Wardrobe Malfunction

image1I have never been mistaken for a peacock.

My fashion sense makes no sense whatsoever.  Throughout my life I’ve been clueless as to what’s hip, what’s sensible or even what’s practical where my wardrobe is concerned.  I got off to a very rough start.  Early childhood photos feature our hero wearing hand-me-down plaid bellbottoms (long after they were trendy and before they made a comeback), soccer jerseys (which, if memory serves, I only played soccer for a week until a girl kicked me in the shins and I discovered a lifelong disgust for orange rinds) and a candid middle school church play photo where I’m wearing loud orange dress pants with a rayon/polyester flannel.  All of these pictures have been destroyed so that no boy ever makes the same mistakes that I’ve made.  In 40 years, my dress style has improved at more of a slight geological pace.

Our grammar school Phys Ed coach nicknamed me ‘Tommy Shoelaces’ because I could never be bothered to tie my shoes.  There’s a rare First Communion photo with a light gray dress coat and elbow patches, for godsakes.  In high school, I accidentally bought a woman’s trench coat from Burlington Coat Factory and wore it for months before somebody pointed it out to me.  I didn’t wear jeans until I was about 26 because I thought it was a sign of conformity and now they’re almost all I’ll wear.  They’re easy, comfortable and hold up in hardworking environments.

The story goes that Einstein had five identical suits because it saved him from wasting valuable problem-solving when it came time to pick out an ensemble every day.  I have also never been mistaken for Einstein.  Tim Burton always wears black because it’s an easier wardrobe choice.  This hasn’t helped his directing choices as of late.  Most men are inherently too lazy to bother figuring out what they want to wear every day.  This is a running theme.

It was brought to my attention just this year that turtlenecks are not cool, that they’ve never been cool and that no man should be caught dead wearing them.  I never received this alert when it originally aired.  What’s wrong with turtlenecks?  They worked for Steve Jobs!  An entire generation of beatnicks ran with them and they did okay.  All of a sudden some fifty years later they’re not ‘hep’ anymore?  That’s the problem with fashion trends: they’re so fleeting.  I can’t keep up even if I tried or paid attention.

On a sunny day a month ago I notice that a lot of men were wearing soft, almost effeminate pastel plaid short sleeve shirts.  I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing one of those.  It seems to me like there’s an upper echelon of pretty men who are on the crest of what’s in and what’s out and then there are the great majority of middle-aged men who just grab whatever passes for the new style that happens to come off the rack at Target or J.C. Penney’s.  I literally just figured out in January that a ‘Moto’ leather jacket was short for ‘Motorcycle’, which explains why the cuffs are shorter.  Perhaps someone pointed that out to me, too.

The women in my life are either very tolerant, love me anyway (with the exception of my ex-wife) or they’re content to make small, subtle suggestions as to what I should or could wear.  Or they just assume that I’m stubborn, resistant to change and generally cantankerous.  They’re right on all counts.  The bulk of my closet (which could never be remotely misconstrued as resembling a wardrobe) consists of free videogame vendor t shirts from a prior job, bizarre impulse purchases from high school that I don’t even fit into anymore but tell myself I may fit into again some day, a few eclectic sweaters that would have made great stand-ins on ‘The Cosby Show’ and comic book themed shirts riddled with cigarette burns from my part time job at a comic shop that’s been closed for at least two years.  So to summarize, if you took a cursory glance at my shirts and pants you’d assume that I’ve never gotten laid, will never get laid, and have no plans to get laid even by accident.

Some people want to stamp out world hunger and others aspire to a Pulitzer, but it’s my lifelong dream to have a tailored suit sculpted to my hairless and misproportionate gorilla-like-carriage that I can wear for all of the weddings and funerals that I don’t get invited to.  A year and a half ago I stumbled onto a really comfortable $8 cotton shirt.  I bought four of them in four different colors.  There’s a cargo shorts drawer that’s more of a graveyard for shorts that are destroyed as well as jean shorts, which no one has ever deemed to be in season for any season that occurs on this planet.  It would take me three or four incarnations just to be looked down upon by a metrosexual, and I guess I’m okay with that.  It’s easier to accept that you have no clue how to dress than to try really hard and fail miserably.  Are feather boas coming back around?  That’s okay, I don’t have any yet anyway.

I can pull off capri pants, right?

Tom Waters

Tom Waters

Tom Waters is the author of eleven books of humor, memoir and poetry. He’s also the host of Big Words I Know By Heart (YouTube), a comedy show that pushes the boundaries of the polite interview format. Since 2000, Waters has appeared in The Buffalo News, Artvoice, Buffalo Spree and Buffalo Rising as well as across the globe.

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New Video Wednesday!: Dadbod

Our new YouTube favorites, Self-Conscious Comedy, are out with their latest joint, and we are THRILLED. Clicka now to see Curran take the Dadbod craze to the extreme. Much fun, good times.

Kristy Rock

Kristy has been writing about comedians since 2005, first in Chicago, then in LA, and now in the great city of Buffalo, New York, as managing editor of BuffaloComedy.com (2012-2015). She has also published seven issues of RE:COM, a nationally-distributed print magazine about comedy (which can be downloaded for a measly $2). Otherwise, she can be found drinking wine and plotting out plans for her future distillery/goat farm/artist retreat and attempting to build a teleportation machine between the East and West Coasts.

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Bits & Baubles from the Buffalo Comedy Multiverse

Greetings, fans of fun! It’s been a minute. Let’s get up to speed, shall we?

heatherCongrats to stand-up comedian Heather “MamaRag” Stack for her win of the Artvoice Best of Buffalo 2015 — Best Stand-Up Comic award! Nice work bae. You can catch Heather hosting the ass off of the Tudor Lounge Comedy Open Mic every Monday night at 9:30 p.m. (335 Franklin St.)

Local artfreak Matt Wisniewski has a new film project titled Night Time with Harvey O’King, and you should get up on it every 13th of the month. Here’s a nice article about it.

11329932_10100505523474143_4497761551492256223_nBuffalo Sketch Comedy’s Chris Scherr got up close and personal with nerd-hero Kevin Smith this weekend at Helium Comedy Club. Don’t they make the loveliest of couples!?

Local rock god (Every Time I Die) Keith Buckley got pinged to co-write a new Comedy Central digital project. Judging from his ‘advice column’ in the Public, we’re already excited at what new funnies he’s ’bout to churn out…

improvcampAspiring improvisers have more and more opportunity to study the age-old craft right here in WNY. Check out these two opportunities for classes this summer: ComedySportz is hosting their annual Summer Camp for kids and teens, and local powerhouse Don Gervasi (Eclectic Improv Company) is teaching an 8-week series beginning June 9 on improv fundamentals including scene basics, object & location work, character development, and narrative. For more info or to sign up contact DonGervasi [at] gmail [dot] com or 716-901-6086.

The Project Funny Face podcast network is being hella prolif right now. Catch up on the latest episodes of the Piddcast, the Drunkast, and Doing Nothing is Art. With output like this, it’s easy to get behind, and you do NOT want to do that.

Kristy Rock

Kristy has been writing about comedians since 2005, first in Chicago, then in LA, and now in the great city of Buffalo, New York, as managing editor of BuffaloComedy.com (2012-2015). She has also published seven issues of RE:COM, a nationally-distributed print magazine about comedy (which can be downloaded for a measly $2). Otherwise, she can be found drinking wine and plotting out plans for her future distillery/goat farm/artist retreat and attempting to build a teleportation machine between the East and West Coasts.

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Aqua Vita

image1If you ask any dentist, you’re only supposed to drink water all the time during meals, between meals or for a refreshing beverage.  Need something to quench that thirst?  Water.  Dining out at a fancy restaurant?  Order a glass of water.  Just had a glass of water?  Make sure to rinse your mouth out by following your glass of water with a glass of (you guessed it) water.  Their advice is ridiculous and has no practical bearing in real life.  If it were up to the dentists, supermarkets would demolish entire aisles of teas, sodas (or yes, POP if you’re from Buffalo), coffees, juice boxes and Hawaiian Punch.  The only liquid on the planet would be water.  As you’re reading this, millions of dentists the world over are enjoying a refreshing glass of either tap water, bottled water, filtered water or a delightful cocktail of all three.  Absurd, right?

I add that to the list of foolish advice that dentists deliver to people along with ‘Floss Every Day’ and ‘Don’t Use Laffy Taffy As A Mouth Guard When You Go To Sleep At Night’.  Seriously, though, I doubt that anyone has ever left their dentist’s office and renounced all other liquids save for water.  That’s patently preposterous.  I understand that it’s wise and important to floss at least once a day.  I don’t do it, but it makes sense.  Telling a person just to drink water is ludicrous.  Have I pointed out just how asinine it is to tell a person only to drink water?

My history with dentists is broad and far-reaching.  I have horrible teeth, I take horrible care of them and horrible teeth run in my family; that’s a perfect storm for spending the rest of my life in a dentist’s chair.  If all of us took all of their advice, though, they would be out of a job.  Plain and simple.  So SOMEBODY has to have shitty teeth and many of us in fact do.  We help put food on the dentist’s dinner table for them to wash down with an effervescent glass of tap water.  Just to make my point completely crystal clear, water is a side drink.  I have no problem drinking water IN ADDITION to coffee, soda (or yes, POP if you’re from Buffalo) or tea, but it is not the Main Event where soft drinks are concerned.  I rest my case, Your Honor.  When I write, I like to address my cat as Your Honor, and there’s nothing unusual about that.  Moving on, then…

Count off any major dental procedure over the last forty years and it’s been performed inside of my big fat head: crowns, root canals, fillings, amalgams, you name it and I’ve had it.  I went to the dentist yesterday and they threw me a new curveball.  They have to perform a root canal on a tooth that already had a root canal.  The first one didn’t take.  While I am not a licensed dentist (please don’t mistake me for one as a result of my white lab coat and hairy nostrils), that doesn’t make any sense to me.  To the best of my knowledge, they hollow out the inside of the tooth and yank the roots out of your skull with tweezers or some stainless steel facsimile thereof, so how or why would they have to go back to the same tooth to do it again?  So I get to say goodbye to another two or three grand while they ‘root’ around in my mouth for two or three hours.  Do you see what I did back there?  It was a pun!  A double entendre!  I fucking hate puns.  Moving on, then…

The dentist I currently have steps three feet to my immediate right and takes his mark so that he can give me an explanation of the procedure that’s about to follow.  It’s hilarious.  It’s almost as if he needs to physically be in the corner of the room to explain the surgery in an even tone conducive to infomercials.  He’s a great guy, but that’s an odd personality quirk that I picked up on.  Hitting his mark before he cues up his closing monologue.  If he was on Broadway, I would probably go to see him.  And you could bet money that he’d be in the same spot on stage every time.

