Feb 18, 2011

Join Celebritology bloggers Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly to gab about the latest celebrity gossip and pop culture news making waves across the Web.

Sorry about having to postpone the chat from the usual Thursday timeslot, but I was dealing with a very sick eight-month-old baby yesterday and, since I really wanted to chat this week, convinced Jen to move it to today. Thank you Jen, and thanks to everyone for the flexibility.

Part of the reason I wanted to chat is because this will be my penultimate live chat here at washingtonpost.com. Those of you who aren't Facebook friends might not know, but I've accepted a new job with Zap2It.com as the lead blogger for their newly-launched pop culture/celeb news blog, Pop2It.com. I'll be covering much of the same territory I've covered with Celebritology, but also taking on some TV show coverage duties.

So, my last day at Celebritology will be Monday, Feb. 28 -- the day after the Academy Awards and five years to the day since I launched Celebritology back in 2006 with a tentative post about the previous night's Oscar broadcast. I will miss all of you, but especially Jen. The good news -- I leave you in Jen's WAY capable hands. Plus. I'll still be around, just at a different site. So add another bookmark.

Obviously this is wonderful news for Liz, but heartbreaking news for me, and the Post as well.

There are many things I love about Liz but perhaps the biggest one is her generosity. In a newsroom, and a media culture in general, where people can sometimes be territorial and motivated by ego, Liz never has been. She let me in here to blog about "Lost" and eventually, to become her partner, not to mention friend.

I am forever indebted to her for that. And I will miss her terribly, as I know our readers will.

But I will do my best to keep bringing you all the entertainment/pop culture/celebrity news and analysis you've become accustomed to in Celebritology. I just may be crying more frequently behind the scenes.

You started off so well. You were promising. But then I began to loathe you, what with your Goop, your affected british accent, your general "I'm better than you and let me teach you how to imitate me" attitude. It was visceral, But then, you join in the gigantic pile of awesome that was Cee-lo's grammy performance and all is forgiven. I love you again. Also, was it just me or did Cee-lo look like the bastard love child of Elmo and Elton John?

Well said. And it was not just you. I also noted the Elmo-Elton combo comparison in one of my Grammy posts.

Their vocals didn't sound as strong as they normally do. But all the nuttiness around them -- the Muppets! The feathers! Paltrow's taller-than-Gene Simmons-shoes -- made up for it.

I'm on the praise train, too. And if you've been watching "Idol," Cee-Lo and Gwynnie sounded like angels compared to some of the tone deaf wanna-bes who tried to nail the song during group competition.

Liz, I hope Desmond is feeling better!

Soooo, remind me again what the Kim K/Paris H feud was all about? Does anyone care that they "made up"? Does anyone aside from the Kardashian family care whether whichever one of them had a baby (I can never keep them straight), marries the baby daddy?

Thank you. Desmond is feeling much better today. It was apparently a 12-hour bug. It was an intense 12 hours, but we got through them and the little guy is tired -- but happy and healthy -- today.

I honestly can't remember what the beef was between Kim and Paris. I think maybe Paris thought Kim was riding her coattails or some BS.

So I'm reading the article about Jessica Alba being pregnant with baby #2, And I get to the list of her film "credits" that includes: "Little Fockers," "Fantastic Four," "The Love Guru" and "Meet Bill." She also starred on TV's "Dark Angel." I think that pretty much speaks for itself. And the list doesn't even include Good Luck Chuck!

Hey, she also was in "Valentine's Day." Wait, that probably isn't helping matters...

Why wasn't Hailee Steinfeld nomonated for Best Actress instead of Best Supporting Actress for her role in True Grit? She was the True Star of the Movie.

Good question.

The reason is that Paramount, the studio, campaigned for her in the best supporting category, presumably based on the logic that, as young first-timer, her odds were better for a nod in this category than the formidable lead actress. Clearly her performance is a leading one -- the whole plot of True Grit revolves around her character and she's in just about every scene.

But that's Oscar politics. Now, of course, the voters could still have chosen to nominate her as best actress; the studio's campaign is a suggestion, but no one has to follow it. In this case, though, the voters did.

