Monthly Archives: September 2013

Here come the FLAWS

We all have flaws. And I wanted to share mine. So, of course, I did the healthy rational thing and put together a comedy show, a Kickstarter campaign, and a double album of comedy and music.

The whole thing is called Flaw Fest. Here’s all the information about it in one place.

I first did the show in February of 2013 on Jonathan Coulton’s JoCoCruiseCrazy. It’s a stand-up comedy show about all my horrible flaws: a sloth driven obsession to play bad James Bond video games, a stubborn need to fight with large animals, the idiocy to drink something called a Watermelon Shooter, the hubris to write a rock n’ roll song about a helium balloon, and much more.

The show went well so I decided to use Kickstarter to raise funds to record the show for a comedy album. The show deals with themes of music and I have a lot of amazing musician friends. So I asked a bunch of them to write an album of songs inspired by the show. So basically, it will be a comedy album with its own soundtrack. To my knowledge, no one has ever done that before.

The Kickstarter was also a success due to what I metaphorically described on this blog as Unicorns and Cocaine. You can read up on the actual project here! Now that the Kickstarter is funded, everything else is rolling along.


This coming weekend, we’re recording the show live at the Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis. It will feature an opening act by Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and RiffTrax. I’ll be doing the comedy show as well as recording a bonus track where I read the name of every person who contributed to the Kickstarter. We’ll also be selling pre-orders of the comedy and music album at the shows!

There are four performances:
Friday, September 27 at 7 pm
Friday, September 28 at 10 pm
Saturday, September 29 at 7 pm
Saturday, September 29 at 10 pm.

The 7 pm shows are almost SOLD OUT, but right now there are still tickets for the 10 pm shows. You can get tickets here. We, of course, want to pack the room for recording the comedy album, so tell your friends. Tell them, “Go pack a room, friends!” You should probably add some context to that sentence, but you know what I mean.

The comedy and music album will be completed and sent out to Kickstarter backers in late October. The album will be officially released to the rest of the world in November. Here are updates on the progress!


Songs are pouring in from all the musicians for the music album half of Flaw Fest. You’ll be hearing a ballad called “Bond’s Bad Day” by Bill Corbett, a kick-ass rock song called “Wife Head” by John Munson, an ode to how f’ing awesome eggs are by The Doubleclicks, and many more.

Here’s a photo of me working on some high-end music stuff in Kevin Murphy’s studio.

photo (13)


Here’s a nice article from l’etoile magazine about the whole Flaw Fest project.

And here’s another in-depth interview about the whole project from The City Pages.

And a nice discussion of the show on The Current’s Weekend Arts Round-Up.

More press coming out this week!


My pal and awesome photographer Craig Van Der Schaegen took a whole slew of new photos for the Flaw Fest album artwork.

Here’s a sneak peek.


More flawed updates as they come in!

Many thanks for all your interest and support!

Your flawed friend,


Filed under Comedy Real Life

DRAGON CON 2013: Obsessed Ep 34

Greg Benson of Mediocre Films, Ken Plume of A Site Called Fred, and Bill Corbett of RiffTrax join Joseph Scrimshaw and co-host Molly Lewis live at the 2013 Dragon Con for a rousing discussion of their respective obsessions: Jimmy Stewart, The Muppets, and the obscure movie Billy Jack. Topics include but are not limited to zombie Jimmy Stewart, intense hatred of Gary The Muppet, the value of karate in a young boy’s life, and many improv scenes of Jimmy Stewart eating things. Plus the Obsessed theme song is played live by Molly Lewis!

AWOOGA! Obsessed is now a part of Feral Audio! Go to Feral now to listen to this episode and subscribe for new ones!

Listen, rate, review, and subscribe to OBSESSED on iTunes.

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Filed under Obsessed, Podcast

Memoirs of a Copy Consultant

I’ve never written anything about 9/11. In general, I don’t write about tragedies.

I once did some comedy about the destruction of the Columbia Space Shuttle. But it wasn’t really about the Columbia Space Shuttle. It was about CNN trying to milk as many ratings out of the tragedy as possible. They kept playing clips of people in Texas reacting to the explosion and crash. It was a parade of people describing the sound, how their dog reacted, how quickly they picked up their rifle, etc. I criticized CNN saying, “It’s not even news anymore, it’s just an endless documentary on how Texans react to loud noises.”

I think it’s still a fair criticism of CNN’s journalistic standards, but I also think there’s something humanizing about reflecting not just on tragedy but our reactions to it.

As 9/11 recedes farther into the past, the general reaction from our society seems to be “Never Forget.” Or if you spend a lot of time on social media, #NeverForget. I think “never forget” comes off as a cursory, vaguely ominous way to memorialize a tragedy, but every year I do actually remember where I was and what I was doing that day.

I was a Copy Consultant at Kinko’s Copy Center in the IDS building–one of Minneapolis’ oldest and most iconic skyscrapers. I had always hated the term “Copy Consultant.” It was such clear bullshit. Like we took rich people out to lunch, drank some martinis, and discussed how their decision to print a flyer for their garage sale on B3 (Cosmic Orange) might affect their grandchildren’s future. Calling that guy who works at Kinko’s a “Copy Consultant” was like calling a boxer a “Face Crushing Analyst” or a plumber a “Fecal Solution Expert.” Trying to make it sound better just made it sound worse.

