Would you like to be a cartoonist like me?
You can’t. Sorry. Not even if you paid me to train you. It won’t happen.
I had to move recently, hence the hiatus. If you’re a writer or an artist, moving is extra hell because of all the books. Big glossy ones for the coffee table (if applicable), thick reference tomes, and oodles of little half-finished sketchbooks.
In 2012, my friend Chay and I worked as audience members for the taping of a popular game show, hosted by Steve Harvey. We helped to provide a diversity that was wholly absent from the proceedings.
I love great sketch comedy, and as demonstrated on this site, I have tremendous nostalgia for the video industry of the 1980s and ’90s. By nature I am protective of those things, out of love. I have little tolerance of exploitation of them.
I believe the modern peak of sketch comedy came with two shows; Mr. Show with Bob & David, and The Kids In The Hall (both on HBO). Since the 1990s, these programs set the gold standard. Inevitably, new sketch comedy shows are compared to them, and they seldom hold up. I don’t think The State gelled until they became Reno 911. Broken Lizard has moments; generally one or two per film. Too many comedy groups nowadays are post-UCB; all manic energy, no focus. That’s fine if the group is performing live for an drunken bar audience. TV is a different matter.
Mad medicine was everywhere in the 80s and 90s. There were toys and playsets endorsed by mad doctors, for use by kids. Every time you watched cartoons, you saw a skinny dude with crazy hair in a white lab coat, maniacally mixing chemicals and potions for some nefarious purpose. Under the influence of this, I created my own mad medicine man; Dr. Kill-Everybody.
Either the trope became shopworn around 2001, or something happened that discouraged children from playing with chemicals. You don’t see mad doctors and scientists like you used to. Maybe this is a good thing; maybe the concept was subconsciously driving impressionable kids away from lucrative STEM-field careers. I don’t know.
What I do know is this. Mad doctors once flourished in our society, even though they were annoying, and generally sucked.
A gadfly is a person who interferes the status quo of a society or community by posing novel, potently upsetting questions, usually directed at authorities. The term is originally associated with the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates, in his defense when on trial for his life. [Wikipedia]
Imagine if you visited this site, only to discover that I had renounced my acerbic commentary on the world of music, and devoted my time to interviewing popular musicians of the day, in glowing “puff pieces”. How would you feel?
As an “underground” artist, I go broke often. Sometimes I have to sacrifice comfort or nourishment to pay my rent.
Sometimes, I’m broke because I’m a total assclown who takes public transportation across town to see a $22 popcorn movie, alone. (I didn’t have enough for actual popcorn.)
Even while facing the consequences, I have no regrets.
I’m old enough to remember when Bill Maher was a stand-up comedian; i.e., a person who stands behind a microphone and makes people laugh. I have vague memories of Kathy Griffin doing the same thing. As far as I can determine now, Maher and Griffin just make people mad, by saying or doing something deliberately inappropriate, and then flaying open their breast in apology, crocodile tears a-flow.
Then they go back to being unfunny. Because funny ain’t what pays their bills.
I’m also old enough to recall when Maher’s show Politically Incorrect lived up to its name, instead of being a vehicle for trendy virtue-signals. My pal Jim Goad once made an appearance. It was far more fringy and loose. Now it’s a reductive caricature, a safe forum for “differing viewpoints” (vetted by the network/sponsors). It’s a funnier joke as it is than anything that ever came out of Bill Maher’s mouth.