For those who have been lacking in Truman Capote this year...
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Reservist follows Westford Hanukkah celebration with flight to Iraq
WESTFORD -- At its very core, the story of Hanukkah is about the battle of light over darkness, and the fight against the forces of evil and hatred, according to Rabbi Zalman Gurkow.
Benari Poulten was facing just such a battle as he and his father lit all nine candles on a 7-foot wooden menorah on Westford Common last night.
Poulten, sergeant 1st class with the Army Reserve's 362nd Mobile Public Affairs Unit, left for the war in Iraq mere hours after taking part in the eighth annual ceremony, held by Chabad of Nashoba Valley on the last night of Hanukkah. He wore his uniform to the common.
Earlier, children had played games, a tradition at the ceremony. Participants sang songs as they prepared to light the menorah, topped with kerosene lamps.
The Poulten family prepared for a challenge that they had already faced before.
Benari Poulten, 31, who splits time between New York City and his native Chelmsford, deployed to Iraq last night with two other members of the 362nd, based in Londonderry, N.H.
They were to join the 314th Public Affairs Operations Center in Iraq, though exactly where in Iraq remains classified until they arrive, according to Benari's father, Sam Poulten. Benari will serve there for a year.
Sam Poulten, a lieutenant colonel with the Army Reserve's 804th Medical Brigade, served in Iraq from 2003 to 2004. He is co-owner of WCAP in Lowell. His son has also served in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Sam Poulten said his own experience in Iraq changed little.
"I'm just a dad, and I'm worried," he said.
He agreed with Rabbi Zalman that Benari's Poulten's service and the holiday share a common theme, though.
"Hanukkah teaches everyone that light will always triumph over might as long as people will it," Sam Poulten said. "As long as people are dedicated to righting wrongs and standing between the weak and those that would do them harm, then right always prevails."
Rabbi Zalman believes the U.S. armed forces represent that good in the world today.
"That's why we wanted to dedicate the evening to the U.S. armed forces, thanks to whom our freedom to express our religion freely and openly is preserved," he said.
There were larger lessons, too, though.
Rabbi Zalman said it is everyone's obligation to spread goodness and kindness. Poulten noted that his family is just one of many whose loved ones will spend these holidays far from home.
"It's really a very small sacrifice in the scheme of things, and that's the way Benari feels," Sam Poulten said. "He is just one son. There are 140,000 families with loved ones there right now."
State Rep. Geoff Hall and Rep.-elect Jim Arciero were also on hand, along with about 70 others who came out to celebrate on the common.
From the Lowell Sun
Friday, October 31, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
NY Press explains what's up with me lately...
COMEDY OF TERRORS
From political comic to active-duty solider,
Benari Poulten trades gags for guns
By Maggie Serota
Benari Poulten is a resident of Astoria, or at least he was until his commitment to civic duty granted him a year-long vacation in scenic Iraq. In addition to playing the role of the opening hype man for the weekly Shoot the Messenger comedy show at the Green Room Theater, he’s also a regular at comedy spots Comix, People’s Improv Theater, The Tank and Rififi.
“I think I’ve done everything that has been done,” Poulten remarks. “Even the places that have closed down.”
One would be hard-pressed to find a comedian more qualified to skewer the political process and foreign affairs than 31-year-old Poulten. While other comics passively rely on newspaper headlines and sound bites for material, Poulten has already served as a Congressional Aide to Rep. Marty Meehan (D-Mass) as well as a staffer for the 2004 Kerry campaign. And he’s not just talk; Poulten has also spent the better part of the last decade enlisted in the Army Reserves as a print and broadcast journalist, having recently been promoted to Sergeant First Class.
“I joined the Army Reserves in 1999, one month after college, which pissed off my dad because he wanted me to join for the tuition money. I was like, ‘Screw you, old man!’” Poulten explains. Clearly, there is no greater affront to a father than ignoring his fiscal advice. Adding insult to injury, Poulten went on to acquire $100,000 more debt by earning his MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU.
His military experience—not to mention a childhood spent in community theater—made him a perfect candidate to send up this summer’s Republican National Convention with the rest of his comedy group, the Shoot the Messenger crew, when they exported their weekly theater show to Minneapolis. Although Poulten is the first to admit that Republicans are comedic sitting ducks.
“A lot of satire is based on taking on the people who happen to be in power, and right now, these are the people who are in power,” Poulten relays before explaining that the group spent its days reporting on the convention via radio and their nights “taking the politicians to task and raking them over the coals.”
Their targets didn’t make it very difficult. “The most absurd moment had to be when we spotted Karl Rove just walking around as if he wasn’t being indicted,” Poulten says. “[Comic] Lizz Winstead remarked that one of the perks of being at the convention is that we were hanging around people that should be in jail.”
Naturally, Poulten did what anyone would do and seized the moment to take a picture with the unsuspecting Bush crony, even if he did have to exercise what he refers to as “an incredible amount of restraint.”
Another highlight involved shooting a segment making fun of the horrendous patriotic-themed fashions being peddled by vendors and modeled by prominent Republicans.
