Thursday, January 28, 2010

Your Brand New 2010 Toyota Kamikaze

Hi friends. Sorry I missed you yesterday. This is how I spent my day: two parts hanging out next to the toilet, three parts sleeping, one part getting punched in the face. So, no blog. Apologies all around.

But today is a new day. What do we have, interwebs?

Allow me to put on my old E ‘D’ for a moment, would you?


I don’t mean to make light of the fact that Toyota has recalled a total of 5.35 million vehicles because of an incredibly dangerous malfunction which causes some cars to crash due to unintended acceleration. Obviously, this sucks and is terrible for anyone who is a victim of this horrible defect.

That said, as someone born in the Metro Detroit area, whose parent’s job (like pretty much everyone else on that side of the state) is at least tangentially related to the American auto industry, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people talking about how superior Japanese cars are to American cars.


‘The quality is just superior. And they’re cheaper, too. And they’re better for the environment. I hear that, in Japan, the factories are all run by robots instead of people. And they’re friendly robots, too. Robots who have their own unique and quirky personalities, like in those anime movies with the hot cartoon chicks. And they’re robots who sing songs, and help underprivileged children with their math homework. And before any car leaves the factory, a magical dragon blesses each and every part, and everyone waves at the giant ships that ferry the cars to America as they leave port, and some people even cry because they know they’ll miss the cars but gosh darn it those cars are off to make someone in America very very happy.

‘Which is good, because American car companies commune with the devil and are trying to destroy the environment and cheat decent people out of their hard earned money and kill our babies and GOD WHY WON’T THE TOYOTA CARS COME SOONER SO THAT THEY CAN SAVE US FROM THESE EVIL AMERICAN CAR COMPANIES?!

‘Also, on a completely unrelated note, I hate Walmart because all of their products come from China and contain lead. Why am I mentioning this right now? These last few sentences have nothing to do with my main point, which is that Japanese cars are made from fairy dust. The end.’

Maybe that was an exaggeration, but still you get the point.

I don’t know why people hate American cars so much. It seems like whenever I ask somebody, they point to some anecdotal personal story about how someone they know had a problem with their car once ten years ago so they just assume that they’re bad. I’ve been driving the same Ford car for seven years and had very few problems (finding wood to knock on as I write this). My car has certainly never tried to accelerate against my will. But my anecdotal evidence is no better than anyone else’s, so what are you going to do?

I guess that, like political parties, people just get this shit into their heads and then refuse to give it up.

Well hopefully now that a foreign car company has been forced to recall over five million cars in the United States alone, including the best selling car in America, we can stop the whole “Toyota is immaculate, GM, Ford and Chrysler is pile of shit” nonsense that people want to talk cars with me. That would make me very happy.

Oh, hey, meanwhile Ford posted $2.7 Billion in profit this year and will be sharing some of it with the Auto Workers, after winning both Car and Truck of the Year awards at the North American Auto Show. Also, they've just announced plans to bring 1,200 jobs to Illinois. Huh.

Monday, January 25, 2010

To Whatever Asshole Invented Viruses That Appear to Be Anti-Virus Software:

Cross posted to the Roboblog.

To Whatever Asshole Invented Viruses That Appear to Be Anti-Virus Software:

Dear Asshole,

Is it wrong to actively pray for a complete stranger’s untimely and horrifyingly painful death? Is it wrong to ask the dear Lord, God of peace and love, to create an extra circle of hell to punish someone I’ve never met but through their dastardly life’s work with extreme and torturous activities to last through all of eternity? Is it wrong? I don’t know. I know that it’s wrong to make something appear like it wants to help you when in reality it wants to fuck up your computer.

I hope you are never able to sleep at night.

I hope if you ever have children that they grow up to be incredibly ugly and stupid.

I hope if you already have children that they were born with hooves, or will grow them once they hit puberty.

Do you think your parents, sitting together on a sofa, craddling an infant version of your foulness in their loving arms - with your whole rancidly putrid life ahead of you - ever dreamed that one day you would grow up and be not a doctor nor a lawyer but a jagoff parasitic fuckwit? Do you think they are proud of you now?

Die, asshole. Die a horrible death. And then, die again.

