Tag Archives: Comedy

Curb Your Enthusiasm Binge Watching Marathon

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” put out a new season recently after a six year hiatus.  It made me so happy to see Larry David back in action that I ended up watching the whole series, a few episodes a day, for the past month.  I’ve seen them all before and remembered the gist of the best ones but it’s been so long it was like watching them all for the first time.

If you’ve never seen it, the quick rundown of the show is that Larry David was the co-creator and producer behind the popular 1990s sitcom Seinfeld.  While he only appeared on that show in the occasional bit part, he was largely a behind the scenes man.  Fun fact: the character of George Costanza is based on Larry.

On “Curb,” Larry plays a fictional version of himself though I can only assume there is a grain of truth in any form of comedy.  As you might recall, George Costanza was a bald loser, fully aware of his unattractiveness and shortcomings, yet often angry over the fact that he couldn’t form a decent relationship with a woman because he’d always freak out over the most trivial of flaws (even though they usually pale in comparison to George’s problems.)

Larry is essentially the same way.  For most of the series, he is married to hot, younger wife Cheryl (Cheryl Hines) who suffers Larry’s douchebaggery with grace and dignity.  In later seasons, Larry and Cheryl divorce, though she remains a returning character.  Larry dates a variety of hot babes, women so attractive who have so much going for them that you want to shout out that clearly Larry would never be getting them if not for his vast “Seinfeld” fortune and Hollywood connections…and yet he usually screws things up over a trivial flaw.  (In one episode, he dates a ridiculously hot restaurant hostess only to ruin it all when she borrows $40 only to forget to pay it back.  Before you take Larry’s side, keep in mind that a quick Google search of Larry’s net worth puts it at $900 million so yeah, let the hottie keep the $40 Larry.)

Frankly, I’m impressed by how much money Larry made. The number of people who became near billionaires off of being funny must be few and far between.

My other random observations, in no particular order:

#1 – The first three seasons take place in the early 2000s, the first season in 2000.  The experience is surreal.  Flip phones.  Tube TVs and computer monitors.  No GPS.  In a first season episode, Larry and Cheryl get lost on the way to a dinner party, with nothing but a friend’s handwritten directions to guide them.  Anyone else remember trying to find a place with nothing but a friend’s shitty directions and no GPS, having to drive around, hope to find a landmark, stop for directions and hope to find someone who can help you?  If you’ve never done that, you have no idea how lucky we all are to have cell phones that can tell us how to get where we want to go today.

#2 – Larry self-deprecates the crap out of himself.  It’s a big man who is willing to make himself look like a schmuck.  It would be one thing if Larry called himself a different name, i.e. Gary Schmavid but here, he’s saying this is me, playing myself and I hate to get into his head but I can only assume that somehow he feels comfortable portraying himself as a goofball, a man who constantly bucks societal norms, schemes to get out of social conventions only to make things so much worse.

# 3 – It’s “Seinfeld” with swearing.  If you liked “Seinfeld,” and don’t care about swearing, you’ll like this.  The characters rarely grow or improve or better themselves.  No special episodes where a character gets sick.  No morals or lessons.  Just humor for humor’s sake.  The goal is to make you laugh and nothing more.

#4 – It made me feel bad to see how time screws us all in the looks department.  Not to knock Larry but he more or less looks like he does at the beginning as he does 17 years later.  Larry is bald with gray side hair for as long as I can remember.  He does appear a bit younger looking and more spry in the beginning episodes.  He’s early 50s when it starts and 70 now.

Richard Lewis, veteran neurotic comedian of the 1980s, plays himself and appears handsome at the start of the series.  Black hair, strong features, looks like he belongs in movies.  In later seasons, he looks old, gray, balding and decrepit.  Still has his wit but makes me sad what time does to us.

Not dumping on anyone but you can see it in all the recurring characters, how youthful they all long in the earliest seasons.