“I had to drive over to the Republican mayor of Bloomington, Indiana’s house to pick up one of the outfits for our sketch, and the car died. So I had to have the mayor help jump my [car] so I could go back to Minneapolis and go make fun of his friends.” It should be noted that the mayor of Bloomington is Gene Winstead, Lizz’s brother.
Although Poulten identifies as a liberal and “proud Democrat,” one has to wonder if he is in any way conflicted about his military assignments, especially when those assignments are surrounded by controversy.
“The last time I was deployed, I was in Guantanamo in 2002,” Poulten relays with remarkable good humor. “I was only supposed to be there for six months, but that got extended to a year because someone had to go and start another war.”
“Guantanamo was one of those situations where I had to separate the warriors from the war since a lot of the public perception of what went on was shaped by policy fights in Washington. It was certainly an interesting place to be handling public affairs.” How’s that for an understatement?
This month, Poulten will be going on the road again, not as an entertainer, but as a member of the Army Reserves shopping off to Iraq.
“I knew it was a possibility that I would be going into Iraq, but I don’t think I’ve fully processed it yet,” he explains. “I have friends who have gone and come back and friends who went and didn’t come back, but I’m looking forward to being a part of history that few of us can experience firsthand.”
Despite being sent into a war zone with the added stress of a leadership position, Poulten fails to lose sight of what is most important.
“Call me back if you need me to be funnier,” he remarked before hanging up.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Whew! What a fantastic day. JUST put a whole bucnh of money into Wachovia Bank - that's a big one, nothing's gonna happen to that giant - and I updated my stock portfolio, buying up risky investments because Congress is totally gonna pass a huge bailout bill and ...
They did what now?
But the stock market-
Biggest point drop...EVER?
Well, at least nothing happened to Wach-
...when do the locusts and pillars of smoke get here?
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I believe this is what's called, in the political world, an "oopsie."
Thursday, September 18, 2008
On Monday, I had a wisdom tooth pulled.
It's the first time I've had a wisdom tooth yanked. I don't know that I feel any particular loss of wisdom, but then again, as my life decisions have proven, I don't think I had very much wisdom to lose in the first place.
The appointment was set up through the Army; they hooked me up with a cool dentist on the upper East Side. After informing me that it would take about 15 minutes to rip my tooth out, I was given the option of being knocked out. An option I happily accepted.
It's a weird sensation. You're sitting in the chair, they stick you with a needle, someone says, "Just relax." Everything gets fuzzy and then a nurse is walking you down a hallway to a room where you sleep off the happy juice. And you're biting down on cotton gauze where your wisdom tooth used to be. Odd.
It's like being a private dick in a film noir where some dame just slipped you a mickey.
For me, I didn't really think about the terrible possibilities of all the horrific things that could happen to me while unconscious until it was far, far too late.
My serious lack of wisdom definitely kicked in right as I went under, causing me a slight flurry of panic just as I passed out. Suddenly, every horror movie I had ever seen, every urban legend I had ever heard, every whacked out tale of crazed, maniacal, sado-masochistic dentists flooded my brain.
You go in to get a tooth pulled and you wake up as a head in a jar, I think. This is how it happens!
I calm myself down. I know I'm being irrational. I'm just getting a tooth pulled. This dentist is totally chill and cool. No one is harvesting my organs.
The room goes blurry. "Just relax," he says, shoving cotton into my mouth, in a voice that sounds a million miles away.
Everything is going black.
Oh my God, I suddenly realize too late, slipping into dark oblivion. No one knows I'm here...!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
We decided to take an in-depth look at those individuals who fervently support the war...they just don't have the time to actually go and serve themselves. So, they give back in their own way.
I helped write this one up and I shot a bunch of it.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Hey, True Believers!
Wanna hear Stan Lee narrate original issues of the Fantastic Four in an early 70's attempt to revive serialized radio drama?
Of course you do.
Fret not, faithful followers of the Fantastic Four! Here are 10 episodes! Online! Thanks, INTERNET!
FANTASTIC FOUR RADIO
It's pretty awesome. AND, as an added bonus...
a young Bill Murray plays Johnny Storm, the Human Torch! Yes. THAT Bill Murray.
Monday, September 08, 2008
This one was probably my favorite one, both from a writing and performing standpoint.
Added bonus; our street team coverage of the convention.
Look for me (or rather, my feet) as TWO of the different reporters on our Mensroom Watch.
More video coverage from the RNC.
Apparently, the crowd loved my first joke so much, it kind threw off the rest of the piece.
That's a good problem to have, though.
For the record, the "Science Museum" joke was the first joke I wrote with Lizz when we got there.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Shoot the Messenger heads out West this week for three shows:
Sep 2, 2008 - Sep 4, 2008
@ 7:00pm each night
The Parkway Theater
4814 Chicago Avenue S
READ MORE HERE.
Also, Lizz Winstead and I will be broadcasting live on Lowell's WCAP 980 AM every day during the convention. 9:30am and 4:30pm (EST). Tune in or listen live online at 980wcap.com/
That is all. For now.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
So. This story:
Good for the Jews? Or bad for the Jews?
