I got to play the role of a lifetime (dumb idiot) in these H&R Block ads.
Here’s a NY Times write-up on the ad campaign.
I got to play the role of a lifetime (dumb idiot) in these H&R Block ads.
Here’s a NY Times write-up on the ad campaign.
I watched the Oscar-nominated (and highly commended) animated shorts over the weekend at the IFC Center and this French short, “A la Francaise,” was one of them.
Basically it’s 1700s Versailles but with chickens. I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s like a dumb improv premise but done beautifully by CGI animators. I think it’s fantastic.
I DEMAND that this go viral. Jesus it’s so fucking good. And I love the preciseness of their singing voices. Dan Chamberlain and Michael Hartney are a match made in heaven.
Love love love
My favorite parts of this are:
-Dan Chamberlain singing “though my love is true-woo-woo-woo-woo” at 1:50
-Michael Hartney's super-precise interpretive dancing
-Matt Starr wrote this
Unless a team is kidnapping potential voters and unloading them from the back of a truck at 10:40PM on a Thursday night, I will never use the phrases “they brought people” or “they packed the house” as a tactic for undermining the work ethic, commitment, talent or accomplishments of members of my own community.
When a team doesn’t come from a place of assumed success (a weekend team) I won’t deem them suspicious or unworthy. I will remember that the stage in Chelsea is a perfect, sacred space that belongs to everyone who takes classes here. But I will also remember that time on that stage falls to the privileged few and that when people who don’t often get that time get it, we should celebrate.
Anyway, the not so secret point of this post is that Scrambled Legs is in the cagematch finals this Thursday. I don’t know if I’ll be there (GUYS THE SHOW IS AT 11 AT NIGHT) but I know that whatever happens, I look forward to congratulating them on what they accomplished this year.
I agree. It’s stupid to criticize a team for packing the house. As the guy who came up Cagematch, I’d like to point out two things:
- People have complained about house packing since the first month of Cagematch.
- Packing the house is part of the point of Cagematch.…
Packing the house is evidence of a team’s work ethic and commitment, not something that undermines it.
From the guy who created Cagematch in
Chicago and New York.
This is important both broadly and specifically. I’m really glad Nicole wrote what she did and congratulated Scrambled Legs at the end of her post. They had an awesome string of shows.
It’s hard for an indie team to get to do UCB cagematch these days, and I think house team members especially shouldn’t begrudge them that. Yes, cagematch has one of the best audiences out there, and it’s a thrill to get to do the show repeatedly, but house teams are lucky enough to perform in front of packed, supportive audiences all the time at their respective shows. Indie teams normally don’t get that opportunity.
To make this real personal, the UCB Lloyd team that I’m on, Detroit, went up against Scrambled Legs earlier last year. And while we had a super fun show, we lost by a landslide to Scrambled Legs because I’ll be honest, Legs had the better show (I still love u doe, Dee-troit). Before the show, someone well-respected who worked at the theater warned us that he/she hoped we’d “invited a lot of friends because the other team’s been packing the house." That’s crazy to me. Not to mention presumptuous and not nice. Scrambled Legs beat us by over 90 votes. There is no way a team of four people brought that many people to the show, especially week after week.
I always vote for the team that I think did better improv (whatever the hell that means). Sometimes that’s my friend’s team, sometimes it’s the team where I don’t know any of the people that’s going up against my friend’s team. That’s my choice. Whatever other people choose to do with their votes is their choice.
In conclusion, Scrambled Legs is great and we all do improv for the fun and love of it, so let’s all be fuckin’ nice and respectful to each other, alright?
DAVID CRAIG AND BRIAN CRANO make magic here.
David Craig is a good, funny dude! I believe I’m in part two of this!
I’m also in part 2! Selfishly, I want to be in the episode with less funny people SO I CAN SHINE but it wasn’t possible in this series, too many funny people!!
I enjoyed both parts of this and also everyone is perfectly cast in their respective parts.
I just got an email that these are the top 10 movies that MoviePass subscribers saw in 2013.
Apparently most MoviePass subscribers are teenage boys!
I am in no way qualified to give advice.
I guess my biggest takeaway from this year was just to say yes to everything and to participate in as many things as possible. Obviously the ideal is to be a great creator of your own work, but comedy is also a collaborative community and it’s nice to be invited to projects.
Some of the coolest things I got to participate in this year, I’m not even sure why I was asked. In one case, I think it was because I had recently performed in a show the person hosted. In another, we had just acted in something together.
By all means, don’t have any expectations from doing random indie shows or grabbing drinks afterwards, but also know that everything you do does get seen, and that every time you chat with someone, they register a memory of you. So it just might happen that the next time someone’s trying to put together a team, or cast a show, you come to mind.
