Jonny's Top 10 Enemies of 2016
What a shit storm the year 2016 turned out to be. There were plenty of contenders for this list who came up short. Hillary Clinton lost the presidential race to an orange fraud, and must take some of the blame for the nightmare that will be the next ten years. Bernie Sanders had strong consideration for making my Facebook page a war zone for six months. Time Warner Cable became Spectrum and took the art of making customers unhappy to a whole new level. Tufts and Needle pissed me off when I ordered a Queen-sized mattress and they responded by shipping me a Twin not once but twice. The US government took brutal measures against the peaceful demonstrators at Standing Rock and wouldn't back down until it finally dawned on them that the citizenry of the U.S. was overwhelmingly against them. Kellyanne Conway booked a first-class ticket to hell by rationalizing every disgusting move Donald Trump made to the press. Jesse Merlin (#1 in 2013 and 2014) failed to make the cut for the first time since 2010, proving just how tough the competition was this year. And last year's #1 entry (myself) was too delightful, sexy and charming to even be considered.
For those of you of a historical bent, the top 10 enemies of past years can be seen here:
For the rest of you, let's cut the crap and get on with Jonny's top 10 enemies of 2016:
10. Lacie Harmon and Robin Greenspan, a sapphic duo of my acquaintance joined in holy matrimony who have created a channel on YouTube that displays videos which challenge their subscribers to "ask a lesbian couple." As a longtime watcher of Cinemax, I used to think that two chicks together was pretty hot but Labin (as they have been dubbed by the tabloids) have killed that notion forever with their witty but thought-provoking online conversations on such topics as whether all lesbians hate men (they do not), who is the "husband" and who is the "wife" in a lesbian marriage (they're both the wife, you moron) and which one wears the strap-on in the bedroom. This last topic was the most disappointing to me as they explained that a strap-on wasn't an essential piece of technology in female same-sex relationships as most heterosexuals assumed. I took exception to that because my tragically misshapen genitalia forces me to wear a strap-on on those rare occasions when I am able to get any and I had taken comfort in the misapprehension that I wasn't alone. What is especially irksome about Labin is that they impart advice about cohabitation which is useful to couples regardless of their sexual orientation, as if "love" was a concept that all human beings could relate to. Let me assure Mrs. Harmon-Greenspan and Mrs. Greenspan-Harmon that the key thing lesbian women have in common with heterosexual women is that none of them are interested in having sex with me. It's enough to make me want to turn gay, except I've found it to be true of dudes as well. At least there's one aspect of human sexuality we can all rally around.
9. Glenn Simon, Micah Waterson and David Pinion, three goofballs that I am forced into having brunch with on those rare occasions when I forget to let the machine pick up the call. Watching any of these gorillas eat would be reason enough to place them on this list but they are primarily here because they were all witnesses on a bleak winter day to me mid-heart attack and having nothing more to say about it than "Can you please double over in pain on the other side of the table so I can reach the salt?" Mr. Simon has since insisted to me that my recollection is faulty and he suggested that I go to the emergency room. I have no memory of that but even in the unlikely event that I am incorrect, I would sooner take medical advice from a 17th century dentist who wanted to apply leaches to me than I would from that idiot so I was damned if I did and damned if I didn't. In fact, I'm probably better off that I didn't since Mr. Simon probably would have sent me to a doctor who wanted to treat my heart attack with leaches. The point is that I didn't seek medical attention for more than two weeks after my coronary episode and I need someone to blame for it who isn't me. If Messrs. Simon, Waterson and Pinion have a problem with that, they should think twice before asking me to brunch when I'm having a heart attack.
8. Lisa Glass, the statuesque blonde who this year supplanted Mara Marini as the hot chick I harass by characterizing her in the demeaning illustrations that have made me a legend on social media. Much to my surprise, Ms. Glass didn't seem to object to my Photoshopping her into every insane scenario that popped into my demented mind until I depicted her smoking a cigarette. A life-long non-smoker, Ms. Glass took me to task for showing her giving into a vile habit that is abhorrent to her and everyone she knows, thereby missing two vital points. One is that while sucking on a nicotine-laced firey butt stick is a grotesque practice that I have never lowered myself to personally, it is also damned sexy (nothing is more sophisticated than the image of Humphrey Bogart chainsmoking Chesterfields, even if we do have to block out the reality that he died from lung cancer at 56). The other is that men throughout history have cast women in situations that are unpleasant and will undoubtedly shorten their life spans for reasons ranging from it made circumstances better for men to that by making themselves feel superior to some other group it made men hate themselves just a little bit less (I fall into the latter category). So if Ms. Glass is going to reprimand me for this kind of behavior she'd better be prepared to take her objections all the way back to the cave men. But if she's going to travel that far, she'd better pack a few extra cartons of smokes.
