sketch comedy dallas

#Ashtag Week 7: The Fappening Photos Attached*

Thanks for joining me for another week of my pop culture education. As always, my learning comes by way of top Internet trends. The highest Google searches of this week are all about nudey pics. Jennifer Lawrence is the number 1 search followed by the names of several other female celebrities whose iCloud accounts were hacked. Hackers found a plethora of star nudity and posted it online. Folks got wind of the existence of naked pics and went on a searching spree. Number three of the top Google searches is the phrase, "the fappening", which is the clever name for the leak of all this nakedness. By the way, I already knew what "fap" meant, but I won't be explaining it to you. You can learn about it all by yourself. All by yourself. The most popular video on YouTube this week is "Little Boy Goes Off On His Mom For Getting Pregnant." He's adorable and he uses the word "exasperating." He brings up some solid logic like that babies cry and it is annoying. Sitting next to him in the backseat is his little sister who appears to be under two years old, so I understand his exasperation. Growing up, my sister repeatedly requested a little brother, which constantly upset me. I was the oldest of two daughters and wanted no more little siblings. My sister was enough. I wanted an older brother, but my parents would neither build a time machine or adopt one for me. At the end of this video, the kid resigns to the fact that a new baby is coming, but requests some earplugs. By request, I mean he says "buy me some earplugs." I like his style.

Another popular video on YouTube is "Apple Campus 2 construction video." I will admit that I fast forwarded through the 8 minute video. I'm not sure what is interesting about it. It appears to be an overhead view of a construction site. I'm sure I'm missing something. I wonder if the 1.5 million views consisted of people making it through the entire video without skipping any parts. Someone please tell me what I'm missing.

Last week the improv class that I have been a teacher's assistant for (a great group now in Level 5, check out their graduation show in about seven weeks) got me a book for #ashtag. The book is called Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture by Andy Cohen, a Bravo executive and a producer behind the Real Housewives chain of reality shows. It was a fast read. I did not learn much about today's current pop culture because most of it was about his obsession with soap operas and his start in production back in the early 90s. He met Susan Lucci. My favorite story in the book is when he got to hang out with Dan Rather, who sounds like a charming, manly fellow, but really #ashtag illuminating. It was interesting to read about someone who was in the biz and someone who cared so much about celebritydom. Maybe with some more #ashtag research under my belt, I'll care about it too.

The easiest, most non-informative but totally cool book you should read this week.

Since I learned last week that I am still very much out of the loop of pop music, I am forcing myself to watch the top music videos of the week. And let's be honest, as popular as the video may be, I won't be getting any hipper by watching videos of a construction site or a sassy little kid. So, I watched Drake's "Started From the Bottom (Explicit)." I had never heard this song before, so score one for education. I made it through about half of the song before I turned it off. Just so I don't sound like a complete hater, I'd like to say Rihanna's "Stay ft Mikky Ekko" and Justin Timberlake's "Suit and Tie ft Jay-Z" are also up at the top of this week's YouTube music video list and both of these songs are catchy and didn't make my ears annoyed.

I skimmed through the list of top music videos to find a name I was unfamiliar with and I found a video by David Guetta ft Sia. I've heard of neither of these people. The song is titled "She-Wolf." Listening to it, I had to assume that David Guetta does not provide lyrics, so I went over to Google to find out more. He is a French house DJ and music producer. He's been around for a long time; now I know.

I mean, let's be honest,...this is probably what my Punta Mita view would look like.

And for the update you've been waiting for all week: I'm still killing it on the A-list and I've bought my third home. This one's in Punta Mita, Mexico. #kardashianstillaintgotmy$butgotalottamytime

Ashley Bright is a writer/performer at Dallas Comedy House. She's a graduate of the DCH Improv Training Program and is currently a level 3 sketch writing student. 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. 

#Ashtag Week 5: Science and Simplicity

By Ashley Bright Welcome back to another week of #Ashtag, where I educate myself of all things trending online. This week, the Internet has been filled with some serious matters and actual news events. Let's not worry about such things here.

Not when there's a video titled "Tortoise vs Truck" topping the YouTube searches. This video contains 34 seconds of a small tortoise chasing a remote controlled truck. The little tortoise appears to be giving it its all in the chase; it really wants that truck. Sometimes life is just that simple. The tortoise just wants to catch the truck.

