Archive for the 'The Funny' Category

02
Nov
11

Lyrics To The Title Theme Of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk Empire's Michael K. Williams shares home improvement tips

I watch HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.  This show’s major strengths are its art direction and set design, which really are a joy.  Its music direction, faithful to its Jazz Age period runs a close second, and might even have placed first, if not for one inexplicable decision.

In a stark and ugly contrast to the rest of the show’s attention to production standards, Boardwalk Empire‘s title theme music is a disaster.  For some reason, a chunk of sheer hackwork in the form of throwaway bar-band blues-rock culled from the catalog of the resolutely inessential Brian Jonestown Massacre was chosen to usher viewers into each week’s episode.

This isn’t about anachronism.  I’m not saying that a rock song could never work in this role. I’m saying the chosen rock song relates to the show only in one sense:  Each time I hear it, I lament that Atlantic City, endowed today with van-loads of creatively vacant, Stones-tribute bar bands who suck far less than San Francisco’s Brian Jonestown Massacre, couldn’t contribute to its namesake “death and titty” cable drama when the time came to slap a shitty rock song in the theme hole.

One habit I inherited from my father is to give lyrics to annoying tunes.  In that tradition, I offer to all Boardwalk fans a means to put a happier spin on this most bullshit of title themes.  Take these lyrics to Boardwalk Empire in the shared hope that a saddened nation can, as one, polish away this small spot of musical tarnish from our Sunday nights.

Lyrics To The Boardwalk Empire Theme

Boy, this theme sucks
Lemme tell ya 
God, this theme sucks
Like a hoover
Stupid blues riff
What the fuck, man?
Sounds like Oasis
Fuck you 
(repeat 1x)

And it’s cloudy
In the 1920s
And Buscemi
Looks especially worn
Hey, it’s water
What are those, bottles?
Fly away, seagull
Shitty solo ahoy!

Baaaaaw woooo-awooooo oooo-ooo-ooooo

(Singers give tempo ruboto impression of awful guitar solo)

(rest)

Please just start the show
And end this theme
Just start the show
Already please

(repeat after rest)

11
Dec
10

One For Yes, Two For No

EXT. LONDON STREET, NIGHT
December 2010.  Student protests over tuition fees have gripped London. A black Bentley limousine snakes through the city's streets. As it proceeds, a gradually greater number of student protesters lines the sidewalk.
CUT TO:
INT. LIMOUSINE LEFT BACK SEAT, NIGHT
Seated in the limo is PRINCE CHARLES.  He is bathed in the light of a small television upon which GRAHAM NORTON interviews BETTE MIDLER.  CHARLES holds a cocktail in one hand and an iPhone in the other.  He speaks into the iPhone:
CHARLES
(irritatedly)
Look here, Wigglesbottom, we've been through this before. As I've told you, the email thingy is different from the Facebook thingy.  (Pause.  Rolls eyes.) Because it doesn't have a face.  Email isn't blue.
CUT TO:
CU CHAUFFER
We see a look of rising concern cross the CHAUFFEUR'S face as he drives.  He sees protesters beginning to swarm the street and block his path.
CHAUFFEUR
(quietly)
Your highness?
CUT TO:
INT. LIMOUSINE LEFT BACK SEAT, NIGHT
CHARLES is oblivious.
CHARLES
(into phone, preoccupied by the television)
Oh dear.  Wiggly, this won't do. You'll need to pay closer attention, I'm afraid. 
CHAUFFEUR
(O.S., louder)
Your highness?
CUT TO:
EXT. LONDON STREET, NIGHT
As the Bentley approaches, a crowd closes in, carrying sticks and torches.  An angry roar arises.
PROTESTER #1
Toffs!
PROTESTER  #2
Get 'em!  Off with their heads!
A PROTESTER raises a hand holding a stone as if to throw. A wave of anger sweeps through the crowd.
CUT TO:
INT. LIMOUSINE LEF BACK SEAT, NIGHT
CHARLES
(into phone, exasperated)
No, that's how it's supposed to work.  You're not supposed to see the password.  
CHAUFFEUR
(O.S., rising panic as he slows to a stop)
Yourrr maaajesty!
CHARLES
(finally looking up)
What in -- my god!
CHARLES looks out the window and notices the mob for the first time. 
CHARLES
(to CHAUFFER)
Don't stop, man! 
The CAUFFEUR gestures helplessly.  A mighty BANG! is heard as the rock strikes the limo.
CHARLES turns to his right to face his companion, CAMILLA PARKER-BOWLES.
CHARLES
It's too late!  Camilla!
INT. LIMOUSINE RIGHT BACK SEAT, NIGHT
CAMILLA, a pale horse seated in the limousine bucks and whinnies desperately.
CAMILLA
Whiiiiinggh!  Whiiiiinnngh!
Her thrashing sends CHARLES's cocktail flying.
CHARLES
(fumbling for her reins)
Gah! Steady, girl!  Steady.  Whoa.
The struggle in the back is dire, but CHARLES grasps her reins.  The struggle pauses.  He pats her mane.
CHARLES
Now, now. 
CHARLES reaches into a compartment, produces a carrot and offers it to CAMILLA.  The whites of her eyes flash crazily.
CHARLES
There.  There, yes.  Do you want to go home?  Do you?
CUT TO:
INT. Floor of limousine
CAMILLA's hoof clops onto the floor once.
CAMILLA
Pththtttht!
CUT TO:
EXT. LONDON STREET, NIGHT
Another projectile is thrown by the crowd as it closes in to the limousine.
CUT TO:
INT. LIMOUSINE BACK SEAT, NIGHT
A BANG! followed by another BANG!  At the noise, CAMILLA resumes bucking and whinnying.  The carrot goes flying.
CAMILLA
Whiiiiighh!  Niiighghhhh!
CHARLES
Damn! Camilla!  Agh!
The despertaely spooked horse spills onto her side, pinning the Prince onto the limousine seat..
CUT TO:
EXT. LIMOUSINE WINDOW, NIGHT
With a SMASH! of glass, a hoof pokes out of the limousine window. 
NEW ANGLE:
The advancing mob stops in their tracks at the sight of the horse's hoof.  They lower their sticks and stones.  A beat passes. 
PROTESTER  #1
What a magnificent creature.
PROTESTER  #2
Yes.  Let no harm come to it.
CUT TO:
INT. LIMOUSINE BACK SEAT, NIGHT
CHARLES
(pinned under the horse)
Quite right.  A capital idea. 
CAMILLA
Wiiiiiiinnngghhgghhh!
CHARLES
(wincingly)
Driver...it's bes-uhng..best we be going.
NEW ANGLE:
The crowd parts and the limousine proceeds away from us.
CHARLES
(V.O.)
Do you think you might move off of me, darling?
CAMILLA
Thhhthpph.
SFX: Horse hoof upon the floor: Clop! Clop!
THE END