We tend to be pretty myopic when it comes to our lives. We congratulate ourselves on the productive days and kick ourselves for the wasted ones. Sometimes we look back at the end of each week to average it out, but usually by the end of the month we can’t as precisely pin-point what we were doing at the beginning.
Sure, some people are type A workaholics who churn out creative work as if running a solo sweatshop, but most of us are a little more weak-willed than that. I constantly struggle with priorities, time management, and wading through the thick fog of ADD that clouds my brain.
But despite all the time we waste, when we zoom out, we usually find that we’ve actually accomplished a lot. So to remind myself, and maybe relate to others who struggle similarly, I revisited my memories and Google Calendar, and tallied some of my productivity highs and lows. I took some liberties with the more abstract approximations. Also, I just like numbers and categorization.
I spent 440+ hours in improv classes, workshops or practices. I did a lot of improv this year. Maybe I should have prefaced this with the fact that improv is the only thing in my life that I’ve ever been able to prioritize well. I never skip classes or practices out of disinterest or laziness, and I’ve exhibited none of my usual self-sabotage when faced with the pressure to succeed. Maybe because it’s the thing I love the most, but also probably because it’s the rare activity where all you have to do to participate is show up.
I refreshed social media sites and apps a countless number of times a day. Being connected and engaged online is a great thing. Making a habit of it to the point that I feel like I’m missing vital information when I don’t keep up with my feeds is a terrible thing.
I performed in over 122 improv shows. This year, I was lucky enough to be a part of teams that were invited to perform fairly frequently. I tried my best to make it to every show I could, which resulted in lots of subway waiting and leaving friends’ birthdays after just half an hour, only to return three hours later.
In August, I watched three seasons, totaling 25+ hours of “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” This is what I did when I should have been working.
I acted in 10 filmed shoots, of varying size and purpose. It’s not that many, but it’s nine more than the previous year, when I had never seen a call sheet before. Parts ranged from being a corporate shill for Clearasil to getting stabbed in the face with a machete for Feartown to speed-dating for MTV Other. Half of these, I auditioned for. The other half were from nice UCB people who very nicely asked me to be in their projects.
I wrote 12 new sketches. That’s pathetic. Almost all of these were for sketch classes, because I’m bad at motivating myself without concrete deadlines and a sense of obligation to others. Four of them I drafted in one week for a wonderful show being SPANKed in January because I am much better at motivating myself with deadlines and obligations.
I coached improv 30 times. I really like coaching and pushed myself to do it more in the later half of the year. I like helping people get better at this weird craft. I think it’s a good fit for the way I think about improv, and is also making me a better and more compassionate improviser.
I woefully under-prepared for three classes: an acting class, an audition class, and a characters class. Usually it came down to not memorizing or rehearsing. I skipped the last two of my eight week acting class because I was so bored and didn’t want to memorize two monologues. See: def. self-sabotage (verb); reasons why I like improv classes.
I read 16 books. 11 literary novels, and 5 nonfiction. I also started about five that I just couldn’t finish. I watched 21 movies in theaters. Three in one day, and five in December. I probably read 100+ articles on feminism, race, and privilege. As all liberal arts grads do.
I flew three times to visit friends and family. I visited aging family in Montreal, high school friends in Austin, and every single person I know that has moved to the Bay Area (everyone- everyone I know has moved there).
I downloaded and deleted the iPhone game “Dots” 7+ times. I have spent an absurd amount of hours beating my own high scores in this redundantly sleek game to avoid things like: learning lines, packing for trips, addressing my responsibilities.
I moved apartments twice. This was very time and energy-consuming, but worth it given the improvements to my quality of life. However, it’s been two months and I still haven’t unpacked completely. I spend approx 6+ hours a week fretting about unpacking and distracting myself with other tasks to avoid it.
I also spent a lot of time drinking and catching up with friends, and being in a great relationship. I can’t really quantify these, but I wouldn’t trade them in for any more measurable unit of productivity (pages written, shows performed etc).
So there you go. That’s a snapshot of my year in both time wasted and time well spent.
Don’t say we never got you anything for the holidays. Check out the first episode of Broad City on the link above on comedycentral.com!
Ever wished you could say you watched Breaking Bad before everyone else?
Well now you can say you watched Broad City before everyone else.
This show is THE SHIT.
Monday reblog - Watch This!
Such a great first episode. Look at this with your eyes!
L: What is this music you're playing in the car?
Dad: It's like, the music a Chinese cab driver plays.
L: Har har har. What a funny joke.
Dad: No, really. I was taking a cab with a Chinese driver and I liked the music he was playing. He said he makes his own mixes so I asked where I could get one. He sold me the one he was playing for $10.
