Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I Believe...

...that there's nothing inherently wrong with being a republican or republican ideals. The problem is that the GOP has abandoned their core principles and replaced them with fear mongering and hypocrisy. The result being they now have tea baggers, right wing extremists and militia groups who claim them as their own. Nice company. I'd rather hang out with Obama than any high profile republican any day. Except for Steele. Apparently that dude knows how to party.

...that the best Chicago theater is still out there and being done. It's done on a dime, with a lot of gut, and with people smoking real cigarettes on stage.

...that Sandra Bullock shouldn't be so surprised. I mean, look at the guy. Women who are attracted to bad boys shouldn't be shocked when they act like bad boys.

...that if you yell on the senate floor that health care reform will bring Armageddon then you shouldn't wonder why all the mouth breathers are up in arms and inciting violence. However, if you are a God-fearing Christian anti-evolution mouth breather, isn't Armageddon good news? It's the event before the second coming of Christ.

...that Ricky Martin is very brave since he built a career on the ladies wanting to get all La Vida Loca in his tight trousers. But anyone surprised that Ricky Martin is gay was also flabbergasted by George Michael, Clay Aiken, Rock Hudson and Liberace. Yes, Don. Liberace was gay.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Biting and Smiling

Hey! It's Bite and Smile!

A new website is being built devoted to 365 Sketches. You can see how much has not been done on it by clicking HERE.

I am currently in the midst of rewrites for 365, so it will be awhile before I'm back to updating Bite and Smile on a daily basis. You will certainly find at least a weekly update.


I am pitching a project and want to know which show you would most want to see based on the title. Please leave your response in the comments section. Thanks.

"Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis Sade"

"Munster Go Home! as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade"

"The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade"

“Bio-Dome as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade"

“Cocktail as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade"

"Yor, the Hunter from the Future as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade"

"Stroker Ace as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade"

“St. Elmo’s Fire as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade"

“Star Trek V as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade"

“Disco Godfather as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Believe...

...that there is no such as one true love. Do you really think your only purpose on this planet is to find and hold on to some soul booty? We get tied up looking for perpetual fireworks in relationships and then blame the other person when the rocket blasts peter out to just sparklers and smoke bombs. Fireworks are fun. They just don't make an interesting story in the long run. You know, like a Transformers movie

...that the polls on what the majority of Americans want when it comes to healthcare are deceptive. According to Gallup, before passage, a slim majority opposed the bill. After passage, 49% said they approved and 40% disapproved. 11% moved to Costa Rica.

...that it's really a sad state of affairs in this country when one looks forward to a vacation in order to get things done.

...that there's something to be said for consistency when it comes to things like working out or practicing your art. The universe pays attention when you do something every day at the same time and starts to send rewards your way. But only if you engage in it fully and get value out of it. If what you're doing every day without fail is planting your butt in a chair and staring at a company computer that won't even let you access porn, well, you die a little.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Axe Cop

Things that make life worth living... kitty cats, rainbows, the laughter of children and...

Thanks, Nat.

Monday, March 22, 2010


So... The MacBook is up and running and looks great. I also upgraded my OS system and now can't print anything on my printer. WTF, Epson?

I have been up to my elbows working on prepping 365. We have auditions this Saturday. All 74 slots are filled and we have a waiting list. All 26 directors are lined up, which is just the most insane thing ever. They're all awesome and we'll produce 26 miracles for 365.

I have a Writing 6 show up called Wait...It Gets Better and we keep selling out. I have an Advanced Writing show coming up in April called AnthroApology 101 and am spending a good chunk of today editing all our scenes into a master script.

It's spring break at Columbia and I'm grateful because it means I can get some other work done - hey, that's not a break!

And America passed a Healthcare Bill that is NOT reform, but is a lot better than what was going on and will hopefully lead to real reform (public option or single payer).

What's in the bill that takes effect immediately? I'm going to the dentist next week and will also get a complimentary abortion.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Experiencing Technical Difficulties

The ol' MacBook Pro is in the shop. Don't know when I'll be getting it back, but till then, I'll be taking a break from blogging. I usually post early in the morning, which makes it difficult to bug a friend to use their computer. I may take up sleeping around, just to use someone's computer in the morning. I actually watch the news on television while drinking my coffee. It's not natural.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Here It Comes...365 AUDITIONS

Or rather, auditions for 365 Sketches...

