Here's Rob Delaney talking about the Duck Dynasty guy using the word "logic" to describe his bigotry. I enjoyed this video very much:
This is the closing weekend of the sketch show I co-wrote. If you're looking for something that will get you in the Christmas spirit, but is much darker and funnier than you're used to Christmas shows being, than you should definitely check it out.
Friday & Saturday, December 20 & 21 at 7:30
$12 / $10 students, seniors advance, $15 at the door
Portland comic Andie Main has written a tutorial of sorts for new comics: Basically a what-not-to-do when you're just starting out. If you're interested in performing standup—or just interested in some of the etiquette around it—check it out.
Main is performing tonight at a special Christmas edition of Secret Weapon, the showcase she hosts with Christian Ricketts. Guests include Amy Miller, Nathan Brannon, Phil Schalberger, Jason Treager, and Krampus. And Santa. That's tonight at 9:30 at Mississippi Pizza (3552 N Mississippi).
For his Christmas edition of "Between Two Ferns," host Zach Galifianakis welcomes Toby Maguire (who seems to know more about producing television shows than he does) and Samuel L. Jackson (who's wearing a Snuggie?). Oh, and special musical guests Arcade Fire. And asbestos!
Yesterday I posted this hilarious review of Sarah Palin's new book about the war on Christmas Good Tidings and Great Joy. The post was picked up by a Tea Party forum "Free Republic" and they were not happy. Apparently I'm "stupid, ignorant, dishonest and basically evil" and also have "the hair of a kewpie doll."
For 70+ comments, they proved they were smarter, more honest, more Godly, and possessing of better hair by calling me gay in as many ways as they could think of. "Fudgepacker" was fun because it reminded me of second grade, "pointy headed fag in need of dental work" has a nice ring to it, plus my two favorites "bitchy eunuch" and "limp-wristed sodomite" which are awesome because they're not even gay slurs from the last hundred years. They had to do some archaeology to find those well reasoned arguments.
They found some old head shots from my website and took issue with my teeth, my hair, the wrinkliness of my "fake work shirt" (?), and my similarity to Dilbert, which I honestly don't see.
Even more terrifying than homophobia from the 1200s and their wishing I was hotter are the signatures some of the commenters have. On the place where some people would write "PHD Candidate" or a quote from Ghandi, they have some of the most upsetting non-sequiturs I've ever seen. Matt1234 signs his comment with "Hitler blamed the Jews. Obama blames the Tea Party" a sentence that raises all kinds of questions about his understanding of the holocaust. Even worse, ConradofMontferrat signed his comment "According to mudslimz, my handle is a HATE CRIME. And I HOPE they don't like it." I... there's... nope. Never mind. I have no words.
They're not all bad. When they discovered I was on Portlandia, they had a cute discussion of the show and the merits of the brunch sketch versus stuff that happened in season 3. There was also some back-and-forth about my use of periods inside quotation marks. It isn't helpful since they're speaking dogmatically about an issue for style guides, but it was kinda fun to see them going after grammar mistakes with the same enthusiasm they attacked gays and Muslims. At least they're well rounded.
I'm not mad at Rashida Jones, but I am disappointed that we live in a society where overt female sexuality is seen only as a way to manipulate men into giving us what we want. Mostly because I'd hate to think that public sobbing has gone out of style. In Glamour, Jones wrote, "So much of it feels staged for men, not for our own pleasure." I identify as pretty much mostly straight (imagine a noodle 1/8 of the way cooked), but one time I hooked up with a girlfriend of mine in the privacy of her room. Another friend said, "But why would you do that in private? The whole point is because it turns men on." No, the point of sexiness for me is not solely to entice men. I like sex for me. That's why every time I have sex, I am one of the humans involved in the aforementioned sex.
In her Glamour essay, Rashida said, "Three sexual innuendos is OK; eight is overkill. " Or in other words, a tiny bit of whore-iness is okeydokey, but any more whorieness is whoreible. Why is some sexiness okay but too much is bad? And who gets to hem the skirt between sensual and raunchy? As long as being sexy makes you feel good about yourself, embrace it, up until the point that it no longer makes you feel good about yourself—then embrace something else, like a puppy.
