Guys That Make you Go, “Hamuna, hamuna, hamuna...”

When you hear the word sexy, what comes to mind? With me, I’d like to say myself but I know I’m just inviting attempts to my life, so I’ll change my mind and say, “Anything oozing with talent.” Again, synonymous to me, but let’s not anger our public. All 3 of them.

In honor of that definition and the fact that Alice in Wonderland opens next month (i.e. the time I become barely literate with too much happiness), I would like to present you with my list of the sexiest men the heavens have been kind to grace us. Let me first take a moment to physically stopper my drool, and then let’s begin.

# 5. Johnny Depp. What?! Number 5! Are you crazy?! How dare you?!
Woah. Calm down. Repeat after me: “It’s not the end of the world.” You know how many guys I had on the list when I started? 78. And I had to narrow it to 5. It physically hurt cutting off hot guy after hot guy just so I don’t have to write a 10-page blog post. Bear with me.

Anyway, back to dear old Johnny. I really don’t need to define why the guy’s sexy, do I? He’s an amazing actor, he makes characters that would have been bland and creepy (read: Willy Wonka) exude so much sex appeal, your friends sometimes need to restrain you from launching yourself to the theater’s screen. He has a private life he keeps private (yes, we’re looking at you, Spencer Pratt), he wears a hat without looking like an idiot, and he was once a rock star.

*stops and wipes drool from face*

#4. Alan Rickman. He makes greasy-haired, sneaky Death Eater Severus Snape look so hot. Seriously. Have any of you who’ve read any Harry Potter book thought it possible that Severus can be portrayed in such a way that you would want to take your clothes off during a Potions class? Of course, he’d give you detention, but it’d be so worth it.


I’d follow that billowing black robe anywhere.

#3. Slash aka Saul Hudson. I feel guilty about placing my former future husband in third place, but I had to give up. Perla (the wife) doesn’t seem all that inclined to leave the sexiest artist that has ever touched a guitar, and it’s been 17 years since I promised eternal love to then Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist.

I might have given up on the future wife part, but Slash, dear I’ll never stop loving every inch of your disheveled, abundant, and suspiciously full of tiny woodland creatures hair. You got me through some pretty difficult times. Remember when I had this neighbor who was pissing me off with the stench of his overflowing garbage? All I had to do was play Appetite for Destruction in maximum volume and he was more than willing to clean up.


Good times, good times. 

Take a listen at his Godfather guitar solo, and I dare ya to stop yourself from taking your clothes off.

#2. Simon Pegg. Boys, know this. If you’re not good-looking, be English. If you’re not English, play the guitar and be a rock star. If you can’t be a rock star, be a comedian. Funny guys will never go out of style.

Now, if you’re a hot English rock star who’s also funny, then you’re the man of my dreams. Call me.

Simon Pegg is one of the funniest writers, ever. There’s just something about British humor that grabs the attention. The fact that he’s also a faithful friend is a huge turn-on.

It’s frustrating ‘cause I can never articulate exactly why Mr. Pegg can top Johnny Depp on a ‘hot’ list, but I strongly suggest you watch Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, and note – while you’re laughing your behind off – that he co-wrote both flicks.

And, the # 1, of course, is…

Ray Davies. Most people would prefer John Lennon, and I have nothing against John, in fact I absolutely support the research on inventing time machines just so I can properly stalk him, but when it comes to English story-tellers who became famous before I was even thought of, the answer will always be The Kinks’ Ray Davies.

Watch any one of his videos – or  their videos, but let's not be technical – and you’ll find that there’s nothing as sexy as a guy who can tell a story in a short tune and play it with as much enjoyment as my dearly beloved Mr. Davies. Listen to Lola, Waterloo Sunset, Sunny Afternoon, The Village Green Preservation Society and join me in wonder why they don’t make artists like that anymore.

So, there. Five out of 78, and I’m still sane enough to finish it. If you disagree with any entry on this list, it is suggested that you make your own. Cheerio!

What To Do When You’re Single on Valentine’s Day aka the Guide to Surviving Torture

Let’s start with the basics before we begin.

Are you single?

If you’re in a relationship and having a grand time with the man/woman/creature of your dreams, then you need to click that little X at the top right of your screen cause you’re just making us feel bad. Go on. Leave.



