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.

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Jill Knight jhknight@newsobserver.com
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