I Remember Now…

Hey there ‘Redheads… I hope everyone had a memorable Memorial Day weekend. Did you find a way to beat the heat? This was the first weekend this year that was really frickin’ hot. I have a black car…pretty much a rolling solar panel. It’s getting dangerous to keep spare change in my cup holder. I grabbed a scalding hot quarter and I felt like the bad guy in Raiders of the Lost Ark that picked up the headpiece of the Staff of Ra… y’still with me? This guy…

Sure, I’ve got a match… My hand and your face!

So, what the heck did I do this weekend? And, more to the point, why do you care? Let’s explore.
On Friday, I checked out the most recent cinematic dork milestone, X-Men: The Last Stand. How to best critique this movie? Should I wear my comic fanboy hat or my average filmgoer hat? Let’s try ’em both on. From a fanboy standpoint, the movie had a couple cool things that were fun to see translated on the screen. We finally got to see the Danger Room, a hint of a Sentinel, and the fastball special…and that was all in the first ten minutes. There was also a nice little nod/wink to the cyber-fans who churn out stuff like this. The movie also introduced a gaggle of obscure mutants from the comics that got minor moments.
On the down side, there was no Nightcrawler, no Gambit, and the movie completely wasted the coolness of Colossus, Rogue, Angel, Cyclops, Juggernaut, and the list goes on. I’ll forgive the filmmakers conveniently turning Phoenix and Juggernaut into mutants to make them easier to explain to the non-dork public. The movie itself, while visually spectacular, was a giant three-headed monster with six mouths and no eyes…very loud and had no fucking idea where it was going. Lots of sound. Lots of fury. What did it signify? X-Men 4. Yes, despite the title, this won’t the last stand for Wolverine & Co. This installment made a mint and left an opening for a fourth movie that hopefully can atone for the mediocrity this one wrought.

On Sunday, I got together with my fellow Guys Watching 24 (conveniently linked to your right…no, I will not let it go) co-stars, Chris White and Jeff King and their funny little honeys, and went to take in a ballgame. Now, I am not a fan of baseball. I find it near impossible to watch on TV. Going to a ballpark is a fun time…the peanuts ($6), the crackerjacks ($6), and, of course, the old guy in white hot pants (priceless)… You heard me. A couple of rows down and one aisle over from me and my pals, was a guy who looked like Dan Hedaya wearing white booty shorts. They were corduroy…ribbed, for our pleasure. The spectacle reached maximum hilarity during the seventh inning stretch. If the $11 admission wasn’t already a bargain, our entertainment value skyrocketed when this guy started…stretching. We were not ready for that jelly. Nothing like the bottom of a wrinkly butt cheek during “God Bless America” on Memorial Day weekend to remind you what the national pastime is really all about.

Before I go, a moment of silence for Paul Gleason. You may know him better as Principal Richard Vernon from the Breakfast Club, but to me he’ll always be Clarence Beeks from Trading Places, one of the funniest movies of all time (Bravo can take their list and shove it, by the way). Mr. Beeks, the Duke brothers thank you for your dedicated service.

To be continued…

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End of Daze

‘Redheads, I have my Mondays back. The one show I’ve made it a point to sit down and watch for 20+ weeks, has finally wound to a close.
It’ll be 2007 before we find out what happens to the “baddest white man on the planet,” Jack Bauer. My fellow GUYS WATCHING 24 co-stars, Danny Rouhier and Chris White, have already done a fine job re-capping the finale in their blogs (conveniently linked to your right). Long story short, Jack is on a boat to China. They’ll search high and low to find him. Ain’t nothin gonna break-a their stride. Ain’t nothin’ gonna slow them down. Whoa whoa. There are a few other things that I’d like to address…
First, Henderson, RoboCop, Buckaroo Banzai, whatever the hell you want to call him, is alive. If they wanted him dead, Jack would’ve put two in his skull. I think this was Jack making good on the deal. How did Jack disappear originally? He made people think he was dead. Right now, Christopher Henderson is believed to be dead… And must let the world think he is dead, until he can find some way to control the raging spirit that dwells within him…

Jack, don’t make me angry…

Second, this will be a great opportunity to bring in another marquee agent. Stop screaming, BLASPHEMY! When 24 first got started, it seemed beyond the realm of suspended disbelief that they could keep having 24 hours worth of near-apocalyptic crap happen to one guy over and over again. At the time, Jack Bauer wasn’t the archetypical badass he is today. This was Keifer Sutherland’s first decent success in quite awhile…why not plug another actor in to shoulder the day-long load? Sure, that seems preposterous now, but with Jack being raked over the dim sum bar (whatever the Chinese are doing to him, it can’t be any worse than what he’s already endured on the show… he hasn’t slept, eaten, or shat in five days), this could be a chance to bring in a new agent. Who? Michael Keaton. His career could use a boost, and he can match Jack in intensity any 24 hours. Just a thought.

