Storyteller and wordsmith Phillip Andrew Bennett Low is obsessed with the life, the work, and the general style of J.R.R. Tolkien. Thrill to such discussion topics as: What’s with all the talk about trees? Would J.R.R. Tolkien be good at comedy improvisation? Is Phillip a Gollum or a Smeagol? PLUS a slightly off-topic pedantic debate about fantasy elements within Game of Thrones!
Monthly Archives: June 2014
This weekend, I’m headed back to Minneapolis for my “home convention” CONvergence. I’ll be doing a bunch of comedy panels, an episode of my podcast Obsessed, and a new stand-up show called FUTURE HOLE. You can find my whole schedule here or below.
When I think of CONvergence, I sometimes think of this photo which I call “WORST DALEK INVASION EVER.”
This photo wasn’t even taken at CONvergence, but it sums up a lot of what I love about the convention. It’s got Daleks, absurdity, a sense of excitement, perhaps alcohol was involved, and most importantly it’s a great big party with a sense of humor about it.
I’ve been involved with CONvergence for a long time. Recently, when I moved to Los Angeles, I found this old photo from an early performance on mainstage. It’s from a sketch called POWER OF THE FUNNY in which Jedi Knights had rubber chickens for lightsabers. See above, re: absurdity.
The sketch was a parody of Star Wars which recast Jedi as vaudevillians and Sith as crass stand-up comedians. “Master Yoda,” Luke asked. “Are dick and butt jokes more powerful?”
“No,” responded Yoda. “Quicker, easier, more seductive.”
Years later, I don’t have the same chip on my shoulder about stand-up. I’ve happily turned to the dark side and take pride in trying to create (hopefully) intelligent, fun, pro-social dick and butt jokes.
Last year, I did a stand-up show about superheroes which included the made-up character Professor Ass Lightning. The next day someone dressed up as the character and another awesome person named Stephanie Brown gave me this drawing of the character.
Ass jokes for the win!
This year I’ll be doing a brand new stand-up comedy show called FUTURE HOLE. It’s a show about where we are and where we’re going. Topics include but are not limited to Netflix, jet packs, Benedict Cumberbatch, autocorrect, gender equality, and butts. It’s Friday at 7 pm on Mainstage. I’ll be recording the show for possible release as an album. I HOPE I GET MORE DRAWINGS!
I’m also recording a live episode of my comedy podcast OBSESSED. The topic is a super-important but often overlooked geek obsession–CATS. The animal, not the musical. My cat obsessed guests are Tim Wick and Rebecca Watson.
If you’re a fan of my book Comedy of Doom and my Patreon comedy blog posts on this very site, I’ll be doing a a reading and playing a quick round of my made-up nerd-friendly sport, Competitive Hugging.
I’ll be doing a signing on Sunday afternoon. I’ll have copies of my book Comedy of Doom and my comedy albums, Verbing the Noun and Flaw Fest. PLUS a very few flasks with my squirrel coat of arms.
While I’m in Minneapolis, I’ll also be doing Rebecca Watson’s Quiz-O-Tron at my ancestral comedy home of Bryant-Lake Bowl on Wednesday, July 2nd! Info and tickets are available here!
The rest of my time at the convention will be spent doing more comedy panels, sleeping, drinking, or all three of those things at the same time.
Full schedule here and below as well.
Thanks! My comedy Dalek plunger and rubber chicken lightsaber look forward to seeing you at CONvergence!
FULL CONVERGENCE SCHEDULE:
Thursday, July 3rd
8:30 pm – Smackdown: A heated, comedy debate about which magic-using character would win in a fight
Friday, July 4th
2 pm – Power Point Karaoke: Joseph is one of the presenters for this Power Point Presentation Smackdown!
3:30 pm – One on One with Amy Berg: Joseph interviews his pal, CONvergence Guest of Honor, Amy Berg
7 pm – FUTURE HOLE! Joseph’s stand-up comedy show about Netflix, jet packs, swearing, and more!
