Monday, 23 April 2007

Things I now know about America

1. Almond Joy is an excellent sweet.

2. Their literary canon is very flexible. Under Classics in the West Virginia University one can find the excellent Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - pre-order now! Maybe I will, WVU, maybe I will!

3. Overheard in Jay's Daily Grind, a coffee-shop. (Totally, one-hundred percent true).

SOME GUY (Probably Jay): You know, cow tipping?
YOUNG WOMAN: Uh huh.
SOME GUY: Y'ever done it?
YOUNG WOMAN: Nope.
SOME GUY: I tell you, you can't. You can't do it.
YOUNG WOMAN: Why not?
SOME GUY: It's a lie. It's not possible. It's a fallacy.
YOUNG WOMAN: Really!
SOME GUY: In fact, it's an OXYMORON!

4. If you write a whole bunch of jokes about a tiny university town in the middle of nowhere with the intention of bringing then back to the big city and saying them onstage for laughs (and to plug up that empty bit of your soul with audience validation and ale) - as a rule, don't leave your notebook in Jay's Daily Grind for the collective butt of your mean-spirited joshing to find.

Friday, 20 April 2007

In America


I'm in Morgantown, West Virginia. That's not some kind of joke, I actually am. Besides, if I were going to make up something about being in America, why would I say I was in Morgantown?

I haven't been to the states for years, not counting that jaunt to Point Roberts on New Year's Eve, since, well, you have to go through Canada to get to that. Everyone is friendly here, overwhelmingly so. Coming from London, their smiles and jollity take you aback. At the same time, in no way do I find these people anything less than genuine. In fact, their lack of guard is a bit frightening. Vulnerable, open.

I've just had what they describe as a continental breakfast, although, I'm pretty sure that over on the actual continent they don't eat make-your-own waffles, Krispy Kreme donuts, fruit salad in syrup and those packages of Fruit Loops where you cut it down the middle and it becomes a bowl - for their petit dejeuner. Oh! Bonjour!! We (two other conference panelists and I) sat down in a lovely appointed lounge with mahogany furniture, eating off polystyrene plates with individually wrapped plastic cutlery.

The town seems typically small town America, frozen in time in many ways. I doubt it looked very different in the 1950s. There's Krispy Kreme in several locations, Target, one 'exotic' Chinese takeaway, and drive-through ATMs, you know, which allows you to combine being a victim of mugging and carjacking in one easy stop! In answer to some obviously pressing questions:

1. Yes, people are on the whole, larger, here. Thing is, it actually seems less shameful. There's a celebration of the fatty sugary foods here, the pre-packaged junk that's far more honest than Britain's Taste the Difference range self loathing.

2. No, I wasn't scrutinized for looking like I could be South Korean and you know, (shh) like I might write 'plays'... However

3. Yes, everyone brown was stopped at the airport. Everyone without a US or Canadian passport was fingerprinted and photographed, including old ladies so decrepit it's doubtful they'd even have fingerprints anymore.

It must be hard to work in security checkpoints in America. When your existence is defined by your vigilance, there can never be any payoff, any beautiful release. That little burst of joy in fulfilling a project.

'Oh, it was toothpaste. I thought it was a bomb!'

Monday, 16 April 2007

Just so I know...

If a gypsy curses you, what's the correct protocol?

Are you supposed to tag her, shout 'no curse-backs!' and then run away?

I'm not sure.

****

I'm going to the States later this week to play the smarty-pants at an academic conference on theatre, which to many seems like the equivalent of discussing the flavour of the ice cream while it melts away, but I actually get quite a kick out of it. I'll be presenting a paper on stand-up, which I've lovingly researched and crafted in careful, measured terminology, and after it's done and dusted I plan to revert back to the Brodacious boy everyone knows and loves, the one who makes fun of dead baby seals and stuff. (BTW, anyone from Canada know the current score of the seal cull? When I checked last week I think it was Canadians 189,000 - Seals 0). (Go Canucks Go!)

****

I think this girl is really funny.



****

And I just got this book through the post.


Culture and Materialism

Can you believe it? Me! The guy who wanted to take his top off and stand around Abercrombie and Fitch all day for £4.50 an hour!

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Narcissus


As I've likely indicated a hundred times over, I like to think of myself as the Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue of comedy. It's a worthy designation.

But it's not without consequences.

I work out four time a week, jog and cycle. I have to eat, like 5000 calories a day just to feed my parasitic bulgy bits. Oh, and I'm often flooded with an existential fear that beneath my devastatingly handsome and toned exterior I'm totally empty inside, but you know, like whatever!

I did have a rare moment of self awareness this week, however. There's a new A+F store open in London, Savile Row, and they employ buffed-up young men to greet customers. I've found myself actually considering applying.

Is that nuts? Do I have such an insanely high opinion of myself? Am I consumed by vanity? Or am I so insecure that I need validation of my Herb Ritts worthy self from some multinational corporation?

Am I dead inside?

Is my life like the Sixth Sense as written by Albert Camus for Men's Fitness magazine?

