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What did you do in 2015, Joseph, what did you do?

Thngs I Did in 2015

Every year I post a bunch of stuff I did that year. I do this because no matter how much work I do, I beat myself up that I haven’t accomplished enough.

At the beginning of 2015, I made a list of 9 concrete goals. I only accomplished 2 of them. My instinct is to feel real, real bad about that and beat myself up. But then I look at this list of all the cool things I’ve been lucky enough to do and all the amazing humans I get to be around.

For 2016, I think I’ll make another list of goals. One of them will be TREAT YOURSELF NICE, ASSHOLE.

Anyway, here’s some fun stuff I did in 2015. WARNING: Includes deep gazes at my navel and a multitude of links to podcasts, albums, videos, blogs, and more!

RIFFTRAX!

I was thrilled to become an official contributing writer for RiffTrax! If you’re not familiar with RiffTrax, check out one of the movies I wrote jokes for: The truly bizarre Nintendo commerical/trainwreck that is The Wizard!

TABLETOP!

I appeared on Geek & Sundry’s awesome tabletop gaming show playing the game CONCEPT with my friend Wil Wheaton and YouTube superstars, Rhett and Link. It was a super fun collaborative game where I mostly had to battle my own SHAME.

OBSESSED ON FERAL AUDIO!

My comedy podcast Obsessed got picked up by the awesome podcast collective, Feral Audio! Feral is run by Dustin Marshall who works tirelessly at making Feral great and also has a very impressive Instagram account. Some of my favorite episodes since joining Feral include Matt Gourley on Quicksand, James Urbaniak on Actors, and a live episode about Game of Thrones with Tim Wick and Rebecca Watson. I’ve got a lot of plans for Obsessed in 2016, so follow us on Feral or you can subscribe on iTunes here!

JEDI ALLIANCE and FORCE CENTER!

I started a totally unplanned new part of my career: Star Wars Talking Guy. My friend Ken Napzok invited me to be a guest on his YouTube show/podcast Jedi Alliance. It was great fun so I kept doing guest appearances, then Ken left the show due to his new job as a producer for Screen Junkies so I started co-hosting Jedi Alliance with Mark Donica. BUT THAT WASN’T ENOUGH TALKING ABOUT STAR WARS. Ken and I missed working together so we started The Force Center podcast. Last week, the TFA review/discussion episodes of both shows were in the top 50 of iTunes TV & Film category. You can check out Jedi Alliance here and Force Center here. A huge thanks to Ken for introducing me to a ton of new friends, fans, opportunities, and giving me an excuse to buy Star Wars toys and write them off on my taxes.

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OTHER COOL PODCASTS!

I got to be a guest on a bunch of cool podcasts including, but not limited to, Maximum Fun’s Jordan Jesse Go, Bryan Cook and Nerdist’s Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction (performing a filthy story about Harry Potter), I had strong Doctor Who opinions with Geek Girl Authority and Dave Foley, I fought on Screen Junkies Plus’ TV Fights (you can watch with a free trial subscription), and I did five episodes of deep Return of the Jedi analysis with my friends at Star Wars Minute.

TOURING WITH THE DOUBLECLICKS and MOLLY LEWIS!

I did two #NerdNightOut tours with The Doubleclicks. We did one on the West Coast in the Spring and one on the East Coast in the Fall. Molly Lewis was a guest for some of the West Coast shows and with us the whole time for the East Coast tour. We all worked together creatively on putting together a weird, geek comedy/music/variety show, but The Doubleclicks did the lion’s share of making the tours happen and I’m extremely grateful. The shows couldn’t have possibly been more rewarding and Angela, Aubrey, and Molly are all awesome humans that I’m thrilled to be friends with.

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COMEDY DREAM TIME!

I’ve done a bunch of guest bits in various stand-up and comedy shows in LA, but I spent most of my energy on my own monthly show called Comedy Dream Time. The idea of the show is I ask people to give me a character they’ve always wanted to play and I write a sketch for them. Phil LaMarr played an 80s super cop, Matthew Mercer played a He-Man knockoff, Superego’s Jeremy Carter played Indiana Jones (you can read that sketch here), and a ton more. We also had lots of great comedians and special thanks to Allie Goertz and Ariana Lenarsky who both closed the shows with improvised songs based on audience suggestions.

BIG OL’ POP CULTURE CONVENTIONS!

I did a bunch of performing at conventions this year. I was a guest or performer at CONvergence in Minnesota, Dragon Con in Atlanta, Comikaze in Los Angeles, Wizard World in Las Vegas, the BAMF festival at San Diego Comic-Con, and more. I was also thrilled to perform at a Doctor Who convention called CONsole Room and get a chance to interview the 6th Doctor, Colin Baker.

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REBEL SCUM and IT’S A VERY HOLIDAY THING!

I recorded and released two comedy albums. The first, Rebel Scum, is about Star Wars and social justice. It was recorded live at CONvergence in July and then we got it all edited, mixed, mastered, and produced in time for me to bring on tour in September. The second album is a short collection of holiday bits featuring music by Tony Thaxton and Marc Doty. It’s called A Very Holiday Thing. Both albums are available on bandcamp here. I put “releasing two albums” in the category of things I need to remind myself about when I feel like I’m being too lazy.

RebelScum

PAID OFF MY STUDENT LOANS!

On my birthday, August 17th, I paid off my student loans. I paid a lot of money (and interest) to get my liberal arts degree so allow me to say I enjoyed this crepuscular moment of my loans, however it was a Pyrrhic victory as I still have copious sundry debts. That said, I asked my wife to take this celebratory and symbolic photo right after I hit send on the last payment.

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PATREON and BLOGS!

I continue to be extremely lucky to have fans and friends supporting me on Patreon. As an independent creative type, it’s amazing to have a steady, monthly source of income. My Patreon makes it possible for me to keep putting out episodes of Obsessed and writing a monthly comedy blog post. One of my favorite blog posts this year was Underwear That’s Fun To Wear in which I modeled some adult underwear.

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WTFark – RIP!

I haven’t even been in LA for two full years and already my favorite bar is gone and a couple of awesome shows have gone on to that great internet in the sky. My friend Mike Rylander hosted this awesome weird news show, WTFark, for OraTV. When Mike was away, I got to write and host some episodes. Here’s one of my favorites about a shipping company that made a billboard that was just a giant cat head you can pet. Thanks and, sadly, goodbye, WTFark!

SOCIAL MEDIA!

As always, I spent an insane amount of time on social media. On twitter, I passed 10K followers largely because of this one insanely popular tweet.

I also spent a bunch of time on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, five seconds on Periscope, and on tour Molly Lewis taught me to use Snapchat. Look upon my snaps ye mighty and despair.

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You can find me on any social media by searching my clever username: Joseph Scrimshaw.

TV AND MOVIES!

While I did not write or star in any, I sure watched the hell out of them. To name a few, I enjoyed the hell out of Peter Capaldi on Doctor Who, Arrow, The Flash, Don Draper doing yoga, Jessica Jones, and I binge watched all of The Walking Dead in two weeks and spent the next week thinking about the best place in Los Angeles to survive a zombie apocalypse. (Hint: It’s the Dunkin’ Donuts that just opened by my home.) Most importantly, I saw The Force Awakens four times and I have tickets for another showing in the new year. If you have some concerns about the movie, I even wrote a blog post to try to help you out.

