Jewish Comedy with Daniel Lobell (“Reconquistador”) — Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #165

Your hosts Mark, Lawrence, Sarahlyn, and Al explore the char­ac­ter­is­tics of Jew­ish com­e­dy with stand-up/­graph­ic nov­el­ist Daniel, whose film Recon­quis­ta­dor explores his ances­tors being kicked out of Spain. What’s the con­nec­tion of Jew­ish humor to anti-semi­tism?

We talk about relat­ing as a cre­ator to your iden­ti­ty, Jew­ish peo­ple see­ing them­selves in film and TV, the expe­ri­ence of lit­er­al­ly see­ing your­self in a film, Jew­ish com­e­dy as phi­los­o­phy or social com­men­tary, and “Jew­ish humor” vs. humor by peo­ple who hap­pen to be Jew­ish.

We touch on Mel Brooks, Lar­ry David, Adam San­dler, Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce, and fem­i­nist Jew­ish com­e­dy shows such as Broad City, Crazy Ex-Girl­friend, and Inside Amy Schumer.

FYI this was record­ed back in ear­ly Novem­ber when the Gaza war and its accom­pa­ny­ing flur­ry of anti-Semi­tism was a bit more raw.

Fol­low us @DanielLobell@law_writes@sarahlynbruck@ixisnox@MarkLinsenmayer.

Lis­ten to our ear­li­er episode with Daniel about phi­los­o­phy as com­e­dy.

Hear more Pret­ty Much Pop, includ­ing many recent episodes that you haven’t seen on this site. Sup­port the show and hear bonus talk­ing for this and near­ly every oth­er episode at or by choos­ing a paid sub­scrip­tion through Apple Pod­casts. This week our sup­port­er-exclu­sive Aftertalk includes our sto­ries of see­ing elder­ly per­form­ers; should you run out and see so-and-so before they’re dead?

This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts.

The Beautiful Anarchy of the Earliest Animated Cartoons: Explore an Archive with 200+ Early Animations

Ear­ly in his col­lect­ing odyssey, ani­ma­tion his­to­ri­an, archivist, and edu­ca­tor Tom­my José Stathes earned the hon­orif­ic Car­toon Cryp­to­zo­ol­o­gist from Cinebeasts, a “New York-based col­lec­tive of film nerds, vid­iots, and pro­gram­mers inves­ti­gat­ing the fur­thest reach­es of the mov­ing image uni­verse.”

More recent­ly, George Wille­man, a nitrate film expert on the Library of Con­gress’ film preser­va­tion team dubbed him “the King of Silent Ani­ma­tion.”

The seed of Stathes’ endur­ing pas­sion took root in his 90s child­hood, when slapped togeth­er VHS antholo­gies of car­toons from the 30s and 40s could be picked up for a cou­ple of bucks in gro­ceries and drug­stores. These finds typ­i­cal­ly includ­ed one or two silent-era rar­i­ties, which is how he became acquaint­ed with Felix the Cat and oth­er favorites who now dom­i­nate his Ear­ly Ani­ma­tion Archive.

He squeezed his par­ents and grand­par­ents for mem­o­ries of car­toons screened on tele­vi­sion and in the­aters dur­ing their youth, and began research­ing the his­to­ry of ani­ma­tion.

Real­iz­ing how few of the ear­ly car­toons he was learn­ing about could be wide­ly viewed, he set out to col­lect and archive as many exam­ples as pos­si­ble, and to share these trea­sures with new audi­ences.

His col­lec­tion cur­rent­ly con­sists of some 4,000 ani­mat­ed reels, truf­fled up from antique shops, flea mar­kets, and eBay. In addi­tion to his Car­toons on Film YouTube chan­nel, he hosts reg­u­lar in-per­son Car­toon Car­ni­vals, often curat­ed around hol­i­day themes.

Stathes’ pas­sion project is giv­ing many once-pop­u­lar char­ac­ters a sec­ond and in some cas­es, third act.

Take Farmer Alfal­fa, (occa­sion­al­ly ren­dered as Al Fal­fa), the star of 1923’s The Fable of the Alley Cat, an install­ment in the Aesop’s Fables series, which ran from 1921 to 1929.

