The Beckhams

David and Victoria Beckham named their child Brooklyn because that is where they sold their souls to the devil.

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Too soon?

I get a kick out of comics who tell a joke on a touchy subject and then ask, "Too soon?" when people don't laugh. Because invariably the problem is not "too soon"'s "too not funny."

Sorry, chronology is not the problem. People don't think, "I liked the joke, but it was just too timely."

Saying "too soon" after a crappy joke is like setting up a chick on a date with a homeless guy and then, when she complains, saying, "Too tall? It's because he's too tall, right?" A: "No, it's because he's too not having a home."


Dissecting "Legs" by ZZ Top

I am obsessed with the song "Legs" by ZZ Top.

The lyric goes, "She's got legs and she knows how to use them." Apparently ZZ Top is easy to impress. You merely have to 1) not be an amputee and 2) know how to walk.

I think that's definitely a better lyric than "She's got legs and she's a parapalegic." Because what do you rhyme with that...strategic?...collegiate? No way.

The lyrics get even better in the second verse: "She's got hair down to her fanny. She's kinda jet set, try undo her panties." Chew on that, Bob Dylan!

You should also watch the video for the song:

As you can see, it is very subtle. I think it was influenced a lot by Francois Truffaut's "The 400 Blows." Keep an eye out for the shoe salesman who is also the generic evil guy in every 80s video. His acting is sublime.

The plot really twists too: There's this girl. And at first, she's kinda homely. If she was a duck, she'd be an unattractive one. But by the end, she's transformed into a total fox! Bet you didn't see that coming. I think that would be a good plot to use in a play or a movie or something.


The outrage over Michael Vick

I just can't believe what Michael Vick did to those dogs.

How on earth could an athlete who's been trained from a young age to compete in a vicious, brutal sport...that causes terrible injuries...merely for the entertainment value of others who like to place bets on it...think it could be alright to train animals from a young age to compete in a vicious, brutal sport...that causes terrible injuries...merely for the entertainment value of others who like to place bets on it.

I'm outraged.

In other news, I'm taking the Bears (-3) over the Lions this week. If Rex Grossman turns the ball over again, I'll kill him!


The Audiophile

New character I'm working on: The Audiophile. This clip from Rev Jen Anti-Slam at Mo Pitkin's.

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NYC venue watch

Went to Kingdom of Heaven at The Creek and the Cave in LIC last night. Maybe the best open mic crowd I've ever seen. Really into it. And Baron Vaughn killed it at the end as the "Comedian of Merit" (all the other comics were meritless?). Looking forward to having Baron at the next Flying Carpet.

Re: Lower East Side. After performing in front of a lame crowd at Piano's the other week, a comic told me he's never had a good show in that neighborhood (LES). I thought that seemed a little ridiculous. But then I thought about it. And I've never seen a killer comedy show at a venue south of Houston. Hmm. Is there something about the 'hood that prevents people from laughing? Maybe everyone's too cool for school there?


Advance warning: Flying Carpet on Oct. 4, 2007

Flying Carpet on Oct. 4, 2007

27 Ways to Kill Moby

There are voices in my head and they keep telling me one thing: "Kill Moby." Featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Indians, Beyoncé, a monster truck, Justin Timberlake, chainsaws, and more.

I spent last weekend creating the music and images in the video. Why? Check out these 100% real Moby-related headlines at Yahoo:

Moby Says Iraqi Problem Too Complicated To Have An Opinion

Moby Discusses NASA Shuttle Tragedy

Moby Has Near Brush With Eminem

Moby Thanks Fans For Support After Beatdown

Moby Depressed About American Foreign Policy

Moby Takes On Butterball Turkeys For PETA

Moby Chimes In On Potential Iraq Attack

Moby Has Idea For September 11 Commemoration

Moby Upset By Terror Attacks On Israel

Moby Fuming Over Toxic Fumes From Twin Towers

Moby On Afghanistan Attack

Moby On Inducting Steely Dan Into Rock Hall

Moby Wants To Be Fifth Member Of U2

...and my personal favorite: Moby Attacked By Cat.

Moby was whisked to a New York City hospital on Tuesday (January 2) for treatment for a cat bite sustained on New Year's Day. Moby was walking around Chinatown when a nice gesture on the techno rocker's part went awry.

"I was walking around Chinatown (as I'm wont to it 'want' or 'wont'? My Chaucerian English is pretty crappy) and I stopped to pet a street cat (as I'm wont to do) and the street cat attacked me (as they're wont to do) and it bit my hand very deeply (as they're wont to do. Ok, I'll stop now)," wrote Moby on his website.

He added, "Throughout the day my hand got more and more infected and swollen and sore. But I, being relatively stoic, just went about my business, assuming that my relative youth and relative health would prevent me from getting rabies or whatever diseases were floating around in this cat's mouth. But no. I went to sleep with a sore hand, only to be awoken at some ungodly hour (9 a.m.) with tons of pain and the inability to move my fingers."

