Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

Oct. 4 2015 7:49 PM

Watch the Women of SNL Try to Outdo When Harry Met Sally’s Fake Orgasm Scene

One of the many joys of SNL’s season premiere was the spotlight it shone on Leslie Jones, who became the oldest person to join the show when she was promoted to featured player last year. Jones was everywhere on Saturday, skewering the white maleness of late night TV and stealing Weekend Update, but perhaps her best moment came in this spoof of When Harry Met Sally’s fake orgasm scene.

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Oct. 4 2015 2:52 PM

SNL’s Season Premiere Was Genuinely Pretty Great

Every Saturday, at the tail end of prime time, with the help of an awkward celebrity or two, SNL attempts to make a drowsy, cynical audience laugh for an hour and a half. It has been attempting this for 40 years now, to mixed results. Nostalgia has brightened the memory of the show’s early days, but in today’s inspired, oversaturated, and diverse comedy scene, Lorne Michaels’ institution has swiftly become The Show That Shall Not Be Praised.

But let’s praise it a little. SNL’s 41st season is the first in three years for which there was no major cast turnover, and its premiere was a welcome return to the fast, loose, persistently topical sketches that are the show’s calling card.

Oct. 3 2015 7:21 PM

For Unclear Reasons, There Will Be a Lethal Weapon TV Show

Joining Minority Report, 12 Monkeys, Uncle Buck, Rush Hour, Training Day, The Notebook, Limitless, and what seems like every other movie of the past 30 years, Lethal Weapon is all set to be rebooted as a TV series. Fox announced Friday that it’s green-lit an adaptation of the buddy cop franchise, with Matt Miller (Forever) writing and Dan Lin and Jennifer Gwartz in place as executive producers.  

Like the four Lethal Weapon films, the show will feature partners Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh: The former is a Texan cop in L.A. after the death of his wife and child, the latter a sergeant trying to avoid stress after a minor heart attack. Neither Mel Gibson nor Danny Glover will reprise those roles, so the series will lack their zany chemistry. It will also, inexplicably, be written as a drama, so it will have none of the films’ trademark action humor. In sum: Lethal Weapon the show will likely be a drab police procedural that bears only superficial resemblance to its namesake.

Which is par for the course, at this point.

Oct. 3 2015 2:43 PM

The Top 10 Sex Deaths in Movie History, in One Video Countdown

Both sex and death are common in movies, but then there is the sex death, that rare act in which, for the coupling characters on screen, “the climax really is the end.” Cinema has a rich tradition of coital casualties, and WatchMojo’s latest video is a noble stab at ranking the top 10 in history.

It’s good to see new and old favorites represented—both American Psycho and Gone Girl make the list—but the real draw here is the sheer diversity of murder weapons: We see lovers downed by snakes, spears, switchblades, and, in one case, the steel trap of a woman’s thighs. Enjoy.

Oct. 3 2015 12:33 PM

Stephen Colbert Is Very Sharp on the Oregon Shooting and Honesty in Politics

In his first weeks hosting The Late Show, Stephen Colbert has stayed in a mostly comic register, but on Friday he slipped into more somber waters, delivering a tight, thoughtful monologue about the mass shooting in Oregon and the weird hypocrisies in American politics.

In many ways, the bit was reminiscent of recurring Colbert Report segment “The Word,” with the host using a choice term or two—in this case, “honesty” and “pretending”—to contextualize and critique the topics of the day. Here he picks apart subjects ranging from gun violence to Donald Trump to Congress’ Benghazi committee, ending with a dark punch line that strikes just the right note between humor and dread.

Oct. 2 2015 4:53 PM

The Daily Show Made Some “Secret,” Unlisted Trevor Noah YouTube Videos, Gamed Everyone

In a sneaky move to promote its premiere with Trevor Noah at the helm, The Daily Show planted a string of secret videos that have just now been unearthed. The show taped at least 15 unlisted YouTube videos tied to Trevor Noah search results. If you happen to search Trevor Noah’s name plus a term attached to one of the hidden videos, the video will pop up at the top of your results as a paid Google ad.


Uproxx discovered videos for “Trevor Noah Wiki,” “Trevor Noah Girlfriend,” “Trevor Noah Autotune,” “Trevor Noah ASMR,” “Trevor Noah Age,” “Trevor Noah Net Worth,” and “Trevor Noah Gay,” and SplitSider chimed in with “Trevor Noah Tweets,” “Trevor Noah Religion,” and “Trevor Noah Shirtless.” I uncovered “Trevor Noah Knitting,” “Trevor Noah Race,” “Trevor Noah Crocs,” “Trevor Noah Illuminati,” and “Trevor Noah Star Sign,” and doubtless there are dozens more waiting to be discovered. 


