Thursday, August 31, 2006

Orson Welles 4: Paul Masson

My generation grew up knowing Orson Welles as the spokesman for Paul Masson wine (that and his iconic 'Muppet Movie' cameo). But I can guarantee we never saw this commercial. Orson is so sloshed I'm sure he had no critique of the copy.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Orson Welles 3: The Critic

Maurice LaMarche also did voices for the short lived "Critic" animated series. It was a pop culture heavy show, so they took another stab at the Orson Welles frozen peas tape with Maurice. This one's only 20 seconds and they wrote their own joke, which is the funniest single line in the series.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Orson Welles 2: Yes, Always

As most of you know, the voice of the Brain in "Pinky and the Brain" was heavily influenced by Orson Welles. What you may not know it's because Maurice LaMarche was obsessed with the frozen peas tape. To this day, he performs it between takes. And once, on "Animaniacs", they let him perform the entire thing as the Brain. The finished animation makes me cry.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Orson Welles and Frozen Peas

I've seen John Candy do it on SCTV. I've heard Maurice Lamarche do it a number of times. And now I've finally heard the original.

Here's Orson Welles arguing with ad execs during a frozen peas commercial. It's glorious. Partly because he flips out completely. And partly because he's right.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Even I think my toy collecting is out of control.

But the NECA Balrog was limited to 2400 pieces. And nothing is more expensive than regret.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Not In My Book Turns 1!

It is now exactly one year since I got off my fat ass and started this blog. And it's exceeded all my expectations. By about 1171 people. It's also got 32,547 hits, which is way more than I would have imagined.

Thanks to everyone that stops by regularly. The traffic has increased over the last few months and I hope that you keep coming back.

Now, who wants cake?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Rock Turtleneck

I've known Steve Walsh about six years now. Under his laid-back family man demeanor rages the heart of a lifelong music and Simpsons fan. Now, after years of urging he's finally letting it out in his new blog.

Check him out.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pre-Blog Blog

Saturday will mark the one year anniversary of this blog. But I've been blogging three years before I had a blog.

I will now stop saying blog.

Chris Diclerico's site, which gets traffic I can only cream about, has been mentioned many times here. At one point, he wanted to have more regular updates so he asked a few friends to contribute. One of them was me. It was a lot of fun but after a while it felt like sleeping on his couch. As cool as it was to be there, I needed my own place.

Chris, to my sorrow, has never put a permanent link to me on his site. He's mentioned it a few times and every time people poured in (the creaming). But he does have an archive of every post I wrote for him. Looking at them now, they read like a pilot for Not in My Book.

Take a look at old me.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

MT and R

The IT guy just complimented my "X Files" t shirt (geeks need to stick together). It was a freebie from when I worked at the Museum of Television and Radio.

I started at the museum in 1999 when work slowed down at Art Asylum. I had to wear a tie. I had to lead tour groups. I had to dim the lights in the screening rooms. I had to memorize little speeches. That was about it.

It was the easiest job in the world. At least it was supposed to be. For some reason the managers took it WAY too seriously. Men had to take out their earrings. Microwave popcorn was banned from the kitchen. And I went from leading tour groups to making change at the register. Suddenly, I was right back where I didn't want to be; working retail. When I expressed my dismay at the transfer I was told to go into therapy. The moment an advertising job turned up (one year later) I jumped on it.

I met the most interesting people there. Sid Caesar. Matthew Modine. Tony Randall. Jon Stewart. Lauren Bacall. Michael J. Fox. Walter Cronkite. Joyce Randolph. I had a pleasant conversation with Trixie one night. I packed Howdy Doody into storage. I held a Michael Westmore Star Trek head. I touched Ralph Kramden's table. All for 8 bucks an hour.

Even though I was mourning the loss of my comic book career, those were creative months. Mark Goldman would come in from Opie and Anthony punchy and hilarious. Marshall would create bizarre impressions of Orson Welles and the Supercar theme song. Dave would leave every four minutes for a smoke and pitch a show called "Choc Ice". He wrote it while high. Gina would encourage us to do the open mike at Hamburger Harry's. Pilar would bounce in with an animation idea and talk so fast we couldn't get it. Bobby and Raul would come down from maintenance to talk about Black Sabbath. Andrew would try to manage us but mostly ended up our sounding board.

