone Star state by May was another blow to the daily fantasy sports industry, which has been under fire for the past several months and whose future viability is in question.

    In January, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton opined that daily fantasy sports sites like FanDuel and DraftKings were illegal because they were gambling websites and not games of skills.

    Though his opinion is non-binding, FanDuel and Paxton reached an agreement that it would stop accepting paid entries by May 2. DraftKings, however, will continue the fight to keep DFS alive in Texas.

    “We are committed to ensuring that our fans can continue to enjoy the contests they love,” DraftKings attorney Randy Mastro said in a statement, via the Dallas Morning News.

    As such, the Morning News writes that DraftKings has filed a petition for a declaratory judgment in Dallas County District Court so a judge can decide if DFS games are legal in Texas.

    FanDuel will still offer free games to Texas residents, but in its agreement with Paxton, he's agreed not to press charges against the company if it stops taking paid entries.

    In January, thousands of Texans sent form letters to Paxton, at the behest of a fantasy sports alliance called the Fantasy Sports for All group, asking the attorney general to leave DFS alone.

    Said the form letter: "I believe this is a matter of personal choice, and that the government has no business telling me I can't play fantasy sports."

    The bad news for DraftKings and FanDuel began in October when a DraftKings content manager won $350,000 while playing on FanDuel the same week he accidentally leaked inside information that could have helped his chances tremendously to win big (DraftKings denied that he had utilized that information).

    Though employees were then banned from playing on other daily fantasy sites, the websites began attracting attention from state attorney generals and legislatures along with the FBI. The state of Nevada banned FanDuel and DraftKings from operating last October, and New York soon followed suit, though an appeals court has overturned that order.

    Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, and Montana also don't allow DFS to operate, and states like Washington are still trying to determine how to move forward with this issue.

    Fantasy Sports for All has said 2 million Texans play daily fantasy sports, which is one reason why this news was impactful. 

    “Texas is a top-five market for daily fantasy sports operators, and the decision to leave the state without a fight was probably not one made lightly by FanDuel,” Dustin Gouker, who covers DFS for Legal Sports Report, told The Comeback. “FanDuel gives up marketshare to DraftKings, who will presumably stay in the Texas market while it fights the battle in court. It does have the feel of FanDuel playing the ‘long game’ and living to fight another day.”

    Said Paxton in a statement: "I commend FanDuel for responsibly and pro-actively working with us to reach this settlement. This will spare both the company and the taxpayers of Texas the expense of an extensive lawsuit that I believe would only affirm what my office has already determined.”

    H/T The Comeback | Photo via Tom Newby/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    Louis C.K. fans who are subscribed to his email list have become accustomed to getting Saturday missives about his new webseries, Horace and Pete. Today, the tone was a little different. 

    In a strongly worded email, the comedian directed his ire at "insane bigot" Donald Trump, and immediately compared him to Hitler, though he's not the first to do so.  

    He also cautions fans that he's "not advocating for Hillary or Bernie. I like them both but frankly I wish the next president was a conservative only because we had Obama for eight years and we need balance. And not because I particularly enjoy the conservative agenda. I just think the government should reflect the people." 

    Naturally, his feelings divided the Internet. 

    He does admit that this kind of missive might come off as a celebrity just complaining, but claims "That's just my view. At least right now. I know I'm not qualified or particularly educated and I'm not right instead of you. I'm an idiot and I'm sure a bunch of you are very annoyed by this. Fucking celebrity with an opinion. I swear this isn't really a political opinion."  

    Hmmm. 

    We're guessing there won't be a Trump cameo on Horace and Pete. Here's the Trump-centric portion of the email: 

    Please stop it with voting for Trump. It was funny for a little while. But the guy is Hitler. And by that I mean that we are being Germany in the 30s. Do you think they saw the shit coming? Hitler was just some hilarious and refreshing dude with a weird comb over who would say anything at all.

    And I'm not advocating for Hillary or Bernie. I like them both but frankly I wish the next president was a conservative only because we had Obama for eight years and we need balance. And not because I particularly enjoy the conservative agenda. I just think the government should reflect the people. And we are about 40 percent conservative and 40 percent liberal. When I was growing up and when I was a younger man, liberals and conservatives were friends with differences. They weren't enemies. And it always made sense that everyone gets a president they like for a while and then hates the president for a while. But it only works if the conservatives put up a good candidate. A good smart conservative to face the liberal candidate so they can have a good argument and the country can decide which way to go this time.

    Trump is not that. He's an insane bigot. He is dangerous.

