This Week in the Mercury

True Romance


True Romance

What If: Baby Wizard Makes Good

Comedy's Endless Boom


Comedy's Endless Boom

Stand-up Blew Up—Now It's Improv's Turn


Monday, July 7, 2014

Fourth of July Fireworks Recap: with John Oliver

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Did you decide to forego the big fireworks display downtown this year? If you did, you didn't miss much... according to this web only recap of every fireworks display ever by John Oliver and the Last Week Tonight gang, who took the week off. Presumably to watch fireworks.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Best Valentine's Day Card Ever

Posted by Dan Savage on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Points for honesty—of course you could get that card from someone who is sick of you or give it to someone you are sick of. There's just no way to deceit-proof a relationship.

And here's my stock Valentine's Day advice: fuck first. It's easier to get late dinner reservations, think 9 or 10 PM, the restaurant will be less packed, the waiters and cooks less harried. And since no one feels like fucking after a "romantic" meal (rich food, wine, dessert), it's a much better idea to go get something to eat after you fuck. Remember, kids: a romantic meal doesn't put you in the mood for a good fuck but a good fuck builds up an appetite for a romantic meal.

And if getting fucked on Valentine's Day is important to you—and it seems to be important to a lot of folks out there (judging from the amount of mail I get on February 15 from people complaining about not getting fucked on February 14)—you must fuck first. I've written back to folks who emailed me on Feb 15 to ask if their relationships were doomed because they didn't fuck on Feb 14 and asked them to describe—in minute detail—how the night went down. Invariably they went out to eat first, drank and ate, and then promptly slipped into food comas once they got home. Don't make that mistake. Fuck first.

And if you're single on Valentine's Day... stay home and watch a movie.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

R.I.P. Yukon Cornelius

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Tue, Jan 7, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Larry D. Mann—best known as the voice of pick-axe licking gold miner Yukon Cornelius in the 1964 classic animated special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer—has passed away at the age of 91. From AP:

Beginning in the 1950s, the Canadian-born Mann had small roles in movies, including "The Sting" and "In the Heat of the Night."

On TV, his appearances included "Gunsmoke," "Bewitched" and Hill Street Blues."

He also did voice work for animated shows, including 1964's "Rudolph."

Here's Yukon in glorious action. (Death may have taken him, but the Bumble never stood a chance.)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Think You're Too Old to Attend a Teenage New Year's Eve Party? THINK AGAIN.

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Tue, Dec 31, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Simply soak your hands (and face, and neck wattle) in creamy Ivory Liquid—just like 38-year-old Mrs. Hilary Byk who completely, COMPLETELY convinced a room full of teenagers that she's just as young as them! Of course a new hair-do helped, as well as a crazy mini-skirt! But how could she disguise her haggish, overly-large, hairy man hands? WATCH AND SEE.

AHHH... New Year's Eve is saved!


Monday, December 30, 2013

Perhaps the Perfect Metaphor for Your New Year

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Mon, Dec 30, 2013 at 1:14 PM

If you're looking to make big changes in 2014, but you need a teaspoon of inspiration to help you on your way, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD watch this classic clip of Mitzi Gaynor singing "Georgy Girl" backed up by white-clad dandy dancers. If this doesn't change your life, nothing will.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

This Just In: It's Yum-Yummy World Made for Sweethearts!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Wed, Dec 25, 2013 at 12:28 PM

It's always a pleasure to watch two drunk pros tear the shit out of a little known holiday classic, which is exactly what Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin do here to "Marshmallow World." It takes a while, but when they eventually realize the ridiculousness of the lyrics they're singing... that's when they really start to have fun.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Who's Up for a Singer Fiesta?

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 10:29 AM

First of all, I knew that Singer made sewing machines, but had no idea they made record players! That's only one of the many things that charmed the pants off me about this 1967 Christmas infomercial for Singer. The commercial looks gorgeous, the special effects are adorable, and... I'm not exactly sure what that actor is doing there, but he looks like he may be high. Anyhoo, he's great, too!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Fashion and Dance Tips for Your Holiday Ski Lodge Party

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 1:29 PM

If you're like me, it's vitally important to impress everyone attending the next holiday ski lodge party. That's why I'm carefully studying this classic 1967 song from Joanie Sommers which depicts the heppest ski lodge party... like ever, daddio! (Man,dig those crazy dance moves!)

