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Heroin Pig, etc.

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The comedy audioblog Milton Berle's Cock has a great update today, featuring, among others, Bruce McCulloch's "Shame Based Man" CD. My freshman year college roomate loved McCulloch, and owned this CD. It's very, very odd. As you might expect.

Here's a track from it: Heroin Pig.

Punk Farm on the big screen?

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Loyal listeners may remember Jarrett J. Krosocska, the author of "Punk Farm." Jarrett emailed me late last year to say he listens to The Sound of Young America while he paints, and would I like to have a copy of his book... I said, "sure!" Turns out Jarrett's book is a beautiful tome for toddlers about a group of farm animals who get together to perform a punked-out version of "Old McDonald."

Jarrett emailed me this week to say that "Punk Farm" was optioned by Dreamworks for a film. He's got the news release and other official stuff here on his website. We can only hope that he'll remember The Sound of Young America fondly while he's taking a treasure bath.

Centaur

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One of the reasons that Christopher Walken is so great on Saturday Night Live, I think, is that his natural delivery is so stilted that it's like he's reading from cue cards anyway.

Good Morning, Whoopi?

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"Wake Up With Whoopi" is now more than just a recurring nightmare you've been having. Soon, it'll be a Clear Channel syndicated radio show. The Times is reporting that the Whoopster has inked a deal with the radio super-conglomerate to host a morning show starting July 31st.

Cheap jokes aside, it's either a sign of either how desperate the radio industry is, or that the radio industry is waking up. On the one hand, Whoopi long ago passed has-been on the road to completely forgotten. On the other, she remains a big-name talent, and her skill set is genuinely suitable for morning radio. One of the reasons Whoopi still has any career at all is that she comes across as sincerely personable, and building a personal connection is what that kind of radio is all about.

And Whoopi is talented. I mean, 15 years of awful movies (then awful TV shows, then awful commercials...) may have erased it from our minds, but she exploded out of the San Francisco theater/comedy scene around 1980 on merit. The Broadway show that brought her to the national consciousness was genuinely funny. And she's a bright and articulate advocate for the issues she cares about, even if the occaisional outrageousness gets in the way of that.

Color me curious on this one.

The AV Club runs down Crispin Glover's film...

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Crispin Glover is a legendary Hollywood eccentric, famous for his role in Back to the Future, as well as for printing his home phone number in the odd rock album he put out in the 80s (really, we used to have the LP at KZSC).

Josh Modell of the Onion AV Club attended a screening of Glover's feature film, "What Is It?" and describes it thusly:

Then, the movie. In an interview you can read elsewhere on this site, Glover insisted to our own Keith Brammer that What Is It? has a narrative structure, and you’ve gotta believe that it does to him, but 72 minutes of strange encounters portrayed by actors with Down’s Syndrome (and Glover himself) won’t be following any traditional story arc. Instead, there’s a lot of snail killing, some swastikas, Shirley Temple, a minstrel, murder, an alternate universe (apparently the main character’s inner self), and more. Did I mention the naked man with cerebral palsy who’s manually stimulated (at length) by a naked woman wearing a monkey mask? Yeah, that happens. And he’s resting inside a giant clam shell at the time.

Link to his full description

Are you Dan from Chicago?

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From David Wain of Stella:

We're trying to find a guy named "DAN" who came on stage with us during our show in Chicago, November 10, 2004. If you're him, get in touch with us! info@stellacomedy.com. We have a clip of him on our upcoming DVD and we need his permission to use his face!

This right here is the power of citizen media in action. Are you Dan? Do you know Dan? Speak now, or we won't get the Stella DVD we deserve.

Outkast - The Mighty O

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Sounds pretty damned good to me. Nothing earth-shattering, but pretty damn good.

MP3

This a-hole has a posse.

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The Times today has an interesting piece on the new breed of low-print-run, high-gloss lifestyle magazines. The focus is Swindle, a relatively new mag that is apparently re-inventing the idea of the zine for Generation Y. (It also mentions, Lemon, a magazine which apparently is SCENTED).

