Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sick and Alone

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually feel a little bad for Kevin Federline in this whole divorce saga. Yes, he has no talent. Yes, he has a stupid nickname. Yes, he looks like a ferret. There are a thousand reasons to hate him. But, just think about the last couple years from his point of view. He hooked up with Britney Spears when she was at the peak of her fame; when she was one of the hottest, most desirable women in the world. She could have had any shitty, no-talent idiot she wanted. You think Ryan Cabrera or Hayden Christensen would have turned her down? Not a chance. Fuck, Elijah Wood would have sliced off one of his pointy little ears and written a love poem on it just to get a sniff. But Britney decided to give K-Fed the ticket to paradise, so he couldn't say no. I mean, how could he ever do better than Britney Spears? It was a dream come true.

As soon as they got married, though, things changed. Britney stopped performing and started getting all fat and dumpy. She stopped wearing makeup - her hair was always greasy. Everything she wore was tattered and dirty. Britney Spears became a complete white-trash mess. It was embarrassing. How many times did you see one of those pictures of Britney cluelessly strolling through a parking lot wearing flip-flops with a kool-aid stain on her lips, chocolate running down her shirt, gut sticking out and hanging over her shredded denim shorts – barely long enough to conceal the acre of cottage cheese taking root on her ass. And in the background of all those pictures, there was K-Fed looking completely befuddled. As if to say, "Who the fuck is that cow wearing my ring?" There's a reason he's always squinting his eyes. And to make matters worse, Britney got pregnant. Twice. Over two years. Eighteen months of morning sickness, weight gain, mood swings and screaming babies. It was the cruelest twist of fate ever. Like the clock struck twelve on their wedding day and Cinderella turned into the cast of Mama's Family.

When Britney filed for divorce, K-Fed had to have been at least somewhat relieved. But she wasn't done fucking him over just yet. The next day after filing for divorce, she showed up on Letterman, and guess what? She was suddenly thin and hot. THE NEXT DAY! She walked out onto that stage and basically said, "Hey everyone, now that I'm divorced, I'll be firming up my ass again." After that, she went out ice-skating in NYC. Ice-skating with a low cut sweater on – cleavage dripping out of every opening. I'm pretty sure she even blew a couple hot dog vendors just because they had cornrows.

It was as though the last two years had never happened. It took Britney all of twenty-four hours to transform from dumpy trailer trash back to Miss America. And all K-Fed got was a couple more kids to add to his collection, and a shitty album no one is going to buy. Once again, the man is the real victim in a divorce.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Rivers Of Suggestion

Remember how hard it used to be to get a girl to show you her tits? What an arduous process - hours of negotiation, gallons of alcohol, sleep deprivation and veiled threats. It felt like an FBI interrogation. And even after the whole good cop/bad cop routine, you and your friends still wound up having to accept a ridiculous plea bargain. Remember the deal? A split-second flash, one breast, side shot, candlelight only, no cameras - and most of the time, you'd have to show your balls first.

And then the girls went wild. These days, it seems like every girl in the world can be talked into showing her tits to a room full of frat boys. Usually, with nothing more to persuade her than a drunken clown with a camcorder yelling, "What are you, some kind of prude?" That's really all it takes. And I'm not talking split-second flashing here. I mean full frontal, long-term nudity. If you ask nicely enough, you can probably touch them and play with them - even draw on them. Women can't wait to show off their tits.

If you want to be real about it, women can't wait to get attention from men. Sexual attention. The kind of attention that makes them feel special and wanted. True empowerment for a woman is finding a way to turn men on. That means more than any bullshit Oprah-style affirmation. It used to be so much easier, though. There was a time when a woman didn't have to do much more than wear sandals to get the frat boys excited. Accused rapists would often use the defense, "But your honor, I could see the tops of her feet...she was asking for it." Or the more popular, "Toe Means Yes." But guys became jaded and started demanding more, so women began giving it - no matter how far they had to go. Pretty soon, hemlines were going up and necklines were plunging.

Even the women's lib movement couldn't stop the parade of cleavage and ass cheeks. By the late 60's, women were walking around in miniskirts with halter-tops, yapping about equal rights and independence. They didnt know whether to burn their bras or pad them. Soon after that, wet t-shirt contests, random tit-flashing and thongs made their way into the repertoire.

