Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cell Phones Police Comedy Racism in Exchange for Brain Tumors

There was a time when you could go to a comedy club and hear dead Asian baby jokes while eating chicken a la king. According to Variety, cell phones are eroding privacy everywhere, including comedy clubs.

The emergence of viral video means that what happens in the club no longer stays in the club. "Now they even have a camera you put in your hat or at the top of your purse," says Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada, who says he met with civil rights leaders in the days after Richards' appearance and talked them out of marching on his club...The viral phenomenon may be harmful to live comedy, he fears.

In a Hollywood Reporter article on the smarter, edgier comic sensibility that has emerged, Judd Apatow voices similar concerns.

"I'd hate to think that people are holding back over fear that something they say onstage will wind up being fodder for controversy on the Internet," he says. "I mean, imagine if someone with a cell phone had always been there recording the Rat Pack back in the day. Can you envision what that might have done to Dean (Martin) and Frank (Sinatra), to have every conversation with a gangster or drunken rant uploaded somewhere?"

If they talked about whites, blacks and latinos uniting like wonder twins to commit hate crimes against Middle Easterners, they would have had their own Comedy Central show.

Now that's what I call a cell phone.

Love That Name

Mo Rocca has a blog. Show him some love.


These are the horoscopes that express what everyone says about people born under your Zodiac sign, but only I have the balls to say it. So swallow this!

PISCES (FEB.19-MAR.20): A Pisces is a pretentious know-it-all (complete opposite of Cancer). "Pisces" is Latin for fishes? You don't say. Next thing you know, there will be a movie opening Friday called Zodiac with a sober Robert Downey Jr.

ARIES (MAR.21-APR.19):
You're good at business, or something. Street business that is; by 32, you'll end up a small-time hoodrat selling bootleg DVDs at Kennedy Fried Chicken. In fairness, I've never seen Dunston Checks In...

First of all you're white so stop acting black. Second of all, it's just not cool for you to say the "n" word. Even if you put the word "sand" in front of it. This doesn't mean you can be a Japanese wannabe either. Wait, how long did it take you to draw that manga of me writing this?

GEMINI (MAY21-JUNE20): OK, you are many things: smart, attractive, affluent. But you are not funny. Neither are the film comedies that come out around your birthday. I'm telling you this so you relax. You don't have to tell that corny joke about how Gemini means "twins" and you're the evil one.

CANCER (JUNE21-JULY22): You're a dumb anti-Semite who has trouble following "The Office." Why does it have a single camera? Why do you have a single brain cell?

We get it: you know all the celebrities. The child actor who played the lead in Dunston Checks In, the Palestinian in Godard's Weekend, the buxom vixen who played Jabba the Slut in Star Whores. No I don't have a problem with you littering the Beverly Hills Spago with your screenplay about roller skating Chicano gang members who read Flaubert in summer school.

VIRGO (AUG23-SEPT22): I have bad news...well good news for're infertile. Not even that blond bitch from "Lost" can save your sorry ass. Hey, bright side is you can have sex without weari- er...yeah, actually no one is surprised to know you're a virgin. I don't know what gives it away, but comparing lovemaking to making a meat lover's pizza doesn't help.

LIBRA (SEPT23-OCT22): Enough about Jesus already. That's all.

You're nice to people, pleasant, warm, funny, and that infectious laugh-ooh, I could just eat you. Too bad those declassified documents came out and we know about your Special Ops scandal back in 1995. How could you set fire to that Bosnian deli? Monster!

SAGITTARIUS (NOV22-DEC21): Sags are not known for their artistic ability. So stop making that ASCII drawing of the number 1. Seriously, Sagittarians have no artistic ability. Not even an anti-art ability. You would even fuck up a found art project. That urinal you picked up last Saturday; it's been done before. And those soup cans, nevermind.

CAPRICORN (DEC22-JAN19): You're getting a Christmas gift and that's it. Fucking brat.

AQUARIUS (JAN.20-FEB.18): Aquarians are intelligent, beautiful, sexy, deep thinkers who are creative, funny, warm, compassionate leaders? Not convinced: get ready to bite the big one.


Hey Online Media Divisions for Corporate Megaliths...

Fire your IT departments. MTV, your site takes so long to load, I refuse to link to it. Same goes for you, National Lampoon's Toga TV. Why would I ever visit such a shite? Because Hollywood Reporter discussed "some other corners of the Internet's ongoing funny fest." Here are the other corners:

Super Deluxe
Tim and Eric
A Week of Kindness

Mysteriously, those sites do not make my browser crash. But the more your site appeals to meatheads (MTV, National Lampoon's) the more time it takes to load (The Meathead Time Ratio). I do not know if I like Toga TV or not; the videos never loaded. But I did catch an Axe body spray ad. Perfectly targetted for the meathead demographic.

Shoot, it's like your online division is run by slow-witted meatheads who sing folk songs about vagina and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Aspen: The Hollywood Reporter Breakdown

If I'm not there, I'm not gonna report on it. Nyaaah!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Something Smells Funny...

and it's not that headline.

Remembrance of Videos Past #39: Menudo, "You Got Potential"

Sure this video might seem like a gay pedophile's wet dream but this might be the most honest love song in recorded history. Most songs go for the standard love at first sight trope; "You Got Potential" has a more sober, rational approach.

