The Hangover Effect

If you read this blog you belong to a few select groups of people:

1) You are a comedian that enjoys a well-worded stream of misery.

2) You are a regular person that enjoys a well-worded stream of misery.

3) You are my mom.

One of the things I have taken both pride in and offense to is how fellow comedians have characterized my blog.  A friend repeatedly tells me that my blog makes him feel better about his comedy, basically because I represent the floor of human emotion when it comes to comedy.  Another comedian told me that when he reads my blog, it feels like he is reading the words of a man alone in a cabin on top of a windy, snow-capped mountain.  And then it dawned on me, comedy has so many bad things about it that I may have to be done with it, in spite of my pleasure in writing and telling jokes.    Comedy is like the best sex in the world with the worst person on Earth.  Ladies, it would be like finding out the greatest sex you ever had was with Adolph Hitler.  Men, it would be like the greatest sex in your life being with Kathy Griffin.  I will try to keep this under 5,000 words, but if I don’t, just pretend it is an article from the New Yorker on what it is like being a no-name comedian in NYC.  So here are the things that are crushing my love of comedy.

Comedy Is About Characters, Not Comedy

I have dubbed what I see in comedy as “The Hangover Effect.”  The 4 main comedic elements of the Hangover, were as follows:

  • The crazy man – Alan (Zach Galifianakis – the guy with the beard)
  • The nerd – Stu (Ed Helms)
  • The cover boy/douchebag (Bradley Cooper)
  • Ethnic Goof – Ken Jeong

The Hangover was wildly successful (not to mention very funny), but it either culminated or represented a dangerous trend (at least in my opinion) in comedy: the increasing compartmentalization of comedy into different archetypes.  Every ensemble comedy cast (not to mention each episode of Live At Gotham) appears to have a bearded wild man (spouting non sequiturs or off the wall comments a plus), a nerd, someone telegenic (often a good place to squeeze in a female comic) and some sort of ethnic grab bag that often, but certainly not always, feeds into Middle America’s sensibilities.

Now I am all for diversity of style and voice in comedy and I believe ethnic (and to a lesser degree, gender) diversity will flow naturally from that desire to hear different voices and styles.  But more and more I get a feeling that movies like The Hangover have ushered in a new development for what people want (and what they will be given) in comedy in general (not just comedy films) – funny will get trumped by type.  This does not fit for the already established acts in comedy, but for up and coming comedians I think it may apply.  As a test – check the upcoming  Summer movie “Bridesmaids.”  I’m sure it was pitched as “The Hangover for women!”  but like the WNBA, women may dig that, but most men will not.  But, if by some minor miracle, it is a success, look for that to become the barometer for female comedians.  There is a fat, overly sexed character featured prominently in the preview.  If the movie is a success and that character is the break out character/actress then I suggest all the female comedians start stuffing their faces with food.

Social Media

Being in comedy, means having to dive headfirst into the emotional wasteland of social media.  I use it to post jokes, post info about gigs or comedy videos I have done and occasionally on issues of some social relevance.  But being a comedian immersed in social media is like showering in prison – you have to do it, but you constantly feel violated.

I honestly believe that how many likes and comments you can consistently generate is inversely proportional to how intelligent you and your friends are.  I don’t mean for things like “I’m on The Tonight Show” or “I got married,” but rather for things like “My dick just murdered Lady Gaga.” (LMFAO).

Beyond comedy, my wing of the Social Media Prison, I think the amount of people incapable of keeping feelings to themselves is downright frightening.  I once posted a joke on a woman’s comment to which she responded, “I don’t know what that means, but seriously today is not the day!”  Ok, well here is a suggestion – keep your feelings to yourself – if they are so powerful and important why are you posting them on the same place where you describe “yummy salads” and pop songs you like?  Facebook is like a club where I thought people went to have fun, but half the people are on the dance floor only to feel like someone cares about them.

And if you are friends with comedians you probably receive 50 invites to shows a week.  When I invite people to my monthly show I do it individually (takes a lot longer), but to ensure that the only people invited (unless I make a mistake) are in the city of the show and either performing on the show or non-comedians who may show up as audience.  But that is the professionally courteous thing to do, which, like basic social graces, is something foreign to many comedians.