45 Minutes Productions and WNEP Theater announce auditions for “365 Sketches”

26 different sketch comedy revues done in ten nights to showcase the 365 sketches written in 365 days by Second City Instructor Joe Janes.

The shows are June 3 - 13 and will take place at Strawdog Theater in Hugan Hall.

WHERE: Zoo Studios, 4001 N. Ravenswood (just off the Irving Park Brown Line) Basement

WHEN: Saturday, March 27 from 11AM – 6PM

WHAT: Small group auditions – improvisation and cold readings

To schedule a place in one of our seven 45-minute slots, email Joe at and we’ll get back to you with a time for Saturday.

Directors include:

Rich Baker
Mary Jo Bolduc
Regan Davis
Becky Eldridge
Jen Ellison
Jason Fleece
Lillie Frances
Rose Kruger
Rebecca Langguth
Bina Martin
Scott Olson
Chris Othic
Rinska Prestinary
Amanda Rountree
Tony Soto
Rachel Staelens
Derek Van Tassel
Trish Vignola
Rebekah Walendzak
Wendi Weber

(Wow! This is quickly becoming a reality. Freaky, scary, exciting, monumental, crispy with a hint of almonds.)


Yesterday, I asked...

"Six women in New Jersey are recovering after they received buttocks-enhancement injections containing what?"

50% said "gelatin" - It's the carrots and raisins that give the booty some "oompf!"

16% said "custard" - Thinking about it makes me a little big horny.

No one said "Elmer's Glue"

34% got it right with "caulk"

According to the Associated Press, Six women in New Jersey are recovering after they received buttocks-enhancement injections containing silicone used to caulk bathtubs. State health officials say the women, from Essex County, apparently underwent cosmetic procedures from unlicensed providers.

On the positive side, caulk in the butt does cut your heating bills in the winter.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I Believe...

...that data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that if income inequality continues to rise at the current rate, the income gap in the United States “will resemble that of Mexico by year 2043.” Okay. I can deal with that. I have 33 years to become a millionaire. Of course, by that time, it would probably put me in the lower middle class.

...that Lindsay Lohan does not have the same name recognition as Cher or Madonna. She threw away her promising acting career and traded it in for tabloid fodder.

...say what you want about Sandra Bullock's acting skills, she deserves another Oscar just for that acceptance speech. Funny, sweet, and she looked great. I still won't see the movie, unless there's some scene where a bus jumps a gap in a highway ramp that I don't know about.

...that we all have our addictions. You just have to make sure you choose one that doesn't destroy your body and your wallet. What's my addiction? Look at the blog title.

And I have a two kitten-a-day habit.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Toni Tramel, from Kentucky, was already in jail for public intoxication and can now add to her charges assault with what?"

42% said "flatulence" - Man, if that were a crime, I'd be locked up in Arkham Asylum.

14% said "cold and flu germs" - "Sorry, Officer. I didn't know my nose was loaded."

No one said "body odor"

44% got it right with, yes, "breast milk"

According to The Smoking Gun, after Toni Tramel was arrested for public intoxication, she was transported to the Daviess County Detention Center in Owensboro. While there, Tramel was directed to change into a jail uniform. But the uncooperative suspect was "too intoxicated to complete the task on her own," so Officer Lula Brown sought to aid her, according to the incident report. That is when Tramel "took off her bra, grabbed her breast and squirted breast milk, hitting me in the face and neck region," reported Brown. Tramel attempted a second lactation assault, "but was unsuccessful," added Brown.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Radio Free Janes

These people are deliriously watching television. They use their radio as a bowl holder.

Not sure why I am so attracted to art forms that don't make anyone a lick of money, but I am. One of those longtime loves is Old Time Radio. It's a shame in this country that radio drama has all been swept aside for news and shock jocks. We seem obsessed with visual mediums and content to let our own imaginations atrophy. Listening to radio comedy or drama is not a passive experience. You're the Oscar-caliber art director and costumer and special effects expert. In fact, as a visual medium, it can't be beat.

