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Animal Symbolism in The Royal Tenenbaums by Kevin Lee

Animal Symbolism in The Royal Tenenbaums by Kevin Lee


Wes Anderson is one of the most puzzling filmmakers, inviting audiences to dissect and debate his films with clever use of subtext and symbolism.  While the New Yorker asks if Wes Anderson hates dogs, I think what’s clear is Anderson employs animals as powerful symbols.


Just take Royal’s prized Havelina Boar’s Head from 2001’s The Royal Tenenbaums. What better symbol for an adulterous man than an snorting pigs head? When Etheline kicks Royal out of the house on Archer Avenue, the Havelina comes down off the wall, to symbolize Royal’s departure. It is hung again when Royal returns home with “the cancer.”


Actually take the entire movie.  The Royal Tenenbaums is a study in the use of animal symbolism.

All of the Tenenbaum children have corresponding animals that represent themselves and sometimes serve as stand-ins and mascots for their specific characters.


Chas and his brood, Ari and Uzi are the Dalmatian-mice; productive, reproductive and indistinguishable from each other. I think the real idea here is that Chas has never gotten over the trauma of his childhood (he and Margot both felt unloved by Royal who devoted most of his time to his relationship with Richie). Chas’ psyche is still stuck at the house on Archer Avenue just like the mice that remain there.  Chas’ wife Rachel who dies in a plane crash is represented by their beagle Buckley who miraculously survived the disaster. When Buckley is killed at the hands of Eli Cash, Chas is finally able to put the death of his wife behind him.  Royal gives Chas a gift – Sparkplug, the fireman’s Dalmatian dog, a sort of a adult-version of the mice Chas created. With this gesture of kindness we see Chas enter a more adult relationship with his father; putting aside past resentments.


Richie’s animal avatar is Mordecai, his faithful boyhood bird. Richie’s childhood trauma is wrapped up in his inability to express romantic love towards his sister, Margot. This frustration leads Richie to fly the coop, so to speak. He leaves New York City for a sabbatical at sea, mirroring the action of Mordecai who sails away when Richie sets him free, right before the opening credits. The bird returns when Richie is ready to be honest about his feelings for Margot.


Margot’s spirit animal is the zebra and the reasons for this are both concrete and abstract. Concrete in that the wallpaper in her room is full of zebras, in the play she writes as a child she casts herself as a zebra, and when she spends the night at the museum with Richie they sleep in the Africa wing underneath a zebra. Abstract in that, perhaps the black-and-white stripes of the zebra correspond to the black-and-white spots of Chas’ dalmatian mice. Maybe because Royal views both Chas and Margot as second rate to his favorite Richie.


The other characters are less easy to define as specific animals and who’s to say they should be. Royal calls Etheline’s suitor Henry Sherman an “old grizzly bear.” Eli Cash masquerades as a cowboy and you could make a connection from him to a wild stallion, the creatures that no doubt inhabit his fictional tales about Custer and the Old West. But he strikes as maybe a snake or jackyl from old mythology. Definitely a troublemaker and trickster. The hardest to pin down is Etheline Tenenbaum who I think bucks my theory completely. She’s probably represented best by something astral and un-animal.  She maintains the world all the characters exist in, and perhaps is Mother Earth, the creator of all life and to be worshiped. This would explain why Eli still sends Etheline his clippings hoping to seek approval; like a snake asking it’s creator be given legs so that it’ll feel like a real animal.


Wes Anderson employs symbols masterfully.  There’s a scene near the end of the film where Margot is at the ice cream parlor with Royal. If you look in the background of that scene you’ll notice that every single  table is occupied by a father and his young daughter. This is a specific choice and so it’s important. Wes is cluing us into what’s happening. Same deal with the choice of wardrobe. Wes is able to tie characters together with bright red track suits, brown camel fur coats, or bellhop uniforms.


What’s great about art is that you can read it anyway you want. The best art usually leaves some things open for interpretation. These observations are just theories. I’m trying to answer some of the questions posed by the film for myself. The best art doesn’t answer questions, it asks them. And that’s why I’m still thinking about this movie more than a decade after its release.

“DARK KNIGHT: SPOILERS” – A Sketch by Kevin Lee & Kelly Minta

[EXT] Offive Building Daytime
Cut To:
[INT] Rows of cubicles.
Bob Fosey sits at his computer and as Steve Spitz walks by we see Bob gets excited.
BOB: Oh. Steve, Hey man. I got the tickets.
STEVE: Tickets?
BOB: Yeah. Tickets to the Dark Knight Rises.  It just opened. You said you wanted to go, so I got the tickets for tonight.  I can’t wait!
STEVE: Oh… right, well in light of the recent tragedy I don’t think I’ll be attending.
BOB: I’m sorry what do you mean,”recent tragedy?”
STEVE: Oh my gosh you didn’t hear? It’s been all over the news. In Colorado at a midnight screening of the Dark Knight Rises….
BOB:(cutting him off) Haha.. Whoa. Stop right there. Don’t tell me any more! I don’t want any spoilers!
STEVE: Ok, well, it happened during the movie. but it’s not –
BOB: Earmuffs!  I haven’t even let myself watch the previews. Please! No Spoilers.
STEVE: Right, but what happened was that during one of the screenings there was a mass shooting –
BOB: Please Steve – don’t ruin this for me. I like to go into the theater knowing nothing about the movie.
STEVE: I”m not spoiling the movie. This actually happened. This guy busted into a theater through an emergency exit –
BOB: Steve!  You’re being a jerk.  I know that in some cultures talking about the end of a movie is acceptable – but not in AMERICA!!
STEVE:  That’s not what I’m doing!! I’m telling you news.  Real. Life. News.
BOB:  I know that the movie has been in the news- and I haven’t read anything about it!
BOB: Can’t hear you!
STEVE: Listen!
STEVE:  (furious – rifles through his desk, muttering)
STEVE: (Pulls out a banana and points it at STEVE like a gun).  I’m gonna end this right now.
BOB: Oh my god! Put the gun down!! Wait a minute….. are you trying to act out a scene from the movie because I won’t listen to you?  You crazy SOB.
STEVE: (teeth clenched).  No, Bob.  That’s not what this is.  This is real.
BOB:  Someone call the police!  This man has a gun!
We hear a bang as the screen cuts to black.  We see white lettering over the black background that reads “FACT: There are more laws to regulate the trade of bananas then there are to regulate guns.”

