Friday, March 31, 2006

Who Owns Apple?

When the ipod and the Beatles are fighting, who do you root for?

Seems there's been a trademark infringement suit between the two companies. (As you may know, the Beatles' started Apple Corps in 1968). The two companies left each other alone for a long time. After all, one made music and one made computers.

Then Apple released the ipod. Now both companies are in the music business. And the Beatles aren't happy.

Nothing in business is simple (a lesson I've had to relearn as I look for a new job). You can't just agree to leave each other alone without lawyers bothering you for years. A simple disagreement becomes a complex web of paper and phone calls until no one knows what the hell is going on anymore. Distrust is an evergreen industry, you see. But every now and then someone strips the problem back down to its basic truth. And today it's actually a lawyer:

Attorney Anthony Grabiner said "even a moron in a hurry" could distinguish between the computer company's iTunes online music business and a record company like Apple Corps.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Play Cole message board

Bill's an ambitious guy. Maybe that's why he's added a forum to So far it's only Bill and I there but that's because we're the only ones who know about it. Until now.

Check it out!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


32 years ago Renee was born. She's spent the last six with me and no one knows why. She's the worst to shop for because all she wants is luggage and a dinner. Who am I to deny her?

29 years after Renee, my neice Siobhan came along. They're a day apart because my sister said in the delivery room, "We are not celebrating two birthdays in this family on the same day." My sister is a woman of great will and that is why Siobhan turns 3 today. Happy birthday to both girls of the Clarke clan.

Monday, March 27, 2006

My wedding band

In a month I will have been married two years. And my wedding ring has never fit.

It's my own fault. When I bought it, I went for the one that didn't squeeze my knuckle on the way down. It seemed to fit fine but over the last two years it has slipped off. A lot. Sometimes in my pocket. Sometimes at lunch. Once in the ocean.

So last week I finally got it sized down. I assumed it was a half size too big. It was a full size. I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to jewelry.

I picked it up yesterday and it fits perfectly, except for one thing. I can feel it. It had been hanging off my finger so long I didn't know what it was like to really wear one. It grips my finger. It reminds me it's there. It keeps calling out to me "You are married. You are married."

I was totally unprepared for this. I like being married. I like not having to wonder what can happen with every pretty woman I meet. I like having a home to go to at the end of the night. I even like my wedding ring. I'm just not used to the constant reminder that it's there.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Play Cole Screening

I took a lot of pictures and they all came out awful and blurry. But Rebecca took some nice ones so here are hers.

Hector Luis

Tim Warner

Max Calloway

Director Nick Ito and animator Pilar Newton

Friday, March 24, 2006

New Play Cole!

We had our official second screening last night and it went well. I'll post pictures tomorrow but today I want to show you one of the films we presented. It's a quick one at 90 seconds. Take a look then visit the page and click on 'feature this'.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Say Goodbye to the 60 GB iPod

Everytime Apple unveils a new iPod, I instantly want mine to break. Every time it doesn't break, that means an even better iPod will be out when it does.

Now there are rumors about Apple phasing out the 60GB ipod by April. Here's the thing about Apple rumors; they usually turn out to be true. The other rumor flying around now is that the next iPod will have a screen covering its face which means video will play on the entire iPod. Tell me it's a 100GB and itunes will let me upload my dvds and you've got a deal.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Reminder: Stand-up show tonight!

Dude. Seriously. Dude.

Jon Clarke
NY Comedy Club
241 E. 24th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue
New York, NY
9 p.m.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Patrick Stewart on Extras

Ricky Gervais' latest show didn't quite live up to 'the Office' for me. That is, until this scene.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Horror Movies

Brian and I spent the weekend working on a project that involves horror movies. And right now, it involves watching lots of horror movies. He introduced me to a few of the modern classics, "Night of the Living Dead", "Dawn of the Dead" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre." I'd been outright avoiding these movies for twenty-five years.

Watching them I realized they weren't nearly as scary as I imagined. And it wasn't because they were old. And it wasn't because I was grown up. It was because I'd been scared of the legacy of these films more than the films themselves.

