Posts tagged as the awl

A Friendly PSA: It's "Kenan." Yes. Kenan Thompson.

Despite his status as a former Nickelodeon star and 10-year "Saturday Night Live" veteran, Kenan Thompson has never been one to grab news headlines, so it was surprising when he spoke up about SNL’s lack of black female cast members. Unlike Jay Pharoah’s more incendiary call for SNL to "pay attention" to the issue a few weeks prior, Thompson's contribution to the debate was sparse and seemingly reluctant, and his remark that the show "never finds [black women] that are ready" in auditions… did not go over well.

The few times Kenan does make the rounds on the internet, though, I always notice a bigger problem: Those backlashers, [...]

The Complete Guide To Everything: McDonald's Part 2 – The Return of the Arch Deluxe

This week, we go further down the McDonald’s rabbit hole and discuss the strange case of the Arch Deluxe, a hamburger marketed towards adults, and how kids everywhere thought that this pepper-flavored burger might convince their parents to eat fast food seven nights a week. We also talk about the brief history of hot dogs at the Golden Arches, which were banned for being “unhygienic” and debate whether or not Chicken Selects are available across the United States. (By the way, if your local McDonald’s sells Chicken Selects, take a picture and send an email to thecompleteguidetoeverything@gmail.com so that Tim can win his $1,000 bet with Tom.)

We spend a [...]

Why Victoria Wood Is The Funniest British Comedian You've Never Heard Of

Here’s the problem: this side of the Atlantic is unaware of Victoria Wood. Queen of observational stand-up, master of the cheerful monologue ridden with a thousand little dreads, goddess of the sketch surreal and regular, authoress of so much women-centered content that she out-Bechdels the Bechdel Test by a mile, unsentimental teller of truth in matters sexual, superb chronicler of Englishness, trail-blazer (she’d hate this title, but I don’t give a damn), tea drinker, owner of the most glorious bosom in the whole of Commonwealth.

Yet Britain’s much loved, awarded and televised, the Royal Albert Hall-selling-out, multi-talented comedic performer and writer could easily visit any North American city in [...]

Hello, The Billfold!

The Awl Network welcomes its newest site to the stable today: The Billfold, a new blog about money, or, as they say it, "Everything About Money You Were Too Polite to Ask." If you're a person who has, makes, spends, or saves money, there's probably something there to interest you! Like this article here on paying off your debt via either the Snowball or Avalanche methods. Both of those sound better than owing people shitloads of money, right? So go check it out already.

Larry David's Rough Night Out With The Aging Literary Lion

A column that resurrects the highbrow gossip of yore.

In the "Seinfeld" episode "The Jacket," which aired in 1991, Elaine recruits Jerry and George to join her for a drink and dinner with her father, Alton Benes. He’s a cranky old writer, distinguished but well past his prime, and he’s impossible enough that Elaine says she needs a "buffer" to spend an evening with him. (This comment might mark the moment when we all started using the word "buffer" in this particular way. "Re-gifting," "double-dipping," "low-talker"—in the lingo of the educated urbanite, all roads lead to “Seinfeld.”) Elaine ends up being late, and Jerry and George face some [...]

Whatever Happened to MTV's 'Buzzkill'?

Not long ago, MTV made an unusual appeal: It asked for help finding information about one of its own shows. The show was "Buzzkill," a hidden-camera program that ran in 1996. The plea came from MTV's Guy Code blog:

If you try to find old clips online, they're nonexistent. Seems impossible, right? The web is where you can find the most obscure remnants of every era, the most disturbing videos the human mind can conjure. And yet it has seemingly been scrubbed clean of all "Buzzkill" details…. Internet, we need your help. We must uncover the truth of "Buzzkill." Send us your tips and clues. Better yet, if you [...]

Meet Mike Sui, A Dude From Wisconsin Who's Now China's Biggest Viral Star

"Cock wire Mike Sui!" yelled one of the young men in the crowd. "Cock wire Sui is awesome!" The kimono robe and mirrored sunglasses, like some kind of last-minute frat-boy Halloween costume, that Mike Sui was wearing when he leapt onto the stage, had been shed, and Sui now prowled the stage in cargo shorts and a Nike t-shirt.

Before April, a slim few, if any, in this Shanghai crowd would have known Sui's name. And before April, NetEase, one of China's largest Internet companies, certainly would not have asked Sui to emcee its stage at China Joy, the nation's largest gaming and digital entertainment exhibition. But now it [...]