Sincerely yours,

-Nat Topping

P.S.: Fuck you.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday: Meet My Children, Vader and Klingnon

Ah Friday: an excuse to post a bunch of links and make snarky comments. Let's see what we have today.

Nerds Name Children Nerdy Names, Perpetuate Vicious Cycle of Teasing: I mean, come on. At least give your children a fighting chance. Apparently Avatar is so life-alteringly spectacular (I saw it; it was good but Jesus people let’s not lose out minds) that people are naming their children after fictional characters from the movie. Names like Neytiri and Toruk, and even Pandora – which in addition to being the name of the planet is also the Ancient Greek mythological figure whose curiosity unleashed all of the evils of mankind. What a namesake!

Can I ask a question? What’s wrong with names like Philip or Jane or Timothy?

God, I’m so depressed.

You know what would cheer you up?

I’m hesitant to ask, Bold Type, but I’ll bite.

Dick Jokes: Ah yes! I love those.

Friend, fellow RvD member and long time poster (Enya’s Assassin, etc.) Chris Othic has finally taken my advice and started his own blog. With the express purpose of ripping off and belittling Joe Janes’ 365 Sketches Project. It’s called “A Dick Joke a Day for a Week.” The site is puerile and childish AND I LOVE IT. Today’s joke is a physicist’s dick joke, and includes a couple of bonus jokes in his commentary section.

Hey, Speaking of Dick Jokes: here’s a video of a grown woman newscaster trying “to grab David Beckham between the legs” during an interview. For those of you confused with what “between the legs” means in this instance, it would be touching his penis. This would be mindboggling except that this was for a spot on Italian television, which is a topsy-turvey parallel universe where the inappropriately nonsensical is the only thing that makes sense.

Bit that I found fascinating: Beckham is “on loan” to an Italian soccer team which, “on loan?” What the hell kind of sport is this soccer anyway where you can just loan out players?

Meanwhile, in the World of American Television: Conan O’Brien’s shafting will be complete tonight when his last Tonight Show airs, and part of his coping mechanism has been putting up nonsensical comedy bits on the remaining shows to deliberately cost NBC money. Here’s an example. I’ve caught a couple of his shows this week. It’s actually been pretty good late night entertainment. I wish that Conan had this same destructive edgy attitude the whole time. Don’t know if that would have helped the ratings or not, but I like my comedy with a little bit of an angry edge to it.

And Finally, It’s Time to Nerd Out: I’m sure the vast majority of people will find this boring, but for some reason or another I thought this clip was fascinating.

It's just kind of amazing what people can do.

Hey, at least I’m not naming my kid Stonehenge, right?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Oh TSA! You Should Have Your Own Sitcom!

What do we do on a Thursday when we're suffering from a lack of inspiration?

Post old photos and share a link, of course!

LINK: Hey, thank God we're putting our security into the hands of the TSA! It's nice to know they understand that, after waiting for an hour to get through a line, undressing, possibly getting scanned, proded and asked accusatory questions just to make an hour flight to Detroit, sometimes people need to be cheered up with a joke!

And what better joke than planting a little baggy full of white powder on an unsuspecting passenger.

Class act, guys! Well done.


Hey! Isn't that Margarethe Dronning? I am such a fan!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In Which I Curse General Larry Platt and Bemoan the Awesome Corruptive Powers of the Internet

Curse you, “General” Larry Platt. Curse you and your song.

You’ve heard about Pants On The Ground, right?

Of course you have. You’re on the interweb right now. If you have been on the interweb within the last what? six days, then it has been unavoidable. You can’t throw an electronic stone around this joint without hitting a Pants On The Ground reference. Hell, the song is probably stuck in your head right now, isn’t it?

If you haven’t heard of it then it might be best to shut off the your computer right now and head to your tin foil reinforced isolation cave before it infects your mind. But if you absolutely have to know, if you must open Pandora’s box, well… I’m loathe to do it but fine, I’ll link it. Here.

You have just witnessed the birth of the new decade’s “Where’s the beef?” Actually, it’s more like if “Where’s the beef?” and the Macarena made drunken tequila love one night after meeting at a Chumbawamba reunion concert (for which they paid full price) and then, nine months later, birthed their child out of wedlock.

And now we have Pants On The Ground.

You say, “Come on, Nat Topping. Stop being such a curmudgeon. Didn’t you see the video? It’s funny. Give The General his dues.”

