Ever get annoyed? Ever feel like someone needs to be told where the dog died? Or handed a crowbar and a tub of Elbow Grease to help them pry their head out of their arse? Congratulations--you've come to the right place.

And when I'm not commenting on the latest thing to piss me off, I'm trying to figure out my own twisted life. Because, hey, I'm like that.

On a gentler note: for anyone dealing with depression, anxiety, and other assorted bullshit: You are NOT alone.

And if you're looking for a laugh, search on the key word "fuckery." It's just my little thing (as the bishop said to the actress).

Friday, December 10, 2010

Talkin’ Shit about Talkin’ Shit with Jim & Eddie

“Two douchebags on a couch
One’s an asshole, one’s a grouch
And relentless are their mouths…
Jim and Eddie… TALK SHIT!”

OK, now regular readers know I have a thing for comedian Jim Jefferies—to the point that I kicked off my desperately needed vacation in October with a road trip down to NYC to catch his act at Caroline’s in an antibiotic haze the day after starting to go into anaphylaxis (I said it was a much needed vacation), and I’ve “reviewed” the show and his latest DVD here on the blog. (There is going to be a second reaction to Alcoholocaust at one point when I get a mo, but with the holidaze approaching, Mum being in the hospital, the mid-year report at The Job, the novel rewrite, and fuck knows what else, I actually haven’t had the effin’ time to watch the damn thing again—I’ve been able to listen to it with the commentary track a couple of times while working which has kept the body count down.) I’m one of the regular fans on his FB, etc., and unless there’s a Boston date announced before the Foxwoods shows, I’m going to suffer for my Celebricrush by driving to a fucking casino in the middle of the Asshole of the Northeast, aka Connecticut, during the second ugliest month of the year, February. (Coming soon to the Blog Shog: Mum—Too Daft or Too Cool? for my worst nightmare possibly coming true.)

Sooooo, anyway… Jim and his roommate, Eddie Ifft, another seriously up-and-coming comic, have started putting out a weekly podcast on www.stitcher.com, Talkin’ Shit with Jim and Eddie. I’ve held off on writing the review because I was on the fence after the first couple of episodes; after episode three, I can definitely come in and put the Imperial Stamp of Approval. (Hey, I love Jim’s stand-up, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to love everything he does.)

After catching some of the appearances Jim did on Opie & Anthony via YouTube, I was looking forward to hearing the podcast—there are constant pleas on his FB for him to come back on their show because Jim is always good for a laugh and utterly unpredictable as to what he’s going to say (and he will say damn near anything; nice to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t give a manky fuck about what people think, especially when it comes to discussing sex).

Episode #1 was released the day before Thanksgiving; I popped on the headphones in the office and listened whilst trying to wrap shit up before the holiday (and before having to deal with driving Mum to her charming sister’s in NH in holiday traffic). I actually stayed over time to listen to the whole thing. Now, I’m going to be honest… it kicked off fabulous. The first twenty minutes are bloody awesome—incredibly funny, riffing and ribbing. It’s great to listen in on two genuinely funny, intelligent guys ribbing the shit out of each other and having fun—couple of guys just being guys, the kind of convo I’d like to be a part of, just to see if I could hold my own with them.

Where it stops being enjoyable and starts being uncomfortable listening is when Jim, Eddie and producer/assistant Lindsay start harassing Jason, their friend/couch squatter/poor hapless bastard of a hanger-on. Some of it is funny, but you know that it’s gone too far when Jim says they should call the show “Bullies.” Jason is too easy a target; whatever personal issues he’s dealing with, it just gets cringe-inducing after a while, a waste of the guys’ talents.
Now, let me be fair—compared to the garbage heard on talk radio, this is funny. Seriously. I am so not the fan of Howard Stern and Opie & Anthony and all the others of that ilk. It’s not my kind of humor; I just don’t get into the comedy of cruelty—it’s not my style. I don’t mind harassing those who deserve it—take all the shots you like at Alaska Barbie and DumbFux, anyone who sets themselves up to be taken down, go for it; easy targets, though… Jason is just sad (or in a bad place in his life—I don’t know and it’s not my problem), and seeing two talented guys take shots at such an easy target… eh.
I'm leaving out the details of my favorite bit because I don't want any of these guys to get sued; but thank you, thank you, thank you, for Barista to the Stars.

To their credit, they kick off episode #2 by stating they apologized to Jason after the first episode, although the taunting they put him through… I seriously thought at a couple of points the guy was going to cry. The set up with Match.com… Jesus, guys, at least go for plentyoffish.com—it’s free and the ex-criminal/spammer/psycho screening process is much more thorough. Jason doesn’t need a girlfriend (although he may definitely need to get laid)—he needs a good therapist and a better divorce lawyer. Or perhaps a really good assassin—women like his ex deserve to be removed from the gene pool permanently. “Cunt” should be a pleasant association, not an apt description.

The best, most memorable moment of episode 2 is when Jim goes off on Henry Rollins. Now, I have seen Henry live—he’s fucking hysterical. He handles hecklers well (“this is not an interactive experience, madam,” is the line I remember from the Berkeley Performance Center a few years back). His live Thai Sex Show story (which I caught on Comedy Central one night in the weeeeeee hours) is funny, but I’ll take Jim’s I Am the Egg Man bit over it any day. The reason… Henry IS funny—he’s erudite, forthright, strong, opinionated, and in-your-face. What makes Jim a better performer—and a funnier one—is vulnerability. Henry laughs at himself, yes, but Jim doesn’t give a rat’s ragged arse about his dignity. It’s all about the story and letting it be there for what it is; there’s a rhythm in the language, the delivery that is natural. He may have been telling that Egg Man story for four years now (maybe longer; earliest version of it I’ve seen is the Minty’s 2007 clip), and while the polish on the performance has evolved, every version of it out there is piss-y’self-hysterical because whenever he tells it, it’s Jim himself, squatting in that hotel room, his insides being tortured (and if you’ve never had issues in your colon, get down on your knees and thank whatever Higher Power you believe in for their mercy), reliving his agony and humiliation, and laughing at himself and taking his lumps for his own humanity.
THAT, kids, is real comedy.

The point.. Jim is dead on when he says that what Henry is doing is not “spoken word”—it’s comedy. It’s stand-up, the same kind of shit that Carlin did, and calling it “spoken word” is incredibly fucking pretentious and makes Henry look like a precious tit, and to hear easy-going, bemused Jim suddenly get absolutely fucking pissed off, “I am out there, busting my ass…” (and any of my friends reading this, STOP LAUGHING!) and hear the genuine passion he has for his art… There is a reason I respect the man. I would LOVE to be there for a throw-down between the two of them. Jim is constantly playing down his own intelligence—my two-bit amateur analysis is that a) he knows just how fucking smart he really is; and b) he’s afraid to admit it. He’d give Rollins a run for his money and then some, particularly with Eddie in his corner.
The other reason I’d like to see the Jason shit go away… I don’t want Eddie to end up in jail for murdering Jason because honestly, I thought he was going to whack him with the laptop at one point (and I wouldn’t have stopped him if I was in the room). And honestly, while I'm willing to take a bus to NYC or drive to the Asshole of the Northeast to see Jim, I'm not going out of my way to see Henry. He inspires no empathy in me, no cameraderie... His work is too intellectual to touch my soul.
Sound a bit airy-fairy? Fuck you. I don't want to listen, read, groove to an "artist" who can't put their heart and soul into their work and their ass on the line when they're on stage. End of story. One of the reason I've pulled back from the open mic is right now, I don't have it to give out there. I don't, and I'm too much of a fuckin' pro to cheat an audience. Here, in words, I can give it all right now, so I have no issue putting the blog out there. As I've said before about Jim--he puts it out there. He DOES bust his ass--there's nothing precious, nothing reserved about him on stage, and he has put his life on the line. Ever had a family member stop speaking to you because of something you've performed? *raises hand* I have, and what they were upset about was fiction--a play I'd co-written, co-directed and co-starred in--and ironically enough, the scene that upset her and offended her wasn't even one I'd written. I still find that amusing. If the nasty old cunt had an ounce of backbone, she'd have spoken to me about it and cleared the air... whatever. Life in Irish families, not relevant ATM. When Jim tells stories about his family... I give him incredible props. My mum isn't allowed to read this blog (and thankfully does not have internet access ATM); otherwise, well... it wouldn't be pretty. But would make for GREAT stories! The best work--whether it's music, Shakespeare, writing, comedy, painting, whatfuckingever--has to have a piece of the artist's soul in it, commitment. Otherwise, it's shit. And when you let your brain have a say over your soul in your work, you're cheating yourself, your art and your audience.
/end rant
Props to Lindsay for holding her own with those horndogs, BTW. Sometimes, it’s a blast being the only girl in the clubhouse; sometimes… *sigh* Sometimes, you really understand lesbians. (Well, not the sex part, obviously. That’s just nasty. Or the ugly clothes. *shudder* Gods, protect us from the Walrus Women…)

Tuesday saw the release of episode #3, and with another comic as a guest, the guys REALLY started to hit their stride. They kept the recap of Jason's Match.com brief and funny (and after seeing the bit Eddie posted on YouTube of Jason parodying Radiohead... Jason, you can sing, you can play the guitar, I'll even give you points for having nice eyes, but saying a chick is too heavy for you... Here's the crowbar, here's the KY--pop your head out of your ass); Jim repeats his bit on hemorrhoids (and makes it sound like an off-the-cuff story) after talking briefly about quitting drinking, and throws in his rip on 9-11 and American dating system (yes, we do everything backwards. Deal with it); Eddie's story about having to follow a guy in a wheelchair at a gig in Pittsburgh, and just talkin' shit. Fuckin' hysterical. And then they bring on the guest.

