First off, we made our pre-event goal for Die Laughing and that is amazing! The board offered a $500 matching grant prior to the opening of Die Laughing and we have already raised $500. That means we’ve actually raised $1000. Which is amazing.
This blog entry is about my weekend schedule. I’m not just the Artistic Director of Fearless Comedy Productions, I’m also a performer. I’ll be performing a lot this weekend so here, in tiring detail, is what I’ll be doing.
Friday, March 6th
7:00 PM – We kick off the marathon with Fearless Lab. I’m going to be judging a Vilification Tennis match featuring the last four winners of our amateur show – Nick Glover, Molly Glover, Eric Thompson and Duck Washington. There will also be stand-up comedy, short form improv and a variety of other stuff. We also kick off the marathon with a $250 matching grant so help us get started right!
Saturday, March 7th
Midnight – PowerPoint Karaoke. I’m one of the presenters in my favorite improv game of all time. Presenters are given a series of slides that make no sense and must make up a presentation based on the slides. Also presenting will be Windy Bowlsby and Dawn Krosnowski. It should be amazing. Also, we have a $250 matching grant from CONvergence during that hour!
I’m one of a comparatively small number of people who has actually seen The Interview and I’m frustrated because the movie is funny and now it is up in the air if anyone else will ever see it.
When people accuse Sony of cowardice, I think they fail to understand the extent of the hack that was perpetrated against them. Besides, why put a movie into release if nobody is going to show it? Remember, the whole idea behind the film industry is to make a profit. You don’t make a profit if your movie is only showing in five theaters.
Paramount, on the other hand, shouldn’t give a flying fuck about allowing exhibitors to show a film that was released years ago. I have no idea why they went belly up on this one. The only theaters showing it were theaters that wanted to show it and didn’t give a crap about terroristic threats that are considered unfounded. So let ‘em show it. What the hell?
Anyone out there who thinks terrorism doesn’t work should use this attack as exhibit one. Whoever did this torpedoed a film. Two films, really. The terrorists won this round with a remarkably minimal effort.
And hey, if this is really North Korea getting a stick up its ass about a less than flattering portrayal of their glorious leader, I have a really good idea. They can make a film about some North Korean journalists trying to kill a US President.
I guarantee that no matter how much effort they put into making Obama look like a buffoon, he still won’t look any worse than the average Tea Partier’s concept of him.
Duggar, who thinks her rights to free speech are being infringed every time someone disagrees with her, characterized transgender women as “males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls.”
Seems like she was speaking freely right there.
And her fear mongering worked as Fayetteville voters overturned an ordinance meant to protect those dudes with past child predator convictions who, in fact, don’t have any convictions for being child predators.
Fuck you transgender people! Michelle Duggar is uncomfortable with the idea that one of you might be peeing in the stall next to her so she made up some shit about you being a pedophile.
And it worked.
Let’s be fair, though. She didn’t make that shit up. Someone else did. She just affixed her name to it because, apparently, she agreed.
Man, I hope one of her kids is gay or transgender. She needs to hate someone close to her so she can truly understand what kind of person she is.
Today, I’m re-starting my Putting it Together blog. I’ve been using this blog series to share thoughts that arise from creative projects, like the Fringe Festival.
For the Minnesota Fringe this year, I wrote a show called “Top Gun: The Musical.” The show was very successful and my writing got an amazing assist from a talented cast, great choreography, and really good music co-written with Chad Dutton. Most of the feedback was positive and I felt like the audience really enjoyed what we put on stage.
When I was writing the show, I spent a lot of time watching the film and as I watched, I was taken with all of the homoerotic subtext. I mean, there are dozens of Youtube videos on the topic but I hadn’t watched any of them. Yet. To me, the romance between Maverick and Charlie was not at all interesting and there seemed to be more chemistry between Maverick and Iceman.
When I wrote the script, I wrote it with those thoughts in mind. I told the actors that as far as I was concerned, every pilot in the show was a closeted gay man.
The serious subtext was the idea that in the 80’s, you couldn’t be an openly gay man in the military. It was hard to be an openly gay man at all. It is remarkable how far we’ve come in such a short time.
Now the show wasn’t at all serious and the idea that these characters were in the closet was played for laughs. That made me nervous.
Because while I wanted to make fun of the fact these characters were in the 80’s closet, I didn’t want it to come off as making fun of the fact that they were gay. I wanted it to be very clear that it was OK they were gay.
Fringe week continues!
I’ve known Ben for a few years now. I think I was introduced to him when I first mounted a show at the fringe in 2007.
