Tag Archives: Flaw Fest

Wife Head: The Whole Story

This past Sunday, November 17th, 2013 was the 7th anniversary of my marriage to Sara Stevenson “Wife Head” Scrimshaw.

If you’re not familiar with my story about kissing a bear (now featured on my comedy album Flaw Fest) you’re probably thinking, “Wow. ‘Wife Head’ is one hell of a weird nickname, and you, Joseph Scrimshaw, might be an asshole.”

And you would be partially right. Like a lot of humans, I live in a quantum state in which I might, at any moment, be an asshole.

I’m happy to report I was not an asshole on our anniversary. We went to a nice restaurant, took pictures of our food, ate our food, and then saw the wonderful romantic comedy, Thor 2. We totally shipped Thor-Loki.

Then we went to Target. Every anniversary we buy ourselves small presents based on what Wikipedia claims the anniversary gifts should be. This year was copper, wool, and desk sets. We bought a copper colored candle, wool socks, and a desk top hour glass. Last year, it was iron and candy so we got an Iron Man Pez Dispenser.

I spent a good chunk of the anniversary thinking about the phrase “Wife Head” and the strange, powerful part it’s played in my life over the last few years. I realized I’ve never really written down the whole chain of events, so here goes.

“Please remember to listen to your Wife Head” is a real phrase my real wife, Sara, really said to me several years ago. She meant that I should imagine there is a tiny, fairy like version of her perched on my shoulder who helpfully reminds me to be safe, careful, and not an asshole. Wife Head does not judge or harp, she just wants to help.

After one of the times Sara mentioned Wife Head, I did not listen to Wife Head. I went and did something stupid in the woods with a bear while filming a commercial.

A few years after the actual bear incident, I decided to do a comedy bit about it. But I couldn’t quite find the right idea to tie it all together.

Then I remembered Wife Head. The inclusion of Wife Head in the bit made it all work.

I did the bit at several shows including a storytelling show at Minnesota Public Radio and w00tstock at the San Diego Comic-Con.

I really liked the Wife Head/bear bit because it was an odd mix of stand-up comedy, storytelling, and horrible confession.

The bit inspired me to do the show that became Flaw Fest–a comedy show about all of my horrible flaws.

When I decided to record the show for a comedy album I also decided (I guess because I hate free time) that it wasn’t enough to just record a comedy album. I also asked a bunch of musicians to write songs inspired by the bits in the show.

I made a big list of cool musicians I know. I had met John Munson when I was doing some writing and performing at Wits and he had recently asked me to be a guest for his holiday show with The New Standards. John is an amazing musician with a wry sense of humor and an all around awesome guy. Not only is he the bandleader for Wits and a current member of The New Standards, he was also a member of these bands you might have heard of called Trip Shakespeare and Semisonic.

I put him at the bottom of my list for “people I should ask but I think they’ll probably be too busy and say no.”

Sara looked at the list and said, “What are you talking about? Send him an email right now.”

I was veering toward being a stupid, self-defeating asshole and Wife Head gently suggested I make a different choice.

To our delight, John said yes right away. Once I had all the musicians lined up, I told them there were a couple of phrases and topics from the show I really wanted covered.

One of them was “Wife Head.” John grabbed “Wife Head” right away.

The song John delivered is one of my favorites on the final album. It’s a bad ass rock song with a killer hook played by amazing musicians and it has a theme anyone in a relationship can relate to–that wise partner who is just trying to look out for you.

But it’s got even more weight for me than that. Sara had been a fan of John’s work with Trip Shakespeare and Semisonic for a long time. She loves the song as much as I do. During some of the hard times, the grueling hours of work we both put in to make the idea of the album a reality, Sara and I would listen to John’s rough demo of “Wife Head” and smile.

There was now a song in the world inspired by my wife by one of her favorite musicians.

Now we have a new anniversary tradition. We’ll still take pictures of our nice meal and eat it. We’ll still buy a bunch of weird shit at Target because Wikipedia said we should. We’ll still see romantic comedies like Guardians of the Galaxy or The Bourne Whatever.

We’ll also spend a few minutes on our anniversary rocking out to “Wife Head.”

Thanks, John. Thanks, Sara. Thanks, supportive fans, friends, and musicians who made the album happen.

Thanks, Wife Head.