When women call other women whores or sluts, not only is it cruel, it blames women for our own oppression. Women shouldn't feel guilty for dressing however they want. I think slut shaming often originates from jealousy and competitiveness instilled into our subconscious by a patriarchy that intends to pit us against each other. Well, it's either a patriarchial society, or our robot overlords. And if it is robot overlords subliminally enforcing competition, I wanna be free to dress like a hot badass warrior elf in the gladiator ring if I want to.
Last week, I wrote a hilarious piece of festive sketch comedy for a radio program (that shall remain nameless) about how Santa is dead. I was told it couldn't be aired, not because it was too dark (it was too dark, but that was a secondary problem) but because a kid might hear it in the car and be crushed. I'm not setting out to crush children's spirits, but how on earth did I end up having the responsibility of lying to other people's children? If you want to lie to your kids, fine. Awesome. Lie away. Bring other adults in on the lie, even. But you can't assume that all adults are automatically going around lying just in case your kid is listening.
In 2011, a newscaster in Chicago was inundated with hate mail after mentioning on air that Santa isn't real.
You guys, Santa isn't real. That's a true statement. [Alex is full of shit. Santa is SO real.—Editors] And if there's one place that should be able to say true things without coming under fire, it's news programs.
Newscasters shouldn't be expected to help you manipulate your children into behaving themselves. That's your job and yours alone.
Even worse, pretty much every news station in the country broadcasts video from NORAD tracking Santa as he leaves the North Pole. The people in charge of protecting us from nuclear war are participating in a program to lie to your kids.
When I ask parents if they're lying to their kids about Santa this year, I frequently hear some version of this: "I don't want my kid to be the one telling other kids on the playground that there's no Santa." People are worried that their child might accidentally say something TRUE in mixed company. That's an insane way to parent.
For the record, I love lying to kids. If you want me to help you lie to your kids about pretty much anything, I'm down. But you have to ASK FIRST. And then offer me something. "Hey, Alex. Will you dress up as Big Foot and tell my son that if he doesn't clean his room you'll rip his arms off? I'll buy you pizza." Done! That's how the system should work. But I you can't just expect me to know that you told him about Big Foot's issue with messy bedrooms.
This year, seven Portland comics and one improv troupe made it into the festival, by my count (feel free to check my math): Barbara Holm, Curtis Cook, Gabe Dinger, JoAnn Schinderle, Philip Schallberger, Stacey Hallal, and Xander Deveaux, plus improv troupe Whiskey Tango. (You can catch Whiskey Tango tonight at the Tonic, btw, and you should! They're funny.)
That's in addition to, like, every comic working today you've ever wanted to see. These West Coast comedy festivals are increasingly tempting long-weekend destinations—SF Sketch Fest is spread out over almost three weeks, which makes planning a bit complicated/expensive, but I've got my eye on the Riot LA fest in January, a four-day festival that's just about a half-notch above Portland's own Bridgetown Comedy Fest in terms of the recognition-factor of its guests. (Which is actually a huge testament to Bridgetown, given that most comedians, you know, live in LA.) And guys: It's sunny there. There are worse ways to spend a weekend.
Emily Heller is a very funny, up-and-coming young standup comic—she seized victory at the Iron Comic contest at Bridgetown from the likes of Dana Gould and Guy Branum, and she does a podcast, Baby Geniuses, with the brilliant cartoonist Lisa Hanawalt—and tonight she headlines a top-notch bill of locals for the show Funny Over Everything at the Hollywood, for a mere $10 of your pocket change. (Funny Over Everything was founded by Ian Karmel; Shane Torres and Sean Jordan are steering the ship now that Ian's off making it big in Hollywood.)
I interviewed Emily for this week's paper. I asked her many things, but this is the most important.
What do you want for Christmas?
This might sound creepy but I want KNIVES. GOOD, SHARP KNIVES. I just got a new apartment and have been cooking a lot, so I want some knives. Please give them to me handle-first. OH, and I want everyone in Portland to come see me at Funny Over Everything!
And while we're on the subject of women who are hilarious, here are my three favorite quotes from Paper Magazine's new interview with Amy Poehler, taken entirely out of context (you'll have to read the article for that!):
"I dig shows where all the characters don't talk like the 28-year-old writer in the room."
"I mean, everyone under 26 seems gay to me."
