Danny’s Comedy Rants 2012 Shit List

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The holidays usually grind my teeth to a dull point for the usual reasons: long lines to buy crap I can’t afford, enduring the endless surgery stories from people who may or may not be my distant relatives, the fact that everyone around me appears happy and cheery at all times. The one bright spot of my holidays is that the long, insufferable year begins to finally draw its last breaths. It gives me a chance to say a long, loud goodbye to all the people, policies and protoplasm masquerading as people who made the world a less grander place.

- Rick Santorum
It was very hard to narrow down the douchiest from the roster of douchebags who vied for the chance to have their ass handed to them by President Barack Obama in 2012. They were a “Who’s Who?” of “Who Sucks?” in today’s all or nothing political climate. Santorum, however, was the frosty, white cream of the crap heap both figuratively and by the very definition of his name (apologies to those of you who are eating or engaging in gay sex while reading this). When his time came to be the frontrunner of the GOP primary’s quest to find the most plausible candidate who isn’t named Mitt Romney, he couldn’t have fired up the right wing base more if he took a flamethrower to them at an NRA rally. He used his God given talent to divide and permanently disgusted face to take down groups and issues that were getting too meddlesome like women, pro-choice people, homosexuals and health care that prevents people from dying from easily treatable conditions. Then when he ran out of things to hate, he alone made the use and coverage of contraception an issue, a debate settled so long ago that even the characters on “Mad Men” stopped discussing it. Even after his party’s massive losses, he continued to reach for the spotlight by speaking out against something that shouldn’t even be up for debate: the adoption of a UN treaty that calls for universal disability standards based on the Americans with Disabilities Act. The very idea that this walking bag of pomposity has an ounce of relevance left makes me wish there was a Mayan apocalypse so we wouldn’t have to witness the influence he’ll try to wield in 2013 to demand that fetuses pay their fair share of taxes and the elderly stop insisting that everyone else pay for the oxygen they breathe whether it comes out of a tank or the sky.

- Donald Trump
My goal was to limit this year-end diatribe to just one politician and thankfully Donald Trump isn’t one. That’s not just good for myself. It’s good for the nation, the world and the universe as a whole assuming there are alien life forces on the far reaches of the galaxy who are trying to get as far away from Earth as they can so the thing on Trump’s head doesn’t eat them. He may not have officially run for office but he tried like hell to be something much more powerful and dangerous: a lobbyist. And normally, people who lobby on behalf of the mentally deficient are actually doing good work unless the lobbying they are doing is to meet their crazy demands like proof that the President got good grades in college or has a valid American birth certificate. Every time this bloviated fat head opened his mouth, the media ate it up with a big wooden, cooking spoon. He injected us with more hype than an “Indiana Jones” sequel and released “bombshells” that could be less important if they included a step by step cure for shingles and in the end, it was all to promote some dumb reality show that lets celebrities have knife fights over what kind of pizza they should order for dinner. I’m not a religious man but if there is a Hell, there is a special place in it for Trump with a job as a janitor in one of his bankrupt casinos.

- Honey Boo Boo
This one was a real no-brainer. It was also an easy choice to make for the biggest douchebags of 2012. This egotistical toddler accomplished something that no one thought was possible: She helped TLC reach a new low. Her reality TV stardom made it OK for people to hate on children for the first time since “Webster” hit the airwaves. This wasn’t just a case of another annoying celebrity trying to wedge a meaningless catchphrase into the American lexicon by shoving it into our brains with a potato masher. It was a total mental breakdown of the nation’s collective conscience. A record number of people actually found entertainment in watching a family of carb-consuming monsters find happiness in letting the world revolve around their demanding, egotistical spotlight whore. Sometimes I wonder if Congress’ attempt to dismantle the “Head Start” program isn’t a power hungry grab to convert those funds into increasing abstinence education. It’s a way to prevent us from turning into the movie “Dumbocracy.”

 

Danny Gallagher is a freelance writer, humorist and reporter and a regular contributor to TruTV’s “Dumb as a Blog“, Playboy’s “The Smoking Jacket“, MTV’s Clutch and the Shadowbox Comedy Theater of Columbus. His humor and feature writing has also appeared in Aol’s TVSquad.com and Asylum.com, Spike.com, Esquire Magazine, Cracked.com, Mental Floss Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune’s “Redeye,” The Austin American-Statesmen and The Center for the Easily Amused. He doesn’t shower much.

