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September 2008

September 30, 2008

Something Strange

Here's an interview I never did for a website I've never heard of. If you want to read comments I never made about the Amazing Kreskin feel free to click: here. Why somebody would use me as a stand-in for an article I only vaguely understand is beyond me, but maybe that's a measure of fame. When people just start making up shit about you, maybe you know you've arrived. I hope so, because I'm broke.

September 29, 2008

Ball More

So I spent Saturday at the Baltimore Book Festival, which is, as described, a book festival in Baltimore. They invited me to come and read from my book, which was very flattering. Ordinarily this would be great except for the fact that it was an outdoor festival and it was pouring the entire time I was there. Rain and outdoor book browsing do not go well together. As a result, what should have been a mob scene of bibliophiles was a smattering of homeless people sheltering in festival tents. One bright spot - when I was fifteen I had my first girlfriend. For the sake of her anonymity, I will call her Kim (which was her name, but I won't say her last name to protect her identity, but it was Lorah). Anyway, Kim and I used to do what teenagers do: make out in her basement. To cover the banana noises coming from our mouths we used to turn on the television, and for some reason, the show that always seemed to be on during our macking sessions was a cooking show hosted by a congenial Asian man called "Yan Can Cook." If her parents ever wondered why we spent so much time watching an Asian cooking show they never asked. Anyway, as I'm entering the little townhouse where authors get their credentials, who do I run into but Martin Yan, he of "Yan Can Cook." Even better, he's wearing a chef's outfit! He's unmistakably himself. Of course I want to tell him that his show accompanied my first forays to second base, but I thought that would have been inappropriate so instead I just said, "Get the hell out of my way," which was probably even worse. I immediately wrote an email to Kim telling her about my run-in, hoping that she would remember: a.) Me and b.) "Yan Can Cook." To her credit, she remembered both, which I thought was terrific.

The reading itself was pretty good. They had me in the "Literary Salon," which was a fancy way of saying the "Muddy Tent." Or really, "One of the Muddy Tents" because there were several. I noticed that the inspirational speaker TD Jakes had his reading in a big museum auditorium, and I would be willing to be dollars to doughnuts that he wasn't nearly as funny as me, or if he was, I can pretty much guarantee he didn't use the phrase "and then I came on her tits" even once during his talk, as I did. To Baltimore's credit, they really showed up for me. Despite the rain and the mud and the fact that according to my favorite television show, "The Wire," Baltimore is a more dangerous place to Chernobyl, the city's population of hipsters and attractive teenage girls showed up to my reading. I was very pleased and I hope I did a good job for them. Unfortunately, there were a couple children in the audience, which made it awkward when I used the aforementioned phrase involving semen and boobs. I checked with the girl's mother before I said it about whether or not it would okay if I said something "filthy." The mother didn't seem to care, which at the time made me think, "What a cool mother," but in retrospect makes me think "What a terrible mother."

September 25, 2008

A Brief Follow-Up to Last Night's "Little Britain" Post

In my previous post about my night with "Little Britain," I mentioned how Matt wasted no time in attacking me for being on "I Love the 80's," which I felt was unprovoked. However, "R" just pointed out something to me with the following comment:

In response to: Matt wasted no time in insulting me by saying something like "When I look at you I feel like you should be talking about Tiffany or other things from the 80's." I responded by saying "When I look at you I feel like you should be illuminating a lightbulb with your mouth." ********** I think that insult started when you first made a very distinct comment" You are "Nothing" in America.. I mean you are Nobody.." I noticed everyone got all quiet and look at each other after you made that comment. But then again, i think its an actual defense of Matt back fire at ya after that comment. --- I cant believe you just said that -- Vicky Pollard. From, One of the audience..

I forgot the part where I said that. Here was the context; I said, "I'd like to start by asking you some biographical information which you have probably answered a million times overseas and probably everybody knows it over there by now, but our audience  probably doesn't because over here you're NOTHING."

That could possibly be construed as an attack, in which I case I would definitely be guilty of firing the opening salvo. I prefer to think that I was being affectionate despite the fact that the commenter correctly points out that nobody laughed at the joke and I am clearly the only person who felt like I was being anything resembling affectionate as opposed to, say, a total asshole. I have this problem a lot.

