Tonight the wife and I will go see the Liberal Redneck.

I’ve not been to a comedy club in years. It’s just not something I do on a regular basis, but every now and then someone comes along that I’ll venture out to see in person. Trae Crowder, also known as the Liberal Redneck, is one of those comedians. Trae exploded onto the scene some four months ago when one of his YouTube videos on the subject of transgenders and bathrooms went viral:

That caught my attention so I subscribed to his YouTube channel and since then he’s gone on to become very popular with us liberals for obvious reasons. He’s also doing a regular video for the New York Daily News.

Here’s another one from his YouTube channel:

Needless to say, his newfound attention has created new opportunities for him including a tour with a couple of his fellow southern liberals they’re calling the wellRED comedy tour. In addition to Trae we’ll be seeing Drew Morgan and Corey Ryan Forrester tonight at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle in Royal Oak. There’s still quite a few seats left so if you’re in the area and looking for something to do tonight you can still get in on this.

I often joke that I come from a long line of rednecks, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I sometimes worry about how little distance there is between me and my heritage. Trae makes me feel better about that as he shows that even rednecks can be liberals despite what the stereotype would have you believe.

Here’s one more just because:

John Oliver interview with Edward Snowden.

John Oliver has been knocking it out of the park ever since he left The Daily Show to start his own comedy news show on HBO. Last Week Tonight manages to both entertain and inform and, in some ways, is a better show than TDS. Best of all, HBO and Oliver makes full length segments of the show available on YouTube so you don’t have to pay for HBO to see it.

Each week Oliver picks a topic and does a deep dive on it and this week he’s tackling surveillance and Section 215 of the Patriot Act and how we’re not having the debate we should be about the NSA and domestic spying. It’s a great segment, but it’s even better because he managed to score an interview with the man who arguably made it possible to have this debate, Edward Snowden, and he doesn’t pull any punches with his questions:

Once again I have to marvel at how a comedy news program manages to do better journalism than the supposed news channels. It also breaks things down into a context that is not only funny, but which the average person can comprehend.

As Oliver points out, part of the reason we’re not having this debate is because the subject matter is so highly technical and hard to understand for most folks. It’s doesn’t help that too many people barely pay attention to what’s going on around them. Ask them who Taylor Swift is and they can recite lyrics from her latest single, but ask who Edward Snowden is and too many don’t have a clue. These programs need to be seriously revised and given more transparency, but that’s not going to happen so long as we don’t bother to talk about them.

Finally, this gives me a chance to make use of this:

Would've been funnier back when it was still winter, but fuck it.

Would’ve been funnier back when it was still winter, but fuck it.

“FAQ About Time Travel” looks like it’ll be funny.

Being billed as “Doctor Who meets Shaun of the Dead” a new British comedy called Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel has just unleashed a trailer onto the Net. This movie has two things going for it with me: 1) It’s a time travel comedy and 2) It has Chris O’Dowd (Roy) from The IT Crowd in it:

Ray (Chris O’Dowd), Toby (Marc Wootton) and Pete (Dean Lennox Kelly) are ordinary, if slightly nerdy, mates. The first is obsessed with time travel, the second loves films and the third is a confirmed cynic. They’re all stuck in dead-end jobs and life is pretty uneventful until one day down the local pub Ray is approached by Cassie (Anna Faris), a woman who claims to be from the future. All rather hard to believe until Pete, the cynic, nips to the gents’ and stumbles through a time leak into the future. If things were looking bleak before they’re even worse now since Pete discovers a future full of dead people – including himself. And so begins a series of unintentional trips back and forth through time as the boys attempt to discover who is trying to kill them, and why.

Found over at IO9.com.

Help design the set of “The IT Crowd” season 3.

I’ve spoken before of my love for the Brit geek comedy The IT Crowd and while the American take on the series never made it off the ground the good news is that season 3 of the U.K. show is just a few weeks away from production. In fact the final script was just submitted today and there’s still lots of work to do so time is tight and the folks who produce the show are looking for help in picking out geek paraphernalia to dress the set with:

How would you like to help in designing the look of series 3? Specifically, you’d be helping us choose the stuff that litters the main set. I’m talking about posters, comics, fanzines, T-shirts… anything you’ve seen in the last few months that you think is pretty cool or captures the spirit of the show or a particular character. By now, most of you know the kind of things I like…weird toys, indie comics, sci-fi, geek references, internet memes, boardgames…normally I’d delight in tracking down the stuff myself, but as I say, it’s just not going to happen this time round.

In the very first draft of the show I described the set as looking like “a cross between a comics shop and the batcave”. I wanted it to feel like a geek Shangri-La, and in each series I’ve felt we nearly got there. Maybe this time, with you guys involved, we’ll finally nail it.

Please send your suggestions to ben.catel@talkbackthames.tv
We also need to get legal permission to use the stuff, and we need to get it fast, so please include as much information as you can regarding contact details etc etc.

