UCBNY

What We're Loving: Single Use Acronyms, Suicide Prevention, An Abundance of Body Oil

dch_what we're loving_02_28_2014Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week Ashley Bright cries alone, David Allison shapes pop culture, and Ryan Callahan will never sleep again.

 

This_american_lifeThis week I listened to the latest episode of This American Life. It's been awhile since I've listened, but I've been a fan of the show for many years. This week, while I sat at my desk alone, I listened and I laughed out loud and teared up. Alone at my desk. Typical This American Life listening for me. This latest episode is #518: "Except For That One Thing. "If you're not familiar with TAL (This American Life for the purpose of this this article only; if you approach me and say TAL outloud, it is unlikely I'll know what you're talking about), each episode has a common theme and each act fits into that theme. This episode features stories about things that are perfect Except For That One Thing. Act One is a radio drama based on a short story featured in B.J. Novak's book, One More Thing. It's about a perfect first date except that the fella is an African warlord. It's funny. Act Two is about how we could all be eating hippo meat instead of cows, if only the Internet was around a hundred years earlier. It's also funny, but this one's educational. Tig Notaro is featured in Act Three, so of course it's funny. And Act Four is when I cried. It's a really good episode. If you download the TAL app on your mobile device, you're able to save your favorite episodes, such as:  Episode 172: "24 Hours at the Golden Apple." That's a good one. Each act of this episode is divided into time segments at a diner off Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. The people are diverse and the interviews are incredibly interesting and entertaining.  For those of you going to Chicago for the Improv Festival, listen to this episode. Listen to it on your way there. And then go to the Golden Apple. And then take a picture, post it, and tag me in it. Please and thank you. - Ashley Bright

gethard120402_560Quick follow up before I get to this week’s recommendation.  A few posts ago, I discussed one of my favorite new shows, Broad City. Due exclusively, I think, to that post, Broad City got renewed for a second season.  Let’s keep changing the world!

Anyone that follows pop culture has a couple of favorites.  Maybe it’s a celebrity that shares a similar set of morals.  Or it might be someone that makes great decisions on what projects to take. Or maybe this person comes across as cool in interviews.  Why we like certain famous people varies greatly, but we’ve all got a few who regardless of what project they take on, we’re going to follow. One of mine is Chris Gethard.

Chris Gethard is predominantly known for his New York Cable Access television program, though you might also know him from his book or improvisational career.  He performed The Chris Gethard Show at UCBNY until 2011, when he was introduced to the free world of Cable Access.  As long as the necessary paperwork is filled out, anyone can make a television show about anything, which is probably why his show is about everything.  The Chris Gethard Show doesn’t really seem to have a discernible structure or consistent format, except that he usually takes calls and is happy to showcase anyone’s talents.  The latter is what makes the show special to me.  It’s an hour of television that makes you feel like you can do anything, because everyone on screen is getting support for the dumbest thing or part of them that they don’t normally allow others to see.  This mindset extends well beyond the show because of Gethard’s interaction with viewers; the dude has literally saved people’s lives.  His post in response to anonymous fan on the verge of suicide is an inspiring piece that I try to look at a few times per year.  The Chris Gethard Show was recently given a pilot order, so they’re not currently doing a weekly episode, but here’s an archive of every episode they’ve ever done.  As I said earlier, everyone has a famous person they like, so search through the list and find one where Gethard interviews someone you know and appreciate, like Amy Poehler or Bobby Moynihan.  Soon enough, you’ll be addicted to the show and bemoaning the fact that there are only three Sandwich Nights. - David Allison

ric-flair-49ers-panthers-orderIt would be a lie to say that I'm loving anything else this week other than the WWE Network. Since its launch on Monday, the Network has consumed me. There are many stripes in the rainbow of pop culture which I cherish, (books, comedy, movies, Criterion Collection Blu-Rays,) but nothing ranks as high as professional wrestling. Now, before I continue, allow me to answer the question that you have in your head. Yes, I know pro wrestling is fake. Just like I know that Robert Downey, Jr. isn't really Iron Man. Just like I know that Westeros is not a real kingdom. Now that I've defensively answered your fictional, judgmental question, let’s move on. I have been a fan of wrestling for as long as I can remember. There's wasn't a first show that reeled me in, nor a single match that turned got me hooked. As far as I can tell, it was always there and I loved it. And I loved everything about it, not just the morality tale of good versus evil, where good will always triumph in the end, not just the fake sport aspect which allows for stories impossible in the real world, but everything about the show: the interviews, the characters, the entrances, the shows within the show. Only in the world of wrestling can a thing like Piper's Pit exist. Only in the world of pro wrestling can a person like Ric Flair exist. That alone is enough to justify the existence of pro wrestling. My life now has two distinct eras: The Before Network Era (B.N.) when life was gray and flat, each day filled with the dull ache of sameness, and The After Network Era, (A.N.) where life is vibrant and lush, each day ripe with joy and endless possibilities. I could watch pro wrestling 24 hours a day. Now I can. It's a godsend. The god in this case being Ric Flair. Woooo! - Ryan Callahan

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