Late Night Monologue – Week of 7/18/11

Rupert Murdoch’s testimony before British Parliament on Tuesday was cut short when comedian Johnnie Marbles charged the embattled CEO and hit him in the face with a pie. Embarrassingly enough, Murdoch then received a blast of water to the face after  Marbles asked him to smell the flower on his lapel. 

Michele Bachmann’s ability to serve as president once again came into question after it was revealed that the current contender for the GOP nomination suffers from frequent, debilitating migraines. Rick Santorum then admitted to suffering from frequent, debilitating bouts of “Who the hell is that guy?”

The in-flight movie celebrated its 50th anniversary last week. In honor of the momentous occasion, millions across the country idly flipped through the latest issue of People Magazine. 

– Rapper Ja Rule was sentenced to two years in prison following charges of tax evasion. But, officials say, if he displays good behavior, then he’ll be granted Pa Role.

Al-Qaeda announced it will be releasing a feature-length cartoon in hopes of attracting children to its cause. Studios in America refuse to release the film, however, as they fear it might bomb. 

Late Night Monologue – Week of 7/11/11

Health officials announced Monday that a mysterious new strain of gonorrhea has surfaced, one completely resistant to all antibiotics. Even more shocking, Paris Hilton has now officially contributed to the field of science. 

The U.S. Army is weighing the option of equipping its soldiers with smart-phones and tablets. The decision to do so would be the first step in preparing forces for the newest offensive in Afghanistan – Operation Angry Birds. 

On Tuesday, millions were outraged to find that Netflix, the popular movie-rental site, had increased fees for its subscribers. In an attempt to capitalize on the public’s anger, Blockbuster Video is offering discount prices on all DVDs from the trunk of the yellow Mustang parked behind Taco Bell. 

 Rumor has it that the surviving members of The Beatles may be reuniting for next summer’s Olympic Games in London. The news has generated so much excitement, in fact, that there’s already speculation on the group’s follow-up gig – The 2013 Paul McCartney and Friend World Tour. 

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has come out against Islamic authorities and insisted that the country keep its co-ed universities, calling the actions of those in favor of segregation along gender lines “shallow” and “backward.” The president then made an unconvincing argument on the merits of whipped-cream bikinis during Spring Break: Tehran. 

 With a battle raging over the nation’s debt and a deadline to solve it steadily approaching, China has urged the U.S. to be “responsible” in handling its financial woes, then adding, “Hey, mister! Don’t you roll your eyes at me!”

Thursday was Bastille Day, and, in an attempt to honor the cherished French holiday, President Barack Obama asked of Americans, “Let us not forget the meaning of Bastille Day: searching Wikipedia for the meaning of Bastille Day.”

Reports from the Department of Homeland Security claim that, since November of 2001, there have been 25,000 security breaches at U.S. airports. Of course, to be fair, most of those are the health risks associated with eating at Cinnabon. 

A controversial new study released this past week suggests that black men are less likely to die in prison than outside in free society. In conclusion, Casey Anthony is a black man. 

California has now officially become the first state to require gay history be included in school textbooks. Governor Jerry Brown says the mandate will help highlight the major accomplishments from America’s gay community – most notably, Shake Weight for Men informercials. 

Following his stint as Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to return to the big screen and star in a modern-day western called The Last Stand, where he’ll play a small-town sheriff taking on a violent Mexican drug cartel. Insider sources insist that, this time, the actor intends on firing blanks. 

Late Night Monologue – Week of 7/4/11

– On Monday, Fox News’s Twitter feed was allegedly hacked and flooded with reports saying President Obama was dead. In a related event, Tony Danza hacked into his own account just to say he’s still alive. 

– Speaking of which, President Obama held a town hall meeting Wednesday where he answered questions over Twitter. This is not the first time the president has utilized social media, however. This past April he held a similar town hall meeting over Facebook, during the ’08 election he relied heavily on YouTube, and in ’05 he took to MySpace to promote what would be his failed career as Jafaru, the jive-talking Kenyan standup. 

– New intelligence suggests that al-Qaeda may be trying to sneak bombs past airport security by hiding them inside breast implants. TSA agents are now being told to profile any woman with a full-body burqa and a killer rack. 

Further intelligence claims that a major cyberattack back in 2009 – which shut down US government websites – may have come from North Korea. Investigators knew something was amiss when Robert Gates’ inbox was SPAM’d by offers for women’s sunglasses and tiny gray jumpsuits. 

Facebook has now partnered with Skype to release a new feature which will allow users to talk to one another via video. By implementing video-chatting into the website, developers say they hope to make denying a friend-request more awkward than it already is. 

