About the multi-talented Mason Williams [previously, and best known as composer of the iconic "Classical Gas"]
-- Throughout his years in the Navy and college he wrote a series of poems he titled Them Poems. As he entered the folk music scene in the early 60's he wound up rooming with long time friend Ed Ruscha in Los Angeles. Some of the language from Them Poems is a consequence of creative word play that Ed and Paul Ruscha riffed on with Williams over the years. Ed Ruscha provided us with this recording [also released as "The Mason Williams Listening Matter", and reviewed here on allmusic by Eugene Chadbourne] from 1964.
Recording starts around 35 seconds in. Also, here's Mason performing "Them Tummy Gummers" on Johnny Cash's variety show. Finally, Mason Williams Online.
Celebrate the (admittedly still in-progress) first millennium of American awesomeness on July 4, with the release of a new comedy-music benefit compilation titled 2776: A Millennium of American Asskickery
. Proceeds go to OneKid OneWorld
. The album tells the story of America's past, present and apocalyptic future. Put together by Daily Show
writer Rob Kutner, Tonight Show
writer Joel Moss Levinson, and Steven Levinson, the album features a stacked roster of indie musicians and comedians, including Will Forte, Aubrey Plaza, Patton Oswalt, Aimee Mann, The Sklar Brothers, Reggie Watts, Right Said Fred with Reggie Watts and Mayim Bialik, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog with The Rebirth Brass Band, Maria Bamford & Jonathan Katz, Andrew WK, Bobcat Goldthwait & Sally Timms, Paul F. Tompkins, Yo La Tengo with Ira Glass and Eugene Mirman, Neko Case & Kelly Hogan and more... [more inside]
Are you a fan of inventive, black-humored sci-fi/fantasy animation? Desperate to fill the Futurama-shaped hole in your heart? Look no further than Rick and Morty
, the superb new Adult Swim series from animator Justin "Lemongrab" Roiland and Community darling Dan Harmon
. Inspired by a (terrible and very NSFW) Back To The Future knock-off
, the show pairs a naïve young teen (Morty) with his cynical, alcoholic, mad scientist grandfather (Rick), each episode exploring a trope -- dreams, aliens, innerspace, parallel universes, virtual reality -- and turning it inside-out with intricate plotting
, eye-catching art
, and dark, whipsmart humor
(with plenty of improvisation
along the way). A ratings hit
already secured for a second season
, the show returns from an Olympics-induced hiatus tomorrow -- in the meantime, why not sample the six episodes aired so far: Pilot
- Lawnmower Dog
- Anatomy Park
- M. Night Shaym-Aliens!
- Meeseeks and Destroy
- Rick Potion #9
. Want more? Promo/highlight reel
- AV Club reviews
- Rick & Morty ComicCon panel
- Storyboard Test
- Soundtrack samples
- Play the "Rushed Licensed Adventure" point-and-click game
Richard Pryor moved to New York City in 1963
, where he performed regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Allen. He even opened for singer and pianist Nina Simone, who talked of his early nervousness, when she put her "arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down." You can see something of that young man in this clip of Pryor singing a bit of jazzy blues in 1966
. The performance is also available on YouTube
with slightly better quality, but faded in from different scene. [more inside]
In 1972, National Lampoon
expanded into recorded comedy with Radio Dinner
. The album
was largely a star turn for a young NatLamp
contributor named Christopher Guest; when the magazine followed up on Radio Dinner's
success by sponsoring an off-Broadway "satirical joke-rock mock-concert musical comedy semi-revue,"
he was tapped to perform in it alongside a drummer named Chevy Chase and a 24-year-old John Belushi. National Lampoon's Lemmings
(original cast album
) was another hit, running for 350 performances of Woodstock parody and Joe Cocker mockery
editor Michael O'Donaghue decided the time was right to take the brand to a weekly radio show. He brought the stars of Lemmings
back for it, together with Belushi's old Second City castmates Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Harold Ramis, Joe Flaherty, and Brian Doyle-Murray. Harry Shearer, Doug Kenney, and Richard Belzer helped round out the cast of The National Lampoon Radio Hour
. [You should probably just assume that all YT links are NSF playing out loud at W.]
Richard Pryor is Black Death
Have some slang you want to insert into the popular consciousness? Rappedian (Comapper?) Zach Sherwin
shows you how to do it in his pukka new music video, Legato Gelato
With the momentous series finale of Breaking Bad just hours away, fans of the show are hungry for something, anything to wile away the time before the epic conclusion tonight. So why not kick back and chew the fat with your fellow MeFites with the help of a little tool I like to call "The Periodic Table of Breaking Bad." [more inside]
Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, Will Forte & Ed Helms made the new Mumford & Sons video. The results are.....amazing.
A snail-based parody of the ubiquitous AWOLNATION song "Sail".
