katy perry

Put a Little Care in Your ‘Oke

Cesar Bearded Buddies I’m not exactly what I would personally describe as “shy” but I am pretty anxious, awkward, all that and yes, you know this by now, I’ve covered it. Don’t worry, that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. What I do want to talk about, though, is how much I love watching and experiencing what being on a stage brings out of a person.

I can imagine that the idea of being on stage, in front of a crowd, is completely paralyzing to some, and that’s perfectly understandable and valid. But, to others, simply by stepping foot on stage, you’re able to meet an entirely new and different person that you didn’t know existed.

Comedy in all of its forms will tell you a lot about someone. Comedy can be rather therapeutic. Let’s be honest, if I’ve been mad at you in a scene for being lazy, dirty, unmotivated, or anything of that sort, it was likely genuine anger inspired by an ex-boyfriend. Comedy can allow a person to come out of her shell, show an audience who she knows she's capable of being, but were maybe too afraid to show to others. If you pay close attention, there’s a good chance that you’ll get a glimpse into a person’s very real life through comedy. Under those lights, it’s your opportunity to show the world what you can do. I don’t say that to add any pressure, I say that to only reinforce what a glorious moment being on stage really is.

Aside from improv or stand-up, though, I think that maybe one of the most telling forms of the performing arts is most certainly karaoke. Why? It’s everyone’s chance to prove that they’re actually a rock star. No longer are you a teacher, a copywriter, a photographer, a social media manager, a historic arms and armor dealer (I’m naming actual careers of my actual, very diverse friends), you’re now Katy Perry, Patsy Cline, or maybe even Lionel Richie, whether you sound anything like them or not.

At the most recent Bearded Brothers Karaoke, I made sure to take the stage with others. I did this, not only because it’s sometimes more fun, but because, for whatever reason, in my head, which has a tendency to blow things out of proportion, doing karaoke at Dallas Comedy House (DCH), in front of the many talents I witness on a weekly basis, was just too much to tackle all on my own. It was a night of memorable performances, though, and what actually inspired this blog post. That night, I believe we all met the real DCH student Shawn Meyer through his most epic, “Wind Beneath My Wings.”

Portlandia

For the purposes of full disclosure, you should know that if I am performing alone, I’m THAT person about karaoke. I may as well be Dave and Kath from Portlandia, taking voice lessons to perfect their rendition of “You Can Call Me Al.” I pick songs based on whether or not I know I can nail them. I take having a microphone in my hand way too seriously.

And, then there’s a thing called Punk Rock Karaoke. You pick a song, you sing that song, they’re your actual backing band. There aren’t monitors with the words, nothing to indicate when you’re to come in, just a real band and its support. There are two very different versions of Punk Rock Karaoke but the one I have performed with, in my eyes, is the only one that matters. They’re a touring act featuring members of many of my eighth-grade favorites (OK, maybe, I still listen to most of them), including Eric Melvin of NOFX. The chance I had to be on stage with him was the only time I’ve ever taken a karaoke risk like, signing up for a song that I really didn’t know that well. You better believe, though, that I wasn’t letting this performance opportunity go to waste.

Megan karaokeI would become Brody Dalle (you can take a break here and head on over to Google) but not without the help of a bartender and listening to the song multiple times, alone in the bathroom of Prophet Bar to make sure I could handle the task.

I’m happy to say that it went pretty well but was ultimately fun and gave me what is, without a doubt, one of my favorite memories of the more recent past. The, at times quiet, reserved, sometimes bumbling, and often meek Megan Radke, became the no-nonsense, intimidating, rough around the edges queen from The Distillers.

Very, very long story short, harness the power of the stage and show the world (or at least the room) what a powerful presence you really are!

Megan Radke is currently a Level 4 student at DCH. She is a copywriter and social media manager by day and an essayist and mediocre musician by night. She is a constant consumer of books, music, film, and all things comedy. She is also great at racking up copious amounts of credit card debt with spur-of-the-moment travel.

#Ashtag Week #20: An Attempt to Gather Up the Year

Tis the season for end-of-the-year lists. I know we still have a few more weeks left of 2014, but this is week 20 of #Ashtag, which sounds like a strong, even number to do a "Top of the Year" list. Since we've only had 20 weeks of #Ashtag, that leaves 32 weeks un-turned. We could have, and most likely did, miss some significant pop culture. So this week, we will gather up the year's top Google searches, hashtags, music videos, and YouTube videos. Some of Google's top searches are divided into categories, such as Actors, Animals, and Athletes; the tops for those were Jennifer Lawrence, dog, and LeBron James, respectively. The categories get even more specific, like Chemical Elements, Business People, and DJ's; gold, Oprah, and Moby, respectively. Good for Moby, he beat out Skrillex and Deadmau5, who were both in the top 5 searches with him for DJ.

