September 2007 Archives

matt cain gets no support

It's been a disappointing season for the San Francisco Giants, but perhaps most disappointing for pitcher Matt Cain. On Tuesday night, Cain again pitched well, giving up only two runs in seven innings of work, but the Giants still lost, 6-4, as the bullpen gave up four runs in the ninth inning. Cain has an ERA of 3.65, tenth in the National League, and yet his record is 7-16. It's all due to a lack of run support from his offense. However, as shown below, Matt Cain is no stranger to a lack of support.

The New Bike

Matt Cain: Hey mom, where's my bike?

Mom: I'm so sorry, honey, it got repossessed.

Matt: But I mowed lawns all summer to buy that bike! Dad said if I earned half the money for it, he's pay the other half.

Mom: Your father never sent a check this month, honey. And without child support...

Matt: But they had to take my bike?

Mom: Your father also owed Barry Zito a lot of money.

Making Out

Matt's high school girlfriend: Yes, Matt, yes. Kiss me!

Matt: Hey, why does your bra feel so stiff? What gives?

Matt's high school girlfriend: Do you mean the underwire?

Matt: Yeah! Is that like a medical brace or something?

Matt's high school girlfriend: No, it's just a support garment.

Matt: A su-what garment?

Matt's high school girlfriend: A support bra. You know, it supports my breasts?

Matt: Look, if you've got scoliosis, just tell me.

The Accident

Doctor: Mrs. Cain, Matt was in a bad crash yesterday. He stopped breathing briefly after the accident, and, well, we're not sure if he'll ever regain consciousness again.

Mrs. Cain: Oh God! He's so young!

Doctor: I'm very sorry, ma'am.

Mrs. Cain: Are you saying, you're considering taking him off life support?

Doctor: Life support! I knew we forgot something!

The New House

Architect: I don't know what happened, Matt. The ceiling just collapsed.

Matt: What was holding it up?

Architect: I dunno, some kind of beam, I forget the specific kind.

Matt: (picks up piece of rotten lumber) Is this the wood you were using? This is old and brittle, and it looks like it could fall apart at any moment. And why does this 2x4 have "Rich Aurilia" written on the side? This one says "Ryan Klesko".

Architect: To be fair, those were all part of very successful buildings in the mid-to-late 90s.

The Internet Connection

Matt: Hello, Tech Support? My internet connection is down.

Tech Support: Well, what do you expect? Your whole infrastructure is old and slow.

Matt: I don't have any control over that. Can you just fix this problem?

Tech Support: Tell you what. I'll send Brian Wilson down to deal with it.

Matt: Is that a good idea?

Brian Wilson: Sorry, Matt, I accidentally set the router on fire.


standup comedians can be big jerks

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When you go to an open mic, it is important to sign up as early as possible. Most sign-up, show-up open mics operate on a first-come, first-served basis, though no one ever wants to take the #1 position. It is generally not good enough to simply show up at the posted sign-up time, either. For most open mics, you must arrive fifteen minutes early to obtain a prime position. For a popular weekly show like the Thursday night open mic at The Brainwash, you should get in line for the 6:30 sign-up no later than 8:45 on Wednesday evening.

The reason is that, no matter how devoted the "civilian" audience is, they have limited patience for open mic comedy. There's no quality control, so non-comics will end up sitting through fractured English, uncomfortable descriptions of sex, and so much bombing that the UN occasionally sends human rights observers to Our Little Theater. Anyone who hasn't left by the time #20 gets up is too shell-shocked to laugh.

So comics end up performing for other comics, which has two big problems:

1. They've heard your crappy material already.
2. They're big jerks.

I include myself in the jerk group. An example:

A comic was introducing a bit about a Chicago couple who named their son, "Wrigley Field", and how such a name might doom the kid to a life of misery. Unfortunately, he made the mistake of asking the "crowd" of comics what we thought two die-hard Cubs fans might name their son.

Bobby yelled, "Steve Bartman!"
Chris yelled, "Ryne Sandberg!"
I added, "Leon 'Bull' Durham!"

The comic tried to cut us off. "OK, no, they named him..."

Chris yelled, "Jerome Walton!" which cracked us all up. By now, things were rapidly falling apart. Sitting at the back of the room, we were far more focused on naming old obscure baseball players and giggling than paying attention to the remainder of the set.

"Shawon Dunston!"
"Mark Prior!"
"Keith Moreland!"

By the time we got to Vance Law and Damon Berryhill, the bit had long since ended and we were officially jerks. I went up five comics later, and no one heckled or ruined my set, because they had all left. It was rough, but I have a feeling Bob Dernier would have understood how I felt.


(Read Part 1: The Unforgiven; Part 2: Funky Cold Medina; Part 3: Mr. Wendal; Part 4: Mr. Jones; Part 5: Maneater)

For people of my generation, Vanessa Williams's "Save the Best For Last" was a theme for the yearbook, or title for the last dance of eighth grade, or in my case, both. At that dance, they were almost compelled to play "Save the Best For Last", last, because to do otherwise would be a slap in the face to Vanessa Williams. But was the song as romantic as I remembered?

