You may remember the Jeff Gordon “test drive” ad from about a year ago, when Gordon, in disguise, appeared to take a hapless used-car salesman on the ride of his life. Well, as it turned out, most of that ad was staged; Gordon himself wasn’t even behind the wheel for much of the ad.
But never let it be said Gordon doesn’t have a long memory… or a desire for revenge. Gordon and the folks at Pepsi zeroed in on Travis Okulski, a writer for Jalopnik who wrote a scathing takedown of the commercial. With a little help from Okulski’s bosses, they got Okulski into a cab in North Carolina, and, well… magic happens. This one’s a bit long but worth it.
Nice work there by Gordon in playing a reasonably convincing ex-con who ain’t gonna go back to prison. The lesson is clear: don’t mess with Gordon.
Now, let’s be clear: you can be forgiven for thinking this is yet another hoax. We’re used to this thing by now: something that seems too good to be true in fact IS too good to be true, whether it’s Jeff Gordon test-driving or a wolf wandering the hallways of the Sochi athletic dorm. If this is a scam, however, Okulski and Jalopnik are both staking their journalistic reputations on it:
This is a real thing. It really happened. It’s not fake. At all. http://jalopnik.com/how-jeff-gordon-scared-the-crap-out-of-me-1531016226…
9:03 AM – 27 Feb 2014
99 Retweets – 57 favorites
“This is absolutely, 100%, totally legit,” Okulski told Yahoo Sports. “Not fake in any way at all. I was really that terrified.”
Sid Caesar, the intelligent and yet nonsensical comic who forever changed the course of television with his groundbreaking 1950s live Saturday night variety shows Your Show of Shows and Caesar’s Hour, has died. He was 91. His friend, Carl Reiner, confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Inarguably he was the greatest single monologist and skit comedian we ever had,” Reiner said in a statement to THR. “Television owes him a debt of gratitude for his pioneering work and the great shows he gave us all. Render onto Caesar what is his due. He deserves real applause from the American people.”
Caesar, who died Wednesday at his longtime home in the Trousdale Estates section of Beverly Hills after a brief illness, was known for his physicality, improvisation, mimicry and his whimsical signature, the double-talk.
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Whether played out in a sketch, pantomime or a full-blown revue, Caesar’s observational humor exposed the truths of everyday life. His two whirlwind variety shows produced writers and performers who set the comic agenda for decades to come – people like Reiner, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, Imogene Coca, Nanette Fabray, Howard Morris, Lucille Kallen, Mel Tolkin and Fiddler on the Roof playwright Joseph Stein.
The proof: Reiner developed the classic 1960s sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show using his Show of Shows experience for comic fodder (the Alan Brady character, played by Reiner, was modeled after Caesar). The 1982 film My Favorite Year, a thinly disguised memoir of life with Caesar during the tumultuous era of live TV, was backed by Brooks and had Joseph Bologna playing the Caesar-like King Kaiser. And Simon re-created the writers room tension of Caesar shows for his 1993 Broadway hit Laughter on the 23rd Floor, starring Nathan Lane as another Caesar stand-in, Max Prince.
In fact, it could be said that Saturday Night Live is a direct descendant of Caesar’s sketch-laden variety shows. He hosted the late-night show in 1983 and was named an honorary castmember.
“Sid Caesar was a giant – maybe the best comedian who every practiced the trade,” Brooks said in a statement. “And I was privileged to be one of his writers and one of his friends.”
Caesar’s live, 90-minute Show of Shows debuted in 1950 when he was 27 and ran through 1954 in an era before cue cards and teleprompters. Its frenetic high-wire uncertainty made for great hilarity and produced back-to-back Emmy wins in 1952 and ’53.
After Your Show of Shows, which ran for 160 episodes, Caesar started Caesar’s Hour. Also live, it collected three Emmys and featured his Show of Show mates Reiner and Morris (Coca left for her own show and was replaced by Fabray). At the time, half of all Americans who owned TV sets tuned in each week to watch the antics of Caesar and his cohorts.
Among the 25 million viewers each week was Albert Einstein, who particularly enjoyed one of Caesar’s stock characters, The Professor, a bluffing German who sounded smart but was not really an expert on anything. The physicist so enjoyed the show that he contacted Caesar’s office to set up a lunch date, but Einstein died in April 1955 before that meeting of the minds could take place.
Caesar’s other characters included space expert Ludwig von Spacebrain, marriage expert Ludwig von Henpecked, nonsensical storyteller Somerset Winterset and one-half of the bickering couple The Hickenloopers.
