Monthly Archives: September 2008

What’s Old Is New

Before I chat up today’s great great great thing, I wanted to deliver a couple of exciting updates that relate to previous topics.

First off, that Swiss guy with the jet-pack, Yves Rossy? Yves Rossy Well he did it. He crossed the English Channel in something like…15 minutes or something. Well done, Yves! Now get on those alterations that I suggested and bring the asking price down a couple of hundred thousand please.

The second thing that I wanted to call attention to is this true-crime involving hot pockets. It feels like I should mention it since I just blogged about Jim Gaffigan/Hot Pockets recently. Here’s my link. Gaffigan and Hot Pockets

Now, here’s the link to what might be the most violent snacking incident of this decade. Trust me. You’re gonna wanna read this one. This Just In!

What do you say to that? I guess some things are worth fighting (stabbing?) for. At any rate, lock your doors. They never found that guy. He could still be out there, hungry for hot pockets and looking for a tussle.

Anyway, on to today’s topic:

44. The Twelve

It’s a comic book today for those of you that are unschooled in nerdery. The Twelve is a relatively new series (we’re only on about issue 6) with a novel concept–reviving a dozen of Marvel Comics currently unused (and mostly unheard of) properties. Actually, the characters all date back from the 1940’s, back when Marvel was known as Timely Comics. Some of them have fantastically dated names, like Master Mind Excello and Phantom Reporter. Some of them only ever featured in one issue of a comic like this fella here:

Cape, boots and pantaloons...who needs a shirt?

Cape, boots and pantaloons...who needs a shirt?

The point is, unless you were around for The Golden Age of comics and have a great memory for throwaway characters, you’ve probably never heard of any of these guys. But, leave it to J.M. Straczynski, a successful television and film writer who branched out into comic books in the late 1980’s, to revive them. Straczynski is kind of like a king of concepts. He’s launched several creator-owned properties and reinvigorated some stale properties for Marvel. Not all of them pan out, mind you. I was a big fan of his Rising Stars series from a few years back. It started out incredibly strong. But, by the time he was bringing the storyline to a conclusion, I had cut it from my subscription list. He’s also currently writing Thor right now for Marvel. It’s a run that’s had both high praise and high sales…but I’m just not digging it.

Having said that, he wrote the most amazing (no pun intended) issue of Amazing Spider-Man when 9/11 struck. Amazing Spider-Man 36 will go down, I think, as one of the most tasteful and heartfelt artistic responses to the events of that day. You can even find videos on youtube that people have posted of image scans from that comic set to music. Like a homemade little music video. That’s how good it was. That’s also, an example of how some people have too much time on their hands.

J.M. Straczynski has an asteroid named in his honor. So, he’s definitely done right by the sci-fi set. He wrote the majority of the Babylon 5 television series. His credentials, therefore, are not in question…just his ability to stick the landing.

The Twelve, thus far, is kicking major ass. I’ve even gotten my girlfriend to read it. That is a major compliment to the series. If you ever try to explain comic books to a non-comic fan, you could use this as an example. It’s one of those good reads that has a similar structure to other forms of episodic storytelling. Every issue of the comic tells two things: a bit more of the major story arc and an origin story of one of the twelve characters. Like the first season of Lost.

The premise is this. The Twelve aren’t a superteam that chose to group up together, they just all happened to share the same fate. In fact, in creating the story-line, J.M.S. looked over between 40-50 currently unused Marvel characters. Out of that lot, he chose what he thought would be a viable group to work with. Anyway, the story goes that they were in Germany, swathing their way through the Nazi’s, when they all fell victim to a trap. Captured by the Germans, they were cryogenically frozen for study at a later date. Then, the Germans lost. The super-specimen remained hidden to the world for decades, revived only when a construction team stumbles upon them.

They all share one thing in common and that’s the fact that their lives have passed them by. They are forgotten relics from a bygone era. It’s a storyline that compares today’s world with that of society nearly seventy years ago. How they are coming to grips, what choices they make, and the hook of an incredible murder in the first issue, make this a stunning series.

I can’t stress how much I am digging it.

My girlfriend and I are both particularly interested in The Black Widow’s story-line.

Family?

Family?


We suspect that she is a gayer…only time will tell.

