Monday, October 31, 2011

Last chance to buy advance CreCommedy Night tix

Former comedy-writing student, current big-time comic Dan Verville. 

The time is running out to buy advance CreCommedy Night tickets. The big event takes place at Rumor's on Monday, Nov. 7, 2011.

Advance tickets are available until Thursday morning from me, Kenton Larsen, comedy promoter, esq. After that, all tickets must be purchased at the door on the night of the performance.

The night features 28 of Red River College's funniest Creative Communications students making their stand-up comedy debut - three hilarious minutes of material each.

Doors open at 6:45 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m.

Buy early. Buy often.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Haunt your Halloween with sound drama for unsound minds

Tree of Death: "I give Tree of Life but one star. Bwah-ha-ha!"

Hallo, weenie.

I have the deathly duty to bring you spooky Halloween vignettes from the demented minds of the ad majors, who do the audio voodoo they do in Cathy Hanson's scary-cauldron-o-audio-production class (all rights reserved).

Approach with caution, good readers, for these horrors may haunt your heart, mind, and social-media sites for year to come. You have been warned:

1. Vignette one

2. Vignette two

3. Vignette three

4. Vignette four

5. Vignette five

6. Vignette six

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Extras! Extras! Sign up for Garrity's new feature film

Garrity at RRC earlier today.

Looking for some "extra" work?

Look no further: filmmaker Sean Garrity is looking for extras to appear in his new feature film, My Awkward Sexual Adventure. For the record: it's a romantic comedy.

For more information, send your name, phone number, and email address to: with the subject line: "volunteer extra for Garrity film."

You'll be notified if and when the crew needs extras.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

CreCommedy Night hits Rumor's on Monday, Nov. 7

Don't let the spelling fool you. 

CreCommedy Night (correct spelling!) is coming to Rumor's on Monday, Nov. 7, 2011 (not 2012, though that's futuristic and cool). 

The night features 28 of Red River College's funniest Creative Communications students making their stand-up comedy debut - three hilarious minutes of material each.

Doors open at 6:45 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and available at the door on the night of the performance and in advance from me. Don't forget to tip your teacher. 

Help me choose a catchphrase, Willis

I'm jealous of my student Richard Baschak.

It's not because he's a good looking man, nor is it his impeccable hygiene; it's because he's got the best catchphrase ever: "Thank you for the criticism."

The awesome thing about his catchphrase is that it happened naturally, when he actually thanked his classmates for ripping apart his new-product idea in last year's class. Delivered by anyone else and the phrase would've come off as bitchy or sarcastic. But for him, it was heartfelt and true. Lucky bastard.

Help me choose a catchphrase

I've been searching for a catchphrase of my own ever since. After much turmoil, I've narrowed it down to these six, and provided a little context for how each would be delivered. Any keepers?

1. Nobody cares!
I finish delivering the best class of my life. I put the whiteboard marker down, wipe the sweat from my brow, and ask the students, "Any questions?" Unbeknownst to me, the students have walked out during the lecture and the classroom is empty. I look into the camera and yell, "Nobody cares!" before storming out of the room. The studio audience goes wild.

2. Don't start without me. 
A student comes to class to tell everyone about the big marker social this Friday. "Are you coming to the big marker social, Kenton?" she asks. I look into the camera, frown, and say, "Don't start without me." The studio audience goes wild.

3. I tweet hope. 
A five-star general tells me he finds my tweets insulting. "Well, I don't know why that would be," I say, looking into the camera. "I tweet hope." The studio audience goes wild.

4. I'm more honest about my dishonesty.
"PR is corporate bullshit and journalism is the truth!" screams an unemployed newspaper reporter at me. I drop a quarter in his open guitar case, pat him on the head, look into the camera, and say, "I'm more honest about my dishonesty." The studio audience goes wild.

5. I'd rather have no hair than your hair. 
"You're bald," says a five-year-old kid on my bus. I look into his eyes with a menacing glare and say, "I'd rather have no hair than your hair." Then I turn, look into the camera, and wink. The studio audience goes wild.

6. Heavy bolsters!
I'm crossing the street. A car swerves to avoid me and hits another car just meters away. I whip off my baseball cap, turn to look into the camera, and yell, "Heavy bolsters!"

Which one should be my catchphrase? Do tell. Thank you for the criticism.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ten consistently crappy things that reliably suck

The first sign that tonight's gonna be such a lame night. 

In this confusing world in which we live, it's nice that some things remain reliably sucky.

What's riding me? What's my beef? What sucks? The usual. Thank you for asking.

1. Meter readers - Storied in song and songed in story (by me), I imagine the justification for taking the job and ticketing the good and well-meaning citizens of your hometown has got to be pretty weak indeed: "I'm just following orders," "I meet a lot of interesting, new people (who yell at me)," and "I'm the thin line between parking order and anarchy."

