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A reason to watch local news
November 3, 2010 2:23 PM   Subscribe

First introduced to Metafilter in this thread earlier today, Jennie Stencel served as a traffic reporter for WXII in North Carolina.

The first clue that she'd be an off-the-wall personality came when she performed the traffic as a white girl rap. She went on to comment on-air, sometimes making her co-anchors a wee bit uncomfortable, on little Adolf Hitler's birthday cake (previously). And reality TV's Duggar family. And a nudist church. Condoms. Visiting the gynecologist.

She did some on-location reports. Like this one with a psychic, and this one begging for a raise. She threw a faux temper tantrum on air. She walked off set once, but she came back the next day.

WXII "investigates" Jennie Stencel.

Beginning in February 2010, she started alluding to difficult contract talks with the station. She was let go in May. The station pasted together a farewell montage (awkward!). There is, of course, a Facebook page dedicated to getting her back on air.

She has gone back to improv, performing at the Idiot Box in Greensboro, NC.

More videos.
posted by mudpuppie (61 comments total) 82 users marked this as a favorite

 
She has gone back to improv...

I don't know, man. That kind of implies that she wasn't doing improv when she was on the air. Looking at some of those clips, it looks like she was assembling a killer clips reel...
posted by verb at 2:31 PM on November 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


"It was at the gynecologist."

"Ugh. There it is."
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:37 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's funny, in almost all of her traffic reports the traffic is always fine. Or maybe she only goofed off if there wasn't any traffic news to report.
posted by zsazsa at 2:40 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks for splitting this off.
posted by schmod at 2:41 PM on November 3, 2010


Saw her in the earlier thread and spent waaaaaaay too long clip-surfing on Youtube. All local news should have a resident stand-up comedian.
posted by afx237vi at 2:42 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


If she were teamed with former Charlotte weatherman Mark Mathis, I would wall in love with local news all over again.
posted by activitystory at 2:46 PM on November 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


"And ugly!"

"I don't know... mine have flowers on them, at my gynocologist's office."

"Oh, that's good to know."
posted by yeti at 2:48 PM on November 3, 2010


Saw her in the earlier thread and spent waaaaaaay too long clip-surfing on Youtube. All local news should have a resident stand-up comedian.

Ditto. And yes.
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:48 PM on November 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


All local news should have a resident stand-up comedian.

You know, it's happened before.
posted by deadmessenger at 2:49 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't stop watching these.
posted by mecran01 at 2:55 PM on November 3, 2010


All local news should have a resident stand-up comedian.

I agree.

But, at least one person on every local news team thinks this too.

Actually, they agree with this statement:

"All local news does have a resident stand-up comedian."


And the follow-up:

"And it is me."

Problem is too often they are wrong.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:56 PM on November 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


She belongs on The Daily Show.
posted by zardoz at 3:02 PM on November 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


FWIW, that psychic in the video is the kind I absolutely despise, using Tarot cards to prop up her cold-reading techniques. Notice that she barely refers to the cards at all -- she just "picks up things very strongly." What do the cards say? She probably doesn't even really know.
posted by hermitosis at 3:06 PM on November 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


OMG. She's GREAT!
posted by kthanksbai at 3:08 PM on November 3, 2010


She is good at making and buying babies.
posted by setanor at 3:15 PM on November 3, 2010


She belongs on The Daily Show.

I suspect that she thinks so, too, and that this is basically an audition reel.
posted by dersins at 3:22 PM on November 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


She is awesome.
posted by brand-gnu at 3:30 PM on November 3, 2010


"Too far. That's a meeting with the boss"
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:45 PM on November 3, 2010


These are hilarious.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:52 PM on November 3, 2010


She belongs on David Letterman instead of David Letterman.

go go go internet make this real
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:52 PM on November 3, 2010


"What? I thought that was a pretty classy way of saying that. Especially for me."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:55 PM on November 3, 2010


Wow, I think this is the only Metafilter post with a million links where I actually clicked on all of the links.
posted by Put the kettle on at 4:00 PM on November 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


I've been just saying "Jennie Stencel" to myself under my breath all day while I work and then giggling. It's a good thing I work from home.