Speaking of Oscars, film critic Ann Hornaday and I shot a series of Oscar prediction videos, which go live on the site starting Monday. There will be a new one each day next week.

And if you're at home on a Friday night -- this one in particular -- there's an Academy Award preview airing tonight on WETA that features some of my movie critic friends. I'm in it, too. But I plan to fast-forward past my own shots on the DVR.

What is Gene Weingarten going to do without you at washingtonpost.com?!

What he's been doing for the last year or so -- working with other producers.

THANK YOU for bringing this article to our attention. What did you think when you started reading it? Disbelief? Glee?

GQ had flagged us on the profile, as magazines tend to do, with a variety of reporters/bloggers who cover the celeb beat. But I hadn't gotten a chance to read it.

Then Dan Kois -- frequent critic for the Post, Vulture contributor, pop culture genius --posted something on Facebook about  it. And I thought, okay, I need to circle back and check that out.

It's one of the best magazine profiles I've read: surprising, hilarious, shows you a side of the celeb you don't ordinarily see, etc. Jessica Pressler did an amazing job.

So, in short, my main reaction was glee.


You are going up against Hax!?!?! How can I possibly follow both chats live AND pretend I'm doing work? You're killing me here . . .

This is what multiple tabbed browsers are made for. Besides, Carolyn takes some time to think before sending out her answers. Unlike Jen and I, who just speed-blather. So there's plenty of time to keep up with both.

So I'm an actor and I acheive moderate, if short lived, success in a couple of movies or a TV show. Then nothing. I didn't make enough to retire on and I'm still kind of famous. What next? Do I get a real job? Continue to work in the industry in some other capacity? I'm thinking someone like, I don't know, Mischa Barton. Or Phillip Michael Thomas. (How often do you hear them mentioned together?) Haley Joel Osmet maybe?

You show up at events like Comic-Con (if you're, say, Erik Estrada or Lori Petty) and sell autographs for $25. Or, Like Ed Begley, Jr., you find a cause -- like going green -- and build a career around that on basic cable. Or, like Eric Roberts, you say yes to everything that comes your way and hope that -- some day -- THE show will come along for you.

Or door No. 4: you start doing stuff online (Web series, Funny or Die videos, blogging, tweeting) and hoping you can parlay that into other work.

Oh, and door No. 5: You purposely try to show up on TMZ or gossip blogs so that your name continues to circulate. If possible, you create a perfume or a clothing line and pray that blows up.

Honestly, there are so many options.

Liz, I am happy for you but sad you're leaving. I have been enjoying your witty comments since the days when you produced Carolyn Hax's chats. But I do appreciate that you waited to leave until after Lost ended--I don't know how I could have taken it otherwise. How did Gene Weingarten react to the news?

Dude, I even waitied until after "Lost" ended to have my baby. That's one thing I don't mess with.

Gene cried like a big baby. Not really. He expressed his dismay until I reminded him that the bulk of our relationship is conducted in Google chat anyway so, really, nothing's gonna change for us.

Aaaw, thanks. - Jen (there's a million of us, you know)

Well, I did have a specific Jen in mind. But, hey, take it if you need it!

I just don't understand the appeal of Lady Gaga. I don't think she's particularly talented. She just strikes me as being rather pathetic in her attempts to be outrageous and draw as much attention to herself as possible. I gag everytime I see a posting on her because I just don't think she's worthy - just annoying. What do you think her appeal is? I agree that Madonna also tried (tries?) to be shocking at times but at least she's got the talent to back her up.

I could not have said it better myself. My fondest wish is for Gaga's 15 minutes to be over. But we live in a world where Snooki won't even go away.


Though, truth be told, I don't want Snooki to go away -- or any of the rest of the "Jersey Shore" folks.

See, I'd much rather have Snooki go away than Gaga.

I agree that the "look at me! I'm in an egg now!" routine can get a little silly. And I think there's no question that Gaga is derivative of Madonna.