If you’d like to check out Flaw Fest you can find it on Bandcamp here. The Wife Head comedy track is called “Stubborn Bears.” And if you just want to listen to the Wife Head song, turn up your speakers real loud and stream the shit out of track 16.


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I’m a huge fan of Kickstarter. It made my book Comedy of Doom possible and more recently it made my comedy album Flaw Fest possible. One of the rewards for Flaw Fest was a short comedy video about any flaw you wanted. My pal, cartoonist and game designer, John Kovalic, suggested the flaw of Kickstarter Addiction. So I made the video below.

After making that video, I worry about my Kickstarter Karma so here are a few projects from friends and awesome humans that I think you should check out.

Singing funny humans, Paul & Storm, (who are featured on the Flaw Fest album) just launched a campaign for their new album Ball Pit!

If you’re a fan of Paul & Storm, you probably know about JoCoCruiseCrazy. Here’s a Kickstarter campaign to create a high-end animated trailer for the cruise.

My friend and partner-in-comedy-crime in Rockstar Storytellers, Courtney McLean, just launched a cool project for a 12 night tour that never leaves the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul!

Finally, Mary Jo Pehl, of MST3K and Cinematic Titanic and general awesomeness, wants to sing to you AND give you a recipe for tater tot hotdish.

My recipe for tater tot hotdish is take 2 or more ingredients of any kind then add enough CREAM to kill a small moose. Lovingly cover this gastronomical death trap with tater tots and enough SALT to make sure the dead moose’s body will never decay. That recipe is free, but I should probably do a Kickstarter campaign for a cookbook on how to murder friends and loved ones with food stuffs.

Thanks for all the support you Kickstarting sons of bitches!


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Here come the FLAWS

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

photo (13)


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

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

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

More press coming out this week!


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

Here’s a sneak peek.


More flawed updates as they come in!

Many thanks for all your interest and support!

Your flawed friend,


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The Riddler Has Nothing To Prove

I’ve recently returned from the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con–a swarming, heaving mass of geeky humanity.

During the convention, I got to spend time with a lot of pals including Angela and Aubrey Webber a.k.a The Doubleclicks. They are, of course, charming and talented and smart and good at all of the instruments ever. I’ve been lucky to tour with them a bit, they’re writing a song for my upcoming comedy and music album Flaw Fest, they appear on one of my favorite episodes of Obsessed, and they’re good friends.

During w00tstock, they premiered the video for their song “Nothing to Prove.” It’s a response to the rabid fear of the so-called Fake Geek Girl. (If you have no idea what a Fake Geek Girl is, here’s a thing I wrote on tumblr trying to explain the concept to a theater person.)

The video was co-conceived by another pal–the talented screenwriter and raconteur Josh Cagan. It features testimonials from geek girls and a few geek guys (some assholes named Wheaton, Savage, Scrimshaw, etc.) about the strange trend in some pockets of geek culture toward exclusion.

Here’s the video:

I thought a lot about geek culture during Comic-Con this year. One of the most obvious expressions of geekdom is cosplay. Dressing up as a character you like, or in many cases, just a character you find aesthetically pleasing.

I love watching cosplay. For the joy of those in costume and those who are thrilled when they see their favorite character walk by. But I’m also fascinated with the mash-up between the fantasy of the character and the reality of being a human at a convention.

I posted on Twitter and Facebook that all I wanted out of the convention was seeing one guy dressed as Batman eating a taco. I even followed a couple of Batmen, but they walked right past the taco stands.

I got a close second, though. In the middle of a business meeting, the Joker sat down next to me and ate a hot dog. He didn’t even eat it. He devoured it in two bites. I saw the Joker deep throat a hot dog. (When I posted about this on Twitter, it autocorrected to “derp throat” which would be a great geeky porn parody.)

I saw a guy in a really great Green Lantern costume standing against the wall on the crowded convention floor, charging his iPhone. It was sad and funny to see Green Lantern having to use a common power outlet to charge his phone instead of using his ring.

I saw several men dressed as Slave Leia.

Another friend saw all of the Avengers. But the Avengers were also dressed as Slave Leia.

