Wednesday, January 23, 2013

“I’m Reba!” (The Strangest of Lennay Kekua Stories)

Full disclosure: This is not really a post about Reba McEntire.

With what I’ve written here lately about Nancy Cartwright getting eaten by cartoons and the weirdness between Sharon Stone and Wes Craven, I seem to be creating a little series out of the weird parallels between people and the creative things that make them famous. And I know that over-reading is a bad habit to develop, but here I go again.

Yesterday, the woman who was recently surprised to learn about her side career as Lennay Kekua came forward in an interview with the Today show that more or less amounted to “Hey. Yeah. This was messed up.” Her real name is Diane O’Meara, and may Diane’s story be a lesson to us all that watching college football maybe may be useful under very specific circumstances. When I learned Lennay’s real name, the reaction I had (but which probably 99.99 percent of the world did not have) was this: “Why did the guys who wrote the Deadspin article give this woman the pseudonym ‘Reba’?” No, I don’t know why either. That’s just how my head works, and I’m convinced anyone creating a given narrative names characters for a reason, whether consciously or unconsciously. So I tweeted this thought. It got a response from one of the guys who wrote the Deadspin piece. He said the name came from one of my favorite SNL Digital Shorts, of all places.

You should watch this, if you’ve never seen it, but here’s the joke: Andy Samberg thinks he’s hooking up with Reba McEntire, but it’s actually some random black guy wearing a red wig, but that fact is obvious to everyone but Andy.

Keeping in mind Kenan Thompson’s penis, I asked the Deadspin guy if that “Reba” was a nod to the fact that the person acting as Lennay was (most likely, apparently) a dude. He said this:

So whatever, but re-watching the SNL clip — you know, for the hundredth time, because I still think it’s funny — I’m getting a little more out of these Kenan lines: “I’m a guy too,” “Your friends are smart,” and “Hanging like my nuts.” And for the first and only time, right now, Andy Samberg and Manti Te’o are as one.

Speaking of creating narratives and inventing characters, who the fuck would pick “Lennay” as the name for the character they want to seem unremarkably real and existent and totally not fake? And spell it that way? Did he think that, like, “Lisa” was taken?

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