Broad City

What We're Loving Year-End Spectacular (Part One)

We've loved many things this year - books, movies, tv shows, websites, people - but these things we loved  the A-Number One Best.   

fe66b2db92fc4b458530464df6bbf9fbWomen on TV fall mostly into three categories:

- terrible stereotypes of dumb girls and bad jokes (every show on CBS) - super-hot girls getting murdered (every show on the CW or ABC Family) - better-but-still-somehow-a-stereotype smart women doing intense things who have no time for love (every show on NBC).

This is a huge bummer for the majority of women who are sometimes cool, sometimes self-conscious, sometimes funny, sometimes angry, sometimes hot, sometimes gross, but always women.

Thank you, Broad City.

Ilana Glazer and Abby Jacobsen have nailed stories about being a woman, and more specifically, being a millennial woman. They’re just trying to get their lives together—bad jobs, weird love, gate-crashed parties, god-awful roommates, and sweet sweet Bed Bath & Beyond discounts.

It’s so refreshing to see a true-to-life friendship on TV where two women go through some serious weirdness together, but always have each other’s backs. They’re gonna get into the weeds with buying drugs for the first time, ending up with two guys who desperately want a four-way, or getting way too drunk at your birthday dinner. They’re gonna be ugly sometimes, be mean, and do gross things to and for one another. They’re gonna fight. They’re gonna yell. It’s not always pretty, it is always funny.

Even as ugly as it can get sometimes (because that’s real life), for the love of Carol Burnett, they’re real women telling real stories. We need that. - Noa Gavin

8 Out Of 10 Cats Does CountdownI love word games. I love game shows. Wheel of Fortune is one of my favorite shows of all time. If there's game in the title, I probably like it. I like trivia. I also like comedy. Along this theme, what I loved in 2014 is 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. It's a mash-up of two things I love: word games, and British accents.

Let me explain. Countdown is a British game show that is a combination of word games, and math games.  It's a panel show where comedians make jokes about current events. kind of like Best Week Ever, but it also shows these same comedians doing poorly at math! What more could you ask for? Plus, tt's been around since 1982! That's a long time!

8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown is hosted by comedian Jimmy Carr, with a rotating cast of comedians including Jon Richardson, Sean Lock, Joe Wilkinson, Rhod Gilbert, and David O'Doherty, all vying for the prize of a countdown teapot.

If you're like me and like to jumble letters in your head to think of other words, and also like to laugh, then give 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown a try, and tell 'em Jua sent ya. – Jua Holt

Interstellar1-210x300Sometimes when you admit to something you love, you have to be willing to look stupid. I feel foolish admitting this, but my favorite thing from 2014 is one line out of a movie, Interstellar. You know, the one where it’s the future, Earth is dying, and Matthew McConaghey has to find humanity a new home.

John Lithgow is his father in law. He remembers life before Earth was a dried up dust bowl, and in one moment he pretty much blew my mind. He is talking about the way things use to be: how there was a new invention just about every day, how every day was like Christmas, and how there were 7 billion people on the planet, every one of them trying to have it all.

His wistful look at the past (our present) made me think. Why are we all trying to have it all? We can’t possibly, but at least in our minds (or maybe just my mind) we want to. We think we can. And we get upset when we can’t. And we (I) throw fits when things do not go our way. But hey, there are 7 BILLION OTHER PEOPLE also trying to get their own way, and we just aren’t all gonna get it. And in the movie, there is a stark contrast- humans go from trying to have it all to struggling to survive.

I have thought about this a lot. More than the black holes, relativity, or other sciencey stuff. Don’t get me wrong, the special effects in Interstellar were cool, but Mr. Lithgow’s delivery in this scene made an impact on me. It sure beats hearing Michael Caine recite "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night" ONE MORE TIME. - Molly Jakkamsetti

Jack-Links-Sriracha-Beef-JerkyWell, they did it. Show’s over, go home. Competition quelled. In 2014, Jack Links, purveyor of fine, dried beef snacks, offering classic variations of their “jerky” such as: cracked black pepper flavor and (my old favorite) carne asada with real jalapeno, ventured out onto the proverbial limb and landed on what will be remembered as their ultimate jerky incarnation: Sriracha Beef Jerky. Let’s get one thing straight - I’m not one of those jerk-off, try-hards that loves to tout their love of Sriracha sauce as some kind of hipster/foodie virtue. I just have an unnatural affinity for beef jerky, and I love spicy stuff.

This is the best gas station snack available. It’s spicy without being too spicy. It’s chewy and beefy. It’s a primal, visceral, delicious experience. You finish a bag knowing you’d give your next breath for there to be another spicy, meaty shard lingering at the bottom of the pouch. You think about your life. You think about the news. You realize you forgot about the crushing weight of existence for a few minutes as you inhaled this fantastic foodstuff.

I scoff at doofuses who walk right by this ridiculously delicious snack option in favor of literally anything else. Just last summer, I witnessed a young man pilfer a pack of Cigarillos with Jack Link’s Sriracha Beef Jerky plainly in sight, risking incarceration for a cheap, Georgia O'Keefe vagina desert flower reprint when an original Frida Kahlo is within view. Who can say what became of that young man? Hopefully he went on to make better choices. I guess I just don’t get it. I don’t get why other people don’t eat this at every chance possible, because I do. I love it. The end. Of this article. – Tim Brewer

811This year, I loved something that you can’t really measure in critical acclaim. I guess if there was something for it, “feels” would be a just description. 2014 was 12 months of real relationships with real people: new and old friends, a continued spark of love for my wife and learning to take more time for myself and the things that interest me. So as I look back at the things I loved the most, each is surrounded by these little pockets of happiness that involved the people in my life. Inside jokes, learning people’s pasts, their futures, and ultimately giving up a piece of myself in return along the way.

What I’m trying to get at is this: among the quiet hum of the things we ingest on a daily, yearly, life-long basis, take a second to push aside the veil of pride that accompanies your likes and dislikes, and think about the people who shaped, affected or made your 2014 an all around better experience. I know I will.

Oh, and Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) was probably the greatest cinematic experience of the past decade from writing, acting, directing, score, execution -- everything. Man, those drums accompanying the movement of that film just had this kinetic burst, didn't it? High praise for that film.

But also, people. People are what matter. – Andrew Plock

anna-kendrick-pitch-perfect-650-430I’m crazy. I don’t just love things. I obsessively love things. And the person I love the most that isn’t a family member or friend is Anna Kendrick. If you’ve had a conversation with me, seen my iPhone case, or follow me on Instagram, more than likely you picked up on my love. Why do I love her so much? She’s funny, beautiful, intelligent, talented, driven, humble - I could go on. She’s basically everything I want to be. And I truly feel that if we were ever to meet, we would become best friends. Her tweets make me laugh. Her face makes me smile. Hearing her talk brings pure joy to my heart.

Anna’s birthday is August 9th. My birthday is July 9th. I KNOW. Our birthdays are a month apart. How destined to be best friends are we?! My birthday this year was very special. I had a show a few days after my birthday. After the show, I was talking to Sean, my best friend. Sean steered me towards the lobby of DCH and waiting for me was a cardboard cutout of Anna Kendrick. I was surprised, happy, and touched. I couldn’t believe that Anna (I know it’s not the real Anna) was in front of me. She was all mine. Sean orchestrated the surprise with our friends. So thanks Sean, Amanda, Ashley, Britney, Carolyn, Clarence, Clifton, Dana, Jonda, Jua, Mike, Milo, Nick, Rob, Sarah, and Weikei for giving me the thing I love most this year – Anna. I don’t deserve to have such sweet, caring, understanding, wonderful friends.

Are you interested in joining the Anna Kendrick fan club? I suggest you watch Pitch Perfect, 50/50, and Up in the Air. After you watch those, you can join me in watching her upcoming films, Pitch Perfect 2, The Last Five Years, Cake, and Into the Woods (out December 25th)! – Monica Pantharath

ArianaGrandeLast week I cried to Ariana Grande. It was very unexpected and a little scary because it was such a visceral reaction that I wasn’t ready for. See, I spend most of my time thinking about pop music and recently I’ve been wondering about the difference between a pop song and a POP SONG. A pop song is usually boring and released in May, just in time to capitalize on the breezy summer months. Its cultural importance is fleeting and the song is uncomplicated. There are many of these. A POP SONG changes lives. A POP SONG is important. This song serves all of your feelings on a neatly decorated dessert platter and leaves you to clean up the mess. It’s the difference between Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” and Britney’s “Toxic.” There are always tears during this song.

This year all of my emotions were served to me by Ariana Grande. Before I heard “Love Me Harder,” I had no real opinion on her. She was a singer who existed; a ponytail with vocals. Ariana caught me off guard. I was sitting in my car eating when Ariana’s now trademark vocals flowed through my speakers over a synth pop beat. She was pleading for the love of her life to “love her harder” if he wanted to keep her. Listening to that, coupled with the fact that I was eating an ugly sandwich alone, had me tearing up by the 45 second mark. By the end of the song, I bought her album. What surprised me was how much of a personal connection I made with the song. She, like all of us, deserve the best kind of love. With “Love Me Harder,” Ariana put me completely into my feelings and solidified herself as a pop star. I just hope the next time she does this to me I’m more prepared. – Jerrell Curry

DCF14: Christian Hughes

1704428Christian Hughes has been killing it all over Texas for the past few years. He's opened for people like Tone Bell and Jay Chandrasekhar. At the Festival he'll open for Rory Scovel, and have another show on Wednesday. Christian took the time recently to answer some questions about motivation, peanut brittle, and the dangers of peanut brittle.  What drove you to create comedy?

I guess the ability to make someone laugh has always been something I've respected more than any other trait. As a kid, I didn't look up to pop culture icons or sports figures or anyone like that. I looked up to comedians. Not everyone cares about good looks or how good you can throw a ball, but everyone likes to laugh. That universal enjoyment was really appealing to me and I really wanted to be one of the guys in on that action.

Who were your influences growing up, and who influences you now? Whose work excites you?

My parents were pretty cool about letting me watch comedy as a kid. I loved the mid 90's casts of SNL growing up, and I was one of the few kids in my grade whose parents let them stay up late and watch it. I didn't always get the jokes but I got a lot of insight on comedic timing and stuff like that. I'd always watch the show and then act it out the sketches in front of my friends at recess.

As far as comedians that I'm really into right now: Pretty much anyone who has been on Pete Holmes' podcast, You Made It Weird. There's a huge group of comics who I follow and pay attention to and most of them have been on that podcast at some point. I'm really excited to open for Rory Scovel at DCF too, he's easily one of the best guys out there right now and it's awesome to be on the same show as him. I'm also really digging the gal's from Broad City. That show has really been a breath of fresh air.

Do you have a motto? If not, for the purposes of this question can you make one up?

Right now my motto comes from a note I wrote to myself while half asleep a couple weeks ago that said " 25 year old Christian thinks 24 year old Christian is full of shit." It's kind of a succinct way of saying that you can always do better than last year. Either that, or my sub-conscious really hated me last year. Could be both, who knows.

What do you want an audience to feel when your show ends?

I'd like the audience to feel like I do after eating a nice peanut brittle. There's a happy feeling of the experience itself, then you have just a little bit left stuck to your teeth that reminds you about how great it was the rest of the day. If someone in the audience has a nut allergy, take a hike.

What's the best comedy lesson you learned?

The best comedy lesson I learned has probably been patience. There's been several times that I've been frustrated about material or whatever and it's always good to step back and realize that it's not a race. Everything comes in time if you keep working at it. Also, don't bring peanut brittle on stage due to the possibility of someone's nut allergy(Sorry, Chris.)

