On Tuesday a jury in Los Angeles found Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams guilty of copyright infringement and ordered them to pay $7.3 million for copying elements of Marvin Gaye’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up” for Thicke’s 2013 hit “Blurred Lines.” Quickly after this story broke, there was a flurry of speculation about what this means for music — does it establish an overly tight interpretation of what it means to copy a song? Does it eliminate the grey area between referencing or being influenced by a previous artist and claiming their ideas as your own?
The whole thing made me think of this [...]
Last November, SNL aired a mock promo for a hacky, whitewashed family sitcom called "The Dudleys." In the sketch, a voiceover explains the various lengths the show has gone to satisfy complaints on Twitter — "You tweeted, 'It's 2014, why can't any of The Dudleys be gay?' Well, we heard you loud and clear!" — with Woody Harrelson playing at various degrees of homosexuality before dialing it back up to a "gay 5." "The Dudleys" was a clever piece of satire in a great episode, but it also reflected a truth SNL's current cast and writers have been coming to terms with: they can't win on Twitter.
In some ways, [...]
The comedy community was dealt a huge blow yesterday when comedian and Parks and Recreation writer/producer Harris Wittels was found dead in his Los Angeles home of an apparent overdose. He was just 30 years old. Since then, countless friends, fans, and collaborators have been expressing their condolences and love for such a tragically short-lived talent, including Parks and Rec star Amy Poehler last night during a charity event: "Today, I lost a friend," she said. "I lost a dear, young friend in my life who was struggling with addiction. I’m sharing it with you because life and death live so close together, and we walk that [...]
Joe Rumrill is a standup comedian and writer living in New York City. Her performs regularly at the UCB, the PIT, Over the Eight, and at various comedy shows around the city, as well as the 2014 Brooklyn Comedy Festival. Rumrill is also a creator of the weirdo comedy showcase Fresh Perspectives, which he co-hosts with Julio Torres every fourth Monday of the month at Muchmores in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Rumrill told me that he hopes to, “with the right amount of campaigning, luck and crowdsourcing,” perform standup in the 2015 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In the meantime, he talked to me about three of his favorite tweets, his [...]