Hi there, everyone, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday... the last day of April already. This is a friendly reminder the Houston Oilers, who are no longer an NFL franchise and went out of existence 24 years ago, have won a division title more recently than the Cleveland Browns. Due to COVID-19, I will no longer allow hand shank or giving hugs. You may bow to me or give me the finger. Your choice.
Vice President Mike Pence chose not to wear a face mask Tuesday during a tour of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, an apparent violation of the world-renowned medical center’s policy requiring them. Video feeds show that Pence did not wear a mask when he met with a Mayo employee who has recovered from COVID-19 and is now donating plasma, even though everyone else in the room appeared to be wearing one. He was also maskless when he visited a lab where Mayo conducts coronavirus tests. And Pence was the only participant not to wear a mask during a roundtable discussion on Mayo’s coronavirus testing and research programs. All the other participants did, including Food and Drug Administration chief Stephen Hahn, top Mayo officials, Gov. Tim Walz and U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn. Mayo tweeted that it had informed the vice president of its mask policy prior to his arrival. The tweet was later removed. Mayo officials did not directly respond to a request for comment on why it was removed, or at whose request. “Mayo shared the masking policy with the VP’s office,” the health care system said in its response. Pence explained his decision by stressing that he has been frequently tested for the virus. “As vice president of the United States I’m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus,” Pence said, adding that he is following CDC guidelines, which indicate that the mask is good for preventing the spread of the virus by those who have it. “And since I don’t have the coronavirus, I thought it’d be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers, these incredible healthcare personnel, and look them in the eye and say ‘thank you.'” Pence is not the only White House official who has shown a reluctance for face masks. When President Donald Trump announced new federal guidelines recommending that Americans wear face coverings when in public, he immediately said he had no intention of following that advice himself, saying, “I’m choosing not to do it.” Pence also went without a mask a week earlier when he visited a GE Healthcare facility that makes ventilators. Some at the event in Madison, Wisconsin, wore masks and others did not. The White House said then that Pence had tested negative for the coronavirus and suggested that under the guidelines developed by the coronavirus task force there was no need for him to wear a mask.
I’m sure Luciana Lira was not expecting to take on this role as a school teacher at Hart Magnet Elementary in Stamford, Connecticut, but nevertheless, she didn’t hesitate to step up to the plate. This Connecticut elementary school teacher exceeded the standards of how teachers normally impact the lives of their students by helping the family of one of her own. Luciana received a call from Zully Flores, the mother of one of Luciana’s students named Junior. Zully was frantic, calling Luciana for help because she was going into labor, but also had tested positive for COVID-19. Zully, her husband, Marvin Escobar, and their son Junior are Guatemalan asylum seekers, which is why Zully informed Luciana that she had put down the Connecticut school teacher as their emergency contact. They did not have anyone else to turn to. Instead of worrying about how she became involved, this hero teacher immediately went into action. She called Zully’s husband, Marvin, who also informed her that he and his son, Junior, might have the coronavirus infection. He expressed his concerns about possibly infecting his newborn baby, continuing on to ask the selfless teacher if she could take care of the baby boy as a temporary guardian. Luciana barely even took a breath before even saying yes. Once Zully gave birth to her healthy new baby boy through a C-section, naming him Neysel, Zully was immediately placed on a ventilator. Thankfully, baby Neysel was completely healthy, and Luciana was able to take him home to her husband Alex. However, by this time, Marvin and Junior officially tested positive for the coronavirus. Luciana would take care of healthy baby Neysel for longer than anticipated, all while fulfilling her duties as a remote elementary school teacher. By April 18th, Zully was taken off the ventilator and was introduced to her newborn boy via Zoom two days later. On April 24th, Zully was released from the hospital and taken back home by an ambulance. Zully, along with husband Marvin and older son Junior, are still recovering at their house until they are cleared to meet the newest addition to their family. Luciana has no issue continuing to look after young Junior’s baby brother, until the family is healthy enough to see him. She has been keeping updates on her Facebook page. A round of applause to this hero teacher. You are truly one of kind, Luciana!
