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Saturday Night Live's Stefon Says Goodbye, Recommends One Last Awesome Bar

Saturday Night Live's Stefon Says Goodbye, Recommends One Last Awesome Bar

Stefon's awesome goodbye includes a wedding, Anderson Cooper, and DJ Baby Bok Choy

Still can't believe Bill Hader — and with him, beloved New York City correspondant "Stefon" — is leaving Saturday Night Live? We're still torn up about it (and effectively have no idea which hottest clubs to visit in New York City now). Fortunately, this weekend's Weekend Update sign off from Stefon was just about perfect.

We won't give too much away about how Stefon's story ends (a wedding? Anderson Cooper? Smurfs?) but we can tell you that it's pretty great. And Stefon's last bar recommendation had us in tears, for many reasons. From Eater: "New York's hottest club is PANTS. Located on that fake street from Seinfeld, this bed bug bridal barn finally answers the question, 'Y'all ready to play the Feud?' This place has everything: hopscotch, double dutch, Oogieloves, sling and mesh bladder implants, the table from Charlie Rose... The bouncer is a king-size lesbian who looks like Phil Jackson. And the password is 'SCOTTY.' And if that isn't enough for you, you can hit the dance floor with a room full of human magic eightballs... it's that thing, of when you ask a question, so you shake a midget until he says, 'Ask again later.'"

Eater also notes that over Hader's eight seasons, Stefon appeared 15 times on Weekend Update. Thanks for the memories, Stefon; check out the clip below.


Recap: ‘Saturday Night Live’ – Jonah Hill And Bastille

Along for the ride tonight is musical act Bastille. With Seth Myers definitely leaving the “Weekend Update&rdquo desk with the announcement of Colin Jost as his replacement next month, let”s see if the show pulls out some big names/old characters to say goodbye to this particular era of the show. As always, I”ll be liveblogging the program, providing grades for each segment. You won”t like the grades. But I still like you. Let”s meet here at 11:30 pm EST and kick things off.

Sweetland Ranch: Well, we”ve already had a sketch based on poop jokes. Why not have one based on a horse beating the living hell out of its trainers? Jonah Hill spends the entire sketch blatantly reading the cue cards, with the ensuing effect that not even he can look at this stupid sketch. It”s not like realism is needed to make every sketch funny, but the puppet work here is so obvious and the premise so thin that all anyone in the audience can do is awkwardly chuckle at the low-budget display. (Will Ferrell as Robert Goulet would have turned this artifice into absurdism, but no such luck here.) I like Strong”s character here, but it”s a character in search of a sketch where she”s not getting branded with an “F U&rdquo on her face. [Grade: C-]


Departing ‘SNL’ cast members offer giddy goodbyes in season finale

The season finale of “SNL,” hosted by five-timer Ben Affleck, was a star-studded event commemorating the end of an era for several veteran cast members.

Guest stars included Jennifer Garner, a.k.a Mrs. Ben Affleck, who showed up during the monologue to gently edit Affleck’s Oscar speech, in which he stated that marriage is work (and some took to mean that being married to Garner in particular was difficult.)

Bill Hader’s oddball character Stefon rode off into the sunset in an appropriately silly, nonsensical manner. After fleeing the Weekend Update desk proclaiming he was going to get married, Seth Meyers (who had been joined for the segment by Amy Poehler for a “Really. ” segment on the IRS scandal), took off after him to interrupt the ceremony “The Graduate”-style, shocking the many weirdos in attendance, like Alf and human Smurfs. After stealing Stefon away from his intended (played by Anderson Cooper), the two run back to the studio together.

This was the last episode for Hader (while Meyers, in case you missed it, will be filling Jimmy Fallon’s late-night shoes) and as they grinned and hugged, the silliness of the bit and the giddiness of the night was infectious.

This goodbye happened to be bookended nicely by an earlier commercial for a new form of Xanax to combat the feelings of inadequacy that accompany beautiful gay weddings, where, for instance, the guests perform choreographed dances to Beyoncé songs that haven’t been released yet.

There were also several musical highlights of the night, including Kanye West debuting two new songs, “Black Skinhead” and “New Slaves,” which was powerful fare, but lighten up, ‘Ye! You’re going to be a daddy soon and it’s the season finale of “SNL.” It’s OK to have a little fun.

Musical goodbyes are not uncommon on “SNL” and so Fred Armisen chose to celebrate his apparent departure as Ian Rubbish, the Margaret-Thatcher-loving punk musician. Joined onstage by Jason Sudeikis (who is also likely departing the show) and other cast members, he played a sweet song called “I’ve Had a Lovely Night”, also accompanied by musical friends such as his “Portlandia” costar Carrie Brownstein, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis, the Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones, as well as Aimee Mann and Michael Penn.

There will be some big gaps next season without many of the old faces around, but one of the best parts of this current season was watching newer cast members like Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong flourish, so as always, “SNL” will continue to refresh and rejuvenate.


Series / Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live is a ground-breaking NBC sketch comedy/Variety Show, broadcast live from New York City in what had been, up until its premiere in 1975, TV's "graveyard shift" slot. According to Wikipedia, it was initially created at the request of then NBC president and CEO Herbert Schlosser as a scheduling replacement for reruns of The Tonight Show, which used to air in the slot until being retracted at the request of then host Johnny Carson, who wanted the repeat episodes to be saved for weekdays and be aired whenever he was ill or chose to take a vacation in lieu of having to hire a guest host.

Often shortened to SNL for ease of reference, the show was specifically designed by its creator and executive producer, Lorne Michaels (who was once a writer on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In), to showcase young and edgy talent as a direct reaction to the older comedians who dominated primetime, but were fundamentally clueless about the tastes, styles and preoccupations of young Americans circa 1975. Rotating celebrity hosts and musical guests added to the "fingers on the pulse of pop culture" vibe the show strived for. During its early years, it reveled in a feeling of being just shy of completely out of control, and pushed the boundaries of television far beyond what anyone had ever seen before. The cast is continually shifting, with veterans departing for solo careers and young performers being recruited regularly.

The number of stars that emerged from this show is mindboggling by itself:

  • Fred Armisen
  • Dan Aykroyd
  • Vanessa Bayer
  • James Belushi
  • John Belushi
  • Beck Bennett
  • Paul Brittain
  • Aidy Bryant
  • Dana Carvey
  • Chevy Chase
  • Michael Che
  • George Coe
  • Billy Crystal
  • Jane Curtin
  • Joan Cusack
  • Pete Davidson
  • Mikey Day
  • Robert Downey Jr.
  • Brian Doyle-Murray
  • Rachel Dratch
  • Robin Duke
  • Nora Dunn
  • Christine Ebersole
  • Dean Edwards
  • Abby Elliott
  • Chris Elliott
  • Jimmy Fallon
  • Chris Farley
  • Will Ferrell
  • Tina Fey
  • Chloe Fineman
  • Will Forte
  • Al Franken note making SNL the only late-night entertainment show to produce a United States Senator
  • Heidi Gardner
  • Janeane Garofalo
  • Ana Gasteyer
  • Gilbert Gottfried
  • Mary Gross
  • Christopher Guest
  • Bill Hader
  • Anthony Michael Hall note the youngest cast member to date at 17 years old when he was cast
  • Brad Hall
  • Darrell Hammond
  • Phil Hartman
  • Jan Hooks
  • Yvonne Hudson
  • Leslie Jones
  • Colin Jost
  • Chris Kattan
  • Taran Killam
  • David Koechner
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus
  • Jon Lovitz
  • Norm MacDonald
  • Adam McKay
  • Michael McKean
  • Mark McKinney
  • Kate McKinnon
  • Tim Meadows
  • Seth Meyers
  • John Milhiser
  • Dennis Miller
  • Finesse Mitchell
  • Alex Moffat
  • Jay Mohr
  • Kyle Mooney
  • Tracy Morgan
  • Garrett Morris
  • Bobby Moynihan
  • Eddie Murphy
  • Bill Murray
  • Mike Myers
  • Kevin Nealon
  • Laraine Newman
  • Ego Nwodim
  • Michael O'Donoghue
  • Cheri Oteri
  • Nasim Pedrad
  • Chris Parnell
  • Jay Pharoah
  • Joe Piscopo
  • Amy Poehler
  • Randy Quaid
  • Colin Quinn
  • Gilda Radner
  • Chris Redd
  • Jeff Richards
  • Rob Riggle
  • Tim Robinson
  • Chris Rock
  • Charles Rocket
  • Maya Rudolph
  • Andy Samberg
  • Adam Sandler
  • Horatio Sanz
  • Rob Schneider
  • Molly Shannon
  • Harry Shearer
  • Martin Short
  • Sarah Silverman
  • Jenny Slate
  • Robert Smigel
  • David Spade
  • Pamela Stephenson
  • Ben Stiller
  • Cecily Strong
  • Jason Sudeikis
  • Julia Sweeney
  • Terry Sweeney
  • Kenan Thompson note He currently holds the record for being the longest-serving cast member.
  • Danitra Vance
  • Melissa Villaseñor
  • Michaela Watkins
  • Noël Wells
  • Brooks Wheelan
  • Kristen Wiig
  • Casey Wilson
  • Bowen Yang
  • Sasheer Zamata
  • Alec Baldwin (17)
  • Steve Martin (15)
  • John Goodman (12)
  • Buck Henry (10)
  • Tom Hanks (9)
  • Chevy Chase (8)
  • Christopher Walken (7)
  • Drew Barrymore (6)
  • Danny DeVito (6)
  • Elliott Gould (6)
  • Tina Fey (6)
  • Scarlett Johansson (6)
  • Justin Timberlake (6)
  • Sting (6)
  • Ben Affleck (5)
  • Candice Bergen (5)
  • Will Ferrell (5)
  • Jonah Hill (5)
  • Dwayne Johnson (5)
  • Melissa McCarthy (5)
  • Bill Murray (5)

