‘The Daily Show’, Fox News, and Ferguson: The Dangers of an Alternate News Reality

Unlike the regular news shows it began skewering and ended up, for many, supplanting, The Daily Show goes on vacation. They time these breaks carefully — over holidays, or during stretches of the summer (like, say, mid-August) when news usually isn’t happening. It didn’t time out that way this year. The Daily Show aired on August 7 and then went on a two-and-a-half week hiatus; on August 9, Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri. As that shock over that shooting gave way to protests, tear gas, police militarization and threats, looting, and general horror, those of us who increasingly look to Stewart and company for a bit of levity and/or indignation had to wait. Last night, Stewart returned, with a reminder that while alums Colbert and Oliver may give TDS a run for their money in the social/political satire department, Stewart’s program remains untouchable in the area of fierce, stinging media commentary. … Read More

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The 30 Harshest Comedian-on-Comedian Insults in History

Continuing our beloved series, Flavorwire looks into the rivalries, feuds, frenmities, and good-natured(ish) ribbing of an industry filled with the fragile egos, big personalities, and sharp wits that make for excellent insults: comedy. From Comedy Central roasts to Jay ‘n’ Conan to Twitter spats, there’s no shortage of verbal spats out there, but here’s a selection of the very best. Spoiler: there’s little love lost between Chevy Chase and, well, everyone else. … Read More

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Ranking the New Amazon Pilots from Best to Worst

When it comes to producing original content, Amazon Instant Video is wasting no time making sure there is a surplus of programming to help catapult it into the ranks of Netflix and Hulu. Amazon’s last “pilot season” was only back in February, and the four shows that were picked up have yet to be seen (although Transparent just got a September 26 premiere date). Nevertheless, on Thursday the site will release five more pilots to the public for viewers to watch and rate — the ratings will help determine which shows Amazon will pick up. The new pilots feature dramas and comedies with a wide array of premises. None are immediately gripping but a few are worth your time. Here, we rank the five from best to worst. … Read More

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25 Must-See Movies For the Fall

Hey there reader, been to the movies lately? If the box office reports are any indication, I’m guessing not — and who can blame you? We’re currently in the weird dead zone between the tentpole blockbusters of the summer and the prestige, Oscar-friendly pictures (and, increasingly, tentpole blockbusters) of the fall. But relief will be here soon enough, so in the interest of helping you mark up your movie-going calendar, we’re looking ahead to the fall films we’re anticipating most. … Read More

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The New Pornographers’ Carl Newman: “Whether People Love You or Hate You, It’s All Phantoms”

Carl Newman (aka A.C.) should be on the tourism board for Woodstock, N.Y. “I feel like small-town America has become synonymous with Walmart, strip malls, and McDonald’s,” he says one August morning, calling from his house in the renowned hippie town. “But Woodstock’s still got a lot of what drew people here in the first place. Next to Bethlehem, I think it might be the [world's] most famous small town. I’ve got a two-and-a-half year old, and I think it’s going to be a great place to raise him.”

His burgeoning career as a Cool Dad aside, Newman is known more for his “supergroup,” The New Pornographers. Along with (his mostly Canadian) compatriots Neko Case, Dan Bejar, Kathryn Calder, John Collins, Kurt Dahle, Todd Fancey, and Blaine Thurier, Newman has crafted six albums filled with some of the most over-the-top fun in modern indie rock. The band’s latest, Brill Bruisers, is no different. It’s out this week on Matador, so we caught up with Newman to discuss it, as well as his management style, the amusement he finds in toying with trolls, and which member of The New Pornographers is actually the funniest. … Read More

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Between Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, Celebrity Feminism Is So Hot Right Now

The Taylor Swift pop machine is in full effect with the imminent fall release of her fifth album, 1989. She announced the album during last week’s live stream event, which also served as the debut of the single “Shake It Off,” (haters gonna hate, hate, hate, etc.) along with the Mark Romanek-directed video, which involved lots of awkward white girl dancing. She also said that the album was her first “documented pop album,” which in Swift-land, means that the former star of country radio has put together a suite of songs that will only play on Top 40 stations; and by my uneducated guess, will probably not get banjo-laden country station remixes, this time around. … Read More

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Andrew W.K. — A Philosopher for Our Times

If you’ve not been reading Andrew W.K.’s life advice column at the Village Voice, you’re really missing out. Since the start of the year, he’s been taking weekly questions from fans, and dispensing some fascinating and thoughtful answers. In particular, he’s garnered a great deal of attention for his response to “Ask Andrew W.K.: My Dad Is A Right-Wing Asshole,” wherein he chided the questioner for defining his father as a political viewpoint and not a person. It was rightly lauded, and was also greeted with a measure of surprise: wait, the guy who wrote “Party Hard” also wrote this? The thing is, though, it’s always been worth taking Andrew W.K.’s ideas seriously. And reading through his column again this morning, it struck me: in Andrew W.K., we have a philosopher for these crazy times. … Read More

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The ‘Dating Naked’ Lawsuit and a Brief History of Reality Shows Getting Sued

Last week, a contestant on VH1’s reality show Dating Naked filed a $10 million lawsuit against Viacom for failing to properly blur her genitals during a recent episode. Jessie Nizewitz was aware of the nudity going into the show — it is titled Dating Naked, after all, though the show obviously blurs out breasts and genitals — but says when her episode aired, viewers could briefly see everything during a segment when she playfully wrestles with her date. This may seem like an absurd news story, but reality shows are constantly getting slammed by lawsuits. … Read More

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Welcome to Alternate Routes, Jesse Jarnow’s Guide to Obscure Corners of Music

Alternate Routes is a column from Flavorwire contributor and WFMU DJ Jesse Jarnow, in which he’ll explore music solely distributed outside the Big 3 of Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon. … Read More

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The VMAs and the Emmys: The Show Is Always More Important Than the Awards

For what’s supposedly TV’s biggest night, the Emmys don’t make for great TV. Lengthy and depressingly behind the times — in terms of both winners’ relevance and cartoonish sexism — the ceremony still has the power to provoke the aural equivalent of keyboard-smashing by, say, ignoring Orange Is the New Black. That’s because the Emmys, particularly in an over-saturated TV landscape like today’s, are actually supposed to mean something. Which might explain why the far more enjoyable awards show of the last 48 hours was also the far less consequential one. … Read More

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