shewastheyoungamerican

We Don't Exactly Speak the Same Language

Things that Sometimes Happen in a Cafe When You Live in a City.

Sometimes you will seek refuge from a hail storm in a cafe. You will order a scone and some coffee and you will sit for a while. You will be frustrated when you need to use the restroom and the bookstore that’s attached to the cafe doesn’t open until 10 am, so neither does the restroom. It’s now 9:42 am.

Sometimes, after you’ve waited it out, the door on the restroom requires a quarter to enter. Thankfully you have a quarter, but still.

Sometimes you notice a sign above the sink that says something about needing the quarter to enter because of a problem with needles or something. You’re in Chelsea, so it seems strange. But not really.

Sometimes, the night before, you’ll have conversations with someone at a bar about travel and ambition and you want to hop on a plane and just leave with wonder and fear. You also discuss how, when on your travels, you often meet more Australians than locals. They travel so much. How?

Sometimes you’re at a cafe the next morning and a painfully attractive couple sits next to you. The blonde is wearing a bowler and you think, “Of course.” Then they start talking about minimalism and you groan. Then you realize they are also Australian. You drift away into your own work but are interrupted when you hear one of them utter, “We should go, yoga starts soon.” Because, of course it does.

Sometimes you go to a Starbucks because you know it’s there. Or because someone gave you a gift card. And it’s nice to get lost in the white noise of all the people ordering and chatting. You smile a little when you see a group of tourists taking a photo of the walls. You casually raise your eyebrow at someone for choosing Trenta.

Sometimes a young Japanese woman with short hair, a camo jacket three sizes too big, and earphones draped around her neck will sit across from you and open a notebook. She tells, not asks, you and the woman sitting next to you, “I’m going to sketch you.” You make a side glance and smile to the woman to your right and both go about your business.

Sometimes her eyes will dart fervently between your face and her pen. You catch in your peripherals that she’s actually almost never looking at her paper when she draws. Nor is she deterred when you look at her directly in the eyes. People almost never really look at each other, you think.

Sometimes you will sit with your $3 bottomless mug at a place filled with people in their mid-late 20s. You will look around and want to scream at everyone, because, you wonder, how is this so easy for you? How are you okay? And then you remember, they are perhaps carrying something too. And you drift back into your work and hope the rain lets up.

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The Internet and the Culture of Rape

I read news about women and women’s issues. I read blogs and journals by women and for women. I also read the rest of our media. I watch primetime news networks and major network television and see why women write about the things they write about. Sometimes I avoid the comment sections of any news or entertainment source because it’s almost guaranteed that there will be something deeply sexist, racist, homophobic, or violent about the content or its author — Something that will make me despair about the world in which I live. I was involved in such an exchange recently on Facebook. Rather than allowing the conversation to spiral towards “You’re a bitch, fatty!” I decided to do what I know how to do best: write about it.

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A Farewell to 30 Rock

My sister Alyson and I grew up always knowing we were weird. First of all, my parents decided to spell Aly’s name A-l-y-s-o-n and secondly they raised us on The Simpsons. I was without a doubt Lisa – an over-achiever (GRADE MEEE!) who played a band instrument (her the sax, me the clarinet) with a fear of birds (“Okay, okay calm down, it was just a bird. You don’t control the birds, you will someday… but not today”) who wanted to be cool, but never really got there and always had a crush on whatever alternative, smart, liberal guy rolled into town (Thankfully, I never protested in any trees). From my childhood to my teen years, I saw The Simpsons as a reflection of my own weirdness and my family’s as well. Flawed, often bizarre, but full of heart and conviction. Lisa believed in things (It’s tomato soup, served ice cold!), Marge was a selfless mother (hey, so is mine!), Bart refused to look at the world like everyone else, Homer sometimes had dreams bigger than his grasp, and Maggie was often wiser than ‘em all.

