True Detective

What We're Loving: Comeback Stories, Little Lord Legs, Michael McDonald Deep Cuts, DCF14

DCH_what we're loving_3_14_14Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week Julia Cotton speaks to the self-loathing narcissist in us all, Ashley Bright needs tiny legs, David Allison makes a That's My Bush reference, and Ryan Callahan shamelessly plugs his own work. 369Dan Harmon is the genius that introduced me to the love of my life, Donald Glover, by creating an awesome show called Community. Around Season 2, I found myself listening to every interview he did and then consuming everything he’d ever created. I could tell that he was a person who absolutely cared about humanity, honesty, harmony, and 'Harmon’. He was clearly a narcissist while simultaneously being very self loathing. It’s a personality combination that can lead one to often feel very isolated, often be misunderstood, and often get fired.

When he was fired from Community, I was heartbroken. I’d become so dependent on his voice that I felt a little more lonely and weirdly… rejected. It was like whoever fired him had also fired me.

Luckily, he began the Harmontown podcast. It is premised as a town hall meeting to plan the founding of a colony of like minded misfits. The question is ‘What do we need to form a functional society?’ The podcast features some improv, made up songs, and freestyle raps (that are clearly performed by a white dude in his 40s that is NOT named Eminem). There are many special guests (Bobcat Goldthwait, Robin Williams, Jon Oliver, Mitchell Hurwitz, frequently Kumail Nanjiani). Around episode 6, it was decided that each show would culminate with a game of Dungeons and Dragons (see Community S2:14). In that episode we are introduced to Spencer Crittenden - an audience member randomly chosen to be Dungeon Master.

Harmontown went on the road and was filmed. It documents Dan’s journey which ultimately leads him right back into the arms of his lost love (Community season 5!). It also chronicles him and his girlfriend going through relationship woes and eventually becoming engaged. Harmon suggests that perhaps the most interesting story is that of Dungeon Master Spencer as he takes an unexpected journey into celebrity.

The documentary really highlights Dan Harmon’s effect on the people who call ourselves “Harmenians”. What we have in common is this feeling of never quite “fitting in” and often feeling misunderstood and rejected. Dan Harmon has shown us how to take those feelings, and fuse them into creativity.

You can check out the trailer here. - Julia Cotton

Nigel-Lindsay-as-Shrek-and-Nigel-Harman-as-Lord-Farquaad-in-Shrek-The-Musical.-Photo-by-Brinkhoff-MögenburgI've had one of those go-go-go weeks, where I didn't make adequate media absorption time for myself. I did watch the True Detective finale, but so did everyone else and their dog. Dogs love Rust Cohle. I watched some more Sopranos, but I dabbled on that topic last week. I did have a Gilmore Girls watching evening with Mr. Terry Catlett. No, I won't be sharing the joys of Stars Hollow with you. In fact, I'm going to use this forum to ask you to share something with me. Let me explain. You may not know this, but TC (Terry Catlett for some of this entry) is a big fan of musicals. After watching Rory move into her dorm at Yale, we watched Shrek on Broadway on Netflix. I can't lie; I didn't really dig it, although there were some very inspiring stage setups. Here's what I did love: TC was absolutely tickled by Lord Farquaad's tiny legs. I had a giggle fit just watching him have a giggle fit. I've tried searching for more big bodies with tiny leg gags, and I've come up with nothing except for some unfortunate real-life body disfigurement. I saw some stuff I can't unsee. So, first, I'm asking for any videos of a similar tiny leg gag so that we can all continue giggling. Be careful on your search; I'm telling you there is stuff out there that will burn onto your eyes. Second, and more importantly, can someone help me make some tiny legs for Terry? I can provide materials and I'll do the legwork (pun!), but I need some help figuring out how to make them functional with bending knees. I should note that I cannot sew. I'm not sure if that's important. - Ashley Bright south-park-the-movie-back-cover-98981I love alliteration! In celebration of that fact, I’m creating “Movie Soundtrack March” to showcase great comedy soundtracks that go underappreciated. The only rule for my weekly pick is that the soundtrack has to mostly be comprised of original music.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone are geniuses. You know that. The problem is that they’ve created so many amazing things (South Park, Team America: World Police, Cannibal, Orgazmo, BASEketball, Book of Mormon) people tend to lose track of things. Heck, just by attempting to create a list of their work, I’m sure that I’ll get critiqued because I forgot something random, like That’s my Bush. It happens when two people create such a consistent collection. Because of that, I’m going to highlight my favorite piece that they did, a soundtrack that they don’t get nearly enough respect for; South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.

The movie was the first time that South Park began to receive acclaim as something more than a show that gets by on the shock value of kids not acting like kids and the quality of each musical number was a big reason. For starters, you’ve got “La Resistance” and “Up There,” which are fantastic parodies of “Do you hear the people sing?” (Les Miserables) and “Part of your world” (Little Mermaid) respectively. Next, check out Big Gay Al’s one man show stopper “I’m super” and be reminded that people used to shop at Mervyn’s (And reference it in song!). Still not convinced? Well let me remind you that MICHAEL MCDONALD CREATED AN ORIGINAL SONG FOR THE ALBUM. Midway through the track, he just starts advertising his friend Keith’s car detailing business. Yes, not every track on the album is great, but there are so many gems that it is well worth revisiting. - David Allison

14517_10152631209974056_1575422524_nI'm loving many things the week: The Daniel Bryan angle on RAW Monday, learning that Night Hawk is a non-fictional producer of Salisbury steaks, watching my girlfriend watch Game of Thrones, (What!), but most of all I'm loving the anticipation for The Dallas Comedy Festival. This is my first festival and my first experience with the heightened intensity, the crackling energy in the air, the camaraderie as the DCH team hustles together to get ready. I'd call it the Super Bowl of Comedy, but that would probably get me sued, so I'll call it the SuperWrestlemaniaFinalsCup in Memory of David Von Erich of Comedy to be safe. Man, it really feels like the SuperWrestlemaniaFinalsCup in Memory of David Von Eric of COmedy around here this week! There's so much going on.

