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Red Beans and Rice

I made red beans and rice for the first time yesterday. I had planned on doing it for the past couple of days and I’m glad I did, it was just what I needed after spending most of the weekend working on a freelance project and watching the Saints get demolished by the Rams (why is it always the Rams? Is this some fucked up unbalanced karma from Hakim dropping the god damn ball?)

Anyway, the recipe I used was from Tom Fitzmorris’ website nomenu.com. Tom is the host of New Orleans’ long-running Food Show, a radio program that could only exist in a city like Nola. Its three hours of restaurant and recipe talk shoe-horned in an ESPN affiliate station. The live callers are the best part of the show. Usually I hate the call-in portion of any radio program. No one offers anything really interesting to say and often they just embarrass themselves on the air. Not with the Food Show. You get a lot of great info and its all told through thick New Orleans, Metairie or St. Bernard Parish accents that you won’t hear anywhere else in the country. Recently one caller brought up red beans and rice and after hearing their discussion I decided to take a crack at it.

Truth be told, I used to hate red beans and rice as a kid, and with good reason. It was commonly served for lunch at whatever Slidell, Louisiana school I was going to at the time and it was always god-awful. Its amazing that I like any food at all considering how often I ate public school lunches (always). I remember they were something like fifty cents, or maybe a dollar once I got into high school. At the beginning of the month you would go to a booth with a 20-spot and someone would hand you a bunch of red raffle tickets as if you were going to the world’s saddest carnival. The only ride was disappointment. The best case scenario for lunch was something that had no flavor at all, otherwise it was just nasty. Which is what public school red beans and rice were. I’m not sure of their ingredients other than kidney beans and white rice but I strongly suspect that dirt was a crucial element. It was often served with a dry, frowning piece of cornbread that was so bad it can only be described by its own flavor: public school cornbread. Not surprisingly, I hated cornbread for years. Thankfully I got over my hatred for both of these normally delicious foods. Especially cornbread. I mean, really, how do you fuck up the buttery and flakey goodness that is cornbread? Easy, you add dirty ass to it. Fuck that cornbread.

Allright, now that I’m done venting, here’s Tom’s recipe, which can be viewed in full here. I mostly stuck to it, any additions I made are in bold.

1 lb. dried red beans
1/4 lb. bacon or fatty ham
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
12 sprigs parsley, chopped
4 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp. salt
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. savory (optional)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. Tabasco
1/4 cup chopped green onion tops
2 Tbs. chopped parsley
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1. Sort through the beans and pick out any bad or misshapen ones. Soak the beans in cold water overnight. When ready to cook, pour off the soaking water. You probably want to rinse them off, too.

2. In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, fry the bacon or ham fat till crisp. Remove the bacon or ham fat and set aside for garnish (or as a snack while you cook).

3. In the hot fat, sauté the bell pepper, onion, celery, parsley and garlic until it just begins to brown. Add the beans and three quarts of water. Bring to a light boil, then lower to a simmer. Add the salt, bay leaf, savory, black pepper, and Tabasco.

4. Simmer the beans, uncovered, for two hours, stirring two or three times per hour. Add a little water if the sauce gets too thick. Cook at a higher heat or for longer than two hours to make the soup matrix a little thicker. Tom prefers his red beans and rice more “soupy”, which is apparently more traditional. I like the new, thicker variety, which just requires you to cook off more water.

5. Mash about a half-cup of the beans (more if you like them extra creamy) and stir them in into the remainder. Add salt and more Tabasco to taste. You will need more salt, definitely. Serve the beans over rice cooked firm. Garnish with chopped green onions and parsley. I added in the bacon, crumbled up into bits.

The Ultimate: Grill some patties of Creole hot sausage and deposit it, along with as much of the fat as you can permit yourself, atop the beans. Red beans seem to have a limitless tolerance for added fat. This isn’t optional in my book. I used four small/medium sausage links cut into small disks. Don’t chop the sausage up into little bits like an idiot. They should be little hockey puck disks. I also wouldn’t get caught up in finding a sausage that says “Louisiana”, “Cajun” or “andouille”. That shit can be hard to find and sometimes unnecessarily expensive outside of Louisiana. Look for something that is smoked. Ideally you want something smoked and spicy but smoked is more important. You can always add cayenne to make the shit spicier.