So, last night, after the final episode of 30 Rock aired, my sister and I got to talking about what the end of that show meant. What the universe would feel like without Liz Lemon, a charcter who was a touchstone of our 20s. Before Judd Apatow and Lena Dunham there is Lorne Michaels and Tina Fey. What a perfect send-off it was knowing Kenneth lives forever and never ages, proving there is real justice to the world (And I love it!). It was a finale that hit all the right notes. We realized in our conversation that there are probably lots of teenagers out there who have 30 Rock the way we had The Simpsons. That some kids would go over to a friend’s house where they were allowed to watch “that program.”  A show that brought you some relief – that you are not alone in your weirdness, someone gets you. In fact your weirdness is so okay there’s a TV show about it. A TV show conceived by the most important female figure of pop culture in the past decade.

Shows like 30 Rock and The Simpsons can be crude and insane, but mostly smart and reflective of what’s going on in the world. How refreshing it was to see a central character knowingly date jerks and dummies, eat through all of life’s highs and lows and nothings (“I believe all that anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich”), love and hate a career, being stubborn, and being at times painfully self aware (“A tiny little part of me that I hate wants to be a princess.”). What a relief it was to see that the beautiful people do get away with almost everything and end up with people as equally beautiful as themselves – except everything about it is downright abhorrent and you feel better off without it. And even though life can make you want to shout “Blergh!” into the heavens, at least there’s always a Jack Donaghy to your Liz Lemon or a Grizz and Dot Com to your Tracy always looking out for you.

30 Rock was the inner monologue you never knew you were having about your work, love life, friendships, and politics. It was an inside joke between you and everyone else who watched it. We are products of our culture, and I think we’re all better off for having 30 Rock be a part of that. All of it saying, it’s okay to be weird, but it’s also okay to want the same things as everyone else. It doesn’t make you any less of an individual.

Now, go make that see-through dishwasher of your dreams.

 

Things I Have Done Instead of Working on My Dissertation

We’re coming into the proverbial 11th hour…two weeks until the hand-in date. Here are a list of things I’ve done to occupy my time instead of just getting down to business (because it’s Friday night and I’m pathetically sitting alone in my kitchen being unproductive):

  • Painted my nails, repeatedly.
  • Counted the pennies in my coin jar. Two pounds, thirty-six pence.
  • LAUNDRY!
  • Bleached my bathroom.
  • Cleaned out my binder from my first term.
  • Started making a bag of clothes to donate to a charity shop.
  • Texted everyone I know about anything. AT ALL.
  • SNACK TIME, ALL THE TIME.
  • Went to the gym (once in about a month)
  • Wrote this blog post…and many more.
  • Ohh, my back is a bit sore, better stretch for 35 minutes.
  • Hey that carpet was fuzzy, LET’S VACUUM!
  • Yes, I will make my bed this morning.
  • Every meal I cook for myself must take a minimum of 30 minutes prep/cooking time. This includes cereal for breakfast.
  • I BET SOMETHING NEW HAS HAPPENED ON INSTAGRAM.
  • Better de-tangle all of my jewelry.
  • It’s definitely a great time to find missing socks.
  • Buzzfeed.
  • Screw it, let’s vacuum EVERYTHING.
  • Caught up on American politics, then felt woefully disillusioned.
  • Looked wistfully through photos of my time in college, old friends, new friends, adventures.
  • Watched Season Two of How I Met Your Mother. And Arrested Development.
  • Thought about ideas for new blog posts.

And yet I still haven’t:

  • Started to look for a replacement tenant when I have to move out of my flat.
  • Booked my flight back to the US.
  • Figured out that whole “Hey, whatcha doing after this whole Masters thing is done?”
  • Called my parents.
  • Booked my flight back to London for graduation in December.
  • Figured out when I’m actually leaving London.
  • FINISHED THIS DISSERTATION.

I can totally do this. Right, guys? GUYS?

