This link will open in a PDF, so fair warning, but damn, what a good way to waste some time at a desk/on the bus/wherever you are: from governmentattic.org, a magical document titled: "Informal complaints received by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the television show ‘Saturday Night Live,’ 2008–2012."
Here, try some ([sic] throughout):
I am offended by the gay acceptance message this skit protrays. The implication is clear, if we got past our fear and tried anal sex, we would like it and then accept it.
During the "What Up With That" skit on SNL, actor Samuel L. Jackson said "What the Fuck" and "this is bullshit" during the show. I was watching with my gay friends and we were very upset. Thanks.
This has me very concerned for my safety and many others.
Last night on Saturday night live Jamie Fox called for the killing of all white people. This occured during his monolog at the beginning of the show. All through his threat he used Obama's name. I want to make a formal complaint against NBC, Saturday Night Live and Jamie Fox. Jamie Fox needs to be removed from society until this threat is over.
Get the dvd and you will probably see a lot more than I saw because I turned the channel because I was so disgusted and sickened. I would never record or even consider buying a dvd with such wickedness and filth on it even to send you a copy so you could see how terrible it was.
It's a good look into the minds of... well, of people who e-mail the government at all hours to complain that SNL jokes are too dirty. WOWZA.
Thanks, Hot Tipper Alithea! You find all the best funnies!
Paul Constant posted video from the Benghazi-related Senate hearing—in which Rand Paul tried to go after Hillary Clinton—over here.
Part of Rand Paul's attack involved a few nickels the state department spent on sending three comedians on a diplomacy-minded comedy tour, called "Make Chai Not War," through India. (It was a bizarre move on his part, given how much money the state department routinely spends on diplomatic events designed to bring people together in social contexts—parties, dinners, concerts, and other activities that don't involve bombing the shit out of strangers—but whatever.)
One of those comedians the state department wasted money on was longtime Seattle favorite Hari Kondabolu, who now lives in NYC and wrote some jokes about his brush with Senate-hearing fame for Totally Biased:
Saw Book of Mormon at the Paramount last night and loved it so fucking much.
Goldy covers a bunch of reasons the show adds up to something freakily brilliant in his rave review, so I'll focus on a component of the show I hadn't heard hyped previously, and that I wasn't expected to be blown away by: the choreography, which repeatedly made me laugh so hard I cried.
The Book of Mormon's choreography is by Casey Nicholaw, who co-directed the show (both on Broadway and in this touring production) with Trey Parker. (Nicholaw and Parker won the 2011 Tony for Best Direction, while Nicholaw was nominated for Best Choreography and lost to Anything Goes' Kathleen Marshall.) I can't really hold forth on the quality of The Book of Mormon's choreography as dance, but as comedy, it was astounding.
Prime example: "All-American Prophet," in which the story of Joseph Smith is re-told truthfully and respectfully, by a stageful of people doing the most hilarious group dancing I've ever seen. (If you want to economically underscore the ridiculousness of someone's argument, have them make it while doing an aggressively energetic "funky strut" dance.)
My guy Jake saw the show with me, and had an even more profound experience than I did. (He's an ex-Mormon, and for him, seeing last night's show was like watching the smartest people in the world spend two and half hours intricately mocking the worst bully of his childhood, to the rapturous applause of the masses. He was beside himself with amazement and joy.)
Thank you, all the components of the universe that lined up to make The Book of Mormon possible. It was a dream night.
And you can hear these things Hari and Ashok have to say (the breakup Das Racist, their separate appearances on Conan, the end of the world), right here, right now....
If you want more celebrity bullshit posts, post 'em. And please note that the two Seahawks posts were by regular actual employees of The Stranger, and one of them was so disdainful as to actually constitute a Golden Globes post.
And the Seahawks game was more important: There's a Golden Globes every year. The Seahawks do not make the post-season every year.
It's like I hardly know you anymore, Slog. It's like you're a different blog now.
Jamie—who's fucking hilarious—is doing a show in Seattle on January 12 at the Highline. Tickets here.
