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The Roots rip the Late Show to shreds

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Say what you will about Black Thought. He's not always the most exciting rapper, he can be a little cold, he's not super-lyrical. But damn can he rip a mic live. Watch as he destroys the David Letterman show, with a drum-tight band behind him. Every single word is clear -- no hypeman finishing his lines or any other BS. Every line ends stronger than it began. Does this dude have gills behind his ears like Kevin Costner in Waterworld? When does he breathe?

I hate this celebrity crap

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I hate sincere celeb worship.

I hate ironic "guilty pleasure" celeb worship.

I hate this new snide contemptuous celeb bashing (that's actually worship in disguise).

This right here, though, this is great. Jeremy Piven takes on an entertainment reporter named Billy Bush at the Emmys.

A milestone!

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As of this week's show, The Sound of Young America has been downloaded over half a million times! Hurray!

Zach Galifianakis on Physical Comedy

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A meditation on comedy in all its forms, from The Comedians of Comedy film (available from Netflix).

Thanks to Keith Huang for the clip.

Important News Re: Space Food

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It shouldn't be crumbly, etc. New York Times reports.

You could perhaps be interested in acquiring

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All now available!

Monty Python on ABC's "AM America" in 1975

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Here's a find and a half for you... Monty Python horsing around as "co-hosts" of "AM America," circa 1975. Bizarre to see their antics sequeing directly into Peter Jennings reporting on the fall of Saigon, or anachronistic commercials for Kellog's.

MP3 Blog Roundup

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OK, it's not much of a roundup. But I wanted to reccomend a run-don't-walk to a couple blogs for some great MP3s.

Are you already on the Betty Davis bandwagon? If not, you're going to be. Miles Davis' one-time wife was one of the funkiest, wildest, rawest female performers ever to hit the stage. Her all-star band (featuring members of the Family Stone and more) RIPPED every track they played on, and Betty's vocals were amazing. You can head over to Moistworks to cop two of her best tracks, "Nasty Gal" and "He Was a Big Freak."

Also... The Best Show Vault is currently featuring two great calls from The Best Show on WFMU featuring The Gorch. Grab those, then go over to stereolaffs and buy this Best Show Best of which features the original Gorch call. "68 YEARS COOL AND STILL DOIN IT!"

Additionally... my man Wale Oyejide (aka Science Fiction) has a new EP coming out called "Africahot - the Afro-future Sessions." A killer combination of broken-beat and Fela-like Afro-beat. Here's "Africahot" and a snippet of "Jump n Funk." Wale was on my music show on KZSC, The New Sound of Soul... I believe it was his first ever radio interview. I think the move from more down-tempo stuff to afro-beat suits him.

Afternoon Tea Recap from Ian Brill

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Our friend Ian Brill, proprietor of the Brill Building blog, attended our big show yesterday, and here's his rundown of the events...

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For Afternoon Tea with Patton Oswalt and Friends, a comedy show benefiting Anarchist publisher AK Press, headliner Oswalt wanted to see if he could bring in a healthy crowd only through blog, podcast and other internet publicity. Oswalt did mention the show when he appeared on Alice 97.3 but other than that it was solely net coverage that brought a good hundred or so people to one of the less glamorous parts of Oakland for some of the Bay Area’s finest comedians.

Oswalt started off the show thanking the crowd for coming out and had a little fun with AK Press’s books, doing a reading of Valerie Solanas’s S.C.U.M. manifesto as Kick Nolte. Oswalt also gave a shot out to TSOYA, where you can hear “celebrities calling in a favor.” Rusty Mahakian started his hosting duties with some well received jokes about his appearance as “Fat Fonzy” and stories of living in China, where women would have no problem with coming up and informing him of his girth. Mahakian also apologized for the lack of seats although the crowd didn’t seem to mind sitting cross-legged or leaning against the wall. Mahakian did a great job as host, never slowing down the momentum of the show.

Mary Van Note, the youngest comedian on the show, was introduced. Her set was devoted to sex. If comedy is all about being relatable than Van Note proved herself well skilled at the craft on Sunday. There was plenty of exaggerations for comedic effect but underneath it all the character she played reminded me of a lot of my female friends when they discuss sex and relationships. Van Note took things to a higher level when her last bit involved a male audience member, leashes, plenty of spanking and Simone De Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. I can’t recall seeing a comedian doing such an elaborate bit that worked out as well as Van Note’s did. A true crowd pleaser.

Brent Weinbach has been getting a lot of good buzz in the Bay Area and he lived up to expectations on Sunday. Weinbach’s real power is presenting such a thorough and compelling character. Little moves like the quick profile turn, making him look like something from Peanuts, are so effective at making Weinbach’s absurd and simple humor enjoyable. Like Van Note Weinbach ended his set with an extensive piece of audience participation, this time with Weinbach as an orchestra conductor using the audience to play a symphony of bodily functions. Again it was Weinbach’s disposition that made it all work, all his hand movements and feigning of exhaustion were just so much fun to watch.

Arj Barker was a real treat to see. The Bay Area rarely has too few inexpensive comedy shows, let alone ones featuring two acts so successful as Barker and Oswalt. Barker got the most out of the AK Press connection, taking on the role as a proselytizing political speaker. A call was made to unite all men and women across the planet Earth so we can fight the real enemy: the planet Earth and its nefarious natural disasters. Barker’s deft at “going big” without ever being grating, only very funny.

With only a short introduction Oswalt came to the stage triumphantly. At this point seeing an Oswalt show is watching a man who has the whole idea of stand-up comedy down, from bits to crowd work and everything else. Oswalt has been trying a lot of new material with his latest shows and even though I saw him last month at L.A.’s Comedy Death Ray I still saw some new stuff. Oswalt’s description of the lobotomy-calm world inside airplane safety films was a great example of his ability to take one absurd situation and just destroy it. Oswalt was sure to bring out his latest audience pleaser Death Bed: The Bed That Eats People and it worked as usual. Oswalt was sure to thank the volunteers at AK Press for their hard work and indeed they were great hosts for the entire show. Far from a typical Sunday afternoon AK Press’s bookstore saw great entertainment with some of the funniest people in local and national comedy. That’s better than your typical author speaking night.

Notes & Erratta

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A few clarifications, offered by my parents, regarding my piece in the Metro:

* My mother wanted to clarify that when she got arrested for bank robbery, there was NO LSD in the car. It was hash, and they were selling it to get a friend out of the hospital.

* My father wanted to clarify that he wasn't in the hospital for six months or so, but for a couple days. He's crazy, not insane.

I'd like to point out that both of these erroneous assertions on my part were reprinted directly from James Frey's bestselling memoir "My Friend Leonard," as promoted on The Sound of Young America.

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