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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 grits...er, 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

What We're Loving: Apologies, Honesty, Logging Towns, Not Using Your Hands

Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison makes up with an old friend, Jonda Robinson might be the voice of her generation, Molly Jakkamsetti sleeps with the lights on, and Ryan Callahan catches an international disease. WEEZER-2014Imagine one of your favorite friends. Got one? Ok, good.

Now, imagine that you first became friends like 15-20 years ago. You used to hang out all the time, you’d introduce them to your friends, you two were inseparable. It seemed like they just got you. Still there?

Next, picture that like ten years ago, this friend started acting really weird. They began to hang out with a different crowd, acted differently, and just seemed like they were more interested in their new friends than you. Imagine that feeling of weirdness, of betrayal.

Lastly, visualize this friend showing up this week, back to being the cool friend that you remember from twenty years ago. HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE? Years after you’d written them out of your life, because of choices they made, they came back with something that said they’re sorry and that they understand the mistakes they’ve made. Not only would you be able to enjoy their current company, but you’d be able to look back on all of the other memories you shared over the years in a completely different light.

This is my relationship with Weezer. If your story with them is anything like what I’ve just described, then you should check out their new album Everything Will Be Alright In The End. It’s not Pinkerton or Blue, but it’s still really good, mainly because Rivers Cuomo spends the first half of the album apologizing. Don’t believe me? Start with “Back to the Shack” and enjoy them again. - David Allison

urlIf I’m being honest, the thing I’ve been loving since we stepped into the month of October is candy corn. I can’t explain it, especially considering all the other superior Halloween candies out there (shout out to Reese’s Pumpkins), but those tri-colored triangles have become my drug of choice lately, and my local Walgreens is my dealer. I don’t want to make this whole thing about candy, though, so I’ll tell you about the book I’ve been reading while feeding my addiction this week, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl.

The book is a work of nonfiction consisting of essays Dunham’s written about different areas of her life in an effort to “tell you what she’s ‘learned,’” as the tagline reads. While I’m not a fan of everything she does, I respect her work, and I’m slightly fascinated by the fact that we are so similar. For example: she was born in 1986, and so was I; she created, writes, and stars in her own popular show on HBO, Girls, while I created a Tumblr where I post my own stories that are popular with my best friend; she is dating Jack Antonoff, lead guitarist for Fun., and I have listened to Fun. on more than one occasion. I know, right--it’s crazy!

Lena brings the same raw honesty to her book that she incorporates into her work on Girls, so if you’re a fan of the series you’ll enjoy her essays. While in life she may have always been scared of everything (see her essay entitled “Therapy & Me”), in her writing and performing she comes across as unafraid and unapologetic for who she is and the the things she has to share. I appreciate that about her, and I thank her for inspiring me to give myself permission to do the same. - Jonda Robinson

638cde9b3752a092c559747fcf184a27Twin Peaks is coming back, and I’m not talking about the Hooters-rip off restaurant! Can you tell I’m excited?! I remember watching the original, yes in 1990. Boy was I a fan. I bought the Secret Diary of Laura Palmer. I had the soundtrack on a cassette tape. I even tried to tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue (that’s from season one). I was all in.

I liked the goofy characters, especially FBI special Agent Dale Cooper, played by Kyle Machlachlan. Something about his straight laced persona offset by his weird fascination with coffee and jelly donuts… oh I’m sorry what was I talking about? Oh yes, the show, of course. I can’t talk about it without a minor spoiler alert- the evil Killer BOB. (If you have to ask why he is called Killer Bob, well that’s the spoiler). That character still freaks me out. There is one scene where he just sits at the edge of Laura’s bed, doesn’t say anything, he just sits there. DAMN! Now I have to sleep with the lights on.

There’s an argument to be made that I only liked the show because I was a moody teenager who felt like “no one understands me and I want to live in this imaginary world in the Pacific Northwest with dancing midgets.” Yeah, that could be true. To test this theory I went back and rewatched the pilot, and I can report my adult self enjoyed it. It’s a nighttime soap opera for sure, with people cheating on their spouses and trying to screw over business rivals. But with a cop crying at the crime scene and a lady wearing an eyepatch, yelling about hanging drapes, I laughed at the weirdness of it all. I hope the new episodes on Showtime live up to the hype. Mark Frost and David Lynch, I’m thrilled to see what you produce. - Molly Jakkamsetti

Unnews_soccer_virusI have a confession to make. Over the summer I was exposed to a virus from a foreign land. The past few months the virus has grown stronger, as have the symptoms: increased heart rate, sore throat, and chills. Now the virus has taken over. I am highly contagious, and find myself unable to leave the house. Obviously the virus I'm talking about is soccer fever. Did you think I was talking about Ebola? Seriously? It would be in rather poor taste to make Ebola jokes in this town at this time. People are dying.

