Archive for ‘Art of Comedy’

January 3, 2012

Stanhope Gets Troy Holmed

by ANDREW J HICKS

This guy stole Doug Stanhope's routines verbatim. All we did was steal this doctored photo from Facebook.

My night’s entertainment has come courtesy of first-rate comedian Doug Stanhope and some sixth-rate dude named Troy Holm. Each one, apparently, wrote the following bit:


i’m going to tell you how to win the war on drugs. the way you have to do it is to attack the source. the source of the drug problem. it’s not the growers or the suppliers. it’s the people that are responsible for making life so absolutely boring, and dull, and predictable, that you rather put toxins in your system to get away from that! whoever that is responsible for T.G.I.Friday’s, and Ashton Kutcher, and Last Comic Standing, and PT Cruisers, and 8 Simple Rules For Raping My Teenage Daugher (or whatever it was called), and Vin Diesel, and whoever made life so fuckin’ dull that you’re working for 5 to enjoy 2.

Stanhope has performed this bit in front of many (probably hundreds of) audiences. Troy Holm is a balding fireman who used to write a blog called Examining My Dance Pattern. Troy’s favorite topics of discussion — picking up beautiful ladies, lying to beautiful ladies so he can have sex with them, getting drunk and working as a fireman. It was a pedestrian little Tucker Max-lite blog.

Every now and then, Troy Holm would spice things up by posting entire Stanhope routines, transcribed word for word, while never acknowledging Stanhope as the source. Don’t you remember the rules? High school English? It’s okay to use someone’s words if you tell us you used them. Pretend those words are yours, and all lit geek/indie comic hell can break loose.

It’s semi-fascinating to look at the comments section for Troy Holm’s “Working Hard/Prison/Drug War” post, which has been up since July 15, 2010. On July 16, one woman commented on the blog post. On July 18, Troy Holm left a single reply comment, acting as if the words in the post were all his. Then the post sat idle for 18 months. Suddenly, commenters (825 so far) began to explode with scarlet-letter rage and indignation. Troy, they’ve said, is a “plagiarizing shitstain,” “unoriginal twat” and “talentless turd.” (One of my favorites: “I bet you say shit in ‘Borat voice’ at parties too.”)

Troy Holm’s Facebook profile pics have also suddenly become riddled with venomous words from Stanhope fans. Troy has a receding hairline, so read the comments and you’ll see 100 bald insults that are damn near the same joke. (Guys writing unoriginal, hacky bald jokes to insult a dude who got caught stealing words from a famous person? It’s an Inception-level mindfuck!)

Best of all, Stanhope’s army of followers was tipped off to Troy Holm’s existence by Stanhope himself. Stanhope left at least one comment on Troy’s Facebook profile (“I Know What You Did Last Summer”) and shared a link to Occupy Troy Holm, a Facebook fan page that picked up 850 likes its first hour. Spend 10 minutes hitting Pg Dn every four seconds, and you’ll find some good roast-type jokes — mostly in the C- to B+ range — at Troy Holm’s expense.

Whether Troy’s blog or Facebook profile will still be active by the time you read this, it’ll be interesting to see how much more cyberabuse this man takes and how far up the media ladder this story will get before it quickly fades. But remember, kids, no one likes a plagiarist. But if you must plagiarize, please plagiarize someone more obscure than Doug Stanhope.

August 30, 2011

Cleanup In Aisle 6

by ERTEL GRAY
edited by TONY FYLER

The first public performance by many famous women comedians was done in the supermarket checkout. (Pictured above: Elayne Boosler, Paula Poundstone, Betty the Checker.)

It started off like any other trip to the grocery store…

The week leading up to this trip, I spent in preparation. Long, sleepless nights spent staring intently at a blank notepad, a pencil resting uselessly by its side. Frustration builds up quickly when you’re in a creative rut, and in this sense, I was no different from my writing forefathers. Hemingway, Wilde, even Danielle Steele had their creative wheels stuck in the mud, so to speak. But it didn’t matter to me, for I knew inspiration would come. And it did. I finally picked up the pencil.