2. Black Eyed Peas - So painfully desperate to sell us on the idea that "tonight's gonna be such a good night," we know that tonight can be only the worst possible night of all time, played out to a badly sampled tune with loads of faux-street "Yeah, yeah, yeahs" hollered over it.

3. Hulu - It's the World Wide Web, but we're going to return it to the era of region codes by blocking "some areas" from watching our videos. Which areas? Everywhere but the U.S. Hulu: the Berlin Wall of the Internet.

4. YouTube - I've told and retold the whole story about YouTube's hypocritical copyright policy, and it still grinds my gears, not just because it's inconsistent, but because the folks at YouTube are so self-congratulatory about how progressive they are. Hey, YouTube: TubeYou.

5. Noisy neighbors with a third-grade education - I understand that lightning and thunder is bright and loud. I understand that you enjoy it, and like to cheer when you see and hear it. But please shut up. I beg you.

6. Acting _______ - If the lamest job in the entire world is "actor," pretending to be someone you're not and saying the words that someone else has written for you, then the lamest word to affix to any job title is "Acting _____." Thanks for the offer, acting brain surgeon, but I'll wait for the other guy to come back from vacation.

7. Cell phone providers - "Hi, Rogers, I can't find where I buy a U.S. data plan on your website." "Oh, you can't anymore." "Uh, OK - where can I do it?" "Only from your mobile." I hang up, try to do it and - the 3G service, which Rogers provides, is too weak to load a Web page.

8. Airlines - You pat my privates, wedge me into a tiny seat, feed me nothing, and the advertised $300 flight to England is actually $2,000 after fees. Next time: I swim.

9. "I just love the feel of the newspaper" - Lately, there's no shortage of folks longing for the simple times of day-old, gatekeeper-provided news delivered on cheap, smelly, and inky newsprint. This phrase is now officially banned for people under 25, and anyone who has even once expressed concern that we're killing too many trees. By the way, have I ever mentioned how much I miss the sound of the telegraph?

10. Prepay gas pumps - What better way to tell your customers, "We don't trust you," and those without credit cards, "We don't want your business." Even better: in the U.S., you must enter your zip code before the pump starts doing its thing, instantly disqualifying every Canadian.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Who is better than the Stones

If the Beatles is the greatest band in the history of rock and roll, Who is second best.

I'm not asking, I'm telling.

With Who frontman Roger Daltrey's Winnipeg show just around the corner, let's set the record straight: the Who, not the Rolling Stones, is the second-greatest band in the history of rock and roll.

So there.

In Winnipeg, this requires clarification: I'm talking about the Who, the great British rock and roll band with songs like "Won't Get Fooled Again," "My Generation," and "Baba O'Riley," not the Guess Who, the lame Winnipeg rock and roll band with songs like "No Sugar Tonight," "American Woman," and nothing else.

To some, the Rolling Stones will always come second to the Beatles, because they're the edgier, arrogant, bad-boy version of the lovable mop tops. The Stones took the Beatles' template, melded it with Chuck Berry, and sold it back to America at a profit, with massive stadium shows, loud guitars, and a big lips and tongue logo.

But one man's "white blues" is another man's "desperate guy in puffy shirts flapping around a stage."

To me, the Stones always seemed faux-dangerous. They had all the attitude, but were too commercially aware of what they were doing to be real Street Fighting Men.

The Who seemed truly dangerous, because they were out of control and smart. Where the Stones looked the part and had the moves, the Who had the ambition, the intensity, and what the Rolling Stone Record guide calls "internal tension," which sometimes resulted in the band members punching each other out.

It resulted in some great music: streetwise, operatic, experimental, furious, sensitive, and impossible to compile satisfactorily on a greatest hits.

The Who and the Stones have an embarrassment of great songs. The big, deciding factor for me is that the Who has far fewer bad songs than the Stones; and yeah: I'll take "Athena" over "Harlem Shuffle" any day.

I've seen both bands live twice, and the Who wins by a mile, even without two of its original members. I'll be in the front row when Roger Daltrey plays MTS Centre on Wednesday, Nov. 2. Enjoy the back of my head, suckas!

Legend has it that the Stones shelved their Rock and Roll Circus film when the Who upstaged them. Watch the Who's performance in the clip, and if you still think the Stones are better: you aren't forgiven.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

CreCommedy Night hits Rumor's on Nov. 7

 Telling some jokes, just like Gilbert Gottfried did. 

The heart pounds, the palms sweat, the knees knock. You gasp for air. Finally, you walk toward the light.

Death is easy, stand-up comedy is hard.

But you don't have to tell that to Red River College's funniest Creative Communications students, who will be making their stand-up comedy debut at CreCommedy Night on Monday, Nov. 7 at Rumor's.
    The big night features 28 of my comedy writing students doing three minutes of material each, bookended by host Cara Lytwyn and headliner Dan Verville, two successful comedy-writing grads in their own right.

    Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and will be available at the door and in advance (info TBA).

    A splendid time is guaranteed for all. 

