Firstly, I would like to congratulate the winner, Arsenio Hall. I like both him and Clay Aiken, so waddaya gonna do? I thought (or at least the final show was edited as such) that Clay was going to be the winner. He made twice as much in donations for his charity (over $300,000 to Arsenio's $100,000+), the majority of the fired celebrities said they wanted him to win. His variety show seemed very lively and interactive compared to Arsenio's more sophisticated affair. But in the end, Arsenio wears the crown.
I suppose Trump wanted to hitch his wagon to a former talk-show host who proved to be massively popular at one time. Star power—it definitely has gravitational pull. Once again Clay is the runner up who seemed to deserve the win just as much if not more. Hat's off to two intelligent, funny men of reality TV. I don't know how they survived this grueling competition and even became friends during the process.
Mixed-media portraits, complete with arcade fortunes from the Musee Mecanique of San Francisco. Both men are pointing at us—interesting.
Clay gets confetti of his own (from crayon wrappers—he does work with children). Dude deserves some confetti.
Thoughts on this Celebrity Apprentice roundup. All quotes are paraphrased through my brain filters for your pleasure:
Last week, the main event was Aubrey O'Day getting fired for being "young and transparent." She proclaims she is not transparent but is actually a solid. She blows a kiss out of the elevator of shame but by then everyone has moved on to the final task at hand.
That task is a fundraising event / variety show / videotaped PSA / hoopla of epic proportions. Former players are recruited to help out. For his team, Arsenio chooses Adam Corolla, Cryin' Lisa Lampanelli, Paul Teutul, Sr. and Teresa Giudice. Clay chooses Penn Jillette (to prove he can get along with people he doesn't get along with), Debbie Gibson, Dee Snyder and Aubrey, who's the last to be picked for a team. Which immediately brings this to mind:
Arsenio is working for the Magic Johnson Foundation, which has been doing community service for 20 years now. Arsenio can't discuss his charity without tearing up. Clay's raising money for his own charity, National Inclusion Project, integrating kids with disabilities into camps, playgrounds and classrooms. They both end up raising bucket-loads of money, so good deal.
Adam Carolla's wisecracks are priceless. He thinks Magic Johnson should send Arsenio a fruit basket in a suitcase full of weed. He has dealings with a costumer who has a giant penis in his caged office. Thereafter it becomes known as the Penis Cage. He thinks Teresa Giudice (he announces her as "Joo-dice") is so naïve she thinks the word naïve is a brand of douche. Why was Adam fired so early on? Because of his sense of humor, which he says is as helpful in the boardroom as it is in golf or porn.
Clay has a moment with a baseball coach, who in the process of asking Clay to leave the field, shouts, "Oh my God! I voted for you!" When Clay tries to angle his way onto the outfield for his video shoot, the coach shoots him down, explaining his kid is in the middle of pitching. The power of fame pales in the face of Little League.
The big cliffhangers of last week were: would Arsenio get a shot of Magic Johnson that would properly cut into his existing PSA footage of funny 80s spokespeople? And would Clay get to see a sketch of Debbie's cousin's mural design for his 70-foot party-space wall before she starts painting? The answers were yes and yes.
And we're LIVE! Trump is on the phone with Mayor Bloomberg (riiiiight) and then he's zipping through the streets of Manhattan in Mario Andretti's race car. My goodness, this show does deliver the surreal.
George Takei thanks Trump for having him on the show because even though he was fired, people still sent $10,000 to his charity, the Japanese American National Museum.
Victoria Gotti is like someone out of a fairytale who lives in a cottage in the woods and tends to a very strange garden. She, Tia Carrere and Dayana Mendoza all take turns saying how awful it was to work with Lisa and Aubrey, calling them cartoonish backstabbing liars. The audience is all like, "Yay!"
Lisa gets the "bitch from hell" montage and she explains herself by telling Trump never to have a 50-year-old menopausal woman with hormonal issues on the show again. Across America, 50-year-old menopausal women are grumbling at their televisions.
Trump forces Dayana to stand up for the crowd like a show pony, in a very Charles Foster Kane attempt to make us see how wonderfully talented she is.
Aubrey offers a blanket apology for being so in the moment and competitive. Tepid applause follows.
Back to the task: the unsung hero of the show may be Teller, who upon arrival to help Penn with a magic show, is immediately put to work painting that damn mural with everyone else on Clay's team. Clay paints while wearing a garbage bag so he won't soil his suit.
Apparently the Claymates have the big bucks. They bring in an impressive amount of money. Kelly Clarkson donates $10,000 to Clay's charity. Orel Hershiser shows up with $20,000. Baseball comes through for Clay after all. Lisa hires a drag queen to play herself and donates $10,000 to Clay because he was nice to work with. OK, that was nice. And self-promoting. But very nice because I think she donates to Arsenio as well.
Arsenio gets two donations from Jay Leno, donations from Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, George Lopez and the Andretti family, and gets to show up with Whoopi Goldberg on his arm, thrilling Trump no end. It is a star-studded night of donation checks!
Clay's Carnival of Fun actually looks very fun. But I'm a sucker for stilt walkers. And Debbie Gibson is spinning plates on sticks while twirling a hula hoop. You don't see that every day.
If you want to win Celebrity Apprentice, get all your comedian teammates to make fun of Trump's hair.
That Aubrey O'Day drag queen singing "I Will Survive" looked great. Oh...wait...
Dee Snyder actually performs "Baby Love" with Debbie Gibson *snert!* Then they segue into a rousing refrain of "We're Not Gonna Take It," which means that anthem will now be stuck in my head for the next seven to twelve days. Joke's on me. Later Arsenio and Clay perform "Lean on Me" with an enthusiastic choir. Why must their friendship be set to song for a live audience? I was hoping Jo Anne Worley would jump in from stage left, yelling, "You bet your sweet bippy!"
We'll never know why Trump chose Arsenio over Clay (was it the mural?) but that sure was a lot of confetti. Trumps don't skimp on the confetti.
Who I'd like to see on the next Celebrity Apprentice:
- Fred Schneider from the B-52s, so I can hear him shout, "Shake your money maker!" at fundraising events.
- Kathy Griffin—for God's sake, please.
- Jo Anne Worley—why not? Get Ruth Buzzi on the phone while you're at it.
- The cast from Boy Meets World.
- Cherie Currie
- Adam Corolla—just keep putting him on there.
- Ru Paul
- Anyone from Barney Miller or failing that, WKRP in Cincinnati
- Someone from the graduating class of Glee
- Wayne Gretzky (aim high)
- Micky Dolenz
- Tim Meadows
- Robin Leach so he can narrate every plush location on the show.