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Billy Masters
by Billy Masters
2016-01-27

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"First of all, Lily should have won. And I would love to go down on you."—Amy Schumer's perhaps drunken acceptance speech for Best Actress in a Comedy at the Critics' Choice Awards. Given the recent rumors about Amy, perhaps she stole this joke from Jane Wagner.

With discussions that diversity is missing from the current crop of Oscar nominees is widespread, a call for a boycott came from Jada Pinkett Smith. It's somewhat ironic that the call for recognition of the great work actors of color are doing came from someone who spent most of the past year promoting Magic Mike XXL! Doesn't that really get to the heart of the issue? It's an age-old battle of doing films that are "important" and receive critical acclaim vs. doing films that are going to make oodles of money. Do you think Kevin Hart is sad that he's not getting Oscar nominations? His latest work, Ride Along 2, just bumped Star Wars out of the number-one spot at the box office. Given the choice of accolades or cash, Hart went for the cash—he can buy his own damn statue.

When I openly wondered why Julianne Moore appeared in those god-awful Hunger Games movies, I was reminded that she has to do some blockbusters so that she can do good movies for zero dollars. It's all about the hard choices. On the flip side, Charlotte Rampling says that calls for a boycott are not only rubbish, but actually "racist to white people," adding, "One can never really know, but perhaps the Black actors did not deserve to make the final list." It's a good question, but one I ain't gonna bring up at the NAACP Image Awards!

Now I get to do something I always regret—mention Alexis Arquette. When the gender-neutral sibling of the award-winning Arquettes heard about Jada's call for an Oscar boycott, s/he took to Facebook: "When Jada comes out as gay and her beard husband admits his first marriage ended when she walked in on him butt-servicing his sugar daddy, Benny Medina ... then I will listen to them." Hey, I'm just the messenger.

Then there's Tyrese Gibson, who said that Chris Rock should protest the lack of diversity by refusing to host the Oscars. Yeah, that's what Chris Rock should do—take Academy Awards advice from someone who was in the Fast & Furious and Transformers franchises! Tyrese added that more people would take this seriously if the LGBTs were not being adequately represented: "If the host Chris Rock was a homosexual, he would have stepped down already." Really? Was there a plethora of gay nominees when Ellen DeGeneres hosted? Did I miss them?

On to far more important news—the Divine Miss M is headed back to Broadway. In a move that surprised no one, it was announced that Bette Midler would headline a revival of Hello, Dolly!" The idea actually goes back more than two decades. In 1993, Bette scored a major success with her made-for-TV version of Gypsy ( Bette-1, Babs-0 ). Immediately, studio execs asked her to follow it up with either Mame or Hello, Dolly. "What am I gonna do—remake every classic Broadway musical?," she was rumored to retort. As I previously told you, the idea of doing a musical onstage heated up when she returned to Broadway, playing superagent Sue Mengers. When she seriously considered doing "Dolly" and "Mame," she did her due diligence. She checked out YouTube clips online and went to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts to see whatever footage was available. She met with Jerry Herman. As she narrowed her focus on "Dolly," and she even reviewed the director's notes from the original production. That clinched it for her. Plus, there was the timing: This revival won't happen until 2017—50 years after her first Broadway appearance in Fiddler on the Roof. Although she will be 71 years old when the show opens, that will not make her the oldest Dolly—Carol Channing did the last Broadway revival when she was 74!

What I'm looking forward to even more is who will replace Bette when she ( inevitably ) leaves the show. When Channing left the original production, a veritable cavalcade of legendary ladies filled her shoes—ladies like Ginger Rogers, Martha Raye, Betty Grable, Phyllis Diller and, closing the show, Ethel Merman ( who turned down the opportunity to create the role ). Then, of course, there's Pearl Bailey, who starred in the all-Black version of the musical. I wouldn't be surprised if we get limited runs by Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Liza Minnelli and, eventually, Audra McDonald! What about an Asian or a Latina Dolly? Or what about Dolly Parton as Dolly? Oh, the possibilities are endless.

Here is what is destined to be my favorite headline of a review—ever: "'Dirty Grandpa' Review: The Worst Film Of Robert De Niro's Career ( Or Maybe Anybody's )." Come on—how could you not like that? The review ( featured on the website Deadline ), begins: "Make no mistake about it, Robert De Niro is a bona fide legend. But also make no mistake that his latest film, 'Dirty Grandpa', is not just the worst movie he has ever been in, but it may be the worst movie anyone has ever been in." Later in the review, it says: "People are already confusing it with Johnny Knoxville's 'Bad Grandpa', but that movie is '12 Years A Slave' compared to this." Well, that explains all of the semi-nude shots of Zac Efron that have "leaked" ( read: been leaked ) from the set—including a minor dick-slip. Anything to cover for the lack of a quality film. But for a film this bad, he really should have gone the full monty!

Could it be that a certain sizable son is inching out of that closet? How he found a closet big enough to fit into is beside the point. While he's been the messy one of the clan ( and that's saying something ), he's getting some help from an unlikely source. Seeing what someone close to him is doing has given this guy the impetus to be who he is. Sure, it's baby steps—being seen in public in his current physical state is a big enough deal. But making out with another guy is HUGE—and we don't mean huge like his self-proclaimed need for Magnums!

When you don't need to be a PI to guess this blind item, it's definitely time to end yet another column. Before we dash, we should remind you to check out www.BillyMasters.com, the site where we never scrimp on size. If you have a question, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before Jada stars in some regional production of Hello, Dolly! Until next time, remember: One man's filth is another man's bible.


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