In This Episode
Ira, Louis, and guest host Joel Kim Booster discuss Ariana Grande’s divorce and other celebrity breakups, Project Runway All-Stars and legacy reality shows, Sinead O’Connor, Paul Reubens, dating app screenshots, and Katy Perry’s career. Aly & AJ join to discuss their With Love From Tour and finding life in their old music. Plus, Ira responds to Louis’ Barbie review.
Ira Madison III And we are back up with an all new episode of Keep It. I’m Ira Madison, the third, and well, I’m dying.
Louis Virtel Oh, is that so?
Ira Madison III I have COVID.
Louis Virtel Oh and you’re recording remotely. Wow. But the suspense, the thrills are alive. I love this. You can. You could go any minute.
Ira Madison III Well, I’m only here so I won’t get fined, as they say.
Louis Virtel Oh, I see.
Ira Madison III I missed last week. I got two in a row, Tommy might have something to say.
Louis Virtel The branding is falling apart. People won’t remember your name. I’m Louis Virtel. I’m also the host of Keep It. But it’s finally back to original recipe Keep It. It’s been too long since both Ira and I jabberred about the discourse and were ultimately wrong. But instead we are messing with the formula this week because we have a co-host. He has been here before. He’s a hilarious comedian, hilarious writer and screenwriter. I forget what projects of his we can mention because everybody’s on strike and we’re all going to jail if we do the strike wrong. But he is in the Time 100. Jesus. It’s crazy to have actually accomplished people here. And he also happens to be a friend of ours. It’s Joel Kim Booster. Welcome back to Keep It.
Joel Kim Booster Hello. I’m so glad to be here. I was expecting Ira to be gone and I was going to be involved in the coup.
Louis Virtel And there’s always next week.
Joel Kim Booster Very happy, happy to be here as a guest. Hello.
Ira Madison III I have actually been really enjoying this era of everyone talking about things that they want to sort of promote, not even their own projects. It’s mostly been people online being like like Michelle Buetow has a new show on some streaming network, which I really enjoy, and our friend Solomon worked on it. There are so many posts from people being like, Well, I know that SAG is on strike, but I really want to support my girl and her show, so you should go and watch it. And it rhymes with this word.
Louis Virtel Sounds above board to me.
Joel Kim Booster Yeah. The feeling that I have in the pit of my stomach right now during the strike is exactly the same feeling I had during lockdown. Like, I’m just. I’m so, so fucking bored.
Louis Virtel Yeah.
Joel Kim Booster It is unbelievable. It’s. It’s the same thing of, like, I. Why am I, like, I go out, I picket, I come home and it’s like 2 p.m. and I am smoking a blunt and playing a video game and it’s like what am I doing. Like it seemed fun. It seemed fun for like the first two weeks and now I’m so desperate for literally any sort of stimulation beyond just sitting on the couch with my boyfriend.
Louis Virtel I feel like when you go to the picket line, basically you have to plan to have a picket buddy and make it a different one than you’ve had previously, where you spend most of your time walking with them so that you have like a unique experience on the line because otherwise it’s just patrolling and unfortunately talking to the same people and also avoiding the same people on the line. It reminds me of going to warehouse parties in L.A. where I’m like, Okay, you made that once in 2017. I cannot do it seven more times. I cannot. Yeah.
Joel Kim Booster Yeah. I’m very I was at the beginning of the strike very and, you know, socializing and having my, my walking buddy for the first part. But I have now like devolved straight up into my earbuds are in, I’m holding a sign, I’m listening to Keep It or some other culture podcast and when the podcast is over, that’s when I know it’s time to go home, you know.
Louis Virtel I never though of just taking Airbuds, but I guess when you walk Disney, there’s a lot of space to do that, so maybe I should put my AirPods in there and, you know, get into podcasting.
Ira Madison III There’s nowhere to hide in New York. You know that. It’s true. We’ve talked about this, but it’s like there’s it’s truly like two, two, two like steps that you’re walking and you’re just repeating it because we have so little sidewalk to walk in front of any place that we picket.
Louis Virtel Oh, yeah. When I was in New York, we picketed in front of the Upfronts and it was just, wow, you were on a slim, like a balance beam, basically, with everybody else.
Ira Madison III You’re walking around a hotdog cart. We were walking around that hotdog cart, basically.
Louis Virtel Yeah.
Ira Madison III Have you seen any have you seen any celebs lately? Because I’m seeing like Colin Farrell, the paps are getting him, the paps are getting the hot guy from The Bear. I do not remember his name.
Louis Virtel Hot Gene Wilder is his name, right? Oh, that’s right Jeremy Allen White, yes. Hm mmm.
Joel Kim Booster Shocking. Sure things. Having a moment?
Louis Virtel I’m still getting over. The first day I was on the line. I saw Natasha Lyonne and I didn’t realize she was like one foot seven or something. I’m like, I’m still blown away at tiny celebrities.
Joel Kim Booster It my thing is, is that I’m I’m surprised after, you know, four years of living in L.A., I still get a certain kind of star struck for someone for only specifically people who, you know, probably aren’t getting recognized a lot like the way I lost my shit when I saw Dermot Mulroney on the line. And it’s like I haven’t thought about Dermot Mulroney in years and yet seeing him live and in person, it really made me, I don’t know, it’s I’m thinking something inside me shifted and I had to. I was with Guy Branum, actually, and Guy Branum is the perfect person. You want Guy Branum with you when you see a celebrity because he will he has no qualms about being like Dermot Mulroney. Come and get a picture with us on the line.
Louis Virtel And Guy will go through all his IMDB credits like at the drop of a hat, too. So he’ll he’ll keep you updated really quick on that. Dermot Mulroney by the way. And he was in the Last Scream, correct? Yeah, that was a performance that started off. I don’t know if you’re right for this. And then by the end I was like, You’re the best performance in this movie. I love a head fake.
Ira Madison III I thought he was a really good killer.
Louis Virtel Yeah, he was a good killer.
Joel Kim Booster It was a lot of fun there, but I think he sort of tipped it a little immediately for me in the in the movie. Dermot Mulroney is somebody who you do sort of wonder why he didn’t blow up in a bigger way. And then you watch My Best Friend’s Wedding and you’re sort of like. I see why he didn’t blow up in a bigger way.
Louis Virtel I just feel like he’s somebody who always reminds you of three other actors. He’s sort of like what I want to call an Emily Blunt. I’m like, very talented. But like, unfortunately, life has done this thing to you where you always remind me of Katy Perry and Rachel Brosnahan and whomever. You know, there’s always there used to be an actress whom I’m obsessed with. I used to bring her up all the time on the spot, I guess Jean Simmons, who is probably best known from Guys and Dolls, but she’s in like Spartacus and she’s in the Laurence Olivier Hamlet. She unfortunately looks exactly like a hybrid of Vivien Leigh and Elizabeth Taylor, who are, of course, more accomplished and more famous than she is. And I always felt like that held her back.
Joel Kim Booster Yeah, really Stretching the definition of widely known there, Louis.
Louis Virtel There’s even a more famous Gene Simmons than Jean Simmons. You know what I’m saying? But, Ira, we need to get into the tragedies of this week. Keep It often is about pop culture, but mostly it’s a podcast that should be called Who Died because we get into Who Died. And this week, A, who is somebody I call it Gen-X icon, but. Icon anyway. I mean, you’d be if you didn’t know Nothing Compares To You and the incident on Saturday Night Live where she tore up a picture of the pope and, by the way, said the word evil as she did it. It was not ambiguous the intention behind doing this. Sinead O’Connor to me, one of the most important artists of my lifetime, Ira and I did an episode once where we talked about no skip albums and I picked I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got by Sinead O’Connor. This is somebody who had a fucking strange and hard life. This is somebody who survived abuse and her entire discography and life of interviews is filled with conscience and empathy. Even though she’s known as a firebrand and an iconoclast, which she is. I was devastated by this. What are your guys recollections of Sinead O’Connor?
Joel Kim Booster I mean, so I remember Genaro Connor. Obviously, the thing that sticks out the most in my mind is ripping up a picture of the pope. I remember sitting at home watching SNL in syndication and and also, like, this was the big one for me was she was a fixture on like, I love the eighties. I love the nineties.
Louis Virtel Oh, sure.
Joel Kim Booster And so that is where like most of my pop culture from that time as a home schooler came from. But I remember Janet really brought together my family and the Catholic Church because we were we grew up evangelical, so we were very anti-Catholic. And yet this somehow this event somehow brought our family together with the Catholic Church. And we all know.
Louis Virtel That’s too bad.
Joel Kim Booster She was bad. Yeah. Yeah. And so it wasn’t until I was an adult that I was really introduced to her music and then suddenly, you know, it all came sort of for picture for me in terms of of how important she actually was. But it’s strange to me that she didn’t have a bigger rehabilitation moment in the current era. You know, like obviously, I think like public opinion has shifted pretty, you know, far away from the Catholic Church in recent memory. And it’s it’s it’s it’s surprising to me that Twitter didn’t revive her career in a bigger way before she passed.
Louis Virtel I think it’s fair to say and she said this herself, people said, oh, you throw away your career at that moment. And she said, no, What actually happened is I shifted into being dependent on being a live performer. And she was always so dynamic as a performer. I saw her in concert in, I think 2012 or 2013, and she was still wailing and hitting the notes as as she did on her debut on the line in the Cobra in 87. And also she is sort of like a Linda Ronstadt or a Joni Mitchell, and that she was never beholden to any music styles at the time. Like literally in her biggest moment with Nothing Compares to You, which of course is a fabulous Prince cover. She followed that album with an album of jazz and pop standards. She then had a reggae album at some point. This is somebody who did an album of old Irish folk songs, like It Was Just wherever the muse took her, and she was never determined to be. You know, she didn’t put out like a major rock album. In the time of Jagged Little Pill, for example, she was always doing her own thing and fabulously so. Ira, are you? I think I tried turning you, Sinead O’Connor, super fan, and you’ve selfishly stayed in your lane at the time.
Ira Madison III You know, I did do a pilgrimage to Ireland. You know, I tried to.
Louis Virtel And you only found Samantha Mumba.
Ira Madison III Yeah, I only found Samantha. Only found Colin Farrell, you know.
Louis Virtel Again. Yes.
Ira Madison III Yeah, Yeah. You know, but I do like her. I actually really did enjoy. I mean, I guess she didn’t really have sort of, like, Joel’s asking, like a sort of like resurgence or sort of like thing of people like re sort of reevaluating her career. But she was like really funny online.
Louis Virtel Jesus, she’s funny. Jesus.
Ira Madison III Like, she’s loved to tweet. And so that was just a weird thing, like rediscovering about her. What I really enjoyed was, um, people circulating, obviously, that letter that she had written to Piers Morgan after he was trying to get her on his show after her son Blake committed suicide, which is like, he’s such a fucking ghoul. But she was just like, you know, like, I don’t want to go on the show because you wouldn’t even be thinking about me. You’d be thinking about the fact that you really just want to fuck Meghan Markle. You know, like you’re obsessed with her. And he responded because he’s such an idiot.