    He already said he would expand libel laws to sue anyone who "writes a negative hit piece" about him. He says "I would open up the libel laws so we can sue them and win lots of money. Not like now. These guys are totally protected." He said that. He has promised to decimate the first amendment. (If you think he's going to keep the second amendment intact you're delusional.) And he said that Paul Ryan, speaker of the house will "pay" for criticizing him. So I'm saying this now because if he gets in there we won't be able to criticize him anymore.

    Please pick someone else. Like John Kasich. I mean that guy seems okay. I don't like any of them myself but if you're that kind of voter please go for a guy like that. It feels like between him and either democrat we'd have a decent choice. It feels like a healthier choice. We shouldn't have to vote for someone because they're not a shocking cunt billionaire liar.

    We should choose based on what direction the country should go.

    I get that all these people sound like bullshit soft criminal opportunists. The whole game feels rigged and it's not going anywhere but down anymore. I feel that way sometimes.

    And that voting for Trump is a way of saying "fuck it. Fuck them all". I really get it. It's a version of national Suicide. Or it's like a big hit off of a crack pipe. Somehow we can't help it. Or we know that if we vote for Trump our phones will be a reliable source of dopamine for the next four years. I mean I can't wait to read about Trump every day. It's a rush. But you have to know this is not healthy.

    If you are a true conservative. Don't vote for Trump. He is not one of you. He is one of him. Everything you have heard him say that you liked, if you look hard enough you will see that he one day said the exact opposite. He is playing you.

    In fact, if you do vote for Trump, at least look at him very carefully first. You owe that to the rest of us. Know and understand who he is. Spend one hour on google and just read it all. I don't mean listen to me or listen to liberals who put him down. Listen to your own people. Listen to John McCain. Go look at what he just said about Trump. "At a time when our world has never been more complex or more in danger... I want Republican voters to pay close attention to what our party's most respected and knowledgeable leaders and national security experts are saying about Mr. Trump, and to think long and hard about who they want to be our next Commander-in-Chief and leader of the free world."

    When Trump was told what he said, Trump said "Oh, he did? Well, that's not nice," he told CBS News' chief White House correspondent Major Garrett. "He has to be very careful."

    When pressed on why, Trump tacked on: "He'll find out." 

    (I cut and pasted that from CBS news)

    Do you really want a guy to be president who threatens John McCain? Because John McCain cautiously and intelligently asked for people to be thoughtful before voting for him? He didn't even insult Trump. He just asked you to take a good look. And Trump told him to look out.

    Remember that Trump entered this race by saying that McCain is not a war hero. A guy who was shot down, body broken and kept in a POW camp for years. Trump said “I prefer the guys who don't get caught.” Why did he say that? Not because he meant it or because it was important to say. He said it because he's a bully and every bully knows that when you enter a new school yard, you go to the toughest most respected guy on the yard and you punch him in the nose. If you are still standing after, you're the new boss. If Trump is president, he's not going to change. He's not going to do anything for you. He's going to do everything for himself and leave you in the dust.

    So please listen to fellow conservatives. But more importantly, listen to Trump. Listen to all of it. Everything he says. If you liked when he said that “torture works” then go look at where he took it back the next day. He's a fucking liar.

    A vote for Trump is so clearly a gut-vote, and again I get it. But add a little brain to it and look the guy up. Because if you vote for him because of how you feel right now, the minute he's president, you're going to regret it. You're going to regret it even more when he gives the job to his son. Because American democracy is broken enough that a guy like that could really fuck things up. That's how Hitler got there. He was voted into power by a fatigued nation and when he got inside, he did all his Hitler things and no one could stop him.

    Again, I'm not saying vote democrat or vote for anyone else. If Hillary ends up president it should be because she faced the best person you have and you and I both chose her or him or whoever. Trump is not your best. He's the worst of all of us. He's a symptom to a problem that is very real. But don't vote for your own cancer. You're better than that.

    That's just my view. At least right now. I know I'm not qualified or particularly educated and I'm not right instead of you. I'm an idiot and I'm sure a bunch of you are very annoyed by this. Fucking celebrity with an opinion. I swear this isn't really a political opinion. You don't want to know my political opinions. (And I know that I'm only bringing myself trouble with this shit.) Trump has nothing to do with politics or ideology. He has to do with himself. And really I don't mean to insult anyone. Except Trump. I mean to insult him very much. And really I'm not saying he's evil or a monster. In fact I don't think Hitler was. The problem with saying that guys like that are monsters is that we don't see them coming when they turn out to be human, which they all are. Everyone is. Trump is a messed up guy with a hole in his heart that he tries to fill with money and attention. He can never ever have enough of either and he'll never stop trying. He's sick. Which makes him really really interesting. And he pulls you towards him which somehow feels good or fascinatingly bad. He's not a monster. He's a sad man. But all this makes him horribly dangerous if he becomes president. Give him another TV show. Let him pay to put his name on buildings. But please stop voting for him. And please watch Horace and Pete

    Screengrab via Horace and Pete 


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    On Valentine’s Day, comedian Melissa Villaseñor welcomed a very special guest to her Vineaccount: Kristen Wiig, who let us know exactly what she’d be doing that day. Those who laughed could definitely relate.

