Wil Wheaton loves beer! Mike Phirman loves Pro-Tools audio software! Molly Lewis plays the Obsessed theme live! A very special episode of Obsessed recorded live on a boat in the middle of the Caribbean sea for Jonathan Coulton’s JoCoCruiseCrazy! Find out the answer to the following questions and more: What is Wesley Crusher’s favorite beer? Could Mike Phirman kill a man with kindness? Why did Molly Lewis smash a pizza box with a ukulele? Plus, Wil and Mike make sex noises to advertise Joseph’s comedy album VERBING THE NOUN. (Also, if you’re a knitter, listen in the background to hear the clicking noises of the live audience’s crafting!)
Joseph explores sex, one of the world’s most common obsessions, with actor/writer David Mann and comedy musician Courtney McLean of The Dirty Curls. Highlights include sublimation as explained via Batman and incredibly honest sex noises performed to advertise Joseph’s comedy album VERBING THE NOUN. Enjoy the sex!
When I was about fourteen, my mother took me to visit my grandfather.
He suffered from depression. He was scarred from his service in World War II. The only thing he ever said about the war was this: “I should have married that nice girl I met in France instead of your grandmother.”
My grandmother once popped my balloon with a cigarette while she was gesticulating wildly to complain about how people shouldn’t get welfare, so, fair enough, Grandpa.
I hadn’t seen my grandfather in a few years. I was an incredibly thin teen. My mother had put on a few pounds. When we arrived at his small apartment, he stared at us. Then he said:
“I guess she’s eating all the food.”
I was, of course, hurt and offended, but also IMPRESSED by the skill with which he so succinctly mocked us BOTH.
This memory popped into my head when I saw the horrible GoDaddy commercial during the Super Bowl.
Here’s a space where I’m not linking to the commercial:
I don’t want them to get any more hits, so let me describe it. A stereotypically attractive female model sits next to a stereotypically unattractive male geek. The voice over says something crappy about web hosting.
Then the model and the geek kiss. This is supposed to be CRAZY in ALL-CAPS. This is supposed to be as outlandish as every other commercial premise. This is as WEIRD as A PLANET FULL OF BABIES or OLD PEOPLE EATING AT TACO BELL or GOTHS DRINKING BUDWEISER.
There are horrible unnatural kissing smacking sound effects most likely created by slapping a seal with a wet noodle. Like that, but more disgusting. It was like they couldn’t decide whether the kiss itself should be funny or sexy so they went with the third option of REVOLTING.
Then, just like my grandfather, the commercial delivers the perfect double punch. The voice says something along the lines of you should use GoDaddy because it does this brilliant thing of combining SEXY and SMART.
After the average American Super Bowl viewer managed to hold down their Doritos and Bud Light through the endless kissing scene, they were treated to this moral at the end of the commercial:
Sexy women aren’t smart.
Smart men aren’t sexy.
I had to fight the urge to leap off the couch and go cancel my GoDaddy account. The only reason I didn’t is because I do not have a GoDaddy account. I’m tempted to sign up for one so I can have the satisfaction of canceling it. If you have a GoDaddy account, I politely encourage you to consider canceling it.
The Super Bowl commercials were extra horrifying this year as though they were actually striving to meet a bullshit stereotype reinforcement quota. Old people shouldn’t have fun, violence is cool, women are objects, Stevie Wonder is a voodoo priest, babies can’t be astronauts, etc.
I had a more visceral reaction to the GoDaddy commercial because it seemed to go out of its way to be as offensive as possible and then wink about it. Like it was cute and clever. Those fools! Don’t they realize ONE entity can’t be both CUTE and CLEVER! That’s as outrageous as an attractive woman kissing an intelligent man!
I expect this sort of absurdity from Budweiser. Frankly, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Christopher Walken, Shia LaBeouf, and a team of Playboy Bunnies do a 60 second spot to advertise the new Bud Light Beer Enema. I would have had problems with that, too, but all the societal issues would be more difficult to analyze and address.