I don't think she's talentless, though. And one thing I do like about her is that I think she brought back a bit of the weirdness in pop music that was a trademark of the '80s and started to disappear.

I know I am dating myself, but the '80s was a time when "outrageousness" -- men in make-up, people with big hair, Madonna and Cyndi Lauper wackiness -- was omnipresent. It distracted from the music, in some cases, but it was fun.

And I think Gaga has brought back a bit of that sense of fun more effectively than anyone else, even if she pushes it to ridiculous extremes sometimes.

to whom will we direct our complaints about the (choose all that apply) (a) frequency (b) timing (c) content of the Morning/Daily/Afternoon mix now? Best of luck and all that, but I don't know if you know this: I have a regular job and I can't be surfing all over the internet's half-acre looking at this stuff, Liz Kelly. - byoolin

Byoo -- surely you can manage to check in with both Celebritology AND Pop2It on a daily basis. You can help Jen and I keep tabs on each other. It will be like a celeb news arms race. I'll be all like "WHAT? Jen posted on Bieber again. BLAT. Take that. Two Bieber posts in a row back atcha!"

Yes, let's after years of cooperation, let's turn our relationship into an entertainment blogging arms race. That's an awesome idea, Liz!

As for your complaints, I guess you're going to have to direct them to me. As I have no doubt you will.

I always thought Gwyneth's mother Blythe Danner was a lovely lady; I wonder how she feels about Gwyn's new image? I hope that Kourtney Kardashian dumps that jerk Scott Disick, and I usually believe that a baby's parents should be married to each other. Not in this case, however. I think they made the right call on Hallee. She has many years to win a best actress Oscar. Jessica Alba was in Sin City, which was a very good movie (mmmm, Clive Owen!)

I don't think Blythe has any reason to be disappointed in Gwyneth. It's not like she's doing Chateau Marmont with Lindsay Lohan.

And thank you for your thoughts on the other three items, as well. Agreed re: Sin City.

Ditto on Gwyneth and Sin City. Forgot about her involvement in that one for a second there.

Losing Gene's weekly chats was bad, but it is a real blow to have Liz heading off into the sunset. Jen is a fine blogger, but we will so miss Liz's trademark snark and joie de vivre. Life in cubicle world is pretty grim sometimes,and Celebritologists are a surefire way to add a chuckle or smirk to the day. Not to mention those of us who have come to love the updates on Andy, Opie and Paige. Maybe a final family portrait could be provided?

Jen is more than a fine blogger. She's going to take extremely good care of the blog and the readers. She's got plenty of her own snark and, umm, joie de vivre. Seriously -- I may no longer be writing the blog a little over a week from now, but I will be one of its most loyal readers. Why? Because Jen's that good.

Maybe if you ask nice she'll start sharing pictures of her dog.

I might be able to be moved on the dog issue. Casey, my beagle-mix, is awfully cute. And his photo was published in the Post with a Travel story I wrote once, so I can be swayed here.

See, I'm willing to work with the readers here.

And thank you, Liz, for the kind words.

I do need it today, thank you.

You are very welcome. Did I mention that all Jens of the world will be able to get continued support from me at Pop2It starting on March 7?

Please please please please tell me it's true! Is it coming back to TV??

The reruns are, yes. On the Science Channel.

RIP, Uncle Leo.

Agreed. A moment of silence for Len Lesser.

Yesterday Jen was going to post about her favorite peripheral Seinfeld characters, but since I bagged out with barf boy, she didn't have time.

I say we build that list here. Now. I'll start:

David Putty

My all-time favorite, without question, is Estelle Costanza.

I'm also partial to Babu Bhatt and Crazy Joe Davola. Seriously, if your name is Joe, the odds are good that at some point -- at least in my private thoughts -- I will refer to you as Crazy Joe Davola.

Maybe we can hope, in the future, for an inter-company cross-over, at Comic-Con, with Liz and Jen being DC and Marvel, putting out a special Superman vs Spider-Man comic.