Has the uninvited happily un-singles gone yet? Good.

Now that all of us are in the same page, let’s begin.

It’s Valentine’s Day on Sunday, and you have no date, no plans, no significant other, and at the point of desperation. Your friends are all taken and have already texted, tweeted, and posted Facebook statuses about their grand Valentine’s Day date plans and how they’re so happy with so-and-so and how lucky they are that so-and-so is awesome and isn’t so-and-so sweet sending this-and-that days before V-Day and would you like me to set you up with another so-and-so that has a job, promise, but just a little bit short on cash, and would appreciate if you paid for the movie, he’ll be sure to pick up the tab next time.

*takes out humungous fan and starts fanning herself*

You now wonder whether you can handle another day of this horrible holiday. With these tips, I believe you can!

Be rude. You don’t’ have to fake happiness just because you have friends that can’t stop giggling on Valentine’s. When you meet couples holding hands, or giving each other presents, or just making you feel like crap, scream. Throw stuff. Go crazy. Now, not only your day is ruined, but theirs as well.

Don’t leave the house. It’s a Sunday, so you don’t really need to. Lock the door, drink a little (by a little I mean a lot), and pass out. By the time you wake up, it’ll all be over.

Throw a party. For all your single friends. If you have no single friends, then… Wow… That’s just sad. You have no single friends? What’s wrong with you? Oh, I mean, how dare they! If you have no one to invite to your party, skip this tip, and back away from the edge of the roof.

Ruin your friends’ Valentine’s dates. Call them up saying you have an emergency, and that you need their advice. Cry and moan when they arrive, and beg them to stay. If you have no real problem except envy of their happy relationships, then make something up. Say you met a guy you really like, but he told you he actually liked your friend. Tell them it has happened so many times, you’ve lost hope. Be as pathetic as possible. If you’re really considering this advice, then you’ll have no problem with the pathetic part.

Embrace the depression. Yes. Embrace. Rent the most romantic movies you can possibly find, buy all things delicious; when you get home, wear your most comfy outfit – which for some means nothing – then get into the spirit of depression and cry your eyes out while stuffing your face with your favorite grub. Repeat if necessary.

See? There are ways you can feel less like dog poo. Pick one of these winning tips, and you’ll have a better time being single on Valentine’s Day this year that you have ever had before.

And completely for the sake of innocent research, what do you think is the most romantic movie?

Ugly Betty Ripped My Heart Out and Tore It to Pieces

Let me rephrase that. ABC ripped my heart out and tore it to pieces. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then maybe you should sit down first.



*takes deep breath and tousles bangs*

Ugly Betty is cancelled. /omg

Yup, this 4th season is its last and it’s all I can do from running around naked while bawling my eyes out.

But I’m not gonna do that for two reasons. First, nobody need see me naked; fabulous as I am, I don’t think we’re that close. Second, running takes my breath away. Literally.

So what I’m gonna do is get help. No, I’m not being overly dramatic. Crying at reunions is overly dramatic. Sharon Cuneta is overly dramatic. Biting your friend’s head off because she accidentally deleted all your files from your computer while trying to save a video she created of herself and Johnny Depp in a movie together *sobs* is overly dramatic. But losing Ugly Betty and trying to deal with it by getting professional (by that I mean, Internet chatroom) help is not overly dramatic. In fact, it makes so much sense I’m wondering why I never thought of it before.

According to my research, there are 5 stages of grief. They say if you get stuck in one then you won’t be able to heal, which sucks, since I need to heal first in order to lose weight. Grief makes me hungry. So I would need to get over each one in order to really be at peace with Ugly Betty leaving.

Stage 1: Denial. /no Yup. I went through this. I was like, “Nah. They can’t get Ugly Betty off the air. Two and a Half Men is still on and Lord knows somebody needs to do something about that.” I kept on telling myself that ABC was just joking; that they were spicing things up a bit by acting like they were gonna take the show away. Sorta like when you don’t show up at a date or when you mercilessly ridicule a guy just because you like him so much and the best way to keep his attention is making him feel like crap. You’ve never done that before? Me, neither. *looks away*

Anyway, I had to face the fact that this flirting with cancellation might just be real. They might actually axe the best thing currently on TV, and looking back at all those kick-ass hilarious shows that got cancelled (The Class, Popular, Arrested Development), coupled with the announcement from ABC, I finally, but not painlessly, believed it. Not accepted it – not yet – but believed it.