And lastly, I know I write a blog and I tweet, but I am a good writer and capable of funny remarks.  Given the sheer volume of bloggers and tweeters I am in the minority in both.  And without fame credentials I am merely lumped in with the rest of the no-name illiterates out there.  As Groucho Marx said, “I would never want to be a member of any club that would have me as a member.”

Comedy – The Most Hypocritical of the Arts

Comedians are the first to bash awards shows for being pretentious, self-congratulatory and useless.  And yet, every time you turn around there is a new awards show for comedy or comedy related matters.  And the pandering for these things is relentless and like the MTV Awards or Wrestlemania, time will simply bestow a legitimacy on the awards that they never deserved.  It reminds me of an “alternative (barf)” comedian who I was recently reminded of that will say “I’m not going to say I look like a combination of blank and blank.”  Now the laughs he receives are not for his meta-approach to comedy, mocking anyone who has ever made a look-a-like joke but rather, are for the resemblance itself.  But the comedian will entertain the fantasy that people “get what he is about.”

Comedians love to talk about art and pretending like they are all Bill Hicks disciples that would never sell out.  But if you have ever attended an open mic where a comedian with some heat is doing five minutes the ball-licking laughter is unbearable.  Comedians cannot wait to attach themselves to the “next hot thing,” just like any desperate actress in Hollywood would.  But somehow no one has misconceptions or undue respect for the actress and what she does to get ahead.

Then there are the comedy journalists, who remind me of famous sports journalists.  When a journalist is too close to the subjects or wants to be part of the world they cover (or at least have access to that world) they are no longer a journalist and are now just a cheerleader.  It is sort of like a reporter’s equivalent of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle – once you get too close to a subject you can no longer effectively report on it.  For example, I am a huge fan of Michael Wilbon of ESPN, except when he is discussing certain athletes.  In those cases he becomes a fan and is no longer credible, which had deleterious effects of his coverage of Tiger Woods, Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick, to name a few.  But imagine if Wilbon’s access to ESPN events was contingent on him being only positive about everything in sports and only covering the already industry-approved stars and trends.  Then you would have the comedy writers.  When access, and not truth is your main objective then a lot will be left out.  Never a word about bringers, open casting calls or any other myriad of fraudulent practices in comedy.  How about something about how feature acts have been getting paid the same thing for about 20 years now – is there any other business where an employee’s pay has not been adjusted in 20 years?  Or about the fact that one of the major industry showcases is skewed towards searching “character” based comedians (I don’t think The Hangover Theory is that off)?  Off course not, because criticism of these thing might mean fewer free tickets.

Good Things Happen To Bad People

I remember in 6th grade seeing some students cheat on a quiz and I was not a snitch (because in wealthy private schools “snitches get… fewer rides in Mercedes Benz cars from their friends’ parents”), but I remember complaining to my mom.  And she told me a terrible lie.  She said “eventually it will catch up to them.”  Anyone who knows someone who works in finance knows that this is a horrible lie.  In America if you are rich and you flaunt the rules, you often times, just get richer.

Several years ago (I think it was about 34 years ago), I had booked Craig Ferguson and told a more established comedian this.  My thinking was not one of arrogance because the other comedian was much further along in their career and accolades, but it was sort of a response to a comment.  Well, a few minutes later this comedian was bashing me to some other comedians (that I knew and respected) behind my back (my girlfriend at the time overheard).  Well that comedian, with his insecurites and ill will is now a pretty big deal.  And I am still touting Ferguson as my only substantial credit.  I feel like Woody Allen could write a movie about it called “Way Too Late With Craig Ferguson.”

