Malignant Brain Humor

Hey Great episode today featuring Kevin Froleiks (guest on episode 61: The Worst Landlord) and Lisa Romagnoli, Producer at Kornhaber Brown and owner of Notion Films. Her documentary about the New Hamshire comedy scene and NH Comedians, Wicked Funny 2 was just released on youtube.

 
We discuss the mindset and lifestyle differences between comedians in secondary and tertiary cities to New York or LA, the struggles of moving to a big city  when you've been a big fish in a small pond (see also: depression), comedy as an art vs. as a job vs. as a hobby, and how we should regard Comedy Hobbyists.
 
 Check out the film at 
Direct download: MBH_73-_Wicked_Funny-_Kevin__Lisa.m4a
Category:comedy -- posted at: 4:43pm EST

72: PUBLIC MOURNING & ROBIN WILLIAMS - LIVE PODCAST

 

Abbi Crutchfield, Ted Alexandro, & Nick Turner

Abbi Crutchfield, Ted Alexandro, & Nick Turner

From Abbi's instagram (click through for link)

I had a wonderful panel on the show last night, Ted Alexandro, Abbi Crutchfield, and Nick Turner. Unfortunately the planned antics had to be put on hold to discuss the pall hanging over the comedy world by the sudden loss of Robin Williams. The conversation turned to expressions of public mourning, the impact of Williams' death, depression in comedy, and the intimacy which any performer brings to their act. These guys really made it an exceptional conversation and I thank all of them profusely. Below are some links to their excellent work which you should check out, but first is the little essay I wrote on facebook which I reference in my intro. 

It's 4:30 in the morning. I woke up from a nightmare in which I was writing a condolence letter to the family of one of my heroes; not Robin Williams, someone I know, but the mental math wasn't exactly difficult to do. I'm crying now, again, more times in one day than I have in an awfully long long time. Unlike a lot of the comedians who populate my mental constellations and facebook feed, I never met Robin Williams, and I won't pretend to have the same kind of loss that those who knew him have. Regardless of how much humanity he always brought to his work, knowing someone as a human and not as an icon is a different thing, and entails a different kind of loss. But neither will I be a cynical idiot and mistake the feelings I'm having as mere narcissism or self-indulgent emotions put on display to showcase my own depth. I grew up on Robin Williams' work. Aladdin came out in 1992 and his luminous supernova of a performance lit my 8 year old mind on fire. It seeped into every crack and planted little seeds which are still growing to this day. I would parrot lines from his 1978 Live at the Roxy special and tell other kids how he climbed up into the balcony and yelled "Look, now THOSE are the shitty seats" at the front. I can't tell you how many times I saw Mrs. Doubtfire, because you'd probably have to file some kind of retroactive child services report on my parents. I won't walk you through the rest of his filmography because I don't need to, and you know which roles probably touched me as I grew up and saw him in new ways, many of which changed the way I would think about myself as a creative mind, but the things that get in your skull when it's still soft have a way of sticking. 

The thing is this: Robin Williams has a place in my childhood psyche like nobody else in this world. His performances trace a direct nerve to feelings of innocent joy and exuberance, unburdened by the knowledge that comes with life experience, feelings which in many ways I've long since left behind. That he would die in such a way, suffering from mental and emotional anguish feels like such a violent incursion of adulthood upon youth. It feels like such a violation of innocence for him to go like this. It hurts. The irony of his playing a grown up Peter Pan is not lost on me, but this is a facebook post not a comparative american lit essay so I won't belabor the point. And this bit here actually is a bit embarrassing to admit, but I swear, when I woke up the first thing I thought was "I can't believe that if I have kids someday they're not going to get to exist in the same world as their comedy grandpa Robin." 

The people who deserve our sympathy and empathy first and foremost are those who knew and loved him as a person, and not just as an author of joy, a parent of the mind, and I'm not usually one to mourn a celebrity's passing as anything other than a tragedy for their family and a sad factoid for the internet's emotional simulator to mine it's shitty clickbait, but man, this one really hurts.