11:30 pm – Killer B’s Improv Movie Show: Funny Make-Em Ups to horrible B movies!
Saturday, July 5th
3:30 pm – Reading! Joseph reads from his book, his blog, and plays a round of Competitive Hugging!
5 pm – Worst of Harry Potter! Lets bitch about the films AND the books!
8:30 pm – Obsessed: A podcast about CATS with Joseph, Tim Wick, and Rebecca Watson!
10 pm – Drinking With Geeks: Exactly what the title says, but even funnier.
11:30 pm – Hypothetical Who: Joseph is a contestant in Paul Cornell’s brutal Doctor Who trivia show!
Sunday, July 6th
12:30 pm – Signing: Joseph signs and sells his book, comedy albums, and a FLASK!
For the last year, I’ve been obsessed with seeing someone dressed as Batman eating a taco at a convention. It still hasn’t happened and I need catharsis so I wrote this story. You can catch up on Part One here. After a week of collecting your votes on the internet about Batman’s taco preference, the truth can be revealed. It was very close between soft shell and hard shell, but only one could win. Enjoy!
I’m in my element. Smoke swirls around me. The night is alive with moans of pain and wailing sirens.
This is usually in an alley or an insane asylum, though.
Now I’m behind the counter at Taco Bell.
“Soft shell or hard shell?” I ask myself. Only time for one.
Soft shell makes the most sense. It’s stealthy. A soft taco will slip down my throat with the silence and elegance befitting a creature of the night. A soft taco is a taco of the shadows.
My gloved hand reaches out, but something stops me. Something deep in my gut. The darkness inside growls and screams. It squeaks for HARD SHELL.
It’s true. I lurk in the shadows. But only so I can emerge punching, kicking, and CRUNCHING.
I grab four hard shell tacos. Two in each hand. I shove all four into my gaping maw and bring my teeth down hard. The tacos shatter. One of the jagged Dorito shells cuts into the roof of my mouth like a Cool Ranch flavored razor.
I don’t even care. Alfred can stitch me up later.
I munch ferociously. For some reason the word “sublimating” pops into my head. I can already hear Alfred mumbling as he cleans my battle and taco wounds.
“Blah, blah, eating your feelings,” Alfred will say in his super-judgey British accent.
He’ll be right. I am totes eating my feelings. Every flavor is an explosion of emotion. The lettuce is my weakness, letting my parents die right in front of me. The cheese is exciting yet processed and reminds me of my training. The sour cream is my passion. My need for justice. But the beef. The beef is my soul. Mysterious and tangy. Not entirely natural or healthy, but what are you going to do?
I am the beef. I am the night. I am Batman. And I just ate four tacos in thirty seven seconds.
I’m very happy Robin wasn’t here to Instagram this.
A chorus of nervous voices suddenly cry out, “FREEZE!”
The cops are here. They’re young and scared. I can hear their pulses pounding, the distinctive menacing click as they take the safety off on their little pistols.
They’ve been here for a few seconds. Watching me bent over something or someone, listening to the grotesque pops and crunches of the taco shells. They assume those sounds were the breaking bones of criminal scum.
I briefly consider trying to talk it out. “No, it’s cool,” I would bellow. “It’s just me, Batman. I was rage eating hard shell tacos so we’re all cool.”
I knew I was taking a risk. Letting my guard down. This is why the Batman can’t have nice things.
I need to escape quickly, but I can’t hurt the cops.
Well, I can’t hurt them TOO MUCH.
I grab two fistfuls of soft tacos and hurl them at the cops’ feet. They step on the greasy soft shells and slip, their little pistols firing into the ceiling as if to scream, “I LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT!”
A grizzled vet deftly side-steps the soft tacopaclypse. He’s dealt with soft shells before. He takes his time to get a bead on me as I dash toward the drive-thru window.
His finger dances on the trigger. I roll and grab a shard of broken hard shell from the floor. I spring up. The taco shard flies from my hand. It’s an extension of me now. It’s a soldier.
