justin timberlake

#Ashtag Week 8: Ashley Nerds Out

Serena Williams Thank you for joining me on another journey into pop culture discovery. As with the previous weeks, I use current Internet trends to guide me out of my pop culture oblivion. This week, we've got some sports floating toward the top of the searches. The NFL is in the spotlight because of an elevator video. I watched the video, and it is upsetting. Let's not dwell on such things here. Let's talk about happy things like that Serena Williams won the US Open. Weee! That "weee" with four e's and an exclamation point is all I can muster. I don't care for tennis. Let's move on.

You may not know this, but I am a fan of video games. I don't play much anymore, so I just learned about the latest release while doing this #ashtag entry. I'm out of the loop apparently even in the world of video games. Who am I? What do I do with my time? The game Destiny has made records as having the most pre-orders in video game history. I watched the trailer, and it looks incredibly rad. It's a first-person shooter and an RPG in an open-world, multiplayer universe. I know what all of that means. Take that MTV VMAs! I do know stuff! If you don't know what those words mean, you probably lack the interest required for me to explain them to you.

Destiny will be released on the PS3 and PS4, as well as XBox One and 360, which is very neat for people like me who still have a PS3 and don't always have access to the new releases. They've even offered a free upgrade of the game if someone on an old console upgrades to a new one. Super neat. Okay, fine, I'm done nerding out now. But you go watch the trailer and tell me it doesn't look cool.

Fallon and Timberlake

I lied. The nerding continues. The iPhone is back, and it's got a bigger screen, it's thinner, it's revved up, and it's got a sick camera. Apple has announced information on the new iPhones, the 6 and the 6 Plus, which will be released on September 19. Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon voiced the first ad for the phones and the Internet collectively wet its pants. Was the pants wetting over the phone details or over the bromantic duo lending their voices to the ad? We'll never know.

The most popular video on YouTube right now is "DuckTales Theme Song With Real Ducks." The name aptly describes what is seen in the video. The opening credits of the cartoon, DuckTales, has been re-created using real, live ducks. It's cute. A lot of time must have gone into the set recreation and into the wrangling of the live ducks. I bet the makers of this video don't know what an Iggy Azalea is either.

Last week, I decided that I would dive into the popular music videos in order to delve as deep as possible into this pop culture pool. Or as shallow, depending on your perspective. At the top is Iggy Azalea's "Black Widow ft Rita Ora." I learned of these two young ladies during my VMA education. They look similar, but at the top of this video, one of them is wearing a name tag with the name Rita on it. I put two and two together and figured out which lady was which. Go me. This vid is styled after the "Kill Bill" movies and even features actor, Michael Madsen. I don't want to spoil it for you, but he wears a cowboy hat at one point in the video. Another top music video is Nick Jonas' "Chains." I guess the Jonas Brothers broke up.

One of the top hashtags this week that is not about any of the aforementioned topics is #iflovingyouiswrong. Apparently, Tyler Perry has a new drama on Oprah's OWN Network called If Loving You is Wrong. The show chronicles the relationships of "a group of husbands and wives that live and love on the same street." I borrowed that quote from IMDB because I really liked the "live and love on the same street" phrasing. I won't be watching this show because I don't have cable (and I don't want to watch it), but I may use this hashtag when I post pictures of my food on Instagram. (I'm still not exactly sure how hashtags work.)

I know the only reason you come back to #ashtag each week is to get your update on my progress in the Kardashian game. I don't want to be an enabler, but I'll oblige and feed your hungry monster. I'm still on the A-list, and I'm part of highly trending couple. I'm also deciding whether to buy a houseboat in Sydney or a loft in Soho. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts on that decision. #iflovingthisgameisntwrongitshouldbeiamashamedofmyselfandidonotfeelcool

Ashley Bright is a writer/performer at Dallas Comedy House. She’s a graduate of the DCH Improv Training Program and is currently a level 3 sketch writing student. You can see her perform every weekend at Dallas Comedy House.

#Ashtag Week 6: I Still Know Nothing

This week I'm continuing my foray into the world of today's popular culture. MTV aired their annual video music awards, the VMAs, over the weekend. I do not have cable, so I didn't watch them. Even in my teen years (my peak submersion into pop culture) I rarely watched the VMAs. Although, I did always tune in for the MTV Movie Awards. Who new MoonMans were still a thing?

I probably should have invaded the home of one of my cable-having friends so that I could have watched the awards show and did this piece some justice. Instead, we'll let the Internet fill me in on what happened. As it stands, most of the top searches relate to the VMAs. Blue Ivy, the toddler daughter of Jay-Z and Beyonce, apparently stole the show. Katy Perry tweeted, “OMG BLUE IVY JUST PERSONALLY WAVED AT ME. MY LIFE IS OVER.” The three-piece family hugged and smooched on stage. The audience cooed.

Miley Cyrus won for "Wrecking Ball" and sent a homeless teenager up to accept on her behalf in an effort to raise awareness of youth homelessness, a la Marlon Brando sending the Apache woman up to accept his Oscar for the Godfather. By the by, I'm part Apache and the lady that accepted for Brando kind of looked like my mom in her youth. I just like telling people that I'm part Apache. It makes me feel cool. Alright, I'm moving on. Geronimo.

In reading up on the VMAs, I came across several names that I was not familiar with like Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, and Jessie J. I watched their videos and it turns out that I had heard the songs before. My next sentence is going to get me some dirty looks from folks, but it's the truth. When I had heard the Ed Sheeran song in passing, I thought it was a Justin Timberlake song. My bad.

The number of presenters and performers' names that I had never heard of outnumbered the names that I did recognize. There's a girl band out there named Fifth Harmony winning awards. Who knew? I made it 40 seconds through their video, "BO$$," before I turned it off. The lyrics "Michelle Obama, purse so heavy" were on a screechy repeat. I can only take so much, folks.

I do know of Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift, who were both heavily featured on the show. I read a recap describing Minaj's wardrobe malfunction as "dangerously close to revealing her upper and lower front." I'm not exactly sure why the term, "upper and lower front" made me giggle, but it did. Neither front was exposed because Nicki Minaj held her dress closed, while she sang... Rapped? I don't know.

This is actually way more clothing than we've come to expect from MTV. It's like they are Amish or something.

I haven't been able to find an actual video of it, but the reviews of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels' appearance all say it was incredibly awkward. The two were there to promote the upcoming sequel, "Dumb and Dumber To." Carrey fell off the stage doing a dance cracking a joke involving ebola. I hope we've all learned what happens when you make fun of ebola. You fall down. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

I've spent this entire week's #Ashtag recapping the VMAs, and I'm okay with it. In looking at pictures of the red carpet, presenters, and performers, I learned that I still know very close to nothing about today's youth and what they're digging. Honestly, there are entire television shows, music genres, and celebrities that I have absolutely never heard of. So, let's meet back here next week, so I can keep getting a little less ignorant. Or a little more, depending on your perspective.

As a special note because I know you care: I made it to the A-list and I bought that house in Miami I had my eye on. #kardashian:hollywood

Ashley Bright is a graduate of the Improv Training Program at DCH and a level 3 sketch writing student. She performs every weekend at DCH.