Return to Transcripts main page


A Humorous Look at the News

Aired December 7, 2008 - 23:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Tonight's regularly scheduled program, "CNN'S GYROS"...


ANNOUNCER: ... will not be seen so that we may bring you this special presentation.

From CNN studios in New York, D.L. HUGHLEY BREAKS THE NEWS.


D.L. HUGHLEY, HOST: Hey, we are back. Hey, good to see you guys. Give yourselves a round of applause for coming out on this cold, blustery...


HUGHLEY: I never knew what "blustery" meant, and now I do. That means you ain't supposed to go outside. That's what it means. It's funny because white people never get cold. Black people are cold all -- it can be too cold for us to go to work sometime.


HUGHLEY: You ever smile in the middle and split your lip right there? Oh, man! You can't be a gentleman when it gets real cold. Go get the car. You go get the car!


HUGHLEY: I'm just as cold as you are.

I'm glad -- I had a great Thanksgiving. I was in Los Angeles for Thanksgiving. And like a lot of you all, I have those relatives that -- you know, like, Thanksgiving is the only time you got to get together. Like, the holiday spirit, you got to get together with family members you don't really like but -- they drink, and then everybody got that one drug addict family member. Like, Follow Earl around this year, hear?

Everybody got the one aunt can't cook. What you all you want me to bring? Nothing. Nobody want no crunchy potato salad. Just bring the Kool-Aid like you do every year. And my wife is forever getting mad at me. I have to do all the cooking! I said, I have to work. I don't understand -- like, I don't understand how that's not fair.

But of course, this week kicked off the holiday shopping season, and the price of gas is down, so that's...


HUGHLEY: So now we can drive to the mall and look at things we can't afford, so -- but the good news for holiday shoppers is Toys 'R Us has lowered the threat level from red to green.


HUGHLEY: Meanwhile, a crowd of people waiting in line at a Wal- Mart trampled someone to death. What I don't understand is, why would you wait in line for something that's going to be recalled in a few weeks anyway? New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress -- he pleaded not guilty to gun charges after accidentally shooting himself in the leg while at a nightclub. How come any of the lousy players in my fantasy league don't ever shoot themselves? That way, I could pick a new player.

See, this is my problem with the Plaxico drama. More than 7,000 black people are murdered every year and nobody gives a damn, but one idiot shoots himself and that's all we hear about. This dude shot himself while trying not to spill a drink. I don't -- Oh, I saved my $5 drink. But you lost your $35 million contract, idiot. What is that?


HUGHLEY: This is what I don't understand. Athletes, you need to stop going to nightclubs because athletes can pick up a woman anywhere -- a grocery store, a gas station, a stop light. If you're an athlete and you need a gun to pick up women, you should switch your cologne. That ain't working out.


HUGHLEY: In economic news, you probably heard that the country is now officially in a recession. The media is always late. We already knew this. We knew Clay Aiken was gay. We knew there was a recession. Nobody (INAUDIBLE)


HUGHLEY: And "Ebony" magazine has named Barack Obama its first - ever Person of the Year. It's not like Obama had any competition. I mean, come on. That's like Oprah getting the cover of "O" magazine.


HUGHLEY: Britney Spears released a statement saying she feels old and boring. She said she goes to bed every night at 9:30. Britney, here is some news. That's not being boring, that's called being a mother. Everybody's mama went to bed early.

Did you guys hear about Prince? Prince, the musical artist, he has a view on gay marriage and it's shocking. He said that he is totally against it. Prince is against gay marriage. He performed in the Super Bowl in high heels! And that guitar looked just like a penis, didn't it?


HUGHLEY: Now, I know you guys have heard about the president of Ford Motors driving to Detroit -- from Detroit to D.C. in a hybrid. You know they're asking for a hand-out. Well, CNN followed him on his journey, and this is what we found out.

Oh, it didn't stop there. We followed him all the way to D.C. Check this out. Well, I think the limo was a Lincoln and he found the girls in Ohio, so at least the dude's buying American.


HUGHLEY: And now, after shooting himself in the thigh at a nightclub, New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress will face a minimum three-and-a-half year prison sentence. Joining us live from his offices in Newport is Plaxico's agent, Drew Steinberg. How're you doing, Drew?

DREW STEINBERG: Thank you for having me on your show, Darrell.

HUGHLEY: It's D.L. Now, listen, your client, Plaxico Burress, he hasn't given any interviews lately. How's he doing?

STEINBERG: Obviously, this has been a traumatic week for Plax, but I'm relieved that he's doing remarkably well considering he was shot.

