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Who is he?

Louis Gossett, Jr. was the poor man’s Samuel L. Jackson in the 1970s and 1980s.

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When's it going to be Jm J. Bullock's turn? Every generation needs an actor like this that they can count on for a few good laughs.

He was first introduced to the world as Monroe J. Ficus on the syndicated Too Close For Comfort program that starred Ted Knight as a San Francisco-based cartoonist. Monroe was the goofy next door neighbor, constantly annoying Knight, but otherwise winning the adoration of the rest of the family for his good natured stupidity.

When Hollywood Squares came back to the air in 1986 with John Davidson as the host and Joan Rivers as the center square, who else would producers choose as the resident foppish, effeminate square with a quick wit? Jm J Bullock, of course. Bullock filled the role with Paul Lynde-ian flair. He had the same goofy wardrobe, similar inflection in his voice and the same prepared one-liners that send the audience into an uproar.

These days, Bullock is mostly a forgotten relic of the 1980s, the kind of celebrity that you expect to be performing with Bonnie Franklin and Diana Canova in Branson, MO. doesn't list anything of note in his filmography since playing Willy Tanner's brother in ALF's final season. Since then, he's been relegated to roles that have basically cast him as the gay guy. He's not the greatest actor to grace the small screen, but he's a decent one, better than that .

The bottom line is that he's Paul Lynde for Gen Y. So where's his variety show? Where are his cameos? His talk show appearances? Where's his role as the gay uncle on How I Met Your Mother? Let's get these things in the work for Jm. He probably needs the paycheck.

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Aside from being the fictitious wife of Tommy Flanagan (the Liar's Club preside - er - founder portrayed by Jon Lovitz on 1980s SNL), for what exactly is Morgan Fairchild famous? She's never held a recurring role on any program longer than 15 episodes. She's essentially famous for being hot.

Here's why: she'll literally never say no to any role you offer her. Go ahead and turn on your TV and flip around a while. It's a virtual lock that Morgan Fairchild will pop up at some point. She's Janeane Garofalo without the psychotic streak and the chip on her shoulder. But unlike Garofalo, she's perfectly content with her role on the acting food chain. Need a hot mom? Call Morgan Fairchild. Need a weepy turned revenge-bent wife? Call Morgan Fairchild. Need someone to play Morgan Fairchild? Call Morgan Fairchild.

But despite her lack of selectiveness, she's a consistent performer. She's got no problem making fun of herself as a Lifetime movie appearing B-rate actress (as she does in almost every role she appears in as herself), but she's also got no problem actually appearing in a B-rate Lifetime movie. And Hollywood needs people to fill these roles, and fill them with gusto. There are only so many Brad Pitts and once you run out of them, where do you go? Here's where: Morgan Fairchild. (UR: 16.5)

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This one's going to be weird, because Chevy gets tons of credit for his great work and tons of shit for his lousy work. He's probably rated just about where he should be. I get all of that, but when I woke up this morning, I realized there's literally a whole generation of children who don't know how awesome, funny and popular Chevy Chase was from about 1975 until about 1990. I find that incredible. 18 year old kids could be watching Caddyshack for the first time, looking at Ty Webb and say, "Who's that guy?" or "Has he done anything else?" Admittedly, they'd have to be not all that bright, but it's definitely possible.

This post is for those not too bright 18 year olds.

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This is another guy that doesn't get nearly the press that he should. Sure, his work isn't exactly Wes Anderson films and he's pretty much got to rely on Adam Sandler for work, but people should recognize him as a good actor because he is a good actor. And he wrote creative, smart, funny sketches for Saturday Night Live. Take a look at his resume.

Forget about Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (although I'd argue that DB: EG is still better than 75% of the crap released weekly these days) for a second. Rob Schneider was the glue that held the early 90s cast of Saturday Night Live together. Think about Sensitive Naked Man. Who else could have pulled that character off? David Spade? Not the king of sarcasm. Adam Sandler? No, he was a less easily thrown off version of Jimmy Fallon. No, Rob Schneider was the only one who could have pulled it off. He was by far the most versatile member of that cast (save for the late, great Phil Hartman, but he's more closely aligned with the prior cast). How about Tracy, the girl that worked at the Donut Hut in the "Gap Girls" sketches? Or one of the "Bellisima" waiters? The "You Like-a The Juice" guy?

If you're thinking, "Come on! He was that Richard guy with the 'Making Copies' sketch. That was so lame," it might be a good idea take a trip into the wayback machine and look at yourself from 15 years ago because I\it's a pretty sure bet you were one of the millions of people doing a lousy impression of him. It's OK. Come to terms with it. Own it. Because it was funny as fuck. And it still holds up today.

Here's another thing: This guy never broke character on SNL, unlike today's cast, which giggles and guffaws with every minor slip up. Hey, newsflash 2007-8 SNL cast: The material isn't that funny. We're not laughing, so why the hell are you? It's all Jimmy Fallon, who opened the door to laughing like an idiot in every sketch. He could barely hold it together in a scene. Rob Schneider was and is a professional, and that should count for something. UR: -17.5

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Everyone knows him when they see him: hanging bulldog jowls, troll-like stature, male pattern shiny bald head. Not a whole lot of people know him by name. He's Wallace Shawn, and while he was busy lisping his way through The Princess Bride, he was "incon-theeve-ably" putting together a career as one of Hollywood's most recognizable character actors.

He played Diane Keaton's ex-husband in Manhattan (arguably Woody Allen's best film), the sarcastic debate teacher Mr. Hall in 1995's Clueless, and the diabolical Vizzini in The Princess Bride. His voice over career includes both Toy Stories, Monsters, Inc and The Incredibles. Wherever there's work to be done, Wally Shawn pops up. He's like a smaller, not quite as sweaty Meat Loaf.

But his piece-de-resistance was 1981's My Dinner With Andre, a semi-autobiographical piece written with Andre Gregory and directed by Louis Malle, that features him and Gregory dining and discussing the latter's recent exploits around the world. It's a film snob's wet dream, thought-provoking and smart without pretense. UR: -22

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The Book


The Yankee Pot Roast Book of Awesome Underappreciated Stuff
by Geoff Wolinetz,
Nick Jezarian,
and Josh Abraham

Published by
Citadel/Kensington Books.
On sale June 24, 2008.

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