Every Show I Saw at the Edinburgh Fringe in 10 Words or Less

  • A Guide to Second Date Sex – Dirty stopout: Have second date sex, see this late night. Cringe. Laugh.
  • Austentatious: Frocking side-splitting hilarity.
  • Bad Advice – Lauren Shearing and Sarah Pearce: Hanging out with your best friends, talking shit, laughing tons.
  • The Beast – Stuart Bowden: I cried within the first thirty seconds. That good.
  • Beating the Habit – Tom Thum: Great skills, and I still don’t “get” dub step.
  • The Beta Males’ Midnight Movie: The most fun you will ever have SHRIEKING. And laughing.
  • Boom Boom Club: Burlesque, pyrotecnics, bombastic band, weird smells
  • Briefs: Drag circus extravaganza with a surprisingly poignant ending. Hot stuff.
  • Discover Ben Target: Sublimely uncomfortable, nuanced, interactive, unexpected comedy. Wes Anderson’s wet dream.
  • Everything is Purple – Raph Perahia: I will see you in hell, John Mayer.
  • Gallic Symbol – Marcel Lucont: England on France on England, with wine!
  • Glory Dazed – Old Vic New Voices: WAR. What is it good for?
  • Great Puppet Horn: Political satire shadow puppetry with a bipolar bear.
  • Hot Dub Time Machine: Edinburgh’s best dance party/ live show/ video challenge. Hands down.
  • Jonny and the Baptists: Raucous good times (!)
  • Love Letters to the Public Transport System – Molly Taylor: Intimately share the pain and joy of love in transit.
  • Monkey Toast: My friends make me laugh, with special guests.
  • One Man Star Wars Trilogy – Charles Ross: Nerds, UNITE! I wanted more Chewy, frankly.
  • Party in the Key of Major -Abandoman: Ireland’s answer to the Beastie Boys + ASSSSCAT.
  • The Pride – Side Pony Productions: Twisted, dark, physical comedy about family values. In lion suits.
  • Rachel Anderson: Subvertly feminist and absolutely hilarious.
  • Shaggers: There’s a time and place for it.
  • Slapdash Galaxy: Glorious storytelling told with light and shadow of everyday objects.
  • Some Rice – Oyster Eyes: The sketch show I wish I wrote.
  • The Space Race – The Beta Males : My favorite funny men with cows, aliens, swingers, and DANCE.
  • Truth – Slo Clap: If Lost was written by Monty Python…in Australia.
  • Up All Night – Guilt and Shame: That show where someone got puked on. Ick.
  • Vocal Orchestra: It’s like Glee live, but with no racial diversity!
  • Well Done You – Trodd en Bratt: Deadpan character-based sketch at its finest.
  • What Would Beyonce Do? Luisa Omielan – Girls, we run the world. And the comedy scene.
  • Without You – Anthony Rapp: That guy from RENT sings and is sad.
  • You Obviously Know What I’m Talking About – How it Ends: Whimsical story, inventive set, brilliant writing by truly lovely people.

And in case you missed the show I Assistant Directed, here’s what the Telegraph had to say about NOLA.

If My Boyfriend Was a City

New York

My mother warned me about guys like him. She spoke from experience. She too loved the pace, the fun, the endless nights out, and the glamor of loving a man like that. But there was always something about him that couldn’t be sustained. It felt impossible at times, no matter how much I loved him. He was unattainable in so many ways. And yet, no matter how much we struggled to stay together, it always felt worth it. Until one day it didn’t. One day I woke up feeling broke, alone, and above all exhausted. But I’ll be damned if that wasn’t the big love. Maybe, in a few years, when things are more stable, we could make it work.

London

I’m not sure why I keep going back to him. Everything inside me says “go.” He’s not very kind, he’s cold, and he won’t open his heart to anything. But sometimes, he really makes me laugh. He sweeps me up in ways that’s hard to explain. I keep being pulled into him – every time I feel like I want to leave, something just won’t let me. It’s an uncomfortable kind of love, one I’ve never worked harder to sustain. Harder than New York, much much harder.

