Wednesday, November 20, 2013
(NOTE: This is one of the first blog posts I ever wrote several years ago, and I would rarely get this negative about a specific person again. So just in case Billy Crystal happens to see this for some strange, highly unlikely reason, I hope he realizes that it's all in fun even though I mean all of it.)
Someone once asked me who my least favorite comedian was. That is, they were about to ask me, but before they even opened their mouth, I said: "Billy Crystal."
My answer to that question is so emphatic and so definite that I answer it before it's even asked, which often amazes people, especially if what they were really going to ask me is why I wasn't wearing any pants.
Billy Crystal is the horrifying mutant hybrid of the old-style Catskills lounge comic and the hip young "funny dude." He's like what would happen if Shecky Greene got into telepod A and Mario Cantone got into telepod B and they were fused together in telepod C.
Billy Crystal should answer his home phone by saying, "Hello, telepod C. Genetically-fused A-B combination of Shecky Greene and Mario Cantone speaking." But then it would just become another one of his catchphrases, and he would say it all the time.
The first time many people saw Billy Crystal was in the sitcom "Soap." I had already seen his stand-up act on TV, so I already didn't like him, but "Soap" sealed the deal. You see, Norman Lear's "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" was the first series to spoof soap operas, and it did so by actually being a soap opera--five episodes per week, no laugh track, and everyone more or less playing it straight. It was a brilliant show. But it was in syndication, and hardly anyone watched it.
Then "Soap" came along, landed a network time slot, and became a big hit. "Soap" was nothing more than a standard stupid sitcom with a laugh track and goofy characters mugging it up all over the place, but with just enough superficial soap opera trappings tacked on so that they could advertise it as a "comedy soap opera."
Instead of imitation soap-opera music, it had a jaunty little "aren't we cute" theme that made me sick. Instead of a title that cleverly spoofed soap opera titles, it was called "Soap." I began to hear the words "Soap" and "funny!" so many times in my everyday life that I wanted to start attacking people. Waves of pure, burning hatred eminated from the very pores of my skin. And one of the major elements that made the show so horrible was Billy Crystal. He played a character named "Jodie." GRRRRRRRR!!!
Later, of course, there was the phase in which Billy Crystal became "Mr. Catchphrase." It all started when, for some ungodly reason, he was hired to be a regular on "Saturday Night Live", and he came up with his "Fernando Lamas" character. "Fernando" hosted a schmoozy celebrity talk show, and would repeatedly tell all of his guests, in that heavy Latin-lothario accent: "You look mahvelous." Billy discovered that people laughed whenever he said "You look mahvelous", so he started saying "You look mahvelous" all the time.
Some talk show host would say "Welcome to the show, Billy," and Billy would say "Thanks, and may I just say...you look mahvelous", pausing dramatically right before the "you look mahvelous" to build up audience anticipation for his hilarious catchphrase. And the audience, damn them, would laugh.
When the next guest came out, Billy would say to them, "You look mahvelous." If somebody had told him his whole family just got wiped out in a gas explosion, he probably would've said, "OH, MY GOD! You look mahvelous."
Another one of his catchphrases was "Can you dig it? I knew that you could." Billy was imitating an old, black blues musician or something when he did that one. It wasn't a funny character, and he never said anything funny, but every once in awhile after he'd said enough unfunny stuff to justify saying the catchphrase again, he'd say "Can you dig it? I knew that you could." And that alone was supposed to be funny. And sure enough, people laughed, DAMMIT!
Billy Crystal thinks that he is a master impressionist because he does a good Muhammad Ali, even though almost everyone in the world has one good impression of somebody in them. I do a pretty good Casey Kasem. My brother can imitate the Werewolf of London.
But Billy Crystal has fashioned entire segments of his stand-up act around his Muhammad Ali impression, turning them into "performance pieces." I hate it when he does those. People like Whoopi Goldberg, John Leguizamo, Danny Hoch, and Lily Tomlin do that kind of stuff too, which is why I can't stand to watch them, either.
Performance pieces are supposed to impress the audience more than regular "jokes", because they're longer and they have a "story", and when they're over, you're supposed to applaud instead of laugh. I hate it when people applaud comedians instead of laughing. It kills the joke and messes up the comedian's rhythm and timing. But since Billy Crystal doesn't have any rhythm or timing, he simply basks in the applause.