It did not go well. From LAist:
Channel 56, based in the OC but hailing themselves as an L.A. station, put together a NYE show hosted by funnyman Jamie Kennedy, who seemed to struggle, along with most of the folks involved in the production, with the notion of live TV. Hence this compilation of fails via YouTube that includes the many f-bombs dropped live on air, the camera flubs, some "underboob" views, Macy Gray unable to tell time while on stage, and the final fail: a brawl.
This just in! Louis C. K. is fucking funny. And now he's given possibly the best Proust Questionnaire ever. It begins:
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Not ever having to fill out this questionnaire.
What is your greatest fear?
You think I’m going to tell you that? You think I’m going to let you print my greatest fear in a national magazine? No sir. I will not, sir.
Take it away, Seattle Times:
Stand-up comedian Micah "Katt" Williams was a no-show Thursday morning at his arraignment in Seattle Municipal Court. But he had an excuse.
Williams' attorney, Thomas McAllister, told the judge his client was under the impression that he did not have to appear at the arraignment and has returned to California, where he lives. McAllister said that Williams read a Seattle Times story earlier this week in which a spokeswoman for the City Attorney's Office mistakenly said that he did not have to appear if an attorney was in court on his behalf.
Municipal Court Judge Willie Gregory rescheduled the arraignment for Wednesday, saying that Williams received "misleading" information.
The failure to show didn't stop Williams from being charged with three counts of assault stemming from two Seattle incidents. (Williams is accused of hitting an audience member with a microphone during his performance last Friday at the Paramount, and of throwing a chair at two fans who approached him after the show.) Full story here.
Last night, I went to see the always-sharp Hari Kondabolu at Comedy Underground. He was fucking hilarious, as usual, but this was a special treat. Hari told the audience he was working on new material and took his time, threading through new and old jokes, commenting on his performance (and ours) as he went.
I always enjoy watching Hari's way of rocking back and forth in a set, delivering a few challenging jokes (he gently berated last night's audience for not getting a punch line that depended on a working knowledge of Alex Haley's Roots), then throwing out a literally fool-proof crowd-pleaser to reel everyone back in. It's like watching a good teacher who knows just how far to push a student—to the bending point, but never the breaking point—before giving out an attaboy and a lollipop.
Last night provided the added bonus of a peek into his joke-writing brain: scenarios, setups, punch lines, segues, callbacks, patter, the whole thing. If you care about intelligent comedy, and how intelligent comedians make jokes happen, get down to the Comedy Underground tonight.
Hari will perform through Saturday, but said last night and tonight are his test-flight performances. Those are the ones you want to see.
Katt Williams is the diminutive comedian previously best known for his role as Money Mike in the film Friday After Next. But thanks to his recent shenanigans, he's now the diminutive comedian best known for coming to your town and fucking shit up.
The recent history: At a November 8 performance in Oakland, Williams stayed onstage for only ten minutes, during which he "confronted a heckler, took his clothes off, and attempted to fight at least three audience members," according to a lawsuit filed against Live Nation by a disgruntled audience member. (Now two people are suing Williams over the Sacramento meltdown.) And the weekend after Thanksgiving, Williams was involved in a police chase through Sacramento before slapping a Target employee in Woodland, CA. Further back in time, there's this stuff (thank you, TMZ).
The Weekly has learned that his Thursday no-show was caused not by an arrest, as audience members were told, but by an episode in which Williams' Hummer ran out of gas on the way to the event and the comedian allegedly slashed its tires and rammed it with a backup vehicle.
On Friday night, Williams performed at the Paramount, resulting in this (thank you, Seattle Times):
Williams performed at the Paramount Friday evening. But after the performance, Seattle police said some fans alleged that Williams attacked them after they tried to take a photo with him. Williams denied those allegations, police said, and no arrests were made.