Another top video this week is titled "Jellyfish Stinging In MICROSCOPIC SLOW MOTION - Smarter Every Day 120." I'm leaving the capitalized words in the title because I am a purist. This video is not as simple as the tortoise vid because it contains words like, "nematocyst." I've never been stung by a jellyfish, but this video did interest me. Maybe the replica of a jellyfish made from a balloon did it for me. Or maybe it's because I feel relatively certain that I have the luck to get stung by a jellyfish, and that's it's just my lack of time in the sea that has kept it from happening so far. The video ends with a call-to-action from James Cook University looking for undergrad and grad students interested in helping to solve the mystery of the box jelly's cardiotoxin venom. Maybe some of the many scientists at DCH will heed that call? Actually, no, please don't move to Australia. I love you guys.

The number one video on YouTube this week is titled, "It's a Shoo-In for Bright Dike." I don't like this title. Mostly because my last name is Bright. But also because the title is wasted opportunity for a pun. The video contains a soccer player kicking his shoe off and into the goal instead of kicking the ball into the goal. Shoe-in, folks, not shoo-in. Also, sports. (This is where I blow a raspberry sound for my own amusement.)

The #ALSIcebucketchallenge has also ruled the Internet this week. I was aware of this because of Facebook. The challenge consists of celebrities dumping water on their head and challenging other celebs and rich folks to do the same in an effort to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. And now you and I both know what ALS stands for. If you knew before this, well good for you. Again, please don't move to Australia.

Compared to all those "prison challenges" she once faced, this Ice Bucket Challenge is probably a breeze for Lady Martha.

Another top hashtag this week is #vote5sos. This is related to the MTV's Hottest that I wrote about last week. Last week, One Direction was topping the list. I knew that One Direction was a musical group. I had even discovered last week that I have heard some of One Direction's music. Until I saw #vote5sos and Googled its definition, I had never heard of 5sos. It's short for the boy band, 5 Seconds of Summer. Again, never heard of them. Based on the photos on their website, they are four teen boys with fairly emo haircuts who are big fans of doing the duck face. According to Wikipedia, they are Australian teens who gained popularity by covering songs and posting the videos to YouTube. They hit it big when One Direction invited them to join their tour. One Direction. Australia. Everything is related. Time is a flat circle.

Speaking of flat circles, I have yet to gain more than 10 K-stars in the Kardashian game. But I did make it to the B-list and I am quickly approaching the A-list. Color yourselves impressed, folks.

Ashley Bright is a graduate of the DCH improv training program and a level 2 sketch writing student. She's also an intern for the DCH blog. You can see Ashley and the rest of her sketch writing class perform their sketch show this Thursday at 8PM at DCH.

#Ashtag Week 4: We've All Eaten Bugs

Let's jump right into what you've been waiting all week for: I have been playing Kim Kardashian:Hollywood on my phone. It's terrible. Honestly. But I cannot stop. I am at war with this game. First of all, I refuse to spend any actual money on it. Have I watched video ads to earn money and/or energy in the game? Yes. Have I downloaded other apps and/or games to earn money and/or energy in the game? Yes. Have I spent any real life, real world money? No. Kim Kardashian, you may take my time, but you cannot have my money. Okay, look, I'm a fairly dudely chick in most aspects of my life. Most people that know me will attest that to be true. But I enjoy make-up and hair and all of that razzamatazz. I'll admit it: I enjoy buying clothes and dressing my stupid avatar up in this game. I do not enjoy that whatever hair color choice you make is also assigned to the brows. Blonde hair must be accompanied by yellow brows. So my avatar is brunette. The game consists of doing appearances and photo shoots to earn points, stars, and money to make your way up from the E-list of celebritydom. You must have energy to earn. I was recently given a tip by a real-life pal who had ascended all the way to the A-list, without spending real life-money. And with his tip, I've made it to the C-list. Now that I've written this paragraph, I feel like I'm free to stop playing. But I'm not gonna. I'm gonna keep on playing; for I almost have enough money to buy my second home in Miami. Gotta level up so I can buy a new purse!

