25 May 2007

Random Quizzilla

1) Have you ever ridden a mechanical bull?

2) Would you pay $350K to kiss George Clooney?
If I had the cash and it was for a good cause, why not? Then again, I saw the kiss on the news and it was kind of lame. Maybe a shaving cream fight. A colleague of mine noted for that much money you should be able to take him to work on a leash for the day.

3) Three things that get on your nerves:
Meanderthals on the sidewalk, any song by the Steve Miller Band, people who lack curiosity or imagination.

4) What is/was your opinion of Stone Phillips, the anchor who was recently let go from NBC’s Dateline?
I was never convinced that this guy was a real human. He always struck me as a computer-generated hologram, a talking head, a latter day Max Headroom of sorts. You never saw him anywhere besides Studio 3B in Rockefellar Center; he was only on location a handful of times and he never guest hosted anywhere else -- I’m just not convinced. Back when Dateline first aired, I had a vivid dream that Stone was my boyfriend and we were hiking together in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. I distinctly remember walking behind him thinking: “I don’t even think this guy is a real person, what the hell am I doing?”

5) What are your plans for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend?
Keane @ the Pavillion * Beach day in Scituate * Badminton and Bocce at the Dell’Olio’s "Lookout it's a Cookout" celebration. Good times.


jal said...

1. Almost doesn't count so no.

2. I agree. If I had the money and it was for a good cause sure.

3. I just can't narrow it down to just three. Sorry.

4. He was kinda wooden. A little Spock like.

5. Heading to P-Town after work. Who hooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

wmd said...

1) Yes
2) It depends where.
3) "old time rock and roll" played at weddings. the wave at fenway. meetings scheduled where there aren't enough chairs for the number of people attending (happens waaaay too often. Basic math has eluded a company of 3,800 employees)
4) same as KJ's sans the dating dream
5) Child class (rock on!) and burning burgers and dogs for 46 people.

Anonymous said...

1. No.
2. If I was the sultan of Brunei and it went to a good charity, why not?
3. American Idol and it's premise; Can you imagine The Clash on the show? (Simon: Can we do something about that Cockney twang, please...Is it Ska? Is it punk, disco? Please decide).SNL: a bunch of over-priveleged wannabe's, Vassar Grads who think because they spent their college days quoting Monty Python that they're entitled to the position, which was created by more renegade, untethered talent. It's comedic gentrification.
The word "just" in political, social debate; "We just want peace...it's just about equality..." B.S. As Mamet wrote: "We are first and foremost animals and like hyenae we will lord power over the jackals and show deference to the lions." No political debate should ever devolve to one's moral adroitness.
4. All anchors/newscasters are Plato's "Cave Theory" in action..."Look how good she/he is at looking as if she's sad when she's really not."
5. A volleyball grudge match and then I'm gonna bust with a Putney Swope sequel.

KJ said...

I love this guy. Welcome back...
The writer, yes? Feel free to post/send your stuff along anytime. Love to read it.

Anonymous said...

If I could have another shot at the SNL thing...It's kinda like ethnic cuisine; the peasants had to make-do with just the marrow and the innards, but came up with tripe, they were given just the skins and stems but came up with grappa. Now it sells for $16 a vile at Oskar's. Similarly, SNL was created by "not ready for primetime players", the disenfranchised, the ne'er do wells (who, by the way, have always been the best in the arts, the f-ups). And now, the wealthy and well-educated have co-opted it. SNL is filled with a bunch of former front-row, apple-shiners.

KJ said...

I couldn’t agree more with your lovely analogy. With the exception of Lazy Sunday, the show has been crap for years. No a chocolate babies moment to be had. I never associated it with “over-privelege” but now that you’ve pointed that out, I’m furious. Hey, if you want to write a blog/rant for the PU on this topic or anything else -- be my guest. We adore rants.

Anonymous said...

