Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Lessons from Kirk Cameron

For years the stereotype of the arrogant, overbearing Christian has made it hard for good people like Kirk Cameron to get their message across. In this week’s installment of “The Way of the Master,” Kirk and Ray Comfort attempt to break that nasty stereotype.

First, Kirk talks about the frustration of communicating with non-believers.

“I used to wait for unsaved people to bring up the subject of God for us. What I mean is this, sometimes I just look at them with all the peace I could muster and hope that they just saw that I had something in my eyes that they didn’t have and ask me, ‘What is it that makes you different?’ Well, I don’t know about you, but I waited a long, long time and often people would never ask! And so I just chalk it up to, well, I guess it’s just not the right time for them to hear about the Gospel, and hope they didn’t get hit by a car the next day.”

Then, in a scary segue, Kirk and Ray get in a car and hunt for atheists.

“You know there’s so many people walking up and down the streets as we drive around, and uh, I can’t help but think of how many of these people are not saved, and are actually going to be spending eternity in hell. And uh, man, it’s like having the cure for a disease that’s deadly. And if we don’t go give the cure to them, it’s immoral! It’s, it’s, it’s unthinkable!”

Seconds later:

“Let’s go to the drive-thru. We can hand out (Gospel) tracks that way too.”

In a callback to his acting days, Kirk captures the true spirit of atheists everywhere in a poignant role-playing activity.

Kirk: “Alright, so I’m going to be your average atheist. I’m going to be your atheist buddy named Bob at your work… so I’m atheist Bob. Now you go through these principles with me.”
Ray Comfort: “Okay, we’ll start off with natural love. Hey Bob, how are you doing?”
Kirk: “Hey, um, I’m doing great. Excuse me while I have a smoke.”

Finally, Kirk leaves non-believers with an inspirational message.

“People have come up and said, ‘I’ve gone to church for years and I’ve never understood why Jesus died on a cross or why it was important that I believed in Jesus.’ But once they understand that they have lied, and stolen, and looked with lust, making them lying, thieving, adulterers at heart, they suddenly see that they’re guilty before God.”

“The thing that I don’t want to do is I don’t want to come across like some sort of a religious weirdo or a fanatic, because there’s plenty of those people around, and you don’t take them seriously. So, while I feel like standing on top of a building and screaming to everybody, ‘Get your hearts right with God! There’s coming a day in which he’ll judge the Lord of Righteousness!’ I know that that will only make me come off like a fanatic.”

Kirk Cameron, everybody.

Friday, October 20, 2006


This past weekend Katie and I went to D.U.M.B.O. (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) for Hell House and the DUMBO Art Under the Bridge Festival. Since we weren't allowed to take pictures in Hell House, I'll share the highlights of the arts festival.

Katrina graffiti exhibit made even creepier by the addition of upbeat New Orleans jazz

Starving homeless people watched as Brooklyn art enthusiasts enjoyed a commentary on America's obesity epidemic: cupcakes in the shape of chalk outlines. Ah hah hah hah hah haaaaaa... poverty.

interactive art: katie prepares for the "Assisted Street Crossing" exhibit

popcorn maker dispersing popcorn onto the warehouse floor. as everybody walks around it, trying to figure it out, more homeless people's mouths' water. silly homeless people! trix are for kids!

can you guess what this piece is made of?

i'll give you a hint: it starts with "T" and it ends with "oast"

more interactive art! i think this one was called: "tire swing"

your guess is as good as mine on this one.

what do you do when a yarn creature with its yarn cat sits next to you? if you're this smooth guy, you hit on it.

not all art is fun: a working carousel that you can't ride.

ah, this picture reminds me of Norfolk. only, where I come from the shoes were real. and they were hung for darker reasons than art.

art on a truck! with a fake squirrel monkey!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Amy Sedaris and Will Smith!

