- March Madness March 14, 2006
Well – first off – here is my Final Four (Memphis, Texas, Ohio State and Michigan State). Right now 3 of the 4 people reading this are calling me “nuts” or “stupid” for these picks. I don’t care – I have never been good at “bracketology,” as ESPN calls it to make them believe that their jobs require something more than a high school diploma and lots of spare time.
The real March Madness occurred during the Big East Tournament last week, during which, Syracuse’s Gerry McNamara took over and helped the Orangemen win 4 in a row to capture the conference tournament. It was a great performance from a very good college player.
And that’s when the reverse racism started.
Every commentator began praising McNamara (who is white) with the same caveat,
“He may not be a great athlete, but he is so tough and crafty, etc.”
“Now, he may not win any athletic contests, but he sure is a smart player.”
McNamara is a point guard in the Big East. For you non-hoops fans – that is basically like the highest level of pre-NBA basketball. And McNamara was the best player at that level for a week and he didn’t do it with Bugs Bunny “Duck Season-Rabbitt Season” mind games. He did it with speed, quickness, and a sick jump shot. I don’t remember him running by the entire Georgetown hoops team and thinking, “Man, he sure can run smartly.”
Then there’s a more personal example (from the NBA).
Being one of 8 known Utah Jazz fans outside of Utah I follow the team closely. Their star player for Utah is Andrei Kirilenko, a Russian guy who jumps out of the gym and just happens to be one of the most versatile players in the NBA. And he also has one of the coolest nicknames in sports AK-47 (he wears #47) What are the compliments he gets?
“He is such an interesting player.”
“He is one of the most unique players in the NBA.”
So apparently top-level white basketball players can be smart and unique, but athletic – that just sounds weird. Much the same way Chris Rock lampooned whites who complimented Colin Powell’s ability to “speak so well.”
(As a sidenote – being half-black and half-white, coaches and commentators were always able to come to a compromise with me: “He just isn’t that good,” – but see “The Dunk.”).
But AK-47 gets the last laugh. It turns out AK’s wife has authorized him (in contract form) to have limited cheating privileges on the road. Now THAT is smart and unique. But, maybe his wife just doesn’t think he is athletic enough to make use of the privilege.
- Williams College Recap March 12, 2006
At 10 AM on March 10, 2006 I stepped onto the Peter Pan Bus at Port Authority Bus Terminal excited that a mere 4 hours and 50 minutes later I would arrive at Williams College and that a mere 11 hours stood between me and comedy glory. A bus trip that long gives a man time to contemplate many things like, “Why don’t I have a car so I could cut 2 hours off of this trip” and Why are buses only comfortable for people under 6’4″?”
On the bus I saw the wife of Williams College Professor Robert Dalzell (he wrote me a recomendation for law school – so thanks Professor for convincing Georgetown that I was worthy of torturing for three years).
When I got off the bus 6 days later I first made sure that I was not permanently crippled. After I realized that my legs would recover from the bus ride I checked into the Williams Inn, which is the Ritz Carlton of Williamstown, as evidenced by the fact that that evening was Nursing Home Team Trivia night. If only I didn’t have to do this comedy show. As it turns out the trivia night is simply one question asked over and over again for two hours.
I then walked around campus for a few hours with no one to talk to because apparently students find it odd when lone 26 year olds ask them “where the hot girls live on campus?”
Then I got a phone call from Humorist Danny Rouhier, the show”s headliner. We laughed, we cried, we reminisced and then we got dinner at the Water Street Grill. While there he and I tried to outjoke each other with the waitress (I won).
Then it was finally showtime. Well, actually not yet – first there was some guy reciting the Gospel of Mark from 7 pm-9pm at our venue. The guy was sort of like Brother Justin from the HBO show Carnivale minus the charisma, presence, theme music and followers.
Then it was showtime. I went on stage first and did a solid 35 minute set. I think the highlight for the kids was my Owen Wilson impression. I also realized that I was old. I felt like if I told any jokes about VCRs, kids would be asking “is that like a dvd player?” It aslso dawned on me that jokes about Gerardo (“Rico Suave”) are limited basically to people born the same month as me – anyone else will not relate. Jokes about Gary Glitter’s pedophilia met with mixed reactions.
