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Editor-in-Chief
Alex Carnevale
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen
(e-mail)

Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Tuesday
Mar112008

In Which We Attempt To Discern Which Women Are Actually Funny

cusl07_funnygirls0804.jpg

Women Are Funny Right I Mean Check This Out

by Alex Carnevale

The women are funny issue of Vanity Fair that really got me to thinking - are women funny? According to Hitchens, no.

Molly was funny until I realize she ripped all her slang off urban dictionary. While it is amusing to watch a ginger blogger call, for example, a penis a 'jangle dangle', I can always watch Night Court reruns if all I want to do is chuckle.

The story of funny women in my life began with my first real friend of the opposite sex. She would makes "jokes" that mostly revolved around that week's episode of The X-Files. As she got prettier, her love of science fiction dimmed and she mostly resorted to stealing my jokes and rehashing them to the less brainy types in our school. This backfired on her sex life, but probably that and her new breasts got her into Harvard.

cusl05_funnygirls0804.jpg

sandra and sarah

My first real high school girlfriend was also a highly humorous woman. We had a lot of material, mostly about her taking on an alter ego of this other girl we went to school with. She thus would call up my house and announce, "This Is Tiffany!" My dad once caught the receiving end of her catchphrase and I believe he viewed the incident as inflexibly as Richard Gere in The Mothman Prophecies.

The male humor of the time was largely based around how adept you were at the various catchphrases of the MTV show The State. We used to pass around The State's now extremely rare travel guide and laugh about all the balls jokes.

The humor of the grade above us, in contrast, was far darker, and more drug-induced, like this one time my friend Mike became convinced we were plotting to kill him and hid behind a rock in his backyard for three hours.

Things got pathetic quick. The more boys you added to the mix, the sadder it got. The key to humor was women. They made the real observations, they lived outside themselves, creating the distance necessary for humor.

tif.jpg

high school era comedians

Male high-school humor of that mid 90s period tended to be more based on repetition and catchphrases. We all enjoy a good catchphrase from time to time, especially when it is also a joke at the expense of someone. On my junior varsity baseball team, the hot word of the season was 'fugly' until I called a big team meeting.

"You guys," I told them, 'I need to start questioning the relative comedic merits of the term 'fugly.' I can't help but think that if we had something funnier to say between innings that we wouldn't be 7-12."

In an effort to provide that funny, team rallying moment, I tied myself up with a seatbelt during the next road trip and was promptly suspended from the next week's road game at Windham.

cusl09_funnygirls0804.jpg

chelsea handler: likely conversation point in VF office: "Can we get someone hot who's kinda funny?"

Sports were a big time for the joke culture in my high school. The funniest players often got the most playing time, once leading to a start for me at power forward when our regular big man got caught cheating in his Spanish class. That year I received the freshman basketball team thinking man's award. If only my brand of
low-turnover, high rebound unselfish basketball
were more highly regarded in high school coaching.

To be honest, I really didn't want to play, I more wanted to crack inappropriate jokes in which I gave the more athletic opposition lines from the show In Living Color.

As we got older and class, gender, and racial differences began taunting us the way they are in this election of our souls, it became more important to focus on that which brought us together-sex. Sex jokes were both easy and revealing. They were easy because the mere mention of the phrase cockring was enough to send even the most hardened 16 year old exploding in laughter, and they were revealing because you might accidentally learn that much more about a classmate's sexual dysfunction, a development which would gainfully prepare you for the magical moments to come.

cusl01_funnygirls0804.jpg

I was always a big fan of Jan Hooks. - tina fey

When I was a sophomore, I began spending more time around the older girls at our school. I learned a lot about how to be bossy from them. Their sexualities were far more complicated, and jokes about their period far more frequent.

When I went to college, dork humor emerged in full force. I wasn't really aware of the nuances of private and boarding school humor of the East and West coasts.

One thing that is consistent about this brand of humor is that it is entirely male - see the Lampoon - and as base as you can get, with the sole exception of a punchline based on some upper class affect, like, "...but then he realized they were fucking in a maserati." I thought a Maserati was pizza parlor until the age of 20.

she's f-ing matt damon

I'd rehash the particulars of college humor, but for me they largely consist of Danish provoking someone and then pointing at me to indicate I was the real source of the venom. Once he victimized a young lady by telling her she had a ten dollar haircut and the girl ended up punching me in the jaw.