Chicago

He’s the dream, really. He’s nice, smart, athletic, loves his mom and is really, really funny. He’s cultured and down-to-earth. And sure, he might wear light wash denim and gym sneakers on a daily basis, I don’t mind. I love his baseball caps and clean-cut shave. He makes the coldest of winters not only bearable, but lovable. The first time he met my friends he was just so nice to everyone. He really made the rounds, you know? That’s important to me, it really is, and he fit right in with my friends. They all loved him, too. Unfortunately our timing just didn’t work out. I will always, always think fondly of him. I have a feeling we’ll get back together. Sooner than later, I hope.

Edinburgh

We met at summer camp. We were young, and wild, and free. We didn’t have a care in the world when we met. We’d sneak off late at night after dancing with our friends and kiss under some trees. During the day we’d climb hills together and lay by the fire when it would get cold and rain. There was something so romantic about him. I think maybe it was because I knew our romance would be brief. I knew it would be exciting and sweet all at once. Most of all though, and the reason it was so hard to leave, was I truly felt safe when we were together.

San Francisco

He’s out of my league.

Paris

This was a brief affair. At first, he was everything I expected him to be just by the look of him. Handsome? Yes, painfully so. Charming? Dangerously so. I thought though, behind that facade, he’s just some jerk using his moves to graze against my leg on the train. And he was that guy, at first. But as the night went on, he surprised me. He was much warmer than I assumed. I never met someone who could be so casual and exotic all at once. Quite frankly, I don’t know what made him pick me of all women that night, but I’m glad he did. He was definitely one for the books.

Los Angeles

I know, I know. I deserved better than that. I know he was a little dumb, we didn’t really have much in common, and his priorities in life didn’t go beyond finding the best taco joint in town. We really didn’t have much to talk about other than a shared love of the same movies and music. He wasn’t a mean guy or anything, he just lacked in depth, really. And we had fun together. Pure, worry-free fun. I wonder what he’s up to now…

Philadelphia

He’s just so reliable. Our relationship is comfortable and familiar, but he still finds ways to surprise me. We grew up together and he really gets me. I don’t have to pretend to be anything. He’s not as challenging as my other boyfriends – and sometimes I really need that. I need to just go to a ball game, eat hot dogs, and drink beer. He went all the way around the stadium to get me crab fries from Chickie’s and Pete’s once, and for me, that’s real love. When I left in September, I like to think I was “the one that got away.” But I think we’ll end up together eventually. I never realized what I had until I went away.

Sixteen Things I’ve Learned After Sixteen Days in Edinburgh

  • The Festival has turned a lovely, historic, architecturally-grandiose city into Los Angeles for the span of one month. This is in terms of levels of delusion, networking, and alcohol consumption.
  • It kind of smells like a hamster cage.
  • My skin was in better shape under London pollution than an Edinburgh diet.
  • The Free Fringe attracts the real freaks. For better or worse.
  • Practical footwear is your best friend. You might climb Arthur’s Seat at sunset, then traverse down in the dark.
  • Alone time? Aw, that’s cute.
  • It’s easier to be an American here because there’s no one the Scots hate more than the English. Actually, now that I think about it, no one makes a fuss about my Americanism. It’s probably because everyone would rather talk about their own shows. Fine by me.
  • GIVE ME A FIVE STAR REVIEW NOWWWWWWWWWW.
  • Stop trying to figure out people’s sexual preferences. Just…stop.
  • There are a lot more celebrities in the world of comedy than I was aware of. I may or may not have unknowingly yelled at Dara O’Briain the other night when a friend of his annihilated my foot on the dance floor. Whatevs, she didn’t even apologize!
  • A vegetable consumed is like the feeling of water in the desert.
  • Nudity and dick jokes does not a good cabaret make.
  • Nudity and dick jokes does not a good stand up make.
  • Nudity and dick jokes does not a good sketch show make. (Unless you’re the Beta Males, then you get a pass on this one)
  • Where the ethnic minorities at?
  • Guys, seriously, I can’t drink tonight.

