Comics Tackle Hot Topics
"They say it's not only the United States," Gayle says. "Paris, London, Germany, Tokyo are all taking a dive."
As people around the world watch their investments dissolve and savings shrink, the stress is starting to take an emotional and physical toll. According to a recent poll conducted by the American Psychological Association, eight out of 10 Americans say they're stressed out because of the economy.
Of the 7,000 people polled, 47 percent said financial anxiety caused them to have headaches, and 35 percent reported upset stomachs. More than one third also said they were experiencing muscular tension.
One story in the news may also cause a rise in blood pressure. Just days after receiving an $85 billion bailout from the federal government, media agencies reported that American International Group Inc. (AIG) spent $440,000 on a spa retreat for 70 top-earning employees.
Executives at the nation's main life insurance subsidiary stayed at an exclusive California resort and spent thousands on spa treatments, banquets and golf outings. Gayle says the executives justified their outing by saying they did not use the bailout money to pay for the retreat. "Why didn't they use that money to bail themselves out?" Oprah says.
"That's just wrong," Mark says.
"I do find that, in a financial crisis, an herbal wrap usually does the trick," Ali jokes. "If I get my pores cleaned, I'm good."
As a practicing heart surgeon, Dr. Oz says he's caring for many Wall Street workers who are coming in for open heart surgery. Why does stress wreak havoc on the human body? He says biology is to blame.
"We have an autopilot that runs our body, and it's designed perfectly for one main reason—get away from predators," he says. "But if you're [stressed] all the time, extra blood that's going to your head can give you headaches as you stress out and overfocus."
Dr. Oz says people get stomach cramps because blood is shunted away from their intestines when they run away from problems.
Financial anxiety can also cause weight gain and make you eat more than usual. "What was the equivalent of stress 500 years ago? There was no stock market. Stress 500 years ago was a famine," Dr. Oz says. "So the body starts to secrete cortisone, which is a steroid, and you make more fat."
Dr. Oz says stress and weight gain come together to produce the perfect storm. "You've got more belly fat that makes you inflamed and sticky in your blood, and you've got spasm in your arteries because you're so tense from that fight-or-flight response," he says. "Now we're seeing the kinds of heart attacks that so many of us have been fearing."
Over the course of a person's life, Dr. Oz says half of our major stressors are economic in nature. In fact, studies show that 40 percent of divorces are caused by financial disagreements. "If you add it all together, you're going to lose about eight years of your life, on average, from a major financial stress," he says.
If you stay close to your spouse and lean on friends and family members when times get tough, Dr. Oz says you can reduce the stress-related symptoms and add years to your life. "We are incredibly well-adapted species to deal with stress," he says. "Our entire history has been about us coping with major catastrophes like this. A lot of us, unfortunately, in America today, we confuse our self-worth with our net worth. They're not the same things."
When you see your stock portfolio and tension starts to build, Dr. Oz says there are three things you should do—stretch, breath and make love.
You don't have to be a yoga master to get in a good stretch. "A lot of the basic exercises you did if you played sports in school are stretches that loosen you up, and that's where we store so much of our tension," Dr. Oz says. "That causes the headaches and the back pains that Americans are complaining of."
Three deep breaths can also help you find your center. "It's the foundation of all Eastern meditative practices," he says. "It works for people who have no money and are never going to have money, because it allows them to settle into a deeper understanding of what their real purpose is."
Finally, Dr. Oz says one of the biggest de-stressors of all is loving, monogamous sex. "Dr. Oz, I have a hard enough time having an orgasm," Ali jokes. "I'm not going to be able to if somebody's repossessing the house."
Credit: DreamWorks Animation
Ben Stiller and Chris Rock are teaming up in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, the sequel to their 2005 animated hit. Ben is back as Alex, a lion who was raised in New York City's Central Park Zoo. Chris reprises the role of Marty, a wise-cracking zebra.
These funnymen aren't the only stars lending their voices to animated animals. David Schwimmer plays Melman the giraffe, and Jada Pinkett Smith voices Gloria, a sassy hippopotamus.
