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Friday, May 2, 2008

17 comedic actors who moved into dramatic television roles

The comedians who made inwards into drama are featured in this articleAs AOL Television continues their look at the 50 Best TV Comedies -- Ever with their Top 10, we here at TV Squad are also looking at television comedy, but with a slightly skewed difference. Last week, we took a look at the Saturday Night Live cast members from 1996 to 2006 that made it to the big time. This week, we get a bit more serious.

There are those in the industry who say that it is easier to go from acting in a drama to acting in a comedy than it is the other way around. Yet, as you will see from the list we've compiled after the jump, there are plenty of comedic actors who have jumped from the world of comedy films, stand-up comedy, and television sitcoms into the more serious world of drama. In many cases they have had even greater success than they did on the other side of the tracks. There have even been instances where they stayed in the drama genre and never went back to being funny.


As with the other lists we've compiled on comedians over the last few weeks there were a few rules that were set for this one. First, their dramatic appearance had to be one that made somewhat of an impression with the television audience, good or bad, when they saw them; a cameo featuring a few lines of dialogue was not considered. Next, they had to be familiar stars in movies, stand-up or television. Finally, the members of this list needed to have a sizable comedy portfolio before they jumped into drama. If they jumped between television dramas and comedies as a regular cast member they were not included. Of course, there were a few exceptions.

So, stop laughing, and let's begin...

Anthony Anderson -- After roles in TV comedies like Hang Time, and All About the Andersons and movies such as Scary Movie 3, Barbershop and Kangaroo Jack, Anderson did a total 180 when he moved into television drama. His first major dramatic role was as the very scary Antwon Mitchell on The Shield. Last year, he portrayed a less scary, but still dramatic, New Orleans cop on the FOX series K-Ville. Starting on Friday he'll be joining the ranks at Detective Kevin Bernard on the original Law & Order.

Lucille Ball -- Lucy was primarily known for her quarter-century of work in television comedy, starting with the ground-breaking I Love Lucy in 1951 and ending with the disappointing Life With Lucy in 1986. However, that doesn't mean that she couldn't do drama. In fact, long before she stepped in front of a television camera Lucy starred in a number of dramatic films. She used this dramatic prowess in a few made-for-TV movies. The most famous of these is the 1985 telefilm Stone Pillow, in which she played a tough New York bag lady named Florabelle.

Richard Belzer -- After a successful career in stand-up, and a very short career as a talk show host, The Belz decided to go the dramatic route in episodic television. In turn, he created one of the longest running dramatic characters (since 1993) on television today. I talk about one Detective John Munch, who has appeared in practically every single show on television. This includes his regular roles on Law & Order: SVU and Homicide: Life on the Street and guest starring roles on The Wire, Arrested Development, Law & Order, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, The Beat, and Sesame Street.

Carol Burnett -- Another Lady of Television Comedy who did some damn fine work in television drama. Her most famous dramatic role was in the 1979 movie Friendly Fire, in which she portrayed a mother who tried to find out how her son died in Vietnam. Burnett was nominated for an Emmy Award for her that role. In the same year she appeared in the movie The Tenth Month as a middle-aged woman who is accidentally impregnated and decides to give birth and keep the baby.

Jim Carrey -- At the height of his success on In Living Color, Jim decided to broaden his acting skills and appeared in the FOX made-for-TV-movie (remember those?) Doing Time on Maple Drive. In the telefilm, Carrey played Tim Carter, an alcoholic who was a part of a bigger dysfunctional family. Carrey gained critical acclaim for the role and the movie was nominated for three Emmy Awards.

Bill Cosby -- Out of all of the people on this list, Bill Cosby started his dramatic career early with his role on the spy-drama I Spy. Playing trainer Alexander Scott to Robert Culp's Kelly Robinson, Cosby was the first black actor to have a lead role in an American television drama. He would reprise his role in the 1994 TV movie I Spy Returns. Coincidentally, that was the same year that Cosby returned to series television after The Cosby Show with the crime-drama The Cosby Mysteries.

