taylor swift

What We're Loving: Archive Obsession, Target Exclusives, Winter Weather, Fake Real News

Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison thinks he's better than you, Jonda Robinson has her spandex ready, Rachel Hall drops some truth for men , and Ryan Callahan steps in a pile of Sorkin. Original_New_Yorker_coverThis week I’m loving something that I’m embarrassed to share. Embarrassment is a very difficult emotion for me to feel, because I unabashedly love most pieces of pop culture for which others hide their adoration. The inspiration for this feeling comes from the fear of coming off like an elitist asshole, so before you continue, please remember that I am one of you and not a snob. Do you forgive me? I need to know that you do and that you won’t judge me before I share it. Promise? Promise me! OK. This week I’ve spent a lot of time reading the archives of The New Yorker. The reason I’ve waded through the backlogs of such a fancy publication isn’t to find black-and-white pictures of interpretive dance, instead the goal of the dig was to find every single thing that my new favorite writer, Simon Rich, has ever created. And it was worth the effort because he is phenomenal humorist.

Simon Rich has the cliche resume for a great comedic writer: he once worked at Saturday Night Live and was president of the Harvard Lampoon. You can check out the archive of his creative writing for the New Yorker here, but before you click the link, prepare to lose the rest of your afternoon. Rich does an amazing job of creating realistic outcomes from an absurd premise. The best example of this talent is seen in "Guy Walks Into A Bar," which is an amazing continuation to what happens after a standard guy-walks-into-a-bar joke comes to an end.

So do yourself a favor and check out the writing of Simon Rich, partially so you can enjoy his work, but mostly because I don’t want to be the only one obsessively searching through The New Yorker’s website. - David Allison

taylor-swift-1989-deluxe-album-coverYes, I do own Taylor Swift’s newest album, 1989. Yes, I did buy it the day it came out. Yes, I did go to Target so I could get the deluxe album with bonus tracks. So what? Listening to T-Swift bumpin’ and blarin’ through the Bose system in my sweet sedan makes me feel like I’m hanging out at a super wholesome club—which, if you know me at all, if “wholesome nightclubs” were a thing, I’d be there, sporting a cardigan and dancing awkwardly to “Blank Space” while it plays at a level that is both respectful and responsible.

Don’t worry—1989 is not what I’m here to talk about this week. The thing I want to present to you, in case you haven’t enjoyed it yet, is the aerobics video that pairs perfectly with the first single off the album, “Shake It Off.” If you’re in a bad mood, watch this. The outfits! The moves! The happy, fit people! They’ll get your endorphins going by just watching them shake it off.

If anyone wants to collect enough people and spandex to re-enact this, I’m in. All in. -  Jonda Robinson

wintersocksThe temperature today and for the rest of week is set to be in the mid 40s. Nothing to rejoice over for northerners, but here in Texas it means two extremely important things: 1) Finally a season other than summer has begun, and 2) ladies can stop shaving their legs.

That’s right, it is officially the most wonderful time of year. Sorry to break it to you guys, but us woman folk look forward to this all year long. The summer months are very unforgiving, and as women, we are constantly reminded to look beach ready. That means sun-kissed skin, fresh out the water hair, and shaved legs. But who needs those things when it’s 50 degrees outside? NOT I SAID THE FLY. The fall and winter months bring so many options for the unshaved leg. Boots of all heights, tall schoolgirl socks, maxi skirts and dresses, and oversized everything are all on trend for the upcoming months. Fashion camouflage for those who may be scared of looking frumpy is a thing so go out and explore your favorite stores because you have options.

This is our time. Whether you are single, dating, or married, know that you’ve worked hard this year making sure your legs were looking great and now nature is telling us to take a shave-cation. Retire that razor, because that’s why God invented tights! No more need in feeling self conscious because you forgot to shave one day; take solace in the fact that the only thing you have to maintain are your eyebrows. You deserve this. TREAT YO’ SELF! - Rachel Hall

newsroom3Two years ago I gave The Newsroom a chance, mostly due to my undying love for The West Wing. I did not like what I saw. The show was the worst of Sorkin: excessive pratfalls, smugness, and the belief that smart people show their smarts by speaking in lists. One scene in particular, which featured Jeff Daniels and his news team discussing the jersey scene in Rudy, so irked me that I took to Twitter to ask if Aaron Sorkin has ever spoken to real people or been in a room with real people or watched real people from across the street. You could say this particular scene struck me as phony.