When Louise was driving me home from the movies, the song came on the radio, and we were struck by how oddly unromantic the lyrics are:

Sometimes the snow comes down in June
Sometimes the sun goes round the moon

Meteorological irregularities, an abrupt overthrow of the heliocentric model of the solar system - Vanessa is describing a world where pigs fly. "I said I'd never hook up with you until hell froze over, but now that Hades is icing up...well, you want to go for it?"

(Just so this is clear, I am not referring to the X-rated video queen, but rather to the Vanessa with a singing career.)

At its heart, this is a song about deciding to finally settle:

It's not the way I hoped
Or how I planned
But somehow
It's enough

"Enough" is the romantic word where Vanessa finally lands. When you're on the dance floor in the auditorium that doubles as a cafeteria, hands on the hips of the girl across from you, careful to keep your upper bodies at least 9-12 inches apart, you don't think you're celebrating a love that just qualifies as "sufficient". Did Vanessa's man really save the best for last, or did he simply arrive at "last", shrug his shoulders, and decide it was for the best?

Sometimes the very thing you're looking for
Is the one thing you can't see

Sometimes the very thing you're looking for is the one thing you've ignored for years and years, never thinking you'd lower your standards far enough that it became feasible. But now we're standing, liquored up, emotionally dead, ready to surrender completely our hopes of ending up with not just our first choices, but also choices 2-24. Isn't this world a crazy place?

As a caution, "saving the best for last" is also how you end up married to Rick Fox.


I've mentioned before that I am a user of body wash. Much of this stems from an old relationship, where my girlfriend reacted with horror to my flesh-desiccating bar soap, my lack of conditioner, and the total absence of skin care products in my bathroom. As a result, she bought many of those items, along with a diverse array of pomades, in an attempt to soften/pretty me up. It worked until the breakup, and my slide into ill-advised goatee-growing.

While I am still working my way through a gigantic bottle of conditioner purchased in 2004 (does conditioner ever expire?), and most of my fancy soaps have never been used, I've irrevocably switched to liquid-soap-and-loofah usage. Usually, it doesn't make me question my manliness. After all, if a loofah (or falafel) is good enough for Bill O'Reilly, it's good enough for me, right?

But today, I switch to a new bath puff, and realized that I have begin buying bath products not just for girls, but for pre-teen girls. My new scrub product is a "Rainbow Sherbet G.L.O.W. Bath Puff". G.L.O.W. stands for "Girls Leading Our World".


Throw away those washcloths and start using your G.L.O.W. bath puff. It really suds up your soap and is much more fun to use! Get yourself into a nice warm bath or shower. Wet the mesh bath puff and rub your favorite soap on it! Lift an arm or leg and gently rub the puff in circle shapes on your skin. Now you're feeling fresh and clean!

So, in summary, I am a teenage girl, I am extremely fresh and clean, I smell faintly of rainbow sherbet, and I am ready to lead our world.

(UPDATE: You can find more information about this family of products at I highly recommend the bath puff's exfoliating qualities, and hope that the cute boy in my fourth-period Health class notices the change in my skin.)

The Heuristic Squelch Comedy Experience features San Francisco's finest professional comics in a subterranean East Bay setting. Fresh of his win at the San Jose Improv's annual competition, Mo Mandel headlines the second HSCE, with featured performances by Moshe Kasher, Kevin Camia, Kevin Munroe, and Marcella Arguello. Hosted by Sean Keane. Proceeds benefit the Heuristic Squelch, UC Berkeley's humor magazine.

18+, $8, no drink minimum. Doors at 8, show at 8:30. Tickets available through the Squelch or from Blake's on Telegraph.

Mo Mandel has appeared on "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson", and recently reached the finals of Comedy Central's Open Mic Fight. In 2005, he placed third in the prestigious SF International Comedy Competition. It's not too late to Vote for Mo!

Moshe Kasher was named "Best of the Bay" by the East Bay Express, who said he was "everything you would want in a comedian", and also called him a hunk. Moshe is an actor, playwright,and co-founder of the sketch group Boomtime.

Kevin Camia is a regular at the Punchline, and has performed all around the country and the Philippines. His comedy is a unique blend of dry wit, storytelling and social satire. He's the only comic to successfully make light of panda miscarriages.

Kevin Munroe is one of the founders of popular SF showcase "Ebony & Irony Presents", but he did not direct the 2007 remake of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". Contrary to rumors, he does not use "Karl" as an alias when swing dancing.

Marcella Arguello is a rising star on the local scene, and Modesto's finest export since George Lucas. My mom really likes her joke about Fergie.

