Is Saturday Night Live less funny than ever this year, or does it just seem that way?
— Old Enough to Know
Dear Old Enough:
Saturday Night Live has been on the air 35 years. Over that span, the “SNL is going downhill” comment originated sometime around, oh, the second episode. It just resonates more now. Back then, people couldn’t tweet their criticisms within seconds. (I believe they snail-mailed their tweets to the local newspaper.)
Passage of time makes everything seem better, with the obvious exception of Cop Rock. And that’s good. If people weren’t nostalgic for the good ol’ days, Bob Seger and Billy Joel wouldn’t have careers.
It’s easy to forget all the weak SNL sketches and lame guest hosts from the ’70s and ’80s and ’90s, but there were tons. If you think hosts like Michael Phelps and Paris Hilton were bad (and they were), you never saw the therapy-inducing, mind-numbing horror that was Steven Seagal in 1991. (You nostalgic types might remember 1991. Billy Joel doesn’t.)
So cut SNL some slack, especially with Tina Fey hosting this week. (She can rub my belly any day.) Remember, presenting 90 minutes of (mostly) live programming on a (mostly) weekly basis with hosts who are (mostly) inexperienced with live TV isn’t easy. Plus, SNL somehow kept Horatio Sanz gainfully employed for eight years. You can’t be upset with a charity.
WTF is up with Erykah Badu? Is she dangerously crazy or just I’d-better-cross-the-street crazy?
— Crossing the Street Just in Case
First, watch the language! I don’t care what acronym you use, “What The Fleas” is not cool. (Great, now you made me say the F word.)
Anyway, you’re referring to Ms. Badu’s video for her song “Window Seat,” in which the Dallas native (born Erica Wright) walks in front of Dealey Plaza, where JFK was assassinated, taking off all of her clothes and pretending to be shot in the head. She does this all to a song that has nothing to do with JFK, politics or naked chicks.
I know what you’re thinking: That sounds just like a Miley Cyrus video.
Sidenote: Did you notice that Erykah was not wearing her usual enormous headscarf? It’s because no one would have believed a bullet could penetrate that thing.
Regardless… if walking outside naked was crazy, I’d have been locked up years ago.
Still, there are concerns. Erykah’s children are named Mars (odd), Puma (odder) and Seven (who is she, George Costanza?). But artists always give their little ones outrageous names. “Max,” obviously, being the exception. And if giving yourself a weird name was a crime, we’d have locked up Sting and Ke$ha by now. On second thought, go ahead and lock up Ke$ha.
Erykah Badu isn’t crazy. She’s a critically-acclaimed free spirit, and one who knows that controversy (even the contrived kind) is a smart way to stay on the public’s radar. So there’s no need for you to cross the street… unless she’s wearing that headscarf. Seriously, who knows what she’s got under there?
Bookstores are filled with people surfing the net. Newspapers and magazines are dying. I can’t even kill a cockroach with this skinny little phone book. Your mommy’s a writer – is the world running out of readers?
— I’m a Worrier
I’d say newspapers are still useful for me to poop on, but I think that phrase is trademarked. Also, it’s not accurate. I handle my business in a well-appointed courtyard, beside a vibrant garden – and I’m certainly doing my part to keep it vibrant.
The internet has hurt newspapers, but people still read – just in different formats. (Snoopy and Marmaduke will live forever. Sadly, so will Garfield.) What do you think people are doing on their computers? They’re reading.
Movies, TV and video games all failed to kill reading, despite Shakespeare’s prophecies. (Is that accurate? I should read more.) Also, reading on a screen is no different than reading on paper. (Have I mentioned that Mommy’s novels are all available in electronic Kindle versions you can purchase and view on many kinds of devices? No? Remind me to do that sometime.)
If people still take time out of their busy day to read an advice column by a dog – albeit an awesome dog – I think we’ll be just fine.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m halfway through this great classic novel, Old Yeller. It’s the first time I’ve read it, so don’t spoil it. I sure hope there’s a sequel.
Paper or plastic?
— Thanks and Come Again
Depends on the usage. Here’s a quick guide:
Dog toy: PLASTIC. (We’ll destroy the paper one in two seconds. Plastic might last two minutes.)
Mask for bank robbery: PAPER. (Nothing ruins a perfectly good robbery like asphyxiation.)
Disposing of corpse: PLASTIC. (You’d hate to drip evidence all over your jumper cables.)
Wall: PAPER. (Because “wallplastic” is just too… German.)
Dear John letter: PLASTIC. (I know. You figured “paper.” But plastic won’t get ruined by his tears.)
Mâché: PAPIER. (You like how I did that, right? I’m crafty.)
Heidi Montag: NEITHER. (Unfortunately, we know where she falls on this one.)
Hope that helps. And hey, where’s my receipt?