When we were growing up, there was only one kid in the class who was allowed to watch rated 'R' movies; my friend Michael O'Shea. He would rent anything, then give us full a synopsis the next day in the schoolyard. He made 'Heavy Metal' sound mysterious and expansive. He made 'Porky's' sound pornographic and hilarious. And he made 'Dawn of the Dead' sound terrifying. Each image he painted in my head had an unlimited budget, no rating and a sociopathic director. I was paralyzed by the mere idea of zombies in a shopping mall that when I finally saw the bright red syrup coming out their ears on dvd, it was a relief. I didn't even have nightmares.

I had the same experience at Steve Klausner's movie "Headspace". I'd never gone to see a horror movie in a theater and I didn't know how I'd react. I had a great time. It always helps when Renee jumps and I don't. Somehow I feel like more of a man.

Horror directors say that it's what you don't see that frightens you the most. What I didn't see kept me away from these movies most of my life. My imagination can be a bitch.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Overheard in New York

A while ago my teacher Alan Cross told me about this. I kept meaning to go until today when my sister Monica told me about it. Anything that Alan and Monica can agree on has got to have mass appeal.

Check out Overheard in New York!

Friday, March 17, 2006

My next stand-up gig EVER!

Another date. Another set. Another excuse to get you out on a Wednesday night.

NY Comedy Club
241 E. 24th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue
New York, NY
Wednesday 3/22/06
9 p.m.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Picard song

Let's stay geeky.

A long time ago, I posted about Dancing Picard. Now he's been outdone. I present to you the Picard dance remix!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Jimmy Brown

While we were celebrating Papa's 90th birthday, we all stayed at a little cruddy motel. Next to the motel was a little cruddy bar that we decided to take over. After a couple of hours a guitarist came by and set up. With four guitarists in the family, we were curious. I walked over and introduced myself. Turns out the guy was Jimmy Brown, the senior editor of Guitar World, a magazine I've been reading for twenty years.

He was brilliant. The way he approached the instrument, both by technique and equipment was revolutionary. His SG was battle scarred, coil-tapped and more versatile than that model has any right to be. He had a split signal between a Line 6 modeler and a Fishman acoustic pedal so he could sound like anything at any volume. Even small details like keeping a tamborine under his foot made the difference, filling out the sound without the need for any other musicians. That isn't to say he didn't have help. You see, my family can be overwhelming.

It was a hell of a night, and proved to me once again that the greatest guitar players are not the most famous. Sometimes they just play in little cruddy bars in the Poconos.

Monday, March 13, 2006

"I got a voice that's like a breeze and it's full of zithers"

One of the greatest things about youtube is how flagrantly everyone transgresses its copyright laws. Which is precisely how you can see Jack Benny in 1929 dealing with a man wearing the ugliest suit of the 20th century.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Papa's 90th Birthday

My grandfather was born this day in 1916. In the 90 years since, Patrick Byrne migrated from Ireland, got involved in the New Deal, fought on an aircraft carrier in WWII, and found the time to have seven children who went and made all these other people. And he's still here. We felt that was a cause for celebration. And I definitely feel it's worth mentioning here.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Mars Needs Probes

We're sending another one.

This is great news for the red planet. Recent studies show that Mars has a dangerously deficient probe population. In fact, the science community has reason to believe that Mars lacks even the technology to build their own probes. While Earth has enough probes to invade every human ass, Mars must rely on 100% imported probes.

"We've sent 125 probes to Mars in the last 18 years," Dr. McGoohan, a resident at the Probe Institute said, "It certainly isn't enough."

Why so many? "Mars is really, really big. One probe must cover an area of 500 square miles. It isn't fair to the probe and it certainly isn't fair to the population of Mars."

And what about the population of Mars? "We haven't found anything yet. But we think they're depressed. That could be why they've never come out of their homes, wherever those might be. We're guessing that if one of our probes enters a Martian village, they might have reason to rejoice again", Dr. McGoohan surmised.

