The big news this week from the world of Ben Stiller: it looks like a third "Meet the Parents" movie, a sequel to "Meet the Fockers" is percolating. In the natural progression of things, Robert DeNiro and Blythe Danner would return as grandparents to Ben Stiller and Teri Polo’s babies. Of course, Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand would have to return as well.
In the meantime:
Last night’s big black tie dinner honoring Ben Stiller for the Museum of the moving Image was a lot rowdier than last year’s weirdo event saluting Tom Cruise.
For one thing, everyone who spoke had a real anecdote about Ben, cracked wise, and appeared to actually know the person getting toasted. It was more like a Friars Roast than a Friars Roast.
Among the speakers — Ben’s famous comedian parents Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, plus co-stars like Robert DeNiro, Jack Black, Robert Smigel with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Mike Myers, and Amy Adams, as well as Bill Hader from "Saturday Night Live" and Sean "Diddy" Combs. There was also a funny video bit from Adam Sandler and director Judd Apatow ending with Sandler observing, "No one exists but me!"
In the audience: "Gone Baby Gone" Oscar nominee Amy Ryan, who just wrapped a sublime six episode arc on "The Office" as Steve Carell’s love interest. Her boyfriend, Eric Slovin, son of the Museum’s Rochelle Slovin, wrote the fast-moving awards show.
After a weirdly stiff video greeting from Tom Cruise, Jack Black kicked off the show by announcing that he’d been rejected by Bergdorf Goodman while tuxedo shopping when they measured his neck. "Eighteen a half inches! It’s too big for this store. You might want to go down the block. I walked three blocks to the big and tall store where I was welcomed with loving arms by my people!"
(In fact, Jack went to Rochester’s.)
From a game Diddy: "I have not been in any of Ben Stiller’s movies. I guess I wasn’t black enough to be in Tropic Thunder. Robert Downey, Jr was a little bit blacker. I tried out for the role but I came up short. I put him in one of my music videos and I thought he would return the favor."
Combs handled his comedy moment with aplomb, although he had a little trouble pronouncing the Yiddish word "schlemiel." To get it right he had to repeat the opening lines of the "Laverne and Shirley" theme song—"Schlemiel, schlimazel…" under his breath.
But it was Stiller and Meara who really stole the show riffing on their beloved famous son. Stiller: "One thing that went through my mind watching all this tonight, Am I the father?" Meara: "When I first met Ben, I was"—laughs’’—"it was an emergency C section." Stiller: "One day he come home and said I’m going to do all the parts of the body in Latin. And he did. We thought he was going to be a doctor. But he couldn’t be. He had two parents in show biz. We had a comedy act." Meara: "Ben grew up in a cliché narcissistic family. We were trying to get rich and famous. We were two hungry people screaming at each other." Stiller: "When we played Vegas, Amy and Ben were in the pool with the Pips. Or playing craps at Circus Circus." Meara: "The amazing thing is that he survived us."
For his part, Ben – who was accompanied by beautiful comedian wife Christine Taylor—dedicated his award to Bono. "Just so I have something in common with him other than knowing all the words to Achtung, Baby."
PS We got a look at the just finished "Night at the Museum 2" which features Amy Adams as maybe Amelia Earheart, and looks great. This time the Museum is the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, where the astronauts come to life.
Rosie O’Donnell has picked the guests and performers for her first live TV show on NBC primetime.
For "Rosie Live" on NBC airing Wednesday November 26th, Rosie has chosen comedian Kathy Griffin and actress – singer Jane Krakowski of "30 Rock" to join her, Alannis Morisette and hit R&B producer-performer NeYo. The latter two were announced late yesterday. The former two are being announced here exclusively.
Still to be determined are a band for Rosie’s show at the Little Shubert Theater, and other guests to fill the one hour special.
That week leading up to Thanksgiving will be an especially busy one for O’Donnell. On November 24th she’s hosting her second annual fundraiser for her For All Kids charity at the Marriott Marquis. The night—called ROSIE'S GALA: BUILDING DREAMS FOR KIDS features a special tribute Broadway legend Chita Rivera and a performance by Rosie’s Broadway kids. If there are any tickets left, they can be found through Buckley Hall Events, (914) 579-1000.
Last year’s show was a scorcher, with plenty of surprise performers and a lot of laughs.
If that doesn’t make Rosie busy, she’s also just been named for the second year in a row nas national ambassador for Kids’ Night on Broadway, a monthly program starting in February. The Broadway League sponsors KNOB so kids can see Broadway shows for free. Check it out at www.kidsnightonbroadway.com.
I told you last week that Michael Jackson is being encouraged by his advisers to accept a deal for 30 or so shows at the O2 Arena in London.
Now I’m told that the deal has been sweetened by an offer to Michael’s sister Janet as the opening act. Additionally they would perform together on stage.
Unlike rumors of a Jackson 5 reunion with Michael, this is solid. Frankly, Michael hates memories of the Jackson 5 and doesn’t care much for a couple of his brothers. But he loves Janet, respects her, and this may be a good thing for both of them.
For once, Janet has as many career problems as Michael. She’s had three dud albums in a row, and now has no record label. As well, she’s had a ton of problems this fall with cancelled shows.
As for Michael, this has been a hard week. The paperwork has just been filed in Santa Barbara County, California for Colony Capital to take over his Neverland Ranch. They bought the $23.5 million loan from Fortress Investments.
Colony has formed a new business entity, according to papers obtained by this column from Santa Barbara County, called Sycamore Valley Ranch Company LLC, a Delaware limited liability company. As of November 1st, Colony Capital aka Sycamore now has Jacko’s deed. Neverland is Nevermore.
For Jackson to earn enough money to pay back the Neverland loan and sell the property, his only realistic option is to take the deal in London offered by AEG Live. But Jackson is a petulant 50 year old child. So far he’s rejected all reasonable efforts to save himself financially.
Magazine lists are made for one reason: to get people talking about the magazine. So Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Best Singers of All Time, released yesterday, snubs dozens of actual singers, includes many people who are tone deaf, and mostly makes for a way for Jann Wenner’s newly shrunken moribund periodical to get some attention.
Jump in wherever you like. Their #1 is Aretha Franklin, and that’s right. But once you get past the top 20, there’s trouble everywhere. Missing in no particular order: Paul Simon, Carly Simon, Carla Thomas, Sting, Linda Ronstadt, Eric Clapton, Diana Ross, Phoebe Snow, Alicia Keys, Elvis Costello, Donald Fagen, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.
And then there’s the issue of what constitutes a singer. Since the list isn’t confined to "Rock" or "Pop" or "Of the Rock Era," there are ridiculous and intentionally missing names: Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Bette Midler, Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole, or Natalie Cole—not to mention contemporary artists who consider themselves singers like Beyonce and Justin Timberlake. There is also, thank goodness, no mention of mewling Madonna.
How is it possible that any of these names was knocked out of the way by the likes of Axl Rose, Bjork, Morrissey, or even, god love him, B. B. King, whose voice is not his calling card.
There’s also the added weirdness of the 179 voters. That group included many singers who didn’t make the list even though they were part of the "inside" process. On that list: Carole King, Daryl Hall, Cat Stevens, Rikki Lee Jones, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Carrie Underwood.
But at least this time, unlike with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there’s no favoritism. Wenner is often accused of putting his buddies in the Hall, but with this list some people may never speak to him again including Paul Simon, John Mellencamp, Sting, Bette Midler, Boz Scaggs, J Geil’s Peter Wolf, and Wenner’s best buddy, Yoko Ono, who really was Bjork before there was Bjork if you think about it.