Lines from the Pete Holmes roast at UCB

Outta town so I missed the Pete Holmes roast at UCB. Sounds like a fun one. A spy reports:

Anthony Jeselnik: "John Mulaney is proof that women can be funny."

Somebody called Jared Logan Jiminy Glick.

Pete Holmes: "You may have seen Julian McCollough at the Comedy Cellar or Bang Bus."

David Angelo: "My favorite thing about Mulaney is...Nick Kroll."

John Mulaney: "Kumail is rising fast. The only thing that can stop him now is Allah! You fucking traitor!"

Anthony Jeselnik: "I don't care if Herzog makes it. I just want his mom to die."

Were ya there? Any fave moments?

My guest spot on The Comedy Nerds podcast

The Comedy Nerds is a cool website and weekly podcast about comedy from Dustin D’Addato and Dan McInerney. The guys recently had me as a guest on the podcast — the topic: "How To Put On A Kick Ass Comedy Show."

A few weeks back comedian Matt Ruby had a great post on his blog Sandpaper Suit about all the things necessary to put on a quality comedy show. We loved it and invited him on to talk about the do’s and don’t of producing a comedy show. We discuss the importance of sound, lights, hosting and much much more. If you are thinking of producing your own show or have ever wondered what goes into it you’ll want to take a listen.

Stand-up comedian and producer of the indy comedy show “Too Cool For School” Nick Turner joins us as well.

Listen here.


"Do you have any advice for beginner comedians?"

Slava Yaryshkin interviewed me for his Stand-up Comedy 101 blog. Among other things, he asked me, "Do you have any advice for beginner comedians?" My answer to that:

Well there's the usual stuff like get onstage as much as possible, learn how to be funny not just how to write jokes, and other things you can hear people say on the "On Comedy" CDs (Seinfeld and Woody ones are great) or listening to CK interviews (the one on his new DVD is super).

Here's one I don't hear a lot: Learn how to listen. The audience is having a conversation with you. They're talking back to you. They're just not using words. So you have to gauge that energy and how they're feeling and if they're with you or not and steer the ship accordingly. I think a lot of new comics just spit stuff out at the crowd and they're surprised when they don't get something back. Slow down and have a conversation. Comedy, especially in small rooms, is more like harmonizing with the crowd. You have to hear what note they're singing back to you and then use your words and timing and inflection to get on their wavelength and vice versa. If shit ain't flying, turn conversational. Just tell the truth about that moment. Being in the moment and unfunny is way better than reciting a script and being unfunny.

That's kinda namby pamby. How about something more concrete? Try different stuff. When you're starting out, I think it can be healthy to try one liners, longer bits, characters, and other things. Exercise those different muscles. See what hits. What feels comfortable (and not). Sometimes stretching yourself will lead you to places that other people wouldn't go. That will make you more interesting than other comics. Most comics are boring. Don't be boring.

Oh, and go see good comics perform. I see a lot of new comics who only go to open mics and that's it. That's like trying to learn physics from a bunch of lab rats. Go see a master and you'll learn a ton you'd never learn on your own.

One final thing: I think comics are like magicians, but with words. There are too many out there just doing card tricks. Try to saw a woman in half.

Read the entire Q&A here.



We're All Friends Here tomorrow (Fri) night

The comedy chat show with boundary issues!
Hosted by Matt Ruby and Mark Normand
With Rory Scovel, Ali Wong, and David Cope

Friday, March 27
Doors at 9:30pm (show starts at 10pm)
The Creek
10-93 Jackson Ave at 49th Ave
Long Island City, NY
Map (Just one subway stop from Brooklyn and Manhattan)


From sold out shows in Austin to a dive bar gig in Jersey City

Ah, back to reality. Did a dive bar gig in Jersey City last night.

I went up first. I opened and thought riffing would work. Not so. Heckling starts right away. ("GET OFF!") Worst of all, I couldn't even understand most of what they were yelling so couldn't comment back. So went to material. Got 'em back but it was a power through set.

Then some Jersey City guys. Loved this riff from one of 'em: There's a guy upfront with a handlebar mustache. Then a second guy with a handlebar mustache walks in from the back and yells out, "I'm here for the jokes." Comic looks at him, looks at the guy in the front, and then goes, "I can't believe you guys found room to park both your hot air balloons outside." Crowd loses it.