Paul McCartney gig revives Israeli Beatles tale
08/27/2008 1:00 PM, AP
An upcoming concert by Paul McCartney has revived memories of the 1960s, when an Israeli official supposedly called off a Beatles concert for fear it would corrupt the nation's youth.
The episode is often fondly quoted as a relic of a long-lost Israel where the public's innocence needed protecting.
Trouble is, the story might not be true: With Israelis in a tizzy about McCartney's arrival, the official's son is taking the opportunity to try to clear his father's name, calling the tale a "Zionist urban legend."
So pervasive is the story of the concert's cancellation 43 years ago that this year Israel's ambassador in London wrote a letter expressing regret over the matter to surviving members of the band. He told them the country would like to make it up to them: come play during this year's celebrations marking Israel's 60th anniversary.
"Israel missed a chance to learn from the most influential musicians of the decade, and the Beatles missed an opportunity to reach out to one of the most passionate audiences in the world," Ambassador Ron Prosor wrote.
On Wednesday, McCartney confirmed the Sept. 25 concert in Tel Aviv, which had been rumored for days.
In a news release, McCartney acknowledged the brouhaha, saying he is finally coming "43 years after being banned by the Israeli government." He promised to give Israelis "the night they have been waiting decades for."
Even before McCartney announced the show, tickets went on sale at prices ranging from $140 to $430.
The Israeli official blamed for canceling the 1965 concert was Yaakov Sarid, a stern-faced man in horn-rimmed glasses who was the Education Ministry's director.
He is remembered today — to the extent that he is remembered at all — mainly for his alleged role in denying Israeli youth their chance to faint and scream at the Fab Four. Also implicated is David Ben-Gurion, Israel's founding father and prime minister at the time.
Sarid, who died in 1976, was the father of Yossi Sarid, for years an outspoken member of Israel's parliament and currently a newspaper columnist.
The younger Sarid, now 67, claims his father had nothing to do with the decision. He wrote a column — only partially tongue in cheek — for the daily Haaretz this week to call the story "a Zionist urban legend." He has tried to make the point in the past, he said, but the story has become too firmly ensconced to budge.
The real story, Sarid said, involved a more mundane feud between two Israeli concert promoters.
The competition was so bitter that when one of them, Yaakov Uri, was about to bring the Beatles to the Jewish state, the other, Giora Godik, used his official connections to torpedo the government approval his rival needed to get the foreign currency to pay for the gig. Sarid said his father was not involved.
This version of events is supported by Israel's pre-eminent pop music critic and historian, Yoav Kutner, who recounted the details in Haaretz on Monday. "It never happened that way," Kutner said of the oft-told story.
Sarid said his father had never heard of the Beatles — his artistic tastes leaned more toward European Jewish liturgical music — and that Ben-Gurion probably hadn't either.
The false version of events only emerged after his father's death, or "after my father was unable to listen to the Beatles," in Sarid's words.
Sarid said the story was first written in a journalist's anthology about Israeli history and gained traction because of Sarid's own political career. Sarid the son was one of the most liberal members of parliament and an outspoken critic of government censorship, which gave the story the necessary ironic punch.
The story has lived on because — accurate or not — it accurately reflected the times. The 1960s was the heyday of Israel's socialist ideology, which sanctified sacrifice and scorned materialism and Western frivolities. Officially, earnest Hebrew paeans to the beauty of the Land of Israel and to the military were in. "Love Me Do" was out.
Though Sarid wants the record set straight and his father's name cleared, he also finds the story amusing and realizes it has taken on a life of its own.
"It's a nice story, in this case much nicer than the truth," he said.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
- Tagging along with some friends for the DC ComedyFest and ending up as part of the festival, hosting what turned out to be two fantastic shows.
- Getting to host TWO sold-out shows for the hilarious Lizz Winstead, featuring the very funny and talented Sean Crespo. Don't mean to brag, but she co-created the Daily Show. Okay. Maybe I meant to brag a little.
- The Arlington Drafthouse is AWESOME. If you are in the Arlington, VA/DC area: GO THERE.
- Partying and performing with many awesome comics. And even the not-so-awesome ones. You know who you are.
- Drinking wine with some FOLKS WHO HELP RUN THE MEDIA (note: surprisingly, NOT the Jews...)
- Getting into a political argument with Greta Van Susteren's husband. Seriously.
- Realizing that the while our GPS almost killed us that one time ("Turn right here...down this one way road...into oncoming traffic..."), we would have been absolutely lost without it.
- Side bar: when you have the GPS set to British, it calls Dr (Drive) "Doctor" and St (Street) "Saint." Also, DC has letter streets (A, B, C, D...etc.). So, if it were E, N, S, or W, the GPS would refer to it as "East" or "North" or "South" or West." So, we would get directions like: "Turn right on Vermont Doctor Northwest, then turn left on East Saint." That's a hell of a glitch. Of course, Dr. East Saint Northwest would make an awesome Bond villain, yes? "Doctor Northwest, I presume. What have you done with the girl, South Saint Southwest?"
- The FDR Memorial. Gorgeous. Inspiring. Dare I say...monumental? I dare.