HUGHLEY: Wow. That's good to hear. Now, do you have any messages for all the football fans out there? They're clearly angry with him.

STEINBERG: Yes, I do. People need to understand that my client is just like any other hard-working American who makes $35 million a year, carries around a loaded Glock semi-automatic handgun and is named Plaxico.


HUGHLEY: OK. And as his agent, can you give us an update on what happens next?

STEINBERG: Well, I think most people are as outraged as I am that once again there's been a shooting and that people are blaming it on a black guy.

HUGHLEY: When a brother shoots a bullet at his own leg, that is the definition of black-on-black crime. Plaxico shot himself.

STEINBERG: Allegedly shot himself, B.L. (SIC) Allegedly.

HUGHLEY: He admitted it! You think somebody else shot Plaxico?

STEINBERG: I'm talking about a second gunman here. Where was Jason Williams that night? Why haven't the police questioned Robert Blake, because he's white?

HUGHLEY: No, because Plaxico shot himself.

STEINBERG: OK. Then how about Puff Daddy and J. Lo?

HUGHLEY: First of all, P. Diddy hasn't been involved in a shooting in weeks. And no one's called him Puff Daddy since the '90s.

STEINBERG: Fine. What about Phil Spector? And where was O.J. that night?

HUGHLEY: In jail.


HUGHLEY: Just a minute, Plaxico shot himself, man.

STEINBERG: Look, the only thing Plax is guilty of is poor judgment. It's not like he's a murder or terrorist or owns a dog- fighting ring.


HUGHLEY: OK. OK. Mr. Steinberg, what do you expect Plaxico to return to the NFL?

STEINBERG: Well, in addition to recovering from shot in the leg, Plax is battling a serious hamstring injury. Even in that condition, he's still better than any player on the Detroit Lions.


HUGHLEY: Thank you, Mr. Steinberg.

STEINBERG: My pleasure, Darnell.



HUGHLEY: We've got plenty more coming up. Stick around.


HUGHLEY: Every year there are gifts on the market that pose a threat to kids, parts that can be swallowed, materials that are toxic. Joining us now is our own consumer affairs expert, Joan Avatoo (ph) How're you doing, Joan?

(APPLAUSE) JOAN AVATOO: Hi, D.L. Happy holidays.

HUGHLEY: Good to see you. Good to see you. Good to see you. Now, OK, Joan, what should parents be on the lookout this season, I mean, besides lawn darts?

AVATOO: Well, OK, D.L. This is a set of blocks made by an environmentally friendly company in Vermont. Now, they're fashioned from re-purposed wood and are finished with a non-toxic lacquer. Excellent.

HUGHLEY: Now, how are these dangerous? Can they get splinters or something?

AVATOO: No, D.L. These are 100 percent safe.

HUGHLEY: Oh, I thought you were telling us about...

AVATOO: OK, now, take a look at this. This next item is adorable, OK? It looks harmless. And guess what? It is!


AVATOO: Now, take a look at these pockets. You can put your hands in here. You can warm them. It's got a hood on it. It's just darling.

HUGHLEY: I know. But you haven't showed us one thing that could cause us harm.

AVATOO: Not true, D.L. All of these items can get you killed.


AVATOO: By going into a store to buy them. Shoppers are getting shot and trampled in record numbers.


HUGHLEY: Well, you mean like last Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year?

AVATOO: Correct.

HUGHLEY: Well, those are tragedies, but don't you think they were just isolated incidents?

AVATOO: Sure, isolated to stores where people go shopping, OK?


AVATOO: So forget lead paint, parents, worry about lead bullets.

HUGHLEY: OK, Joan. OK, Joan. Do you have any legitimate dangerous gifts that are legitimately dangerous you could show us?

AVATOO: Yes. Yes, of course. OK. This boot.

HUGHLEY: A boot? How is this dangerous?

AVATOO: OK. Well, when they announce a sale on iPods, it can crush a 40-year-old's windpipe in three stomps. Very dangerous.


HUGHLEY: Look, I understand last weekend was tense. There's a recession. People want a bargain. But aren't you just adding to the panic?

AVATOO: You're right. OK, D.L. You're right. I'm sorry.

HUGHLEY: OK. Are there any defective products you can tell us about?

AVATOO: Yes. This bulletproof vest.

HUGHLEY: And what's the matter with it, besides it being, like, a weird gift?