Courteney Cox -- Now, before you get your hackles up, I'm not talking about her role on Misfits of Science. That was really not a show that appeared in our universe -- you only dreamed it did. No, the dramatic role for Cox came after her stint on Family Ties and that show about six friends who drink a lot of coffee of out these huge mugs. This would be her portrayal of Lucy Spiller on the FX series Dirt.

Dick Van Dyke -- This can't be right...Dick Van Dyke is 82 years old? And, for most of that time he has been on television or in the movies -- mostly comedies. Heck, he was a household name in the 1960s with the classic The Dick Van Dyke Show and he was a cast member, although shortly, during the last years of The Carol Burnett Show. However, some of the newer generation of fans know Mr. Van Dyke from his role as Dr. Mark Sloan on the CBS medical-mystery-drama Diagnosis Murder. And, since he couldn't get away from solving crimes, he moved over to Hallmark Channel in 2007 for the Murder 101 TV-movie series.

Andy Griffith -- Another actor who had two different sets of fans in two different generations. Well, maybe it was the same generation of fans, but just a bit older. On the comedy side Griffith stared in the 60s sitcom The Andy Griffith Show, then followed it up with The New Andy Griffith Show in the early 70s. Later in the 70s he appeared in such dramatic TV-movie fare like Savages, Pray for the Wildcats (with William Shatner), and Winter Kill. He returned to series television with the drama...Ah, you thought I was going to say Matlock, weren't you? Well, that wasn't until 1986. Before that he played Harry Broderick in the ABC science-fiction drama Savlage 1.

Eddie Izzard -- I'm pretty sure that you wouldn't get confused between the comedian Eddie Izzard and the dramatic actor Eddie Izzard. As far as I know, Wayne Malloy, the character Izzard portrays on the FX drama The Riches, isn't an active transvestite. Then again, we normally don't see Wayne on off-hours, so who knows.

Hugh Laurie -- Before coming across the pond to star in the FOX drama House, Laurie was known as one of the bigger comedians over in the U.K. Most of us Americans have seen his comedy courtesy of rebroadcasts of Blackadder The Third, Blackadder Goes Fourth and Jeeves and Wooster. In the last show he co-starred with Stephen Fry, his partner on another comedy series named A Bit of Fry and Laurie. I always wanted the House character to meet the character that Fry played on Bones last season.

Dennis Leary -- Many of us discovered Dennis Leary during his short comedy segments on MTV (when it played music videos, so it was a looonnnggg time ago). Since then he acquired quite a decent acting resume in both comedy and drama. After getting his TV feet wet in the comedy The Job, Leary decided to make his own luck and came up with the FX drama Rescue Me, where he plays the very messed-up Tommy Gavin.

Howie Mandel -- Howie's transition from comedy to drama was pretty quick. After several years of comedy success in Canada in the late 70s, Mandel joined the NBC drama St. Elsewhere in 1982 as Dr. Wayne Ficus. While he continued with comedy Mandel remained on Elsewhere for the show's entire run.

Bob Newhart -- Bob didn't get into dramatic television roles until fairly recently. His most famous dramatic role, and the one that earned him an Emmy nomination, was as patient Ben Hollander in the NBC drama ER. He also had a recurring role as Morty Flickman on Desperate Housewives. Recently, Newhart has portrayed the very straight-laced Librarian to Noah Wyle's adventurer in TNT's The Librarian movie series.

Rosie O'Donnell -- I was kind of torn about this one. Rosie has been on the FX series Nip/Tuck as the character Dawn Budge, but she has played that up as more a comedic role. But, then I saw that she had a guest-starring role on the drama Queer as Folk, so I gave her the credit she is due. Plus, she portrayed the mentally challenged Beth Simon in the telefilm Riding the Bus with My Sister.