- Meeting Scipio in person, finding out that he really DOES know what's best for DC Comics, AND getting to see Big Monkey Comics in real FULL COLOR life! Next time...we will definitely make dinner plans ahead of time. If you're in DC and you find yourself walking up 14th, near S St., and you see a sign that reads BIG MONKEY COMICS, go in and say hi! And buy Showcase trades! Online, even! Give them money.
Friday, August 08, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Sunday, July 06, 2008
I wish I had been alive in 1969 AND thought to do this...
...and then put this beautiful little film together. Amazing how simple and consistent Lennon's message was / is / continues to be.
Whatever you do, do it for peace.
About the film:
In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan, armed with a reel-to-reel tape deck, snuck into John Lennon's hotel room in Toronto and convinced John to do an interview about peace. 38 years later, Jerry has produced a film about it. Using the original interview recording as the soundtrack, director Josh Raskin has woven a visual narrative which tenderly romances Lennon's every word in a cascading flood of multipronged animation. Raskin marries the terrifyingly genius pen work of James Braithwaite with masterful digital illustration by Alex Kurina, resulting in a spell-binding vessel for Lennon's boundless wit, and timeless message.
One small note. That intrepid kid with the reel-to-reel didn't meet the Walrus.
We all know: "...the Walrus was Paul..."
Friday, July 04, 2008
"It is up to us, then, to teach them. It is up to us to teach them that even though we have faced great challenges and made our share of mistakes, we have always been able to come together and make this nation stronger, and more prosperous, and more united, and more just. It is up to us to teach them that America has been a force for good in the world, and that other nations and other people have looked to us as the last, best hope of Earth. It is up to us to teach them that it is good to give back to one's community; that it is honorable to serve in the military; that it is vital to participate in our democracy and make our voices heard.
And it is up to us to teach our children a lesson that those of us in politics too often forget: that patriotism involves not only defending this country against external threat, but also working constantly to make America a better place for future generations.
In the end, it may be this quality that best describes patriotism in my mind – not just a love of America in the abstract, but a very particular love for, and faith in, the American people.
That is why our heart swells with pride at the sight of our flag; why we shed a tear as the lonely notes of Taps sound. For we know that the greatness of this country – its victories in war, its enormous wealth, its scientific and cultural achievements – all result from the energy and imagination of the American people; their toil, drive, struggle, restlessness, humor and quiet heroism.
That is the liberty we defend – the liberty of each of us to pursue our own dreams. That is the equality we seek – not an equality of results, but the chance of every single one of us to make it if we try. That is the community we strive to build – one in which we trust in this sometimes messy democracy of ours, one in which we continue to insist that there is nothing we cannot do when we put our mind to it, one in which we see ourselves as part of a larger story, our own fates wrapped up in the fates of those who share allegiance to America's happy and singular creed.
Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America."
-Barack Obama, Independence, MO, June 30th, 2008
Read the full speech here.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
It's official. Being a dick gets you laid.
NICE guys knew it, now two studies have confirmed it: bad boys get the most girls. The finding may help explain why a nasty suite of antisocial personality traits known as the "dark triad" persists in the human population, despite their potentially grave cultural costs.
The traits are the self-obsession of narcissism; the impulsive, thrill-seeking and callous behaviour of psychopaths; and the deceitful and exploitative nature of Machiavellianism.
Thanks, Science. Even worse, there's nothing we can do about it, since procreating is in their very nature.
But being just slightly evil could have an upside: a prolific sex life, says Peter Jonason at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. "We have some evidence that the three traits are really the same thing and may represent a successful evolutionary strategy."
In short: Assholes are more likely to breed, thus ensuring the survival of their species.
So if you feel like you're surrounded by assholes, you are.
It's only natural.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said the Phoenix Suns center’s use of a racially derogatory word and other foul language left him no choice. Arpaio made Shaq a special deputy in 2006 and promoted him to colonel of his largely ceremonial posse later that year.
“I want his two badges back,” Arpaio told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “Because if any one of my deputies did something like this, they’re fired. I don’t condone this type of racial conduct.”
(throwing badge on the desk)
Monday, June 23, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Here are some jokes that I wrote and/or helped write from last week's show.
I'm particularly proud of the last bit, based on this story:
Obama and Lieberman greeted each on the Senate floor in the Well as they were voting on the budget resolution.
They shook hands. But Obama didn’t let go, leading Lieberman - cordially - by the hand across the room into a corner on the Democratic side, where Democratic sources tell ABC News he delivered some tough words for the junior senator from Connecticut, who had just minutes before hammered Obama's speech before the pro-Israel group AIPAC in a conference call arranged by the McCain campaign...
The two spoke intensely for approximately five minutes, with no one able to hear their conversation. Reporters watched as Obama leaned closely in to Lieberman, whose back was literally up against the wall.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
I meant to post this week, but it's that time of the year for me. I'm on Army time - what used to be called Annual Training, or AT. I'm told it is now called ECT - Extended Combat Training.
I used to drill one weekend a month. Now I attend Battle Assembly.
Just two of the many little changes to the Army Reserve that six years of war brings.
Stay tuned as I wax poetic a little more on what it is I actually do in the Army.
Well, whaddya know?
