Category Archives: Comedy

BAD IDEA Jeans…

During the time I lived in Switzerland, I was exposed to this hilarious BAD IDEA Jeans commercial from H&M (first video clip shown below).  The unexpected, hilarious setup and slogan became something of a mental ‘earworm’ for me and when I came back stateside soon thereafter I frequently added ‘jeans’ in expressing my opinion about any bad idea scenario.

(For example, someone named Jones from a suicidal religious cult hands you a plastic cup of grape Kool-Aide to drink = “BAD IDEA Jeans”)

So here’s the commercial I knew:  H&M’s Rocky Jeans: BAD IDEA Jeans (early-to-mid 1990s)

So fast forward about a decade…It wasn’t until my second husband (of immense TV and comedy knowledge) caught on to my bad idea…JEANS!… expressions and asked if I was referring to the SNL skit, one of his favorites that featured the star cast of Phil Hartman, Bob Odenkirk, Kevin Nealon, David Spade and Mike Myers.

Here’s the commercial he was referring to:  Saturday Night Live – Bad Idea Jeans (Season 16)  [Due to copyright isssues, I can only refer you to a separate URL address rather than embedding it directly in this post.]

However, I was completely unaware of any similarities between my awesome H&M commercial and this alleged SNL skit and responded hotly that it must have been a parody of the original European commercial.  (The cartoon bubble above my head probably read: “like, I like totally saw it in Europe and -like – you know, it’s just, like, way cooler over there..”)

But after some deep Wiki research (LOL), we concluded that the SNL skit appeared during the 1990-1991 Season 16 of Saturday Night Live and that….helas, my ueber-cool Euro commercial could not have debuted in the movie theaters there for me to see before the summer of 1991. Given that it appears that they were both conceived independently at around the same time – no inferiority short straw findings turned up in my investigation of their originality and coolness.

But which one do you find funnier?  Please let me know in your comments as an unofficial poll to determine which commercial is: 1) funnier, 2) more memorable?  Thanks in advance and enjoy these two cultural takes on humor in branding!!

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Kids in the Hall – Try It NOW! – YouTube

Kids in the Hall – Try It NOW! – YouTube.

Classic sketch.  I am reminded of it every time I try to resolve IT problems around the house.  Enjoy!!

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Why smart women read romance novels

Originally posted: 07/12/2012 1:09 pm on the Huffington Post by Anne Browning Walker.

When I first started reading romance novels as a teenager, I squirreled them away. I hid the covers behind book jackets or splayed my hands artfully across them so that no one would know what I was reading. I felt ashamed. But why?

Smart girls don’t read romance novels, I heard.

Well, I grew up and discovered that someone lied. This stereotype may have resulted from the enduring misconceptions about romance novels thanks to tropes that went out of style nearly 30 years ago. In these “bodice-rippers,” heroes captured heroines against their will. The women succumbed to heroes in barely-disguised rape scenes. But just as the role of women in society has changed over the past 30 years, so have romance novels. These types of romances went out of fashion along with leisure suits and acid-washed jeans. Now, I’ll admit this trope sometimes creeps back in (ahem, 50 Shades of Grey), but most romances today feature strong, smart, savvy women. And smart romance characters attract smart romance readers.

Take The Cinderella Deal by one of my favorite authors, Jennifer Crusie. In this novel, based on the well-known marriage-of-convenience plot, Daisy initially conforms to Linc’s rigid expectations; however, she breaks free and grows as an artist as the two resolve their problems. Meanwhile, Linc, too, opens up to the world around him and learns how to compromise. It pulls from the classic fairy tale, but Daisy acts as her own fairy godmother, transforming herself into someone more beautiful on the inside. And, like the glass slipper, the things she leaves behind (her paintings, her warmth, her neighborliness) make Linc realize her talent and how she has changed his life for the better. Ultimately, the love Daisy and Linc attain comes as a result of personal achievement and growth.

In Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible, which takes place in 1821, hieroglyphics expert Daphne comes into her own and learns that female intelligence and sexual desire are, in fact, normal–not wrong. Daphne does not fall in love with Rupert because of his looks (that’s why she lusts after him), but rather because of his acceptance of and enthusiasm for her prodigious intellect and healthy sexuality.

