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Published: 1/1/2010

Celebrities do the dumbest things

BY MARK CARO
CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Open the windows and turn on the fans - it's time once again for us to present the Alewife Awards to those cultural/entertainment figures who left 2009's biggest stench.

•From the folks who ridiculed David Paterson's blindness ...

Proving that the lower you are, the harder Saturday Night Live will kick you, Abby Elliott mercilessly impersonated Brittany Murphy as a space-cadet boob in early December after the actress was fired from a movie amid reports of erratic behavior. That Murphy died a few weeks later only underscored the show's penchant for pointless meanness.

•Kick the Kanye ...

Perhaps we should thank Kanye West for introducing such an amusing phrase into our lexicon: "Ima let you finish. ..."

But his MTV Video Music Awards mic-grabbing antics not only raised his ego-maniacal jerkiness level to a new peak but also rallied the world around Taylor Swift to the point that she's more overexposed than Britney Spears' midriff.

•Celebrities make the best dads, Part 1 ...

Celebrity confessionals reached a new level of ickiness as Mackenzie Phillips made endless talk show appearances to hype her memoir, High on Arrival, and its revelation that she carried on a drug-fueled sexual relationship with her father, singer John Phillips. (Mick Jagger makes a gross cameo as well.)

•Celebrities make the best dads, Part 2 ...

Ryan O'Neal revealed that at Farrah Fawcett's funeral, he flirted with "a beautiful blond woman" who felt compelled to tell him, "Daddy, it's me - Tatum!"

•To make good, they offered discounts on High on Arrival ...

Kindle owners must have thought Big Brother was monitoring their reading habits when Amazon remotely deleted its electronic copies of George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm. Amazon claimed that the copies were from an unauthorized supplier, but readers kicked up an online firestorm nonetheless.

•As if her cackling laugh weren't punishment enough ...

Former Project Runway finalist Kenley Collins was arrested for assaulting her now-ex-fiance by throwing their cat in his face while he was sleeping. Collins told the New York Post that it was "a miscommunication"; she eventually pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

•Next up: A photo book with Vanilla Ice

After enduring much criticism for her suggestive 2008 Vanity Fair spread, 16-year-old Miley Cyrus returned to her roots at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards- and performed "Party in the USA" while donning a skimpy outfit and doing squat-thrusts with a makeshift stripper pole.

•Next up: A duet with Miley Cyrus

We don't care whom Adam Lambert kisses, but please spare us any more prefabricated controversies such as Lambert's "in the moment" smooch with a male keyboardist at the American Music Awards.

•Now Roland Burris is trying to get on Deal or No Deal ...

Rod and Patti Blagojevich started 2009 as the first couple of Illinois. By year's end Patti had prayed with Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt (after Pratt called the Blagojeviches "the Heidi and Spencer of politics") on I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! and Rod was set to compete on Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice while awaiting trial on corruption charges.

•Um, why would that particular phrase come to mind?

Chris Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna before the Grammy Awards but still spent much of the year acting like the wounded party, at one point calling Oprah Winfrey's show about domestic violence "a slap in my face."

•He's bad. He's bad. You know it ...

Michael Jackson's death was tragedy enough, but just in case you needed a little more bad aftertaste, there was the singer's allegedly abusive father, Joe Jackson, using the occasion to hit red carpets and give interviews to promote his new record label - that is, when he wasn't seeking big bucks from his late son's estate or talking up Michael's kids as potential performers.

•They could dedicate Crash to his career ...

A book proposal by a former aide claimed that former presidential candidate John Edwards not only planned to marry his mistress after his wife died of cancer (which, mind you, she has yet to do), but he also promised that the wedding would take place on a New York rooftop with the Dave Matthews Band performing.

•Two Jays who can't perform in prime time ...

If you're looking for the TV prime-time equivalent of the Chicago Bears, look no further than The Jay Leno Show. It entered the fall with great expectations and promises of dominance, but within a few months it was getting clobbered by rivals (in Leno's case, CSI: Miami reruns) and imperiling the big bosses' job security.

•Please go away and don't come back in 2010

Candy and Tori Spelling

Jon and Kate Gosselin

Carrie Prejean

Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt

Ashley Alexandra Dupre

Those reality-TV-aspiring Balloon Boy parents (sorry, you'll get no name check here)

Those reality-TV-aspiring White House party crashers (ditto)

•Rejected titles: "Dullsville," "Oh So Sleepy," "Lethargy Inc." ...

Sorry, but we can't think of one good reason to call a TV show Bored to Death.

•Number nine, number nine, number nine ...

In 2009, movies came out called "District 9," "9," and "Nine."

•Gosh, what else happens?

The year's most blandly terrible movie title: "Love Happens."

•That's because they're talking too fast ...

"I know lots of people that take cocaine three nights a week and get up and go to work every day, no problem. But we never hear that side of the story." - singer Lily Allen

•Of course, the same might be said of death ...

"I think the more positive approach you have to smoking, the less harmful it is." - actress Sienna Miller

•A scary sign of how quickly these ''scandals'' come and go ...

Admit it: Joaquin Phoenix's bizarre, bearded, mumbling appearance on Late Show With David Letterman seems like more than a year ago, doesn't it?



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