Aug 21

Quit Your Day Job (But give notice).

“Don’t quit your day job!”   That advice is easy to follow.

Go to work.  Make money.  Go to an open mic.  Get slightly better at comedy.  Sleep (little).  Repeat.

Eventually this will turn into:

Go to work.  Make money.  Go perform comedy.  Make (little) money  and get slightly better at comedy.   Sleep (little).  Repeat.

But what happens when you start getting told to quit you day job?

The only notes I received during a comedy competition in Raleigh N.C last year.

Someone in charge of something really liked my comedy.

That’s what this blog is going to discuss weekly until I am either forced back to work because of a lack of income or I am too busy to write a blog because I am rich and famous and will only use twitter to interact with the internet because I can only afford to give out 140 characters at a time for free.  That second part is a joke of course…  how am I doing so far… ugh…

Anyway, quitting my job is not something that I rushed into.  I spent years building an act and trying to make connections with other comics and bookers.  I spent at least a full year convincing myself that I could do this.  I paid down debt and saved my money.  I made sure not to get anyone pregnant and I resisted a very real urge to get a puppy.   I listened to audiobooks that explained how to quit a job because I can’t figure out anything on my own.  What happens if you don’t quit your job properly?  Do you lose more of your job?   Why did I spend $15 on a guy telling me to give at least 2 weeks notice?  I will probably wish I had that $15 back soon enough.    What a buzz kill.

On Monday August 11,  I worked late in Kingston Ma, even though I had to be in Somerville Ma, to host a comedy show at 7:30.  After I finished painting my last car for the day I walked into my bosses office and we had a discussion and I gave my notice.  I quit.  It was frightening and I felt bad.  I really liked my boss.  But I had made up my mind, I’m either going to succeed or fall on my face but I’m not going to play it safe any longer.

On Sunday August 17, I broke the news to my parents.  They said “yeah, Greg (my brother) already told us.”  And then my father said “well if you’re gonna do it, now is the time”  I said “I’m glad that you agree…”  he interrupted “I don’t 100% agree, but I think if you’re going to do it, you should do it now”.  Then he got this far away look in his eyes and said “ya know sometimes I wish I took some chances…”.

The lovely Phoebe Angle holding my birthday dinner.

The lovely Phoebe Angle holding my birthday dinner.

On Monday August 18, I announced it on facebook.  It was without question the most popular thing I’ve ever said on social media.  The only post that ever even came close was a picture of my girlfriend (Phoebe Angle)  holding 7 raw steaks.

I know there are people rooting for me and I know there are people that think I’ll do well.  However I think even more than that people just love the idea.  Everyone wants to take their shot.  There’s a million reasons not to.  I’ve put myself in a position where I can afford to do this and I hope some of the folks that want to do it but can’t for whatever reason can share in my experience by coming here and reading this each week.

September 5th is my last day of painting cars.  But I will still be working everyday after that.  Just trying to make people laugh.

 

You can also follow me on twitter @shawncarters or find me on facebook https://www.facebook.com/shawncartercomedy

Aug 19

Stuff We Like: An Interview with Adam Langlois of Hello Let’s Date (and stand up) by Christa Weiss

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Stuff We Like: An Interview with Adam Langlois of Hello Let’s Date (and stand up)

by Christa Weiss






Internet stardom. It a weird thing. Sometimes it seems totally random, other times it’s the result of hard work and good joke writing. (The rest of the time its some d-list celebrity banging some other d-list celebrity, but you’ll have to go to some other site for that.) What creates an internet phenomenon is hard to pin down. So when our friend and fellow stand-up Adam Langlois’ blog, Hello Let’s Date went viral we decided to find out just what internet fame is all about.

How did you get the idea for Hello Lets Date?

A few of my friends and I downloaded Tinder a couple years ago; I’m not even really sure why. I know I didn’t plan on actually meeting anyone. I guess it just seemed kinda silly and fun. It quickly turned into a game to see who could get the funniest screenshot. I ended up compiling a ton of them over a few months. It really appealed to my love for writing bizarre jokes.

 

I started doing a bit on stage where I’d rail off a few of the opening lines I had used on Tinder. Most of them are ones that are on the site now. I didn’t expect it to go anywhere, but it quickly became my strongest bit. I was only about three or four months into stand up at the time, so having a bit that consistently did well was huge. I kept trying to churn out new screenshots to make my friends laugh and to add to the stand up bit. Eventually someone suggested that I throw them on a blog, so I did.
 

HLDWere you surprised with how it took off so quickly?

Sure, but only because I didn’t REALLY expect it to take off at all. I had bought the URL (twelve dollars!) because I knew there was always the chance, but really I was just trying to make my friends laugh. Also, it didn’t take off THAT quickly. I had been adding to the blog four or five days a week for about four months before anyone besides my friends saw it. Maybe that’s quick? I dunno.
 

Has it changed the way you write standup?

I don’t think having the site has changed it, but the success of that first bit with lines from now-HLD posts showed me that other people appreciate that kind of strange, surreal humor. I suppose the positive reaction to the site serves as a reminder that I shouldn’t shy away from the weirder joke ideas.
 






Some internet famous people are giant douchebags. In my experience, you are not a giant douchebag. This is confusing to me. Why are you not a dick?

Wait, who are you again? Why am I wasting my time answering these questions? I better be getting paid a lot for this.

 

Seriously though, thanks for thinking that! You’re pretty great, too. People should be nice to each other. That’s it. Maybe I’m not internet famous enough yet to really throw it in peoples’ faces.
 

Comics can be shitty. How has becoming internet famous changed your interactions with fellow comics/comedy people?

People have been really great! I’ve heard a lot of kind, supportive things from people I really respect, so that’s been super cool. I get a lot of balls-busting from my closest comedy friends, but that’s just because they’re talentless hacks consumed by jealousy. Maybe you should have waited to ask the question before this one?

 

I’m sure there’s probably some local comics that think what I’m doing is total garbage. If there are, they’ve been nice enough to not say anything. I’ve had some negative feedback online, but that’s to be expected. A Buzzfeed writer told me I should be arrested for being so offensively unfunny. Then a month later they featured my site in one of their articles.