I’m counting on J.M. Straczynski to pull this one off. I’ve got my girlfriend invested now. Don’t let a potential new comic book fan down! Or we’re taking that asteroid back!

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MC Supercut

It’s another SNL video…today’s great thing. Admittedly, this one is a ton easier to find on-line than some of SNL’s other digital videos–it took a bit of doing to get “Body Fuzion” up on-line– and I bet the majority of readers have already seen this one. Like “Dick In a Box”, it’s been the object of many an office email forward. But, I can’t get it off my mind. Watch it first and then we’ll discuss.

43. SNL’s Digital Video, “Natalie Raps”Vodpod videos no longer available.

Hilarious, right? My favorite parts are when she says “I’ll kill your fucking dog for fun” and when she throws chairs (twice!). I also like the change up when she goes into a Cypress Hill style to intone “When I was at Harvard, I smoked weed every day”. For about four delirious minutes, Portman plays it for serious. Everyone knows that comedy is always funnier when it’s played with a straight face. She never tries to get cute which, of course, is what makes it adorable. So excellent. All this is true.

But–all praise aside, the real reason that I’m obsessing about this right now is because I’m trying to grow out my hair. I usually wear it short.  I’ve been trying for a chin-length style for about five months.  This scruffy, awful, quasi-mulleted period that I’m going through right now is absolutely excruciating. I look in a mirror and this is what I see:

The ONLY difference is that mine's a bit shorter in the back...and my mustache is thicker.

The ONLY difference is that mine is shorter in the back.

Every time I got my hair cut short before I decided to embark on this grow-out challenge, I took this picture in to my guy, Brian. Natalie is like the patron saint of short hair cuts. She wears it so well I don’t know why she ever bothers to grow it out.  This style is what I strive for.

Make me look like this!!!

Make me look like this!!!

Watching that video, I’m dying to pick up the phone and make the call. I still keep the picture folded up in my day-planner. It’d be so easy. The thing is, I don’t even feel like I’d regret it. I’d probably be so relieved. But, I can’t give up yet. I must wrestle with what is probably just good sense telling me that I look better with short hair and continue down this hideous road until I can’t stomach my own reflection any more.

I need some kind of hair-growing-out coach or motivational speaker or something, because I can’t lie–I don’t know if I can bear this burden alone. I need somebody to tell me ‘hang in there. It’ll all be worth it.’ And things like ‘just try blowing it dry upside down or try a different hair product. You can work with it. I believe in you, Katie’.

The only reason that I’m putting myself through this is, that I’ve worn my hair short for sooo long and I thought I should try a change. Otherwise, don’t I run the risk of being boring? I mean, I’m in my early thirties, if I don’t grow it out a bit now, when will I? When I’m forty? Please, I’m already dealing with the grey hairs I’ve had since I was twelve.  I’m bound to be completely silver by the time I hit the big 4-0.

That’s another thing, short hair hides grey hair better. Slap a little pomade on it and it kinda blends in with the rest. Short hair gives me confidence. Look at Short Hair Natalie. She’s full of confidence. You’d NEVER go up to a monkey with long hair! They’d grab it or chew on it or throw their poo in it. Short hair, though? The world’s your oyster. You can approach any animal you want. You blend in easier.

Chutzpah!

The more I think about it, the more sense me with short hair makes.  Am I only growing it because I want to look like one of the uber-trendy girls from The L Word ?  Nobody has super-short hair on that show.  OK, Jenny did…for like five minutes.  But she’s the annoying one that everyone loves to hate.  Maybe.  Maybe I’m just afraid that I’ll never get a different haircut ever again and I’ll have spent from the age of 27 until the day I die sporting Lesbian Haircut Number 5.  I don’t know.  I just don’t know.  I tell you what–if you’re reading this right now and you have an opinion, let me know.  Look at my “About” page.  Look at me with the dog and then look at me with the dinosaur.  Shorter or longer?  What do I do?

I think I’m going to say some prayers to night. I need Natalie’s guidance.

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Jetpack Skills

I was totally set to write about something else today but then I saw a news story about this guy:

What makes him so great?

What makes him so great?

Who is this smiling Swiss slaphead, you may be asking yourself, and why is he today’s great thing?