After a few more comics, Mark Normand goes up last. By then, the entire dynamic of the room shifted. Material wouldn't fly at all. So he just riffed. And it was maybe my favorite set I've ever seen him do. Rickles-style. ("This is the ugliest audience I've ever seen.") Just shits on the room and everyone in it for over 20 minutes. And they loved it.

He went after one guy in a NASCAR-looking jacket with lots of Dale Earnhardt cracks ("You've got a lot of keys. Don't you guys usually go through the window?"). There was a 50/50 chance of a physical altercation at one point. Dude moved up and started giving attitude back. And so did his friend. Turns out the seemingly really angry guy was a good sport but it was pretty touch and go there for a bit. At the end, people came up to Mark and started hugging him. Don't think I've ever seen people so happy to be insulted before. Good times.

Mark's comment on it: "What's funny is all that riffing I was doing came from doing mics. People shit on mics. But if I got that from them, I can't complain."


Video: Behind the scenes at SXSW Comedy 2009

This video I made takes you behind the scenes at the comedy shows at SXSW 2009 (and some rock stuff too). Includes brief cameos from Hannibal Burress, Matt Braunger, Andy Kindler, Todd Barry, Janeane Garafolo, Margaret Cho, Doug Benson, Natasha Leggero, Marc Maron, Sean O'Connor, and others.

Mortimer wins Best Web Short of '08

My "White Collar Comedy with Mortimer the Steel Baron" video won Best Web Short of '08 at ComedySmack's Smack-Down.

This is a special issue of ComedySmack to announce the winners of ComedySmack's Smack-Down '08: The Best Comedy of 2008. The contestants and winners were determined by our panel of comedy insiders and by public voting. The winning comedy is a representation of the best and funniest items featured on ComedySmack last year. Congratulations to the winners of Smack-Down '08!

Thanks to ComedySmack and to everyone who voted for the clip! And one more round of thanks to Brad Steuernagel, Jay Bois, and Selena Coppock for their help creating the video.


Photo of me with some up and coming comedians

Comedians at SXSW 2009

Group shot of comedians at SXSW 2009. From L to R (approx): Janeane Garofalo, Josh Fadem, Charlie Sotelo, Marc Maron, Todd Barry, Matt Braunger, Eugene Mirman, Scott Aukerman, Michelle Biloon, Natasha Leggero, Andy Kindler, Chris Fairbanks, Matt Ruby.

I'm back from SXSW

SXSW 2009 badgeSXSW was great and my sets went really well. Shot some cool video footage while there, coming soon. Meanwhile, you can check out my SXSW updates at Twitter. Some links to pics there too. Start from the bottom and read up if ya want it in chronological order. Stay tuned for the video, you'll dig it.


Gervais and David talk about the truth and being unique

This "Ricky Gervais meets Larry David" interview is a must see.

RG: I suppose that's why people like yourself don't compromise in your art. That's where no one can get hurt. [In] art you're allowed to be a complete fascist. I don't care about you. There should be no compromise in art.

LD: If you're any good, you kinda have to have a compulsion to tell the truth.

RG: Absolutely. And without guilt. This is guilt-free truth, comedy.

Guilt-free truth. Gotta like that. This Jean Baudrillard quote is kinda related:

Terror is as much a part of the concept of truth as runniness is of the concept of jam. We wouldn’t like jam if it didn’t, by its very nature, ooze. We wouldn’t like truth if it wasn’t sticky, if, from time to time, it didn’t ooze blood.

LD: I want to do things that nobody else can think of. That's what you wanna do.

RG: I want the right laugh. I want to look around and go, "Right, they're not laughing. That's a good sign. I didn't want them to laugh. I don't want you liking my comedy.

"I want to do things that nobody else can think of." THAT'S IT. This whole personal stuff vs. one liners vs. characters and being authentic and all that crap. It's just being yourself in a way that no one else could ever be. Mitch Hedberg is never personal but what he delivers is 100% unique. That's what it's about. It doesn't matter what form it takes. It's just that you're being you in a way that no one else can be you.

Watch the rest.


Info on my SxSW shows

This week, I will totally be messing with Texas. Well, Austin. Does that even count? Anyway, here's where I'll be performing at SxSW:

FRI Mar 20 8:00pm SXSW comedy show @ The Velveeta Room (following Margaret Cho)
SAT Mar 21 8:00pm Show @ ColdTowne Theater (Chris Hardwick headlines)
SAT Mar 21 11:00pm SXSW comedy show @ The Velveeta Room (following Eugene Mirman)

Check my Twitter feed for updates on how it goes. See the full list of comics performing at SxSW.