I then brought up headliner Danny Rouhier (www.funnydanny.com) whose highlights for me were actually his jokes about Williams College and his Bill Cosby impression. He also continues to show that if you are funny a crowd will not care if your voices for gay men sound identical to your voices for women. After the show we partied like only Williams College kids party, which means soberly with discussions of random pop culture. We went and had some snacks at the dining hall (I had a hamburger and a chocolate milkshake). We then went back to a freshman dorm and traded jokes with some frehman hoops players. At 2 am I retired to my room at the Williams Inn realizing that after all of my expenses the trip would actually cost me about $30.
So I say to Williams College – you’re welcome.
Check out the photos from my trip in the “photos” section of the blog.
- Last Comic Standing? March 8, 2006
I recently annoyed a good friend of mine because I chose to do a paid college gig rather than do the open audition for Last Comic Standing. For some reason my friends have often thought me a great choice for a reality show (probably no greater insult)and a comedy reality show seemed like a match made in Attention-Grabbing Heaven. However, before I made my choice between college gig and LCS I saw something very interesting.
On a comic’s website in late February he had listed as one of his upcoming gigs the LCS audition on March 8th at Carolines. That’s great, but then I realized that the open audition (the one they tape to show how popular and compeititive the competition is) was on March 7th. Suddenly I felt like Kevin Costner in JFK when Donald Sutheland tells him that the papers in New Zealand were reporting Kennedy’s death 12 hours before it actually happened. What could this mean – could this mean that reality shows are fixed?
Quiz Show + DaVinci Code + no one caring = this secret that I have uncovered.
Now don’t get me wrong, I like LCS – without it I may have never seen Gary Gulman, who is an awesone comic – check out my links and buy his cd, which is tremendous. And based on the imitations of auditions, 2-3 minutes of material for openers – you need additional screening to make sure you don’t get some a-hole who just lifted 2 minutes of great material from someone else. But that said – they should not make the show out to be some unknown needle in a haystack search. They should just pick out there industry 40-50 comics and let them compete. At least that would be honest. But instead NBC likes to feed into our outdated Horatio Alger mindset that “Even I could make it.” The game is fixed Horatio and the best you can do is stand in line to make the guy they already picked before hand look like he beat you out fair and square.
So when I took this all in I decided to take the college gig for a few reasons:
1) Paid Money
2) It’s at my Alma Mater
3) The college kids only care if my stuff is funny and not marketable.
4) Since Williams College is the top ranked liberal arts school in the country I am hoping one kid who watches my show goes to Harvard Law, becomes a super agent and books me a spot for Last Comic Standing.
- Horrible Oscars March 6, 2006
J-L’s Oscar Recap
So last night Crash was named best picture of 2006, which will be forever remembered as the “Year that Good movies were called Great.”
Goodnight and Good luck was exactly as the title suggested – good. Capote was a step up – I would call it “quite good,” but not greeat. Brokeback Mountain is also good (the best part of the movie was the score and the Oscars did get that right), but a little boring. Crash was good, but felt a little too much like an episode of Fox’s old show “Boston Public,” where 85 social issues had to be addressed in each school day (“Oh my God, my boytfriend is in a gang and I’m pregnant, but it’s not his baby because it’s my math teacher’s baby and my best friend is on drugs and her boyfirend is taking steroids to get a football scholarship and I was just a victim of a hate crime in the parking lot while my best friend just told me she was gay.”
That leaves us with Munich – clearly the best film of the year. It had Julius Caesar from Rome, Hector from Troy and the new James Bond. That is a kick-ass trio, but it was also just a really good movie. It was a classic thriller with a message. Unfortuntely that message was not as stark as “Cowboys can be gay” or “Everyone is racist” or “The Media has no balls anymore.” The message was “Violence solves nothing, and Steven Spielberg is still the best director in the world” – the title he got with Saving Private Ryan, but almost lost with The Terminal.
The biggest mistake of the night had to be George Clooney beating out Matt Dillon for best supporting actor. No one seems to remember Matt Dillon getting snubbed for his tour-de-force as Pat Healy in There’s Something About Mary. Playing a racist cop he is very convincing and the most engaging character and performance in the film. George Clooney got fat (for no reason) and grew a beard (for no reason). Bad choice. The biggest snub OF ALL TIME, however, was in 1999 when Christopher Plummer was not even nominated for The Insider (as Mike Wallace).