Louis Virtel He had the time. I can’t believe it.
Ira Madison III Yeah, yeah. He was like, Oh, you’re so funny. Me Like, like, like, like they were in on the joke together when, like, clearly she hated this man. And it was weird seeing him this week, too. Just going on about how much he loved Sinead O’Connor, etc.. And I was like, That bitch did not like you.
Louis Virtel Yeah, right. Not begging for the Piers Morgan appraisal of Sinead O’Connor’s career. Before moving on, of course, to Pee-Wee Herman, I just want to say there are several tracks and Sinead’s discography that have gone way under the radar. Fire on Babylon. The other songs she performed when she was on SNL was from that album of standards, and it’s a cover of a Loretta Lynch song called Success, which was rebranded Success Has Made a Failure of Our Home. Great recording. And she has a song called No Man’s Woman. How is that not on the charts when that came out? Awesome Empowerment Anthem, Very hardcore feminist in a bit. In addition to being hardcore in general. Love Sinéad O’Connor, Pee-Wee Herman, another like from the same era, really like Pee wee’s Playhouse is really from the same time as she needs coming out. I was I just want to say, first of all, the amount of comics who apparently had a very close relationship with Paul Reubens, I did not know how sweet a man he was. Everybody from Kathy Griffin to Laraine Newman, who are both in The Groundlings, just which is the L.A. comedy Troupe Club that Paul Reubens started, and Adam Shankman, the director, and my friend, he was recounting how a rat, a person he was, somebody who, I’m sure when he started this character as a as a live act, Pee-Wee Herman, he did not think it would come to really represent equality. And people love death, meanness and irreverence and fun. And I think afterwards, in reevaluating how far this character went in both movies and on his TV show, really became kind of an anthemic sort of guy. And there’s no second one of Paul Reubens if you’re a fan of if you’re a fan of Pee-Wee Herman, you could only get more Pee-Wee Herman to get that fixed, you know, just a daffy, rad, hilarious character. And Paul Reubens, a hilarious actor. I’m thinking of his stint on 30 Rock as the Hapsburg Prince, who is just a complete mess and unbelievable.
Ira Madison III He’s the best part of like the original Buffy movie to which is vampire. And like his, if you haven’t seen his death scene in that movie where Kristy Swanson, like, stabs him with a steak and he does this for like five minute extended death scene where he’s like crawling on the floor and kicking the wall like he’s he was so funny. And it was nice seeing him do things beyond Pee-Wee Herman, which is really interesting because I feel like he is an omnipresent sort of pop culture figure. But I don’t know that I was necessarily obsessed with Pee-Wee Herman, like the show maybe I was as a kid and I would watch it, but I feel like maybe I recognized like the animated series that they had more than I feel like was on Fox Kids or something. Then like the actual show, I feel like our specific age was sort of like.
Louis Virtel We’re like six years too young. Yes.
Ira Madison III Paying attention to that. I mean, I remember the movie Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, one of Tim Burton’s greatest films. But even that, I feel like I discovered that later after I was already a Tim Burton fan. The magic to me really came when he did a few years ago. I feel like he did a he did like a Broadway version of Pee-Wee, and that show was really like moving to me.
Joel Kim Booster It’s funny, though, I feel like I also feel like I was slightly too young to get into Pee Wee’s Playhouse as a live action thing. I think it actually sort of terrified me when I was.
Louis Virtel It is a little scary. He is scary. Yes. And the other characters are scary. Yeah.
Joel Kim Booster The characters are scary. But I do think that, like, if you look at all comedians of my generation, you can draw a pretty clear straight line from Pee wee’s Playhouse to a lot of like to like, honestly, like Eric Andre, you know, like I think like a lot of like the Adult Swim sensibility of all the comedy that has popped up in recent years is is in part like he has so many sons and daughters out there who are doing the same thing and just like tweaking it slightly to make it more palatable to a modern audience. But I think, like you said, you see a lot of his influence in comedy that is not aimed at children, it is aimed at adults.
Louis Virtel Today he is that wild combination of it’s for little kids and also adults. You know, just like the subversion is so clear to anyone, to any adult watching.
Joel Kim Booster But not in a Pixar way. No. In any way. You know, like there is no like it is not, you know, aimed at getting adults to feel nostalgic for childhood. It is about like a sense of play. Yeah, that is childlike, but it is being applied in a very specific way as an adult.
Louis Virtel Definitely. No, these are two two. If pop culture figures, again, there’s no second one of these people. And I’m always I think we should always make sure to commemorate what makes these people individuals because we won’t get that thing again. It’s like appreciate fucking Cher while she’s still here and it’s. It makes me sad to actually have to commemorate them only after they go.
Ira Madison III SHe’s not going anywhere, Louis, okay.
Louis Virtel Okay.
Ira Madison III I keep thinking of that. I love how Madonna continues to churn out iconic pop culture moments. But I kept thinking about recently and seeing people Sharon, remember the clip where she’s like, David Bowie, gone. Michael Jackson gone. But I’m still here.
Louis Virtel And it’s haunting you.
Ira Madison III Yeah, it’s like I’m the last icon. But of course, you know, like, Cher’s probably watching that, like, bitch, I’m going to live longer than you.
Louis Virtel Also, she definitely would start the sentence with Bitch. I don’t think any human being has started more sentences with Bitch than Cher. But anyway, we have a huge show to get to. We are going to talk about, strangely, Project Runway, which we are all watching, and I think we’ll get into a discussion of these now legendary reality TV shows that still are on and that maybe even peaked in relevance something like 15 years ago and what they bring to the table now. We will also talk about celebrity breakups, our favorites ever. We’re still in this time of reprocessing how Ariana and SpongeBob could do this to us. Their lives. What? I don’t know if you feel jilted or what, but we’re going to get into that. And then also Aly and A.J. are here. Did I get that right? Aly and A.J. are here.
Ira Madison III Yeah. You know, they had nothing better to do. They were like, let’s come and talk to these Fagots.
Louis Virtel Right. They’ll be like, What is this? Okay. Yes. We’ll be back with more right after this.
Ira Madison III <AD>
Ira Madison III So it’s starting to feel like The View here because we’re talking about reality TV. And I feel like that’s all they do on that show now.
Louis Virtel Is that really? I forget to check in with The View, like, who’s on it at this point? Is it like the grandchildren of Meredith Vieira, who’s there?
Ira Madison III I mean, Whoopi Goldberg still there dressed like she’s working. And Katherine Hepburn, the gardener. She’s she’s got the flannels. She seems high as hell. And I would be her eyes if I were hosting The View that long. Like, I feel like it would be maybe six years before I came to work, just stoned every day. So.
Joel Kim Booster Well, it feels like every couple of weeks a headline appears about something that would be said on The View akin to basically like, Whoopie Goldberg has had it. Insert blank. Like, it’s just always some tirade and it’s always appreciated. I’m never not on this side but it does feel like she’s a little over it.
Louis Virtel And also she’s a good person to have had it because she’s too tired to walk off the show and just sit there. So she can keep talking to her.
Ira Madison III I was thinking about with the yesterday because I was just thinking about, you know, like my grandmother’s favorite movies. For this essay I was writing. And I’m like, one thing she did love was like a fucking Whoopi Goldberg movie. And I was talking to her about how when I saw Jurassic Park as a kid, like, it was the first movie that, like I had ever been dropped off, like to see by myself, like seeing my little dinosaur movie. And I was like, Well, what movie did you see by yourself in the theater while I was seeing the dinosaur movie? And she couldn’t recall. So I like was looking up the movies that were out then. And we figured out that she saw Made in America, the Whoopi Goldberg Ted Danson movie, where Nia Long as her daughter and then Nia Long does some like test and finds out that her dad isn’t black. And then Whoopi finds out that the sperm donor she used was a white man and the white man was Ted Danson.
Joel Kim Booster Wow, speaking of iconic celebrity breakups.
Louis Virtel Oh, yeah. Iconic. There are some familiar images from that one. Yes. One is popping to mind right now. Let’s get Mary Steenburgen back here to unpack that. I need. You know what? I won’t. I will go ahead and not do that. Louis, you should try that.
Ira Madison III I give you permission.
Louis Virtel I’m sure the Internet will concur. Yes.
Joel Kim Booster Yeah, it’s a trap. Yeah.
Ira Madison III We’ll put that on the Crooked grid.
Louis Virtel Right.
Ira Madison III See what people have to say. But now we’re talking about reality TV today because season 20 of Project Runway is on and. It was funny when Joel suggested that we talk about that this week, because I feel like I discovered this season was airing by happenstance. I came home one night and I feel like we’re in a weird. We’re in a weird bravo lull. You know, there’s really just like the new RHONY. And then, like, I’m kind of into the new season of O.C., But Atlanta’s not really great this season. And I’m like, I’m not really watching as much of Bravo as I feel like I usually am. And I was like, Well, here’s this whole season of Project Runway. There was like six episodes at that point, and I started it and I feel like I watched all six of those in one night because this season is fucking great. And it’s since it’s an All Stars season, it has all of your favorites back, more favorites than I expected. I mean, like, um, Rami Kashou is on the show and seeing him, like, walk in. And that first episode, I was immediately taken back to like the season that he was all like season four and thinking that he was the hottest man I had ever seen on TV at that point.
Louis Virtel Unbelievably hot.
Ira Madison III And he’s still incredibly hot.
Joel Kim Booster He is still incredibly hot. But I did turn to my boyfriend. My boyfriend has never seen a season of Project Runway except for maybe a few of the newer ones with with Miss Kloss and I, I was like, Oh, he’s really good. He’s really good. He’s one of the best ones. And he has not been turning it out this season very much. And I do find that I think I’m probably remembering him being really, really good. And he was great. On his original season, a finalist came in second to Christian Siriano, but like I do think I was a little bit blinded by his hotness in his original season. Well, I guess he’s not giving so much.
Louis Virtel I think I think the issue is, though, like as the seasons progress people, it’s like drag race people become aware of where they need to be super primed. And you know, when you’re in the early seasons of reality show, particularly Project Runway, you don’t really know the ins and outs of what’s expected of you. And now you have these people from season like 16, 17 and 18 who work probably three times as fast as these original contestants did. That said, it is so amazing to Kara Saun, who was a finalist from season one, which I think is one of the greatest reality TV shows of all time period. And this woman has not skipped a beat. She is still the show professional costumer. She works on Disney’s Descendants. At the time she was on the show originally, she was a costumer for eight simple rules for Dating my teenage daughter, and that’s a show that had cute clothes. And I just remember thinking at the time like she was a very new type of reality contestant because it wasn’t like American Idol where everybody necessarily came in as a total amateur, like I’m pretty good singer from their hometown. This was an industry professional who was, you know, worked in fashion. But still, there was this ambition to be, you know, a name and a designer on her own, Right. Not just making costumes for people. And I think that’s what one of the enduring and endearing things about Project Runway is it really humanized the industry, the idea of working in fashion. You know, like I don’t remember before that having any idea of what it meant to be a costumer if that was at all possible. You know, the idea that there would be wannabes out there who aren’t famous yet are working yet, and she is still churning it out on this show. I love her this season.
