You know, the Beatles aren't one of my favorite bands. They aren't even my favorite '60s band. They're not even my favorite '60s British band (hello, Kinks). But for some reason I've been DYING to watch The Beatles Anthology for the past five years.

The documentary was first aired on ABC in 1995 and I was crazy about it. I didn't like the Beatles then, didn't know much about their music, and I also didn't really know what a documentary was. Something about it must have tapped into my natural enjoyment for their music and documentaries, both of which I'd discover later. Just at the time, I went into Beatle mania and didn't know why.

Now I do like the Beatles and am a big fan of documentaries, so I keep going back to The Beatles Anthology and wanting to watch it. I read about the band on Wikipedia often, the behind the scenes stuff about the making of their final albums. All that. Plus the DVD version of the Anthology has like, five extra hours on it, I think. I have to see it! And I have the time now!

On a side note, I remember having an argument with my cousin in 1995 about which contemporary artist would eventually receive an Anthology style documentary. I said it would be Hootie and the Blowfish. He said it would be Coolio. If trashy cable reality shows count as docs, then we were both right.


TV: Lost "Some Like It Hoth"

TEASER Okay, a Miles episode. Finally. It's been long enough and now that my initial distaste for the character has worn off, I'm pretty stoked for this episode. Seriously, his cranky pants attitude for most all of last season was really annoying, leaving me to hope that his neck would meet Sayid's furious feet (he killed a guy with his feet, people, a moment I should bring up at EVERY opportunity). Now Miles has chilled out a lot and is becoming a lot more likeable. We already have a thoroughly creepy flashback and some nice mysteries unfolding. Promising teaser!

The episode title is way lame though, and it's from my favorite movie of all time.

ACT ONE Miles' father is Alvar Hanso. We get it. We know, right? We've known from the season premiere, right? But it's "Lost," they have to do the cryptic big build ups for the things we already know (like Claire being Jack's half sister, Jin being alive, etc). I love new hyper aware Hurley. He's cutting through a lot of the miscommunication junk that bogged down the first years of this show. "Are you on a secret mission?" Yep, Hurley, he is, THANK YOU for figuring that out! If this was a year ago, Hurley wouldn't pick up on it until Miles was about three round deep into Taboo with the corpse. Also, pretty awesome that our gang is the security for Dharma. They seem kinda untouchable right now.

ACT TWO So Hurley is crazy, right? Like, that's how he talks to dead people. I never once thought that his convos with Charlie were anything but him being just a bit nutty. Well, I guess they could be some sorta vision quest island thing, but I was always sure that they weren't the real deal. Also, for a second I was thinking there might be some creepy Kate/Ben's Drunk Dad hookup moment but that quickly turned. For the better, mind you, Kate's become annoying but I wouldn't wish that drunkwad on anyone. And what is Hurley doing? Is he writing "The Empire Strikes Back"? End of the episode, please come soon so I know what in the world that bounty hunter bit and the title of this episode's all about. And I can't wait to see what dead person spilled the beans about Miles' parentage.

ACT THREE Finally! We now know that the island has given Jack magical chalkboard cleaning powers! That thing went from being covered in scribblins to being squeaky clean in just the blink of the camera! Wowzers! Hurley's attempt at bringing Miles and Hanso together (what's his real name? I should look that up, he's not Candle or Hanso) was priceless, as was the look Miles' shot his dad when he revealed he liked country music. Great little moments. I really enjoyed the foreboding banging of the numbers onto the hatch, too. Bring dem numbers back, yo! Such a stink has been made about them not being able to change the future, I wonder if Hurley's going to go to great lengths to stop that hatch from being built.

ACT FOUR Is it weird that I had the same reaction to hearing the year 1977 that Hurley did? My initial thought a couple episodes ago when they ended up in that time was that if I was there, I would be hightailing it on a submarine back to the US as soon as possible so I could see it in the theater. Straight up. Glad Hurley has a variation on the idea, even though he really doesn't remember how "Empire Strikes Back" begins. Also, I guess we were just introduced to some new faction of players? Some possible shadow cult, maybe obsessed with the four-toed statue and all it's mythic voodoo? We'll see. All the stuff between Miles and Hurley about Miles' father was really well done and acted. I love how this show dissects human emotion like that, all with time travel and jumpsuits. Nice to see some of dirty old Sawyer come back. Get some rope, indeed.

