August 11th, 2005

flavored with age

Oh, the fun, the fun of it all

Hey, thanks to everyone who came out last night to Funny Ha-Ha 4Ever at the Hideout. A good time was had by most, and I surely appreciate everyone who had kind words for me. As to my performance itself, I have to say it was an unqualified success: unlike my last appearance at Funny Ha-Ha, you could hear me quite clearly because my reading was not drowned out by the sound of people laughing.

Unlike me, other performers did not bomb, including Mark Bazer (who slew with a bit about electric hand-dryers), James Finn Garner (whose humor writing I've admired for many years; it was an honor to meet him), and Steve Delahoyde, who always pretends that his hilarious movies aren't going to kill even though they always do. Co-host John Green, whose famous-last-words piece was terrific, is on his way to NYC this morning, and I'd wish him Godspeed if I believed in God or I still took speed.

Anyway, as always, praise due to Allah Claire Zulkey for doing the hardcore work of putting the thing together and being an extremely gracious host. I look forward to another year of Funny Ha-Ha, the best goddamn reading in Chicago, ever.
flavored with age

Tit bits

JESUS BUILT MY HOTROD

It has come to the attention of NASCAR officials that not only does this vehicle feature tires that are outside official specifications, and not only fails to feature a standard regulator plate, but also can turn invisible, fly and travel at six million billion miles an hour. As a result, Team Jesus will face a two-race suspension.

SICK BEATS

The idea of tailoring pop songs to sick kids is appealing, but now I can’t get Eddy Grant’s “Epileptic Avenue” out of my head.

GANGSTER RAP

Rocco “The Shank” Scarlotti was the undisputed ruler of the New York underworld. Several other mob bosses who disputed his rule were rubbed out without mercy. A few more tried to say that they weren’t really disputing his rule, they were merely challenging the basis of his authority, but he bumped them off too, just to make an example of them. The same went for Vito “Hambone” Vizzini, who called into question his legitimacy; Donaldo “Torch Toes” Francesco, who presented suggestive findings about the chain of command; and even Eddie “Botz” Impierioli, who once wrote a monograph about non-conventional structures of organization in outsider subcultures. There was even one guy out in the Bronx who was caught reading a book on parliamentary procedure. They cut his nuts off.

DING BAT

I think people would identify more with Batman if he didn’t dress like a bat. Also, he should give everyone fresh brownies.

YO, JOE

When I was a boy, my mom bought me a Duncan Imperial yo-yo. It was sparkly and purple, and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I was a chunky, uncoordinated kid, but I decided that I would practice really hard and get to be the best in my school at yo-yo tricks. I thought it would be a good way to win new friends for an unpopular kid like me, and also, it would show my mom how much I appreciated the gift she’d given me.

Every day when I’d come home from school, I’d practice for six to eight hours all the different yo-yo tricks I could find: walking the dog, around the world, double or nothing, skinning the cat, avoiding the handshake of the compulsive masturbator – everything. The more I practiced, the better I got. Sure, my grades suffered, and before long, I was getting straight Fs and both my dogs died: but I was really good at doing yo-yo tricks.

Unfortunately, once I debuted them at school, I found out that no one was really interested in yo-yo tricks. I didn’t impress anyone with my juvenile enthusiasm and skill at and outdated toy, and I didn’t win a single friend. I vowed then and there that I would instead use the yo-yo to extract an awful revenge on all who had scorned me: and barely a week later, I was all over the front page of every newspaper in America as the Duncan Destroyer, who racked up a death toll in the dozens through strangulations, beatings, and explosive variations on the ‘Hank Freeman: Deluxxxe Loverman’ trick.

When my mom came to visit me in Li’l’ Shavers State Prison for the Criminally Insane, all she said was:

“This is the exact same thing that happened when I bought that sniper rifle for your father.”
flavored with age

Whorin'

The latest issue of UR is out, and features a usual handful of articles by me. If you're in Chicago, pick one up on a streetcorner; if you're not, the website features a independent publishing roundtable conducted by me with a bunch of fine editors and publishers. Unfortunately, the web version is a truncated version of an already pared-to-the-bone article. I'm used to seeing my stuff get pruned beyond recognition for space reasons (that's the way of the weekly, alas, as they, like everyone else, exist to sell as much ad space as possible), but this one hurts a little more because there was some really terrific stuff in the original -- I must have had 20 pages of interview material, and it ended up being about a one-page article. It's still a fine read, mind you -- go take a look! But I wish it was longer, and I'm not just saying that because one of the interviewees is my fantastic girlfriend.