« December 2008 | Main | February 2009 »

January 2009

January 31, 2009

The Worst Website I’ve Ever Seen

“This is the McChicken Sandwich. As soon as you leave, I’m going to go T. Rex on this thing.” – Paul

McDonald's does many things right, starting with their French fries, which are the international gold standard of fried potatoes. I have also commented in the past on their delicious Southwest salad. The McFlurry? McFuckable. Their food, with some notable exceptions (I’m looking at you McGriddle), is fantastic.

Where McDonald's consistently falls short, however, is in their marketing. Jesus they’ve got horrible marketing. Anybody who has ever seen a McDonald's commercial featuring rapping Chicken McNuggets knows what I am talking about.

(Pay special attention to the pop rocking Ronald McDonald)

McDonald's has a knack for appropriating the national zeitgeist and then getting it exactly and perfectly wrong. How they manage to so consistently mangle pop culture is beyond me, but they’ve been doing it so long that it seems to be part of their corporate DNA.

The way I interpret their marketing strategy is that they scour the landscape for trends, and then figure out a way to wring all the joy and authenticity out of whatever they find before presenting it to you, the consumer, as advertising.

So maybe it should come as no surprise that the good people at McDonald's are at it again. This time, they’re promoting their dollar menu with an animated web series entitled “(Dollar Menu presents) The Reality House Show.” You probably read the words “McDonalds animated web series/reality show parody” and think to yourself, “That sounds horrible.” Well you would be wrong to think that. Horrible doesn’t begin to describe how truly atrocious this thing is. I’ve never seen a more blatant and contrived example of corporate pandering in my life.

Continue reading "The Worst Website I’ve Ever Seen" »

January 29, 2009

I’ve Been Drinking A Lot Lately

I have never been a drinker. Never liked drinking, never enjoyed the taste of alcohol, and probably didn’t have my first proper drink until I was well into my twenties. To this day, I don’t know that I’ve ever been drunk the way I understand being drunk to be: acting loopy, sloppy making out with strange girls and waking up somewhere you don’t recognize. When I drink I find that I just get kind of sleepy and a little nauseous. Which is not too different than the way I feel after taking a cross country flight. Or after huffing glue.

Tonight for example, I drank a chocolate martini during my show at Caroline’s. The way they make their chocolate martini is by combining vodka with Godiva banana chocolate liqueur; it’s like drinking Halloween. What’s odd about the chocolate martini at Caroline’s is that they have about a dozen different martinis on the menu. There’s the peachtini, the belatini, mandarintini, every kind of martini suffused with various flavors, which they then label with the awkward ‘tini suffix. Not one of them rolls off the tongue except for the one offering that would sound correct: the chocolatini. Do you know what they call the chocolatini? The chocolate martini. Idiots.

After that I had a glass of Shiraz. I have never enjoyed wine, and yet I find myself drinking more and more of it. I tell myself its for the age-reversing effects of resveratrol, but honestly it’s more for the psychic desperation. I keep thinking if I drink enough wine, my self-loathing will disappear. It hasn’t worked yet, but I suspect it’s because I’m not drinking enough. I figure I’ve just got to up my intake from a glass a day to seven. Lord knows that plenty of people before me have cured their problems through drinking. I’m just the next in a long line of success stories.

Part of the reason I’m drinking more is because my wife is a lush and I figure if I can keep up with her, she’ll love me more. This is the equation: drinking equals love. How that plays out remains to be seen, but I’m confident it will work. Of course as I write this, I’m bombed out of my mind and my wife is in a coma.  

January 28, 2009

Here's A Full Report on The State Reunion This Weekend

Reprinted in its entirety.

Last Night: The State Reunion at SF Sketchfest

  (Photos courtesy Tommy Lau)

The State
Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 24 and 25, 2009
Eureka Theatre and Herbst Theatre

Better than
: the Beatles, Jesus, and Pamela Anderson

I'm going to jump to the conclusion that you're just like me -- a productive member of society in their mid-to-late 20s, raised on watching a man who triumphantly proclaimed, "I wanna dip my balls in it!" with a set of ping-pong balls in hand. And I'm going to make that snap judgment based on the fact that tickets for the 90's sketch comedy troupe The State sold out in a matter of minutes. Our generation eagerly enlightened and/or sullied our impressionable adolescent minds each week with scenes of men planning to visit the zoo to watch the monkeys make love, and Lotharios investing in 240 dollars worth of pudding for auto-erotic purposes.

For a brief couple of years in the mid-90s, The State was our religion -- a lot like The Grateful Dead, Zep, or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young for prior generations -- only preaching absurdist comedy instead of guitars and beards. Unless you count the Bearded Men of Space Station 11. Of our great generation, a few hundred of us trekked the pilgrimage to SF's annual Sketchfest to witness the reunion of our pop-culture Gods at the intimate Eureka Theatre.

Imagine, if you will, if the Eagles made a Hell Freezes Over tour stop at your local elementary school auditorium. There you have the makings of last Saturday's double bill of performances at this ridiculously intimate venue. The evening began with a dance routine reintroducing all 11 original cast members -- Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino, Michael Patrick Jann, Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Michael Ian Black, Robert Ben Garant, Todd Holoubek, Kevin Allison, Michael Showalter, and David Wain -- playfully lip syncing to an upbeat Jackson 5 tune dressed up in paint-stained art smocks. The innocent, light-hearted intro would serve as a very wrong juxtaposition to what would be the State's raunchy interpretation of the history of the world.

