I had the pleasure of meeting comedian Cameron Esposito earlier this year on the JoCo Cruise (a mind-blowingly fun geek cruise produced by Jonathan Coulton). She was the MC for a variety show one night on the ship, and introduced me on stage so I could tell my story about forgetting my bitcoin password. Since then, I've been a fan of her comedy, which is a blend of cultural criticism and political analysis and is funny, scary, lighthearted, and profound. She's posted a recent show on her website called Rape Jokes. It's "a standup special about sexual assault from a survivor’s perspective. Proceeds benefit RAINN, the United States’ largest anti-sexual violence organization." Read the rest
Cameron Esposito's one-hour long comedy special is free to stream on her site -- the perfect knife-edge balance of laughs and rage, and she's soliciting donation for RAINN, "the United States’ largest anti-sexual violence organization." (via Waxy)
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Well, not really a roast, but a warm light chafing, perhaps. Read the rest
What's Dan Harmon's secret to creating viral moments in cult hits like Rick & Morty? He and co-creator Justin Roiland have license to "take this really dumb thing incredibly seriously." Read the rest
Natalie Wynn, creator of the Contrapoints YouTube channel, is a lapsed academic well-versed in the lingo of both 4chan and Tumblr, making her the perfect person to construct an entertaining takedown of Jordan Peterson. Read the rest
Sesame Street lawyers are not happy that Jim Henson's son Brian has a raunchy puppet film coming out called Happytime Murders. After they filed a suit against the film, Henson retained a crack puppet lawyer named Fred (above) to defend them. Read the rest
In late April, I posted about a stand-up comedian who cannot speak without the assistance of his synthetic computer voice. His performance won over the audience at his Britain's Got Talent audition.
Now, Lost Voice Guy (aka Lee Ridley) is back on stage for the competition show's semi-finals with another brilliant set.
His performance landed him a spot as one of the two acts to head to the finals (!) this Sunday:
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This classic mashup of The Matrix and Office Space holds up, so ICYMI, enjoy this well-edited clip of Neo hiding from Lundbergh while taking a call from Milton. Read the rest
Brian David Gilbert is the anxiety-laden voice of a generation in Shingle Jingle, the most upbeat song ever written about suffering from shingles outbreaks. Read the rest
We'll find out soon what might happen
when if lesbians run the country.
Deadline is reporting that Jennifer Aniston and Tig Notaro will star as the first same-sex couple in the White House in an upcoming political comedy film on Netflix:
Netflix has set Jennifer Aniston to play the U.S. president, and Tig Notaro her first lady in First Ladies, a political comedy being written by Notaro and Stephanie Allynne, based on their original pitch. This one’s not your usual White House comedy. First Ladies is a political comedy about America’s first female President and her wife, The First Lady. When Beverly and Kasey Nicholson move into the White House, they’ll prove that behind every great woman… is another great woman.
Jennifer Aniston, Tig Notaro First Same Sex White House Couple In Netflix Film Comedy ‘First Ladies’
photo by Diego Cambiaso, cropped and then altered with a rainbow by NikNaks Read the rest
GQ has made the perfect funny with the cover of their comedy issue. It pokes fun at Vanity Fair's cover fail last year with Reese Witherspoon and Oprah Winfrey.
GQ would like to apologize to Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, and Sarah Silverman for the egregious mistakes made in the process of creating the cover for our 2018 comedy issue, the latest in our pantheon of mostly annual love letters to the funniest humans we know. Our intention was to celebrate the three super-funny superstars, who are all that is smart and perceptive and riotous and necessary in comedy right now. We deeply regret that the results violated GQ's rigorous standards of editorial excellence and the laws of nature.
In an effort to ensure that an error of this magnitude never happens again, and because this sounds like the right thing to say, GQ will be conducting a thorough internal audit of our cover-development process. To demonstrate our commitment to transparency, we will release the results of the review, quietly, in 17 months, on Medium.
And to you, our respected readers, we know that GQ must work doubly hard to earn back your trust. Until then, we'll be ignoring our mentions.