AVATOO: OK. It's made of Kevlar and is very effective at stopping bullets in, for example, a store. But it's just a vest, D.L., like, a vest, OK? So you can still get shot in the head or the neck or the genitals and die instantly. So you know, ta-da! No Christmas!


HUGHLEY: Look, then I guess what you recommend is that shoppers get their gifts on the Internet.

AVATOO: Oh, great. OK. And be a victim of identity theft? No. You know what? I'll take my chances and go to the mall.

HUGHLEY: Joan Avatoo, everybody.


HUGHLEY: Well, the holiday season kicked into high gear this week. Since this is my first Christmas in New York, I hit the streets to see the sights and talk to the locals.


HUGHLEY: We are here in front of Bloomingdale's at the world famous Christmas display at Bloomingdale's. And all the family members are here. You can see the drunk aunt -- oh, that's wonderful -- the uncle in the back trying to push drugs on everybody. And who can forget the father who's not sure that's his kid. What a wonderful Christmas this is.


HUGHLEY: This display, none of these children are having fun. No black people. There's no black people in this Christmas. This is a white Christmas for real.

It is a rough time this Christmas. It's a rough economic time, right?


HUGHLEY: So what do you think is the best gift you can get somebody when you don't have a lot of money?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give them hope and encouragement.

HUGHLEY: Next year, you get a present from me. This year, you won't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This year, all you're getting is hope and encouragement.


HUGHLEY: Now, what is the best thing you can get somebody when you're experiencing a -- you know, a lack of finances?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A great big hug.

HUGHLEY: Give me a hug, man!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great big hug. God bless you.

HUGHLEY: No, no. A present's better. You guys are talking about love and hope. I think I...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obama. Obama, baby! You know? Yes, we can. And we did, you know?

HUGHLEY: That's what we're going to do. Baby, I got you Obama for Christmas.


HUGHLEY: What are you getting for Christmas?



HUGHLEY: Are you serious?


HUGHLEY: You're ringing the bell like you're shooting dice.


HUGHLEY: And of course, no Christmas season in New York is complete without a visit to FAO Schwarz, one of the world's most famous toy stores. Now, they have all the kids' favorites -- Barbie dolls, stuffed animals, and of course, Lego Chewbacca. And you can even design your own Muppets

I want them to have hair like this. She found it right away.

It wasn't easy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Change your mind as many times as you want.

HUGHLEY: I don't think I like that one. That kind of looks like my uncle. I don't like that one. No. That kind of looks like Bill Clinton.


HUGHLEY: (INAUDIBLE) Bill Clinton one. Let me move her out of the way.


HUGHLEY: Do they make a bustier kind of a...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In your imagination.


HUGHLEY: The technicians went to work, and 20 minutes later, my Muppets were ready. (SINGING) To dream the impossible dream -- that's all I know of the song.

And if you don't have 140 bucks to spend on a Muppet -- look at him, he can't breathe -- Ed Schmults, the CEO of FAO Schwarz, told me about the cheaper toys.

ED SCHMULTS, FAO SCHWARZ CEO: The jack-in-the-box.

HUGHLEY: Yes. Right.

SCHMULTS: A simple toy.

HUGHLEY: And that's it. Remember we used to play with these for hours.

SCHMULTS: You've got your little wooden cars.

HUGHLEY: Let's not use the police (ph) car.

What is the best present you can give that doesn't cost a lot of money?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, love. Hugs and kisses.

HUGHLEY: If your mom and dad gave you hugs and kisses, you'd be fine?


HUGHLEY: What is the best present she ever gave you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't talk about that.


HUGHLEY: Before I left the store, I wanted to recreate the piano scene from the movie "Big." The problem is, Tom Hanks was good at it. I sucked. This is -- black people have no rhythm actually on tape. Thank you very much.

You know, all that piano dancing made me hungry. Now, I have always heard about chestnuts roasting on an open fire, so I'm going to try some. But I didn't know they would be next to hot dogs and pretzels. That wasn't in the song. All those chestnuts are roasting on an open fire. So your nuts are warm?


HUGHLEY: Let's see. Let's see. Are you serious? No thanks, man. Thank you. Thank you. Take these damn things. These are horrible.

Maybe the most magical New York Christmas event of all is the big Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one!

HUGHLEY: Sure, they have a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center. But it's nothing compared to the tree lighting ceremony at CNN. Ready? Three, two, one, Merry Christmas!



HUGHLEY: We got a whole lot more coming up. We'll be right back.


