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‘Hello Arthur? This is your mother. Do you remember me?’: The comedy genius of Nichols & May
11.20.2014
11:25 am

Topics:
Television

Tags:
comedy
Mike Nichols
Elaine May
Nichols & May


 
Something from the Dangerous Minds archives to commemorate the passing of Mike Nichols. This was originally posted on January 31, 2011.  

“Sometimes each of us would be thinking “Oh god, I know where we’re going,” and both of us would race to get there first.”—Mike Nichols

Over the weekend, Tara and I watched a 15-year-old PBS America Masters documentary on the incredibly brilliant 50s/60s comedy duo of Mike Nichols and Elaine May. Titled Nichols & May: Take Two, it features thoughtful discussions of the pair’s work by the likes of Steve Martin, Jules Feiffer and Tom Browkaw. What made the hour-long piece so especially exciting to watch was, well, finally getting to watch them do these great routines that I have listened to over and over and over again on records. Most of it was new to me (visually speaking, that is) and I was just ecstatically happy to see it. (Not to mention how absolutely stunning Elaine May was! Wow! What a fox!)

When I was a kid I absolutely adored Nichols & May. As Steve Martin remarked about their albums, there was really something quite musical about their comedy that leant it to repeated listens. Robin Williams compares the dance of their wit to a beautiful ballet. What they created together wasn’t really like anything else, either before or since. Their comedy albums weren’t stand-up comedy at all, of course. Nichols & May were actors and writers performing their own material, often the result of improvisations (a hallmark of their live act). Both of them have really great, expressive voices and their classic routines are absolute perfection, as honed and as precise as language can be used. Much of their material begins with seemingly random, meandering or nervous conversation that eventually comes into sharp focus. They were great at portraying pompous idiots with nothing to say and no qualms whatsoever about saying it. Although hardly risque, Nichols & May were “grown up” and probably the first satirists to include riffs on post-coital pillow talk and adultery in their repertoire during the Eisenhower administration.

A large part of the appeal for ardent Nichols and May fans was the cultural signifiers they—well, their stuffy, insecure characters—would casually drop into their routines. College-educated, upscale fans who made the high IQ duo such a success on Broadway would feel a part of the “in crowd” when presented with material referencing Béla Bartók or Nietzsche, although no one was exactly excluded by their brainy comedy, either. Routines about phone calls from foreign countries, getting ripped off by funeral homes and psychotically nagging mothers could be enjoyed by anyone, but the high falutin’ grad school references were the dog whistles that garnered them their staunchest fans. Amusing to consider that these “sophisticates” were usually the very people skewered most savagely by the double-edged sword of Nichols & May’s humor.

Often, it was Elaine May’s characters who set about psychologically torturing the hapless male creations of straight-man Nichols. Gerald Nachman relates several examples of May’s emasculating wit in a pre-feminist era in his book Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s. One tale is told of May getting wolf whistles and noisy kisses from two guys who followed her down the street. “What’s the matter? Tired of each other?” she asked. One of them yelled back, “Fuck you!” and she fired back, “With WHAT?

 

 
In their famous “Telephone” sketch, Nichols plays a hapless man, stranded and down to his final dime, trying to use a pay phone with disastrous results. May plays three different telephone operators, none about to give him his “alleged die-yum” back. To SEE them do this&8230; Ah! I was in heaven:
 

 
Plenty more Nichols & May after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Poking a Dead Frog: Mike Sacks’ conversations with today’‘s top comedy writers
07.15.2014
09:09 am

Topics:
Books

Tags:
comedy
Mike Sacks


The author at work. He looks really, really familiar somehow, doesn’t he?

Vanity Fair editor Mike Sacks’ new book of interviews, Poking a Dead Frog is a nearly 500 page volume featuring contributions from Amy Poehler, Patton Oswalt, Adam McKay and even Mel Brooks. There’s a fascinating interview with New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast. Daniel Clowes is in the book, WFMU’s Tom Scharpling is in there, too and so is Bob & Ray’s Bob Elliott. It’s essential reading for comedy lovers (as was its predecessor And Here’s the Kicker which featured interviews with the likes of Buck Henry, Stephen Merchant, Dick Cavett, Larry Gelbart, Merrill Markoe and even Marx Brothers writer Irving Brecher.)