DROP THE WATER WINGS!

Over the weekend, I did a show at the Bethesda Hyatt. It was a dynamite line-up. DC comedy’s Rat Pack (Ryan Conner, Rory Scovel, Danny Rouhier, and Jon Mumma… I won’t assign the actual counterparts…because who really wants to be Joey Bishop?) and yours truly. It was a who’s who of “who the hell are these guys?” For $5, it was a comedy value on par with finding a ten cent Guinness pints happy hour special. It was yet another quality Curt Shackleford production. For those of you who are new to the DC comedy scene, when it comes to open mics, Curt Shackleford is the Monopoly Guy. He took four houses on N St. and turned it into the Topaz Hotel. Do yourself a favor, pass go and check out one of his rooms. The night was also made much more entertaining because Jay Hastings looked like this the entire night…

Rides are a dollar…

After the show, I got a chance to hang out with Jon Mumma and his wife, Amy. A nicer pair you’d be hard pressed to find. Amy is as supportive as Jon is funny, and they’re both genuinely cool people (I’ve officially filled this blog’s Mumma-slurping requirement). We rapped about the state of the comedy union and how DC is enjoying a boom of enterprising and talented young comics. Very Up With People.

Before I shut this blog down for the evening, I wanted to address the controversy that is surrounding The DaVinci Code. The Church is up in arms over what the book charges about Jesus and it has mounted a full defensive counter-strike to try to zap the surrounding hype. Correct me if I’m wrong, but The DaVinci Code is a work of fiction, right? Fiction – a literary work whose content is produced by the imagination and is not necessarily based on fact. So, what’s the big deal? It’s not like Dan Brown made some outrageous claim, like God wrote the book… Methinks the Church protests too much. Look, I’m just a Jew without an alibi, but if you’re afraid people are going to have their faith shaken by every new book that comes off the shelf, then maybe you should hire some new writers. Besides, everything I’ve heard about the movie is that it stinks. So, all they succeeded in doing was drumming up more interest for a crappy movie.
If you want a good DaVinci movie, check out Hudson Hawk. One of the best bad movies ever made. All the DaVincial mystery and intrigue with none of the heavy-handed biblical nonsense to drag it down.

To be continued…

Here Comes the Blog…

Happy Friday, ‘Redheads… I hope everyone had a great week. As we prepare for the weekend, I have a couple of happy congratulations to dole out.

First, congratulations to my buddy Glen and his wife-to-be Caryn on their impending nuptials this weekend, deep in the heart of Texas. I’ve known Glen since grade school. Caryn is a great girl and I look forward to adding them to my vast collection of married friends.

Also, congratulations to DC comedy power couple, Jimmeslie. Jimmy Merritt & Leslie Coolie will officially tie the knot tomorrow. If Jimmy has his way, the cake might look something like this…

This is no cake…

Thanks to anyone who got the above reference. I hope they have wedded bliss out the yin-yang. They will make a very funny…and very pale children…who’s midichlorians will be off the charts (ok…enough Star Wars for one blog). That’s all I heard about Leslie and Jimmy. Can’t tell you more, ‘cuz I told you already. Now here we are waving Leslie and Jimmy goodbye. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.

Belated congratulations to Jon Mumma, Justin Schlegel, and Joe Robinson for bringing the house down at the DC Improv showcase finals (and further proving that anyone who’s anyone in this town, has a name that starts with “J”). Unfortunately, there could be only one grand prize. That went to Jon Mumma, but any of these three comedy combatants could’ve taken it down.
Comedy contests are an odd brand of vodka in the comedy liquor cabinet…if that makes any sense. Please, don’t think me bitter just because I’ve never won one. In a world of fragile egos, the comedy contest does a fine job of stomping on them like a Jewish groom after saying, “I do.” Trying to objectively judge something as amorphous as funny, based on one 8 minute performance, is like trying to gauge an audience’s actual mood “by round of applause.” Hilarity is in the milk coming out of the nose of the beholder…or something.
The one thing that this contest was a testament to, was the unity of the DC comedy community. While the egos in comedy are fragile, they can also be quite big as we all frantically try to scramble for the Mardi Gras beads of success. It was heartening to see the turnout of comics to support our brothers in arms as they flashed their tits on the big float. We are fam-i-ly.