Then the other day a TV blog I read praised the first episode of the new season. I'm nothing if not suggestible, so I gave the show another shot. The third season premiere was quite good. Good enough that I decided to go back to the beginning and give the show a chance. I watched the first season over the past two nights and have already finished the first two episodes of the second season.

Either time has been kind to the show or I have mellowed over the past two years. I found the show fun, witty, and full of all kinds of good Sorkin bits, like people being really sarcastic and people being really honest about their flaws. And it has Sam Waterston, and Sam Waterston is probably the best person ever. Sure, there's still all kinds of bad Sorkin, like the casual misogyny, the romantic subplots that no one could possibly care about, and the sudden tonal shifts. But when the show is good, it is very good, in a very West Wing kind of way. The Osama Bin Laden episode and the Gabrielle Giffords episode in particular got me all choked up. And the Rudy scene wasn't as bad as I remembered either. - Ryan Callahan

#Ashtag Week 13: Into the Woods with a Full Moon and Some Lace

I bet this lady is celebrating a 13th anniversary. Thirteen. Spooky. According to Hallmark's website, the traditional gift for a 13th anniversary is lace. Sexy. Also according to Hallmark, the modern gift for a 13th anniversary is "textile furs." I put "textile furs" in quotations, because it was a question-inducing pair of words to me. I searched this phrase on Google to find out more. Immediately, 13th anniversaries popped up on the top results, even though I didn't include anniversary in my "textile fur" search. Most of the results did include the backslash; "textile/fur" which makes more sense to me.

I found myself on http://www.anniversarygift.org/thirteenth-anniversary-gifts/. Instead of me sharing all of the knowledge that I gained on this site, I really would like to encourage you to read "the celebration" suggestions at the bottom of the page. Suffice it to say, to celebrate our 13th week together, we're gonna need a lot of lace, some fake fur, Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock house, and a full moon.

OK. Everybody take a deep breath. We got a little bit too caught up in the whirlwind of textile fur. Let's focus. The Internet has been churning all week, and we need to learn what floated to the top (there are inaccuracies in this dairy analogy). Sports have littered the top searches on Google. No thank you. Ebola. We know. Again, no thank you.

Taylor Swift's new single "Out of the Woods" is a top search because the song is about her ex-boyfriend Harry Styles. A reluctant yes please. This is the kind of juice we need to learn about. The song very quickly popped to No. 1 on iTunes, but Harry refuses to react to it. Harry Styles is a member of One Direction. Ke$ha has made some very serious accusations about her producer that I don't want to make light of here. But good for her for getting help. Zach Galifinakis has lost a lot of weight. Penelope Cruz is Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive.

I'd like to register for this as my gift this week.

Well, alright, I just burned through the top Google searches pretty quickly. Let's keep truckin'. One of the top hashtags on Twitter this week is #PSAT. This hashtag is literally about the pre-SATs and teenagers' concerns about taking them. There are a lot of pics with sad faces and actually a few with kids burning their study guides. There are a few older people sprinkling in about how the PSATs are nothing compared to the SATs. My favorite tweet of the #PSAT persuasion is from a kid who basically tells everyone to get serious, because there are a lot of scholarship opportunities available if you score high on the PSATs. I hope those darn kids using the hashtag to look for funny pictures heed his advice.

One of the most viewed videos on YouTube this week, with nearly six million views, is the trailer for Tomorrowland. A movie based on the futuristic area of Disney theme parks. Pirates of the Caribbean was a movie based on a ride, and it did pretty well. The trailer for Tomorrowland looks pretty neat, and George Clooney is in it. It comes out on my mom's birthday, May 22. Jot that down and maybe send her a card or a picture of George Clooney. She'd like that.

