Archive for the ‘Funny (ha ha)’ Category


[READ: May 20, 2023] Katie and the Catsitter: Secrets and Sidekicks

I have enjoyed everything I’ve read by Colleen AF Venable.  I really enjoyed the first book in the series and was excited for the second.  But apparently I missed it completely, because when I was reading this, I didn’t really know who all the characters were-or what their past together was.

Despite that, I was still able to fully enjoy this story and am looking forward to reading Book 2 to fill in the gaps.

Once again the artwork is by Stephanie Yue who also drew her Guinea P.I. books and it is a perfect match.

In this story Katie has been fully deputized by The Mousestress although her mother (who works nights) had no idea what she gets up to.

(Beth was the girl that Katie was best friends with until camp tore them apart in Book 1.  It’s nice they’re back together) would love to train with Katie and Mousestress.  But Mousetress wants her to be older (or have her mother’s permission) before she does any training.  Even though she is the same age as Katie–but Katie’s mother says it’s okay (except she doesn’t actually know).  Ironically, Beth’s mother is super hero Stainless Steel (the revelation to Beth’s father is pretty darn funny).

They have a mutual friend Jess (who I didn’t recognize).  She is dating the son of the CEP of Buttersoft Bionics, a company whom the Mousestress believes is up to seriously no good.

Apparently The Eastern Screech (aka Owl Guy) has escaped from jail and that is taking up much TV news time.  A photo on the screen shows that Mr. B (their beloved bodega owner downstairs) has a brother Benito and he looks exactly like Owl Guy (at least according to Katie–no one else can see it). (more…)

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[DID NOT ATTEND: May 5, 2023] David Cross / Sean Patton

My wife and I saw David Cross back in 2016.  He was hilarious.

He’s consistently one of my favorite comedians.  I have enjoyed David Cross since the old days of Mr. Show, and the as Tobias on Arrested Development and even in Alvin and the, well, actually I’m just happy for him that he got a lot of money for it.

It was really puzzling that this show was at Union Transfer (as opposed to a seated venue).  I assume that they put in seats-who wants to stand up for a stand up?

This show was scheduled for the same night as Yves Tumor who I had very much wanted to see.  So David didn’t get my ticket purchase.  But the show sold out so he doesn’t care.

Sean Patton opened.  He’s a comedian I’d never heard of.  He had a special on Peacock, with a theme about people being broken.  People are like glow sticks–you gotta break them before they can shine.  He sounds dark but optimistic.

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[READ: December 20, 2022] Skelton’s Guide to Suitcase Murders

I admit that I thought this book was called Skeleton’s Guide… which I thought as very funny.

But it turns out that Skelton is a barrister (and this is the second book in the Skelton series).  David Stafford is a British writer who has written largely for TV and theatre until he started writing novels.  He has written plays with Alexei Sayle (for fans of The Young Ones).

This mystery is set in 1929.  That setting allows Stafford to avoid any kind of contemporary details that might help speed the case along.  But it’s written in such a way that you’re not frustrated by it–you can simply get into the nearly 100 year old technology (and lack thereof).

In November 1929, a woman’s corpse is discovered in a suitcase.  She is identified and her husband, Doctor Ibrahim Aziz becomes the prime suspect.  They find some evidence and there is a rumor that she was cheating on him.  So clearly he is guilty.  Especially since he’s not from England–he’s Egyptian.

Arthur Skelton is a barrister.  He’s not 100% successful, but he gives his all in hopeless cases.  So he is called in to represent Aziz.

Skelton is concerned for diplomatic matters if Aziz is executed here.  He is related to a wealthy and well-connected family back in Egypt.

The story, despite dealing with a gruesome murder, has some funny moments.  Skelton’s clerk Edgar is trying to lose weight and is quite miserable. (more…)

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[READ: December 2022] The Other Ones

The premise of this book sounded really interesting and potentially very funny. A story about the people who did NOT participate when the office pool won the lottery.

It sounds funny but as you think of it, you realize just how sad of a story it’s going to be.

The other ones are Yoder, Lawson, Chastain, Craver, Roberson, Russell and Gibbons.  On the first page, these names are listed like a cast of characters–each in a different font that I suppose characterizes each person.

Each subsequent chapter is about that person (in third person).