Off to Edinburgh with NOLA

I met Look Left Look Right‘s Artistic Director Mimi Poskitt while I was working as an Assistant Director for the Old Vic New Voice’s massive devised community musical (check out those adjectives!) Epidemic. I liked her instantly, she made me feel less loud.  The show was an immense experience and has proved to change my life in London socially and professionally. Towards the end of our run, Mimi asked if I would be interested in Assistant Directing her company’s fringe show, a verbatim piece on the BP oil spill called NOLA. My immediate reaction was ” DUH! ARE YOU KIDDING? TAKE ME TO EDINBURGH, NOW NOW NOW.” Though my five years of “professional behavior training” that was a Drexel University education implored me to reply with a “Yes of course, would you like me to prepare anything for the interview?” instead.

And I got the job! It’s my first non-Central affiliated professional London theatre job (outside of my improv gigs). Before the production began, I was also asked to co-facilitate Verbatim Theatre workshops at the BRIT School with Ellie Browning. Through that, I began to understand the workings of the company, their philosophy, and approach to material. And after experiencing their one-on-one theatrical walking tour of Camden that was You Once Said Yes, I was all-in.

Since working on the project, I’ve become the official human Encyclopedia of all things America (an honor I share with our show’s lone American actor Nell). I’ve come to realize just how much I do know about the place I am from – the tricky political waverings of “blue” and “red”, what’s considered “the south” as well as immensely important details like how Americans wear tube socks, the appropriate vessel for iced tea, the difference between bluegrass and country, elements of a good po’ boy, and how people from Maryland pronounce their “o’s”. In many ways, I’m responsible for how this show represents America. Particularly the south.

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Cleaning up the mess in New Orleans

Now, as a predictably liberal young woman from the Northeast, I am just as guilty for making grand assumptions about what’s below the Mason-Dixon line as the next Huffington Post-reading graduate student. Working on NOLA has changed my position quite a lot. The south has a lot of stereotypes. Many of which are ugly. The beauty of a show like NOLA is that it represents the meaning of a place beyond the surface – it tells the story of a disaster, its aftermath, and the human beings affected by it. The play introduces you to people from Louisiana whose lives depend on their environment – on the deltas, the marshlands, the Gulf, and the bayous. And when that well burst, eleven men died, sea life was destroyed, and thousands of acres of land are still recovering. I’ve come to respect the south in a different way. My research for the show has included much more than costumes and dialect – I’ve delved into the music, culture, food, business, industry, and landscape of this one pocket of our massive country. And they’ve given us quite a lot.

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When disasters like the BP oil spill happen, we all want to know who’s to blame. Is it the corporation? Is it government regulations? Or is it our society’s constant consumption of oil? NOLA is a chance to examine all of those things, to meet people who have more depth and insight than the headlines, and to find moments of shared, common humanity. Empathy, really.

And off we go tomorrow morning. Up north to Edinburgh where it’s colder and wetter than London, to present a verbatim play about a national disaster with global consequences and deep human loss – amongst a myriad of sublime, obscure, hilarious, absurd, innovative, and downright obscene work that is the Edinburgh Fringe. It’s my first time to the festival and I’m fairly certain I have no idea what I’m in for.

To support the show, please take a look at our WeFund page.

Wish us luck.