"...historically, you have to come from a shitty background to succeed in comedy, but that was never really the case with the women I came up with."
She is the greatest human, full stop.
Unfunniest dad EVER.
If you haven't checked out the Epic Rap Battles of History series (in which historical characters engage in... you know... rap battles) you are really missing something wondrous! Start your education with comedians Key and Peele who star in this heeelariously hot rap battle between Space Jam's Michael Jordan (who also played basketball for a team called the Bulls, I hear?) and poet Muhammad Ali (who apparently fought other people for money). I DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT SPORTS! (But I know funny and this is funny.)
If somehow, amid yesterday's gluttonous accomplishment, you missed this further justification for the existence of Twitter, you're in for a treat. Bon appetit.
To celebrate the turkey season, Tracy Morgan dropped by Jimmy Fallon to share one of his most amazingly strange performances to date, "Tracy Morgan Says 28 Thanksgiving-y Things." Most are very normal—some are decidedly... not. Watch.
Behold "Bound3." (NSFW audio, plus hairy back action.)
See Kimye's original "Bound2" video here.
Recently my friend and I were in a bar playing pinball and telling a giant straight white male why he should stop yelling the N word (because hey, it was a Friday), and the rapscallion kept defending himself, saying, "I was being funny. I was totally kidding. You just don't get jokes." Um, the word you're looking for is "irony," don't mansplain my own core belief system to me.
Then my friend's eyes welled up with tears. And the guy. Kept. Arguing. Um, can I get a Skywalkeresque "NOOOOOOOO!!" from the crowd? Even if he had been completely correct (which he wasn't, about anything, including his hair), if your words are clearly hurting someone, back the fuck up and think about what is happening. Sticks and stones might break our bones, but rhetoric has an intense power rooted in our deepest emotions that may or may not enforce institutionalized power structures for better or worse. Don't be a dick! Unless you are a prince that was enchanted by an evil wizard who transmogrified you into a dildo. Then be a dick as much as you want, and good luck breaking that curse.
My friend turned away from the fratty loud stranger, shook her beautiful brilliant head, and said, "We'll never convince him." I almost laughed. Yeah, duh, I know we'll never convince him. But if we yell at five racists before the new moon's fog settles, we'll unlock the portal to fairyland and be able to return home.
We can't change a bigot's mind, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't make some noise. I think a lot of people who identify as allies don't stand up to assholes because it feels like we can't convince them. One of my best friends is always like, "Why cause a scene? Why raise a conflict? Why can't we all just be chill and have fun?" Standing up for persecuted groups won't convince our enemies, but it does validate our allies, giving people a sense that even though some people suck, there are other people out there who care about making a difference. We're not alone, Agent Scully. The world is a dark, weird, confusing, surreal place, but so are vaginas and everyone loves them! That's been the pick of the week, tune in next week to help me fish some of these pinball quarters out of this magick wishing well!
For the paper this week, writer Robert Ham interviewed Welzein—er, Burns—and that piece will be up shortly, but I wanted to draw your attention to the rest of the bill: In addition to the hilarious local comic Shane Torres, you've got Seattle's Bryan Wood (creator of the endlessly hilarious show Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction), and one of the first comics to leave Portland's comedy scene and turn into an LA hotshot, Matt Braunger.
That's a damn good lineup, folks. Trust me.
The show's at Mississippi Studios at 8 pm, and tickets are a mere $15.
Now that I'm married, I'm only allowed to hang out with other married people (legally). Which is all fine and good except married couples say some of the most annoying things I've ever heard.
The worst one is "We are pregnant." It's annoying not just because it means we won't be able to hang out with them anymore (parents can only hang out with other parents [legally]) but also because I know where babies come from. I don't remember the part in freshman bio where the teacher said, "Normally in humans the female gives birth to the young, but if the mating pair is progressive enough, they somehow both manage to simultaneously carry the fetus."
The same thing happens when people root for sports teams. "We scored!" Did we? You spilled nacho cheese on yourself in the middle of that play and proceeded to lick it off your shirt because "3 second rule." You're still going to give yourself the assist, huh?
