If George Michael gets a fortune, why can't I?
Inspired by the pop star's $3.3 mil gig, our editor-at-large examines what certain entertainment jobs are really worth
If George Michael gets a fortune, why can’t I?
I used to deliver pizzas for a living. I did this during the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, and I knew it would be a weird gig when the guy training me to do it insisted on picking up a six-pack the first night and then proceeded to tell me about all the times he had blacked out while driving. Still, I loved that job. I got to eat free pizza all day, occasionally delivered to scantily clad women, and was paid generously — about 15 bucks an hour or so, if I remember correctly, which was simply obscene for a 19-year-old.
But as well as I was paid for shuttling pepperoni pizzas around Washington, D.C., it does not compare to what George Michael scored for a 75-minute gig on New Year’s Eve. It seems the former Wham!-er pocketed $3.3 million from a Russian billionaire to play 13 of his hits in a set that took place from 3:30 a.m. to 4:45 a.m. on Jan. 1. He then immediately flew back to Britain. Now, I’m not exactly sure what George Michael needs $3.3. million for, unless it is to purchase a brand-new fleet of expensive cars to fall asleep in, but it got me thinking: If this dude can get millions just to show up and embarrass himself by singing ”Wake Me Up Before You Go Go,” how much would I require for various entertainment-related activities? I’ve set up a price list, if you will.
Sitting through all 11 Friday the 13th movies in a row: $500
I’d actually do the first six for free, just to see Corey Feldman and Horshack from Welcome Back, Kotter bite it, but the last five, which include the intolerable Jason Takes Manhattan and Jason X, don’t come cheap.
Watching the entire upcoming season of The L Word: $700
The sad part about this is that my L Word-obsessed wife makes me watch all the episodes anyway, and doesn’t pay me a dime! In fact, she’s already subjected me to the first six, which we watched on an advance DVD. I actually liked the first season of this show a lot, even though it creeped me out seeing my old college housemate (Eric Mabius) having sex in every other scene. But the show totally went off the rails in season 2. The new season isn’t quite that bad, but it is still insanely annoying in a variety of ways, especially with the new prevailing theme that all heterosexuals are basically ignorant a–holes. (Are we to honestly believe that people in L.A. in the year 2007 are really that unenlightened?) I could get into all the other things about this show that drive me insane, but I can already feel my blood boiling and I am getting dangerously close to typing in all capital letters just about ANY SECOND NOW!!! SEE, I TOLD YOU! SOMEONE OWES ME $700!
Attending the Rocky Horror Picture Show: $1,000
I was one of those guys who was totally into Rocky Horror as a teenager. I even got grounded once after my mom caught me sneaking out of the house to attend a midnight screening. Last year I had the honor of bringing my then-14-year-old half sister to her first Rocky Horror screening. It actually turned out to be horrifying on many levels. The first being that the callbacks and comments were even raunchier than I remembered so I couldn’t help but feel like an awful big brother who was corrupting his poor little sister. The second being that I felt old as hell. Back when I was a teen, it was cool and hip to be hanging out in a movie theater at midnight tossing rice, toast, and playing cards at people while shouting obscenities at the screen, but now I felt like some loser who kept going to high school parties long after he graduated. Trust me, I don’t need any help whatsoever when it comes to feeling like a loser.
Listening to every CD put out by any American Idol contestant ever: $2,300
That may sound steep, but think about just how many CDs we’re talking about. See, it’s not just Kelly Clarkson and the Velvet Teddy Bear, but also Jim Verraros, Corey Clark, even Carmen Freakin’ Rasmusen! If you want me to take on Rasmusen, you’re gonna have to shell out some serious coin.
Ceasing the public pimping of Battlestar Galactica, Friday Night Lights, Survivor, and Heroes in this column: $4,000
That’s actually a modest $1,000 per show. Besides, if you add together all those shows, multiply that number by the times they’ve all been mentioned, and then divide by the reader mail comments dissing them, I believe you will find $4,000 to be fair market value. But until I receive said check (and said check clears), let me just say this: Battlestar frakking rules! Go Panthers! Yay for Yul! And damn, that Sylar is freaky-deaky!