I had my teeth cleaned for the first time in three years yesterday and knew going into it that it was going to be a long, arduous painful ordeal.

The Scandanavian/Transylvanian/Czechoslovakian hygienist who came directly off the boat from her mother country to clean my teeth explained that I ‘might feel some sensitivity’.  I would have preferred for her to tell me the truth, which is that she was going to scrape the shit out of every tooth I have with sharp hooks before sandblasting my gums with a water pick and then wiping ten pints of blood off on my disposable bib.  I’m a grown man and I respect people more when they manage my expectations.

Aside from sadomasochistic dungeons, I can’t think of any other business where people pay to be tortured, punished and then given a firm talking to about how bad they’ve been after the ordeal.  If you offered me a choice between a root canal and say, a routine run-of-the-mill flogging while dressed in a gimp outfit, well, I’d still go with the root canal.  A great majority of the work I’ve had done is entirely my fault and could have been prevented, but can’t that be said of most people in a dentist’s chair?

They always send me home with a consolation prize pack of free shit that I either throw out or toss in the back of my bathroom cabinet never to be seen again, like dental picks, special toothpaste or floss (whatever that may be).  Like any grown man listening to driving directions, I zone out immediately when they start telling me what I should do with my teeth knowing full well that I’m not going to do it.

After twenty years of hearing about it, I finally broke down and bought an electric toothbrush last summer.  It’s pretty great because it means I can do less work when cleaning my teeth as opposed to more, so that’s worked out pretty well.  Maybe twenty years from now I’ll start flossing daily, but by then I’ll be down to two or three real teeth and the rest of the chompers in my head will be either completely fake and held together with drywall screws or more filling than actual tooth.  Perhaps through the magic of technology I will be a cyborg by then, but it’s too early to tell.  If that comes to pass, dentists the world over could be advising motor oil rather than water.

Putting dentists’ kids through college for at least three generations,

Tom Waters

Tom Waters

Tom Waters is the author of eleven books of humor, memoir and poetry. He’s also the host of Big Words I Know By Heart (YouTube), a comedy show that pushes the boundaries of the polite interview format. Since 2000, Waters has appeared in The Buffalo News, Artvoice, Buffalo Spree and Buffalo Rising as well as across the globe.

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New Video Wednesday!: How to Make it in USA

Buffalo’s own golden boy Joe Pera (recently named one of NYC’s up-and-coming comedians by the ultra-hip Splitsider.com, what what!), is back with a new web series and we are seriously, like seriously dying. Also, can Max Gold just be that love-to-hate exboyfriend we just can’t quit? Because OMG. Lovin’ the series How To Make It In USA; so simple and perfect. Catch up and subscribe to get the newest one when it drops! (Protip: peep that sweet UB sweatshirt in Ep 2!)

Kristy Rock

Kristy has been writing about comedians since 2005, first in Chicago, then in LA, and now in the great city of Buffalo, New York, as managing editor of BuffaloComedy.com (2012-2015). She has also published seven issues of RE:COM, a nationally-distributed print magazine about comedy (which can be downloaded for a measly $2). Otherwise, she can be found drinking wine and plotting out plans for her future distillery/goat farm/artist retreat and attempting to build a teleportation machine between the East and West Coasts.

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Lucha Underground: The Best Written Show on TV? (Maybe.)

Great storytelling is the essence of great wrestling.

It’s not about flashy moves, or Wrestlemania Moments™, or how much someone can bleed without dying, though those things, when properly utilized, can certainly help.

It’s about the basic-ass basics of a story-ass story. Set up, conflict, rising action, climax, denouement, all driven by characters whose actions and motivations make sense. The selfsame building blocks we’ve been using to tell tales since before Gilgamesh met Endiku.

The Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk “I Quit” match wouldn’t have been THE FUCKING RIC FLAIR VS. TERRY FUCKING FUNK “I FUCKING QUIT” MATCH FUCK if it wasn’t built on a foundation of mutual disrespect, with Funk butting in on Flair’s post-Steamboat Trilogy interview at Wrestlewar ’89 to challenge him for the title, and Flair telling Funk to get to the back of the line because going to Hollywood and rubbing elbows with the likes of Sylvester Stallone (and Patrick Swayze) had made him soft.

Kevin Owens winning the NXT championship by killing Sami Zayn to death with powerbombs until the ringside doctors had to stop the match on Zayn’s behalf wouldn’t have been anywhere near as impactful if it hadn’t been established that Owens and Zayn were former best pals whose friendship was torn apart by Owens’s single-minded focus on winning.

Even Triple H’s long, slow, boring ascent to the top of WWE becomes better in hindsight after Max Landis pointed out that Mr. Helmsley’s current status as the strongest and the coolest and the best with the biggest dick who is loved and feared and jerked off to by all is just marketing; he’s actually a coattail-riding, backstab-happy politician who didn’t so much fight his way to the top as network his way into a comfortable position near the top and wait until everyone ahead of him flamed out.

When that storytelling isn’t there, or when it’s executed poorly, wrestling is what its detractors say it is: sweaty, stupid musclemen fake fighting for an audience of children and manchildren.

When that storytelling is there… I mean, it’s still sweaty musclemen fake fighting for an audience of children and manchildren, but it isn’t stupid.

OK, it’s still stupid, but it’s also magic.

And no current wrestling promotion makes that stupid magic quite like Lucha Underground.


What’s a Lucha Underground?

Lucha Underground is a Los Angeles-based lucha libre promotion. Their weekly show runs on Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network. It features wrestlers from America’s independent circuit and Mexico’s biggest lucha libre promotion, AAA.


AAA stands for Asistencia Asesoría y Administración, which translates to “Assistance, Consulting & Administration.”

No wonder they shorten it to AAA. That’s one of the most boring names for anything ever, let alone a wrestling promotion. It’d be less boring if they called it Narcoleptics Fill Out Their Tax Forms in Triplicate Wrestling, because at least that has the word “wrestling” in it.

I like to think that they started out as a venture capital firm who invested in a lucha libre promotion, saw that running a lucha libre promotion was more fun than whatever venture capitalists do all day – the fact that I don’t know this means that I will never be rich – and decided to take it over but not change their name because they didn’t want to “leak brand juice,” or some other dumb business jargon for jerks.

What’s a lucha libre?

Lucha libre is Mexican wrestling. With the masks and whatnot.

So it’s wrestling. Why don’t you just call it wrestling?

Because I want to be auténtico.

Fair enough. So what’s all this about the storytelling?

It’s great!

Yeah, you said that. Do you have any specific examples?

Sure do! Let’s talk about the Lucha Underground Trios Tournament Finals.

OK. What’s a trios tournament?

It’s a tag team tournament, but with three people on each team instead of two.

What’s a tag team?

Are you kidding?


Fuck off.


No! Don’t go! I don’t know how else to format this.

*sighs* Alright… So who are the players in this sordid tale?

Dario Cueto


Latino Vince McMahon. He owns Lucha Underground and loves nothing more than putting wrestlers into compromising situations and watching them squirm.

That was his whole purpose for starting this tournament. He hand-picked almost every team (the two he didn’t put together aren’t super important to this story, so we’ll mostly ignore them). His favored team was made up of LU’s three biggest monsters, who I’ll describe more below, and the others were made up of wrestlers who all had longstanding beefs with each other, almost ensuring that they’d fall apart so his monsters could eat the pieces.

Almost. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The Fam (their real name, I think)

the fam

One of the teams that Dario didn’t put together. They got a spot in the tournament by threatening to pound Dario into salsa roja for ordering a hit on their leader, Big Ryck.

I won’t get too deep into these guys. They’re great, but they’re bit players here.

If you’re curious about who’s who:

Big Ryck

The big one.

The Mack

The slightly less big one.


The one who looks like he asked his mom for a Deathstroke the Terminator costume for Halloween and she decided it was too expensive and made him one herself without using reference material and he knows it’s not quite right but he loves his mom and appreciates her hard work so he’s wearing it anyway and making the most of it.

Dario’s Angels (not their real name)

dario's angels

Dario Cueto’s monster team, specially designed to stomp through the competition.

They are as follows:



Evil cowboy. Carries a bullrope that’s as thick as an elephant’s dick and will not hesitate to whip the shit out of you with it. Doesn’t really need that bullrope to destroy you, because Jesus, man, look at him. One of the biggest bad guys in AAA, where he held the AAA Mega Championship for two years, the longest reign ever.

King Cuerno


The Hunter. Wears a deer head as a hat and doesn’t look stupid because he’s just that much better than you.

Also an evil cowboy…


…but only in his off time, because he’s polite enough to not bite Texano’s style.



A walking bicep. Pretty much Batista, but like Guardians of the Galaxy Batista, not Slammy Award Winner for Most Injured Wrestler Batista.

Once ripped the Lucha Underground championship belt in half, forcing them to make a new, cooler belt.

By the way, THEY CALL HIM CAGE is how he’s introduced in every match, like, “Introducing first, the team of Texano, King Cuerno, and THEY CALL HIM CAGE.”