Before the show, all of us were mingling in the lobby of the Improv. I saw comedy dynamo, Justin Schlegel, plugged into his I-pod, amping up for his set. I asked him what he was listening to. He replied, “DragonForce.” What is DragonForce, you ask? Well, crank up your speakers and check this out. If you need any cheese or lettuce or steel shredded, put it next to the computer and enjoy the flamethrowing hurricane of sound.

Care for some amazing DC comedy at bargain basement prices? Come down to the Congressional Room of the Bethesda Hyatt on Saturday night. For only $5, you can see:

’06 DC Improv Showcase winner, Jon Mumma
Rising mega-star, Ryan Conner
U.N. Comedy ambassador, Rory Scovel
Mimic extraordinaire and GUYS WATCHING 24 co-star, Danny Rouhier
…and your favorite amiable zany, Jared “The Galleria of Comedy” Stern
Show starts at 8:00…doors open at 7:00. See you there.

To be continued…

Insomni-blog

Hey there ‘Redheads… I wasn’t planning on blogging tonight, but I can’t sleep and this’ll hopefully distract me from my hacking cough.
Remember last post, when I said I was waiting on a bunch of pictures to come through? Well, I’ve got some eye candy for you…suck on this.

Before I get to the visual lozenges, I’d like to extend a hearty thanks to Mike Diesel, Cary London, Lori Trawinski, Brian McClure, and the rest of the crackerjack staff at Wiseacre’s Comedy Club for a fun, if lightly attended, weekend. I was hoping for a good turnout from friends, after pimping the show via phone, email, and MySpace to just about everyone I knew. Unfortunately, the number of my friends that showed up could be counted on one hand. These are two of my friends that I’d like to count with both hands, nudge nudge wink wink…

Hellooooooooo nurse.

Yes, Chrissy and Emily made the front row much more fun to look at. Also a big Bartles & Jaymes thank-you-for-your-support to Kat, Tim Miller, and fellow comedy horseman, Erik “Show The Fuckin’ Movie” Myers.

Now, here’s an inebriated flip-book to help fill in the visual blanks from last blog’s bachelor party hijinks…




Most of those pictures are not how I remember them…they should be blurrier.

24 continues to kick ass as the sands sift through the 24-hourglass. Any of my fellow dorks catch the Star Wars moment in the first part of the show? Y’there, Danny? Let me see if I can set the scene. Once Jack (Vader) realizes that Miles, resident CTU douchebag, (whoever that Imperial douchebag was…it’s late) has tampered with the recording, he grabs him by his throat and slams him against the wall *I find your lack of faith disturbing*. Karen (Grand Moff Tarkin) tells Jack that this is going nowhere and to let him go *This bickering is pointless. Vader, release him*. Jack loosens his grip *As you wish*. Aaaaaaaand, scene.

This might make me a complete asshole, but…

If you’re looking for a great way to spend a Tuesday night, give the finger to American Idol and come check out a real talent competetion…the DC Improv open mic finals. Some heavy hitters on the bill, all fighting for a shot at the grand prize…not sure what that is, but it’ll be a kick ass show.

To be continued…

Flavor of the Week

‘Redheads, it’s been too long… But, whenever I’ve kept you waiting in the past, there’s always been at least two scoops of bloggy goodness to reward you for your Zen-like patience. This time is no exception. I’ve had an eventful couple of days, and I was waiting on some pictures to post, both to enrich your overall blog experience…and to help establish my alibi. Those pictures never came through, so now I have an extra 1000 words apiece to convey to you guys. Let’s hop in the JaredLive Fuzzy Recollection Machine and try to reconcile my definition of “eventful”.

FRIDAY– Cinco de Mayo. When everyone wants to be Mexican for a day…like Carlos Mencia, but without the fake accent. For the full experience, my friends and I went to Rio Grande for a feast worthy of deportation. I partook of one of the greatest Mexican contributions to the art of blood thickening, Camarones Brochette. Sizzling shrimp stuffed with cheese and jalapenos, wrapped in bacon, and served with butter sauce. If there is a heaven, this is the special on Thursdays.
After we got done with our mini-fiesta, we went to the local multiplex to take in a flick. Something of substance. Something Oscar-worthy. We decided on Stick It. So, the 3 of us, average age 30, paid $9.50 a pop to sit in a theater full of tweens to watch a movie about teenage gymnasts. I think that sentence needs to take a hot shower…it’s skeevy. Anywho, the movie, from the people that brought you the cheerleading opus, Bring It On, is about rebelling against authority. These plucky gals need to express themselves, and they’re not about to let those stuffy judges, or a plot, hold them back. It’s saying something when a film lacks the substance of Bring It On. This piece of fluff made it look like Citizen Kane.