This Was Nice

From the website Page23.org, a site for independent booksellers:

My Custom Van: And 50 Other Mind-Blowing Essays that Will Blow Your Mind All Over Your Face By Michael Ian Black

Mr. Black is funny. Damn funny, for that matter. With a distinguished résumé including Wet Hot American Summer, Stella, Reno 911!, Run Fatboy Run, and Tom Goes to the Mayor, how could he not be funny? What do you think of that smart guy? Eh? Go on; tell me. I dare you. Honestly, you don’t have to go any further than the titles of any one of the 50 essays contained in this book for a laugh. With gems like: “Vampires—Good for the Economy?”, “Taco Party”, “Some DJ Names I’ve Been Considering” and “A Few Words About My Jug Band” topped off by a foreword written by Abraham Lincoln (who regales the reader with tales of that time he grew a beard and got shot) you’ll be laughing all the way to the Laff Bank with your laff deposit, all the while enjoying a swig of Laff © brand whisky. Lots o’ laffs....

September 24, 2008

My Evening With "Little Britain"

Andy_Lou_l-poster-little-britain Spent the evening interviewing Matt Lucas and David Walliams AKA "Little Britain." For those of you who don't know, Little Britain is a wildly popular sketch comedy show in the UK. Matt and David are the writer/stars. Now HBO has brought the show over here, entitled "Little Britain USA." I got a call last Friday asking if I'd be interested in moderating a discussion with them at the Apple Store in SoHo. I have no idea what Apple has to do with anything, but I figured maybe I would get a free iPod for my trouble. (I did not.) I arrived punctually at the Apple store, where I met Matt and David, who had just come back from taping Conan. I've been doing television in this country for fifteen years and have never been invited on Conan. They've been here twenty minutes and have already done it. We commented on how tall Conan is (My guess was 10' 3", Matt's guess 5' 6". Unfortunately there's no way to find out). Then I met David, who also had a small part in "Run Fat Boy Run," which he mentioned to me. I knew that already but didn't want to presume that he would know that I wrote the film. He did, though, because British people know things like that. They're unfailingly polite, so when you write a film that they are in, they tend to know about it. Why I was invited to moderate this thing at all is something of a mystery to me. I suspect it was because I live in New York and use Apple products. It might also have something to do with the fact that nobody else was available. Anyway, after showing some clips of their new show, I came out and introduced the boys. Matt wasted no time in insulting me by saying something like "When I look at you I feel like you should be talking about Tiffany or other things from the 80's." I responded by saying "When I look at you I feel like you should be illuminating a lightbulb with your mouth." It didn't get a laugh. Too mean perhaps, even though he really does look like Uncle Fester. The crowd was not really on my tip. I asked a bunch of pertinent questions about them and their careers and did not try to be funny at all, thinking that that was their job, not mine and that if I tried too hard to be funny everybody would think "Why's he trying to be funny? He's not the one with a very successful British import television show." We took some questions from the audience (nobody asked me anything, which I expected but still...) and then everybody applauded and that was that. Backstage everybody said it was "hilarious," which I found pretty strange because I didn't say one funny thing the entire night. Did they want me to be funny and I let them down? I hope not. I thought my job was to help them be funny, which they were. And charming. If I was expected to be funny, I utterly failed. I hate when interviewers try to be funny when they are interviewing me so I didn't want to make the same mistake. Ah well. As they were leaving I gave them both copies of my book, which I could tell neither of them wanted. But I figured I've got a box of them at home, I've got to do something with them. So it was a pretty good evening, but then I read that David Walliams lives in Noel Gallagher's old house, which means he's probably really rich, so then I felt bad about myself all over again.

September 22, 2008

Fruit Smackdown

Peach vs. Nectarine

Nectarine wins this because, like a peach, it is juicy and delicious, but unlike a peach it does not have annoying fuzz.

Nectarine vs. Plum

Nectarine wins again. Plums are too small and are, at times, surprisingly tart. Nobody wants tart when they are expecting sweet. Good try, plum.

Nectarine vs. Bite-Sized Pineapple Chunks

This one could go the distance. In the end, though, bite-sized pineapple chunks outduels nectarine due to its bite-sized portions and perfect combination of Polynesian flavors. You had a nice run, nectarine.

Continue reading "Fruit Smackdown" »

September 18, 2008

The Return of Stella

Stella will be making its first public appearance in quite a while as we host New York Magazine's 40th Anniversary Bash at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on October 10th along with bands The National and Grizzly Bear. I don't know either band, but I know they are very popular with the kids. We'd love to see you there.

40th Flier

September 16, 2008

Roller Boogie Update

If you’re wondering about how I fared at the Roller Boogie Regionals in Tampa last weekend, I did not win. Not in the individual events and not in the team events. I did not even place. So I will not be going to Nationals and any dreams I may have harbored about Worlds you can consider more dashed than Mrs. Dash.

