Posts Tagged ‘Kristen Schaal’

Monday Medley

What we read while wondering if the winners of the Lingerie Bowl play the winners of the Puppy Bowl…


Monday Medley

What we read while lamenting the destruction of traditional marriage…

  • Further proof that William Faulkner can write about anything, as if we needed it. Remember the words of Moe Szyslak: “William Faulkner can write an exhaust pipe gag that would really make you think.” Our favorite sentence from this Faulkner Sports Illustrated piece from 1955? “But [the ice] looked not expectant but resigned, like the mirror simulating ice in the Christmas store window, not before the miniature fir trees and reindeer and cosy lamplit cottage were arranged upon it, but after they had been dismantled and cleared away.”
  • We are far from the first ones on this, but sometimes, taking two things that independently aren’t funny, like say, Kanye West tweets and New Yorker cartoons, and putting them together equals comic gold.

Aught Lang Syne: The Ten Funniest Episodes of Television

Our look last week at the decade in television focused mainly on dramas. But the creative advancements in the medium were not limited to that genre; it’s only more obvious there. The Aughts have been a great decade for comedies as well, seeing such brilliant shows as Arrested Development, The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and many others. There are plenty of reasons why comedies have been so good during the Aughts, and we touched on some already, but the same principles that applied to dramas are at work here: The people making TV realized that there is an audience that actually likes shows that are unconventional, smart, and formally innovative. We’ve seen shows embrace the documentary structure (The Office, Modern Family, etc.), plentiful flashbacks (How I Met Your Mother), third-party narration (Arrested Development), and political satire (South Park). A slew of new comedies from 2009—Community, Parks and Recreation, Modern Family—bode well for the continued success of the sitcom.

Comparing comedies, though, is a little trickier than comparing dramas, since they don’t generally tell one consistent story. Even seasons often contain no “narrative arc,” and, if they do, it often has little to do with the actual comedy. As a result, comedies are much more susceptible to uneven seasons and bad stretches than dramas. Instead, we’re going to compare episodes. And unlike previous lists, we’re going to put a strict cap, of one, on the number of times a single show can appear on the list. Other than that, though, the parameters are pretty loose: Of any show, no matter how long it lasted or where it aired or on which network, these are the Aughts’ ten funniest episodes of TV: Continue reading

The Top Five Comedians of the Summer


After we (John S and Josh) settled our squabbles on anchoring, we went to the highly recommended Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York nearly every week this summer (sometimes twice) to see some of the best (and worst) up-and-coming and established comedians. The vast majority of these comics were seen at Leo Allen’s Whiplash, but some were also seen at Kristen Schaal and Kurt Braunohler’s variety show, Hot Tub. All in all, we saw over forty comedians perform. In traditional NPI fashion, we decided to rank them. Below are the five best comedians we saw this summer, all of whom we strongly recommend: Continue reading