Mike Sacks’ informed questions draw out these amazing talents on how to write funny and how to think funny. I interviewed the interviewer over email.

Dangerous Minds: When I was a kid, I used to check out Super 8 Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton films from the local library and watch them on my father’s movie projector. Then I discovered Monty Python, Beyond the Fringe, Woody Allen and Steve Martin and then soon after that, Lenny Bruce, Fernwood2Night and Firesign Theatre. When you were young, who were the performers that really got you into comedy in the first place?

Mike Sacks: Woody Allen, particularly in Play It Again, Sam, which I think is underrated. There are two scenes that I loved: Woody getting ready for the blind date, and Woody walking up to a woman in an outdoor restaurant area and ruining her salad. What’s sometimes forgotten is just how great Woody is at physical comedy. He wrote the movie but didn’t direct it; one of the few where this happened. But it’s almost ballet, the scenes are so beautiful.

But more than anyone, it was Letterman and Chris Elliott, when Chris was on the show. Bizarre, surreal, angry bits that I just loved and still do.

Did you start doing the interviews for a book or for another purpose?

Only for the book. These interviews are way too difficult to do for any other reason. They require upwards of 20 hours of research and then up to 20 hours of talking over the course of months, if not years. They take a lot of work and a lot of time. Now I do put together shorter interviews for various websites, but if they run this long and are this complicated, they’re only for books.

Wasn’t there a secondary motive of “I want to know what makes this person tick” or something like that? Napoleon Hill went around interviewing the titans of American capitalism and then distilled the essence of their collective wisdom in his Think and Grow Rich. I think you’re doing that for the titans of American humor.

Oh, I see what you mean. Yes, definitely. The whole purpose of both of these interview books was to have an excuse to talk with my favorite comedy writers. How did they get into the business? What are their main influences, both comedy and otherwise? What would they recommend young writers do and (just as importantly, if not more) what would they recommend young writers NOT do in order to achieve success? And what is even considered success?

When I was young, the field of comedy writing was a huge mystery to me. I had no idea how one became a comedy writer, and the idea fascinated me. To make a living writing jokes for Letterman or SNL, how in the hell does that happen? It seemed a lot more fun than the type of work I probably would have been doing if I stuck around Maryland.

If, like Napoleon Hill, you had to narrow it down to the “universals” of how comedy works, what are the most glistening pearls of wisdom these folks offer on being funny and thinking funny?

I’m not sure anyone in this book really knows how comedy truly works. I mean, they know but they don’t know. And it’s almost as if they don’t want to know. To make someone laugh is a mysterious, almost magical skill. No one who’s unfunny can taught to be funny.  However, I do think that funny writers can be taught to be even funnier. But they have to teach themselves. No courses and no books (including mine) will teach them that. It has to come from within. With that said, there are some constants that can be seen among these successful writers. They were funny to begin with. They’ve worked very hard. And they’ve never stopped, even after “failures.”

Since the book concentrates on comedy writers, I won’t ask you to pick a favorite or anything, but in terms of stand-up comedians, who do you rate highest these days?

My favorite comedian might be Brian Regan. I think he’s an amazing performer and a great writer. And this is going to sound goofy, but he appeals to everyone of every age. Not easy. I think this, in particular, is an underrated skill. To use language that appeals just as much to a ten-year-old as to that of an 80-year-old. Very difficult to do, but he does it very well. His main focus is the stage, not TV or movies, and he’s just a master. If you can see him, I highly recommend it. From what I heard, Patton Oswalt, another amazing comedian, thinks of Brian Regan as being one of the best.

Who are you hoping to get for the next installment?

I have a “bucket list” of people I’d love to hoodwink into participating. I’d love if they said yes this time, but who knows? They do have better things to be doing. As far as specific names, let’s just say that I’d love to talk with the dude who produced the 1980s UPN sitcom Homeboys in Outer Space. Why not.

We’re email friends, never met in person. Do you ever get mistaken for Jon Hamm? You look just like him in your author photo…

Yes, all the time. It’s annoying but what can I do? I used to get mistaken for Jim J. Bullock but luckily I grew out of that phase. Seriously, Jon posed for three hours for free, in his underwear. Nice guy. Can’t imagine any other actor doing that. I love the dude. And if he ever wants me to pose nearly nude, he knows where to go…

Mike Sacks’ reddit AMA is here.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Pedophiles harassed by pedophilophiles
02.19.2013
01:52 pm

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
comedy
pedophiles


 
According to a recent study by the University of Leiden, an increasing number of pedophiles are being sexually harassed by men who are attracted to them.