Jesus, I want this man’s luck ASAP! You know how sometimes there’s that person that gets everything they want due to pure dumb luck? Well, meet “Joe B.,” the luckiest man on the planet right now! Basically, this Colorado man hit the jackpot twice after playing the same numbers for 30 years! Yes, after 30 long years his wish finally came true, but it doubled. Colorado Lottery officials confirmed Joe indeed won two 1 million dollar Powerball jackpots on March 25th and officially claimed his winning this week. The winning Powerball tickets were sold on Lake Avenue in Pueblo at two different stores, which were a mile apart. “Joe” had apparently bought a ticket in the morning, and one in the evening. So yes, without knowing what was going on, this man became insanely rich. I don’t know, something seems fishy. Either this man hired a fortune-teller or has a time machine to go back and see when his numbers would hit. I mean… to hit the jackpot on the same day? COME ON! This is insane. This has to be some sort of joke right from the government, one of those “don’t lose hope, the world is still thriving” sort of deal? No? Maybe? Still, despite the insane amount, communications director Meghan Dougherty stated the Colorado Lottery received approval to process winning tickets worth $10,000 or more at a touch-free, drive-thru claims office amid the coronavirus pandemic. So basically, this man had to make an appointment to claim his prize, or you know, wait for his money through the mail. Which I mean, doesn’t matter. This man is getting his money despite us being under lockdown. I don’t know, I’m gonna keep my eye on this Joe guy, because this seems suspicious. What’s your secret, Joe? I promise I won’t tell anyone. I guess a little bit of luck can go a long, long way.
You’re stuck at home with your wife or husband or boyfriend or girlfriend or roommate or whomever while coronavirus coughs the world to death. You’re bored out of your freakin’ mind. You’ve been drinking more than an Irish sailor who won the lottery, but even that is starting to get old, much to your surprise. So what do you do? How do you pass the time? Sports are gone. At this point, you’ve binged almost every show you’ve wanted to watch across every streaming service. And exercise you can take or leave. Enter the Wine Glass Challenge. Thankfully, because the challenge wasn’t invented by teenagers, you have to eat broken shards of a wine glass, put anything deep into your colon, or just generally cause yourself physical harm. The challenge is pretty simple. Put the bottom of the wine glass in your mouth, lean back carefully, and feed it to your partner. The most popular video of the challenge has come courtesy of Bridgette and Joe Miller of Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania. The married couple seamlessly pulls off the feat without spilling a drop! And according to Bridgette, this is nothing new for them. While TikTok may claim to be the birthplace of this challenge Bridgette says she and her husband have been doing this trick for years. Clearly. Serious props must be given to the brave, fearless souls who try this challenge with a merlot or any other red wine. You people truly fear nothing. If you happen to have a partner who is an avowed neat freak... a Felix on meth, if you will... maybe try this challenge with water. Or, better yet, just to be safe, use sparkling water, so if you fail you’ll inadvertently get a different stain out of whatever carpet you spill on.
Jesus, is that you?
According to Monica Aramayo, a resident of the city of San Salvador de Jujuy, it is! Aramayo was able to snap a camera phone picture of what she believed was the Lord Jesus Christ, shining through the dark clouds in Argentina. As expected, the holy figure had rays of sun beaming through the clouds around him. The woman claims that the perfectly timed image she took was a miracle and posted it online to “bless” others. Several social media users were quick to compare the cloudy silhouette of Jesus to the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, located less than 3,000 miles away in Brazil. Others believe the illuminated figure shows the Messiah wearing a crown with his arms outstretched, similar to other depictions of Christ. Of course, skeptics were quick to point out that there is nothing more to see other than the sun shining through, while others believe Photoshop had something to do with the image itself. But, surprisingly enough, this isn’t the first time believers claimed to see a Christ-like figure in very unusual places. In March last year, a similar image was captured in Agropoli, Italy, by Alfredo Lo Brutto during a sunset. Lo Brutto spotted the ‘Holy Figure’ close to Pompeii in the south of the country, where "Jesus" was popping out through murky clouds above the city. In April last year, Shae House from Lynchburg, Virginia, said she saw Jesus in rocks while she was walking in the woods. Could this be their imagination just wandering around, causing a religious frenzy? Or is it Jesus Christ himself trying to tell us a message? Well, honestly, who knows. But I think it’s good that people try to keep their beliefs alive any way they can. Let them live. If you think you saw the image of Jesus Christ, then good for you. If you don’t, well then, you don’t. Imagination can be a wild thing, ladies and gentlemen.
As I've been telling you, since this coronavirus thing church's have been getting creative with their signs...
It's good to wear a mask when you go out but some people are taking it a little bit too far...
Is that the cone of silence? Have you seen the new ad for the product Lysol Juul? If you haven't, I have it here...
Hahahaha. With everyone on lockdown, the cakes are finally returning to the ocean. Nature is healing, kids.
Man, those protestors sure have some stupid signs...
Okay, now I'm really getting worried about Trump...
Drink up, Mr. President, sir. This is March versus April...
It's Thursday, kids. You know what that means...
That's not too bad, right? Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is...