Joel Kim Booster Correct me if I’m wrong though, Bravo sort of pioneered like the professional class reality show. Definitely. I’m thinking of like Top Chef as well. Like, I think I feel like a lot of competition reality shows prior to these two shows really were about assembling an assortment of regular everyday, quote unquote, people to do physical challenges or compete in some regard not connected to whatever they did professionally.
Ira Madison III Let us not forget Sheer Genius.
Louis Virtel I fucking love that show. I love Jaclyn Smith as the host of it, too. She was she was both a good host and completely aloof, which is, I think, you know, what I would call the Padma Lakshmi stan, standard.
Joel Kim Booster But it is it does feel like and they’ve I think they’ve all but come out and said this that this is this is a test season. If this season pops off they will continue Project Runway. If it does not, then this is sort of its big send off as well, which I can’t decide how I feel about that because the thing is, is I’ve watched I watch every Project Runway clone. I’m talking making the cut talking next fashion, I’m talking the hype, which is HBO, Max’s short lived reality show, where they do just streetwear, which is really great. And the thing is, is you are sort of seeing the problems with the the project runway system that a lot of these other shows have fixed. And mainly this is the biggest pet peeve that I have with Project Runway after watching these other shows is these other shows have really moved on from expecting these designers to be also seamstresses as well. And
Ira Madison III Yes.
Joel Kim Booster It’s one of the. The central conflicts of a lot of these designers on Project Runway that you see, which is, are you a good seamstress or are you a good designer? And because these other shows now are farming out a lot of the work to seamstresses, like in making the cut specifically, I think was one of the first ones where they don’t construct these garments. They really only just designed them and then send them off to be constructed by a seamstress. And you’re seeing that a lot in Project Runway this season where really good designers are going home or ending up in the bottom because they simply, especially the older designers who are from the earlier seasons, who have really moved on from having to construct their own designs, you’re seeing them struggle in a way that I don’t think you’d see them struggle if they were given seamstresses to actually bring some of these designs to life.
Louis Virtel And it’s not particularly telegenic to see someone not be good at sewing either. So it’s not like a really compelling thing to watch on a reality show.
Ira Madison III Except I do wish that you still had to sew things on Drag Race.
Louis Virtel Yeah.
Ira Madison III That that I do wish were. It’s weird that like, that was always the original element of Project Runway and now we’ve gotten away from that in the fashion shows that we see now and then. It’s weird that, like RuPaul’s Drag Race has sort of gone in that direction now to where, like, it’s just everyone comes in with like a glamorous outfit already made for them, which is not the reality for most queens who were initially cast on Drag Race because you sort of have to be on the show and get a name for yourself to then be able to afford to get outfits made for you.
Joel Kim Booster Well, that’s almost a relic, too. Like, Project. Look, Drag Race started as an amalgamation of like a parody of every reality competition show was on. And like, it really did start as like a parody of America’s Next Top model and Project Runway and all of these other shows that were on at the time and like sort of aping the beats of competition reality shows. And then it became its own thing slowly over time where it’s and and I think like that’s like almost a holdover, although you still do see the construction challenges on that show. It’s just you know usually not not they’re not giving a lot of time now because they’ve lost the skill.
Louis Virtel What’s interesting is watch rewatching Project Runway show that, by the way, still very much resembles its original format. And like in certain ways, it still feels like it’s 26. When you watch that show these shows, this whole cluster of reality shows that still exist American Idol, The Voice, etc. they’ve now, for me, taken the place of what the brain space I reserve for something like The Price Is Right where something you would watch. And it’s just nice that something that old and set in stone is still going on. You know there’s like this comfort level of, Oh my God, it’s still it’s like walking into a Panera. It’s still 24, you know, it’s like the French onion soup is exactly the same. You know?
Joel Kim Booster It is. It is it does give the exact same feeling that you have when you go to your hometown and visit the Barnes and Noble.
Louis Virtel Oh, fuck. Yeah.
Joel Kim Booster It’s just so deeply comforting.
Louis Virtel I was just talking with our friend Riri was in a Barnes Noble over the weekend. We were just going back and forth about she goes, she was sitting culture. What happened to that? And I was like, Sometimes you just want to walk into a place and see a large picture book of Tiger Woods on display. Who is buying that? And yet it’s for everyone. Yeah.
Joel Kim Booster It’s for everyone. No, wait. This is a this is an interesting question about Project Runway now versus then is do you miss Heidi and Tim? Well, it’s that’s the biggest change.
Louis Virtel I have enjoyed the irony of Christian being the mentor figure to people he competed against on the season. Like him, talking to Rami is very interesting. It is weird, though. Like Christian Siriano on his season was known for being this quotable, quote unquote personality, but I think he is a better designer than reality TV star. I enjoy him. And by the way, his insights are extremely direct. Like people just up and abandon their designs and start anew. And he tells them to do something which is not Tim Gunn style. But I. I like him enough. I prefer Tim Gunn. And then in terms of host Heidi, I think Heidi got a little cheesier as the show went on as she became more producer Heidi than host Heidi.
Ira Madison III Yeah, On Making The Cut, they were insufferable.
Joel Kim Booster Yeah, it is tough. I don’t I do miss sort of the pageantry of Tim Gunn occasionally. But Christian is better at the job.
Louis Virtel Yes. Right.
Joel Kim Booster If you’re really looking at it like he is less. It is. And I do wonder if part of the reason he’s less of a clown than he was and I don’t mean that pejoratively, but like less of a reality TV show clown now is that I do think he he sort of got burned a little bit with the way he he was a reality show figure that could have only existed in 2008, you know, like. He mainstreamed one specific word?
Louis Virtel Yes. Hot tea mess. Yes. I don’t mean to, yes. Yes, like.
Joel Kim Booster That, I mean, when we talk about him being quotable, like that’s sort of the quote, you know, and like, he certainly can’t. I think he’s I think he’s hyper aware of like that sort of being his rap going into this. And that’s and he’s calmed down as a person so much because of it. And he’s done a lot to make amends for that. And I think, like he is probably hyper aware of not wanting to be that guy again on television this go around.
Louis Virtel He also, by the way, I just must say, is fucking brilliant. I mean, like the clothes he has turned out over the years, like there would be a whole in fashion without him. But just he, he he’s somebody who takes the assignment of dressing not size zero bodies, not as a quote unquote challenge, but as the work. You know, he I feel like he’s been always like, let’s make everybody look fucking awesome, you know? Yeah.
Joel Kim Booster Which is another big change to modern Project Runway that you didn’t see in the older seasons, which it’s interesting to see. They’re not they haven’t really made a to storyline in previous seasons of new Project Runway. They’ve really made it a storyline of the some designers struggling because now they all of the models are a mix of bodies of different body types. And you’ve seen in the past they’ve made it a storyline that’s that designers struggle with that challenge. You’re not really seeing it this season. Like no one’s complaining about getting a different sized model than than the standard or anything like that. But I do think that it is it’s exciting. And I think that like Christian was a big, you know, sort of reason for that change and is seeing them design for different bodies because it is a reality of of this industry now that like, you know, people of all sizes expect to look fierce on the runway.
Ira Madison III And when you think about, you know, I guess, you know, his quote unquote makeover from, you know, being the person who made that word famous. And now we see him in a completely different light. He really has just sort of like carved out a space where it’s it feels sometimes like it is only him. I mean, you know, like obviously there are plenty of designers, you know, who make clothes for all different body types, you know, But like, people still think of him when they’re like, you know, like, like I can’t get like, an outfit for this red carpet because, you know, like, this person won’t dress me or as last minute. The people still are always just sort of like at Christian Siriano. Can you help me? You know, like he’s sort of synonymous with that now. And I love him being on the show. I will say I don’t miss Heidi and Tim, but you know who I do miss is Michael Kors.
Louis Virtel Yes. Unfortunately, he could boil it down to a fucking hilarious quote every time. Yeah.
Ira Madison III The critiques on the critiques on the runway just do not hit as hard as they did when Michael and Nina were playing off of each other.
Joel Kim Booster Yeah, no one is focused really on the female crotch more than Michael Kors.
Louis Virtel Despairing at a crotch. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Ira Madison III And his way with words, the way he would just describe a garment was the funniest thing in the world.
Louis Virtel Barefoot, Appalachian, Little Abner Barbie. Who can forget that sequence of words like John Jacob Hammerschmidt.
Ira Madison III She’s a grandmother. Going to get some coffee, and she ran into a lawnmower on the way. Just. Just like everything. It’s just the other people just don’t really have that for me. Well, you know.
Joel Kim Booster And the last thing I’ll say on Project Runway two that is especially interesting about this season of All-Stars, because it is so many new people and so many old people is you really do feel the way that these shows have shifted. Like if you remember in the early seasons of shows like Project Runway and Top Chef, it was so much about people living in a house and sort of the interpersonal conflict that also would come along with the competition. And they’re not interested in that anymore. They’re not that they’re just not interested in, except you see the one person that’s sort of carrying over that vibe. And this season is courting a little bit like she is, by the way, one.
Louis Virtel Kato is fucking hilarious. Yeah.
Ira Madison III She is. She went after Anna for like, they like while she’s just redoing the same fucking design. But then, like, that’s so interesting. That conflict was so interesting to me because, like, if you are trying to get a job, like in the fashion industry, it’s like you want to see someone’s signature thing on the show and these people have been like building signatures. But yeah, she is the one who’s still sort of like giving you old school messy competition drama. I mean, like I remember on Top Chef when, like, um, that infamous season of Top Chef where, like, they all bullied Marcel in the house.
Joel Kim Booster Yeah, they shaved his head.
Ira Madison III Yeah. You don’t get that shit anymore now.
Joel Kim Booster You’re right. And even even even the brief, that brief moment on Project Runway this season, that would have been like a half a season. Art early Project Runway. Is this this conflict over whether or not Anna was designing the same dress over and over again? And they they literally only allowed it to happen for one like half episode, basically, before they are seen in their hotel room apologizing to each other, etc., etc.. And it’s it’s it’s almost disappointing.
Louis Virtel I will say, even though I think Tim did his time on the show and I don’t care if I’m being back, I’m sure he’s sick of it. Whatever. He is such a one of a kind celebrity. I just want to say, like when he emerged, like how many like gay men of that age who had no interest in showbiz prior and just had this life in academia and they suddenly become TV stars and you get the sense of like a kind of normal gay life lived. Like there’s just not another celebrity like that. He’s from a generation that, you know, I mean, that’s the generation that was hit most by AIDS, for example. Like so you had the sense that he had lived a full, interesting gay life in an industry that’s mostly gay. I’m just very grateful to have him. He was also, of course, extremely quotable himself. One time he was on this show with Ira and one of my our favorite moments ever on this show. He was on Zoom, and I said it was like, Did you ever think you’d be an Emmy winning TV star? And out of nowhere, he pulls his Emmy into frame and we were all laughing. I was like, Yes, brandishing your Emmy, like Cloris Leachman. And then he goes, Oh, I love her. I So Tim Gunn come back to Keep It. Yeah.