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THE FUTURE!

I haven’t done the future yet, but I’m going to. As I write this, I’m working on my final hurrah of 2015–a big New Year’s Eve show with my pal, Hal Lublin. I’ve got a lot of fun stuff coming up in 2016 including being a guest of honor at CONvergence, doing an hour long stand-up show about Doctor Who at Gallifrey One, more stand-up shows in Los Angeles, more podcasts, recording another comedy album, and of course, lots of selfies of me drinking something.

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Thanks again–
Joseph

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How To Talk To Your Family About The Force Awakens

HowToTalkToYourFamilyAboutTheForceAwakens

WARNING: THIS BLOG CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE MOVIE THAT HAS BROKEN EVERY BOX OFFICE RECORD KNOWN TO HUMANITY SO IF YOU’RE READING THIS AND HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE, THAT’S REALLY WEIRD. LIKE, ALMOST, STATISTICALLY WEIRD, THAT YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE BUT MADE THE CHOICE TO CLICK THE LINK. ANYWAY, THERE ARE SPOILERS.

In these tense holiday times, many sensitive subjects come up when we gather with our families. For example, someone you know–a loved family member even–might say something stupid about Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

Here’s a list of 7 common complaints and how to handle them using your choice of the dark side or the light.

1) “I don’t even get the whole Star Wars thing.”

The Dark Side:
I’m sorry you hate joy. I bet you also dislike music and laughter. Those are both totally overrated, too. Why don’t you write a think piece about how much ice cream doesn’t even really taste that good, jump on your hoverboard, and roll the fuck out?

The Light Side:
I understand Star Wars isn’t for everyone and everyone’s entitled to their subjective opinion. That said, there are reasons it’s hugely popular with millions of people and has been for multiple decades. On its surface, it’s fun. It’s an epic saga about space wizards who cut each other’s arms off with laser swords. That’s just fun. But it’s constructed on deep themes of isolation, longing, free will versus destiny, individual agency in the face of institutionalized oppression, and lots of bad parenting. It speaks to essential challenges of humanity but also the aliens look cool. Go ahead and critique it or dislike it, but, at this point, what is there to not get?

2) “There were too many action scenes in it.”

The Dark Side:
It’s called Star Wars, you dumb moof-milker, not Star Talk About Our Feelings.

The Light Side:
Star Wars was inspired by old Saturday Morning Serials. The movies are designed to be thrilling by having lots of different action scenes. That said, they usually do a great job of not only advancing the plot through the action scenes, but also advancing individual characters’ journeys and relationships. For example, in The Force Awakens, when the rathtars are released, the action serves to strengthen the bond between Finn and Rey. During the First Order’s attack on Maz Kanata’s castle, Finn isn’t just using Luke’s old lightsaber to fight a cool Riot Stormtrooper; he’s making the choice not to run away from his fears. Also, saying there were too many action scenes in a Star Wars movie is like saying there are too many repressed emotions in a Jane Austen movie.

3) “It seemed like a reboot of that first Star Wars movie.”

The Dark Side:
*push glasses up the bridge of your nose with the power of the force*
The first movie is called A New Hope, asshole.

The Light Side:
Yes, it uses similar thematic elements, but it should. The goal of this film was to honor the old characters and stories while introducing us to new ones. The idea of mashing-up the very old and the very new is at the core of the franchise. It’s ancient hero myths but now there are aliens who look like big stressed-out fish. That’s Star Wars in a nutshell. While The Force Awakens played with our familiarity, it also introduced plenty of new things to the Star Wars galaxy. We’ve never had characters like Rey, Finn, Poe, and BB-8. They are not carbon copies of Luke, Han, Leia, and R2-D2. They are unique, new creations. Besides, Star Wars has always had a deep sense of nostalgia. From the very beginning, Luke wants to be a Jedi to follow in the steps of his father. There’s always been a generational theme. The movies have always been about adventures that happened “a long time ago.” And at this point, that deep connection to the past that was introduced in A New Hope is now an actual connection to our shared cultural experience in real life. We share Finn and Rey’s amazement because Han Solo is a legend we met a long time ago both in the story AND in reality. There’s no way to tell this story that isn’t deeply, deeply nostalgic.

4) “Okay, but why did there have to be another Death Star thing?”

The Dark Side:
It’s called Starkiller Base. Also, come up with a better plot device under the same amount of pressure, then make it the bestselling movie ever. I’ll wait.

The Light Side:
The movie is a big tentpole blockbuster with multiple plates to spin. By all means, say you don’t like those kind of movies, but get used to saying that a lot because those are the movies that exist now and their storytelling needs are different than It’s A Wonderful Life. The Force Awakens is trying to tell a big story about the state of the galaxy, but they couldn’t have too many political scenes or everyone would have yelled at them for doing “that prequel shit.” They also wanted to keep the focus on the interpersonal relationships. The Starkiller Base served a bunch of narrative functions: it wiped out the Senate and the Republic’s fleet by destroying the Hosnian System, created a ticking clock, a specific point of rivalry between Hux and Kylo Ren, and the opportunity for multiple characters to have heroic moments. When you’re already spinning that many plates, why not use something the audience is familiar with and makes sense in universe?

5) “Kylo Ren was too whiny.”

The Dark Side:
Your brain is very small. It’s worth one quarter portion.

The Light Side:
Kylo Ren is a great new Star Wars character–he’s petulant, insecure, and desperate. This is so much more interesting than a confident, monologuing mad man. And yet, we know by how much maintenance his hair must take, that deep inside there is still patience. He still cares. There is still a possibility for redemption.

6) “Han died for no reason.”

The Dark Side:
You didn’t actually watch the movie, did you?

The Light Side:
The movie resets Han’s hero’s journey. We meet him as a washed-up smuggler who is running away from his responsibilities. By the end of the movie, he makes the choice to go back and plant the explosives on the thermal oscillator because, as he says, “the galaxy is depending on us.” That decision opens the hole that Poe Dameron flies through. On top of that, Han has no desire to face his son. He’d rather write him off as gone, having too much Vader in him. But Han makes the brave choice of facing his fears and trying to get through to his son. He could have walked away–instead, Han talks first.

7) “Rey learns to use the Force too fast. She’s kind of a Mary Sue.”

The Dark Side:
If someone says this at dinner, just force throw a plate of ham into this guy’s face. Because it’s probably a guy who said this.

The Light Side:
First, google Mary Sue because you’re probably using it incorrectly. Then, take a good hard look in the mirror and make sure you’re not just upset about a female protagonist. If you haven’t rage quit this blog then we can move on to super nerdy force power discussion. Strap yourselves in.

Yes, Rey develops her abilities in a different way than we’ve seen other Jedi–which is cool–because see above about the mix of the old and the new.

Rey discovers her power step-by-step. Her abilities first “awaken” when she’s piloting the Falcon off of Jakku. She explicitly says to Finn she’s flown before, but she didn’t know how she did it so well.

Next, she fires a blaster. She has a slight look of surprise like she’s aware of her own increased accuracy.