I think we need to start breaking down the cheap, easy stereotypes. It’s not easy, but the GoDaddy commercial gives us a nice place to start. I hope a lot of people who are both smart and sexy tell GoDaddy that they really aren’t interested in being negatively stereotyped. I hope they remind GoDaddy that what they want out of a web hosting company is web hosting, not insulting commercials with horrific kissing noises.
There are plenty of web hosting options out there.
We all make choices.
My grandfather could have married that nice girl in France.
We could tell GoDaddy where to go.
DC Comics artist, the charming and witty Christopher Jones, is our guest as we challenge three comedians to prove they would be the best sidekick for Obsessed. Sam Landman (guest on the Star Wars episode of Obsessed) brings insight, explicit language, and t-shirts; Mike Fotis (aka Italian Santa Claus) displays startling breath control and lack of ambition; and Andy Kraft (the puppetmaster of Episode 2) does some sudden audio cosplay. There are a few audio glitches at the top of the podcast balanced out by the first ever post-credits Obsessed Easter Egg! Also, a lot of literal squealing. Enjoy!
Two guys named Kevin and Fes are Joseph’s random audience volunteers for a raucous interview about their obsessions with Indiana Jones and “Projects and stuff.” Plus, Joseph tells a tale of a screaming audience volunteer and begins work on a commercial for his book Comedy of Doom. Recorded at the launch party for Fearless Comedy at the Amsterdam Bar in St. Paul, MN.
Back To The Future is a family friendly classic about time travel, punching people named Biff, and inappropriate sexual relationships! Joseph is joined in his examination of the trilogy by comedian Josh Carson, actual physicist and science adviser to Hollywood Dr. Jim Kakalios, and actor Anna Sundberg. Featuring a 5 minute summary of the entire trilogy, actual science, and a surprising amount of violence! Enjoy!
I get a lot of year-end holiday letters. Holiday letters are odd because they’re just updates about people’s lives with pictures of children. They’re like Facebook on paper. Many of the holiday letters are great, but a few are strange in a very specific way. They are defensive. Aggressively defensive. It’s as though there is an unspoken challenge to prove your life is PERFECT IN EVERY WAY. I wrote the following parody of a holiday letter for our annual New Year’s Eve show. Some of the letter is accurate to letters I have received. Some of the letter features creative license. See if you can tell which parts are which! Enjoy and happy new year!
Dear Person Who Is Not As Good As Me,
It’s been another busy year! And yet my family continues to make time to excel at everything!
Our beautiful daughter Morgan (Age 7, 11th grade) continues to love everything about school. Her favorite subjects are math, history, english, art, science, social studies, advanced therapeutic pottery making, and every other class. Her favorite sports include–but are not limited to–basketball, baseball, soccer, lacrosse, badminton, polo, water polo, water football, water cricket, and competitive hugging. Also, Morgan recently won the Hunger Games.
Morgan is very happy and fulfilled doing all of these activities, she does not feel in any way that her parents are pushing her to succeed for their own validation. Her smile never seems forced and tortured as though she is about to explode from the inside out. She also likes to bake cookies. Sometimes, she eats the dough before cooking it. I guess she’s a rebel like her mom! Smilie face!
Our wonderful son Jordan (Age 3, 4th grade) is a sensitive little guy who has read Lord of the Flies six times and even got a chance to act it out when his Boy Scout Troupe got lost in the woods behind our beautiful and large suburban home. Jordan got the following badges: Leadership, Civics, Fire-making, Face Painting, and Primal Savagery. Jordan can also recite Pi to the 8,000th digit and enjoys ballet.
BUT he also loves cars, raw meat, and other outdated cultural signifiers of masculinity. No, he really does! I’m not just saying that because I’m aggressively clinging to damaging gender stereotypes. Smilie face with a wink!
My husband Ken continues to be a kind and supportive partner who makes more money at his job than your spouse or partner does. Also, Ken is immortal. The only way he can be killed is if another immortal cuts his head off with a broadsword in a parking garage, construction site, or other abandoned building. Good thing Ken is keeping up with his broadsword combat classes at the local Y!
