Fringe Festival – Day 1

20150246Fringe 2015 has begun!  Strangely, I’m only artistically enmeshed in one show this year and I don’t appear on stage for the first time since 2009.  As I’ve worked to position myself more as a writer than a performer, this was bound to happen.  I still very much love to perform.  If anyone ever came to me and asked if I’d be in their fringe show, I’d be inclined to say yes.

You know, as long as I didn’t have to rehearse or anything.

As is my habit, I will write reviews of the shows I see during the festival.  My opinions are my own so feel free to think I’m a raving idiot.  If you didn’t think that already.

I don’t give star ratings and I don’t write reviews on the Fringe web site unless I think a show needs a boost.  As an artist, I don’t want to be responsible for torpedoing a show’s rating just because I didn’t care for it.

The Sound of Footloose

I won’t actually review this show because I’m the writer.  I did watch the opening and will simply offer my kudos to the cast and crew who found a way to realize my bizarre mash-up of an idea.  Did it work for me?

Yeah.  They found the humor in the script I wrote and while I don’t expect I will ever win an Ivey for my writing, I’m satisfied that I didn’t write a complete pile of crap.  What will the audience think?  Given we had the 5:30 Thursday slot, my sample size is still pretty small. Hopefully later shows will help all of us have a better idea how we did.

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Shit that Pissed Me Off – 7/31

A Lion was Killed by a Dentist and Everyone Does Something Wrong

So let’s be honest – nobody would care about this story at all if the lion had not been a very popular and famous lion.  It wouldn’t have been news.  Rich guys from all over the world hunt African lions all the time.  The animals aren’t endangered (any more) so limited hunting is legal.  As long as you obtain the proper permits.

Which this guy didn’t.

I don’t have a problem with hunting for food.  We don’t need to kill deer to survive because the meat section of our local supermarket is very well stocked.  But I guess I understand that killing your own deer is something that people like to do and since they are eating the deer, I’m not bothered by the practice.

When you kill a lion, though, you aren’t killing it for food.  Lions are not particularly tasty.

When is the last time exotic food day on Hell's Kitchen featured a lion?

When is the last time exotic food day on Hell’s Kitchen featured a lion?

We humans have a particularly idiotic notion that we are more evolutionarily advanced than other creatures because we happen to have a higher intelligence.  I imagine it doesn’t help that a lot of us subscribe to a holy book that tells us we are the most important creatures on the planet.

Looking at evolution, however, one must reach the inevitable conclusion that lions have been working towards their present form exactly as long as we humans have been working on ours.  So when we take a life – any life – for something other than food, we are being privileged assholes.

Want that rhinoceros tusk for an aphrodisiac? Fuck you.  That rhino is using it and it has every bit of a right to life as you.

Another thing that bugs me about this whole thing is the dude claiming he “thought” the hunt was legal.  He seems genuinely surprised that he didn’t have the proper permits.

In the same way Tom Brady seems genuinely surprised destroying his cell phone would look bad.

I'm sure he just dropped it accidentally.  Seven or eight times. By accident.

I’m sure he just dropped it accidentally. Seven or eight times. By accident.

This guy goes big game hunting all the time.  He’s been cited for poaching before. Do I think he knew the hunt was a little shady?

Of course he did.  And even if he didn’t know, he didn’t give a fuck.  He wanted to kill a lion.

He didn’t want to shoot it with a paint pellet for the lulz. He wanted to kill a lion, cut off it’s head and skin and put that dead lion in his house to prove to other people that he killed a fucking lion.  He figured that nobody would know if he’d done it legally because unless the lion was a well known animal that people would miss, nobody would care.

Oopsie!

So his claims of ignorance are empty bullshit being spewed by someone who didn’t actually think he was going to have to explain his behavior to anyone.

Sorry, pal.  You got caught.

Now this Minnesotan dentist isn’t the only person who killed a notable animal recently.  In Hawaii, a group of fisherman brought in a 1,368 pound marlin.  The fish is believed to have been 18-26, which is very old for the species.  That fish managed to survive far longer than other Marlins but eventually, we humans caught him and put him on the back of a pickup truck.  Nobody is going after those fisherman because we will, collectively, eat that marlin.

It is literally going to take a village to eat that marlin.

If you are believer, you are probably cutting this thing open to see if Jonah is inside.

If you are believer, you are probably cutting this thing open to see if Jonah is inside.

As a meat eater, I understand that what I’m eating was killed by other humans.  I accept that bargain because I like meat. Carnivores eat meat.  That’s part of the circle of life. You think Cecil the lion was a vegetarian?

We are the only species that seems particularly enamored with showing off the things we kill.  I don’t think Cecil ever called all the other lions over to check out a particularly big gazelle he managed to polish off.  He just ate the gazelle.