Jon Stewart should stop using comedy as a shield

Jon Stewart to Jim Cramer:

We both sell snake oil. But, here [on The Daily Show], we at least admit it's snake oil.

I love Jon Stewart. I watch the Daily Show more than any other TV show. I think it's great when he attacks politicians. But that's easy. Everyone does that. What I really like is when he goes after the media. When he indicts Crossfire and CNBC and all these talking heads for contributing to the aura of bullshit that pervades our country.

But one thing I don't like that he does: He plays the "but I'm just a comedian" card. Bullshit Jon. We all know you're more than that now. You can pretend you run a fake news show and that no one should take you seriously. But we all know it's not true. We all know what you're doing matters. We all know people trust and respect you more than most "real" newscasters. You have real power and real authority. And you have it because you speak in a way that demands it.

It just doesn't seem fair for you to run around pointing fingers all the time but then as soon as anyone fires back, you pull up your bubble that makes you bulletproof or Teflon or whatever analogy you want to use.

"This is fake news." Maybe it was. But you've mixed in too much truth to pretend you're a phony anymore. "My show is followed by sock puppets making prank phone calls." So what? Maybe that's the place we're most likely to find the truth in our society right now.

You don't hear Bill Maher doing the same thing. He throws his daggers and then he stands right there and takes his shots. He doesn't hide his attacks behind a cloak of "I'm just a comedian so you can't hold me to the same standards." His attitude seems to be: Yeah, I said it. That's what I think. And I'm right. If you don't think so, take your best shot.

I think that's a nobler approach to take. Stand up for what you believe in. I don't think you'd ever hear Bill Hicks end one of his political bits with, "I'm just a comedian though. You shouldn't take me seriously."

Of course we should take you seriously. You're the only one telling it like it is. If we can't take you seriously, who can we take seriously? You're not peddling snake oil, Jon. You're peddling the truth.

So man up. No more hiding. No more special rules because you're funny. No more using comedy or sock puppets as a shield. It's the easy way out. You said it. You meant it. And you were right.


Bold choices

It's tough when you go see a friend perform. You never know what to say afterwards if it's bad.

Example: A girl I know is in an improv group and after a show, a friend of hers came up and said, "You guys made a lot of bold choices up there." Bold choices aren't necessarily good choices. "Wow, you're mixing 15 horse tranquilizers with a gallon of Mad Dog? You sure are making a lot of bold choices!"

Another good one people say after a show: "You looked like you were having a lot of fun up there." That one also applies to combining pills and booze. Fun and quality aren't the same thing.

My favorite line though is "I could never do what you do." That really means "I could never do what you do...because I have a sense of shame." Or "I could never do what you do...suck that badly."

You'd never hear these sort of "compliments" in another profession: "Excuse me Doctor. I saw you perform surgery today. I've gotta say, you sure were making a lot of bold choices in there. Amputating for an ingrown toenail? Wow. I'm only a third year med student...I could never do what you do!"

(True story: I was arrested once with another comedian. The cop who was fingerprinting us found out we were comics and said, "I could never do what you guys do." Uh, you get shot at!)


Guest spot on "The Check Spot" podcast

I'm a guest on the most recent edition of The Check Spot podcast (March 14, 2009).

This week, Lee Camp and Matt Ruby join us to talk about Cramer Vs. Stewart, media poisoning, and the importance of the letter K in comedy.

Listen online or get the podcast in iTunes. Thanks to Dan, Arthur, and Dave for having me on the show.


Going clean in front of a church group

I did a show in front of a church group in NYC last week and had to keep it clean.

Keep it family friendly. This is a free event which means anyone and everyone off of the street is welcome to wander in and take advantage of this night (and they will.) If you are a comedian or singer or any other performer, no cursing and no sexual content. This is NOT a night of vulgarity.

That's taking away a few of my favorite weapons, but I managed. Actually, I think it was healthy to go clean for a change. I don't want to rely on going blue to be funny. So I threw out some dirty bits and cleaned up some others that have curses but can fly without 'em too. It also gave me a chance to rotate in some older bits that I hadn't done for a while.

The most challenging thing was riffing. I like to be in the moment, but I don't trust myself to be PG-13 if I'm just letting it fly. The whole point is to not worry about what's going to come out of my mouth next. Once a filter goes up, everything's screwed up.

