Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Dave's Review of Current Online Comedy

I have iTunes on my computer at work, and while doing the work I’m not allowed to describe at the office I shouldn’t mention, I’ve been trying out its radio function. Today I spent the entire day listening to an all-comedy station—potentially painful, yes, but I figure it’s also a good way to keep in practice—and I have learned the following things from their selection, which ranged from early nineties (Sam Kinison) to last year, with a heavy emphasis on post-9/11, pre-Katrina concerts:

* Sam Kinison is not just misogynistic—he’s also homophobic, annoying, and now that I’ve finally heard his bilge I’m only sorry he didn’t die sooner. Why did anyone like him?

*Bobcat Goldthwait is consistently very funny, but he makes a lot of jokes about how he used to be big in the eighties and his career has simply gone nowhere. (In fact he has a hilarious story about how he got fired from The New Hollywood Squares.) My take: the eighties thing was a fluke. He’s a comedian for off-the-wall slacker types, and was always destined to be a niche market. His eighties prominence was like that thing that occasionally happens, where a band (let’s say The Cardigans, e.g.) become wildly famous for a song (“Lovefool”) that is completely unlike anything the band normally actually does. What looks like a fall is simply a return to equilibrium.

*David Spade’s stand-up is actually the most appealing version of David Spade I’ve ever encountered. Instead of in the movies or on Saturday Night Live, where he plays the irritating smartass who’s hipper than thou in a voice that quickly becomes grating to me, the Spade in this particular comedy performance (I didn’t get the title) was surprisingly self-effacing and, you know, funny. If he comes to town I’ll actually pay to see him. (As opposed to his “The Showbiz Show,” which has such consistently weak writing that Mr. Spade often has to smirk just to fill the dead air.)

*If you’re going to listen to redneck comedy, the best guy on the block seems to be Ron White, who—instead of going on about redneck stereotypes a la Jeff Foxworthy or Larry the Cable Guy—is in the gentleman-raconteur mode of a drunk and vulgar Mark Twain. He’s the only redneck comedian I’ve heard who makes me walk away feeling smarter and happier.

*People are still doing men-are-different-from-women acts. Not just jokes; entire goddamn acts.

*Black comedians are also still doing “black and white people are different” sets. In fact, that’s D.L. Hughley’s entire act.

*It’s also still acceptable—bizarre but true—to adopt a lisping, mincing voice when impersonating a gay man.

*Most hackneyed joke: Men will do whatever women want because women offer sex. I heard this same observation five times in nine hours.

*Second most hackneyed joke: for some reason, three different comedians, in talking about George W. Bush, mentioned that he electrocuted a woman who claimed she’d found Jesus. Every single one of these comedians then did an imitation of George Bush saying, in essence, “You’ve found Jesus? Great, cause you’ll be seein’ him real soon!”

*The best, weirdest guy I heard all day was a fellow named Daniel Tosh. Look for him. I don’t actually remember his act (let’s hope they have repeats), but his premises were consistently fresh. Another not-so-new guy who I’m happy to have finally heard: Patton Oswalt. Between Patton Oswalt and Ron White, I think I’ve found my personal models to build on. They communicate genuineness swiftly and effortlessly.

Anyway, one thing I did take away from this: I want to do a joke where I say, “Here’s an impression of a gay guy buying milk,” and then I say, in a normal voice, “I’d like to buy some milk.” Now all I need is a punchline.


Blogger Tristram Shandy said...

“Do you have it in pink?”

6/02/2006 9:36 AM  

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