Stage 2: Anger. /shock And, ooooh, lots of it. I’m so angry right now I breathe steam. Well, partly because I managed to forget my coffee was smoking hot and just slurped it, but the biggest reason for the steam is anger. Stupid, inadequate, tasteless network, doesn’t know what show rocks and what show should get sacked *coughs* Private Practice *coughs*. When I get my hands on who’s responsible for this, I’m gonna tear one more hole. Never mind where.

*shakes fist at heavens*

Curse you, ABC!!!

Stage 3: Bargaining. /please Yes, please, why not. I’ll trade all my future servings of Jollibee Burger Steak (best thing to come out of a fast-food restaurant), and my F4 card collection. What? You don’t know F4? Me, either...:D

Anway, point is I’ll trade an awful lot of valued stuff just to continue getting a dose of this addictive show.

Stage 4 – *takes a deep breath* – Stage 4: Depression. Why do you think I’ve gained weight? I was depressed, that’s why!

I know I started gaining the pounds months before there was even a hint of a cancellation, but that’s just my body giving me clues. Now, that I’ve found out my body was right, I’ve gone through buckets of fried chicken butts, and plate after plate of tilapia with coconut milk. I have no control, I feel inadequate, and my self confidence has suffered a great deal. I haven’t exfoliated in weeks, for Pete’s sake!

And, of course, the last step.

Stage 5: Acceptance. Not as easy as it looked online; this step took so much from me. I had to stop munching on my KFC french fries for a bit. I had to tell myself, “This is not the end of the world. Other shows will come out. They won’t likely be as awesome as Ugly Betty, but they will drain your brain of its surviving neurons nonetheless. Stop overacting, and go to the gym.”  And it dawned on me, I can buy the whole set of Ugly Betty from the DVD store near SM Delgado now. The whole set. And I wouldn’t be able to do that if it hadn’t been cancelled. So there’s always a silver lining after all.

In closing, though, I would like to raise a glass to the people I would miss the most.

To Betty, without you there will be no show. Not because you bring the most to the story, but just for the sheer fact that your name is in the title. I will miss your fashion faux pas (what’s plural?) and your dedication to ignoring all common rules against ponchos.

To Wilhemina, the real bride of Chuckie. You are like a perfect pair of stilettos. Ridiculously expensive, incredibly painful, but undoubtedly gorgeous. Thanks for being the best villain on TV. Ever.

And to the most important reasons I watch the show, my dearly beloveds, Amanda and Marc, you complete me. Well, not really, since neither of you I can drag to the altar and marry, but you bring joy and important fashion tidbits to my boring existence. You bring pride to superficiality and have proven that friendships can be founded on the common need to ridicule.

I will always love you.

*opens compact and checks for mascara streaks*


Goodbye, Ugly Betty. I will wait with bated breath and 3 orders of baby back ribs for your last episode.

P.S. To Gio, marry me. :x

Yes, I Read a Nicholas Sparks Book, and Didn’t Hate It.

For those of you who have already started sharpening their pitchforks and lighting their torches, I would like to say, "How very old school of you…"

Besides, it isn't as bad as it sounds. It was decently written and it wasn't as cheesy as I originally thought. My friend, Ang Palaging Nagdadalaga, might think I'm crossing over to the dark side (she threw The Notebook halfway through reading it), but I have a very good reason for reading the book. Honest, I do.

Besides the fact that it might be the first topic for a book club I'm about to join, its movie version is coming out very soon. The movie stars Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried and anybody who has seen Channing Tatum, or even just a shadow of Channing Tatum, or even just a hint of the abs of Channing Tatum, knows that you don't miss a movie he's in. You just don't. It's physically painful to even think about not seeing those gorgeous lips and broad shoulders, and the sexiest eyes you can ever hope for, and if you're a girl or my friend Tiyo Roman, you know what I mean.