Comedy Leaves You Lonely

Of all the highs and lows that I have had from comedy over the last 8 years, the lowest may have occurred last Friday.  I was at the wedding of my oldest friend (known him 26 of my 31 years).  This is a guy who visited me in college,only to see me ride the bench for a basketball game.  This is a guy who visited me in law school down in DC.  This is also a guy who had the guts to voice concerns (and speak to my family) that my engagement of a few years ago was a disaster waiting to happen (it was the relationship equivalent of the financial collapse of 2008 – and he saw it coming a mile away).  But ever since moving back to NYC from law school, more and more nights, that could have been spent socializing were spent in basements writing and telling jokes for a profession that is, in many ways, dying as hard as print journalism.  Eventually I stopped getting asked to do 95% of stuff and my requests for comedy support went largely unanswered until I found myself at the miscellaneous table at the wedding of my oldest friend.  And worst of all, for someone who enjoys complaining and finding the wrong in others, I have to own up to the fact that I have made the choice to pursue comedy ahead of other things that should matter more and the blame lies with me.

So like a degenerate gambler I continue to double down on comedy, but now it is clear that I don’t have much left to gamble with.  So I will keep writing and complaining and performing, but for the first time in 8 years I am genuinely looking for something else to do with my life besides comedy.  Maybe I will start a rock band.  That can’t be too difficult.  All I need is a Mac, an autotune machine and some angry, real musician to bitch about how I am ruining music.


If A Comedian Meets A Stripper Does Self Esteem…

The weekend started off in Philadelphia, as promised, for the Utah Jazz versus Philadelphia 76ers game.  The game seemed to generate less interest than one might even expect, despite our country’s love of Mormons, Jazz, patriotism and athletic black men.  It felt more like attending a conference for Detroit billionaires than an NBA game featuring two playoff teams from last year.

The Jazz won the game easily, which was surprising.  However, due to how close our seats were to the court and the fact that the arena was less than half full I felt uncomfortable shouting or cheering too much because I really believed the players could hear me.

This was taken during the game. Obviously Jazz-76ers was a hot ticket.
This was taken during the game. Obviously Jazz-76ers was a hot ticket.
So the weekend started off positively with a win for my squad, much to the chagrin of my two south Jersey bred comedian friends who came to the game with me: Pat Breslin and Jim Dodge.   We then went to a Piano Bar in Philly to meet up with some friends I used to work with.  I learned an important lesson that night.  If you have two bartender options – an extremely hot woman in her early 20s or a slightly overweight man in his late 30s or early 40s you get your drinks from the dude.  The bartenderette seemed to be convinced that her breasts and beautiful eyes could get her a pass for making weak drinks.  And of course it did, but she went too far wen she returned $6 in change in the form of a $5 and a $1 bill.  Proper etiquette is six singles.  So of course I left her the $5.  So the lesson here is don’t ever get your drinks, even one, from a hot bartenderette because all her tricks will most likely work.  But I really think she liked me.

That night I crashed at the home of Pat Breslin’s parents.  I literally felt like a kid sleeping over in elementary school, mostly because they were so friendly and because my feet dangled over the edge of the bed I was sleeping in.  But it was awesome and a great way to nurse a hangover.  Sadly I had to run because in a move of unbelievably poor planning I had to go back to NYC to change for Pat’s bachelor party in Atlantic City that night.  So I took an 1140 train to NYC, ran home, watched Live at Gotham, cursed the show Live at Gotham, showered, had some multivitamins and ran back to Penn Station for a 3 pm train to Atlantic City.

When I realized that I would be on a bachelor party trip with approximately twenty guys (dudes and brahs) from south jersey I just assumed that the night would be some shameful mix of Very Bad Things, The Hangover and The Accused.  But then I noticed that I was only one of a few guys not actually married on the trip.  I guess it was pretty standard fare for a bachelor party, but I did have some learning experiences.  Among the things I had said or thought during the adult portion of the night:

1) “I guess?”  My response when a stripper asked me hypothetically what I would do to her and provided me with only one option that I actually had and have no desire to do, but felt that strip club conversations, like Improv games, require affirmative answers so the game doesn’t end.

2) “What’s with all the tattoos on these strippers?” I mean you strip so we already know that you hate yourself and your family, so why be redundant with self-mutilation?