“All my comedy was character- and plot-driven,” he said in 2003. “I always believed that in art and life, it’s not what you do, it’s the way you do it; it’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it. In the doing, you’ll find your strengths and weaknesses, and you will find your art.”
Caesar also was known for his furious temper and strength. He was known to punch through walls and tear sinks from their moorings. He once punched a horse – a gag Brooks paid homage to in Blazing Saddles. And after one writing session, he dangled Brooks from an 18th-floor hotel room window.
Caesar was nominated for 10 Emmy Awards, winning in 1952 and 1954. He was given the Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy in 1978 by the Television Hall of Fame.
He was born Isaac Sidney Caesar on Sept. 8, 1922, in Yonkers, N.Y., the youngest of three sons of Jewish immigrant parents who ran a 24-hour luncheonette. He played the clarinet and saxophone and went on to study the sax at the Juilliard School; ultimately, he was good enough to play with the likes of Benny Goodman and Charlie Spivak. While performing at shows, Caesar observed the comics and realized that stand-up was his true bent. One night he was asked to help out with a skit, thus beginning a comic career that lasted more than a half-century.
Caesar joined the Coast Guard and was based in Brooklyn during World War II. While in the military, he formed a band with composer Vernon Duke (“April in Paris”) and made his stage debut in a show, Tars and Spars, about a coast guardsman on shore duty for years. Caesar reprised his role in that revue for a 1946 musical-comedy adaptation at Columbia Pictures.
After his stint in Hollywood, Caesar returned to New York and landed a gig as the opening act for Joe E. Lewis at the legendary Copacabana nightclub. He performed in the Broadway revue Make Mine Manhattan, which featured “The Five Dollar Date,” one of his signature pieces in which he sang, did sound effects and double-talked – using nonsensical utterances that sound like French, German, Japanese, Italian and other languages (in real life, he spoke English and Yiddish).
Caesar’s first foray into TV came in 1949 with The Admiral Broadway Revue, an hourlong show that brought he and Coca together. Conceived to sell Admiral television sets, the show aired simultaneously on NBC and the Dumont networks and was a smash hit, drawing nearly as many viewers as the one starring “Mr. Television” Milton Berle. But with the popularity of the show, Admiral couldn’t make TVs fast enough to meet demand, so the company dropped its sponsorship and the show was canceled.
NBC chairman Pat Weaver, who later created the Today show and The Tonight Show, approached the producers about having Caesar and Coca star in a similar series. That project came to be Your Show of Shows, which debuted in February 1950 as a 90-minute variety program that aired at 9 p.m. Eastern time (6 p.m. Pacific) for a mind-boggling 39 live shows a season for four seasons. Looking to avoid another Admiral debacle, it was the first program not to rely on a single sponsor.
The show’s crazy pace led to consequences. “Nearly everyone on our staff at Your Show of Shows was in analysis,” he recalled in his 1983 autobiography, Where Have I Been? “We spent a lot of time comparing our experiences with our doctors, which led to many funny psychiatrist skits in the show.”
At age 30, Caesar was earning a million dollars a year, but he was drinking two bottles of Scotch a day and dependent on barbiturates.
It took decades for him to hit bottom. In 1977, he was in Regina, Canada, doing Simon’s The Last of the Red Hot Lovers onstage when he said his mind went blank. He walked offstage, checked into a hospital and went cold turkey.
His battle with drugs and alcohol was well-documented in his autobiography. “I remember how I slipped further into darkness,” he wrote. “I kept working in films, on the stage and in TV – but I wasn’t really there. It was like a 21-year blackout.”
The era of live television was ending, and so too was Caesar’s Hour, with Lawrence Welk providing stiff competition in 1957. “I was exhausted,” Caesar said.
He followed with Sid Caesar Invites You in 1958, briefly reuniting Caesar and Coca, and The Sid Caesar Show, a half-hour sketch comedy show that aired every second Thursday on ABC, alternating with Edie Adams’ show Here’s Edie, in 1963-64. But Caesar would never be the force on television that he was.
In 1962-63, he had seven or eight roles in the Broadway musical comedy Little Me, written by Simon. He continued to appear in occasional films and TV movies through the 1970s and ’80s, most memorably as dentist Melville Crump (with Adams as his wife) in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) and as a Hollywood studio head in Brooks’ Silent Movie (1976). He played Coach Calhoun in the two Grease movies and was a caveman in Brooks’ History of the World: Part I (1981).