A Festive Odyssey, A Happy Death Cover the Sonics, and A PDX MAS

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Just a couple more days until Christmas, but there's still lots of local Christmas music to check out.

Ray Rude from the Builders and the Butchers has put together a new compilation called A Festive Odyssey Holiday Collection Vol. 1, enlisting local musicians from bands like Wooden Indian Burial Ground, the We Shared Milk, and Run On Sentence to contribute a mixture of originals and classic. There's Operation Mission's spacey take on "Silver Bells," Dream Physique's twangy "Christmas at the Bar," and lots more. Right now it's available as a free download on Bandcamp, although donations are warmly accepted.

• • •

A Happy Death offer their take of the Sonics' "I Don't Believe in Christmas," a fuzzed-out howler that A Happy Death take to the dark underground. For those tired of holiday schmaltz, this one's for you. It's also available on Bandcamp as a name-your-price download.

• • •

Lastly, it wouldn't be a PDX Xmas without A PDX MAS, the two-volume local compilation of Christmas songs that originally surfaced in 2009 and 2010. Produced by Typhoon cohort Paul Laxer, in includes tons of holiday songs, with contributions from Typhoon (twice), Onuinu, Wild Ones, Hosannas, Aan, Jared Mees and the Grown Children, and lots more. That one, too, is available on Bandcamp as a name-your-price download.


My Last Minute Christmas Wish List

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 10:29 AM

The "Swing Wing"

A Sony Walkman

Milky the Marvelous Milking Cow

Much more after the jump! (Sorry, Santa!)

Continue reading »

Friday, December 20, 2013

If You're Going to Believe in Anything... Make it Santa

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 1:29 PM

I've decided. If I'm going to believe in any supernatural being, it's going to be Santa. Here's why:

1) Santa walks the walk. Jesus said it's better to give than receive, and he did give away a lot of stuff (loaves and fishes, yo!)—but comparatively? He's no Santa. Some will screech, "OH! BUT JESUS GAVE HIS LIFE ON THE CROSS!" Umm... if you want to get technical about it? His life was actually taken from and in a very terrible way. I bet he would've preferred giving us something that we would've actually wanted. "But GOD gave us life!" Maybe? But I don't buy it. I could claim that I gave people the ability to ride a unicycle. Prove me wrong! (Besides, God insists that in exchange for the life he provides, I should give money to the church. That's not gift-giving—that's COMMERCE.)

BUT SANTA... now, there's a different story. He gives and gives and gives, and what does he want in return? Maybe some milk and cookies. THAT'S A SUPERNATURAL BEING I CAN GET BEHIND.

2) Santa is there. I'm certain Jesus existed, just as I'm certain the original Santa existed. And you can tell me Jesus is up in heaven, patiently waiting for the day he can come down and judge everyone and slowly destroy the earth over a series of months (NICE)—but I can actually see Santa. He's right over there. He's in a makeshift house in the center of town, patiently listening to lines of children, telling them they're special and he loves them. I also saw him at the mall. I also saw a bunch of drunk hims running from bar to bar. I don't want to be insulting, but there's a reason you see far more people dressed as Santa than Jesus. In short: Wherever there are people who want to be Santa, Santa is there.

3) Santa is happy. Not too many supernatural beings are what you'd call "happy." In fact, not many living humans are happy. But you can bet your sweet bottom that "happy" is something we all aspire to... and if you're looking for a good example, I can't think of anybody better than the guy who laughs so hard his belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly.

4) I get stuff. Yes, that's certainly a greedy little thought that pops in my head on Christmas morning. But the sheer abundance of what I get reminds me that I can do more. Jesus said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." That's a great place to start. But Santa's actions does Jesus one better: "Give unto others with the same abundance that I give to you." He doesn't scream it; he leads by example. Astonish each other and yourself with the sheer abundance of niceness and generosity you can provide. That's the Santa way.