Next, she’s captured by Kylo Ren and his beautiful hair. She discovers she can not only resist his attempts to use the force to read/invade her mind, she can do it back to him. At this point, we know Rey has heard tales of Luke Skywalker and the Jedi. It’s not surprising that she would’ve heard of the old Jedi Mind Trick. Also, Kylo Ren just tried to invade her mind. Then she does what we’ve seen many Jedi do, she concentrates, believes in her ability, and successfully mind tricks Daniel Craig dressed as a stormtrooper thus fulfilling someone’s slash fic bingo card somewhere.

Finally, the big lightsaber battle. It’s not a shock that Rey would be able to call the lightsaber to her, since the lightsaber itself was calling to her at Maz Kanata’s castle. She has a connection to it that Ren apparently doesn’t. Even with that, for the first half of her battle with Ren, Rey is just keeping alive. She’s slashing and running. We know she’s good at that because we’ve seen her do it with her staff back on Jakku. But then Kylo Ren mentions the force and she does exactly what Maz Kanata had told her to do: Close her eyes, let the light in, and it will guide you.

We were told way back in A New Hope by Obi-Wan Kenobi that the force obeys your commands, but it can also guide your actions.

What Rey lacks in training, she makes up in her connection with the force. Also, Kylo Ren is massively wounded, tormented about killing his father, insecure about this new force user, and probably still worried about his hair.

From a certain point of view

So those are a few thoughts you can share with your grumpy aunt, sexist uncle, or hipster cousin over the dinner table about the true power of The Force Awakens.

Just memorize all of this and repeat it verbatim to your family. They will ask you where you read that and then they’ll worry for my sanity.

Because, as Qui-Gon Jinn taught us, our focus determines our reality. So maybe this is a light, funny blog about a space movie. Or a thoughtful analysis of a film with deep themes and emotional resonance. Or the ravings of a crazy guy who saw the same movie four times opening weekend and can’t wait for a Rey action figure that comes with a lightsaber to be released.

All of those things are true from a certain point of view.

Happy holidays and may the force be with you.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoy you can help make more blog posts possible by supporting me on Patreon. You can also check out Ken Napzok and I discussing some of these same issues on our podcast Force Center. Finally, I made a whole album of Star Wars comedy called Rebel Scum that you can listen to with your ears should you choose.

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A POST, REBOOTED

A Post Rebooted

This is the original, classic paragraph of a blog post. The post is about reboots, remakes, and all the re-everythings in modern entertainment. On one hand, I’m fine with reboots. Ghostbusters is a very old movie now. Why not reinvent it for a new generation? Humans often find joy and meaning in passing down tales and myths. On the other hand, studios become frightened to attempt anything new. So they joylessly till the barren soil of your childhood memories until the only thing they haven’t rebooted is your actual youth. Reboots are a gift and a curse.

This is the rebooted version of the original, classic paragraph of a blog post. This edgy, self-aware paragraph is all about reboots, remakes, and it doesn’t have time for a third thing in a list. On one hand, I’m fine with reboots as long as they’re trying hard to be their own thing while also including sly nods to the original. Ghostbusters is ancient now. (Who you gonna call? More like who you gonna text? Demographics!) Why not reinvent the brilliant, original movie for a new, more on fleek, generation? People like stories that get repeated and shit. On the other hand (that’s been removed and replaced with a flaming sword, f yeah), studios are too chickenshit to make new stories. So they just go hardcore nostalgia diving until the only thing they haven’t remade is your actual youth. (That classic line was good so why mess with it?) Reboots aren’t the hero we deserve, but maybe they’re the hero we need.

The third paragraph in the venerable reboot paragraph series knows it needs to shake things up so it took the second, kind-of classic paragraph, put it into Google Translate, turned it into Spanish, and then back into English seven times. In the one hand, I’m fine with reboots, provided they try hard to be his own while including the cunning winks. Ghostbusters is grandfather now. (Who you gonna call? More like you’re gonna finger phone? People are numbers!) Why not reinvent the bright, original movie for a new generation with more flesh? People like stories that are shit repeated. In the other hand (which has been removed and replaced with a hot sword, f positive), the studies are too cowardly to make story originals. So just go diving nostalgia hard until all who have youth are not rebuilt. (Why mess with that line, was classic good?) Restarts are not the hero we deserves, but maybe you’re the hero we need.

This is the fourth rebooted version of the original, classic paragraph of a blog post. This paragraph realizes the third paragraph went too far and wants a nice, simple, family friendly version of that beloved paragraph about reboots, remakes, and more. On one soft hand, reboots are nice. On the other even softer hand, sometimes they’re not. Life is hard, but let’s work together. There’s now a cute child who has made friends with an adorable baby goat at the end of this paragraph.

This is the fifth and FINAL paragraph in this blog post about reboots, remakes, and stuff. This paragraph isn’t even going to be about reboots. It’s just using the general idea for nostalgia purposes. The rest of the paragraph is brand new and we think you’re going to love it because it’s about something we can all relate to. It’s about being young, confused, and looking for your identity. It’s about hope, responsibility, and a dead uncle. This whole paragraph has been about Spider-Man.

Holy shit. People did not like the fifth paragraph and we can’t let it end like that. This is the real final paragraph. Maybe we do need new ideas. Stories that tap deep into our shared human consciousness but approach it from a shockingly fresh perspective. That’s why the rest of this paragraph won’t even be words. It will be a screen capture of emojis. What is the truth of reboots? It’s pretty simple.

REBOOT

Now to sit back and wait for that sweet rebooted emoji money to roll in.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this, you can help make more comedy possible by supporting me on Patreon here!

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Underwear That’s Fun To Wear

UnderwearThatsFunToWear

One of the reward levels on my Patreon is suggesting a topic for a blog post. I was thrilled a few months back when a kind patron suggested “Underoos” as a topic. This patron was shocked and amused that the underwear line was being relaunched for adults. He told me he’d like me to address this question: “Why? I mean, just why?”

For anyone who isn’t familiar with Underoos, they were extremely popular character-based underwear sets that were around from the late ’70s to the early ’90s. They featured a t-shirt and tight little underpants depicting superheroes, Star Wars characters, and more. The packaging declared Underoos were “underwear that’s fun to wear.” In the 1980s, it would go without saying that these are for children. Now, not so much.

As a child, I had Superman Underoos and they made me bitter every time I wore them. I desperately wanted Robin, The Boy Wonder, Underoos. I vividly remember standing in the shopping mall, feverishly pawing through the display looking for Robin Underoos. But the city bus was coming to take us home and it was Superman or nothing.

So I settled.

“Well, I won’t have to settle now,” I thought when I heard Underoos for adults were being released by Hot Topic.

Just a few days after the blog suggestion came in, I was out walking with a friend. We happened to pass a Hot Topic so I checked out my Underoos options.

It was my turn to be shocked and amused. It’s always interesting to revisit things from your childhood because you notice stuff you didn’t as a kid.

For example, I tweeted this.

I mean, I understand Skeletor is a self-involved megalomaniac, but he’s just standing there dreaming, “What if there were underwear of my naked, ripped purple chest and dark, foreboding underwear of my loin-cloth area? AND what if they were available in men’s large?”

Every single fucking thing about it was absurd.

I loved it.

I knew I wanted to get a pair when it was time to write the blog post.

A few weeks later, I added a new milestone goal to my patreon. If I reached the goal, I’d add photos of myself wearing Underoos to this blog post. It was unlocked faster than I thought.

