'The Hand That Rocks The Oscars' w. Judith Light | Crooked Media
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March 30, 2022
Keep It
'The Hand That Rocks The Oscars' w. Judith Light

In This Episode





Ira Madison III: All right. We are back with an all new episode of Keep It. I’m Ira Madison III


Louis Virtel: I’m one time Oscars fan Louis Virtel. I am now an Oscars survivor, Louis Virtel


Ira Madison III: Ummm. Well, let me tell you something about the Oscars. This year was the first Black Oscars, in a lot of ways.


Louis Virtel: Ohhh.


Ira Madison III: So umm we had to, of course, bring Damon Young on the show to guest co-host with us. Hi, Damon.


Damon Young: And you know, I was I was scheduled to co-host you for before the Oscars all of a sudden turn into the source awards. So again, it’s very, very advantageous, very, very serendipitous that you know that the schedules worked out, where I’m here two days after the slap heard around the world.


Ira Madison III: See, that is an appropriate descriptor, by the way the the calling it the Source Awards. I would say that the immediate way to tell if white people were racists online, if they were writing this felt like the BET awards. And I’m like the BET awards don’t have fighting at them, the Source Awards, however, plenty of fights.


Damon Young: Yeah. And also, we can make that joke like, I get it there. So and that’s one of the beauties of being Black in America and also consuming a thing like this is that there’s this a wider range of jokes that we are able to tell. And this is this is why this is I’m writing a book about this, about why Black American humor is the best American humor is because we just have more material and we’re also allowed to access all of the material. Right? So


Ira Madison III: Another book already? Slow down Damon.


Damon Young: I mean it’s been


Louis Virtel: R.L. Stine over here


Damon Young: three years its been three years. You know, it’s been three years I got to you see this exposed piping in the back ground . I got to pay for that somehow. So I got it. I got to keep churning. I got to keep turning them out.


Louis Virtel: Now is anybody concerned with the phraseology, the slap heard round the world that we are erasing Stephen and Irene from The Real World Seattle.


Ira Madison III: Hmmm. You know what this is? That’s a good question, because that that was a serious slap, that


Louis Virtel: and also a more traditional slap in that like, you know, like a quote unquote bitch slap, whereas what actually, obviously we’ll get into this in the second is what the whole episode will obviously end up being about. But what Will Smith did? It is a slap, but the impact was more than a slap. So it’s almost like we need to coin something new for whatever it was.


Damon Young: Yeah. This is this is almost like a hyper slap.


Louis Virtel: Yes.


Damon Young: Because it and again, there’s also and again, just going back to, you know, like even jokes and permissions and all of the weird, nebulous politics that exist around that. I think that when you have male on male violence like that, there is a wider range of things to talk about. There’s a wider range of things to joke about.


Ira Madison III: Mmhmmm. Yeah. This is funnier,.


Damon Young: Yes.


Ira Madison III: Than the real world slap because it was a Black man slapping a woman white woman. Is she white?


Louis Virtel: Yes, you’re right.


Ira Madison III: White, white and white and annoying for the just to get that out of the way, as she was annoying back then. She’s less annoying now. I will say that the real world slap. Offered a lot more twists and turns because the whole slap was because she kept referring to him as gay and he was like, I’m not gay. Then he slapped her and then what? 20 years later, with like the Big Real World reunion aired with all of the cities on MTV, he was there with his partner because, of course, he was gay and she was right.


Damon Young: Maybe you know I think sometimes people, you know, they they they, you know, they say, you know, I’m going to slap the gay out of you. Maybe she maybe the gay was slapped into him when he did that. Like, I don’t know,


Louis Virtel: it’s like a reverse exorcism now you’re filled with the gay spirit.


Damon Young: OK, now you’re filled with the gay after you commit, after you commit the act of violence. So, so, you know,.


Louis Virtel: Good for him


Ira Madison III:  All right. Well, we’ve we’ve got plenty of Oscars to talk about. Damon is here. So we’re also going to talk about this piece that you wrote on Jack Harlow, who I love. But we’ll get into that. Jack Harlow, starring in a reboot of White Men Can’t Jump, which also ties back into the Oscars because they celebrated the anniversary of it for some damn reason. We’ll get into all of that. It’s going to be a whole Oscars episode. And then also Louis and I have convo with the wonderful Judith Light this episode as well.


Louis Virtel: Oh my god. And does she bring it? She goes a hundred and fifty miles an hour, and we are, you know, panting as we try to keep up with her.


Ira Madison III: She’s faster than the speed of the slap, actually. So there’s a lot going on


Damon Young: hey the speed of Judith Light.


Louis Virtel: Oh my god,.


Damon Young: It’s right there.


Louis Virtel: Listen to this copy editor writing this rad headline right there.


Ira Madison III: All right. We will be back with more Keep It.


Ira Madison III: [AD].


Ira Madison III: Well, we thought maybe after weeks of discussing the Oscars, we could move on now that they’re over, but then Will Smith slapped that possibility away. And I want to first bring up two things addressed to Louis. One. Maybe this is your fault because a friend of mine, my friend Tom, was sending me a text about how he was catching up on last week’s Keep It. And he said when we were discussing our picks for who was going to win, you said of the five lead actor nominees who slapped


Louis Virtel: Whoa! I don’t claim psychic abilities, but, I’m happy to own it now


Damon Young: You manifested the slap.


Ira Madison III: Yeah, you manifested it. And two, Louis, have you ever been slapped before?


Louis Virtel: Good question. Well, let me tell you something. About 10 years ago, I did a little bit with my only very close friends where if they said something even remotely quote unquote offensive to me, I would jokingly slap them. I remember our friend, Tony said that Meryl Streep had been nominated for She Devil. Well, guess what came out my hand? And so that was like a bit I did for a second. And guess what? That bit is? Also, people get over it really quickly, so I moved on from it. But I have I ever been slapped? Maybe, maybe in a play I did.


Ira Madison III: I vaguely remember this bit. I do remember I was never slapped.


Louis Virtel: No, that’s that’s true you weren’t. No. You know what? I don’t know that I’ve been slapped. I don’t think so.


Ira Madison III: No one slapped you in retaliation to your bit.


Louis Virtel: No doubt you are correct, my friend Morgan Polyakov did, because he said I was from Joliet, Illinois. Not true. I’m from Lemont and I got I got I got a little palm happy, shall we say. Yeah, okay.


Ira Madison III: And see, Damon, that is the difference between the races. You know, I don’t I don’t playfully slap my friends because I would have gotten knocked out.


Damon Young: Yeah, I mean, I I don’t. You know what? What’s your name from the real world say? I don’t wrestle. I beat bitches up. And that’s that. I don’t. I don’t. I don’t fight. Like, I haven’t been in the actual fight since I was like 13 years old, right? Like actual fist fight. I’ve been in basketball related scuffles and elbows thrown and shit talk, but actual like, we’re squaring up and we’re fighting. That hasn’t happened in a long time and I feel like most people exist on opposite ends of the fighting spectrum where like either you’ve been in. Twenty nine fights since you were a kid or and you just fight the costumes parking lot like last weekend or we’ve been in zero like no one has been in like three fights. And so. So yeah, I mean, the slapping is just not a thing that is a part of my life. I don’t play slap. I don’t get play slapped. I did get a drink thrown very viciously in my direction and not like thrown, but like the drink was like shoved into my chest by someone who was unhappy with a decision that I made. But in terms of actual, you know, a face, a hand hitting my face, an open hand hitting my face that that it’s been I’d have to go back to like my mom maybe hitting me and my mom didn’t hit me frequently, but she did once when I was like 11, I. And that’s yeah,


Louis Virtel: Getting a drink pushed on you, though that’s an appropriation of the television series Smash Culture, which we can unpack that later. Specifically, what’s Eileen Rand, Anjelica Houston’s character.


Ira Madison III: Yes, I would say the same. Fighting used to be a part of my life in the sense that I went to public school in Milwaukee. And so I definitely saw, you know, like you would step on to the playground and there’d be morning fights, you know, so I am used to it in that respect that I but I don’t think I’ve been in a fight fight since I was younger. I mean, most fights, arguments that I’ve been in have stayed, you know, sort of verbal in my adult life, mostly because and this is a thing that the Will Smith slap brought up on Twitter, which was fair. A lot of people, one, act like they have never been around violence in their lives, which, you know, if you’re white saying this, I know at least two of your cousins fought with somebody at a store because they had to put on a mask. So, you know, people who get violent regularly, you’ve seen white people be violent on planes. You’ve seen white dads get like kicked out of their kid’s sports games. Like it is, it is a thing that happens. So pretending it was like the most shocking thing you’ve ever seen in the world was really something. But I think also people. In this Twitter age, tweet such reckless things at each other or about people. And there isn’t that threat of violence. And so that’s why it was sort of shocking to them. Like I’ve run into people Louis, you know, at like Ackbar, who might have like, tweeted something crazy at me. You know, there’s no expectation on their part, though, that I’m going to hit them in the face because they did that, even though they probably deserve it. And if you did that, they would never do it again.


