Friday, March 30, 2007

Different Musical Genres of Comedy

Seems like different genres of music have their own comedians. Pitchfork recently interviewed Human Giant, confirming their indie rock cred. Metalheads love Brian Posehn. Country fans love Larry the Cably Guy. Rap heads love Def Comedy Jam.

But what about pop punk? No comedian represents the mall punks. There are none so I propose Extreme Skate Skitch Cooper. XSSC skates onstage and whines about how annoying his mom is.

"Dude my mom is so fucking stupid. Like when she tells me to take a shower. What is she a fucking perv? And man how stupid is she? I keep asking for a Fall Out Boy shirt from Hot Topic and I keep getting a new Family Guy shirt. Doesn't she know I'm a teenybopper? Nanny nanny boo boo!!"

Kill Yourself at Work in Five Minutes

Digg has been buzzing about this video game on the Adult Swim site where you must kill yourself within five minutes. Thanks Adult Swim but I already know it's not easy to kill yourself.

Japanese Sketch Comedy



via CollegeHumor

Old School Stand-Up Comedy

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Remembrance of Videos Past #40: Hayden, "Bad as it Seems"

Hayden is like Beck without the humor. Lemme give that some positive spin: this song preceded Sea Change by a good seven years. In '96 all Beck songs had bleeps blips and chocolate chips. This song was just a summer bummer. I know this video doesn't go as far back as most RVPs, but consider that this video had decent rotation on MTV whereas nowadays emo and neogrunge get the spotlight. Yes, we've gotten to a point in which a Beck wannabe with a harmonica and shitty rhymes makes us sigh and say those were the days.

Modest Mouse at #1; Daughtry at #4

On Billboard Modest Mouse is #1. The last time an indie pop act topped the 200 was in 300 AD, when Barney Rubble released his atmospheric solo album My Name is Barney Rubble and I'm Here to Say....

Daughtry got mud kicked in his face by former American Idol man Elliot Yamin, who made number 3. Sounds like a new form of excrement, number 3. No wonder no one is happy with third place. I gotta go make #3.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Zen Jokewriting Journal #2

Zen Buddhists advise against getting in your own way so here are my thoughts when I get out of my own way.
The morning is the most annoying time of the day. All the rituals are like a sound check for the concert that is the rest of the day. One thing goes wrong and the show sucks. Not taking a shower is like Art Garfunkel smoking cigarettes and gargling cream before he gets onstage. I am turning into an older Italian lady at work. Try not fitting in with people who are nice to you. It's ok though. I am still myself. I am like the straight man at the office. The girls tell raunchy jokes and I act shocked. I'm not really shocked that they would tell pussy jokes at an ob/gyn office, but my mom works there so I have to act shocked. If I don't leave right now I might get off of the "I'm Shocked I'm Listening to Pussy Jokes" show. Namaste. That was one of the word's Patton Oswalt used to end his essay. They also use it on "Lost." Namaste is the coolest word ever. I gotta take a shit. Bye.

Text/Subtext

Text: “A decade ago I used to say we really weren’t the comedy network. NBC was,” [Comedy Central president Doug] Herzog said. “They had all those great must-see comedies. But now I think we have the heavyweight crown in comedy. It’s ours to defend.” Subtext: The '90s was one corny-ass decade.

Ten years ago this was what made people laugh and what networks insisted was funny.



It took The Daily Show to make comedy smart again.

Monday, March 26, 2007

History of Meatheads According to A Special Thing

While discussing Mencia's theft of Cosby's material, Jen Kirkman mentioned the alpha-male trend in comedy.

Also - anyone who thinks Mencia's rendition is funnier than Cosby's and therefore gets to "keep it" is part of the sad, new alpha-male generation of comedy boneheads who don't even see the subtle emotion of Cosby's joke(s). Fags.

I offered an origin story for this trend.

Former Onion writer Jack Szwergold weighs in.

