On Tuesday CNN’s Larry King announced that he’ll end his 25-year-old talk show this fall, having been beaten consistently in the ratings the past year by his 9 PM cable-news competitors, Fox News’s Sean Hannity and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. King’s announcement came eight days after he hosted a telethon edition of Larry King Live with guests Cameron Diaz, Robert Redford, and Sting — no, not to raise funds for the alimony he owes his half-dozen ex-wives, but to aid victims of another disaster, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
He’s not the only King lending a hand in the Gulf. Earlier in June, the self-proclaimed King of the World, Titanic director James Cameron, who’s considered an expert on underwater filming technology, held a meeting with other deep-sea experts and the Environmental Protection Agency to discuss the oil spill. A week later, actor-environmentalist Kevin Costner testified before Congress about machines his scientist brother has developed that can separate oil from polluted water; the Waterworld star has invested $24 million of his own money in the technology. There’s also D-list actor and born-again Christian Stephen Baldwin, who’s making a documentary about the spill tentatively titled “The Will to Drill,” and the band Korn has joined forces with Creed and the Backstreet Boys and agreed not to buy BP fuel while on tour this year.
That’s all well and good, but do these fuel-boycotting fossils from the late ’90s realize that concertgoers made a silent agreement to boycott their tours almost a decade ago? As for Cameron, his meeting with the EPA quickly turned into the most expensive meeting of all time — granted, the Avatar director’s PowerPoint presentation was hailed as “a riveting 3-D display of words, arrows, and rectangles” — and Costner later revealed that he’s sunk an additional $24 million of his money into more movies in which he’ll play washed-up former athletes.
But if all these famous people truly want to do something about the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history — it’s estimated that as many as 115 million gallons had poured into the Gulf of Mexico as of mid-June, while BP’s relief wells aren’t expected to stop the leak until sometime in August — why don’t they make a genuine sacrifice for the greater good? Celebs gone green, I want you to plug that leak.
Think of Bruce Willis detonating the bomb on the gigantic asteroid at the end of Michael Bay’s Armageddon so that mankind could live to see another day, not to mention more terrible Michael Bay films. But instead of Bruce Willis playing a redemption-seeking oil-rig worker turned astronaut, it’d actually be Bruce Willis! For anyone who paid full price to see Hudson Hawk in 1991, his sacrifice would bring a welcome sense of closure.
Besides, thanks to a live video feed, that burst BP pipe 20,000 leagues under the sea has been a bigger star this summer than any of the high-priced actors in Sex and the City 2, The A-Team, Jonah Hex, or Knight and Day. It’s too bad the government can’t charge an admission fee — every resident of the Gulf coast would have their livelihood restored in no time.
I’m not suggesting we use every famous person in the world to plug the leak. After all, if there were no more movie stars, who would headline our Broadway plays? Mere stage actors? Perish the thought! But here are a few suggestions to get the ball rolling:
Shia LaBeouf. In May the 23-year-old actor told reporters at the Cannes Film Festival, where he was promoting Oliver Stone’s upcoming sequel to Wall Street, that two of his previous films, 2009′s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Michael Bay strikes again) and 2008′s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, weren’t worthy of their predecessors. Discussing Crystal Skull, he said, “I think the audience is pretty intelligent. I think they know when you’ve made [a bad movie]. And I think if you don’t acknowledge it, then why do they trust you the next time you’re promoting a movie.”
But if you’ve always thought Crystal Skull is one big BP tar ball, Shia, why didn’t you say so in 2008 when you were promoting it? Then I would’ve trusted you, because that would’ve been a ballsy move. But criticizing it two years after it grossed almost $800 million worldwide just feels like a big middle finger to anyone who enjoyed the movie as simple popcorn entertainment. (You can expect the young star’s apology for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps sometime in 2012.)
LaBeouf added, “I’ll probably get a call [from Crystal Skull director Steven Spielberg]. But he needs to hear this.” Fortunately, we don’t need to hear anything else from you. DOWN YOU GO!
Lady Gaga. Maybe it’s not her fault she’s overexposed, but it’s time for Gaga to go glug-glug.