Fine. Let me make this clear: I understand. We have a video of a 60-year old man calling himself “General” Larry dancing to and singing a song, which he penned himself, that does not rhyme but that satirized both modern hip hop and the aesthetic that accompanies that musical genre: namely, wearing your pants so low that people can see your asscrack. Besides, the word Pants is funny. This is an undeniable fact.

I get it. It’s like watching a hilarious train wreck.


I have a soul, people.

If this instance could remain a simple viral video for all time, then this would be fine. The hyperlink would just pop up from time to time and we would all take a quick look back and enjoy the strangeness of it all.

No, my problem was with the nefarious aftershock that was born immediately – immediately! – after the General started his song. You could see it on Simon Cowell’s face: the realization that what this is an objectively awful performance AND we’re going to make a lot of money off of this.

As of the writing of this post, there are 7,710 videos on Youtube and counting, 27 million results on Google and counting, Facebook fan pages with 1.5 million fans and counting. Ring tones, T-shirts, not one but two covers done by Jimmy Fallon ALONE. Countless local news stations nationwide with their anchors delivering versions of the same patronizing lead-ins to the exact same "feel good / weird news" story.

I can’t wait for the SNL show where every sketch has a Pants On The Ground joke. You know it's coming and guess who the musical guest will be.

General Larry Platt has created a monster, my friends. It’s a monster so powerful that it’s permeated even this simple little blog, stuck all the way in this remote corner far from the cultural epicenters of the interwebs. And Pop Culture will not rest until we can have no conversations without a Pants On The Ground reference.

Curse you, General Platt. Curse you and the media firestorm you unwittingly ignited.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hat Tip to You, Mr. Joe Janes...

...on writing one sketch a day for 365 days!

Joe is the artistic director for Robot vs Dinosaur, an accomplished comedy writer, performer and director, a Second City alum, blogging bretheren and also the first person in Chicago with sense enough to cast me in a show.

I'm not sure what got into Joe where he decided that he absolutely needed to consecutively write 365 sketches. I'm glad he did, though. It's been inspirational for those of us in the sketch comedy community, and I've been lucky enough to actually be involved with a couple of them - Greg and I staged a few this past fall for Mrs. Gruber, I was in a performance of one at Chicago Sketchfest, and we got to read and comment on a few in the RvD writers meetings.

He's planning on producing all 365 of them sometime in June, so be on the lookout for plugs and the like. In the meantime, though, go check out the 365 Sketches blog and marvel at the wonder that is 365 Sketches.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Blue Monday and Pluggery

Did you know that today is Blue Monday? Yeah me neither. I thought it was just Martin Luther King Day and that a bunch of people have the day off (not me) today.

But apparently, Blue Monday is a thing. And by 'thing' I mean reputed to be the worst day of the year.

I don't know. I can think of a couple of days in February that are probably worse. In fact, I'll arbitrarily pick some dates:

February 9th
February 22nd
Januray 25th
February 3rd

I would say these will be worse days than today. So you have that to look forward.

SPEAKING OF things to look forward to - did you like that seque? - I'm in a show starting this Wednesday and running through February 17th called 'Nighthawk Sandwich.' It's part of WNEP's The (edward) Hopper Project. Here is the link for Nighthawk Sandwich, and the link for WNEP. Tickets are, like, $5 or something insane like that and you get to see me get punched in the face.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I'm not sure what to say here other than this is an incredible, incredible video:

Reasons this is amazing:
  1. The irrational and indescriminate comic violence.
  2. The destruction of Michigan State, Ohio State and Notre Dame
  3. It's a freaking SPACE BEAR.

That's all. Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Freak Out Calmed Only By Watching Video of Myself in a Tu Tu

Happy Friday, friends!

Six Minutes To The End of the World!! You can file this in your “Things that cause unnecessarily paranoia” file. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists board keeps a Doomsday Clock that is meant to convey “how close humanity is to catastrophic destruction,” apparently by building a clock that moves backwards. Things that cause the Doomsday clock to tick towards catastrophic destruction include such acts as “glancing askance at Atomic Scientist board members,” and “cutting Atomic Scientist board members off while driving during rush hour.” So be warned, people, and treat the nerds well. Otherwise, it's one more tick of the tock for us all!