Meatless Alternative: Leave the pork and ham out of the recipe completely, and begin by sautéing the vegetables other than the beans in 1/4 cup of olive oil. At the table, pour extra-virgin olive oil over the beans. This may sound and look a bit odd, but the taste is terrific and everything in the plate–beans, rice, and olive-oil–is a proven cholesterol-lowerer.

Serves six to eight.

A Few Thoughts About That Thing…

Hey, did you guys see that thing in SF today? You know, the thing all over the twitters?

Yea! This Thing:

BREAKING: Protesters Block Google Bus

In case you missed it, a Google Bus was stopped by activists this morning protesting its use of city bus stops to transport tech employees to Mountain View without compensating the city for use of the stops (whew). I was stoked to read about this. Yes, there is apparently something, “in the works” to regulate these buses as some blog commenters have pointed out but nothing has been done up to this point. And even when a deal is reached its hard to imagine it not greatly benefiting the tech firms. Unless, of course, the people speak out.

Honestly, my first thought was, “what took so long?” In a city known for its activism, its been really quiet around here. Aside from a pathetic “anti-gentrification” rally were a small crowd beat up a Google bus pinata, there haven’t been a lot of organized protests on the matter. Which is surprising given that every other article I read about now has to deal with evictions, rising rents and a City that is rapidly losing its character. “When do we reach our boiling point?” I wondered. Occupy SF wasn’t that long ago, I’ve seen what happens when people get pushed too far.

So finally, today we get a well organized protest with a clear message. And then this happens:


Google Guy

Man was I pissed! What an asshole, right? Twitter sure was pissed, too. Facebook was pissed once it heard the news from Twitter. Everybody’s pissed everywhere.

Then this happened:
Fake Google Employee Was An Actor, Union Organizer, And Occupy Mainstay

A staged event! Holy shit! Well, I got all pissed off at this guy. So did Twitter and Facebook. The blogs who reported on the guy were extra pissed because they felt they were deceived. We’re all still pissed but now for different reasons!

Luckily for me I have a friend in Nato Green. While I like to believe I’m a reliable left-wing guy who shows up at his town hall meetings and supports activism, I really know very little about protesting and how it works. For example, I never knew that there is the occasional theater act. Protesters like Max Alpern, the real name of the fake Google employee, will act out the scenario that they are protesting against. This theater is obviously an act to those who are watching it. Being a comedian, I immediately got this. This guy Max was putting on a show and the media being the dummies they are thought it was real and reported it as such. Or maybe they knew it was fake and reported it as real anyway for the added exposure. After all, the Guardian was the paper that uploaded the video of Alpen and distributed it as fact despite their having interviewed Alpen as a member of Occupy a couple of years ago.

Not everyone gets to have Nato explain things to them, though, so the chorus of, “this guy ruined the protest” is still ringing out. The online news sources are really butt-hurt; the SF Weekly felt the need to write an article chastising his actions. Everyone seems to think that Alpern should have turned around after his performance and acknowledged it was theater. If what Nato tells me is true this is absurd, it would be like me saying, “just kidding!” after every joke. I’m doing comedy, you get it – he’s doing theater, you should get it. But then I read a comment by Boots Riley that made me think even a bit further. Responding to a friend of mine who made a point about the theater getting all the attention rather than the protest, Boots wrote, “Few would have heard about it if not for the theater.” He’s right. He’s so right that I wondered, “What if Alpern did really try to dupe everybody into thinking he was a Google employee? Would the end justify the means?” Since that is what happened regardless of his intent (for the record, I believe he had no intent to fool anyone) I think the answer is yes.