What makes the Dallas Comedy Festival Great?

DCF is amazing because it's a great slice of local comedy for D/FW. You won't find a better showcase of local talent anywhere else in the area. The people that are on the festival are really, really talented and I'm really excited to be a part of it.

Who would play you in a movie about your best friend? Who would play your best friend? Finally, what is the name of this movie.

I'd like to see Alan Rickman play me in a movie about my best friend. My best friend would be played by Daniel Day Lewis, just so we could rack up during awards season. Working title for this film would be "Dances with Wolves 2: Lost in New York".

Christian Hughes opens for Rory Scovel on Tuesday, March 18th. You can see him again on Wednesday, March 19th at 7PM.

What We're Loving: Single Use Acronyms, Suicide Prevention, An Abundance of Body Oil

dch_what we're loving_02_28_2014Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week Ashley Bright cries alone, David Allison shapes pop culture, and Ryan Callahan will never sleep again.

 

This_american_lifeThis week I listened to the latest episode of This American Life. It's been awhile since I've listened, but I've been a fan of the show for many years. This week, while I sat at my desk alone, I listened and I laughed out loud and teared up. Alone at my desk. Typical This American Life listening for me. This latest episode is #518: "Except For That One Thing. "If you're not familiar with TAL (This American Life for the purpose of this this article only; if you approach me and say TAL outloud, it is unlikely I'll know what you're talking about), each episode has a common theme and each act fits into that theme. This episode features stories about things that are perfect Except For That One Thing. Act One is a radio drama based on a short story featured in B.J. Novak's book, One More Thing. It's about a perfect first date except that the fella is an African warlord. It's funny. Act Two is about how we could all be eating hippo meat instead of cows, if only the Internet was around a hundred years earlier. It's also funny, but this one's educational. Tig Notaro is featured in Act Three, so of course it's funny. And Act Four is when I cried. It's a really good episode. If you download the TAL app on your mobile device, you're able to save your favorite episodes, such as:  Episode 172: "24 Hours at the Golden Apple." That's a good one. Each act of this episode is divided into time segments at a diner off Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. The people are diverse and the interviews are incredibly interesting and entertaining.  For those of you going to Chicago for the Improv Festival, listen to this episode. Listen to it on your way there. And then go to the Golden Apple. And then take a picture, post it, and tag me in it. Please and thank you. - Ashley Bright

gethard120402_560Quick follow up before I get to this week’s recommendation.  A few posts ago, I discussed one of my favorite new shows, Broad City. Due exclusively, I think, to that post, Broad City got renewed for a second season.  Let’s keep changing the world!

Anyone that follows pop culture has a couple of favorites.  Maybe it’s a celebrity that shares a similar set of morals.  Or it might be someone that makes great decisions on what projects to take. Or maybe this person comes across as cool in interviews.  Why we like certain famous people varies greatly, but we’ve all got a few who regardless of what project they take on, we’re going to follow. One of mine is Chris Gethard.

Chris Gethard is predominantly known for his New York Cable Access television program, though you might also know him from his book or improvisational career.  He performed The Chris Gethard Show at UCBNY until 2011, when he was introduced to the free world of Cable Access.  As long as the necessary paperwork is filled out, anyone can make a television show about anything, which is probably why his show is about everything.  The Chris Gethard Show doesn’t really seem to have a discernible structure or consistent format, except that he usually takes calls and is happy to showcase anyone’s talents.  The latter is what makes the show special to me.  It’s an hour of television that makes you feel like you can do anything, because everyone on screen is getting support for the dumbest thing or part of them that they don’t normally allow others to see.  This mindset extends well beyond the show because of Gethard’s interaction with viewers; the dude has literally saved people’s lives.  His post in response to anonymous fan on the verge of suicide is an inspiring piece that I try to look at a few times per year.  The Chris Gethard Show was recently given a pilot order, so they’re not currently doing a weekly episode, but here’s an archive of every episode they’ve ever done.  As I said earlier, everyone has a famous person they like, so search through the list and find one where Gethard interviews someone you know and appreciate, like Amy Poehler or Bobby Moynihan.  Soon enough, you’ll be addicted to the show and bemoaning the fact that there are only three Sandwich Nights. - David Allison

