Thursday, November 30, 2006
Dave Cockrum has passed away after a long struggle with diabetes.
Cockrum ahd a long career in comics but will always be known for creating the All-New X-Men in the mid 70's. He inherited Wolverine from the Hulk and Cyclops from the original run but the look of Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler were pure Cockrum. In fact, Nightcrawler was a Cockrum idea for the Legion of Super Heroes but DC passed.
No one could design characters quite like him. Colossus and Nightcrawler remain relatively unchanged after thirty years. Even a hero like Thunderbird who was meant to die after one issue, became legendary thanks to his pencils.
Cockrum's career sadly faded because he got exactly what he wanted. As X-Men gained in popularity, Cockrum was given the chance to create his own series; the dream of every artist. He left X-Men just as it was nearing his peak and started a book which, for whatever commercial reason, failed to click the way X-Men had. When he returned, John Byrne had taken over the book and sales exploded. Cockrum's second run would be constantly compared to the man who had replaced him. It's regrettable that lightning failed to strike twice in his career and more regrettable to see him pass.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
This is a newly edited version under four minutes. It flows better and I think shows the idea more clearly.
Let us know what you think of "The Adventures of Straight Man"!
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Almost a waste of time.
There's a ton of movies out that I want to see this season. "Borat", "Casino Royale", "For Your Consideration", it's a nice change from the dearth of this summer. So the other night Renee and I did something we never do; just show up at the theater and see what's starting.
We're big Tenacious D fans. We have the album. We have the dvd of the HBO show. We saw them at Roseland. And we were pretty much the only ones in the theater.
This has vanity project written all over it. Now that Jack Black is a star he can do whatever he wants. And he wants to keep Tenacious D going. I admire that. I just wish he did it in a stronger way.
The movie has a fantastic opening with a mini rock opera and cameos from Meat Loaf and Dio. And there's about thirty minutes of origin that fits nicely into the HBO show. Then it falls into this goofy fantasy adventure that simply doesn't work. There are funny moments but the story doesn't care if it moves forward or just sits down and gets high. By the second act I couldn't care less if they got the Pick of Destiny or not. I just wanted to hear another song.
I get the feeling that when Jack handed this cut into the studio they said, "Well, we'll release it. But you gotta do this Cameron Diaz/ Kate Winslet movie."
Here are more critics of The Pick of Destiny.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Finally, Time magazine reflects what I've been saying for years: the world is trying to kill us.
The temperature is unfit for humans half the year, animals want to eat us and plants give us allergies. Oh, and most of the things we invent can kill us even faster. Mad cow? Dude, your bed can kill you.
Give me that salty truth, o Time.
Friday, November 24, 2006
It looks like a map of Iraq at the moment but doctors assure me it is a baby. It's coming in July (right after the other blockbusters) and I'm spending a lot of time mentally preparing. Those of you who thought I've been acting strange the last six weeks, here's your answer.
The coming of Fetuso is upon us!
Thursday, November 23, 2006
My sister Monica and my brother-in-law Bob finally came to see me perform at "The World" last night. Renee also brought her brother Richie and his friends. They saw a great show. I went on last and they were as awake and supportive as they were for the first comic. Whenever someone I know sees me, I worry about having a good set. If I don't do well I feel like telling them afterwards, "I know I told you I did stand-up. Evidently, I don't. Thank you for visiting my sham of a life."
But I did really well. They hung around for the second show so I did an entirely different set. They were lucky to stick around because Jim Gaffigan walked up and five minutes before me. He's been known to pop up now and then but in my hundred shows at "The World" I'd never seen him. He killed with new Thanksgiving material and took off right after.
We stopped off for empanadas on 9th Avenue (Mark, the service has VASTLY improved there) and as we were walking to Monica's car, they closed down 10th Avenue. The floats for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade were being trucked uptown so we got to see the entire parade in ten minutes.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
This is a shame.
Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy made about 3 billion dollars and won every Oscar there is. Now that the prequel (a great book in its own right) is moving forward, Jackson and WETA won't be a part of it.
Once again, it all comes down to money. Reports say that Jackson is still owed $100 million from the trilogy. Not only is that an astronomical sum, but remember, Jackson built WETA for the trilogy and now has to keep it running. What if ILM was never paid for "Star Wars"? Where would moviemaking be today?