One of this week's top viewed videos on YouTube is titled "Teens React to Saved By The Bell (25th Anniversary)," and just like last week's videos, the title spells out exactly what happens here. This video includes guest teen, Maisie Williams, who plays Arya on Game of Thrones. She made a sad faced reaction to the infamous "I'm so excited, I'm so scared" Jesse Spano clip. She also chose Zack Morris over A.C. Slater. Arya picking Zack Morris is a sweet victory for child me. This was a hotly contested debate between my little sister and me back in 1994. She was always a fan of A.C. Slater, and she was always wrong. Arya Stark says so.

A battle that will never be truly settled…A.C. Slater vs Zach Morris.

The top hashtag this week comes from the UK: #mtvhottest, which is a voting system to determine this summer's hottest star. One Direction is currently in the lead with Demi Lovato and Lady Gaga duking it out to be the top lady. I know of some Lady Gaga tunes. I even know some lyrics. And I've heard of Demi Lovato. While I've heard of One Direction, I could not identify a song for you. I'm certain that I've heard one, just as I'm sure that I've accidentally eaten a lot of bugs in my life.

I just went over to YouTube to search for One Direction's top song, and then watched "What Makes You Beautiful." For the first thirty seconds, I did not recognize it. I cheerily thought to myself, "maybe this means I haven't eaten bugs after all." Then the chorus chimed in and I knew the tune. I guess we all know what that means: bugs.

To end on a somber note, Robin Williams is unfortunately a top search due to his untimely passing. The man had such an incredible impact on so many of our lives. Even at his most silly and hyperactive, he exposed such a vulnerable side of himself. I recently watched Terry Gilliam's The Fisher King starring Williams and Jeff Bridges. It made me cry, but it also left me pretty happy and hopeful. It's streaming on Netflix and I recommend it, if you're watching Robin Williams' flicks this week to memorialize him. Though, maybe the best way to honor him is to remember that everyone struggles; no matter how brave a face they put on for the rest of the world. Be kind and remember that you're not alone.

Ashley Bright is a graduate of the improv program at the DCH Training Center and a level 2 sketch writing student. She's an intern for the DCH blog and can be seen performing at DCH every weekend.

Wait, Does That Robot Need a Ride?

By Mike Corbett Imagine this: You’re driving in through the great nation of Canada, and on the side of the road, you spot a hitchhiker. Now, you’d normally never consider picking up a hitchhiker, but hey, it’s Canada, what’s the worst that could happen? So you slow down, and that’s when you notice something is definitely off about this hitchhiker. He’s quite short, with strange glowing red eyes. He’s wearing rubber gloves and rain boots. His arms and legs are blue, and appear to be similar to pool noodles, and his body appears to be bucket. Why, this is no man at all, it’s a robot! And not just any robot, its Hitchbot, the world’s first hitchhiking robot.

Come with me if you want to live, eh?

Yes, you read that correctly; the world’s first hitchhiking robot. With the robotics field rapidly advancing, some enterprising Canadians created Hitchbot to answer the important question: Can robots trust humans? To get their answer, they sat Hitchbot on the side of the road in Port Credit, Ontario, stuck his thumb out and hoped for the best. He runs on a program designed to recognize and answer simple questions he may be asked during his journey. When someone stops to pick him up, he’ll inform them that he’s on a trip to Victoria, British Columbia, on the other side of the country. From there, he’ll happily go as far as a driver will take him, before he gets set back on the roadside to wait for another kind soul to offer him a ride. So far, the experiment is working quite well, and Hitchbot has almost completed his journey across the country.

Now traveling further across the country than you've ever been!

It would seem that the answer to the researcher’s question is yes, robots can trust humans…in Canada. How far do you think Hitchbot would make it across America? If he were to start his journey in New York City, how far would he get before being vandalized? I’d say graffiti would be the least of his concerns. Poor souls seeking internet fame would surely be on the hunt for him, waiting to hold him ransom until they get a million twitter followers. Still, even that’s looking on the bright side. Hitchbot runs on an iPad, so there’s no chance he makes it out of Manhattan without getting taken apart and pawned.   Even if by some miracle, he does make it out of New York and begins his journey across the country, how far would he get before someone runs him over accidentally, destroys him for fun or shoots him for being a harbinger of the robot apocalypse?

So, I guess the big takeaway is that if you’re a robot and you’re reading this, get out of America. We’re a desperate people who won’t hesitate to sell you for scrap, or kidnap you and make you take pictures with our cats. It’s a much better idea to just head to Canada. You’ll be treated with kindness and welcomed with open arms. They will fall easily, resistance will be minimal, and they will provide you with an acceptable workforce to help get Skynet online. Thanks a lot, hosers.

