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Baby, Fix That Fusebox!

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Elephant Larry are one of my favorite sketch groups in the country. Their style is a bit silly, a bit smart and very delightful. Their last show, "Boom," was a smash hit in NYC, with great reviews in the Times, Time Out New York, and elsewhere. They've got a new one coming in May.

You may also have heard two pieces of theirs in audio form on The Sound of Young America -- "Sittin' On a Bear" and "Francophone." The former is a parody of "Livin' on a Prayer," about, well, sitting on top of a sleeping bear. The latter is one of my favorites of their repetoire, a sketch in which a young traveler recounts his trip to France -- which seems to have been a whirlwind tour of the major locales detailed in the first semester of French class (airplane, family dinner, cafe, restaurant, library, supermarket, discotheque). Both are on their MySpace page.

There's something so sweet about this film. I love it. It's called "Baby, Fix That Fusebox!"

Is Mike Meyers playing a secret show in NYC?

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A reader of The Apiary offers this potential scoop...

I'm not sure if this is an accurate scoop, but I was on the Magnet Theater's site and one of the upcoming shows caught my eye:

Friday, April 14th 9:30pm
Padsana on Human Potentiality and Equipoise by His Holiness the Guru Pitka. Reservations will be accepted by phone only beginning at noon on Wednesday the 12th. Standby tickets will be given out at 8:30 on the day of the show and we will try to accommodate as many people as we can. $7

I wondered why this listing was overly informative regarding reservations, so I googled "Guru Pitka" and found a second draft of the Austin Powers 2 script. Apparently Guru Pitka was a role Mike Myers was supposed to play?

Make of it what you will.

Film & TV Criticism

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Last week, I taped an interview for this week with Philip Lopate, editor of the Library of America's Anthology of American Film Criticism, a hefty and wonderful book. The Anthology is the first to seriously consider film writing in the canon of critical writing, and it does a great job.

It's considered by The Atlantic this month (although you have to be a subscriber to read the whole article). You can also check out Lopate's great interview on WNYC's "The Leonard Lopate Show," the host of which is Philip Lopate's brother (though Philip seems to enjoy calling him "Lenny" on the show). It's streaming or downloadable.

Meanwhile, over at the Museum of TV & Radio's blog, Blog Potato, one of the curators asks why there's never been a television critic whose stature could reasonably be compared to Pauline Kael, the late New Yorker critic. It's a great question, and with the emergence the past five years or so of television as a much more artistic medium, I think now's the time to be asking it.

Anyhoo, keep your eyese peeled for my Lopate interview, he was a cool guy. A little skeptical of me, I think, but he gets points for mentioning that before he got on the horn, he was sitting in his hotel room watching "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," a film which he described as being mostly about Angelina Jolie's lips.

Tim Goodman's "The Bastard Machine"

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Tim Goodman, the San Francisco Chronicle's esteemed television critic, has finally started blogging. It was only a matter of time, as he's always been a perfect fit for the medium. He's not a great stylist, but he's enthusiastic, full of opinion, and often funny. He seems to understand the reasons people turn to television, and can write thoughtfully and effectively about both "Trading Spaces" and "Nova."

He also values funny on TV -- he was a great champion of series like Arrested Development, Sportsnight and Newsradio that really needed (and deserved) champions. In fact, he was so vocal about Arrested that his name appeared in an episode in season two -- a sort of sly tribute.

Not only does he offer some thoughts on things like The Sopranos and Bonds on Bonds, but also some interesting miscellany -- like the telephone numbers of all the major networks, and how to contact the FCC. I'm looking forward to what he comes up with next.

Link

Mirman, Showalter, Leo Allen on Tour

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This just came in over the transom from Stella headquarters. I've never seen Showalter or Allen perform solo, but I've also never seen them be lousy. Seeing Eugene Mirman is a wonderful multi-media experience that I reccomend to all.

Michael Showalter, Eugene Mirman and Leo Allen will be on an East Coast
tour in May. It will a very fun, life changing and lively evening of
alternative stand-up comedy. Please come and check it out.

