Funny or Die: Keeping a Celebrity’s Career Alive.

Funny or die.

No, I’m not just saying the name of the website, I’m outlining the choices that crashing celebrities are given after devastating acts of career suicide.

They could be funny— make jokes about themselves, fully accept their ridiculous acts.

Or they could watch their careers die.

While the SNL monologue has always provided a great platform for a little bit of self-deprecation (see Miley Cyrus, last Saturday, March 5th), the internet makes that bit of necessary humiliation even more accessible.

For those of you living under a rock these past few weeks, Charlie Sheen has taken a swan dive straight into the pool of insanity. After his lawyers forbade him from any further interviews with the media, Sheen took matters into his own hands, creating personal video posts that were deemed less than interesting by tabloids and rabid fans alike. But now that Sheen has officially lost his job on the sitcom Two and a Half Men, Sheen needs to up his crazy to stay relevant (of course, that $100 million dollar lawsuit against CBS might help any financial loses he will experience after never being hired in Hollywood again…).

So how does a star both capitalize their madness while simultaneously working to gain back even a shred of respectability?

Funny or die. And this time I am talking about the website. Founded by famous funny men Will Ferrell, Judd Apatow, Adam McKay, and Chris Henchy, the FunnyorDie website is quite the viral sensation. While the title of the site actually refers to the viewers’ ability to vote a video as either ‘funny’ or deserving to ‘die,’  the name applies quite well to the options of some desperate celebrities.

Several celebrities, from Natalie Portman to Zac Efron, have starred in one of their exclusive videos. After all, a celebrity willing to laugh at themselves seems to denote a sense of grounded-ness. It’s positive for the individuals image for the audience to see that that person is down to earth and connected to the viewers; they are not divas who are above a bit of silliness for a laugh.

These exclusive videos are especially exciting when they feature the tabloid’s latest favorite screw-ups. About two years ago (yes, her “hot mess” status has been applicable for that long), Lindsay Lohan had just faced a very public break-up from girlfriend Sam Ronson. While going through a break-up in the eyes of the public must be devastating enough, the real scandal came when the Ronson family began issuing restraining orders against the apparently insane Lohan. The press had a field day– who can blame them. Lohan had always provided plenty of fodder.

To combat these negative issues, Lohan, or perhaps more likely her publicist, made a deal with FunnyorDie. Soon enough, Lindsay Lohan’s “eHarmony Profile” became a hit web video. With the tagline “Lindsay Lohan is newly single and ready to mingle!,” audience enjoyed laughing at Lohan as she, in turn, laughed at herself.

While that might not have saved her career, it certainly helped redeem her– at least until the next scandal.

Now Charlie Sheen can add an exclusive FunnyorDie video to his resume. “Charlie Sheen’s Winning Recipes” incorporates all of Sheen’s spectacular (and wacky quotes)– from tiger blood, to Adonis DNA, and we can’t forget winning. Filmed as a “cooking show,” Sheen takes his insanity to a whole new level– and we love it!

Perhaps Sheen’s career isn’t completely revived, but it never hurts to laugh at oneself. Afterall, it’s easier than admitting defeat, which Sheen would never do– he’s winning. Or at least this video is.

While I couldn’t embed the video, I have provided the link: http://FunnyOrDie.com/m/5cwg

Side Note: where did they get the tiger hat on such short notice? Do they actually make those?

Check it out and tell me what you think.


Has Sheen’s Ship Sailed?

When a celebrity crashes and burns, hundreds of media outlets across the globe stand to attention. The public can’t get enough of hot messes straight out of Hollywood. Thankfully, Charlie Sheen has decided to provide us with enough fodder to last a lifetime.

I can’t help but comment on the recent ‘tomfoolery’ (his word, not mine). Personally, I’ve never been a fan of Sheen. I believe him to be the real-life embodiment of Lord Licorice from the childhood board game Candyland. Sure, he turned out a reasonably good performance in Wallstreet, but his overall acting ability is sub par. Contrary to Sheen’s own boastful claims, he really is “nothing special.” Or at least, he wasn’t special until he decided to crash and burn with a fervor that would make Lindsey Lohan jealous.

From drugs to spousal abuse to anti-Semitism– Sheen is covering all his bases, leaving no group free from offense. While his public downward spiral began with ranting radio interviews, as of yesterday Sheen has taken to the medium of television, where we get to both hear his gravely voice and look into his sunken eyes. There is no doubt that the man looks unhealthy– he’s lost weight, he face speaks of exhaustion– I found myself wondering if the whole make-up department was out sick. In one interview, Sheen chainsmokes while simultaneously boasting his impressive ability to quit narcotics and alcohol cold turkey, without the help of AA. In fact, Sheen goes on to bash AA– once again, leaving no stone unturned with his offense. Sheen comes across as egotistical, calling himself both a warlock and rock star in two interviews. His cocky gloating only helps to null and void his claim of selflessness in wanting to start back on Two and a Half men. Formerly the highest paid actor in television (2 million an episode!), Sheen insists that his eagerness to start back up at work is motivated by a need to support his family (did you know the man has 5 children? FIVE! That’s five little ones running around with his genes…).