Top Phive Things Said By People Venting About Their Spouse In Quarantine
5. I'm very irritated with my husband during this quarantine. It's not that I don't like being around him, in fact I enjoy it. It's those two kids he put in me that ask for snacks every three minutes that are driving me crazy.
4. At this point in our quarantine love story, I've become a much bigger threat to my husband than any virus.
3. Husband: Did I ever tell you...? Begins story I've heard no less than 63 times since we've been quarantined. Me: I'm just going to call you a ranch because you don't have a second story.
2. I love my family and all but I'd rather be quarantined with my friends. They are just more entertaining and don't question why I'm drinking at 10 a.m.
And the number one thing said by a person venting about their spouse in quarantine is...
1. Whoever said, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," has never been quarantined with my wife.
This masked up elevator.
Okay, let's look at what is happening in Port Jeff right now...
Looks rainy like it is here and there's a car. Haha.
If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so you know I live in Florida, right? well, stuff happens here that might not happen anywhere else...
A professor at the University of Miami has been fired after students discovered that he had porn bookmarked on his computer during an online lecture. John Peng Zhang was teaching a business analytics class over Zoom on March 26th when a student noticed that Zhang had a bookmark that read “Busty college girl fu..." Check it out...
The bookmark, obviously for a porn site, was noticed by a student in the class who also, it just so happened, had forgotten to put his computer’s mic on mute. The student blurted out that the bookmark was there and soon everyone was taking pictures of it and posting it to their social media. The posts went viral, the most prominent of which was on TikTok and received over 800,000 views. Zhang is no longer employed with the university and several students who were in the class and posted the video feel terrible about it. They told the school’s paper, The Miami Hurricane, that they never wanted the Zhang to lose his job. This incident is sort of a toughie. Accidentally having a porn bookmark spotted on your browser should absolutely not be a fireable offense. Everybody jacks. And Zhang didn’t leave that up on purpose. He’s a professor. He’s probably terrible with technology. The poor bastard might not have even realized he had the page bookmarked. He could have accidentally done it. That said, the whole busty college girl part is a little bit sketchy, considering Zhang’s constant proximity to college girls. I doubt these well-endowed college girls were getting fu… lfilled emotionally. That really has to be the main reason he got canned. Even still, one strike and you’re out ... if this was his first strike... seems like a bit much. Life sure ain’t what it used to be in Coral Gables, am I right Nevin Shapiro, Michael Irvin’s cocaine dealer, and every strip club owner in a 20 mile radius?
A man has six children and is very proud of his achievement. He is so proud of himself, that he starts calling his wife, "Mother of Six" in spite of her objections. One night, they go to a party. The man decides that it's time to go home and wants to find out if his wife is ready to leave as well. He shouts at the top of his voice, "Shall we go home now, 'Mother of Six?'" His wife, irritated by her husband's lack of discretion, shouts right back, "Anytime you're ready, 'Father of Four.'"
Today's guest is a Scottish-American television host, comedian, author, and actor. His memoir memoir; and Riding the Elephant: A Memoir of Altercations, Humiliations, Hallucinations & Observations is the 122nd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome to the Phile... Craig Ferguson!
Me: Hey, Craig, welcome to the Phile. How are you?
Craig: I'm great, Jason. Happy to be alive.
Me: So, in your book Riding the Elephant: A Memoir of Altercations, Humiliations, Hallucinations, and Observations you use the word "plook." I love that word. What does it mean?
Craig: It's a Glasgow word for a zit or a spot but it's usually a pretty bad one. What one of the stories in the book is about a particularly nasty example of a plook that I had just at the wrong moment when I was preparing for my first ever serious date with a young woman when I was 13-years-old. Because I got the plook it changed my life, I never had the date and I went off on a different direction. I like to feel perhaps if I hadn't had the plook maybe I'll be happily married and stayed in Scotland.
Me: Haha. What did it look like? Did it have a hair coming out from the middle of it?
Craig: More than that, this was a three header. It was more of a collection of plooks, it was an anthology of plooks. It was the greatest hits of plooks.
Me: So, you didn't go on the date?
Craig: I rescheduled the date and during that time the young woman went off with my best friend at the time. And they actually stayed together and got married. It ends well, they got divorced later so alls well that ends well, but still. It worked out really well in the end.
Me: Ha. Well, thank god for that. So, I think it's cool you performed for Princess Diana. What did you think about her?
Craig: Um, the meeting with Diana is really about prejudice I think. My own prejudice, not hers. I've never experienced any from her. But I met her once and I was impressed by her and her life. When I was a young man I hated the class system, I'm no fan of the class system but I assumed she would be a certain type of person. Selfish, self-involved, an aristocrat. And it was my impression that she was not like that at all. I had made a decision on her what I've seen in the media and what I heard from other people and it was incorrect. Totally incorrect as it turns out. I think that's an interesting thing to study in our self in our own prejudice.
