AN OSCAR HART ATTACK — Last week was a particular blur for me; previous obligations made Monday and Tuesday crazier than usual, but, somehow during that time I had heard that comedian Kevin Hart, of all people, had been selected as the next host of the Oscars. Truth be told, I kept thinking that I must have mis-heard, as Kevin Hart was certainly not of the caliber to host such an august show. By the time my schedule became somewhat more subdued … Hart, due to some long-ago homophobic comments, had stepped aside.
The very next day, the same person who had brought up the brouhaha in the first place, said she’d wish Hart had stepped up … not, stepped aside. What a mess that AMPAS had stepped into.
The Oscar show last year had its lowest ratings ever and the powers that be were under intense pressure to make the show (and, host) more relevant. But, Hart, who I don’t find funny in the least and the last story I had heard on him was something along the lines of him stepping out on his wife, was a poor, poor choice. I mean, that was the best they could do?
Right now, the Oscar-folk are actually considering running the show without a host at all … which might be an inspired idea, as the opening monologue would be jokes about Hart anyway … right? Honestly, Billy Crystal (not Rob Lowe!), though probably too old school, would be an inspired selection. He’d handle the Hart-mess with class. Stay tuned.
ADIEU KATHIE LEE — Believe it or not, the #1 trending story yesterday (besides the verbal antics in the Oval office) was Kathie Lee Gifford, who announced she’d be leaving the third hour of the Today Show, with Hoda Kotbe, in April (her 11thanniversary there). The mainstream media and NBC would have you believe that it was about moving on … but, the truth of the matter is that Gifford wanted more money. After the Matt Lauer and Megyn Kelly disasters, Kathie Lee was in the catbird seat, so to speak.
I’ve known her since she was Kathie Lee Johnson on Good Morning America and first appeared on the Regis & Kathie Lee Show (15 years). Name another AM chat-show host who has appeared in two major shows. She’s a class act all the way and no dummy at all.
She’s done several albums and just wrote a movie which stars Craig Ferguson. At 65, she’s a dynamic personality and I’d never bet against her. Somehow, I think we’ll hear much, much more about her down the road. As far as NBC … they’re making a HUGE error here.
MORE LINDSEY — Lindsey Buckingham compared the current incarnation of Fleetwood Mac, with Mike Campbell and Neil Finn in his place, to a cover band. Still, he said, he’d be up for returning for a “proper farewell tour.”
In discussing songs from his new Solo Anthology with Stereogum, Buckingham addressed the question as to whether or not he would ever play with his old group again.
“Look, it’s Fleetwood Mac,” he noted. “Anything’s possible. Maybe they’ll get it out of their system. If they ask me to come back, would I? Sure, because to me, I think the lack of a proper farewell tour, if that’s what we’re doing, that doesn’t undercut, like I say, the legacy that we have so carefully built as the five of us, which they’re not doing right now. I don’t know what they’re doing. It’s a cover band kind of deal, and Stevie [Nicks] may be enjoying that, and that’s fine. If she is happy doing that, there is no one outcome that I think is going to be okay.”
Buckingham added, “The way I look at it is it’s giving me an opportunity to do some things in a more rapid-fire way with some new people who actually care about what I’m doing and not just about getting the money from Fleetwood Mac. Look, I mean it does make me question who these people are, but again, to look at it compassionately, I think it’s all coming from a lack of perspective and to some degree a certain weakness on their parts. I can’t stop loving them because of that.”
Those words echo Buckingham’s first public comments about his much-publicized second split with the group earlier this year, where he said his former bandmates “lost their perspective” and, in doing so, “harmed the 43-year legacy that we had worked so hard to build, and that legacy was really about rising above difficulties in order to fulfill one’s higher truth and one’s higher destiny.”
Buckingham noted that, upon the recent settlement of his lawsuit against them, he received an e-mail from Christine McVie, but didn’t expect to hear from the others.
“I know Mick [Fleetwood] would probably like to, but I think he’s too embarrassed and just a little too weak-willed to do it,” he said. “I won’t hear from Stevie because it was all her trip anyway. Again, I just have to forgive them because it’s really just Stevie being so needy for a certain kind of attention and maybe not wanting to compete with the vitality that I have.”
This whole dialogue, to me, sort of undermines what the Mac is doing right now and actually dis-respects them in a major way. Why have Neil Finn and Mike Campbell in it at all … if there’s a better than average chance, that they will do one final turn with Buckingham. To me, it’s all manager Irving Azoff’s idea of moving as many tickets as possible. Calling their current tour a cover band type of thing is just wrong and hurtful!
SHORT TAKES — That Gilbert Gottfried/Micky Dolenz interview that we tipped you on, is unleashed on Monday, 12/17. It’s called the Gilbert Gottfried Amazing Colossal Podcast and you can access it here: https://www.google.com/search?ei=dPEQXL2xMaiJggeft7bYCQ&q=gilbert+Gottfried+podcast&oq=gilbert+Gottfried+podcast&gs_l=psy-ab.3..35i39j0i20i263j0l8.8968.10103..11639…0.0..0.98.458.5……0….1..gws-wiz.LdoISEJxdZk … SIGHTING: WOR’s Tom Cuddy and PR-man David Salidor at Walker’s in Tribeca … And, Donnie Kehr’s Rockin’ Dueling Piano’s moves to the new Chelsea Music Hall @ 407 West 15th, next Tuesday. Michael Barrett, from the late-great China Club, is involved here. Here’s Donnie with Pete Townshend and Simon Kirke, from his Rockers On Broadway event last month. What a magical night that was.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — David Letterman; Jacqueline Boyd; Robert Miller; Richie Cannata; Jeff Smith; Derek Storm; Steve Walter; Peter Abraham; Donnie Kehr; Cori Gardner; Evan Levy; Steve Leeds; Spencer Mindich; Deb Caponetta; Andrew Furhmann; Dara Gottfried; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; and, CHIP.