Novelle

Headquarters for Experimentalism

An outrageously discreet interboner

w/ Brent Weinbach.

[Daniel sends Brent random photos which Daniel describes as “meaningless photos”. Brent responds.]

BW
I don’t think these photos are so meaningless. The first one, I believe, is a photo of an illustration by an acquaintance of mine named Matt Furie. Once, he was nice enough to draw me some characters for an animated show I wanted and still want to make. He’s very good. The second photo appears to be of a hanging bunch of plastic bags, which to me, looks sort of like a person’s torso being hung by the neck, and there’s something sort of profound about that. That the plastic bags being hung could remind one of something so morbid. The third one is also neat, because it’s of a stick figure with an extra part of the archetypal stick figure added on, which makes me think of a stick figure that kept repeating that part forever, so that the chain would keep going off the page and off the frame of the photo. The forth one almost reminds me of the pictures that would be in text books from elementary school. There’s something nostalgic about that one. Photos all have meanings. Everything has meaning, and you don’t even have to be pretentious for that to be the case.

You are a fan of parody, emulation, language, video games, music, and absurdism, among other things. I was blown away by your simultaneously hyper- and surrealistic rendition of the Russian accent, for example. Have you thought about writing a letter of admiration to the tools (parody, emulation, language, video games, music, and absurdism) mentioned above?

BW
No. But I am a fan of those things. Actually, I’m not as much a fan of parody. I’m more a fan of pastiche. I love pastiche. Pastiche is basically like hyper-level-nuanced impressions. Why are impressions funny? Why is the ability to mimic things well something that makes us laugh? I suppose because it’s surreal when something that’s not something is able to be that something. When something seems so real, it’s surreal. So I guess surrealism is more popular than people think. I never realized it before, but not only is post-modernism hyperreal, it’s also surreal – or it is to the people who think post-modern stuff is funny? I like that you put emulation and absurdism in the same grouping of things I’m a fan of, because they’re kind of the opposite, but I do like them both very much, the post-modern and the modern. Language, I’m a fan of, but not words. I’m a fan of the sounds of words, and the way languages sound viscerally. I’m a fan of the pre-lingual qualities of language. Video games, some of them are works of art. However, a lot of later games, I’m not a fan of because, ironically, they emulate the real world too much. That is, they’re too post-modern. Older video games bring you more into an actual video game world, with video game world colors and video game world music. It’s an escape from the real world, and that’s why I like them so much. Music’s a heavy subject. Video game music from third and fourth generation consoles is some of the best music ever composed. I’m a fan of jazz fusion from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, folk music, 20th century classical. I’m a fan of good, classic singer-writer stuff from the 1970’s. Electronic music from the 1970’s and 1980’s, jazz and bossa nova from the late 1950’s, early 1960’s. Impressionism. I mean, lots of stuff. Well, anyway, I guess to an extent, I ended up writing that letter after all.

You are a well-known, if not notorious, hunter and gatherer of live boners. Where does one find the fresh and sticky ones?

BW
You happened to ask this question right when I was actually hunting down a boner for me to gather. But I wasn’t looking for a fresh and sticky one, I was looking for a fresh and dry and lightly powdered one. You see, I was shooting a short film (which is part of the reason I’ve been so busy) and I needed the first three inches of an erect penis, essentially the head and one and a half inches of the shaft. This guy in Los Angeles was supposed to make one for me, but the ones he made kept turning out wrongly – they were too sticky, in fact. And his communication wasn’t very good either and he seemed to be flakey. So basically, flakey and sticky. Anyway, I found this company on the internet named Reel Magik, which is based in Pennsylvania, I think, and they constructed just the right boner and got it to me on time. So the answer is: Reel Magik.

Sounds like Reel Infinit-o-Boner Fun to me. Have you thought about raising boners, “Arizona”-style?

BW
I love the Coen Brothers. “Raising Arizona” is my third favorite film of theirs. My second favorite is “Barton Fink”. And my first is “The Hudsucker Proxy”, which also might be my first favorite film of all time. I used to have more of an order to my favorite films of all time, but it’s not as definite now. Also in the top ten or so for me is “The Player”, “10”, “The King of Comedy”, “Léolo”, “Playtime”, and “Swingers”. I mean, I like a lot of movies: “Back to the Future II”, “Total Recall”, “License to “Drive, “Falling Down”, “The Shawshank Redemption”, “The Last Picture Show”, “The Artist”, “Annie Hall”. I can just keep on listing good movies, there are so many. I like Woody Allen, Jim Jarmusch, Jacques Tati, Terry Gilliam, David Lynch. Overall, the 1970’s are probably the best era for film. But the 1980’s are real good, too.

