All posts by andy fargnoli

This Is a Review by Andy Fargnoli of This Is a Book by Demetri Martin

When it comes to presentation, comedian Demetri Martin is straightforward. He released an album showcasing his jokes called These Are Jokes, a DVD starring himself called Demetri Martin. Person. and, during his Comedy Central show Important Things with Demetri Martin, a song could be heard before sketches that included the lyrics “This is a sketch.” And so it is with his debut book, This Is a Book by Demetri Martin, which, as the title suggests, is a book by Demetri Martin.

The book — divided into four parts, though none of them differ from the others in any discernible way — could have been many things: a memoir, a transcription of stage jokes, a collection of annotated tax-deductible receipts. But it’s all comedy in various forms, and that’s a good thing. Martin’s brew of bizarre, clever, and generally cheerful humor works so well on stage and screen, and there’s always the risk that it wouldn’t translate to the printed page. Fortunately, we’re in the clear, and there are a lot of notable pieces. Continue reading…

Michael Ian Black: Changing the World, One Taco at a Time

At around midnight yesterday, in the blackness of night, a very famous person did something that may not change the world. But, this thing will help the celebrity accomplish two things: express his love for Taco Bell and pay his mortgage.

To accomplish this, Michael Ian Black, the very famous person in question, has, to date, released two videos on Youtube, the first one appearing around 15 hours ago. In it, a bleary-eyed Black asks President Obama — who, with his NCAA brackets filled and Libya sufficiently bombed, seems to have nothing on his plate — to hire him, Michael Ian Black, as his cabinet’s Taco Bell spokesman. According to the video, this campaign has the support of Levar Burton, Rainn Wilson, and Dave Foley, whom Black outs as a Canadian. Continue reading…

Book Review: “Mr. Funny Pants” by Michael Showalter

Photo credit: Chris Maroulakos

As a genus, books by comedians are generally one of a few species: thoughtful or funny memoirs about their personal and professional pasts, humorous to hilarious essays, transcriptions of stage bits, or book-length conceptual jokes. Of course, there can be some crossbreeding, resulting in interesting beasts. With his debut book, Mr. Funny Pants, Michael Showalter takes every kind of book a comedian could write, mashes it together with every kind of book every other occupation could produce, and comes up with a hydra-headed monster that’s really fun to play with, despite how difficult it is to classify. Continue reading…

The Curious Case of Jay Leno

When considering whether ancient aliens landed on Earth thousands of years ago and got civilization boost started here, you’re bound to create a few sentences ending with question marks. This is precisely what happened to Erich von Daniken when he wrote Chariots of the Gods, a book that reimagines Earth’s ancient origins. Among others, von Daniken poses the following questions: “Was God an astronaut?”; “What connection have mummies with our theory of space travelers in the remote past?”; “Will hospitals in the year 2100 be spare-part stores for defective men?”; and “Ought we not ask such questions?”

With more than two hundred question marks in the slim book, von Daniken leaves the reader clamoring for answers. But you have to appreciate the fact that von Daniken’s willing to ask the questions everyone else is perhaps too afraid to.

It’s with this inquisitive spirit that we consider Jay Leno’s unprecedented return to The Tonight Show. There are lots of questions, to be sure, but let’s start with what we do know: airwaves are soon to be The Jay Leno Show-free and new episodes of The Tonight Show will begin airing March 1, with Leno as the permanent guest host of the show, which has no permanent host. Now for the questions. Continue reading