Monday, July 31, 2006

Thank You Patton Oswalt

On the forum A Special Thing I asked who was the original alternative comic? Patton Oswalt quipped "The Lord Jesus Christ. No wait, Bruce Baum."

After the Bruce Baum recommendation, I looked him up on YouTube. I am determined to make this video more viral than All Your Base. It's a parody called "Don'cha Wish Your Boyfriend Was Bald Like Me."

Fun to laugh at and with

Friday, July 28, 2006

Quick Answer to Why There's No Theme Park Criticism

No video game criticism, or theme park criticism exists because writers do not seem so concerned with technology. This is true; pop culture in this decade is a technological story.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Theme Park Semiotics

So if and when amusement parks are analyzed, people look at the semiotics; at the codes that theme parks reinforce.

One of Disney's favorite themes is progress. Between Epcot, Tomorrowland and the Comtemporary Hotel, a bright future is always guaranteed. The future's so bright we have to wear shades.

As I previously said, theme parks are not developed by indie artists. They are financed by movie studios and (in Epcot's case) giant corporations looking to show visitors how they are very much a part of the future. When we were on Spaceship Earth, which chronicles the history of communications technology, we went through a tunnel with all these flashing neon pipes. My stepdad pointed at these pipes and quipped "Look, a series of tubes," referring to Senator Ted Stevens's dim-witted metaphor explaining what the internet is.

But let's get hypothetical. What if I could make my own theme park ride? What would it be like? Well I would want to make it low-budget so here's my proposal:

New Yorkland

People go on shopping carts and employees drag the shopping carts through these tents that have strobe lights in them. The tents have junkies and hookers in them who are passed out, but appear to be moving because of the strobe lights. I guess another name for the ride would be The Haunted Crackhouse.

The semiotics would be revolutionary; the underlying message would be the illusion of class mobility; the lower class would appear to be mobile when it is really sessile.

Since I am on vacation, my mind is slower and I forgot that sarcasm does not translate well on the Internet. Yes, I am being sarcastic about this proposal. Yes, I do not really feel this would lead to a revolution in class codes.

Orlando comedy update: I am determined to go to Pleasure Island's Comedy Warehouse as well as the Adventurers' Club to see how Disney does live comedy.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Amusement Park Elitism

(courtesy of janzedrik)

Why is there no Lester Bangs of video games or comedy? Genres of art that have their own critics tend to have their own snobs. Music snobs scoff at Sugar Ray. Film snobs love Richard Linklater or Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Video game snobs and comedy snobs are new to this century, so we might need to wait a year or two for the critics of those respective fields.

But what about attractions? Theme park rides, specifically? I cannot think of a less elitist art form than theme park rides. Perhaps the lack of recognizable, distinguished living theme park architects has something to do with this. Who praises the architect of the Tower of Terror?

Short of it: it don't get more lowbrow than rides and attractions.

Maybe amusement parks are to Orlando what movies are to LA. Everyone in LA thinks and breathes movies; everyone in Orlando thinks fun, sun and air conditioned hotels.

Perhaps the Universal Studios mantra "ride the movies" explains it best; theme park rides are literally moving theatrical experiences. Forget fourth wall; we're talking about the fourth track here.

If video games are digital movies, then theme park rides are new media plays mixing analog and digital; human (some rides have sardonic tour guides) and robotic animatronics); live (robots moving in the same space as audience) and prerecorded(videos, music).

Indie theme park rides do not exist of course. There is no homebrew scene nor is there a community revival of Spaceship Earth.

Once again I'm on vacation so here's a lazy link to a way more intelligent guy.


Yeah, I never link to this site though I read it all the time, but Questionable Content outdid themselves with this parody of an old staple of '80's comics.

Monday, July 24, 2006


(courtesy of Scopy Cat)

I am on vacation with my family in the happiest place on Earth. I go to Orlando every year with my family. But this year, I've really made an effort to explore the psychogeography of The City Beautiful.