As far as the other categories – Memoirs of a Geisha cleaned up the artsy awards – but no one addressed why the geishas all spoke broken English in the movie. The movie should have either been in Japanese or just let the actresses speak normal English – don’t try and fool me into believing that these Geishas, which I believe is Japanese for “whore who keeps kimono on,” learned English just well enough to tell me their story for 2 and a half hours.
King Kong also won 3 awards – for special effects, which means everyone will give it the “technical masterpiece” title instead of saying that it should have been nominated for Best Picture.
Then in foreign film I only saw one – Paradise Now. One word of advice – if you are doing a show being filmed by Israeli TV – don’t open with a joke “I’m going to see Paradise Now after this show.” Even if it is true, they will not find any humor in it.
My top movies for 2005, in order, would have been: 1) Munich 2) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 3)King Kong 4) Capote 5) Match Point
Honrable mention to Walk the Line, Sin City and Brokeback Mountain.
And a special note here – I would like there to be a “Best Scene” category at the Oscars – just nominate the best scenes (of any kind) in a given year.
For example a past winner for me would have been in 1989 – the final scene of Dead Poets’ Society would have narrowly beaten out the scene in Glory where all the soldiers are singing and talking before going into their final battle.
Well, this year the race would have been between the T-Rex fight in King Kong and the “Whoop that Trick” scene in Hustle and Flow. And in an upset – “Whoop that Trick” is the winner. It may sound funny, but if you have seen the movie, you probably agree.
I expect better things for 2006 Oscar. Maybe Al Pacino will play a guy who screams a lot or Sean Penn will make a lot pained faces. And most likey best scene nomionee Basic Instinct 2.
- Who Wants to Sex Dikembe? January 24, 2006
And other funny thoughts from The State of the Union
I was enjoying American Idol last night, but then realized that I was missing pre-game commentary on the State of the Union. So I flipped to MSNBC to watch Keith Olberman interview Hilary Clinton with a split screen with the House coming to order.
Side note – Am I the only guy in America who feels like, “Yes I want Hilary Clinton to be President, but I probably said to girls and women from about 4th grade up until about two weeks ago – A woman president? There will never be a woman president!”
Anyway – as the State of the Union progressed here were some of my thoughts:
1) Does Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff have full blown AIDS? I know it sounds harsh, but he looks like he should be hooked up to an IV in a scene from “And The Band Played On.” Get that guy a sit down with Magic Johnson’s doctors before it’s too late. Gaunt with a thin mustache – I feel like I am watching a Freddie Mercury death bed scene every time that guy is on camera.
2) Did they have to sit Dikembe Mutombo near the 1st lady and some 4’11” Asian woman? The man is 7’2″. At least sit him next to an assortment of 6’4″ people. And I loved hearing about his humanitarian work in Africa, but a couple of odd thoughts popped into my head when W. was praising him.
i) Did it really take the insight of John Thompson to get Dikembe to play basketball? a 7’2″ man with hands that can cause an eclipse of the Sun when he raises one in class to answer a question would probably lead everyone on campus to get him to the gym.
ii) Possibly an elite racist Georgetown urban legend, but I have heard from numerous people that as a student at Georgetown, Dikembe had gone to a bar and pulled out his Mutombo, thumped it on the bar and said, “Who wants to sex Mutombo?” This story and the people who have spread or started it may be liars, exaggerating or just trying to portray the large African man as something out of a D.W. Griffith film, but I was really hoping he would do it again on Laura Bush’s shoulder. She was at the perfect height! I would have given another standing ovation.
3) I really did like the people that George W. Bush gave shout outs to. Especially the guy from NYC who saved the other guy from being run over by a train. I thought it was a nice moment.
4) Condi Rice has to smile more, even if it means exposing her teeth. When she has that bizarre scowl on her face I want to change the channel.
5) Bush is asking everyone to give his new plan (Operation: Throwing Glass of Water on Towering Inferno) a chance, but remember what happened last time he had a plan in Iraq? I don’t either.