Monday, July 14, 2008

A Wise Man Once Said: "Fuck Em' If They Can't Take a Joke"

When it rains it pours. The Goddess of laughter bestowed her bounty upon me last week in many different forms. The first blessing came in the shape of the documentary: “King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. On the surface this film is a report on retro video games and the quest to be recognized as the best gamer in the world via the international scoreboard maintained by Twin Galaxies. Soon the viewer steps out of the documentary and into a classic tale of good vs. evil. Since 1982 Billy Mitchell has held the record for highest score on Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. Obviously he is also gunning for the record of the world’s biggest tool as well. All is going well for Mr. Mitchell until a father in Washington is laid off from his job. After loosing his job, Steve Wiebe dedicates himself to usurping Billy Mitchell as the King of Kong. So begins a story of dedication, cronyism, heartbreak and redemption. There is no way I can do this film justice; I suggest you go rent it immediately. My friend Ashton, whose opinion I hold in high regard, stated that King of Kong slid in behind The Big Lebowski as funniest movie of all time. High praise indeed, but I would say it’s somewhere in my top 10. The only movie I can compare it to is the documentary American Movie. “It’s pronounced Cuh-ven”. King of Kong will have you engaged much more deeply than you should be comfortable with. An early favorite for Netflix rental of the year…by the way Netflix will offer streaming video on Macs sometime in 2008…HIYOOOOO!

Friday night my sister took me to go see Chris Rock. For me this is equivalent to traveling back in time to hear Martin Luther King speak or seeing Black Sabbath (with Ozzy) live. I always thought I would have to scam the Make-A-Wish foundation to see Chris Rock, but Erica saved me from a potential lawsuit. Rock delivered one of the best stand-up routines I’ve seen to date. Only rivaled by his “Never Scared” special or Chappelle’s “Killing Em’ Softly”. His act was so well done that I have trouble picking out a favorite topic or punch line. The part about Anna Nicole Smith’s crew of all black pallbearers and the consistency of her notable endowments definitely stood out. Much love and thanks to Mario Joyner who warmed up the crowed magnificently. Even though Chris Rock was due to come on stage, I wasn’t done listening to him make me laugh like a giddy hyena. A great show, and I also found out that Jim Gaffigan is coming to town. If I can manage to make it out to that show I would have seen Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Chris Rock and Gaffigan all in the same year and all in Richmond. Now if I can coax Sinbad out of retirement I can die happy. One suggestion for Chris Rock however: Come back to doing sketch comedy!

While on the topic of comedy, I have a few words about George Carlin. I always thought of Carlin as more of a town crier than a comedian. I would never call him the best comedian to live, but he may just have been the most important. He combined intelligence, comedy and social commentary beautifully; setting the groundwork for some of my favorite comedians today. It was sad to see him go because he left such a big hole in the comedic landscape. Bill Maher, David Cross and others have traces of Carlin DNA in their routines, but none of them can come off as legitimately angry and unapologetic as Carlin. He also wasn’t afraid to diversify his act from time to time….check out this opening from the ironically titled special “Life is Worth Loosing”

see you next time Cowboy...

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