The deadly Dorito chunk lodges in the cop’s throat. Not in an artery or anything. I’m not an asshole. I’m Batman. The taco shell won’t kill him, but the shame might.
He says something witty like, “Hurrgggurburrrgllll!” and collapses. Pretty over-dramatic, grizzled vet.
I pick up a packet of hot sauce. The cops assume it’s a weapon. Anything can be a weapon if you’re scary enough.
I lob it at their feet like it’s a grenade. They scream. I smile.
I shatter the drive-thru window with one kick. I force myself through the tiny window. I don’t look cool doing that, but no one’s looking now. The cops are too busy unloading a merciless hail of bullets into a packet of hot sauce.
I leap into the safety of the batmobile. The engine roars and I speed away. I look in the mirror and watch the war-torn Taco Bell disappear into the darkness.
I feel something strange. My stomach gurgles with…satisfaction. A deep, dark need has been met.
But something inside me still growls. I will always be hungry. I will always be angry.
I will always be hangry for justice.
I am darkness. I am the night. I am full of processed beef.
I’m Batman and I like tacos. Shut up.
Thanks for reading and voting! For more Batman fun, check out this video. Also, if you enjoyed the story, you can make more ridiculous shit like this possible by supporting me on Patreon! Very close to unlocking the Holiday Comedy album which will include a live performance of Batman on Jingle Bells. Thanks!
Last year when I went to San Diego Comic-Con I tweeted that I hoped to see someone dressed as Batman eating a taco. A simple joke that has become an all-consuming OBSESSION. Convention after convention, I failed to see a Batman in the wild eating a taco so eventually Steve Petrucelli and Sarah Boyle set up an awesome staged photo. The very talented artist Jade Gordon made me the lovely painting below. And now, I’ve decided to write a piece of fan fiction that, let’s be honest, borders on Batman/taco slash fiction. One of the unlocked goals of my Patreon project is writing stories with cliffhangers. I’ll leave the hero dangling and your votes will determine the outcome! Please enjoy “Batman Eats a Taco: Part One.” For maximum enjoyment, read aloud in your deepest, throat-bleedingest Batman voice!
I am Batman.
I am vengeance. I am the night. I am hangry.
I know, I know. Hangry is a stupid word and normally I would karate chop you in the throat if you were even thinking about infantilizing the English language like that, but, dammit, it’s the perfect word for how I feel.
When I first heard Robin say the word “hangry,” I was mystified. But I am the world’s greatest detective, so after running the word through the Bat-Computer, I determined it’s a portmanteau of hungry and angry.
“Damn,” I said softly to myself. “Hungry + Angry = Batman. That’s me. I’m Batman.”
I am a brooding creature of the night motivated by a compulsive need for vengeance. I am always angry.
I’m also hungry a lot because I’m always exercising. I hang upside down from stone gargoyles. That is a huge abs workout. I swing from rooftops, I martial arts ALL THE TIME, I burn calories just from clenching my jaw SO SUPER HARD.
But I’m always working so I don’t have a lot of time to snack. And I can’t be seen eating in public. I need to strike terror in the hearts of criminals. I can’t emerge from the shadows sucking on an Orange Julius. That just makes me look like a constipated a-hole. I have an image to maintain.
It’s not fair. Other heroes can eat all the time. Superman can fly over the White House deep throating a hot dog and everyone just shouts “Woo! ‘Merica!” Aquaman can telepathically boss fish around. He can tell shrimp to swim into his face. No one cares. What happens in the ocean, stays in the ocean. Wonder Woman looks strong and elegant no matter what she does. I saw her going to town on an Arby’s Roast Beef N’ Cheddar once and wanted to sculpt a statue of it.
But can Batman get his eat on? No. But that changes. Tonight. Right now.
There’s a new psychotic villain in Gotham obsessed with fast food restaurants. He was deeply disfigured when he fell into an industrial sized vat of pink slime. It turned his whole body bright red. He dresses up as an angry cow and shoots people with milk guns. Calls himself DEATH COW. Very hard to take him seriously.