I do believe I will be at Comic-Con this year -- after all, it's only a little ways down the road from L.A. If Jen is there, I think we should totally host a meet-up or a happy hour together.

That would be awesome. It wasn't the same at Comic-Com last year sans Liz.

Maybe we can also hop on a Lost meet-up bandwagon. I went to one last year of Lost podcasters and it was very fun. There was a lot of beer drinking and discussing of the finale.

Please leave us with a passel of photos of them before you leave, Liz.

Next week I will be sure to have plent of photos on hand. And remember, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter. Next week I'll make sure you have crystal clear ways to find me.

Liz, will you be a Celebritologist at your new location, or is that career path trademarked by the Washington Post?

That is a certification issued only by The Washington Post, unfortunately. I will be an Associate Editor in my new life even though I'll mainly be writing.

But -- once a Celebritologist, always a Celebritologist. It's like the mob -- you're in for life. 

Even though Liz invented the concept, the name stays with the Post.

I feel like I am taking over someone else's property. Whereas when Liz was on maternity leave, I was merely squatting.

Did you know Lady Gaga is from Ork?

I thought she was from Manhattan. Similar, I guess.

You become a producer.

Very good point. Or a director -- like Henry Winkler, who I believe has tried his hand at both.

Or, yet another option, you make a nuisance of yourself on Twitter. This strategy has worked effectively for both Scott Baio and Kirstie Alley.

On the directing front, it seems like that career turn works better for actors who have some artistic clout. The desperate don't generally get the opportunity to helm an entire movie by themselves.

Not that Henry Winkler was desperate, I'm just tying this back to our original question, about low-level actors who stop getting work.

But now I can wear pleated pants again. And watch Diane Keaton movies. (wait, maybe I won't go that far.)

What? I leave and you backslide? I may need to reconsider...

I am anti-pleats as well, despite some of the pants I wore in the '90s. So don't think that sort of behavior will be tolerated just because Liz is leaving.

First of all, yay and congrats to Liz and Co! We'll miss you, but it sounds like you're moving on to exciting new things. So will WaPo be bringing another writer to handle all the splenderiferous insanity that is Celebritology's turf? Are we going to see more guest posts?

These are excellent questions, Bawlmer. If -- to tie this in with our Seinfeld conversation -- I can talk like Jimmy for a moment: Jen has similar questions. Jen wants to know the answers to these questions, too. Jen is worried about having a heart attack sometime pre-St. Patrick's Day.

If I can talk like Elaine for a second, "GET OUT!" You're going to be fine, Chaney.

You're moving to LA?

Indeed. The whole famdamily.

I was gratified to see so much enthusiasm for the Watson-vs.-humans showdown on "Jeopardy!" It restored my faith in the America I'm old enough to remember from the '60s space-race.

I thought the enthusiasm level was great, too, but I was underwhelmed by the shows themselves. And I am a BIG Jeopardy fan. The whole thing came off as an infomercial for IBM and I think something needed to be done to level out the playing field in terms of buzzer timing. Although Ken Jennings was online earlier this week (his chat was really a good read, I recommend it) and said it was fair, I still think Watson had an unfair advantage when it comes to buzzing. Also, he was soulless and I'm convinced he is just a terminator hiding behind a happy avatar. And Jennings admitted that the entire audience was made up of IBM employees and shareholders. So it gave the whole broadcast a feeling of overwhelming support for Watson. I , for one, was glad to get back to normal play last night -- even if it was the teen tournament.

Jen, Have you seen the Illusionist? Saw it today, but thought it didn't measure up to The Triplets of Belleville. Still, happy to have seen it in the theater and not have to wait for video and it wasn't just yet another CGI animated picture with talking animals or fairy tale redux.

That's one of the few Oscar movies I missed. Trying to play catch up with the outliers as much as I can before I head to the Big Movie Dance.

I would like to check it out, definitely.


