Friday, February 27, 2009

Second Place

I was a very smart child. And it's ruined my life.

By 3, I learned how to read. In kindergarten I was accelerated to the gifted class. I got very used to straight 'A's. I got used to perfection.

But then puberty came along. I got distracted. I got a few 'B's. And I didn't know how to handle it. I panicked. That didn't help.

High school made things worse. I started failing. And since I was used to perfection, it felt like something that was happening outside of me. My dad locked me in the house for three hours a night to study. It did little to help my social skills but my grades improved. They never became straight 'A's though. I didn't know how to reach the perfection that seemed so natural once.

My life has followed that same pattern. Comic books. Music. Comedy. I worked very hard at all of them, got to 'good' then hit a wall. As hard as I worked and as frustrated as I got, I couldn't make the leap from mediocre to impressive. As a consequence, I was never able to make the career I wanted.

Anybody have any ideas how to break this?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Matt Groening

"The Simpsons" marks its 20th year of production this year. While it may not be at its height of creative power like it was in the mid 90's, it's still the smartest, funniest sitcom out there. I will watch it until the day it leaves the air. I wonder when that will be.

"Futurama" is releasing its final movie on dvd this week, "Into the Great Green Yonder". Alex and I caught it at the NYCC and it's as good as everything else they've done. This is the final film on their contract.

No show lasts forever. But when will they close the book on "Futurama"? When will we see "The Simpsons" final episode? According to Matt Groening, never.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tracks of My Tears

Just watching Smokey Robinson on Elvis Costello's talk show "Spectacle" and I'm reminded of a simple truth. Smokey wrote quite simply the best lyrics of a pop song ever.

People say I'm the life of the party
Because I tell a joke or two
Although I might be laughing loud and hearty
Deep inside I'm blue
So take a good look at my face
You'll see my smile looks out of place
If you look closer, it's easy to trace
The tracks of my tears..
I need you, need you
Since you left me if you see me with another girl
Seeming like I'm having fun
Although she may be cute
She's just a substitute
Because you're the permanent one..
So take a good look at my face
You'll see my smile looks out of place
If you look closer, it's easy to trace
The tracks of my tears..
I need you, need you
Outside I'm masquerading
Inside my hope is fading
Just a clown oh yeah
Since you put me down
My smile is my make up
I wear since my break up with you..
So take a good look at my face
You'll see my smile looks out of place
If you look closer, it's easy to trace
The tracks of my tears

Beat that, Eminem.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Conan and Mr. T

I just realized how much I'm gonna miss Late Night With Conan O' Brien.

Monday, February 23, 2009

25 Albums

This was the first Facebook note that I ever wanted to respond to. I posted it there, now it's here.

25 Albums

Directions: Think of 25 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically shaped your world. When you finish, tag 25 others, including me. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill. Get the idea now? Good. Tag, you're it!

Black Sabbath, Paranoid. I first heard “War Pigs” drunk on a camping trip staring into the coals of the campfire. I recommend everyone do it this way.

Monty Python’s Instant Record Collection. I played this one more than any Rolling Stones album I ever bought. And I know more of the words.

Neil Young, Harvest. That was six months of one bad breakup.

Carole King, Tapestry. Same breakup. And some acid.

Monkees, Head. Just the acid.

Guns n’ Roses, Appetite For Destruction. The first album I ever bought that made me feel hip and current. Buying it now would have the opposite effect.

Pink Floyd, The Wall. So good it’s worth ten bucks to listen to it once. I wasn’t enough of a pothead for most of their albums but anger and self-destruction? Count me in.

Beach Boys, Pet Sounds. The album that made me stop hating the Beach Boys. Or at least Brian Wilson.

Beastie Boys, Paul Boutique. A joke band no more.

Radiohead, OK Computer. Arguably the last great album from the last great era of music.

Body Count. The worst record I’ve ever owned. Every time I listen to it, I wonder; is Ice-T in on his own joke?

Paul McCartney, McCartney. The king of all home demos. And it’s got my wedding song on there.

Nirvana, Nevermind. I first saw the video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on MTV at 2 a.m. and said out loud, “Music is gonna change.” Then I saw Henry Rollins’ video for “Low Self Opinion.” I said, “The Punisher has a band now?”

Metallica, Master of Puppets. Yes, we can hate them now. But by minute 8 of the title track I was transformed from hippie to metalhead.

KT Tunstall, Eye to the Telescope. Best album I’ve heard in five years.

Keith Richards, Talk is Cheap. Who needs Mick when you’ve got five strings?

Beatles, Revolver. I listened to this on my first cd walkman and yelled in the street. “Oh! Paul McCartney really IS a good bass player!”

Bill Cosby, To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With. Side 2 is one bit. One bit! With an eighteen minute act-out! You ask me, it’s never been beaten.

Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited. The perfect Dylan balance. Smarter than you, rocks harder than it should and full of equal parts snarl and hilarity.

Johnny Cash, American Recordings, Volume II: Unchained. They’re all worth it but this is the one with the Heartbreakers on it.

Cream, The Very Best of Cream. The first (and last) album I learned every guitar solo to. If I do nothing else with my life, I saw the reunion concert.

Allman Brothers, Beginnings. I’m still working on these guitar solos. If you want to know why I got a Les Paul at 30, this album’s to blame.

Elvis Costello, Brutal Youth. Right at the point I got into Elvis, he put out one of his strongest albums. It’s been a sad, slow decline ever since.

Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville. Nothing like a cute, tough chick with some Fender gear. I never wanted to make out with a singer more in my life. It was disheartening to learn all my friends did too.