I’ve learned that protesting has a lot to do with visibility and disruption. Not long ago I was one of those people who didn’t understand Critical Mass. “All it does is clog traffic and piss people off, what’s the point,” I’d think. Well, that’s exactly the point, dummy. Without the big show no one pays attention to these causes. I read some comments about the bus protesters stating that they’re just holding up traffic and keeping people from work. They’re being a nuisance, not solving a problem, etc. This argument is silly when you get right down to it. If not the disruption, what’s the alternative? Ask politely? Well, that’s the rub, isn’t it? Everyone did ask nicely, a whole lot of times. And nobody listened. So now we are stopping your bus or filling your traffic lanes with bicycles until you do listen. If part of that noise is a guy impersonating an antagonistic figure, so be it. The attention to the issue is what matters.

Alien

Great news, I’ll be appearing in SF Sketchfest this year in three shows. I have all the dates. I’ll give those out in another update.

Also, I’ve lost my voice. Will probably write about that later, too.

For now, I just re-watched Alien at the recommendation of Joe Tobin. This was always one of my favorite sci-fi movies but it’s been a while since I last sat down and enjoyed it. All I’ve gotta say is, man, what a fantastic-looking fucking movie. I mean, I always loved the tone, atmosphere and slow-pacing, but on this viewing I really found myself admiring the cinematography and set design. The Nostromo is a kaleidoscope of lights, buttons and switches, some that do nothing and others that self-destruct the vessel. There are two particular parts of the ship that I find really impressive. There is one near the main controls that has a pentagon-shaped light source on the ceiling, casting great halos around the crew while the light from the consoles illuminates their faces. The other is the white, “lite-bright” room where the crew communicates with the computer, “Mother”:

Yea, there’s no good reason I can think of as to why the room looks like that, but damn it looks good nonetheless. Then there are the alien planet sets that appear absolutely massive. In an era where matte paintings and miniatures were the only way of executing these types of effects its pretty amazing how seamlessly everything looks. Pair this with the dark lighting, occasional lens flares and haunting sound design and you have yourself one really sensory-satisfying film.

Most people I talk to about the Alien franchise tend to say that James Cameron’s “Aliens” is better than Ridley Scott’s original. I (and Joe Tobin, apparently) feel like its comparing apples and oranges. “Aliens” is a mile-a-minute thrill ride with colorful characters and a great, wider-reaching story. “Alien” is a slow burn; it’s classic 70’s pacing that takes a long time to set the stage and then gives you a massive payoff at the expense of a larger narrative. Given the awesome look of the film, it deserves the shuffling and plodding. We need the time to take in just how awesome each shot looks.

48 Hours!

I was wondering if comics truly use their personal websites for anything more than placeholders to direct traffic to social media websites. The answer? Yes, except for me. So I’m going to use social media to track back to this post – take that me! Truth is I have a bunch of stuff going on in the next 48 hours and its too much to list on twitter. So I’m back to my neglected blog to give write out all the goods. Here we go.

TONIGHT, Wednesday November 20th.

I’m at the Sacramento Punch Line middling for my pal Reggie Steele. My other pal Marcella Arguello is opening. If you live in that part of town I defy you to find a better time in Arden Fair for $15 and walking distance from a Sleep Train. Tickets: http://punchlinesac.com/event/1C004B31E0379525

TOMORROW

1. I’m doing a benefit for spinal cord injuries and I’m really glad to be a part of it. I haven’t done a benefit in a while, probably not since last year, and its always a great feeling. This will be in SF at the Barrel House and tickets can be purchased here: http://www.juliasmiracle.com/

ALSO TOMORROW

Sal Calanni and I filmed a short last year as a pitch for a travel show. It was rejected. This Thursday, however, it rises from the ashes and will be screened at The Roxie Theater as part of the Festival of the Moving Image! Take that Hollywood! The screening is at 7pm, which means Sal and I won’t be there. Why? We are both performing at the aforementioned benefit, that’s why. We do intent to be at the after party at the Pork Store, however, so if you come check out our film be sure to tell us how much you liked it / hated it while we drink and wait for people to notice us. Info and tickets here: https://www.facebook.com/festivalofthemovingimage

Ok, that’s it for now. See you in 3 months.