How cool is that? I’ve already got a couple of suggestions in mind and as soon as I track down sources for them I’ll dash them off in an email. Got a favorite meme, toy, or t-shirt you think would be a good fit? Then let them know!

Found via Boing Boing.

“Gee. He was just here a minute ago.” - George Carlin passes away at 71.

One of my favorite comedians has died:

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN)—Comedian-actor George Carlin, known for his raunchy but insightful humor, died of heart failure Sunday in Los Angeles, his publicist said. He was 71.

Jeff Abraham says Carlin went into St. John’s Health Center on Sunday afternoon, complaining of chest pain. Carlin died at 5:55 p.m. PDT, The Associated Press reported.

Carlin, who had a history of heart trouble, performed as recently as last weekend at the Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas.

“He was a genius and I will miss him dearly,” Jack Burns, who was the other half of a comedy duo with Carlin in the early 1960s, told the AP.

Carlin was best known for his routine “Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television,” which appeared in 1972’s “Class Clown” album.

When Carlin uttered all seven at a show in Milwaukee in 1972, he was arrested for disturbing the peace, the AP reported. The comedy sketch prompted a landmark indecency case after WBAI-FM radio aired it in 1973.

The case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court where the justices ruled on a 5-to-4 vote that the sketch was “indecent but not obscene,” giving the FCC broad leeway to determine what constituted indecency on the airwaves.

“So my name is a footnote in American legal history, which I’m perversely kind of proud of,” Carlin said. “In the context of that era, it was daring.”

“It just sounds like a very self-serving kind of word. I don’t want to go around describing myself as a ‘groundbreaker’ or a ‘difference-maker’ because I’m not and I wasn’t,” he said. “But I contributed to people who were saying things that weren’t supposed to be said.”

The title of this entry is what Carlin said he’d like folks to say upon hearing of his death so it seemed only appropriate. The following is a bit called “Modern Man” from one of his HBO specials:

He was a funny man and I’ll miss him greatly.

Get ready to cue the various editorial cartoonists depicting his arrival in Heaven in spite of the fact that he was an avowed atheist.

Oops. Jerry Lewis offends gays during his most recent telethon.

Poor Jerry. Comedy is hard at the best of times, but it can’t be easy when you’re 81 years-old and in the 18th hour of a 24 hour telethon. I suppose that’s why I’m willing to cut him a little slack for the slip up he had during the most recent ‘thon:

The 81-year-old showman — prowling about the stage during the live telecast Monday in Las Vegas — was goofing around and dodging his cameraman, then went into a ramble about imaginary family members.

“Oh, your family has come to see you,” he said, speaking to the camera and gesturing toward thin air.

“You remember Bart, your older son,” he said, and motioning toward another unseen character, “Jesse, the illiterate f——-.

“No,” Lewis said, quickly stopping himself before continuing.

The folks at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation were, understandably, annoyed and released a statement condemning the reference. To his credit Lewis isn’t making excuses and has offered an apology:

In a statement Tuesday, Lewis said he was making “a joking comment to a member of my production team.”

“I apologize to anyone who was offended,” he went on. “Everyone who knows me understands that I hold no prejudices in this regard. In the family atmosphere of the telethon, I forget that not everyone knows me that well.

“That something like this would distract from the true purpose of the telethon pains me deeply. … I accept responsibility for what I said. There are no excuses,” he said.

I’m not a big fan of Jerry Lewis and I have no idea how much good his telethon does for his “kids”, but it seems to be popular with some segment of the population and it’s impressive the man is still giving it his all at this late stage of his life. Personally I think we should let this one slide. Considering the crap that comes out of some Republican Senator’s mouths about gays, Jerry’s slip of the tongue is hardly worth getting too upset about.

“The IT Crowd” season 2 hits U.K. airwaves.

I’ve mentioned previously my love of the British comedy known as The IT Crowd so it goes without saying that I’m pleased as punch that the second season started up this past weekend. It didn’t take long for the first episode to hit the BitTorrent sites after it aired and I wasted no time in downloading it.

The set has been changed quite a bit to reflect the fact that the boys now have a manager who likes things a tad bit tidier than they had been, but it’s still filled with tons of Geek Culture references including a classic Commodore Pet computer on a shelf—one of the first PCs I ever laid hands on as a kid—and the show is still laugh out loud funny. My buddy Hairboy also wrote about the new season and he mentions that the Americanized version NBC was putting together has been bumped from a fall debut to a mid-summer replacement sometime next year. On the one hand this feels like delaying the inevitable as I’ll be watching more out of morbid curiosity over how badly NBC manages to fuck the show up compared to the original, but the bigger bummer is the fact that the U.S. release of the original series on DVD has been delayed as well presumably because they don’t want it to overshadow the American attempt.

Which is a shame as I’d love to be able to buy a legitimate copy of the original series to make up for the fact that I downloaded it via BitTorrent and to show my support for the show’s creators. Meanwhile I look forward to the next episode due this coming weekend.