Jacksdon had plans to tie "The Hobbit" in tightly to the trilogy, possibly making two movies which would tell not only the story of "The Hobbit" but lay much of the groundwork for "Lord of the Rings". And he all but had Ian McKellen and Hugo Weaving ready to go. Think they'll be likely to sign with the next Brett Ratner?
Jackson could have used the job as well. "King Kong", his other dream project, was a disappointment. The studio found it underperformed. I found it overlong and pretentious for a 'b' monster movie. "Halo" just fell through as well, leaving him only with the indie "The Lovely Bones" a lock for the future. Jackson could quickly go from being the next George Lucas to the next Orson Welles.
I was expecting these problems to take a long time to work out, but I thought they would. "The Hobbit" will make money just from audiences who don't know Jackson is not a part of it. If "Batman Forever", "X3" and "Superman II" could turn a profit, this one will do fine. Which, in the end, is all the studios care.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
But I think they have a point. Richards is known as an experimental comic and even Kaufmanesque at times. It really looked as if he was going to turn it around into something hilarious. That didn't happen.
Comedians are supposed to fearless and inappropriate and a comedy club is their home turf. But instead of trying to win the room back, he's on national television cowering for it. The audience is laughing not because they're supposed to but because they should be.
Here's Richards in a truly spontaneous and shocking moment; with Andy Kaufman on "Fridays". I wish I could find Andy's apology on youtube because that's where I thought Richards would go tonight.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
Renee and I went to see Bob Dylan at the Continental Arena last night. Now I can't think of another concert I need to see.
The Racontuers opened. I had already seen Jack White in the White Stripes but this was a different experience. They played with the chemistry of a much older band. You'd never would have guessed this was a side project. Since their only album is 33 minutes long, they threw in a few jams and an explosive cover of "Bang Bang". Great for an opening band and their forty minute set was just long enough.
Dylan hit the stage on time and with all the eccentricities I'd hoped. He didn't talk to the audience, not even to introduce songs. He didn't even face us. He stood on stage at a 90 degree profile watching his band and keeping in perfect sync with them.
He also didn't play the guitar. Steve Walsh told me arthritis has affected his hands so he played a keyboard all night. A strat and acoustic were propped next to him untouched.
And he rearranged songs on the fly. "It's Alright Ma" became a nasty blues stomp. "Simple Twist of Fate" swung. I thought "Like a Rolling Stone" was "Forever Young" for the first verse. The audience strained for lyrics to get a clue to the song's identity. With Dylan's new voice, that wasn't easy.
That voice, all croaky and textured, is a far cry from his familiar nasal whine. Age has changed it with his hands. But it's also given him new character and a deeper emotional range. To expect to hear his old voice is like expecting George Carlin to still be a hippie. He's moved on so you should too.
When you see Dylan, you are not at a rock show. You're at a reading. The crowd was there to see the greatest songwriter of the last fifty years recite his greatest works. However he wants to read them is fine with me.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Is O.J. so starved for attention that he'll resort to confessing? And are we still supposed to believe he's innocent? That's like saying to a doctor, "My friend has herpes. How does he cure it, my friend, right?"
To the surprise of no one, his half-hour interview will be airing on FOX. Probably in "Arrested Development's" slot.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
But I destroyed. I took the lessons of eliminating my segueways and tightening my pauses and had a fantastic set. Pat Dixon also suggested I act more conversational and less presentational. It worked wonders. Just goes to show when a comic is as good as Pat, you listen. Here he is on "Premium Blend".
Monday, November 13, 2006
That's one reason I like this. It's not funny, but it is cool and way smoother than our film. Extra props for using the less poseable Graphitti Designs figure instead of the detailed articulated Mezco Hellboy.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
We also had 50 people at our midnight show. Which ties the record set in the summer. I made money which immediately went to this:
The best part of a weak trilogy. Ewan McGregor is the Harrison Ford of the prequels and this figure is just an awesome rendition. Thank you, comedy fans!
Friday, November 10, 2006
The crowd was good. They loved everyone on stage. They wanted to love me. But they didn't. I could blame my late spot. I could blame the checks. But it wouldn't be true. They wanted me to be funny and all I was was cute.
