Colonel Reba: KFC, a subsidiary of Louisville’s YUM! Brands, has a new Colonel Sanders for its latest ads—country legend Reba McEntire, says CNN, CBS News, USA Today and Rolling Stone. Ms. McEntire is the first woman to take on the role.

The ad promotes KFC’s new Smoky Mountain BBQ fried chicken and pokes a lot of fun at itself, with its star singing lines like, “I swear I’m not a famous woman!” and assuring the crowd, “I’m Colonel Sanders, the same as always,”

Said Ms. McEntire:

I grew up with Kentucky Fried Chicken. It’s part of my story, and I’m so excited to now be part of theirs. I’ve held a lot of roles in my life — sort of like the Colonel himself — but this is certainly the most unique one yet.

Said KFC Chief Marketing Officer Andrea Zahumensky:

We picked Reba McEntire because she is a perfect fit for KFC and Smoky Mountain BBQ. She embodies the qualities of the colonel with her showmanship and entrepreneurial spirit. We love to find people who are really iconic, like Rob Lowe is very iconic. Also, someone who really represents our product. She is definitely sweet. She has that Southern charm.”

Entertainment Weekly has a list of everyone who’s played the Colonel in an ad so far: Ms. McEntire, Christopher Boyer, Ray Liotta, Rob Lowe, Billy Zane, Vincent Kartheiser, Rob Riggle, Dolph ZIggler, George Hamilton, Jim Gaffigan, Norm Macdonald, Darrell Hammond and Harland Sanders himself.

USA Today talks to Bob Killian, a Chicago-based branding expert:

It’s a meta campaign. It’s about the food or the item or the offer. It’s about ‘We’re not taking advertising seriously. You should like us.’ They’re making the point that we’re in on the joke. This isn’t who the colonel used to be.”

TIME says the internet has “endless thoughts” about the ad. And Bob’s right. Some are very much in on the joke.

Others, not so much. Salon says some men are freaking out.

Someone on YouTube suggested they would boycott KFC until the original Colonel came back, which is either a major commitment or major confusion on his part.

So tough road ahead for that guy.

Against the Grain

Beer Me: VinePair compiled its list of “The World’s Top 10 Beer Destinations for 2018.” Right there at No. 9, sandwiched between Boise, Idaho, and St. Louis, Missouri is none other than Louisville, Kentucky.

Richmond, Virginia, is at No. 1.

As for Louisville, they cite the rise of craft breweries here and around the state. They talk about Against the Grain and its proximity to Slugger Field. And they talk about NuLu and last year’s NuLu Bock Beer Festival as well as the coming Kentucky Craft Bash in June at Waterfront Park.

Oh, and they mention 21c. I’ve seen enough of these things by now to say if they don’t mention 21c, it’s not a real list; it’s just someone trolling around on Yelp. Which kudos to 21c. They know how to build a brand that just exudes quality.

If you’re a beer connoisseur calling shenanigans on the list out of the gate, Richmond beating out the likes of Belgium or Denver, VinePair says this list is for the beer aficionado looking for the undiscovered or at least the not-so-obvious. Everyone knows you go looking for beer in Belgium; who’s supposed to know you hop over to the bourbon capital of the world for that kind of thing?

Credit: Unrig the System Summit.

Variety Show: Variety and The Hill report Jennifer Lawrence will host “Unrigged Live!,” a variety show during the three-day Unrig the System Summit at Tulane University in New Orleans.

The evening will include performances from Tig Notaro and Nikki Glaser, music from honeyhoney and the legendary band The Preservation Hall All-Stars and guests including former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner and former White House Ethics Lawyer Richard Painter.

No word on what Mr. Painter will do, but I’m willing to bet he’s a mean dancer.

The Unrig the System Summit, held this weekend, Feb 2-4, is brought to you by Represent.Us, a nonpartisan, nonprofit whose mission is “to pass tough anti-corruption laws in cities and states across America, and end the legalized corruption that has come to define modern politics.”

Ms. Lawrence is on the Represent.Us board and Creative Council.

You may recall last year, Ms. Lawrence offered a chance to win a wine tasting picnic

with her with proceeds going to benefit the nonprofit. (Congratulations, Louisa H. of London, England).

Repesent.Us says the Unrig the System Summit is about “crossing partisan and ideological divides and working together on concrete solutions to unrig America’s political system.”

“Unrigged Live! will livestream tomorrow night (Feb. 3) from Tulane’s McAlister Auditorium, from 8:00-10:30 p.m. EST.

The big Super Bowl is this weekend, so that’s something. The Eagles of Philadelphia will take on the Patriots of New England, the closest sports equivalent to the Empire from Star Wars. And I’m sure a few things will happen. The Eagles will keep it close for a minute, but by halftime, Emperor Belichick will make all the right adjustments, Darth Brady will execute the perfect fourth quarter with all the confidence and patience you’d expect from a long-journeyed Sith Lord, and by late Sunday night, we’ll feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

A lot of those voices will be from Philadelphia, more than likely, unless maybe, just maybe, the Eagles find the one tiny design flaw in the Death Star they can exploit and blow the whole game up.

Super Bowl LII will air this Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on NBC.

See you next week.

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Kyle Ware
Kyle Ware is a Louisville-based actor, artist, educator and writer. His column, In Other News, appears at Insider Louisville every Friday.