The Kanye West Scene in ‘Entourage’ Is One of the Greatest Moments in Television History
Welcome to the good life, indeed.
Let me get this out of the way: Entourage is a stupid television show. Entourage: The Movie is probably a stupid movie (I’m yet to see it). These are facts I’m not going to deny. The premise of the show—which ran on HBO for eight seasons—is simply “being rich and famous is sweet, and friendship is forever, baby!” It followed a fictional famous actor named Vinnie Chase—whose believed to be a be a blend of Mark Wahlberg, Leonardo Di Caprio, and Tobey MacGuire—and his “Entourage” made up of his three closest childhood pals from Queens: “E” (Vinnie’s manager), Drama (Vinnie’s older brother who’s a washed up actor from an old show about vikings called Viking Quest), and Turtle (Vinnie’s driver/weed guy). The tagline for the film adaptation has simply been, “The boys are back!”
As my former colleague Drew Millard described it on VICE earlier this week, the plotline for pretty much every single episode is as follows:
Vinnie: I am famous. Let's do something.
E: As your manager, I have concerns about this.
Turtle: Let's do it! I would like to leech off of Vince somehow.
Drama: I was once famous, and I have already done this thing (albeit in a somewhat pathetic manner).
That’s Entourage in a nutshell, and, again, it’s dumb. The show—although it did begin as a critical darling—turned into a mockery of itself over its decade of existence. If you’re reading this right now, you probably have made fun of it. (But you’re still reading this, so jokes on you). And the response to the movie has been pretty much on par with that. A.O. Scott wrote this in The New York Times: “Watching the movie is like finding an ancient issue of a second-tier lad mag—not even Maxim, but Loaded or Nuts—in a friend’s guest bathroom. You wonder how it got there. You wonder how you got there.”
But, hey, who cares? Sometimes in this strange life, we just need to be entertained. Entourage is great because when you watch, thinking no longer is a thing that you’re actively doing. Instead, you just exist, absorbing this weird twisted world of celebrity lifestyle porn. As you watch, you hate yourself. But you can’t stop. I don’t know why. It’s trash. But it’s also beautiful. It makes no sense. On top of all the ridiculous nothingness that happens in Entourage, we’re treated to a collection of celebrity appearances (this is Hollywood, after all). There are so many stars that make cameos; there is literally an entire Wikipedia dedicated to “celebrities appearing on Entourage.” Some selects on this list include Mandy Moore (who played Vince’s girlfriend), Gary Busey (who at one point literally paints Drama’s chest), Eminem (who punches Vince when Vince is going through that whole “drug” thing), and Kanye West.
Ah, Kanye. The most influential person in my life as a millennial. Long before interviews on Zane Lowe and Sway not having the answers, Kanye was just a bro like you and me. And his guest appearance on Entourage is legendary—and is arguably one of the best moments in the history of the show. This is what happens: After a crazy episode of the boys trying to figure out a way to get to Cannes for Vinnie’s premiere of his fat suit movie Medellin because a terrorist threat has shut down LAX—an episode that, yes, followed the show’s tropes of Vince being chill about the situation, E freaking out about the situation, Ari getting in a fight with his wife and Lloyd about the situation, Drama having an old man and “the good old days” opinion on the situation, and Turtle being high about the situation—the crew ends up at a different airport hoping to catch a ride on Academy Award winning director Sydney Pollack’s private jet. They have too many people, though (oh no!), so Sydney is all like, “Yo you can’t ride with us.” And then Turtle is like, “It’s cool, Vin, I’ll stay. I’m not in the movie.” But then Vinnie is like, “No, it’s all of us, or none of us.” Sydney shrugs and leaves. Ari starts to panic and bite his phone. And then Kanye randomly walks in and Turtle is like, “Yo, whassup Kanye?!” Ari asks Vinnie how Turtle knows Kanye, and then he asks Kanye about having a meet and greet (classic Ari, always trying to land a deal), and then Turtle tells Kanye that they need a ride to Cannes. At first, Kanye’s like, “No!” But then he’s like, “Yes!” And so they all get on the plane together, and Kanye says he’s gonna fly the plane. But he’s just kidding! He’s not gonna fly the plane, some old Air Force One pilots are. Then some beautiful flight attendants walk in and Kanye recommends getting a massage from them because “it’s awesome.” Ari bites his phone again, but this time in a good way. The plane takes off. “Good Life” starts playing. The Entourage smiles. It all works out. Life is awesome.
Kanye was the perfect celebrity guest for this Entourage because he, like Vinnie and his pals, represent the American dream of coming from nothing and making it. And that’s pretty much the whole idea behind Entourage, and why it’s such an important thing for our generation. It all does work out. Life is awesome. I've spent a lot of time this week thinking about life and the weird intersection of college, Kanye West, hanging with my bros at the University of Iowa, and What That All Means, but after putting together a couple thousand words and then deleting aforementioned words, I’ve come full circle to the basic idea that Kanye is sweet, Entourage is sweet, and the combination of the two is, obviously, sweet. How would Turtle respond to Kanye on Entourage? He'd be amped about it, and then smoke some weed about it. So, same. Mostly I've come to the conclusion that I’ve been thinking way to much about Entourage, and that kind of defeats the point of Entourage. This is a show that’s simply about friendship and how that’s important as we trudge through life. That’s it! The plots are vague enough that it doesn’t really matter what they do, because they’re never really doing anything except hanging out. And isn’t that kind of what life is? Just one long hang out? Sure, maybe you’ll do something with your friends, like meet them at a bar or go to a music festival or walk to the beach or grill up some burgers. Or if you’re on Entourage, you’ll go to Sundance or Gary Busey’s house or to a James Cameron movie premiere or ride on Kanye’s jet. And that’s it; and there’s something beautiful in the simplicity of these facts. As the Entourage tagline says: “Life Changes, Friends Don’t.”
So on this Friday, grab your pals, don’t think too much, and remember the sweet scene in Entourage when they rode on Kanye West’s massive private jet to Cannes. Welcome to the good life, indeed.
Eric Sundermann is a bro. Follow him on Twitter.