Podcasts

Trump-Pranking Comedian “Stuttering John” Co-Hosts Round-Table with Howard Stern Colleagues

I have written about “Stuttering John” (Melendez) in the past and his hilarious new memoir. It contains tantalizing memories and anecdotes we never knew – what comedian Heather McDonald calls “Juicy Scoop.” Longtime fans of the Howard Stern Show – and those who listened in the 1990’s – will enjoy a new podcast series co-hosted by Stuttering John. The show is in a round-table format with Melendez’s former Stern colleagues Jackie Martling (Stern’s former head writer) and Billy West (a comedian who is also known for his voice-over work, i.e. Ren & Stimpy). Melendez says he hopes to have other comedians join him soon in future episodes.

Howard Stern Show enthusiast Shari Weinick watched some of this new series, available at TVRemix.com, and said: “Great to listen to three of the original Howard Stern gang after all of these years. The show started with them, and what I just watched makes me wish they were still part of the show.”

Of course, there is always some dissent among die-hard Stern Show fans. That is nothing new. Charles Kaye told me he “enjoyed these guys reminiscing and talking about what was fun during their Stern days.” He continued: “I didn’t really know what to make of their gripes, how they expressed that certain things were unfair. John got his start with Howard, so my complaint has always been that he should be more publicly thankful. Perhaps he has…or he will be, so that makes me want to tune in for future episodes. Overall, I really did enjoy Billy and Jackie, so it was good to see them again. I’m planning to read John’s memoir, but I’m going to take it all with some grains of salt….I just don’t know what to believe when it comes to Howard Stern, but I do believe I’ll be entertained by John’s humor.”

Not only is Melendez known for his outrageously brazen interviews during the Howard Stern days, and his general chutzpah, but he garnered a lot of media attention when he was successfully put through to Donald Trump on Air Force One. He spoke of his real concerns regarding immigration while pretending to be Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey. This prank spotlighted major holes in the screening process for obtaining access to  a sitting president.

“I loved what he pulled on The Donald and how Jared Kushner actually called him back to vet him,” said fan Kayla Rodriguez, “and how he was able to put him through. It just showed how idiotic things are in Washington. John had an LA cell phone number and when he was asked about it, he simply said that the senator was on vacation. That measly excuse was accepted as totally reasonable. It was ridiculous and hilarious. I would say ‘brilliant’, but it spotlighted the mayhem and stupidity in the White House. I’m eager to tune in to this new video podcast series since I already listen to The Stuttering John Podcast. My favorite episode was when that prank was recorded. I am all for premium content to a fun podcast I already listen to!”

Andrea Simpson Weathers explains that she has been listening to Howard Stern since the early days when she was a child. “I enjoyed the good memories that this video podcast brought back, even if I took issue with some of the discussion ,” she began. “There’s something odd that strikes me: this notion that Howard is a slave driver and no one knows how miserable he can be. Longtime listeners know Howard is miserable. Howard knows he’s miserable and he talks about it on the air all the time. He expects the best and there are certain rules of the show. When people don’t respond accordingly, he gets upset and can go on a tirade….Can you blame Howard for reminding people that they’re associated with the show? Would anyone know who John Melendez is without the show? Nope. That said, I like the format of this video podcast. I like the intimacy of it. I enjoyed getting some insight into the earlier years of the Howard Stern Show.”

As this feedback indicates, fans are opinionated about the new series and there is a great level of intrigue among social media users. Even those who have minor objections admit they feel quite enticed to tune in.

You can sign up for this premium video podcast by going to TVRemix.com. Start with the episode titled: Jackie, Billy & John on Howard: Loose Cannons & Terminal Negotiations.  The cost of the premium content, which is analogous to Patreon (a platform that allows hosts of free podcasts to offer exclusive, additional material to listeners for a minimal fee), is $5 per month.

Advertisements
Standard
Blind Item, Reality TV

#RealityTV BLIND ITEM: “It’s (Still) About Me”

We had heard about this notorious lothario ad nauseam in seasons past. Recently, we were able to take a much needed breath as the reality show had so much more to offer us than this minor character.

