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Friday, December 30, 2011

Nutty Comments From People I Like By Varying Degrees

And never enough cashews...

There is a Youtube video featuring Tina Fey called "Ham Monologue." During an Improv show, Amy Poehler asks the Black Box audience to say any word and Fey would riff on it...

"Ham!" The audience member called.

First Fey talks about the meat product, its use in an unfortunate salad bearing its name, etc. Then, she discusses the other kind of ham; the guy who has to take center stage, mugging and overplaying everything. 

She scoffs at the kids back in school who hammed it up.

"They'd say about him, 'Oh, he's such a performer...'...And I've just never been that type of person...I never believe in performing for people who weren't asking for it."

There: F'n nuts.

For the record, those are some of the best, most pure and funniest moments I've witnessed in my life; the moments I "wasn't asking for." And I think the majority of the people who witnessed them felt the same way.

What happened to Fey as a child? One too many kids squeeze an armpit fart out in the middle of her Flute Solo?

What does she want, the voice of only the SAG eligible?

In fifth grade, during a history review, the teacher asked the class if anyone knew what explorer set out for The Fountain of Youth:

"My Grandmother!" My buddy called out, "She wears a mask of the stuff every night before bed!"

Funny as hell, I thought. Delightful. Made my ten year old day. And guess what? I didn't ask for it.

Fey's position, especially as a comedy writer, is like a Soul Singer whining "I was never big on that singing in church it for Community Auditions."

Fey's reasoning is surprisingly backward for a person with normally keen insights...or kinda keen, I guess.

She has a disdain for the Class Clown, whose death is to the detriment of the comedy business...

In the video, look around at Fey's fellow players: they look as if they used to apologize to the Substitute Teacher for the unruly behavior of their classmates.

Man, I miss the Class Clown. Who knew the Apple-shiners in the front row were planning a takeover?


Louis CK has a bit where he trashes his daughter for complaining about taking Bubble Gum-flavored cough syrup.

"White people...Rich...spoiled" He says somewhere in a tirade about those who should be thankful they're not "eaten by bears."

For one thing, I just came from a convenience store which people of color frequent, and to the right of the register is a wall of single-pack flavored cough suppressants, flu medicine, etc. Most were seventy-five cents.

 Is he trying to say that the over-the-counter drug industry has been kept out of reach of poor minorities? Ridiculous.

But more importantly: It's a child.

You could be saving a child from drowning and they will claw your face like a cat. It's their instinct to dislike.

Raising a child, making  use of anything that makes it easier, is not "spoiling."

For God's Sake, this is a guy whose TV show illuminates how difficult raising a child can be, despite the love and efforts and luxuries one possesses.

Spend some time around children who "aren't spoiled" and you will see that it's not from a lack of yummy-flavored cough medicine, but an evasion of the challenges he understates.

Come on, Louie.


David Mamet said in an interview with Playboy that he didn't believe in TV watching as a worthwhile exercise for children.

What did the Pulitzer Prize-winner, sensational theorist/essayist and definitely the nicest celebrity I've ever met suggest instead?

"Woodworking." Yes, he also meant "anything", but woodworking?

Okay, here's a self-described "besotted movie lover" who has made a fine living and reputation, become an outstanding learned man, through the dissection, analysis and recreation of film and TV.

It's certainly proven a worthwhile exercise for him?

I get the violence, sex and just plain bad material, but was he as a child exempt from those possibilities?

And before we say "hypocrite", let us just dismiss it to wackiness very busy and successful people tend to spew occasionally.

Hanging in my shower is a garish blow-up kiddie tubby, covered with cartoon fish, octopi and lobsters playing instruments, waiting to be filled.

It's not consistent with the color scheme and our drapes, I assure you. It smells like Wal-Mart, also. Just an attack on our senses.

But after dinner time, it's the place to be. Splashing. Singing.

"Time to get out..." I say.
"In! In!" Is the protest.

Mamet, as the artist, is concerned that society will swallow the individuality of the child. As a parent, I'm worried that I will pass on my hang-ups or she will like Brecht just because I do.

"Doesn't interact well with others..."

Holy shit!

There'll be time for Brecht, if she chooses, but there's something to a childhood of moderate TV and other silly stuff.

I've given Mamet's books on Art- "True and False," "Three Uses of the Knife" and "Writing in Restaurants"- to friends as a grassroots effort to get the world thinking with such clarity.

I've been very frustrated that more weren't reading them.

This comment, perhaps the singular such one by Mamet, offers me the rare occasion to be thankful that not everyone puts the same stock I do into what he says.


  1. How come a Pete Martin story didnt make it in here very uncool Paul I am truly hurt!!!

  2. Definitely go after that stuff. Fey's humor seems formulaic. I think her cadre suffers from too much like-mindedness and thinly-veiled ambition. -MVC