Kobe Beef

Last night I watched the Boston Celtics get out-hustled and out-played by the Los Angeles Lakers.  As if it wasn’t enough to see Kobe Bryant have a solid game I was forced to swallow my own vomit several times as I watched Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar make quality contributions.  Rumor has it in the off-season they will be filming a buddy cop flick called Euro Trash and Shrek Ears.  But as much as Kobe has played the villain in my NBA story for the last 4 years, last night it got personal.  Because of the Laker victory, they will now play Game 7 on Thursday, my first night in Atlanta at The Punchline.

The Punchline is a big club and a chance for me to atone with Southern audiences for a minor debacle in Birmingham last Summer.

Backstory – Last Summer I featured at The Stardome, a huge club owned by some nice people.  6 of the seven shows went somewhere in the B- to B+ range, but one show, the Saturday show led to only the second time I have been boo’d on stage (the other time being Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn – a disgrace to higher education and the Civil Rights’ Leader’s memory, whose student attendees thought it was “boo every comedian that dares step on stage – like Amateur Night at The Apollo, without the credit of The Apollo. To put it in television analogies – if my comedy career was the show Homicide – Medgar Evers College would be Adeena Watson).  I said nothing offensive at The Stardome – I was just neither BET nor rednecky enough for the racially diverse, intellectual bottom feeders that occupied a few of the tables at the club that night.

So going to Atlanta was to be a bit of redemption for me and I actually booked the gig on the strength of my Always Be Funny/Glengary Glen Ross spoof video, which also restored my faith that YouTube was not entirely useless for my career.

But then the Lakers won because they seemed to finally discover that Rajon Rondo has the jumpshot of Shaquille O’Neal.  So that means Thursday night’s show will be empty of just about all basketball fans.  Now my routine has very fewbasketball references in it, but there is a correlation between people who are aware of basketball and people who enjoy my comedy.  Those people will not be there Thursday because Kobe & Co. won.  So who is going to be there Thursday night?  Southern comedy fans who do not like basketball.  Hmmmmmm, I just hope after the show I don’t have to tell anyone, “In New York they call me Missssster Cauvin!”

But the obvious point is that Kobe Bryant is to blame.  (I just wish LeBron James was at Game 6 and walked up to Kobe a la Maximus to Commodus in Gladiator and said, “The Time for honoring yourself will soon be at an end.” Because Kobe should know that when the LeBron James era will begin the moment LeBron gets a teammate(s) that is/are not terrible or fu*king his Mom…

Sidebar – For those of you that do not know – LeBron James mother is rumored (strong rumors) to have slept with LeBron’s bipolar, shotgun-carrying teammate Delonte West.  However, not a word has been uttered on this by ESPN , which is rather frightening.  My theory is that ESPN has marching orders from Nike not to say another word (what would ESPN be without Nike athletes and Nike advertising dollars?).  The story was discussed all over the Internet and on The Huffington Post, but not a peep from the premier sports news network in the world about one of the 10 most famous athletes on the planet?  Just makes you think if people including “The People’s Sports Reporter” Bill Simmons a/k/a The Sports Guy can be silenced (he gave a token – “absolutely false” comment on the story even though when I was in Cleveland everyone seemed to believe the story) by corporate titans (my friend Mike told me this has all the makings of a Michael Mann sports themed sequel to The Insider), what chance is there that news isn’t corrupted all the time by even bigger corporations (obviously it is).  And if you think this has nothing to do with sports – LeBron James disappeared against the Celtics after the rumors started flying, so unlike Tiger Woods’ Blasian fallace, LeBron’s story actually has sports-related salaciousness.

Back to Kobe- Is there anything more absurd than Kobe’s wife and future stripper daughters (when your Mom is a hot gold digger and your Dad is a wealthy rapist aren’t your employment prospects limited psychologically?) standing in the tunnel at halftime to greet him with adoration before he goes into the locker room?  “Look Nike and McDonald’s I am done with the butt rape and the cheating because here is my family right here.  But at the same time I am so driven to win that I take time out of halftime to greet my family?”  Anyone else’s wives or girlfriends meeting them in the tunnel?  Did Michael Jordan have Juanita waiting at halftime? No – he was too busy thinking about winning and killing the other team.  Now he might have had sex with his opponent’s wife in the tunnel as a competitive advantage, but he would never waste time to kiss his own wife mid-game.

So now for this horsesh*t I have to see potential fans not show up tot he first show in Atlanta.  It looks like me and the Celtics are going to have to put in a strong effort Thursday to make sure Kobe does not win.  Odds are the Celtics will have a tougher time than me.


The Ten Worst Movies of 2009

People often ask to start with the bad news when given a good news/bads news option and this blog will be no different.   Besides, the worst movies will provide more humor than the best movies of the year.  For me it as also easier to come up with the list of 10 worst movies than the ten best.  Here they are,

10) Year One.  Jack Black, Michael Cera, Paul Rudd and Harold Ramis, to name a few, decided to take off from being successful and funny and make this terrible movie, which, like many liberal comics in New York, showed that making fun of the Bible does not necessarily make you as funny as George Carlin.

