The best and worst of Jerrod Carmichael's hosting debut

On this week's Saturday Night Live, comedian Jerrod Carmichael stepped into the hot seat of host promoting his latest HBO standup special. (Author: Gardener)

Jerrod Carmichael'sOn this week's Saturday Night Live, comedian Jerrod Carmichael stepped into the hot seat of hosts promoting his latest HBO standup special, Rothaniel. Of course, that continued this season of "SNL's" impressive streak of first-time hosts, this time with someone with - admittedly - less star power than the rest. Carmichael spent his monologue talking about "it" (the Oscars controversy between Will Smith and Chris Rock, of course), while also acknowledging that he's definitely on the lower side when it comes to star power and "SNL" hosts is. Even when Carmichael had his own sitcom on NBC — The Carmichael Show, which he helped create and starred in for three seasons — he never got the chance to promote it on SNL. But things are different now, both with the aforementioned HBO standup special and the fact that Carmichael was officially outed as gay on the special. It's an openness and honesty that one imagines would shape Carmichael's role as the newest celebrity host of SNL's 47th season. Regarding "SNL's" handling of the Smith/Rock situation, Carmichael's monologue didn't even go along the lines of saying names at all. Carmichael only referred to the situation as "it," saying that something that happened just six days ago felt more like it happened "somewhere between Jamiroquai and 9/11," like the news cycle and discussion about it expired during the week. Despite pleas from Lorne Michaels, Carmichael wasn't quite able to heal the nation with that monologue (since "the nation doesn't even know [Carmichael]"), but he established himself as a host who could prove something to the audience that was maybe not known to him. After "Word Crunch" from the Zoe Kravitz episode, the next game show sketch would always be an uphill battle. "Post-COVID Game Show" (where the game show was "Is My Brain Okay") was the next game show sketch, after all. In general, it's difficult for "SNL" to do a game show sketch without feeling like it's been done before, and even though the premise of "Post-COVID Game Show" has never been seen on "SNL ' was made, it really did feel like it had. The "SNL" game show sketch formula is all about having a fake host and pretty, breezy participants, but despite the specific angle, "Post-COVID Game Show" didn't come across as anything special other than a "What's Wrong with That picture?" sketch. Comedian Jerrod Carmichael comes out as gay ahead of SNL debut As one of the two sketches from the night that really gave Carmichael something to do as a host — the other was "Scattering Remains" — that was The only real knock on "Shop TV" is that it was a bit longer than it needed to be. The short bit of Alex Moffat's character from Christian Lunchboxes didn't ultimately have to be part of the sketch, and the final bit (of Carmichael's character, the essentially fisting the Rhylee Rainbowlocks doll) was kind of pulled. But the "rainbow bush" really got the live audience going, and the visual comedy that emerged from it worked, as youthful as The Host However, s of the home shopping network of Cecily Strong and Mikey Day were the true MVPs of the sketch, even if it managed to keep the focus away from them. That said: a great beat and a less-than-great flow from Davidson...but it makes up for it in both substance and execution and rapping from Chris Redd and other more established rappers. This sketch saw this week's musical guest, Gunna - with the line of the sketch asking, "Why does this movie look like a book?" re: the double VHS of "Amadeus" - and Dirt Nasty (Simon Rex, the reveals he looks a lot more like Ernest P. While Davidson can get exhausted just relying on comedy-rap, there's no denying the production value that goes into these music videos, especially since this one often looks like a Puff Daddy music video and Mase looked. Kyle Mooney's bizarre reactions were a highlight of this season, so it's understandable why there's a sketch like this one" and "Scattering Remains" both felt like "I Think You Should Leave" sketches, which there are They aired last week on SNL, and it's hard to tell if that's going to win in the case of "Story. Scattering Remains" maybe because it's the night's "I Think You Should Leave" skit, in a way and way that actually be the best for Carmichael as a moderator sten worked.” His aloofness in this skit really helped banish the chaos and absurdity of goth,” was easily the highlight of this week's skits. There's just something about a catchy '90s themed theme song and the guys from Please Don't Destroy aren't just normal, they're just plain sluts who really made the skit work. It's the kind of sketch Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett would have done together in previous seasons; Unlike that duo, however, Please Don't Destroy's take on this type of comedy was quite well received. Nothing against Chris Redd, but a sketch like "Seat Fillers" was really reminiscent of how "SNL" once dropped an actor who was actually quite an impressionist in Jay Pharoah. Because as funny as Redd is - and even in this sketch - it's hard to ignore that many of his Smiths are screaming and vague Smith tics rather than an actual good impression. The sketch itself wasn't even necessarily bad given the angle it came from: the seat filler's perspective (played by Carmichael and Kyle Mooney, who were funny in their awkwardness). As previously mentioned, Mooney was quite funny in his awkwardness in "Seat Fillers." And it was unlike his (and the audience's) discomfort in Story. Honestly, this episode wasn't the best to get consistently strong performances from any of its regular cast members, due to both the allocation of screen time and the material. But Mooney had strong performances in sketches that weren't necessarily that strong. It was open in the cold, but when you have Cecily Strong as Jeanine Pirro, it means Cecily Strong immediately gave the best performance of the episode. J. Simpson) on Weekend Update kind of fell into the same queue as the rest of Weekend Update features lately, but at the same time, "SNL" clearly put her in that position because she certainly knows she can deliver -- and she did. The thing about Carmichael as host ended up being actually the thing about Carmichael as lead actor on "The Carmichael Show": While he has stage presence and can effortlessly perform live in front of audiences as a stand-up comedian when it comes to being in the same live playing environment, he is no longer the most dynamic person in the room. The only sketches Carmichael was able to really play a character in were on "Shop TV" and "Scattering Remains," and even then, both were low-key and low-energy — in a way necessary for the sketch's comedy. But in general, Carmichael could have been substituted for anyone else in any of the sketches he was in, and they would have been exactly the same. The "Baby Clothes" pre-tape sketch (which had some really good bits) really highlighted this, as Carmichael and Bowen Yang played a couple in the skit and looked like they were working as a duo...but really, the die Sketch relied on Yang's reactions, not so much Carmichael's. Overall, this was a memorable episode, and despite three separate comedic takes (the monologue, "Seat Fillers" and Weekend Update) to a very memorable current event. By far the best sketch of the episode, it was shortened in time and only briefly featured the host (for a while it wasn't even about his character). Sign up: Stay up to date on the latest film and TV news!