 

It hasn’t REALLY changed the way I interact with comedians. Sometimes I’ll get a “OH YOU’RE THE GUY FROM THAT THING” when I meet other comics for the first time.
 

You seem like you sort of hate Hello Lets Date. Why is that?

Ha! I don’t hate it! I think it might come off like that because I can’t stand being self-promotional. I also don’t LOVE the idea of being known for a blog instead of the thing I spend all my time on (stand up), but I’ll take what I can get.

 

I just read that back and it sounds whiney. I’m a real piece of garbage. Okay, here, for the record- I am crazy excited and ecstatic at the success of HLD. I feel super fortunate that its reached so many people.
 

Have your experiences with INTERNET STARDOM been largely positive or negative?

The only negative thing is trying to find room on my yacht to fit all the super models and champagne.
 

The internet is a terrible place filled with awful people. What’s you’re best internet crazy person story?

There’s no one story that sticks out, but I’ve had a HUGE number of girls (and some guys) tweet that they want to date/marry/other me. Their infatuation is based on tinder screenshots. They don’t know what I look like; for all they know I’m an 80 year old obese man that hasn’t left his basement in decades. So that’s kind of crazy to me.
 

The internet is also filled with idiots who plagiarize everything. Has this happened to you?

Yeah, this is something that I was struggling with for a while that I’ve recently come to terms with. My friend Thom Crowley (Boston comic) helped me put a watermark on each post after the site started blowing up, but people have even found ways to cut that off the posts. There have been a lot of copy cats (I know I wasn’t the first to do this sort of thing, but these people went out of their way to make theirs look identical to mine), which has been mostly flattering but occasionally frustrating.

 

I try not to let it bother me anymore. I’m not interested in policing the internet for thieves. I try to have faith that nobody else can do exactly what I’m doing, so if I keep churning out content it’ll all eventually point back to me.

———————————————————————————————————————————

Adam and fellow comics John Baglio, and Kevin Seefried run a fantastic comedy show, the Mendoza Line at every Saturday at 9pm located at the Dugout in Boston. For more info, go to our Boston/New England Comedy Shows page or find the direct link here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bogart-la-presents-the-mendoza-line-boston-alt-comedy-showcase-tickets-9919840510

Fun fact: The Mendoza Line was voted Best Live Comedy by Boston A-list for 2014!
 
Visit Adam’s site at www.helloletsdate.com!

Aug 18

The Dumb Web: Men Taking Up Too Much Space on the Train by PJ Westin

478362_3694497522795_107863403_oThe Dumb Web: Men Taking Up Too Much Space on the Train, A Classic Among Assertions of Stupid

The Dumb Web is a weekly series that shines a light on the dimmest parts of the internet.

by PJ Westin

 

 

 

 

Men Taking Up Too Much Space on the Train (MTUTMSotT going forward, and even that abbreviation is a pain in the ass to type) is a Tumblr blog that encourages readers to submit pictures of men taking up an inconsiderate amount of space on public transportation. Essentially, it’s a lot of pictures of this:

Untitled

Yup, that’s pretty douchey. Wait, douchey or douchy? I know neither are real words, but…fuck it, he’s a douche.

 

The blog’s byline proudly proclaims that this is “A classic among assertions of privilege.” That guy who put his feet up on the seat next to you on the way to work? Turns out he wasn’t an inconsiderate asshole, he was asserting male privilege. As is every man taking up slightly more space than a woman on a train. In any situation. Regardless of context. Even if they’re-

 

-not invading anyone’s personal space:

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There is a woman in this picture taking up literally twice as much space as this man.

 

-a lost old man with heavy bags:

If this man is trying to figure out the NYC subway system, he’s going to have to sit and think for a while.

If this man is trying to figure out the NYC subway system, he’s going to have to sit and think for a while.

 

-or, actually not taking up that much space at all:

If these men would just sit on each others’ laps, two more women could sit down.

If these men would just sit on each others’ laps, two more women could sit down.

Now, I could point out that it is inherently wrong to take photographs of strangers without their consent and post them on the internet. I could point out that taking a small inconsiderate gesture and assigning it to one sex is, by definition, sexist. I could point out that this blog turned the work of German photographer, Marianne Wex into half-assed slactivism. But the most important thing to point out is that the blog’s claim that this is “A classic among assertions of privilege,” makes no fucking sense.

 

See, privilege is a sociological term, one that became prominent in the late ’80s when Peggy McIntosh published White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack. In short, privileges are unearned benefits that you get from society that you don’t recognize because they seem normal. You don’t worry about being sexually harassed? That’s male privilege. You’re not afraid of talking to the cops? That’s white privilege. You don’t worry about your tap water giving you dysentery? That’s first world privilege.

 

They are unacknowledged advantages that exist within our society, and while it’s not your fault for having them, you should at the very least try to make yourself aware of them. Of course, none of the internet’s memes seem to cover this, probably because it won’t fit over Fry’s face.

Untitled5

 

Privileges, however, are NOT feelings of entitlement people have, and they are NOT a set of behaviors that people engage in (like being a jerk on the train). So while MTUTMSotT might sound clever saying these pictures are “A classic among assertion of privilege,” the author is actually just parroting a sociological term that they don’t really understand.

 

It’s also worth mentioning that MTUTMSotT is, above all else, a blatant plagiarism of another blog, Move the Fuck Over Bro (MTFOB). This blog tends to get less attention because, unlike the author of MTUTMSotT (who mostly uses the blog to troll men into crowd-sourcing a poem about their balls), MTFOB’s author is clearly insane. The blog actually has more angry posts from the author and readers than pictures of men on the train, and FAQ is a laundry list of crazy (I’m not going to pick apart the whole thing, but I will say that the second one is particularly dumb).

 

Untitled

Bullshit. It’s possible someone asked you this to you once, maybe even twice, and you just couldn’t let it go, but there is no chance in hell this question is “frequently asked.”