42.  Jetpacks, that’s why!  (Yves Rossy is his name)

Yves Rossy, a former Swiss Air Force pilot is what you’d call an aeronautics enthusiast.  He currently flies an Airbus but has flown fighter jets and is an avid hanglider, paraglider, and parachuter who practices aerobatics.

Nearly true!

Nearly true!

In the past, people have strapped all kinds of shit to themselves in feeble attempts at catching some air.  Some comical ones are available on youtube!  Not all of them are miserable failures.  Some of them even achieved liftoff and short flights There’s Russian guy who’s done well with rocket boots (also available on youtube).   Not bad if you can get it.

The pack-on-back design actually has been done and it’ll take you places fairly quickly for a very short while.  But, it’s hardly perfect.  It’s upward thrust is fantastic but forward momentum and control aren’t the best.  You’re vertical, instead of being horizontal, y’see.

But, with wings that unfold like a transformer, this design puts you horizontal for flight.  Like Superman!  Yves’ design is the first to put the wings on…though I think I can probably tell where he got his inspiration for the project…

One of the raddest photographs I've ever laid eyes on.

Ahem!  A little credit, please?

Ahem! A little credit, please?

Anyway, this is all awesome news.  Apparently, the contraption costs only $285,000.  Aren’t there cars that are that much money?  Putting it like that makes it sound like it’s almost affordable.  The only hitch is that you have to be dropped from an airplane to use it.  But, they’re working on it.  Sounds to me like you need a combo backpack/jetboots/wings, Yves.  Yeah…definitely try that.  According to my calculations, it should work.

Until then, this contraption is pretty genius.  After he drops out of a plane, the wings unfold, like a fricking Transformer, and the rocket boosters on his wings propel him forward.  He steers by using his body and hand throttles and lands with the aid of a parachute.  It sounds just like driving an automatic car!

Yves wears a heat resistant suit to keep from burning up, though he says the cold air at that altitude cools him down significantly.  So, basically, he wears the suit for a bit of flash…

Apparently, the military has tried to purchase the design plans from him, but Yves, ever the neutral Swiss, has refused.  He only wants his completely bitchin’ rocket pack to be used for good.  So, rest easy.  He’s an Autobot and not a Decepticon.   Yes, only for good…like crossing the English Channel, which, after he flew over the Swiss Alps in 2006, is his next endurance test.  It’s going to be streamed live on the National Geographic Channel.  If it doesn’t happen on Friday, it’s due over the weekend.  Basically, he’s waiting for some fog to lift.  Here’s his website for updates.  Blazingly Awesome Jet Pack Guy


Also available in autumn colors

Rossy, who calls himself Fusionman, needs to start work on making other super-powers a reality.  Sure, he’s almost got flight perfected but how is he going to thwart evil with that?  He can get to the scene of the crime fast, with the aid of an airplane and a parachute, but what’s he do when he gets there?  He needs something else now, like super strength or laser vision.  Otherwise, the only way that this benefits humanity is by putting Ryanair out of business.  Being Swiss, he might not be thinking strategically.  I mean, those guys never fight anybody, right?  But, he really should look into putting some web-shooters or something onto that thing…maybe batarangs…don’t know if he’s a Marvel guy or a DC guy.

Anyway, I bet you’re wondering what this thing looks like in action.  This has, I believe, clips from a couple of different flights.

Flipping sweet!  I was saving up all of my pound coins for a Playstation 3 but now…I’m thinking jetpack.  Only 284,900 more dollars to go!

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Music To Save Princesses By

I know nothing about creating music.  I may have dubbed myself ‘the hit factory’ because I improvise needling little ditties to annoy my girlfriend with (“Your Turn To Do The Dishes-Doo Wah Doo Wah”, reached the top of my flat’s music charts in late 2002) , but who doesn’t do that?  I’m not gifted.  Those little riffs seldom have any melody, or hook, or–jeez–even recognizable notes if I think about it.  Admittedly, I’d have no idea how to actually take pen to paper and write a song.  The ability to do so, like the ability of solving complicated mathematical equations, or the ability to disguise a hangover, is something that I’ll never know.  And I greatly admire those who can write music. Today’s great thing is dedicated to one person that can write music and whose name, outside of a certain sub-group of nerds, is virtually unknown.

