(posted by t.j. peters)
“An Open Letter to Gerry ‘The Mentalist’ McCambridge”
I recently attended your show at the Planet Hollywood Casino in Las Vegas and, I have to say, I was very impressed. Your ability to use suggestion and manipulation to extract otherwise unknowable information from the audience was truly astonishing and for that I feel I owe you a special congratulations.
I am lying (but you already knew that). In fact, I do not wish to congratulate you any further than you already did during the five minute video montage that opened your show. You know, the one that featured poorly taken photos of you with celebrities you met at parties and highlighted the local morning programs you appeared on in the early aughts? What am I saying? Of course you know!
Here, let’s try this. Guess what I’m thinking and then I’ll write it out at the beginning of the next paragraph. Let’s see if you’re right. (No peeking. . . not that you need to!)
I loved the third part of your act.
Didn’t see that coming, did you? It’s true, though, I swear. As you know, your show is broken up into four parts. You tell the audience that there are three, but as we all experienced, the third portion is not actually your final trick, but rather an extended period of recounting your accolades, name dropping, and pitching your DVD. Let me tell you, nothing gears people up for a finale like a lengthy sales pitch, especially when those people are only attending your show in the first place because they received free tickets during the four hour timeshare explanation they sat through earlier that day. (I assume you already knew that, yet you did it anyway.) I was especially captivated at the point when you ran out of things to commend yourself on and simply muttered “. . . David Letterman”. Using my own mentalism skills in that moment, I sensed the audience collectively thinking, “This is awkward” (which apparently you didn’t pick up on).
Of all your clever manipulations, however, I have to say that my favorite was your misdirection between “The Mentalist” (the short-lived reality show you starred in) and “The Mentalist” (the CBS prime-time drama). As you explained—and also detail on your website—you are the inspiration for the title character of CBS’s “The Mentalist”, as well as the creator, executive producer, and star of “The Mentalist”. Now, for all I know, the first part may actually be true. After all, you are not just a mentalist, but “The Mentalist”, implying that you are the one and only, or perhaps just the best, much on par with other Las Vegas stars such as David “The Magician” Copperfield and Carrot “The Comedian” Top. However, I can definitely confirm that you are not the creator, executive producer, or star of CBS’s “The Mentalist”, though obviously that’s what you’d like to convince your audience to believe. (But you already knew that).
I don’t mean to totally discredit you, as you are honestly a very good entertainer and truly gifted at your craft. I wish you continued success, regardless of whether or not you ever reach the pinnacles you already portray as reality. I guess when it comes down to it what I’d like to say is, “Good act.”
At the Beginning of This Letter You Were Predicting a Complimentary Close,
If there’s any more awesome spectacle than the MTV Video Music Awards I have yet to find it. And if I haven’t found it, that shit is Bigfoot, Kaiser Sose, and the clitoris: IT CAN’T BE FOUND. For I am the world’s foremost seeker of awesome, and I have turned over every leaf under every rock tucked in every crevice of every corner of every nook to uncover all this world’s awesome. If it’s awesome and it’s out there, I’ve found it. The VMAs is the awesomest, and I didn’t even have to search a cranny.
You don’t wanna know what lurks in crannies. I’ll tell you anyway. Wombats. Or maybe it’s womb rats. One of the two. Possibly both. Let’s assume both. Ooooooh, crannies.
Back to the VMAs. The Veemas, as I call it. I don’t call it that. Each year, once a year, MTV and Viacom give modesty the night off and use the time to shit in the mouths of cynicism and restraint. This musical display of pageantry is nothing short of opulence on a coke binge. Oh the money spent! Like Beverly Hills Sweet Sixteen parties, the only goal is finding a way to out-what-the-fuck the last one. In ’08, when they pranced their acts around a Hollywood studio lot, I thought they couldn’t top the year before when they staged concerts throughout a Vegas casino. I was wrong. This year, at little ol’ Radio City Music Hall in New York, I was reasonably certain they couldn’t raise the bar on last year. Then what can only be described as a burlesque circus unfolded. Wrong again, Ben.
Let’s start with the red elephant at the Veemas (I guess I do call it that). Kanye fucked up. Again. His music speaks for itself. Then he speaks for himself and his music cringes. The crowd less cringed and more loudly booed him the rest of the night. He’s the last person I’d want to be right now. He stole Taylor Swift’s Moonman virginity! It was uncomfortable to watch. Let’s stop talking about it.
Michael Jackson received the bulk of the attention, but it was Jay-Z’s show. He gave the King of Pop his last moment and then strolled in at the end to remind us who currently runs the game. Dude didn’t even show up until he was slated to take the stage and then had cameras awaiting his arrival in a limousine caravan. How played out is that, right? That’s what I thought too! Jay-Z proved it’s actually the coolest thing ever.
I’ve long said of comedy that anyone can make shitting your pants funny, comedy is finding humor in the Gastric Cancer that caused it. Jay-Z is the coolness equivalent to that. At the VMAs he proved that, to him, cliche is just a French word meaning “another lame thing I can make look cooler than the coolest thing in your life.” Our definition is shorter, but his is…cooler. Watch Hova (featuring Keys by Alicia) for yourself and count the number of times he defies triteness:
Related story about Jay-Z: I passed him on the street in New York some ten years ago and, even then, honestly considered Talented Mr. Ripleying him. I generally like being me; am comfortable in my own skin, with my own mind, with my own life. I want to be Jay-Z. Like, bad. As much as I don’t want to be Kanye.
I don’t feel like there’s any joke that can improve the perfectly-ignored drunk fan who wanders on-stage at the end of the song. She’s like someone shitting their pants: No additional joke required.