Caesar also showed up as Elliott Gould’s uncle in Over the Brooklyn Bridge (1984), was the Gryphon in Irwin Allen’s 1985 telefilm Alice in Wonderland and starred in a 1985 episode of the Steven Spielberg anthology series Amazing Stories. He noticed at the time that comedy was changing.
“Things now have to be gross to laugh at,” he lamented in 1984 while announcing a scholarship in his name at the UCLA College of Fine Arts.
In 1997, he appeared in the film Vegas Vacation and made a guest appearance as Uncle Harold on TV’s Mad About You, and a year later he appeared with old friend Morris in The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, based on a Ray Bradbury novel.
Caesar was feted in 2001 in the Showtime documentary Hail Sid Caesar! The Golden Age of Comedy. At the 2006 TV Land Awards, he was presented with the Pioneer Award and performed his famous double-talk for more than five minutes.
Summing up his philosophy, The King of Saturday Night once said: “People are funny, not things. People will always eat, brush their teeth, try to go out with a girl, and that’s where they’re funny. They’re not funny chasing cars and firing guns. The perversion is getting out of hand. We’re developing a world view that’s totally false.”
His wife of 67 years, Florence, died in 2010. Survivors include his daughters Michele and Karen and son Rick.
Watch as Obama falls on the bubbles or grab him and fling him about as you watch the physics.
After clinching home-field advantage in the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks took advantage of a golden opportunity to make a Super Bowl run. With its win against NFC West rival San Francisco on Sunday, Seattle won the NFC Championship and will move on to Super Bowl XLVIII.
Seattle trailed the 49ers heading into the second half, but they put up 20 points to take a 23-17 lead once the San Francisco offense started to stall out. Colin Kaepernick couldn’t run the ball anymore, and Marshawn Lynch started to get the running game going for Seattle. In the end, it was the defense coming up with two huge plays to seal the win, with Kaepernick getting intercepted on both of San Francisco’s final two possessions.
The game ended at 23-17, with Wilson kneeling out the remainder of clock.
Seattle came up just short in the playoffs last year, blowing a lead in the final 30 seconds against Atlanta. Had the Seahawks held on, they would have played San Francisco for the right to go to the Super Bowl. Despite the missed opportunity, the Seahawks returned one of the most talented rosters in the NFL this season. Unlike last year, when Seattle lost a few games it probably shouldn’t have, the Seahawks took care of business during the 2013 regular season, clinching the NFC West and the No. 1 seed. That meant that NFC foes would have to advance through the playoffs by beating Seattle at CenturyLink Field, a very tough place for opponents to win as New Orleans found out last week and San Francisco this week.
Although the run to the Super Bowl shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, it is still a rarity for the Seahawks and Seattle fans. The game on Sunday was just Seattle’s third appearance in a conference championship, and the franchise will advance to its second Super Bowl. The 2005 Seahawks rode home-field advantage to Super Bowl XL, eventually losing to Pittsburgh. That loss still aggravates Seattle fans nearly 10 years later. The current crop of Seahawks will have a chance at redemption and an opportunity to bring the city its first major sports championship since the Seattle SuperSonics won the 1979 NBA Championship.
The Seahawks made the playoffs in eight of the last 11 seasons. This season, however, is only the second time they have advanced past the Divisional round during that stretch. While making the playoffs isn’t anything new for Seattle, having success – and being favored to win – is a drastic change. This season was just the fourth in franchise history that the Seahawks won more than 10 games. The 2005 team was often regarded as the best in franchise history, but the 2013 team may have already taken that mantle. It has advanced as far as any team, won as many games and has the opportunity to finish with the Super Bowl victory the 2005 team couldn’t capture.
There will be a bit of history on the line in the Super Bowl. Seattle hired Pete Carroll away from USC, and he and general manger John Schneider have assembled one of the deepest and most talent-laden rosters in the league. With one more win, Carroll will join Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer as the only coaches to win an NCAA and NFL championship.
While they had the benefit of playing at home, the Seahawks’ path to the Super Bowl was not an easy one. Nine of their 18 games came against teams with at least 10 wins. Seattle beat San Francisco twice, New Orleans twice and Carolina once. In total, the Seahawks won six games against teams with double-digit wins. The Seahawks now need just one more such win to cap the season with the Lombardi Trophy.
Peyton Manning had an answer for everyone. What’s new? For Tom Brady. For the New England defense. For anyone who thought he couldn’t win the big one.
Manning is taking the Denver Broncos on a trip to New York for the Super Bowl after another of his impeccably crafted victories – this time, a 26-16 win over the Patriots on Sunday in the AFC title game.