41.  Koji Kondo and his Super Mario Brothers Score

Whosie-what-now?  Koji Kondo.  This guy:

Somebody has to write the music for games.  When you finish a video game, look a the cast and credits as they scroll by.  It’s like a small movie set.  You need designers, marketers, actors, animators, directors–and yes–composers.  Thank the Atari gods, some of them are terrific.  Even if you’re not a gamer and you think there’s no possible way you’d know some of his more famous creations, like music for The Legend of Zelda, Duck Hunt, or, Starfox, you’re bound to have heard this little number someway somehow sometime…his most famous, Super Mario Brothers.  Here, in the geekiest fashion I can possibly muster, is the theme tune played on a Solid State Musical Tesla Coil (credit to The Geek Group):

Credited by many to be the John Williams, The Ennio Morricone, or the Howard Shore of the video game set, Kondo is a classically trained musician who was born in Nagoya Japan.  Though he’s proficient on a multitude of instruments, his work at Nintendo limited him to only four (one of which was actually him exploiting the sound fx card)–something that, at least at first, he found quite challenging.  Technically, things in the gaming world have progressed in giant leaps and bounds and he can now create orchestral music for the Nintendo Wii.  Which he does, as he is still with the company.

Kondo credits one of his earliest and everlasting influences as Henry Mancini:

Yes, THAT Henry Mancini.

Yes, THAT Henry Mancini.

Like Mancini, Kondo has been credited with creating melodies that are simple enough to hum but like-able enough to hear looped over and over again.  This is, of course, crucial to any composition for game-play.  You know how it is…you can spend days, months even trying to rescue Princess Peach.  A bad bit of music could drive you absolutely mad!  Though he lists Mancini as an influence and cops to two of his all-time fave albums being Emerson Lake and Palmer’s Brain Salad Surgery and Deep Purple’s Made in Japan, you’ll hear a bit of Latin, a bit of jazz, and a bit of classical tinges to his scores.  Listening to bits of his Super Mario score almost makes me feel like I’m watching a silent film sometimes.  It’s got that old-timey ragtime quality and the theatricality to it.  His bit for when Mario battles Bowser (the giant turtle with the leather fetish), is especially wicked.

His music is melody based with very little added harmony, which is, apparently more of an Eastern approach to music.  It’s at this point that I don’t really know what the hell I’m talking about.  For a really great article that goes more into Kondo’s technique and what he views as the three crucial points in video game composition–rhythm, balance, and interactivity–click here:  Gamepro Article

Eventually, I’ll probably get around to blogging about more aspects of the Mario franchise.  There’s so much to exploit!  Once I began doing a bit of research for this entry, I found so many entertaining videos about just the music, that I had to dedicate a whole day to Koji Kondo.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to show you all these videos that follow.  We’ve got people playing the Mario Theme on the drums:

We’ve got people playing Mario on the flute (and beatboxing simultaneously)

We’ve got this guitar virtuoso:

I have to tell you.  The best thing about that last video, besides that it’s fricking awesome, is that in the youtube comments that followed, somebody wrote this:  “Asians are from out of SPACE man!! this video is the proof!!!!”

Ha!  It’s the most flattering racism ever.  I may have to try and insert it into more cultural conversations.  Like this:

Person I Want To Impress:  Well, I think American directors are overrated.  Except for Ang Lee…if you can consider him an American…he went to NYU…blah blah blah….

Me:  Asians are from SPACE man!!  I’ve got a video that’s the proof!!!

Person I Want To Impress:  Mmm…  Good point.

Finally, here’s a whole bleedin’ orchestra tearing up the track.  It’s actually part of the Play! Symphony Tour.  More details can be found here:  Play!

Sophisticated!

Anyway, I hope this post has convinced you of the merits of Koji Kondo.  His music is seared onto the brain of every human under the age of 35.  There’s just something about it that makes me want to eat mushrooms, smash bricks with my head, and crawl into drainpipes…  Magical.