(With thanks to Gerard Boissy.)

03
Oct
10

A Cartoon Character And A Duck: Glenn Beck Meets Donald

In which two titans of white incomprehensibility, Glen Beck and Donald Duck, are remixed by Jonathan Macintosh of Rebellious Pixels to hilarious effect. Magnificent work!  Thanks to Tom Pazen for the link.

27
May
10

Eight Guitar Hero Spin-Offs

Word is that the Guitar Hero video game franchise is in trouble. Earlier this year game maker Activision reported disappointing sales of GH and associated title DJ Hero with new planned titles being squelched. Industry analysts agree: these are the signs of a depleted genre.

Why? Because these games don’t have enough realism. Even little kids know by now that Guitar Hero’s gameplay – effectively mashing plastic keys on the neck of a guitar-shaped controller in a vague rhythm – does not approach the rich tapestry of the live rock musician’s undertaking. Some gamers know this instinctively, and those who don’t eventually learn by listening to the sneering dismissals of the game offered by actual rock musicians desperate to crap on somebody. It seems nobody’s happy. Video gamers demand a more satisfying, realistic experience and will stop at nothing to get it (short of turning off their consoles and emerging into the actual world), while  current game offerings are lacking in the grit and tension of the real thing.

What this genre needs is a little design input from a veteran of rock and roll. Today, I am that veteran, ready to exaggerate where necessary to improve the product. Here, then, proposed to the industry’s design community in plenty of time for Christmas, are Eight Guitar Hero Spin-Offs:

Band Hero: The realistic interpersonal band simulation. Navigate the complex creative and emotional agendas of the other people in your band –  and later in the game, that of their spouses. Collaboratively produce songs by subtly subverting each other’s hated contributions. Simultaneously discover and navigate disparate goal alignments with the payoffs measured solely in aesthetics, never income. Balance a straight career with the commitments of a band without compromising either. Game controller is shaped like a bottle of Chivas Regal. Contents: Chivas Regal.

Tour Hero: Perpetrate the affront to human dignity that is touring without suffering any of the health risks. Simulate four unwashed guys in a dilapidated van, a diet of indigestible road food, a steady supply of intoxicants and a single Red Sovine CD that the drummer/driver insists on repeating for hours at a time. Controller is shaped like a bundle of filthy laundry bunched into a pillow shape. Scoring is based on ability to arrive at gigs in time to not get a sound check.