Sean Keane is an alum of both Berkeley and the Squelch, and recently became the first-ever two-time Iron Comic champion. He's devastatingly handsome, but sorry ladies, his heart belongs to the sea.

blah blah blah! (a talk show), this friday

I'll be performing tonight at Kevin O'Shea's underground sensation, "Blah Blah Blah! (A talk show)", along with Jason Downs, Matt Morales, and Mary Van Note. O'Shea hosts a freewheeling talk show at the Dark Room Theater (2263 Mission, between 18th and 19th Streets). It's kind of like Charlie Rose, if there was a live audience, multiple guests, and Charlie did the whole show high on peyote.

I appeared on the first edition of the show in May, when we touched on topics ranging from Hawaii to the Civil War to Kevin's grandfather, who completed the Irish hat trick of working as a fireman, breaking his leg while drinking, and subsequently opening a bar. You can never predict where the conversation is going to go, but tonight you might hear us talk about Edinburgh, soy cheese, Amsterdam, open mic comics smoking crack and carrying dynamite, and the romantic life of Tom Shane. Don't miss it.


Also, there's still a few days to Vote for Mo Mandel, who will be headlining at Sonoma State University on Thursday, September 27th, in The Pub at the Student Union building, along with opener Sean Keane. Rohnert Park loves me, mainly for my "I rock Cotati that rocks the body" joke, and my resemblance to Sonoma State mascot Lobo the Seawolf.



I attended a bachelor party on a houseboat this weekend. It was an outing full of discoveries and revelations, none more profound than Dustin's observation about Cake.

After hearing our third auto-related song from Comfort Eagle, Dustin observed, "Boy, this guy really hates traffic!" At the moment, that sounded right, but I couldn't be sure until I got home and did some research. After an exhaustive study of the Cake catalog, I can state with confidence that John McCrea, lead singer of traffic, hates traffic more than anything else in the world.

Let's go to the gridlock discography!

Comfort Eagle lays out the traffic-based philosophy of Cake:

We are building a religion
We are building it bigger
We are widening the corridors
And adding more lanes

John McCrea's first move of building a religion is relieving congestion, pre-emptively addressing traffic concerns. If McCrea were to found a civilization, he wouldn't start with a source of food, or a water supply, or a temple. No, he'd go straight to eight-lane superhighway.

Comanche supports this position:

Yeah, if you want to have cities
You've got to build roads.

Of course, Cake does not live in an idealized utopia of stable traffic flow. They live in California:

Race Car Ya-Yas

The land of race car ya-yas
The land where you can't change lanes
The land where large, fuzzy dice
Still hang proudly
Like testicles from rearview mirrors

There's some dispute as to which city is the actual land of Race Car Ya-Yas, but because of the fuzzy dice reference, I have to think he means Los Angeles. While we're discussing decade-old pop music, I should mention that Geggy Tah's "Whoever You Are" is the antithesis of this song, a celebration of a successful lane change.


Garbage trucks
And taxi cabs
Don't seem like they can
Reach me here

Though he is sitting in an apartment on the 32nd floor, McCrea's thoughts turn, as always, to the cars on the street below him. It's telling that McCrea says "reach me here", as if the garbage trucks and cabs are enemies from whom he has fled. And while they may not be able to physically touch him in his perch, clearly, the cars have reached him, emotionally.

Satan Is My Motor

This song is key to understanding Cake and traffic. Here McCrea compares himself to a car, though not one trapped in gridlock. Man, Cake has a lot of songs about cars. If we extend his self-as-car, Satan-as-motor analogy to the rest of the catalog, suddenly we can see why traffic bothers him so much. Excessive idling is bad for an engine in general, worse when that engine is Beelzebub. If idle hands are the devil's tools, an idling car is truly the devil's vehicle. McCrea is not simply tormented by stop-and-go traffic, he is tormented by the Prince of Darkness.

John McCrea continues his commitment to traffic awareness by wearing a trucker hat

Alpha Beta Parking Lot

Breathing in the fumes from so many idling cars
Right beneath the sign with the dusty yellow stars

Traffic doesn't even have to be on the highway to provoke McCrea's indignation. Again, he focuses on idling, his least favorite element of being stuck in traffic.

Does traffic bother McCrea, even when he is not driving? Yes. See:

Carbon Monoxide

Too much carbon monoxide for me to bear
Too much carbon monoxide for me to bear
Where's the air?


Car after bus after car after truck
After this my lungs will be so fucked up
I wish I wasn't just a pedestrian
Breathing all this in
I look up at that gray sky, it makes me want to

Pedestrian or driver, McCrea cannot stomach gridlock.

Stickshifts and Safetybelts

Stickshifts and safetybelts
Bucket seats have all got to go
When we're driving in the car
It makes my baby seem so far

I need you here with me
Not way over in a bucket seat

Also on McCrea's shit list? Bucket seats, seatbelts, stickshifts. Ostensibly, this is so McCrea can more easily put his arm around his lady, but I suspect that this is a smokescreen for his real reasons. "Stickshifts" comes first in the title because that's his main pet peeve. And why is that? Stop-and-go traffic requires constant shifting of gears, making the already-maddening experience of a traffic jam literally intolerable for McCrea. Note that he doesn't say, "I want you here with me", but rather, "I need you here with me". He's clinging to his girl just like he's clinging to his own sanity amidst the jam.


