In the four-part follow-up to his 'African-American Lives' series, Gates traces the lineages of a number of celebrity guests via the use of both old-fashioned digging -- documents, genealogical investigations -- and cutting-edge genome research. Some of the guests include Eva Longoria, Yo Yo Ma, Stephen Colbert, Malcolm Gladwell, Dr. Oz and Meryl Streep.
Professor Gates and I talked mostly about what he found surprising about his research, and what guests were most surprised by their lineages. Of course, I also asked him about the aftermath of the "beer summit" with President Obama and James Crowley, the Cambridge police officer who arrested him for breaking into his own house last summer. You'd be surprised what the officer gave Professor Gates as a keepsake of the incident.
"Ebony and Irony": The Whistlin' Dixie was all right. Reverend Al Sharpton was a good sport for agreeing to come on The Daily Show. This must have been such a crazy subject to talk about. I think both the Reverend and Jon handled it very well.
1. Be a man - preferably a Catholic or a Jew. (More guilt = More funny)
2. Go to Harvard. (Legacy, class privilege, whatever it takes to get you there.)
3. Write for the Lampoon.
That's it. Within a year or two of graduation, you should be writing for Conan, The Daily Show, SNL, The Office or The Simpsons. Guaranteed. Or, is it? Certain Yalies are looking to challenge Harvard's stranglehold on the writer's room. The Yale Daily News paints a picture of Yale's growing influence on comedy or, at least, Comedy Central. The article name-checks Yalies Lewis Black, Demetri Martin, John Hodgman, Daily Show writer Steve Bodow and Colbert Report head writer Allison Silervman. Hodgman offered, "By accident, maybe there is the beginning of a similar - extremely feeble - Yale network of professionals that may give the aspiring comedy writer on Cross Campus a glimmer of hope." And, so the elitist pissing contest commences.
For those of you who want to pursue a career in comedy and can't afford the Ivy route, you will be happy to know that Jon Stewart attended the College of William and Mary, Tina Fey is a woman and Bob Odenkirk is an atheist.
As I pointed out in my "early look" at the show, I think Nate has a bit of leg up on the other geeks. He fronts a band, which automatically makes him a tad more extroverted than, say, Mario, the guy with 25,000 comics. My guess is that Nate cleans up pretty well, too. Not that he should let the show temper his fashion sense. Honestly, most of these geeks are pretty freaking cool dudes. (Heck, Neils is even a professional dating coach now.) They may give the state college sorority sisters the willies, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a few hipsters chicks throwing up a fan site or two. I've got dibs on www.TeamPiao.com.
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane spoke to Harvard's graduating class last Wednesday, but it wasn't part of commencement. Instead, it was for Class Day, which takes place the day before graduation ceremonies and was created to be a more relaxing send off for seniors than the "real" ceremony. MacFarlane addressed the crowd as several of the characters he plays on the show, including Stewie, Peter, and Quagmire. MacFarlane didn't attend Harvard, but he told the crowd he had been secretly living among them. Sounds like a pretty cool speech, but I'm not sure anything can top Conan O'Brien's address to the Class of 2000.
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