Girl, you got potential
To be in my heart, this could be a start
Girl, you got potential
That's waiting to be uncovered by me

Very cautious. He's not sure if he loves her but he might. Potentially. Maybe up close she has mouth herpes or a thin moustache.

Whenever I see this video, I remember Nintendo Power and Steampipe Alley. The vocalist here - Angelo - must've been about 12. I was also 12 when this song came out in the US (1988). Though back then I envied his mackitude, he's the one who has to look back at that spullet and cringe.

Things to watch/listen for in the video:

A Nordictrac dance move at 1:21
A high five dance that would make Jesse Thorn cry with joy at 1:44
Twin guitar leads at 3:29

Enough lollygagging: let's get this 8th grade Pizza Party Dance started!

More and More Comedians Quit Day Jobs

According to WaPo, there is indeed another comedy boom. But this time, comedy is not merely a stepping stone to a career in Hollywood. Indeed, many people are seeing stand-up as a career in itself.

Mecurio, with two Emmy awards for his work on "The Daily Show," is among the growing ranks of Americans turning to comedy for a more satisfying career or extra cash, says Tom Sobel, president of TSM Artists, an agency that books comics.

I was kidding about that whole yuppie comedy scene article I wrote, but beyond the influx of yuppies into comedy, more companies are incorporating comedic seminars into their training.

A successful comedian has many of the attributes that are essential to climbing the corporate ladder -- ease with speaking in public, strong interpersonal skills and intuitive knowledge of how to put an audience at ease with a laugh. Companies are incorporating comedy into training.

So that's why I don't have a full-time job Maybe this stems from my unfortunate dalliance with LSD in college, but I would find tragedy training an easier way to get laughs than comedy training.

So let's look the latest quarterly report. We've lost more sales in July than Poland has lost troops in Iraq. Now there's a reason this pie graph looks like the ambiguous genitalia of an aborted foetus...

Mundane Dream Journal: Bill Clinton Garage Sale

After watching The Science of Sleep on DVD, I marvelled at how much surrealism my dreams lacked. In this column I hope to reach out to people with similarly ordinary dreams.

I had this dream that I was at a garage sale and I was ruminating about how many great things happened during the Clinton era. So I have the repressed desire to find bargains and remember the '90s fondly.

One dollar for the Thigh Master. That's my final offer.

Nothing Funny About Comedy: Funny Films are Starting to Fizzle

This section is where I give serious essays on comedy.

Comedy Central will begin to broadcast its web shorts on television in a late-night series called "Web Shows." Between the success of "The Office" on iTunes, TBS's Super Deluxe and this, television is adapting very well to the Web revolution. How are comedy films doing?

In the LA Times, Neal Gabler writes:

Today, movies just don't seem to matter in the same way — not to the general public and not to the high culture either, where a Pauline Kael review in the New Yorker could once ignite an intellectual firestorm. There aren't any firestorms now, and there is no director who seems to have his finger on the national pulse the way that Steven Spielberg or George Lucas did in the 1970s and 1980s. People don't talk about movies the way they once did. It would seem absurd to say, as Kael once did, that she knew whether she would like someone by the films he or she liked. Once at the center, movies increasingly sit on the cultural margins.

This is definitely true about comedic cinema. Last week's box office sent a very strange message to film comedians: straight-up comedies like Reno 911!: Miami will place at #4 whereas horror movies with a (typically) comedic lead will have the highest debut of the week.

The lack of buzz is even more obvious when we look at last year's domestic grosses: the highest-ranked adult live-action comedy was Talladega Nights at number 12. Funny as it was, it did not crack the top ten and, compared to the watercooler buzz over Crying Wrestling Fan or even the latest episode of "The Office," Talladega Nights provoked less idle chatter. The most buzzed-about comedy of last year - Borat - was surpassed only by its own guerilla promotional campaign, which was far more interesting than the film itself (no scene in Borat will top his march to the White House gates to speak to the President of Kazakhstan - a publicity stunt that was all over the Web).

So how can Hollywood catch up? By going digital. As someone who aspired to be a motion picture director from 1997 to 2002, I certainly agree that film is the most beautiful visual medium available. But if the '70s was the "Me Decade," this is the "Me, Myself and I" decade, with more and more brats uploading their own comedic shows and sketches onto YouTube. If Hollywood were to go digital, some interesting scenarios might open up.

Let's say a movie house has a theater open from 12 AM to 1:30 AM for an amateur comedy (an Olde English film, say) that has gotten the most buzz at a Channel 101-style contest (one for amateur movies instead of shows). One theater might mean nothing, but what if it's the UA theater in Union Square and all the bloggers are buzzing about it? It might not go into wide release, but limited release would be a possibility. Considering the budget for a cheap digital film, the movie could be very profitable for the filmakers, the theaters and the distribution companies. After the successful digital indie debut, perhaps Olde English could ink a deal with Warner Brothers and make a more professional studio film. This would be one way that film and web could have better synergy.

This scenario has a factor that was vital to Hollywood fifty years ago and is all but dead in Tinseltown today: word of mouth. There was a time when a Pauline Kael review would have people talking. The promotional blitz has replaced word of mouth. The other day, I encountered a talking Norbit ad at the Parkside men's room. One more Pabst Blue Ribbon and I would have ripped it off the wall and thrown in the toilet (there's a time and a place to hear Eddie Murphy sing a Pussycat Dolls song).

Studios fear that switching from film to digital will make piracy easier. Parodoxically, piracy should be the least of Hollywood's worries. At least piracy indicates that people still want to watch movies.

