Planned Parenthood is excited to be launching our new Tumblr that’s all about sexual and reproductive health – bodies, birth control, relationship issues, “is it normal for this to do this?” type things. In the coming weeks and months we’ll be sharing what we know, answering questions, and just… tumblring.
Watching live TV always reminds me of how much I love producing live shows and how rewarding it is. There’s an element of magic in live shows - there’s always something that goes wrong or not according to plan, and it always, ALWAYS, comes together, no matter what. For the longest time, Shakespeare in Love was my favorite movie. Not because Joseph Finnes is smoking hot in it, but because Geoffrey Rush, when asked how things always fell into place in theater, would say “It’s theater, it’s magic.” That’s probably why I fell so hard for improv - it’s the ULTIMATE type of live entertainment, isn’t it? No net - you just throw yourself out there and it happens … or it doesn’t. Even though I have never been an on camera / on stage kind of person, improv sucked me in and I can’t get enough of it.
I used to work as a TV producer on a morning live show for years and I left to go back to school. No regrets - I got a second undergraduate degree, a BA in Corporate Comms and Theater (I studied Shakespeare extensively at the time) and an MBA in Finance, Management and Entrepreneurship from NYU out of it. Today, I have transferred this skill to project management in my “day job.” I’m a great project manager and am praised as one of the best at my company without having all the certifications all the others have. I’ve been given some of the biggest projects to manage. Single-Handedly. It’s almost a natural skill for me - you can call it a “calling” I guess.
I have to say, though, that I miss live TV Production. Today, I get involved in producing stage shows as much as possible. I don’t just “throw a show together” - I strategize, I choose the acts carefully to fit it and fit together, I make sure performers know how and when things are happening and tech needs are addressed, I hire PAs to teach them production and pass the knowledge along… saying that I am passionate is an understatement.
I am currently producing an online show that is going to be very different from what you see, anywhere - stay tuned.
I just felt like sharing this after watching the live episode of 30 Rock.
Hey guys! Tomorrow night at 9:30 there’s an improv jam at Triple Crown! 9:30, free, I’ll be performing in it! :) Pou & Nic are the fantastic hosts. And per Pou, it’s called “Pou & Nic Special Edition: Women Improvisers Jam”. So get in on it! Fun times ahoyyyyyyyyyy yoiiiiiiiiiiiiiiy
A few announcements for May. Read the bold heading of each to see what is relevant for you.
New 3v3 improv opportunity at UCBeast - THREE FOR ALL
Starting in May, Fridays at midnight will be a new 3v3 improv competition show, hosted by improv team J. Leno. Show link.
Aspiring stand-ups, check out this monthly show at UCBeast - next show Monday May 14th. Show link.
Creative Control - screenplay finalists
Congratulations to our screenplay finalists, Dan Chamberlain & Halle Kiefer’s I.O.U. and Morgan Evans’ Survival of the Fittest. A staged reading will take place next Monday at UCBeast to determine the winner, who will return to an industry showcase in early June, along with the winners of the pilot and web series events. Show link
May 1st - 99 Comics For The 99% - hosted by The Tony and Johnny Show
This should be a gigantic fun spectacle. Stop by. We’re selling tickets ahead of time for this one, so buy tickets here.
Training Center - office hours
Did you know that the training center does office hours? It is true! Spread the word to your students and people you coach/direct. If you direct people to the training center message boards, they times will be listed, like here. Anyone is welcome to come with questions/concerns/ideas/suggestions about anything they want.
Del Close Marathon - when will we hear if our team/show was accepted?
Soon. I am finalizing the schedule this week.
WHAT I DID FOR LOVE - new show that is free for students for a limited time
Starting in May, a new improv show called WHAT I DID FOR LOVE, UCBeast Fridays at 7:30pm, will be free for students for a limited time. Please let your students know. Show link.
Karaoke Night for UCB Community - 4/28 6pm
Alan Starzinski is organizing a karaoke night. See below for a blurb from him with details about the event:
“Come on out to the UCB Karaoke night.
April 28th starting at 6pm
6pm-7pm OPEN BAR!!! 7pm-9pm 2 for 1 drinks FREE KARAOKE SONGS ALL NIGHT!!!!!!! *****Pulse Karaoke lounge is located at 135 West 41st Street between 6th ave. and Broadway***** Come out and get to know your community a bit better. If I forgot anyone just invite em’ this thing is open to all! FB Invite here.”
So I FB-posted an article about "Girls" that I thought was great, because it was like: "Hey, this is a TV show, let's settle down about its significance and its implications," and it immediately triggered a vicious, personal comments war between two people I do not know and who I don't think know each other, and the experience led me to an important revelation which I would like to share with you:
We should all turn off our televisions and close our laptops and go outside and move our limbs and play with each other and laugh and smooch and wrestle, because we are all going to be dead in what will seem like 45 minutes and we are going to stay that way until the end of an infinite number of forevers.
