Joss Whedon

Comedy Centerfold: Brian Harrington

Welcome to Comedy Centerfold, where we feature a Dallas Comedy House performer and get to know him or her a little better by using questions that Playboy centerfolds are usually asked. Brian HarringtonWe were spelunking in Bluespring Caverns in Bedford, Indiana, when my flashlight died. Brian Harrington was dangling below to my left, about to lower himself into the cave when he saw me swinging in the darkness. He ascended to my level and gave me his flashlight because Brian Harrington is that kind of guy. Also, he doesn't need a flashlight in the darkness like a normal human being because he echolocates like a bat. You know what else echolocates? Dolphins. Brian Harrington is the dolphin in the Dallas Comedy House ocean, ready to give you a ride toward the beach or defend you from sharks. You know where else sharks reside? Caves. True. Look it up.

Hometown? Denison, TX. It’s the last town on 75 before Oklahoma, the birthplace of President Eisenhower (who quickly moved to Kansas at the age of two, but we still name everything after him), and also some guy from Magnum P.I.

Guilty Pleasures? Big Brother. This will not go under my favorite TV show because I know it’s not good, but it’s so good. I have watched every season since it premiered (yeah, I was in 6th grade. I was weird), and I have no intention of stopping.

Also, beer.

Ambitions? I recently conquered one of my ambitions, which was to enjoy what I do for work. What’s next? I’d love to write something people read that isn’t a questionnaire or a bar menu.

Best Concert? Honestly, I’ve only been to a few concerts. Don’t hang me, but I’m not actually a big fan of concerts, especially concerts of acts I don’t really know. However, my first concert was in high school, and it was the Vans Warped Tour at Smirnoff Music Centre (now Gexa). That was a lot of fun because everyone still really liked watered down punk music in 2003, which is what I still listen to.

Favorite Book? I don’t read as much as I should. I love Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please. Favorite book since high school, though, is the quintessential “nobody gets me” book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Favorite Movie? Jesus, this is a loaded baked potato of a question. I’ll have to give two: Halloween and Empire Records.

Halloween was such a simple concept that just became too much with the sequels (some of which I still love) and remakes. It’s hard to remember that in the original, Michael wasn’t Laurie’s brother, there was no backstory or mythos, he was just a lifeforce. Then Empire Strikes Back came out and everyone had to be related.

Empire Records takes place over the course of one day in a record store. It’s the most 1990s movie that captures the decade without over-exaggerating it. If you haven’t seen it, it will make you feel good. If you haven’t seen it, you can borrow mine.

Favorite TV Show? For anyone who knows me, no surprise here. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the smartest show with the stupidest name. If you’ve ever thought, “I should watch that show,” you should, but you have to commit that you will watch through the end of season two. They made season one with 20 bucks and a synthesizer. Season two changed everything, and there are arguments to be made that it changed the entire landscape of scripted television. I could write a book (see above, re: ambition) about it, so it’s best I stop here.

Also, Big Brother.

Pets? Many of you have already met Xander. He’s a German Shepherd mix and topped off at 60 pounds. He is now three-and-a-half years old and is the best soul I’ve ever encountered. When you leave the country for a week and have several unsolicited offers from people to dog-sit, you’ve got a good one.

Foods I Crave? I’m always lookin’ for somethin’ more savory. If I was only allowed one meal for the rest of my life, it would be taco salad.

People I Admire? For anyone who knows me, no surprise here. Joss Whedon writes what he wants and how he wants, which has led to so many fantastic pieces of work. He writes characters as equals. Almost every press junket he does will include a journalist asking “Why do you write strong female characters?” to which he responds, “Because you’re still asking me that question.”

Dream Role? I used to want to be an actor, but I didn’t take as much of a liking to it in high school as I thought I would, so my dream role wouldn’t necessarily be in front of camera or on stage. If any producer, however, wanted to be part of my “I-was-just-walking-down-the-street-and-they-pulled-up-and-asked-if-I-wanted-to-be-in-this-little-show-and-the-rest-is-history” story, I would consider it. (Producers, I usually walk around the Bishop Arts area). I think my dream role would be behind the scenes writing for a comedy with a small and devoted fan base. I would also like to do an action movie, any action movie, where they pay you to train and get hot and know karate.

Favorite Song to Sing? Whitney Houston, “I Will Always Love You.” Some day, I will hit that note without helium. Most likely, no one will be around. But I’ll know it happened.

Good First Date Idea? I’m always a proponent of the Alamo Drafthouse, but if dinner-and-a-movie is a little passé for you, I would personally love something physical like an obstacle course. Do those exist? First date obstacle courses? Someone please make this. (Please include a zipline.)

You can see Brian perform in the following troupes and shows:

Tabooze  Friday, June 3, at 10 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at 10 p.m.

Pretty People With Problems  Thursday, June 9, at 8 p.m.

The Roast of George RR Martin Saturday, June 18, at 11 p.m.