I went back to Hot Topic. All the Skeletor Underoos were gone. Most of the Underoos were gone. I asked the cashier about it. She said they hadn’t been selling very well, but suggested I call some other locations.

After I processed my shock, I, an adult man, called a Hot Topic and said, “Hello. I’m wondering if you have any Skeletor Underoos?”

And the voice on the other end of the phone said, “Oh, sir. I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry, but we’re all out of Skeletor Underoos.”

She waited a moment. I think to see if I started crying.

Then she continued, “And…and I don’t think we’re getting any more. But I know we still have some superheroes on our online store!”

I couldn’t believe it had happened again. I was truly reliving my childhood in the worst way possible: I COULDN’T GET THE UNDEROOS I WANTED.

It was weird, as an adult geek, to be denied something. I’ve become used to our obsession with nostalgia and the huge popularity of everything I loved as a kid. I can buy an ice cube tray shaped like Han Solo’s face, for fuck’s sake. I can have anything, right?

I was determined not to let the bitterness seep in like it had when I was a kid. I couldn’t have Skeletor, but there would still be other good options.

I went online and picked out two of my favorite superheroes as an adult: Batman and Captain America. Sorry, Superman.

I was excited. I found myself legitimately asking the same question my patron had posed: Why?

Why was I, an adult man, excited to order novelty superhero underwear from the internet?

So many things lose their sense of magic and fun as you grow older. It’s easy to get bitter and complacent. Who cares about underwear? Putting them on is just one more damn thing you have to do in the morning.

As an adult, people only have two feelings about other people seeing their underwear: acceptance or hope.

You’re going to be in a horrible car accident or your date is going to go well. Either way, you just want to feel presentable.

I’m happily married, so for me, every day is a date that goes well.

But I don’t think Underoos are about what other people think. They’re not like wearing a t-shirt that says “I Frakking Love Battlestar Galactica.” They’re not about broadcasting a message to other people.

They’re about trying to make a busy, cranky adult support their secret belief that underneath it all they’re a noble hero.

Eventually, my Underoos arrived. First, I tried them on to see what I had really got myself into. The shirts were awesome and comfortable. The colorful extremely tight underpants were, uh, mildly alarming. I briefly regretted the decision to share photos.

But real heroes don’t feel shame. They strap that ridiculous shit on and own it. And then take pictures to put on the internet.

My wife and I had a fun photo shoot.

I felt very heroic as Captain America.

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I did some brooding as Batman.

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I reflected on the current state of democracy.

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Eventually, I got sleepy.

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All in all, the packaging was right. They were fun to wear.

Thanks,
Joseph

P.S. I am well aware that I can buy Skeletor Underoos for grossly inflated prices on eBay. There aren’t a lot of lines I won’t cross, but buying used underwear from strangers on the internet is one of them.

Thanks again for reading! If you enjoyed this, you can help make more comedy possible by supporting me on Patreon here!

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The 7 Maybe Best Tabletop Games Ever

The7MaybeBestTabletopGamesEver

I was honored to be a guest on an episode of my friend Wil Wheaton’s awesome show, Tabletop. I played the game CONCEPT with Wil and the great comedy duo Rhett & Link. Here’s a fun screenshot!

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Huge thanks to co-producer of the show Boyan Radakovich and everyone at Geek & Sundry. It was an incredibly fun experience!

I’ve always been a fan of tabletop games, but after I recorded the episode, I thought about how much tabletop games have walked through my life with me. I realized I wasn’t thinking about the BEST games but rather the BEST moments and memories. So here’s my top 7 tabletop memories. Enjoy!

1) DEATH STAR ESCAPE

My first tabletop experience was playing the very early Star Wars board game, Death Star Escape. To my foggy recollection, it was not technically a good game. It was mostly random luck based on the whims of a cheap cardboard spinner. It was sort of like Candy Land, but with more space and death. My parents bought it for my older brother and me, but my brother had little interest in playing it. So I found a more willing partner–my teddy bear. His name was Chocolate. When it came to playing Death Star Escape, he was a cunning warrior. I would take turns spinning for myself and spinning for Chocolate. For some reason, my teddy bear almost always defeated me. This infuriated me. I realize now my teddy bear, Chocolate is clearly a Stih Lord. I still own both Death Star Escape and my teddy bear. Soon there will be a re-match. Chocolate will pay.

2) TRIVIAL PURSUIT

I’ve always loved the title Trivial Pursuit because it sounds like they could have called the game Shit That Doesn’t Matter But You’re Going To Take It Too Seriously Anyway. I was introduced when my Grandmother bought it for us one Christmas. We played it. My Grandmother lost. Mostly because my brother and I could answer all of the comic book and sci-fi questions. The next night, I got up in the middle of the night and discovered my grandmother sitting in the darkness hunched over the Trivial Pursuit cards. Lit only by the demon glow of her Virginia Slim cigarette, she was furiously memorizing the answers to every question. The next day, we played again and she defeated her young grandchildren handily. Well played, Grandma, well played. (She was also a Sith Lord. Always, two there are.)

3) CHEZ GEEK

Eventually, I found better people to game with than my invincible teddy bear and cheating Grandmother. After I graduated from college, I was lucky to stumble into a friend group that was close-knit and family-like. We played many games and we drank many beers and we yelled many things. One of our favorite games was Chez Geek. One of the cards in, I believe, the original deck became my role model. The card was for Mr. Enthusiastic. In the illustration, he wore a t-shirt that read “Liev Schreiber Rules!” It was a happy time in my life and much like Mr. Enthusiastic, I was always up for one more game, one more beer, one more yelling. I had a penchant for being excited about things like poor, maligned Liev Schreiber who was really quite good in the Scream movies. Back then I had no idea I’d later become friends and creative partners with the man who drew Mr. Enthusiastic. Someday, I’ll get a t-shirt that reads “John Kovalic Rules!”

4) THE HILLS RISE WILD

This is my favorite tabletop game ever made. The Hills Rise Wild is bizarre and beautiful. The game has a goal, but the main point is for a bunch of Lovecraft-inspired hillbilly characters to run around shooting each other in the back with shotguns and magic balls of death. The best tactic to survive this game is to just hide in a shack. One game, a friend got upset and yelled that we were all just sitting on our porches drinking lemonade. The next game this was shortened to “Stop drinking Countrytime!” The next game after that it was just, “Stop Countrytiming.” After that it was just an insulting mime routine of an old person swirling a straw in lemonade. I love how even a game about evil cultist hillbillies murdering each other for no reason can create new forms of communication.

5) FURY OF DRACULA

I only played Fury of Dracula a couple of times, but it stands out in my mind because the friend running the game would insist on creating a spooky mood by shoving cheap plastic vampire teeth in his mouth. This would make his speech warped and cute like he was a big, evil baby. There was also a lot of sucking noises as he tried to keep the teeth in place and not drool. That friend is now the VP of a major gaming company. If he really wants to make an impact, I hope he wears his vampire teeth at important meetings.