This being the Internet, of course some people don’t seem to realize that this is a joke...
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Boots Sex Dread’: hardcore gay reggae from 1980 (NSFW)


Image by Finsta

This has to be heard to be believed.

Boots Sex Dread is the name of an anonymous reggae act (is it a band or just and MC? or two MCs?) who brought out a one-off single in 1980 that became instantly notorious. Both sides of the release feature heavy dub riddims coupled with explicitly gay toasting. Like, REALLY explicit.

One side is titled “Rinka” and features an MC coming out: “Mi black and mi proud and mi a Rastafari/And mi a ‘omo-sek-shual”. There then follows an hilarious list of anal sex euphemisms. The flip is titled “Prenton Pressure” and features a different, coarse voiced MC regaling us with the story of how he met his Asian boyfriend, and how their sexual relations in a cornership store room (involving lots of bizarre condiments - Brillo Pads?!) were interrupted by the boyfriend’s mother.

Information on this record is scarce, but rumors about who the authors/vocalists may be have been rife since it was first written about in the NME on its 1980 release. The theory that has gained most credibility is that Boots Sex Dread is the work of the British comedian and actor Keith (father of Lily) Allen. An anonymous source close to Dangerous Minds can semi-confirm this:

It was rumored to be Keith Allen. And Rinka was supposed to be named after Norman Scott’s dog who was shot by the hit man hired by Jeremy Thorpe. [Background: Jeremy Thorpe was the leader of the British Liberal party from ‘67-‘76. Norman Scott claimed to be his gay lover, and Thorpe was aquitted on charges of conspiring to murder Scott in 1979.]

But this was the story running the rounds when Julie Burchill banged on about it as being gay Reggae. Not convinced, but it sounds like it could be him. He is an accomplished pianist, as I found out when I spent 3 nights on the batter with him, whilst he was filming Shallow Grave.

Keith had a character he played on Channel 4 late night back in the early 80s, where he played a gay miner, who’s dad was gay and his father before him, etc. Led to religious people saying he shouldn’t be allowed on TV etc, as they thought Keith was genuinely gay.

There a bit more info on this story over at the Uncarved blog. Here are sides A and B of Boots Sex Dread (even the names have been confused over time):

Boots Sex Dread “Rinka” NSFW
 

 
Boots Sex Dread “Penton Pressure” NSFW
 

 
Boots Sex Dread is rare as hens’ teeth, but it was re-issued not too long ago, so keep an eye out and you might find it.
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Charlie Barnett: Legendary NYC street comedian, Dave Chappelle mentor


 

“What’s good about crack? Do you want to know? Do you want to know?” [You’ll have to watch the videos to find out].

Old school New Yorkers will remember Washington Square Park’s raunchy master of ceremonies, street comedian Charlie Barnett, who died 16-years ago from AIDS complications and drug addiction. From the late seventies onward, several times a day, Barnett would jump up onto a park bench and shout “It’s showtime!” and do a 20-minute stand-up set that had the whole park in stitches. Roaring. Crying with laughter. I must’ve seen Charlie Barnett do 30 such performances over the years. I was in the Washington Square Park area a lot back then and I’d always stop to watch his act. The guy was one of the best stand-ups I’ve ever seen in my life. Spontaneous. He said whatever came into his head. Breathtakingly fearless performer. Shocking, even. No topic was off limits, which is why Barnett was perhaps better suited for street performances than the comedy clubs.

When he was on the mic, the man simply owned Washington Square Park. Truly, he was a fixture of NYC life in the 1980s. At one point, it came down to Barnett or Eddie Murphy who would become a cast member of SNL, but Barnett’s inability to read—he was a functional illiterate who read very, very slowly—saw Murphy get the nod. Barnett did have some notable roles (“Tyrone Bywater” in D.C. Cab, “Noogie” on Miami Vice) but he never really made it and died in 1996.

