I’m sad there isn’t really a Twin Cities Comedy Doers version of Doomtree. And I’m also sad I haven’t been a part of making that happen.
My unrequested advice to the 20 year old comedy performer: don’t identify as improviser or sketch writer or stand-up, just say “I do comedy” and play in every kind of space you can find. Comedy is a genre of art and a way of life, not just a kind of performance.
I love listening to things. A long-form interview is probably my favorite thing to listen to because after a while people relax and start really sharing. That’s also why I love doing long-form interviews. There aren’t many more exciting feelings than asking someone a question that makes them have a realization about themselves.
I’ve been listening to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast without interruption since the second episode was released on September 8th, 2009. I don’t love every episode and I certainly don’t care for every guest. But the show so frequently does this thing of letting people be whole and three dimensional. And that is truly my jam.
I just listened to episode 533 with Dax Shepard. I already liked Dax on screen but the interview really had the effect of letting him be a charming and flawed human so now he is an artist I’m full on inspired by.
They talked, briefly, about Anthropology and why Dax has an Anthropology degree despite that never being his career field. My ears perked up at this as I have a degree in Anthropology even though I never had any intention of doing scientific research or formal teaching. Dax described Anthropology and how he still uses it in the best way. He said, “if you stand in judgement, you’re never going to learn anything.”
That’s a simple, yet profound description of cultural relativism and for me a reminder of how to be open to people and ideas.
I’m really glad WTF exists and glad that Dax Shepherd said yes to being a guest. And I’m going to take his reminder with me the rest of the day.
I Gave A Girl A Statue Once
When I was 19 I had been in my first real, long-term relationship for about a year. My girlfriend’s birthday was coming and I decided to get her something unique. Unique can mean a lot of things, and I don’t have a clear memory of my shopping journey, but the gift I ultimately gave this woman was a 2 foot tall lawn statue version of the Venus de Milo.
This gift was the very definition of thoughtless.
Put aside the fact that she didn’t have a yard where one might put a yard statue. Put aside the fact that she didn’t actually have her own house but instead lived with her parents. Put aside the fact that she had never specifically mentioned any special connection to the Venus de Milo or sculpture as an art form. Just consider what possible message could I have been sending with the gift of a statue?
This girlfriend from my past was a strident feminist in the most positive way. She loved punk music, comic books, and Ani DiFranco. And I decided the best way to show affection was by giving her a small yet somehow way too large replica of a very famous sculpture of the Greek goddess of love and beauty. There may be no less thoughtful gift from a man to a woman than an object that clearly represents the objectification of women in general.
The Venus de Milo is famously missing arms and is bare-chested. I can’t help but now understand this sculpture’s appeal to modern society as being at least in part due to the entire lack of agency for women represented by it. The Venus de Milo is a love letter to the male gaze that says, “hey, you’re doing a great job.”
I’ve made a lot of emotional and intellectual progress since I bought a statue for a girlfriend way back in 1997. But I’ve got a long way to go in evaluating and interrogating how I talk, talk about, treat, and behave towards women. And the thing that makes me most concerned is that I’m pretty sure I’ve made more progress than most men.
Sure, all humans have this sub-intellectual lizard brain part of ourselves. And sure for a lot of straight men that manifests itself in some strange kind of objectification. But that gut/brain reaction is my problem when I experience it. It’s up to me whether or not I let that become someone else’s problem or let it color someone else’s experience. Being sexist is lazy and devoid of empathy. I’m in favor of working harder and caring more.
And I’m willing to seek out much more interesting statues.
Kid President is Awesome
Kid President is awesome. I’ve written about it many times in many ways. Instead of prattling on about why the Kid President projects resonate with me and how inspired I am by them and why I don’t understand how anyone wouldn’t be able to connect with Kid President I’ll just share a few of my favorite things from Kid President.
Letter To a person on Their First Day Here
Kid President Has A Dream
A Pep Talk from Kid President can and should be watched weekly