    Vine is just one of the platforms where Villaseñor been perfecting her cast of characters, which includes Wiig, Haley Joel Osment, Jennifer Lopez, Björk, Drew Barrymore, and Owen Wilson. She also does a great Maria Bamford and Sarah Silverman.

    In a social media-mediated world where many only share their “best selves,” Villaseñor goes not for what feels good, but what she’s feeling, and works that out through standup, music, or a spot-on celebrity impersonation. In recent years, her impressions have graced the stages of L.A. comedy venues like Largo.

    On an unusually rainy evening in Los Angeles, I sped to West Hollywood for a performance of the Come to Papa Live Radio Show hosted by Tom Papa, on which Villaseñor frequently appears as a guest. That particular evening, she told me she would be doing impressions of Hillary Clinton alongside Silverman, Bill Burr, Zach Galifianakis, and Al Madrigal. 

    Her more recent vines are pieces she usually ends up doing spur-of-the-moment, though she admits there are certain impressions she puts more time into. During an interview on my porch that night in L.A.’s Highland Park neighborhood, she spontaneously busted out her J.Lo.

    “Some[times] I like to do a few jumps, a stopping and going, a few takes,” she said. “And I think that is always fun, to do something real quick like, ‘Hey, I’m J.Lo,’ and then a different angle, and then she’s like, ‘Don’t forget about my booty,’ and then there’s a shot of her booty, and then she’s like, ‘I’m still I’m still Jenny from the block.’”

    Unlike many Internet-savvy millennials who become known through YouTube videos, vines, or Twitter, Villaseñor’s career officially began on American’s Got Talent back in 2011, when she was 23 years old. At the time, she was working temp jobs and random side gigs, all while trying to figure out how to get her comedy career started. Then a woman she knew set up an America’s Got Talent audition for her in Los Angeles.

    “I didn’t want to do it,” she said. “I didn’t like the show. It’s also scary, like, if you look bad you’re going to look bad. I didn’t go in with the best sort of attitude. I was cordial, but then I got the email that [was] like, ‘Congrats, you’re auditioning for the judges in Seattle!’ And I was like, ‘NO, I don’t wanna go!’ So that was my attitude when I walked out. I didn’t psych myself out or anything. It turned out to be a really great thing—a life-changing moment.”

    Perhaps because she was so uninterested in doing the audition, she didn’t end up getting overly anxious and totally bomb. In the AGT clip, one of the judges asks what she does for work. After she wows them with her impersonations, then-judge Sharon Osbourne tells her that she won’t be working in retail for much longer.

    She was right. After AGT, Villaseñor went straight into touring as a standup comedian, headlining shows across the country. She did that for a few years, building up her comedic chops and opening for legends such as Bill Burr.

    Villaseñor’s fascination with comedy began before she even hit adolescence. She was 12 years old when she realized she could impersonate the singers she listened to, like Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, and Shakira. She credits the supportive environment of her all-girls high school, Ramona Convent in Alhambra, California, which is located near her hometown of Whittier. Her high school talent show was the real turning point.

    “I did my high school talent show with a few impressions, and that was when I felt it,” she said. “It went so great that I realized, this is what I am supposed to be doing, at 15 years old. It was a powerful feeling—I felt like there were flames in my chest.”

    This same feeling drives her impressions and comedy, which come from a very personal place.

    “I have to have a connection with them,” she explained. “I’ll do the Miley Cyrus. But it annoys me. Like, I wanna hit her.”

    Every one of her impersonations has a personal meaning, something that one wouldn’t necessarily think of when they’re watching her masterfully put on someone else’s voice.

    “Owen Wilson is in there because he makes me happy,” she said. “Wanda Sykes is in there if I need to shape up, if I’m having low self-esteem. Gwen Stefani is in there to help me when I’m going through the breakups, when I am singing in my car. So they’re all emotionally connected. I feel something. The only way it works with my standup is if it comes from a personal place.”

    Screengrab via Melissa Villaseñor/Vine | Remix by Jason Reed


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    Saturday Night Live's cold open this week proved that the presidential election now has way too many plot twists.