Comic-Con runs shuttles from all the hotels to the convention center. The shuttle is a great place to watch superheroes confront the limits of the physical world. A guy in a great Iron Man costume got on the bus, lifted his helmet, and said, “Oh, man. I forgot I can’t sit down.” It was a double-decker bus so someone said, “Why don’t you go upstairs? There’s more room up there.” Iron Man’s friend said, “Bad idea. He doesn’t do stairs well.” So Iron Man just sort of squatted in the area normally reserved for wheelchairs while happily telling people how he made his awesome costume.

But my favorite overheard conversation was from a dude dressed as the Batman villain, the Riddler. He sat down next to me on the shuttle and started chatting with Cyborg and Green Arrow. He said he didn’t really read Batman comics or watch Batman movies. He just liked the costume. I laughed to myself. Then he said, “I picked this costume to match my friends. And I like green. But I didn’t want to be a DC character, I wanted to be Bane.”

I was unable to stop myself from leaning over to my wife and whispering, “Bane IS a DC character.” My wife hadn’t been listening to the Riddler’s conversation so she thought I was having a sudden attack of aphasia.

I whispered, “It’s funny because this guy dressed as the Riddler is a Fake Geek Guy.”

The Riddler was what all these judgmental dudes are so afraid of from women. That people will just appropriate geek knowledge and credentials. That they’ll wear the mask of the Riddler on their face but not in their hearts. And this will somehow rip a hole in the very fabric of the geek continuum.

I continued to listen to the Riddler. The topic changed from costumes to something very close to Riddler’s heart: tax laws as they relate to the legalization of marijuana.

The Riddler had a lot to say on this topic. Turns out, he was a huge geek. What he lacked in knowledge or passion in Batman’s rogue’s gallery, he more than made up for in pedantic pot tax lore.

He was absolutely not a fake geek. He was just a guy having fun wearing a costume with friends. Next year, I hope he fully embraces his inner geekdom and dresses up as Captain Pot Tax Laws.

It’s been said many times (and particularly effectively in The Doubleclick’s song and video) but one of the strengths of the geek community at this point is its spirit of inclusion.

There is too much “geek content” for geekdom to be based solely on your knowledge. No one recognizes every costume at an event as large as Comic-Con. What we recognize is the passion. And what makes the event positive is the moments of feeling like a part of a community no matter how odd or obscure your passion is.

My passion at Comic-Con this year was to see someone dressed as Batman eat a taco.

And a community rose up to support me. On Saturday afternoon many people tweeted at me, saying they had spotted a Batman in the vicinity of a taco stand. @SemiEvolved on Twitter then sent me this photo.


And it was good. Thanks, @SemiEvolved! This particular Batman was found at my pal Marian Call’s ninja gig behind the Convention Center. So he has good taste in tacos and music.

But since I’m a geek and I want to collect them all, I will be on the hunt for a sighting of Batman eating a taco with his cowl up.

That’s all you need to be a geek: follow your passion. Follow them down a street and take pictures of them eating tacos.

Next year, Comic-Con, next year.

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


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A Short List of People Who Don’t Have Kickstarters

Okay, that title is a lie. Because everyone has a Kickstarter project these days. I recently finished one for a double album of comedy and music called Flaw Fest. You can read about all the crazed work that went into that in this post about cocaine and unicorns.

As a comedian, one of the hardest things about running a Kickstarter project is taking a short break from making jokes about Kickstarter. So I’m going to relish this short window when I feel comfortable poking fun at it.

That said, I do think it’s a great system to support artists of all kinds.

I appreciate all the insane support I got for both Flaw Fest and my book Comedy of Doom, which was also made possible by Kickstarter. So I want to support other people, not just with money, but also with talking about it.

Here’s some talking about projects!

The Suburbs’ New CD!

This project will wrap up in just a few days. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know Chan Poling of the Suburbs a little bit. I performed this comedy piece at a holiday show of The New Standards (another of Chan’s awesome musical endeavors.) It’s awesome to see an established band like the Suburbs eschew the standard label system and go directly to their fans.

Jawbone Radio: Season X.

This is a project by my good pal Len Peralta. Len is the man behind the awesome Geek-A-Week trading card series. Here’s my card and podcast. Len is raising funds to relaunch his podcast. I can confirm that Len is a great conversationalist. We shared a room at Dragon Con last year. We spent many hours sitting in our pajamas and chatting. It was awesome. As this podcast will be.