Saturday Morning Show Friday 8pm 3/2/2012 Nerdist Theater at Meltdown Comics

The Saturday Morning Show at the Nerdist Theater is hosted by Kyle Clark and Dominic Moschitti. They greet audience members with bowls of sugary cereal before the show starts. It’s a Mystery Science Theater type of show where Kyle, Dominic and their guests watch old cartoons from the 80’s and 90’s and make fun of them. I had a hard time telling who was saying what because the performers are not on stage illuminated, but off to the side in the dark. It didn’t hurt my enjoyment of the show but did hurt the accuracy of this recap, so I’ll just apologize in advance for that. If I had sat closer to the front of the room I think I could have provided a more accurate recap.

Kyle and Dominic thanked everyone who had made it to their inaugural edition of the Saturday Morning Show. They said that this was actually an intervention because Adam Dorsey’s dopeness had become a problem. They told us that to prepare for the show they’d watched Nickelodeon bumpers for four hours and drank all the beers in the fridge. Dominic said he also ate all the Samoas. Kyle told us that the one idea that they didn’t keep from an early brainstorming session was Dominic’s idea that everyone could show up in pajamas.

The pair then welcomed the evenings guest panelist, Dominic Dierkes and Hampton Yount who shouted, “Lets do it,” as he took the stage. Kyle told us the he had selected an episode of The Real Ghostbusters that was actually terrifying, called “The Boogieman Cometh.” You can watch Part One on Youtube if you follow this link::

During the opening credits the panel was having a blast and quipped about how it’s weird that the Ghostbusters let Slimer hang out and the phallic nature of energy beams. As the show began the panel noted that Arsenio Hall does the voice of Winston, the black Ghostbuster and also the only cartoon Ghostbuster that looks like his real world counterpart. They also pointed out that the guy who does the voice of Bill Murray’s ghost-busting avatar also does the voice of Garfield on the show Garfield and Friends; (which I’ll point out, makes for a strange Hollywood Ouroboros  when you realize that  Bill Murray did the voice of Garfield in the recent CGI feature length film Garfield.

The episode starts with the Ghostbusters in their hearse chasing a ghost who’s driving a car. The panelist wondered at what point do the real cops get involved. The ghost looked like a fish with trout-like lips and gills and also was wearing a fedora and suit like an Italian gangster, I think Hampton asked Kyle to pause it so he could say that the ghost looked like he had,”slept with the fishes and then had kids with the fishes and raised those kids.”

The panelist found it odd that Ghostbusters all sleep in the same room and pondered what Slimer was when he was alive, “a kid who died of AIDS,” or, “Wesley Willis.”

Two little kids offer the Ghostbusters everything in their blue piggy-bank in exchange for the Ghostbuster’s help. The Ghostbusters agree to help the kids and follow them back to their home to investigate a monster in the closet. The panelist made quips about how piggy-banks aren’t blue, Egon’s character having a rat-tail and the cartoon version of Dan Akroyd looking much thinner than his real-world counterpart.

The monster that the Ghostbusters discover in the children’s closet is described by one panelist as looking like it was drawn by, “a Muslim who hates Jews.” The Ghostbusters soon follow the Boogieman into the closet discovering a universe of doors he uses to terrify children, (the panelist points out that it looks similar to the hall of doors in the movie Monsters Inc. and wondered if Pixar might have ripped it off.)

When Murray’s Venkman says “as an interior decorator this guy makes a good boogieman,” the panelist decode it as a weird anti-joke from the mind by a frustrated writer abandoning his dreams, to make ends meet by working on kid’s shows.

As the episode winded down, Kyle noted that there was always a, “dancy R&B chase scene” in every episode of The Real Ghostbusters. The Ghostbusters final showdown with the Boogieman involved a proton-pack-powered-ghost-bomb, some marbles and a-”YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”-moment on a bridge; not just, “more lasers” as one panelist predicted. The credits rolled over footage of the Ghostbusters walking in a parade in their honor.

After the episode Kyle invited Lewis Sequeira on stage to read a serious essay about what it means to be a real Ghostbuster. Below I have printed Sequeria’s essay in full:

Realism Dialectics and the Family Romance in “The Real Ghostbusters.”

by Lewis Sequeira

The writers of “The Boogieman Cometh” seem to have taken up the

mantle of one of the 19th century’s most well-respected ghost-story

writers, Henry James. James’ novel The Turn of the Screw is a famously

ambiguous piece of work, seeming to anticipate postmodernist New

Criticism, with its unremitting doubleness. The governess could be

heroically protecting her students (two children, a boy and a girl, in

a parallel to our episode) or driven insane by her own sexual

frustration. After all, what is the more legitimate of the two choices

when they’re both equally fictional? Can fictions be further

fictionalized through interpretative action? Is what we imagine purely

imaginary or something somehow more substantial? In this essay, we

will examine the Jamesian notion of realism and the interpretative realism

dialectic and finally get to know the real The Real


In a sense, the world of The Real Ghostbusters is one composed of

dualities, lively dialectic arguments in the midst of which one could

feel as though they were in the Greece of the Socratic Dialogues.

Numerous dualities exist at the heart of the episode: young and old;

fear and bravery; animation and live-action. What constitutes reality

in this world? Central to the plot is the duality of ghost and

boogeyman. The realism in Ghostbusters is contingent on the fact that

the world is inhabited by ghosts — what then is the boogeyman? How is

the boogeyman different than a ghost? They’re both monsters. But the

boogeyman is more directly associated with children, representing a

child’s unique conception of the monster archetype. Taking this into

account, we change the whole vocabulary at the center of the story:

ghosts mean different things to children and adults. In a story that

is told from the joint psychological perspective of children and

adults, our question of what constitutes reality becomes complicated.

Recall that there is a car chase early in an episode with the

ghost of Edward G. Robinson. The theme song plays, indicating normalcy

in the Ghostbusters world. Consider this idealistic Ghostbusting

setting in relation to the frustrating, incomprehensible world of the

Boogeyman. The juxtaposition of these abstract realities parallels the

story’s more subtle reproductions of two central combative

psychologies, the Ghostbusters and the Children. This provides a stage

for the question essential to Jamesian ghost stories — i.e., in the

end, who’s to say what is real? In an unprecedented rhetorical

gesture, The Real Ghostbusters gives this conflict foregrounded

prominence, and, in the process, makes case for transmedia

representations of single characters and events resolving its own

existential dilemma as a multimedia franchise.

Realism is an obtuse mode for a multimedia franchise, given the

inconsistencies that arise from having to create multiple iterations

of the same characters and situations across just as many forms of

media. Peter Venkman is played in the film by the inimitable Bill

Murray, who is, in turn, imitated by, I’m pretty sure the guy from

Garfield and Friends.

How can you possibly resolve this inconsistency while at the same

time preserve your Jamesian realist aesthetic? By redefining the

parameters of realism in your world, and transforming the logical

inconsistency into a necessary byproduct of the Jamesian plural forms

of meaning. In short, anything can be anything to anyone. Meanings in

storytelling are regarded with the potential for infinite complexity.

