Tower of Hubris

Friday, October 28, 2005


WHEN IN DOUBT... a picture of yourself kissing a chimp.

posted by Finny Link

Monday, October 24, 2005


FIGHT THE POWER (Or, if not "fight", whine about the power in a standard elitist manner)

So rumors are afoot that our Vice President may step down if he's indicted in this whole CIA leak thingy. I sincerely doubt this is true, but if so, I'm sure it's all just some Machiavellian plan to groom a Republican candidate in 2008 whose name isn't "John McCain". But I do see one indisputable upside for Cheney, if he steps down--he'll finally be able to reveal to the world that he's actually The Penguin from the old "Batman" TV show.'

To be honest, I've always felt a kinship with the Vice President. Have you ever watched Cheney's face while Dubya is giving a speech? He gets this tense, awkward smile on his face--it's a look I think many men recognize. It's the look you get when you're dating a woman whom you get along with well in private, but you're always afraid to bring her to a party because of the stupid shit that might come out of her mouth. You know how it is--the sex is good, she laughs at your jokes, makes you feel cool. But then you introduce her your friends and she starts telling them about how much she loves the novels of Anne Rice. Suddenly that tense Dick Cheney smile sweeps across your face and you're whispering, "Oh my god, you're such an idiot. Please shut the fuck up. Please...please...please..." through your teeth. And then, if you're Dick Cheney, you fly away on an umbrella.

Oh, and for the record, I'm sure that you women have dated guys who have elicited the same feeling of public awkwardness. But I can't really speak to that, as I've never dated a dude (regardless of what you'd think watching me play sports). But as was my original point, I'm sure our glorious president's prom date experienced similar feelings of discomfort and embarrassment.

Bush is a tool, but honestly I think every president is set up to fail. It's the downside of Democracy. Seriously, do you think "Two Party System" is really what The Founders had in mind? In our system, you have half of all elected officials desperately trying to cockblock the other half. Yeah, you can talk about civil service and bipartisanship, but when it gets right down to it, a politician's career is 100% dependent on the guys on the other side of the aisle sucking just a little bit harder than you do.

For example: last week the Iraqi constitution passed, which is a good theory. Sure, the democrats said all the right things ("This is a great day for Democracy, blah blah blah"), but you know inside they were all screaming "FUCK! Why did it have to go well?! Couldn't there have been a terrorist incident, or something?! You know, no casualties or anything--just enough to fuck shit up a little!" You could see it while they were being interviewed--the Democrats all sounded the way you do when you find out your ex-girlfriend is having sex with someone new. "Oh, the Iraqi constitution passed? I was so busy working on education bill, I didn't even notice! But that's know, about the consitution... About time something went right over there, know what I mean? I mean, the whole situation is a clusterfuck and it will probably explode into violence at any moment. But you know. . .good for them. No, seriously. I wish them the best. Oh, and our economy still sucks, by the way--just in case anyone forgot."

It's not that Democrats want the the new Iraqi government to fail outright; they just want the situation to stay unstable until they can get one of their guys (or Hillary) into the White House, at which point they will magically begin describing The New Iraq as a land of dewdrops and candy canes. Republicans are no different, of course. Remember all of the "shame and disappointment" Republicans claimed with regard to Clinton's poontang-ery? Horseshit. Hell, they could barely contain themselves, their joy was so palpable. If there had been a camera trained on Trent Lott's face when he heard about the infanmous jizz-stained dress, we'd have seen the reaction not of a man horrified by presidential abuse of power, but that of a gleeful child on Christmas morning. "A jizz-stained dress?! For me?!!! It's so...beautiful!! THANK YOU, SANTY CLAUS!!!"