Oscars producer Will Packer initially thought Will Smith Smack was a bit

The show's boss said comedian Chris Rock "freestyled" when he made the now-infamous joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's hair. (Author: Gardener)

OscarsLike many of us back home, Will Packer found the confrontation between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards on Sunday a bit. But the show's producer told Good Morning America on Friday (April 1) he was disabused of the notion when a stunned Rock came backstage to confirm Smith had shot him in one of the most viral and controversial cases had slapped face moments in the 94-year history of the awards ceremony. "He didn't tell any of the planned jokes. He was a freestyler straight away,” said first-time Oscar producer Packer of his friend Rock, whose quip he confirmed was not in the original script at the expense of Smith's wife, actress/singer Jada Pinkett Smith. I. Jane 2 ad lib about her shaved head — she suffers from the autoimmune disease alopecia that causes hair loss — Packer told T.J. Holmes that initially he didn't break a sweat, even after Will Smith rose from his front row seat and walked briskly towards the stage. "I said, 'Look out, he's going to kill.' Because I knew he [Rock] had an amazing selection of jokes that we had — we had him in the prompt," Packer said, noting that Rock then did one of his plans dropped punchlines in favor of the Pinkett-Smith joke. Still, he's confident, Packer said, because "if there's anyone you're not worried about going wild in front of a live audience, it's Chris Rock. Soon, however, Packer said his heart was "because of everything about it and what it represented and what it looked like and who was involved in it. I've never felt more devastated than I did in that moment." After slapping a stunned rock with his open hand, Smith walked back to his seat and yelled twice, "Keep my wife's name out of your f—in' -Mouth!' when the live feed went down to censor the swear words, and Rock took the stage at first in disbelief and stuttering as he attempted to introduce the Best Documentary nominees. Backstage, moments later, Packer asked Rock directly what happened and if he really got hit. "And he looked at me and said, 'I just got hit by Muhammad Ali.' It's exactly what he said, like only Chris can, you know," Packer recalled the quip, which referred to Smith's role as the former heavyweight champion in the 2001 biopic, Ali. "He was immediately in joke mode, but you could tell he was still very much in shock." Packer also told GMA that it was an "absolute fact" that the LAPD was behind the scenes poised to arrest Smith following the incident, despite conflicting, confusing reports in recent days about when, how and if the producers asked Smith to leave the building. "The LAPD made it clear, 'We're going to do whatever you want, and one of the options is we go ahead and arrest him right away,'" said Packer, adding that he assured Rock he'd have his back no matter What. "I made that clear, like, 'Rock, tell me whatever you want to do, bro,'" Packer said, noting that the LAPD came into his office and explained what Rock's rights were at that moment and described the Attack as "battery" and letting Rock know that he would press charges and that they could arrest Smith if necessary. While Rock has yet to make a public statement about Smith's attack, Packer said that in the moments after the bizarre confrontation, the veteran comedian/actor "dismissed" the options police gave him and insisted he was "fine." go. He also said he hasn't spoken to Smith, but the show's co-producer Shayla Cowan told him the Academy is taking steps to remove the King Richard actor from the Dolby Theater; The Academy initially said Smith "refused" to go when asked, then sources told Variety a day later that he was never "formally" asked to do so. Adding to the confusion and weird looks, Smith stayed in the theater and shortly thereafter took the stage to accept the Best Actor award for his work in King Richard. And while Packer said he was not involved in the talks to ask Smith to leave, he went to academy executives "immediately" after talking to Rock and told them, "'Chris Rock doesn't want this,' I said, 'Rock has made it clear that he doesn't want to make a bad situation worse.'” Adding another twist to an already hard-to-digest sequence of events, when Smith's name was announced, many in the room gave him a standing ovation. the packer tried to unpack for GMA. "I was in the room and I know a lot of these people, so it wasn't like this was someone they didn't know," Packer said of Smith, the rapper-turned-actor who received his first Best Actor Oscar on Sunday. But I think that people in this room who stood up stood up for someone they knew who was a peer who was a friend who was a brother who had a career spanning more than three decades as the opposite from what we saw in that moment." Packer also revealed that he and, he suspects, many others hoped Smith would "do better" during his tearful acceptance speech, which made no mention of Rock or the incident , but instead included several references to the actor's "protection," his female castmates, and his desire to be a "vessel of love," before apologizing to the Academy and his fellow nominees. "It couldn't be done right in that moment because of what happened," Packer said of Smith's acceptance speech. "But I think we were hoping that he would stand on that stage and say, 'What happened just minutes ago was absolutely and completely wrong. Chris Rock, I'm so sorry. I had a feeling he was going to win and I was hoping he [would say] if he stayed." As part of its formal investigation, the academy said on Wednesday that Smith was facing "suspension, expulsion or other sanctions." could calculate. After many condemnations, including from the academy, Smith took to Instagram on Monday to apologize to Rock. My behavior at the Oscars last night was unacceptable and inexcusable," he wrote. Packer said Smith also reached out to him personally Monday morning to apologize before his public mea culpa to Rock. "[Smith] said, 'That should have been a huge moment for you. But based on what Smith said in his speech, the show's producer now wishes he had asked the actor to leave the premises. "You don't have the optics now of someone who did that act, didn't nail it in that moment in terms of a conciliatory acceptance speech, who then continued to be in the room," he told GMA. The LAPD confirmed to Billboard that Rock has so far declined to press charges. The comedian returned to the stage for a stand-up show in Boston on Wednesday night, during which he didn't officially address the slap on his set and told the crowd he wasn't joking about the incident but was "kind of handling it nonetheless." ", what's happened.


