Alec Baldwin Hazily Recreates His Nixed Emmy Joke

Plus: James Franco returns to the soap opera serial killer well

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We realize there's only so much time one can spend in a day watching new trailers, viral video clips, and shaky cell phone footage of people arguing on live television. This is why every afternoon The Atlantic Wire highlights the day's video clips that truly earn your five minutes (or less) of attention. Today:

Alec Baldwin is hosting the season premiere of Saturday Night Live this weekend, which really should just become an annual tradition, like playing the Michigan-Ohio State football game on the third Saturday in November. Naturally, NBC's promos feature a reference to Baldwin's phone-hacking joke that Fox deleted from Sunday's Emmy telecast. The gag with Bill Hader is decent enough, but are we the only ones who really want to hear the original joke, recreated in context? Not for laughs--nothing could survive this build-up--but just to say we heard it. [NBC via Cinema Blend]

Of all the roles James Franco could return to--substandard Oscar host, the hiker in 127 Hours who cut off his arm, and the scientist who developed the virus that let apes conquer the planet--why choose Franco, the performance artist/serial killer he played in 23 episodes of General Hospital in 2009 and has been been semi-regularly reprising since? Because they let him hold one-sided dialogue scenes with a stuffed monkey. That's the dream of all stunt-casted actors who want to make it clear they're in on the joke. Mark it down: Franco will still be playing Franco when your grandchildren are grown and in a Master's program with him. [Vulture]

R.E.M. is breaking up after 31 years as a band. That seems like a long run, but they made their first TV appearance in October 1983 on a late night talk show hosted by David Letterman. Granted, it was Letterman's old NBC show Late Night and the album cover that he holds up could comfortably sit six at dinner. So it wasn't over in the blink of an eye. But "Radio Free Europe" still sounds fantastic.  [YouTube]

There are nine pages in the slideshow on "map monsters" (quite literally the illustrations of monsters that adorned old-time maps) that former Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings produced for Slate. Once you see the illustrations of  "reindeer, Lapp hunters, a walrus... and what appears to be a winged dragon casually munching on a rodent" that accompany this 1539 map of northern Norway's Finnmarck county, we're confident you'll agree nine slides is not nearly enough, and Map Monsters must become a Tumblr, or even an overpriced coffee table book to leaf through--but not purchase--at Barnes & Noble. The world needs reindeer and winged dragons who might be eating rodents now more than ever.  [Slate]

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