So many questions. Then I decided, well, fuck it, or rather, fuck that shit, and went back to looking at my reflection in ponds (Greek mythology, look it up) and reading articles about how Gerry Butler and the 300 spartans worked out. Now those guys are SHALLOW.

Besides...

My people are supposed to protest that shit: Article from The Independent
(About halfway through, about the Two Wongs Make It White t-shirt debacle).

****

In the ongoing 'Don't Sell Your Kidnap Stories To Newspapers, Dumbasses!' crisis of the freed sailors, this came up today.

"Mr Batchelor comes in for particular contempt because he told the Daily Mirror of his misery at losing his iPod, which he says was stolen by the Iranians." (Guardian, Audrey Gillan, 11/04/07)

You couldn't make this shit up, could you? Apparently the worst part was when the Iranians said he looked like Mr Bean. I suppose we'll be seeing the film of this harrowing true story quite soon:

Not Without My iPod
starring James McAvoy.

That punch-line was pretty cheesy. Even I feel a bit dirty.

Monday, 9 April 2007

I am a whimsical person, at heart

I think the most magical thing I've come across recently is disadvantaged young people playing music on their mobiles and singing along while riding public transit, mainly buses. While this is probably not most people's cup of tea, in fact, I'd wager that most Londoners consider the phenomenon of teenagers acquiring mobile phones with Mp3 functionality and loudspeakers to be somewhere in between Iran acquiring nuclear weapons and Britney Spears acquiring another baby - however, I will add the following caveat: it's only good when they play really gay music.

Divas, mainly.

I was riding the bus a few weeks ago and there were two of what the Daily Mail call 'yobs,' and they were sitting in the back looking menacing and, oh, fourteen, and playing hip hop out of a mobile. Fitty Cent, Akon, and such. Let's just say it was quite a bad day, you know, heading to work, hungover, feeling shit over some comedy gig that didn't go so well the audience were philistines at... When suddenly and without warning, the track changed.

To Irreplaceable. By Beyonce Knowles.

And the lads started singing along.

There is nothing that brightens one's day more than the scene of two hard-looking guys singing along to an empowering girl-rock/R&B anthem about 'kicking one's man to da curb.' It bespeaks a fantastic confidence and suddenly makes everything feel right about the world - I guess they just knew what they wanted, how to get it, and that no scrubs would be involved.

'You must not know 'bout me, you must not know 'bout me
I can have another you in a minute
Matter of fact, he'll be here in a minute, baby.'


'D'ya get me, bruv?'



****

More about Iran, on a slightly more serious note - Peter Wilby points out, rather surprisingly, re: intelligence about the British sailors being in Iraqi waters at the time -

'Only Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan who headed the Foreign Office's maritime section from 1989 to 1992, pointed out that no maritime border between Iran and Iraq has ever been agreed and that the MoD's map was, to all intents and purposes, a fake. His revelation was buried on page 59 of the Mail on Sunday and largely ignored by other papers.'

Shame then that this information was buried away on page 7 of the boring Media section of the Guardian. But we all make mistakes. Dear Guardian, please rectify this mistake by giving me a job. I write stuff about boys singing soul diva songs along to mobiles and am funny.

Friday, 6 April 2007

third time's the charm.

Unlike all other failed attempts, this one's the real deal.

Call it what you will, a shameless attempt at self-publicity, a shameless attempt at getting a twice-weekly column in the Guardian G2, a shameless but cute site featuring pictures of puppies and kitties, Brodacious is up and lively, like the Brodster on Red-Bull.

(I've started drinking Red-Bull occasionally after reading that my favourite comedian, Sarah Silverman, drinks it. Perhaps I believed it would up my productivity of hilarity. Has it worked? Well, I started a blog.)

****
Iran released the fifteen captive British sailors this week with rather too many smiles all around. Mr Ahmedinejad increasingly resembles no one so much as Tom Cruise on Oprah's couch. (Put the pearly whites away please, you're just making the Brits feel worse). In any case, I've really enjoyed the media's coverage of the hostage situation. "Tehran releases our 15 sailors... but not before humiliating them one last time by parading them in front of Iranian television cameras!"

Last time I checked, "parading" involved walking around in some sort of cartoon character costume, not standing there and grinning and hi-fiving like a Sandals advert. What exactly were the means of coercion that led to such happy snaps?: "Now we bring to you new torture! It is called 'plate of kebabs and traditional folk dance!'"

Oh yeah, and I'm glad they're home safe and stuff.

****

I got a flyer from the Jehovah's witnesses through my door the other day, which helpfully informs me that "Jesus Christ is widely recognized as the greatest man who ever lived." (Yes! Beating out MLK and Ben Stiller!) It continues: "He gave his life for us 1,974 years ago, being killed in a most painful manner." (I know! I stubbed my toe the other day and it was most painful!) It also had some thought-provoking questions on the reverse, such as:

Who really was Jesus?
What does his death have to do with our everlasting welfare?
What is the ransom that Jesus spoke about, and why do we need to know?

which I think are greatly improved by a few simple changes

Uh, who really was "Jesus" anyway?
What does his death have to do with our everlasting welfare?
WTF is the ransom that "Jesus" spoke about, and why do we need to know?

Imagine Shannon Doherty saying it.