It's at the point now where the only thing a woman can do to get noticed is to just fuck other women. That's how far it's come. Every girl from 18-24 has at least kissed and probably fondled another girl. And many have had that random fuckfest with their "girlfriend" in college - you know, because it's, like, fun or whatever...yeah, it's not gay or anything. You've heard the story:

-We were sick of boys acting like jerks.
-Bananas were on sale.
-It was spring break.
-A woman's body is the most beautiful thing in the world.
-John Mayer rulz!!!!

Why did you hear the story? Because they love to tell it. Nothing makes a woman happier than being encircled by a bunch of drooling guys as she recounts her pseudo-lesbian exploits. It's precisely the kind of attention she wants. The kind of attention that makes her feel like the center of every man's world. It's ridiculous. A woman has to literally do the gayest thing possible in order to be seen as a desirable heterosexual. And we don't even have to show our balls anymore.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

He could have tuned in, but he tuned out

I consider myself to be a fairly knowledgeable sports fan. I mean, I can tell you what’s going on in the NBA playoffs, but I can’t tell you Tiger Woods’ hat size or anything like that. One thing I’ve never questioned was the idea of what constitutes a “play.” For as long as I can remember, a play has been basically some kind of action that takes place on the playing surface during a game. But, watching Sportscenter lately has caused me to rethink things a little bit.

Yesterday, I made the bloated mistake of watching the bloated Chris Berman give his bloated TOP 10 PLAYS OF THE WEEK on a bloated Sportscenter. I’m not sure when this all started, but apparently, the definition of play has changed quite a bit over the years. Sure, there were the typical nice saves and acrobatic shots – even a couple diving catches. However, I noticed something a little strange about this list. Number six on the TOP PLAYS countdown was Floyd Patterson dying. On a TOP PLAYS countdown. Not on a FORMER HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONS WHO JUST DIED countdown. Not even on a GUYS NAMED FLOYD countdown. I don’t care how much you stretch it, dying can’t be considered a play. And if it is, that was a horrible play. Clearly not the way Floyd had drawn it up. Nowhere on his ‘Things To Do Today’ list did it say, “Stop living.” Besides, dying is easy. Everybody can do it. Most people can’t make a diving catch in centerfield. I guess that’s why it only finished sixth. Perhaps if Floyd Patterson met his maker while dunking on two seven-footers, he would have finished higher. I guess he took the easy way out. Way to not make the top five, Floyd.

Not to be outdone, the bloated Chris Berman decided to make the number one play of the week Mother’s Day. That’s less of a play than someone dying. No action whatsoever – just a bunch of people being related to each other. Of course, Berman’s voice softened as he spoke in tribute of mothers taking their children to Little League practice while images of mothers and children attending baseball games flashed across the screen. What they didn’t show, of course, was the action two rows back from those honorable mothers. The army of fat, drunk plumbers yelling things like “Throw strikes you cocksucker!” at the field and things like “If the Yanks win, can I squeeze your titty? No offense!” at the mothers.

This is sports, not a Hallmark commercial. When I see a top plays countdown, I want to see spectacular highlights. Things that even the greatest athletes can’t do on a regular basis. If you’re going to put holidays and deaths in a countdown for plays, why not just put any old thing in there? If the bloated Chris Berman wants to have a forum to indulge his ego and massive self-importance, he should do what everyone else does: Get a blog. Leave the countdown alone.

Finally, in keeping with the Sportscenter tradition, I have decided to compile my own sports-related top ten list:

TOP TEN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS UNIFORMS:

10. The death of Earl Woods.

9. For Norman Wilkerson, a dog is man’s best friend - with benefits.

8. Syracuse Orangemen.

7. Napoleon Dynamite is highly overrated. Seriously, watch it again. Not funny. Now go watch Bottle Rocket.

6. Syphilis is not a toy.

5. Washington Mystics.

4. What’s the perfect food for bulimics? Shish kabobs. They’re a delicious meal and the skewers come in handy afterwards.

3. Only 65% of foreigners smell.

2. Michigan Wolverines

1. What’s the deal with sports, right ladies?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Like A Phillips Head Into My Brain

Before you read this, do yourself a favor and set your cell-phone to vibrate. Especially if you’re one of those annoying fucks who has gone to the trouble of replacing the tried and true ringing sound with a clip of your favorite techno/dance/G-Unit song. Your taste in music is terrible. Please, don’t subject me to it anymore. When I hear your wacky ringtone, I immediately lose respect for you.