Anyway, as you can see things didn't have any actual humor in them until I met women. Not these women, though, who are just being chosen for their good looks, except for token fugly Sandra Bernhard. See how I brought it back there? Nevermind.

cu01w_funnygirls0804.jpg

hitchens response

I can't help but fear the women of TR are more hilarious than any motley collection of film and television. Wanda Sykes excepted of course, she is the black female Me. When Molly's not off on some jag where she begins every sentence with, "As a feminist..." or "After I invented emosogyny..." she can be the funniest person I know.

unfunny author of the rejoinder

The funniest joke someone told me this week was by Rachael, who for some reason is still reading Andrew Sullivan. She described AS's continual Obama ass-kissing as the equivalent of someone posting a picture of Obama and writing First!!! after it. (Rachael wrote about why she is the funniest person she knows here.)

When I think about it harder and with photosets on hand, all the most hilarious people I know are women. Women aren't afraid of looking silly, they laugh at the right jokes, not just when they feel they should, and they don't look like Patton Oswalt.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

susie_larry.jpg

My point of view on these girls is: I resent that I even know who they are. I couldn’t hum one tune that Britney Spears ever sang, and yet I have seen her vagina. - Susie Essman

THE FUNNY LADIES OF TR

tess

Tess reimagines hell

Molly made me laugh about California and Texas.

Ellen Page's iTunes playlist

Molly on Diane Keaton

molly lambert

Rachael's pet peeves

Karina in Ireland

Molly and the king of comedy

Claire made me laugh about country music.

Our girl Jess' adolescence entry.

karina

Tess vs. Nostradamus

Becca's observations on the Julia Allison phenomenon are so choice

Rashida Jones' favorite things

Amy King is v. hilarious

Lamby reasons with her homophobic cousin

m. young

Joan Ben Didion and Molly Young's revolutionary series, The American Colony

Karina and Cher

Becca in high school was the cool kid

Tess was basically Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs: Part 1 & Part 2

WEDNESDAY MIX TAPE FOR THE FEMALE ONES

"Jenni Anne" - These United States (mp3)

"These Few Presidents" - Why? (mp3)

"How Does It Feel?" - Spacemen 3 (mp3)

"Today I Sing the Blues" - Emiliani Torrini (mp3)

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

Two books to whet the whistle.

The collector makes her mark on the unsuspecting male.

Tess spoonfeeds you sunshine.

jenna041707.jpg

jenna

Thursday
Jan102008

In Which We Are Obsessed With Obsession

More Endearing Than Alarming

an interview with Julie Klausner and Jackie Clarke

by Tyler Coates

Most might think that the word "obsessed" applies to those awkward, weird, and slightly maniacal creeps we knew from middle school or our first couple temp jobs. Luckily, Julie Klausner and Jackie Clarke are around to dispel that myth: obsession lurks inside all of us, and is more endearing than alarming.

BFFs and comedy partners Julie Klausner and Jackie Clarke aren't strangers to sharing their obsessions on the stage; Klausner previously co-wrote and co-starred in Free to be Friends, a tribute to The Magic Garden, the classic '70s children's show. Clarke starred in Showgirls: The Best Movie Ever Made, Ever!, a send-up of the unintentionally hilarious 1995 film. The two teamed together for their current show, armed with PowerPoint, some hilarious short films, and special guests to talk about their own obsessions (past guests have included Janeane Garofalo and Fred Armisen).

In the following interview, Julie and Jackie discuss their show, their fans, and their favorite obsessions.

TR: Is there a romantic story about your collaboration? How did the two of you meet and ultimately decide to work together?

Julie Klausner: Jax and I knew each other from the UCB Theatre. We'd been in a couple of shows together, and I was always a fan of her work. After a performance of a St. Patty's Day show in which I played a leprechaun (and took the character in a really exciting new direction), I asked her if she had any interest in hosting a variety-type show. She said yes and my heart leapt. This is the romantic version of the story. Anyway, we tried out a format at Parkside Lounge where we were playing sort of character versions of ourselves, and the show was themed, and then we both got busy with our own projects--Jackie with Showgirls and me with Free to be Friends. Then, about a year later, we reconvened and talked about doing something on the theme of obsession, maybe with a different angle on the show each month, and that's how Obsessed came to light. A couple of months into hosting it, we decided to start making videos together, and acting as writing partners towards various ends. (Rear ends.)

Jackie Clarke: I wish there was a romantic story. Like I went to church one morning and I found a comedian wrapped in swaddling clothes. I raised that comedian as my maid and made her do shows with me. Nah, nothing that fun. We met, we liked each other, we did a show. No Jesus story for us. Boo!