In the hiss and rumble of the freeway sounds
As the afternoon commuters drive their cars around
There's a ringle jingle near the underpass
There's a sparkle near the fast food garbage
And roadside trash

How about songs about inanimate objects (besides cars)? Will McCrea still make reference to the hellishness of being on the freeway? Yes.

The Distance

While this song is about cars, Cake's bread-and-butter subject, it stands out from the rest. The driver who is going the distance is doing so after the race has concluded, and all the drivers and spectators have left - "the arena is empty except for one man". It's confusing - a man, behind the wheel of a car, who is not tormented by traffic, heat, nor bad air? In a Cake song?

A glance at the liner notes solves the mystery. "The Distance" was not written by John McCrea, but instead by guitarist Greg Brown. If it hadn't been such a catchy hit, I'm not sure McCrea could have brought himself to sing it, let alone accompany himself on vibraslap.

Take It All Away

Take your economy car and your suitcase
Take your psycho little dogs
Take it all away

You've been racing through my mind
You're picking up in speed
You're driving recklessly
It's like a car crash happening on my street
Broken bodies at my feet
And sirens on the way

They're too late
'cause nobody's going to save us
We're a rubbernecker's dream
We're burning gasoline

Another swipe at Japanese cars precedes another extended automotive analogy. There's a car crash, and broken bodies, but ultimately, what's the tragic aftermath? Rubberneckers (presumably slowing the flow of traffic) and wasted gas, again supporting the anti-idling, anti-air pollution theme.

Finally, Long Line of Cars is McCrea's magnum opus, a Cake song about only traffic, and nothing more. I think there's more to it. The "long line of cars" can be read as the endless parade of Cake songs about traffic, with "no single explanation". With each new album, McCrea devotes more and more time to traffic rants, traffic rants that will "never have an end". Because as long as there is gridlock, as long as highways have metering lights, as long as young men are stuck on the business loop of Highway 80 outside Sacramento in 100+ degree heat, Cake will be there with a syncopated vocal about how much it sucks, and a trumpet solo to help you forget about your contribution to global warming, just for a moment:

There's a long line of cars
And they're trying to get through
There's no single explanation
There's no central destination
But this long line of cars
Is trying to get through
And this long line of cars
Is all because of you

We don't wonder where we're going
Or remember where we've been
We've got to keep this traffic flowing
And accept a little sin
So this long line of cars
Will never have an end
And this long line of cars
Keeps coming around the bend

From the streets of Sacramento
To the freeways of L.A.
We've got to keep this fire burning
And accept a little gray
So this long line of cars
Is trying to break free
And this long line of cars
Is all because of me

There's a long line of cars
Long line of cars
Long line of cars
Long line of cars

million-dollar idea: capri sun cocktails


I stopped at a 24-Hour Bakery tonight as part of an unsuccessful midnight search for Jell-O. While the bakers didn't have any room for Jell-O, they did have Capri Suns for sale. I had a Fruit Punch in a space-age-looking pouch, virtually unchanged from how it looked twenty years ago.

Someone future millionaire should really get Bacardi and Kraft Foods (the North American distributor of Capri Sun) together, so they can start releasing "Hard Pacific Cooler", "Tropical Rum Punch" and other Capri-Sun-and-alcohol combos. It's a perfect combo. The Capri Sun makes you nostalgic for your childhood, then the alcohol blots out your memories of said childhood. If you had a traumatic memory that took place after a Little League game, it's even more perfect.

It might be difficult for people to deal with the delicate Capri Sun straw insertion process. Luckily, plastered people can simply insert the straw into the bottom of the pouch. Maybe that means you can't put it down, and have to drink it up quickly, but come on, it's only 6.75 ounces. Finish your cocktail and then grab a snack. I think it would go well with my thousand-dollar snack idea: Kudos Bars With Weed In Them.

Don't forget to Vote for Mo!

vote for mo mandel

Comedy Central's Open Mic Fight is down to its final three comics, and one of them is local superstar and occasional Sean Keane bill-sharer Mo Mandel. Mo advanced from a showcase of twelve finalists last week in LA, but the ultimate winner is determined by online vote. Na'im Limm and Raj Desai are the other two finalists, and while they seem like nice people, they really can't compare to Mo. Watch the clips, it's not even close. Just compare the excerpts Comedy Central chose to highlight from each comic.

Na'im Lynn: "I call my dick calculus, 'cause it's hard as hell. You gotta take it three times."

Raj Desai: "Dude, you gotta see that movie. It is a tour de force dot dot dot mesmerizing."

Mo Mandel: "I've never bought drugs and not used them. I mean, they're not condoms."

Mo is clearly superior. Plus, are Raj Desai or Na'im Lynn headlining the Heuristic Squelch Comedy Experience on Wednesday, October 10th at Blake's on Telegraph (Doors at 8, Show at 9, 18+, $8)? No, but Mo Mandel is!

