I love great sketch comedy, and as demonstrated on this site, I have tremendous nostalgia for the video industry of the 1980’s 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 fantastic 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.
In the second issue of Bands I Useta Like, I drew a retrospective entitled “Thrills”, wherein I delineated the major moments of excitement from a lifetime of moviegoing. Thrills come in varying qualities and intensities, from “cheap” to “absolute”. A milder one, that is no less desirable, is the “pleasant surprise“.
One of the first pleasant surprises I took notice of was during the documentary Citizen Shane, from 2004. It tells the true story of Shane Ballard, a rotund, porn-loving oddball who ran for sheriff of his hometown of Lowndes County, Mississippi at 22. Ballard was a talented audiophile whose mother was murdered under mysterious circumstances when he was a baby. Not long after the documentary’s release, Shane Ballard and director Ron Tibbett would also be deceased, under mysterious circumstances. Subcin, the site where I saw the film, is not currently active. Continue reading →
Roughly every day, I search YouTube for a decent copy of what I consider The Funniest Song I’ve Ever Heard. I like to hear it often, but this is difficult, as the title of the song is “sensitive” these days, and it’s hard to pin down as a result. However, I believe it’s worth the effort.
When I listen to the song I invariably get the urge to share it with everyone. Alas, this is a touchy subject, as the title requires explaining. On the surface, the song is a man lampooning his friend as an insatiably homosexual fiend, presumably to gall him. Beneath this is a story of empowerment and acceptance. Continue reading →
Almost every single aspect of my personality can be explained by one simple fact: when I was a kid I ate a bouillon cube.
I was too young to know better. I had witnessed the flavor sorcery that resulted when my parents would cook with a bouillon cube. Surely, I reasoned, if it made dinner taste that good, then a whole cube of it would be a trip to flavor heaven. I even imagined it might expand into a steak or a burger, like in The Jetsons. So one evening I sneaked into the kitchen, unwrapped a beef cube, popped it in my mouth, and chewed it up. Continue reading →