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by
Kathy Shaidle

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October 18, 2011 - 3:36 pm

(OK, I'm pretty sure this logo is a big part of the problem...)

It’s a favorite refrain of crusty coaches and cynical salesmen: “Nobody remembers the second guy on the moon.”

However, the secret to success in one particular field seems to hinge on being first runner-up.

In his interview with a winner of the San Francisco International Stand-Up Comedy Competition, KikAxeMusic writer Steve Hofstetter noted as an aside that, when they were first starting out, competition contestants Robin Williams, Kevin Pollak, Ellen DeGeneres, Mark Curry, Marc Maron and Dane Cook had all finished second.

And sure enough, the competition’s past Top Fives are, well, comical. I’m ashamed to say I don’t recognize many of the first place winners. Rob Schneider placing last in 1987 (almost) renews my faith in cosmic justice, but Louis C.K. taking that spot in 1991, and Patton Oswalt two years later?

Was the festival venue built on top of an old vaudevillian burial ground?

That said, I wasn’t surprised to see Nick DiPaolo’s name among those second-placers (back in 1990 no less) and I say that as a fan.

You could call it a “running gag” if only it was funny: DiPaolo’s been “the next big thing” since the first Clinton administration.

As he recently told the LAist:

[W]hen I did my first couple open mics, 20-something years ago, I remember somebody saying “You’re going to be popular because you’re politically incorrect and that’s going to be big.” It’s still not true, each year since then, and that was in 1988, it’s getting more politically correct, and I’m still waiting for it to swing and it’s not going to.

He also talked about how much he loves doing radio. DiPaolo’s long been a favorite guest of Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony and Dennis Miller, who calls him one of the only comics he’d pay to see. DiPaolo briefly hosted his own show in New York until the station changed formats, and he told the LAist back in May he’d “love to get back on.”

Now he is. DiPaolo and his old Stern Show pal Artie Lange just signed a lucrative three-year deal to host a late night sports talk radio show.

The pair scored a big “get” last week: in his first post-”controversy” interview, Hank Williams Jr. called in to set the record straight about his notorious Godwin’s Law violation.

Williams told Nick and Artie he hadn’t been fired by ESPN, but had quit on principle. The singer vowed to keep fighting censorship and creeping socialism — just before he abruptly and inexplicably hung up:

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When Nick and Artie talk about sports, I may as well be listening to African bushmen “clicking” away about antelopes. I’d prefer three hours of DiPaolo on politics, but I’m just happy he’s finally making good money, and getting known as more than just “the mean guy on Louie.”

I’m especially thrilled that he gets under the skin of the snotty, overrated host of The Daily Show. As DiPaolo mentioned in that previous interview:

Jon Stewart said something about me, and I know him, he’s funny and talented, he definitely deserves all of his fame, but we have completely different politics. But he said something to Colin [Quinn] or one of my buddies, ”If DiPaolo breaks through it will be frightening”because there’s this blue collar angry white guy mentality that’s out there. I have a cult following, I’m taking the long road…

Here’s to frightening Jon Stewart, and mean guys finishing second.

Next: Why can’t anyone ever STOP being famous?

F. Scott Fitzgerald was so very, very wrong

In America, there are way too many second acts.

Last week we learned that both Rosanne Barr and Rosie O’Donnell are getting new TV shows.

Yes, that is the same Rosanne “Behead the Rich” Barr who — among many other screw-ups too numerous to mentiononce called African-Americans “ignorant.”

And yes, that is the same Rosie “Ching Chong” O’Donnell who pretended to be a kindly, craft-y, lovable heterosexual on her last show, then ran one of the nation’s oldest magazines into the ground and reinvented herself as an angry radical lesbian.

Can anyone explain to me the mysterious alchemy by which, once having become famous, one can never become un-famous? (And please go the hell away.)

This never used to be the case. Once upon a time, Albert Schweitzer and Enrico Caruso were world renowned, their names bywords for greatness. Today their celebrity currency is worth next to nothing.

On the other hand, I have a feeling people will still be chattering about Paris Hilton two hundred years from now.

Anyway: it’s too easy to blame the very existence of these two new shows on “Hollywood stupidity” alone. American women watch The View day in and day out; there’s clearly a lucrative market for stupid, annoying females on television.

And finally: why Adam Carolla will crush the competition…

And he’ll win, too

I’m predicting Adam Carolla is going on the next season of Celebrity Apprentice.

I base this entirely on dropped hints on his podcast about “going to New York on business”; on him recently getting Lasik and fixing a longtime bum knee (they run around a lot on that show, right?); and finally, on this notice of a scheduling conflict. (The previous season of CA began shooting in October, see?)

Bet on Carolla to win: Daunting work ethic; competitive sports background; real life skills; above average IQ; sizable “little black book” of friends with cash.

And Carolla has a bit of free time, since he isn’t running for the GOP nomination for some reason (language warning):

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That said, I had high hopes for Gene Simmons, and got massively hosed.

I hope I’m right this time.

(KATHY SHAIDLE is a blogging pioneer who runs FiveFeetOfFury, now in its 14th year. She's been called "one of the great virtuoso polemicists of our time," by MARK STEYN. Her NEW book is Confessions of A Failed Slut (Thought Catalog, 2014).
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