Matt

The Dumbest Thing I’ve Ever Read (and my unsolicited response)

I have a love hate relationship with blogs. I find that I either read something truly unique that expands my awareness of an issue or I just waste 20 minutes wading through hyperbolic garbage. The blog re-posted below is one of the latter. This comes from Elite Daily, which claims to be “The Voice Of Generation-Y…a medium for people tired of disingenuous content.” (From their Facebook Page). My commentary is, obviously, in bold.


Why Men Aren’t Really Men Anymore

Finally, a blogger will explain to me how to be a real man. Please, enlighten me.
Life • Paul Hudson • May 29, 11:39am

There was once a time when men used to be real men. When? What time period? A range of years would be preferred, but I’ll settle for the last year when they stopped being men. I ask because specifics like these are what separate actual journalism from amateur garbage. When they dressed with style, when they had a certain honor code they followed that involved treating not only their elders and each other with respect, but women alike. Which men did this? I’m assuming you didn’t just make these broad generalizations up and you based them off of observations of actual historical men. Unfortunately, those days are far- gone — a thing of the past. Yea, again, a year range would be awesome. Like, is this before or after husbands were legally allowed to rape their wives? Was that when men were classy? What we have now is… to be quite honest, I’m not sure. Hey, we both don’t know what the fuck it is you’re talking about! Whew!

There are of course certain men out there who still have their affairs in order, but we are few in number. How many? I’m willing to take a percentage on this. Like, 20%? And what does this data consist of? Monetary worth? Good deeds?What people are most often subject to is the company of boys who are refusing to grow up and man up — boys who prefer to play with their toys than to do their part in bettering society, the human race and the world as a whole. Agreed! Put the video games down and volunteer, dudes. Finally, we’re on the same page. These poor excuses for men have the bodies of adults and the mentalities, as well as the social outlook of toddlers. Horny toddlers, but toddlers nonetheless. My girlfriend’s nephew is a toddler. He likes to kiss dogs on the mouth. Its kind of awesome. How dare you insult him.

It’s all about character — or in this case, the lack of character. Something has been happening during this era dubbed the “information age.” Social media platforms have taken away the need to interact face to face, taking away the need for actual interaction. This is great in many regards: you can now keep in touch with friends and family all over the world from a handheld device. You mean a phone, right? You know phones could do that before they had the internet. It was called long-distance. Also, I believe your argument is starting to lose focus. Gee, I wonder if that will continue.

However, much of the interpersonal confrontations are now also taking place online. People no longer feel that they have a need to meet in person to discuss their differences; they can now troll each other online. Back to phones: I recall you could talk to people while not being face to face by using those, too. People are using the Internet as a shield, hiding behind IP addresses in order to speak their minds. NO ARGUMENT, but once again, FOCUS…LOSING The Internet acts like beer-muscles. It makes you believe that you are stronger than you actually are, making you more aggressive. There is nothing wrong with being aggressive when circumstances require it. Like when? When you are actually being physically assaulted? And how aggressive do you get back? What. Are. You. Talking. About?

Personally, when my fight or flight response mechanism kicks in, I always go with fight. Good for you, violence is the answer! We are talking about the true definition of fighting right? Not an internet fight? Because you never specify this. It’s not by choice; it’s just the way that I am wired. Fact. We have no way to control our compulsions and become better people. Great observation. Online, people have no need to run away because they are already in hiding — so they always choose to “fight.” Like you! You just said you did that! Although the fighting they do is just about as significant as the fighting I do when I play Call of Duty. Hey, that’s a video game, isn’t it? Wait a minute, isn’t a video game a toy? Didn’t you just say that men today are at fault for playing with toys? Do you have an internal editor at all?

The same interaction from beneath cover can be seen when we look at the intercommunication between men and women. It is no secret that both men and women alike have sexual urges. Men, however, feel the need to get off more often than most women. Science! So instead of having to spend the time to meet a real woman and have actual sexual intercourse, they watch porn. Psyche! We do both!