BUT word on the street says he’s knocking over the Taco Bell on 4th street tonight.
I’m hanging upside down from a stone gargoyle outside this surprisingly gothic Taco Bell. There he is now. The DEATH COW. Waving his milk guns around like an idiot! My soul growls for justice and my stomach growls for Mexican food.
I swing through the glass window, shattering the ad for the Cool Ranch Doritos Taco Loco. I quickly take out DEATH COW’s low-rent goons. A jab to a kidney. An elbow to a nose. A roundhouse kick to a clavicle. I throw a batarang through another one’s nose ring, pin him to the wall, and smash him over the head with a straw dispenser. I AM SO HANGRY!
DEATH COW whirls toward me, mooing in fury. He sprays acid milk at me. I roll out of the way. It looks cool. I grab him by his stupid udders and throw him head first into the soda machine. I smile as his world explodes into a dark reality of pain and Diet Mountain Dew.
I turn toward the pimply-faced Taco Bell employees. They cower in fear. I don’t care. I don’t want their appreciation. I want their tacos.
I throw down several bat-smoke pellets. The Taco Bell punks cough and cover their pot-smoking bloodshot eyes.
I leap over the counter, my cape billowing. It looks really cool.
There they are. Waiting for me. Tacos. Tens of them.
The smoke is already clearing. I can hear the sirens in the distance. I have only seconds for the most important decision I’ve made in years.
“Soft shell or hard shell?” I mumble desperately.
“SOFT SHELL OR HARD SHELL??” I scream into the night.
I wait for the darkness to answer.
TO BE CONTINUED!
Will Batman get his taco? Will he be caught in the act? Is his love of violence really morally justifiable? Will he choose soft shell or hard shell? Readers decided by tweeting me their votes! To see their conclusion, read the exciting conclusion here! Also, if you enjoyed the story, you can make more ridiculous shit like this possible by supporting me on Patreon! Thanks!
Producer, writer, and comedy person Kim Evey, producer of The Guild and Geek & Sundry, has an obsession with FEAR. In particular, thinking about how people overcome it. Dig deep into such fun phobias as public speaking, snake touching, falling rocks, spousal gas, social rejection, scary head projections, and talking about fear on podcasts! PLUS Joseph compares Adam Sandler to Hitler then feels bad about it.
Last February, I joined Patreon. Patreon is a funny sounding word. It sounds like the spell Harry Potter would use to summon tequila.
I like the idea of magically summoning liquor, but I like the reality of Patreon even more.
If you’re not familiar with it, Patreon is a crowdfunding site that fully embraces the idea of artists surviving on their art. Patrons pledge a specified dollar amount (anywhere from $1 to a gajillion, but $1 is great) per thing the artist creates. I’ve been writing comedy blog posts. I’ve been writing two a month so if you pledge $1 per post, $2 quietly slips out of your bank account every month. Accio Living Funds!
I love Kickstarter. It’s made it possible for me to publish a book and a comedy album, but Kickstarter’s project based model makes it difficult to get to that next step. Patreon is old school patronage that directly helps artist pay for food, rent, and sometimes even tequila for your revisionist Harry Potter parody film.
Patreon and the kind support of my patrons have been a huge help to me as I made the transition from Minneapolis to Los Angeles–both financially and artistically.
I decided to produce comedy blogs on Patreon to encourage myself to do more writing. I’ve been using a lot of the blogs as starting points for my live comedy shows. And I’ve been making money while doing it. One stone. SO MANY DEAD BIRDS. Sorry, metaphorical birds.
Patrons also get rewards like custom poems, suggesting blog topics, and even pint glasses with my coat of arms designed by the very talented Natalie Metzger.
The downside is that since Patreon is ongoing, you don’t have the last minute rush of a campaign ending like you do with Kickstarter. Instead you can set up goals. I’ve unlocked a few. This month, I’m going to write a two part story and readers will get to vote on the conclusion. I’m going to perform some stand-up dressed as a squirrel and release it on YouTube. (Most likely I’ll be doing that at this show in Los Angeles.)