Martin Short -- Martin had only one dramatic television role, but it was a memorable one. In 2005 he appeared as the "psychic" Sebastian Valentine on Law & Order: SVU. Turns out, Valentine wasn't a psychic at all, but a killer named Henry Palaver. And, boy, he was a creepy little killer.

Maura Tierney -- Holy Frik! I just looked up Maura Tierney's history on IMDb and saw that she has been in nearly 200 episodes of ER. Wow, no wonder she wants her character to die. Well, Ms. Tierney is on the list because of her five-year stint on the NBC comedy NewsRadio. She played Lisa Miller -- a character who had much more luck in one day than Abby Lockhart has had in nearly a decade.

Lily Tomlin -- Although she portrayed a killer on the NBC crime-drama Homicide: Life on the Street, Tomlin may be known more for her role as Deborah Fiderer on The West Wing. She joined the series in the third season as President Bartlet's private secretary.

Robin Williams -- After his role as Mork on Mork & Mindy, Williams pretty much stuck to the stand-up circuit and movies. However, he has returned to TV for two dramatic roles. His first was as family man Robert Ellison on a 1994 episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. His next dramatic role was most recently as crazy Merritt Rook on Law & Order: SVU. Still, no matter how dramatic he is, a bit of his comedy still comes out. While watching this week's SVU he used the term 'Ol' Sparky' in a sentence -- a phrase he has used constantly in his comedy routines.

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The WB network will get new life on the Web

The WB lives on.

Eighteen months after shutting down its TV network that captured the youth zeitgeist with such shows as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Dawson's Creek," Warner Bros. Television said Monday that it was resurrecting "the WB" vibe and moniker -- on the Internet.

The Burbank-based television studio, part of the Time Warner Inc. empire, has been experimenting with ways to parlay its strength in TV programming onto the Web. Although earlier efforts sputtered, Warner Bros. now believes that targeting younger audiences with advertiser-friendly online communities is the most promising strategy.

"I see ourselves as being in the storytelling business, and this is just a different platform to tell stories," said Bruce Rosenblum, president of the Warner Bros. Television Group. "We are developing targeted niche destinations that will fulfill advertisers' appetites."

Its website, TheWB.com, is scheduled to debut in August and will feature episodes of such popular Warner Bros.-produced series as "Friends," "The O.C." and "Gilmore Girls." However, Rosenblum believes that original programming created specifically for the Internet ultimately will be a bigger hit among the under-35 audience that advertisers seek.

Warner Bros. has recruited several producers to develop content for the site, including Josh Schwartz, creator of "The O.C." and McG, director of the "Charlie's Angels" movies. McG plans to team with the producers of the digital series "Prom Queen" for a new show called "Sorority Forever."

The site will feature an application that permits users of Facebook to grab Warner Bros. images to decorate their profile pages without violating the studio's copyright.

Warner Bros. said it would provide its programs to Fancast, the video site of television programming owned by Comcast Corp.

In addition, Warner Bros. is relaunching its children's site, now named KidsWB.com, with Comcast as a distribution partner. Mattel Inc. and McDonald's Corp. have agreed to participate in the venture, which will target children 6 to 12 and draw upon the studio's cartoon characters.
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PAULA ABDUL DRUNK on AMERICAN IDOL !!! Or is it Scripted?


Radiohead won't repeat 'In Rainbows' giveaway

Radiohead made it official: the band won't be giving away music like it did with the album In Rainbows.

"I think it was a one-off response to a particular situation," the band's lead singer Thom Yorke told The Hollywood Reporter. "It was one of those things where we were in the position of everyone asking us what we were going to do. I don't think it would have the same significance now anyway, if we chose to give something away again. It was a moment in time."

Many music fans had hoped that the band's now famous pay-what-you-want promotion was an attempt by the group to discover a new way to sell music. Now it appears Radiohead at best was after publicity.

Radiohead has never revealed the promotion's sales figures but there was speculation that the money wasn't very good. Nine Inch Nails, led by Trent Reznor, followed Radiohead by offering the digital version of the album Ghosts I-IV for free as well as charging for premium versions. Reznor said last month that to that point the album had generated 781,917 transactions and $1.6 million.