 

 

What is truly disturbing is that MTUTMSotT has more than 24,000 followers. It routinely gets mentioned on click bait sites like BuzzFeed and Pinterist. “Diversity Consultant” and guy who thinks he can pull off a soul patch Jamie Utt also cited it in one of his recent “musings,” which was then picked up by a few websites. The Huffington Post covered it twice, and some people mistake that for a real newspaper. Even the Guardian covered it (albeit in a small opinion piece) and that IS a real newspaper. The movement has even spread to Turkey and Sweden.  And more sites than I’m going to list lost their shit when someone posted a picture of Rob Stark.

Untitled6

Wow, fucking over a Stark. Real original, MTUTMSotT.

 

Now, I shouldn’t have to say this, but this is the internet, so:

If someone is violating your personal space, harassing you, touching you, or is in any way trying to make you feel intimidated by their physical presence, that is not OK. That is never OK. That being said, if someone is just being inconsiderate commuter, either call them out on it or ignore it and get on with your life.

 

But whatever you do, don’t post your pettiness on the internet and pretend its activism. Because the result is Moose Knuckle.

Untitled7

Moose. Knuckle.

Aug 13

On Robin Williams and Suicide by Rich Karski

ted_karski_questionOn Robin Williams and Suicide

by Rich Karski

 

 

 

 

 

I was going to submit my usual column this week, but it was dark and violent and seemed stupid at this point with the news of Robin Williams taking his own life.

 

I know, who needs another comic making Williams’ suicide about himself, right? But the fact is that this is about all of us.

 

I’m not going to claim that Williams was a huge influence on me, as he was well before my time and I mostly remember him as an actor in a handful of great movies and a handful of shitty ones. I’m also not going to deny that he was a giant in the industry, and everyone who sees these comedy specials that are becoming more and more ubiquitous have him to thank for popularizing the medium. Williams was unquestionably important in life, showing that a career telling jokes can lead to places that most would never consider. His death is equally important, as a reminder that no amount of material success or industry respect can act as a substitute for proper mental healthcare.

 

Williams’ death is going to lead to similar conversations to the ones that accompany that of any comic who dies by means attributed to themselves.

 

Robin-Williams-robin-williams-23618129-1000-1500“He seemed so happy, how could this happen?”

 

“He was so rich and successful! I can’t believe it!”

 

…and worst of all “How could he be so selfish?!”

 

 

 

 

Nobody knows anything about Williams’ mindset when he decided to take his own life, but I can tell you about mine when I decided to do the same.

 

Two years ago I had a very serious suicide attempt that was interrupted by a freak coincidence. I had been in through a series of deep depressions for the previous four years, and it had gotten to the point where I thought it would never end. My family was worried about me, I was performing poorly at work, and I was alienating my friends at nearly every opportunity.

 

I decided that I had become an unnecessary burden on the people I cared about. I was not worth the trouble I put them through to keep me in their lives. The distress I was causing them would find closure, the money from my life insurance would help them out of some financial trouble, and I’d exist only as memories that would slowly fade instead of a tangible dark cloud hanging over every gathering.

 

To me, at that moment, the best thing for everyone involved would be if I were gone. In my mind, there was nothing selfish about it. It was practical. Noble even.

 

I’m telling you this because these are the fucked up mental gymnastics that people need to go through to justify something like taking their own life. If someone values him or herself little enough to end their life, chances are they’re not doing this as a FUCK YOU to the people they leave behind. They’re doing it because they actually believe this is the best thing to do. If you can minimize yourself enough to lose all value for your own life, how much could you possibly believe others would care if you were gone?

 

It’s mostly comics that read this site, and I know comics tend to have a little more empathy for mental illness if not more understanding, but it’s important to know that this is going to touch you all on a personal level at one point or another. You either know somebody or are somebody who is struggling, and who is not necessarily doing enough about it.

 

Know that this will affect you, and know that help is available, and know that help is RARELY GOING TO WORK THE FIRST TIME AROUND. Keep at it until something does, because something will.

 

The most important thing we should do as a community of comics is fucking ask. When you ask someone how they’re doing, go deeper. Fuck what shows they did this weekend, and fuck whoever they’re complaining about not booking them. Ask them: No, really, How are you doing? Because that might be all someone needs to get the ball rolling on the process of finding some real help, and how fucking easy is that? Just ask. Because the harder it is for someone to ignore that people care about them, the harder it is for them to talk themselves into doing something foolish.

 

It sucks that the life of someone so respected and well-liked ended this way, but it sucks when most any life ends this way. It’s the only cause of death that’s 100% preventable, and maybe we can do our part to get closer to that number.

 

If you need to talk or if you want to just call me a shit-head, you can contact me at rkarski33@gmail.com.

 

 

 

Image was pulled from a Bing image search of “Robin Williams”  If you are the owner of the image and would like credit or to request it be taken down please contact please contact UnScene here.

Aug 12

What’s So Funny? A documentary about New England Comics, PART 1 is online!

Hey kids!

Part 1 of What’s So Funny? A documentary about New England stand ups by Tony Capobianco is finally ready! You’ll get some insight into the craziness of being a comedian and find out just what makes us tick. Check it!

- Christa

 

 

Interested in seeing more of Tony’s stuff? Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/TonyCapobiancoComedy

Aug 11

The Smut Critic: A Mystery Man Critiques All Things Awful

We here at UnScene Comedy have received an anonymous email from a person calling themselves the Smut Critic. I have decided to post it. The Smut Critic does exactly what you would think. He critiques adult movies. Enjoy.

- Shawn

If you do enjoy this sort of thing you can follow this person on twitter @SmutCritic

 

Hello degCriticenerates,  it’s the Smut Critic here.

 

You could spend minutes upon minutes foolishly wasting your time searching for just the right movie to provide inspiration for your manly needs, or you could stop by my blog first and I’ll tell you what to avoid.  And occasionally I’ll tell you what to definitely check out.

 

Now, as men we have limited time to spend browsing a seemingly limitless amount of pornography.  As much as we’d all like to spend our entire day on the world wide web cam, we have jobs that block WomanOnWoman.com and girlfriends that get annoyed when we aren’t listening because we’re watching WhatAGoodDarnWank.com and friends that pretend that they don’t watch WowThatsATonOfFreePorn.com.  I’ll try and help you maximize your returns by eliminating films that may not be up to snuff. (probably the wrong phrase).