My lovely and talented sister, Geordarna, works for an adorable little kitchenware shop called bluecashew.
And thanks to her hard work, you can check out their brand - spankin' - new website by clicking on the above link.
Even better, she's blogging for 'em, too. So go poke around the website and check out the blog, The Dose, at
Oh, yeah - if you check out their products, you might just be reading descriptions written by a certain NY-based comic who also happens to (occasionally) post on this very blog...!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Friday, June 06, 2008
HERAre you kidding? My ass is like the Mohammad Ali of asses!(pause)I don't know what that means.
MEUh...it floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee?
Friday, May 30, 2008
Harvey Korman, an Emmy-winning comedic actor best known for playing the self-described "luminous second banana" for a decade on television's "The Carol Burnett Show" and for starring in such Mel Brooks films as "Blazing Saddles," has died. He was 81.
I am positive that this is NOT how you would like to be remembered:
I hope Tim Conway does the eulogy. If only to see Harvey Korman crack up at his own funeral.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Yeah. SO. Let's just pretend I keep up with this thing.
I cannot wait for this to happen:
A video that purportedly shows a living, breathing space alien will be shown to the news media Friday in Denver.
Jeff Peckman, who is pushing a ballot initiative to create an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission in Denver to prepare the city for close encounters of the alien kind, said the video is authentic and convinced him that aliens exist.
Surely this is emphatic proof that extraterrestrial life exists and it couldn't possibly be a desperate stunt to generate publicity for some kind of documentary.
Peckman said the general public will have to wait to see it because it's being included in a documentary by Stan Romanek.
"No one will be allowed to film the segment with the extraterrestrial because there is an agreement in place limiting that kind of exposure during negotiations for the documentary," he said.
Oh. Still...I am skeptical.
But people won't have to wait too long to see it for themselves.
"There is an open, public meeting in about a month in Colorado Springs," Peckman said. "We'll hope to do one in Denver at some point, and then in a few months, there will be the documentary that anybody can have, and it'll have the footage."
An instructor at the Colorado Film School in Denver scrutinized the video "very carefully" and determined it was authentic, Peckman said.
Some guy in Colorado looked at it and said it was real? That's good enough for me!
So. What's the footage show?
"It shows an extraterrestrial's head popping up outside of a window at night, looking in the window, that's visible through an infrared camera," he said. The alien is about 4 feet tall and can be seen blinking, Peckman said earlier this month.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Friday, May 02, 2008
So that movie that came out today? Let me review it briefly.
Bravo, to all involved.
Oh, and a nice little geek touch, using the 60s Iron Man cartoon theme song as a cellphone ringtone.
Yes. I noticed.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Who's that handsome fella who shows up in the middle of the Newsbreak?
And yes, the guy wearing the helmet in the background is part of the joke. That's Barry, who is the other guy on Race to the White House with me.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Dear People Who Run the World,
Please make this stop.
Seriously. Not cool, guys. Not cool.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
A Poor Person
Oil hit a new record near $120 a barrel on Monday, boosted by a string of bullish factors that included big disruptions to Nigeria's output and a UK refinery strike, highlighting anxieties over threats to supply.
Prices retreated from early peaks as the dollar gained versus the euro, reflecting some expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve may not cut interest rates this week.
U.S. light crude for June delivery was up 37 cents at $118.89 a barrel by 11:34 a.m. EDT, after a record high of $119.93. Prices are up almost 25 percent since the start of the year.
London Brent crude was up 43 cents at $116.77.
"Continued attacks in Nigeria and refinery closures in Scotland ... may see the U.S. target $121-122 a barrel this week, with longer-term charts all pointing to $130 or higher," said Ben Coleman, senior commodities trader at TradIndex.
Crude prices have surged more than fivefold since 2002 as global supplies struggle to keep pace with rising demand in emerging economies, such as China.
On a more serious note, Gary Coleman is getting divorced.
Thank God it will all be televised on Divorce Court.
Poor fella. Nothing good in this life lasts.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
If you're as big a fan of me as I am, then you might want to tune your TiVos and/or DVRs to the CNN HEADLINE NEWS NETWORK this Saturday and/or Sunday at 7pm, where I'll make with the snarky comments on things that happened long ago.
Please note, I have no idea what the quality of the commentary or the show will be like. But it's on the tee vee! How can it be bad?
Please check back here for a full breakdown, after it airs.
CNN HEADLINE NEWS * SATURDAY & SUNDAY @ 7pm, 9pm, & Midnight
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Now our failure is complete.
I have mentioned before that my former sketch comedy troupe, thank gladys, was, in many ways, ahead of its time. Like foreseeing a day when we could save the mighty manatee by eating 'em up.
Well, today, a disturbing news story caught my attention. Disturbing to me, not because of the horrifying subject matter - it is deeply disturbing, make no mistake - no, disturbing to me because we thought it up as a joke over ten years ago!!!
The year was 1996. A 'roided up Jose Conseco played for a lackluster Boston Red Sox. Bob Dole, Scourge of the Seven Seas unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Bill Clinton for the presidency of the United States. And Tickle Me Elmo dolls were all the rage.