Reznor was critical of Radiohead during an interview with The Chicago Tribune.

"I think the way (Radiohead) parlayed it into a marketing gimmick has certainly been shrewd," Reznor said. "But if you look at what they did, it was very much a bait and switch, to get you to pay for a MySpace quality stream as a way to promote a very traditional record sale."

It appears now that among marquee artists, no one is doing more to experiment with the Internet as a distribution channel or alternative music-business models than Reznor.

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NY festival showcases films on Muslim world

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Seven years after New York's Tribeca neighborhood was shaken by the attacks on the city's World Trade Center, the area has become a bazaar for movies about and from the Muslim world.

The Tribeca Film Festival, started after the September 11 attacks in 2001 to try to rejuvenate lower Manhattan, has become the key destination in North America for films from Muslim countries or about the Islamic faith seeking distribution deals, says artistic director Peter Scarlet.

This year, 19 films related to Islam, making up 10 percent of the program, will be shown at the seventh annual festival.

Scarlet, who has been working with the festival since 2003, said he was shocked when in his second year he was asked by a journalist if Tribeca would continue to show films "from the people who brought us 9/11."

"Even in as wealthy and as big a country as the United States people know very little about the rest of the world," he said. "Films are the last chance we have to understand what we as human beings have in common.

"The real function of a film festival is to open our windows, open our eyes and open our minds," he said. "Films might be our only chance to understand people who may look different, whether they live on the other end of the world or maybe they moved in across the street or across the hall."

The films at this year's festival, which began on Wednesday, include "Football Under Cover," the story of a German women's soccer team that heads to Iran after hearing their counterparts there had never been allowed to play a game, and "Headwind," which shows efforts by Iranians to stymie government censorship of media and information.

Director Faramarz K-Rahber, from Australia, has documented the love story between an Australian puppeteer and a young Muslim woman from a highly traditional Pakistani family in the film "Donkey in Lahore."

David Blaine breaks world record for holding one's breath

CHICAGO — David Blaine set a new world record Wednesday for breath-holding, 17 minutes and 4 seconds.

The feat was broadcast live during The Oprah Winfrey Show and the studio audience cheered as divers pulled the 35-year-old magician from a water-filled sphere.

Blaine looked relaxed afterward and said the record was "a lifelong dream."

The previous record was 16 minutes and 32 seconds, set Feb. 10 by Switzerland's Peter Colat, according to Guinness World Records.

Before he entered the sphere, Blaine inhaled pure oxygen through a mask to saturate his blood with oxygen and flush out carbon dioxide.

Guinness says up to 30 minutes of so-called "oxygen hyperventilation" is allowed under its guidelines.

Previously, Blaine was buried alive for a week in a see-through coffin in New York and spent more than a month suspended from a glass box by the River Thames in London.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Megan Fox crowned sexiest woman in the world

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Megan Fox was named the world's sexiest woman on Wednesday by an annual online poll, while the world's most Googled woman, Britney Spears, barely scraped in at No. 100 after a shocker of a year.

Fox, 21, who starred in last year's hit movie "Transformers," grabbed the title from actress Jessica Alba, 26, topping online men's magazine FHM Online's (www.FHMonline.com) reader poll of the 100 Sexiest Women in the World for 2008.

Alba dropped to No. 3, coming behind American actress and former model Jessica Biel but ahead of Canadian actress Elisha Cuthbert who was ranked fourth after appearing in horror movie "Captivity" last year. U.S actress and singer Scarlett Johansson, 23, rounded out the top five.

"Megan Fox is the deserving winner of this year's FHM title. She's young, she's hot, she's a rising star and her sex appeal has definitely transformed this year's list. She's got a great future ahead of her," said FHM Online U.S. Editor JR Futrell.

Fox debuted on the list at No. 68 in 2006 and was ranked No. 65 last year. But playing the lead female role in "Transformers," a blockbuster $700 million hit at worldwide box offices, markedly raised her profile.