Instead of going out into the real world and meeting women, they stalk women on Instagram. See above response to porn! People now date online as well. It’s much easier to talk to a woman online than it is in person—or rather, it’s not that it’s easier. Both are just as easy, but for some reason, men now prefer to hide their faces behind their monitors. (Every time I use the term ‘men’ in such context I quiver) I’m quivering reading this right now! I may vomit! It’s out of fear and laziness. Men have become lazy pussies. There ya go, talkin’ like a real man. I don’t even want to use the word pussy because it brings to mind women, who nowadays have much more character than men. As opposed to when they had less? What does that mean?

Generation-Y is the instant gratification generation. LINK. VISIT THIS LINK. We want what we want right at the moment we figure out that we want it. We are willingly giving up one of the most important things in life: the waiting period. Having to wait and having to deal with our urges and wants without instantly having them satisfied is what builds character and is what we are now lacking in this fast-paced age. Like how you hammered out this shit-fest in half-an-hour, right?

If we want food, we order it online and have it delivered. Remember how we couldn’t order food to be delivered before the internet? Right? Oh wait. If we want to listen to our favorite song, we find it on YouTube, iTunes or Spotify. Oh no! If we want to watch a movie, we either buy it on demand or stream it online. Gasp, the convenience! If we want sex, we masturbate. I think this predates internet and delivery food, btw If we want to have a good time, we do drugs. Ditto We have this false belief that doing things faster will give us a life more fulfilled — that it will lead to us being happier. But that isn’t the case. Most of us aren’t happier. We do more, but we experience less. We are never in the moment because we are always considering what we will be doing next in order to not become bored. Once again, I agree, but what the fuck does this have to do with the title of your article? Is this about men being “men” or society being overly-convenient? All of those conveniences are enjoyed by women, too, you realize. Girls have Spotify, last I checked.

Character is most often built during those moments between activities, during moments of solitude and reflection. Like how? An example would be awesome right here. Men no longer feel the need to pause and reflect because the options for whatever it is they want are only a click away. They certainty don’t feel the need to think about evidence for their arguments. The options are endless and therefore we never truly experience disappointment. Never. We are never disappointed. Ever. Except, maybe, when we read this.

We never really feel that we are missing out on something because we no longer give things much importance. Jackie never got back to your text message? I’m sure you have several other women in your contacts that you’d equally like to f*ck — once. Yea! Its like I have this little piece of paper filled with numbers of people I like to call to hook up with! And when somebody turns me down I look at this piece of paper and dial another number! Seriously dude, you are killing yourself with phone examples. Dudes were douchebags before iPhones. THEY FOUND A WAY. Then you’ll get bored and move on to the next one. Men treat women like interchangeable commodities. Only now! Not in the past! When men could literally have a woman as a piece of property. Not then. Now. I do believe that most men still hope to one day fall in love and settle down. Aw, you’re sweet But none of them will unless they change their way of thinking and living. NONE. NOT ONE. THAT IS NOT AT ALL OVERSTATING THINGS

Being focused on self-satisfaction will lead to nothing but broken relationships. Real men are not selfish. Real men are just as concerned for the feelings, needs and minds of women as they are for their own — not just women’s bodies and their sexual usefulness. Real men have a well-defined code of ethics and respect that they follow. This is, so far, the only reasonable, well said and truthful statement you’ve made. Congratulations. 1000 monkeys with a 1000 typewriters.

How can anyone call himself a man if the last time he had to confront another man — whether it be over a social incident or for business purposes — was before he hit puberty? What? If you don’t have the twiddle-diddles WHAT? to approach a woman at a bar in person and have a proper, intellectual conversation, making the woman feel respected and comfortable, then move over for the real men. Yea, be a real man and pick up chicks at a bar. There ya go, buddy. Get em nice and drunk while you’re at it. Ass.

