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4 Notes

"...THE FOREMAN, THE WOMAN, THE WIDOW, THE BEAST!"

This story makes my heart race. Matt Champagne, the author, is a good friend of mine. And I’ve worshipped KITH since I was 11 years old. Matt, if there’s video of this handshake that happened on stage WE HAVE TO SEE IT.

remainchampagne:

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My favorite sketch by The Kids In The Hall was always “The Bass Player.” Bruce McCulloch plays a bass (I wanna say a Rickenbacker) and Kevin McDonald, whilst dancing around him, recites a tone poem-like speech about how no one likes the bass player. It’s highly amusing and wonderful, until…

9 Notes

Glas…GO!

I just traveled to Scotland for the Glasgow Comedy Festival. My observations:

1. The men are cute as fuck. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s not that they’re hard lookin, though they are, nor is it that they each resemble Ewan MacGregor, though they do. There’s just something in the eye shape that, if bent to a further extreme, would make them look mildly retarded. I don’t know why that’s so sexy BUT IT IS. From the suits walking out of the bank to the punks playing in the basement of the local dive, they’ve all got this shared distinctive trait that makes me feel funny. I fell in love about 327 times.

2. They are vulgar in a way I have never quite experienced. I took a bus trip through the Highlands, and the tour guide, Aly, between singing Belle and Sebastion songs to himself, told stories about who shagged who and gave advice on the best places to take a poo. This went on from 9am to 7pm. Oh, and when passing a romantic castle, Aly gave a detailed account about how he lost his virginity at age 16 to a 40 year old woman. I’m a comic, so I loved these tales with every morsel of my soul. But the other tourists on the bus? A Japanese man and a Saudi Arabian family dressed in conservative Muslim attire. When Aly recited poems from the 19th century comparing women’s breasts to particular Scottish stones? I glanced at the Saudi families faces, but they never winced. We all learned around 2pm that the Muslim parents didn’t understand English (much less, Scottish.) I felt more at ease from this point on. (PS If Aly wasn’t married none of you would ever see me again.)

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3. The “friendly” thing? It’s real. People just stop and ask you nice things like “are you lost?” or “need a whiskey?” I wasn’t performing this trip, I just wanted to come up and watch other comics. But the first night I arrived, an old man sat across from me at the chip shop. After he found out I was a comic he made me tell him my jokes (I hate when people do that but in this situation it somehow seemed perfectly wonderful.) He spit up his chips on my opener and laughed so loud I was shocked. Then he spent half an hour giving me advice on telling jokes in Glasgow and informed me of a Scottish sketch comedy character named “Iam Jolly.” As I parted ways with my new BFF, I found out he used to be a local politician. Truly, everyone here is awesome. (And yeah, there’s a humble brag in there about how I killed it at the chip shop to an audience of one.)

4. Scotland is beautiful (DUH of the decade, I know.) But really. Glasgow has gorgeous architecture, and the highlands make you wanna cry just a little. There’s nothing more to say about it, here are some pics:

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5. These people are funny. Right, the comedy festival I came here for! Learned a lot about how to grab a Glaswegian audience, how to transform your set from divey club to a large theater to make it work in both venues, as I saw Mark Nelson do two nights, and what not to do when you’re bombing. (Holy shit I won’t reveal the name but someone tried a political rant in exactly the wrong way and I’m still squirming.) My favorites of the fest were: Des Clarke, Susan Calman, and Janey Godley. I don’t feel like writing reviews, so I’ll just say they’re all wonderful.

But in addition to the professional and aspiring comedians, just the general population is funny as hell. Here’s the deal about Glasgow: motherfuckers heckle. They’re known for it. When people told me that I was all “ok, so they’re all just professional assholes.” I got zero tolerance for hecklers, no one came out to listen to your drunk ass, EVER. But after 4 days here, I get it. The relationship between the performer and the audience is just different in these ailes, England included, and it’s expected that you involve the audience. Talk to yourself on stage and your fucked. No one likes that here. You have to look at them and speak to them and let them speak back a little. But in Glasgow that’s taken to a further extreme. At EVERY show an insult will be lodged at the performer, lovingly. It’s part of the ritual of comedy. You gotta handle it. Again, at first I thought this was awful. But now I get it. The general population you are performing for are FUNNY FUCKING PEOPLE. All of them. So if you DON’T include them you aren’t using all funny things at your disposal. And if these drunk assholes are in fact funnier than you, you don’t deserve the stage. The flipside to this harsh reality is that, if you are in fact funnier than these assholes, they WILL LOVE YOU LIKE YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN LOVED. They laugh loud and cheer heartily and if you succeed you will have the gig of your life. Next year, I’m gonna try it.