Sound Check Hero: In the game’s early stages, you don’t get a sound check. When you finally do, your goal is to have the stage monitors produce sound of any kind. Next level:  stop the shrieky feedback. Controller: Wii (shaped like a microphone). Scoring based on effectiveness of your vague pantomimes attempting to get the attention of the unseen soundguy. Bonus round: show up to the gig in enough time to get the check but not too early so as to be sitting around waiting.

Load-in Hero: Your goal is to move large, heavy black boxes from one side of town to another in your car. Rewards the obsessive with a Tetris-like puzzle scoring system based on equipment stacking, spiced with the added risk of damage to spine and fingers, because the game controller is shaped like a Marshall 4×12 speaker cabinet and weighs 90 pounds.

Publishing Hero: While watching television, you discover your recordings have been used on TV commercials, shows and films with large audiences, yet you have not been told nor paid. Gameplay involves an odyssey of repeated attempts to have phone calls or emails returned from TV producers, networks or music publishers. Game controller is shaped like an empty mailbox.

Rehearsal Space Hero: You are stuck in a 10×10′ rehearsal space with laughably thin walls. Next door on one side is a Blues Lawyer / Blues Dentist band, and on the other, a Local Metal Band. Schedule conflicts ensure one or the other or both are rehearsing at the same time as your band, making it difficult to work. Game controller is shaped like a standard Guitar Hero guitar, which you use to play the neighboring band’s riffs back at them at dominating volume until you eventually force an ugly physical confrontation.

Guitar Store Hero: A simulated trip to a guitar chain store, where every minute spent serves to embarrass you further into rethinking your involvement with music. Scoring based on suppressing your impulse to choke the shit out of the guy over there who won’t stop loudly mangling the riff from “Enter Sandman” on a pointy guitar. Game controller shaped like a $50.00 guitar stand, manufactured in Malaysia out of seven cents worth of bimetal.

Mashup Hero: Your goal is to load looped segments of any two incongruous yet recognizable popular songs into Audiomulch, tweak the program BPM to 300+ and play the segments against each other until they overlap in locked tempo, producing “work”. Controller is (and is shaped like) a Windows PC running Audiomulch. Scoring is based upon real-life attention received for your efforts. Requires: Audiomulch license, shamelessness.

07
May
10

Bill Murray, Poetry Foreman

In which Bill Murray regales the construction crew of NYC’s Poets House with verse from Emily Dickinson, Lorine Nidecker and Billy Collins, the last two works carrying themes of work and construction. Smoke ’em if you got ’em! Link swiped from biblioklept.org

23
Apr
10

Chris Ware’s Rejected Fortune Cover

Somebody at Fortune magazine thought it would be a great idea to have Chris Ware draw the cover for their Fortune 500 issue.

But somebody at Fortune didn’t know that Chris Ware is a pretty observant fellow.  What he turned in proved to be a bit too close to home for the Mammonites, and was rejected.

Milton Friedman Paycheck Advance?  Fabrica de Exploitacion? Helicopters airlifting cash from the treasury into the banks?  Fortune: “Hey, sure, we do business journalism..but not business journalism.”

Click on image for larger version.

Link thankfully swiped from Chris Herbert on Twitter.

20
Mar
10

Stewart Lee: Germans Kicked Away My Comedy Crutches

I can attest that the linguistic quirks of German, the only foreign language in which I have any training, do stack the deck against comedy as practiced by English speakers. The structural precision of German sentences and compound words serves to drain potential confusion from speech – and with it a major source of easy comedy. English monologist Stewart Lee wrote eloquently on the problem in The Guardian some years ago, not as a complaint, but as a paean to writing about ideas instead of relying on the flexibilities of the English language for lazy humor. Terrific piece from a terrific performer.

Unrelated Lee clip below for the uninitiated.

09
Dec
09

Dec 15th: Letters To Santa 24-Hour Benefit At Second City E.T.C.

The modern portrayal of Santa Claus frequently...

Little Haley is too polite to mention Santa's halitosis.

The blindingly popular, mom-pleasing Jeff Tweedy! The backwoods gentleman stomp of Robbie Fulks! The aching balladry of Nina Nastasia! The earnest perspiration of Horatio Sanz! Chicago, can you take 24 solid hours of world-class music and comedy entertainment? No. No you can’t. But you can show up and catch what you can, because it’s for needy kids and will run you a mere fifteen clams at the door. The 24-hour schedule and info:

The Second City is proud to announce the 8th annual event: “The Second City That Never Sleeps: Letters to Santa” – 24 consecutive hours of improvisation by Second City performers and alumni featuring a variety of special guest artists – a tradition that provides presents for needy children during the holiday season and this year wraps up a weekend of events around The Second City ‘s 50th Anniversary.

