Monday, April 30, 2012

Comedy Binge

Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival

While I probably could have scored a free pass with just a phone call, volunteering ensured that I’d make it out of the house every night from start to finish. As a result, I was downtown all four nights from 6 to 12, on call about half the time, free to go to shows for the rest.


  • The Parish - Ian Karmel, Paul Varghese, Hannibal Buress
  • The Parish - Chris Cubas, Rory Scovel, Chelsea Peretti
  • Beale Street - Double Header: Ramin Naze, Erin Jackson, Sean Patton
  • Beale Street - Austin Show: David McQuary, Holly Lorka, Jimmie Roulette, Brian Gaar, Matt Sadler, Danny Palumbo, Kath Barbadoro, Nick Mullen, Scott Hardy, Ramin Naze
  • The Parish - Show House: Moshe Kasher, Brendon Walsh, Nikki Glaser, Marc Maron, Lucas Molandes, Ari Shaffir, Duncan Trussell
  • The Parish - Mike MacRae, Nikki Glaser, John Mulaney
Great comedy at every show. My favorites from each night: Hannibal Buress, Chelsea Peretti, Nikki Glaser, John Mulaney. Mulaney was the biggest surprise. Knew he was funny, but holy moly. Complete, seemingly effortless command, throughout his set. One of the best comedy sets I’ve ever seen, company that includes Hannibal Buress, Kyle Kinane, Maria Bamford, Patton Oswalt and Louis C.K.

  • Couldn't fit in a show with Maria Bamford.
  • Only got to see a 10 minute set from Marc Maron.
  • Couldn't fit in any improv/sketch shows at Stateside or New Movement Theater.
  • Forgot to bring Excedrin on Thursday night. I’m not being precious or cute when I say that I smiled and laughed until my head hurt, every night. Same thing happened during SxSW, when I ended up at four comedy shows in one night. Headache medicine is a must. Didn't make the same mistake on Friday and Saturday.
From my perspective, the festival seemed like an unqualified success, and was certainly more polished and well-run than the first ACL Fest.

Love this town.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Giving Back to the Community

I'm volunteering at the inaugural Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival for the next four nights. It's not hospice work, but I still think of myself as a hero.

Friday, April 20, 2012

REDUX: Coping with Loss

Yesterday, I was nominated as a Democratic candidate for Texas governor by my former editor Eileen Smith. She linked to the following column (one of my favorites), which I wrote on the eve of the last presidential election, on how to deal with the loss of your candidate.

Coping with Loss

The byline photo confirms my long-held belief that scowling is slimming. That picture had been taken a few weeks earlier at my 20th high school reunion. I remember thinking at the time, that compared to all those other Baldy McFattersons from my class, I looked pretty damn good. When I see that photo now, I wonder, "What's that fat fuck grinning about?" and "Do I carry all my weight in my head?"

This compilation, from 2008, 2010 and 2012, shows how my head has shrunk as my smile has faded (from grin to smirk).

By 2014, it'll be a frown. By 2016, a grimace. By 2018, rictus.

(Christian Bale in The Machinist)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Today in Huh?story - April 18

April 18, 1480 - Birth of Lucrezia Borgia
Happy 532nd birthday to the illegitimate daughter of the future Pope Alexander VI. Two types of people from the Renaissance are remembered today, fabulous artists and jerks. The Borgias were a noted family of Renaissance creeps. How creepy were the Borgias? Machiavelli based a lot of his writings on them in action. Lucrezia was a rumored poisoner, manipulator, incestor and frowny portrait-sitter (see Cersei, Game of Thrones). Of course, none of that is proven (except for the frowny portraits). Just as likely, Lucrezia ran with a really bitchy clique during junior high, had a falling out with Tiffany of Aragorn (who had just gotten her period), and next thing you know, centuries of infamy. Lucrezia would go on to crank out eight known kids, and maybe as many as eleven. Plus, she’s also thought to have had at least four miscarriages. On her deathbed at age 39: “Oh, I’m the asshole? Sure, I’m the asshole.”