It's only ever positive things. "We scored." "We're having a baby." Never "We choked in 4th quarter" or "We're really hoping this baby fixes our problems communicating." And it only ever starts at the pregnancy itself. You never hear "We're pregnant. You see, we put our penis inside our vagina. And then we came and our sperm met up with our egg. Well, just to clarify. 50% of us came. The rest of us had to finish ourselves off quietly after 'we' fell asleep."
New parents are like recruiters for the cult. Once couples stop telling us about how they're pregnant, they start saying "Oh, you should have kids! It's great!" We want to have kids eventually, but it's so weird to pressure somebody into that. We're not pandas. Have you seen the lines for good brunch places? We're good on humans at the moment.
Almost as annoying is the phrase "I married my best friend." No, ya didn't. You married your boyfriend. Boyfriend is ABOVE best friend. Here's the whole ranking system: Boyfriend > Best friend > Friend with benefits > Friend > Facebook friend > Frenemy > Fox & Friends.
If my best friend asked me to watch Gilmore Girls, I'd tell him to go to hell. But for somebody I'm sleeping with, the first couple seasons seem like a reasonable investment, and those shits are an hour long. Expressed as a formula, Boyfriend = best friend (for now) + humping + shitty TV.
What you're really saying when you say "I married my best friend" is "I don't have other friends besides this one, so I thought I'd lock it down while I could."
Sarah Silverman's got a new comedy special called "We Are Miracles" coming up on HBO on Nov 23 at 10 pm, and is promoting it with this new single called "Diva"—which is kind of about "divas"... but it's more about something else, and I'm not gonna say what that something else is, because I don't like that word. But it's funny when she says it. It's not funny when you say it. Double standard? Go fuck yourself. There's a single standard for you.
Headphones up! Language NSFW!
Comments closed, because go fuck yourself.
You're right—ABC's The Bachelor has never featured a gay man. But you know... there could be a very good reason for that. Check out this hilarious sketch, "The First Gay Bachelor" starring your host George Takei and Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson as the unluckiest bachelor (gay or straight) in history.
 Why are people so willing to wait in line for good, but not life-changing meals?
We must be reaching peak brunch. We've tolerated lines for the simplest meal of the day far too long. Some people even seem to like waiting in line! Are we all suffering from Stockholmelette Syndrome?
Apizza Scholls is amazing, but it's not a pizza place. It's a day trip. There is no food better than pizza, but there's also no pizza worth waiting more than 15 minutes for. Salt & Straw is great. Really great. But I've never thought to myself, "I'd love to eat ice cream in two hours. Let's stand around outside and see what happens."
 What's the deal with that vitamin store across from Powell's?
It's an awesome location to have such a boring store. It can't be a cheap lease, and yet it's never crowded. Is it a drug front? Is the margin on placebos so high they can afford to sell almost none of them and stay open?
 Where are the rich people hiding?
There are several stores downtown that sell $900 Prada shoes. Where is the dance club with a bunch of women dancing around a pile of Prada shoes? You can't wear heels to work out at the MAC.
 Are there lots of conspiracy theorists here or just one with lots of stickers?
It seems like there are batshit crazy stickers all over the place. Like way too many for a city this size. Are we too tolerant of crackpots or just too good at silk screening?
 I've never heard one joke about how Couch St sounds like cooch. Not one.
I've been in the comedy scene in Portland for four years and it's like everybody got together before I arrived and decided to pretend we don't have a vagina street right through the Pearl. Obviously we'd get tired of them pretty quick, but I haven't heard one "It's really slippery out on Couch St today" or "There are so many fun things going down on Couch St." It's weird. Really weird.
If you can answer any of my questions or suggest other things you don't understand, I'd love to hear 'em.
Holding a naming contest is the laziest way to make a bad decision. You might think it's going to make people feel involved in the process, but really you're just proving the whole city lacks creativity.
The new arena football team that you'll never watch used one such contest to come up with the name Portland Thunder. Menacing, I guess. Easy to pick in-game sound effects. But more importantly, it sounds like a name that somebody who's never been to Portland, but has heard about it, would name a team. We have thunder about as often as blizzards. On the plus side, it'll be easy for Incognito-style bullying: "Get out there and play some indoor football, Portland Thunder Thighs!"
I didn't get a chance to enter, but here are some names I would prefer for our fake football team that better represent our city.