My favorite part of this clip isn’t even part of the song. It’s this brief two-shot of besties forever:
Look at Beyonce in that clip or picture. She is hard-selling it for her man. Nobody is more into Jay-Z than her. I wish I could find even a poorly-lit, well-tucked tranny who loved me half as much as she loves him. And she’s the hottest female in the world! If anyone disagreed before her performance, they changed their mind after.
Look at her, damnit! Stunning! She can call the song whatever she wants, that performance was called Viagra, because it gave me a four-hour erection. My boner has been asleep ever since.
Speaking of well-tucked trannies…Lady Gaga! (I don’t want to perpetuate the rumor that Gaga is a transvestite as it’s cruel and I don’t believe it. But this is comedy and sometimes a guy needs a segue.)
She was a spectacle in and of herself, and I loved every moment of her. Her outfits, each more redonk than the last; her acceptance speech, thanking “God and the gays;” her performance, bloodied and spastic…why don’t I just show/remind you. Check out the most burlesque of all the circus performances:
And I can’t leave out my girl Pink. She treated this “award show” like a skate park demo, whipping out tricks nobody knew were possible while proving once again that she’s the baddest dude on the planet. Check out the most circus-y of all the burlesque performances:
MTV doesn’t do a lot well these days. They make reality stars out of people so out of touch with reality it is fair to question whether they SEE stars. They may be actually the least likely place on television to see a music video. But boy do they ever nail this event. The rest of the award circuit, like Kanye West, is under the false impression people give a shit who wins awards. Nope. Opulence on a coke binge. The more opulent and the more cocaine the better.
There’s no way they can top this year. Don’t worry, I’ve grown comfortable being wrong.
My name is Ben and I blogged this.
This week let’s take a trip down “drugs affect the memory” lane. Don’t let your kids read this blog.
Incidentally, why have you been letting your kids read my blog?
Anyway, here’s a tale from my crypt:
I was in Amsterdam doing the usual Amsterdamian things: Weed, canals, weed, weed, museums, weed, getting run down by bicyclists, more weed, giant pancakes, giant pancakes made of weed.
It’s Amsterdam, pot-smoker’s Las Vegas. Don’t judge me.
So Feist played in town while I was there and I grossly overpaid for a ticket. I like Feist, think she puts on a great show, and had just missed seeing her at a few American venues prior to the Amsterdam trip. My point is, I was excited about the show. So I did what anyone would do having just paid an inexcusable amount of money to see a show he was excited about: I ruined it with hallucinogenics.
Don’t get me wrong, weed is great and ordinarily I don’t need anything stronger. But you have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and, eventually, it becomes Corn Flakes. Know what I mean?
So I upped the ante.
I see your four days of weed-hazed lethargy and I raise you one box of magic mushrooms.
First off, know that eating an entire box of Amsterdam mushrooms is like eating an entire Thanksgiving turkey. So much less will suffice and that amount only leads to trouble. Eating an entire box of Amsterdam mushrooms, then attending a pitch black rock concert in a foreign country is like eating an entire Thanksgiving turkey and then running the Boston Marathon.
Why have a good time hallucinating when you can be totally terrified instead.
As I sat in this Dutch club with the lights still on, my experience was all things hilarious and profound. You can have some amazing thoughts on mushrooms and whether those thoughts are of the most glorious or most dismal nature they all make you laugh.
These mushrooms are great. I need to move here and open a mushroom farm. This is my destiny.
Then the lights shut off and Feist takes the stage. This should be the best part, right? WRONG.
Oh no, this is not good. I can’t understand what anyone is saying. Calm down, Ben. You’re on drugs. No, wait. This isn’t the drugs. None of these people are speaking English. Where the fuck am I? Why am I asking myself questions? Why am I answering them? You’re in Amsterdam, Ben. I’m on mushrooms in Amsterdam at a Feist concert? Who does that? You do, Ben. You’re kind of an idiot. Why is everyone staring at me? Seriously, why is everyone staring at me? What’s wrong with my hands? Are these my hands? Who’s hands are these? I’ve got to give back these hands.
I spent the first three or four songs holding a conversation with Feist as she sang from the stage. She would sing and then I would respond. I don’t know what language I was speaking, but hey, I didn’t know what language anyone else was speaking either.
I spent the next three or four songs trying to get a cigarette into my mouth. Eventually a stranger came over and took it away from me, deciding that me and anything on fire were a bad combination. I was angry, but she couldn’t tell through my maniacal laughter and falling over.
The next three or four songs were spent barely not falling on my face. I’m not a church-goer, but I’m fully comfortable saying that the fact I remained upright through this stretch of the show was a true miracle.
The final three or four songs were spent slowly becoming aware that everyone around hated me. By the last song I agreed with them. I pushed my way through the crowd and the night terrors and the hobgoblins and the pitch black to the back of the club. I wasn’t out of the dark, but at least no one could get me back there.
Then the lights came on and with them came the giggles, then the funny shapes and my bad trip was immediately forgotten. Everyone still hated me, and I knew it, but who cares?!
I’m on ‘shrooms! I’m ready for anything! When’s Feist start? You missed it, Dummy. Can she play again? No, everyone hates you. I know! Isn’t it great?!
I stuck with pot the rest of the time in Amsterdam. All it took was one crazy night with my friend Shroomy and Corn Flakes weed was Frosted Flakes again.
And Frosted Flakes are greaaaaaaaaaaaaaat.
So are mushrooms. But not covered in milk, like Frosted Flakes. And not at a Feist concert surrounded by French and Dutch people who hated you for George Bush even before you ate way too much magical fungus.
I can only hope that Barack Obama does as much for doing hallucinogens in a foreign country as he plans to do for college football.
My name is Ben and this blog has increased drug awareness.