Tuesday, November 21, 2006


WARNING: There is nothing funny contained in today's entry. Seriously. Being that it's "Tuesday Newsday" and I am by all accounts a stand up comedian, I can't really avoid addressing this Michael Richards craziness, can I? Hell, how often is stand up comedy front page news--especially a story that doesn't involve the words "Dane" and/or "Cook"? So I will try to adress it here, even though the whole story just makes me kind of depressed and angry. This story will have residual effects on the stand up community as a whole, from the barrage of anti stand-up editorials that are already being written to my suspician that an increasing number of people are going to start filming comedy club shows on their cell phones, hoping to catch something "incriminating". It's just bad for comedians everywhere, which makes it really difficult to feel sorry for this fuckhead.

Obviously, the tirade was insane. But having been taken to task for things I've said (or have been perceived to say) on stage a few times over the past few years, I was looking for a reason, ANY reason to exonerate the dude in my mind. Well, I tried--really, I did. I'm willing to stand up (no pun intended) for any comic, saying any sort of offensive shit, provided that there is a joke involved. It doesn't have to be a great joke--hell, it can just be a vague and poorly executed premise. But there is absolutely nothing resembling a joke in Richards' screed. Not even the germ of a joke. Not even a whisper. Oh sure, he babbled something about "words, words, all these words", obviously trying to point out our cultural taboos. Setting aside ethics for a moment, that's a pathetic cop out--invoking the word "nigger" for shock value is considered indisputably hack among real stand up comics, no matter what silly context you try to put it in. But for the sake of argument, I'll give Richards this one. that still does nothing to address lines like, "fifty years ago you'd be upside down with a fork up your ass" or "that's what happens when you interrupt the white man". That's just nonsense, pure and simple.

You have to understand, I'm still not terribly comfortable taking this position. As I said up top, my instinct is always to side with a comic over any "offended party". There is so little respect for stand-up in the culture at large, and pundits and journalists are ALWAYS looking for subtle (or not-so-subtle) ways to diminish what comics try to do. By talking shit about Michael Richards, am I not taking sides against my peers? But then a very simple truth dawned on me:

Michael Richards is not a stand up comedian. So fuck him.

Michael Richards is one of a growing number of on-the-wane celebrities who have decided to attach themselves like barnacles to the world of stand-up (think Screech). There is always an air of palpable condescension that comes from people like this. They think it's easy. Or if not "easy", than certainly nothing more than a means to an end. Stand up is a way to stay visible until an on-camera gig comes along. Plus, it gives them some feeling of "cred". These are not people who feel compelled to spend five hours at a shitty Tuesday night open mic, waiting to perform for a handful of disinterested drunks.

Simply put, someone like Michael Richards has never paid his dues and obviosuly doesn't understand that stand can be...well, pretty fucking intricate. There are things about comedy that you can't learn by waltzing into a club on Saturday night and babbling (and trust me, there are no fucking jokes in this dude's set--I've seen it) to a packed room full of people who adore you because you were on the tee-vee. All of those open mics and late night hell gigs teach you things, such as: Don't try to be "edgy" without knowing what the comedic payoff is supposed to be. To paraphrase "Glengarry Glen Ross, "If you don't know the shot, keep your fucking mouth shut." Watching Richards scream "nigger" over and over again in some weak-assed attempt to be Lenny Bruce (overrated, by the way) was liking watching a foreigner read the Pledge of Alleigance phonetically.

Look, I know Richards was a sketch comedian for a very long time before Seinfeld. But sketch is not stand up--neither is improv. Only in stand-up are you forced to take full ownership of every word that comes out of your mouth. There are no characters to hide behind, no scenarios to "yes-and". There is only you, your opinion and whatever ability you have to express that opinion in a humorous fashion.

Michael Richards doesn't know that because he's not a stand up comedian. He's an out of work actor trying to be edgy and dangerous until his next "wacky neighbor" role comes along. So fuck him.