5) Santa doesn't require ridiculous things of me. Santa doesn't tell me that some people are less worthy than others. Santa doesn't love the sinner and hate the sin. He just loves everybody. He doesn't actually say what the difference is between "naughty" and "nice"—because you already know the difference. Being nice is putting others and their feelings before your own self-interest. Being naughty is the opposite. (NOTE: Santa didn't say this, but starting fights on Twitter is naughty—and annoying.) Santa doesn't want my soul or allegiance... and that's exactly why I'm happy to give it to him.

So feel free to pooh-pooh Santa—he's gonna continue to do his thing. Also feel free to believe in whatever supernatural being you want... or none at all, if you prefer (most of the year, I'm with you). But right now? I believe in Santa. As supernatural beings go? He's the boss.

"I'll Be Home for Christmas" - Chandler Strutz (of Just Lions)

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Chandler Strutz of Portland band Just Lions recorded this tender version of the World War II-era Christmas standard "I'll Be Home for Christmas," originally made famous by Bing Crosby. Strutz tells us he tracked this one quickly earlier this month, maybe after a drink or two. "Did it in one or two takes, then slapped a little reverb on it," he says. "Just me and an acoustic... trying something different for a change."

This version's clarity finds both warmth and sadness in the idea of a soldier overseas for Christmas; the simplicity of the take is reminiscent of a handwritten letter home.

Strutz's band Just Lions plays a free show on Monday, December 23 at Valentine's with Fanno Creek and Black Is Bright. Might be your last chance to rock out before heading home for your own Christmas.

The 'N Sync That Ruined Christmas

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 9:59 AM

I think we can all agree that, in general, 'N Sync made and makes everything better... except Christmas. When it comes to Christmas, 'N Sync is a combo platter of hatred, loathing, and perm solution. Courtesy of Warming Glow, here's their 15-year-old homage to the holidays, "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays" in which they grievously insult Gary Coleman, pretend to care about the homeless, throw the most lackluster holiday party ever, and portray Santa as someone who may be a chronic masturbator? Even Justin Timberlake's sweet-ass, blonde-tipped perm-fro can't save this one!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wm.™ Steven Humphrey's "Unfuckwithable Rules of the White Elephant Gift Exchange"

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 1:43 PM

It's become a time-honored holiday tradition. An astounding number of readers write in asking, "Wm. Steven Humphrey! When are you going to reprint your 'Unfuckwithable Rules of the White Elephant Gift Exchange'?"

The following rules are the way our office does it, and you can adapt these rules if you wish... but then they would be "fuckwithable" and not "unfuckwithable." Make a wise decision. HOWEVER! Please note that we have added an addendum to one of the rules, which makes this thing twice as unfuckwithable as before. BEHOLD.

"Wm.™ Steven Humphrey's Three Unfuckwithable Rules of the White Elephant Gift Exchange."

1) Everyone brings a wrapped present (worth at least $5, but should be more) and places it in the pile. Count the presents, and put corresponding numbers (one through whatever) into a hat... everybody picks a number.

2) I announce the following rules:

2a. "This While Elephant Gift Exchange will be finished in 20 minutes or less, or I get to keep any unwrapped gifts."

2b. "When I call your number you will have 10 seconds to make your way to the front and choose your present—at 11 seconds, I get your present."

2c. "When you choose a present, you have 20 seconds to unwrap it, hold it over your head, and loudly announce what your present is. At 21 seconds, I keep your present."

2d. "You may steal someone else's present, but you only have 10 seconds to steal and hold up your stolen gift. THAT PRESENT CAN ONLY BE STOLEN TWICE. If that present is stolen three times, I keep that present."

2e. "Any person whose present is stolen can challenge the thief to a 'test of physical acuity' chosen by me. (This tends to be arm wrestling, native american leg wrestling, or the standing long jump.) Whoever wins keeps the present. If there is a tie, the present goes to me."

2f. "Any attempt to argue about the rules will result in me taking that person's present."


We just completed the Mercury's White Elephant Exchange using the above unfuckwithable rules, and of course it was a grand success. I tried to steal Senior Designer Nick Olmstead's ALF and Star Wars "Ponda Baba" doll, and was challenged to a standing long jump. See the results of this contest after the jump.