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My Bravest Admission Yet

So far, in this blog, I feel I’ve been pretty courageous in exalting the glory of my fave shows, movies, songs, websites, etc… I mean, I like some terribly nerdy stuff.  I’ve copped to loving Prince’s Batman album and watching the movie Clue more times than one should admit.  I’ve also blathered on at length about who I think draws the best Nightcrawler from X-Men and why.  But, I’m not embarrassed to stand behind my obsessions. I love them for damn good reasons and I’ll challenge any son of a gun who tries to tell me otherwise.

But today…well…even I’m a bit sheepish about admitting my fondness for today’s great thing.  How do I talk about it without completely humiliating myself?  Alright.  I’ll just go ahead and say it.  It’s:

40:  You’ve Been Framed 

Gah!  There, I did it.  Whew.

If you’re reading this blog from outside of Britain, those words won’t mean anything to you.  So, I’m afraid I’m going to have to find the inner strength to explain this to you.  Urgh…this is harder than I thought.  Baaaasicallly….You’ve Been Framed is a British version of America’s Funniest Home Videos.  There, it’s out there.  Essentially, what today’s great thing is is a stupid home video show with hacky jokey narration and an endless parade of clips of people being hit in the groin.  Look at the logo up there…with it’s zany font and it’s wacky text-boxes…just looking all played out and unfunny.  Look at that exclamation point.  The nerve.

I just can’t help myself.  The format works for me on so many levels.

Firstly, it caters to my short attention span.  Nothing lasts longer than two minutes.  Sure, many of the gags are, in essence, the same thing over and over again.  Guy gets hit in the nuts or Grandma falls off of trampoline or baby sneezes or Dad falls into the pool or, bride’s gown catches fire, or whatever…but they mix them up enough that I can never get tired of them.  Once a week, I can sit down for a half an hour of this garbage (right before X-Factor) and actually find myself enjoying the format and the treasures within.

Secondly, it’s unlikely that you’ll find a more joyful or socially acceptable way to celebrate what is basically thirty minutes of pure schadenfreude.  Watching people bite it is hil-frickin’-larious.  Check out this montage:

Right?  Come on, admit it–you laughed a couple of times.

For my entertainment dollar, the animal bits are always the best.  Animals are less predictable and much more adorable.  Also, because I don’t have any pets, their televised antics help fill the gaping whole in my heart where my own pet should be.

My third line of defense for You’ve Been Framed, is that the format for these home video shows has been streamlined and improved since their inception.  Nowadays there’s no Bob Saget, no studio audience, no annoying bits of non-entertainment to stand in the way of unbridled video mayhem.  There’s still a narrator, but we never have to see or get to know or pretend to laugh at him.  It’s all canned, baby!  This incarnation of the show employs comedian Harry Hill currently.  Here’s a pic:

Surprise!

Surprise!

So, yeah…we don’t have to deal with him on a very interactive level.  This voice from behind the curtain type relationship works out just fine for me.

A fourth reason to extol the virtues of the show is this:  The You’ve Been Framed producers have a kind of cultural exchange of buffoonery going with other nations.  The format of a a home video show is used world wide and the producers are happy to swap clips with each other.  So, sometimes when you’re watching the program, you’ll hear an Aussie accent or something.  It turns out that America isn’t the only nation with clumsy idiots who’ve been caught on camera.  It only feels that way sometimes!  Watching this show reminds you that stupidity is a worldwide phenomenon and something that can bring us all together if we let it!

My fifth and final line of defense for my love of You’ve Been Framed is that it does the work of hours of youtube viewing for you.  You’ve Been Framed (and shows like it world-wide) save millions of people from having to scour the Internet for ‘silly cat videos’, or ‘dramatic gopher’.  It’s all packaged up for you nicely and broadcast during a family friendly and convenient 6 P.M. or 7 P.M. slot.  They’re making it easy for us.  Now put down your remote, come out of the closet, and admit that you like it just as much as I do.

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Next up, David Cross on Totinos Pizza Rolls

Jim Gaffigan is a funny guy.  Back when I had a fabulous life in New York City, I remember seeing him at Gotham Comedy Club, I had recognized him from the teevee and liked his set very much.  He was also part of a strong supporting cast on Ellen Degeneres’ second network sitcom, the short-lived–The Ellen Show.  After Cloris Leachman, he was my fave.  Two quality memories.  So,though I admired his droll humour and silly voices before I was familiar with today’s great thing, I like him even more now.  In fact, I’d have to go as far to say that the following bit has left a major imprint on me.  I just can’t get the Hot Pockets little jingle out of my head.