But I suppose we get the government we deserve. I truly believe that Democracy is the best way to go, but let's be hones--it ain't perfect. Am I the only person who finds it odd that the leader-of-the-free-fucking-world is chosen, in part, by the same people who made Steven Segal a millionaire? You're telling me I get the exact same say in who controls our military as the chick who spent three hours on the phone trying to get Bo Bice into the semifinals? This is serious stuff her--we have soldiers dying in Fallujah because millions of Americans decided they wanted a president who could "Git 'R Done". We have to put some controls in place here. After all, convicted felons aren't allowed to vote, so it's not like we're above deciding who's "worthy" of participating in the electoral process. I think it's high time we made a few other tweaks in the equation. For instance, if you own an Ashlee Simpson CD, you should not be allowed to vote. Or if you currently have a subscription to InStyle Magazine. Or if in the past four years you've paid to see a movie featuring more than one Wayans brother--I'm sorry, but you cannot be counted on for sound judgment. Here are a few other automatic electoral DQ's:

* If you have, in the last twelve calendar months, burped and blown it into someone's face

* If you are a college graduate yet still regularly use 'emoticons'.

* If that "Proud to Be an American" song has ever left you misty-eyed

* If you watched the "Biker Boyz" DVD extras

* If you have ever simultaneously worn denim jeans, a denim jacket and (most importantly) a denim shirt

Call your local representatives, people--let's make this happen!

P.S. This kind of shit is what made that Marine want to kick my ass. (see below).

posted by Finny Link

Saturday, October 22, 2005



I'm currently in beautiful Birmingham, Alabama, where I'm performing all weekend at a rather beautiful comedy club known as the "Stardome". The weather has been nice, the other comics on the bill are funny and cool, and all of the staff has been friendly and helpful. Why, you could almost say it's been the perfect comedy weekend!

Oh, did I mention during Friday night's show, eight staff members had to physically drag a drunk Marine out of the showroom before he could climb onto the stage and kick my ass? No? I didn't mention that? Oh, we all that happened, too.

I can't tell you how surreal the whole thing was. I was about fifteen minutes into my set when a guy stood up and yelled something toward/at me. I honestly couldn't understand what he was saying, so I said something along the lines of, "I'm sorry, sir, but I forgot to bring my Drunk-to-English dictionary with me". People laughed, and the guy got really furious. He started yelling "I'M A MARINE! I'M A MARINE!" This was not a shock to me, as I'd heard someone yell this during the emcee's set, albeit in a far more affable tone. I apologized for making fun of his non-sobriety and invited the audience to give him a round of applause in appreciation of his military service. This choice was inspired both my genuine admiration for our men and women in uniform and by my sincere desire to not get my ass kicked.

Okay, more the latter than the former, I suppose.

Anyway, I'm honestly assuming this was going to be the end of it. But then he begins to approach the stage, inspiring members of the staff to sweep in from various corners of the room. The Marine is now screaming, "I'VE SPENT TWO YEARS IN IRAQ! I'M FIGHTING FOR YOUR FREEDOM OF SPEECH! I'M FIGHTING FOR YOUR FUCKING FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!!" I suppose the subtext here is, "I fought for your freedom of speech, so now I'm going to kick your ass for speaking freely."

At this point, things get physical. The guy has grabbed on to a railing, as staff members try to drag the guy towards the door. They had help from the dude's two Marine buddies, who for the record seemed genuinely embarrassed by their friend's behavior. At this point, I had to start cracking jokes, because the audience was just sitting there, dumbfounded. The more jokes I would make, the more insanely determined this guy was to pummel the living shit out of me. I cannot stress this enough--this man absolutely would have put me in the hospital. The whole ordeal lasted a solid 5-7 minutes, which felt like a fucking eternity. As he was being "ushered" out, he kept yelling, "I'VE SEEN PEOPLE DIE! I'VE SEEN PEOPLE DIE!!!" Once things calmed down, I got a good amount of laughs talking about the ordeal, and I think everyone was relieved when I got back to doing my prepared material. Still, the event had a rather chilling effect on the set as a whole (go figure!). By the end of my set, people were ready to go home--if for no other reason than so they could get to the business of telling people about how they almost saw a stand up comedian get murdered onstage.