Anyway. I don't want to turn this into too much of a PSA, but please, if you're uncomfortable with the term mental illness then call it mental anguish. Call it deep emotional suffering, I don't care. Whatever you need to do to frame it, please just recognize it as a real thing, have empathy, and if you or someone you know or love is suffering, please do what you can to help. Sometimes you can't do anything no matter how much you try, but that's not an excuse to stop. It only absolves you if you keep on trying, and yes, some people are going to die trying. I didn't know Robin Williams, so I really don't know, but I'd like to think he died trying. For my part I hope I retain enough of a sliver of my innocence, no matter well hidden, even from myself, that I don't let that stop me. And if I do have tiny little splinters of innocence buried beneath my calloused skin, a lot of them are in there because when my skull was still soft, Robin Williams exploded on screen and blew them into my tiny little mind.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255. Never be ashamed to call it, unless you're making a crank call, in which case: yes, you should be ashamed of yourself. Stop it. 

Goodnight moon. Good morning Vietnam.

 

On the Guests:
Ted Alexandro - According to Time out NY Ted is “One of the funniest comedians working today.” According to me, he's even better than that. He's been on Letterman, Conan, Ferguson, Kimmel, Comedy Central and for some reason The View. Check out his new webseries, Teachers lounge at https://www.youtube.com/user/thundershortsvideos.You can hear my one on one interview with Ted here:http://www.mikecomedy.com/mbhumor/2012/02/21/mbh-12-ted-alexandro

Nick Turner - Nick's been killing it on the NY scene for years now, has appeared on Seth Meyers, Fallon, VH1's Best Week Ever, and has the distinction of being my very first podcast guest.http://www.mikecomedy.com/mbhumor/2011/09/15/392 Witness his majestic return. 

Abbi Crutchfield - (Vh1, MTV, The Tyra Banks Show) is joining to the lineup! Check out this music video she recently did with SNL's Jay Pharoah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xfazs8qMQo&feature=youtu.be Also check Abbi out on twitter @curlycomedy

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Direct download: Live_PIT_Tues_Aug_12_2014.m4a
Category:comedy -- posted at: 2:09pm EST

This week the star of the PBS Idea Channel, Member of Memefactory, and musician extraordinaire Mike Rugnetta stops by the podcast to talk about technology in our time. Excellent chat, excellent mind, excellent episode. 

Check him out at: 

@Mikerugnetta, https://www.youtube.com/user/pbsideachannel and http://rugnetta.com/

Also! Get your tickets for next week's Live Malignant Brain Humor featuring Ted Alexandro, Nick Turner and Abbi Crutchfield next week at the People's Improv Theater today! -- http://thepit-nyc.com/event/malignant-brain-humor/

Also, new epsiodes of College Cooking Network's CCN News are up at collegecooking.com/channels/news-feed and at mikecomedy.com/ccnnews

Also, a 30 minute short I acted in, Jay Dates is now up at http://www.mikecomedy.com/acting/

rate and review us on iTunes, and write us over at Mikecomedy.com/contact

Enjoy! 

Direct download: Mike_Rugnetta_Final.m4a
Category:comedy -- posted at: 8:12pm EST

Alex Ramsey and Joe Cilio of Forever Dog productions appear on the show today to discuss wrangling a production company together, the idea of being a maker of "content," and life on the cliff-edge of college.

Go see them live at the PIT, check them out at http://foreverdogproductions.com/ and on Twitter @realforeverdog

 

Direct download: foreverdog_final.m4a
Category:comedy -- posted at: 7:56pm EST

Today I discuss systemic failures whether municipal or biological with Rebecca Trent, the owner/operator of The Creek and the Cave. Check out the Creek's schedule and go see a show there today. 

Also, Rebecca and I discuss the disastrous effect of the MTA's 7 train weeekend shutdown (42% of weekends, 2014 and in years to come) on the business and shows in the LIC nightlife scene, turning a 5 minute ride into grand central into a 40 minute shuttlebus nightmare deeper into Queens just to get into the city. 

If you care about comedy, community, and making New York an ever more vibrant place, help us get a shuttlebus that runs from Grand Central through the Holland Tunnel by contacting the political entities in question. The dramatis personae are:  State Senator Michael Gianaris, Borough President Melinda Katz, State Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, VP Of Gov & Community relations Lois Tendler 

Contact them as follows: 

On Twitter, with the Hashtag #WTFMTA:

@SenGianaris

@MelindaKatz

Catherine Nolan: Not on twitter. 

