Obama and the good fight

I'm sick of people shitting on Obama. He’s a good man. Doesn’t that matter anymore? I want kids to see him and think, “I should act like that.” Because they are right. We all should act like that. He behaves like a grown up. He's been given an impossible task. Our government is completely dysfunctional and bought off. No one can fix it. So he does what he can and he carries himself with grace and dignity and tries to teach through his actions. And he laughs and makes jokes and sings Al Green and Amazing Grace and shoots hoops and he is a good father and behaves honorably and all of that is nothing to sneeze at. He’s making the best of a fucked up situation and he's putting up a fight in a gallant way. And if nothing else, there's a generation of children that have witnessed how a grown man is supposed to behave and there's incredible value to that. I love him and what he stands for. What he's doing is bigger than politics, it's about humanity.


Does comedy have to come from a place of pain? Jerry Seinfeld and Garry Shandling discuss...

Garry: I think that getting into show business comes from some core dysfunction where you say, "I want to be seen."

Jerry: Or god forbid maybe you have some talent. God forbid maybe it's not all yawning chasms of human insecurity. Is it possible someone out there has some talent? And maybe they want to express that for the betterment of mankind!?

Garry: I think I hear rage.

Shandling's response (at :35) is just so goddamn perfect. Comedy, life, and the whole shebang. Shandling's WTF is amazing too btw.

In Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy, Judd Apatow discusses this exchange (via MK) like this:

Judd: In personality, it’s different. There are some guys who are kind of smart and witty and funny, and there are some guys who are just a little bit off, and there’s some guys who clearly got a beat-down at some point during their young life and that made them feel the need to get attention.

Charlie: And so which one is he?

Adam: So many of those.

Charlie: All of the above.

Judd: There is a moment on Garry Shandling’s DVD commentary for The Larry Sanders Show where he talks about this with Jerry Seinfeld and Jerry Seinfeld says to Garry, “Why can’t you be a comedian just because you’re talented and you’re smart and that’s why you’re a comedian?”

Charlie: That’s what I would ask, yes.

Judd: And Garry just goes, “Why so angry, Jerry?” I think that captures it.

Ya can also check out "The 12 Best Stories, From Stephen Colbert to Amy Schumer, in Judd Apatow’s Book Sick in the Head" [Vulture].

And here's the Phil Hartman acting coach sketch that Seinfeld raves about later in that video.


Watch me on MTV's Girl Code

I was just on MTV's Girl Code giving menstruation tips. J/K, I was talking about diiiiiiicks. 🍆 Also, I wear an ugly suit and make fun of a guy with abs so, y'know, BIG STRETCH.


What we can learn from the Fat Jew debacle

Re: Fat Jew, there's a lesson here for folks who hope the industry will help them "make it" in show business. Increasingly, the industry is just looking for someone who has a "platform." If you've got 5 million followers, they will give you a deal. Execs care about numbers more than talent or originality. They chase more than they create. They say things like, "If ‘Ghostbusters’ is still shooting, they should find a way to put in Amy Schumer." (That's an actual quote from Variety.) It's annoying but also liberating. You can lament the decisions of the gatekeepers or you can realize the gate is wide open already and make something that people dig and follow. Then, the gatekeepers will come to you and ask you if they can build a gate around the land you already own.

Update: Posted this stuff in replies at Facebook version of this post.

I don't think the quality of the content matters at all to these people. If you have the followers, they'll give you a deal. Figure out how to do that making stuff you're proud of...or be a butt model. The choice is yours!

Other than the whole stealing content thing (which is obvs terrible) this guy has done a brilliant job of building a platform and gaining followers though. Most comedians are terrible at doing this. We throw up occasional funny tweets and hope that they will magically turn into gold. This guy took a methodical, businesslike approach to building a platform and that is why the industry is interested in him. Comics could learn something from that aspect of the story. Josh Spector at Connected Comedy writes about this frequently. Comics would be wise to heed the advice being given there rather than just complaining about the injustice of joke thievery.