Louis Virtel: Well, I will say, I think what is shocking about this other than, I mean, nobody expected to see, I’m I’m I’m certain Nicole Kidman did not expect to be five feet from a slap, for example. To me, what was surprising was you only realized in retrospect it happened because to me, the crazy thing about it was he was out of his chair so fast. It was. It was like Robin Williams doing a bit at the Oscars where you’re like, Oh, this person’s animated. And they’re like friends. Like, obviously, Will Smith and Chris Rock know each other. So to only realize afterwards that it had happened while Will Smith was doing the yelling that to me is the shocking thing because you can see it even registering on. I think Lupita Nyong’o’s face.


Ira Madison III: She thought it was a joke.


Louis Virtel: I think she thinks it’s a joke. Yeah. Thats what people are looking at.


Ira Madison III: And then her face slowly starts to go to Oh yeah, I like when things started cutting out. I had no idea what was really happening. And then the anger in his voice when he said, he my wife name out your fucking mouth is when I knew it was real. And I do want to point out that I immediately knew that this was personal. From Jada’s face at the G.I. Jane joke, which was, one, ad libbed, its been proven that it was, it felt ad libbed anyway, but it’s been proven it was ad libbed. But two, if we go back to 2016, and this is my actual main problem with these, with the whole fight in general and why I’m actually angrier at Chris Rock in this situation is in 2016, when he hosted the Oscars, he that was when Jada and Will were sitting out the Oscars, the concussion year for the OscarsSoWhite campaign. And he was making jokes online about Jada staying at home, like, how are you going to protest something that you’re not even invited to. Making jokes about a black woman not being invited to the Oscars in a room full of white people who then laughed about it. People who are like her peers, people who are Will’s peers, and I found that embarrassing on his part and rude that he would do that to her. Full disclosure I wrote an article about that for MTV News in 2016. And then Jada did send me flowers.


Louis Virtel: Oh, OK.


Ira Madison III: She did. Yeah


Damon Young: It was a lazy, hacky joke. Right. And and also not just the fact that, you know, he has this ad lib joke about Jada Pinkett Smith. I mean. OK, so you’re Chris Rock, you in your hosting. You’re one of the presenters for the Oscars. There are what are there, what, 4000 people there? I don’t know how many people are in the theater. Jada Pinkett Smith is probably the 117th most famous person there right now. She is. She is more Black people famous than she is mainstream famous. She has a name, right? And so when you are hosting a thing like that, you if you’re going to talk shit about people, you go at the super duper stars. You know what I mean? You don’t just. And I feel like that is the part that I haven’t seen discussed that much. It’s like. You know, the other people who you know, who Amy Schumer and who else. It was Wanda Sykes and then Regina Hall, Regina Hall were going at were like Sandra Bullock. OK, Javier Bardem. You know, people who are nominated, people who are superstars, right? And and again, I think that, you know, Chris Saul, Jada, it was easy, hacky, lazy joke to make, you know? I mean, and I think that, you know, just getting back to our reaction to that and I had a really awkward experience of of of of witnessing it because I was watching the Oscars live. But we I had put it on pause for something. My wife and I were talking about something we just put it on a pause. So we were about two minutes behind. And so I’m watching, you know, I’m watching Chris Rock start his monologue or about to start monologue and people are texting me like, what the fuck is that? Like, I like my phone felt like a Cheesecake Factory buzzer when you’re when you’re right and and then, you know, I’m like, Holy shit, something is about to happen. Right? Then I see the slap. And I think that one of the things that made it so jarring is that. You know, Chris Rock’s reaction. Because, you know, even when we when we slow it down and we watched like this zapruder, Chinese films of it right now, his expression doesn’t change until like the minute millisecond before he is slapped. There’s no recognition of, Oh, this six foot three, 220 pound man is approaching me about to do violence. Like, there’s none of that in him, he is. It? It’s almost like he is still in a he thinks its a bit. And I think we took his cue from that and was like, OK, this must be, Oh, wait, what? And then? To Chris Rock’s credit. This dude has the strongest chin. I want to have a love as strong as Chris Rock’s chin because again he.


Ira Madison III: How was he not played Batman? Truly, the chin.


Damon Young: Yeah.


Ira Madison III: It was like it took so much.


Damon Young: Yeah, he got. He got hit very hard and he he took a step back and then went right back into doing his job. He didn’t say he didn’t even say ow. He didn’t touch his face, didn’t do anything like that. He just went right back.


Ira Madison III: He was like, Will Smith just slapped the shit out of me


Louis Virtel: Right. He did not register any pain. He went into just pure shock. And then I think was waiting for teleprompter feed to just get to the award, which finally happened. And then he delivered the best documentary thing. And by the way, this what I said. Questlove gave such a great speech after that, and that was so props to him for, like remembering what he was going to say.


Damon Young: And it’s like someone someone like him with a mouth like is in his size is used to being slapped like that. And so he reacted like so with like, er, yea this is happening again. I’ve been slapped again


Ira Madison III: I know I will again. I will say that I was in that largely my anger goes back to I mean people kept sharing that clip after this that we talked about before on the show, where Chris Rock is talking about the N-word with Jerry Seinfeld and Ricky Gervais and Louis C.K. and it’s like, just sit like laughing. While the awful people in the clip say the N-word and Jerry Seinfield was just sort of like, I’ve never found the humor in it and I don’t ever want to. Yeah, you know, and it’s it’s just that’s it. He and Will are sort of like rich Black people from the same coin, you know, they like going towards this big success in these white fields and it’s sort of like changed how they interact with each other and where their egos were coming from because you were right picking on Jada, who was like 117th most famous person in that room, right then.


Damon Young: And I wasn’t saying that to. And I want to say real quick, I wasn’t saying that. The shade Jada Pinkett Smith.


Ira Madison III: No, no, I get that.


Damon Young: Of course I’m a huge fan. But you know, in that room in that in that


Ira Madison III: in that room, it was wild to do. It actually would have been wild, even if she were one of the more fake. If even if she were like in that room, like the 15th most famous only because she is the wife of a nominee and she’s coming to support her husband. And you know, it’s like you wouldn’t make a joke dragging Rita Wilson being like, you could make jokes about Rita Wilson showing up to the opening of an envelope, you know, because that’s what she does. She’s got to be everywhere. But I just think that that compounded with how he dogged her out in front of white people in 2016. It was just sort of like enough is enough and him like being like Jada, I love you. At the beginning of it was him trying to soften the blow of the joke, but I get from their perspective. Why do you have to keep dragging us in front of these white people when your job is to actually be here and drag the white people like, why won’t you drag them?


Louis Virtel: Also, if you wanted us on a side or specifically if you wanted me on his side to start that bit, he should not have referred to Penelope Cruz simply as Javier Bardem wife. Already that set me off on a Oh, you can’t even say Penelope Cruz’s name like,.


Ira Madison III: Right.


Louis Virtel: Grim. And then secondly, when by the time he gets to Jada Pinkett Smith, here’s the thing as we discussed, whatever he said was probably ad libbed. But like, I feel like the minute he directs his attention that way, Jada Pinkett is already bracing herself for, Oh, here comes a dismissive joke that’s probably look looks based and I think in hearing people talk about how how she didn’t react, I don’t know properly to the joke or didn’t react with a smile, it’s like one you do not have to find every joke funny. I actually find it pretty radical to just sit there and be like, I’m not going to even give you a smile. Second of all, it’s like, I think there’s such a thing as being cliche to the point of nauseating, like, Oh, a woman doesn’t have hair, and what cultural references do we have for that? Just G.I. Jane and Sinead O’Connor. And they’re both ancient references, and you made one of them and you’re deemed a comedic genius most of the time. And now we’re doing that again. While you make the most cliched possible


Ira Madison III: G.I. Jane, he couldn’t like the nigga couldn’t have made a Black Panther joke. she looks like Okoye. C’mon


Louis Virtel: So yeah, though. And then, of course, like Will Smith, like, sprung into action once he saw the look on Jada Pinkett’s face. And that again, was confusing for the audience because we didn’t see that moment of recognition either. So it was only a minute or so later that we realized what really happened. But like, there’s just something about the dismissiveness of that kind of looks based joke where. I’m happy we had a moment to realize actually that was that was worse than you thought it was. You know, I think it’s a joke that would have just passed with like a couple of giggles from somewhere in the crowd otherwise. But I I sort of like that there was a reckoning that that sucked even more than the average person would say it did.