OBSESSION OF THE WEEK
I hate the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Sorry, but the enjoyment of music is so subjective I just don’t see how you can say one musical act is more worthy than another for inclusion. But it exists, so of course I have to share an opinion about the latest round of inductees, announced this week. First off, I would just like to give props — as it were — to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five for being the first rap act to be inducted. Now maybe Run-DMC, Public Enemy, and some others will get their due. I can’t complain when it comes to R.E.M., Patti Smith, or the Ronettes, but then we get to Van Halen. Look, I have no problem with the original Halen going to the Hall; I think their party-hearty anthems are more than welcome. But why also include Sammy Hagar? I know there are a lot of Van Hagar fans out there who love the smooth sounds of ”When It’s Love” and are going to send me angry letters, and I realize that they had plenty of hits with him as their frontman, but c’mon… when you think Van Halen, you think David Lee Roth, not the dude who can’t drive 55. And what of poor Gary Cherone? If you’re gonna let Hagar in, why kick Cherone to the curb? Although on second thought, maybe his time spent as the singer of Extreme makes him automatically ineligible. Of course what gets me really steamed is that the Stooges were once again not deemed worthy of inclusion. Yes, they only put out three albums, and no, none of them sold worth squat, but this is one of the most influential bands of the past 40 years. Along with the MC5, the Stooges were the unknowing originators of the punk rock movement, and Iggy Pop is the genre’s recognized godfather. You can’t deny the impact of songs like ”I Wanna Be Your Dog,” ”Search and Destroy,” and pretty much the entire Fun House album. Respect is due! It just is sort of a bummer that Sammy Hagar, who I am pretty confident never influenced or altered music in pretty much any way, shape, or form whatsoever, is deemed worthy of inclusion, and someone like Iggy Pop, who changed the face of rock & roll, is not. As far as I’m concerned, the only place Sammy Hagar should be admitted is Cabo Wabo. Like I said, this is why I hate the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame… and obsess over my own hatred of it.
How do you know you’re a full-fledged geek? When you start getting suckered in by elaborate DVD packaging. These days, watching the disc isn’t enough — you also need oversized packages that don’t fit on your shelves and contain lots of tchotchkes that you don’t really need or can possibly use, but for some reason must have. Suffice it to say, I am a full-fledged geek, and these are my Five Most Ridiculous DVD Packages.
1) Planet of the Apes: The Ultimate DVD Collection with Ape Head Packaging
That’s right: Ape Head Packaging. Apparently, owning all the Planet of the Apes movies and TV episodes was not enough. I simply had to have some ridiculous ape bust that stares at me menacingly from across the room. And now I have nightmares. Great. Just great.
2) The Greatest American Hero: Limited Collector’s Edition
Believe it or not, I’m walking on air… but damn if the air isn’t cluttered with junk, like an iron-on transfer, instruction manual replica, and a full-size cape. Why a cape? So I can run around my office like a complete superdork, naturally.
3) Evil Dead: Book of the Dead Limited Edition
It’s basically the same version of the film but released in packaging that resembles the actual Necronomicon. I thought it sounded rad, but discovered upon delivery that the cover is basically just mushy, brown, smelly, and pretty much worthless. So why exactly do I treasure it so?
4) Seinfeld: Seasons 5 & 6 Gift Set
The reproduction of the handwritten script by Jerry Seinfeld is cool enough, but what the hell am I supposed to do with the ”authentic puffy shirt collectible”? Except maybe fit it over the giant ape bust.
5) Showgirls: V.I.P. Limited Edition Box Set
The shot glasses? Kinda cool. The playing cards? Kinda random. The blindfold and pasties? Kinda creepy. I also have to question exactly how ”limited” this edition is, considering it came out almost three years ago and is still available.