The realism dialectic reinforces a general liminality that comes to

define the foundational elements of the realism of the Ghostbusters


Freud’s notion of the “family romance,” in which a child, growing

older and more independent, begins indulging escapist fantasy,

provides a psychological basis for the episode’s dominating sense of

liminality. “These cannot be my parents…” reasons the child. “I must

have been adopted. These adopted parents are nothing like my real

parents. My real parents are much nicer and wealthier.” At the heart

of “the family romance,” is a deep concern with storytelling; children

develop the need to invent their own stories in order to cope with the

sexualization of their bodies. “The Boogeyman Cometh” is equally

concerned with the literariness intrinsic to human experience,

commenting on form from the perspective of the two children. Children

aren’t haunted by conventional ghosts, they’re haunted by their

interpretation of a ghost, the Boogieman.

According to Egon, the Boogieman’s realm is “a sort of inbetween

place that opens up in children’s rooms all over the world.”

In a sense, the ambiguity that defines the story renders this universe

into a sort of Boogieman’s realm, a place of in-betweens, where

nothing is exactly objectively right. When the setting changes to the

Boogieman’s Realm, it enacts putatively deep, taboo urges and forces

the Ghostbusters, and by extension the audience, to participate in the

confusing sex nightmares of children.

In the end, “The Boogieman Cometh” qualifies competing fictions,

creating dimensions of fictionality that the audience reflexively

compares. Does the existence of a boogeyman make any less sense than

that of a ghost? What constitutes realism in a reflexively

interpretative audience? The realization that the comparison doesn’t

make any sense comes across as a deep, existential shock to the

viewer, whose sensibilities have already been challenged by its unique

postcolonialist concerns. The result is a labyrinthian complex of

meanings that can never be properly organized; a Borgesian library of

interpretative possibility that is at once reassuring and appallingly


After Lewis’ essay, the panelist watched a bunch of old commercials starting with a few for Ghostbuster’s toys and cereal. The panelists noticed that the Ghostbuster’s theme song was just slightly different in the commercials than it was in the movie. Then they watched some commercials for old boardgames starting with a few that were targeted at adults; Scruples and Therapy, (the former of which the panelist concluded was probably the basis for the movie Indecent Proposal.) Then they a couple different versions of Crossfire commercials, (are you supposed to italicize boardgame names?) They closed the inaugural Saturday Morning Show by watching commercials for three boardgames that the panelist concluded would fall into Milton Bradley’s,”Will-They-Buy-Anything?” Category; Shark Attack, Eat at Ralph’s, and Gooey Louie.

Most of these commercials can be found on Youtube and you can follow all these performers on Twitter:!/kyleclarkisrad!/Dommoschitti!/Hamptonyount!/dominicdierkes!/LewisSequeira

Towne Hall Meetin’ Recap 3/1/2012 Thursday 9:30 799 Towne Ave #110 LA,CA

Towne Hall Meetin’ takes place on the first Thursday of every month at 799 Towne Ave #110, Los Angeles, CA. and is $5 with a with a donation only bar. Tony Sam, Aparna Nancherla and Anthony DeVries act as candidates running for a the fictional political position.They field questions from citizens and the moderator, who serves as the evening’s host. These faux town hall sketch pieces are interspersed between stand-up comic acts.

The inaugural March 1st 2012 Towne Hall Meetin’ was hosted by Allen Strickland Williams, and featured stand-up from Dave Ross, Maria Bamford, Brody Stevens, Karl Hess, Mary Mack, Brent Weinbach, and Moshe Kasher. The town folk were played by Scott Krinsky, Robert Buscemi, Tess Barker, Ric Rosario, Frederick Young, Kirk Mason & Johnny Pemberton.

Allen Strickland Williams dressed in a suit and tie, introduced himself as George Feely, the evenings moderator. He told us that this emergency town hall meeting was to determine who will replace disgraced Public Safety Commissioner, Mario Gutierrez (played by Scott Krinsky). Scott wearing a mustache, hard hat and orange safety vest, came to the stage to apologize and was greeted with boo’s from the audience. One audience member tuned his chair around and sat with his back facing Krinsky for his entire apology. Scott as Mario, told us how he had turned decommissioned county vehicles into marijuana-prostitution-food-trucks. We learned Mario was turning over a new leaf, in sex-addict-therapy, and working on sanitizing all the trucks, so they can be turned into book-mobiles.

Disgraced Public Safety Commissioner Mario Gutierrez (Scott Krinsky) left the stage and George Feely(ASW) welcomed the three candidates vying for the open position, Mario Gutierrez (Anthony DeVries, who was voted most handsome) Mario Gutierrez (Aparna Nancherla, who was running on the same platform as his opponents only more,) and Mario Gutierrez(Tony Sam, who pointed out that this meeting was taking place in a very unsafe building.) They were all wearing the same mustache, hard hat and orange safety vest that the disgraced Public Safety Commissioner had worn before.

Allen then welcomed the nights first stand up comic and three term County Dog Catcher Dave Ross, who came on stage to the Rocky theme. Dave conceded that he was in fact a dog catcher and told us he had parked his car under a homeless guy.  He talked about having a gay roommate how he would kill to have someone fuck him in his sleep. He went on to talk about how he won’t go to dance-fighting class with his neighbor. He closed his set talking about advertising bed sheet’s with a shit-pun and The Muppet Movie.

Allen took the stage and reminded the nights speakers that this meeting was about public safety and asked them politely to stay on subject. He then asked the three candidates Mario, Mario, and Mario back on stage to field questions. Allen asked Tony Sam about how he was still alive after donating a liver, a half a heart, and a left big-toe to the organization “Every-BODY Loves Safety.” Tony answered that he was the only candidate with an American flag in his pocket. When the other two candidates quickly pulled an American flag out of their pockets, as well, Tony answered that he was still alive because he signed a deal with the Devil. The next question from the moderator was for Aparna and concerned The Broken Glass and Jagged Metal Crisis of 2005. Aparna told us to listen closely because she was only going to say this once, and then asked the moderator to repeat the question. The next question was taken from Twitter and directed at Anthony. @CrazyGirl asked about why Anthony favored traveling by blimp over airplanes and also wondered “where [he] got those nappy-ass roots.” Anthony responded that his roots came from pure American soil. He told us his roots were here, they were queer, so get used to it. The next questions came from the audience. Stacey Marino a senior in high school and student council president asked an incoherent, rambling question. Aparna fielded it and told her to stay in school and enunciate.  A man in the audience wearing a cowboy hat had a question that was more of an angry tirade about buying a telescope from Wal-Mart on Black Friday and how he can’t see shit looking through it and that makes him feel raped. Anthony fielded this one and came out against rape. The next question was about kids who hang out at yard sales. Tony answered that he’s against yard sales, as well as rusty nails, and told us he never hits his wife. The woman who asked this question then started talking about turkey steaks and Tony asked where she was getting “free speed.”

