Please don’t quit your day job
Stick to what you know: McDonald’s heeds the adage. While in its 52-year history the global fast food juggernaut has offered unintentionally short-lived menu selections (i.e. the McDLT: “Keep the hot side hot, and the cool side cool”), it has been shrewd enough not to attempt marketing a McFootlong Hot Dog. President George W. Bush also wisely endeavors to live by it, never having put himself in the position to converse with Oprah, or a third-grader, on the topic of a nonillustrated tome (save perhaps for the phone book).If only others in the spotlight were prudent enough to follow their examples. But since so many aren’t, there are Google, YouTube and Wikipedia, together ensuring that those feeling brave enough to stray outside their realms of expertise should seriously consider retiring early, drawing their curtains and never leaving home again without wigs and sunglasses in order to hide from the masses who will forever be able to call up on the Internet their lapses in judgment.Selling more than 70 million records before she was 21 wasn’t enough for Britney Spears. Before she began marrying, divorcing and pumping out babies whose teeth she’s tried to have whitened and to whom she feeds Doritos and cola, she decided to test her talents on the big screen, starring in one of the most poorly reviewed and attended films of 2002.”Crossroads” received several dubious distinctions, including Golden Raspberry nominations for Worst Director, Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay. Brit took home the Razzie statues for Worst Original Song and Worst Actress, which might have actually been more meaningful to the troubled pop tart than, say, the 2000 Teen Choice Award she won for Hottie Female, as at least she tied for the most awful achievement in acting with the grand dame of gimmicks, Madonna (who starred in an equally cringeworthy film that year, “Swept Away”).It’s not just the singers who want to act. Audiences have been kind to thespians Bruce Willis (the “Die Hard” through “Die Already, Will You, Please?” tetralogy is still alive and well) and Eddie Murphy. (The next film in the “Beverly Hills Cop” franchise is set for release in 2009. Seriously, there is going to be another one). Too kind, apparently, as both mistakenly thought their silver screen successes would translate onto the Billboard charts. Willis fashioned himself hip enough to record a cover of “Respect Yourself” in 1987 with the Pointer Sisters (they of “Neutron Dance” fame). Murphy looked like the super freak when, in 1985, he recruited Rick James for help with the single “Party All the Time” (voted by Blender magazine as No. 7 on the Worst Songs Ever list).There are also actresses who sing (Nicolette Sheridan recorded a duet with fiancé Michael Bolton) and actresses who release albums. (Carmen Electra made two of them, although it’s debatable if starring in “Baywatch” makes her an actress or producing a CD with her voice set to music makes her a singer.)There are basketball players who rap, such as Shaquille O’Neal, who has enough material to warrant a “Best Of” album. And basketball players who rap in French, à la Tony Parker. (Who’s laughing at who now, France?)To their credit, there are some athletes who have successfully made the crossover into Hollywood. Michael Jordan held his own with Bugs Bunny in 1996’s “Space Jam.” Lance Armstrong did a decent imitation of himself in the “Dodgeball” movie. And the 1985 Chicago Bears hit one out of the park with their “Super Bowl Shuffle” single. No word on any future releases from William “The Refrigerator” Perry, though.More than a few entertainers have achieved elected offices. Gopher from “The Love Boat,” wrestler Jesse Ventura and talk-show host Jerry Springer, are among the many. (Although Springer was elected to the Cincinnati City Council before he ever interviewed transvestite midgets who sleep with their stepsiblings’ offspring.)Some politicians have tried their hands at acting. Hillary and Bill Clinton produced a “Sopranos” spoof in June to announce that the theme song for her Hillary’s presidential campaign would be from French Canadian songstress Celine Dion. However, the Clintons’ performances (as well as the campaign’s theme song) weren’t received warmly. Neither was Sen. Clinton’s James Cleveland imitation (“I don’t feel no ways tired …”) in an African-American church earlier this year.Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft just might have the most plausible chance of making it from Washington to Vegas, having written the rousing tune “Let the Eagle Soar,” which he performed at President Bush’s second inauguration. Being a member of a barbershop quartet – the Singing Senators – won’t hurt his chances, either.It has become de rigueur for Hollywood stars to produce perfumes, clothing lines and make-up collections. However the merchandise usually just makes it for a year or two at JC Penney before finding its way to Filene’s, and then, eventually, to the piles of donated goods to be shipped out to third world countries. One actress, Sarah Jessica Parker, recently started her own clothing label, Bitten, only to be taken aback when wedding dress designer extraordinaire Vera Wang criticized the “Sex and the City” star for not wearing her own creations, which retail for less than $20 per item.SJP isn’t the only one withstanding accusations of hypocrisy lately. Cell phone provider Sprint landed at the top of MSN Money’s Customer Service Hall of Shame after doing its best Donald Trump imitation and firing more than 1,000 customers because the company claimed they called to complain too much.By all means, stick to what you know. But if you can’t stand the calls (and you’re a cell phone company), maybe it’s time to hang it up or re-evaluate what it is you were supposed to be doing in the first place. Can you hear me now?E-mail questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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