The Rundown is a weekly column that highlights some of the biggest, weirdest, and most notable events of the week in entertainment. The number of items could vary, as could the subject matter. It will not always make a ton of sense. Some items might not even be about entertainment, to be honest, or from this week. The important thing is that it’s Friday, and we are here to have some fun.
ITEM NUMBER ONE – Listen to me
Something kind of cool happened this week. Alan Dershowitz, the famous attorney who recently did some work with various figures in the Trump administration, told a story about running into Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld and star of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Per Dersh, the interaction went down something like this…
Dershowitz: “We can still talk, Larry.”
David: “No. No. We really can’t. I saw you. I saw you with your arm around [Trump Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo! It’s disgusting!”
Dershowitz: “He’s my former student [at Harvard Law]. I greet all of my former students that way. I can’t greet my former students?”
David: “It’s disgusting. Your whole enclave — it’s disgusting. You’re disgusting!”
Which is… I mean, it’s perfect. Both the thing where Larry David is apparently always 100 percent Larry David whether the cameras are on or off or nowhere nearby and the thing where he used the word “enclave.” That’s a really good word. I don’t use it enough. I suspect you don’t either. Let’s all try to slip it into a conversation at some point this weekend, just to see how it goes. I bet it’ll feel great. I’m excited.
Reading that got me thinking, though. A lot. About how strange it must be to be friends with Larry David, sure, but also about what a singular personality he has. How no one else is really like him, now or at any other point in history. And that got me thinking about how much fun it would be to just parachute him, as himself, into various other shows in the HBO family.
Larry David cussing out Kendall Roy inside an upscale coffee shop in an episode of Succession.
Larry David on The Righteous Gemstones talking to Baby Billy Freeman about the finer points of Judaism and why organized religion as a whole is a sham.
Larry David on Euphoria talking to Rue about… I don’t know… scratchy sweaters. For the full hour.
Larry David with NoHo Hank on Barry doing a whole bit about criminal organizations and contract killings and why he could never do it for some small reason that’s extremely important to him.
Larry David on Westworld complaining about the robots.
Larry David on Hacks discussing the finer points of comedy with Deborah and pissing her off royally in the process.
Larry David as a guest in the hotel on The White Lotus.
Larry David and Nathan Fielder having the single most awkward/interesting conversation in history on The Rehearsal.
Larry David ranting about dragons on one of many Game of Thrones-based spin-offs.
It could work. Maybe. Just a little. Or it could be terrible. I suspect I will like it either way, though. And really, isn’t that the important thing here?
ITEM NUMBER TWO – The brand was strong
Earlier this week, although it somehow feels like a month ago (this is how time works sometimes), rumors started bubbling about a rift between Desus and Mero, the hosts of, well, Desus & Mero. This was a bummer and something I hoped was not true because Desus and Mero are funny and funny together and had been doing stuff on television that no one else was doing, really. The day went on and the whole thing came to a boil and neither of them commented on it, which was weird because both of them are super online. Then, just after closing of business on the East Coast, this happened.
— DESUS & MERO on SHOWTIME (@SHODesusAndMero) July 18, 2022
I’m going to come back to the rest of it in a second, but first, let’s all take a second and think about how fast this all happened. We’re talking, like, hours between rumors being floated and the whole thing ending. That’s kind of crazy. Something had obviously been simmering for a while and this was just the heat being cranked up to high, but still. Hours. If you worked the night shift and got home at 8 am and slept from 9-5, you could have gone from thinking everything was fine to watching the world burn in a flash. The internet is wild.
More importantly, this stinks. I don’t care too much about the whys or the hows of it all ended, I’m just sad it did. The story itself is so cool. They were just two funny dudes on Twitter who got plopped together for a project and they kept turning that into more projects until they were full-on interviewing Barack Obama on a premium cable channel. That… it kind of doesn’t happen. If there was a movie where that happened, you’d be like “uh huh, sure.” It’s all very cool.
And they did cool stuff once they had the chance, in addition to talking to a slew of famous people and breaking the form of that kind of show a little. Like this. They did that. It was cool. Uproxx’s Aaron Williams said it all better than I’m saying it.
