Friday, October 4, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fake Geek Girls: The Show

Hey Nerd-Muffins, check it out:

Writer/director Sara Clarke was inspired to create this show after seeing controversy over the "fake geek girl" phenomenon explode online. As she puts it, "I saw a lot of feminist criticisms of geek culture that I thought were very powerful. I wanted to contribute to the discussion, but instead of a blog takedown or a documentary series, I decided to talk about awesome female nerds through comedy. Meanwhile, in the apartment downstairs, my hilarious neighbor Julie-Joy was looking for more material to stretch her wings as a comedic actress. That's how Fake Geek Girls was born."

Pretty awesome, huh? So here's the deal. They've only made this episode and to fund a whole series they're looking to raise a little cash. After you've checked out the show, you should go donate over here. I did. You can too. Everybody's doing it. 

What better way to inspire you to chip in or share the Kickstarter campaign than this Double Clicks music video:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Your Friends You Haven't Met Yet: Pony Ride

I'd like to introduce you to some friends you haven't met yet: Pony Ride aka Katie Smith, Jessica Spaw, and Alexa Green.

Let's get to know our new friends:

So how did you get starting making videos together?

The three of us all did improv at University of California Irvine (on the team Live Nude People *With Clothes On) together but parted ways once we graduated, it wasn't till a year later after moving each separately to LA, that we reunited and realized the best way to pursue comedy was to make our own content.

Awesome! What does your writing/editing process look like?

We have all studied at the Upright Citizens Brigade and feel that has had a major influence on our writing. Sometimes we write individually, sometimes together, and other times we have a concept and beats but we improv a majority of the sketch. Improv has taught us to ask ourselves when writing "if this is true what else is..." and that can really take us anywhere, which is a lot of fun.

Who are your comedy heros?

We have A LOT of comedy heros since there are three of us the top being: Tina Fey. Amy Pohler, The Mighty Boosh, Ricky Gervias, Carol Bernett, Kristin Wiig, Robin Williams, Steve Martin, Zach Galifianakis.

Find more Pony Ride  Facebook or  YouTube. Can't wait to see future awesome from Pony Ride!

(I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that former Wisecrack-mentioned comedian, Lauren Lapkus from The Money Kids is now on the best show ever, Orange is the New Black. I think we can extrapolate this data to mean that Pony Ride will have a Netflix Original Series in approximately two years.)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

If only this Daria movie were real...

The sad thing: The target audience of Plaza's new film has never heard of Daria.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Totally Biased Takes on Street Harassment

Okay- I don't know if this is some kind of karma-retention program after setting up the "Feminist vs Comedians" debate (which really revealed some undeniable cultural misogyny as previously mentioned) but W. Kamau Bell gets major props for this segment.

Awesome for a few reasons:

1) So often women fighting street harassment are portrayed as people who take things too seriously. He's setting the segments up so that the women are making/in on the joke and the guys who harass aren't.

2) It's for a Comedy Central audience: Mostly male 18-35 year olds (correction: it's on FX... but the same point holds true).

3) There's a cameo featuring Emily May from Hollaback! She's great.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Patton Oswalt on Joke-Thievery, Heckling and Rape Jokes

May I direct your attention over here to Patton Oswalt's honest and self-reflective analysis of the rape joke debate.  It's pretty long, here are few excerpts:
...See if any of these sound familiar: 
There’s no “evidence” of a “rape culture” in this country.  I’ve never wanted to rape anyone, so why am I being lumped in as the enemy?  If these bloggers and feminists make “rape jokes” taboo, or “rape” as a subject off-limits no matter what the approach, then it’ll just lead to more censorship.  
They sure sound familiar to me because I, at various points, was saying them.  Either out loud, or to myself, or to other comedian and non-comedian friends when we would argue about this.  I had my viewpoint, and it was based on solid experience, and it…was…fucking…wrong. 
Let’s go backwards through those bullshit conclusions, shall we?  First off: no one is trying to make rape, as a subject, off-limits No one is talking about censorship.  In this past week of re-reading the blogs, going through the comment threads, and re-scrolling the Twitter arguments, I haven’t oncefound a single statement, feminist or otherwise, saying that rape shouldn’t be joked under anycircumstance, regardless of context.  Not one example of this. 
In fact, every viewpoint I’ve read on this, especially from feminists, is simply asking to kick upward, to think twice about who is the target of the punchline, and make sure it isn’t the victim....
There is a collective consciousness that can detect the presence (and approach) of something good or bad, in society or the world, before any hard “evidence” exists.  It’s happening now with the concept of “rape culture.”  Which, by the way, isn’t a concept.  It’s a reality.  I’m just not the one who’s going to bring it into focus.  But I’ve read enough viewpoints, and spoken to enough of my female friends (comedians and non-comedians) to know it isn’t some vaporous hysteria, some false meme or convenient catch-phrase.