Which brings us to yesterday, when, as Megan noted in the Morning News, Williams got himself arrested by the SPD. Take it away, Seattle Times:
On Sunday, Seattle police said Williams, 41, was at the World Sports Grille near Ninth Avenue North and Westlake Avenue North at about 2:30 p.m. when he allegedly exchanged words with other patrons, brandished a pool cue at the bar’s manager and refused to leave. Police also allege that Williams followed a family out of the bar, flicked a cigarette through the window of the family’s car, and threw a rock at the vehicle. The cigarette hit one of the family members just below her eye, police said. Williams was booked into the King County jail for investigation of assault, harassment and obstruction. Police said he struggled with officers as they arrested him.
The latest: TMZ reports Williams was bailed out of King County Jail by Suge Knight, who is allegedly Williams' "tour manager." Stay tuned.
Adam Carolla and Dennis Prager are going to be at the Paramount Theatre this Saturday night, to "discuss and debate topics as wide-ranging as the afterlife, welfare, parenting, politics, and pets."
There will also be a Q&A with the audience and "no topic is off limits." NO TOPIC IS OFF LIMITS!
Want to see it for free? STG Presents has given us a pair of tickets to give away to a lucky Slog reader! Just send your first and last name to firstname.lastname@example.org with Adam and Dennis in the subject line. (You can also just buy tickets here, if you'd like.)
(There's also still time to win tickets to this Saturday's Jherek Bischoff performance, FYI.)
Lisa Dank, the local pop artist who's best known for walking off with someone's dog, is reeaaaaaaally angry at me, you guys.
Super Double Stoner Angry!
You see, Dank reportedly works for 4Evergreen Group, a company that writes authorizations for medical pot and has been running an independent expenditure campaign to oppose pot-legalizing Initiative 502. And Dank, who calls herself "Your HighNess, PotStar," is extra-frowny-face upset that I dared support I-502. Worse, I posted a video showing her peers at 4Evergreen getting wicked high on blunts—a video has since mysteriously been removed.
And so the wordsmith known as "Your HighNess, Potstar" had all this to say to me:
...which I guess in her addled mind proves all my points wrong, or something.
Don't cross Lisa Dank, ladies and gentlemen, or she might write nonsense about suffocating you with a giant "volcano" bag used to hold copious amounts of pot smoke. Or accuse you of lying—about being gay?—and suggest you suck a clit. Or correct your grammar. Or, you know, maybe steal your dog.
There are two comedy events you should pay attention to this week.
First: Tonight, October 17, at 9:00 p.m. Laff Hole returns to Chop Suey (1325 E Madison St, $10/adv) with headliner and former Seattle resident, Andy Peters. I asked Peters a few awkward questions over email and he gamely responded:
Me: What are you doing in LA? Which celebrity do you most resemble? What is the ONLY THING you miss about Seattle?
Peters: I came out to LA to find work on fun and interesting writing and film projects to be a part of. So far my only big Hollywood project was a trutv show called Clipaholics. I was one of the Clipaholics, which meant I commented on clips of other people's misfortunes. I am currently going back and visiting my favorite comedy towns in the country. Seattle being #1 to me - always.
I get called John Malkovitch a lot. I think all we share is amazing head shape. The major thing I miss is Easy Street Records. I used to live right down the street from Easy Street in lower Queen Anne. I have yet to find a place like it.
Me: Why are conservatives in general less funny than liberals?
Peters: I don't know.... because they know that they are the wrong ones, and it bothers them. They are welcomed to come to my show. I like to get to know what makes conservatives tick....from the stage.
Second: I've always fantasized about being a Roman emperor or parent or someone else who has the power to make people suffer for personal enjoyment. In that vein, Portland's Spicy News Show is trucking up to Seattle to deliver a fucking great show this Sunday, October 21 at 8:00 p.m. at the Seattle Underground (109 S. Washington St, $10).
Here's how it works: Comics will all get three-minute sets, guaranteed. Then, if they want more stage time, they'll have to complete a Spicy Challenge. Spicy Challenges include: eating a habenero, doing a habenero jello shot out of a hollowed out habenero, chew on habenero gum, or eat a mouthful of habenero peanut butter. They will always have the option to surrender and eat ice cream.
This will be the first-ever live performance of Spicy News, and it features a great lineup of NW comedians, including Ian Karmel, Owen Straw, Derek Sheen, and Emmett Montgomery. It is bound to be funny and at the very least, you are guaranteed to see grown men cry. Get your tickets here.