JENNIE STENCEL HEE HEE
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:00 PM on November 3, 2010


I'm not sure what the point of a traffic reporter is on TV news. I only think of traffic reporters on the radio. If I'm at home watching this, what good is the info? Am I watching it at the office? Am I watching it online? Am I hopelessly out of touch?
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 4:50 PM on November 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


As I said in the other thread, I think the absolute lack of any need for traffic reporting is part of the gag, but my local early morning news has a traffic segment, I think -- most people watch it just before leaving for work.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:58 PM on November 3, 2010


YES. I too got lost in YouTube watching more Jennie Stencel. The report on the Duggars is by far the best.

For those of you at work without sound, THE BEST:
End of news report: "...she is due in March. Her uterus could not be reached for comment."
Jennie Stencel: "I think her uterus can be reached all too easily. Childbirth for her must be a sneeze."
posted by maryr at 5:04 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh man, I would SO love to have her babies...
posted by hincandenza at 5:05 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


She is going to be my trump card the next time i get into a 'girls can't be funny' argument.
posted by empath at 5:09 PM on November 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Someone gift her a mefi account. so she can post here.
posted by empath at 5:13 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is fascinating. Some local network executive clearly thought of this as a strategy to win viewers away from their competitors. It's amazing it never imploded on them into some wildly inappropriate joke.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 5:14 PM on November 3, 2010


Her Facebook page is pretty great too.

"Tonight a fella teased me about my team losing. I threw a sword at his car..."
posted by keratacon at 5:28 PM on November 3, 2010


This is fascinating. Some local network executive clearly thought of this as a strategy to win viewers away from their competitors.

This is our local TV station. I almost feel bad that I haven't heard of her before this post. Almost.
posted by odinsdream at 5:51 PM on November 3, 2010


It's amazing it never imploded on them into some wildly inappropriate joke.

I think because it's obvious she's well in on the joke and seems very smart about where the line is, and to push only so far enough over it to produce good comedy. She's great. If you're going the goofy morning news show route, this is the way to do it.

And it doesn't hurt that she has a Gwyneth Paltrow thing going.
posted by stargell at 5:55 PM on November 3, 2010


It's funny, in almost all of her traffic reports the traffic is always fine.

That's because there is no fucking traffic here. Everyday on my way to work, the traffic report on the NPR affiliate is "Metro Networks reports no traffic problems" or "Metro Networks reports slow traffic on Hanes Mall Boulevard."

I don't understand why they have traffic reports here at all.
posted by jeoc at 6:02 PM on November 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


So why did they finally ditch her? (I suspect that Winston-Salem is a bit more conservative and less appreciative of the hilarity. I think she's funny but it did kinda seem awkward in the couple of clips I viewed. She'd fit right in at the Daily Show tho.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:03 PM on November 3, 2010


I saw her on YouTube a few weeks ago and spent an hour watching her clips. I can't believe she's not on national TV.
posted by puckupdate at 6:36 PM on November 3, 2010


All local news should have a resident stand-up comedian.

Australia's been doing it for years. Moreso the current affairs shows after the news proper, and especially sports news.

What irks me is when someone attempts to do it the other way around. Having a washed up actor doing the weather TRYING to be a comedian. I'm looking at you Stevie Jacobs. You are one annoying unfunny little man.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:43 PM on November 3, 2010


comedian as weatherman ...dave letterman

They tried it a long time before that, too
posted by msalt at 6:45 PM on November 3, 2010


"I've also worn a biodegradable gown..." has to be one of the best segues I've heard in awhile.
posted by feloniousmonk at 7:03 PM on November 3, 2010


My favorite is when she's covering sports--

"Check out this move! Weeeee....... he did that. 15 points, 11 rebounds, and then the game's prettiest play, that might have been it. There's an old guy... I don't know what he's doing there... Oh he's a coach! Yeah... good deal."

