I’ve just discovered the video section of The Atlantic and am loving it. Here’s their most popular to date.
If you haven't listened to my conversation with Dara yet you can check it out here. Below is a compilation of the stuff Dara recommended at the end of the show. Dave
The first of Dara’s film picks was the classic Rounders (1998) by John Dahl. Here’s the great scene of the final hand with the equally great John Malkovich. ***SPOILER ALERT***
If you haven't listened to my conversation with Kliph yet you can check it out here. Below is a compilation of the stuff Kliph recommended at the end of the show. Dave
Favourite Fictional TV show about Comedy/Comedian?
The Comedian (Playhouse 90) 1957 Dir: J Frankenheimer
It starred Mickey Rooney as … the star of a live American comedy show, variety show, in the 50s and the whole teleplay is about the backstage drama of this guy who causes chaos. Who browbeats his brother, who browbeats his stage hands, who is a total unfunny monster off stage but beloved by all of America onstage.”
Thanks to the absolute wonder of youtube you can watch this in it's entirety below.
Favourite Comedy Documentary?
“I have different ones from different eras but I love the Jerry Seinfeld documentary The Comedian. It’s funny, my book is called The Comedians, my favourite teleplay is called The Comedian and my favourite documentary is called Comedian. When it came out in DVD form in 2003 it had an audio commentary track by Colin Quinn and Jerry Seinfeld which is just as good if not better than the documentary itself.”
Photo by the brilliant Jim Herrington.
Kliph Nesteroff joins me on the show to discuss his bestselling book The Comedians; Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy. The Comedians chronicles the evolution of comedy from interval acts in burlesque shows, through its growth on radio and tv, to the glory days of Las Vegas and the comedy clubs, before finishing on the comedy of the new millenium.
The Comedians expertly blends deep research, anecdotes, and gossip to give us the definitive history of comedy and comedians but it also a social history of the US since the early 20th century. Kliph was a brilliant guest and his own origins are as fascinating as many of the people he chronicles.
During our conversation we discuss;
- How Leo Tolstoy saved his grandparents from the gulags.
- His first experience of live comedy.
- His years as a stand-up comedian.
- His love of counterculture.
- The time he worked in a halfway house for heroin, crack, and meth heads.
- Why Richard Pryor is so important to modern comedians.
- Why comedy is full of white, middle-aged guys.
- The types of personalities that are attracted to comedy (narcissistic personality disorder).
Kliph was a brilliant guest and it was great having him on the show. Enjoy, Dave.Follow @InspirePod
So this was one of the most fun podcasts I've done to date even though it took us an age to get to the topic of the podcast! If you enjoy this episode you might also like my chat with internet sceptic, Andrew Keen, which you can check out here. Dave
I’ve read books and think pieces about the internet but none have come close to describing the web’s awesome yet terrifying power as well as Magic And Loss by Virginia Heffernan. Heffernan, who has been described as “...one of the mothers of the internet.“, views the web as a massive work of art that encourages speed, wit, and versatility.
Virginia’s work sidesteps the cliches rife in analysis of online life (decreased attention spans, trolls, obsession with appearance, addiction etc) by taking a highly original, and at times searingly personal, account of the web’s rules, aesthertics, and values.
Some of the topics covered in our conversation were;
- The recent US election and the role social media may have played in it’s outcome.
- The fact that the web is now a part of our humanity, an expression of it, rather than merely an addendum to it.
- How virtual reality may create a deeper desire for real-world experience.
- A lot of what we think os as new, isn’t; self-portraits, memes, pithy wisdom, the use of symbols to express ideas etc.
- The hipster revolt.
- How hard it is keeping up with young people in whatsapp groups.
- Virginia tells us some of her favourite internet things and places.
It was great talking to Virginia and I hope to have her back on the show soon. Inspiring listening, Dave.
You can check out Virginia's website here. You can follow her on twitter here. GO BUY HER BOOK HERE. Watch her talk about Magic And Loss here.
If you enjoy this episode you might also like my chat with internet sceptic, Andrew Keen, which you can check out here.
Tomorrow’s guest, Virginia Heffernan, believes the internet is the greatest piece of communal art ever created. Here’s some of the passages I highlighted while reading her excellent book, Magic And Loss.
…the Internet is an extraordinarily seductive representation of the world
If it’s ever fair to say that anything has “changed everything,” it’s fair to say so about the Internet. At stake in this cultural transformation are the way we live, the way we think, the way we love, the way we talk, and even the way we fight across the globe. The Internet is entrenched. It’s time to understand it—and not as a curiosity or an entry in the annals of technology or business but as an integral part of our humanity, as the latest and most powerful extension and expression of the project of being human.
With media, books, texts, and emails on mobile devices people are never not reading. We read while we’re socializing, working, shopping, relaxing, walking, commuting, urinating. From a nation that couldn’t stop eating, we’ve become a nation that can’t stop reading.
I’m trying my hand at anthropology here: where farmers bred to produce field hands, industrial workers bred because they couldn’t help it, and Kennedy-era couples bred to goose the GNP by buying sailor suits and skis, in the Internet age we form families so we can produce, distribute, and display digital photos of ourselves.
What’s more, it had long been accepted as axiomatic that technology and pornography—from the printing press to photography, magazines, film, and videotape—always evolve in tandem. “Sometimes the erotic has been a force driving technological innovation,” John Tierney wrote in the Times in 1994. “Virtually always, from Stone Age sculpture to computer bulletin boards, it has been one of the first uses for a new medium.”
This is a serious question: Do you like your art in front of you, inside your body, or all around you? People who are drawn to plays, movies, and TV sports generally prefer to keep their diversions at some distance. These are traditional “viewers.” We sit in relative shade or even theater darkness while our entertainment is brightly lit or backlit. People who like food, perfume, and music in headphones like entertainment in their mouth, nose, and ears. They are cultural “consumers” and generally take their pleasures in low restaurant lighting. People who like architecture, video games, music in speakers, and, most recently, 3D media seek to be surrounded and included in the action. They like a diverse, changing light scheme, like those in cathedrals, theme parks, and dance clubs. In marketing lingo these people are “experiencers.”
“The truth is,” Cleary said, “virtual reality just creates a deep hunger for real-world experiences.”
I kept Wittgenstein close: “Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent.”
Twee or crazy as it may sound, a time or two I took a tablet of ecstasy and snuck into the computer room, fired up one of the massive terminals, and signed in to spend the night in a solo orgy of logical proofs.Follow @InspirePod
You can buy Magic And Loss here.