dogs

Pets and Podcasting (or, Dear Podawan...)

dog radio A few weeks ago, I offered that if anyone had a question about podcasting, they could leave a comment or ask me in person.

I got one.

I’ll take it!

The topic actually hits close to home as a podcasting hobbyist. And since I’ve always wanted to be the Dear Abby of podcasting so… I’m making my own dreams come true.

Hello KC,

I've been reading your posts about podcasting and I've been enjoying it. I did have a question, though.

So the only place I can really do my podcast is in my own room. But the problem is that I've got a dog that for some weird reason likes to bark and whine when I'm trying to record. If I put him outside or in another room, he howls! It's really frustrating, and it feels like it's ruining my flow when I get into the zone. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

“Pet Podawan”

Dear Pet Podawan,

Yes, pets can be a bit of a hindrance when you are recording a podcast. I should know. I, too, have a dog. His name is Barky, and yes, he does live up to the name. My computer desk is by a window where he likes to stand guard and bark at everything and nothing.

In general, you should do your best to take care of your pets beforehand: Walk them if they need walking, feed them if they need feeding. Then give them a treat that will keep them busy. If they don't have severe abandonment issues, you can put them out in the backyard (if you have one) or close the door to the other room. If you have a partner or roommate, he or she or they may be able to keep pets distracted with playtime or cuddles.

In your case, Pet Podawan, if your precious fur-baby absolutely MUST be with you at all times and you can't stand the guilt and/or the noise, let the dog sit next to you. For the sake of sound, you may have to record under your comforter, but this might be the best way to keep your pooch quiet.

On the other hand, it's totally OK to embrace the fact that you're a pet-owner. There are podcasters with babies crying in the background and interrupting podcasts. They resolve the situation as quickly as possible and move forward. And they're dealing with tiny humans! It's better to acknowledge your pet dog or human and give your show a personality. Make your pet a part of the podcast!

I mean, who doesn't want this baby as a puppy podcast host?dog1

Look at this baby!

dog2

NINE-YEAR-OLD BABYYYY!

dog

 

Take care, Pet Podawan.

Sincerely,

KC

If you have a question for me that you would like to share and have discussed in a future post, share a comment below. You can also talk to me in person! I promise you won’t die. Everyone who contacts me will be given an anonymous name ending with “Podawan."

Or, I’ll just come up with alter egos and ask myself questions.

That’s basically what podcasting is, anyway.

KC Ryan is an improv graduate turned Sketch Writing Level 2 student. When she's not working at the day job, she is a writer and podcaster for everything that combines feminism, comedy, theatre, and nerdery. She also performs in the puppet improv troupe Empty Inside.

DCH Reimagined: Canine Edition

A few weeks ago I wrote a post, in which I reimagined a few Dallas Comedy House (DCH) troupes as iconic professional wrestlers. People seemed to enjoy it. Why? I have no idea. But, as a result of that overwhelming support for the piece, I’m bringing the idea back.   So, as requested by you the people, notably David Allison via Facebook comments, in this week’s reimagining we’ll uncover which type of dog some of our favorite DCH troupes embody. Brace yourselves for some pawsitively, doggone, puppy-filled improv fun.  

All right, let’s do this thing!

GoldenRetrieverThe ’95 Bulls = Golden Retriever

People-friendly and full of fun, the six gents that comprise The '95 Bulls are a lot like a precious litter of Golden Retriever pups. Waggy-tailed and easily excited, they're always down to play and offer unwavering support for each other's ideas. Not opposed to chasing tennis balls, these guys are silly and always bring high energy to each performance. To top it off, with a basketball reference as a troupe name, it's only fitting that these guys are represented by the dog that played the beloved Air Bud. Slam dunks for The '95 Bulls. Slam dunks for Golden Retrievers.

corgiSummer Girls = Corgi

If there’s a dog you’d want to hang out on the beach and get drunk with, hands down it’d be a Corgi. And,  if there’s a DCH troupe that you’d also want to have the same drunken, summer experience with, then you can bet your sweet ass it’d be Summer Girls. Like Corgis, they too have cute butts and big smiles. Summer Girls are tenacious and loveable and look cool AF in a boss Hawaiian shirt (see pic for equal Corgi proof). Fiesty and cut, Corgis be down to party and Summer Girls be down to ‘prov.

ShihTzuPrimary Colours = Shih Tzu

Primary Colours is the Shih Tzu of DCH. Before you start shitting on the Shih Tzu, let me just say that these cuddly guys are some the silliest and weirdest dogs around. Their faces alone are enough to make you want to laugh. And, the faces that make up Primary Colours all make me laugh loads with their bold stage choices and willingness to get weird together. Shih Tzus appear to be the cute puppy-spawn of an Ewok and a Mogwai, making them trustworthy and friendly and downright nuts if fed after midnight! It is believed that the same description can be applied to Primary Colours.   