Voting runs from September 13th to the 27th (vote once per day). The winner gets 10 grand, a TV appearance, and a spot on the Comedy Central Live tour. The man himself says, "I need the Bay Area behind me to win this bitch," so vote for one of SF's finest as often as possible: VOTE FOR MO

mathematically eliminated

Wednesday night, the Giants were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. This wasn't a shock to anyone. Informally, the Giants were eliminated from playoff contention on December 6th, 2006, after they signed Dave Roberts, Rich Aurilia, and Pedro Feliz over the course of two days.

The phrase "mathematically eliminated" is very commonly used, but not all that useful, because, what other kind of elimination would anyone be talking about?

"The Giants just got eliminated from the playoffs."
"What happened? Did the team plane crash? Did they receive a post-season ban for recruiting violations?"
"No, neither of those. They've simply lost too many games to be able to overtake the current division leader."
"Oh, mathematically eliminated. Whew."

For you calculus whizzes out there, to understand the complex mathematical elimination process requires...subtraction. Me, I'm going to refer to the Giants' loss as mercifully eliminating them from the playoffs.

(Post simulcast over at Humm Bloggy.)

britney spears & unpleasant stimuli

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Britney Spears did a terrible performance at MTV's Video Music Awards this year. By all accounts, it was an unwatchable wreck. Nevertheless, on Monday morning, three different people insisted I see it. "It's terrible. She's so bad. You've got to watch it!"

The same thing held true when paparazzi got photos of Britney's cooter. One friend of mine emailed links to where the photos could be found, and seemed almost offended I hadn't seen them.

"Are the pictures hot?" I asked.
"No, they're really disgusting. You've got to see them!"

Britney Spears has become the spoiled milk that's so rancid and unpleasant to smell that you have to make everyone else smell how bad it's gotten. She's so far gone it's unreal. Nowhere was this concept demonstrated more elegantly than in "Unpleasant Stimuli", a Saturday Night Live sketch from the beginning of the golden Carvey-Hartman-Farley era in 1990. In the below clip, watch as each family member feels Chris Farley's gross, sweaty stomach.

Also notice that when Farley makes his entrance, the spice rack falls off the wall, and Tom Hanks barely acknowledges it. Has this been a sketch with Jimmy Fallon or Horatio Sanz, the whole thing would have devolved into giggling.

(Thanks to Improv Is Good For You.)

my 9/11 tribute act

If I ever became a male stripper, I think I'd have a 9/11-themed act. I'd be a fireman, and my partner (presumably Mike B) would dress up as a cop. Not only is this patriotic, I figure it would earn us some slack with our audience. A fireman is too busy being a hero to worry about keeping his abs looking good. 9/11 has taught us that heroism isn't about eating right or doing some sit-ups. Real heroism comes from inside you, no matter how much flab is there to cushion and protect the tender heroism.

As I imagine our act, it would start with a moment of silence. Then we'd announce, "Let's roll," and slowly start stripping to the accompaniment of Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising". Audience members would be encouraged to write derogatory things about Islam and shove them into our pants. Rescue workers in any capacity get free dances. One of us would wear a red-white-and-blue thong, while the other gets the camouflage variety. And not the classic variety - a digital camouflage thong, so we can strip in desert, woodland, or urban bachelorette party environments.

Other soundtrack possibilities include Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down", Tobey Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue", or 45-minute Bin Laden speeches delivered in High Arabic. Will it be sexy? Let me put it this way: When our clothes come off, there's no way you aren't going to remember exactly where you were that day.


too soon?

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Today is the sixth anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks. On a day like this, my thoughts inevitably turn to comedy, because that's what my September 11th was really all about. Some comics are taking advantage of the anniversary to put on a show at The Punchline entitled Too Soon? I'm not performing, but Jow Klocek, Ali Mafi, Tapan Trivedi, and Boxcar are.

"Too soon?" is a question I often ask, but usually sarcastically, after I've said something wildly inappropriate. The most effective use of "Too soon?" that I've heard comes from up-and-coming comedian Kevin Munroe, who uses it as a tag after a joke about Jesus: "Too soon? 2,000 years later is too soon?"

How soon is too soon to begin joking about horrific events? Due to the Daily Show's ascension and the ubiquity of blogging, the time window has shrunk quite a bit. There's much more of an established blanketing of stories by news organizations. It's the ESPN model, where every big story is covered by multiple reporters and absolutely beaten into the ground, whether it's Michael Vick's dogfighting, Terrell Owens's overdose, or the Virginia Tech shootings themselves. No matter that the VA Tech shootings didn't have anything to do with sports; the story led every show for the first days following the massacre. When a news story is inescapable, the backlash against forced mourning and exaggerated sadness happens quickly.