The book opens with Yoder jumping off of the roof of their building.  He can’t believe al of those horrible people–the people he has zero respect for–could have won millions of dollars. But when his next chapter comes up, we discover  that Yoder is a ghost and he is kind of the overarching narrator of the story because he comments on all of the winners (in his highly disgusted manner): Mowery (Toby Keith shirt, MAGA hat), Cowens (who goes on a Kiss Kruise), Pappas (expensive virtual reality system), Czuba, Fitzgerald and Garner (Garner is the worst because not only doesn’t he splurge, he intends to keep going to work).

Yoder wakes first in that asshole Cowen’s house.  The next day he wakes up in Pappas’ house and tries to plunge a knife into his own heart–it does nothing.  Then it’s that asshole Mowery.  When he wakes up in Mancus’ house he hears the guy playing a terrible song “chew tobacco chew tobacco chew tobacco Spit!” (I had no idea it was a real song).

Next is Lawson.  Lawson has no idea that they won when he pulls into the parking lot.  he decides to go to a writing workshop–to pursue a life he’s actually interested in.

Chastain (her last name) isn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.  She owes almost $30,000 in student loans.  (more…)

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[READ: January 20, 2023] Doctors & Nurses 

When I requested Sweet Desserts, I also requested Doctors & Nurses. I didn’t know the order of her books, I just picked the two that were the first ones on the list.

Doctors & Nurses is similar to Sweet Desserts in that it is short (although it is actually 50 pages longer) and has short chapters.  But otherwise it is very different.  Desserts was a fairly serious book about two sisters (and a lot of sex).  This book is a farcial romp (with a lot of sex).

Comments online said the cover looked like a chick lit book, but it looks to me more like a cartoon from Playboy from the 1970s.

And it kind of reads like that too.

While Sweet Desserts bounced back and forth between past and present and the focus shifted between the main character and her sister, this story focuses pretty squarely on Jen, a fat nurse who is misanthropic and really seems to hate everyone.

There is one notable and peculiar thing about this book that is never addressed nor explained.  Every pages has SEVERAL words that are written in all capital LETTERS for, and I’m not trying to be obtuse about this, no reason that I can READILY determine.  I admit that I didn’t put a lot of TIME into trying to figure it out, BUT it is very peculiar.

The book opens with a scene of a rock and a gorge and the rock perpetually invading the gorge’s precious space.  It’s remarkably graphic sexually, as far as a rock and a gorge can have sex that is.

But that has nothing to do with the rest of the story (until the every end) which is about a nurse named Jen.  Jen is angry most of the time (the list of thing she hates is extensive).  And the tone is set pretty early. (more…)

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[READ: June 25, 2022] The End of the World is Flat

I received this book at work and was instantly intrigued by the title and the blurb that described “A comedy featuring Christopher Columbus, a tech billionaire and a local delusion.”

The book opens with Christopher Columbus waiting to be given the go ahead to sail around the globe.  His flat earth sailors all believe that they will fall off the edge of the earth, but Columbus is convinced otherwise.

Then the story jumps to the present. Mel is the head of the charitable company called Orange Peel.  Mel single handedly created and developed orange peel with a singular goal in mind: to get anyone involved with maps (from teachers to Google) to stop using the Mercator map which is inherently flawed both in design and in the way it makes South America look less significant.  Rather, they should use the orange peel map projection (it looks like four small ovals attached to each other).

If you don’t know what any of this refers to, its worth looking into the history of maps to see just how wrong our standard (Mercator) understanding of the globe is.

When Google agreed to change their usage of the Mercator to the Orange Peel she feel that her job was done.  Mel had created a small but influential company and yet they had completed their goal–there was nothing more for them to do.  She intended to quietly close up shop and give everyone an excellent reference.

But the board that Mel had hired to look after things for her had other ideas.  They didn’t want to end things there, so they asked her assistant Shane to meet with a billionaire who had an idea for the next stage of the company.

While Mel was talking to Google, Shane was talking to tech billionaire Joey Talavera who is married to Crystal Vardashian.  The last name there is a non too subtle jab at someone (although Crystal turns out to have a level head and some good ideas.  But I’m not sure if Talavera is supposed to be someone or other.

Anyhow, Talavera talks to Shane, shows off his amazing house (one of his houses) and then says he wants to dump a lot of money at Orange Peel to promote his own cause.