Ira Madison III I think that was a beautiful thing that he did for gay men. But I also lastly want to point out too, that like Bravo started really with like this Project Runway stuff and, you know, like life on the delays and etc., and now has grown into housewives. ET cetera, Andy Cohen world. But it’s really sort of always been. We saw glimpses of gay life on this show, but it’s always really been sort of like a channel for women. And I feel like that’s never more obvious than the fact that, yes, it might have inspired like gay kids around the U.S. to, like, get the fashion and stuff, but I feel like it also inspired just like ordinary women who liked fashion and would then see like some like random like Stern Woman or just some like girl, like Nora in the season one, like doing fashion. And then they were like, Oh, I can do that too. And it inspired them. But then I thought what was really funny was Nora was the first one to go.
Louis Virtel She looked fabulous.
Ira Madison III She looked fabulous and she she dresses really well. Yeah, but I thought it was painfully obvious of her, like being like I did this in season one. I have my kids at home, but I still love fashion coming back and doing the show and that first episode. And I was like, Oh, she’s going home.
Louis Virtel You don’t have a prayer.
Ira Madison III She sees that this isn’t your world.
Louis Virtel Yeah.
Ira Madison III This isn’t your world.
Louis Virtel Lovely to see her for that episode.
Ira Madison III All right. When we are back, we’re joined by the wonderful Alyand AJ.
Speaker 1 <AD>
Ira Madison III We are so happy to have these incredible guests. They are artists, they’re activists, they’re icons, and they are on the road right now touring their latest record with Love from Right Now. Please welcome to Keep It, the golden songbirds themselves, Aly and A.J..
Aly Thank you. That’s a very sweet intro. What a sweet introduction. Golden Songbirds. I love that.
Ira Madison III I mean, I feel like you’ve been serenading me with music my entire life. So I mean, I have to say that. I mean, it it is it is so fun to, you know, see you releasing new music and also having it be good. And I feel like so well received. And I remember I feel like maybe it was like, right pre-COVID, like I saw one of a show you guys done in like L.A. and it was just like it was so much fun seeing like this new sort of evolution from like, you know, Into the Rush, which I heard on the Disney Channel.
Aly Thank you.
Ira Madison III In 2005, which was like which was also like freshman year of college for me. So like, I was fully a freshman in college listening to Rush and Chemicals React. So maybe, maybe I’m, you know, not like everyone else who was a freshman in college then, but that was my jam. I was a Disney Channel addict then.
AJ Oh, thank you. That’s really sweet. Ira, when did we first meet?
Ira Madison III I feel like we met years ago through through Raymond.
Aly I think it was.
AJ I was trying to figure it out. And I can’t remember I can’t remember what year, but it was a while ago. I mean, it was definitely pandemic, like you said. Yeah, I love that Raymond, like, connected us. He’s the connector of all wonderful people.
Ira Madison III Yeah. And you’ve met Raymond Bron, Louis?
Louis Virtel Oh, yes. Oh, yes. He’s the one who can’t stop doing triathlons. Yes, right. Yes.
AJ He cannot stop.
Ira Madison III I open Instagram and I’m like, I’m exhausted, baby. I’m going to close.
AJ I know. I know. He has been he has been our best friend now for 22 years.
Louis Virtel Oh, I didn’t know that. Wow. He is swimming in Asia right now, I’m sure.
Aly Yes, He’s actually heading to Turkey. Yeah. Yes. We know his schedule. We just saw the other night and we were talking about.
AJ We know his schedule. I know his flight path. He goes to Berlin next. Like, I know all that because I’m always like, Oh, my gosh, Raymond, please be safe going into shark infested waters, what are you doing?
Ira Madison III Well, I mean, Fire Island is shark infested waters now.
Louis Virtel That’s true.
Ira Madison III This summer.
Aly That’s a good point. So true.
Ira Madison III The sharks are everywhere.
Aly Fire Island versus Turkey. What’s what’s more dangerous?
Ira Madison III I’ll tell you what has better food. And it’s not the place with a restaurant called Canteen I. Even just on the concept of that, I find that so. Just like, interesting, like not just, you know, like doing one is enough. I have a friend here, Charlie, and his friend Nick, who’s sort of they ran the Iron Man and. Like Austria this year and they were like training for it. And, you know, it was like it was very intense when they were training for and like, then you didn’t see them anymore. They weren’t going out like they weren’t drinking anymore. And now that it’s over. Like, I have my friend back and he was like, Yeah, that was like really fun and like, intends to train for. But he’s like, Never again.
Aly Wow. It was likea one and done. I respect that. I respect that too. I respect that too. He’s like, Nope, it’s not happening again.
Ira Madison III Yeah, just challenging yourself. What I feel like is, is all you really need to do. But, you know.
Louis Virtel Okay, I have to ask about this album and also just the way you guys collaborate in general. First of all, the music, this is such a pleasing album with love from. What is the greatest disagreement you guys have had working on music together? Because I feel like you guys seem so in sync and like, so just like ideal partners, period, without even being sisters. Also, do you have any memorable bouts where you were trying to you were battling to figure something out?
Aly Yeah, we definitely have those moments. I mean, a lot of times it’s like one of us preferring a song over the other and feeling like maybe that song should stay on the record. And the other one is thinking maybe it gets cut. So sometimes that happens, even though we’re both involved in the creation of the song. So we’re we’re kind of like, ready to sacrifice our own child. But, but at the end of the day, like, we usually come around to someone side, whether it’s mine or Jay’s, and I want to say on With Love from we did have a lot of disagreements. I mean, we’re very much on the same page when it comes to like mixing notes, when it comes to like fades and outros and all of those types of things. Like we’re very much on the same page, even when we’re like cutting the band and we hear a part that we feel like is unnecessary or something that’s missing. Like we always jump in and we’re like kind of finishing each other’s set and saying the same thing. I think sometimes we might disagree on like a lyric line that’ll happen. You know, it’s hard because we’re writing from our own perspectives, but as a duo. So it, it can get tricky when, you know, my, my personal story has to become somewhat Jay’s story as well and vice versa. But we manage it. I don’t know how, but we do.
Ira Madison III Mhm.
AJ Yeah, it’s true. I can’t think of like one moment where we were like, oh my gosh, this was like a colossal meltdown for our band. I think it would be so much more interesting if we had one of those stories. I can’t think of something I think creatively were really compatible. If anything like we fight more outside of music as like sisters and who we are as people together than we do as a work team.
Ira Madison III Mm hmm.
Aly Yeah, I think we did have a moment where I was trying to cut. This was way before we even, I think, recorded the song. Like, officially, I was trying to cut Way of Nature, Way of Grace, which is funny because a lot of people really enjoy that song, and I really like playing it now live, but I was just afraid that it. I don’t know. I just was afraid that it, it, it didn’t fit with the record or something like, I don’t know, we, I think we also had a bunch of parts in it originally that made it kind of sound a certain way. And, and so we stripped it back to make it a little bit more just like raw in its production. And I think that helped. And then the end kind of starts to fill out with this big band moment. But that was that song where I was like, We’re not cutting this. And it was it wasn’t like a fight, but it was like, This song is not going anywhere. Sorry. Yeah, that was that was definitely a moment that it was like putting your foot down. I’m glad you did, because I think ultimately the song came around to be really beautiful. But I think it took like, you know, some songs just take a little bit of extra TLC and sometimes that’s stripping things back and sometimes that’s adding more production. So for whatever reason, that song, it just needed to be stripped back. And we have this like really beautiful kind of guitar picking part at the beginning that wasn’t original there. And that, I think, really helped.
Ira Madison III Mm hmm. I really enjoyed, you know, when, you know, you first debuted ten years, right? And that was that I feel like had a, you know, take me in a and I thought that was sort of, you know, like eighties was sort of like synthy. It was pop rock. And now I’ve loved, like, this evolution of hearing like your different sounds and influences all the way to with love from. And I just sort of want to know, like, how have your music influences sort of changed over the years from when you were first making music? Because I feel like, you know, you’re first making music and then, you know, you’re making into the rush. Like, was that even was that even like music you were listening to then, or was it, you know, sort of like, this is just the music we have to make, you know, because we’re like, we’re making a Disney album, etc., you know, and we want this kind of pop. Or was that stuff that you were into now and now your music tastes is sort of like deepened and you’re listening to other things, and that’s reflected in your records.
AJ I think I think for the most part, we’ve gotten really lucky in the sense that from the really early creating stage of like putting out a record as teens, we weren’t really being controlled in a really severe way, like we actually were signed based on the fact that we were singer songwriters and that we were playing acoustic guitar and that we were a duo. Everything about why they wanted to sign us is kind of what brought the magic of that record. Therefore, they didn’t feel like they had to control too much because it was the beauty of what they were signing. So I really feel like , RUSH, That record making that record was very much a culmination of like inspiration what Aly and I were listening to at that part of our career. And then from there, I think we’ve just completely evolved. I think for a bit of time we were kind of figuring out more of like an 80 synth pop direction, and then we’ve written stuff that maybe leans a little more like nineties rock or grunge. And then we were like, No, that’s not really feeling like us. And it’s fun because as artists you can have so many influences and be into so many different things. It’s hard to find your lane because you’re like, Well, I actually enjoy all these lines and I want to be in all of them. And then eventually you’re like, But I need to come up with a cohesive body of work that feels really good live and it feels like me, and that resonates with who I am now, but also who I might become. You know, music is really tricky because it doesn’t always age properly with you. And so I think this record, you know, it’s very new still, but I really enjoy playing this record live. And to me that’s always a really good indication that it’s going to work for a long period of time.
Aly Yeah, I think that lives. I think us touring again and playing these songs live is what helped is what helped get us on the right track. When it came to the albums and the consistency of what we wanted to create and that it was music that transitioned live really seamlessly. And I think that that’s not always easy. You know, it’s funny sometimes when we try to resurrect songs either deep from the past or even within the last like five or six years, and we play it with the band and there’s just certain songs that just don’t. They don’t translate live as well. It’s a lot more electronic. And then there’s songs that just make sense. Everybody is able to play all of the musical parts that are in the song organically and it just works. So that’s, I think the beauty of these these two new records is that they’re very playable live and I think they really resonate with a live audience. But I think we’ve always been playing music that we were enjoying and listening to, but just in our version, you know, whatever you want to call it for, for the Aly and AJ version of, you know, singer songwriter or pop rock or whatever it was for that, that, that moment. But I think a lot of bands who have definitely inspired us over the years, but they’re like all over the map, you know, in terms of genre.