I think that the trend towards meathead entertainment—in general—started to turn in the late 1980s and very early 1990s. The Diceman is one sign. But even look at the world of professional wrestling. During the early-1980s, the world of pro-wrestling was a lot more relatable, fun and creative. You all kinds of different characters that those guys would try to pull off and it was all accepted. Captain Lou Albano could only exist back then. Nowadays, pro-wrestling is focused only on being super-macho/musclebound and not much else. Ditto with radio as well. Clear Channel's first big moves at acquiring every radio station on earth began at that time, and look at the result. "Shock Jocks" are now more shocking—and less creative—than Howard Stern was back in the day. And it's all homogenized as well.

Not to be outdone, Patton Oswalt offers his own stirring account of the day the jocks took over.

And a lot of stand-up, now, is about people telling the audience how THEY got over on someone, or how much tougher or meaner they were than someone else. It's less and less about realizing embarrassing but enlightening truths about yourself (Cosby shrugging off his son's, "Hi Mom!" because he realizes it was his hubris and need for vicarious glory that got his son into that endzone) and more about expressing pointless rage ("That fucking bitch never played football with him!").

Though we might argue who the man resonsible for meathead comedy is, we cannot argue who the original king of nerd comedy is (current king is Patton Oswalt): Tom Lehrer. Only a nerd can have fun with the silent E.

Houdini Doomed by Dick Move

Critically acclaimed online comedy initiative "This Just In" reveals truth about Houdini's untimely end.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Interview with Katt Williams

That's the beautiful thing about stand-up. It's much like being one of those guys who works on the wildlife shows: you live the life of the Crocodile Hunter. It's beautiful when it's beautiful and it's awful when it's awful.



Mundane Dream Journal: LIC

I had a dream that I was driving through Long Island City and asked my friend and someone who I couldn't see in the back if they wanted go barhopping in the area. This dream represents my repressed desire to get fucked up the ass.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bitergate: Mencia Rips Off Cosby

Unbelievable.



Interesting how Mencia's version is more hostile and less nuanced. Here's how he would do other comedians' material:


Mitch Hedberg


I was going to have my teeth whitened, but then I said "Fuck that, I'm a beaner so if I spend a minute in the sun, my teeth will look white compared to my fucking skin. You're thinking it, I'm saying it!"


Chris Rock

Who's more racist? Black people or White people? Beaners! Ya know why? Because we hate black people too! Everything white people don't like about black people, beaners really don't like about black people.


Andrew Dice Clay


Little boy blue - he needed the pesos! Ole!

RIP Larry "Bud" Melman

Whenever I think about Letterman's unique sense of humor, I remember Bud walking on and off the Late Show set for no apparent reason except to make people laugh. I'll always remember his laugh. "Late Night with David Letterman" made him famous; so famous that he gave celebrity endorsements for Honda Scooters and other products. At one point he hawks a T-shirt in this ad within an ad. He will be missed.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bernie Mac Retires from Stand-Up

After doing stand-up for 30 years, Mr. 3000 is making a grand exit at age 49. He does have one last show in the works: a film called "The Whole Truth, Nothing but the Truth, So Help Me Mac." Here's hoping Dane Cook or Carlos Mencia steal this idea as well.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Zen Jokewriting Journal

In the spirit of alternative comedy rooms from the '90s, when authenticity was the craze, I'm writing a Zen jokewriting journal. Zen Buddhists advise against getting in your own way so here are my thoughts when I get out of my own way.

"North American Scum" is ringing in my head. Ringing in my head. Do songs actually ring? Besides Pink Floyd songs? Zen comedy. Some Christians are moderate and only go to church every month. I wish moderate Islamic jihadists would only blow up certain parts of their clothing like their hats. That would look more festive. Comedy consists of talking 'bout your worst fears. Mine is being thrown in a dumpster full of mayonnaise-covered rats and realizing I'm gay.

Jen Kirkman Interview on Dead Frog

I can't quote this interview because practically everything she says is a lotus of wisdom with a pearl of hilarity at its center. No I haven't been reading too much Alan Watts.

Evidence That Fox Hates Blacks

Like you needed any.




The reason Barack Obama is such a big deal is because he's black, like all those other black candidates that make the draft pick every year. Enough already!

Vote for Favorite YouTube Comedy

Winners will be announced Friday.

