comedy writing classes

Con Fair

By Mike Corbett Look, we all could use a break after the last week, right? We lost a comedy genius in Robin Williams, under incredibly disheartening circumstances, parts of Missouri look like a warzone every night thanks to overly militarized police, and now, unfortunately, top it all off, we’ve lost the voice of Saturday Night Live, with the passing of Don Pardo.   Really just a rough week all around, and certainly not one that is generating easily mocked news stories.

So, in lieu of my usual current events focused piece, I’d like to instead take this article in a completely ribald direction and examine one of the great mysteries I’ve come across in my life time. The year was 2012, I’d been living in Dallas for six months, and was attending the highly regarded Texas State Fair for the first time. I had heard many stories about the fair, and what a spectacle it was, so I had to see it for myself. Before I even set foot in Fair Park, its reputation for being a spectacle was confirmed with the sad passing of Big Tex. I was sure nothing could top a giant mechanical cowboy fire, but I went attended anyways, to see what other wonders the fair might hold. It didn’t take long for those wonders to be revealed, and just an hour into my trip, while walking through the Midway, I came across it…

Behold: THE MAJESTY!

That is, as far as I can tell, a carnival ride featuring a massive airbrushed picture of Cameron Powe, the character Nicolas Cage portrayed in 1997 blockbuster Con Air. Now, even as an avid Nicolas Cage fan, I could not believe that any carnival ride manufacturer would have made a Con Air themed ride, even at the height of that film’s popularity. Upon further inspection, you can tell that it is definitely not themed after Con Air, and in fact, the giant sized Cameron Powe is the only reference to the movie. Look closely and you can see that the rest of the ride seems to be themed in a Heavy Metal-esque sci-fi fashion, making the inclusion of a massive air brushed Nicolas Cage even stranger.

Years have passed since that visit to the fair, but questions regarding that ride still haunt me. Was Nicolas Cage just a random inclusion into the ride’s mural? Was the artist just given free reign, and happened to love his work? Or did someone give him very clear instructions to airbrush a ten foot tall Nicolas Cage on the side of a carnival ride? If that’s the case, are there others out there? Is there a Himalaya out in some parking lot carnival proudly displaying a torch wielding Benjamin Franklin Gates from National Treasure? Maybe there’s one of those lame motorcycle carousels featuring artwork from Cage’s star turns in Ghost Rider and Drive Angry! The possibilities are only constrained by Nic’s IMDB page.

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I’m desperate to find out. I love Mr. Cage’s work the same way he himself loves pachinko, but I know when I’ve been bested. If there’s a Cage megafan out there that has devoted his life to airbrushing pictures of his idol into seemingly random places, then I would like to tip my hat to him. From a safe distance of course; Cage stalkers have already proven to be a particularly…eccentric lot, I really don’t want to get to close. If this Cage loving airbrush artiste does exist, I’d also love to see his van, which I’m sure is emblazoned with something like this:

The Greatest Film That Never Was

As a reminder, the Texas State Fair kicks off September 26th and runs through October 19th, just down the street from Dallas Comedy House at Fair Park.  You can see this ride and eat anything from a fried corn dog to a fried boot during these three amazing weeks.

Mike Corbett is a level 3 sketch writing student at the DCH Training Center. He's also an intern for the DCH Blog. You can find more of Mike's comedy stylings HERE. 

The Do's and Don'ts of Surviving a Dallas Summer

Hello, old friend. So glad you could join us for the next four months. Ahh, summer. The season of all seasons, when down jackets and pumpkin spice lattes are replaced with bikinis and grapefruit beers. It’s a time for fun in the sun (who had to put his shades on because 1. He is cool, and 2. It’s so bright out!), enjoying the great outdoors, and maybe BBQin’ up some wieners on the patio with your buds!

[cue sound of record scratching]

Unless you live in Dallas.

In Dallas, summer has a bit of a different meaning. Summer here means highs of 108° and nighttime lows of 109°. Summer means wearing flip flops on your way to work and changing when you get there because if you have to exert the energy necessary to walk on concrete in heels, you will have sweat through your blazer by the time you get to your car. It means not looking at another weather report until October because you both already know what it’s going to say, and really don’t wanna know.

Sure, it may get hotter in other parts of the world nearer the Equator, but with all the asphalt, droughts, and lack of trees to provide us with the fresh, breathable oxygen we so crave during these desperate times, Dallas in the summer requires a level of dedication and chutzpah unique to those of us who brave living here through it.