    With impressions of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, and other characters, SNL tried mightily to compress one week of election drama into a seven-minute CNN parody. Ted Cruz's weird mouth glob, Mitt Romney's erudite yet ineffectual anti-Trump speech, Chris Christie's awkward Trump endorsement—it's all there, and it's all horrifying.

    On the bright side, once this election cycle is over, chances are good that we'll have four to eight years of Kate McKinnon's Clinton impression ahead of us. That's something to look forward to, at least.

    Screengrab via Saturday Night Live/YouTube


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    Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is expected to retire on Monday, ESPN reported on Sunday, putting an end to weeks of speculation that his 18th season would be his last.

    Manning picked a good time to call it quits. He recently led the Broncos to victory in Super Bowl 50, earning his second Super Bowl title.

    Manning received an outpouring of support from fans and teammates on social media. 

    "Peyton was everything that we thought he was and even more — not only for the football team but in the community," Broncos general manager and former quarterback John Elway said in a statement. "I’m very thankful Peyton chose to play for the Denver Broncos, and I congratulate him on his Hall of Fame career."

    Manning ends his career as the all-time NFL record holder for passing yards and touchdown passes and is the only NFL quarterback to win Super Bowls with two teams (the Broncos and the Colts).  But he also faced several scandals at the end of his career, including allegations of doping and sexual harassment

    If you're a Manning fan, celebrate his retirement by revisiting his classic interview with Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy character.

    Update 1:04pm CT, March 6: Added Pat McAfee tweet.

    Photo via Jeffrey Beall/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)


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    This article contains sexually explicit material and may be unsafe for work.

    Kim Kardashian is attempting to break the Internet once again, just over three months after welcoming her son Saint.

    Kardashian posted her latest selfie early this morning (although the photo may be from earlier) revealing that she has the same problem as many of us: She has no idea what she wants to wear, and she’ll stare at the mirror until she figures it out.

    She shared the photo with Twitter and Instagram, editing it to conform to Instagram's inconsistent community guidelines on nudity by placing two bars across her body.

    Kardashian has long been the subject of scrutiny from fans, critics, and tabloid magazines, whether it’s her Paper magazine photoshoot that broke the Internet (and the think pieces that followed it), cropping her daughter North out of a photo, or the endless comments about her weight throughout both pregnancies. It was her pregnancy with Saint that led her to respond to critics who accused her of faking her pregnancy with a nude selfie.

    But today? She’s simply feeling her look.

    Update 6:32pm CT, March 7: Kardashian confirmed that it's an old photo via Twitter.

    Photo via Eva Rinaldi/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)


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    In the world of goofy Snapchats, there isn’t anyone as prolific as rapper DJ Khaled. But a new sponsorship deal has many of his Palestinian fans upset.

    According to the Associated Press, Israeli brand Sabra Dipping Company partnered with DJ Khaled, 40, (real name Khaled Mohamed Khaled) to promote its new guacamole during the Super Bowl. Titled "Guac the Bowl," Khaled performed on Feb. 5 to thousands of fans in Palo Alto, California.

    Because Khaled is of Palestinian descent, this left some fans perplexed—especially because Khaled has been active politically, calling for peace. 

    As part of this backlash, comedy group Peace House uploaded a new video calling out Khaled and demanding that people unfollow him on Snapchat.

    According to BDS (boycott, divest, and sanction) groups, Sabra is part-owned by Strauss Group Ltd., an Israeli company that has long supported the Israeli military. Sabra is also yiddish slang for a native-born Israeli Jew, which includes both Israel, historic Palestine, and modern Palestine. 

    Photo via Meghan Roberts/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    On the latest episode of their podcast, comedians Jackie Kashian and Laurie Kilmartin relate that they’ve been doing comedy for “about 7,000 years” while addressing a recent run-in with a promoter who invited them to get “feedback” on their sets. Kilmartin is more measured in her response, but Kashian tells the man, “I don’t want feedback,” while pretending to put a gun in her mouth.

    “But he didn’t pick up on that,” Kilmartin said. “He still invited you.”

    This is the back and forth of The Jackie and Laurie Show, one of the new podcasts in Nerdist’s recent six-show expansion. Kashian (host of podcast The Dork Forest) and Kilmartin (a writer on Conan) have an ease with each other, and having been doing comedy since the late ’80s, they “have more information about shitty one-nighters than anyone,” Kashian said. They also noticed an absence of women of a certain age hosting comedy podcasts, but Kashian points to a more foundational reason for starting it. 

    “I love that almost every single time I’ve been interviewed, they’re like, ‘What’s it like being a woman comic?’” Kashian said. "And I think we were like, ‘Let’s answer that damn question every week.’”

    The Daily Dot asked them some damn questions about getting paid, getting older, and getting on stage. 