Not coincidentally, many of these cast members are also veterans of The Second City, a world-class improv theatre troupe in Chicago and Toronto. Others are veterans of the Groundlings, a similar improv troupe based in Los Angeles.

Every episode features the guest host delivering an opening monologue and participating in most of the evening's sketches. Actors, musicians, and comedians are the most common selections. They have always had a standing band for various musical numbers, but often with a guest musician to perform a piece or two in the middle of the program. If the host is a well-known musician, they will often fill both roles, and sometimes guest musicians participate in skits too, though not as often as the host. And that's not counting the occasional unannounced surprise guests that can show up, from a brief cameo to a whole scene alongside the guest host. Steve Martin, John Goodman note who auditioned for the show prior to its sixth season , and Alec Baldwin all have hosted the show over a dozen times, while Dave Grohl holds the record for musical appearances, with eleven. note Performing with not just his main bands Nirvana and Foo Fighters, but also with Tom Petty, Them Crooked Vultures and Queens of the Stone Age.

Several sketches from the show have been turned into feature films, mostly in the 90's. Quality ranged from good: The Blues Brothers, Wayne's World, Wayne's World 2, MacGruber to middling: Coneheads, Blues Brothers 2000, to terrible: A Night at the Roxbury, Superstar, The Ladies Man, and Stuart Saves His Family. Most infamous though would be It's Pat!, which garnered a 0% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes.

Widely viewed as always having been better when one was younger, whenever that happened to be. In fact, the show seems to operate in cycles &mdash it starts out outrageous and fresh and stays that way for a few years, then when its outrageousness becomes the norm the show gets panned for "not being funny anymore". The claims are solidified when a favorite cast member leaves, and the show goes through a down period as it transitions to a new cast. Then when the right cast members are found, the show becomes funny again and finds a new audience.

SNL has essentially become a New York City treasure, despite the years of turmoil (both on the show and in the world) that threatened to end the show and tarnish its legacy, and has proved time and again that it can survive anything thrown at it, from fickle fans to national crises.


Saturday Night Live's Stefon Says Goodbye, Recommends One Last Awesome Bar - Recipes

Rachael Ray suffered a wardrobe malfunction on Thursday's episode of "The Rachael Ray Show."

The daytime talk show host was plugging guest Jack Savoretti's album when a stage manager rushed onto the stage to tell her that her shirt had suddenly popped open.

The audience audibly gasped before Savorietti and Ray both burst into laughter after realizing what had gone down.

"Oh, my shirt popped open!" Ray exclaimed as she showed the audience. "No, like, for real. That's fantastic!"

See photos of Rachael Ray:

As a wardrobe stylist and member of the production team helped her get her situation together, Ray continued to laugh it off like the pro she is. "Sh-t, I should've put the bigger t-ts in today!"

"That's hilarious," she continued. "That is awesome." Watch the video of the moment above.

Of course, Rachael Ray isn't the only celebrity to suffer a wardrobe malfunction recently. Just last week, Chrissy Teigen was this close to flashing the paparazzi waiting for her at LAX as she stepped out of her SUV in an extremely loose-fitting Gucci sweater. She avoided a complete mishap, though it was definitely a close call.


Contents

The "show" would open with Wayne and Garth singing the lyric to the opening theme, "Wayne's World! Wayne's World! Party time! Excellent!", accompanied by Wayne's frenetic strumming of his guitar, and Garth drumming on his lap with drum sticks. The two would introduce themselves (Garth: "Party on, Wayne." Wayne: "Party on, Garth.") and then proceed into their various exploits, including discussions of their love of hard rock bands and "babes", as well as juvenile antics, such as the "Extreme Close-Up" (where a camera would zoom in on Wayne and Garth as they screamed) and tricking their unsuspecting guests into saying vulgar words. Garth would frequently get overexcited and lose control, upon which Wayne would have to tell him, "Take your Ritalin."

Sketches also often included dream sequences where Wayne and Garth imagine themselves in fantasy settings. The sequences were introduced with Wayne and Garth imitating a stereotypical television fade-out by waving their arms in front of them and imitating a commonly used fade-out sound effect accompanied by an excerpt from Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver". Notable dream sequences include Wayne defeating Wayne Gretzky in a one-on-one hockey game, upon which Janet Jones runs to kiss Wayne, and Wayne and Garth meeting Madonna in a spoof of her Madonna: Truth or Dare film and controversial music video for "Justify My Love". Wayne dares Madonna to make out with him while Garth is seen dancing in a parody of the video.

In the early sketches, Wayne and Garth are high school students, and their guests on the show included their teachers (including one played by Ed O'Neill, who would later play a very similar character in both films), and other students from school (such as Nancy, a "babe" played by Jan Hooks). Other frequent guests included Garth's father, "Beev" (played by Phil Hartman), so named because of his teeth. He was often ridiculed by Wayne despite the fact that he was married to Hillary Algar (Candice Bergen), whom Wayne considers a babe. In later appearances Wayne and Garth appear to be young adults (although Wayne still lives with his parents—a theme which would carry over to the first film), and their discussions shifted more towards current events and pop-culture phenomena, with the show featuring actual celebrity guests.

Arguably the most memorable appearance of the sketch featured Wayne and Garth in a jam session with their idols, the rock band Aerosmith, performing an extended, hard rock version of the "Wayne's World" theme song, written by Myers and SNL music director G.E. Smith. Tom Hanks played Garth's cousin who was an Aerosmith roadie who checked the microphone and set up the performance. In the TV special 'Saturday Night Live: 101 Most Unforgettable Moments', this is moment #1.

A video game loosely based on the first film was released in 1993 for NES, [5] SNES, Nintendo Game Boy, and Sega Genesis. There was also a PC point and click adventure. [6]

A "Wayne's World" sketchbook was also sold around the time of the premiere of the first film. It included a mail-in-offer for Wayne's trademark ballcap and showed various celebrities such as Elvira and Michael Jordan modeling the same hat Wayne wore.

"Gawain's Word", a regular segment on the children's educational show Between the Lions, takes inspiration from both the "Wayne's World" sketch and its theme song. It was also spoofed in the film Stay Tuned with the sketch "Duane's Underworld" (Myers and Carvey were offered the chance to cameo as their characters but were filming Wayne's World at the time). An episode of the sitcom Step by Step also featured character J.T. (Brandon Call) hosting his own show, appropriately titled "J.T.'s World", in which J.T. (with sidekick Cody) singing the theme song, which sounds similar to Wayne's theme. On a 1995 episode of Sesame Street, Telly Monster and Big Bird hosted "Telly's Town", which featured Myers guest starring as Wayne, though portrayed as a delivery man.

The "Wayne's World" soundtrack contained the extra-long hard rock version of the theme song that was performed by Aerosmith in the famous sketch. As the song is winding down, an easter egg can be heard where Myers and Carvey are peppering the guitar riffs with quips from their other SNL characters such as "Isn't that special?" (Church Lady), "Don't look at my bum!" (Simon), "Not gonna do it! Not gonna do it!" (George H. W. Bush).