Louis Virtel Is there any part of your career or any type of song that you once worked on that you’ve actually outgrown? Like, is it awkward to outgrow any old type of music? Is there stuff you basically wouldn’t do anymore that you once did?
Aly Well, it’s funny because, you know, I kind of thought that was the case for our first album because that album is 18 years old now. But my sister and I did this experiment in June where we played the entirety of the album front to back for the first time ever in years, actually ever, because we never really toured that entire album where we played it front back and playing it live. I definitely was like, Some of these songs don’t fully work now because lyrically they’re really immature because we were obviously writing them from a completely different place in life. But in general, when it comes to the melodies and the musical elements to the songs and just what Allie and I were writing during that time, I’m actually like, some of this is quite advanced. I wouldn’t say like, this record is perfect now, but a lot of it, I really enjoy it and I wouldn’t have known that had not played the whole record as adults front to back. And it was really just an experiment. We played a special show and we recorded it and it’s going to come out during the 20 year anniversary of Into the Rush in 2025. So I’m really excited for that. And I think some of those songs actually have lived it on in a really beautiful way. I don’t think all of them work now, but again, it’s because we’re adults singing, you know, more childish material.
Ira Madison III Mm hmm. That’s so wild to have recorded something and be like, this is coming out in two years.
AJ Right? I know. Yeah, we.
AJ We are. We’re really ambitious people, and we’re kind of insane. And Aly and I were like, We’re going to challenge ourselves, and we’re going to just do it now because who knows what 2025 is going to look like or next year. So let’s just record the record now, have it ready to go and put it out in three years. We learned all the material. We were nervous. It’s how we’re never nervous on stage. We were fucking terrified only because we were like, We have not played these songs in so long. And it came together beautifully. Like it was a really sweet, emotional night and it was lovely. Our fans were like freaking out and we were loving it. It was really special.
Ira Madison III One song I really want to ask about, which is sort of like, which is such a banger, and I feel like you probably know what I’m going to ask about is Joan of Arc On The Dance Floor. I feel like even with what I’m playing, like when I’m like having like, friends over and I’m playing, you know, like music, like, you know, like the gay is like, they’re like, Oh, we want to have, like, a Beyoncé, like a duo, like, total, whatever. Like, someone is always suggesting this song, and it’s not me either. Like, people are like, they fucking love that song. And I’ve heard it out before too, and it’s great. And I’m just like, What was your vibe going into making that song? And like, where is also the rest of that dance album?
Aly Yeah, you know, we did, we did these kind of two song pairings between Joan of Arc and Attack of Panic, and for whatever reason, we were like, in this moment of wanting to create like. I don’t know our version of of a dance track that would be played in like a Berlin club. And we were really inspired by Giorgio Moroder at the time, and we were listening a lot to him in the studio with the two collaborators that we worked with. And and that’s how those songs kind of became what they are like. They were just born out of, I think, us just like enjoying this dance music and like having fun and like running around the studio thinking, okay, maybe there’s like a version of an Alley song that’s that lives in the space. I don’t think that we wanted to keep going down that. Down that. I don’t know that that version of music I think only because, again, it it wasn’t songs that felt like they could translate live. It felt like a song that you have, like a DJ playing in a club, which is awesome, but it didn’t feel like something you would have with like a full band. But we’re trying to rework Joan of Arc to play. Live and put into our set in a way that feels like it’s still honoring the original, like we’re not slowing it down or anything, but we’re just changing some of the instrumentation so it becomes a little bit more organic and see if we can play it in a live setting. But but we just played it for our first pride show that we’ve ever performed and it went off great. And we were like, I think the song was meant for the gays.
Ira Madison III Yeah.
AJ Totally. I think Raymond I actually think Raymond kind of manifested us making those two songs because there are times he’s heard every demo in our career and he’ll be like, Can you just make some more like, like gay Club dance anthem? We’re like, Okay, Raymond. Sure. So I honestly feel like those two songs came out of a conversation from Raymond, but it was it’s funny, there’s not like a full album that sounds like that. That’s just waiting in the wings. No, I think I think if Aly and I wanted to, we could do it actually pretty quickly, just because I think that kind of writing comes really easily for us. But in a way it just doesn’t feel like where we’re at currently. It feels more like a moment, not like the setting we’re in right now as musicians. But I actually do love those two songs and we’re finding a way to incorporate them again live. I actually think Joan of Arc could go off in L.A. at the break.
Ira Madison III I mean, listen, just split it into split the show into two parts, like Renaissance Oak. Like we get our come out. Give us that. Give us, give us, you know, the Aly and AJ, and then you’re like, okay, now, Welcome To The Dance Floor.
AJ There you go. There you go. I don’t mind that kind of.
Louis Virtel A narrative at a concert. Yes.
AJ Yeah, we do love Eras.
Louis Virtel One thing I think is interesting about the two of you is you have very varied and different acting credits. And I was curious which of the other’s acting credits are you most jealous of?
Aly That’s funny. Nobody’s ever asked us that. No one has ever asked us that. I was jealous of.
AJ We both we both done some really cool projects. And it’s it’s neat because acting is like our big difference. Like we’re very different actors, whereas I think on stage we’re different performers as well. But when, when we come together as a duo, there are a lot more similarities than when we’re acting. I think for me. I honestly would have loved to have had in Easy A. I think that movie is so iconic and like the amount of people that stop Aly for that, I’m like, Honestly, though, Aly’s the only person I can picture in that role, so it wouldn’t have been like I would play that part. It’s just that that would be the project she was a part of that I would have loved to have been.
Ira Madison III Mhm.
Aly And I would say for, for me I would say, I would say Shira because it’s got such a fan base and such a fandom behind the show that is so fun to watch, you know, just to watch AJ interact with like all, all types of people that come up and talk about their love for the show. AJ is like really talented with voice work and I have not quite cracked it yet, so maybe that would be my that would be mine on on her IMDB list.
AJ Yes, that’s cute Aly.
Louis Virtel I think Easy A also has maybe one of the best sets of parents in any movie. That’s that Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson, right?
AJ Yeah. Great grandparents.
Louis Virtel I need to find like a BuzzFeed list of best parents in a movie because that’s got to be up there.
AJ I agree with that.
Aly For sure. You’re so right.
Ira Madison III Yeah. I mean, I will say that speaking of your credits, like, first of all, AJ, I love Support the Girls.
Louis Virtel Oh, like, I love Support The Girls.
Ira Madison III Like a movie that is a classic and that deserves so much more attention than it got.
Aly It is a good film. A great film. And you and Haley became like besties from that which is so special.
AJ Yeah. So Haley Lu became a really dear friend of mine, and we had known each other before that movie, but not really well. And then we clicked on that film with our friends ever since. I really Regina is like the nicest human being ever, and I really enjoyed that film. I agree that it was kind of like a sleeper in the sense that, like, it didn’t really get enough hype. I actually think it was a lot better than it was perceived. Like, I don’t think a lot of people knew about it, but I love that movie that you guys do, too.
Ira Madison III Yeah. And then, you know, Aly, I watched every single episode of iZombie, so that show, I was okay with that show. But you know, your best credit to be will always be The Roommate.
Aly The Roommate. Yes. Yes. With the famous shower scene, of course.
Louis Virtel Yes.
AJ What an iconic scene where she gets her belly button ring ripped out.
Ira Madison III The way that you remember that movie coming out and you feel like, okay, here’s this like knock off single white, female and like really just the way that like, I feel like that is one of those movies from that early 2010s era of like, you know, like we’re making a lot of like thrillers that are sort of like based on ones we’ve seen already before that like, people bring up The Roommate. Oh. It was fun.
Louis Virtel Very fun movie.
AJ I love that. I would bring that up. I didn’t know that. That’s cool to know.
Ira Madison III Yeah. No, The Roommate. The Roommate is sort of like, in there with, like, you know, like, we don’t have, like, our, like, basic instincts or whatever that we’re like, you know?
Ira Madison III These weren’t nominated for for any awards or things, but, you know, like, The Roommate is up there with, like, Swim Fan for me. Okay. These are.
AJ Got it
Ira Madison III These are classics.
Aly I love Swim Fan.
AJ Swim Fan. Yes. Yeah. Yes.
Aly Was that with Julia Stiles?
Louis Virtel No. That’s a Jesse Bradford and Erika Christiansen.
Aly Yes. Who I very often confused with. Julia Stiles. Julia Stiles. By the way, you’re. You’re amazing. You’re like, you guys are like IMDB.
Louis Virtel We have a we have a clinical issue. Somebody a lot of pop culture like chip in our brains at a very young age and we can’t escape it.
AJ It’s incredible. I’m impressed.
Ira Madison III I guess. I guess, lastly, I just want to ask, you know, like you love making music together. You know, you you have very different sort of like acting sensibilities, you know, I mean, like you’ve done a couple projects together, like is is like an acting project for both of you, something that like you really consider that you really want to do in your future, or do you want to just sort of like, you know.
AJ For sure. I mean, we’re still in a in development phase of an animated TV show that we’ve been working on now for a while. Like what? How about to start.
Ira Madison III Cowbells. The animated series.
AJ It’s not Cowbells. Although that would be hilarious if it was an animated version of Cowbells.
Aly I feel like we missed the boat on Cowbells, like mattering or meeting something. Like if it was maybe like ten years ago, maybe it could have still had a moment. I feel like Cowbells to now. People would be like, What? Why? To me. I don’t know. I think maybe there’s maybe there’s still a huge fanbase out there for Cowbells, but but yeah, but it’s an animated project that would involve the two of us, and music is a part of it. So that would be like a dream project. If that ever ends up coming to fruition, that would be really special. And then we definitely want to make another film together again. That’s that’s definitely on the horizon for us. I don’t think that we’ll ever we’ll ever tire of like working on set together. I think we always really enjoy those moments, even though we don’t get them. There are few and far between, but when they do happen, we’re like, This is great. This feels so natural. So for sure, for sure in the future. Once the damn strike ends.
Ira Madison III Yeah, I mean, listen, the strike, I mean you two love performing, You love being on stage together. Why not a musical.
Louis Virtel Ding
AJ A musical would be would be hot.
AJ Yeah. So we’ve kind of we’ve kind of talked about, like, infiltrating every part of entertainment, like Aly and I on Broadway together. Aly and I in a in an animated show together, Aly and I on a reality travel series together. Aly and I like we’re like, there could be so many things that we do together, not to say, like, every single thing is going to be equally compelling, but I do think there are like a lot of fun things you could do with two sisters.
Louis Virtel Why can’t Kate and Rooney Mara have this level of camaraderie. Like girls, work together one time. Yes.
AJ I know they should do a movie together.
Aly They should. Why not?
Louis Virtel I don’t understand. Yes.
Ira Madison III But the movie I want them to do is about they’re like they’re like family football empires. I want like a dueling family football empire film. But based on real lives.
AJ I, I agree with that. I actually think that would be fascinating.
