Review

"Book Review: 'Bunny, Bunny: Gilda Radner, A Sort of Love Story' by Alan Zweibel" by Jamé McCraw

Bunny, Bunny: Gilda Radner, A Sort of Love Story written and illustrated by Alan Zweibel is a tender and very personal glimpse into the relationship between a writer and performer who meet in summer 1976 during the freshman year of Saturday Night Live. Zweibel is responsible for penning scripts to the sketches featuring outrageous and memorable original characters such as Roseanne Roseannadanna and Emily Litella for Radner.

A series of dialogues and simple line drawings tell the story of the duo’s delicate friendship. A friendship cut tragically short after 14 years when Radner passed away from complications with ovarian cancer on May 20, 1989.

Sparse vignettes recreate moments of tension, fear, and confrontation but do not feel overly voyeuristic. Zweibel lovingly paints himself as the “asshole” during times of conflict. Gilda is his champion and closest ally. The pair have a profound love for one another that endures during times of uncertainty.

When she is instructed by Zweibel to hold onto casino winnings he could use to pay credit card debt, Radner has hotel security escort him away from her hotel room door when he comes begging out of the arrangement. There is a playfulness to this gesture and her apology the day after the incident comes in the form of a letter, which is hidden in the lavatory of his aircraft during his flight home.

This secret is revealed to Zweibel by a stewardess who tells him: “I was so touched by how warm and funny and loving this person was that I felt like I knew her my whole life and would’ve done anything for her.”

Fame is inevitable for the beloved performer who is approached by strangers so fond of her that they feel she is a familiar friend and call her by name. It is at this point that she asks Alan to call her Gilbert.

A romantic affair between the two of them nearly causes a rift as things fizzle out and they begin to explore the possibility of other partners. The picture Zweibel paints during these passages are stark. Small-talk on elevators and in hallways is painful to witness after knowing how well they are able to communicate with one another. This period of estrangement is resolved when Gilbert tells him, “I need you in my life because I trust you more than anyone and I don’t want to lose that.”

When Radner discovers Zweibel is in the grips of cocaine addiction, she confronts him directly. She tells him what he is doing is not only dangerous, but especially unwise for someone as “naturally insecure and paranoid” as he is. She encourages sobriety. At this time, she encourages him to clean up his act if he is serious about pursuing a relationship with a woman named Robin Blankman. The advice from his champion, Gilbert, is taken to heart. Zweibel and Blankman were married in 1979.

Over the next 10 years, Zweibel and Radner’s conversations appear to be spaced further and further apart as their lives take new paths. They did, however, manage to fulfill the role of a touchstone for one another in instances ranging from hilariously mundane to life-altering.

I am thankful to be privy to moments from such a special friendship. I have read Bunny, Bunny at least a dozen times over the past 13 years. Every month, I think of Radner telling her dear friend Zweibel that saying “Bunny, Bunny” as soon as you wake up on the first day of the month would bring good fortune. It is a sweet fairy tale that I have incorporated into my life. That being said, June 1 is just a week away.

Bunny, Bunny.

Jamé McCraw is a current student at DCH and performs with Watermelon. She enjoys watching squirrels through the windows of her little old house while holding hands with her cat, Stanley.

(Image: LIFE)

"Freek Appeal" by Jamé McCraw

I was nearing my ninth birthday and preparing for the fourth grade during summer 1994. My best friend was away for the summer leaving me on my own to search for new ideas and sources of inspiration. I was overflowing with boundless energy fueled by Fruit-by-the-Foot, Gushers fruit snacks, and Welch’s fruit-flavored soda but never any actual fruit. My greatest joy came from staying up odd hours of the night alone and watching videotapes rented from Cox Video.

One night, while looking at the new release wall, something caught my eye. A slender VHS case with a canary yellow spine with the word “FREAKED” in funky, bright-pink letters. The cover was sky blue, featuring unusual characters along the border including a sock-puppet man, a cow man, Mr. T, and Michael Stoyanov who I recognized from his role as the brother in Blossom who doesn’t utter a dumb catchphrase. Freaked stars Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure alum Alex Winter. Winter co-wrote and co-directed this feature alongside Tim Burns and Tom Stern. Hideous Mutant Freekz, at its inception, was meant to be an offensive, crude, and violent horror film. After Fox provided the creators with a budget of $12 million, the film was toned down considerably, placing it in the comedy genre with a PG-13 rating and the title was altered to Freaked. It tested poorly and was not widely distributed. Luckily, it wound up on video shelves for unsuspecting weirdos like me to discover.

