John Early Is Figuring Out How to Be Sincere

As the star of the sharp new indie ‘Stress Positions,’ the irreverent comic works in a more serious vein. He tells Cracked why he’s getting comfortable with being earnest — even if he’s scared everyone will think he’s pretentious

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5 Surreal Meetings Between Pairs of Celebs From History

5 Surreal Meetings Between Pairs of Celebs From History

Here’s a fun game: Take one name from history, add a second random name and just imagine the resulting shenanigans. Maybe Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt run off in a plane together, or maybe Neil Armstrong and Edmund Hillary head to the North Pole

The chances of them really teaming up and succeeding at something are slim, however. The encounter more likely ends with both parties leaving bitter and confused. 

Thomas Jefferson Hired Mozart, Then Got Sick of Him

Thomas Jefferson married Martha Wayles Skelton in 1772. She died well before he became president, which explains why she’s less known than other early First Ladies and why the average person is more likely to know the name “Sally Hemings” than “Martha Jefferson.” It also explains why few people have commented on the oddity that two of the first three U.S. presidents married women named Martha. 

George Washington Thomas Jefferson

Constantino Brumidi

“Why did you say that name?!”

Jefferson wooed Martha by playing the violin daily, which made him more impressive than two other suitors. When she died, he wanted to commission a piece of music in her memory. He knew that half a century before, a musician named Johann Goldberg commissioned a piece by Bach, and this piece now bore Goldberg’s name, so people remembered it long after he’d otherwise have been forgotten. To compose “Martha’s Song,” Jefferson contacted Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

This may have been when Jefferson was living in Paris, which was where Mozart had lived earlier, before moving to Vienna. But though the two met, the song never ended up being written. Jefferson decided he just didn’t like Mozart, as a person, and he cut things off. Jefferson went on to instead honor his wife’s memory by fulfilling her wish that he never remarry. Though, he did turn to that Sally Hemings, who happened to be Martha’s half-sister

Leonard Nimoy Once Gave a Cab Ride to JFK

When Leonard Nimoy was a struggling actor in the 1950s, he made money driving a taxi at night in Los Angeles. In 1956, soon before the Democratic National Convention, he once found himself picking up a senator from the Hotel Bel-Air. It was John F. Kennedy, and the two of them had some common ground as the basis for banter, since both were from Boston. 

John F. Kennedy speaks at Rice University


And both would be responsible for future space missions.

When Nimoy in later years wanted to make an inspirational story out of this drive, he’d share this thing JFK said to him: “Lots of competition in your business, just like in mine.” So, feel free to take whatever you want from that line. Also, he noted Kennedy saying, “Just remember there’s always room for one more good one.”

Only problem was, once the ride was done, Nimoy learned his passenger didn’t have any money on him. He had to park the cab and enter the second hotel to get some staff member to pay him. Plus, he got a measly 140 percent tip, which surely ruined the whole experience for him.

Einstein and Freud Wrote to Each Other to Try to Abolish War

Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud met on New Year’s Eve 1927. The encounter left Freud convinced about which of the two of them had the harder intellectual struggle ahead. “He has had the support of a long series of predecessors from Newton onward,” said Freud, “while I have had to hack every step of my way through a tangled jungle alone. No wonder that my path is not a very broad one.” 

Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in 1921

Ferdinand Schmutzer

Ah, yes. Relativistic physics — famously well-trod territory.

The correspondence continued between them and got awkward. On Einstein’s birthday in 1929, Freud wrote, “To wish you good fortune would be superfluous. I would rather rejoice with countless many others at the fact that you have had, and are still having, so much good fortune.” Einstein wrote back, “Why the emphasis on my good fortune? Although you, you who have slipped into the skins of so many people, and even of mankind itself, you have had no opportunity of slipping into mine!” 

Nevertheless, when a League of Nations offshoot reached out to Einstein in 1931, asking to put him in touch with some other great thinker for the good of humanity, Einstein picked Freud — a man with whom he was already somewhat in touch. The two now wrote to each other on the subject of war. Einstein complained about how easily the public can be convinced to support war. Freud called war a natural result of two competing instincts: the death instinct and the erotic instinct, both of which make us fight. 

Later, Freud sought Einstein’s support in getting a Nobel Prize. Einstein refused, saying he wasn’t sure any of Freud’s theory was valid.

Marlon Brando Felt Bullied by Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin’s last film was 1967’s A Countess from Hong Kong, which gave him a chance to direct Marlon Brando. If you’re now picturing the Tramp with Vito Corleone, realize that Chaplin looked a little different at the age of 78 than he did at 30. 

Though they look great friends in that non-quite-candid photo, Brando would go on to call Chaplin “a fearsomely cruel man” and an “egotistical tyrant.” He’d later tell a story about coming to that London set late one day and getting berated by Chaplin. “I’ll be in my dressing room for 20 minutes,” Brando then told him. “If you give me an apology within that time, I will consider not getting on a plane and returning to the United States.” Sure enough, Chaplin soon came to the dressing room and apologized.

Here’s the thing, though, that you need to know about these stories celeb tell, where they stay calm and collected and the other guy’s soon humbled: They’re lies, every time. Really, when two celebs have a feud, we can never trust either one’s tale of how it all went down. Our best chance at finding out is to listen to some third party who was present.

So, here’s how a third party who was present described that day: Brando came two hours late, said this producer (not 15 minutes like Brando would claim), and Chaplin grabbed the tardy actor and said, “Listen, you son-of-a-bitch. You’re working for Charlie Chaplin now. If you think you’re slumming, take the next plane to Hollywood. We don’t need you.” Then when Brando said, “Gee, Charlie, I was sick,” Chaplin interrupted him with, “I’m an old man, and I manage to be here on time. Now, you’re going to be on the set every day, ready to shoot by eight-thirty, just like me.” 

“Yes, Charlie,” said Brando, in this account. He’d later call Chaplin “the most sadistic man I’d ever met.”

Hemingway Examined and Supported F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Penis

We don’t have a lot of firsthand information about what Zelda Fitzgerald thought about her husband’s penis size. But we do have the reminiscences of Ernest Hemingway, who said F. Scott told him, “Zelda said that the way I was built I could never make any woman happy and that was what upset her originally. She said it was a matter of measurements. I have never felt the same since she said that, and I have to know truly.”

Ernest Hemingway F. Scott Fitzgerald

JFK Library

Just talking dick size, like bros do.

Hemingway immediately led his friend to the nearest men’s room so he could examine the organ in question. “You’re perfectly fine,” he said. The only issue was his angle of observation. “You look at yourself from above and you look foreshortened. Go over to the Louvre and look at the people in the statues and then go home and look at yourself in the mirror in profile.”

This says a lot for Hemingway’s skill at persuasion, but not much for Fitzgerald’s penis size, given that those old marble penises he was appealing to were deliberately carved to look small

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John Early Is Figuring Out How to Be Sincere

As the star of the sharp new indie ‘Stress Positions,’ the irreverent comic works in a more serious vein. He tells Cracked why he’s getting comfortable with being earnest — even if he’s scared everyone will think he’s pretentious

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