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Louis C.K. sparks outrage after mocking school shooting survivors in leaked comedy set

Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) — Louis C.K. has provoked outrage after a recent comedy set, leaked on YouTube, reveals he poked fun at school shooting survivors and those who identify as gender non-binary.

The embattled comedian, who was shunned last year after he admitted to repeated acts of sexual misconduct, has been slowly trying to reenter the comedy club scene in recent months. The leaked set was reportedly performed on December 16 at Governor’s Comedy Club in Levittown, NY.

C.K. begins the set by commenting on the rough time he’s had before launching into a series of controversial bits, one of which is aimed at the survivors of the Parkland shooting last February.

“You’re not interesting because you went to a high school where kids got shot,” C.K. says. “Why does that mean I have to listen to you? How does that make you interesting? You didn’t get shot. You pushed some fat kid in the way. Now I gotta listen to you talking?”

He also jabbed at young people today who are gender non-conforming.

“They tell you what to call them. ‘You should address me as they/them because I identify as gender neutral,’” he says, before mocking them with an obscene retort.

As for those who might be offended by his act, C.K. tells the crowd, “What are you going to do, take away my birthday? My life is over. I don’t give a s***.”

While the audience mostly laughed at his jokes, Twitter was not amused. Among the reactions: Judd Apatow tweeted, “This hacky, unfunny, shallow routine is just a symptom of how people are afraid to feel empathy.”

Fred Guttenberg, the parent of a Parkland victim, wrote, “Why don’t you come to my house and try out your new pathetic jokes?”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

In emotional post, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson reveals he gave his mom a new house — any one she wants — for Christmas

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson gave his mother the ultimate Christmas surprise.

The actor revealed the special gift in an Instagram post on Sunday, writing, “This one felt good. Surprise! Bought my mom a new home for Christmas. All our lives growing up we lived in little apartments all across the country. Lived like gypsies on the road from one state to another.”

He then explained that the first home his parents ever had was one he bought them in 1999.

“They divorced about 5yrs later and as with life, stuff happens and things got a little complicated. Since then I always made sure my mom and dad have everything they’ll ever need — houses, cars etc,” he wrote.

“But the house this time is a special one and the timing is very meaningful. I told her to treat this [holiday] card like it’s ‘Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket.”

This time, Johnson’s mother Ata will get to choose “any home she wants — anywhere she wants.”

“I always say, if you got a good mama, then you gotta pretty good shot at becoming a decent human being,” he wrote. “And somehow, somewhere along the line I became one lucky SOB to be able to make stuff like this happen. Merry Christmas Ma and WOOOHOOO enjoy your new home.”

In the clip, you can see Johnson’s mother break down when she finds out the amazing news.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Kevin Hart surprises his entire crew with old-school cars to celebrate end of tour

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — Kevin Hart has taken gift-giving to a whole new level.

To celebrate the end of his Irresponsible Tour, he gave each member of his crew a classic muscle car. Hart revealed the gesture in an Instagram post Saturday.

“So the tour is over, and I told my guys I was going to do something special for them,” he says in the video clip. “They had no idea what it was. I just surprised my whole team with old schools.”

He then pans over to the eight vehicles and their proud new owners.

“I mean it when I say I love my team, I would not be where I am or who I am today if it wasn’t for my team,” Hart continues. “We’re celebrating, and I love the fact that they’re gone. They’re blown away, and for me, that’s all I needed, nothing else.”

On Sunday, Hart revealed he and his pals had started a car club with their new rides.

“We are the ‘Plastic Cup Boyz Car Club’….we are getting jackets and hats and gloves with no finger tips….Old man fun,” he writes.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

“Aquaman” reigns at the box office for the second straight week

Jasin Boland/™ & © DC Comics

Aquaman topped the box office for the second week in a row, capping of a record-breaking year with an estimated $51.55 million three-day weekend.

The film has grossed more than $188 million stateside, which makes it the 11th biggest film based on a DC comic. Aquaman picked up an estimated $85.4 million overseas, bringing its worldwide total to upwards of $748 million.

Claiming second place was Mary Poppins Returns, picking up an estimated $28 million for the three-day, followed by Bumblebee, grabbing third place with an estimated $20.5 million.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which delivered an estimated $18.3 million between Friday and Sunday, sits in fourth place. The Mule rounds out the top five, earning an estimated $11.78 million.