Our sex life is not boring or bland. We never have to try new positions or dress up as characters from our favorite reality TV shows to stimulate interest in one another’s aging bodies. NO! My husband Ken’s penis continues to impress in both length and girth. Everything is so great that when I have an orgasm a rainbow shoots out of my you-know-where.
Of course, it’s also been a busy year for me. I am keeping up with my crafting. I knit an entire shelter for homeless people. I am always calm because I am always doing yoga. I AM DOING YOGA AS I WRITE THIS.
I also beat Kanye West in a freestyle rap battle in the parking lot of Wal-Mart and self-published a fan fiction novel in which Oprah Winfrey has sex with Edward Cullen. It sold a million copies. I can open a bottle of Trader Joe’s wine by harnessing my rage and screaming so loud the top of the bottle shatters. When people say things I don’t like, I just start singing something from The Sound of Music. I am not in denial about anything!!! Smilie face! Smilie face! Smilie face!
In closing, here are some religious beliefs that you may not share but I feel comfortable ramming them down your throat because the holidays. We should all get together soon; it’s been too long.
Well, I think this festive holiday letter illustrates that I am better than you in every way—physically, emotionally, spiritually, sexually, and financially. If you challenge any of my beliefs, make no mistake I WILL END YOU.
With Much Love From My Family to Yours,
A Motherfucking Crazy Person
P.S. I have more friends than you do on Facebook.
If you enjoyed this story, there are many more like it in my book Comedy of Doom. Thanks for reading.
I suspect I am not alone in feeling as though I am never really getting enough done. While I try not to procrastinate too much, I do make jokes about procrastinating a lot. When I realize I’m procrastinating, I have a lot of little motivational phrases I say out loud to myself. One of them is this:
“Get back to work, you idiot.”
And if I don’t get back to work, I sometimes follow up with:
“You are a bad and stupid person.”
Then I feel guilty that I’m being so mean to myself and I try to make it up to me by allowing myself to make a joke on Twitter about procrastinating. And the cycle continues.
This year, I decided to actually review my calendar and make a list of (almost) everything I did. Please enjoy procrastinating from your work to read about mine!
I did two shows at The San Francisco SketchFest. CineMadness with Bill Corbett and a short version of my geek stand-up/storytelling show, Comedy of Doom.
I co-wrote an internal awards show for General Mills.
I made jokes on Twitter about procrastinating.
I launched the Obsessed podcast as both a live show in Minneapolis and released the first episode online. There have been 10 live shows that have generated 16 podcast episodes.
I wrote a sketch for a magician.
I wrote and performed (with Shanan Custer) a commentary about smartphones for Minnesota Public Radio.
I did a story with the spoken word collective The Rockstar Storytellers.
I was one of the entertainers on JoCoCruiseCrazy II. I performed a full length version of Comedy of Doom. I was thrilled to get a surprise volunteer named Wil Wheaton for my Star Trek bit. I also played the role of “Ed McMahon” on Paul & Storm’s podcast with Paul F. Tompkins.
I gave a talk in a bar about zombies and Minnesota geek culture for the Minnesota Historical Society.
I made jokes on Facebook about procrastinating.
I performed at the Twin Cities convention Mars Con.
I started working as an occasional writer and performer on Wits. Since March, I’ve written for and/or performed with Tim Meadows, Rhett Miller, Andy Richter, Reggie Watts, Fred Willard, Paul F. Tompkins, Wyatt Cenac, Bobcat Goldthwait, Amy Sedaris, Dave Foley, Mike Doughty, Maria Bamford, and Brandi Carlile. And of course host John Moe, John Munson and The Witnesses, and other frequent Wits performers Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy, and Neil Gaiman.
I went out to eat with my wife on her birthday. She mentioned maybe I should write a book.
I made jokes on Google+ about procrastinating.
I did another story with the Rockstar Storytellers.
I wrote and did eight performances of a one person stand-up show about vampires, stand-up, and vampires doing stand-up called The Sad Vampire Comedy Hour.
