Tonight “Weekend of Regret” - a team I’ve been working with for over a year, makes its debut on the UCBT stage in Cage Match. I think these are some of the finest improvisers in the city, we’ve put together a show we’re proud of, and it’d mean the world to me if you could make it out tonight.
Look, I am gonna be honest.
This group of people makes me laugh until my stomach hurts.
Come out to Cage Match tonight and vote for us. I really want to have a Cage Match win once in my stupid, stinkin’ life. I am not asking for pity votes. I am telling you that we are going to work very hard to earn that vote.
See you tonight!
I’ve had the pleasure of coaching these guys for the last few months and I love it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a boring or unfunny scene from them. I’ve laughed so hard in those sessions. Go vote for them!
Weekend of Regret is my favorite team I’ve ever been on, hands down. Playing with these guys honestly feels like the A-Team, where everyone has that extra special skill that keeps us 1 step ahead of the Army.
My favorite Weekend show was, I think, Veal’s 4 Year Anniversary. We did a hugely fun set, about the bird watching magazine ‘Beak and Bill’, their business model of inviting millionaires over and collecting the change they left in the couch, and finally answering the age old question, “Are Ducks birds?” It was a blast. After the set, we’re all in the elevator heading out when Rob Stern (member emeritus) asks, “So, we don’t really need an audience, do we?” And we don’t.
Having said that, we’d really like an audience tonight.
ALSO: Despite my 4+ years around UCB, this is the first time I’ve ever done Cage Match (save for the Christians vs Jews bit show).
We’ve all been thinking it. I’ve thought it since probably the 3rd or 4th episode last season. But I couldn’t really bring myself to say it until watching the season premiere.
On paper, it should be amazing. You’ve got Steve Buscemi carrying the show. Martin Scorsece has an executive producer credit. It’s set in Prohibition-era Atlantic City and flirts with Chicago and the beginning of Al Capone’s career. And on top of all of this, it’s absolutely gorgeous. I’m not sure how many Creative Arts Emmy’s exist (who is, really?) but Boardwalk Empire should win every set and costume based one there is. And yet the show fails.
But past credits and production values do not make a show worth watching, and Boardwalk Empire falls short where it counts for a drama: umm, drama.
The show is so obsessed with painting its characters with shades of gray but forgot gray is a mix of black and white. There’s nothing compelling about any of the characters, because they are portrayed so conflicted to begin with we can’t care about any of their convictions. Jimmy has a debt of gratitude to Nucky but wants power for himself. Agent Van Alden is a dedicated Christian and the law, and yet finds himself tempted by it. Ms. Schroeder is has secured security of her family, but at what cost. Nucky runs Atlantic City, but is caught between maintaining his power and, erm, not having power? We, the audience, need to connect with half of a character’s conflict; a dull showing creates pointless plot and no drama. We need to see both sides of a character’s conflict, not just be assured there is one.
Just about every character falls into this quagmire of boring, pointless internal conflict. And while it’s only 11 episodes into the series, are these characters ever effected by anything? How many times do we need to see Jimmy’s wife silently weep for her cage of a marriage or Nucky’s brother Eli feel like an unappreciated lackey, before we sympathise with them? At this rate, we never will. The real flaw with Boardwalk Empire is that it treats characters and plot as window dressing for sets and costumes. And you’re just not going to create an interesting television show with that sort of thinking.
The one character I would call an exception to all this is Harrow. He was a sniper in World War I until he had half his face shot off. He now wears a painted mask to hide his disfigurement and works as a trusted gunman for Jimmy. He’s probably murdered the most people, on screen, of anyone on the show, and yet remains the most likable character. He’s a killer, but is the meekest and gentlest person on the show. He’s tragically obsessed with love and family, knowing full well his face precludes that future for him. And so he’s resigned himself to being a killer because that’s all that the world has left for him. That is a character I can get behind. Nucky, Jimmy, Van Alden? Not so much.
I know nothing about Troy Davis’ case; my only contact has been through the flurry of activism I’ve seen on twitter. But the death penalty should be abolished on the grounds that government is made of men, and men are nothing if not fallible.
I wouldn’t trust the government to judge guilty, let alone the innocent.
What comes next is the explosion of the European project. Given what European leaders have made of that project over the past 30-odd years, it’s not an altogether bad thing. But it will come at a massive cost. The riots of Athens will become those of Milan, Madrid and Marseilles. Parties of the fringe will gain greater sway. Border checkpoints will return. Currencies will be resurrected, then devalued. Countries will choose decay over reform. It’s a long, likely parade of horribles.
A bleak analysis of Europe’s future, courtesy of Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal.
"You’ll be sleeping on plastic by the end of the summer."
It was Spring of 2010. I’d been complaining to this girl about the wrapping she had on her bed. It was thick, heavy polyurethane, the kind that reflects your all your body heat so you can conveniently wake up drenched in your own sweat. Sleeping on it was like wrapping your body in a latex-free condom. Doubtless the world’s most repressive and brutal governments had been encasing their prisoner’s bedding in the plastic for years. But this girl had heard all the horror stories of bedbugs and, with the apartment being located in Hell’s Kitchen, was taking no chances with her mattress, and suggested I do the same.
"No way." I scoffed.
I’d just moved to Hell’s Kitchen myself, but my own mattress would not become a sauna. Bedbugs, like apartment theft and death, were things that happened to other people, not me. I left my mattress uncovered and defied the fates, the world, and New York Magazine. Summer of 2010 came and went, and Joe and the Bed of Invincibility remained a perfectly legitimate title for my autobiography. Even after a full year in Hell’s Kitchen, my bed was perfectly fine. And then I moved back to Brooklyn.
I was the golden child who flew too close to boxspringed sun. The old phrase was never truer: Man Plans, God Laughs and Then Gives You Fucking Bedbugs.
I’m writing this sitting on a dryer like a 1960s housewife trying to get her rocks off, while I heat my shoes to 120 degrees. I’ve already had exterminators out, spent $150 on mattress bags, purged my clothes to only the essentials and have already decided I’m throwing out my barely three months old bed frame and getting a new mattress. This entire ordeal has been miserable and stupid and heaps of prehistoric parasitic bullshit.
I’ll be damned if I’m wrapping my bed in that plastic though.
That word. Perversion. Makes my skin crawl, my stomach turn and my scrotum contract. Where’s the perversion in loving another one of God’s creatures? Where’s the deviance in wanting to pull feathers rather than blond hair? What’s abnormal about wanting to see your wife take a three-inch beak instead of a 10-inch African American phallus or a silicon, injection-molded forearm? How can a human vagina or anus even compare to hollow bones or a molty egg-hole. Hah!
Just go, it’s SFW. Maybe my favorite fake site. Kudos to Robin for finding it.
When I texted you that night to see what you were up to despite recent Facebook signs that you are In A Relationship
if you are in fact In A Relationship I must’ve seemed like an emissary from the Land of Single People a laughable anachronism from an older world where people send each other
craven phone messages around the end of another companionless evening to see if they can’t join up and beat back their loneliness together with the forever attractive prospect of Really Hot Sex (a thing we think we can make not empty by pointing to it and saying “that’s empty” in unison).
I am sorry for riding up in my outmoded carriage pulled by an ailing horse appearing on the street in front of your floating future-palace where electricity is the norm where they finally cured solitude with beams of relationship-ish reassurance shooting back and forth at all hours of the night.
Just remember that up until a few days ago you were one of us in our little tumbledown part of the city lit by flickering bulbs populated by rats, thieves, bad television, premonitions of death, and things you’ll never say because you haven’t earned a listener which seems endless once you are inside of it.