Podcast: June 19

This week: Ron Howard’s vexing problems with the Vatican, Justine Bateman’s SAG sympathies, and Vanessa Williams return to Chappaqua.

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And the quiz — which, I might add, stumped Stacy-Ann (third week in a row!) — is as follows:

Which actor from the Lower Hudson Valley appears in M. Night Shyamalan’s new thriller “The Happening”?

A. Joseph Cross, of Pelham
B. Bill Irwin, of Nyack
C. Alan Ruck, of Piermont
D. Mel Gibson, of Peekskill/Verplanck

The big trick here: ALL of these actors have, at one point or another, appeared in a Shyamalan film.

The answer, as always, is at the end of the video or after the break.

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Podcast: June 11

On the big show this week: Dave Matthews vs. Mel Gibson, Ed McMahon vs. The Bank, and Howard Stern no longer vs. Rosie O’Donnell.

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At the end of the video and after the break is the answer to this week’s trivia quesiton: On Sunday night, O’Donnell appeared on “Million Dollar Password” and helped Yonkers resident Dante Mercadante win $50,000. While giving clues, which of the following words did Rosie successfully get Mercadante to say?

A. Grease
B. Trump
C. View

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Forget ‘Zohan’: Dave Matthews messes with (the) Mel Gibson

Dave Matthews, comedy powerhouse? Who knew?

davematthews.jpgThe jam-rocker and former Yorktown resident can be seen plucking for yuks in Adam Sandler’s “You Don’t Mess With The Zohan,” whose opening weekend just reaped $40 million at the box office.

mel.jpgFor the flick, Matthews isn’t exactly playing it as safe as his adult-contemporary radio hits. He plays the leader of a band of “racist rednecks” who just happen to love former Verplanck resident Mel Gibson, who famously spewed an antisemitic rant during a DWI arrest in 2006.

Evidently, Matthews must have thought Gibson’s remarks were “Too Much.” And yes, I’ve used that awful Dave Matthews pun on Suburbarazzi before.

(AP Photo of Matthews by Michael Kim; AP Photo of Gibson courtesy of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.)

Podcast: March 18

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At the end of the video and after the break is the answer to this week’s quiz: Born in South Africa, musician Dave Matthews spent the bulk of his childhood growing up in Yorktown, but he’s now lending his voice to TV commercials for the tourism board of the next state he called home. Which state is that?

A) South Carolina
B) Vermont
C) Virginia

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TMZ: Britney Spears, Mel Gibson meet at L.A. lounge

mel.jpgbritney.jpgWhen you’re a Hollywood outcast for bad behavior, does it help or hurt when you meet up with your peers?

Britney Spears, who’s lost custody of her kids and has been seeking treatment, might have found therapeutic value in reportedly met up Saturday night at Los Angeles’ Romanov Restaurant and Lounge with Mel Gibson, who spewed an antisemitic rant during a DWI arrest in 2006.

TMZ reported yesterday that Gibson, who was raised in Verplanck, and his family have “privately befriended Britney Spears to help her through her troubles.”

(Photo of Spears: Mark J. Terrill/AP; photo of Gibson: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department/AP)

Oscars, Suburbarazzi-style: Local nominees and recent winners

oscar2.jpgThis Friday at 7:30 p.m. EST, Ted Mann and I will join TV reporter Karen DePodwin for a live RNN segment about Sunday’s Academy Awards. I’ll be wearing my tux for only the third time since my senior year in college, so the comedic value of that alone might be worth the tune-in. Here’s a preview of one of the topics slated for discussion.

Stars with a connection to the Lower Hudson Valley have done very well for themselves at the Oscars over the years, and 2008 is no exception.

Eight-time Oscar-winner Alan Menken, a New Rochelle native and North Salem resident, has been nominated three times for his songs from the Disney movie “Enchanted.” He took home his first two trophies for Best Song and Best Score for “The Little Mermaid,â€? and his most recent ones were in the same categories for songs from “Pocahontas.â€? In total, he’s been nominated for a whopping 18 Oscars, but hasn’t won one since 1996.

First-time nominee and sentimental favorite Ruby Dee, a New Rochelle resident, is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her part in “American Gangster,” starring Mount Vernon native Denzel Washington and former Nyack dweller Russell Crowe — both of whom are Oscar-winners themselves.

LoHud also has at least two representatives in the Best Documentary/Short Subject category, including Ossining High School alumnus Francisco Bello (for “Salim Baba”) and former Croton-on-Hudson resident Cynthia Wade (for “Freeheld”).

