Fantastic singer. Amazing emcee. Man who has every conceivable area of his body tattooed. Certified eccentric. Man who vaguely resembles a dinosaur. One thing Cee-Lo Green is definitely NOT? A talk show host. Over the weekend, I had the vaguely horrifying experience of watching Cee-Lo’s Fuse-TV chat show “Talking with Strangers”, and I found myself reliving one of the saddest experiences in modern pop culture history-“The Magic Hour”. Y’all remember when they gave Magic Johnson a talk show? Remember feeling almost embarrassed watching the former basketball great stumble through interviews? Just because you can talk doesn’t mean you should be on TV asking people questions.
Ain’t that some shit?
I sat through three episodes of Cee-Lo’s show, and as much as I enjoy the man as a musician and performer, there was just SO. MUCH. WRONG about that show. From Cee-Lo’s opening performances, during which he sings to a track from his latest album. Couldn’t Fuse have hired a band? Getting striking looking but unnecessary people to mime the instruments? Not a good look. There’s also the fact that Cee-Lo doesn’t appear to know a heck of a lot about his guests beyond reading a couple of record company bios. Of the three shows, he chatted gamely with Grace Potter of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, but didn’t do much with Keri Hilson other than flirt mercilessly and make lame erection jokes, and he had no connection with Train, particularly the phenomenally mom-haired lead singer Pat Monahan. The vocalist tried hard to conceal his contempt at participating in this circle jerk, but wasn’t fooling me. The show’s only saving grace (of course) came in the musical performances, and what I would have liked to have seen most (Cee-Lo collaborating with his guests) didn’t happen. Instead, we had to sit through “Hey, Soul Sister” for the 11 millionth time and hear Hilson struggle to hit high notes.
You know what freaked me out the most? The fact that Cee-Lo’s show was so bad, Mark Hoppus’s similar talk show seemed like Conan O’Brien’s (or Arsenio Hall’s) by comparison. Mr. Green can levitate on a piano and dress himself like a deranged swami all he wants, but as for hosting a talk show? He should probably leave that to the professionals. Or at least someone like John Mayer or Justin Timberlake who would probably be more suited to that type of gig (although it’s doubtful Fuse would have the cash to get either of them.)
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