Vice — Adam MacKay’s biographical dramedy starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell — finished just outside of the top five, collecting nearly $8 million since opening on Tuesday. An estimated $7.79 million of that came over the three-day weekend. The film is already the highest grossing domestic release ever for its studio, Annapurna Pictures.

Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly’s third outing as top-billed co-stars, Holmes & Watson — which opened to dismal reviews — finished in seventh place, managing an estimated $7.3 million between Friday and Sunday, and just under $20 million since its release on Christmas Day. That figure is far below the duos first two pictures — 2006’s Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and 2008’s Step Brothers, which opened with $47 million and $30.9 million, respectively.

Stan & Ollie — the biopic based on the comedy duo Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, starring Reilly and Steve Coogan — opened with an estimated $79,674 from five locations.

On the Basis of Sex, starring Felicity Jones, delivered an estimated $690,000 from 33 theaters, while Nicole Kidman’s Destroyer picked up $58,472 from three screens. Both opened on Christmas Day.

Here are the top 10 movies from Friday through Sunday, with estimated domestic box office earnings:

1. Aquaman, $51.55 million
2. Mary Poppins Returns, $28 million
3. Bumblebee, $20.5 million
4. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, $18.3 million
5. The Mule, $11.78 million
6. Vice, $7.79 million
7. Holmes and Watson, $7.3 million
8. Second Act, $7.2 million
9. Ralph Breaks the Internet, $6.5 million
10. The Grinch, $4.2 million

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Ryan Seacrest invites you to count down to 2019 tonight with him on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve: “It’s part of tradition”

ABC/ Lorenzo Bevilaqua(NEW YORK) — Sure, there are various TV shows you could watch on New Year’s Eve, but the one everyone seems to tune into, year after year, is Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest. 

Now in its 47th year, the show gets underway tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, and host Ryan Seacrest explains why so many people continue to make it a part of their celebrations.

“There’s so much history in watching New Year’s Eve, the ball drop, on ABC,” Ryan tells ABC News. “Dick Clark — he built this, we grew up with it, and I think it’s become part of Americana. It’s part of tradition.”

Co-host Jenny McCarthy agrees.

“Santa Claus is Christmas, the Easter Bunny is Easter, [but] Dick Clark really does own New Year’s Eve,” she laughs. “And the fact that we got to carry on the tradition…– we’re so blessed.”

Tonight, Ryan and Jenny will be live from New York’s Times Square, introducing musical acts from New York, Hollywood and New Orleans, and counting down to 2019.  In Times Square, you’ll see Christina Aguilera, Dan + Shay, Bastille and New Kids on the Block — whose lineup includes Jenny McCarthy’s husband, Donny Wahlberg.

The Hollywood Party portion of the show, hosted by Ciara, includes pop stars like Shawn Mendes, Halsey, Camila Cabello and The Chainsmokers, plus country stars Lauren Alaina, Kelsea Ballerini and Kane Brown.  Rapper Post Malone performs live from Brooklyn, and in New Orleans, it’s Florida Georgia Line and Maren Morris.

But considering the show runs five-and-a-half hours, how do Ryan and Jenny keep their energy up?

“The energy’s easy…once you’re on, you’re on,” Ryan explains. “It’s afterwards you realize how exhausted you are!”

“The crowd gives you that energy,” Jenny adds. “And the weather wakes you up!”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Black Panther,’ ‘Roma’ and ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ among Barack Obama’s favorite films of 2018

Barack and Michelle Obama at the White House theater in 2009; Pete Souza/White House via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Barack Obama’s apparently spent a lot of time in movie theaters this year — or at least, watching flicks at home.  The former president’s list of his favorite films of 2018 includes Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, and If Beale Street Could Talk.

Obama revealed his favorites Friday on Instagram.

“As 2018 draws to a close, I’m continuing a favorite tradition of mine and sharing my year-end lists,” Obama commented. “It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books, movies, and music that I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved. It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors, artists, and storytellers — some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before.”

Obama also revealed his favorite songs and books of the year.  It is no surprise that the first book on his list is his wife Michelle Obama’s recent memoir, Becoming, which he noted is “obviously my favorite!“

Here are Barack Obama’s favorite movies of 2018:

Annihilation
Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
Blindspotting
Burning
The Death of Stalin
Eighth Grade
If Beale Street Could Talk
Leave No Trace
Minding the Gap
The Rider
Roma
Shoplifters
Support the Girls
Won’t You Be My Neighbor

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Sesame Street’ scandal: Did Grover drop the F-bomb?

Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — It’s the new yanny vs. laurel…except this debate is sponsored by the letter R — as in “R-rated.”

Earlier this year, the Internet was fiercely divided over whether a certain audio clip of a male voice sounded as if it was saying “yanny” or “laurel.”  Now, the Internet is divided over a clip from an old episode of Sesame Street, in which Grover, the blue furry Muppet, appears to drop the F-bomb.

In the clip, first posted on Reddit, a random Muppet is filming Grover with a phone camera, and says, “Move the camera to follow you.”  Grover replies excitedly, “Move the camera!  Yes, yes! That sounds like an excellent idea!”  Except some people are convinced that Grover’s actually saying, “Yes, yes! That’s a f****** excellent idea!”

“Just saw this on reddit and it blew my mind,” tweeted one guy. “I can hear both depending on which one I’m thinking in my head!”

As the debate rages on, another person tweeted, “You know what? After all these years if Grover wants to drop an F-bomb then he’s damn well earned the right.”

And still another person wrote, “Grover coming apart and dropping the f-bomb is the perfect punctuation mark at the end of the 2018 sentence. We hear you #Grover. We’re all just hanging on by a thread.”

So far, no response from Sesame Street.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Required watching: The best (and worst) movies of 2018

Image from “Roma”; Alfonso Cuarón/Netflix(NEW YORK) — The end of the year is the best time to catch up on your movie watching.  But so you don’t have to waste your time with disappointing choices, film critic Peter Travers has screened more than 300 movies this year to compile his list of the very best, and worst, movies of 2018 for his annual special edition of Popcorn with Peter Travers.

Let’s start with the worst:

6. Venom
Tom Hardy stars as journalist Eddie Brock, who gains superpowers after being infected by an alien whose species is on a mission to invade Earth.

“This was a guy that bit the heads off of people. He was just the most vicious, dark, anti-hero out of the whole comic universe,” Travers says of Venom‘s anti-hero. “And they made a movie that’s just sickeningly sweet. Everybody was ingratiating. Everybody was just nice. Nobody wanted a Venom who was nice. I know it was successful. You people that paid money to see it, you were wrong.”

5. Fifty Shades Freed
The final installment of the erotic romance Fifty Shades trilogy again stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan.

“I sit here as a person that saw all three of these Fifty Shades movies. And believe me, I want to sink in my seat from the hell of this torture,” says Travers, calling the films “the most sanitized version of S&M in movie history. I’ve never seen anybody more uncomfortable in the act of sex than these two actors.”

 

4. Robin Hood
By now we all know the story of Robin Hood, the hardened English crusader who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx star in this latest adaptation of the age-old story.

Says Travers: “We’ve seen “Robin Hood” so many times and there was no need to make it again. And this “Robin Hood” proves it.”  He adds, “they’re doing things to say look how cool and contemporary we are. And you know what Robin Hood people? You weren’t cool. You weren’t contemporary. You were just dull. Dull, dull, dull.”

3. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
It’s been three years since the destruction of Jurassic World and this time, Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady and former Jurassic World exec Claire Dearing, again played by (Bryce Dallas Howard, return to the island to save the remaining dinosaurs from a volcano, where they make a startling discovery.

Travers call Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom “a cash grab. I know Hollywood is about the business of making money. But we’re all here, willing to suspend disbelief and have a good time. And you give us this which is without a single second of inspiration.”

2. Gotti
Produced by and starring John Travolta, Gotti follows crime boss John Gotti’s rise to become the head of the Gambino crime family in New York City.

“This is the most misbegotten biopic probably in movie history,” says Travers of the film. “It wasn’t scary. It wasn’t informative. It wasn’t anything. It was just bad.”

 

1. The Happytime Murders
This raunchy comedy-slash-crime drama starring Melissa McCarthy takes place in a world where puppets and humans coexist.

“How could this have happened?” asks Travers. “There’s not a single reason for this movie to exist. It has talented people and trashes them for everything we love them for. What better pick for the worst movie? And what better movie for you to ignore for the rest of your movie-going lives.”

And here are Peter’s picks for the best films of 2018:

6. Green Book
Inspired by a true story, Viggo Mortensen plays chauffeur and body man to classical musician Mahershala Ali in the Deep South during the time of racial segregation, where the Green Book told visiting African-Americans where they could find good, lodging and other services without being harassed.

Says Travers: “The comic teamwork of Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen is just perfection. This belongs on any list of the best.”