I haven’t thought about Charlie Barnett in years, but there’s an interesting short essay about him over at the Splitsider comedy blog by College Humor’s Conor McKeon:

On any given day hundreds surrounded the fountain. Barnett circumnavigates the makeshift oblong stage — his cocksure strut somewhere between that of preacher and prizefighter — and bellows, “I love a New York audience” in a voice as gravelly as the rural Appalachian roads he once travelled just to get here, to this fountain. With most comics, “I love a New York audience!” suggests a trite attempt at audience appeasement, but crowd work is not necessary for Charlie Barnett — they’re chanting his name before he’s said a word — and in his voice there is a palpable sincerity which implies he really truly means it.

His act, an array of outsized characters and one-liners (“I took an AIDS test — I got a 65”), doesn’t contain the underlying sensitivity of Bruce or Pryor’s social consciousness, but instead serves as a modern re-imagining of the blue-tinted Vaudevillian raunch of Foxx and Rickles.

Of course, in Charlie Barnett’s case, the material is more or less immaterial, secondary to the mesmerizing physicality of his performance, with its perpetual motion and jutting limbs and rubber faces. He simply possesses a mindfulness on stage that you are either born with or you are not: One gets the impression that he could perform for an audience of the hearing impaired and his act would lose not an ounce of potency.

Another notable aspect of Charilie Barnett’s time on the planet was his nurturing of one of this generation’s greatest comedic talents, Dave Chappelle, who was due to play Barnett in a 2005 feature film about his life that sadly never got made. After a young Chappelle was booed off the stage of the Apollo Theater, Barnett took the bruised comic under his wing and showcased him to the crowd in the park. Roast-master general Jeffrey Ross was also heavily influenced by watching Barnett work the crowd.

Although I would imagine that there must be hundreds, even thousands, of videos of Charlie Barnett that were shot by tourists over the years, few of them have made it to YouTube. This clip from the cult film Mondo New York, captures Barnett working the fountain exactly as I recall him doing it, circa 1986. Comedy dates quickly, of course, but Barnett’s work from 25+ years ago retains an edge that is as sharp as ever. This clip still has something to offend everyone:
 

 
This particularly over-the-top performance from a 1993 Def Comedy Jam taping was never aired on TV, but did surface as a “2 Hot 4 TV” DVD extra. By this time Barnett’s health was starting to visibly deteriorate, but his comedy was still blistering, crude and rude.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Ninety minutes of the Divine David


 
Can you handle it?!

This 90-minute film is edited together extracts of the Divine David’s late 90s Channel 4 show The Divine David Presents, produced by World Of Wonder

At the time this show originally aired was one of the most out-there things on TV, and you know what, it’s still pretty damn bizarre and hilarious. Thanks, of course, to the wonderful stylings of the Divine David himself, who now goes by his real name of David Hoyle and regularly performs in London and Manchester. 

If any one person was responsible for kicking drag square on the backside and, erm, dragging it into the 21st Century, it was David Hoyle. You could even say his look goes beyond drag, as it’s an over-the-top parody of a form that is already a parody, and which coupled with his pissed-and-paranoid English gent persona can lead to belly laughs simply from a knowing glance or a flick of the wrist. It can be grotesque, yes, but I dare you not to laugh the laugh of wrongness.

‘Til this day David Hoyle remains criminally neglected outside of the UK, and under-rated even in his homeland (except to comedy nerds that is - Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker personally selected Hoyle for the older rock star character in Nathan Barley.) His strange comic genius is as relevant as ever, and needs more exposure - so please, PLEASE World Of Wonder, don’t yank this off YouTube!
 
The Divine David Presents - the Collection:
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Legends of comedy: Interview with Dick Gregory and Paul Mooney

Gregory and Mooney
 
San Francisco Bay Area hip-hop media/political activist Davey D recently brought together veteran comedians Dick Gregory and Paul Mooney for an interview on his OLMNews show. The result is a rare treat of an hour with two of the fucking funniest septugenarians ever.

Most of us recognize Mooney from his “Ask a Black Dude” and “Negrodamus” skits from Chapelle’s Show, but the man’s work goes way back. Before those appearances, he was best known as Richard Pryor’s writer for albums like Live on the Sunset Strip and Bicentennial N****r, and Pryor’s two TV shows in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Mooney also wrote for Good Times, Sanford and Son and In Living Color, for which he created the character of Homey D. Clown.