Russ and Bugus launch DIEMON, an 'artist-friendly' label aiming to change the way the music industry thinks (EXCLUSIVE)

After more than 10 years in the making, independent rappers Russ and Bugus are finally launching their own record label: DIEMON. An acronym for "Do It Everyday Music or Nothing", DIEMON started as a creative collective in Atlanta in 2010 before becoming an imprint with Columbia Records when Russ signed with them in 2017. But in (Author: Gardener)

RussAfter more than 10 years in the making, independent rappers Russ and Bugus are finally launching their own record label: DIEMON. An acronym for "Do It Everyday Music or Nothing", DIEMON started as a creative collective in Atlanta in 2010 before becoming an imprint with Columbia Records when Russ signed with them in 2017. But in 2020, Russ finalized his deal with Columbia and became a full-blown independent artist again, self-releasing his album Chomp 2 in 2021. Now the multi-hyphenate wants to help other artists by giving them the resources of a major label - without all the other mandatory requirements. We don't eat on your merch or tours, and it's all a profit-split deal," Russ tells Variety of DIEMON's philosophy. “We don't want to invest in an artist just to change their music. If we like an artist enough to sign them, it's because we like what they do. It's just a super artist-friendly situation that we're here to provide resources and mentorship to artists we believe in.” Bugus, DIEMON's co-founder and Russ' best friend since eighth grade, says the label is looking for passionate, "hungry" artists of all genres. "We don't want to chase you around and ask you to come to the studio. We want the kind of artist that we have to pull out of the studio and say, 'All right bro, you did five songs tonight, take a break,'" says Bugus. We want to be more like the big labels in that sense, where they have Garth Brooks and Lil Wayne and Wizkid from Africa.” hip-hop artist LaRussell, who Russ says reminds him a lot of himself early in his career. “If you look at what he's doing with his music, he's releasing a lot of content all the time – he's putting albums here, songs there. Anytime you need me, hit me,” Russ says of LaRussell. "Because I know if that's your vision and you want to do all this content and what you want to do before you tap into the resources - I don't care, rock out. That's the same thing I did, you know? But I know that wouldn't be possible if he was signed to a big label because they would say, 'Okay, first of all, everything you put out has to be ours. For Bugus, this relaxed approach to deadlines comes from having firsthand experience of being a true artist first and foremost. "We understand what it means to be an artist and we're not just looking at our bottom line at the end of the quarter." What will also set DIEMON apart is its financial transparency, which is provided through the distribution platform Vydia. The technology made available to the label allows artists to log into DIEMON's distribution website and track all of their earnings in real-time. “It's super transparent, like you see what we see. It's one thing to say, "Yes, we're an artist-friendly label and it will still feel like you're independent." It's quite another to say, "No, seriously, you can log in and see what's going on,'" says Russ. "It's important to keep that artist-friendly relationship alive, and Vydia is just great at being the resource you need, when you need it, but other than letting you do your thing." Russ and Bugus hope the Establishment of DIEMON will lead to a mentality shift throughout the music industry as artists realize they have the power. They have more power than they realize and there are alternative ways to win, you don't have to go down the big label route. You don't have to give up your masters and do all these really exploitative things," says Russ. "I'm doing that with my career, Bugus is doing that with his career, but as a label we're just going to show that with artists we believe in. I can't wait and I know Bugus can't wait for us to be three or four artists in the lineup of DIEMON artist success stories.” Bugus adds, “Labels don't make platinum albums, customers do. It's the fans who literally call the shots and they're the ones who rule everything, so we just want to help the artists get out of the mindset that all the power is in the label's hands, when it's really in their hands your audience lies. An artist is a lemon and a label is a lemonade stand. Whether you have a label or not, you're still a lemon.


"The Pam Thing" Glenn Fleshler on Russ Faria's "Painful" Family Break

Glenn Fleshler spoke to Newsweek about portraying Russ Faria in The Thing About Pam and how being wrongly convicted of murdering wife Betsy ruined his life. (Author: Gardener)

The Pam ThingBeing wrongfully convicted of the murder of his wife Betsy ruined Russ Faria's life, isolated him from his community and fractured his family completely, actor Glenn Fleshler told Newsweek. Fleshler portrays Faria on NBC's The Thing About Pam, which investigates the real-life case against Faria after his wife was killed in 2011 and he was made the sole suspect, despite having an alibi and police finding no blood on his death at the time. Faria was convicted of murder after a trial in 2013 and was jailed until his wrongful conviction was finally overturned in 2015. Although his innocence was proven, the case had all but destroyed the relationship he had formed with Betsy's daughters Mariah and Leah. "I had kind of been tipped off that he wasn't as open about this relationship, these relationships anymore," Fleshler shared while discussing the insight his real-life counterpart gave him about how his family was broken up by the incident. "I kept asking in different ways, I tried to find different ways to say, 'But what about your daughter at that point? Faria also struggled to reintegrate into the community he knew because they were convinced of his guilt," Fleshler added. "Almost a whole town turned against Russ, everyone thought he did it, him only had a few people staying by his side. "You can imagine how isolated you would feel, how alienated if everyone [did that], their whole [ruined life], they couldn't go back to their church." Many family members, certainly Betsy's family, tuned in he and she were convinced of his guilt. It's very painful that way." Fleshler went on to share what Faria told him about his bond with Betsy's youngest daughter: "He mentioned that he had a close relationship with Mariah and was raising her, and I had asked what it was like Kind of instant family because Betsy had the girls when he and Betsy got together. "He talked about becoming sort of an instant father, the relationship between him and the girls, which was a very seamless transition for him. So, you know, it must have been very painful going through all of that.” Fleshler added that he's grateful that the true crime series ensured that this side of Faria, alongside Pam Hupp's (played by Renée Zellweger), involvement in the murder case was also investigated. "I was glad that our show and Jenny Klein, our showrunner, decided to go down this route to explore that a little more, both to keep Russ in the story and flesh out the personal story a little more and just to see the wider impact of something like this," he said. "The kind of manipulation that was going on in the city, in the justice system, with Pam, how that affects a family and beyond, that's an aspect of it and it is obviously a very emotional part of the story." Betsy's daughter, Mariah Day, has spoken publicly about the show and has shared that she fears the drama would make fun of what happened to her family. Fleshler then reassured that it wasn't the Be that as it may, "It's certainly not our intention to make fun of it." But I certainly took it very seriously and went through a lot trying to be an honest Darste Gideon Adlon [who plays Mariah] and I both took Russ and Mariah's relationship very seriously, and we certainly would. "I don't even know how to say it but we both went through this tearing together and it felt painful and I'm sure it must be [for her], I can't even imagine how it is." for someone like her to have to go through this now. In comparison, Faria Fleshler was "very supportive," and as for the show itself, the actor explained, "He reached out when he saw the trailers. "He mentioned that some of his friends thought it was him, I was [him]. "He seemed to think I was doing a good job and I said, 'I hope I make you proud,' and he was talking about the new book, this is out, that Joel has written and I think they've been touring around and talked to people about the case. Fleshler added that while it was "emotionally challenging" to tell the story as truthfully as possible, it was "incredibly insightful" to talk to Faria about his experiences. "There's nothing like talking to the real person to know what's going on in their head for as long as they can remember," Fleshler said of speaking with Faria. "The trick for both of us in trying to share this information is that a lot of what you see in the early episodes was from extreme trauma, and I've tried to respect the fact that he's probably himself." not really remembered that anything happened “His wife had just been killed and he was taken to the police station to be interrogated and all this crazy stuff was going on around him, tragic things were happening in his life. "So there was a kind of understanding that he can't walk me through all of this moment to moment, just to get his general feelings about it. "He made it very easy for me because it's such a sensitive thing to meet someone for the first time and say, 'Okay, tell me about all the worst moments of your life, the most personal, the most horrific things.' "But he had a great perspective, a great take on everything, trying to get the story told and being as thorough as possible, and opening me up to his life from back then and how it unfolded through the events that happened." See her on The Thing About Pam." The Thing About Pam airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC. ET. Left to right: Olivia Luccardi as Lily Day, Gideon Adlon as Mariah Day, Suanne Spoke as Janet, Catherine Carlen as Bobbie in The Thing About Pam Skip Bolen/NBC Renée Zellweger as Pam Hupp in The Thing About Pam Skip Bolen/NBC