Damon Young: Yeah, I mean, and you know, like Ira was saying, it’s the context. You know, where, you know, he had done this before he had done this in front of, you know, in this white and this, you know, extremely like, ultra vanta white space before is, you know, we all filling, you know, this was like the third or fourth joke about them that night. And and I’m sure he, you know, they’re on Twitter, they’re on IG the same way we all are. And you know, all the jokes about entanglement and August and their relationship and all the memes of his face. And then he has the whole thing with his weight loss journey. That was kind of awkward. And then that that piece that Wesley Lowery wrote for GQ where, you know, it’s it was really, you know, revealing and somethings that, you know, maybe he he’s


Ira Madison III: that he’s crazy . a bit


Damon Young: things that were somewhat unflattering too, yeah, so you have all of this? Right? All of this building up. And then he just tells this throwaway joke. And and yeah, I mean, I don’t I don’t think he should did that. But I get it. I get why he did. Like, I get why he did.


Ira Madison III: I kept thinking about like if Wendy Williams was still on the air or something like Wendy Williams, whould have. I think. I think Wendy would have agreed with the hit and have been like, Come on, well, you should’ve done that outside. You know what? Like the slap should have came, the slap should have actually came at before they went into Beyonce and Jay-Z’s party. Not on stage. I still think the slap was umm was owed to be honest, I just don’t think he should have done it there, mostly because now we still have to endure these dumb ass conversation about, you know, like respectability politics and like, you got friends like Black people talking about black on black crime, light-skinned black people who I know. And I need to block from my phone. And you know, it’s it’s it’s all very exhausting. But it does make sense in the narrative that we were talking about when we first talked about Will’s memoir on the show Louis. You know, like he talked about how, you know, like he felt paralyzed by like his mom’s abuse and like he wanted to kill his dad. And I’m just like a man, like if this were a film. We would have seen this moment coming. You know, it’s it’s almost like the Joker that, you know, it’s like he’s going to snap at a certain point and kill someone in defense of a woman, you know, because he could have killed Chris Rock, as Judd Apatow said.


Damon Young: And I guess my response to that, too is, you know, is, was it about defending Jada’s honor or was it about his own ego?


Ira Madison III: It was about his ego. It was definitely his ego


Damon Young: you know because it didn’t, you know, like as you were alluding to, you know, he and he had his big speech about how he’s the protector and how he, you know, that’s that’s why he’s put on Earth to do but now, before it was just jokes that they got, now they’re getting scrutinized microscope. Looking at the relationship, people speculated about whether he’s actually abusive, physically abusive to her. So it actually made them more of a target. Made her more of a target.


Ira Madison III: Yeah.


Damon Young: You know than anything, you know?


Louis Virtel: Yeah. Can we talk about how they filmed him during that speech? It was like something out of Nightcrawler, the close up they chose. It was like fully underneath him by going up. It was. It was like breaking local news or something. It was very confrontationally filmed in a way that like to say Jessica Chastain was not filmed.


Ira Madison III: Yeah, um


Damon Young: I saw the nostril hair. I definitely saw nostril hair


Ira Madison III: We saw snot, we saw tears. It was. Anyway, yeah, it’s it’s wild that it took this long for people to start talking about misogyny and Chris Rock in the same conversation. But now women online are doing it. And, you know, shout out to the alopecia community because, you know, they are rising up as well this week. So


Louis Virtel: Also I was going to say about the alopecia thing people keep saying, Well, Chris Rock clearly didn’t know she had a medical condition and my response to that, or I think the response to that is, well, now he does, you know, like, what’s the correct way? Oh, he should have been briefed about that. Like by gently by Will Smith. It’s like, not really. I don’t know. Yeah.


Ira Madison III: Oh, well, that was the Will Smith portion of the Oscars.


Louis Virtel: I truly thought we were going to come out of that Oscars being like, Oh, that great speech Troy Kotsur made or like Youn Yuh-Jung introducing him. It’s like, now that is so beyond trivia. No one remembers that it’s so shocking how it wiped the entire preceding two and a half hours away. I’ve never seen anything at an award show like that before.


Ira Madison III: Yeah, it was so sweet, by the way. How’s she like signed Troy’s name before he won?


Louis Virtel: Or I think she said, love. Maybe. Oh maybe she said Troy.


Ira Madison III: I can’t read sign language.


Louis Virtel: I noticed. I noticed


Damon Young: I had to give. I had to give myself some recognition really quickly, too, because I watched this live. I saw the Moonlight La La Land Big Lie, I saw the Janet Super Bowl LIV and I saw the malice at the palace, you know, in the Detroit Pistons, in Atlanta, and the Indiana Pacers got into the fight with the crowd, I watched, I was watching that game live. And so there can’t be more than 700 people on Earth who could say that they were watching all four of those things exactly when it happened. So again, I have to acknowledge myself here.


Louis Virtel: Oh, good.


Damon Young: Thank you.


Ira Madison III: Congrats. Congrats to you.


Louis Virtel: Kennedy Center honors forthcoming. Yes.


Damon Young: I just I just had to say that.


Ira Madison III: All right. We’re going to take a brief break from the Oscars, and Louis and I are going to chat with the fantastic Judith Light. And then after that, Damon joins us again for more Oscars.


Louis Virtel: [AD]


Ira Madison III: Our guest today is honestly a legend three time Tony Winner, who also happens to have two Emmys. We’re talking soap star, sitcom star, Broadway star, and HIV AIDS activist. Please welcome thee Judith Light.


Judith Light: My goodness. That was quite the intro. Thank you so much.


Ira Madison III: I mean, you’ve done so much and you also have done so much for truly us. When I talk about remembering your work, this is maybe going to come as a shock. I used to watch soap net after school in high school. You know, that’s how I would catch up on like 90210 and Melrose Place. But I also means that I have seen you on One Life To Live multiple times.


Judith Light: My goodness.


Ira Madison III: And of course, they air your iconic courtroom scene as Karen Woleck all the time. They used to air it all the time when I was in school, so that was sort of my introduction to your greatness as an actress.


Judith Light: Thank you. What a lovely, lovely thing to say. I was going to say you were probably way too little to see it when it first came out. Right?


Ira Madison III: Yes. Yeah, yeah. But definitely my grandmother who introduced me to soap operas, like, was familiar with your character


Judith Light: Didn’t everybody’s grandmother? I mean, my grandmother was devoted to the soaps. My mother was devoted to the soaps. I still have all the the VHS recordings that my mother made.


Ira Madison III: Oh wow, OK.


Judith Light: I’ve got to something with them.


Ira Madison III: Did your mom record them for, like when you were on? Was it exciting for her, for you to be on One Life to Live?


Judith Light: Oh, it was. It was an absolute thrill. It was, look, she got to see me practically every day, which she didn’t in real life. So she to see me do that so that that was that was helpful for her. So yes,


Louis Virtel: is being on a soap proper like a sort of acting military like, do you come out of it like utterly primed for anything thrown your way? Because I imagine you just show up at a soap opera set and they’re like, Well, today, I don’t know, like your twin is going to eat you or whatever is going to happen. And and you just have to accept that. So what is it like coming off a soap? Do you feel prepared for everything?


Judith Light: What did you say, acting military?


Louis Virtel: Yes.


Judith Light: Is that what you said? That is the most articulate sense of. It is the best articulation of the experience, but it’s not like you’re going to eat you that day, you know, in advance and you’ve got to, you know, you really have to recognize and give props and kudos to the to the writers on soaps. They’re writing an hour of programing every single day. So you know what the storyline is that’s coming, you know, if you have 60 pages to learn from the night before. And of course, I was one of those people who didn’t know how to read the teleprompter. I couldn’t do the teleprompter. Even though it was going, I would be like. And so Jimmy, what  and I would forget the line. And so I would have that. I just couldn’t do it. So I had to memorize everything. So yes. What it does is it prepares you to be able to jump into something very quickly. It gives you a sense of being able to do cold readings or auditions quickly. It gives you a sense of the kind of substance that you have to bring to the soap so that it isn’t just the superficial thing, but that it’s filled with an emotional life that you have to find your way to. And so I would say it was probably after Carnegie Tech, after after Carnegie Mellon University and training there. It was probably the best training that I ever, ever had. I mean, repertory theater is another thing, but this is really about how do you jump on board? How do you get on the train quickly? And also, you have to be careful that you don’t create a bunch of habits that you’re going to have to undo afterwards. And that’s really that’s really hard and daunting to do and challenging as well. And then I really was very disdainful of doing a soap. And then I watched one day and I saw what everybody was doing and I was just overcome. I was in awe of the work that they did. So it’s perfect articulation.


Ira Madison III: Well, you were also from the era too, where, you know, like I felt like they the network still paid money for soaps, you know, and you like they put care and effort into storylines. I mean, yours in particular was, you know, something that hadn’t really been seen on daytime before.


