For the latest medical poop, call Gwyneth Paltrow about her Goop

This Lifehacker story on Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Summit is a brilliant read on alternative-medicine b.s. that brings to mind a classic Saturday Night Live sketch: Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber.

Theodoric of York: Hello, Joan, Wife of Simkin the Miller. Well, how’s my little patient doing?

Joan: Not so well, I fear. We followed all your instructions – I mixed powder of staghorn, gum of arabic with sheep’s urine, and applied it in a poultice to her face.

Theodoric of York: And did you bury her up to her neck in the marsh and leave her overnight?

Joan: Oh, yes. But she still feels as listless as ever, if not more.

Theodoric of York: Well, let’s give her another bloodletting. Broom Gilda.

(Yes, the headline here is a shoutout to The Simpsons and the Be Sharps.)



50 Greatest Commercial Parodies

Just finding all sorts of stuff while waiting for the little ones to wake up.

This one is at Nerve magazine, and yes, it’s heavy on SNL. But the first entry from MadTV isn’t bad, either.

It has all the memorable ad from SNL original cast, plus the classic Hooks-Hartman-Carvey ad for Compulsion by Calvin Kleen.

One missing ad, though I also can’t find video for it: Kelly Ripa sending up her own smiling ubiquity with an ad for a shampoo that contains just a little bit of crack cocaine. I gained enormous respect for her after that one.


SNL and one-joke sketches

One-joke sketches on Saturday Night Live aren’t inherently awful. “It’s Pat” wasn’t exactly complicated. Tom Hanks did well as “Mr. Short-Term Memory.” Even The Coneheads and the wild-and-crazy Festrunks didn’t exactly match the complexity of a classic Seinfeld or Arrested Development. Nothing wrong with that.

But when a debate sketch, so often SNL‘s bread and butter, resorts to one joke, that’s a missed opportunity.

That’s why SNL‘s otherwise excellent return to the air last weekend had a slow start.

OK. We get it. The media have been fawning over Obama recently. Just as they fawn over every front-runner. Say, Hillary Clinton, three or four months ago.

That’s really not enough for a debate sketch. Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis are left with little to do but caricatures. (I especially feel for Wiig, who gets stuck with a lot of these characters for some reason — the new woman in the cast, Casey Wilson, is already getting better parts. In the evening’s best sketch, a parody of birth-control pill ads, Wiig is seen making out with a dog.)

The classic SNL debates have layers of jokes on all the candidates. Dana Carvey’s memorable Bush vs. Jon Lovitz’s pained Dukakis. Carvey’s Bush vs. Carvey’s Perot vs. Phil Hartman’s Clinton … a trifecta of brilliant characterizations. Then the best of them all — Darrell Hammond’s overbearing Gore vs. Will Ferrell’s borderline illiterate Bush, which was heavy on Gore but still introduced “strategery” into our vernacular.

The whole racial question over Fred Armisen playing Obama is overblown — both men have family trees that look like Benetton ads. Maya Rudolph had no problem playing characters of any ethnicity. Neither should Armisen.

The blame here is on the folks who were on strike all this time — the writers. Come on, folks. These people are funnier than that.


The next senator of Minnesota should be me, Al Franken

Al Franken’s long on-again, off-again association with Saturday Night Live was always hit or miss for me. I never really got the Franken and Davis skits. He tended to lapse into tedious self-loathing, which sunk his promising sitcom Lateline. His books suck.

On the flip side, Stuart Smalley was a brilliant character, and he got a lot of mileage out of the “one-man mobile uplink unit.”

So could I accept him as a senator from Minnesota? Seems less silly than electing Jesse Ventura governor, anyway.

Also made me wonder if I could take any other SNL stars seriously in politics. Dana Carvey made a few political comments in his stand-up, but I didn’t buy it. Chris Rock says plenty of provocative things as a comedian he could never, ever say in a campaign.

I might go with Tina Fey, just on intellect and demeanor.


It’s just overkill

Catching up on Saturday Night Live after a particularly disappointing Family Guy (memo to Seth: Shout-outs to movie scenes are not inherently funny. You still need a joke) …

The musical guest is Feist, whose 15 minutes have apparently coincided with this appearance. She, like so many musical acts these days, has about 20 people onstage in her band.

Two rows of backup singers/clappers? Did I wander back to I Want to Know What Love Is?

And not one banjo player. Not two banjo players. Three freaking banjo players.


Great but forgotten

Apologies for not doing any kind of Christmas post. I was thinking of doing something based on Steve Martin’s SNL Christmas monologue, but (A) NBC doesn’t have that on its site and (B) all I really want is peace. Seriously. Everywhere from the Middle East to the Internet, where I’ve been involved in some really tedious bickering lately.

I’m now in my favorite post-Christmas activity, iTunes gift card spending. Here’s what I have so far:

  • Lindsey Buckingham, To Try for the Sun: Heavy on the acoustic picking. Saw it on a “Best of” and figured I’d give it a listen. Not bad.
  • Motorhead, Ace of Spades: Because it’s ridiculous to have it as a ringtone and a Young Ones episode and not as an actual song.
  • Hayseed Dixie, Ace of Spades: Because Hayseed Dixie is just that good.
  • KT Tunstall, Black Horse and the Cherry Tree: Artist I’m planning to watch in 2007.
  • Weird Al, White and Nerdy: Fluent in JavaScript and Klingon, be-otch.
  • Talking Heads, Burning Down the House: One of those songs that makes you go, “Oh yeah — I used to have that on tape somewhere and should really have it on the iPod.”
  • Young MC, Bust a Move: Just filling out the ’80s songs.

There’s one ’80s song I can’t get at iTunes because it’s simply not there. And that’s a shame. Like a couple of Dubstar songs, this one surely has enough of a following to warrant a few downloads.

So as with Dubstar, I’ll reluctantly link to YouTube. In this case, the video is indeed kind of silly, mostly because the lead singer insists on doing the Belinda Carlisle two-step through the whole thing. That’s a little odd for a band that was aiming for a Clash/U2 political vibe with the odd pop hit mixed in.

Guessed it yet?

Here you go — Red Rockers’ China

Great bass line, isn’t it?

At least they made a video. If you want to hear the powerful Vixtrola song Gunboat, you have to watch some weird thing with subtitles that has nothing to do with the band itself.

Updating: I searched for some more stuff at iTunes based on an old list of songs I couldn’t find. Found: Big Country’s You Dreamer and Poe’s breathtaking Haunted, which has apparently inspired a lot of fan videos at YouTube.

Not found: Whale’s Hobo Humping Slobo Babe, Melting Hopefuls’ She’s a Big Boy Now, more Big Country and this charming effort from Stretch Princess …

I didn’t realize the lead singer played bass. Uh oh — crush alert …

Updating: If you’re not up on your Minako and would rather just hear Vixtrola without the video, check their MySpace page. Seems they have some trouble with their record label. Sounds like Poe. Or maybe Fiona Apple.