sixteen things tagged “comedy”

Norm MacDonald at Iowa

Battling cancer for 9 years without telling anyone is the most Norm Macdonald shit ever.

Anthony Jeselnik

I had no idea that he performed at the Hancher Auditorium at The University of Iowa in 1997 and mortified most of a crowd of 1,200 excited kids and their parents who’d come to see him, Darrell Hammond, and Jim Breuer at the height of their SNL fame. The 250 or so who’d remained appear to have had a fantastic time:

"When Norm took the stage he immediately launched into a bit that was intentionally supposed to be offensive to most of the audience. As it went on, people got up and left in large numbers. Each time a new group would leave, he would make a remark like, ‘Did you think I was going to do airline jokes?’ or ‘Did you think I was going to hold up a picture of the Ayatollah and make a joke?’ Then he would double down on the dirty material to see how many more people he could drive out. It was clearly a game to see if he could empty out the place and after some time probably over two-thirds of the crowd had left.

[…] "Whoever booked the show comes in the green room all sweaty with his tie askew. He looked like he had seen a ghost. He says ‘You gotta go get him.’ Me, pull Norm off the stage? I’m not getting him. Breuer was laughing. He says, ‘I’m not getting him.’

"Me [Hammond] and Breuer knew something special was happening. He and I got chairs and sat on the side of the stage where nobody could see us. It was one of the most-brilliant shows I’ve ever seen.

"Anybody who thought Norm would change his act was sorely mistaken. Norm just didn’t care.

“He’s revered in the comedians’ world. He doesn’t bother with pretenses or correctness. He’s probably the original politically incorrect comedian. It’s not for a shock factor. It’s just who he is.”

Mike Hlas, “The night Norm Macdonald mortified the University of Iowa”, The Gazette (cached)

Here’s The Des Moines Register’s report:

Report on Norm MacDonald's performance at the University of Iowa in The Des Moines Register

Here’s Jim Breuer on the incident:

“Hypocrisy is the Vaseline of Political Intercourse”

Somoza called himself “president”. The Sandinistas called him a “dictator”. They called themselves “freedom fighters”. He called them “Commie terrorists”. So they kicked him out then they were in charge. Ronald Reagan called them “Commie oppressors” and he sent in the Contras, whom he called “freedom fighters” and they called “mercenary terrorists.”

So basically, what you’re called depends largely on who’s doing the talking because hypocrisy is the vaseline of political intercourse. They didn’t like what they saw, so they changed it to make it sound better. Just like in these personal ads. It sounds great; but it’s all lies.

Billy Connolly

Dream Team (1989) IMDb B+

Michael Keaton and Christopher Lloyd were excellent. But Peter Boyle steals the show as “Jack McDermott. Christ fixation. Megalomania.

BILLY
Hey, Doc, isn’t it true that if even one of those tiles were to come loose, millions and millions of gallons of water would come pouring down on us and squash us like tiny little bugs? Is that a leak up there? You see those tiles? They’re leaking water right there!

DR. WEITZMAN
Bill. Cut it out. Oh, my God!

JACK
I will hold back the waters.

DR. WEITZMAN
Thanks, Jack.

.

BILLY
Dr. Verboven can be such a perfectionist.

JACK
Yeah, but that’s what makes him such a great diagnostician.

HENRY (DR. VERBOVEN)
Vital signs are good. Zip code checks out.

.

JACK
Let me hold the gun.

HENRY
No.

JACK
I let you sit in the front seat.

(HENRY HANDS GUN TO JACK)

PSYCHIATRIST
Jack, Jesus Christ would never point a gun at another human being.

JACK
Stay out of my psychosis and get your ass in that van.

and finally (even though there’s a lot more understated gold)

JACK
I drove the moneylenders from the temple. I can handle a ten-spot.

🙏

On Masks

Bill Burr on The Joe Rogan Experience:

BURR: I don’t want to start this bullshit. I’m not gonna sit here with no medical degree, listening to you with no medical degree, with an American flag behind you smoking a cigar, acting like we know what’s up, better than the CDC. All I do, is I watch the news once every two weeks - I’m like, “Mask or no mask? Still mask? Alright, mask!” That’s all I give a fuck about. I don’t care. I just love how wearing a mask became like this fucking like soft thing that you were doing… like being courteous…”

ROGAN: It’s for bitches1.