Judith Light: Well, yeah, yeah. I mean, what they did was they asked me about this story when I took over for somebody, she had been ill. And they said, if you did this part, what would you do? And I think they were looking to to recast it because she had not been well. And they asked me what I thought of the storyline of the movie was passenger, no, they’ll know if that’s where they knew that story. And I said, Oh, I think that’s absolutely genius. And so we talked a lot about that. So yes, they took a lot of care with it, and it was a very it was a storyline that transversed like a year and a half. And involved everybody in the town, so yes, they were they were very careful with it and they were very diligent about it. And you talk about having to do a lot of work for a one hour programing a day is a lot for a network, for the showrunners, for the directors, for the actors its a lot.


Louis Virtel: If I may you remind me of someone like Cloris Leachman and that there is just something sporadically creative about you, even as I sit here talking to you, you’re just like inspired and going and not stopping and not having to think twice. And it’s so sad to see. And it makes me wonder based on all of your roles, which, by the way, none of them have anything in common on stage on TV. Whatever you’re like, an utter chameleon. What is like? What kind of role have you done that actually through you that made you think like, I need an extra week to even figure out how the fuck I’m going to approach this?


Judith Light: I love you guys. You’re both really adorable. You know, I don’t know if I if I say yes to something, I know that I, I, I can do it and I have to do it in a particular amount of time because that’s only respectful to your fellow, to your fellow folks. You, you, you don’t. You don’t say, Hey, you know, like, I’d like to have a pina colada and sit around and think about this, and thank you, thank you for the Cloris Leachman reference. I just I really thought her talent was so extraordinary, really extraordinary. And I don’t know that she ever got the kind of acknowledgment that really was, due her. I mean, if you go back and watch Last Picture Show again, it is a classic performance that still holds up so over over time. My my energy is about for me. It’s about as the same thing that when I’m doing my work, that it’s the the level of aliveness that comes when we’re when I’m engaged with people who are interesting and asking great questions. And so that brings the aliveness and the energy up through me. I’m not always like this, so it has a lot to do with who you both are in the way, you’re the way you ask questions and the way you’re operating. So for me, I don’t I don’t spend time. If I if I’m going to take something on, I don’t say I need another week. Never, I never would do that. Look, I mean, over time, what happens? It’s like when I was doing other desert cities that brilliant play by John Robin Bates, when I was doing that and Joe Mantello was directing it, and I took over for Linda Lavin. And when it went to Broadway, we worked on that over. Over time, I only had nine performances. I mean, nine rehearsals before I had to go into performance. So Joe Mantello said to me, who is like a genius? And Joe said to me, You know, your lines, just know your lines, don’t learn anything emotionally. And I remember him coming to me in the middle of the run because Joe would come back and like, give notes. He gave me a note in the middle of the run that changed everything for an opening monologue. So there’s always with the theater, you always have that kind of ongoing level of creative activity.


Ira Madison III: Hmm. This new project that you’re in that’s going to be debuting is Julia, which is, of course, based on Julia Child at its created by Daniel Goldfarb, who was I was able to meet him when I went to Tisch. He wasn’t one of my professors, unfortunately, but I did know Daniel Goldfarb back at NYU. And your character of Blanche Nobbs, who is, you know, a publishing giant. First of all, is a character who could have her own series just in knowing her work. You know, like she didn’t just do the art of French cooking. You know, she’s famously, you know, like, published one of Baldwin’s novels, you know, and he liked, famously hated her edit because she tried to make them more palatable to, you know, Americans and globally, just like not as sort of course, language that he had in his books. And I think he like, rejected having her published Giovanni’s Room because of that. But what sort of research did you do into Blanche or were you already familiar with her work?


Judith Light: I was not, not familiar with her at all. There was a book called The Lady in the Savoy, which is which is the real, which is the book that I used for most of my research. It’s a really detailed account about Blanche at. I was mispronouncing her name. I had to go back and do looping. I was saying Knopf, and Ka-noph, apparently which is.


Ira Madison III: Oh wow.


Judith Light: Way worse pronunciation. I think. But you know, they’re


Ira Madison III: having to say that every day at work


Judith Light: they’re not going to listen. But when I was really shocked. Daniel Goldfarb is just extraordinary, and so is my friend Chris Kiser there, who is also the other creator of the show. And of course, having a playwright like Daniel getting to write for television and Chris, you know, these people come from the theater and the depth of their writing. And not to say that anybody who writes who doesn’t cover the theater is is substantive and terrific. They happen to be together, a really great team. I didn’t know about Blanche Knoph and I was shocked to find out all the details of her life. And yes, I agree with you. She could have her own series, her own her own story, because this is a woman who really didn’t want to do Julia Child Cook books. She gave it up. She passed it off to the genius editor Judith Jones. And what she did was went in 1919 when she married Albert Knoph. Alfred Knoph. He said to her, We’ll do this together. Will will be the team and we’ll, you know, enter into this publishing empire. He basically shoved her to side, and at the fifth anniversary of Knoph Publishing, he was like never really acknowledged her. And it was at that period of time when women were not acknowledged. She was the czar. The face of women in publishing at that time, she was extraordinary, and she and Alfred had a very contentious relationship. They were. It is said that he was abusive to her on many different ways, many different levels. And the irony the tragedy of her was that as she went along in life and people I think do know this about her, she started to go blind. Her whole life was about reading and finding these people. And you know, I mean, you can understand how Jimmy Baldwin related to her because she was really impossible and tops and Giovanni’s Room. We could do a whole other podcast on. I mean, just I am a devotee of James Baldwin. So I mean, there’s that, you know? But but Blanche was quite quite an extraordinary human being.


Louis Virtel: Now this is one of those TV shows where I’m scrolling down the cast list and I’m just letting out yelps at the people who appear like, Oh my god, Bebe Neuwirth. Oh, Isabella Rossellini. Like, It’s painful to read all these wonderful names. Do you have


Judith Light: David Hyde Pierce?


Louis Virtel: David Hyde Pierce. Yes. Another Tony winner,


Judith Light: Fran Kranz. I mean, you got I mean, you got people in there.


Louis Virtel: Yes.


Judith Light: You got some. You got some folk.


Louis Virtel: Do you have a favorite kind of kindred spirit actors who are your friends who kind of, I don’t know, approach the work the same way you do have the same vigor about it that you do? I imagine in Broadway there’s a ton of people like this, but


Judith Light: Of course, of course. I mean, you know, there’s lots and lots of people. David and I haven’t gotten to work together on this show yet, but you know, it’s like. I have this, you know, people always say, how do you have chemistry with somebody, it’s like you make your chemistry with somebody if somebody works a particular way. I work to work the way that they do so that we have a mutuality of flow between us among us. So I don’t seek out somebody. There are some people who naturally we we work similarly and it just there’s that ease and that that that language that you have, that’s instantaneous. But it’s not always the case and you have to be flexible and you have to find the people. Look, there are people who have tremendous longevity in this business, and they do carry the vigor with some. David happened, David Hyde Pierce happens to be happens to be one of them. And so there, you know, you find them always along the way. And if you stay open, I find if you stay open and flexible and and aware of your self and your own shortcomings, then all of a sudden you can you can work with anybody. This is a team sport. This is a business of service. So you got to put your. You got to put that out as your as your contacts. You just just have to. I mean, I’ve just done I just did a movie with Zach Quinto, you know,.


Ira Madison III: Oh down low, which was it was written by a friend of ours, Lucas Cage and Phoebe Fisher. Yeah


Judith Light: Hello. Get out of town. I mean, Zach, Zach texted me, he said, You have to do this with us. You have to do this with us. And I said I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t  know, if I could do this. And he said, you could do this just like, you know, just come to Oyster Bay, New York. And we’ll we’ll shoot this. And we did, and we had the best time. And that was for FilmNation for the wonderful Lucas Weissendanger, who I’m doing another film for in Georgia in like two weeks. So, you know, do you know of of a of a filmmaker, this young, brilliant African-American filmmaker named Tayarisha Poe?


Louis Virtel: I do not.


Ira Madison III: No


Judith Light: Honeys! You’ve gotta look it up, this is.


Ira Madison III: OK?


Judith Light: Oh my god, this this human is on fire. Oh, she’s just incredible.


Ira Madison III: Oh wait. I’ve seen. I’m looking her up now. I saw Selah and the Spades.


Judith Light: Yes.


Ira Madison III: Great. Great film


Judith Light: this is. She was lauded at Sundance. She wrote this new film called The Young Wife. That Kiersey Clemons is in


Ira Madison III: OK


Judith Light: I mean it’s really a really special, odd creative. You know, you talk about, you know, creative vigor. This is where it is. So, you know, I get to I get to do things like this that are really exciting to me now.


Louis Virtel: Now, Judith Light, do you would just have like a like I picture a stack of like unread plays and things that you just like generally pull from. Are you constantly reading up on what’s happening, et cetera?


