There have been plenty of celebrities apologizing for their bad behavior this year, but not all of them are worthy of attention. Yes, Reese Witherspoon, we get it, you’re “so sorry and embarrassed,” and blah blah blah. And sure, Chris Brown, we totally get that you’re making strides to “be that man that can be a man” and “deal with myself and forgive myself” and OH MY GOD STOP TALKING!
In a world where too many celebrities are expressing bland remorse, here are eight famous-to-semi-famous people who did it right. They managed to be just as entertaining in their apologies, if not more so, than what they were apologizing for.
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Dan Harmon, original showrunner for Community, one of the last brilliant sitcoms still on NBC, had every reason to be bitter. He was fired and then re-hired on the show he created, and finally got around to watching the fourth season, written and produced by other people without his creative input. As he not-so-bluntly put it in a Harmontown podcast, “Apparently I’m quite a genius.” Long story short, he thought the last season of Community sucked. A lot of people on the Internet got angry about that, and Harmon responded the next day with a Tumblr post called “It Won’t Happen Again Again.” Even if you don’t care about Community, it’s worth a read. He apologized to his fans (“I’m going to try thinking about you before saying things into microphones”), to the show’s cast and crew (“It was dishonest to imply that something you worked on was as hard to watch as my family being assaulted”), and to the writers who replaced him (“I’m sorry I pooped on your work”). Every celebrity could learn a thing or two from Harmon. It’s not enough to be sincerely remorseful. If you want us to care, throw in a few punchlines.
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Bieber has had a lot to apologize for this year: smoking pot, being an asshat at the Anne Frank House, continuing to make music. But his crowning achievement for 2013 (as of this writing) was this lovely cellphone video, in which America’s sweetheart pissed into a mop bucket in a nightclub kitchen, and then grabbed a bottle of cleaner and sprayed a framed portrait of the 42nd U.S. President while shouting “Fk Bill Clinton!” Bieber apologized, but he did it in a hilariously roundabout humble-brag way. He tweeted: “@billclinton thanks for taking the time to talk Mr. President. Your words meant alot. #greatguy.” Obviously that was meant to be a private conversation between him and the former president, and he totally forgot that writing things on the Internet is like shouting in a crowded restaurant. But okay, if you must know, the Biebs and his best pal Clinton totally worked things out in a phone call, just two bros rapping together, cause they’re cool like that.
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Michael Bay apologizing for any of his films seems as likely as Fox News admitting they have no fact-checkers. But in April the impossible happened; Bay purportedly apologized to the Miami Herald for Armageddon. “We had to do the whole movie in 16 weeks,” he allegedly said. “It was a massive undertaking. That was not fair to the movie. I would redo the entire third act if I could. But the studio literally took the movie away from us. It was terrible.” We use words like “purportedly” and “allegedly” because Bay soon denied the apology, claiming the Herald had “twisted my words and meaning” and he was “not in the slightest going to apologize for the third movie in my movie career.” We choose not to believe him, because we want to live in a world where people are ultimately good and intelligence prevails and Michael Bay has realized that Armageddon was a piece of crap.
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Peter Hansen may not be the most famous politician, and he didn’t even make the most famous political apology this year. (That would be Carlos Danger, though can you really call that an apology?) But he definitely made one of the most artful, laugh-out-loud apologies in recent memory. The Republican State Representative of Amherst was involved in an e-mail debate with his colleagues about a “stand your ground” gun bill. In response to a floor speech by Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, who had defended retreating rather than resorting to violence, Hansen wrote, “What could possibly be missing from those factual tales of successful retreat in VT, Germany, and the bowels of Amsterdam? Why children and vagina’s