Did you catch Reggie Watts on Conan the other night? Characteristic genre-bending mix of storytelling, beatboxing, and comedy, wrapped up as a very special holiday message. He's not doing Andy Kaufman -- he's evolving him.
Feeling the need to let someone know you care? TajTunes is a singing telegram service from India that delivers your best wishes via telephone. You choose a song from their library and specify the receiver's name & number. The TajTune performers ring them up and sing the tune, and then they deliver a hilarious MP3 of the call back to the sender for just $6.99 (less if you're sending multiple tunes). TajTunes: Outsourcing Never Sounded So Good! :DS
If you've ever wondered how much of Tracy Morgan's shtick is an act, or if he can even stand outside of his stage self, his interview on Fresh Air will set it that straight. Around 13:00, he breaks down crying talking about his mother. Even Terry Gross is shocked. It's sorta amazing:
He also apparently broke down at a Barnes and Noble reading.
Just released: the previously un-aired pilot of South Park. Most of it was integrated into the actually-aired first episode, but it's interesting to see how the early episodes, which were mostly anal probe jokes, gradually transformed into topical cultural criticism.
Your favorite blog for the next five minutes: Vintage Stand-Up Comedy. "Out of print, spoken word stand-up comedy from the 1930s through the 1990s."
The greatest comedy album of all time*, I Have a Pony, is being re-released on Tuesday. To aquaint you kids, Paste's 25 Best One-Liners, or follow the fake guy on Twitter. (*For stoned midwestern kids in basements.)
You know what's most fun about the White House Correspondent's Dinner speech? The YouTube comments, of course.
Last week in the New Yorker, Gary Trudeau used his mythical Fox News character, Roland Hedley, to poke at journalists using Twitter, which as The Times points out, in some cases were actually too long to be on Twitter. (See also: @roland_hedley.) WebNewser has an interview with Trudeau about twittering. "Look, all of us are narcissists to some degree, but most find it embarrassing enough to at least try to hide it. What Twitter and its social media cousins do is disable inhibition. We expect narcissism from our movie stars and politicians and teenagers, but it's a little surprising to encounter so many otherwise personally modest journalists oblivious to how they're presenting."
"Twitter seems to be, first and foremost, an online haven where teenagers making drugs can telegraph secret code words to arrange gang fights and orgies. It also functions as a vehicle for teasing peers until they commit suicide."
Prank Wars is probably my favorite thing on College Humor. (The one where they trick Amir into thinking he's on Human Giant was supreme.) This time, they trick Amir into thinking he won $500,000 for sinking a blindfolded half-court shot.
The College Humor Show, which premieres tomorrow at 9:30p on MTV, sure made the media rounds the last few days: NYT, NYO, WaPo, AdAge. The last one, a Dumenco interview with Ricky, is the best. "I haven't asked Barry [Diller] about being on the show, but it would obviously be great to have him do a cameo. He's one of the funniest people I know -- not funny for a guy in his sixties, or funny for a media mogul, but legit funny." And then: "Knowing Nick [Denton], I think he'd much prefer to be a character in Battlestar Gallactica or Friday Night Lights." Trailer.
Grigoriadis strikes again: "Artie Lange, the 300 pound 41-year old sidekick to Howard Stern, is one of the most complicated, crass and insecure comedians working today -- and one of the most successful. He makes a ton of dough: $700,000 per year at Sirius XM and about $3 million a year on the stand-up circuit. Too Fat to Fish, his memoir, is on the New York Times bestseller list. Random House has already signed up his next book for $800,000. There's only one problem: Lange is a carousing, overeating drugged-up mess who can't handle the mundane details of life, like keeping a girlfriend, cooking, cleaning or even getting an e-mail account." See also: The Story Behind the Story.
In early 1997, the alt-weekly in Minneapolis, City Pages, wrote a profile of writers at The Onion. Unless you were from the deep midwest, you likely never saw this profile, and even more likely, you didn't yet read The Onion. But that piece has somehow become the model for an endless stream of Onion profiles ever since. This seems to have culminated this weekend with the mother of all profiles, a sprawling 7,000-worder in the Washington Post Magazine. If you've read the other profiles through the years, this one will reveal nothing; if you haven't, it's now the official definitive account of the paper's editorial process. (It could have dedicated some of those words to being more of a business story.)
