Monday, November 22, 2010

The Onion's Funniest Depression Articles - Part 2

The Onion just gets it.


Blanke, 28, an unemployed former gas-station attendant who has battled debilitating bouts of self-loathing and despair for most of his adult life, is reportedly so deeply immersed in his own selfish little world that relatives and acquaintances find it nearly impossible to be around him for more than a few minutes at a time.
"Tom's got this web page he keeps, and sometimes a month or more will go by where he doesn't do any updates, except for really short entries like 'Peed in a jar today rather than leave bed,'" friend Alicia Reynolds said. "But then, sometimes he'll get on these jags where he'll write, like, 20 pages in a single day—hilarious, over-the-top stuff about how every one of us is a white-hot energy source extending to every corner of the universe."

According to reports, top BHP researchers began having doubts about the drug during the early development stages, when they realized they couldn't do anything right ever ever ever, and that none of the pharmaceutical-industry leaders cared whether they lived or died. But work on the project continued, despite BHP's growing conviction that Cyntrex would be the worst product in pharmaceutical history.

(Video): FDA Approves Depressant Drug For The Annoyingly Cheerful

Made by Pfizer, Despondex is the first drug designed to treat the symptoms of excessive perkiness.

Pfizer Launches 'Zoloft For Everything' Ad Campaign

Pugh warned that Zoloft use may cause side effects such as agitation, erratic behavior, restlessness, difficulty speaking, or shaking of hands and fingers. He added that Zoloft can help those suffering from agitation, erratic behavior, restlessness, difficulty speaking, and shaking of hands and fingers.

Continued Wenger: "It can be pretty tough to live with Chad, especially when he's all clinically depressed over some girl who dumped him. But it's important to remember that it's not his fault: There are chemicals in the bipolar sufferer's brain responsible for the disturbances in mood. I can't remember the names of them offhand, but I'll know them by next week's exam."

Sad Sack Purchases Screenwriting Software

Norgren, whose script ideas were literally too sad to print here, said he likes films with smart dialogue and characters who overcome obstacles, such as Finding Forrester, A Beautiful Mind, and Juno.

Temp Hides Fun, Fulfilling Life From Rest Of Office

"If somebody complains about how bad it sucks to work overtime five days straight, I just nod and agree," said Braxton, who spends his weeknights at parties, at concerts, and playing basketball in the park. "No point in rubbing in the fact that no matter how busy things are, I leave at exactly 5 p.m. every single day. If anyone asks me to stay later, I just say my agency doesn't let me do overtime."... In spite of his happiness, Braxton said he makes sure always to project an air of dissatisfaction, in both facial expression and posture, while in the office.

Shortly after returning home, Videk, feeling himself inexorably drawn into a vortex of despair, made his way to the upstairs bathroom, where, despite having no need to use the facilities, he sat on the toilet for approximately 20 minutes to avoid all human contact. The last seven of those 20 minutes were spent trying to ignore the pounding and whining of his teenage daughter Robyn, who pleaded with him to unlock the door so she could "get [her] face on."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mort Sahl in TIME - August 1960

If there hadn't been a Mort Sahl, there wouldn't be a Jon Stewart. I'd add an "arguably" in there somewhere, but that statement feels like something I'd feel comfortable setting aside the time it would take to etch it in stone.

I won't pretend that today, Mort Sahl's topical, often political material isn't almost impenetrably dated, but I also can't deny that his attitude, cadence, candor, and wit transcend any specific bits that may be lost in translation. I didn't really start this blog to talk about political or topical humor (not that anything I do ever persists in the spirit or intention with which I started it), but Sahl's irreverence and aversion to bullshit appeals to me.

Aaaannnddd... midcentury American (counter?)culture is an inexplicable interest of mine. I'm reading Gerald Nachman's Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s (the introduction is available to read in its entirety on Google Books) right now, and the way the hungry i (a San Fransisco comedy/music club) and its resident performers and atmosphere are described makes the place seem like an estuary of budding cultural trends. Its proprietor, Enrico Banducci, discovered and nurtured some of the most influential comic talents of the last 6 decades - providing an environment where no subject was taboo and no censorship (or heckling) was tolerated. Sounds like any mic or room these days, but when you consider that Lenny Bruce's undoing was his 1950s obscenity trial (he said cocksucker a few times on stage! I'm scandalized just typing it), the hungry i's significance becomes evident.

In trying to convince him to audition at the hungry i, Mort Sahl's girlfriend told him that "the audiences are all intellects, which means if they understand you, great, and if they don't, they will never admit it.". Pretentious hipsters have always and been and will always be. Say what you will about that mentality, when a hipster likes something, he or she (androgynously, with feigned disinterest) supports it... and supports it waaaay before and in a much cooler way than you do. I know nothing of the place personally, but after listening to an interview with Rebecca A. Trent on The Comedy Nerds podcast, I feel she and her comedy club, The Creek and The Cave in Long Island City seem like the modern incarnations of Enrico Banducci and the hungry i.

Check out this 1960 TIME magazine profile of Mort Sahl and his contemporaries (Nichols and May - favorites of mine, Shelley Berman, Bob Newhart, Jonathan Winters, and more):,8816,939769,00.html

Everything's there. His material is quoted sparingly, but the piece sums up everything about why I love him. When I think about the comedy of the 1950s and 1960s, I wonder if my perception is romanticized. Everything I know about the era is, I'm sure, part exaggeration, part creation myth... but that doesn't hamper my being enamored of a place and time I can never visit, save via video/audio clips and in books.

Just wanted to share that with my two readers.

* I may be writing a more in depth thing about Seriously Funny on Splitsider eventually. Will post that link if it ever happens.


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