It works so well because she's not trying that hard, you can tell it's natural for her to be this funny.
posted by haveanicesummer at 7:13 PM on November 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


it's a good thing i didn't make this post because i wouldn't have researched the topic as well. as mudpuppie did. good post!

I like the first 30 seconds of the traffic in Spanish.
posted by mexican at 7:31 PM on November 3, 2010


"Twins win! Eleven-hundred-and-ten to nine-hundred-and-eighty. That's right."

Got, I love her.
posted by verb at 7:41 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hee. Layer. Eee. Us.
posted by wierdo at 7:52 PM on November 3, 2010


Damn, I don't think I can like this. I know--even as I type this I can't help but think it must sound like I'm declaring that I'm allergic to fun--but as much as I love The Daily Show and The Onion and as much as I hate most local and network news, I'm surprised to find I have no patience for Jennie Stencel's antics. I think I just need my actual news straight up: serious people telling me what I ought to know to be a good dude in society. Oh well. Traffic rap aside (Unbearable!), she seems like a pretty cool and funny person, and I have no doubt she'll find a place to do her thing.
posted by millions at 8:29 PM on November 3, 2010


FWIW, that psychic in the video is the kind I absolutely despise, using Tarot cards to prop up her cold-reading techniques. Notice that she barely refers to the cards at all -- she just "picks up things very strongly." What do the cards say? She probably doesn't even really know.

As opposed to REAL tarot card readers?
posted by Bonzai at 8:32 PM on November 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


The Duggar clip had me in tears, but I don't think her current delivery would work well on the Daily Show at all. They seem to put a premium on deadpan from everyone but Stewart. Not sure how what makes this stuff funny would translate.
posted by Cyrano at 8:37 PM on November 3, 2010


I think I just need my actual news straight up

That's the problem right there. You want actual news; morning news shows are pretty much about everything OTHER than actual news. Weather, traffic and sports are the only useful pieces of information you should expect to glean from the morning news; maybe there's a five-minute roundup of world events every half-hour if you're lucky. Then it's "interview with washed-up local musician trying really hard to make a sad comeback" or "what should you buy your kids for back-to-school clothes so that they don't totally hate your guts" or "hey we sent the weather girl out to the zoo to interview baby pandas!" It's marshmallow fluff smeared all over your TV screen. (actually I could go for some of that right now. crap.)

I think that's why Jennie worked so well—she seems like a great morning-show personality, but then she does and says things that definitely don't belong on a morning show, so it's hilarious and unexpected. It makes me think the perfect venue for her isn't actually the Daily Show, but that awful, long since canceled ABC sitcom about a Ellen/Oprah type who anchors her own late-morning show, and has to juggle her family with her work. It was weird in that half the show was a standard family sitcom, and then the other half was basically us watching her do parts of the morning show, like some bizarre cinema verite simulacrum. I'm not even sure that part had a laugh track over it.

Make a new sitcom where that morning show portion is the whole show, find a couple good straightpeople/foils, and give it to Jennie. Hey, it'll probably be better than fuckin' Teen Mom.
posted by chrominance at 11:53 PM on November 3, 2010


It makes me think the perfect venue for her isn't actually the Daily Show, but that awful, long since canceled ABC sitcom

Before going on CNN, wasn't Anderson Cooper on some really-early morning daily news show on ABC, one that's shown between 4 and 6 AM? I remember that show being really loosely scripted.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:07 AM on November 4, 2010


I think the reference is to the Bonnie Hunt show which was cute and funny, if very tame. JS definitely reminds me of Bonnie in her classic Lucyish reactions, especially the one where she cries.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:54 AM on November 4, 2010


It's funny, in almost all of her traffic reports the traffic is always fine.

Scorchio.
posted by pracowity at 7:04 AM on November 4, 2010


Before going on CNN, wasn't Anderson Cooper on some really-early morning daily news show on ABC, one that's shown between 4 and 6 AM? I remember that show being really loosely scripted.

Indeed!