It kept my days productive. I started writing real sketches and a "Spongebob" spec script. I created a website. I started a screenplay that would take six years to complete. I dressed up as Gromit for a day. I did the open mike at Hamburger Harry's. I would bring dates in after hours and pull up old "Sgt. Bilko" episodes. I started an intense relationship that imploded in six weeks. And a month later, I met my wife. That's even better than the shirt.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Eliminating Unnecessary Words

I was going to write a post on tightening my setups but, ironically, it ran too long.

Here's an awesome monkey.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Shatner Roast

The Comedy Central roasts are never that good. Once they lost their partnership with the Friar's Club, they started putting on anybody. Including Pamela Anderson. But tonight they got Shatner. So I'm interested. And of course, so is Bill. 10:00 tonight.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Indubitably Delicious

Fouind this on Mark Evanier's blog. It's a 1987 cereal commercial. Back in high school, Pat Antoine became obsessed with this. He was popular so we all became obsessed with it. Watching it now, I have no idea why. It's horrible.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Writing Can Be Fun!

This one was, anyway. Check out the Marvel products Master Replicas has planned for next year. I wrote the copy on all the pages and it brought me one step closer to my dream job.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Bruno Kirby

Bruno Kirby has passed away from leukemia at the age of 57.

I was not expecting this. Kirby had just done an episode of "Entourage". He was still working. I also didn't know you could get leukemia so late. A kid in my high school had it and he didn't make it to senior year. To be diagnosed at 57 is unsettling, to say the least.

Bruno Kirby was a great character actor who made about 60 films. More than half of them are great. Two of them, Godfather: Part II and When Harry met Sally are perfect. They couldn't be more different but Bruno Kirby made his roles in each memorable. Thanks to his quirky energy and his squeaky yet melodic voice, you could never look away from a Kirby performance. He will be missed.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Simpsons Season 8

The last of the great Simpsons seasons comes out on dvd today. It includes my all time favorite episode, "You Only Move Twice" guest starring Albert Brooks as Hank Scorpio. It's got "Mountain of Madness" with some beautiful Mr. Burns moments. It's got Frank Grimes.

And it also has a fantastic crossover with "The X Files" showcasing the voices of David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and Leonard Nimoy. Considering the mood I'm in lately, this will be the first one I watch. If you want to watch half the episode, here it is.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Toy Run


I don't get a lot of time off anymore. Between working full time, doing the Improv three nights a week and shooting various projects for people, I've lost most of my free time.

But yesterday I had the day off. The whole day. So I called Joe Franzem and we went on a toy run. If you're a toy collector, a toy run is your greatest challenge. It's expensive, frustrating and involves malls. A good partner is essential. Joe's been collecting for twenty years. He's so good he can tell you what parking space to take at the mall. I'd be in good hands.

I got in the Beetle and three blocks later the plastic bottom of the car fell out (this happens to Beetles over a certain mileage). I was pissed but I only had one day off. My car wants to fall apart, fuck it. I'm still going. I got under the car, ripped the rest of the plastic out and got back on the road

Joe and I headed out to Long Island. The Toys R' Us yielded my first find: the Young Avengers box set. I was going to pass on it but Robert Yee lent me the graphic novel and damn if it wasn't great. So now I need the figures. They also had DC Direct and Star Trek: the Next Generation toys, which was weird. These are only supposed to be in comic stores. At least I can say my writing now appears in Toys R' Us. I bought a Knightfall Nightwing for seven bucks.

From there it was on to Amok Time. I love this place. It's pretty far out so you feel like you're making a pilgramage. The display cases are full of Star Wars and Mego toys from the 1970's while the pegs are stuffed with rare new figures. It was here we found Sideshow's Krycek.