His first appear­ance was in direc­tor Paul Ter­ry’s Down on Phoney Farm from 1915, but as Stathes observes, baby boomers grew up watch­ing him on TV:

Near­ly all of these folks who men­tion the char­ac­ter will also ref­er­ence ‘hun­dreds’ of mice. Few may have real­ized that, while the Farmer Alfal­fa car­toons run­ning on tele­vi­sion at that time were already old, the films starred one of the ear­li­est recur­ring car­toon char­ac­ters, and one that enjoyed an incred­i­bly long career com­pared with his car­toon con­tem­po­raries.

The Fable of the Alley Cat honks a lot of famil­iar vin­tage car­toon horns — slap­stick, may­hem, David tri­umph­ing over Goliath… cats and mice.

Stathes describes it as “a rather sin­is­ter day in the life of Farmer Al Fal­fa — It’s clear that the ani­mal king­dom tends to despise him! — and his doc­u­men­ta­tion is metic­u­lous:

The ver­sion seen here was pre­pared for TV dis­tri­b­u­tion in the 1950s by Stu­art Pro­duc­tions. The music tracks were orig­i­nal­ly com­posed by Win­ston Sharples for the Van Beuren ‘Rain­bow Parade’ car­toons in the mid-1930s.

The mis­matched duo, Mutt and Jeff, got their start in dai­ly news­pa­per comics, before mak­ing the leap to ani­mat­ed shorts.

Ani­ma­tion con­nois­seurs go bananas for the per­spec­tive shift at the 14 sec­ond mark of Laugh­ing Gas (1917), a rar­i­ty Stathes shares as a ref­er­ence copy from the orig­i­nal 35mm nitrate form, with the promise of a full restora­tion in the future.

(A num­ber of Stathes’ acqui­si­tions have dete­ri­o­rat­ed over the years or sus­tained dam­age through improp­er stor­age.)

Dinky Doo­dle and his dog Weak­heart were 1920s Bray Stu­dios crowd­pleasers whose stint on tele­vi­sion is evi­denced by the mid­cen­tu­ry voice over that was added to Dinky Doo­dle’s Bed­time Sto­ry (1926).

The char­ac­ters’ cre­ator, direc­tor Wal­ter Lantz appears as “Pop” in the above live sequences.

Car­toons On Film has coaxed Koko the Clown, Flip the Frog, Bon­zo the Pup, and Mick­ey Mouse pre­cur­sor, Oswald the Lucky Rab­bit, out of moth­balls for our view­ing plea­sure.

Stathes’ col­lec­tion also dredges up some objec­tion­able peri­od titles and con­tent, Lit­tle Black Sam­bo, Red­skin Blues, and Korn Plas­tered in Africa to name a few.

Stathes is mind­ful of con­tem­po­rary sen­si­bil­i­ties, but stops short of allow­ing them to scrub these works from the his­toric record. He warns would-be view­ers of The Chi­na­man that it con­tains a “racist speech bal­loon as well as an inter­ti­tle that was cut from the lat­er TV ver­sion for obvi­ous rea­sons:”

Such was the vul­gar ter­mi­nol­o­gy in those days. To ques­tion or cen­sor these films would be deny­ing our his­to­ry.

Begin your explo­rations of Tom­my José Stathes’ Ear­ly Ani­ma­tion Archive here and if so inclined, con­tribute to the cost­ly stor­age of these rar­i­ties with a Ko-fi dona­tion.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

Ear­ly Japan­ese Ani­ma­tions: The Ori­gins of Ani­me (1917 to 1931)

The First Ani­mat­ed Fea­ture Film: The Adven­tures of Prince Achmed by Lotte Reiniger (1926)

Watch Dzi­ga Vertov’s Unset­tling Sovi­et Toys: The First Sovi­et Ani­mat­ed Movie Ever (1924)

The First Avant Garde Ani­ma­tion: Watch Wal­ter Ruttmann’s Licht­spiel Opus 1 (1921)

– Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo and Cre­ative, Not Famous Activ­i­ty Book. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

College Presidents Lampooned on Saturday Night Live’s Cold Open


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The Evolution of Bugs Bunny’s Appearance Over His Eight Decade Career

Bugs Bun­ny is a quick-think­ing, fast-talk­ing, was­cal­ly force of nature, and a preter­nat­u­ral­ly gift­ed phys­i­cal come­di­an, too.

But unlike such last­ing greats as Char­lie Chapin and Buster Keaton, it took him a while to find his icon­ic look.