6) STAR WARS MONOPOLY

About two years ago, some friends bought me a copy of Star Wars Monopoly for Christmas. So I got them together and played it. The fools. Star Wars Monopoly is like any other game of Monopoly, except there’s extra stress because you don’t want Luke Skywalker’s little pewter lightsaber to get bent. I hadn’t played Monopoly in YEARS. We played with the typical house rules where a player can randomly win a bunch of the community chest money back. Of course when you play the game that way, it’s like The Simpsons, it will go on so long you get confused and frightened and you don’t even understand reality anymore. After playing for roughly 27 hours, we agreed to revert to the more basic rules where the rich get richer and the poor are utterly screwed. No bail-outs. No lucky breaks. In almost seconds, Darth Vader totally destroyed everyone. It was a great reminder of the true power of the dark side of capitalism.

7) BRITISH RAILS

I’ve had many gaming partners over the years. Teddy bears, grandmas, drinking buddies, comedy pals, and more. But my favorite partner in recent years has been my wife, Sara. Everyone I know is a ridiculously busy adult and it makes it hard to find time for a gaming night. So for our anniversary a few years ago, my wife and I bought ourselves a two-player game: British Rails! We spent a few months living in the UK and my wife (having worked at the James J. Hill House in St. Paul, Minnesota) is a big fan of locomotive history. The goal of the game is to build a train empire by delivering goods to different cities. It is a nice, slow, calm game that pairs well with a Sunday evening and a giant glass of smokey whisky. But like all tabletop games I’ve ever played, it also pairs well with yelling. And so it was, one peaceful night of gaming, I repeatedly yelled at my wife, “I JUST WANT TO BRING RUBBER TO MOTHERFUCKING CARDIFF.”

Of all the things I’ve yelled while playing Tabletop Games, that might be my favorite. I love tabletop games. They don’t even have to be great games, they just need to create the opportunity to build memories and to accomplish something. I think humans are often at their happiest when they’re striving to do something. There’s a joy in getting lost in the pursuit of a task: escaping the Death Star, defeating your grandchildren, defending the honor of Liev Schreiber, murdering a Lovecraft hobo, spitting through your Dracula teeth, sending Obi-Wan Kenobi to the poor house, or just bringing the rubber to Cardiff.

Wil’s tagline for Tabletop is “Play more games.”

Whenever I hear that, I add in my mind “and bring the rubber to Cardiff.”

Thanks for reading. Thanks for watching the episode. Enjoy your games. Enjoy all the memories they create. Don’t cheat like my grandmother.

Play more games.

Bring the rubber to Cardiff.

If you enjoy my posts, you can help make more happen by supporting me on Patreon. My next post will be about Adult Underoos and thanks to an unlocked Patreon goal it will include photos of me in my underoos. You’re welcome and I’m sorry.

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One Percent of a Good Idea

OnePercentOfAGoodIdea
I want to see major changes in our society. I don’t want those changes to come because of violence. So how do they come?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this because of something a friend of mine said a few years ago during the Occupy Wall Street protests.

My friend said something along the lines of this:

“Historically, cultures that have a very small group of wealthy people controlling the lives of a very large group of poor people only experience true change when there’s a revolution and the rich people get murdered and their heads are put on spikes and stuff.”

My friend is very knowledgable. Even drunk at 3 am in the morning, he can rattle off facts about the French revolution, quotes from James Joyce’s Ulysses, and the names of character actors from obscure episodes of 1960s era Doctor Who that only exist in audio format.

He not only retains facts, he can also apply them to the world around him. For example, he could probably tell you which classic Doctor Who script editor produced the most Joycean episodes of the show. Would it be Terrance Dicks or Robert Holmes? Who knows? My friend, probably.

The point is his observation that class warfare has historically been an actual WAR startled me, but it also made a lot of sense.

I believe America has a serious economic imbalance. A small percent of the population controls the money. The money influences the politics. We’re fighting for things like a livable minimum wage and stopping giant corporations from destroying equal access to the internet. There is still a possibility that Comcast and Time Warner Cable–two of consumers’ most despised companies–will be allowed to merge into one big monster like some awful SyFy movie come to life.

A lot of us would just dump the horrible MegaSharkBadger that is Comcast/Time Warner Cable if we could, but we don’t have a lot of options.

Besides, those companies deliver us the parts of our culture we enjoy–our access to communication and entertainment. They are the gatekeepers to all our cat pictures, tumblr accounts about shipping Harry and Hermione, and phone service to call our cable providers and make futile complaints about the horrible service.

We’re used to not being able to make a dent in the control of giant rich corporations. As a result, I think we’ve become surprisingly docile. Our recent attempts at protests have been met with, to me, a shocking amount of resistance.

Recently, there was a calm, non-violent act of civil disobedience at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota to protest multiple questionable killings of citizens by police officers. Instead of just allowing the protest to happen, the Mall of America decided to double down on every negative stereotype about both malls and America by reacting with riot gear and Orwellian messages on their big screen.

I shared one of the protesters’ photos in this tweet.

A ton of people, some calm and some seething with outrage, tweeted back to inform me that the Mall of America was PRIVATE PROPERTY and thus the protest was illegal.

I’m aware the Mall of America is private property. I’m also aware that sometimes protests need to be held in a space where they will be disruptive in order for the status quo to be challenged. I think the need to discuss unchecked police brutality is more important than a shopper’s mild inconvenience on their way to The Gap.

Regardless of the politics of this particular protest, I was shocked that so many people took a MALL’S SIDE over humans. We’ve become so pacified–so enamored with business as usual–that the rights of an Orange Julius are more sacrosanct than a protest about people’s rights.

Modern day America is a far cry from France in 1789. If peacefully demonstrating in a mall is considered this shocking, then obviously there isn’t going to be a violent uprising.

So why would the small group of people who hold all the financial power fear the people?

We’re not going to rise up and attack. We’re not going to rush the offices of Wal-Mart executives, the predatory lenders that almost destroyed our entire economy, the MegaSharkBadgers at Comcast, etc.

And I’m happy for that. I don’t want violence. I don’t want to see a head on a pike outside of an episode of Game of Thrones and even then it’s a bummer.

But I do want change.

So here is my horrible idea for the problem of the rich, powerful, and greedy:

What if we threatened to punch them, just once, in the crotch?

I know it sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. Right now, America loves the status quo. We will not see a comedy movie unless there is a crotch shot in the trailer. That is the status quo. We also love stories about tough, leathery old men who play by their own rules. That is the status quo.

Let’s embrace the status quo. Let’s get Liam Neeson to act out a real life socio-political action thriller called CROTCH THREAT.

Here’s the trailer:

Liam Neeson walks slowly toward the camera.

The voiceover kicks in.

“They have taken our money. They have taken our respect. They got us addicted to high fructose corn syrup and we can’t even pay the medical bills. Enough is enough. Now, one man, with a special set of skills (mostly crotch punching) is going to take it all back.”

Liam Neeson talks heatedly into a phone:

“Release just a little bit of control, spread the wealth, get out of the political system, or I will look for you, I will find you, and I will punch your crotches.”

Then there’s a fast-cut montage of crotch punching and a lot of the BWAHHHHHM noise from Inception as the voiceover concludes:

“We really only want to do this once, but if we have to, there will be a sequel. And like all sequels, it will be a little bit worse.”

Liam Neeson walks away from a massive explosion, the shrapnel flies across the screen and hits Donald Trump in the crotch.

BAM. THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED.

The rating would be S for Stupid. It’s a stupid idea. I know that.

But if this idea were an actual movie, people would probably go see it because we love stories about fighting the status quo almost as much as we have become resistant to fighting the status quo in real life.

