Cruises & comedy crashes: The Lavender Tube on 'Death and Other Details,' SNL's off-kilter sketches and more

  • by Victoria A. Brownworth
  • Tuesday February 6, 2024
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The cast of  'Death and Other Details' (photo: Hulu)
The cast of 'Death and Other Details' (photo: Hulu)

Hulu's new murder mystery thriller series "Death and Other Details" will remind you of "White Lotus," "Only Murders in the Building" and Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express." Rufus Coteworth (Mandy Patinkin), who used to be "the world's greatest detective" finds himself on a luxury cruise liner.

Set amidst the glamor of the global elite on this cruise, the drama centers on the "brilliant and restless" Imogene Scott (Violett Bean). Imogene despises Coteworth, who she first encountered when she was ten and her mother had just died under suspicious circumstances and Imogene had been taken in by the wealthy Collier family. Fast forward to the present of the story and Imogene, now 28, has become the prime suspect in the locked-room murder mystery after boarding the SS Varuna at a Mediterranean port.

Violett Bean and Mandy Patinkin in 'Death and Other Details'  

As for Coteworth, he is no longer the famed detective, which means they both have reasons to work together to solve the mystery. But Imogene is far from happy to be forced to enlist Coteworth's help to prove her innocence.

"Death and Other Details" is chaotic and complex, like all dramas about rich people with long lineages, lots of secrets and lots of money. Which is the theme of the series—secrets and more secrets. Intrigue is everywhere.

Among the Christie-esque contingent of suspects are three lesbians: Anna Collier (Tony winner Lauren Patten), Imogene's wealthy and gay best friend since they were children, Leila (Pardis Saremi), Anna's fragile, paranoid wife, who is a former clickbait journalist, and Eleanor Chun (Karoline), heiress to a fashion empire and Anna's former lover from business school. Also in the mix is Linda Emond as Agent Hilde Eriksen. Emond played gay repeatedly on the "Law & Order" franchise.

We don't want to reveal spoilers, but there's a lot of complicated relationships, including Lawrence Collier (gay actor David Marshall Grant), the CEO of Collier Mills who is getting ready to retire, but has yet to declare his successor. Anna's cokehead brother, Tripp (Jack Cutmore-Scott).

Lauren Patten and Karoline in 'Death and Other Details'  

The Collier family's spiritual adviser, Father Toby (Danny Johnson) Rahul Kohli, who we absolutely loved in "iZombie," plays Sunil Bhandari, the mysterious owner of the cruise ship SS Varuna. Teddy Goh (Angela Zhou) is the crew manager on the Varuna. These players' significance, and how they are interconnected, is revealed slowly.

"Death and Other Details" is a dark, clever and compelling whodunit with more than a soupcon of queerness.

Ayo Edebiri (acting as a character) and Nikki Haley (acting like a human) on 'Saturday Night Live.'  

SNL slip slides
We tuned in to "Saturday Night Live" this past Saturday because "The Bear" star and Emmy winner Ayo Edebiri, who's funny and queer, was making her hosting debut on the show with musical guest Jennifer Lopez, who we just really like to look at, even when her songs are not that great.

We weren't expecting Nikki Haley dissing Donald Trump and apologizing for forgetting about slavery, but "SNL" can still change it up. In the cold open, the former UN Ambassador, South Carolina governor and GOP presidential candidate made a cameo appearance to ask James Austin Johnson's Donald Trump some questions in the pseudo town hall sketch.

"Why won't you debate Nikki Haley?" she asked, to which "SNL" Trump replied, "Oh my God. It's her, the woman who was in charge of security on Jan. 6. It's Nancy Pelosi."

It would have been funnier if it wasn't what he'd claimed repeatedly at a rally two weeks ago.

Haley followed that with, "Are you doing OK, Donald? You might need a mental competency test."

Johnson's Trump said, "You know what, I did. I took the test and I aced it, OK. Perfect score. They said I'm 100 percent mental."

Edebiri, as a town hall audience member, asked Haley what she would say "was the main cause of the Civil War. Do you think it starts with an 'S' and ends with a 'lavery'?" Edebiri asked.

"Yep, I probably should have said that the first time," Haley replied.

Haley got major pushback for failing to cite slavery as the cause of the Civil War at a New Hampshire town hall on December 28.

At the end of the skit, Haley said, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" —the standard opening for the NBC series.