 

The first film that I was asked to review was 1 night in China.

 

Hint One:  Avoid this movie if you are a fan of foreign films and have a specific affection for those from the far east.

 

The first thing that struck me about this film was the lack Chinese actors or actresses.  This was thoroughly disappointing.  So why is the movie called 1 night in China?  Well, simply because the professional wrestling diva named Chyna is the main character.  Remember her from 20 years ago?  How old is JR Huffman that he wanted me to review this?   This film starts out slower than Sloth from Goonies.  After 15 minutes of watching this chick not be naked we spend the next 10 minutes watching her be orally satisfied with the camera set in a way that allows you only to see the back and buttocks of the man putting in the work and nothing of Chyna.   I am beyond flaccid at this point I think it is traveling up into the body, my penis looks uncircumcised because it has been retreating like Napoleon from Moscow, the losses are huge.  I want someone to come in and hit her with a chair just to make it more exciting.

 

Hint Two:  If you get turned on by feet then you’ll love this because Chyna is definitely the heel in this cinematic adventure.

 

One of the major problems in the film besides the lack of any semblance of a plot or a lighting person or makeup person or dialogue, is the fact that it appears as though the producer attempted to be the actor, and camera man.  This is something that only porno people don’t understand.  You can’t be the camera man for a scene that you are acting in.  Not even Clint Eastwood tries to take on that much responsibility.  Most of the time it seems as though the camera has just been attached to an oscillating fan, it’s really tough to focus on anything.

 

I give this film five stars out of a thousand.  I think it’s fair that adult films are ranked as high as a thousand stars.  This is the worst 5 star movie I’ve ever seen.  I didn’t even have to take a break from writing this critique of an adult film.  That’s how bad it was.  That’s it for now.  Get back to building that hair doll of the girl in your office with the tiny boobs and although she once called you Kyle you’re pretty sure she knows your name is really Carl.  Hey wait,  how do you have that much of her hair?  Is she totally bald at this point.  Nevermind, I don’t want to know.

Aug 08

Weekly Caption Contest!

Each week Shawn Carter asks a group of comics to write a caption for a photo. The winner of our caption contest gets special treatment at our open mic at Sally O’Briens in Somerville.

This week I was torn between two winners.  I’ll post both captions below.

FancyPug

The chippendales calendar was weird this year.”  – Adam Langlois

“Fetch me my finest rug, I wish to drag my ass on it.” – Nick Cabral

Aug 06

Stuff We Like: An Interview with the Hadron Gospel Hour Podcast

HadronStudio

Rich Wentworth & Mike McQuilkin, Creators of the Hadron Gospel Hour

Stuff We Like: An Interview with the Hadron Gospel Hour Podcast

by Christa Weiss

 

The Hadron Gospel Hour (HGH) podcast is like a mad scientist’s dream, provided that said scientist was also a huge comedy nerd. Part old timey radio show, part sci-fi sitcom and part sketch comedy, HGH is nothing short of a uniquely awesome audio experience.

Created by Richard Wentworth and Michael McQuilkin, the podcast has a sensibility that is akin to a combination of Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Monty Python. In addition to doing a high quality and meticulously produced podcast, HGH also do live recordings of the show.

On Sunday, Aug. 10th, the Hadron Gospel Hour will be holding yet another live comedy sci-fi sketch spectacular to coincide with Boston Comic Con. The show will feature a live never-before-heard episode of HGH along with the most special of guests!

To commemorate this momentous event (and because I felt like it) I mean sat down with Rich and Mike to find out just what makes the Hadron Gospel Hour tick.

 

HGH aug 10 flyer_small

How the heck did you come up with the concept for the podcast? 


Mike: We had a shared desire to create an audio-only radio-style show in an environment that allowed us nearly limitless story potential…namely a fractured multiverse in which the characters could easily traverse drastically different timelines and settings.

Rich: Yeah, as Mike mentioned, we’ve been wanting to do an audiodramedy, or at least some kind of podcast, for years. As far as Hadron Gospel Hour goes: I was in a band briefly (The Unlivin’ Dead) where I’d come up with the idea of Dr. Oppenheimer, the Hadron Blast, and the fracturing of the multiverse as a backstory and a way to frame our songs. When The Unlivin’ Dead ended, I was really reluctant to let that idea die, so last September Mike and I sat down and I pitched him the idea of somehow adapting it to a radio drama format, with the “Tales from the Hadron Rift” part as comedy sketches instead of songs. Everything just clicked.

 


What are your influences?

Mike: Everything. Comics, movies, classic TV.  Obviously lots of 60′s, 70′s, and 80′s nostalgia trickles in to our storycrafting…and we couldn’t be happier about that inevitability.

 

Rich: Comedywise, I think we’d both agree on a lot of these: Mel Brooks, Tex Avery, Peter Sellers, Monty Python, 60s and 70s Hanna-Barbera action/comedy cartoons, The Monkees…

We also love lots of more “modern” stuff though, too — like Workaholics, Tim and Eric, Arrested Development, the UK version of The Office… more minimal, single camera-type shows that take the tropes of situation comedy or sketch comedy, amplify ‘em and strip away the chaff. Science fiction-wise, it’s stuff like The Tomorrow People (original UK version), Doctor WHO, Misfits of Science, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, The Lost Saucer, Far-Out Space Nuts and the novels of William Gibson. And our theme was obviously inspired by the Incredible Hulk, the Six Million Dollar Man, Space 1999 and high-octane kids’ sci-fi adventure of the 70s and 80s.

What’s the writing process like?


Mike: The season starts off with a brainstorming session by fireside in Rich’s yard in Lowell, coming up with the rough outlines for each of the 10 episodes and some story threads that will run throughout. We then split duties, each taking every other episode and creating a completed script in 2-4 days. This constitutes the first week of production. We then schedule and record the performers by that weekend. The 2nd week is editing and post-production, with me editing the episode together and Rich focusing on sound design and sound mixing. 

Somewhere in there, we throw together the ‘Tales from the Hadron Rift’, writing, recording, and editing those on the fly. The deadline is the 2nd Sunday, where we broadcast the completed episode live on our streaming server, finishing up with an impromptu record party.  Monday morning, the episode is loaded to iTunes and it’s back to the races.

Rich: What Mike said. I’ll just add that now that we’ve got a season under our belt, the characters have really started taking off and almost writing themselves. We’ve got their voices in our heads now, which both helps us write and makes us extremely annoying to friends and family.

Twilight Zone vs the Xfiles, which is the best TV show?|


Mike: A seriously difficult question, as the first time I saw the X-files it evoked similar feelings of wonder and excitement as my first exposure to The Twilight Zone.  I have to go with Twilight Zone, if only for it’s historic position in the annals of long-running sci-fi and the team of writers.  Matheson,  Ambrose Bierce, Serling…how many did he write alone?  Close to 100?  That’s just bananas.  Although I absolutely love it, I feel as though the X-files ran out of steam after the first movie. That’s still quite a run of rare and wonderful television…plus it has perhaps the greatest onscreen platonic couple of all time.  I’m so glad they never went to way of ‘Moonlighting’ and…oh wait…

Rich: Twilight Zone, just for Rod Serling’s weird swagger, its sheer mood and the wackiness of the premises — and the twist endings! There wasn’t much on TV that had that kind of weirdness at the time, so it’s got that going for it too. Great guests, too — I mean, Burgess Meredith? William Shatner? So yeah, Twilight Zone. Although the fact that William Gibson wrote a couple of X-Files episodes is hard to beat. Mike will be able to elucidate further on the X-Files, as he is perhaps our nation’s preeminent X-Files fan.


Where do you find your performers? 


Mike: Besides our host of talented friends, we scour the land for talent…both locally and online. Rebecca Courtney is a voice actress based in England that Rich found on Twitter. Jon Mikl Thor is a living rock legend based in Canada, but touring the world. We are truly blessed with a host of talented folks willing to contribute.

Rich: We’re lucky to have a core group of friends that we’ve been working with for years on different projects. Mike Atkinson (Cyrus) is a longitme friend and collaborator from Malden (and everyone should see his standup), and Lisa McQuilkin (A.S.H LE) happens to be Mike’s ladycompanion. The legendary Kevin Harrington (Higgs_B) was introduced to us by the equally legendary Carrie D’Amour (Esmerelda), and they are both fabulous.

We’ve just been really lucky with our cast. Everyone’s attacked the learning curve involved in acting on the mic, and they just keep getting better and better. As far as new talent goes, like Mike said, we’re always listening for new voices. We’ve got a short list of folks we want to work with, but we’re always listening. So send us your reels and come visit the Hadron Bunker, folks.

hgh_header

What did you learn from the first season?

Mike: Time-management skills, juicing techniques, and the desire to take Hadron Gospel hour on the road for some live shows.


Rich: Do not binge-watch Hannibal/Fargo/etc. while there’s scripts to be written. Get sleep when you can, eschew sleep when you must. Always have an alternate plan when writing for a special guest. Stay focused, but stay loose! Hydrate. Also, people love Commander Funk.

Who is your favorite Doctor?

Mike: While I love the new Davies, Moffatt and Gattis incarnations…all excellent by the way…the Doctor will,  and forever shall be, Tom Baker. It was amazing seeing him in ‘The Day of the Doctor’…I am getting teary-eyed just writing that.


Rich: Tom Baker. Handily. Pertwee a close second. Curly-haired Docs for the win. My least favorite? Celery lapel. Can’t remember his name offhand. 
 

Who would win in a fight to the death, a bear or a shark?

Rich: Basically, if a bear and a shark are fighting, WE ALL win. Because if those two ever realize they can team up, the human race is screwed. No. No, my friends. We WANT them to fight. 

Mike: In water, a Bear…on land, Shark.  The desperation that arises when one is out of his or her natural element is not to be underestimated.

Amidst a sea of horrible audio nightmares, the quality of your podcast is top notch. What’s your approach to podcasting?

Rich: Early on, we made a gentleman’s agreement that we’d do this right — and for us, that means “good-sounding” — so we researched things like the best mics for our (nonexistent) budget and cheap ways to treat a room for the best sound. Mike and I both have backgrounds in recording and producing music, and I’ve done a lot of voiceover work, so we also have an ear for what works and what doesn’t. Mike’s logged many hours as a film editor, so his dialogue editing is super tight and efficient, and really swings. The process we’ve come up with really allows us a lot of control over the quality of the finished piece. It’s nice to hear that it comes across, because we’re definitely anal about it.

Mike: Thanks so much!  We really appreciate that.  It’s a lot of work, but in the end…on that 2nd Sunday night…I just want to be a member of the audience and tune in to something that I can enjoy. This practice is a self-imposed experiment of discipline…once it’s done, it’s done.  We’ve had a lot of half-started projects that we were equally excited about, but we wanted this to be something of a ‘best-foot forward’ for the both of us. 

As formerly (and currently) frustrated artists, we have set the bar particularly high for the type of thing we both want to hear and see, and Hadron Gospel Hour is no exception. Our audience deserves it.

 

—————————————————————————————————————–

Join Rich, Mike and the entire cast of HGH (including Michael Atkinson, Lisa Perry McQuilkin and Kevin Harrington) along with special guests Ken Reid (creator of the TV Guidance Counselor podcast- tvguidancecounselor.tumblr.com) and Rick Canavan of The Comedy Studio (www.thecomedystudio.com)

this Sunday, August 10th at the Hadron Gospel Hour Live!

Hadron Gospel Hour Live!
the Button Factory
50 Melcher St. Boston MA 02210
August 10th, 2pm

Presale tix: $8 via http://hadrongospelhour.brownpapertickets.com/
Tix at the door: $10.

For more information on the Hadron Gospel Hour, visit www.hadrongospelhour.com

 

Aug 05

HOW TO!: UnScene’s Weekly Column About How to Do a Thing by Rich Karski

karski

HOW TO!: UnScene’s Weekly Column About How to Do a Thing

– by Rich Karski

 

 

 

Welcome to another edition of Rich Karski’s HOW TO!: The weekly online column used to teach Chinese businessmen how to converse with prostitutes.