HUGHLEY: Now, when Obama takes office, there will be one more black president than there are black actors with starring roles on all of network television. But due to the Obama effect, we're going to see more minorities on television. For example, NBC has added Angela Bassett (ph) is added to the cast of "ER." And here are some other shows starring minorities that you'll be seeing soon.

Of course, everybody knows Fox has a hit show, "House." And coming this spring, the new series, "Homey."


HUGHLEY: Of course, everybody loves "CSI: Miami," but there's a new spin-off, "CSI: Newark."


HUGHLEY: Now, the Obama effect also applies to cable. Have you ever seen the show "Monk"? Well, get ready for the series "Felonious (ph) Monk."


HUGHLEY: And fans of the crime drama "NCIS," Check out "NCIS NAACP." Even reality shows are getting more ethnic. "Dancing With the Stars" is popular, but wait until you see "Dancing With Star Jones." And NBC's "My Name Is Earl," that's great, but there's a new series coming out called "My Name Is Kendrick."

Now, Fox had that series "Prison Break," but they wanted to do a multi-cultural version called "Prison Break." And finally, CNN's blacker version of my show, instead of "D.L. Breaks the News," get ready for "D.L. Hughley Break Dances the News." So all right.


HUGHLEY: I am really excited about talking to this next gentleman. He was a doctor, governor, and most recently, he helped the first black men get elected president. Please welcome chairman of the Democratic National Committee Howard Dean. is here. How are you doing, Howard?

HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIRMAN: I'm great, D.L. Thanks for having me on.

HUGHLEY: I'm very excited to see you. And by the way, I was the one dude who liked the scream. I liked it. I liked it a lot.

DEAN: Thank you. I appreciate that.

HUGHLEY: And usually, when a white dude says, Yeehaw, I get out. But I liked that on there. Now, you became the chairman in 2005, and you came up with the 50-state strategy. And people scoffed at you. They thought that that was not going to be successful.

DEAN: Yes, you know, you've got to go everywhere and ask for the vote. And if you don't do it, you're not likely to win. So we just went everywhere. People used to make fun of the fact that we went to Alaska to get them organized. Now we got a United States senator from Alaska. So I think it worked out all right.

HUGHLEY: Yes, we do.


HUGHLEY: Now, you had a lot of detractors. Many people thought that it wouldn't be successful, including Rahm Emanuel. So how do you feel? Do you feel a little vindicated now?

DEAN: No, Rahm ended up as chief of staff to Barack Obama. I don't feel too vindicated!

HUGHLEY: You were right. But it was amazing. Do you think...

DEAN: D.L., I might have been right, but I'd rather be chief of staff.


HUGHLEY: And if you ever are, don't yeehaw. That'll scare people, I'm telling you.

DEAN: That's right. That's right.

HUGHLEY: Now, you obviously are very proud of what's happened. The Democrats are holding majorities in...

DEAN: I'm proud of what's happened in the country.

HUGHLEY: Do you think it was a combination of your strategy or people just being so tired of what was going on, what the Republicans had done?

DEAN: Well, I think -- actually, I think it's pretty deep. The strategy, of course, helped, the idea that Democrats needed to go everywhere and ask everybody for their vote. We had a candidate who's not just the first multi-cultural candidate in the country in history, which is great, but a candidate who represents a new generation.

This election was like John F. Kennedy's election. A whole new generation of people under 35 is now coming to power, just like my generation came to power when Jack Kennedy was elected.


DEAN: Barack Obama's message -- not to get too serious about it, but it's a pretty serious thing -- is really, we're now going to focus on the things that we can do together and stop focusing on the things we've been fighting over for 30 years. And we need to do that, and that's what he's going to bring to the country as president.

HUGHLEY: I think you're right. Now, a lot of Democrats wanted you to step in during the primaries when Hillary and Obama were bashing each other, and you didn't. And that, I thought, turned out to be a pretty wise decision because I thought it made him a much better candidate, a much more viable candidate. I thought he learned everything there was to learn in the primaries against Hillary and he just kind of was able to kind of do what he needed to do to get elected.

DEAN: I think that's true. Having a tough opponent and a tough primary was tough for the Democratic Party, but it makes the person who wins it a much better candidate, first of all. Second of all, my job is not to pick the nominee, my job is to let the voters pick the nominee and keep everybody else out of it except for the voters and the candidates.

HUGHLEY: Now, I am excited that the Democrats won, but I'm also worried that the Democrats are going to mess things up by acting like Democrats, you know? I mean, and I do worry about that. Like, I'm seeing now with the bail-out of the big three in Detroit -- I'm hoping that they do something before Obama gets in because if they don't, then he has to deal with that. I don't know that that'll be the best thing he could do starting out.