We thought we had turned a chapter with the arrival of the new season, but this player has decided to plant stories in the media in the 13th hour (the 11th has long passed).

This was met with success on a day that readers felt was an optimal one for pranks. An item ran, but the timing was off. (In fact, the timing of all of this is suspect because the player is suddenly interested in defending their self.) No doubt, that only further incentivized the player to persist in getting their side of the story out.

As if literally cuddling up with a publicist who repped a prince was not enough, this cat is still on the prowl, purring sweet nothings into reality fans’ ears, hoping to leak more details about a reality star’s past indiscretions. That much- gossiped about star is hardly the paragon of morality and virtue, so frankly, most fans don’t give a damn about misdeeds.

It’s as if the notorious player wants to remind us “It’s about me.” That phrase, in some form, is terribly hackneyed. We’re tired of it and want to yell: “Go to sleep!! Go to sleep!!”

Standard
Uncategorized

Little Time to Write, But Let’s Make Time Going Forward

The past few weeks have been incredibly busy between familial obligations, studying for an exam, work and odd methods of procrastinating from that work. Unfortunately, I have not really designated time to the writing I so enjoy, or to keeping up with reality television in any sort of meaningful way. That last phrase may sound paradoxical, but as you know, I like to wax philosophical about events of my television shows even when they seem to be entirely shallow and lacking depth….Candidly, there is always something that invites commentary because reality television offers up interesting anthropological case studies as well as psychological ones.

We have a “Real Housewife” who had fallen from grace and off the sobriety wagon on Real Housewives of New York (last season) who is now acting entitled and pretentious. I was rooting for her newfound humility and hoping it would last, but alas…. Now she is a cabaret star and coming across rather egotistical. I always enjoy analyzing how quickly one can be humbled and go right back to exhibiting arrogance. Then on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, there is a terrible rift that began over a dog’s return to a kill shelter rather than to the new canine care center Vanderpump Dogs. Where the dog was taken is bad enough, but what the argument is really about is not the puppy, but whether Lisa Vanderpump historically tries to manipulate storylines, leak info to the press, and get others to do her dirty work. This is about a crew catching on to what seems to be a pattern.Some say it is about trying to overthrow the main character. The opinions range and there are many. Some are so intricately complicated that it feels to me like the commentaries of the Torah weighing in on a simple sentence. I really should not be making that comparison because it seems sacrilegious no matter where I stand spiritually today.

The way people – fans and viewers – staunchly take sides and end up blocking one another on Twitter is a phenomenon in and of itself that I’ve observed with Bravo viewers. I’d love to know if this happens with the 90 Day Fiance community since that’s a show I watched for 90 days before concluding that it usurped too much of my time. Let me know.

The main point of this post is: I am back and will try to update my blog more often. I am planning for some interviews with TV personalities, podcast hosts and others. I hope to weigh in more often and recap the shows we all have in common.

I should add that I did not fall for a single one of your tweets or posts from April Fools Day, so if you wrote something entirely truthful that day that you feel is important for me to know, give me a good old fashioned phone call! We’re still in April and I’m still a skeptic.

Standard
#RHOBH, Bravo TV, Psychology, public figures, Real Housewives, Television

#RHOBH Twitter is Crazy: Engage At Your Own Risk

Dave Quinn of People stated it earlier today. It’s getting vicious on Twitter when it comes to the on-camera dynamics between the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Unfortunately, I had a really horrific experience surrounding another Bravo show and its fanatical Twitter following. It began with me blogging about a show and then I found out things I wasn’t supposed to know about an individual….and it all went downhill. To make a long story short and to keep this post short too: it’s perfectly OK to stop interacting with someone who takes a reality show far from on-TV-reality, attacks your character or brings up personal details about you. Someone who cites your family members names when you have never mentioned their names on social media? Uncool. No, not just uncool, really psychotic.