#5 – So much political incorrectness.  Many of the jokes from past seasons would not fly today.  The irony is that Larry does and says many shitty things, but if you get offended too early and walk away, you’ll miss the part where Larry gets his comeuppance for saying and doing such shitty things.  Never assume Larry gets away with anything.  He never does.  Cue ending scene where the theme music plays with closeup of his eyes as he realizes how much shittier he just made a shitty situation.

#6 – On the other hand, it’s not always Larry.  Sometimes it’s Larry as a victim of circumstance.  People are so tied to social norms that a minor deviation makes them go ballistic.  He’ll accidentally do or not do something, through no fault of his own, and despite apologies, people will go ape shit on him.  Perhaps we can give people a break if they don’t always act 100 percent of the way we want them to.

#7 – Jeff Garland (Larry’s manager Jeff Greene) and Susie Essman (Jeff’s she-devil wife Susie Greene) are great.  Susie goes ballistic over the littlest things, though often she sniffs out when Larry and Jeff have joined forces in a joint scheme and exposes them.  “Fat fuck” and “bald fuck” or “four eye fuck” are her names of choice for the duo.

#8 – Larry has Peter Pan syndrome.  It’s surreal to see a man with gray hair acting like a youngster, but he has so many young-ish habits.  Throughout the series, he’ll meet old, gray haired people and talk to them as one would a grandparent and it leaves me wondering if he’s aware that he’s old himself.  Then again, he’s got mad cash, so that keeps you young.

Conclusions – It’s an awesome show.  If you need something to binge watch, I highly recommend it.

 

 

 

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Is Comedy Dying? Dave Chapelle’s Angry Fan in His New Netflix Special

Hey 3.5 readers.

Dave Chapelle’s latest Netflix special just dropped and as usual, it’s funny as hell.  This man is one of my longtime favorites, and he’s actually getting better with age, bringing a lot of experience and wisdom to his comedy.

I’ve been keeping track of the death of comedy for awhile now.  It’s unfortunate, but the masses are losing their sense of humor, opting to adopt the outrage culture instead.

In his special, Dave talks about his own concerns that people are just getting too sensitive and that’s having a negative impact on comedy.  He talks about one show he did where an Asian woman and her Mexican husband attended.  The woman was pregnant, he said “the baby will be the hardest working baby ever” – ironically, a complimentary joke saying Asians and Mexicans work hard, yet the woman stormed off and later wrote stern letter to his promoter asking that he stop promoting Chapelle.

Sigh.  Even the great Dave Chapelle is worried about the future of comedy.  The next generation of comedians is going to have it tough.

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Matthew McConaughey Impersonation

Alright, alright, alright.

3.5 readers, all I can say is I love being alive in a time when you can get a dude to impersonate Matthew McConaughey for you for a reasonable price.  Would that this technology had existed when I was 20.  I would have taken over the world.

This is so funny, and the impressionist sounds just like him:

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Is Comedy Dying? – Part 2

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.  Is comedy dying?  Maybe not, but I fear it might be on life support.

Let’s keep pondering the question, shall we?

In my last post on this topic, I mentioned “Airplane” as an example of a hilarious movie that wouldn’t get past the PC police today.

Here’s an example of a funny scene from that film:

So, in the 1970s (this film was made in 1980 when the 1970s were still fresh), there was a “jive” culture.  Hip, happening black dudes would dress up in fancy, stylish outfits, hang out at discos and talk in a cool style.

In this scene, Barbara Billingsley, the actress who played literally the first TV sitcom mother ever, June Cleaver on “Leave it to Beaver” overhears one of the jive dudes talking to the stewardess.  The stewardess can’t understand all of the hip lingo.

Babs, for some unexplained reason, does.  She starts speaking this super cool jive talk.  The jive dudes talk back and pretty soon they and the old gal are having a jive argument.