In JD Robb’s futuristic In Death series, murder cop Eve Dallas and reformed criminal now owner of the world Roarke battle personal demons from the past; however, each helps the other heal the emotional scars of childhood (while teaming up to solve murders).

In my new book The Booby Trap, both Bambi Benson and Trip Whitley make rash assumptions about each other. Yet when forces compel them to spend time together, not only do they discover these first impressions were wrong, but they also advance professionally thanks to their growing love and respect for each other.

Rather than ignoring the existence of love in our lives, these romances celebrate how the best love helps us to grow. Modern romance novels (for the most part) insist that the love between two people be to both of their benefit. In my own relationships, I don’t want to gain my power at the expense of my partner. Working together ought to enhance our power. I see this paradigm echoed back to me in high-profile relationships: celebrity couples like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, seem to choose work schedules that balance family and career duties between partners. Bill Clinton, after his presidency, has vociferously supported his wife’s run for the Senate, President, and her tenure as Secretary of State. Closer to home, friends have alternated years doing legal clerkships or pursuing advanced degrees. And I see that paradigm echoed back to me in the modern romance novels that I read and write.
Another reason given to avoid the genre is that they don’t challenge your brain. Romance novels feature archetypal characters, occasionally contrived plots, and predictable endings. But, wait…bookstores are full of sci-fi novels, fantasy novels, and mystery novels that check each one of these boxes. Yet other genre fiction readers, instead of being characterized as simpleminded or unwilling to challenge themselves, are often stereotyped as smart. So what gives?

Oh yeah! It’s the sex.

A talk radio show host essentially called women who use birth control “sluts.” State Legislatures suspended people for saying “vagina” on the floor. Current legislation proposes to deny expectant mothers access to testing that would help ensure their health and the health of their fetuses. Our society feels threatened by women having sex.

Romance novels present the opposite view. Authors use sex scenes to present a healthy activity shared by two consenting adults who (in the end, if not at the moment) fall in love with each other. Heroines are sexually satisfied during each encounter. There’s a safe space to explore your fantasies and figure out what turns you on. Nothing dumb about that.

By the way, smart girls not only read romance novels, they write them! Two of my favorite authors, Jennifer Crusie and Lauren Willig, hold PhDs. Carly Phillips practiced law. They’ve attended the best schools in the world, including Harvard, Princeton, Oxford, and Duke (that’s me!).

So go ahead. If you’re still feeling a little embarrassed, download a romance onto your e-reader. Aside from your blushing, you might discover a passion for a whole new genre. As it turns out, smart women read romance, too.

Anne Browning Walker is the author of the upcoming romance novel, The Booby Trap[Pixel Entertainment, September 2012].

Can humor help relationships? “Humor Styles, Marriage, and Divorce”

 

Yes, I mean in academic and practical capacity: over the long-term, can humor help relationships?  Are there certain types of humor that benefit one spouse over the other?  
Philosophy, caricature, exaggeration, comedy-mirrors-reality – does humor help and how do we measure it?

This was brought to mind when I came across this study from Europe’s Journal of Psychology: Bad Humor, Bad Marriage: Humor Styles in Divorced and Married Couples

 

Is humor, as often believed, an important ingredient for quality in romantic relationships, especially among married couples? Previous research has investigated this question but often done so treating humor as a global trait without distinguishing between different humor styles. More intriguing: do specific humor styles contribute to marital stability and, consequently – by their absence or because of their quality – to relationship dissolution and divorce?

By its very nature, humor introduces something unique to human interactions that may contribute to, or even change, more stable emotional states.  Positive humor styles may stabilize marriage (e.g., by reducing tension or by communicating warm feelings) in the presence of disagreement, conflict, or relational insecurity, while negative humor styles may destabilize marriage (e.g., by introducing tension or by communicating criticism) even in the presence of secure attachment, agreement, and harmony.

