Mindy Tucker's Schtick photos are up

Mindy Tucker always takes amazing photographs at Schtick or Treat, the Halloween show where comedians perform in character as their comedy heroes in various degrees of homemade costume. Here's the gallery of this year's photos. And this shot of Mark and me was HuffPo Comedy's "Stolen Moment of the Week."


Patrice O’Neal on people-pleasing and life philosophy

The Comedian Comedians Were Afraid Of is a great profile of Patrice O’Neal. Interesting bits on people-pleasing along the way.

Dane Cook remembers one discussion they had about people-pleasing. Patrice wondered if the desire to be liked onstage might be coming from the need to protect a belief in oneself as a nice guy offstage. What if you weren’t that guy at all?...He had plenty to say about comedians who cared more about being liked than committing to their particular point of view: “Do you have a life philosophy? Do you have anything that says goddamn ethic? Any ethic, you piece of shit? If you don’t, don’t talk to me.”

It's a really well-written piece.


Jesus, heroin, and rock 'n roll

I always dug how Lou Reed used the words Jesus, heroin, and rock 'n roll interchangeably. As if they were the same thing. The thing that can heal the pain. The thing that makes everything alright.

There's a little girl who is bored. Suffocated by her parents and the suburbs. Who wants something more. And then she turns on a New York rock 'n roll station and she can't believe what she hears. She starts dancing. Her life is saved. Her life is saved by rock 'n roll. And after that, it was alright. It was alright. It's alright now.

Cuz if you listen hard enough, rock 'n roll can be your salvation. It can come through speakers and transport you to a different time and place. It can take you away. It can help your find your proper place.


I wish that I was born a thousand years ago
I wish that I'd sail the darkened seas
On a great big clipper ship
Going from this land here to that
In a sailor's suit and cap
Away from the big city
Where a man can not be free
Of all of the evils of this town
And of himself, and those around
Oh, and I guess that I just don't know

"Pale Blue Eyes":

Thought of you as my mountain top,
Thought of you as my peak.
Thought of you as everything,
I've had but couldn't keep.

Lou Reed’s favorite 100 singles. Picked by Lou for the Curated Juke Box at the Helsinki Music Club in 2005. Classic Albums: Lou Reed: Transformer is a great look at how Reed and Bowie made that album. And I always loved this slowed down version of I'm Waiting for the Man live in '72.

Ride into the sun, Lou.


Steve Martin interviews Richard Pryor in 1978

[thx SS]


The six categories of comedians

Interesting chat with a comic last night who's reading book associated with "MAKE ’EM LAUGH: The Funny Business of America" that ran on PBS. The book/series breaks down comics into six categories. This comic was saying that it forced him to think about which category he belonged to and that realizing that helped him sort out what his voice should be and what he should talk about onstage. FYI, the categories and some reps for each one (from this Make 'Em Laugh page)...

Nerds, Jerks, & Oddballs
"the outsider has been a source of constant amusement"
Harold Lloyd
Bob Hope
Phyllis Diller
Jonathan Winters
Andy Kaufman
Robin Williams
Cheech & Chong
Woody Allen
Steve Martin

Breadwinners and Homemakers
"reflect the ongoing changes at home and in the workplace"
Burns and Allen
The Honeymooners
The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Cosby Show
The Simpsons

"physical comedy and slapstick"
Charlie Chaplin
Buster Keaton
Laurel and Hardy
The Three Stooges
Martin and Lewis
The Marx Brothers
Lucille Ball

The Groundbreakers
"invoked freedom of speech to bring the biggest and most dangerous laughs to the American public"
Mae West
Moms Mabley
Lenny Bruce
Richard Pryor
George Carlin

The Wiseguys
"the wiseguy who defies convention by speaking the truth no matter the consequences"
W.C. Fields
Larry David
Groucho Marx
Phil Silvers
Jack Benny
Paul Lynde
Joan Rivers
Redd Foxx
Eddie Murphy
Chris Rock

Satire and Parody
"make fun of the world around them using the slings and arrows of parody and satire"
Will Rogers
Johnny Carson
Jon Stewart
Stephen Colbert
Sid Caesar
Mel Brooks


The 6th Annual SCHTICK OR TREAT is Sunday night (10/27)

Get your tickets for the 6th Annual SCHTICK OR TREAT coming up on Sunday night (Oct 27).

Dozens of NYC comedians perform in character as their favorite comedy legends. It's always one of the funnest shows of the year. Hosted by Mark Normand and me.

Showtime: 8:00PM (Doors: 7:30PM)
622 Degraw St (between 3rd and 4th Ave) in Park Slope
Tickets: $8 advance/$10 at door
Facebook event

Featuring FAKE sets from:
Ellen Degeneres
Robin Williams
Gilbert Gottfried
Carrot Top
Maria Bamford
Joan Rivers
Denis Leary
Dave Attell
…and more!

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Film school, New Wave, and directing/editing techniques

This tweet...

...led to me watching The Story of Film: An Odyssey. Great look at the history of film. Check out the European New Wave episode for a taste.

Guided by film historian Mark Cousins, this bold 15-part love letter to the movies begins with the invention of motion pictures at the end of the 19th century and concludes with the multi-billion dollar globalized digital industry of the 21st.

