irony

What We're Loving - Days of Future Past

This week, in honor of the DCH Prom (get your tickets here), the What We're Loving Crew travels back to the bygone days of high school, and shares their memories of the pop culture that shaped them into the men and women they are today. conan-walker-lever-late-night-e1397435431476I attended senior prom in the spring of 2004 in Mansfield, TX. Now I understand that many of you view me as the peak of cool, which is fair as I’ve been known to sometimes receive comments on these blog posts, but dear reader, I haven’t always been like this. Back in high school, I was a staunch nerd who wore pleated pants and moved midway through my junior year. Basically, I didn’t have a ton of friends. In fact, I think it could be easily said that the person I spent the most time with during my senior year was Conan.

I wasn’t always familiar with the work of Conan O’Brien. I’ve always been more old man than child and didn’t often see the benefit of staying up past 9:00 pm. So when I first saw the ad on Comedy Central stating that the network was going to start to re-air Late Night with Conan O’Brien every morning, I didn’t know what to expect. At the same time though, I didn’t have much else going on, so I decided to give his show a shot and it quickly changed my life. Soon, I wasn’t just watching the morning re-run, but I was actually staying up until 11:30 to watch the original airing. That’s 11:30 PM! Don’t tell my parents.

I loved everything about Late Night with Conan O’Brien and in 2003-2004, he was knocking it out of the park on a nightly basis. This was the time that amazing improvisers that I’ve come to adore later in life, people like Jon Glaser and Kevin Dorff, were creating some of the most memorable bits and characters in the history of the program. The best example is the Walker, Texas Ranger lever, which still might be the funniest thing I’ve ever seen on a talk show. I remember watching Walker as a kid and being really confused as to whether I was supposed to take it seriously or laugh at it, and Conan’s show allowed me to view a dramatic show through a humorous lens. It sounds dumb, but I had never been given that sort of permission before I watched his show. Also, even though Conan was constantly poking fun at anything and everything, I never got the impression that his humor came from a mean place. The way his guests responded to him in each interview, you could tell he was well liked and respected. His ability to walk that line between laughing with someone and laughing at them is something that I still strive to accomplish.

Fun note: This past spring, I actually got the opportunity to see Conan O’Brien live when he came to Dallas. It was one of the coolest events I’ve ever attended because this man gave me something to look forward to each day when there weren’t many other reasons to wake up. And the way he went about earning those laughs on a nightly, or in some cases, morningly basis, was highly influential on the person I am and the person I continue to work towards being. I got a TON of things wrong when I was 17, but loving Conan was definitely something I got right. - David Allison

vimeo.com.Entertainment Tonight and Insider turn digital dreams into reality with Avid HD News solutions on VimeoEleven years feels like a lifetime ago, while simultaneously feeling like yesterday. I've heard that happens as you get older and the decades start zooming past you. Now I can agree with all of those fogies that time does speed up as you get older. I graduated high school on May 31, 2003, the day before my 18th birthday. And just a few weeks after my Senior Prom. That's a lot of coming of age milestones crammed into a pretty small window of time. I've spent the past few days really trying to step back into my younger self. What did I like? How did I think?

I liked a lot of things because I thought it was funny to like them more than liking them because I actually appreciated or enjoyed them. I know at some point I found a "Retro Dance" channel on the digital cable set of audio channels. I fell in love with the words "Retro Dance" as a genre of music . I did a persuasive speech in English class on the topic of Disco and its need to make a triumphant return. I don't think any of my friends or classmates actually believed I was into "Retro Dance", but I think I had my family going. My dad talked to me quite a bit about Donna Summer.

I had the Entertainment Tonight theme song as my ringtone on my Nokia. Yes, it was a midi. Was I a fervent fan of Entertainment Tonight? No. Was I even a mild fan of Entertainment Tonight? No. Did it crack me up when people would first have a look of "this sounds familiar" to "oh, I know what this is" to "why?"? Yes, it did.

Again for English class assignment, we had to bring an ornament for Christmas that meant something to us along with a quote, and present it to the class. Most everyone else had something meaningful: Bible quotes, a line from a Maya Angelou poem, or just something generally moving. I brought a McDonald's toy that was some sort of pink creature with a weird nose. I couldn't identify it. My quote, "I've always wondered what a lifetime supply of pudding looked like" was from the movie, Dude, Where's My Car? I thought it was a solid choice. Though if we can get real, I'm sure I was using this sort of wall of funny as a defense mechanism against exposing any honest feelings.

