Issue #14: Feeling It Like Two TV Queens
Andy Cohen's Drunken Discontent and Betty White's Cock-Eyed Optimism
Oof. It has been a rough couple of weeks here on Planet Earth. Omicron has usurped power and (in my peculiar, pop culture obsessed head) has morphed into Debbie Harry singing, “One way or another, I’m gonna getcha, getcha, getcha.” I don’t think I am alone in this (except for personifying Omicron as Debbie Harry). Most of us have crawled under metaphorical rocks, peeking out every once in a while, hoping to see something good. Unfortunately, the good stuff is hard to spot these days.
Even movies, television shows, and entertainment stories have been bleak. I had a panic attack watching the in-your-face apocalyptic tale, Don’t Look Up, and I overidentified with an unhinged Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter. The news of Betty White’s gone-too-soon-at-99 passing made me cry, and I gasped at the hope-lit-on-fire twist in the most recent episode of Yellowjackets. ‘Entertainment’ over the holidays did not provide the solace I was looking for.
But, it is my job to find the sparks of entertainment in this dumpster fire, and, lucky for me, Andy Cohen let off some hilarious verbal fireworks during CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live.
I also found sparks of joy in the media’s coverage of the life of Betty White. Watching clips of her television performances and her interviews with the likes of Joan Rivers brought more much-needed laughter into my life.
Andy Cohen once referred to Betty White as “The Queen Of Television.” She lovingly replied, “You say that to me, and I say that to you.”
This week I finally found the channels to laughter, rage, grief and optimism through these two television queens.
Andy Cohen Said Happy FKN New Year
Andy Cohen has always been able to hold his liquor (or blow or weed or a combo of all three), but it looks like Mr. Omicron strolled on in and said, “Let’s weaken this guy’s substance tolerance and give the people the NYE show they deserve!” The television host recently recovered from a second round of COVID and got his drank on in a BIG way! He left co-host Anderson Cooper in fits of giggles as he blasted Mark Zuckerberg, the rock band Journey, and Mayor Bill de Blasio. He also, unwittingly, created Ryan Seacrest’s villain origin story.
The CNN NYE Live audience always focuses on sober-every-other-day-of-the-year Anderson’s bewildered facial expressions as Andy pours him shot after shot. We love watching Anderson toss the tequila back, gulping and shaking his head like a near-drowned cat.
But at 11:20 p.m., it became clear that Andy Cohen had surprisingly surpassed Anderson’s drunkenness when he let loose on Instagram’s owner, Mark Zuckerburg, for “messing with” his mind on the time-sucking app.
At 11:39 p.m., Andy turned around and shot verbal taunts at his NYE host competitor, Ryan Seacrest, and “his group of losers” on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on ABC. LMFAO! Who knows how much he has since had to pay in reparations to Ry-Ry, ABC and his bestie, Kelly Ripa?!?!
Andy had another outburst at 11: 47 p.m. He unleashed his grief-masked-as-fury about Journey’s long-ago lead singer replacement of Steve Perry with Arnel Pineda. He referred to the Perry-less group as “fake Journey” and “propaganda.”
Fresh into 2022, at precisely 12:04 a.m., Andy Cohen gave the drunken, raging, I’ve-had-it-up-to-hear-with-the-pandemic-and-lack-of-leadership monologue we all needed. He blasted outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio by saying, “Watching Mayor de Blasio do his ‘victory lap’ dance after four years of the crappiest job as the mayor of New York! The only thing that the Democrats and the Republicans can agree on is what a horrible mayor he has been. So, Sayonara, Sucka! 2022! It’s a new year!”
I cannot claim to know much about Mayor de Blasio or how he ran New York. However, I know that I am currently living under the reign of Doug Ford, the Premier of Ontario, who is deplorable, incompetent, and immoral. Andy Cohen’s rant gave voice to every ounce of rage I have (mostly) been holding in for two years. What a thrill! What a relief!
Thank you, alcohol. Thank you, live television. Thank you, Andy Cohen. I needed this drunken display of rage and grief. Happy FKN 2022!
Seeing Betty White’s Sunny Side Of Life
The true Queen of Television, Betty White, left this earth on December 31, 2021, just weeks shy of her 100th birthday. The beloved star of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls, and Hot In Cleveland had very recently been in the news as People prematurely published a cover story celebrating her upcoming milestone birthday. In that article, Betty White referred to herself as a cock-eyed optimist.
Our collective optimism blew out when news of Betty White’s December 31st death spread like wildfire just hours before the 2022 New Year’s Eve celebrations. It felt like her death was 2021’s almost purposeful, last kick in the gut. But Betty didn’t view life that way and neither should we.
Betty White died at the age of 99. She was born just after women first gained civil rights in America in 1920. She lived through the Great Depression, WWI and WWII, the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, the AIDS crisis, the Gulf War, 9/11, the Iraq War, the Trump era, and, finally, a pandemic. Imagine the things she saw and heard throughout her lifetime. Imagine the range of feelings she must have felt as she lived through all of these eras. Unless she was superhuman (which she might well have been), Betty must have felt fear, rage, and hopelessness at different points in her life. But she didn’t publicly let those feelings fuel her. She was purposeful about projecting kindness, awareness, humor, and optimism throughout her long life.
Betty White made changes to the world when and how she could. She uplifted the career of Arthur Duncan, a young Black tap dancer in 1954, she was an AIDS activist who worked closely with the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and she was a vocal supporter of gay marriage. She famously shared her love for animals with the world and spent a lot of her wealth on the preservation of wildlife and the protection of domestic animals.
In these tumultuous, uncertain times, we could all use a little bit of wisdom from someone who lived so well for so long. So here are some Betty White quotes to ignite purpose and optimism.
"Everybody needs a passion. That’s what keeps life interesting. If you live without passion, you can go through life without leaving any footprints.” - From Betty White's 2011 memoir, If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won't)
"I'm not preaching, but maybe I learned it from my animal friends: kindness and consideration for somebody besides yourself. And I think that keeps you feeling young. I really do." - CBS Sunday Morning, 2011
“I know it sounds corny, but I try to see the funny side and the upside, not the downside. I get bored with people who complain about this or that. It’s such a waste of time.” —Parade, 2018
"It's your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly and don't take yourself too seriously, pretty soon, you can find the humor in our everyday lives. And sometimes it can be a lifesaver.” - Chicago Tribune, 2011
"You better realize how good life is while it's happening, because before you know it, it will all be gone." - People, 1999
The Betty White Challenge
The #BettyWhiteChallenge is a charitable movement inspiring fans to celebrate Betty White’s life by donating to one of her favorite organizations: The Los Angeles Zoo, Tree People, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Wildlife Learning Center, Actors and Animals for Others, The Aquarium of the Pacific and Guide Dogs For the Blind. Participate if you can!!!
A Toast To Betty
Wherever you are right now, whatever time it is, grab your coffee, water, Diet Coke, or Tequila and raise a glass to Betty.
Share your favorite Betty White memories here:
Thank you, Betty, for your courage, kindness, talent, and optimism. We will learn from your legacy - a life well-lived.
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