9) Friday The 13th.  It came out early this year, but was strong enough it in its shi*tiness to stick around.  This was actually the first horror film I have ever seen where the acting was actually better than the film.  That is like watching a WNBA game and saying, “Man these girls are awesome, if only they had better coaching to take advantage of their skills and athleticism.”

8) Funny People.  This film is here, not so much because it was a terrible movie (it was not), but because I have not been misled by a marketing campaign for a movie this much since I thought I was going to a sports movie called Jerry Maguire.  Late night show hosts and bloggers seemed to all be in on the scam – this was a movie that would show what being a comic is really like.  Instead it showed the audience what the lives of chubby, unfunny, overpaid Jewish guys is like.  It could have probably been called Goldman Nut Sachs (as a tribute to the genital humor that also abounds in this movie).

7) Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. Needless to say this was the #1 movie of 2009 in terms of financial success.  Racist robots were apparently the cure for the summertime blues of Obama fatigue.  This was also the worst movie experience of the year for me since I sat next to a guy who talked so much during the movie that I think he was conjured up in a stereotype machine invented by the Wayans Brothers a la Weird Science’s creation of Kelly LeBrock.

6) 2012.  The biggest disaster film of the year not starring Tiger Woods (I am almost done making Tiger jokes).  The effects were weak and at 2 1/2 hours long, the film was about 2 hours and 27 minutes too long.

5) The Proposal.  In a year where 500 Days of Summer showed how good a romantic comedy could be, this film showed how bad they could still be (and people ate it up).  Puritan sexual mores and too much religious fervor are some of the things that people point to to show how unenlightened America is compared to some of its less powerful, but equally Disney and McDonald’s craving European allies.  I think looking at the collective grosses of Sandra Bullock’s movies make the case much more strongly.  (I have not seen The Blind Side yet, but am looking to get a free ticket, which will allow me not to financially support a great white hope story that looks terrible).

4) X Men Origins: Wolverine.  My hopes ran high a year ago when I saw The Dark Knight for the 432nd time.  Perhaps people would demand higher quality action films.  And the trailers for this film looked promising.  What was delivered was the worst thing from Australia since Yahoo Serious.

Let’s take a breath here and recognize that the next three films are even dangerous to say out loud they are so bad.

3) Antichrist.  Here is the review I posted on Facebook after seeing this film:

I wanted to see this movie based on the preview, despite mostly bad reviews. Upon seeing the movie, here is who should see this movie:
1) Want to see a montage in which Willem Defoe sexually penetrates (shown) an actress while his character’s son (approx 4 yrs old) falls out a window to his death.
2) Want to see a fox eat its own wounds (take that Fantastic Mr Fox)
3) Want to see Willem Defoe receive a handjob and then ejaculate blood.
4) Want to see a woman self-circumcise herself.

If you have answered yes to more than one of these questions (I appreciate morbid curiosity in small doses) then please de-friend me. 🙂

2) Paul Blart: Mall Cop.  One of the surprise hits of the year and that is what made me watch it.  However whenever something that I am initially skeptical about generates popular success (Mamma Mia! the musical, The Fast and The Furious to name two) my initial skepticism is always correct.  This may be the greatest example of this in pop culture history.  It seemed to have the quality of a student film, but with far less quality work on the part of the actors.  A movie of truly devastating crappiness.  To paraphrase the Dude from The Big Lebowski: “Well, you finally did it America, you’ve killed fu-king comedy.”

drum roll please

1) Amelia.  Perhaps Amelia Earhart knew this movie was coming, because I would disappear too if this bag of sh*t were attached to my name.  Hilary Swank and Richard Gere both producing the worst film of their careers (yes I am counting The Next Karate Kid).  And here is the worst thing I can say about a movie.  This was not only worse than Paul Blart, but was worse than last year’s worst film – Twilight.  ‘Nuff said.




Lambert and Tiger and 9th Graders, Oh My!

Three of the biggest stories of the last couple of weeks have been sex related: Adam Lambert’s simulated gang-bang at the American Music Awards, Tiger Woods having sex with everyone (it’s bad enough that he stole the white man’s game, but now by having sex with porn stars and Hooters’ waitresses, he has now stolen the redneck’s fanstasy) to make up for lost time that his large teeth and bug eyes cost him in his younger days before his $1 billion net worth, and I saw today on CNN that one-third of 9th graders in America are having sex and that one half of 10th graders are.

I know this will make me appear as a Puritan relative to many of my contemporaries (especially in comedy), but perhaps the sexual revolution has swung the pendulum too far.  Like the nuclear bomb creators thought, sure we can, but should we?  Like gun control and abortion, it seems advocates of individualized morality and sexual freedom to the nth degree seem to consciously or sub-consciously fear ceding any ground for fear that it may validate an opposition that they dislike, hate or from which they fear judgment.  But isn’t this enough?