His first appear­ance, as “Hap­py Rab­bit” in the 1938 black and white the­atri­cal short, Porky’s Hare Hunt, might remind you of those year­book pho­tos of celebri­ties before they were famous.

In a video essay con­sid­er­ing how Bugs Bunny’s look has evolved over his eight-decade career, ani­ma­tion fan Dave Lee of the pop­u­lar YouTube series Dave Lee Down Under breaks down some ear­ly char­ac­ter­is­tics, from an unde­fined, small body and oval-shaped head to white fur and a fluffy cot­ton ball of a tail.

His voice was also a work in progress, more Woody Wood­peck­er than the hybrid Brook­lyn-Bronx patois that would make him, and voice actor Mel Blanc, famous.

The fol­low­ing year, the rab­bit who would become Bugs Bun­ny returned in Prest‑o Change‑o, a Mer­ry Melodies Tech­ni­col­or short direct­ed by Chuck Jones.

A few months lat­er char­ac­ter design­er (and for­mer Dis­ney ani­ma­tor) Char­lie Thor­son sub­ject­ed him to a pret­ty notice­able makeover for Hare-um Scare-um, anoth­er rab­bit hunt­ing-themed romp.

The two-toned grey and white coat, oval muz­zle, and mis­chie­vous buck-toothed grin are much more aligned with the Bugs most of us grew up watch­ing.  

His pear-shaped bod’, long neck, high-rumped stance, and pon­toon feet allowed for a much greater range of motion.

A nota­tion on the mod­el sheet allud­ing to direc­tor Ben Hard­away’s nick­name — “Bugs” — gives some hint as to how the world’s most pop­u­lar car­toon char­ac­ter came by his stage name.

For 1940’s Elmer’s Can­did Cam­era, the pink-muz­zled Bugs dropped the yel­low gloves Thors­en had giv­en him and affect­ed some black ear tips.

Tex Avery, who was in line to direct the pair in the Acad­e­my Award-nom­i­nat­ed short A Wild Hare, found this look objec­tion­ably cute.

He tasked ani­ma­tor Bob Givens with giv­ing the rab­bit, now offi­cial­ly known as Bugs Bun­ny, an edgi­er appear­ance.

Ani­ma­tion his­to­ri­an Michael Bar­ri­er writes:

In the Givens design, Bugs was no longer defined by Thor­son­’s tan­gle of curves. His head was now oval, rather than round. In that respect, Bugs recalled the white rab­bit in Porky’s Hare Hunt, but Given­s’s design pre­served so many of Thor­son­’s refinements—whiskers, a more nat­u­ral­is­tic nose—and intro­duced so many others—cheek ruffs, less promi­nent teeth—that there was very lit­tle sim­i­lar­i­ty between the new ver­sion of Bugs and the Hare Hunt rab­bit. 

Bar­ri­er also details a num­ber of sim­i­lar­i­ties between the tit­u­lar rab­bit char­ac­ter from Disney’s 1935 Sil­ly Sym­phonies short, The Tor­toise and the Hare, and for­mer Dis­ney employ­ee Givens’ design.  

While Avery boast­ed to car­toon his­to­ri­an Milt Gray in 1977 that “the con­struc­tion was almost iden­ti­cal”, adding, “It’s a won­der I was­n’t sued,” Givens insist­ed in an inter­view with the Ani­ma­tion Guild’s oral his­to­ry project that Bugs wasn’t a Max Hare rip off. ( “I was there. I ought to know.”)

What­ev­er par­al­lels may exist between Givens’ Bugs and Disney’s Hare, YouTu­ber Lee sees A Wild Hare as the moment when Bugs Bunny’s char­ac­ter coa­lesced as “more of a lov­able prankster than a mali­cious deviant,” non­cha­lant­ly chomp­ing a car­rot like Clark Gable in It Hap­pened One Night, and turn­ing a bit of region­al Texas teen slang — “What’s up, Doc?”- into one of the most immor­tal catch phras­es in enter­tain­ment his­to­ry.

A star was born, so much so that four direc­tors — Jones, Avery, Friz Fre­leng and Bob Clam­pett — were enlist­ed to keep up with the demand for Bugs Bun­ny vehi­cles. 

This mul­ti-pronged approach led to some visu­al incon­sis­ten­cies, that were even­tu­al­ly checked by the cre­ation of defin­i­tive mod­el sheets, drawn by Bob McKim­son, who ani­mat­ed the Clam­pett-direct­ed shorts. 

