In mid-December, a primetime (and widely watched) ABC 20/20 interview reunited America with one of our favorite performers and greatest music industry legends ever. Whitney Houston was present too. Of course I’m talking about the Whitney proclaimed “Original King of R&B”, Bobby Brown.
Let me digress. Before I go any further, I have to address something. If Bobby Brown is the “Original King of R&B”, then the universe is on the verge of self-collapse and there is nothing right with our world. Prepare for the oceans boiling and sun searing all life any minute.
I’ll cut Whitney some slack; she might be a victim of a rampant and nightmarish rush on R&B self-proclamation including Michael Jackson staking claim to the “King of Pop” title and Mary J. Blige planting her flag on the crown of “Queen of Hip Hop”. However if these titles were ridiculous, B. Brown’s entry into the fray is sublime. Bobby Brown might be the “Original King of messing up by getting arrested for stupid stuff”, and that’s about it. Puffy bright Hammer pants went out a long time ago… with Bobby Brown. I don’t think that Bobby got the memo, as he claimed in the interview that “no one can touch him as an entertainer”. I think that he meant that no one would want to touch him as an entertainer. Fred Savage has more star power at this point. Although Bobby is featured on Ja Rule’s new single, a signal of hope in a career that hasn’t produced a hit single since I was in High School (Humpin’ Around), he’s a walking request for an episode of VH-1’s Behind the Music.
He might also fit the bill as the “Original King of Comedy”. Bobby mysteriously got into Whitney’s ‘gloves-off’ interview with Diane Sawyer, and began to stream a thread of comments, the humor of which Eddie Murphy would have been jealous of in this prime. I prepared for watching Bobby’s part of the interview by strapping on a diaper and not drinking water for the previous 24 hours.
Diane Sawyer began the Bobby segment by asking Whitney if Bobby ever got jealous of her success. While Whitney gave a quiet and subtle “sometimes”, Bobby rang in with a loud, grunting “hmmm ummmm” reminiscent of a recalcitrant 12 year old teetering on using the classic and timeless “You’re rubber, I’m glue” rebuttal. Suddenly, a sweat-drenched B. Brown appears to the left of Whitney. Without embellishing, Bobby looks like he just got off of a water ride at an amusement park, and that he is about to melt at the heat of the questions he is going to be asked. In addressing the jealous question (which should be rhetorical because the answer is beyond the obvious, “hell yeah she’s famous and I’m Bobby Brown”), he went on to mention that she’s a woman (he couldn’t possible be jealous of her) and that, I dare repeat, that “no one can touch him as an entertainer”. I gasp in typing it. That’s confidence.
Later, Diane Sawyer, who introduced Brown as a high voltage singer in case you didn’t remember him from the 80’s, confronted him about his seemingly endless troubles in the public eye. When asked by Sawyer if he had a drug problem, he mentioned that “drugs and [him] don’t get along”, and furthermore that he smokes marijuana to alleviate hypertension and bipolar disorder. He went on to claim that he has a prescription, and that he didn’t smoke “everyday” but the more acceptable “every other day”. The best part about this was Whitney’s inability to contain her laughter. I didn’t want to leave Whitney hanging, so I joined in and laughed until my face hurt and stomach ruptured.
Baseball has long since been displaced as America’s pastime. Today, Americans love nothing more than to gawk, yelp, laugh at, and invade the lives of fallen celebrities and half-unaware ‘reality’ television actors.
We love Behind the Music, and the recycling of celebrities is not only fun, but probably economical. Ironically, right before Bobby began one of the classic TV segments of all-time, ABC ran a commercial featuring the shows of their new lineup including yesteryear ‘stars’ like Jim Belushi and John Ritter. It’s only downhill from here.
Allen Narcisse is now officially the “Original King of Sarcasm”.