The Reliable Source Live

Mar 05, 2014

Washington Post columnists Helena Andrews and Emily Heil were online to discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

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Past Reliable Source chats

Hey chatters! Let's dive right in -- Oscars! The Aretha show at the White House this week! Celeb spotting! Snow gripes... 


And as a refresher, here are some of our posts from  this week: 


Shark Tank’ star Mark Cuban spotted at the W Hotel

Aretha v. Beyonce

Marion Barry to motorcades: ‘This is excessive!!’

Jared Leto’s Oscar speech: ‘Drive-by’ politics


So does Lindsey Lohan's new "reality" show on the Oprah network mark a new low in her career? A quick look at her IMDB page doesn't show her working on anything in 2014 and mostly cameos in 2013. Is her move career over?

Well you know what they say, from the bottom there's nowhere to go but up--or something. Our colleague, the amazing Emily Yahr dissected the Lindsay trailer, which will be available for the next 48 hours so watch it while you can before the show's Sunday debut, and in a word: sad. From what I saw the best part of that show will be Oprah calling Lindsay out on her "b-------" James Frey-style. 

Since you're new here, I don't know whether you realize that some of us, led by Ex-Sourcette Roxanne Roberts, belong to the Carl Kassel Fan Club (Rox has been among the rotating panelists on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" for several years, while the rest of us are devoted NPR listeners who recall Carl since his dawn-patrol news-reading shifts on "Morning Edition"). Anyhow, Carl's retiring from "Wait, Wait" and we're all going to miss him terribly. May I recommend this brief homage by one of the show's charter panelists, Charlie Pierce? Link:

I've been a huge fan of Rox's dry humor on the show for years!

And as a fellow fan of "Wait, Wait" I'm heartened to hear that Kasell is going to make a few cameos, so we won't go into complete withdrawl.  And he'll still be taping those voicemail messages! The NPR memo about his retirement says that he's done 2200 of them! 

Also, apologies in advance for the weird fonts/formatting of my answers, chatters. No idea what's going on. Heads will roll! Or not. 

Did some hair transplant doctor accidentally puncture Travolta's brain ? That was weird. But on the other hand have you tried to "Travolta-ize" your name on Slate. I'm Shae Gadbrooks !

In Travolta-ese Helena Andrews gets translated to Harrison Ajams! And I LOVE it. I'm not sure what was going on when teh 'Grease' star mangled the incomparable Indina Menzel's moniker. The woman originated the role of Mimi in 'Rent' for crying out loud! (Can you tell I'm a Browadway nerd? Still mad about the cancellation of 'Smash'?) Maybe he was nervous? Maybe the teleprompter, which sometimes spells things phonetically, threw him off? I don't know. But that blip was priceless. 

So who is hotter? Tom Hiddleston, who appears to be the current Facebook darling, or Bandersnatch Cumberbund, who got to be on stage at the Oscars? I vote for Tom, but I'd love to see them go head to head in a movie (besides War Horse, that is).

First, just want to say that I love that my job involves comparing the relative merits of British hunks.  

I'm all for Sir Cumerbatch, myself, perhaps because I've never actually seen Hiddelston in anything. (Or have I? Maybe he's one of those actors who you've seen in a thousand things but never knew his name?). 

Also, I present as persuasive evidence of Cumerbatch's superiority: that U2 photobomb during the Oscars. He's just charming like that.  

If I didn't know any better, I'd swear that Joe S. and Mika B. are an item. At the Vanity Fair party on Sunday, as they were walking the red carpet, it seemed to me that she had taken his arm. He's twice divorced, but where is her husband?? They didn't have enough room to accommodate him at VF's shindig?

The VF shindig is super hard to get into, plus one's included. I hear Harvey Weinstein, arguably one of the most powerful movie producers there is, can't get his own daughters in. The last time I heard Mika speak she mentioned her husband and family several times AND she also mentioned her "work husband" Joe Scarborough. Those two are very tight. He's even styled her for photo shoots I hear. 

So who would you two thank if you had to go up in front of millions at the Oscars?

Well, I interviewed an actual speechwriter after the Oscars, and he made an good point: the least interesting Oscar acceptance speeches are a list of everyone from your agent to the nice guy at craft services. So it's key not to thank tooo many people.

