Thanksgiving

#Ashtag Week #18: We Are Sweet Potato

Ashtag4 Eighteen weeks! A milestone number in years, 18 is. An 18-year-old could vote or buy a lottery ticket. But this is weeks. And you know what is measured in weeks? Babies. Specifically babies still in the womb. The idea of gestation usually freaks me out a bit, but if #Ashtag were an unborn fetus, it would be the size of a sweet potato. A sweet potato! This week is Thanksgiving! This is neat. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried, folks.

Let's get going, because the Internet is overflowing with things I don't know about. I'm going to skip over some of the top Google searches because untimely passings, Cosby allegations, Manson weddings, and immigration reform are not lighthearted topics of celebration. And we're celebrating: we're a sweet potato! Chris Hemsworth was named People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive." Well, hello, Mr. Hemsworth, let's celebrate. Google's top searches lead me to a link of shirtless gifs. Now that's a Hemsworthy cause of celebration. I'll see myself out.

By out, I meant onto the next topic: Will Smith's children. Jaden and Willow Smith, both in their early teens, gave a joint interview where they mused about time and space. They laid down such sick quotes that a poetry generator was created based on the words they spouted during the interview. Please allow me to share my creation from the generator now:

So teenagery. Energy is coming through. I think of concepts. It's not true. Babies remember my high-fashion things. A place of oneness. An apple.

You're welcome. I hope you're able to make a poem that will make your spirit lift into the holographic reality that those kids talked about. I don't know what that feels like, but I like to imagine that's where I am now. We are sweet potato.

OK, I brought myself back down to earth by looking at those Hemsworthy gifs again. Hello. Alright, I found some names I'm not too familiar with on the top Google searches: Kylie Jenner was banned from Tyga's birthday bash. Now, I have heard of Jenner. She's step-sisters with the Kardashians. No, research tells me she is a half-sister to the Kardashians. I was so close. I have never heard of Tyga. I guess the two were dating. Tyga is a rapper. I assumed it was a cute way to spell Tiger with some hip vowel ending, but Tyga is actually an acronym for Thank You God Always. He's had some songs featuring Rick Ross, Drake, and Chris Brown. All names I've heard of.

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Rather than hunt down the top videos of the past week, I'm going to chase down this Tyga train. I've just watched Tyga's video for "Wait for a Minute (Explicit) ft. Justin Bieber." I can't pass up an opportunity for Biebs exposure. This is how I immerse myself in pop culture even if the video is over a year old. I have a lot of catching up to do. Am I aging myself by saying that Bieber looks a lot like a young Vanilla Ice in this video? I just searched "Bieber Vanilla Ice," and the comparison has already been made quite a large number of times. Like I said, I have a lot of catching up to do.

If you'll remember last week, I told you that the Kardashian game was begging me to return to my fans. Well, I gave in. It was underwhelming, and things had pretty much stayed the same. Though there is a lot of Thanksgiving decor now littered throughout the game, haystacks and whatnot, there was no fanfare or celebration of my return. It was not triumphant. #ishouldnothavepreviouslycomparedmyselftochappelle

Ashley Bright is a writer/performer at Dallas Comedy House. She’s a graduate of and an instructor for the DCH Improv Training Program. You can see her perform every weekend at Dallas Comedy House.

What We're Loving: Nazi Hunters, 90's Rap, Awkward Conversations, New Passions

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Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison will improve your life, Ashley Bright shares an inside joke, Ryan Callahan watches a proud man stumble, and Julia Cotton realizes hitting isn't her thing.

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I’m very easily addicted to things, especially entertainment.  I know that if I like something, I’ll jump in with both feet and binge watch it until it’s done (My record is fifteen episodes of LOST in a day) so I tend to be cautious when it comes to wading into the waters of a show I haven’t seen.  So I understand that you may not immediately make time to watch all the things I’ve recommended.  That’s cool. But you need to block off this afternoon and watch Danger 5 immediately and start the rest of your now better life. Danger 5 is an Australian television show that aired in 2012.  The Aussies follow a tv model similar to the BBC, so only six episodes of the program exist.  It’s really difficult to describe the show, but it a 1960s aesthetic and follows a group of Thunderbirds sort of characters as they traverse the Nazi Globe, trying to kill Hitler.  Oh, and in the first scene a team of Nazis, led by a talking dog, pilot a blimp and steal the Eiffel Tower.  It’s absolutely insane, but I love every minute of it. Watch it for free on Hulu. - David Allison