At some point in my twenties, I started to appreciate things for more than their ha ha, ironic value, and I daresay cultivate a deeper, more refined taste. But if I had need for a ringtone (I prefer my phone on silent), I would totally seek out Entertainment Theme song. In midi format. - Ashley Bright

Pulp_Fiction_coverThe year was 1995. I was a senior at small quaint Mt. Greylock Regional in Williamstown, Massachusetts. And I was in love with Pulp Fiction. My love affair with Quentin Tarantino’s second film began the previous summer. On a visit to NYU I picked up a copy of Film Comment and discovered that Pulp Fiction had won the Palm D’Or at Cannes. Being a fan of Reservoir Dogs, I was excited to hear about Tarantino’s next film. There was no real internet, no blogs back in 1995. I received all my movie news from television and magazines. Even before I saw a frame, Pulp Fiction became an obsession. Over the next few months, I gobbled up every morsel of Pulp info like a Big Kahuna burger. I read every article, tracked down the influences, watched Tarantino on Charlie Rose. As soon as the soundtrack came out, I bought it. My friends and I would listen to it in the car on the way to school every morning, trying to decipher as much as we could about the movie from the dialogue samples.

Finally, in October, the movie opened. I watched it Friday afternoon, right after school. I felt I knew so much about the movie that I wouldn’t be surprised. But I knew nothing. The parts I knew about – the watch monologue, Pumpkin and Honey Bunny in the diner, Zed’s death – were better than I imagined. And the parts I didn’t know about – Bret’s big brain, the adrenaline shot, the Wolf – were like nothing I had ever seen. A celebration of genres and stories and actors and cinematic moments, and everything worked. Everything but Tarantino’s performance as Jimmy. That naughty-naughty move he does with his fingers when Jules makes fun of the hand-me-down clothes makes me cringe every time.

I saw the movie again on Sunday. And again a week later. And again a few weeks after that. All told I saw Pulp Fiction six times in the theater. On my spring break trip that year, I laid in bed one night and started quoting the movie, word for word, from the beginning, while waiting for the room to stop spinning. I reached the cab conversation with Esmeralda Villa Lobos before I passed out.

There’s been a kind of revisionist history over the past fifteen years in regards to Tarantino’s oeuvre. Some people will say Jackie Brown is his best movie. For others it’s Inglorious Basterds. Django Unchained has its supporters. Those are all great movies, but Pulp Fiction is still the masterpiece. In the cinema of my lifetime there are two distinct phases: Before Pulp Fiction and After Pulp Fiction. The movie changed movies. To be there, to see it happen as it happened, that was truly special. – Ryan Callahan

imagesAh, prom season. The year was 2008. It was a simpler time when we were all "Bleeding Love" with Leona Lewis, getting "Low" (… low low low low low) with Flo Rida, and it was relevant, even humorous, to quote "My New Haircut" and "Unforgivable" through the high school hallways. I was loving all of those things along with my peers, but there was one thing I was very alone in loving. I was completely alone in being obsessed with the Australian comedy show, The Chaser’s War on Everything. The Chaser is an Australian comedy group, and this show was a satire of…well…everything. If you put The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Soup, and Candid Camera into a blender and mixed them all up, this show would appear in your glass when you poured it out, and it would taste damn good.

After everyone in my house went to bed, I would watch clip after clip on Youtube. It was just me, my dark bedroom, and Australian satire for hours. I couldn’t fully appreciate the jokes poking fun at their politicians, but I was completely on board at all of their merciless jokes at the expense of journalist Anna Coren and the rest of the Current Affairs/Today Tonight news team. Another part of the show I had no problems fully appreciating was Chaser member Andrew Hansen, my first internet-love. One segment he appeared in was "If Life Were A Musical." He and the other Chaser members broke out into song and dance directed at unsuspecting people on streets, in stores, and even once to The Veronicas. I was convinced he and I were perfect for each other, and I would imagine him singing songs to me and making me giggle. I haven’t thought about him in years, but writing this is bringing back so many old feelings. So...I think now is as good as time as any to make my move. Andrew Hansen, in the slim chance that you’re reading this: will you please go to DCH’s prom with me? I promise there will be singing and dancing and summer romancing. Come on. Make this girl’s high school dreams of come true. Just dance with/marry me already! See you Saturday! - Amanda Hahn

What We're Loving: Movies That Age Well, Adult Contemporary Television, Finding True Love, Chilly McFreeze Audio

imageEach Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison travels to childhood and back again, Ashley Bright cries at work, Amanda Hahn finds her husband, and Ryan Callahan has baffling expectations.  MV5BMTgzNzk3OTg2M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMTIyODc5._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_I’m a relatively sentimental person. Whether it’s looking at old Facebook photos or just finding smaller shirts that used to fit, I enjoy looking back at the past. But when it comes to movies, I rarely take the time to revisit films I used to love; I’ve been burned too many times. For example, did you know that Blues Brothers isn’t that good? I know you’ll say that it’s sacrilegious for me to say such a thing on a comedy website, but it’s kind of boring and doesn’t hold up. Hell, most movies don’t hold up because they were made for a certain era that’s now known as bygone. Recently though, I had a breakthrough. I found a film that I loved as a child and I continue to love as an adult. That movie is Drop Dead Gorgeous. Released in 1999, Drop Dead Gorgeous is a dark comedy about a teenage beauty pageant in Minnesota. If you haven’t seen it in a while (Or, heaven forbid, if you’ve never seen it) you probably don’t recall how deep the cast of characters for this film is. I love how many memorable performances there are in such a small movie. I mean, you could probably remember that Kirsten Dunst and Denise Richards are battling it out as likeable/unlikeable caricatures. But you need to revisit this film to rediscover the adorable/hilarious trailer park friendship Ellen Barkin/Alison Janney. You need to watch Will Sasso dangle from a car door. You need to watch Adam West host a pageant. You owe it to yourself. - David Allison