    In Hollywood women often have to reinvent themselves to stay relevant. Is there that feeling in comedy as well?

    Kashian: I think we’re trying to figure that out, aren’t we?

    Kilmartin: Yeah, definitely. I think when we both started, we were probably the youngest comics on the scene, or one of the younger ones. And then it sort of morphed into, now we’re like the oldest ones showing up at gigs, and it’s a weird transition. … It is something you have to figure as you age, whether you’re male or female.

    Kashian: A lot of the women who are our age now [who were doing comedy] in the ’80s, it’s like, where the hell are they? Did they keep doing standup? How did they change themselves to keep working? The famous women who kept doing standup were like Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller, who were 30 years older than we are.

    Kilmartin: When you and I were coming up, the women who were in their 50s were already shot and put down. … But like Jackie’s saying, if you’re already famous, if you’re already Phyllis Diller or Joan Rivers in the ’60s, that’s a different game. But if you’re not famous, if you’re a more middle-class comic and you’re still in it, I don’t feel like there’s any precedent ahead of us where we can go, “Oh, that’s the way to do it.”

    Kashian: It’s kind of freeing. We’ve both said, “Well, we’re not gonna stop. Get off my ass.”

    Kilmartin: You mean freeing as in not getting paid?

    Kashian: Money certainly has its own issues, but freeing in [a] way where we can also just go, “I’m going to make my own choices in this thing. I’m not going to let society or some weird club owner tell me that I’ve aged out of it, because you’re still booking that guy.”

    Kilmartin: Part of what we’re doing with the podcast is, a successful podcast gets you a new audience to come see you.

    Are you seeing a disparity in what women are paid in comedy?

    Kashian: I think there’s a disparity in what people are paid in comedy.

    Kilmartin: It’s kind of hard to tell because no one tells you what they make. If you’re famous, you make a lot more money and most of the famous comedians are male.

    Kashian: Maria Bamford will tell me what she’s making, and then I know I’m not going to make what Maria Bamford’s making. Kathleen Madigan will tell me what she’s making, and I’m not going to make what Kathleen Madigan is making, but I have an idea now of what the market can bear. Of what to aspire to. The problem is, the levels are arbitrarily set, from one-nighters to B rooms to A rooms to small theaters to big [rooms].

    Kilmartin: You either have to negotiate or have someone negotiating for you.

    Kashian: This is what I do, and I’m crazy; I was raised to ask and talk about money all the time. So when I do a new club, I call the previous six months’ worth of comics, whether they’re men or women, if I know them. If there are three or four comics that I know, at least two of them will tell me what they make. There’s no other way to know. … I usually try to pick guy comics who have the same type of credits I do. And if I pick a comic who has more credits than me, I try to sort of scale back from that. Because I’m a woman and I have self-esteem issues. But I’m also a comic and I have self-esteem issues.

    Do you have any thoughts on the recent Amy Schumer joke-theft issue?

    Kilmartin: We don’t think anything was stolen, and it’s ridiculous.

    Kashian: Yeah, we don’t think about it a lot.

    Kilmartin: It’s something that should have been between the comics involved and unfortunately people tweeted to the whole world, and then—

    Kashian: And then we all paid attention.

    Kilmartin: Amy’s famous, and she’s for gun control, and that brings out these insane trolls who have no interest in comedy. They want to take down somebody who’s Chuck Schumer’s cousin. So it just turned into this craziness that was completely unnecessary.

    Kashian: Have you ever had a joke stolen, Laurie? I don’t think I’ve ever had anything stolen.

    Kilmartin: Not that I know of, or word-for-word. Topic-wise, you might see someone and you’re like, “I’ve been doing something like that for a long time and you’ve been in the room.” Unless it’s a super-specific bit… you’re better off just moving on and writing new stuff. … Comedy is newly mainstream in a way—standup is—where it wasn’t as popular as music but now it’s getting as popular as music. And now everyone’s got opinions but they’re not that informed about how comedy is created. So it leads to shit like this, I think.

    You’ve talked about this on the podcast, but why did you think the Beth Stelling Instagram post was so important?

    Kashian: All the young comics I know are willing to talk about stuff.

    Kilmartin: I’m going to guess a lot of female comics have a story that’s similar. It’s really hard to talk about your reality, if that’s your reality, in front of a regular crowd. So there are going to be outliers that are going to start it on the coasts. So in alternative rooms in L.A. or New York, you have comics talking about sexual assault and figuring out a way to make it funny. We know a couple comics who have just written amazing, funny jokes based on true, horrific events, and the audience goes with them on that. The more people are talking about their lives and what’s happening with them, the more the audience gets better at going with it. … I love that female comics are talking about that stuff, but I think in Beth’s case, everyone in her circle knew the dude she was talking about, and she just wanted to get it out there on Instagram and not be pummeled with questions after doing a bit.

