I just saw a quote from Amy Poehler that goes like this:
"No one looks stupid when they’re having fun."
A week or so before the sketch show I co-wrote/directed/produced/hosted was staged in the suburbs of New Jersey to a crowd of very supportive family and friends, we tried to break through the built-in barrier that comes with building a show from the ground up—namely, people not having any reason to give a shit about your “art.” Our strategy was to dress up as two of our most costumed characters—Marty Higgins, a dead kid in a hospital gown, and Mr. Asbury, an outsized man dressed as an old-timey mayor (whose makeup made me look like a colorized black and white photo)—and go around handing flyers out at bars. From there, other people involved with the show would go up to our victims and say, “Hey, sorry to bother you, but were you just talking to Marty Higgins and Mr. Asbury?” Now that it’s done, I’m comfortable admitting that this was more about wanting to wear that Mr. Asbury costume as many times as possible before the show was over.
And who could blame me?
Anyway, as soon as we started on our way, what I consider to be the weirdest possible reaction to what we were doing kept happening over and over: people saw us and would try to make fun of us.
As many of you are aware, there are many different ways to make fun of someone. Ostensibly infinite ways, especially in comparison to how many ways it seems that there are to build someone’s self-esteem. “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” you know? Most common was the way that would have us break character. I got so many people saying, “You look like the Monopoly Man!” with the same tone of voice that a little kid uses to look at a fat person and say “You’re fat!” Just a bland observation that they laugh about because they know it’s out of the norm but can’t really, or don’t care to, process it any farther. And of course, my reaction was just to go deeper into character, which luckily was the perfect character to face antagonism, since he was an immortal with no regard for human life.
The other fun-makers, who were fewer and farther between, would try to do the underhanded fun-making you mostly see in middle and high school wherein a kid is made fun of by someone being friendly to them and getting them to talk about themselves/their interests. The joke then becomes everything about the kid. Pretty fucked up!
Quick sidebar: I’m not saying I was, like, bullied. I was performing in a situation where people weren’t ready to be performed at. I know the difference, and I’m getting to a point.
The one interest that stuck out the most was that, after a long of canvassing, Marty and I stepped aside to just do a bit between us. It would have been for the amusement of anyone who cared to listen in, but at that point I was so beat from talking to strangers in character that I just wanted a chance to do something I was a little bit more comfortable with/in control of. The bar we were at has a mannequin just chilling in it, so I went up to it and pretended to fall in love with it, the idea being that because my character was an immortal who sort of loathes humanity, his perfect partner is someone who isn’t human, can’t die, and can’t object to his madness.
In the middle of this, some very drunk guy was like, “You should ask her to dance!” Now, in a different setting, or in the same setting but asked by a different person, ol’ Yes-And Danny probably would have done this. But, again: very drunk. Also, smirking, like someone who wants to be sly but is too very drunk to be.
The point I’m getting at is this: it’s a real bummer that, if you see a guy dressed like the Mayor of Yesteryear and another guy dressed like a dead person walking side by side like the two best chums, that a lot of people will react to this by trying to destroy it. Maybe that’s selfish of me to say, since I showed up in a space where I wasn’t invited and played a very jarring character, but ultimately, it’s responding to new stimuli by shutting down and acting like a mean little kid. It’s one thing to ignore us outright, it’s another thing entirely to engage us in a way that was meant to take us down a peg, simply because we were having fun.
(Washington Post) What happened in Ferguson, Mo., last month was a tragedy. What’s on course to happen there next month will be a farce.
October is when a grand jury is expected to decide whether to indict the white police officer, Darren Wilson, who killed an unarmed black teenager by firing at least six bullets into him. It’s a good bet the grand jurors won’t charge him, because all signs indicate that the St. Louis County prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, doesn’t want them to.
it’s so important to keep in touch with family, even if it is just to humble ourselves at the mention of Ina Garten
My thriller UNLOKK: A Very High-Concept Thriller is VERY high-concept. Read the first two parts of this exciting journey here and here, and take a look at the Table of Contents for the novel it’s being adapted into!
