friendship

What We're Loving Year-End Spectacular (Part Two)

We've loved many things this year - books, movies, tv shows, websites, people - but these things we loved the A-Number One Best. U-Talkin-U2-to-Me-HiIn 2014, my favorite thing in comedy was the Dallas Comedy House. No doubt about it. But since this blog belongs to them, it would make me feel like a total sell out if I just wrote about how much I love that place. AND I’M NOT A SELL OUT. I streamed a Dead Kennedy’s album this week!

What I’ve loved this year more than anything else has been the Earwolf podcast U Talkin’ U2 To Me? Somehow, I didn’t write about this show once in any of my fifty (I’m the Takashi Miike of What We’re Loving) entries into this blog in 2014. That changes today.

U Talkin’ U2 To Me? is a podcast with a simple premise; Scott (Aukerman of Comedy Bang Bang) and Scott (Adam Scott of Parks & Rec and Party Down) sit down to discuss the work of the band U2. Originally, they were going to record the show for a month or two in advance of the release of the 2014 U2 album, but when it was delayed for months they decided to keep recording. And they created some of my favorite audio I’ve ever heard.

The lesson that I’ve drawn from U Talkin’ U2 To Me? is something that I’m going to try and apply to my work even more in 2015. Their show is technically really bad. They don’t stay on point, they record in the middle of the night so they’re delusional, and with the work schedule that both of them have, they are usually exhausted. The thing that makes their show special is that you can tell they legitimately love what they’re doing. There are so many important elements to performance but they’re all pretty meaningless if you don’t have fun and enjoy it. This podcast reminded me of that and thus, was something that I truly loved this year. - David Allison

images2014 is almost over you guys! How excited are you to just end this mess and start fresh in 2015? Personally, this year has been crazy trying for me. Between family issues and life smacking the crap out of me; emotionally I am drained and January 1 cannot come fast enough. Despite it all though I’ve had some pretty fun experiences and learned some junk about myself.

So this post of “What We’re Loving in 2014” is completely about me. Yup! All me, me, me.

Growing up I was never much of talker. If I ever had to get serious about something I would just write it out in order to avoid the awkward conversation. Talking sucked. Back then writing came easy and that was my outlet. That was because I wasn't aware of the rules of writing. Honestly, I am still unaware of the rules of writing. I often joke around and ask real writers what an adverb or adjective is and I always get a good chuckle from it. But seriously, what are they? I have no clue. It is in my complete ignorance that I find myself most proud.

I didn’t start writing articles and blog pieces until this year because I was embarrassed by my lack of skill and knowledge. I just didn't want anyone to see me as not all that smart or funny. Mainly the latter. Don’t get me wrong, as a actor and a comic I’ve written plenty of things but they were and are more of a ramble than a structured piece. It wasn't until my friend DeAndre decided to start his own blog driven website that I considered writing. He asked all of my friend if we wanted to write and being the supportive person I am I said sure. Did I mention my lack of basic knowledge in the rules of writing? Well, after months of stalling and all my friends writing awesome pieces about various topics I bite the bullet and wrote a fun piece about Girl Meets World - that is sequel to Boy Meets World that follows Cory and Topanga’s daughter Riley. (By the way, the show is terrible. Save yourself and your childhood memories by not watching it) Needless to say I was extremely scared to submit that piece for fear of what the person editing my little article would say. In fact, below is the warning I placed at the beginnning of the article to absorb any potential judgement:

Hey so before you make this bleed with your red pen there are a couple things you should know. I am not a writer and I have no clue what I’m doing. I’m just a girl who is sometimes funny, hears voices in her head, and thinks it’d be interesting to write out the conversation they have. Please don’t jugde me too hard.

Yup. All that lovely insecurity came directly from me. Truth is I’m extremely insecure about everything. Why else would I want to be an actor? Submitting any sort of work for other to read or view is terrifying to me so the fact that I do this for a living is pretty scary. I don’t like talking to people after shows and I feel like I’m being a jerk imposing my thoughts and ideas on random strangers. In my heart of hearts and deep down in my cold cold heart I know that is not true but who listens to the voice of reason? Ultimately, I just want people to like me and the crazy things I have to say.

What I discovered that I love this year is my courage. Like I said, I’m terrified of everything and that one silly little article showed me that its okay actual try something and put yourself there. You see I don’t know what I’m doing and I okay with that. I think that is what makes this whole writing thing that much more fun. Since my Girl Meets World review, I’ve writing a bunch of stuff including some fun bloggy pieces for the world famous Dallas Comedy House. You may have heard of it. It’s important for me to mention a couple of things about my new found courage though

1) I will still never ride a rollercoaster. 2) Yes I’m still super insecure but at least now I can deal with it. 3) Make like Nike and Just Do it. You never know what you’re awesome at. 4) I still have no clue what an adjective is and I don’t care anymore either.