And yes, I know that the female lions do all of the killing but I’m trying to make a point here so please don’t derail me with facts.

Thing is, shooting a lion for a pelt you are going to put on the wall is not part of the circle of life.  It is, in fact, telling the circle of life to go fuck itself because we humans can do whatever the hell we want thankyouverymuch.

Most of us think we are better than all the other animals on the planet because we are, so far as we can tell, smarter.  Because that is the only way in which we are superior to most animals on the planet, we subscribe more importance to that trait.

So having savaged the asshole lion killing dentist for a while, let me move on to everyone else.

As much as I think this guy deserves the firestorm that has descended upon him for what he’s done, I’m bothered he is getting death threats and that he has been doxxed to the point that people are protesting at his home.

The guy has kids.

He has employees and co-workers.

And those people had nothing to do with his personal life choices.  Do you think his kids are going to be convinced that their dad is a bad person because a bunch of protestors are saying he deserves to die?

Or do you think those kids are going to stand beside their dad because he’s their dad and it seems like the entire world hates him right now?

I don’t know how old those kids are but if they are school age, they are super lucky they are on summer break.  I’d hate to think what they’d be going through in the classroom.

And while I don’t know what is happening to the co-workers of this guy, I’m guessing they are going to get harassed when they go to work.  People do it at abortion clinics.  I’m not so naive as to believe people I agree with are incapable of the same asshole behavior.

The people protesting this action don’t care if the dental hygienist didn’t even know her boss was killing a lion in Africa.  She is collateral damage in the war on one man’s dental practice.

Does doxxing, and making death threats against this guy and his family undo what he did?  Will Cecil the lion suddenly come back to life as a zombie head and pelt to enact his bloody revenge on the man who killed him?

I don’t think it does.

Although that would make one hell of a movie. Or maybe a Fringe show.

Fringe 2015! The Lion Kill. It's basically the same show as The Lion King except Mufasa get killed by a dentist with a bow and arrow and scar kills all of the cubs when he takes over the pride so he can advance his own genetic line.

Fringe 2015! The Lion Kill. It’s basically the same show as The Lion King except Mufasa get killed by a dentist with a bow and arrow and scar kills all of the cubs when he takes over the pride so he can advance his own genetic line.

I hope we all understand that in the last week, some other asshole killed a lion so he could mount it’s head on his wall.  While we all go crazy denouncing this dentist from Bloomington, people are still doing this shit.  They still don’t give a fuck about making sure the permits are in order.  They will probably spend a little more time making sure the animal doesn’t have a radio collar because they don’t want to get caught.

To me, the story of Cecil the lion isn’t about one guy from Bloomington.  It is about all of us.  We are so pissed at this one dentist, we don’t realize that the issue is a lot bigger than him.

Next week, someone will kill an elephant for it’s tusks.  Next month, someone will kill a tiger (which is endangered) because they can sell the body parts to make medicines that don’t work. Next year, thousands of sharks will be killed to make shark fin soup. Over the next twelve years, Japan will kill 12,000 Minke whales in the name of “research.”

And two weeks from now, nobody will be thinking about Cecil the lion any more.  Just like none of us think about all those other animals now.

EDIT: Of course it is now coming out that asshole dentist gives tons of money to conservationist causes.  I don’t find that information any kind of surprise. He wants to conserve animals so he doesn’t feel guilty when he kills them.  Whatever bargain he needs to make, right?

Shit that Pissed me Off – 7/24

Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients is a Huge Bust

Government needs to be smaller, they tell us.  It isn’t that I disagree with that basic sentiment but I don’t understand why there is a huge push from the right to test welfare recipients for drug use.

I mean, I understand the basic (dumb) argument.  We don’t want people receiving handouts to be using those handouts to fund a drug habit.  Better that they receive zero money and zero treatment and they die in an opium den, I guess.  Or maybe they will just have their legs broken because they can’t pay their dealer.

Anyway, the problem isn’t the rationale so much as the results.  The number of drug users being caught is so low, it doesn’t come close to saving the government the money it is spending on catching the drug users.  Has anyone thought about rebranding the “war on drugs” as a “limited police action” on drugs.

Throw down your pot and put your leaves up! DO IT NOW!

Throw down your pot and put your leaves up! DO IT NOW!

So instead of small government, we have big government looking for evidence of drug abuse and finding comparatively little.  Even if estimates are correct and 8% of welfare recipients are drug abusers, that leaves most welfare recipients in the position of being assumed guilty until a drug test proves otherwise.

Is it legal? Well I’m pretty sure John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia think so.

Which means it may be legal but it is almost certainly a bad idea.