- The We Love You Long Times
- The Pour Overs
- The Free Boxes
- The Girls Stuck Between Two Walls
- The Brunch Lines
- The Portland Soccer Fans
TriMet's naming contest for the new no-cars-allowed bridge is ongoing, so it's too early to complain about the name they choose. But we all know anytime a corporate website says "Be creative!" the results will be boring. I won't be submitting these names to TriMet because I don't work for free, but if they paid me Mercury Standard Day Rate (around $2 before taxes), these are the names I'd suggest.
- The Willamette River Crossing (WRC)
- The Moda Bridge
- Opening Eventually Bridge
- The Bridge To Nowhere Good
- The Portland Arena Football Team Memorial Bridge
This year it feels like everybody simultaneously realized that November starts with N-O. Everywhere I turn (okay, everywhere I turn on Facebook) I see another group of people participating in some ascetic self-challenge. No Sugar November, No Sex November. Ugh, wake me when it's Rocktober.
Obviously the prime offender is No Shave November, where men grow mustaches to raise awareness for... their beer blogs and storytelling shows. Not doing something that takes work is the laziest charitable action I've ever heard. You're not shaving for prostate cancer? That's so impressive! I'm gonna stop doing dishes to raise awareness of osteoporosis.
Personally, I'm participating in No Bullshit Challenges November. So you'll find me shaving whenever the fuck I want to (by which I mean "on a regular basis because I don't hate my wife"). I won't participate in any of those stupid challenges until they're all balanced by a month that starts with Y-E-S. I would participate in Yes Cookies Yesvember. But apparently I'm not Caesar so this is also No Create New Months November for me.
Easily the most obnoxious part of November is the Facebook-specific challenge 30 Days of Gratitude, in which people brag about their lives under the guise of showing gratitude to the universe. Yeah, I'm sure you feel really blessed to have a house with a two-car garage and have married your best friend, but seriously? Keep that to yourself. I'm grateful Facebook allows me to remove people from my news feed without them knowing.
Comedy lovers, prick up your ears: Anthony Jeselnik's Comedy Central show The Jeselnik Offensive has been cancelled and will not return for a third season. No apparent motive was given for the show murder, but apparently ratings have been steadily declining, and SplitSider suggests that low numbers plus the occasional controversy was a bit too much for the network to endure.
That's too bad! Overall, I enjoyed this show—and while certain aspects were a touch too formulaic for my tastes—it was a great place to see comedians like John Mulaney, Nick Kroll, Kristen Schaal, and T.J. Miller really pushing the envelope. (It was also the show that reminded me that I don't like Eric Andre very much.) Some people don't really prefer Jeselnik's humor, but even when a joke doesn't hit, I appreciate how much thought and plotting goes into each one. Check out this monologue for a taste of what you may have missed, followed by a funny bit from "bear expert" T.J. Miller.
Saturday night is the (Mercury-sponsored) return of my talk show Late Night Action.
I'll be interviewing Mercury editor Wm. Steven Humphrey and Live Wire head writer Courtenay Hameister. It's going to be great, but I need your help. Is there anything you want me to ask either of them? Post your questions in the comments and I'll do my best to ask them.
Also at the show will be comedian Anthony Lopez and musical guest Autopilot is for Lovers! I'll take questions for them too, if you have them.
Late Night Action w/ Alex Falcone and Bri Pruett
$8 online: (buy 'em here)
$10 at the door
Action/Adventure Theater (1050 SE Clinton)
There are a couple of really good live interview shows in town, and one of 'em is definitely Late Night Action with Alex Falcone. You've seen his blog posts here on the Merc (along with also very funny co-host Bri Pruett), but if you haven't seen his late night talk show, it's really impressive. He lines up some good comedy, musical acts, and is actually a very smart and capable interviewer. (Those are pretty rare, as you'd guess.)
ANYHOO! The third season of Late Night Action begins this weekend, and Alex has been nice enough to grant me two tickets to give away to you Blogtownies! Here are the deets!
Late Night Action with Alex Falcone
Special guests: Courtenay Hameister, Wm. Steven Humphrey (hey, that's me!), comedian Anthony Lopez, and musical guests Autopilot is for Lovers
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 10:30 PM
1050 SE Clinton
Use the widget below to enter (and don't forget, extra-curricular Tweeting and Facebooking earns you extra entries)! GOOD LUCK!
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