Yakov Smirnoff: Snubbed by Obama.
President Obama recently honored late-night talk show host David Letterman, ballet dancer something long and Russian, bluesman Buddy Guy, Led Zeppelin, a “hard rock” dance combo from Europe, and Dustin Hoffman, one of those disconcerting method-acting consummate artiste types that just make your skin crawl.
The affair took place at The Kennedy Center, a center known for honoring a WTF group of diverse to put it politely individuals foisted upon us via pop culture for whatever it is they happen to do and which is named after one of those Kennedys.
All seven people who know who Buddy Guy is had the same response: “What the frig is Obama honoring Buddy Guy fer?”
The blues, a black music form born of poverty and repression and slavery, is today purportedly enjoyed only by white intellectuals of an anthropological bent and/or would-be hepcats and not that many of them.
Guy and Meryl Streep were seen woofing shots of Sterno together at the after-party.
Fellow honoree ballerina Natalia Makarova expressed her wish to one day work with Buddy Guy at the Bolshoi on La Bayadère, a lavish bit of whimsy by Ludwig Minkus which fairly cries out for slide guitar in the second act.
The only other black thing at the down-home event besides Buddy Guy would have been the ties. And, I assume, Morgan Freeman.
Oh, and the president, but he ain’t exactly about to be mistaken for a member of Parliament-Funkadelic anytime soon. Or, for that matter, Roland Alphonso and The Soul Vendors.
Where was Leadbelly? Leo Sayer? Yakov Smirnoff? Any number of Jimmies with late-night talk shows? What are they? Chopped liver?
For his part, Letterman was acknowledged as having talked to celebrities on his late-night talk show longer than anyone else has who has had a late-night talk show.
He’d be nothing without Larry “Bud” Melman.
Where was Grand Funk? Michael J. Pollard? Lindsay Lohan? Carrot Top? AC/DC? Gary Puckett?
Isn’t Led Zeppelin just AC/DC in long pants?
Where was Lenny? Squiggy? The British neighbor on The Jeffersons?
(Your obscure pop-culture reference here.)
Where was Potsie? Iron Butterfly? Dame Judy Dench? The Gangnam Style guy?
Sting? Blind Lemon Jefferson? Doris Day? NWA?
Where was Shields? Yarnell?
Last year’s recipients included Neil Diamond and Yo-Yo Ma. My kingdom to have heard those two jam on Proud Mary. With The Speaker of the House on tambourine.
The Prez, on this year’s shining examples of the arts: “Each of us can remember a moment when the people on this stage touched our lives. Maybe they inspired us to see things in a new way, to hear things differently. It is that unique power that makes the arts so important.”
Neal Cassady on art: “I don’t know that much about what I like, but I know I don’t like art.”