Judith Light: Do you mean, like, do I read new things new and


Louis Virtel: new and old things?


Judith Light: I I read anything I can get my hands on, and particularly when I’m in the process of creating character, I’m looking at myself, I’m looking at what I have in my life, what I can bring, where I am right now in my life and also always, always, always historical references, always plays that are old that are new, that are, you know, seeing something, you know, watching something on on television series, whatever it might be that begins to filter. You know, it’s like you, you come alive with other people’s creativity. I think you there’s a there’s a spark of their creativity that ignites with the spark of you. And I was just reading this this book called The Illusion of Life and Death. I think that’s what it’s called. I think her last name is Goldsberry. And it’s like. I’m playing this character in Tayarisha’s film, a woman who is has a very complex life and I won’t go into it but know we can come back and talk to each other again once we know it’s going to be coming out and it’s about life and death and what does that mean? And so when I start to infuse myself with those thoughts that kind of thinking and translate it into what Joan Shekel, who is this genius person who worked with us on creating on when we were creating our characters on this show that I did for Amazon called Transparent, I don’t know if you you ever saw it?


Louis Virtel: Oh sure did, yes.


Judith Light: Oh, right. You know, not everybody sees everything. So you know you got to ask. Joan always talked about taking things. Whatever something was that didn’t live in your head only and then your intellect and in your intelligence, but lived in your body and the physicality of the the the that, you know, emotion, she said, rides on the blood and the water of the body. And if you can find your way in there with yourself and with other people, all of a sudden you’ll begin to have a very different kind and you won’t be saying, all right, at this moment, I’m going to do this. And at this moment, I that you have this flow that begins to happen in a way that’s more alive, more more tactile, more un and more unusual.


Ira Madison III: Great. If I could ask you one last thing. You’re so well known for your dramatic roles, but I feel like you also started early on with, you know you did Who’s the Boss? Which was, you know, sitcom and you sort of had to flex your comedic muscles. And that, of course, Ugly Betty, which is an iconic role of yours. How did you find, you know, like comedic timing?


Judith Light: Comedic timing is just like music. You hear it or you don’t.


Judith Light: Mm-Hmm.


Judith Light: And when you can have somebody as great with comedy as Tony Danza is that you can learn from and watch and observe. And I had done a bunch of comedies in theater, in repertory theater because when I left Carnegie, I went to. I went into repertory theater and so I did comedies there. You have to hear it and it’s and if you don’t hear it, you’ll never. You can never get that timing right. But it is. It really is like music. And so I think they knew that I could be funny. I come from the soap and then I got the I got the Who’s the boss? But Tony really was a great teacher and guide for me on all of that. But I could I could hear it before he would say, Oh, don’t like when the audience would laugh, he would just he taught me how to fold for a lap. So that was something that I really relished and cherished, and I love him a lot.


Louis Virtel: I think about that moment on sitcoms all the time when the audience is laughing and you just have to do something between movement and not saying your next line that it would feel incredibly awkward to me, but I guess you just get used to it.


Judith Light: You remember your audience is the other part of your show. It’s not. They’re not like these foreign things. They’re they’re integral to the to the production, just like the camera. It’s, you know, it’s not it’s not an intrusion. It’s an inclusion. So when you have that, when you hold it like that, it’s a very it’s a very different experience is like, Oh, good, you’re participating with us, you’re in the show. So I mean, it could feel awkward for a minute, but not really. Not to me. Oh, no, no, not, not really. For some people, it can be. It can be a challenge. And then you learn how to do it and then, you know, that’s what you do. That’s part of your job.


Ira Madison III: Hmm. Well, thank you so much, Judith, for being here. I mean it was truly an honor to talk to you today.


Louis Virtel: Lord I just I just want to, like, throw my hands up and listen to you all day. You were like, a full llike Gatorade of endorphins.


Judith Light: You’re so, you’re so darling. I thought I thought we would have a little bit more time. Did you all want to talk about Shining Veil at all? Have you have you heard about that or seen that? Where I play Courtney Cox’s mother?


Louis Virtel: Our friend Merrin Dungey is on that too.


Judith Light: Yes. Yes. Yes. That’s right. Wait till you see this. Julia is brilliant. Wait till you. And so is this. This is I’m so proud to be on both of these shows. I’m telling you the Courteney Cox and Greg Kinnear. This show is comedy and drama and horror all rolled into one and I, and they’re dealing with a ton of women’s issues, and I don’t even know how you do that, like menopause and marital sexual relationships and mental illness. It’s a it’s a it’s a triple somersault. So I would encourage viewing.


Ira Madison III: I mean, I I have I have been such a fan of Courteney Cox, so obviously get a like growing up with Friends, but also, you know, Scream and then Cougar Town like she is, she’s done so much.


Judith Light: Wait. Wait til you see her in this.


Louis Virtel: I’m so excited.


Judith Light: She is. She’s really, really different. And the only other thing that I would tell you about is that I was in Savannah, Georgia, for a couple of months back last year. And I did a film called The Menu that with Ray, finds Anya Taylor-Joy. And yeah, I’m like my friend Reed Birney, whose daughter Gus Burney is in The Shining Vale and directed by the genius Mark My Life, who directed Succession. Really, really interesting piece something that I think you all are going to want to see, and then I’m producing a bunch of stuff too and producing some stuff with my husband.


Louis Virtel: Imagine if you didn’t have like 90 projects going on at once, I could not be less surprised. I could not be less surprised.


Judith Light: Yeah, you’re you’re. You’re you’re you’re you’re very sweet. And I’m really happy to talk to you and thank you for the wonderful questions. You guys are really great.


Louis Virtel: Oh, of course.


Ira Madison III: Of course.


Louis Virtel: By the way.


Ira Madison III: Yeah, I mean Savannah


Judith Light: How’s the podcast going? How’s it doing?


Louis Virtel: Oh, we do.


Ira Madison III: Great.


Louis Virtel: We do a good job. Don’t you worry.


Ira Madison III: Yeah, yeah


Judith Light: No, no, no I didn’t mean that.


Ira Madison III: No, we started in


Judith Light: I meant how are you feeling about?


Louis Virtel: Oh, loving it. loving it


Ira Madison III: Good, good. Yeah, we started this in January of 2018. So, you know, it’s been a. And we do it every week.


Judith Light: Why don’t I know about this? I mean this is like when they told me about it, I said intersectionality, which is what I loved about, you know, pop culture and the world and all of that stuff. And you know, all of the, you know, the stuff that comes up a lot around the LGBT, GQ stuff that we like to talk about. So thats really important,you know


Louis Virtel: yeah, we keep it pretty gay here. So don’t worry about that. Yeah


Judith Light: I love that, I saw somebody nails. Pretty pretty.


Ira Madison III: Mine, yes


Judith Light: Thank you, guys.


Ira Madison III: Thank you.


Louis Virtel: What a pleasure Judith.


Ira Madison III: No. Come back anytime Judith


Louis Virtel: You want to be the third co-host, whatever! Come back!


Judith Light: Thank you. Would love to come back. Thank you so much. Be well. Stay well, guys.


Ira Madison III: Yes, talk to you soon.




Ira Madison III: All right, we’re back with Damon, and we’re going to kick off this convo with another brief moment that happened at the Oscars, which was the. 30TH anniversary of white men can’t jump. Which is it appropriate anniversary to celebrate because it’s 30 years, even though it was weird having the Oscars celebrate? White men can’t jump during the ceremony. A film that I am positive was ignored when it came out 30 years ago by the academy.


Damon Young: Yeah, and it is like to kind of overcorrect. They celebrated the twenty eighth anniversary of Pulp Fiction, and if someone misses your 28th birthday right, it’s not a big deal. Like, in fact, if a friend, if one of my friends missed my 28th birthday and like, you know what? I had some engagement. I couldn’t. I couldn’t show up. I’m like, You know what? Show up for my 30th, right? Because that’s the number that matters. 28 And all these fucking nebulous ass off brand numbers that are celebrated as anniversaries. They don’t matter. Like no one gives a shit about the 20th anniversary 270Nm anniversary the sixth anniversary. You keep it. 1ST 5th. 10 15. 20 of just factors of by going forward after number one, you just go by factors of five going forward because again, these off year off brand anniversaries just annoy the shit out of me. And yeah, I just I just had to say that.


Louis Virtel: Also, I think the thing is everyone has a birthday every single year, so it’s to quote unquote celebrate. A random number is to celebrate nothing, simply the way time works. And if they had just said, Oh, we’re reuniting the cast of Pulp Fiction, that would have been fine. But instead they put this number in front of it, which cheapened the fact that they were there, even like 15 years for Juno. It was cool to see Elliot Page, but also it’s like you couldn’t get Allison Janney in there, you know? I’ve wanted to Diablo Cody. I’m like, like, look, they just said your name. And then she, like, sprung into action. She’s like, What? Yeah.


Ira Madison III: I mean, it was it was extra weird for me to bring the judo cast out for celebrating judo’s screenplay when I was like, the Oscars really does not give a fuck about screenwriters. Do that. I was like, I was expecting Diablo to walk out, and she’s she’s famous enough as a writer in her own right that she could have walked out on stage with them and people would have clapped for her.


Louis Virtel: Mm-Hmm. Instead, we got 11 foot four Jennifer Garner lording over the cast of Juno. I didn’t realize that J.K. Simmons was apparently like four eight.


Ira Madison III: Yeah. And you know what Elliot Page is looking good. Elliot Page has got a chin, by the way. That’s a good jawline.


Louis Virtel: Now you’re fixated


Damon Young: He has a very strong, very Batman very very lean-esque jawline.


Ira Madison III: Yasss, yasss OK, yeah, let’s get that twist. OK, yeah, let’s get that that Batman.


Damon Young: There’s an opening for Robin.


Ira Madison III: That’s true. That’s true.


Damon Young: Is there is there, Rob? I haven’t seen the Batman yet, but is there Robin there yet?


Ira Madison III: No, there’s not one in this one.


Damon Young: OK,OK, there’s no. Boom. There we go. We just casted Robin, the next Batman?


Ira Madison III: So aside from arbitrary anniversaries, which feels very much like when I worked at BuzzFeed and they would just be like, We need to write about something this week. So I would just look at the calendar and be like, What movies came out this week? And it doesn’t matter what year it is. And so then you’re celebrating like, you know, the the 11th anniversary of 13 going on 30 like, anyone cares, but it’s just to get people sharing. Jennifer Garner clips. Umm Damon, you wrote about White Men Can’t Jump, which is being rebooted starring Jack Harlow, everyone’s new favorite white rapper. At least Kanye’s favorite white rapper of the moment.


Louis Virtel: And who’s my favorite white rapper Ira?


Ira Madison III: Umm Madonna?


Louis Virtel: Madonna. Madonna. That’s correct. Go ahead.


Ira Madison III: But you wrote about this for The Washington Post because you had some thoughts about how it was miscast.


Damon Young: Yeah, I so I I used to hate just the whole concept of reboots, you know, because that’s the whole like, nostalgic, uncanny valley thing that they have going on is like, what if I want to watch that movie again? I will just watch the movie again instead of, you know, seeing like a replication of it or seeing an update or these characters that we fell in love with 30 years ago are now like 60 and that that there’s anything wrong with being 60. I hope to be sixty one day also. But but yeah, I’m just I’m just generally annoyed with the concept of reboots, and I had to kind of work myself out of that because they bring people joy. Apparently, I’m not the audience for them, but someone out there likes these things, so they keep getting made.


Ira Madison III: Someone likes those damn Disney ones. I have not I do not watch the live action Disney ones. I I I watched The Lion King because of Beyonce, but thats it.


Damon Young: A billion people. The Lion King made it so someone someone watched the live action Lion King. Someone did. So do rebooting White Man Can’t Jump, which again is a curious movie to reboot. But again, I’m not going to be mad at it because, you know or whatever. But I read somewhere that they were going to, that they were going to wrap this movie around Jack Harlow that he was going to star in, I guess, the Woody Harrelson role in that movie. And I am diametrically opposed to this casting, and it is not him because Apollo’s acting chops, he could be the next Brando could be the next Andy Lewis. I don’t care. I don’t think it’s that I saw him play in a celebrity basketball game, the all star celebrity basketball game in February, and he’s a terrible basketball player. And so. And so there’s that. It’s like if you’re going to cast an actor who is supposed to be good enough to portray a character who is good enough of basketball that he could game and hustle actual ballplayers, then you should find an actor who is good enough for basketball, pick a game and hustle actual ballplayers and Jack Harlow runs like Frankenstein. He shoots the basketball like his elbows are made of bacon bits, but he dribbles the ball like it’s like he dribbles the ball like it has measles. And again, there’s nothing wrong with any of that. All right. Like, if you not everyone’s going to be a great basketball player, and that’s fine. But again, if you are going to be cast as someone who is supposed to be good at basketball, you need to be good at basketball, right?


Louis Virtel: And also, just the casting of athletes in general in old movies is very interesting because it’s so the amount of editing that has to be done to even make like basic. Athletic gestures look great is really impressive I’m still impressed with, and I wish more people talked about the tennis playing and King Richard like Sonia Sidney, that girl. I believe she was playing tennis. That was very shocking to me. But anyway, oh, I’ll let you go back to what you were saying.


Damon Young: No no no thats to the point, and I feel like there are enough actors who are who can hoop like we are. Woody Harrelson could actually was actually not bad. So Woody Harrelson was actually a decent choice. And the original. Right? Wesley Snipes was terrible, and we could get into that at another day. Like he like he played basketball. Like, you learn how to play basketball by listening to Kurtis Blow is basketball like he had never watched basketball before in his life,


Louis Virtel: which is not technically instructions on basketball either, yeah


Ira Madison III: What do you think of Denzel in He Got Game?


Damon Young: Denzel’s. Denzel had a decent old man’s game, OK, and he’s matched up against Ray Allen, who’s obviously a NBA star. And you know that there’s a scene and he got game where they played one on one, I think, in the movie, right? And Ray Allen apparently was supposed to beat him, you know, 10 to nothing but Denzel, actually, like, literally really scored those first two baskets. It wasn’t supposed to in the script, but that wasn’t written then. But Denzel actually scored those baskets or real. And you could see Ray Allen space, you know, his face getting like more and more pissed off because of that. So Denzel can actually whoop a little bit more sha la la played Division one basketball rights. So you could. There are actors who can play basketball. Jason Segel apparently was known as Dr. Dunk in high school and wherever he went to high school. Yeah. And so why? Find someone who could hoop.


Ira Madison III: Mm hmm. I will say that’s my whole thing. I will say the alternate, though, is sometimes when you cast a movie with like an athlete and you try to be like, I’m going to get the person who can actually do this role. Sometimes they are an abysmal actor. In the case of Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire. Would he put Gina Carano in that movie because she was an MMA fighter? First of all, she could not act. And then two during the pandemic revealed herself, was like an anti-vax MAGA demon. So thank you for that, Steven Soderbergh.


Louis Virtel: She was, of course, on the American Gladiators reboot in 2008 with Laila Ali, where she played a gladiator named, I believe, crush. And that was exactly the acting zone for her, where it was mostly about flexing your muscles and being near a wall. Yeah, yeah.


Damon Young: Ronda Rousey was in, I think, Fast six or Furious seven. One of those.


Ira Madison III: She was good.


Damon Young: And she was and again she wasn’t, she was in a role where she didn’t have to had that much range where, you know, we just need you to get your ass kicked, you know, for about five minutes and then you’ll be in glower, you know, at the screen a little bit and maybe flex and then you’ll be off great.


Louis Virtel: And so she, I believe, was in the Entourage movie too where I want to say she did OK. Ronda Rousey weird pop cultural moment. That’s sort of just went away. But anyway. Yeah.


Ira Madison III: Entourage movie was also a good film.


Louis Virtel: I laughed, unfortunately. And you know, I’ll say at that television show, not my brand so


Damon Young: so the sweet spot. So instead of getting athletes you know who are trying to act or actors who are not athletic, you just find actors who are athletic and there are enough. There are there are enough actors who have, you know, who are decent at basketball or decent people or played baseball in high school that you could cast in these roles instead of trying to shoehorn know someone with a nice core pattern and just because of, you know, their their current relevance.


Ira Madison III: That’s fair. Did you know that Jason Sudeikis was on his high school basketball team?


Damon Young: I did not know that, but that doesn’t surprise me. Yeah.


Louis Virtel: LeBron James in Train Wreck that was an A minus performance


Ira Madison III: I’m looking up celebs who like have played basketball now.


Damon Young: LeBron was not bad in Train Wreck. LeBron was not bad.


Ira Madison III: He was actually so funny in Trainwreck that I was shocked that he was so awful at Space Jam 2.


Louis Virtel: I like him as sort of a featured player in a movie like don’t like rest the movie on. Mind you, I haven’t watched Michael Jordan in Space Jam recently. I wonder how that holds up because he.


Ira Madison III: Absolutely terrible.


Louis Virtel: What’s interesting about him when he was in like Hanes commercials. He had like a stodgy delivery that worked for him, like you believed him spouting a tagline or something. But then if that turned into, shall we say, a powerful monologue in a movie, maybe that would be worse.


Damon Young: He wasn’t, he? He was. He hosted SNL, and there’s only one skit that I remember the Stewart Smiley skit, and he was very funny. He was great in that in his deadpan. You know, I’m six foot six, 220 pound delivery actually was perfect for that for that skit.