So, I decided to give the book a try. I mean, it couldn't be worse than some of the books I've read. I've read pieces of literature that spit at the word literature. I've read Twilight, for Pete's sake. So, I borrowed a copy from a friend at work, and dove headlong into it. 

It was nice. I'm not saying bad. I'm not saying awesome. It was nice. And I know, that coupled with the previous comment about Twilight and this opinion, I'm incurring the wrath of a lot of people out there, but I've to be honest. Let me explain. 

Dear John tells a story of a 23-year-old ex-rebel who fell in love with a too-good-to-be-true girl 2 years younger than him. He was on a two-week leave from the military and she's doing goody-two-shoes stuff for Habitat for Humanity. We all know from the trailer and book jackets that they fell in love, and had this pact about the full moon, and she showed him a way to love his father, and he showed her that he's not that scary even with the tattoos. It was a run-of-the-mill love story. Seriously. I know a lot of people who've read it are thinking, "But there's more to it than that." Maybe. But with my limited emotional range, I might have missed it. 

First off, the very first chapter already tells you they won't end up with each other. That's not a bad thing, but it makes you guarded, still. Then the girl is so righteous. I know she's supposed to be nice and kind and one of those little rays of sunshine, but I hate people that are categorized as little rays of sunshine. She thinks she's better than other people. She doesn't have an edge. I'm not into characters that don't have an edge. So now you're thinking, "Bella has an edge."

Nope. Bella doesn't have an edge. Bella has daddy issues. Nothing wrong with having daddy issues, because Angelina Jolie turned out fine, but Bella is also extremely whiny. And overacts. When a guy leaves you and you go catatonic, then maybe he made the right decision.

Anyway, Dear John's heroine isn't a weakling, like Bella, but she doesn't give much to the story. The reason for their not being together is also so stupid that they deserve to not be together. Besides, he'll find another girl. Don't think the separation is a tragedy. He's only 29, people! Seriously.

Now before you go thinking I'm starting to sound like I hate the book, let me tell you why it's worth reading.

The main male character's relationship with his father is something that can touch anybody who has had problems with their fathers. It's touching and truthful and so damn sad. The description of North Carolina brings to mind lazy sunny afternoons and childhood memories. Not that I have ever been there, but … you get what I mean.

Don't take my word for it, though. Find a friend who has a copy and spend a couple hours with it. With the book, I mean. Not the friend. Or both, if you want. 

Anyway, give it a try. You never know, you might even think I'm an idiot. I'm sure you already think that, but let's find another reason.

A Pile Of Crap and Then Some

Mc G should be shot. Not the least because he still thinks a grown man can pull off a half-ass name like his without looking like one, but the worst transgression that makes shooting him such a good idea is the fact that he was able to make a major motion picture with undeniably gifted actors and a ridiculously huge budget that could have been spent on better things – like a sequel to Borat – but still make people who watched it want to kill themselves.

*deep breath*

Let's backtrack. Weekend ritual of movie marathon found me renting Terminator Salvation last Saturday. Luckily, I also rented Year One because 5 minutes into watching Terminator Salvation, I was ready to hurl myself in front of a moving vehicle. Year One saved me from doing it. A laugh out loud movie that delivered what it promised, which is pure, dirty, unapologetic fun.

Terminator Salvation, meanwhile, was such a pretentious piece of crap that was made under the assumption that all moviegoers are stupid. Observe and Report was also done under the same assumption. The difference is the latter wasn't pretending it was anything but a pile of smelly poo.


Are you kidding me? There wasn't a plot. Unless you count screenplay that can be written by my 16-year-old cousin a plot. But for the sake of those fortunate enough to have missed the movie, the basic plot *pukes* is: Christian Bale plays a guy who likes to shout and think intense overacting coupled with cheesy lines pass off as real acting. He's a good actor, Bale. Maybe the nonstop screaming he did both in the movie and while shooting the movie was only his way of getting rid of his frustration for being stupid enough to say yes to a project that is not only soulless, but will make Terminator 3 look like a masterpiece.

Sam Worthington plays a cyborg who thinks he's human. Sam is cool, so I'm gonna choose not to bash him. Besides, anybody who can make being a 10-foot N'avi look really hot should be allowed a couple of stupid choices. Just as long as he doesn't do it again. Stay away from McG, Worhington! I beg you.