His­to­ri­an Bar­ri­er takes stock:

Bugs’s cheeks were broad­er, his chin stronger, his teeth a lit­tle more promi­nent, his eyes larg­er and slant­ed a lit­tle out­ward instead of in. The most expres­sive ele­ments of the rab­bit’s face had all been strength­ened …but because the tri­an­gu­lar shape of Bugs’s head had been sub­tly accen­tu­at­ed, Bugs was, if any­thing, futher removed from cute­ness than ever before. McKim­son’s mod­el sheet must be giv­en some of the cred­it for the marked improve­ment in Bugs’s looks in all the direc­tors’ car­toons start­ing in 1943. Not that every­one drew Bugs to match the mod­el sheet, but the awk­ward­ness and uncer­tain­ty of the ear­ly for­ties were gone; it was if every­one had sud­den­ly fig­ured out what Bugs real­ly looked like.

Now one of the most rec­og­niz­able stars on earth, Bugs remained unmis­tak­ably him­self while spoof­ing Charles Dick­ens, Alfred Hitch­cock and Wag­n­er; held his own in live action appear­ances with such heavy hit­ters as Doris Day and Michael Jor­dan; and had a mem­o­rable cameo in the 1988 fea­ture Who Framed Roger Rab­bit, after pro­duc­ers agreed to a deal that guar­an­teed him the same amount of screen time as his far squar­er rival, Mick­ey Mouse. 

This mil­len­ni­um got off to a rock­i­er start, owing to an over-reliance on low bud­get, sim­pli­fied flash ani­ma­tion, and the tru­ly exe­crable trend of shows that reimag­ine clas­sic char­ac­ters as cloy­ing tod­dlers. 

In 2011, on the strength of her 2‑minute ani­mat­ed short I Like Pan­das, an ini­tial­ly reluc­tant 24-year-old Jes­si­ca Borut­s­ki was asked to “fresh­en up” Bugs’ look for The Looney Tunes Show, a series of longer for­mat car­toons which required its cast to per­form such 21st-cen­tu­ry activ­i­ties as tex­ting:

I made their heads a bit big­ger because I did­n’t like [how] in the ’60s, ’70s Bugs Bun­ny’s head start­ed to get real­ly small and his body real­ly long. He start­ed to look like a weird guy in a bun­ny suit.

Lee’s Evo­lu­tion of Bugs Bun­ny- 80 Years Explained was released in 2019. 

He has­n’t stopped evolv­ing. Giz­mod­o’s Sabi­na Graves “sat down with the cre­ative teams shep­herd­ing Warn­er Bros.’ clas­sic Looney Tunes char­ac­ters into new and reimag­ined car­toons” at San Diego Com­ic-Con 2022: 

In a push led by Looney Tunes Car­toons’ Alex Kirwan—who spear­heads the franchise’s cur­rent slate of shorts on HBO Max—the beloved ani­ma­tion icons will soon expand into even more con­tent. There’s the upcom­ing Tiny Toons Loooniver­si­ty revival, a Hal­loween spe­cial, Cartoonito’s Bugs Bun­ny Builders for kids, and two fea­ture-length ani­mat­ed movies on the way—and we have a feel­ing that’s not all, folks!

…to quote Bugs, “I knew I shoul­da tak­en that left turn at Albu­querque!

Relat­ed Con­tent

How to Draw Bugs Bun­ny: A Primer by Leg­endary Ani­ma­tor Chuck Jones

The Strange Day When Bugs Bun­ny Saved the Life of Mel Blanc

The Proof That Mel Blanc–the Voice Behind Bugs Bun­ny, Daffy Duck & Porky Pig–Was a Genius

Kill the Wab­bit!: How the 1957 Bugs Bun­ny Car­toon, “What’s Opera, Doc?,” Inspired Today’s Opera Singers to First Get Into Opera

- Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

A Stand-Up Comedy Routine Discovered in a Medieval Manuscript: Monty Python Before Monty Python (1480)

A fun­ny thing hap­pened on the way to the 15th cen­tu­ry…

Dr. James Wade, a spe­cial­ist in ear­ly Eng­lish lit­er­a­ture at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cam­bridge, was doing research at the Nation­al Library of Scot­land when he noticed some­thing extra­or­di­nary about the first of the nine mis­cel­la­neous book­lets com­pris­ing the Heege Man­u­script.