Loved World News Now as a post-Conan treat on many sleepless high school nights. I haven't seen it in a while (funny what regular sleep makes you miss) but I always thought that they struck the right balance between being informative and generally entertaining. Granted, the bar is pretty low in the middle of the night.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:13 AM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Before going on CNN, wasn't Anderson Cooper on some really-early morning daily news show on ABC, one that's shown between 4 and 6 AM? I remember that show being really loosely scripted.


THANK YOU SOMEONE ELSE REMEMBERS THIS.

I worked late in HS and usually only got home around 4 or 5 in the morning and this ...show on ABC was completely fascinating. The news-table was strewn with papers, coffee mugs on display, the greenscreen gone so you could see people milling about the office, getting copies, leaning on chairs..and these two hosts - chatting away, digressing, sleeves rolled up and choking on their coffee and only kinda just reading the news. It was like they gave the show to the interns cause they knew no one was watching. it was entrancing. It had all the production slickness of a major news show, but none of the content. It was like everyone just decided to go off topic and goof off for a day and make strange jokes that weren't funny or good but just kind of shocking cause this was literally happening on AB fucking C ?

Ah yes. It was called World News Now

And they can't keep a straight face while trying to explain horrible flooding in the midwest!
posted by The Whelk at 7:22 AM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


As opposed to REAL tarot card readers?

Hermitosis, if I've got this straight, is a real tarot card reader. See here.

If the cards are actual cards and a person uses them to do a reading for you, isn't that person a real tarot card reader?
posted by pracowity at 7:59 AM on November 4, 2010


She belongs on The Daily Show.

I think she'd do better on something like ESPN, where they like the banter, but aren't entirely relying on it... 'cause they've had a few guys being funny there, who tried to transition to "real comedy" and then just didn't seem that funny in comparison. I guess it's sort of a big fish, small pond issue. She's funny in this context, but "why are nudists always unattractive" would seem pretty well-worn in a place where you were expecting a punchline... So on a local news show she's a little out of place, but on an actual comedy show she'd have to go further (and maybe she can, just not clear from the few clips I watched).
posted by mdn at 8:36 AM on November 4, 2010


If the cards are actual cards and a person uses them to do a reading for you, isn't that person a real tarot card reader?

I suppose it depends if you believe that "a reading" is a real thing.

All claims of the supernatural seem fake to me to the idea of a fake tarot card reading seems redundant.
posted by Bonzai at 8:38 AM on November 4, 2010


I suppose it depends if you believe that "a reading" is a real thing.
You can say that Tarot is bunk, and I would agree with you. But at least it's got some rules and guidelines around things like what cards mean, what their implications are, and so on.

The lady in the video wasn't even bothering to reference any of that. It's like selling Magic 8-Ball Advice, shaking the 8-ball, and saying, "I think you're going to get a raise!" without even looking at the message.
posted by verb at 8:43 AM on November 4, 2010


Yes, I understood the comment I was just pointing out how odd it sounded.

It's like pointing out that Magic 8-ball advice is wrong not because it's totally random but because the Magic 8-ball reader isn't doing it right.
posted by Bonzai at 8:51 AM on November 4, 2010


Ah yes. It was called World News Now

Oh, man, I used to have such a crush on Thalia Assuras back in my stay-up-preposterously-late-but-too-poor-for-cable days...
posted by dersins at 9:10 AM on November 4, 2010


It's like pointing out that Magic 8-ball advice is wrong not because it's totally random but because the Magic 8-ball reader isn't doing it right.
Well, they're not. ;-)

I think the complication is that most people I know who have interest in Tarot view it as a sort of Creative Whack Pack with a long interpretive history. I did a lot of reading and study on Tarot because I find the idea of pseudo-random input with an interpretive layer interesting.

I easily can see how someone would get annoyed by someone saying they're "doing tarot" but essentially just using it as a prop for cold-reading, just as someone who plays poker would be annoyed if someone didn't follow the rules.
posted by verb at 9:15 AM on November 4, 2010


I'm amazed she made four years. She's certainly put the Piedmont Triad on the map for me.
posted by greytape at 3:45 PM on November 4, 2010


She is hilarious. The other two women are acting like tools.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 10:49 PM on November 4, 2010


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