3) “I think I am going to walk in front of a moving car” when a stripper asked me what I did for a living, I said “comedy, its fun, but tough, to which the woman who removed her clothes for a living told me “to follow my dreams.”  When a woman with more emotional and physical scar tissue than the cast of Keeping Up With the Kardashians is in a position to be a motivational speaker, the person being spoken to is making poor life choices.  So apparently my job respect rankings need to be re-evaluated.  I now present you with a correct re-ranking:

1) President of The US

77) gym teacher

133) stripper

134) comedian

135) porn fluffer

After strip club festivities it was time for clubbing.  We all went to Providence at the Tropicana.  I must admit I was pretty impressed with the talent level of Atlantic City (especially after initially seeing at dinner what was unanimously decided to be the ugliest bachelorette party in the history of the Animal Kingdom).  Perhaps the recession has driven out some of the nastier looking women to Foxwoods or the Harrahs in Delaware that the Amtrak passes, but Atlantic city club going couples all seem to fit the exact same profile:

Man – 5’7″, lots of hair product, a striped button-down shirt, a look of slightly misplaced confidence (which may be explained by the woman)

Woman – 5’5″, skin tight, low cut dress, two of the following three add-ons (breasts, hair color, tattoo) – ok so maybe nasty(skanky at least) looking still, but the good kind I guess.

Apparently, the strip club, the dozen $14 drinks at Providence and the box of cookies I ate at 230 am were too much for my emotional and physical makeup because I turned into a bulimic at around 3 am.  All in all a good weekend.  This week takes me to Cleveland via Amtrak.  Fun fun fun.


The Top Ten Of The Summer

Summer Movies, Had Me a Blast

The Summer film season kick off was Wolverine, which was the worst thing not named Swine Flu, Paul Blart or Blue Dog Democrats to emerge this year.  Fortunately, the rest of the Summer with a few exceptions, turned out to be pretty damn good.  Although I was pleased with last Summer’s movies, especially The Dark Knight, I think this year’s were overall stronger.  Here’s my top 10 if you want any recommendations before heading back to school, work or prison:

1. Up – Amazing and touching Pixar film about an old man who is too busy having an adventure to complain about Obama’s death panels.

2. District 9 – The most creative movie of the year and probably going to get a Best Picture nomination now that the Academy can nominate ten movies.  In short it is about an alien who lands in Africa who is harassed by locals when they begin claiming he was born in Hawaii.

3. Bruno – People were mixed on this – whether they liked it or hated it.  I thought it was brilliant and more daring that Borat.  So what if the only redeeming message was that the only thing more gross/funny to watch than gay male sex is angry, homophobic rednecks and disgustingly ambitious L.A. parents; it was all absurdly hilarious.

4. Drag Me To Hell – This film was gross, creepy and hilarious.  And like Joan Rivers – it was all intentional (have soem Comedy Central Roast people).  I probably enjoyed this movie more than any others this Summer.

5. The Hurt Locker – Interesting and tense movie about a guy who diffuses IEDs in Iraq and seems to like it.  They are talking Oscar potential for this one, but my guess is because it is not political enough and because Sean Penn is not blowing anybody, its chances are not that high that it will be remembered in February 2010.

6. The Hangover – This will be remembered as the comedy of the year and the film that finally made Las Vegas a destination for young men to go party.

7. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – I thought this was the best adaptation from the books and Alan Rickman does more with little dialogue than anyone I’ve ever seen.  But I wish one of Potter’s classmate’s name’s was Joseph Takagi.

8. Public Enemies – I was disappointed by this film, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good.  Oddly enough I thought Johnny Depp was the weakest part of the film – stick to playing weirdos and heartthrobs.

9. Star Trek – This movie surprised me in that it did not suck.  In fact it was pretty good.  Of course I found it strange that the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage was still relevant centuries later (I do not equate Mike D as the Mozart of the 2300s), but it was well done by JJ Abrams and company.

10. Terminator Salvation – Fu-k you, I enjoyed it.  The second half of the film made the first half make a lot more sense and seem relevant and I actually hope they make a fifth and final one.

The only thing left for me to see this Summer will be Inglourious Basterds.  If it is amazing I will make note of it, but more than likely it will just annoy me.


The Most Disturbing Moment of Bruno

Last night I went to see a midnight show of Bruno.  Perhaps my expectations were not as high as they were for Borat (I believed Borat had the potential to be the funniest movie of all time), but I thought it was insanely funny.  There is a lot more sexual crudeness in this film (I will refrain from saying anything that might spoil surprise/horror/shock/laughter), but it is the hardest I’ve laughed this year (apologies to The Hangover and Drag Me To Hell, especially).