39.  Jim Gaffigan’s Hot Pockets Bit

Take five minutes out of your busy day now please to enjoy some comedy:

This bit featured in his “Beyond the Pale” tour, which apparently, was primarily a food-based comedy set.  I think I may ask for the CD for Christmas.  I like food comedy.  I can usually relate to it because I eat food.  I get jokes!

His current tour, which, unfortunately, I probably won’t get to see in the UK, is “The Sexy Tour”.  I suspect that he means that to be a facetious title, but come on.  Let’s not be too modest.  Checkout this yoyo that a fan made in his image.

I'd spin that.

In fact, the only thing that I haven’t liked about Jim Gaffigan were those Sierra Mist commercials.  Talk about wasted star power.  Those ads also made Michael Ian Black seem unfunny.  And Kathy Griffin!  Wha????

I suppose if those commercials taught me anything, it’s that I like my Gaffigan to be mocking what he eats instead of shilling it.  Plus, I’m pretty loyal to Sprite.

The Hot Pockets rant is a good one.  Sure they might be an easy target–Hot Pockets are enticing and terrifying at the same time.  Their hot crunchy outsides, their scorchingly gooey insides, and their unbeatable convenience are a magical trifecta.  But if you gaze too deeply at them,  if you stare into the center of that pastry, you’re going to be confronted with an ugly truth.  The truth that you are eating, what is essentially, an unknowable entity.  Sure the manufacturers, Nestle, take a stab at it by listing the ingredients–but I think those are just educated guesses.  Hot Pockets are truly the devil spawn of chemical sciences and culinary arts.  So, yes, they are an easy target, but Jim Gaffigan truly goes in for the kill.  He murders Hot Pockets.  Yet, even after he has completely disemboweled that snack (meal?) comedically, there is no question that it’s from an affectionate stand-point.  I think Jim Gaffigan actually loves Hot Pockets.  I think his freezer contains at least two boxes of them at all time.  I also think that he’s probably experienced all of the flavors.

Hot Pockets come in a bajillion varieties nowadays.  It’s not enough to stuff them with the mundane and the familiar.  Our multi-cultural society has encouraged their growth into what is a veritable United Colors of Benneton of the freezer section.  You have croissant hot pockets, panini hot pockets, and a whole Mexican filling line.  To read more about Hot Pockets either click here or visit your local library.

Hot for Hot Pockets?

I’d recommend clicking on the ‘Hot Pockets Dojo’ link from that page–only so that I can beg you to help me understand it.  I usually like absurdist stuff but I’m not crazy about the Hot Pocket dojo.  I’m guessing that it’s the result of a brainstorming session with marketing executives who wanted to reach some kind of unknowable demographic?  Who is the Hot Pocket Dojo site created for?  I’m guessing that it may be for people who enjoy Carlos Mencia’s show and only the unfunny Cartoon Network programs?  At any rate, you don’t have to try to win these people over as converts.  I’m sure they’re already loyal customers and have happily consumed many a Hot Pocket.

In closing, I’m trying to get the words Hot Pocket into the American vernacular as slang for female genitalia.  There’s so many unflattering terms out there…like ‘tuna taco’ and *shudder* ‘beef curtains’.  If we’re gonna stick with food metaphors, I think ‘Hot Pocket’ has a nice sound.  It’s warm, cozy, and women don’t have to slave over a hot stove all day long for people to enjoy them.  It’s modern, it’s female forward, it’s catchy.  Try it out next time you have a reason to use the word ‘vagina’ in a sentence.


P.S.  Here’s a link to Jim Gaffigans website if you enjoyed his comedy as much as I do!

Jim Gaffigan

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Filed under comedy, People, Vittles

Poker-faced Canadians, are they America’s biggest threat?