TR: Is there a message behind Obsessed? Are you making some sort of statement about the nature of obsession?

JK: It's an adaptable enough format that guests can sort of do whatever they like with the theme. But I can tell you personally, that I've always been obsessive, from growing up taping every Monkees episode that came on TV to stalking boyfriends, and by "boyfriends" I mean Peter Tork, whose skin I will one day wear as a three-piece suit.

Peter Tork

Peter Tork

JC: The message behind Obsessed is come to the show, watch our videos online, and hire us as writers, actors, or party guests. I actually knew a guy that did that... he was hired to "make conversation" at parties. How badly do your friends have to suck that you have to outsource a conversation master(bater).

TR: Who have been your favorite guests and what were they obsessed with?

JK: Seth Rudetsky is an amazing guest. He's got a fantastic video collection of theater and variety show rarities, so he's like a kindred spirit who knows a lot more than I do about stuff. And when he shows a clip, he's seen it so many times that he can time out the minutia he points out to the audience, and they eat it up, whether or not they have any investment in, like, Bonnie Franklin's Tony Awards performance of "Applause." 'Cause his enthusiasm for the material is so engaging.

Dave Hill was also a great guest. He flirted with us, which I appreciate. And Sweetie, this last month, gave an overwhelming lip-sync performance of Natalie Cole's cover of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," on request, because I'm obsessed with that song.

"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" - Natalie Cole (mp3)

JC: I always say my favorite guest is me. I never know what I am going to say month to month. Besides myself I would have to say Seth Rudestky, a Broadway encyclopedia and all around adorable, the Brooklyn parrot man, a guy trying to preserve Brooklyn parrots (who knew!), and I always love getting a crazy drag queen at the UCB. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a 6' 5" blond drag queen wandering around the UCB green room and the look of shock and fear that enters the eyes of all the straight men who roam there. It makes my day every time.

TR: Who are your dream guests and what do you think their obsessions might be?

JK: John Waters, hands down. He's sort of the inspiration behind the whole show, from that quote of his "Life is nothing if you're not obsessed." His books are fantastic chroniclers of his passions: electric chairs, sexual perversions, the Mansons. He's a fascinating guy, and a hero of ours.

Other dream guests include anybody famous, because those tend to attract crowds, and somebody with a creepy collection or a fan club president of somebody unusual, like Meredith Baxter-Birney. And John Mark Karr. And his new wife, a woman! I'd love to have the Karrs on. We could interview them like Barbara Walters interviewed the Beckhams.

John Waters

JC: Julie and I both are obsessed with John Waters. He is masterful at being obsessed with things/ideas and exploring them without looking down on the subject. I would like to have someone who has spent a lot of time in jail. I would also like to date someone who has spent a lot of time in jail.

TR: What are some of your life-long obsessions, and what are some recent obsessions?

JK: Lifelong obsessions of mine include musical theater, cats, TV from the 1970s, men unable to love me, and food. Recent obsessions include my ever-intensifying hatred of vegans & raw foodists, Sharon Stone's fur-wearing, the stripper who wrote Juno, and Christmas.

JC: Long term obsessions: Bob Fosse, feminists, swearing, fart jokes, red wine, self-help books, Las Vegas, Boston Red Sox, the New England Patriots, "The Young Ones," steam rooms, moisturizer, "The Book of Lists." Recent obsessions: The cable news channel NY1's 15th anniversary "music videos," the Staten Island Ninja Burglar, the way Tom Brady licks his fingers before a play, Brussels sprouts, The Wire, Decision 2008, the Boston Celtics, and the bearded guy in the NFL Network ads.


TR: What is the strangest obsession you've ever encountered?

JK: I don't know about strangest, but I am totally fascinated by eating disorders, and I collect information about odd eating habits that sufferers accumulate, like anorexics who only let themselves eat seven peas, or people with Pica, who eat dirt or clay. I also read the poetry that girls write on Pro-Ana sites. I'm not saying it's funny! I'm just saying it's fascinating. (It's also kind of funny.)

JC: My dad was obsessed with World War 2 and marrying women that looked like men. That was pretty weird.

TR: Both of you have performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre before teaming together for Obsessed. Does the show incorporate a lot of improvisation, or do you plan much of what you talk about before hand?

JK: We beat out the show as much as we can, and the Powerpoint is there on the screen for us to refer to. But by no means are we going from a script of any kind. The show has room for a lot of improvisation.