What are NASA's future plans for the planet? "We're hoping to litter the entire surface of Mars with probes by 2009", says one scientist. "Once the surface of Mars looks like the surface of Detroit, we can all go to bed happy."

Thursday, March 09, 2006

VH1's I Love Toys

I try to be selective about the shows I watch but I always get sucked into these VH1 shows where comedians talk about pop culture. And this one is so geared for me I'm surprised I'm not in the damn thing.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Last Comic Standing

Open auditions were held for Last Comic Standing at Caroline's yesterday and since I have no job, I was there at 4 a.m. Andrew came with me and we hooked up with a group of comics we knew from the clubs. We all stood on line for the next fourteen hours on the freezing cold.

Hector Luis, Harris Bloom and Max Calloway

Harris Bloom, Lara Yazz and Hector Luis


The first four hours were a lot of fun. It was almost like camping, standing out in the cold, watching the city come back to life. Eventually the work crowd came up and I watched people in business suits shoot around, going to office buildings like the one I had just left. Didn't help that Caroline's is one block away from Ogilvy.

Max putting on his third layer of socks.

As the sun came up it got colder. The line we were on now stretched around two corners. We were starting to get punchy. We became obsessed with a billboard of Larry King down 7th Avenue.

Harris and Ethan Mawyer

They started letting people in around 10, but not many people. They told us to line up single file but no one wanted to move further back after seven hours in the same spot. Max became obsessed with his horrible impression of Larry David.

Hector's head shot for his new Q&A column 'I dunno'.

Comics starting coming out an hour later and everyone pressed them with questions. There was a 'good cop, bad cop' relationship going on with the judges. Comics were getting thirty seconds and 'bad cop' was throwing them out.

Al Wagner completing an amazing pratfall, during which I was fumbling for my camera.

The cops tried to make a crowd four people deep single file so we were all crushed against the restaurant next door. I began to wonder what I was doing there. I'd only been doing stand-up for two months. Why was I waiting on line for fourteen hours in the cold? Was I really better than the 300 other comics on line?

Hector and I were let in in the same batch. It had been 13 hours. The place was quiet and disorganized. We filled out forms and saw enough empty spaces to fill twenty more freezing comics.

We were led into the empty space at Caroline's. I got about one minute into my material. Good cop laughed. Bad cop told me he'd rather eat his own organs than listen to me and to get out. I wasn't seriously hoping to get picked. All I was hoping for was some constructive criticism to help me improve my act. I didn't get it. All I got was a Simon Cowell wannabe using shtick line #23.

Bad cop told Andrew he'd rather be doing his taxes, a line he'd already used on Ethan Moyer. Other comics fared better, being told they 'weren't ready' or 'not what we're looking for' or 'not right for the show'. We all commiserated at McDonald's and found solace in the fact that Jason Ellsworth, one of us, got through. Laura and Harris didn't even get in. They sent everyone away even though they were next on line.

We all told each other we did it just to do it. If we had skipped the audition, as a number of our friends had done, we'd regret it. I doubted it then, but now that I've finally gotten some sleep, I believe it. It wasn't what I'd hoped, harder than I thought and I came away with less than I expected. But I'm going to keep getting up on stage, keep writing and keep getting better. And I've made a lot of good friends who will be in the clubs with me.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Everybody has a blog.

It's getting so I don't have many friends without blogs. Now even my dad has one. His stuff is different, fascinating and unlike anyone I've ever linked to before. Plus, he's my dad.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Oscars

We went to Elaine's new place for her annual Oscar party. I said she was nuts for selling her old place on Central Park West but now that I've seen the new one, I understand completely.

This was one of those years where I hadn't seen any of the nominated films so I gave the telecast a cursory glance. Jon Stewart was good and his politically slanted bits, especially the smear campaign ads voiced by Colbert, were fantastic. George Clooney also had one of the funniest acceptance speeches I've ever heard.

But I hadn't realized until now that my favorite part of the show is "In Memoriam." You know, the part where they show you everyone in Hollywood that has died over the last year. I love this. I want to be sad and surprised at the same time. "Oh my God, Joe Ranft died!" You get to elbow your friend. "He was a storyboard artist from PIXAR! He worked on 'Corpse Bride'!" It's sad without being too sad.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Last night's show


Now I know what it's like to work a tough room. And now I have a few survival skills.

