October 23rd, 2009
12:18 PM ET

Your pop culture cheat sheet

Here's a look at what's happening in the world of entertainment today:

  • Tracy Morgan and Bronson Pinchot are both clarifying statements they've made recently. "30 Rock" star Morgan told EW.com what he meant when he criticized fellow "SNL" alums Chris Kattan and Cheri Oteri: "Everybody’s blowing that out of context. I’m not angry with any of those people. I don’t know those people. But we focus and fixate on drama. I didn’t write that book, and go through everything I went through, just so people could fixate on Cheri Oteri, Chris Kattan. We weren’t mortal enemies, but we never hung out," he told the magazine.
  • As for former "Perfect Strangers" star Pinchot, he told The Wall Street Journal that he was specifically speaking about then-virtual-unknown Tom Cruise's language over 25 years ago, when he claimed that Cruise used "constant unrelated homophobic comments." He also regrets his choice of words in calling Denzel Washington "one of the most unpleasant people I've ever met."
  • NBC hopes to add more comedy to its lineup, striking deals recently with Adam Carolla and Don Cheadle, according to Variety. Cheadle's series will be produced by "Boondocks" Aaron McGruder.
  • With Halloween approaching, this weekend's movie offerings are focused on horror as usual: as usual, it's another "Saw" movie in theatres, "Saw VI" for those keeping track. In case you haven't had enough between "Twilight, "True Blood" and "Vampire Diaries," "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant," starring John C. Reilly, hits the big screen today, based on another series of books. Kids can look forward to "Astro Boy," a computer-animated reboot of an early Japanese animated TV series. Finally, Oscar season is officially here with Hilary Swank starring as Amelia Earhart in "Amelia."
October 23rd, 2009
11:58 AM ET

'Housewives' NeNe rubs in finale

I used to be a die-hard NeNe fan, but after Thursday night’s finale of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” I may be looking for a new team.

Not that I am completely buying Kim’s story about NeNe randomly choking her at Atlantic Station (an upscale Atlanta development). Do I believe they got into it? Yes. Do I think NeNe was the only aggressor? No.

However, I keep coming back to the fact that NeNe is starting to become the common denominator in lots of arguments and drama. About the only woman she hasn’t had it out with yet is Lisa (and kudos to her for reportedly getting her Closet Freak fashion line into stores before “She by Sheree,” given all the smack that Sheree has talked about her).

I definitely didn’t agree with her decision to demand an apology from Kandi. Who in their right mind believes a person is going to apologize for believing reports that you were bad-mouthing them when you are standing in their face bad-mouthing them?

Speaking of Kandi, how sad was it to watch her mother apparently begin to warm towards AJ? It was a tender moment and one I am glad he was able to enjoy before his untimely death.

So what did you think of this season? Are you looking forward to a return of the Georgia peaches next season or are you over it?

October 23rd, 2009
09:00 AM ET

Remembering Soupy Sales

I spent part of my childhood in Sparta, New Jersey.  While I enjoyed my time there, the early transition from rural Pennsylvania to Manhattan suburbia was difficult.

soupy sales

It took some time to get used to peers that dressed older than my friends in Gettysburg, as well as liberally using language that would warrant a spanking at home. I needed an escape from the transition, and I found it with Soupy Sales.

In the mid-1980s, Soupy hosted a radio show on WNBC-AM in New York.  Every weekday, Soupy and his cast would talk to guests, engage in comedic bits and take phone calls from listeners.

I remember every Tuesday being "Gripe Tuesday", with Soupy and company hearing from listeners about things they just had to gripe about.  My younger sister, who was nine at the time, once called Soupy to complain about the lack of things to do during spring break - he encouraged her to get friends together and write and draw their own stories or invent new games.

The noon hour was devoted to "Lunch With Soupy", where a guest would drop by to "dine" with the Soupman, take listener calls and participate in comedy bits with "Jerry the Waiter", a character based on Curly Howard of Three Stooges fame.   The interviews were always clean and non-confrontational - a nice change of pace to some of the alternatives that continue to flood the TV and radio airwaves.

Some critics contend that Soupy Sales wasn't a good fit for WNBC - for one, he was a visual comic performing for the ear.  So what if he couldn't throw pies on the radio?  He was funny, and he made me, my family and friends laugh.

Listening to Soupy also got me to find out more about the man.  When he was scheduled to appear on a game show or talk show, I made sure to watch it (or get my parents to record it).  While visiting what is now the Paley Center for Media to work on a college paper, I snuck in a little free time to watch some of Soupy's TV comedy work.  The man knew how to be funny to people of all ages - a craft that few of today's comics can say.

Thank you for the memories, Soupy, and thanks for making that Sparta transition easier to digest.

What are your favorite memories of Soupy Sales?

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