When Billy Crystal poses for publicity photos, his telepod A Borscht-belt side takes over. He does the "serious" pose with his arms crossed and a fake smile, and then he does the "funny" one with his hands splayed out and his eyes wide open in mock surprise, like something funny just happened. Or he does the Jack Benny thing with a pained expression and one hand lightly brushing his cheek.
I'm sure Billy thinks he's the new Jack Benny. He probably has thought to himself on more than one occasion while eating breakfast cereal or pulling on clean underwear: "I am the new Jack Benny." I'm surprised he never created a character called "The New Jack Benny" just so he could use "I am the new Jack Benny" as his catchphrase and be able to go around in public saying "I am the new Jack Benny" as many times as he wanted to.
Billy Crystal was in THIS IS SPINAL TAP, but his part got cut out. HA-HAAAAAA!!! He was in the sequence where the record company executives were having a party to celebrate the release of Spinal Tap's new album, and the waiters were all mimes. Billy played the head mime, and in one deleted scene he's dressing down the other mimes. One of his lines in this scene is something like, "Okay, let's go...mime is money."
Think about it: Billy Crystal thinks "mime is money" is funny. In a movie that features some of the most hilarious improvised dialogue in film history, Billy Crystal uses his big moment to say "mime is money." He probably lay awake in bed all night before they shot that scene, thinking, "Mime is money. Mime is money. Can they dig it? I know that they can. I'll...look...mahvelous."
Actually, I was intending to write today about "pet peeves", in a general sort of way, and Billy Crystal was just going to be one of them. But I should've written about my other pet peeves first and saved Billy Crystal for last.
Anyway, some of my other pet peeves are people standing over me while I'm eating and dipping their tortilla chips into my hot sauce, and being able to hear some idiot's car stereo blasting away down the street when I'm sitting in my house with the TV on. Oh yeah, and Billy Crystal movies.
Monday, November 18, 2013
(NOTE: I wrote this way, way back in those quaint old days when people actually used to go to MySpace.)
If you belong to MySpace, you know who Tom is. He's the guy who created MySpace, and whenever you make a new account there, he's always your very first "friend."
Right there in your "My Friend Space", there will be a single picture of Tom grinning at you over his shoulder like he's really happy to see you, or like you just caught him whacking off or something. As you accumulate more friends, it's always a good idea to remove this picture from your "My Friend Space" because it looks uncool if you have to beef up your apparent amount of friends with the default "Tom" picture.
Don't worry, it won't hurt Tom's feelings or anything. He's never going to see your profile page and think, "Gee...I wonder why he doesn't consider me to be one of his 'top friends'...(sniff)."
Tom's way too busy running around spending all the money he makes off of MySpace and grinning over his shoulder at his actual real-life friends to give a rat's ass about you and your dumb profile page. Just try dropping him a PM sometime and see if you get a response. You might as well put in a job application for Pope while you're at it.
Anyway, Tom occasionally makes announcements that show up on my home page, and recently, he told me how to eliminate friend requests from people I don't know. Why the hell would I want to do that? I thought MySpace was supposed to be a place to meet new people, not to participate in a circle jerk of people you already know.
I don't know that many people in real life I'd be interested in being MySpace friends with anyway. If that's the only people I had in my "My Friend Space", Tom's picture would still be in it.
So, I just added my 100th friend to my My Friend Space. This milestone pales in comparison to other MySpacers who have thousands of people on their friends list. A lot of them are gorgeous babes whose profile pages feature pictures that guys can "whack off" to. Or, they are famous people that everyone wants to add as friends so they can put their pictures in their My Friend Space to show off to everyone who looks at their profile. I have a few of those in my profile, so this is an acceptable practice.
But since I am neither a famous person nor a gorgeous babe, and I doubt if I get "whacked off" to very often, I can't afford to be all that choosy about whose friend requests I accept. Which means that my friends list is filled with wannabe musicians who want me to listen to their mp3s and go to their shows, or other people who just want as many people as possible to read their bulletins and stuff.
I've tried emailing some of them but I usually never get an answer, and if I get one, it's often something like "Yeah, ha ha, whatever. You're who, now?" Some of them aren't even people--they're movie titles or events. So, for some reason, I seem to be friends with Texas Frightmare Weekend. I really don't think Texas Frightmare Weekend is ever going to drop by my house whenever it's in town so we can go out for a beer or anything.