Still, I had some fun when no one there fessed up to being a vegetarian...


The difference between a me-too show and a remarkable one

The Comic's Comic wrote this about 2009's 50 First Jokes a while back:

I'm not sure this is the kind of show that benefits from such mainstream exposure from the NYT...This year's show was tighter, to be sure, but also probably not the best experience for the kind of unsuspecting Times reader who doesn't normally go to a stand-up comedy show. After all, you're witnessing mostly unknown or unheralded comedians attempting brand-new jokes. That's it. That's the show. For the comedy community, it's a great chance, and perfect timing after the holidays, to reconnect and reboot for a new year. For an audience, well, I'm not sold on what they're doing there. At least on this particular show. Am I wrong on this one?

I think it's a decent point. But I think there's a lesson here to learn for people who produce comedy shows: The shows that get the biggest audiences aren't always the best shows. Sometimes they're ones that have a good hook. And 50 First Jokes has a good hook.

Here are a few other shows that get a ton of buzz: The Rejection Show, Stripped Stories, Mortified, The Naked Show, etc. Packed houses, book deals, press coverage. What do they have in common? They're remarkable. They all have a concept that someone can tell a friend about that's unique and memorable. And that brings in audience, including people who wouldn't normally go to a comedy show.

Me-too shows get lost in the shuffle. If it sounds the same as every other show, why should people give it any special attention? If you want to see a downtown show that features six comics each doing eight minute spots, you have dozens of options. If you want to see people read their childhood diaries, you have only one option. That's the kind of thing that makes a show stand out.

This idea is what Seth Godin, a marketing guy, talks about when he writes about purple cows.

While driving through France a few years ago, my family and I were enchanted by the hundreds of storybook cows grazing in lovely pastures right next to the road. For dozens of kilometers, we all gazed out the window, marveling at the beauty. Then, within a few minutes, we started ignoring the cows. The new cows were just like the old cows, and what was once amazing was now common. Worse than common: It was boring.

Cows, after you've seen them for a while, are boring. They may be well-bred cows, Six Sigma cows, cows lit by a beautiful light, but they are still boring. A Purple Cow, though: Now, that would really stand out. The essence of the Purple Cow -- the reason it would shine among a crowd of perfectly competent, even undeniably excellent cows -- is that it would be remarkable. Something remarkable is worth talking about, worth paying attention to. Boring stuff quickly becomes invisible.

If you're starting a show, think about what's going to make it different than every other show out there. I don't think you have to get over-the-top gimmicky. But if you don't do anything to stand out, don't be surprised when gen pop doesn't care much about what you're doing.


Topical jokes that have no shelf life

Mark: been thinking a lot about this: when I did Broadway that time and watching alexandro, they seem to be able to write good topical jokes about chris brown or phelps. And the audience loves them but they have no shelf life. Should we be doing that? I kinda don't care about that stuff. Whats your take?

Me: i think it works for the same reason riffing works. people give you credit for being in the moment (relatively) and it's obviously relatable. but remember when ck said he never talks about what's in the news? i kinda feel that's a better approach. you build a bit that lasts. i'd rather spend time doing that than trying to make something funny that i'm gonna have to throw away in two months. plus, it's shit that's covered so much elsewhere (late night shows, etc.). a lot less chance you're gonna have a fresh take on something when everyone's making jokes about it.

Mark: good point. Id rather have lasting material that i feel strong about. but on the other hand it shows you can write a joke about anything and its kind of a good exercise i think. but in the long run i'm probably not going to do it. Although it could be a fun discipline to learn.

Me: yeah, i would say if you have a line that comes to ya, go ahead and try it. but i wouldn't slave over it trying to come up with the right punch. i lump it in with crowdwork or the riffing we see people do at the top of a set all the time. that kinda stuff is fun but your real material is what's gonna make or break you. unless what ya really want is to be a writer for SNL, Best Week Ever, Daily Show, or something like that. then i could see how it'd be a good muscle to flex.

A funny opening line I didn't expect to be funny

I sometimes forget that people read this site. My first words onstage at The Pit last night were: "So I was watching TV the other night." And people started laughing. Someone said, "Oh, I get it." Took me a second. And then I realized they were laughing because of the post on how I hate comics who talk about TV. But actually I was just trying to get into my bit about Chuck Norris facts. Weird split second though where I thought to myself, "But I haven't said anything funny yet!?"