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Steve Jobs made Star Trek a reality

    At Apple, Steve was Jobs one.

    In honor of the man and his inventions, I'm reposting a column I wrote a year ago about how Steve Jobs' inventions transformed a college instructor into Captain Kirk.

    Set the iPhone for stun.

    Today, I ran around from meeting to meeting in my orange, V-neck sweater, getting things done and saving the world with my iPhone, iPad, and a Jack Sack full of whatever I might need on today's season of 24.

    I was feeling good about myself until I got a glimpse of my reflection in a window and thought: "Oh, crap: I'm Captain Kirk!"

    We're surrounded by some serious sci-fi hardware. No, the cars don't fly, and the robot butler is MIA, but can you tell me that the iPhone isn't a Star Trek communicator? Or that the iPad isn't a tricorder?

    Sadly, the orange V-neck sweater is still the orange, V-neck sweater. And I haven't sussed it out yet, but the receding hairline is either a tribute to William Shatner or a dying Tribble. The green-skinned girlfriend has yet to materialize. Boo!

    The crazy thing is that I could time travel back to my technology-devoid CreComm days, haul out the iPhone, and completely blow people's minds:

    "It's a portable computer. I use it to surf the net, play games, listen to music, make phone calls..." and that's where they would've burned me for witchcraft.

    The future is now

    Whenever someone tells me that he or she thinks the iPhone isn't all that - too expensive, or whatever - I like to remind them that not too long ago, any ONE of the 180 apps on my iPhone would've rocked their worlds.

    (Take Shazam or SoundHound. Shazam recognizes whatever song happens to be playing and reveals the song, artist, and album from whence it came. SoundHound lets you hum a song - hum a song!!! - and it does the same.)

    Don't beam me up, Scotty, because there's some pretty wicked crap down here on Earth.

    It all reminds me of the time my friend's Dad couldn't find the fast-forward button on the TV remote control. After struggling for five minutes, he desperately asked, "How do you make this go to the future?"

    We're livin' it, baby!

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Ad majors tower over the Marshmallow Challenge

    The winners and world champions.

    How do you build the tallest freestanding structure you can using 20 sticks of spaghetti, a yard of tape and string, and a marshmallow?

    Through collaboration and teamwork. Or not.

    The Marshmallow Challenge is a design and collaboration exercise that encourages teams to experience simple - or is that profound? - lessons in innovation and creativity by building the aforementioned structure in 18 minutes.

    The marshmallow needs to be on top. Wah, wah, wah!

    As the man in the Ted video (below) says, part of the fun is that business students and grads tend to perform the worst at the challenge, and kindergarten students produce the tallest and most-interesting structures.

    The ad majors made a great go at it, and the winners (pictured at the top of this post) made a structure of 26 inches, well above the height of the average structure. Their prize? Oh yeah: there wasn't one.

    Next semester: we revisit the challenge, and the prize will be...more wealth than you can imagine! 

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    Sex. Now that I got your attention, vote for me!

    Forget the change we can believe in - I just need a candidate I can notice.

    It used to be said that we should vote with our feet or our money, but in the ADD culture that is our world today, should the person who can earn our attention also earn our vote?

    Wait a sec - shiny penny! Where was I again?

    For me, the politician who broke through my perceptual screens this time - no easy task - is the one who:
    • started following me on Twitter. 
    • showed up at my doorstep - with some former CreComm students in tow. 
    • responded to my tweet - from a social!
    In advertising, this is what's known as "frequency." They say you need a frequency of three to remember an ad, and maybe it's the same to remember a politician and his or her message. 

    For your incredible ability to crack through my perceptual screens, Mr. Politician, I salute you - and award you my full and undivided...oooh, the season premiere of Dexter!

    Sorry, what was I saying?

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Twelve new words of wisdom - let it be

     See numbers one and 12.

    1. Citizen Kaner - A person who insists that Citizen Kane "isn't that good," despite (or because of) the critical outpouring it receives year after year. 

    2. Deskting - Texting under the desk in the belief that teachers can't see you. They can.

    3. Dexpert - A person who can explain the plot for every episode and/or season of Dexter. 

    4. Ereptile Dysfunction - The condition afflicting the poor dinosaurs who have trouble reproducing. 

    5. Mind-Blogling - A confusing or off-base blog or blog post.

    6. Naked Hatred - Critical comments published online by someone with a naked avatar. 

    7. Octobeard - A beard grown out early in preparation for winter.

    8. Oktobeard - A beard grown out early in preparation for Oktoberfest.

    9. Prizing Strategy - Figuring out how to get people to do something by offering them prizes. "Our prizing strategy is to give away 5,000 pounds of fish sticks for every "Like" on Facebook."

    10. Qwitter - A person who creates a Twitter account, but stops using it. 

    11. Reating - Eating while you read, or reading while you eat. 

    12. Shatizen Kane - Citizen Kane remake I hope to make, starring William Shatner.