Some of the things he did should embarrass him

Ben Golliver: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says he'd be willing to meet with Lakers' LeBron James to discuss their differences on issues like vaccine advocacy: 'I admire the things he's done... A whole school on Sending to college, wow, that's amazing... Some of the... (Author: Gardener)

Ben GolliverBen Golliver: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says he'd be willing to meet Lakers' LeBron James to discuss their disagreements on issues like vaccine advocacy: 'I admire the things he's done... A whole school to college to send, wow, that's amazing...some of the things he's done he should be ashamed of." Source: Twitter @BenGolliver At the 2020 Western Finals, LAL competed with Howard and Davis, with Aid from LeBron and digging out guards like Caruso/KCP/Nikola Jokic did as good a job as anyone before. Green. Jokic averaged: 21.8 ppg (54%), 7.2 reb., 5.0 apg. Jokic this season: 26.6 ppg (58%), 10.3 rpg, 6.2 apg - 4:04 PM LeBron James watches his team play the fifth to last game of the season. He is out with an ongoing ankle injury. - 4pm LeBron gets a roar from the crowd here as he comes in from the tunnel on the first media timeout. LeBron-less LAL got off to a good start today as they lead Denver 12-5 led by @Anthony Davis. AD has a pair of dunks towards 6 points, plus good defense against Jokic including a big hit near the rim. My pal @Dan Woike is this in @latimessports on: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar slams LeBron James, says he should be 'embarrassed' Miracle ankle… – 3:30pm Ben Golliver @BenGolliver Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says he'd be willing to meet with Lakers' LeBron James to discuss their disagreements on issues like vaccine advocacy : 'I admire the things he's done... A whole school on Sending off to college, wow, that's amazing... He should be embarrassed by some of the things he's done.” - 3:07pm CBS NBA @CBSSportsNBA LeBron James injury update: Lakers superstar sits Sunday vs Nuggets with a sore ankle - 2:13pm Vogel said LeBron's ankle was particularly sore after the last game; Short turnaround (7:30 p.m. Friday tip, until 12:30 p.m. Sunday tip) did not help. Vogel has had to plan most of the season without LeBron or AD: "Season of adjustment...we have to play through it." - 1:56 p.m. Frank Vogel confirms LeBron James is out against Denver today. Anthony Davis is there. Frank Vogel says LeBron James is out and Anthony Davis will play Denver today. "He had ankle pain from last night, it's basically like a back to back," Vogel said. Vogel said LeBron is making progress every day. Frank Vogel considers LeBron James "everyday". Despite Vogel calling Anthony Davis "sore," he will play the Nuggets today - 1:50 p.m. Coach Vogel confirms Lebron is OUT with ankle pain... AD is IN - 1:50 p.m. LeBron (ankle pain) is out today via Frank Bird. Lakers coach Frank Vogel confirms LeBron James is out of tonight's game against the Denver Nuggets with "ankle pain." - 1:50pm LeBron James is out today against Denver due to the sprained left ankle he originally injured in New Orleans last week, according to Frank Vogel. LeBron James is out this afternoon, according to the Lakers. It's not good for their play-in hopes. Lakers star LeBron James will be out against Nuggets today as he deals with a nagging ankle injury, sources @TheAthletic @Stadium say. The Lakers are currently one game behind San Antonio for the final play-in spot. Denver not having Jeff Green or Zeke Nnaji as bodies who can credibly protect LeBron today is a big deal. I'm guessing Austin Rivers starts, AG guards LeBron, and Jokić guards Davis. Unless Dwight Howard also starts, in which case JaMychal Green gets the nod. LeBron is chasing the final crown of the season while the Lakers are outnumbered to the end... + more on Ben Simmons, Jerami Grant and new HoF'er Del Harris... It's all here in my latest This Week In Basketball column, freshly mailed worldwide became: marcstein.… - 1pm Russell Westbrook is overpaid and having a tough season. He is also possibly the best performer left from his draft class. Normally you don't have a great season in Year 14 in the NBA. (Which makes the game of LeBron and CP3, both older than Russ, look all the more impressive). - 12:14pm Jason Walker @JasonWalkerNBA Trae Young passes LeBron James in Estimated Wins and Giannis in Offensive EPM. - 9:17 am Austin Krell @NBAKrell Duke faithful have some good things to look forward to. Yankees baseball is just around the corner, the Cowboys are starting training camp in a few months, and the Lakers still have LeBron. It's like LeBron James' Final 4 games...had enormous, over-the-top hype, but somehow exceeded expectations? Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., Zeke Nnaji and Vlatko Cancar are absent for tomorrow's game with the Lakers. Carmelo Anthony likely, Anthony Davis and LeBron James doubtful for LA. Lakers say Anthony Davis (right metatarsal sprain) and LeBron James (left ankle sprain) are doubts for the Denver Sunday game and that Carmelo Anthony (non-COVID-related illness) is likely. From last night: "When it rains, it pours," LeBron James said after another tough game in a season full of winners, but the Lakers are on the brink of extinction, - 4:46 p.m. Brad Townsend: Great Quote from Kidd when asked if @LeBron James is the greatest NBA player of all time: "In my opinion he will go down as the best thing that ever did." -via Twitter @townbrad / March 29, 2022 Jason Williams: "Obviously he's going to be great," Williams said. "I mean, don't get me wrong. But I think it would be a bit more difficult for him now because as you said the defense has changed and now he will have three players on the same side of the ground if he has the ball on the wing where he used to be you only had one man -via / March 25, 2022 Jason Williams: “Everyone in the NBA is going to beat everyone one to one let alone Michael Jordan. I think he would be great, an all-star for sure, but not the Michael Jordan he was then, if it's fair to say that." -via / March 25, 2022