Come back to GQ.com next week to read the profiles of our three wildly talented, extremely two-handed cover stars. In the meantime, we'll be praying that Donald Trump tweets something about Chrissy Teigen in the next hour so everybody forgets all about this.
(Kottke.org) Read the rest
Nell Scovell wrote for David Letterman, who in 33 years had a bad track record of hiring women as writers and stand-ups (about 10% of the total). He also admitted having sex with some of the women he hired. Scovell does a close read of Letterman's recent distortions to Tina Fey about his record:
In the pre-#MeToo era, Letterman (mostly) got a pass. In addressing the issue with one of Hollywood’s most successful comics, he could have admitted his failings. Instead, he attempted to dodge past criticisms. And while delivered with an air of complete logic, Letterman’s argument is a master class in distortion. Here are the first 170 words of the conversation. See if you can spot the different types of manipulative rhetoric — I counted at least ten.
Not that the whole thing was awkward. Fey got in some pretty good ones, for one-a them there lady comedienne types.
• David Letterman Just Can’t Figure Out Why He Never Had Women Writers (The Cut)
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The #BadStockPhotosOfMyJob has had some worthy entries so far, like OB/GYN Dr. Jennifer Gunter's comment on this gem: "I always give a thumbs up after a pelvic exam, it’s so not creepy at all." Read the rest
When I watched the Brady Bunch as a youngster, there was one particular deep guffaw that always caught my attention. I knew the laughs were pre-recorded but always assumed that there was just a laugh track tape and they'd press play at the appropriate times. I liked (and still like) the faux communal experience that laugh tracks provide when watching the Bradys, Bewitched, the Beverly Hillbillies, and other great vintage sitcoms from the 1960s an early 1970s.
Turns out, that the rise of the laugh track was due to Charles Douglass (1910-2003), a Navy-trained electronics engineer/maker who went on to build a custom "Laff Box" of several dozen tape loops triggered by keys and dials. After its initial use on the Jack Benny Program, the machine, officially called the "Audience Reaction Duplicator," took the TV industry by storm. Douglass "played" the Laff Box like a proto-sampler and for years had the monopoly on TV laugh tracks. It was a process that the TV show producers and Douglass himself liked to keep secret.
It wasn't until 1992 that Douglass and his pioneering work at the intersection of media, psychology, and technology was recognized with a lifetime Emmy award for technical achievement.
For the whole story on Douglass and the Laff Box, don't miss this episode of the Decoder Ring podcast.
And here is an Antiques Roadshow segment appraising a Laff Box.
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Michelle Wolf delivered the best White House Press Corps monologue since Colbert's amazing 2006 performance, and it has made the right (as well as establishment handwringers) really angry!
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For a Britain's Got Talent audition, stand-up comedian Lost Voice Guy (aka Lee Ridley) performed a brilliant set without speaking a word. The voiceless 37-year-old British comic used a synthetic voice machine to deliver his jokes which had the audience and judges in stitches.
I also have Cerebral Palsy. I have no speech (I use a small machine called a Lightwriter to speak) and I walk with a limp. Don't worry though, you can't catch it from me. It just means that you better not get stuck behind me on the stairs if there's a fire.
More of his comedy sets can be viewed on his website. Read the rest
There are a lot of comedy specials on Netflix and I do my best to watch them all, as I have a voracious appetite for seeing professional comedians perform their craft.
Now, I don't normally do this but I feel compelled to share the one I watched last night with you. It's called Gad Elmaleh: American Dream and it's showing on Netflix right now.
This is the first special the Moroccan-born comedian has done in English, though apparently it's rehashed material from his 2016 French language Gad Gone Wild. It doesn't matter. He's gone ahead and created something wonderfully funny for us to enjoy without having to read subtitles.
His unique insight on everyday American culture and the quirks of our language really had me laughing. His observational humor is Seinfeld-esque (though distinctly his own) and, in fact, he's been described many times as "the Jerry Seinfeld of France."
Amazingly, Elmaleh's debut appearance on American television was just two years ago. He recounted on Seth Meyers' show the first time he met Seinfeld in person, on his then-home turf of Paris:
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