4 Famous People Who Get Away With Being Total Hypocrites
Hypocrites and the entertainment industry have always gone hand in hand, but the relationship has become noticeably more intense in recent years. At least it seems like it has, because the Internet exists now, and we don't let people forget about anything. If a celebrity made an off-the-cuff comment in an Entertainment Tonight interview six years ago, it damn well better fall in line with whatever shit they're talking these days, because people will pounce if it doesn't.
People like me, for example! I talk about hypocritical entertainers on this week's Unpopular Opinion podcast.
I'm joined by comic Billy Bonnell and Rotten Tomatoes editor (and my former Cracked co-worker) Sarah Ricard. We kick things off by talking about ...
Back when all the tensions surrounding Conan O'Brien and his ill-fated stint on The Tonight Show erupted, most of the country split into two separate camps, unofficially identified as "Team Coco" and "Team I Work for Jay Leno So I Can't Really Say Anything but I'd Totally Find Another Job if I Could if That Tells You Anything."
What I'm saying is, Leno didn't have a lot of supporters. He had a ton of critics, though! One of the most outspoken was Jimmy Kimmel, whom you might know as the host of the other late night talk show you don't give a shit about. In the big scheme of things, there was really no cause for Jimmy Kimmel to get involved in that situation at all. He did, though, and since Conan O'Brien was mostly quiet about it at the time, a person with limited knowledge of the situation could be forgiven if they mistakenly believed that Jimmy Kimmel was the one who'd lost his job at The Tonight Show.
Reminder: It was actually this guy.
Kimmel talked about his hatred for Leno during an interview on Larry King Live. He did a scathing impersonation, complete with prosthetic chin, on his show.
Leno attempted to make peace after that last incident by inviting Kimmel to appear as a guest on The Tonight Show, which he did, but he also used it as an opportunity to shit on Leno a little more.
He saved the worst for a 2013 Playboy interview, where he said this:
"I have a filter mechanism in my head every night when I put together the monologue for our show: If I can imagine Jay Leno telling a joke, then I won't do it, even if it's a good joke."
Harsh! I don't fucking buy it for one second, but harsh nonetheless! Here's the thing: Aside from tracking down funny ads and headlines (something the Internet still loves to do in all sorts of variations), Jay Leno's most "renowned" skit on The Tonight Show was called "Jaywalking." Have a look:
Because it's Jay Leno and your grandparents' Internet abilities haven't expanded to YouTube yet, the video has just over 20,000 views. To give you an idea what kind of company that puts it in, I have a video of a growling dog on my YouTube page that has almost twice as many views (as I'm writing this, anyway). If you've never watched a "Jaywalking" skit and aren't inclined to start today, basically it's a man-on-the-street kind of thing where Leno asks clueless people really simple questions and then basks in the laughs as they fail terribly. It's a really simple premise, and it's been a staple of the Jay Leno comedy show for a long time. Now have a look at this video:
That's a video from a recent episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, and it's beating that Leno video by a margin of more than 1.2 million page views. It's also the exact same thing as the Leno video. In Kimmel's skit, a reporter asks dipshit hipsters at the SXSW music festival if they're excited to see bands that don't actually exist. Said hipsters, not wanting to appear as if they don't know everything about every band in town, just lie and pretend they know exactly who the prankster in front of them is talking about. In both cases, though, it's just a matter of numbers. If you ask 50 people on the street to tell you the name of the current vice president of the United States, participants who give answers as entertaining as those on display in the Leno video are going to be few and far between.
I don't know his name, but I recognize the character from House of Cards.
That's all you need, though. It's a four-minute video; an all-star batting average isn't required to make it work. The same applies to the Jimmy Kimmel skit. If you were to check the raw footage, you'd probably see way more people who either know they're being fucked with or at the very least don't pretend to be familiar with a band called "Contact Dermatitis."
Whatever the case, Kimmel has a lot of nerve shooting down anything Leno would consider funny as off-limits for a comedy talent of his caliber and then turning a variation of one of Leno's few well-known bits into a staple of his own show. Speaking of borrowing things from other people, let's talk a bit more about Kimmel's famous appearance on The Tonight Show.
Jimmy Kimmel Skewers Jay Leno from Bahstarde on Vimeo.
