By Ryan Meehan
The one thing that we seem to always hear ever year is that it could be the end of civilization as we know it. We live in a country where not having an iPhone makes you below some kind of technological poverty line, and we all have access to boatloads of free porn every hour of every day. If we want pizza, we can have it brought to the same room where that thought started. So the apocalyptic comments never make sense to me, because I can’t imagine that at any given moment we’re just mere steps away from oblivion.
The world once again did not end in 2014, which doesn’t really surprise me. If there is a supreme being above, I can’t imagine he’d want to see this show get cancelled. No matter how great or terrible things get, it’s all entertaining as hell and I hope I live to be 120. I have compiled a two-part year-end piece that I feel encapsulates a great deal of this entertainment, and this is the first installment.
Irritating Culture Aspect That Has To Go – The Selfie
I feel like I shouldn’t be subjected to this abomination since I don’t have an Instagram account, but the selfie has taken over internet culture because what do we love more than ourselves? Of course, the answer is “nothing” and that’s why these things have become so popular. Just when America couldn’t get any more self-absorbed and desperately in search of attention, the selfie craze has hit and it must be eliminated. Why do we feel the need to do this? Why have we used all of this ingenuity that we have worked so hard to develop for technological reasons to find a way to make front facing cameras affordable? What’s wrong with us? I’ve seen people taking pictures of themselves in the soup aisle of the fucking grocery store. Talk about Cream of Narcissism…I think the best way to fight the individuals who are doing this is to stop using the word itself. “Selfie” is just a dumb word, and it sounds like what a three year old would call it when they piss their pants. The only selfies that I want to see is when somebody is snapping a picture of themselves in the desert, unaware that they are about to be hit from behind by a cruise missile. Now that’s a photobomb.
Band You Have to Watch in 2015 – The Hell
Musicians from the United Kingdom are a different horse to say the very least. They tend to have a unique sense of humor when it comes to their image and surroundings, and The Hell are the latest example of a band who has the social networking thing down. But that said, the music is also fucking killer and living proof that genres shouldn’t matter if the material rules. I’ve heard so many people buzzing about these guys, and saying that it isn’t hardcore, it’s deathcore or metalcore…Who gives a shit? Not these guys. It’s all a joke to them, until they get into the studio or step on stage to deliver some of the most brutal music that has been released the past 24 months.
And even if you aren’t a fan of their music, following them on Facebook is more than any of the entertainment that you’ll need in a day. The stunt they pulled on Labor Day where they announced that they were breaking up and then 47 minutes later they announced a reunion tour was completely hilarious. They’re constantly talking about how much they love dicks, so much that they even wrote a song entitled “We Love Dicks”. Not surprising in today’s world, but pretty impressive when you consider that these guys look like they used to rent a house with Suicidal Tendencies and steal car stereos as soon as the street lights come on.
Their format is extremely unconventional – They play old school Fender VI guitars with only two strings – both tuned to E. They posted a status update back in September saying that they do this because they are “three times as good as everybody else.” Check out either of their last two records…2013’s “You’re Listening to The Hell”, or their latest release “Groovehammer”. And don’t forget to check out the interview I did with Vocalist and Guitarist Black Mist back in September. Trust me, no matter what happens with these guys you’re definitely going to want to stay tuned.
Best Stand-Up Comedy Special – Artie Lange: “The Stench of Failure” 10/18/14
As a sports fan, it’s always relieving to see a comedian that isn’t afraid to talk about sports and gambling. It’s risky business, because you could potentially alienate everyone in the crowd that doesn’t follow sports. Artie Lange continues to get the upper end of his seemingly endless battle with the grim reaper more than ever in his newest comedy special “The Stench of Failure” that premiered October 18th on Comedy Central. It was killer from every angle and is an excellent video companion to “Crash and Burn”, the book he released back in June. Although not for everyone (His tales of many hooker and blow acquisitions gone horribly wrong probably won’t win over the likes of Brian Regan and Jim Gaffigan fans) Lange plows through his new hour with the kind of recklessness you can only get from him. The most important part of Artie’s act is that even though you can tell 100% of the stories aren’t always true, he’s so convincing because his lifestyle leads you to believe that enough of it really is. A great example would be the first bit of the program where Artie tells a great story about the time he tried to convince his personal trainer to try heroin. Unfortunately for comedy fans it usually takes Artie four to five years to compile a new hour between stand-up specials because he is so busy, so you’re going to want to soak as much of this in as humanly possible. It also probably wouldn’t hurt to pray to our very fair and just God that he lives long enough to film another one.
