New Year, New Specials

One of my favourite things about Netflix is their penchant for releasing great comedy specials. From classics like Bill Hicks’ Sane Man, to Dave Chapelle’s return, Netflix is making comedy specials relevant again.

The best part about Netflix comedy specials is that they provide a variety of different comedians for viewers to watch without having to watch segments or single bits like is done on YouTube.

Netflix has exposed me to comedians I had never heard of prior to watching their specials. I had never seen a single Anthony Jeselnik video prior to Netflix. After watching his special, I sought out more of his dark, brooding comedy online. It’s the same with Tom Segura. After I watched his specials, I started to watch his stand-up and podcast appearances.

Most importantly, Netflix specials are great for comedians for the same reasons I listed above. Norm Macdonald’s special has opened up his comedy to an entire generation of young adults. The world needs Norm, and who knows, he might need the cash these days (I doubt Mike Tyson Mysteries provides enough money for him to live off of).

So, if you have Netflix, check out some of the standup specials on there. You might find someone funny to follow up on later.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Tragedy

While perhaps not the most pleasant way to come up with comedy gold, tragedies, both real and fictional, can provide a great springboard to a great joke.

Since death is such a serious and powerful part of life, jokes about death have a special advantage over other jokes because they are so much easier to make absurd.

Below is an example of an absolute masterpiece of a death joke.

 

 

 

The ridiculousness of this death and the reaction by the parents is so immense that the joke fulfills its obligation to be funny, and then some.

And I know explaining why a joke is funny can take away from the joke itself, so I wanted whomever reads this blog to at least enjoy the joke first.

Now, onto real life.

I enjoy dark comedy but I’e generally done it from at least a few lengths away, i.e. the tragedy wasn’t sad on a personal level.

However, now that a certain sad event in my life will be happening soon, (don’t worry everyone, I’m healthy) I’ve thought about how I can joke about it. And I’ve thought of some jokes, some good and some not so good, about this inevitable event. I won’t post them here because I don’t want someone in my family to see them, but I do want to say them anyway.

So, my advice for anyone who wants to tell a joke bout a real life tragedy — change the subject to a fictional one.

Sketch vs Standup

Now that I’m slowly preparing my sketch comedy show, Sober O’Toole and the Non-Existant Stereotypes, I’ve had to change my previous comedic approach.

This process is as follows.

Observe. Write down absurd observations. Add punchline. Repeat.

This is what I call my standup process. It’s a very immediate form of writing jokes that I’ve done for ages.

I’ve changed my approach for writing sketch comedy, and the transition to this new style of comedy is not easy to make. It requires far more work, creativity, and precision. The only aspect of sketch comedy writing I can think of that makes it easier than standup is the ability to edit and do retakes. However, this only works if your sketch show isn’t live.

Beyond writing, filming sketch comedy is a time consuming task that never feels as rewarding as when you perform standup. The laughs don’t come immediately and the atmosphere isn’t exciting. But there is also less pressure. Think of standup as a sport, in which one practices in order to deliver a live product, whereas filmed sketch comedy is like recording an album, where the end product matters more than the experience and perfection is paramount.

Who am I kidding, though? I’ve just about made the amateur-est, low-budget-est sketch comedy possible. But still, the time and consideration that has gone into making this project is far greater than some standup bit I pulled out of my ass.

However, this doesn’t mean that I didn’t pull any of my sketch comedy scenes out of my ass. No, it just means that, to a certain extent, I polished and wiped these scenes after I crapped them out.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is what I’d call a “lazy man’s show”. It’s exactly what the title says it is. Jerry Seinfeld drives a usually exotic vehicle to pick up a famous friend and get coffee. I know, mind blowing.

It’s the type of show that makes you think, “boy, this is dull,” just from the title. But, I thought, I guess Seinfeld deserves a break.

Then I watched an episode with, you guessed it, Norm Macdonald as the guest. It was hilarious. And not just Norm, Seinfeld was too. He has a knack for playing well off his guests. With Norm, he is a perfect foil as the straight man. With Aziz Ansari, he acts as the mentor, joking with the Parks and Recreation star, as if he’s Aziz’s father.

