Monday, April 30, 2012

And Now The Rest...


My Top 20 Favorite Funny Things Ever (Non-Stand Up Comedy)

 #10 - #1



10 – Asssscat

Not stand up, but sketch. This is pretty high for a stage show I saw just one time.  If you’ve ever wondered why anyone would spend money to see improv comedy, this is the reason.  From the people who created Upright Citizen’s Brigade (Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts) and a slew of comics and actors along for the ride.  They perform; have videos and a podcast with reruns.  If you have the chance to see it, you will love it.



9 - Late Night with David Letterman

I guess there’s another guy hosting this show now. He’s supposed to be just fine, but I don’t give a shit.  This is the show that I stayed up for when I was a kid.  This is the show that was weird and stupid and bizarre and sarcastic and fun.  I know Dave’s still on the air on CBS, but it’s not the show that I remember.  This show fused itself into my brain.



8 - Conan O’Brien
           
Oh, Conesy.  Coco.  Knocked around three networks but still as funny and pale as ever.  Conan makes me laugh because even with 20 years of success he still hates himself, just like the rest of us nerdlingers.

7 - The Howard Stern Show

I listened to every single Stern show in Orlando from 1997 to 2002 or so before it was yanked off the air because of conservative complaints.  Every single one.  Talk radio is as addictive as heroin and Howard started everything. 






6 - Tina Fey/Alec Baldwin

 This is kind of a cheat, but I replaced 30 Rock with the two people I always want to see.  I love Tina Fey.  Didn’t give a damn about SNL when she was on, but this show is so self-deprecating, sly, quick, goofy and original I felt like an idiot for not appreciating her before.  Baldwin has always been a cool actor, but his scenes steal nearly every episode.  I can’t believe he wants to leave the show.  What the hell?




5 - The Kids In The Hall

My favorite sketch thing ever.  Either you got it, or you didn’t.  One thing I will add though; I recently watched a few episodes and I never realized how incredibly dark this show could be.  The sketches ooze with rich, thick sarcasm.   If you missed it, give it a try.  Try to ignore the early 90’s fashion.



4 - The Adam Carolla Show

 What’s that you say?  Can’t listen to Adam because he’s too manly or loud or right wing?  Well you’re correct and incorrect at the same time.  I’ve been a listener of the show and podcast for about six years or so and I’m a sensitive lefty.  Insanely gifted at improv and jokes and more opinionated than any human needs to be, his show is just plain funny.




 3 - The Office

 I forgot how good this show has been.  It is the pinnacle of anxious, uncomfortable comedy.  I believe it made the most of the mockumentary style – the characters are the most fleshed out.  It has its cartoony moments, but because of solid writing you go along with it. I always identified with Jim, less the pranking.  Watching the relationship of Pam and Jim evolve from a small town affair, to a boring small town couple, to a boring small time married couple with kids may be one of the most genuine stories on TV.



2 -Family Guy

 Family Guy isn’t better than South Park.  It’s funnier. Get the sticks out of your butts and enjoy a few obscure references and a fart joke or two.  It won't kill you.


1 - The Daily Show / The Colbert Report

 We owe the creators of these shows a mountain of gratitude.  Have you forgotten the past decade?  Bush, wars, global financial meltdown and a media gone berserk?  Was there anything better than the beacon of humor and satire and sunshine than Stewart and Colbert?  I, like the rest of America paralyzed with fear, had to tune into a comedy network for sanity and common sense. It's the absolute best place for comedy and accurate reportingI don’t mind that people get their news from these shows.  Not at all.  Jon Stewart will be remembered not like Jerry Seinfeld, but like Walter Cronkite.

 I’m proud that my kids watch these show and laugh along. It's opened up years of conversations and trained them to take what they hear in the world with a grain of salt. I love the correspondents, (Steve Carell and Jason Jones among my favorites) and there has never been a dud.