As you'll see from the link, this figure is long gone, limited to 500 pieces worldwide. And ever since I bought the final dvds of "The X Files" I've wanted the complete figure collection. I've been fighting for this guy on ebay and losing. And there he was. Only one of him.

Joe and I both looked at each other and said the same thing. "You gonna buy him?" The price was slightly higher than I wanted to pay. I just lost one on ebay for less. "I think I can keep looking." Joe grabbed him instantly. I consoled myself with a Green Lantern Salakk and a couple of Marvel Minimates. I get Minimates free from Art Asylum but it's always a random sampling. Every now and then I like to get the ones I missed.

We drove to the nearest Wal Mart and found the new super poseable Batman from Mattel. They had only two of him so this time we could each have one. We headed home and Joe asked, "You want more minimates?" Sure. Why? "You can have mine." Your doubles? "Nah, all of them. I don't want them." I dropped Joe off at his house and he came up from the basement with fifty minimates and all the X Files palz. And two Star Trek ships. And Gumby. He wouldn't take no for an answer. It was too much stuff but he told me to go fuck myself and take them. Toy karma for Krycek, I suppose.

I went home with the largest amount of new toys I've ever gotten in one day. Some were rare, some were old and some were unexpected. But the ones that meant the most were the ones I got for being a friend. Good day off.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

More shows at "The World"!

UPDATE: Here's the rest of August.

Tuesday Aug 15 2006 8:00P

Thursday Aug 17 2006 10:00P

Friday Aug 18 2006 10:30P

Tuesday Aug 22 2006 10:00P

Thursday Aug 24 2006 10:00P

Friday Aug 25 2006 12:00A

Tuesday Aug 29 2006 10:00P

Thursday Aug 31 2006 10:00P

And I have a special AUDITION at Comic Strip Live next Monday. I have five free passes to this one so let me know if you want to be there.

Monday Aug 21 2006 8:00P
Comic Strip Live
1568 2nd Ave Btwn 81st and 82nd St.
New York NY

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Curb your Enthusiasm Season 6

It's gonna happen.

I need to pick up Season 5 on dvd before I have a clear prediction (the last season got mixed reviews) but considering there have only been two great sitcoms this decade and one (Arrested Development) has been cancelled, I'm glad to see the other surviving.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Shaken, Stirred and Whining

Daniel Craig should not read this blog. In fact, he shouldn't go online at all. He's too sensitive.

Craig was named the new James Bond when talks with Pierce Brosnan fell through. Shooting is complete on "Casino Royale" which up to now, was the only of Ian Fleming's novels never officially filmed (not counting the 50's television version and that weird parody with Peter Sellers and Woody Allen). Sounds like it should go back to basics and showcase a leaner, tougher Bond.

But the actor playing Bond is complaining. He's hurt by the fan response. He thinks people won't accept a new Bond. Dude, it's been 40 years. We've accepted FIVE new Bonds. And one of them was George Lazenby. What we won't accept is a crybaby in the role. Shut up and shoot people.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Lieberman's Loss

If Joe Lieberman is this far in denial, imagine when he gets to anger. He might get a gun. No, wait, he's for gun control.

He might support the war in Iraq. Sorry. He's already doing that.

He might play "Grand Theft Auto". Oh, I see he's trying to get that game off the market.

He might come up with another catch phrase that starts with "Joe". Like "Jo mama" or "Joe to hell" or "I can't believe my strategy for reaching the common man was reminding them my name is Joe".

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Vote for Andrew!

I got this email from Andrew Torres today:

A couple of weeks ago I did a three-minute presentation for The
Speaking Channel, a broadband channel devoted to effective
communication. Each contestant had to sell a "product," without props
or graphs. The "product" I chose to sell was myself, since I was
basically auditioning for my own broadband show. I did it kind of like
stand-up, since that's what I'm used to.

Here's where you come in. Please head over to the Speaking Channel
website and vote for me.

Andrew's good at a lot of things but he is a born broadcaster. This is exactly where he wants to be and needs to be. So let's show him the power of this blog. Head over to the Speaking Channel and vote. You don't even have to watch his video (but if he asks, say you did).