 

Dave Hill: The Comedyrants Interview by Danny Gallagher

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Dave Hill, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, originally worshipped at the altar of the rock gods and became a consummate guitar player. He made a name for himself in the New York, Los Angeles and British comedy club scenes and writes with the proficiency of a professional journalist for several newspapers and magazines that even the illiterate would recognize. His reporting and journalism work have earned him a regular contributing spot on the public radio powerhouse “This American Life.” He also has one of the funniest Twitter accounts on the web that will make you forget what a huge waste of time Twitter can be in the hands of the average, humorless bastard. 

Dave Hill would like you to know that he knows Dick Cavett and Malcolm Gladwell, both of whom provided quotes for his new book “Tasteful Nudes…and Other Misguided Attempts at Personal Growth and Validation” due out May 22nd from St. Martin’s Press.

Hill spoke to Comedyrants about how he combined his talents for comedy and rock to become an awesome physical force of enlightenment and entertainment, the dress code of the “Dave Hill style” and how he developed a rabid obsession for Norwegian Black Metal.

Where do you find your wardrobe?

Where do I find my wardrobe?  Ideally on the floor of a sexy, sexy lady’s apartment.  Ha- that is a joke I just made up in my spare time.  Anyway, I buy a lot of my clothes in London when I’m over there doing shows.  People just dress better over there in general, so it’s easier to find good stuff.  I like stuff from Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, and Merc the best.  I can’t tell if I sound like a total penis so far in this interview.  I think it’s hard to not sound like a penis when talking about clothes if you’re a dude.  But I will continue anyway.  Another thing with shopping for clothes is that I almost never pay more than 50% of retail.  I try to wait for sales.  I usually only pay full price for stuff like underwear (I wear the cheap kind because I figure by the time anyone sees it, it’s too late for them to turn back).  Occasionally I’ll buy a nice pair of shoes or jeans because, if they are well made, they will last a long time and be totally worth it, by which I mean it will lead to tons and tons of sex and the occasional free drink or brunch invite.

How would you describe the Dave Hill style and is there a better name for it than “the Dave Hill style”?

I would describe the Dave Hill style as “slightly too tight and preferably velvet” or “a guy from Cleveland just trying to dress well enough to distract from his face.”  I like my clothes but I usually think they would look much better on someone else.  I have heard people say I’m a bit of dandy but I don’t think I’m nearly dainty enough for that.  You can’t be from Cleveland and truly be a dandy.  It’s just not possible.  I get a polar fleece for Christmas pretty much every year, which keeps me grounded.  Sometimes I’ll put it on and walk around the neighborhood so I can feel what it’s like to be a normal person.

How does someone become so connected into the alternative NYC comedy scene as you have?

I can’t tell if I’m all that well connected or not.  I do have Todd Barry’s phone number, so I feel pretty good about that.  Generally speaking, though, I think the comedy world is a lot like high school- you run into everyone at some point or another and hopefully no one will end up stuffing you into a locker, pushing you down a flight of stairs, or throwing something at your head.  Most comedians are really nice, so a lot of times I will go and get a soup or salad with them.

What would you say is the highlight of your career besides this interview?

This interview is definitely up there, but I’d say any time I get to do stuff with Dick Cavett, one of my absolute heroes, is always a highlight.  I’ve had him on my Dave Hill Explosion show a few times, he’s done my podcast, and we just shot a video together.  I even went to his house once, which almost caused a seizure (in me, I mean.  He seemed totally fine).  I can’t believe I know him.  Every time I talk to him I’m thinking “Holy shit- Dick Cavett!” and just trying to hold it together the whole time.

Another highlight was performing at Sing Sing prison for 300 inmates.  They were all maximum security violent felons – murderers, rapists, stuff like that.  I guess it was kind of like a comedy version of Outward Bound or something.  I was terrified going into but I ended up having a really nice time in the end.  I can’t wait to go back.  Prison is so underrated.

What would you say is the low point of your career besides this interview?

As for low points of my career, depending on my mood or how much I’ve had to drink or whatever, almost any day could seem like a low point depending on how you look at it.  Show business is a cruel mistress.  I feel lucky to be able to do what I do for a living, but I am usually in a mild panic about everything.  About 10% of the time though, I am operating from a place of extreme, largely unwarranted confidence and that’s when I manage to get stuff done.  The rest of the time I just run errands and stuff.  Also, I’ve been told I have slightly larger than normal external male genitalia.  I realize you didn’t ask that question, but I wasn’t sure where else in this interview I should mention that.

How insecure do you consider yourself to be and if so, why live in New York, aka the second most shallow city in the history of the universe?