Soon, my empty page was full of ideas, which I had honed down to a razor-sharp comedic timing. Rough lumps of comedy were honed to fine, crystalline diamonds, in search of the perfect setting. I knew where to put the jokes in, I knew what jokes I wanted to use. Heck, I even cut material that on any other week I would have gladly used! After all that preparation, I had the material that THEY would remember me by.

You see, I’m a comedian. But I don’t work the circuits, and I don’t do open-mic nights at PJ’s Chucklehut, or the Laff Emporium. I’ve got a racket all my own, and I aim to keep it that way.

I work the checkout lines at the grocery store.

Oh sure, my sets are only as long as it takes the cashier to ring me up, but boy… I leave ’em laughing. And I’d imagine that the cashier thinks quietly to herself during her pre-designated ten-minute break, “Geez, that guy was on FIRE today! A regular Gallagher, minus the senseless destruction of fruit! God, I wonder WHAT he’ll come up with next week!” She’s a fan — even Ray Charles could see that.

This week, I had my A material. I figured I’d start light, with some easy observational humor (checkout lines are FULL of observational fruit, just waiting to be plucked and devoured), maybe work in a few sight gags (a la Carrot Top) with the items I’d buy. I mean, why ELSE would I buy a can of whipped cream, a bunch of banana and a box of condoms?! Or a 30-pack of Coors Light, a jar of Vaseline and a rather large cucumber?

Then, when I had them in the palm of my hand, that’s when I’d spring it on them. Bam! Topical humor: “Geez, what is up with Obama these days?! I mean, come on!” (I actually don’t have a joke prepared for this… I don’t follow the politics too well.)

This would be the set they remembered me by. I could hear them talking about me long after I’d left… this was to be my Citizen Kane!

“Hi… you find everything okay?” Debra asked me. Way to serve up that softball, Debra. You’re about to be part of comedic histo– “Oprah Magazine, huh?! Every time I come in here, she’s on the cover! Is she really that egotistical?!”

Who said that?! I thought to myself. It’s brilliant! Why didn’t I ever notice that before?!

“And what is up with all these rag mags?! Bigfoot spotted on top of Loch Ness Monster with Elvis?! Who reads this crap?!”
This son-of-a-bitch was barging in on my act! And worse than that, he was doing a damn good job of it, too! I craned my head over the candy rack separating lanes 5 and 6 to see who was performing. Apparently, I wasn’t alone on the checkout-line comedy circuit.

I became flushed with panic and started grasping at straws: “What is up with that hairdo, Debra… Oh no, I didn’t mean… I’m sorry. No no, I wasn’t insulting you… Fuck me! Oh no… I don’t mean you Debra, not literally… look, what… where… Paper or plastic… save a plastic tree?” Ugh! God! I’m bombing, and I can’t stop the freefall!

“Would you like a bag?” she asked him. And, with perfect comedic timing, he replied “Oh no, I left her at home!” Bam!

“You son of a bitch!” I cried, as I lunged over the candy rack between our lanes. “This was MY time! I was supposed to be the star!” I picked up a giant jar of pickles and brought them down on his head repeatedly, in a murderous rage.

After the trial, and the sentencing (14 to 30 years, if you’re wondering), I did a lot of soul searching. And finally, I decided to give up my dreams of comedic stardom. Daily mouth rapings will do that to a fella.

I still observe things in my own weird little way, though. Sometimes I even get a chuckle out of my cellie, but mostly I keep them to myself. After all, it’s kinda hard to talk with your mouth full.

NOTE: This is the first post edited by WNF senior contributor Tony Fyler. Be sure to congratulate him on his promotion next time you see him at the water cooler. -Andrew J Hicks.

July 9, 2011

Can I Write My Jokes in Peace?

by PAUL LAO
edited by ANDREW HICKS

Newman and Ms. Swan have a glorious message to share with you, unprompted, in the mall food court.