DEAN: Well, you got to do something. I mean, you certainly don't want to give a free ride to companies that have resisted change for as long as they have. On the other hand, there's a lot of jobs here responsible for. This is not the time to, you know, rearrange the American economy by letting these companies go bankrupt. So we got to do something. It just has to be smart.

I think the Congress is on the right track. They're asking for real plans. There are going to be some strings attached to the money. But I think there is going to be a plan, if we can get it by the Republicans in the Senate.

HUGHLEY: Now, you are leaving your post just as everything gets started. You're leaving -- You plan on stepping down from your post?

DEAN: Yes. This is -- look, the new president gets to pick the chairman of his party's national committee. So I was happy that things worked out the way they did. I think that having Barack Obama as the next president of the United States is a great message to the world, and I think he's also extraordinarily competent. I think he's picked some great people already for his cabinet. But this is a very different job under a Democratic president, and I think he has the right to pick his own person. And it's time for me to step aside and go on and do something different.

HUGHLEY: But really, once you get a black man elected president, you can rest.


HUGHLEY: Woo! I got to lay down for a while!


DEAN: That's right. That's right.

HUGHLEY: Well, thank you very much, Howard. We love having you around. You did a great job. And rest up. We'll see you in a bit, OK?

DEAN: Thanks for having me on. We'll see you.


HUGHLEY: Howard Dean. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HUGHLEY: Now, back to the Plaxico Burress story, because I can't get enough of it. Here with me to discuss it is CNN's legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and retired NFL offensive tackle Bob Whitfield. Hey, Bob.


HUGHLEY: Good to see you, man. Hey Jeffrey, good to see you. Now, listen, Plaxico Burress is in trouble. And I -- what exactly will he be charged with?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it looks like he's going to be charged with possession -- illegal possession of a gun in New York, which is something people take seriously. Fortunately, stupidity is not a crime. So, you know, because he would be doing life under those circumstances.

HUGHLEY: What I don't understand is, Bloomberg came out and he said he would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Which I understand it's the law. But every time -- I'll watch a police officer do something, he'll say, we have to wait until the facts are in. Like shouldn't we wait? Maybe somebody else did it?

TOOBIN: Yes, maybe somebody else did. A masked gunman came in. There are a lot of people out there who are desperate to shoot wide receivers in the thigh. So it could be that the -- there could be a like a Redskins fan out there who did it.

HUGHLEY: Maybe, maybe. Hey, Bob?


HUGHLEY: Now, you played with Plaxico. You know him. Did you ever think that he was the kind of dude to shoot himself in the leg?

WHITFIELD: Maybe not in the leg. Maybe he'll in the toe, pinkie toe, quit a little bit. Late to meetings once in awhile, but definitely not shooting himself in the leg.

HUGHLEY: But a lot of athletes, period, feel like they need to carry guns. I mean, I don't -- I don't know that -- like in a lot of states, apparently he had the gun registered in Florida. So it was legal there and illegal here. So a lot of athletes do carry weapons. So maybe he didn't understand what was going on?

WHITFIELD: I think you understand when you're in a nightclub carrying a gun, packing heat that Maybe not everybody in the club has a gun, packing heat. You understand that you might be the only one strapped. So if you're going to shoot anybody, you need to shoot that girl that took that bottle of champagne on your tab.

HUGHLEY: You know what's so sad, I can't even make a reasonable argument for him. Like I don't even know --

TOOBIN: If he was from Texas, it's practically mandatory to carry a gun down there. So maybe he was a little confused about that.

HUGHLEY: Now, he is going to hire a lawyer.

TOOBIN: A great lawyer.

HUGHLEY: What will his possible defense be?

TOOBIN: Well certainly intent will be a defense, the fact that he didn't realize it was illegal. He was working on -- he had a self- defense argument for why he was carrying it around, that this was an innocent mistake. I was going to say it was a victimless crime, but he's so stupid, he was the victim of his own crime. But it was -- I think some combination of all those things.

HUGHLEY: Like so if he -- there is a minimum sentence with carrying an illegal weapon.

TOOBIN: There is. But when you have a good lawyer, there are ways around that.

HUGHLEY: That's all you need is a good lawyer. Now, Bob, now you know that a lot of athletes, period, like I said early, get into all kinds of situations. Wouldn't it have been more prudent for him to hire like a security guard? $300, he could have gotten an off-duty officer to come with him?