Friday, February 23, 2007

GoogleBomb Project: Let's Make Googling Google Fun

Many comedians have said "Gee I wonder if you Google Google would the Internet explode?" If enough people attach this link to the word Google then this message will come up if you hit the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button on Google. So let's make Google history!

Tim and Eric Interview in the Gothamist

So under what conditions would you love then? Tim: If it grants us success, or money.

Eric: Or web hits.

Tim: Well, that’s just another way of saying current of money. I should just say currency. We define currency in terms of web hits, mostly, but also in credits. Like online credits.

Eric: For an example, my biggest Valentine’s would be a call from our Webmaster saying, “You got around 600 unique visits to your site today.” That’s huge.

See why I keep asking you if you've read my blog, honey (I'm addressing my girlfriend, although truthfully I am in love with all of you who read my blog. This one's for you)

Stand-Up Comedy is Sooo 1930s

In the '20s, comedians were in vaudeville shows where they certainly were not the center of attention. But in the '30s comedians slowly began to take center stage. Fucking duh; it was the Depression and people were tired of all that ballyhoo. Audiences didn't want to waste their money on anything but liquor and laughs. Hardnosed drunks barked out orders like "Tell the ball juggler and the fire eater to dangle! Either I get some laughs or I dry gulch the bartender!"

It was cheaper to have a stand-up show than a vaudeville show. Speakeasies were closing and bars were reopening. So the whole idea of talking into a microphone at a cheap bar in Manhattan to make people laugh seems like such a quaint 1930s goal. Here are the lyrics to a musical number I wrote about the birth of stand-up in the Depression bar scene. ('30s slang dictionary optional)

Get out your muggles, forget your troubles
Have a laugh on me!
Pretty tomato, I know you can't say no
Have a laugh on me!
I hope you don't think I'm tightening the screws
I just want you to yuk it up and booze
Hang up your hat, forget that juggling act
and have a laaaaugh oooon meeee!

Imagine Dane Cook doing comedy in the '30s?

You guys remember the Kool Aid Man? No? Well how about Burger King? No? Dude! Why do people say "cheese" when they take a picture?

-It's a wise head way to say "Smile!" Now stop moving your pan like a bunny before I send you to the meat wagon!

What the MySpace Porno Spam Ladies Play When I Don't Add Them

You'll Land on Your Feet, Pussycat

Thursday, February 22, 2007

YouTube Destroys Movies?

Not sure I agree with everything Ray DeRousse says here, but I definitely agree that a lot of what passes for comedy - nee, interesting - on YouTube is pure, unfermented shite. Especially Lonelygirl 15. Sorry, but I don't get why she gets all the acclaim. Call me wacky, but I feel weird watching a 17 year old in a bikini giggling.

All this time I felt guilty that I have yet to make a YouTube comedy video but after reading that blog post I'm proud of myself. Here are some ideas I had for comedy videos that I rightfully decided against sharing with the YouTubers:

Blogger Madness
A spoof of Reefer Madness except people are addicted to blogging. The "blog addicts" are supposed to talk in '30s slang ("Can it before I bust up your gams with my pea shooter.")

20 CC's of Bounty
One night at a party someone spills a drink. Mo says "We need 20 CC's of bounty stat!" People laugh. He keeps repeating the joke everytime someone spills something until his friends shoot him. Paramedics come and ask the friends for 20 CC's of Bounty stat. That's when the friends realize that the 20 CC's request was not a joke; Mo's parents were doctors and he picked up this basic medical procedure from age 8. So out of guilt the friends become Bounty Paramedics, giving 20 CC's of bounty to those in need (people with colds, a dude who's masturbating, Phyllis Diller's colostomy bag)


Tired of leaving mousy comments on message boards? Drink CAPS LOCK BEER and tell the Internet how you really feel!

PS3 SUX!!!!


Apiary Interviews Judah Friedlander

I hate admitting this, but this interview made me more interested in Judah.

Carson Daly vs. Jimmy Fallon: Who is Worthy of the Late Night Throne?

Truthfully I was skeptical of Conan as a replacement for Letterman. But he was a comedy writer. Daly and Fallon are very familiar faces, neither of them known for their writing. Which one will suck less as Late Night host?


Has more late nite hosting experience. Waay more.
Got a blowjob from Christina Aguilera, according to Eminem.

His only comedy experience is explaining karma to Earl on "My Name is Earl."
These are the quotes he'll be remembered for.


Pros: More comedy experience (that Barry Gibb Talk Show is by far his greatest legacy)

Big backer of Mo Pitkin's

Cons: Laughs at his own jokes
He was in Taxi, which might have set the worst date I've ever been on in motion

So I guess I reluctantly crown Jimmy Fallon the winner because he's funnier and supports the comedy scene. One thing's for sure: Jimmy Kimmel is going to destroy the late night competition.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

LXTV Interview With David Cross

Family Shatters?

In this Hollywood Reporter article discussing comedy trends, here's one that's out: ABC family sitcoms.

"There are more workplace and family comedies this year," says Susan Levison, Fox senior vp comedy development.

That probably has a lot to do with the success of NBC's "The Office" and the lack of hit family comedies on the air with ABC's "According to Jim" and "George Lopez" nearing their end.

So what does ABC have prepared for series pick-up time in May?