Speaking of the End of the World: you might just die and go to heaven after watching this Star Wars inspired dance number.

Prompting us all to ask that eternally relevant question: “What the fuck is wrong with the French?”

Belated Praise: Robot vs Dinosaur Chicago wrapped up our run of Mrs Gruber at Chicago Sketchfest last Saturday. Since then, we’ve had a couple of mentions on the interwebs.

We have this from Time Out Chicago.

And this from ISeeWhatYouDid.

And this from Piet Levy over at True/Slant, which even includes video of yours truly singing, which surprisingly I had nothing to do with. FEAST YOUR EYES ON YOUR FAVORITE EGOMANIAC!!

Now that I can actually see myself, I think I might start wearing that tutu everywhere I go.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pat Roberson is a Jackass

In times of crisis, it’s natural for people to look for some sort of explanation. It is very hard for us to accept that sometimes horrible shit happens and there’s nothing that we can do about it. This is particularly true of natural disasters. I mean, it’s not like we said something to piss off the tectonic plates.

But we search for answers anyway. Why is this happening? Who is to blame? What can be done to prevent this from happening again.

Sometimes these are constructive questions that lead to the creation of early warning systems or inspire better methods of dealing with crisis.

And sometimes, you get douche bags making half-baked moronic statements that just… I’m so… I can’t… SERIOUSLY WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!

Consider the sad case of Pat Roberston, the televangelist who claimed that the Lord told him the world would end in 1982. Yeah, that guy. He apparently had this to share with the 700 Club regarding the current catastrophe in Haiti:

"And you know, Kristi, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French, you know, Napoleon the Third and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, 'We will serve you if you'll get us free from the French.' True story. And so the devil said, 'O.K., it's a deal.' "

If his statement are so well researched and sources as to claim that they were under the heel of “Napoleon the Third and whatever” then who am I to question him? Of course, Haiti became independent in 1804 and Napoleon III WASN’T BORN until April 20th, 1808. But these are minor details.

So what are we saying here, Pat? That every single person in Haiti “got together” at some dude’s house one Thursday evening to unanimously swear allegiance to the devil and now God (that benevolent “God is love” God that all preachers preach about until we start talking about people that we hate) is finally just now getting around to punishing them some two hundred and six years after the fact?

‘Hey modern Haitians: I know it’s a horrible tragedy that an earthquake struck and knocked down all of your buildings and killed untold numbers of innocent people and that your entire infrastructure is wiped out and that you’re facing the possibility of disease and further decimation, BUT REMEMBER that this is all may or may not be the fault of your slave ancestors from over 200 years ago.

I hope that’s some consolation for you. Hey! When you get your life back together, buy one of my books!'

Pat Robertson, you are a douche bag.

For anyone interested in actually being helpful, you can make a donation online to the Red Cross here, click Donate and select International Response Fund.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Proof of the Curse: USC

Warning: here follows a post about sports. I apologize for those who are not football inclined. Come back tomorrow. I’ll probably have something less sporty.

Proof! Proof that the Clever Title Sports Curse is real!

I had my doubts, gentle readers, after attempting to curse the Minnesota Twins. They went on to beat a team that I love very much and thus prevented this team from reaching the playoffs. I became disillusioned. I was convinced that the Sports Curse did not exist and that, in reality, Sports just hated me.

But now I have proof: proof that the Sports Curse is not only real but nefarious!

I submit for your consideration the lamentable case of the University of Southern California.

On a warm August day in 2008, I brought down the thunder upon the USC Trojans. I then completely forgot about it. The Trojans did, after all, go 12-1 that season. I figured that USC was more evil than even the Sports Curse and, as such, could not be destroyed.

Apparently the dreaded Sports Curse takes a little time.

In 2009, the Trojans went 9-4. Then, less than a week ago, USC head coach and sun baked pretty boy Pete Carroll bolts for the NFL to coach the Seahawks. THE SEAHAWKS, people. There are whispers of Coach Carroll timing his departure such that he abandons the school just before NCAA investigations get rolling for various violations involving cars and houses.

Go Seahawks! Go before the NCAA catches up to us!

This would be bad enough on its own, but that would leave out the part where USC hires Lane Kiffin to be Carroll’s replacement.