 

5. BlackKklansman
In Spike Lee’s latest, also based on a true story, an African-American detective in the 1970s works with a white colleague to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan.

“Spike Lee has fun with it, but he also has fury with it,” says Travers. “It’s the kind of movie you see that makes you feel exhilarated because the filmmaking is just so terrific.”

 

4. The Favourite
Set at the court of Britain’s Queen Anne in the early 18th century, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz play rival ladies in waiting the monarch, played by Olivia Coleman.

“This is like no costume drama you have ever seen,” says Travers. “These are incredible performances. The movie is raunchy. It’s sexual. It’s satirical. It’s about power. But it’s about women taking power. And what could be more topical this year than that?”

 

3. Black Panther
After the death of his father, Prince T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. But he’s soon drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of his kingdom and the world at risk.

“Here we see black history and we see children that can watch a comic book superhero movie that they can identify with, any child of color can look up and say, ‘I’ve waited all my life to see a movie like this’. “Black Panther” to me is the best Marvel movie ever made,” says Travers.

 

2. A Star Is Born
In this third remake of the classic film, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, the latter of whom also makes his directorial debut, a seasoned musician discovers and falls in love with a struggling artist. He nudges her into the spotlight and changes her life while his own spirals downward.

Travers calls A Star Is Born “an old fashioned movie done with a new fashioned touch, done with a new director named Bradley Cooper who just surprises us all.  And Lady Gaga, everything you did in this movie was exactly right.”

1. Roma
Oscar-winning Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón created this semi-autobiographical drama about his upbringing in Mexico City.

Says Travers of his top pick: “It crosses every border of language and says here’s my story. Here’s your story. It’s the movie this year that made me cry the most, that made me laugh the most and that made me think, movies can do anything. And “Roma” proves it.”

 

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Forest Whitaker files for divorce after 22 years of marriage

Forest and Keisha Whitaker; Kevin Mazur/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) — Forest Whitaker is reportedly divorcing his wife, Keisha, after 22 years of marriage.

The Black Panther star filed court documents Thursday in Los Angeles, citing “irreconcilable differences.”

The couple has two daughters together: Sonnet, 22, and True, 20. Their other two children, son Ocean, 28, and daughter Autumn, 27, are from previous relationships.

Forest and Keisha met on the set of the 1994 film Blown Away, playing each other’s love interest. They married two years later in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The 57-year-old Oscar winner has a full slate of projects for next year, including the films Finding Steve McQueen, City of Lies, and a Christmas movie, Jingle Jangle. In addition, Whitaker is currently shooting a new TV series, The Godfather of Harlem, and has a recurring role in Empire.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

TV in 2018: The hits, misses, scandals and farewells

Image from “Game of Thrones”; courtesy HBO(NEW YORK) — 2018 was a year of change for television, as the #MeToo movement continued to rock the entertainment industry, a once-beloved TV dad was imprisoned for sexual assault, Roseanne Barr made waves for all the right — and very wrong — reasons, and fans said goodbye to some acclaimed dramas.

In January, NBC News named Hoda Kotb as the co-anchor of Today, alongside Savannah Guthrie.  The change was the result of Matt Lauer’s termination the previous November due to inappropriate sexual behavior.

Also in January, the Peacock Network aired the 75th Golden Globe Awards, with Seth Meyers as host.  #MeToo took center stage there, too — as did actresses supporting Time’s Up, a legal defense fund supporting women who were victims of workplace sexual harassment and assault. HBO’s Big Little Lies took home four awards, with Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale snagging two apiece. 

In February, Super Bowl 52, saw the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the New England Patriots 41–33 — and earned the dubious honor of becoming the lowest-rated Super Bowl telecast since 2009, with an estimated 103.4 million viewers. Justin Timberlake headlined the halftime show for the first time since he joined Janet Jackson for her notorious “wardrobe malfunction” during the halftime show at Super Bowl 38.

Following Super Bowl 52 was the highest-ever rated episode of NBC’s juggernaut drama This Is Us, which was watched by nearly 27 million people. 

In February, Amazon Studios announced Emmy winner Jeffrey Tambor was terminated from his show Transparent after allegations of sexual harassment.

In March, grey-haired bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. ditched Becca Kufrin after proposing to her in the season finale of ABC’s The Bachelor in favor of the show’s runner-up, Lauren Burnham. In a surprise to nobody, Kufrin was then named the next Bachelorette.