Alright, if you're reading this blog, you don't need Patton Oswalt to tell you any of this. But I think it's awesome that he's written it, and I hope it gets widely read.

On a side note, I wonder if he's friends with Diablo Cody (who wrote Young Adult, and Juno, and that book, Candy Girl, about stripping in Minneapolis). Probs.

H/T Russ Rogers

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Badass of the Year: Lindy West

Lindy West, you are our hero.

Thank you for standing up for the power of comedy to shape our world. 

In case you haven't heard, Lindy did a rape joke debate with Jim Norton on Totally Biased.  The crux of this argument is basically the same thing we've been writing about here for years- Lindy says comedy influences culture, a point Jim denies ("as long as you're trying to be funny, you're okay.")

She did an amazing job. My favorite of Lindy's lines:
"I'm sure it's super comfortable and nice to believe that there aren't systemic forces affected by speech, but it's not true and those of us who are affected by those forces know that that's not true.... you don't get to say that comedy is the sacred, powerful vital thing that we have to protect because it's speaking truth to power and also be like, 'oh it's just a joke, I mean, language doesn't affect our lives at all, so shut up.'"
YES. So much love and appreciation for her. To be fair, this match was fixed. Lindy's straight up smarter than Jim. And she's right.

And everyone on Twitter thanked her and comedians who make shitty rape jokes realized the error of their ways and apologized! We wish. Actually, enter hundreds of hateful tweets aimed at Lindy.

In response to the backlash, Jim Norton made a ridiculously wimpy half-hearted suggestion on Opie and Anthony that his fans not write her hateful messages. Actually, he said "you can write whatever you want, but you're not helping the argument" but mostly he just sat around while the hosts of the show mindlessly trash-talked Lindy. Keep it classy, Jim! [Update: A way classier note from Jim was posted and can be found here.]

We love her work at Jezebel and look forward to all the awesome things she will no doubt do in the future.

Thanks, Lindy, for doing what you do.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Okay, we're not quite done talking about sexual violence and comedy...

Sady Doyle wrote to comedian Sam Morril about his jokes about rape/hurting women.

If you've seen much stand-up, you've likely been in her situation before. You go to a show, you're having a grand old time, and then some ass gets onstage and thinks it's funny to make a date-rape joke. I paid $4 for this? Then Sam Morril wrote a response where he says he knows more about comedy than she does, and it's ironic and Sarah Silverman makes rape jokes so he can, too, blah blah blah, and he obviously doesn't get it. He says that because his feminist mom, manager and ex-girlfriend think his rape jokes are funny, it's cool. Sounds a lot like "but my best friend is ________."

Hey Sam:

1) Sure, you have the right to make jokes about rape (and the Boston marathon and the n-word.)

2) You're still responsible for the impact of your comedy on the world.  

3) There's a huge difference between a woman joking about being raped and a guy joking about raping. There are rape jokes that make fun of people who think rape is okay, and there are rape jokes that make fun of people who get assaulted. Many guys have proven that a rape joke doesn't have to be "rape=funny." It can also be "people who have sex without consent are assholes." 

4) Look at where your power is aimed. Is it challenging groups in power? Or making fun of groups or the experiences of groups that are already being shat upon? 

I'm totally appreciative of Sady Doyle's article. Yet, the world has no shortage of dudes who make shitty and cheap shock jokes about rape onstage. And some of these guys don't care that half a dozen folks in the audience have been raped. And some just don't realize it or realize how their art is supporting a world where wink-wink rape is hilarious. 

I don't care if comedians aren't onstage to make the world a better place. But it makes me mad when that power is used for supporting things like racism, sexism, ableism, fat phobia, heterosexism and other forms of discrimination and cruelty. You can joke about race, sex, disabilities, fatness, gayness and murder without (whoopsies! it's-ironic-so-it's-cool) accidentally endorsing hatred.