Why do you feel the need to have a miniature dance party every time you receive a call? Everyone gets phone calls. You’re not special. There’s no need to celebrate by bumping Wait ‘Til You See My Dick at top volume. Of course, it wouldn’t be so bad if you’d just pick up immediately, but then, nobody would know how cool you are. That’s why you have to stall for five painful minutes before answering. I know all your moves.

First, the call comes in - you’re sitting in Starbucks trying to be ironic:

Hey how you doin lil mama? lemme whisper in your ear
Tell you sunthing that you might like to hear
You got a sexy ass body and your ass look soft
Mind if I touch it? and see if its soft

Step 1: The old confusion routine. You look around innocently, thinking some else’s phone might actually be ringing. After all, there could be a hundred Ying Yang fans in this Starbucks looking to advertise their similarly shitty tastes in music every time one of their idiot friends calls up to “holla.” How embarrassing it would be to pull out your phone and look at it just to double check.

Ay bitch! wait til you see my dick
Wait til you see my dick
Ay bitch! wait til you see my dick
Imma beat dat pussy up

Step 2: Call in the bloodhounds - It’s time for the prolonged ‘search for the phone’ move. Always a great time killer because it seems so sincere. Dammit, you really want to answer that call, but it’s just so hard to find the phone. Is it in your left pocket or your right? Is it under your hat? Maybe it’s in your shoe. Please, stop with the bullshit. You know exactly where your phone is. You were just using it to take blurry pictures of teenage girls’ asses at the mall. You’re such a rebel. Wait ‘til you see your dick!

Walk around the club with yo thumb in ya mouth
Put my dick in, take your thumb out
There might be a lil kosher to deal with
Wet? hope they dont spill shit

Step 3: Congratulations, you’ve found your phone, but the song’s just getting good. Now what? Oh, right, the classic ‘confused stare at the caller ID’ trick - great way to buy time. Forty-five seconds of befuddled squinting, but no matter how hard you stare, the caller ID still says MOM because she’s the only person who would actually be calling you. Sure, you’ve saved the names Beyonce, Salma Hayek, and HOT CHICK FROM STRIP CLUB in your phone; you just haven’t collected the numbers to correspond with them. Your incoming call list reads like the cast of an ABC Afterschool Special: Mom, Misunderstood Nerd, “Special” Friend, Sincere Fat Girl. Not exactly the all-star cast you envisioned when you bought that P*I*M*P faceplate.

Now, spend another thirty seconds trying to locate the elusive SEND key while the song fades out.

Beat da pussy up,
Beat da pussy up,
Beat da pussy up,
Beat da pussy up

HELLO?

What I want to know is: what happens if it’s bad news? How do you segue from Beat da pussy up to “Dad just had a stroke?” That has to be awkward. You’re giving yourself a lap dance in a coffee shop; next thing you know, you’re getting pimp-slapped by reality.

I’m just sick of this whole cult of self-expression polluting people these days. Every little product is offered with thirty-five thousand different ways to “customize it to fit your individual personality.” Well, guess what, your personality sucks. You’re boring, you have no charm, and nobody cares what you think. Get over yourself and answer your fucking phone.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Like Babies On Display

The Carnival Story - Part 3. Scroll down for the first two parts.

Sometimes, if they’re lucky, retarded six-year-olds get to run around and play flag football on the field before a real NFL game. Many of them have earned this opportunity by selling the most beef jerky or chocolaty-almond candy bars to their well-meaning relatives in order to raise money for new shoulder pads. They already have helmets and instead of numbers, their jerseys are adorned with various doctor’s notes giving them permission to play. It’s an inspirational message for disillusioned retarded four-year-olds who may be feeling cynical about their prospects. The crowd is instructed to clap as the kids giddily run around in circles, providing minor pregame entertainment to the befuddled masses. It’s something for people to gawk at, condescendingly, while they’re waiting for the real game to start. Everybody’s a winner.

This is the same feeling you get when you go up first at a comedy show.

When I took the stage, nobody in the crowd gave a shit about me, and why should they? They were barely aware that the show had even started. Some guy had just droned on about various contest rules and made sure to thank all the gracious sponsors, then next thing you know, I’m on stage trying to get some chuckles. I thought the wise move would be to just stick to the script and perform as I always do. I figured the guy from Letterman was experienced enough to understand the situation and fairly assess my set. I had six minutes of material planned. I was purposely na├»ve. I was already a winner. This was going to be great!