I assume it’s because when they asked him how he’d like to be introduced, he said “THEY CALL ME CAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” with exactly that many exclamation points, and they decided to just do it exactly like he said instead of asking for a clarification and risking being beaten to death with their own legs.

Our Heroes! (also not their real name)

our heroes

The team Dario Cueto threw together for the most shits and giggles. If Lucha Underground was a high school where the students were given far too much control over the yearbook, this team would be voted Most Likely to Reenact the Mexican Standoff in Reservoir Dogs with Real Guns.

They are as follows:

Son of Havoc


A loser who loses. Basically you, if you decided to cut eye holes in your underwear and step into the ring with bonafide lucha royalty.

Of course, Son of Havoc has side abs and can do a backflip as easily as you can trip over your cat, so maybe he’s not “you” exactly, but he was definitely at the bottom of LU’s barrel until he suddenly gained The Power of Self-Respect and broke up with…



The self-proclaimed Baddest Bitch in the Building. You won’t catch me proclaiming otherwise. Routinely dukes it out with the dudes and hits hard enough to make it believable. Was in a relationship with Son of Havoc for unclear reasons.

Like I said, Son of Havoc is a loser who loses. Ivelisse knows this, and she lets him know that she knows this. Constantly. Loudly. In public. But she’d never break up with him.

I think we all know someone like this. Someone who clearly doesn’t even like the person they’re with. Someone whose entire personality seems to be based around hating that person. Every conversation you have with them gets derailed by another story of how unbelievable it is that Fuckface fucked up yet again. Every conversation they have with each other never gets on the rails to begin with. And yet they stay together. Sometimes they even get married.

I’ve only been in one relationship. It’s a damn good relationship, it’s still going strong, and I plan on keeping it going strong forever. Into the afterlife. After the fucking afterlife, if that’s a thing. I made that promise when we traded special rings. So I have no idea what the psychology behind these toxic relationships is.

Is it a “better the devil you know” type of thing? Some kind of subconscious desire to feel superior to your shitheel SO? Some other kind of subconscious desire to punish yourself for not being good enough for a better relationship? I don’t know.

Anyway, the important thing is that she didn’t break up with him. He broke up with her. And she couldn’t believe it. How dare he! Did he not realize what a privilege it was to be with her? Did he not owe her for sticking by his side even though he was clearly inferior?

She eased her pain by kicking the next guy right in the face. And man, did he deserve it.



The Nice Guy. Capital N, capital G.

Angelico’s a weird dude. On one hand, you want to like him, because he’s a handsome guy who wrestles like a space prince for whom gravity is only a mild inconvenience.

On the other hand, you want to hate him, because uuuuuuuuuuuuugh. He’s one of those guys who seems fine around other guys, but whose brain short circuits and turns him into the embodiment of patriarchal society’s weird ideas about gender roles as soon as he comes within 500 feet of a woman.

An extremely relevant example: in his third televised match for LU, he faced Ivelisse, who subbed herself in for Son of Havoc because she was sick of seeing him lose. Ivelisse was ready to go, but Angelico didn’t want to fight her, because she’s a g-g-g-girl, and you don’t hit g-g-g-girls, even when they’re w-w-w-wrestlers who voluntarily stepped up to fight and expect you to treat them like e-e-e-equals.

He treated her like a joke. He shrugged and made “What the heck?” faces every time she kicked him. He countered a move by grabbing her arms and spinning her around like he was Beast dancing with Belle. He countered another move by dipping her and acting like he was going to give her a little kiss. When she climbed to the second rope to attack him, he stood just out of range and extended a chivalrous hand to help her down, like she got up there by mistake and needed a fine young gentlemen to bring her back down to her proper place. At one point, he grabbed her by the head and yelled “NO!” into her face like she was an unruly toddler in need of a time out and a nap.

All of this bullshit ended up costing him the match.

They had a rematch with Son of Havoc as the special guest referee. That one was even creepier, and ended with him as the victor.

Then he and Son of Havoc had a match of their own. This was the one where Son of Havoc dumped Ivelisse and scored his first victory.

Post-match, Angelico looked at Ivelisse, who was still reeling from just getting dumped, and made a face and a gesture that said, “Hey, baby. You like losers. I’m a loser. Let’s hook up!”

She kicked him like Bruce Lee kicked Han at the end of Enter the Dragon. Hard. Fast. Right in the face. Satisfying as hell.

Then Dario Cueto pulled all of them into his office and made them a team. Drama!

These are our heroes?


They sound awful.

They are! They make a horrible team! Ivelisse actively tried to sabotage their qualifying match by walking out right when Son of Havoc tried to tag her in! They only advanced because because two members of the other team were in the middle of a best-of-5 singles match series and couldn’t put their rivalry aside to work together!

So why should I care about them?

Because of what happens next!

Lucha Underground Trios Tournament Finals: Texano, King Cuerno & THEY CALL HIM CAGE vs. Big Ryck, The Mack & Killshot vs. Son of Havoc, Ivelisse & Angelico


I won’t describe every single detail of the match. You can watch the whole thing here if you want to. If you don’t want to, I’m not sure why you’d read thousands of words about wrestling, but trust me. You should want to. Force yourself to want to if you have to. It’s one of the best matches of the year.

It starts like you’d expect it to. Dario’s Angels and The Fam work together like actual teams, and Our Heroes! suck.

Angelico gets the dog mess beaten out of him for a long, long time, Ivelisse scolds him for being terrible, and she and Son of Havoc slap each others hands out of the way when they reach for tags. They get some offense in here and there, but they can’t get any momentum going.

Then Angelico knees Texano into this guy.


Sharp-eyed wrestling fans with long memories will know this guy as Daivari, former manager of Muhammed Hassan, an Italian guy who played an America-hating Arab Muslim, which was racist-as-fuck even by WWE’s racist-as-fuck standards.

Here, he’s just… this guy. They don’t mention his name. It’s unclear why. What is clear is that he doesn’t appreciate getting a beer spilled all over his $5,000 shirt. (Come on!) He beats the fuuuuuuck out of Texano, which leads to Killshot scoring a pinfall and eliminating Dario’s Angels from the match.

After that, things revert to the status quo. Angelico continues to get wrecked because The Fam is a team and Our Heroes! are not. Ivelisse’s legit broken ankle doesn’t help.

Then, something miraculous happens: these broken folks figure out that teamwork works.

Son of Havoc counters Killshot’s top-rope poisoned rana by grabbing the rope and holding tight. This gives Ivelisse time to struggle through the pain of her broken ankle – which, again, is broken for real – and dive outside onto Big Ryck and The Mack, who catch her. She’s not quite big enough to knock them over, but she buys Son of Havoc enough time to spike Killshot onto his dome with a poisoned rana of his own, then dive to the ouside to finish what Ivelisse started. That, in turn, buys Angelico enough time to grab Killshot, powerbomb him into the corner, and pin him.

Three seconds later, the World’s Worstest Tag Team picks up the V and goes home with the gold.

Or do they?

Do they?





Yeah. El Jefe comes out of his office sporting a WTF look so perfectly WTF-y that it should be the standard by which all WTF looks are judged henceforth.

dario cueto

He congratulates the unlikely winners on their hard fart victory, but announces that there is one more match in the tournament. Here! Tonight! Against The Crew! No Disqualification!

Lucha Underground Trios Tournament Finals Part II: THE REVENGE OF CUETO – Havoc, Ivelisse & Angelico vs. The Crew

Who’s The Crew?

Three dudes.

OK, but which three dudes?

It doesn’t matter.

Doesn’t it?

No. The thing about The Crew is, they suck. They don’t know it, and Dario doesn’t seem to know it, but they do.

They used to run with Big Ryck until Dario paid them to burn out Ryck’s eye and become his personal hit squad. But without Big Ryck, they’re mooks without a big bad. It’d be like if Dug, Dimons, and Two-P from Final Fight decided to start their own gang. Without a Belger to lead them, they might do OK for a while, but eventually, they’ll get piledriven into the dirt and blink out of existence.

The Crew does indeed do OK for a while. They separate Son of Havoc, Ivelisse, and Angelico and beat them up pretty bad. But they get cocky. They don’t go for pins. They go for pain. And it costs them.

At one point, one of The Crew takes Angelico up through the stands and throws him over a barricade onto the roof of Dario Cueto’s office. It seems like a good strategy. To get back into the ring, Angelico would have to recover, jump over the barricade, then run around the cheap seats and down the stairs. By the time he slid under the bottom rope, it’d be too late to stop them.

But they forgot one important thing. Angelico is a space prince. You say, “Gravity!” He says, “Whatever.”

Two guys from The Crew try to go after Ivelisse, but Angelico rallies and does what is, hand to God, the coolest thing I have ever seen on a wrestling show. Maybe on any show. Words won’t do it justice. Just look.

angelico gif

He soars – SOARS – off of the roof of the office, right into the dead center of the ring and delivers a picture perfect Flying Crossbody that would make Ricky Steamboat weep a single tear of joy. I’ve watched that gif a hundred times, and it hasn’t gotten old. It’ll probably never get old. I mean, look at it! God DAMN.

Ivelisse pauses for a moment to gather herself, grabs a kendo sword, and hobbles around on one foot, going ham on The Crew’s backs with bamboo. When she’s satisfied, she points to the turnbuckles on either side of the ring. Son of Havoc and Angelico get the message. They climb up, deliver their finishers – a Shooting Star Press and a Double Stomp, respectively – and three seconds later, The World’s Worstest Tag Team picks up V number 2 and actually do go home with the gold this time.

Once again, teamwork works.

It’s emotional! Before this tournament, I hated these characters. Like, not regular heel hate where you wanted them to get beaten up by your hero. Like, go home hate. Like, I don’t want to see you again hate.

But watching them learn to work together and overcome every odd thrown their way… I don’t know. It was inspirational. I fought back tears. Legit tears.

That’s kind of sad.

Sad? Or beautiful?