6. Music. It’s famous for it. A country of roughly 6 million has consistently put out amazing music acts. So I took a break from the ha-ha’s one night and saw bands at a dive. While Aly the tour guide sang to himself, I contemplated how interesting it is that such a hard city became the birthplace of twee, Belle & Seb being twee music’s Adam & Eve. I figured this must be an anomoly. Two androgenous kids who stepped out. But no, the music here… is chill. It’s groovy and peaceful, even the punk rock. The night I checked out headlined a ska band and two punky supporters. They had heavy tunes, but it all sounded so peaceful and melodic. I loved it, really. The ska group was called The Buddhist Punks and they were awesome.


That’s it, Tumblr. Go to Glasgow.

1 Notes

Newest comedy short! Revenge fantasies come to life!

3 Notes

A Hug from Philip Seymour Hoffman

While Phillip Seymour Hoffman was doing “True West” on Broadway, I was at a bar in midtown, drinking with fellow actors after our far-less-glamorous production. PSH showed up with a group of people and sat one table away. I’d been in NYC long enough to not get star struck, but here was the actor of our time. I was getting gushy. I didn’t want to embarrass myself. After two pints of liquid courage, I saw PSH get up as he was going to leave. He went down the long table hugging every one of his friends, so I stood at the end of the row and just after he hugged his last friend I held my arms out and smiled. He hugged me too. My table of friends laughed, as did he. I sat down and sighed and didn’t ever want to wash my arms.

Notes

Presentism

I’ve always rejected the idea of avoiding “presentism” in regards to gauging the morals of historical events. It’s the claim that you should not use a present day set of values to judge people or events of the past. And that’s bullshit. It’s what makes people say: “Well of course Uncle Clem was racist and tried to kill a few black people, it was 1939! Everybody was like that!”

When arguing the matter, I’ve sometimes pointed to de Las Casas, a priest who traveled to the Americas with the Spanish Conquistadors. The Conquistadors were bad motherfuckers who slaughtered any indigenous person they felt like, because they didn’t see them as human. One dude chopped off an indian teenager’s head because the kid had a parrot on his shoulder and the Spanish jackass wanted the parrot. Those who claim you can’t judge these guys because you are placing present day ideas of humanity on those who had not yet been exposed to other races ARE FULL OF CRAP. Because de Las Casas traveled with these assholes, and was appalled. He wrote about how “un-Christian” and brutal his countrymen had become. They they, the Spanish, were actually the savages, and that they needed to reach out to these other cultures with peace and in the spirit of co-operation. De Las Casas came from the same time period and was raised by the same moral standard as the monsters he traveled with. But he wasn’t a racist dickhead. He didn’t deem those different from himself as subhuman. Because he was smart.

Here’s the deal: all throughout history, no matter when you born or what you were taught, you are either someone who hates everyone who’s unlike you, or you see other humans as equals. You either feel the need to hurt people, or you feel the need to help them. From the Conquistadors to the slave owners to the segregationists to the online bullies, there have always been both kinds of people.

And for those of you still not on board with my point of view, I’d like to present Exhibit B: My Grandmother. Hanging out with her over Christmas is what brought this whole issue to mind. My Grandmother is feminist, anti-racist, accepting of gay people and has participated in many different religious traditions. My grandmother was born in 1925. IN TEXAS. Never has she prescribed to any of the mid-century socially conservative notions of gender roles and separation of race. Because she’s, yknow, smart.

Some of you are gonna say that Grandma is some kind of anomaly. I don’t agree. I think many people from that era, even ones from the south, thought and felt they way she does. But they were under-represented by a media that wanted to broadcast the hateful yet far more entertaining segregationist assholes. The loud minority made for better television. Which is why we now wrongfully define entire eras by the rantings of extremist lunatics.

I think most of us are aware enough to realize that on any given news day, the crazy people populating news feeds with their marginal ideas don’t represent the whole of modern day society. And I’d like to suggest that we use that present day perspective when thinking of the past. That those who behaved and thought awfully were just that same portion of a minority.