I started off by asking the crowd how they were doing. They gave me a faint murmur, just as expected. It was actually an honest answer on their part. I mean, how many people are whipped into a frenzy just by hearing instructions?

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be used against you.”

“Fuck yeah dude, it’s time to par-tay! Let’s go to Bangkok and nail some 8th graders!”

My set was completely unremarkable. Polite, muted chuckles throughout. The flamingo came on and I ended things before the light even hit the crowd’s eyes. “Thanks, that’s my time!” I placed the mic back into the stand and turned to the judges. I knew the judges were supposed to critique my set American Idol style, but the host was supposed to come up first, then throw it over to the judges. At this point, THERE WAS NO HOST. Everything paused for a few seconds. One of the judges gestured for me to stay on stage while the confusion was being straightened out. So here I was, having just bombed, furious about the entire event, just standing on stage while the shows “organizers” decided it would be a good time to finally do some organizing. In retrospect, I should have just grabbed the mic and demanded a refund.

After what felt like an eternity, Al Ernst, my hero, began bumbling through the crowd with a purpose. He stopped in the middle of the room behind the first row of tables, screamed for everybody’s attention, and began introducing the host. That’s right, Al, with no microphone and no spotlight - from off stage, mind you - started yelling:

“Alright, are you guys ready for your host? From All My Children, give it up for Walt Wiley!”

I can’t stress this enough. I was languishing on stage like a stain while the event organizer turned the entire crowds attention to the middle of the room so he could yell out an intro. It was as if Al had never seen a comedy show before. He certainly hadn’t seen one in the last six minutes.

If you’ve never seen a soap opera star up close, you’re not missing much. It’s just a disgusting mixture of hair gel, fake tan, body spray, bleach, and chest hair. The whole combination seems toxic. Walt probably spits acid rain. In fact, when Walt is finally dead and buried, I’m guessing no grass will grow above his casket.

Walt and his cheekbones sauntered onto the stage to a big round of applause. Suddenly, the crowd was alive. This was a real celebrity. He’s a really serious actor on the TV, so you know he’s funny! Walt took the mic and began going into banter with the crowd. You know, the usual host banter: how’s everyone doing, where’s everyone from, anybody celebrating anything, etc. Keep in mind, he’s doing all this with me standing three feet away from him on the corner of the stage. Just standing there. Waiting to be judged. Putting on a fake smile. It was as this point that I started to feel used. I paid $25 to be Walt Wiley’s fluff girl. I was the warm-up guy for the entire show, including the host. I was the retarded six-year-old. I was not a winner.

After a painful minute of “get to know Walt Wiley” nonsense, it was time to be judged. Walt turned to the judges and gave them the go ahead. Here’s what they had to say:

Joel Pace
Joel thought I had a solid set. Not great, not terrible, not memorable. Just solid. He was very polite about the whole thing.

The Carnival Guy
About the same as Joel. Nothing much to say. Courteous.

Les McCurdy
This is where things got weird. Les didn’t mention my set at all. Instead, he decided to just critique my clothing.

“Well…looks like you went with a pressed shirt for this thing..nice…but you wore jeans? You could have dressed up a little bit more for something this important.”

In the ten seconds it took him to say that, I repeated the phrase “What the fuck?” about fifty-seven times in my head. I mean, what does clothing have to do with comedy? This is bullshit! What an asshole! I can’t believe this is happening! Even the crowd felt awkward. There was a palpable discomfort in the room.

Well, it turns out Les was actually trying to be a nice guy. He didn’t really critique anybody’s material. Instead, throughout the show, he playfully made fun of people’s clothing to add some levity to the whole thing. Of course, with me being the first comic, the crowd didn’t realize he was joking, and neither did I. People didn’t pick up on the joke until probably three comics in. See, in order to laugh at a running joke, you have to first know it’s a running joke. The first time you hear it, it's not funny. So, basically, I was also Les McCurdy’s fluff girl. I was the setup to all of his other punchlines. Once again, I felt used.

Eddie Brill
Finally, the guy from Letterman. I actually felt optimistic for a moment, but that didn’t last.