Oh, please. Like you didn’t get choked up during that one scene in Avengers when the camera panned across the Battle of New York and showed the whole team working together for the first time.

I… Shut up.

Ha! Thought so.

Shut up! But yeah, Avengers. Isn’t this story basically that story?

A rag tag team gets thrown together under extraordinary circumstances? They start out hating each other but come to respect each other as they learn that when they work together, they are far more than the sum of their parts?


Yeah. Exactly.

So why are you going on about how great the writing is?

Because it works, and it works well. Humans have been telling stories for hundreds of thousands of years. Every plot resembles some other plot. That’s why Roger Ebert dropped this immortal line: “It’s not what it’s about; it’s how it’s about it.”

This is a simple story played out by complex characters (well, complex by wrestling standards). It gets in, does its business, and gets out when the getting is good, with a few threads left untied that the writers can use to spin future stories.

Describe these threads.

A brand new championship with a match format that’s uncommon in the United States! Novelty!

Brand new champions with a complex relationship! Remember, they literally just learned how to work together without imploding. Who knows how long the uneasy alliance will last? Intrigue!

An evil authority figure whose plans were foiled? How will he unfoil them? More intrigue!

A team of monsters with a legitimate claim to a rematch! After all, they didn’t really lose by the normal standards of losing. An outsider jumped one of their members and left him to be pinned. Sportsmanship!

Texano is definitely pissed about said outsider costing him a championship! Vengeance!

Said outsider is probably still pissed about Texano spilling his drink on his shirt! Laundry!

The rest of Texano’s team is probably pissed at Texano for getting housed by a lowly fan and getting pinned. Disappointment!

All those potential stories from a single match. And I have no doubt that Lucha Underground will follow up on almost all of them. For whatever reason – be it their need to get eyeballs, a lack of pay-per-views eliminating the need to stall until the money show, an unusually generous set of performers who aren’t afraid to make each other look good – they don’t suffer from WWE’s debilitating fear of plot advancement.

Things happen. They make sense. And when all the pieces of the puzzle come together, it feels amazing.

In conclusion: if you’ve ever liked wrestling, watch Lucha Underground.

I will!

I know you will. You’re me.


Calm down, Daredevil.

Watch Lucha Underground.

I’ll take my check now, Mr. Rodriguez. Not much. Just, like, $10 per new viewer. DM me to get my address. Thanks.

trios championship

Eric Lingenfelter

Hi. I'm Eric Lingenfelter. I love jokes. I've loved jokes for my whole life, even back when I was too young to really "get" them. Since 2009, I've been writing and telling my own jokes. I've gotten such rave reviews as "What the hell is going on?" from some cosplayer girl at UB Con, and "What the fuck is wrong with that guy?" from some drunk guy in the back of the room at Nietzsche's, and "HAHAHA!" from receptive audiences all over the ding dang place! If I don't make you laugh, I'm sorry. If I do make you laugh, I'm sorry. Visit my website at ericlingenfelter.tumblr.com for more good stuff.

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New Video Wednesday! Buffalo Sketch Comedy Waxes on Google Glasses and Calamine Lotion

The BSC gang is back! The troupe has been pumpin’ out vids for the public’s amusement at a rapid clip, much to our utter delight. Check out these two latest offerings for a mid-day chuckle on Hump Day:

For more BSC fun, pop over to FB and enter their photo caption contest to win tickets to the sketch show Chillin’!

Kristy Rock

Kristy has been writing about comedians since 2005, first in Chicago, then in LA, and now in the great city of Buffalo, New York, as managing editor of BuffaloComedy.com (2012-2015). She has also published seven issues of RE:COM, a nationally-distributed print magazine about comedy (which can be downloaded for a measly $2). Otherwise, she can be found drinking wine and plotting out plans for her future distillery/goat farm/artist retreat and attempting to build a teleportation machine between the East and West Coasts.

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New Video Wednesday! On the Subject of Bananas…

Our pals over at Buffalo Sketch Comedy are gearing up for their show this Saturday, April 18, at the Arena (home of ComedySportz Buffalo), and members Chris Scherr and Will Excel will be duo’ing up for tonight’s Dirty Dozen show at Helium Comedy Club (30 Mississippi St., downtown). Let’s add even more BSC merriment to the mix with today’s installment of New Video Wednesday!

Kristy Rock

Kristy has been writing about comedians since 2005, first in Chicago, then in LA, and now in the great city of Buffalo, New York, as managing editor of BuffaloComedy.com (2012-2015). She has also published seven issues of RE:COM, a nationally-distributed print magazine about comedy (which can be downloaded for a measly $2). Otherwise, she can be found drinking wine and plotting out plans for her future distillery/goat farm/artist retreat and attempting to build a teleportation machine between the East and West Coasts.

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What Your Morning-After Hangover Meal Says About Last Night

Junk-Food-Wallpaper-21My dear Buffalo brethren,

The darkness has lifted.

I’m writing you on April 12th, 2015, at 7:38 p.m. Earlier this morning, I stepped outside and was slapped across the face. And this time, it wasn’t by a disgruntled ex or a homeless person. Nay, I was slapped across the face by a gorgeous, sunny, close-to-60-degree day that signaled the end of our long winter and the beginning of the most highly-anticipated spring that has ever #blessed Western New York.

People in the Southtowns don’t even call this season “spring” anymore. They just refer to it as “the Rapture.”

And, naturally, like the Pagans of old, we must celebrate the turning of the season with a few months of heathenism and ritual sacrifice.

The ritual sacrifice being our livers. From the alcohol.

Okay, so we all live in Buffalo and we’re all going to go buck ass wild for the spring and summer months and drink ourselves to oblivion. That’s really what I’m trying to get at here.

And what’s the best part about drinking in the warm weather? Well, the best part would be the drinking in the warm weather. On a patio. Or a beach. Or in the bed of a pickup that’s going 95 on the highway because f— it, you’re from Tonawanda.

But the SECOND best part about drinking in the warm weather is the post-game meal. What I speak of is, of course, the brunch that you and your friends gather at to recollect the dumbass nonsense that you were engaged in just a mere twelve hours prior. Whether it consists of scarfing down burgers at a dive bar, guzzling MORE alcohol at a breakfast nook, or just playing some PS4 while you demolish the leftovers from last night, the post-game meal is essential to any warm-weather drinking experience.

And I would argue that, much like the reading of a palm, a casual observer can glean the details of a wild night from the food choices that a group of friends make during the following morning’s post-game meal. Yes, the severity and intensity of the previous evening’s events can all be gathered from this brunch ritual.

What follows is my guide to deciphering how the previous night went based upon what you’re eating the following morning. Yes, this is actually a column that I thought about, planned, and outlined. For serious.

Bacon Burger and Lemonade

You had a great night out. You’re moderately hungover, so you and your friends decided to load up on a moderately unhealthy snack to cruise through the following day. Sure, last night, Brendan put a Ninja Turtle mask on and started freestyling when his favorite 2Chainz song came on. I say “freestyle” because it wasn’t 2Chainz lyrics that came out of his mouth. It was a “White Yetti” original. “White Yetti” is the rap name Brendan gave to himself after he did that shot of Crown. But after that, you all went to the bar and had a responsible, fun time. And the only guilt you feel the next day is due to your sodium intake. Good for you.

Mimosa and Pulled Pork Sandwich

Ahh, yes. You’ve lost your innocence, you scandalous, binge-drinking beast! Congratulations! You’ve graduated from the little-kids-pool bacon/beef experience to the mysterious realm of “I don’t remember that, did that really happen last night?”

Yes. It did happen last night. And all your friends were there to see it. And document it via social media.

You thought you were going to get away with it, you sly fox. When that attractive bartender politely told you that her boyfriend is a Crossfit enthusiast who would have no problem wrapping your face around the nearest parking meter if you EVER try to tip her with monopoly money again. Then you tried to play Jenga with beer glasses. Then the bouncer told you to get the f— out of the bar, you Milton-Bradley-ass game-playing bitch.

Or maybe it was when you and your girl Jennifer decided that it was a good idea to throw back a few shots of grape vodka and dance atop the closest table. You both thought you’d look like Greek goddesses gyrating to the rhythm, no doubt. Except you didn’t. As the table wasn’t built to support the weight of a human being, much less two of them. And the Jenga theme comes back into play. That flimsy table collapsed, and you two were, as the great scholars of old say, ass over teakettle.

The bottom line here is that mimosas mean you’re either A.) Perpetuating your current drunkenness from the night before so that you don’t have to deal with a bitch of a hangover due to your excessive alcohol intake or B.) Trying to get tipsy after you’ve sobered up from last night so that the sting of embarrassment doesn’t bite quite as hard.

And pulled pork just tastes good. So f— yeah, pulled pork.

Fast Food

If you’ve ever had any kind of religious education in your life, you may have been taught about various kinds of self-punishment that sinners extracted upon themselves for the misdeeds that they had committed against their faith.

Well, you committed a horrible crime against social etiquette last night, so now you’re punishing your body out of guilt for your sins, you soulless, liquor-swilling monster. Yeah, you choke down those chicken nuggets while you beat yourself up about knife-edge chopping your father-in-law after you did a keg stand at the family retreat. YOU DESERVE THIS.

Or maybe you drunkenly threw up on your girlfriend’s dog and then told her that he had it coming because he’s a condescending asshole who gives you the evil eye every time you get out of bed in the middle of the night to get a drink of water. And who the hell does he think he is, anyway? He drinks water out of a f—ing bowl! A F—ING BOWL. EXTRA FRIES, PLEASE. I NEED TO DESTROY MY BODY LIKE I DESTROYED MY RELATIONSHIP LAST NIGHT.

Gatorade and Salt and Vinegar Chips (without leaving your apartment)


Chicken Tenders

Alright, this column has already gone on far longer than I expected it to. I have leftover tenders in my fridge waiting for me. They callin’ to me. Whatever you do this spring/summer, be safe, kiddos!