It was a moment. A few hours earlier President Joe Biden had won the South Carolina Democratic primary with 96.2% of the vote. Marianne Williamson received 2.1% and Rep. Dean Phillips got 1.7%. The GOP primary in the state is February 24.

Racist homophobic comic Shane Gillis  

SNL's flip flop
Also, Shane Gillis, was hired and fired by "SNL" in 2019 after people posted videos of Gillis making racist, homophobic, Islamophobic and misogynistic jokes on his own podcast and other media. Now "SNL" is having him host, during Black History Month, no less, on Feb. 24.

In addition, Anheuser Busch revealed Gillis is their new Bud Light advertising partner in an Instagram post on Jan. 31, with a photo of Gillis at a Budweiser brewery. "Welcome to the team," the caption read. "Excited to be a part of your 2024 tour."

TikTok influencer Dylan Mulvaney, who is trans, was Bud Light's previous face, which made MAGA America insane and got Mulvaney a bazillion threats as well as pushback from GOP members of Congress. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) even called for an investigation.

Gillis, now a regular on anti-vaxxer transphobe Joe Rogan's popular show, had referred to "white f*gg*t comics" and used a racial slur for Chinese people repeatedly, among other "comedy" he called "pushing boundaries."

We keep telling you, kids, cancel culture ain't real for straight white dudes. The GOP even chose a rapist indicted for 91 felonies as their leader and symbol of family values; a rapist who referred to E. Jean Carroll's attorney Robbie Kaplan by the c word after he threw papers at her during a deposition.

Kaplan won Carroll $83.3 million in damages against Trump for defamation. Kaplan is also the lawyer who won recognition of same-sex marriages in the Supreme Court in 2013.

Hollander's sauce
So we already told you how fantastic "Feud: Truman Capote v. The Swans" is, but we just want to add that the bath house scene is so raw and erotic and over the top that it will stay with you for a very, very long time.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Tom Hollander, who we also loved in "White Lotus," talks about playing Truman Capote (he is astonishingly good) and playing gay and maybe being gay. Hollander notes all of that came into play as he imagined being Capote. He said, "I certainly have not lived the life that gay men used to have to live. I have not lived that difficulty. I have not had to live in the shadows and been under the threat of going to jail for expressing my sexuality."

Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift (photo: CNN)  

Taylor & Travis
The San Francisco 49ers are up against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl on February 11. Too bad the game is rigged for the Chiefs because tight end Travis Kelce's girlfriend, global superstar Taylor Swift, is going to endorse President Biden after the game from the field in Nevada and then Biden will win, because a Taylor Swift endorsement will clinch the election.

We wish we were joking, but the Department of Defense has had to respond to rumors about Swift as a psyop due to "reporting" on Fox News. We actually did a news story on this.

Exclusive polling conducted for Newsweek by Redfield & Wilton Strategies found that 18% of voters said they're "more likely" or "significantly more likely" to vote for a candidate endorsed by Swift in the 2024 presidential election. And Swift first made the right's watch list for registering 35,000 voters via her Instagram account.

"The Daily Show" had Desi Lydic Foxsplain Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce as a CIA psyop.

For Black History Month, the newest installment of the Genius franchise, "GENIUS: MLK/X," focuses on iconic civil rights era geniuses Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. The series premiered Feb. 1 on National Geographic and streams on Disney+ and Hulu.

We caught Frankie Grande on "Tamron Hall" last week and he was flaming and fun and she was into it. Hall is a sterling ally to LGBTQ people and has been a presenter and nominee at the GLAAD media awards. Grande talked about his husband, about being sober, about living his authentic self and he sang.

Also, Grande revealed he borrowed Shangela's dress for the drag scene in the queer horror comedy film, "Summoning Sylvia."

After nearly two decades in the role of Jack McCoy on "Law & Order," Sam Waterston, 83, is retiring from the role after 20 seasons. Tony Goldwyn, who starred as President Fitzgerald Grant III in the ABC legal/political drama "Scandal," (2012—2018) and directed a number of episodes for the series, for which he won a Peabody Award, is stepping into the role of New York District Attorney starting February 22. We heart Goldwyn, a true ally, who we wrote about here a lot as devotees of "Scandal" and Goldwyn.

In the Netflix show "Life on Our Planet," viewers learn early on that 99 percent of all species that have ever lived are now extinct—an unimaginable fact. From executive producer Steven Spielberg, it's stunning and scary.

So for the fun and the frolicsome, the sober and the sobering, you know you really must stay tuned.

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