Eddie began talking to me like I had just fucked his sister with a rusty syringe. He had nothing good to say whatsoever. He told me I lacked confidence. He even criticized me for asking the crowd how they were doing.

“If every comic asks the crowd how they’re doing, it gets redundant. Don’t ask the crowd how they’re doing. That’s what the host is for.”

I felt like strangling him. Listen dumbass, THERE WAS NO FUCKING HOST. Some guy with a mullet took a break from writing song parodies long enough to explain the rules, then I was on stage. Nobody had asked the crowd how they were doing. Did anybody else notice that?

Eddie went way overboard with me. I don’t remember everything he said, but I remember it being incredibly gratuitous and lasting way too long. I kept waiting for the flamingo to light up and tell him to get it over with. This is the problem with American Idol style judging. There’s always that one judge who thinks he’s going to steal the show by being Simon Cowell. It's almost expected. That show has given repressed assholes the big chance to come out of the closet and act like dicks without repercussion. I had no microphone. I couldn’t counter any of Eddie’s points. I just had to stand there and take it.

Eddie was the same with almost every comedian. Negative, heavy-handed and just flat out wrong. He told several comics that they lacked vulnerability on stage. Crowds won’t relate to you unless you are the vulnerable one in your jokes. If you make fun of your girlfriend, make fun of yourself first. Be vulnerable. Be a pussy. He told an equal amount of comics that his favorite comedian of all time was George Carlin – perhaps the least vulnerable comedian ever – and that they should study him. Nothing was consistent. It was just all out bashing.

I was finally dismissed from the stage, but I stayed and watched most of the remaining comics perform. Mike Payne took the stage second and had a decent set. The judges were no less critical of him. He did exact a small amount of revenge, though, by not acknowledging the judges at all. As they spoke to him from the left of the stage, he stared straight ahead – never once giving them any kind of personal response. He treated them as though they didn’t exist. I wish I had thought of that.

The winner of the contest was Jessica Delfino. She went up last (so much for my theory that going up last sucks) with a guitar and sang dirty songs. The crowd loved her. There’s something about having a guitar and saying the word fuck that whips crowds into a frenzy. Even when real musicians say fuck on stage, the crowd goes nuts. Have you ever heard the crowd at a concert when the lead singer curses? They can't control themselves.

“Wow, Bono said ‘fuck poverty.’ That’s so awesome. He sings and plays guitar and he says fuck. I'm gonna blow him later!!!”

The judges told Jessica that her dirty songs would never work on a cruise ship, but it didn’t matter. The crowd chose the winner and she outshined everyone.

After the show, everybody went upstairs to mingle, glad-hand and pass out business cards. Eddie Brill actually sort of apologized to me for being so negative. He was caught off guard because he didn’t realize he would be given a microphone and asked to critique people’s sets out loud. Apparently, his natural reaction to being surprised is to tell people how much they suck. Don’t ever throw a surprise party for Eddie Brill. He’ll call your mother a whore and shit all over the cake.

And that's how it ends. No fame, no fortune, no Letterman spot, no cruise ships, no Playboy Mansion. Nothing but anger and frustration. Basically a microcosm of my entire comedy career.

The End.

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Epilogue

Comedy isn’t fair. Comedy competitions aren’t fair. You can’t give each contestant on the show the exact same opportunity. Crowds are cold, then they get hot and peak, then they get tired. Sometimes, you have to follow a comic who just destroyed or bombed awkwardly. It’s hard to give everyone an even starting point. That’s just the way it is. I wasn’t too angry at going up first or having a cold crowd. I was angry at the hosting debacle and the overall tone of the event.

The organizers had been selling us on the incredible opportunities available in this competition. Cruise ship work, club work, INDUSTRY JUDGES, etc. That was their way of justifying the $25 charge to enter. But, when you pay to perform, you don’t only pay for opportunity. You also pay for professionalism. There was none at this show. This was the third Carnival Comedy Challenge and they were still working out the kinks. The sad part about it is that Al Ernst and company positioned themselves as the road-hardened pro’s coming into the city to show the cocky New Yorkers how a real comedy show is done. They were the real comics who performed in real clubs and had more than seven minutes of material. There were a lot of allusions to that point of view given by the organizers.

I’m not one to prop up New York as some kind of bastion of tastemaking and originality, but if you’re going to show us how the real folks do it, you should at least understand the basic fundamentals of organizing a show. Ultimately, the whole thing was a failure.