So yes, you can judge an old person who’s an asshole. He isn’t that way because of his upbringing. He that way because he’s an idiot.

Notes

Happy NFL Season! Here’s our spoof, “The Broadcasters: Football for Girls Who Like Football”

2 Notes

Writers Book Of Days: September 4, 2013

writersbookofdays:

There’s a screaming baby in the next room.
I am sitting here in Dr. Attanasio’s office imagining the screeching child has Dixon’s face.
His beer bloated face.
Dixon wouldn’t come with me for the diagnosis.

For some people, this would be the breaking point.

Dixon’s done worse.
He took my…

Hoooo! A dark and awesome bit of micro-fiction from a writer in my group blog. Love it.

Notes

METAAAALLLLLL!

An article I wrote for “The Lazy Muses” about Death Metal and Danzig. \m/ \m/

3 Notes

Writers Book Of Days: August 29, 2013 "Katie and Pancackle"

writersbookofdays:

K: He called you by your real name.

P: I know.

K: When did you tell him?

P: Last night. Drunk.

K: You’ve got an alcohol problem. You’re going to end up looking like your grandmother.

P: Don’t talk about that.

K: Sorry, I won’t mention alcohol.

P: No, my grandma.

K: Why do you let your past…

Another freewrite from my group blog. (Anyone can join, fyi…)

3 Notes

Beyond “Breaking Bad”

Yes, “Breaking Bad” is a brilliant work of storytelling and Bryan Cranston has given the greatest performance in the history of television.

But it took me awhile to jump onto the Breaking Bad train because I’ve lost several childhood friends to the drug. I couldn’t bring myself to watch a show that glamorized meth. Well, it doesn’t glamorize. It proves in every episode that this was the worst decision Walter could have possibly made. Gilligan has been applauded for how realistically they portray the creation and trafficking of the drug. But one aspect of meth that the show kinda glosses over is it’s effect on the everyday users, which is darker and grosser than what we’ve seen on tv. While the stories are realistic, it’s still tv, and we’re watching two incredibly sexy lead actors be badasses. Walter White has become a monster, but part of the genius of the show is that we are still, inexplicably, rooting for him. Anti-heroism perfected.

Cooking and distributing methamphetamines is the worst contribution you can make to society, and I don’t think the show has truly dived into that. Yeah, the plane crash story served that purpose, but it was so fantastical. The “ATM” episode with the little boy that couldn’t speak, who Jesse covered his eyes so he wouldn’t see his dead parents then left him outside for child services to find… that showed the consequences of DOING meth. I think I stood up and clapped at the end of that episode.

I wanna take a moment to tell some stories of the users of meth, moments that the show has me remembering:

1. The first time I saw meth was in 10th grade when my friend “Kurt” rolled up a dollar bill and snorted some in our friends basement. Everyone loved Kurt. His coolness didn’t come from his drug use or any sort of macho nonchalance, Kurt’s popularity stemmed from the fact he such a wonderful person. Very loving, nonjudgemental (think about what a rare trait that is in a teenager), and incredibly talented. Kurt is still one of the best actors I’ve ever known. We did theater together, and he had this natural ability to immerse himself in a character that almost made me angry, because he never had to work very hard. Yet it was impossible to harbor jealousy against Kurt, because he’d get off stage, give you a giant hug, and then you’d feel great.

Kurt is now dead. He didn’t die in some Tuco-like shoot-out ala Breaking Bad… he was found in a parking lot, overdosed. The last time I heard Kurt’s voice was when I came home from college and he left an incoherent message on my mom’s answering machine. She told me I wasn’t allowed to talk to him. I hate that this is my last memory of Kurt, so I try not to think about it.

2. Now let’s tell a funny story, because meth is darkly hilarious. A friend of the family is currently doing time in a women’s prison, for a crime unrelated to drugs. But she wrote me a letter a couple months ago about a woman she’s in with:

Two meth heads arrived at the house of a female dealer, about 8 miles from where they lived. The dudes tweaked, came down, then asked for more. But they didn’t have any money, so they sold their car nearby, walked back to the dealers house and spent the car money on more meth. But now they couldn’t get home because they had no car. The dealer said she’d give them more drugs if they painted her house. So they painted the house, tweaked again, and for the next 2 days BECAME INDENTURED SERVANTS as the dealer kept giving them chores to do in exchange for meth. She was busted when family members of the dudes sent police out on a search, and found them strung out polishing her floors. This woman is now locked up with my friend. And I’m now conjuring up a legal way to lure in dudes to fix shit around my apartment. (Oh right… sex.)

