For one night out of the year, it is becoming a tradition for CNN to do away with the usual pretense that it’s a serious news network, opting to throw journalistic integrity and any sense of professionalism out the window to make a collective fool of itself.
The annual celebration of CNN ringing in the New Year wouldn’t be complete unless Don Lemon gets drunk on live television, even though that spectacle was topped this year when one of its reporters got into a bathtub of “sparkling rum” with a mermaid drag queen.
Accompanied by anchor Brooke Baldwin, Lemon was in Nashville as part of CNN’s live New Year’s Eve coverage. Drink in hand, he is seen jamming to a tune, crooning with a singer — whether his back up vocals were welcome or not.
mood don lemon on nye https://t.co/PML5tf0v3K
— KENNY BEAR (@kennybearTHEMOB) January 1, 2020
Of course, given Lemon’s previous New Year’s Eve antics, this is rather tame. In 2016, as part of the network’s live coverage, he got his ear pierced… after downing shots of tequila.
This prompted the hashtag #DrunkDonLemon to start trending on Twitter.
“People are saying that I’m lit,” Lemon said at the time. “Yeah, I’m lit. Who cares?”
He would then bare his soul on national television about being open to a relationship in 2017 and promising not to be “as self-centered.”
(The openly gay anchor did get into a relationship, taking on a white boyfriend.)
Back to the present, Lemon tried to top the ear-piercing stunt with a tattoo — like the network’s regular coverage, it’s hard to tell whether this was fake news or not.
— Josh Sánchez (@joshnsanchez) January 1, 2020
Lemon and a skeptical Baldwin are then handed glasses of champagne to drink. And while it’s not clear what the tattoos say — he claimed to get one on each arm — social media users were only too happen to fill the void:
CNN reporter Randi Kaye was reporting live from a New Year’s Eve celebration in Key West, Fla., where she came across the “queen of the sea.”
This being a drag queen in a mermaid get-up.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tail so huge,” Kaye said.
“That’s not the only thing that’s huge here, honey,” the drag queen shot back, young viewers be damned.
After playing around with co-hosts Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper, who were at Times Square in New York City, about whether the drag queen was single, Kaye went on with her vaudeville act.
“You’re obviously not the Little Mermaid, right?” the reporter asked the man.
“I’m not the biggest either. Let’s put it that way,” the drag queen replied, the only thing missing being the drum roll — “ba-dum-bum-CHING.”
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) January 1, 2020
It was at this point that Kaye was pulled into the bathtub. The reporter responded by taking a swig of rum from a bottle she was holding, before pouring some on the drag queen.
You may recall that in 2018, Kaye was in Denver, where marijuana is legal. Holding a gas mask made into a pipe to her face, Kaye reveled in having a “contact high.”
If the bathtub stunt wasn’t bizarre enough, don’t worry, CNN had more in store from its coverage of News Years Eve.
CNN International anchor Richard Quest turned up at Times Square sporting a full “Cats” unitard, complete with makeup.
Mimicking the character from the play, Quest told Cohen and Cooper, “I’m Rum Tum Tugger.”
Quest would wander around to talk with the crowd, the only problem being that, in New York City, a grown man in a cat unitard doesn’t faze the senses very much.
Overall, while the network was making an effort to have a little fun, somehow you get the feel that people would be able to tolerate their usual coverage of the news if done in a similar manner — on a more positive note, for what may be the first and only time in 2019, CNN wasn’t bashing President Donald Trump.
Here are more antics from drunk Don Lemon and his colleagues, to include Cohen and Cooper talking about “who has the biggest cock in Hollywood” on air:
— Chelsea Coates (@chelseapcoates) January 1, 2020
— Richard Quest (@richardquest) January 1, 2020
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