Watch Me on Jeopardy! Friday May 5

Is this the only question I got right? Find out when I’m on Jeopardy Friday May 5, 2017. Check your local listings.

The Saints Invented Rocket From the Crypt

The SaintsI’ve pretty much stopped using Facebook 1If you’re reading this on Facebook, it’s because it was auto-posted there by WordPress. I don’t really miss it, except for times like right now when I discover a morsel that gets me excited but is of such focused interest that the only way I can share that excitement is if I post it to Facebook so it can snake its way through the network to find the one other person I know, whomever it may be, with a compatible mental input port.

Today’s obscure morsel is that Rocket From the Crypt’s distinctive sound was invented two decades earlier by the Australian punk band the Saints.

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1. If you’re reading this on Facebook, it’s because it was auto-posted there by WordPress.

How Star Wars: The Radio Drama Pre-Copied Special Relativity

Today I started listening to Star Wars: The Radio Drama produced in 1981 by NPR. It’s five hours long, so it includes several original scenes not even hinted at in the movie, including one that prefaces the film’s opening encounter between Princess Leia and the Empire. In it Leia is confronted by Lord Tion, an Impreial Doofus who tries to get into her pants.

I immediately noticed an eerie similarity between the performance of John Considine as Tion and the performance of James Urbaniak as Mr. Wandell in my own sci-fi radio show, Special Relativity. I created a short video with a side-by-side comparison of the two. It’s uncanny. Listen:

As I edited the clips, I realized how strangely alike these two scenes are. Leia (played by Ann Sachs) and Nox (played by Alex Borstein) both confront men they disdain. Wandell gets all smarmy because he’s afraid Nox is going to kill him; Tion gets all smarmy because he wants to boink Leia. Mine ends with an exploding tripe bomb; I think Star Wars does too.

As far as I know, neither James nor I had heard Star Wars: The Radio Drama before, so this isn’t copying. Special Relativity does involve time travel, so I’m obligated to think this might be some sort of pre-copying on the part of the Lucas people. Either way, it’s clearly a sign that I’m sitting on a multi-billion dollar empire. Finally.

Some Jokes I Wrote are Nominated for an Emmy

Early in my career I decided I’d only ever write for one South African political satire puppet show. I picked the right one. Puppet Nation is on a global tear. After seven wins at the South African Film and TV Awards, it’s now nominated for best comedy in the 2015 International Emmy Awards.

The show’s up against heavyweights like Sensitive Skin, a Canadian comedy starring Kim Cattrall and Elliott Gould by the co-creator of the beloved Slings & Arrows.

Anyway, this very funny hot mix from the Academy includes some jokes I wrote.


An Infinite Version of The Replacements’ “Run It”

In service of exercisers, drivers, and the lethargic everywhere, I’ve created an infinite version of The Replacements’ 72-second classic “Run It.” Here are 30 minutes of it on YouTube:

If you enjoy this, please support the artists by buying the original version of “Run It” from your favorite retailer, such as iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play.

South Africa Officially Says Its Best Show is the One I Write Jokes For

Huge congratulations to Puppet Nation on its near sweep of the TV comedy categories at the 2015 South African Film and Television Awards yesterday. The political satire with puppets — for which I’ve contributed American segments since 2013, like this one and this one — raked in a huge seven awards from 10 nominations, meaning that right now seven evil extraterrestrial tyrants are embarrassingly trying to menace Flash Gordon with tipless scepters. Among the show’s wins were awards for directing, design, and the biggie: Best TV Comedy. Sadly the small minority of losses included the writing award. I take full responsibility for that. It’s because I insisted on having Vladimir Putin say “leathery ass cheeks:”