The Okeh Laughing Record
, a novelty recording
, was first released in 1923 and rose to #8 on the Billboard charts, becoming the highest ranking anonymous
* recording ever. It's history and provenance
is completely unknown**. It has since appeared as the soundtrack to cartoons
, on Dr. Demento and on Jean Shepard's radio show. [more inside]
Ever wish pop songs were more verbose or circumlocutory? If so, Dave Werner's
risible Extraneous Lyrics
will no doubt entertain. In addition to 2012, he also has 2011
Since it debuted on the blue
in '11 // Epic Rap Battles of History
preppin' // to score itself more than a billion views
// and become TopDog of the pack YouTube
Made by NicePeter
// (two improv comics by Maker
employed) // The series pits icons of legend renowned // in a slick-wit freestyle rap throwdown
With snappier writing, and better FX // online celebs
(and Google Ad checks) // The Epic Rap crew's halfway done with the brew // that is Epic Rap Battles of History Part Deux
The midseason's close? It comes out today. // In one corner: Santa Claus, fresh from his sleigh
And his prophet o' doom? "He ain't Mayan," ERBoH sez.
It's Snoop Dogg -- Snoop Lion -- as mothafuckin' Moses
→ [WHO'S NEXT?]
→ [more inside]
John Daker is going to sing a song that's very popular nowadays, it's Christ The Lord Is Risen Today
, and he's going to do Amore too, okay? There is a subtitled and animated
You're walking through the woods. There's no one around and your phone is dead. Out of the corner of your eye, you spot him: Shia LeBoeuf
No. 05 Hungarian Schnapsody
as performed by Zoltan Kiss
at the Lätzsch Trombone Festival 2011 / Night of Brass
with the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra. Kiss is also a member of the Mnozil Brass
. A little light comedy for your Sunday.
Do you know The Treniers
? Back in the 40s and 50s, they straddled the lines between jump blues, swing, early rock'n'roll, jazz dance, hep jive and comedy. They were a whole hella fun
, and they happened to be the backing band for what must be the best dance performance Jerry Lewis
ever gave the world. That particular clip, BTW, from a Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis "Colgate Comedy Hour" in 1954, is purported to be the first rock'n'roll performance on national television, and it may well have been.
The Swedish Chef (Muppet Wiki)
is the incomprehensible preparer of foodstuffs for The Muppet Show. A rather literal variation of the Live-Hand Muppet concept, the Swedish Chef is a humanoid character, with human hands rather than gloves. An annotated list of every televised appearance of the Swedish Chef is after the fold... Børk! Børk! Børk! [Click here to view the thread translated fully into Mock Swedish] [more inside]
When rapper Tyrese saw the name Amber Rose on a cc'd email, he contacted her asking to collaborate on some tracks. Only problem is it was Amber Tamblyn, and she decided to have some fun with him.
(site NSFW, bad language in demos) [more inside]
Two whole stand-up performances
by comedian Daniel Kitson can be downloaded on a pay-what-you-want basis (even if you want to pay nothing). These are the 2004
Edinburgh performances (2004 performance previously on MeFi
). Kitson has also recorded a story album
with musician Gavin Osborn, selling for ₤2.50, and the first three tracks, of eleven, can be streamed online. [via The Bugle]
Day at Night
was an interview series on the public television station of the City University of New York that aired from 1973-4. CUNY TV is in the process of digitizing and uploading the 130 episodes that were produced, with 46 done so far. The episodes are just under half an hour in length. Among the people interviewed by host James Day are author Ray Bradbury
, actress Myrna Loy
, medical researcher Jonas Salk
, singer Cab Calloway
, writer Christopher Isherwood
, nuclear scientist Edward Teller
, comedian Victor Borge
, tennis player Billie Jean King
, linguist and activist Noam Chomsky
, composer Aaron Copland
, actor Vincent Price
and boxer Muhammad Ali
Throughout time immemorial, songs of patriotism, such as Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgotten?
" are a staple of countries at war. Our ballads root for our soldiers to come back safe and sound to families and sweethearts, but who sings the tale about the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
, the autonomous drone that pines for the vending machine it left at home? Only the evil ghost of Johnny Cash does. [more inside]
Two and a half years ago, we explored the early history of Cartoon Network
... but it wasn't the only player in the youth television game.
As a matter of fact, Fred Seibert
-- the man responsible for the most inventive projects discussed in that post -- first stretched his creative legs at the network's truly
venerable forerunner: Nickelodeon
Founded as Pinwheel, a six-hour block on Warner Cable's innovative QUBE
system, this humble channel struggled for years before Seibert's innovative branding work transformed it into a national icon and capstone of a media empire.
Much has changed since then, from the mascots and game shows to the versatile orange "splat."
But starting tonight in response to popular demand, the network is looking back
with a summer programming block dedicated to the greatest hits of the 1990s
, including Hey Arnold!, Rocko's Modern Life, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Double Dare, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Legends of the Hidden Temple
, and All That
To celebrate, look inside for the complete story of the early days of the network that incensed the religious right, brought doo-wop to television, and slimed a million fans -- the golden age of Nickelodeon. (warning: monster post inside) [more inside]
After Kad & Olivier sign off and the Satisfaction production logo fades, viewing audiences are oftentimes treated to a cold open of an empty talk show set... one that quickly becomes the impromptu dance floor for a shameless Frenchman making an absolute giddy fool of himself while lip-syncing pop songs alongside a menagerie of... wait, *what*?!