If you still feel like listing, let’s play a game I’d tentatively call “Good flesh, bad flesh”: I’ll name a progressive TV comedy show, and you’ll give me the name of a progressive comedian in return. I’m quite a comedy nerd, and proud of it, but my nerdiness still needs a lot of enhancing, growing, refining – and there’s no one better suited to help me in this endeavour than you. Alright, here we go: “The Armando Iannucci Shows”.

BW
Doug Lussenhop aka DJ Douggpound.

“Jam”.

BW
Reggie Watts.

“Aeon Flux” & “The Head”.

BW
Josh Fadem.
TJ Miller.

“12 Oz. Mouse” & “I’m With Busey” & “The Eric André Show” (Fibonacci-style).

BW
Tim and Eric.
Stella.
Kate Berlant.
(I’m grouping Tim and Eric as one and Stella as one, so that’s three, not six.)

“Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job” & “Stella” & “Brass Eye” & “Comedy Bang Bang” & “Snuff Box”.

BW
Neil Hamburger.

[omitted]

[omitted]

Kristen Schaal.
Donny Divanian.

George Clooney has been spotted (repeatedly) in the woods of Louisianka, gathering “berries from beyond”. What’s up with that?

BW
Before I answer this, can you name three more TV shows?

Here are eight: “The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer” & “Time Trumpet” & “The Peter Serafinowicz Show” & “The Day Today” & “Strangers With Candy” & “Perfect Hair Forever” & “Look Around You” & “Freakstars 3000”.

BW
Dang, now I have to think of five more comedians, before moving on …

Mike Dobbins.
Rick Glassman.
Nathan Fielder.

[Pause]

[omitted]

[omitted]

[omitted]

[omitted]

[Pause]

David Dineen-Porter.

And I actually thought of another, so I guess you’ll have to list another show.

Actually, we better stop now with the listing, because I’ll keep thinking of new names.

If you did mention a couple more shows, I’d mention:
Johnny Pemberton.

[omitted]

Sorry, but: “15 Storeys High” & “Banzai” & “Eagleheart” & “Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace” & “Nighty Night” & “Portlandia” & “Space Ghost Coast To Coast” & “Superjail” & “Farscape” & “Lexx” & “Wonder Showzen” & “Upright Citizens Brigade” & “Xavier: Renegade Angel”.

BW
Wait, do you mean currently progressive? Or progressive during their time? Because I listed certain comedians that were progressive in the 1980s, but they might not be considered progressive now. And I didn’t really mention too many 1990s “alternative” comedians who were definitely progressive then. I’m now kind of thinking that I should have stuck with current comedians, or comedians that have been more active and progressive within the last 10-15 years, right?

Well, both interpretations of “progressive“ are totally (“Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule“) fine with me, for my goal was to hear some names that I haven’t (“Sealab 2021“) heard yet, and you totally helped me out with (“The History of the World Backwards“) that. I do know and appreciate (“The Tom Green Show“) Reggie Watts, TJ Miller or Stella, b(“Buffy the Vampire Slayer“)ut I’ll have to check out David “The Whitest Kids U’ Know“ Dineen-Porter or [omit-]”Tom Goes to the Mayor“[-ted], so: thanks. 

BW
I kind of want to revise my list to only more contemporary comedians, because progressive is really relative to the times. Those older comedians I mentioned might seem not as progressive nowadays:

Doug Lussenhop aka DJ Douggpound.
Reggie Watts.
Tim and Eric.
Stella.
Kate Berlant.
Josh Fadem.
TJ Miller.
Neil Hamburger.
Kristen Schaal.
Donny Divanian.
Mike Dobbins.
Rick Glassman.
Nathan Fielder.
David Dineen-Porter.
Johnny Pemberton.

And “A Bit of Fry and Laurie” what “Andy Richter Controls the Universe” about “Bottom” the “Extras” obvious, “Human Giant” yet “I’m Alan Partridge” nevertheless “People Like Us” brilliant “Liquid Television” Louis “Louie” C.K. “Mr. Show with Bob and David”?

BW
So I was thinking that I definitely should just be naming more current comedians, because it just gets too confusing and convoluted to mention older comedians who were progressive for their time. Anyway, here are a couple more names:

Robert Buscemi.
Alex Koll.