The Comedies That Defined How I Grew Up

Movies have always helped explain why I am the way I am. My dad is what you might call a “movie buff” and by might I mean, of course he is…have you met my father? He can’t remember what I got my degree in, but he could tell you who directed every John Wayne film and what movie theatre he saw it in. My sister is a talented editor for hollywood.com and spent many years writing for Entertainment Weekly. Needless to say, movies are a part of being a Semigran. This also means I watched a lot of movies as a kid – many of which were probably inappropriate for my age (I saw Blazing Saddles before I got my first period). Movies have also come to help me gauge people. I realize the amount of Simpsons references my sister and I make in a day are unnatural, but hey if you get it, we probably love you. The same goes for movies. They say food is a way to a person’s heart (which is absolutely true), for me…it’s also Mel Brooks and Bill Murray. My mom and dad can’t blame me for my sense of humor, they raised me this way.

The Holy Triumverate

These three, these precious three, are the films that my sister and I speak in conversation at the dinner table to our own amusement and our parent’s bewilderment. We seamlessly shift back and forth between them quoting our favorite moments, snorting with laughter, tears streaming down our face as our parents stare with awe and confusion. I give you our holy triumverate:

Wayne’s World

Now, when I was at the tender age of seven when this movie came out I definitely didn’t understand half of the jokes. However, to this day, things like “camera one, camera two” still astound me. I can’t hear the song “Foxy Lady” without thinking of Garth seducing the dream vixen of Stan Makita’s Donuts and then wondering why is it that if a man kills another man in battle, it’s called heroic, yet if he kills a man in the heat of passion, it’s called murder? I thought about this. I also thought Wayne’s World was the greatest thing ever because it was from Saturday Night Live – when I was little I used to sleep over at my Aunt Colleen’s house and she’d let me stay up late and watch it with her. A few years later it was Strangers With Candy. So for that, Wayne’s World is oddly sentimental. Now that I’m 25, it’s still funny, I get all of the jokes, and even a bit of nostalgia to boot. Now if you don’t mind I’m going to cut to my Scooby Doo ending. Garth, that was a haiku. AND THE WORST PART ABOUT IT IS…I NEVER LEARNED HOW TO READ (fact: I made that reference once and someone was like, “wait, seriously?” A similar reaction came when passing a gun store, I commented “I don’t even own ah gun let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack” They simply asked, “why did you say ‘ah’ instead of ‘a’.”A loser movie snob was born).

Dumb and Dumber

I’d like to thank Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels for introducing me to the world of physical comedy and having no shame in looking and acting like an idiot for the sake of a laugh. No really, I mean that. Comedy has always given me the courage to not give a crap about appearances, embrace the grotesque, and just commit 100% to a character. Jeff Daniels. JEFF DANIELS. He was never really known to be a “funny” guy – but damn did he play Harry with honesty. And it worked. I like to think of his toilet scene as a great homage to the campfire scene of Blazing Saddles, a tip of the hat, if you will. Also, do you know anyone who doesn’t think this movie isn’t funny?  (I’m sure someone does). Dumb and Dumber is a belly laugh for the sake of belly laughs. It’s subversive to say the least – YOU SOLD OUR DEAD PARROT TO A BLIND KID!? Bowl cuts, gap teeth, neon and pastel tuxedos, fluffy snow boots – the things it did for fashion, amiright!?

Tommy Boy

Hey…Prehistoric Forest! I think this was the first movie I remember where there was a fat hero. I was a chubby kid growing up, so seeing Chris Farley cart wheel around, throw his body in miraculous ways, be achingly funny, and yet still wholly relate-able and human meant more than I ever realized at the time. Also, I think I just really loved “buddy” comedies because I always had guy pals growing up. My next door neighbor Eric practically lived at our house and vice verse. I spoke the language of “dude.” And once again, it was the faces of Saturday Night Live that I loved to see.

The Films I Definitely Saw at Too-Young of an Age: The Mel Brooks Edition

Blazing Saddles

If you want your daughter to grow up making jokes or references to only the most of irreverent 11-year-old-boys, show her this film! More so, if you want boys to treat her like she is a boy, and never like she’s actually a girl, with girl feelings, and girl parts…show her this film. She’s officially one-of-the-boys for the rest of her life. Even if she doesn’t like football. This movie will begin a long career of not prescribing to gender roles or expectations. It is a simultaneously frustrating and liberating trait. You’ll equip her with the sort of dry, sardonic humor to understand the nuance of satire while also never being above slapstick and fart jokes. You are prepping her for reasons to love Bill Murray and still kind of hate/love Wes Anderson. Because the clip above, is actually, totally meta.

Young Frankenstein

This movie is the reason for my “awakening” – or realization that “wait, hang on, every other kid didn’t watch this at home with their parents?” It happened in the second grade. It was Halloween time and we were talking about monsters, as you do in public school. The teacher asked if anyone knew the story of Frankenstein. I shot up my arm and replied, “Well Dr. Fronk-en-schtein wanted to bring a dead body to life and he sent his servant to get a brain. But the servant accidentally stole a brain from Abby Normal.” My teacher looked at me first in shock, then laughed, and corrected me that it was indeed “Young Frankenstein” instead of the regular “Frankenstein.” Though I’m fairly certain whatever followed in our discussion was a grossly inaccurate representation of Mary Shelley’s actual Frankenstein. A few years later in history class I would receive a similar jolt of surprise from a teacher, when, during a lesson about King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella I shouted, “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!” Internet, this is why I’m alone.

Jim Carrey’s Greatest Hits

I can thank Jim Carrey for the hours I spent as a child in front of the bathroom mirror discovering all of the hideous and hilarious ways I could contort my face. Now, of course, of course Dumb and Dumber makes it on to this list, but that already has a special place in the Holy Triumverate. The films I’m talking about here are: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Liar Liar, The Truman Show, and Earth Girls are Easy. First of all – who else on this planet has actually seen Earth Girls are Easy? If you have, we’re probably best friends because you were also made uncomfortable at too young of an age by watching a furry Jeff Goldblum try to seduce Gina Davis. Still, a spaceship crashed in a pool and things got weird. Also, we used to rent it from Genuardi’s because I don’t even think Blockbuster would carry it. Moving on to the Ace Ventura Films – this was the point in my life when I developed a palate so refined that I could discuss, at length on car rides to the dentist with my father how it was the first series I’d ever seen where the sequel was as good, if not better, than the original. It’s a tough call. Pet Detective did give us Ace in a tutu and combat boots as well as establishing the franchise’s catch phrases “re-he-he-he-eeallly” and “allllllllllrighty then!” We also get to mock the Miami Dolphins, win. When Nature Calls, however, I think really takes the cake. Who doesn’t want to see a grown man squeeze out of a rhino’s anus? The opening also established for me the comedic rule of repetition. The slinky: it goes from funny, to ok not so funny anymore, to HILARIOUS.  I can also never look at a can of Bumblebee tuna without laughing. Now, Liar Liar and the Truman Show were the movies that showed me that comedy could really have a conscience. You could say something about family, love, the media, society, the world in which we live by making people laugh. The Truman Show opened up my imagination in a lot of ways. I wondered, what if life really was like that?But then, life never has a script, no matter how hard we try to write one. I think that’s why I love improv so much. We write the script as we go, make a lot of mistakes, make a mess, but we do it with people we trust and get to make people laugh. That’s the goal, really.