In this highly anticipated sequel, this zoo-raised crew makes its way from Madagascar to Africa. "You're going to love it as much as your kids," Oprah says.
"It took a while to get used to," he says. "They have these little cameras that are filming you to get your expressions so that they can use it for the animators. So you just sort of have to do it a lot, I think, and sort of let it go. Once you start free forming ... you realize that you're looking ridiculous and making these crazy sounds."
Ben, a father of two, says it all came together when he saw the final version of the first film. When it came time to do the sequel, he was ready. "It was easier to just make a fool of myself in the studio," he says.
Chris and Ben usually voice their characters in a room by themselves, but during the sequel, they worked together for one day. "I got to see how good Chris is," Ben says. What impressed Ben most? He says Chris can come up with funny lines without having anybody there to react to them. In fact, he ad-libbed Oprah's favorite term in the film—crackalackin.
"My kids—especially my youngest—she likes to brag that her dad is the zebra from Madagascar, so any time there's a birthday party I have to say 'crackalackin' all day," Chris says.
Although they only met in passing, Ben says he felt a connection with Bernie because he played the father to Ben's character. "Because of the way we do the voices, you're alone, but I would hear these scenes, and I was just so impressed ... he brings so much to the movie," Ben says. "There's a real father-son relationship there, so you have that connection. I felt that connection with him, not knowing him at all and was looking forward to getting to hang out with him doing the press for the movie."
Chris says he and Bernie were friends for more than 20 years. "Whenever I would play Chicago, in these little clubs, Bernie would come," he says.
Wherever they were, Chris says Bernie lit up the room. "It's like if you're in a room with Bernie Mac, he's funniest guy," Chris says. "Let's not waste our time trying to get a laugh."
Even though he was using the same material in every country, Chris says his jokes translated through every culture. "People laugh at the same things all over the world," he says. While pop culture references needed to be tweaked, Chris says a topic like relationships can work in any country. "No one's getting laid enough anywhere," he jokes.
Simpson was arrested in September of 2007 after allegedly storming a Las Vegas hotel room with a group of armed men with the intention of taking back footballs, personal photos and other memorabilia Simpson says was stolen from his home. Now at age 61, Simpson faces life in prison after being found guilty on charges including robbery and kidnapping with a deadly weapon. "If you're his cell mate, don't cheat on him," Chris jokes.
Thirteen has proven to be a very unlucky number for Simpson—his guilty verdict takes place 13 years to the day of his acquitted murder trial in 1995; the jury deliberated 13 hours; and the alleged crime occurred on September 13, 2007. "Didn't Jim Carrey just do that movie?" Chris jokes.
Simpson left Chris a voice mail, which he jokes was a little creepy. "Hey man, you dogged me in your last show—but I understand," Simpson said in his voice mail.
After seeing the old clip from 1997, Chris jokes that more has changed than just Oprah's hairstyle. "With the money I made from those Simpson jokes, I bought some new teeth!" Chris says.
Ali says she has trouble understanding sex addiction. "I'm not addicted to it. I'm happier with a Klondike bar sometimes," she jokes.
Oprah says she believes sex addiction exists in the same way that food, drug, gambling and shopping addictions exist. "It's whenever it's controlling you and you're not in control," she says.
A star-studded event was held with 350 guests in attendance, including Oprah, Stedman and Gayle. In an emotional dedication, Tyler named five soundstages after some of his biggest inspirations: Ruby Dee, Sidney Poitier, Ossie Davis, Cicely Tyson and Quincy Jones. "He wanted to dedicate it to [some] living actors who paved the way for him," Gayle says.
When Tyler dedicated Sidney Poitier's soundstage to him, tears filled his eyes—and Oprah says she lost it. "There was a moment I went into the ugly cry," she says. Afterward, Sidney told Oprah what he was thinking. "He said he was thinking about the many years when he was at MGM, and he was the only one. When it was just him and the shoe shine man [who were] black. He was thinking about the many times when they only allowed black people onto the soundstages after all the cast and crew had gone, and he would often be there when they would come in at night."