July 21st, 2009
05:04 PM ET

Chris Brown: A victim?

One hundred and sixty three days. That’s how long it took Chris Brown to publicly apologize for beating his girlfriend Rihanna. In the dramatic video, Brown asks for forgiveness and promises to be a better role model. As someone who normally sees things as pretty cut and dry, I can’t decide where I stand on this one.

On the one hand, Brown needed to wait before he could speak out. Legally it would have been foolish- and perhaps dangerous- for him to make a move before things were settled.  If he had said anything right after his plea deal, it would have been in poor taste. I am sure that he had planned to release this video a little sooner but with all of the media coverage surrounding Michael Jackson’s death I assume he held off for a bit.

The statement itself was a brilliantly crafted work of art, designed I am sure by a team of PR experts. Brown read it beautifully- I imagine off of a teleprompter- and made every point he was aiming to make. All in all, from a PR standpoint, it was a slam-dunk.

If this was just about a guy who hit a girl and then put out a well crafted statement I would be blasting him and that would be that. But there is a bigger story here- Chris Brown is also a victim. He came from a home where there was domestic abuse and now the cycle continues. I have a hard time making him a one dimensional monster because it is more complex than that. I do believe that violence is never the answer- EVER. I don’t care who is abusing, the man or the woman; it is never ok. The problem is that once that cycle starts, it is hard to stop.

What do you guys think? Is Chris Brown a victim too?

Be sure to watch Showbiz Tonight for much more on Chris Brown’s emotional apology, tonight, at 11pm ET/PT on HLN- don’t miss it!

July 21st, 2009
12:25 PM ET

The Funny People who Inspired the Funny People at the "Funny People" Premiere

Monday night was the Los Angeles premiere of the new Judd Apatow film, “Funny People.”  The hotly anticipated "dramedy" stars Adam Sandler as a famous comedian whose brush with a terminal disease teaches him a valuable lesson about life.  The film co-stars some of the industry’s busiest young funny people, whom I’ve affectionately nicknamed the “Laugh Pack.”  Among them are Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill and Leslie Mann, who also happens to be Apatow’s wife.  I decided to ask these funny people, as well as co-stars Eric Bana and Aubrey Plaza which funny people were the first to inspire them.  Here’s what I found out:

Both Jonah Hill and Seth Rogan gave a nod to Adam Sandler.  Usually, I would have found this response somewhat self-serving since he is the star and executive producer of the film, but in this case both stars seemed genuine.  Rogan also noted that Jimmy Kimmel is his greatest comedic inspiration, but that is most likely because Kimmel happened to be walking by as I asked the question.

Newcomer Aubrey Plaza says Janeane Garofalo is her comedic inspiration.  When you meet Plaza, you notice there are actually a number of similarities between her and Garofalo.  In addition to their sleepy eyes and brunette dispositions, both ladies share a wicked quick wit and are masters of hilariously dry deadpan humor.

Eric Bana, who is more famous in the United States for his dramatic roles, says the first half of his career, which took place in his native Australia, was filled with comedic performances.  He says that Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder inspired him the most.

Leslie Mann was quick to mention the late Madeline Kahn as her comedic inspiration.  With any luck the talented actress will get a swing at Kahn’s unforgettable role of Mrs. White when they finally remake the 1985 comedy, “Clue.”

Finally, as Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler made their way down the red carpet doing interviews together, I would have guessed they might pick the likes of Bill Cosby, Garry Shandling, Steve Martin or Chevy Chase as their comedic inspiration over the years.  Instead the one and only name both men mentioned…Paul Reiser.  Paul, they are mad about you!

July 21st, 2009
08:48 AM ET

Former 'Idol' artists push out new tunes

Former "American Idol" singers Jordin Sparks - on tour with the Jonas Brothers - and Brooke White release albums this week. Sparks takes a more mature stance with her songs and White, who started her own record company, teamed up with "Idol" judge Randy Jackson for her debut album. Find out more in Soundcheck:

Filed under: Jordin Sparks
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