Runner-Up: Kurt Metzger – “White Precious”
Breakout Comedian of the Year – Joe Machi
I interviewed Joe Machi last fall after seeing him as a panelist on Red Eye. Despite the fact that he looked like a nine year old, you could tell that he was a really good writer and that good things were about to happen to him. Within months he had become the show’s “Frightened Correspondent”, due mostly to the nervous energy that he brings to his performances. In a very tense modern society, this nervous energy was able to translate into success on the invitational round of season eight of “Last Comic Standing” where Machi crushed the competition. With one of the strongest closers I’ve ever seen during a comedy set, Joe won the hearts of every kid in America that suffers from the fear of public speaking and advance all the way into the twelfth episode. Machi didn’t win the competition but he finished fourth, and with the exception of Rod Man he’s going to be the main guy comedy fans remember from that season of that particular show. He continues to kill it as the Frightened Correspondent on Red Eye, and his rise to stardom is a very interesting social commentary on how nervous and frenetic we really are as a country. I can’t wait to watch this kid’s career explode and to see him in movies and other TV shows.
Most Bizarre Celebrity Scandal – The Bill Cosby Rape Fiasco
After a successful Comedy Central special and album which was released in November of 2013, it appeared as if Bill Cosby was ready for a return to television and primed to leap back into the hearts of everyone. Then slowly but surely, you would hear rumblings from any of the thirteen women whom were claiming to have been raped or fondled by the man who introduced colorful and overpriced sweaters to the African-American community. It was shocking, but even I have to admit that I always kind of knew there was something about that guy didn’t seem right. He seemed too preachy to not have any dirt of his own, and even though it didn’t exactly leak through into his television series in the 1980’s I never really felt like I could trust the guy. Shit got real in October when comedian Hannibal Buress performed a bit on stage where he accused the Cos of being a serial rapist. Shortly thereafter Barbara Bowman – one of the women who Cosby was alleged to have drugged and raped – appeared on several cable news networks insisting that she was raped and drugged by Mr. Cosby on several occasions between 1985 and 1987. As sad as the whole ordeal is, what really fascinates people about this story is the potential end result if these women are able to bring charges against Dr. Huxtable and win: We could seriously be looking at the most successful family-friendly comedic actor in the history of entertainment dying in prison. That would be a huge wake-up call to everybody who still believes that noteworthy individuals get away with everything in America today. I think if Malcolm Jamal-Warner has to get searched for drugs and weapons just so he can see his fake TV father in the pen, that’s a pretty serious “Holy Shit” moment for whatever crazy stuff Kirk Cameron is up to when the cameras for his awful Christmas movies stop rolling. Chicago comedian Robert Jermaine had the best take that I have heard on this topic back in November: “I don’t know if Bill Cosby did it, but I do know I’ve never been accused of doing something thirteen times that I didn’t do at least once”. And that’s why all of this burns so much: Not only did he allegedly drug these women in addition to raping them, there are a total of thirteen women who have made such claims and almost all of the stories are identical. And while not all of the stories could be true, I think the court of public opinion has already decided that enough of them probably are to keep him off of Netflix and network television for the rest of his life.