"So, being of sound mind and body, I went to my local emergency room where I was rushed into the 'urgent care' ward and given a tetanus shot and some mega-dose of antibiotics. The doctors told me that cat bites are extremely serious (especially when delivered by the foul-mouthed denizens of dumpsters in Chinatown) and they reprimanded me for not coming in right after it happened."

Fuck. I totally thought petting cats in Chinatown was a good idea. There go my weekend plans.

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Pillow Talk With Anthony Moscowitz

I'll be performing at this show tomorrow at Rififi...


Pillow Talk With Anthony Moscowitz
Anthony Moscowitz(created by Livia Scott) is a writer living in New York City. Join him and a special line up of comedy all-stars as he explores the world of seduction and tries to learn how to become a PUA. (that's "Pick Up Artist" for those "in the know")

TUESDAY, SEPT. 18th @ 10PM
332 East 11th St.

Brandy & Sara (The Kissing Booth)
Sven Wechlser (Brainayxe)
and Matt Ruby (Flying Carpet at Mo'Pitkins)


The brotherhood of magic and comedy

Magic goes for ooh's and aahs, comedy goes for laughter. But they both come from the same place: surprise. Get people to expect one thing and then elicit a reaction with an unexpected twist.

Sleights of Mind is a look at the mental stuff that makes magic work. It discusses about how magic takes advantage of the tendency of people to see patterns and make assumptions.

The cognitive illusions that masquerade as magic: disguising one action as another, implying data that isn’t there, taking advantage of how the brain fills in gaps — making assumptions, as The Amazing Randi put it, and mistaking them for facts.

Sounding more like a professor than a comedian and magician, Teller described how a good conjuror exploits the human compulsion to find patterns, and to impose them when they aren’t really there.

“In real life if you see something done again and again, you study it and you gradually pick up a pattern,” he said as he walked onstage holding a brass bucket in his left hand. “If you do that with a magician, it’s sometimes a big mistake.”

Take this Steven Wright joke: "The Stones, I love the Stones. I watch them whenever I can. Fred, Barney..." It's pretty much a magic trick, just with words. You set 'em up in one direction (Mick & Keith) and then tweak 'em with the twist (Fred & Barney).

The Rule of Threes works this way too. Set up a pattern on the first two items and then break out of it in a ridiculous way on the third. (Lots of lame hack jokes work this way. For example: "I only know three French words: Bonjour, merci, and surrender.") This look at the Rule of Three gives priest, nun, rabbi jokes as an example:

The subconscious, the minute it sees the rabbi walk up to the bar, has already filled in the blank. It knows what’s coming next because it figured out the pattern and is feeling pretty smug about it. That’s when the rabbi delivers the twist. It’s the surprise, the jerk away from the expected path that brings the laugh.

Speaking of magic, one of the people I most enjoy seeing perform is a Chicago magician named Bibik. He works parties and events doing up close magic tricks and riffing along the way. He's slightly off but in a great way: he insults the crowd, performs the same trick several times, works in some props, etc.

The funniest thing I ever saw him do: Wave over a Mexican guy selling tamales in a bar, pull out a wallet, and reach for a $20 bill that then exploded in flames. The tamale guy, who had no idea Bibik was a magician, looked as if he'd just seen a ghost. Bibik offered him the charred $20 but he ran off. Good times.

One last tangent: In Steve Martin's new book, he talks about how he began performing as a magician and the impact it had on his career. Here's him doing "The Great Flydini" on the Tonight Show.


Playing a character

It's liberating to perform as a character. As Mike Burns told me, "When you're in character, you can get away with anything."

Had this IM chat the other day on the same topic:

JF: just saw the france thing. why going in that direction?
MR: when you're in character, you can get away with a lot more. sorta andy kaufman/sasha baron cohen mentality.
JF: Just a experiment?
MR: i've been taking improv classes and that pushed me a bit to try out more character stuff.
JF: gotchya
MR: started as experiment but it's gone so well i'm working on more.
JF: easier to get laughs with an accent?
MR: foreigners are funny. anything strange/surprising is easier to be funny with.
JF: definitely. once you push people off balance it's probably easier to get a reaction out of them.
MR: yeah, when people are laughing before u even tell a joke. that's when you've got em. and i see so much standup that i get bored w/ the same ol same ol. fun to do something different. and when u think about it, a lot of great comedy comes from people playing characters...even if it's not obviously that. larry david, mitch hedberg, groucho marx, steven wright, etc. all caricatures.
JF: I can dig that.


Big Gulp full of breast milk

A recent set as Simon Beauregard, France's #1 standup comic, at Comedy Village.


See me at FREE IT IS IT comedy tonight at Piano's

Come out for IT IS IT Tonight Sept. 10th.

Rob Cantrell, The Late Late Show
Larry Murphy, Adult Swim
Max Silvestri, VH1
Shonali Bhowmik, Tigers and Monkeys
Matt Ruby, Sandpaper Suit
Joe Pickett & Nick Prueher, Found Footage Festival

Hosted by Adam Lowitt

8pm at Pianos 158 Ludlow at Stanton FREE