 

Let’s face it. You’re all going to die. Not like, now, probably. But pretty soon. Sooner than you might expect. The only people who actually live longer than they want are people like me who don’t particularly care for living. No, no you don’t have much time left. Your body is decaying rapidly, and no amount of healthy living is going to stop the process. Add to this fact the constant threat of random chance wiping you off the earth with a car accident or lightning strike or jealous lover, and it’s amazing that any of us live long enough to see the days where our genitals no longer work and we get mad at the TV news.

 

funny-funeral-beer-hearse-pictureIt’s alright though. Death is perfectly fine and we should all get over ourselves because none of us are important in the grand scheme of things and our lives are less than a blip in the existence of the universe. Dinosaurs survived on this planet for 135 million years. Humans have been around for about 200,000 and we have fucked the planet up to the point where we absolutely will not make it another 100,000. As a species we don’t even qualify tourists on this fucking thing, so as an individual your value is as quantifiably close to zero as you can get.

 

What the fuck were we talking about anyway? Oh yeah, dying! Well my point was you are so insignificant that you might as well already be dead, so why be scared of death in the first place? “And what exactly am I supposed to do with this information, Rich?” you might ask if your mother had done needle drugs while you were still in the womb. I think it’s pretty obvious what you should do. You should treat your death like the giant joke it is, only one that’s played on whoever is left on earth that was unfortunate enough to love you. That’s why today I’m going to teach you

 

HOW TO PLAN YOUR FUNERAL

 

STEP ONE: Blaspheming Your God/Gods

One thing funeral rites have had in common for centuries is religion. Whether it meant being sacrificed to Chtcolquiloccwtu, the Mayan God of Wrists, or being buried under a labeled rock so Jesus can find you and yell at you for masturbating, death and religion go hand in hand. Unfortunately, now as it always has been, religion is quite stupid. The people who loved you in life may turn to religion to ease the pain of your death and find hope that life continues afterward, and it is your job to remind them that this is dumb and they are dumb and they still owe you money.

 

There are some simple stipulations you can write into your will to undermine any religious ceremony that your family would like to accompany your passing. For example, you could write into your will that you would like to be buried in your favorite t-shirt. Seems innocuous enough, until your executor unravels the XXL Big Dog tee with giant red letters that say “JESUS IS A CHODE” or “YAWEH? MORE LIKE NO-WEH! (DOUCHE)” They’re not really going to violate your last will and testament to appease some shit-head deity that just took their loved one away from them, are they?

 

Another fun thing to stipulate in your will is that you be buried upside down. This just seems so unnatural that people will lose their shit over it, forgetting that they’re going to be taking out your organs and burying you in a hole to be eaten by worms. Asking to be buried upside down is probably the most disturbing thing you can do if your family is at all religious, and there really is no reason why. It’s awesome though, and I highly recommend doing it because it will ensure that you are haunting loved ones’ nightmares for years to come.

 

STEP TWO: Inconveniencing Your Loved Ones

Okay, so there’s really no such thing as a “destination funeral” but if you play your cards right, you can continue being a terrible burden to your family even after you’ve shuffled off this mortal coil. If this is the route you want to go, then I have three words for you: Burial. At. Sea. Holy shit is it a pain in the ass! Shawn Carter inspired this article by asking me how this is done, and there is so much goddamned red tape surrounding it that I couldn’t even make the entire tedious process into an article because I couldn’t think of a great punch line about filling out a copy of DD form 214 (something about boobs? I don’t know. I was thinking something to do with Double Dragon but then I realized that I haven’t thought about that in 20 years and am only vaguely aware of what it even is anymore.)

 

Anyway, we’re not talking about your “Boo hoo, he loved to fish so we’re throwing his ashes into the ocean” burials at sea. We’re talking about a full body “we have to do 30 pages of paperwork, stitch this motherfucker into a weighted canvas bag, then sail out 40 miles to drop him at an appropriate depth?!”-type burial at sea. If you thought your family was unhappy about your death before, just wait until they have to spend 4.5 hours on a boat before they can finally chuck your lousy ass into the ocean.

 

While you’re at it, you should make the inheritance of your estate equally complicated, because the only thing more soul-crushing than losing someone you love is bureaucracy (I call it bureaucrazy because let’s face it, it’s NUTS.) If you have played your cards right, instead of being followed by wistful anecdotes, the utterance of your name at any future family gatherings should be followed by a muttered “that fucking asshole” and then several nods of agreement.

 

STEP THREE: Desecrating Your Corpse

This is where the fun really starts. There’s no better way to shock and horrify your family and friends than to force them to watch your corpse be mutilated in fun and interesting ways. Now, I’m not sure about the legality of these methods, but from what I understand, anything you put into a will is ironclad and needs to be honored or else the risk of a prolonged haunting becomes immense.

 

Personally, I would like my flesh to be boiled off my bones, and then my skeleton allowed to roam free, terrorizing the countryside like a rogue Sasquatch. This method might not be for everybody, but there are plenty of other riders you can throw into the will to ruin your family’s memory of you forever.

 

Taxidermy is a nice option. I would suggest having yourself stuffed in a menacing position, and then bequeathed to the youngest surviving member of your family. You would be like a giant leathery plush toy, propped on their bed next to Teddy Ruxpin and Cabbage Patch dolls, giving the child nightmares and warped views on sexuality for as long as it takes before you pop a seam and end up at the Goodwill store.

 

If you prefer something more futuristic, you could go the “Demolition Man” route. Demand that your body be dipped in liquid nitrogen, and then have each visitor to your funeral break a piece of you off with a hammer as a keepsake. Remember to stress the fact that if they don’t take a piece they will be haunted and haunted good, and your ghost is going to be able to watch them use the bathroom whenever it wants and there is nothing they can do about it.

 

STEP FOUR: Disappearing Your Corpse

If you REALLY want to upset your loved ones, and I mean REALLY upset them, then the best thing you can do is not even give them a body to bury. Not everyone has the luxury to know when they’re going to die, but if you are one of the lucky few, I highly suggest wandering off into uncharted territory and not even leaving a body to mourn. There’s no better way to stick it to those assholes who tolerated your lifetime of bullshit than to leave them in limbo, dragging out the slightest glimmer of hope that maybe somewhere you’re still out there, huffing paint and eating dead skin just like old times.