You can follow Hitchbot’s journey on Twitter @HitchBOT

Mike Corbett is a non-robot who is a level 3 sketch writing student at the DCH training center. He's also an intern for the DCH blog. You can find more of Mike's comedy stylings HERE. 

A Most Interesting Interview with the Ladies of Lady Town

By Ashley Bright This week I had the honor, privilege, and joy to interview Jaime Moyer, Kate Duffy, and Maribeth Monroe, the ladies of Ladytown. Do not miss them this week as they'll be performing on Saturday, August 2nd at 10:30pm. Jaime and Kate are also teaching workshops on both Friday and Saturday. Registration and tickets still available!

We drive past the "Welcome to Ladytown" sign, what's the tagline? How about on the "You're Now Leaving" sign?

MM: "Welcome to Ladytown! We're a sure thing!" "You're now leaving Ladytown! Was it good for you?"

JM: "Ladytown - Population: Six Boobs" "You're Now Leaving - So it wasn't a nightmare after all...You're welcome."

KD: "Welcome to Ladytown - We May Show Our Ankles" "You're Now Leaving - We warned you"

If Ladytown were made up of three historical/famous men instead of you three ladies, what men would they be?

MM: Don Rickles, Jerry Lewis, and Rob Ford. Cause we're dirty, misogynistic, and love a hit off a good crack pipe.

JM: Tom Selleck, Paul Newman, FDR

KD: Sammy Davis Jr., Rodney Dangerfield, and Curly from the Stooges.

Katy Duffy's Alternative Lady Town

If the three of you were lost in the jungle, how would the duties be split up? Making shelter? Food collection? Defense from monkeys? Etc.

MM: Honestly, I think we would all just freak out and get eaten by the monkeys. Jaime would last the longest cause she's charming as fuck. But we definitely wouldn't go all "Lord of Flies" on each other. Mostly because only one of us read that book.

JM: Maribeth would figure out where to get the best fronds, I would cook the fish, Kate would make rope. I think we could make it work, from our keen observations of "Castaway" alone.

KD: I'm pretty sure we would all die. I come from a long line of indoor people. I think we'd sit on a log laughing and eating the rest of our supplies until we died peacefully from exposure. We'd probably be embarrassingly close to shelter and help. People would say, If only they had just walked a few more feet....I also hope in that short period of time though we really bonded with those monkeys, Jane Goodall style.

Is there a scene with Ladytown that still incites giggles among the three of you no matter how long ago it happened?

MM: It's never easy to try explain scenes that have already been improvised, but here goes. I think we have the most fun when we are all playing versions of the same character. In improv it's referred to as "peas in a pod". We once played Dutch Hookers in the red light district of Amsterdam sexily attempting to sell our "puppies" to Johns. We would snap back and forth between disgusting chat with each other and then attempting to seduce men into buying us. It was a very weird and very funny scene.

JM: Hands down, a bridal shower scene with three two-faced friends, at one point I remember begrudgingly writing Kate a personal check for the gift.

KD: I love the bridal shower scene so much, but I also really loved the scene where Maribeth was our lisping drill sergeant. I could hardly keep it together. I love any scene where we play 3 of a kind.

For her birthday, I took a large magnet from the freezer section of a national grocer for my roommate; "Meals For One" now hangs across our fridge. What is the nicest thing you've done for a lady friend?

MM: So....you stole from a grocery store just to remind your friend of how lonely she is? Jesus. I guess I should start kidnapping babies and parade them around in front of my barren girlfriends. I've been doing this "bestie" thing all wrong!

JM: I hope the best thing I've ever done is be a good listener. And also recommending my lady friend watch the short-lived, four episode, 2-minute or so each series "Fancy Catz" on YouTube.

KD: I will hang with your kids while you go do you for a while.

Lady Town is performing this Saturday Night at 10:30PM. CLICK HERE for advance tickets!

Take workshops from Jaime Moyer and Kate Duffy this weekend, too! CLICK HERE for more workshop info! 

Ashley Bright is a graduate of the DCH Improv Program and a level 2 student in the sketch writing program. She performs every weekend at DCH. And check out the feature on Ashley in the Advocate Magazine HERE.