Ashtag 201

The top 5 list for Scientists were, in order from one to five: Stephen Wolfram, Albert Einstein, Jonas Salk, Thomas Jefferson, and Plato. Plato has a note next to his name stating that he is down two spots since last month. The list surprised me by having Wolfram as No. 1. The rest of the lists seem to have more mainstream number ones. Here is where I reveal that I'm not as brainy as you might believe. I don't think I've ever heard of Stephen Wolfram. After some research, I can tell you that he is known for his contributions to theoretical physics and once spoke as SXSW in Austin.

The top 5 list Space Objects, in order from 1 to 5, is Moon, Earth, Sun, Mars, and Pluto. Next to Pluto's name, it says up three from last month. Vengeance for No. 5, Plato! Pluto, Plato, both No. 5, you see what I did there. The No. 1 searched song on Google this year is "Happy Birthday to You." And with that, it is confirmed that I will not be learning much about pop culture with Google's searches of the year.

Ashtag 202

Two of the top hashtags of the year are #love and #beautiful. As sweet as that is, we won't be learning from that. So, we're moving onto the top music videos of the year. The No. 1 video this year is Katy Perry "Dark Horse ft Juicy J." I've heard this song many times, but I've never watched the video. Katy Perry reminds me of the villainess from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in this video. Or maybe it's the effects that bring me back to the Power Rangers. I'm not sure. There is a part where a fat suitor brings her Twinkies and Flaming Hot Cheetos. The Cheetos burn her tongue, and it upsets her. Boy, don't mess with magic. That's the lesson here.

Well, my attempt to soak up the year's pop culture in one week proved to be somewhat fruitless. I may dive into every best-of list that comes out in the next week and see what I learn that way. Oh, on another note, I am still lightly playing the Kardashian game. I have the option to buy my own private jet, but it would require spending real life money. #aintgonnahappenkim

Ashley Bright is a writer/performer at Dallas Comedy House. She’s a graduate of and an instructor for the DCH Improv Training Program. You can see her perform every weekend at Dallas Comedy House.

#Ashtag Week 6: I Still Know Nothing

This week I'm continuing my foray into the world of today's popular culture. MTV aired their annual video music awards, the VMAs, over the weekend. I do not have cable, so I didn't watch them. Even in my teen years (my peak submersion into pop culture) I rarely watched the VMAs. Although, I did always tune in for the MTV Movie Awards. Who new MoonMans were still a thing?

I probably should have invaded the home of one of my cable-having friends so that I could have watched the awards show and did this piece some justice. Instead, we'll let the Internet fill me in on what happened. As it stands, most of the top searches relate to the VMAs. Blue Ivy, the toddler daughter of Jay-Z and Beyonce, apparently stole the show. Katy Perry tweeted, “OMG BLUE IVY JUST PERSONALLY WAVED AT ME. MY LIFE IS OVER.” The three-piece family hugged and smooched on stage. The audience cooed.

Miley Cyrus won for "Wrecking Ball" and sent a homeless teenager up to accept on her behalf in an effort to raise awareness of youth homelessness, a la Marlon Brando sending the Apache woman up to accept his Oscar for the Godfather. By the by, I'm part Apache and the lady that accepted for Brando kind of looked like my mom in her youth. I just like telling people that I'm part Apache. It makes me feel cool. Alright, I'm moving on. Geronimo.

In reading up on the VMAs, I came across several names that I was not familiar with like Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, and Jessie J. I watched their videos and it turns out that I had heard the songs before. My next sentence is going to get me some dirty looks from folks, but it's the truth. When I had heard the Ed Sheeran song in passing, I thought it was a Justin Timberlake song. My bad.

The number of presenters and performers' names that I had never heard of outnumbered the names that I did recognize. There's a girl band out there named Fifth Harmony winning awards. Who knew? I made it 40 seconds through their video, "BO$$," before I turned it off. The lyrics "Michelle Obama, purse so heavy" were on a screechy repeat. I can only take so much, folks.

I do know of Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift, who were both heavily featured on the show. I read a recap describing Minaj's wardrobe malfunction as "dangerously close to revealing her upper and lower front." I'm not exactly sure why the term, "upper and lower front" made me giggle, but it did. Neither front was exposed because Nicki Minaj held her dress closed, while she sang... Rapped? I don't know.

This is actually way more clothing than we've come to expect from MTV. It's like they are Amish or something.

I haven't been able to find an actual video of it, but the reviews of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels' appearance all say it was incredibly awkward. The two were there to promote the upcoming sequel, "Dumb and Dumber To." Carrey fell off the stage doing a dance cracking a joke involving ebola. I hope we've all learned what happens when you make fun of ebola. You fall down. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

I've spent this entire week's #Ashtag recapping the VMAs, and I'm okay with it. In looking at pictures of the red carpet, presenters, and performers, I learned that I still know very close to nothing about today's youth and what they're digging. Honestly, there are entire television shows, music genres, and celebrities that I have absolutely never heard of. So, let's meet back here next week, so I can keep getting a little less ignorant. Or a little more, depending on your perspective.

As a special note because I know you care: I made it to the A-list and I bought that house in Miami I had my eye on. #kardashian:hollywood

Ashley Bright is a graduate of the Improv Training Program at DCH and a level 3 sketch writing student. She performs every weekend at DCH.