Most sur­viv­ing medieval man­u­scripts are the stuff of high art. The first part of the Heege Man­u­script is fun­ny.

The usu­al tales of romance and hero­ism, allu­sions to ancient Rome, lofty poet­ry and dra­mat­ic inter­ludes… even the dash­ing adven­tures of Robin Hood are con­spic­u­ous­ly absent.

Instead it’s awash with the sta­ples of con­tem­po­rary stand up com­e­dy — top­i­cal obser­va­tions, humor­ous over­shar­ing, roast­ing emi­nent pub­lic fig­ures, razz­ing the audi­ence, flat­ter­ing the audi­ence by bust­ing on the denizens of near­by com­mu­ni­ties, shag­gy dog tales, absur­di­ties and non-sequiturs.

Repeat­ed ref­er­ences to pass­ing the cup con­jure an open mic type sce­nario.

The man­u­script was cre­at­ed by cler­ic Richard Heege and entered into the col­lec­tion of his employ­ers, the wealthy Sher­brooke fam­i­ly.

Oth­er schol­ars have con­cen­trat­ed on the man­u­scrip­t’s phys­i­cal con­struc­tion, most­ly refrain­ing from com­ment on the nature of its con­tents.

Dr. Wade sus­pects that the first book­let is the result of Heege hav­ing paid close atten­tion to an anony­mous trav­el­ing minstrel’s per­for­mance, per­haps going so far as to con­sult the performer’s own notes.

Heege quipped that he was the author owing to the fact that he “was at that feast and did not have a drink” — mean­ing he was the only one sober enough to retain the min­strel’s jokes and inven­tive plot­lines.

Dr. Wade describes how the com­ic por­tion of the Heege Man­u­script is bro­ken down into three parts, the first of which is sure to grat­i­fy fans of Mon­ty Python and the Holy Grail:

…it’s a nar­ra­tive account of a bunch of peas­ants who try to hunt a hare, and it all ends dis­as­trous­ly, where they beat each oth­er up and the wives have to come with wheel­bar­rows and hold them home. 

That hare turns out to be one fierce bad rab­bit, so much so that the tale’s pro­le­tar­i­an hero, the pro­saical­ly named Jack Wade, wor­ries she could rip out his throat.

Dr. Wade learned that Sir Wal­ter Scott, author of Ivan­hoe, was aware of The Hunt­ing of the Hare, view­ing it as a stur­dy spoof of high mind­ed romance, “stu­dious­ly filled with grotesque, absurd, and extrav­a­gant char­ac­ters.”

The killer bun­ny yarn is fol­lowed by a mock ser­mon  - If thou have a great black bowl in thy hand and it be full of good ale and thou leave any­thing there­in, thou puttest thy soul into greater pain —  and a non­sense poem about a feast where every­one gets ham­mered and chaos ensues.

Crowd-pleas­ing mate­r­i­al in 1480.

With a few 21st-cen­tu­ry tweaks, an enter­pris­ing young come­di­an might wring laughs from it yet.

(Pag­ing Tyler Gun­ther, of Greedy Peas­ant fame…)

As to the true author of these rou­tines, Dr. Wade spec­u­lates that he may have been a “pro­fes­sion­al trav­el­ing min­strel or a local ama­teur per­former.” Pos­si­bly even both:

A ‘pro­fes­sion­al’ min­strel might have a day job and go gig­ging at night, and so be, in a sense, semi-pro­fes­sion­al, just as a ‘trav­el­ling’ min­strel may well be also ‘local’, work­ing a beat of near­by vil­lages and gen­er­al­ly known in the area. On bal­ance, the texts in this book­let sug­gest a min­strel of this vari­ety: some­one whose mate­r­i­al includes sev­er­al local place-names, but also whose mate­r­i­al is made to trav­el, with the lack of deter­mi­na­cy designed to com­i­cal­ly engage audi­ences regard­less of spe­cif­ic locale.

Learn more about the Heege Man­u­script in  Dr. Wade’s arti­cle, Enter­tain­ments from a Medieval Minstrel’s Reper­toire Book in The Review of Eng­lish Stud­ies.