The fact that Helena Bonham Carter and Bryce Dallas Howard, two beautiful and talented women, are in the movie doesn't make any sense at all. They could have been replaced with CGI and nobody would have noticed. That's what pisses me off more. Why would you even make an effort to cook a very potent potion and plan a hypnosis session just so you can make these two fabulous women say yes to an abominable excuse for an action flick when you won't even use them for more than 2 minutes and will only give them three lines of dialogue? I could say that's just stupid, but I'm sure you're already thinking that.

Now you're saying, there should be something about the movie that made watching it worth your while. Well, let me tell you two things. One, you're a pathetic optimist. And two, if you think watching a naked, ripped version of Arnold Schwarzenegger beat the hell out of Christian Bale is something that will make me feel better, then you're right. Damn, I enjoyed that part. And that in itself is sad. A movie where the best part is Arnold Schwarzenegger begs the question, "What the (censored) is wrong with the director?"

Terminator Salvation would have been a perfectly ok mediocre film if only it didn't take itself too effin seriously. The lines that were supposed to come off as heroic and inspirational were just too cheesy to be excused.

When John Connor said, “If we stay the course, we are dead! WE ARE ALL DEAD!” I thought that would've been more merciful. If a real takeover of robots were to happen and the only way we can survive is by spewing out godawful lines like the ones in the movie, I'd rather WE ARE ALL DEAD.

Team Coco!

With the media attention now focused on the abomination that is NBS's execs and their decision to treat Conan O'Brien like crap just because their little pet, Jay Leno, is screwing himself over because people now realize he isn't actually that funny, I wanna devote this post to my dearly beloved Conan.

Also, because my new post is still in the works. Just want it to be perfect. But of course you know that when it comes out it'll be like something I wrote for fifteen minutes with a dictionary consisting 17 words. Max.

Anyway, here's one of the most awesome moments in Coco's history, and the best commencement speech. Maybe ever. Enjoy. And LOL.

I’d like to thank the Class Marshals for inviting me here today. The last time I was invited to Harvard it cost me $110,000, so you’ll forgive me if I’m a bit suspicious. I’d like to announce up front that I have one goal this afternoon: to be half as funny as tomorrow’s Commencement Speaker, Moral Philosopher and Economist, Amartya Sen. Must get more laughs than seminal wage/price theoretician.

Students of the Harvard Class of 2000, fifteen years ago I sat where you sit now and I thought exactly what you are now thinking: What’s going to happen to me? Will I find my place in the world? Am I really graduating a virgin? I still have 24 hours and my roommate’s Mom is hot. I swear she was checking me out. Being here today is very special for me. I miss this place. I especially miss Harvard Square – it’s so unique. No where else in the world will you find a man with a turban wearing a Red Sox jacket and working in a lesbian bookstore. Hey, I’m just glad my dad’s working.

It’s particularly sweet for me to be here today because when I graduated, I wanted very badly to be a Class Day Speaker. Unfortunately, my speech was rejected. So, if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to read a portion of that speech from fifteen years ago: “Fellow students, as we sit here today listening to that classic Ah-ha tune which will definitely stand the test of time, I would like to make several predictions about what the future will hold: “I believe that one day a simple Governor from a small Southern state will rise to the highest office in the land. He will lack political skill, but will lead on the sheer strength of his moral authority.” “I believe that Justice will prevail and, one day, the Berlin Wall will crumble, uniting East and West Berlin forever under Communist rule.” “I believe that one day, a high speed network of interconnected computers will spring up world-wide, so enriching people that they will lose their interest in idle chit chat and pornography.” “And finally, I believe that one day I will have a television show on a major network, seen by millions of people a night, which I will use to re-enact crimes and help catch at-large criminals.” And then there’s some stuff about the death of Wall Street which I don’t think we need to get into….