Specificaly, I have been interested in Orlando's role in arts and entertainment. LA is famous for its contributions to cinema; New York is famous for everything else. Austin is memorialized as a city of conspiracy theory kooks and loquacious stoners by Richard Linklater (forgive the club footed prose, I'm on vacation).

According to Wikipedia, here is a list of Orlando's major contributions to arts and entertainment (I've put an asterisk next to the ones I like):

Britney Spears
Backstreet Boys
Matchbox 20
7 Mary 3
Sister Hazel
Less Than Jake
Tom Petty*
Larry the Cable Guy
Wayne Brady
Wesley Snipes*

From this list, I am inclined to conclude that Orlando really is the city to get away from it all. Despite a huge black and latino population, Orlando is known for not-so-ethnic tourist traps (really, isn't Orlando itself a tourist trap) like Disney World and Sea World. Getting away from it all big-time. Coney Island embraces blacks and freaks, Disney World prices them out. Sure I'm going with my family; sure I like Disney World; just sayin'.

But it's not just the attractions - and, when you get down to it, Orlando, more than any other city, is known for attractions as opposed to art (I will compare the two tomorrow). It's known for Larry the Cable Guy and N'Sync. Looking at the above list, I see an MOR, test-market approved, family friendly (neither Larry the Cable Guy nor Wayne Brady say fuck), predominantly Christian culture.

Once again, just sayin'.

My friend is down in Orlando and I hope to meet up with him and do an open mic downtown. I wonder if all the comics are hacks who do material for fatigued tourists with ruddy faces and sullen teenage brats. Or do the comics resent this stereotype so much that they will create an equal and opposing force of comics that ... offer amazing rides and attractions the whole family can enjoy?

I don't know, but I do really want to know if we have any single people in the room tonight.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Blogging for Peace in the Middle East

Lebanese and Israeli bloggers are communicating via blogs. From the Wired article:

Recent government crackdowns on blogging in India and China highlight the destabilizing power of the medium; even in the United States, blogging has become nearly synonymous with partisanship and attack politics. Many Beirut bloggers, by contrast, point to the power of blogs as a tool for communication and even reconciliation.

Man, imagine a counterculture for peace spawned from the web. In the Middle East?

It ain't just happening on the blogosphere either. The series of tubes has something to say as well:

So what's my contribution for the online peace movement? One of dem dar super-hip ultra-chic jokes without punchlines of course:

I've come to the conclusion that I won't change the world with my stand-up. My routine will not bring peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. I know I'm gonna sound conceited, but in case I do bring peace to the Israelis and the Palestinians, THAT WOULD BE GREAT IF IT DOES BY THE WAY -- if I do bring peace to them and I am assassinated by some right-wing zealot, THIS PART WILL SOUND REALLY CONCEITED I fear that some people might try to make a religion with me as the central figure for bringing peace to Jerusalem, the holiest place on earth . So, I'm just giving out the memo: I am not the Messiah. When a right-wing zealot shoots me, scream "He's not the Messiah." In fact, shoot the people who would try to make me the Messiah in the first place because we don't need any more religions in the world. So, yeah, oh by the way, yeah I wanted to tell you this -- by the way, only scream that I am not the Messiah if I am assasinated. If I am choking on a mozarella ball, don't scream I am not the messiah.

A person cannot be the Messiah until that person is killed. You can't kill a person by making them choke to death on a mozzarella ball. It doesn't usually work. It's usually followed by an awkward offer of dessert.

Killing somebody by making them choke on a mozzarella ball would be a very motherly way of killing somebody. Or paternal. Fathers cook too.

If I do get assassinated, they might think also think I am the antichrist. Scream I am not the antichrist.

Although Johnny Rotten said he was the Antichrist and it sounded cool ... how about when I am assassinated, you immediately scream "He's not the antichrist and neither is Johnny Rotten!"

But you can only be confused for the Messiah or the antichrist -- heck, you can only be assassinated -- if you are John Lennon famous. I'm afraid there are some people here who want that level of immortality. That's what I had wanted at one point. But there's too much stress with that. I want to be Benjamin Bratt famous.

Benjamin Bratt is from Law & Order, the dashing mestizo detective. He's also on E-Ring. He's NBC's go-to guy.

