Natalie Portman turns 28 today. Johnny Depp turns 46. Michael J. Fox is 48. Embattled restaurateur Giuseppe Cipriani is 44. Writer/producer Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, The West Wing) turns 48. Comedian Jackie Mason is 73. Crime writer Patricia Cornwell is turning 53. Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara turns 93. Screenwriter/director David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Mission Impossible) is turning 46. Guitar legend Les Paul is 94. And longtime basketball broadcaster Dick Vitale is celebrating his 70th today.
We're 15 days away from arguably the most culturally charged election of the last 50 years, and it's not just David Letterman's outrage or Sarah Palin's SNL cameos moving the needle. In fact, the celebrity PSA crop of 2008 is as ripe as it's ever been — literally so, in fact, with every encouraging offering on the air giving way to three or four smug, pretentious, condescending or otherwise botched campaigns elsewhere. It happens every four years, as sure as the primaries; just when we think we'd seen it bottom out, along come Leonardo Di Caprio, Blake Lively, Carlos Mencia to knock us back to the Clinton era. So enough already, Hollywood! After the jump, find eight dos and don'ts to keep in mind when striving for the perfect celebrity PSA. You have four years to practice — on your mark, get set, go.1. DO let Jonah Hill host more PSA's on his own. As much as we appreciate the condescending, autoerotic flavor of Di Caprio, Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Demi Moore and a cast of elite thousands, this Declare Yourself ad proved that all it takes is an actual sense of humor about drugs, abortion and the economy to stir potential interest in the issues. 2. DON'T leave the Latino vote to Carlos Mencia, Cheech Marin and co. At least with Cheech around, however, Mencia can't steal Jonah Hill's jokes. 3. DO emphasize Justin Timberlake if you have a choice between him and Jessica Biel. He's just funnier, a better singer and there's always an outside chance of him "accidentally" pulling off someone's clothing. 4. DON'T give Hayden Panettiere her own spot. Especially not on Funny or Die, where she's neither funny nor dies nor so much as dings the McCain campaign she attempts to swear off — literally. Click to view 5. DO give Hayden Panettiere a spot with Jessica Alba. The "Muzzler" commercials are by far the most effective portion of Declare Yourself's multi-phase campaign to register young voters. Which is to say: We're sure the light bondage practiced on nubile, destabilizingly earnest starlets also compelled older men in the electorate to register their own "young voters" all over their keyboards. Remember, guys — you can only register once! No cheating! 6. DON'T let Anne Hathaway dance. Or anyone else for that matter. Perhaps the worst PSA of the season, this Creative Coalition spot is about as fresh as the bumper-sticker rack at a Wasilla scripture house. 7. DO pit Jews against each other. The Jewish Council for Education and Research brought on Sarah Silverman as the spokesperson for its "Great Schlep" — a late spring break of sorts encouraging young Jews to head off to Florida and convince their Nanas that Barack Hussein Obama is not the anti-Israel terrorist the GOP has allegedly made him out to be. Jackie Mason soon fired back on behalf of the Republican Jewish Coalition, smearing Silverman as a "sick yenta" over a saucy klezmer soundtrack. We hate to see such striking discord under the circumstances, but it's either this, or it's Roseanne Barr vs. Jon Voight. Which isn't a choice at all. 8. DON'T rope Blake Lively and Penn Badgley into a PSA together and not insist they make out for the Obama cause. Especially if we have to sit through the whole pasty cast of Fame: The Remake or Emo High or whatever the fuck just to get to Lively's sign-off. Of course, this being the United States of Defamer, your own suggestion are more than welcome below. Let freedom ring — or at least be less painful to watch on a quadrennial basis.
Last week, Sarah Silverman made a funny video encouraging Jews to vote for Barack Obama. This has old timey comedian Jackie Mason striking back with a video of his own, which he made for the Republican Jewish Coalition. In it, he bashes Obama as having "done nothing" and Silverman as a "yenta" while urging Americans to vote for McCain. But, gee, in January Mason posted a video in which he calls McCain "filthy, disgusting." Which is it, old man? Both sides of Jackie's mouth after the jump. Vote McCain:
Just as British funnymen Ricky Gervais and Simon Pegg have resolved to patch up their "fat idiot" feud, along come Sarah Silverman and Jackie Mason to fill the void with their own bit of culturally specific warring. Perhaps you'll recall Silverman's recent video for thegreatschlep.com, an organization designed to coax young, Jewish Obama supporters to travel to Florida and convince their grandparents to vote Democrat. Creaky comic Mason is not a fan of this idea (to put it mildly) and in an ad paid for by a Jewish Republicans group, he tears into both Obama and Silverman, calling the latter a "sick yenta." Careful, Jackie — if Silverman can handle talking shit about her ex-boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel, she's not going to be daunted by your dated patter. Both videos, after the jump: