Eastbound & Down
Oh dear God I loooove this show. I remember in college I watched an episode on a lark hoping for something lighthearted to chill out to before bed (because I was so stressed from
studying watching like three straight seasons of Mad Men) and wound up watching the entire first season at like 2AM. I love an unapologetic asshole (it’s television not a UN meeting, give me something boundary pushing) and Kenny Powers is the unapologetic asshole par-excellence.
I just finished season three, which highlights Kenny’s time in Myrtle Beach with the semi-bastard baby Toby. I was very tentative at first because I do not find babies funny in general, and the unqualified parent gag in particular seems so played out. But I have to admit, baby Toby made my ovaries quiver slightly, and Eastbound & Down definitely pushed the doofy father trope past situation comedy level.
“I feel like my life’s become Requiem For a Dream. And I have front row seat tickets to the ass to ass scene. Toby’s the dildo, and I’m both assholes.” – Kenny Powers
Shovels & Rope
I’ve been lamenting that I haven’t heard anything exciting in a while. That feeling when you hear a new song (or an old song) and it becomes your entire world and you want to hear nothing else and everything is changed unalterably and all the colors seem more vivid and everything is wonderful (or totally heartbreaking but in an awesome way) is my favorite feeling of all time. So color me a fucking dumbass for downloading Dine Alone’s sampler and never playing Shovels & Rope’s “Birmingham.” I don’t want to alienate the dude in the band, because he seems cool, but I am fucking obsessed with the girl in this band. Her voice is delicate and feminine and raspy and powerful and whiskey-soaked all at once. She sounds like Bonnie Parker driving into a hail of bullets in a final blaze of glory. This is their new song “The Devil is All Around” from their new album Swimmin’ Time.
The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail
Yeah so I thought I would hate this. There have just been so many failed attempts at stand up programs lately (always?). Comedy Central alone seems to shit out like five a year and they’re all in some auditorium and indistinguishable. You think that having a bunch of comics with really short sets would be an easy sell to people with no attention spans, but one joke doesn’t resonate and I now hate you, there is no time to win me back over, and I will not be visiting your Twitter or whatever.
But this shit looks cool. They’re in a comic book shop which looks like it’s had some extra accessorizing done for television, with the addition of some cool lighting installations and signage. I want these people to decorate my apartment. I’m very interior decorating obsessed, but trust me the ambiance really adds something to the experience AND it’s not an auditorium.
They further break up the stand up acts (routines?) with guerrilla filmmaking-y backstage behind the scenes bits that are shot like b-roll, which seems like it is a terrible idea (interrupt an already micro-sized set?) but it totally works. It actually manages to distract from the fact you aren’t getting to see much at all of a performance by highlighting. Instead of being some Premium Blend-y, very segmented, summary of performances, like looking at a dry comedy roster, you’re reminded it’s a fluid show, where everyone’s constantly moving (ever present producer Emily Gordon who is my new girl crush and has fantastic hair and an even better wardrobe is kind of indicative of this.) It’s like you’re working the room, sampling a little buffet of comedy, and what fat ass doesn’t love a good buffet.