This wouldn't have worked if it was just some troll making fun of Steven Seagal, but thankfully Vern, delight though he often may in spotlighting the...moreThis wouldn't have worked if it was just some troll making fun of Steven Seagal, but thankfully Vern, delight though he often may in spotlighting the man's numerous limitations, clearly feels true affection for the beefy limbsnapper. The conversational profanity detracts far more than it adds, but "Seagalogy" is funny, thorough, and even insightful. A bittersweet climax of sorts in which Vern briefly meets Seagal brings it all to a nice close. Unlikely to win over new converts, but if like myself you've sat through more of these movies than you're comfortable admitting, this is well worth spending a few hours with. (less)
There's a lot here to look at, and some funny stuff. In the end, though, it just made me think about how weird and upsetting things like "camp" and "k...moreThere's a lot here to look at, and some funny stuff. In the end, though, it just made me think about how weird and upsetting things like "camp" and "kids" and "the world" really are. Certainly not badly done, and it really had the feel of something I might enjoy, but man was I glad when this thing was over. So in that sense it replicates the camp experience rather effectively.
I should probably be rating this more stars but I'm not going to. You ever read a book or watch a movie that you knew was basically well-done but somehow felt nothing but distaste for? That's what I got from this. As a disclaimer, I assure you I was not cornholed, caressed, or otherwise abused at summer camp by a wayward counselor, but that certainly would have been par for the course. I sure do hate outdoor activities and energetic youngsters!
Crap, here I am rating camp instead of "Camp Camp". That's exactly what's happening here, isn't it? (less)
Jim Norton is a funny guy, but he doesn't tend to expound on a wide variety of topics, typically limiting his subject matter to his own worthlessness...moreJim Norton is a funny guy, but he doesn't tend to expound on a wide variety of topics, typically limiting his subject matter to his own worthlessness and paying call girls to defecate on his chest. The fact that all this remains compelling for any length of time is a testament to his uncanny ability to continally devise new and increasingly vile (and generally clever) methods of getting his various messages across. Think of him as George Carlin's undervalued nephew. And under the scatological misogyny, there's a genuine heart, however shriveled and concealed.
His desire to shock lapses into more than a few desperate dirty-for-dirty's-sake moments, and his drawn-out ideas for ungreenlightable sitcoms, while creative, lend themselves well to impatient skimming. But I loved his disgusted critiques of letters he wrote to ex-girlfriends in his teen years, as well as his mortified reactions to a heavyhanded poem he wrote while in a rehab center in his early twenties. More of that kind of thing would have been welcome.
A smart, funny dude often dismissed as a carbon copy shock comic, Norton is someone whose standup you should check out if you like guys like Louis C.K. (and where's HIS book?) or perhaps Doug Stanhope. The book you can probably skip. (less)
Vaguely amusing waste of time. The type of thing 812 other well-spoken, accident-prone, socially awkward white dudes are cranking out. I'm trying to s...moreVaguely amusing waste of time. The type of thing 812 other well-spoken, accident-prone, socially awkward white dudes are cranking out. I'm trying to say something nice about at least one of the chapters, but I'm honestly having a hard time remembering what any of them were about.
I hear positive things about this guy, so I suspect I should have started with either the metal or the candy book, and maybe I will and maybe I won't. Based on what I've read thus far, I'm certainly not going to make a beeline for the nearest bookstore and blubberingly implore the wary retailer for directions to the Funny Nerd section, that I might encumber my humble tote bag with slyly self-effacing Almond manifestos.
All right, I remembered one of the "essays": two guys make lobster pad thai, and Steve Almond eats and enjoys it. I got take-out General Tso's the other night and it wasn't bad. Anybody wanna be my agent?
Other than the short story "A&P", which I also love, this is only Updike material I've ever read. Having been raised in an environment rife with t...moreOther than the short story "A&P", which I also love, this is only Updike material I've ever read. Having been raised in an environment rife with terrible golf, courtesy of my father and my high-school self, I greatly enjoyed this collection. The essays accounting Updike's ongoing (and largely unsuccessful, to hear him tell it) attempts to master the links are far more entertaining than the few short works of golf-based fiction included, which aren't bad enough to lose the book any stars but do feel like padding.