By intertwining his political activism with his comedy, Gregory became the pre-eminent black comedian that boomers could call their own. After sweating it out through the ‘50s on the black club circuit, Gregory got his first break appearing at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Club in Chicago in 1961. He released a dozen albums and a clutch of books throughout the decade before putting his career on hold to dive into advocacy for a ton of causes and eventually a Presidential run for the Freedom and Peace Party. He’s recently made a welcome comeback onto the stand-up scene.

Watching these two conspiratorially minded cats is a pure joy, especially with Mooney’s infectious laugh in the air. Topics include: Obama and change; King Kong and In the Heat of the Night; stereotypes & minstrelsy; Bruce Lee and Sarah Lee; the Oscars and Denzell Washington; Herman Cain and the Federal Reserve; Snow White & child labor; Men in Black, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and shape-shifting; Jimmy the Greek; Christians, guilt & the Eucharist in the black church; black spending power; and “white folks are nervy.”
 

Thanks, Doug Pagan!

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Joyce D’Vision: the world’s first drag queen Joy Division tribute act


 
So, dear readers, this is one of the things I do when I am not busy scribbling and posting here on DM - I am part of a Joy Division tribute act called Joyce D’Vision. As the name would suggest, it’s not just any run-of-the-mill tribute act - it’s a drag queen tribute, fusing those two quintessentially Northern English traits of woe-is-me miserableism and end-of-the-pier transvestitism.

Before you ask, no, I am not Joyce D’Vision herself, but rather Noel Order, keyboard whizz extraordinaire and Bontempi aficionado. Joyce is played by the very talented Joe Spencer, and we are often joined on stage by other queens such as Sheela Blige, Kurt Dirt and Sahara Dolce. Joyce has been lucky enough to share the stage with British queer performance legends like David Hoyle (The Divine David) and Scottee Scottee (Eat Your Heart Out), but those were just warm-ups for what happened last week…

A few months ago Joe took part in a reality competition show May The Best House Win, where Joyce and friends had a cameo near the end. The program was finally broadcast last Tuesday, and seen by the comedian Harry Hill, himself a fan of Joy Division. Harry hosts a show called TV Burp, which looks over the best bits of the last week’s telly, and he invited Joyce and her friends to London to sing live on the show. Joyce performed as the final segment on the final show of the series, which was broadcast right before X Factor. Meaning that this went out on a Saturday evening, just after dinner time when everyone’s getting ready to watch the biggest show of the week. Seriously - that’s prime fucking time.

The reaction since (mostly gauged through Twitter) has been interesting - some people really get it, while others have stated that Ian Curtis would be rolling in his grave. I like to think Curtis would have seen the funny side, as would Tony Wilson I’m sure, and we have heard through the grapevine that there are even Joyce fans in the New Order camp.

Joyce D’Vision is not done out of hatred of the band or the man, but rather from love - and a simple desire to deflate the pomposity that surrounds JD and their legend, as perpetuated by magazines like NME and high street stores like Primark (currently selling an Ian Curtis t-shirt). So while the idea (and sight) of a fat, bearded man in a wig singing a boss nova version of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is definitely going to rub some people up the wrong way, I’m pretty sure our readers here at DM can handle it:
 

 
For more info on Joyce, visit her Facebook page.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘Danger 5’: a groovy new Nazi dinosaur espionage spoof serial


 
Well, this certainly looks interesting. It’s a trailer for the forthcoming serial Danger 5, which follows the adventures of an elite espionage unit formed to do battle with Hitler and his gold-munching dinosaur robots. Or something. Even though the setting is World War 2 by way of the swinging 60s, Danger 5 has more than a hint of Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace about it - in fact, is that Matt Berry doing the voiceover?
 

 
Danger 5 debuts on YouTube on November 21st. For more info(including a peak at the Danger 5 Monthly magazine) visit www.danger5.tv.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
John Candy as Divine as Peter Pan


 
From the Canadian sketch show SCTV, this clip has been causing some confusion among Divine fans as it’s labelled on YouTube “Divine as Peter Pan”. Thankfully original Dreamlander Mink Stole was on hand to help clear the matter up:

That’s not Divine— I think it’s actually John Candy doing a Divine parody—which is in itself a tribute.

Who knew Candy made such a good drag queen?!
 

 
BONUS! Here’s Candy, again as Divine, doing “Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me”
 

 
via I Am Divine with thanks to Mink Stole

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle: genius or garbage?