Me: What was she like when you met her?
Craig: She was charming and she was kind. If I'm honest I think she was probably a little lost. It's hard to be objective now because so much time has passed since the meeting which I think both of our lives at the time was not much. We met at a charity event, we talked a bit and I performed on stage and I made some jokes that made her laugh and that was the extent of our meeting. Since her death which is so long ago now I'm as much the victim of the legend of her as much as anyone else so it's hard to be objective about how realistic my impressions are now compared to the way they were at the time. But I think I'm honest when I say I liked her.
Me: I did too, Craig.
Craig: Yeah, she was a nice person.
Me: When she got married you weren't that happy, right?
Craig: Well, I think that was less to do about her and more to do about the system which I still find archaic and absurd. Nothing against people being Royal, they can be Royal all they want but I do question the idea of an Empire level of monarchy in a country that doesn't have an Empire anymore. It seems a little over the top to me.
Me: In the book you talked about how Billy Connolly, who is an idol of yours was knighted and had to bend the knee and you thought it was strange. Why is that?
Craig: Well, I don't condemn Billy for bending the knee to Royalty, it's up to him. But I wouldn't be comfortable doing it, it just seems like an odd system. They kneel before another person and they go, "You are now very special and indeed. Ten points to Gryffindor." I'm like I don't know, it just seems like pre enlightenment for my taste.
Me: Craig, you maybe will be asked one day to be knighted. What do you think of that?
Craig: I think you are wildly inaccurate. HA HA HA! I think there's no one in the Royal Family who is saying, "You know who really, really would be benefit if we gave him a knighthood." I don't think it's going to happen. Don't lose any sleep over me with me being asked of a knighthood.
Me: What about if Prince Harry is reading the Phile and emails you "Hello, I'm wondering if you'd like to be sir Craig?" What would you say then?
Craig: Absolutely, your Majesty and I'll be on my knees in a hurry.
Me: Hahaha. So, what made you want to start doing stand-up comedy in the first place?
Craig: Well, I don't think I really wanted to do it at all. I was talked into doing it because apparently when I was drunk I was funny and I was drunk a lot back then when I was in punk rock bands. So when the bands were playing in nightclubs and stuff they'd say, "You go up between the bands, Craig, and do jokes. Ha ha." It'll be great.
Me: Do you remember the first time?
Craig: Yes, I was at a festival of punk rock bands in London of all places. A bunch of Scottish bands were playing at the ICA in London and I was going to go up between these bands and entertain these cockney punks. I was wearing a kilt and noticed my knees were actually shaking I was so terrified. They started shouting, "He's knees are knocking! His knees are knocking!" There was a chant in the crowd. Its very difficult to do comedy with chanting anything at all. Particularly shouting out that my knees were shaking because I was so frightened of them.
Me: What made you want to get back up?
Craig: I can't quite be sure what made me want to get back up. But it's an interesting thing about stand-ups any stand-up that's any good has gone through that experience. So I think it might be a way of weeding the wheat from the chaff in finding out who the real stand-ups are. Real stands-up will get back up after a show like that. People who ate not really stand-ups, that will be their last one.
Me: Some stand-ups say that they love to bomb on stage. Do you?
Craig: I think it's true. Norm Macdonald is one of my favorite stand-ups because he does have a fearless approach to it. Yeah, I do feel like I love to bomb. There's something I used to enjoy on late night actually is something didn't work it kind of made it funnier.
Me: Do you think there's a comparison between stand-up and punk rock?
Craig: I think there probably was, I think you're right. Actually there was a certain kind of love of that. "Well, you don't like it because you're stupid." I started to realize that people didn't like it because it's not very good. There's also that.
Me: When you were hosting "The Late Late Show" you worked with Johnny Carson's producer, right?
Craig: Peter Lassally. Yeah.
Me: He chose you for the show, am I right? How was that?
Craig: It was an odd experience. I tried to be genuine by this, I think I was kind of thrilled by it to be honest. Over time I don't think he was entirely correct. Because Pete thought I would really miss doing a show every day. When I said, "I'm done, Pete, I need to go out." He said, "No, you'll really miss it. It'll be bad." I said, "I don't think so." He was wrong, I don't miss it. I'm glad I did it but I don't need to do it every day. I really don't.
Me: Most of the other talk show hosts wanted to be either Johnny Carson or David Letterman. I know I do, that's why I have this stupid little blog. Why do you think it's different for you, Craig?
