Filed Under Humor Magazine
If you live in New York, check out the latest issue of the humor mag Jest, which features a humor piece by yours truly entitled “Sleeper Cell.” I won’t say too much so I don’t give away the joke. But if you’re wondering why we weren’t attacked again on September 11, it’s because we owe a great debt to Alan Ball. God bless you and that depressed Fisher family. If you think you could be a better terrorist, the issue also features an Al Qaeda recruitment brochure by my good buddy Rob Bates. You can find Jest downtown at all kinds of places where you find your free weeklies, but if you want specifics, check the Jest site.
Filed Under Sitcom
A mediabistro article invites you to join critics as they remember the worst TV pilots they ever saw. Lots o’ sitcoms get the shout out including, the current Center of the Universe, the never-aired Grubbs and the cited-as-perennial-target Desmond Pfeiffer. Anyone wonder now why the sitcom is dead?
Filed Under Movies
Jim Carrey’s getting the AFI Star Award at this year’s Aspen Comedy Festival. Yawn. Considering the state of film comedy, I’m surprised Jim Carrey didn’t win sooner. Of course, I don’t see a single one of his early films on the circa-2000 AFI’s 100 Laughs list. What happened? Did somebody just get around to watching Dumb & Dumber?
Shout Factory just put out a huge six disc set of Lenny Bruce’s comedy entitled Let The Buyer Beware. Great for any comedy completists who need to know who created the path stand-ups tread today, whether they know it or not. I admire Shout Factory for making such a (along with my blessed Freaks and Geeks DVDs. Rock!), but I wish they put longer previews of Lenny’s tracks on its web page. You see, back in the day, people were actually willing to wait through a long setup. But today, we only get a minute or so to see if we like anything. It would be nice to hear enough so unfamiliar buyers could get a real taste of the man. Still, you get a taste of Lenny’s rhythms with this excerpt of “To Is A Preposition; Come Is A Verb.” (quicktime audio file)
Apparently the developers of Doom 3 were huge fans of the Office. Hidden in the game is a email from Brent encouraging “Finchy” to bone up for Quiz Night, a reference to an episode from Season 1. You can see screens of the easter egg here.
Louis CK’s getting a chance to helm his own sitcom on HBO. Louis’ focus is a little different, at least for now. As he describes it, along with the development deal, he’s definitely getting a new half-hour comedy special for the network. Which is what he’s really looking forward to, as it’s “concrete” and his last appearance in an 90’s era HBO Young Comedians special “left a lot to be desired.” Hard core training coming up for Louie, so expect to see him a club near you.
Hopefully the sitcom will suffer a better fate than “Saint Louie”, a pilot for CBS that never made it to air. Though it revolved around a couple and their new baby, it sounded like an antidote for audiences who hate cloying stuff about children. In this Onion interview, Louis CK described his first line in the show as “Honey, this baby sucks.” Ah well, another show for the Other Network. (For more of Louis CK’s baby stuff, check out this clip from Conan.)
Filed Under Animation
Caught Father of the Pride. Nothing really funny about it, sad to say.
Father looks amazing. Dazzling animation doesn’t make for good jokes. The camera and animators often get in the way of the humor. One joke where an overly-cute panda takes a seat on the lead’s lap rather than a chair is shot as a close-up, making it impossible to tell what just happened, killing the gag. Sure the fur effects look fantastic, but if the show was funny, I wouldn’t be noticing how nice everything looked. I’d be laughing.
Much has been made about it being an “adult” show, with references to virgins, bestiality and the like. I could care less if kids get corrupted by the show, because jokes like “It may be 9 o’clock in New York but here it’s Mountain time” aren’t “adult,” they’re immature. Kids already make jokes like these, with only slightly less wit. You can usually determine the trailblazing shows from the followers by what they consider adult humor. Sex jokes are great, but without the social and political satire that other highly sexual shows like South Park, Seinfeld and The Office (among many) also aspire to, you look like a giggling adolescent. (To Father‘s credit there’s one New Yorker reference, reflecting a well-read giggling adolescent.) Sex isn’t everything about being an adult and definitely not the only way to appeal to them.
The animation, the sex jokes and setting are just camoflague for the same old shit: bumbling husband, put-upon wife, cranky father-in-law, rebellious cubs. When you’re working in territory this well-tread, you’re not allowed to make fun of Billy Joel being bland. I can’t imagine Father of the Pride will last long. At it’s core, we’ve already seen it before several times on Nick at Nite. And done better.