And speaking of that New Wave style, How Louis CK's Directing Style Helps Him Translate His Standup to the Screen in 'Louie' talks about how CK's been influenced by those filmmakers.

It is ostensibly observational comedy, but filtered through a wholly specific worldview translated to the screen only when he has full control of how the viewer experiences his world. His humor is in the unexplained and the surreal, not typical of TV comedy, where humor is in the reveal. By using a “gritty” filmmaking style inspired by the realism of the films of the '60s and '70s mixed with the dramatic liberties afforded by Surrealism, Louis C.K. is able to successfully translate his standup act rooted in commenting on the deep strangeness he sees in humanity to a uniquely singular visualization of just that on television.

One more film bit that's interesting: The five editing techniques of Vsevolod Pudovkin. Evan Richards uses clips from films like 2001, Lawrence of Arabia, and The Godfather to illustrate Pudovkin's editing techniques.


Nate Bargatze, Nick Turner, and Kevin Barnett open up on We're All Friends Here podcast

New We're All Friends Here podcast comes out every Friday. Listen on iTunes. Kevin Barnett is in the hot seat on latest one. Nate Bargatze and Nick Turner were the eps before that. Turn it on and all the way up.

Next live edition is Sunday, Nov 10 at The Creek at 10pm as part of NY Comedy Festival.

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How prison turns you into a Jewish skinhead

Which gang do you affiliate with if you're a Jew who winds up in prison? Sounds like the premise of a standup bit. But it's David Arenberg's real life. (Answer: You team up with skinheads. Best option amongst bad options.) In this piece, he reflects on being a Jew in state prison.

This makes it difficult for me, of course, to fit into the chow hall. Jews, as we all know, are not white but imposters who don white skin and hide inside it for the purpose of polluting and taking over the white race. The skinheads simply can’t allow me to eat with them: that would make them traitors of the worst kind — race traitors! But my milky skin and pasty complexion, characteristic of the Eastern European Ashkenazi, make it impossible for me to eat with other races who don’t understand the subtleties of my treachery and take me for just another wood. So the compromise is that I may sit at certain white tables after all the whites have finished eating. In exchange, I must do free legal work as directed by the heads (Jewish lawyers, even jailhouse lawyers, are hard to come by in prison) and remit to them a portion of the legal fees I collect from everyone else I do legal work for on the yard.

Bold emphasis is mine. Love the sarcasm here. Nothing more Jewish than that!

BestTechie interview about Vooza

Jeff Weisbein interviewed me and wrote up a piece called "Vooza Wants to Steal Your Data and Entertain You At the Same Time" over at BestTechie. We talk about the inspiration for Vooza episodes, how we write/shoot 'em, and some video tips. Here's one of our recent eps, featuring me and Steve O'Brien.


Steve Albini and rock 'n roll philosophy

Steve Albini’s Four-Page In Utero Proposal made the rounds recently. It is a great read. Embodies the DIY attitude and rock 'n roll as a philosophy and not just a kind of music. And it's fun when he writes, "I want to be paid like a plumber."

If ya dig it, check out a couple of Albini things I posted a while ago, especially his piece "The Problem With Music." It's a bit dated since it's about the major label vs. indie war from over a decade ago. But it's also about more than that. It's about commerce vs. art. The business vs. the thing you make. And why you need to understand the business side of things in order to protect yourself from making decisions you'll regret ("Some of your friends are probably already this fucked.").


Gary Gulman at HOT SOUP Tuesday (10/15) night

I'll be hosting this Tue (10/15) lineup at HOT SOUP:

Gary Gulman (Comedy Central)
Baron Vaughn (Comedy Central)
Josh Gondelman (Laughing Skull)
Nimesh Patel (Caroline's)
Amber Nelson (JFL)
Mark Normand (Conan)
Matt Ruby (MTV)

Full show details.
RSVP here.
Sign up for Hot Soup email list.
"Like" Hot Soup on Facebook.

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Gary Gulman, Bill Gates, and income inequality in America

This bit is funny. Also, I think it's the best explanation of the issue of income inequality in America that I've ever heard.

Get More: Jokes,Jokes of the Day,Funny Jokes

I think this is hilarious. I also think the wealth gap in America is one of the most important issues our society faces right now...

"The 400 richest people in the United States have more wealth than the bottom 150 million put together," said Berkeley Professor and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich...

"Our middle class is too weak to support the consumer spending that has historically driven our economic growth," Nobel Prize-winning Economist and Columbia Professor Joseph Stiglitz wrote in an editorial earlier this year.

"With inequality at its highest level since before the Depression, a robust recovery will be difficult in the short term, and the American dream — a good life in exchange for hard work — is slowly dying."

...so I like the bit on multiple levels. It's communicating something that's important for people to think about.

Now I've got no idea what Gary's goal here was other than to get laughs. But I think this is a great example of how to do political comedy. You don't hit people over the head with your point of view. You don't call the people on the other side fat or cunts or stupid or some other personal attack. You don't go for applause instead of laughs. You make a joke that's really fucking funny. And then you also make a point. And then people go home and think about it. Maybe. And if they don't, that's fine too. If it's a funny joke, it stands on its own as a funny joke. But there's enough of a seed there that maybe someone stops to think about it a few days later and soaks it in on a deeper level.