  1. February 18, 1989 (Leslie Nielsen) [7]
  2. March 25, 1989 (Mary Tyler Moore)
  3. May 13, 1989 (Wayne Gretzky)
  4. September 30, 1989 (Bruce Willis) [8]
  5. December 2, 1989 (John Goodman) [9]
  6. January 13, 1990 (Ed O'Neill) [10][11]
  7. February 17, 1990 (Tom Hanks) (Aerosmith guest star in this skit) [12][13]
  8. March 24, 1990 (Debra Winger)
  9. May 19, 1990 (Candice Bergen) [14]
  10. December 1, 1990 (John Goodman) [15]
  11. January 19, 1991 (Sting) [16][17]
  12. March 23, 1991 (Jeremy Irons) [18]
  13. May 11, 1991 (Delta Burke) (Madonna guest stars in this skit) [19]
  14. September 28, 1991 (Michael Jordan) [20]
  15. January 18, 1992 (Chevy Chase) [21]
  16. April 11, 1992 (Sharon Stone) [22]
  17. December 5, 1992 (Tom Arnold) [23]
  18. November 20, 1993 (Nicole Kidman) [24]
  19. May 14, 1994 (Heather Locklear) (Wayne fantasizes he's in Melrose Place) [25][26]
  20. February 5, 2011 (Dana Carvey) [27]
  21. February 15, 2015 (Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special) [28]

The sketch was adapted into a film, Wayne's World, in 1992 and a sequel, Wayne's World 2, in 1993. [29]

In the United Kingdom, where Saturday Night Live is rarely shown, Wayne's World sketches were extracted from SNL broadcasts and individually packaged as 10-minute episodes which aired on BBC Two as part of the DEF II programming strand, simply as a tie-in with both Wayne's World movies.

Mike Myers and Dana Carvey reprised their roles as Wayne and Garth for the first time since 1994 at the 2008 MTV Movie Awards. [30] Nothing about the two seems to have changed, except both are now in their late-forties/early-fifties, and Garth has gotten pubes he named "Fred" and "Tony." The sketch features them discussing Tila Tequila and making a list about the best porn movie names based on films from 2007 and 2008, which is reminiscent of the sketches during Myers and Carvey's years at Saturday Night Live. The list was, accordingly:

  1. Iron Man (Iron Man)
  2. Alvin In the Chipmunks (Alvin and the Chipmunks)
  3. No Country For Old Balls (No Country for Old Men)
  4. Gush Hour 3 (Rush Hour 3)
  5. Scat-atouille (Ratatouille)
  6. I Know Who Drilled Me (I Know Who Killed Me)
  7. The Suck-It List (The Bucket List)
  8. I Am Legend. In Bed (I Am Legend)
  9. National Pleasure 2: Book of Secretions (National Treasure: Book of Secrets)
  10. Horton Hears a Ho (Horton Hears a Who)

In 2011, Myers and Carvey once again reprised their roles on the February 5 edition of Saturday Night Live, which Carvey hosted. Wayne's World appeared as a cold open, in which the two discuss their picks for the upcoming Oscars. They favor the movie Winter's Bone because its name lends itself to double entendres, and also joke about the Oscar hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway.

Phil Hartman's "Cable 10 Public Access" introduction preceded the segment, in tradition with other reprised sketches (Church Chat, The Continental, etc.) [31]

In 2015, Myers and Carvey again reprised their roles for the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special. In their Wayne's World segment, the two gave a Top 10 list of the things they love about SNL. The sketch also featured a cameo appearance by musical guest Kanye West who made the Top 5 and the duo humorously referencing Kanye's various interruptions of Myers, Taylor Swift and Beck. Hartman's "Cable 10" introduction again preceded the segment.

For Super Bowl LV, Myers and Carvey reprised their roles for several Uber Eats advertisements, with the message of supporting local businesses Cardi B makes an appearance in a couple of the ads. [32]


Andy Samberg and St. Vincent close out 'SNL': How'd they do?

What did you think of SNL‘s 39th season?

Maybe, instead, we should begin with a different question: What did SNL itself think of its 39th season?

The answer: Not much, if Saturday’s finale was any indication. Any time a former cast member hosts the show, we’re guaranteed to see a barrage of cameos from fellow alumni. But the sheer volume of ex-repertory players that showed up last night — and stuck around, taking up more attention and screen time than some new featured players have gotten all season — made the finale feel more like an unearned victory lap than a standalone episode. We already know that Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig are funny — but if SNL is going to survive into its fifth decade, which begins next fall, the show needs to consider its future as well as its past. You’ve got to feel for John Milhiser, Brooks Wheelan, Beck Bennett, Noël Wells, and Mike O𠆛rien, who might as well have stayed home Saturday night. (Sasheer Zamata, Kyle Mooney, and, of course, Colin Jost, who’s the show’s head writer as well as Weekend Update anchor: Breathe easy. You guys are safe for next season.)

Speaking of SNL‘s past: Host Andy Samberg was fine, if not a dynamo like fellow alumni hosts Maya Rudolph and Jimmy Fallon. His live sketch work had highs (Nicolas Cage!!) and lows (that 2 Chainz thing, which… what?) the same went for his two (count 𠆞m: two!) Digital Shorts, which were amusing if not at the level of the Lonely Island’s best work. We can, however, credit Samberg with catalyzing the night’s…

Best Sketch

When the Vogelchecks were a part of SNL‘s recurring stable, the sketch always made me roll my eyes it seemed more like a game for its performers (“how badly can I freak out my friend with my tongue?”) than a bit designed to entertain its audience. But! All the SNL graduates who turned up to maul each other’s faces last night were clearly having a blast, and the whole Michael Sam reaction thing (the family is grossly over-affectionate, but thinks Sam kissing his boyfriend after being drafted into the NFL is a little much) gave the sketch a welcome topical twist. Bonus: The usually stoic Fred Armisen, breaking hard like his name was Fallon. Also, the fact that Taran Killam and Kate McKinnon were the only current cast members who made it into this sketch speaks volumes about their place in SNL‘s current pecking order.

Honorable Mention

Samberg — in a suit! My, how times have changed — knows that he was never exactly a standout in SNL‘s live sketches. He addressed this head-on in his opening monologue, before launching into a series of rapid-fire impressions — all in an attempt to beat the number of famous people impersonated by his pal Bill Hader. (Samberg said he had done 23 fewer impressions than Hader during his time on SNL this incredibly comprehensive database puts the disparity at 28. Either way, neither can hold a candle to undisputed impressions master Darrell Hammond.) The bit poked fun at Samberg’s shortcomings, and also paved the way for cameos from Hader (of course), Seth Meyers (not a surprise), and Martin Short, who was also in the studio for some reason. I’m not complaining.

Worst Sketch

That would be 𠇋lizzard Man,” an uninspired entry in the “white guys rapping. ” genre. (Update: Samberg’s done it before that doesn’t make it funny.) At least 2 Chainz seemed to be having a good time.

Cameo Corner

How much time do you have? (Actually, scratch that: Samberg managed to thank all of the night’s 500 surprise guests in about 10 seconds during the farewells, which may have been his most impressive performance of all.) Meyers, Hader, Short, Armisen, 2 Chainz, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, Paul Rudd, Tatiana Maslany, Jorma Taccone, Pharrell Williams, Lil Jon — all were present and accounted for, either in live sketches or Digital Shorts. Hell, even Justin Timberlake made his presence known, even though he’s currently on tour in Russia:

So, out of this august group, whose cameo had the most impact? I’ll go with the first one of the evening: Rudolph, whose Beyoncé instantly elevated an only-okay cold open about ElevatorGate — even though she pretty much just stood there and looked awesome. Take notes, new cast — this is how it’s done. Nice stealth promotion for the premiere of tomorrow’s Maya Rudolph Variety Show, too.

Lowest-Key Goodbye

Mulaney may not be the reason we’ve seen so little of Nasim Pedrad this season — but given that upcoming sitcom’s bright future at Fox, it’s almost certain that Pedrad won’t stick around in the fall. She’s been a cast member since 2009, giving her the third-longest tenure of everyone on SNL‘s current roster. (Which really says more about how young this cast is than it does about anything else.) Given that, you𠆝 think there would be a little fanfare about Pedrad’s exit. Instead, all we got was one last edition of “Waking Up with Kimye.” I’ll always have a soft spot for this sketch — I love that its premise is basically just “Kanye loves Kim so much!” — but it’s still disappointing to see Pedrad’s departure as an afterthought, especially since she’s been sidelined for much of the year.