Sketch Revue Shows in July, TBD

What We're Loving: Obligatory Horror, Celebrity Visits, Meta Batman, Silly Writing

Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison fulfills a legal obligation, Jonda Robinson teases human trafficking, Molly Jakkamsetti goes deep Keaton, and Ryan Callahan asks that you hold him accountable. MV5BNTUxNzYyMjg2N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTExNzExNw@@._V1_SX640_SY720_I believe that I'm legally required to write about something Halloween related in this space this week. Like if I don't then they, whoever they are, will check me into a facility where unwilling persons check in, but they don't check out. The hard part about that forced assignment is that I feel like so many of the cool horror films are just kinda gross. For me, gory films that are created just to sicken the viewer are kind of like that overly competitive asshole who starts throwing shit when he loses at bar trivia; you're doing something that's supposed to be fun, so just calm down. Not to say that there shouldn't be blood, guts, or gore in film, I think that stuff is great if it happens in the right context. I should still enjoy watching the movie right? Is that too much to ask?

The best example of the sort of fun horror movie that I love is Cabin In The Woods. If you haven't seen it, the 2012 film does an amazing job of telling two stories concurrently. The micro view follows a group of college kids that are travelling to a CABIN IN THE WOODS. The macro view focuses on the architects of the scenario. Meta is the dumbest word in the fucking world, but it's very apt in this example. This was unquestionably one of the most fun experiences I've ever had watching a movie in the theater, regardless of genre. It's got blood, but the blood is like fun blood.

And if you want to see a live horror movie, come out to DCH on Friday to check out the improvised horror movie! The Friday show at 10 p.m. includes actual fake blood! - David Allison

2On Tuesday afternoon I got home and was greeted by a most welcome face—my good friend, Amy Poehler. That’s right, she was waiting for me at apartment. I had known for weeks that she’d be arriving that day, so I was thoroughly excited about hanging out with her. So far, she hasn’t disappointed.

Ok, so you’ve probably guessed that it was not the REAL Amy, but her book, Yes Please, that showed up at my doorstep. While I haven’t had a chance to read all of it yet, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve taken in so far, and I have enough faith in Amy to say that I will love it. At the very start of her book, Amy declares that “writing is hard” and admits that “blood was shed” in the fight for her to get this thing written. She offers many stories from her life, her take on certain topics, and even sex tips (for girls AND guys!).

Amy is a source of inspiration for me and so many others, so instead of blubbering on any longer I’ll close with two quotes from her so I can get back to my reading:

  1. “So here we go, you and me. Because what else are we going to do? Say no? Say no to an opportunity that may be slightly out of our comfort zone? Quiet our voice because we are worried it is not perfect? I believe great people do things before they are ready.”
  2. “I have the Angelina Jolie of vaginas.”

Never change, Amy—never change. - Jonda Robinson

awesome-birdman-teaser-trailer-michael-keaton-is-a-superhero-again-michael-keaton-goes-meta-batman-in-birdman-trailerBirdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance:  Let me start by saying although people much more qualified than myself have already praised this movie, I’m throwing in my two cents of support. It’s about a former Hollywood superstar who is trying to restart his career with a serious play on Broadway. And Michael Keaton, who starred as Batman in the 1989 and 1992 blockbusters, plays Riggan, whose alter-ego is Birdman.

While much of the movie focuses on Riggan’s internal struggles with insecurity and fear surrounding his "comeback," it is also about the art of acting. It is about what is real and what is not on and off stage. Edward Norton is hilarious as the New York theater actor who comes in to "save" Keaton’s play, right before previews. Zach Galifianakis plays Riggan’s delightfully harried agent. The whole movie looks like one long, uninterrupted take. This amazed me and really drew me in. The soundtrack is jazzy, adding to the cool New York City vibe, where it was filmed. And if you’re still not interested, there’s Emma Stone as Riggan’s cynical daughter/personal assistant. Naomi Watts as the starry-eyed actress who is new to Broadway. Did I mention Edward Norton is in his underwear at one point? It’s meta and weird, and I want to see it again. Critics are praising Keaton as they should. I have enjoyed his work since Mr. Mom. That’s his 1983 comedy with Teri Garr where she works and he stays at home with the kids. Not unusual now, but back then WOAH!! - Molly Jakkamsetti

imgresIn the hopes of making up for my absence the past few weeks, I humbly offer TWO things that I am loving.

Loved Thing Number One: A Load of Hooey by Bob Odenkirk. There has been no show that influenced my sense of comedy more than Mr. Show with Bob and David. As I have said before, my favorite ever comedy sketch: "The Story of the Story of the Story of Everest" comes from Mr. Show. Hooey is Odenkirk's first book, and I will say that it is all rather very silly. There are brief speeches, unabridged versions of famous quotations, and even a short play featuring Hitler, which will no doubt draw the ire of Nick Scott. The book reads like a comic's notebook, but one that has been polished. It's also the quickest book you'll ever read.

Loved Thing Number Two: National Novel Writing Month. Starts tomorrow. If you have always wanted to write a novel, but have always made excuses, here is your chance. Sure, you'll write a terrible, sloppy first draft, but you will have a draft, and that is so much better than just having an idea. It's 1,667 words a day. Many of them can be the word "and." You'll be done in no time.

I have attempted NaNoWriMo (that's really what people call it) twice in the past, failing once and winning once. Finishing a 50,000-word novel is considered a win. Sadly, there is no parade. Unless you have an abundance of action figures. I'm giving it another try this year. I am making this announcement publicly so people will give me a hard time if I don't do it, and badger me about my progress. Who's coming with me? - Ryan Callahan