Allen as moderator then welcomed the nights next stand-up comic, Comptroller Maria Bamford. Maria told us she would like to be a politician and would run on a platform of eradicating sadness in her community. She talked about being the sane one at the coffee shop and Gerardo writing a book about hogs called “Hog Book.” She told us about a conversation she had with one of her neighbor’s children. When the kid asked Maria how she considered herself a comedian even though she doesn’t have any jokes, Maria told the kid to contact her manager who’d explain everything. Maria told us she speaks pretend SWpanish and pretend tiger. She talked about how she has some guy named Ernesto Martinez’s old phone number and people keep calling asking for him. She talked about her friends always trying to get her to buy things she doesn’t need. She asked that the next time we’re considering suicide maybe try dressing up like a cat and yelling at people, instead. She closed her set talking about “Sid the Schizophrenic Squid,” clown operas, and making faces in the bathroom mirror.

Next, the candidates came on stage for more questions. We learned that one of the candidate’s daughter was killed at a Sizzler buffet with a steak knife and they were asked if we should outlaw silverware. Anthony responded that, yes we should outlaw silverware and consider what to do about chopsticks. Tony made a pun using the phrase “misteak knife.” Aparna responded to the question, “True or false?” with the answer “Never.”

Then the moderator welcomed to the stage the third stand-up comic of the evening, and Junior Comptroller Brody Stevens. Brody began by welcoming everyone to his city, county, and neighborhood, Los Angeles. He told us that his focus was so acute that he picks up on everything. He went on to explain that he has jokes and a persona, he shoots on a Cannon D5 and he doesn’t create anymore; he just works with co-creators. He told us that he is constantly surrounded by boom-mics, and while all his life people have told him that he’s funny, now he’s finally starting to believe them. He talked about circulatory problems, mental illness in the neighborhood and his own history with that issue. He talked about how he wants to be a travelling baseball announcer. He talked a little about his neighbor a fellow stand-up comic who was being stalked. He noticed that the audience was young and happy and our parents were probably helping us out. Brody talked about golf tournaments, working audience warm-up, and asked who else in the room was taking Depakote. He told us that Depakote ages you, talked about flights to Vancouver and getting WiFi in the hotel lobby. We learned that Brody was born in the San Fernando Valley, his English isn’t great but he can write a paper and he’s a Rock-o-holic. “Fuck K-Rock.! Fuck NPR! 98.7!”

Next, the moderator welcomed Tony Sam as Mario Gutierrez back on stage for some one-on-one questions. Tony started to hand out fake mustaches to audience members but warned them that these mustaches were choking hazards. His first question was about whether Banksy (the graffiti artist) should be considered a safety concern or just a passing fad. Tony responded by telling us that he spells “SAFETY,” M-A-R-I-O  G-U-T-I-E-R-R-E-Z. Then, Tony was asked if we should have fire drills 4 times a day. He responded by talking about how the meeting was taking place in a building that was a fire hazard. The next question came from an audience member who was looking for his long lost father, Mario Gutierrez. Tony as Mario thought the guy had probably taken some “free speed ” and asked security to escort the man to the exit. The next question was about the movie,“1984.” One audience member asked Tony why we can’t all dress the same like they do in that movie. The next question came from a man with a guitar who sang his question and then plugged a few shows. Mario’s estranged son emerged again and produced an American flag from his pocket.

After this question and answer session, Allen took the stage to welcome Former Deputy Mayor Karl Hess.  Mary Mack was crouching behind the small stage because she thought she was next and when she heard Karl’s name called she stood up looking a little confused and returned to the bar area. Karl talked about getting a medical marijuana card and Netflix streaming in the same week. He talked about Ralph’s rotisserie chicken, red long-john underwear and not being able to turn off the funny in the real world. He talked about the 15 seconds of clarity you receive before you die, finally getting health insurance, and drinking on antibiotics.

Next, Allen welcomed Mary Mack to the stage. Two girls sitting in the audience told her that they loved the sweater she was wearing and she remarked that she could already tell this would be the best show she’s ever done. Mary talked about the impossibility of living in the now, and asked the audience to focus because there’s a fine line between worst show and best show.  She told us that she doesn’t want to just mix the paint; she wants to create the colors. She asked the audience if anyone was feeling hostile and offered a relaxation technique.  She talked about being born premature and closed with a bit about “This Little Piggy Went to the Market.”

Next up, Allen asked Anthony and Aparna to the stage to field some questions. “Paul and Anna” were from 5th 3rd Presbyterian Church and said a prayer before asking a question about skateboarders. Tess Barker and Robert Buscemi asked the next question about gay marriage and Matt Peters asked about dogs digging holes in his yard.

Next, Allen welcomed Superintendent Brent Weinbach. Brent started his set by talking about how he doesn’t question the phone when it rings, he answers it. He did a dramatic reading from The Road by Cormac McCarthy and had an audience member read the fortune cookie he received with his meal at Panda Express. He had another volunteer come on stage and do a scene that took place in a library, and closed his set doing an accurate impression of one audience member crying.

Lastly, Allen told us that the votes had been counted and the winner was Moshe Kasher who would be the evening’s final performer. Moshe told us he felt like he should apologize for being another comedian. He talked about valet parking as a threat, fear of bombing, and name-tags as a way to build community. He asked an audience member named Morgan what her favorite part of the show was, to which Morgan replied, “this part.” Moshe told a story about simultaneously crying to Star Trek: The Next Generation and spooning jam into his mouth. He asked the audience member whom Weinbach had imitated crying, “Who cries to rap?” and then looked for a way out of his set, eventually deciding on just leaving.

That was the show. The three Marios got back on stage and thanked the giant cast of characters it took to pull the show off, as well as all the people who came out to watch. I also made a note that someone said, “Enjoy your penises and vaginas” but I’m not sure who said that.

You can follow all these performers on Twitter.!/TowneHallMeetin!/ToeKneeSam!/aparnapkin!/ANTHD (Anthony DeVries)!/TotallyAllen (Allen Strickland Williams)!/davetotheross!/mariabamfoo!/BrodyismeFriend!/karlhess!/marymackcomedy!/BrentWeinbach!/moshekasher!/SamMVarela (producer)

Gallows Humor Recap 2/23/2012 Thursday 8pm Vlad the Retailers

Gallows Humor Recap 12/23/2012 Thursday 8pm Vlad the Retailers

Gallows Humor runs on the last Thursdays of every month at Vlad the Retailers 4270 Melrose in Hollywood

Gallows Humor is probably the only comedy show in LA located inside of a clothing store. No coincidence that it attracts a fashionable crowd. The show is produced by two all-around cool chicks, Kira Hesser and Britanny Fields. Kira hosted and opened her set by talking about the giant moth circling the light and how most of her nightmares involve insects. She talked about why her sisters have eating disorders and why she’s a fast talker.  Then she brought up the night’s first comic, Nick Turner.