Also in the top 10 were Emmanuelle Chriqui, Hilary Duff, Tricia Helfer, Blake Lively and Kate Beckinsale.

Newcomers to the list included Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice from British pop band the Spice Girls, who moved to Los Angeles with her husband, English soccer player David Beckham, last year. She made her debut at No. 99.

Spears, 26, whose career has been buried under an avalanche of personal and mental health problems, managed to make the list at No. 100, a steep decline from 2004 when she was voted the world's sexiest woman.

FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World poll is now in its 14th year with nearly 9 million votes cast this year by FHM readers worldwide to choose the sexiest women in film, television, music, sports, and fashion.

Megan Fox crowned sexiest woman in the world


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Pacino and De Niro: How the mighty have fallen


Robert De Niro, left, and Al Pacino re-team this year in "Righteous Kill."

The once-great actors are embarrassing, if enriching, themselves with film choices.

I thought Francis Ford Coppola was being cranky last fall when he badmouthed Al Pacino and Robert De Niro -- the stars of Coppola's immortal "Godfather" films -- for taking parts for the money and losing their passion for doing great work. "I met both Pacino and De Niro when they were really on the come," Coppola told GQ magazine. "Now Pacino is very rich, maybe because he never spends any money; he just puts it in his mattress. . . . They all live off the fat of the land."

Coppola was right on the money. The two icons of '70s New Hollywood, heroes to a generation of young actors and filmmakers, have become parodies of themselves, making payday movies and turning in performances that are hollow echoes of the electrically charged work they did in such films as "Serpico," "Dog Day Afternoon," "Mean Streets" and "Taxi Driver."

Of the dozen or so movies that opened in Los Angeles on Friday, only one had a lead actor Oscar winner in the starring role -- and it was the worst in the bunch, which is really saying something, considering the competition included a scarefest called "Zombie Strippers" (with adult film star Jenna Jameson!) and a gruesome murder-mystery about a gang of psycho medical students called "Pathology."

"88 Minutes," a hapless thriller, stars Pacino as a hotshot forensic psychiatrist stalked by a mysterious killer. The critics have had a field day -- when I last looked, it was the lowest-rated movie of the year on Metacritic.com. While the critics pounced on Jon Avnet for his inept pacing -- despite its title, the film actually runs for a seemingly endless 107 minutes -- it's Pacino who got a real drubbing.

The New York Times' Manohla Dargis zeroed in on what might be Pacino's most glaring failing, his vanity, describing the actor as having "a dusky orange tan that suggests a charbroiled George Hamilton and an elevated poof of hair that appears to have been engineered to put Mr. Pacino within vertical range of his female costars." Throughout the film, Pacino, who turns 68 on Friday, is surrounded by nubile young actresses who play students lusting after or enamored by him. One of the film's bizarre moments occurs when Pacino and a comely student rush back to his apartment, where, in the midst of their desperate efforts to locate the killer, she takes off her blouse and tosses it on his stairs.

It's not as if this film were a rare misstep in an otherwise unblemished career. Pacino has made a string of bad films lately, including the famously awful "Gigli," "The Recruit" and "Two for the Money," where he hams it up as an unscrupulous football oddsmaker. If anyone has made more movies for the money than Pacino, it would be De Niro, who has largely abandoned serious dramatic work for a spate of forgettable horror and crime thrillers (try sitting through "Hide and Seek" or "Godsend") and lowbrow comedy high jinks like "Meet the Fockers" and "Analyze That."

De Niro's most recent film, "What Just Happened?," an inside-the-movie-biz comedy, got such an abysmal reception at Sundance that it limped out of the festival without a sale (it's expected to close the Cannes Film Festival this year). De Niro cut his longtime ties with CAA last week, defecting to Endeavor, inspiring a venomous response purportedly from one CAA agent that was e-mailed all over town. Claiming that De Niro asks for a $1-million production fee on his pictures to help fund his Tribeca empire in New York, it minces few words, saying, "Bobby held us responsible for his own greed, his own avarice and his own megalomania. And it's just like the studios now ask us: Why should we pay this guy -- who doesn't open a movie -- the payoff to his production company, just so he can add his name as a producer?"