Here's my personal favorite.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Time Out New York Rates Online Comedy Initiatives

A very interesting piece. Call it schadenfreude, but I'm especially intrigued by what sites they give the low ratings to. Comedynet, Daily Comedy and Just for Laughs got the lowest ratings (3 out of 6 stars). Daily Comedy gets the brunt of it:

Even if the writers deliver consistently funny material, the website itself can feel like the mainstream clubs where they perform: unremarkable and passé.

Here's Steve Hofstetter's MySpace comedy. Enjoy.

NY Times Amy Poehler Article

The three-season run of “Upright Citizens Brigade” would lead Ms. Poehler in 2001 to “Saturday Night Live,” where Ms. Dratch and Ms. Fey were already employed. Her debut appearance was the show’s first broadcast after the 9/11 attacks.

I thought she was on before that. She just made herself seem essential to the show's success very quickly.

Series Finale of Ze Frank's "The Show"

Might be the first big series finale for an original Internet show.

Retarded Vampire Blogs in the Morning

I vant to suck your blog!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Excellent Piece on Euegene Mirman in Brooklyn Rail

This neatly sums up my fears of where alternative comedy might go:

Look no further than Saturday Night Live to see how the aesthetic of online comedy is changing the look and feel of humor outside of cyberspace. The “Sloths” skit, from a recent SNL episode, is a so-so attempt at the type of humor that plays well with Internet audiences. A mock commercial for the Staten Island Zoo’s sloths exhibit features a barrage of quick cuts and a song espousing the animals’ virtues in a list of non-sequiturs ... The Sloth skit seems more than a little forced, compared to the real DIY weirdness you find online coming from maniacal minds like Mirman’s.

Amen. Eugene Mirman is the king of surreal and though I'm not the quickest sailboat in the race, I know better than to try and outweird him.

Mundane Dream Journal: Ray Stevens is Not an Oracle

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 just had a dream that my coworker said that the Ray Stevens song "Ahab the Arab" predicted 9/11. I tried to prove her wrong, but I woke up. The latent meaning of this dream is that I want to kill my father.

TV Set Trailer

A film starring David Duchovny about making a sitcom that, as a behind-the-scenes look at comedy, looks less somber that "Studio 60." What are your thoughts?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Arcade Fire Almost Tops Billboard Charts

At #1 is Biggie. Considering that ten years ago he topped the charts, it couldn't happen to a better man. The beauty of all this of course is Win Butler and Biggie Smalls teamed up to beat up Daughtry (a win [no pun intended] as monumental as Nirvana blowing past Michael Jackson), still holding up at number 3.

Now I know the premise of this blog - besides covering comedy news - is to present original humor that mocks culture. But Chris Daughtry's a walking parody of neo-grunge. Hell, if I didn't know any better I might say he's a comedic performance artist. Watch your back Charlene Yi. I'm in a rush to go back to work so get ready for some intense ironic appreciation.

The real reason Viacom is suing YouTube is because bloggers like me can embed this bullshit on their blogs and spread the gospel of crap.
It is so over.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Must Check Out

TSOYA and Jordan Jesse Go!: Jesse Thorn is the best voice in radio. Now I get why people listen to podcasts.

Dead Frog:
Always good but this Odenkirk find is great.


Apiary:
New Video Wednesday puts the "huh?" in "humpday."

Super Deluxe: If it weren't for "Lost," I would throw out my TV and always watch this channel.

On a Personal Note: Spanish Class Was the Best Comedy Workshop

In this segment I tell humorous personal anecdotes. If you hate personal blog posts, skip this; there's plenty of non-personal stuff on this blog as well.

Many kids got their start being funny in Spanish class. The teacher went around the room and you would have to read the one-liner sentence you wrote out loud. For the teacher this was a grammar excercise; for us, it was a comedy showcase with possible industry.

The hacks always went the obvious route and said something like "Yo quiero muchachas y cervesas."

Muchachas y cervesas son hackneyedos.


I took the road less travelled.

"Yo quiero tocar la guitarra, bailar con mismo y Slim Fast bars."

