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I’m Marvellous, Almost Mrs. Maisel Marvellous

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Mrs Maisel 2

I love Mrs. Maisel.

She’s Marvellous, don’t you think?

You know who I’m talking about, right? That Amazon-Prime-lady Rachel Brosnahan who plays a young, separated Jewish mom in 1958 New York City.

She works a department store gig by day and then hits the nightclub stand-up stage most evenings.

Her comedy routine on stage is a bit like watching Seinfeld … actually, I think she is Jerry Seinfeld in a dress. Master of her own domain…

Mrs. Maisel (“Midge”) blathers on about her day’s routines and the crazy things her parents say or her ex-husband does, but in a charming and funny, occasionally profane, way. Snapshots of nothing and everything all at the same time.

The dialogue for the show is reminiscent of watching anything written by Aaron Sorkin (yeah, I’m a fan boy of his) … The West Wing, The Social Network, A Few Good Men, Moneyball … or Nora Ephron (yeah, I’m a groupie of her’s too)… Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally.

The creator/writer/director for The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel is the marvellous herself Amy Sherman-Palladino who in years past created The Gilmore Girls.

It takes incredible talent to write comedy, sharp, and fast, but there is always humanity and emotion too. Comedy is best when it shoots an arrow to the heart sometimes. Tears and laughter are fine bedfellows.

Her rapid-fire, witty dialogue requires your strict attention because the fun lines zip by so rapidly.

But truly, I love Mrs. Maisel mainly because I’m very different (yes, she is much cuter than me) from her.

I could never be a stand-up comic. I would SUCK!

stand up comic

How does someone stand at a microphone for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes … an hour … and relate stories, tell jokes… sometimes rehearsed, often improvised on the spot? I can’t riff a good knee-slapper about the underwear I’m wearing (or not!) today even if my life depends on it (get it… DEPENDS!.. OMG, there’s hope for me).

Nope, that’s not me. I’m not so marvellous at that stuff.

I struggle to remember the lyrics for a 3 minute song I’m playing. I can’t remember your name within 10 milliseconds of our introduction.

But I can give a prepared speech in fine fashion (or so I think). Why?

Why thanks for asking.

I write these blog posts (kind of like a prepared speech) because I can ruminate – like a cow chewing its cud in the pasture – over my words for hours, days if necessary. And I do.

I even write amazingly erudite paragraphs in my night-dreams, and the day I can remember them when I awake, I can die happy, although I don’t think I’ll be happy when I die, but who knows, do you? And there I go talking like Mrs. Maisel …

The pairing of supreme writing and verbal skills are like oil and water, pasta and sushi, forks and power outlets, my testicles and a sharp knee jab… you get the gist. Not an easy combination. Most of us channel the muse in one OR the other, if we’re lucky.

Verbally I stumble and stammer and look befuddled like Robert Mueller… oy vay, don’t get me started.

With writing, I can parse and edit … edit and parse … so that I come up with a (hopefully) well thought-out and comprehensible phrase or two.

The delay I get in writing (like the 7 second TV broadcast delay) helps me avoid the quicksand that my lack of filters (of which I’m constantly reminded!), sadistically, maniacally, tosses me into without my really trying.

And so Mrs. Maisel… I humbly bow to your skill-set, your humour, your smiles, your bravery in a man’s world… perhaps Aaron Sorkin wrote deftly about A Few Good Men …  but Amy Sherman-Palladino? … you’ve nailed it here with One Good Woman.

Brava!

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I’m In The Mood For A Little TeeHee…

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Love to laugh

… I love to laugh …

Remember that little ditty from Mary Poopins?teehee… I mean Poppins

Some people laugh through their noses
Sounding something like this, dreadful
Some people laugh through their teeth goodness sake
Hissing and fizzing like snakes
Not at all attractive to my way of thinking

I love to laugh
Loud and long and clear
I love to laugh
It’s getting worse every year

When was the last time I laughed so hard that I shot a nostrilful of milk across the table?

I’ll bet my Grade 13 lunch mates at Sir Wilfrid Laurier School in Hamilton still remember…

Probably the only thing worse than being vomited on (I g-g-gag just thinking…)…. is having recycled cow squeezings snorted over you in a misty white shower while trying to wolf back an egg salad sandwich that your Mom so lovingly prepared.

Hmmmm…. and I wonder why my old buddies Larry or Renato won’t befriend me on FB…. oh yeah, the milk snort shower.