– Although Friday marked the final voyage of NASA shuttle Atlantis, it was also the first time an iPhone was brought into space. With the help of AT&T’s shoddy coverage, scientists hope to redefine the phrase, “In space no one can hear you scream.” 

South Sudan formerly declared its independence Saturday and became the world’s newest country. For millions of Sudanese, this occasion means a chance for progress, an opportunity for liberty and prosperity; for Sarah Palin, it means increased tensions with its neighboring country – Africa. 

In a stunning upset, the women’s U.S. soccer team defeated Brazil in the world cup quarter finals. In an act of retaliation, Brazil has halted the steady flow of its Victoria’s Secret models into the States. 

Finally, News of the World, the British tabloid known for its sensational celebrity exposés, printed its final issue Sunday. The paper even wrote its own obituary. True to form, it was found lying in a pool of its own ink, next to an early edition of The New York Post.

Late Night Monologue – Week of 6/27/11

The big news is still same-sex marriages. New York’s bill allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry will go into effect July 24. This, of course, means that all eyes will be on the marriage ceremonies for high-profile, celebrity couples – particularly Bert and Ernie’s long-rumoured Today Show wedding. 

– Prince William and Catherine, the newlywed royal couple, visited Canada last week, making it their very first official trip abroad. When asked why they chose Canada, they replied, “What couple hasn’t dreamt of that romantic getaway to Saskatchewan?”  

On Friday night, the Minnesota government shut down because state lawmakers failed to reach a budget agreement. Yes, when asked to comment, former Minnesota governor and current GOP presidential contender Tim Pawlenty attentively listened to Mitt Romney’s response.

Speaking of the 2012 race, Tom Petty recently demanded that Michele Bachmann stop using “American Girl” for her campaign. Oddly enough, in 2004 he had no problem with John Kerry using “Zombie Zoo” for his.

And finally, director Michael Bay has sent a letter to movie theater projectionists across the nation with specific instructions on how to present the latest Transformers movie, ending the letter by saying, “Let’s make the audiences believe again.” These audiences are then treated to a two-hour feature where Shia LaBeouf plays an action hero whose love interest is a Victoria’s Secret model. 

About this new, confounded feature

Behold! There’s a new feature to the Joe Smiley experience, and you’re eyeballin’ it right now — Jokes for a Non-Existent Late Night Chit-Chat Show. Scribbled on my bucket list somewhere between “dine-and-dash whilst wearing a tuxedo” and “tell a steward/stewardess that there’s a damn gremlin on the wing” is “one day (preferably sooner than later) write for a late night talk show.” Unfortunately, you can’t simply apply for that job like you would to dish out lattes and smug glances at the neighborhood coffee hut, so I figure I’ll go ahead and start, with or without a real-deal show filling my pockets with Ben Franklin & Co. for my efforts.

In true talk show fashion, the attempted jokes will be topical, each one relating to a recent event in the wide world of politics, entertainment, the obligatory zany human interest story, and so on and so forth. So, with that in mind, be sure to get the zingers while they’re hot (i.e. relevant). I’ll put out a mini set each week.

Enjoy?

To err is human, especially when that human holds public office

Yes, after a week of emphatic denials and sensational puns, New York congressman Anthony Weiner has come clean and admitted that he did, in fact, send a picture of his unmentionables to a coed over Twitter. Not only that, but during his teary-eyed press conference he revealed that he had been carrying on equally inappropriate relationships with other women he met online. He was quick to add that he’s never met these women in person, however.

Now, I like this guy, and I hate to see this happen. Even before this schlong-scandal, he’d received a fair amount of media attention, appearing a number of times on newscasts and talk shows. He always came across a bit fiery, a bit cocky, but he seemed to be a guy with his act together, never disingenuous, and simply untainted by the all-too-familiar BS  that comes with the job. And then came this little development.

Nevertheless, Rep. Weiner refuses to resign, claiming that he does not believe he broke any laws. That may be true, but regardless of whether or not he’s guilty in the blindfolded-eyes of the law, I firmly believe he should resign, and for one simple reason – any politician who honestly believes he or she can get away with a sex scandal in this day and age does not deserve to hold public office.

Congressman Weiner claims his was a deep lapse in judgement. This could not be more true, yet so many believe they can get away with it. Mark Sanford, former governor of South Carolina, disappears to South America to wine and dine an Argentine. Mark Foley, then serving in the House, sends sexually explicit emails to teenage boys serving as congressional pages. Rep. Chris Lee responds to an add on Craigslist with a shirtless photo of himself, Gov. Elliot Spitzer enjoys the company of a pricey prostitute, and John Edwards fathers a child with a campaigner. And that’s just the tip of the sleazy iceberg, too.