American Family
Prod. Co.: Sony Pictures Television
Prod. Team: Jay Scherick (writer), David Ron (writer), John Fortenberry (director)
Family attempts to maintain appearances for the neighbors despite the chaos and challenges of 21st century family life (single-camera)

Family of the Year
Prod. Co.: 20th Century Fox Television
Prod. Team: Erica Rivinoja (writer), Pam Brady (writer), Michael Lehmann (director)
Revolves around 10-time family of the year winner the Holloways of Tatum, N.M. (single-camera)

The Middle
Prod. Co.: Warner Bros. Television
Prod. Team: Eileen Heisler (writer), DeAnn Heline (writer), Chris Koch (director)
Middle-class Midwestern family show told through the eyes of the mother (single-camera)

Talk about scoffing at the face of trends. I can't help but imagine Samie Falvey, ABC senior vp of comedy development, as one of those matriarchs that wants to do everything as a family. "You get off that computer machine this instant! We are going to watch TV as a family!" She can't even fathom that single people watch TV. "Only ornery men in trenchcoats watch TV by themselves!"

Here are some pitches I have for ABC, the only network that still believes in happy family comedies.

The Bin Ladens
Prod. Co.: Tim Warner Bros. Television
Prod. Team: RG Daniels (writer), Mo Diggs (writer), Francis Ford Coppola (director)
Bin Laden's been in hiding for over five years. You would too if you had a mother like his! (single-camera)

Dylan and Dylan
Prod. Co.: Maddog TV
Prod. Team: Lew Comacho(writer), Bethann Dwyrfwyr (writer), Sylvester Stallone (director)
Bob Dylan and Jake Dylan are a crime fighting father and son duo. Bob has the astonishing power to go electric. Jake is invisible. This rollicking comedy will leave you laughing in the wind! (single-camera)

What Do You Mean I Can't Hold the Cue Cards?

The Smarmy Indie Rock Douchedrop Family
Prod. Co.: Something Non-Corporate and Indie as Fuck
Prod. Team: Some Alternative Comedian You've Never Heard Of (writer), Me (writer), Mom and Dad (Producers)
A Park Slope family feeds healthy food to its kids, plays indie rock to its kids and borrows money from its kids. The kids rebel by playing Nickelback on their iPods and pitching their life story to ABC via their Mac Notebooks (single-camera)

On a Personal Note: Things I Do When I'm Sick

1) Stop smoking cigarettes for the duration of my cold and promise that I'll quit smoking (akin to the Over-the-Toilet-Sobriety-Oath)
2) Cough like James Brown (*cough*HA!). Brings a whole new meaning to soul coughing.
3) Act out Edward G. Robinson's final words in Little Caesar

Is this the end of Rico?

4) Get mad when I laugh at funny things on the Internet because the laughter sets off a chain reaction of coughing. *cough*HAHAHA!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bitergate: Redban Preparing More Evidence of Mencia Joke Theft

via Dead Frog:

I might not be on the fence for long. The original video's author, Redban, tells me he's working on another video which will show Mencia up against multiple earlier comics. Part of that might be Mencia's HBO HalfHour Comedy Hour, which is up on YouTube. That's the video where George Lopez claimed to have found 13 minutes of stolen material from his own act. And it's only a 28 minute video. If something's been lifted, you wouldn't have to throw a large rock to find it.

This might be the smoking pun gun that convinces Todd Jackson.

Rembrance of Videos Past #38: L7, "Pretend That We're Dead"

Don't ask me why, but all I imagine when I see this video is Janeane Garofalo nodding in sympathy.

Too feminine for Middle American grunge fans, too heavy for the college crowd, L7 had a very small following. Most people probably remember Beavis and Butthead making fun of them.

But they also mocked Flaming Lips and Ween. Their whole schtick was making fart jokes and ripping (get it?) on good bands.

The only thing better than the monster riff is the fashion. In the early '90s, every girl wore a stocking cap. When my girlfriend wore one on Saturday, it took me back to the halcyon days of grunge. Of course there's plenty of flannel in this video as well.

But even a deaf crack baby can tell you that music videos are nothing without great music. Despite the fact that all these postgrunge jackholes like Nickelback are ripping off Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam, the female grunge canon is left unscathed. Never thought I would see the day when I say that L7 has aged better than Pearl Jam. What a funny, unpretentious chorus ("When we pretend that we're dead/They can't hear a word we've said").

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like the '90s was full of hard rockin' women. Nowadays we live in the age of the hipster chanteuse (Regina Spektor, Joanna Newsom). Nico is patting her own back in the grave while Janeane Garofalo is watching the blurry black and white footage in this video and tapping her Chuck Taylors.

BONUS: Easily the best song off of "Nevermind." Happy birthday, Kurt.

Hey Studio 60...

I know I gave you the Jim Belushi Award for Least Funny Show of '06 but that was '06, before that unintentionally hilarious Matthew Perry-as-speed-freak subplot. You can't stop now; I'm starting to like S60. It's like every episode is an entry in Aaron Sorkin's rehab journal. Every other minute there's a drug reference. "Fridays" and "That '70s Show" had less drug references.

Here's what you need to do to change Studio 60 before it gets confiscated by the cops cancelled by NBS:

Change the Title: I think "Matthew Perry: Speed Freak" would get more eyeballs, but "Studio 60 on the Cocaine Drip" would probably make a smoother transition.

Replace the Theme Song with a Bong Hit: Worked for Cypress Hill and Black Sabbath as an intro to their songs.