The pinnacle of course was the oral presentation. One semester in college we had to do a short one-act play in Spanish. I was paired up with this musclehead named Marco. He gave me the story idea (two guys are smooth and try to get ladies). I wrote the actual lines in Spanish. He was so serious about this he taught me how to fake getting a punch. During one of our stunt rehearsals, he suggested drinking beer during the presentation. I said "What? We're gonna drink beer during the oral presentation in our morning Spanish class?" He insisted that we had the right because we were both over 21.

So there we were doing some shitty knock-off of the Roxbury Twins in class, drinking our brews. When I put my Bud Lite bottle down it started overflowing onto the floor. In all my life I have never (albeit inadvertently) made a room full of people laugh so hard. The guy in the front row's face turned red.


So here are some comic Spanish excercises to get the creative juices flowing:

1) What do you like to put butter on (use the subjunctive).
2) No seriously, what do you like to put butter on (write "si" nervously throughout the sentence).

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Scientists to Comedians: We Know Why You're Funny, You Don't Know Why We're Boring

from the NY Times:

Occasionally we’re surprised into laughing at something funny, but most laughter has little to do with humor. It’s an instinctual survival tool for social animals, not an intellectual response to wit. It’s not about getting the joke. It’s about getting along.

So this means I don't have to be funny to get laughs, I have to be likable. I am more fucked than a Paris Hilton impersonator in prison.

Overpriced Jokes Come to the Internet

Laugh Factory continues its tradition of expensive comedy by bringing it online.

At audible.com, customers can purchase a monthly subscription to 8001 Sunset Strip for $8.95 and receive four original one-hour shows. Individual shows are available for $2.95 each. At www.audible.com/laughfactory comedy fans can join the Laugh Factory AudibleListener® membership plan for $8.95 and receive the benefits of an AudibleListener membership. Each episode of the show is available for download from audible.com or wirelessly through AudibleAir® to any of the hundreds of available AudibleReady® mobile devices, including iPods, PocketPCs, and smartphones.

This is obviously the exact opposite of Web 2.0. No user-generated content; there should at least be a bringer system where budding comics have five friends buy Laugh Factory episodes and earn a spot on the show themselves. Yet another example of how poorly comedy clubs are adapting to the interweb.

The Secret to Ethnic Comedy

As an Arab-American comedian I want to do ethnic comedy. As a New York comedian I want to do smart comedy that does not rely on cheap, easy stereotype jokes. What do I do? Completely avoid mentioning my heritage on stage or write all my jokes about how stupid Bush and airport security are (a topic white comedians won't touch)?

A: Ethnic comedy is like spice. Too much ethnic spice overpowers the natural flavor of your act. How can you tell that story about how your mom tried to make you gay by forcing you to watch "Falcon Crest" and "Dynasty" when your whole set list is about how everyone thinks you're a terrorist? But you need some spice or else it's bland.

I suppose now's as good a time as any for an ethnic bit.

I like the idea of Arab American comedy, but it needs to develop its own legends. There are great comedians now of course but what about our comic legacy from the past? The history is not as big as the history of other ethnicities. African-Americans gave us Redd Foxx, Bill Cosby, Chris Rock. Jewish Americans gave us Lenny Bruce, Andy Kaufman, Jerry Seinfeld. Our contribution: Tony Shalhoub on "Wings." And even on that shitcom he played an Italian.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Punchline Magazine Feature on Zach Galifianakis

He seems weary, like each joke exhausts him, like he wants to be by himself. It’s almost like he’s trying not to engage the audience. But his deadpan reticence has the opposite effect; it brings you in closer—the same way Mitch Hedberg could bring you in closer by staring at the ground.

ALSO: TSOYA interview

Rest in Peace Richard Jeni

from Reuters:

Stand-up comedian and actor Richard Jeni, a regular on NBC's "The Tonight Show," has died in an apparent suicide, police said on Sunday.

Los Angeles police spokeswoman Norma Eisenman said a woman called police on Saturday morning from the West Hollywood area and said: "My boyfriend just shot himself in the face."

Jeni, 45, was found alive and taken to hospital but was pronounced dead about an hour later, Eisenman said.