JC: I always say our show is like a good vacation: you want to plan an itinerary and be able to abandon it at a moment's notice. Guess what? I don't "always say that." I just made it up. But I love it! I'm gonna marry it.

TR: Can you talk about "Welcome To Our House" and explain the inspiration behind the videos?

JK: Jackie and I found out about Brenda Dickson's lifestyle video, "Welcome To My Home," when we saw a clip of her on Court TV giving the "Heil Hitler" salute during her divorce trial. Once we watched the video in its entirety on YouTube, we realized that we had to spend our lives re-enacting this amazing woman's vision as true to it as we possibly could. I was just crying during the fashion show and the eating part, when she's holding her cat, Snow. I thanked both the Comedy and Gay Gods above for putting Brenda into my life.

JC: We were high when we decided to do the videos.

"Start the Show" - Common feat. Kanye West (mp3)

TR: You both submitted audition tapes for the Oxygen reality show She-larious, which you then lampooned with your own video. Did anything come out of this, or was it really an opportunity to poke fun at the premise of the show?

JK: I don't think that show ever happened, and I don't think the world has since suffered for its lack of another competitive reality show.

JC: That Oxygen show taught me to trust my instincts: "don't audition."

TR: You're both bloggers (Julie and Jackie), and you have several videos posted on YouTube. Have you have any particularly nutty reactions to your stories and videos? Any potential Internet stalkers?

JK: Just those awesome teenagers who've started posting their own tributes of our videos! I love those girls. If it weren't for that pesky Megan's Law, I'd hang out with them all the time.

JC: Any time I appear on Hannity and Colmes, I get some crazed conservative sending me death threats. But I don't live in Idaho so I'm not worried.

TR: As comediennes, are you pressured to be funny all of the time, even when you're not on stage, or are you just constantly hilarious?

JK: I am funny all the time. There is no pressure.

JC: I'm funniest during coitus.

TR: What are your future plans for Obsessed, other collaborations, and solo projects?

JK: We're gonna keep Obsessed running at UCB monthly, and will hopefully continue to do fun things together in the new year. Unfortunately, because of the writers' strike, the whole industry is pretty much on hold, so it's hard to say what's next. But as for solo projects, I can tell you that I just wrapped a shoot for a series I'm doing for Superdeluxe.com with my friend Michael Kupperman. It's called "What's What," and we hope to finish up by January. And otherwise, I think I'm going to take a cooking class.

JC: As for me, I'm working on a cartoon spec based on an earlier solo show called "Mail Order Family." I'm also hoping to finally get my apartment done (after living here for eight years).

Catch Obsessed on January 17 at 9:30pm, at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York. You can visit Julie and Jackie's official site here.

Tyler Coates is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is obsessed with muppets, LOLcats, and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

Obsessed with Julie & Jackie links:

"Mommy Time" short

"Welcome to Our House" on Channel 102

Seth Rudetsky's Obsessed segment

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

The most bizarre thing Molly has ever seen.

Molly on For Better or For Worse.

Bob Creeley in Southeast Asia.

Monday
Aug272007

In Which Tyler Has A Sensitive Funny Bone


Things I Find Funny

By Tyler Coates

This classic scene from Clue (SPOILER ALERT!):

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92IkddsjtAA&hl=en]

The Jeannie Tate Show:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfNH8Wv6izY&hl=en]

Angry Chicago trannies:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKdcJfIM-tE&hl=en]

Seth Rudetsky on "Turkey Lurkey":

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4u70p_SSi0&hl=en]

Sexual Intercourse American Style:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csFFedEduog&hl=en]

Carol Channing:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfzFAXAlA_g&hl=en]

Match Game:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kRs7F2bJgo&hl=en]

Bubb Rubb and Lil' Sis:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccgXjA2BLEY&hl=en]

Naked Dudes:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcHZwE0dppA&hl=en]

This shot-by-shot remake of a scene from The Fugitive:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ya8qoY091sU&hl=en]

Carol Channing, again:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrjIVhIeGnw&hl=en]

Tyler Coates is the senior contributor to This Recording. His blog is Too Much Awesome.

"Take It Off (Dim the Lights)" - N.E.R.D. (mp3)

"Angel" - N.E.R.D. (mp3)

"That Girl" - N.E.R.D. feat. Snoop Dogg (mp3)

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

More love.

Art gets you laid.

I got sunburned from the heat of hell.

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