I was at Amy Sedaris's book signing last night and it was amazing! I wrote all about it on Comedy Central Insider, so check it out: http://ccinsider.comedycentral.com/cc_insider/2006/10/amy_sedaris_on_.html

Before that I did some more snooping around the set of "I Am Legend," the new Will Smith sci-fi blockbuster. It was filming around the corner from where I work, so during my lunch break Katie and I explored the set, hoping to get a glimpse of the Fresh Prince himself. Needless to say, it was my most exciting lunch break yet. Here's what it looked like.

set up for a massive crane shot, corner of 56th & 5th

notice the Christmas wreath
we hid behind the fake greenery
PAs trying to stop 5th Ave. snots from shopping for five minutes
finally the moment we've been waiting for. this was taken while the scene was actually being filmed. check out the gun.
and here's Will walking back after the scene. he has relinquished hold of the gun to the prop man.

Friday, October 13, 2006

fun with DVR

I know Jessica Simpson has been overdoing the lip-synching in her videos (and live performances) for years, but her new video wins the award for best overacting.

She starts off normal enough.

But with the addition of a few fake tears,

It's not long before a little crazy slips out.

And it's all downhill from here.
Her Chinese impersonation is not bad, though.

And her Nick Nolte mugshot is spot on.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


During a recent conversation with my new partner in crime, Rachel, I found out that "Studio 60" is more biographical than I thought. Remember the line in the pilot that stuck out like a sore thumb? The one where Matthew Perry's character calls Pat Robertson a bigot and chastizes his Christian ex-girlfriend for going on the "700 Club" to promote her album?

Well, "Studio 60" creator Aaron Sorkin didn't have to search far for this idea. Just last year, his Christian ex-girlfriend Kristin Chenoweth went on the "700 Club" to promote her album. Sorkin is no stranger to taking real events and recycling them into his work. So was this past week's episode, "Plagiarism," a shot at SNL for their recent indiscretions? For those not in the know, here's a brief rundown. First there was the "Peyote" short on SNL that felt awfully similar to Improv Everywhere's "Suicide Jumper" bit. Then there was the controversy over a joke Dane Cook delivered in his SNL monologue last year that sounded very similar to an old Demetri Martin joke. With Sorkin's track record, I wouldn't be surprised if last week's episode was "ripped from the headlines," as Law and Order would say.

And speaking of plagiarism, am I the first person to call out Stephen Colbert and "The Colbert Report" on ripping off "Freak Show," a show from their own network?
Here's how the premiere episode of "Freak Show" (10/04/06) began:
"In 1972, President Richard Nixon, Augusto Pinochet, Henry Kissinger, and Adolph Hitler met aboard Kissinger's yacht, the Wet Dream II."
And here's what Stephen Colbert said to Jon Stewart during the last segment of Monday night's "The Daily Show" (10/09/06):
Colbert: "Here's a little bit of Columbus trivia, Jon, did you know he originally set out with four ships?"
Stewart: "The Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria..."
Colbert: "And the Wet Dream II."

Hmmm... using Colbert's own terminology, I would say I just NAILED IT.

I don't know who wrote this, but I do know that "Colbert Report" writer Laura Krafft is friends with the "Freak Show" guys. She may or may not have been involved in writing this segment. If she wasn't, I'm left to assume someone else who's even less affiliated with "Freak Show" wrote it. But even if this mystery writer was given permission to use this, COME ON. Doesn't the "Colbert Report" recycle jokes enough already? Don't get me wrong. I appreciate the man's brilliance. I was even able to appreciate it in person last winter (that's me on the far left with the green hat, about to high-five Stephen). But if I hear him use the "I have black friends" joke one more time (which itself is strangely similar to blackpeopleloveus.com), I'm going to jump off a plagiarized ledge.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

CC Insider and Sandra Bernhard

I'm excited to announce that I'm now a guest blogger for Comedy Central's blog, Comedy Central Insider. My first post is about the Freak Show Premiere party that I managed to get into last Wednesday night. Follow the link below and read all about it.

Sneaking In: The Freak Show Premiere Party

Below are a few details that didn't make it to the CC Insider post.