Ira Madison III Yeah. I mean, to wrap this up, but I mean, like, even just my question about, like a Broadway thing and thinking about, like something you guys write, like you, you write so much for yourselves and your own voices. Like, are there like, I was thinking, like, if you did a Broadway thing, it would you could make, like, your own waitress or something. And they got me thinking about like a Sarah Bareilles or something. And I’m like, Are those voices like singers that you like? Like contemporaries, like people you love? Now that you’re sort of like you would love to write something for them, hear them singing one of your songs.
AJ Oh, that’s a cool idea. Yeah, definitely. I think we it’s funny, we’ve never really, like, dipped our toe into writing for other artists. We always spend the time writing for ourselves. And, you know, it’s funny because, like. It’s such a different headspace to to put yourself into to write for another artist, especially if it’s an artist that has a totally different style of music than yourself. But Adrian, I there was like a couple of songs that we had that we were like, This would be perfect for Olivia. Rodrigo Not that she needs any help. And like, sorry, I don’t know who that is. Not that she needs any help in, like, writing music or anything, but she’s obviously killing it and she’s a songwriter herself. But I remember there were a couple songs that we had written from like years ago that we were like, We should try to get this over to Olivia’s camp. Who knows if it ever ended up making it to her. But but yeah, we would definitely be open to writing music for another artist. I don’t know who exactly that artist would be. I’d have to think about it. But a say. But women, it would be cool writing for, like, either a female band or really writing with, like, you know, writing with another band that is in our same kind of sphere. You know, we’ve met we’ve met some really cool artists through. Just putting new music out and seeing that they are fans of our music. And we’ve talked about co-writing with them like Beach Bunny and Saw me. I like just little like DMS here and there, ribbon like we should collaborate together, you know, who knows if it ends up ever happening, but we’ve become kind of buddies, so we’ll see if maybe that ends up leading to something, you know, down, down the line.
Ira Madison III Love that. Well, thank you so much for being here, ladies.
Louis Virtel Oh, my God. What a pleasure.
AJ Thanks for having us.
Ira Madison III Yeah, It’s good to see you. You too.
Aly Thank you for having us, you guys. It was fun.
AJ And you guys obviously are welcome to come to any of the shows in September if you can get your yourself to them. We would love to have you.
Louis Virtel I will be absolutely done traveling after the summer of gayness, and I will be in L.A.. So, yes, I will. I will go.
AJ Amazing. Yes, you can. You can wrap up the summer of gayness at the Greek on September eighth.
Louis Virtel Done.
Speaker 1 <AD>
Ira Madison III Brangelina. KimYe. And now, Sponge Ariana GrandeBob.
Louis Virtel Slay.
Ira Madison III I don’t know. Love is dead. And here we are on Keep It to mourn it. Where have all the good celebrity relationships gone? Is Venus in retrograde? Is this a holdover from like. COVID like the snap back or something, because I feel like. Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello, you know, Tina Knowles and Richard Lawson. That one hit me. I was I was shocked and tough. So someone showed me like old like Instagram from like seven weeks ago or something where someone wrote, Where’s Tina? She hasn’t been in more like Instagram photos lately. And Richard responded to them. She’s on tour with Beyonce. And you know what? I would always pick Beyonce over my husband.
Louis Virtel That’s it. It is relatable. I will say, when people despair over couples breaking up, I kind of get it. But at the same time, when people break up, usually it’s time to break up. I can’t say I’m like sitting around being like, Oh, stay together. Like, no, like you should do what you want with your life. It’s just a weird instinct we have, I think.
Joel Kim Booster Yeah. And I think the thing is, it’s like the thing that makes the Ariana and SpongeBob of it all, I think especially potent and powerful right now is that over the last decade or so, you’ve really seen, like celebrity culture, specifically a celebrity monoculture disappear. Like, there are so like, there are so few huge stars that are that we focus on like. Like there are there are celebrity, quote unquote, breakups that happen quite frequently. But oftentimes when I see the headlines, it’s two people that I’ve never heard of who have 20 million followers on YouTube. And I’ve just never. These people have never crossed my paths in my entire life. And I feel like that’s you see that in the way that we talk about celebrity breakups now. And it’s just there is no Brangelina because there is no. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt like you just don’t see A-list stars like dating and breaking up anymore because they’re like, what is the what is considered the A-list anymore? Because our culture is so fractured. And I think, like Ariana is one of the rare exceptions to that, because everybody knows and loves Ariana Grande and is so familiar with her. And this is such an interesting and I think it’s it’s it’s notable when someone hot date someone who is considered largely unattractive by a lot of the culture.
Louis Virtel Like what’s what’s going on there? What’s the X factor? Yes, we want to know. But also, I was just thinking somebody was describing the Taylor Swift era tour to me, why they were doing this. I can’t tell you. I don’t know why, but they were doing it. And I realize what other superstars have emerged in. I mean, Taylor Swift predates 2010, but really in the 20 tens, you know, like Ariana Grande is A-list or what I call her a superstar like verging on it. But like Taylor Swift is a superstar. Who else, you know, I mean, like like Jennifer Lawrence kind of And then she sort of receded. You know, it’s just it’s interesting. So you’re right. Like news like this doesn’t hit often. And, you know, once upon a time, a celebrity break up is just everything you would talk about. I the vision of helicopters flying over the wedding of Madonna and Sean Penn, I mean, that’s just a bygone era, you know?
Joel Kim Booster Yeah.
Ira Madison III It’s also mostly because these pop stars have also sort of like hidden themselves away. I feel like the Ariana News really sort of hit only when we found out about, you know, the relationship with Ethan Slater, you know, SpongeBob, you know, the Bach in the movie, because at first it was Ariana Grande is getting a divorce. And did anybody give a fuck? Because we didn’t even know who her husband was. Right. Like, she got married to him in the middle of COVID. They had basically a secret relationship. Like he stayed out of the public eye the same way that like. People talked about Taylor and Joe Alwyn for like a day or so, but like, we never saw them together. They weren’t on red carpets. They had no sort of identity as a couple, especially as a celebrity couple, because he doesn’t even really have an identity like as a big celebrity, you know? And but once the affair, like, sort of element was added to it, like, oh, was Ariana did Ariana break up a marriage like, oh, and like, you know, like now was she cheating on her husband? That sort of added a little bit of flavor to it where now everybody can’t stop talking about it?
Joel Kim Booster Well, and also to I think like what another thing you don’t see that is specific to this breakup that you don’t see as much anymore is so much of it, of the machinations in the press, like the strategy of like leaking certain things to create a narrative around. Because you saw that when she was just breaking up with her husband, like there was obviously things being leaked from Ariana’s camp that then would become headlines about the husband and like how they were drifting apart and all of these things. And now, especially with the Ethan Slater and Ariana of it all, there’s all of these leaks happening that you can definitely tell. Is Ariana’s camp trying to sort of control the narrative around the breakup where so many celebrity, quote unquote, breakups now happen so chaotically in front of our eyes on social media? They’re not really being like sort of trying to be controlled. The narratives are being controlled in the press specifically, which is like it’s a fun, like throwback to when we had actual stars breaking up.
Louis Virtel No, you’re right. I think most breakups now with so-called luminaries of social media now we got like an hour and a half excellent explainer video about why they won’t be, you know, unboxing things together anymore. And it’s you know, it’s not salacious or giving, shall we say.
Ira Madison III Well, that’s just everyday, you know, now.
Louis Virtel Right. Right.
Ira Madison III Of what’s also interesting, too, is the fact that I feel like. There are more single celebrities now, or maybe that’s not a thing that’s just always been there. But I don’t know. It just feels like people are single more or the celebrities who are dating. People are marrying people who just aren’t other mega celebrities like themselves, you know, I mean, like it it happens. But that era, like, you know, of Madonna and Sean Penn, etc.. Even like Beyonce and Jay-Z. And when Taylor was dating celebrity after celebrity, like there’s been a conscious choice of these women lately, even like Gaga. Like selecting men who are out of the public eye so that they themselves can retreat from the public eye in a way that celebrities didn’t really need to. In the nineties and early 2000 and I wonder if it’s part conscious choice but also just because they aren’t hanging out with other celebrities in the way that celebrities used to hang out because for instance. You don’t see stuff like in New York here, right? You know, like there’s no really like celebrity hotspot restaurants or things anymore that like Leo or like people go to because everyone has a fucking camera. Right. Because. So they want to be left alone. And so they’re finding somebody. It’s probably someone, you know, that like is hooked up to them by like a publicist or by like a close friend because, like, they’re certainly not going to be on dating apps the way people are screenshot ing those and sharing all that info. So, I mean, like if there are no hot spots where celebrities are just going and like letting their hair down without cameras or like paparazzi being around, are they even in spaces where, like, you’re a hot celebrity who’s sort of A-B-list and you see another hot A-B-list celebrity that, like you’ve always thought was hot, you’re not going to be at a party and hook up with them and then maybe start dating them anymore.
Joel Kim Booster Yeah, it’s what makes who is that? Who’s who’s the actress who posted that dinner party, what with all white people that got in trouble recently?
Louis Virtel Oh, there was a whole bunch of people there. It was like Kristen Bell and Jennifer Aniston and.
Joel Kim Booster Kristen Bell, who’s in every social media post. She really messed around. She’s a very popular girl. But yeah, I feel like it’s what makes moments like that so interesting is that like you don’t see celebrities hanging out like in big groups like that as much as you see. Like, I don’t know if it’s like everything’s just seems so fragmented now. I think this is part of it.
Louis Virtel Definitely. By the way, I don’t know how we can do this, but how do we create news cycles around celebrities who are just single their whole lives? And that’s like you’re talking about how more celebrities probably are single now than we realized. But for instance, you know, Bonnie Hunt, the mother of a generation, never married, no kids. How can we create interest around her as a tabloid figure? Dana, Dana Delaney on Twitter tweeting about TCM probably right now. What can we do to talk about how she is a cineaste and rad person?
Joel Kim Booster Yeah, it’s interesting. I’m trying to think of like, who else is is of that a Kylie Minogue, you know, like, right. Nobody talks about Kylie being single a lot of. Right. Not even a string of lovers, no.
Louis Virtel Olivia Martinez once upon a time, Right, Ira? But otherwise, yeah. I don’t really know anything about Kylie’s love life. She’s interesting in that way. She’s both. It’s really all about the music, you know, and. And you have to be gay to understand it. So that’s a hushed conversation.
Ira Madison III I feel like the men sort of get away with that more. I mean, there was the bygone era where, you know, like if a man was single for so long, it’s like, is he gay? But now I just feel like the men are like. I feel like you and obviously like Drake has a child with, like, that one woman. But, like, do you really even hear about, like, him being in a relationship? You just sort of assume that he’s just, like, sleeping with women from time to time and then just moving on. You know, like, I’ve never really heard of, like a big Drake relationship, aside from, like, when he was dating Serena Williams or J.Lo.
Louis Virtel I forgot about both of those.
Joel Kim Booster Wow. Yeah. Yeah, that. That seems completely made up to me.
