Posts Tagged ‘mitch hedberg’

Aught Lang Syne: The Funniest Comedians of the Decade

Comedy is a broad subject. It’s not confined to any one medium, genre, style, or format. It’s hard to define and almost impossible to quantify. But here at NPI, we take comedy very seriously. The comedy of the Aughts in particular will always have an important role in shaping our senses of humor. So today we present a list, in no particular order, of people who helped to truly shape the comedy of the decade. This is not a list of people who were funny once or twice, but people with a body of work that is both rich and impressive. This means that a lot of people had to be cut. Great stand-up comics (Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari), some hilarious supporting comic actors (Paul Rudd, Jason Schwartzman), and even some groundbreaking comic teams (Flight of the Conchords, Stella), couldn’t make the list. And that’s because the following individuals/groups reached a level of success, both in terms of popularity and quality, that helped define the comedy of the decade.

The cast of Arrested Development

Arrested Development has the funniest ensemble cast in the history of comedic television, and it’s way ahead of whatever’s at #2. Tim has already extolled the virtues of Jason Bateman as Michael Bluth, but the fact is that the main character is about the sixth-funniest cast member on the show. Michael Cera gave a breakout performance for three years as George Michael, completely selling every awkward quirk of the character, including (and especially) his love for his cousin. David Cross played Tobias’ obliviousness and physical awkwardness to perfection, conveying every sexual inadequacy and illicit implication (“She said ‘single,’ right?”). Will Arnett made a magician named Gob come off as arrogant, creepy, and sympathetic. Portia Di Rossi played Lindsay’s self-righteousness and laziness as mutually coexisting. Jeffrey Tambor, as the family patriarch, managed to make the character so memorable that they had to keep him as a regular, even though he was supposed to remain a guest after the pilot. Tony Hale’s Buster, Jessica Walter’s Lucille, and Alia Shawkat’s Maeby, rounded out the cast, ensuring the show didn’t have a single weakness. Even guest stars, like Henry Winkler, Ed Begley, Jr., and John Michael Higgins, manage to turn their characters into memorable comic stars.

Most important, though, was the way the cast interacted. Plenty, if not all, great comedies have breakout characters and star performers, but few entire casts have had the chemistry that this cast had. Exchanges between Michael and his son, for example, are so great not just because of the dialogue and each character’s eccentricities, but because of the interplay between the two characters. Their ability to talk over each other, fill in each other’s awkward gaps, and respond nonverbally to the other’s lines are as funny as anything in the script. Continue reading

When to Honk

“I think we should only get 3 honks a month on the car horn, because people honk the car horn too much. 3 honks, that’s the limit. And then someone cuts you off, ffffft, you press your horn, nothing happens. You’re like, “shit! I wish I wouldn’t have seen Ricky on the sidewalk!”
-Mitch Hedberg

We have posted about traffic and driving etiquette before and, clearly, we don’t plan to end this trend. Honking, like tipping, is an inexact science: Some people are more liberal honkers whereas others show more restraint. Below is my own common-sense guide to honking:

Appropriate Uses of the Honk:

To prevent a car from merging INTO your car. If you have ever driven on a highway, you know what I’m talking about. A car puts its blinker on, you are in the adjacent lane slightly in the back of the car (presumably in the car’s blindspot), and they start to change lanes without considering you and your vehicle. A honk as a preventative measure is not only appropriate but necessary in this type of situation for the sake of preventing a collision.
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The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner: Why Running is Bad for You

I went running today. One and one-tenth of a mile around my neighborhood. It was mostly downhill, except for right near the end, which was one prolonged inclined plane. I didn’t time myself because, well, I’m the kind of person who prefers to ignore bad news.

Thirty strides in, I was in complete, Ron Burgundy “I immediately regret this decision” mode. I considered turning around before deciding such a move would look bad to my older brother, to whom I’d already announced—unnecessarily proudly—that I was going for a run. Of course, I only decided this would look bad after carefully considering the various places I could hide from him during the 10-15 minutes I would be “running.”

It was a tortuous thing to do. This was unsurprising because running has always been tortuous to me. I have tried running on numerous occasions—at least biennially since my youth. I tell myself I should run at least once a week throughout the year, and one percent of the time, I talk myself into it with things like (cue the Mitch Hedberg voice), Last time wasn’t so bad. I was just really out of shape then; you know, that time two years ago after I finished that basketball season. I was totally tired and out of shape by all the exercise I had been doing. Now that I work 12 hours a day on a computer and sit around watching TV when I’m home, running will be a breeze.

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