BURR: Why is it for bitches? That’s just so stupid.

ROGAN: (Fakes weak cough)

BURR: Oh God you’re so tough with your fucking open nose and throat and your five o’clock shadow. This is a man right here! A man doesn’t wear a mask.

Rogan’s immediate response somehow reminded me of the “infantile phallocentric Nietzscheanism that is destroying modern human culture” from one of my favorite articles.

  1. Here’s something of a guide to his podcasts. ↩︎

The Official Response

WOOLEY. What if the Prime Minister insists we help them?
SIR APPLEBY. Then we follow the four-stage strategy.
WOOLEY. What’s that?
SIR WHARTON. Standard Foreign Office response in a time of crisis.
SIR WHARTON. In stage one we say nothing is going to happen.
SIR APPLEBY. Stage two, we say something may be about to happen, but we should do nothing about it.
SIR WHARTON. In stage three, we say that maybe we should do something about it, but there’s nothing we can do.
SIR APPLEBY. Stage four, we say maybe there was something we could have done, but it’s too late now.

A political manual for the ages.

Comedians and Comics

From an episode of My Next Guest with David Letterman:

Letterman: First of all, let’s define terms. Comedian and comic: used interchangeably but mean two different things.

Seinfeld: Kind of different, yeah. A comedian is a, to me, a full-fledged, not only a monologist, but someone who can really work a room, work a crowd and has a real act. A comic… that, I think, is a notch down. Wouldn’t you agree?

Letterman: Well, you’re assigning value to them.

Seinfeld: Yes.

Letterman: I thought they were two different pursuits. That a comedian was somebody who would be funny on stage, in a theatrical production, or in film, something like that, whereas a comic would be more like what you’ve made a career of.

Seinfeld: Oh, no, no, no. You’re talking about a comedic actor. Jackie Gleason was not a comic. He started out as a comic but he was a great comedic actor. Ten Danson is a great comedic actor, but he’s not a comedian. He has no act to do in Vegas. Which is the objective.

Letterman: So you’re saying that a comedian… but I don’t understand why there is a judgment assigned to being a comic.

Seinfeld: Just because we like judging others, that’s the reason.

Racism and Astrology

Via co-worker DH. Dara Ó Briain on how Racism is better than Astrology:

Racism is one of the worst social evils they can imagine. “How dare you do that?” they say. "How dare you ascribe to me personality traits? You don’t even know me, but you tell me that you know me, and you know these things about me, and you say I share these personality traits with this huge group of people, and I don’t know them, you don’t know them, and you say not only do we have the same character traits, but we have some sort of common history and some common destiny, and you make all of these horrible presumptions on the back of what? On the back of a fluke of birth. How dare you do that?

What? Ooh, Capricorn.

“Nanette” by Hannah Gadsby (2018) IMDb A

When I’m doing jokes that I do at the start of the show about lesbians, everyone laughs. It’s fine, it’s fun. I do exactly the same to men, and it’s not. That’s less to do with the men, but also the cultural practice. They’re not used to it.

That’s the way comedy is. Comedy is a man’s art form. It pretty much came from a time, post–World War II really — the 1950s are not really known for the subtle expressions of feminine life. There’s a lot of dick-swinging going on in that time, sort of like destroying modernism and bringing in postmodernism. Stand-up comedy’s come out of that era. It’s born from stand-ups doing jokes between burlesque shows. Then roasts, you know, which are basically misogyny and homophobia all wrapped up in “yo mama” jokes. The whole art form is centered around jerking off, so it’s no surprise that the endgame is Louis C.K.

A joke is a wank. Set-up … [does a jerk-off motion] punch line. Then you’ve got what I’m trying, storytelling. If the only reason to be on stage communicating with people is to tell them a joke and make them laugh, that seems thin for me. That has a place — I don’t think it should stop happening — but for me, I don’t know. I just don’t.

via Vulture. Also a contrast between Bill Maher and Gadsby.