A sample Spicy News Broadcast included after the jump...
I love everything about the "Bad Lip Reading" series of videos—but their version of last week's presidential debate? HOLY CRAP. This video transcends comedy and reaches new and hilarious heights of weirdness. Trust me, you'll never look at Jim Lehrer the same way again!
While this Jimmy Fallon spoof of Tuesday's debate (and Jim Lehrer's incompetence) may start out as a familiar repeat of an Austin Powers clip, when "Obama" chimes in? It... gets... HILARIOUS. Check it out.
Filling this weekend then hopping over the next weekend is SketchFest Seattle, a curated extravaganza of—surprise!—great sketch comedy from around the globe.
Tonight things kick off with SketchFest Locals Showcase at Annex Theater, featuring live performances by The Entertainment Show, Andy & Barbara, Generation Friends, Pork-Filled Players, Dog Watson’s Suppository, Drop the Root Beer and Run, Worst Case Scenario, Sweet Pea, Charles, Le Frenchword, Fresh Grounds, and Ubiquitous They.
The live sketch comedy cavalcade continues next weekend at Theater Off Jackson, which hosts three days of performances by the likes of Peter Greyy, Drop the Root Beer and Run, Super Kudzu, Jen Seaman, Joe Wengert, and the Stranger Genius Award-sanctioned and beloved Cody Rivers Show.
But tomorrow night brings a first for SketchFest: an entire night of comedy on film, shown in a real live movie theater (that also serves food and booze). SketchFest's Comedy Film Festival at Central Cinema will feature a dozen or so short films, along with a live performance by local sketch group Charles.
Full fest info here, short blast of comedy from the Don't We Boys below.
A couple months ago, I wrote a preview of Jennifer Jasper's new solo storytelling show at Theater Off Jackson.
Jennifer Jasper first made herself known on the Seattle theater scene in the early '90s, when she and her cohorts in Kings' Elephant Theater dazzled audiences with their long-form improv pieces, which eschewed punch lines and sketches for extended, multilayered riffs on a theme (adultery, film noir); the end result felt like a play constructed by performance artists. In the later '90s, Jasper branched out with Pulp Vixens, a comedy duo known for campy adaptations of vintage lesbian pulp fiction, and carried on with one of her key Kings' Elephant creations: Maggie, the Scotch-swilling "horny housewife" character Jasper still revs up for hosting/MCing gigs. But two years ago, Jasper tried something she'd never done before: appearing onstage as herself to tell stories about her own life....
Thus was born I Can Hear You...But I'm Not Listening. So great was the response to this first run of shows that Jasper's back this weekend with a remount. Full info and tickets here.
Comedian Mindy Kaling of The Office now has her own TV show—The Mindy Project, about an ob/gyn doctor lookin' for love, which was inspired by her real-life ob/gyn mother. It will be the first American sitcom created by and starring an Indian American.
Comedian Hari Kondabolu, formerly of Seattle and now of the Fox/FX show Totally Biased, responds:
Normally I'd be a bit wary of posting a headline like this because people can take things the wrong way. Also, generally, joking about murdering somebody isn't really in very good taste. Nor funny.
But if it's good enough for Karl Rove, it's good enough for me:
On the final morning of the Republican National Convention, Karl Rove took the stage at the Tampa Club to provide an exclusive breakfast briefing to about 70 of the Republican Party’s highest-earning and most powerful donors. During the more than hour-long session, Rove explained to an audience dotted with hedge fund billionaires and investors—including John Paulson and Wilbur Ross—how his super PAC, American Crossroads, will persuade undecided voters in crucial swing states to vote against Barack Obama. He also detailed plans for Senate and House races, and joked, “We should sink Todd Akin. If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”
Then Rove pleaded with his audience for more money—much more.
Hilarious! Also, apparently, an effective fundraising technique among certain audiences.
Of course, if Akin was found mysteriously murdered, the joke would be on Rove! Ha! But, you know, if that happens, don't look for my whereabouts!
