Vanilla Ice

#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.


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: Branching Out, Lessons for Kids, Collaborating and Listening

Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison wishes Bruno never returned, Jonda Robinson discovers the right time for treats, Molly Jakkamsetti waxes chumps like a candle.  urlIt’s always a strange feeling when a creative person, whose work you enjoy, decides to branch out and try a different medium. For some, like Donald Glover and Hugh Laurie, it works really well. For others, like Bruce Willis, IT DOES NOT WORK. You’ll notice that I put a portion of that last sentence in all caps, which was intentional as I was trying to reinforce just how much it doesn’t work sometimes. Even worse, these ventures sometimes ruin how much you’re able to appreciate the talents that drew you to them in the first place. It was with that level of trepidation that I decided to check out the band comprised of Harris Wittels, Paul Rust, and Michael Cassady. Individually, the three have done some fantastic work (Wittels-Parks & Rec/Humblebrag, Rust- Comedy Bang! Bang!/Arrested Development, Cassady-Earwolf/UCB) so on one hand, it seems like combining their talents had to work. On the other, they’re comedy writers/actors, so the idea of them starting a band is pretty terrible. So how did it end up? I really liked it! I’m rating the work of the band “Don’t stop or we’ll die” as WHAT I’M LOVING THIS WEEK (Note: This instance of all caps was to remind you of the title of this weekly piece).

Now I’m not here to tell you how to spend your money; I’m not Suze Orman. Plus, the production quality isn’t always the best. But you should at the very least check out these songs, and then, if/when you enjoy them BUY EVERY ALBUM THEY’VE EVER CREATED (Caps for commerce). Here are some of my favorites.

Once In A While -Proof that they can play and sing music!

Lectric Roller Skates -The classic tale of the folly of man.

The Ballad of Bird and Fox -A dramatic take on the parental responsibilities of a bird and fox in a crumbling marriage

- David Allison smart-kidsI read an article this week from Time entitled “How To Make Your Kids Smarter: 10 Steps Backed By Science.” Initially I overlooked it because I don’t have kids, and I enjoy naps too much to want any anytime soon. Then I thought about my students, and also myself, and decided that maybe this article could have something that I could use in my own life. Here is the list, along with my translation of what I’m actually hearing them say for my own life:

  1. Music Lessons (Translation: Dust off the guitar that you bought after an inspiring live performance by Sheryl Crow and finally learn how to play “My Favorite Mistake.”)
  2. The Dumb Jock Is A Myth (Translation: Never stop looking for a smart, athletic man to marry.)
  3. Don’t Read To Your Kids, Read With Them (Translation: Kids better start pulling their weight.)
  4. Sleep Deprivation Makes Kids Stupid (Translation: You SHOULD take all those naps. And sleep in when you can!)
  5. IQ Isn’t Worth Much Without Self Discipline (Translation: Get, I mean, “grit.”)
  6. Learning Is An Active Process (Translation: You should read on the treadmill.)
  7. Treats Can Be a Good Thing--At The Right Time (Translation: It’s ALWAYS the right time for a treat.)
  8. Happy Kids = Successful Kids (Translation: Choose to be happy, so you can be successful. To reference Sheryl Crow again, “It’s not having what you want/It’s wanting what you’ve got.”)
  9. Peer Group Matters (Translation: Hang out with people who are smarter and cooler than you so you can become smarter and cooler.)
  10. Believe In Them (Translation: Believe in yourself! If you don’t, how can you expect others to?)

In closing, I offer you this quote from the article: “Intelligence isn’t everything. Without ethics and empathy really smart people can be scary.” So get out there, smarty pants! You’ve got so much to offer--use these tips and put those smarts to good use! - Jonda Robinson

mqdefaultIt’s been a rough week in Dallas, amirite? Let me take you back to a simpler time, all the way back to 1999, when MTV aired a special called 25 Lame. It was the 25 lamest videos as chosen by then-MTV viewers. The network vowed that once these videos were played on this special, they were never to be seen on MTV again. (Insert your own comment on how they ‘never play videos anyway).’

The hosts were 4 well known comedians: Jon Stewart (He may have just started hosting The Daily Show), Janeane Garafolo (who is seen smoking on set - no e-cigs back then!!), Denis Leary (sardonic as ever), and Chris Kattan (yeah, he was on SNL then). They watched each video and mocked them as they aired, a la Beavis and Butthead, and at the end they would “destroy” the tapes ( I remember one ended up in a blender).

As you would expect, most of them were one hit wonders (The Macarena, Milli Vanilli, and Rico Suave to name a few) and failed attempts by celebrities to launch singing careers (Eddie Murphy and Don Johnson were in the top 5).

The most uncomfortable moment was when Vanilla Ice made a special appearance to destroy his video for “Ice Ice Baby.” The hosts all acknowledged how awkward it was for them to mock the video while Ice is sitting right there. When they give him the chance to destroy his video, he takes a baseball bat and starts swinging around the set, almost hitting the hosts. I’m not sure if it was all staged, but I remember Kattan looked genuinely frightened. You can hear someone off set saying “that’s enough” so I think maybe it was a planned stunt that Vanilla took too far.

If you search “MTV 25 Lame” on You Tube, you may only find this part of the special. I hope you watch more of it, their comments are still pretty funny. Denis Leary describes Four Non Blondes “What’s Up” as the same thing he hears from a lady sitting on a street corner in New York, screaming “HEYY YEAAH YEAAH YEAH”… - Molly Jakkamsetti