7. The bastard who hacked my Enemies List website. My long-time fans may best know me for Jonny's Enemies List, my delightful blog in which I railed about how disappointed I am in you people. Hardcore Jonnyphiles have noticed that since about late-January, a page reading only "Internal Server Error" has taken the place of my online justice. I have spent many hours trying to bring the site back up without success and I don't know who is responsible for it but I have my theories. The most obvious suspect is the Russian government because of my fearless avocation of Hillary Clinton as president. Another prime possibility is the yahoos who are radically opposed to the 99-seat theatre plan in Los Angeles (see entry #5), of which I am a tireless champion. But I have my eye on Sylvester Stallone, since the site went down right after I posted an entry mocking him for receiving an Oscar nomination for Creed, his 114th appearance in the Rocky Balboa saga. I don't believe that Sly has the computer expertise to hack the complex firewall provided by my Wordpress application, but he certainly has the financial resources to hire someone who does. So if I can track down a cancelled check made out his account to Boris Badenov or the NoHo 10, I'll have all the evidence I need to knock Rocky out for once and for all.
6. The great actress Frances Fisher, who most of you know from film classics like Titanic and Unforgiven. I, alas, am most familiar with Ms. Fisher on another front; by following her do-gooder antics on her Facebook feed. When she's not jetting off to film at some exotic locale, I know that she can be found campaigning with her buddy Bernie Sanders or protesting at Standing Rock or lobbying to protect some endangered animal or marching alongside an oppressed group of people. Frankly, I find just reading about her various causes to be exhausting, and it takes up valuable time that I could be using to take naps. Ms. Fisher apparently fails to take into account that my sleep is very important to me and when I wake up after catching a few Z's in the middle of the day to find that she's used the same time opposing an oppressive political regime or saving the spotted owl from extinction, I feel a twinge of guilt that can only be assuaged by taking another nap. If she doesn't knock it off with all the annoying humanitarian hijinks she's constantly subjecting me into reading about, I may never wake up at all. And that won't leave me any time to re-watch Titanic and Unforgiven. Ms. Fisher obviously just doesn't bother to consider that her actions come with very real human costs.
5. Actors' Equity Association, which placed a death knell in 99-seat theatre in Los Angeles on December 14th by implementing a directive (overwhelmingly opposed by its Los Angeles members) that non-membership companies (e.g., theatres which don't have a standing enrollment of actors who usually pay dues for the privilege) are required to pay the union members in their casts minimum wage for rehearsal and performances. Sounds good on paper until you consider that the whole 99-seat theatre movement was started by actors who came to LA for the film work only to discover that there is no audience for live theater in the City of Angels. That means that most so-called "99-seat theatres" actually have about 45 seats and it's not uncommon for the cast to outnumber the theatre-goers (which can come in handy if the audience starts to get unruly). I happen to know for a fact that the brilliant production of Richard III in which I gave a landmark performance in the title role made a total profit of exactly fifty dollars, and that was with only paying the union actors a small stipend for their work. I'm far too busy to do any actual math but I figure with the added cost of paying us minimum wage for our time, the show would have lost around ten million dollars sending the producers (who were, like all 99-seat producers, doing the thing as a labor of love) to debtor's prison for the next fifty years. And rest assured that now that AEA has irreparably damaged the structure of 99-seat theatre, they'll be going after membership companies next; which means that the only live theatre options for the vast majority of union actors in LA will be touring musicals and the odd legitimate play which casts its main roles with TV stars and actors out of New York. They've said for decades that the theater is dying and I'm starting to think that Actors' Equity Association will be the ones who finally kill it.
