A Spoonful of Laughter

Copyright : Jacek Dudzinski (courtesy of 123RF.com

The curative effects of laughter are now widely known, and many people (myself included) thrive on humorous social media posts. From the time I was a small child, I gravitated towards comedy, watching Carol Burnett, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Dave Allen (does anyone remember this fella?) and Benny Hill faithfully, all the while leaving my mother puzzled by my intense interest in the funny television variety shows which were the order of the day back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. She became even more concerned when I picked up a copy of Eddie Murphy: Comedian in 1982 and laughed my ass off while listening to the album repeatedly. Eddie’s stand-up style was so off-color for my mother that she bitched and moaned about me listening to him, but I found him hilarious and kept on listening. I have the record album (yes, a vinyl LP) in my collection to this day.

My love of comedy has never waned, and though I don’t watch enough television to get drawn into current sitcoms or other comedic shows, I am in my car often enough that I have developed a habit of listening to comedy while I drive. I find it much more enjoyable to listen to comedy than music while I am in the car, and since SiriusXM has a number of comedy stations, I have them loaded as presets on my radio and rotate through them. I would much rather listen to a comedy bit by a talented stand-up comedian than to toggle through radio stations which often play the same tunes over and over. The fact that I can laugh while driving, especially in Los Angeles, is a godsend. It’s a great way to arrive at my destination in a relatively good mood, even if I have to sit through hellish traffic.

Even if you don’t have SiriusXM, you can catch some pretty amusing morning radio shows. In L.A., I like listening to Frosty, Heidi and Frank. Most large metropolitan areas host morning radio shows which are worth a listen.

Copyright : yuriz (courtesy of 123RF.com)

Hilarious SNL Sketch – Star Wars Undercover Boss: Starkiller Base

I will not hide the fact that I share the same opinion with many who feel that Kylo Ren is a pitiful character, and that Adam Driver’s portrayal of the evil incarnation of Han Solo and Princess Leia was underwhelming. However, I think Adam Driver redeemed himself by agreeing to be a part of this hilarious SNL skit. It is truly entertaining in the best way.

Oh That Jenna Marbles!

I have followed Jenna Mourey, better known as Jenna Marbles, for a while now. She is original, irreverent, and cusses like a drunken sailor, which I totally dig. If you don’t know who this YouTube sensation is by now, I STRONGLY suggest that you look her up on YouTube. You will be amazed. One of her videos has gotten over 64 MILLION views. That’s crazy.

Since I have recently indulged in different lash enhancements like professional lash extensions and Latisse, I was pretty amused when I stumbled across Jenna’s video on what a girl’s eyelashes mean. Check it out and enjoy the laughs!

The Shows I Have Been Watching

Jim Gaffigan

I am not much of a T.V. person, mainly because I lack the free time to sit in front of the television and watch shows. However, I usually have one or two shows which I will follow for a while, then stop watching. The two new shows which have caught my interest and held it so far are Impastor and the Jim Gaffigan Show. Since I can’t watch them when they originally air, I have my DVR set to record each new episode.

Some of you may be wondering why I became curious about these particular shows. First of all, I tend to watch syndicated sitcoms on TV Land, so I saw previews of both shows there. Here are descriptions of each show:

THE JIM GAFFIGAN SHOW:

Jim Gaffigan stars in this comedy series inspired by his real-life struggles to balance his family life with his stand-up comedy career. Gaffigan plays Jim, who is married to offbeat Catholic wife Jeannie, whose ex-boyfriend and confidante Daniel is Jim’s biggest critic. Also in Jim’s life are friend Dave, a single, aggressive comedian, and the family’s priest, Father Nicholas. The New York-based comedy series features a lengthy list of celebrity cameos, including comedian Chris Rock, actor Steve Buscemi, TV host Keith Olbermann and actress Janeane Garofalo.

After watching several episodes of The Jim Gaffigan Show, I am intrigued enough to keep watching. Jim Gaffigan is such a likeable guy, and I have always liked his stand-up comedy, which is completely clean most of the time (a rarity in the stand-up comedy world). His show has good writers, and the cast is filled with comedic actors. I love the fact that Jim has such a big problem with food, and the dynamic with his T.V. wife is amusing to watch.

