The Chuck E. Cheese characters are obvious McDonald’s ripoffs

munchs make believe band chuck e cheese

I filed this under celebrities because when I was a kid, the Chuck E. Cheese’s characters were celebrities, dammit! They and their fantastic musical ensemble, Munch’s Make Believe Band, were the hottest thing to hit the kid circuit since Howdy Doody. But I always had a lingering sense that I’d seen those characters somewhere before. But where? Oh, that’s right, it was the other place I spent a lot of time when I was a kid, McDonald’s.

mcdonalds characters

In fact, looking at their cartoon pictures side by side, it’s pretty ridiculous.

jasper henny and mr munch

There’s the sexy female bird (Birdie the Early Bird/Helen Henny), the big purple dude (Grimace/Mr. Munch), the creepy lead character (a scary clown in one case, a giant rat in the other…P.S. a rat does not make a good food mascot), and, well, I guess that’s where the similarities end. As for the other characters, Chuck E. Cheese’s was smart enough not to have a character who’s a bloodthirsty criminal like the Hamburgler. And this is not to say that McDonald’s didn’t have their share of interesting characters. Mayor McCheese was badass, but those Fry Kids freaked me out. Chuck E. Cheese’s instead opted for characters like the delightful dog Jasper T. Jowls and my personal favorite, Pasqually Pieplate the Italian chef.

Pasqually

Okay, so Pasqually was a bit of a stereotype, but he follows in a long line of beloved chef characters like the one in Lady and the Tramp and the Simpsons guy.

And while looking up this story, I discovered that the lion-Elvis character The King was re-outfitted in the 80s to become a Thriller-suit-wearing, Michael Jackson-inspired mountain lion, Michael Katson. What I wouldn’t give for a picture of that!

Nowadays I hear (from Wikipedia) that the show has changed and it now has more of a late night talk show format. Apparently, now only Chuck is onstage and he talks to the other characters via a fake live TV satellite hookup. So basically it’s turned into Space Ghost. What of the Make Believe Band? And the wacky background musicians, like the moose and whatever? Wasn’t there an octopus at some point? And what of Mitzi Mozzarella, whaaat?? That scary female Chuck was too much for me. She was creepy as hell, with her rouge and cheerleader outfit. I guess that was during the Alvin and the Chipmunks days, when every character had to have their opposite sex counterpart. I couldn’t find a good picture of Mitzi, but this should give you a good idea of the creepiness level.

chuck_e_cheese

Damn, now I’m hungry for cheap pizza and have a strong urge to play skee-ball.

Update: My bad! Despite her overwhelming resemblance to Chuck E. Cheese, Mitzi Mozzarella was actually a character at Showbiz Pizza Place, and was a part of the gorilla-led mechanical band The Rock-afire Explosion. I had forgotten all about that place until I visited this very handy website.

Billy Mays found dead…is anyone questioning the ShamWow guy??

Billy Mays

Legendary TV pitchman and infomercial star Billy Mays has been found dead in his home. This is very sad news. I liked that guy, and he was just on a late night talk show the other night! In fact, during his TV appearance, he delivered a major diss to the ShamWow guy, Vince Shlomi. When the ShamWow was mentioned, Billy got all huffy and brought out his version of the ShamWow from years ago, that does the exact same thing and was even the same color. He basically implied that Vince ripped him off and was no friend of his.

Well there’s your motive right there! Plus, the reports have said that there was no evidence of a break-in or foul play found at the scene…but of course there wouldn’t be! Not if you had a ShamWow, which could soak up all kinds of evidence. Not to mention the fact that the house was probably filled with Oxi Clean.

Also, Vince has been arrested before. At least they wouldn’t have to take another mugshot, because this one is just so precious.

sham-Wow-Vince-Shlomi-mug-shot

I’ll bet if they check the security camera footage in Billy Mays’ house, they’re likely to find something like this (too soon?).

shamwow guy blood

Obama riding a tiger

I overheard some sort of TV news pundit (I think it was David Gregory) using the expression “Obama is riding a tiger,” meaning he’s in a precarious or risky situation. I’m not sure what the situation was that is so dangerous, but I’ll assume it has something to do with Iran. Regardless, I thought that was a hilarious image, so I made it. This is for you, dear readers!

obama on a tiger

Wendy Williams is returning at last!

