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New Material from the Replacements


Pitchfork reports that alt-rock legends The Replacements are reconvening (well, to the extent they can, only three are alive) to record new material for an upcoming best-of on Rhino:

Color us fucking impressed: Original flannel gods the Replacements have
recorded their first new material since 1990. According to a press release from
Rhino Records, 3/4 of the original lineup (and the only surviving ones), Paul
Westerberg, Tommy Stinson, and Chris Mars, reconvened last December in
Minneapolis to record two new Westerberg-penned tunes, "Message to the Boys" and "Pool & Dive," for the upcoming Replacements compilation Don't You Know Who
I Think I Was?: The Best of the Replacements.


Aspen Stories: Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere


Charlie Todd is the creator of Improv Everywhere, a group which performs astonishing, magical, and typically victimless street pranks. They've staged a faux U2 concert on a rooftop, ridden the subway without pants (more and more pantsless riders board a car, until eventually an IE member strolls through, selling pants), and offered boat tours of public fountains. Charlie was invited to Aspen to talk about IE, and here, we've invited him to talk about Aspen.

Had you been before?

Nope. This was my first trip to Colorado.

What did you expect it to be like?

Very cold and intimidating.

What surprised you about it when you got there?

It was much warmer than I had imagined. It was colder in NY the week before the festival. The altitude warnings are for real. I felt dizzy for a couple of days and held off on getting drunk until Thursday (I arrived on Monday). I delighted to discover how walkable the town is and how the whole festival was easy to manage.

What was the audience like for your shows?

I had two shows, both at the "Belly Up" venue. It's a rock club, but because it's in Aspen it's a real classy joint. No stickers on the bathroom walls. I don't really know how many were in attendance at the shows, but it was very full. 200 people maybe? I found it to be a warm, responsive audience, which was great. I guess it was a mix of locals and industry types. In addition to my stage shows, I did a few pranks around town which was a total blast. I documented the whole experience on my site, complete with photos and video.

What was the best social event you attended? Why?

The Upright Citizens Brigade rented a three-story condo with College Humor and 3 Arts. There were parties there every night, but the Friday night party was the best. Dave Chapelle made a cameo for literally thirty seconds. I guess that's how long it took him to decide it wasn't his scene. Anyway, the condo was awesome-- pool table, hot tub, steam room, ridiculous fan from the 70's. Oh, and a fridge full of beer and a freezer full of liquor. Besser himself was staying there and personally welcoming everyone into the house. Anthony King (Artistic Director of UCB NY) and Alex Sidtis (UCB NY Theatre Manager) were also staying there. Alex's job for the entire week at Aspen was to plan awesome parties at the UCB house and to generally promote all of the shows with UCB people in them (four stage shows + Aziz's standup).

What was the best show you saw that wasn't your own?

I fucking love Brian Finklestein's show. I'd seen it before in NY, and I was only able to see the last ten minutes of it in Aspen (running to it after one of my shows), but he managed to make me cry in those ten minutes. Such a beautiful, sad, and very hilarious show.

What was the strangest social interaction you had while there?

There was a local guy who showed up at all of the social events with his dog. He had trained the dog to stand on his arm. No one really knew what his deal was, but everyone called him "Dog Dude". I guess he's there every year. Anyway, at the UCB party his dog was walking around the kitchen and I figured out how to get it to stand on my arm. The dude saw me doing it and just said, "Go for it, man." So I walked around the party very drunk with this dog standing on my arm.

Would you reccomend it to others?

Absolutely. As a performer it was an amazing experience. They put you up in great hotel rooms and they take care of you the whole week. Tons of free food. Free transportation. Free parties with free drinks. Free access to shows. I'm not sure if I would reccomend it to someone not performing. Unless of course you're rich. If you're rich, definitely go!

Already been debriefed: Brent Weinbach, Sherry Sirof, Ryan Stout, Anthony Jeselnik

Also: "Odd Ends" with Charlie Todd on The Sound of Young America (MP3 Link)

Goldie Award Winner!