I'm used to small, bad crowds. I'm used to patting myself on the back for the small amount of laughs I receive. But this was a crowd that delivered huge laughs and I was the only one incapable of drawing them out. I got the same response from a great crowd that I get from a bad one. That's my fault.
The fact is when I write jokes, they're tight. Short. Sweet. But I get up on stage and my mouth starts throwing words in all over the place. I ramble and the audience gets bored. And I do this so habitually I'm not nearly where I should be. In fact, I'm wondering if leaving advertising was a good idea.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
11:00 Get up.
11:30 Work on sketch ideas.
12:30 Clean house.
1:00 cook. Watch Monica's "Buffy" dvds.
1:30 Meet with RG. Talk about the performance of "Pee Shy" video. Plan alternative performance spaces. Run back into kitchen mid sentence.
2:00 Eat slightly burnt lunch. More Buffy.
3:00 Listen to tapes of last night's performances. Make notes. Rewrite jokes. Cringe.
4:00 Vote. Swipe hand down Democrat column. Leave.
4:15 train. Read "Essential Ant-Man".
5:00 Go to Comic Strip Live. Wait on line. Say hi to comics you like. Acknowledge comics you don't.
6:00 Get audition date for Comics Strip. February 19.
7:00 Walk cross town to the Imrpov. Talk with Alan Schwartz. Hear the phrase "What was I gonna say?" repeatedly. Eat Wendy's.
8:00 Check in at "The World". Collect flyers. Watch Ed Murray open the 8:00 show. Rewrite a joke for him.
8:30 Stand in front of MTV. Hold out flyers. Yell "free tickets for the Improv" at strangers. Curse Wendy's.
10:00 Wait at the Improv. Talk with comics in the cafe. Watch comics in the theater.
10:30 Watch Ed's set. Hear new joke. Make notes. Assess audience and change set list.
11:40 Perform. Tape set. Experiment. Accept smiles if not laughs.
12:00 Train. "Ant-Man" Listen to tape of set. Cringe.
1:00 Watch Daily Show/ Colbert Report coverage of the mid-term elections. Bless TiVo.
2:00 Ali G. Bless TiVo again. Work on screenplay idea.
2:30 Go to bed. Wake Renee up. Talk for two minutes. This is only contact with wife.
2:45 Wonder about everything you did wrong.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Usually I take a long time to decide who I'm voting for. I'm a Democrat but I don't blindly run down party lines. I look at both candidates and align myself with the person I agree with on the issues. You know, the way you're supposed to. If I don't have a strong opinion about either candidate, I don't vote.
But screw that. Today I'm going in and swiping my hand down the Democratic column. Things are so screwed in this country I think the Republicans need to be punished. First with blunt instruments. Then with expulsion. I don't think I'll get away with hitting them but if I can help get more Democrats (or God forbid, liberals) into office, then so be it. It's entirely irresponsible. I'm doing it anyway.
I'm Jon Clarke and I approve this message.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
Tim Warner, Lara Yaz and Ed Murray are hosting their own show next Thursday. I'll be performing there and it's if it's anything like last time, we'll remember it vividly.
Lack O' Etiquette
November 9, 9:00 p.m.
hosted by Josh Spear
53rd and 8th
Thursday, November 02, 2006
You may notice a new voice on the audio commentary. Mike Drucker makes his Play Cole debut here and knocks it out of the park. I met him at "The World" and knew he had a similar sense of humor. Except way funnier. If you want to know more about Mike, just read how he got a joke on the dress rehearsal of SNL this week. And the hilarity that ensued.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Play Cole is proud to introduce audio commentaries of audio commentaries.
Yes, we're the first. We watched William Shatner's "Star Trek V" with the director's commentary hoping he might explain the intentions behind the worst Star Trek film ever made. He didn't. But we did. We recorded an mp3 of our thoughts listening to his commentary. The result is a cross between MST3K and outright confusion.
To fully enjoy this commentary, watch the dvd of Star Trek V with William Shatner's commentary AS SOON AS YOU PLAY THE PODCAST.
If you don't, well, it's still pretty funny.