So, in the midst of our battle against North Texas Warming, here’s my list of Dos and Don’ts for surviving summer in the Big D.

DO wear clothes that are light and breathable so you can enjoy the (relative to Antarctica) nice weather without getting too hot.

DON’T:

Dreams do come true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DO put on plenty of sunscreen before heading outside. An SPF of 30 or higher will help fight those pesky UV rays. Get outta here, UV rays!

DON’T make the all too common mistake of over-coverage. Remember that, for the most part, if you keep your mouth closed, your tongue won’t get sunburned. Same goes for the underneath of your eyelids and both ear drums.

DO cool off with a swim at the beach or pool!

DON’T get in the water with any bleeding open wounds, raw steaks, cupcakes, or DVD copies of the 2011 film Soul Surfer. These days, you never know where a shark might show up or what he might be hungry for.

DO make sure to drink lots of water so you don’t get dehydrated!

DON’T forget that vodka is not water. I know, it’s hard.

DO use an insect repellent with the active ingredient DEET to prevent diseases that will really lower your value when it comes to attracting potential mates.

DON’T forget that insect repellent with the active ingredient DEET is not vodka.

DO send someone to fix the air conditioning unit in my apartment.

DON’T think that was a joke. Please come soon.

Sarah Mowery is a level 3 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She lives alone with her cat and in her free time enjoys applying dialogue from The Lord of the Rings to real life situations. You can check out more of her comedy stylings HERE. 

#Ashtag: Ashley Gets Her Head Out of the Sand

For those of you who struggle to keep up with everything that's happening in the world, you're not alone. Follow Ashley Bright's journey to become "hip" again.  I fear I am becoming an old fogey at too young of an age. I am not hip to the jive of today's popular culture, and I've been out of the loop for many years. I just recently saw a picture of this Drake guy people talk about, but I could not identify one of his songs. Someone else set up Instagram on my phone (although yes, I do now use it).

It's time for me to get my head out of the proverbial sand. Against my better judgment, I am going to learn about what's cool and trendy these days. It was actually a challenge for me to figure out how to find what is trending these days. But I did it. I watched this week's top videos, which included children reacting to Gameboy and an illustrated debunking of brain myths. I looked at Twitter's top hashtag, #cashnewvideo. And frankly, I'm not exactly sure what it is. It appears to be somehow related to two young gentleman who do vine and YouTube videos. My goal is to learn more about this hashtag business as I continue to do this weekly exploration.

I checked in on the top Google searches for today, as well as the top read Wikipedia articles. Sports. Sports are very in right now. I must admit that I have not watched one second of the World Cup. I fear that makes me a bad American. Worse, I think I'm a bad global citizen. I mean I've overheard many conversations about it. I've seen the Facebook posts about the games, the bars the games are being watched at, or the handsome fellas on the field, but I haven't watched any myself. I don't have cable television, which lends a bit of the hand towards my World Cup ignorance. Without a television, I have to seek out what I watch, and I have not sought out soccer.

The #1 google search today is Josh McRoberts. Sports, I tell ya. McRoberts has verbally committed to sign with the Heat. I like watching basketball, but reading about potential contract, dollar amounts, and whether his addition will sway LeBron made my eyes get sleepy. So, I have nothing more to say on the subject.

Apparently this Wimbledon thing is a big deal?

Did you know Wimbledon 2014 was going on? Me neither. Novak Djokovic won the title in an apparent mental victory over Roger Federer. The only thing this sparks in my brain is that once in a video of UCB's ASSSSCAT, someone made mention of a tiny Roger Federer, which is to say I know nothing.

Miley Cyrus is the #2 google search today. And this is how I learned that she is in a Flaming Lips video. With Moby. I watched this video, "Blonde SuperFreak Steals the Magic Brain," and I did not dig it. It's a reverb-laden acid trip, and if you know my musical tastes, you would know that reverb-laden does not deter me. But this doesn't have many other layers under the reverb except for some squeaky loops and such. I typed that I was a fan of the Flaming Lips, even their newer stuff like Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. I went to confirm that I had the album title correct and saw that it came out in 2002. My idea of "newer stuff" goes back twelve years. Does everyone understand why I need to dip back into pop culture?

I'm ready to learn about what today's young whippersnappers are into. Meet me back here next week, and we'll discover some more. Or I will discover some more stuff that you already knew, and you can laugh at how out of touch I am.

Ashley Bright is graduate of the DCH Improv Training Program and a teacher's assistant. She is a level 2 sketch writing student and intern for the DCH Blog. Find all things Ashley HERE.