Wednesday night I met my friend Kathleen in the West Village. We walked through the set of the new Will Smith movie, which has been filming outside of her office for the past few days (coincidentally, it was filming right outside of my apartment Monday). The set-up was quite elaborate. There were cars covered in dust, fake holiday displays in the Tower Records window, and fake shrubbery everywhere- meant to look like it was rooting up from the ground, buildings, etc. These were the scenes for the post-apocalyptic New York City where the movie takes place. After grabbing a quick bite at Atlas, we walked to the Canal Room, where the Strays (a band on the label she works for) was opening for Veruca Salt. After checking out the Strays, I headed over to the Cake Shop, where my friend Erik was playing. (this is where the CC Insider story picks up)

And the funniest part of the night, in my opinion:

During one commercial break, an On Demand commercial came on featuring clips from "Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector." When he realized his arch enemy was on the screen in front of him, David Cross hollered as loud as he could, leading everyone else around him in sarcastic praise of the man who devoted a chapter of his book, Git-R-Done, to slamming David Cross and the liberal media. He ran up to the screen and posed with an enthusiastic thumbs up, but his lady friend couldn't snap the picture in time. Looks like he'll have to drum up a new idea for Christmas cards this year.

I'll be posting more stories as they happen, so keep checking CC Insider for the latest news.

In other news, Sandra Bernhard was at the Dave Hill Explosion at the UCB theater Thursday night. She said she just came from the red carpet premier of "A Chorus Line" and then treated the crowd to a few minutes from one of the show's songs. Earlier in the day she had dinner with Rosie O'Donnell and girlfriend. The conversation was pretty mild until the topic of "The View" came up. Dave Hill brought up the section on her wikipedia page titled "The View Controversy." First, Sandra had a few choice words about Elizabeth Hasselbeck. "Who the fuck is she? Was she at the Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip at 2 in the morning performing for 3 people in 1976?" Then she shared a few thoughts about Star Jones. "I saw her at a Knicks game once and she just hovered over the buffet. This was pre-stomach staple... I'm glad she can eat now... (in black voice) eat her some friiiieeeed chicken up in Harlem, and some mashed potatoes, and some collared greens, and some chitlins..." As if the all white audience wasn't uncomfortable enough, she added, "Star Jones is a nigger-bitch." The crowd, wallowing in its own sea of white guilt, made awkward noises to signal to each other that they most certainly did not approve of the use of this derogatory word. "Oh, don't tell me I can't say nigger-bitch! I can say nigger-bitch if I want to. I used to hang out with Richard Pryor and Paul Mooney! I'm from Flynt, MI. People used to pass by me and call me a 'Nigger-lip bitch,' so I said, fine, I'll be a nigger-lip bitch you little white cunt..." And that's why I love Sandra Bernhard.
But somehow even this amazing display of candidness was upstaged... by none other than little Michael Jackson, an MJ impersonator no bigger than Verne Troyer. Only at the UCB.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

--It looks like SNL's back-half may finally have some competition. You see, Saturday night wasn't just a big night for Lorne and gang, it was also the premier of Comics Unleashed, a hilarious new talk show hosted by Entertainment Studio's own Byron Allen! Most talk shows follow the same dull fomat: monologue, famous guest plugs new project, less famous guest plugs less important project, and comedian/musician performs their best 5 minutes. If there's any time to fill at the end, the host will bring the comedian over to the couch for a round of questions that only today's top comedic talent could drum up. Well Comics Unleashed breaks the mold completely! It bypasses those middle steps and only features those wonderful lobs we've all come to love! In case you didn't tune in to Fox on Saturday, here are some of the highlight lead-ins of the night, courtesy of Byron Allen.

-"You know, one of the things you talk about that's really funny, I love it, you talk about people exaggerating and how that annoys you..."
cue hilarity about deceiving story details
-"Now you know traffic in L.A. is just totally getting out of control, I mean driving, it's just getting worse by the day, what's going on with you out there on the road?"
and cue wonderfully astute commentary on shared driving experiences
-"You always hear a lot of dumb stuff, you know people just saying dumb things. I know you talk about that a little bit..."
alright, that's it people, that's a wrap, let's get started on this week's According to Jim

--In other TV news, House of Carters is surprisingly good. I'm glad to see we're going back the trend of dysfunctional family reality shows to promote the albums of unfamous family members. The functional families were just so uninteresting (eh hem, Hogans). The only bad thing about the show was that I've longed for the day that my very eyes would see Aaron Carter getting beat up and now that I finally do, I feel bad for him. God damn E! and their pulling of my heart strings.