Best Musical Moment

Both Digital Shorts were musically-based, but here I’ll go with St. Vincent, both because a) we should probably mention the night’s musical guest at some point and b) the band’s synchronized arm movements were one of the night’s hidden gems. Also, her second song is called 𠇋irth in Reverse,” which is kind of fascinatingly terrifying.

Bonus Dick Joke

Presenting “Testicules,” yet another pretaped short — although this one was cut from the show. Think that move was justified? It’s certainly better than 𠇋lizzard Man.”

It’s tough to dole this one out on a night that made SNL‘s current cast feel like an afterthought. I’m tempted to cite Nasim, though she didn’t really have much of a presence in the episode. I’m also tempted to default to Kate McKinnon, who may as well have Cast MVP tattooed on her forehead. But there’s another cast member who deserves some recognition: Kyle Mooney, who had a small featured role in that only kinda-funny summer camp sketch and also brought back his Armisenian bad stand-up character for the year’s last Weekend Update. (Symmetry alert — he debuted Bruce Chandling in the year’s very first Update as well.) Those, plus the Sprint commercial that played in between segments, meant we saw more of Mooney last night than we have of John Milhiser all year.

I’m not that into Mooney’s absurdist anti-comedy “Good Neighbor” shorts I don’t feel particularly strongly about Chandling, either. But there’s no denying that SNL itself is betting on Mooney at this point, he’s one of the only new cast members with even a little bit of name recognition. It’ll be interesting to see how his presence grows after the SNL bloodletting that’ll certainly happen this summer.

– The show’s perfectly logical explanation for Solange attacking Jay-Z: There was a spider on him!

– 𠇌onfident Hunchback” was paper thin, but it did have a few memorable lines: “Oh, you’re bad.” “𠉪t breathing, because of my mangled skeleton! Call me.”

– Single funniest line of the show: “I’m gonna T-bag the Magna Carta.”

– Things we learned tonight: Jay Pharoah cannot pronounce “Givenchy” to save his life.

– Legolas: 𠇊 red sun rises. Blood has been spilt this night.” Taco Bell employee: “That’s just sauce.”

– So this is the twilight of the Saboski Crystals girls sketch: Every other word is now gibberish. Maybe it’s time to take a break from this one?

– Hader and Meyers were both in the house — and yet we didn’t get an Update update about Seth and Stefon’s married life? For shame, SNL. For shame.


Melissa McCarthy air-fights on Seth Meyers’ final ‘SNL’ episode

No one could ever accuse Melissa McCarthy of being too egotistical when it comes to her appearances on “Saturday Night Live.” If you’ve seen the three-time host even once on the show, you’ve gotten a good idea of what her other appearances are like, as the actress tends to play variations on a few parts: the aggressive “butch” woman the batty middle-aged housewife and the borderline mentally disabled weirdo.

She certainly gives it her all with each performance. Last night she took part in an acrobatic battle-on-wires for her monologue, engaged in a slap-fight with Nasim Pedrad, and ate a rack of ribs while wearing a wig of crimped hair. The effort/spirit she puts into her appearances is admirable, but while designed to please her fans, the performances don’t offer much else for viewers who aren’t partial to her well-established style of humor.

There were moments in last night’s episode, though, when McCarthy wasn’t playing a larger-than-life fish-out-of-water. The “SNL” writers seemed to declare that they are not huge football fans, based on their two Super Bowl-related sketches. The cold open featured an ersatz halftime show featuring over-the-top Broadway actors in sparkling jerseys not quite getting it (“I hope I score a tackle for my team!” sang one actor.) The episode was bookended with another bizarro-Super Bowl scene, as an under-prepared Kyle Mooney took a video camera out to Times Square to mumble his way through a Super Bowl fan fest.

Also in celebration of the season was a Black History Month video wherein Jay Pharoah, Kenan Thompson and Sasheer Zamata sang a little ditty to a high school class about 28 reasons to hug a black guy, with No. 1 being, “We deserve a chance!” and Nos. 2 through 28 being “slavery.” While the principals sang and danced, the white class they were performing to shrank back in their seats, both ashamed and semi-annoyed by this reminder of their white guilt. “Very cool, very sorry and very cool,” said Kate McKinnon as the teacher at the end of the song.

Of course, the big news of the episode was Seth Meyers’ farewell during “Weekend Update.” After over a decade with the show as a performer and writer, it was clear that his absence would be felt. Cecily Strong choked up while bidding adieu to her co-anchor, although she was chided with “You barely know him!” by Bill Hader as Stefon, who stopped by along with Andy Samberg, Fred Armisen and Amy Poehler (Meyers’ first guest when he begins hosting “Late Night” later this month) to say goodbye. “You’re like the Sting of ‘SNL,’” said Hader. “Because it takes you 12 years to finish.”

“SNL” returns March 1, post-Olympics, with yet another change: head writer Colin Jost will join Strong at the “Update” desk.


Blond on Blond on Blond

Ray comes to my room and spreads blonds across my bed, three gorgeous creatures with diamond cheekbones and glimmering gimlet eyes. "This year's bumper crop," he says.

Lorene Fields he met at his hair salon. Her face is triangular, like a snake's. Her mouth is full and stunningly cut. You could count on one hand the times Ray has put on the brakes for a beautiful woman, because he's been around some beautiful women, but there was something about Lorene. Turns out she was a top model who'd quit the business. When they had lunch, he fell in love with her. "She is just so stable."

Number two is Lisa Dergan, who has the same high-cheekboned look as Lorene but more mainstream, a mixture of homecoming queen and Bond girl. She was last year's Miss July. "The thing that I like about her is she's drop-dead gorgeous, of course, and a top golfer-she was a model for Guess? Golf. Plus she's the most articulate four-year graduate, top of her class at San Diego State, majored in art history and interior design, speaks Japanese, lived in Japan and modeled, lived in Munich. I see her being the next Mary Hart or Hannah Storm. She could do golf, she could do sports. She needs a little training, but I think she'd be a home run."

The third woman is a former Hawaiian Tropic girl named Shana Hiatt. "She's a great dancer, she's got great credentials, she's done a lot of on-camera, I see her being the next Jenny on MTV kind of a thing-she's young enough, she's poised, she's awesome."

Ray's a very handsome man. When people meet him, they often try to guess which movie star he looks like-Roy Scheider, Michael Douglas, Ted Danson, George Hamilton? Maybe that's why this feels so innocent, so wholesome, like he's just cheering on the team. He beams down at the photos. Any one of them might be the next Vanna, the next Pamela, the next Jenny, the next perfect Ray Manzella hybrid that becomes not just an actress but an icon you can cross-promote from movies to books to dolls to toothpaste to infomercials. They sold a million Vanna White dolls on the Home Shopping Network-a million dolls! "These girls jump off the page," he says. "They're channelstoppers, every one of them. If all three make it, it wouldn't surprise me. If not, I'm gonna quit the business."

Ray was in his thirties and had just quit working as a stockbroker when he pitched a book on the history of the soap opera to Doubleday. Another guy wrote most of it and they split the commission. Then he helped Mel Blanc get a deal with Warner Books for his autobiography, That's Not All Folks! Then his friend Vanna, who had a job turning letters on Wheel of Fortune, asked him if he could get her a poster deal. Ray didn't think it was going to be anything special until he pitched USA Today and got this huge Vanna fan on the line. They ended up putting the poster on the front page of the Life section, mentioned his name and everything, and the phones went crazy. Once he saw the potential, he promised her, "I'm gonna make you bigger than the show." For him, too, this was a chance to be somebody. So they went around the country like in Coal Miner's Daughter, doing appearances and meetings until people got a sense of her firsthand and what an incredible person she is, and that snowballed into "a huge marketing thing that was really big," which is a classic bit of Rayspeak-he mangles the language as if he's almost apologizing for the things he makes it do. But he didn't try to mold Vanna, didn't do some big Svengali number, he was just bringing out what was already there-like Vanna's Perfect Smile toothpaste that was a natural call. You look at Vanna and you just naturally think toothpaste. Spring Air mattresses offered $30,000 and Ray said, How about a Vanna White signature line? That's a twelve-year relationship now, a huge deal, hundreds of thousands. And Nestlé chocolate, the Buf-Puf nail tool, McDonald's. She still sells six thousand of her comfort-step shoes every time she does a half hour on HSN. Public appearances, she gets $30,000 for an hour and a half, one of the most popular celebrities ever. And Ray noticed that she carried knitting needles everywhere she went and made the most amazing, sweet kitty-cat silhouettes with these complicated cluster stitches, so he pitched a series of stitching manuals to Warner Books, another six-figure deal. He realized there was something strangely enigmatic about her and played on that to get her another huge advance for her autobiography, Vanna Speaks.