ric-flair-49ers-panthers-orderIt would be a lie to say that I'm loving anything else this week other than the WWE Network. Since its launch on Monday, the Network has consumed me. There are many stripes in the rainbow of pop culture which I cherish, (books, comedy, movies, Criterion Collection Blu-Rays,) but nothing ranks as high as professional wrestling. Now, before I continue, allow me to answer the question that you have in your head. Yes, I know pro wrestling is fake. Just like I know that Robert Downey, Jr. isn't really Iron Man. Just like I know that Westeros is not a real kingdom. Now that I've defensively answered your fictional, judgmental question, let’s move on. I have been a fan of wrestling for as long as I can remember. There's wasn't a first show that reeled me in, nor a single match that turned got me hooked. As far as I can tell, it was always there and I loved it. And I loved everything about it, not just the morality tale of good versus evil, where good will always triumph in the end, not just the fake sport aspect which allows for stories impossible in the real world, but everything about the show: the interviews, the characters, the entrances, the shows within the show. Only in the world of wrestling can a thing like Piper's Pit exist. Only in the world of pro wrestling can a person like Ric Flair exist. That alone is enough to justify the existence of pro wrestling. My life now has two distinct eras: The Before Network Era (B.N.) when life was gray and flat, each day filled with the dull ache of sameness, and The After Network Era, (A.N.) where life is vibrant and lush, each day ripe with joy and endless possibilities. I could watch pro wrestling 24 hours a day. Now I can. It's a godsend. The god in this case being Ric Flair. Woooo! - Ryan Callahan

What We're Loving: Dreams Coming True, One-Armed Push-ups, 9/11 Truthers, Existensial Noir

dch_what we're loving_02_07_2014Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison is tired of your apathy, Sarah Wyatt reminds us there is still good in the world, Nick Scott has some questions about press conference stage craft, and Ryan Callahan unintentionally reveals his psyche.  

Broad CityOver the past few weeks, I've asked a number of people about the show Broad City and I’m starting to feel like I’m the only one watching it. I want that to change. Immediately. Broad City is a brand new Comedy Central show that follows the lives of Abbi and Ilana as they attempt to survive in New York City. Each episode is heavy on the banter between the two, which is always entertaining because of their fantastic chemistry. Plus, there’s usually a cameo featuring Hannibal Buress and his pitch perfect deadpan. What else do you need? Besides the show being really good, the reason I wanted to write about it this week is that these are the shows you need to be watching and supporting! Broad City was created by two improvisers from UCBNY Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. They performed live together for a number of years and in 2009, created a web series that you can and should checkout. The online videos garnered a lot of attention and soon enough, they signed a deal to bring a show to TV. Basically, the path they took is the one that comedians are “supposed to” take if they want to make it. These are the sort of shows that, when successful, give aspiring performers hope that they can carve out a living doing comedy if they want. So watch this show because: a) It’s really funny, b) It’s your responsibility to, at the very least, give it a chance, and c) I want to be able to talk about it with you. - David Allison

pic1This week I'm loving Amanda Hahn. This woman is the most beautiful, amazing creature on the planet. This is not an exaggeration. Amanda is an improviser at Dallas Comedy House. She goes so hard in scenes, it's intense. I once watched her do one armed push ups for at least thirty seconds as a character in practice. She's strong. I am constantly in awe of her. This fine female is kind, cunning, and cute as hell, y'all. She's also super smart. When she's not improvising, Amanda is a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Dallas for Cognition and Neuroscience. If that doesn't intimidate you, I don't know what will. She can scan your brain! Your brain! On a computer! This one's got aspirations outside of science though. Her dream job is writing for The Daily Show or the Colbert Report or The Onion. She's not picky. Amanda is also just like the best human being you'll ever meet. She's always so supportive and happy, but not in annoying way, it's genuine, you guys. This week, for no reason, she photoshopped a picture of me hanging out with President Obama. Who does amazing things like that out of the blue?? Amanda goddamn Hahn, that's who. When I asked her if she minded me writing about her this week, she sent me a text probably longer than this post detailing interesting facts about her. She's thorough. One of them was that she loves talking to strangers so if you see an adorably funny, five foot comedy sexbeast running around Dallas, holla at her, cause she's amazing. You can see Amanda Hahn perform at Dallas comedy house with her troupes Dairy Based and Quirk. - Sarah Wyatt