Thanks to the readers of the Metro Santa Cruz, who voted me the Bronze award for "Best Radio Personality" in Santa Cruz in their annual readers' poll. This is the fourth Goldie we (that is, me or me & Jordan) have won in the past five years -- two gold and two bronze. Thanks, Santa Cruzians!

By the by, does anyone reading this listen on the radio? I'm genuinely interested. Post a comment or send me an email if you do.

Unloading on Larry the Cable Guy


A couple months ago, I tried very, very hard to get Larry the Cable Guy to come on The Sound of Young America to talk with David Cross. Cross was good to go, Larry, not so much.

Reviews for his new film, "Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector" are starting to come in, and I thought I'd start a post here to chronicle them, starting with the New York Times review:

"Unpleasant, uncouth and painfully unfunny, "Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector" attempts lowbrow humor with neither the wit of the Farrelly brothers nor the raunchy inventiveness of Keenen Ivory Wayans. Aiming at audiences for whom no comedy is complete without lower-intestinal distress and projectile vomiting, the movie pursues its unsanitary goals with a relentlessness that makes "Dumb and Dumber" seem the epitome of sophistication. Prepare to be overcome with an irresistible urge to wash your hands afterward. "

The Times to hoity-toity for you? Here's the Post's review:

Dumped into theaters without critics' screenings after it was abandoned by its
original distributor, this is a virtually unwatchable and laugh-free vehicle for
the stand-up redneck comedian Daniel Whitney , who calls himself Larry the Cable

The Onion AV Club weighs in:

It'd be tempting to call Larry the Ernest of his generation, but that'd be a grave insult to Jim Varney's enduring legacy. Compared to Larry—a grating, baby-faced butterball with all the magnetism and charisma of an Applebee's night manager—Varney was the second coming of Jimmy Stewart

Got a favorite you'd like to share? Git 'er done!

How comedy-nerdy are you?


Level One -- You've a big fan of The Kids in the Hall.

Level Two -- You've heard that they're doing live shows this month at the Steve Allen Theater in Los Angeles.

Level Three -- You don't live in Los Angeles, but you are interested in reading a detailed account of the new material they performed.

Needless to say, I am Level Three. And I also have a +4 amulet of Dana Carvey Show Bootlegs.

Thanks to ASpecialThing's Jouster!

Demetri Martin Lands Dreamworks Film Deal


Comic Demetri Martin (who recently became the Daily Show's "Trend Spotting" correspondent) is continuing his string of successes. He just sold a pitch to Dreamworks... per Variety:

DreamWorks has found its way with "Will," acquiring the pitch from comic/scribe Demetri Martin.
Comedic story centers on an ordinary guy who has settled into a typical life with a job and family. After waking up one day and resolving to no longer live an average life, he sets out on a journey to fulfill his hidden potential. Martin will take a key supporting role.
Scot Armstrong, who penned "Old School" and "Road Trip" for DreamWorks, is closing a deal to be executive producer on the project. Martin pitched the idea to both Steven Spielberg and studio head Adam Goodman; latter took it off the market right away.

Bully for you, Mr. Martin.

"Dog Days" on TSOYA, with Demetri Martin and H. Jon Benjamin (MP3)

Kieth Huang talks about Demetri Martin's newest one-man show on The Apiary

Via Dead-Frog

News & Notes from the world of RAP


Some hip-hop related flotsam...

Noz of the hip-hop blog Cocaine Blunts & Hip-Hop Tapes has been blogging over at XXL's cool new website. He checks in with the first three of his top ten underappreciated rappers list... and it's great so far. See what he has to say about WC, MC Lyte, and Suga-Free. WC and Suga-Free are known for their New Sincerity flows, and Suga-Free in particular is NS. The LA-based rapper and frequent DJ Quik collaborator tends to wear suits, perms, and manicures to support his pimp image. Noz is also hosting a few early Suga Free tracks on Cocaine Blunts.

