Canadian Softball (Jarrod Alonge)-Awkward and Depressed

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Hey, remember being in middle school and taking everything as a personal attack because puberty is probably the most personal attack anyone can ever receive? Ever want to relieve those feelings of awkwardness, unspent rage and rapid-fire mood swings that left your parents looking longing at military schools? No? Continue reading

Brigsby Bear, and Why it’s “Dope as Shit”

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As evidenced by his work with SNL and sketch group Good Neighbor, Kyle Mooney has been building a career out of playing a similar type of character over and over again, but I think he does it with enough genuine empathy and admiration that I can’t complain. Mooney excels at cringe comedy, and he does this especially well in Brigsby Bear (dir. Dave McCary), in which he portrays a young man who essentially has never seen or heard of anything. Continue reading

Bowling for Cigs: Bowling for Soup at the Gramercy Theater//Diet Cig at Baby’s All Right: (New York/Brooklyn, NY) 4/7/17

bowlingforsoup      “I don’t go to Brooklyn,” Casey mutters anytime I propose a show in the King’s County borough.  “We should see a show soon,” is a phrase Casey says to me about every two weeks.  When scrolling through events on Facebook, I saw both Bowling for Soup at the Gramercy Theatre and Diet Cig at Baby’s All Right on a Friday.  Casey initially agreed to Bowling for Soup, and when I proposed catching Diet Cig’s late show for their record release of Swear I’m Good at This, she was down to do both in a night.  We managed to hit both shows and it was a hell of a shit show. Continue reading

Dave Chappelle-The Age of Spin & Deep In the Heart of Texas

Dave Chappelle At The Hollywood Palladium

It is somewhat unclear who Dave Chappelle’s new comedy specials are for.  There’s definitely a point to direct it to old fans of Chappelle’s Show: not only was Chappelle a game-changer of a comic, but there’s also nostalgic value in aiming it at this audience.  There’s also an aim for fans who weren’t around when Chappelle was in his prime.  As cliché as it is, Chappelle pokes fun at a 24 year-old in the audience.  The content of Chappelle’s jokes vary from the self-aware, topical humor, and material about people that would seem irrelevant had it not been for recent events bringing them into prominence (i.e. O.J. Simpson and Bill Cosby).  Both of Chappelle’s new specials find a pleasing middle ground that sets him both as an older comic trying to reach a new audience and someone acting as if he never left. Continue reading

The Belko Experiment (Dir. Greg McLean)

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via Wikipedia.

What is the point of setting Battle Royale in an office building if you’re not going to utilize office supplies as murder weapons?

The Belko Experiment is very short-barely 90 minutes long. That’s because it is exactly what you saw in the trailer and nothing more is added. Everything you think is going to happen does. There is no attempt to add a plot twist or alteration to set this film apart from Battle Royale, The Hunger Games, Exam, Cube, Circle, Lord of the Flies, The Killing Room or the dozens of other films with similar ideas and better execution. This is not to say The Belko Experiment is a particularly bad film. It’s passable. But I take issue with this because “let’s put people in a life or death situation and see how they deal with it for the sake of social commentary or entertainment or whatever” has become a genre unto itself because it’s so watchable and easy to write. Even if the film isn’t particularly memorable, a premise like this one will always be attractive to audiences. There are two main reasons for this: the self-insert ‘murder without consequences’ prospect (e.g. “which of my coworkers would I kill in this type of situation?”), and the easily palatable social commentary that essentially writes itself. This is why we, as a culture, love post-apocalyptic stories. They are simple and straightforward and easy to analyze by considering it within the context of the world we live in currently. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love movies like Battle Royale and Circle for the very reasons I just listed. But The Belko Experiment did not do it for me.

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Mike Birbiglia-Thank God For Jokes

1453249917-mike_birbiglia_thank_god_for_jokes_tickets            Especially now, jokes are one of the most important things we’ve got.  Whether the jokes come from a place of brutal honesty like Marc Maron or evil fiction like Anthony Jeselnik, it’s important to laugh.  Mike Birbiglia’s new Thank God for Jokes discusses how important it is to make jokes with Birbiglia’s emotive honesty and deep thought.  Birbiglia doesn’t fail to make you laugh, but there are moments that this special lags at a predictable pace.

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Ann Coulter Bombs Comedy Central Event


Walking punchline, Ann Coulter, was present at Comedy Central’s Roast of Rob Lowe.  Unsurprisingly, this was more of The Roast of Ann Coulter.  Coulter did get her shot at rebuttals late in the show, and it was so funny no one laughed.  Cuts to the audience showed mostly expressionless faces during her set.  Jimmy Carr may have taken one of the best shots at the conservative writer: “Ann Coulter is one of the most repugnant, hateful, hatchet-faced bitches alive, but it’s not too late to change, Ann.  You could kill yourself.”

 

James is on Twitter.