It’s awful because women are becoming accustomed to such boys and believing that these pansies are all that is left of our sex. If only they had more ‘Bros like you to choose from. Sigh. Some great women are settling for these fools and then finding that they themselves have no choice but to wear the pants in the family because their “man” is PMSing. All I can hope for is that the law of evolution will see the world rid of these weaklings, these characterless, hopeless pseudo-men. True speak from a genuine man of science like yourself.

Ladies… real men do exist; there aren’t many of us, but we’re survivors and will be around for a while. Come find us. Wait, are you just a bitter single dude trying to pick up chicks on the internet with this inane article? Making you the exact Call of Duty playing dipshit that you are criticizing? Man, I’m sorry to hear that. Well, good luck, you’re obviously a real catch.

Punch Lines All May Long!

By “Punch Lines” I mean the Bay Area clubs that are oh-so-good to me. Its the beginning of a busy May where I’ll be featuring in Sacramento starting tonight and in San Francisco from the 22nd – 25th.

So if you’re in the East Bay, check me out this week with Dan Soder and Casey Ley. If you are in SF, I’ll be with Barry Rothbart and Colleen Watson . I’m really excited for both of these weeks. Both Colleen and Casey are good friends of mine and its always a fun to work with people you like hanging out with in general. And while I don’t personally know Barry or Dan, they are both funny guys who tweet about sports, which leads me to believe we’ll get along just fine. Then there’s the fact that I’ve got LOTS O NEW JOKES. That’s right, there’s plenty of stuff you haven’t heard.

So yea, that all starts tonight. Other news includes: I edited, audio mixed, sfx’ed, animated, lit, helped shoot, helped direct, helped run live sound, drank lots of coffee for a project that is meant to promote ABC’s “Family Tools” sitcom. This means I’ve got an actual network TV credit as a video editor/animator. Not too bad for just getting back into the game. Hopefully this leads to more editing/animating/production!

Speaking of video: if you go to my YouTube it’s pretty bare. That’s because I took out most of the old content as I plan on updating it with video of this week and the May 22-25th’s sets. It’s time for a refresh.

Finally, my birthday is tomorrow. Don’t worry, you still have time to get me something. I’m easy to shop for. Crumpled dollar bills out of a dirty hand is my favorite thing, so that’ll do.

Matt

The Academy Awards! A Demographics FAIL

Its been four days since the Academy Awards and I’ve just read another feminist blog post talking about Seth Macfarlane’s overly sexist performance as this year’s emcee. The “I Saw Your Boobs” song and a joke about George Clooney eventually having sex with Quvenzhané Wallis, who is currently 9 years old, tend to get the most attention. While this hasn’t exploded quite like the Daniel Tosh rape-joke debacle last year, its really touched a nerve and, for no good reason, I’d like to chime in.

Full disclosure: I didn’t watch the Academy Awards (see previous blog post). I did watch the “Boobs” song to see what the fuss was about (its pretty bad), and I don’t really need to hear the Quvenzhane Wallis joke to know its just wrong. I’ve also read or watched all the questionable jokes/comments at this point. In general it sounds like Macfarlane was given a slew of frat-boy humor to tell with the curious goal of expanding the Academy Awards demographic to attract more male viewers in all the wrong ways. So lets talk about demographics and their relationship to this show.

I should start by stating that yes, Seth Macfarlane’s performance contained a lot of sexism. Unlike Ricky Gervais’ hilarious roasting at the two Golden Globes awards, which included really hard jabs at lead male actors and the Hollywood establishment in general, Macfarlane’s bits tend to revolve around how women are vacant and annoying. This is questionable for a telecast that skews 62% FEMALE (link), and is referenced as the “Super Bowl For Women“. And while some people might think that title is sexist, too, (see link) its a really important way to think about the Oscars relative to female demographics.

Demographics?