Monday, November 20, 2006


So Saturday night I was driving a rental car to a show in Pennsylvania. I'm not a huge fan of driving--in fact, I just re-acquired my license fifteen months ago, after letting it expire when I moved to NYC at age eighteen. This particular drive was annoying because I'd rented a portable GPS system that had, due to my idiocy, taken me forty minutes out of my way. I also hadn't eaten, so I was a bit cranky. Somewhere along the way I realized I'd forgotten to pack my American Crew Forming Cream (the official hair product of aging wannabes), so I got off the highway and turned into an Eckerd's. As I started to pull into a parking spot, I noticed a roly poly child of around eleven sitting in a station wagon two spots over. He was sitting in the backseat with the door open, playing with some large brightly colored toy--some sort of brightly colored lazer gun, or something. And I suppose "playing with" isn't accurate. He was just sort of sitting there, staring at it in his hands as if it were a bunny he'd accidentally strangled to death. Mom was obviously inside buying personal hygeine products and had left Junior outside to amuse himself. He kind of reminded me of the kid from Bad Santa, only wearing glasses and not so visibly retarded.

Anyway, I pulled a bit too far into the parking spot and the front end of my Ford Taurus scraped the cement parking barrier, making a rather hideous noise. Naturally, I then backed up a bit, causing another loud screech. I got out of the car and cheked the front of the car--I bought the insurance for the car, but I was worried that Dollar Rental would still try to charge me. Relatively comfortable with the state of the Ford Taurus, I began to walk toward the front door. As I passed the Bad Santa kid, I heard home say something, almost inaudibly: "Nice driving."

Um...did I just fucking hear that? Did this little fuckknob just talk shit to me? After the day I've had? No. Fucking. Way.

"Excuse me?" I said, as I spun around to face the kid.


"Nice hat," he said, peering up from his lazer gun. (I was, for the record, wearing a rather nondescript hat.)

"Oh really? Nice hat? That's what you just said?"


"Because I could have sworn I heard you say 'nice driving'. You didn't say 'nice driving'?


"So you're telling me that I heard you wrong, that what you really said was 'nice hat'? That's what you're trying to convince me of? That's the story you're going with?"

Pause. Then quietly, "I said 'nice hat'."

The roly poly child sheepishly pulled his legs into the car, shut the door and slumped down in the backseat. I turned around and strode confidently into Eckerd's, feeling as if I'd stood up in the face of Injustice. By the time I returned to the Ford Taurus, the kid's mother had abviously finished her shopping and the station wagon was gone. I was half disappointed, as I wanted to see kid squirm a little bit more. And the other half of me was relieved, as I was a little afraid that the kid was going to tell on me and that I'd get yelled at by his mother.

Question: Exactly how big of a fucking asshole am I?

Monday, November 13, 2006


I'm not feeling particularly funny or self-analytical today, so I thought I might as well just recommend some tunes I've been digging lately. Not all of these are actually "new", but I've come to discover (or re-discover) each of these over the past month or two and they're all genuinely wondrous. You should go on iTunes (or whatever) and buy them.

* "Sunday Noises" by Califone
* "New York Groove" by Ace Frehley
* "Destination Diamonds" by Diamond Nights
* "Phoenix" by Cibelle
* "Skip to the End" by The Futureheads
* "If You Don't Know Me By Now" by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes
* "The Only Night" by Ian Love
* "Drop it Like it's Hot" by Minus the Bear (no, it's not a Snoop Dog cover)
* "Even Tho" by Joseph Arthur
* "Don't Save Us From the Flames" by M83
* "Province" by TV on the Radio
* "Piece of Clay" by Marvin Gaye
* "I Was Born (A Unicorn)" by The Unicorns
* "Why Don't We Fall in Love" by Amerie
* "Fly High Michelle" by Enuff Z'nuff (fuck you, it's a great song)