I should mention that the staff were prepared for this guy to be a problem from the get-go. He'd shown up drunk and by the time I took the stage, had been "cut off" by the manager, which is usually when the problems start. And the manager told me when they dragged the guy out to his car, there were two empty bottles of vodka on the floor! Yee-haw! But I have to assume there was something about me specifically that set him off.

Now this is the part where I'd like to make it sound like that this guy hated me because my material was so cutting edge--that I was so unrelenting in my critique of our government and culture that it made this grunt's head explode. A lot of New York liberal elitists would take a potentially violent attack by an Alabama redneck as a sign of indie cred. But the truth is, I had kind of de-balled my set in anticipation of playing to Birmingham crowds. I had smoothed all the rough edges, removed just about anything I thought might be a bit too "problematic" for conservative Bush-loving Alabamans--to the extent that I didn't feel 100% excited about the set I'd put together. But I'm trying to establish myself as a headliner, and The Stardome is very well-regarded club, blah blah blah blah blah....

I'm of two minds on this. On one hand, I really want to be the kind of comic who can entertain any crowd--I really get frustrated with many of my NYC comic peers who can make a bunch of 20-something hipsters laugh, but feel "above" trying to reach the other 96% of the country. You can have mass appeal without being a total hack--Chris Rock manages it. So does Dave Chappelle. And Ellen DeGeneres. But then on the other hand, when playing a city like Birmingham, I feel like I'm forced to play with half a deck. It's not just political material you have to avoid, it's also anything even remotely of-the-moment, culturally. Tonight I asked how many people in the audience owned an iPod. You would have thought I'd presided over a lesbian wedding while simultaneously performing a third-trimester abortion on stage. I don't yet have the career currency to do exactly the set I want to do without consideration of where I'm performing, who I'm performing for, etc.--you can't really get away with that until audiences are coming out to see you, specifically. Remember, George Carlin and Richard Pryor didn't reinvent the wheel until after they'd already become pretty famous using...well, the regular wheel.

Of course, I'm sure that's what lots of hacks tell themselves.

The point is, I was hardly going out of my way to provoke the Birmingham crowd. Still, I guess there must have been something I said to inspire Semper Fi's rage. The disruption started when I was tackling an extremely controversial subject: the board game Monopoly. But I imagine his anger probably started about five minutes earlier when I did a very short, very tame bit about America being like a high school bully. I opted not to point out to the crowd that this guy, someone charged with representing our nation to the citizens of the world, wanted to combat my "bully" premise b y beating the shit out of me. But honestly, I don't think that one thirty-second bit was enough to set him off. No, I think there was just something about me, the way I choose to form sentences that made him say, "Hey, this guy's not one of us". I think I must give off a pungent "Yankee Faggot" scent.

So there you have it--one of the stranger gigs I've had in...well, weeks. Ahhhhh, comedy!

posted by Finny Link

Saturday, October 15, 2005



Because I'm a professional comedian, people often think that if they hang out with me in real life, I'm going to be a thrill-a-minute laugh riot 24 hours a day. They don't understand that if I was able to be brilliant and off-the-cuff in my everyday life, I may have never gone into comedy. You see, most people become comedians not because they love life and want to bring the gift of laughter to everyone they meet. We become comedians because we have a deep-seeded hatred of our fellow man but lack the balls to confront these feelings in our day to day life. Instead, we stew silently about the various things that annoy us until such a time when we can spew our hatred into a microphone for the passive enjoyment of 14 tourists on a Wednesday night. So people are understandably disappointed when they hang out with me after the show and I'm just standing there making small talk and getting drunk. I know people want to be entertained, but you have to remember: there's a word for someone who feels the need to be funny 24 hours a day. It's "asshole". And he probably works in the sales department of your office.