Fear_of_a_black_hatWe all have a movie, book, album, TV show, snack food, what have you, that feels like only you and your friends know about it. It's like a secret clubhouse where you keep all of your inside jokes and in-depth conversations. I was introduced to the movie, Fear of a Black Hat, many years ago by a friend. Last month, I was finally able to obtain my own copy of the DVD. So, I bribed a friend and my roommate with beer to watch it with me. And I remembered just how much I love this movie. First, let's just get it out of the way: yes, it is a mockumentary and yes, it is remarkably similar to This Is Spinal Tap, right down to the group having a history of managers dying instead of drummers. Replace glam rock with early 90s rap and you have Fear of a Black Hat. Nestled in a time after the LA riots and Rodney King's beating, but before hip hop culture was so pervasive in suburbia, 1994 was a year ripe for a rap satire. It pokes fun at Tipper Gore's age of censorship with songs like, "My Peanuts." It tackles topics like racial tension and artistic integrity with songs like "Guerillas in the Midst" and "P.U.S.S. Why?" respectively. The writer/director/star, Rusty Cundieff, went on to direct some of Chappelle's Show and Human Giant, which makes perfect sense with the humor of this movie. So, I've just taught you the secret handshake by telling you about this movie. If you can't find your own copy of this DVD, you just come over to my place; we'll eat popcorn and laugh together because "I am just like you, I'm just a human being." That inside quote will make sense to you after you watch the movie or after you watch the music videos on YouTube. - Ashley Bright

WestWing-Cast_thumb[2]Recently, I introduced my girlfriend to the wonders and joys of The West Wing, (the series, not the actual complex, which is far from Dallas and heavily guarded.) She was hooked immediately, and we've been burning through the series,  two or three episodes a night. This week, we watched my favorite stretch of shows in the entire series: "Gone Quiet," "The Indians in the Lobby," The Women of Qumar," "Barlet for America." When I think of The West Wing, or talk about why I love it, it’s these four episodes from season three that play in my mind. This was the show at its best. “Barlet for America,” the episode where White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry (John Spencer) testifies before congress is, for my money, the greatest hour of television ever written. And right in the middle of this great run of episodes in this great series there stands a comedy scene of sheer brilliance. From “The Indians in the Lobby,” President Jed Bartlet’s (Martin Sheen) call to the Butterball Hotline. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQsvcs9IB8A I love this scene for the essential irony at play: President Bartlet is a brilliant politician who cannot tell a convincing lie, a master orator who stumbles for words when put on the spot. Barlet, as written by Aaron Sorkin, is the smartest guy in the room full of smart guys. In this scene, Sorkin turns the tables, and shows how, when we’re not prepared, even the best and brightest have moments of mental paralysis, how we can say too much and talk ourselves into a corner, or how we can say too little and seem a simple fool. Watching this scene is like listening to Bob Newhart, or reading Jack Handey;  settling in with an old friend who has taught me so much over the years. - Ryan Callahan

Whip ItI don’t care that Ellen Page is gay any more than I care that Greg Proops is straight. I like that dudes play football and I will never burn any of my expensive Lane Bryant bras. My adoration of Whip It does not come from any type of feminist or ‘need for gender equality’ mind set. I like this movie because it is about me falling in love with the Dallas Comedy House . Bliss (Ellen Page) is a begrudged pageant girl who longs for something to be passionate about. She finds fulfillment through the world of roller derby. There is racing. There is punching and kicking. There is blood. There are bruises. She is intrigued and terrified. This will be her new thing .

I watched this movie during a very alone era of my life. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t lonely. It was just that for too long I had been doing everything that other people expected me to do. I didn’t want to anymore. I longed for something to be passionate about.

I did a Google search for ‘dallas roller derby’s’ deciding that I, too, would join a league. I went to a live match and quickly realized, no… I would not be doing that. I am not athletic. I do not like bleeding or being hit, kicked, shoved, hit, tripped, hit, scratched, hit or hit. Also, I cannot roller skate. Still, I was impressed by these women. The thing I was most impressed by, though, was the line outside of the skating rink that wrapped around the building to watch them. I then realized that my heart’s truest desire… is to be seen and adored by droves and droves of people. That night, a Google search for ‘open stage’ led to ‘open mic’. In that search, I found videos of performances at the Dallas Comedy House. There were jokes. There was laughter. There were cheers. There was applause. Sometimes, there was silence. I was intrigued and terrified. This would be my new thing. - Julia Cotton