Here’s a picture of Lane Kiffin:

Wait, that’s a picture of a two headed snake! My mistake. Oh well.

You may remember Lane Kiffin from such achievements as being a horrendous head coach for the Oakland Raiders, or a mediocre head coach at a university that shall remain nameless because, let’s face it, they have enough problems as it is without piling the Sports Curse on top. You may also remember Kiffin from various NCAA violations of his own, or for mouthing off at other coaches. Or his hot wife.

12-21: Lane Kiffin’s record as a head coach. The second number would be the amount of losses. This is widely considered by the Sports cognoscenti to be a horrible hire.

Congratulations, USC. You’ve found yourself a new head douche.

Score one for the Sports Curse!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Crazy Heart

Apparently I’m a sucker for movies about washed out Country stars with substance abuse problems who finally make good and get their lives back together. I was a sucker for Walk the Line, even though Joaquin Phoenix wasn’t nearly as badass as I might have liked for the part of Johnny Cash. And now I’m a sucker for Crazy Heart, which stars Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake, the alcoholic Country star consigned to touring the bowling alleys and hole-in-the-wall bars of the rural west.

You can probably guess the plot before even seeing the movie: person leads destructive life, meets beautiful woman (in this case played perfectly by Maggie Gyllenhaal), makes some huge mistakes, ultimately changes life for the better. In that sense, Crazy Heart is not a particularly innovative movie.

What it lacks in innovative plot, though, it makes up in quality performances and the our emersion into that classic Country milieu of hard-livin’ wanderin’, writing songs about life and love and all the mistakes people make.

Jeff Bridges is great. I don’t know if he’s award winning great, but if he wins awards I’m not going to be pissed off. It took me a little while to stop seeing The Dude on screen, but I got over that. I was most surprised by Colin Farrell, who played Bad Blake’s young protégé turned New Country star. I wouldn’t normally think “pop country star? How ‘bout Colin Farrell?” but I thought he did a convincing job.

I thought the relationship between these two was the most interesting part of the movie. Yeah yeah guy meets girl changes his life all that was good too and it makes the plot turn, but the difference between Bridges, whose character roamed the country in an old Ford truck playing dives, and Farrell, who toured in gigantic tour busses to millions of people, was the difference between really living the life described in the songs and simply selling it.

Go check it out if you get the chance. Crazy Heart is playing at a small art house near you, I'm sure.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Rvd Monday: Now with Bitching AND Moaning

Link to my Monday RvD post where I bitch and moan about parallel parking, people who can't shut up at the movie theatre, and sad sad nerds. Enjoy!

BONUS: From Failblog, the plot outline for Pocahont... I mean, Avatar.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday: Have More (Mediocre) Sex

The first Sketchfest show went really well last night, for those of you who were concerned. I did not fall on my ass while disco dancing. Which may have actually disappointed some people. The evening also yielded my first "group I knew nothing about who was awesome" in Klepper & Grey.

The moral: see Sketchfest, you lazy bastards!

And now, on to the Friday nonsense links.

CNN Wants You to Get Bizzay: It's funny, these little patterns that pop up from time to time over the Interwebs. Take, for example, this delightful little article from CNN extolling the virtues of constant sexual intercourse. The article claims that "people who have frequent sex tend to live longer and have healthier hearts and lower rates of certain cancers. These studies also show that men with an active sex life have healthier sperm, and sexually active women have fewer menopause symptoms."

The study's findings caused this gentleman to express his happiness in the way he knows best.

"I'm a nerd, and I approve."

You hear that ladies? The big nasty is going to kick all those menopause symptoms right out the door for you. The only problem? Your G-spot might not exist.

At least, according to this article entitled 'Finding the G-spot: Is it real?' posted on that very same venerable online news source, the CNN!

This, of course, would confirm a long held doubt of mine. And by doubts, I mean an invention of the mind meant to ease feelings of inadequacy caused by a certain deficiency that I need not name here thank YOU very MUCH.

So to review, CNN suggests that you have more sex. Even if it's not very good.

Speaking of Nerd Approval: have you ever wondered what The Big Lebowski would sound like if written by Shakespeare? No? Well, read this anyway.

And Speaking of CNN: Here is an interesting little opinion piece on the Underwear Bomber and the fact that everyone is freaking out.