 My wife would have an affair with Stephen Colbert.  It’s the truth.  I’ve been warned. His persona is so perfectly honed, his show is both scathing and sweet, I may have to step aside and let it happen. It's a flawless show in the best hour of comedy on TV. 

See, I did it!

-jim

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Super-Listy Ultra-Nerdy Happy Fun Blurch



            When I was a kid and I first started to write down everything, I made a lot of lists.  I got picked on by friends; they compared me to Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, a character who kept notes on the minutest details of his life. I have a list of my favorite words. I have a list of hilarious names.  I have a list my favorite quotes, and those are split between the ones I heard in media or the one’s I heard firsthand. I guess never really stopped.
 Even when I had children I wrote about everything on my mind. Your kids are always talking about superlatives.  They are compiling favorites as they go.  My kids asked me on a weekly basis what my favorite ice cream flavor was, or movie, or Christmas memory, or type of sandwich cheese.  I was always ready with an answer.
Now I’m a few weeks away from 40.  Should I just cave in and accept that making lists was a nervous habit I used in an attempt to control my surroundings, or just have fun with it? Yep.  I’m gonna have fun with it.
This time, I’m narrowing it down, assigning real rank and making the effort to whittle the entries into cohesive lists.  My criteria for each list is a little different, however one common element is that these are my favorites.  I don’t think they are the world’s best, they are my best.  Yes, I like Back to the Future more than The Godfather, but I know it’s not a better movie. 
Also, and I may bring this concept to a bigger project, but I want to chop off the top entries.  Since this is a personal list, there’s really no need to cover the top 3 or top 5 of each list, because everyone who reads this knows I love The Simpsons, Lost, Beastie Boys, White Stripes, George Carlin and fried chicken.  I’ve made that abundantly clear.  So, to make it interesting to me, I’ve made a few of the top entries exempt from these lists.  I’ll mention the cast-offs quickly, and spend a little more time with the rest of the list.  That feels good to me.  Aren’t we all really on the rest of some list in life?  In the back of the room being snarky at the best and the brightest?
Project much?

First up:

My Top 20 Favorite Funny Things Ever (Non-Stand Up Comedy)

 #20 - #11

Basically everything not spoken into a mic onstage is eligible.  What is left off the list is:
Jokes and memories from friends and family.
The Simpsons, because it permeates my life still.
Saturday Night Live, because I’m in an ongoing feud whether or not I like it or not.
80’s comedies.  Again, not sure if my favorite batch is funny or I’m just sentimental.  I also hate the argument about things ‘standing up’ to the test of time. Most things don’t.




20 - The Hangover/Hot Tub Time Machine

It's a cheat, but these movies fill the same slot for me.  They are two of the few rated R comedies that have made me laugh in the past few years.  Again, I don’t look to movies for comedy much, but the surprise insanity of The Hangover and Rob Corddry-ness of HTTM were such a welcome surprise, they made the top 20.




19 - Adult Swim

It’s difficult to pick a single show.  Sorry.  They’re fifteen minutes long.  I’m partial to the earlier stuff, SeaLab 2021 and the Aqua Teen Hunger Force.  Did anyone ever catch Assy McGee?



18 - Megan Mullally

Interesting choice, huh?  Here’s the reason:  Every time she’s on a show, even as a guess star, she’s the funniest part of the whole enchilada. I dare you not to laugh at her scenes as Tammy 2 on Parks and Recreation.  Hey, and you know what?  Will and Grace was funny.  There you go.


17 - Arrested Development

 Perhaps the most over-hyped, yet deserving of at least a genuine helping of hype show of all time.  Fantastically silly, smart writing and a great cast.  My wife insists Jessica Walters (as Lucille) was the greatest part of the show.  Jason Bateman as Michael was the perfect fall guy, Will Arnett as GOB was great and even the narratcion by Ron Howard made me laugh.


16 - Friends

This is the funniest traditional sitcom of the nineties.  Period.  Don’t be fooled by that other show set in New York about nothing.  This show about nothing had comedy that came from a sweeter, more sarcastic, yet less dickish place.  I just watched a few reruns and it’s still hilarious.

