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After years of making us laugh at our pain, the most likable man in comedy focuses on the most painful thing of all: our jobs

Photo courtesy Roy Wood Jr.

Roy Wood Jr. is the kind of guy who makes everyone comfortable. He has a talent for making strangers feel as if they grew up with him on his street in Birmingham, Alabama. Even if you have dissimilar viewpoints and values, you’d still want to sit and have a beer with him. It’s part of how Wood has been able to spend his career tackling difficult topics. It’s also why the 42-year-old comedian has remained busy, even in the midst of a pandemic.

In addition to being a correspondent on The Daily Show, Wood recently launched Roy’s Job Fair, a…


365 days ago, a group of actors learned that money and fame didn’t mean as much as they’d thought

Gal Gadot speaks at the 26th Annual Critics Choice Awards on March 7, 2021. Photo: Getty Images for the Critics Choice Association/Getty Images

A year ago, we were scared. The world had shut down, and nobody really knew how dangerous Covid-19 was going to prove to be. We were wiping down groceries, thinking that being anywhere near anyone else was a death sentence. Jobs were vaporizing; entire industries seemed to be shutting down. And we had a president we knew was constitutionally incapable of saving anyone’s life.

On this morning a year ago, Gal Gadot saw this dire state of the world and decided to do something. …


JUST RANKIN’ SH!T

‘All due respect, you got no f****in’ idea what it’s like to be #1'

The cast of The Sopranos posing
The cast of The Sopranos posing
Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

6. Season five

We fuck with Steve Buscemi as much as the next guy, but the blandness of this season is ultimately tied to his character, Tony Soprano’s cousin Tony Blundetto. As much as he seemed like a habitual line-stepper — in the mafia world, that means killing folk he probably shouldn’t — dude seemed more like an embarrassment of a relative than a true threat to Tony’s place in the mob.

This felt like an Italian homicidal acid trip. Focusing on character development rather than plot, it looked so deeply into its own navel it got lost in the lint it found…


JUST RANKIN’ SH!T

Yo, Adrian, they can’t all be champs!

Photo illustration: Save As/Medium; Photo: Hulu/Warner Bros

8. ‘Rocky V’ (1990)

Not only is Rocky damn-near brain dead after his narrow victory in this movie’s predecessor, he’s also broke as a joke, thanks to a shady-ass accountant. What’s left to do but [rewinds VHS] defend your honor by squaring up with your former protégé in the streets before patching things up with the estranged son you’ve been neglecting? All those haymakers to the head really started to take their toll on the script.

The American propaganda has always been as heavy-handed as one of Rocky’s left hooks, but there’s a line — and this film crossed it with a primary antagonist…


Wake up and appreciate the greatness of these criminally slept-on heroes

Photos: Gary Gershoff, Katja Ogrin, Scott Dudelson, Kirstin Sinclair, Noel Vasquez, Paras Griffin,
Tim Mosenfelder, Alison Buck, Kwangmoozaa/Getty Images

Ever since White jazz critics barged into the hootenannies Black musicians threw for one another, the face of genius has been homogeneous. The standards for what was considered creative could only be performed by men, it seemed — an assumption that hasn’t changed very much. Standards in Black creative production are a little wonky in that they largely adopt a patriarchal structure made to separate us from experiencing one another in full. Luckily, there have always been adroit beings from all across the gender-and-sexuality spectrum making waves for the people that they can touch.

These folks aren’t always the most…


Ferocious and measured, Lillard’s leadership and poise has made clear he’s not wasting Dame Time

Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers scores against the Denver Nuggets on February 4, 2020. Photo: Aaron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty Images

Damian Lillard has been a grown-ass goon probably since his diaper days, but in the midst of the NBA’s restart, some sort of mutation has taken hold. The catalyst is still a mystery. Maybe it was turning 30, as he did in July. Maybe it was the hermetically sealed environment of the NBA bubble, where fans are absent but competition isn’t. Regardless, the Trail Blazers’ point guard has officially entered Black-hot, stone-cold, baaad muhfucka territory.

His disposition has become damn near Denzelian — both ferocious and measured, in control yet willing to toss improvisational bombs that break the flow and…


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

Drums, please!

Photo: Bob Kind/Getty Images

5. “You Can’t Hurry Love” (1982)

Generally speaking, we don’t co-sign White folk remaking Black classics if they’re not named Hall & Oates. But Phil Collins took this Supremes banger, added some production heft, and stayed in pocket. Come for the lessons on managing expectations around love; stay for the belts that are dripping with chocolate thunder!

4. “In Too Deep” (1986)

This is a Genesis slow jam, but with bad-ass Brit singing lead there’s no need to get caught up in semantics. Here’s the skinny: Phil can’t take being in a dysfunctional relationship that finds him getting played by a slick-talkin’ babe. Says Phil: “There’s so much you promised /…


As a magician of six years, here’s everything I’ve hidden up my sleeves

A closeup of a Black person’s hand holding four playing cards with their backs to the viewer.
A closeup of a Black person’s hand holding four playing cards with their backs to the viewer.
Photo: Hudzilla/Getty Images

If you’re an aimless 16-year-old, don’t tell your parents you’re going to become a magician. Save yourself the embarrassment. Tell them you crashed the car, maxed out their credit card, got your girlfriend pregnant — seriously, anything else. Trust me on this.

Magic is changing its image, but many still see it as outdated, geeky, and downright strange. It’s exactly why it became my passion in high school.

I discovered magic as a mixed African American kid. I felt like I had no place in suburbia. Then I saw my future magic partner, Giancarlo Paone, blow the minds of our…


‘Force of Nature’ is written by White people for White people, set in an ‘exotic’ locale for maximum entertainment

Screenshot via “Force of Nature” trailer

“I’m staying here. I’m not leaving.”

That’s what Mel Gibson grumbles at Emile Hirsch and Kate Bosworth in their new film, Force of Nature. He delivers the lines with that grizzled, defiant, anti-authority attitude Americans seem to eat up at the box office.

But Force of Nature isn’t set in America; at least, not in the United States. It takes place in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, amid the backdrop of Hurricane Maria in 2017. It’s important to note that while the film is set during Hurricane Maria, it’s not about the devastating disaster at all. …


JUST RANKIN SH!T

If we hear one note of ‘Suavemente,’ we’re outta here

Photo illustration. Sources: Lester Cohen/Getty Images, NBC/Getty Images

7. Los Del Rio, “Macarena”

It was cute back in ’95 when we were in elementary school, and a synchronized dance made boy/girl parties less awkward. But ’95 was a long time ago. If you’re trying to get folks on the floor, stick with “Cupid Shuffle.”

6. Shakira, “Hips Don’t Lie”

Shouts to Shakira for moves that nod to her Lebanese culture — and sure, the song is mostly in English. But if you’re bumping a song that easy-listening stations play by the hour, it’s a dub for your party.

5. Daddy Yankee, “Gasolina”

Any proud boricua will always love Daddy Yankee for how he’s repped Puerto Rico and reggaeton. Pero

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