Doors will open at 5:45pm. The show will begin on Tuesday, December 15th in The Second City e.t.c. (1608 N. Wells St, 2nd Floor of Piper’s Alley) at 6:00pm and will conclude on Wednesday, December 16th at 6:00pm.

An ensemble of Chicago’s best known improvisers (along with alumni of The Second City) will take the stage for an entire 24-hour period. Improvisational games, scenes, songs, monologues and random acts of weirdness inspired by sleep deprivation will accompany performances by such artists as Robbie Fulks, Jeff Tweedy, UCB’s ASSSCAT, Bonnie Prince Billy, The Mountain Goats and The Blisters.

Listed below is the current performance schedule. For schedule updates, visit www.secondcity.com.

Performance Schedule:

12/15/09 – 7:00pm

Jeff Tweedy

12/15/09 – 10:00pm

Robbie Fulks

12/16/09 – 12:00am

UCB’s Asssscat with Matt Walsh, Horatio Sanz and Chicago friends

12/16/09 – 3:00am

Flash-mob Marching Band

12/16/09 – 6:00am

Bonnie Prince Billy

12/16/09 – 7:30am

BabyCo

12/16/09 – 12:00p

Nina Nastasia

12/16/09 – 2:00pm

The Mountain Goats

12/16/09 – 4:30pm

The Blisters

Tickets for “The Second City That Never Sleeps: Letters to Santa” are $15.00 for the 24 hour period and can be purchased at the door. The event is open to all ages. Alcohol will be available to those 21 years and older from 6:00p-2:00a and from noon-6:00pm.

In addition to raffle prizes offered during the event, there will also be an auction to win a private performance with Jeff Tweedy.

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15
Nov
09

Libertarian Magic Dust!

Comedy is dying before our eyes.  Case in point: the Libertarian boobs at the Mises Institute are actually endorsing the stateless state of affairs in Somalia, honest to shit.  No, really.  That’s so funny, it’s not funny, which makes it funny, even though it’s not funny.  There must be big bowls of khat on the conference tables in the Howard Roark Pavilion at Mises.

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06
Nov
09

St. Rose Center Meets 30 Rock: Winning Entry In Philanthropy.com’s VolunTV Challenge

voluntvcropThe lovely Maureen Sullivan and I do fund raising and communications work for a few great clients, including a South Side community center serving developmentally disabled adults. Since 1962, St. Rose Center has been giving job training and education to adults with special needs. Think of them as similar to Misericordia, only much smaller and far less funded. Here’s a clip showing the place in action:

 

 

So over at Philanthropy.com, we noticed something called the VolunTV Challenge was launched “to celebrate the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s “iParticipate” week of volunteer—focused television programs from October 19-25, The Chronicle of Philanthropy invited individuals and charities to create their own ideas of how volunteerism could be incorporated into their favorite TV shows.”

That’s what we did, and we won $2,500 for the Center. Score! The treatment we wrote was for Tina Fey’s 30 Rock, NBC’s finest comedy since CPO Sharkey. Amusingly, all three of the winners used 30 Rock for their entries.  Wonder what a Silver Prize 250-word show pitch looks like?

Liz Lemon enters Jack Donaghy’s office to find him agitated and distracted. Donaghy just came back from an art auction where he lost a bidding war on a painting to first lady Michelle Obama. “She can raise her hand faster to outbid me because she doesn’t wear sleeves,” complains Jack.

Jack puts Liz on the task of finding more art from the artist. Liz discovers the artist is a member of St. Rose Center in Chicago, a service organization for developmentally disabled adults. Lemon notices St. Rose’s website call for volunteers at a talent show they will run next week.

Liz tells Jack that the artist whose work Jack was bidding on is developmentally disabled and that St. Rose needs volunteers.

Pausing to consider the information, a big smile crosses Jack’s face. “Outsider art!” he exclaims. “Do you have any idea how lucrative that is today, Lemon? What a tremendous investment! What will it take to lock it all up?”

Liz suggests volunteering to help produce the talent show. Jack orders her to collect writers, stagehands, makeup artists and actors and fly to Chicago to help put on the show.

Jack accompanies the volunteer group and meets the members and the nun who runs the program. The pros help make the show a huge success and Jack gets a meeting with the nun and her lawyer to negotiate the exclusive rights to all of St. Rose artist’s work.

Seated in the room is the nun and her lawyer, Michelle Obama.

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Categories

Email

rob [at] warmowski [dot] com

@warmowski on twitter

Rob’s Bands

Rob Warmowski entry at Chicago Punk Database
1984-89: Defoliants
1991-94: Buzzmuscle
2001-05: San Andreas Fault
2008- : Sirs
2008- : Allende

Rob at Huffington Post

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