SATURDAY– Five words: Bachelor party on a boat. If I didn’t fill my Corona quota on cinco, on seis my bottle runneth over. At 11:00am, I met up with my friends Chris, Ed, Stu, Mike, Felippe, and Richard in DC to send off my buddy, Glen in style. After some pre-saucing, we piled into two cars and headed up to Mike’s Crab House in Annapolis. We chartered a boat for 5 hour tour/fishing trip (it was billed as a fishing trip…they just stuck some poles off the side of the boat…if anything was caught, we were there to take credit for it). It was an absolutely gorgeous day for alcoholism and sunstroke. I wish I had some pictures for you, because there’s no way I can do the scene justice (luckily, Chris snapped some great shots, but he just hasn’t gotten around to sending them). We drank and ate and talked about the mysteries of the universe…like threesomes. The 5 hours passed quickly…which was either a testament to the good time or the tequila haze.
The boat dropped us off back at Mike’s for further intoxication and the devouring of crustaceans. I can’t truly say how good the crabs were. Y’ever been so drunk that anything put in front of you that’s edible is the GREATEST FOOD EVER? That was my level culinary criticism. All I know is they were messy and delicious and I smelled like old bay afterward. Settling the bill was fun. When you’re drunk and full of crab, you have the financial acumen of a guy who accidentally hit the Spanish button during his ATM transaction. We got back to DC around 11:00pm…early by bachelor party standards, but we were all too sapped to go out looking for tits.

SUNDAY– I spent in dialysis.

MONDAY– I stayed in for my night of appointment television, 24. Before I settled in for an hour of real-time badassery, I decided to check out David Blaine’s special, Drowned Alive. I figured it’d be a 50 minute build-up, 7 minutes for the stunt, then I could flip over to Jack Bauer kicking terrorist ass. Turns out it was a 2 HOUR special. Ok, look, holding your breath for seven minutes is very impressive…I need water-wings when I go to the pool, but 2 HOURS?? That’s an hour and fifty minutes of useless hype, intercut with Blaine’s interactive street magic. His card tricks are cool, but I’d like to see him conjure up some charisma. Have you heard this guy talk? That deep monotone that makes Stephen Hawking sound like Rip Taylor… I’m not sure which was the bigger test of endurance, him trying to hold his breath for nine minutes, or trying to watch it for 2 hours. That’s the ultimate in interactive magic, when you make the audience want to escape. The ironic part was that a special about holding breath was hosted by Stuart Scott, a man who’s job it is to be filled with hot air. Boo-ya.

TUESDAY– Before I get into the day’s festivities, I wanted to share a piece of an IM had with my buddy, Seth (congratulations, you made the blog):

Seth: hope you showered this morning
Jared: I did, actually
Seth: by accident?
Jared: how do you shower by accident?
Seth: slip fall shower
Seth: makes sense to me
Jared: you’d have to slip, fall, try to catch yourself on the faucet knobs, turn the water on, then reach up to pick yourself up and accidentally grab the soap
Seth: fall again to get the shampoo which accidentally fell on your head
Jared: that too
Seth: also coincidentally you had your first seizure ever resulting in furious hand movements to lather, rinse, and repeat.

Moving on… Tuesday was a landmark day. The 10th Anniversary celebration for Sketchup, UMD’s sketch comedy group that, I’m proud to say, I’m a founding member of. The drinking started just after 2:00pm, as alumni met up at the Fe in College Park to swap stories and pickle ourselves before the 9:00pm showtime. 7 hours of prep. Who loves Sketchup? I love Sketchup. The group has spawned a couple high profile alums… Christian Zonts a.k.a. Skinnen Bones MC, Adam “Shappy” Shapiro, and Risa Binder to name a few…and I’m doin’ ok too.
After the kick-ass show in the Hoff theater, all of Sketchup past and present went to the aftershow party, complete with a keg of Beast (which, I believe only cost $7…and that includes the $5 deposit for the keg). Long story short, my liver hurts.

10 years…12 steps.

THE FUTURE– I’ll be featuring @ Wiseacre’s Comedy Club in Tyson’s Corner, VA on Friday at 9:00 and Saturday at 8:00 & 10:30. Come check me out in my natural habitat.

To be continued…

Clams on the Halfshell…and Rollerskates

Good times ‘Redheads…good times. Let me start this installment out with some thanks. Every time I start to think I’m blogging to myself, I meet another person who tells me they read it. A shout out to Kat and my good buddy Brian Jett.