*after a moment of silence, the car screeches to a halt at the side of the road and we all get out and dance to jangly Chinese music*
"As for the rest of the film—which is to say, the bulk of the film—I think it offers up at least three disturbing lessons about love. First, that love is overwhelmingly a product of physical attraction and requires virtually no verbal communication or intellectual/emotional affinity of any kind. Second, that the principal barrier to consummating a relationship is mustering the nerve to say “I love you”—preferably with some grand gesture—and that once you manage that, you’re basically on the fast track to nuptial bliss. And third, that any actual obstacle to romantic fulfillment, however surmountable, is not worth the effort it would require to overcome.”
Surely people have already shared this article, but I’ve been bad at checking my feed these days. Regardless, here it is again. A very well-put put-down of “Love Actually,” which I rewatched recently.
Devoid of context, I find the movie fun and easy to watch, but also infuriating in the way it tackles the L-word in its title, impossibly unrealistic in most of its story lines, and an ineffective use of the talents of its ensemble cast.
In the context of how this movie has confoundingly become a modern day Christmas classic that some friends watch every winter, this movie makes me so furious that I want to hulk out and destroy every copy of this movie I can get my hands on.
Love Actually has a lot of flaws, but I think Orr is hung up on a personal issue — that the movie doesn’t depict “love” the way he wants it to. Much of it is about shallow and superficial love at first sight. But that is a thing that happens a lot in the world. The movie is not about the hard work it takes to have a long term relationship, but hey, the movie isn’t called Relationships Actually.
And I don’t think he’s a very detail-oriented watcher. He admits in his follow-up that he didn’t notice Emma Thompson’s change in appearance in the final scene, and he seems to think the movie is filled with people saying “I love you” when Ben Dreyfus points out that it only happens once in the movie, as part of Colin Firth’s doomed marriage. Also, he seems to have missed that Sam’s crush on Joanna is less a “boy falls for hot girl without talking to her” plot as it is a “boy overcomes death of mother by fixating on girl with same name.”
Are there too many old-man/young-woman relationships? Yes. Could I do without the Laura Linney story? Yes. Does the Bill Nighy story seems wedged in? Yes, but it’s worth it for Bill Nighy. Could I do without Rowan Atkinson? Dear God, yes.
Is it problematic to call it a “beloved holiday classic” as Orr seems to think? I don’t think so. We also consider Home Alone a beloved holiday classic, and it involves a small child foiling two violent criminals with a series of homemade booby traps after his parents forget to take him to Europe. Not every “holiday classic” is going to be It’s a Wonderful Life.
Thanks to Erik Tanouye for his thoughtful post and further links if you’ve ever wanted to spend hours of your life reading rhetoric on the merits of Love Actually. I’m going to respond to some of his points but I have a suspicion that a lot of this debate comes down to the semantics of the word “love.”
For instance, I agree with the point that this movie doesn’t suggest that it’s about the hard work it takes to build a relationship because it isn’t called Relationship Actually. But by this argument, I don’t think its original title is earned either. It’s more of a Romance Actually, as suggested by Dreyfus’ article, or an Infatuation Actually.
That’s where semantics comes in. Does a superficial physical attraction, or an initial infatuated feeling of “I feel like I could love this person” count as love? My impulse is to say no. Moving past the simplified dictionary definition (“a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person”), I think “love” is word that we have culturally elevated to imply some feeling of connection more developed and lasting than lust or infatuation.
I don’t fully agree with every point in Orr’s original article, I think some were a little forced or stretched to make it fit under his headline’s central argument that the film is unromantic. I think his follow up is better. It is still accurate in its take-down while being less narrow, because he’s not confined to his thesis, and he responds to the other articles quite well and clearly. Eg, on your mention of how Orr missed that “I love you” is only uttered once in the film, I agree with his point that it’s implied throughout the film. Especially as the stories unfold after the opening “love really is all around” airport sequence.
"Home Alone," is a holiday classic, but it never purports to be more than a fun romp about a clever child set during the holiday time. My problem with "Love Actually," has everything to do with its false promise of love stories, which it lays out clearly in its title and opening airport sequence.
I think people watch it as much for its vacuous, saccharine messages of “love” as they do for its loose Christmas associations. I just hate to think of the Jamie/Aurelia, David/Natalie, Juliet/Peter/Mark stories being celebrated as love stories. I hate how much I see the images of Mark holding up declaratory signs of love for Keira Knightley’s newly-married character as romantic gestures worth celebrating or sighing over, given their creepy context.
So sure, watch “Love Actually” every December for people wearing red sweaters, putting up modern Nativity plays, and that Mariah Carey Christmas song. Please don’t watch it because you think it’s romantic to propose marriage to someone who doesn’t speak your language just because your heart is broken and the holiday season is upon you, and you don’t want to be alone come December 25th.