He's referred to this as one of the highlights of his career so far, which makes about as much sense as George Bush saying the lowest point of his presidency was when Kanye West said he didn't care about black people (which he totally did). When I watched the interview again while researching this article, I couldn't help but notice one spot that might not be cause for as much celebration. At one point, Leno asks Kimmel to describe the best prank he's ever pulled. Kimmel thinks for a second and then says something about painting his aunt's house green and orange while she was away on a trip. I'm not saying that didn't happen, but I am saying I'd like to see some sort of time-stamped video or photo evidence that he didn't steal the idea from Tom Green.
Not that I give a shit, of course. Keep that in mind. Not about Jimmy Kimmel, not about Jay Leno, and not about late night television in general. This is an article about hypocrites, and damn if Jimmy Kimmel isn't one. Oh, and one last thing: Celebrating the fact that you fooled the Internet with a fake viral video made using a major television network budget ...
... is like an able-bodied person celebrating after they pump up on steroids and dominate the Special Olympics.
What did Miley Cyrus do to get on a list of the biggest hypocrites in entertainment? Everything, that's what. She did everything to get on this list. Her crimes are so numerous in that respect that listing all of them here would take an article all unto itself. I can prove that, actually, because when looking for potential entries for this column, a mere search for "hypocritical celebrities" turned up this exhaustive rundown of Miley Cyrus' extensive catalog of flip-flopping and going back on her word. I encourage you to read it all, you know, at some point, and only if you're interested. Until then, here are a few of the most heinous examples from their investigation:
This video of Miley Cyrus declaring that not only will she never do drugs, but that she doesn't live in fear of looking like a hypocritical idiot should her stance on the matter ever change, because, guys, it's just not going to. Miley Cyrus is not that person.
Well, you know, not in real life. This song that's totally about doing all of the drugs begs to differ on the career side of things, probably. Good luck explaining away the next video as the product of a studio session, though.
That's Miley Cyrus smoking "salvia" with a bunch of friends, all while having the good judgment to ask that someone video the proceedings, because, you know, what could possibly go wrong?
Well, we know what went wrong. That video was leaked to the Internet, and Miley Cyrus, at that exact moment, began her transformation from Disney princess to "Blurred Lines" sexual assault victim. I'll let you make the call as to whether breaking with the strict anti-drug policy was a good one, but the fact remains that the policy was broken, and everyone suddenly had solid proof that Miley Cyrus was the worst kind of hypocrite ...
... the kind who gets drunk or high with you and then lectures you about being fucked up until they finally sober up and realize they've been an asshole for the last eight hours. I don't care how rad her songs make them seem, a Miley Cyrus party sounds awful now.
Even worse, one of the most memorable lines from one of Miley Cyrus' most beloved hits is a simple thing right before the chorus that says "And a Jay-Z song was on," which gets repeated a few times.
"And this party was happening where?"
Really catchy stuff. So much so, in fact, that Miley was asked about that specific line during one famous interview, when she was asked to name her favorite Jay-Z song and gave what has to be the douchiest of all possible responses to such a simple question:
"I've never heard a Jay-Z song," the singer, 16, said in an interview before her Halloween concert -- in which she was dressed as Pocahontas -- in Louisville, Kentucky, this past Saturday. "I don't listen to pop music."
Honestly, I don't even need proof that she's lying about never having heard a Jay-Z song before. This is America, Miley Cyrus. You've heard a goddamn Jay-Z song, nobody is that cool. Also, saying you don't listen to pop music when the only thing you make is pop music ... it does not make you look like a rebel; it makes you look like a soulless corporate robot who just records whatever bullshit your label puts in front of you.
Not that I'm questioning her integrity or anything.
In the way of an update, we have received confirmation that this particular sticking point in the relationship between Miley Cyrus and the most powerful man in America has been resolved. Jay-Z mentioned Miley Cyrus in a song called "Somewhereinamerica" and then tweeted about her shortly thereafter. It wasn't particularly flattering in either case, but who is Miley Cyrus to mind a detail like that? She's such a badass, you guys. She embraced the controversy in the way only a person adept at embracing controversy to further their career truly can.
Is she right, bitches?
I'm assuming, after all of this, that Miley Cyrus has heard at least one Jay-Z song.