Any search term that isn’t specific enough brings you right back to “Trevor Noah Wiki.” Some videos, like the one for Wiki, hint at other videos (“If you want to know what star sign [I am] specifically, well I guess you can Google it.”), and still others feature Daily Show correspondents Jessica Williams and Jordan Klepper. The show clearly anticipated just how much frantic Googling Noah would inspire, and it’s hard to imagine a savvier marketing move for the SEO-optimized age.

Oct. 2 2015 3:53 PM

Erykah Badu Covered Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” With a Weird New Twist

Artists love to cover Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” His refrain, “you used to call me on my cellphone,” clearly strikes some kind of universal chord. First there was Sam Smith and Disclosure’s danceable spin, and now we have Erykah Badu’s offering, “Hotline Bling But U Cain't Use My Phone Mix” from her forthcoming But U Caint Use My Phone mixtape. Most interestingly, Badu’s take features one very bizarre turn. Around 3:00, the song gives way to a minute-long recording that imitates an automated attendant:

You've reached the Erykah Badu hotline. If you're calling for Erykah, press 1. If you're calling to wish her a happy birthday, Kwanzaa, MLK, Black History Month, Juneteenth, or Hanukkah, press 2.

From there, it goes increasingly, delightfully off the rails.

Oct. 2 2015 1:12 PM

The Mystery of Jake Gyllenhaal’s Height Just Got Deeper, Thanks to Conan


Mystery Show hit the No. 1 spot on iTunes’ charts just a month after the release of its pilot episode in May, making Starlee Kine the most famous podcast host since Sarah Koenig. The show’s appeal is simple: Each week, Kine investigates a mystery brought to her by a listener who hasn’t been able to solve it on his or her own. Episode 5, “Source Code,” is one of the most memorable episodes of the first season: In it, Kine takes on the mystery of Jake Gyllenhaal’s height, a surprisingly controversial topic for several years running.




The episode is narratively satisfying but not quite factually airtight. The closest Kine gets to a definitive answer is a pledge directly from Gyllenhaal—perhaps an unreliable source—that he is 5-foot-11½-inches. So when Kine went on Conan last night to discuss Mystery Show and the lingering puzzle of Gyllenhaal’s height, Conan O’Brien decided to put an end to the speculation by bringing out Gyllenhaal himself and forcing the actor to submit to a tape measure.


Oct. 2 2015 12:34 PM

Watch Salman Rushdie, Newly Converted Drake Fan, Critique Drake Lyrics

Salman Rushdie may be new to Drake, but he’s already a fan. In a video for Pitchfork, Rushdie—that is, author of The Satanic Verses, Midnight’s Children, and Fury—reads lyrics from ”6 PM in New York,” “Forever,” “Know Yourself,” “What’s My Name,” and “6 God” out loud. By his own admission, Rushdie has never heard any of these songs before, which leads to a very honest evaluation of each.

The first line he reads is from “6 PM in New York:” “Lately I feel the haters eatin’ away at my confidence. They scream out my failures and whisper my accomplishments.” “Oh yeah,” Rushdie says, “I know how that feels.” He’s a fan of the subtle rhyme scheme in “Forever:” “I like the half rhyme, I like ‘greatest’ and ‘play with,’ that’s good.”


He also approves of Drake’s subtle Marilyn Monroe reference in “What’s My Name.” As Drake says: “Only thing we have on is the radio.” As Rushdie explains the allusion, Monroe once posed nude for a photo shoot, and when asked if she had anything on she replied, “I have the radio on.” Overall, despite the deadpan, he seems impressed with the 6 God’s work.

Oct. 2 2015 11:09 AM

What Should Matt Damon Have Done With All Those Potatoes in The Martian? Some Suggested Recipes.

This post contains minor spoilers for The Martian.

In The Martian, astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) devotes his considerable intellect and indomitable morale to surviving on the Red Planet for as long as it takes for NASA to rescue him. He has only enough prepackaged food to last him for 400 Martian days, so he estimates that he has to grow three years’ worth of food. Using human waste as fertilizer, he plants some potatoes from his storeroom and nurtures them to maturity, with the intention of subsisting on microwaved potatoes after his freeze-dried rations run out.

Clearly, Watney has higher priorities than making his tuber-based diet as varied and interesting as possible. But what if, instead of figuring out how to communicate with NASA and hacking his rover, Watney focused on maximizing the deliciousness of his potatoes? Granted, it wouldn’t be easy: Potato leaves are poisonous, and the only other ingredients we see in Watney’s possession are ketchup, grape juice, instant coffee, olive oil, salt, and pepper. But if Watney were more interested in culinary excellence than in survival per se, he could certainly whip up a few decent meals with the fodder he has on hand.