An example of an innovative approach to a hack subject: Patton Oswalt's bit on meeting George Lucas

So I've been talking about how TV is a lame subject to tackle and how there can still be interesting approaches to hack subjects. Something that came to mind that relates: Comics who bitch about how the last three Star Wars movies sucked. So done. And really, who cares?

In the hands of most people, I couldn't give a shit. But the exception that shows how you can still take an innovative approach to a topic like that is Patton Oswalt's bit on meeting George Lucas and discussing the prequels. Read the bit or listen to it.

"Would you like a dish of ice cream?"

"Why, yes I would l like some ice cream. That would be very nice!"

"Well here's a big sack of rock salt!"

"What? You said I'd be getting ice cream?"

"Well, when you add the cream and sugar and ice and do a little mixing and then presto, you have ice cream!"

"I DON'T GIVE A SHIT WHERE THE STUFF I LOVE COMES FROM! I JUST LOVE THE STUFF I LOVE! Hey, do you love Angelina Jolie? Does she give you a big boner? Well then here's Jon Voight's ballsack! That's right! The sweaty, pink ballsack she swam out of. Now jerk off to that, you lucky so and so!"

I've never even seen any of the prequels yet I still think it's hilarious. Goes to show that if you take a fresh enough approach, you can talk about anything. Plus, ya can really tell that Patton feels passionately about it. When you care deeply about a subject, you can take it to a place that other comics won't be able to reach.

Mo Diggs also mentions another good exception: John Mulaney's bit on the characters in Law and Order. It is pretty great. Again, Mulaney really does seem obsessed with the show which helps. In the hands of a lesser standup, it'd fall flat.

I stick by the original point though. If you constantly talk about TV, you probably aren't a very interesting person. And if you're not an interesting person, it's tough to be a good standup.

When your mom's a bigger rebel than you'll ever be

My mom was a hippie who did a lot of drugs when she was younger. And when she was older. And in between. Meanwhile, my dad was a prosecutor who worked as an Assistant DA in NYC. Strange match. Sometimes people find out and say, "Oh, like Dharma and Greg." Yeah, except it sucked for real.

I'm tame compared to my mom. Years ago, my cousin told me that when he was 13, she gave him a book with a tab of acid in it for his bar mitzvah. Apparently they were out of heroin and machetes at Inappopriate Toys ‘R Us!

Later, I asked my mom if it was true and she said, “I don’t remember doing that.” But then again, if she HAD done it, there’s a pretty good chance she wasn’t keeping copious notes at the time. Distributing psychedelics to adolescents is not the kind of activity that usually involves a spreadsheet and rigorous bookkeeping, ya know?

And I remember when I was 15, I came home with a crewcut. She actually got mad at me. She said, “Why are you so buttoned down?” Why? Because it’s the only way I have to rebel against you, ya weirdo!

How can you outrebel someone who gives acid to a 13-year old? Steal acid from a 13-year old? Steal a 13-year old?! I did the only thing I could think of: I started a chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. At least I knew she'd never do that.


My least favorite thing to hear: "I've been watching a lot of TV lately and..."

You know that feeling you get when someone starts boring you with details on the "crazy" dream they had the night before? That's the way I feel when comics start talking about TV shows or movies onstage. When I hear "I've been watching a lot of TV lately and..." from a comic, I know I'm gonna hate him.

It's almost always about how some show is "so stupid." And that's what you want to talk to me about? You have a stage, a microphone, and an audience and your big topic is how something on TV is silly. No fucking duh. Why do you think we're here in this room instead of home watching TV. Not to mention that The Soup and Best Week Ever have this ground totally covered.

What I always want to ask these standups: Who are your favorite comics? How many jokes do they have about a stupid TV show? Probably zero. Because no one gives a shit in the long run.

I saw a comic who's nationally known do a downtown show where he started out with "I just got cable" and followed with 10 minutes of jokes about how stupid reality shows on cable are. Really, some show on the National Geographic channel about haunted houses is dumb?! And wait, let me guess, the people on it are dumb too! No way!!! Thanks for the newsflash. Next thing you know there might be some drama on The Real World!

Or do I need to listen to someone tell me for five minutes why Urkel (or whoever) was a dumb character? You know who else realized that: The writers who wrote Urkel to be funny. You're making fun of something that was intentionally created to be silly.