The Dallas Observer wrote about out "pretty killer" lineup, (quotes means you aren't bragging,) while the Dallas Voice was struck by the strong bonds formed at DCH.

Jason Hensel and I had the opportunity to speak with some of the talented men and women who will be performing at the festival. If you're a comedy nerd you'll appreciate the many discussions on craft and technique. If you're not a comedy nerd you are clearly in the wrong place and horribly confused. Take a deep breath and back away from your computer.

Comedy nerds, get to know some folks a little better:

- Executive Branch - Saffy Herndon - Gramt Redmond - Christian Hughes - Rob Christemsem - ZOOM! - Susan Messing - And more to come next week!

By the way, I'm still loving Rick Ross. Guys, it might be serious. - Ryan Callahan

My Eighth Move in Five Years - A Live Blog

photo 1Last week, thanks to the sudden availability of a larger apartment in our complex, and the need for more space, my girlfriend and I moved. It was my eighth move in the past five years. What better way to celebrate such an historic occasion that with a live blog? 11:00AM Receive keys for new apartment, which is two buildings and about three hundred yards away from our old apartment. Both the old and the new apartments are on the third floor. There are no elevators in the complex. Nor are there escalators, despite my many strongly-worded letters sent to the management company.

11:05AM When it comes to the matter of carrying things, I am strongly opposed. Lifting, holding, pushing, and bearing are also activities I consider unacceptable. But my desire to have my own study in our new apartment outweighs my hatred of physical labor. I begin to pack.

12:15PM Continue packing. As long-time readers of this column know, I own many books, a large percentage of which I have never read. Books are heavy and take up a lot of space. They also collect a lot of dust and serve as constant reminders of every begun-but-as-yet-uncompleted task in my life. Yay! Books!

12:43PM The packing and the piles of empty boxes cause our cat to freak out. She runs around the apartment like a crazy person, jumping high and low, running into doors and hiding under chairs. Her behavior is understandable. The last time she left the apartment, we took her to a team of strangers who sedated her and removed her reproductive organs. I would behave the same way.

IMG-20140219-002421:45PM Carry my first load of books down to my car. I managed to clear one shelf of one bookcase. There are 9 bookcases in my apartment. This will be a long day.

2:21PM Heart pounding, breath short, hair and back wet with sweat, I lay on the floor of our new apartment. The boxes I used to transport the books were rather large and thus heavy and thus I feel like I am going to die. I'll just lay her for a while and wait until my heart stops hurting. Yay. Books.

3:00PM Movers arrive to carry the larger pieces. I notice their silent judgment of me. I can sense that these men consider me weak for my anti-carrying bias. They no doubt size me up and consider me no threat in the coming apocalypse.

3:30PM While moving the couch, the movers joke about the lack of an elevator. In an attempt at camaraderie, I mention the shocking lack of escalators. There is a long, awkward silence. I pretend to answer an email to avoid further eye contact.

6:00PM The movers finish their work. All the big pieces - couch, bed, dresser, desk, entertainment centers, TVs - are in place. The movers are tired and sweaty, but they have a glow about them, a kind of serenity. I wonder if a life of vigorous physical activity, say a job in construction, would fulfill me on a spiritual level and ease my constant anxiety. More importantly, will I lose all the shows on my DVR when I move the cable box? I still haven't watched last week's True Detective.

photo 26:05PM With the movers gone, all that remains are small personal items, like books, and Blu-rays, and clothes, and books, and knick-knacks, and books, and toiletries, and books, and our cat, who has barricaded herself in the bedroom and refuses to leave. She appears to have mastered some rudimentary ranged-weapons, which will make extraction difficult.

7:07PM More boxes of books down the stairs, up the stairs, over and over again. I feel like Sisyphus, except that I've done nothing to deserve this. And I'm pretty sure Sisyphus had an escalator. Yeah. Books. 9:45PM All the books and bookcases have been moved and set up in the my new office. All that's left to move are clothes, most of which belong to my girlfriend. I don't understand why I should have to help her with those. It's not like she helped me with my books.

9:47PM My girlfriend reminds me that she helped me with my books.

11:00PM Finished. Everything is in the new apartment, including our cat. Her strategic entrenchment was no match for a mouse with a rattle in it.

IMG-20140219-0024011:10PM The new place is still a mess. Boxes and frames and clothes and lamps everywhere. But my study is in good shape. All the books are on the shelves. The desk sits before an large window. And I was able to use the remaining space in the room to construct a small talk show set. My first guest will be my cat. The first topic: The Alarming Anti-Escalator Conspiracy in Dallas. I'd say it will be a good show, but my cat is a difficult interview.

Ryan Callahan is a current DCH student who loves crime novels and pro wrestling. He’s the brains behind WikiFakeAnswers.

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