Must-see bizarro viewing: Boots Riley's 'Sorry to Bother You'

This isn't a review, but I'd regret not giving you a heads up about Sorry to Bother You, Boots Riley's first feature film. It's an absurd black sci-fi satire shot in Oakland and it's the off-the-wall dystopian summer indie flick we all deserve.

At the last minute last Friday, I put my hands on some tickets for its sold-out nationwide opening night at the Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland. And wow, am I glad I did.

It was a real happening. People cheered and laughed. Plus, the movie was simply fantastic. After the show, folks with tickets for the late show (which had the bonus of an after-show Q&A with Boots himself) were already lining up. Lots of people posed with the shitty Tercel featured in the film, which was parked right in front of the theatre.

Hilariously, you can buy that shitty Tercel for a mere $23,999.40 on the STBU website:

(I got my eye on that Mr. Bobo collectible plate myself.)

If you want to read what reviewers are saying, here's a good start:

Review: ‘Sorry to Bother You,’ but Can I Interest You in a Wild Dystopian Satire? by A.O. Scott of The New York Times:

"If Mike Judge’s “Office Space” and Robert Downey Sr.’s “Putney Swope” hooked up after a night of bingeing on hallucinogens, Marxist theory and the novels of Paul Beatty and Colson Whitehead, the offspring might look something like this."

Film Review: ‘Sorry to Bother You’ by Peter Debruge of Variety:

"Nearly as deranged as it is politically engaged, Boots Riley’s sui generis “Sorry to Bother You” is the kind of debut feature that knocks your socks off, tickles your bare tootsies with goose feathers for a while, then goes all Kathy Bates in the final stretch, ultimately taking a sledgehammer to your kneecaps."

This one might make more sense AFTER you've seen the movie:

In 'Sorry To Bother You,' an Alternate-Universe Oakland Rings True by Janelle Hessig of KQED Arts:

"The “don’t sell out” moral of the story is delivered with all of the subtlety of a circus clown with an erection, but appropriately so—there’s nothing subtle in being a person of color fighting to survive capitalism."

Go see it. Read the rest

Sacha Baron Cohen punks Dick Cheney in promo for his new undercover show

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A post shared by @sachabaroncohen on Jul 8, 2018 at 3:04pm PDT

Sacha Baron Cohen, the man behind Ali G and Borat, is back with a new show which premieres this weekend. In the promo for the satirical half-hour series, called Who is America?, the British comedian can be heard asking, "Dick Cheney, is it possible to sign my waterboard kit?" The former Vice President answers, "Sure!" and is then shown autographing an empty plastic water jug. It then cuts to him, "That's the first time I've ever signed a waterboard." Troll level: expert.

From the official description: "In the works over the past year, the seven-episode series explores the diverse individuals, from the infamous to the unknown across the political and cultural spectrum, who populate our unique nation."

Showtime Networks president and CEO David Nevins said in a statement, "Sacha is a comedic genius who shocks you with his audacity, bravery and inventiveness. He is the premier provocateur of our time, but not for the sake of ‘gotcha’ moments. Behind the elaborate setup is a genuine quest for the truth about people, places and politics. Nobody knows how to cause a stir like Sacha Baron Cohen, and it’s going to be fascinating to watch what happens when Who Is America? is released on the world.”

The show begins airing Sunday, July 15 at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime.

Read the rest

An interview with Jordan Peterson, who believes in witches and dragons

The New York Times was just for starters: Something Awful got the real deal from manhood's true savior. Read the rest

MAD Magazine gets a reboot

MAD Magazine has made the move from New York City to Los Angeles, relaunching itself with a new logo and staff (for instance, the magazine has its first female art director, Suzanne Hutchinson, aka Suzy Splab).

Issue #1 has already hit the newsstands.

Here's what's in store:

Introducing MAD's first issue EVER*, featuring full-length spoofs of Star Wars and Riverdale! Plus, "A MAD Look at Harassment" from Sergio Aragonés, "Pop Culture That Didn't Make It Into Ready Player One," an all-new Potrzebie Comics section, The MADifesto, Spy vs. Spy, the Fold-In, and much more! (*Technically, this is our first magazine-format #1 issue ever!)Introducing MAD's first issue EVER*, featuring full-length spoofs of Star Wars and Riverdale! Plus, "A MAD Look at Harassment" from Sergio Aragonés, "Pop Culture That Didn't Make It Into Ready Player One," an all-new Potrzebie Comics section, The MADifesto, Spy vs. Spy, the Fold-In, and much more! (*Technically, this is our first magazine-format #1 issue ever!)

I noticed you that if you get a 2 or 3 year subscription, they'll send you a little tiki mug that looks like Alfred E. Neuman. Want!

WELCOME TO THE ALL-NEW, SOMEWHAT-FAMILIAR MAD!

Issue #1's cover art by Jason Edmiston

(Pee-wee Herman) Read the rest

Mocking the formula of late night talk shows

Late-night talk shows have a lot in common with each other, including white male hosts, scripted political jokes, and "racially diverse" bands.

In "Every Late Night Talk Show Ever," comedy channel Smosh puts a spotlight on the late-night talk show genre's formula and mocks it mercilessly. Say hello to Jimmy Whiteguy.

[Insert funny anecdote to end the story.]