Keegan Connelly

Keegan grew up in Elmira, NY and is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University. He enjoys stand-up comedy, improv, and fiction writing. They say that, if the moon is full and the night is clear, you can still hear his ghost crying out for revenge from the dark recesses of Wyatt's Mine. Stalk him: Twitter: @tweetinkeegz Instagram: @instakeegz

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49.5 Hours of Improv beginning this Friday at 6 p.m.!

cszOoof! It’s Improvathon Time over at the Arena, and this year it’s gonna be a DOOZY! Join the ComedySportz Buffalo team as they embark upon a weekend-long funfest, featuring teams from Richmond, VA, Washington, D.C., New York City, Detroit, and Indianapolis! For full details on schedule and tickets, please visit the CSZ website right hurr.

Kristy Rock

Kristy has been writing about comedians since 2005, first in Chicago, then in LA, and now in the great city of Buffalo, New York, as managing editor of BuffaloComedy.com (2012-2015). She has also published seven issues of RE:COM, a nationally-distributed print magazine about comedy (which can be downloaded for a measly $2). Otherwise, she can be found drinking wine and plotting out plans for her future distillery/goat farm/artist retreat and attempting to build a teleportation machine between the East and West Coasts.

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Cosmopolitan Cop Out

image1I’m a country mouse at heart, so there’s something about the city that disagrees with me on a molecular level. While I venture downtown a handful of times a year for book events, work events or to meet up with friends, my dalliance with city living is behind me. I’ve spent more than enough time on the Chippewa strip, stumbling around Allentown at last call and Elmwood Ave. making questionable decisions or diving headfirst into the festival circuit or the Support Local ticket doing readings, festivals and everything in between. While many friends have expatriated to the city for jobs, great house prices or all of the culture that the actual city of Buffalo has to offer, it’s not for me. Not on a regular basis, at least. I am a textbook fish out of water once I get to the end of the Kensington Expressway. A stranger in a strange land.

I worked near Kenmore Ave. for almost four years at a retail video game company that rhymes with Game Cock. Initially, I had a severe case of culture shock. Customers would get out of their cars with a plume of blunt smoke billowing out behind them and pay for their purchases with a stack of singles wrapped in rubber bands. People who were flush at the first of the month would buy half the store and then trade everything in for cash at the end of the month when bills were due. I’d read the police blotter every week to find out which bank got robbed and how far away it was from my work. I had to apprehend a thief once who made his getaway on a bicycle. In the middle of winter. Stone drunk. It was not a movie-sequence-worthy chase, I can tell you that much. The guy ended up ramming into a concrete parking divider and going ass over teakettle about twenty feet from the store.

Once upon a time I fell in love with a nightclub called the 658 (also known as The Kingsnake Lounge) at the turn of the millennium. This was at a time when ‘techno’ music only had about five different flavors instead of 3,000 and also hot on the heels of the cultural land mine that was the hit 1998 film Swingers, when cocktail lounges and speakeasy sensibilities made a comeback.  They had DJs every night, a doorman who didn’t take any lip and a gaggle of beautiful girls with trendy backpacks, which was the style at the time. One night I passed out on the second floor in a very comfortable chair. About an hour later my friend woke me up and asked me what the hell was going on. I told her we needed to hit the next club. And so it went.

In the late 2000s I hit the city with a literary vengeance, and that particular time, it was personal. I passed out in the offices of ArtVoice (back when they were on Franklin St.) after a ‘pitch meeting’ with a certain managing editor, woke up during a staff meeting and wandered out in a fog. I orchestrated round robin readings at Rust Belt, hosted a weekly open mike at Spot on Delaware and Coffee & on Elmwood (long gone) and set up book signing tables at Nietzsche’s in the center of the opening ceremonies for the Infringement Festival. Keeping pace with the city’s vitals is a young man’s game, but it was fun while it lasted. The clinically insane attendees stepping up to the mic to unleash a diatribe of crazy laced with f bombs, the upscale quarterly publishers or community college professors who were ‘slumming it’ in $200 jeans channeling Ginsberg at the podium and the hordes of 19-year-old girls with pixie hairdos and thrift store outfits pulled straight from a schlock ’60s sci-fi epic.

Nowadays I swear vociferously at the legion of one-way streets, roundabouts and epic stretches of axle-altering potholes. Roundabouts are a dead giveaway for people who have no business motoring through the city. We don’t have them in the suburbs, so they easily stymie soccer moms and hipsters who wouldn’t know city living if it bit them in the ass. And the seasonal and hourly extortion/parking rules that are so complicated they require their own legend or key. My urban-dwelling friends tell me that they plow the roads dead last in the city after plowing everywhere else. I laugh wholeheartedly at the panhandlers when they come up with an absurd backstory before asking for money because I’m no longer an easy mark and it’s a grave mistake to assume that I’m a tree-hugger with a terminal bleeding heart. I avoid the food festivals and art festivals because I know where the good food is anyway and I’ve interviewed enough artists to know how much of a shakedown a certain art festival is for rubes and marks eager to give their money away. I laugh every year when our daily paper tabulates attendance at some statistically improbably tally that defies the laws of conventional math (i.e. 3.5 Billion). Color me cynical.

The actual city of Buffalo isn’t the tapestry that we paint for tourists. For me, it’s never been some amalgamation of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings or art galleries or overpriced demonstrations of gluttony and commerce. Buffalo (to me) is the drag queens, the enterprising panhandlers, the chicken finger and steak subs, local bands and acts that are just as much freak show as they are throwback progressive funk rock or conceptual metal flower power. It’s a living, breathing vitality at work in the newspapers, weeklies, poetry readings and journals that’s inescapably appealing to a writer. There’s an individualistic spirit to the city (if you know where to look for it) that’s original, ever-changing and chock full of charisma.

By contrast, the suburbs have absolutely nothing to offer in any of these departments. The suburbs are a vast cultural dead end of PTA meetings, coffee franchises, paint and/or wine studios (of which an entirely separate essay could be written regarding the WTF nature with regard to) and non-threatening Chinese food. The suburbs are Pilates or spin classes or whatever the latest workout fad happens to be for middle-aged housewives looking to sweat off their baby handles. They are dry cleaning and rollerblading at dusk and pizza night or date night or board game night (as if we’re all just walk-ons from The Dick Van Dyke Show).

It seems to me like suburbanites are constantly trying to escape from their immediate environs (summer cottages, vacations and excursions into the city) while country folks and city folks are in their habitat by choice after a series of reinforced decisions. When I get older I’m hightailing it out to the cowtowns, though. Clear starry nights, a noticeable lack of noise pollution and a slower way of life is the life for me. One corner store, two churches and a town thoroughfare. Half of my family tree is loaded with hillbillies, so there’s always been a gravitational pull to the country that’s undeniable.

The main suspension of disbelief that no one ever discusses is that the great majority of us tell people we’re from Buffalo when in fact many of us hail from the Northtowns, the Southtowns or the deep suburbs like Cheektowaga, Amherst, Sloan (God forbid) and elsewhere. All of us identify with the idea of Buffalo, though. It’s where we hang our hats culturally and ideologically. In conclusion, I’m from Buffalo but I’m rarely actually IN Buffalo. And I say all of this when I’m less than a week away from doing a book reading and signing downtown. So kindly disregard everything I just said.

Tom Waters will be doing a Book Reading & Signing at Milkie’s On Elmwood on Sunday, April 12th from 2-4 p.m. Signed First Editions are available starting at $15. Panhandling is prohibited.

Tom Waters

Tom Waters is the author of eleven books of humor, memoir and poetry. He’s also the host of Big Words I Know By Heart (YouTube), a comedy show that pushes the boundaries of the polite interview format. Since 2000, Waters has appeared in The Buffalo News, Artvoice, Buffalo Spree and Buffalo Rising as well as across the globe.

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The NSFW App

drake-emo-shot-vibeSeeing as how my last write up was all about the evils of Tinder and how it’s destroying the very fabric that binds us together as human beings, I decided to be more positive this time around. I’m going to start this little blurb out by focusing on the greatest technological achievement that man has dreamed up since the creation of the Crock Pot.

The Drizzy Keyboard is the most important advancement to happen to communication since the invention of the iPhone. Actually, scratch that. Since the invention of the rotary phone. F–K IT. IT’S MORE IMPORTANT THAN MORSE CODE.

For those of you who have been living on another planet and are completely unaware of anything interesting that has ever happened (or if, you know, you listen to music that isn’t made for 8th grade girls), The Drizzy Keyboard is an application that can be downloaded to your cell phone. When activated, it allows you to only use Drake lyrics in your text messages.

I’m going to sit back and let you drink that in. Like a fine wine.

Have you wrapped your mind around just how innovative and incredible the Drizzy Keyboard truly is? We now live in a world in which these kinds of text message conversations occur:

Basic White Teen #1: Hey man. Brick House is having a party this weekend. 3 Kegs. What are you up 2 Fri night?


Basic White Teen #1: ……..allllllright I’m gonna assume u smoked before u went to class today. U high?

Basic White Teen #2: Way, way, way, way up.

Basic White Teen #1: LOL I KNEW IT. U CRAZY MFKER. Haha u love to rip. K hit me up later. I’m gonna go chill w Kaylee.


Basic White Teen #1: WHAT DID U SAY ABOUT MY GF


Exchanges such as this taking place across our country every day, thanks to the magic of the Drizzy Keyboard. I’m thrilled that something this ridiculous actually exists. Still, I propose that we take it one step further, humanity.

While the Drizzy App is brilliant, its audience can only grow so large. The basic fact is that some people would rather eat lead paint than listen to an entire Drake album. In fact, some people would argue that Drake fans HAVE eaten lead paint at some point in their lives. Don’t worry – I’m not one of those people (Drake speaks to me in a way that no woman ever could).

The best way to gain mass appeal for a keyboard app is to tap into a common trait that the vast majority of human beings share – the ability to be complete and absolute morons on the internet. I propose that we market a keyboard app that pulls random entries from the “comments” section of web pages. I’ve already patented a title for it – The NSFW App.

