Archive for the ‘Comedy’ category

Ask Not What Your Novels Can Do for You. . .

January 7, 2011

“I’m not very likable, am I?”
“You’re likable enough,” said Vargina [sic].
“No, I mean, if I were the protagonist of a book or a movie, it would be hard to like me, to identify with me, right?”
“I would never read a book like that, Milo. I can’t think of anyone who would. There’s no reason for it.”

Sam Lipsyte‘s The Ask is the great comedic novel of 2010, or at least that’s what scattered posts on lit blogs had me hoping. The book follows Milo Burke, a–stop me if you’ve heard this one before–middle-aged New Yorker with a failing marriage and a floundering career on the fringe of academia. (The titular “ask” is “a person, or what we wanted from that person,” we being the university fundraising department in which Milo works.) Early in the novel, Purdy, an affluent friend from Milo’s college days, resurfaces, dangling in front of Milo a potentially massive give that could keep him employed. Before committing to the give, Purdy keeps Milo on unofficial retainer, encouraging Milo to act as a buffer between him and his estranged, legless Iraq-vet son. The humor Lipsyte deals out is dark, as you might imagine, and taken as a whole, The Ask makes for a bitter pill, absent the normal sort of healing-type properties the metaphor usually implies. (more…)


Lost Time: It’s a Big Ol’ Link Post

November 9, 2010

At Sleeping with the Fishes, Hannah Waters has what I can only imagine is the first piece ever written about depicting the octopus in Lee and Kirby’s Fantastic Four.

Continuing last week’s British impressionist kick: a Michael-Caine-impression-off featuring Steve Coogan:

And more on the British humor track: the A.V. Club has a rare interview with Brass Eye mastermind and Four Lions director Chris Morris.

At Feministing, Maya Dusenbery posts notes on a recent comic about Internet sexism, which (the comic and commentary both) seem especially poignant following Kate Beaton-gate and its dumb dude backlash.

The Awl has info on how you can help make a movie about Malapropist faves the Mekons.

At The Comics Journal‘s GutterGeek blog, Alex Boney has a close reading of Grant Morrison’s Batman: Gothic, a good Bat-story that seemed to never get checked out of my public library when I was a kid but, as a discerning nine-year-old, I could tell at a glance I was not old enough for. That glance might have been the panel of a kid’s head in a trash can, though, so I probably could have read the whole thing and not emerged more unsettled than I was already.

Splitsider’s Mike Schuster looks back at the failed Conan O’Brien/Adam West venture Lookwell (full pilot embedded), which has maybe my favorite line from any TV show, ever, at the 8:28 mark.

At The New Yorker‘s Front Row blog, Richard Brody tackles the Godard-as-anti-Semite meme.

The There Will Be Blood mock-video game clip is way funnier than it deserves to be (via /Film).

Super There Will Be Blood from Tomfoolery Pictures on Vimeo.

Curt Purcell on the appeal of crap, at The Groovy Age of Horror (a post which reminded me of Umberto Eco’s essay on Casablanca, if you’re craving a Monday night Umberto Eco fix:

It seems commonsensical to think a text that poses no internal obstacles to the reward it offers will deliver the most rewarding experience–to think, for example, that something better than Twilight might deliver everything Twilight offers, only better. But we’re talking here about the operation of a system that will continue to pursue a reward as long as a text continues to provide it, just as flowers turn toward sunlight and roots grow toward water.  If the system encounters obstacles or threats to that reward within the text, it will continue to narrow its focus to exclude them. Thus, a poor writing style goes unnoticed, technical mistakes are ignored, awkward plot developments are accepted, embarrassment and self-consciousness aren’t provoked by one’s enjoyment of story elements that might otherwise seem silly or childish, etc.

Finally, normally this sort of thing is reserved for Fridays, but I am listening the fuck out of the Go-Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed.” ON REPEAT.