Boston TerrierSamurai Drunk = Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers have two settings: “dapper as f***” and “off the wall insanity.” Coincidentally, Samurai Drunk also shares those modes of operation. If you want high energy, fast pacing, lots of side support, and seemingly zero chill, then Samurai Drunk is the troupe for you. Like the Boston Terrier, the gentlemen of Samurai Drunk are frisky, intelligent, and generally overall entertaining. Fun fact, the Boston Terrier was Helen Keller’s dog of choice. So in my mind, Samurai Drunk would be Helen Keller’s troupe of choice, too.

Caucasian ShepherdPavlov’s Dogs = Caucasian Shepherd Dog

Caucasian Shepherd Dog are also known as “The-Biggest-Freakin-Dog-To-Ever-Exist-Ever-Actually-That’s-Not-A-Dog-That’s-A-Bear-Disguised-As-A-Dog.” Let’s just say, Caucasian Shepherd Dogs are some big-ass dogs. These Russian pups are probs the same canines that the real Pavolv rang his bell for and prayed that they wouldn’t eat his face off after depriving them of food during his classical conditioning experiments. Pavlov’s Dogs are also the big dogs at DCH, comprised of several improv OGs. Just as the Caucasian Shepherd Dog displays natural dominance and leadership, Pavolv’s Dogs have been leading the DCH pack since 1998. Though mighty in size, these Dogs are ultimately a bunch of fun, gentle giants.

catClover = Cat

Not even a dog. It’s a cat. Have you seen a Clover show? For those that may not be familiar, Clover is a group of former Ewing-ites and now one of the newest troupes at DCH. These guys are also the embodiment of everything kitty and cat-like. Like cats, Clover is made up of 10 percent fluffy cuteness, 20 percent distraction by shiny objects or string, 30 percent playful energy, and 40 percent too cool to give a what. You do you, Clover. You guys are purrrfection.

Feel free to post your suggestions for other DCH troupe reimagining in the comments below!

Lauren Levine is currently a Level 5 improv and Sketch 2 student at DCH. When she is not trying to come up with witty things for this blog, she is a freelance writer and editor, an amateur photographer, a Zumba-enthusiast, a dog lover, and an 80s movie nerd. In addition, she enjoys all things Muppet-related, the smell after a rainstorm, and people with soft hands.

A Study in Pranking, Trickery, and Other Shenanigans: Fourth of July Weekend

This weekend, I went down to Waco to spend Independence Day with my family…Actually, that’s exactly where I am writing right now, but by the time you read this, it’ll all be in the past. Weird. Anyway, I drove down on Friday evening with Toby, my older sister’s dog, after getting off work. The drive didn’t take long. We had a pretty good playlist to listen and sing along to. Yes, you read that correctly—we sang along. And of course, one of the first things we saw when we rolled up into Waco was an incredibly conspicuous Confederate battle flag waving on I-35. Hi, Waco!

When we got to my parents’ house, I couldn’t park in the back because the gate was closed and the driveway was full of everyone else’s cars. When you’re last to the party, you have to park on the curb. Like plebes, Toby and I walked up the stairs and fumbled with the bags, even more so when I tried to unlock the front door. Alexis and Mary were there to greet us, and of course Toby freaked out…. More so than usual. He started squealing and ran towards the back door. I put my bag in my childhood room and went towards the backdoor. Then I looked out the window, it hopping around in front of Patrick, my brother.

“What’s that ugly, little thing?” I asked Alexis playfully before sprinting out the door to meet the newest addition to our family.

dogIT WAS A GOLDEN RETRIEVER PUPPY!!!! And oh my gosh, she is amazingly cute and fluffy and nameless. Mom and Dad are between the names Scout and Lily. Here’s a picture. What do you think?

The rest of the night was spent playing with the nameless, little dog, introducing her to Toby, and talking about her. My friend Alyssa showed up to help us gawk.

My parents have been in want of a dog since Bridget, our 13-year-old Golden Retriever, died last fall and have taken their time recovering from the loss of one of the best dogs on the planet. But with the added pressure of my entire family being in town, they committed to looking at puppies, which, as you dog lovers probably know, usually turns into owning a puppy.

Patrick took the initiative to look up Golden Retriever puppies for sale and called to set up some bonding time. He was able to set up an appointment with an autonomous community outside of Waco, one not large enough to be considered a religion, so the best word I have for it is a cult. Not a nefarious cult, but one nonetheless. Anyway, the community makes really beautiful and quality furniture, candles, and so on, so why wouldn’t it be any different with dogs?

When my family drove up to this particular community house, two girls in long sleeved smock dresses were sitting in the grass holding two puppies, which was weirdly picturesque. Tiptoeing around cultural differences and focusing on the puppies, my parents were able to pick a pup and whisk her off to a more secular lifestyle.