MV5BMjExNzA1ODMxMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjY4MjQ2OA@@._V1_SY317_CR15,0,214,317_AL_I like some neat things like Japanese metal, Bukowski, and zines. I've drank David Lynch coffee. I like Avon more than Stringer. I've bought speakers from a fella off Craigslist. I need you to remember this when I tell you about what I'm loving this week. It's not underground. You've likely heard of it. It's adult contemporary television on network TV, and I love it. I love the Braverman's. Every week, I sit at my desk and cry at least once while watching (mostly just listening to) Parenthood. This week I teared up three times. Three separate times at my desk. At work. In front of other people. Listen. I'm not ashamed. It's a great show. It's a bit hokey at times and you'll feel things, but it's great. I want to be Camille Braverman when I'm in my twilight years and have a backyard just like that. Lord, bring me a Zeke Braverman to marry when I grow up. You'll laugh when watching it. You'll become invested in the characters. And that's the thing with this show, it's lead by the characters and not the plot. I started watching it as a brain rinse after watching Breaking Bad. I'd watch one or two episodes of each. I got hooked. There's some actors from HBO lining the cast if that gets you going: Peter Krause from Six Feet Under and Wallace from The Wire popped up in a few episodes in season two. Sure, it gets sappy and hits topics like cancer and having a child with autism. But its set in Berkeley and there's some pot smoking, that's cool, right? Most seasons are available on your streaming service of choice. Watch it and let's you and I chit chat about some family drama. - Ashley Bright

WWL HahnEveryone, I’m glad I have your attention. This is a very special “What We’re Loving” post for me. Today, I would like to introduce you all to my future husband, Bridger Winegar. He’s worked as an intern and production assistant for The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and he’s the most consistently funniest person I’ve ever internet-stalked. So…no, I’ve never met him, but I know he is my one true love. Everything he has ever said or posted on any medium has made me laugh. Since it’s no longer 2010, I know it’s strange to still be obsessed with someone’s Twitter feed. But you guys, I’m obsessed with his Twitter feed right down to his bio. It says nothing but “Here we are on our third date,” and it tickles me to my core. If you ever see me spacing out or there is a lull in our conversation, there is a 95% chance that that sentence is running through my head. His weirdness is so creative, and he’s bold with his moves. The strange things you daydream of doing or posting, but never follow through on, he’ll do. His Pinterest boards are a perfect example. They make me cry from laughter. There’s an entire board with nothing but George Lucas’s neck. Another is devoted to pictures of his knee. If you decide to check out any others, be sure to take a peek at his Amazing Vocalists board. He’s goofy, strange, and delightful. I have no idea what he’s currently working on or doing, but he deserves more fame, and I’m making it my life goal to spread the word about him. So if you’re in the mood to meet someone that will make you think, “Wait what why?!” Bridger Winegar is your guy. But back off, ladies. This psycho is mine. - Amanda Hahn

steveaustinshow300x300Recently, a few people who would know recommended the The Steve Austin Show, the podcast with former pro-wrestler and current direct-to-video action star "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Even though "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (henceforth abbreviated as SCSA) was the man who brought me back to the pro-wrestling fold after a long hiatus in the 90's, I hesitated to listen to his podcast for the same reason I hesitate listening to any podcast. Most are bad. They feature people who either pepper each sentence with a string of words such as "um" and "like" and "you know" (the vast majority of wrestling podcasts) or who try so hard to be funny that you can feel the flop sweat drip through your headphones (the vast majority of comedy podcasts). Well, it turns out that SCSA, one of the greatest promo guys in the history of the wrestling business, is really good at talking into a microphone. I have no idea why I expected anything different, except for the fact that I am an idiot. The Steve Austin Show is an entertaining listen, and not only during the interview portion when SCSA talks with guests like Paul Heyman and Dave Meltzer and William Regal about the wrestling business, but also during the opening section, when SCSA talks about what's going on in his life and what's going on in his head. Traditionally, this is the section of the podcast I skip. But not on this show. SCSA has the most important quality any entertainer can have: sincerity. I'll put up with a lot of things: self-pity, ignorance, foolishness. But if I think you're being disengenuous, if I think I'm being fed a line, I'll tune out. When SCSA speaks I believe he means what he says. Which probably makes me a mark. But at least I'm a mark with something to listen to when I'm driving. - Ryan Callahan