The weird thing is he had this bit about how watching porn makes you slit your wrists. You're watching other people have way more fun than you might as well just end it all. I heard this joke in high school and loved it as a frustrated teenager. I think he also had another joke about how Phil Collins's "Against All Odds" makes you wanna kill yourself. Very sad news.

Richard Jeni was a great comedian. And in this clip he was also a great Hollywood Heckler. RIP.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Axis of Evil Comedy Special

Set your TiVos for the Axis of Evil Comedy Special Saturday at 11 PM. It's 4 Middle Eastern comics. In case you don't find some of the comedians funny, at least make sure you check out Iranian Maz Jobrani and fellow Egyptian Ahmed Ahmed.

I am North African-American myself and hopefully I will get picked for the Gutbucket (UCB Open Mike) lottery tonite. Then you can see that I'm funnier than all those guys. Not better looking, but funnier.

Well I'm the funniest Arab anyway. Maz Jobrani is funnier than me but he's Iranian.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mundane Dream Journal: Meryl Streep Film

I had a dream that Meryl Streep was in this film about a mother who loses her kids after smoking pot. Then Tony Hale lights up a bowl and when he passes it to Meryl Streep, they show the bowl from a first-person perspective. The latent content of this dream is my desire to fuck a vampire.

"30 Rock" vs. "Andy Barker: PI"

"30 Rock" is making room for the new Andy Richter sitcom. Since the other 3 shows look secure, Jesse Thorn says we might have to choose. I choose "30 Rock" of course. Though a show that's funnier would be amazing as well. Either way, I'm gonna watch "Grey's Anatomy" tonight: the first 4 episodes of "Andy Barker" are online.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

If the Shoe Fits...

watch it.

Mad Love for the West Coast

Zach Galifianakis interview here.

Maria Bamford below.




California knows how to party indeed.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Hollywood Heckler: Cracked Lists 5 Worst Comedies of All Time

Hollywood Heckler is a new column in which I berate unfunny films.

Cracked Magazine named the five worst comedies. Their list is pretty bad but I have my own list that puts that list - or itself, rather - to shame.

5) Big Trouble The only Tim Allen film I've had the misfortune of seeing, Big Trouble is based on a Dave Barry book. That's the first problem; it's based on a book written by the comedic equivalent of Jimmy Buffet. OK fine, I've never read Dave Barry. Nor do I want to. My stepdad read the book and saw this Barry Sonnenfeld monstrosity (Sonnenfeld also helmed Wild Wild West, Patton Oswalt's pick for worst film) and he found both of them funny.

4) Scary Movie 4 The Scary Movies got less funny with each installment. This is the latest one. The Zuckers at this stage in their careers were right-wing hacks not the deconstructionist wizards they were during the heyday of Airplane.

3) Employee of the Month As much as I find Carlos Mencia annoying, at least he has the good sense to stay away from feature films. Employee of the Month has one of the worst premises in Hollywood history: what if Jessica Simpson had big ears?

2) Nothing But Trouble Though one might assume I like Biggie more than Tupac because I am a New Yorker, the real reason is that Tupac was in this Dan Akroyd-penned monstrosity. If you look at Chevy Chase's "career" on IMDB, you'll see that prior to this, he had Christmas Vacation, his last big hit. This was the first nucleotide in the repeating DNA sequence of shit that has become Chevy Chase's career.


1) Loose Cannons A movie about a vice cop and a detective searching for a pornographic Nazi film is not a bad idea. Now Dan Akroyd and Dom Deluise on the same screen, that's a recipe for celluloid cyanide.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Frightening Comedy Trend: The Meathead Comedy Tour Documentary

"Dice: Undisputed" premiered last night. Like "Tourgasm," "D:U" is a reality miniseries about a meathead comic's life on the road bringing his brand of comic assault to the lad mag crowd. Never thought I'd say this, but this is worse than "Tourgasm." At least Dane Cook doesn't consistently pout for pity like Dice. VH-1 might as well try to make a docudrama about a likable child molesting clown trying to make his comeback at Knott's Berry Farm. I plan to make a fake docudrama ("Spinal Tap"-style) about a meathead comic touring on the road from the LES open mikes to the Midtown open mikes. It'll be called "Tails from the Road (If You Know What I'm Talkin' About...Aah, I'm Not Sure You Know What I'm Talkin About')"

