Tomorrow night, Adult Swim is airing Dinner with Friends with Brett Gelman and Friends, a new half-hour special starring comedian Brett Gelman and directed by Jason Woliner, who co-wrote the script with Gelman. Beginning as a talk show Gelman hosts over a meal with six Hollywood actors a la Jon Favreau's Dinner for Five, Dinner with Friends with Brett Gelman and Friends quickly takes a turn and descends into an evening of psychological torture. Like Eagleheart, the Adult Swim show Gelman acts on and Woliner is a writer, director, and producer on, Dinner with Friends is fast-paced, funny, and unlike anything else on TV.
I recently talked with Brett Gelman about the special, his past projects with Jason Woliner, and making more stuff with Adult Swim. READ MORE
I will refer you to my earlier remarks, the substance of which was essentially that this bear was rather adorable. I see no need to revise that estimation.
For websites meant to help us understand things, the new Explainer Sites—Vox, FiveThirtyEight, et al—are awfully disorienting. We stare them in the face and we cannot quite describe what we are looking at. Are they publications? Some sort of health food? Are they explaining the news to me, or to someone standing behind me? This is the root of the explainer backlash, to whatever extent there is one: The way these confident, assertive sites, in their quest to make us feel smart, end up making us feel like idiots.
Or wait, in true explainer spirit: Maybe we're just looking at them all wrong? READ MORE
"Robots allow the cows to set their own hours, lining up for automated milking five or six times a day — turning the predawn and late-afternoon sessions around which dairy farmers long built their lives into a thing of the past. With transponders around their necks, the cows get individualized service. Lasers scan and map their underbellies, and a computer charts each animal’s 'milking speed,' a critical factor in a 24-hour-a-day operation. The robots also monitor the amount and quality of milk produced, the frequency of visits to the machine, how much each cow has eaten, and even the number of steps each cow has taken per day, which can indicate when she is in heat." This is how I would prefer to be milked, if I had to be milked, I guess.
Photo by Morten Just
God, we're doomed to keep relitigating the '90s forever, aren't we?
"As a libertarian, I support the decriminalization of marijuana, but there are many problems with pot. From my observation, pot may be great for jazz musicians and Beat poets, but it saps energy and will-power and can produce physiological feminization in men…. Alcohol’s enhancement of direct face-to-face dialogue is precisely what is needed by today’s technologically agile generation, magically interconnected yet strangely isolated by social media. Clumsy hardcore sexting has sadly supplanted simple hanging out over a beer at a buzzing dive. By undermining the art of conversation, the age 21 law has also had a disastrous effect on our arts and letters, with their increasing dullness and mediocrity. This tyrannical infantilizing of young Americans must stop!"
—If I were someone who believed that the drinking age in America should be lowered I would be all, "No, Camille Paglia, please don't help!"
In the summer of 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and Kanye West's "Gold Digger" hit the radio waves. I was 14 and didn't know how to help, but I had some money saved so I sent it along. There was a collection box in the school cafeteria the week I started ninth grade, and a big poster board chart on the wall tracked how much the school had raised using columns made of crepe paper. Soon I learned on the national news that the Red Cross wasn't doing much with the money. Nobody had planned for that kind of disaster.
"Gold Digger" was a chart-topper, spending 10 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. I heard it on the radio, in the hallways, and it was still playing at prom four years later, by which time Katrina and the City of New Orleans had disappeared from the conversation in Worcester, Mass., the city where I grew up. Worcester still believes itself to be very far from the Deep South. Summer is not so hard on us.
Winters are worse, or were then. At school, the classroom windows never seemed to close, and every now and then a ceiling tile would come crashing down in the middle of a lesson. All the girls wore tights under their jeans on the days the temperature dropped below 10 degrees, and I once got frostbite on the mile-long walk to school.
On December 9, 2008, the sky spit rain. I remember because it got dark so early, and I went for a walk anyway. I came home with my collar wet, my neck freezing. The next morning the trees were glazed with ice, and school closed for three weeks. A million people were without power in the Northeast, hundreds were sleeping in temporary Red Cross shelters, and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency, as if it weren't already evident.
"She also says, at one point, 'Periods. We all get periods.'"
★★★★ Light slammed into the little plaza beside the apartment tower, beyond the riotously multicolored tulips. "A little too bright," the six-year-old said. The public was using the seating out there, just off the cross street. The sun got in among the crenellations of a midblock building, pulling the eye up to the previously unnoticed battlements. Down in the subway the trackbed was illuminated, both by direct sunbeams and by an indirect blue glow. A man on a downtown bench balanced two plates of baked goods in one hand, while in the other hand his foamy specialty drink tilted up toward the edge of its wide-mouthed cup. Caught between the warm light and the lingering chill, people wore shorts or cardigans or, for one man aboard the B train, shorts with a cardigan. After the light had left the streets, it was still up in the masonry, or passing through a high glass corner, or glaring through light clouds to make the supports of water towers stretch thin like molten candy.
Chris Gethard has an exciting few months coming up. His debut standup album, entitled My Comedy Album, comes out today, his Comedy Central half-hour special is airing this summer, and he'll soon hear back on whether Comedy Central will be ordering his pilot of The Chris Gethard Show to series or not. He also recently returned to doing weekly episodes of the public access version of The Chris Gethard Show, which will soon be ending whether the Comedy Central version gets picked up or not.
I had the chance to talk with Gethard a few weeks ago about how focus groups reacted to The Chris Gethard Show's Comedy Central pilot, season two of Broad City, and leaving improv behind to focus on standup.