I knew at least three Lucrezias (various spellings) during my school years. None were papal bastards...that I know of! High five!
April 18, 1831 - University of Alabama founded
A punchline that writes itself. Alabama football fans insist that they won the national title the very next year, even though the first game of intercollegiate football wasn’t played until 1869. Forrest Gump returned kicks for the championship team of 1832. Jim Nabors reigns as Alabama’s best and most representative graduate.
April 18, 1906 - San Francisco earthquake of 1906
The least fabulous moment in the history of our country’s most fabulous city. One of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history, the earthquake and subsequent fire also marked San Francisco’s transition from the Mos Eisley of the American West to the slightly more gentrified Mos Eisley of the American West.
Fires were much harder to put out during the Sepia Times. Goddamn seagulls!
(Disclosure: My mother, who passed on the carsick-gene to me, once went on a limo tour of San Francisco and surrounding environs, became nauseated, puked the red raspberries she’d had for breakfast onto the back tire and wheel well of a bright white BMW in a parking lot, then immediately bought and ate a veggie burger with all the fixins from a street vendor to replenish her strength, and later called me that day to brag (I guess?) about the experience. That’s carsickness in a nutshell. Our family doesn’t blame the city. Anymore.)
April 18, 1955 - Death of Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein of nerd-dorm-room-poster fame, probably best known for his fuck-you hairstyle, also dabbled in maths.
He invented nucular bombs, time travel, warp speed ahead and the Jew Fu fighting system that became known as Krav Maga, which he used to kill Hitler after teleporting into his bunker. Einstein’s landmark 1905 paper on Brownian motion remains humankind’s greatest achievement in poop jokes.
April 18, 1980 - Republic of Zimbabwe comes into being
Happy Birthday, Zimbabwe. But an Evite to meet for tapas, then karaoke, that included 18 other countries? And every damn one of them is going to try to pay for their part of the bill with a credit card? And Tanzania is going to be all, "I didn't really drink anything and I don't have a job right now." Jesus. Look, nobody gives a shit about your 32nd birthday, Zimbabwe. How about you wait until you’re 40, then we will let you know about the party.

As part of its transition from British colonial, white-dominated minority rule to majority rule and internationally recognized independence, Rhodesia agreed to change its name to Zimbabwe. In exchange, the outgoing white minority got the naming rights to their signature breed of dog. Thus, the Zimbabwean Zipperspine became the Rhodesian Ridgeback (in the Karanga dialect of Shona, “Zimbabwe” translates to “nature’s most pesky cowlick”). To this day, if you question them about the trade-off, both parties will quickly respond, “Totally worth it.” But you can tell Zimbabweans still miss that dog.
(Disclosure: During my early 20s, my best friend had a Zipperspine named Allie. She was a big fan of second-hand marijuana smoke, looking perplexed and sleeping in chairs that appeared comically too small for her. One of my all time favorite dogs.)

Monday, April 09, 2012

Comedy Tropes that Never Fail (#1 of __)

Question: When is a guy in a neck brace not funny?
Still the Answer: Never in recorded history.
Facial road-burn and a sad-trombone-wah-wah expression? Sublime.

This guy is (soon to be, was) the highest paid employee of the state of Arkansas.
We live in heady, intellectual times.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Best of Twitter - March 2012

  • I shouldn't use Mott's for Tots as a mixer, because as an alcoholegan, I can't drink anything with a face.
  • ‘member that time the entire country went bananas because a Taiwanese-American was better than expected at basketball?
  • “Kites? Kite festival? Ah, man...” - disappointed, racist, matzo enthusiast
  • It's impossible not to feel judged for all your life choices when you use five or more dimes as part of a payment for anything.
  • Super Tuesday. If you live in a primary state, throw beads at a candidate and scream "Show me your pendulous gringtorums!"
  • “ 'Tis better to be avuncular than carbuncular.” - aphorism I just made up to feel better about life
  • People still mad, 'cause cyber-hobos? #SxSWi #JunkPanTessierAshpool
  • Referring to other drinkers on NY's Eve and St. Patrick's Day as "amateurs"? Well congratulations on your professional alcoholism.
  • Attention bullies. These music pipsqueaks have beautiful girlfriends. Come on down and get you one. #SxSW #BlutoDoctrine
  • Still angry with your dad, huh Punk Rock? Still not sure what to do with your hands when you perform live, huh Rap? #SxSW
  • Irrational Duke hatred is the nerd-rage of sport.
  • You dorks would wait in line for hours at DukeSucks-Con, just to sit on Cherokee Park's lap and awkwardly mumble "I hate you".
  • The sixth state of the K├╝bler-Ross model is buying a lottery ticket while wearing pajama pants.
  • If today's weather was a drug, I'd forsake everything else to inject it behind a 7-11 dumpster. "Hear about TJ? He's strung-out on lovely."
  • Got an Evite to be part of a fellowship to cast the Cheney-heart back into Mt. Doom. Hope I don't go all Boromir and try to wield it myself.
  • Age 41 is just like 31, but with 1300% more ear and nose hair maintenance.
  • Had a moment of shared humanity with the clerks & patrons while buying a lottery ticket. We're going to be okay, people...nah, it was gross.

Monday, April 02, 2012

House Music (#17 of __)

In heavy rotation over the last several weeks:

2012-03-March Playlist

Raphael Saadiq - Stone Rollin'
"Classic" R&B. I love this album cover.


White Rabbits - Milk Famous
These guys were all over SxSW, though I didn't make it to any of their shows (I'm already on board). People should stop comparing them to Spoon, and start comparing Spoon to them.