This is a game about ninjas. Lots and lots of ninjas. It’s made by Brian Wood and Jon Cazares. Brian is also behind Awesome Dice. I filmed these commercials for the company. I drank horrible Canadian whiskey for those commercials, so obviously I’m willing to do a lot for Brian. I play tested the game many moons ago and it’s great. Did I mention it has ninjas? Are you sick of zombies cultural dominance? Strike back by supporting ninjas.

And that’s it. Awesome rock band. Awesome podcast. Awesome ninjas. Overuse of the word awesome.

And now I’m off to work on my Robin Hood Kickstarter in which I raise funds to give to other Kickstarters.


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

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FINAL UPDATE AT THE TOP BECAUSE IT’S IMPORTANT: Flaw Fest is funded. Live comedy shows, a new comedy album, an album of original songs by amazing musicians will all exist. Because you funded, you increased your funding, you promoted, you snorted hope-coke and flew like unicorns. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read below. The context will help a little tiny bit. There are no more words for it than: Thanks, unicorns.

Flaw Fest is a comedy show about all my flaws as a human being. Well, not all of them. The greatest hits of my horrible human flaws.

I performed the show in February of 2013 on Jonathan Coulton’s JoCoCruiseCrazy. You can read about the cruise experience here.

The show went very well. One of the conversations that came up on the cruise was how comedians, musicians, and artists in general generate new material.

The cruise left me thinking about creating new work and about how comedy and music interact.

I came up with the idea of not only recording the comedy show, but asking a bunch of my musician friends to write an album of original songs inspired by the comedy show.

The result is this kickstarter campaign called FLAW FEST.

The campaign ends this Friday, June 21st at 12:27 CDT. We’re pretty far from our goal of $26,007.

The goal is quite high.

Over half of the money is going to the musicians because I wanted them to be paid well for taking the time to write and record new songs. The rest of the money is going toward renting the theater, paying for rewards, and hiring pros to get a very high quality recording of the comedy show.

I knew the goal was quite high when I set it, but (as I joke about in the show) my flaws include being stubborn and, at times, foolishly optimistic.

The progress on the funding has been uneven. There have been some great things. The Kickstarter staff selected it as a Staff Pick and featured FLAW FEST on their home page as a Project of the Day. Still, some days, it’s lumbered along like a wounded buffalo. Other days, it’s raced forward like a crazy little squirrel hopped up on pixie stix.

If there’s any hope of making its goal by Friday, the funding will need to fly like a horde of unicorns jacked up on coke.

While the goal is still frustratingly far away, I know two things:

1) No one owes me anything. If you think the project looks interesting, I’m thrilled. If not, that’s fine, too. Not every project that sounds exciting to creators is going to find the right audience or a large enough audience to share that excitement. That’s just part of being a creative type.

2) The fans who have supported this project have supported the LIVING HELL OUT OF IT. Many people have increased their pledges, plugged the project, and sent kind words of encouragement. Many thanks to all the squirrel people hopped up on pixie stix who have given this project its forward movement.

Bottom line, I know the goal is quite high. I know the deadline is very close. But I’m going to be foolishly optimistic and ask you a favor:

If you think the project sounds exciting, please fund at whatever level you can. Please tell your friends who might be interested. Please be a unicorn. Strap on some wings, do a few lines of hope-coke with me and fly, fly, fly.

Or just enjoy the concept of drug addled fictional creatures. That’s appreciated, too.

Many thanks from a flawed creative type–

UPDATE: As of this writing, we have 24 hours left to fund FLAW FEST. Many of you have answered THE CALL OF THE HOPEFUL UNICORN and I deeply appreciate it. Thanks to you we’ve moved much closer to the goal and we’re now tantalizingly close to making this idea a reality. Keep flying, unicorns, keep snorting and flying. We’re almost there. Thank you.

UPDATE UPDATE: As of this writing, we have 4 hours left. Everyone who watches the TV show 24 knows that’s when THE EXCITING AND EXTRA RIDICULOUS THINGS HAPPEN. You hope-coked unicorns have been flying like crazy. We also got a nice plug from Jonathan Coulton and Greg Pak via their great graphic novel and music kickstarter. We saw a huge surge last night because of all that work. Just a few more hours and a few more dollars. Keep flying and thank you for helping FLAW FEST get this close to being a reality.


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