I tell aspiring comedy writers they need to know their history. Comedy on radio in the 30's and 40's tended to be smart, well-crafted and damn funny. The best examples out there are The Jack Benny Show, The Fred Allen Show, Fibber McGee and Molly, The Great Gildersleeve and The Life of Riley. You can see the origins of the modern day "center and eccentrics" sitcom in all these shows.

I'm also a big fan of the spooky and the super heroes. The Shadow is one of the best and works best on radio because the hero, like Batman, is trying to scare the bejeesus out of the bad guys. The Shadow does it by getting into their heads.

Another popular radio show was The Green Hornet, which was created for radio. The Green Hornet is Britt Reid, a newspaper publisher by day who by night goes out in his masked "Green Hornet" identity to fight crime as a vigilante, accompanied by his similarly masked Asian manservant Kato and driving a car, equipped with advanced technology, called "Black Beauty".

Want to get yourself some live Old Time Radio? More importantly, want to see me as the villain in an episode of The Green Hornet? Well, keep reading...

The Columbia College Radio Department presents An Evening of Radio Theater on Saturday, March 13th at 7:00 pm in the Music Center, 1014 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Professionals from Second City (Hey! That's me!) join Columbia faculty and students performing classic and contemporary radio plays live on-stage including an episode of The Green Hornet and works by Ray Bradbury and Mary Higgins Clark. This performance also includes a debut of the radio series “Babylon, Wisconsin”, written and produced by Columbia Radio students. Tickets: Free and open to the public. Seating is limited. To reserve a seat, please call 312-369-8156.


Yesterday, I asked...

"New Hampshire high school teacher Melinda Dennehy is free on bail after being arrested for doing what?"

66% said "teaching about religions other than Christianity" - Not a criminal offense...yet.

34% said "paying for a student's abortion" - On a teacher's salary?

No one went for "selling pot to students"

Nor did anyone get the right answer "sexting pictures to a student"

According to CBS-WBZ in New Hampshire, police say the 41-year-old English teacher sent four sexy shots of herself to a 15-year-old male student at Londonderry High School. The student, it seems, thought that was pretty nifty. Police say he forwarded the images to his friends.

Dennehy, of Hampstead, turned herself in to Londonderry police Friday. She is charged with one felony count of indecent exposure. The mother of two has since been freed on bail, but was ordered to stay away from anyone under 16.

Two things... This teacher totally made this kid's day, week, whole school year. Assuming she didn't look like any of my high school teachers. Part of her punishment is that she's not allowed to hang out with anyone 16 or under. Wow, that's really going to cramp her style having to only prey on over-the-hill 17 years olds.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Love & War & Stand-Up Comedy

I used to do stand-up. Did it professionally for five years and spent most of that time on the road travelling all over the country, mostly in the Midwest. Once in awhile, I'd be booked with a black comic and sometimes, but even more rarely, a Hispanic comic. Another subset was the female comic and the fat guy.

What I noticed about these artists is that they tended to fall into one of three categories;

- a comic who doesn't deal with their ethnicity or gender and simply does what a stand-up does. Bill Cosy is an great example of this. He doesn't bring his race into his stand-up, except only mildly when talking about his childhood. Everything is about what most everyone can relate to; being a kid, raising a kid, going to the dentist, etc.

- a comic who uses his life as a resource and they just happen to be black, or whatever, so that's a part of the package. The brilliant Richard Pryor did this. He drew from his life and his stand-up dealt with junkies and hookers and winos and his struggles negotiating his way through life.

- a comic who knows what you expect from someone of his race and panders to those expectations. These comics tended to do great live on stage in a club on the road, but their act lacked any originality and while they cashed a check that night, their careers lacked sustainability.

In America, we have our pre-packaged prejudices based on our own history. True comedy artists will create either in spite of it or use it for a greater good, all the while trying to make people laugh.

A recent phenomenon in the stand-up world is the Muslim comic. Once the Bush administration threw down a Holy war and declared "those guys" the enemy, a new comic has emerged. How's it going for them? I don't know, but I'm going to find out this Thursday.