I’m a comedian so I react to my frustration by trying to express it in the language of comedy like proposing something called CROTCH THREAT. A lot of people are taking real action. There are protests. There are petitions. There is knowledgable and intelligent activism on many different issues.

And there are angry, ridiculous blog posts like this. There are snarky tweets. There are facebook diatribes. There are politically loaded pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch on instagram. I don’t think those things are “slacktivism.” I think they are using our amazing tools of instant communication to give legitimate voice to people’s thoughts and opinions. We have France in 1789 beat there.

Every once in a while, someone’s politically loaded cat picture on the internet is going to break through the noise and get someone else to think about the status quo, what changes they would like to see, and what non-violent actions they can take to make a difference.

This blog is one tiny ridiculous metaphorical punch to the crotch of injustice.

That’s as violent as I’m willing to get, but it’s a swing I’m happy to take.

If you enjoy my work, you can check out all the comedy words and things I’m making via Patreon.

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Top 14 Things I Did in 2014

MyTop14of2014

For the last few years, I’ve been writing down all the things I did that year to remind myself to stop beating myself up for not working hard enough.

I did work hard and do a lot of things this year and I’m going to reward myself with a much shorter, lazier post. Here are 14 things I’m proud of, happy with, and otherwise feel like giving myself a gold star for. For example, I think I deserve a gold star for not giving two shits about ending a sentence on a preposition. These are also not in any particular order. One of the other things I did this year was EMBRACE CHAOS.

Here we go:

1) I moved to Los Angeles. I love the city, I love the weather, it’s good for my comedy career, and it’s fun to live in a place where I can go to the neighborhood grocery store for ice cream and whiskey and see three different character actors who have been murdered by Jack Bauer on 24. Most importantly, I have yet to burst into flames.

2) I did a lot of stand-up. I’ve done a lot of different types of comedy performance–improv, sketch, children’s theater, working at Kinko’s–but I’m really enjoying saying comedy things into a microphone. This year, I performed at SF SketchFest, the Jonathan Coulton Cruise, headlined at Comedy Corner Underground in Minneapolis, a bunch of different geek conventions, variety shows with my wonderful friends The Doubleclicks, and performing on shows around town in LA. A highlight for me was getting booked on Ron Lynch’s awesome show TOMORROW. I was the first comic up and the last comic of the night was Louis CK. I’ve also been posting a bunch of my stuff to YouTube. Here’s a bit about objectification and soup recorded live at CONvergence.

3) Writing and hosting for WTFark. I did several stints guest hosting this satirical comedy news show. My favorite, by far, is this story about a monkey man which caused Huffington Post to quote me about monkey cults in New Zealand.

4) I shot an episode of TableTop with Wil Wheaton. If you’re not familiar with TableTop, well, hello and welcome to your first day on the internet! I hope you like cats! Seriously, TableTop is an awesome show, Wil’s an awesome host, and it was super fun to shoot. I played the game Concept and my episode should be out in early 2015. Until then, here’s a picture of me from the set!

Joseph Scrimshaw isn’t sure he gets the Concept… #TableTop

A photo posted by Geek & Sundry (@geekandsundry) on

5) I started a Patreon. The kind and generous support of my patrons has given me the freedom and impetus to keep creating comedy stories and essays on my blog, producing my podcast Obsessed, and unlocking fun, weird goals like doing stand-up dressed as a squirrel.

6) I became a Social Justice Warrior. Contrary to my assumptions, there was not a long series of arduous trials. All I had to do was speak up about issues of common human decency and equality! I’m particularly proud of this essay about what a stupid, inefficient insult SJW is.

7) I wrote another episode of Getting On with James Urbaniak. James’ podcast is great. In every episode he plays a different character who happens to be named James Urbaniak. I’ve written two other episodes, but this one was a special spooky episode released on Halloween. It features James playing a man who is both a motivational speaker and a werewolf.

8) I recorded an episode of The Dork Forest with Jackie Kashian. I’ve done a lot of guest bits on great podcasts this year–including Star Wars Minute, Feliz Navipod, Fire Talk With Me, Kneel Before Aud–but Jackie’s was extra special because she gave me a t-shirt. I’m thrilled to have got to know Jackie a little better. She’s an amazing comedian and a great podcast host and she let me defend the Star Wars prequels and didn’t even kick me out of her house.

9) I helped make Thanksgiving Versus Christmas happen. Thanksgiving Versus Christmas was my friend Molly Lewis’ awesome holiday special. Molly wrote all the songs, the awesome Josh Cagan wrote the book, and we performed it as a live show. I directed, played the narrator, and did a little bit of work on the script. Everything came together beautifully (Molly has an excellent wrap-up here) and it was one of those wonderful magic times where the show was even more than the sum of its parts. And the parts were all damn good to begin with. The show is available as an album and you can pre-order the hell out of it right now.

10) I continued being Obsessed. I continue to enjoy doing my comedy podcast Obsessed and to my delight, the listenership continues to increase! One of my favorite episodes this year was both insightful and horrifically funny thanks to my guests Tim Wick and Rebecca Watson. The episode was about CATS. Other favorite episodes included obsessions with Maps, Grease 2, Tiny Things, and Tenacious D. You can find them all on iTunes.

11) I continued to tweet a lot. I don’t know if I’m proud of that, but it’s definitely a thing that happened. Here’s one of my favorite tweets this year.

12) Writing, writing, always writing. I wrote a lot of different things this year. In addition to some of the stuff mentioned above, I’m proud to be a regular contributor to Alice Lee’s awesome essay site Yearbook Office where I write about things like social justice and U2. I also wrote 30,000 words of a novel that I’ll eventually finish and I wrote three drafts of a sit com spec script that I’m currently shopping around. I also wrote this thing about Aquaman and got a thumbs up on twitter from the current writing team on the actual Aquaman comic book. Several of my (already written, thank god) plays were produced this year including Adventures in Mating, An Inconvenient Squirrel, and Stitch, Bitch N Die with more productions to come next year.

13) I started a show in LA called HOT COMEDY DREAM TIME. The concept of the show is that I get guest comedians and actors and they perform something they’ve always wanted to perform. In the show’s three month trial run, we created new sketches and bits with Hal Lublin, John Ross Bowie, Wil Wheaton, Dana Snyder, Mike Phirman, Greg Benson, Kim Evey, and Audrey Kearns. The show will be back in 2015! Details soon right here on the website.

14) I AM STILL ALIVE. Well, that took a sudden and dark turn. 2014 has, in many ways, been a rough year. There’s been a lot of brutal and pointless violence in the world. A lot of sad deaths in the world of comedy. Two friends from the comedy scene in Minnesota passed away suddenly in the last months of the year. Sometimes it feels like it would be easy to succumb to despair given how difficult and unfair life can be. But in doing something like writing this year in review, I look back on all the amazing, kind, funny, brave, gracious people I know–people I work with creatively, people I know in real life, people I only know on social media, people I see in audiences at shows who have done this insane incredible thing called leaving their house–and I feel very refreshed and inspired.

Thanks to everyone who has helped justify my optimism this year.

15) I ADDED ANOTHER ONE BECAUSE CHAOS REIGNS SUPREME. I also watched a lot of Netflix with my wonderful wife, Sara. We like Arrow a lot. Thanks, universe.