Holding hands under a fluorescent sunset, Coach K at peace on the other side of Duke's career

April 3 - NEW ORLEANS - It was late Saturday night, almost midnight local time, when Mike Krzyzewski emerged from the Duke dressing room for the last time as head coach of the Blue Devils. He held that job for 42 years and 16 days, and until recently and the start of his final NCAA tournament, he could always console himself with the fact that there would be one more walk like this, one more game. Now it was over. ... (Author: Gardener)

DukeApril 3 - NEW ORLEANS - It was late Saturday night, almost midnight local time, when Mike Krzyzewski emerged from the Duke dressing room for the last time as head coach of the Blue Devils. He held that job for 42 years and 16 days, and until recently and the start of his final NCAA tournament, he could always console himself with the fact that there would be one more walk like this, one more game. His players had blown away, and their tears told Krzyzewski he'd done his job with this team, despite the 81-77 loss Duke suffered in a memorable national semifinals at the Superdome to North Carolina. Most of his assistants were gone as well when Krzyzewski slowly and laboriously walked out, only a few paces behind his wife Mickie. For weeks they had endured this last March and early April, it turned out, together. It became a familiar scene: the Duke bus stopped in Brooklyn or Greenville, SC or San Francisco hours before departure, and the Krzyzewskis got off together, Mike and Mickie, and walked hand-in-hand to another arena before another game . For weeks they had walked the same path, holding hands and triumphant. Every NCAA tournament win - against Cal State Fullerton and Michigan State in Greenville; against Texas Tech and Arkansas last week in the West Regional – Krzyzewski moved one game closer to his sixth national championship and the ultimate end of his last season. Saturday brought an end, but not this end; not the one from dreams or fairy tales, or the one that gradually became more and more realistic as Duke's post-season journey went on. In the end, Krzyzewski looked like a man who had expended all his energy. It was perhaps fitting that his last game was against North Carolina, the old local nemesis who somehow made his way to New Orleans and the Final Four as the No. 8. In his earliest years at Duke, Krzyzewski built his program in the shadow of what Dean Smith had long established at UNC; and then the two schools spent more than 30 years going back and forth and back, both playing their part in what is arguably the sport's greatest rivalry. The Tar Heels and Blue Devils played each other for the 258th time Saturday night, and none of the previous 257 had come in an NCAA tournament game, let alone made the Final Four. The 40 minutes of play they shared in the Superdome became a microcosm of rivalry: one team took control, only for the other to take it back; Bigwigs on one side met bigwigs on the other; The margin was so small that the outcome was questionable until the end. Until then, at the last minute, Krzyzewski had little to do but watch his team from his perch on a small stool in front of the bench. The stool stood on the elevated spot in the Superdome, giving Krzyzewski the look of a king on a throne, except that the fate of his coaching career was now largely out of his hands and belonged to his players. For about two weeks he'd raved about how far his youngest team had come, how quickly they'd grown up, but the kind of magic Duke found late in wins over Michigan State and Texas Tech was now elusive. Krzyzewski watched from the stool, waiting and hoping for a moment that never came. Sometimes he would sit up straight, arms crossed, staring straight ahead. During his final season, he had resisted the constant approaches of looking back to the past, putting his 42 seasons at Duke into context, or looking too far into the future and contemplating what the ending might be like and what retirement would bring . But now, in the closing moments of Saturday night, focusing on the now meant focusing on the fact that everything was coming to an end. He raised his eyes to the clock and watched the seconds of his coaching career tick by. Getting off the chair, it looked like he'd also played for 40 minutes, as had UNC starters Caleb Love and Leaky Black, and indeed, after most of Saturday night's timeouts, a manager handed Krzyzewski a small cup of water, which he would slurp quickly until it was time for another. The ending brought chaos to Carolina. The Tar Heels celebrated on the pitch, their players and coaches and some of their family members dancing and jumping and cheering in front of the UNC cheering section at one end of the Superdome at that moment. UNC was back in national championship play for the first time since 2017, and it was expected back when the Tar Heels were on a season-long mission to avenge the loss they suffered in the 2016 championship game, against Villanova. Meanwhile, at the other end of the pitch, Duke's managers cleared the Blue Devils' bench. Krzyzewski paused only briefly to shake hands with the UNC players after doing the same with the Tar Heels coaching staff, and then he disappeared down a long tunnel in the corner of the arena and turned right towards the locker room. He stayed inside late and later said he appreciated what he saw because what he saw was proof his team had wanted this as much as he had. "I've said throughout my career - or when I knew what the heck I was doing - that I wanted my season to end where my team was crying tears of either joy or sadness because then you knew they gave it their all .” said Krzyzewski. "And I had a locker room full of crying guys. This is not the sight I would like to see. Krzyzewski was speaking during his last press conference, and the room was packed. Below, in front of him, photographers jostled to document the moment as reporters tried to get him to describe his own feelings at the end — "It's not about me, especially not now," he once said before he offered versions of the same at other moments – while members of his family a filled a large row of seats on Krzyzewski's far left. There was Mickie laying her head on the shoulder of one of her grandsons. And there were Krzyzewski's teary-eyed daughters. All their lives they had known nothing but a world in which their grandfather coached at Duke, as anyone 41 or younger had known the same thing. And now it was over, two nights earlier than Krzyzewski and his family and players had imagined. Try as he could to resist overtures for a broader perspective Krzyzewski soon found enough reference to Theodore Roosevelt's Man in the Arena speech in terms of his thoughts and feelings. Maybe it was something he'd learned long ago at West Point, or maybe he'd picked it up somewhere along the way, but it fit now, the reference to a 112-year-old speech about the power of competition itself, regardless of the outcome . "I'm fine," said Krzyzewski then. "And I'm sure that when I look back, I'll miss that. I won't be in the arena anymore. But damn, I've been in the arena for a long time. And those kids made my last time in the arena a great one." When his press conference ended, Krzyzewski lingered for a while with his family, out of sight, in a waiting area, out of sight of reporters or anyone else. On the other side curtain, more than a dozen photographers surrounded the golf cart waiting to take Krzyzewski and his wife back to the locker room on the other side of the Superdome.His arrival was finally greeted with a chorus of shutter clicks, and after Krzyzewski Mickie onto the back of the truck of the carriage and sat down beside her, he smiled and thought of a bit of dry humor: "Maybe you all can layer one on top of the other sunset," he said in the yellow glow of old industrial lights as he began to ride, and gave a little wave.To this moment and Krzyzewski's retirement, however, one had to understand how it all began became Duke's head coach on March 18, 1980 during Jimmy Carter's tenure. He was relatively unknown in his job, so much so that he spent part of his introductory press conference saying and spelling his name for local media. He was young then, 33, and looked a little nervous to be on this stage and take on an ACC program. C. State where Duke was the least accomplished of his rivals. Both the Tar Heels and Wolfpack had won national championships; Duke not. Back then, it was the rivalry between UNC and the state that gripped North Carolina, and while Duke wasn't an afterthought, it was far from becoming what it was. When Krzyzewski got the job, he and Mickie bought a modest house north of downtown Durham, and that in itself was a small miracle, Krzyzewski said ahead of the