What happened? I’ve given this question a lot of thought and all I can say is that I have nobody to blame but myself. I thought I was prepared, I thought I was in top-flight shape. I thought I had done everything I could do to represent myself and my region, but I was dead wrong. For starters, I broke the number one rule in roller boogie: do not wear new skates on competition day. Why did I do this? For two reasons: one, because my last pair was squeaking and I hate squeaky skates. Two, because I let a cute sales rep for Rock-N-Roll Roller Skates convince me to try their new Quad Kickers, a line they’ve got coming out in spring ’09. I was flattered they asked, and after they sized me and went through all the trouble of putting all those laces through all those holes, I felt like I couldn’t let them down, despite the fact that they did not provide nearly as much ankle support as my old sturdy, squeaky skates. So that was obviously a critical error.

Also, I decided to do a pirate theme for my solo effort this year. A great idea, except for the fact that I did not rehearse with my eye patch. You would be amazed to discover how much having only one eye affects your depth perception! When it looked like the wall was twenty feet away, guess how far away it really was? Zero feet. Judges will always deduct points when you hit the wall with your midsection and then complain that you cannot breathe. That is pretty much an automatic deduction. So that was a huge problem, as was the fact that my choice of Celine Dion as musical accompaniment did not “suit the piece,” as one judge put it. Apparently just using a random Celine Dion song did not put people in the minds of Berber Pirates. My thinking was: Celine Dion = Titanic = boat = Berber pirates. Now, I don’t know whether or not the judges lacked either imagination or simple math skills, but what was obvious to me was not at all obvious to them. So I lost points for that. I also lost points for not executing the tricky “Skating with hands on hips while doing a fully waist gyration” move that everybody’s been talking about lately. I did a ¾ gyration instead, thinking that would be enough. Apparently not. They wanted full gyrations or nothing. I wish I had known that because I would have gone to see my chiropractor before the competition. Another problem: somebody told me to “play to my strengths” right before I hit the rink. How did I interpret that? I decided to do three minutes of stand-up comedy before my skating routine. Not only did “my strengths” fail to impress the judges (or the crowd), but apparently those five minutes were deducted from my skating time, so I had to rush through the actual skating, making it impossible to skate in time with Celine’s lush arrangements. Terrible, terrible choice on my part.

Continue reading "Roller Boogie Update" »

September 11, 2008

Roller Boogie Tampa

200px-Rb_dvd A lot of you have written asking why I haven’t been blogging more lately. Here’s the reason: I am currently in Tampa, Florida for the World Roller Boogie Regional Qualifiers. A lot of people don’t know that I am a competitive roller boogiest, but I am, competing in both solo and team events. This is the first year that I’ve made the regional qualifiers and I AM SHITTING MYSELF!!! The top three from the regionals advance to the nationals, which is being held at the American Roller Boogie Capital – Venice, California, which was also the setting for “Roller Boogie” the movie. While I try to attend the nationals every year as a spectator, I have never been as a competitor and just the thought of going MAKES ME SHIT MYSELF!!!

For those of you don’t know about competitive roller boogie, here’s the way it works. For solo events, competitors have anywhere from three to five minutes to complete an original roller boogie set to the music of their choice. Most people choose disco or techno music, but I have become known in the roller boogie world for boogying to alternative country acts like Lucinda Williams. Within their set, each competitor must demonstrate proficiency in a range of skills: forwards skating, backwards skating, bending down skating, bending down skating with one leg forward, skating while clapping hands, and skating while shimmying. In addition to skill points, competitors also get points for artistic flair. This can mean anything from wearing very tight pants (as I plan on doing), to wowing the judges with a “Sparkle Wand,” which is a long iridescent want with streamers (which I also plan on doing). Scores range from 1-100. A typical winning score in the regionals is anywhere from 70-90. A perfect 100 in the regionals is almost unheard of, being attained only once by Larry “Crazy Wheels” Crenshaw in 1985. Crenshaw, incidentally is here. When I saw him, I SHIT MYSELF!!!

Continue reading "Roller Boogie Tampa" »

September 10, 2008

Favorite Comment of the Year

Here is my favorite comment of the year to date. It is in regards to my post entitled "Clothing Optional Resorts."

You really know nothing about nudism/naturism. And what you really want is sex, since you want to go to swingers' clubs. Have fun - you would be totally disappointed at a naturist resort/club, since nude = sex is an equation that does not apply there. One goes nude for the ineffable feeling of freedom and closeness to nature that one gets. Trying to explain it to you would be as futile as trying to explain red to a blind person. BTW etiquette demands that you sit on your own towel, not bottom on furniture. Footware is not precluded. And the motto is, nude when possible, clothed when practical. Don't go around frying stuff in the nude! I'm sorry to see you've written a flippant careless piece of prose without any research. Pathetic!