That's right. The Late Late Show
's Craig Ferguson appears to have a not-so-secret French admirer
-- one who's not above ripping off both his opening titles and his signature dance sequences
(including the iconic animal puppets
by The Jackson 5, "Flashdance"
by Irene Cara, "On the Floor"
by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull, "Waka Waka"
by Shakira, "Men in Black"
by Will Smith, "Let's All Chant"
by the Michael Zager Band, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"
by Wham!, "It's Raining Men"
by The Weather Girls, and "Vive Le Vent (Jingle Bells)"
by Tino Rossi.
Luckily, Ferguson's sense of showmanship is more prodigious than litigious
-- he responded to Arthur's "homáge
" by booking a pair of translatlantic crossover shows, with Arthur visiting LA that week and Ferguson flying out to Paris just last month. Video of both shows (plus lots more) inside! [more inside]
Whole Foods Parking Lot
A rap about the extreme challenges people must face every day in their quest for organic kale and biodynamic kombucha. If you don't like rap, don't worry Whole Foods provides opera
, hipster marching bands
, strange dancing babies
. If you just like naturally-grown peaches and quiet while you shop, there is always a freezing flash mob
The new The New Pornographers video: Moves
[Written and Directed by Tom Scharpling
], features cameos by all of your favorite alt.comedians (including one of Mefis Own
). [more inside]
Contrary to a lot of idle criticism, Bungie's Halo
series of video games has a surprisingly rich backstory
-- a universe complex enough to support seven bestselling novels
, a wiki with over 7,000 articles
, and one of the most successful ARGs in history
(including a full-fledged radio drama
). The series has also turned out sweeping audiovisual work, from the games' cinematic cutscenes
and epic music (lots of free previews)
to top-shelf anime
and the Hollywood-quality short films -- ODST
, Deliver Hope
-- that were made to promote the games (the latter of which, produced by Neil Blomkamp, inspired District 9
). And that's apart from all the material produced by Bungie's dedicated fan base: genuinely hilarious machinima
from Red vs. Blue
, professional-level graphic novels (table of contents at the top)
, gorgeous artwork
, hours of recorded dialogue
, complete transcripts
of hidden apocrypha
, and more factual analysis
, story speculation
, and casual discussion
than you can shake an energy sword at. But most of these pale in comparison to the latest and greatest exercise in Halo beanplating: the Svmma Canonica
, a 40-page, 17,000-word formal treatise on the nature of canon in the world that Bungie built, and how it will fare once Bungie moves on and the franchise is managed by 343 Industries. Discussion over at Bungie's official site
, or at decade-old fan forum Halo.Bungie.Org
Dream of the 90's
is a short music video promoting the upcoming sketch comedy series Portlandia
, starring Fred Armisen
and Carrie Brownstein
. [more inside]
During the show's history Mystery Science Theater did many musical bits. Topless Robot recently linked to the "13 best" Mystery Science Theater 3000 songs
. It's not a bad list, although there are some notable exclusions. About those, click through.... [more inside]
has a three part YouTube series about "a dumpy women's studies professor [who] transforms herself into a ghetto fabulous rap star to convince people to care about feminism. When she's finished rapping...they still don't care." Parts 1
End of an Era / Mental Health Care Announcement: Doctor Demento
is retiring from the airwaves after 40 years in the looney biz. If you're one of his patients, that's the bad news: "He has come to agree with his manager and his family that it's necessary. The broadcast has been losing money for some time."
The good news is that he'll continue producing shows for his own website's
visitors every week for $2 a pop, for all you junk music junkies.
Margaret Cho's "My Lil' Wayne"
(SLYT). A folksy song about fightin' the man, making a break for the border, and living large. Cakes, strippers, and hairbraiding!
Battle for Milkquarious
- The greatest Rock Opera ever made. About milk. [Flash, dairy advertising] [more inside]
Bill Cosby Presents the Cosnarati: State of Emergency
The project includes songs about frustration, incarceration and .... [more inside]
If you were a child of the '90's, then Regulate by Warren G and Nate Dogg
was probably your jam.
Here is a critical analysis
of the song by comedian Sean Keane. If only all gangsta rap had such deep meaning.
Garfunkel & Oates
Experience the joy of potty-mouth songs played on the ukulele. [more inside]
The First of May
Jonathan Coulton's ode to the 'coming' of spring (SLYT). NSFW language. Coulton's Last.fm page
. More MP3s here
. Coulton wrote the 'Still Alive' song from Portal and also works with John Hodgman. Jon on Twitter.
Oregon! Oregon! A Centennial Fable in Three Acts
is a musical comedy by famed radio comedian and Looney Tunes voice actor Stan Freberg that was commissioned in 1959 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Oregon statehood. This year, on the 150th anniversary, Stan Freberg and Pink Martini will revive the musical with a new 4th act written by Freberg
(check out the complete Pink Martini concert on the page). For more Freberg goodness check out these 15 episodes of his radio show
and this 1999 interview
which includes some of his classic sketches (sketches in RealAudio format).
Henry Hey's new Bush Song
. (SLYTP; previously; via waxy
.) [more inside]