Continue reading »


Hometapes' 2013 Holiday Compilation: A Ride to Anywhere

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 11:59 AM


We love Hometapes. Each year, the Portland-based label has a holiday gift for you in the form of their "Hometapes for the Holidays" compilation series, featuring end-of-year music specially made by Hometapes artists for the compilation. This year is no exception, and the fourth installment, titled A Ride to Anywhere, has arrived to fill your virtual stocking. The name comes from a line from an Everly Brothers Christmas song called "Christmas Eve Can Kill You," which is covered by Leverage Models—and the glowing, orb-like shape this new version takes sounds nothing like the Everlys.

It's a wonderful collection of Homestapes artists, whose roster runs the globe, including Slaraffenland from Denmark, J D Emmanuel from Houston, CYNE from Gainesville, and NYC's Helado Negro. There are covers and favorites (of course the Zombies' "This Will Be Our Year" makes sense on a holiday comp) and some completely new sounds which might redefine what you think of as Christmas music. (In other words, there's not much in the way of jingling bells and Viennese boys choirs.)

As Hometapes' Sara Padgett Heathcott says, "For the past four years, we’ve created holiday albums that put the timely and the timeless right next to each other, offering a space for the Hometapes family to condense the spirit of the season—and the spirit of every single day—into songs that, always surprisingly and always without fail, carry us through the nights of winter."

Check it out over on Bandcamp—right now it's a pay-what-you-want download, and to again quote the good Hometapes folks, "Click Buy Now and feel ok about entering $0." However, any money that you DO decide to pay will go to benefit Megabolt, the Portland-based organization that helps terminally ill kids by involving them in art projects and workshops. So it's well worth giving.

Again, head over to Bandcamp to check the whole thing out, and give a listen to A Ride to Anywhere right here, thanks to the holiday miracle of embeddable widgets.

Also, check out all the previous Hometapes holiday comps: Star Over (2012), The Never Ending Beginning (2011), and I'll Be Hometapes for Christmas (2010).

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Holiday Edition of "Between Two Ferns"

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 10:14 AM

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!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Duover Have a New Christmas Record!

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Tue, Dec 17, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Christmas-loving Portland duo Duover released their first Christmas album back in 2010, and Christmas Vol. 1 has since become a local seasonal classic. If you haven't heard it yet, you need to make it part of your holiday rotation. (Psst... it's on Bandcamp.)

Now Duover—that's Rebecca Rasmussen and Nathan Jr.—have released the long awaited follow-up: Duover's Christmas Vol. 1.5, a six-song EP that will undoubtedly please lovers of both yuletide and decimals. Like the first installment, Christmas Vol. 1.5 captures the spirit of the holidays with sincerity and warmth, and none of the treacle. That Duover pull this off with their own songs without relying on hoary holiday standards makes Christmas Vol. 1.5 all the more welcome.

Take a listen to "Ms. Claus Lament," a charming holiday torch song voiced by Rasmussen that I could easily see becoming a holiday chestnut in years to come.

Now head over to Bandcamp to hear all of Christmas Vol. 1.5. It's available digitally and makes a great gift.

Merry Christmas. Will You Please Stop Wrecking Cars?

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Tue, Dec 17, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Scott Hoy is a personal injury lawyer with a personal message for all you auto drivers out there: Stop having auto accidents. JUST STOP IT. He doesn't know if it's because of video games or what—but for the love of god, stop blaming people in the back seat! (Confused? I'm pretty sure personal injury lawyer Scott Hoy is confused, too. But the point is, STOP WRECKING CARS, K?)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Ages and Ages - "Christmas Time Is Here"