But yeah, in addition to people who only accept friend requests from people they already know, there are also the people who won't accept my friend requests because they're MySpace Snobs. Somehow, MySpace Snobs are able to tell that I'm not cool or important enough to be their MySpace friend, so I never hear from them after sending a friend request.
So, instead of being a new and fun way to interact with people, MySpace is sometimes just high school all over again. If you were popular in high school, you might read that and think "Cool!" If you weren't, you know what I mean.
Some of the people who won't accept my friend requests already have, like, 6,000 friends, and some of these are characters with names like "Fuggle, The Wonder Octopus" or "The Decrepit Corpse Tickler." The fact that I don't rate inclusion on such a list can be somewhat disheartening.
Perhaps someday, if I'm lucky, I'll be in a position to turn away friends--even fake ones--but in the meantime, just about the only friend requests I deny are the ones from cute young girls who have the word "webcam" anywhere on their profile pages. I don't do webcams. If I'm going to pay for sex, I want to be touching something besides my own wing-ding.
I just got one of those last night, as a matter of fact. It was from "Tina." That is, her profile name was "Tina", but in her "About Me" space she calls herself "Linda." Oops! Somebody franked up on her own name!
Anyway, Tina/Linda tells us how she doesn't have many friends in the "real" world (awwwwww...) but she LOVES to meet new people online. (Yaaay!) Then she goes on to describe how she often absent-mindedly leaves her webcam on, even when she's just gotten out of the shower! Woo-hoo!
As she puts it, "I'm quiet the exhibitionist! CLICK HERE to get a link for my webcam and chat room. I'm so bored..." Wow, Tina/Linda--that sounds quiet exciting! My wallet is practically flying out of my pants right now, along with other things. Bet that'll help relieve your boredom, huh?
So far, I have only three subscribers to my blog, and two of them are the same person. Which is a shame, because I have a very nice blog with lots of funny and interesting stuff like this on it. Drop by my profile page and read my blog sometime, and if you like it, subscribe to it. It will make me feel less like a total loser, and anything that can do that is well worth the effort, because I'm so nice.
And shoot me a friend request too, if you'd like. Chances are, I will accept it, unless you have a webcam or are simply just too incredibly yucky for even me to handle. But the way things look at this point, it will still be quiet some time before I turn into a MySpace Snob.
And to everyone who has already put me on their friends list: "Thanks for the add!" Woo-hoo!
Friday, November 15, 2013
(NOTE: I wrote this back in 2008 before the passing of the late Senator Kennedy. So now it's both a tribute as well as a fond spoof.)
"Mnyah, myehh--well, ehh, kids--ehh, mnyehh..."
Senator Ted Kennedy stood in front of the Peanut Gallery, attempting to introduce a "Tom and Jerry" cartoon. The children shifted uncomfortably in their bleacher seats.
"This, ehh, impending cah-toon, ehh, mnyehh..." Ted Kennedy struggled to find the words to explain to the kids what they were about to see. "It, ehh...is about a cat, who, err, ehh..."
A little girl in a frilly dress daintily raised her hand.
"You, little gull," said Ted Kennedy. "What, err, uhh, have you to say at this, ahh, juncture?"
"Well, Tom is a cat who is always trying to catch a mouse named Jerry," said the little girl. "But Jerry always outwits Tom, and...well, ha-ha, sometimes it's pretty funny."
"Oh, err, is that so?" said Ted Kennedy. "Myehh, ehh...well then, let's, ehh, proceed with this err, uhh, cah-toon, then." He looked offstage at the producer, who was shaking his head.
"Well, err, it appears, then, that due to some, err, technical difficulty...err, mnyah, the, uh, cah-toon will not be, actually, err, presented here today, mnyehh, and so says old Ted Kennedy." He shrugged stiffly and grinned at the kids, which scared some of them. One of them actually thought Ted Kennedy's head was Saturn's largest moon, Titan, which he had seen a picture of in an astronomy book once.
Ted Kennedy had a sudden inspiration. He pointed offstage and said, "Look ovah there, ehh, kids." With their attention thus diverted, he turned and wobbled on his tiptoes behind a large piece of set dressing which resembled a circus wagon. When the children looked back, they wondered where he had gone. A few moments later he stepped into view again, his arms outstretched. "Ha-ha, look, it's, ehh, me," he said. "Ehh, surprise."