Toby Keith? A hypocrite? Surely I'm mistaken, right? I know, he seemed so genuine up to this point, huh? Well, he's not, and I'll tell you why. For one, he's a lifelong Democrat. Despite his best friend-dom with the Bush administration at the exact moment his real party needed him, the fact remains that Toby Keith has gone on record as a supporter of the blue. That's doesn't make him a hypocrite so much as it calls into question the authenticity of the Republican talking points that littered most of his 9/11 cash-in work.
In keeping with Toby Keith's unlikely status as a registered Democrat, he's come under fire from conservatives and especially gun owners over the past few months, and for damn good reason, if you ask me.
That stupid goddamn bandanna?
Here's the deal: Toby Keith has always made it a point to speak out in support of gun owner rights. In 2003, he performed at an NRA-sponsored concert to honor Charlton Heston. His 2010 hit "Bullets in the Gun" was all about the romance of carrying firearms. Then there's the crown champion of Toby Keith firearm talking points:
I'm all about good people, licensed and trained, carrying a concealed weapon. The bad guys are always gonna be carrying guns. There are so many guns in the U.S. and so many bad people that do harm with 'em. If 1 percent of non-felons would go get their concealed weapons license and carry a gun where they can, 1 percent puts you in a pretty good position of being somebody that could save a bunch of people's lives.
I added the emphasis there just in case any non-felons reading this didn't realize they'd received marching orders from upon high. Not so fast, though. As it turns out, Toby Keith isn't nearly as pro-gun as his songs and pretend persona may indicate. See, Toby Keith isn't just a country singer, he's a businessman.
Give the gift of terrible gift card buying decisions.
That fancy pants ad comes from one of his patented Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill franchises. Gift cards are just one of the many things available for you to enjoy at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill.
"All my Muslim fans put your hands in the air!"
Another amenity? The chance to get shot in the face by a rampaging madman with no means to protect yourself.
See, as outspoken as Toby Keith has been on the right to carry guns, he absolutely forbids such chicanery inside his precious restaurants. That's right, fans of terrible music and shooting people: Toby Keith does want you to take up arms and fight back against the random and impossible to spot until it's too late lunatics who occasionally stroll into your neighborhood McDonald's and start indiscriminately blowing people away; he just doesn't want you to do it on his lawn, apparently.
With all of that said, I cannot begin to express how very little of a shit I give about this situation. The only thing I like less than Toby Keith is his fans. If he's doing something to make them sad, carry on, I say. And also don't let people bring guns into restaurants. Thanks.
You know who loves the song "Imagine" by John Lennon? Just about everyone. While I will admit that it sounds pretty and all that, there's something about that song that has always bothered me. Not just sort of bothered me, either. It's nagged at me for a long time, it angers me that more people don't bring it up, and I will be forever indebted to Cracked for giving me such a huge platform to ask this question:
Just where in the hell does John Lennon get off asking if WE can imagine a world with no possessions?
If you're a fan of "Imagine," then surely you know what I'm referring to, which is a line in the song where Lennon says, "Imagine no possessions/I wonder if you can." Why does that bother me? Because he was sitting here when he came up with that line:
Can I live in that?
It takes a lot of nerve (Jimmy Kimmel nerve, probably) for a singer to ask us if we can imagine giving up our possessions when he's banging the song out on a piano made from decorative cocaine or whatever the hell that might be. I ... imagine it set him back quite a bit of cash. Wouldn't downgrading to playing that song on a normal person's piano (those don't actually exist, by the way) and doing away with the finery have been a nice example to set for the rest of us? Also, the apartment building he was living in at the time was expensive as fuck. Look, I'm a fan of the Beatles and of a lot of Lennon's solo work, so don't come down on me like I'm questioning every single thing the band ever stood for. I'm just saying John Lennon was a hypocrite, is all. Is that really so bad?
Also, I'm not the only who noticed this. Check out Neil Young covering the song during a 9/11 tribute.
If you cut to around the 1:54 mark, you'll hear Neil sing it as "Imagine no possessions/I wonder if I can." It's a minor change, but it makes a huge difference. "I wonder if you can" is a lecture. "I wonder if I can" is someone expressing internal doubt and all that fun stuff that music is supposed to be.
I know we're supposed to treasure this song, but to me, it's just more proof that the longstanding rumor that John Lennon was a massive asshole may actually be true.
Adam hosts a podcast called Unpopular Opinion that you should listen to on Soundcloud and a live stand-up comedy show of the same name that you should come see sometime if you're in the Los Angeles area. You should also be his friend on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.