Columns & Blogs

Columns & Blogs

‘Crashing’ captures pain of stand-up

A quarter of a century ago, standup comedians ruled the broadcast-network airwaves. It seemed like any comic who had a decent, ready-for-TV routine was instantly given their own sitcom. But it was often the case that these stand-ups never actually played stand-ups on their shows. After Roseanne Barr led the charge by playing a blue-collar mom on her hit show “Roseanne,” comics were usually given jobs that appealed to working-class audiences. (Tim Allen as a home-improvement TV host! Steve Harvey as a high-school teacher! Kevin James as a delivery driver!) The only two shows where the comic lead actually played his comic self, “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “Seinfeld,” were more concerned with shattering sitcom conventions than showing the daily ups and downs of a comedian’s life.

Columns & Blogs

MCs from LGBTQ community finally finding acceptance

Once upon a time, hip-hop was a musical genre that wore its macho swagger with stubborn pride. The harder an MC came, the harder everyone else had to be. If you wanted to get under another man’s skin in the rap game, all you had to do was call him the dreaded F-word. In both the hip-hop and black male world, there is nothing more horrendous than being referred to as gay.

Columns & Blogs

When is a movie a movie?

A film-critic friend of mine, Michael Sicinski, recently made the bold choice of putting “Lemonade,” Beyonce’s audacious “visual album,” on his 10-best list for 2016. For film purists, this could be seen as sacrilege. After all, this hour-long collection of visually-striking music videos didn’t play on the big screen. It premiered on HBO last April. (There were repertory screenings that popped up around the country shortly afterward.)

Columns & Blogs

TV gets black and proud

Television has gotten black and proud recently. Over on broadcast television, you’ve got the popular sitcoms “Black-ish” and “The Carmichael Show” as well as hour-long dramas like “Empire.” On cable, there’s “Atlanta” on FX, “Insecure” on HBO, “Underground” on WGN and “Queen Sugar” on OWN, all critically-acclaimed. And let’s not forget about streaming platforms. Netflix is the proud home of “Luke Cage,” based on the strong and black superhero from the Marvel comics. They’ve also just brought over the wacky Brit comedy “Chewing Gum” to our shores.

Columns & Blogs

Summer films fizzled and flopped

We’re halfway through the middle of September and people still can’t get over how disappointing summer movies were. Both critically and commercially, the summer movie season was an endless flop. A lot of big-budget flicks did underwhelming business, disappointed the heck out of critics and moviegoers – or both.

Videos

More Videos

Historical Commission postpones decision on statues and monuments 1:52

Historical Commission postpones decision on statues and monuments

NC man wins fans with his voice while helping out after Hurricane Irma 0:36

NC man wins fans with his voice while helping out after Hurricane Irma

Endangered red wolf pups went missing from Durham's Museum of Life and Science in June 1:17

Endangered red wolf pups went missing from Durham's Museum of Life and Science in June

Bluegrass musician Jim Mills not only plays banjo, he collects them 2:30

Bluegrass musician Jim Mills not only plays banjo, he collects them

Rare aye-aye born at Duke Lemur Center 0:35

Rare aye-aye born at Duke Lemur Center

Man rescued after Mexico City factory collapses in earthquake 1:26

Man rescued after Mexico City factory collapses in earthquake

Hurricane Maria hits the Dominican Republic 0:49

Hurricane Maria hits the Dominican Republic

Coast Guard, British Royal Navy rescue three from capsized vessel off Puerto Rico 2:47

Coast Guard, British Royal Navy rescue three from capsized vessel off Puerto Rico

Last call for Life Flight Three 0:58

Last call for Life Flight Three

Metropolitan parking deck demolition 2:57

Metropolitan parking deck demolition

North Carolina quintuplets turn 18 despite warnings from doctors

VIDEO: The Miller quintuplets of Wake Forest, N.C. who are about to turn 18 years old, are thriving, despite the warnings doctors told their parents. Nancy and Kent Miller gave birth to the quintuplets in 1998. At the time they were the only surviving set born in North Carolina.
Jill Knight jhknight@newsobserver.com
North Carolina quintuplets turn 18 despite warnings from doctors 1:51

North Carolina quintuplets turn 18 despite warnings from doctors

In Halifax and Northhampton counties murder and disappearances go unsolved 0:25

In Halifax and Northhampton counties murder and disappearances go unsolved

Tony award-winning costume designer William Ivey Long on growing up at Raleigh Little Theatre 1:34

Tony award-winning costume designer William Ivey Long on growing up at Raleigh Little Theatre

Story of the Future 1:50

Story of the Future