Tag Archives: comedy

A Comedian’s Survival

Tig-Notaro-Live-SlateThe other day, my bloggy BFF, The Byronic Man, suggested I listen to a comedy album by Tig Notaro, called Live (as in, chipmunks live in burrows, not Saturday Night Live).

“If you think you’re ready for the next level,” he prefaced, probably to guarantee I’d listen to it. (Just as I’m sure he knew I’d try a sazerac after he put that picture on his blog.)

Tig-Notaro-AVClub

Tig Notaro. Not Byronic Man. (You see, that’s funny because she jokes about looking like a man on the album.)

Byronic Man, no stranger to excellent stand-up comedy himself, went on to explain that Live wasn’t supposed to be an album, Notaro was just performing in a club at an open mic/showcase. A couple days earlier, she’d found out she had cancer in both breasts. “She just starts talking about it,” he told me. “It’s incredibly funny and raw and moving. There’s no polish – she repeats herself, there’s long pauses, she tries to change the subject. It’s like what humor can be in the darkest of times.”

James Rebhorn. Toldja.

James Rebhorn. Toldja.

As soon as I heard her voice, I recognized it. Notaro first appeared on the scene in Last Comic Standing in 2006. Since then, she’s been everywhere from late night talk shows to The Office to the stand-up circuit. She’s like the female James Rebhorn of comedy. You know. “That guy/gal! In, like, every movie I’ve ever seen! …What’s his/her name?” She’s also got Louis C.K. on her side – he’s the one who pushed to turn the Live show into an album.

What made Live so powerful wasn’t just the complete and utter sincerity. It’s what Notaro infers when she says she just can’t bring herself to tell the old jokes. Or even the ones she prepared for that night.

“It’s weird because with humor, the equation is tragedy plus time equals comedy,” Notaro says early on, with a sardonic edge. “I…am…just at tragedy. Right now.”

Reality had taken over, and she just needed to speak from the heart. No filter. And guess what? It was still one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. In fact, it was this very ‘in the moment’ quality that made it so. So much of the comedy we see is rehearsed, the timing perfected.

“It’s okay,” she lightly reassures an audience member who’s nearly in tears on Notaro’stig-notaro behalf. “It’s going to be okay. It might not be okay. But I’m just saying. It’s okay. You’re gonna be okay.”

At the risk of demeaning Notaro’s very heartbreaking situation and profound performance, I think what happened to her that night happens to every comedian, or every person for that matter. There comes a day when the old methods don’t work. But often times, very unlike Notaro, we’re too scared to try new ones.

On a far more superficial level, when I changed the name of this blog from GoGuiltyPleasures! to Go Jules Go last year, I was preparing for a broader bloggy life. Humorous writing beyond my love of guilty pleasures. I never thought I’d get tired of chipmunks or ‘stache glasses. And I promise, on many levels, I never will. But sometimes it’s really, really hard to tell the old jokes.

So while, in my lucky, privileged world, I occasionally push the boundaries of this little blog that changed my life, I really hope you’ll take thirty minutes to listen to Live. You know. If you think you’re ready for it.

Bloggers: Do you ever feel like you’re ‘faking it’ on your blog? Bloggers/All: Who are your favorite comedians and why?

Photo Credits

  • #1 – slate.com
  • #2 – avclub.com
  • #3 – zuguide.com
  • #4 – fastcocreate.com
About these ads

Today Is Special…and So Are You!

This is you, if you were a rainbow. Photo credit: http://www.goldengatephoto.com

Cherubic chipmunks, today is the most magical day ever. It’s:

11-11-11!!!

What, you mean you don’t always make a wish every time the clock hits 11:11? And your favorite actor‘s birthday isn’t today? …Hmm. Okay. If you don’t think today is special, maybe we should talk about other special things. Things for which you will not be able to deny their specialness.

On this most bewitching day, I’d like to introduce you to [some of] the people I hold nearest and dearest. Also known as…

People Who Rock My Guilty Pleasure World

1. Babs

Don't worry. She likes surprises.

Babs is the Mommasita extraordinaire. She taught me everything I know about guilty pleasures, namely, how to harmlessly stalk celebrities. Babs also showed me the way around a Long Island Iced Tea (or seven) and how to write a proper greeting card. Sometimes I don’t even know why I bothered with school.

Babs is special because she agreed to have a third child when she only wanted two. Also because she makes people feel good just by being around, and she doesn’t even know it.

2. Peppermeister

Look at this little baby-faced couple (circa 2005)!

My hubster, the one and only Peppermeister, taught me how to embrace guilty pleasures that I might have otherwise been too embarassed to share (er, like this one). He’s also the person who convinced me to start a blog, and is there any greater guilty pleasure than blogging about guilty pleasures (as I’ve mentioned before, it’s like trying to stare at the sun)?