Have the Staff Talk About Writers, Artists, Philosphers Who Did Drugs:

Jittery Staff Member #1: Didn't Picasso smoke hasish?
JSM#2: No, he did absinthe.
JSM#1: So he couldn't have done both?
JSM#2: Only Fatty Arbuckle and Captain Beefheart did both.
Heartless Suit: He didn't make big bucks!
JSM#1: Jesus sucks. You got a spoon I can borrow?

Next Week on "What Were They Smoking?"...

Write Wacky Sketch Titles About Drugs Without Showing Sketches: "Speed, Schmeed," "Crazy Crackheads," "Dopamine Girl;" the possibilities are endless (but supplies aren't).

Have Tokin' Black CharacterDL Hughley Talk About How Brothers Love Them Some Weed: Just play around with the intro to Friday. "It's Friday and you know I need to smoke. And you know this, maaan."

Give Viewers a Five Minute "Smoke Break" Intermission Before Musical Acts Come On: There's only one way to appreciate Eagle Eye Cherry and Sting.

Never Stop Focusing on Matthew Perry: Just give him a bottle of speed, a backwards baseball cap and a pogo stick. Then let 'er rip.

Bobby Tisdale's New Online Show, "Bobby's Beautiful Bed and Breakfast"

Bobby Tisdale said it best:

What do you think of the term alternative comedy?

I have to get used to it. I don't really like it. It's a word I have to like because I'm technically doing it. I like the word experimental more. I'd rather call it good original comedy. It should be original and not alternative.

If this isn't good, original comedy, go back to eBaum's World.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sarcasting #2

My friend and mentor RG Daniels has a new Sarcasting video up. Highlight: the Thank You NHL rant.

On a Personal Note: My Creepiest Karaoke Performance Ever

In this segment I tell humorous personal anecdotes not related to alternative comedy celebrities. If you hate personal blog posts, skip this; there's plenty of non-personal stuff on this blog as well.

I'm an atheist but after doing karaoke Saturday night at the Village Ma I learned to always heed that timeless maxim from the Bible:

Judge not lest ye be judged.

This tall blond guy in a black Oxford shirt named Eddie got on the karaoke stage and sang "You Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" to a random girl, Top Gun-style. All I could think was "What a creep."

It was my turn to get up. After drinking seven Stellas, I was ready to save karaoke night with a blistering rendition of "Born to be Wild." Only thing was, the place was dimly lit so I read 67-03 as 87-03 and put the latter on my karaoke ticket. So my "choice" when I got onstage was "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." At first I started singing it. After an understandably lackluster response, I explained to the audience that I accidentally picked the song. They started laughing, so I tried to toss out some funny ad libs during the song. One of them was a "clever" pun:

Santa Claus is coming to town. You know what I'm talking about right guys?

I proceeded to sit on the stool and pretend do finger my fictional vagina. Most people do air guitar at karaoke; I was doing air beaver baiting. I thought I did a great job but my girlfriend told me I was cut off from alcohol because I was acting weird. Instead of acknowledging her sagely counsel, I yelled at her for calling me a creep. I mean what's so creepy about an overweight Egyptian man from Long Island pretending to be Santa Claus in February while simulating female masturbation?

And here I was calling Top Gun Eddie a creep. He was coming on to a girl; I was pretending to come like a girl. So it bears repeating: judge not lest ye be judged. Oh and if your lover says you should stop drinking because you're acting weird, shut up and listen.

Comedy That Leaves You in Niches

Variety writer Brian Lowry wonders if the fragmentation of the TV audience into all these little niches means there will be no more hit comedies.

Why aren't good comedies attracting bigger crowds? The culprits are many, but some of the blame doubtless lies in the intensely personal nature of what people find funny, transforming TV into an embarrassment of niches...while a few hourlong programs that bill themselves as comedies have developed sizable followings -- specifically, ABC's "Desperate Housewives" and "Ugly Betty" -- there are no half-hours drawing anywhere near the tune-in amassed by the dramas "Grey's Anatomy" and "CSI" or reality shows like "American Idol" and "Dancing With the Stars."

There are many choices for intelligent, personal comedy on the air as well as online. But the Internet seems to have the opposite problem; while TV mostly has hit dramas, viral videos are typically humorous and rarely melodramatic.

Bad news for comedy buffs: Most good comedians write for TV (Demetri Martin, Jon Glaser). If TV execs greenlight less comedies, there'll be less writing jobs for comedians. Which is bad because many comedians who do free shows at the UCB or the PIT have TV writing gigs to pay the bills. Hopefully the suits will adapt to the new Long Tail economy by launching incredible online channels (like Turner did with Super Deluxe) but TV is a hit-driven business.

Good news for Hollywood execs: Movies might well be the one medium not affected by niche markets and audience fragmentation. Thus the most half-assed farce will go into production because there are at most four other choices for comedies in the theaters at any given time. This makes the movie theater the worst possible place for comedy nerds like me. The Internet has Homestar Runner; TV has Tim and Eric; there are no movie comedies in the theaters I want to see. I have to wait until Friday to see a funny film that looks even slightly interesting.