The apparent hubris is staggering. Do these guys truly think they can get away with it? Do they really think the tweets, pictures, emails and extramarital affairs will pass unnoticed by the ever-watchful, ever-ready eye of the salivating twenty-four-hour news cycle? If so, then their judgement is warped, and they don’t deserve the office. After all, we the beer-bellied people put them there to do a service. We pay their salaries so that they can speak for us, fight for us, look out for our best interests and kiss our ugly babies. How can we expect them to be effective leaders if they have the empty-headed gall to actually attempt something so stupid?

I feel bad for Rep. Weiner. I really do. Sadly, our society cares too much about sexual preferences, vulgar photos and weekend dalliances a la Cinemax’s midnight lineup. Such acts in and of themselves do not paint the portrait of an unfit leader. Nevertheless, this is not the general consensus in America, and our politicians know this. For me, it comes down to a matter of sense, not morality.

There’s a great line from The Social Network which says, “The Internet’s not written in pencil…it’s written in ink.” Politicians certainly know this better than us normal folk. After all, they witness members of their ranks reluctantly confront this grim reality seemingly on a weekly basis. This week it’s Anthony Weiner, and you know what? If he wasn’t able to learn from the scores of others who went before him, then I believe it’s time to take the dick puns in stride and find a new job.

Top Five Covers Better Than The Original Songs

The cover gets a lot of flack. Though often dismissed as unimaginative, unnecessary and downright disrespectful, there’s no denying that every now and then a cover comes along that actually tops the source material. Here are my picks for the top five such songs:

5. CALL ME THE BREEZE – LYNYRD SKYNYRD – Originally penned and performed by J.J. Cale, the panhandle boys take this laid-back tune and strangle it with the Bible Belt. And while that may sound like a bad thing, well, partner, it’s not. What results is a rowdy, rollicking rendition, complete with multi-layered electric git-tar twang and one helluva piano solo – music perfect for a barroom slugfest somewhere out there in Dixieland.

4. AMERICA – YES – The most ambitious entry on the list belongs, naturally, to Yes. No strangers to elaborate ideas and cinematic orchestrations, the English prog outfit envisioned Simon and Garfunkel’s refined, ethereal folk ballad with more of a supercharged twist. Press play and you’re greeted by a wallop of Wakeman’s cheerful, swirling keys and the thud-thud-thud of the rhythm section with military precision. And that’s just the first two seconds. This behemoth clocks in at over ten minutes long.

3. LITTLE WING – DEREK AND THE DOMINOS – For me, listening to  “Little Wing,” the classic Hendrix opus, is like eating one measly Pringle. I pop, but then the fun stops. And much, much too soon. It’s a great song, but one that leaves something to be desired. That’s where Slowhand lends, well, a hand. With this 1970 cover, the song now feels fully fleshed-out, complete. Whereas the original slowly builds, Clapton and company start with a rigid riff both bluesy and regal before melting into a fiery, haunting drawl. And the best part? The song doesn’t end till there’s ample soloing to be enjoyed. It’s like having a whole meal, not just a nibble.

2. AN AMERICAN TRILOGY – ELVIS PRESLEY – His career was basically built on covers, but this soaring patriotic ditty stands alone (you can practically smell the apple pie on the King’s breath). “An American Trilogy” is an amalgam of three ‘merican classics – “Dixie,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “All My Trials.” The song was arranged and performed by songwriter Mickey Newbury in the early 70s, but it was Elvis who karate-chopped it into a classic. Now, if the crescendo leading into the “Battle Hymn” revival doesn’t leave you covered in chills, then perhaps, baby, that diamond-laden jumpsuit is cutting off the blood flow to your suspicious mind.

1. BLINDED BY THE LIGHT – MANFRED MANN’S EARTH BAND – Bruce Springsteen is one of the greatest songwriters this dying planet has to offer. He’s a national treasure, hailed by Barry O as “the rock and roll laureate of a generation,” who then added, “I’m the president, but he’s the Boss.” When Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. was released in 1973, Bruce was still finding his voice, and “Blinded by the Light” wasn’t exactly a sign of things to come. The lyrics (some of my all-time favorite) are wrapped in a warm, fuzzy blanket of whimsy, hitting closer to the imagination of Dr. Seuss than the plight of the working man. But as a whole, the song is – dare I say it? – nothing mesmerizing. That’s where a certain South African keyboard whiz comes in. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, named after said whiz, took an obscure song about g0-kart Mozart, madman drummers bummers and curly-wurlies and in 1975 turned it into a chart-topping smash. Employing hypnotic, pulsating keyboard riffs and a devastating guitar solo, theirs was a complete makeover. They made it their own, which is absolutely key to any memorable cover. Experimental, yet painfully catchy and, therefore, instantly accessible, it outshines the original, so much that most don’t even realize it’s a cover. In the end, isn’t that the best compliment?