Ben, like a lot of my comedian friends, is always thinking about the philosophy of comedy. It isn’t enough to write a funny joke. It is more important to understand the nature of what makes jokes funny. We had him on Geeks Without God earlier this year and he talked about how one approaches telling certain types of jokes to certain types of audiences.
While Ben has written some very good plays, he primarily identifies himself as a stand-up comedian. He did a stand-up show at the fringe three years ago with a lot of material about being an atheist. The way he was so open about that part of himself got me thinking about how writers and performers integrate their beliefs into their work.
Ben is in Jumpin’ Jack Kerouac with me and I think he views it through a similar lens. We both feel completely out of our element as dancers but we enjoy the challenge. We are both also very happy that we are only going to be doing this once.
In rehearsing the show, I’ve gotten to hear some of Ben’s writing about being social. The thoughts that go through his head are similar to mine. He lives in his head all the time.
Whenever I talk to him, I get the feeling there are two layers of conversation. One is the actual conversation we are having and one is the internal dialogue he is having with himself about the conversation.
I guess we all do that but with Ben, I can actually watch it happen.
All of this analysis results in one very important by-product. It makes Ben a very funny and insightful writer.
Ben also once told me that he thought I was in my mid 30’s and not my mid 40’s.
For having said that, I think he is one of the best people ever!
In addition to Jumpin’ Jack Kerouac, you should check out Ben’s other Fringe show: Fiddlestick Conundrum!
I’ve known Joseph from somewhere around the beginning of CONvergence back in 1999. At that time, his career as a comedian was just starting to develop while I had no idea that I might one day be looking to do the same thing.
For the last several years, he has been a terrific sounding board for me. He’s walked a road I’d like to walk and what makes him great is the fact he’s willing to talk to me about the journey. He is extremely generous with advice if you ask for it but he doesn’t offer it unless he thinks you are interested.
Joseph is one of the hardest working comedians I know. He is always writing something and the diversity of what he writes is staggering. He has written some of the funniest and most successful plays at the Minnesota Fringe. He writes a very funny blog. He’s written a book. And so on.
When he’s on stage, he looks confident and comfortable but never cocky. He is in his natural element and he likes it there. When he is clearly enjoying himself, the viewer can hardly help but to do the same.
We have had many conversations over the years about comedy and he takes it very seriously. He spends a lot of time thinking about what makes comedy work and how he can make his comedy better.
Recently, he moved from Minnesota to California, which is a big risk. If I know anyone who can make the move successfully, it would have to be Joseph. Sure, there are a lot of random factors involved but he is talented and an extremely hard worker.
For someone as talented as he is, he shares the stage with others extremely well. His Obsessed podcast could easily be much more about his cleverness than about his guests’ obsessions but he does a terrific job of using his questions to bring out the comedy in his guests rather than worrying about providing it himself.
Life is full of comings and goings but I’ll admit that when the Scrimshaws moved to California, it was a going that made me a little more sad than most. I definitely miss their presence even as I celebrate what I hope will be great success.
Also, he’s doing a performance in Minneapolis on Saturday at the Comedy Corner Underground. If you haven’t seen him live and you are in the Twin Cities, you should go!
I’ve known Sharon for about five years now. We aren’t super close friends but I enjoy what time I spend with her because she is ceaselessly interesting.
Sharon is well known as a birder. Heck, she’s written books and stuff. However, most of my experience with her is in comedy shows and I find her about as intimidating as they come. She is one of those folks who is effortlessly funny. When I’m on stage with her, all I think about is how much funnier she will be than me (and everyone else on stage). She makes it look easy. It never feels like she’s trying at all.
Confidence is one of her best qualities. It really feels like she knows what she is doing all the time. She believes in her own capability to do it right.
When it comes to birding, I think that she enjoys the process of sharing that passion with others. She writes, she blogs, she podcasts, and she gets together with other birders. Yes, it is her career so she needs to do those things. But I have to think that she gains a lot of pleasure from sharing her knowledge and experience.
She can talk for a long time on just about any topic because she knows a lot about them all. I admire smart people and she is one of the smartest. I don’t think that I would ever want to get into an argument with her because I’d probably be wrong and she would sound far more interesting than me even if I was right.
Sharon is a great communicator, as evidenced by all of her writing to be sure. She organizes her thoughts well and she organizes them rapidly. She doesn’t try to be interesting, she simply is interesting.
While being around Sharon may intimidate me a little, it’s well worth the effort to get over it. I’m glad that I’ve had the chance to know her a bit better.
You can read her blog over at birdchick.com.