Hitting the “Block” button is what started all the trouble for me personally last year. It is far easier to “mute” Twitter users instead. They won’t know they are muted, but by employing this option, you will not see their tweets…even when they are tagging you. This move will protect you, making it easier to resist writing back. After they are muted, don’t even glance at their timeline. Television is to be enjoyed, to form opinions adn not be viciously attacked for them. People go for the jugular and the deeply personal. I honestly don’t know how the reality stars do it. As Margaret Josephs and Emily Simpson have told me, you must have extremely tough skin to be on television. I and many others I know are way too sensitive and we would fail. I am candid about my sensitivity too, which makes me all the more vulnerable. But I digress…

There are unstable personalities out there and when we choose to get into it with them (especially about a silly show — sorry Bravo!), there is no telling where it may lead.

I realize that I’m being somewhat cryptic about how bad it can get, but some of you are familiar. To the others, you will just have to trust me on this one!

On a totally different note, what are your thoughts on the drama with Dorit not returning her puppy to Vanderpump Dogs? Do you think Lisa Vanderpump is carrying her grudge too far, or that she is absolutely justified in her treatment of Dorit?

Lisa has admitted that she probably should not have filmed the current season due to the personal stress of losing her brother to suicide. I think that next year, she should focus on the dogs and not the bitches (I’m paraphrasing LVP herself) and enjoy her matriarchal role on Vanderpump Rules. She’ll still be a power player on Bravo with a successful show that has her last name in it.

(Photo Source: Star Magazine)

Standard
Reality TV, RHONJ

#RHONJ: An Interview with Frank Catania Sr.

Last season, it was Real Housewives of New Jersey (RHONJ) newbie Margaret Josephs who tweeted that Frank Catania, Dolores’s ex-husband, was the “voice of reason” on the Bravo show. Many RHONJ fans agreed with this sentiment. Just like his name, he is frank, quick to get to the point, and gives a solid, confident opinion with no-nonsense advice.

Now in Season 9, we have just witnessed Teresa Giudice frustratingly getting nowhere trying to convey to her brother Joe Gorga that he needs to spend more time with their widowed father. Shortly thereafter came the scene where Frank and Joe sat down one-on-one at a restaurant. “No one looks back (on a family member’s life) and says ‘I wish I had spent more time working,’” Frank told Joe. Perhaps it was a case of ineffective communication because men are from Mars and women are from Venus – maybe sexism – but either way, the authoritative and commandingly large, muscular man at the table got through to Joe Gorga in a way Teresa hadn’t been able to.

While the ladies on RHONJ have more married “Housewives” than on the other franchises – i.e. Real Housewives of New York – Dolores Catania is currently unmarried, but came to the show with her ex-husband as part of an unconventional package deal. Frank, her best friend, business partner, and housemate insists that their relationship is platonic despite audience skepticism.

“I feel like I wouldn’t want anything sexual to happen because I wouldn’t want to ruin what we have,” Catania tells me, “I love the dynamic that we have. She is one of my best friends and we work together really well.”

He adds that the overall experience of participating in the Bravo show has opened up his eyes and greatly expanded his way of thinking.

This is something he is incredibly appreciative about:  “I used to be a very conservative individual. Through this show, I got to meet so many different people and understand their stories. I am all for same-sex marriage, same-sex adoptions – whereas 10 years ago, that wasn’t me. If the show ended tomorrow, it definitely would have had a good, lasting impact. I am ‘old school’ in certain ways, but my opinions and positions have changed because of so many things I wouldn’t have come into contact with if I hadn’t done the show. I probably would have been sheltered and not had the chance to understand all that I understand now.”

Following is the rest of my conversation with Frank Catania:

You came to the show in an unusual way – as Dolores’s ex-husband. How did they decide to feature you within the context of her story?

It has to do with the fact that despite being exes, Dolores and I are integral parts of each other’s lives. It’s hard to spotlight one without the other. It works. And it worked out really well. It has been the best for my children.