So anyway, he told this story on Conan one time and he said he said that he went to give a surprise massage to a fan on Oprah. He knocked on the lady's door and said, 'Hi, I'm Benjamin, I'm meant to give you a massage today.'"She had no idea who he was. Her aunt said her niece is a Banjamin Bratt fan just to get a ticket to the show.

So obviously if you are Benjamin Bratt famous, you might not be important enough to bring peace to the Middle East, but no one will ever confuse you for the Messiah, no one will assassinate you, and women will think you're hot.

But I read Benjamin Bratt's celebrity horoscope online, and I do not match his characteristics, which I need for Benjamin Bratt-level recognition, presumably. I do not "maintain dignity or keep my emotional life in check," as his horoscope says he does. So I probably won't be Benjamin Bratt famous and I probably won't get assassinated.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hipsters Hijack Billboard 200

Four albums that are not complete hackneyed mainstream AOR compost are on Billboards's top 200.

Thom Yorke is at #2, Gnarles Barkley at #5, Johnny Cash at #6 and Muse - yes, this Muse

is at #9.

My theory: Danger Mouse made a name for himself with Grey Album and Muse got famous with "Knights of Cydonia" video on YouTube and MySpace. Seems that putting your music online ain't so bad after all.

My First Daily Show Link

Usually I don't link to the Daily Show, but this video is exceptional. John Hodgman sticks up for the corporations and their fight to kick anti-corporate slimeballs.

Couple of interesting things: is interesting because it seems like that was a dig at Time-Warner, Viacom's (owner of Daily Show) biggest competititor in comedy.

On the one hand Time Warner owns Adult Swim which has such alterna-tastic gems as Tom Goes to the Mayor and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. HBO also has Lucky Louie. And they had a show that alternative comedy fans reluctantly admit to watching: Mr. Show.

Viacom has Daily Show, released the CD for Invite Them Up and is developing a cartoon by David Cross and Jon Benjamin. All these are Comedy Central projects. MTV in the early '90's had a sketch show that downtown comedy fans vageuly remember and rarely quote called The State. Oh, and VH-1 has Best Week Ever.

So who's more indie-tastic? Today, Viacom is for that awesome John Hodgman video alone. Maybe if Time-Warner focused less on dude-tastic meathead garbage like Tourgasm, or their upcoming project "Woman-Hating Bad Boy Comics Going on Man-Dates at Sports Authority" they would get my vote.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Comedy 0.0

(courtesy of choirbell)
It seems like the web has revolutionized most art genres except for stand-up. Comics only use it as a promotional tool (Dane Cook, Aziz Ansari). People outside of the comedy circuit have more interesting ways to marry interactivity and comedy. Ze Frank has his fans write his online Friday show.

Well I've worked on an interactive open-source community joke writing project. I asked my readers to help me write a joke. First we all agree on a set-up, then a punchline. The next project is the punchline, but here is the world's first open-source collaborative joke set-up:

What did the barely legal donkey on Cialis say on her sexy webcam with her hot friends?

I know, it's a hacky premise, but the punchline will hopefully be worth the wait. I'd like to thank the readers for their contributions to this noble project. Your tenacity has paid off. I'd like to especially thank sex_inc for insisting on adding "barely legal donkey" to the joke. I felt it was too risque, but I can't think of a better subject for a joke now. Maybe you guys should write all my material from now on.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Satanic Hipster Take on Israeli-Lebanese Conflict

Islamic take on the violence: check

Judeo-Christian perspective: check

Satanic perspective: negative.

(courtesy of Matt Leclair)

There you have it. Satanists: not only black-hearted minions of Hades, but killjoys. These guys are more interested in seeing the overrated band The Rapture than the real thing. Sorry that there are no sorority chicks licking each other or gay New York musicals to keep these horny bastards happy. Sure, watch Nelly Furtado videos and smoke chronic: atta devil! Don't rattle your sabers for a full-fledged holy war.

What do you soul-sucking heathens care about nowadays? Norwegian death metal? Scooters and indie films?

