Tuesday, July 29, 2008
July 31st - August 25th
An American Comedian Loses His Shirt at the Edinburgh "Free" Festival
12:05pm (60 mins) - ADMISSION £0.00 (free)
Laughing Horse @ Meadow Bar
42-44 Buccleuch Street
Rob Paravonian (August 6 - 13 ONLY)
Eric Kirchberger (August 14 - 25 ONLY)
Special Guest TBA (July 31 - August 5 ONLY)
Sunday, July 27, 2008
This is going to be one of the best TYF!s to date, and Time Out NY has called this one of the week's Best Bets. Don't miss it, and don't be late!
Monday, July 28th
at the Lolita Bar
266 Broome, corner of Allen St.
8:00pm * $10.00
HOSTED BY: Liam McEneaney
is a correspondent for "The Daily Show w/ Jon Stewart," and has been seen doing standup on "Late Night w/ Conan O'Brien" and his one-hour special for Comedy Central, "John Oliver: Terrifying Times"
from his two "Comedy Central Presents: Todd Barry" 1/2-hour specials, his latest album on Comedy Central Records "From Heaven," and his multiple appearances on "Late Show w/ David Letterman," "Late Night w/ Conan O'Brien," and just about every TV show that's ever had standup comedians as guests
is the newest correspondent for "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"; also, he is starring in something called "Untitled Kanye West HBO Project"
have appeared on Comedy Central's "The World Stands Up," have charted with their song "Gay Boyfriend," have performed at the Steve Martin Kennedy Center Honors, and recently released their first full-length album, "Secrets"
AND MUSICAL GUEST:
The Fools - a real Tell Your Friends! favorite
OUR HOUSE BAND: (Ann from) A Brief View of the Hudson!
PRODUCED BY: Liam McEneaney, Jessica Flores, Shana Young
Wednesday, July 23, 2008|
Wednesday, July 16, 2008|
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I went to the Mets/Phillies game in Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago. I am on record as saying Philadelphia sports fans are the worst human beings on Earth, but I decided that since I was a visitor I would be polite and not get too crazy being an asshole sports fan rooting against them.
That resolution ended by the time I had walked from the parking lot to the stadium. in my Martinez #45 jersey and Mets cap. Wow are Phillies fans obnoxious, especially since they were something like 7 games up at the time. (Uh, not anymore, by the way, now they're only half a game ahead.) And it didn't help matters that I owuld come back at them with stuff like, "Cole Hamels is overrated!" (He is.) That had the same effect as waving your dick at a cageful of monkeys in the zoo.
Here is the epitome of my experience. Not the guys who threatened to beat the shit out of me, not the guys in another section who started attacking me on every concevable personal level. But this story:
Before the game started, I took the opportunity to use the men's room. the dude who was mopping the place started chanting, "Mets fans suck! Mets fans suck!" Now, I am sure that there are a lot of things in this man's life that suck - his job, the fact that he lives so close to a real city and yet remains in Philadelphia - and I'm not sure that my choice of sports teams is even going to crack the top ten.
So I said, "You know what else sucks? Standing ankle-deep in piss-water for ten bucks an hour." In a bathroom full of Phillies fans. And although I got booed and shouted at, I really genuinely believe that in their hearts, they appreciated the completely awful nature of what I said to that man.
Monday, July 14, 2008
I call it Liam’s First Law of Exponential Alcoholic Physics; the drunker you get, the blurrier the barriers of your personality become. One drink and I feel like a conversational superman, able to leap my own boundaries in a single sentence. Four drinks later, and I’m a bit more of a mess. And it’s those three drinks that always carry me beyond my normal mode of amiable socialness, to almost pathological in my desire to share my company with others; not even out of friendliness, but almost as a desire to punish the world with my good cheer.
And this is Liam’s Second Law: Just because you can recognize the fact that you’re a drunken asshole doesn’t mean you’ve stopped being a drunken asshole – in many ways it makes you worse.
They were two women at a booth in a bar that my friends in comedy called their home base, and I’d never seen them before. I joined them, which is always a surprise, and we got to talking; it was 2001, and so they were excited that they’d just seen Ben Folds perform live at the Roseland. I made fun of them for being excited that they’d just seen Ben Folds perform live at the Roseland, while they were indifferent to my pride at having just taped my first TV set a few nights previously.
They told me that they were waiting for their friend Ben. Now, this is a true story, and life being life you can see this next part coming, see it coming as clearly as the headlights of a semi on a clear summer night, approaching through the lonely desert night. I, on the other hand, was wearing not only my beer goggles but my beer blinders as well, and could see nothing but these two young women.
I returned form the bathroom to find their Ben sitting at the table. I asked how I knew him, and he feigned not to know. I asked if he had done improv, and he said that he did have a group with whom he had improvised onstage. And when he went to the bar with one woman, the other hissed, “That’s Ben Folds! Now, when he comes back to the table, you say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I was pretending I didn’t know who you were.” I told her what I thought of celebrities who need to be apologized to because you didn’t recognize them, and anyway, isn’t that what they always tell us, that all they want is to be left alone and treated like a normal person?