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The Worst Job in the World

I’m going to tell you what I personally think is the worst job in the world.  Perhaps it’s best to call it the job I would have right before I realized I had nothing left to live for.  It’s this job right here:

4c40cdbac2ba7.preview-300

What do they call this job?  Sign waver?  Potential target in Death Race 2000? Least valuable member of the team?

I can only assume they give this job to people who suck at making pizza.  And you’d have to really suck at making pizza to be kicked out of a Little Caesars kitchen.

If you suck at making pizza that bad, they put you out on the street and make you wave around a sign so passing motorists will think “man, I haven’t had any cheap, shitty pizza in a while. Sure, I just ate an expensive lunch on my company’s dime but for only $5.00, I can buy a large pizza, eat half a slice and give the rest to my staff.  I’ll look like the most generous guy on the planet!”

While this ploy might work with Donald Trump, I don’t know if it works for anyone else.

So some poor dude is standing out on a corner freezing or baking his ass off for little to no benefit.  At least that’s what it looks like to me.  Maybe Little Caesars sells dozens of extra pizzas every time they send one of these guys out on the street.  Maybe it’s because people think “oh thank god that asshole isn’t making pizza right now.”

It looks like a shitty job to me.  But you know what has occurred to me lately?  There’s a job that sucks just a little bit more.

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Shit that Pissed me off – 7/17

16-Year Old Child of Anti Vaxxers Uses Her Own Money to Get Vaccinated

Good for her, right?  She decided she wasn’t interested in getting the Measles so, of her own free will, she went behind her parent’s backs and solved the problem the way most of us would solve that problem.

The mom is losing her shit because she didn’t consent to the procedure.  Too bad for her they live in Canada and at sixteen, her daughter gets to do whatever the fuck she wants with her own body.

As a parent, I understand that there are certain choices we need to make for our kids until they reach a certain age.  I’ve told my kids that they can get a tattoo if they want but they have to wait until they are 18.  Why?  Because I figure it will give them a little time to think about it before they get a picture of Twilight Sparkle tattooed on their butt.

Nothing against My Little Pony, you understand, I just think this would be a creepy-ass tattoo.

Nothing against My Little Pony, you understand, I just think this would be a creepy-ass tattoo.

If they came to me at 17 and had a good argument, I’d probably tell them it was fine.

Given how my kids respond to pain, this hypothetical conversation is never going to happen.  But I digress.

This pain in the ass mom seems to think that she has some right to control over another person’s body because that body happens to belong to her daughter.

What is she so angry about anyway?  If her daughter develops autism as a result of the vaccines, she is still going to be moving out in a couple of years.

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Funny is as Funny Does

I’ve been reading a lot about what people think is funny.

I’ve discovered one universal truth: if it doesn’t make you laugh, it’s not funny.

By that I mean if a comedic piece doesn’t make someone laugh, they declare it isn’t funny.

If they don’t get the joke, it is because it was a bad joke.

If twenty other people laughed and/or got the joke, they were wrong.

With that in mind, I want to talk about Dumb and Dumber. I really hate the movie.  I don’t find it funny at all.  Except for the dog van.  That shit is hilarious.

I think it's the ears.

I think it’s the ears.

So.  I don’t like Dumb and Dumber.  It doesn’t make me laugh.  Since I’m a comedian and I, theoretically, know comedy, does that mean the film isn’t funny?  Does it mean I should lecture everyone who loves the movie on all the ways it is a terrible comedy?  Does it mean I should say very thoughtful things like “I understand why you think it was funny but here’s why you are wrong.”

Or does it mean that comedy is, at least in part, a matter of opinion? Read More…

Shit that Pissed me off – 7/10

I was at CONvergence having a wonderful time last week so I apologize that I didn’t post my regular column.  Today, I shall play catch up on a bunch of stupid shit stretching as far back as three weeks.

Football Fans Tell a Player He Shouldn’t Talk about Anything but Football

This happens a lot.  People tell someone they aren’t allowed to have informed opinions about anything except that for which they are most well-known.

In this instance, a white fan from Lacey, Washington, complained that a black football player from Charleston, South Carolina should not have an opinion about racism in the south.  I mean sure, that makes sense.  A white guy in Washington knows a lot more about racism.  

He only lives - like - ten states away from South Carolina! He obviously knows better!

He only lives – like – ten states away from South Carolina! He obviously knows better!

He certainly shouldn’t be subjected the opinion of a black guy from the south.  Unless it’s about football.

The football player in question, Byron Maxwell, was responding to the recent massacre in his home town.  His home town!

How entitled do you have to be to look at comments like that and think “I don’t want to hear the opinions of that guy because I know what’s going on way better than he does?”

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