I wrote and performed a short story as part of a Minnesota Public Radio showcase led by Kevin Kling.
I did three performances and presentations about using comedy to discuss history for the American Alliance of Museums convention.
I did not get around to making any jokes on social media about procrastinating.
I wrote a lot of new material for the book. I edited the material from the stage version. I took photos for the cover and organized all the illustrations for the book. I hit refresh on the Kickstarter page roughly 700 times a day.
My odd little rock band called Math Emergency (composed of a math professor, a public radio producer, a public radio host, and me) played a gig. I played the drums and made jokes into a microphone.
I appeared on the AON podcast.
I made jokes on Twitter about spending too much time on Twitter.
I went on my friends’ annual bar crawl. I only note this because, while fun, going to 13 bars in 12 hours does feel a bit like work.
I appeared on the Vilification Tennis podcast where I cemented my reputation as an Axl Rose apologist.
I did another story with the Rockstar Storytellers.
I did multiple rounds of proofing and editing on the book and we sent it off to be printed. Comedy of Doom was officially published on June 20, 2012.
I wrote the pilot for an animated series version of the web comic Least I Could Do.
I made mean jokes about Google+ on Twitter.
We sent out all the copies of Comedy of Doom to the kind Kickstarter backers.
I attended the big Twin Cities convention CONvergence. I wrote and performed a one person storytelling and stand-up show about romantic advice for geeks called Verbing The Noun. We’ll be releasing a CD and digital download of the show in time for Valentine’s Day 2013. I did a live Obsessed show with Paul Cornell and Bonnie Burton. I did 10 other comedy panels and a signing for Comedy of Doom.
I did another story with the Rockstar Storytellers.
I co-wrote and performed a comedy show called Comedy: The Show with Four Humors Theater on the Centennial Showboat in St. Paul, Minnesota.
I made a quick trip to Los Angeles for a friend’s birthday party. I even wrote something for that.
I made mean jokes about Google+ on Facebook.
I wrote, produced, and performed in an hour long one act play called Nightmare Without Pants for the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Here is a three minute live video preview of the show, in which I perform an accidental magic trick with a pair of rip-away pants.
Due to the stubborn forward movement of time I became a year older on August 17th.
I performed and did some comedy panels at Dragon*Con in Atlanta.
I made jokes about Google+ on Google+.
I was still at Dragon*Con. For one panel, I was challenged to sing “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” I attempted to do it in the style of Nine Inch Nails. It’s a better song that way.
I did a performance at Space Camp with Marian Call, Molly Lewis, Ken Plume, Phil Plait, and more.
Obsessed was featured on iTunes as “New & Noteworthy” and a “Staff Favorite.”
I co-wrote, helped to organize, and performed in a large awards show for the Minnesota theater community called The Iveys.
I did a podcast with the awesome Len Peralta and became a trading card for his Geek-A-Week series.
I hosted and performed at a viewing of the Doctor Who episode “The Angels Take Manhattan” at The Parkway Theater.
I tried to treat Google+ with a little more respect.
I co-produced, directed, and wrote a piece for a theater event called Thirst. It’s a series of short one-act plays performed in a bar. The show had three performances and it was a benefit to fight for Marriage Equality in Minnesota. Here’s the monologue I wrote about Harry Potter and kindness.
I joined The Ladies of Ragnarok (Molly Lewis, The Doubleclicks, and tour manager Dammit Liz) for a leg of their tour. I performed in Chicago, Minneapolis, and Madison. The Ladies also appeared on Obsessed.
I recorded the audiobook version of Comedy of Doom. We’re still working on editing and mastering the hours of audio.
I did another show with the Rockstar Storytellers.
I wrote and performed a ghost story for Torch Theater in Minneapolis.
I played another gig with Math Emergency.
I started a Tumblr account and wrote a thing about Halloween.
I used National Novel Writing Month as a motivation to work on some screenplays. I finished plotting and scripting the first drafts of two feature length films. Now working on second drafts.
My wife and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. The traditional gift is iron. The contemporary gift is candy. We gave one another Iron Man Pez dispensers.