One comic told me that the rule of thumb for touchy material used to be The Tonight Show. If Johnny Carson did a joke on something, that topic was immediately fair game for comics anywhere. I don't know if that rule still stands for any joke done on Letterman. I hope so, because I have a killer bit I'd like to do called, "The World Trade Center North Tower: Will It Float?"

I'm a bad person to ask about timeliness, since I hosted a comedy show roughly 15 hours after the planes hit the World Trade Center, during which I made a joke about how the Empire State Building should be the prime suspect. In addition, I had material on the Virginia Tech shootings three days after it happened. It wasn't exactly sensitive, but at the same time, I don't think anyone would have felt better if I'd worn a VT hat on stage, or changed my Facebook icon to a VT logo with a black ribbon behind it. That'd be kind of Hokie, anyway.

I didn't expect people to fully embrace the material, so I prepared a backup joke. When the audience didn't laugh, I'd say, "I'll take that as a moment of silence for the victims." However, I never got to use it for the first two weeks I told the jokes, because the crowds always laughed. So I might be an insensitive asshole, but so were all those audience members. You think you're better than me? Huh?

RooftopComedyRooftopComedy (VT material about halfway through the clip.)

(Too Soon? takes place at 8 PM at the world-famous Punchline Comedy Club, 444 Battery Street in SF. 18+, $14.)

he is microwave popcorn

Does microwave give you lung disease? A popular New York Times story (still holding at strong at the #6 position at post time) suggests that it can, if you work in a microwave popcorn factory, or if you eat two bags of microwave popcorn every single day for a decade, while inhaling the fragrance of the newly-opened bag.

My good friend Louise categorically stated that she was "never eating that stuff again", but after crunching the numbers, I feel that the risk is minimal.

According to the story, Wayne Watson dropped 50 pounds in six months, after his diagnosis, by cutting out microwave popcorn. (Other news accounts have the number at a more conservative 35 pounds) One pound is roughly 3500 calories, so we're looking at 175,000 total calories in six months. Per day, that's about a thousand popcorn calories a day he dropped. Act II butter-flavor microwave popcorn clocks in at 480 calories per bag, so our hero was averaging just over two full bags of microwave popcorn every day.

And if anyone was going to develop popcorn worker's lung, as the disease is called, it would be this guy. When the doctor asked about his snack habits, Watson declared, "I am Mr. Popcorn. I love popcorn." I think he earned the title. If you eat one food so much that simply removing that one food from your diet leads to a fifty-pound weight loss, you can certainly call yourself, "Mr (That Food)".


I wonder if his family was silently horrified by Mr. Popcorn. Watching him ritualistically preparing for his twice-nightly Orville Redenbacher binge, slipping on the mesh "Mr. Popcorn" baseball cap after changing into a t-shirt that reads, "If This Corn's Poppin', Don't Bother Knockin'!" I imagine Mr. Popcorn standing in front of the microwave, impatiently hopping from foot to foot as he monitors the rate of popping. Every Christmas, a new popcorn-themed gift, from salt shakers, to ceramic "Mr. Popcorn" bowls, to special potholders shaped like ears of corn, to exotic varieties of microwave popcorn like the legendary "pour-over butter" (note: 510 calories/bag, 66% of the daily recommended allowance of fat). Each family member struggling with guilt over enabling his addiction, but ultimately won over by seeing Mr. Popcorn's face light up as he inhaled the intoxicating, poisonous buttered popcorn odor.

The low periods could have been quite dark. The time Mr. Popcorn refused to go on a camping trip in order to stay with the microwave. Shouting matches at movie theater concession stands. The Christmas when he received a large tub of different flavored popcorn, and stormed from the room in protest, slamming the door behind him, the awkward silence only broken minutes later by the familiar hum of the microwave and the faint sounds of popping.

Mr. Popcorn took it further in another article, declaring, "I am microwave popcorn." You are what you eat. Considering he consumed 1000 calories of popcorn every day for a decade, that is literally true. Louise suggests that nearly all of his cells have microwave popcorn molecules in them at this point.

Ultimately, the guy made Louise and I both feel sad: "His one joy in life," said Louise, "was sticking his face into a bag of freshly popped microwave popcorn and inhaling deeply." Yes, he's living longer, but what is he living for? Golf? Fresh fruit? In the words of Michael Bolton, how is he supposed to carry on, when all that he's been living for is gone?

prank war continues: amir goes too far?

The stakes are getting higher in the greatest prank war of all time. The last prank cost Amir a cross-country flight, a car rental, and a little piece of his soul. This time, Amir makes a $500 investment at "Prankee Stadium". Watch, cringe, fall in love all over again:

I go to a lot of open mics for stand-up. They're often tedious, repetitive, and frankly a little depressing, but sometimes, moments of beauty occur. Generally it's not funny on purpose, but that makes it even more wonderful. Penicillin was an accident, too, after all.