If you enjoy my work, you can check out all the comedy words and things I’m making via Patreon.

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The Crumbsucker Curse

TheCrumbsuckerCurse

I love swearing.

When I was in 2nd grade, I attended a small Catholic school. Some kids had been swearing at one another on the playground. In response, the nuns came into our classroom and asked us to list all the words we shouldn’t say.

Again, for clarity, when I was in 2nd grade at a catholic school NUNS ASKED ME TO RAISE MY HAND AND SHOUT FILTHY CURSE WORDS AT THEM.

I raised my hand and tried out every combination my little brain could think of. I even tried out a few fun conjugations. I bleep. She bleeps. They bleeped. They have bleeped. They will have bleeped. They will have been bleeping.

Except I didn’t say “bleep” and thus a great fucking love affair with swearing was born.

Not only do I love swearing, I truly think it’s vital to the human civilization. The delicate balance of society depends on our ability to break the rules every once in a while. Some days, the only thing standing between order and chaos is a good “shithead.”

But even though I’m a fan of the f-bomb and all of our linguistic artillery, I’m troubled by more swear words than I used to be. Many of the classics are fundamentally rooted in sexism, phobia, and general assholery.

I have no intention of giving up swearing. But I want to strive to swear BETTER.

I find myself going to asshole a lot. It’s gender neutral. We all have butts. Asshole is the Batman of swear words. Brutal, efficient, and loved by all.

But sometimes even insults with ass don’t work. If I ever did a TED Talk, it would be called “Kiss My Ass and Other Problematic Insults.”

When you say “kiss my ass,” you’re basically saying, “I don’t like you. I find you untrustworthy. Therefore, I want to expose the most vulnerable, sensitive parts of my body and put them close to your teeth. That will show you.

I also have concerns about douchebag.

Because a lot of the douchebags who say douchebag don’t know what a douchebag is. They’re basically yelling, “You know what you are? I think you’re some kind of hygiene device with water and a hose thing and–I’m going to look you up on Wikipedia!”

I really did look up douchebags on Wikipedia and it was a fascinating read. As always happens when you look at Wikipedia when you should be doing something else, I clicked through to related articles.

I spent some quality time with the long article about bidets.

Let me tell you: Bidets are an overlooked fount of swear word potential.

Wikipedia told me “bidet” is a French word that originally meant “pony.”

My mind filled with the possibilities. I pictured myself back in 2nd grade, on the playground, dodging kickballs and screaming at other kids, “You’re a bidet, Chad! You’re a french toilet pony!”

“Son of a bidet” is also a pretty satisfying thing to shout at say, your iPhone, when it autocorrects “sweat pants” to “swear pants.” (I like the idea of special, magic pants you need to put on before you can swear, but that seems like a lot of fucking work.)

But even with bidet, we can get rid of the gender bias of “Son of.”

We can call people a daughter of a bidet, cousin of a toilet, or, my personal favorite, a child of a butt.

It’s ridiculous, but strangely cathartic. If you can, turn to someone near you and call them a child of a butt. It will improve your mood in no time AND you might make a new friend!

Along the fun lines of child of a butt, I think we can be far more creative and abstract in our cursing.

In 7th grade, I kept having a war of four letter words with one particular kid. One day, I strapped on my swear pants and called him something colorful yet stupid like a “big shit-tool.”

And he responded with this sentence:

“Oh yeah? Well, your mom lives in a Doritos bag.”

To this day, I have no idea what that means, but I still remember it.

“Your mom lives in a Doritos bag.”

It’s sad, absurd, and whimsical all at the same time. It’s like being insulted by a Wes Anderson film.

The Doritos bag memory has encouraged me to be more creative in my cursing.

Swear words should be easy to come by. They don’t need to be based on gender, sexuality, or horrible stereotypes to be potent.

You only need two things for a good expletive:

One: It needs to feel visceral coming out of your mouth. Curse words need a good damn mouthfeel.

Two: It needs to feel a little verboten. It needs to feel like something you maybe shouldn’t yell at a nun in 2nd grade.

I don’t have any nuns in my life right now, but I wanted to test out some words with an authority figure who would give me an honest response. So I made a list of visceral yet meaningless words. I called my mother and said them to her.

I worked my way down the list until one of them finally made her go, “Oh, geez.”

And I knew that was one.

The made-up word that made my kind, intelligent, Anderson-Cooper-loving mother go “Oh, geez!” was this:

CRUMBSUCKER.

One who sucks crumbs? Maybe? I have no idea what it means, but it sounds nasty as shit.

If the person you called a child of a butt is still talking to you, try calling them a CRUMBSUCKER right now.

The next time someone cuts you off in traffic, let that crumbsucker know how you feel about it.

When your phone changes “carpe diem” to “carpet denim” seize the moment with a big bellowing crumbsucker.

If you follow me on twitter, feel free to send me a tweet right now calling me a #crumbsucker. I will feel loved and the rest of twitter will be frightened and confused.

Go forth and crumbsuck!

And if in your travels, someone tries to make fun of you for shifting the swearing paradigm, for putting some thought into what you want future generations to shout at nuns in 2nd grade, then just zip up your swear pants and tell that child of a butt:

“Hey, you French toilet pony, your Dad lives in Wes Anderson’s crumbsucking Dorito’s bag!”

And once again, order will be preserved amidst the fucking chaos of being humans.

Thanks, crumbsuckers.

If you enjoy my work, you can check out all the comedy words and things I’m making via Patreon.

P.S. Here’s a video of the stand-up version of this blog post. Multiple platform synergy, crumbsuckers!

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An Open Letter From A Ghost

GhostLetter

Dear humans,

I am a ghost and I can prove it. Here goes:

BOOOOooooooOOOOOOOOooooo!

Because all ghosts go BOOOOOOooooOOOOOOooooo, right?

WRONG. Ghosts have no desire to shout weird noises to frighten you. We just want your attention. Like you living humans, we just want to be HEARD. In a way, we’re all going BooooOOOOOoooooo all the time. The internet is nothing but BooooOOOOOOOOOOooooo 24/7.

Besides if we just wanted to scare you, we could say more terrifying things like:

AHHHHHHHH!
or
SON OF A–!

We could also shout terrifying things that are relevant to modern times like:

Not All Ghosts!
or
Technically, it’s pronounced JIF!

That’s right, ghosts are very well aware of animated gifs. We like comparing Benedict Cumberbatch to otters just as much as living people do.

Everybody thinks ghosts are all old-timie. Like we’re all just cartoons wearing sheets over our heads. Ghosts wear a lot of other things besides sheets. Things like:

Spanx.
Star Trek themed bathrobes.
Google Glass.
Some of us are furries.

And we don’t just haunt creepy places like castles, abandoned amusement parks, or the DMV. We haunt any place we have unfinished business.

I know a ghost who haunts a Chipotle because she could never afford the extra guacamole on her burrito.

Most old Blockbuster Video locations are haunted by people who never got a chance to return the DVD of Hotel Rwanda they rented in 2005.

The most embarrassing place for a ghost to haunt is Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I mean, it’s got all the sheets and the whole “beyond” thing. It’s just too on the nose. It’s like a vampire working at a blood bank. It’s just stupid.