Have a great weekend!
I love you, Dave Holmes.
I don’t know Dave Holmes but this is exactly what I’m gonna do NOW!
I don’t understand a lot of things. I don’t understand why my neighbor is pursuing a career as a 1990’s electronic music artist. I don’t understand why the ice cream shop near my house considers two scoops of ice cream one scoop. And I don’t understand how women, educated journalists, can be so unfair when writing about other women.
Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times was saddled with the task of writing a review of NBC’s newest show, “Best Friends Forever.” The article “Old Pals Falling into a New Dynamic” starts off strong by setting up the premise of the sitcom, the tone of the show, joke quality and a serious review of the acting. JUST KIDDING! She kicks off her article by ripping right into the looks of star and writer Lennon Parham.
“Ms. Parham, who is funny and appealing, has the pleasant, ordinary looks that are usually reserved for sidekicks”
Ms. Stanley is right to make this point. In the history of ALL OF TV, there has never been a woman driving a sitcom who has looked like a normal person. Except for Lucille Ball. And I guess Ellen DeGeneres, Roseanne Barr, and of course, my comedy idol, Bea Arthur.
Ms. Stanley marches forward with her unique brand of media criticism, mixing random and personal observations to prove her point about this new era of “interesting” looking women on TV. While this would be an opportune time to discuss that talented, funny women, have taken things into their own hands by creating careers and names for themselves, thereby circumventing the system by which women are cast only for their looks and ability to set up/respond to the joke delivered by the male lead. But it’s more Ms. Stanley’s style to prove her point by bring other successful female leads into the fray and describe their looks. Like Whitney Cummings:
“Whitney Cumming, a sexy comedian with an Olive Oyl figure.”
Sure, “Olive Oyl” is not an outright mean way to describe a woman’s body. It would have been meaner to describe Cummings’ body as a “skinny, nothing pile of skin covered sticks”, but “Olive Oyl figure” has a more whimsical feel to it. And take what Ms. Stanley says about Lena Dunham:
“Lena Dunham (“Tiny Furniture”), doesn’t look like a Hollywood actress pretending to be a Brooklyn slacker; she looks like a Brooklyn slacker, and not the Zooey Deschanel kind.”
What a skill! Calling out the average looks of one woman by insulting the “conventional beauty” of another. It’s like a weird competition all women are participating in, where no one really knows the rules and there’s no winners and everyone is sad. Also, TV fun fact - Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl character neither lives in Brooklyn nor is she a slacker. Way to watch TV, person who is paid to watch TV!
The most insidious thing about Ms. Stanley’s piece is that she seems to think she’s doing something worthwhile by pointing out the plainness of the actresses. What it comes down to is that for it or against it, discussing either the attractiveness or the “normalness” of a woman’s looks still means that you’re keeping it in the cultural zeitgeist. It’s not relevant, dude! This is supposed to be a review about a half-hour sitcom, not a piece about beauty trends in TV. When was the last time a review of Two and a Half men felt the need to go into how Jon Cryer is “such a normal-looking man?”
All in all, here are the terms used in this piece to describe women in comedy: “not conventional beauties,” “jolie laide” (French for “pretty-ugly”), and “pleasant, ordinary looks.” Add similarly overused “not the meanest” adjectives like “interesting” and “unconventional”, and you’ve got the perfect list of “not the meanest” way to characterize the “not hotness” of a woman.
Slate.com, not to be outdone, threw their own hate hat in the ring with an article that does nothing to hide its real intention with the tear inducing title “Is Rachel Dratch Too Ugly for Hollywood?” Written by, yup, another woman. In the article, Torie Bosch explores an argument that Dratch makes in her new book “Girl Walks Into A Bar…” Says Dratch:
“I am offered solely the parts that I like to refer to as The Unfuckables. In reality, if you saw me walking down the street, you wouldn’t point at me and recoil and throw up and hide behind a shrub. But by Hollywood standards, I’m a troll, ogre, woodland creature, or manly lesbian. … Trolls, ogres, and woodland creatures can be done with CGI, so that leaves yours truly to play the bull dykes.”
But Ms. Bosch doesn’t buy the argument that Dratch is too “ugly for Hollywood”. Her deep journalistic desire to get to the bottom of this problem pushes her past this obvious solution (that Dratch is too ugly to be hired in Hollywood, in case you forgot what we were talking about) to a more complex explanation - that Dratch’s looks aren’t to blame for her lack of success, but rather she’s unsuccessful due to her talentlessness as a comedic actress. Yay! A definitive answer! Just goes to prove that every problem has a solution because life is super simple.