 

This is especially effective if you leave a series of vague and confusing clues hinting at your whereabouts. Maybe turn it into a scavenger hunt, and set up an elaborate, “National Treasure”-esque search for clues spanning continents and centuries and then maybe just have them lead to a box of nude polaroids or like a mannequin with a picture of your face taped to it that says “Bury this you fucking nerds!” And then once they found it you would probably be able to high five whoever was around you, but nobody would be there because you would be dead in the woods. But at least everyone would be real pissed off!

 

So there you have it.

Four easy steps on how to plan a funeral that people will be talking about long after you die, mostly because they will be angry that you couldn’t die more than once. Now go out there and find a taxidermist with questionable morals.

 

 

Image was pulled from a Bing image search of “funny funeral”  If you are the owner of the image and would like credit or to request it be taken down please contact please contact UnScene here.

Aug 04

Sean Sullivan is My Favorite Comic…of the week. By Shawn Carter

Sean Sullivan and Nate Johnson perform together at The Comedy Studio Holiday Show.

Sean Sullivan and Nate Johnson perform together at The Comedy Studio Holiday Show.

 

How very Boston, a guy named Shawn writing an article about a guy named Sean.  But I was really torn about featuring Sean Sullivan in this article.  I mean, I love the guy.  He’s hilarious.  He’s really nice.  But he’s been on TV, and Comedy Central at that.  So why am I talking about him on an “underground comedy” website?  Because although he has that  TV credit, I feel he is still under appreciated.  I feel like anyone that hasn’t invited him to do stand up on their show is a god damn idiot.  And that includes the guy that wrote Breaking Bad.  And while Vince Gilligan can do whatever he wants with his show I can do whatever I want with my website including calling Vince Gilligan an idiot.

Seriously though, Sean is the best.  He’s given me valuable advice over the years and is hilarious EVERYTIME he steps on stage.  He has also helped me get over bad sets.  One night I had a rough set and when I got off stage Sean said “shake it off, you’re wearing a shiny shirt”.  And I WAS wearing a shiny shirt, he was totally right.  Strangely, it made me feel better.  He didn’t lie to me and say “nice set”, I would have known that he was lying.  Instead he told me to forget about it and then made fun of my shirt.  He was like a brother to me instantly.

 

I honestly have no idea how Sean is staying ahead of the pack with his comedy.  Being a new dad and husband is enough to make lots of people quit comedy or at least get worse at it, but every time I see Sean at a show he crushes and he seems to be getting even better.  Sean was nice enough to chat with me about comedy recently and here are some of the things we discussed.  (He was very thorough with his answers.)

 

When/Why did you decide to become a comedian?
Near the end of my freshman year of college, Lewis Black came to my school. This was the spring of 2002, right when he was starting to get huge. I knew him from the Daily Show which after 9/11 became a show I watched every night. When I heard he was coming, I got tickets and was blown away. I had already kind of taken over a sketch comedy group on campus and was carrying a notebook around with me at all times to write down ideas for sketches. After I saw Lewis, I went back to my dorm and stayed up till like 3:00 am, writing down ideas which I’m sure were just words like, “Food” and “Society” and thought I’d just be able to riff based on those topics which will sound absurd especially to anybody who knows how I write now and has flipped through one of my notebooks.

 

I kept doing sketch comedy and then that fall, I went and saw the school’s big improv group cause it was going to be this really funny guy Andy Hobgood was going to Chicago and it was his last show. They gave him some time to do whatever he wanted and he opened the show with ten minutes of stand-up that blew my mind. I don’t really remember what he talked about. There was something about the old men that rip tickets at movie theaters and something about how people eat popcorn at the movies. I remember thinking it was funny but I was more blown away by the idea that somebody I know is actually doing this thing that until that time, I’d only seen people do on television. I had started to binge on Comedy Central Presents and was watching whatever I could but it was always just as a fan. It wasn’t until I saw Andy that night that I realized that anybody can do this and then it took me four more months to actually jump on a stage.

 

 

You seem to enjoy musicals, have you ever performed in one?

I love musicals. Almost as much as I love stand-up comedy. I did theater and musicals all my life but stopped in college when I got into sketch and stand-up. There was a brief point in 2008, that I dipped my toe back in.

 

My wife was doing some community theater and the quality of the shows was surprisingly good so when they announced that they were doing Jesus Christ Superstar in the summer of 2008 and then the Producers in January of 2009, I went for it and I had a lot of fun but it became very clear that I wasn’t capable of performing at the same level as the people around me.

 

Its a lot like stand-up. When I was doing those two shows, I was working with people who I thought were as good as the people you could see in New York. There are some amazingly talented people in the world of community theater who could have made a go of it professionally but were unwilling to sacrifice the quality of life that they had. That was the first time I began to realize that the process and the performance can be enough of a reward. If you can find a way to get enough satisfaction out of the work that you’re doing and keep pushing yourself artistically, all the other accolades and money become less important. That’s an idea that has really kept me going a lot in the past 5 or 6 years.

Is it ok at this point in our friendship if I stop calling you Sean Sullivan from TV and just call you Sean or Sean Sullivan?

No.

 

Will there at some point be an Untrainables reunion show?
No? I don’t think so. Will there ever be a show where the four of us are booked to do our own thing? Maybe but I don’t think there will ever be a formal reunion where we perform our one really great sketch and then four to five pretty good sketches, and then our 100s of ideas that never came together the way we wanted.

 

I think there was an amount of pressure that we were unaware of at that time to replace the Walsh Brothers when they moved to LA and to live up their lunacy. But one of the crucial things that I think makes the Walsh Brothers so amazing is that they have the passion and the bond of being family. There were plenty of times when something wouldn’t work for them onstage and they would come backstage and having screaming matches about it but they always got through it because they’re brothers. We didn’t have the luxury of being that uncivil. We were crippled by diplomacy.

 

In a lot of ways the break-up of the Untrainables is tied to the end of the Great and Secret Show and I think we’ve all moved on to bigger and better things and I don’t feel the need to go back and revisit it.
 

 

What is the hardest part of being a comedian?