Before Desus & Mero, it’s hard to find too many examples of hip-hop culture in the late-night TV space. Sure there was Arsenio Hall, doing his best to bring the fashion, music, and voice of the streets to America’s living rooms in the early ’90s. But while The Arsenio Hall Show was a landmark in bringing hip-hop to mainstream audiences, it was also watered-down, polished, and presented in a way that the whole thing slicker and more palatable to those audiences. It also largely avoided political topics, although the show did come under fire for booking — or not booking — some guests that audiences found controversial.
Again, cool. I should probably stop talking about them in the past tense, though. They’re still around and doing stuff, just as Desus and Mero instead of Desus & Mero. I’d love to see Desus get another late-night show, like maybe in James Corden’s empty slot. I’d love to see Mero get a crack at daytime television, maybe the Wendy Williams slot. I’d love to fast-forward 5-10 years for the reunion special. But right now, I’m just bummed out. I wish them both the best, but I’m bummed out.
ITEM NUMBER THREE – Russell Crowe seems to be having a good time
What we have here:
- Russell Crowe
- Standing outside the Colosseum in Rome
- Where the coolest parts of Gladiator were set
- Posing for selfies
- With a bunch of kids
- With a visible sweat stain on his shirt
- And posting it all on Twitter
This made me so happy when I saw it. It’s still making me happy right now, days later. Imagine you’re on vacation in Rome and a sweaty Russell Crowe offers to pose for a selfie with you. Imagine how you’d react. I hope he just starts doing this, hanging around the outside of the Colosseum offering to pose for pictures with people. I hope he starts charging, like, $5 for them. Not so much where you’re like “Damn, Russell Crowe is really greedy and/or down on his luck.” Just enough to be funny. Maybe $4. I like the idea of him making change for people.
Russell Crowe, please consider this.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR – I love Emmanuel so much
If you spent any time on the internet in the last week or so, you probably saw or at least heard about Emmanuel, the rascal emu. I hope you did, at least. If not, please click on that video up there at once. Click on it anyway, actually. You deserve to have a little fun. Go watch all of them later tonight, maybe after a glass or two of wine. It’s Friday.
Anyway, it brings me great pleasure to report that the Washington Post caught up with the young woman in those videos, Taylor Blake, who works at a place called Knuckle Bump Farms, which is both a tremendous name for a farm and where my sweetly naughty boy Emmanuel lives.
In their first joint interview, Emmanuel stared into our Zoom call, then at Blake, then away from the screen. He refused to comment.
“Emmanuel’s just kind of a down-to-earth guy,” Blake told The Post. “I don’t really think he cares [about being famous].”
Blake says fame isn’t going to change Emmanuel: “I have talked to him about it a few times, but he hasn’t really had much of a reaction. I think he’s just … adapting to this new life of fame.”
I love it. I want them to start making videos where they solve mysteries, with Taylor trying to do things by the book and Emmanuel flying off the handle like a loose cannon who plays by his own rules but gets results, dammit. At the very least, I would like to see him in sunglasses. But I’m serious about the first thing.
Blake was raised near her grandparents’ farm and developed a deep love for animals as a child. She has been creating social media content professionally since 2013. After a brief stint in Los Angeles, she moved to Knuckle Bump Farms with her girlfriend to help Blake’s aging grandparents care for their animals full time.
She began posting videos with the animals — cows, donkeys, ducks and, yes, emus in the plural — in 2018. Her rationale: “The world is dark, and animals bring everyone joy. They’re funny, they’re entertaining.”
This is correct. Everyone is doing great here. As is this dog who ran away from home and won a dog show while he was out in the world. That doesn’t have much to do with any of this beyond both of them being animals I liked a lot this week, but I don’t have room to talk about it anywhere else because the news section at the bottom of this post has to focus on the beauty queen who was arrested for her part in a million-dollar wine heist. So here we are. I hope Emmanuel stars as an Interpol agent in the movie about it all.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE – Liam Gallagher, please recap Our Flag Means Death for Uproxx
Two pretty important things happened this week. The first was that I finally finished Our Flag Means Death. What a good and fun show that is. Go watch it if you haven’t. It’s a bunch of pirates and everyone is gay and Taika Waititi plays Blackbeard. I could probably explain this all more and better, but then I’d risk ruining some of it for you. I can’t have that. This is all you get. For now.
Which brings me to the second important thing from this week. Liam Gallagher, former lead singer of Oasis and noted fan of profanity and chaos, tweeted this.