4. The Grim Reaper, who seemed to go ape-shit this year in taking well-known people to the great beyond. I personally don't get too worked up about the death of celebrities who have lived a long life and whose productive days are long behind them, but when Death grabs people still in the prime of life like Prince (aged 57), David Bowie (age 69, which is not as old as it used to be) and Anton Yelchin, the guy who played Chekhov in the new Star Trek movies (who was only 27, for God's sake) we need to regroup and discuss this whole shuffling off this mortal coil business. I think we can all agree that things got unbearable in the Celebrity Death Department in the last week of the year, when Carrie Fisher (the beloved star of Star Wars) passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack and her mother Debbie Reynolds (the beloved star of Singin' in the Rain) passed away unexpectedly of a stroke the very next day. I honestly don't know if a higher percentage of famous names went to their Great Reward in 2016 or not but when a mother and a daughter – and I mean any mother and daughter, not just ones who starred in famous movies – die within a day of each other, something is cosmically fucked up.
3. My heart, which savagely attacked me at the very end of 2015 and I brilliantly waited to see a doctor about it until the very beginning of 2016 (when my chest pains got to be unbearable, I took Pepto Bismol). The doctor told me to go immediately to a cardiologist, the cardiologist told me to go immediately to the hospital, and the hospital immediately implanted a stent in my ticker which allowed me to continue being alive in order to write this idiotic list. Having a heart attack is a mind-numbing kick in the scrotum to your sense of reality, and it's taken me until just about now to return to my charming self. In the mean time, I gave up eating meat or drinking alcohol and I now go to the gym four times a week; meaning that I can look forward to a long and healthy life of being absolutely miserable. I did appreciate the many good wishes I received from my fans, including a touching and unexpected "Get Well Soon" blurb in the popular theatre blog BitterLemons.com. But I've got to be honest with you: If 2017 turns out to be anything like 2016 and I have another heart attack, I may not go to the doctor about it at all. I don't know how much more of this shit I can take.
2. Donald Trump. There was a time when we looked up to the President of the United States as a member of the intellectual elite who had risen to the highest level of the military or of state or federal government before being entrusted with the key to the Oval Office. George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight Eisenhower were victorious generals before they became president. Woodrow Wilson was governor of New Jersey and President of Princeton University. John F. Kennedy was a senator and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. Barack Obama was a senator and professor of Constitutional Law. Even Ronald Reagan had starred in King's Row, which was nominated for the 1942 Best Picture Oscar. But this year, the American people chose to install into the most powerful position in the planet a reality TV star and businessman of dubious ability with no political or military experience whose platform was based on a galling combination of racism and unfounded conceit. From the moment Donald Trump descended an escalator to announce his nomination when he blamed the country's problems on illegal immigrant rapists to the cusp of taking the oath of office when he decreed that the esteemed nuclear physicist who is currently serving as Secretary of Energy would be replaced by professional buffoon Rick Perry, he has been a national embarrassment. Space doesn't permit me to list all the political atrocities Donald Trump has committed in his unsettling rise to power by inexplicably winning the electoral college despite losing the popular vote by an overwhelming margin, and I really don't have the energy to make jokes about it anyway. When Mr. Trump rode down that escalator in Trump Tower so long ago, he seemed hysterically funny. Now that he is about to take over the office once held by Abraham Lincoln, he is more like a nightmare that is about to be unleashed on the United States in payment for 238 years of arrogance and institutionalized racism. Perhaps we deserve what is about to happen to us. But I say, let's not go down without a fight.
1. God, who I have taken to task many times on these pages and who I blame for the whole freakin' mess that was this hemmorhoid of a calendar year. Most of the people I know are anxious for 2016 to end so that we can have a fresh start in 2017. But with Mr. Trump about to assume four years of power in the White House (unless, as many predict, he is impeached; and what president have been assumed to be a candidate for impeachment before he even took his first oath of office?) I don't have high hopes that the upcoming year will be any better than the current one. I'm perfectly willing to take responsibility for my own failings but Jehovah gets the rap for a great deal of it; crap like my heart attack (prior to when it stopped pumping, I had never been diagnosed with any heart ailments whatsoever and heart disease never showed a glimmer in my family medical history), the loss of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher a day apart from each other, and the existence of Donald Trump and his foul crew of unconscionable henchmen; and the Almighty can go screw Himself for it. God had better shape up in 2017 or I'm seriously considering looking into Devil worship. I'm not saying things would be any better under Satan but at least when you check into hell, you're getting exactly what you asked for. It's kind of like voting for Donald Trump.
And that's all for 2016. 2017 starts with a clean slate, so good luck to all of you. You'll need it.