I tried to make fun of Google+ on Tumblr, but I felt like I was kicking a puppy.
I wrote and performed the short story Adult Santa for The New Standards holiday show at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota.
I did another story with the Rockstar Storytellers.
We (and by “we” I really mean my wife Sara and my graphic designer, Matthew Foster) made Comedy of Doom available on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, and many stores in the Twin Cities.
I wrote a story about the grim superhero The Leaping Lord for Paul Cornell’s 12 Blogs of Christmas.
I started writing a new stand-up/storytelling show that I’ll be performing on JoCoCruiseCrazy III.
I started writing another stand-up/storytelling show that I’ll be performing at the Bryant-Lake Bowl in Minneapolis in March of 2013.
I booked guests for Obsessed through March of 2013.
I wrote some stuff that I’ll perform for my annual New Year’s Eve show at the Bryant Lake Bowl.
I made fun of LinkedIn on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Tumblr.
I debated whether or not I should write this. I stared off into space and screwed around on social media. I beat myself up about procrastinating. I forced myself to write this. I read it. I thought about all the amazing creative people I got to meet and work with this year. I ran the post by my wife and business partner without whom none of the above would be remotely possible.
Later tonight, I’ll watch some TV, drink a martini, and think about ways to get even more done in 2013.
I’m going to start by coming up with some new motivational phrases.
I think I’ll try:
“Come on, you idiot, get stuff done so you have something to blog about next year.”
“Stop calling yourself an idiot, you jackass.”
And then I’ll hug myself and move on.
Happy New Year’s,
I was too late to order my whiskey calendar, so each day I tweeted the gifts found in my Imaginary Advent Calendar. Here are all my gifts in one place. Enjoy!
Day One: A mimosa and guilt.
Day Two: A sweater vest and some opium.
Day Three: Fine lace doilies and desperate longing.
Day Four: $67 in cash and a gun. Uh-oh.
Day Five: A smaller Advent Calendar and the horn sound effect from Inception.
Day Six: A small effigy of me and a warning to stop my investigation.
Day Seven: Holiday pants.
Day Eight: A tiny voice whispering a prophecy about The Boy Who Lived.
Day Nine: A tiny snow shovel and a large bottle of pain meds.
Day Ten: Fake passports, a candy cane sharpened to a deadly point, a list of targets. Who am I?
Day Eleven: An episode of Friends on VHS and a loud modem sound.
Day Twelve: Some Doritos and a dime bag of Myrrh.
Day Thirteen: A snarky AV Club article sort of complimenting but also mocking Advent Calendars.
Day Fourteen: A hugging robot. A robot designed only to hug people.
Day Fifteen: A huge pile of unused Oxford Commas. They just want to help us understand one another.
Day Sixteen: Two live squirrels and an empty bottle of Ritalin. Jesus.
Day Seventeen: Mistletoe and a mirror. Creepy.
Day Eighteen: A fruitcake and a big pile of existential dread.
Day Nineteen: The nativity scene recreated with Ikea furniture. Have to assemble it myself.
Day Twenty: A large chocolate bunny. Holidays are confusing.
Day Twenty-One: A 404 error message. Oh my.
Day Twenty-Two: A small note that read, “Our bad. Math is hard. LOL. Happy Holidays, the Maya.”
Day Twenty-Three: A Nutcracker doll that came to life, did the Gangnam Style dance, then became a doll again.
Day Twenty-Four: A stress ball, magic refilling box of wine, ham, an ox, a lamb, a jazz snare drum.
Day Twenty-Five: A flock of doves, a mimosa, and a Kickstarter campaign for next year’s Advent Calendar.
If you enjoy this story, there are many others like it in my book Comedy of Doom. Thanks for reading.
Mystical being, Santa Claus, is obsessed with fresh breath and shampoo. Santa also has a lot to say about elf cruelty, the Supreme Court, Godfather’s Pizza, and reindeer putting on plays. PLUS random audience volunteer, Madde Gibba, reveals her obsession with Animals in Clothes on the Internet. Enjoy!