I like this little bit: "We're doing these things even though airplane terrorism is incredibly rare, the risk is no greater today than it was in previous decades, the taxi to the airport is still more dangerous than the flight, and ten times as many Americans are killed by lightning as by terrorists."

The idea is that people can comprehend everyday tragedies like car crashes (nobody would outlaw the Prius just because one was in a car crash, afterall), but that the extremely rare and unusual threats are the ones that grab our attention and, as a result of our emotional fear response, we go out of our way to demand "action" so that we can at least feel safer.

Lost in the whole national discussion here is that the bomb didn't work. He was an inept bomber. His pants lit on fire. If it weren't for this widespread reaction of panic, this would be a premise for comedy. But instead, people freak out and then Al-Qaeda gets all of the "They're Back!" press for what amounted to a failure.

This is the exact thing I requested we all not do this decade. Don't let me down, people!

And Finally: if you've ever wanted to see a grown man sing a duet with a monkey puppet, here is the link for you. That's my buddy Mike from High School. He lives out in LA now and is working on a short film called "My Friend Peter."
Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Clever Title First Ever Sketchfest Guide (Featuring Shameless Plugs)

January in the Chicago comedy community means Chicago Sketchfest, which is a sketch comedy festival that draws “100 sketch comedy troupes” from all across the country and brings them here for everyone to enjoy. It’s a good time for the regular sketch comedy going audience, but it’s a particularly good deal for the performers. We get festival passes that allow us free admission to any of the shows (provided they’re not sold out with actual paying humans), plus we get coupons for free Chipotle chips and guacamole (we used to get full burritos back in the day) AND a free stick of Burt’s Bees chapstick.

You’re jealous now about the chapstick. I can tell. It’s okay; I never use mine so if you really want one I’ll give you mine.

Every year, I always tell myself that I’m going to see as many shows as possible, and every year I disappoint myself. There’s just too many shows to see and a finite amount of time that I can reasonably devote to watching them. And, of course, when you have a hundred sketch comedy troupes, performing three shows at a time on three different stages, it’s kind of hard to narrow it down to the select groups that you’ll actually end up seeing. I mean, you can go look at the schedule and click on some of the group names for a synopsis, but they all ready pretty much the same way:

“PROPER NOUN is a NUMBER person group from CITY OR COLLEGE. They’ve performed here for NUMBER years and are glad to be bringing their "unique style" of sketch comedy to the stage, featuring FUNNY NOUNS THAT ARE REFERENCED SOMEWHERE IN THE SHOW UNLESS THEY CUT THAT SCENE AT THE LAST MINUTE BECAUSE OF TIME.


“Short, possibly witty statement that tells you nothing about the show.”

You may ask, "How is one ever to know which shows for to watch?"

Don’t worry, friends. Uncle Nat is here to the rescue.

And by rescue, I mean “let me plug the shows that I’m in and the shows of my friends. Also, here are some groups that I hear might be good.”

So, without further ado:

SHOWS THAT ARE GUARANTEED HILARIOUS (Meaning that I’m in them and I will tell you whatever I need to tell you to get people to come see the show):

365 Sketches, Thursday January 7th at 8:00 PM, North Theatre. Double billed with Happily Ever Laughter.
Robot vs Dinosaur, Saturday January 9th at 7:00 PM, North Theatre.

SHOWS FEATURING MY FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES (If I’m missing yours, friend or associate, leave a comment):

Cell Camp, Thursday January 7th at 9:30 PM, South Theatre. Double billed with Klepper & Grey.
Aemilia & Ed, Sunday January 10th at 2:30 PM, South Theatre. Double billed with Dominizuelan.
Jim vs Mike AND Creepy Hug, Sunday January 10th at 4:00 PM, North Theatre. I know both groups.
Fool For Thought, Sunday January 10th at 5:30 PM, North Theatre. Double billed with Puterbaugh Sisters.
Teenager of the Year, Thursday January 14th at 8:00 PM, South Theatre. Double billed with Other Other Guys.
The Best Church of God, Sunday January 17th at 1:00 PM, North Theatre.
Shark City, Sunday January 17th at 2:30 PM, North Theatre.


