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Archive for the ‘Jon Stewart’ Category

[ATTENDED: December 14, 2014] John Oliver

oliverI have loved John Oliver for a long time.  I have been delighted to see him go from the British guy on the Daily Show (when he replaced Jon Stewart, he was really fantastic) to the British guy on Community and now the British guy with his own HBO show (which I have never seen since I don’t get HBO).  When I saw that he was doing standup in New Brunswick I had to go.  Our friends Eleanor and Liz went with us and we had a lovely night in good ol’ New Brunswick (strangely enough there was literally no one in the parking garage where we parked yet every restaurant was packed).

Sarah and I were worried that the stand up would reference his show, but it didn’t.  It was topical and funny and weird and funny and political and funny and very very funny.

The show opened with an Indian woman stand up.  Nothing is more thankless than being an opening act for a comedian.  For starters, we didn’t know there would be an opening act.  Then we didn’t find out until we saw in tiny letters on the tiny marquee in the foyer that there would be an opening act.  And we pushed through the doors so quickly that I never saw her name.  And of course they announced it, but I don’t remember what they said her name was.  And even worse I can’t seem to find it online anywhere (searching for “Indian female comedian” did not help believe it or not).  And we never got a program (if it was indeed listed in there).

[UPDATE: April 9, 2015] So I wrote to The State Theater and learned that our mystery comedian’s name is Aparna Nancherla.  You can see a clip of her on Conan where she tells the dog poop joke (and yes it is still funny).  But stay for the end to see the insane size difference between the two.

But she was very funny.  Her jokes were observational with some delightful nearly whispered punchlines that undermined her set ups.  She did an amusing but about drug store receipts.  There was a funny bit about going to customs in Australia and having to explain her occupation of “comedian.”  But a lot of her jokes were about making it in New York City.  There was a rather amusing dog poop joke and a very funny human poop joke.  The human poop joke was more about apartment hunting with a hilarious and disgusting premise that she claimed was a requirement for living in a new apartment (it was hilarious whether true or not). (more…)

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In addition to reading, Sarah and I watch TV, too.  In the past, I posted occasional updates to a Tab devoted to TV.  But I’m going to put new information in individual posts instead.  So I’m starting with this season’s TV.

Of course, in the last couple of years, TV has changed from working on an easy to summarize Spring/Fall schedule to having shows appear almost at random.   This really undermines the very idea of a “season,” so I’m including a show or two from the end of 2009 as well.

One surprising thing about recent TV is how I watch almost nothing on the CW or Fox.  These were my mainstays as recent as two years ago, but they’ve totally dropped the ball lately.  And I can’t believe how much I’m enjoying shows on CBS (isn’t that the old people’s network?).

And so, for 2010: (more…)

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rm.jpgSOUNDTRACK: NADJA-Truth Becomes Death (2005).

nadja.jpgSlow and low that is the tempo. Very few reviews of Nadja will quote the Beastie Boys, and that is probably wise. The only reason I do is because the quote is so apt. Nadja plays music that is very very very slow. And the notes are very very very low. Have you ever played a 45 RPM vinyl record (remember those) on 33 and laughed at how it sounded? Well, that’s what this record sounds like. On purpose. There are 3 songs. The first is 23 minutes, the second is 16 and the third is 11.

The sound is generally an ominous drone, punctuated occasionally by high hats. It’s weird to me that someone would have even thought to make music like this.

None of this is to say it’s bad, it is just such a unique sounding record that I’m at a loss when I think about it. Some relief from the oppressiveness comes at the end of the third song, where there are suddenly three minutes of fairly light almost acoustic sing-alongs (this is relative of course, as nothing is light with this band). But for the most part it’s a punishing listen.

I’m not sure when you would play this, but I think you wouldn’t want to be anywhere where this is the soundtrack.

I discovered this album because I was buying records from the mighty Alien 8 Records web site, and they were having a buy 2 get 1 free sale. So, I tried Nadja. It was a worthy experiment, although I’m not sure if I’ll be checking out their other records. You never know though!

[READ: January 2008] Rick Mercer Report The Book

Many years ago, when I belonged to the Plainfield (NJ) Curling Club, I discovered that I could get satellite TV beamed in from Canada. Since I was really into curling, and so many other things Canadian (Kids in the Hall, 1/2 of my favorite bands) I thought I’d see what I could discover with a satellite dish of my own. It was through this dish that I found out about Rick Mercer. (more…)

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