I was sitting in a comfortable wicker chair at the Irvine Spectrum with my comedy buddy Ryan Papazian. We were working on standup bits at the Red Rock Bar. I was in good company, and the jokes were starting to flow out. We analyzed Ryan’s routine about his problems with girls. Add this. Leave this out. Maybe if you use an act-out or use this type of voice. The beginnings of a productive afternoon were underway. We were sitting in public, though. When you sit in public, people can approach you for absolutely no good reason.

Enter the odd couple. He wore a powder-blue button-down shirt and khakis, and he also looked just like Newman from “Seinfeld.” She looked like a Filipino Ms. Swan (from “MADtv”). They approached us as if they knew us, asking, “So what do you guys think of this May 21st business?”

Oh, the Rapture? That’s nonsense. I don’t care. I am an atheist. That’s what I should have said. Instead, I answered thoroughly and seriously, and so did Ryan. We talked about the mass manipulation and misallocated funds of the Mormon religion and the guilt builders of the Catholic religion. We chastised the Saddleback Church for spending 4 million dollars on a basketball court and Crystal Cathedral Ministries for declaring bankruptcy to the tune of $48 million.

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June 10, 2011

That’s Not Funny…

Print it out and sign it, you unfunny twatwaffle.

… according to PAUL LAO
edited by WOO

[Editors Note: This piece, while containing plenty of humor, is more of an advice column for those striving in the Stand-Up comedy arena. We could all use advise from one who has been around, and we all know Paul Lao has been around!] 


I have been doing stand up for 8 years and I know how to spot a hack, a train wreck, a complete waste of time.  Here is (from my findings) what I consider to make one suck at the hard art:

1. Don’t hate fuck the crowd.
If you think this is going to go well because you shocked the crowd with a raping grandma’s corpse joke while curb stomping a baby, then guess again.  Also don’t talk shit about the venue, the owner, the staff, and the audience.  You are there to make people laugh. At least start with a welcome and a smile before you decide to fist them with no lube.  Wait for them to wrong you then come down on them with furious vengeance.

2. Don’t dress up and make a joke about it.
Resourcefulness is a very admirable attribute when we think of a hero.  And what’s worse than to give him/her a situation that they are completely prepared for?  Diehard would have sucked if John McClane had the Ironman suit.  I have seen guys wear Hawaiian Shirts, 3 piece suits, hats of every genre, t-shirts, props glued to their chest, a doll house on their head, and a guy who slammed his hands on his shorts and popped red fake blood onto the floor.  If you make a joke about a circumstance that you put yourself in you will not get any laughs because the surprise isn’t there.  Or the punch is going to be weak if they see it coming.  Comedy is about misdirection and an awakening of the mind.

Do material about the body you are born with, and how you deal with it.

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June 4, 2011

Thanking A Wiz

by JAMES DRAPER
edited by ANDREW HICKS

Leonardo da Vinci: Terrific at art, not so terrific at personal grooming.

Comedy is the world’s last true form of wizardry. There are no smoke or mirrors to make you think something has changed or happened. There’s simply a wave of the hand, or magic words said and poof, you’ve become something else. Your physical being has changed in an instant. You begin breathing hard and fast. You start exclaiming out loud with laughter. You feel a connection, and something has magically tickled your brain, stomach, and heart. Out of thin air, you are now happy or, in some cases, pissed off. You might be terribly offended, or you may feel a little awkward or left out. Something is now there that, moments ago, wasn’t.

Comedy also makes many things disappear, such as sadness or contentment. In most cases, it can obliterate boredom. These “spells” can last for days or weeks. Even years later, you will remember something so damn funny or offensive that you’ll repeat it to others, making the magic spread even further than the room it was delivered in. Your thoughts and emotions have been twisted by the magical arrangement of words and movement. The hypnotic rhythm of the delivery and its poignancy grasped you, and you’re changed in some way, whether you wanted it to happen or not.

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