There are no trailers before Freaked, which opens to flashing strobing images and the most aggressive music my 8-year-old ears had ever heard. Henry Rollins’ guttural screams, fast drums, and jarring guitar riffs blast bombastically alongside an incredibly psychedelic and brightly patterned title sequence by artist David Daniels. Claymation depictions of freaky characters are smeared transitioning into new images. It’s harsh and unsettling, but I absolutely love it.

The story begins with an unusual news bulletin about a “flying gimp” that has been destroyed. It is now safe for people to return to their homes. This is never explained. Why did they have to leave their homes? Your home is supposed to be the safest place you can be. Yet, there is this threat that is exceptional - it can fly but also is hindered -it is a gimp. Crisis averted, so don’t worry about that. The scheduled program resumes, which is a talk show called "The Skye Daley Show." Brooke Shields as Skye Daley appears bubbly and bright in contrast to her guest Ricky Coogin (Alex Winter) sitting in shadows of a heinous silhouette.

Ricky is a has-been child star who becomes the spokesman for a company called E.E.S. (Everything Except Shoes) and is accompanied by his friend Ernie (Michael Stoyanov) to promote a hazardous chemical called Zygrot-24. The pair flies to Santa Flan, an island named after the patron saint of creamy desserts. They trick an eco-activist named Julie (Megan Ward from Encino Man) into traveling with them and fall prey to Freak Show proprietor Elijah C. Skuggs (Randy Quaid). This sun-scorched redneck transfigures the Gen X trio into hideous mutant freaks. The supporting cast features Mr. T as the bearded lady and Bobcat Goldthwaite as a hand-puppet freak called Sockhead. Keanu Reeves is uncredited as Ortiz the Dog Boy. He is covered in fur and sounds like Antonio Banderas. They are forced to perform hokey vaudeville acts for crowds, and chaos ensues. The freaks band together to emancipate themselves from the clutches of Skuggs. In one memorable scene, two walking, giant Rastafarian eyeballs attempt to thwart an escape effort with the entire gang disguised as old-fashioned milkmen. It is amazing.

Freaked
Freaked

Freaked triumphs in its enduring audacity. There are so many tropes and gags jammed into this story, but it never feels overwrought. The pacing is nimble, and the saga is truly unique. The production design, sets, and makeup are unlike anything. While it certainly has a late-1980s/early-1990s aesthetic, repeat viewings are never cloyingly reminiscent of that era. It feels timelessly original. In the midst of a cavalcade of grotesque visuals, there is an endearing sweetness to this passion project.

I have never seen a widescreen version of this movie and was delighted to find that the film is available in its entirety on YouTube with extra scenes. When Cox Video ultimately closed down five years after I first saw Freaked, I purchased the exact VHS copy of the film I had rented countless times. It remains one of my most valuable possessions.

Jamé McCraw is a current student at DCH and performs with Watermelon. She enjoys watching squirrels through the windows of her little old house while holding hands with her cat, Stanley.

Three Books for Comedy Nerds with Depression

Humorous Depression Books I'm a career book nerd—started as a library assistant in high school, went on to become a Borders retail kid, and now my current job involves working with older books. I like to consider myself a reader, but I've become extremely picky with the things I read. Especially humor, which is probably the most difficult thing to convey in written word. Like Shakespeare, humor is at its best when it's performed.

Then again, can you really enjoy a book about mental illness that is written without any humor? I have depression and anxiety, but I can still laugh at a good joke. And when the joke lands in print, that's the work of someone who understands themselves as well as their comedic voice.

I've found three memoirs-slash-personal essay collections that meet my unrealistically high standards for both humor and authenticity. They've made me laugh, cry, and forced me into epiphanies for underlying issues. If you're looking for a book club pick that will embrace your need for weird and honest, consider any of these.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

If you aren't aware of Hyperbole and a Half, you are probably new to the Internet. Although the blog is a barren wasteland now due to her up-and-coming writing career and her latest book coming out this summer, Hyperbole and a Half's print companion includes some of the blog's most popular posts as well as a few newer ones. Brosh's two-part "Adventures in Depression" is included in the print version, chronicling her perspective on what it's like to experience depression and explaining it in such a bizarre yet nuanced way, involving dead fish. It sounds weird, and it is, but there's never been a more appropriate analogy for what I undergo at low points. Another favorite is a chapter not seen on her blog entitled "Identity," which I won't spoil here. I actually want you to read these, guys.