Okay, here goes...
What the hell is this unspoken disclaimer that hangs over comedy these days? The Daily Show should run subtitles: "What you are about to see is smart stuff. Laugh or you're dumb because you don't get it.These people went to great colleges!" And, insecure (me as much as you) believe laughing at this is some sort of social elevation. The story goes: A man goes up to an old rabbi, looking towards the sky with fitful hands raised and asks: Why don't people talk to God as they did in days of old? The rabbi responds: "Because no one's willing to look down." And when Rob Corddry et al do their fake exposes they are about as zany as a freshman at a college mixer. These are not wacky people! They are people who envied the class clown, coveted the position and at Bryn Mawr or Northwestern or Wherever "Improv" is now taught (teach improv, funny), they were planning a takeover.

Looking down. That's where the comedy is at. Remember Prince's "Raspberry Beret"? He coughs at the beginning, as if to say "I'm here and I'm human." Dostoyevsky said: "Never judge a work of art based on its flaws", I follow up the Russian Titan with: "Give me the flaws!" Marketing campaigns should be seamless, art should be human.SNLers come from a background of dotting their i's and paraphrasing Cliff's Notes, regurgitating expert opinion. They spent their life ridding their houses of dirt and garlic, and their resumes clear of flaw.
"Bravely Intelligent", the USA Today wrote about a "smart" sketch troupe (not a good one, either). What courage does it take to be seen intelligent? Comedy has always been "bravely stupid". And what do these calculating, faux-casual scenesters do on SNL? (Janeane Garofalo had a personal manager before she had a moment, before she a second of performing under her belt...therein, is something of a clue), They laugh at their own jokes and break out of the scene...that's their idea of being human.
Take a look at the documentary: "The Aristocrats", 100 some comedians do the same joke. The staff at The Onion (Univ. of Wisconsin, feeder to the daily show) sit down in a conference room and hash out one of the course of a day-inauthentic. The rest of the comedians perform there's between bites at a diner or leaning against a urinal, spontaneously.Authentic.
When I watch a title fight, I don't expect the contender to stop, grab a mic and say "you should see how hard I've worked" and do push-ups. And I don't like watching comedy where people hedge their bets with "smart references" that, by the way, are usually not very clever.
Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert should be running the Fairfield County Century 21, not cluttering the stage with stilted delivery and their unrighteous indignation, cloaked in in-the-know satire.

KJ said...

Damn. You must really love the PU then. Is there anything you DO like or consider funny or clever? I saw Jon Stewart live last year and I laughed so hard I nearly pulled a muscle. That was not coming from a place that was forced or fearful of appearing stupid or socially stunted. I laughed because it was freaking hysterical. Maybe you’re saying we’ve all been programmed to laugh at this brand of humor by this comedic conspiracy being perpetrated by the not-so-funny well off. I don’t know. I think funny is far too subjective. I’m as likely to laugh at a fart joke as I am political satire, so there you go. I think The Onion’s piece this week on 2007 Recalled Pugs was a killer. This warts and all thing is great but just because something isn’t extemporaneous doesn’t necessarily make it unauthentic. Stand up comics and improv actors rehearse, they practice their timing, etc. Comedy writers edit and package their work. Smart references and zany exposes will soon grown tiresome. Schtick gets old and you evolve or fade away. What you’re saying here is not limited to comedy, it’s life: People with wealth and education can attain great success with little or no talent or substance. People with raw talent but no money or connections would never get on SNL or Comedy Central today – is that what you’re saying? That the people in charge of funny are a bunch of dunces? Talk about art imitating life.

Anonymous said...

I'm saying it morphs. I can take tea by the Seine, but I won't see F.Scott or Henry Miller anywhere nearby. But now the only ex-pats writing are those who were weaned on stories of Hemingway, not veterans, etc. It tends to get owned by people of means; Isn't that what people say: This is where so and so got a start (yeah, but it wasn't the same then) Cultural real estate is expensive. My personal bias is that the arts are for the brash and brazen. I saw Kevin Smith (who I don't find funny) tell a funny story on Jay Leno and then months later do it again-it lost its authenticity to me, the point: when you see the puppeteer the effect is gone. I think it bleeds through with the Onion. I don't think 10 people can come up with a better concept than a single person. I think they can manipulate and come up with a polished piece. That self-conscious humor bleeds through on the Daily show (look at clips of Jon Stewart in '94, different man...he didn't find himself, he came up with a gimmick. I've seen less choreographed Wrestlemanias than that appalling wailing after 9-11, and now, for me, he's off the "artistic roll call".)