WHITFIELD: He might have not got on an off-duty with a gun. That might have been the difference.

HUGHLEY: Bob is stuck on this gun thing.

WHITFIELD: If you've got big enough jewels, you might need a big enough gun to protect the big enough jewels.

HUGHLEY: Plaxico was in trouble before this happened. He was on the outs with the -- with a lot of the players and apparently management. What do you think the outlook is going to be for him among players in the NFL?

WHITIFLELD: Well, you know, the actions and authorities taken by the Giants to suspend him, basically he won't be around for the play- offs. A lot of guys are looking at and they have to re-evaluate themselves with their own gun policy. If you win the Super Bowl, maybe you can carry a gun and be like the Wild Wild West.

TOOBIN: I didn't know football teams had a gun policy. I actually think maybe the policy should be let the cops carry the guns and you carry the ball. Right?

WHITFIELD: Well, that's the policy. The policy is not for us to carry the guns. The policy is for others to carry the guns.

TOOBIN: OK, that should be the policy.

HUGHLEY: He says, you shouldn't carry the gun. Like you can catch the bullet, but you can't catch a pass, which I never understood.

WHITFIELD: But groupies nowadays, they're becoming even more treacherous. The gold diggers, they're coming with pick axes. You know, they're not the same stuff.

TOOBIN: You know, that's true because the groupies for legal analysts are totally out of control as well. So in that respect, I am sympathetic.

HUGHLEY: My groupies never have teeth, so I don't know. I should be a legal analyst. What's going to be the upshot of this whole thing?

TOOBIN: Well, I think the best thing his lawyer could do is slow the process down. When people are all excited, it's in the papers every day, Bloomberg is paying attention to it. That's the time you don't want to have to make a deal with the prosecutor.

Five months from now, six months from now, he's gone into some sort of community service program, then you work out a plea bargain where he doesn't have to go to jail. But I think Plaxico's season is over. The only question is whether or not his career is over.

HUGHLEY: The thing that I don't understand is a lot of his associates, a lot of teammates, a couple of the teammates are -- they're looking at for possible indictment. Why would they be in trouble?

TOOBIN: Well, the question is, did they help cover up the situation? What happened to the gun? Did someone try to hide the gun? Did the hospital correctly report, as it's supposed to when they have a gunshot wound?

HUGHLEY: But they would have recognized a 6'5" black dude with a gunshot wound.

TOOBIN: Yes, I think it's like -- slipped in among all the others. No, I think he's not a -- again, I think if the process slows down, it's probably unlikely other people will be charged.

HUGHLEY: I don't know what you say if your friend's in trouble and -- naturally, I keep running into the situation where it's not the crime, it's the cover-up. Now he's in trouble for trying to cover it up. Well who wouldn't --- like if I knew I was going to lose $35 million, I'd say I was somebody else, too. I don't understand that.

And Bob, I suggest you stop hanging out with the groupies with ice picks.

WHITFIELD: Those gold diggers, they're looking for more. They want platinum diggers now, platinum diggers.

HUGHLEY: Bob Whitfield, Jeffrey Toobin, thank you very much. Thank you, man. You're very funny.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HUGHLEY: Those of you planning to get away for the holidays, it's important to find a vacation spot that's off the beaten path. Joining me now at such a place is our lifestyle reporter Chuck Sklar. Hey, Chuck.

CHUCK SKLAR, CNN LIFESTYLE REPORTER: Hey, D.L. Wish you were here. The weather is beautiful.

HUGHLEY: It looks like it. I got to tell my audience, I don't know where you are.

SKLAR: Well let me give you a hint. It's very warm, almost tropical climate year round.

HUGHLEY: Bermuda?


HUGHLEY: Jamaica?

SKLAR: No, sir.


SKLAR: No, D.L. I'm on Nicole Kidman's forehead.

HUGHLEY: You're on Nicole Kidman's forehead?

SKLAR: It's paradise on earth, my friend.

HUGHLEY: Are you telling me that you shrunk down and climbed onto a grown woman's face?

SKLAR: I did not shrink. Nicole Kidman has an enormous forehead. It's what we experts call a fivehead. Did you know, there are only two things you can see from space? That's the Great Wall of China, and Nicole's you know what.

HUGHLEY: I didn't have any idea.

SKLAR: Well, it's true. And if you ask me, the real beauty of this vacation spot is, there are no natural disasters.

HUGHLEY: What kind of natural disasters would you be worried about?