Okay, let me get the sappy stuff out of the way. I received a ridiculous amount of really nice e-mails about the new back-page column, and they were most appreciated. I recognized a lot of the names (repeat offenders, I call them) sending in their good wishes, so thanks for that, and for sticking it out with me every week. A lot of comments about my New Year’s resolutions, as well as sides taken in the great Lost vs. Heroes debate, so let’s get to a few of them…
I can’t argue with your resolution to stop watching all shows with numbers in the title, but I noticed you left out 30 Rock. My guess is that you do still watch it and just thought we might not notice. Or does the resolution just apply to ”new” shows starting midseason or next fall? Either way, despite protests that it really has improved since the cringe-worthy pilot, I’d rather get my Alec Baldwin fix elsewhere and be spared Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch entirely. —Joslyn Hansen
Yes, Joslyn, not including 30 Rock in my list of painful numerically titled programs was a bit of a cop-out. My thoughts on the show are pretty much the same as when it debuted: I love it anytime Alec Baldwin is on the screen, like it when Tracy Morgan is on, and couldn’t care less about it when neither is anywhere to be found.
Thanks, Dalton. I was doing just fine with ”I Wear My Sunglasses at Night” looping incessantly through my head — now I’ve got the Martika song looping instead. Thanks. Just… thanks. :( —Iris Meredith
Sorry, Iris, but The Glutton is definitely a ”read at your own risk” column. But I feel your pain. In fact, EW’s Josh Wolk walked by my office this morning whistling The A-Team theme, and now I keep picturing him on the receiving end of a bloody beating courtesy of my Louisville Slugger. Seriously, have you heard The A-Team theme song? It’s positively deadly.
Singing ”Feliz Navidad” will rid you of any nagging song. It quickly infects the brain and destroys any remnants, be it Martika (that is lame, btw), ABBA, the Dollop of Dolley commercial, Paul McCartney, or an early Britney single. Whatev! But take care, sir! You must be very careful to ONLY do this out of season, where it will drift away harmlessly leaving you clean and free. Using ”Feliz Navidad” between sometime in November through December is a very dangerous (and dirty) mistake. But you should be safe by now, unless you’re some kind of Christmas freak. —Marshall
Define ”Christmas freak.”
Good list of acts who pretend to be from outer space, but how can you leave out the OG of musicians from another planet, ? of ? and the Mysterians? Not only is he a Martian, but voices from the future told him to put the band back together. —Paul Casey
Excellent call on ? and the Mysterians, Paul. I was lucky to see them around 1999 in Central Park opening up for Rocket From the Crypt. ? (and yes, that is his actual name; he had it legally changed) was a complete riot, although what else to expect from someone who claimed to have lived among the dinosaurs?
Lost may be confusing, but there’s more to it than just discovery. When it comes to character depth and situational drama, Heroes just can’t compete. —Michael Farah
Lost has always been great at that stuff, which is why I was so surprised to see Heroes actually do the more effective flashback episode this fall. Actually, the only confusion I had with Lost this fall is why they had gotten so far away from what made the show so addictive and entertaining in the first place.
Okay — Lost vs. Heroes: Loved Lost season 1, went ”WTF?” over season 2, and season 3… well, has it really even started yet? C’mon boys, let’s get on with it. Meantime, I’m lovin’ Heroes — let’s just hope they don’t fall into the same extended-forever plot as Lost. I just returned from 11 glorious days at Walt Disney World, and thought of you every single time I saw a princess (which was about every 20 seconds). —Kevin Burk
Kevin, I can only hope/guess that because of what has happened this fall that the producers of Lost are gonna give us some really meaty stuff to chew on this spring. And if they don’t? Well, we’ll just have to have Hiro teleport over and shake things up a bit! And as for the Disney thing, if you were assaulted every 20 seconds with princess crap, rest assured those intervals are 15 seconds longer than what I get at home now with Violet’s new dress-up trunk. I just have to keep repeating to myself: It’s just a phase… It’s just a phase… It’s just a phase…
Ready to cough up four grand? Have a ridiculously packaged DVD you would like to nominate? And Sammy Hagar: love him or loathe him? Send your questions, comments, and quibbles to email@example.com, or simply fill out the handy-dandy form below. See ya next week!