Tag: Comedy

I’m Canceling Myself


It’s customary for comics to be canceled by others for their transgressive comedy. On the advice of my agent, however, I have decided to get ahead of things and cancel myself.

First, my sin: ever since I was a schoolboy, throughout my career in comedy, both onstage and in private conversations, I have told countless “your mother” jokes. Except I didn’t use the term “your mother.” Instead, I used another term that rhymes with “Obama.”

I realize now that these jokes were not mine to tell: I had appropriated them from the rich vein of African-American humor, causing cringe-inducing pain to the white women exposed to them.

Bo Burnham: Inside ‘Inside’


Welcome to another Bo Burnham post.  Yes, I might be considered a fan.  Not everyone is and that’s fine.

Read on to find out why Inside is so brilliant and why the collection of edits ‘from the cutting room floor’, The Inside Outtakes, is not just a view into the bloopers and the process, but almost another version of Inside.  These aren’t the only reasons why Bo Burnham is hilarious, but they are some of them and certainly a good beginning as to why you should enjoy his comedy.

Old Doesn’t Mean Dead – Or Submissive


Cal Yarborough was a farmer. A widower and old, he was living alone on his farm. While he was in the hospital, his children used their power-of-attorney to sell the farm and settle him at Sun City, a Central Texas retirement community.

“Sun City: A Hilariously Addictive Story of Rebellion,” by Matthew Minson, opens with Yarborough’s arrival at Sun City. His dismay at losing his farm is compounded when he learns he cannot even put in a vegetable garden. The community board has banned them.

Most of Sun City’s residents resent the board. It is made up of retired flag officers, appointed by the developers. The board enjoys throwing their weight around committing petty tyrannies.  The residents cannot replace the board because the corporate bylaws allow the corporation to appoint the board until 97 percent of the properties are sold. The Corporation plans to expand Sun City before that happens. Nor can residents sell without incurring a big loss. Buyers prefer new properties.

Movie Review: Everything Everywhere All at Once


Despite my best efforts—watching Nova on PBS, reading pop-sci books written in the simplest terms—I don’t understand the multiverse theory. You did a math problem and came to the conclusion there are an infinite number of parallel universes? I’ll take your word for it, Mr. Hawking.

It was a relief to learn that the “theory” isn’t a theory in the scientific sense, but mere hypothesis. The implications are horrifying. For every universe you raise a happy, successful family there’s one where you’re miserable and destitute. That time you felt queasy and saved yourself embarrassment by not attending your brother-in-law’s dinner party is a wash, because one universe over you did attend and were browner and sadder for it. Every dumb observation, inappropriate joke, Vox headline, and rude comment you kept to yourself was blurted out by one of your parallel “selves.” Decisions don’t matter.

The sleeper hit Everything Everywhere All at Once, which opened nationwide last weekend, shows that if nothing else, the multiverse theory is a goldmine for creative storytellers. It’s about Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) who is at her wits’ end. Her laundromat business is in hot water with the IRS, her marriage is struggling and she’s not even aware her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) has filed divorce papers, her college-age daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) is dating a woman and that won’t go over well with Evelyn’s father (James Hong) who is visiting from China.

Member Post


So, apropos of absolutely nothing going on in the news, I’ve been thinking about the range of responses available to us when confronted with a joke that we do not find funny. The first, most basic, and most time-honored choice is simply not laughing. We deprive the comedian of the desired response, determinedly withholding our […]

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Fake News Live


Before the pandemic, I’d perform on cruise ships every few weeks. It’s a great gig: well-paying, responsive audiences and an opportunity to visit places as diverse as Ushuaia and Singapore. While I’m certain that restrictions such as lockdowns impacted others more than me, they certainly changed my life significantly. Much of it was for the good: I began spending more time with my wife and children than ever. I learned to cook – and to love it. I spent months intensely rehabilitating an injury to my foot and then seamlessly transitioning to another rehab after surgery on my knee, culminating in the completion of my second marathon. (Pro-tip: getting physically stronger is the closest thing to a cure-all for aches and pains.) I’m now again fully fit and looking forward to our family’s skiing trip.

All the while, though, I was writing, writing, writing. It’s kind of strange to write jokes with no imminent opportunity to perform them, even if it’s so much as an open mic. I did perform several so-called “Zoom shows” during the pandemic but it’s just not the same. There was something depressing about looking out at the audience while I’m performing and everyone is starring at their devices.

No charge for that joke.

Nurses: The TV Show


I often think that a TV show about actual nurses would play well.

Not the TV show about nurses that Jada Pinkett Smith did, but a show about what actual nurses do and live and feel.  I can’t help but think that the drama of actual life, being yelled at by physicians over things not in our control, being yelled at by family members, finding patients hiding drugs in their bed and overdosing while admitted, finding patient family members unlocking syringe boxes to steal used syringes for whatever, and families being elated at the last moments of recovery and lucidity right before death…

Movie Review: Jackass Forever


Remember that episode of The Simpsons where Homer becomes a judge for a film festival and is bowled over by a short film showing Hans Moleman take a football to the groin? Paramount Pictures has just released a film for those of us who laughed with, not at, Homer.

