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Remember when winning the top prize on a show like American Idol actually meant something? If so, then you probably watched the first season, which produced Kelly Clarkson, who's enjoyed relatively massive success ever since. Subsequent winners like Carrie Underwood and Ruben Studdard also enjoyed triumphs of their own. Hell, Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar, and she came in third or some shit.
She's made a nice career for herself annoying the shit out of us in Weight Watchers commercials since then.
For a while there, it seemed like American Idol was achieving its stated goal, which was to find the best undiscovered talent in America. That said, holy shit, how long has it been since that show produced a name you'd recognize if I ran it by you today? Let's see! Caleb Johnson, Candice Glover, Phillip Phillips, Lee DeWyze -- are any of these names doing anything for you?
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You're right, I did forget Taylor Hicks. Thanks for the reminder, asshole.
I suspect they're not, unless you're one of the millions of people who still watch American Idol knowing full well the only thing worth watching that ever happened on that show was Simon Cowell routinely calling out Paula Abdul for being hammered.
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But the cup just says "Coca-Cola" on it!
When those two left, they took the fun with them, and everyone knows it. The winners in recent years lack the name recognition of those who came before them not because they're lesser artists, but because they're stars on a show no one gives a shit about anymore. It's probably a little more accurate to say that nobody gives a shit about that entire genre anymore. Yes, shows like American Idol and NBC's vastly superior The Voice still have viewers, but it's been a long time since they've been in the business of making viable pop stars.
Who are you people?
As useless as those two shows are in that respect, they do deserve credit for at least pretending that finding the best talent out there is still their goal. That's way more than can be said for NBC's recently revived Last Comic Standing. Even the name kind of implies that they aren't really looking for the funniest comics, just the ones most capable of surviving the show's mysterious set of requirements and stipulations and qualifications. Watching the judges select the comics who advance to the later rounds must be exactly what watching MTV select the next cast of The Real World would be like. Funny is the co-star of that operation, with diversity and wacky backstories in the lead roles.
Don't get me wrong, there are funny people who advance to the later rounds on that show -- they just don't win. Like Amy Schumer and Doug Benson, for example! You've heard of them, right? They were both finalists on Season 5 of LCS. They placed fourth and sixth, respectively. Now, do you remember who won? That's right, Jon Reep, the guy from those "That thing got a Hemi?" truck commercials.
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Sorry, I mean this Jon Reep, not the guy you work with.
Shockingly, his most notable accomplishment since then, according to his own Wikipedia page, is a divorce that's currently pending in the state of California. Hilarious!
So far, there isn't much to indicate that this year's winner will be any less of a blip on the radar than Jon Reep (or Dat Phan). Unless Lachlan Patterson wins, of course.
He's a fantastic comic and if you're a fan of the show, I'd recommend giving him all of your votes, if that's a thing that Last Comic Standing allows you to do. I wouldn't know, I don't watch that shit.
Also, since we're on the subject of things I don't watch ...
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Oh, hey, did you know the FIFA World Cup is happening right now? If not, lucky you. As for everyone else, we know. Goddammit, we know. Futbol is on and futbol is the best. That's what I've been told, anyway. Usually, the World Cup goes right back to being a very minor event in the United States pretty quickly because, for lack of a better way to put it, we're terrible at soccer.
Not this year, though! Shockingly, the United States has managed to sneak in a victory or two, added another non-loss on top of those, and, just like that, we're moving on to the next round. Now, holy shit, you guys, everyone in America loves soccer ... this week.
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Talk to me about it again in August when the World Cup is over and watching American soccer requires a satellite dish the size of a small apartment and a channel package that includes NBC-Middle East, Fox Sports Estonia, and whatever other global networks people use to watch soccer. I have friends who still follow the American men's soccer team well after the World Cup ends, and they take multi-state road trips on a regular basis just to watch the U.S. get its ass handed to it by Costa Rica in a 3-0 blowout. They are soccer fans; you are not. Shut up already.
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For real, stop it.
I'm not just here to bitch about soccer, though. I have a legitimate concern, and it's that this temporary interest in foreign futbol will lead to widespread interest in the United States hosting the World Cup at some point in the future. We've already missed out on 2018, but with a raging bribery scandal surrounding Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup, I wouldn't be at all surprised if that decision gets overturned at some point.
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Looks like they can afford a second bribe, though.
The United States came in second in whatever corrupt voting process is used to decide that kind of thing, so if Qatar does get their turn to host taken away, we're the next obvious choice. A good showing in the current World Cup would go a long way toward sealing that deal, and then we're screwed.
In every way imaginable, hosting the World Cup is a nightmare for whatever country is "lucky" enough to put in the winning bid. The various problems Brazil has faced are too numerous to list in their entirety, but they include everything from 200,000 people evicted to make room for the various structures hosting the cup requires to spending $900 million on extra police and defense capabilities. You know, in case all of those displaced citizens decide to get angry about it. If people in Brazil protest government actions like they celebrate a goal in a soccer match ...
... that could be a huge problem.
Things won't go any smoother when the World Cup inevitably makes its way to the United States, but rest assured, we'll celebrate like we've just won a goddamn world war when it happens.
Adam would like it a whole lot if you'd download the latest episode of his podcast and/or watch him tell jokes at Rooftop Comedy. Then come see him do that second thing in person the first and third Tuesday of every month at Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica. Once you have all of that out of your system, follow him on Twitter and Facebook.