Just as I suspected: satanists are nothing more than a bunch of apathetic hipster vampires who care more about getting their kicks than kicking ass. While the rest of us are hard at work firing missles and blowing ourselves up, these fey beelzesnobs revel in sloth and vanity.

Well enough's enough. Or, as you slovenly ironic metalheads would have it, Enuff Z'nuff. As of tomorrow, us Christians, Jews and Muslims will sit back, smoke out of hookas and forget about setting up for the showdown at the Temple Mount. Seriously, why should we fight each other if we aren't even going to get to fight you? It's like playing an RPG without a final boss: it's teh lamest.

Just remember, if and when you do want to move to the Holy Land, we're going to be hip to your Satanic hipster gentrification scheme. And our religous street gangs will run your satanic slacker asses into the sea for good.

A hell on earth
with no satanists: poetic justice strikes again!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bush Forgets What Microphones Do Again

Perhaps Dubya thinks of microphones as phallic objects and doesn't like to think of them too much because he would feel gay if he did. Either way, he dropped a #2 out of his mouth when talking about Hezbollah "privately" with Tony Blair.

You'd think I like the poetic justice of the world eavesdropping on one of Bush's "private" conversations, but I love the stuffy British anchorwoman saying shit.

courtesy of Sinner's Guide to the Evangelical Right, the blog of an upcoming book from the author of The Hipster Handbook, the book that changed New York forever.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Funny in a Transcendent Way

(courtesy of Jeff Clark)

Bill Burr. He's not too hip to lose the cringe humor fans, not too mookish for the alternative comedy scene (Aziz Ansari invited him to Crash Test). Here's his blog post on Hot Chick bios on MySpace.

Maybe it's a little old, but it seems fresh. Though it has a misogynystic tinge to it, it's the truth. These bios give hot chicks a bad name. I don't doubt there are meatheads who are this dumb too. But two things that turn me off on MySpace are bad HTML design and ditzy bios. Well said, Bill Burr.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Open Letter to Guy Ernest

After being linked to on The Bestest Blog of All Time (my blog is in the funny section), I decided to click on the blog above mine. I ended up on The Meathead Diaries. Here was his post:

This was my response to the post: "I know what you're talking about, but I suspect you don't."

As dumb as this Guy individual seems to be, my foresight proved hideously short-sighted. I inexcusably neglected to foresee the battery of threats that this guy would hurl at me. For instance, Mr. Ernest's constructive criticism.

That wasn't enough; he dedicated a bilious audioblog to yours truly.

Look, I apologize Guy. You are clearly new to the blogosphere. I just bristle when I read jingoistic alpha-male rants that belittle women and nerds. But, this is the Internet. Everyone deserves a voice. I'm sorry Guy. I extend an olive branch to you.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Spiders Get High

This Swiss pharmacologist gave spiders different substances and saw what the results were on their web spinning.

I bet if he gave the spiders ecstasy, they would be spinning records on the web.

Comedy Pal Playing at Rififi

Lucas Held, whom I've linked to before is playing at Rififi tonight.

Check out his hilarious video The Cure.

Not enough? Fine check out his sitcom pitch. It's about abortion (tee-hee).

Lucas Held will be at the Summer Tuesdays show at Rififi (332 E11th st) 8 PM.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Trendy Comics Part II

Dane Cook became famous through Napster and MySpace as well as through touring. At one point, the only person who had more friends than Dane was Tom Anderson - founder of MySpace - who's everybody's friend by default.

Now, he's #14 on the list of daily top comedians. But the burning question remains:

Who - but who - are the trendiest living alternative comics on MySpace?

Assuming we exclude dead comics like Mitch Hedberg (at a very ironic #7) and comedy duos like Tim and Eric (#33), here are the top 5 hippest MySpace alternative comics:

5) Sarah Silverman (#27)
4) Mike Birbiglia (#18)
3) Zach Galifianakis (#15)
2) Demetri Martin (#11)
1) Brian Posehn, the tenth most popular comedian on MySpace.


