When news broke yesterday that billionaire weirdo Elon Musk had purchased Twitter, the social media site became abuzz with theories. Is this simply a way for Musk to add to his pile of expensive toys? Or was this a way for Musk to allow people like Donald Trump to rejoin the platform (which might be the only way for him to, legitimately, win back the presidency in 2024)?
The truth is much more weird, as the truth usually is.
This is going to be another one of those stories where we talk about something that many comedians have been discussing on social media. Maybe you’re a comedian and this interests you. Maybe you’re not a comedian but keep your finger on the pulse of comedy news. Maybe you’re an alpaca and your farmer is reading this to you.
Like the other stories I’ve written in this vein about people like Shane Gillis and Dave Chappelle, this is a story where I take a look at speech and consequences and the concept of a “cancel culture”, though the fact that I’ve put quotes around that term should tell you where I stand on it. There’s a lot of stuff you could also cover, from toxic fandom to how so many people are using a climate of fear for their own personal gain.
The sports world was saddened today as Tom Brady announced his retirement, assumably so he can continue what appears to be his true passion of making incredibly cheesy commercials for rental car companies. There is no way to understate Brady’s dominance of the NFL, and you could make the argument that he is not only the best quarterback in the history of the league, but also the best player.
However, I am not interested in comparing him to all QBs or every person to ever play in the NFL. I’m only curious in how Brady stacks up to one man.
Located in what felt like the middle of nowhere in Barrington, Illinois, the Penny Road Pub was a bar and multi-staged venue that made its living by hosting shows. More often than not there were bands, but myself and a few other different comedian/producers tried to get comedy started there as well. Unfortunately, we all learned one thing: because this venue is in the middle of nowhere, Penny Road Pub had, literally, zero foot traffic. The only way to have a crowd is to bring the audience yourself, which is not a skill suburban comedians are super-great at.
The venue closed down last night and that made me wistful. In the fifteen years or so I’ve been doing comedy, that venue provided me some of my happiest/angriest/weirdest moments. I got to hang out with some amazing people, meet lifelong friends, and watch amazing comedians work their craft in front of small audiences. When I say small, it was usually just my wife, Jon- the brother of co-producer Lewis Rhine, and Jon’s friend Charlie. Later, Lewis and I would add Joe Motisi to our production team, mostly because we just liked spending time with him and we all thought each other were hilarious.
What the show lacked in numbers, though, it more than made up for in memories.
The middle of the 2000’s was a weird time. I had lazily rolled my odometer over past 21 years. I wasn’t really a productive member of society. Summers were spent hanging out by the pool, drinking the day away, and playing MVP 2005 on X Box. I wasn’t exactly career driven, or driven by anything other than a desire to drink and carouse my way through life.
The nice thing about being young and slovenly was that I didn’t really need much money to get by. I worked odd jobs here and there. At one point, we were hired to put a small stream that led down into a tiny reflecting pond in a yard. I won’t bore you with all of the details, but I do seem to remember the yard flooding soon after due to our handiwork. There was also a stint at a gym, a self storage place, and a particularly spectacular flame out at Home Depot.
I had a solid 15-hour workday today – minus a half hour taken for lunch, half hour for dinner and the 90-minute break I took to go to the gym. But Bob Saget? He’s got more than a solid 7. A solid 7 minutes of fame? You could look at it that way. He did a lot. But that’s not it. Now kick back your feet and relax a bit as I wind my way to his ‘more than a solid 7.”
So today as I kept working I felt like I was being someone I really am not – someone who keeps working. I like my job, but criminy that’s a lot of time you know? But it got me to thinking. Generally, when someone starts any sentence off with “it got me to thinking” right after that something will spill out of their mouths possibly a tad daft. Strap it down people and slam open your thought cavity because here it comes.
What does one do when they are acting like someone they clearly are not?
On Tuesday, Dave Chappelle released his sixth Netflix special, The Closer, and that could only mean one thing: my social media feeds were intolerable for most of the week. You think it’ s bad hearing about your Aunt Janice’s nonstop bout with carpal tunnel? Just become a comedian and, I promise you, after twelve hours, you’ll be begging to hear more about wrist guards.
What Alaska lacks is certainly not scenery. You can’t swing an Ulu knife around your head without seeing some sort of spectacular scenery. What it needs is direction, as in signage.
Sign Issue #1 – Directional Signage
Anchorage AK (pronounced by locals as “InkRidge”) is effectively Rockford IL (pronounced by locals as “Rockford”). Rockford has its special places, but so does Anchorage. However, Rockford has highways that actually connect to one another without the ‘aid’ of stoplights and has signage announcing said departure from one highway to another. Anchorage? A single highway rolls into another single highway, both running north-south. Does it make sense? Well, no. AK 1 aka “The Seward Highway” runs from Seward north to Anchorage. It goes from a two-lane 55 MPH road (it’s a coastal highway in an area where earthquakes are a given so this makes sense) to a 6-lane 65 MPH highway to a 4-lane “highway” with stoplights. The “C-word” (they do pronounce it Sue-word but I was calling it C-word because I’m a self-entertaining idiot) then runs its course by veering west to the Glenn Highway. There’s a sign indicating the Glenn Highway is coming up but it’s just labeled as “Glenn Highway” not “Glenn Highway next right” – which it wouldn’t be the next one – or “Glenn Highway exit 6th Avenue” – which in Anchorage it is 6th Avenue, then turns into the Glenn Highway once north of Anchorage. Does this make any sense? No.
Let me start by first saying the obvious: Fuck Cancer. Let me continue by saying something else that is obvious: Norm Macdonald was one of the best, smartest, and most loved comedians that ever lived. The way he told jokes put him in a class all of his own. He never seemed to care about the trends of comedy. He never mattered much for kissing the ring of the latest sensation in stand up. For nearly five decades, he just went out and was quintessentially Norm Macdonald, a character nobody else could possibly play.