Why is this funny?  First, it pokes fun at that jive culture, but only tangentially.  If anything, it satirizes white people and old white women in particular.  This old white woman, essentially America’s first sitcom Mom, goes out of her element and speaks in this hip language typically reserved for the cool, happening black club scene.

The joke is basically an old white lady could never be that cool but here she is, being cool, out jiving the jive talkers.  Laughs often come when we are shown the absurd, the unlikely, the thing we’ve never seen before.

It’s a funny scene.  Would it fly today?  No.  Why?  Some Hollywood suit would see two black guys, assume they are being made fun of, assume that people are too stupid to get the joke as anything other than ridicule of black people (and sadly, many people are that stupid) and cut the joke.

Let me ask you this.  When you see these dudes talking jive, is your reaction to dislike them?  To think that something is wrong with them?  No.  Me, personally?  I kind of envy them.  They look like they led interesting lives, hanging out in busy city nightclubs, absorbing the music, the culture, learning a hip way to talk.

I regret that I’m more like the stewardess, too lame to understand what they are saying because I’ve never lived it up like they did.  Or worse, I’m like Babs, so old and uncool that people would laugh if I ever showed a hip bone in my body because it would be so surprising to people.

But there’s just no nuance anymore. No attempt to understand intent.  It’s just, “Oh no.  A black person is involved in this joke.  We must cut it.  If literally one person can infer that black people are being made fun of, it’s one too many.”

I dunno.  Am I right?  Am I wrong?  Hit me up on the flip side, 3.5 bloods.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Is Comedy Dying?

I caught a bit of “Airplane” (1980) this morning.  Such a funny movie.  Humor for the sake of humor.  Non-stop silly gags.  Things that obviously wouldn’t happen in real life but are there to make you laugh. That’s the whole.

Also, a lot of politically incorrect stuff..

I worry about the fate of comedy.  I feel like everywhere I go, people aren’t laughing anymore.  They are afraid of offending someone and yet there’s the rub.  Every person, every group, every occupation, every individual, every type – there’s humor to be mined out of everyone and everything.

True comedy lovers may get mad when a comedian makes a joke that makes fun of who they are – their particular group, type, etc.  But true comedy lovers will also let that go in order to laugh at the other jokes, jokes that don’t hit as close to home because they make fun of other individuals, groups they aren’t a part of.

America is the melting pot.  We are all simmering in the same stew.  Can we find some humor while we’re in there?  I think it all comes down to motive.  Is your joke meant to make people laugh and have a good time, or is it meant to belittle and make people unhappy?

I see it in what passes for comedy movies these day.  Safe, moderately silly premises that don’t probe, don’t challenge, don’t do anything.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Toilet Gator is the Best Novel Ever

I just breezed through reading the full first draft and I’d forgotten a lot of what I wrote.  Yeah, this book is funny as all get out.  I should win like a thousand awards for this thing.  Surely, if there is a “Best Book Ever Written About Toilet Gators” then that award should be mine.

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The History of Farts – Prehistoric Cave Farts

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While scientists and theologians may differ on how the world was formed, there can be no doubt that the world is here.  I mean, seriously, if the world isn’t here, then where are you reading this book?  In the vast reaches of space?  Apologies if you are an astronaut reading this but I doubt that you are.  A highly intelligent space traveler would never be hoodwinked into plunking down good money on a book about farts, believe me.

But I digress.  The world is here and people have been dwelling upon the planet for a long time.  Will we ever know what it is like to be a caveman?  Sure.  Just walk into any frat house at a major university.  I kid, I kid.  Not really.

No.  We can’t know exactly what it was like to be a caveman, but thanks to a highly scientific project at the Advanced Science Institute of Science University, we have developed a better understanding of what prehistoric cavemen thought about farts.

Dr. Hugo von Science, a longtime contributor to the Bookshelf Battle Blog, discovered a perfectly preserved caveman brain in a block of ice.  After determining this brain to be, “really freaking old, like thousands upon thousands of years old,” the good doctor developed a device that allowed the user to learn everything the owner of this brain thought about farts.