Then he got into the whole infomercial business, ended up working with Sugar Ray Leonard and Suzanne Somers and Kim Alexis and Tony Little-tons of people. Pitched Carmen Electra. Eleanor Mondale. Got Shatner and Nimoy to sign Star Trek memorabilia for QVC. Maybe he should have been pushing for more of a theatrical clientele, but this was the business he found himself in. And then Pamela Anderson came along, and Ray began to get a reputation as the king of the blonds. For a certain type of actress-Playmate-spokesmodel, Manzella Entertainment was the golden door. And then he signed Jenny McCarthy and helped her get on MTV and hired a PR team to help promote her and suddenly, boom, everything was Jenny: the cover of Rolling Stone, the cover of George, some monstrous endorsement deals, the NBC sitcom-just huge, huge opportunities.

Now all he has to do is do it again.

Lorene is wearing unusual furry pants and a little orange shirt. "You look adorable," Ray says.

"My friend is a designer," she says.

After a very short wait, they go into the office to meet an executive vice-president that Ray knows from Wheel of Fortune. Ray says he really appreciates his taking the meeting on short notice and vamps a little about a potential infomercial thing he's doing with Sophia Loren and how he wants to get things on a productive track because he's leaving for Europe on Thursday. Then he gets right to pitching Lorene. "I really feel, based on her credentials and training and the seasoning she's had as a model on camera work and her look, my instincts tell me that with the right type of opportunity she would be very, very big. So I figured to meet with you and to kind of have you, you know, meet her and have her meet the appropriate people-.-.-."

The executive turns to her. "How long have you been in L.-A.?"

"Well, I've been in L.-A. about four and a half years."

"From all over. Indirectly I'm from the East Coast directly, from Texas."

"Uh, I never really picked it up."

Lorene's only twenty-six. She thinks of her body as just her shell. She has a kid. Her husband went through rehab a couple of times and now he's finally clean. She chats in a pleasant, low-key way, never losing her dignity. She says she was a model but she studied theatrical and really wants to get back into that.

"She's also a very good dancer," Ray says. "She's been in Gap campaigns where they do swinging, and she has the ability to be featured as a main dancer-"

"I didn't know that," Ray says.

Ray grins. "See, you learn something every day about a client." It doesn't even slow him down. "Not only does she have a real channelstopper with the look, she can back it up. I can see where she'd go to, you know, some nice levels-the way the soaps develop certain things and weave story lines, she could be incredible. And then from there she could do nighttime television-it could even come first, I don't know."

"We should get you over to Days of Our Lives and Young and the Restless," the executive says. "They're always looking for new faces." He tells Ray to get in touch when he gets back from Europe.

Outside, Ray reviews. "He could have just said, 'Very nice to meet you, and this is great, we'll talk.' They can be very vague when they want to blow you off without being rude. But he said, 'When you get back, we'll set this up.' He was very specific."

Afterward, he watches Lorene walk to her car. She's so slender and lovely in her orange shirt and oddball pants. "I look at her, and she just lights up your life," Ray says. "There's something about her that is absolutely unique. And I love her name, I love her look, I love her attitude, I love her depth. So now she's on the fast track. She'll meet the top people, and then she'll read, and if her reading is good, she'll get a contract."

I ask him if he's ever seen Lorene act. He hesitates for just a second before answering.

"You know what? I don't have to. Just by the legitimacy of her background, and I know how absurd this business is-you work with the right director, you get the right presentation, anybody with her background could be an incredible actress."

Tonight Ray looks like William Devane. He opens the door to his penthouse suite wearing one of those European suits that button at the top button. He's getting ready to go out to Spago's with Lisa and her friend Kelly and Mark Cuban of Broadcast.com. which Yahoo! just bought for $6.1 billion. Cuban made like a billion two overnight. Ray met him when someone from Broadcast.com helped him do a live cybercast on the Jenny McCarthy Web site, Theflood.com. and lately Ray's been helping him set up some Internet movie-rights deals, like this $4 million deal they just finished with Trimark Pictures. That's really the direction his business is going these days. And he's got this other Web site with Vicki Iovine and The Girlfriends' Guide that's going to be huge-she's Jimmy Iovine's wife, an ex-Playmate, and she's written this series of books for Putnam that has been published in twelve languages. All this comes out of Ray in a steady stream until it forms a kind of mist. Pretty soon you start to feel like it's Midsummer Night's Dream and anything really is possible.

But right now he's got to finish up this potential infomercial thing with this other guy, Sophia Loren's lawyer. So he leads Lisa and me to the dining table and pulls out a chair. "Sit down, talk," he instructs.

Lisa's happy to entertain me. She'd be the perfect date for a lavish night in Vegas, gorgeous in a clingy blue dress. The huge diamonds glittering on her ears look like they belong on her ears. She tells me she grew up in a happy outdoorsy family in San Diego, studied art history in college, and wants to be in sports broadcasting in some capacity. She's very deliberate, often pausing to think before she speaks, and she fields the Playboy question with perfect poise. "They didn't just want a pretty girl naked, they took your personality into account and wanted to show that. And there's never been a golf theme before-well, once, but the girl did not really play."

Behind Lisa there's a grand piano and then huge windows and the glittering lights of the Santa Monica Pier. Ray's been staying in this hotel penthouse since selling the house he bought with Jenny-two or three weeks now.

"I worked out like crazy," Lisa says. "I made sure there wasn't one thing I could feel insecure about."

Sophia Loren's lawyer comes our way. "Are you leaving?" Lisa asks. "Can you say goodbye in Italian?"

Saying goodbye in Italian seems to involve hugging and kissing, then the lawyer grins over at Ray. "She even smells good," he says.

The overnight billionaire slouches over the grand piano, noodling at something by Led Zeppelin.

Ray's all over Jen-X: Jenny McCarthy's Open Book,starting with the dedication: To "my manager and soul mate who guided me through the perils of Hollywood like a true star-maker." On page twelve she writes about how MTV told Ray-"who was then JUST my manager"-that they didn't want to audition a Playboy Playmate for the Singled Out cohost role. A few pages later she tells the story of being at Cannes the year of Barb Wire, when Pamela Anderson got angry because it seemed that every time the cameras showed up for her, Ray showed up with Jenny. At one press conference Pamela got so annoyed, she stopped everything and pointed at Ray. "See this guy here?" she said. "Well, he's fucking her."

Pamela fired Ray a little bit later, then trashed Jenny again on Saturday Night Live. She told Premiere magazine, "I don't need a manager. I don't need a baby-sitter. And I definitely don't need a date."

But Jenny and Ray get the sweetest Hollywood revenge. First Ray badgers the MTV people into seeing her and then Jenny sticks her tongue out and farts and acts like a goofball and gets famous and they move in together and Ray's doing his magic sales thing, putting her face everywhere. Rolling Stone comes to visit and breaks the news that "Jenny McCarthy has a boyfriend." They do Howard Stern and Howard asks Ray dirty questions about Jenny. And they really do seem to be compatible, with the same zany energy and restlessness. Ray escorts her expertly to the Oscars and takes final position in the list of her boyfriends: "And then I met Ray. He's just great. And finally, I felt safe."

There's even a Ray page, a little love shrine topped by a heart with his name inside, decorated with a favorite snapshot. "Older men know-.-.-.-more than just which fork to use with a salad," she writes. "Ray knows what he's doing, in more ways than one."

Last December, after four years, she left him for the director of her new movie. He read about the engagement in the tabloids.

The car phone rings. It's Don Christian of QVC. "Hey, Donald, how are you?" Ray says. "I'm going to England, and then I'm going to Majorca to meet with Majorca Pearls. I got the licensing from the Vatican to make rosaries from the pearls-we have the jubilee and all the artwork and everything, so it's very exciting. A friend of mine owns a castle there I'll stay with him, and then I'm going to Barcelona and Madrid. I'm taking my girlfriend to show her some of Spain also, so it's about 30 percent business and 70 percent pleasure. Anyway, I sent Mark an e-mail to follow up aggressively with you, and then we can take the next step. All right? All right."

Ray hangs up and tells me the Majorca Pearls deal is going to be huge. "We may do a live remote from Rome next Easter. Gonna get every Catholic parish imaginable."

The phone rings again. "So that answers that. Okay. Wonderful. Okay, I'm at the building right now. I'm gonna come up."

Ray gets out of his Range Rover. He's wearing Kenneth Cole shoes and a Jil Sander suit that was selected by his personal shopper. Upstairs, he takes a seat in a tiny office on a chair crammed between a file cabinet and his assistant's desk.