The only comic from the Google trends top 5 who doesn't have a MySpace page is David Cross. Considering his anti-disestablishmentatrian outlook, it's not hard to see why. But Patton Oswalt has a profile on Rupert Murdoch's restricted sex offender networking mecca. Yet, he didn't even crack the top 100.

Though I'm tempted to say that guys like Cross and Oswalt are too old for MySpace, why is Brian Posehn - who worked with Cross on Mr. Show and who is on Patton Oswalt's top eight - the hippest?

Did you see that video on his profile? Where he rips nu metal a nu asshole?

But, let's see who's in the top five in general:

5) Dave Chapelle
4) Tourgasm (Dane Cook's new nickname)
3) George Lopez
2) Jim Gaffigan (fuckin good for fuckin him itsabouttyme)



Larry the FUCKING Cable Guy

(Nervous) Breakdown:

I feel the Chapelle profile is bullshit; it says he's Christian, but he converted to Islam years ago. The only surprise about Tourgasm is it isn't #1 (or that it beat out Dane Cook). George Lopez is actually a solid traditional comic who tells lively anecdotes. Jim Gaffigan is just a funny sunuvabitch.

Larry the Cable Guy, fuckin, how many friends does he have? 129,405.

Yep, Larry the Cable Guy has over a hundred thousand friends. Let's see what the buzz is all about:

OK, so you couldn't watch the whole thing. Neither could I. Let's look at some of his friend's comments:

i look exactly like u but shorter i way less and i dont have a beard

my hole enitre family loves u an ur everybody in my hole town does to u should try to come here were all southern so u should love us.

THANX 4 poppin outa my berf day cake .. U rock.! ...

Git-R-Done Eh!! Canadian Rednecks luv ya too!

Oh well, so much for the wisdom of crowds.

Moral of the story: fuck trends; fuck the scene; laugh at what you want to laugh at; obey your thirst - drink Sprite - I mean Sierra Mist

UPDATE: They don't list that one page where Dane Cook has over one million friends for whatever reason. Anyway, he's the most popular on MySpace. He's got more friends than Larry the Cable Guy and Carlos Mencia combined.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Top Five Trendiest Alternative Comedians

According to Google Trends, the top five alternative comics are (from least to most searched):

5) Zach Galifianakis
4) Patton Oswalt
3) Demetri Martin
2) David Cross
1) Sarah Silverman


Wait, Mo!! Those are the five you entered! Well, all the other alternative comics I entered (using The Apiary blogroll as a reference) were less popular than Zach Galifianakis (unless you count Dane Cook as an alternative comic, like Spin magazine does).

Zach Galifianakis peaked in late '05, around the time the Comedians of Comedy miniseries was on Comedy Central. Perhaps Patton Oswalt's showcase is effective after all. Though it seems likely that Demetri Martin nabbed the #2 position right after getting his Daily Show gig, he peaked in '04, the same year that his Comedy Central special first aired. Mr. Show veterans David Cross and Sarah Silverman are neck and neck. While Americans love Silverman's complete lack of white liberal guilt, the politically correct Canadians prefer David Cross's insatiable hatred for the American emperor.

For fun (yes, I find flow charts fun), I decided to see how Sarah Silverman stacked up against some of the most popular names in the business. I entered Dane Cook, Larry the Cable Guy, Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock. Here are my findings:

5) Sarah Silverman
4) Chris Rock
3) Larry the Cable Guy
2) Dave Chapelle
1) Dane Cook


Canucks and Aussies love Dave Chappelle (he's in the lead in both countries) while the Dutch and the Brits fancy Chris Rock. Dane Cook and Larry the Cable Guy are only popular in North America. Is it possible that the rest of the world rejects Dane Cook and Larry the Cable Guy for the same reasons they reject Bush: they represent the increasing anti-intellectual fervor growing in the States? Or have they just not hit the big time yet? Who knows? But Sarah Silverman coming in at #5 is no surprise. I suppose they call it alternative comedy for a reason.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sonic the Hedgehog: Buster Keaton of Video Games

(courtesy of foglera)

Mario: Sonic
Chaplin: Keaton

Like Chaplin, Mario has been:

* the first bankable star (Pac Man was popular for a year) of his medium
* the most respected in the art community (witness the hacks, graffiti, sculptures)
* the symbol of the downtrodden (Chaplin as tramp; Mario as plumber).