Too often, comics romanticize the industry as some sort of comedy guardian angel that will swoop down and turn them from a pumpkin into Cinderella. Truth is 90% of 'em are dudes looking at spreadsheets who say things like "We need to put Amy Schumer in a Ghostbusters reboot because LOOK AT THESE NUMBERS."

OK, hope this post goes VIRAL so I can say LOOK AT THESE NUMBERS. Also, I'm currently listening to The Smiths. "In my life, why do I give valuable time to people who don't care if I live or die?" Morrissey knows all.


The problem is your body

I used to watch the Dog Whisperer and was always amazed at how 80% of the time the problem with the dog wasn't mental, it was physical. The dog was a sheepherding dog or something and wanted to run around all day but his owner didn't let him so he started attacking skateboarders and shitting on the rug. I always felt the real lesson there was for humans, not for dogs.

I mean, I get it. We feel sad or depressed. So we blame our brains. But so often the problem is our bodies. We keep neglecting them. We keep repressing the things they want to let go. Our bodies want to laugh and cry and dance and fuck and sweat and create and take care of something and instead of letting it do these things, we are putting it in front of a screen and then putting it in front of a smaller screen and then putting it in front of a bigger screen and then getting in a taxi with a screen and then riding an elevator with a screen and then going to bar with a screen and all these screens are making us want to scream but capitalism convinces us that our own brains are the problem because it's easier to make money from selling pills than meditation or a hike in the woods or laughter or anything else that truly feeds one's soul.

All that sadness, anxiety, and depression we feel is a totally normal response to the environment we live in. That pain is our brains rioting against the oppression of our bodies. Pills may stop the riot, but the underlying cause will remain. And the thing about riots is they keep happening until you address the root cause.


Being emotionally connected to the words you’re saying

Radio/podcast guru Alex Blumberg gets interviewed.

There’s sometimes psychological reasons people tell stories badly. One element of good storying is being emotionally connected to the words you’re saying, but if people are in denial about something, or suppressing the emotions involved, the story can sound somehow flat and affectless.

Resonated with me about how jokes start to slowly die once they get codified. As soon as the words are locked in, I can feel the juice slip out of a bit and crowds slowly start to detect that and then you're back to a bit that doesn't work. For me, constantly tweaking or trying new tags is one solution to staying connected to the bit. Another is to just change the words. Keeps from going into that autopilot mode. Also, putting it on hiatus for a bit can help rejuvenate it later.


Inc. magazine interviews me about Vooza and making funny videos

In "Content May Be King, But Branded Video Content Rules Marketing Tactics," Inc. magazine interviews me about Vooza and how we make funny videos for companies. I offer some tips for creating video content at the end of the piece:

Looking to reach consumers on mobile? Then look to creating and consistently distributing valuable, relevant video content - and make it funny.

As for tips or tactical advice for content creators looking to connect with a targeted consumer audience on mobile, Ruby offers this guidance:

Start with the audience. Figure out who you’re trying to reach with your content and then reverse engineer from there. For example, we like going after Apple because Apple fans are so insane about their products.

Expect to roll out a lot of content consistently over time. It takes a while to build up an audience.
Get an email list going--it’s still the best way to reach fans.

Answer this question: “Why would people want to share this?” Because if people don’t share it organically, it probably won’t go far. For example, designers love sharing this CEO video with each other because they can all relate to the know-it-all CEO who thinks he/she knows best how to design a logo.

The more heavy-handed you are with the sales pitch, the less likely people are to share it. Let the funny lead the way whenever possible.

Don't be so fearful to push people's buttons. Have some edge. Make fun of people. HBO is great because there are no advertisers who say, “Don’t say that.”

Find your intersection. What's the thing that you can make that no one else can? That's your island. For Vooza, it's funny plus tech.

Make it findable. Think about how people search for things online and get into that stream with the right headlines, keywords, etc.

More press coverage on Vooza.

New from the guy who brought you Vooza (aka me): Club Scale

Club Scale is the hottest nightclub in the world and you need to meet the doormen who look a lot like Dan Soder and Joe List and there's more to come so sign up for the email list to get updates and that's it. (Directed by Jesse Scaturro and written/produced by me.)

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