    Photo via Nerdist 


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    When quarterback Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 50, his brother, Giants quarterback Eli Manning, didn't exactly look thrilled.

    But after the press conference Monday in which Peyton Manning officially announced his retirement, less than a month after winning the second Super Bowl of his career, his brother's take was much different. In a piece that aired on ESPN that looked back at Peyton Manning's career, Eli Manning narrated old home movies and season-defining highlights, and he talked about what his brother meant to him. 

    And it was precious.

    Not everyone had nice things to say about Manning. Take Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams.

    Though Manning is an all-time great and one of the best quarterbacks ever to take the field, Williams—who led the NFL in rushing touchdowns as a 32-year-old last year but who has also underperformed for much of his career—didn't think much of Manning's final season.

    Williams, of course, is right. Manning, for much of the 2015 season, was the worst he's ever been. But Manning did help his team win a Super Bowl, so there's that.

    Aside from Williams and some on Twitter who reminded us about Manning's controversies during the past few months—including allegations that he sexually harassed a University of Tennessee trainer when he was in college, and that he had human growth hormone delivered to his house—most people took to social media to praise Manning and his career.

    But as usual, Manning had the last word.

    Photo via Denver Broncos/Twitter


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    Downton Abbey may have just wrapped up its six-year run on Sunday night, but it’s never too late to add your own colorful lyrics to it.

    John Legend’s take on the instrumental theme encompasses the heart of the show while simultaneously pointing out that yes, the British costume drama was a little silly. But between Mary and Edith’s fights; the many, many Dowager Countess disses; and the gossip often traded over a meal, it’s pretty accurate.

    Someone hire Legend if that Downton Abbey movie ever happens.

    Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube


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    Selfie patron saint Kim Kardashian went on a tweet spree late Monday night after ruffling some celebrity feathers with a nude throwback photo earlier in the day, and it is a work of social media art. 

    It all started when the reality star shared a #MondayMotivation photo, one of her favorite post-pregnancy moves. Kardashian has kept a relatively low profile after giving birth to her second child in January—a lot of her Instagram content has come from either hanging out with her sisters or attending her husband’s Madison Square Garden show in February — so a racy throwback is a nice way to remind people, “Hey, I’m hot,” when she might actually be in sweatpants and changing a diaper. 


    The pic was pretty tame by Kardashian standards. To comply with Instagram’s terms of use, she dropped black bars over her breasts and crotch, effectively editing herself into a bathing suit. A small bathing suit, sure, but at this point who isn’t well-acquainted with Kim K.’s abs and upper boobs? 

    So it was a little surprising when Hollywood decided that this photo was a good one to weigh in on via Twitter. Everyone from Bette Midler to Chloe Grace Moretz had something to say about Kardashian’s body in the throwback pic:



    Kardashian’s initial reaction was measured:

    But as the day wore on, and with her Twitter mentions still undoubtedly blowing up, she apparently changed her tune. Late Monday night, Kardashian took a page from husband Kanye West’s book and unleashed a flurry of replies unto the people:


    It’s like she stepped up to the podium at a Comedy Central roast and did better than anyone needed her to. Also: to be a fly on the wall of whoever's family room they workshopped these burns in. Kanye laughing and clapping while Khloe googles Chloe Grace Moretz and yells, “Who is she!”

    As a cherry on top of the tirade (and a middle finger to anyone making her feel weird about sharing pics of her body), Kim left us with one last parting nude:

    Class dismissed. 

    Screengrab via Kim Kardashian/Instagram


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    Caspar Lee is jumping on the YouTube publishing bandwagon, but he's not going at it alone. His upcoming book is penned not just by him, but by a very close source—his mom, Emily Riordan Lee.

    Lee announced the project in a skit that had him confronting a YouTuber's worst fears about publishing. Friends and a ghoulish version of himself jeered at him, telling him to "enjoy the bargain bin" and saying that no one wants to read anything about him. A panicked, fictional Lee tries to bury the books in the yard before anyone can see.

    As Lee jokes, he's far from the first YouTuber to publish a book. He's not even the first South African YouTuber to do so. However, his book is set apart by letting his mom, who's become familiar to his YouTube audience as the recipient of pranks on his channel, into the author seat. It's a premise that often happens in the traditional celebrity world, where Britney Spears or Eminem's mom will pen a deeper look into their famous child's life, sometimes authorized and sometimes not. 