Don’t get me wrong, years ago, we had the divorce proceedings and it was a fight tooth and nail. Things were not always like this. But Dolores is very smart and as soon as it was over, she said we could either keep on fighting and it would not be good for our kids, or we could be friends. Quite honestly, we’ve always been great friends and it made the most sense and felt right. The whole husband thing at the time…I was having a hard time following the handbook – to say the least!

I give all the credit in the world to Dolores for how our relationship turned out. She is strong, smart and she put aside occurrences leading up to the divorce for the good of our family. She didn’t have to be that way if she didn’t want it to be that way. 

In Season 8, we saw how you two had begun living together because you were having problems with your girlfriend. Some fans expressed that they were unclear as to whether you and Dolores still have the same living arrangement during Season 9 since you tend to go to Florida often.

Yes, we do have the same arrangement. It was not even my idea or Dolores’s. I was with my girlfriend for about 14 years at that time and the only chance of things getting better was for me to move out. Being a builder, I was going to build myself a house. She saw that as an indication that there was very little chance of us working out. So my girlfriend approached Dolores – they became close, she (the girlfriend) was someone I had gotten together with well after the divorce – and asked Dolores if she thought me coming back home could be an idea. Dolores loved the idea thinking she could use some help around the house, and we have a strange relationship of divorced people who can be just friends and housemates.

Viewers say there must be sexual tension or sexual chemistry, but it sounds like there’s enough trust from the people you date. It’s so strange to me that Dolores’s boyfriend David is OK with things.

Anyone who knows us well knows there’s nothing sexual between us. Dolores is one of my two best friends and I would do anything for her. If there was anything sexual between us, that would ruin what we have.

I know you owned gyms together. Is that still the case?

We have a Gold’s and a Powerhouse and are partners in that. We have a building business as well as the gyms. We are also flipping houses together.

How were you able to do all those things while you were also a lawyer?

The gyms have great support and management staff, so that was something I was able to oversee, but had great people taking care of the businesses. The building business I always had, but I never took a hands on, day-to-day approach. When I stopped practicing law, I committed 100 percent to the building business. We’re now busier than we ever were with all different aspects of that business. I’m also a lot happier. I put on a pair of jeans to go to the site and check in with Dolores about the things she takes care of.  She’s really busy with the show now, so I pick up the slack

where I have to and it works out well.

Since you are notably quite buff and in shape, what does your daily workout and dietary regimen consist of?

I live vicariously through the people I train, Teresa being one of them. I had an injury that stopped me from competing, but I continue with the lifestyle – I can’t get away from it. During the week, I have a regimented diet. I do cardio and working out. Then, during the weekends, I enjoy myself. I don’t drink too much and neither does Dolores, but I sure love to eat! As in shape as I may look, that’s why I always have a shirt on when you see me on the show. I enjoy food.

Many of the viewers were wanting to know: ‘Why did you say Teresa needed to lose 10 pounds?!’?

There are absolutely different requirements (than the norm) for being onstage. When I got Teresa – she had been training with a different trainer initially – she was 3 and a half weeks out from her show. Over those weeks, I helped Teresa to lose 18 pounds.  It is mostly water weight with women and there’s a certain toned and shredded look you need to compete. At the same time, we needed to keep the size of her ass because it was a bikini competition. She looked great when I first saw her, but to get on stage you to have to be on another level. 

I always find it interesting when the men are discussing the gossip and the goings-on between the ladies on the show. At the risk of gender stereotyping, just knowing the men in my own life, I don’t think it comes naturally to them. So, I’m naturally curious about you guys.

When you were advising Joe Gorga, I wondered if it was out of your comfort zone, and when you looked at the Bergen Record newspaper, I imagined a producer placing the newspaper in front of you and saying ‘discuss this’. How easy is it for you to get involved in the drama?

It’s not hard, but you’ll notice that I only get involved peripherally. You see Marty and Joe Benigno (Margaret Joseph’s husband) getting into it. I try to keep my distance from that.