Nick started his set by accidentally touching his tongue to the microphone, putting on sunglasses and talking about his awkward introduction. He talked about the consequences of trying to jump a bush on a park trail, and that boo-boos warrant painkillers, and asked everyone in the audience for their painkillers. He told a story about missing his train and taking his frustration out on a trashcan which dislocated his toe and cost him $3000 at the hospital. He then read some possible letters he wrote to the hospital telling them why he would never pay his bill.

Kira came on after NIck and talked about Valentine’s Day and showering, then brought on Chris Caniglia. Chris talked about that trope in movies where the girl looks unattractive until she takes off her glasses. He discussed not having kids, his wife trying to trick him into having babies and “The World’s Most Selfish Dad” coffee mug he would receive. Chris confessed that sometimes he looks at porno on the internet and equated male ejaculate to a moving fist. Chris closed talking about how black people are never attacked by bears.

Kira riffed on Chris’ set and said that when guys come in your face they aren’t aiming correctly before she brought up Eddie Pepitone.

Eddie talked a little about his jacket which was bright yellow and orange with patches of the Buddha all over it. He talked about how he meditates before he gets on Twitter, and about our fragmented consciousness and the coming apocalyptic wasteland. He spoke about how the valet’s are the only even-keeled people in Hollywood. I made notes that he talked about outdoor dentistry and eating cucumber and lemon sandwiches and how that relates to Beverly Hills being soulless. He thinks that in the future we will invite people over to our homes only to watch a 30 second youtube clip before shooing them away. Pepitone closed his set doing an impression of Billy Crystal singing songs at the Oscars and another impression of a lounge singer who experiences Vietnam flashbacks.


Kira reintroduced herself and told a story about how masturbation with a vibrator is illegal in China before bringing on Britanny Fields who promptly told everyone that she had to pee. She sang a song:”It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Space” about the show taking place in a new location. Then told some stories about the people she met at the Tarzana Treatment Center. She told us about a man she was in love with named Jorge (pronounced George) and his snake tongue. She closed with material about how talking to guys her own age is awkward.

The next performer was Hampton Yount who began his set with a bit about how Soulja Boy theorizes that JFK killed himself. He moved from there into material about how there is no soft-core child pornography. Hampton talked about how vampires are sexy and the Wolfman in the “Wolfman” movies only ever strangles people. He talked about a documentary about Detroit and raising a kid to be Jewish just for shits and giggles.   He talked about Make-A-Wish employees being good at pretending they’re deaf. He equated abortion doctors to Lucille Ball in a chocolate factory and closed his set by talking about robot armageddon.

Lee Keeler was the next comic, he also happened to be the DJ for the evening and his set started with a bang when a few metal rods fell from a shelf to the side of stage and landed on some unoccupied chairs.  He told us we were all being punked. He roasted the owner of the clothing store saying the place looked like a Batcave for the Hardy Boys. He talked about taking his wife to a karaoke bar on Valentine’s Day and closed with an impression of Tom Waits forgetting the classics.

Brittany fields brought out the next comic, Gabe Delahaye. He talked about being from New York City and how stereotypical it is of him to have a bit about bagels. He discussed Eminem’s decline from normalcy and how no one tells you that “The Secret” basically blames Jewish people for the Holocaust. He talked about having a barber as a life coach, it always being 4am when you’re single, and how much him and his dad love Ryan Gosling.

The last comic of the evening was Guy Branum who opened his set talking about Mexican Episcopal churches and uppity farm-workers. He wondered if this entire comedy show was taking place on the set of “The New Girl”, then transitioned into material about Zooey Deschanel getting an old-timey abortion.  He did two Grammy jokes, that turned out to be Adele jokes, that turned out to be fat jokes.  He talked a lot about centaurs and their relation to Nikki Minaj. He told a story about an awkward ride home with an intern who’s mom was raped by gorillas. He riffed on Chris Coniglia’s set and equated truth to beauty.  He closed his set by wondering why black people haven’t killed white people in their sleep.

Kira and Brittany came up and thanked everyone for coming, everyone who performed and Donny Pepper for cooking up some tasty grilled cheese sandwiches.

You can follow all these performers on Twitter:!/eddiepepitone!/Hamptonyount!/guybranum!/gabedelahaye!/itsmenickyt (Nick Turner)!/LeeKeeler!/Chriscaniglia!/brittanyfieldss!/kirahesser

Power Violence Recap 2/19/2012 Sunday 9:30 The Complex in Hollywood

Power Violence runs every Sunday at 9:30 at  The Complex 6470 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood.

If you look up the word “powerviolence” on Wikipedia you find it’s a musical subgenre of hardcore punk, who’s sound was typified by bands emphasizing speed, brevity, bizarre timing breakdowns, and constant tempo changes. Traits surely shared with the show PowerViolence’s sketches, which are bizarre, fluid, and brief. The show itself has rage, optimism, and fraternal machismo that musical experts might more closely associate with “youth crew,” another subgenre of hardcore, from the late eighties. But myself being more of a film buff, I kept feeling like I was watching scenes from,”The Outsiders” whenever I’d see Budd, Whit, Clay and Rodney interact.

The show has a very DIY yourself vibe. It’s a free show with free beer, but they strongly encourage donations. I showed up early and they had skate videos playing on the screen in the theater so I just sat down and watched that for about 15 minutes.

Power Violence is hosted by Whitmer Thomas, Clay Tatum, Budd Diaz, & Rodney Berry and the four took the stage together, in a ruckus; falling all over the place. Throwing boxes and wrestling around, they accidentally punched a sizable hole in the wall. Whitmer thanked everyone for coming and they talked a little about the hole, they had just created. Budd kept laughing at everything in a weird way, sounding a little like Ed McMahon’s laugh. The guys called him out on it and he told them he was taking an acting class and this was his new laugh. They asked for someone in the audience who definitely wasn’t funny to come on stage and read some unfunny tweets to prove that Budd was laughing weird. Some guy named Joe came up and all the PV guys agreed that Joe wasn’t funny, so he read a few unfunny tweets and Budd laughed weird at all of them.