If you can't find at least one song on this list you dig, you're fucking Al Qaeda.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Listen, I know this clip has already made the rounds, but I include it here in the hopes that there are a few of you out there who are still uninitiated. There is so much to love here, so much to loathe, so much to make you squirm uncomfortably in your chair. Without further ado, I give you "One Bank":

one bank on Vimeo

Thursday, November 09, 2006


So the votes in Virgina are in, the Democrats have officially taken the Senate and depending on your philosophical leanings, you're either elated or moritifed (count me among the elated). I did, however, notice there seem to be more and more fringe political parties on the ballot every election year. In New York, we had the Libertarians, the Green Party, The Independence Party, Working Families, Conservatives, Socialist Workers and the "Rent is Too High" Party (I like a party that spells it out for me!). In my opinion, the Two Party System is the single worst aspect of our American Democracy--how can a government function well if half of its leaders deperately want (nay, NEED) the other half to fail? So I think the rise in Third Party candidates can only be a good thing. And according to my research, the ballot is only going to get more crowded next time around. Here are a bunch of fringe politcal parties looking to make their mark in 2008:

PHILOSOPHY: Freetopians are vehemently opposed to government infringements on personal liberty at all levels. Among the things Freetopians are opposed to: streetlights, child safety caps and minimum height requirements on roller coasters.
SLOGAN: "Libertarians are a bunch of Communist pussies!"

PHILOSOPHY: The AWR endorses a number of controversial social policies, all of which are very ambiguous in their intent. Are they trying to help the less fortunate? Or are they horrible racists? Hard to say. Proposals include a plan that would require teachers in predominantly Black schools to rap their lessons plans, a "Tortillas-for-Guns" program in crimeridden Latino neighborhoods, and The Schlomo Goldstein Foundation, which helps Jews pass the bar exam.
SLOGAN: "Working towards an America where men and women of every race are valid."

TGL (Total Government Live)
PHILOSOPHY: TGL wants to offer America a more direct approach to Democracy, whereby policy would be created via "shout outs" by average teens who happen to be congregating en masse outside the House of Respresentatives.
SLOGAN: "Hi, I'm Tracy Meloni from Merrick, Long Island and I want to give a mad shout out to tax code reform for working families and small business! Chad Michael Murray, I love you! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!"

PHILOSOPHY: Founded by prominent economist Ronald Fingerfuck, The Fingerfucks are the "no nonsense" party of fiscal responsibility. They believe budget cuts are necessary in both social programs and military spending if we ever hope to reign in our ballooning national deficit.
SLOGAN: "The era of false promises is over. America deserves honest and sober fiscal leadership in the face of a ever-evolving global economy. Vote Fingerfuck."

PHILOSOPHY: This group believes that the 'passive-aggressive girlfriend' is the perfect model for good government. If voted into power, the PAG will exert its influence on foreign and domestic policy through an intricate combination of awkward silences, vague expressions of disappointment, and occasional crying fits.
SLOGAN: "So...you don't want to increase farm subsidies? Um...okay. No, that's fine... (sigh...) ...Listen, I think I'm just going to go. No. I'm fine. Obviously, you're not interested in what I have to say, so... You just do whatever. I said, I'm fine. Really. (sigh)"

PHILOSOPHY: This party is dedicated to promoting the family value of cool, refreshing Pepsi cola. Look under the cap of your participating Pepsi product for a chance to become Secretary of Health and Human services, or any one of 150 other rad Pepsi prizes! The PG hopes to rebound after months of infighting between potential nominees Shakira and Beyonce.
SLOGAN: With a smooth taste and less than 100 calories, it's clear that Pepsi is the choice of a new voting demographic!

PHILOSOPHY: If voted into power, this group will see to it every American citizen would be able to throw a kick-ass party. Funds will be allocated for beer, potato chips, crepe paper streamers and totally awesome '80s music mix CD's. A special congressional task force will be formed to make sure that "Jeff" doesn't show up.
SLOGAN: "Dude, you are so wasted! We are so getting your vote!"

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


The very wonderful comedy website Dead Frog just posted an extensive (dare I say, exhaustive) interview with a truly legendary American. That's right: me. Some of what I said makes me cringe a little bit. Some of it I'm relatively proud of. The main thing this interview has taught me is that i really need to learn how to speak in full and complete sentences--especially when talking to someone on the phone.

Anyway, if you're interested in the philosphy of stand up comedy (to the extent there is one), I think it's worth reading. You can read the whole thing here.