Peppermeister is special because he once told a college english class -before we were dating- that I was “appropriately feminine.” Also because he’s the funniest, most selfless person I’ve ever met.

3. Bee-atch

On one of our more conservative shopping trips to Wal-Mart.

My Big Sis (actually, not-so-big – homegirl has lost almost 100 lbs. in the past year!) knows a thing or two about guilty pleasures. What she does with Pilsbury crescent rolls could blow your mind. She’s an inspiration!

Bee-atch is special because she lets me live vicariously through her dating life and is super-fun when she’s drunk. Also because she’s the only person I know who can dish it out as well as she can take it.

4. Bestie

I don't know why she didn't marry me. Look how happy I make her.

Some of you know Bestie, a.k.a. Jenn, from our stellar interview on JM Randolph’s blog. More than 11 years ago, Bestie rescued me from the depths of bad poetry despair and told me to have some g.d. fun! From animals dressed as other animals to vodka to hilarious Hallmark cards, she gets it.

Bestie is special because she thinks it’s funny when I’m angry. Also because she’s one of the smartest, most talented chicks on the planet. (Let’s see if I can convince her to introduce her music to the blogosphere…)

5. SIL

What a nice sister and girlfriend this band dude had - wearing his face on our shirts! And yes, this is in front of the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ.

SIL (sister-in-law) helped me write an entire blog post, and in fact it’s one of the most popular to this day. If that isn’t guilty pleasure inspiration, I don’t know what is!

SIL is special because she remembers more things about my life than I do. Also because she welcomes people into her heart and home even when they’re trying to secretly date her only sibling.

6. YOU!

Duh! You are totally special, too! I mean for starters, you have impeccable taste. You are also overwhelmingly attractive, and that counts for a lot everything.

You are special because you knew me when I was just an awesome blogger. Also because you take the time out of your busy day to encourage your fellow writers.

P.S. – If you’d like to repay me for all the compliments, please email me the secret(s) to levitation.

I Have a Barn. How the F#%* Did That Happen?

I was raised 20 miles southwest of New York City, in a suburban New Jersey town where today city commuters still reign supreme and real estate is precious. I grew up thinking anyone with more than half an acre of land was a millionaire. Or crazy. I hated country music, horseback riding and wide open spaces. At 20, I transferred to college in Manhattan and became one of those commuters myself. I was sure I’d grow up to be an urban-dwelling writer/cat lady. Gladly so.

Now look at me. 29. Married. Project Manager. Labradoodle. Barn.

WTF.

I have a barn. What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is a girl like me supposed to do with a barn? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately from a guilty pleasure perspective (duh, what other perspective is there?) and I have some ideas. I’m not dead-set on any, so I’d really appreciate your suggestions. (I know how creative you are when you’re supposed to be doing boring serious things. ;))

There’s the obvious:

  • Vodka Distillery.

  • Animals Dressed as Other Animals: An Aww-Inspiring Exhibit.

  • Sexy Secret Hiding Place for Second Husband, Darren Criss.

And the slightly less obvious:

  • Clubhouse for My Very First Cult. (Alert: Currently recruiting. Must love deep-fried Oreos and puppies. Serious inquiries only.)

  • Storage Room for guillotine, life-sized Twilight dolls, barrels of wine, aged cheeses and fireworks*.

  • Goat. You know. Maybe. Like one cute, little goat. And some chickens. Just 1 or 2 or 50. And the goat probably needs a friend, now that I think about it.

Admit it. You want some g.d. extraordinary chickens, too. (Side note: My bestie actually bought this calendar for someone once.) Photo credit: bumblebeeblog.com

*This might sound more impressive if you knew fireworks were illegal [for residents to own/set off] in New Jersey. …No? Still not impressed? Did you see that chicken?

What about THESE chickens? Boo-ya. Photo credit: mytakeonlife.com

 How has life surprised you??

You Say Tomato, I Say Thank You

So, in the days since I posted that I had green hair from swimming, I’ve imagined that you’ve spent many sleepless nights wondering how I’ve coped with my follicle foible. (Have I ever told you alliterations are a gargantuan guilty pleasure for gojulesgo?)

Well, I gave Mr. Heinz another go, this time on dry hair for a longer period (almost a full hour), and that, combined with a fresh dose of Clairol’s finest, seems to have done the trick.

I’m so overjoyed. My emotions, coupled with the extreme guilty pleasure pride I take in being a bottled blonde, have led me to celebrate the only way I know how.

With Hanson.