season, because "we didn't have any money". It was 1980 and the economy was faltering, and after living in army quarters while he was coaching, Krzyzewski had no house to sell, no equity to start in North Carolina. He could still remember the interest rate on his first mortgage in Durham: 18 percent, he said, and looking back in time - a rare moment of deep reflection amidst all the others he was trying to avoid - Krzyzewski began so be thankful. At that moment, he was sitting in his sprawling sixth-floor office atop a basketball tower Duke built in 1999, seven years after the second of Krzyzewski's five national championships. He was surrounded by all the history of the past 42 years: photographs documenting those titles; moments of celebration on the pitch with family members and its players; Memories of one of the greatest coaching careers in American sports history. And yet Krzyzewski admitted that in all of this there was still a void that would never really be filled. That even after winning more games than anyone in his profession had ever won, he still felt the need to prove himself over and over again. Perhaps he owed that part of himself to his insistence on never looking too far back, for better or for worse, or perhaps it owed it to his humble origins in Chicago, where his Polish roots and modest means did not make for an easy childhood. "I think I've always tried to prove myself," Krzyzewski said back then before the season, and in a way he's also been driven over the past few months by the question of whether he can take his youngest team to the level that it eventually will be reached. The never-ending quest to prove himself also has roots in another part of Krzyzewski that is perhaps at odds with all the current philosophies he's been pursuing for much of this season, and especially lately. "He never forgets anything," said Mike Cragg, one of Krzyzewski's closest friends, recently. Cragg worked in Duke's athletic department for more than three decades and met Krzyzewski long before Cragg became athletic director at St. John's in 2018. Now Cragg could tell countless stories about what motivated Krzyzewski, what stuck with him. "The thing about Coach K is nobody's going to top him. Cragg spoke specifically at the time about how the turmoil of the early to mid '80s shaped Krzyzewski and made him who he has become. The Blue Devils finished the game 10-17 in Krzyzewski's second season and 11-17 the next, and that ended in a smashing loss to Virginia in the ACC tournament, a loss that left many Duke supporters calling for Krzyzewski's sacking, as they did today , ruled by instant gratification and social media earnings, Krzyzewski might not have lasted another season. However, Tom Butters, Duke's athletic director at the time, believed in his commitment and rewarded Krzyzewski with a contract extension in 1984. Once it became clear that he had steered Duke in the right direction, it's easy to forget the larger context of that moment: Dean Smith had just led the Tar Heels to a national championship in 1982, and UNC was clearly the dominant program in the neighborhood, if not the country. C. State followed with the national championship in 1983, leaving State and UNC each with two national titles and Duke none. Krzyzewski's national breakthrough came in 1986 with the first of his 13 Final Fours. Suddenly Duke was gone. The Blue Devils made the Final Four again in 1988, 1989 and 1990 only to fail before breaking through in 1991 with the first of their back-to-back national championships. Three more championships followed, in 2001, 2010 and 2015, and Krzyzewski became a ubiquitous figure who may never be seen again at his college basketball level, more than four decades in the same job. The game is what he lived, whether at Duke or on the US national team, and it was the drive to win - "excellent," as Cragg put it - that drove him as much as it did this season at 75 did when he was 33 years old and in his freshman year at Duke. Like his college coach and former mentor Bob Knight, Krzyzewski became a polarizing figure. He was king with Duke and the legions of Blue Devils fans across the country. Krzyzewski gained a reputation for berating officials. Redick, who left Duke as the ACC's all-time top scorer, recalled on a recent podcast a moment when he rejoined Duke and sat behind the bench for a game. As Redick recounted, Krzyzewski assembled his team during a time-out, looked at each of his players and said: That was the kind of comment meant to motivate, although Krzyzewski's critics would certainly see it differently. For those who liked to hate him, Krzyzewski became the New York Yankees and Darth Vader a man who might as well have entered the arena to the tune of The Imperial March. However, Krzyzewski's legacy also includes founding the Emily K Center, named in honor of his mother, and the smaller moments of human connection that went unnoticed. Cragg thought of the notebook Krzyzewski always carries, the one with the Duke logo on the cover. As always, Krzyzewski carried this notebook with him throughout his recent postseason, from the ACC tournament in Brooklyn to the West Regional in San Francisco to here in New Orleans, where he tucked it under his arm during Friday's Blue Devils shootout . "His notebook is always notes and letters and emails, and he's always working, always taking notes," Cragg said, describing the notebook in which Krzyzewski corresponds with people who have asked him for advice, guidance, or hope. I have no idea how many people he touched and called, who simply wrote him letters, asked for help or introduced themselves. Almost a month ago, after back-to-back Saturdays ending in losses to North Carolina in Krzyzewski's last home game and Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament championship game, such a run to the Final Four for Duke didn't seem all that likely. Then the Blue Devils underwent a metamorphosis that made them believe in the fairytale ending before it gave way to tears of defeat late on Saturday night. When Krzyzewski emerged from his team's dressing room for the first time since his last loss for his post-match press conference, he entered a scene of the face-off. A few North Carolina players were yards away conducting interviews after their win. Krzyzewski walked to the podium where a couple of his own players sat to his left as he arrived, their pain evident. Each of them described what that ride was like, being on Krzyzewski's last team and being there last March and April. "It was everything to me," said Wendell Moore, Jr. Coach has delivered on every promise he made to us and more. Said Trevor Keels: "Coach K was always there for me. We came up short but we certainly had fun out there." And Paolo Banchero, who will probably be among the first players to be selected in the next NBA draft: “He's been so committed to us all year. with coach every game." Soon the press conference, like the game before it, was over. The last in Krzyzewski's coaching career. Another moment that came and went, and suddenly on the other side of the line there was a final date, the Krzyzewski's tenure at Duke as Blue Devils head coach: March 18, 1980 – April 2, 2022. He had won 1,202 games, including 73 wins during his first five seasons with the Army.He had five national championships and fifteen ACC championships. Tournament championships won. He and Mickie rode back to the dressing room together and stayed inside for 15 or 20 minutes before heading out again, this time for good. A cart was waiting to take Krzyzewski and his wife back to the bus, which was on the other side of the Superdome waited Mickie climbed onto his back first and covered himself with a Duke Blue scarf Krzyzewski, walking limping and in pain, sat down beside her and r approached. For a moment she rested her head on his shoulder and chest and he wrapped his arm around her and kissed her head. The locker room gradually moved away, as did the square. So they jumped together, comforted each other, and soon the cart turned a bend in the hall and disappeared in the direction of the bus. Mickie got in first and then Krzyzewski. And for the first time in more than 50 years, since there was no next game ahead of his days as a college player or even in high school. The last had come and gone. Krzyzewski looked tired but oddly content, even after one of the heavier losses of his career. He seemed ready for the end, as if he had already made peace with it. He took his seat at the front of the bus, surrounded by his team but alone with his thoughts. A few minutes before midnight the bus started to drive away. Slowly the arena itself receded behind Krzyzewski, and after an exhausting defeat he rode away not into the sunset but into the darkness of night.


