BRAD OSWALD Ñ TV
For Christmas, Fozzie Bear gets his dream gig
It's where all standup comics -- even corny, fur-coated, Muppetty ones -- wish they could be: Just For Laughs. And in a special edition of the new Comedy network series Just For Laughs: All Access (Monday, Dec. 24 at 9:30 p.m. on Comedy), Fozzie and his pals host an all-star comedy gala in Montreal. The Muppets -- Kermit, Statler & Waldorf, Miss Piggy, the Swedish Chef and more -- are fun, but what's really amusing is watching the wide-eyed joy of the human comics who get to share the stage.
ANTHONY AUGUSTINE / MUSIC
Epic pop mash-up
Mash-ups can seem played out, but when you expertly stitch together 55 of the biggest songs of the year -- including Gotye's Somebody That I Used To Know, right -- people pay attention. This mega mash-up may be successful because "every pop song sounds the same," but it also reveals who some of the breakout artists were in 2012: bit.ly/2012_mashup
RANDALL KING Ñ MOVIES
A mushrooming coincidence
Best scene in Knocked Up? When Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd, tripping on magic mushrooms, go see a Cirque du soleil show in Vegas. Five years later, those three entities are competing for your box office dollars this weekend, with Rudd in the Knocked Up semi-sequel This Is 40, Rogen starring with Barbra Streisand in The Guilt Trip, and the Cirque in the James Cameron-produced Cirque du soleil: Worlds Away. Hmm. Trippy.
MORLEY WALKER / BOOKS
Even k.d. lang would learn something
The Holy or the Broken, American music journalist Alan Light's new book on Leonard Cohen's over-covered song Hallelujah, now a standard of the pop repertoire, is filled with fascinating trivia. For one, the 1984 album on which it first appeared, Various Positions, was rejected by Cohen's record company, Columbia, and was initially released by an indie label, Passport Records. Columbia eventually recognized its error and bought back the album, which also includes two other Cohen classics, Dance Me to the End of Love and If It Be Your Will.
KEVIN PROKOSH / THEATRE
Just five days more
There has probably never been a movie that has generated more interest in the theatre community than the Christmas Day release of Les Misérables, Tom Hooper's 157-minute interpretation of Victor Hugo's epic tale. The mega-musical version is beloved by stage folk, and not only because it's been seen by 60 million people in 42 countries and 21 languages. Is it possible the big-screen Les Misérables is better than the stage original? Can Hugh Jackman, right, hold a candle to Colm Wilkerson, the consensus best ever prisoner 24601?