P.S. – Deb Bryan, I think we’re even now. ;)

Like Work Isn’t Scary Enough

On Fridays, especially in the summer, it’s completely dead (or undead…see below) where I work. People are either on vacation, teleworking or taking advantage of summer hours (where they can work an extra hour Mon-Thurs, and then take Friday afternoon off).

Therefore, today seemed like the perfect day to share a couple things around the office that amuse me. (Click on the pictures to enlarge.)

I’ll Be Out of the Office…Indefinitely

In this economy, it should come as no surprise that I sometimes see automated out of office e-mail replies telling me a former colleague has left the company [unwillingly]. What I don’t expect to see are words like “infinity” and allusions to becoming a ghost. I’ve been dying (ahem) to add to my Out of Office Wall of Fame, but so far I’ve only got these two. Do you have any?

I'm pretty sure he came back as a poltergeist. No rattling chains -yet- but why else can't I make it out of the ladies room without a wet-sink-stripe across my thighs?

House of Gaud

Recently, an empty office’s sign was covered up with this. Somehow, it doesn’t instill much faith in me. I mean, if whoever made this sign puts a similar amount of effort into their prayer, it almost seems like why bother? I guess it could have been worse. They could’ve used Comic Sans.

This makes me want to pray, but for different reasons.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Thanks a Lot, Phil

Isn’t it weird how one person can ruin a perfectly good name for you forever? Like, you’d sooner sit on the surface of the sun than name one of your kids after that person. This is such a universal feeling that it makes me laugh. (As universal as the idea that you need at least 3 snacks and 5 bottles of water for a 45-minute-long car ride.)

Here are just a few names that are ruined for me for all of eternity.

Clara

Oh Clara, Clara, Clara. I will never forget you, scary girl in one of my college creative writing workshops. You would tear down every word of every piece I ever wrote for that class. No one else did this, to me or anyone else, in any other workshop.

Clara was one of these angry people who hated me on sight, for no reason I could ever determine, except maybe that I smiled a lot. There’s a good chance that wherever she is now, she’s either 1) telling children Santa Claus doesn’t exist, 2) stealing ice cream from a toddler, or 3) pulling the wings off a butterfly.

Mike

I should probably let my hot-ass sister (seriously - any sexy, rich, single guys out there?) explain this one. Suffice it to say, she has one or two ex-boyfriends named Mike.

Phil

When I was in 7th grade, the slang term phat came out, meaning what today we (and by we I mean me) might call amazeballs. I will never forget the day a delinquent in my Social Studies class wrote “Julie is phat” on his desk, and proceeded to tell everyone it was because I was actually f-a-t. Hilarious, Phil. How’s jail treating you these days?

So, who’s ruined a name for you??

Dear Ryan Murphy

Dear Ryan Murphy,

Can you blame me? Photo credit: kfcplainfield.com

I don’t usually do this (except the one time I did, when I was 9 and in love with Neil Patrick Harris. And by the way, he totally sent an autographed black-and-white headshot in return. And I still kind of love him. A lot. I wish I knew where that picture was. I hope I didn’t throw it out when Elijah Wood stole my heart), but I had to tell you how I feel.

You used to scare me, Ryan Murphy. You’re very intimidating, and I’m very not. I thought you might be another Simon Cowell, except without the creepy winking, deep V’s and fondness for female models. But now “The Glee Project” is over and I find myself empty inside. You really cared about those kids; heck, you even let most of them win. What’s more, you recently told Perez

I see through this prickly exterior, Ryan Murphy, right into your little gummy bear heart. Photo credit: movieline.com

Hilton you’d write him into an episode “Glee” whenever he wanted. These are not the actions of a scary writer/television producer.

These contestants touched you. I saw it when you’d let a smile pass your lips; your eyes would

definitely twinkle a little. I liked the way you talked about who you could write for and why. I want to hear more. I want to know you, Ryan Murphy.

Also, if you could please tell Darren Criss there’s a 29-year-old, married project manager from New Jersey who may or may not have green hair who’s wondering why he hasn’t returned any of her calls, that would be great. Thanks, Ryan.

Sincerely,

gojulesgo

I’ve Got the Giggles (And I’m Not the Only One)

Do you have those people in your life who can get your Giggle Meter skyrocketing with just one look? I sure hope so. Girl on the Contrary’s hilarious post about a recent elevator trip had me reminiscing about all those times I’ve laughed inappropriately. Like this:

For me, I think it all started with one of my very first best friends, a sporty, feisty girl I met in nursery school at the local YMCA. Everything was funny to her – even getting in trouble. We used to play a made-up game where we’d blindfold each other and then feed the blindfolded person something and make them guess what it was. She will never let me live down the time I gave her a spoonful of bacon grease from the coffee can my dad used to pour it into. I could barely hold the spoon still; suppressed laughter had me shaking from head to toe.