Most important of all, Mario, like Chaplin, fared far better with the technological upheavals in their respective mediums. Though Buster Keaton was an imporant auteur, acrobat and storyteller, his art suffered heavily during the sound era of cinema.

Sonic became an artistic and comercial failure during the 3-D era. This failure threatens to obscure his importance in the history of video games. Not since Asteroids has a video game emphasized physics like Sonic the Hedgehog has. Hills had irregular slopes; corkscrews added momentum; underwater scenes had a different viscosity than the land scenes.

1Up is celebrating Sonic's birthday. Hopefully, this won't be the last time Sonic's importance is recognized.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Casual Game Fridays

The Escapist has a wonderful article on how simple games are better than the complex MMORPGS and FPS's out there.

For some reason, people have difficulty defining casual games. The Escapist gets it right.

Chess is thought to have been invented in sixth century India. The rules have been tweaked, and it underwent an intense localization process in the middle ages, but for the most part the game has endured for a millennia-and-a-half. I can guarantee World of Warcraft doesn't have that kind of re-playability.

(courtesy of slworking2)
I would add that the difference between a casual game and a hardcore game is a casual game can be played at work behind the boss's back. This excludes online games that require commitment like Second Life and Perplex City and includes handheld games like Brain Age and Nintendogs.

If it lowers productivity, it's a casual game. If it increases (guild) productivity,
it's a hardcore game.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Lester Bangs of Comedy

Renowned rock journalist and Esquire columnist Chuck Klosterman recently lamented the fact that there was no great video game critic along the lines of Lester Bangs.

At least video games have critics. There are no critics that specialize in stand-up comedy. This makes sense if we assume that the reason anyone would read a critic in the first place is for a recommendation. But in this post-user generated review universe, with blogs, fan sites and users acting as unpaid publicists for their favorite bands and movies, do we need critics to tell us what's good?

The reason we need critics is the same reason we need Chuck Klosterman: analysis. When I walk out of a theater, I ask my friend what she thought of the movie. I want her opinion, not a recommendation. Best case scenario, we analyze the movie for two hours at the roadside diner.

I've seen "Saved by the Bell" more than Mario Lopez has, but I still feel like I have to read Chuck Klosterman's essay on it over and over again.

But stand-up is different from TV, right? "Saved" had a laugh track; a comic usually knows when he's done well or not. Plus, what's there to analyze? Funny is funny. Am I right, people?

Simply stating how funny an album is may work with good comedy. But it is as useless as a hot pillow in July when it comes to great comedy. Richard Pryor wasn't only funny; he helped forge black identity in America. Andy Kaufman was more brilliant than funny.

Here's another reason we need critics: they help the industry. "Pearl Harbor" was a box-office smash, but critics lambasted it so much that it was lampooned in "Team America" as a terrible film. For every DVD of "Pearl Harbor" that sells, there's a negative review that Michael Bay is afraid to read.

Comics don't have this balance: if they kill, they kill. If the audience laughs at their hackneyed imitations of relatives and their dull observations of domestic life, that's fine; what comic would change the formula then? Moreover, peers won't say anything. The more daring comic who gets a lackluster response has no high ground from which he can tell the hack how to develop his craft.

This is not only the case with club comedy. Even alternative comedy showcases are getting alterna-hacks that reference '80's pop culture and shove their half-baked improv ideas onstage. But they've already won by appearing at Giant Tuesday. Getting mentioned in The Apiary is good enough.

What's wrong with just ignoring bad comics? Shouldn't the lack of recognition be enough? No; critical recognition is exactly what comics need. Both good and bad recognition. When good comics deteriorate and bad ones improve, who notices? If an alterna-hack gets a mention in Spin Magazine and sells out every night he plays at the UCB theater, why should he ever improve: he's clearly arrived. So when the next comedy album flops and Spin Magazine recommends the new imrov genius from New Zealand who has a hit one-man play about biotech and doo-wop music, what is the poor alterna-hack to do? What if he makes a wonderful album? Who will recommend him then? The fans have forgotten him; the cabarets have shut him out. How does he reclaim the fickle audience?