First there was the Lambert story.  He claims that he has been banned from most ABC shows (except that bastion of freedom, The View – will Hasselbeck boycott?) because there is a double standard – when women act extremely sexual in heterosexual or lesbian acts during performances it is not treated nearly with the same outrage and repulsion as homosexual men.  And I agree with Lambert (but to be fair, I can’t say I can help my instinctive – “did he just tongue rape that guy? ewwww” reaction.  The double standard is true (Janet Jackson’s nipple crossed the line from simulated to actual, so don’t bring up that hoopla).  However, I would simply ask, why is any of it actually appropriate or necessary?  Maybe people getting dry humped or skull-fu-ked is inappropriate for general public viewing, regardless of who is doing it with who.

I often try to stand up for religion, not even in doctrinal specifics, but as an overall structure of values that I think people can benefit from  – you can get them from other places besides religion I suppose, but the sense of being part of something bigger is important to a healthy society I think (believe me if Twitter, cell phones, Blackberries and Facebook are now providing us with our sense of belonging, unity and community I think we are in trouble as a culture and society.  That faux-community is based solely on the importance of, and focus on, self. Say what you want about religions (not necessarily religious people), but they usually have community well-being as their bases, at least the way I’ve experienced them).

Following that, one of the biggest criticisms of religion I hear from my friends is the sense of repression and shame religion attaches to sex.  A valid point, but even jaded atheists will agree that at some point (perhaps as “innocent” as 16 year old Britney Spears or as gross as Jerry Springer/Maury Povich guests) people should feel some degree of shame for their conduct in the sexual realm – not knowing your baby’s father, but narrowing it down to 11 guys is sort of nasty (or being one of 11 guys on that panel).  But with religion, or at least the sense of community well-being that it can foster and nourish, being diminished in our society, as well as many of my friends believing “judgmental” is the worst epithet that can be thrown at a person, it has come to feel like, “do whatever you like because we are free, we have no restrictions, no code of decency beyond our own individualized sense of what that entails and most importantly no judgment from others.”

However, I think there is still a sense of outrage at Tiger Woods, which I think is appropriate (note to his wife – marrying a driven, successful man, who was driven by his Dad from a young age and is not that attractive, but-for the media saturation of his face that creates a comfortable familiarity mistaken for attractiveness and is now worth a billion dollars is a bad recipe for marital bliss – as if a nerdy loser with money, met a horny black guy and a pushy Asian with a sense of entitlement  to form the perfect storm of cheater)  Some people say, who cares?  Or he’s a celebrity – that’s what they do.  But this guy did not just have an indiscretion.  That was five or six or twenty-two women ago.  This guy’s endorsement shouldn’t be worth anything that is not golf-related.  Not that we put much stock in his endorsement to begin with, but I think you can agree with me.  We have gotten to the point where the only realistic role models we can have (or are allowed to have without incurring the wrath mentioned in the previous paragraph) in terms of personal conduct are men like Derek Jeter or George Clooney, guys who don’t cheat on wives because they don’t have them (please don’t let Obama have an indiscretion).   Most of young people’s role models for moral behavior are now those who decide to sit out of the game basically.

It reminds me of something that happened when I was engaged.  I remember hearing from a friend of my ex that she had been releived when she found out I had once cheated on a girlfriend in college (which I told her).  And I asked, “relieved?” And the friend said, “well no girl feels secure if they think their guy is perfect.”  Now I know this is not every woman’s opinion, but it still startled me, which it probably should not have.  The reality television culture we live in is now a race to a view of the bottom – so we can always see that we are better than someone else, rather than a view of the top – so we can aspire to be better (once again Obama being the exception – even just for this can’t the self-righteous conservatives give him a break?).  We seem to enjoy people’s failings because they make ourselves feel better about ourselves.  We want less Kennedy and Obama and more Jersey Shore and Real Housewives.

And now there is a trickle down effect, which is sort of the point of this whole rant.  Congress held hearings about steroid abuse by athletes because of “the children.” But to those who may have felt that concern it should be no surprise that 9th graders are banging each other at record highs in this country.   Some may not feel there is anything wrong with this, but doesn’t that feel a bit young for such high numbers?  Sure it seems a little more appropriate for that kid that was shaving in 4th grade or that girl with the really touchy-feely uncle, but one of of every three?  And then one of every two by 10th grade?  Kids are impressionable to what is marketed to them and to peer pressure.  Even the best and most enlightened parents will have a tough time combating that.  And between all the social tools that act to separate us despite their purported connectedness, sex has become the latest thing to depreciate in this country to record lows along with the dollar and letter writing.

Liberals and libertarians (yes you comedians!) love bashing the Puritanical views of sex in this country and mocking the religious right (who sadly, often turn out to be hypocrites, at least the ones you are told about because America loves to hate a hypocrite), and I will admit I am no saint.  But at some point when will we feel liberated enough?  I don’t want to have to make sure my future daughter is using protection when she still has a lunchbox (for the record I will make any future daughters use a lunch box through graduate school).