You’ve named way too many TV shows at this point. We could have had a nice, clean and even balance between comedians and shows, but now it’s a big mess. But that’s okay. Or, was this a game? If so, you win. But then again, I’m not so sure some of the shows you named were “progressive”. I mean, for me, I took that to mean comedians that are innovative and doing something new with comedy. Do you feel that’s the case with every show you named? Because if I was to name a list of current comedians I like, as opposed to comedians who I think are progressive, my list would be much, much larger.

I probably should apologize for all the naming and dropping, but sometimes I have difficulties with stopping naming TV (comedy) shows, resulting in a potentially infinite stream of titles that is just too wonderful not to lose oneself in … What about shows like “Summer Heights High“, “The Green Wing“, “The League of Gentlemen“, “The Mighty Boosh“, “The Sarah Silverman Program“, “We Can Be Heroes“, “Important Things With Demetri Martin“, “Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle“? And we haven’t even touched superweird YouTube series (“Baman Piderman“) yet … But let’s be real crazy-dead serious for a while: You are an adult, and you like to swim – when do we get to watch a brilliant, Weinbachesque TV show on Adult Swim? Tell me, if possible, more about the animation visions you’ve mentioned earlier.

BW [returning to an earlier question]
In 2003, I saw Louis CK at the Punch Line in San Francisco, and it was one of the hardest times I’ve laughed while watching a stand-up set at a club. Back then, my four favorite headlining comedians I had seen at that club were Arj Barker, Robert Hawkins, Louis CK, and Sarah Silverman. Louis CK is great. I’m a bigger fan of his earlier work, the more observational and absurd stuff, than his personal and family stuff. But it doesn’t really matter what he’s talking about, he just has a funny energy and funny way of expressing himself.

BW [returning to an earlier question]
Oh, the Woods of Louis C(an)K(a)? They’re still growing berries from beyond? I remember gathering there back in 1978. Clooney’s just recently caught the berry bug, so he’s gathering all over the place. I even spotted him digging around Brian’s butthole for berries last week at the Hippocampo Meatmunch. In about five years, berries are going to be as popular as the band Cabo Frio.

I think his “Hilarious” show couldn’t be more nomen-est-omeny. I actually was going to ask you as one of the driest humorists in town (and by “town” I mean “the world”), along with Zach Galifineau, Neil Hâmburgé and some few others: When did you laugh last time and what was it about? And why is it, from your perspective as a recipient of the Andy Kaufman Award, so important to remember the genius of Andy Kaufman?

BW [returning to an earlier question]
I can’t tell you when, because I can tell you that it is extremely hard to get a TV show – at least for me. I think that might be because for me, I’m not the best at making things funny through words. I’m better at the delivery and at expressing myself viscerally. This makes it difficult to pitch things, because most people just want something that sounds funny on paper. Also, most industry people, all they care about are silly things like “story” and “characters” – all I care about is being funny and entertaining, and that’s not enough for them to trust that something will be good. People are afraid of losing their job. The really annoying thing is that people can see the other work I’ve done and can even think I’m funny, yet they still can’t pull the trigger unless they feel satisfied with inconsequential things like “relationships” and “themes”.

My dream TV show would be a multi-cam family sitcom where I play the dad.

BW [returning to an earlier question]
When you first asked me this question, the last time I had laughed was thinking about a song my sister and I came up with about this British woman who got served a court summons, but refused to acknowledge the summons and said defiantly, “No, I’ve not been served!” (this is based on a very true story), which became the main lyric to the verse. The song sounds a little bit similar to the song “Short Dick Man” by 20 Fingers with “No, I’ve not been served!” repeating over and over again, with “You’re hilarious, by the way,” sung by the backup vocals interspersed, and then at one point by the lead, “And since you asked … No, I’ve not been served!” The chorus is based on a real-life recounting of ours to whether or not we used a body, deodorant spray: “I myself have used a spray” then backup vocals sing:]“Damn, I really stink!” (back to lead vocal) “I myself have used a spray-ay-ayy-ay-ayayay – yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah” (just like Steven Tyler in “Living on the Edge”) – and that part really cracks me up. The song is really catchy, too, and it keeps making me laugh, because it gets stuck in my head.

But several days after you asked me the question, which is now, I have since laughed very hard at some videos and pictures my sister made. Her name is Laura, by the way, and she’s the funniest person I know. I laugh the most because of her. Most recently, she took these photos of her posing with album covers, making the same faces as the artists on the covers. The funniest one, however, was not of a face, but was her making the implied face of the muscular body on the cover of a Commodores album. She also recently made two very funny videos. One is an animation of a bat singing the national anthem and then exploding, and the other is my sister snoring and waking up as a sort of chicken.