Cell Phone App Whose Meteoric Rise to Success Is Proof We Are All Going to Hell: Tinder
In a sea of internet dating applications, finally one has stood above all the rest and eliminated the “dating” portion of the whole process. If you’re not familiar with Tinder, there might still be hope for you in this sick, sad, yet incredibly technologically effective modern world in which we now live. If that’s the case, it looks as if I’m going to have to be the one to inform you of how it works. After entering a few simple tidbits of personal information in addition to logging in via your Facebook account, Tinder shows you pictures of people in your area that are also interested in dating but are more than willing to skip the whole “dating” aspect of the practice. If the individual whose photo pops up on the screen is not to your particular standards, you swipe left. If you wouldn’t mind banging that person after some passable conversation at your neighborhood shithole, you swipe right. If the individual you have “liked” swipes right on your photo when it comes up, Tinder matches you with that person and what happens next is really up to how shallow both of you are. That number is increasing by the day, as Tinder now boasts ten million active users every twenty four hours. While it’s marketed as a “matchmaking” app, it’s now being referred to as a hook-up app by everyone including almost every late night talk show host that isn’t named David Letterman. (And the second somebody tells him what Tinder is and how easy it is to use, Stephen Colbert had better be on stand-by because Dave’s going to be a busy dude…) It’s become very obvious to anybody with a pulse that you’re not going to find a marriage partner on Tinder, and as expectations for long-term relationships you can only imagine where this is headed. Or so I’m told. (checks over shoulder to see if anyone is looking)
Late night talk show host that knocked it out of the park this year: Jimmy Fallon
Although it took me a while to warm up to Fallon in the slot after the Tonight Show, by the time he got to the spot that Johnny Carson had made so popular he was ready and he scored viewers in a big way. Everything about the new Tonight Show so far has been really good. The writing, the guests, the skits, the way they can work the band into seemingly anything that takes place between the monologue and the interviews…it’s all been as close to a ten as you can possibly get. His ability to come up with inventive ways to engage guests in games and segments make up for any shortcomings he might have when it comes to asking questions. (I like to call those shortcomings “Arsenio Holes”) I have to admit I never thought that I’d be sitting here praising Jimmy Fallon for doing anything other than staying out of the way, but I can honestly see him as the type of guy who could do this for the next thirty years.
Late night talk show host that ate a dick from every conceivable angle this year: Seth Meyers
I’m really confused as to how and why this spun out of control so quickly. It started out good, but then plummeted out of control. Seth’s always had really good writers, but as of late it just doesn’t translate to good television. Perhaps the best example of this is some of the memes appearing on the show’s Facebook page between him and his bandleader Fred Armisen. (another good comedian stuck in this unexplainable rut) You’d think that they’d be one of the best jokes from the evening, but they are all flat zeroes and not funny in any way. While Fallon’s show scores four starts on IMDB, Meyers is stuck at three with several vicious reviews. I can’t blame people…By that time of the evening you have to be giving people a reason to stay up that extra hour and tune in instead of getting that extra hour of sleep they so desperately need. I can’t see this show on the air in 2016 – NBC will likely find a replacement for him. I know that Seth is very good at what he does and that this probably sounds really harsh, but I just don’t understand why this doesn’t work. Also, his gig hosting the Emmys was hardly memorable.
