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I’ve always wanted to be in a position where I have someone important and influential stand up and speak for me. The problem is, I don’t really know any important and influential people, and pretty much the only time you would need someone to do that for you is if you got busted for something and needed a character witness–or if your dumb fuck lifestyle finally caught up to you and this person read your eulogy. I just wish I went to a boarding school where I could get into a small amount of trouble, which would necessitate a huge hearing with all of my peers so that “Hoo-Ah” Al Pacino could come to my defense. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go watch “Scent of a Woman,” dummy. Or just watch this clip, because it’s basically the inspiration for this column:
1. Matthew McConaughey
He’s the most charismatic man in Hollywood. He speaks almost as if he’s always stoned, except he’s extraordinarily lucid and he puts together much more complex thoughts than any pothead I’ve ever met. What really puts him above his competition (the Clooneys and RDJs) is that fantastic, unaffected accent. So many people I grew up with back in Texas chose to have an accent. You can always tell someone who grew up with it naturally from someone who’s trying too hard to sound “country.” McConaughey is the real deal, and if we know anything about people from the rest of the country, it’s that they love a good accent. It’s endearing. Whether he’s defending me or remembering me, he’ll be able to sway half the audience just with the syrupiness of his voice.
2. Dick Vitale
Look, I’m not sure anyone has ever accused Dick Vitale of being eloquent, but the man has a job and he’s great at it. He has a ridiculous cartoon voice and it’s his responsibility to get overly excited about anything he talks about. I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever actually heard the man make a salient point, but that’s neither here nor there. The man is a loudspeaker attached to a wrinkled body, and he’s damn effective with it. I won’t lie, Dickie V gets me pumped up for college basketball every year. I always think that maybe this time, I won’t pay attention. I mean, I haven’t watched a single game all year, so why should I care about the tournament? Then Dick shows up and completely changes my mind. He won’t have to know anything about me or anyone he’s speaking to when he comes to my defense. All he’ll have to do is yell a bunch of gibberish and end with, “This kid is gold, BAYBEE!”
3. Bill Burr
I used Bill Burr’s clip talking about Arnold in a past column, which I think already shows his skill in backing a man with some personal troubles. Burr truly needs a full recognition of his verbal ability. He’s the funniest comedian working right now, hands down (sorry, Louie). He’s also the perfect person to try and get me out of trouble, because he’s used to arguing in favor of positions that are impossible to defend. That’s basically his entire routine. He chooses a topic that seems impossibly unapproachable, grabs the audience with a ridiculous statement about it, and then subsequently changes people’s minds on the whole issue in a matter of minutes. All I’m saying is that if he can completely assail the idea of motherhood in the following clip, then he can get me out of a public SNAFU.
A lot of people don’t realize this, but Oprah actually got her start pretty early on by placing second in nationals for dramatic interpretation, which is insane if you know anything about speech and debate. She won an oratory competition, which earned her a full scholarship to college. Already, I would let 18-year-old Oprah Winfrey argue for me. But now she’s got some weight behind those words (and I’m not talking about her constant physique fluctuations). Millions of women do things simply because Oprah tells them to: read this book, try this hobby, adore this person who will turn out to be a shitty human being. Half of the target audience is 100 percent in on whatever she’s saying from the beginning. Oprah has had some bad luck throwing her influence behind certain people (James Frey comes to mind) which is good, because if I’m in need of her help, I’m not exactly going to be squeaky clean. The point is, anyone who can find a goober like Phil McGraw, make him famous, get him a show, and convince everyone in America to call him a “doctor” can certainly finagle me out of a sticky wicket.
5. Bill Clinton
Say what you will about his politics and personal morality, but the man has charisma for days and has probably cemented his legacy as having the best post-presidential career ever. For an entire generation of young people, he’s known as the guy who got a “kickass hummer on the sly” in the Oval Office, who had the balls to call into question the definition of “is.” It’s pretty simple, really. If he can get himself off (See what I did there?) then there’s no reason he couldn’t talk me out of a problematic situation.
Here’s the point. I’m probably going to do something stupid at some point, which will require someone more influential and eloquent than just a lawyer. So, loquacious celebrities, you’re on notice. If I try to befriend you, it’s because I’m really concerned about some bad PR that’s going to break soon. Or I think you smell nice. One of the two.