I'd probably just thank Chad Lowe. Because Hilary Swank didn't, and maybe he still feels bad about it. 

Do we think DC's Mayor for Life was just jealous he doesn't get a motorcade.

Nobody puts Barry in the corner--or makes him wait in traffic. Unless, of course, you're the leader of the free world. I too was waiting on a stalled Metrobus for about 10 minutes on Tuesday due to a VIP motorcade. It's just a necessary annoyance in this town. Very Important People have to leave their homes and the rest of us have to watch them roll by. But 50 minutes does seem excessive. Me think the mayor doth protest a wee bit too much. 

So who would you guys rather see in concert Aretha or Beyonce?

Aretha for sure. But only as a scheduling matter.

The Queen of Soul is 71 and Beyonce is only 32, so I figure I have plenty of time to see a Beyonce show in my life, but who knows how many years Aretha will still be performing?


Barry seems to have forgotten that, when he was Mayor-for-Life, he created a few rather excessive traffic jams himself as his motorcade paraded around town. He would also demand that MPD officers stand guard over his table while he ate. I could speculate as to the reasons why his memory has gotten faulty, but I was brought up to be considerate of the elderly.

Weren't we all! I wasn't a Washingtonian when Marion Barry was running things but I can only imagine how interesting that must have been. 

He played Henry V/Prince Hal in the trilogy The Hollow Crown (with Jeremy Irons as his father Henry IV). He co-starred in Wallendar with Kenneth Branagh (who played Hal 20 years ago!). There's a film version of Tom playing Coriolanus on stage in England. The aforementioned War Horse. But he's amazingly popular for playing Loki in Thor, Thor: The Dark World, and The Avengers. And he has a cameo in Muppets Most Wanted as the Great Escapo! Also season 2 of Cranford.

Thanks! You are like a walking IMDB! And sadly, I think my thesis that I hadn't seen him is correct. Don't think I have seen ANY of these. Perhaps I need a Hiddleston marathon. Which might be possible, since I have finally plowed through House of Cards and am looking for a new binge. 


The best Oscar thank you, hands down, was by Kristen Anderson-Gomez and her EGOT hubby Robert Gomez, for their winning Best Song "Let It Go." So clever, and well-executed.

I totally agree! It was quick, creative and it RHYMED! According to the Internets only 12 people--TWELVE---have EGOT'd, meaning they've won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. And Robert Lopez, who won an Emmy for Scrubs, a Grammy for The Book of Mormon, an Oscar for Frozen and a Tony for Avenue Q, did it in 10 years. That's the shortest EGOT ever. 

Bandersnatch Cummerbund isn't all THAT charming. Have you seen this, where he whines over the travails of hailing from a posh background? The comment at the end of the article, about the similarly oppressed (ha!) Helena Bonham Carter, is definitely NSFW, but right on the money!

Pity poor Benedict! And being posh doesn't seem so bad to me. Better than being Sporty or Baby, at least. 

Seems to me that if he wants different kinds of roles, he needs to pick a part that plays against type. It's been done before, right? 

Seeing another politician with the moniker George Bush makes me throw up a little in my mouth. Do you think I'm being unfair and need antacids or are there many others like me out there ?

You're not the only one. There are more than a few last names that seem to have exhausted some folks--Bush, Clinton, Kennedy. Maybe in 20 years Obama will be added to the list of famous dynasties. 

I'd say Cumberbatch wins in the battle of the Sesame Street Shorts: HIddleston & Cookie Monster Cumberbatch & the Count

Did I mention I love my job?

What do you guys think? #Counterbatch? or #TomNomNom? 

I vote #Counterbatch! 

I can't even remember the last time that I really liked all the acceptances speeches by the major award winners, from Leto's shout-out to people in troubled regions in the world, to McConaughey's thanks to God. Everyone seemed really prepared and sincere. Now, if only they could shrink the show down to size! I was only able to stick around to the bitter end because I already knew that Monday was a snow day.

I think the snow might have given the ratings a boost!

And I agree with you about the speeches. Many this year were surprisingly coherent and even touching. The speechwriter I interviewed made the point that there's NO downside to being prepared and rehearsed in that kind of situation. I mean, I suppose that you're supposed to be so surprised and honored and all that, but the odds that you will have to make a speech are good enough to warrant some rehearsal. 