You see, in TV and movies you have to have a target demographic. Its primarily a tool for advertisers; if your show’s demographic targets men ages 18 – 30 (see Family Guy) then the companies who buy advertising space on that show are going to be different than the companies who buy ads during Glee. Demographics can include lots of things: income, race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation. Documentaries and political programs, for example, can get pretty narrow. Generally if you can expand your demographics its seen as a good thing because you attract more advertisers. Now this isn’t always true. Sometimes you nail your demographic so hard other TV stations don’t even try to fucking compete, they just counter program in a completely different demo and accept the loss (See “Glee” at 9pm vs 1600 Penn and 2 dramas that started at 8:30. Guess who’s getting the young female audience ad revenue?). The Oscars are way, way bigger than Glee, tho, and has the potential for way more $ in advertising dollars so it makes sense for them to expand. But the way they did it further proves my suspicion that Hollywood has no idea what its doing, and when they do something right its completely by accident.

How to fuck up a race your winning that has no other participants

In recent years, the Oscars seemed to have embraced its demo. They play up the red carpet show as much as the ceremony itself. The show is produced by two men who specialize in musicals. This year in particular the awards show was compared to the Tony awards because of its numerous musical numbers and paying tribute to recent musical films like Chicago (having been the last musical to win Best Picture). These are what I call GOOD DECISIONS. Women make up the majority of the demographics for musicals and fashion shows. The Oscars have a huge female audience. GIVE YOUR AUDIENCE WHAT IT WANTS. Now yes, gay men watch these shows too (I can already hear people wanting to point that out) but if we’re talking about a 62% female viewership that’s where the advertising dollars are going. Plus this blog is about women so that’s what were focusing on.

So you are winning your demographic hand over fist, but you think you could get some more male viewers. What do you do? A reverse half-time show. The Super-Bowl has a million-dollar-half-time show every year that nobody who watches the game wants to see. Its for their weakest demographic, young women. Everybody knows this and accepts it (more on the NFL later). Now, the Oscars have a host whom everyone usually hates unless its Billy Crystal. I don’t know why this is. Once Hugh Jackman hosted in 2009 I thought that was it, he’d be the host forever. He’s a handsome guy who can sing and dance. He hasn’t hosted since. Bob Hope, Billy Crystal and Johnny Carson have been the most endearing emcees. So if you are an older, self-deprecating comedian who can sing and dance, you’re safe. If only Jon Stewart could hold a tune.

Anyway, the Oscars host is their halftime show, at least this year. Inserting a guy who makes TV shows primarily for adolescent boys is their version of Beyonce singing “Single Ladies” in-between giant supermen trying to kill each other. On paper, it kind of makes sense. Young men don’t watch the Oscars. They like Family Guy. Get the guy who makes Family Guy to host the Oscars. New advertising dollars.

The problem is, young men also like farts, boobs & vaginas, hitting things and thinking women are stupid, especially the ones that are pretty and don’t sleep with them. Its too much of a polar opposite. If you really want to get men to watch the host but without the adolescent baggage, have Deon Sanders do it. He’s charismatic and entertaining. I don’t know if he can sing but we all know he can dance as evidenced by numerous pick-six celebrations. He’s also a family man with a wife and five children. I know this probably sounds crazy but if we are really going to use the host as a bridge for expanding demographics, this would be the most reasonable way to do it outside of comedians like Chris Rock or Jon Stewart, whom everyone seems to hate hosting the Oscars.

In the end we can’t quite blame Seth Macfarlane completely. Lets not forget that the host doesn’t write his own shit. Someone else wrote those jokes and musical numbers because they were “Seth Macfarlane-like” and worked to its demographic ploy. Unfortunately, these people were too stupid to realize they were insulting their main demographic over and over again in the process.

Which brings me back to the NFL. In general, female audiences are a more attractive demographic. Men don’t buy stuff other than beer and fast food. If they didn’t have to wear pants, they would go to work naked. That’s why male-dominated programming like sports always has two types of commercials: beer and fast food. In the end, it makes you wonder why the Oscars would try to attract more male viewers at all. Now, the advertising for shows with female audiences? Well, there’s commercials for makeup, home repair, cooking, clothes, shoes, children’s needs, house cleaning supplies, weight-loss solutions etc etc etc. Are some of these choices stereotypical? YES. Do advertisers care? NO.