And as I write this, the nameless, little dog walks all over the couch next to me. We’re in our first 24 hours with her. She’s still just as cute as the first time I saw her despite the middle of the night fits that babies and puppies are prone to have. I love her already, and so does the rest of my family purely because she is adorable.  And the best part is that I didn’t know that I would come home to something so cute that it makes my heart hurt.

For how American this whole post sounds (family, Golden Retrievers, Independence Day), I feel obligated to mention that we’re currently watching Wimbledon. The irony is lost on the little, nameless dog.

Leslie Michaels is currently a Level 3 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She spends her spare time riding her bicycle, playing Ultimate Frisbee, or hanging out with her boyfriend, Netflix. She still questions whether she’s a dog person or a cat person.

What We're Loving: .Gif Stories, Street Music, Heart-Breaking Car Rides, French Crime Novels

Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison travels the information superhighway, Amanda Hahn pines for Europe, Jonda Robinson dances in her car, and Ryan Callahan revisits a description of violence.  imagesYou guys and gals should check out the popular world wide website named http://www.reddit.com.  If you’re unfamiliar with it, please start here.

Reddit is comprised of many popular subreddits (Communities) that normal, well adjusted people would enjoy.  There are also less popular subreddits that cater to internet weirdos that believe sitting on balloons to be sex.  One of the pages that falls somewhere in the middle is r/behindthegifs. And this week that page is, let’s all say it at the same time, WHAT I’M LOVIN’ [Insert raucous cheering].

.Gifs are tiny moving pictures that look grainy and normally involve a dog (This is the world champion).  Part of the appeal of a good .gif is that there is no context.  A funny video is chopped down to like four seconds, sound is eliminated, and it never stops.  r/behindthegifs takes the best abrupt clips and adds an absurd backstory.

You should check out the entire subreddit, but here are some of my favorites that I’ve discovered so far.

There are a trillion great ones, so please check out the subreddit and comment with your favorites.  Let’s create a community of people appreciating this internet community! - David Allison

800_370I love street musicians. I love walking through a park and hearing an acoustic guitar in the distance. On the rare occasion I take public transportation, I love waiting at the stop with a sultry singer banging out a rendition of Summertime. It’s something I rarely hear in Dallas. I hadn’t noticed the lack of street music here until I recently traveled to a popular world continent named Europe. If you’re unfamiliar with it, start here.

Almost every time I stepped out of anywhere to go from point A to point B, I would bump into one or more people performing. Performances ranged from one man and a guitar to a band of young drummers. They’re not always the most talented people, but it’s heartwarming to watch someone do something that they love to do. The only times I can think of that I have thought to myself, “I wish I loved anything as much as that person loves doing what they’re doing” have been when watching someone sing or play an instrument. Street musicians allow me to get up-close and really watch them love what they’re doing. I put some of the musicians I enjoyed watching the most in a playlist that I watch whenever I miss eating gelato and people watching on the steps of an old cathedral.

But this doesn’t have to be something that I miss! Or that any of us miss! So this week, I am putting out a call to action. Musicians of Dallas: Take to the streets! Find a park, find a bench, find a tunnel, an alleyway, a corner, a roof – wherever! Play for us. Please. Play a little soundtrack for our lives. Let us watch you do what you love. We’ll love you even more for it. - Amanda Hahn

17JasonIsbell37This summer has found me spending a good amount of time in my car, traveling here and there. My favorite thing to do while driving is put on some good music, sing along at the top of my lungs, and, when the song calls for it, do just enough car dancing to make other drivers wish they were having as much fun. Lately I’ve had a variety of artists riding shotgun, from Loretta Lynn telling me that I’m not woman enough to take her man (she’s right; I’m not) to Vampire Weekend asking who really cares about an Oxford comma (I do, guys! Use it!). One artist who I keep returning to, though, is Jason Isbell and his album Southeastern. With today’s music, it’s usually hard for me to find an album that I enjoy from beginning to end, but Isbell’s stands out because it’s consistently good. It’s got an Americana/Country sound to it, and it showcases his ability as a songwriter. My hands-down favorite song on the album is “Elephant.” I highly recommend you give it a listen, but I’m also giving you a warning: It’s heavy, it’s haunting, and it’s a heart-breakingly beautiful ride. “Traveling Alone,” “Cover Me Up,” and “Different Days” are some of my favorites as well, and “Super 8” is a fun, upbeat track. Overall, Isbell’s weighty lyrics and stories have been just the break I needed from the sugary summer anthems that radio stations have on heavy rotation.