Chapter 1: Beginnings
Chapter 2: The Beginning
Chapter 3: Starting to Begin
Chapter 4: New Beginnings
Chapter 5: The Start Of New Beginnings
Chapter 6: Beginning Anew
Chapter 7: A New Beginning
Chapter 8: Starting At The Beginning
Chapter 9: A Fresh Start
Chapter 10: Starting Fresh
Chapter 11: A Beginner’s Guide To Fresh-Starting
Chapter 12: Learning To Begin
Chapter 13: Beginning to Learn
Chapter 14: To Learn, Begin
Chapter 15: The Start Of Something Beginning
Chapter 16: The Beginning Of Something Starting
Chapter 17: The Start Of Something Beginning Begins Ending
Chapter 18: The End Of The Start Of Something Finishes Ending
Chapter 19: The Start Of The Beginning Of The End
Chapter 20: The Beginning Of The End Starts
Chapter 21: The Start Of The End Begins Starting
Chapter 22: The Start Of The End Starts Beginning
Chapter 23: The Start Of The End Begins To End
Chapter 24: The End Of The Start Of The End
Chapter 25: The Start Of The End Begins
Chapter 18.1: One Last Beginning Gets Ended
Chapter 26: The End Resumes
Chapters 27: The End Continues To Resume
Chapter 28: The End Begins To End
Chapter 29: The End Is Ending
Chapter 30: The End Ends
Chapter 31: Finality
Chapter 32: Finality Redux
Chapter 33: Finality Redux Begins To End, Then Does Just That
Rorke’s passion for zines was born, in part, from her dissatisfaction with the rigidity of academia and traditional publishing. When you DIY, she says, “your voice doesn’t get bogged down and filtered through a formal publishing process.” Instead, when you create a zine, you are writer, editor, designer, and publisher. That’s a lot of power over the finished product and freedom to be unapologetically yourself. One of the aspects of creating a zine that Rorke finds unique is what she calls “the freedom to make mistakes.”
What causes academics to cringe gives Rorke joy: “I love seeing typos in zines. It’s like seeing imperfections in someone’s skin and remembering that they’re human. Growing up in school there were always assignments and such that you could fail automatically for spelling one thing wrong, or having an apostrophe in the wrong place. The only thing you’re learning in that scenario is how to beat yourself up for making stupid mistakes. The way I see it, if you’re creating something yourself, you can’t lose.”
a great write-up and interview in this Baltimore-based publication! just about everything you ever wanted to know about this distro’s inception is detailed in here :) thank you Samantha Mitchell!
i was hoping not to sound like too much of a dope, but at least i’m a happy dope
cool people getting exposure for doing cool things, yes, this is cool
The best night of my life and I’m not being dramatic was doing the “Joan and Jen Show” at Largo in Los Angeles in June.
Backstage before she went on she took her gum out of her mouth and stuck it to the wall and said, “As Ethel Merman said ‘if they could do what we do they wouldn’t be in the seats’” I asked Joan if she was feeling that way and she said, “No. I believe it for her. For me? I still get nervous every time.” And she took a deep breath and tilted her head and said, “Well, it’s time.”
The Marty Higgins Memorial Laff-A-Thon was the best time. People LAUGHED. While we get together the video of the live stuff, here’s a little taste. Our special guest for the night was supposed to be BIG BEEF TOMATO, but he bailed on us at the last second and sent this video greeting instead. Except it wasn’t a video greeting. It was just the training video for his restaurant.
…is tomorrow night.
asthma-squad and I have been working on this for the better part of 2014. It’s a sketch comedy show that we’re staging in a town that barely does stand up or improv, much less sketch. This means that we had no built-in resources—no venue, no readily accessible talent pool, no budget, no nothing. But now we have all of those things in spades, and we’d love to share them with you.
The Marty Higgins Memorial Laff-A-Thon is the story of a dead boy and the assortment of selfish, manipulative, and sometimes supernatural adults who populate Asbury Park, NJ. It’s hosted by “Melissa” and “Dan,” both of whom are just as self-absorbed as anyone else. In fact, they’re hosting the show for their own selfish, mutually exclusive.
It’s hands-down the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life. The show itself is enormous, with an enormous cast and an enormous universe surrounding it, and literally everyone in the show is just people we know who were mostly hiding their immense talent in a bushel.
If you live in New Jersey or NYC, PLEASE come. You won’t regret it. There is so much stuff in this show that, I assure you, you won’t see anywhere else. Getting tickets is as easy as clicking this link.