Behold, the thoughts in their original caveman gibberish, translated into English:

CAVEMAN THOUGHT                                                    TRANSLATION

Ooga booga.                                                                    He who smelt it, dealt it.

Ugga bugga.                                                                    He who denied it, supplied it.

Wooga wagga.                                                         He who heard it first, purveyed the juicy turd    burst.

Grakka flarga.                                                        He who sayed it, sprayed it.

Ribble robble.                                                        He who detected it, ejected it.

Skoogol kruz.                                                         He who announced it, pounced it.

Yes.  As you can see, dear reader, the “smeller vs. denier game” or the delicate dance in which the first person to detect the presence of a fart engages in a war of words with the first person to deny being the source of the fart, has existed virtually since the dawn of time.

So the next time you feel bad for being caught in brown handed in the midst of an olfactory offense, just remember, your prehistoric ancestors, while they weren’t busy bashing each other with clubs and hunting mastodons, were accusing each other of stinking up the cave.

Puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

 

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Toilet Gator – Epilogue

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Flanked by the secret service, President Stugotz entered a top secret government lab. There, he found Professor Lambert standing over a table covered with Skippy’s tail and a bunch of disgusting alligator chunks.

“Well,” President Stugotz said. “Can we rebuild him? Do we have the tech…”

Professor Lambert raised his pointer finger and pressed it over the President’s lips. “Shh! Don’t finish that sentence. It’s most likely a copyright violation. Or maybe it isn’t. I don’t know. All I know is that no one has ever pissed off Lee Majors and lived to tell the tale.”

“Blech,” President Stugotz said. “Don’t put your dirty finger on my pristine lips. I don’t know where that finger has been.”

The Professor sniffed his finger and shook his head. “Come to think of it, neither do I.”

“So what’s the good word, Professor?” the President asked.

“Mr. President,” Professor Lambert said. “I was honored when you asked me to participate in this project. Really, I was, but now that I have had the time to learn the end result you’re hoping to achieve here, I have to say, this initiative goes against everything I’ve spent my entire life fighting against.”

“I’ll add three more zeros to your check,” President Stugotz.

“And my morals just went out the window,” Professor Lambert said.

The professor lit up a doobie and puffed on it.

“Should you be smoking around the samples?” President Stugotz said.

“The samples?” Professor Lambert asked. “Oh, you mean all these gator chunks? No, yuck. We can throw them away. They’re useless.”

“What the hell, man?” President Stugotz asked. “I thought you were just going to sew all these gator chunks back together and make me a great big beautiful Frankengator, you know, a monster of my very own that will obey all my commands and pop out of the toilets of my enemies to devour them hole.”

“With the CIA’s help, I found something much better, Mr. President,” Professor Lambert said.

The professor punched a combination into the door of a refrigerated vault, then pulled out a small vile filled with a frozen liquid.

“Is that what I think it is?” President Stugotz asked.

“Indeed it is, Mr. President,” Professor Lambert answered.
The two men laughed in a profoundly evil manner. “Muah ha…muah ha…muah ha ha!”

When they were done laughing, the President turned to the Professor. “I’m starving. The First Lady has me on a new diet. Nothing but kale cauliflower. I’ve never been more regular. Believe me, there’s no one as regular as I am now. But screw it, I’m hungry, want to get something to eat?”

“On the way here, wherever ‘here’ is, I saw a fried chicken stand next to a titty bar out of a tiny slit in the bag the CIA put on my head,” Professor Lambert said.

“Professor,” the President replied. “You had me at chicken and titties.”

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 114

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Over a hundred shirtless men had crammed themselves into a dimly lit basement. They swilled beer and cursed without a care as they held up stacks of dollar bills.

“Give me fifty on Bruno!” one man shouted.

“I’ll take a grand on Stanley!” another man cried.