Then they introduced a video that cast Budd Diaz as Dick Cachairen a smooth talking but inept salesmen looking  to sell you a tiny fan for cooling down pizza slices. You can watch that sketch here:

They then brought on the first comic, Jeff Tepper. Jeff does absurd jokes accompanied by a  bizarre  Powerpoint presentation. He started by talking about Robocop riding a unicorn, then Stephen Hawking, and a shark as woman’s vagina, with hand drawn slides to help you visualize what he’s saying. The middle portion of Jeff’s act was about movie sequels he’s written and he had the movie posters to go along with them (How Stella Got Her Groove Back to The Future.) He closed with a bit about going to Vegas where his friend Dan snorted Viagra and his dick got so big that it circumnavigated the globe. The last few slides showed Dan’s dick making it’s way into the Complex Theater where the show was taking place and that’s when a giant penis emerged from behind one of the stage doors being held by Budd Diaz.

After Jeff Tepper’s set The Power Violence gang was back on stage and they asked Budd if he would come out on stage as Dan’s Dick. Budd reluctantly obliged and took a seat  n the middle of the stage, holding a giant inflatable penis in his lap. After a few questions, Budd went backstage and dropped the penis off before emerging again as himself. Then the gang gave Budd a denim jacket so he’d look cool and they asked him to pop his collar and say something tough. Budd said,”Yer Dead,” and they brought out the next performer, who Whitmer described as The King of Bad Boy Comedy, Mike Burns.

Mike, who was also wearing a denim jacket, started his set by talking about the time he was almost murdered. He went on to talk about the similarities between taking your girlfriend to a Ryan Gosling movie and watching porno with her. From here he transitioned easily into talking about dick pills and how kids today won’t ever know the terror of trying to eject a dirty VHS tape as their parent’s car pulls into the driveway. He closed his set talking about dating sites, specifically how the availability of the username “PizzaNachos69” made him choose OkCupid over He also read the personal information from his OkCupid profile.

Next up, was Ron Babcock who started by talking about the hole in the wall. He went on to talk about cancelling his gym membership, travelling outside of LA, and confirming that you’re in a relationship on Facebook. He talked about snuggling, pretending to be a pug, and not being able to fall asleep while spooning.

The next performer was Jess Lane who started by giving the audience step-by-step instructions of how to fold a fitted sheet. She went on to talk about tagging all her ex-boyfriends names in an ultrasound photo she posted to Facebook. She covered looking pregnant and all-liquid diets. She talked about getting high from Excedrin, and the idea that if you draw a perfect circle you’re crazy. Jess closed with a bit about a woman who married the Eiffel Tower, which technically made the woman a lesbian because La Tour Eiffel is feminine.

Then, Andy Ritchie took the stage and riffed a little on Jess Lane’s closing bit, by talking about how no one would ever marry the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  Andy just moved back to LA and found a place to live on Craigslist, so he talked about that. His new apartment’s shower-head is rusted shut on the massage setting. He talked about seeing a sign for a missing falcon named Balthazar, as well as conspiracy theories, and getting his eyes examined at a Target. Andy closed his set talking about a “Choosy Moms Choose Life” bumpersticker.

Aparna Nancherla was next and talked first about deciding between taking the stairs or just hopping up on stage, which she conceded was very un-punk. She confessed that she was wearing socks with individual toes and told us what it’s like to be heckled by your own mother. She talked about laundromats, wine gut, and what makes a pizza, “personal pan.” She also discussed Gospel Aerobics, parking tickets quitting their day-job, and race jokes.

Up next was Hampton Yount who started by talking about an undercover Robocop. Then, Hampton did an impression of a pregnant Steven Seagal giving birth to a baby ninja. He talked about overhearing a conversation Soulja Boy was having, while at work at MTV. My notes are a little jumbled at this point, but I think the last part of his act was about how he’ll miss the banner ads from Myspace, that asked you to “Swat the Flies, & Win a Free I-Pad” and how he’s not fit to raise children. At some point in his set Hampton broke a folding chair.

Greg Barris followed Hampton and again my notes are jumbled but I think Greg began his set talking about his show rituals, and being drunk at the bank. He talked about getting older and receiving advice from his father on the balcony of a cruise ship. He went on to talk about gender issues, dildos, nightcaps, cocktails on the roof, and waking up tied to a chair.

Nick Turner began his set by talking about how God wouldn’t let him be happy and Park Rangers not fucking in the woods. He asked the audience if they could give him any pain pills because he has a dislocated toe, no insurance, and a $3000 hospital bill; so he can’t afford the pills, himself.

After Nick’s set Rodney Berry was onstage when he was interrupted by the other PV hosts who were dressed in costume wearing bright, sparkly ball-caps. They told Rodney that they were the cast of “Oh My Ribs!” (a play or musical that’s running a few doors down, in the same complex as Power Violence.) The “Oh My Ribs”  Fellas sang a jingle to bring out the next performer, Justin Ian Daniels.

Justin began by thanking the The “Oh My Ribs” Guys for the best intro of all time. He went on to talk about how body parts of murder victims are popping up all over Los Angeles and no one seems to mind. He talked about “Battleship: The Game: The Movie” and also about kids screaming on a plane.  In his bit about dream cars he said he would rather own eighty-seven Hyundai Elantra’s than one Porsche or Ferrari. He talked about the show, “Intervention” and the Cincinnati Pepper Grinder. He closed his set reading slogans he’d written to be used in place of “Beef. It’s Whats for Dinner.”

Whitmer came back up and closed the show, thanking everyone for coming and everyone who performed.

You can follow all of these performers on Twitter:!/PowerViolenceLA!/whitmerthomas!/claytatum!/buddanthonydiaz!/rodney_berry!/Jefftherooster (Jeff Tepper)!/pizzanachos69 (Mike Burns)!/ronbabcock!/notjesslane!/colormebadder (Andy Ritchie)!/aparnapkin (Aparna Nancherla)!/Hamptonyount!/gregbarris!/itsmenickyt (Nick Turner)!/funnyjustin (Justin Ian Daniels)


Thanks for reading! Please submit your own recaps!

BlamBlamBlam Recap 2/15/2012 Tuesday 9:45 R-Bar

BlamBlamBlam runs every second Tuesday of the month at the R-Bar and is hosted by Matt Peters. By injecting just a little bit of sketch into the standard stand-up showcase it’s one of the most inventive shows in Los Angeles.

After some technical problems with the mic were fixed Matt Peters took the stage wearing nothing but a heart-shaped box of chocolates, Saran-wrapped around his crotch.  He told us that he would be our Valentine and brought out Michael Driggs who opened up his set by talking about being a teacher and smoking pot,and closed his set dribbling his foot like a basketball while Nancy Pirozzi whistled the Harlem Globetrotter’s theme perfectly.

Next up was Esther Polvitsky who told us she lies about being pregnant and wants to be a rap video girl. She talked about being half Jewish and having a hot uncle, then closed by talking about getting clingy with her rapist.