The conversation ended soon after, and as I was standing with my friends, I plotted the perfect revenge; I found the biggest music nerd among my friends, my buddy Craig, and told him, “That’s Ben Folds at that table there.” “I know! How did you end up talking to him?” “Oh, he’s a super-friendly guy. Seriously, you should go and talk to him.”
Within two minutes, there was a receiving line of fanboy comedians waiting to talk to Ben Folds. Within five minutes he was gone.
When I write, I let my consciousness gradually slip from the world around it, until I am blinkered, until the world shrinks down to the pen, and the paper, and my hand. This was a sunny afternoon some many months ago, at the outdoor table of a sidewalk café, sitting in the sun and letting the noise of the city slip by. And I suddenly looked up as I felt a presence nearby. It was a physical presence, an aura exuded like a physical force field from the huddle of men talking two feet away, and before I heard the voice, and before I saw the man, his aura alerted me as if he had snuck up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder.
I should stop now and explain two things: The first is that at that moment, I was holding in my hand a brand-new thirty-dollar pen. It was an impulse buy, and one that filled me with no small amount of guilt; having survived a childhood of poverty, the idea of pending more than ten dollars on myself at any given time is as hard to come to grips with as the idea that all I have to do is stop breathing for a while and I will find swimming that much easier.
But it stood alone under the glass counter of the store in which I’d been browsing, and I knew then just looking at it that this wasn’t just a pen, but a companion, and one I would find hard-fit to replace. To say that it was shiny is a criminal understatement; its smooth silver surface winked merrily in the sunlight as its black velvet tip rolled flawlessly over the rough grains of the surface of the notebook paper.
This may make me sound uncommonly fussy, but it’s true; I find that I can only truly create with certain brands of pens, certain papers, certain notebooks made from certain kinds of material. It’s as if each material is a part of an organic machine, in which my actual ideas are merely the smallest, most insignificant cogs. And this was not just a pen, but a masterpiece of the creative arts. It rested perfectly against the writing callus of my right middle finger, becoming in extension a sixth digit of my hand. And you may find this unlikely dear reader, but the three months that I owned that pen were the easiest three months of writing I’ve ever experienced.
The second is that I never, ever recognize celebrities. When I meet them, I have a vague feeling that I should know who they are, in the way that anyone has when introduced to someone whose name was learned once at a party and then immediately forgotten. And in fact, there is nothing I resent more than meeting a celebrity if I am not a fan of their work, because I feel that there is an expectation that I should be, and I actually find the words coming out of my mouth because that is what celebrities expect, and if I don’t then there is an awkward hole where that sentiment should have been dropped in.
I heard his voice first, and it was as familiar to me as the writing callous on my right hand. I had heard it countless thousands of times, both in person and through the speakers of every stereo I had ever owned. And I looked up from my work to find two piercing blue eyes examining my notebook, my pen, my table, anything but climbing up over my face to meet the startled brown eyes that were magnified slightly by black-framed glasses. He was older than I expected, and he had an entourage of men about his age, and he pointed a delicate manicured finger at me, crooked and lined and slightly withered. Although it was only a finger, it was as if a powerful wizard had cast a spell, had launched an elemental force at me that immediately drained my body of its blood. And at that moment, I truly believe, that if I had been punctured I would not have bled; I would have deflated slowly, like a slightly startled balloon.
And Bob Dylan said in that voice I knew so well, “See, I need a pen like that.” And without even thinking, as if hypnotized, I found myself extending my writing hand, pen held aloft. The only way I could describe this scene is it was held out to him in the same way that a primitive villager would find himself, unwilling, unconsciously handing over a newborn child when suddenly finding himself face-to-face with his bemused-yet-demanding God.
And Bob Dylan took the pen, and he held it up, and he admired it, and he said to no one and the world, “This is a good pen. A pen like this, it’s full of some ideas.” Then, to a point past my ear, he explained, “Mine is used up.” And then he reached into a coat pocket and he pulled out a cheap, ten cent black plastic Bic with the pen cap chewed – and I looked at that cap, and realized, “My Lord, those are motherfucking Bob Dylan’s motherfucking teethmarks” – and he said, “You might get something out of this.”
And I stammered a thank you, and he tucked my silver pen into a pocket, and he and his men walked away. And I sat there, turning the black Bic over and over in my fingers, under the pressure of the angry, jealous stares of all the East Village hipsters who were undoubtedly already rehearsing the things they were going to tell their friends they’d said when Bob Dylan talked to them instead of me.