P.S. By the way, Kambri has been demanding I mention that, on the very same day I "worked" with Kevin Federline, she chatted with Wilmer Valderama. this is significant because K-Fed and Wilmer are probably my two biggest go-to punchlines on "Best Week Ever". Wilmer more than Federline, honestly (after all, anyone can make a K-Fed joke). Still, that is a pretty heavy-duty aligning of the douchebaggy planets. You can read about Kambri's Valderhomage here. I'm relieved that, by all indications, Kambri was able to resist havng sex with him.

Monday, November 06, 2006


So, if you didn't notice, I took a little time away from the Tower of Hubris last week. What can I say--I was ravaged by exhaustion and had other things to do that were...how shall I say it...more important than the e-masturbatory folly that is this blog. But just so you don't feel like you missed out on anything, here's a quick update on the things I'm wracking my brain with these days:

* I spent the majority of the past week readying a sitcom idea that I am pitching to a television executive this afternoon (at 3pm EST, if you're the kind of person who believes in putting out "good vibes" and shit). I'm working with a very talented writer dude who's really done the lion's share of the work--my main role has been to meet him for lunch and babble nonsensically about my worldview. My other role has been to add little nuggets of wisdom, such as "I don't want my character to be named Walter" and "There aren't really any Cubans in Astoria, Queens". Anyway, it's been a pretty interesting process and I'm proud to finally count myself among the 4,000,000 douchebags out there hawking a situation comedy.

* On Saturday evening, I nearly got into a fistfight. And when I say "fistfight", I mean "had my ass handed to me by a teenage Latino dude". Here's an abbreviated rundown of how it all went down, with the helps of semi-colons: Thug Life was sitting on the subway stairs; I needed to get by and as I did I bumped into him slightly; he said some shit to me; I said some shit back; he got into my "grill"; I didn't back down (too much); Thug Life ceremoniously removed his doo-rag (it was ON!); I walked down the platform; he followed me and said some more shit; I said some more shit back, trying my best to refrain from calling him MC Hammer (he had stupid little lines cut into his eyebrows); he promised to follow me wherever I went; I told him to go ahead, while privately praying he wouldn't); he told me as we got above ground he was going to rob and beat me; I gave him a very nervous "whatever" look; Thug Life started stalking the platform yelling "WHITE BOY! WHIIIIIIIIITE BOY!"; I removed my license and credit cards from my wallet (just in case!); we got on the train, he starting badgering some random and bewildered black woman, shouting about how, back in the day, white boys never would have gotten away with talking shit (ah, the salad days!); we got off the train; I walked towards one staircase; he inexplicably lost track of me (I wasn't running, I promise!) and walked towards the other staircase; I climbed the stairs while listening to Thug Life yell "WHITE BOY! WHERE YOU AT?!"; I walked at a normal pace (maybe I was hurrying a little...okay, I was speed-walking, basically) across 14th street to my gig, all the while half-waiting for a drunken fist to come careening down onto the back of my head; I got to the club and spent the next twenty minutes drinking and waiting for my hands to stop shaking with rage (okay, fear). Then I went up and tried to make people laugh--it went pretty well except for the moment where I started yelling at some Jersey girl for talking during my set. I'm man enough to admit that maybe I was taking shit out on her just a teensy-weensy bit. Such is life.

* Oh, and did I mention I met Kevin Federline on Thursday? Well, I did. I did something with him for Best Week Ever. While spectacularly unimpressive as a public figure (even in person, K-Fed has the starpower of a TGI Fridays night manager), he said or did nothing that was glaringly douche-y. I was polite, but not overly friendly. I already felt like a major hypocrite standing there next to him after all the shit I;'ve talked about him on the show. Best Week Ever, like politics, creates strange bedfellows. Honestly, I was just relieved he didn't punch me in the face. Either he's fully embraced his Semi-Celebrity Pinata status, or Best Week Ever isn't on his radar. I will say this, though--that dude positively reeks of cigarettes. Shit is nasty, yo.

* Lastly, just so I don't miss yet another opportunity to flog Two For Flinching, here's a quick little promo I did for BWE (as we insiders/jackwads call it):