Jen Kirkman's New Album is Amazing

Those of you who do not live in LA: please get Jen Kirkman's new album Self Help. It is incredible. Kirkman is so in tune with who she is, she cannot fit into any genre. She discusses her own worst fears (zombies, planes) with intense trepidation; she doesn't play it for laughs she simply bares her soul. Here's a clip of her comedy from Effinfunny.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bitergate: Joe Rogan Asked Not to Return to Comedy Store

Todd Jackson at Dead Frog writes:

According to his blog, Joe Rogan has been asked by management of the Comedy Store to "take a break" from the club, which he is taking to mean an outright ban from performing there again. He takes great pains to emphasize that he doesn't believe this is club owner Mitzi Shore's doing, but rather that of her children, including Pauly Shore, who are increasingly taking over the business as her health fades. Carlos Mencia, on the other hand, will be playing the club on Saturday the 17th.

Hippie Humor

Newsweek takes a look at the baby boomer sense of humor. All good and nice, but I do worry that people will look back at this generation and judge it by its most popular comics (Carlos Mencia, Larry the Cable Guy and Dane Cook), concluding that it was a dim-witted, racist generation with nothing to say. Of course they would be right, I just hate when journalists tell the truth.

Bitergate: The History of Joke Thieves

Joe Rogan's recent outing of Mencia on stage as a joke thief has the whole comedy world buzzing. It's like the Watergate of comedy. I call it Bitergate. Of course Mencia was not the first to steal. Radar has an article on the history of joke thieves (via Cracked). One of the most notorious is Robin Williams.

"I've been in clubs in L.A. where Robin'll walk in the room and whoever's on stage will just get off," says Boston comedian Kevin Knox. Ritch Shydner, a former Improv regular and coauthor of the book I Killed: True Stories of the Road From America's Top Comics, agrees. "Robin is a ferocious performer," he says, "but he isn't the kind who can generate material, material, material. His style is to watch people and regurgitate what he sees."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

On a Personal Note: My First Non-Single Valentine's Day

Today is Tara's first non-single Valentine's day with her lover. It's also my first with Amy. Of course with my luck it snows. It's like Cupid is up there saying "Man, I accidentally shot that girl so that she liked Mo Diggs instead of Joe Briggs."

So now the snow's my punishment; it's meant to keep people inside so I have no more arrow manslaughters."

Bitergate: Rogan Calls Mencia Out

Joe Rogan confronts the Shins fan about his joke stealing ways.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Depression: A Disease to be Eliminated or a Better Way to Get Attention Than Being Funny?

Why do we love that Cymbalta song so much?

Simply put, we do not want to get rid of depression. According to an article in the LA Times, depression is an evolutionary trait, not something to get rid of. (via Digg)

Thomson based his approach on the idea that depression is not simply a disease to be eliminated, but a way of eliciting support from family and friends.

So sleeping a lot and acting despondent seems to be an easier method for getting attention than telling jokes. Jokes require a set-up and a punchline. A suicide note or a sad poem doesn't. Indeed, your efforts would be futile and creepy if you took the time to use a set-up/punchline structure.

More women threaten suicide but more men actually do it. I commit suicide like a girl.

Here's my impression of William Howard Taft (lay dead).

(on top of the Golden Gate bridge) Wanna see my new dance for that Kriss Kross song "Jump, Jump?"

Bill Hicks at the Laff Stop

Third Evolution has footage of Bill Hicks at The Laff Stop in 1993.

Here's Part I.

What Song is Ringing in the Mind of Mencia?

Carlos Mencia, for those of you who don't know, is a mean-spirited, soulless joke-stealing hack that brings a bad name to club comedy. Here's a taste.

So what does this screamer listen to? According to his MySpace blog, he's a Shins fan. I didn't know that. Huh. What a clash of sensibilities: hateful, bilious ranting and pretty, jangly pop songs. Perhaps he'll steal their material too (Martin Crandall is pretty funny).

Monday, February 12, 2007

Pop Comedy Hits

Robert Lloyd of the LA Times compared comedy to pop music in his recent article on Adult Swim.

Of all the arts, comedy is the closest to pop music; perhaps because the new wave is always defined by the young, eager to separate itself from what came before and to own what comes next.

So what are the pop comedy hits? Dude romances with male lead characters who are afraid to grow up (i.e., The Break-Up) do great at the box office. So do "mom-edys" like Monster-in-Law. Other hit comedy genres include the Unironic Racist Comedy (Norbit, which was #1 at the box office, has Eddie Murphy dress up like a Chinaman and make fun of him; Carlos Mencia, who is one of the top comedians on MySpace, once told Dre and Snoop that he was gonna tell nigger jokes; a few people in Dre's posse pulled guns on Mencia) and MySpace comedy (David Lehre's MySpace movie made him and his website so popular he has his own Fox TV show). And of course, absurd cartoons like "Aqua Teen Hunger Force."

This means I have the formula for a hit comedy: a movie about a racist slacker dude who hooks up with a MILF on MySpace. He must save her from a talking falafel with superpowers. It's called May-December Romance on MySpace: P.S. Muslims Suck

Here's a sample of the script:

Racist dude: Dude, wanna shoot a goat?
MILF: Uh, no thanks?
Racist dude: Not even while a Muslim's fucking it?
MILF: No thanks.
RD: OK, well how about you come with me and while you check your MySpace on your Helio non-phone, I shoot a Muslim and the goat he's fucking?
(cut to couple outside of Muslim goat fucker's hotel room)
RD: Dude, that's sick. Let me shoot the goat. (fires) Bullseye.
MILF: Wait, let me shoot the Arab. (fires)Wow, that was awesome. Just like Camus's The Stranger. I feel so...
RD: Alive?
MILF: Yes (they kiss)
SuperFalafel: (shoots Electric Hummus Bolts at them)

(Full disclosure: I am an Arab-American who was raised Muslim [though is now an atheist]) and despite the fact that I find the following treatment stupid, I fear it would actually be a hit blockbuster).

