Jonathan Katz, better known to you as Dr. Katz, called me the other day, out of the blue. We’ve never met but he just wanted to say how much he enjoyed the David Feldman podcast on which I was a guest. Johnathan and I had a long lovely talk about life and comedy and UnCabaret’s new Amazon episodes and his new project Explosion Bus. it is one of the joys of telecommunications to sometimes, out of the blue, hear from someone you admire and do not know.
He asked me really good questions. David is smart and a very precise joke writer, who’s written for Roseanne, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Bill Maher etc. He was genuinely interested in how and why and who and interested in making sense of it for himself, which always makes for a great interview. That’s why I listened to Whitley Strieber for so many years. He was on a personal quest to understand. As I am. As if you have gotten the far I assume you are!
This is David’s description of the show: Why are gay and female comics more fun to watch? Is there room for confessional comedy in mainstream clubs? Could it possibly be true that the Los Angeles comedy scene is America’s most fertile arena? The history of Alternative Comedy.
Here it is on iTunes (Confessional Comedy) Enjoy!Learn More
These are the instructions on love that I have been told to give you: Love yourself. Love something bigger than yourself. Love something smaller than yourself. Love something the same sized as yourself. Love as a verb not a noun. Not a thing, an action.
Love whoever comes into your path and seek out those for whom your love is abiding. Love without resentment something you both love and resent. Love without anger someone you both love and are angry with. Love your anger and resentment if this is not possible. Love what might be without knowing what it is. For today think of possibility not uncertainty.
Love the absence of trouble in whatever areas your life is trouble free. Love your troubles as they are agents of change. Love the part of you that you love easily with the part of you that you love less so. Love a part of you that is hard to love with a part of you that you love easily.
Love someone older than you. Love someone younger than you. Love someone your own age.
If you are in an elevator send love to each person though the way they are chewing gum is so annoying. Love the person that cut you off in traffic but don’t forget to love the one who let you in. Love your species as a whole. Love a creature from another species. Love someone of your gender. Love someone of another gender. Love a sound and make a sound that others can love. Love a color and put it next to another color that makes it even more lovable. Love something that needs fixing, a cuff or a dent or a dripping faucet. Love an unfinished project. Love your machines. Love your unguents.
When you wonder where to go, go where the love is. When you wonder who to be, be the one who loves. When you wonder why, consider the possibility that the answer is love. When you ask when, know that love does not work in human time. Love is not man-ufactured. Love is an element. Love the earth. Earth and heart are anagrams of each other. Love our earth with your heart. Love with every nano particle of yourself. Love knowing that love begets love. Love in ways you do not understand knowing that loving is your task, understanding is icing on the cake. Very pleasurable. Not as necessary as love. These are the instructions for today, for now. Love now. Love all. Love.Learn More
Beth Lapides Presents: Say the Word: The New America (Skirball Center)
Let me be upfront about this: I am no girl racer. I’m used to people asking if I got lost on the way over. Friends refuse to take road trips with me unless they drive – the whole way. I cruise through this great semi-tropolis to the tinkling soundtrack of honking horns. But driving down Sepulveda to the Skirball on a rainy Los Angeles evening was a hazard taken in the line of comedy duty which I prayed didn’t deliver a cream-pie medal in the ER later. Scattered raindrops smeared my dust-encrusted windscreen, as I battled through the mysterious, ever-transforming roadworks, and displayed my yellow belly to every entitled Westside driver who sailed by in their entirely redundant off-road leisure vehicle, while, ever the multi-tasker, I cursed comedy down to the last fiber of my public-transport-loving being. As the Skirball finally appeared on my left, a suburban mall fever-dream of a high art fortress, I slunk into the underground parking spot near the elevators with that chill cascade of relief you got as a kid when your sister cracked an imaginary egg on your head. Maybe that’s how 007 felt, as he entered Dr. No’s secret lair. Because I, too, was on a mission: to observe some of the best minds in TV and film comedy, live and face to face.
Beth Lapides’ Uncabaret has long established itself on the LA scene as a haven for comedy hipsters in the know. In the Cotsen Auditorium, designed with a deco-burlesque-palace-meets-Star-Wars-intergalactic-mothership-with-a-cousin-in-corporate-events theme, the mostly over-30 crowd forsook the bar, shuffling back to their faux-candle lit tables with good strong coffee and chunky low-fat sandwiches in time to the 80s pre-show music. Ms. Lapides, ever the good host as a self-identified “silver lining girl”, squeezed her multi-layered, evocative story of personal despair in the shadow of “Hollywood double-speak” and “DWC’s” (Driving While Crying’s), into the “New America” theme, discounting that fantasy of a perfect life where we “only choose rainbows” in favor of one in which we view happiness, and the experience of life, as a continuous spectrum. Watching her, one is reminded that good writing is gender blind.
Kevin Rooney, veteran of Politically Incorrect, My Wife and Kids, and Til Death, to name a few, makes it look so effortless. As he masterfully guided us through his potted whistle-stop tour of American history, his dazzling ability to conjure startling, crystalline images prevailed. His coolly sardonic demeanor belies the fury of the talent beneath: his images of Republican “heads so full of holes” they whistle “Onward Christian Soldiers” when accelerating; or the image of a fat kid “like a pond in a pair of sweatpants” inventing the internet, are observations which will shift your perception forever, and force your frontal cortex to work a little while you smile. Moshe Kasher was a welcome revelation to me, but not to the multitude who have seen him on Conan, Chelsea Lately, Jimmy Fallon,or, in short, own a TV screen. His surreal story about a white “Aunt Tom”, an Occupy Oakland protester known as the “Camp Creeper”, with Malcolm X tracts caught in her dreadlocked hair, culminated in a sweetly salacious finale, which critiqued the American pursuit of self-invention succinctly, and not without a little venom beneath the boyish grin. Unmissable. Cindy Chupack’s (Modern Family) straight-from-the-uterus story about re-defining motherhood offered us a poignant picture of true relatedness, while giving us some uncanny impersonations of too-old-to-party eggs and sperm (“You kids go on”) and their Hollywood agents.
Crowd favorite Taylor Negron(Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Last Boyscout, Call Me Claus), recent New York transplant and self-proclaimed “Che Guevara of vegetables”, fresh from the hurricane-torn East Coast, didn’t disappoint with his election year story about generational identity politics, in which he fantasizes about “slave angels who park and sometimes even vote” for him. His charisma and personal connection with the audience are as matchless, as his advice: “If America’s going to survive, America must make a sex tape. If America does not make a sex tape, the terrorists have won!”. Brian Finklestein, (UCB, The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Moth) served up arguably the most ambitious piece of writing of the evening, a dual-world comparison of his life as a “revolting” young man juxtaposed with that of a Tiananmen Square revolutionary. Somehow or other we end up in Tijuana watching donkey sex. How? We don’t know, and we don’t care. We’re just enjoying the ride. Compelling, thought-provoking, and twisted. What more could you ask for?
So, listen up, young comedy hipsters. Those over-30s may be on to something – after all, only smart people survive long enough to achieve oldster status. Don’t let them keep this venue their personal secret. Go to the UnCabaret at the Skirball in February for their next star-studded line-up. You’ll get great cheap coffee, a nice healthy sandwich, and you will definitely learn something about unparalleled comedic writing in all its styles and manifestations. Just get your granny to drive. And check uncabaret.com weekly for show schedule at Uncab’s regular weekly downtown venue.
I give Uncab at The Skirball 8 out of 8 menorahs!