Remembering Robin | 1951-2014

Robin

It’s been exactly one week since the world learned of Robin Williams’ tragic death. The news hit me like a ton of bricks. Celebrity accidents and overdoses come and go so commonly these days, it feels natural to shake your head and think, what a shame. But this one hurts.

There is no denying that Robin Williams was a one-of-a-kind comedic genius. He had a brilliant mind that ran a mile a minute and a mouth that could just barely keep up with the speed of his humor. His talent was immense, and it’s easy to feel like his death is a “waste” of that gift. The surrounding circumstances paint an ugly picture of the mental health stigma we have in today’s society, and in the months that follow, it is my hope that people use Robin as a reason to explore their own contributions to this devastating affliction. But that’s still not why it hurts. Continue reading

Favorite Funny YouTube Channels

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I was vegging in bed one day after work last week, holding my phone and hysterically laughing. My sister came in and gave me a weird look. “What are you doing?” she asked. “Watching YouTube,” I replied. It was then that I realized—I do that a lot. Launched in 2005, YouTube started slowly before exploding into the video-sharing platform that showcases people’s tendency to overshare. But it’s that sharing and re-sharing that has propelled some anonymous faces to household names and others into accidental comedians with a million internet fans. Think of it as “America’s Funniest Home Videos” on steroids. I myself subscribe to nearly 100 channels. Most of them are television networks, so I never miss a single preview of next week’s episode of “New Girl” or the behind-the-scenes fun on “The Walking Dead.” Others are the aforementioned YouTube superstars, some of whom even get paid by YouTube for driving such high volume to the site with their highly clickable clips. So if you’re new to the ‘Tube or just looking for recommendations, here are six channels worth checking out.

1. Bad Lip Reading

Bad Lip Reading“I put words into other people’s mouths.” The minds behind Bad Lip Reading must have a lot of time on their hands. It’s amazing how accurately the most outlandish sentences end up matching well-known scripts and songs. Launched in March of 2011, they have over 3,659,400 subscribers. Their videos are hit or miss in my opinion, as their subject focuses vary greatly and they don’t upload new ones very often. The best are the Twilight movies. It’s my new favorite way to watch that garbage, and oh, so much funnier.

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Five Favorite Comedians

Love to laugh? So do I. Unfortunately, I don’t know a whole lot of stand-ups, so these aren’t my favorites so much as they are the only five that came to mind right away. Eh, regardless, they’re fun.

1. Ellen DeGeneres

180484I’ve openly gushed about my affection for Ellen many times, so it should come as no surprise that she’s my #1 comedienne. She barely has to try to make people laugh, just her vocal inflections and facial expressions are enough to make you grin along with her, as if she just winked at you and you love being in on the joke. She doesn’t have to stoop to being offensive or crude and her language is perfectly PG. Her monologues on her show qualify as mini-stand-up routines, but I’ve only ever seen her legitimate stand-up once, in her second HBO special entitled, “Here And Now” from 2003. It’s one hour of Ellen pointing out life’s strange quirks, like store packaging techniques (“You need scissors to get into scissors!”), movie theater etiquette (“Is the popcorn really that delicious we must shovel handfuls of it into our mouth?”), and cell phone reception (“Are the bangs shorter? THE BANGS!”), to name a few. We own the DVD and it’s memorable enough that my sister and I still quote it to this day. Random words like “peas” and the name Nancy always make me think of America’s favorite talk show host. Continue reading

Five Favorite Summer Things

1. Snorkeling

Snorkeling

In my junior year of college, I took a creative nonfiction course. I figured it would be fun to write about my own experiences in a way that made them sound like someone else’s. I was right and wrong. Right in that it was fun to revisit old memories, wrong in the sense that it was a headache to make each one drip with sensory imagery to the point where they started to sound corny. But there was one that I didn’t mind as much, and that was the one in which I wrote about my experience snorkeling with wild dolphins off the Big Island of Hawaii entitled “Open My Eyes.” A quick snippet reads: I became addicted to the sound of my breath blowing in and out of a snorkel. We floated lazily over stunning coral and watched multi-colored fish dart in and out. Colors always seem brighter underwater; the yellows and pinks and turquoises of the fish looked so much more vibrant than they would if they were viewed on land. [...] My face hit the water and I was home. That was the way I always felt when attached to a mask and snorkel [...]“ The rest, if you’re interested, can be read here. But yeah, it’s safe to say snorkeling is one of the great loves of my life. In a couple weeks, I hope to try SNUBA and also possibly take a diving class while vacationing in the Caribbean. (And yes, that’s me to the right, being a waterbug in Hawaii.) Continue reading

2014 Emmy Award Nominations

Emmys

Technically award season never ends, what with obscure music awards scattered throughout the summer months and the ever-dreadful VMAs in August, but I always look to the Emmys to kick off another year. They’re not my favorite award show, but they’re more official than even the Golden Globes (think EGOT).

I’m a severe television addict, which should mean I get excited for this particular golden statue, but I’ve admittedly grown very tired of seeing the same names year after year. Shows that aren’t even funny anymore continue to win Best Comedy (I’m lookin’ at you, “Modern Family”) and phenomenal performances are overlooked in favor of more famous faces (Monica Potter was so painfully snubbed last year for her ugly-sob inducing work on NBC’s “Parenthood.”)

So imagine my surprise this year when some new talent was finally recognized on July 10 with the announcement of the 2014 Emmy noms. Continue reading

BROADWAY: Stage VS. Film

I was eight years old when I saw my first Broadway show. My parents took me to New York City for my very first time to celebrate my eighth birthday with my best friend and her parents. We saw “Beauty & the Beast” on the Great White Way; I was completely captivated. It helped, of course, that the play was based on one of my favorite Disney movies. Scenes that played fondly in my head in soft animation exploded in front of my eyes in a dazzling display of pyrotechnics and choreography. Broadway has held a special place in my heart ever since; I’ve seen approximately a dozen shows and there’s only been a handful that I haven’t loved. It’s an amazing experience each and every time. The success of certain stage shows has been helped along by film versions for years now, but only recently have I started to truly enjoy comparing the two. There are movies I’ve seen and loved even without even having the experience of the stage to back it up (like “Rent” and “Sweeney Todd”). Just this month alone, I was able to do some of that comparing twice. On June 18, I saw “Aladdin” on stage. On June 26, I saw “Jersey Boys” on film. So I decided to do a quick breakdown of all the Broadway shows vs. movies I’ve seen. Ya know. For fun.

Beauty&theBeast1. Beauty & the Beast (1995)

What worked: The “Be Our Guest” dinner show has been unmatched in any show I’ve seen since.

What didn’t: The beast in the film is scary. The beast on stage was scary-ugly. That costume could’ve used some work.

Which was better: The movie. Don’t get me wrong, the show was amazing. But there’s a reason why the Disney generation holds those classic animation films on such high pedastals. Continue reading