--Finally, I'd like to address a growing problem at the UCB. Lately I've experienced the extremes of audience smell. Sunday night at the 9:30 ASSSCAT I was surrounded by body odor that was so rank I could've sworn I was back at the Del Close marathon. Then last night at Crash Test I was trapped in a cloud of Tag body spray. Since when did the UCB advertise in New Jersey? I have a solution though.
Hire Yolanda Martin, the star of A&E's Airline. Whether it's an oblivious Indian woman or a drunken 80 year old, Yolanda knows the perfect thing to say to any customer who smells too horrible to board a plane. At least keep a change of clothes on hand. Maybe a Ramones shirt for the "I'm too punk to shower" crew and a FBI (Female Booty Inspector) shirt for the Jersey/Long Island crowd.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

SNL after party!

Yesterday was by far the craziest day of my New York life. I started it off by meeting with Rachel Sklar from the Huffington Post for food and drinks at Teany (Moby's vegan tea house/restaurant). This was an amazing experience itself... to know that somebody important is actually interested in my writing and wants to recruit me for such an amazing blog- it's just so flattering and exciting. We talked for 3 1/2 hours about everything. I have a feeling great things will come of this.

Later, a friend of mine who was able to find out where the SNL after party was called me and asked if I wanted to go with her and attempt to get in. Um... yes. Unfortunately, this was easier said than done. All the names she dropped were on the list, but only had a (1) next to them, not a (+2). We watched Keenan role in with his crew, slap some suit on the back and put his arm around him. People were coming and going, but things weren't looking good for us. Then finally some familiar faces came out. Will and Amy came out to smoke and I introduced myself to them, explaining our previous connections. We talked briefly and I was introduced to Bill Hader. We talked for quite awhile, but I just couldn't find the right way to ask him if he could help us get in. Will Forte came up to us and I talked to him for a long time too. He was such a nice guy, very flattered by all the kind words I gave him. He asked who we were there with and I explained that some of our connections fell through. "You wouldn't know of any way we could get in, would you?" I asked, giving him a playful nudge and wink. "Oh, you guys can come in with me as long as you promise not to start any bar fights." And just like that we were in to the most exclusive party of the night.

The rest is kind of a blur. It was such a surreal feeling to have watched SNL at home, like I've done every saturday night for the past 10 years, and then 30 minutes after the show was over actually be in the same room as the cast and crew. Just very weird. The first person we met was Brian Williams, who said he was not only familiar with who my friend was, but said he's read her stuff and thinks she's "brilliant." He introduces himself to me and we talk for a little while about the show and his contribution ("The line about the ear piece was mine"). I talked to Dane and told him about the time we met in Maryland and how impressed I was with how friendly and genuine and down to earth he was. He joked, "I should say something really rude right now and just walk away." I told him I was at the Cellar wednesday when he tested out (almost word for word) the material he did for the monologue tonight. We talked a little about the difficulty of translating that vibe to television. He proved himself to be a nice and sincere guy once again. And remember that cast member who I saw mocking Dane Cook on stage this summer? Well I talked to him tonight about that and he said he had him all wrong. He said Dane is the kind of guy he would've been friends with growing up and that he really likes and respects him now. I talked with Fred Armisen about my favorite reccuring skit, the Nunni's, and he said he's going to try to bring it back this season ("It's all about the chairs"). We also talked about his incredible Hugo Chavez he did tonight and his general love of dictators. I talked to Andy Samberg for a little while and Seth Meyers for an even littler while (he'll be doing WU all year). I finally met the beautiful Liz Cackowski, who just left SNL this summer after writing for them for a couple of years. I had a lot to talk about with Jason Sudeikis, who was incredibly genuine and nice, as usual.

I was very surprised at how open and accessible everyone was. Keenan stayed at his table most of the night, so I never got a chance to meet him. And Lorne never left his table in the back. He's the kind of guy who doesn't come to you, you come to him. But other than that, I met some of the nicest people last night. All the cast members were so open and talkative, and to someone whose never been to any of these before and is practically a nobody. It's just amazing how down to earth and humble these guys are. I've met people who are lucky to get a line on Best Week Ever who have had more of a "I'm the shit" attitude than these guys. So it's nice to know that nice people still exist in Hollywood. What a crazy, crazy day.