Normally I never read a newspaper until I moved in with Dolores. She’s a newspaper and magazine fanatic who got me into. As I’m reading the newspaper, someone geared me a little bit so I got to that specific article a little bit quicker that particular day.

People loved how you effectively communicated to Joe Gorga that he needs to spend time with his aging dad. It seemed so difficult for Teresa to get through to him and I feel bad for Teresa that it seemed to only take you a second – if editing is to be trusted. So in reality, how easy was that for you? 

Believe it or not, it was pretty easy. I’m a few years older than Joe Gorga and when he was building his business, I was at the top of my game. I started representing him as an attorney. I helped him get deals that he wouldn’t have gotten. Then he ran with it and he’s doing great. We have a mutual respect for one another. That scene wasn’t made up for the camera.

In 2007, my mother passed away and I was talking to a friend who is a priest and I said “I worked like an animal.” I had my own thoughts about spending more time with her before she passed and how important that was, and the priest said to me that he had seen many people on their deathbeds and not one relative ever said “I wish I had spent more time working.” I took that to heart and the conversation I had with Joe came from my heart. Then Joe really took it to heart. 

One uncomfortable thing I wanted to get into…The whole disbarment thing. Did you want to avoid getting into it or did you inevitably have to because Danielle brought it up to Teresa (who then repeated it to Dolores)?

It came up at last year’s reunion and Dolores said ‘no’ because she had no idea I had been disbarred. I’m one of those people who, when something is bothering me, I’m not going to tell somebody if I feel there’s nothing they can do about it. The truth is, I should have told Dolores about it. I regret not doing so. I also knew she would have been approached – it was then in the tabloids and became public knowledge.

For that, I’m very sorry. I just didn’t want to tell her until some more time passed because I knew she was going to worry. Financially, we’re doing better now than we were doing before. The building business is much more lucrative than being a lawyer.

Are you still in touch with Dolores’s bestie from last season, Siggy Flicker?

Yes. Dolores is much more in touch than I am of course. I am in touch with Siggy’s husband Michael Campanella. They seem to be doing wonderfully. The best move for her was getting off the show. She is one of the nicest people I know. The drama and fights were just too much for her personality.

What do you think of Margaret Josephs this season? I know that she always liked you, but she and Dolores were not as close last year.

Even with the past issues between Dolores and Margaret, I’ve always been friendly with Margaret and her husband Joe. I’m down in Miami often and one time, I saw on Instagram that she was down here, so I DM’d her to see if Joe was with her and if he wanted to hang out. Dolores never had a problem with it and Margaret got to see that I had no problem with her. It’s the same with Danielle. I was always cordial to her when I saw her. I’m never going to let someone’s actions dictate my actions. 

We don’t get to see your (and Dolores’s) daughter Gabby on the show anymore?  Was that a conscientious decision on her part? We definitely see Frank Jr. a lot.

I have two children and they are on two totally different ends of the spectrum. My son loves being on the show and the reason my daughter is not on so much is two-fold.  She doesn’t really like to get involved as much as the rest of us do. Also, she’s in a different country. She studied to become a veterinarian and she’s really swamped with that. Her workload is really rough. Even if she wasn’t away, I don’t think you’d see her as often. She’s not drawn to the cameras as much as we are.

How do you feel about the storyline of your relationship with Dolores being so spotlighted, plus the fact that the other ladies keep saying you guys should get back together?

It doesn’t bother me at all. It’s my life with Dolores. I’m very proud that we’re able to be the way we are as a divorced couple. The amount of social media responses is incredible – with people wanting to know ‘how did you and Dolores do it?’ I try to give insight and then 2-3 months later, I will get a follow-up message saying “my ex and I went out to dinner the other night and we decided we’re going to be cordial.’ I just love that!

You could be the Divorce Whisperer

(Laughs) There you go!

Are you in touch with past RHONJ cast mates Caroline and Dina Manzo?