Friday, February 09, 2007

David Spade: Engorged Tick?

Sammy Ray (the man who designed the logo for this blog) renewed his old website The Rec. In it he makes an analogy between giving a crack-addicted friend rock and Adam Sandler giving David Spade movie roles. Though I do not feel as much hostility towards Spade, this post is hilarious.

The Web Cares More about Star Wars Than Africa? Blame Bono.

The only reason I consistently check Pitchfork is to read Chris Dahlen's excellent "Get That out of Your Mouth" column. Today, he looks at why Web 2.0 cares more about Star Wars than Africa.

I blame Bono. Just like hippies gave protests the stigma of patchouli oil and hacky sacks, whenever I hear someone talk about Africa, I imagine Bono's self-congratulatory mug. Of course this is an awful excuse. I mean what could be worse than ignoring injustice because it's unfashionable?

But my problem with Bono is he seems to speak for Africans as opposed to letting Africans speak for themselves. Since this is a comedy blog, I decided to look up African comedy on YouTube. Here's a South African comic.

Full Disclosure: I am Cool

via Largehearted Boy

There are more articles about hipster parents than there are hipster parents, but Time magazine has outdone the New York Times in the competition for the Unintentionally Hilarious Hipster Coverage award.

Full disclosure: I have two young sons, and if anything, Pollack gets my experience unsettlingly right. I live in Brooklyn, which along with the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles is the apparent epicenter of the hipster-parent movement. When one of my kids requests the Magnetic Fields on the iPod, I swell with pride as fathers of another era did when their sons completed touchdown passes.

Good thing he saved his journalistic integrity with that disclosure. I wonder about his past "disclosures":

OJ Simpson

Full disclosure: I have also fucked a football player's wife. But that was in high school and I was lucky that bitch didn't wear glasses.

Abu Ghraib

Full disclosure: I had a big pile of naked Arabs in a dorm room back in college stacked even higher. But there were no dogs in the room. That's just not classy, babe.

Anna Nicole Smith's Death:

Full disclosure: I fucked tits that big once.

Charlie Kaufman Delves into Another Celebrity's Mind

Post Show does great work as always.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Budweiser and Dane Cook Have More in Common Than Getting Frat Boys Horny

Budweiser also steals jokes from hard-working comedians. Whitest Kids U Know had a funny slapping video on College Humor.

After rejecting Budweiser for some corny-ass BudTV offer, The FigureheadKing of Beers ripped off their video for an inferior Super Bowl commercial.

You be the judge jury. I'll be the judge.


Once upon a time I didn't have to choose between "24" and "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." Time is running out though: we're either with Jack Bauer or against him (via Best Week Ever).

Hey New York Times...

It's OK if you don't know what a hipster is. You're known as "The Times," so you feel this burdensome pressure to keep with the times. Sometimes, you are on the money (hipsters like Williamsburg, I must confess). But between last week's black hipster article and this week's "hipsters love JT" article, I'm left with no choice but to question your knowledge of what a hipster is.

Where the Old Gray Lady Gets All Its Hipster Knowledge

In the black hipster article you mentioned something about how some black kids love The Killers and Coldplay. Neither of these bands get hipster love. Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy is not a hipster - or indie rock - authority either but you used him as a source to prove that hipsters love Justin Timberlake. Speaking of evidence, aren't newspapers supposed to, like, have statistics or polls to back up their arguments? Neither article has them.

There are some subcultures which you are completely ignorant of. Maybe it's latent racism. Here is my coverage of a subculture which you have inexcusably overlooked. (Full disclosure: I am Egyptian).

Walk Like an Egypster: Egyptian Hipsters are All Over Astoria
by Mo Diggs

Tariq Mustafa works in a hookah shop on Ditmars Street. Union's been on strike, he's down on his luck. It's tough, so tough. He has a white ironic t-shirt with a red ringer and Buddy Holly specs. He listens to Peter, Bjorn and John on a white iPod. "In a time of war this music is peaceful," said Tariq.

Tariq is one of many Egyptian hipsters, or "egypsters" (a term submitted tofound on living in Astoria and Long Island City. Usually you expect Egyptians to fuck goats, deny the Holocaust or blow themselves up. But these Egypsters are nice people who like electro hip-hop like Egyptian Lover and smell just as bad as their cocaine-white Williamsburg brethren.

When I ask the Egyptian man selling gyros and kebabs on Steinway Street whether he listens to TV on the Radio, he nods and smiles. I get the same response from every Egyptian street vendor I ask.

"I love Peter, Bjorn and John," says Tariq. "That's all that's on my girlfriend's iPod." When asked whether we can speak to his girlfriend, Tariq says "OK, she's my ex, but I'm holding her iPod hostage so she can come back."

This reminds one of the old Carl Sandburg poem about Egyptian jazz hipsters from the '20s called "Egyptian Finger Popping Daddy! Yes!":

Egyptian finger popping daddy, yes!
Broad shoulders, cat-like feet
Play that jazz, eat that shawarma
Tough, finger popping muscles


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Hey "Lost"...