People have all sorts of wrong ideas about what's funny. And for some reason, the least funny people in the world always think they're hilarious. I love it when someone tells you a lame joke and then, when you don't laugh, they'll get mad at you. They will actually accuse you of not having a sense of humor--as if having a sense of humor means laughing at any moronic lawyer joke Email some jackass in your office forwards you. Whenever someone does this, I am forced to explain, "Douchebag, it's precisely my sense of humor that stops me from laughing at your shitty jokes. You see, I have a sense . . . of humor. Here's the deal: If and when you provide some genuine humor . . . I will sense it. Until then, go file something.

posted by Finny Link

Friday, October 14, 2005



A couple of days ago, I saw an elderly man wearing a skipper hat. That's kind of an underappreciated look, isn't it? A skipper hat says, "I'm in control. I can handle any situation. Either that, or I'm mentally retarded." I actually found the hat kind of comforting, seeing as this particular elderly gent was sitting across the aisle from me on an airplane. I figured if shit started to go down--terrorism, mechanical failure, et cetera--I could turn to him and yell, "DO SOMETHING, CAP'N!!!"

So the skipper hat was a bold choice, but what really made this guy's outfit was his sweatshirt. It was plain white, with a couple of random spaghetti sauce stains. But on the front was printed, "IT'S NOT AN EMPTY NEST UNTIL THEY GET THEIR STUFF OUT OF THE BASEMENT!" Yeah, you said it, grandpa! Zing! Take that, whippersnappers! What is the age where one completely stops giving a shit about he looks in public? When do you stop picking out clothes that you think "make a statement" and start wearing sweatshirts that actually make statements? I want to think this guy simply doesn't care about what he wears, and not that he picked that sweatshirt out on purpose. I don't want to imagine this guy walking into Spencer Gifts and declaring, "Yes! I have found the sweatshirt I've been looking for all these years! This garment aptly describes what it's like to have adult children who have moved out of your home and yet still don't display the proper level of responsibility! THE WORLD MUST KNOW!!!"

Then again, I'm currently wearing a "Where's the Beef?" t-shirt, so who am I to judge?

posted by Finny Link

Thursday, October 13, 2005



I've never understood the things people do in photographs. A friend of mine went to Disneyland recently and he had his picture taken with Goofy. This, in and of itself, is a strange decision for a 34 year old man. But what I really found strange is that my friend felt the need to give the thumbs-up sign in the picture. Why do people do that? What is the message you're trying to get across there? That's like something politicians do. "Ladies and gentleman, I approve of Goofy. Goofy, you're doing a bang-up job. Keep up the good work! Goofy and me, working together for a better America!" The only possible reason I can imagine for a non-politician to give the thumbs-up sign in a picture is if you're trying to let people know you're not being kidnapped. I mean, if you're seven years old and "Goofy" is taking your picture in the back of his windowless van, by all means give us a thumbs-up. "It's okay, mommy and daddy--I'm here of my own free will! Goofy invited me back to his apartment for a wrestling match and if I win I get a Jolly Rancher! Yayyyy!"

Another thing people do in photos is point at the other person in the picture. They'll throw one arm over you in a "he's my bestest buddy in the world" kind of fashion and with the other hand, point at you. This is a an axtremely arrogant and douchebaggy thing to do, as the subtext here is, "Look, I know you're all looking at me, but don't forget...there's somebody else in this picture. Don't forget about this guy. He's cool, too! I mean, probably not as awesome as me, but...well, you get the idea."

And every once in a while, you'll still get people doing the horns-behind-the-head thing. When was that ever funny? It must be a remnant of some distant era, because in the entirety of my life I've never seen it elicit anything but faint disgust and annoyance. In the middle ages, it must have been hilarious for someone to stand behind you while you were having your portrait painted. Then people could by your castle and have a good laugh. "Everyone, gaze upon Duke of Yorkshire! It appears as if he has horns growing out of his skull! Ha ha ha! Oh, how droll! Why, he looks almost Devil! Burn him!" So maybe it wasn't a "joke" back then--maybe it was a passive-agressive form of revenge. I guess the modern day equivalent would be if someone was having his picture taken and you somehow slipped a Ku Klux Klan banner in the background.

Actually, that is kind of funny.

posted by Finny Link