Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This Dog Dances Better Than You

It starts slow, but by 30 seconds in, you'll wonder why this act is not already famous. Wow.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dancing in the Ceiling

The following message is from Andrew Frank, a 17-year-old comic who's parents I hope don't read this. Sweet - I always wanted to be contraband. Good luck, Andrew!

I have immense respect for your work, and I truly believe you are among an elite class of brilliant comics working today. I am also a comedian. I am 17 years old, and currently attend Christian High School. I'm the son of a pastor, and I am so sheltered to the point where I have to hide your albums (and Hicks, Pryor, and Carlin) in the ceiling tiles in my basement. Haha, I know that may seem ridiculous, but thats the reality of my situation. Anyway, you've been a great influence on my comedy, and I really appreciate what you're doing.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Jesus of Nazareth, Nazareth, and Cohen.

I worked in Tallahassee, Fl. this past weekend and had a great time. I haven’t been to Tally since I went to school there back in the 90’s. By went to school there- I mean I drank and worked in bars for six years.

The shows were fun and very well attended. Most of the crowds were very entertained. I would say that the weirdest thing that happened was the drunk lady who stood up and yelled at me about a joke I did about Jesus.

That guy is very polarizing. I have had both Christians and Atheists give me shit about telling jokes about the big guy. My buddy Brett told me, “Tom, you shouldn’t joke about or even mention Jesus in your act because he is a fictional made up character.”

First of all, I think Jesus was an actual person and here is why- because he was a carpenter. You don’t give imaginary people jobs.

My buddy Larry, who I am making up right now because I don’t have a friend named Larry, doesn’t have a job. You know why? Because he isn’t real. He doesn’t need a job. You would have to give me a few moments to make one up for him.

Larry is a project manager for Hewlett Packard.

Jesus was a carpenter. That is how we know he was real. If they would have been making up jobs they would have picked a more glamorous job. Like beat reporter for the Nazareth Daily Bugle. Out fighting crime and saving souls. Or a lawyer. “Have you met my lawyer? Jesus of Nazareth, Nazareth and Cohen?

No- he was a lowly carpenter. That is how we know he was real.

When he was up on the cross, do you think he looked at it with a carpenters critical eye?

“Huh, this isn’t even level. Shoddy workmanship. This isn’t even good cyprus- look how that nail through my left wrist has split this inferior wood. Forgive them father, for they don’t build them like they used to.”

He was a carpenter for many many years before he went into the savior business. So he had to make some things. A table, a chest of drawers, a book shelf... (I guess it would be a scroll shelf since they didn’t have books.)

He made some things that is for sure. That is how we will find out he was real. Watching Antique Roadshow one day and the appraiser will be all, “Wow, this scroll pole looks ancient, let’s see who made it....”

Turns it over.... “JESUS CHRIST! That is going to be worth some money.... and I think it has healed my arthritis.”

A Beard, Spider Man, Baseball and Compassion

I have recently grown a beard. I now realize that I have always had a stereotype/prejudice against people with beards. Especially the black ones. My beard is thin and has a lot of white in it. I wish it was a little thicker and blacker.

I was thinking of getting some Just for Men beard dye- but my former self promised he would never do that. My beard pisses off skin heads cuz it shows that black and white can live together in peace.

I have a good friend who I just spent ten hours in a car with road tripping to a gig. He was struggling big time with breaking up with his girlfriend. Talking about it for eight hours at some point I was just using the cliches... “Don’t worry Matt, there are plenty of other fish in the sea.” But since the BP spill, not so much.

The Braves are awesome this year and that makes life a little better. Slumps are inevitable. Gotta remember that when doing comedy also. Sometimes jokes just aren’t funny to me any more. Sometimes my sense of humor is dark and I come off as an asshole, sometimes the new stuff needs a lot more work and I am trying to grind it out.

Saw a story on line about the casting for the new Spiderman movie. There was a campaign to cast a black actor. The headline of the story was- Why can’t Spider Man be a Black Guy? Why can’t Spider Man be black? I don’t know- cuz he isn’t. Why can’t Babe Ruth be a black guy? What about Fat Albert, why does he have to be black? Why can’t he be a skinny white guy? “Hey, hey, hey this cracker’s here to stay.”

I am just saying. Somethings just are what they are.

They say black is thinning. Unless you are that actress from Precious. How big would she look if she was white?

I am learning about compassion from five year old son Owen. While brushing his teeth last month he leaned forward and jumped up to spit in the sink, smacking his nuts into the cabinet door knob. He was hurt. And upset by my gut reaction- which was to laugh. That upsets him. He said, “It’s not funny! You always laugh when I hurt myself. It is not funny.”