Leaders teach stories from the scriptures during the Sunday morning session

Church leaders taught from scripture stories during the Sunday morning session of the 192nd annual general conference. They shared solutions to modern problems based on principles from the stories of Jesus Christ, Esther, Joseph of Egypt, and others in the scriptures. (Author: Gardener)

morningChurch leaders taught from scripture stories during the Sunday morning session of the 192nd annual general conference. They shared solutions to modern problems based on principles from the stories of Jesus Christ, Esther, Joseph of Egypt, and others in the scriptures. Nelson shared his grief over the Russia-Ukraine war. He said that while individuals cannot end wars, they can still control their own behavior and choose to end conflicts "that rage in your heart, your home, and your life." President Nelson shared the example of Moses who needed to distinguish between God and Satan and how he was able to cast Satan out of his life after realizing the difference. President Nelson taught that spiritual vitality can be found in people by following five principles: staying on the covenant path, finding joy in daily repentance, learning more about God and His works, seeking and expecting miracles, and ending personal conflicts. President Nelson urged listeners to end a conflict in their lives that has been plaguing them for the next two weeks leading up to Easter. "I promise that, despite all the obstacles you will face, if you implement these aspirations, you can move forward on the Alliance path with greater momentum," he said. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve encouraged listeners to find joy through trusting in God. He pointed to the "mortal short-sightedness" in the assumptions people make about God's timing in their lives because of the difficulties they endure. He cautioned listeners against thinking that God's plan is a "cosmic vending machine" where they can expect certain blessings based on the commandments they keep, and gave examples of spiritual and modern figures who did not because of inadequacy or sin faced difficulties, but because God wanted to refine them. People should keep the commandments because they will help them be refined into saints, not for a "heavenly record," he said. Elder Christofferson also reminded conference participants that the refinement process of life should not be easy. "Amidst the fire of this refiner, you should draw closer to God instead of getting angry with God," he said. “Ultimately, it is the blessing of a close and enduring relationship with Father and Son that we seek. Elder Michael T. Ringwood of the General Authority Seventy also shared stories from the Old Testament, which will be studied in this year's Come, Follow Me program. He encouraged conference attendees to study the Old Testament to see the role of the prophets in times of uncertainty and to understand how to view God's hand in a confusing world. “It's also about humble believers who have faithfully looked forward to the coming of our Savior, just as we look forward to and prepare for His Second Coming—His long-prophesied, glorious return,” Elder Ringwood said. Wright, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, taught the audience how to heal broken relationships with God and others and broken parts of themselves. Sister Wright pointed out that readers only know one facet of her story, and that people sometimes judge others because of a part of someone else's life. "Nobody's life can be understood through a great moment or an unfortunate public disappointment," she said. “The purpose of these scriptural accounts is to show us that Jesus Christ was the answer then and that He is the answer today.” Sister Wright spoke of connecting with others while they were being treated in a cancer treatment facility. From this experience she learned that getting out of trouble will look different for everyone. Our focus should always be on Jesus Christ!” she said. “Exercising faith in Christ means trusting not only in God's will but also in His timing, for He knows exactly what we need and when we need it.” He spoke of how Christ ministered to others even when they hurt Him , the persecution that followed the early church, and how church giving today helps others who experience oppression. He emphasized the blessings of religious freedom and focused on how love for God helps churchgoers find hope, serve others, and experience unifying values. I invite you to join the cause of religious liberty,” said Elder Rasband. “It is an expression of the God-given principle of agency.” Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve asked conference-goers, “Love, share, and invite.” He said the important thing is not how others react but that people still care choose to continue serving and loving others. He pointed out that people are constantly sharing what movies they've seen, jokes they find funny, or quotes that inspire them. He asked the audience to also share what they love about the gospel of Jesus Christ. “When it comes to missionary work, God doesn't need you as his sheriff; However, he asks you to be his partner,” said Elder Stevenson. Elder Ringwood taught that the reason people should serve others and help one another return to Heavenly Father is that it will help them become like Christ. “We are the focus of our Heavenly Father's plan and the reason for our Savior's mission,” he said. “We can recall Nephi's reaction when confronted with something he did not understand: though he did not know the meaning of all things, he knew that God loves his children.” General Authority Seventy Elder Hugo E. Martinez added the message of helping others return to God as he explained to the audience how to teach self-reliance to children. He said that by setting a good example, studying the scriptures with them, and working and serving with them, parents and leaders can help their youth begin the lifelong process of self-reliance.


