The Saturday Night Live season premiere did it’s bit to help hype the finale of Breaking Badthat will air tonight. They included Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul, Jesse Pinkman in the show, on to participate in an Obamacare cameo on the show’s opening night.
Anyone who’s read my blog (or conversely, watched myYouTube channel) will know that I am about as obsessed with YouTube as your average young person. And yes before you point it out, I’m not that young. But having a daughter who has a fairly successful channel on the old “Tube” introduced me to another world of entertainment.
I won’t be climbing on my YouTube soapbox here, but it was through them that I discovered Funny or Die. A channel that hails from Los Angeles; Hollywood specifically, and they are brilliantly funny.
These guys are consistent, witty masters of the tongue in cheek delivery of some very humorous short films, videos, and skits. They use “real” actors (versus folks that just want to be actors) and they have great production values on all they produce.
iSteve is their latest effort and it is 78 minute film that is a “Bio” of the late Steve Jobs and his rise, fall and rise in the world of commercial computing. It is a combination satire/parody with a good bit of imaginative “reworking” of real events to give it a comedic edge.
Although, not everyone , it seems, can get the joke.
But this particular nay-sayer need not feel alone. There were more than a few people who just “didn’t get it.” The same type of people who would never watch Saturday Night Live (SNL) or say a Chevy Chase film. In the case of humour and the sense of, not everyone is created equal or as I like to say, “Did it hurt when they removed your funny bone?”
Justin Long plays Steve Jobs, resplendent in fake hair colour and beard. He also sports a very trendy pair of rimless eye-glasses and a turtle neck top that completes his Steve costume. He is, of course, excellent as the faux Steve Jobs. I mean after all this is Justin Long we’re talking about here. How could he be anything but perfect in any role?
Actor Jorge Garcia (Lost, all seasons) plays Jobs’ best friend Steve Wozniak, a long-suffering fellow computer nerd. Garcia makes this brilliantly touching and funny. All the actors do great jobs (get it!) in this film. Like all projects these guys do, it looks professional (hell, it is professional) and streamlined. If you’ve not seen anything they’ve done before, check out their American Psycho with Huey Lewis and Weird Al:
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I’m going to give this YouTube masterpiece of humour a 5 out of 5 stars.
Well, for one thing, it’s got Justin Long in it and I’ve been a fan since DodgeBall. In addition, these guys (Funny or Die) are damned funny.
That’s right I said albums. Back in the day, before cd’s and dvd’s and mp3’s we old folks used to listen to music on plastic or vinyl records. Comics like George would put out comedy albums of their live performances. The oldie goldies maintained their popularity and their visibility through this medium.
Guys like Richard Pryor, Redd Fox, Steve Martin and even Robin Williams all did albums. They also started the same way. Working the comedy clubs and hoping that one day they would be able to perform in Vegas. Interestingly all the above mentioned comics did work on television. But Pryor and George were too raw for television. TV watered them down and they suffered for it.
No, these guys, these demi-gods who had the power and intelligence to make anyone see the absurdities of life and the humour that we face in our everyday existence worked best live and on-stage. And the one comic who was the Man, the unadulterated master of this was George Carlin.
He started out playing the clubs. He was brilliant, he gave us the Hippy Dippy Weather man, Wonderful Wino Radio, and more. He was the man who was thrown off the stage in Las Vegas because he said the word shit in his act. This occurrence opened a door for George, it gave him the ammunition he needed to create his ‘Seven Dirty Words’ routine.
The Seven Dirty Words evolved into ‘Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television’ and over the years the list got longer and funnier. George had the capability to make our fears and prejudices funny. He wrote a poem about beards during a time when long hair and beards were seen to be a bad thing.
His acts poked fun at God, politics, the constitution, law and our rights. Nothing was sacrosanct or taboo to George and we loved him for it. George constantly worked and he used to ‘guest host’ The Tonight Show regularly. He was the host of the first ever Saturday Night Live. He also did a yearly HBO special right up until four months before his death.
So lets take a moment to remember the irreverent genius that was George Carlin as we approach the anniversary of his passing. And while you are at it, recite to yourself, internally or out loud, which would be much funnier, the list of Seven words. In case you’ve forgotten or have never heard it, here it is courtesy of Wikipedia:
“ Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits. Those are the heavy seven. Those are the ones that’ll infect your soul, curve your spine and keep the country from winning the war. ”
—George Carlin, Class Clown, “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television”
So here’s to you George you definitely brought a lot the party we call life. I hope that where ever you went after you left us, they appreciate you as much as we did.