BW [returning to an earlier question]
The most important thing to learn from Andy Kaufman is commitment. He fully committed and never, never winked to the audience that he was joking. The best comedians do not wink. The best comedians fully commit to such a point that one might think they’re crazy. The best comedians make an audience question, “Is this guy for real?” (or girl). When the best comedians perform, there is something in their eyes that makes you question who they actually are. Of course, when I say “best”, I mean, for my taste and sensibility the best – I mean, this is just what makes me laugh the most. My favorite comedy always comes from full commitment, and full commitment comes from confidence and not being afraid to look totally stupid. That’s what we also learn from Kaufman. Not being afraid to be embarrassed and to look like an idiot, and to approach things with confidence and conviction.

This is probably the point where entertainment becomes art. Or was it the other way around? What is it with art and entertainment anyway? Are they synonyms, antonyms, each other’s subsets? Let me rephrase: George Clooney has been spotted (repeatedly) in the woods of Tngsk’r, SUMMONING “berries from beyond”?

BW [returning to an earlier question]
I can see why someone might call me a “dry” comedian, but I’ve always thought I was more of a wet and juicy comedian.

Don’t get me wrong, you are totally superwet. And yet very dry. But also very wet. Still, there are so many things I would like to ask you about boners: What are the most prominent properties of boners? What are some of their hidden features? Why are we here? Are we boners? Bonus : boner = malus : ???

BW
The most prominent property of a boner is the swoleness. For a boner to be good, it has to be on swole. There’s just no argument about that. One thing people don’t realize about a boner is that it can be used for completely non-sexual contexts, and it’s in those contexts that the beauty and power of the boner really shine. We’re here for your daughter, Chuck. We are what we have, and so, yes, we are all boners, even women and children. People can be on swole sometimes, regardless of race or class. It’s both a spiritual and physical thing. Bonus : boner = Malus : Maner. Once one can fully understand and appreciate all of these finer points regarding the boner, it is then that they will know the true meaning of World Penis.

Also, did I already discuss the process in which I had to track down and obtain a boner, which ended up costing me about $100?

Actually no, that would be of great interest to me.

[DA was incorrect. BW had discussed it already, but since this interview took place over the course of about six months, BW had forgotten and apparently, so did DA.]

Additional question: In which famous buddy movie did Bruce Willis play a ghost genius? Or was it a boy Jewnius?

[At this point, DA made it clear to BW that DA was and still is a Russian Jew who emigrated to Germany in 1992.]

BW
Basically, I made this short film recently and I needed a very realistic fake penis. This one guy in Los Angeles was supposed to do it, but he kept on flaking out. He flaked out so many times, I felt like he might have been messing with me. So I looked on the internet and found a company based in Pennsylvania. I ordered a special customized boner and I received it at the post office on the very last day I needed it to get the shot I wanted. That first guy though, he really made things difficult for us. He’d be hard to get ahold of, but also, when I did get ahold of him, he would say that he tried to make the boner but it kept coming out too sticky. To be fair, he did send me a photo once of an unfinished, sticky boner. Anyway, the buddy movie in question is “Color of Night”.

And what about heckling? You seem like a highly polite individual, so I can’t imagine that you would resolve certain unpleasant live situations like most comedians tend to do, that is by dissing a heckler right back to where (the f) he comes from. Of course hecklers don’t deserve better, because there is an unnecessary amount of arseholery involved – however, a comedian who wins over an audience by getting tenfold back at some poor stupid f, well, he usually doesn’t awaken too much sympathy in me by such acts of self-defense. What’s your opinion on this?

BW
Heckling is the worst. Anyone who heckles should lose their comedy privileges and not be allowed into shows. And comedians who heckle other comedians (who they don’t know personally), those people are the absolute worst and should not be allowed to be a comedian. There’s generally a code that comedians live by where you don’t do things that other comedians would not like. Anyway, yes, I’m not good at comebacks and bagging on people and stuff – it’s hard for me to be mean. You have to be a really, really nasty person for me to lose control and call you names and stuff. I did that once at a show and since then, I promised I would never lose control again. But I totally understand the Michael Richards incident that happened several years ago. What he said did not come from a place of racism, it came from a place of frustration and every real comedian who’s been doing comedy for a while should understand that. Now, having said all this, I will say that I have had some heckles in the past that I had to deal with, which turned into really amazing moments. And for someone like my good friend Moshe Kasher, I’ve seen extremely amazing moments happen because of hecklers. Heckling should never be encouraged, but Moshe is just a master at crowd work and bagging on people and shutting down hecklers – he’s just the best. He’s like a Jewish Def Jam comic, in a way. It’s probably wrong to think this, but sometimes, if it’s a low-key show, I kind of want people to heckle Moshe, because I know it’ll turn into something great – but that’s only at a low-key, non-important show. But again, I do not condone heckling, even at low-key shows or when Moshe Kasher is on stage – even though he’s brilliant at handling it.

