Tag Archives: the funny

Did You Guys Hear Superego and Also Spidermun 2?

A new season of Superego has arrived, which is as good an excuse as any to proclaim my love of Superego to the world.

Superego is a podcast I have been thoroughly digging for the past year or two. Assembled by Jeremy Carter, Matt Gourley, Mark McConville, and Jeff Crocker (plus a steady stream of fantastic super-guests), it is one of the funniest things I’ve consumed in many a moon, in any medium.

The show is a series of semi-improvised sketches, framed as “case studies” of some type of personality disorder. The sketches themselves are perfect mix of high production values (like Fireside Chats from FDR that sound just like old radio) and the willingness to leave in fantastic “mistakes,” like the actors breaking up mid-joke or struggling to think up a punny rhyme. They don’t attempt to capture a “universe” per se, the way that The Best Show does at times, and yet Superego still manages to have a cohesive voice and feel, and a penchant for wordplay that is almost British in its exactitude (even when spoofing very American targets like televangelists).

Oh, and Superego is also hilarious. This is the part where I tell you how funny the show is when you’d be much better off just listening to it. Just on the off chance you need some convincing as to Superego’s ear-worthiness.

Superego uses recurring characters, which rank high on my list of comedy bete noirs, since I think they’re often used as crutches or shortcuts to laughs (crutch-cuts?). But Superego’s recurring characters are so well done they pierce my flinty prejudices. Like Shunt McGuppin, a perpetually inebriated country singer with a penchant for singing insanely inappropriate lyrics (“I WAS FIVE TIMES NEKKID!”), occasionally with an unlikely collaborator like Andrew Lloyd Weber or David Bowie.

Or an all-request radio show, Heartlines on the Shore, with an endless series of insane dedications. “If you could play the song ‘I’m All Out of Love’ for Jenny, and if you could do me the great favor of altering the song to say that I am not actually all out of love. Is that something you could do? Is that a service you provide?”

Or one of my favorites a troubled young man, Trevor Lundegard, who labors under the delusion that every movie ever made is Spiderman 2 (or Spidermun 2, as he pronounces it), including Citizen Kane. (“Spidermun 2 owns a newspaper and he’s like, ‘Rose-butter,’ cuz he really likes bread.”)

Supergo also specializes in one-off, pitch-dark sketches, such as an ad for a doll called My Baby Dreamer. The haunting jingle contains ominous lines like “she’s got a dark secret…” and is interrupted by terrifying demonic howling. Or a hearing test recording for children in which competing voices tell the listener not to raise their hands as previously instructed if they know what’s good for them, in slowed-down, horrifying voices.

Did I mention guests? Let’s mention them further! Paul F. Tompkins lends his talents to the show frequently, playing parts like Nathan the Silverback Gorilla (a preternaturally articulate and self-aware primate) and a radio announcer detailing the J.C. Penney’s “End Of Days Sale.” Superego has also featured appearances by Jason Sudeikis, Drew Carey (who called it “modern Firesign Theater,” a high and accurate compliment), Tom Scharpling, Rob Delaney, James Urbaniak, and whole slew of funny luminaries.

How much do I believe in this show? This is my guarantee: Listen to that there episode below. If you do not find something that made you guffaw out loud, write me a detailed reason why you found it unfunny and I will send you something. It might be a book, it might be a piece of string. Who knows? Actually, no one will know, because I am positive I won’t have to make good on this vague promise. And if you do dig Superego, do yourself a favor and purchase the old episodes. Each one is worth every penny.

You May Now Resume Dipping Your Balls in It

I am having a supremely crappy day. I won’t go into details, because the details will not be compelling to anyone, I assure you. But this crappy day comes on the heels of several crappy days recently, so it feels a lot worse than an out-of-nowhere crappy day would. If that makes any sense.

But news like this alleviates the general crappiness just a little bit.

To be honest, I saw no more than 5 episodes of The State when it aired, because it was on MTV and I didn’t have cable. (Well, I had limited cable access via grandparents who lived next door, but I saved most of that precious access for MST3K and 120 Minutes.) But I saw it enough times to know it was pretty awesome. Any show whose theme song samples Nation of Ulysses doesn’t have to do much else to woo me.

It was always a show I wanted to explore further, because clearly it deserved exploring. Unfortunately, no one saw fit to make it explorable. The fact that it hadn’t been released on DVD for all these years is criminal.

But I guess the perpetrators of this offense have been tried, convicted, and executed, because The State will finally get a proper DVD set of its own. That is fantastic news for fans of The Funny.

Now, if the Mets could remember how to catch balls and run the fuckin bases, I’d really be in business.

Jay Leno and the Persistence of Mediocrity

There are times when I feel profoundly disconnected from humanity. Like, I operate on a completely different wavelength than the rest of the world. These moments tend to occur whenever I turn on the TV. Or read anything online. Or leave the house.

I realize this is an extremely childish and narcissistic POV. Everyone feels different–Free to Be You and Me taught me that. Well, that and the inherent creepiness of baby puppets.

But how am I supposed to feel, gentle reader, when I’m told that the entire world is all a-twitter at the news that Jay Leno will host a 10pm talk show, and I think to myself, Wow, Jay Leno still exists?

I mean, seriously, people are excited about this? No one has ever been excited by anything Jay Leno has ever done. I challenge you to convince me otherwise.

leno.jpgI still don’t understand how Jay Leno got to be Johnny Carson’s successor. Who let that happen? Shouldn’t that have been reviewed by the Council of Things That Make No Damn Sense?

Johnny Carson was witty and urbane, a gifted comedian and a master interviewer. No one has ever used any of those words to describe Jay Leno, except prefaced with the word “not”.

People still talk about sketches Johnny Carson used to do on The Tonight Show. You see clips of his most famous celebrity interviews on TV all the time. Jon Stewart imitates him at least once a night. He remains the gold standard by which all late night fare is judged.

You think they’ll sell “The Best of Jay Leno” DVDs some day? Nope, and you will never say this to your grandkids:

Back in my day, we all used to gather ’round the television and watch The Jay Leno Program. I still remember the time he found a midget version of himself! And the time Kevin Eubanks pretended to laugh at his monologue for the 8 millionth time! Oh, it was magic!

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