Leaf through a dig­i­tal fac­sim­i­le of the Heege Man­u­script here.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

Killer Rab­bits in Medieval Man­u­scripts: Why So Many Draw­ings in the Mar­gins Depict Bun­nies Going Bad

A List of 1,065 Medieval Dog Names: Nose­wise, Gar­lik, Have­g­ood­day & More

Why Knights Fought Snails in Illu­mi­nat­ed Medieval Man­u­scripts

– Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo and Cre­ative, Not Famous Activ­i­ty Book. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Patton Oswalt to William & Mary’s Graduating Class: “You Poor Bastards,” “You Do Not Have a Choice But to Be Anything But Extraordinary”

Pat­ton Oswalt, William & Mary, Class of 1991, grad­u­at­ed with a 2.8 GPA “into a world full of triv­ia and silli­ness and fun.”

The Class of 2023, he observed in a recent keynote address at his alma mater, is poised to enter a “hellscape where you will have to fight for every scrap of your human­i­ty and dig­ni­ty.”

The come­di­an sea­soned his speech with jokes, but its “hard truth” is one that could find favor with activist Gre­ta Thun­berg — name­ly that the inat­ten­tion, apa­thy, and blithe waste­ful­ness of his gen­er­a­tion, and all gen­er­a­tions that came before have sad­dled today’s young peo­ple with a seri­ous­ly messed up plan­et:

Your con­cerns as you stum­ble out into real­i­ty tomor­row are mas­sive. Democ­ra­cy is crum­bling. Truth is up for grabs. The planet’s try­ing to kill us and lone­li­ness is dri­ving every­one insane.

The good news?

Your gen­er­a­tion has rebelled against every bad habit of mine and every gen­er­a­tion that came before it. Every­thing that we let cal­ci­fy, you have kicked against and demol­ished.

He sees a stu­dent body will­ing to bat­tle apa­thy, alien­ation, and cru­el­ty, who insist on inclu­sion and open­ness about men­tal health.

(By con­trast he was a “lit­tle daf­fodil” who angri­ly took his Physics for Poets prof to task for hav­ing com­mit­ted an inac­cu­ra­cy involv­ing Star Trek’s chain of com­mand on the final exam.)

The for­mer Eng­lish major man­gles a quote from author Ger­ald Kirsch’s 1938 short sto­ry Bus­to is a Ghost, Too Mean to Give Us a Fright!

The real quote is:

…there are men whom one hates until a cer­tain moment when one sees, through a chink in their armour, the writhing of some­thing nailed down and in tor­ment.

The para­phrased sen­ti­ment retains its pow­er, how­ev­er, and his slop­py fact check­ing squares with his por­tray­al of him­self as a lack­adaisi­cal B- stu­dent.

Return­ing to cam­pus 32 years lat­er as a suc­cess­ful writer, actor and come­di­an, he exhorts the most aca­d­e­m­ic mem­bers of the Class of 2023 to take a cue from their peers whose GPAs were less than stel­lar, “the day­dream­ers, the con­fused, and the seek­ers:”

There are peo­ple out there who want to man­age every moment. They want to divvy up every dream, and they want to com­mod­i­fy every crazy cre­ative caprice that springs out of your cra­ni­um. Don’t let them. Be human in all of its bed­lam and beau­ty and mad­ness and mer­cy for as long as you can and in any way you can.

He may have dashed off his address in his hotel room the night before the cer­e­mo­ny, but he dri­ves his point home with an inge­nious Hol­ly­wood insid­er ref­er­ence that may send the entire class of 2023, their fam­i­lies, pro­fes­sors, and you, dear read­er, rush­ing to view (or revis­it) the 1982 sci fi clas­sic, Blade Run­ner.

As to why Oswalt mer­its the hon­orary degree William & Mary con­ferred on him, fel­low alum and Ted Las­so showrun­ner Bill Lawrence has a the­o­ry:

I guess it’s because he didn’t real­ly deserve the degree he got when he was here.

via Boing­Bo­ing

Relat­ed Con­tent 

John Waters’ RISD Grad­u­a­tion Speech: Real Wealth Is Life With­out A*Holes

‘This Is Water’: Com­plete Audio of David Fos­ter Wallace’s Keny­on Grad­u­a­tion Speech (2005)

“Wear Sun­screen”: The Sto­ry Behind the Com­mence­ment Speech That Kurt Von­negut Nev­er Gave

– Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo and Cre­ative, Not Famous Activ­i­ty Book. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

DJ Cummerbund’s Astonishing Mashups Create Unexpected Collaborations Between Rock, Soul & Hip Hop Icons

“His­to­ry in the mak­ing,” Jay‑Z calls out a few bars into Beyoncé’s debut solo sin­gle “Crazy in Love.”