Rusty, himself shirtless and sweaty, strolled through the ring, collecting bets. “Have I got all the action? Yeah? Then gentlemen, to your positions!”

Two absurdly obese and ridiculously hairy men entered the ring. They leered at one another and growled.

“In this corner,” Rusty said. “Weighing in at four hundred and twenty eight pounds, Bruno the Bear!”

The crowd cheered.

“And in this corner, weighing so much that he broke the damn scale, Stanley the Stallion!”

The crowd cheered again.

Rusty stood between the two men. “Alright. You know the rules. You know what I expect them to be followed. Now get out there and give it your all, gents!”

The redheaded man exited the ring and joined a shirtless Moses and a shirtless Felix at the judge’s table.

“This was an inspired idea, Moses,” Rusty said.

“Yeah,” Moses said. “But Felix did all the legwork and you did all the promotion.”

“We’re a good team, aren’t we?” Rusty asked.

“You better believe it,” Moses said.

Rusty picked up a microphone and stood up. “Gentelemen, are you ready?”

The crowd of surly, booze addled men shouted, “Yeah!”

“I can’t hear you!” Rusty said.

The crowd shouted even louder. “YEAH!”

Rusty turned towards the competitors in the ring. “Begin!”

Bruno and Stanley paced furiously around the ring, locking eyes, each man waiting for the other to make a move until finally, they smashed their big bellies together, wrapped one another in a passionate embrace and fell to the floor and a calm, soothing snuggle.

The crowed cheered.

“What’s the first rule of Male on Male Hug Club!”

“Sir!” the crowd shouted. “The first rule of Male on Male Hug Club is ‘Do Not Talk About Male on Male Hug Club!”

“Exactamundo,” Rusty said. “And what’s the second rule of Male on Male Hug Club?”

“Sir!” the crowd shouted. “The second rule of Male on Male Hug Club is ‘Do Not Talk About Male on Male Hug Club!”

A random man stood up and shouted a question. “Hey! Are those dudes gonna fuck or what?”

Rusty looked around the room. “What? Who said that?”

Unable to find the questioner, Rusty shouted, “What’s the third rule of Male on Male Hug Club?”

“Just because men like to hug each other doesn’t mean they’re automatically gay!”

“And the fourth rule?” Rusty asked.

“No butt stuff!”

“Damn straight!” Rusty said.

Rusty returned to the judge’s table.

“You were tough but fair,” Moses said.

“Yeah, well,” Rusty said as he picked up a beer and chugged it. “You gotta have boundaries. Just saying.”

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 113

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Cole and Sharon stood in a terminal at the Miami International Airport, patiently waiting for the number of a very special flight to be called. Cole held a homemade, folded up cardboard sign in his hands.

“You ready for this?” Sharon asked as she patted Cole’s arm.

Cole nodded and took a deep breath. “Ready as I’ll ever be.”

“Attention,” came the monotone voice of a female announcer. “Flight 982, inbound from Nairobi, now arriving.”

“Here we go,” Cole said as he unfurled his sign and held it out in front of him. It read, “Mutumbo.”

Moments passed. Passengers headed down a long escalator.

“Do you see him?” Sharon asked.

“Nope,” Cole said.

The couple looked and looked until finally their concentration was broken when a little boy standing at the top of the escalator shouted, “Mr. Cole sir!”

The boy pushed his way down the escalator, past all sorts of weary travelers, until he was on the ground. From there he ran at warp speed towards Cole, practically knocking him over as he grabbed him in a big hug.

“Mutumbo!” Cole shouted.

“Oh, Mr. Cole sir!” Mutumbo cried. “I was the happiest boy in my village when I heard the good news that you and your wife had adopted me!”

Cole tussled Mutumbo’s hair. “I’m just happy, you’re happy, kid.”

“I am so very happy, Mr. Cole sir,” Mutumbo said.

An older, white haired woman made her way down the escalator and huffed and puffed as she handed Cole a clipboard with a form on it. “Mr. Walker?”