The hyper-educated, hyper-funny comedian, activist, and occasional Stranger contributor Hari Kondabolu has a new TV show called Totally Biased with his friend W. Kamau Bell. Kondabolu is one of the writers, Bell is the main talker, Chris Rock is the producer, and it's on the FX network every Thursday night after Louie (with Louis C.K.). It's part talk show, part sketch show, part on-the-street interviews and pretty goddamned funny.
A segment about the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy:
And one about marriage equality:
Even better: the studio bigwigs decided to give Biased a shot on the big network—"the one The Simpsons is on," as Kondabolu put it—this Saturday at midnight.
Your mission is clear: Buy 53 televisions, bribe someone to hook you up with a bunch of those Nielsen TV monitors, and watch the shit out of it this weekend.
I wanted to highlight this comment on my Friday post defending my play Miracle! (now closed) from an outraged critic who claimed—without bothering to see the show—that it mocked the deaf and deaf-blind:
I was at the Thursday night performance of Miracle! and I'm one of the deaf people Dan saw at the post-play discussion. (I'm also on the board of Deaf Spotlight) There was a discussion FB about a month ago, in our community, initiated by a deaf-blind person, who read Zoe's comments and was very upset with what this play seemed to be saying about Helen Keller, and by proxy, deaf-blind people. A healthy discussion followed, admittedly by people who'd never seen the performance. I had requested an interpreter for this and other plays for Intiman's summer festival, so I suggested, despite my own trepidations (based on what Zoe said) that we all keep an open mind and go see the interpreted performance. Well, quite a few did, as Dan said, including the deaf-blind person that initiated the discussion, who promised to keep an open mind. He'd never seen a drag show send-up of well-known movies and plays, a staple of the '80's and '90's. By the time the intermission rolled around, he was a convert, telling me that he was not insulted at all, and thought the play was hilarious. The play actually makes Helen's story humane and universal; another interpreter friend who saw the play earlier said it seems more a indictment of the system of educating the deaf than it is about Helen Keller. The interpreters were having a great time. I thought the play was absolutely a hoot to watch. (And yes, Deaf Spotlight would like to explore the possibility of opening the play to a wider audience in the community.)
Miracle! closed on Saturday night—but other theaters in other cities have expressed an interest in mounting the show. And I'll pass the script on to Deaf Spotlight just as soon as I have a chance to make a few tweaks.
Forgive me for taking so long to respond to the open letter you posted at AfterElton. I was in Iowa for family reunion when your letter was posted, then off on a long-overdue vacation with the HICBIA, and when we got back to Seattle last week we were distracted by preparations for a little dinner party we were hosting. Anyway, Zoe, you wrote...
When I read about Miracle!, your new Helen Keller-themed drag show, my first thought was to search for reactions from Deaf or Blind folks who had attended it. My next thought was to wonder whether you had made the show accessible to people who are Deaf and/or Blind (with audio-description and sign language interpreters), so that the people being mocked therein could judge it for themselves.
Then I read this: "As the audience walks in, there's a giant written announcement up on stage that warns 'this play will be deeply offensive to the deaf/blind community, so please don't tell them. Keep your hands shut!'"
So let’s recap: you, a non-disabled guy, put on a show devoted to mocking disabled people, a show which you intended to be hurtful and offensive to disabled people, and that show starts with you bragging that you care so little what disabled people think about this, you don’t even want them to know. At this point in my letter I should give you some info about me: I’m disabled, I’m queer, and I’m pissed the hell off.
I'm going to answer your relevant questions—did we make the play accessible? what did Seattle's deaf community think of the show?—but first I have to challenge the wild assumptions you're making about my intentions and about a play that you haven't seen. (There's one more performance tomorrow night. I'm happy to get you a comp.) I did not write or direct a show that mocks disabled people. Helen Keller is not the butt of the joke in Miracle! What I did was place Helen Keller's story in a different and, yes, inherently comedic universe. But our goal was to tell Helen Keller's story, Zoe, not to mock Helen Keller. The very first discussion I had with the cast on the very first day of rehearsal was about the importance of maintaining Helen's dignity while we told her story. And I think we succeeded.