The sen­ti­ment may be even more ger­mane, when he does it in remix mas­ter DJ Cum­mer­bund’s irre­sistible mashup “Crazy Togeth­er,” above.

The recent assem­blage finds Queen Bey split­ting screen time with The Bea­t­les, as DJ Cum­mer­bund weaves “Crazy in Love” togeth­er with “Come Togeth­er.”

The video is as much fun as the seam­less audio, with a ham­my cameo from Ringo Starr, cour­tesy of the 1981 com­e­dy Cave­man, and Yoko Ono and James Brown doing some heavy lift­ing.

John Lennon’s take as Brown fires up his Sex Machine is price­less. It real­ly feels as if these unlike­ly col­lab­o­ra­tors were active, rather than pas­sive con­trib­u­tors.

Here’s a peek into how DJ Cum­mer­bund arranged the audio clips.

Asked in a 2020 inter­view with Dig­i­tal Jour­nal about the source of his inspi­ra­tion, he respond­ed:

I’m not sure if you can call it inspi­ra­tion exact­ly, but I have a neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tion that caus­es me to hear and feel melodies and fre­quen­cies where most can­not (in the wind, the soil, celes­tial bod­ies, etc.) This ulti­mate­ly caus­es me to con­stant­ly hear songs on top of oth­er songs to the point of extreme frus­tra­tion and the only way to sub­due that is to actu­al­ly cre­ate what I’m hear­ing in my head. It’s almost ther­a­peu­tic for me, and I was even told I could die if I don’t con­tin­ue to cre­ate my works. It’s def­i­nite­ly like a curse some­times but can also be a bless­ing as my music seems to bring a great deal of joy to mil­lions of peo­ple.

An under­sung ele­ment of these crowd pleas­ing remix­es is how skill­ful­ly DJ Cum­mer­bund ties things togeth­er by record­ing sup­ple­men­tal vocals and instru­men­tals.

Ozzy Osbourne fronts “Earth, Wind and Ozzys,” which mar­ries his 1980 solo hit “Crazy Train” with Earth Wind & Fire’s ever­green “Sep­tem­ber” so suc­cess­ful­ly, it’s a let down to remem­ber that a gor­geous, har­mo­nized “I’m going off the rails on a crazy train” is an invent­ed, not sam­pled dis­co cho­rus.

The com­bi­na­tions the DJ comes up with can’t help but force a fresh per­spec­tive on artists who would nev­er in a mil­lion years have shared a stage or fan­base.

Step into a no man’s land where the rapid fire punk brat­ti­ness of the Ramones can coex­ist with the Han­son broth­ers’ lemon fresh, Tul­sa whole­some­ness, and Cot­ton Eye Joe comes in out of nowhere.

When a title like “Me and Coo­lio Down by the School­yard” pops into your head, it arrives as a self-thrown gaunt­let. You can’t not see it through to fruition.

The late rapper’s “Fan­tas­tic Voy­age” infus­es Paul Simon’s gen­tly nos­tal­gic “Me And Julio Down By The School Yard” with some NSFW lyrics and a much hard­er out­look.

The lo-fi joys of dou­ble dutch and play­ground hoops from the orig­i­nal Julio video present a plau­si­ble  vision of a “place where (Coo­lio’s) kids can play out­side with­out livin’ in fear of a dri­ve-by.”

This being a DJ Cum­mer­bund pro­duc­tion, base­ball Hall of Famer, Mick­ey Man­tle and foot­ball coach John Mad­den, who were on hand for Julio, have to make room for his ever present muse, the late wrestling super­star Randy “Macho Man” Sav­age.

DJ Cum­mer­bund is will­ing to con­sid­er requests, par­tic­u­lar­ly if you do a bit of home­work to ensure that your cho­sen songs’ keys match up and their BPMs inhab­it the same realm.

See more of his mash ups, includ­ing Shaxi­c­u­la, the MTV Video Music Award-win­ning B‑52s/Britney Spears remix here.

