Jennifer Lawrence

#Ashtag Week 7: The Fappening Photos Attached*

Thanks for joining me for another week of my pop culture education. As always, my learning comes by way of top Internet trends. The highest Google searches of this week are all about nudey pics. Jennifer Lawrence is the number 1 search followed by the names of several other female celebrities whose iCloud accounts were hacked. Hackers found a plethora of star nudity and posted it online. Folks got wind of the existence of naked pics and went on a searching spree. Number three of the top Google searches is the phrase, "the fappening", which is the clever name for the leak of all this nakedness. By the way, I already knew what "fap" meant, but I won't be explaining it to you. You can learn about it all by yourself. All by yourself. The most popular video on YouTube this week is "Little Boy Goes Off On His Mom For Getting Pregnant." He's adorable and he uses the word "exasperating." He brings up some solid logic like that babies cry and it is annoying. Sitting next to him in the backseat is his little sister who appears to be under two years old, so I understand his exasperation. Growing up, my sister repeatedly requested a little brother, which constantly upset me. I was the oldest of two daughters and wanted no more little siblings. My sister was enough. I wanted an older brother, but my parents would neither build a time machine or adopt one for me. At the end of this video, the kid resigns to the fact that a new baby is coming, but requests some earplugs. By request, I mean he says "buy me some earplugs." I like his style.

Another popular video on YouTube is "Apple Campus 2 construction video." I will admit that I fast forwarded through the 8 minute video. I'm not sure what is interesting about it. It appears to be an overhead view of a construction site. I'm sure I'm missing something. I wonder if the 1.5 million views consisted of people making it through the entire video without skipping any parts. Someone please tell me what I'm missing.

Last week the improv class that I have been a teacher's assistant for (a great group now in Level 5, check out their graduation show in about seven weeks) got me a book for #ashtag. The book is called Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture by Andy Cohen, a Bravo executive and a producer behind the Real Housewives chain of reality shows. It was a fast read. I did not learn much about today's current pop culture because most of it was about his obsession with soap operas and his start in production back in the early 90s. He met Susan Lucci. My favorite story in the book is when he got to hang out with Dan Rather, who sounds like a charming, manly fellow, but really #ashtag illuminating. It was interesting to read about someone who was in the biz and someone who cared so much about celebritydom. Maybe with some more #ashtag research under my belt, I'll care about it too.

The easiest, most non-informative but totally cool book you should read this week.

Since I learned last week that I am still very much out of the loop of pop music, I am forcing myself to watch the top music videos of the week. And let's be honest, as popular as the video may be, I won't be getting any hipper by watching videos of a construction site or a sassy little kid. So, I watched Drake's "Started From the Bottom (Explicit)." I had never heard this song before, so score one for education. I made it through about half of the song before I turned it off. Just so I don't sound like a complete hater, I'd like to say Rihanna's "Stay ft Mikky Ekko" and Justin Timberlake's "Suit and Tie ft Jay-Z" are also up at the top of this week's YouTube music video list and both of these songs are catchy and didn't make my ears annoyed.

I skimmed through the list of top music videos to find a name I was unfamiliar with and I found a video by David Guetta ft Sia. I've heard of neither of these people. The song is titled "She-Wolf." Listening to it, I had to assume that David Guetta does not provide lyrics, so I went over to Google to find out more. He is a French house DJ and music producer. He's been around for a long time; now I know.

I mean, let's be honest,...this is probably what my Punta Mita view would look like.

And for the update you've been waiting for all week: I'm still killing it on the A-list and I've bought my third home. This one's in Punta Mita, Mexico. #kardashianstillaintgotmy$butgotalottamytime

Ashley Bright is a writer/performer at Dallas Comedy House. She's a graduate of the DCH Improv Training Program and is currently a level 3 sketch writing student. You can see her perform every weekend at Dallas Comedy House.

May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor

ashleydoesn'tdieLast weekend, the Maestro returned to DCH. The Maestro is not a man, nor a troupe, but a competitive improv format. For those foolish enough to miss the show, Glenn Smith offers a first hand account of the battlefield. It all started innocently enough. I volunteered to play in this fun little game called “Maestro” on a Saturday night. “It’s a great opportunity to play with new people and experience a new format”, I thought. What transpired was completely different, unfortunately. Although the world of improv is generally known for its supportiveness and for getting each other’s back, I quickly realized that the Maestro I signed up for was actually a bizarre, comedic Hunger Games.

When I walked backstage, I immediately encountered an amazing array of assembled talent, all sharpening their killer instincts by flinging coat hangers at the rafters and cheering lustily when the neck of one would get stuck, as if fastened by a noose. There was the fiendishly handsome Rob Howe, the wily and witty Amanda Hahn, and the agile and fearless Jua Holt, to name a few. Each portrayed a warm inviting smile, but also a subtly sinister twinkle in their eye that suggested their desire to strike at any moment. In my head I could hear Elizabeth Banks’ voice saying “May the odds be ever in your favor” but I knew they would not. As much as I wished to be the Katniss Everdeen in this arena, I knew that I was instead going to be the poor slob from District 9, who would bend over to tie his shoe just as the games begin and get slaughtered by a Cato or Glimmer in horrifying fashion.

The Hunger Games comparison is immediately realized as we begin by being paraded in front of the unruly crowd, and then are instructed to square off in a slow-motion Samurai simulation. This incites bloodthirsty screams from surly spectators. On stage there is a blur of swords, stabbing, and then stillness. Somehow, I am still standing. “Could it be that I actually won?” I say to myself. As that last syllable escapes my lips, I am suddenly sliced from behind by the stealthy Jason Hensel, who celebrates while I slump over on to the stage. He is awarded the first point and I feel my first sting of defeat.

Next we are presented with the promise of attaining points through group scenes based on audience suggestions. The audience seems testy from the cold and rain and, despite host David Allison’s best efforts, they insist on seeing bathroom scenes and people stricken with disease. As I feared, I am not up to the task and my feeble attempt to create a marijuana farmer worthy of admiration makes me the first to be escorted from the stage, along with Jared Berger, whose only fault was simply being too nice a guy for these conditions. Depressed and dejected, I sulk off licking my wounds and prepare to watch my fellow combatants fight the elements and each other.

Jason Hensel and Ryan Callahan valiantly try to make an AIDS suggestion funny, while the audience asks Jua Holt and the sharply-dressed Sean McEwan to take selfies on the toilet. When the warm and wonderful Ashley Bright and her sharp-witted partner, Rachel Hall, are asked to play waitresses at the breastaurant, Twin Peaks, things begin to look dim, but Ashley alertly sees a silver-lining and plays a Laura Palmer angle. She then creates a “special” relationship between the two women and the masses turn in her favor. She ultimately rides this wave into the final, where she eventually wins everyone over with a clever infomercial selling light bulbs, complete with outrageous customer testimonials.

So, as midnight draws near, Ashley Bright stands atop the stage and is crowned victorious as defeated performers flock each side of her and bow with respect. The rumble of thunderous applause fills the room and for a brief moment, everyone is happy and the weather has been forgotten. I drove home and nursed the substantial wounds sustained by my fragile ego and vowed to never do something stupid like that again. Yet, as I reflect on that evening and ponder how fulfilling that moment of victory must be, a twinge of desire resurfaces. Maybe I can endure a few more shots to the heart in hopes of someday being the one leading the celebration. We are not finished yet, Maestro! Not by a long shot!

Glenn Smith is a DCH graduate, who originally hails from Disneyland. He can be seen in Juan Direction and an upcoming, secret Ewing troupe. He likes baseball, martinis, and Pawnee, Indiana.