Kevin Avery and Thugs, The Musical

Thugs, The Musical is about a mediocre, slightly delusional, and very “non-urban” black actor in Hollywood who, after years of auditioning but not being considered “black enough” to be cast in any of the roles that his fellow black actors have been getting – the Gangsta, the fast-talking Sidekick, the one doomed Black Guy at the party in the horror movie – decides to write, direct, and star in his own theater production – an epically bad play called Thugs, The Musical – to show Hollywood (and the world) that he, too, can “act black.”

Saw this video on Laughspin. Kevin Avery wrote and stars in “Thugs, The Musical,” a mockumentary short film. The film was financed through Kickstarter and premiers in New York on May 2nd, as part of the New York No Limits Film Series at The Wild Project. With musical numbers like “Who’s That Keepin’ It Real?”, “Drive-By” and “Oh No She Di-in’t,” “Thugs” is bound to be hilarious.

Here’s some of Kevin Avery’s stand-up (the first clip reminds me of Key and Peele):

Rihanna Samples Johnny Cash?

I’m not clearly not the first (or only) person to notice this.  Click on the image above to read The Twist’s take on Where Have You Been.

Rihanna’s new single Where Have You Been has hit the airwaves. It sounds like she has gotten inspiration from Johnny Cash:

Go to 0:30 for to hear the similar line/melody:

 

Reminds me of Lady Gaga and Ace of Base:

 

PBS Arts: Off Book

PBS Arts has a video series called “Off Book” studying art in today’s world. They even have a tumblr!

Off Book trains a lens on the lives of various artists working in interactive art, online collective art, fashion design, typography, indie music, videogame art, and more.  In three-to-five-minute video snapshots of creators who ride the cutting edge, viewers can explore the process, motivation, meaning, and relevance behind their work.

I think everyone loves the Mad Men opening credits. I like the visual aspect of the Breaking Bad opening credits, but the music is annoying to me. On the other hand, I love the music in the The Office and the 30Rock credits.  In The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I did not understand the significance of the opening credits (comment on youtube said they were supposed to represent Lisbeth’s nightmares), they were just weird to me and in a different style than the film, but I liked the music.

After seeing Exit Through the Gift Shop, I learned that a) that I am not the type of person willing to break laws or scale buildings for art and b) you can make a lot of money if you are.

My favorite GIF tumblr is #whatshouldwecallme. I die laughing at the titles they make up.

Trust Us, This is All Made Up

 

Splitsider has an article on a long-form improv documentary called “Trust Us, This is All Made Up.” Watch the trailer above!

Most of the film features a performance by the duo at the Barrow St. Theatre.  The rest follows Jagodowski and Pasquesi as they look for inspiration and, after the show, as they dissect the choices they made.

TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi are improv partners and Second City alumni. The director, Alex Karpovsky, is currently appearing as recurring character “Ray” on HBO’s “Girls.” The film was an official selection at the 2009 SXSW Festival.

Advice from Jagodowski on improv beginners:

The Daily Show Writers

 

Splitsider had a quick write-up on The Paley Center’s 2008 interviews with writers of the The Daily Show.

The advice they give in the video above is true for any dream profession: you have to go out and do things to help you get ahead, because if you don’t, other, more motivated people will and they will will leave you behind in the dust! (Ira Glass gives similar advice)

 

News junkies + Comedians + Witty writers = Daily Show Writers

 

Even though Jon Stewart is the front man, it is a team effort.

 

I love hearing about behind the scenes stuff and auditions and finding out who knows who (John Oliver knows Ricky Gervais).  Probably why I also love WTF with Marc Maron.

 

 

Prairie Home Companion

Garrison Keillor is an author, radio personality, and humorist.  He hosts A Prairie Home Companion, a live weekly (sometimes touring) radio variety show that you can catch Sundays on NPR or you can download the podcast on itunes. Keillor has a lovely voice for radio. I have read two of his books, Homegrown Democrat and Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon, both were good, and he occasionally writes columns for the Chicago Tribune.

A Prairie Home Companion consists of music, usually gospelly/folksy, jokes and fake commercials, and a couple of regular features.

Here is a funny song/bit about cellphone addiction. The clips starts with the song and then plays the rest of this week’s episode.

The most popular feature is about Lake Wobegon, a fictional town in Minnesota, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” The stories about the town are often humorous, some of the humor coming from a Midwestern spin on common situations. They are laugh out loud funny, but the pacing is that of a story rather than stand-up.

 

Another feature is Guy Noir: Private Eye, which parodies film noir and early radio dramas.  Guy Noir’s cases are unusual and the sound effects (produced live by Fred Newman) play a big role.

 

The movie A Prairie Home Companion (with Kevin Klein, Linsday Lohan, and Meryl Streep!) is funny, whimsical, and a bit odd. The movie (surprise surprise) is about a live radio variety show (of the same name) that is about to close and the characters that Keillor uses in the real-life show are real people in the film’s radio show (if that makes sense).

 

For road trips, I recommend downloading a bunch of episodes because they are long and there is a nice variety of musical guests.  Super family friendly!

Off the List 12

Amateur music hour! And I mean that in a “these are non-professionals who are amazing” kind of way.

This kid is so good!

Ok, so GQ is actually semi-professional.  They competed at the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweepstakes and in Singstrong’s ACA-Idol competition.

Even though this makes me laugh, I still think it is good.  New Zealand accents are just hilarious to me.

Penn and Teller

 

Hollywood Reporter Article:

Teller of Penn & Teller is suing a Dutch entertainer for stealing his copyrighted magic trick called Shadows. The Dutch entertainer, posted a video of a trick called The Rose & Her Shadow on youtube and offered to reveal the secret for money. Youtube has removed the video and Teller filed a lawsuit in Nevada on Monday.

Legally, it’s an interesting (to me) copyright issue. The Hollywood Reporter suggests that it comes down to the details of the illusion, not just the idea itself. Lots of people can saw ladies in half (see Penn & Teller do this below), but if they use the same set-up, props, etc. than it might constitute copyright infringement.

Here is a diagram from Teller’s copyright registration:

After watching the video, I think it is probably more dramatic in person. No idea how it works. Teller recently wrote an article on “how magicians manipulate the human mind.” Secret Number 7: If you are given a choice, you believe you have acted freely. Now I see why card tricks are so impressive!

Morer Penn & Teller videos:

Penn Jillette is pretty funny (if not a little earnest) and he seems like a nice guy.  I have seen a few episodes of this season of Celebrity Apprentice and he is definitely smarter than most of the other contestants (Celebrity Apprentice is a miserable show; Donald Trump is insanely annoying and the challenges are lame). Also, Penn was on WTF with Marc Maron; he is such a chatty person that Marc could hardly get a word in edgewise 🙂

Downton Sixbey

 

I just started watching Downton Abbey and this is amazing! The opening credits and the set are soooo accurate!

I love Brooke Shields as Lady Cora! Higgins makes a very good Bates 🙂

Check out Jimmy Fallon’s other parodies: