Something like a little less than one month ago, Patton Oswalt began to tweet his effusive praise of a show very few people had heard of. Like a virus, more and more people on Twitter began to speak the world of it, suddenly discovering that the half hour after Girls Sunday nights on HBO wasn't a test pattern, a talk show talking about Girls that just ends up being a conversation about Lena Dunham, or even a classic episode of Arli$$. Instead, they found a challenging, uncomfortable, intelligent, incredibly nuanced work that wasn't The Wire that is categorized as a "comedy," and featured a bunch of talented comedic actors. [...]
In the hierarchy of artistic endeavors comedy occupies a hazy, confused space. The enthusiasm comedians are capable of generating among the general public is considerable but often fleeting; they seem unjustly deficient at inspiring the kind of long term devotion more commonly reserved for their peers in music and film. It was precisely this frustrating divide that drove Patton Oswalt to launch his Comedians of Comedy tour in 2004, a string of stand-up dates that circumvented the two-drink minimum drudgery of conventional comedy clubs in favor of smaller, hipper venues. “These are the kind of people that will support indie rock bands — for twenty years they’ll follow a [...]
This is a review of a book entitled This is a Book by Demetri Martin. The book was written by Demetri Martin, of course. The title is not the only reason, however, why it could not have possibly been written by anyone else.
There has always been a matter-of-fact post-modernism to the way Demetri Martin packages himself, and his literary debut is a remarkable translation of that unique aesthetic into book form. (That the author designed the jacket and cover artwork himself suggests that this process was a labor of love.) Several self-aware touches adorn the book, poking fun at the medium: a sly mock-tutorial, “How to read [...]
Good news comedy nerds (and just nerds): Paul is funny! Don’t be fooled by the marketing campaign and weak trailers; this is not simply a buddy comedy with wacky CGI’d aliens and weed jokes. It’s a Simon Pegg and Nick Frost movie through and through. Like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Pegg and Frost co-wrote a script that embraces, not mocks, the genre film.
Parody movies rarely work, and thanks to the sometimes alarming rate in which they’re churned out (Scary Movie, Epic Movie, Date Movie, etc.), quality seems to suffer. But there are a few very noteworth exceptions. Christopher Guest has mastered the mockumentary, and [...]
Once you’ve made it, it’s hard to resist the urge to take a victory lap. For those who’ve succeeded in a big way on a large stage, the lap usually takes the form of a book, in which thinly disguised self-glorification attempts to pass for genuine reflection and introspection. And yet in his memoir Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, Patton Oswalt, who has racked up impressive achievements in stand-up, movies, and television, not to mention his status as the standard-bearer for alternative comedy, abstains from even the mere hint of self-satisfaction. Rather than just dully chart the path that led him out of obscurity and into startling professional success, the comedian [...]