Never the Twain Should Meet

Hey there ‘Redheads… Sorry about the blog drought. While I want to keep up the regular posting, I also want to make sure I actually have content for you. Well, I don’t say this often, but thank you to Will Ferrell for providing. It was announced yesterday that he’ll be the recipient of the 14th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. You read that right. Will Ferrell. I’ve made no secret that I’m not a fan of Will Ferrell. As a comic actor he is one-note, and that note is stupidly loud. So, rather than launch into a biased tirade about it, I’m going to hand things off to my comedy buddy, the reasoned and insightful Randolph Terrance, and allow him to retort…

On October 23, 2011 at 7 p.m The Kennedy Center will present the 14th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. This prestigious award “recognizes people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain. As a social commentator, satirist and creator of characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly. He revealed the great truth of humor when he said, ‘Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.'” Last years recipient of the prize was Tina Fey. Most of you know how I felt about her getting it, if you don’t go back and read the note that I wrote about it. This years recipient is Will Ferrell. Will Ferrell. When I found this out the first thing I thought was “Here we go again.” Will Ferrell does not deserve this award. Not yet. Not by a long shot. This is not to say he is not funny, of course he is. Anything he is in is made better by his presence. Sketch. Movie. Stage. Interview. He is the goods, and he DOES NOT deserve this award anymore than Tina Fey did. Go back and read what this award is supposed to be about, “…recognizes people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain.” This is directly off the website by the way. Are we to HONESTLY believe that Will Ferrell has had that kind of impact yet? “Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly.” Again, right off the website. Is this what Will Ferrell was doing when he was running down the street naked in “Old School”? Playing the cowbell on SNL? Or that time he went on Conan in his underwear?

“A fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing” and yet Chris Rock doesn’t have one yet. Nor does Mel Brooks. Or Dick Gregory. Or Jerry Seinfeld. Or Larry David. Or Rosanne. Or Carol Burnett. All of these people changed comedy in ways both big and small. Dick Gregory was the first black comedian to talk directly to a white audience. It wasn’t allowed. He changed it, and by doing this he changed all of show business. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David created one of the most successful and iconic sitcoms in history. Larry did it twice. Mel Brooks came up with ground breaking movies dealing with topics and themes like racism, WWII, and the persecution of Jews at a time when people were running away from any of these topics. Carol Burnett and Rosanne were ground breakers who paved the way for damn near any woman involved in comedy on television right now. This is just a small sampling of people who have changed comedy and society and haven’t received this “prestigious” award. I could name more but what good would it do? Some of you reading this do not agree with me. You would be wrong. For this man to receive this award at this time cheapens it. I said this last year when Tina Fey received it and many people said to me “But she is funny for my generation…” So what? Without the people whom I listed she wouldn’t even been here, and neither would Will Ferrell because those others, and many more, are the inspiration that make all of this possible. I say again, who gets it next? Tracy Morgan? Alec Baldwin? Sandler? Everyone is on the table.

See you Monday.

Three Past Fool

Hey there ‘Redheads… I’m stuffed. I’ve spent the last couple of nights shoveling matzoh and brisket down my gullet and washing it down with Maneschevitz, Jewish Mad Dog 20/20. All in celebration of Passover (you’re welcome for the pyramids, by the way). Like other Jewish holidays, Passover is rich in song. Here’s one of my favorites…sing along, won’t you?

For the first night of Passover, I went up to Philly to visit my sister, her husband, and of course, my impossibly cute nephew, Mo. Brace yourselves as I crank the adorable knob up to 11.

The knob seems to be stuck…stop trying to tickle the screen.

Before I blog any further, I would be remiss if I did not mention the bitch slap given to Autism over the weekend at the Mobtown Theatre. A big thanks to Greg Hall and everybody involved with the Baltimore Comedy Festival for a great event. I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with the likes of Mike Aronin, Sonya King, Jon Mumma, and Doug Powell as we dropped a comedy elbow into the solar plexus of this mysterious disorder. The late show featured Jessica Paquin, Mike Way, Bird Knight, Kat Malone, Chris Doucette, Larry XL, and Mike Storck as Swanky Hilltopper III. Best line of the night, Mike Aronin closed the early show with, “Thanks for supporting Autism!”

On Sunday, I indulged in a guilty pleasure and checked out the spectacle that is WrestleMania 23. For those math challenged, it was the 20th anniversary of WrestleMania 3, when the WWF set the indoor attendance record at the Pontiac Silverdome. Well, Aretha Franklin sang America the Beautiful then, so they brought her back to sing it again this year. Oy vey. Don’t get me wrong, she can’t still belt out the tunes, but her belt had to have a few new holes punched in it. Sister has let herself go. It wouldn’tve surprised me in the slightest if she was hiding the Rancor in a cell beneath her piano bench. She looked like the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock

D-O-U-G-H-N-U-T, someone bring a box to me…

Yes, I know wrestling is rigged. That doesn’t make the athletic derring-do any less exciting. For example…

Yes, that was a metal ladder they snapped in half. If someone would like to tell me how they faked that, I’d love to hear it.

On to one of the funnier news stories I found recently in the Washington Post

Criteria for Depression Are Too Broad, Researchers Say
Guidelines May Encompass Many Who Are Just Sad

Up to 25 percent of people in whom psychiatrists would currently diagnose depression may only be reacting normally to stressful events such as a divorce or losing a job, according to a new analysis that reexamined how the standard diagnostic criteria are used.

Apparently, signs of depression include not being happy, not knowing that you’re happy, and an inability to clap your hands. Until the criteria can be narrowed down, doctors are simply prescribing their patients to get over themselves.

Speaking of the Washington Post, I’d like to thank movie critic Stephen Hunter for crystallizing why I hate Will Ferrell with the fire of a thousand suns. I give you this excerpt from Hunter’s review of Blades of Glory: “The joke is that his machismo is mostly fantasy and his hyper-masculinity is all the more off-putting for being fraudulent.” This sentence describes every freaking character that Ferrell puts on screen…Ron Burgundy, Rick Bobby, Chazz from Wedding Crashers, as long as the bravado is thick and whatever he says is either boorish, loud, or stupid, he’s treated as this great comic actor because “he so said that”. Keep mugging it up, you putz. I’m not sure why he irks me so, but he and Jack Black can take a flying leap.

Got nothing to do this weekend? Go check out the happenings at the DC Improv. You can either see the very funny Brett Leake in the main showroom or enjoy a ridiculously intimate evening with Todd Glass in the new Comedy Lounge. Your comedy options abound. Choose wisely.

To be continued…