In late March, Bounce TV pulled repeats of The Cosby Show off the air, after a Pennsylvania jury found Bill Cosby guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. In September, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

On March 27, Roseanne Barr and the original cast of her sitcom returned to ABC for a reboot of Roseanne. The show scored stratospheric ratings upon its launch — but crashed two months later when Barr was terminated for making a racially charged tweet. The star blamed Ambien for the comment that said Obama White House advisor Valerie Jarrett, who’s black, is what you get when “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby.” Barr repeatedly denied being a racist and later signed over the rights to Roseanne so ABC could launch the spin-off The Conners, which was announced in June and debuted in November.

On April 19, “Gladiators” said goodbye to Kerry Washington’s White House Chief of Staff Olivia Pope, as Scandal ended its aclaimed seven-season run. Jimmy Kimmel dedicated his entire show that night to the swan song of Shonda Rhimes’ show.
 
In May, actor Clayne Crawford was unceremoniously fired from his role as Martin Riggs on Fox’s Lethal Weapon series after he was reportedly disciplined more than once for on-set behavior that included verbal scraps with co-star Damon Wayans. Shortly after Crawford was replaced by Seann William Scott, Wayans himself announced he was leaving she show.

On May 30, FX’s acclaimed spy drama The Americans wrapped. The six-season-old show ended its run with an Emmy win for co-star Matthew Rhys.

In an exclusive interview on ABC’s Good Morning America on June 5, Gretchen Carlson, former Miss America-turned the organization’s chairwoman, announced that the pageant will no longer include the swimsuit and evening gown competitions. She told GMA, “We are not going to judge you on your outward appearance … We are moving it forward and evolving it in this cultural revolution.” The pageant in September, in which Nia Franklin was crowned, was a ratings disappointment.

On June 8, Emmy winner Anthony Bourdain was found dead in France of a suicide at age 61, in the country to shoot his CNN series Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. Both CNN and Travel Channel, which produced his previous hit,  Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, aired marathons of his shows.

In a July New Yorker article by Ronan Farrow, CBS TV president Les Moonves was accused of sexual misconduct by six women. He was dismissed September 9 and although he denied any wrongdoing, an investigation into his conduct continues. Days after he stepped down, Moonves’ wife, Julie Chen, left her co-host chair on The Talk to focus on their family.  CBS in December revealed their investigation found enough evidence of Moonves’ alleged improper conduct — including evidence he allegedly attempted to block the investigation itself — to deny him his contracted $120 million severance.

In July, Adult Swim announced it had ordered 70 new episodes of the beloved animated show Rick and Morty, much to the delight of the show’s fans. 

Speaking of fans’ delight, NBC scooped up Fox’s cop comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine less than 48 hours after Fox pulled the plug on the beloved sitcom. 

On July 19, 29 million Americans made up a global audience of nearly two billion people who watched Britain’s Prince Harry wed former Deal or No Deal model and Suits star Meghan Markle.

September 8, Game of Thrones won the primetime Emmy award for Outstanding Drama, while The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel won five awards, including Outstanding Lead Actress and Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein,  respectively. The show also scored the Outstanding Comedy Series trophy. Other winners included Henry Winkler, winning his first Emmy for his work in HBO’s Barry, and Glenn Weiss, who won the Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special — and then won the hand of his girlfriend, Jan Svendsen, to whom he proposed on stage.  

Also in September, judge Zac Posen and co-hosts Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn announced they were leaving Project Runway. Klum and Gunn subsequently announced a new series for Amazon Video.   

September 27, CBS launched a rebooted Murphy Brown. The series debuted to weak numbers that steadily declined.  

On the flipside, on September 28, Tim Allen’s show Last Man Standing debuted on Fox to solid numbers, a year after ABC cancelled the program. ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey weathered criticism that that decision — and how quickly Roseanne Barr was terminated — were politically motivated, as the stars were supporters of President Trump. Dungey denied the claims.  In their Fox debut, Last Man‘s cast made in-episode jokes about the show’s cancellation and rebirth on another network.  In November, Dungey resigned her position at ABC, with Netflix announcing in December that Netflix had hired her as vice president of original content. 

In November, Netflix’s House of Cards returned for its sixth and final season. The show’s cast weathered the 2017 termination of former star Kevin Spacey amid multiple sexual misconduct claims against him. For the final season, his character, President Frank Underwood, was killed off off screen; his onscreen wife, Robin Wright, took the mantle of show lead and onscreen president for the series’ final season.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.