SKLAR: Oh, you laugh. But if she wrinkles her forehead, there would be an earthquake. Thankfully, the ground beneath me is saturated with Botox. No matter her mood, happy, sad, divorced, her head is frozen solid. I mean, you saw the trailer for "Australia." This is a paralyzed Eden.

HUGHLEY: What is the best way to travel to Nicole Kidman's forehead?

SKLAR: Good question, because you know what? It's always on the move. Be sure to consult a Google map before you head out. Observe, there it is. Now, that's right. By the way, make your reservation in advance. I tried booking a time share on J. Lo's ass. All booked up.

HUGHLEY: That's great to know. Chuck Sklar, everyone.

We're going to be right back after this.


HUGHLEY: Now, as you all know, President-elect Obama has started doing a weekly video address. But I'm a little worried about the production value. They look cheesy. Like something you see on late- night TV. Check this out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. I'm Barack Obama. And I have one question. Have you or any of your loved ones been injured in an accident? If so, call 555-Obama-4-u. You may be entitled to a large cash award. We can help with a number of common injuries that might occur in the workplace or at home. Dog bites, torn ligaments, amputations and so much more.

Have you ever gotten a traffic ticket and wondered, can I wiggle out of it? Yes, you can. Get out of paying needless fines and adding points to your license. Because guess what, I'm the president. Imagine going to court and having me, the president, on your side. The other guy says, I object. And I say, knock yourself out because I'm the president.

The case could go all the way to the Supreme Court, where I would just say, well, hello, judges. I pick you guys. Case closed. So call now to get the justice you deserve. Let's talk about your case. And that's how we will meet the challenges. This time, together. Thank you.


HUGHLEY: The story behind the blues and rock n'roll include violence, booze and expensive cars, and they are all in the new film premiering this Friday in theaters. "Cadillac Records," take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: he was the cat every man wanted to be and every woman wanted to love. He just kept growing into that man.


HUGHLEY: Now the lead man from the film "Cadillac Records," one of my favorites, Jeffrey Wright is here. Give him a big round of applause. How you doing, Jeffrey?


HUGHLEY: I've always been a big fan of your work. I mean, everything I've ever seen you in, you've always done a great job. You've played everything. Like you've been a dope dealer, which was one of my favorites. You've been a preacher. You've been now blues man. Tell me about this new role.

WRIGHT: Well, I play Muddy Waters in the film. Muddy Waters, you know, a lot of people want to say that Elvis Presley was the king of rock 'n' roll. Well if that is true, then Muddy Waters was one of the gods of rock 'n' roll. I mean, these guys created the whole universe that everyone who followed inhabited. Willie Dixon, Chuck Berry. Mos Def plays Chuck in the film. Cedric the Entertainer plays Willie Dixon. But Howlin' Wolf, played by Eamonn Walker, all of these guys were the originators.

And as the director and very good friend of mine, George Wolfe likes to say, it's important that we respect the source. And these guys were the source of incredible influence not only for America, but globally. Incredible cultural influence here. If artists can be heroes, then these guys were heroes.

HUGHLEY: It's amazing because they had such a huge cultural impact. But blues aren't as popular here as they are in Europe. Now I know I was talking to a cat who played in a blues band, and he said one of the heartbreaks is coming to America and he never sees any black people in the audience. But in Europe, they love them over there. I wonder why it hasn't influenced this generation like it did so many others.

WRIGHT: Even if we're not necessarily, if we don't acknowledge that we're fans of the blues, we are, because the influence has been so deep. But you're right, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, I think it's going to be argued they weren't rock 'n' rollers, they were blues men. They were derivative blues men trying to recreate the sounds of folks like Muddy Waters.

And in fact, there were a few lawsuits that acknowledged that. There was more, some of those came to theft, their lyrics and whole riffs. But the idea of the power quartet, of a drummer, two guitars and a bass, that was Muddy Waters. Just the structure of rock 'n' roll is -- originates with these guys.

HUGHLEY: When you play a character like that, how do you get ready to do something like that?

WRIGHT: I just listen to the music. Just turn everybody -- my children, you know, are huge Muddy Waters fans. My 3-year-old daughter, running around the house talking about I'm a hoochie koochie man. I just tried to dig into the music. Because the music is an expression of the language of the black American south. And that was always very close to me. And my grandparents were from southern Virginia, North Carolina.

So that poetry, the way folks claim the language, reshaped it, made it their own and personalized it through personal poetry was one of my first loves, really, as an artist. Just this language and the blues is an expression and celebration of that language. So I just immersed myself in the music, and through that, found the language and could find the character. As well, it's such an honest expression. You were not out in those cotton fields in Mississippi, putting on airs or affectations, you know what I mean.