Being fans of the zeitgeist, Ross and I whipped up a humble little sketch that would become a staple of our repertoire: Tickle Me Hitler. The premise being, an irate customer tries to return a doll to the toy store because he inadvertently bought a Hitler doll. Basically, the sketch starts out thusly:
I'd like to make a return.
CUSTOMER SERVICE AGENT
Sure. What seems to be the problem?
See, I asked for a Tickle Me Elmo. They gave me Tickle Me Hitler.
CUSTOMER SERVICE AGENT
And is something wrong with it?
Well, it's Hitler.
CUSTOMER SERVICE AGENT
And it's a doll.
CUSTOMER SERVICE AGENT
Yes. It says so right on the box.
It's a doll of Hitler. It's a Hitler doll!!
CUSTOMER SERVICE AGENT
And you don't want it anymore?
I never wanted it! What kind of a sicko wants a Hitler doll?
Well, apparently, Ukrainians do.
Kiev - A Ukrainian manufacturer is preparing to sell dolls of the former German dictator Adolf Hitler in local toy stores, the Zerkalo Tizhden' newspaper reported on Monday.
The 40cm figure will first be available in the capital Kiev, and like the similar-sized Barbie doll wear clothes the owner may change, according to the article.
To be fair, our sketch involved a Hitler doll where if you tickle him once, he says "Hee Hee." If you tickle him twice, he says "Ooooh, zat tickles." And if you tickle him a third time, he says "Sieg Heil." This Ukrainian doll doesn't talk.
BUT IT'S STILL A DOLL OF HITLER!
THEY MADE A HITLER DOLL!!
And there's video of it. .
Mein Gott in Himmell.
Perhaps one day, I will dig up our old tapes and post some of these sketches online, for historical purposes. Until then...I don't even know anymore.
Humanity never ceases to amaze me. Our society has completely jumped the shark three or four times over.
They made a Hitler doll.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
And by fish, I mean snarky commentary about comic books and pop culture.
So long, Dave's Long Box. It was a good run.
*Please note, I don't actually love Dave. I mean, I don't even really know the guy, I never even met the dude. I just liked his blog, is all. I mean...ahhh. You know what I mean.
Thanks for making the internet a little more fun.
Godspeed, cyber chum!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Tune in to Channel 110 on Sirius Satellite Radio!
That's where you can hear me discuss things of great import on "The Blog Bunker".
That's Indie Talk 110 on Sirius Satellite Radio, 5:30PM.
Then, at 8PM, head on over to the Green Room Theater, 45 Bleecker St., and catch me in Shoot the Messenger.
Friday, April 11, 2008
I guess I should mention that I'm doing a show tonight at Lenzi's in Dracut, MA tonight.
I'm the worst self-promoter ever. Also, the blogging hasn't been so stellar. Lots of stuff to catch you all up on. Soon. Details below:
Well folks, this is the last year for Leo Dunn, AKA, Larry Starr. To kick off his impending retirement Larry/Leo has graciously offered to host our first annual comedy night fundraiser, "THE LAST HURRAH OF LARRY STARR".
The fundraiser is to benefit the school's Assistance and Activities Fund and to help pay for Seymour, (the wonder school therapy dog). All proceeds will be used for the students and to help pay for the dog. The Activities Fund organizes trips and excursions, entertainment and other activities for the students, supplementing or fully covering the costs. The Assistance Fund helps students who can't afford to pay for their school uniforms or other supplies. The fund also donates Thanksgiving and Christmas food and gifts for students who's families would otherwise not have a holiday. In many cases the fund will give a student an emergency food gift certificate if the family is in a financial crisis. We are also still paying for Seymour, the school assistance dog. He brings joy and comfort to students and staff on a daily basis. This event will be our first big fundraiser. (If we can generate enough money you won't have to dodge Shari hawking raffle tickets anymore!!)
This laugh filled night will be Leo's version of a retirement party, (of course it won't be his only one I hope) and he wants everyone to attend. He has generously donated his time and talent to MC this stellar event. Thank you Leo!
The date is Friday, April 11, 2008. The venue will be Lenzi's Catering and Function Facilities in Dracut. Tickets are $25 and you can buy a reserved table for 12, for $300.
The cash bar will open at 7pm (with table service) and the show will start at 8:30. There will be music before, and dancing after the show, hosted by Greater Lowell's own DJ, Andy Garabedian. Lots of fabulous raffle prizes will be drawn through out the night. It surely will be a memorable and fun evening to benefit some great causes and a fabulous way to say "Hey Leo, thanks for the memories...."
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
That little show I work on, Shoot the Messenger, is picking up some buzz, and since that's what is occupying most of my time these days, I figured I'd share.
Here's the website, by the way.
The first part of the show - Wake Up, World - is a satirical swipe at morning shows and their uncanny ability to push corporate interests no matter the circumstances.
The second part is Thinking & Drinking with Lizz, where she sits down for a one-on-one talk with someone in the media.
Susie Essman was Lizz's guest Monday and while she couldn't say for sure, it looks like there might be another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, after all. Also, we learned a LOT more info about Lizz's past personal life. Maybe even too much info...