Recommended reading:

"Stop Saying Rape Jokes are Never Funny" by comedian Sarah Mowrey

Ugh.What a drag, right? This is why Wisecrack prefers to highlight amazing comedians who are making awesome shit. For instance, Issa Rae's Awkward Black Girl series. If you're not already familiar, go check it out. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

On Making a Rape PSA

A Guest Post by Annie Laferriere

When I find myself annoyed with or upset with something, my general reaction is to throw jokes at it. Not being the most aggressive of people, I find it a cathartic way to state my opinion. The babble going on a few months before the election, spurred by the rape comments made by Todd Akin and Richard Murdoch made me laugh a lot.  Then I got annoyed that such stupid statements were getting so much air time. Then I laughed a little more.  And then I texted ten of my comedienne/actress girlfriends and said, "Hey I have a really funny idea for a sketch about rape.  Do you want in?"  Luckily almost all of them trust my comedic sensibilities and two days later we had our cast of five beautiful funny chicks.

Rape is such a sensitive topic and I worried about offending people. Not really just any people. But survivors. That thought horrified me, and we tried to approach it in such a way that wouldn't be offensive but would make people laugh, but also think about sexual violence and the reality that we live in a world where rape is way too common

The PSA was scripted, but a lot of improv ended up in the final cut. I'm so happy with the way it turned out. I'm proud of what it says.  I hope people enjoy the satire but understand the statement.

Annie is an LA-based stand up and improv comedienne. See more of her stuff at

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sitting on Babies: Sitting Down with Becky Whittemore

When comedians Becky Whittemore and Brooke Jacob teamed up to make Sitting On Babies, they focused on two topics that they had first hand experience of: providing childcare in New York City and being featured on reality television. In fact, Becky's reality tv story is so amazing that an episode of Spike TV's show "Ink Master" was named after her experience. I want to share this story, as told to me by the incredibly endearing Becky, and then we'll get to the webseries (pinky swear).

So a friend of Becky's asks if she wants to get a free tattoo for this tattoo competition show, Ink Master. Since Becky has been thinking about tattoos anyways, plus this is a FREE tattoo from a real professional (I mean, the show is called Ink Master), it seems like a no-brainer.

Becky Whittemore
Fast-forward to the show's taping. Becky is asked to choose between three styles: Tribal, american traditional or pin-up. She goes pin-up. There's a speed element, so Becky doesn't have much time to hem and haw over what she wants with the tattoo artist. Being from Georgia, she goes with a pretty lady sitting next to a big peach. The artist draws up a sketch, and Becky asks for fuller hair on the tattoo. And one more thing- can she be barefoot instead of wearing heels?

The tattoo comes along quickly and somethings looks a little off to Becky, but heck, it's a free tattoo! A week later, Becky realizes why it looks so funny. Can you see it?

You're right, the peach looks a little (a lot) like a butt (err, sorry Becky!) but that's not it. Okay, try now:

That's right. A week after getting her tattoo she realizes that her pin-up has two right feet. The title of the episode featuring Becky's tattoo? "Permanent Mistakes".

"When you're on the set you realize how completely fake all these shows are. The scenes are edited together out of order, and they might have you answer questions on air and then splice it with other footage to make it seem like you're talking to the host. We wanted our series to show that absurdity," Says Becky.

Okay- that was a tangential but fun way of getting to the show, Sitting on Babies:

For those of you who are unable to just watch the above clip (maybe you're at work, it's cool, no judgement) this is a show about two New York City nannies, in a style that perfectly mimics the worst of all those damn TLC shows that we love to hate (props to director Tim Young and the rest of their talented crew).

"I'm a comedian but Brooke is a for-real legit actress. We met at an Upright Citizens Brigade improv class and knew we wanted to work together," says Becky. "We decided to make the show loosely based on our lives. We write about real life stories but not entirely directly, since we don't want to freak anyone out and we still need to get paid."

Brooke Jacob
On comedy site Funny or Die their three episodes have collectively been viewed about 25,000 times so far, which is pretty damn impressive (and that doesn't even include people like you who may have just watched it on YouTube).
You can subscribe to their YouTube channel for new episodes.

Becky was ridiculously nice and it's cool to see how she and Brooke have turned an idea into such a well-made show. You can't help but root for them as they keep making awesome happen.