Furiously Happy by Jenny “The Bloggess” Lawson

I'm a fan of The Bloggess, a blog run by fellow Texan lady Jenny Lawson. I would even say she inspired me to create a wishlist on Pinterest for taxidermy creatures of my own. (Napoleon Bonaparte mouse, you will be MINE someday.) Following her hilarious debut memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Furiously Happy delves a little bit deeper into what it's like to have a slew of mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and a host of others. She writes about deeply touching moments where she walks out into the snow or has a conversation with her husband about how hard life is. And then there's the part where she goes to Australia and is determined to hold a koala while wearing a koala costume. This is literary gold, friends.

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

My friend Sue recommended this book to me, saying that it hits points on mental illness as well as the fascinating life of actress and Internet entrepreneur, Felicia Day (The Guild, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Geek and Sundry). Now, I don't believe in "serendipity" or anything like that, but reading this book at the time that I did was a bit of a wake-up call. During her chapter regarding the start-up of Geek and Sundry, a YouTube network dedicated to geeks and... their... sundries (words good at, I am!), Day describes the amount of stress she put herself under and how it affected her not only mentally but also physically. Then I recalled another friend of mine who was undergoing a similar situation, and we both joked about how she had "stress cancer," because that's how you get through hard times. As I ended that chapter, I turned to my husband and said, "I think I have stress cancer like Felicia Day did." But he was asleep because apparently I had been hardcore reading this book until 12 a.m.

KC Ryan is currently a Level 5 student at DCH. An office worker by day, she spends her nights writing, improvising, recording podcasts, and having existential crises. She’s a co-host of Parsec Award-nominated podcast Anomaly Supplemental about general sci-fi and fantasy topics. Her greatest achievement so far is convincing her husband to watch Project Runway.

The Texts that Helped Me Teach Myself Improv

Improv Books No one on my college improv troupe coached or taught from a place of experience. In that way, the culture felt egalitarian. We were just 20 people that had accepted one another and formed a special-interest group. You’d participate in a long-form set once every three weeks, and in the interim, you’d give show notes and hop in for a closing game of “sex with.” It worked, but those of us with a more-than-casual interest weren’t satiated by table scraps of anecdotal knowledge.

Relative to troupe newcomers (who often had never done improv before), the elder statespersons had spent a couple years practicing once a week and had done maybe 25 shows if they were super active. We went to festivals where we’d talk to other improv nerds and occasionally take workshops from “professional” performers. We usually made the pilgrimage to improv Mecca during winter break to watch shows at iO and The Second City. While in Chicago, we’d hopefully land a two-hour slot with an ordained member of the establishment that would open our minds’ eyes wider than any campus practice could (Rachel Mason is a red priestess).

In the absence of a regularly-appearing comedy authority figure, excited nerds like myself turned to texts. Anyone who has fallen hard for improv has sought out some sort of reading material. I’ve learned a lot from name brand books and off-the-beaten-path works. This week, I want to synopsize and endorse(ish) the five texts that helped me develop my affinity for the dark arts before classes were a viable option.

Every theater has a different style of improv, and every individual performer at every theater has a different style, too. My goal here is to categorize the type of technique being pedaled, what I liked/disliked about the text, and what it has done for me as an improviser. Most of these texts you can find for around $10 on Amazon. The UCB book is $25 last time I checked.

Truth in Comedy, Halpern/Close/Johnson

For those who enjoy: Primary Colours, Cupcake, Dairy Based

Often the first text that new improvisers read, Truth in Comedy sells agreement and listening. (It also sells itself with constant references to iO alumni.) The work of Halpern, Close, and Johnson serves as a great introduction for those teaching themselves about improv. It’s heavy on “yes, and” and promotes a grounded, committed style of play. It also offers plenty of exercises that can be morphed into group games in a show (a la “conducted story” or “the ad game”). The book’s organic focus helps to stoke those group mind coals with which we all enjoy cooking. The end of the text also includes an introduction to the Harold for interested parties.