World Event That Has Caused An Unnecessary Amount of Unjustified Panic: Ebola
The number of people who are dying of diseases like cancer and AIDS continues to rise in this country, and the death tolls from those two diseases alone are in the hundreds of thousands. Unfortunately for those who suffer from those illnesses, the media is tired of reporting on it. So whenever a new strain of virus comes along and strikes a person dead, CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News jump all over it like it’s in the latte you get from Starbucks every morning. Enter Ebola, cable news’ favorite medical buzzword of 2014. For those who may not be familiar with it (mostly due to the fact that they will never, ever, ever come in contact with the disease itself) Ebola is caused by the ebolavirus (bet you didn’t see that coming…) which begins by the body exhibiting common sore throat symptoms before slowly progressing to things like internal bleeding and in some cases, death. Turtleboy Sports wrote a great article about this back in October, and he outlines some of the reasons that the panic that the media has caused about this infection is so ridiculous. Now here’s the one thing that you may not know about Ebola: While the disease is not only primarily showing up in African nations, it can only be transferred by the contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected human being or animal. In other words if you live in the Midwest and haven’t spent a majority of your year fucking African fruit bats, you should be fine. The NBC cameraman who made news in the fall after testing positive was diagnosed in Liberia. Why is anybody that scared of this? I don’t personally hang out with anybody who travels to West Africa on a regular basis, and when I do I can assure you that I don’t spend anytime at all sharing needles with them or letting them shit into my mouth. Settle the hell down – Ebola is not that serious of a threat. The chance of you contracting Ebola sitting in your crappy apartment while you’re watching Gwen Stefani on “The Voice” and making you feel guilty as all get out for being white is about the same as you having a cinder block dropped on your head at a Kinks concert in the desert. News outlets should be spending their time educating us about diseases like cancer and not clogging up the news cycle with bullshit like this. If they should be filling the airwaves with anything that we need to be aware of, it should be awareness of real problems like the one on the flipside of the media panic meter…
World Event That Has Not Received a Necessary Amount of Justified Panic: ISIS and the Real Fear of Modern Radical Islam
I suppose this one depends on which news organizations you trust for your information, but even with the right wing dominated FOX News dedicating what appears to be a ton of time to this set of stories – it’s not nearly enough. With our borders easier to penetrate than Paris Hilton after ingesting a gallon of Rohypnol, the threat of Radical Islam should be the single biggest security fear of Americans. With all of the other nonsense that we worry about – what certain celebrities are wearing when they go out to grab a chicken wrap, who’s dating who, whether or not we believe Oprah is gay this week – this is the one thing I truly think that we need to be concerned about. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You simply cannot rationalize with a group of individuals who align themselves with a belief system whose goal is to kill you and then themselves to achieve enlightenment. It’s impossible. Remember the old battle cry “Death or Glory”? What do you do when you’re faced with a segment of the population that equates death to glory? According to a lot of people that sympathize with Islam, you just wait for things to change. Fuck all that. There’s no legitimate pacifist approach to dealing with these assholes. I don’t have to sympathize with any of these people or their religion if they believe I am better off dead. And that’s just it – they are going to feel the way that they do about America regardless of what we think about them, so why should we go out of our way to treat them with respect and dignity if they refuse to do the same? People who deal in death only respond to the same message they preach. That’s why this whole thing about the clown who beheaded a grandmother at a Vaughan Foods in rural Oklahoma is good reason to freak out. Now this shit is happening inside of our borders, and it’s being taught in mosques down the street from us while we take it on the face. There is no reason that we should be putting up with this crap. If you belonged to any other religious sect and gathered in a building each week to discuss the demise of a country where that same building was rooted, the police would find out and raid the shit out of that building faster than a cheetah at full speed with a lit stick of dynamite up its ass. And with good reason, because no matter where you are from and what you choose to believe in – you’re a terrorist. But if you’re Islamic, not only can you gather in that building and discuss why Americans deserve to die…We can’t even call you terrorists because it’s considered Islamophobic. Think of how insane that is for a second – We are now tailoring our levels of sensitivity based on the thoughts of those whose sole motive is to kill us. How did we go from “Manifest Destiny” to that in less than a quarter of a millennium? When did we decide that the violent opinions of those who are here illegally were more important than the working class ethos of those who have lived here their entire life? The moment we decided that sympathy for these individuals was more important than protecting the safety of our citizens. That’s total bullshit. The Islamic State and anyone who follows their teachings are people who we need to be watching very closely at all times. They are hell bent on killing us, and their prehistoric ways of international negotiation techniques must be stopped at all costs. Who the fuck beheads people in the year 2014? Losers. Pathetic losers.
Stop back on Wednesday to check out the second part of the piece!
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