Louis Virtel You remember that on my 23rd birthday, I went miniature golfing. And then who emerged from the miniature golf? Serena Williams and Common. That’s the. That’s the biggest celebrity thing I’ve ever seen in my life. And all I could think was, I wonder if Serena Williams is bad at miniature golf. Like, what if what if she just, like, completely choked out a sport?
Ira Madison III Well, one thing about Common is he is ran through.
Joel Kim Booster Yeah. Definitely
Ira Madison III I feel like everybody has dated Common.
Louis Virtel I remember the Laura Dern Common era very vividly.
Ira Madison III But yeah, I mean, I was looking at celebrities from the 2010s being like, who else would we even care about? You know? And I was like, There are a lot of people who are famous and like, people see them in concert and, you know, like a like a Ed Sheeran, I even know, you know, he was married and I was like, does anybody give a fuck Ed Sheeran dates or is married to.
Louis Virtel No, you’re right.
Ira Madison III Do we care about who most of these celebrities are with?
Louis Virtel Maybe in the tabloid era, finding out people were together felt like a catch because you weren’t guaranteed access to celebrities. And now, since they’re so chronically available to us, it’s like, well, okay, of course you’re together. And now we have to hear about it five times a week.
Joel Kim Booster Yeah. It’s so interesting. I feel like that’s part of the reason why award shows are. It’s like one of the many reasons why award shows are less interesting to see is because it used to be so fun. This is when you saw celebrities interact for the first time and you saw these relationships like sort of on on the main stage. And yet now it just a celebrity culture is just so oversaturated with, you know, C and D less people now that it’s it’s hard to care.
Louis Virtel Just to let you know if you denigrate award shows one more fucking time on this podcast, I’m going to slap you in your pretty little face. Watch your fucking mouth. You sound like a goddamn animal.
Ira Madison III You know what? I feel like the it’s not the exact reason why, you know, like Barbie is still making so much fucking money, but like, Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie feel like stars.
Joel Kim Booster Yeah.
Ira Madison III You know, And, like, I feel like this has propelled her in a way that her other movies have it. And this movie reminded us, like, how much we all love Ryan Gosling. And you know what’s interesting about both of them? Neither of them have social media.
Joel Kim Booster Mhm. Right
Ira Madison III We’re not oversaturated with either of them. They vanish when they’re not doing a project and then when they are doing a project they’re on a carpet and you’re seeing them again. You know, I feel like if you are constantly seeing Margot Robbie on Instagram .
Joel Kim Booster Making a salad on live. Yeah
Louis Virtel How long can she plank? Yeah.
Ira Madison III Hocking skin cream. Like you wouldn’t give a fuck about it any more, you know? I mean, someone brought that up in the someone brought that up in conversation with, you know, Nicole Kidman doing the AMC ad, which is obviously iconic and, you know, has had everybody talking about her for an entire fucking year. Someone brought up the fact that, like, celebrities used to do that shit all the time, but they would do commercials in like Japan or something, you know, because doing a commercial in the U.S. would dilute your brand.
Louis Virtel You’re right. I have not thought about the fact that I know actually very little about Ryan Gosling’s life, other than he is still with Eva mendez, Right. So, yeah. Yeah. So maybe we feel kind of privileged to get to see him be silly or something, you know?
Ira Madison III Meanwhile, you see Jennifer Garner, you know, in a Capital One ad every other day, you know, but and.
Joel Kim Booster It feels like home and honestly.
Ira Madison III But also, I know Jennifer Garner a bit too well now. You know, so when Jennifer Garner movie comes out, it’s like, well. I’ll see you on Hulu.
Louis Virtel Right. We’ve exhaled too many times, in fact, for Jennifer Garner.
Ira Madison III So really what I’m advocating for is a thing that I feel like Louis and I have advocated for since the invention of Keep It. To be honest, are celebrities delete their social media.
Joel Kim Booster Thank you so much.
Ira Madison III It’s never been helpful for most of them. And now I feel like in this era where there’s like where social media is also so fucking fractured, like this fucking X and like a Threads or like a Instagram, you know, it’s like, what is the point? I was trying to use Threads the other day and I was like, They haven’t even added like a search feature of these other things to it. And then I really was just thinking like, do I even really need to be downloading a new social media thing and using it and putting myself putting a new version of myself out into the world. No, Delete it.
Louis Virtel No. Again, once upon a time I used to dream of meeting Madonna, and now I dream of proofreading her Instagram. Okay, that’s not about to change.
Ira Madison III Baby, Madonna is just sitting in Washington Square Park. Okay. Probably filming. Probably filming Tik Toks.
Louis Virtel Right? Yeah.
Ira Madison III She is.
Louis Virtel Several.
Ira Madison III She is far too accessible these days.
Louis Virtel Yeah, right.
Ira Madison III All right. When we are back, it’s a favorite segment of the episode. People. And we are back with our favorite segment of the episode Keep It. Joel, as our guest of honor, why don’t you go first.
Joel Kim Booster Yeah, I guess the thing that I wanted to talk about, Ira, you sort of alluded to it earlier in the episode, but I think we’ve entered into the era where I no longer need to see an interaction screenshot of a dating website or app on your social media. Like, absolutely. Keep those to yourself forever and ever and always. You know, no one is coming out on top of these interactions anymore. Every single time someone posts a screenshot from Tinder or Grindr or any of these apps, it is always, always, always posting your own loss. Every single time you become the villain in your own story, I don’t know what it is about rejection or or someone you know coming at you in a in a completely benign way on an internet dating app that makes people lose all sense of right and wrong. And yet they they keep and continue to post about it. And it’s it’s wild it’s every single time.
Louis Virtel No. It’s like the person who has to burst into tears in front of the entire cafeteria so that somebody will ask them about their breakup. No, getting away. Get away from me. I’m eating my fries.
Ira Madison III Do people do that often, Louis?
Louis Virtel I went to a weird high school. We were bored. And people cried in public.
Ira Madison III Bullying Josie Grossi at school. No, I feel like with first of all, whatever someone posts like a Grinder screenshot in particular, it’s usually. You take two 2 seconds to, like, take like a like a longer glance at it. And it’s like you basically set up this conversation so that you would have material to post online. You know, I mean, there’s there’s plenty of it. Every time someone posts a screenshot from Grindr, you go to their profile on Twitter without fail, that’s usually all they do. And it’s like you are not being particularly funny in your responses to someone. And then also it makes you seem weird because it’s you’re not actually on this app to find someone to create an interaction with. You’re just farming content for people to respond to online. And I think that we’ve also just sort of lost the idea that human beings interacting with each other is always going to be weird because we’re all different people and someone saying sort of like the wrong thing to you or something that like sounds weird, or maybe they meant something else. It’s just like, what? It’s like having a conversation with somebody. But now people take anything that seems almost weird and it’s like, Well, this person’s demented. Isn’t that funny?
Joel Kim Booster It used to be when you saw a Grinder screenshot, it was someone being sort of outrageously racist or something a little bit more like black and white. But now it’s sort of like, Hey, do you guys do you want to meet up at this restaurant? And it’s like, How dare this person ask me to travel away from my home to a different neighborhood to meet at a restaurant, you know? And it’s it’s always like where it’s impossible to see where they’re coming from. Note most of the time now, in terms of the person who’s posting the screenshot.
Louis Virtel Right, It’s people treating themselves as a reliable authority when it’s like, I don’t know who the fuck you are or why the fuck you would post this or why you think there’s some catching and posting a private interaction and then having the rest of the world, which is strangers judging the interaction. Very strange. Yeah.
Ira Madison III It’s sort of this idea that everyone thinks they’re Carrie Bradshaw commenting on dating and sexuality, but what they always miss about that, at least in the original series, is that Carrie and then as Candace Bushnell called herself, you know, when she was writing Sex in the City, was a sexual anthropologist in her own words, like the Carrie in this story would go to the restaurant and meet this person because you’re interested in finding out who this person is or what this interaction might be. Now, people just are sort of in their heads that their authority is on dating, and it’s any word that someone says to them that doesn’t align with how they think things should go, like that’s weird or interesting and stuff like no one’s actually interested in, I don’t know, investigating anything anymore?
Joel Kim Booster No, because everyone is the the main character of their own. They’re all. Yes. And it’s possible to, you know, not look at yourself that way.
Ira Madison III I do like the apps like Raya and things which do not let you screenshot. I think every dating app should prevent people from being able to screenshot it. Then maybe hotter people and like celebrities or something would be on Grindr again.
Louis Virtel Well, thank you for that vision of a brighter future. Yes. Okay, good. We’re on the right track. Yes.
Ira Madison III Louis, what is your Keep It this week?
Louis Virtel I’m going to go ahead and criticize it. Tweet a real old school key, but I’ll read the tweet to you guys. Katy Perry has no identity as a pop star outside of Teenage Dream Had Hits. There’s no edge, no narrative, no esthetic. When she stopped making hits, she stop being irrelevant. Pop star. This tweet is by Oh my God, I read it by you. I didn’t even see that. You hold on. I’m. It’s your face. Hold on. Sorry. This is awkward.
Ira Madison III Are you coming out as a Katy Kat?
Louis Virtel I will say, when I saw Katy Perry’s Vegas show, I came out a huger fan.
Joel Kim Booster I was there.
That was a well realized masterpiece. Yes. Joel was very much.
Joel Kim Booster I have to agree and I have to I have to say, Ira, I think the thing you’re ignoring about Katy Perry’s brand is sketch comedy all stars. I think she is our greatest sketch comedian. Yes. And the comedy of it all. And I’m saying that sort of jokingly. But the more I think about it in the more actually connected to where Vegas show there is, like, there is like a whimsy, there is like a pageantry, like there is almost honestly like a Paul Reuben-esque.
Louis Virtel Yeah, definitely. Definitely.
Joel Kim Booster Like, like especially to her Vegas show. Her Vegas show was definitely, definitely influenced by Pee Wee’s Playhouse. And there is like that element of play that I don’t think we’re seeing outside of maybe a certain era of like Miley Cyrus, possibly. But like, I do think that Katy is distinct in that way.
Louis Virtel I think the thing is she’s actually all esthetic. You know, it’s like actually nobody has a more stronger esthetic brand as a pop star than Katy Perry like this. Just the goofballs. You’re right. Like her Vegas show is like a combination of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and the Kids Choice Awards and Pee-Wee Herman. And I think just what happened to her is the songs became worse. You know, it’s like when you have an album like Teenage Dream and the hits are that good and you follow it up with even like Roar, which was a big hit, I think is worse than all of the songs that were on the other album. And I think just she hasn’t like even like swish swish. Like these are like Bon Appetit, a song I defend, it felt a little bit like she had already done that before. So I think maybe what you’re. Reacting to it. She didn’t expand her ascetic or do anything. You know.