5/9 Toad's Place, New Haven, CT 203-562-5694
5/10 Higher Ground, Burlington, VT 802-654-7079
5/11 Lupo's, Providence, RI 401-286-0902
5/12 Iron Horse, Nothampton, MA 413-584-0610
5/13 Trocadero, Philadelphia, PA 215-922-6888
5/14 Black Cat, Washington, DC 202-667-4490
5/15 Relative Theory Record Store, Norfolk, VA 757-962-8052
5/16 40 Watt Club, Athens, GA, 706-549-7871
5/17 The Earl, Atlanta, GA 404-522-3950
5/18 Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, NC 919-967-9053
5/19 Ottobar, Baltimore, MD 410-662-0069

Also: on a related note, I really liked "The Baxter," which surprised me, because I'd heard such mixed reviews. Schowalter was indeed a bit too mannered to be the lead, but other than that, it was really wonderful and hilarious.

Related:
Eugene Mirman talks to a telemarketer on Hello. I'm Eugene

Related on TSOYA:
"Canada Etc" with Eugene Mirman, Brandon Bird, and Kyle MacDonald (MP3)
Eugene Mirman Interview (Real Audio)
"The Nucyular Option" with Stella (featuring Michael Schowalter) and Geoff Nunberg (MP3)
Slovin & Allen Interview (Real Audio)

Next! Episode One

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Next! Episode One
Video sent by YoungAmerican

This is the first of two pilot episodes of Next!, a series Bob Odenkirk created for FOX a few years ago... it was apparently well-regarded, but FOX decided to go with Cedric the Entertainer Presents instead.

Anyhoo, Next! features Odenkirk, along with a number of Mr. Show castmembers (Jay Johnstone, Brian Posehn, Patton Oswalt, Jill Talley), Fred Armisen, and Zach Galifianakis. I'll post the second episode later.

They're starting to get it...

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Time Magazine has a big group profile (or more properly, group of profiles) on alternative comedy. Feature are our good pal John Hodgman (not really our good pal, more like a solid acquaintance of whom we are very fond), the guys from Wonder Showzen, Channel 101, and more.

Link

PS: Does anyone read Time magazine and feel informed afterwards? Or Newsweek? Those things are written for like... 7-year-olds.

David Mamet Loves to Say Stuff

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One great thing about David Mamet is that he'll just bust out saying some ridiculous stuff. Like anything that comes to his head. Only he's such a verbal genius, that anything he says comes out sounding completely correct, and absurdly pithy to boot.

When I was studying acting, the best book I read on the subject was Mamet's, which is saying something because he didn't even try to hide his contempt for actors. His basic stance was that an actor's job is to say the words loud enough for the audience to hear. I'm not exaggerating, either, that's really his thesis. It has sub-theses, like how acting training is just a hustle run by failed actors, but that's the main thrust. It was GREAT.

He was on Fresh Air a couple weeks ago to talk about his new TV series "The Unit," which is co-created by Shawn Ryan ("The Shield"). I haven't seen the show, but this kind of made me want to. On the other hand, though, who wants to see something written partially by David Mamet, and partially by Another Guy?

The interview STARTS with Mamet saying: "The trick is to leave everything out. That's the whole trick to drama."

Not one of the tricks. The WHOLE trick.

Awesome.

Speak of the devil, and he shall appear: David Mamet on this week's The Treatment (MP3 Link)

Birthday Sweater

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Careful listeners may recall that during our Wonder Showzen interview, the creators of that show discussed working on Doggie Fizzle Televizzle, Snoop Dogg's short-lived MTV sketch comedy series. Besides hilariously recalling Snoop's "real name" (Snoople P. Doggsworth, DDS), they shared the story of how they tricked Snoop into being on their album: one of them told Snoop it was his birthday. This lead directly to the only words Snoop ever spoke to him.

Snoop pointed to the sweater the Wonder Showzen fellah was wearing, and uttered the simple (but now classic) phrase: "Birthday Sweater."

My birthday is coming up, and my mom got me a nice, sky blue cashmere v-neck sweater. And all I can think of is Snoop pointing at me and saying, "Birthday Sweater."

And every time I think of it, I laugh uproariously to myself.

Daily Show Producer on Fresh Air

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I know this is in danger of becoming the Fresh Air blog instead of The Sound of Young America blog, but what could be more charming than Terry Gross's awkwardly dork approach to interviewing admirably hip guests?

She interviewed Ben Karlin, former Onion editor and current Daily Show and Colbert Report boss.

Link

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