Some fascinating findings from the study:

  • In stable long-term relationships, self-enhancement humor can thus be an efficient tool for increasing relationship satisfaction.
  • Women’s self-defeating humor seemed to contribute to men’s, but not women’s, marital satisfaction. This unexpected result, if not due to chance, could be interpreted as an indication of a traditional gender asymmetry in marriage. Women’s self-ridiculization through humor may please husbands and increase their marital satisfaction. This can be facilitated by the fact that self-defeating humor does not explicitly attest asymmetry: “it was only a joke”.
  • Men and women, especially in married couples, seemed to agree, consistently across judgments of self and the spouse, that men use humor – all styles except self-defeating – more than women.
  • In other words, spouses may differ on the use of general/social humor, but they are similar on the high or low use of humor styles that reflect respect or transgression of interpersonal and social values and norms such as aggressive and earthy humor.
  • Another issue that arises from the present findings is that both partners’ humor styles seem to have an impact on marital insatisfaction and dissolution, but, in several cases, this was in a way that paralleled gender differences on personality. Men are typically found to be less agreeable and more aggressive, whereas women more neurotic (Lippa, in press). It may then be that, to some point, the problem for marital satisfaction and stability comes from men’s excessive use of “masculine” humor (aggressive and earthy) and women’s excessive use of “feminine” humor (self-defeating).

Regardless of humor’s effects on marital stability or dissolution, though, this study closes with a reminder that the choice between maintaining a relationship or letting it collapse does come down to individual choice and/or ethical judgment.   So, from the Kramdens to the Lockharts to the Simpsons and the couples in these two sketches – one British, from the TV skit comedy Bruiser, the other French, from the sketch play “Ils S’Aiment!” – what priority should humor have in a relationship?  LMK your thoughts!

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Best Superbowl Commercial: Bud Light

Here was a commercial gem from the Super Bowl this year: The Most Successful Clothing Drive – Ever!

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Turning Crisis Communications into Cracking Comedy on Day 80 of the Gulf Oil Spill

In the words of super commedien, Mel Brooks: “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.”

Today was Day 80 of the ongoing oil spill catastrophe and in light of the profound mismanagement surrounding the Gulf, it is ripe…it’s due…it’s high time for some pointed parody on the subject.  In other words, it’s pumped past the tragedy and become the open sewer that we have to laugh at in order to maintain perspective.

But I have a strong preference for intelligent parody…not one-liners, or even one-two-punch liners. I prefer well-constructed, tight and textured satire and coincidentally I received an email from the Flight of the Conchords today with the following recommendation:

Here’s a video for the people who still sign into myspace (mainly just bands plugging their bands to other bands). It’s one of our favourite comedians: John Clarke and his Aussie mate.

Enter the veteran satire and comedy team of New Zealander John Clarke and Aussie Bryan Dawe.  Starting in 1989, Clark and Dawe introduced weekly mock interviews to Australian television. Clarke would take on the persona of a politician or prominent figure, though never attempting to imitate the voice of the subject as in traditional mimicry, and be interviewed by Dawe. Incidentally one mock interview concerning an off-shore oil spill in 1991, with Clarke portraying Minister for Shipping Bob Collins, is noted for Clarke’s repeated references to the ship whose “front fell off.”  (Wikipedia)

FOC sent out the recommendation today to the team’s latest video, where Clarke and Dawe give a thorough explanation of BP Gulf crisis management.  It’s great! It’s hilarious! So, with appreciative thanks to Flight of the Conchords, here’s the link (and video) for you to enjoy:

Clark and Dawe on the US Gulf Oil Spill

More information is available on the Mr. John Clarke website here…or, you could just Google them.

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Dr. House Uses It for Aching Muscles. So should you.

This is an especially funny advertisement for all us House (H.L.) fans!!

He uses it for aching muscles. So should you.

Robot Chicken: Lego Babel

What are some of the darkest comedy takes on iconic childrens playtoys? Robot Chicken has done many such re-takes to great hilarity for established pieces: GI Joe, Super Friends in a Reality Show, Batman, She-Ra and He-Man, and many more. Now the Legos have been given a new dark humor side with a special edition set for the movie Babel!

Disclaimer: if you loved the after-scenes from the hilarious Waiting for Guffman (Corky St. Clair: Here’s the Remains of the Day lunchbox. Kids don’t like eating at school, but if they have a Remains of the Day lunchbox they’re a lot happier. ).
If you found THAT funny, you’ll LOVE this LEGO takeoff!

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