“Yes,” Cole said.

“Valerie Bond of the International Adoption Agency. My goodness, little Mutumbo sure is happy to see you.”

“Thank you for bringing him to me,” Cole said.

“That’s what I do,” Valerie said as she handed Cole a pen. “Your signature, please.”
Cole signed on the dotted line and handed the clipboard back to Valerie.

“I must say, Mr. Walker, I have never seen an adoption application processed so quickly before,” Valerie said. “And I have been in this business for thirty years. You must have a friend in a very high place.”

“You could say that,” Cole said.

“Well,” Valerie said as she shook Mutumbo’s hand. “My work here is done. Goodbye Mutumbo. Be good for your new family.”

“Yes, I will be very good for Mr. Cole, sir,” Mutumbo said. “And thank you, Mrs. Valerie, ma’am, for rescuing me from that third world hellhole, a place where I have known nothing but death, destruction, torture and torment since the day I was born and bringing me here to America, where soon, God willing, I will become a typical American child, telling my parents that they have ruined my life for buying me the wrong toy.”

Valerie smiled and walked away. Mutumbo turned his attention to Sharon. “Holy smokes, Mr. Cole, sir, I assumed you were quite a ladies’ man but I had no idea that your new wife was so attractive!”

“Um,” Cole said. “Yeah. Hey buddy, listen…”

Mutumbo grabbed Sharon’s hand and shook it up and down. “Hello Ma’am, I am so very pleased that you married Mr. Cole sir. I have no doubt that your warm smile and statuesque features have helped him cope with the loss of that vile she-devil, Miss Sharon, may shot rot in hell for a thousand years for the foul heartbreak she caused to such a noble and loving man like Mr. Cole sir.”

Cole leaned down and whispered something into Mutumbo’s ear. Mutumbo looked up at Sharon, then grabbed her in a great big hug. “Oh, Miss Sharon, ma’am! A thousand pardons! I had no idea that you came to your senses and came crawling back on all fours like a common, flea bitten dog to the best man in the entire world, that being Mr. Cole sir!”

Sharon hugged Mutumbo back. “I mean, I wouldn’t say I crawled, but ok, it’s nice to meet you little guy.”

Mutumbo grabbed Cole’s hand in his right hand and Sharon’s hand in his left hand. Together, the brand new family walked through the airport.

“Welcome to America, Mutumbo,” Cole said. “What do you want to do first?”

“Oh, the possibilities are endless, Mr. Cole, sir!”

“Hey um,” Cole said as he looked at Sharon and saw a little twinkle in his love’s eye. “We’re going to need you to knock off the ‘Mr. Cole sir’ and “Mrs. Sharon Ma’am’ stuff and just call us Mommy and Daddy, ok?”

“Yes,” Mutumbo said. “You’ve got it, Mr. Daddy Sir and Mrs. Mommy Ma’am!”
Sharon laughed.

“We’ll work on it,” Cole said.

“Come on, Mutumbo,” Sharon said. “The world’s your oyster now. Where to?”

“Well,” Mutumbo said. “If possible, I would like to get one of the delicious American ice cream sundaes I have heard so much about.”

“Oh yeah?” Cole asked.

“Yes,” Mutumbo said. “A missionary came to my village once and when he was shot in the back of the head and drawn and quartered, he dropped a magazine and in that magazine, there was a photograph of the most scrumptious looking ice cream sundae I have ever seen. It had whipped cream, nuts, a cherry, a banana, marshmallows, chocolate sauce, peanut butter fudge, rainbow sprinkles, and seven different flavors of ice cream, including rocky road, double chocolate, mint chocolate chip…”

“Whoa, whoa,” Cole said. “Slow down there, buckaroo. You’re liable to get a tummy ache if a sundae like that is your first decent meal here in the states.”

“Oh Mr. Daddy sir,” Mutumbo said. “If it makes me shit for a week, then so be it.”

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