After the break, check out a list of some other prominent current and former residents of the Lower Hudson Valley who have won or have been nominated for an Oscar in the last 30 years. Continue reading

EXCLUSIVE: Chevy Chase weighs in on Howard Stern, ‘SNL,’ WGA strike and more

chevy-chase.jpgHalfway through my 15-minute phone interview with Chevy Chase yesterday, I asked the Bedford resident what movie and TV projects he was working on. His deadpan reply? “I have six pictures coming out and I’ll be on three sitcoms.” The former “Saturday Night Live” writer and cast member had been so cautious and measured with his replies up to that point, I didn’t laugh for fear it wasn’t a joke. But with his next two words, “I lied,” we chuckled and the rest of the interview flowed more comfortably.

Chase, 64, has been keeping a lower profile of late on the entertainment circuit; responding seriously to the aforementioned question, he said he’s working on a few screen projects, but cited the Writers Guild of America strike as one of the reasons he declined to elaborate. Off-screen, his high-profile appearances of late have been with wife, Jayni, raising awareness about environmental education in Bedford and beyond. The latter was the impetus for my call, but after discussing that for one minute, I had to ask him some entertainment-related questions. Wouldn’t you?

Below are highlights from my exclusive interview with Chevy Chase. In it, we learn about his truce with Howard Stern; whether he or “Caddyshack” costar Bill Murray is the better golfer; his thoughts on the strike; “SNL” then and now; and more. Some questions were rearranged and omitted to make for a cleaner read.

On mending fences with former Briarcliff Manor deejay Howard Stern, who donated an auction prize to the Chases’ charity following a feud that spanned almost 20 years:


I saw Howard this summer and, you know, those kinds of things, they die down. I think he felt bad about what he’d done. And he likes me and he likes Jayni and he’s a likable guy, and it went our way. And it was a great help to have him do that. He has so many listeners, you know. And initially it wasn’t such a great help when he did what he did to us, because we don’t have any listeners. [Laughs.] It was kind of like beating a dead horse after a while.

He sort of started to lay off I think when I called him a few years back. I said, “Look, I can’t go to a Knicks game, I can’t go to a Yankee game with my daughters, because people yell out thing like, ‘Hey, no wonder Howard Stern says you’re a pr***,’ or just stuff that’s just hideous.”

So, I called and talked to his producer (Gary Dell’Abate) and said, ‘Look, do me a favor, tell Howard what’s happening and about how it’s affecting my family,’ and Howard got on the air apparently and said, ‘Look, this is business and it’s not anything to do with a personal issue. Leave him alone.’ And I thought that was a nice gesture back then. So, when I saw him at a Bon Jovi end-of-the-(summer party this year), we kind of were civil and were just two dads talking, basically.


On the state of “Saturday Night Live” these days:


chevy-chase2.jpgI love it. I really think it’s a resurgence. I called Lorne (Michaels) and told him I was surprised to see LeBron James, the dancing, the special effects, and all that stuff that they do — the videos — it’s so much more, technically, than what we were doing. And of course, I should expect that; it’s been 30 years. I hadn’t followed it much and then (was) following it and then (was) appearing briefly on the next show (hosted by Seth Rogen). I’ll do it again when we get closer to the elections.

To me, there are some very talented kids out there — Amy (Poehler) and Seth (Meyers) — who are perhaps doing their kind of comedy to the new [Laughs] — the new generation, whatever you want to call it. I feel secure in my own kind of comedy, too, so it’s nice to be there and get an ovation and all that.

In the end, I think that, yeah, the show has gotten quite a bit better than — it’s had some good years and some bad years. You can’t really tell what it’s going to be until you see it put together. And Lorne, as usual, is the man in charge, and even though he seems to separate himself a little bit more — because he is getting older, perhaps, or whatever — he’s still the guy who knows the right kind of edits and the right kind of thing to do from dress (rehearsal) to air, and it’s quite amazing that he still does it so well. And I’m very happy with him and the show.


On his relationship with Sneden’s Landing resident and fellow “SNL” alumnus Bill Murray, with whom he had a backstage fistfight in the show’s second season:


How would I describe our relationship? Well, we go (out). We date on occasion. You know, a little light petting, not heavy petting. … Yeah, if I can get him drunk, he’ll pursue anything. Unfortunately, he’ll also hit me with a hammer, but you know, those are the chances you take. I’d just as soon Bill Murray hit me with a hammer than anybody else because he’s pretty funny. [Laughs.] We’re friends. We’re not close; we don’t see a lot of each other, but we talk on the phone and we’ve played golf a couple of times. I can’t play for crap, but Bill’s quite good. Quite good.


On his closest friend from “SNL” :

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Vatican II denier Mel Gibson invests another $8 mil in Holy Family Catholic Church

2.jpgAnd here I thought Apocalypto tanked and Mel’s finances had all but dried up. Not exactly. The Peekskill-born actor just donated another $8.2 million to the AP Reilly Foundation — which is basically just a tax-free front for his Holy Family Catholic Church. You know, the one in Agoura Hills, CA, that the NY Times magazine outed a few years ago for it’s unusual breed of Catholicism — it doesn’t recognize the Pope, Vatican II, and, in some instances, the Holocaust.

