If there’s one thing the entertainment industry has shown me, it’s that any ethical problem can be resolved by the question: “Did the audience react well or not?”
With that in mind, and with an eye to cornering a lucrative market here at America’s sweetheart, Paste Magazine, I decided it was way past time to check in with some of our more controversial A-listers who’ve fallen from grace. Is there any chance they’ll come back to the darling light of Good Lady Notoriety? Hey, in this workaday world of melting ice-caps and PewDiePie’s still-intact face, anything’s possible! Let’s see who’s up and who’s down.
UP OR DOWN: Meryl Streep
This self-appointed acting queen is just distracting (-ly) mean—to our President, of all patriots! When she won the thing for the whatever she did and proceeded to put an actual curse on the God-fearing Americans who voted for the only man who cares about fixing our special, holy, utterly destroyed and empty hellhole of a country, this Sophie left us with only one Choice: watching literally anything else. More like Blame Her vs. Blame Her, Meryl! Mamma Mia might be singing “here we go again,” but the only place THIS mamma is going is straight down.
UP OR DOWN: Sean Spicer
Up, baby! Is that comeback I smell? Because the scent of desperation isn’t just for Vegas murder-suicides—it can also happen to former government charlatans, too. Here’s one crowd he won’t be lying about—the Emmy crowd! Brother, they were better than delighted—they were shocked! Spicer, or, to use his full name, The Devil’s Greatest Work, has been top of pops in the big wheelhouse of showbiz. Cha-ching! Everything’s coming up Sean! Here’s one factoid he can’t deny—his Q-rating is through the roof!
UP OR DOWN: Kathy Griffin
Shameful. Just shameful. What was she thinking? A riverful of drowned spiders have more eyes on the prize than she does. After slandering the President who hired chartered liars (like newly-minted heart-throb Sean Spicer) she should consider her time in the business finished. Some things you don’t come back from. Down. Down forever.
Verdict: DOWN. DOWN FOREVER.
UP OR DOWN: Mel Gibson
Like some vague famous historical figure whose name escapes my mind, Gibson has resurrected himself. Gibson’s movie The Professor and the Madman is currently in the news! It’s a movie about a crazed man who helps an English professor learn what words mean! Hey, if that’s blasphemy, tell it to the box office! Mel might be back. Za-zing!
UP OR DOWN: Probable war criminal and former Deputy Sec. of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
Laying low since chaperoning the war that probably killed about a million people and cost one trillion dollars, Paul “Life-Star” Wolfowitz is nobody’s fool—and that includes comedy’s! Although the wizard of wounding veterans helped organize a war without end, one thing that definitely hasn’t ended is his career! You and I might think his aging flesh belongs in jail, but he’s still at it! Well, as you might imagine, that caused quite a ruckus in the ol’ Beltway. People are still talking about it. A noted grey eminence who God for some baffling reason hasn’t thrown into hell, the Wolf of Laugh Street has no plans for touring any time soon—but take it from us here at Paste’s laugh factory: never count this old funnyman out from your calculations, whether you’re planning huge collateral damages, or a laff riot. His career stock is definitely up!
UP OR DOWN: General Francisco Franco, one-time Fascist General of Spain
Dead? Sure. Loving it? Maybe. Still part of the game? Hey, tiger, don’t hate the player—and he’s definitely one of those. Did you think H’wood Heartthrob James Franco wasn’t paying tribute to this all-time war criminal? Brother, do you even want to ask? As I type, the former Dictator Franco’s body is now moldering in an unspeakable crypt somewhere, probably in Spain, but don’t think for a second this major player’s out of the game! Career: Probably up!
Verdict: PROBABLY UP!
Folks, redemption’s a tricky turnabout. That’s why they call it “branding”—it’s a painful wound that marks you forever.
Those of us who write about the silver screen know it’s a crazy, whirling festival of possibility. Like fashion or the zombie grave, one day you’re in, the next you’re out. Ah, but what is life but a roulette wheel on a convertible headed off the Golden Gate Bridge into a gasoline-fire ocean? Get the picture?
Hey, I never said it would be easy, true believers. If my eighty-plus years of biopsy-ing this wonderful industry have taught me anything, it’s that rehabilitating pure, uncut monsters is both good and cool. Satire genius Colbert has done us a royal service by reminding us of that, by displaying Spicer at the Emmys. How wonderfully brave of Stephen to rehabilitate a man who lied to our face and said Hitler didn’t gas his own people. Top notch satire, buddy.
Why, if the brain-trust behind Fallon are smart at all, they will snap up each of the great “gets” I have listed above. If we’re lucky, Jimmy can fondle their hair as they call him pet names. Even the dead applaud this leap in the moral sciences. To those young people reading this, some advice. Remember the two oldest adages about Hollywood: “Nobody knows anything,” and an even truer classic “Hollywood Has No Fucking Shame.” Until next time, keep your eyes on the stars, and your spine in a briefcase. It’ll do you no good in Los Angeles.
Jason Rhode is a staff writer for Paste with decades of experience ranking the stars every single week. He’s on Twitter @iamthemaster.