"Did we ever hear back from MTV at all?"

"Now, this artwork I got from the Vatican. I want to get that letter out to QVC."

"Yeah. It was good. We'll make it better. And I want to send Mark an e-mail that Don Kushner wants to connect."

They're working in this cramped space because Ray's office across the hall is still bare. He used to have four thousand square feet on Maple Drive, a gorgeous space in a prestigious district, but since his recent reversals he's moved into three small offices in a larger office occupied by his accountants. "This is going to be great for me," Ray says. "I'm going to bring down some furniture from the house, some Warhols."

He grabs the ringing phone. It's George Simone, a producer who works with the Home Shopping Network and is launching a Jennifer Flavin cosmetics line. "Jack Kirby is giving a dinner tomorrow and I want you to be in a festive mood," Ray says. "I think when you become so painfully wealthy about a year from now, you're gonna be like Mike Tyson walking into a casino-we're gonna get you one of those little hoods around your head, and there will be people putting the cape around you and shit."

Ray asks his assistant, Nira, to get some press kits for him to take on his trip. She gets up. She's nice-looking, mid-thirties, could be a former actress.

"Don't be gone long, because I miss you already," he says.

She smiles and gives him a pat on the shoulder as she goes by.

The phone rings again, one of the guys involved in the Jenny McCarthy Web site. "You're rich, you're fuckin' rich, right?" Ray says. "It doesn't get any better than that. A couple things I want to give you an update on. We're gonna make this major transformation and make the Flood more of a black-urban type of site. Okay? Jenny's out. We're gonna completely strip Jenny out of the whole thing. We're gonna have a whole new look and whatever. But I'm gonna have people discuss that with you. What's great is we're going to have a whole new show planned. "

Yeah, it was a great house they had, Ray and Jenny, up in the Palisades. It had the most amazing lawn, two and a half acres rolling right off the bluff. Whatever she says now, you don't buy a house like that unless you're pretty serious. But let's not talk about that. And let's not talk about the ex-wives and the children, either. Let's go to the Pacific Athletic Club, which is right at Sunset and Pacific Coast Highway, an amazing spot with a view of the whole Pacific Ocean. Shaq got rehabilitated here. Ray does fifteen parallel dips, three sets. "Cuts you along the arms," he says. At the stationary boxing bag he kicks and punches furiously. "If you did that for a few months, you'd be like a pencil," he says.

He is in amazing shape, six foot one and 175 pounds, a perfect triangular form with veiny arms and a flat stomach. He's worked out his routine with a variety of trainers over the years, runs every day, lifts weights every other day, does fifteen minutes of jumping jacks and reverse push-ups and stuff every morning-"my morning Zen thing." He demonstrates the reverse push-up. "Jimmy Caan showed this to me, not that it's complicated."

While he's doing the leg machine, he flips open his phone. "We're at the gym. Have you sent that FedEx out? Okay, anything else happening?"

After some sit-ups with an Ab Roller, he tells me about his infomercial with Tony Little for the Ab Isolater. "We sold six million of 'em all over the world. I'll send you one. I made a million bucks personally off of that."

We do some chin-ups. "Those are great arms," he tells me. "You could really develop those arms."

Ray's on the phone again. "Hefner had thetwins, the triplets, and his girlfriends on the dance f'oor all at once. He'll never die and he's never gonna get old. Tony Curtis was not there, but we sat with Kevin Costner. He was there for a while. Rod Stewart was there."

He makes another call. "I'm coming to Europe with someone who's going to be the next girl to take it straight to the top. She's Miss July 1998, and she is like the next Mary Hart. She's very articulate, college educated, really terrific. You know, the spin could be to any publication that this is the next one Manzella's taking to the top. Because they've seen me do it in the UK three times already." `

This is what Ray does. He's a phone man. The phone is a black funnel that he fills with all the hunger and honey he can summon. "Believe me, I would not be having this conversation, but you have my attention because that sounds interesting. How old is she? And does she live in the UK pretty much? Okay, that's good. A low-key Jenny? I don't know if that's kind of an oxymoron maybe, a low-key Jenny. But yeah, okay. I understand."

Tonight Suzanne Somers is wearing a short, short green suit and lime shoes and looks great. She has terrific legs. She and her somewhat older husband, Alan, who also manages her, have come to the penthouse to take Lisa and Ray to Hugh Hefner's birthday party. "You look great," she tells Lisa.

Lisa is wearing another clingy dress. This one is black, with a spray of diamonds stitched across it. Her three-inch black heels have a smaller splash of diamonds. "It's a Richard Tyler," she says. "I love Richard Tyler."

They show some photographs of a hike they all took near Palm Springs--Lisa looks adorable in jeans and pigtails--and then Suzanne talks about a concert she gave last week down in Texas for fifteen hundred insurance agents and she was listening backstage to the hum, knowing that it was at one level and her job was to take it to another level. Then she went out there and she had them completely in her control and it was great. "You feel like a part hooker. You try to figure out what they want and give it to them, and then the art is to raise the level and lower the level and take them with you."

"That's so terrific," Lisa says, swaying close to Ray. "That must be so satisfying."

This being Hollywood, there's a bitter ex-partner. Back in elementary school out in Woodland Hills, when Ray was dating Dennis Brody's sister, Dennis used to look up to him. He was kind of an older-brother figure. Later Dennis became an agent with William Morris, and after Ray got into the Vanna business, it seemed reasonable to get together--Ray could do his entrepreneurial thing and Dennis would do the theatrical side. Because the theatrical-talent business was not Ray's business. So they started sharing the offices on Maple Drive. Ray signed Pamela, and then Dennis went to work. "For the first three years, up until Barb Wire, I did all of her theatrical business and most of her other business as well. It wasn't until she got really hot that Ray got more involved."

Same thing with Jenny. "I met her, through her acting coach. I put her on Singled Out."

But Ray took all the credit, and when he fell in love with Jenny, he started pushing Dennis out of the Jenny business. Eventually Dennis split, taking all the real acting clients, like Donna D'Errico and Rodney Van Johnson. Ray took Kim Alexis and Tony Little. "It was a sad situation. Basically I felt that I was given up for a chick."

Ray doesn't want to talk about the ex-wives. The first was Bonnie, his high school sweetheart. He married her when he was nineteen, partly because she was pregnant and partly for love. He got a film-technician job at Technicolor and joined Local 683 and brought home the bacon. But after seven years, that fell apart, and he married Robin Mattson, a soap actress. His first blond. She was funny and had a good heart, but they were young and life was so very disco then. After a somewhat longer period of bachelorhood (coinciding with the beginning of his heavy Playboy Mansion phase), Ray married Sondra Theodore, a former Playmate and longtime girlfriend of Hefner's. Also a blond. The marriage lasted eleven years and produced two children. She was another wonderful sweet person with a lot of problems.

The bottom line is, all those marriages, he was just too young to be making a lifetime commitment to anybody. That's Ray's theory. His other theory is that he finds wounded people and then tries to help them, and they kill him for it. After a certain length of time you begin to see patterns.

"Even with Lisa," he says, "I have to be careful."

The talking rock asks who we are. Back in the old days, they used to say that if the Rock denied you, you were in serious misery. But the Rock admits Ray as it always has and we wind up a hilly driveway past a yellow highway sign that says, playmates at play, until we reach the circular driveway of a small castle. "Lisa's in an infomercial thing today," Ray says. "It's a company called Guthy-Renker," he says. "They have, like, Victoria Principal, Tony Robbins, Fran Tarkenton."

Today Ray's wearing black Dolce & Gabbana shoes and a brown Donna Karan suit. With cuff links. He's here to play gin with Hef.

First we walk through the aviary with ferns and lizards and parrots and aquariums sunk into the rock wall, and across the broad lawn with peacocks and fiamingos, and into the famous underground grotto and the monkey cages and the underground bathroom complex with its saunas and showers. Ray remembers parties with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, swimming in the grotto with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, celebrity tennis tournaments with Kirk Douglas and Johnny Carson. He got on the list by flirting with the right girl, and it gave him a career and a life. He got to know Vanna up here. Met his wife Sondra here--that's her on the pinball machine in the Playroom. A call from the mansion hooked him up with Pamela. He met Lisa here, too, New Year's Eve, right over there by the swimming pool.