Our flag means death BIBLICAL
— Liam Gallagher (@liamgallagher) July 20, 2022
PLEASE RECAP THIS SHOW
I WILL EDIT THEM
WE CAN DO RECAPS OF THE FIRST SEASON, LIKE, RETROACTIVELY
AND THEN DO SEASON TWO
THINK ABOUT IT
ITEM NUMBER SIX – I am ready when you are, Keanu
This is the first official image from the fourth John Wick movie, which will hit theaters in March 2023. A few things are worth noting:
- There are so many candles here
- More like John Wicks
- Get it? Because of the candles
- NO, YOU SHUT UP
- I cannot possibly be expected to wait until March for this movie
New rule: From now on, do not give me more than, like, three weeks notice before a movie comes out. I’ll go as far as one month. Drop the trailer four Thursdays before the release date, do the little publicity tour, go on Hot Ones or something, then blammo, put it in theaters. What the hell am I supposed to do until March? Maintain healthy relationships with my family and friends? Collect a series of new experiences and memories that I can carry with me for the rest of my life? Watch the first three John Wick movies like five times each?
Well, joke’s on them. I was already going to do that last one. The other two… I mean, we’ll see how it goes.
If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at [email protected] (put “RUNDOWN” in the subject line). I am the first writer to ever answer reader mail in a column. Do not look up this last part.
Are you watching the new season of Blood and Treasure? I need to know your thoughts on the Mongolian ninja Vatican secret vault heist.
Well… no. I have not been watching Blood and Treasure. But I kind of feel like I need to now. “Mongolian ninja Vatican secret vault heist” speaks to me in ways few phrases ever have or will again. There’s so much happening there. I kind of can’t even picture exactly what it all means, but I feel like I like it very much. I appreciate when television is made this narrowly tailored to my own stupid interests, even if I’m not there in the moment to watch it. Thank you, Blood and Treasure.
In my defense, I have been a little busy. And by that, I mean “I have been watching and thinking about this week’s basically perfect episode of What We Do in the Shadows, which features all of the following things: a genie negotiating an extremely specific wish about a penis, a vampire rapper named Richie Suck, and, most enjoyably, for me, Matt Berry doing cartwheels and somersaults through lasers to steal some sort of artifact.” Here, look.
It was great. Easily one of the funniest episodes of television I’ve seen this year. My former podcast partner Alan Sepinwall wrote up a big thing about it because, well, that’s what Alan does and Alan is good at it. Watch the episode and go read it. Maybe tell Liam Gallagher to watch it, too, if you run into him. He’ll probably like it if he liked Our Flag Means Death. Then maybe he can do a podcast with me about it. Think about this, too, Liam.
THINK ABOUT IT
AND NOW, THE NEWS
A former Mexican beauty queen and a Romanian-Dutch accomplice have been arrested in Croatia over the theft of $1.7 million worth of prestige bottles of wine in Spain after a nine-month chase across Europe, police said on Wednesday.
This is the only thing I care about now.
Police investigators believe the woman, a 29-year-old Mexican, who according to Spanish daily El Pais had competed in a beauty pageant in her homeland, distracted El Atrio waiters by ordering room service from the Michelin-starred restaurant after its kitchen had closed.
Meanwhile, her 47-year-old male accomplice slipped down to the wine cellar, opened it with a master key he had stolen during a prior visit, and filled three backpacks with the bottles, wrapping them in hotel room towels for protection, according to the police statement.
Ah, of course, the old “a beauty queen distracts the staff while her accomplice sneaks downstairs with a stolen key and shoves millions of dollars worth of wine into his backpacks” ruse. I’ve seen it a million times.
The next day, hotel CCTV captured the pair, who had checked in with false Swiss identity documents, checking out at 5.30 a.m. and leaving on foot with no forensic trace of their presence left at the hotel, it said, leading police to initially believe an organised gang was behind the heist.
I don’t think I have ever been angrier in my entire life than I was the first time I read this when I realized they weren’t going to tell me the fake Swiss names they used. I was so excited. I wanted to see, like, Dr. Klaus Klausman and Inga Blickensderfer. I feel so cheated here. The million-dollar wine heist and European manhunt helps, sure. But still.
The two suspects left Spain within days and were pursued for months across Europe before being identified by Croatian border guards as they crossed from Montenegro, police said.
I need this to be a six-episode docuseries as soon as possible and I need Agent Doug from McMillions to pop up as a talking head who explains and/or analyzes various law enforcement strategies. I think… let’s say November. Let’s have this ready by November. December at the latest. I believe we can do it