Why set The Miracle Worker in a drag bar? Why make Helen a drag queen? Why use drag and camp to tell Keller's story?
A tweet from our editorial director:
On one of his recent radio shows, a popular Somali comedian ridiculed commanders of a ruthless Islamist insurgent group that is notorious for forcibly recruiting boys into its ranks and making them fight.The reason why the Left has so many (maybe too many) great comedians (Jon Stewart and so on) and the Right has so few (if none at all—think of Red Eye), is because comedy in its essence is subversive. Power hates those who have access to the disruptive/destructive energies of laughter.
“Hey young boys, you can’t move back from the enemy shelling ... instead just stay there and fight,” the comedian said, taking the role of an al-Shabab commander speaking by phone to his youthful troops from an oceanside spot, far from the front lines
Such ribbing may have cost comedian Abdi Jeylani Malaq his life. On Tuesday, the 43-year-old Malaq was shot dead near his home in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, by two young men suspected of belonging to al-Shabab, a group that pledges fealty to al-Qaida.
The targeted killing sparked calls for investigations into his death.
Many in Somalia will miss Malaq’s ability to make them laugh as they try to overcome some 20 years of conflict.
Well, if I wasn't already a complete and total Darcy Burner partisan, my foray today through the latest campaign finance disclosure filings would've sealed the deal: A $1,000 contribution from satirical songwriter Tom Lehrer, one of the half-dozen or so writers I consider a major influence on my own development as a writer.
You may remember Lehrer from such classic songs as National Brotherhood Week or The Vatican Rag, or perhaps not remember him from the number of songs he wrote for the children's TV show The Electric Company. Yes, I was one of those geeky kids who collected comedy albums, not popular music, and I still pull Lehrer's albums out occasionally to the utter disinterest of my daughter. Except for Poisoning Pigeons in the Park. She loves that one. Because she's got a wonderfully sick sense of humor like her dad.
Our lovely tech wizard Erin, who celebrated a birthday this weekend, was greeted by the most wonderful Monday-morning post-birthday sight:
Every postcard, every pen, even the computer cords, even the curtains. Erin spent the morning with a recycling bin. Now THAT is how you
celebrate a birthday start a prank war! No word yet on how dear Erin plans to retaliate. Suggestions encouraged. The hooligans responsible are known to all (they left a signed card). More pictures are after the jump.
...AKA the greatest talent show in the world. But I also love the hilarity of Wm. Steve Humphrey, and since my love of the Olympics is strong enough to withstand all negative babbling by naysayers, I can happily share the opening of his latest I Love TV column.
UGGGHHNNNHH!!! It's time for the Olympics again?? IT'S ONLY BEEN FOUR YEARS!! Groooooan, the Olympics are, like, the worst... thing... ever! And, yes, I'm including (1) George Zimmerman, (2) rancid cotton candy, (3) mysterious anal pains, (4) nose pimples, (5) visiting relatives, (6) empty pens that are returned to the pen cup, even though I've told that person a thousand times not to do so, (7) celery, (8) Holocostco —terrible name for a discount store, (9) weenie dogs, and (10) leukemia. Okay... fine... putting an empty pen back in the pen cup is worse than the Olympics. BUT I'M STANDING BEHIND THE REST!
Now, I understand these Olympic Games are supposed to represent and celebrate Herculean efforts—but why do they choose dumb stuff? I perform Herculean efforts EVERY SINGLE DAY—and does anyone care? Are there 17 days of near-constant TV programming dedicated to my activities? Do underarm deodorants clamor to sponsor me? Are foreign countries shaking their fists and cursing my name? (Yes... because I'm not a very respectful tourist. BUT "NO" TO THOSE OTHER THINGS!)
To prove my point, here are five upcoming televised Olympic events paired with my own corresponding Herculean efforts. YOU decide which is more awesome!
Read the full thing here.
In the meantime, please enjoy this eternally amazing footage of Mary Lou Retton nailing the perfect-ten vault she needed to win the Gold in 1984—then immediately nailing another perfect-ten vault just because she is a badass.