This is from the Illinois Humanities Council...

Can humor change the world? Join us as we laugh and talk about war and peace with this special performance and conversation with comedian Azhar Usman. Co-founder of the wildly popular “Allah Made Me Funny—The Official Muslim Comedy Tour” and born and raised in Chicago to immigrant Muslim parents from Bihar, India, Usman is always interested in “waging peace through humor.”

This event is presented by The Public Square and Th!nk Art an International Art Gallery & Policy Salon, as part of their ongoing War & Peace exhibit.

Th!nk Art is at 1530 North Paulina, Suite F, just south of North Avenue in Wicker Park.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Reservations are required and can be made online, by email at or by calling 312.422.5580. See you there.


Last week, I asked...

"Maria Conneran's family in Rahyway, New Jersey received a visit from the police asking them to please do what with their snowman?"

83% said "place the carrot where the nose should be" - They didn't care. It was a baby carrot.

17% said "give it an opposite sex spouse" - It's only right in the eyes of Snow God.

No one said "make it less scary "

Or the correct answer, "put clothes on it"

According to MyFox-New York, police told a Rahway, New Jersey family to cover their nude snowman after an anonymous complaint. Maria Conneran's family sculpted Venus de Milo in last week's snow outside their home on Colonia Boulevard.

(Photos courtesy Conneran family/

So, not your typical Frosty The Snowman, but I wish I had a magic hat.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The BS News Quiz of the Day

Yesterday, I asked...

"Araceli Gutierrez of East Chicago, Indiana is facing felony charges of neglect when her 3-year-old was found with what?"

40% said "a taser" - Hey, a kid has to protect himself from douchebag four-year-olds.

20 % said "a gun in his binkie" - A right the NRA will fight for.

No one went for "matches in his underwear"

40% got it right with "cocaine in his sock"

According to Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana, Gutierrez left her son with her sister and never said when she would be back for him. The boy's aunt bathed him, and as she was dressing him in the clothes his mother left, she found a clear wrapper filled with white powder tucked in his sock.

This is an outrage. How can a parent be 100% responsible for everything her child does? If a teenager gets caught with pot in his locker do we automatically assume it belongs to his or her parents? No. Leave this woman alone and get her three-year-old into a drug rehab program pronto. Doesn't Sesame Street have some kind of half-way house? If they can get the Cookie Monster off cookies, they can get this kid off the blow.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I Believe...

...that as long as money is more powerful than votes, we'll continue to have a congress chock full of douchebags like Bunning. Unqualified, unconnected and uncaring. Corporations will back their hand puppets and we, the people, are the ones who will find some stranger's fist up our asses.

...that Jay Leno back on The Tonight Show with Sarah Palin as his guest demonstrates exactly why Conan should never have left and Leno should be boiled in pizza grease and thrown into the lion house at the zoo.

...that it's easy to lose one's faith in humanity and find oneself filled with cynicism and dread for the future. Then you hear a child's uninhibited laugh, a cat's purr, or a song like Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears' Sugarfoot and you're glad to be around.


Yesterday, I asked...

"5,220 people gathered on the steps of the Sydney Opera House over the weekend and did what?"

60% said "danced to Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody'" - No, but it could be correctly defined as a "flash" mob

20% said "protested lack of opera at the opera house" - Harry Connick, Jr or Tosca? I'd probably lean towards Harry Connick, Jr.

No one said "sang Ave Maria"

20% got it right with "hugged, naked"

According to Associated Press, about 5,200 naked people have embraced each other on the steps of Sydney's iconic Opera House for a photo shoot by Spencer Tunick.

Tunick, who is known for his nude group photos in public spaces, posed participants for more than an hour in a variety of positions.

Ya' know, the human body really is a masterful work of art, in the right lighting and after some photoshop.