They started airing The Daily Show over here in the U.K., oh, it must have been a couple of years ago.  We’re a day behind of the original broadcast, of course, but I’m so pleased that I get to catch it at all.  The Daily Show, with its shrewd satire, is one of the best ways to keep up on American politics.  Yes, I understand what a sad statement on our news media that is.  But, the happy truth is, whatever I’m missing from back home–well, I needn’t worry.  The Daily Show is bound to make fun of it in a timely fashion.  Like any timeworn program, the quality can waver sometimes, but, The Daily Show is pretty reliable all things considered.

Oneof my favorite reasons to tune in these days (and for the last 5 years since she joined in 2003), is the extremely like-able:

38:  Samantha Bee

Buzzzzz...get it?

Buzzzzz...get it?

The Toronto native but current Hell’s Kitchen NYC resident, lists Betty White as one of her favorite comedians.  I think that choice alone gives me, a slightly obsessed fan from a safe and respectful distance, a huge insight into why I like Samantha Bee so much.  It’s all about seeming to be one thing and actually being another.  Samatha Bee is one of the best faux-journos on the show precisely because she appears to be a nice and normal lady who is going to ask you (the interviewed) some simple questions for a few minutes.  You rest easy, thinking that the whole formality of it all will be relatively painless.  Then, she opens her mouth and the fun begins.  Here’s one of my favorite Samantha Bee stories.  I think it may be from 2005.  She went down to Florida to interview a conservative candidate running for state rep.  Have a look.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

What’s amazing is how straight-faced the correspondents on The Daily Show can remain when faced with such buffoonery.  She maintains that, because it’s never funny in the moment, it’s easier than it looks.  I suppose there must be some truth in that.  If she’s really in character and treating it like a serious interview, then she can’t, simultaneously, be audience to the insanity that is occurring.  You can’t be a viewer and a participant at the same time, in other words.  I read up a bit about this particular interview and she cops to this being one occasion where she actually did a spit-take that had to be edited out.  It was when Heeney coined the term “Homonausic”.  Highly impressive though, that she could sit still and carry on after hearing  the word ‘intenuendes’ come out of his mouth.  I sweat her technique.

Prior to finding fame in America, she was, actually, pretty unfamous in Canada as well.  She was just a regular struggling actress who waited tables and tried to create her own opportunities like performing with all-girl sketch troupe, The Atomic Fireballs, and playing the title role in a Canadian live action production of Sailor Moon, which, unfortunately, I could find no pics of.  Before being head-hunted for The Daily Show, she also waited tables.

Normal!

Normal!

Not being a big name on the Canadian comedy scene already, Samantha Bee, essentially had a great audition when the The Daily Show sent scouts to Toronto.  Of her work on the show, Bee has this to say:

The one thing I can do that makes me appropriate for this job is that I am able to keep a straight face under almost any circumstances.”

Here’s another fantastic clip from the show, wherein Samantha speaks to some fellow Canadians who are interested in emigrating to America.

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I can’t imagine the fireworks that must have been exploding in her head when that lady leaned in to ask Bee if she might confide in her a secret that she had been harboring.  Only comedy treasure can lie at the end of a statement like that.

Bee is married to fellow Canadian and Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones.  Jeez, the influx of funny Canadians is truly impressive.  One more Mike Meyers or Jim Carrey and they are officially the Mexicans of our performing arts industry.  They took our jobs!

They lead, from what I can tell from my creepy Internet based research a normalish life with two young kids and a dog and cat.

Here’s a book list that I poached off the Canadian Family website

SAMANTHA BEE’S KID BOOK PICKS

Bee shares her top-five must-have reads for wee ones

1.Pezzettino and Frederick by Leo Lionni (Random House) is graphically beautiful and I love the themes.

2.The Giving Tree, written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein (HarperCollins) is impossible to get through without crying.

3.Chowder, written and illustrated by Peter Brown (HarperCollins) is about a bulldog who thinks he is human. My 17-month-old daughter is at the age where she loves anything dog themed.

4.Dr. Seuss books (Random House) are just great!

5. Alligator Pie, written by Dennis Lee and illustrated by Frank Newfeld (Key Porter) is not available in the States. We had to order this Canadian classic direct from the source.

I haven’t heard of a few of these.  But, Christmas shopping for my nieces just got a whole lot easier.  Does it make me a bad person to admit that I’m the one that really wants to read them?  I’m only bad if I crease the spines before sending them on, right?

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