Less than three years after being unable to throw a football because of his surgically ravaged neck and nerve endings, Manning will get a chance for his second ring. He’ll try to become the first quarterback to win one with two different teams, at the Meadowlands on Feb. 2 against Seattle or San Francisco, who play later Sunday for the NFC championship.
After taking the final knee, Manning stuffed the football in his helmet and ran to the 30-yard line to shake hands with Brady. The Indy-turned-Denver quarterback improved to 5-10 lifetime against New England’s QB but 2-1 in AFC title games.
It was far from a fireworks show in this, the 15th installment of the NFL’s two best quarterbacks of their generation. But Manning, who finished 32 for 43 for 400 yards and two short touchdown passes, set up four field goals by Matt Prater and put his stamp on this one with a pair of long, meticulous and mistake-free touchdown drives in which nothing came cheap.
Manning geared down the no-huddle, hurry-up offense that helped him set records for touchdown passes and yardage this season and made the Broncos the highest-scoring team in history. The result: A pair of scoring drives that lasted a few seconds over seven minutes; they were the two longest, time-wise, of the season for the Broncos (15-3).
Manning capped the second with a 3-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas – who got inside the overmatched Alfonzo Dennard and left his feet to make the catch – for a 20-3 lead midway through the third quarter.
From there, it was catch-up time for Brady and the Pats, and they are not built for that.
A team that averaged more than 200 yards on the ground the last three weeks didn’t have much quick-strike capability. Brady, who threw for most of his 277 yards in comeback mode, actually led the Patriots to a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. But they were a pair of time-consuming, 80-yard drives. The second cut the deficit to 26-16 with 3:07 left, but the Broncos stopped Shane Vereen on the 2-point conversion and the celebration was on in Denver.
The trip to New York, where it figures to be at least a tad cooler than Sunday’s 63-degree reading at kickoff, will come 15 years after John Elway rode off into the sunset with his second straight Super Bowl victory.
The Broncos have had one close call since – when they lost at home to Pittsburgh in the 2005 title game – but what it really took was Elway’s return to the franchise in 2011. He slammed the door on the Tim Tebow experiment and signed Manning to a contract, knowing there were risks involved in bringing to town a thirtysomething quarterback coming off multiple operations to resurrect his career.
Even without Von Miller on the field, Elway put enough pieces in place around Manning to contend for a championship.
And Manning knows how to make the most of them.
This game started getting out of hand at about the same time Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib went out with a knee injury. Nobody else could cover Thomas and Manning, who finds mismatches even under the toughest of circumstances, found this one quickly.
Thomas finished with seven catches for 134 yards, including receptions of 26 and 27 yards that set up a field goal for a 13-3 lead before the half.
Denver got the ball back to start the third quarter – working the plan to perfection after winning the coin toss and deferring the choice – and Manning hit Thomas for 15 and 4 yards as part of the 80-yard, 7:08 touchdown drive that gave Denver the 17-point lead.
The thought this week was that the Patriots were playing with house money, having well exceeded expectations for a team that lost a number of stars – Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski – and has been plagued by injuries all year.
But a loss is a loss and facts are facts. Bill Belichick is stuck on three titles and hasn’t won one since the NFL busted him for the Spygate videotaping scandal.
The Broncos, meanwhile, got over a big hump last week by beating the Chargers in the divisional round, which is where last year’s trip fizzled unexpectedly against Baltimore.
Manning insisted the showdown against Brady was more Broncos vs. Patriots than Manning vs. Brady. He lets others decide who’s the greatest at this or that.
But he earned a chance to improve on his already-sterling legacy, one that figures to include a fifth MVP award come Super Bowl week.
A win at MetLife Stadium would put him in the same company as his brother, Eli, along with Elway, Roger Staubach and others as a two-time Super Bowl winner.
The International Olympic Committee is requiring Team USA women’s hockey goalie Jessie Vetter to remove an inscription bearing “We the People” on her custom mask before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The reference from the U.S. Constitution is seen by the IOC as “propaganda” promoting the United States over other countries, according to Ron Slater, the mask’s artist. He also makes custom masks for NHL players.
“It ruffles the wrong feathers, I guess,” Slater told FoxNews.com.
Vetter’s mask “was allowed to retain depictions of the Statue of Liberty, a screaming bald eagle and a ‘USA’ shield,” the report adds.
Slater remembers Vetter asking him to add “We the People.” She reportedly told him: “It’s only three words. How much damage could they do?”
Rob Koch, the communications director for USA Hockey, told FoxNews.com that the incident “has not been an issue for our players.”