Yesterday, I was invited to be the featured reader at the Not-So-Silent Planet, a speculative fiction open mic presented by Wordsprout. I was flattered and, of course, incredibly nervous because I didn’t know what I was going to write and, as always, I had no idea if it was the least bit funny.
The inspiration for this particular story came from the phrase “I just wish there weren’t so many bass players.” I don’t know why as I have no particular hatred for bass players. The phrase just struck me as funny. Over the course of the day, I managed to find a bunch of words to wrap around that phrase and this is the story that emerged. Honestly, I think it works better read aloud.
But I liked it. And I think it worked well. So I’m putting it out on the internet for people to enjoy or ignore. Warning: this story does not contain any cats.
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.
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…
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.
As you may or may not know, I just spent a week in Yellowstone National Park. I learned a lot about geothermal features while I was there. I’m sure you are aware there are several such features in the park including Old Faithful and a lot of other features that aren’t Old Faithful. Nobody ever talks about those other features.
Another prominent feature of Yellowstone National Park is the bison. There are, at last count, somewhere around twelve billion bison within the boundaries of the park. After five days, you get a little blasé about them.
On our first day, we stopped for a picture whenever we saw a black lump in a field that might be a bison. By the time we left, we wouldn’t even slow down unless there were playing hopscotch or whist or something else that went beyond the typical behavior of standing in a field and chewing on grass while surrounded by two hundred other bison.
I’m not saying I never grew tired of seeing bison. Because I didn’t. At some point, however, seeing bison became the equivalent of watching Adrian Peterson play for the Vikings. Sure, it’s impressive. But is it really making much of a difference?
I’m currently on vacation in Wyoming. We’ve been visiting Grand Teton National Park for the last few days and today we are traveling to Yellowstone.
If you are going to use this information to rob my house, please be aware that we have a house sitter, a burglar alarm, four attack cats, and a house full of shit you probably don’t want anyway.
Since we’ve arrived in Wyoming, we’ve found there are some things that are a little different out here in one of only two states that lacked the creativity to shape their state like something other than a rectangle.
The first thing I’ve noticed is that FOX News isn’t just a news station. It is the only TV news station there is. I looked up MSNBC on my hotel room directory it was listed. When I tried to punch in the numbers, however, the remote just laughed at me.
I don’t think everyone in Wyoming is a conservative. I just think everyone in Wyoming assumes that everyone else in Wyoming is a conservative.
Another concept that is different is the definition of “back yard.”
I have a back yard and it is quite small. Even when I’m using “back yard” to reference something close to my house, like say Cub Foods, I’m talking about someplace that is less than a mile from my home.
We ran into a family from Idaho having a picnic yesterday. They told us that the Grand Tetons were “in their back yard.”
The Grand Tetons are in a completely different state!
I have a half-dozen writing projects going on right now when you consider blogging, Fringe shows, Big Fun Radio Funtime, Vermin, and random other sketches I said I would write.
I’m overwhelmed and at the same time, I’m pleased to have my life filled with what I want to be doing.
Sometimes, though, I have the hardest time figuring out what to put on the page. Take my comedy blogging, for instance.
Writing a comedy blog is, I think, very important for me. I’m a comedy writer and that means I need to write comedy. That makes sense.
Every week, though, I have the hardest time coming up with a topic for the comedy blog. I end up putting it off until the last minute because I don’t have any ideas. The term “comedy blog” is pretty broad. It means I can write about anything as long as I’m (trying to be) funny.
I’ve finally settled in to just asking myself what has happened over the last week and trying to come up with something funny to say about it. Have I been playing a video game a whole lot? Write a post about that!
Have I been thinking about my cats a lot? Write a post about that!
It never feels good enough to me, though. I fell like I’m crapping out on the whole idea because I’m not writing comedy about bigger and better things.
We have a new obsession at my house.
I don’t know if you’ve seen the commercials for “Clash of Clans” but if you have and you want to know what the game all about, you should come over. We have clans clashing all over the place. If any of us can take a moment to put down our mobile device to talk to you, we’ll give you a guided tour.
Let me explain how the game works. Basically, you have a little town that looks a bit like a medieval SimCity. You can build and upgrade buildings and you can also train troops like archers, giants, Agents of SHIELD, rabid Chihuahuas, and Smart cars.
Your troops are used to attack other people’s medieval Sim Cities. If you are successful, you make off with their gold and elixir, the two important resources you need to build and upgrade your town. There is a third resource, gems, which I will describe in more detail later.
Buildings in your town have three functions. The first function is to produce and store resources. The second function is to produce more powerful and varied troops. The third function is to protect your town from other invading armies.
Nobody in this town lives anywhere. There are no houses or schools or stores or libraries. The quality of life for your little SimClan is pretty much tied up in producing more and better troops so you can steal more resources so you can build and upgrade more buildings so you can produce more and better troops. It is the digital equivalent of the circle of life but with fewer zebras.
I’ve often said that the Oscars are given out too early. If you really want to know what movie is the Best Picture of a particular year, wait ten years and then hand out the awards. I’d bet most of the time you would get a different result.
2004, however, was the year The Return of the King won Best Picture and something tells me that we wouldn’t see too many people shouting for Peter Jackson to return his trophy. I wonder, though, how the movie would have been different if it had been about another King.
Not Elvis. I don’t know crap about Elvis.
My wife was out of town at a gaming convention last week and I was feeling a bit randy Saturday night. Having read a lot about sexting, I thought I would try it out. What follows is a transcripts of the sexts that I sent to my wife. In the interests of privacy, I feel it is best if I don’t share her responses.
10:48 PM Kids are in bed. I’m going to start sexting now. I’ve never done this before so…
10:50 PM So…what are you playing? I mean WEARING! What are you WEARING?
10:53 PM I don’t have any long underwear on right now!
….I left it in the bag with the kids’ wet swim suits.
10:55 PM This is getting so hot, I’m not wearing any shoes!
10:56 PM I’m wearing slippers. Still…HOT, right?
10:58 PM I’m taking off my socks verrrrrrrrry slowwwwwwwly
10:59 PM Holy shit it is cold here! I’m putting my socks back on. We can do this in sock feet, right?
11:00 PM I’m getting a blanket verrrrry slowwwwwwly.
11:02 PM I’m letting ice drip all over you right now. Isn’t it sexy baby?
11:08 PM Sorry for the delay. Had to dry off the phone.
11:09 PM I’m a little worried about when we get to the sex part…one of my hands is going to be busy…
11:10 PM Can we pretend that I got your bra unhooked in one try? It’s supposed to be a fantasy, right?
11:12 PM Well why don’t you sit out the next hand? This should only take a couple more minutes.
11:14 PM Yeah baby. Just like that. I’m getting close!
11:14 PM Ohms god yeah barge I’m comment!
11:14 PM Was it good for you?