15 - Spongebob Squarepants

This is among a handful of great kids’ shows in the last ten years or so.  It deserves its bazillion dollar success because it embraces something that few people respect anymore: Silliness.  It’s just playful, fun, and the jokes are for everyone. And that rhymed.



14 - First time I saw Austin Powers

Remember when this wasn’t annoying as hell?  To be fair to Mike Myers, these movies succeeded because of Dr. Evil.  Oh, it’s been so long, Mike…



13  -Tenacious D

 Amy and I loved this when it came out.  I don’t anyone else who got onboard, but in 2001-2002 we laughed our asses off. A comedy rock album with filthy lyrics aided by Dave Grohl and Page McConnell of Phish?  What’s not to like?



12 – Parks and Recreation

It’s fairly new, but I can’t recall a show that started so pale and dry and turned into complete gold by the end of the second season.  A full cast of individual characters, each with their timing and personality.  It is the most fun I have watching TV right now.




11 - Bill Murray

  Honestly, if you don’t get why he’s here, I can’t explain it to you.

more to come - 

jim







Thursday, April 26, 2012

#102 - Did It Succeed As A Steak?



Sop this up with a biscuit here.

---

Sunshine. Rain. Dust. Construction. Walk. Lab. Donovan. Walk.

Pace. Cell Phone. Craigslist. Email. Resume. Cell Phone.  Email. Pace.

Eggs.  Toast. Oranges. Chicken. Spaghetti. Eggs.

Budget. Money. Worry. Plan. Budget.

TV. Chess. Crossword. Jeopardy. Netflix. Podcast. Funny. Sleep.

Pace. Pace. Pace. Pace. Pace.

Chin up.

-jim




Friday, April 20, 2012

#101 - Ideological Eating Disorder


Author of the quote. I've done my duty.

Eat this show here.

Saw Marc Maron and it was a great show. I talk about the particulars on the podcast, but lest you believe I am giving him short shrift...I don't know where I was going with this. Listen to his podcast, (link on the side) it's more coherent.

Walking means everything to me. I do it as much as possible and when I miss a day, I feel a tiny shred of failure inside. I relieved stress, thought up ideas, daydreamed I was a comedian or a rock star, went completely blank, took a break from being a dad and a husband or a citizen or a human, and worked out a few gastrointestinal issues nearly every week for the last 22 years or so. My legs are firm and muscular while the rest of me is a soggy mess.

It truly is the only time I take for myself. That should change, right?

Anyway - good show.

Enjoy,
jim

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

#100 - Side To Side, Like A Typewriter


You may find the centennial podcast here.

One hundred shows? What the what?

My original goal was to make it to 25. Once I did, I wanted to make them better. I believe I did that as well. Now, I don’t know what my goal is. Be funny? Is that so bad?

I talk a little in the intro about getting back to writing where I belong. I can’t tell you how satisfying it has to nurse The Big Idea. Right now it’s rolling around in my head, collecting the dust and scraps that lie around up there. It’s getting bigger and surprising me more every day. All of the big ideas have come in the morning, for some reason. It’s that last tether to slumberland that holds on between the subconscious and the acknowledgement that you are who you are, you're in your bed, and it’s time to pee.

It is the estuary of your imagination. Where all the exotic and funky stuff grows and can’t be found anywhere else.

But, anyway. One hundred shows is a milestone that impresses me, because I know me. Also, it’s the third anniversary of the show, but 100 shows feels more impressive, right?

Okay, enough of this. Happy Birthday, Amy, and I’ll be right behind you in about nine weeks.

Ugh. I mean, yay!

-jim

Thursday, April 5, 2012

#99 - Stop Following Me, Cookies!


Taste the deliciousness here.

I'm not saying that it's in everyone's best interest to read The Hunger Games series and Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius at the same time. I'm just saying that is how I need to read things.

Too busy reading and checking Craigslist every fifteen minutes. Enjoy the show.

-jim