Luckily, since then, my nursery school pal and I have had many more giggle-fests that were mutual. Other fits have been dangerous. Being in your late twenties and losing control in a business meeting, for example, is like taking your livelihood into your own hands. The more inappropriate it is to laugh, the harder it always seems not to, right? Last year, I was running a meeting where the focus was on electronic solutions for our current work. I had a few people in the room and the rest were attending virtually. The I.T. rep must have spiked her coffee that afternoon, because she just started laughing uncontrollably whenever anyone would ask a question. She was already two baby steps away from the place with the padded walls, and lack of sleep had apparently done her in. Every time I tried to rescue her and get things back on track, she’d look at me, red-faced, tears streaming down her face, and get me going, too. I’m not exaggerating when I say this went on for 5 minutes. No, I don’t know why I’m still employed. I guess it could have been worse:

Usually I have at least one episode whenever I’m with Babs. It’s kind of like the guarantee you get when you go to Friendly’s - service with a smile, or the meal’s on them. There are a thousand of these times I can’t remember, but they often start with me teasing Babs while we’re out shopping. I do so with a loving heart, to make sure she never starts wearing mom jeans or those puff-painted sweatshirts (again). Department store dressing rooms are like an altar where I give thanks to the giggle gods by trying on hideous things and transforming into the person who would wear them. Retired, chain-smoking Floridian? Snooki’s second cousin (the one no one likes to talk about)? Stripper trying to cover her dark past and pay her way through college? Been there, donned that.

I’d love to hear about some of your ‘episodes’ (the more inappropriate, the better)! Until then, I’ll leave you with a giggly clip of one of my favorite shows:

The #1 Guilty Pleasure By Which I Simply Cannot Abide

My SIL (sister-in-law) is great. Smart, loving, responsible. She’s one of my top go-to gals - she can help a sister out with just about anything. But she does have one flaw, and that flaw sounds a lot like the theme song to “7th Heaven.” Do you guys remember that show? I do, unfortunately. Yesterday, SIL reminded me of this nightmare with a nostalgic Facebook post. A dull shudder ran down my spine instantly when I saw this picture:

"When I see their happy faces, smiling back at me"...I'm afraid. Very afraid. Photo credit: cbs.com.

I told SIL I could handle Hugh Hefner, but Eric Camden was another matter. Seriously. Remember all those icky storylines where he’d counsel someone from his church in a far too intrusive way? I think pamphlets were involved, or at least I always imagined they were. And there’d constantly be uncomfortable sexual innuendo with his wife.  Let’s not forget, Aaron Spelling was behind this 11-year-long (!!!) trainwreck, so I really don’t think I’m imagining things.

I concluded with SIL, via Facebook, that they were definitely keeping extra, unseen children in the basement of that huge white house of theirs. After the conversation, though, I still felt unsatisfied. I needed to prove -perhaps only to myself- just how inappropriate this show really was.  And so after half-assed extensive research, I now present to you…

The Top 3 Most Ridiculous “7th Heaven” Moments*

*that I could find on YouTube

#1 – A Heavenly Arsenal

#2 – Read Between the Lines, Mom

#3 – This is Uncomfortable. Er, PERIOD.

And now, just for fun (I like to imagine they’re saying, “Puh-leeeeeeease noooooooo. Make it stooooop!”):

Sincerely Yours, Caring McCantYouSeeImTryingHere

I promised you, guilty pleasure sweetums, that I’d let you know how you were doing when it came to your greeting cards. A few months ago, I hilariously rudely chastised those who merely scribble their name inside birthday/holiday cards, which, thinking back, is pretty ironic (can you rudely correct rudeness? Or do they cancel each other out?). I’ve heard from many of you since then; in fact, other than my flask story, it’s the post that seems to have made the biggest ripple through my inner circle. (Don’t be fooled. There is no outer circle.)

The outcome? You care, you really, really care! I see it, and I’m proud of you. You made my day(s). Just look (click on any of the pictures to enlarge):

Exhibit A+

My brother's girlfriend rockin' the left-hand side with an illustration of my birthday gift.

Exhibit B-u-ti-ful

My BFF gets it.

Exhibit C How Much They Care?

Birthday card from the in-laws. I love this.

Exhibit D-lightful

Babs took this picture in Times Square to make my birthday card (we went to the play for my b-day)! She taught me everything I know about proper greetings.

Exhibit E-lated That You Care

A drawing AND a blog shout-out in the birthday card from Hubster. He's no fool.