In recent weeks, DJ Cum­mer­bund has been open­ing for the B‑52s dur­ing their res­i­den­cy at the Venet­ian.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

50 Songs from a Sin­gle Year, Mixed Togeth­er Into One 3‑Minute Song (1979–89)

The Peanuts Gang Per­forms Pink Floyd’s Clas­sic Rock Opera in the Mashup “Char­lie Brown vs. The Wall“

The His­to­ry of Rock Told in a Whirl­wind 15-Minute Video

– Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo and Cre­ative, Not Famous Activ­i­ty Book. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

A Culinary Videos Series Shows Every Conceivable Way to Cook Eggs, Potatoes, Pizza, Bacon & More

So you think you know your way around a pota­to, eh?

No doubt you excel at boil­ing, mash­ing, roast­ing, bak­ing and twice bak­ing …

You may make a mean pota­to chip or pomme frite

Per­haps you’ve per­fect­ed some tricks with a microwave or air fry­er.

But before you’re puffed too full of brag­ging rights, have you ever thought to sub­ject this hum­ble root veg­etable to a blow torch, an iron, a dish­wash­er, a juicer or a gaso­line pow­ered gen­er­a­tor plugged into a giant dim­mer switch?


Con­grat­u­la­tions on hav­ing avoid­ed some tru­ly dread­ful meth­ods for prepar­ing a pota­to, judg­ing by the results of some of Bon Appétit Con­tribut­ing Edi­tor Amiel Stanek’s more out­ré, tongue-in-cheek exper­i­ments, above.

Wait, maybe there aren’t real­ly 63 ways to cook pota­toes?

The prepa­ra­tion we’re legit­i­mate­ly eager to try is pick­ling, for spuds Stanek declares “very sweet, salty, acidic”, a wel­come addi­tion to a cheese board or a cru­dité plate.

And there’s an argu­ment to be made for turn­ing a waf­fle iron into a dual pur­pose device by mak­ing hash browns in it.

Stanek fares less well, pip­ing pre-mashed pota­toes into a Rol­lie ® Eggmas­ter, “a weird, made-for-TV device that is made express­ly for cook­ing eggs:”

Ewww, no, why is it like that? This is dis­gust­ing!!!

If you’re won­der­ing how that Rol­lie ® does with its intend­ed ingre­di­ent, Stanek’s got an answer for you:

Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, oh my god, it looks like it’s in a con­dom. This is the most dis­gust­ing egg thing we have made all day…it tastes like bad seafood. I don’t know why, it tastes plastic‑y. This is hor­ri­ble!

Mean­while, those in long term rela­tion­ships with part­ners hold­ing dif­fer­ent views on the best way to scram­ble, fry or poach an egg may find them­selves feel­ing vin­di­cat­ed by this episode.

Either that or hor­ri­bly betrayed.

Oth­er than pota­toes and eggs, the only episode of the 10 in the Almost Every series not exclu­sive­ly geared toward cook­ing flesh is the one devot­ed to piz­za, which at 32 meth­ods, ties with chick­en breast. (Only whole chick­en, at 24 meth­ods, has few­er options.)

Veg­ans will like­ly feel unim­pressed, in addi­tion to left out, giv­en that there’s near­ly that many sug­gest­ed hacks for melt­ing plant-based cheese.

Per­haps a vis­it to Moon­burg­er, a meat­less Hud­son Val­ley chain where Stanek is Culi­nary Con­sul­tant and the shakes are dairy free is in order?

Those crav­ing ever more off­beat attacks, how­ev­er, will find them­selves enter­tained by Stanek’s efforts involv­ing an Easy-Bake Oven (yeah, nope, not good at all),  a Teenage Mutant Nin­ja Tur­tle Piz­za Machine (the whole cheese sitch looks a lit­tle bit demented…bummer, dude), and a crust that’s baked around a sil­i­cone cone, then filled with a “molten, dan­ger­ous slur­ry” of sauce and cheese (this thing looks demon­ic to me, like an ani­mal horn meant for a Satan­ic rit­u­al…)

If that’s not our cue to seek out a restau­rant with a wood burn­ing oven, per­haps it’s a sig­nal we should order out.

Watch a com­plete playlist of Bon Appétit’s Almost Every here.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

10,000 Vin­tage Recipe Books Are Now Dig­i­tized in The Inter­net Archive’s Cook­book & Home Eco­nom­ics Col­lec­tion

The New York Times Makes 17,000 Tasty Recipes Avail­able Online: Japan­ese, Ital­ian, Thai & Much More

The Recipes of Famous Artists: Din­ners & Cock­tails From Tol­stoy, Miles Davis, Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe, David Lynch & Many More

– Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo and Cre­ative, Not Famous Activ­i­ty Book. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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