But ghosts can’t choose where they haunt. That’s the main thing to understand about us: Ghosts are just souls who can’t move on. We’re basically souls that are always buffering. Do you how annoying that is? We’re like souls operated by Time Warner Cable. We can’t move on. We’re like your mom talking about how much she likes Anderson Cooper. We just will not let it go. Maybe that’s just my mom. She really likes Anderson Cooper.

The point is ghosts need all kinds of different things before they can go on. Sure, some ghosts need to figure out who killed them, but most just need regular human things. They want to finish that novel they were working on, see their kid graduate from high school, beat the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time, change their twitter handle back to their real name instead of Werewolf MacFartPants or whatever dumb Halloween name they died with. Normal human things!

Personally, my needs are modest. I died in 2006 in a small apartment watching the season six finale of Gilmore Girls. All I need to move on is to see Season Seven of Gilmore Girls. There have been twelve different tenants in my apartment since 2006. NONE OF THEM WILL WATCH GILMORE GIRLS! IT’S ON NETFLIX INSTANT NOW! HELP ME OUT PEOPLE!

So look for us! Pay attention! Unless you’re one of those Ghost Hunting shows. Screw those guys. If a ghost lives in your house and you try to watch one of those stupid shows, we’ll change the channel to a rerun of Project Runway. We will Tim Gunn your asses.

If you ever get the feeling you’re being stared at and judged, there’s probably a ghost in your home. Or maybe you have a cat. If you feel stared at, judged, AND like someone is putting their butt in your face, you are being haunted by a ghost cat. Yes, there are ghost cats. They mostly want their ears scritched, but that’s another story.

Or imagine you live in an apartment. Maybe you have important work to do. But then the lights flicker on and off. You hear a dial-up modem noise for no reason. You feel an overwhelming desire to drop everything and watch Season Seven of Gilmore Girls.

DO IT. JUST DO IT. YOU WILL MAKE A GHOST WEARING A STAR TREK BATHROBE VERY HAPPY.

With sincere thanks,
A ghost

P.S. BOOOOOoooooOOOOOOOooooooOOOOOOO!

If you enjoy my posts, check out Patreon and the kind patrons who make them possible. Also, please don’t worry about me, I have actually seen every episode of Gilmore Girls.

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The Worst Insult Ever

TheWorstInsultEver

Dear angry people–

It’s come to my attention many of you believe Social Justice Warrior is an insult.

For all those people, here’s an honest question: Do you know what the words social, justice, and warrior mean?

I am of the opinion they’re all GOOD things. Warrior means someone willing to fight for what matters to them. Social justice, or the concept that all members of our society should have access to the same rights and opportunities, means stuff like:

Big corporations paying people fair wages
Cops not shooting unarmed people for no reason
Movies and TV shows not constantly objectifying women

If you honestly disagree with those things and want to insult people who choose to fight for them, here are some other insults you could try:

Fairness Tool
Equality Jerk
Decent Hole
Big Ol’ Human Rights Head
Mister Thinks Murder Is Wrong Guy

Those examples at least have some negative words in them.

I understand you’re trying to make Social Justice Warrior an insult by saying it sarcastically. It’s meant to be said in quotation marks, dripping with irony, followed by a loud “pffffft” noise, and perhaps a masterful mime impression of masturbation. But really ANY good thing can be an insult if you go “pfffft” after it.

You make a lot of money. Pfffft.
You’re emotionally well-adjusted. Pffft.
Your shoulders look muscular. Pffffft.

I tried to get at this issue in a more succinct way when I tweeted this:

I got a lot of angry responses to that tweet explaining why Social Justice Warrior is a great insult. Those responses included several interesting alternative insults including:

Fascist
Imagination Guy
White Knight
(and my favorite)
Mister Slippery Slope

None of those are particularly effective insults either. Let’s take a look at each of them.

Fascist:

This one is pretty good. At least most of our culture agrees it’s bad to be a fascist. A lot of the people who think Social Justice Warrior is a great insult think their freedom of speech is being threatened. I know this because I’ve read 800 blog posts about them losing their free speech. Please ping me if you don’t understand the irony of that and I will respond with some sort of flowchart.

Basically, it goes like this.

PERSON A: I think Redskins is a racist name and it should be changed.
PERSON B: You’re limiting my free speech!
PERSON A: No, I’m calling you a racist.
PERSON B: Pfffft. (Masturbation gesture.)

That’s a conversation. Not one to be particularly proud of, but no fascist limiting of free speech there.

Imagination Guy:

Yes, I was insulted for being imaginative. This person’s argument was that Social Justice Warriors don’t matter because social justice is just an “imaginary concept.” Surprising news that one can’t fight for a concept. DEMOCRACY and RELIGION will be shocked to hear this.

White Knight:

I get called a White Knight on twitter basically any time I say something remotely decent about gender issues. The claim is that by having and stating a non-hateful opinion about gender issues, I’m riding in like a white knight to save and/or impress women. This is problematic for many reasons. First off, thank you for thinking that I’m strong, reliable, and valiant like a knight! You basically just called me Superman! Unfortunately, my shoulders are not that muscular.

But the Superman analogy only works up to a point. I say things about social justice because they’re issues I believe affect our culture as a whole. White Knight suggests Superman is just rescuing Lois Lane after she fell out of a helicopter. What Social Justice Warriors are doing is trying to stop a meteor from destroying the entire planet. Lois Lane can, and does, rescue herself.

Mister Slippery Slope:

We’re all familiar with the slippery slope. We shout it anytime something we don’t like is about to happen with all of the calm, intelligent, reflection of shouting “shotgun” when we want to ride in the front of a car.

Marriage equality was supposed to be a slippery slope which is why so many cats are getting married now. Cats aren’t getting married now. That was a joke to illustrate the slippery slope thing. Again, flowcharts can be made available. Also, someone please send me a link to all the tumblr posts of cats getting married that are probably out there.

Happy cat marriage tumblr thoughts aside, I think slippery slopes are at the very heart of the Social Justice Warrior debate.

I think they’re causing the fear that motivates the anger.

If you admit some of the video games you like are objectifying women, you might have to stop playing them.

WHERE WILL IT END THEN? WOULD YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO LEARN TO RESPECT WOMEN? OR PAY THEM EQUALLY? LOOK HOW FAST WE’RE SLIPPING TOWARD TREATING ONE ANOTHER WITH RESPECT AND BASIC HUMAN DECENCY! DAMN YOU, SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS!

Maybe no one from the other side of the argument will find this blog. But if you do and it makes you mad, let me try to help. I’m not being a White Knight. I’m not being Superman. I’m just a person who used to be young and angry, too.

If you’re angry because you think equal rights somehow means taking your rights away, I say let the anger go.

Life is like a video game and the hate is a big, bad, pain-in-the-ass Boss Monster. Try defeating it with a hug, some counseling, some empathy, anything. Just get in there and do your best.

If you disagree with me, by all means, use your free speech. Have a discussion.

And if you’re too angry to even manage that, go ahead and call me names. I would suggest jerk, asshole, or shithead. Or maybe get creative and try out something weird and fun like idiotface, weakshoulders, or dunceburger.

Or you can try to insult me by calling me a Social Justice Warrior.

But that will just make me proud. Because it is the worst insult ever.

If you want to know more about social justice issues and the recent attacks on women in the gaming industry, there’s an overview here. If you enjoy my posts, check out Patreon and the kind patrons who make them possible.

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