I laughed harder during Jackass Forever than I have at any movie in a long time. I don’t know how much of an endorsement that is, but it’s the truth. Aside from a few clips on YouTube, this is my entry to the world of Jackass. It’s what I’d expect a Jackass movie to be. Longtime fans will be glad to see the return of Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Wee Man, et al. (Bam Margera, unfortunately, was fired from the production when his alcoholism was deemed a liability, though he appears in one scene). The graying performers are joined by some young bucks, and in a first for the series, a woman, Rachel Wolfson.

The movie has an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. I feel for critics tasked with writing a professional review. The movie defies analysis. There’s no structure or themes. It’s just a series of stunts, competitions, and hidden camera pranks. The sort of thing you relay to a friend amid storms of laughter. “…and then they pour salmon in his lap, hahahaha, and you won’t believe this, haha, they let a bear loose in the room, hahahahaha, and the bear starts sniffing him and he’s freaking out, hahahahahaha…”

Member Post


For the less than one-percent of you nerds out there who follow chess news (I know that at least @richardeaston is a nationally ranked chess expert), the World Championship title was just retained by Magnus Carlsen of Norway in a best of 14-game match, beating Russian challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi. Don’t ask me how to pronounce […]

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Member Post


I was watching a YouTube video the other day, “12 recently discovered WW II secrets” or something like that.  One of them was about a recovered German submarine that the crew deliberately scuttled even after the war was over. After recovering it, almost 70 years later, they found it had some special almost prototype torpedoes […]

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Movie Review: Ghostbusters Afterlife


Ghostbusters (1984) is not a kid’s movie. Or to the extent that it is it’s by happenstance. Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis weren’t thinking of toy lines and Saturday morning cartoons when they wrote a script about schlubby middle-aged men running a startup in pre-Giuliani New York. We loved it as kids because of Slimer, proton packs, Ecto-1, Zuul, and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. We were oblivious to the jokes about mortgages and oral sex. It would take years before we appreciated Bill Murray’s charming indifference. Using “we” in this context might be presumptuous. As Ghostbusters: Afterlife shows, some people never moved beyond “proton packs are cool.”

After being evicted, single mother Callie Spengler (Carrie Coon) and her two kids, Phoebe (McKenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) move to Summerville, OK, to live in the farmhouse left by Callie’s recently deceased father, Egon. Trevor lies about his age to get a job at the diner where his crush works. Phoebe doubts she can make any friends. On her first day at summer school, she hits it off with a kid who calls himself “Podcast” (Logan Kim). Guess his hobby. Podcast isn’t the only one that takes a liking to Phoebe. Their teacher, Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd), is impressed by her scientific knowledge and shares with her the strange seismic activity he’s recorded in Summerville.

Callie makes it clear she was not close to her father. He abandoned her to live on this farm where according to the locals he didn’t grow anything. Is it true the beloved character Egon Spengler from the beloved film Ghostbusters ended up a deadbeat who left his daughter when she was a kid? Say it ain’t so. Maybe his plucky and inquisitive grandchildren will discover his hidden ghostbusting gear and with it the town secrets causing all that seismic activity. It might even turn out a series of supernatural contrivances forced him into that situation, and he actually loved Callie all along.

The Culture’s Guide to Cancelling Me


Once upon a time, political priors were no match for a great comedy – funny was funny. Today many great jokes elicit an anxious over-the-shoulder glance to ensure that the culture’s tastemakers – or your firm’s 22-year-old social media intern – don’t disapprove. Rolling with it is a thing of the past.

No longer is a comic’s greatest fear having his sitcom but his entire career – canceled.  With airlines, sports teams, and soft drink manufacturers climbing over one another to bow before the Woke Mob, what is a corporate event planner to do? She must now not only ensure the comedian she hires is funny (or even funny and clean) but also has the correct views.

This means scouring the internet for comedian’s social media posts, blogs, columns, affiliations, and more: all in search of something which might be disqualifying, like that hilarious five-minute bit of yours about how men can’t get pregnant.

This week, Rob explains a simple axiom of show business: if you want your agents to remain generous with free expensive bottled water and delicious mini chocolate cakes, you have to earn it. Or more accurately, you have to earn for them.

Rob is dismayed to discover that the charismatic lead actor for his comedy pilot is being treated for a condition that required him to take medication that made the actor boring.

This week, Rob explains why lying is an integral part of the Hollywood ecosystem, and passes along a few pointers on how to do it successfully. Really. We’re not lying – that’s what this episode is actually about.

Ayaan talks with Andrew Doyle about the need for comedy in today’s world, how the culture wars affect politics, and the dangers of the social justice movement.

Andrew Doyle is a writer, broadcaster and comedian.  He is the author of the new book Free Speech and Why It Matters published this year by Constable. He has also written two books under his satirical persona Titania McGrath – Woke: A Guide to Social Justice (2019) and My First Little Book of Intersectional Activism (2020). He is soon to be joining the presenting team on GB News, Britain’s newest television news channel.

Rob makes a rare detour from commenting on the shifting sands of show business to provide an explainer on the physics of airplane flight (really!) and share the story of a very brave pilot let him take the wheel.

There’s an old show biz adage: comedy is tragedy plus time. Rob explains why awkward moments and dark, biting comments should probably be part of that equation as well.