I think everyone in comedy is pretty insecure or they wouldn’t have gone into comedy in the first place.  As for my own mental state, I am wildly insecure sometimes and confident-bordering-on-delusional other times.  As I’ve learned in therapy, however, the key is to recognize both of those things as something you should probably blame on your parents.  New York is a great place to live though, because no matter what your mental state, you can always find someone who will make you feel totally not alone.

Did you always aspire to combine your music with your comedy or at what point did you decide to combine the two? What makes it work?

No.  I actually kept them pretty separate for a while.  I started as a musician and am a huge rock fan, so I was never really into “musical comedy” because I felt like it compromised the majesty of rock.  Or something like that.  But gradually, I started combining the two.  I’m not as much into writing silly songs as I just like talking and shredding on the guitar.  Also, the guitar is a nice kind of security blanket on stage that allows me to go back to being an introvert for a few seconds whenever I feel like it.  The guitar conveniently covers the nuts, too, so that’s another bonus.

What do you know about Norwegian Black Metal that the rest of America hasn’t caught on to yet?

As a lover of both Satan and heavy metal, Norwegian Black Metal has been a favorite of mine for a long time now.  It’s crossed over into pop culture in the last few years, mostly because of all the crazy Norwegian Black Metal band photos, but most Americans are totally missing out on all that borderline unlistenable music that goes along with it.  That said, there are some great Norwegian Black Metal bands.  I like Darkthrone, Mayhem, Satyricon, and Emperor a lot.  I love Bathory, too, but they’re Swedish, so I’m not sure if that counts.  They had the best band photos though if you ask me.  Also, a lot of Norwegian Black Metal musicians live out in the woods, which is also cool.

You have some impressive quips on your book. Malcolm Gladwell called you his “idol.” Is that difficult to live up to? Who would your dream book quote be from and what would he/she say?

No.  I see Malcolm a lot because we live in the same neighborhood.  I am happy to be a positive role model for him.  As far as dream quotes, I can’t believe it but I actually got most of the ones I wanted.  The back of my book has nice quotes from Dick Cavett, Malcolm Gladwell, Chris Elliott, Ira Glass, John Hodgman, Janeane Garofalo, Sandra Bernhard, and Andy Richter- all people I admire a shitload.  I really wanted to get one from Salman Rushdie but I couldn’t make it happen.  Fuckin‘ Rushdie.  I guess him or Stephen Hawking would have really rounded things out nicely.  They could say whatever they want as long as they promised to throw in a little profanity.  A quote from Morrissey would be great too- maybe just some of his lyrics.  I guess I could just go ahead and do that, couldn’t I?

Here’s an obvious question for you: what do women want and how can men give it to them?

I know women were into mojitos for a while, but now I’m not really sure.  I think it’s important to be kind and respectful to women at all times.  Also, don’t forget to work the nipples.

 

Danny Gallagher is a freelance writer, humorist and reporter and a regular contributor to TruTV’s “Dumb as a Blog“, Playboy’s “The Smoking Jacket“, MTV’s Clutch and the Shadowbox Comedy Theater of Columbus. His humor and feature writing has also appeared in Aol’s TVSquad.com and Asylum.com, Spike.com, Esquire Magazine, Cracked.com, Mental Floss Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune’s “Redeye,” The Austin American-Statesmen and The Center for the Easily Amused. He doesn’t shower much.

 

Rick Santorum: Privacy Parts – Gallagher On Topic

Gallagher: On Topic
Privacy Parts

There are a few buzzwords and phrases that automatically send a message to my brain to shut down any listening functions and proceed with a series of head nods every seven seconds. The first one on the list is the phrase, “Back in my day…”.

Someone who pines for the “good ol’ days” manages to break the fourth wall of double denial. Not only are they going out of their way to completely ignore the negative and ignorant thinking of their time from their psyche, but they are also making themselves believe that time travel is possible.

That pining for the days when the world only had black and white television, movies and public bathrooms has reared its ugly head once again, now that Rick Santorum is looking more and more like the man on top in the Republican presidential race. It’s an appropriate place for the man to be, based on the Internet’s definition of his last name (don’t Google it if you’re enjoying a tasty bowl of chocolate pudding or lube right now).

He has reignited an issue that I thought had been long been settled: contraception. Apparently, he’s not just against forcing religious organizations to provide it for their insured employees, but he has also called it “not okay” and “dangerous” The only time contraception should be considered “dangerous” is if they have to come in a bulletproof coating.