Everyone on the other side of the Atlantic probably knows this already,

November 2, 2010

But Peter Serafinowicz‘s impressions are incredible:

How We Got Our Name: Cradle of Filth

September 17, 2010

Cradle of Filth is a black metal band from Suffolk, England.

Daniel Davey (vocals): It all started—and this surprises people, still—with finding an actual cradle of filth, cleaning out Paul’s grandmother’s house. This was 1990.

Paul Allender (guitar): She had recently moved into assisted living.

DD: He and I one afternoon were sifting through stuff in her garage. Mostly gardening tools, an aluminum Christmas tree. And there it was.

PA: Of course back then, they kept cradles of everything.

DD: Different times.

PA: If I remember, I think we also found a cradle of rock salt. Why not just keep it in the pantry, Grandma? But she was a stubborn woman.

DD: True original.

PA: We actually brought the cradle on stage with us, at first. But everyone thought that was a little too on-the-nose. (more…)

It’s Not My Fault People Didn’t Want to Enjoy the Majesty of a Pyramid in Their Own Backyard

August 17, 2010

Andrew Lloyd Webber: …Perhaps the enterprise shouldn’t have been called ‘Ice-T’s Pyramid Scheme’.

Ice-T: I guess I could have called it a ‘pyramid plan,’ but I just hate alliteration that much.

Paul F. Tompkins’ Pod F. Tompkast is real good, and for free.

Rudd’s ROLE MODELS Reappraisal Rundown(!)

July 30, 2010

Paul Rudd’s movies don’t seem to be getting better as his star gets larger, which is shitty, yeah.  But in spite of the drop (or maybe because of it), 2008’s Role Models
– which is sort of like I Love You Man’s under-appreciated older brother
– but way funnier
– and altogether one of the breeziest, most charming, most effective movies to come from any combination of Apatow players or ex-State cast members in the last several years
has been subject to more critical looks back recently than a mid-budget autumn-release comedy featuring staring Sean William Scott ordinarily would be. Slate‘s Elbert Ventura’s sorta hard on it–

Role Models reunited Rudd with his Wet Hot American Summer director, David Wain, but … As Danny, a sales rep tired of his job, Rudd seemed adrift in the role, only occasionally letting a speck of mischief peek through the dour demeanor. At least Role Models had a hint of endearing geekiness to it.

— but The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody has some surprisingly kind words for the film:

I’ve seen the movie a bunch of times, together with my daughters; its pallidly sentimental aspects wash away in the flood of sharp comedy from a host of character actors (including Jane Lynch) who gleefully strut their stuff.

Plastic Men and Distant Memes: It’s a Link Post

June 21, 2010

io9 has the couple-years-old pilot for a Plastic Man cartoon that (somehow) never was (who’s better-suited to an animated show for 8-year-olds?), and it’s a fun mix of Jack Cole’s original comics, Kyle Baker’s mid-2000s series, and Ren & Stimpy. (Nerd trivia factoid: The first episode of the animated Tick series, from 1994, also involves an endangered dam!)

Richard Brody defends the Duplass bros at The New Yorker‘s Front Row blog.

Kevin Huizenga on comics and fonts:

Drawing Nancy and Sluggo almost exactly the same each time, it’s like [Ernie Bushmiller]’s making them into a font, like he’s writing “Nancy” in Helvetica.  All the drawings of Nancy are transparently Nancy the way a commonly used font will make a word “transparent.”  But I think saying that Bushmiller represents the “distilled essence” of comics is like saying Helvetica is the essence of the written alphabet.

At the Awl, Matt Ealer mounts a defense of Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever, and while I’m not sure he’s right to label fan objections to the nippled Batsuit as “deeply homophobic,” Ealer does wisely imply that the film has more in common with Grant Morrison’s current Bat-books than any of the Nolan or Burton movies.

And finally, in the first meme-nostalgia piece that has really hit home with me, Gavok from 4th Letter revisits the Mr. T vs. blank meme, which stole away more than one of my evenings in seventh grade.