"For those of you who don't know me, I'm not wasted, but the doctor who delivered me was." So begins the standup comedy set from Maysoon Zayid: disabled comic, actor, humanitarian, and "Arab Gone Wild."
Defying nondisabled persons outdated notions of what disability is like is difficult enough; making people laugh while doing so is a feat of its own. Thankfully, there are some badasses taking that immense challenge head on and succeeding.
Tig Notaro has been getting a heaping dose of publicity lately. It's well-deserved. You may already recognize the charming comedian from her standup, or watched her play the feather-haired policewoman who briefly (and understandably) lesbianizes Sarah Silverman on the latter's eponymous "Program," or listened to her discuss her frequent run-ins with 80s pop star Taylor "Tell it to my heart" Dayne on This American Life. Maybe you've also read that earlier this month Tig released a half-hour standup comedy set (care of friend/comic superstar Louis C.K.), recorded after a diagnosis of breast cancer (in both breasts) only a few days prior. The performance was instantly touted as legendary, with audience member Louis C.K. calling it "one of the greatest standup performances I ever saw. I can't really describe it but I was crying and laughing and listening like never in my life."
Within Hollywood now, there's still a huge dearth of material that not only features disability as a normal, everyday topic, (which of course it is), but does so in a thoughtful, comical manner. Most depictions of disability in cinema continue to fall back on insidious stereotypes of disability as tragedy (The Elephant Man, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane), or someone "overcoming" their impairment to become some supercrip hero (Forrest Gump, My Left Foot). Unlike those movies, Sleepwalk With Me illustrates how Mike's disability ends up being an asset, not a liability. There is genuine humor with disability, and this particular film is an honest, earnest and entertaining reflection of that truth.
Legendary comedienne Phyllis Diller died yesterday at the age of 95. Though she wasn't the first woman to do standup comedy, her jokes about domestic life and her willingness to make fun of herself paved the way for countless funny ladies who came after her.
Some weeks it's tough to choose who gets the Douchebag Decree. I'll admit that I've written posts that were a bit of a stretch in the past, or tried to cram two stories into one because I couldn't decide who was the bigger douche. This week, however, the guesswork's been done for me. You know him, you probably don't love him, you may be disgusted and/or threatened by his very presence: Ladies and Gents, it's Daniel Tosh!!!
Let's make this Decree short and sweet. Adam Carolla, a washed-up douche with some seriously skewed views of gender and sexuality, decided to squawk about unfunny women in a New York Post interview this weekend. Yes, that tired argument. Again. Seriously though, who cares what Adam Carolla thinks? He didn't even make me chuckle during his brief time as a Celebrity Apprentice, and that's rookie stuff.
Valentine's Day is a tricky holiday for TV shows, no matter if the characters are coupled or single, happy or miserable, or somewhere in between. The TNL lineup (and last week's Parks and Rec) all tackled February 14, with mixed results. Here's what worked, and what didn't in the Thursday night comedies' approach to Valentine's Day.
So if you read these recaps with any regularity, I imagine you were relieved when NBC moved Whitney to "cocktail hour" on Wednesdays to be paired with Chelsea Handler's new show. (So avoid Wednesday nights on NBC.) In its place came Up All Night, a mostly charming show about new parents Chris and Reagan. Like Whitney, Up All Night focuses on a couple in a long-term relationship, minus the laugh track and with the added bonus of an adorable baby and Maya Rudolph. The show has been a nice fit with the rest of the TNL lineup, but there are still a few things it can do to fulfill its potential.