Wendy Williams

I was a big fan of The Wendy Williams Show from the first time I laid eyes on its brilliance, but almost as soon as I discovered it, it mysteriously vanished from the airwaves. This was last year, and once I found out that it was simply on hiatus until summer 2009, I was both happy and sad. Sad because that seemed like forever, happy because at least Wendy and her wonderful wigs would be back.

Well time she flies, and now Wendy’s about to (finally) return to the air! For the uninitiated, her talk show is sort of like The Tyra Banks Show meets Ru Paul, although despite some rumors to the contrary, Wendy is most certainly a bio-female. And she isn’t afraid to talk shit, so prepare for more catty comments about Tyra and whoever else gets on her bad side. I can’t wait.

Our 10 Favorite Funny Ladies

Despite what narrow-minded fools (like Christopher Hitchens in his infamous Vanity Fair piece) have said, women are damn funny. From barrier breakers like Carol Burnett and Lily Tomlin to more modern trail blazers like Roseanne Barr and Carol Leifer, women have been making strides in the humor world for a long time now. These are just ten of our favorite women in comedy at this moment.

1. Tina Fey – When she was head writer and a cast member on SNL, we didn’t really appreciate what Tina had to offer. But then she wrote Mean Girls, and we liked her a little more, and then came 30 Rock, and we were certified Fey fans. Plus, she might have actually had a hand in Obama’s win, which is kind of surreal.

Tina Fey accordion

2. Amy Sedaris – She’s still the reigning queen of comedy in our hearts, though she hasn’t been getting especially awesome roles lately. Her “hence the gin” turn in Sex and the City was inspired though brief, and she’s improved otherwise so-so comedies like Elf and Maid in Manhattan over the years, and of course her hospitality book belongs on every bookshelf, but she’ll always be Jerri Blank to us.

amy sedaris 2

3. Jennifer Saunders – Thank god the TV bigwigs axed their plan for a horrendous American version of Absolutely Fabulous, because fans like us would probably have to watch it, and then we’d be driven to suicide and/or eye gouging. Nobody can replace Edina and Patsy.

edina ab fab

4. Chelsea Handler – Anyone whose book title includes vodka, and who manages to stay on the bestseller list for approximately 42 weeks (and counting), is OK by us. And her talk show deserves to be on network TV.

chelseahandler

5. Wanda Sykes – We don’t know what that skunk picture’s all about, but she’s one of the funniest women in the business, period. Plus, she and her wife just had twin babies…congrats Wanda!

Wanda Sykes

6. Mindy Kaling – Aside from doing a great job as the bubbly Kelly Kapoor on the American Office, Mindy is also a writer and producer on the show. She wrote some of the most classic episodes, like “The Dundies,” “Take Your Daughter to Work Day,” and “Frame Toby.”

Mindy Kaling

7. Laura Kightlinger – If you haven’t watched her show, The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman (on IFC), check it out, if only because Laura’s character Jackie and her wacky blonde sidekick are like mirror images of Liz and Laura. And not just because they’re lushes!

Laura Kightlinger

8. Margaret Cho – Aside from “Prop 8: The Musical,” we haven’t seen much of her lately. Maybe she’s doing shows on cable that we’re not aware of? She still rules, though.

margaret cho clockwork orange

9. Joan Rivers – She’s a comedy legend, a stalwart LGBT rights activist, and now she’s even The Apprentice. And nobody can top her acerbic, Borscht Belt-style wit.

joan rivers

10. Amy Poehler – We haven’t really seen enough of her new show, Parks and Recreation, to render an opinion. But the work she did with Upright Citizens Brigade and SNL is enough to secure her a spot on this lofty list.

amy_poehler

Sean Gunn in the new KGB commercials

Sean Gunn-1

I like the fact that Sean Gunn, brother of Troma alum and director extraordinaire James Gunn (and onetime brother-in-law of The Office‘s Jenna Fischer), is in the new KGB information service commercials. He was cool in Gilmore Girls and I met him once, so that must be worth something.

Here’s one of the ads now…