About a year before 9/11, Kinko’s made all the Copy Consultants wear identical blue aprons emblazoned with the slogan “Express Yourself.” Yes, nothing says “Express Yourself” like being forced by a giant corporation to wear the exact same thing as all the other employees.

If you’ve ever been to a Kinko’s, you probably have a Kinko’s horror story. Here’s one of the reasons Kinko’s employees are surly: working at Kinko’s is like being a chef at a restaurant where all of the diners can see into the kitchen, yell at you to cook their food first, call you names, and threaten to save up some money to buy a gun and come back later to kill you. That last one is a true story.

As ridiculous and inconsequential as making copies sounds, it was a high pressure place to work.

On the day of this horrible tragedy, I was not just any Copy Consultant. I was the Assistant Manager.

We had a television playing CNN strategically placed where all the angry business people stood in line waiting to yell at us about printing some copies of their Quark file off their Jaz Drive.

All of the customers and Copy Consultants stopped making and/or yelling about copies and watched the surreal acceleration of events from horrible plane accident to well-organized attack to paranoia that every tall building in every city was a target.

I got calls from family and friends telling me to get out of the IDS Center immediately. Then I got a call from the IDS security saying they were considering closing the building. Then I got a call from my boss’ boss’ boss. I can’t remember his title. He was the “Count My Money While You Sad Bastards Make Copies and Get Death Threats Consultant.”

I had worked at that Kinko’s for two and a half years. As an Assistant Manager, I had closed the store once for Christmas Day. Even then, I considered staying in the building because we were behind on all the copies we were supposed to be making. Kinko’s didn’t close like Sea Captains never abandon their ships.

So I was shocked when the big boss asked me if I could please close the store immediately. So I did. And everyone was impressed that I knew where the keys were and how the doors were supposed to lock. At the time, closing a Kinko’s was like magic–arcane knowledge that only a few knew and most didn’t really believe existed at all.

I drove to a suburb and dropped off all our store’s work at another store. I felt helpless and struggled to find something normal to do. I stopped at a toy store and looked at Star Wars action figures. That seemed insipid and I felt guilty. I went home. I contacted friends in New York and Washington DC on a dial-up modem. I stared at CNN.

When I think about that day one of the things I remember is this: I believe it was the only day I ever worked at Kinko’s IDS in which no one–not customers, employees, big bosses, or myself–was a dick to one another. It was one of the few times I thought, “Wow. We did a really good job of expressing ourselves today.”

Strangely, I often forget a far more relevant memory. A few weeks later an FBI agent came into Kinko’s IDS and asked to talk to the manager on duty. I took him back to the manager’s office. In my mind, an FBI agent was Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks or Scully from the X-Files. A sharp mind with a kind soul, a black suit, and a gun.

This was a real FBI agent. A tired guy in a dumpy suit sitting in the back office of a Kinko’s armed with a notepad, a pen, and a ketchup stain on his shirt.

He sighed before he even started asking me questions. Like he needed to wind up before he could deal with another fruitless conversation. He told me that the FBI believed some of the terrorists involved with 9/11 had used computers at one or many Kinko’s locations in Minneapolis to communicate before the attacks.

He asked me if I or any of my workers had helped anyone suspicious.

At the time, the way a Copy Consultant had to log every single customer into the rental computers was with a password that changed daily.

Every customer ever hated this. They didn’t understand why they couldn’t just be told the password and enter it themselves instead of being treated like a child and having the Copy Consultant lean over them and enter the code.

So the question from the FBI, the question that made this tragedy relate directly to me, the question in which I could do something positive, was this: Do you remember anyone seeming violent or angry while logging them on to a rental computer?

And my answer was: Yes. Every person I’ve logged on to a rental computer in the last three years.

He gave me his card and I promised to call if anyone remembered anything.

It’s strange to me that I often forget this event. That I’ve never written or talked about it. It’s possible that I signed one of the terrorists onto a computer. If I did, at the time, it was a simple human interaction. The kind I had every day.

We don’t forget the tragedies. We don’t forget the horrible explosions. We forget the small human interactions.

Remembering every little detail of where you were and what you were doing on a given day seems like an odd, sometimes self-involved way to reflect on a tragedy. But it does remind me of how much I do forget. How many little human interactions that I don’t or can’t remember. There just isn’t enough room on my brain’s Jaz drive.

I have nothing new or particularly special to say about the tragedy itself or all the huge ripples and big dramatic events that it precipitated. I also have a ton of work to do today and probably shouldn’t be taking the time to write this. But for some reason, today, it just seemed worthwhile to remember and share the little human interactions. To remember not only what I was doing that day, but how much life has changed since.

I no longer work at Kinko’s. I find it much easier to express myself as a comedian and a writer than I did as a Copy Consultant.

