Category: Popular Culture

Mr. Nobody

The 2009 science-fiction movie “Mr. Nobody” evaded our radar during its initial release. Now it’s on our very slim shelf of films “worth watching again.” Directed by Jaco van Dormael and starring a precociously talented Jared Leto, “Nobody” has a central story — a boy on a train platform who is made to choose between divorcing...

Kate Berlant

It would be convenient to lump performers like Kate Berlant into a category called “experimental comedy” or “alt-alt comedy.” But sometimes what Berlant does onstage isn’t necessarily comedy. It’s a kind of art. Yes, she’s fabulously funny, especially when yammering haughtily but nonsensically, like a New Age academic on hashish. And she earns laughs by finding...

Our Newly Discovered Ability to Work Within the Preferred Limits

Crankiness and advancing age are almost always concurrent. Babies and old people. They’re cranky. Well, we’re getting older (and mellower and cooler) by the minute,   incessantly these days. What sets it off most is a nationwide ADD plague, a country of poorly developed adults who have the attention span of a squirrel in mating...

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...

Daniel Koren’s “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...

Honestly

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,...

Poem: The Logic of Success

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...

Poem: 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...

Rick Glassman

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,...

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...