ACT FIVE Geez, Hurley, did you even WATCH "Empire Strikes Back"? Luke got his hand cut off BEFORE Vader told him he was his father. Der! But leave it to Hurley to rationalize things using pop culture. Probably why he's my favorite character on the show. I'm also glad that Faraday is back. He's a weird character but I'm sure that with his return comes a lotta answers. Excitement! Excitement that has to wait two weeks. Ugh...

MY SCORE: **** (out of 5)


Whoah! Okay, so wow. That's impressive.

In an effort to increase readership, here's an easy guide to some of the comic book related stuff I've written about. That you might care to take a gander at.

First, Twitter!

I love the X-Men. Here's a series of blog posts on all things X-Men. X15

I used to review comics regularly here before landing a job at Wizard, which forbids you from reviewing for any other site while working there. I will most likely start reviewing comics here again. Comic Reviews

I just started a tumblr for comic strips starring my G.I. Joe and Marvel Universe figures. If you like comics, you will like these. Guaranteed. So guaranteed. Do it. And share it. Tales To Diminish

If you live in New York and want to see me do improv comedy, you can become fans on Facebook. Bad Data and Iron Ruckus

Do you remember the show "Kid Nation"? Well, I slavishly reviewed every episode of it a ways back. They are very faux serious. I miss that show...Kid Nation

Also used to review episodes of "Lost." That'll probably start again. Lost

Come back! I have statcounter, so I can track you. I'll know if you leave me. I'll know.

I'll know.

Sleepy Hunger

Sketch class went well last night. Our show is this Sunday at 5:30. Please come! I didn't go to Harold Night due to my overwhelming hunger, something I need to figure out how to triumph over, and the rain. Okay, I know how to triumph over hunger, it's just that when you leave home at 5 p.m., it's hard to have consumed enough food to not get hungry the rest of the night. Of course...here it is, 12:17 and I haven't had breakfast or lunch yet. I should eat quick!

Yes, readers, I will be talking about my eating schedules on this blog, apparently.

I did a new Tales To Diminish last night out of boredom. Trying to figure out if that counts as today's or if I should do another one today anyway. I've gotten a lot of good feedback on this, so far. I would like for it to become sorta viral, or like, I don't know. It might be already. I can't figure out how to measure a tumblr's success. Twitter tweets about my blog, or other tumblr blog posts about it, seem to be the only way. I'm getting there, thanks to Dan and Ben. Tell people!

On the job front I....still haven't done anything. Geez, I am really succumbing to the unemployed lazies. I'm not getting up until 11 a.m. every day. That has to stop! I am theoretically going to start e-mailing comic sites for freelance work today.

Tonight I will be editing Cash 4 Skulls for inclusion in my class' sketch reading on Sunday, and hopefully making it to the P.I.T. in time for Improdome as part of my "perform more" promise to myself.


Go Sketch

Okay, so, at some point I'm actually going to start writing things of interest here. As of now, though, I'm just going to keep you updated on my day to day wanderings.

Last night I saw six sketch shows at UCB. The first was Get Psyched followed by Roll Call, which features four good friends of mine who I've had the pleasure of performing with and hanging out with over the last two years. It was awesome to see them create something so fun to watch. Talent! The same can be said for Maude Night, which I have missed seeing for the last, I dunno, twelve times. I wish I had been going all along. The feeling I got last night while watching it, it was pretty intense. I enjoyed all the teams and I now have some sorta drive/urge to really put more work in my sketch writing.

Hopefully that starts, in earnest, today.

If I didn't have such a strong group of friends and so much creative work to do to keep me busy, I'd probably be losing my mind.


Brand New Day

I know I should have capitalized on all the heat I was getting last Thursday, but I chose to wait until Monday to make my triumphant (and highly scheduled) return to the world of blogging. So here it is.