- Rachel Hall

20141125_RawGOTN_articleMy favorite thing about 2014 was Concessions Kane. I thought it was a funny idea and it made me laugh. - Mike Corbett

 

 

 

 

personalgrowthFor me, 2014 was a year of tremendous growth – of facing discomfort and stepping outside my comfort zone to grow as a person. There were plenty of tears, heartbreak, and misery in 2014 for me, as tends to the be case in life. However, there was even more laughter, joy and friendship throughout the year.

A lot of times we feel like growth has to come dramatically, from some stirring New Year's resolution to hit the gym for two  hours a day. We slink into feelings of failure when such grandiose dreams fail to come true. I’ve learned that it takes no such lofty ambitions to achieve great rewards. Seven years ago as a High School senior, I had to eat lunch in the bathroom because I was too terrified of people to actually sit in the Cafeteria. Even though I’ve come a long way, getting to know so many people at DCH was still a daunting task.

My growth came in small moments – sometimes doing something uncomfortable in improv and getting to know classmates and troupemates. More often, it came from deciding that I needed to hang around the bar at DCH and make myself talk to people, despite the utter discomfort and initial hours spent lurking in the corner trying to pretend I was texting someone on my phone. I would rather have gone home and played Assassin’s Creed from the comfort of my couch, but that wouldn’t help me grow as a person. So I stayed, endured the awkwardness, and somehow managed to not only feel comfortable around lots of people, but to make amazing friends and enjoy myself. I’m so thankful for the opportunities that were given to me, and I intend to make the most of them! I forced myself out there, and eventually....slowly....it paid off! – Ryan Vicksell

american-music-pop-music-collage-2014In the year 2014, I became a year older. My legs, my arms, my lungs, my brains, etc. all became a year older. That is no surprise, of course, but the one thing that is really shocking is that my musical taste in 2014 became much younger. So, what happened? Well, if you are like me, then the music that you were loving in 2014 was fresh and alive and brimming with……youth!

This is the year that Lenny Kravitz released a CD that never charted in the US, Green Day put out a collection of “greatest hits” that no one wanted, and U2 gave every iTunes customer a free album, which we promptly complained about and deleted from our libraries. Instead we bowed at the throne of Lorde, tickled our “Fancy” with Iggy Azalea, and were “All About That Bass” with Meghan Trainor. I literally own sweatshirts older that all of them, yet they have somehow managed to craft music that is sticking with me far better than many of the heroes of my past these days. Heck, the band whose sound that I am crushing hard on right now are the “Cool Kids” of Echosmith…….and two of them are still in HIGH SCHOOL!

It took a little getting used to, especially when I attended The Neighborhood’s show this summer and realized that I could possibly be the oldest person in attendance not chaperoning a child. Slowly but surely this year’s catchy hooks infiltrate your brain, however, and eventually grab a hold of your heart. American Authors are there to make sure I have the “Best Day of My Life. “I Wanna Get Better” thanks to Bleachers and Fall Out Boy inspires me to rise like “The Phoenix” and aspire to be known for “Centuries”. Suddenly those old limbs seem revived and able to run longer when attached to an iPod full of 2014’s glorious earworms.

I don’t know what 2015 has in store, but if it sounds anything like 2014, then I am all ears. - Glen Smith

1505644_10152390427495350_581480141263445905_nReview on Comedy Central was the best TV show I saw all year, Guardians of the Galaxy was the best movie, and Raymond Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely was my favorite read of the year, but the one thing I love over and above everything else was the Dallas Comedy House. I'm not afraid to be a sell out.

I started taking classes here at DCH in October of last year. A year ago around this time I had my Level One Showcase with a little group known as Canadian Tuxedo. Never in my life has I felt such joy. I came to DCH expecting to find a whole bunch of comedy nerds who were bitter and judgmental and mocked me for being so sweaty. Instead I found a whole bunch of cool people who were creative and fun and welcoming. Over the past year I moved through the levels of improv and sketch, joined a few improv troupes, collaborated on some sketch shows, and made some of the best friends I've ever had. For the first time in a long time I found a place were I felt like I belonged. For the first time in a long time I found a place where I could be myself.

The past few months took me away from Dallas and way from the Comedy House. I miss it every day. Right now I'm working at what is essentially my dream job. There's no way I would be here if not for DCH. There's no way I get this job without saying "Yes, and" to life. There's no way I can even do this job without the ability to dive into writing a scene or a sketch and write improvisationally. My 2014 was spent largely at DCH. I was creatively transformed; rebuilt and made better, as a writer, as a performer, and as a person.

Thanks to everyone at DCH who made this past year so wonderful. I'd thank people by name, and highlight their awesomeness, but I'd inevitably leave someone out and Mike Maiella would get mad at me. (In this scenario, Mike is the one I leave out. And we all know how he gets when he's riled up.) But I really couldn't end this without saying to the assembled members of Canadian Tuxedo, Johnny Soso, H.A.M.F.I.S.T., Chili's to Go, our Level Five Class Whose Troupe Name I Forgot, Finale, Primary Colours, Duck Duck Pants, Awkward Silence, Neapolitan, Sketch One, Sketch Two, Charles Dicken's Great! Expectations, and the assembled cast and crew of The Investment, The Theft, and Boost!, I love you all and miss you all so much. - Ryan Callahan

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

What We're Loving: Scene-Breaking Rap, Sweating Out Our Perms, The Greatest Movie Poster Ever

028_heart-free-vector-lEach Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison gives you a chance to make amends, Julia Cotton annoys her beautician, and Ryan Callahan loses a battle, but wins a war. 