Improvise: Scene from the inside out, Mick Napier

For those who enjoy: Samurai Drunk, Kool Aid, Franzia

Napier staunchly rejects any notion of “the rules” when it comes to improvising. He asserts that taking care of yourself at the top of a scene is the best gift you can give your scene partner. The way he dispenses with the idea of “doing it right” can be a revelation for anyone stuck in their own head. By doing something, anything, at the top of a scene, you’ve chosen to act rather than marinate in the fear of the unknown. Napier also adds a lot of great exercises you can do on your own to develop your improv mind. I should note that a misinterpretation of Improvise can lead players to bulldoze or ignore the ideas of others. I would recommend it as an intermediate text, rather than an initial foray into improv reading.

Impro, Keith Johnstone

For those who enjoy: Local Honey, Age Appropriate, Release the Hounds

Impro was written before improvisation had become a popular medium. Johnstone used improv techniques and games with his students to get them to loosen up. His observations and life experiences create a rich well from which to pull little improv mantras. I especially have enjoyed his sections about status and spontaneity. You’ll see people raising and lowering their own status in every single social interaction you have after reading Impro. Those two sections in particular pair well with Improvise, for those looking to go on a reading spree. Also, there’s a weird section about masks at the end that’s kind of fun to skim through, if not totally helpful.

The UCB Comedy Improvisation Manual, Besser/Roberts/Walsh

For those who enjoy: Photobomb, The Rift, 1995 Chicago Bulls, Wheel of Formats

Totaling 384 pages, this text earns its label as a manual. Consider the UCB book a longer and more comprehensive version of Truth in Comedy, but for game-oriented improv. The authors focus on how to recognize patterns and play games more so than establish relationships in scenes. By serving the game, the rest of the pieces will fall into place. The UCB manual comes complete with loads of exercises and color illustrations. Format guidelines in the book’s final section offer great ideas for fledgling troupes looking to create a style of their own. The UCB manual has especially salient takes on heightening/exploration and crazy town. As a warning, the text is pretty analytical and can put you in your head if you’re not tempering it or discussing it with someone else.

True and False, David Mamet

For those who enjoy: Small Town, Manick, David and Terry

David Mamet doesn’t agree with Konstantin Stanislavsky. I’ve never read that guy’s books, but apparently they make acting seem like a highfaluting, elitist pursuit. Mamet instead distills acting into a simple approach: Know your lines, don’t add to them, and say them with a loud voice so that the audience can hear you. The accessibility is a relief for those of us who didn’t grow up in the theater. I’ve never considered myself an actor. I have no formal acting training. This is a great book for anyone who looks at acting as a wholly separate and mystical art form too lofty for the mind and abilities of an improviser. Plus, Mamet’s writing is just plain fun to read.

Danny Neely is currently a Level 5 student at DCH. He works part time at a bakery and another part of  the time as a freelance writer. You can see him perform as a member of Big Turtle, Clover, Coiffelganger, Empty Inside, and Warm Milk.

Podcast Rec No. 9: The JV Club

The JV Club I enjoy a lot of women-hosted podcasts. Probably because I’m a woman who podcasts, but that’s a bias that can be left at the door. The problem with a lot of them is that they aren’t as personal as I would prefer them to be. They’re more fact-based without the personal experience that goes along with it. Sometimes they don’t even research or interview others with that very experience. (I’m looking at you, Stuff Mom Never Told You episode about infertility! So many missed opportunities to promote women’s health! Grrrrr...these emotional lemons are bitter...)

This is why I love The JV Club with Janet Varney. One of the many podcasts in the Nerdist Industries Network, actress Janet Varney (Avatar: The Legend of Korra) sits down with lady creatives and discusses their more awkward years as kids through to their young adult years. Nothing is off the table in these interviews, and they are funny, touching, and sincere like nothing else. Men get their chance to discuss their pimple-plagued years during The JV Club’s “Boys of Summer” series, and it is revealed that almost none of the male guests know the song that the sub-series title references.

And every interview then ends with a game of MASH! Do you remember MASH? Not the TV show, the game. It stands for Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House? It’s a silly fortune-telling game played in grade school—trust me, it’s great. Come find me at DCH one day, we’ll play it.

Recommended episode: "Felicia Day."

Felicia Day is probably the grand duchess of all things nerdy. She’s made a career for herself as an actress in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and various commercial gigs, but her breakthrough moment in entertainment happened with her web series The Guild as well as playing Penny in everyone’s favorite Internet musical, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. She has gone on to create the popular YouTube channel "Geek & Sundry" and appeared as recurring character Charlie in recent seasons of Supernatural.