Here's a little excerpt from the NY PRESS article about it:
While Susie said that Larry has mentioned that Season 6 will most likely be the last, Susie provided fans with a small glimmer of hope, quipping that a gossip column snipe that his estranged wife’s career is getting bigger than his might inspire enough spite for a 7th season. Is that a hint, Susie?
“I really don’t know what’s going to happen, though,” she shrugged.
The show itself is made up of various comics, writers, and techies who - so far - have very freely given of their time and energy. Is it cult-like? I'll leave that for the pundits to decide.
From the NY PRESS:
After the show, I hung out with Lizz in her kitchen as she hovered over a plate of sundry cheeses before reacting to the observation that her charisma has mobilized a team of enthusiastic writers and actors to produce the show as a volunteer, DIY effort. Like if Ian Mackaye actually had a sense of humor.
“Or D. Boon” she quipped before popping a piece of brie into her mouth.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
If you can read this, you probably haven't been drinking enough. Yet.
Happy Saint Paddy's Day!
In other big news today, New York got it's first Black Governor ... who's also BLIND.
I'm reminded of a Richard Pryor scene form the movie
See No Evil, Hear No Evil.
At the 1:20 mark on the video:
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Thanks, for the nice words, Sean!
Shoot the Messenger at 45 Bleecker
If you haven't seen Lizz Winstead's latest creation, then you're missing out. Winstead, who co-created The Daily Show and later went on to Air America Radio, now has her sights set on skewering morning TV. Her Monday night show, Shoot the Messenger, recently moved into larger digs at The Green Room at 45 Bleecker. In the new venue, the set design and everything else feels much more like an actual morning TV program (even if it's not actually six hours, as advertised in the tagline for "Wake Up World with Hope and Davis," TV's only six-hour morning 'infonewsment' show). There are the requisite sofa, chair and coffee table. A separate news desk.
Benari Poulten plays the frat-tastic energetic audience warm-up guy. Baron Vaughn as Davis Miles plays affable co-host to Winstead's ridiculous Hope Jean Paul. Each week typically features a taped interview segment with self-help author, "Life Expert" Dana Levan (Carol Hartsell). A big screen behind the stage plays these pre-taped bits, new toons, and last week offered a well-executed debate between other 24/7 network anchors (played by Lucas Held and Sean Crespo) with Vaughn moderating it live.
Click here for more.
FYI, I also co-wrote and voice (co-voice?) the Race to the White House flash animation he posted.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Monday, March 03, 2008
A controversial young Nepali girl worshipped by many Buddhists and Hindus as a Kumari, or "living goddess", has given up her divine position following a request from her family, an official said on Sunday.
The 11-year-old Sajani Shakya was revered for nine years as the Kumari of the ancient temple-town of Bhaktapur, near Kathmandu, in a centuries-old tradition.
"She is no more a Kumari," said Dipak Pandey, a senior official of the state-run Trust Corporation that oversees the cultural affairs in the deeply religious nation.
Pandey said Sajani's family wanted to perform their own religious rituals which required her to give up her divine position and rejoin her family.
Kumaris traditionally retire when they reach the age menstruation.
I don't know what her next job will be, but that girl will have one hell of a resume.
"And what was your last position?"
"I was the Living Goddess, all that is, was, and ever will be."
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Where the heck have I been?!
I know, I know. I'm a terrible blogger. How can anyone possibly keep up to the inner workings of ME if I never post anymore? Well, one place you can find me of late is on the radio.
Today, I'll be on Sirius Satellite Radio's Independent Talk channel 110 at about 5:15 pm.
And for more radio excitement, I'll be making a surprise guest appearance on NYC's WOR 710 HD tomorrow morning at around 7:40.
Does the radio excitement ever end? No. No, it does not.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
As it's now become a staple of the weekly Shoot the Messenger, I am proud to present our latest installment of the Race to the White House - 08!
These are a lot of fun to write and even more fun to record...even if our recording sessions occur later and later on Sunday evenings...
Meet the Republicans!
Meet the Democrats!
If you are up and near a computer at around 8:20ish, go to http://www.980wcap.com/, click on Listen Live and you can hear me live on the Voice of the Merrimack Valley, WCAP 980 AM.
I will speaking, expertly, on the end of the Writer's Strike, using my extensive anecdotal experience.
Also, my father wants everyone to know that HE said the strike would end by February 15th.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Strike is Over (if you want it)
SUNDAY 12:30 PM: At the WGA's news conference today, union leaders declared the new contract is "a huge victory for us". Trumpeted WGAW President Patric Verrone, "This is the first time we actually got a better deal in a new media than previously." Verrone credited News Corp. No. 2 Peter Chernin and Disney chief Bob Iger, and also CBS boss Les Moonves, with "being instrumental in making this deal happen" after the WGA spent 3 months "getting nowhere" with the AMPTP negotiators and lawyers. WGA negotiating committee chief John Bowman added that, "What happened to the Golden Globes was instrumental in getting the CEOs to this table. It was a huge symbol." Bowman said it was "imperative" that the WGA "get in on the ground floor of New Media. Henceforth, we're in from the start. It's 2% of distributor's gross. They can't have a business model without taking that into account."
