Category Archives: movies

Emil Guillermo: Some final thoughts while watching the last “Late Show with David Letterman.” And a correction: JEE!

I was very moved and touched by the last Late Show.

And glad Rupert had a slight cameo during the “Day in the Life …” segment.

And sorry to misspell Jee in some social posts.   I guess I wanted to be in the same alphabetized line as Rupert.  Go “G” team!

So let’s get that out of the way.

(The handshake on the Tuesday show was very touching)


There are just a few things I want to note about the last show:

First, the best Final Top Ten moment for me was Chris Rock’s line.

I know he was “joking.”  But you know what Freud said about jokes.  (They’re not really jokes).

Rock’s line: “I’m just glad the show is being given to another white guy.”

There was about :11 seconds of laughs, and then Dave topped it with, “You know I had nothing to do with that.”


But the other moment that informed that line, and the whole show for me was that “Day in the Life” vignette, the behind the scenes look at Dave’s day.

Sure, there was a shot of Rupert and a guy answering the phones, but you didn’t see a whole lot of people of color.

Especially in the key meetings when the show’s content was being decided.

I know. That’s just the way it happens.  But it was so glaring to me.

Dave’s a Midwest American guy. And things are changing.

In the monologue,  he joked about how the top-rated show when he started was “Keeping up with the Gabors.”

And there was the line about Elian Gonzalez.  Remember him?  I actually did Elian op-eds back in the day.

Dave’s joke: “What a case that was. The kid and Cuba and where should he go, the United States? He’s been in Cuba, and well, you’re not going to believe this. The kid is 21-years-old. Twenty-one-years old now. And yesterday, he announced he wants to come back to America. Now my question to you is….Should I take this personally?”

A 13-second laugh with applause.

“OK Thanks.”

More laughs. But that really is the story about this milestone of Dave’s retirement.

The world is changing.

And Dave, god love him, is just your old fashioned white guy, a tad more liberal than most, but he had open heart surgery when he was a young 52, and now at 68, he just wants to get to his wife and Harry (whom he introduced in a rare bit of sharing) and there’s nothing wrong with that. Because as he said, there’s nothing more important than that.

Dave’s  show was a pop chronicle of the times, and the show ending vignette was a reminder of the changing of styles, fashion, content, and how it all will go on. And change even more.  More diverse than before, maybe get even better, but without Dave.

And that’s ok, he got the parade to this point, and that’s a lot.

And now we’re in a completely different neighborhood.

Thanks Dave.

No sarcasm, just respect.

Thirty-three years is a long time.

It’s been 50 years since Selma, since Voting Rights, since the immigration gates opened to Asians in 65.

Dave’s show wasn’t perfect, nor was he (he was certainly no saint), but in what he did best, he helped us endure.

And now we’re on to the next late night.


Dave said something to the effect that all the stuff being said about him was over the top, which in most cases was the case. Then he said “Save something for the funeral.”

Which is also true.

But frankly, this doesn’t get into the sex scandal he had with an intern or two, all while in a relationship with the woman who would become his wife?  (Hey, don’t all white males of power have 1 or 2 of them? )

I also kept thinking about his quintuple bypass in 2000, when he was all of 52.

That’s young.

Maybe I’m thinking about all that because I just had my cholesterol checked.

The numbers were so low, the doctor prescribed me a pastrami sandwich.

And suggested my family buy a cow.  Doctors orders.

As a vegetarian, more vegan than not, I respectfully declined.

I hope Letterman’s  become vegetarian and not eating Rupert’s deli meats.

He’ll live longer.

By the way, did you catch the Leno reference in the bumper?

Ah, self-deprecation!



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Emil Guillermo: Ken Jeong’s “Dr.Ken” to make house calls as ABC picks up series for fall and becomes most Asian American-friendly network in prime time.

The Mouse must have a thing for Asian Americans.

First, “Fresh off the Boat,” and now  comedian Ken Jeong gets the nod for a full season from ABC for his sitcom, “Dr. Ken.”

It’s the first time two Asian American shows are on prime-time with a major network.

Jeong, a doctor before becoming a star as a member of the “Hangover”  ensemble,  has always pushed the comic in Asian stereotypes to the extreme.

I’ve always been a Jeong fan.

But maybe this is a chance to see the medical community as it really is.   Who are the docs you see in the hospitals these days?  They just don’t make it past central casting for TV shows.

Oh, and let’s hope we see  all the Filipino nurses.

Jeong is executive producer. 


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Emil Guillermo: “Fresh off the Boat” renewed for sophomore year on ABC

The Asian American comedy, “Fresh off the Boat,” will be back for a second season on ABC, according to and others.

And now, I guess it will be  “success perms” for all.


The show attracted nearly six million viewers on average in the key 18-49 demographic, and was considered on the bubble.

While I like young Hudson Yang as Eddie, the winning story lines are anchored by the parents played by Constance Wu and Randall Park.

Wu especially was a bright light for the show, and by the end of the season she was the reason I’d tune in.

Funny Asian girl? Yeah, like comedian Ali Wong, a writer on last year’s show. Maybe she’ll be back too.

One of the “diverse” comedies on ABC’s plate, FOTB joins “Blackish,” for a second season. The Latino oriented “Cristela” was not renewed.

See my earlier take on the show here.


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Emil Guillermo: Why are Filipinos always the punchline? Seeing FX’s “The Comedians” reminded me of a dumb joke in “Anchorman 2.”

We know that Manny Pacquiao can punch.

And that  the champ is nobody’s  punchline.


So why is it that in U.S. pop culture, that’s not true for the rest of us.

Have you noticed? Filipinos are way too often the punchline.


It happened again the other night on the FX debut of “The Comedians.” Joshua Gad jokes about joining Billy Crystal in a sitcom. Talking to his agent on the phone, Gad says he wants Latinos to see his work; And blacks; And that other group. You know that group….

The agent then says, “Filipinos?  (beat) They’re terrific.”

The tag doesn’t soften the blow.

Listen to the dialogue here: 150409_001

So we’re mentioned. That’s some consolation prize.  Inclusion? I didn’t see any Filipinos in the cast.

It reminded me how Anchorman 2 had a Filipino dog eating joke that was really offensive. See my take here.

Replace “Filipino” with “Jew” and you know there’d be cries of anti-Semitism. It would be  somewhat mitigated by the fact that the Jews are making the products on screen.

So that’s really the answer isn’t it? We  need to  see more American Filipinos producing and directing projects.

If that were the case,  we can tell our own dog jokes.


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