    In Lee's case, he'll also contribute to the book in the form of handwritten notes and highlights, making the project more of a collaboration. If it does well, a lot of other YouTube moms might get in on the game of exposing their famous kids' secrets.

    H/T Tubefilter | Screengrab via Caspar Lee/YouTube


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    BY SAM GUTELLE

    About a year after it first opened up to the public, Vessel is making a significant change to its business model. The online video platform has announced its decision to remove ads for its paying subscribers. In addition, it has revealed a new, year-long subscription option that will complement its existing monthly plan.

    When Vessel shared its business model with Tubefilter back in January 2015, CEO Jason Kilar noted ads as one of several revenue streams creators could leverage on his new video platform. Each creator on the site receives a portion of the total revenue generated by $2.99-per-month subscriptions, which provide access to exclusive content that premieres on Vessel at least 72 hours before it arrives anywhere else. In addition, creators who bring specific subscribers to Vessel receive a “bounty bonus” equal to $7 per signup. The goal, with all of these revenue streams combined, is to earn creators at least $50 for every thousand Vessel views they get.

    Vessel’s ads have received praise for their elegance and innovative design, but at the same time, some users are tired of seeing them. That’s a complaint that makes sense, especially as other video platforms adopt their own ad-free tiers, and Kilar opted to listen to his users. Rather than create a new, more expensive subscription option that removes ads, Vessel will instead change its basic $2.99-per-month subscriptions to make them ad-free. Kilar believes this will have a minimal impact on creators’ bottom lines; as he told Tubefilter, he still expects those creators to reach the magic number of $50 per thousand views.

    Non-subscribing Vessel viewers will continue to see ads, though they will now have more options for removing them. The new year-long subscription option costs $19.99, thus saving purchasers more than a dollar a month.

    Ads or not, Vessel’s business begins and ends with desirable content, and it plans to provide its viewers with just that. Channels that have signed up for the service in recent months include Geek & Sundry, Mashable, and Channel Awesome.

    More information about Vessel’s ad-free subscriptions can be found in a blog post.

    Photo via Vessel/Facebook


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    Daily fantasy sports websites like DraftKings and FanDuel can celebrate a rare win amid a sea of bad news. Virginia just became the first state to explicitly legalize their operations.

    Last weekend, FanDuel said it would stop operating in Texas because of legal concerns. (DraftKings, meanwhile, continues onward in the Lone Star State.) The news has been grim for the industry ever since news broke that a DraftKings content manager won $350,000 on FanDuel during the same week he accidently leaked inside information from his own site.

    The FBI and multiple states' attorneys general are investigating the legality of the daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry, citing concerns about whether the activities count as gambling or games of skill. Nevada and New York have banned DFS companies, while Texas has made it clear that it thinks they're acting illegally.

    But Virginia has embraced the industry, classifying DFS as games of skill. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday signed into law the "Fantasy Contest Act," which the state legislature passed in February.

    DFS sites must now pay an initial $50,000 fee in order to operate legally. They must also submit to two independent audits every year.

    “Today, Virginia became the first state in the nation this year to put in place a thoughtful and appropriate regulatory framework to protect the rights of fantasy players,” DraftKings said in a statement. “We thank Governor McAuliffe for his leadership and advocacy and are hopeful that other states across the country will follow Virginia’s lead. We will continue to work actively to replicate this success with dozens of legislatures and are excited to continue these efforts.”

    Not everyone is pleased with Virginia's decision.

    Because the bill doesn't differentiate between daily fantasy sites and season-long fantasy sites, some critics argue that the bill is overly broad. And some sites that aren't as big as DraftKings and FanDuel are upset at the fees they'll have to pay to do business in the state.

    “It really puts us out of business in [Virginia]." David Gerczak, co-founder of myffpc.com, told the Virginian-Pilot.

    H/T The Comeback | Photo via Dennis Yang/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    After years of using Twitter to wage feuds and air her opinions, Azealia Banksdeleted her account on Tuesday.

    "Ok, today, i'm finally making the decision to eject from social media. american media culture is honestly so f---ing disgusting and junky," Banks wrote in her farewell missive before deleting her account. Twitter users quickly reacted with a hashtag, #AzealiaBanksDeactivatedParty, to mark the occasion.

    Banks is no stranger to controversy on the platform, engaging in feuds with Angel Haze, addressing allegations of plagiarism, and being supported by Anonymous as the hacktivist organization sought apologies from Iggy Azalea on her behalf. This is not the first time Banks has taken a break on social media—in 2012 she stepped away briefly before returning. 

    Banks's management did not respond to requests for comment.

    Screengrab via Azealia Banks/YouTube.