I’m not sure how many of you guys get here from my MySpace page, but you may’ve noticed that they finally started offering pages dedicated to comedy and comedians. I went ahead and converted my profile over to a comedy page. The transition has not been smooth. It’s been a pain in MyAss. Hopefully I can get things squared away but, for now, my sound clips are off-line (yes, I know…how will you get by?).

I don’t know if you guys and gals have heard the distant thunder in the dork heavens. On September 12th, 2006 behold as holy trilogy is bestowed on the world as it was meant to be

That’s right. No Greedo firing first. No ghost of Hayden Christensen at the end of Jedi. No cheesy digital tadpole Jabba.
Now, I realize this is Lucas shaking the money tree again as a thinly veiled apology to the fans for mortgaging their childhood fantasy for a larger special effects budget (…did that make any sense? No?…ok then). Not many of us have forgiven him for retro-fitting his original masterpiece to his recent piece of Sith. It’s pretty ingenious, actually…it’s a financial Jedi mind trick…the previous boxed set you plunked down $70 for isn’t the one you’re looking for… Well, apparently I’m weak minded, because I’ll be in line at Best Buy, wrapped in my Star Wars sheets, plastic lightsaber held high, as I let my dork flag fly.

News Flash:

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s Congress approved a bill Friday decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin for personal use — a measure sure to raise questions in Washington about Mexico’s commitment to the war on drugs.

Bend a spoon for Cinco de Mayo, ‘Redheads. I don’t know much, but I do know that this can only lead to one thing (no, not people illegally immigrating to Mexico, ya hacks): Awesome Pinatas. Viva el Studio de Cinquenta y quatro!

To be continued…

Balti-Bigger-Better-Faster-More

Greetings from beyond Charm City, ‘Redheads… I had a blast working the assembly line at the Baltimore Comedy Factory this past weekend. Many thanks to Chip, Allison, Jeff, and all of the five alarm hotties on the waitstaff for a kick ass weekend (btw, if you see Crystal, giver her a hug…she had a rough Saturday night). I had the distinct pleasure of working with fellow DC mirth-maker, Jay Hastings. Together, we opened for a comedy phenomenon…Angel Salazar.
You may know Angel from his film resume, which includes Scarface, Carlito’s Way, and Punchline. What you’ve seen on screen ain’t nothin’ compared to seeing him live. If you’d like a small glimpse of the spectacle he puts on, pop a copy of Seinfeld’s Comedian in and skip to track 7 where Jerry goes to Caroline’s. Angel is on stage when he gets there.
Gentle reader, I’m here to tell you, if there’s ever a nuclear attack, hide under Angel Salazar. The man is BOMB PROOF. How so, you ask? By answering the single most important question in comedy with a resounding YES. Not, “Did the material make the audience think?” or, “Did the show have a social message?”, but “Was the audience entertained?”…you bet your sweet bippy they were…in fact, I see your sweet bippy, and raise you your ass. They laughed, they cheered, they clamored for more…some came back to see him again. They ate him up with a spoon, licked both sides, then asked if they could lick the bowl. Why? The phrases were catchy, the types were in stereo, and the denominators were low and common. He had music, props, and more costume changes than the walk-in closet at the Hall of Justice. There was no mental heavy lifting involved at all, but he put on a SHOW. He was king of the stage and the crowd were his willing subjects.
In comedy circles, it’s fashionable to consider an act like his to be second-rate for its pandering or somehow cheapening the craft, but in the end, it is the alcohol-fueled masses who have the final say… Sorry about that…lapsed into a Jerry Springer Final Thought there. Anywho, do yourself a favor, and sheck him out the next time he’s in town.

By the way, I’d like to let you all know that my title of Puzzle Samurai stands, unflinching against all challenges… I may be one step shy of Ninja

When somebody asks you if you’re a god, you say YES!

I must say, 24 continues to exceed expectations this season. It has also exceeded its quota of obscure 80’s movie characters. First Soul Man, then Buckaroo Banzai/RoboCop, now, also from RoboCop, this guy…


Mmmmmmmm…evil chunky salsa.

I’m holding out hope that final hour features the ultimate showdown: Jack Bauer vs. ED-209…one of ’ems gotta DROP THE GUN first. Speaking of 24… You know where this is going… Go check out GUYS WATCHING 24 (conveniently linked to your right).

Local DC comedy fans, help bid a fond farewell to Topaz on Thursday night. May another Curt Shackleford room rise in its place.

To be continued…