That's the critic's job. Without critics, Buster Keaton's legacy would have been diminished. "The General" would have been remembered as an expensive box office flop. Without Lester Bangs, garage rock albums would have never been hot collectors' items. What's also important to remember is that film and rock critics have preserved Keaton's legacy and garage rock's integrity respectively. Comedy album reviews exist of course. Pitchfork gave David Cross's two Sub Pop albums harsh reviews.Yet he's the only comic who is worthy of a Pitchfork critic's attention.

Of course Pitchfork is not responsible for covering alternative comedy. We read Pitchfork to see if the number of words in the latest buzz band's name is higher than the rating it gets. And Pitchfork, more than mp3 blogs, MySpace pages, Amazon reviews or fan forums, are the tastemakers in indie rock. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah got where they are with Pitchfork's help. Who's the Alec Ounsworth of alternative comedy?

So we don't only look to user generated reviews, then. We need comedy critics for the industry and the fans. Hell, we just need more good critics.

UPDATE: Punchline Magazine and Cringe Humor have reviews of comedy albums. The most negative review I found was on Cringe Humor. It was a review for Mitch Fatel's Miniskirts and Muffins, which got a cringe-inducing 4 out of 5.

Hopefully, no one considers this serious criticism.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

How Punk Rock Became a Thirty Year Old Creep That Lures Teens on MySpace

(courtesy of status 6)

Gabba Gabba Hey!

Those were punk's infantile utterings. Punk was an amalgam of art and rock. Art rock without the classical pretension, if you will. Art rock that artists actually liked.

In the '80's, punk was still scabrous, but even then, skeptics (including Johnny Rotten/Lydon) declared punk rock dead and created postpunk, which is enjoying a resurgence.

Man, were they ahead of their time! Indie record stores mainly sell prog-rock and folk music now just to scare away annoying skate punks that shop at Hot Topic and play Tony Hawk.

What? Hot Topic? Tony Hawk? How did punk become a thirty-year old creep that preys on teens on MySpace?

For better or worse, with the advent of Nirvana, punk left its circle of theory geeks and slept with the football team by age fifteen. Those cheerleaders in the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video were metaphors for punk's newfound Ms. Popular status after it won its catfight with pop music. Popular punk reached its peak at age 18, when Green Day released"Dookie."

But in 1997, punk felt less sexy. Hip-hop, techno and pop - yes, pop came back from that catfight with a vengeance - were all the rage. Indeed, every music publication eagerly awaited the death of rock.

Nobody loves you when you're twenty three

Funny that this is the chorus to a Blink 182 song that was on the radio the very same year punk turned 23.

Was this the problem with punk? The underground and the mainstream
were abandoning it? If so, Blink 182 took it to the senior prom.

Now, punk rock is the soundtrack to high school comedies, bad skating videos and annoying teenyboppers cruising around the suburbs. Now punk rock is a bloated creep that leers at hot teenagers online.

Only it needs a screen name: emo. It wears black granny glasses and cuts itself when no one is looking at the food court.

Will punk ever come back? Punk never went anywhere - it just aged horribly. Which is sad because we need the vitriol and energy of punk more than ever. Green Day's "American Idiot" proved to be a flash in the pan; "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" was many things, but it definitely wasn't punk.

courtesy of adamgilhespy

Even those who age horribly look sexy on the right night in the right light with the right clothes. Tonight, The Futureheads are playing the Motherfucker party. Tonight, punk will stop lurking online and start living it up in Manhattan with its old friends: the theory geeks, the art fags, the weirdos.

Ironic that The Futureheads are the surprise band because it's as if this were a surprise birthday party for punk rock.

Happy thirtieth birthday punk rock. Now move out of the basement and stop hanging out with the wrong crowd.