And just to make things a bit more interesting, The NSFW App turns itself on at random intervals throughout the day. That means it will interject with its own text messages when you least expect it.

I’ve compiled a list of sample conversations from some of the happy test clients:


Sam: Hey friend, you wanna go see that new Jennifer Lawrence movie at 1:00 today?

Mike: Sure! I love Jennifer Lawrence! I would love to attend that film with you, buddy!

Sam: Pick you up at 12:30?


Sam: Um . . . . I wasn’t aware we were having a political discussion. I’m not sure what that has to do with Jennifer Lawrence . . .


Sam: Mike, that’s really offensive.

Mike: Sorry bro. It’s this new app I downloaded. See you at 12:30.

Sam: . . . okay sounds good.



NSFW always puts a fun spin on conversations with family, as well:

Kellie: Mom, what time do you want us to bring to dinner?

Kellie’s Mom: Any side dish would be fine.

Kellie: Okay, Bobby is going to make something after he gets in town.


Kellie: And you wonder why it took me so long to bring Bobby over for dinner.

Kellie’s Mom: ***WE GLOBAL!!!!****

Kellie’s Mom: I’m sorry hun, I don’t know what’s wrong with my phone!!

Kellie: Whatever. See you at dinner.


Kellie: EW.


And don’t let the app name fool you! NSFW is a wonderful device that allows you to connect with your fellow coworkers!

Thomas: Hey, Martin – I booked our flight to the Philadelphia conference this weekend.

Martin: Sounds good. Thank you! Meet you at the gate at 9:00 a.m.?

Thomas: Next thing you know, people are going to be marrying HORSES!!

Martin: . . . I’m sorry?

Thomas: Horses! Or people will end up having five wives and six husbands! Is that what we want in this country?!! A bunch of polygamous horse-marrying HEATHENS?!!

Martin: . . .  alright. I’ll see you at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday . . .

Thomas: Gay marriage is leading this country down a slippery slope!! The moral center of this country is decaying!! We’re all going to end up marrying horses and turtles!! TURTLES!!

Martin: No, Thomas. Close-minded people who form an opinion without doing research and learning the facts are causing this country to decay from within. The outright refusal to celebrate the differences between individuals and the immediate condemnation of ideas or ways of life that are different from your own leads to the suffocation of culture within this country.

Thomas: I AM SO SORRY. My kid downloaded this stupid app onto my phone and I don’t know how to shut it off. It wasn’t me sending that stuff.

Martin: Oh. Well, that’s a relief. :)



So, are you looking for an application that allows you to tap into the ignorance, lewdness, and caustic racism that countless reprehensible human beings contribute to the internet on a daily basis? Want to offend your friends and embarrass your family? Looking for the kind of one-liner that will immediately shut down a party and turn it into awkward silence?

Than the NSFW App is for you! And it comes with a lifetime warranty!

Because we all know that a small minority of idiots with WiFi access will continue to mess things up for the rest of the intelligent, sophisticated internet surfers out there.

Yes. The intelligent, sophisticated people.

The people who use the Drizzy Keyboard.

Keegan Connelly

Keegan grew up in Elmira, NY and is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University. He enjoys stand-up comedy, improv, and fiction writing. They say that, if the moon is full and the night is clear, you can still hear his ghost crying out for revenge from the dark recesses of Wyatt's Mine. Stalk him: Twitter: @tweetinkeegz Instagram: @instakeegz

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ILLUSTRATION STATION: The Floss and the Flaws

“Max Leroy in The Floss Flaws” was written by Matthew Lenox (@MaxLeroy3) and illustrated by Lindsay Cannizaro. It was originally published in Visions Anthology #1. Physical copies of the anthology can be purchased from Queen City Bookstore.

The Road Kill Comedy Tour Beelines for Buffalo this SUNDAY!

Dana Moon, Jessica Michelle Singleton, and Lisa Curry

Dana Moon, Jessica Michelle Singleton, and Lisa Curry, courtesy of Road Kill Comedy

The Road Kill Comedy Tour is stopping through Buffalo this Sunday, March 29, the tenth stop on this nearly 3-week tour traversing the Midwest and Northeast. This is the second time these three funny friends have loaded into a car and set course for the gamble of the road, all in the name of bringing the ha-has to the people and creating lifelong memories, for better or worse.

“We have no idea what to expect. That’s the nature of it. We don’t have any TV credits or any substantial proof of a following so every night is a different gamble and that’s what makes it exciting. We have no idea and we love it,” Jessica Singleton, 1/3rd of the hilarious trio, said recently in an email interview from the road.

The first time the group, consisting of Singleton, Dana Moon, and Lisa Curry, set their sights on the guts and glory of the interstate highway system was at the end of 2014, for their cheekily dubbed Walk of Shame Tour. It was the first major road work for any of them, said Singleton. Things went well for the crew, even as they were forced to dodge road hazards like mattresses in the middle of the highway and love affairs gone awry.

“There were low moments on the road…but in the end, we are doing what we love and traveling the country so nothing could be horrible enough for us to want to give that up and go into a regular job,” Singleton said.

roadkillSingleton and Moon first met in Los Angeles in 2012 on the patio of the lauded Comedy Store, “sharing candy that we willingly took from a stranger and became best friends instantly,” Singleton said. About a year later they met Curry, who soon thereafter unexpectedly lost a day job. The friends viewed it as an opportunity to take their fates into their own hands.

“We decided rather than wait for other people to come through on booking we would just do our own thing,” Singleton said, and the Walk of Shame was born.

With that first effort now firmly under their belts, the trio were able to produce this second effort mere months later. This time they’ve added a video component in order to document all of the hilarious missteps and joys as they happen, in hopes of developing a docu-series from the material when they get back home.

“It’s just us with a handheld Canon camera and our phones…the series is meant to be guerrilla style, showing what life is really like on the road when you are at the beginning stage of your comedy career,” Singleton explained.

“At the beginning stage of a career, nobody can really afford a camera crew, or much of anything for that matter. With the docu-series, we hope to sell it to a major network so that we can broadcast to a mass audience to show the struggle of what it’s really like for up-and-coming comedians. Right now all that people know are things like Seinfeld and Louie and that is much more glamorous than it is at the beginning…It’s not just an hour of telling jokes and then living in luxury. It’s a lot of investing time and dedication for little payoff for a long time,” she said.

This will be the first time any of the comics have been to Buffalo, although Singleton has a fun personal connection to the city.

“I am a big fan of the Sabres…a residual loyalty left over from an old relationship when I dated a guy who was a huge Buffalo fan across the board,” Singleton said. She’s been Tweeting at the Sabres, telling them to come to the show this Sunday. It’s not unusual to spot a Sabre or a Bill out and about on the town during the off-season, so perhaps Goodbar will play host to some sports celeb drop-ins this Sunday, in addition to showing these ladies of Los Angeles a smokin’ good Buffalo time.


8 p.m., Sunday, March 29, Goodbar, 1110 Elmwood Ave., $10.

Kristy Rock

Kristy has been writing about comedians since 2005, first in Chicago, then in LA, and now in the great city of Buffalo, New York, as managing editor of BuffaloComedy.com (2012-2015). She has also published seven issues of RE:COM, a nationally-distributed print magazine about comedy (which can be downloaded for a measly $2). Otherwise, she can be found drinking wine and plotting out plans for her future distillery/goat farm/artist retreat and attempting to build a teleportation machine between the East and West Coasts.

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Tinder Babies

Yeah so the world is pretty messed up in 2015. ISIS is committing despicable acts of violence, our nation is divided on issues of race and police authority, and if you’re not careful, Kanye will kidnap your shit and try to give it to Beyonce.

Of course, all of this pales in comparison to the true threat that, if left unchecked, will cause the collapse of the US economy within the next 40 – 50 years.


Tinder is slowly corrupting the social atmosphere of twenty-somethings within this country and will eventually drive our great nation into a state of bankruptcy the likes of which we have never before witnessed. Book it.

Oh, what’s that you say? You and your sorority sisters think Tinder is silly and hilarious? And you – you say that there’s a surprising amount of attractive and interesting women in your immediate ten-mile radius? THEN YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM, YOU GODLESS HEATHENS.

Go ahead – say I’m overreacting. Call me crazy. Just do me a favor – call home and ask your parents how your grandparents met and fell in love. Or better yet, if you’re able to, ask your grandparents directly so that you can see their eyes light up with sentimentality and joy.

I’m willing to bet the story of your grandparents’ first date will go something like this:

Your Grandpa: Well . . . Eustice and I had been courting for some time after I had joined the service. She was a handsome woman – of that I was sure. Her family was a bit concerned about my background.

I was just a poor shoe-shiner from Brooklyn who had pulled myself up by my bootstraps. I had learned the trade of welding in my spare time in order to put food on the table for myself and my 25 brothers and sisters.

Eustice (your Grandma): Oh my first date with Bernie was such a fanciful and lighthearted night! Before taking me out for a cocktail, he had picked a daisy for me from the town constable’s front yard – a highly controversial activity in those days!

The constable – Herman E. DoGood was his name, I believe . . .

Bernie (your Grandpa): Ah, yes! DoGood! Quite the character he was!

Eustice: Yes! Herman chased Bernie all about town with a ruler to try to get that daisy back! Your grandfather was such an irrepressible scamp back in the day!

Bernie: That night, your grandmother and her friends each had a sip of their cocktails and were three sheets to the wind. I actually had to scoop her up in her sundress and carry her to her front steps. At the end of the night, we agreed to stay in touch by writing wax-sealed handwritten letters to each other.


Yes, heathens, that is the way that dating USED to work before the internet came along. Before Tinder. Before the Dark Times.

Now, we are have to consider the idea that an entire civilization of hedonistic Tinder babies will be spawned from the lusty interactions of boozed-up young professionals whose morals have been stripped away by countless hours of swiping. And what will these Tinder Babies contribute to our society?