The e-mail makes a subtler point about De Niro's career choices, pointing out that he could've "gone the [Jack] Nicholson route -- very selective, very particular, protect the brand -- or go out sending himself up in tripe like 'Analyze This,' which made money but turned him into that 'old psycho guy.' "

Not every aging actor in Hollywood has to embarrass himself. While Pacino and De Niro grab the dough, working for hacks and nonentities, Nicholson, with rare exception, has picked his spots, doing movies with Martin Scorsese, Alexander Payne and Sean Penn. Clint Eastwood, who's even older than Nicholson, has remained an iconic figure by working with the best director of all -- himself. (It's been almost 20 years since he acted in a movie he didn't direct.)

Other older actors, like Gene Hackman and Warren Beatty, have preferred to drop out of sight rather than embarrass themselves. After the debacle of "Town and Country," Beatty has devoted himself to raising his kids and giving interviews about “Bonnie and Clyde.” Michael Caine, who once chased paychecks himself, has turned himself into a respected character actor, doing such classy fare as "The Prestige," "Children of Men" and "The Quiet American."

It's not easy being an older actor in Hollywood, where the juiciest roles are written for a narrow age range that pretty much begins with Will Smith and ends with George Clooney. But if Pacino and De Niro are bedeviled by vanity, they are equally guilty of ego-stoked delusion. They still want to be treated like big-league stars, when they are, sadly, past their prime. Seeing Pacino in "88 Minutes" evoked memories of Willie Mays playing for the Mets at career's end, stumbling in the outfield he once glided across with effortless abandon.

Sadly, Pacino knew exactly what he was getting into making "88 Minutes." Despite the presence of 19 producers on the credit scroll, the real auteur of the film is Avi Lerner, the colorful Israeli producer who has made hundreds of B movies over the last 20 years, having recently stepped up in budget class -- thanks to an influx of money from German film investment funds -- from direct-to-video thrillers with Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal and horror fare like "Shark Attack" to star vehicles with Sly Stallone ("Rambo") and Bruce Willis ("16 Blocks").

Insiders familiar with the project say Lerner paid Pacino $9 million to do the picture, knowing Pacino's presence in a commercial thriller would allow Lerner to offset the cost of the film by selling it overseas. Lerner pocketed $6 million more by selling domestic distribution rights to Sony Pictures.

Pacino declined to talk to me about the film. But Lerner got on the phone Friday to defend the picture. "I like it -- it's exactly the movie I wanted it to be," he says. "The critics can say what they want. That's the great thing about America. Everyone gets to have their opinion. It hurts when people call and say the reviews were terrible. But I don't read reviews. I hardly read anything." (Lerner is famous for not reading scripts either, though he insists he read "88 Minutes.")

Lerner insists Pacino deserves every cent he paid him. "He's a great guy -- on time, professional, hard-working, always willing to do another take."

Lerner has another big bet down on Pacino, who returns this fall in "Righteous Kill," a serial killer thriller that teams Pacino with De Niro as New York City cops on the trail of an unsolved murder. With Avnet at the helm again, expectations for quality are low -- it has the get-out-your-checkbooks feel of the latest Eagles tour.

Lerner sees it differently. When I asked if the scathing reviews for "88 Minutes" could damage the film's commercial chances, he joked: "Hey, it's two different movies, two different sets of 17 producers." Turning serious, he said: "They are still two icons. If you get out of Beverly Hills, to Ventura Boulevard, every person you ask will say -- we want to see them together. Just like people did for Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in 'The Bucket List.' And they're even older!"