 
British stand up comedian Stewart Lee has returned to the BBC with a second series of his opinion dividing show Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle. A ratings flop on its first run, it seems like a small miracle that it has made it back to our screens at all. Not least because a lot of hardcore comedy heads just don’t like it - and that includes some of our own writers here at DM, who have turned off episodes of the show in the past.

Lee was one half of the hip 90s alt comedy duo Lee and Herring, who starred in the cultish TV shows Fist of Fun and This Morning with Richard Not Judy. Since parting with Herring some years ago, Lee has followed a more polemical route without resorting to agitprop or being in-yer-face. He also took a very long hiatus from TV before returning in 2009, and seems to have ironed out some of the flaws from the first series of Comedy Vehicle. The involvement of Chris Morris, Arnold Brown and Armando Iannucci has perhaps helped too (worth particular mention are the interview cut aways featuring a very spiteful Iannucci and a deflated Lee).

In comedy terms this is very much an acquired taste. If you are happy to be a passive consumer of lowest common denominator observational humor, then this is not the show for you. If you are a fan of slapstick or rapid fire gags, Lee does neither. Even if you consider yourself a comedic connoisseur and you get what is is that he does, you still might not like it. And I’m not going to lie, Lee can be very hit or miss. But when he hits he hits hard - to answer the question in the headline I think he might actually be a comedy genius.

Watching the first episode of series two, which is ostensibly about “Charity” but is actually about Lee’s fictional grandad’s love for crisps, I felt like I had never seen anyone perform comedy that was this self-reflexive yet this funny before. Maybe I was in the right place at the right time, and in the right frame of mind but Lee manages that incredibly rare, almost magical feat of signposting a joke from miles away yet making the journey to the punchline, and the payoff itself, very funny indeed. See his grandad’s “crisps”/“crips” confusion (and even the repetition of the word “crisps” itself). This had me in stitches - contrary to the suggestion by some critics that his style will inspire a smirk rather than a belly laugh.

Stewart Lee manages to deliver comedy about comedy that keeps an audience engaged and laughing, without resorting to crudity or obviousness. He walks the thin line of being very knowing, and also knowing that we know he knows, without (completely) disappearing up his own arse. The viewer definitely has to be in the right frame of mind to appreciate Lee’s tangental, mumbly approach but if you’re willing to invest a bit more attention to a stand up comic than normal, it is richly rewarded.

Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle - Series Two, Episode One “Charity” - Part One
 

 
Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle - Series Two, Episode One “Charity” - Part Two
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘Phone Sex Grandma’ - a short film

image
 
Phone Sex Grandma is a short film by Jack Truman about an older female telephone sex worker that follows her routine for a day as she goes about her business. While it could be argued that this film has a lot to say about the socio-economic place of gender and the role of the elderly in declining late-capitalist society, you should probably just forget all that and admit that it’s really funny.

Old people having sex (or in this case talking sexy) is one of the oldest tropes in the comedy handbook - but you’ve gotta hand it to this woman, when it comes to sexy talk she is a pro. And I mean a professional. Check out 3:10 where she is taking a piss AND talking sexy AND pretending to be East Asian! Or 5:20 when she is taking a bath, reading Darwin, talking sexy AND pretending to be black! That is some epic multitasking right there. Phone Sex Grandma is my new (NSFW) hero:

EDIT: from the Phone Sex Grandma IMDB page (which states that the film is a “mockumentary”):

Director Jack Truman and star Opal Dockery are a real-life Mother/Son filmmaking team

WTF?!?

 

 
Thanks to Tickle for the link.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Jeff Pollack: ‘Ten Bands Shaping The Post-Nirvana Era’
03.30.2011
04:59 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
comedy
Huffington Post
Jeff Pollack

image

 
This is incredible. Here’s an example:

Linkin Park: The successful marriage of rock and hip-hop came together dramatically in their debut album Hybrid Theory. Linkin Park has attracted a huge fan base worldwide not only by consistently delivering compelling songs but by musically adventuresome collaborations with Jay Z. The band is exciting live and continues to evolve their sound, allowing them to succeed where many of their rap-rock contemporaries have failed.

Pearl Jam: As a contemporary of Nirvana in the early days of the Seattle grunge scene, the band grew in the 90’s into one of the consistently top bands around the globe. Known from the beginning as a great live band, they have grown a passionate fan base by adhering to their own rules…unapologetic, touring the way they want, putting out albums without concerning themselves if they had a hit track for radio play. A real original.