About 3/4 of the way in, the piece quotes Shepard Fairey, who's one of the two creators of Swindle. They call him a "36-year-old street artist turned marketing guru." He's better known to the world as the creator of Obey and those stickers and wheatpastes that say, "Andre the Giant Has A Posse."

When I first started seeing the posters in San Francisco, maybe ten years ago, there was a captivating mystery to them. When I learned more about Fairey, I was doubley captivated... the wheatpastes were intended as a sort of satire of consumer culture, an advertisement for a product which didn't exist... agitprop for a nonexistent ideology.

Of course, since those posters became a phenomenon, Fairey has basically pooped upon his original idea by making his "Obey Giant" brand into just that -- a brand.

I'm not one to accuse people of selling out -- I know we all have to make a living, and I would have had no problem with Fairey using his aesthetic skill and renown to teach big companies to be cool or whatever. But what he did really took selling out to a new level.

And then I read this article, and read quotes like this:

"We want the advertising to sort of blend with the content," Mr. Fairey said on the phone from his Los Angeles marketing firm, Studio One, which counts 20th Century Fox and Coca-Cola as clients. "When there's an ad that doesn't seem simpatico, we think it messes up the feng shui of the magazine."

Barf city, right?

No amount of ironic magazine naming can wash out that stain.

Joke Treats for NY & LA

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It must be fun to live in New York or LA... it's a life full of beautiful people, expensive cocktails, and amazing comedy shows.

Two upcoming shows that unquestionably get The Sound of Young America seal of approval...

In LA: Neil & Paul's "Growing Up is Tough"

Neil Campbell and Paul Rust are a remarkable pair of sketch performers. Two young, sweet fellas with incalculable verve and a deep reserve of silly charm. Their shows are loose and winning, and often involve ascents into glorious madness. The closest analogy I can think of is Pee-Wee Herman -- somehow both lighthearted and scandalous. Their newest show, "Growing Up is Tough" is a thematically linked sketch program about coming of age.

You can see the show for $8, Friday May 12th, at the UCB Theater in LA. Click here to reserve tickets.

All the way across the country in New York, Elephant Larry are preparing their new show. As far as I can tell, it's called "The New Show!"

Elephant Larry is (are?) another set of charming young men -- old school chums, graduated from Cornell University. Their tight writing and winning performances earned them raves in both The Onion and The New York Times their last time out (2005's "Boom!"). The team's bizarre premises are executed straight and true, and the results are always guffaw-inducing. The New Show is running at the People's Improv Theater in New York May 13th & 20th and June 3rd, 17th, and 24th. You can buy tickets for the same paltry sum of $8 here.

Comedy Central: "We try to own everything."

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There's a remarkable piece in the Wall Street Journal today about the growing diversification of Comedy Central. The channel (owned by MTV Networks / Viacom) has expanded from simply being a cable channel to being a record company, non-traditional media content provider, and tour manager.

In a way, it's good news: the power of Viacom is getting behind comedy. It's also bad news, however, as Comedy Central extends it's hegemony in the comedy (and particularly standup comedy) media world.

It's clear that channel boss Doug Herzog's goal is to make CC the go-to brand for comedy entertainment. As he says in the article, "A guy can tell a joke Sunday night at the comedy club, and we can deliver it to our audience in six different ways the next day."

What Comedy Central is offering here is "a brand and a platform." One of the central problems in the standup business is this: most people like good comedy, but they aren't familiar with the talent the way they might be with a band or a TV star. Getting familiar with a comic usually means seeing their act -- and once you've seen it, well, you've seen it already. So why go see them?

So the brand platform (not to be confused with the brand and platform) becomes important -- if people trust the club they're going to, or "Comedy Central Presents," or "Blue Collar Comedy" or whatever, then they can go see something (or buy something) without seeing it first free and ruining the joke.

But it worries me nonetheless... mostly because there's not another brand to compete.

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