Thursday, November 30, 2006
I got a funny e-mail from my La Salle friend "Beautiful" Bobby G (the guy who chased around the no-necked midget while naked and shaking his penis.) This is what it read:
"Hey dork, is your brother's name chris? some douche bag on left of center (sirius) was just talking about those fags the smiths and the ucp and said your gay brother loves the smiths. how weird and totally homo erotic. sorry to bother you but this is all i got right now in terms of social interaction. i'm pathetic and sexy."
So, congratulations. You are now known throughout the world as the most prominent Smiths fan who hasn't slit his wrists yet.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
Your taste in movies and TV never ceases to puzzle me. You're a working comic but you took me to task this week for my claim that the US Office is better than the UK version. I'm not alone in thinking this -- it wasn't me being contrarian. The US version is balls-out hilarious and the conceit is easier to swallow. In the UK version, David Brent is completely incompetent at his job. Unless I am missing something about British hiring/firing procedures, it makes no sense for him to be at his job for as long as he is. In the US version, Michael Scott is tremendously bad at the administrative part of the job but actually has several moments where he completes a big sale. The show is absolutely hilarious. And not nearly as depressing as the UK version. Not that depressing is bad -- it's just that, in America you can move to a new city or bullshit job without a lot of effort, so it'd be false for everyone in the office to be miserable. And the background characters are realy well developed whereas they weren't in the UK version.
But we both agree that The Wire is the best show on television. I don't know about you, but I would go so far as to say it's the best show I've ever seen. I like it a lot more than The Sopranos which, while amazing, certainly has its downside. I like it more than Freaks and Geeks. Freaks and Geeks was a great comic tragedy and really relatable for folks like us, but it lacks the gravitas that The Wire has. The big cliche about The Wire is that it's literature on television. But it's a true cliche -- it's like The Great Gatsby mixed in with the best of Philip Roth.
Yes, I probably wouldn't be talking to you if it weren't for this show.
Do you think it's fair to say that our thinly veiled hatred of each other, often displayed in bursts of impatience with each other, talking down to each other, and public mockery of each other, is barely being concealed these days due to our mutual love of HBO's The Wire? If that show didn't exist, I don't think we would ever talk to each other. Agree? Disagree?
Your loving brother,
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
That poem is awesome. But here's the thing that makes me queazy about Rah Rah Johnny Irish: I'm sure the tar-lunged barfly at Quigley's is quoting that poem when he's putting change in the "Relief Support" can which then eventually makes its way into the hands of some IRA chapter type thing. The same IRA who kill Catholics who stumble across a bar brawl. And that makes me really squeamish.
I mean, I don't like all the shit that happens in Northern Ireland, but I don't like it the same way I don't like what happens in Lebanon or Palestine or Syria or North Korea. Even though my grandfather probably got the shit kicked out of him by some asshole English officer when he was a kid. I also hate St. Patrick's Day, as much as I love the St. Paddy's Day Parade.
I just wish I could feel my pride in my heritage on a different note than the folks who use their ancestral homeland as an excuse to drink, get rowdy and say dumb shit about a very complicated political situation they don't know a whole lot about. And plus, I rather like the English. Every Brit I've ever hung out with has been insanely good company. And I listen to way too much of The Who, The Clash and those 90's Britpop bands to get up in arms.
I think what makes me routinely question my views on being Irish-American is that I still have no idea what to get from dad's side of the family.
At Boolavogue as the sun was setting
O'er the bright May meadows of Shelmalier
A rebel hand set the heather blazing
and brought the neighbours from far and near.
Then Father Murphy from old Kilcormack
Spurred up the rocks with a warning cry:
'Arm! Arm!' he cried, 'For I've come to lead you'
'for Ireland's freedom we'll fight or die'!
We took Camolin and Enniscorthy
And Wexford storming drove out our foes
'Twas at Slieve Coilte our pikes were reeking
With the crimson blood of the beaten Yeos.
God grant you glory, brave Father Murphy
And open Heaven to all your men
The cause that called you may call tomorrow
In another fight for the Green again.
I think there's more to hate about our childhood involving being merely brderline white trash in a full on white trash section of town, which is basically the equivalent of having a target painted on your back as a kid.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Did you read that book "All Souls: Growing Up Southie" by Michael Patrick MacDonald book I left at Mom's? If you haven't, pick that book up. Along with the recently released sequel "Easter Rising." I know your reading tastes venture more towards technical stuff about improv theater, odd ghost stories and Star Wars novels, but I still think you'd love these books.
The first book is about a kid whose grandparents are from Ireland who grew up in a fucked up family in an even more fucked up neighborhood in Southie Boston. The second book is about how the narrator escaped his upbringing by finding an escape in punk rock until he reconciles his past by making a trip to his grandmom's birthplace.
Naturally, a lot of this book is relatable, being that we're second generation micks who didn't fit the template of jock asshole in our Irish-Catholic dickweed neighborhood who ended up going to local punk shows and owning a lot of Ramones albums between the two of us.
I don't know how you are at all about this, so I pose the question: how has being Irish-Catholic shaped you, your personality, your sense of humor, your resentment issues, etc.