Impastor

IMPASTOR:

New series Impastor centers around Buddy Dobbs, who is in a rut. The slacker has a gambling debt that he’s trying to escape, which leads him to a bridge that he is getting ready to jump off. Before he does, however, a reverend shows up and talks him down. Things take a turn after the reverend slips off the bridge and falls to his death, leaving Buddy the opportunity to steal the man’s identity. Buddy begins to settle in to his new life as a pastor in a small, tight-knit town with the help of his preppy new assistant, Dora, alluring church treasurer Alexa and enthusiastic secretary Russell. He takes to the new gig quickly, because curing sex-crazed teenagers and stealing weed from young people are right up his alley. Despite Buddy’s quick assimilation into the role, church president Alden Schmidt senses something isn’t right. Back home, Buddy’s ex-girlfriend, Leanne, is forced to clean up the mess he left behind.

The premise and the first episode of Impastor grabbed me, and though I am not as riveted with subsequent episodes, the plot twists are so outlandish and hilarious that I will keep watching this show as well. I thoroughly enjoy how irreverent and blasphemous this series is, and am curious to see where this series goes. The writers definitely push the envelope with delicate subject matter and strange social juxtapositions.

Comedy And Tragedy

robin-williams_1Robin Williams’ suicide brought attention to the depression that often strikes entertainers, but sadly, he wasn’t the first comedic genius to take his own life. Freddie Prinz died at the age of 22, and Richard Jeni died right before his 50th birthday, both from self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Evidently, comedy can serve as an outlet for severe depression and psychosis, but the danger lies in the fact that making others people laugh can hide a dangerous secret.

I worked for Richard Jeni for over four years as his personal assistant, and as always blown away by his wit and his brilliance. Being a personal assistant required me to wear many hats, and it was not an easy job, especially when Rich was in one of his moods. He lived in a beautiful home in the Hollywood Hills which I had to maintain, and which, despite all of its creature comforts, always felt very empty. I helped Rich with everything from household related issues, to assistance with booking gigs and organizing travel, serving as his personal stylist, organizing recordings of sitcoms he studied, and traveling with him for Caroline’s Comedy Hour and one of his cable specials.

Rich never married and had no children, and I honestly couldn’t imagine him with a wife and kids because, he was frequently out of town on gigs, and HAD to have everything his own way. There were numerous times that I would find myself greeting a new girlfriend who suddenly was one of the fixtures in the house, only to see Rich’s outlook on life darken when the girlfriend eventually became the ex. I knew that though Rich was incredibly funny, and kept me in stitches when he would dictate his bits for me to transcribe, he was never happy. I knew so much about him, where he was born and raised, how he left law school to become a comic, what foods he wanted in his fridge at all times, what interior design aesthetic he preferred, where and how he wanted his clean laundry distributed, what wardrobe items he wanted me to scout out, etc., but I never knew the depths of his loneliness.

Though I quit working for Rich to embark on my medical education, we stayed in touch from time to time and in this way continued our friendship. The last time I had seen him was in 2005 when his cable special, “A Big Steaming Pile Of Me” premiered. He was paranoid and disjointed during the premiere, and exhibited bizarre behavior which turned out to be the early stages of paranoid schizophrenia.

I still remember seeing the headline on AOL News on March 11, 2007, which announced that Richard Jeni had shot himself in the face and was dead. It stunned me. It was also extremely strange to find out via the Internet, but with Rich’s modest celebrity status, it was appropriate. I still can’t fathom how he had come to the point where he took the gun and pointed the barrel at himself, but I also cannot understand how a family man like Robin Williams chose to wrap a belt around his neck and cut off his own life breath. Both deaths were tragic, unnecessary, and highlighted an insidious mental disease which lurks among people from all walks of life. No amount of money, success, or fame can ever guarantee the happiness of a human being.

In honor of Richard Jeni and Robin Williams, both of whom were brilliant comics, I am posting these videos for you to enjoy: