stand up comedy

R.I.P. Andre Arruda

2017 has taken another one of our local talents.  If you are a fan of Kenny Vs. Spenny, then you will remember Andre Arruda (episode:  “First One to Laugh Loses”).  You may have seen him in American Pie: Band Camp.  Andre was born and raised right here in Kitchener Ontario.  He was better known for his stand-up comedy and he worked hard to gain a cult following.  At 3’ 4” tall, he had to work to stand out, and he did.

Andre passed away January 28 2017 at age 33, of Morquio’s syndrome.  This is the same genetic disorder that hampered his growth.  His sense of humour was to always poke fun at himself before somebody else could, and it worked.  He made us look at life from his perspective, but let us laugh doing it.

REVIEW: The Tom Green Show – The Complete Series – Inside & Outside the Box (2005)

Thanks Dave FM for the chance to meet Tom Green!

GREENTOM GREEN – Inside & Outside the Box – The Tom Green Show: The Complete Series (2005 VSC)

As longtime LeBrain readers know, I was named King of the 4-O’clock 4-Play by Craig Fee on Dave FM.  I won a lot of stuff on that show.  One of the best things I won was a pair of tickets to see Tom Green at Crysalids Theatre, 9/22/11 with my best buddy Peter.  Tom was great, it was a celebration of the true spirit of stand-up comedy and he stuck around to take photos and sign stuff with everybody afterward.  I don’t think Tom Green gets enough respect for being an innovator as a comedian.  That’s why I felt inspired enough to write this review.

The most important thing to know about Tom Green:  MTV ruined Tom Green!  The MTV years, although peppered with some genius sketches such as “Undercutter’s Pizza”, was not at all what the original Tom Green Show was about.

This 3 disc set comprises Tom Green’s entire Comedy Network shows. In other words, the good stuff.  The weird stuff.  The offensive stuff.  The stuff that Jackass ended up ripping off (particularly Bam Margera).  Best of all though, this is the pre-fame stuff.  Tom Green could still run around downtown Ottawa without people knowing it was for a TV show.

You will see herein:

* Tom throwing all of Glenn Humplik’s clothes out of a plane in an evil double-cross.
* Tom burning Glenn’s shirt.
* Will Ferrell proclaiming that he hates Glenn and wants to punch him.
* Tom turning grape juice into pee (for science)!
* The dead raccoon.
* Tom demonstrating how a bus cannot move if you place your face on the bus.
* Repainting his dad’s car with a huge portrait of two naked women (the “slutmobile”).
* “Scuba Hood”.  He robs from the poor (fountains in malls, apparently) and gives to the rich (banks).
* Hanging his painting, “Tiger Zebra”, in the Ottawa Art Gallery, and then defacing it.
* and much, much more….

What you won’t see:

* You won’t see any bums on Swedishes.  That’s MTV stuff and not even half as good as this earlier stuff.

What I still like about the Tom Green show is that it is seldom mean spirited.  He picks on his friend Glenn a lot, which I can’t help but think that Kenny Hotz ripped off later on.  Everything else was done in this pseudo-naive childish fashion, and that is why I can watch The Tom Green Show over a decade later and laugh like the first time I saw it. This DVD for me has rendered obselete all of his old VHS tapes that I collected religiously. That stuff is on here, and it’s as fresh as ever.

I wonder whatever happened to Glenn’s clothes?

5/5 stars

REVIEW: George Carlin – Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics (1990)


GEORGE CARLIN – Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics (1990)

This isn’t a music review, but who is more rock n’ roll than George Carlin?  This is one of my favourite albums of all time.

George Carlin’s acerbic humour has been classic, relevant and awesome since the 1960’s.  I think he got better with age, and regardless of the fact that it’s 22 years old, Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics is just as relevant today as it was in 1990.

Politically correct, this isn’t.  In fact the big thing Carlin rants against on this disc is political correctness!

I think spokesman ought to be spokesperson. I think chairman ought to be chairperson. I think mankind ought to be human kind, but they take it too far, they take themselves too seriously, they exaggerate! They want me to call that thing in the street a personholecover. I think that’s taking it a little bit too far. What would you call a lady’s man, a person’s person? That would make a He-man an It-person. Little kids would be afraid of the boogieperson! They’d look up in the sky and see the person in the moon! Guys would say come back here and fight like a person! And we’d all sing “for it’s a jolly good person!” That’s the kind of thing you would hear on Late Night With David Letterperson!

Carlin remains funny, even while being preachy.  For example, “Life’s Little Moments”:

You and your fiancé have been invited to your mom and dad’s house for dinner for the first time. Half way through dinner, your fiancé stands up and says, “I’ll be right back, I gotta take a dump.” There seems to be no really genteel way of announcing publicly a dump. And frankly, I’m not impressed with people who tell me what they’re going to do when they go to the bathroom in the first place. Doesn’t that bother you? People who announce it. “I’ll be right back, I’m going to take a shit!” “Nevermind! Do what you have to do and leave me out of it. And don’t describe it when you come back.” “Boy, you should have seen…” “Nevermind!” “It set off the smoke alarm!” “Nevermind!”

This CD is taken from an old HBO special.  Personally, I’ve always kind of preferred an audio version of a comedy show.  Sometimes you miss the visuals, but this is how I grew up experiencing comedy. My buddy Peter and I would drive to the cottage with two hours of comedy tapes in the deck.  It’s a great way to experience stand up comedy.  George Carlin’s well-written and composed comedy is 99% verbal, so it really works perfectly on CD.

And that’s the best way I can describe this disc:  Well-written and composed.  While it still sounds live and spontaneous as stand up comedy should, it’s obvious that George laboured over his words, language and his messages.  Language is a big part of this show.  Carlin laments the watering down of modern language.  When you water down the words we use, you water down the thinking as well.  For example, “shell shock”.  They used to call it “shell shock” in the First World War.  Now, they call it “post-traumatic stress disorder”.  More words, but softer, sucking the humanity out of the phrase.  Think about.  It doesn’t seem to hurt as much, does it?  It doesn’t seem as descriptive either.  This is one of Carlin’s messages on Parental Advisory.

And his messages are pretty simple:  Fuck the establishment!  Fuck political correctness!  Tell it like it is, stop beating around the bush, and the world would be a better place!  All with a wink and a smile.  David Lee Roth used to say, “If you wanna send a message, use Western Union.”  Well, if a message can be delivered in an entertaining way, I say go for it!

I miss George Carlin.  I think the world is a darker place without his humour and his insight.

5/5 stars