But in a movie that featured many shots of male genitalia and several explicit scenes from a swingers club the most shocking thing I saw last night was about four minutes before the show started when two sets of young parents (late 20s/early 30s) came in to the theater with three small children (none older than 4).  There are a couple of problems with this:

  1. It’s midnight – you could be coming to watch Veggie Tales and it would still be wrong (I’ve often wondered about theaters with 10 pm showings of kids’ movies).
  2. It’s Bruno – not to seem all puritanical, but 3 and 4 year olds probably should not be watching anal penetration and blow jobs.

When are movie theaters going to finally step up and start helping parents be parents?  I mean if a movie is R children must be accompanied by adults.  If a movie is NC-17 (not really sure how Bruno got an R rating) then children under 17 CANNOT see the film, which is why the movie industry tries to avoid those ratings at all cost.  Why can’t theaters say – no children under 10 after 10 pm?  Why don’t they?   And why not say if you are under 10 you cannot see an R rated film?  I was once at the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and a man brought his 2 year old in.  naturally when a woman pulled a gun out of her vagina in the opening scene and killed herself the young child began bawling.  Clearly the tot knew he shouldn’t be there.  Parents can have plenty of time and opportunities to fu-k up their children.  But movie theaters do not have to have to help expedite the process.

It’s simply being responsible for parents who clearly are not and it helps consenting adult movie goers enjoy the film without hearing children talking and/or crying.  To the credit of the kids they did not say anything during Bruno, possibly because one of the fathers responsibly said, and I quote, “Shhhhhh, you need to be asleep right now.”  I agree sir, but in a bed with stuffed animals, not in a theater with images of bleached, stuffed anuses.

The movie is really really funny and I recommend it highly.  And I also recommend movie theaters start taking a modicum of responsibility for their viewers, both the ones that should be there and the ones that shouldn’t.



I remember as a 2nd grader (give or take a year) at Riverdale Country School some Columbia psychology grad students were allowed to use us for experiments.  Simple ones, maybe some of you have been involved in them (there is actually a commercial parodying them running on television currently, but it involves ponies) where the experimenter would tell us we could have 3 Hershey Kisses if we waited for an indefinite amount of time (could be 5 minutes, could be 50) or 2 Hershey Kisses at any time when we said we wished to stop waiting.  I distinctly remember waiting for only a few minutes and then requesting the two Hershey Kisses.

I did not realize that more than two decades later this mindset would bite me in the ass when everyone else would adopt it.

With the advent of YouTube and similar media outlets the viewer’s attention span is both demanding and being molded for nothing less than ten minutes of humorous bursts.  The shorter the better.  If something is 3 minutes try to make it 2, etc.  But comedy, I believed, was open to all sorts of styles and thoughts.  My jokes generally come in the form of intermittent punchlines during the course of stories or opinions with (hopefully) a big punchline at the end.  That is one style – it is not changing the world, but iI hope the content and perspective I have is unique enough.  I am no Bill Cosby or George Carlin, but I wonder to myself sometimes if those legends started out today would they even be considered comedians or would they be placed under the more nebulous “spoken word” category, meaning I may have to listen to some set up or opinion or allow a person to develop something before I get to a more substantive and funny payoff.

I really believe YouTube, for all its convenience is going to have a very detrimental long term effect on comedy.   I was recently told in the course of a rejection for something I auditioned for that I “needed to get to the jokes faster.”  This was in response to one of the best sets I’d ever had in my life.  Now maybe that means that I suck.  But I do not feel that is the case.  So, despite telling what is my best material in crisp formats that had just gotten me passed at two well regarded national clubs, I was taking too much time getting to the punch.   But this may just be what the comedy fan market is demanding.  But