And although the Bic felt rough and uncomfortable nested within my fingers, I still pressed its tip against the paper, waiting for my idol’s spent ideas to come flowing out into my notebook. And nothing came. And I pressed harder and still there was nothing but the indentations of letters, and then I pressed the pen into the paper hard until it began tearing, and I realized that although the man is considered the poet laureate of rock and roll, that he wasn’t being mystical, or metaphorical when he said that his pen was used up. That he had meant it in a purely non-oracular sense. And that I had just thanked the man for the chance to trade his garbage for a treasured possession.
A year later, he released Modern Times, an album that most critics and fans agree is a middling retread of his previous, Love and Theft. And I can only hope that my beloved silver beauty was responsible for some of the albums better tunes. And the last time I went to see Bob Dylan, I was in an arena in New Jersey, and although I sat in the back row, up in the cheapest seats ten feet under the ceiling, I swear that from my vantage point, I could see a small, familiar object lying in shiny, metallic contrast atop his black grand piano.
When my grandmother could no longer care for him in their own home, my grandfather was confined to a nursing home in the Bronx off of the Grand Concourse. I was a teenager and unable to cope with my own life, and I put off visiting him for as long as possible. And there came the day when I had run out of excuses, and so we piled into the car, my mother, my father, and me.
And I had been warned that he was confused, that he conflated the people in his present with his family from his childhood, that he called my grandmother by his sister’s name. That I should not expect the same man I had known, and loved.
But no one warned me that he had come upon his old age so rapidly. That he had withered like a balloon half-deflated in the summer sun. That his sharp brown eyes were now confused, and glazed. That everything that had made him human had been worn away through disease, through the decay of the human spirit that visits upon us all.
And he saw me, and he looked at me through eyes that peered through the cobwebs of the decades, and he said “Liam?” And this scared me, as if a mummy from a black-and-white horror movie had pierced the filmy silver screen and touched me, had laid a curse upon me that had turned my once-beating heart to ice.
And I am ashamed that I never visited him again before his death. And I believe that this shame stems not from the fact that I knew that I was so weak-willed that I could not stay with my grandfather, whom I loved, unto his last. But because ultimately, I was relieved that I would not be forced to.
I do not believe in aliens, and I do not believe in UFOs. When asked for my religious views, my answer is generally, “From a distance, if at all possible.” As far as faith goes, I sincerely believe that if there is there is a God who created Mankind in His own image, and then he decided at the end of times to hand-pick a group of the chosen to ascend to heaven and sit at his right hand forever and ever amen, he will probably skip over the extreme Christian fringe and take up some folks who are actually fun to hang out with. Which is not to say that True Believers aren’t a lovely bunch; it’s just that they’re far less likely to pick up a six-pack of something cold on the way to a barbecue.
I have very little interest in the extraordinary or the supernatural, if only because the ordinary and natural is so fascinating to me. And having said all of that, I will tell you truthfully that I have had two out-of-body experiences. The first when I was newborn, and I was sick, and I had spinal meningitis, and the doctors believed that I might not live. And I remember watching my own little body in the nurse’s gloved hands as it was placed into the foil-covered incubator, and this more clearly than I can remember whatever I watched on television last night.
The second happened on a summer night, when I was so sick and so dehydrated that I could barely sleep from the burning under my skin. And I lay in bed, and my breathing slowed, and I felt my physical body slip away from me, and I was frightened that I was dying and yet I was so at peace I could feel no fear, nothing but the hum of the Universe as I floated up and up away from the world, into the great void, and I became one with everything, and then a great voice Spake unto me – and that is a pretentious way of phrasing it, I know, but this was such a grand voice that reverbated through my very soul as if I was some sort of cosmic Marshall Stack, that truly only the overtly grandiose words of the King James Bible can do it justice. And it spake unto me thusly, and I am quoting exactly, and I swear that this is a true story, and it sayeth unto me, “Appreciate Beck while you can, because he won’t be with you forever.”
And then gradually, the cosmos and the forever of eternity slipped away and I came back to my physical body, and the only way I can describe the feeling is as the exact opposite of candles melting into wax; slowly slipping back into my body like the fingers of a small child’s hand entwined in those of its mother’s. I found no great surprise there, in the discovery that, once again, the world had left me with more questions than answers.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Liam's Fun-Raiser for Edinburgh!
Monday, July 28th
at the Lolita Bar
266 Broome, corner of Allen St.
8:00pm * $10.00
is a correspondent for "The Daily Show w/ Jon Stewart," and recently had his first one-hour special, "John Oliver: Terrifying Times," air on Comedy Central
is the newest correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
from his two "Comedy Central Presents: Todd Barry" 1/2-hour specials, his latest album on Comedy Central Records "From Heaven," and just about every TV show that's ever had standup comedians as guests
who have appeared on Comedy Central's "The World Stands Up," have charted with their song "Gay Boyfriend," have performed at the Steve Martin Kennedy Center Honors, and recently released their first full-length album, "Secrets"
WITH OUR HOUSE BAND: A Brief View of the Hudson
PRODUCED BY: Liam McEneaney, Jessica Flores, Shana Young