According to this Fox News post, the church now has $30 million in the bank (up from $22 mil last year). To put that into perspective, Fox’s Roger Friedman made a good point: “Los Angeles Catholic Big Brothers and Big Sisters only has $1.6 million in its till.”

In the News: the tabs turn on Angelina Jolie, Hayden Panettiere is not Lindsay Lohan, and Hell hath no fury like Mel Gibson being set straight about the Mayans

tjndc5-5dxno0n9qti1j3cydji0_layout.jpg++Hey, Angelina, why don’t you cut some other gossipmongers a break? Us Weekly and Star Magazine may not be People, but they’re magazines too! And, according to the NY Post, they are pissed to keep getting the shaft every time the former Snedens Landing resident jets halfway around the world to bag another kid (apparently number 5 is expected pretty soon). In fact, the second-tier tabs have turned on Jolie. Recent headlines in Us and Star include: “Her Twisted Double Life,â€? “How she uses her kids to manipulate the media,â€? and “Angela Walks Out on Brad!…and Dumps the Kids!â€?

tjndc5-5e033w24ljq1f5ejqo5t_layout1.jpg++Hayden Panettiere, one of the stars of Heroes (and a former Palisades resident) IS not Lindsay Lohan (who neither stars in Heroes nor lived in Rockland). Panettiere was mistaken for the -brunette- -red-head- blonde starlet Tuesday by a fan, while she was leaving Hollywood hotspot L Scorpion with co-stars Milo Ventimiglia and Leonard Roberts. Fan: “Give ‘em hell, Lindsay.� Paparazzo: “She just called you Lindsay.� Panettiere: “Don’t ever call me that again. Please.� Fan: “We love you Lindsay.� Paparazzo: “She’s not Lindsay, you f***king c**t.� And they say chivalry is dead.

tjndc5-5e1wgwxj9xzdh1jeiv_layout.jpg+++Peekskill native Mel Gibson had his own expletive-laced run-in the other day. Gibson was speaking at Cal State University about his films. During a Q&A session, one member of the audience, Alicia Estrada, an Assistant Professor of Central American Studies and an expert on the Mayan culture, apparently challenged Gibson, “asking him if he had read about the Mayan culture before shooting the controversial film,â€? according to TMZ. “Gibson said he had.â€? When she persisted and accused the filmmaker of misrepresenting the culture, Gibson supposedly said, “Lady, F**k off.â€? He also allegedly told several members of the Mayan community who were present (and who became “emotionalâ€? and had to be escorted from the room) to “Make your own movie!”
(AP Photo, Ap/Dan Steinberg, AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Westchester representin’ on late night TV

With Bedford resident Paul Shaffer playing keyboards in the background between jokes, North Salem resident David Letterman playfully took a shot at Verplanck native Mel Gibson’s birthday in the opening monologue for last night’s broadcast of “The Late Show.” In the bit, Letterman imitated Gibson’s bemusement after unwrapping a gift of a yarmulke.

After sitting at his desk, Dave talked up a spoof of a commercial for “The Apprentice: Los Angeles,” hosted in real life by part-time Bedford resident Donald Trump. The fake TV ad claimed contestants would be “eliminated” by Robert Blake.

Dave’s first guest was “Today” show cohost Matt Lauer, who grew up in Westchester, according to The New York Times. Letterman had a fun quip about CBS stealing NBC stars like himself and Katie Couric, about whom Lauer joked, “When does she start?”

Letterman took a commercial break and then spoke to comedian Artie Lange, the sidekick of Howard Stern, who got his start spinning records at 107.1 in Briarcliff Manor.

After this Suburbarrazus watched Lange’s hilarious appearance, the channel was changed to see “The Tonight Show’s” musical guest: Matisyahu, who grew up in White Plains.

I’m sure Kevin Bacon has some connection to all these guys, too.

(Associated Press photo by Adam Rountree.)

Annoying Lohud…


Leave it to Star Magazine and its editorial director, Hastings’ Bonnie Fuller, to come up with a year-end list that has no redeeming value to it whatsoever…the 10 Most Annoying People of the year. Representing Lohud were Nyack’s Rosie O’Donnell (#9: “Rosie did a spectacularly offensive imitation of people speaking Chinese and initially refused to apologize, saying it was a joke. Sorry Rosie, I thought jokes were supposed to be funny�) and Verplanck-native Mel Gibson (#4: “What was worse? The anti-Semitic rant Mad Mel unleashed while being arrested for DUI on July 28 or the mea culpa the writer/director gave Diane Sawyer in which he smirked his way through an explanation of his actions?�).

The top three, in case you were wondering:

1. Britney Spears

2. Lindsay Lohan

3. Jessica Simpson