This trend has a doubly deleterious effect on my nascent career because at the time that young storytelling comics with points of view may or may not be getting shunned (or at least fewer opportunities) for more quick hit style comics (nothing against them at all if they do it well), it also seems that this is the dawn of new dominance for the slovenly/nerdy comedian.  Seth Rogan’sascendancy may be the biggest moment of this trend(or re-trend), but also in successful movies like The Hangover the two guys getting the biggest laughs are Zach Galifianakis (slovenly) and Ed Helms (sort of meek and nerdy).  Shows like Important Things with Dimitri Martin and the new porn for alt comedy fans, Michael and Michael demonstrate that the nerdy and alt scene is where the comedy businsess seems to be mining for its new talent.  Perhaps Dane Cook cashed in all the alpha male chips this decade for comedians.  But these two trends (shorter bits, stranger comedians) make me feel like a 2009 General Motors SUV.  That is why instead of getting what I think is a half-assed critique of my audition I would have preferred to hear, “Fu-k you,” or “We don’t want you,” or “You are not what we’re looking for.”  Those I can understand, but if the gates to the comedy kingdom require admission fees in the form of alternative looks or sounds or rapid fire punchlines akin to Rodney Dangerfield or Robin Williams then my days in the business are numbered.  It’s just not what I do.

And people are becoming more and more programmed to expect or demand certain delivery devices like YouTube – the internet is no longer enough.  Not too long ago I told a waiter at a restaurant that I was a comedian.  He seemed to be a big comedy fan so I gave him my card which has my website on it.  He then asked me if I had any clips on YouTube and that he’d look me up on YouTube.  I just gave him a sh*t eating grin because I did not want saliva in my food, but in my head I was thinking, “Yeah maybe you could check out clips of mine if I put them on YouTube, but wait, I think I know where you might also have a chance of seeing some clips – the FU-KING website I just gave you that has all my stuff you pre-programmed moron.”

And to show that this is not sour grapes or some small potatoes gripe, all entertainment is feeling this decrease in attention and creativity – even porn!  See the link below.

Now if even porn stars are craving more substance to their work something is going dreadfully wrong with our pop culture.

I really feel like at some point down the road YouTube will have some video Twitter equivalent where things can only be 15 seconds long and will just consist of people taking dumps in public places or near children and we will all be competing with that stupidity as comics.   I just hope this is a phase of comedy and not a permanent direction because if it is I’ll just take my two Hershey kisses now.


Two Big Basketball Victories

Last night was a night dedicated to basketball for me. My corporate league team (I am know as corporate emeritus on the team) had a game at 7 pm and the Magic-Lakers game at 9.

In the corporate league game I was playing like crap (which considering my pregame meal of a Crumbs cupcake is a huge shock).

We we were losing by double digits with 14 minute left, but then two things happened that have always helped me compete: I got into an argument with my teammate and then got into two scuffles with the other team.  After that, despite not liking Kobe Bryant I turned into an out-of-shape, back to the basket version of Bryant, complete withscowl.  We ended up winning by one point, but the end of the game was the best.  With 3 seconds left a player on the other team drove the lane and missed a layup.  The other team believed he was fouled, which was true if you believe a foul occurs automatically when you miss a layup (also known as NYC playground rules where every missed shot requires a debate that begins with “YOU FOULD ME!  I DIDN’T FOUL YOU” and ends with “FU-K YOU NIG-A!”).  Well, this one was no different, except for one player on the other team.  He was built like Mike Tyson in The Hangover, muscled, but also fat and ugly.  He took special offense at the non-call (he was not the one who actually took the shot – the guy who missed was not very upset) and said to the ref in what a nursery school teacher might call his “felon voice”:


The first thought I had was, what corporation are you guys from?  I am pretty sure whatever it is would not be ok with misdemeanor menacing charges.  Secondly I thought, this is the first time since watching a black cop harass Cuba Gooding Jr. in Boyz In The Hood that the N word sounded just as racist coming from a black guy as a white guy.   My third thought was let’s get the fu-k out of here.