I was let go, which fills me with all sorts of emotion...and a lot of free time. I got tons of great memories, lots of cool sketches and made some amazing friends. I've met some of the most genuine, honest, caring and talented people ever. And...I spent a year watching them get harassed, fired, let go, belittled, annoyed, infuriated, etc. I will miss all of them, but I won't miss seeing them emotionally destroyed on a daily basis and I won't miss being one of them getting destroyed. So, onwards and...well, not upwards yet. Onwards. Upwards in some ways, not bank-statement-ways.

This comes at a crazy time, right after my Harold audition experience and during a pretty successful sketch 201 class. If there was ever a time to focus on my comedy and making something of myself, giving myself some great experiences and credits, then now is the time. So I will, in theory, hopefully, be blogging here daily. Personal stuff, funny stuff, review stuff, comic stuff, news stuff, dumb stuff, all of it. I also have started this and will continue to update this. I will also be seeing more improv shows and sketch shows and, fingers crossed, start teching shows to make some cash.

I'm ready to focus on what's important, and that's being creative. And eating. Not dying, too. That's important. And "Tough Love." Seriously, you guys watching that show?


Ballad Of a No Callback Kid

The most tumultuous season for the indie improv community started on Friday and is expected to end sometime midday on Wednesday. Harold auditions. Auditions that determine which of us get to perform on official house teams at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

I have a lot of thoughts on this process, some of which I'll try to clumsily convey here. I failed spectacularly last year. I went in not caring, did one bad scene and one mediocre scene and then left, more upset than I should have been. I didn't know how badly I wanted it until I didn't get a callback and felt that I'd ruined my chance by not caring. I decided to take a different attitude this year, opting instead to not even worry about a callback (and definitely not making a team), instead focusing on simply having fun. For some reason, fun has not really been part of my improv for most of a year. I've been nervous, afraid that I'll get found out, that I'm not really that good at all. All the natural instincts and desires I've had when doing scenes have been stomped out, leaving me uncertain of my own ideas. I've lately figured out how to stop this, and in the last week I've just been having fun again. So my audition went well.

I did two scenes in the audition, one with Rob who I've been friends with for a while and seen perform numerous times. The other one was with Bryce, who I've been on a team with for a year. So both scenes were fun, had game, and didn't really fall trap to any of the big improv no-nos. I succeeded in having fun. That was the main goal. I did not get a callback, which is actually what I was expecting. For some reason I feel that my path to "success" is not as easy as getting on a team my first audition or even just getting a callback on my second. I think that after last year's failure on all accounts, the next step this year was to have fun. Done. Next year, maybe I can worry about a callback.

I hate this entire turn of events because it makes a lot of my friends (and myself) upset in varying ways. Seeing my extremely talented compatriots kicking themselves over two botches scenes in an extremely artificial and stressful setting isn't cool. If anything, these auditions have made me love our community more and the opportunities that we've given ourselves over the past two years. There are now more teams doing more shows, thus allowing all of us to get more stage time than I think any past generation has had. We've all gotten so great so fast because of our friendships and support. Making it on a team at UCB is validation and a great goal to have, but not getting a callback isn't the end of that. Every one of us has so many other things going on, none of which are as glamorous or, really, as important as a Harold team, but these things are valuable learning tools that help strengthen our community. Shows like the Kaleidoscope are vital to our community. Also having a ton of indie teams either having hit or approaching their 2 year anniversaries is a great accomplishment. The fact that we've all stuck together so long has added a sense of permanence and validation to the indie community. Indie teams are no longer what we improvisers do to kill time before we get on a Harold team, they're viable in their own right. We're awesome. And so is UCB.

I wouldn't have a social setting up here without UCB. The opportunities that theatre gives to students that are serious about improv are pretty amazing. Yes UCB has grown exponentially and it is difficult to get on teams there, but it makes actually accomplishing anything feel that much more rewarding. UCB doesn't just hand out success, they make you work for it in an environment that is conducive to learning, trying, failing and succeeding. On top of that are all the amazing friends I now have, who I'm proud to see on Harold teams and, as of Wednesday will be proud to see on even more Harold teams.

What it all really comes down to is that improv is fun. And even if I never get on a team, I'm proud that I'll always be able to get covered in improv jizz and get rufied while driving a car on various stages across NYC.*

Thanks guys, let's keep it up.

*Both of these happened last night, thanks to Daddy. Thanks Daddy!