I guess I can't use the writer's strike as an excuse anymore to NOT write...
Meanwhile, in comedy writing news:
< ahref="http://shootthemessengernyc.com/" target="_blank">Shoot the Messenger tonight, featuring a special surprise guest. You really should be there.
45 Bleecker at LaFayette
WHEN: Every Monday.
Doors at 7:15PM
Show at 8:00PM
HOW MUCH: $12.50
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Here's another "Race to the White House ... 08!" that I co-wrote.
Oh, yes, and you can hear the dulcet tones of my melodious voice as "the color commentary guy", most notably when I scream "OH EIGHT!"
Shoot the Messenger
Monday, January 28, 2008
Seriously, I think my sister will be excited about this news.
She might even still have NKOTB slap bracelets.
The not-so New Kids on the Block are back.
Trying to see if they're capable of still "hangin' tough" in their late 30s, the one-time teen heartthrobs are primed for a comeback. More than 20 years after their debut, the bubblegum boy band that once sold 50 million albums is set to announce a reunion, People.com reports.
But as the New Kids creep toward middle age, their dance steps on cheesy, fast-paced hits like "Step By Step" and "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" may have to be adjusted for age.
The oldest New Kid, Jonathan Knight, now a real estate developer, is turning 40 soon. The youngest, Joey McIntyre, an actor who appeared on "Dancing with the Stars," is a fresh-faced 35.
Donnie Wahlberg, 38, is the only member who has had any real success since the group split, with several TV and movie roles.
Did I ever tell you the story of when 12-year-old Benari flew back from an audition in New York on the Delta Shuttle...which just happened to be shuttling the NKOTB back to their Boston digs? I tried hard to concentrate on my impenetrable Algebra assignment , but to no avail, since the dude sitting next to me kept singing scales.
"Hmmmm," I thought. "That dude sitting next to me looks like a dude on the giant poster hanging in my sister's room." I used the word "dude" a lot back then , I think.
Turns out, I'm sitting next to Jordan Knight. Not quite sure how that happened, but then again, I was a twelve year old kid flying back from a New York audition on the Delta Shuttle all by myself. It was a crazy time, back then.
"Are you one of the New Kids?"
"Would you sign an autograph for my sister? She loves you."
Like a mensch, he signed a little note to my sister and then added, "She probably loves Joey."
Very proud of myself for being such an awesome brother, I returned home and presented my little 7-year old sister with the Jordan Knight signed scrap of paper.
She liked it, but she had one question for me:
"Why didn't you sit next to Joey?"
Turns out, Jordan Knight was exactly right.
Friday, January 25, 2008
If you haven't had a chance to see Shoot the Messenger yet, you're missing out on comedy gems like this, our take on the '08 Presidential Primaries so far...
In this corner, the Democrats!
And in this corner, the Republicans!
These have been a blast to work on, and probably the most fun to write.
In case you couldn't tell, I'm the one yelling "08!"
Oh, sure, I say a bunch of other things, but yelling "08!" is my favorite part.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The actor Heath Ledger was found dead this afternoon in an apartment building at 421 Broome Street in SoHo, according to the New York City police. Mr. Ledger was 28.
Monday, January 21, 2008
It wasn't that long ago that good men and women had to fight hard so that we may enjoy even the most basic of human rights. And to those who think that fight is over and won...
Well. When it comes to fighting to ensure the rights of EVERY American, that fight will never be over. All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men and women to do nothing.
Meanwhile, it more satirical comedy news...
Celebrate MLK Day in style tonight! Come on down to the Ace of Clubs, just underneath ACME, for a big ol' heapin' helpin' of political satire.
Shoot the Messenger
Ace of Clubs, below ACME
9 Great Jones
8:30, doors open at 8
I'll be there.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Oh, hey. Didn't you see you there. Check back in real soon. In the meantime, enjoy this sketch of me from New Year's Eve.
I look like a dapper Sluggo or maybe some kind of Li'l Orphan Annie character. Junior Warbucks?
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
In a move that is SURE to make the Mikester over at Progressive Ruin insanely jealous, I'll be at Comix tonight, enjoying the hiiiii-larity of Cartoon Dump, starring that lovable former MST3K Mad Scientist, TV's Frank!!
It also stars the absurdly adorable and funny Erica Doering as the show's host, Compost Brite. If you wanna join in on the fun, you can pre-order tickets right now over at the Comix website. Use the discount code (DUMP9) and get 'em real cheap!
Meanwhile, if you were wondering why writers would like to be paid for writing content seen on the internet, here's one good reason:
TOKYO (Reuters) - Web giant Google Inc is developing televisions that display Internet content such as photos and videos together with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd's Panasonic unit.
The TVs, to be launched this spring, will allow users to directly browse and access videos from YouTube, a video-sharing Web site owned by Google, and view Picasa Web Albums, a free online photo-sharing service from Google, Panasonic said in a statement on Monday.
"Panasonic's cooperation with YouTube and Google's Picasa Web Albums exemplifies our commitment to leading the natural evolution of the Internet and extending it to the High Definition television," Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company's Vice President Merwan Mereby said in the statement.