Rob Gleeson

rob gleeson

Network television viewers might be acquainted with Rob Gleeson as a charming second-banana in various national commercials. Aficionados of the Los Angeles improv-comedy scene know him as a charming leading-man in various stand-up and storytelling shows. Raised in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin, minutes from the Konik childhood homestead, Gleeson’s energy and visage are Midwestern unthreatening, which serves him well when shilling for corporations. But his astonishing improvisational chops are what’s got us excited. A recent epic appearance on “The Todd Glass Show” podcast with fellow comic Ian Karmel demonstrated that Gleeson has the ears and wit to create humor out of virtually nothing. You’ve seen him, whether you meant to or not. Now, listen and smile.

Daniel Koren’s “The Most Important Thing”

the most important thing

When a performance is difficult to explain yet utterly cogent to live audiences, something suspiciously like art is probably happening. In the case of composer Daniel Koren’s “The Most Important Thing,” a mélange of music, video, dance, and comedy, the results are wildly entertaining, formally provocative, and resolutely their own thing. That’s not easy in a culture built on reiteration. But the Israeli-born, Berklee-educated, Brooklyn-based Koren appears to have an essential quality intrinsic to liberated creators: fearlessness. Disembodied heads singing in harmony; tiny hands clapping and snapping; nonsense syllables conglomerated into a symphony — “The Most Important Thing” is subversive, surreal, and, if you’re hip, unmissable.

Honestly

which mask today

Folks who begin sentences about themselves with the word “honestly” are subtly implying that there are times, perhaps many times – this particular time when they’re talking to you being an exception, of course – when they’re not honest. That’s why they’re prefacing their personal revelation with a qualifier, a certification of authenticity. This time, you can be assured, they’re not being dishonest, and it’s good to be reminded.

Honestly, we didn’t think we could ever write an essay this open and vulnerable.

This must be a mistake, we thought. These “honestly” people probably mean to say “candidly.” They’re making what used to be known in the days of Strunk & White as a “usage error.” Since we’re accustomed to hearing passing Runyon Canyon hikers (most of them under-30, most of them female) use the word “like” dozens of times – honestly, dozens! – in a single . . . → Read More: Honestly

Poem: The Logic of Success

Fiji truth

Find someone else to do the actual work for you

While you sit in a chair

Pay this person less than their labor is worth

Add value to their labor by doing clever things

Such as advertising and storytelling

Conjure fantastical tales of how beneficial and sexy it would be to drink

South Pacific water shipped across the ocean

Arriving like salvation

Making the drinker’s life altogether better and certainly more sophisticated than

The average tap-slurping worker type

Who made the plastic bottle and put the liquid inside and carried it to a truck

Unloading it and loading it and unloading it until

Something that started out being free

Now magically costs several dollars

Because you have to pay for quality

Stories

Poem: Newsflash!

Muppet Newsflash

Pay attention urgent alert this matters

more than anything that’s ever been on any screen

in someone’s pocket this is the news

bombs are falling somewhere in a distant town

the mother-in-law still sports a frown

weak-chinned tyrants wear a sequined gown

and so much more

so many rhymes and shmazzle and music and flooneyooney

that we’ll never know

as we stare intently at our nothing

intending to do nothing

thank you for your time

Rick Glassman

rick glassman, comedian and green screen actor

Soon America is going to be confronted with the peculiar talent of Rick Glassman, comedian and accomplished green screen thespian, when he joins three other comedians on an NBC sitcom called “Undateable.” The show debuts in April. In the interim, connosuiers of comic genius can experience him and his cohorts — Chris D’elia, Brent Morin, and the sensational Ron Funches — in person. They’ll be touring most of the major markets to build interest in their TV show. But if Glassman is involved you can expect meta-comedy of Andy Kaufmann-esque imagination. Some people find that kind of thing funny.

 

Pep Talks

pep talks

These days every other person with a computer and a microphone hosts her very own podcast. Some are worth listening to, and some, like “Pep Talks,” require regular monitoring. Something brilliant and funny and true might be said, and you don’t want to miss it. The show, on the All Things Comedy network, is the creation of The Bitter Buddha, Eddie Pepitone. Like the beloved comedian, the podcast is slightly disheveled, scatterbrained, and altogether loveable. It’s Eddie. If you like hearing him talk about basically anything — and we do — the hour-or-so of each “Pep Talks” episode is like an intimate visit you might have in person, if you’re into beautifully conscious truthtellers.

Ron Funches

ron-funches-headshot_1

Some cats and kittens have it, “it” being that hard-to-define yet easy-to-recognize certain something. They’re touched. Blessed. Gifted. SoCal-based actor and comedian Ron Funches is one of this strange and wonderful breed. Large, adorable, and stoner-friendly, Funches’ drawling delivery and chillaxed energy is charming. But not monotonous. Funches peppers the mellowness with unexpected bursts of intensity and rage, as in when he demonstrates the only appropriate time to call someone a nigga. He’s on TV a lot now. See him live for the real deal.

Late Quartet

alatequartet promo

Despite being handicapped by a complete absence of CGI natural disasters, murderous firearms, or human bloodshed, the feature film “A Late Quartet” is surprisingly interesting. You could say it’s an adult film — about four adults (members of a world-famous string quartet) playing adult music (Beethoven, Shostakovich), grappling with adult concerns (mortality, fidelity, honesty). Writer-director Yaron Silberman isn’t afraid of big ideas or small idiosyncracies. Working with a masterful cast that includes Philip Seymour Hoffmann, Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener, and the sensationally sexy Imogen Poots, he’s made a movie as compulsively watchable as much louder films. Encore, we say.

 

Hooray for Hollywood (Boulevard)

Small-Breasted Marilyn

The whole world is worried about North Korea. We’re not. We think locally. The area around which we can walk or ride our bike is our concern. We’re civic-minded that way.

Hollywood Boulevard is nearby. We walk on its sidewalks almost every day, often to access the subway, which serves our neighborhood with a Hollywood & Highland stop. If you’ve not been to Hollywood & Highland, picture a summer-stock version of Times Square, with fewer lights, people and energy, but the same frantically commercial vibe, the same “souvenirs are mandatory” ethos.

The “Walk of Fame,” a sidewalk with inlaid pentagrams and the name of someone famous or formerly so, has a high weirdness-to-cheesiness ratio. But at certain spots, such as where Stevie Wonder’s star touches Miles Davis’s – right near that venerable Hollywood landmark Buffalo Wild Wings – you’d swear universal harmonic convergences are possible.

Mostly, though, . . . → Read More: Hooray for Hollywood (Boulevard)