I know it hurts son, I am laughing because it looks funny, like when we laughed at that Charlie Chaplin video where people got hit in the face by boards or fell down holes.

“Oh, but it isn’t very funny.”

He is of course right, physical comedy isn’t solidly written comedy. Which makes me laugh...

Owen made me realize that I need to be more aware of that, be genuinely sympathetic for him, and remember it is not funny when you are the one in serious pain.

But, it is hard not to laugh when a football goes through his hands and pounds him in the face. It just looks hilarious.

Looking back, he is right. I laugh all the time when he bumps himself or smacks his head into a door knob. I think that early on in a babies life, we as parents realize that a child’s level of reaction to a fall or bump somehow correlates to your reaction as a parent.

I have taken his feelings to heart and recently when he gets hurt in some funny looking way, I bite my tongue and try to make sure he sees I sympathize. We play baseball a lot with a tennis ball. A few weeks ago I hit a line drive off his face and as he ran to get the ball I could see he was hurt. So after I got to first base, I went and made sure he was okay. Even though I most likely could have taken second.

This week we were playing and he was crowding the plate, so I threw a little too inside to back him off. He had plenty of time but didn’t make a single move to get out of the way. The ball hit him square in the eye. It looked funny as shit. Until he started to cry.

I knew in the over all he was fine, so I really had to bite my lip and get to compassion. I consoled him and he quickly started to feel better and wanted to continue batting. I was walking to the “mound” and started joking with him about how he didn’t even try to get out of the way.

“Way to keep your eye on the ball son.”

And then a very cool thing happened. He laughed hard.

That was the first time I can remember him having the ability in his mind to make the intellectual connection required to laugh at the use of language. He even made a point of repeating the joke at the end of his ‘getting hit in the eye story’ later to mommy.

So, what did I learn? That my son makes me proud. He teaches me, and on top of that, at five he already appreciates basic comedy writing structure over physical comedy.

I was helping Owen with his homework. The section called for coloring with a dark crayon. I told him, “Yellow is not a dark color.” Owen says, “it can be- if you press down real hard.”

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Open Letter to Overwhelming Majority of New York City Realtors

Dear Overwhelming Majority of New York City Realtors,

Hi. My name is Steve. You might remember me from the dozens of applications I've filled out in your offices guaranteeing that you own my soul. I can understand why you want it so badly – you've never had one of your own.

I have spent the last two months looking for a new apartment. You've posted ads for two-bedrooms that were really studios. You've gone on and on about the view in apartments that turned out to be on the second floor. You've described your listings as "just steps from the subway!" without mentioning that there would be several thousand steps. In essence, you have wasted my time. My one consolation is that I am not gullible enough to rent one of your overpriced under-painted outer-limits crap hole excuses for an apartment. So you have wasted your time, too.

How about you just tell people what an apartment costs before making them take an hour out of their day to see it? I have had enough of your move-in fees and move-out fees and application fees and background fees and you-might-be-considering-a-pet fees and third-Tuesday-afternoon-of-the-month fees. You make Ticketmaster look like a charity. By the way, I'm charging you a $35 fee for reading this. Aww, are you upset? Sorry, there's a $50 fee for not appreciating irony.

One of your ads showed a 900-square foot floor plan for a 500-square foot hovel. One of your ads promised that Samuel L. Jackson will meet me at the open house. One of your ads even described an apartment in Queens as a place that will get people laid. Aside from the obvious lechery of this idea, you clearly don't understand what it's like to live in Queens.

You are a liar. You post ads for apartments that never existed, just so that you can get a customer down to your office and show them around the actual garbage that you represent. Stop telling me that Harlem is part of midtown now. Stop telling me that the 6th floor is the 5th floor because the 1st floor doesn't count. And stop telling me you're a decent human being just trying to do your job. I'd sooner believe that Snakes on a Plane was a documentary.

If you were a snake, that would be an upgrade. You are so slimy, used car salesmen, catholic priests, and insurance adjusters look at you in disbelief. I would not be surprised to find out that Karl Rove's first job out of college was as a New York City Realtor.

Every now and then, I meet one of your colleagues that is honest and good – and inevitably quitting the business. But after you introduce yourself and force me to shake your hand, there's not enough Purel in the world to make me feel clean again.

