SOMETHING FUN TO DO ON A RAINY DAY IN YOUR OWN HOME
SHOOT YOURSELF OUT OF A CANNON FROM YOUR LIVING ROOM INTO
YOUR KITCHEN FOR A MIDNIGHT SNACK. IF IT TAKES ALL DAY FOR YOU
TO ACCOMPLISH THIS FEAT, THEN YOU ARE DEFINITELY NOT USING ENOUGH GUNPOWDER.
TIME MAGAZINE IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT
On September 24, 1956 TIME MAGAZINE described MAD MAGAZINE as "...a short-lived satirical Pulp..." Short-lived? More than 23 years later MAD is still delivering satirical pulp. "What, me worry?" -- Alfred E. Neuman There was a time when parody was a popular literary and visual art (on television in the 1950's Sid Caesar treated his viewers to take-offs on operas and movies (foreign & domestic), but today parody has a difficult row to hoe because fewer and fewer readers or audience members are familiar with the works referred to. (The wonderful and intelligent followers of this blog ,of course, have no problem enjoying parodies). Throughout its existence MAD published some wonderful parodies of popular movies and TV shows. I highly recommend MAD's 300th issue (January 1991) with very funny spoofs of GONE WITH THE WIND, DICK TRACY, THE WIZARD OF OZ, and CASABLANCA. The Wizard of Oz parody by artist Sam Viviano and writer Frank Jacobs includes song lyrics and (Believe It or Not) Donald Trump as the fabulous Wizard of Odds who threatens to change the Tin Man's body to plastic. When the Tin Man protests that plastic is bad for the environment, The Wizard of Odds replies: Whose environment? Not mine, kiddo! Every sucker in this place carries plastic, which makes for easy credit, which makes for lots more money coming to me! One last note. GROAN WITH THE WIND (Artist: Jack Davis, Writer: Stan Hart) contains this delicious exchange between two slaves on Harlott's plantation Tariff: Slave #1: What do they call it when black folks work for no pay while white folks get rich from their labors? Mammy: In 1860, they call it "Slavery" In 1990, they'll call it "College Basketball" !
30 SECONDS A DAY TO A MORE POWERFUL VOCABULARY Umbilici Is not a word for the imbicili. **
NOTES ON THE ART OF COMEDY
Jewish comedy is almost inevitably concerned with things gastronomical. The Jews enjoy talking about food more than any other people. Through many centuries they lived in enforced poverty. If they could not invent food out of thin air, they could at least invent stories and jokes about it to take their minds off their miseries.
Steve Allen. Funny Men (New York: Stein & Day, 1981.
“I listened to the audience , and then told me where the joke was.”
Comedians are by nature enemies of boundaries. They live easier by the laws of joy which they create than by the laws of good behavior which society sets down. Their job description is to take liberties – something the public applauds in art but abhors in life.
Funny isn’t about beauty –it’s about freedom. Sometimes that freedom leads to disrespect, ridicule, and outright offensiveness.
Robert Mankoff. Cartoon editor for The New Yorker
The comedian’s slang for a successful show is “I murdered them,” which I’m sure came about because you finally realize that the audience is capable of murdering you.
Steve Martin. Born Standing Up.
“You may estimate your capacity for Comic perception by being able to detect the ridicule of them you love, without loving them less: and more by being able to see yourself somewhat ridiculousness in dear eyes, and accepting the correction their image of you proposes.”
George Meredith. Essay on Comedy.
THE QUESTION OF QUESTIONS FOR MANKIND – THE PROBLEM WHICH UNDERLIES ALL OTHERS, AND IS MORE DEEPLY INTERESTING THAN ANY OTHER – IS THE ACERTAINTMENT OF THE PLACE WHICH MAN OCCUPIES IN NATURE AND OF HIS RELATIONS TO THE UNIVERSE OF THINGS.
H. Thomas Henry Huxley, Man’s Place in Nature
SO THE FIRST BIOLOGICAL LESSON OF HISTORY IS THAT LIFE IS COMPETITION. COMPETITION IS NOT ONLY THE LIFE OF TRADE, IT IS THE TRADE OF LIFE—PEACEFUL WHEN FOOD ABOUNDS, VIOLENT WHEN THE MOUTHS OUTRUN THE FOOD. ANIMALS EAT ONE ANOTHER WITHOUT QUALM; CIVILIZED MEN CONSUME ONE ANOTHER BY DUE PROCESS OF LAW.
Will and Ariel Durant. The Lessons of History
Epigraphs to Cod by Mark Kurlansky (New York: Penguin Books, 1997)
Time present and time past Are both perhaps present in time future And time future contained in time past. T. S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton” Epigraph to The Murder Room by P.D. James
(New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003)
As soon as possible he (THE WHITE MAN) will tell me that it is not enough to try to be white, but that a white totality must be achieved.
Frantz Fanton, Black Skin, White Mask
Epigraph to Asian American: Historical Crossing to a Racial Frontier by David Palumbo-Liu (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1999
Kissing is our greatest invention. On the list of great invention, it ranks higher than the thermos bottle and the airstream trailer; higher even than room service, possibly because the main reason room service was created was so that people could stay in bed and kiss without going hungry.
Tom Robbins. Wild Ducks Flying Backward (New York: Bantam Books, 2005)
NOTES FOR A MONOLOGUE NEVER TO BE DELIVERED
I was up early last Sunday morning and on the television a man announced he was going to teach viewers some screwing terminology. My wife was sleeping so I thought ‘Well, a little sex education can’t possibly hurt As good as going to church. Boy, was I disappointed. It turned out I was watching THIS OLD HOUSE. I guess that is pornography for persons who are intimate with lumber.
AN UNFORTUNATE PRODUCTION OF MACBETH
J, as a director made one of the worse casting decisions ever made. He cast a pair of Siamese Twins to play Lady Macbeth, He and the producers believed that such a choice would guarantee a full house at every performance. Unfortunately, rehearsals did not go very well, because the sisters –Irma and Veronica – continually argued over which line belonged to whom.
The director attempted to assign lines, but that didn’t work well, because Irma accused him of favoring her sister over her.
IRMA: She gets all the best lines.
DIRECTOR: In Shakespeare everybody gets the best lines!
IRMA: Oh, yeah! I get to say
The straw that broke the camel’s back (so to speak) was first night of previews when two incidents occurred that
ruined the production and upended the mood of the invited audience and assorted investors. It happened during the famous Sleepwalking scene, a scene which had been apportioned to Irma in order to counter her accusations about favoritism. During the scene, the envious Veronica fell asleep. Perhaps Veronica believed that falling asleep would add an air of verisimilitude to a the action, but Irma started her slow descent down a long and highly polished stairs and started to snore loudly, very loudly. Unfortunately, the audience found the snoring quite funny and no amount of Blank Verse could overcome the peals of laughter. In order to wake her up semi-beloved and semi-conscious sister, Irma hit her sister with the candle and candle-holder, knocking her sister to the ground. Naturally, wherever Veronica goes so goeth Irma, and soon they were both rolling around Macbeth’s castle as if the cavernous room had been created for a roller-derby match. Much hair-pulling, snarling, and name-calling that would have made the three weird sisters jealous. Indeed, language used by the sisters could have taught Shakespeare a thing or do, making up in fecundity what it lacked as blank-verse poetry. Before the sisters could be separated (as it were) by extras who had been lolling behind the drapes, Irma’s dress caught fire from the candle that also had been quite active in the fray, Thank God the stage hands were prompt with the fire-extinguishers and the curtain came quickly down on the unfortunate production.