Harry Nilsson, All-Time Greatest hits. Different breakup.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Transcendentalist Television

I don't see Alex Grubard enough anymore. That's why I'm happy to hear about the new show he's running at The PIT. I'm even happier to hear how original it will be. How original? Just check out the amazing full-blown website he's launched for the premiere!

Here tis.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is There Anybody Out There?

Yesterday after I posted I returned to a completely blank blog. The sidebar was there with every post but the main body was white. Did that happen to you? Was it just my browser or did you think I packed it all up and quit? And were you sad?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Writer's Room Tonight!

I'm bringing a book I didn't write.


Jon Clarke
Sean Patton
Jacqueline Novak
Jason Saenz
Ross Hyzer
Joe Mande

hosted by Mike Drucker

Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Time: 9:30pm - 10:30pm
Location: The PIT
Street: 154 W. 29th St
City/Town: New York, NY

Monday, February 16, 2009

Top 10 Most Awkward Letterman Interviews

Dave has a reputation. While he's certainly the best talk show host since Carson, he does seem to get himself into tricky situations. If a guest comes on with a weird attitude, he's not about to guide them out of fit. Instead, he'll come at them head on, creating seven minutes of uncomfortable television. has assembled the 10worst with video clips. Every one of these was headline news and endlessly fascinating.

Watch em!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

20 Muppet Backstories

CNN talked about the Muppets the other day. And now I want to.

Always loved the Muppets. Always will. One of my dreams is to write on "Sesame Street" The studio's only a mile away. I could ride my bike over and come up with dialogue for Ernie. You hear me, CTW?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Christian Bale

So I've finally heard the tape of him screaming at the DP on the set of "Terminator: Salvation". I ignored it as a piece of celebrity gossip but since then EVERYBODY's been talking about it. Method Man referenced it at a panel Friday. So I listened to it.

And I kinda agree with him. Part of me thinks if I was in his position, I'd have reacted the same way. Does that make me a bad person?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

100,000 Visitors!

In three and a half years, I've found 100,000 people who wanted to look at this blog. And in my timely fashion, I'm mentioning it 1500 people later.

When I started this, I was working full time in an ad agency, playing in a band, had no children and weighed 155 pounds. None of that is true anymore. Thanks to the archive function, I know why.

Thanks to everyone who ever visited and continues to stop here. Please don't leave.

Monday, February 09, 2009

NYCC Coverage

Pop Culture Zoo has posted three of my articles from the con. They're here:

Mattel DC action figures revealed

Matty Collector news

Batman: Battle for the Cowl Panel

And here are my pictures.

But here's a few pieces of news I didn't submit:

1. The second show was not as good as the first. Less focus, more heckling.

2. The Green Lantern panel was the best I've been to.

3. Judah Friedlander and Chuck Nice were on an MTV panel. Chuck knew no one knew who he was and came out with guns ablazing. Smart.

4. The Wonder Woman animated movie is the best they've done yet. This is made all the more impressive because it's about Wonder Woman.

5. I almost ran Joss Whedon over with Ben's stroller. And was too star struck to use it as an opening.

It looks like I won't be able to afford San Diego this year. And the New York con is moved to October next year. So I'll return with more coverage in eighteen months!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

They Gave Us Another One!

We must have done well because they've added a second show tonight at 6:15. It's the first time I've been asked back anywhere in quite some time.

Friday, February 06, 2009

NYCC Show Today!

After three years, I'm going to accomplish a major goal in my stand-up career.

I'm going to perform at the New York Comic-Con.

I'm hosting a show at the variant stage in the middle of the room. The audience is impossible to predict.

And I'm not alone. I'm hosting three of my favorite headliners.

Jared Logan (VH1)
Kumail Nanjiani (Colbert Report, MAD magazine)
Matt MccCarthy (the red bearded guy in all the FioS commercials)

It's at the Javits Center, 2:00 in the afternoon and tickets to the con cost $40.

Want to come?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Wolfgang

To my knowledge, Eddie van Halen has had four guitars designed for him. The Kramer was a copy of his red, white and black strat. Enrnie Ball then created a small, balanced guitar called the EVH which I personally lived. He went from there to Peavey where they recreated the EVH as more of a strat. Now Fender has released the Wolfganag which still looks like the EVH.

And for some reason, CNN is reporting on it. Why they care about this guitar, I'll never know. They never mentioned the P-Rails.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Bill Hicks

Letterman finally showed Bill Hicks' final performance on his show Friday. For those of you who don't know, in 1993, Bill's act was considered too controversial and yanked hours before it aired. This was all the more tragic as Bill died a few months later from pancreatic cancer.

Looking back, Dave didn't know why he censored it and neither do I. This isn't even new material. I've heard it all before on his albums. But at least it's a great view into the last televised performance of an amazing comedian.

Dave's heartfelt intro:

Interview with Mary Hicks:

The set:

You can find all three and another article about the incident here. Thanks to John Knefel for pointing this out.

Oh, and speaking of which, I've been watching PBS documentary "Make Em Laugh". On the 'groundbreaking comedians' episode they ignored Hicks and interviewed Carlos Mencia. They ought to be ashamed.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Writer's Room Tonight!

We're doing these things biweekly? Jeez, then we must be good.


Dan Goodman
David Cope
Peter Grosz (writer for The Colbert Report)
Jon friedman (author of "Rejected")

hosted by Jon Clarke (McSweeney's, Newsgroper)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Time: 9:30pm - 10:30pm
Location: The PIT
Street: 154 W. 29th St
City/Town: New York, NY