And the most amazing thing of all is that you're utterly useless. New York apartments don't need help being rented. They're one of the few commodities in the world where demand drastically dwarfs supply – and yet you have inexplicably found a way to make a commission off of them by making demanders doubt the supply, doubt themselves, and doubt whether there is still goodness in the world. The only logical explanation is that you are hired by the rest of the cities in America, in an effort to get people to abandon New York completely.

I did have one small victory. After one of your ranks lied to my fiancé about the application process only to lie to her again about which apartment he'd be showing her, I called him asking to see a 6 million dollar apartment for sale.

When I showed up, he recommended I look at the $2 million dollar apartment next door instead since it "suited me better." In front of the head of the condo board, I laughed and told him he ought to show me both, since I could always buy them and knock down a wall.

I was actively looking to waste his time – and I spent a wonderful afternoon asking pretentious questions about school districts and directions to the nearest Whole Foods. I finally left, and told the board's head I wasn't interested after all. Disappointed, she asked me why.

"Frankly," I said. "I didn't care for the Realtor."

Thanks for reading. I hope you die.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Top Seven Actors We Never Saw Coming

7) Hilary Swank
Two-time best actress Oscar winner, Swank is known for her roles in Boys Don't Cry and Million Dollar Baby. She's also won two Golden Globes and was nominated for a third. But how did we meet her? Her first big role was "Danielle" on the kitchy Camp Wilder. After a quick and merciful cancellation, Swank went on to star in The Next Karate Kid, the movie that would ruin the Karate Kid franchise forever, until 2010 when it was somehow ruined a second time. Her last role before Boys Don't Cry was as Carly Reynolds on 90210, a character so disliked that she only lasted 16 episodes before producers cut her. A year later, she had an Oscar.

Hilary Swank, telling her agent to please stop.

6) George Clooney
Clooney was a TV star before he made the jump to film - a jump few thought he should make. When he left ER, the consensus was that he was pulling a David Caruso. Instead, he pulled down hit after hit after hit. He won his Oscar for Syriana, but was also nominated for Up in the Air, Michael Clayton, and as a writer AND director for Good Night, and Good Luck. Not to mention playing the title character in the Oceans Eleven franchise. But Clooney didn't come directly from ER. Oddly enough, his first big role was on an early 1980s hospital dram-com called, well, E/R. After that, Clooney played small but recurring roles on The Facts of Life, Roseanne, and Sisters, as well as horrifically bad shows like Baby Talk and Bodies of Evidence. In other words, he is what Scott Baio could have been.

George Clooney, learning the facts of mullets.

5) Jamie Foxx
After a small role in Roc, Foxx was part of the non-Wayans replacement cast on In Living Color. Even that didn't launch him to stardom, as he followed up with occasional cameos on Moesha, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, and other shows white people never watched. He finally landed his own show, which lasted an astonishing 100 episodes. And suddenly, he won a best actor Oscar for Ray, the same year he was also nominated for best supporting actor in Collateral. And there's also his song that reached #2 on the Billboard charts. Though Ron Howard was in that video, so white people watched it.

Yup, looks like an Oscar winner.

4) Laurence Fishburne
 Best known as Morpheus from the Matrix (and the father of a porn star), Fishburne is an Emmy Award winning, Oscar nominated actor who was also in Mystic River, Othello, and the Tuskeegee Airmen. All a few years after he played Cowboy Curtis on Pee-wee's Playhouse. Which, coincidentally, is the name of his daughter's next film.

"Hi, Larry, this is your dignity calling. We have to talk..."

3) Will Smith
His hokey hip-hop single "Parents Just Don't Understand" led to his role in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." His role in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" led to him being one of the top ten highest grossing box office stars of all-time. Thanks mainly to Independence Day, Men in Black, I am Legend, and Bad Boys, his movies have grossed over 5 billion dollars worldwide. That's a slightly different path than fellow 1980s artist "Too Short," who ended up in porn. Maybe he knows Larry Fishburne's daughter.

Even Will Smith's parents just don't understand how this happened.

2) Don Cheadle
When you think Don Cheadle, you think an amazingly accomplished actor. From dramatic roles in Hotel Rwanda and Crash to comic roles in Oceans Eleven and Iron Man, Cheadle is known for his range. He's not known for being the hotel manager on the ill-fated Golden Girls spin-off, Golden Palace. Which was a true crash.

Don Cheadle, researching for his eventual role in Hotel Rwanda.

1) Leonardo DiCaprio
When a sit-com adds a random character, that typically means they're done. That's what Leo DiCaprio was for Growing Pains, when Jesus started making too many demands on Kirk Cameron's time. Cameron became an evangelist, Jeremy Miller left the business, Tracey Gold drank herself to jail, Andrew Koenig killed himself, and Leonardo DiCaprio became one of the most sought after and respected actors in the world. What's Eating Gilbert Grape, The Basketball Diaries, Romeo and Juliet, and Titanic were all within five years of Growing Pains. Maybe Kirk Cameron prayed for him.