Continue reading "Here's A Full Report on The State Reunion This Weekend" »

Random Stuff

If you have any interest in seeing me perform live this weekend, get your ass on a plane and come to Caroline’s Comedy Club in New York. Here’s what I can promise: I will be there, I will be telling jokes, alcoholic drinks will be served, at some point during the weekend I will give an audience member cash money, and I will introduce a brand new joke about the country of Ghana. Furthermore, I can pretty much guarantee that I will be the only comedian in America making a joke about Ghana this weekend. So if your taste in comedy runs towards jokes about small West African nations, this is the show for you.

For those of you wondering how The State reunion went in San Francisco last weekend, I can pretty much sum it up in two words: good. I realize that “good” is only one word, but that’s because I was playing a mental game of “Name That Tune” with myself while typing that last sentence, and so I decided to see if I could do myself one better than the aforementioned “two word” summation. Turns out I could.

It was great getting together with The State for a weekend of eleven-way-restaurant-check-splitting, awkward group photos, and dick jokes. We did two performances of our new hour of comedy, concluding each performance with an acoustic encore of “Porcupine Racetrack.” The audiences were very kind – not so much because of their abundant laughter, but because before the show they helped an old lady across the street. 

Janeane Garofalo did a fantastic job moderating a discussion between the eleven of us the day after our shows. We talked about all manner of things State, including our break-up and Kevin’s fire engine red pubic bush. That night, Stella hosted a night of comedy featuring State member Thomas Lennon, Eugene Merman, Tig Notaro, Seth Herzog, Nick Kroll, and Janeane, plus a special appearance by Michael Showalter’s musical duo, The Doilies. There was also a midnight screening of “Wet Hot American Summer,” with many cast members on hand to field random catcalls and incoherent drunk slurrings. Which is always a pleasure when you are jet lagged and wanting nothing more than to curl up in bed with a warm Ambien.

Now I’m home in Connecticut working with Michael Showalter on the project that I blogged about before but which I was then told not to mention again because it hasn’t been made public yet, but which has its own myspace page, and which may or may not be on a prominent comedy network sometime this summer.

And I read this somewhat awful thing about myself on the web. If you don’t want to bother reading it, a guy describes a girl reading a book on the subway; the basic gist is that he would have considered her to be attractive were it not for the fact that she was reading my book. My only consolation is that I think I am the only person who read this guy’s blog. If that besmirched girl is out there, please contact me. I want to assure you that you're beautiful not in spite of your literary choices, but because of them.

January 24, 2009

Be Among the First To Join The MMHI Myspace Page

Yes, Michael Showalter and I are getting the MMHI (our clever abbreviation for "Michael and Michael Have Issues") ball rolling with our own brand spanking new MMHI Myspace page. This is only Step I in our worldwide marketing campaign which will encompass social networking sites, viral videos, blogs, skywriting biplanes, a Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade Float, prank calls to strangers, bumper stickers that smell like feet, temporary tattoos that turn out not to be temporary, and of course, a two hour Super Bowl commercial. But now is your opportunity to get in on the ground floor. To join our Myspace page, click here. Then go crazy with the "add as friend" tab. Definitely the best way to get our MMHI on.

Some Photos From The State Rehearsal

We spent a few hours getting the show up on its feet today. I'm posting some photos I took. You can't tell in the pictures but I am wearing a sweater with a zipper that zips up diagonally across the front. If you think I didn't get any shit for it, you are wrong. Because I did. Get a lot of shit. From everybody in The State. Except for Ben, who said he liked it. But that he wouldn't wear it. Unless he was gay. Kevin, who is gay, said he wouldn't wear it. This is exactly why The State broke up.

Photo 146
Me, Ben, Tom lurking in the background.

Photo 147
Me, Joe, Ben lurking in the background.

Continue reading "Some Photos From The State Rehearsal" »

January 22, 2009

The State Reunites

I'm in San Francisco for SketchFest, an annual San Francisco fest of all things sketch. For the first time in I don't know how many years, my old sketch comedy troupe, The State, is reuniting to perform an hour of all-new material. The last time we did a stage show of all new material was before we even had our TV show, so we probably haven't done anything like this since 1991 or 1992. That's a long time ago. So long ago that Kurt Cobain hadn't even killed himself yet!!! Rolling Stone Magazine interviewed some of us to commemorate the event. You can read that here,

January 20, 2009

Favorite Headline of the Day

It’s a great day for America, but my favorite headline from all of the day’s festivities has to be this one I found on CNN.com:

Picture 1

While watching the inauguration, I found myself, like millions of Americans, soaring with pride as our new president was sworn in.  But at the same time, the same nagging thought kept tugging at the back of my mind: it’s all well and good for me, but how are Ashton and Demi reacting? Now I know.

Thanks, CNN.

January 16, 2009

Come See Me Read "Chicken Cheeks" Tomorrow... If You Dare!!!

I just threw in the "if you dare" part to be dramatic. Tomorrow morning (January 17th) at 11:00 I'll be at the New York Barnes & Noble on 86th between 2nd and 3rd avenues for their regularly scheduled story time to read my new book "Chicken Cheeks." I haven't decided if I'm going to wear the chicken costume or not, but I'm definitely leaning towards it, because why the hell not? Also, if you want stuff signed or just want to say hi please come on by. It's going to fuck-tastic!!!

(I realize I probably shouldn't describe a children's story time as "fuck-tastic." That was an error in judgment and I apologize.)

January 14, 2009

Bleep Bloop

Here I am on College Humor's video game show "Bleep Bloop." I can't believe how annoying it is that I'm chewing gum throughout. At the time I thought, "It won't make a difference if I'm chewing gum, will it?" As it turns out, it does make a difference, an annoying difference, and I wish they had insisted that I rid myself of the gum. At the time, though, I had just eaten something smelly (old socks and lindberger cheese) and was worried that I had bad breath. What's more annoying? Bad breath or gum? To the people in the room, the bad breath. To the viewers who can't smell my breath, surely the gum.