6 dead, 10 injured in early morning gunfire in downtown Sacramento

Six people were killed and ten injured in a downtown Sacramento shooting that took place early Sunday morning in a busy nightlife district. (Author: Gardener)

SacramentoSix people were killed and ten injured in a downtown Sacramento shooting that took place early Sunday morning in a busy nightlife district. Police are still searching for the shooter and no one is in custody, Sacramento Police Chief Kathy Lester told reporters. "We are asking for the public's help to help us identify the suspects and provide any information that may help us resolve the issue," Lester said. The shooting happened around 2 a.m., Lester said, near the Golden 1 Center, an arena where the Sacramento Kings basketball team plays and gives concerts. Police said several blocks were closed during the investigation but did not release details of the victims' ages or identities. Videos posted online showed people screaming and running in the street. We await more information as to what exactly happened in this tragic incident," Mayor Darrell Steinberg said on Twitter. The incident comes just over a month after a man shot dead his three children and a fourth person before taking his own life in the same city.


Six dead, 10 injured in early morning gunfire in downtown Sacramento - police

Six people were killed and ten injured in an early morning shooting on a street in Sacramento, California, packed with revelers, and police said they were still searching for suspects with no one in custody. (Author: Gardener)

SacramentoPolice are seen following an early morning shooting in a section of downtown near the Arena Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California, United States. Police are seen following an early morning shooting in a section of downtown near the Arena Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California, U.S. SACRAMENTO, California, April 3 (Reuters) - In an early morning shooting on a street busy with revelers in Sacramento, California, six people were killed and 10 injured, and police said they are still searching for suspects with no one in custody. "We are asking for the public's help to help us identify the suspects and provide any information that may help us resolve the issue," Sacramento Police Chief Kathy Lester told reporters. The shooting happened around 2 a.m. PT (0900 GMT), Lester said, near the Golden 1 Center, an arena where the Sacramento Kings basketball team plays and gives concerts. Police did not release details about the victims' ages or identities. Family members waited outside police lines for news of missing loved ones. Among them was Pamela Harris, who said her daughter called her at 2:15 a.m. to say her 38-year-old son Sergio had been shot dead outside a nightclub. "She said he was dead. I just broke down," Harris said. She said she is still awaiting official confirmation from the police, adding: "I can't leave here now until I know what's going on. I'm not going anywhere.” Community activist Berry Accius said he rushed to the scene shortly after the shooting. She just said on the phone, 'My sister is dead! My sister is dead!'” said Accius, whose Voice of the Youth leadership program focuses on gun violence prevention. The violence happened just blocks from the State Capitol Building in an area recently revitalized as an entertainment hub. It shattered the welcoming atmosphere as pandemic masks came off last week and bars and restaurants filled with people long in isolation from COVID-19. “The number of dead and injured is difficult to estimate. We await more information as to what exactly happened in this tragic incident," Mayor Darrell Steinberg said on Twitter. "Increasing gun violence is the scourge of our city, state and nation, and I support all efforts to curb it. The incident comes just over a month after a man shot and killed his three children and a fourth person before taking his own life in the same city.


Sunday morning bobblehead thread

Your morning bobblehead, along with an April Fool's Day switcheroo! (Author: Gardener)

morningI'm not usually a fan of pranks or April Fools' Day, but sometimes you have to admire the creative jokes that don't get anyone hurt. I can't be mad at this stupid thing. Of course Doggo is the best Boi! In fact, he's the best boy for making an April fool's joke on us, right? But in the human world, pranks can get complicated, and if you have money and access to private planes, you can pull off these hilarious things to the delight of millions. Well done Jimmy and Jimmy - that was adorable and really fun. NBC "Meet the Press": Secretary of State Antony Blinken...Hillary Clinton...Michael McFaul and Masha Gessen...Richard Engel reporting from Ukraine. Panel: Cornell Belcher, Leigh Ann Caldwell, Brad Todd and Amy Walter. Panel: Chuck Rosenberg, Margaret Russell, and Kyle Cheney. CNN "State of the Union": Secretary of State Antony Blinken...NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg...Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. Panel: David Urban, Jane Harman, Amanda Carpenter and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.). Anyone else interested in baseball? Any funny April Fools jokes?