What a Week! Jan. 11-17

British TV network Sky Arts pulled an episode of 'Urban Myths' starring Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson; Barack Obama surprised best bro Biden with a parting gift; Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is retiring after 146 years.


Members of the media flooded into Trump Tower Wednesday to have Donald Trump yell “fake news!” at them for an hour. It was Trump’s first press conference as president-elect, his first ever since July and probably the first time piss play has been alluded to by a future commander in chief in a room full of reporters. After all, on Tuesday night BuzzFeed published an unverified dossier that alleged Trump is in Russia’s pocket because (essentially) they caught him in a Russian hotel hiring prostitutes to urinate on a bed the Obamas had once slept in. But don’t worry, it’s fine, Donnie T assured us. He’d never do anything like that — because he’s a germaphobe. Now if we can only convince Trump that tweeting can expose a person to the germs of everyone on Twitter… Ben Carson, a little help, doc?


President Barack Obama (oof, we’re gonna miss that) surprised his best bro with a parting gift Thursday, awarding Joe Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction. And seriously, Obama referred to Biden as “my brother.” Biden was visibly surprised, thinking he was just attending a private farewell gathering. Both men discussed their admiration of the other — their relationship evolving over the years from that of Democratic opponents vying for the nomination in 2008, to running mates, to subjects of bromance fan-fiction. The scene was an emotional example of Barack-n-Biden’s friendship and generally why so many people love them and are less enthused by their incoming replacements. We’re not crying, you’re crying! (It’s OK, Papa Joe did too.) This gives us an idea for Obama’s post-presidency plans: Host a reality show organizing surprise parties. Biden periodically shows up unannounced to give the toast. It can be called The Party Line!


The idea of white Brit Joseph Fiennes playing Michael Jackson on TV was problematic enough when it was first announced a year ago. British TV network Sky Arts casted Fiennes for an episode of the series Urban Myths about the rumored cross-country roadtrip that Jackson had taken with Elizabeth Taylor or Marlon Brando when 9/11 shut down the country’s air travel. (This story was widely disputed.) But the image of Fiennes in Neverland Ranch drag seen in the trailer that debuted this week was downright terrifying. Michael’s daughter Paris Jackson spoke for all of us when she tweeted out in opposition of the portrayal. By Friday, Sky Arts announced it would pull the episode in light of Jackson’s family’s concerns, with Fiennes’ full support. It was the luckiest Friday the 13th ever, preventing audiences around the world from having to stare down Fiennes’ scary Silly Putty nose.


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is retiring its 146-year-old “Greatest Show on Earth” FOR-EV-ER this May, after phasing out its live elephant acts last year. First SeaWorld’s Shamu shows, now the circus? You’d think people don’t like watching trained wild animals perform in cramped, unnatural quarters or something! Another example of Millennials ruining everything.


Another day, another dollar South Asian-American actor mixup by the press. In a Vox story about the new Netflix series Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, the writer explained that Aziz Ansari played the character Monty. But, oops, wrong brown guy. Monty is played formerDaily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi. Completely different person Aziz Ansari starred in Parks and Recreation, does not appear in Lemony Snicket and is about 20 years younger than Mandvi. After some call-outs on Twitter, Vox updated the story. But since it bears repeating: Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani is not Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar. Harold & Kumar’s Kal Penn is not Lion star Dev Patel. The Mindy Project’s Mindy Kaling is not teenage Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai. Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi is not music artist M.I.A. King of twists M. Night Shyamalan is not former One Directioner Zayn Malik.


This Monday, the country observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day — wait, what’s that? WTF is Great Americans Day? No, it’s not a day to celebrate the insurance company behind the Reds stadium and Cincinnati’s tiara. It’s a state holiday in Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama that serves as a dual b-day celebration for MLK… and REL — Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It would have flown under the internet’s radar if it weren’t for an innocuous post on the city of Biloxi’s social accounts, which prompted echoes of “da fuh?” Biloxi City Council voted unanimously Monday morning to change the holiday back to MLK Day, proving once and for all that roasting someone online can lead to fruitful consequences.


Do you remember a movie from the 1990s in which comedian Sinbad played a genie? In the latest evidence of a parallel universe since the Berenstein/Berenstain Bears saga of 2015, people who claim to recall this flick have taken to Twitter and Reddit threads to discuss the existence of the film — or lack thereof. Check Sinbad’s IMDb page and it’s clear he never starred as a genie in some live-action Aladdin shit. The movie does not exist. Some people have vivid memories of the movie’s storyline, others remember it being titled Shazam. Of course, those people are probably thinking of 1996 comedy Kazaam, which starred Shaquille O’Neal as a genie. (White people have a very difficult time differentiating any two brown people, OK?) Sinbad himself has chimed in on the topic, claiming after reading the accounts that even he doesn’t know what to believe now. Or maybe he’s just from another dimension and he’s trolling us further...

CONTACT T.C. BRITTON: [email protected]

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