I don't envy Pacino or De Niro. They're in a bind, having come of age at a time when actors could still get provocative dramas made without everyone having to work for peanuts. Today they're grumpy old men, relegated to raking in loot from cartoonish comedy and generic thrillers.

It's no wonder De Niro's now in the hotel business. He and Pacino should take a tip from Woody Allen, who once joked that he made more money from selling his Manhattan apartment than from all his movies combined. Apartments come and go, but "Annie Hall" comes along only once in a lifetime.

The Big Picture runs every Tuesday in Calendar. E-mail questions or comments to patrick.goldstein @latimes.com.
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Steve Carell on How to Act Brilliant

Steve Carell is no dummy. In fact, the man who plays hapless half-wit Michael Scott on NBC's The Office and equally hapless gumshoe Maxwell Smart in this summer's big-screen redo of Get Smart is nothing short of a genius — a genius wrapped in a doofus, hidden by an idiot. Here's his advice on how to attain Carell-level smarts.

Engage in Reading-Type Behavior
If we were meant to read for enjoyment, would God have created television? Read as it was intended — for exercise. The more you read, the more you expand your — what's the word I'm looking for? — your stockpile of words. You must have a stockpile of words that you can pass along to your children for their stockpile.

Appear to Listen
I've learned to appear scintillatingly intellectual by asking people questions ("Do you like pizza?"). Then I just look at them, nodding and saying "Hmmm" and "Um hmmm" every few seconds. Try and keep one or two things in your head to regurgitate later. After all, what is knowledge, really, but high-resolution regurgitation?

Just Say Yes
I've been injecting human growth hormone into my brain for several years now, with no ill effects. I feel smarter, and I often feel compelled to show people — really show them — just how smart I am. HGH has also colored the way I perceive the world, which is now a sort of bloodred.

Get the Abs of Einstein
A healthy body means a healthy mind. You get your heart rate up, and you get the blood flowing through your body to your brain. Look at Albert Einstein. He rode a bicycle. He was also an early student of Jazzercise. You never saw Einstein lift his shirt, but he had a six-pack under there.

Don't Chew Your Food
I recommend tuna melts. Fish is very healthy, as is cheese, and toast. I also recommend eating peeled baby carrots. Carrots are very good for the eyes, but they absolutely must be baby carrots so you don't chew too much. I don't think I have to explain crunchwaves to people who read wired. They already know that when you chew something too hard, the vibrations fire up those crunchwaves, which shake the neurons in your brain. Do that too much and those brain cells shake loose and die. I usually gulp my food, and you should, too.

Practice Thinking by Yourself
Your brain, like your tongue, is a muscle. Practicing thinking by yourself really helps develop your brain, which you need throughout your day. I like to practice my thinking in a darkened room, alone. I focus on one thing, such as Tree. I think about Tree. Then, after that, I think about Cloud. Then later, as I walk outside, I see Tree and since I have practiced thinking, I avoid hitting it. I try and have six or seven thoughts a day.

Match Your Shoes to Your Belt
If you don't look good, you don't think good.

Know Things
It's important to be well-rounded — not purely scientific and analytical. Explore the arts: poetry, music, decoupage (a visual art form I've been developing since the first grade). And remember, it's always better to have a cursory knowledge of a lot of things than to actually know a lot about any one thing. This is called a liberal arts education.

Act "Human"
When I go to parties, people often look stunned at how smart I am. But nobody wants to talk about astrophysics at a dinner party. Hey, when I want to talk like that, I head to the lab! Instead, I talk about "human" things they enjoy and understand: midrange wines, movie trivia, and mundane subjects like family and emotional fulfillment. I like to end my conversations with a quote, usually something in French, like "c'est la vie," which means "down the hatch!" But don't overdo it: Nobody likes a show-off.

Retain Your Childlike Sense of Wonder
Children are very smart, in their own stupid way. A child's brain is like a sponge, and you know how smart sponges are. My children are like little processors. They pick up all kinds of things, then process that into information. And what is knowledge, really, but processed information? We must always strive to be overly processed, like our children.

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