Pangea 3000, Friday January 8th and Saturday January 9th at 10:00 PM, West Theatre for both shows.
Bri-Ko, Friday January 8th at 11:00 PM and Saturday January 9th at 2:00 PM, South Theatre for both shows.
Kerpatty, Saturday January 8th at 8:00 (South Theatre) and Saturday January 16th at 2:00 PM (North Theatre)
Rue Brutalia, Friday January 15th and Saturday January 16th at 9:00 PM, West Theatre for both shows.

And of course many many more groups that are probably amazing but that I know nothing about.

As a general rule, if the group you are interested in performs more than once then they are most likely a well known funny commodity. There are very few shows that are complete wastes of your time, though, so no matter what you see there should be something of value there.

If you have the chance, I would highly recommend getting out there, even if it’s just for one show. It’s just kind of a cool experience, and the kind of thing that as a sketch comedian you look forward to all year.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The End of the Aughts

In stark contrast to last year where the lady and I rang in 2009 in a Waffle House, I spent this New Years eve watching movies with my parents, siblings and girlfriend in suburban Michigan. After listening to Dick Clark valiantly attempting to count down (if you didn’t see, it was simultaneously very sad and very funny) and watching the ball drop, we put in Steve Martin’s The Man with Two Brains. We laughed and then we went to bed.

That kind of low profile evening is probably really pretty similar to my close of 1999 festivities. Sans girlfriend, of course. I was but a lowly, awkward teenager. Now I am an full grown awkward man.

The last ten years have for the most part been good to me. I graduated high school, went to college, met my girlfriend, graduated, spent a little over a year working for the Purple Rose, moved to Chicago, got a job, took improv and writing classes, started a blog, got in on the ground floor of a great sketch group, did a couple of shows and voila. Here I am today.

At the same time, from a broader perspective the last ten years have been filled with incredible amounts of worry and angst. We’ve had a national tragedy, a pair of wars, excessive amounts of airport security precautions, wiretapping, bird flu, swine flu, cell phone radiation, global warming, the collapse of the banking industry, the collapse of the auto industry, the end times “Left Behind” nonsense, the impending 2012 apocalypse, WMD proliferation, phantom WMDs that appear never to have really existed, election turmoil, the Detroit Lions and celebrities, celebrities MY GOD WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE CELEBRITIES?!

Some of these were legitimate concerns over which we mostly have limited control. Still more, however, were people getting insanely worked up about things that turned out to be unimportant, minor annoyances, or inventions of the paranoid. Anyone remember how we ushered in the aughts? Y2K. How did that work out?

I feel like people spent most of the time running from worry to worry, taking just enough time to buy their iPhone before running off to the next worry.

It’s exhausting, people. We’re still here. We made it through the aughts. Everything still appears to be functioning.

So let’s do this, shall we everyone? Let’s try not to get so freaked out about everything. Take a night off every once in a while, spend it with family, watch a movie or something.
We have a new decade in front of us. Let’s try to make the best of it.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year's Pluggery!

Well, I'm back in town. While it's great to be back blogging to you (three) readers, I'm not going to lie: vacation was great. And work, generally speaking, sucks donkey balls. But since I have to be here and since you've chosen to be here, I may as well assult you with some...


That's right, friends! Chicago Sketchfest is upon us and I'm in not one but TWO (2) shows this weekend!

General sketch fest information and the like can be found here.

Sketch Show the First is for Joe Janes' 365 Sketches project. We go up on Sketchfest's first night (January 7th 2010) at 8:00 PM and we're double billed with Happily Ever Laughter out of Vassar college in New York. I've never heard of them before, but I've also never not heard nice things about them! Here's Joe's post featuring the cast list for the scenes we'll be doing.

Sketch Show the Second is a remounting of Mrs Gruber's Ding Dong School! So for all you people who missed it or for all you adoring fans (looking at you, parents) who want to see the show again, we're on Saturday, January 9th 2010 at 7:00 PM. We are single billed, so we'll have nobody to blame but ourselves if you hate the show. I am willing to accept that blame if you are willing to be in the audience. More info can be found at the RVD blog, which I will be updating shortly.

Ring in the new decade with a big ol' dose of Chicago sketch comedy!

The plan is to actually write substantive content this week. That's the plan. We'll see if I'm able to, you know, actually follow up and do that. But I'm gonna (at least say that I'm going to) try!