Don't dumb yourself down for the audience when you come back tomorrow. Fuck those dimwits who want answers right away. "Lost" is the greatest television drama. On TV or on HBO. Unlike the HBO dramas, "Lost" is open-ended. It trusts the viewers to make connections; to find their own answers.

These people who whine about "Lost" stringing viewers along are the same people who:

* hate Shakespeare's sonnets because he may or may not be talking to a dude
* need every joke to start with those three magic words: "What's up with..."
* hate Rocky because Balboa loses at the end
* think the morals of a "Full House" episode are too ambiguous

"Lost" is a character-driven show. Yes, there is the occasional mind-blowing plot twist. But this show was always more concerned with atmosphere than action. So take your time explaining the smoke monster. Or don't explain it at all. Andy Kaufman didn't dumb down his act after becoming one of ABC's biggest money makers. Neither should you.

On a Personal Note: The Rudest Pan Asian Cuisine Menu

In this segment I tell humorous personal anecdotes not related to alternative comedy celebrities. If you hate personal blog posts, skip this; there's plenty of non-personal stuff on this blog as well.

I went to this Pan-Asian restaurant in Flushing (home of the Mets) with my girlfriend and two of my friends . On the table was the most wise-ass menu in Queens. It explained what a beverage was. Something to the effect of "mostly made of water, for human consumption." Not only did this menu make me feel stupid; I also felt unimaginative. I should have thrown beverages at womens' faces, fucking up their mascara. Or I should have called the Wildlife Preservation Center and said "I'm sorry, we have a liquid that is strictly meant for spotted owl consumption. No take it back, only Asiatic black bears have a strong enough stomach lining for Bubble Tea."

Do Not Feed Tapioca to Humans

The menu, in addition to giving superfluous information, witheld important details. It didn't disclose what the spring roll sauce was. I assumed it was soy because the sauce was black, but turns out we were given A-1 steak sauce. I didn't want to start a fight with the waitress, so I said "Interesting, this isn't soy sauce, what is it?" She looked down for a few seconds and then said "Kikiriki" or some bullshit. No my friends; this establishment thinks we are a bunch of stupid Americans who love huge plates of spring rolls with steak sauce. Good thing she gave us small portions of A-1; we might have drank it all, or painted a mime's face with it.

My Birthday is the Biggest Comedy Day of the Year

Today is not only my birthday it's the day of the following comedy events:

Here's the Thing moves to the PIT

Jen Kirkman's album comes out

Human Giant links to video preview of upcoming MTV show on MySpace bulletin.

And a new Burg episode?

The Ten Most Hackneyed Internet Joke Premises in Stand-Up

10) Let's cut the bullshit-the Internet is only good for porn.
9) You ever Google your ex?
8) Who's this Tom guy on MySpace and why does he want to be my friend?
7) Back in my day, we called a "blog" a "diary."
6) So I was on the Internets...
5) Who wants to say "I have a hot date with LadyBug413?"
4) I wonder what happens when you Google Google?
3) What's with these penis enlargement e-mails I keep getting?
2) You can buy whatever you want to on eBay these days!
1) Aren't hackneyed Internet joke premises annoying?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Hey YouTube...

Thank you for saving comedy. I was worried that hipsters would destroy alt-comedy. Then I caught this:

If you want to be a comedian to become an L.A. writer, yeah, hip is great. Because it’s smart and writers are supposed to be smart. So get as smart as you can and still stay funny and just start going up everywhere in town and wait for people to talk to you after the shows and ask to see your scripts. And then make sure you have scripts.If you just want to do standup and forget all of this analysis I do every month about bouncing around inside the standup cube, then I guess my only advice is to stay the hell out of L.A.. Because once you get here there’s no way to not start taking yourself apart and figuring out what the hell there is in this pile of psyche and humor and body and self that you might be able to sell to people who control the sacred light we call television. (my italics)

Shecky columnist Dan French wrote that when Mitch Hedberg was alive. Throughout the essay, he makes the point that in order to make money in alt-comedy, you need another gig. Like TV writing or a sitcom role.

How does YouTube help us circumvent that?

1) You can try to put up free videos online and have your URL flash at the end so people can buy your merch (DVDs, T-shirts), meaning you can make money the way an indie band does (doing the occasional big club for money, selling merch)
2) The suits can discover your intelligent TV pitch or your excellent comic acting online (meaning if all you want is a TV gig you can stop pretending to like stand-up comedy now).
3)YouTube helps alternative comedians promote themselves. There was a time when I would have to hear about Andy Kindler's alt shows (as opposed to the Letterman appearances I usually watch) but now

Most interesting of all, word of mouth might help bring more fans to, say, Baron Vaughn shows so that he might be able to sell out clubs with loyal fans as opposed to being forced downtown because those who want Viagra jokes won't get him.

Of course he could also make money off of merch. I would buy a T-shirt that says "I taught my cell phone racism." So intelligent comedians (like Dan French might be by now) won't need to suck the CRT dick.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Most Cringe-Inducing Video From the '80s

Sarah Silverman Program

Very strong first episode. Worth it for Cookie Party alone. If doing this show means Sarah Silverman never does stand-up again, fine. Though I doubt this is really the case, I feel that Sarah Silverman was responsible for every creative decision made in this show. Especially for what happens with Brian's character This show is easily one of the best comedies of the decade. Watch your back NBC. Move into the kiddie pool Adult Swim. This Cookie Party ain't gonna stop anytime soon.

I'm On Meathead Diaries Again

I talk to Guy Ernest's father, Manny.