…………

Looking back on this list I noticed something: where are all the women? Most of the women in comedy I admired growing up (and to this day)  were often in TV, mostly Saturday Night Live, the Tracey Ullman Show and the Carol Burnett Show. Comedy is very much indeed a boy’s game. Since it’s men who often write, act, and produce the films, what’s “funny” is usually then, determined by men. Though I do believe there are things that are universally funny, regardless of gender. However, watching so many male-dominant comedies got me “in.” I understood where the laughs were coming from – and as my interest and career in comedy has developed, I know it’s helped me to see how brilliant women subvert it. And sometimes when I watch these films, I do get bored of some of the throw-away or single-dimensional female roles in them. But then I also am excited by how much that’s changed. How many more women are saying “fuck that, let’s make our own.” and are changing the climate of what’s “funny.”  For every 25 dude-humor films (I’m speaking of the trend in the past 15 years of total frat boy-ism) we get each year…we still only get one Bridesmaids. I know it’ll be unlikely for there to be a real balance in what’s out there during my lifetime. I do however wait for the day films like Bridesmaids can be released without all the press surrounding it going on about how it’s “Finally! Comedy for women!” or “Look! This movie proves women are funny! WHO KNEW.” Just because it’s a comedy and it has women in it doesn’t mean it has to be “female comedy.” No really guys, it’s ok, you can laugh at us, we can take it.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/2544031″>Bronx Beat with Betty & Jodi</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user437563″>Sarah Pasquale</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Reasons to be Bummed/ Not be Bummed While Being in England on the 4th of July

Reasons to be bummed:

  • NO HOT DOGS
  • No baseball – even though the Phils are totally choking this season, I’d still sit in the heat for the Philly Phanatic.
  • No beach weather, reasons to wear sun screen, or reasons to wear a bathing suit. (It’s the first year I actually had the guts to buy a bikini and homegirl wants to actually wear it)
  • BBQs in the UK severely lack the following: Potato salad, pasta salad, cubed cheese and pepperoni, ripple cut chips preferably with bacon and horseradish dip, and HOT DOGS. Have I mentioned the hot dog thing yet? The ones they sell in a CAN are really, genuinely upsetting.
  • Feeling very deeply the loss of summer. I’ve always been a hopeless romantic when it comes to the summer. Sitting on front porches with friends, sipping on cold beer or sangria and watching the fireflies for hours on end. Or getting that distinct smell of rain and watching a thunderstorm blow trees like twigs as I sit in Mindy’s living room watching 90s disaster films. Walking around the city in shorts and sandals, building calluses on the bottom of my feet like a cavewoman. I miss that. Summer is romantic for everyone. You fall in love with the people in your life in very different ways in the summer because everything feels a bit fleeting and nostalgic. It’s been 60 and raining since April and there’s no outlook of it stopping any time soon.
  • If I’m playing any sport today it has to be wiffle ball, kick ball or badminton. And that’s it. Sorry guys, no football/soccer today. I just can’t. You haven’t heard of wiffle ball, have you? Damn it.
  • The next chance of fireworks will be during the Olympics. We all know how everyone here actually feels about the Olympics.
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No seriously, you try explaining this to an English person.

 

Reasons to not be bummed:

  • HEY! I don’t have to watch truckloads of couples MAKING OUT all over the place during the fireworks. When you’re single, you see couples everywhere. Especially on holidays. I need not another reminder of being alone this year. HUZZAH!
  • Bruce Springsteen is still THE BOSS.
  • Red, white, and blue are also England’s colors… so I won’t be abused for sporting my ‘Murrican spirit.
  • When you’re an American abroad and you meet other Americans abroad, you quickly realize what it means to be “that American” and are thankful to not be “that American.”
  • You can still make really great burgers on the grill. I love BBQs, has that come across yet?
  • I don’t actually have to wear a bathing suit. Yes, that’s right. It’s not “winter weight.” It’s “year weight.”
  • I’m not as sweaty! Which is a good thing because deodorants/anti-antiperspirants are shall we say, far from effective in jolly ‘ole. I’ve come to realize people either wear too much cologne or not enough deodorant over here. And it’s nearly 100 degrees at home. BARF.
  • I don’t have to watch gross political advertisements all day about the upcoming election. I made my decision four years ago.
  • Getting texts from my English friends wishing me a Happy 4th of July – it’s very sweetly thoughtful. Because at the end of the day, I really miss my family and friends and everyone back home in the states. And it’s nice to feel loved. 
  • Realizing that I’ve actually been quite happy in England for the past few months. It’s still hard to be far away, but I also wouldn’t want to be far away from the life I have here, either.
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How precious is this?

 

 

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