Dave Matthews Band: This Virginia based band made it the hard way…endlessly playing all over the country to emerge as one of America’s top live bands. Their lengthy shows and amazing musicianship continue the legacy of the Grateful Dead, with the Dave Matthews Band inheriting the mantle of the best jam band around. Like the Dead, the band is more of a live experience, not needing hit songs (though they’ve have a few of those as well) to play stadiums. They rock!

Other bands on the list include Coldplay, Death Cab For Cutie, and (yes) Green Day. There are two main aspects of this article that beggar belief. One, that the author thinks that these are the most important and influential bands of the current era (the CURRENT era I must stress—check the present tense of the verb “to shape” in the title). You surely don’t need me to explain how wrong this is. The second most unbelievable aspect of this is that this guy is getting paid money to write about music. Actually, seeing as it was first published on Huffington Post, maybe he’s not. So who is this Jeff Pollack guy? Whoever he is, he’s a comedy genius!

Read the whole article—you know you want to.

Thanks again to Collapse Board for pointing me in this direction.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Chris Morris and Alan Partridge discuss Princess Di & JFK’s deaths

image
 
Finally!  This audio sketch originally appeared as a hidden bonus on the DVD release of The Day Today in 2004, and I have been waiting ever since for someone to upload it to the internet. Now you can hear two titans of British comedy riffing on conspiracy theories, assassinations, Russian spies and trade unions in their own particular love/hate (mostly hate) style. This sounds totally unscripted, which makes it even better. And this Partridge guy really knows his stuff, Alex Jones should get him on as a guest.
 
Chris Morris & Alan Partridge talk conspiracies:
 

 
Bonus!
 
This is the other Easter egg from The Day Today DVD - Chris Morris speaking to Peter O’Hanrahanrahan live from the World Trade Center on September 11th 2001.
 
The Day Today - 9/11
 

 
You can buy the complete The Day Today on DVD here.
 
Previously on DM: Nupticution: death row lovers to be married while strapped in electric chair and then exececuted

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason
03.01.2011
07:44 pm

Topics:
Books

Tags:
comedy
Mike Sacks

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Vanity Fair’s Mike Sacks (who authored And Here’s the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers on their Craft, a favorite of mine, in 2009) has a new collection of well-crafted comic essays, out today, called Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason.

Originally published in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Esquire, and McSweeney’s, there is no over-arching theme to these short pieces other than the fact that they are all “laugh-out-loud/piss-yourself-funny.”  Covering topics as wide-ranging as the tell-tale signs your college isn’t very prestigious (“Your mascot is a tiger in a wheelchair”), conversational ice-breakers to avoid (“Lemme guess. Korean?”) and how teenagers aren’t keen on touching his bald spot with their bare feet, it’s one of my favorite books of its kind since Woody Allen’s Without Feathers or Steve Martin’s Cruel Shoes. I hope Sacks won’t mind me saying that it’s a great book to keep in the toilet, but it is, especially keeping in mind the above-mentioned laughter/peeing connection.

Sacks exhibits a most unique talent for channeling idiots, particularly needy or desperate dorks like the guy who hires a plane to drop leaflets on his ex’s house to show her how “new & improved” he is, a groom who tweets his own wedding or delusional “author” Rhon Penny (silent h) who offers to blurb Thomas Pynchon’s next novel (even if he hates it!) in exchange for a reciprocal blurb from the reclusive author for his own unpublished book, “Cream of America Soup”:

You have to be wondering: What is this novel I’ve agreed to blurb actually about? And why is Rhon no longer married? Excellent queries both. I will not tell you why I’m no longer married, but my book’s subject matter is very much like Gravity’s Rainbow in a way, and in other ways not at all. It’s also very much a post 9/11 book, but not overtly. I’m not saying you need to know a lot about the medieval feudal system, Lady Bird Johnson, bats, my ex-wife’s fear of conjoined Siamese cats, democracy or linguini… but it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if you did.

Sacks is quite an accomplished word-smith (I genuflect to any writer who can compose a sentence like “Happiness isn’t… what you once did to my sandwich”) but even so, he’s capable of silently making readers laugh out loud with cartoon “Ikea Instructions” that just about every married couple can relate to, even if their own experiences assembling pressboard furniture do not end in suicide.

Buy Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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