I remember something in tv a while back with Rita Moreno saying she had won an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony. I don't remember the context, however. It may have been a commercial for something.

Yep, Rita Moreno -- along with Helen Hayes, audrey Hepburn and Whoopi Goldberg --  is also an EGOTer. It's probably one of the most exclusive clubs in the business, seeing as how you've got to be BEYOND talented to get there. From "West Side Story" to 'The Electric Company" Moreno, who also dated Marlon Brando, is a Hollywood icon. 

Also Adams, Byrd (VA.), Long (LA.), Landrieu (LA.), Daley (Chicago), Brown (CA.)...

While some peoople might be exhauseted by a well-known name, a political dynasty is generally a huge plus for a potential candidate. It's branding! It's name recognition! It's why Debbie Dingell is probably going to win her husband's seat. 

I've actually written about political dynasties:

And there weren't so many Fashion Victims this year, either!

No Bijork-style-poultry-as-frocks! It did seem that there were fewer misses than usual in the fashion department this year. At least there weren't any crazy-terrible ensembles (though Liza Minelli's curtains were a low). Which actually makes me a little sad, since part of the fun is playing armchair Joan Rivers and  just savaging the red carpet. 

Was I the only person who thought for a few wild seconds, after John Travolta's gaffe, that Adele was going to be singing? In any event, he feels bad about it and has apologized.

Me too! Or maybe both Idina and Adele together? Like maybe they'd formed some super group? He said he'd been beating himself up over the flub and he should've been--and then we should get over it (after Travolta-ing your name of course). It was a big moment for Menzel and Frozen that got slightly marred by a silly gaffe that probably could've been prevented by this little thing known as practice. Really it just re-emphasizes how important being a presenter actually is. This is someone's BIG NIGHT and it's up to the people at the mic to make sure things run smoothly. Travolta's apology was classy though, especially that added 'Let it go" line. 

Wasn't he Loki in Thor and The Avengers? I guess I could look that up, but I have a head cold and prefer my information spoon-fed to me.

Apparently, yes. 

But instead of having information spoon-fed to you while you have a cold, may I reccommend the curry chicken ramen from Toki Underground instead? I just got over a terrible case of the plague myself and I swear there is penicillin in that broth. 

Does the winning of an Oscar basically guarantee that the winner will be paid millions of dollars in the future? What about just being nominated? I read that Barkhad Abdi was only paid $65,000 for his nominated role in Captain Phillips. Does he now get millions in his next role?

Winning an Oscar guarantees one thing--that you get to take a little gold statue home. AND that forever more  "Oscar winner" gets put in front of your name. But contracts in Hollywood aren't based on awards. Sure an Oscar winner can come to the table with higher cred for negotiating but that's about it. Some Oscar winners--especially folks who win at the very beginning of their careers--never find a role as good and others like Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks keep getting better.  

I've always filed my income taxes on time, vote in every election ( even for school boards ), have little credit card debt and pick up other people's litter. Any chance I might get to take one of the National Zoo's lion cubs home for a few days to cuddle with ?

Hmm. Doesn't sound like Mama Lion is going to let anyone cuddle with them for a while. We will all just have to content ourselves with the Lion Cub Cam (aka, I'm not getting any work done this afternoon):

Do you think Seth was correct, or rude, to call out the (lack of) Senatorial response he received when he appeared before a committee in order to testify re Alzheimer's disease (which, I believe, his mother-in-law has)?

It certainly breaks with the tradition of star witnesses being deferential to lawmakers -- which he also showed dring the hearing when he gave a sterner-than-expected response to Sen. Moran. And he clearly doesn't know that congressional hearings are often very poorly attended. 

And that does it for this week's episode of Reliable Source Live. We chatted all things Oscars, Lohan, Benedict Cumberbatch (who you all seem to really like), Seth Rogen and more.  Thanks for playing, folks, and as always send your juicy tips, celeb sightings and etc. to We'll see you here next week, same reliable channel, same reliable time. 

In This Chat
Helena Andrews
Helena Andrews is the co-author of The Reliable Source. Follow her on Twitter @helena_andrews.
Emily Heil
Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen. Follow her on Twitter @emilyaheil,
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