Louis Virtel: So yes, I remember Stewart Smiley saying, Do you ever just get up and think I can’t play basketball today? It was so good they tried turning it into a movie, which was, of course, abysmal. But man, that’s like a great. I think the top tier of 90s SNL sketches,


Ira Madison III: I mean, speaking of sketches and then basketball. I mean, maybe it doesn’t need to go beyond the days to sketch Prince playing basketball. But I do think that. Basketball should play heavily in a Prince biopic whenever we get one. And I would love to find the person who could play Prince and could also play basketball well.


Damon Young: Wow, thats tough that’s that’s going to be tough to find to find someone who is able to do that. I guess that I don’t know that overlap. Of Of


Louis Virtel: Yeah, you have to be teensy and agile. So tough


Ira Madison III: Can Janelle Monae play basketball?


Damon Young: Androgynous and also really great at basketball. Wait what’d you say?


Ira Madison III:  Can Janelle Monae play basketball? Because if Janelle Monae could play basketball, I’d be here for like an I’m not there. Kind of.


Louis Virtel: Mm.


Damon Young: OK. OK. All right. I could see that.


Louis Virtel: I want to say she’s tall, though. Am I wrong?


Damon Young: I don’t think she’s tall


Ira Madison III: No. Janelle Monae is very short. She’s short.


Louis Virtel: Oh, is she? Didn’t know. Y.


Ira Madison III: Yeah. She’s like, I think she’s slightly taller than Quinta.


Damon Young:  Yeah I’d say she’s like 5’1. 5’2?


Louis Virtel: Wow. All right. With our with our Kiley’s and our Shakira’s those people.


Ira Madison III: Hmm. Yeah. She’s five foot. Yeah, so.


Louis Virtel: Oh, shut up. By the way, it’s one of my favorite basketball performances, and by that, I mean the rare case of a queer person being cast as a somewhat superstar athlete in Jane Fonda’s first movie. Anthony Perkins was played. A basketball player is called Tall Story. He is all elbows. There he is. I mean, I understand that among like athletes, basketball players are gangly. Excuse me. This person is just a heaping pile of joints running around that court with his, like, cute. gay-ish Check it out.


Damon Young: I will do that. I try to catalog all of the basketball movies. I try to watch them and assess them, you know, one for artistic rigor, but also just for basketball. And whether the basketball is realistic and of the ones that I’ve seen the most the best basketball. And in movies, no one is above the rim. Because you had actors you could actually play. Dwayne Martin was actually, I think, actually played in college. Now we, we have to admit, know that they played on eight foot rims too. So some of the dunks that they were doing were just, you know, that’s not possible for people that size. But again, above the rim is number one. Number two is actually a pretty, you know, surprising choice in that enforcer.


Louis Virtel: Oh my gosh, I haven’t seen that since it come out.


Ira Madison III: Wait. I love Finding Forrester. And I just I just I rewatched Finding Forrester a year ago for some reason, mostly because I forgot that Gus Van Sant directed this film and I was like, It’s probably much better than I remember. And I watched it, and it is a really good movie that is that was marred in pop culture by the You’re the man now, dog. Like what we do is sort of remember it being gender based.


Damon Young: Yes. And Rob and Rob Brown, I think, is this name Brady cast them basically because of who they just saw him as they want him to be an extra because they saw him and his boys playing basketball. And then they’re like, Well, you’re you’re charismatic, you’re tall, you’re handsome. Why don’t you want to be the elite? And this I think that’s how the story went. But yeah, he is actually good and they cast it, you know, young actors around him to, you know, in these basketball scenes, guys who actually knew how to play or conceivably be high school basketball player. So. So again, Bonnie Foster and above the rim and then a huge drop off, huge, tremendous drop off to white men can’t jump.


Louis Virtel: Hmm. I saw Hoosiers for the first time recently. Do you know what surprises me about that movie are, I guess, shouldn’t surprise me. It is exactly the template of a basketball movie. As in, there’s not one added thing that makes it like, it’s different. We’re like, Oh, and there’s a woman who does something interesting. No, it’s just down the line. We end on this moment with this game, etc. It’s so shocking. But the acting, of course, is Dennis Hopper. I think we were talking about him in regards to Apocalypse Now a few weeks ago. He does bring it.


Damon Young: I’m, you know, I hope that, you know, maybe for white making a jump, they make the first basketball movie with no basketball played in it. That would be radical. Just have the director has alluded to this had them sitting on the sidelines, had them in a locker room, had them on the bleachers.


Louis Virtel: That’s kind of what the movie Moneyball was


Damon Young: don’t actually show the basketball.


Louis Virtel: Right. The movie Moneyball was sort of like the idea of baseball is happening off screen somewhere. Here we are in a darkened gray room talking about what should be occurring in baseball, but we’re not going to make it up. We’re not going to show you it. Mm hmm.


Ira Madison III: So to close out, I will I will see what Damon’s opinion of my two of my favorite basketball films. They’re not serious basketball films, but Teen Wolf.


Louis Virtel: Hmm.


Ira Madison III: And Just Wright.


Damon Young: Yeah, see, I. So with Just Wright, OK? I’ve never been able to get into that movie because it specifically because Common it’s supposed to be not just a basketball player, not just an NBA player, but an NBA star.


Ira Madison III: He’s also supposed to be an actor, and he’s never he has never proven that in any film, despite the fact that I liked him on camera.


Damon Young: You can. I feel like comment has found a little niche as being a hit man who dies eventually.


Ira Madison III: He is great in the John Wick films.


Damon Young: Yeah, but but yet I just I can’t this been I can’t suspend my my my belief enough for that movie to work for me because Common is just not not good enough at basketball um for it. And it just, yeah, it that that takes me out of the whole movie. Now, Teen Wolf is different because again, he’s he’s a teen werewolf, OK? so


Louis Virtel: Says right in the title.


Damon Young: So, so you’re you’re you know, you’re you know, the bleep is this minute already that you have a teen werewolf in high school? And there’s this and it’s not like a big deal, right? Isn’t that the biggest story in the world, right? It’s just like a local, you know this. This teen just has a lot of hair and he’s a werewolf, and he could jump really high. But like the entire universe, it is shut down the focus on this high school.


Louis Virtel: No one, no one had a 1995 the way Michael J. Fox had a 1985 Teen Wolf, Family Ties and Back to the Future.


Damon Young: I mean, Michael J. Fox, he had a goat year, you know, and the worst, though I’ll just leave with this. The worst ever basketball depiction in a movie that I’ve seen is American History X. And there is a scene. There’s a scene when the Aryans, the white supremacist led by what’s his name, Edward Norton character. They challenge the Black. They challenge the a bunch of black people at a playground to play, you know, five on five. And it’s like whoever wins gets to rule the playground and in the park, in the area and the white supremacy win. But anyway, the game ends with Edward Norton the character doing a double punt reverse dunk like a contests level dunk, right?


Louis Virtel: Yeah, rock and jock basketball.


Damon Young: NBA Jam like boom, boom dunking it and they win and they tell the “niggers, get the fuck off the court.” And again, this is it its a moment that did not need to exist. Okay. The rest of the movie, whatever. But they could have taken that scene. That scene should have been left in drafts.


Ira Madison III: You know, the wildest thing about American history X is Sam Rockwell must have seen that movie and been like, That’s the role I want to play in every movie.


Louis Virtel: He’s like, How can I turn this into a track that I ride,.


Ira Madison III: Ugh, all right, when we’re back? It’s time for. Keep it.


Ira Madison III: And we are back with our favorite segment of the episode. It’s Keep It. Damon, you’re our guest of honor, so why don’t you go first?


Damon Young: Yes. So you know, as we know, you know, there is a book ban epidemic that is going across the country right now. School board members, parents, politicians are trying to ban anything that that that that tried to subvert or counter or contradict their own notions of white supremacy, you know? And in a lot of it’s the usual suspects. I mean, you have, you know, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest. Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, but also some contemporaries. Two friends of mine Kiese Layman’s heavy as the band a lot. Nikole Hannah-Jones,  The 1619 project is, you know, is is like that too. Like, they all have that her picture on my dartboard in their house right now, George Johnston, all boys are. I think it’s All Boys Are Blue. , Ibram Kendi. So you just go down the line down the line. And at this point, there’s going to be nothing left to read except for Tom Clancy and like the label on a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap. That’s all thats gonna be left in schools. And so that’s not even. But that’s not even my gripe. That’s not my issue. My issue is that my book What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker came out three years ago. OK. The first six pages alone, I talk about naked white people. I have multiple slurs. I talk shit about Tom Cruise. I talk about the link between masturbation and prayer. And yet my book still has not been banned.


Louis Virtel: That fucking sucks. I really have to say I’m with you on this one, right?