I love alliteration!  In celebration of that fact, I’m creating “Movie Soundtrack March” to showcase great comedy soundtracks that go underappreciated.  The only rule for my weekly pick is that the soundtrack has to mostly be comprised of original music.  

Sometimes, something so important happens it causes you to reevaluate things.  The sheer magnitude of the event forces you to view life through a different lens.  Occasionally, it even demands that you slightly modify the random theme for your once a week blog post.  I know that I’m supposed to focus on movie soundtracks this month, but there was a musical moment in one of television’s best comedies that cannot be ignored.  I tried to stay on track, but there’s no stopping the power of the Dean’s rap on the latest episode of Community.

I know you know what I’m talking about.  If you don’t, then I hate you and the only way you can win back my affection is by putting this 1:11 clip on repeat for the next 72 hours.  I can’t quite pin down exactly why the rap is so funny.  Perhaps because it’s so well written.  Maybe it’s because the man portraying Dean Pelton, Jim Rash, is a proven talent and an Oscar winner.  Who knows, it might be due to the fact that a tiny white man is rapping hard while dressed as a candy bar.  No one will ever know, but it’s impossible to ignore that this clip is the best thing on tv ever.  Still don’t believe me?  Well check out exhibit D, a .gif of Gillian Jacobs, A PROFESSIONAL ACTRESS, barely keeping it together.  It's that funny. - David Allison 

14517_10152631209974056_1575422524_nAin’t no party like a DCH party cuz a DCH party don’t stop!

As much as I love watching and performing in shows, I have the most fun at DCH when performances are done.  There’s bountiful drinking, dancing and singing with abandon, and blatant, unapologetic sweating.  That is a sign of a good time.

I didn’t party much in high school.  I spent my time studying because I understood the importance of education. No. I didn’t get invited to many parties and studying just became a way to pass the time.  That is also a lie.  I didn’t study as much as I figured out different ways to enjoy cheese (best way: just get a plate of shredded Colby Jack & Cheddar and melt that bad boy in the microwave.  Don’t even need the tortilla chips.)

 College parties were still mostly a drag.  I usually went with girls who just wanted to be seen.  They’d spend tons of money on outfits and grooming.  We were always ridiculously late because no one really knew what time “fashionable” really was.  And when we got there, no one wanted to move, because, ‘Do you know how much it took to put this look together?’ - ‘No, but do you know how much cheese I gave up to put this outfit on?’ So, there we were, a group of girls prepared to star in Jay Zs Big Pimpin’ video, just posted in a corner.

 After college… well, I had kids, so parties were few and far between.  Still, I dreamed of a time when I could be amongst people who just wanted to have fun with me.  Like real fun.  Like, I-got-my-hair-did-but-I-fully-intend-on-sweating-out-this-perm-before-the-night-is-over, fun.  That time has come a many a night at DCH.

With the Dallas Comedy Festival this week, it is a party everyday.  I had the pleasure of performing with Dairy Based on Thursday night. Still, I know the best night will be the last day of the festival, when all of the performances are done, the music is blaring and my beautician is annoyed at all of the Facebook pics showing that her work has been destroyed. - Julia Cotton 

IMG-20140321-00279As some of you may know, I moved into a new apartment a few weeks ago. Thanks to the move, I now have my own study, full of books on shelves and books in boxes and books on the floor and WWE action figures on top of bookshelves. Oh, there's also a desk, you know, in case I need to write something. This past week I finally got around to decorating. You see, there had been an ongoing debate between me and my girlfriend over the placement of my Japanese Tango & Cash poster.

Just so we’re clear, the poster is not an advertisement for some sort of Japanese knock-off of Tango & Cash starring Sonny Chiba and Takeshi Kitano, (although that movie would be awesome,) it’s the real thing, a poster for the 1989 action movie Tango & Cash IN JAPANESE. The whole poster is in Japanese, except for the word “Tango” the word “Cash” and the phrase “Let’s Do It!” which is apparently a catchphrase from the movie. I had no idea.

My girlfriend failed to appreciate the greatness of this poster and the greatness of Tango & Cash in general. You see Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell play two LA super cops who are framed by crime lord Jack Palance and sent to prison. One super cop is enough for me to drop everything, push old ladies out of the way, and run to the closest theater. Tango & Cash has TWO super cops. And one of them iss Kurt Russell of Big Trouble in Little China fame. And the other is Rambo Balboa. When they write the definitive history of the late 20th century, Tango & Cash will play a prominent role.

My girlfriend was moved by exactly none of my arguments. So instead of the Tango & Cash poster having place of honor in our living room, it now hangs in my study. Where it belongs. Let's do it! - Ryan Callahan