He also knows the perfect topic to talk about. When Jim Gaffigan was on the show, they talk non-stop about food. When Jon Stewart was on, they talked politics. Most importantly, no matter what he talks about, Seinfeld makes sure that what he and the guest are talking about is funny.

The show also has surprisingly poignant moments. In one episode, longtime friend and the now deceased host of the The Larry Sanders Show, Garry Shandling, talk about their fond memories of Robin Williams. The episode was still very funny but it had a very bittersweet tone, which has been exacerbated now that Shandling is gone.

All in all, I love this show and I’m binging it right now on Netflix. If you like simple conversational laughs shared between comedy legends, there is no better show to watch than Comedians in Cars Getting  Coffee. 

2018

So, I guess I’m going to continue this blog for at least a little while longer. Which is fine by me as writing about comedy is

A. Very easy

B. Very Relaxed

C. Great because Norm Macdonald is still alive.

So, I’ll continue to write about the same shit as before. Ya know, the Netflix specials, my favourite comedy films, advice on comedy, and of course random shit that I find funny.

There you have it. My first blog post of the year and not a single laugh to be found.

Don’t worry. I haven’t lost a step. I’m setting the bar low, my next blog post will be guaranteed to be a vast improvement over this one.

Year End Whine Fest

I’m only 26 but I’m still a “miserable old coot,” as my mom would say (this term really needs to come back in style). So, I’m just going to do the thing that miserable old coots have been doing since the beginning of time—bitching about really annoying, yet extremely petty shit.

I’m going to start of with Christmas.

Christmas time is one of my favourite times of the year. There’s nothing I like more than getting together with my family, eating mountains of turkey and potatoes, and witnessing Christians knowingly comes up to other Christians and saying, “Happy Holidays” not because they are trying to not offend others but because it’s so ingrained in them to say this utterly moronic yuletide greeting.

The whole thing is weird though. I mean, no one says “Happy Holidays” during the spring, when several holidays of multiple faiths are celebrated locally. I’ve never heard someone say “Happy Holidays” when Good Friday is coming up in order to not offend a Jew celebrating Passover. If it followed “holiday season logic”, this would be exactly what we say. So, I guess one of the things that really bothers me about this phrase is that it’s not even used consistently.

As much as hate the generic, meaningless saying of “Happy Holidays,” the last thing I want to do is make people think that they have to say “Merry Christmas.” You don’t have to say that. But really, wishing someone “Happy Holidays” is like saying “Merry Spring Break”. No one seriously celebrates a period of time off as if it were some sort of holy or meaningful period. Avoiding the name of the holiday is just playing stupid. Kind of like saying “Happy Holy Fasting Period” to a Muslim instead of “Happy Ramadan.” Or, how about “Happy Treats and Costumes Day” instead of “Happy Halloween.”

Overall this is a pretty stupid thing to get terribly upset about but I’m just letting any readers know that these vapid, well-wishing terms are annoying regardless of the good intent of the person who says it. But if you want to say it, you can say “Happy Holidays.”

But I will respond with, “Happy Christ Day!” And I’m not even religious.

In closing, it’s my last required blog post for the year and I really don’t have anything to talk about so cut me some damn slack. In exchange, I promise not to beat anyone who lets the words, “Happy Holidays,” “Seasons Greetings,” or “Happy New Year” slip out of their pumpkin-pie-holes.

Nearing the end

Well, this is either going to be my last or second last blog post this year, because I am clearly not an ambitious blogger. It’s a course requirement for class and it really, really shows.

However, I’m actually proud of my last blog post as I was incredibly delighted by the experience I had at Rumors, making many laugh while testing the PC sensors of many-a-triggered, limp wristed, humourless, salty prudes.

As this was also a school assignment, I was graded for it. I did well for the most part because I got a B+.

But I did really well because I actually got a 0 out of 20 from a judge, right next to a 19 out of 20 score from another judge.

Those who I impressed that night were absolutely delighted, and those who did not like me were absolutely disgusted.

And I just read these marks and laughed my ass off.