Unlike Ebola, soccer fever has never killed anyone, as far as I know. (Full disclosure: I've only been paying attention to soccer for a few months. My knowledge is limited.) It has, however, led to the occasional drunken fistful or brawl or riot. Luckily, I watch soccer alone, or with my cat. And she's very small and easily beaten in a fight.

Soccer fever tends to strike me every four years, coincidentally in the months during and immediately after the World Cup. The symptoms usually fade by football season, but this year, thanks to gross administrative incompetence and my dawning realization that men who make millions of dollars to commit violence might not limit that violence to the playing field, I can't have any fun watching the NFL. So soccer it is.

Fun fact: in the rest of the world, what we call "soccer" is called "football."

Follow up fun fact: If you did not know that already, you are too young to read this grown up comedy website.

Thanks to NBC Sports and beIN sports, I'm able to watch or stream many games from the Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A. Apparently these are very important leagues, each with their own stars, styles, and rivalries. As a novice, I really don't know what's going on half the time. I just know that I like watching the pretty goals, and the game doesn't stop every three minutes because someone has a serious head injury. - Ryan Callahan

Well, It Was Nice Knowin' Ya, World!

New York Fashion Week models show off Chanel’s new contamination prevention Ready-to-Wear collection in preparation for the Ebola apocalypse When I first became aware of the existence of the Ebola virus a couple of years ago, my first thought was, “Oh, whaaaat, damn I’m glad that’s not a thing in the United States, that would SUUUUUCK.” Now, let’s skip the part where I acknowledge the slightly sociopathic nature of that thought process and go right to the part where we all realize that, oh sweet baby Jesus, yes, it’s probably coming to the States like any day now.

For those of you who have been living under a rock, Ebola is the virus that, with a fatality rate of over 97% in some strains, has broken out on a massive scale in West Africa and killed over 670 people as of last week. Its symptoms include headache, sudden fever, intense weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney and liver failure, oh, and your average run-of-the-mill BLEEDING OUT OF EVERY ORIFICE. Commence Panic Mode: Now. And please stay under your rocks, your uninfected bodies may be our only chance at repopulating the Earth once the rest of us are wiped out.

Now, I’m sure there are some of you out there thinking, “But, Sarah. Stahhp it. Ebola is only spread by contact with the bodily fluids of those infected! We’re so medically advanced, come on. There’s no way our hospitals would let that spread around here.” To which I say, “You’re right! If we’re only talking about the strain going around right now. But what about the one that’s airborne and would almost certainly lead to the end of the human race?” To which you say, “Okaaay, but that one can’t even be spread to humans..” to which I say, “YET!” I’m sure by now my watertight logic has convinced you that we are up against the imminent collapse of society and certain, painful death. Good! We’re on the same page. That is.. if we don’t all go missing in mysterious plane accidents or contract the Bubonic Plague first. Ebola or the Black Death? This is one particularly messed up game of Would You Rather I never thought I’d have to play.

Ring around the Rosie is all fun and games until someone gets the Black Plague.

To anyone with half a brain (which will surely be eaten soon by bubo-covered zombies or maybe aliens I’m not gonna make any assumptions here), it’s pretty clear that this is the end of the world, not only as we know it, but period. Since I, for one, am ready to accept my impending doom, I’ve decided to compile a list of all the things I want to do before I die. A deathbed bucket list, if you will. Like that Tim McGraw song, only not horrible. 1. Sell everything I own. Like in the Game of Life when you retire and cash in all your LIFE tiles, because no one knows what the hell else you’re supposed to do at the end of that game. 2. Smuggle drug money over international borders a la Piper Kerman. 3. Get sent to women’s prison. 4. Try prison hooch. 5. Become the leader of the secret prison hooch operation and make a small fortune. 6. Sacrifice said fortune to the aliens who have come to scavenge our planet for any useful resources, having gotten word of our species’ inevitable destruction. 7. Live a full and happy life as an intergalactic nomad with my new friends from the Planet Zorg.

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!