The world has been a shadowy, humourless place in the last 14 or 15 months with DJT (Da Jaundiced Twerp) running our planetary schoolyard. Maybe Orange(head) truly is the New Black.

Ha ha… AR-15’s. Ha ha… #MeToo marches. Ha ha Nuclear threats.  Ha ha Slow WiFi… where is the laughter?

First world problem

Another great Third world problem…

OMG, a great vacuum has sucked up the milk snorting Teehee’s.

Of course I can’t grouse too much because I can’t tell a joke (at least a funny one) if my life depends on it. My punchlines need some IV-administered Viagra…

Yes, it’s difficult sometimes to unearth a good laugh when living in the current version of the dark ages…. I wonder how many standup comedians traipsed the countryside during the Black Death Plague (courtesy of my old Microbiology lab friend Yersinia pestis) that ravaged Europe for 4 years in the 1300’s? So… do all curses come in 4 year stints?

Could Jerry Seinfeld, Tina Fey or Rita Rudner have made a livelihood while surrounded by the stench of rotting bodies in the streets? It’s hard to hear the giggles over the corpse crowd, the dead silence …”Smoking will kill you… Bacon will kill you… But smoking bacon will cure it.” Cue laughter.

It’s crucial to find humour in the dingy, dreariest of times. Haven’t most of us laughed through our tears at a funeral or at the bedside of a dying loved one as a way to cope with the inner anguish?

I have to find humour in any place that isn’t a mirror ’cause it’s so damned hard to laugh through the crevasses and white hair that accost me like a time thief when I see THAT reflection. All I can say is, “Thank God my eye colour hasn’t changed.

FUN FUN FUN… today I’ll risk my foolish pride by telling you the longest, best bout of laughter I’ve had in 2018 was at the local movie theatre watching…

Peter Rabbit.

Yup, a kids’ cartoon.

I laughed and snorted the whole way through.

I hope the couple sitting in front of me didn’t mind picking semi-chewed specks of popcorn out of their hair when they arrived home after the flick. Hey, it isn’t milk snort!

Peter Rabbit… a beautifully computer-animated version of the classic Beatrix Potter story with some not-so-classic silly voices of Peter, and his triplet sisters Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail (aka James Corden, Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie, and Elizabeth Debicki).

 

It was clever, and irreverent, often silly but never totally jumped the garden fence into slapstick. It had drama and heartwarming moments, terrific animation, and a gentle love story to complete a great screenplay.

Benjamin Bunny: I’m still so out of shape.

Peter Rabbit: How’s it working with the putting the dressing on the side?

Benjamin Bunny: Good. But, I don’t understand why it’s healthier to drink it all at once.

OK, maybe it was the mood I was in.

Yes, our mood.

I recall gasping in laughter watching Woody Allen’s neurotic-laced Annie Hall the first time through.

On second viewing a few years later, I shook my head, wondering if I was watching the same movie. Where was the incredible humour that had me rolling in the aisle the first time?

Decades back I peed myself through the triad of Monty Python movies (Monty Python and The Holy Grail, The Life of Brian, and The Meaning of Life). I can watch them today and come away with contradictory sensations of laughter and absurdity.

Yes, our mood.

Humour isn’t always what is given to us in the moment. Laughter affects our taste buds differently with each serving.

Often, it’s what we bring to the moment in our own mood… where is our tipping point? Today, is our funny bone right at the surface or deeply submerged?

I love it that I can watch CNN in 2018 and shake my head in laughter more often than I frown. Absurdity is such great comedy.

Perhaps the next time I view Peter Rabbit, my mood may be different. I’ll wonder what the hell was so funny.

But today I’m still giggling the same way I did when I was 7 years old and good ole Mary Poppins gave me that first spoonful of sugar laughter….

spoonful

 

 

What Makes Jerry Seinfeld So Funny?

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Jerry Seinfeld

Remember Stewart in my high school? You know, Stewart. Short. Unathletic. Funny dude.

We all knew that guy in high school … he wasn’t terribly popular … but he had an amazingly quick wit and sense of humour.

I would have loved to be the funny guy.

Even teachers begrudgingly loved the funny guy.

To our faces, they pretended he was just a wisecracking smartass, but when they turned their backs to the class, and wrote indecipherable math formulas on the chalkboards in their shirts with sweat-stained armpits, they too had silly grins that couldn’t be contained.