Where's the discovery there? It's like going off on a rant about how dumb a Dr. Seuss book is. "What's the deal with green eggs and ham??? I mean ham, sure. But green eggs. Those sound really unhealthy! Is it food coloring in there? Or seaweed! Am I right, people? I don't know what kinda doctor this Seuss guy is but I wouldn't let him operate on ME!" Making fun of shit that was created to be silly in the first place is pointless.

This stuff doesn't need more attention. We're already buried under an avalanche of televised terribleness. I go to a bar and there are so many TVs on every wall that I can't have a conversation without stupid shit flashing in my face from every direction. And it's always a monster truck rally or a shitty sitcom or highlights from some hockey game that's the Flyers vs. a city that I didn't even realize had a hockey team now, and no one cares yet we can't turn off the TVs because we must have shit flashing in our faces all the time.

So why on earth do I want to go to a comedy show, a place where human beings actually congregate to share something real and listen to someone's thoughts, and hear you tell me how stupid Beverly Hills Chihuahua is?

I know it's stupid. That's why I didn't go see it. Why are you bringing it into my life? I successfully avoided it. I don't care what you think about Watchmen. Or Friday the 13th. Or anything else that is already discussed endlessly in our culture. Don't be a megaphone that amplifies the same crap that's on Access Hollywood and Us Weekly and the rest of the PR machine that dictates what we should care about and consume and watch like we're babies that need to suck on some media conglomerate tit.

You should make sure to record that Beverly Hills Chihuahua joke on an album. Because people will totally want to hear it again in 30 years. That way they can go, "Hey, remember that joke we didn't give a shit about 30 years ago? Let's listen to it again and still not give a shit. And then we can sit around and wonder why on earth this person was ever talking about it in the first place."

So anyway, how about that finale twist on The Bachelor! Were you as absolutely floored as I was? How could he do that to poor Melissa???


Paul F. Tompkins vs. me for ComedySmack's Best Web Short Video of the year

I've been nominated for The Best Web Short Video Of 2008 at ComedySmack for my White Collar Comedian video:


I'm up against Paul F. Tompkins, one of my faves and a guy who is about as funny as it gets. It's like Daniel vs. Mr. Miyagi. Click here to vote. And here's the video:

Again, thanks to Brad Steuernagel, Jay Bois, and Selena Coppock for their help shooting and editing the clip.


The next wave of NYC comics: Cope, Cunningham, Drucker, Goodman, O'Connor, St. Germain, and Sullivan

The comedy hierarchy can be a frustrating thing for aspiring comics. You can't get booked on the top shows because the people who book those shows haven't seen you perform. And since you can't get booked on those shows, the people who put together TV showcases and big festivals don't see you.

If you're lucky, someone refers you and you get a shot. Otherwise, it's a waiting game. Quality bubbles up eventually, but sometimes it takes longer than it should.

I'm in the trenches watching small shows all the time so maybe I can help. Below is a list of the NYC comics (along with five-word or less descriptions) that I think should be the next wave to hit big.

I decided to only include comics whom 1) I've seen multiple times and 2) do NOT have any of the following:

1. A major TV credit
2. An appearance at the Just for Laughs Festival
3. A nomination for an ECNY award

(Kinda arbitrary but I wanted some kinda parameters.) If you have something to say about any of those things, keep an eye out for these guys. And if you produce a show in NYC, you should definitely book 'em.

David Cope: Witty one-liners, suave delivery.

Luke Cunningham: Rapid-fire, intelligent clubby style.

Mike Drucker: Great writer, Onion/SNL/McSweeney's.

Dan Goodman: Sharp, offensive, not for everyone.

Sean O’Connor: Intentional awkwardness plus lotsa likability.

Dan St. Germain: Huge act outs, underrated writer.

Brent Sullivan: Subtle and smart. Comedy for adults.


My ongoing beef with vegetarians

Vegetarian restaurant menus have fake meat products like Sham, Tofurkey, and Fake'n. Sham? Wow. You're telling me right there the product is terrible. "I'd like a bowl of the inferior rip off Chili, please!"

At least meat eaters actually like meat. You don't see this at a steakhouse: "Tonight's special is Crock-oli. That's where we take bacon, compress it into the shape of a broccoli stalk, and paint it green...because THAT'S what we secretly want to eat."

Bacon doesn't need a disguise. It doesn't need to get dressed up in a costume for Halloween. Bacon just shows up and goes, "Knock, knock, I'm Bacon, trick or treat!" And it's always treat. Because it's bacon. And bacon is always treat.