"Which one of these is not like the others..."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Movies I Won't Be Seeing This Summer

Dinner for Schmucks

This is a remake of the 1998 award-winning French film Le Diner de Cons. I don’t condone remaking movies just because they didn’t star Americans the first time around. I also don’t condone Steve Carell’s caps. That’s a lot of tooth.

Concession: At least the original was in a different language, which makes this remake a little less despicable than this year’s Death at a Funeral – which was a remake of the 2007 English film, Death at a Funeral. Only with black people.

Eat, Pray, Love

Watching people eat is gross. Watching people pray is boring. Watching people fall in love is not enjoyable unless it’s funny or tragic or both. Being as this is a Julia Roberts movie, I’m assuming that it’s neither.

Concession: I can’t blame Jules for signing on for the flick. I’ve agreed to many things in life because they promised me free pizza…


Apparently this part was offered to Tom Cruise, but he turned it down because it was too similar to some of his other work. When Tom Cruise turns down a movie because it’s redundant, you know it’s really scraping the bottom of the originality barrel. This is the man that made Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible II, Mission: Impossible III and has signed on to do Mission: Impossible IV.

Concession: It’s pretty rad that they went with a chick for a part originally written for a man. Also, salt is amazing. I salt postage stamps before I lick them.

Really, what this summer movie season is missing is a Will Smith movie. Sending your kid in to learn taebo from Jackie Chan doesn’t count, Big Willy. Show your face! We all miss you. The summer blockbuster landscape misses you. Carlton misses you.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Response to Junk Mail: My Dead Cousin Michael

Bastien Yekpe And Associates
Cotonou, République du Benin
Telephone: +229 96329406

ATTN: Hofstetter

I am Barrister Stanley John, the attorney at law to Late Michael Hofstetter, a national of your country, and a gold merchant here in Republic of Benin West Africa. Here in after shall be Referred to as my client. On the 27th of May 2006, my client, His wife and their only Child were involved in a car accident Along Sagbama express-road. All occupants of the vehicle Unfortunately lost their lives..Since then I have made several enquiries to your embassy to locate any of my clients extended relatives this has also proved Unsuccessful.

After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to track His last name over the Internet, to locate any member of his Family hence I contacted you. I have contacted you to assist in Repatriating the money and property left behind by my client before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank here. These huge deposits were lodged particularly, with the" STANBIC IBTC BANK" An affiliate of Commercial Bank of Africa where the Deceased had an account valued at about $18.5 million dollars. The Bank has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have the account confiscated.

Since I have been unsuccessful in Locating the relatives for over 3 years now I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased since you have The same last name so that the proceeds of this account valued at $18.5 million dollars can be paid to you and then you and me can Share the money.50% to me and 50% to you I will procure all Necessary legal documents that can be used to back up any claim we may make. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us seeing this Deal through. I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law. And the way we are going to achieve this is

I will need the following information from you,
Your Full Name and Address,
Your Age, Occupation and Position,
Your Telephone and Mobile for Communication Purpose.I await your reply ASAP.

Best Regards.
Barrister Stanley John Esq
Tel. +229 96329406

Barrister John-

Thank you so much for contacting me. I can't believe that Michael died. I feel like it was just yesterday that we were talking about his dream to become a gold merchant in Republic of Benin West Africa. Clearly it was earlier than May, 2006. 

It makes sense that he died while driving. That new wife of his was always forcing him to drive. I blame her for this. If she wasn't also killed, I'd be so mad at her. I'm am sorry to lose Michael, but glad that bitch and her devil spawn were taken as well. I don't know if you were privy to family gossip, but that kid only had one giant nostril instead of two. Creepy.

Did you happen to know if their dog was also in the car? I have such fond memories of growing up, playing with Mr. Sparkles. Wait, I'm 30. There's no way that dog was still alive.  I hope he had a proper burial. No offense, but you must be familiar with the terrible reputation that the Republic of Benin West Africa has when it comes to deceased pets. 

Tell you what - send me the remains of Mr. Sparkles, and proof that his wife and one-nostril child are dead, and you can keep the money. 

Thanks again, and send my regards to Bastien Yepke and his associates. I have attached the last picture I had of Michael, when he was first training to be a gold merchant. I hope it brings back fond memories.


Michael Hofstetter, living his dream.