Ira Madison III I will accept that. I do get that she is sort of all esthetic. I mean, I haven’t seen the Vegas show, but I mean, I did love the Super Bowl performance and I did sort of like that early sort of fun, playful vibe she had like last Friday night, like that video, you know, or like even like California girls. If she had leaned into comedy or the esthetic and sort of went there, then I would be more on board. I think my main thing about Katy Perry is you can’t really conjure up in your brain like what a Katy Perry album should sound like. You know, like what her music sounds like because you have Teenage Dream, which is basically Dr. Luke. And then you have, you know, one of the boys, which I thought was a bit more interesting as an album, too. Like, I felt like it was a bit more like Liz Phair. Like I felt like it was more rock ish and like, she seemed like a really interesting figure when that came out. But each album for her, I think because Teenage Dream was such a big smash, has just been chasing whatever flavor is going to be like a pop hit. And when you’re doing that every album, you’re never going to establish sort of just what you do best. I think she’s always trying to find something else. Well, what you find might be bad, and what she found was bad.
Louis Virtel I think the thing with her as she was always going to fade eventually, you know, the way that pop stars fade like they, you know, turn 36 or whatever, the magical age where you’re not as interesting or interesting to the public anymore is she just faded faster than expected, at least in terms of chart relevance.
Joel Kim Booster Well, and have either one of you guys dipped in on her one of her seasons of American Idol? Because I will say, like I’m a recent convert, I recently started watching the new seasons of American Idol, and she’s kind of an excellent judge.
Louis Virtel Oh, yeah.
Joel Kim Booster Is sort of the de facto Simon in a lot of ways. And like, yes, there’s a lot of cheese involved in that. And now they’re not nearly as mean as they used to be because the way reality shows have shifted. But I will say, like there is something very distinct about her style on that show, and it endears me to Katy Perry even more so than her music ever has. Watching her be a judge on that show.
Louis Virtel Yeah, I think she’s particularly valuable during the auditions where when someone is bizarre or gives a, you know, a bad audition or something, she can sort of give you the like of those like cartoon like Scared Eyes or whatever. And you’re. And she is funny. You know, she’s funny in that context, you know.
Ira Madison III I think actually the American Idol thing is interesting because, you know, she’s on that show in the way that Paula Abdul was on that show. And I think that maybe because of the era that Katy came up during and also what, you know, the sort of like the feud with Taylor Swift sort of elevated her a bit, too, in the sort of pop culture consciousness. She seemed like a celebrity who, if not was going to fade away later, was going to have a bit more staying power or continue to be a or be less, you know. And I mean, like we obviously grew up, you know, like seeing Paul on the show there, you know, her celebrity had faded or, you know, there’s always like a Debbie Gibson, you know, or like another someone who was like a pop star for like two or three albums or something in the eighties or like the nineties. And now they’re just sort of like around doing reality TV competitions or whatever. And I guess I just never saw Katie as zooming towards that right away, you know, when so many of her other contemporaries seemed to have at least like been able to release more than two relevant albums.
Joel Kim Booster The thing is, though, like being a judge on American Idol, I do not think is the same thing now as it was. Definitely. I do not think it’s it’s like waving the white flag necessarily, because the way that those shows work now, it’s so much less about the contestants and breaking like an actual star from the pool of contestants and so much more about who they get to judge or coach. Those shows like The Voice is never like is is not interested in producing a star at all. It is only interested in getting the biggest names to be those coaches now.
Louis Virtel And that’s literally maybe the highest paying job on television at this point. The way Katy Perry gets paid on that show and the judges on The Voice. So you’re right, it’s like completely different where Paula took seasons to garner a real paycheck on American Idol. But anyway, that’s fair. What is your key about this week?
Ira Madison III Well, I think, you know, this is Louis. Oh, so a hit man for tonight.
Louis Virtel Okay. The tables have turned. The red table has turned.
Ira Madison III Your Barbie review.
Louis Virtel Oh, go ahead.
Ira Madison III Why did you hate this movie so much?
Louis Virtel Also, it’s weird for me. It’s weird for me to that people characterize it as hating. I just didn’t think it was that good. I thought Margot was amazing in it. I just didn’t think the message hit. And I thought the big feminist speech felt like AI wrote it. That’s it.
Ira Madison III I mostly joke. I think that, like, I liked the movie quite a bit. My actual real Keep It goes to. I feel like the idea that you hating the movie was sort of you stomping into Greta Gerwig’s home and shooting her right blank in the head. I actually did not mind you not liking the movie that much. Matt liked it a lot. I feel like you two talked about that in a fairly fair discussion on the show. And here I was on vacation being bombarded with DMS from people being like, You better get on, Keep It and defend Barbie Girl. I do not care that much. I also.
Louis Virtel I fucking love Greta Gerwig, by the way. Lady Bird is one of my favorite movies of the past 20 years. Little Women enjoyed also. Every Greta Gerwig interview I’m listening to, I’m like, I’m a real fan.
Ira Madison III Yeah. I think one thing about this movie that’s been very interesting to me is that as it’s reaching like the billion dollar mark is that people have sort of taken it on as an identity and are becoming very yes, it’s above it. And it’s sort of ironic in the way that the movie makes a joke about Zack Snyder bro’s in that there are sort of like, you know, the women of the mascara are out there, you know, with their with their Wonder Woman shields ready to kill anybody who does not like the movie, sort of, you know, sort of saying, you know, like it’s not for men, you know, it’s not for you to be commenting on. And my thing is like, I actually feel like the movie is in conversation with men for so much of it. It has a lot to say about manhood and about, you know, sort of like loving yourself and.
Louis Virtel Can literally build the patriarchy. Yes, right, Right.
Ira Madison III She has a dad, you know, he has her whole, you know, like Oklahoma dream dance. So, like, the movie’s about men. You know? And so I think it’s better for people to, you know, not enjoy it. Also, unfortunately, you know, like where two men who host this show. And so, you know, like, hey, we’re Siskel and Ebert, you know, or like Ebert and Roeper would have to review something like we’re reviewing something when it comes out. The difference is Crooked does not have any other pop culture show that was reviewing Barbie. So they put our video online. And that’s why you saw two men.
Joel Kim Booster If you don’t want a review of Barbie from a man, then it’s a very skippable segment.
Louis Virtel Right.
Joel Kim Booster You know, like, it’s really easy to self-select the reviews. And we do this all the time. I think, like I do this all the time with some criticism. I don’t just listen to any review or read any review. There are people that I trust and there are people that aren’t interested in hearing about certain movies. And like you can’t just be interested in movies is opinion about this movie. If it’s positive, you know, like it’s very easy to just like that. Like if Louis had given it a positive review, no one would have been saying, like, you’re a man. We don’t want to hear about your opinion on this movie. You know, like, I think like it’s very easy if you’re in a place where you don’t want to hear a man’s opinion about this movie, which is totally fair, then like, don’t listen to Keep It that week.
Louis Virtel Also, I want to say I actually I actually relate to people who have like up for instance, one of my favorite movies of the past decade is 45 Years with Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtney. Great movie if you haven’t seen it. Andrew Haig, who did Weekend and the Looking TV show he directed. But that movie, fabulous movie I read, I saw a review of it, a YouTube review of this, a very prominent movie lover, and he called it boring. And to hear him say that made me think I was like, I was riveted by this movie. Like, we clearly didn’t see the same movie or you weren’t paying attention to this movie. Why am I paying attention to your opinion? And there is something about like seeing a review like that that makes you think like you you so aren’t being heard that you feel like you have to voice that. And I get that, particularly when it’s a movie about a woman and you’re hearing a guy, you know, it’s like I’m like a gay guy. I feel like I’m usually in the position of these Barbie fans, you know, defending a movie, but starring a woman or whatever. So I just relate to that. I relate to that experience.
Joel Kim Booster It’s so strange. I do think we were just living in a moment right now where like taste is so connected to like whether or not you’re a good person to that. It like now it’s really hard to disagree about taste without feeling like it’s a personal attack on yourself. And and I don’t know. I just. Sometimes people need to back away from that idea. And I think Louis and I have very different opinions about the Barbie movie, and that’s okay. I don’t like implicitly think that Louis thinks I’m a stupid person for having a dog.
Louis Virtel Now that you mention it, though. No. Okay.
Ira Madison III Yeah. And, you know, I feel like, I mean, Richard Brody, for instance, at The New Yorker, you know, like he loved it. He hated Oppenheimer, which I haven’t seen yet, But I like when he dislikes a movie that like I like, you know, what I like when like, he likes a movie that I hate it. You know, I feel like if you if you are interested in someone’s, we need to get back to the to the notion that if you’re interested in someone’s taste and you’re interested in the way that they see the world, then you should be interested in what they think about a certain piece of culture, whether or not they like it, or whether or not they love it. And maybe. Sure. Sometimes they may get it wrong. Maybe sometimes they’ll, you know, take it back. But I just think you have to be able to just like, take this push and pull, you know, like I found the movie a lot funnier than Louis did. I did not enjoy the speech, though, although I will say I feel like Greta knew that that speech was giving like Twitter, Tumblr, reblogged, because I thought the whole funny part of the joke and including Alan and hearing it was that like then they had to kidnap all the other Barbies and she had to keep repeating this dumb speech. Alright.
Joel Kim Booster Right.
Ira Madison III And I thought like, Oh, the joke is this is just like a commonplace speech that you’re giving. I mean, I thought like basically the film felt a little bit like, you know, Greta doing pop culture criticism to me. And I thought it was in conversation with like her other movies. But, you know, you don’t have to like everything, you know.
Louis Virtel Greta Gerwig is my birthday twin. I she will be turning 40. I will be turning 37 on the same day. And I cherish that connection. And also everything she does. If you have not seen fucking Mistress America, that movie slaps up and down. I fucking love that movie.
Ira Madison III Plus, is anyone shocked that Louis did not like Barbie? Because you know, we know what version of femininity you love to see on a screen.
Louis Virtel Okay, yeah.
Ira Madison III It’s old. It’s staring out. It’s staring out. Windows. Yeah.
Louis Virtel Yeah. Stella Dalles, bitch. It’s Barbara. Summer 37, motherfucker.
Ira Madison III It’s someone stern in a turtleneck or, like, a severe coat.
Louis Virtel I have to actually clutch this table. I’m feeling so seen. Yes.
Ira Madison III Anyway, that’s our episode. So thank you to Joel for being here.
Joel Kim Booster Thank you so much for having me.
Louis Virtel Joel, Oh, my God. Any time I’m in one of my Joel’s family to me. But otherwise, just come. If you just want to barge into the zoom, whatever. Go ahead.
Joel Kim Booster Absolutely.
Ira Madison III And thank you to Aly and AJ, for being here. We’ll see you next week. Keep It is a Crooked Media production. Our senior producer is Kendra James. Our producer is Chris Lord and our associate producer is Malcolm Whitfield. Our executive producers are Ira Madison, the third, and Louis Virtel.
Louis Virtel This episode was recorded and mixed by Evan Sutton. Thank you to our digital team, Megan Paczel and Rachel Gaewski and to Matt DeGroot and David Toles for production support every week.
Ira Madison III And as always, Keep It as recorded in front of a live studio audience.