3. Now for the really ugly stuff. There has been a spike in weird, macabre murders in rural and low-income parts of the country, and most of these stories get linked to meth. Anytime you read a headline like “Woman axes her two toddlers” or “Man butchers 13 year old girl with a knife” or “Man attempts to rape a young girl, stops himself thens drowns her”, there is always meth use embedded in the story. Last year there was a case near my hometown of a 15 year old girl murdering a 9 year old friend. The killer was a “meth-baby.” Both her parents were junkies: her dad is in prison and her mom is who-the-fuck-knows-where. She’s been living with her grandma since she was 11, tried to kill herself at 13 and then was put on Prozac. She confessed to murdering the little girl, stating she “just wanted to know what it felt like.” And that’s what the drug does. On the short term it makes you violent and crazy, but on the long term, it kills empathy. It makes you feel nothing.

One major problem was authorities had no idea where to put the murderer. Her attorney said she would not survive adult prison, but there were no high-security facilities for teenage girls, as most incarcerated female teens are in for suicide attempts, theft or petty crimes. Missouri had not seen a case like this. It seems to me we are now seeing events like this occur because the first generation of “meth babies” are becoming teenagers. Children born without empathy. And I fear there will be more.

I cried when I read the story because there were all of these conservatives in Missouri calling for her to get the death penalty. She is certainly a danger to society and needs to be locked up, but I can’t bear the thought of an execution. Not because I have sympathy for the horrible hand she was dealt, though I certainly have sympathy for that, but because I think we can learn something by figuring out what made this girl the way she is. This sounds insanely optimistic, but I believe we can find a cure for sociopathy by investigating what causes it. And if we can’t, well fuck, we owe to ourselves to TRY. The long term effects of meth on the brain could be a clue into why some people become monsters. And maybe a clue to how to turn them back.

So this is the kind of shit “Breaking Bad” has me thinking about. I imagine the show has been a deterrent to some who think of trying it. I hope so, because as bad as the situation is for Walter White and everyone around him, in reality, it can be even worse.

6 Notes

Writers Book Of Days: August 19, 2013

writersbookofdays:

You can have faith in a taco. A taco you can hold in your hand and it won’t try to escape. It always shows you what it holds inside, not trying to hide the ingredients like those fat, deceptive burritos. Tacos wonder how they can even be related to those gluttonous monsters.

And as the meek…

An entry from a group blog I belong to.

13 Notes

Just directed the first episode of the a new web series “FAMOUS MOVIE SCENES STARRING A CHILD.” This one: LIL PULP FICTION!

1 Notes

A man can be a Christian or a patriot, but he can’t legally be a Christian and a patriot — except in the usual way: one of the two with the mouth, the other with the heart. The spirit of Christianity proclaims the brotherhood of the race and the meaning of that strong word has not been left to guesswork, but made tremendously definite — the Christian must forgive his brother man all crimes he can imagine and commit, and all insults he can conceive and utter- forgive these injuries how many times? — seventy times seven — another way of saying there shall be no limit to this forgiveness. That is the spirit and the law of Christianity. Well — Patriotism has its laws. And it also is a perfectly definite one, there are not vaguenesses about it. It commands that the brother over the border shall be sharply watched and brought to book every time he does us a hurt or offends us with an insult. Word it as softly as you please, the spirit of patriotism is the spirit of the dog and wolf. The moment there is a misunderstanding about a boundary line or a hamper of fish or some other squalid matter, see patriotism rise, and hear him split the universe with is war-whoop. The spirit of patriotism being in its nature jealous and selfish, is just in man’s line, it comes natural to him — he can live up to all its requirements to the letter; but the spirit of Christianity is not in its entirety possible to him.
The prayers concealed in what I have been saying is, not that patriotism should cease and not that the talk about universal brotherhood should cease, but that the incongruous firm be dissolved and each limb of it be required to transact business by itself, for the future.
Mark Twain’s Notebook