I won last night's Latino Laughter slot; a Saturday slot. Since it's not a 'bringer' show (meaning I was not responsible for a portion of the audience) I decided it was time to face a crowd with no friends in it.

At NY Comedy Club, there are two rooms; a big room and a small room. We were in the small room. Right before the show, the crowd was lined down the street. It was huge. But there was a mix-up and nearly all of it was directed into the big room. Most of our audience filed into the wrong room and we were left with about ten people.

The other room sounded amazing since there was not a seat left in the house. Our room was a different story. Tino, who runs the show, is a sensational comic. He kills almost every night. And he worked overtime keeping the small crowd focused.

Last night I learned when you have a small audience, each member has infinitely more power. And leading this crowd were two drunken Marines from Texas. They were a nice crowd but by the time I got up, they were hammered. The Marines couldn't even hold their drinks.

I opened with the crassest humor I had. It worked beautifully but the crowd was so drunk instead of just agreeing with me, every joke sparked a conversation. Years of hanging out in dive bars taught me to agree with drunks and let them wear themselves out.

Then I switched to more original material. This is the material that has killed every night. It died. Nothing. No reaction at all. I'd always tried to ignore the audience's reaction. If they didn't laugh, I'd always say, just keep going. But this silence was painful.

I switched tactics quickly. I jumped into my Johnny Cash bit and the two drunken marines jumped right on it. The crowd swung in right behind them. I had gone from life to death to life again. Tino gave me a big hug as I left the stage.

I've seen comics abandon their set when confronted by a silent crowd. I've seen comics attack the audience. A dead crowd is the most frightening thing a comic has to face. I faced it last night, and survived.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

What To Do On a Saturday Night

You can come see me at NY Comedy Club:

Jon Clarke
NY Comedy Club
241 E. 24th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue
New York, NY
Saturday 3/4/06
9:45 p.m.

Or you can go to a benefit jam Walker is throwing:

Walker and The Brotherhood of the Grape
McCabe's Pub
96-30 Linden Blvd
Ozone Park N.Y.
Concert for a Friend in Need!
Saturday 3/4/06

Friday, March 03, 2006

Personal updates

This week has been amazingly busy. All you've seen is Nerdvana but a lot has been going on behind the scenes.

Wednesday's stand-up show went really well. Right before I went up the club asked if I could do ten minutes instead of seven. "Yes I can." I scrambled to bring a couple of bits back that I had dropped but it was a fantastic experience. I got another show on March 22.

Last night was our last class. It was a huge eye-opener. We met a student from last semester who has a show coming out on MTV. He gave us amazing tips on pitching to networks. Then we met someone from Comedy Central and pitched to them. Also a great experience. We all went out for drinks and no one seemed willing to stop drinking and go home. I got in at 5 in the morning.

Wow, that is late. How did you get any sleep before work, I hear you cry. Simple. I don't have a job anymore. Ogilvy cut staff Tuesday and I fell in the first salvo. And I'm fine with it. I was ready to spend the next three months on unemployment and persuing comedy but other agencies started calling that day. I guess you make a lot of friends in six years. Thanks for being some of them.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Nerdvana, the Final Chapter: Spidey and Friends

Marvel is smart. They got superheroes for all ages. Adults can collect the amazing statues and mini busts from Bowen Designs and Art Asylum. Kids and adults get Marvel Legends. And little kids play with Spider-Man and Friends. Renee loves these most of all and she was the one with the camera so here they are.

As Nerdvana comes to a close I want to thank everyone that visited. Traffic has hit an all time high. And special thanks to for picking me up without my even asking. That was a nice surprise.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Reminder: stand-up tonight!

We're taking a slight break from convention coverage (I have another post for tomorrow) to remind you where I'll be tonight. You can be there too.

NY Comedy Club
241 E. 24th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue
New York, NY
Wednesday 3/1/06
9 p.m.