Whitest Kids U Know Album Drops Tomorrow

I got a prerelease copy sent to me and it is great. Like the website College Humor, which often features their videos, WKUK deftly mix highbrow and lowbrow comedy, pleasing both unshaven hipsters and unshaven frat boys. The best penis joke in maybe twenty years is on this album. I'm not being hyperbolic; a better dick joke does not come to mind (no pun intended). Other highlights include the beginning track "welcoming" the listener (dog lovers want to skip this track [or not]), the Hitler rap "Triumph of the Ill" and the reggaeton number "Let's Wake the Neighbors." If their upcoming Fuse TV show is as good as this CD, then, with "Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!," "The Sarah Silverman Program," and "Human Giant" on the air as well, 2007 will be a landmark year for television comedy.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Puppet Watch: Puppet Music Hall

Stereogum brought to my attention an Internet TV show called Puppet Music Hall. Here's Jenny Lewis making me insanely jealous singing with a puppet.

Is Hollywood's Comedic Timing Off? (Slight Return)

Funniest Web Video This Week




Funniest TV Clip This Week




Funniest Film Released This Week


Some of us may not find the subject so funny, but never mind. Somebody needed to revive the “City Slickers” formula - AO Scott, New York Times

Is Hollywood's Comedic Timing Off?

Lets check in with Steve Bryant of The Hollywood Reporter:

Just consider for a moment why "Borat" is passe. We've already had our fun with him online. We've mashed him up, linked to him and blogged about the movie. The cultural "moment" has passed. What can we do with that DVD that we haven't already done?
Since "Borat's" theatrical release, we've been entertained/ enraptured by "Saturday Night Live's" "Dick in a Box," the parody "My Box in a Box," Britney Spears shaving her hair off and the death of Anna Nicole Smith. We watched it online in our cubicles.


Though I agree with his comparison of the Web's "constant media" to Hollywood's "occasional media," I am surprised he neglected TV. TV is a happy medium (no pun intended). For most of the year you get constant media with new episodes of "The Office" every week. But in the summer, we take a break from Mike and Dwight until the fall when the whole web eagerly awaits another season. I think "The Office" brings more people together than "Dick in a Box" (itself a product of NBC).

Either way, Hollywood's comedic timing does seem off. Why wouldn't it be? Comedy is all about being in the moment. Even television allows for that (like Mike O'Connell on Jimmy Kimmel).



Hollywood is about taking the moment and hammering it into a standard theatrical narrative. Even Borat has a plot. Let's say there's a sketch about Cell Phone Girls. Here are the YouTube, TV and Hollywood versions:

YouTube

Teenage Girl 1: (ringtone goes off playing "Laffy Taffy") AAAAHHHH! I love my cell phone! I love D4L!
Teenage Girl 2: AAAAAH! I know! Tee hee! Pick it up!
T1: No, I want to let it ring a little longer!
T2: I know! Mook B is soooo fine!
T1: (picks up) Hi dad.

TV

Teenage Girl 1: (ringtone goes off playing "Laffy Taffy") AAAAHHHH! I love my cell phone! I love D4L!
Teenage Girl 2: AAAAAH! I know! Tee hee! Pick it up!
Normal Friend: Why do you girls get excited when people call you?
Teenage girl 2: Because we love D4L you prude! You're just jealous cuz no one calls you.
Teenage girl 1: (picks up) Hello?
Normal friend: (blasts Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" into phone with Teenage Girl #1 on other line)

Hollywood

Teenage girl 2: No wonder Brad likes Teenage girl #1 better; she just won the dance-off against Valley Prep. (phone rings on vibrate) Hello? Brad? Look behind me? What are you doing here Brad? Oh my god, you remembered that I love pink jewel encrusted Razor phones that play "Laffy Taffy" by D4L? Lemme try out my new ringtone...AAA-(Brad swoops in for kiss)- AAAAH! I love you Mook B!