I went to a panel a few days ago that had 10 Daily Show writers talking about their craft. Moderated by David Remnick, the panel showcased writers revealing all sorts of secrets of the trade, which NYT's City Blog wrote up.
Over the past week, I've had at least one conversation per day about whether the news satire industry (The Onion, The Daily Show, Colbert Report, Weekend Update, etc.) is going to stay relevant in an Obama administration. Vulture runs through the options of what we might see out of The Daily Show, which I suspect will return to heavy media criticism.
Perhaps she's not a cylon? Cindy McCain Claims She's 'Just Like Any Other Female Human' -- "herding livestock with her mind."
On The Media talks to Onion News Network. "One of our news anchors got hired by CNN recently, which we took as a big compliment."
Washingtonian interviews the people behind @fakejohnmccain, @fakejoebiden, and @fakesarahpalin. It gets into the psychology of why someone would want to create fake identities and the aesthetics of what makes a good impersonation. (I had the first fake twitter account, the defunct @condi, which Slate once mentioned.)
Video: first episode of The Daily Show to star Jon Stewart. It's from January 11, 1999. [via]
Esquire: Chuck's wacky "Brief History of the 21st Century." "NOV. 7, 2028: Tom Brady (R-Michigan) defeats Will Smith (D-California) in the race for the Oval Office."
Funny: Press Release for Las Vegas Las Vegas. "Slated to open in 2014, the Las Vegas Las Vegas will bring all of the glitz and glamour of one of the world's preeminent vacation spots, Las Vegas, right to the heart of beautiful downtown Las Vegas."
College Humor: Earth's News Feed. John Edwards changed his relationship status to It's Complicated. Georgia is no longer friends with Russia.
Spam is sometimes funny, but it's seldom intentionally funny. I haven't actually received any of the fake MSNBC breaking news alerts that everyone else seems to be getting, but it does make me wonder: Is this the first attempt to deploy a large-scale spam attack for the purpose of media satire?
Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman break up. I need to put on some weight and start telling stupid frat jokes.
WaPo profile of the Chief Researcher of The Daily Show. (Also, worst headline of the week.) [via]
A while back (or, in "Talk of the Town" language, the other day), the New Yorker handed over the animation rights to their cartoons to something named Ring Tales, for purposes of redistribution on iTunes. Eventually, of course, those cartoons made their way onto YouTube (e.g., "On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog," animated). Tilzy elaborates from there.
Nerve: 50 Greatest Comedy Sketches of All Time. (Lazy blogging = linking to lists. Busy week!)
Letterman did the same monologue on back-to-back nights. Meta or crazy?
Onion News Network: 9/11 Conspiracy Theories 'Ridiculous,' Al Qaeda Says.
This American Life reports from "the toughest room on earth," The Onion's newsroom. Much meta-discussion on a headline that was passed around a lot last week: "Local Girlfriend Always Wants To Do Stuff". [via]
"Q: What kind of idiot churns through 25 people in a month? A: Single New Yorkers with Internet access." -Ben Karlin interviewed by The Solomonster in the NYT Mag. (And c'mon, 15 is more like it.)
Not only did I not know that Steven Wright released an album last year called I Still Have a Pony (22 years after the uber-classic I Have a Pony), but it's been nominated for a Grammy, according to a NYT profile. Time to start updating Fake Steven Wright again.
"Music, a mode of creative expression consisting of sound and silence expressed through time, was given a 6.8 out of 10 rating in an review published Monday on Pitchfork Media, a well-known music-criticism website." --The Onion.
Mo Rocca (who sorta went from being everywhere to being nowhere -- let that be a lesson, John Hodgman) is blogging for AOL.
Radar had a decent story about some of the biggest names in comedy who have built their careers on stealing jokes. It could use a little more debate on how comparable to plagiarism this actually is, but here's a funny video of Joe Rogan bitching out Carlos Mencia for pilfering punchlines.
The Onion: Boyfriend Ready To Take Relationship To Previous Level. No quotes from me.
Are you reading all the stories about pissed off Borat characters? It includes some villagers in Kazakhstan, some humiliated frat boys, a New York artist, and someone on Metafilter. Everyone, it seems, except his gay pornstar son.
Onion A/V Club interview with Steven Wright. Includes question about influencing Mitch Hedberg and Demetri Martin. There's something in the tone that reminds me of the final interviews with Bukowski or Burroughs.