Climbing the stairs to the Comedy Studio. Its 2014. Get an elevator.

 

You’re a family man now, how do you balance family life and comedy life?

I don’t know. That’s been a real struggle. I have two one year olds and they go to bed anywhere between 7pm and 8pm which means I have to ask my mom to come over or I have to make sure I’m not going to go on before 9pm. Its not easy and I don’t get considered for a lot of bookings because of the restrictions I’ve given myself. I won’t let myself do shows two nights in a row (which means I haven’t done a weekend at a club since march of 2013) and I’m trying my best not to drive more than an hour from my house.

 

What has happened though is that I’ve grown to appreciate my time onstage so much more than I have in the 11 years I’ve been doing this. The way my calendar looks, I might only have one 10 minute set booked and then nothing for two weeks, so I’m going to make the most of those 10 minutes. If I have new stuff I want to do, I’m making sure that I have thought that new stuff out and worked it out as much as I can because its going to be two weeks before I pick up a mic again. The irony of it all is that I’m performing less than I ever have but I’ve never felt funnier onstage and I think that just might be a result of appreciating it and not taking any of it for granted anymore.

 

I’m only 31. When my kids are 10, I’ll only be 40 but I’ll have been doing comedy for 20 years. I always keep that in mind. I’m taking my lumps now. Its hugely important for me to be with my kids when they are this small and rely on me and my wife for almost everything. As they get older and more self-reliant, hopefully I’ll be able to come back to something closer to full-time but who knows. Right now, its averaging out to about one set a week and I’m working doubly hard to make sure that one set counts.

 

Lately you’ve been helping newer younger comedians in Boston by giving them feedback on stand up videos they send you.  What is your motivation for this?

 

It started because some dickhead from Oregon or something posted in the Boston Comedians Facebook group that he was offering a discount for Skype comedy coaching sessions for $600 and it really bugged me.

 

When I was in college, I got really good at reading plays or watching people do scenes and offering up critiques that were a little more sophisticated than, “This stinks” or “Do this.” So when I watch someone’s set, I’m not offering them tags or jokes. I’m trying to give feedback that’s a little deeper and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I think I’m good at it and if people think its helpful, I’ll continue to do them.
Whenever I have a tape I’m thinking about trying to do something with, I send it to guys like Myq Kaplan and Eddie Brill and get their feedback. I think its really important for your development to be hearing critical feedback and then choosing whether to use it or not.

 

The other reason is that I’m not out there as much as I’d like to be and I don’t know who’s who anymore. I get in these long heated discussions with people on that Boston Comedians Facebook group but I have no idea who I’m arguing with because I’ve been out of it for a year. There’s a new wave of people who seem to know who I am but I don’t know who they are. This has been a good exercise for me in terms of seeing what’s happening right now.

 

Also its another way to feel connected. I’ve seen too many guys get married and have kids and lose that connection to the scene. Once that tether snaps, you’re gone. The turnover of headlining talent in Boston is really slow but for open micers and hosts, its fast. If I don’t know who’s out there and more importantly if the people that are out there, don’t know who I am, when I’m finally able to get back into this, it’d probably be too hard to try and continue.

 

Was I the best mail man to ever deliver to your house?

 

No. I don’t think you can be the best at anything if you only do it for three weeks. You’re certainly not the worst but far from the best.

 

You have twins,  which is your favorite?
Jimmy Whitman.

 

Since you’re a family man that seems to be rooted in Boston.  I’m very interested to know,  what do you think Boston comedy needs most right now?
I don’t know. People keep asking this question and I struggle for an answer. I think we need stronger overall comedians. I’m doing all these reviews and I think the biggest piece of advice I keep giving people is to cross out of their comfort zones. Too many people are calling themselves “comedians” who won’t venture out of Central and Harvard Square. We need comedians who are able to maintain their voice and point of view in any venue. If what you’re doing at the Comedy Studio doesn’t work at Nick’s, don’t go, “Well, I guess I only play the Studio.” Figure out how to make it work at Nick’s without compromising your identity.

 

You need to bomb and you need to struggle. Otherwise there’s no growth. If you’re killing on a Wednesday at the Studio, fuck off. Who cares? You’re supposed to kill there. Its the most supportive room with the most supportive audience and its great and its my favorite place to perform in the world but don’t bask in your own glory like you did something amazing.

 

Top 5 all time comics?

1. Don Rickles

2. Jim Gaffigan

3. Bob Odenkirk

4. Tony V

5. Conan O’Brien

 

We have some great comedians here in Boston.  Was there a comedian that really helped you with advice or just by watching them when you first started?

 

Dave Walsh really took me under his wing very early. I remember in the summer of 2003, I did the Monday night comedy contest hosted by Kim Davis at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge. It was basically a weekly booked open mic but at the time I thought everyone on the show was a legit superstar.

 

The first time I did it, the lineup was something like Erin Judge, Dan Sally, Sam Walters, Chris Walsh, Dave Walsh, Ben Murray, Erik Charles Nielsen, Peter Dutton… Paul Day was probably there. Rick Jenkins was definitely there and Dan Sulman was there because I remembered hearing a bit he did from one of the three opening acts at that Lewis Black show that kind of started me down this road. I asked him about it and it turns out that the three comics that opened for Lewis Black that night were Chris Walsh, Dave Walsh, and Dan Sulman.

 

So Dave saw something and invited me to do a spot on the Great and Secret Show which was terrifying and then I just kept coming back and he kept inviting me to perform and made sure I met everyone and that I was part of the conversation. I really admire his approach to this business. He’s very methodical and cares about what he’s putting out there and always wants to be better. That level of self-awareness is something I always want to have. Dave knows how funny he and Chris are but isn’t willing to rest on that. They showed me how to be honest with yourself and push to the next level.
 

 

Who should I feature in the next article?

Rich Gustus. I love that guy.

 

You can find more from Sean Sullivan on twitter @MrSeanSullivan, or you can catch him on Saturday August 9th at either The Comedy Studio on Mass Ave in Cambridge or The Mendoza Line in The Dugout on Commonwealth Ave in Boston.

Also check out his website:  http://www.seansullivancomedy.com/

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