The Rundown is a weekly column that highlights some of the biggest, weirdest, and most notable events of the week in entertainment. The number of items could vary, as could the subject matter. It will not always make a ton of sense. Some items might not even be about entertainment, to be honest, or from this week. The important thing is that it’s Friday, and we are here to have some fun.
ITEM NUMBER ONE – Follow me
Okay, here’s the situation…
This week’s episode of Ted Lasso featured a fun little throwaway joke about how Dutch soccer legend Johan Cruyff looks a little bit like Tim Robinson, the creator and star of the very funny Netflix sketch comedy series I Think You Should Leave. The context isn’t really important to the journey we’re going on here, but I did go through it all a bit in my weekly Ted Lasso Power Rankings, so you are welcome to click that and peruse if you require background information. The important thing is the part where it happened at all, which I can prove to you with this screencap…
Which is great. But here’s where it starts to get really fun: One of the main recurring players in I Think You Should Leave is Tim Robinson’s longtime comedy partner Sam Richardson (shoutout Detroiters), who has appeared in a number of sketches, including but not limited to the wonderful “Baby of the Year,” which I will link to right now, in part because I think providing evidence is important and in part because it’s very fun and I want an excuse to watch it again.
Still a 10/10 piece of business. And noteworthy for our purposes here because Sam Richardson — star of that sketch and also The Afterparty, which was so freaking good, too — also appeared in a few episodes of Ted Lasso last season. He played an African billionaire who swung through Richmond and caused a bunch of chaos and also, at one point, did this.
The takeaways here are twofold:
- If I Think You Should Leave exists in the Ted Lasso universe, then that means Sam Richardson exists in it, too, which means there is an African billionaire running around who looks exactly like a beloved American comedy figure, and that’s something I’m going to be thinking about a lot going forward
- Sam Richardson is the best
But maybe that’s all a little flimsy for you. Maybe that’s not weird enough. Maybe you read the Power Rankings and saw me make this point already a few days ago. That’s fine. Because I can make it even weirder. Chew on this…
If, as we previously deduced, Sam Richardson, the person, exists in the Ted Lasso universe because I Think You Should Leave exists, then that means, one assumes, the other projects he has been in exist, too. Projects like Veep, where he played Richard Splett, but also projects like the Harley Quinn animated series, where he showed up as the voice of Swamp Thing in a season three episode. Here, look.
And this is fascinating — to me, if not to anyone else — because, in the Valentine’s Day special episode of Harley Quinn that dropped this February, Brett Goldstein, who plays Roy Kent in Ted Lasso, showed up as a heightened cartoon version of himself — with repeated mentions of his writing and acting duties on Ted Lasso — and performed a sold-out, shirtless poetry reading for an audience of very thirsty ladies that was thwarted because a sexually frustrated Bane grew to 100-feet tall and started trying to have intercourse with skyscrapers. That last part isn’t super-relevant to the point I’m making but it is a lot of fun to say. (Harley Quinn is a good show.) Anyway, here’s the evidence of his appearance in that show.
Do you see?
Do you see what is happening here?
Brett Goldstein, who plays Roy Kent in Ted Lasso, also, in theory, if we connect all these dots from I Think You Should Leave to Sam Richardson to Harley Quinn, exists as himself in the Ted Lasso universe… as the co-star of… the television show Ted Lasso.
Ted Lasso, the television show, exists within the television show Ted Lasso. What a delightful little philosophical pretzel they went and created for themselves, all because of a fun little throwaway joke about a soccer player looking like Tim Robinson. I want to see someone — Coach Beard, preferably — explain all of this to Dani Rojas.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to this week.
ITEM NUMBER TWO – FOLLOW ME AGAIN
This is a screencap from the most recent episode of Succession. I suspect you knew that already, either because you watched it or because it’s been all over your social media feeds all week long, as it should have been, because it’s great. Look at Frank and my beloved Karl just chilling in the robes outside the sauna that a bunch of Swedes are sweating in. These two have it figured out. They’re just waiting for their golden parachutes to kick in and not making any waves and looking like everything I could possibly want out of life. I am so happy for them.
And again, so was everyone. People went a little nuts, as people will sometimes do. There were a bunch of tweets that compared them to Statler and Waldorf, the famously cranky Muppets who sit up in the balcony and crack themselves up with jokes at others’ expense. I don’t know if this is accurate, really, but I do like it a lot. The only downside is that now I am upset neither of them has a mustache. I think Karl would look good with a mustache. Maybe he’ll grow one in retirement.