Next time you’re roadtripping or just stuck in traffic, I highly recommend you crank up whatever your current jam is, sing it like you mean it, and car dance like no one is watching. But trust me, other drivers will be watching--and they’ll be wishing they were half as cool as you. - Jonda Robinson

productimage-picture-the-mad-and-the-bad-376As I've mentioned once or twice, I'm a big fan of crime novels.  This week I dove into the works of French crime novelist Jean-Patrick Manchette.  I was introduced to Manchette thanks to the New York Review Books Classic series. His first solo crime novel, The Mad and the Bad was the July selection for the NYRB Classics subscription series. The novel tells the tale of a immoral industrialist, the mentally unstable woman he hires to babysit his nephew, and the professional hit man  he hires to murder them both. I devoured the novel in two sittings. Not the most impressive feat; the book runs about 150 pages.

After reading The Mad and the Bad, I tore through two other Manchette books: Fatale, the story of a cold-blooded  blackmailer and murderess who grows tired of her lifestyle, and The Prone Gunman, about a CIA hit man and his disastrous attempt to return Gatsby-like to his hometown and reclaim his long lost love. Like The Mad and the Bad, both novels are short and well worth your time.

I consider Manchette a kindred spirit with American crime master Jim Thompson (The Killer Inside Me, The Grifters). Both write with  a lean, straightforward style that perfectly captures the pitch black comedy of their borderline absurd situations. Manchette's characters are broken people doing bad things, unable and unwilling to stop themselves. Like all great noir, his characters are on a one way journey to the abyss, and they have a sense of humor about their fate.

Manchette's terse, propulsive style creates some of the finest action sequences I have ever read. There is one particularly impressive sequence in The Mad and the Bad. A confrontation in a department store leads to some impromptu arson leads to a bloody shootout in the street. I found myself rereading the passage over and over again.

Reading those Manchette books had me so jazzed, so in love with the possibilities of the crime novel. It is my favorite genre, by far. After finishing those books, I found myself stuck on what to read next. Ultimately I settled on tackling an author I have long neglected, Raymond Chandler. You can expect to read more about him next week. - Ryan Callahan

The Dog Blog

Today's one of those days where you're excited for the first hour, then bored for the rest of them. So we've reached out to some DCH friends and family and asked for some guest blog submissions. Our first guest blog comes from Tessa, the dog:   

"When I looked out my apartment window this morning and saw ice, I knew there was trouble looming.

Ice on the roads and dangerous driving conditions mean two things for a dog like me: shorter walks, and my owner staying home from work.

My human is an “improviser.” My understanding of this is that this is supposed to make her funny and witty. Apparently, other humans pay money sometimes to watch her perform something that has neither been rehearsed nor discussed prior to the performance. Why humans would pay for this is beyond me. But I digress…

That other humans think my human is funny is an equally quizzical concept for my canine cranium. Over the years, I’ve collected some case studies on things my human does that she thinks are hilarious, but I fail to find the humor in them:

tessadog

1)   Putting things on my head: My human loves to put different things on my head and giggles wildly as she fumbles for her phone to snap a picture. Why do people like to see pictures of me wearing glasses? Why does the world need to see me in a Santa hat? I’m un-amused.

2)   Making weird noises with her mouth: Sometimes I can barely make out the words through her mumblings and “accents.” Why does she think it is necessary to talk to me in a British accent in the morning? Lady, you’re not fooling anyone and I’m pretty sure your accent does not exist in any part of the world but your own mind. Yet – when friends come over, they also speak in weird accents at times and then laugh and laugh about how funny they sound. Here’s a note: You don’t sound funny.

3)   Dancing with “Jazz Hands” and a “funny face”: I’ve seen this dance for years now. Open mouth. Spread out fingers. Lots of shoulders. If I was a human and could dance, I would never make such a mockery of a beautiful art form.   Why your silly dancing entertains others is beyond me. I would much prefer an afternoon at the ballet.

4)   Saying, “SQUIRREL!”: Why does my human taunt me by falsely claiming a rodent is runny wildly through our neighborhood streets? My best guess is that she enjoys my panic. I’m sorry: I care about keeping the neighborhood safe. I take my work very seriously. Yes – I will run adorably through the back and attempt to climb a tree, only to discover you have lied. Lies are not funny, human.

5)   Telling others about my sleeping habits: What if I were to tell you that my human drools ever so slightly, moves her leg like she’s chasing something spectacular, and mumbles words in her sleep? Or that while we are watching the evening news, she occasionally lets out a little bit of  smelly gas? Would you think it was adorable and funny? I would think not. So why is it funny to her and the world when I do it? I should hope you, reader, are more sophisticated than that.

This is just scraping the surface of the ice.

If I make it through the day without an embarrassing photograph being snapped,  or witnessing something else “funny,” it will be a true Christmas miracle.

With gratitude for your support during this difficult time,

Tessa

*Tessa's human is Maggie Rieth, and she teaches and performs at DCH most weekends.