Let's not have any more grumbling about Jen Chaney and her stewardship of Celebritology: remember, it's Liz Kelly who left us, just as sure as Amanda Seyfert left Ryan Phillippe. It's Zap2It that stole Liz Kelly away from WaPo, just like Angelina stole Brad Pitt from Jennifer Aniston. But if I know anything - and I believe that's a distinct possibility - I know that as sure as God made little green apples, I know that Jen Chaney will be a darn fine solo Celebritologist, and I also know that she'll give us all what we so desperately want and need right now: pictures of Scarlett Johansson and Daniel Craig. Now, are we gonna sit here and moan, or are we gonna make fun of people who are famous?

So, wait... am I Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt in this scenario?

Liz, I believe you are Brad Pitt, Zap 2 It is Angelina Jolie and I'm ... Jennifer Aniston?

So that means I'm in "Just Go With It"?

Actually, that makes sense since that describes our plan going forward for handling Celebritology duties.

See? It all makes a perfect circle.

Did I really see a blurb about Jake Gyllenhahl and Jennifer Aniston being seen together at some recent events? Both of them seem to have such --err-- peripatetic dating patterns, but this seemed really odd. Perhaps I dreamed it?

Or perhaps their PR teams dreamed it.

I'm partial to Mr. Bookman, the library police officer.

Bookman was awesome and I believe he turned up in a cameo on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" last season.

As a fan of film noir, it was really fun seeing Bookman spinning the role of hotel detective into library detective. Whenever Mr. Liz and I watch old movies I am just filled with questions about the hotel detectives. Did they really need to hire their own detectives? Were hotels THAT mysterious in the '30s and '40s?

Yes, that's the brilliant Philip Baker Hall. The library police officer is one of the sharper moments from the early eps of Seinfeld.

Does this move mean Liz is literally going Hollywood on us? (Referring to the reference to Comic-con as being just down the road from LA)

Yep, we're going to Hollywood! But I assure you Steven Tyler, J. Lo and Randy Jackson had no part in this decision.

Scarlett Johansson

Here's your Scarlett Johansoon photo, BTW. Per your request.

Who will share my love of offbeat leading men, like Billy Crudup, Aiden Quinn, Gary Oldman, etc? I do like Bradley Cooper, so Jen and I do have that in common. Good luck Liz and I'll be bookmarking your new site.

I like all those leading men you mentioned. Don't worry, we can still bond over these matters.

Whatever happened to her vow to fight cancer or MS or help young girls with their self-esteem? Or was that just jail house chatter?

I think those plans went the same way as her vow to stop going to parties. So, yes, redemptive-sounding post-jail chatter.

Become an evangelist.

Good answer. Thanks for stopping by, Kirk Cameron.

Will Justin Bieber go Miley Cyrus on us and have a topless Annie Leibovitz photo shoot?

The thing is, I'm not sure what we'd find under his shirt.

Are you moving to LA for your new job? Congrats - you will be missed at the Post (but we are glad Jen is staying).

Well, truth be told, Jen is going to L.A., too. Next Thursday... to cover the Oscars. But -- key difference -- she'll be coming back.

That's it for this week. Next week, back to our regular day and time. And hopefully Jen will be able to join us -- though she may be en route to Oscar land.

I will do my best to be here for Liz's last chat, but this will indeed depend on the Wifi signal on Virgin Airlines.

Hopefully we'll both talk to you then. But Liz, at least, definitely will. And that's the more important thing since it's her last discussion.

To pseudo-quote Troy McClure, we'll end this program with what you really want: semi-nudity! (Fine, celebrities in bathing suits. Same thing.)


Daniel Craig

In This Chat
Jen Chaney
An accredited Celebritologist, Jen focuses on pop culture news and trends in the entertainment world.

In addition to overseeing movie content for the Post's Web site, she also writes regularly about film, DVDs and stars of screens large and small.

When she isn't blogging or at the movies, she's ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.

Celebritology Live Archive
Liz Kelly
Accredited Celebritologist Liz Kelly monitors the ups, downs and in-betweens of the stars. She is uniquely qualified to write this blog because of her alarming interest in celebrities and pop culture -- and because Sandra Bullock, Shirley MacLaine and Warren Beatty attended her high school (not at the same time, but still...)
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