But this post is more than my own personal rant about Charlie Sheen, it’s a recognition of a Public Relations fail.

While I don’t know much (or anything) about Sheen’s publicist or how Sheen himself has been trained to handle these situations, I’m quite sure that the wrong approach is being taken. Suddenly Sheen seems to be on every television station, giving ‘exclusive’ interview after ‘exclusive’ interview. It’s understandable that Team Sheen wants to do some major damage control, but the interviews are doing more harm than good. While his mind-blowingly offensive radio interviews didn’t seem to be enough to convince the Team that Sheen’s interaction with the media should be limited, one would have supposed his first interview would have. Instead, Sheen is being scheduled for more and more face time with television audiences. At each sitting he manages to offend a whole new target audiences while sinking himself deeper and deeper into the pits of career suicide. At this point, it almost seems like Sheen’s publicist is purposely trying to destroy him (perhaps he/she was among the many offended). And yet, do you think a good PR campaign could have saved him? Or possibly still can?

Even before his outrageous radio interviews, it was doubtful Sheen’s career could ever be salvaged. Afterall, the only star to ever reemerge from such a critical situation is the preternatural Robert Downey Jr. RDJ, however, possesses something that Sheen’s interviews prove the TV ‘star’ severely lacks–charisma. Now, for Sheen it is just a matter of a slow descent, with the public delighting in even obnoxious and toxic word he utters. Consider Sheen’s career over.

[Here’s a brilliant idea! How about Emilio Estevez (Charlie Sheen’s half-brother) returns to mainstream acting, or acting at all, and takes over the Sheen’s role on Two and a Half Men. Pull a Spin City kind of move, when Sheen took over for the always charming Michael J Fox. Just saying.]

Great Article about Sheen’s PR Flop: http://www.pamil-visions.net/charlie-sheen/223210/

Barbie & Ken Rekindle…online

They are the Ross and Rachel of toys. Will they or won’t they? Their indecision has plagued us for years…and the intrigue has just gotten even more compelling.

Many might recall that back in 2004, Barbie and Ken, the idyllic couple of our childhood imaginations, decided to take a bit of a romantic break. Perhaps these two ‘plastic celebrities’ decided they each wanted to spend just a bit more time on one of their numerous careers (i.e. rocket scientist, professional dancer, veterinarian). Whatever the reasoning, Mattel, Inc. split the two up.

And now, on the eve of Ken’s 50th birthday (wow, he looks good for his age– think he had some work done? plastic surgery maybe? sorry lame joke), Mattel has launched a digital marketing campaign of epic proportions in an attempt to reunite the two lovelorn dolls.

A jack-of-all-trades, Ken’s next greatest challenge is to win back his true love. Since the break up, Ken has been undergoing an image overhaul. Now he’s ready to show his new self off, and he’s using the power of social networking to do so. Consumers are encouraged to check out Ken’s profiles, as well as the hub site barbieandken.com. You can even vote in an online poll asking, “Should Barbie Take Ken Back?” Leaving no viral stone unturned, other social marketing sites being utilized include Facebook, twitter, foursquare, and YouTube. Fans can follow the love story as it unfolds, with both of the dolls actively engaging in socializing through these sites. Ken has been known to tweet anything from nostalgic memories about times with Barbie to his favorite articles in contemporary mens’ magazines.

So why the campaign, and why now? Well, besides the obvious excitement over Ken’s birth-aversary (that’s birthday and anniversary combined), the release of the latest Ken doll is also causing quite a stir. The new “Sweet Talking Ken” doll  is described as being “the ultimate boyfriend for every occasion,” praising his ability to say “whatever your want him to say!” Certainly sounds good.

Also in the works, in attempt to gain further notice, Mattel has started a web series called “Genuine Ken.” The series, hosted by Hulu,  is looking for the literal equivalent of the toy company’s newest Ken doll. The contestants all compete for the title of “The Great American Boyfriend.”

Another clever scheme is the product incorporation within the campaign. Ken be seen promoting any number of products. For instance, he uses a Macbook while browsing Google Chrome.

All in all, the concept seems pretty great. The famous dolls’ relationship spans generations, and by using the internet, the company has successfully targeted the modern youth. What do you think? And more especially, should Barbie take Ken back?