The guest, a nice Italian boy* named Brian Patrick Murray, whose humor is on par with Jim & Eddie’s (of course) was with them, telling an incredibly vulgar and FUCKING HYSTERICAL story about his drug-dealing days in Manhattan and fucking a really sketchy Australian trannie. “Great fake tits, but once you saw the ass, you knew she’d been a guy.” And we won’t discuss frozen gummy bears. (I never understood why Coldstone Creamery offers them as a mix-in; Brian’s story has guaranteed I will never, EVER order them.) EVER.

Any fantasy of a threesome with a trannie (and Captain Strap-on allegedly had a line on one) has now been completely, utterly obliterated (although not the pre-op one… at least everything below the waist is still natural). Oh, Gods, I think I need to go and bleach my brain. I don’t know what should disturb me more: that I had no issue with what they were discussing; that I was laughing my arse off; or that I was bummed that I didn’t have a story to compete with that one. Seriously. First time I’ve ever felt even vaguely innocent in over two decades, and I’ve made Highlanders blush. (Yeah, the same guys who sing, “The Seventy-eighth, they went to Hell, they fucked the Devil and his wife as well!” and go commando in high winds. I miss those guys.)

What’s interesting in episode 3 is to see the cultural differences. This is always something I watch—as someone who hangs with Canadians and who used to have a fair few friends (and exes) in the UK, it fascinates me to see the differences in how the three countries interact (and while Jim lived in the UK for quite a while, he’s from Australia). Eddie and Brian are completely in-your-face American brash; it’s a trip to hear Jim actually taken aback, a little withdrawn in the face of it. Holding his own, but still, alien in the moment. It will be interested to see if his next round of new material is about the differences between living in America vs. living in the UK as an outsider in both countries. There is such a difference in his manner in the podcasts—the interactions with Eddie and Jason—vs. the conversation with Brett Vincent in the commentaries on Alcoholocaust. It ain’t easy being a stranger in a strange land, although it does provide a wealth of material.**

Are the podcasts for everyone? Well… not for the prudish and those lacking a sense of humor. It’s two white guys yakking on their couch while other guys are taping them, giving grief to the only chick in the place who gives it back sometimes, and sometimes plays along for shits and giggles. Give ‘em hell, Lindsay, and give that woman a raise, Eddie. They’re guys being guys; what elevates it above a lot of the dreck that passes for humor is that they’re both intelligent, funny and talented.
I’ve never been a big fan of the female buddy stuff—Futurama did a gag in the third movie where Fry is laughing at the Stooge-like antics of Mom’s three sons, and Leela and Amy don’t find them at all funny, but think the 4 Shallow NYC Whores Show that HBO ran that has spawned two films was funny. Gimme the Stooges over that shit ANY day. Maybe it’s a flaw in my personality—maybe my final XX chromosome is missing a little chunk on one of the legs—but I really prefer the guy humor. It’s not twee, it’s not coy, it’s not bullshit. I can deal with the sexual bravado, the ribbing, the talkin’ shit—it’s better than the fake tits, expensive shit, and shallow bullshit that passes for “girl” comedy. *slams head on the desk* (But then, hey, I’ve always lived on the Island of Misfit Toys—we’re not quite geeks, we’re not really nerds, we’re not retarded, we’re not popular, we’re not in the in-crowd… but fuck, we are coooooooooool. Because we don’t give a fuck—we just are.)

BTW, why are you guys “shit at promotion”? (Yeah, like either will ever read this or get this far.) (Jim’s words, and I won’t disagree after the three-year-old press release in the Caroline’s program. Yes, Jim, I’ll stop being a pain in the ass; after all, you’ve retired it from being abused. Pity, me with a brand-new, unused strap-on. Sorry, it’s nearly 3:00 a.m. as I’m typing this; getting a bit punchy and haven’t had the daily tension-reliever.) Where else is this getting promoted besides your FBs, Twitters, and Jim’s spamming, excuse me, begging, via both? Each episode has gotten better; none of them were shit, either, for all my bitching about the Jason-baiting—ten years from now, this stuff is going to be gold for both of you and your fans as a glimpse of the creative process and how it works—how talent feeds on talent and grows.