The point is that, although you see me as a celebrity, a member of the cultural elite, a kind of demigod, I was actually a student here once much like you. I came here in the fall of 1981 and lived in Holworthy. I was, without exaggeration, the ugliest picture in the Freshman Face book. When Harvard asked me for a picture the previous summer, I thought it was just for their records, so I literally jogged in the August heat to a passport photo office and sat for a morgue photo. To make matters worse, when the Face Book came out they put my picture next to Catherine Oxenberg, a stunning blonde actress who was accepted to the class of ‘85 but decided to defer admission so she could join the cast of “Dynasty.” My photo would have looked bad on any page, but next to Catherine Oxenberg, I looked like a mackerel that had been in a car accident. You see, in those days I was six feet four inches tall and I weighed 150 pounds. Recently, I had some structural engineers run those numbers into a computer model and, according to the computer, I collapsed in 1987, killing hundreds in Taiwan.

After freshman year I moved to Mather House. Mather House, incidentally, was designed by the same firm that built Hitler’s bunker. In fact, if Hitler had conducted the war from Mather House, he’d have shot himself a year earlier. 1985 seems like a long time ago now. When I had my Class Day, you students would have been seven years old. Seven years old. Do you know what that means? Back then I could have beaten any of you in a fight. And I mean bad. It would be no contest. If any one here has a time machine, seriously, let’s get it on, I will whip your seven year old butt. When I was here, they sold diapers at the Coop that said “Harvard Class of 2000.” At the time, it was kind of a joke, but now I realize you wore those diapers. How embarrassing for you. A lot has happened in fifteen years. When you think about it, we come from completely different worlds. When I graduated, we watched movies starring Tom Cruise and listened to music by Madonna. I come from a time when we huddled around our TV sets and watched “The Cosby Show” on NBC, never imagining that there would one day be a show called “Cosby” on CBS. In 1985 we drove cars with driver’s side airbags, but if you told us that one day there’d be passenger side airbags, we’d have burned you for witchcraft.But of course, I think there is some common ground between us. I remember well the great uncertainty of this day. Many of you are justifiably nervous about leaving the safe, comfortable world of Harvard Yard and hurling yourself headlong into the cold, harsh world of Harvard Grad School, a plum job at your father’s firm, or a year abroad with a gold Amex card and then a plum job in your father’s firm. But let me assure you that the knowledge you’ve gained here at Harvard is a precious gift that will never leave you. Take it from me, your education is yours to keep forever. Why, many of you have read the Merchant of Florence, and that will inspire you when you travel to the island of Spain. Your knowledge of that problem they had with those people in Russia, or that guy in South America-you know, that guy-will enrich you for the rest of your life.

There is also sadness today, a feeling of loss that you’re leaving Harvard forever. Well, let me assure you that you never really leave Harvard. The Harvard Fundraising Committee will be on your ass until the day you die. Right now, a member of the Alumni Association is at the Mt. Auburn Cemetery shaking down the corpse of Henry Adams. They heard he had a brass toe ring and they aims to get it. Imagine: These people just raised 2.5 billion dollars and they only got through the B’s in the alumni directory. Here’s how it works. Your phone rings, usually after a big meal when you’re tired and most vulnerable. A voice asks you for money. Knowing they just raised 2.5 billion dollars you ask, “What do you need it for?” Then there’s a long pause and the voice on the other end of the line says, “We don’t need it, we just want it.” It’s chilling.What else can you expect? Let me see, by your applause, who here wrote a thesis. (APPLAUSE) A lot of hard work, a lot of your blood went into that thesis… and no one is ever going to care. I wrote a thesis: Literary Progeria in the works of Flannery O’Connor and William Faulkner. Let’s just say that, during my discussions with Pauly Shore, it doesn’t come up much. For three years after graduation I kept my thesis in the glove compartment of my car so I could show it to a policeman in case I was pulled over. (ACT OUT) License, registration, cultural exploration of the Man Child in the Sound and the Fury…So what can you expect out there in the real world? Let me tell you. As you leave these gates and re-enter society, one thing is certain: Everyone out there is going to hate you. Never tell anyone in a roadside diner that you went to Harvard. In most situations the correct response to where did you to school is, “School? Why, I never had much in the way of book larnin’ and such.” Then, get in your BMW and get the hell out of there.

You see, you’re in for a lifetime of “And you went to Harvard?” Accidentally give the wrong amount of change in a transaction and it’s, “And you went to Harvard?” Ask the guy at the hardware store how these jumper cables work and hear, “And you went to Harvard?” Forget just once that your underwear goes inside your pants and it’s “and you went to Harvard.” Get your head stuck in your niece’s dollhouse because you wanted to see what it was like to be a giant and it’s “Uncle Conan, you went to Harvard!?”

