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Archive for the ‘Running Wilde’ Category

I usually try to do a TV post once a season, just to remind myself of what I watched.  For some reason I didn’t write one in the beginning of the year, so I’m catching up now with season enders and mid-season replacements.  And yes I am pointedly writing this just after finding out that several shows (four of them brand new) that I enjoyed quite a bit were cancelled for good.

So I’ll start with the shows that we watched (or tried to watch) that have been cancelled. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: DAVID CROSS-Bigger and Blackerer (2010).

I’ve liked David Cross for years, both in Mr. Show and everywhere else he’s been (I love comparing his nebbish character in Arrested Development to his obnoxious hippie in Running Wilde). And his standup is just fantastic.

This new(ish) CD (which has the same name but different content as the DVD) is wonderfully obscene and profane and all around hilarious.  What’s particularly fun is the nonsensical “titles” he gives to his bits (although these are more accurate than on his previous disc): “REALLY Silly Religious Crazies, I mean, Double, Triple Crazy!!” and “Random Goofabouts”

The disc opens with a song(!), a swinging song ala Tom Jones which Cross sings (his voice isn’t very good, but he’s never off key, which is something) which actually features some cool time changes and a bit of pathos.  But the jokes are very funny.  He opens with an extended bit about drugs (mostly about drugs he has taken).  It’s a bit long, but the details are hilarious and the payoffs at the end are wonderful.  I also enjoyed that the drug bits are a cautionary tale, yet he never turns preachy, in fact, he inverts expectations throughout.

The race jokes are really great too, especially the MLK license plate bit.  But indeed, Cross really shines when it comes to religion.  I’ve never really heard a riff on Orthodox Jews before, and his dismissal of Catholicism is brutal and short, but it’s the Mormons who get the bulk of his abuse (mostly because of the awesome power they wield), especially since the religion is a sham.

He’s also not afraid to make observations that will offend some (although no one who listens to him) but are spot on.  There’s an excellent bit about Obama haters who bemoan the state of the country but who will immediately fight any “elitist” who bemoans other aspects of the country.  And it very funny, indeed.

Cross has spent some time in England (filming The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret) and his British accent is quite good now (it’s used to excellent effect in heaven).  He also has great rapport with the crowd, who are exuberantly noisy.

This CD is an excellent introduction to Cross’ standup.  The jokes aren’t really timely (although the health care yelling bit will date it somewhat, except that the debate itself will go one for years to come, so maybe it won’t), so even if it’s five years from now, the jokes will still be funny.

Cross is not a delicate comedian and his jokes are not for the faint of heart, but, man, is he funny.

[READ: November 9, 2010] It is Right to Draw Their Fur

Polymath Dave Eggers is back with another fascinating (and fascinatingly bound) title.  This time, the collection contains a series of drawings.  Most of the drawings are of animals and they all feature words on them.  (This sort of thing: Picture + words + humor (from many different artists) is presented in a book that I am currently enjoying called More Things Like This).  Similar items also appeared in McSweeney’s 27 (you can see my Post about that issue here)).

Eggers explains in the introduction that he went to art school.  He was an aspiring painter and then a cartoonist and illustrator.  And in his down time, he spent a lot of time drawing animals.  And they are quite good.  Eggers’ art has an odd quality to it that I can’t quite put my finger on.  All of his pictures seem off in a small way.  It doesn’t make them bad at all, in fact, it actually makes you want to look at them more to see what is off about them.  (I think some people call that “compelling”).

The project comes in a hugely oversized cardboard sleeve (14 inches x 19 inches).  There are 26 large sized posters (they are folded and their unfolded size reaches something like 27″ x 37″).  There’s also a booklet which features even more of these drawings.  The booklet has an appendix with some drawings that are not animals (well, they are humans, so yes, they are animals).  And, the most peculiar part, there’s a bibliography.  The bibliography goes on for four pages and includes all manner of things from Sartre’s Being and Nothingness to Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear to Gara’s The Presidency of Franklin Pierce to The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams to Saint-Saens’ Le carnaval des animaux.

You can see two examples here.  In my opinion these are not the best combination art/words in the book (although the drawings are very good).  There are some other ones where the juxtaposition appealed to me much more.

The package is quite expensive (and justified–it is a lot of stuff and beautifully put together), but I have a hard time believing someone would spend $42 on it.  (I received mine as part of the McSweeney’s book club, so that’s nice.)

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The new Fall TV season is pretty much underway.  It brings back a lot of old favorites, as well as a few new series that we’re going to check out. (more…)

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