@JimmyVanBramer

Lois Tendler: Not on Twitter but use @MTA

By Email:

Email State Senator Mike Gianaris via webform 

Email Melinda Katz at info@melindakatz.com

Email State Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan

Email Jimmy Van Bremmer at jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov or via Webform

Email Lois Tendler: No email but contact her on Linkedin

By phone:

State Senator Michael Gianaris

Albany 518-455-3486

District 718-728-0960

Borough President Melinda Katz

Main: (718) 286-3000 

Constituent Affairs (718) 286-2669

State Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan

Sunnyside: 718-784-3194

Ridgewood: 718-456-9492

Albany: 518-455-4851

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer

Office: (718) 383-9566

VP Of Gov & Community relations Lois Tendler 

Office: (646) 252-2660

Whitepages Listing: 

718-625-4756

And if they don't respond, perhaps their Wikipedia articles should be changed to reflect that: 

Michael Gianaris

Melinda Katz

Jimmy Van Bramer

Catherine Nolan

Lois Tendler at The MTA

Direct download: Rebecca_Trent.m4a
Category:comedy -- posted at: 11:40am EST

Ben Kronberg is an exceptional comedian who you can and or could have seen on Comedy Central (Half Hour, John Oliver), MTV, ABC and NBC.

Recently Rosanne Barr told him to go fuck himself on Last Comic Standing. So that's a thing that's happening now, in hashtag form (#GoFuckYourselfBen).

Check him out at http://benkronberg.com @Benkronberg and on the iTunes and Amazon and wherever your computer lets you type in the letters B-e-n K-r-o-n-b-e-r-g.

 

 

 

 

 

Direct download: MBHumor_68-_Ben_Kronberg.m4a
Category:comedy -- posted at: 4:32am EST

Myq Kaplan returns to the show today, we discuss his new netflix special Short Small, Dork and Handsome which does NOT make use of the Oxford comma (I report, you decide). 

We also discuss Myq's place in comedy, using the marvelous Jim Gaffigan as a reference point to discuss stylistic differences over time (and persona). 

Listen to a bit of Myq's new album here: https://soundcloud.com/comedydynamics/myq-kaplan-sports-analogies-and-copyright-infringements

And watch it on Netflix at http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/70298205?trkid=13630398 and now available on  iTunes and  Amazon.

Check him out at 

myqkaplan.com

@Myqkaplan

 

Direct download: Myq_4.m4a
Category:comedy -- posted at: 6:20pm EST

Featuring the Co-writers and Directors of Fort Tilden, Winner of the SXSW Grand Jury Prize.

Sarah-Violet Bliss (@SVBliss)

and 

Charles Rogers (@GCharlesRogers)

Go see the NY premier of Fort Tilden on May 10th, tickets here: http://vulturefestival.com/events.html?fort_tilden_screening_and_stella_artois_reception#

For more information on the film, check out http://www.forttildenthemovie.com/

Music from this episode is at https://soundcloud.com/mblejer

and new videos, music, and barely disguised requests for money are up at http://mikecomedy.com 

 

Direct download: MBHumor_66-_Fort_Tilden.m4a
Category:comedy -- posted at: 6:34pm EST

MBHumor 65: Katharine Heller

The very talented and insightful Katharine Heller appears on the podcast, and we discuss all kinds of childhood trauma, the ethics of comedy and how we use humor to process or deflect and recreate ourselves over the course of our lives. Hot stuff. 

Check Katharine out at: 

http://tellthebartender.com/

(My epsiode is at: http://tellthebartender.com/2014/03/03/episode-28-the-conspiracy-of-silence/)

Her next Live Tell the Bartender show is May 8th at Union Hall with Wyatt Cenac and Mara Wilson.

And check out Katharine's acting work at http://www.katharineheller.com/

 

The episode song is called Dig, and is on soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/mblejer/dig-mbhumor-65-katharine

 

Thanks folks!  

Direct download: MBHumor_65_-_Katharine_Heller.m4a
Category:comedy -- posted at: 4:09pm EST

 

Check out the very funny Michael Shawki at http://michaelshawki.tumblr.com/  and at @michaelshawki on twitter.

And my new website at http://mikecomedy.com (where you can see the new St. Patty's Day video from http://collegecooking.com).

 

Direct download: MbHumor_64_Michael_Shawki.m4a
Category:comedy -- posted at: 5:51pm EST