"I wasn't in the best of spirits, because the last New Year's I was with Jenny, and so about quarter till twelve, I see some friends of mine on the dance floor around Hef, and I'm kind of like, Let's just get through this, and they go, 'By the way, have you met Lisa Dergan?'-"

Ray and Lisa started to dance. Ray loves to dance, and Lisa is a very good follower. At midnight they gave each other a friendly kiss and kept on dancing. After a while they started grabbing the balloons from the dance floor and popping them between their butts and bellies, laughing and having a great time, and then suddenly it was four in the morning and she was dropping him off at his car.

They met for lunch, Lisa says. It was supposed to be dinner, but she was tired and called him and said, "I don't want to be tired at our first date. Anyway, lunch is better than dinner. There's less pressure." And the amazing thing is, once she and Ray started talking, they got on the subject of going through different changes in your life and Ray opened up about Jenny and the very shaky place he was in and he just seemed so vulnerable and real. Lisa said, "You know what? There's this great book that you should read, it's written by Dan Millman."

And Ray almost fell off his chair. "Dan Millman is a close friend of mine! Are you gonna say Way of the Peaceful Warrior?"

And she said, "That's the book!"

That clinched it. Both of them loved the same book! It's the story of a trampoline champion who meets a mysterious guru at a gas station and learns ancient Oriental wisdom. And there was something else Ray did--she doesn't want to say what, it was too weird, but the whole thing touched her and made her feel that here was a real genuine guy--and after lunch he sent her two dozen beautiful long-stemmed white French orchids and a little note that said, "I had a great time with you at lunch." That did it. She was smitten. And a few days later she got a copy of Way of the Peaceful Warrior signed by Dan Millman. "It was just sitting on my front doorstep, and I started crackin' up. 'Oh, that Ray.'-"

Ray stops by his old house up in the Palisades--the one before the one with Jenny, the one he's still paying for with alimony--to say goodbye to his kids. His daughter opens the door. "Dad, I lost another tooth."

She's a pretty little thing about ten years old. Ray takes her hand. "Remember the one you lost at my place? I still have it. It's still stuck in that gum."

She and her friend lead us back to the kitchen, where they're getting ready for a bake sale. It's a very homey place, stuffed with cows and crockery and hanging pots and signs: all critters welcome, sondra's bed & breakfast. There are some Christian books on a shelf, courtesy of Sondra's new boyfriend.

"How many do I get for two bucks?" Ray asks. "I better get quite a few. Do we get five each?"

There are six dogs: Tillie, Blondie, Bingo, Little Max, Rusty?.-.-.?"And we're missing Zach. Where's Zach?"

"You don't want to see him. He smells bad."

Upstairs, Ray's son is watching TV.

"Taylor, what are you doing, dude? I want you to meet a friend of mine. Oh, you're watching Star Wars or something?"

Ray turns to me. "He knows Mark Hamill. He's getting to know Mark real well."

We watch the movie for a bit, then Ray kisses his son on the head. "I love you. I'm leaving for Europe tomorrow, so I'll call you from Europe. I love you. I'm gonna call you."

He goes looking for the maid. "Dónde está mi laundry?"

At the Gerry Blanck's Martial Arts studio, Ray puts on kick-boxing pads and gloves and pounds Blanck backward with a ferocious series of punches and kicks. He works hard. He sweats. But the workout ends early because Blanck has to do a photo shoot for Inside Karate magazine. "It's been a slice, man," Ray says. "We're gonna boogie."

He doesn't like to talk about sad things. When I ask him what it was like losing his girlfriend and his biggest client and turning fifty all in the same year, he cocks his eye. "Oh, you're trying to personalize it now? You're trying to put yourself in my shoes and go, 'Boohoohoo'?"

Ray's brother Lenny is the one who tells me about their father, how he told Ray a million times he'd never amount to anything. He tells me that their mom always took Ray's side, and that from a very young age Ray believed in love and went for it, all the time and all the way. And he tells me that Ray spent last Christmas sitting all alone in the $3 million house up on the bluff, so depressed it was scary. Ray always poured himself into work and love, business and girls, and as long as those two things were going okay he would just charge along and never show a crack. He'd get completely absorbed. But the thing with Jenny really knocked him back. One night on the phone he sounded so depressed, Lenny drove two hours to be with him. "He was just really down," Lenny says. "Really down. He was still hoping they could reconcile."

Ray's having a drink at the bar with the former chairman of Live Entertainment and another guy because they're taking over Harvey Entertainment and they want Ray to be on the board, so when Lisa comes in she goes to wait for him at the table. She had her nails done, her hair done, she's looking gorgeous in a simple black dress that cost upwards of $1,500. Ray says that if you look like a million bucks, you get the $100,000 jobs. He bought her the first few designer dresses but then told her she had to start paying half. It's important to make that kind of investment in yourself.

Then George Simone joins us. Ray set up this dinner so Simone could meet Lisa and maybe hire her to represent one of his product lines. The Jennifer Flavin cosmetics line was going to need a spokesmodel in Japan. Simone's a beefy older guy in a black sweater. His attractive, younger wife has a tremendous rock on her finger and diamond hoop earrings.

Ray tells them about the $4,000 bottle of wine he bought in Vegas.

"You should never pay for anything in Vegas," Simone says. "In Vegas you get it on the arm."

"I thought it'd be a thousand, fifteen hundred, and, you know, there's no prices," Ray says. "I was like, ooofff, my dick got this big. Here I am trying to impress a girl by not asking what the price is."

"We had eight waiters," Lisa says.

Then Ray tells them about his trip

with Lisa to Europe, staying at the Lainsborough Hotel in London and then this castle in Spain.

"Well, if you're staying at a castle, you better get that on the arm."

Then Ray calls for a pause in the conversation. "Lisa has something to say to you."

Taking a moment to collect herself, Lisa starts talking in Japanese. Everyone listens attentively. When it's over, Ray asks her to translate.

"Good evening, I am here to present Silky Skin Care product, which is a very wonderful product for your skin."

Ray's plans for Lisa seem fairly modest. He says he's "got to get some momentum going on Shana." As the weeks go on, it seems that his real hopes are focusing on Lorene. Today he's meeting her at the MTV building. She's wearing hip-huggers and a little black sweater set that shows a lot of creamy midriff, and Ray gives her a hug. "You look good, you look very MTV," he says. "I want to put a microphone in your mouth right now."

In a stylish conference room, three young MTV executives listen politely while Ray gushes about what a channelstopper Lorene is and evokes "the success we had with Jenny." They seem a little stiff, uncomfortable with this old Hollywood ritual. One of the executives looks up from her résumé. "I have to ask--the Metropolitan Opera and the San Quentin Drama Workshop?"

But Lorene handles herself with relaxed dignity, as always. She mentions her husband the guitarist and her rock videos. She says that she can sing and talk just like early Debbie Harry, if anyone happens to be planning a biopic. Every now and then Ray sticks in a little Rayspeak. "She's a real heat-seeking missile of success," he says.

The executives start warming up. Mike Larkin is developing over at VH1, they should go see him. The new TV-movie division might have some stuff. And there actually is a Debbie Harry movie in the early stages. Who knows?

Ray's having a commission problem. This kind of thing is really upsetting. "John suggested I give you a call, and what I simply want to do was to, you know, introduce myself and discuss with you, you know, that we're looking to try to establish some kind of relationship with a finder's-fee arrangement for making not only the introduction but keeping this thing moved along through a series of meetings. Okay, what happens, I have a management company that manages primarily celebrities, but I get very much involved with packaging a lot of other kinds of businesses. I've become very friendly with Mark Cuban of Broadcast.com because he serviced my Web site--he's the chairman of the company, is forty years old and has a billion two. And as I started working with him, he said, 'Ray, I'd like you to make some deals for me in this area.-.-.-.'- "

Ray digs out the photo in the green leather frame. It's him at five or six, a sepia-tone shot. "Look at this hairdo. It's like, you know, Gumby."

Jenny loved this shot. She bought the green leather frame. And after they broke up, Ray started looking at the picture and one day just instinctively started to talk to it. "How did we end up like this?" Kind of going through a real kind of heavy-duty thing. And when he talked to his therapist about it--Ray's been in therapy since his twenties--his therapist said it was a good idea. So he began confiding his feelings, up there in the lonely $3 million house on the bluff, to the hopeful six-year-old in the old photograph.

"As much as I might be this dynamic, you know, mogul bullshit thing, Mr. Groovy Gets Laid, he is someone that I have let down," Ray says, pointing to the picture. "I haven't protected him, and by that I mean, like, if somebody gives you some shit or if somebody counters you--I had that today on the phone, it was very upsetting to me--he gives me a lot of juice, gives me some great energy. Like I noticed when women start giving you shit or they start doing stuff that's just really wrong, more and more I kind of go, Excuse me? And that's really protecting him, because he's getting fucked over."

