comedy

Myths about "30 Rock"

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Since 30 Rock won an Emmy, a lot of urban legends have spread about the show. Here are two of the most egregious:

* "The show started poorly." No, it didn't. It was always funny, you just had an attitude at first, and/or didn't get it. Is it tighter than it was in the first episode? Yeah, sure, like any sitcom. But it was great from the start. You're just covering your ass.

* "The show's success is largely due to Alec Baldwin." Yes, Alec Baldwin is funny. No, he is NOT the only or even main funny thing on the show. He is just the thing that you were already familiar with, Mr. TV Writer. Actually, Tracy Morgan is funnier, and Jack McBrayer is just as funny.

The television press made the same sorts of odd psuedo-attacks on the Office in the early days, which they now seem to regard as the greatest show ever. I think we're lucky to live in a world where these shows are on network television.

That said... I hope they straighten out the Rachel Dratch situation this year. She is one of my favorite comic actresses, but she was awful on the show last year. Not because she did a bad job portraying her various characters, but rather because her broad characterizations broke the tone of the show. She was performing them as written, but she consistently felt shoehorned in to the show's world. Wait... except for the cat wrangler. I liked the cat wrangler.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I shouldn't blog before 9AM.

Update: Todd Jackson has some great thoughts on all this on Dead-Frog.

Lupe Fiasco - Dumb it Down

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Lupe can rap his ass off, right?!

So... what was wrong with this?

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I keep hearing these rumors that David Letterman slammed Paris Hilton, or he wouldn't let go of the jail thing, or whatever. All I see is David Letterman being the greatest television host of our time, one of the funniest people ever, and Paris Hilton being a cypher as per usual. And then a commercial for perfume.

Gimme a break, America.

Below: Letterman and Sarah Silverman talk about it a bit, before continuing to both be talented and funny.

More Tom Lehrer

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When I was in Tom Lehrer's class on the history of musical theater at UCSC, he would always mock my announcements about The Sound of Young America, but he would always let me share them. Whatta guy.

Above: a little bit of satire that's as apt today as it was back then... "Send the Marines."

Below: a bit of hilarious freelance misanthropy: "When You Are Old & Gray."

I'm not entirely sure who this 6funswede character who uploaded these vids is, or where he got them from, but God bless him. Don't miss "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park," an all-time classic.

Onion: The Situation in Nigeria Seems Complex

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In The Know: Situation In Nigeria Seems Pretty Complex

More amazing work from the folks at the Onion's video team. This might be the funniest one yet. Wait... no... maybe the hobo murder in congress is better.

Plumber, m'am.

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Bill Hader: Fit to Print

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Our main man Bill Hader's rise to psuedo-celebrity has now been made official, as he's the subject of a nice profile in the New York Times.

WHEN an adult immerses himself in a comic book or a fantasy novel, it’s usually a harmless act of juvenile regression. When Bill Hader does it, it’s more like career preparation.

In 2005 Mr. Hader was rereading “The Sandman,” the supernatural comic-book series by Neil Gaiman, when he learned he was being considered for a spot on “Saturday Night Live.” He decided the two events couldn’t simply be a coincidence.

“I got all superstitious about it,” he said on a recent stroll through the science fiction section of the Chelsea Barnes & Noble. “Like, when I have Neil Gaiman books around me, I just do better.”

Juvenile regression? Somebody hasn't read a lot of Neil Gaiman comic books.

The piece is largely focused on how Bill's pop-culture savvy has, in odd ways, led to his success. Like a lot of our favorite comics, Bill can comedy-nerd with the best of them, as I discovered when his interview for TSOYA ended with a 30-minute discussion of "Garth Marengi's Dark Place" and "BrassEye." So I can independently verify that Hader's a culture vulture.

Bill's since been a generous and committed booster of TSOYA, and that kind of thing goes a long way with me. So... kudos to film and television celebrity William Hader.

And here's what the article's brief mention of Bill's German doubletalk character reminded this giant comedy nerd of... Sid Caesar from Your Show of Shows.

Edited to add: MaxFunster Josh notes astutely that Bill is wearing a "Newbridge is for Lovers" t-shirt in the photo! Eagle eyes. The Best Show is another thing we talked about in that conversation :).

Mel Brooks' "The Critic"

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Mel Brooks won an Oscar for this short, his first film, in the early 1960s. HILARIOUS.

Via Metafilter

Steven Wright on Conan

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The quickest slow talker in showbiz. Whatta guy. His new album comes out Tuesday.

Previously: Wright on TSOYA

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