Also, J-Smooth from WBAI-FM in New York (and the excellent points us to a fascinating profile of producer Just Blaze, best known for his work with the Roc-a-Fella camp (Jay-Z's "Song Cry," Cam'ron's "Oh Boy," etc). Just talks about how he's trying to find his own way through the hip-hop world, while still representing what he loves about New York rap:

"That raw grittiness, the essence of it, is totally down here. I've done uptempo club records with no samples and keyboards; I'm not mad at that. But the more I notice things getting screwed up, the more I'm like I gotta play my part in balancing the scale a little more. And if I fail, cool. I just gotta do what my heart tells me, and right now my heart is telling me that somebody's got to be at the front of people bringing it back. There's not too many people from the boom-bap East Coast era who are even in a position to make a difference in hip-hop. I'm one of the few who anybody even has half of an eye on. A lot of my heroes wouldn't even have the opportunity to do it. It's almost like I have to do it."

Check that joint out in the Village Voice.

also... check out the author's great blog, featuring a totally fascinating conversation between Just Blaze and fellow producer Alchemist.

Live Henry Rollins Chat at 3PM Eastern


Henry Rollins will be chatting at 3PM Eastern today on the Washington Post website about his new IFC series. Looks like a pretty wonderful guest lineup he has for the show, too. Can you imagine if Henry Rollins and Chuck D became friends? Or Henry Rollins and Oliver Stone? The universe might fold in on itself.

TSOYA: "On the Road" with Henry Rollins and John Hodgman (MP3 Link)

Hero of the New Sincerity: Biz Markie


Listener Tom points us to this fantastic thread on the forums of, a website for record collectors. It's a treasure-trove of amazing stories about the emma-emma-zuh-aye arruh-arruh-zuh-kay to the i-e, aka Biz Markie. Best one I've read so far is Biz talking about why he recorded his classic record "Pickin' Boogers:"

"I wanted to do a record like that becuase I knew a lot of people that used to pick boogers. I used to know a kid named anthony hussey and he used to pick his boogers back in the day."

And that's realer than Real Deal Holyfield.

Biz Markie: Hero of The New Sincerity

Aspen Stories: Ryan Stout


23-year-old Ryan Stout is a rising star in the comedy scene, having already whipped through San Francisco on the way to Hollywood Celebrity. His style is quite fairly compared to Sarah Silverman, contrasting shocking transgressions with a calm, confident exterior. He also kind of looks like he should host an entertainment news show. Here's his take on his Aspen Comedy Festival experience. (By the way, a fair portion take seems to be a response to Brent Weinbach's take earlier this week), so if you haven't read that, do so now.

Had you been before?

I think I was there briefly when I was a kid—We, my parents and I, just stopped through town to ride the gondola, or something, and continued our road trip on to ‘Elsewhere.’

What did you expect it to be like?

Cold, expensive, and stressful.

My biggest worry was the altitude. I don’t exercise much… Well, not at all, really. So, my cardio-vascular system isn’t quite up to par. On top of that, I hold a pretty steady diet of alcohol and diner food. Overall, I doubt I’m in the best shape to be trekking around the mountains. I was sure that I would be getting dizzy and blacking-out, or I would be onstage and the severe tunnel vision would kick in. Turns out, I didn’t have a problem. Maybe I’m in better shape than I thought. Thank you, Genetics.

What surprised you about it when you got there?

That I could breathe and that I wasn’t freezing.

My buddy Brent Weinbach and I flew out there together and when we landed in Denver we were both surprised by a woman from the festival waiting with a sign that said “Ryan Stout / Brent Weinbach.” Her whole job that day was to make sure that performers made it to our connecting flights on time. So, Weinbach and I loaded up on one of those carts that are normally reserved for the disabled and elderly. The driver hit the gas and we were on our way. We thought we might be going all the way to another terminal. Nope. Six gates. They had someone drive us, two young, healthy looking lads, five hundred feet. I was surprised that no one gave us nasty looks as we got off the little electric cart.

