Tag Archives: Michael Showalter

Comically Bad Advice

Thanks to an event that occurred last night, I sought out some words of wisdom and comfort this morning. Along with the obvious and the occasionally inspirational, I decided to go for the absurdly comedic angle as well.

There’s no Chicken Soup for the Funny Bone, but there is this:

You’re A Horrible Person But I Like You

The pretense is a twisted version of the advice column, where someone (often fabricated) writes in with a question so the columnist can dispense some words of wisdom. Over the years these responders have been straightforward helpful types, wiseass sarcastic vipers or pompous amateur psychologists. and almost without exception, the columns were popular, the printed version of a train wreck that can’t be avoided.

In this book, a group of comedians take a whack at the same Q&A task, asking and answering a few apiece. While the results are uneven, each comic usually has at least one good one, with several (Patton Oswalt, Jim Gaffigan, Todd Barry and Paul F Tompkins) especially strong.

How’s this for a list of advice givers? Aziz Ansari, Judd Apatow, Fred Armisen, Maria Bamford, Todd Barry, Samantha Bee, Michael Ian Black, Andy Borowitz, Michael Cera, Vernon Chatman, Rob Corddry, David Cross, Larry Doyle, Paul Feig, Jim Gaffigan, Zach Galifianakis, Janeane Garofalo, Daniel Handler, Todd Hanson, Tim Heidecker, Ed Helms, Buck Henry, Mindy Kaling, John Lee, Thomas Lennon, Al Madrigal, Aasif Mandvi, Marc Maron, Adam McKay, Eugene Mirman, Morgan Murphy, Bob Odenkirk, John Oliver, Patton Oswalt, Martha Plimpton, Harold Ramis, Amy Sedaris, Michael Showalter, Sarah Silverman, Paul F. Tompkins, Sarah Vowell, David Wain, Eric Wareheim, Rainn Wilson and Lizz Winstead.

It’s a perfect book for a quick scan; each chapter (organized by comic) is but a few pages long and can be read in a few minutes. And although the chapters themselves can be read out of order, some of the writers have some clever call-backs that would be easily missed if their chapters weren’t read in their entirety.

It’s not gut-busting funny, but it did put a much-needed smile on my face today. As always, your mileage may vary.

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New Album! The Dahlmanns

Short, sharp and sweet – this four track EP from The Dahlmanns is a blast of crunchy pop bubblegum. The EP kicks off with a great cover of Amy Rigby’s “Dancing With Joey Ramone”, which takes the hook from “I Fought The Law” and covers it with a bright pop sheen.  That’s followed by the lightning-paced  “I Want You Around”; an original, not the Ramones tune, but it sounds like the seminal punk band. Both songs (like the closing track “Didn’t Tell The Man”) are effervescent punchy pop;  chunky guitar chords and great hooks slathered with sing-along harmony vocals.

But I would expect nothing less, considering Andre Dahlmann is from The Yum Yums, one of the best powerpop bands around (and sadly not as well known in the States as they should be). Guitarist and vocalist Andre is joined by his wife Line Cecile Dahlmann on vocals; I’m not sure if the two other listed band members  (Christian and Ole) are real Dahlmanns or whether the adopted surname is a tribute to The Ramones, but no matter – whoever it is playing on these songs, they’re tight and fun.

The fourth track is a cover of Lindsey Buckingham’s classic “Holiday Road” (from National Lampoon’s Vacation), complete with spirited harmony vocals and infectious guitar. The webpage states that a full length is on the way this year, and if it’s anything like this four-track EP, powerpop fans are in for a real treat.

The Dahlmanns page at Pop Detective Records

The Yum Yums on MySpace

*****

Ever feel that the day is  just…weird? From the moment I got up today it seemed like things were a little off. Took a peek at what events have happened on June 17th across history and found out some odd pairings…

In 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor, a representation of all the good America had to offer. But in 1972, five White House operatives were arrested for breaking into the offices of the Democratic National Committee and Watergate was added to our lexicon.

Today also marks the anniversary of the last public use of a guillotine in France, outside Versailles in 1939, because modern society deemed decapitation too gruesome even for criminals. But fifty-five years later, a nation watched a white Ford Bronco chased by police cars in slow motion; its famous passenger accused of a comparably heinous act.

On a lighter note, June 17th is also the birthday of a three TV sketch comedians. Michael Showalter from The State is forty, while Saturday Night Live player Joe Piscopo is 59 years old. And Will Forte, ironically, turns forty.

(And for the record, although it was Phil Hartman’s version who said it, not Piscopo’s… Frank Sinatra has chunks of guys like MacGruber in his stool.

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