This is the kind of talk show (or sitcom, because as a premise, it works if the scripting was kept to a minimum and the improv sculpted) I’d actually sit through if it was on a channel that didn’t censor language (i.e. HBO or Showtime; sadly, Comedy Central could only air it in the Secret Stash uncensored, and there goes the fucking audience. If there is such a place as Hell, I hope John Calvin and his ilk are slow roasting, the Puritan fuckwits. “Puritans… people so uptight the English kicked them out.” Thank you, Robin Williams). I’m not a fan of the comedian-centered sketch show; I could deal with Mind of Mencia because Carlos was so utterly fucking WRONG, and yet so dead right on the money (the bit when he called the CA DMV trying to get a vanity plate and could not get ANY version of the n-bomb*** approved, but WETBACK wasn’t a problem... he spared no one, and that’s the whole point of stand-up). I hope you two have got a decent marketing plan once you’ve got a few more in the can (thanks for the twit back, Eddie—I hope it IS weekly, I don’t mind springing for the data plan on the phone for an hour with you two)—at least some kind of postcard campaign for your gigs with the promo photo that shows up on Stitcher during the playback with a tentative schedule. Sorry, this is the shill in me. (Besides, you’re both hot—USE it, dammit.)

BTW, are they downloadable? I was able to download episode 1 and save it to the lappie, but not the other two. (Annoying, as I don’t have internet at home & couldn’t figure out how to save the damn thing to the phone, and I’m not technologically retarded [says the woman who blasted a virus before it could take over and wreck her hard drive. *insert victory grunt here*] Oh, yeah, getting punchy.)

I know I’ve dwelt on Jim far more than Eddie in this review; that’s because, honestly, I’d never heard of Eddie before the first podcast. (I’d never heard of Jim before August.) I’m also the first to admit I am so not in the loop for the most part, and I like it that way. I find out about what I want to find out about; time isn’t something I have a lot of, I don’t like to waste it, and I’d rather spend my time doing/experiencing shit that makes me happy and inspires my own creativity/art/whatever the fuck you want to call my personal version of insanity. So, before completing the review, I did a little surf around YouTube. (Yeah, this is where the adult ADD and pure female ability to multitask comes in handy--I can get the "real" job done while having a damn good laugh. SCORE!) I'll sum it up like this: check his FB page; search him out on YouTube. There isn't a lot out there, but what's there is fuck-all funny. I especially appreciated his bit on being an American going through customs in a foreign country. (This why I have a Canadian flag tack pin and need to find a replacement for my David Bowie Earthling tour Union Jack pin--it throws them off. "Wait, American passport, but sporting parephenalia that too intelligent to be American... we can let this one in without comment.") The material I saw is not as unabashedly in-your-face as Jim's, but it's GOOD. (Doesn't hurt that he's also quite hot; and I have a soft spot for Pittsburgh, thanks to some damn good friends and awesome times visiting there.)
So, there it is. For anyone who cares or made it this far, get over to www.stitcher.com, either download the app for your smart phone or click on the "listen" button and then search on "Talking Shit with Jim & Eddie." I've put the search in as "talkin' shit with jim and eddie," as well and that turns up the same results. Listen at work on your headphones--scare the straights. They need a little shaking up.
Happy fuckin' Friday--I'm off to collect St. Teresa from the hospital and Be a Good Daughter. *slams head on the desk* And tonight... Six Strings Down and hopefully a little tequila. Fuck knows, I've earned a drink.

*This is an old Boston joke, FYI. It’s not a good joke, it’s just an old one—anyone having either a very Irish name—like Brian—would be referred to as a “nice Italian boy.” An Italian guy with a very Italian name—say, like Mario Vittorio diAngelini—would be referred to as a “nice Irish boy.” (BTW, also applied to black guys; yes, I know, we bogtrotters are the n-bombs of Western Europe, whatev.) Because hey, we’re not the least little bit bigoted in the old neighborhood.

**Yes, I am exploring this in the new novel. No, I’m not going to talk about it here. Even if I did write the best fucking sex scene, pardon the unintentional pun, I’ve ever done in my fiction. My erotica (i.e. porn with proper spelling and grammar) doesn’t count—that’s all fact, disguised with bits of fiction to protect the guilty.
***This is the only word I censor. Sorry, but I won’t use it. My best friend is African-American, as is my beloved godson. I have never forgotten the day she called me, weeping, after a Boston bogtrotter dropped the n-bomb on her because she wouldn’t give the skankrag drunken piece of dogshit her phone number. He dropped that word on one of the finest human beings I have ever known, my fellow Pro from Dover, one of the two people in this world that if they ever called and said, “I need you,” I would be in the car and headed their way, and after hearing that person’s heart break with humiliation and pain, I just can’t use it. We won’t discuss the consequences if anyone ever calls my little man that.

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