Show Your Work: America’s Got Gabrielle

Duana Posted by Duana at December 4, 2019 20:25:59 December 4, 2019 20:25:59

If Lainey were writing this, she’d undoubtedly point out that some stories are gifts that keep giving or that gain momentum when you least expect it. It’s been a full week since the story broke that Gabrielle Union spoke up about various issues at America’s Got Talent – and was released from her contract.  

Stories like this often die out after a couple of days, but this one has allll the right ingredients to keep it going: A winsome heroine (Gabrielle Union has always been one of those celebrities who makes everything she touches better), an evil villain (it’s literally Simon Cowell), and a long holiday weekend for everyone to chew over it. 

And over, and over it. We talked about what would happen in the culture of the show, but now NBC is investigating whether AGT is a ‘racially insensitive’ work environment. This may be the (increasingly-less-rare?) scenario where speaking up has an immediate net benefit. Not only did Time’s Up officially come out in support of Gabrielle along with a host of other celebs both inside and outside NBC, but conversations about what it means to be a ‘difficult’ woman, especially as a person of colour, are happening without a whole lot of people trying to pretend that’s not what’s happening.  

Then again, it’s kind of hard to pretend it’s not happening when the workplace toxicity is so ham-fisted a network TV host is told her hairstyles are “too black” – but then again, we live in a glorious age where receipts can be produced in the form of Union’s on-set hairstylist producing a slideshow of said hairstyles, set to Beyonce’s “Flawless”. 

On this episode of Show Your Work, we debate whether any of the surprising reactions to the story can wind up as a negative for Union, since we know that ‘difficult’ label can be hard to shake – and fantasize about where she’ll go next and who has the unenviable job offer to take her place. 

Then, as the entire Star Wars fandom and everyone who’s ever met them knows, The Rise Of Skywalker premieres December 19th. – but interviews with JJ Abrams and John Boyega reveal something so horrifying I might get a hernia from the cringe: John Boyega lost his copy of the script, which later turned up on eBay. It’s not hyperbole to say that if this had happened to me, I would not dare to ever show my face or open my mouth again, yet here John Boyega is actually talking and laughing like a human being who apparently has not died from shame and embarrassment! Even though it was lost because ‘he was partying’!

The fact that he hasn’t checked himself into a monastery made us wonder if maybe this is all some very clever marketing, which led us into a debate about the size of the pages in question, the foibles of Tom Holland, and how to feel smart when you spot a clever tactic but don’t want it to actually go away. 

Finally, Lainey and I trade favourite quotes from Rachel Syme’s incredible interview with Jamie Lee Curtis in The New Yorker and we celebrate the still-too-rare ‘Hollywood Broad’ whose interviews are always delicious because they long ago stopped caring about whether something they say is a bit too… anything. Plus some surprising contenders for who might be the Jamie Lee of the future. 

All this, plus Lainey genuinely shrieks in horror when I tell the story of *my * worst-ever celebrity interview, which still makes me cringe even though it happened many, many holiday albums ago. 

Thank you for listening and supporting our work on Show Your Work! Please subscribe to us wherever you get your podcasts and leave comments and reviews. We so appreciate it!

 

Photos:
Rodin Eckenroth/ FilmMagic

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