And vegetarians say, "Eating steak is so cruel to cows!" I get it. But us liking steak has been pretty good for cows as a species. We take care of them. And that's good because cows suck in the wild. You won't hear lions going, "How are we gonna catch that wild cow?" "Oh, you mean that animal that you can walk up to while it's sleeping and tip over? I've got an idea. Let's wait until he's sleeping..." Cows should thank us meateaters every night before they go to sleep — standing up. Without us, they wouldn't even be on the planet anymore.

We do eat way too much in this country, though. We're so fucked up that people actually staple their stomachs shut. “C’mon, it’s a sandwich made out of waffles. You think I'm not gonna eat that? What am I, a superhero?" The best is when they need the surgery because they have a "disease." Yeah, the disease is called America. They don’t need stomach stapling in Cambodia. In Cambodia, people are stapling their mouths OPEN — hoping that maybe a bug might fly in there. They call it “The Reverse Roker.”

(An example of glomming onto a joke, Samurai sword-style. The original bit from a while back: "The problem with vegetarians.")


There is no hack subject, only hack approaches

Louis CK has a hot new bit on airplanes which started an interesting conversation over at Shecky Magazine. CK chimes in there too:

But I NEVER thought of [hack] subjects as bad to talk about. If you think any subject is hack, go to youtube and watch Jay leno's appearances on the old Letterman show. There are a ton of them and they're amazing. He was SO Fucking good and everything he talked about was "hack". he did airplane humor in at least five different segments on the same show. he never let it go. Just kept hammering and hammering at it, but with such beautiful percision, such energy, gorgeously worded bits. To frown on them because of the subject matter is to be a self-serving idiot.

(I know, I know, I'm going overboard on the CK posts lately. Sue me.)

My take: There is no hack subject, only hack approaches. You can do a bit on airplanes or anything else. You just need to take an innovative approach that hasn't been heard 1,000 times before.

For example, I've got a bit on the gay pride parade. I think that's potentially a pretty hacky subject to tackle. But I take it somewhere that I think is pretty unique. I know other people have done jokes on this subject before. But I don't think anyone's taken the approach I take or gone to the examples I go to.

I guess that's what matters: The joke needs to represent your point of view or how you see things or reveal a unique twist that no one else would give it. That's what I mean by your approach. It's what gives you your voice.

And that's way more important than the subject you're talking about or how popular/common it is. CK's bit is really about people and how they don't appreciate technological advances. Plane travel is just an example he's using, not the real point of what he's saying.

Interesting that he points to Leno too. Here's Jay talking about airplanes on Letterman back in the day:

And another one:

More YouTube search results for "jay leno at david letterman."

Crazy to think that Leno was actually one of the top comics working back then. I think of him as one of those people who was secretly replaced by a robot at some point in the '90s, along with George Foreman, Nicolas Cage, and all the members of Aerosmith.


The Republican hip-hop makeover

Got a kick out this story: "Steele: GOP needs 'hip-hop' makeover."

Newly elected Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele plans an “off the hook” public relations offensive to attract younger voters, especially blacks and Hispanics, by applying the party's principles to “urban-suburban hip-hop settings.”

First off, this means we can officially retire "off the hook" as a phrase. Next time someone tries to use it on you, just tell them to talk to the hand. And then shoot yourself.

Also, they really oughta think this hip-hop outreach thing all the way through. When a rapper has a posse, they have bling, weed, and Cristal. That's cool. But when white, southern guys have a posse, they have torches, pitchforks, and a noose. Not nearly as appealing.

Upcoming shows: Morrison Motel, All-Cities Comedy Tournament, etc.

Spots I'll be doing in the next couple of weeks...

Mar 2 - 9:00pm Ed Sullivan on Acid @ Freddy’s Back Room
Mar 3 - 7:30pm George and Dan’s show @ Puppets Jazz Bar
Mar 5 - 7:30pm The Show @ CityLight
Mar 6 - 8:00pm Five Points @ Silkroad Cafe
Mar 6 - 10:00pm 80 Minutes ’Til the Weekend @ Joe Franklin’s
Mar 8 - 7:00pm The First Annual All-Cities Comedy Tournament @ Fontana’s
Mar 10 - 7:30pm Skip and Sparkle @ Ochi’s Lounge
Mar 10 - 9:00pm Morrison Motel @ Cornelia Café
Mar 12 - 9:00pm Tokenjoke @ Potion Cafe

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