Joe Barton. You might be thinking, “He’s not a performer like LaBeouf or Gaga,” but don’t kid yourself — all politicians are performers. The Texas congressman and former oil executive was forced to apologize for his apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward in front of the House energy committee on June 17 after he accused the Obama administration of trying to shake down BP. Now that you’ve sunk to the bottom metaphorically, Joe, get literal about it in the Gulf.
Tony Hayward. This one’s definitely not a performer. In fact he was so lousy at public relations that BP yanked him away from the TV cameras after he went yachting on June 19. (To paraphrase Christopher Cross’s biggest hit, “Saaaaaailing takes Tony awaaaaaay / From where everyone hates his guts …”) Hayward infamously told the press in May that he’d like his life back, but he’s going to have to settle for the life aquatic at this point. DOWN YOU GO, BOYO!
Amanda Seyfried. I have nothing against the star of Letters to Juliet, Dear John, and Mamma Mia!, but have you ever noticed how, uh, otherworldly she looks? My guess is that Ms. Seyfried wouldn’t require a prosthetic tail fin for a remake of Ron Howard’s Splash, and I bet she’d do an even better job corralling Nemo, Sebastian the Crab, and the rest of the undersea animal kingdom to fill that gushing pipe with sand, hidden treasure, abandoned Soviet submarines, Tony Hayward’s yacht, etc.
Bruce Springsteen. Once he was born to run. Now he’s destined to sink. (I went to a concert of his in 2002 where he only played for three hours, not four. You owe me, Boss.)
Dick Cheney. Say, didn’t the former vice president have a thing for oil? Perhaps he’d like a closer look …
Warren Beatty. According to Peter Biskind’s biography Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America, the legendary actor slept with approximately 12,775 women before he married Annette Bening in 1992. With a track record like that, I have no doubt he can plug a hole.
Chris Brown. The R&B star, who hit his then-girlfriend, fellow R&B star Rihanna, in February 2009 and quickly saw his young career hit the skids, made a big comeback at the BET Awards last week. But if you really want to do the right thing, Chris, your comeback will involve you not coming back up from BP’s busted pipe.
Val Kilmer. The onetime Batman contemplated a gubernatorial run in New Mexico last year. But he was recently in the news for publicly apologizing to his neighbors in San Miguel County; otherwise, the county commission wouldn’t approve his request to rent out guest houses on his ranch. It seems that in 2003 Kilmer told a Rolling Stone reporter that he lives in the “homicide capital of the Southwest” and that 80 percent “of the people in my county are drunk.”
Why, if the numbers held up like that across the state, there’s no way Kilmer could lose a gubernatorial race, because who wouldn’t drunkenly vote for Batman? But he was wrong to say those things, and now the Top Gun and Top Secret! star must become the next “top kill.” Take your recent bomb, MacGruber, with you, Val, in case it can be detonated again inside the pipe. And if it’s not too much trouble, don’t lose any weight before you dive — we could use a generous circumference like yours down there.
Arizona legislators. Just say the words “Mexico” and “disaster” and I’m sure they’ll all jump right into the Gulf to deport the oil themselves.
Whoever created the Facebook page DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE [sic]. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH [sic] FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMEN. But the Lord had nothing to do with your inability to spell, or your questionable taste in C-level thespians, or your sidesplitting wish that the leader of the free world would die, so DOWN YOU GO!
Yeah, I know — I’m losing focus here. Look, I don’t want to sound heartless when it comes to our nation’s greatest unnatural resource, but—
Hey, that’s it! If we send a bunch of heartless tin men into the Gulf of Mexico to soak up the oil they so desperately crave, we won’t have to sacrifice any celebrities. Problem solved!
Of course, with hurricane season already under way, the entertaining Web comic xkcd had the nerve to give Michael Bay ideas for his next big disaster movie. Therefore the Pearl Harbor director will have to be tossed into the Gulf for the greater good, preferably on the final telecast of Larry King Live so its host can go out with a bang, or at least a loud suck.
Still heartless? Perhaps. But with a last name like Bay, you can’t say he wasn’t asking for it.