Dina, no because Dolores and Dina’s relationship deteriorated and Dina no longer lives in the area. I remain close with her ex Tommy. Caroline and Albert I don’t see as much because our paths don’t cross. If I go to The Brownstown, we hug. Jacqueline Laurita we still keep in touch with. The other ones I don’t know well – except the OG members. I’ve always been the closest to Joe Gorga who I’ve known before filming with him. 

OK, here’s a fun game that was proposed by a RHONJ fan from the Bravo Junkies Facebook group: Teresa, Danielle and Jennifer – Shag, Marry, Kill?

Teresa- Shag

Danielle – Shag

Jennifer – Shag

W-Wait. You would shag all of them?!

That’s just my personality, sorry! You wonder why Dolores and I didn’t work out.

What do you think of the two new additions to Season 9, Jennifer Aydin and Jackie Goldschneider?

I love Jennifer! It’s a shame because she was misunderstood originally. With her, there’s a sober side and then there’s Jennifer after a drink. Jenifer in person is a doll.

Jackie and I just aren’t in the same sphere. We say hello and are cordial, but there’s not much more beyond that. I have to be honest with myself and say that I think that might have a little to do with me being a lawyer. The women attorneys never meshed too well with me. It was like oil and water for us, so it might go back to that…and this feeling of someone needing to always get in the last word. But Jennifer is hilarious, fun and so nice. I hope the viewers get to witness more of that.

To see more of Frank Catania and his storyline with ex-wife Dolores, tune in to Real Housewives of New Jersey on Bravo, Wednesdays at 9PM.

(Photo source for featured image of Dolores and Frank Catania: Reality Blurb)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
Blind Item, Reality TV

Blind Item: Tempers Flare

Another storm is brewing, and this is after we’ve seen the placid persona of this reality TV cast member. All’s not fair in love and war, so choose your bed mates carefully. A romance can be as unpredictable as the wind, although you viewers already have an  inkling (or several). Tempers flared after this season we’re watching wrapped. We’ve seen this personality be tough and show they take no guff. We’ve also seen the soft and tender side. However, according to my source, anger escalated once the season wrapped. The reunion should reflect that.

Standard
Uncategorized

#TheBachelor: AKA, The “‘Who Will Deflower the Virgin?’ Show”

The Bachelor always throws us twists and turns, and being realistic, it’s the drama between the contestants that keeps us watching. Casting provides us with narcissists, naive individuals, competitive types and insecure weaklings. The eclectic group is thrown into a house to duke things out under one roof and vie for the affections of one man.

This year features Colton Underwood in the title role, but in interviews and repeated ad nauseam on the show is an adjective to precede “Bachelor”: VIRGIN. There is much ado about about a male human over the age of 21 who still has his V card. But I mean, look, we were all virgins once, and there are only so many times viewers want to hear about Colton’s sexual status – or lack thereof.

Were it not for the petty house fights and guest appearances by none other than Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman and Billy Eichner to keep us entertained, many of us would be screaming at our TV screens. Well, some of us still are.

The more experienced women in the house have a thirsty air about them, wanting to be the first to hook up with this unlikely virgin who is not waiting for marriage, but the “right person”. He’s made it pretty clear in previews that he hopes it happens in The Bachelor fantasy suites. Wouldn’t you want your first time to be documented on a national prime time show?

Since sex is a more stressed undercurrent this season, I imagine mothers cringing at home watching their daughters convey that they want to be the seductress of the season. If it were the other way around, with a female virgin as the lead (especially in these modern times), we’d get a very rapey and predatory vibe. Euphemistically, we can use words like “cougar” and “more experienced” in this scenario to justify what has become the “Who wants to deflower the Virgin?” show. Of course, I’m guilty of watching, but that doesn’t negate the creepiness.

So, who will get Colton’s final rose and provide him with this rite of passage – documented on ABC? Stay tuned to inexplicably long episodes on Monday nights at 8pm.

(Pictured: Colton Underwood and comedian Billy Eichner, Photo Source: E! Online)

Standard