(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Weeks 13 & 14 - Rebecca Langguth

Saturday, June 5, 10pm - WEEKS 13 & 14 – “While On My Way To Hell”Director - Rebecca Langguth

Rebecca's a long time friend of mine through WNEP. She's an actor, writer, director and really great at handling the little details most people forget about. She's also outspoken, funny and a force of nature. She picked an interesting block of scenes to direct. This group of scenes came around the start of the fourth month of the project. I was feeling the pain a bit and trying hard to avoid typical sketch review scenes. This one has a few scenes with dramatic moments that, I believe, are earned and not forced. And also some flat out ridiculous scenes. Searching for Joss Whedon is one of my favorites.
















Yesterday, I asked...

"Defenders of California's Proposition 8 say allowing same-sex marriages could also lead bi-sexuals to do what?"

34% said "seek multiple marriages" - Right. Make your track record look like a hockey score. 3 marriages, 1 divorce, a lot of missing teeth.

No one said "seek hetero marriages to break up" or "use the wrong public bathroom"

66% got it right with "seek group marriages"

According to CARE2, lawyers in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger Proposition 8 trial submitted their case summaries as per Judge Vaughn Walker's request. Both sides are said to have included their most hard-hitting points, including a claim from the Proposition 8 defense that bisexuals in particular constitute a threat to marriage. The potential harms they cited included giving bisexuals a legal basis for pursuing group marriages.

Sure. I understand. You let one subversive group get married and then where do you draw the line? Oh, wait. The line has already been drawn, It's called polygamy and it's already a no-no. Most people seem to agree that marriage is a one-on-one situation, like Mortal Kombat. I think they just want to make doubly sure Brigham and Ezra don't snuggle up with Hyrum under the quilt.

Monday, March 1, 2010

365 Update

Well, things are chugging along.

WNEP participated in the Strawdog's Saturday night late show "Theater Wars," which is Family Feud played by theater companies. I don't think it's fair to say we got our ass kicked by New Leaf. More fair to say, we kicked our own ass and kept kicking after we were down. The only points we scored came when Rebecca Languth threatened to castrate Don Hall if he used anything other than her suggestion. Fortunately, she was right. Unfortunately, Don still has his gonads after he answered "Salvador Dali" when the majority of his team clearly told him to say "Rembrandt."

So, what the hell does this have to do with 365? It took place in Strawdog's cabaret space Hugen Hall where we will be doing all our shows. I got to see backstage and get a sense of how 365 will work in the space. It's tiny, but it's doable and will also give the shows a fun, party feel (folding chairs and there's a bar in the back).

Directors are responsible for casting their shows and we'll have general auditions the last week of March. And you can bet I'll let you know more about it.

Friday, June 4th, midnight - WEEKS 9 & 10 – “The End of the World”Director: Rinska Prestinary

Rinska is a directing major at Columbia College who graduates this semester. I am thrilled that this will likely be her first out-of-college directing debut. Rinska is full of energy and her productions tend to reflect that with tight pacing and crazy characters and situations. A perfect fit for 365, especially for a midnight slot. Rinska will be a double-shot of espresso for anyone not used to staying up that late. This block also features two scenes - The End of the World and The Machine Also Rises - that were translated into french for the website La Fin Du Monde.















Last Friday, I asked...

"Parent Toni Price was arrested at Riverview Elementary in Memphis for threatening to do what to school employees?"

66% said "kick them with her prosthetic leg" - Why kick when you can take it off and swing it like a Louisville slugger?

34% said "whip them with her, well, whip" - Memphis Price and the Kingdom of the Empty Skull

No one said "spit on them with her aids-infected tongue"

And no one picked the correct answer "cut them with her sword"

According to WLBT3, a spitting match between two students at Riverview Elementary School apparently led to a bizarre encounter in the office the next morning. 32-year-old Toni Price went to the school to confront the parents of the girl who spit on her daughter. According to court records, Price ended up inside the school where an employee reported a drunk woman was armed with a sword running through the halls of the school. She told police Price was threatening to cut her.

Officers who arrived on the scene retrieved a black walking cane in which a long sharp blade is concealed. Price told police she drank a 40 ounce bottle of Colt 45 before going to the school.

This is an outrage. A parent has the right to protect her child with a sharp blade and a cloud of malt liquor. This is America. If bleeding heart liberals have their way they'll outlaw canes AND public intoxication.