This is what Ray told Lisa that day at lunch, after they connected on Way of the Peaceful Warrior. Later she gave him a picture of herself at the same age to keep his little guy company. There it is now, in a corner of the green leather frame. She's wearing a sailor suit and has cheeks like apples. "This little munchkin, I mean, that's adorable," Ray says. "No matter what happens to us--and I think that we have a real nice thing that can last a long time or forever--she's worth it."

On his birthday, Lisa gave Ray a caricature of those same two photographs--only in Lisa's version they are very rich children posed with their cell phones and golf clubs in front of the Breakers hotel. It's the frontispiece for a beautiful leather-bound folio-sized book with blank pages. Opposite the illustration she wrote out the story of that first romantic lunch when Ray told her he talked to the photo, a revelation so "personal, vulnerable, daring" that he had her heart from that moment on. "So here we are," her memoir ends, "two adults who have found each other with that little girl in me and that little boy in you--here they are together enjoying each other like they had met long ago."

"I'm just leaving the office," Ray says. "Gotta do the workout thing. I want you to attend a meeting with Vicki Iovine. This thing is getting bigger and bigger iVillage went public last month and with my background and vision, I think we could be making $100 million within a year and a half--this will be bigger than iVillage."

Oh, and we're meeting a new blond tonight. Don Kushner recommended her. One thing, though--we might have to observe the male code of silence. "In case he's doing her on the side, I don't want his wife to get all upset," he says. "I don't know if he's a player or not, but 95 percent of these guys are."

Ray walks into the Ivy right on the dot of eight. Even though he never does this kind of thing, even though he's just doing it as a favor for Don, he never keeps a woman waiting. Kimberly has just arrived, too. She has kind of an art deco look, with a long face and pouty 1920s lips.

Ray puts his menu aside. "We don't have to look at the menus," he says. "Let's just relax a bit."

Kimberly recently started kick-boxing because her acting teacher said it might make her less reserved. Ray tells her about his Tae-Bo. He recommends one of the Ivy's famous gimlets, and they decide to try that new Polish potato vodka. She came from a small town in Minnesota and got a job working for Jon Peters, the famous movie producer who started as Barbra Streisand's hairdresser and ended up cochairman of Columbia Pictures. She had to wear high heels and skirts every day. Peters would do a dress check, make her turn around to show herself off. Don she met when she was an intern at ICM. One day he noticed she was depressed, and they became friends, and later on he helped her get some jobs and stuff. There was never anything, you know. He's just a really nice guy who likes to help people.

"It's good you've been around the business and you feel comfortable with these people," Ray says.

A man with a familiar face walks by, saying hi to Ray. It's Bob Saget, host of America's Funniest Home Videos.

Ray turns his attention back to Kimberly. "Are you represented?"

She nods. "It's a smaller agency. They called me up tonight--they said it's for a movie with Balthazar Getty, but it's topless in a G-string."

"I said no way, and they said you're not in a position to choose."

Ray seems pained. "Not in a position to choose?"

"I don't even have that kind of a look."

"You do have an exotic look," Ray says. "I could see where they might be thinking a kind of Uma Thurman-.-.-."

"But this isn't a quality project. I'm sorry that happened to you. I would never talk that way to someone. Wow." He shakes his head. "I'm sorry for being opinionated, but I'm shocked by that."

He changes the subject to TV. Has Kimberly ever considered episodic or daytime? "You'd be great as an alien in 3rd Rock from the Sun--that's a well-written show."

When the entrée comes they order another potato-vodka gimlet--but just one, to share.

Mark Curcio of Artisan Entertainment stops by the table, shakes hands. "I returned your call at 6:05," Ray says.

"I was on the golf course," Curcio says.

The waiter brings the gimlet-to-share in two glasses. It looks very much like two drinks. As they sip, Kimberly says to Ray, "You're not what I expected at all."

"I heard you slept with Pamela, you slept with Jenny, all that kind of thing. I expected you to be this old sleazy guy."

"I told this friend of mine I was coming to see you, and he said, 'He's made these women into stars. He's totally capable of making you a star. But he fucks them all.'-"

Ray is visibly embarrassed, in a half-pleased way. "Wow. That is so--I mean, the thought that people are out there wandering around the town saying things like that about you-.-.-."

"But you must really love beautiful women," Kimberly says, studying him.

"You know what? To compliment you, if I had my way--I mean, I have this niche where I've become known for working with certain kinds of people and doing certain kinds of deals, but if I had my way-.-.-."

At this point Ray gets a little hard to follow, but the gist seems to be that he likes her. He likes that she's different. He likes that she's educated. He has a feeling she could deliver some real nice stuff. And he wants to help her. If he was a pure film guy, she'd definitely be in his stable. If he hadn't created this niche for himself, if he had his way, he'd much rather work with an actress like her than a pretty girl. "And don't get me wrong, I'm totally happy with my successes and I think I've achieved-.-.-."

Kimberly's face stays very still. She knew coming in that she wasn't exactly Ray's type, wasn't a Jenny or Pamela or Sondra or Lisa. And she does want a different kind of career than that. But still. You hope.

Ray doesn't seem to notice. He keeps on talking, an unusually thick fog of Rayspeak that almost certainly includes the words vision and Vanna and dot-com. Then the waiter comes to see about coffee or dessert, and Kimberly says no, nothing at all, thank you.

Ray orders coffee. "I could send you out on some things," he says.

Kimberly's shoulders rustle, she leans forward. "Don tells me you're really rich," she says.

Another fog of Rayspeak on how he came up from nothing and he's proud of what he achieved but really being rich is enjoying your life and creating an atmosphere where people can feel comfortable and have fun, whether it's in a camper or an elegant hotel.

Kimberly turns to me. "You know, he doesn't seem like a player at all."

Then Bob Saget walks by the table again, and this time he stops for a chat.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why did you remove the Cool Running website?

While still functional in 2020, the Cool Running’s platform was no longer compliant with data laws in the United States and abroad. The legacy infrastructure brought up potential risks that we did not want to leave exposed on the web. We believe that we can provide users with a better, easier-to-use interface with ACTIVE Results for endurance operators. For these reasons, we took the site offline.

We’re committed to providing event organizers and racers with an awesome experience with ACTIVE Results. Users can expect an interface designed with data privacy, a mobile-friendly design, and convenience in mind. You can sign up here: Results.Active.com. As an endurance event timer/organizer, with a simple click you can use a variety of scoring software, including The Race Director, Run Score, Race Day Scoring & Active-Timing to directly publish your race results into ACTIVE Results.

Can I sign into ACTIVE Results using my Cool Running log in?

No. You’ll need to create a new account, but it’s easy to do so. Visit Results.Active.com and select 'Sign up' in the menu to create a new account. You can then begin creating your events on the 'Manage Results' page. Upload race results right away via file upload or through our Results API for supported partners.

Will my Cool Running results be available through my new ACTIVE account?

Unfortunately, historical event results could not be migrated to ACTIVE Results. If you would like to access data previously available on Cool Running, please contact support with the subject line ‘Cool Running Data Request’ and provide an event name, state, and year. We will do our best to provide an archived HTML copy of the results pages that were previously hosted on Cool Running.

Why are the Cool Running results not on ACTIVE Results?

Each Cool Running event upload featured data in different formats. Trying to force unstructured data into ACTIVE’s structured database would have caused formatting issues, partial data loss and would not provide a consistent experience for participants. Each timer and organizer is welcome to format their results for ACTIVE Results and reupload for free as soon as possible.

Can I upload my results from Cool Running on ACTIVE Results?

Yes! You are able to upload right away. Simply create a free account to manage your events and format the data using our upload example template featured in the ‘Manage results’ section of the site. For questions or issues with the upload process, contact support with the subject line ‘ACTIVE Results Event Upload.’

Can I log in to Cool Running to retrieve my historical results?

The Cool Running site is closed and cannot be accessed. Please contact support with the subject line ‘Cool Running Data Request’ and provide an event name, state, and year. We will try our best to provide an archived HTML copy of the results pages that were previously hosted on Cool Running.

As an event participant, how can I find Cool Running results that I am listed in?

Please reach out to your event organizer. Unfortunately, historical event results could not be migrated to ACTIVE Results. Event organizers and timers may have uploaded your race results to multiple sites so be sure to search the event name on other results platforms for timer-hosted results as well.


Watch the video: Every Stefon Ever Part 1 of 5 - SNL (November 2021).