The children weren't quite sure how they were expected to respond. They knew they were on TV, and they were aware of shows like "Howdy Doody" and "Romper Room", but none of these had prepared them for the experience of being in such close proximity to Senator Ted Kennedy for an extended period of time without proper emotional support. Some of them were slightly nauseated by the physical sensation of his gravitational pull; others felt somehow certain that before the show was over, he was going to eat them.
Ted Kennedy looked around until his eyes lit upon a baseball bat that was intended to be used later on in something called "The Happy Piñata Game." He picked it up and said, "Ehh, watch this, kids." With that, he swung the baseball bat directly into Camera Three with both hands and began to smash it to pieces. In the control room, the director winced as one of the monitors sputtered and went blank. "What is he doing?" he said into his headphone. The man on the other end answered, "Beats the hell out of me."
Ted Kennedy kept swinging the bat until he was satisfied that Camera Three was totally destroyed. "Heh-hehhh, ehh, look at that, kids," he said. "You see, ehh, with a nice, big bat like this, err, you can wreck things but good." He hefted it in his hands with a satisfied grin and then waddled over to Cap'n Ted's Treasure Chest, which was filled with prizes intended to be handed out to the kids during the show. "And now, mnyehh, if you'll observe this, ehh, what I'm about to do, err, I'll smash the hell out of this crap, myaahh, and so says old Ted Kennedy."
Awkwardly, with a furious physical exertion that his sedentary body was unaccustomed to, he began to shatter the toys, games, and other colorful items into a million pieces that went flying all over the soundstage, while muttering things like "ohh, look at that" and "mnyehh, that's a good one" during the process. A grinning Bozo the Clown head landed in a little girl's lap at one point, and she started to cry. The little boy sitting next to her patted her shoulder consolingly, his lips quivering. All of the children had begun to form a bond--the kind of lasting, deep-seated bond that only those who have suffered through a traumatic experience together, such as prisoners of war or political hostages, will ever know.
"Senator! SENATOR!" the producer whispered hoarsely from offstage. "The cartoon! We've got it ready to go!"
Ted Kennedy angrily hurled the baseball bat aside and went over to stand on his mark in front of the Peanut Gallery. "Fine, then!" he wheezed. "Show the stupid, ehh, cah-toon!" The jolly strains of the "Tom and Jerry" theme piped into the studio as a monitor flickered with images of the cartoon characters going about their lighthearted antics. By now, most of the children were openly weeping.
"Grrrr, mnyahh, I wasn't done smashing those, ehh, things!" Ted Kennedy wheezed petulantly. "I'm firing that stupid, ehh, producer person. And what's this ridiculous, ehh, display?" he added, pointing at the monitor. "Is this what they call, mnyehh, a 'cah-toon'? It's rubbish! Ehh, RUBBISH!" At that point, he noticed at last that the entire Peanut Gallery had broken down into violent, wracking sobs. Every last child cried uncontrollably, totally unaffected by the breezy fun of the cartoon.
"You're all, ehh, fired, too!" he exclaimed. "And so says old Ted Kennedy!" And on the next episode of "The Ted Kennedy Show", there were no children in the Peanut Gallery. And there were no cartoons. The bleachers were filled with senators, and they all had baseball bats. And Cap'n Ted's Treasure Chest was filled to overflowing with toys, games, and other colorful items, but they weren't to be handed out to children--they were to be smashed. And there were extra cameras to smash, too. And prostitutes. And everybody was drinking a whole lot and they were all drunk, and Ted Kennedy wasn't wearing any pants.
And the people watching at home thought to themselves, "This is all some kind of thinly-disguised political commentary, isn't it?" But it wasn't. It was just a silly, pointless series of events.
(Originally posted at Andersonvision.com)
Friday, November 1, 2013
Okay, I'll admit it--I have sexual organs. And sex gets my attention. I get the message already!
So please stop trying to sell me stuff by shoving sex in my face 24 hours a day. It's okay when I choose to watch or buy something specifically because of sex, but I'm tired of being forced to get a boner every time I turn on the TV or open a magazine just so some clowns can try to sell me a bunch of worthless crap. Give me a friggin' break--it's no fun being "on deck" all the time.