Once we got to Aspen, I couldn’t believe my ears when Weinbach described his hotel room. From his description I thought it was a suite on the top floor. But, on Friday I actually got to see the place: It was just a hotel room.

His “Jacuzzi with a skylight over it” was just a normal size bathtub with a few water jets, and, yes, fine, a skylight. But, really, how impressed are you by the wonderment of a skylight? I still don’t understand how he could be so thrilled about having a refrigerator and microwave—You can have that at any Best Western. I was really disappointed that, for me, at least, his room didn’t live up to the hype.

I’d like to present my hotel room through the eyes of Brent Weinbach:

“Right when I walked in, on the right, there were these double doors that opened up to a huge closet with these really nice hangers. They were plastic, but nice plastic. And, then, I had two beds. Two queen-size beds, just for me. Then, I also had a 27-inch color TV, that had a bunch of movie channels, and stuff, and it was stored in this really nice wooden cabinet. Oh, I had a refrigerator, too. And that was also in a matching wooden cabinet with free chocolates sitting on top of it. They were actually Nestle Turtles, which is my favorite, one of my favorite, chocolates. My bathroom had the special lamp to heat the tiles so your feet don’t get cold. The water pressure was strong, too; I like that. I had wireless internet access… It was a nice room.”

I should also note that the rooms, though not brilliant and extravagant, were nice. And, because of the festival and ski season, they would probably run about $500 per night.

What was the audience like for your shows?

I thought they were fine. Not ever much more, not usually much less. Even though the only set that I felt like a rock star was on the last night of the festival, people were approaching me throughout the week and being very congratulatory. Some people, normal audience members, intentionally came out to see me three or four times. So, at the very least, I was killing ahandful of people.

What was the best social event you attended? Why?

Friday night at the UCB house I ran into Chelsea Peretti, a funny friend of mine from New York. She was lying on this ottoman and I lied down next to her. So, we’re both horizontal, talking, looking up at people as they walk past. It was so, I guess, quirky, that people kept coming over wanting to talk to us. They all opened with similar lines about, “You two look comfortable.” There is a strange amount of power and charisma when you are lying down because everything seems like it takes massive amounts of effort, almost as though nothing is more important than being relaxed. If people talk to you, you know it’s because they want to—They sought you out and they are the ones hovering over you getting cramps in their necks from looking down. People even started offering to bring us stuff so we wouldn’t have to get up. We got beer, and chewing gum, and jackets… Someone brought me a beer, walked away, and came back because they realized I needed a bottle opener, took the beer, opened it, and brought it back to me.

It was the best party maneuver I’ve ever made. From now on, I’m going to spend every party on my back.

What was the best show you saw that wasn't your own?

The Whitest Kids You Know made me laugh the hardest. All of their sketches have such a fun energy to them. I wish I could elaborate, but you’ll just have to check them out live. Or online.

Brian Finkelstein’s show was probably the best-crafted work I saw at the festival. His stories had so many crisp images and layers of meaning. The whole thing had such a great arch to it. I was sad when he finished because I could have sat and listened for a lot longer. I was really impressed.

What was the strangest social interaction you had while there?

A thousand apologies to Kara Welker. I hadn’t met her until the festival and I must’ve introduced myself to her seventeen times. “Hi, I’m Ryan.”

“Yeah. Kara. We’ve met.” Over and over I introduced myself. To make things worse, every time I did it, I was sober, so I have no excuses.

I learned that anytime you don’t recognize a person and you re-introduce yourself, the amount that you look like a self-centered prick goes up exponentially. By day five I looked like a google-prick, I’m sure of it.


She was the only one I did that to. In my mind she’s a chameleon.

Again, sorry.

Would you recommend it to others?

I certainly don’t recommend turning it down. If you’re invited to go, go. I had the best time of my life. And I’m not exaggerating. I can’t remember six consecutive days that were so much fun. But, I guess, to have fun, you really have to love comedy, love seeing comedy, and love hanging out with people who make comedy.

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