A man came up with a guitarist friend and performed a song, to the tune of "Mr. Tambourine Man", with new anti-Bush lyrics. Sample:

"Hey Mr. President, man
Show some courage for me"

It was like Weird Al mixed with Mark Russell mixed with despair. Parodies of 40-year-old songs are always a risky proposition, no matter how deft the satire. Also, "Mr. Tambourine Man" is not a short song. However, in case you were wondering, a man who would re-write "Mr. Tambourine Man" in 2007 is not a supporter of the war in Iraq.

His performance was met with polite applause, and then the singer went to tell jokes. His first moment of banter was the rim shot to the extended setup that was his whole performance:

"So I've been divorced for about five years..."

And scene.

billionaires for bush come to australia

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Billionaires for Bush have spread their reach to Australia. For the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, demonstrated as billionaire supporters of W. They dressed up in fancy clothes and had signs like, "Blood for Oil" and "It's A Class War And We're Winning". The bald man in the photo below is my friend Tim Phil T. Rich.


The Billionaires are at their best at these sort of events, instead of during the campaign season when the public is forced to confront two candidates completely beholden to the wealthy. John Kerry spent his summers on a family estate in France; it was hard to sting Bush by wearing a monocle when Little Lord Fauntleroy was his opponent.

In other APEC happenings, a group from The Chaser managed to penetrate two security checkpoints with a fake Canadian motorcade, containing a comedian dressed as Osama bin Laden. Here, we just have Rage Against The Machine play a concert. Point to the Aussies.

ebony & irony presents, tonight!

A magical week of Sean Keane Komedy kontinues tonight with Ebony & Irony Presents. I preformed in the first incarnation of this showcase, back in June, but this time I will be headlining. Ebony & Irony is about laughs, it's about racial and sarcastic harmony, and it's about puns based on Paul McCartney collaborations with African-American pop superstars. Based on the success of Ebony & Irony, I'm considering founding my own bi-monthly showcase called, The Girl Is Mine.

Showtime is officially 8 PM, though it will probably get going a little later. 18+, $10, no drink minimum. The lineup features:

Kris Tinkle: Appeared on Howard Stern's Meet the Retards Tour and recently entertained the troops in Iraq. Some of you saw his killer feature set at Iron Comic last month, or you may have seen him at the Punchline, where he kills every week, or you may just know his legendary "Hurricane of Dicks" joke.

Joe Tobin: In August, Joe came in second in the 2007 SF Comedy Club Competition, one spot ahead of Sean Keane, and ever since then, he's worn a large, gaudy silver medal around everywhere, which I believe he does in order to taunt me. Joe only weighs 145 pounds, but he's as funny as a man of twice his mass.

Kevin Munroe: Kevin Munroe and I have the same birthday, a date we share with Garfield the Cat, Lou Gehrig, Blaise Pascal, Moe from The Three Stooges, Salman Rushdie, and Nick Drake. Kevin's comedic style could be described as an amalgamation of all those different people, if they'd grown up in Trinidad and then worked in the IT industry. Kevin is 6'6", an accomplished swing dancer, and did not write and direct the 2007 remake of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Kevin O'Shea: At the SF Comedy Club, you can drink as much or as little as you like, but there is a two-Kevin minimum. Thankfully, Mr. O'Shea is here, fresh off a performance at Comedy Central's Open Mic Fight at the Punchline, so we won't get in trouble with the ATF. Kevin is also hosting Blah Blah Blah (A Talk Show), on September 21st at the Dark Room Theater, with a lineup that features Mary Van Note, a mystery guest, and yours truly. 10 PM, $7, check it out, but that's in two weeks, so first check out tonight's show.

Marcella Arguello: Marcella is, without a doubt, the finest six-foot female Salvadoran comic in the Bay Area. She's a rising star, makes a lot of MySpace videos, and on Saturday night she'll be featured in the Latino Comedy Jam, which might be the only worthwhile thing to happen in Modesto for many months. If you are in Modesto, do check it out, if your first option of getting the fuck out of Modesto is unavailable.

And that's the lineup. Come check it out, in the interest of racial harmony, love of joy, and revitalizing the Tenderloin, one bottle of Heineken at a time.


cal vs. tennessee: part one

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Cal defeated Tennessee, 45-31, in the first game of the college football season. I was at the game last Saturday, and saw the orange-clad visitors go home sad, the women smoking unfiltered cigarettes and the men stroking their ill-advised wispy half-goatees.

The final score was vindication for Cal fans, hurt by last year's blowout loss and a whole season of trash-talking from SEC fans. However, this only means the series is tied 1-1. I crunched the numbers to find a tiebreaker to the state rivalry.