My next goal is to record a holiday comedy album. I’ve got a lot of holiday themed pieces I’d love to record with a live audience–Batman’s Jingle Bells issues, the Super Aggressive Holiday Letter, and new stuff. I’ve always wanted to do a holiday album, but I’m not a musician. Then I said out loud to myself, “Why should they have all the fun?”
We’re about $50 in pledges away from unlocking the holiday album. I have a lot of really generous patrons. I would love to find 50 more people to pledge $1 per blog post to get to the holiday album! All patrons will get a free download of the album. If you’re interested and want to help out, you can check out my Patreon here.
Every patron also gets an LOLScrimshaw. I’ve been having great fun with these so I’ll leave you with a few of my favorites. Thanks for reading and for all your support!
Thanks again! For full info, you can check out my Patreon page here!
Singer, songwriter, producer, and all around amazing person Angela Webber of The Doubleclicks has a dual obsession with Tumblr and The Holy Trinity of YouTube–Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart, and Mamrie Hart! Discover how the world would be different without animated gifs, how to ship human beings, and the power of positive drinking! Plus, Angela gives Joseph a great new tagline to advertise his Patreon!
For more than a year I’ve been doing a series of daily tweets. First tacos, then monkeys, then daily affirmations, then daily etiquette tips, then incorrect quotes, then fake TV shows, horoscopes, horror, writing tips, holiday tweets, resolution tweets, Hey Girl tweets, Urban Myth tweets, pastry tweets, and now amusingly boring tweets! This month went a little off the rails. Enjoy!
You can also follow me on Twitter to enjoy June’s series of Social Media tweets!
Day One – I saw a dog
Day Two – Orange Julius still exists
Day Three – Like a lot of people in America, I don’t own a pony
Day Four – Eating food!
Day Five – Jack Bauer has a gun and is often angry
Day Six – It’s still Tuesday
Day Seven – Einstein’s hair was big
Day Eight – Kinko’s has been called FedExOffice for a long time but everyone still calls it Kinko’s
Day Nine – Hot dogs are sometimes made of meats
Day Ten – I read a factual error on the internet and didn’t correct anyone
Day Eleven – I just had a thought I didn’t tweet but then I tweeted about not tweeting
Day Twelve – I’ve thought about James Franco three times today
Day Thirteen – I have 3000 opinions per second about Batman
Day Fourteen – A lot of people remember the 90s
Day Fifteen – Weather exists
Day Sixteen – You can fry eggs in pans or on streets if it’s hot and you want disgusting street eggs
Day Seventeen – Two people you know on twitter are talking about a TV show
Day Eighteen – I saw a Prius
Day Nineteen – Here Are Twenty Seven Fairly Normal Things. The Fifth One Will Make You Shrug Or Nod Maybe
Day Twenty – Someone posted a picture of a baby on Facebook
Day Twenty-One – I just saw a guy do a thing
Day Twenty-Two – Hugh Jackman plays Wolverine but he can also sing and dance and not kill people
Day Twenty-Three – I ate a burrito in 1997
Day Twenty-Four – This one time, I wasted my entire life looking at the Internet
Day Twenty-Five – Coca-cola is a drink made of sugar and acid that is sometimes advertised by polar bears
Day Twenty-Six – This one time I used my smartphone to call someone
Day Twenty-Seven – Charlie Brown has a dog and existential dread
Day Twenty-Eight – I just refreshed twitter 3000 times but I still don’t feel whole as a person
Day Twenty-Nine – Most pizza already has sauce on it but it also comes with dipping sauce people really like sauce
Day Thirty – Let’s do a kickstarter to make a sarcastic thing!
Day Thirty-One – I’ve put commas in weird places you, guys
Yours in existential boredom,
If you enjoy my work, you can check out all the comedy words and things I’m making via Patreon.