In a very, er, interesting take on hip hop history, Tony Awards host and human-wolverine hybrid Hugh Jackman credited The Music Man songwriter Meredith Willson with creating "one of the very first rap songs ever," and then brought out T.I. and L.L. Cool J in an attempt to prove it.
Of all the things Brad Paisley and LL Cool J's "Accidental Racist" is accused of being (among them: The Worst Song Ever™, awkward and earnest, actually just racist, brave), there are at least two things that the song unarguably is. First, it is important –- like it or not, this song the pop culture story of the week, if not the year. It packs the one-two punch of social relevance and diversion. Whether you like it or hate it, we are all talking about it. Many on the internet who claim to despise racism are clearly and perversely riveted by it.
In a story that lacks an easy song-based joke, "Doin It" rapper and professional hat wearer LL Cool J thwarted a home robbery this morning by detaining the potential burglar after a physical confrontation. According to the Los Angeles Times, the hip-hop legend was upstairs in his Studio City home when he heard a noise from his kitchen. Because he's clearly one of the strongest people in the world, J went down to investigate.
LL Cool J opened the Grammys with a prayer for, a memory of, Whitney Houston. Here is that opening.
It hasn't been the easiest year for Vikram Pandit, but the Citigroup CEO has at least one reason to smile today: It's his 53rd birthday. Cranky 60 Minutes commentator Andy Rooney turns 91 today. Fox News anchor Shepard Smith is 46. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times is turning 58. Director Steven Soderbergh turns 47. Jason Bateman is 41. Dave Grohl is turning 41. LL Cool J is 42. Model Angela Lindvall is celebrating her 31st birthday. And Faye Dunaway turns 69 today.
Crime procedurals always consist of three plot points, a wrongful arrest and a twist. So we've done the work for you. Here's last nights NCIS: Los Angeles in 60 seconds. Now do something with that extra hour of your life.
Hugh Jackman carrying a box out of Blick Art on Bond Street ... Uma Thurman leaving her West Village townhouse with son Levon ... Jennifer Aniston filming scenes for her new movie at a restaurant in Williamsburg ... Paul McCartney standing outside Arabelle on East 64th Street ... Model Carmen Kass sitting outside at Bar Pitti ... Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo leaving ABC studios ... LL Cool J driving a Bentley in Midtown ... Famke Janssen getting on a bike ... and Chace Crawford being chased by two female fans on the set of Gossip Girl.
Worst birthday ever: Embattled Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit turns 52 today, although we're going to assume that whatever big party Swati Pandi had been planning is not going ahead as scheduled. Others celebrating: 60 Minutes' Andy Rooney is turning 90. Fox News anchor Shepard Smith is 45. The New York Times' Maureen Dowd is 57. Models Karen Elson and Angela Lindvall are both turning 30. Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh is 46. Cranky liberal Eric Alterman is 49. Venture capitalist (and babe magnet) Adam Dell is turning 39. Jason Bateman is 40. Dave Grohl is celebrating his 40th. LL Cool J is 41. Faye Dunaway is turning 68. And Ms. Kristin Cavallari is turning 22 today.
♦ You didn't expect to hear that Lydia Hearst actually wrote that column in Page Six magazine by herself, did you? In response to Hearst's accusation that Page Six fabricated her latest column—the one in which she bashed her family's publishing company—the mag now says that Hearst's writing process involved being interviewed by a reporter who then "put her thoughts into cohesive paragraphs." And they have the emails to prove Lydia's trash talk. [P6]
♦ Madonna is reportedly under pressure from the leaders of Kabbalah to reach a divorce settlement quickly, lest the mess cast a negative light on their freaky cult. Guy Ritchie, however, isn't making it any easier now that he's apparently rejected Madge's latest £20 million offer. [Daily Mail, ThisIsLondon]
♦ Michael Phelps got paid $100,000 to swim around at a pool party thrown by a TV network chief's wife. [P6]
♦ It's a match made in heaven: Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Jerry Ferrara, who plays Turtle on Entourage, are dating. [R&M]
Britney Spears getting out of an SUV at JFK ... Sarah Ferguson signing copies of her book at Borders ... Taylor Momsen on the Gossip Girl set ... Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise leaving their apartment with Suri ... LL Cool J reading to kids as part of a charity event in Rockefeller Plaza ... Candice Bergen walking by herself on the Upper West Side ... Calista Flockhart outside the Letterman show ... Leighton Meester posing for photos at a domestic violence awareness event in Union Square ... Elizabeth Hurley entering her hotel on the Upper East Side ... and Sean and Robin Wright Penn holding hands outside the premiere of What Just Happened.
♦ It seems like sending out company-wide emails ripping your co-workers is not a good idea: Pat O'Brien has been fired from The Insider. [R&M, P6]
♦ Brandon Davis has been conning his friends out of cash, but whenever anyone tries to get the money back "he starts crying and gets them to feel bad for him." [P6]
♦ Poor Ivana Trump almost had to fly coach this week. But then someone in first class switched seats, so everything turned out okay. Phew. [P6]
♦ Heather Mills is suing her former publicist—the one who very publicly dumped her and called her a "witch"—for libel. [P6]
♦ Anne Hathaway's been crashing on her parents' couch ever since she got booted from Raffaello Follieri's duplex. [In Touch]