Thank Bill Cosby for today’s comedy boom


I have this crazy idea. Back in 1985, my family got cable TV for the first time and it included HBO. I think at the start they just played stuff from 5-10pm and eventually they played stuff maybe 12hrs a day, but I seem to recall they'd just repeat 2 or 3 movies a few times a day and whatever deadspots they had, they filled it by running Bill Cosby's Himself.

I watched Bill Cosby's Himself probably 2 or 3 times a week for a good several years in my early teens. I know the entire thing by heart and can quote you almost any line if you give me a couple words.

There's this popular held belief about the birth of Skateboarding:

In the mid-Seventies, two events coincided in Southern California that gave rise to skateboarding as we now know it. The invention of the urethane wheel and the drought that emptied the pools across the city allowed the kids to ride their new boards in an entirely new way

It was covered well in the movies Dogtown and Z boys and Lords of Dogtown. I mention it because I've been a fan of stand-up comedy for three decades now and we're in a boom these past few years that feels much like the brick-backdrop comedy TV boom of the late 80s. We have comedy podcasts galore, huge comedy communities like A Special Thing, we have an entire website dedicated to short videos of just comedy, and we have stuff like The Onion going mainstream with video on demand and their popular website. Not to mention popular late night comedy talk shows are joined by The Daily Show and Colbert Report, which meld comedy with news. Fans of comedy are getting their daily fix like never before.

So here's my crazy idea: the boom in comedy these last few years is due to two things that go together well, the internet, for making the dissemination, publication, and promotion of comedy way easier than waiting for a TV network to give you a show 20 years ago, and the fact that a generation of kids got to watch Bill Cosby Himself every day after school for several years before HBO figured out how to gather enough programming to stop repeating themselves.

Bush Years summed up on twitter

Seeing how the inauguration is just around the bend, I thought maybe it'd be good to hear a bunch of short pithy summaries of the last eight years of Bush. I read this thing on Salon showing how the economy has slid under him and figured instead of me ranting for thousands of words on how things are worse than when he started, I might as well use twitter instead.

You can too, just tag your posts in twitter with #bushyears

Some favorites in just the first few minutes:

  • "Didn't fuck an intern, but raped the Constitution" — roomerholmes
  • "The utter lethality of incuriosity" — Vidiot
  • "With an 'average guy' in charge, things are guaranteed to be below average." — 75th
  • "With the money flooding to abstinence-only education, the only thing you were allowed to tap was citizens' phones." — torontonto

Help, help, help the police!

Years after I first saw this, it still cracks me up every time:

I thought about it today when I heard Lily Allen being played in a popular chain restaurant. As the lyrics drifted towards the frequent f-bombs they were magically replaced in a weird way that made me look this video up again.

Jizz in My Pants (nerd remix)

You've seen the original, now watch this one. Geeks may enjoy it more than the original:

I love that youtube makes this all possible, that two guys can make a funny parody and film it and upload it and no one in the NBC/SNL/LonelyIsland mix are copyright crazies that would pull it offline, and thousands more people can enjoy it. So great.


WWNPHD, originally uploaded by the sweetchuck.

I’m sorry, but that’s the greatest movie poster of all time

Patton Oswalt’s Dukes of Hazzard

Patton Oswalt has a new album coming out and I got to listen to the whole thing today and I enjoyed it. I’m going to do something unusual here and post one of the 22 tracks. It’s a two minute riff on the crazy scandals that continue to hit the Bush Administration and it’s the best description I’ve heard for the uncanny talent the White House has for averting one disaster after another.