Saturday, September 7, 2013

"No Rain"

In Satiristas (which everyone should own and read), Judd Apatow says,

"When we were making 'Freaks and Geeks', NBC said, 'Why can't they ever win?' They tried to turn it into a wish-fulfillment show like they were used to making. 

We said, 'The whole point is they DON'T ever win - but they have each other. They MAY win in the end, but not right now. I had a sense of that myself as this funny kid, bad at sports, reading comic books and writing reports on the Marx Brothers - not for school, just for myself. I used to think, 'One day, these things will be COOL.'

When I moved to L.A. at seventeen, I started hanging out at the comedy clubs. I felt like that 'bee girl' in Blind Melon's 'No Rain" video, walking through the field and finding all these other people dressed like bees. I couldn't believe there were that many people with the same interests as me. I felt alone in high school; nobody else cared about comedy or was obsessed with Bill Murray or Monty Python or any of that. It was a great feeling to be in the comedy world, where suddenly, 'Oh, I'm NOT that weird? People VALUE that I know minutia about John Candy?"

I've probably said enough times that Penn Radio was my "bee girl" moment. It was the first time I looked through the gate and discovered there were other people who shared my point of view on god and religion. The "No Rain" video doesn't end at this discovery, however. "Bee girl" runs through the gate and begins dancing with all of the other "bees". This is the exact feeling I have when I get to moderate the LIVE chat during Ardent Atheist and Skeptically Yours. In my opinion, this is what the Internet does best. It allows small, disconnect pockets of like minded people to find each other and shed that sense of loneliness. It's where you can stumble on great sites like The Not Alone Project or The Coming Out Godless Project and read stories written by folks who are dealing with (or have dealt with) that same sense of isolation. You are not alone. Both The Not Alone Project and The Coming Out Godless Project were kind enough to post my "Spiderman Made Me an Atheist" story. I hope it helps someone who's feeling how I felt during my youth. Go to these sites and share your story. You never know who it might help.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Know Your Audience

"When the garrulous barber asks him, 'How shall I cut your hair?," a quick wit answers, 'Silently.' 

In a video I watched recently (see below), Jimmy Carr said this was the oldest known joke. I don't know if that's true, but I did learn that its earliest known telling is in an ancient document titled, Philogelos (Laughter Lover), that dates to the 3rd or 4th Century A.D. I have no idea how well this joke went over in Ancient Greece. I can tell you that it bombed this morning while I was getting my haircut. It did earn me a mostly silent haircut. I fear the result of that haircut is probably the funniest joke of all, however.

You can find a version of Philogelos translated into English by Professor William Berg here.