Well, after that it was time to watch the Lakers versus Magic game 3.  I was very happy to see Kobe and his band of underachievers and Eurotrash lose to the Magic.  The game was a little too close for my comfort, but it was still a win for the good guys.  Although there was a foul late in the game called on Dwight Howard, the 18th bailout call for Kobe Bryant in 3 games (Kobe is like a large financial institution – unlikeable, full of douchebagginess and getting bailed out by the establishment) that upset me greatly.  I think my exact words were:



Sports Tragedies

This week I was treated to not one, but two great cinematic experiences.  Up, the new film from Pixar, is incredibly touching and fun and, in my opinion, is only second to Finding Nemo in the Pixar universe.  I then, bolstered with confidence form strong reviews, went to see Drag Me To Hell, which like Crank 2, is a deceptively, but completely intentionally funny film, while at the same time delivering creepy and scary moments.  But apparently the entertainment gods believed me greedy because what the Movie Lord giveth, the Sports Lord taketh away.

First was the elimination of the Denver Nuggets Saturday.  I need to give the devil his due.  Kobe is immensely talented and clutch and he demonstrated both characteristics during the Denver series.   However, I cannot ever be a fan.  He and the Lakers are like Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees are in baseball – an obssessively and obviously media-savvy star on an unlikeable franchise.  The talent is great, but it is overshadowed, to anyone who is not a fan, by the need to look and act the part of the star.  And the way Kobe speaks sounds like he bought the Rosetta Stone “Michael Jordan” immersion program because his speech, along with his fadeaway jumpshot, have become more and more Jordan-esque as his career has gone on.   Kobe is the most Jordan-esque player since Jordan, which is one of the non-rape reasons why some people don’t like Kobe.  Dwayne Wade has adopted a more quiet persona that seems unique to him, while LeBron has been the more engaging superstar, Magic-esque, but clearly free of plagiarism of Magic.  Kobe seems to have attempted a re-make of Jordan, and like someone who dares re-make a classic (think Sheryl Crow doing Sweet Child O’ Mine for the Big Daddy soundtrack) it ends up being less likeable than it might have been if it was at least original.  So now I am forced to root for the Orlando Magic.   I actually think the Magic can win, but would not bet on it.  Here’s my matchup breakdown:

  1. Battle of Superstars – Kobe vs. Dwight.  Dwight Howard has proven to be unstoppable in these playoffs, due almost entirely because of his size 72 shoulders and sick vertical leap, because he still does not seem to have a discernible vertical leap.  Kobe has been better.  Edge – Kobe
  2. Eurotrash matchup – Hedo Turkoglu vs. Pau Gasol and Sasha Vujacic.  Because Pau will be marginalized by Dwight Howard and because Vujacic sucks the edge goes to Hedo “I push off every single time I dribble” Turkoglu.
  3. Tall, underachieving black guys who randomly show up and disappear: Lamar Odom vs. Rashard Lewis.  Odom tends to disappear like a pit bull at Michael Vick’s house.  Rashard Lewis can do the same thing, but has been playing with more and more confidence.  However, in his first trip to the finals I expect to see him piss down his leg at least once.  Edge – Odom.
  4. Coaches: Lurch versus Ron Jeremy.  Phil Jackson is “the Zen master,” which is enough of a reason to root against him, but Stan Van Gundy was screwed out of a title by Pat Riley and Shaq, but has still managed to come back with a vengeance with a new team, all while looking like a less athletic Ron Jeremy.  So in this one I have to give the edge to Stan.

So it looks like a draw, which means if the Lakers win I believe it will be because of a great effort by Kobe and I will have to acknowledge that.  But hopefully the Magic win.

But as if the Lakers win was not enough of a reason to step in front of a bus, Rafa Nadal lost yesterday in tennis.  Nadal-Federer has become my 2nd favorite sporting event after a Utah Jazz hoops game.  Mainly because I watch their matches in awe and I probably change who I am rooting for 3 or 4 times during the match.  Insult to injury for Nadal: the French were cheering on the challenger during the match which seemed a little doucheconsidering Nadal is one of the two greatest champions they’ve ever had.   I think I just heard Nadal order some Freedom Fries.

Well this week I have two more movies to consider and two NBA finals games.  The Hangover (sneak preview tonight), which along with Transformers 2 is my most anticipated film of the Summer, and Land of The Lost, which looks potentially funny, but also potentially awful.  Looks like odds are that The Finals will be 1-1 headed to Orlando by the end of this week.