1. The Law. Albert "Albie" Gore III was arrested for drunk driving in Orange County this July. He was also was driving a Prius, which means it was a double victory for California over Tennessee. (Cal 2, Tenn 0)

2. Currency. Everyone knows that Andrew Jackson is on the $20. But who's on the million? Ronald Reagan, that's who. Point for California. (3-0)

3. Hustle & Flow. The Oscar for Best Song was a big win for Tennessee, especially. However, critics and audiences alike underestimated how much the film was inspired by director Craig Brewer's time in Pleasant Hill, CA. That scene where the girl seduces the electronics store employee in order to get a fancy microphone? I've seen worse from high school girls trying to buy beer at World Gas. (3-1)

4. The Civil War. It's true in organized labor, and it's true in history: America works best when we say Union Yes. (Cali up 4-1)

5. Rap music. "Going back to Cali", by a guy not even from California, is better than any rap song produced by a Tennessee artist. "Tennessee" by Arrested Development is a classic, but seems to be overlooked or overshadowed these days by other early-90's hip-hop acts, or their frontman's own self-importance. Speech, "Zingalamaduni" was terrible name! And it's not like the first album had such an awesome, catchy name that you could coast. Come on now! (5-1)


6. Geography. The state of Tennessee is geographically and constitutionally divided into three Grand Divisions: East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and West Tennessee. Constitutionally divided, mind you. California is informally divided into four regions as well:

a. LA
b. Bay Area
c. San Diego
d. Boondocks.

While those divisions probably should be constitutional, and the greater Fresno area should be cordoned off, California has not done it yet, so Tennessee wins this round. (5-2)

7. Mascots. Cal has Oski, beloved bear, and one of the NCAA's first openly-gay mascots. Tennessee is the Volunteers, but their mascot is some kind of brown dog. I asked a fan next to me about it: "You're the Volunteers, so what's that down there on the field?" She told me, "That's a hound dog!" (6-2)

8. Fight songs. Someone complained that the UT band played the fight song, "Rocky Top", too much during last year's game. I didn't notice, but then again, I have attended at least ten Cal-USC games over the years. anything short of playing the fight song after every single first down, touchdown, defensive stop, and homoerotic pushup performed my male yell leaders, as the Trojans do with "Fight On". "Rocky Top" is a nice song, so I'm calling this one a push. (6-2-1)

9. Squirrels. Cal's squirrels are on top of the prestigious Campus Squirrel Listings. Tennessee's squirrels are mostly found inside pots, being cooked and eaten by rednecks. Point for Cali. (7-2-1)


10. Reception of Harsh Taunts.

Cal: "SEC rules, Pac-10 Drools" - Clay Travis.
Tennessee: "You can't spell 'Citrus' without 'UT'" - Steve Spurrier.

UT wins, because that one stings, even if it's known as the Capital One Bowl now. So that's 7-3-1, and it looks like, scientifically, California is the superior state, and we didn't even get into California's advantages in weather, diversity, and the effects of places called Alamo on their state heroes.

getting experienced

The Heuristic Squelch Comedy Experience was a fairly successful event last night, with 73 people flocking to Blake's on Telegraph to enjoy comedy downstairs. I was a little shaky as host, but I pulled through, the squelch made some money, and everyone had a good time. Highlights for me were Ali Wong's uncanny impression of Charles Barkley (and her reference to NBA star "Anthony Hardaway"), Chris Garcia's "big vagina" joke, Julian Vance on how he learned to be a strong black man from MTV Jams, John Hoogasian on depression, ("Runs in my family? Depression hauls ass in my family!"), and Reggie Steele's entire set.

Thanks to everyone who came out and to Julian especially for filling in at the last minute. Look for another one of these around October 17th, with some possible themes:

"Loma Prieta: Never forget"
"A rally to end the occupation of those oak trees next to the stadium"
"Beware the Ides of October, if October is one of those months that actually has Ides"
"Happy Birthday, Molly and Kristen"

Tomorrow night marks my first show as a comedy producer, and oh my, it's gonna be a hootenanny! The Heuristic Squelch Comedy Experience kicks off at 8:30 (Doors, 8:00) at Blake's on Telegraph. The legendary John Hoogasian headlines a stellar lineup, featuring SF's finest comics: Reggie Steele, Ali Wong, Chris Garcia, and Julian Vance. Hosting the show is your humble author, Sean Keane.

The show is 18+, and there is no drink minimum. However, Blake's on Telegraph wants me to remind everyone that they have a large, well-stocked bar, and everyone should feel free to eat and drink a lot. After all, if you don't drink at least one gin-and-tonic, haven't the terrorists already won?

More promo info:

John Hoogasian is a longtime SF favorite who this summer appeared on Comedy Central's "Live at Gotham".
Reggie Steele's natural and engaging style has made him a favorite at clubs and colleges all over the Bay Area. He can be seen on "Martin Lawrence Presents 1st Amendment Standup" on Starz.
Ali Wong is adorably inappropriate, performs regularly at the Punchline and Cobb's Comedy Club, and comprises one half of the Rice & Beans comedy troupe.
Chris Garcia is a former Berkeley student, a Punchline regular, and the other half of Rice & Beans.
Julian Vance is a rising star in SF comedy, and recently opened for Dave Chappelle at the Punchline.
Sean Keane is an alum of both Berkeley and the Squelch, and recently became the first-ever two-time Iron Comic champion, and he is totally awesome.

Bonus video! Reggie Steele discusses the first black president:

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