The Oddball 80s Magic Of "Battle Of The Video Games"

Back in the early 80s, the boom in arcades and entertainment made icons of the likes of Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Q*Bert. The popularity and novelty of video games was great enough to produce a fair amount of peculiar cultural runoff. If you grew up then, you may or may not remember watching cartoon series based on the likes of Kangaroo and Space Ace, or raunchy arcade-set comedies like Hollywood Zap and Joysticks ("More Fun Than Games!"). Some dubious efforts to translate the excitement of playing video games into different mediums also happened, as seen with the ill-conceived board game above.

There was even a game show based [...]

Talking To The Nerdist's Chris Hardwick

Chris Hardwick has made a career out of being a nerd. Well, actually, he has made several careers out of being a nerd, as the host of "Web Soup" a writer for Wired, an author and the host of The Nerdist podcast. Paste Magazine and Rolling Stone both named The Nerdist one of the ten best podcasts of the year, which means that it's now a TV show, with a special airing tomorrow on BBC America. The podcast has also spawned a community of tech, science and nerd culture enthusiasts on Nerdist.com.

Years before he created Nerdist Industries, Chris was already sowing the [...]

The Loon Goes Silent: Remembering Tom Keith

On Sunday, October 30, 2011, for reasons yet unclear, Tom Keith collapsed in his home. Keith's passing robs us of one of the most enjoyable personalities ever to occupy a Minnesota Public Radio studio. Most Americans who knew him probably did as Garrison Keillor's sound effects guy, the one who lent Prairie Home Companion sketches that all-important extra dimension. Others—Minnesotans—knew him as Jim Ed Poole and Doctor Larry Kyle, characters he created for his hosting gig on The Morning Show, which he inherited from Keillor, and which he left in 2008.

I had an opportunity to speak with Keith when he agreed to a "high concept" interview of mine. [...]

'Daily Show' Writer Jason Ross On Writing For Free and Breaking Into Comedy

Since 2002, Jason Ross (@jasonjross on Twitter) has been a writer for "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," where his team has won a half-dozen Emmy Awards for outstanding writing and produced the best-selling America: The Book and Earth: The Book.

Jason Ross: Here I am.

Ken Layne: Hello, sir! I'm in the middle of the greatest consumer survey in human history.

Jason: That is a fairly low bar to clear.

Ken: Disneyland is building Star Wars Land. This will make Disneyland much more tolerable for me:

Which of the following Star Wars locations would you be especially interested in visiting at the Disneyland Resort? [...]

David Rakoff, 1964 – 2012

David Rakoff—writer, aesthete, genius, New York devotee (the City was "the great love of my life," he wrote), exceptional reporter and observer, performer, director and incredibly kind person—died after a phenomenally unfair and incredibly prolonged series of medical travails, which rarely slowed his creative output or his deeply human black humor. In early 2009, a pinched nerve was discovered to be a malignant sarcoma, caused, he said, by the radiation treatments from the lymphoma he'd had two decades before. An incredibly complicated and ethical person, Rakoff channeled his anxieties both into crafts, making elaborate products in his incredibly organized home such as duct tape wallets, but also into a phenomenal [...]

Talking To Lena Dunham About Being A "Girl"

It may feel like "Girls" has been on the air for months already, but the series actually doesn’t premiere on HBO until April 15th. Its creator, writer and star is Lena Dunham, about whom, if you’re reading this, you probably already have an opinion—although it's difficult to come up with an opinion or observation about Dunham that she has not already anticipated, heard or joked about herself. Her 2010 feature, Tiny Furniture, released when she was 23, was just added to the Criterion Collection. Now there's "Girls," a comedy about four 20-something women puzzling out adulthood in the city, executive produced by Judd Apatow. Dunham and I met recently [...]

My Three-Month Facebook Dialogue With a Scammer From Malaysia Pretending To Be A Beautiful Woman

During Hurricane Irene weekend, while holed up in a friend’s apartment and looking for some stimulation, I got friend-requested and emailed by an obvious scammer on Facebook. The con artist, under the name “Claire Anrie,” used a few professional photos of an attractive young woman (whom I later reverse-image-searched and discovered was a personal trainer in New York) and a typo- and contradiction-filled profile.

"Claire" quickly asked me to send her money by Western Union so she could come back to the U.S. and be with me, her "husband." Over the next three months, I kept up an ongoing dialogue via Facebook messages and chat in which I [...]