In her JV Club interview, promoting her memoir, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), Day discusses what many would consider an unusual life. Topics range from being a military kid, how homeschooling benefitted her development, and starting her college years at age 16! She also reveals a few of her neuroses that almost challenge my own. The keyword here being “almost”...

Running time for each episode: Approximately 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes.

KC Ryan is currently a Level 5 student at DCH. An office worker by day, she spends her nights writing, improvising, recording podcasts, and having existential crises. She’s a co-host of Parsec Award-nominated podcast Anomaly Supplemental about general sci-fi and fantasy topics. Her greatest achievement so far is convincing her husband to watch Project Runway.

The Comedy That was a Drama That was a Comedy

Dr. Strangelove This is a continuation of a series in which I count down my Top 5 Favorite Comedy Films

No. 1: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

And, here we are at No. 1. Finally. And, what better movie for a sense of finality than one that ends in the nuclear decimation of the entire planet!

If you’re wondering how a movie about nuclear annihilation can be a comedy, you’ve got some pretty good company. As in, absolutely everyone…except for Stanley Kubrick.

Kubrick has been dead now for almost 17 years, and he wasn’t all that productive during his lifetime. Thus, younger audiences are sadly not as aware of him as a filmmaker as they should be, or even know they are.

He only directed 13 feature length films. But, those films are almost all classics that you definitely have at least heard of.

Greatest Hits: Spartacus, Lolita, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and of course, Dr. Strangelove.  

Some people will be upset at the few omissions. Surely, The Killing, Paths of Glory, and Barry Lyndon deserve mention.

And, younger people might actually know his under-appreciated final directorial effort Eyes Wide Shut, starring pre-divorce Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman and most famous for the masked orgy scene that has been aped in many movies since.

Anyway, to say Kubrick was prolific wouldn’t be accurate, but a genius, unquestionably.

And, nowhere is that genius put more on display than in Dr. Strangelove.

The basic plot is that a rogue general, Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden), has decided to take Cold War matters into his own hands by calling in a nuclear bombing run to the fleet of bombers constantly patrolling the skies between the USA and USSR.

Once Washington and Moscow see the bombers moving toward the USSR on radar, they get together to try and figure out what happened and stop it before one of the planes successfully drops its payload on Soviet soil.

This is particularly important because, as it turns out, the Soviets have just installed an automatic response mechanism that will launch all missiles as soon as it senses a detection on Soviet soil.

Added level of difficulty: the planes are now supposed to disregard all incoming messages that are not accompanied with the proper code, which only the general has.

Nuclear war seems inevitable.

So, how in the world is this a comedy?

Well, it’s not. Or, at least, it didn’t start out as a comedy.

Based on the exactly as serious and dire as it should be book Red Alert by Peter George, Kubrick initially approached to project as a drama.

But, he soon had a change of heart. You see, to him, the whole thing was so comically absurd that he had no choice but to turn it into a pitch-black, satirical comedy.

So, he brought in the satirist Terry Southern to collaborate and set about turning the Cold War into comedy.

The first piece was the most important. Casting the title character. If you haven’t seen it, Dr. Strangelove is a real person in the film, and as his name might suggest, he’s on the peculiar, possibly maniacal, side. And yet, a genius figure revered by many. So, complex. He couldn’t be too clownish or too serious. He had to inhabit this “strange” in between. Kubrick had the perfect person, a brilliant comic actor he’d just worked with in a similarly complex role. Peter Sellers.

Most people know Sellers from the Pink Panther films, but he also starred in Lolita for Kubrick. So, he was signed on to play the odd former Nazi doctor (a definite commentary on Project Paperclip).

But, they didn’t stop there. Before it was all over, Sellers was set to play four characters in the film, though it was eventually whittled down to just three. Just, as if it’s that easy.

He makes it look easy, though. And people that don’t know to look for it, in my experience, never know which characters he plays. Strangelove is wheelchair bound with wild blonde hair, sunglasses, and one gloved hand. Lionel Mandrake, that character the most looks like Sellers in real life, is the RAF Group Captain stationed at the base with General Ripper. And, the U.S. President Merkin Muffley is a slight man with a horseshoe bald spot.

The key to writing satire - well, one of the keys - is to write as if you’re serious. The comedy doesn’t come in spoken jokes (usually). It’s all based in absurdity. So, the characters should generally take their dialogue seriously. Which is why it was a near stroke of genius to fill most of the rest of the cast with veteran dramatic actors such as Hayden and George C. Scott. Especially, Scott.

Known most for playing General Patton in Patton, Scott was a smart man and wise to Kubrick’s plans. But, taking himself seriously as an actor, he refused to engage in any shenanigans when it came to the delivery of his lines.

You see, the words themselves may not be particularly funny in a satire, so the humor can often reside in the delivery. If you’re saying something crazy, say it with a straight face while simultaneously swinging from the rafters.

Scott’s role was General Buck Turgidson, the trigger-happy military adviser to the president. And, he intended to take it seriously. But, Kubrick had a plan.

Something that is actually a good tool to use for measuring emotion, Kubrick would always have Scott do at least one silly, over the top take, saying that it was to help Scott find his range. Kubrick promised not to use any of the takes…then used all of them. And, the result is one of the greatest performances of Scott’s career.

As far as the bombers go, we focus on one in particular led by Major T.J. “King” Kong (Slim Pickens).

Pickens was also in the No. 3 movie on this list, Blazing Saddles. He was a great comic actor…later in his career. But, like a lot of people at the time, he started out doing serious stuff. Obviously, mostly Westerns. He was also way down the list on choices to play the part. This was Sellers original fourth part, but he was injured and cut his roles down to three. Then, they tried to get John Wayne, who turned it down. More people were offered the role before Kubrick finally thought of Pickens, who he’d worked with on Marlon Brando’s One-Eyed Jacks. And, the rest is history. Now, the most iconic image from this movie is him riding the nuclear bomb down onto Soviet soil.

Fun note: This was also James Earl Jones’ first movie. He’s part of Kong’s flight crew.

Another iconic image, that is often copied, is the War Room, where many pivotal scenes take place. As Turgidson, Muffley, and Peter Bull as the Soviet Ambassador argue and scuffle, bureaucracy is played to maximum effect and gives us great lines like, “You can’t fight in here. This is the war room.”

This movie’s influence is nearly immeasurable. From the copied images and characters like Strangelove, the War Room, and riding the bomb to pitch-perfect comedic stabs, like a master fencer jutting his slight blade between the ribs of a heavy drama.

A lot of this is due to Sellers’ performance. General Ripper would be unbearable as he groans on about fluoride in the water if not for Lionel Mandrake nervously interjecting just long enough to tell Ripper he sounds crazy. So, it’s a lot like you having dinner with your Glenn Beck-loving uncle in that way. Only funny.

Then, there’s Pickens’ breakout moment.

Then, there’s the screwball insanity of the War Room, led by Scott playing it as big as he ever could.

Then, there’s the peculiar Strangelove who is both off-putting and funny.

This is a movie best enjoyed with friends. Due to it being one of the most perfect satires ever committed to celluloid, laughs are better in groups. It can be easy to take it seriously sometimes.

The 1960s were a tense time. This move reflects that, but it also calls our leaders to the mat for putting us through such unnecessary insanity like the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Obviously, it took another 25 years to end the Cold War. But, I like to think that, coming out in early 1964 this movie, at least, made a slight impact in reminding people how crazy and unnecessary this all was.

And, now that it’s been 25-plus years since the end of the Cold War, it’s a lot easier to laugh at. Mostly. One doesn’t have to look too hard to see parallels between the characters in the movie and some of our leaders now.

Ripper keeps going off about how the fluoride has made us impotent. He’s blaming his impotence on the Soviets, essentially. And doesn’t that sound an awful lot like some of our leaders now?

It’s in the past, but it’s timeless. It’s perfect satire in that it’s actually a drama. It gets some of the best performances for some all-time greats in their careers. It’s infinitely quotable. Its influence is still felt today. And, it was written and directed by one of the greatest filmmakers in history.

For all these reasons and more, this is why it’s my No. 1 comedy film of all time. I hope you agree. But, if you don’t, that’s cool too. The great thing about comedy is that it’s got something for everyone. It’s not so easy to categorize like drama. Comedy is complex, and it rewards those who love it and seek out the best in it.

Dr. Strangelove has exactly one comedic actor and one satirical writer among a bunch of otherwise serious film people. And yet, the comedy was there. They recognized it and gave it life. And, we’re all better off for it.

Kris Noteboom is a Level 3 student at DCH. He is working on his PhD, with a focus on comedy. He went on a mini tour this summer performing his comedic one-man show, And Then I Woke Up.