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNQlRseW2NA

My pick for this week is this clip of a 9/11 truther interrupting a Super Bowl press conference. I have watched this clip over and over since Sunday and I laugh every time. Sometimes written or planned sketches just can't match up to real life. First, Malcolm Smith is wearing a shirt over his shoulder pads. Whenever I see football players do this I find it near impossible to take them seriously. To me they look like Delta Burke drank the ooze from TMNT II to become the Designing Women version of the Super Shredder.

But let's address the actual event: a "9/11 Truther" bum rushes the Super Bowl MVP's post-game interview. So many questions pop up in my mind: Who is this guy? Why did he choose this one moment? What has he been doing for the last decade that he thought now was the best moment to question the events of September 11, 2001? I wonder if Malcolm Brown is pissed that this rando did something more interesting than anything that Malcolm himself said or did in the interview? "I always picture myself making great plays but zzzzzzzzzzzzzz...."

Doing my research, I found out that the truther's name is Matthew Mills, and that he snuck into the press conference BY TELLING SECURITY THAT HE WAS LATE. Security. At the Super Bowl. The one American event that terrorists (or in the opinion of Matthew Mills, our own government) would salivate over setting off a bomb in. All they would have to do is tell the security guard they were late for the game and they would be in.

Also, apparently there was another guy named Matthew Mills who was mistaken as the Truther Matthew Mills, and went ahead and did interviews as him.

But the best part of this whole thing, is Malcolm Smith's reaction. He stares blankly for awhile then asks is everybody is okay. I'm sure what was going on in his head wasn't much more than "Uhhhhhhh..." but I like to think that his silence was a contemplation on the fact that as much we as a society like to place importance on irrelevant events such as the Super Bowl, the mere mention of 9/11 reminds us that everything that happened on Sunday night, including his award, was completely arbitrary. I mean, except for the Puppy Bowl. of course. RUNNER UP PICK: The Denver Broncos offense. - Nick Scott

GalvestonOver the past few weeks, I’ve become obsessed with HBO’s True Detective, the new series created by Nic Pizzolatto. With its combination of police procedural, rural creepiness, marital drama, and philosophical musings on the nature of man and faith and evil and life, True Detective is the best crime drama in recent memory. Pizzolatto covered much of the same terrain in his debut novel Galveston, which tells the story of “Big Country” Roy Cady, small-time muscle for a small-time mobster in New Orleans. Roy’s just found out he has lung cancer, his boss wants him dead, and he can’t resist entangling himself in the problems of a young girl he barely knows. I think it's safe to say we've all been there. The book is dark, brutal, truthful, violent, and at times, deeply funny. Not so much the laugh out loud kind of funny, more the W.C. Fields, “I laugh so I do not cry,” kind of funny. Comedians, writers, performers, human statues, artists of all types will find much to relate to in this book. At its core, Galveston is a book about keeping the world at arm’s length, about the kind of loneliness you can only feel in a room full of friends, about making terrible decisions for reasons you can’t explain. Most of all Galveston is a book about fear; the fear of looking foolish that makes us build walls around ourselves, the fear of being hurt that pushes away anyone who might love us, and that greatest fear of all, the fear that we deserve every terrible thing that will happen to us. Reading this book felt like taking a trip deep into my own mind. - Ryan Callahan