Vote for him!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Is it too early for me to be nostalgic for the '90's? Sure, VH1 has a show about it but they have a show about your last lunch hour. I miss the actual 90's.

I miss Jane's Addiction. That's probably because I first got laid to Summertime Rolls. Which will fuck you up for life by the way.

I miss Kurt Cobain being a genius and not a cautionary example.

I miss being 118 pounds and eating steak-umms for lunch.

I miss plaid.

I miss the X-Men being a cartoon and not a series of increasingly gay movies.

I miss OJ. And so does Ford motors.

I miss the X Files. Especially before we learned the government is too stupid to pull off cover-ups or conspiracies.

I miss wars that last two weeks.

I miss news stories that weren't happening to me personally.

I miss a president with a personality. Even a big goofy personality.

I miss Star Trek being popular. Nerdy as all hell but popular just the same.

I miss comic books selling a million copies. Especially shitty comic books.

I miss Guns n' Roses. Well, I don’t miss the Spaghetti Incident but you get the idea.

What about you?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Beatsie Boys

I was at Jeannie and Aaron's party on Saturday when this song came on. It made me realize something. If I told you in 1987 these guys would be making great music 20 years later, you'd have kicked me in the taint.

Greatest opening for a video ever. "Do you like parties?"

Sunday, August 06, 2006

New Dates

Three shows at "The World" this week.
As always, it's the Improv Comedy Cafe 53rd and 8th Ave.

Tuesday August 8 10:00 p.m.
Thursday August 10 10:00 p.m.
Friday August 11 midnight

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Pinky and the Brain

In 1993, I was reconsidering my music career for one in writing (I'd do this a few times over the years)when Animaniacs premiered. I'd get home from college in time for it and since Batman: the Animated Series would follow it, I made sure I'd always be home.

I was amused by the first episode until a segment came on for Pinky and the Brain. It was the most brilliant thing I'd ever seen. The premise is incredibly simple; two lab mice that want to take over the world. The fact that one had the voice of Orson Welles put it over the top.

As soon as I saw it, I knew it was what I wanted to write. That's right. A cartoon changed my life. That should surprise none of you. By the time the characters were given their own show, I was taping it.

I haven't seen it in years but the first season just came out on dvd. Watching the four disc set, I can't understand why it's not rerun. Cartoon Network should have it on every day. It's just as sharp , original and downright emotional as it it's ever been. Oh and it has the best theme song ever. Which is right here.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

FREE show in Brooklyn tonight!

Try as you might, you can't escape the hipsters.

Thursday, August 3rd, 8pm
That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore
@ Laila Lounge

317 N7th Street Williamsburg, Brooklyn
North 7th and berry off the bedford L stop.

Josh Spear
Rob Cantrel
Matty Goldberg
Ed Murray
Lara Yaz
Tim Warner
Jon Clarke
and more!

Hosted by Abby Koenig

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Crazy Mel

There's nothing I love more than an imploding celebrity.

When I saw the story about Mel Gibson getting arrested for drunk driving, I ignored it. All celebrities get arrested for drunk driving. It's a rite of passing. Those two girls from "Lost" got arrested for drunk driving and they're not even on the show anymore. Kelsey Grammar flipped his car over in his own driveway.

But last night Ian Federgreen gave me the whole story. Which, according to the news, went like so:

During his arrest, Gibson asked the arresting deputy whether he was a Jew and said, "F---ing Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,"

Today he apologized, calling it "a moment of insanity". That moment began in 1997.

Here's the best part; Mel's project on the HOLOCAUST has been cancelled. Which means he was making a project on the HOLOCAUST. Which took place during one of those wars they started. Right, Mel?

I like his picture though. I don't care how good an actor you are; you can't fake that drunken smile.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Vinyl Edition

I met Barton through Ed Murray and we instantly hit it off. One look at his blog and you'll know why. He hits music with the voice of an even more sarcastic Lester Bangs. It's funny, it's cool and now it's in my right column.

Take a look.