I'm reminded of the Vincent Gallo story when he was travelling cross-country at 16. He hitched a ride with some college girls who were glued to the radio. He heard the same 12 songs and he would always complain and say what crap it was. "Don't you like anything?" He was asked. He commented years later "I owned 3,000 albums! Do you know how much effort went into that! I love 3,000 and you like 12!"
Bill Hicks
Dave Chappelle
Bobby Cannavale in Station Agent
Robert Downey,Jr.
Paul Dooley (look him up on IMDB and you'll recognize him immediately...Jon Stewart is not even in this guy's building)
Christopher Guest
Billy Connolly
Chris Rock
Chris Farley (Dec. 18th, 1997 was a truly mournful day for me)
George Carlin
My ire is from not liking enough. I think Bert Parks' performances in cameos on WKRP in Cincinatti were absolute genius.
I think Catherine O'Hara's stuff is better than anything on either the Daily Show or SNL.

To answer your ultimate question, I think SNL serves a different purpose today than it did long ago. It definitely serves some cultural role but I'm not sure what it is.
"Tuesdays with Morrie", I didn't care for it and see the strings with it. But what I find interesting about it is that it's touted as a "life changing" work. Which I find ironic because I used to see it all the time on the "T". No. I'm sorry. That's not change. If it had really changed people's lives I'm not sure those people would be motivated to get up and do the same job tomorrow. Isn't that what has always scared people about art, artists, great books is that it challenges systems, politics and lifestyles and threatens an economic/social dynamic? Twain was banned not because it empowered a slave but because it challenged the Calvinist work ethic. I think "Tuesdays with Morrie" is a great opiate and gives the feeling of "virtual change."
I think people's likes are a lot more objective than you think.
KJ, I think you know the history of writers/artists enough to know that cream seldom rises to the top and that "tis an unweeded garden and those thing rank and gross in nature possess them merely."
The poem from Soprano's the other night "The Second Coming" uses Christ as the metaphor but I think it's more universal "What beast is on its way to Bethlehem?" Who, masked as the savior, is lining their pockets with gold and mir.

KJ said...

"Cultureal real estate is expensive."

Indeed. That’s so depressing. OK, I see what you mean. I too can’t stand to listen to regurgitated anecdotes (though I’m entirely guilty but don’t have a national audience) I hate watching guests making the rounds of late night shows telling the same tired “humorous stories” (that are never very humorous) over and over again. I’m always thinking, “Didn’t anything else ever happen to you? Make something up if you have to!” Everybody’s always “on message;” they’re too afraid to stray from their repertoire/comfort zone for fear of being exposed as human. I firmly believe you’ve got to shake things up every once in awhile just to keep things real.

That said:

-No females on that list? Can't women be funny?

-I still miss Chris Farley.

Paul Dooley – that guy has been in everything but my first reaction was “the dad in Sixteen Candles” Sitting in the dark with your dad talking about your love life.

-My problem: 3,000+ songs on the pod and not a thing to listen to. Cultural ADHD.

Anonymous said...

I mentioned Catherine O'Hara. Also, Parker Posey, Lily Tomlin.

I admit I have trouble with the newer female humor thing: 1. The hero (Margaret Cho.."what an inspiration". 2. One of the guys (the girl from "Lost in Translation" who asks Giovanni Ribisi if she has b.o. By the way, Sofia Coppola was obviously lampooning her quite well). 3. Boy, my husband farts a lot and won't take me to the theater-(King of Queens, etc...)
#3 is also a variation of the disgruntled domestic from commercials who rolls her eyes with annoyance when her asks "How do these cold tablets work?"

Anonymous said...

Cult Classic. This IS funny, referenced all the time in P.T. Anderson movies and Beastie Boys' songs...


KJ said...

You know, I caught your Paul’s Boutique “bust with the Putney Swope sequel” lyric earlier but I always assumed Putney Swope was some random acquaintance, kind of like Third Bass’s Elroy Cohen, receiver of the Gas Face. I've never heard of this movie, but after a Google or two, I think it sounds very Borat-ey. Is it? I'm going to rent it anyway, presuming NetFlix stocks it.