But to really know what’s in store for you after Harvard, I have to tell you what happened to me after graduation. I’m going to tell you my story because, first of all, my perspective may give many of you hope, and, secondly, it’s an amazing rush to stand in front of six thousand people and talk about yourself.

After graduating in May, I moved to Los Angeles and got a three week contract at a small cable show. I got a $380 a month apartment and bought a 1977 Isuzu Opel, a car Isuzu only manufactured for a year because they found out that, technically, it’s not a car. Here’s a quick tip, graduates: no four cylinder vehicle should have a racing stripe. I worked at that show for over a year, feeling pretty good about myself, when one day they told me they were letting me go. I was fired and, I hadn’t saved a lot of money. I tried to get another job in television but I couldn’t find one.So, with nowhere else to turn, I went to a temp agency and filled out a questionnaire. I made damn sure they knew I had been to Harvard and that I expected the very best treatment. And so, the next day, I was sent to the Santa Monica branch of Wilson’s House of Suede and Leather. When you have a Harvard degree and you’re working at Wilson’s House of Suede and Leather, you are haunted by the ghostly images of your classmates who chose Graduate School. You see their faces everywhere: in coffee cups, in fish tanks, and they’re always laughing at you as you stack suede shirts no man, in good conscience, would ever wear. I tried a lot of things during this period: acting in corporate infomercials, serving drinks in a non-equity theatre, I even took a job entertaining at a seven year olds’ birthday party. In desperate need of work, I put together some sketches and scored a job at the fledgling Fox Network as a writer and performer for a new show called “The Wilton North Report.” I was finally on a network and really excited. The producer told me the show was going to revolutionize television. And, in a way, it did. The show was so hated and did so badly that when, four weeks later, news of its cancellation was announced to the Fox affiliates, they burst into applause.Eventually, though, I got a huge break. I had submitted, along with my writing partner, a batch of sketches to Saturday Night Live and, after a year and a half, they read it and gave us a two week tryout. The two weeks turned into two seasons and I felt successful. Successful enough to write a TV pilot for an original sitcom and, when the network decided to make it, I left Saturday Night Live. This TV show was going to be groundbreaking. It was going to resurrect the career of TV’s Batman, Adam West. It was going to be a comedy without a laugh track or a studio audience. It was going to change all the rules. And here’s what happened: When the pilot aired it was the second lowest-rated television show of all time. It’s tied with a test pattern they show in Nova Scotia.

So, I was 28 and, once again, I had no job. I had good writing credits in New York, but I was filled with disappointment and didn’t know what to do next. I started smelling suede on my fingertips. And that’s when The Simpsons saved me. I got a job there and started writing episodes about Springfield getting a Monorail and Homer going to College. I was finally putting my Harvard education to good use, writing dialogue for a man who’s so stupid that in one episode he forgot to make his own heart beat. Life was good.And then, an insane, inexplicable opportunity came my way . A chance to audition for host of the new Late Night Show. I took the opportunity seriously but, at the same time, I had the relaxed confidence of someone who knew he had no real shot. I couldn’t fear losing a great job I had never had. And, I think that attitude made the difference. I’ll never forget being in the Simpson’s recording basement that morning when the phone rang. It was for me. My car was blocking a fire lane. But a week later I got another call: I got the job.
So, this was undeniably the it: the truly life-altering break I had always dreamed of. And, I went to work. I gathered all my funny friends and poured all my years of comedy experience into building that show over the summer, gathering the talent and figuring out the sensibility. We debuted on September 13, 1993 and I was happy with our effort. I felt like I had seized the moment and put my very best foot forward. And this is what the most respected and widely read television critic, Tom Shales, wrote in the Washington Post: “O’Brien is a living collage of annoying nervous habits. He giggles and titters, jiggles about and fiddles with his cuffs. He had dark, beady little eyes like a rabbit. He’s one of the whitest white men ever. O’Brien is a switch on the guest who won’t leave: he’s the host who should never have come. Let the Late show with Conan O’Brien become the late, Late Show and may the host return to Conan O’Blivion whence he came.” There’s more but it gets kind of mean.
Needless to say, I took a lot of criticism, some of it deserved, some of it excessive. And it hurt like you wouldn’t believe. But I’m telling you all this for a reason. I’ve had a lot of success and I’ve had a lot of failure. I’ve looked good and I’ve looked bad. I’ve been praised and I’ve been criticized. But my mistakes have been necessary. Except for Wilson’s House of Suede and Leather. That was just stupid.