Cheerleaders wouldn’t get naked and screw the funny guy (at least during high school years) because he was kind of scrawny. And too smart. Not book smart. Life smart.

Bullies were even too afraid to beat him up because they knew he’d cut them down to embarrassing size with his quips and shrewd words. Bullies know they have small dicks and are stupid – they don’t need it pointed out to everyone.

Stewart became class president in Grade 12 because no one would touch him, physically or mentally. Stewart had power.

I don’t know where Stewart is today, but I’ll bet he’s in charge of something wherever he sits his ass down.

Of course there are all sorts of categories of guys and gals in high school… the jock, the cheerleader, the stoner, the free-spirit Bohemian, the math nerd, the politician, the loner, teacher’s pet.

Every school has them. Every one of us knows the full gamut of stereotypes that we can put names to … you saw it in school, and you see it in the workplace.

In today’s information-heavy world, it’s not muscle and brawn and aggression that win battles… well, not usually anyways.

It used to be that the strongest Attila or Ghengis in the clan automatically was the leader.

Later it was the Sundance Kid guy with the best pistol shot. Fear was derived from strength of body or weapon.

Butch and sundance

But today, the brain is the weapon of choice.

The person with the strongest wit and intellect and ability to think on their feet becomes the next great leader or popular messiah.

  • Barack Obama showed that in recent American elections with his folksy charm and ability to communicate and connect.
  • Bill Clinton won the people over with his magnetic appeal, intellect and charisma (and sexy allure!).
  • Bill Cosby was a big winner for decades with his warm smile and down-to-earth chuckles until his ugly arrogant ego was pulled out of the shitty cesspool.
  • George W. Bush paradoxically used old-era scare tactics and Cold War paranoia to wiggle his way through elections, a toss back to earlier times. No intellect or wit necessary. Which proves that there are exceptions to every rule.

George w bush

………………

But I hear you asking, “why in the world is he thinking about these images from his past?”

Well, it’s because I just bought tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld in Vancouver in November. Another funny guy.

I chuckle and titter at Seinfeld’s “observational-style” humour – unlike the Don Rickles “insult” humour style of comedy and fun.

Rickles: “I shouldn’t make fun of the blacks,” Rickles said, and then proceeded to do just that: “President Obama is a personal friend of mine. He was over to the house yesterday, but the mop broke.”

I laughed and I laughed … NOT!!!

Funny to me is when both the comic and his target are laughing. Does anyone honestly believe Obama would burst into a sincere belly-busting uproar at Rickles’ joke?

Did one black person smile and snigger? Right … NOPE!

Seinfeld: “I was best man at a wedding one time and that was pretty good. Pretty good title, I thought … ‘Best man.’ I thought it was a bit much. I thought we had the groom and the ‘pretty good man.’ That’s more than enough. If I am the best man, why is she marrying him?”

Seinfeld: “A friend of mine is going in for a nose job next week. You know what the technical term for a nose job is? Rhinoplasty! Rhino! This guy is aware he has a bit of a problem … he’s obviously sensitive about it, that’s why he made the appointment. Do we really need to compare him to a goddamn rhinoceros?”

Anyone can laugh at these observations. Or not.

I’m blown away by the minds of those who are able to pick up on minute details in life – like “best man” or “rhinoplasty” –  that can be twisted just a tiny wee bit to bring out the absurdity in the things we do and experience.

I guess it’s just a part of me that is on this continual search for inspiration and artistic genius.

Rickles and Seinfeld

I’ll have what he’s having…

Of course we all have our own taste in comedy and the things that make us spurt milk out our noses unexpectedly.

I’m not the guy who falls out of his chair at a “fart” joke but I respect that noisy, annoyingly smelly things can bring a naughty smile to some.

But I do pee my pants watching a knight having his limbs systematically and bloodily chopped off in Monty Python’s “Holy Grail”… figure that.

Wouldn’t it be funny if I somehow ran into “High School Stewart” at the Seinfeld event in Vancouver?

Oh well.

Even if Stewart isn’t there, I’m betting I’ll sit and sniggle and chortle and crack up at a lot of what Jerry Seinfeld has to say for an hour or two. He somehow made a whole multi-year running TV show about “nothing”… absolutely “nothing”.

And that, my friend, is this guy’s kind of humour.

Master of your domain