Thinking about things... I carry our family's mockery of the Rah Rah Notre Dame Shelleliegh Club Irish a lot. I've always associated "pride in Irish heritage" with those kinds of folks, and I've always considered those folks to largely be a bunch of drunk racist retards.
I mean, I know a lot about Northern Ireland, but it's in the "master's degree in International Studies" sense and not in the "knowing what county your grandmother was born in" sense. And Irishness has certainly shaped me in some way-- I like filthy jokes and Guinness, I at least make an attempt to go to Mass more than three times a year and I generally like The Pogues. But I've distanced and disassociated myself from Irish-Americanness to a point where it's the thing I feel guiltiest about in my guilt-ridden life.
So, what I'm saying is, wanna go to the St. Patrick's Day Parade?
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
My brother was an overachiever in high school. Good grades, heavily involved in all kinds of clubs (including high school musicals), vague popularity. He had a stellar high school resume and had his pick of colleges. The one he chose was Rutgers.
This makes sense, being it's the state university of the great state of New Jersey. But from the minute our mom unpacked a box for him in his dorm room, Chris hated college and spent nothing but his time complaining and looking for any way out of it. Even though a ridiculous amount of his best friends and his girlfriend went to the same school.
How two brothers could have a college experience on opposite sides of the coin has always baffled me. It's not like Rutgers totally sucks -- I mean, I didn't go to school there, but I crashed on disgusting couches and slept on vermin-infested floors all over New Brunswick. If I wasn't in Philly, I was up at Rutgers. At Rutgers you could at least get food within walking distance. At La Salle, the food stores were drug fronts like Old Face Andre's on The Wire.
But something curious has happened to my younger brother in the past few days. He, like the rest of the state of New Jersey, has come down with a case of Scarlet Fever after Rutgers' spellbinding upset of Louisville and emergence as a national championship football contender. My brother, who has practically lobbied for a terrorist attack on Piscataway and New Brunswick, has even been seen wearing Rutgers sweatshirts. Even more baffling in his 180... I don't think my brother even really likes sports.
What's next, Chris, a tattoo of Mike Teel eating a Fat Moon (with extra pussy juice) on your calf?
Well, he somehow manages to be the most endearing yet most irritating person alive, all at the same time. The guy sleeps through everything, loves nothing more than an uncomfortable joke, and really enjoys talking to the least advisable people about the most inappropriate things possible. He's unsanitary and doesn't get haircuts often enough.
But he still somehow manages to have everyone on his side and is like a cult hit with people. Seriously, his friends treat him like I treat watching The Warriors. People have a sick obsession with Gregg and his sense of humor that I don't advocate, understand, or participate in. I watch people talk to and about Gregg, and I often find myself wondering, "Don't these people realize how being friends with Gregg means you will never get anywhere at the time you planned, and when you get there, you'll be far more uncomfortable than you wanted to be?"
The best thing about Gregg is that I have been mining him for comedic material for over two decades. My greatest success as a comedian has come from stealing material Gregg has introduced into my life. Either by mining the awkwardness he creates in comedy scenes, or by outright stealing ideas he has had and watering them down so they are palatable to people who are not the six dudes we grew up with and still talk to, or nine drunks from Philadelphia he knows.
So there are some bad things and some good things about Gregg. I am kind of ambiguous about a lot of things about him, sometimes I think his whole persona is great and hilarious, and sometimes I want to smash his face with a stick until his brains are all over the floor.
Many of you reading this probably know who Chris is already. Definitely more of you know who he is than you know who I am. I attribute this to the nature of our paths in life (and I just vomited typing that phrase). I went to college in Philadelphia where I concentrated in drinking beer, skipping classes and hating myself. My brother went to Rutgers and concentrated in hating himself. But he also fell into the world of improv comedy (which I enjoyed mocking) and got a job writing for a low-rent fanzine based in our town.
After college, I fell into decaying world of journalism until I finally had enough of covering school board meetings in suburban America. Now I'm lost, bitter and angry. The low-rent fanzine my brother worked at blossomed and soon became sold at bookstores nationwide. His bosses even had their own show on The History Channel. And my brother was even given a book deal on his own. And his once-mockable hobby of improv comedy has blossomed, where my brother now works at one of the leading comedy theaters in the country, allowing him to appear on a whole bunch of television shows and the like.
Not only is my brother wildly successful while I'm, well, not, but I can't even beat him up anymore. He outweighs me by a lot and has also been training in a martial art known as Brazillian jiu-jitsy. The most athletic I get is in simulating Madden seasons on PS2.
Am I jealous? Fuck yes. Am I plotting cruel brotherly vengeance? Hell yeah. Do you think anyone wants to grow up to become a Roger Clinton or a Drew Lachey?
But while I am planning his ultimate demise, I remain consistently entertained by what my brother does on a daily basis. Particularly with his rage issues. I mean, I've never met someone who gets angrier for less than he does.
"JESUS CHRIST! WHY DID YOU EAT THE LAST CINNAMON RASIN BAGEL?"
But we'll get into Chris' mindset later. That is, if he's still talking to me after this post.