I do have some pretty big news. I was recently given a bodyguard and a personal assistant in the Kardashian game. In real life (or IRL, as the kiddos would type it), I've been caught playing this game a few times by friends. And they have all given me some sort of grief about it. I would like to say that I've never picked the game over listening to someone. I don't play while I drive, unless I'm at a stoplight and I have full energy that needs to be used. I play this game for you guys. You come back every week waiting for an update. I do it for you. #imgoingthedistancebcusnobodyknowshowthiswillendandimayplayforever

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 #12 All Rolled Up

Raven-Symone and Oprah Twelve weeks a tagged. Yep, we have 12 #ashtags of learning about today's pop culture under our belts. We owe ourselves some silk pajamas or some fancy table linens. That's right; twelfth anniversary gifts are traditionally silk or linen. So, let's just pretend we're reading this from a lovely, linen scroll, okay?

This week's No. 1 and  No. 3 searches on Google involve sports. In fact, many of the top searches this week involve sports. We shall skip those.  The No. 2 search is Blake Lively. The actress is expecting her first child with her husband, Ryan Reynolds. The Internet is very excited about this news. As far as I can tell, the pair does not have a Hollywood couple nickname. I even conducted a semi-thorough search for one. Nothin'. I shall name them "Blyan." No, no, "Rake." Okay. I'm starting to see why one does not exist. Wait, "Ry-Blake?" Nope. There is no J-Lo or Brangelina for these two. "Blynolds?" Okay, okay, I'm sorry.

Teresa Giudice is the No. 4 Google search. The real housewife of New Jersey has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for fraud. Her husband, Joe, has been sentenced to 41 months. Joe admitted that he took out false loans in her name because "her credit was better." Teresa admitted that she needs to learn to read things before signing them. Her new goal is to "become a better person." I bet they get a reality show. I don't know the rules about filming in a prison, but it seems ripe for the picking. I hope they get one. I won't watch it, but I hope they get one.

There are so many top searches this week that aren't sports! I want to tell you all about them, but this fancy linen scroll only holds so much. Commence top search montage now! Okay, get a fast-paced, synthy, inspirational song of your choice rolling in your head. And go! Twin Peaks is back! David Lynch is excited about it. Raven-Symone told Oprah that she's "just a human that loves humans." She doesn't want to be labeled as gay or African-American. Hulk Hogan's son, Nick, is the first male victim of the Fappening. Bruce Jenner appeared in public with long, flowing locks. Montage complete! You may now stop the mental synth song.

Bill Murray

One of the top viewed videos on YouTube this week is "St. Vincent - Bill Murray Sings Bob Dylan - the Weinstein Company." It is exactly as titled. Here is what stood out to me as I watched this video. There is a lawn chair that is a love seat. A classic green lawn chair, but double the width. I didn't know such a thing exists. Just as I got excited about the chair, Mr. Murray sat down, and I noticed the chair rocked. A rocking, lawn chair loveseat! What anniversary is that the present? I desperately need this contraption in my life.

I'm going to try to stop thinking about this seat, so that I can continue. This week, I've once again subjected myself to popular music by way of the top-viewed music videos. I watched the entire video for FIBI's "Love is So Lame." It sounded like a whinier and non-catchy Taylor Swift song. Twice someone who sounded like Jay-Z said, "Turn the lights off" in what sounded like the intro to a rap interlude. The rapping never surfaced. I did not enjoy this song at all. I had never heard of FIBI, but based on this song, I do not like her. I mostly sat through the entire video because I was still in a daze thinking about that chair.

This luxurious, linen scroll is almost out of room, so I must now tell you about the Kardashian game. Kim graciously released an update to allow for marriage. And just like Kim did, you can get married in Florence. The city was added to the game with the update. I cannot maintain a relationship in the game, and will unlikely make it to a Florence wedding. People break up with me because I work too much. My only option to get them back is to charm them with K-stars, which I do not have because I will not spend real money. #realornotthesinglelifesformeiguess

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.