Would you sleep with this man out of wedlock? Neither would he if he had his way.

Santorum can believe whatever the hell he wants as long as he doesn’t try to interfere with people’s private lives and get in their bedrooms to stop them from having sex that his faith won’t allow him to enjoy. He can still think that Galileo “had it coming” and it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest as long as he’s not in power and chances are that telling people not to do it for fun will make sure that never happens. Besides, his faith is really more of the crux of the issue i.e. “My God won’t let me get freaky with two women, a step ladder, a belt sander and zero consequences so you shouldn’t have the right to either.”

The issue would have gone away but it managed to reach full-on silly when his billionaire campaign donor Foster Friess, a name and job title that sound like the true identity of a Batman villain, told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that, “Back in my days…”. I couldn’t remember the rest because I blacked out so I had to look it up.

He said that women used to use “Bayer aspirin for contraceptives”. Man, that stuff is more powerful than I thought. It can not only stop headaches and prevent heart attacks, but it can also build a cement wall around a woman’s uterus.

Foster Friess, uterus rancher

He continued, “The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly”.That moment was followed by a long period of silence, either because Mitchell had a hard time processing what Friess had said or the shock of his candidness made all the blood rush out of my head so it could provide extra protection to my reproductive organs, just in case I had a uterus it didn’t know about.

The “culture war” has always been a useless issue that never made any sense to me whether it was about sex, music, movies, video games or anything that’s just goddamn fun anymore. Worrying about the morality of condoms, birth control and even abortion should be way, way down on our list of priorities, especially when they come from candidates who constantly say they want to get government out of our lives. That’s like being in favor of irrigation but against clouds.

It’s all just an easy way to get easy votes from simple minded simpletons without having to do the hard work of actually talking about issues that matter and coming up with real solutions to fix bigger problems like…anything else. Giving fetuses the right to vote would be a step up at this point.

 

Danny Gallagher is a freelance writer, humorist and reporter and a regular contributor to TruTV’s “Dumb as a Blog“, Playboy’s “The Smoking Jacket“, MTV’s Clutch and the Shadowbox Comedy Theater of Columbus. His humor and feature writing has also appeared in Aol’s TVSquad.com and Asylum.comSpike.com, Esquire Magazine, Cracked.com, Mental Floss Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune’s “Redeye,” The Austin American-Statesmen and The Center for the Easily Amused. He doesn’t have a uterus the last time he checked.

 

Congress Fail: They are the 9 Percent – Gallagher On Topic

 

Gallagher: On Topic
They are the 9 Percent


Congress has never been the most popular dame on the promenade. No matter what poor schmuck is sitting in the White House or how bad the country is doing, the Legislative branch always gets spanked over something for doing nothing.

That’s not in any way a defense for the criticisms against them. I mean “doing nothing” in the most literal sense of the phrase. Coma patients in hospices whose basic bodily functions are controlled by machines accomplish more in a day than a so-called “politically balanced” legislative branch ever could.

Recently, our legislative boys and girls are at a total standstill. One side, the House, has been taken over by the Tea Party wing of the Republicans, and the other has a Democratic majority but all the filibustering makes it impossible for anything to get through and the only time a Democrat would stand up to a Republican is one of them asked if they could use their seat.

And even this prestigious body of “un-accomplishment” and DC politics gone mad has not only sunk to a new low metaphorically. They’ve also done it numerically and you know when math and politicians are involved, there are going to be a lot of empty aspirin bottles in the Capitol’s trash cans.

Their most recent rating among Americans who think that the Senate and the House are doing a good job is 9 percent. That’s not a typo. Their rating is in single digits. To put it another way, if you ever brought home from school a test in any subject that had a grade of 9 percent, your parents would order your teacher not to let you use pencils because of the physical risk they present to yourself and your classmates.

And before any of you zombies on either side of the political clusterf*$* try to turn this into a purely partisan opinion, take this to heart: the right-wing leaning Rasmussem pollers took a similar query of their flock for their approval of Congress’ work and they got a whopping 9 percent. As for the left, the rest of the mainstream media polling came up with the same number.

So the people, as they say, have spoken and how has Congress reacted to this bad report card? They put aside discussing anything close to meaningful about job creation, the economy and even taxes and decided instead to push forward with a bunch of meaningless legislative bull-hockey over regulating the amount of porn federal employees view on their office computers, keeping federal health agencies from limiting the amount of starches in school lunches and a wave of anti-abortion measurements that would only make sense of fetuses paid taxes. [Read more...]