Bosch herself wrestles with the theory that Dratch’s lack of success is due to her lack of talent. Despite her real feelings, she’s confused about what to think because OTHER cool woman think Rachel Dratch is a talented comedienne. Bosch writes:
“That comedy sisterhood is part of what so makes me want to like her: She is considered hilarious by women whom I consider hilarious.”
How will Torie ever be besties with Tina Fey if she doesn’t like Rachel Dratch? Will Amy Poehler ever let Torie sit at the “cool table” if Torie’s down on Dratch? And if Torie can’t laugh at Dratch’s jokes, she’s never gonna get high with Maya Rudolph on the soccer field during study hall! WHY IS HIGH SCHOOL SO HARD?
Dratch has a book out, one that Torie (I guess?) likes, or at least that’s what I imagine she means when she writes “I’d rather read another Dratch memoir than watch her in a sitcom.” But really, why dive into Dratch’s book “Girl Walks Into A Bar…” when there’s a bunch of space on the page to compare Dratch to another comedienne?
“But maybe the best rebuke to Dratch’s argument at the moment is Lena Dunham, whose HBO comedy Girls is about to debut to already rave reviews, despite that fact that she spends significant time in the show examining her rolls of fat.”
Wait, so the point of all this is that Rachel Dratch is not “too ugly for Hollywood” because fat Lena Dunham doing just fine? I feel like I’m reading the transcripts of vodka fueled vitriol spewing out of the freshly glossed mouths of a bunch of shitty 16 year old girls who have been binge drinking at a slumber party. You know what kind of party I’m talking about. The kind that’s over only when someone gets stabbed with cuticle scissors. On purpose.
Why is it nearly impossible for women, even journalists, to talk about other women without bringing up looks? I don’t know. But I do have a solution. Stop talking about women’s looks in articles that have nothing to do with women’s looks. I did it. I didn’t once mention the looks of Torie Bosch or Alessandra Stanley. I wrote about how shitty they were to other women in their articles without once mentioning anything about what they look like. I didn’t even Google image search them. I promise It’s possible to talk about the merits of a woman’s creative work without talking about how weird her hair is or how much her butt weighs. All it takes is retraining your brain to stop being a superficial dick.
MANEATER: The True Story of the Champawat Tigress Thu. Apr. 19 6:30 pm - UCB Theatre NY (307 W 26. @ 8 ave) - $5 Written by/Starring: Josh Sharp (a homosexual!) and Matt Dennie (a straight, married man…). Directed by: Brandon Gulya. Choreography by: Kassia Miller.
ANGEL & FRIENDS! Mon. Apr. 23 8pm - Parkside Lounge - Free COHOST Melissa Gordon! Featuring: John Poveromo, Jessica Rionero, Becky Yamamoto, John Flynn, US National Improv Team, and The sketch group all the way from Philly: CAMPWOODS.
Pou & Nic: You’re Welcome Sat. Apr. 21 7 pm - Peaple’s Improv Theater Underground (123 E 24 St. Bet. Park & Lex) - $5 Our Monthly show is back at its regular venue!! We wanted to celebrate by bringing you original comedy by a bunch of super talented teams!! Clowns: Everybody Nose!; Sketch: Pirate Sugar; Improv: North Coast. And as usual, a surprise veteran improviser will be leading the jam. You know what we say: you bring the peanut butter, we bring the jam! Hosted by Poupak Sepehri & Nicole Lee.
The Soul Glo Project Sat. Apr. 21 Midnight - UCB East (153 E 3 St. @ Ave A) - $5 Join Keisha Zollar and Poupak Sepehri as they host the Soul Glo Project, a comedy variety show featuring a diverse cast of performers bringing to the stage the very best stand up, sketch, improv, video, dance, and music. Just let your SOUL GLO! This Month Features: Stand-up by Abbi Crutchfield and James Smith III; Improv by P.I.G; Music by People With Teeth; Sketch by Gay Bomb: The Musical.
The Lady Jam Sat. Apr. 21 Midnight - UCB Theatre (307 W 26 St. @ 8 ave) - Free Once a month something special will happen. We will all improvise together. If you want to perform in this lady only open improv jam come to the theatre, put your name in the bucket and get ready! Everyone who puts their name in will perform. All levels of experience are welcome and encouraged to participate. Guys are welcome to watch, just don’t be a creep about it. Hosted by Shannon O’Neill (THE STEPFATHERS) and friends!
I Fight Dragons - “The Power of Love” How’s this for a fantastic cover?
This is heavy.
So heavy!! And before I listened to it, I thought it was a cover of this song - I keep forgetting that Hewey Lewis was probably much more popular here than FGTH at the time… Oh the subtle differences between Europe and the US Past!