Craig: I'm sure it irritates some people, I don't mean it to but that is the truth of it. It happened and I had a great time and I'm proud of the show. I think we did a good show but it wasn't a life goal for me. No one ever believed me. That's the weird thing. People would say, "You want to take over from Dave?" "I don't know what you're talking about." The day I started that job on "The Late Late Show" people would say, "Do you think this sets you up in a line of succession?" I don't even understand that as an idea.
Me: Des it bother you that no one believed you?
Craig: I don't care. It's not my job to make them believe me. I'm not a politician.
Me: In the book you said there was a "change in the wind" in late night TV. What was the change you were feeling?
Craig: Oh, definitely because Dave was going. Because Dave was going to go there was no one protecting me. I was hidden behind Dave, Dave owned the time slot. If Dave was going to go I was no longer the punk rock step-kid of crazy Dave. I should now be exposed to the regulars of corporate America. I didn't feel that I would survive that. Also I didn't want to survive it, I didn't want to be tempted to survive it. As long as Dave was in place because Dave owned the time slot World Wide Pants, his company owned the time slot even though Dave and I didn't have any relationship really to speak of, we were certainly applicable but not close but the fact that he was there and owned the real estate in television protected me from the rigors of whatever the network would demand that I do. Look, they made me do some stuff anyway that I wasn't crazy about.
Me: Like what?
Craig: Nothing particularly odious but I had to say this for the sponsor or do that thing. It picks up that stuff. I didn't want to be pushed around like that.
Me: What do you think would happen if Dave wasn't there to protect you?
Craig: That I would end up doing a show that I didn't want to do. I would end up compromising myself. That show the way I did it, that's who I was. I didn't want to start making a show which felt like it was wrong, almost what the audience wanted. Right back to that punk rock thing, I don't want to make something that people are going to like. Come on!
Me: Were the ratings important to you?
Craig: The numbers weren't important to me. The thing is about the corporate life which is what we sign up for if we work in a large corporation is that the numbers are important. But I'm not a corporation. The numbers are not important to me. If they're good and they like it then great, if they're bad and they don't like it then okay. But that's not what I'm doing it for, I'm doing it for not going insane I suppose. I'm doing it for an expression of myself. And if I'm honest I'm doing it for a living every night. But what I'm not doing is everything they are telling me to do. That's what I'm definitely not going to do.
Me: I remember when Britney Spears was going through some public difficulties and you talked about your own struggles with alcoholism and how you considered suicide and you said you wouldn't make a joke on Britney's expense ever again. What was your thinking back then?
Craig: I think it was just a moment of personal expression. It was really tied to what we just talked about. When I started in late night it was early, it was in the first few years I think I did that monologue. I think what happened is I found myself being drawn in making jokes about celebrities and just doing jokes that were written for me. People I didn't know, or didn't know very well. No disrespect to them, there is a place for comedy joke writers but what happened is I was expected to sell that what I thought was funny. When I came in that morning into the writers room, as was their job at the time they already assembled a bunch of jokes about Ms. Spears' weekend where she had clearly gone into some kind of manic episode. It made me very angry, I was very angry about it because it looked to me that this was a human being that was in distress and if I knew anything about comedy, perhaps I don't know much, but punching up is what comedy is but punching down is what bullies do. I felt like I was turning into a bully. I didn't want that for myself. I don't have an agenda that says other people have to do comedy the way I do it, they don't. Everyone's free to do to whatever way they want to do it. I was uncomfortable with the way I was doing it and I wanted to make a change. So that monologue that night was an expression of that. I didn't really know what I was going to do but I know what I wasn't going to do and that's really the start of it.
Me: You have done so many things in your life, Craig. Do you like doing a lot of different things?
Craig: I think all of it just kind of rolls in. I've sometimes said yes to some things that I probably shouldn't have say yes to. If I had a career plan but I don't.
Me: So, why is the book called Riding the Elephant...?
Craig: Because I go where it goes. Look, man, you know what I'm talking about. Like the great Bill Hicks used to say, it's just a ride, man, its just a ride. So try and enjoy it. I think when I was younger I had a lot of ideas about myself who I should be and who I should be by then. I've wasted a lot of time with that shit, just be who I am. When people say I have done so many things what am I really, I don't know. I'm just lucky I guess, that's what I am.
Me: Craig, thanks for being on the Phile. I have friends of mine who are big fans of yours so this is very cool. Keep well and please come back again soon.
Craig: Thanks, Jason. You as well.
That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guest Craig Ferguson. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Michael Schur, who is a TV producer and writer. Spread the word, not the turd... or virus. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.
I don't want you, cook my bread, I don't want you, make my bed, I don't want your money too, I just want to make love to you. - Willie Dixon