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Ages and Ages are spreading that holiday cheer and not leaving out the sorrow, with their new recording of "Christmas Time Is Here," from 1965's beloved A Charlie Brown Christmas TV special. Their take on the jazzily melancholic tune from Vince Guaraldi and Lee Mendelson was premiered over on Paste today, with some commentary from the band:
“It is one of those rare holiday songs that doesn’t ignore the sadness of the season,” said band member Rob Oberdorfer. “It doesn’t feel like a cheap celebration of the consumerist rush, and there’s no overt religious references to alienate anyone. It’s just about the human experience of living through this time of year drawing close to family and loved ones, and the bittersweet nature of all that fleeting good will... With the Peanuts thing, it also brings back these memories of watching this kid’s program which didn’t feel like it was trying to sell us something. The whole thing has this clever rub of celebration and melancholy. The original has so much heart we didn’t want to take it too far musically, though we did de-jazzify it a little and add some pepper here and there.”
Take a listen below. Ages and Ages' new album, Divisionary, comes out March 24, 2014; listen to the first preview track from that at this earlier End Hits post.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Almost Sold Out! The Mercury's "Your Holiday Office Party" TONIGHT!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Fri, Dec 13, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Guys! We're very close to selling out all the tickets for tonight's super fun party, "The Mercury presents YOUR HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTY (Attendance Mandatory!)" And it shouldn't be surprising! We've got Silent Disco with DJ Gregarious, a special performance by Sex Life, hosting by comedian Gabe Dinger (as your a-hole boss), an "Ugly Tie, Uncomfortable Pantyhose" contest," a make-out cubicle, a raffle where you pay $10 to get prezzies worth at least $20 or more (benefitting Right 2 Dream Too), plus LOTS of food and LOTS of BOOZE. Put on your best semi-business attire... because dear lord... this is gonna be a barn burner!

So get your tickets quick, because this could very well be the holiday office party of the century! TIMES, DEETS, AND TICKETS HERE! Again, ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY.

The Management


Thursday, December 12, 2013

New Rudolph Show Added!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 1:59 PM

The Willamette Week loves me... and the Mercury loves me, too! In fact, so many people love me... OKAY, FINE, THE SHOW I'M IN, RUDOLPH: ON STAGE!... that almost every performance in the run is already sold out. Except for the one we just added! If you would love to see a faithful and very funny rendition of the 1964 creepy wooden puppet classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer live on stage, get your tickets right now for our just added Friday, Dec 13 late night show at 10 pm!

Wm. Steven Humphrey
(AKA the "finest actor of his or any generation"—critic Thomas Ross)


"For All You Kids at Home, Santa Just Is White."

Posted by Paul Constant on Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Is this discussion about Santa's race the dumbest three minutes of television news to air this week? If it isn't, I don't think I want to watch the dumbest three minutes of television news to air this week. The climax of this clip sums up Fox News's advice to minorities everywhere: "Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn't mean it has to change." And she follows that up with this beauty: "I mean, Jesus was a white man, too."

I know some people who claim that Megyn Kelly is really smart, and that she considers her role at Fox News to be performance art. I just can't buy that.

Singing Christmas Carols with Billy Eichner and Amy Poehler—for One Dollar.

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 10:14 AM

The consistently hilarious Billy Eichner (of Fuse's Billy on the Street) films a special holiday segment for Jimmy Kimmel in which he and Amy Poehler (sigh! eye flutter!) accost people on the street and force them to sing Christmas carols... correctly. Because it's New York, this does not go well. BUT IT'S FUNNY!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Yes, I'll Lie To Your Kids, But You Need To Say "Please"

Posted by Alex Falcone on Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 1:59 PM

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.

Win Tickets to Your Holiday Office Party (Attendance Mandatory)

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Surely the best office holiday party of the year will be this one: The Mercury presents Your Holiday Office Party (Attendance Mandatory!). There will be booze, Silent Disco dancing, a performance by Sex Life, your drunk mean boss/host Gabe Dinger, a raffle for awesome Secret Santa presents (benefitting Right 2 Dream Too), a make-out cubicle, a genital friendly Xerox machine, food, an "Ugly Tie/Uncomfortable Panty Hose" contest, and MORE!

Tickets are inexpensive, but if you're hard up for cash, check out this contest to WIN THREE PAIRS OF TICKETS on our Facebook page. (Contest ends at 4 pm today!!) Feeling unlucky? GET YOUR TICKETS HERE. The Holiday Office Party is this Friday night and tickets are moving fast! (Besides, like the boss says, "Attendance is mandatory.")


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