I’ve dwelled on my failures today because, as graduates of Harvard, your biggest liability is your need to succeed. Your need to always find yourself on the sweet side of the bell curve. Because success is a lot like a bright, white tuxedo. You feel terrific when you get it, but then you’re desperately afraid of getting it dirty, of spoiling it in any way.I left the cocoon of Harvard, I left the cocoon of Saturday Night Live, I left the cocoon of The Simpsons. And each time it was bruising and tumultuous. And yet, every failure was freeing, and today I’m as nostalgic for the bad as I am for the good.So, that’s what I wish for all of you: the bad as well as the good. Fall down, make a mess, break something occasionally. And remember that the story is never over. If it’s all right, I’d like to read a little something from just this year: “Somehow, Conan O’Brien has transformed himself into the brightest star in the Late Night firmament. His comedy is the gold standard and Conan himself is not only the quickest and most inventive wit of his generation, but quite possible the greatest host ever.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, Class of 2000, I wrote that this morning, as proof that, when all else fails, there’s always delusion.

I’ll go now, to make bigger mistakes and to embarrass this fine institution even more. But let me leave you with one last thought: If you can laugh at yourself loud and hard every time you fall, people will think you’re drunk.

Thank you.


Just when I think I've had enough of Robinson's Cinema and would love nothing more than to see it burnt to the ground, or at the very least, filled with rotten vegetables, it turns around and surprises me. In a good way.

You see, MMFF (motto: "We cram award-hungry talentless people in one festival until you beg for mercy and think if Christmas means one more season of mediocre films, you'll skip the holiday altogether) has been going on a month longer than I care for, and I've had it up to here in talks of awards and floats and not being able to go to the cinema because no movie represents senseless fun. Well maybe except Ang Darling Kong Aswang, but I'm damned if I spend 100 pesos to see that.

So anyway, propelled by the feeling of luck turning in my favor, I checked with their cinema girl today and shouted for joy when I heard the best news this week. Zombieland is out tomorrow.

Zombies, man. If there's anything that makes me feel so much better about how the world is, it's zombies. Lots of them. With a mixture of funny banter and a couple of cameos. And Zombieland has it. How do I know?

This is when the love-hate relationship I have with Robinson's Cinema veered a little towards hate. I called them a couple thousand times if they have any plans of showing one of the perfect examples of my staple movie, and all I get is, "We're not sure until the film is already here." Nice.

So since I thought there was no chance of me watching the undead try to bite living people's limbs off in the big screen, I... *looks down and sniffles*... downloaded it.

I shouldn't have and I'm sorry.

For crap like Terminator Salvation, it's perfectly understandable to download since it's the height of wastefulness to spend hard-earned cash on crap by McG, but Zombieland is reminiscent of the best zombie movie ever, Shaun of the Dead, and I should have waited until the posters are removed from the poster boxes at the cinemas before I gave up hope.

But no matter. I'm still gonna watch it in all its gory glory in the big screen. I'll still scream when Columbus, Wichita, and Little Rock almost get bitten by zombies. I will still laugh my ass off during the cameo by Groundhog Day (wink, wink), and I will still cherish every single second Woody Harrelson is on screen doing what he does best: overacting and still pulling it off magnificently.

So if you're up for some senseless fun, get your butt over to SM or Rob (not sure about Gaisano), and if you're planning on bringing your girlfriend/boyfriend and talking all through the movie and you suddenly feel a wet trickle at the back of your head, remember, I have nothing to do with that softdrink being dumped on you. Promise.

P.S. In case you're wondering, out with Zombieland are Sherlock Holmes, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Avatar back with a vengeance. There's no hint of The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus. And I'm not gonna rant about it. Not until next post. Later!