HUGHLEY: Just the blues.

WRIGHT: Exactly. And it's coming from a very direct, very specific, personal emotional place that resonates for all of us.

HUGHLEY: Now you shot the film in 28 days in New Jersey and Mississippi. Because nothing says like, when I think of blues, I think of New Jersey. That's got to be a lot of cotton growing in Newark somewhere. Like why New Jersey?

WRIGHT: We shot in Newark, because it was a very tight schedule, tight budget. Less than $10 million. There was never any sense there was $10 million and $1. It was a very tight schedule and very complicated because of all the music in 28 days. And so we shot it in Newark. And for me, it was great because as I said, I have kids. So I try to do work that doesn't take me too far from home.

HUGHLEY: I try to do work that takes me all across the country. I'm trying to get my kids not to watch TV so they can find me. But you got to work with Adrien Brody, Mos Def, Beyonce, Cedric the Entertainer. And you know, it's funny because I've worked with Cedric, and I got a chance to see all of those gentlemen. But they all, from, you know, watching the clips, they all seem to embody the characters they were playing.

WRIGHT: Well, everybody sings in this, for one.

HUGHLEY: Adrien Brody?

WRIGHT: Adrien plays Leonard Chess, who was the founder of Chess Records. But as well, these guys were inventive as well, because realize, when the blues came up from Mississippi, on the train, it was plugged in for the first time in Chicago.

So it was electrified, in a way it had never happened before, and it was directed and produced and recorded in a way that it never had been before. So it was all beautifully experimental. So they made a lot of money and ripped some folks off as well. But it was an experimental, engineering and a fusion of the technology with the music that had never happened before.

HUGHLEY: Now you, like I said earlier, alluded to earlier, you played everybody. But my favorite character actually that I got a chance, it was an HBO movie called "Lackawanna Blues." And I always thought you were very talented, but everything I've ever seen you in, I just went, wow, this cat seems so authentic to me. But that role really stuck out for me.

WRIGHT: That was George Wolfe's direction as well. And Ruben Santiago-Hudson wrote the play that the film was based on. That was a lot of fun. I just enjoy theatricality. HUGHLEY: Theatricality?

WRIGHT: Theatricality.

HUGHLEY: Oh, now you're Jesse Jackson all of the sudden. It's theatricality, my brother.

WRIGHT: But the actors that I always responded to came out of theater and were guys who shaped characters. You're watching a movie, it's not real.

HUGHLEY: You won a Tony, an Emmy, a Golden Globe. I mean, there's nothing else to do.

WRIGHT: Yeah, get maybe a Grammy for singing this stuff. Although I have to say, if I had to sing for my living, I'd probably be on Capitol Hill asking for a bailout as well.

HUGHLEY: Well Al B. Shore did it, you can. It's no problem.

WRIGHT: But I think the music is driving. We really reached for it and tried to recreate, you know, these guys, the authenticity.

HUGHLEY: You're a damn good actor, man. "Cadillac Man" -- "Cadillac Records" opens this Friday in theaters nationwide. Jeffrey Wright, everybody. Thank you very much.


HUGHLEY: Well, that does it for this week's show. Thanks to our studio audience. Thanks for watching at home. It's my son's 20th birthday. I want to say happy birthday. I love you, I'm proud of you and get out of my house. Good night everybody, thank you very much.


HUGHLEY: Oh, yeah, sure they have a Christmas tree lighting in Rockefeller Center, and it's all right. But it's absolutely -- why can't I get this right? Yeah, sure, they have a Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. Nothing compares to the tree lighting ceremony at -- come on. All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just say Merry Christmas.

HUGHLEY: I think my dignity's on the phone. Hang on. Merry Christmas.


HUGHLEY: You know you got a big elephant on your back.


HUGHLEY: They need to take these out of the damn song. This is horrible, man. Hey, man, I had some chestnuts. These are disgusting. What are these? No, I'm not doing that. You'll never get me on tape saying that. Oh, that's pretty nice. That was great, until I pulled my groin. That was hilarious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allegedly shot himself, D.L., allegedly.

HUGHLEY: He admitted it. You think somebody else shot Plaxico?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm talking about a second gunman here. Where was Jason Williams? Why haven't the police questioned Robert Blake? Because he's white.

HUGHLEY: No, because Plaxico shot himself, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about Puff Daddy and J. Lo?

HUGHLEY: First of all --