Back in the boardroom when Mel saw the proposal (just before she walked out) she thought it was a joke,  But the board saw money in it and so, they agreed to take on Joey’s idea.  Which is that they world is flat and everyone knows it–but higher up people are working to keep it under wraps. (more…)

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[READ: May 2022] Inked

I loved this book of cartoons from Joe Dator.  I can’t say that I recognize his style especially, but his cartoons did look very New Yorker to me.

Indeed, this book features dozens of comics.  It’s not always obvious which ones were accepted and which were rejected (although he does mention some that were rejected specifically).

He talks bout the state of mind of the New Yorker artists: On a very good week, they will buy one of your cartoons for publication.  Most weeks they will not buy one.  It’s a little bit like having a job at which every week you get fired then you have to go in next week to re-apply and hope you get hired back.

He has a few sections called Betwixt the Punchlines in which he explains the motivation behind a particular piece  (He says the one where the coffee maker says she’ll come back, she always comes back (while he’s using a French press) is from his own habit of buying gadgets but always returning to old faithful.

I rather enjoyed the picture of the army man with medals on his chest who say “Anytime I’ve even been asked ‘What do you want. a medal?’ I’ve said yes.”

He also talks bout his drawings of God.

God is about 7’1″ You might think that seems kind of small for the Supreme Being, but its just big enough to make the average mortal say “Wow, that’s a big guy.”  God knows people are easily impressed. (more…)

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[DID NOT ATTEND: November 25, 2022] Guster / Alex Edelman

When we saw Guster at the Wellmont, they announced that they would be playing Carnegie Hall. Carnegie Hall!

We went on vacation and I grabbed tickets from a museum on vacation.

And then late November rolled around and we realized that it was the Friday after Thanksgiving.  BLACK FRIDAY.  There was no way in hell we were going to New York City on Black Friday.  I’m going to posit that this is something only someone from New Jersey would say.

So, we did not see Guster at Carnegie Hall.

Alex Edelman is a comedian.  I just watched a clip of one of his bits on Stephen Colbert and it was hilarious.  Must check him out more.  And, frankly, I think a comedian is a good opening act for certain bands.

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[ATTENDED: October 28, 2022] “Weird Al” Yankovic

This was my ninth time seeing Weird Al.  I’m shooting for ten.  We’ll see if he can muster up one more tour (why did I skip the Strings Attached tour)?

I was pretty thrilled by the first Ill-Advised Vanity Tour.  It was great seeing so many songs that rarely got played (amusingly, I had seen some of those songs on their original tours back in the early 2000s, which is pretty crazy.

I was hoping that this tour would be a whole new set of obscure old songs.  I thought that for this reprise–The Unfortunate Return of the Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour–he might pull out “Buckingham Blues” for the Queen’s death or something really odd like “Slime Creatures from Outer Space” or holy cow, “Genius in France” would have blown my mind.

I see that he actually played a largely different set in NYC (which I considered going to, but decided against).   Including “I’ll Sue Ya” (not a favorite, but I haven’t heard it before) and “Velvet Elvis (talk about an obscurity!).  But he also did the two songs that I would LOVE to hear live….and it might have been worth the hassle of Carnegie Hall just to hear “Nature Trail to Hell” and “Albuquerque.”

Having laid out that complaint, we did get four songs I hadn’t heard live before including a wonderful “Don’t Download This Song” and the sheer surprise of “Buy Me a Condo.”  And this new, improved, extended version of “Craigslist” was outstanding.

I will never complain about hearing “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota”–and the crowd was really into it.

Of course, any “Weird Al” show is a good time.  Al gave amusing introductions to all of the songs and even did an amusing “encore” bt where he stood at the side of the stage checking his phone and then arguing with the band about whether they were going to do an encore or not.

The encore was worth the price of admission.  He did a (straight and fantastic) cover of Elton John’s “Saturday’s Alright for Fighting.”  And the closing medley of songs in very different styles was outstanding.  I especially enjoyed that someone in the audience was able to do the Yoda chant dance. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 28, 2022] Emo Philips

I saw Emo Philips open for Al four years ago.  I rather enjoyed his set.  As I said:

Emo’s comedy is really dark but–delivered in his bizarre manner that goes somehow beyond deadpan–it makes his jokes really hilarious

I wasn’t sure if I needed to see his set again–I wasn’t sure how different it would be.  And so, coupled with a Phillies game, it being a Friday night and it taking place in the center of Philadelphia, I rather assumed I’d be late and miss some or all of his set.

I arrived at the show at a little after 8 and by the time I got to my seat I guess I missed about half of his set.


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