But here’s the fun thing…
Just after this episode ended, as people were starting to flood social media with comparisons of Frank and Karl and famous Muppets, this tweet started making the rounds, too.
hey guys, just checking — does everyone know that frank from succession was a puppeteer on the muppet show? yeah, he played a giant singing carrot opposite gilda radner. okay, sick pic.twitter.com/hWbc8GjBVe
— Aimee Knight (@siraimeeknight) April 22, 2023
This is… it’s really just incredible. And true! I looked it up and everything! Talk about a life well-lived, man. Good for Peter Friedman. Good for Frank and Karl. Good for the Muppets.
But mostly, good for us. It’s nice to have fun online. People forget that.
ITEM NUMBER THREE – The Chandler-Keanu feud has ended… probably
It is really kind of funny that Matthew Perry wrote a big memoir about his life in Hollywood and his struggles with addiction and all of that but the only thing people took away from it is that he was mean to Keanu Reeves. I don’t know why I enjoy that so much. I have nothing against Matthew Perry. I hope he’s doing great! But I do find it pretty funny. I don’t know. It’s fine.
You remember this, yes? The thing where Matthew Perry repeatedly busted on Keanu out of nowhere and for no reason? The thing where he said “Why is it that the original thinkers like River Phoenix and Heath Ledger die, but Keanu Reeves still walks among us?” and the thing where he says he punched a hole through the wall of Jennifer Aniston’s dressing room when he heard Chris Farley died and then punctuated the story in the book by saying “Keanu Reeves walks among us”? And the thing where the masses rose up like the mighty ocean and dumped a tsunami of rage on him for being mean to Keanu?
I hope so. It was a good time. But it appears this one-sided feud is now over. Matthew Perry revealed earlier this week that copies of his book going forward will edit out the Keanu digs. Sayeth Matthew:
“I said a stupid thing. It was a mean thing to do,” Perry said at a recent book festival, as per The Los Angeles Times. “I pulled his name because I live on the same street. I’ve apologized publicly to him. Any future versions of the book will not have his name in it.”
He added, “If I run into the guy, I’ll apologize. It was just stupid.”
There are, as far as I can tell, two possibilities here. The first and more probable one is that Matthew Perry was still thinking of Bill & Ted era Keanu, the one whose public image was that of a goofball stoner who ambled through life aimlessly, and he made this joke without realizing Keanu had become a kind of widely beloved sweetheart for a significant chunk of the population that spends a lot of time on the internet (guilty as charged here), and backtracked after he got yelled at a lot.
The other possibility, less likely but much funnier, is that Matthew Perry had never seen the John Wick movies and was home sick one day after his book published and watched three of them in a row on basic cable from the couch and saw Keanu move like a ballerina while mowing down dozens of trained assassins and he sat up and thought to himself, “Mother of God, I have made a terrible mistake.” It’s a fun little mental image to tinker with. Put Matt LeBlanc in the room with him if you want. It’s your daydream. You can do whatever you want.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR – Let Rihanna swear in the Smurf movie
Hey, here’s a really fun coupling of sentences from a recent report in Deadline…
In her third trimester, Rihanna showed up at Paramount Pictures’ CinemaCon presentation on Thursday in Las Vegas to say she’s playing “a little blue badass” — that being Smurfette in Par and Nickelodeon Movies’ The Smurfs Movie. Rihanna also is producing the movie and providing original songs.
I am going to be very direct here. No rambling or dilly-dallying. This is too important…
Please let Rihanna swear in the Smurf movie. Let Smurfette cuss. I think Rihanna would like that. I know I would. Let her sing some steamy club banger and have Smurfette perform it in character in the movie. Let’s do it all. There’s nothing stopping us. Look what they are doing to Winnie the Pooh in a new series that is being shopped around right now.
Christopher Robin is a comedic live-action/animation hybrid reimagining of A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh. Per the logline: Christopher Robin is a disillusioned New Yorker navigating his quarter-life crisis with the help of the weird talking animals who live beyond a drug-induced portal outside his derelict apartment complex, the Hundred Acres.
If Christopher Robin can be a junkie who hallucinates famous characters from children’s books then we can let Rihanna cuss as Smurfette. It is only fair.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE – Jimmy Kimmel seems like a pretty good dude
John Mulaney has a new Netflix special out this week that touches on the roller coaster ride he’s been on the last few years. Drug addiction, intervention, rehab, divorce, having a baby with Olivia Munn, really just a lot. He looks like he’s doing okay now. I hope he is. And if telling the world about it in a comedy routine is helpful at all for him, man, god bless. Whatever works.
He stopped by Jimmy Kimmel’s show the other day to promote it and, while there, revealed that he had lived in Jimmy’s guest house for a few weeks after he got out of rehab. That’s… I mean, that’s pretty cool. Think about it a little. A guy you know hits rock bottom — divorce, drugs, all of it — and you just invite him to stay with you while he puts his life back together. That takes a real solid dude. It helps that Jimmy Kimmel had a whole separate guest house to put him up in. I imagine it would be different if Jimmy had a two-bedroom and John Mulaney asked if he could crash on the couch. But still. Pretty cool.
Jimmy Kimmel seems like a really good dude. It’s kind of wild that we got here after he started his career with crank calls and busty women jumping on trampolines, but hey, everyone’s journey is different, you know? The destination is what matters most. Pretty good lesson to file away.
If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org (put “RUNDOWN” in the subject line). I am the first writer to ever answer reader mail in a column. Do not look up this last part.
Just as the absolutely delightful Shrinking ended its first season, Succession began its final season, and watching them so close together, I had a brainstorm: I need a show in which David Rasche and Ted McGinley play brothers. I mean, they look more like brothers than most real brothers do. I looked up their ages — Rasche is 78, McGinley is 64, which sounds like a big gap, but, hey, Michael McKean played Bob Odenkirk’s brother, so, ya know, Hollywood magic and so forth, good enough.
McGinley, despite his reputation as the Patron Saint of Shark Jumping, is a national treasure, as he reminded us with his portrayal of the D-Man. As for Rasche, well, he’s now paying off that stock I bought the first time Sledge Hammer shot a hole in my screen.
What would the premise be? Doesn’t really matter. I just want them to play brothers. But if I must suggest something: They’ve both just gotten divorced and their wives are keeping the houses so they get an apartment together, two 70-ish bachelor brothers back in the game. We can’t call it The Disgusting Brothers, unfortunately. But we can call it anything else.
I really don’t have too much to add here. This is just a really great email. I like that Eric thought all of this and then said “I bet Brian would like this” and then he typed it all out and sent it to me. The best part is that he sent it a few weeks ago, before I even wrote my ode to Karl, the character Rasche plays on Succession. Another one of those emails that really makes me feel like I’m doing something right out here. Terrific vibes.
Anyway, my only requests for this show are as follows:
- They live on a golf course
- They have a neighbor played by Joe Pera
- The ex-wives are played by Jennifer Coolidge and Catherine O’Hara and they become friends, too
I would binge this all in one weekend.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
The most menacing animal at the Blackpool Zoo in England isn’t in a cage. It’s flying overhead.
I promise you all that you do not know where this is headed. Unless you read the article earlier in the week. Then you do. But be quiet and don’t ruin the surprise for everyone else. It’s too good. I mean, like, look at this entire paragraph.
Seagulls have been diving down to rip hot dogs and hamburgers from the hands of visitors, sometimes biting their hands. It has gotten so bad, the zoo has hatched a plan: Hire someone to walk around in an eagle costume to spook the seagulls and keep them at bay.
Perfect. From beginning to end. Because it starts out with the objectively great visual of seagulls dive-bombing out of the sky and absconding with entire hot dogs that had once belonged to now very startled British people, and then it somehow improves on that in the next sentence by introducing the concept of a man or woman in an eagle costume running around the zoo flapping its wings to scare away lunch-snatching seagulls.
This is already better than most of the television shows I watch. Hell, it is a television show I would watch. A workplace comedy about a zoo dealing with repeated seagull attacks. Parks and Recreation but with more animals. I was joking when I started this paragraph but now I’m serious. This happens a lot.
“They love ice cream,” he said. “They’ll take the whole cone and swallow it in just one go.”
The birds even got a taste for indoor dining. Mr. Fawzy said automatic doors had to be removed because the seagulls learned how to work the sensors and wander into the cafe.
ZOO EMPLOYEE: [running into office, out of breath] Sir…
ZOO MANAGER: What is it, Johnson?
ZOO EMPLOYEE: [gasping, covered in peck wounds] The seagulls, sir… they’ve… they’ve…
ZOO MANAGER: Dammit, Johnson, spit it out!
ZOO EMPLOYEE: [sweating, voice cracking] They’ve… they’ve learned how to open the automatic doors, sir…
ZOO MANAGER: [cigar falls out of mouth] Mother of God.
The job pays £8 an hour, or about $10 an hour, for those between 16 and 20 years old, a zoo spokeswoman said. Those 21 years and older make £2.80 more an hour. Mr. Fawzy said about 200 applications have come in, including some from as far away as Uganda.
It’s really very exciting to me that a handful of teens from England and around the world are, a decade or two from now, going to be able to explain to someone that their summer job in high school was to dress up like an eagle at the zoo and flap their fake wings furiously in an attempt to scare away dessert-thieving seagulls. Hell of an icebreaker on a first date.