Laugh riot

Ellen cracks us up, on stage or page

……………

4 out of 5 stars
SERIOUSLY… I’M KIDDING
by Ellen DeGeneres
(Grand Central Publishing, 2011). $27; 241 pp.

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Sometimes it’s hard not to laugh. When your 4-year-old says something hilariously profound, you bite your lip, knowing that you’d be in trouble if you bust a gut.  If your beloved does something silly but well-meaning, you twist your lips to avoid the outburst you know is coming. When your great-aunt shows up at holiday dinner dressed like that, you know there’d better not be even one “Ha!” to escape your lips.

Yep, sometimes it’s hard not to laugh — but you’ll want to when you read this book. “As it turns out, writing a book is hard,” Ellen DeGeneres says.

This is her third book, each one sharing the ellipses-in-the-title feature. She didn’t think writing it would be difficult because, after all, she has a lot to say every day for at least an hour. There’s a lot of talking on a talk show, you know.

There’s a lot of listening, too, and daydreaming is not allowed. DeGeneres listens to many famous people — one of her favorites is her wife, Portia de Rossi, who is “beautiful and one of the nicest people [she has] ever met.” No, she tells nosy people, they aren’t planning on having a family because “there is far too much glass” in their house. Besides, first you have to give birth.

“I won’t go into specifics,” says DeGeneres, “but ouch and no thank you.”

In case you’re thinking that this book is all fluff, you’ll also find useful advice in its pages. DeGeneres gives readers hints on being a supermodel and how to know what clothes will come back in fashion. She writes about polls and why people shouldn’t put too much faith in them. She offers several ways to gamble in Las Vegas, gives kudos to funny women who’ve paved the way for people like her.

But will you find laughs? Yes … but.

Seriously… I’m Kidding is like having a 241-page monologue in your lap. DeGeneres’ wicked wit beams bright from almost each page. But there are times when she dives below silliness. An entire page devoted to sound effects? Four pages of drawings for your child to color? Jokes like these and a few go-nowhere “short stories” may leave readers scratching their heads.

But if you’re a fan of DeGeneres’ talk show or standup, you’ll find a treasure-trove of classic humor that you won’t want to be without. For you, Seriously… I’m Kidding will be a hard book to miss. And we’re not kidding.

— Terri Schlichenmeyer

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 11, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Gay game-show set designer Ed Flesh dies

Ed Flesh, the gay man who designed the Wheel of Fortune wheel, has died at 79, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Flesh is survived by his partner of 44 years, David Powers. Flesh gave the game show its look by designing the wheel to spin horizontally, not vertically. He began his career designing off-Broadway sets before he was hired by NBC. He gave many other game shows their look as well. He designed the $25,000 Pyramid as well as the sets for Jeopardy, Press Your Luck, The New Dating Game and The Newlywed Game. He also designed the set for David Letterman’s original NBC talk show and special sets for Oprah. He was also the set designer for the soap opera Days of Our Lives.

—  David Taffet

Joel Burns nominated for Texan of the Year

Joel Burns

Gay Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns has been nominated for The Dallas Morning News’ Texan of the Year based on his inspiring “It Gets Better” speech, according to DMN editorial writer Rodger Jones.

Burns has already been interviewed by national media and by Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show in the wake of his 12-minute speech at a council meeting last month in which he talked about being bullied as a teenager and the time he considered taking his own life. Video of the speech quickly went viral and Burns became one of the most visible faces of the “It Gets Better” campaign.

Some of the other nominees are Southwest Airlines President Gary Kelly, philanthropist Elizabeth Shatto Massey, Texas Rangers President Nolan Ryan and, a separate nominee, the “entire Texas Rangers baseball team.”

Well, win or lose, I love me some Texas Rangers. But when it comes to Texan of the Year, Joel gets my vote.

—  admin

Local briefs • 08.20.10

WRCC hosts ‘Sunday Show’

The White Rock Community Church Choir and Drama Ministry will present “The Sunday Show,” an old-fashioned radio show featuring interviews with “widows” from the Bible embellished with original songs, on Sunday. Aug. 29, at the church’s regular 10:45 a.m. service.

The program used catchy rhythms and talk show-style dialog to give the audience a new understanding of remarkable women from biblical times.

White Rock Community Church is located at 9353 Garland Road in Dallas. For more information call 214-320-0043 or go online to WhiteRockChurch.org.

Yoga of the Breath begins Aug. 27

The next Yoga of the Breath course for People Living with HIV begins Friday Aug, 27 and is open to everyone living with HIV, which includes caregivers, partners and other family members of people with HIV.

The program is free of charge, and will be held at Pride Pharmacy, 2929 Carlisle St. in Dallas. Meals and transportation are provided.
For more information call 469-212-3797.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 20, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens