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Keillorblogging: "BE MORE FUNNY!"


Interesting piece in Slate about Garrison Keillor. Includes great quote (above) from Homer Simpson. And another from Bill Cosby, with respect to Time Magazine calling Keillor the funniest man in America: "That's true, if you're a pilgrim." Which I think underestimates pilgrim humor. (Primarily buckle-related, by the way).

I should clarify my one-man anti-Keillor crusade by saying that I like some things about him. His voice is pretty, if a bit over-mannered, and it's nice to hear on "The Writer's Almanac." He can occaisionally be quite funny, especially in print. Uhmm... he makes a lot of money for public radio. That's all I can think of right now.

What I don't like is the idea that somehow by being slow-paced or old-timey, you automatically gain wisdom. I'd like to point out that Mark Twain, to whom Keillor is constantly being compared (why?) was neither old-timey nor slow-paced.



From Wikipedia, via Watch Paul Rust Age Behind Glass:

"On March 24, 2004, Richard Simmons was arrested and charged with assault after allegedly slapping a motorcycle salesman at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. The salesman, Chris Farney, spotted Simmons in the crowd and said, "Look, Richard Simmons! Drop your bags, let's rock to the '50s." Simmons replied, "It's not nice to make fun of people with issues." He then lightly slapped Farney's face. Farney, who was uninjured, called the police. All charges against Simmons were dropped. "

Truly amazing in so very many ways. Generally, though, what needs to be said is that Chris Farney of Phoenix, Arizona is a Great American. And so is Richard Simmons.

How can we be like Craigslist?


Here's a fascinating piece in The Wall Street Journal about Craigslist. What's remarkable about the company is the extent to which it is focused on users. It makes plenty of money, leveraging the low distribution costs of the internet, but it also leaves a huge amount of money on the table. They won't do anything that doesn't "serve their users," which includes banner ads, for example.

What a remarkable principle. And you have to hand it to Craigslist -- they've really stuck to it.

I don't see any explosive growth potential in The Sound of Young America, but I admire a private enterprise with principles like Craig's.

Dave Chappelle Suprise SF Show Recap


Dave Chappelle dropped in on the Punchline in San Francisco this past week, and our intrepid reporter/listener/donor Darryl Duffy was there. He offers this recap of what went down after TSOYA pal Doug Benson stepped off stage:

Before we start, I wanted to note the extreme amount of security at this show. We were reminded nearly 6 times in about 30 minutes that we couldn't have cell phones on, anything that had a light on it, or do anything that could have recorded any part of the show or we would be removed immediately from the show. Audience members were subject to a patdown and heckling was absolutely not tolerated.

Chappelle opened by mentioning that he just got back from Japan, a nice segue from Doug's closer. It seems like he really enjoyed his time there, and nobody recognized him, and it was amazing to just walk around and not understand a single word anyone was saying. Dave was always expecting some sort of kung-fu movie result whenever the locals would bow to him, and was suspicious enough to take account of the situation whenever it happened. However, he did mention that the language barrier seemed to go away when they got to the karaoke bars, and he found their love for R&B was equal to ours.

In what seemed like the only really prepared bit of the evening, Chappelle began to talk about the TV show "Cheaters." From the extent of the size of their investigation crew, to the 5 day stakeouts. He mentioned two of his favorite episodes, one that resulted in the (and this may be exaggeration) where after being confronted and having two women mad at him, the "suspect" began running, and the Cheaters van couldn't keep up with him so the helicopter went after him. Dave even said he didn't believe that the series was real until the host got stabbed. The bit ended with a bit about the suspect "grabbing her ass, then they have sex, and he came on a picture of the kids." That part seemed the most "Chappelle's Show" of the whole evening.

Dave continued by talking about the media, and the obvious questions about why he went to Africa. He began to talk about "news speak," where groups are called minorities, which is essentially "calling them niggers to their face without admitting it." If you're familiar with Louis CK's material, think about how Louis does the bit where a white person could go to another country and say, "Look at all these minorities around here!" This began Dave's talk about "the game" and essentially opression of others. In the middle of this topic, he recounted the parallels of "The Planet of the Apes," where if the original were veiled at all, the remake made no attempt to hide it. Chappelle thought with Marky Mark and Tim Burton involved, that wouldn't happen. However, five minutes into the movie, the apes are eating watermelon, and you also find out that the apes are afraid of water. Dave remembers looking around the theatre saying, "What the fuck is going on?" and the only more blatant offense that could have occurred was if they began to light up Newports.

There was a lot of talk about being low on money, and that's the only reason you see him on tour. Around this point, the show had gone into more of a Bill Hicks philosophy/discussion instead of traditional comedy show. He mentioned how we were all part of the game, and did things we didn't like for money, working our 9 to 5 for someone else. He thinks that the ultimate "fuck you to everyone" would be when someone decides to masturbate in central square. At that point, that person just does not care anymore.

Dave started to ask about what was in the news lately. From what I saw onstage, it seems like Dave's really up on the news, and his ability to have something introspective and funny to say on ultimately any current event was the most impressive part. However, he also seems to be going deeper and deeper into his conspiracy theorist personality. Chappelle mentioned he always ends up in news stories that he shouldn't even be involved with, like articles on the Barry Bonds steroids controversy that would somehow link Chappelle as an example. He said he was in Washington, D.C. on the steps of the capitol when the press conference regarding Congressman Jefferson's files being raided happened, and was mentioned again in the news. He talked about how his celebrity has changed things, and while doing a show in Florida, noticed OJ in the audience. He didn't point him out, but signaled for him to come in the backroom after the show. OJ sort of has the creepy mystique that Chappelle's portrayal of Prince does, as Dave said OJ was in the backroom as soon as the show ended, and Dave had an entrance to the room from the stage and still didn't get there before OJ. He said OJ was the nicest guy he's ever met, was really nice to his friends and everything, but as soon as he left, they all mentioned how he was a little off and that they thought he did it for sure.

He talked about Zarqawi, and how he didn't think he was dead. The photo was too well done, and he could just imagine Zarqawi having an agent and getting paid for that. He talked about Karl Rove being acquitted, and that he considers Karl Rove to be "a gangster from birth," and that Karl Rove has been conniving since high school elections, leading to a premise that Rove offered orgies and sex to voters back in high school, leading to him showing up on the radar of George Bush, Sr. and staying connected as part of the program continuing through George W. Bush.

Chappelle's longest segment came near the end, where he started to talk about "the game" again, and how we should all be aware of it. He mentions three books that he's read lately or that when combined, can sum up what's really going on. The books were a) "Who moved my cheese?" b) 1984 and c) "Pimp." "Who moved my cheese" is a popular business leader book, that essentially shows that if you put two mice and two people in a scenaior where cheese is always there, then take it away, the mice will go out to look for more cheese, while the humans will argue and do everything to resist change, but never really solve the problem. He talked about the aspect of "1984," and the concept of "big brother," and when people don't believe someone who has more information than the rest. This was more about skepticism and how we discount some people for their leaning or outlooks.

In what became a parable for Chappelle's recent successes and subsequent retreat, he talked about Iceberg Slim's "Pimp," an account of the life of a pimp in the 1940's. Dave talked about how Iceberg became a pimp, and that he was a novice to began with but was soon running the show because he lived up to that name, he was cool as ice and got the name when he was standing in the middle of a shootout, his hat got shot, he removed it, brushed it back off, and put it back on while the gunfight continued. Chappelle recounted the concept of the "bottom bitch," and how this was a pimp's top female, the one who makes them all their money. Iceberg had one, and after being in the game so long, knew how to spot potential ones. When he found his latest, he beat her, then took care of her, gave her medicine, drew her a bath, etc. He was able to convince her that he was the one who took care of her, and built loyalty. Iceberg also knew the career lifespan of these women, and when his bottom bitch was nearing the end, he had her do one final job. She was to go up to a hotel room to meet up with a business man, have sex with him, give him some pills, and take his briefcase full of money. She does as shes told, but believes the man to be dead, and returns to Iceberg crying. Iceberg blames her for giving him too many pills, calls in a doctor friend as he tries to calm the woman down, and when the doctor declares the man dead, Iceberg calls two associates in to remove the body and get rid of it. As a result of this, the woman is now in debt to Iceberg for taking care of things and keeping them out of trouble as blacks who have just killed a white man in 1940's U.S. After the situation is squared away, the woman continues to work for Iceberg long after when she was likely to turn on him. The whole scene was devised by Iceberg, the victim being his friend, the doctor a butcher friend, the two men were cabbies he met outside the hotel, and the money was his own. Dave left us with that insight, to help understand where he's coming from, and called it a night.

Two weeks in a row.


Why are Saturdays so crazy on my street? Last week, a big fat rapper is shooting a video. This week, a skinny 12-year-old black kid is riding around on a horse. What is this place?

Podcast: The College Years: Crime and Punishment


Some amazing tales this week. Jordan talks about getting put in Disneyland jail for using a bubble pipe. Gene talks about trying to convince an authority figure that he was holding something other than what was quite obviously a beer. Jesse talks about the time his mother got arrested for robbing a bank. Plus Vanessa sits in, and we hear from the Evil Computer Bent on World Destruction.

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We're huge in British Columbia.


Matthew Mallon has a great little piece on the show, and specifically our George Saunders interview, on the Tyee Books weblog. It includes a transcription of Saunders' fascinating comments on the secret of eternal youth.

Attention LA Metalheads: Brian Posehn Needs You


From Brian Posehn:

I'm shooting a video for my song METAL BY NUMBERS and need headbangers for the moshpit scene. We're shooting this Saturday, June 17 in LA. Darren Doane(Deftones, Shadows Fall) is directing, it's gonna be funny and metal and all you have to do is DRESS METAL(black, cammo, whatever metal means to you) and run around in an old school circle pit. Please come help me out. All types/ages of metalheads welcome. I want old school heshers next to the penny picking metalcore kids. Don't contact me, please contact Jeremy in production at or

Thanks in advance and horns up, Brian

AZ: Modest Proposal Meets Garage Comedy


Here's another one for those of you who want more non-NY/LA comedy show announcements. Garage Comedy is a charming LA comedy show that features everything but traditional standup. Modest Proposal are the guys behind Modest Proposal Magazine, a great comedy fanzine. Lots of good people on the bill, should be worth every penny of the $5.

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