Damon Young: And so my I have book banned FOMO, and my whole thing is like, what do I have to do? You know, is my book not radical enough? Is my book not black enough for these motherfuckers to ban it? And and so going through this in my head and this is a real thing too, like, I’m not joking, I want my book to be banned. Like, you know, I have a couple of books that are in the works right now and forget about preorders. I want to I want you everyone listening to sign a petition to pre ban my book, but I feel like this is just more proof that these books aren’t actually getting it right. They’re not these. Yeah, the books that are banned, you know, it’s like, OK, I saw I saw an excerpt or I heard a thing or this being someone. Read it, someone else read it. And it made me feel a certain way. And so we must ban it from our district. We must ban it from these curriculums. We must go out and burn them. And again, I just it sucks that my book is one of those books being banned, but again, it just helps to expose the ridiculousness of this whole epidemic, of banning and burning and trying to just, you know, keep America as white and as stupid as possible.


Ira Madison III: Now that’s the ticket going on. So you got to you got to get the book banned, you got to get the book banned. That’s the only reason we talk about Mark Twain anyway, because those books aren’t good.


Louis Virtel: Right. Oh, hard take.


Damon Young: Yeah, that’s a take.


Louis Virtel: A Connecticut hot take in King Arthur’s court. My god. The only racist Twain I love is Shania


Ira Madison III: anyway. Louis, what is your keep it this week ?


Louis Virtel: My Keep It is to a certain type of tweet, but one that has reared its head again this week in regards to the Oscars. It was written by David Sirota, Oscar nominated co-writer of Don’t Look Up, which one exactly zero Oscars, which some people enjoy. His tweet was My thoughts on the Oscars slap incident are that at 70 degrees in Antarctica and what’s left of the liveable ecosystem is being destroyed. And so we should focus on that. Are you literally saying don’t react to a slap you just watched by surprise on television? Don’t say one thing about it. Start thinking about Antarctica immediately. Let’s think about how, like human brains work if you can be confronted with one thing and still have convictions about anything else existing in the world. This reminds me of what when Michael Jackson died, somebody I knew from college said something like, I can’t believe people are talking about Michael Jackson when instead they could be talking about, I don’t know whatever war was going on there. It’s like you do realize that by bringing up one topic, you were not negating the existence of another topic. It’s just the shallowest condescension possible, which is to say. You have one concern, but there are other concerns, and therefore you’re stupid. It’s just like taking an easy chance to call people dumb when instead, if you really care about Antarctica, you don’t have to bring up the Oscar slap. You could just talk about it. And then maybe we’ll retweet that, you know, so I easy condescension in general is like a real pet peeve of mine and especially from somebody who is probably jilted his nomination didn’t turn into a win.


Ira Madison III: Also, did he go to the Oscars after party? Did he go to the Vanity Fair party because he really should have gone home to continue the work of, you know, saving the polar ice caps? You know, you made the movie, which was to get the word out there now, get back to work.


Louis Virtel: Right. Get back to Antarctica. Ernest Shackleton or whatever your f ing journey is.


Ira Madison III: Meanwhile, Greta Thunberg was texting me about the slap. So shut up, David.


Louis Virtel: Right. She’s like, I think it was faked. Yeah, yeah.


Damon Young: This is just people whose entire entire public existence is predicated on not being the turd in the punch bowl at all times. Just like, Yeah, we get it. Fucking Neil deGrasse Tyson. Like, OK, there are more. There are more important things to talk about. Nick, you know, Nicola fucking Tesla. But we all watched this thing, and this is what we’re talking about right now. Again, it doesn’t doesn’t mean that you can have your fucking greenhouse effect, ozone layer tweets or any other time you could get them off. But right now, we don’t give a shit.


Louis Virtel: And Ira, what is your keep it?


Ira Madison III: My Keep It goes to Maude Apatow’s dad who is determined.


Louis Virtel: Oh Judd. Yes.


Ira Madison III: Yeah. Who is determined to embarrass her on the internet. Forever. During the show. After the slap. Judd Apatow saw Black people being black and decided that once again, he couldn’t mind his own business and hop on the internet to tweet. He could have killed him. That’s pure, out-of-control rage and violence. They’ve heard a million jokes about them in the last three decades. They are not freshmen in the world of Hollywood and comedy. He lost his mind. I


Louis Virtel: First of all your First of all, your reading of it. And the text itself was giving 80s thriller movies trailer


Damon Young: Lots of gravitas. You yea, lots of gravitas, right there. Just had this. Yeah.


Louis Virtel: It was very the movie Sea of Love


Damon Young: Yeah Louis is right.


Ira Madison III: I am so tired of Judd Apatow. What possessed any of this tweet besides being kind of racist?


Louis Virtel: I mean, he could have killed him is so vague


Ira Madison III: rage and violence. He lost his mind. This was like. And this wasn’t even the insane people who we’re not even going to address who were tweeting like that. Like that doctor who had that viral tweet where she was like, if it had been Betty White on stage that he’d slapped umm people love hypotheticals on the internet that have absolutely nothing to do with what actually just happened. But to suggest that that slap in that moment could have killed Chris Rock? That, you know, it was it was King Kong marching up the Empire State Building to rip Chris Rock apart was is wild. And it just it reminds me that, like Judd Apatow, always has weird energy for Black men. You know, we’ve talked about it on Keep It like years ago, but like throughout the entire like Harvey Weinstein and like Woody Allen thing, it’s like you can’t get like a tweet from him or something. But he was like every day blogging about Bill Cosby, like daily blogging to the point where it’s like, OK. Busy Philipps came out and said that, like James Franco threw her to the ground on the set of your show Freaks and Geeks, and you do nothing about it, and you all sort of laughed it off when she talked about it in this panel. But yeah, you’re hopping on your phone every five seconds to talk about Bill Cosby. It’s it’s very weird. And the fixation with Cosby in the height of like stuff going on with Woody Allen and Harvey Weinstein was it’s very like, OK, you’re focused on like the Black men man who you’re obsessed with right now. And then this tweet about Will Smith was like, I don’t know. It felt like Joseph Conrad wrote it.


Damon Young: Yeah. Like, you know, like what you were saying earlier in the show, it’s like they’re pretending like white on white violence doesn’t exist. Yeah. And you know, we see it. We see like I’ve seen it in front of me. I went to a Catholic school in middle school and I would see white on white violence. I would see, y’know, white slurs I didn’t even know existed. You know, Italians with slurs for Greeks and Greeks with slurs for Polish like, Oh shit, this is a whole new world of slurs for me.


Ira Madison III: I did not learn WAP until I went to an all white school. OK? And my Catholic All Boys High School had so like people call it like Italian students like that that was like, What is happening here?


Damon Young: Yeah, yeah. And so white on white violence is a thing. And so these people getting on, you know, getting on Kyrie Irving’s internet to act all Pollyanna about all this. It just is. Not is not. Yeah, it’s like again, why are you doing this? Why? Why? Why are you pretending? Why are you perpetrating right now when we know that this isn’t this? I mean, if you’re a comedian, you know, Apatow grow up grows up going to these comedy clubs. I’m sure he’s seen fights. I’m sure he’s seen people get smacked on stage before. I mean, he’s definitely he’s probably been smacked like, you don’t come up through that world of stand up and, you know, all these men being hyper competitive and, you know, four for four spots and for many movies and all that and not see these sorts of physical altercations, maybe they don’t lead to like actual like injury or death. But he has seen fights as an adult before. He has seen people fighting on stage before. You cannot grow up in not rural and not see that.


Ira Madison III: Damon, thank you so much for being here with us today. Everyone should go and listen to Stuck with Damon Young on Spotify. It is a Crooked and Gimlet joint, and it’s great.


Damon Young: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for having me on this podcast. Again, this was a lot of fun and yes, Stuck with Damon Young is available. It’s an exclusive of Spotify, so you can only listen to it on Spotify. But please, you know you get a chance to check it out. You know, hopefully, you know, I have the same legs that Keep It has had that that’s, you know, that’s that’s one of my goals


Louis Virtel: fingers crossed his podcast gets banned too,


Damon Young: Yeah. Oh yeah. Definitely Ban my podcast


Ira Madison III: Yeah, well, on the plus side, it’s just Stuck with Damon Young, so you won’t go through as many co-hosts as we have.


Louis Virtel: We’re we’re like solid gold up in here


Ira Madison III: Also thank you to Judith Light for being here, and we will see you next week for more. Keep it.


Louis Virtel: Keep it as a Crooked Media production. Our senior producer is Kendra James. Our producer is Caroline Reston and our associate producer is Bryan Semel. Our executive producer is Ira Madison III, but I Louis Virtel do a good job too. Our audio engineers are Charlotte Landes and Kyle Seglin, and the show is mixed and edited by Charlotte Landes. Thank you to our digital team. Matt DeGroot, Nar Melkonian and Milo Kim for production support every week.