Sometimes I wanna just kick back in my La-Z-Boy and relax with a mindless TV show like "The Capitol Gang", and just when me Dennis Morgans (that's British rhyming slang for "sexual organs") are enjoying a well-deserved break, BLAM! Big, bouncing hooters come flying out of my TV trying to sell me tacos. Or some really hot chick's round, quivering buttocks are reminding me to upgrade my computer software.
My naughty bits go on full alert status--they don't know it's just a drill. "Abort! Abort! Mission status negative!" I scream, but to no avail. They're locked and loaded. I give the order to stand down, but it goes unheeded. Such blatant insubordination is common within the ranks of sexual organs these days. And, unfortunately, the only solution for this is a dishonorable discharge.
Things that no one in their right mind could ever possibly be interested in buying instantly become more appealing if they have hot, dripping globules of sex slathered over them. I bought some crappy comic book once just because it had a cover painting of this incredibly sexy babe. I think she was supposed to be some kind of superhero--you know, the kind that runs around dressed like one of the Pussycat Dolls. If getting the bad guys horny is a superpower, then she must've been a really effective crimefighter. But somehow I doubt if getting a throbbing boner all of a sudden is going to stop the Joker from trying to take over Gotham City.
Anyway, I bought it, took it home, did what I was compelled to do with it, and then was stuck with this, like, five-dollar piece of crap that I had absolutely no interest in reading because not only did the inner artwork suck compared to the cover, but the story was about as interesting as watching little kids pet a goat for six hours.
Pop music is even worse. Do Madonna, Britney, and/or their current clones come up with great songs and present them for our listening entertainment? No, they cough up whatever generic dog poop with a beat that they can pile some new flab-flouncing choreography onto and then see how nearly-nekkid and naughty they can get away with being while spazzing out onstage at some MTV award show. "OOOH, MILEY TWERKED ROBIN! SPLOOGE!!!"
And speaking of Madonna--if she had to get by on her voice and music alone, she'd still be blowing winos for coke money behind a bowling alley in Michigan. Most people never bought a Madonna album simply because it just sounded so darn good. They bought it because Madonna used to prance around the stage wearing fake pointy boobs and stuff. I hate to say it, but if fake pointy boobs are the reason people are buying your album, you need to shut up.
And now that the rapidly-aging Madonna's fake pointy boobs have begun to migrate south, she'd better start sounding a hell of a lot better. Or else think of a way to make horny teenagers get turned on by someone who's starting to look like Granny from "The Beverly Hillbillies."
I like to listen to homely people because I can enjoy their music without the discomfort of constant sexual stimulation. The butt-ugly dudes in Pink Floyd don't turn me on. Devo doesn't suddenly turn me into Casey at the bat. I still listen to the Spice Girls sometimes, but they look like a bunch of googly-eyed fruitcakes to me, so no problem there. Now, one of my all-time favorite albums is "Zasu" by Rosie Vela, and she used to be a Ford model. But she had actual talent, and her album cover doesn't have giant rooty-toots catapulting out at me or anything.
I used to go to nudie bars and stuff, until I realized that I wasn't enjoying myself in them at all. It's like getting really hungry and then going to a restaurant where you're only allowed to look at the food but you have to pay for it anyway. Imagine being famished and walking into a cafeteria where you move down the buffet line going "Oh man, that Salisbury steak looks awesome" or "Mmm, just smell those scrumptious buffalo wings", and then you get to the end of the line and have to pay for everything you just looked at and walk out hungrier than ever. That's what going to a nudie bar is like. Unless, of course, you can afford to go back into the "special" room, which might as well be on Mars as far as I'm concerned.
In the old days, if average slobs wanted to see T & A they'd buy a "particular kind" of magazine. They'd keep it under the bed or safely tucked away in a drawer under their socks and underwear, where it remained dormant until called into service during a crisis. Nowadays, everything is one big masturpalooza. TV shows, commercials, comic books, music, food--anything that is produced in order to be sold to gullible peckerheads like us hangs heavy with the pungent, inescapable aura of whack-off. We live in a whack-off culture.
And continuously being forced to deal with this is a tiresome burden. I actually think that constant overuse has caused my right hand to age ten to twenty years faster than my left hand. Sure, it's got kung-fu grip, and it can open the hell out of pickle jars, but I'm afraid one of these days I'm gonna wake up and there'll be a claw on the end of my arm. And if that ever happens, I'll have to either become ambidexterous real quick, or climb into a sensory-deprivation tank filled with morphine and never come out.