I will now read whatever Updike I can get my hands on and we'll see how it goes. (less)
On the whole, The Onion is the most consistently funny publication that...oh, I don't know, has ever been printed throughout the existence of man? Unf...moreOn the whole, The Onion is the most consistently funny publication that...oh, I don't know, has ever been printed throughout the existence of man? Unfortunately, this otherwise dependably hilarious collection of Onion articles is ineptly laid out, to say the least. Maybe there was some kind of super-cool joke hiding in this aggravating design that I missed, but it looks to me like they just slapped it together. But, again, funnier than pretty much everything. (less)
I love MAD magazine, because it's always makes me think of staying home sick from school. Often my doting mother would provide me with a new MAD magaz...moreI love MAD magazine, because it's always makes me think of staying home sick from school. Often my doting mother would provide me with a new MAD magazine to read in bed, especially when it was clear that I was actually under the weather and not faking. It was also fun to be privy to mildly risque material with full parental approval. Compared to what kids have access to these days, the fact that MAD could ever have been considered at all offensive by anyone is almost precious, but compared to my usual entertainment MAD might as well have been "Chock Full O' Beaver" magazine, and I eagerly read and reread whatever I could get my hands on. Thus, a perusal of MAD magazine always instills a feeling of getting away with something, regardless of how innocent its content might seem in comparison to pretty much everything else.
It used to be that the only bookstore in Maine was a local place called Mr. Paperback, an agreeable if not exactly expansive place to pick up magazines and bestsellers, and they used to have a whole section dedicated to MAD paperbacks, an area I flocked to but only ended up buying anything from once, and it was this Al Jaffee send-up of magicians. Along with Don Martin and Mort Drucker, Jaffee was always one of my favorites (he did the foldy and often pretty brilliant "make a funny picture out of a regular picture" things in the back cover). A master of both physical (exaggerated human posture was always one of MAD's stocks in trade, and Jaffee never drew anyone doing anything at all gainly) and verbal (his "snappy put-downs to stupid questions" were always a reliable source of easy chuckles, as "comedian" Bill Engvall must have realized when he decided to 100% rip them off) humor, Jaffee's articles in MAD were always a highlight for me, and to have a whole fat little book of them was a good treat, one that I returned to often.
If I ever have a camp, I think I'll try to stock it with as many old MAD paperbacks as I can track down. It seems like ideal, relaxing reading material for camp. Isn't it fascinating for you to know what I intend to do regarding the book inventory in my nonexistent camp? (less)
I like this Jeffrey Brown character. One does not come to him for spectacular art (though the crude style never detracts from the material; just the o...moreI like this Jeffrey Brown character. One does not come to him for spectacular art (though the crude style never detracts from the material; just the opposite, in fact), but for the opportunity to see familiar and often overlooked mannerisms and habits depicted within an instantly relatable situation. Here, he proves that his characters needn't be human or at all anthropomorphized to fit seamlessly into his perceptive little universe. Just about every weird thing I've ever seen the various cats in my life do - rubbing their face on everything, loving you one minute and biting you the next, the Flehmen response, the crazy chattering noise whenever they see birds out the window - has a frame or two dedicated to it. I only wish the book were twice as long, but what little there is of it is attractively-designed (love the cover) and thoroughly charming. (less)
I'm the type of guy that if I see an Estelle Getty memoir lying around in a free book bin, I look around uneasily, grab it, and bolt.
It is exactly wh...moreI'm the type of guy that if I see an Estelle Getty memoir lying around in a free book bin, I look around uneasily, grab it, and bolt.
It is exactly what you would expect from an Estelle Getty memoir. No more, no less. It's a lot like being scolded in a lightly humorous fashion by one of your grandmother's weird elderly neighbors for about an hour and a half. I also learned that she's friends (circa 1988, at least) with Garry Shandling, and likes to make fun of his hair. Sometimes it's nice to know things like that. (less)
The guy who used to (and may still, I have no idea [is he even still alive?]) come on at the end of "60 Minutes" and tell you that he does not like an...moreThe guy who used to (and may still, I have no idea [is he even still alive?]) come on at the end of "60 Minutes" and tell you that he does not like anything also occasionally wrote books about how he does not like anything, and it turns out that they're pretty fun to read while nutrient-sapped remnants of meals you ate the other day are coming out of your bottom, occasionally emitting a soft crackling noise not entirely unlike a dying campfire. Curiously, however, under any other circumstances, the book feels like a waste of time. In any event, the man has a bad attitude! But I can't help but envy his job. I wish I could obtain employment as a non-enjoyer. (less)
Widely held myths concerning the human body are debunked, amid a lot of uninspired instant messaging between the authors, a doctor and a middle aged h...moreWidely held myths concerning the human body are debunked, amid a lot of uninspired instant messaging between the authors, a doctor and a middle aged hipster. Lame jokes abound. I could see these guys at their computer desks, chuckling away at themselves, and it pretty much ruined it for me. I'd heard this Leyner fella was a mindblowing comic genius, but he must have been just picking up a paycheck here. Hopefully he'll use it to fund something funnier, something that might inspire me to check out all those books of his that my creative writing professor gushed about back in the '90s. (less)