So the NFL knows this. They aren’t fools when it comes to making money. So they have made a very well-thought out and well executed push to attract female viewers. And they are the only major sport to really try and do so. They have female sideline reporters now at almost every game and. they are actually knowledgeable and passionate about the sport instead of just pretty faces. In fact, they are more qualified that some (ok, many) of the former players that do reporting. They also keep trying to make the aforementioned half-time show an event in and of itself that is meant a female audience without being pandering. I personally think the Beyonce show was the best they’ve done. They fucking brought Destiny’s Child back. They’ve also acknowledged the popularity of Super Bowl commercials with women. Think about Super Bowl commercials of years past. Budweiser used to have girls in bikini’s busting open sudsy beers by a pool. Last year? A sentimental story about a man and his pet horse. GOOD DECISIONS. The NFL even has a line of clothing just for women and they actively give a shit about it. I remember when women’s NFL jerseys first came out. They were all pink. It was the dumbest thing. Girls who were into football hated them, and rightfully so. How naive and condescending can you be? “Girls want a football jersey to wear? Make it pink!” It failed and they changed the clothes to have team colors and now have celebrity designers. The only pink you see is in October, when the NFL celebrates breast-cancer awareness month by selling pink merchandise that funds breast cancer research. MORE GOOD DECISIONS.

All of this stuff has good intentions, it works (the NFL is bigger than ever and has more female fans than ever) and NONE of it detracts from the game itself. Football is still football. Guys still hit each other with the intent to injure them, and badly. Sometimes they wear pink when they do it, but its for a good cause.

The Academy Awards either needs to figure out the reverse of this or just stop. Having sexist 14-year-old-boy humor in your awards show is so fucking stupid I can’t begin to comprehend how nobody in the production food chain opposed it. And for the record, not all men think sexism is funny. I thought the “Boob Song” and the Quvenzhané Wallis joke were both bad and uncomfortable to watch. Its such a monumental fail on all levels.

If I were The Academy Awards I would call Hugh Jackman right now and check his avails for February 2014. If he’s booked, call Billy Crystal.

Either way, I’m probably still not going to watch. Unless you get Deon Sanders.

Christmaaaas

Merry Christmas everybody. I’m in Slidell, Louisiana right now, enjoying a long vacation. I’ll be back in San Francisco doing shows at Kell’s January 4th and 5th with Kevin Camia. They’ve been added to the calendar (its true, go see).

Until then, its relaxation time in the South. So far its been a great trip. I hit the road on the 20th to go visit my 90-year-old grandma in Houston. People aren’t joking when they say that the filter comes off when you get that old. And why not? You’re only going to be around a little longer, might as well get everything off your chest while you still can. Personally, I thought hearing my Grandma break balls and swear at people was great. It makes me wonder what happens when I turn 90. Because essentially, breaking balls and swearing at people is my profession. So what’s my ceiling? Indecent exposure? Random acts of violence? Maybe being old and just saying, “fuck off” to people will be novel enough to keep me happy. I guess we’ll see.

Big thanks to my Aunt and Uncle for letting me and my brother stay with them in Houston. Talk about great hosts, I’m hoping to visit every year now. They took me, my brother and my cousins to a Houston Rockets game. And they won. What a great god damn time. And thanks to my brother for taking the 7 hour drive with me. That was particularly significant as we had gone on a disastrous road trip years ago and this finally made up for it.

Anyway, I won’t bore you with rosy, cheerful vacation anecdotes. I promise I’ll write about something fucked up and hilarious eventually. I’m just trying to blog with some consistency now and, shit, things are kind of nice at the moment. I’m waking up late, eating well and walking dogs in 70-degree weather, man. What the fuck do I have to complain about? Maybe I’ll get robbed in New Orleans. That’ll do the trick.

Ok. I’m done. Merry Christmas. Yes I’m an atheist and I celebrate Christmas. Its easy, they keep Christ out of it so well I’m under the impression we are celebrating Ralphie getting his BB gun and Charlie Brown decorating a shitty tree.

But seriously, Merry Christmas. Whatever. Fuck.

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