If I were a millionaire, I would put a whole lotta holes in other people’s tires and stuff them with 100 $ bills. I would buy millions of copies of my new book, thus making it a worldwide bestseller. I would tend to kill a mockingbird (not really). I would steal stuff, replacing it with inadequately huge amounts of moneycash. I would build a lot of houses and call them stupid, impossible names, like “Georgio Kiejijödadsöh”. And what would you do?

BW
I would make movies. I’d make a movie about an undercover cop. I’d make a film about elderly pirates. I’d make a film about gender identity. I’d make a movie about pizza delivery guys. I’d make a film about a sleepover. I’d also make spec pilots for television. I’d make a multi-camera family sitcom. I’d make a mystery comedy show about a piano player. Aside from those things, I’d also buy a lot of stuff. I’d buy a house that was surrounded by a force field so that bugs and things couldn’t get into the house. I’d buy a 1986 Toyota Camry, burgundy-colored, and have the inside totally rebuilt with good, new quality machinery, so that the car was basically brand new, but still looked like a 1986 burgundy Camry. I’d also buy the video game “Fire ‘N Ice” for Nintendo. I might even get “DuckTales 2” for Nintendo. Then, after all that, I’d probably produce a musical.

It was a real John (= joy and honor) to talk to you, thank you very much for your time. Final question: Usually, I like to do 75 % nonsense and 25 % serious stuff. But in your case I would like to concentrate on the serious business, if that’s alright with you? Are the “Expandables” movies really about boners getting stuff done? When will there be the first animal (dog-ant-goat?) to do awesome stand-up? Do you happen to know 8bitpeoples.com? What about nerdcore? Breakcore? What will technology be like in a million years from now? In a billion years? Will we still have smartphones? Or will the smartphones have (sex with) us? What is the silliest thing you’ve ever seen? Disliked? Could the “Oblivion” soundtrack by M83 be really better than the “Tron Legacy” soundtrack by Daft Punk? Or is the “Beyond the Black Rainbow” soundtrack by Jeremy Schmidt da shit? What about Opeth masterfully ignoring their death metal roots? Do you enjoy digital image editing?

BW
It was a Triple (Triumph + Pleasure?) answering your questions. The “Expandables” aren’t really about boners getting stuff done – they’re more about the boners just becoming wider and whiter, until all the Expandables become fully functional pancake-esque, white diapers with extra absorption abilities. And the real question as far as animal performance goes is, when will the first animal (frog-frog-frog) R&B group blow up? It could be like Tony! Toni! Toné!, but it would be Frog! Freg! Frág! Or maybe even Frog! Freg! Toné! Actually, it should be more like Frog! Frawg! Frahg! Well, anyone can just pick their favorite combination. The thing about 8-bit music is, there’s a real difference between 8-bit music and video game music of the 1980’s and 1990’s. Most 8-bit music of today does not adhere to the compositional and structural principles and values of Japanese third and fourth generation home console music. Regardless, video game music and other cool stuff are not nerdy. Nerd is not cool, by definition. Cool stuff is cool. Video games and video game music are works of art. It’s more about artcore – but even “core” is kind of on the nerdy side. I just thought of a new group: Nerdy! Nerdi! Nerdé! Technology a million or a billion years from now is unimaginable, but it will probably have something to do with how everyone will either be named Tony! or Toni! or Toné! I mean, I hope the anti-mobile technology revolution comes to fruition. I hope there is an awakening and everyone – or a significant group of people decides to follow the credo “Kill Your Cell Phone” and get back to embracing the sublime moments they’ve been suturing over for years. In a billion years, will people be present? Or will they be fully digital and exist in a completely new post-modern reality? The truth is, I think that new reality is only 50 years away. It’s hard to imagine that people or technology will even exist in a billion years. The more I think about, a billion or a million years from now isn’t even a real thing – it doesn’t exist. It’s like saying frog from now. Actually frog from now is more tangible. A million years from now is not real and it will never be real. Once, I saw this woman get up after an airplane ride, and she kept on clinching her butt-cheeks back and forth, but there are so many moments I’ve been witness to, there is no one winner. I do dislike, however, the smell of a cheesy, sweaty butt crack when you’re standing in line for a ride at Disneyland. Yuck.

Image source: (c) BW

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