A final note on Kinko’s. The company has since been bought out and what we once knew as Kinko’s is now called FedExOffice. But everyone still calls it Kinko’s. This makes me happy. It feels like if Satan himself came to this mortal plane and said, “Look. I know I’m clearly Satan. I’ve got horns and a pitchfork and everything, but could you guys all just call me Steve? It’s a rebranding thing.”

And we all said, “Sure, Steve.” And the “Steve” was just dripping with sarcasm because of course we’re not going to call you Steve. You’re Satan and we all know it. Just like we know FedExOffice is Kinko’s. A wretched hive of surly underpaid workers and stressed out angry customers who just want to get a damn copy made.

That is a place we all know. A place of a million little human interactions. That place is called Kinko’s.

And we will never forget.


Filed under Comedy Real Life

A Man and His Fake TV Show Tweets

For the past several months I’ve been doing a series of daily tweets. First tacos, then monkeys, then daily affirmations, then daily etiquette tips, then incorrect quotes, and now fake TV shows. Enjoy!

You can also follow me on Twitter to enjoy September’s series of Daily Horoscope Tweets.

Day One – Whatever, Ghosts: Four attractive, lazy twentysomethings can see ghosts but don’t really care or do anything about it.

Day Two – Crime Sandwich: A cranky but brilliant manager of an Arby’s teams up with a hot FBI guy to solve fast food based murders.

Day Three – The Potfather: An old pot dealer tries to get out of the game, man, but people keep pulling him back in and shit.

Day Four – Daleks: In this Doctor Who spin-off, we see the Daleks on their home world, Skaro. All they do is post YouTube comments

Day Five – Let’s Make Noises About Movies: Two frustrated movie critics make exasperated noises about hot new blockbusters.

Day Six – Clown Hoarders: This is just like the show Hoarders, but all the hoarders are dressed like clowns.

Day Seven – Big Dumb Idiot Heads: A reality show in which we watch executives cancel good TV shows, then get mauled by a bear.

Day Eight – That’s So NSA: Two wacky government analysts read people’s funniest private messages with zany graphics and sound effects.

Day Nine – The Vampire Whatever: It’s a show with vampires. Maybe werewolves. A lot of sad, topless guys. Whatever. You’ll watch it.

Day Ten – Cop Doctors: A show about surgeons who operate solely on cops. Usually old ones who were about to retire.

Day Eleven – Game of Ponies: An animated show for the whole family. Full of sex, death, intrigue, ponies, and absolutely no swear words.

Day Twelve – The Void: A talk show with chatty hosts who just shut up and stare off into space for a while. Also, recipes and gossip.

Day Thirteen – Friend Makers: A reality show in which the only goal is to make friends. The spin-off show is called The Saddest Loser.

Day Fourteen – Literally Punk’d: A hidden camera show that is literally just people freaking out over the misuse of the word “literally.”

Day Fifteen – Cop & Furry: She’s a tough as nails cop. He enjoys dressing as a soft, fuzzy animal. This will only last two episodes.

Day Sixteen – The Vicar of Murder Village: A wise old vicar solves at least one murder a day in this quaint show about rural England.

Day Seventeen – America’s Top Frozen Pizza Chef: A reality show that asks the question, “Who is the best at something that takes no skill?”

Day Eighteen – Inside the Actor’s Dressing Room: James Lipton breaks into actors’ private spaces to ask stars about their favorite noises.

Day Nineteen – You Look Like Shit: A grim yet surreal HBO crime drama. The only dialogue said by any character is “You look like shit.”

Day Twenty – Donkey Friends: This is a remake of the hit sitcom Friends reshot entirely with donkeys as the main characters.

Day Twenty-One – Quiet Dignity: A nature show. David Attenborough narrates the sex lives of human couples who have been married a long time.

Day Twenty-Two – Man Men: A show based on a common typo for the show Mad Men. Mostly shots of dudes eating steaks while driving muscle cars.

Day Twenty-Three – Profilers: An original Netflix dramedy about a couple torn apart by signing into one another’s Netflix profiles.

Day Twenty-Four – The Bourne Diaries: Jason Bourne writes in his feelings journal, occasionally kills a guy with a handmade paper bookmark.

Day Twenty-Five – Ken Burns’ Documentary: Tender, moving photos of photos used in other documentaries. Narrators read historical narration.

Day Twenty-Six – SharkButt: An original SyFy drama about a lonely shark whose face looks like a butt. You’ll laugh until you die.

Day Twenty-Seven – Crystal High: A down on his luck meth dealer accepts a job as a high school chemistry teacher. Hilarity/violence ensues.

Day Twenty-Eight – Twerk Train: A dance show sort of like Soul Train, but not really.

Day Twenty-Nine – What’s Up, Warden? A sitcom about wacky antics at a high security federal prison. Uses a laugh track. Lots of shanking.

Day Thirty – Phone Lookers: A hip comedy about young, sexy roommates who never talk or have sex because they’re looking at their phones.

Day Thirty-One – The Ironic Hipster Comedy Hour: No one’s ever seen this. The air date’s not advertised, you just have to know when it’s on.

Your friend in Netflix watching,


If you enjoy my work, you can sign up for my fan list here and make more comedy possible by buying a book, a comedy album, or a script here.


Filed under Daily Tweet Collection