Admittedly, my ignorant young self knows nothing about Carol Burnett. But, a comedian friend shared a quote of hers from this Hollywood Reporter interview that I thought was interesting:
“Today the suits say, “It’s got to be fast.” So I think some of the writing isn’t good anymore. Now sitcoms sound like they’ve been written by teenage boys in a locker room.”
I agree. TV writing today is just punchlines in a lot of shows, which to me gets old. That’s not how life works. Some of the best sketch writing builds up to a climax. A lot of great sketches or TV shows are more “thinkers” than laugh out loud funny and the pressure for have every second be funny to compete with people’s short attention span I see as detrimental.
Stand up writing is actually very similar in New York. Here, you gotta have punchline, punchline, punchline or else no one will listen to you. I think there’s a lot of great comedy that isn’t like that, so it’s nice to see someone else saying, “Slow down!”
I actually don’t think anything else in the interview is that interesting, but please do read it if that tickles your fancy. And then you’ll know just about as much about Carol Burnett as I do.
This past Monday I went to Whiplash at UCB in Chelsea for the first time. It was an amazing show and all the comics killed. Sean Patton headlined the show, and I’m not sure that I’ve seen him perform before. He’s a totally different act than what I’m used to seeing and it was pretty refreshing. And Patton especially murdered.
Anyways, I’ve been sharing a lot of articles and such lately so I figured it was time to get some more videos going. Here’s a fun one.
I was reminded of this awesome Atlantic piece today when I was writing my article about how math jokes are kind of taboo.
It’s about how people often have this very visceral negative reaction to puns that’s really weird and trying to find out why that happens. Super intersting.
A lot of people hate math. People hate math so much that our word for “complete and utter destruction” is “after–math.” That’s pretty bad. Like, what’s left after a bomb – we compare that…to multiplication tables.
That’s a joke I wrote that pretty much sums up how 50% of people feel about mathematics: it’s the absolute worst thing in the world. Physical torture cannot compare to the mundaneness of arithmetic nor the frustration of solving a system of equations. And yet, there are some crazy, weird people who actually like math.
What?! Who?! Well, I’m one of them! And so is San Francisco/Los Angeles based comedian Sammy Obeid. And if you’re a comedian who likes math, sometimes that can work against you.
Continue reading “Are Math Jokes Taboo?”
This has been all over Reddit, but I can’t help but share it because it’s hilarious. If you didn’t know, H. Jon Benjamin is the voice of infamous Archer and also Bob from Bob’s Burgers. And he’s a hilarious guy. He’s been all over TV, too – I’ve seen him in everything from Important Things with Demetri Martin to Aziz Ansari’s Master of None.
He released a new jazz album where he plays along on piano with a jazz band composed of world-class musicians…and he doesn’t know how to play piano. It’s the same kind of funny as those horrible recorder-playing songs, but way classier. And funnier, I think.
You can actually buy the album, too. So do that. If you like it.
You just got back into town from a long business trip. And you’re like, “Hey! No one is talking about what the weather was like yesterday! I wonder what I missed! Even if it was a pretty regular day I’d just like to know about it, you know? Just to ease my mind. Like, the weather channel only ever talks about the weather for today and the future! Unless there was an avalanche or Sharknado yesterday, no one is ever chatting about yesterday! I wanna know about the past, man! I wanna know what I missed!” You talk to yourself a lot.
Or, maybe you’re just forgetful.
Either way, my new segment, Yesterday’s Weather, is a perfect fit for you. I’m no meteorologist, but you will find out whatever yesterday’s weather was like wherever I was. The weather channel is always wrong. Get ready for the only weather report that’s 100% guaranteed…it’s time for Yesterday’s Weather.
Continue reading “Yesterday’s Weather 1/19/16”
Saw this article recently about how Louis C.K. is teaming up with Albert Brooks to write and star in an animated pilot for FX. (don’t start sentences with “I” because I’m cool)
I heard of this before and I’m really excited for it. Why wouldn’t you be excited to see something Louis C.K. is involved in? The article also mentions the other projects tht C.K.’s production company is working on right now and there’s a bunch of cool stuff I’m excited about too – projects with Zach Galifianakis, Pamela Adlon, and Tig Notaro.
Apparently there’s no word on when this stuff will be coming out, which pisses me off. I guess I’m just looking people to co-anticipate with me. Maybe I’ll watch some more Louie in the mean time.
Day Seven: Phil Hanley
Okay this is the guy you’re most likely to have heard of, but I’m still pretty darn sure you haven’t. Hanley is a huge name in New York, performing regularly at the biggest clubs like The Cellar and Caroline’s. I’ve seen him a bunch of times and every time he’s one of my favorites. He’s kind of a lovable asshole. And he’s from Canada. And he used to be a male model. Still a male, not a model anymore.
Anyways, he’s swell. Is it a coincidence that pretty much every one of these comics has performed on Ferguson’s show? I don’t think so. Ferguson and I have good taste.
If you like his work, Hanley’s Comedy Central “The Half Hour” came out this past November. Check it out.
Day Six: Joe Pera
Yes, I know! I missed a day! It’s all ruined!
Sorry I was busy yesterday, but no fear…today you’ll get double the dose of Great Comedians You Haven’t Heard Of Week as I’ll be sending out the last one a bit later…
Day five is Joe Pera and he’s probably the one you’re least likely to have heard of. I’m not sure he’s even been on late night yet, but he’s been around the biggest clubs in New York. He has a charm about him that you’ll just have to see for yourself. He showed up to an open mic I was at and it really does sound like he’s doing stand up for the very first time…every single time…in a good way.
If you like him, check out his MTV miniseries project, Pancake Breakfast Critic on YouTube. He makes the very bland very funny. I enjoy it. But I can see a lot of people not being on board. Pera also does stand up in the subway, apparently. Which is pretty cool. I’d like to try that.
I came across comedian Owen Benjamin in a very weird way recently. A guy on twitter started following me who is friends with Benjamin. Which is how I found Benjamin’s site and eventually came across his documentary, 60 Minutes, 7 Days.
If you’re a fan of comedy, this is a must see documentary. The premise is that Benjamin tries to write 60 minutes of show-ready material in 7 days – which, if you didn’t know, is pretty darn insane of a goal to hit.
A lot of the documentary is narration. Some of it is kind of weird. But it takes you into the mind of a writer and comedian: who Benjamin is and what it’s like to turn horrible material into something people will laugh at. I love it.
I eventually realized that a friend had recommended Benjamin’s podcast, Why Didn’t They Laugh, to me before. I’ve only listened to one episode of it so far, but I absolutely love it too. It breaks down comedy and quite literally offers answers to why certain jokes don’t work. It’s an analytical approach to comedy, but it’s also a really fun show.
Both the doc and podcast are fantastic if you ask me – Owen Benjamin has a new fan!