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    Kim Kardashian has had a huge couple days on Twitter, and she just published a blog post that serves as the perfect cherry on top. 

    It all started when the reality star posted a throwback selfie of her nude, pre-second-baby body Monday that set the U.S. trending topics ablaze. Then, after getting plenty of negative feedback, she hosted an impromptu Twitter roast of celebs who had criticized the pic. 

    After taking a few hours to cool off, the star realized that Tuesday is International Women's Day, and she got reflective. She took to her blog to share her thoughts on why she posted the picture, and why she thinks it's important to be able to on today of all days.

    The post is hidden behind her app's paywall, but luckily, fans are willing to screenshot and share it on Twitter:

    In her post, Kardashian touches on ideas that get battled out daily in comments sections far and wide: her sexuality (and anyone's sexuality, for that matter) does not dictate her value. Sharing a photo of her body doesn't make her any less of a competent mother, or businessperson, or adult. It just means she's someone who's exercising a brief moment of control over her own image and sharing herself the way that she wants to be seen. Which, when you consider the level of paparazzi activity and tabloid scrutiny her family lives under, is a pretty empowering idea. 

    Screenshot via Kim Kardashian/Instagram


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    The Daily Dot is celebrating Woman Crush Wednesday, better known as #WCWon Twitter and Instagram, by highlighting female creators on YouTube whose work we admire.

    “You should love yourself either way—makeup or no makeup,” Shalom Blac (real name Shalom Nchom) tells her YouTube viewers. Those are words the relatively new YouTube creator has fought hard to believe, but she’s proof they’re realistic. At age 9, Nchom was severely burned by cooking oil in a restaurant her mother worked at in Nigeria. After spending four months in the hospital and enduring such pain that her body’s only response was to black out, Nchom reemerged into the world not only physically changed but suddenly the subject of unabashed staring, isolation, and bullying from her classmates.

    Following the accident, Nchom found solace in makeup and began rebuilding her confidence by finding peace in her changed look. Soon, she became such a skilled makeup artist that her peers began asking her to do their makeup.


    Now an adult living in the United States, Nchom recently watched her story as a burn survivor go viral after she uploaded her first video in two years onto her YouTube channel. She’s since begun establishing herself as a major power player within the beauty community and used her experiences as a burn survivor to empower and relate to others. Her combination of makeup and activism is most present in her tutorial “The Power of Makeup,” uploaded last week and already sitting at 1.4 million views.

    This tutorial pays homeage to NikkieTutorial’s original “Power of Makeup” video that pushed back against makeup shaming and started conversations about makeup’s role in building confidence. The video spurred one of the biggest trends in 2015 and spurred videos from

    Miranda Sings, Patrick Starr, Graveyard Girl, Dope211, and thousands of other creators.

    As Nchom shared in a recent BuzzFeed interview, “Makeup is not the reason why I am happy. I’m happy because I love myself.” Her unwavering mission to inspire others has placed Nchom within a group of elite beauty creators using makeup tutorials as a form of social commentary, including Em Ford, Dodie Clark, and Megan MacKay.


    Nchom’s content is not only serving an underrepresented group on YouTube but expanding society’s definition of beauty. After being profiled in the Huffington Post and Teen Vogue, Shalom Nchom’s talent is no longer a secret, and in 2016, I predict we’ll continue watching her rise as a major influencer on the platform.

    Screengrab via Shalom Blac/YouTube


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    After Mitt Romney took a page out of John Oliver’s book and slammed Donald Trump in a speech, the former Massachusetts governor tried to do the next best thing to bring down the Republican frontrunner: take himself less seriously.

    Like President Obama before him, Romney read some of the terrible things people have said about him on Twitter recently. But instead of selecting a wide variety of insults past and present, Jimmy Kimmel drew from the very specific yet vast subcategory of mean tweets from Trump and his supporters.

    They’re tame compared to some of the tweets Romney is probably getting on an hourly basis now, but he has a good sense of humor about them and even manages to make some jokes along the way. Given Trump's reputation for having thin skin, we expect Romney might get a critique of his jokes rather soon.

    Based on how previous efforts to dethrone Trump have gone, this will probably only make his poll numbers grow.

    Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube


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    Star Wars: The Force Awakens’s breakout star is already inspiring the next generation of musicians.

    Lovable droid BB-8 is The Late Late Show bandleader Reggie Watts’s current muse, and from their interactions, it’s easy to see why. His dialogue in binary almost sounds like music (even if all he’s doing is cursing up a storm), and all Watts needs is a few beats to get him started on a magically catchy tune that captures BB-8’s loyal nature—and our hearts.

    When can BB-8 join the band?

    Screengrab via The Late Late Show with James Corden/YouTube


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