Erin Gibson performed next doing a long bit about the fantasy response she would write to the OK Cupid post “Six Foot and Hung Like a Mule.”  She closed her set by telling a story about dancing alone in her apartment.

 After Erin’s set Matt Peters brought up Rebecca  Addelman and Holly Prazoff. They took the stage as Rebecca & Holly, a duo faking neck injuries who ask the audience accusingly, “what have [they] done with their lives?”

Sean Quinn was next and explained how he’s not good live and is more of a social media comedian. He talked about swimming, being happily divorced. He closed his set by talking about the amount of apologizing you do as a married man.

Chip Pope had material about Jessica Rabbit, gay club names, and the movie, “Shame.” A bit in the middle dealt with the idea that people who tell you they’re weird because they like “Fraiser” and ice-cream, are not. He closed by talking about Paul McCartney being too humble and Vampire Weekend sounding too much like Paul Simon.

Next came Jim Hamilton who is joke writer in it’s truest form, able to get a laugh usually in one or two lines. Doing short jokes he was able to cover a lot of ground lampooning blood oranges, throwing stars, crushes at parties, Oasis, Bon Iver, and bad advice from his doctor. He interrupted some of his own jokes by complaining to Chuck Watkins that the old material he was trying out again wasn’t working. Chuck shot back that Jim was, “doing them wrong!” Jim closed his set with material about Applebee’s, fortune cookies, moats, and painkillers.

Up next was Chuck Watkins serenading the audience as Money Corp, Internationals Assistant Director for Marketing. He sang songs and closed his set singing a song about blue valentine’s while he showed the audience dirty hand-drawn Valentine’s day cards.

After Chuck was Cameron Esposito, in town from Chicago and wondering how her side-mullet haircut will play on the west coast. She coveered coonskin caps, home movies, ken dolls, and eye-patches before closing with two stories.  The first about a penguin-beach-topless-hug and the other about going to a strip club.

After Cameron’s set Matt Peters was on stage when there was a knock at the door and in burst a dripping wet Davey Johnson looking for his lover, Jessie. He kept shouting for “Jessie” and started searching the about bar. He thought he’d found Jessie in the front row and immediately started gushing about how sorry he was, and how much he missed her, and how he wanted Jessie back. The woman in the front row obviously wasn’t Jessie, it was clear she was just an audience member. She was apprehensive about being involved, as was her husband who kept pushing Johnson’s soaked torso away from his wife exclaiming, “Gross you’re all sweaty,” to which Johnson quickly  replied, “No, it’s raining out.” Johnson succeeded in ticking this couple off and then proceeded to  win them over. The husband went from upset, (”THAT’S MY WIFE!”) to reluctantly engaged (“This is some weird-ass comedy sketch.”).  When Johnson put on his glasses to read a dirty Haiku, his improved eyesight helped him realize that this poor woman was not Jessie, at which point he continued his search, shouting furiously, “JESSIE!” over and over. Jessie produced himself behind the bar, a 6’4 gentleman with a bushy red beard. Johnson and “Jessie” (Randy Liedtke) reconciled on stage where they embraced passionately.

The headliner Mike Bridenstine is a high energy story-teller. He told one  about seeing a bullfight and maybe his first dead body and another story about the worst date he’s ever been on that’s simultaneously grotesque and hilarious.

I missed  both Andy Ritchie’s and John Vargas’ sets  which is a shame because I heard they both did well. I do apologize for the hole in this recap but it was a long night of comedy. If anyone would like to fill me in on what they talked about I could update this entry.

Thanks to Demorge Brown for producing such a great show.

You can follow all of these performers on Twitter:!/Rbarla!/mattpeters!/Driggs18!/Little_Esther!/gibblertron!/raddelman!/Hollypraz!/ChipPope!/Jim_Hamilton!/ChuckWatkinsEsq!/cameronesposito!/colormebadder!/DrDavey!/randyliedtke!/commenace!/brido!/leitepreto (producer)

PS I couldn’t find Sean Quinn’s Twitter account if anyone knows it, message me.

Keep It Clean Recap 2/14/2012 Monday 10pm Public House

Keep it Clean runs every Monday at the Public House and is hosted By JC Coccoli. I attended The February 13th Valentine’s Lincoln’s Birthday Smash Edition of Keep It Clean, at 10pm that featured Ali Wong, Sean O’Connor, Eliza Skinner, Anyi Malik, Ahmed Bharoocha, and Brody Stevens.

The Public House is a rowdy sports bar where the comedians have to compete with the bar being in the same room as the performance space. JC does a wonderful job engaging with and pacifying the crowd. At the top of every show JC  will ask that everyone on the bar’s side of the room should move over to  stage’s side of the room, and in doing so will receive a free beer. She eventually gives a free beer to everyone on both sides of the room.

JC started her  set with a story about getting out of a DUI, by telling the arresting officer that she’s Vince Vaughn’s girlfriend. From there she transitioned into her brand new Whitney Houston material, impressed that  Houston slept with Ray J(Brandy’s brother.) JC is brash and likable and as a host isn’t above shushing her audience.

JC brought  up the first comic of the evening, Ali Wong. Ali began by talking about how Ugg boots are fois gras for your feet, and how bridesmaid duty as a financial burden. She vowed to allow no more skaters in her love life but more engineers and went on to talk about choosing between doing a spot on “The Tonight Show” or attending her boyfriends graduation from Harvard. Successful people’s problems. She covered race and weight next with some material on what Puerto Ricans and Koreans have in common and how she’s ready to look like Ms. Pacman. She closed by challenging anal virgins to grow up. Ali is often the dirtiest comic on the bill and tonight was no exception.

After Ali’s set JC spent a little bit of time complimenting the audience and talking about cute Trader Joe’s employee.  Then she brought out Sean O’Connor.

Connor began by asking the audience to bring it’s energy up so he can keep his energy extremely low. He seemed to hop effortlessly and quickly from one subject to the next. First, drinking on Adderall, then doing birds favors, and then taking a screenwriting class that was taught by the guy who wrote “Mannequin 2.” Sean is from New Jersey where the nursing staff at his mother’s hospital will disguise Bon Jovi as a doctor every time he visits the ER. O’Connor closed his set with a story about his girlfriend’s dead ex-boyfriend which combined  his down to earth storytelling with imaginative flights of fancy.

Without doing much time between comics JC brought on Eliza Skinner. Eliza began her set by asking the audience to be each other’s Valentine this holiday and went into talking about getting her haircut, and the futility of handjobs. She then transitioned into an extremely strong bit about  how everyone has negative opinions of cat-lady’s even though cat-lady’s could not give less of a fuck about what we think. This flowed smoothly into a little chunk about how  no-one every gives dog-guy’s shit even though dog-guy’s are just as weird as cat lady’s. Eliza closed talking about Ancient Egyptians being anglicized by today’s filmmakers and a thought about what would make being eaten by a polar-bear worth it.

After Eliza’s set JC came on stage and opened a V-day gift given to her by a loyal audience member Danny. Danny got JC a Star Wars Pez dispenser which lead into a story about her dad growing pot plants.

Then JC brought on Anyi Malik. Anyi opened by explaining how he had requested more empty chairs for his set. He moved on to talk about  how small his studio apartment is, and the childish games he plays with women; Red Rover, Red Light-Green Light. Probably the most animated performer of the night, Anyi closed with a long bit about what it would be like to accept an award for The-Most-Dangerous-City and dealing with Armenian gangsters in Glendale.

Again, without doing much time JC brought up the next performer, Ahmed Bharoocha. Ahmed started by talking about how, as humans, we’re overdoing it with the amount of cow product we use. Case-in-point, he explains we print pictures of our missing kids on cartons full of cow’s children’s food (aka, milk). He went on to talk about how Shawn from “Boy Meets World” was an interesting enough character to have his own show. The middle of Ahmed’s set was devoted to the idea that people who don’t believe in dinosaurs believe in the lamest devil ever, and an interesting interpretation of “Why We Fight.” He closed his set talking about his scepticism that there’s someone for everyone and the world’s worst pirates.

JC came  on and seemed excited to bring out the nights last comic, a drop-in,  Brody Stevens. Brody kicked it off by explaining that he was dropping in from House of Pies and he doesn’t do conventional humor, he does cameos in punk rock movies. Brody tells us that he has borderline aspergers, and adult-on-set-autism and today he crossed the 20,000 followers on Twitter marker. He closed his set by big-upping Reseda High School and shitting on a few other LA highschools. Brody in fine form, there’s really no-one else like him.

You can follow all these performers on Twitter:!/KeepitCleanShow!/JCcoccoli!/aliwong3000!/seanoconnz!/elizaskinner!/AhmedBharoocha!/BrodyismeFriend

Thanks for reading! Please submit your own recaps!

Magic Bag Recap 2/11/2012 Saturday 10pm The Little Modern Theater

Magic Bag is a weekly show on Saturdays at 10pm (9:30 doors) in The Little Modern Theater in Los Angeles, California.

I haven’t seen this show since it moved from the Underground Annex Theater to the Little Modern Theater.  I think both theaters could be described as black box but the The Little Modern has some amenities the Underground Annex didn’t have, (namely an actual stage to elevate the performer, a bathroom that isn’t directly behind the “stage” and a liquor store two doors down).  I like the new location better.

The structure of this show is unique.  It’s hosted by Eliza Skinner and DC Pierson who come up as a comedy duo at the top of the show and discuss whatever is on their minds. They’re old friends, they’re very animated, and it’s all spontaneous. After about ten or fifteen minutes as a duo they bring on the first performer. During the show, in between comics, Eliza or DC perform solo sets.

I attended  the February 11th 2012 show.  It started at about 10pm and featured Myq (pronounced Mike) Kaplan, Whitmer Thomas, Anthony McBrien, Lisa Beth Johnson, and Hampton Yount.

Eliza and DC come up and the first thing they talk about is how they didn’t have time to do sound check so they ask the-guy-in-the-booth to tweak the lights and mics a little. Then they talk about how they haven’t had a chance to catch up so this’ll make for some good catching up in front of an audience banter. They saw the movie “The Grey” together, so they start talking about how they find it disturbing that such a gruesome movie has been number one at the box office for a few weekends in a row.  They also talked about Eliza’s fear of turning into a bag lady. It’s not scripted dialogue like the Smothers Brothers or the Sklar Brothers. Eliza and DC as a duo feels like a podcast because its real conversation.

Next they brought out Myq Kaplan. Myq is a brilliant joke writer.  He was preparing a set for some late night talk show that he didn’t name. One of his jokes didn’t get a big laugh, so he asked the audience how he could make that joke better. Then he asked the performers backstage if they had any ideas about how to make the joke better. Then he moved on to the next joke, it went over well. He then asked the audience how to get that kind of response on the joke that didn’t go over well. Myq is a brilliant joke writer.

DC came out after Myq and without doing much material, brought out Whitmer Thomas.

Whitmer started with a story that was half-assed and he immediately tells the audience that it’s bullshit and he made it all up. I’m not really sure why he does this, but I think it’s to get the audience used to his mode of thinking. He does characters and tells stories that seem to be simultaneously personal and fabricated. It’s an interesting juxtaposition in storytelling that you might only see used by snake-oil salesmen, so it’s strange to see it employed by the good-natured Whitmer. He floored me.

After Whitmer’s set Eliza brought up Anthony McBrien.

Anthony was in town from Chicago. I’ve known him for a few years and his personality off-stage really shines through on-stage. He’s very friendly, good-natured, happy to be there, and you can tell. He’s a story teller. He started by talking about how the weed in California is too strong and it’s a problem. Then he talked about a scare with MS where he confused MS with scoliosis and wasn’t scared at all until he went home and googled MS. I like Anthony because he’s a man that’s not afraid to tell you he cries.

After Anthony’s set I think DC came on stage and did some time but I can’t remember what he talked about. I think this is when stepped out to grab another beer, back in time for the next performer, Lisa Beth Johnson.

Lisa Beth’s tells very personal stories about divorce, and relationships with her family, among other things. Her grandma paints gourds to look like people. Lisa Beth brought out one of the gourds that her grandma had painted for her. The gourd-man was painted to look like he’s holding a beer mug to comment on her granddaughter’s drinking problem. She’s very open on stage and I admire that. For the most part she sticks to stories and she’s very good at it.

After Lisa Beth Johnson’s set, Eliza came up and did about ten or so minutes of material.  Most of it was new to me, but she closed her set by dissecting the intricacies of a Ke$ha song, in a bit I’ve become fairly familiar with. It’s good.

After her set, Eliza brought up the final performer, Hampton Yount. Hampton got his start in Washington, D.C. and has the chops of a seasoned vet. He’s high energy and uses the large stage at Little Modern Theater to his advantage (probably the most animated performer of the night.) I loved his set but was a little drunk at this point in the show and can’t really remember much of what he talked about, just weird chunks. But Hampton was a delight. He has a free album out now that you can listen to here

You can follow all of these performers on Twitter: (Lisa Beth Johnson) (Anthony McBrien)

Thanks for reading! I wrote this recap without taking any notes. For the next show I recap I’ll be sure to take notes, so there aren’t so many blank spots. Please submit your own recaps!