Previously: The surprisingly mathematical formula for writing late-night jokes Read the rest

Science fiction, predicting the present, the adjacent possible, and trumpian comic dystopias

In 2010, Steve Almond started work on a Tea Party-inspired novel called Bucky Dunn Is Running, about a racist demagogue businessman who comes within a whisker of the Republican nomination for their presidential candidate; he'd aimed to have it done for the 2016 election season, but then Trump happened, and his satire seemingly caught up with him. Read the rest

The Thoughts & Prayers makeup tutorial

Beauty vlogger Sailor J is known for her biting social commentary, according to Allure:

In Sailor J's "T & P Makeup Look" video, the 21-year-old uses beauty products by a brand called Thoughts & Prayers. If you haven't heard of Thoughts & Prayers, that's because it's nonexistent, as are the completely useless invisible products she wields to supposedly change her look — just like the completely useless thoughts and prayers she says "rich, indifferent people in Congress often, usually after a national tragedy like the Parkland shooting."

...The first step is an invisible foundation named "If You're White, It's a Mental Illness and If You're Brown, You're a Terrorist," which she proceeds to put on the back of her hand. Don't see it? "It's probably because you're not strong enough in the spirit," she says with sarcastic conviction. As she swirls the empty brush on her face, she claims it "makes a world of difference."

At the end of her now-viral video, Sailor J points to the GoFundMe page that is taking donations to benefit the victims and families of the recent Parkland, Florida high school shooting. Read the rest

Zany sheriff does kooky fake ad for county slammer

What to do with all that civil asset forfeiture? Why not erect a fake hotel sign outside the county jail and make a fake ad starring you? That's what Sherriff Rick Staly thought would be fun. Read the rest

I Am the Very Model of a New York Times Contrarian

Matthew Dessem's I Am the Very Model of a New York Times Contrarian is a zeitgeisty bit of doggerel that neatly sums up many of my frustrations reading the Grey Lady, stretching all the way back to the paper's shameful sell-job for George W Bush's disastrous Iraq invasion. Read the rest

Watch the first episode of 'Our Cartoon President' for free

Our Cartoon President takes jabs at Trump and his rag-tag band of misfits. Showtime released the premiere episode for free:

State of the Union. The President tries to revive his low approval ratings by delivering the greatest State of the Union speech in history and to strengthen his relationship with First Lady Melania by naming her the national bird.

Our Cartoon President | Series Premiere (YouTube / Showtime) Read the rest

The Onion's new profanity-laced cooking videos send up the genre perfectly

Since Gordon Ramsay got 25 million views showing how to scramble eggs, there's been a sharp uptick in inane cooking videos. Enter The Onion with the perfect response. Read the rest

Bros go to LA city council to speak for house parties

Chad Kroeger, a Youtuber whose persona is a kind of stoner party-bro, attended a City Council hearing to discuss a plan to prohibit house parties and gave a passionate speech in defense of these parties as a way of helping lost young men realize their full potential; once gaveled out of the speaker's box, his confederate took the stand and continued. This is genius, Andy Kaufman-grade performance art. We howled with laughter in my house. (Thanks, Alistair!) Read the rest

Find out what's going on in Maine

New Maine News [via Cat Valente] is that rare thing online: a local Onion-style satirical news site that is good. It's great! I feel almost like I live there.

From the front page alone:

Over 80% of Maine Fathers’ Affection Is Directed at Their Wood PilesHeroic Man Saved Dying Pit Party by Cranking Some AC/DCThis Innovative Chef Took the Traditional Maine Baked Bean Supper and Made it Cost $85Expert Panel Concludes Maine Didn’t Used to Be Like This.

Augusta — Experts presented their conclusion to a years-long study of how Maine is now, compared to how it once was, and the results are alarming.

“Weren’t like this back in the ’70s,” lead researched Brian Richards said in a prepared statement.

“Didn’t used to be like this at all. Terrible now. Don’t even hardly recognize it,” Richards said. Richards grew up in Thomaston, but has since moved north.

“Time was, if you had a few beers and a cop pulled you over, he’d just follow you to make sure you got home alright,” he said.

Read the rest

Great Simon and Garfunkel "Sound of Silence" parody about Trump

There are some great music parodies coming from Parody Project, which look at today's politics in all of its strangeness. "Confounds the Science" is about Trump's tweets and stupidity. Here are the first two verses:

Hello darkness my old friend. It’s time for him to tweet again, but first he’ll have to check in with Fox news ‘cause that’s the only place he gets his clues. That’s how things get planted in his brain, where they remain, and it confounds the science.

The problem is he’s not alone. He tweets to people on his phone that global warming is a giant hoax perpetuated by the liberal folks, and he hires people that all think the same, that play his game and it confounds the science.

If you like this one, here's another one of their other Simon and Garfunkel spoofs, The Tweeter (Lie Lie Lie), which parodies The Boxer.

Read the rest

"The Heist" pokes fun at big-budget Hollywood capers

"Two handsome master criminals are trying to pull off a big heist so they're putting together the most incredible heist team that has ever heist teamed before." Read the rest

Google Manufacturing Robot isn't sure humans belong in tech

That now-ex-Googler who published a memo explaining why it's a fact that women are biologically unable to be good tech workers had a point, but honestly, the problem isn't ovaries: it's organs. Read the rest

Acting Madly: the secret history of the lost MAD-alike magazines of the satire boom

It's been a bumper year for documentary evidence of the lost, weird history of MAD Magazine: first there was the gorgeous hardcover that uncovered the two-issue, unlimited-budget Trump Magazine (created by MAD's founding editor Harvey Kurtzman after a falling out with publisher William Gaines, Jr, operating with a bankroll provided by Hugh "Playboy" Hefner); now there's Behaving Madly, which assembles a timeline of the short-lived, incredibly proliferated MAD rip-offs that popped up as Kurtzman and his successor proved that there was big bucks to be found in satire.

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