Tags: Seinfeld | in | Court

Seinfeld in Court: Will It Be Laughs or Libel?

Tuesday, 24 Jun 2008 02:44 PM

By James Hirsen

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Mike Myers Validates Kanye West's Katrina 'Frustration'
2. 'X Files' Rapper-Actor Xzibit a Non-Believer in Aliens
3. Did David Geffen Plant the DreamWorks Deal Story?
4. Russert's Rainbow
5. Seinfeld in Court: Will It Be Laughs or Libel?
 

1. Mike Myers Validates Kanye West's Katrina 'Frustration'

Remember the 2005 TV special to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims?

During the special, there was one odd moment.

In what seemed like a statement from the "The Twilight Zone," rapper Kanye West blurted out, "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

Former SNL cast member Mike Myers happened to be standing next to West, and the look on his face at the time was one of astonishment.

But now Myers apparently believes West's diss of the prez during the live telecast was just fine.

The actor told Moviefone, "I went to the Katrina telethon because I was very moved by the plight of the people in New Orleans and I wanted to make a difference. I think that the frustration that Kanye expressed was valid."

Evidently, Myers wished that West had given a heads-up, though, regarding the Bush-bash.

"I just think you gotta tell a feller you're gonna say it. Just tell a feller, would ya?" Myers lamented.

Incidentally, Myers' latest comedy, "The Love Guru," didn't exactly register the expected number of smiles that execs at Paramount would have wanted. The highly promoted film ranked fourth place in the weekend finish and brought in only $14 million.

In light of the weak box-office showing, maybe moviegoers will view any frustration the Love Guru displays as "valid."


2. 'X Files' Rapper-Actor Xzibit a Non-Believer in Aliens

In the upcoming movie, "The X Files: I Want to Believe," which is set for release in late July, a rapper with the perfect name to act in an "X-Files" flick, Xzibit, does a decent job playing an FBI agent

Xzibit, a.k.a. Alvin Nathaniel Joiner, is also known for hosting the MTV reality show "Pimp My Ride."

When asked about his personal beliefs with respect to the existence of extra terrestrial life, Xzibit seems to have taken a cue from fellow rapper Kanye West.

"I don't believe in aliens," Joiner tells People magazine. "I don't think aliens or ghosts like black people. We never get abducted; our houses never get haunted. It always happens in rural areas, where no ethnic people live. The day I see somebody from South Central Los Angeles say, 'Man, I got abducted yesterday,' then I'll believe it."

Xzibit might want to check out one of the most famous alien abductions from the 1960s; that of Barney Hill, along with his wife Betty.

Barney was an African-American that aliens apparently liked enough to have a close encounter with.


3. Did David Geffen Plant the DreamWorks Deal Story?

News outlets have been filled with stories about how Steven Spielberg and other top executives at DreamWorks SKG have been looking into an alliance with a Bollywood billionaire.

Could it be that the story was planted by DreamWorks partner and master negotiator David Geffen?

According to a report by the Internet site, The Deal, a source indicates that leaking a story about a suitor to juice up negotiations would be "classic Geffen."

In covering the matter, the New York Times quotes an unnamed studio veteran as saying, "This is what [Geffen] does really well," suggesting that deal talk details may have been exposed to reporters to stir up interest.

In 2005 Geffen deftly juggled suitors for DreamWorks, and Paramount's winning bid of $1.6 billion came after a flood of press coverage of a bid by Universal of $1.5 billion.

Geffen and partner Spielberg have hit some snags in their negotiations with DreamWorks owner, Paramount, and as if it were scripted, along comes Reliance Big Entertainment of India, ready to infuse DreamWorks with half a billion bucks and allow the boutique company to be independent once more.

If Geffen is the one who publicized Reliance's interest, it could end up drawing interest from other potential investors.

The owner of Reliance, Anil Ambani, a major player in Bollywood, is an Indian billionaire who owns movie production facilities and theater chains in his home country. He also owns a chunk of Prime Focus Group, an Indian post-production company that has been acquiring Hollywood business interests.

A Reliance investment in Geffen's company would result in a much smaller DreamWorks, with an output of about a half-dozen films per year. A newly infused DreamWorks would likely still work with Paramount for distribution of movies.

Paramount would most likely want to continue to control the films produced by DreamWorks since the separately owned DreamWorks Animation studio, run by DreamWorks SKG partner Jeffrey Katzenberg, distributes smash hits like "Kung Fu Panda" under a separate agreement.

Will the influential studio founded by Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen work out a deal with Paramount, be bought by a yet to be named company or become independent again?

So far DreamWorks, Paramount and Reliance are declining to comment.


4. Russert's Rainbow

As John McCain and Barack Obama sat next to each other at the funeral of esteemed "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert, the last piece of music heard by those honoring his memory was "Over the Rainbow."

At the melodic moment, a shining rainbow appeared above the Kennedy Center as if flawlessly timed to correspond with the melody.

Russert's son Luke reacted to the event in a way that would have made his dad proud.

When probed for his thoughts about the way in which the rainbow emerged with such perfect timing, Luke grinned in the same familiar manner that Tim did each Sunday.

Luke then asked, "Is anyone still an atheist now?"


5. Seinfeld in Court: Will It Be Laughs or Libel?

Like a show about nothing, could this be a lawsuit about nothing?

That's what Jerry Seinfeld's lawyers are arguing.

Missy Chase Lapine wrote a cookbook called "The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals."

Seinfeld's spouse, Jessica, wrote a book titled "Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food."

Lapine is accusing Mrs. Seinfeld of plagiarism over the stealth veggie cookbook.

While appearing on the "Late Show with David Letterman," Jerry described Lapine's accusation as "vegetable plagiarism." The comedian went on to compare her name to those of the assassins of John Lennon and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

"If you read history," Seinfeld said, "Many of the three-name people do become assassins. Mark David Chapman. And you know, James Earl Ray. So that's my concern."

Consequently, Lapine added a defamation cause of action to the copyright and trademark infringement suit that she had filed.

In the original complaint, Lapine described Seinfeld as a comedian but then revised his profession in an amendment, which said, "Jerry Seinfeld is an enormously wealthy and well-known actor."

Now the court has to decide:

— if the idea to mush up veggies and sneak them into kids' meals is protected by copyright;

— if the First Amendment protects a joke that compares the names of assassins to the name of a plaintiff bringing suit; and

— if Jerry Seinfeld is a comedian or an actor.

The court will likely decide that Jerry Seinfeld is no Robert De Niro, despite some brilliant "Bee Movie" moments.

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