These little Tinderellas will be the product of such immoral and lecherous online dating relationships that they will be unable to function as normal human beings. The innumerable amount of emotional problems created by being raised by parents who met on Tinder will prevent them from holding steady jobs and keep them from contributing to the infrastructure of this country.

Don’t believe me? Well, let’s leap 25-30 years into the future and listen in on the story two Tinder parents tell THEIR children about THEIR first date.

I present to you, the Smith family:

Mrs. Smith: Oh bae, I think the kids are all about that new Playstation 6 that you just bought them! Look at how turnt ^^ they are!

Mr. Smith: Oh hay girl. U know I aim 2 please this family in every possible way that I can. J Seeing them this happy makez me think we should present to them the EPIC story about our first date.

Mrs. Smith: BAE! That is SUCH a good idea. Let me call them over. Arianna? Arianna Grande Smith? Come into the living room! And bring ur brother, Jessie Pinkman!

Mr. Smith: Kids, u know ur mom has been my bae for many years now. But I don’t think we ever told u guys the full story on how our first date went down.

Ur mom and I 1st matched on Tinder when I swiped rite on her bomb ass pic. Her profile bio said she was ready to “live laugh love,” so I immediately knew that this girl was down 2 party and that she was my kinda lady.

I fell for her at 1st sight. I knew I was all in when I saw that she had her thong poking out of her jeans – a quality that you should always look 4 in a woman, Jessie.

Mrs. Smith: Oh honey, don’t sell urself short. U had on that backwards Bills cap and u were wearing ur #billzmafia t-shirt. Plus u had ur sleeve rolled up so you could show off ur shamrock tattoo that you have on ur bicep. You looked like SUCH a total douchebag, I couldn’t resist.

Mr. Smith: O yea, I kno u like it when I go for that bad boy look, you dirty motherf-

Mrs. Smith: BAE! Not in front of the kids!

Mr. Smith: Lol, My bad. ;-)

Mrs. Smith: So then your farther sent his first message: “Damn girl, what’s up with you and that ass tonight?” Oh, he “swiped” me right off my feet.

And he was so cute – he actually took the time to type out the word “ass” by spelling it “A-$-$.” I knew rite away that he was bout to be my new hubby.

Mr. Smith: It was love at first swip, girl. Your mom responded back by sending one of the finest twerk videos that I had ever seen.

And that’s where you two come from, Arianna and Jessie. When a man and a chick luv each other and decide to become baes, sometimes they are blessed with two little accidents like you two.


I rest my case.


Your local grumpy old man.

Keegan Connelly

Keegan grew up in Elmira, NY and is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University. He enjoys stand-up comedy, improv, and fiction writing. They say that, if the moon is full and the night is clear, you can still hear his ghost crying out for revenge from the dark recesses of Wyatt's Mine. Stalk him: Twitter: @tweetinkeegz Instagram: @instakeegz

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New Video Wednesday!: “Irish Cheer”

Parodist Jason Bojangals is at it again, this time with a Sia parody celebrating the drinkiest time of the year — St. Patrick’s Day!

Kristy Rock

Kristy has been writing about comedians since 2005, first in Chicago, then in LA, and now in the great city of Buffalo, New York, as managing editor of BuffaloComedy.com (2012-2015). She has also published seven issues of RE:COM, a nationally-distributed print magazine about comedy (which can be downloaded for a measly $2). Otherwise, she can be found drinking wine and plotting out plans for her future distillery/goat farm/artist retreat and attempting to build a teleportation machine between the East and West Coasts.

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Brian Williams and My Dad: Best Friends

By Keegan Connelly

brian-williams-lie-iraq-3So I have a personal stake in this whole Brian Williams controversy. Seriously. No one was more depressed than I when NBC handed him a six-month suspension that took him out of our homes every night.

That’s because, believe it or not . . . Brian Williams and I are from the same home town. Elmira, NY.

Unless he made that shit up too, I don’t know . . . it’s hard to tell these days.

Everyone in Elmira is taking it pretty hard. One of my good friends actually kicked his wife and kids out of the house. Said that if he couldn’t trust a stranger from TV who has an egotistical narcissism complex, there’s absolutely no way that he can trust his immediate family.

My parents are really upset about the whole thing. They grew up with Brian. So, naturally, I had to ask their opinions on the matter. My mom said that she’d eventually move on and that the gentleman with the silver hair is much more handsome. When I told her that Anderson Cooper is gay, she immediately rebuked me by stating that she was referring to Wolf Blitzer.

She then stated that she’s only attracted to men that are named after predatory mammals. That explains why she keeps a picture of Bear Bryant in her purse.

I digress. My father stated that, while the accusations against Brian are disturbing, he’s not really surprised by the situation. He says that Brian used to stretch the truth all the time when they hung out in high school. Particularly when he had a captive audience.

He then recalled a time when he and Brian were sitting around a campfire with friends. My dad had thrown a killer party the night before, and Brian kind of flew off on a tangent . . . .

My Dad: That party was absolutely wild, man. I was cleaning up all day. And THIS guy . . . well this guy sure had a rough night. Man, I can’t BELIEVE you dude.

Brian Williams:  Haha, yeah it was one of my finer nights, Jack, that’s for sure.

My Dad: FINER nights? Jesus, Brian. You were a complete WRECK! I was worried you were gonna have to go to the HOSPITAL! Haha. I mean, what do you remember about the night?

Brian Williams: Well, Jack, I mean . . . I’m sure you’d probably tell the story better.

My Dad: Nahh man, we want to hear it from YOU, haha.

(It was at this point that Brian turned to face everyone else at the campfire)

Brian Williams: Good evening. I’m NBC’s Brian Williams. And these are tonight’s top stories.

My Dad: . . . . . Um . . . NBC? Brian, what the hell are you . . . .

Brian Williams: Tonight, I’ll be recalling a personal account in which I played a central role in the most epic shitshow that this town has ever seen. It was the most harrowing experience of my life, and this journalist can safely say that I’ll never see anything quite like it ever again.

The night began when the two cheerleading captains, Tammy and Sasha, asked me to rendezvous with them in the house’s northwest bedroom. We knew there was risk involved, as Tammy was dating Bobby Collins at the time. Nonetheless, I deemed the danger well worth the reward.

My Dad: Brian, what the hell are you talking about? You did three shots of Yaeger with Bobby, and then threw up all over yourself. Tammy and Sasha saw you and called you a “little bitch.”

Brian Williams: Once we had taken up a strategic position in the bedroom, the two cheerleaders began to prepare themselves for coitus by smoking copious amounts of marijuana. After they had consumed most of the drugs, Tammy and Sasha began to enthusiastically engage my Chinook.

My Dad: . . . . . . . .

Brian Williams: Chinook is what I call my penis.

My Dad: Yeah, Brian. We got that. You didn’t have to explain that.

Brian Williams: It was at this point that we heard a commotion in the lower half of the house. I temporarily excused myself from the intense threesome to investigate the disturbance.

It was there that we met a unit sent from the local police department who had intentions of breaking up the party due to the loud proceeding as well as the fact that Bobby Collins’ car had been set ablaze in the chaos.

My Dad: . . . okay yeah, that part’s legit. Someone really did set Bobby’s car on fire. I hope his dad has good insurance.

Brian Williams: The police offers demanded that we present our identification and immediately surrender the alcoholic beverages post haste. It was supposed to be a routine shakedown. It turned out to be anything but.

My Dad: And then they took you away in a cop car, Brian. Your parents had to bail you out that night.

Brian Williams: As I reached behind my back for my identification, I used my free arm to swing an empty beer bottle against the taller officer’s head. As he recoiled in pain, I removed his pistol from its holster and pointed it at his partner.

Immediately, he soiled himself and raised his hands in the air. It was at this point that I directed him to turn over the keys to his patrol car. He protested. I cocked back the hammer on the pistol and shouted that “B. Willie ain’t goin’ back to jail.”

My Dad: Okay, ENOUGH. Brian. We all know all of that is complete bullshit. What’s next, you’re going to tell us you stole a police cruiser? Oh, and how you drove it to Mexico and had a wild bender?!

Brian: Don’t be ridiculous.

My Dad: So what happened to the cop car?

Brian: It was lost in a sandstorm.

My Dad: . . . a sandstorm.

Brian: A sandstorm.

My Dad: Someone else has to have my back on this. Lester, will you PLEASE tell Brian that he’s full of shit?

Lester Holt: Thank you for joining me. I’m NBC’s Lester Holt. And I’m in this bitch.

My Dad: Sigh . . . .

Keegan Connelly

Keegan grew up in Elmira, NY and is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University. He enjoys stand-up comedy, improv, and fiction writing. They say that, if the moon is full and the night is clear, you can still hear his ghost crying out for revenge from the dark recesses of Wyatt's Mine. Stalk him: Twitter: @tweetinkeegz Instagram: @instakeegz

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New Video Wednesday! The Adventures of Hero and Sidekick, Season Two!

The first four episodes of the new season of Hero and Sidekick are now out on the ‘Tubes. Avail yourself to them today!

The Government nullified Amendment 92, which outlawed end of the world crimes. The Superhero Reinstatement Program is back. Hero and Sidekick are being nudged into retirement, and a brand new Hero in Training is starting at the League. Meanwhile, The Advicary, a 55 year old super villain who is frozen in a 14 year old’s body, has a vendetta out for Hero and Sidekick’s life.
New Episodes stream on February 16, 2015!

Starring Tim Joyce, Dan Danforth, Phill Bruno, Josiah Mallory, Scot. A. Kaitanowski, Drew Bialy, Marty Kretz, and Matthew Kozak.
Director of Photography – Van Dinh
Written and Directed by John Szablewski

Kristy Rock

Kristy has been writing about comedians since 2005, first in Chicago, then in LA, and now in the great city of Buffalo, New York, as managing editor of BuffaloComedy.com (2012-2015). She has also published seven issues of RE:COM, a nationally-distributed print magazine about comedy (which can be downloaded for a measly $2). Otherwise, she can be found drinking wine and plotting out plans for her future distillery/goat farm/artist retreat and attempting to build a teleportation machine between the East and West Coasts.

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It’s All About the Benjamin

image1Taking care of my 21-month-old son Benjamin is a lot like having someone wake me up and tell me they signed me up for a five mile marathon that starts in five minutes: it’s exhausting, there’s a great deal of endurance involved and there is some serious nipple chafing at the end of the day.  Just kidding about the last part.  There is no such thing as perfect parenting and unfortunately, my son did not come with an operating manual.  Truth be told, I screw up at least a half a dozen times a day.  Most of it is trial by error.  So in an effort to save you some time and aggravation, what follows is a categorical list of single daddy tips I’ve picked up along the way.

Don’t Bother Picking Up-My son is the living embodiment of entropy.  Immediately after opening his toy box the entire living room is littered with toys that he never uses, rarely touches and doesn’t pay any attention to.  Options are important to him though, and trying to tidy the house when he’s conscious is an exercise in futility.  On multiple occasions I’ve put four toys away only to find him yanking forty out once he notices that I’m trying to clean up.  This is pointless.  I either employ some sleight of hand (tossing cars and balls into the box like a ninja when his back is turned) or wait until he’s down for his nap to even attempt some semblance of order.  This segues quite nicely into our next Addendum:

Get Caught Up On Everything When They’re Unconscious-If you’re one of those people with a dog who insists that you know what it’s like to have a kid, try this: Pick a household chore that takes approximately ten minutes.  Now set up an elaborate and nonsensical obstacle course in your home that turns the same chore into a twelve hour ordeal.  That’s parenting.  The best time to get anything done is going to be when your child is conked out for the night, so save it all for then.  Taking things one step further, figure out how to get an entire weekend worth of work done twenty minutes after lights out.  Wash and put away dishes, hang up the laundry, shovel the walk, run out the garbage, feed your pets and prep the coffee.  Set a timer and try to improve on your personal best!  Still think you can empathize with single parents because you feed a parrot once a day?  You can’t and you’re wrong.

Make Sure You’re Unconscious An Hour After They Are-  Nap when they nap and at the end of the day (after putting everything in order), don’t stay up later than an hour after they go down.  If it seems like I’m spending an inordinate amount of time on sleep, trust me, I’m not.  70% of parenting is making sure that you’re rested, because the alternative is having a rug rat hanging off of you when you’ve only had five hours the night before waiting on the coffee to percolate while your patience is shot and there are a baker’s dozen of toys melodically chiming the same tunes you’ve heard 1400 times a day for the last two years.  You don’t want that, so it’s best to lay down no later than an hour after they lay down.  This is a life-changing technique that will save your ass.

Say Goodbye To Private Time In The Bathroom-My time freshening up in the water closet used to be a segment of the day set aside for quite reflection, relaxed reading and the playing of silly apps.  No more!  Now I might as well set up a turn-style next to the toilet and sell tickets with a two foot height requirement.  I have to keep on eye on my kid, so he hangs out in there with me breaking toilet handles directly behind my back, fiddling with designer soaps and dropping them into the tub and knocking old copies of National Geographic on the floor.  Not only that, but my cat joins the party.  Why not?  The door’s open a crack, so why wouldn’t I want every life form in the house to have a front row seat to my bowel movements?  If you think that makes it weird, you’re right, it does.

More Than A Handful Is A Waste– I know what you’re thinking, but I’m talking about food here.  Don’t put more than a few mouthfuls of snacks into your designated bowl, Tupperware container, or hermetically sealed cube because it’s going to end up on the floor at some point anyway.  Save yourself some time and unneeded rage by limiting the amount of whole grain crunchables, pretzels or Teddy Grahams that you’ll invariably be picking up later at least two dozen times.  I could seal my boy’s snacks into a time capsule or heat-fuse them along with Han Solo in carbonite and they’d be fanned out on the kitchen floor within seconds.  Also: avoid Cheerios at all costs.  They gravitate towards the nooks and crannies in couch cushions or into corners immediately.  Use Cheerios only under direct and constant supervision!

Prepare Food That You Personally Enjoy & Enjoy Cleaning Up– If your child is a finicky eater (i.e. 100% of all offspring with a 1% margin of error), they’re not going to eat all of their meals, so you’re either going to end up throwing out a lot of dishes or eating the remainder.  That’s right, you are now a garbage disposal for the fruit of your loins.  Learn to love the last six tepid bites of macaroni and cheese, half a cup of room temperature apple sauce and again, 3,000 Cheerios that have been carefully placed back into a Tupperware bowl five times.

-This essay has been brought to you by: the good people at Tupperware.

In addition, a third of everything you prepare winds up on the tray, the table, the booster seat, the dining chair under the booster seat and ultimately, on the floor.  So make food that’s easy to clean off of any surface.  Don’t do as I have done and set the kitchen table for pulled pork and cheese fondue.  Spoiler alert: It ended poorly.

Learn How To Take A Beating-Pretty self explanatory.  Expect to get kicked in the nuts at least two or three times a day, and I’m not talking about a light grazing, I’m talking about full-on, Jean Claude Van Damne-style ultimate fighting kicks.  Sometimes they’re unintentional and other times, not so much.  I’ve succumbed to open handed pimp slaps, head butts, pile drivers while laying on the floor and meeting my son at his own level and I’ve stepped on more animatronic land mines than I care to mention.  You’ve got two choices: Either strap on a cup and a bicycle helmet when you start your day or get used to it.

 If Things Are Unnaturally Quiet, Assume The Worst– I don’t take my eyes off of my son, but if I have my back turned for ten seconds and I don’t hear anything, you can guarantee that half of the house is on fire, an animatronic dinosaur is being thrown at my cat’s head and a sippy cup of pure cranberry concentrate is being upended on the rug simultaneously.  My mother was a preschool teacher for twenty years and had eyes in the back of her head.  Unfortunately, I don’t share that skill set.  Beware the eerie silence, for foul, unspeakable things are afoot.  In the split second that you’re opening a refrigerator or setting the microwave, doors are coming off of their hinges, family heirlooms are being irreparably decimated and chocolate chip muffins are being force fed into the DVD player.

You’re Going To Get The Bubonic Plague Every Other Week– Children are human petri dishes.  They are the blank canvas upon which every other kid at day care will use to paint their infectious and contagious masterpiece.  You are going to catch every bird flu and super virus that they bring home by association.  They are Patient Zero and you’re the next guy in line, so know that and embrace it because there’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it anyway.  I don’t believe in being sick.  In the past (when I marinated my entire body in Kentucky bourbon and chain-smoked Camel Wides) I would only come down with something once or twice a year.  Now that I’m taking better care of myself I get blindsided with The Chills, The Vapors and Whooping Cough.  Think of it as a virulent Book Of The Month Club.  Depending on what’s going around you’ll either be coughing up blood or screaming obscenities on the toilet.  It’s always a surprise!

Be A Super Hero-Easier said than done.  This is more a catch-all that encompasses steeple-chase-jumping safety gates with a 30 pound miniature person who just fell asleep, carrying your child from the car with one hand while lugging a week’s groceries, a diaper bag and a coffee mug in the other or racing back and forth in the living room for two hours when all you want to do is collapse in a crumpled heap.  Find your hidden reserve tank for awesomeness, use that up and then create another one out of thin air.  Accomplish the impossible every single day with your baby.  You’ll recognize it when it happens.

And finally, don’t forget to have fun!  How often can you strip the gears on a toy car going into the fourth lap through a miniature house?  How many times is it socially acceptable to have ‘Chocolate Milk Time’ while watching Sponge Bob?  When was it ever okay to listen to The Talking Heads while making duck noises and examining an expanding dinosaur during Bath Time?  There is no down side to being a dad.  And if I make a few mistakes, we can always fix it in post-production.

Tom Waters

Tom Waters is the author of eleven books of humor, memoir and poetry. He’s also the host of Big Words I Know By Heart (YouTube), a comedy show that pushes the boundaries of the polite interview format. Since 2000, Waters has appeared in The Buffalo News, Artvoice, Buffalo Spree and Buffalo Rising as well as across the globe.

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New Video Wednesday!: Jessica Needs Feedback

The singer/pianist Jessica needs your help! Give her video a look and throw her some feedback on her musical stylings. Featuring Buffalo comedian Nicky Spin, who has other goodies here. :)

Kristy Rock

Kristy has been writing about comedians since 2005, first in Chicago, then in LA, and now in the great city of Buffalo, New York, as managing editor of BuffaloComedy.com (2012-2015). She has also published seven issues of RE:COM, a nationally-distributed print magazine about comedy (which can be downloaded for a measly $2). Otherwise, she can be found drinking wine and plotting out plans for her future distillery/goat farm/artist retreat and attempting to build a teleportation machine between the East and West Coasts.

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Time Served

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” — Ernest Hemingway

image1Half of all marriages end in hardship, immeasurable pain, apathy and general misery; the other half end in divorce. Seriously though, my marriage was doomed to fail. One of the 75 therapists that I’ve had in my life told me that in any relationship, one person always has their head in the clouds and the other has their feet on the ground. In my case, my wife was more like an anchor, crushing my dreams at the earliest opportunity and pinning us down to the cold hard realities of the world. I still believe that you can dream in the daytime and pay the bills at the end of that self-same day. My now-ex-wife will sadly spend the rest of her life wide awake.

Most people don’t know whether to respond with condolences when they receive the news or sheepish congratulations. In the end, I see the death knoll of my matrimony as a joyous occasion. I still believe in love and even in the institution of wedlock; the former something that might elude me for a little while longer and the latter a peccadillo that is no longer on my menu. There are happily married couples and there are happily single people. I was never one and somehow turned into the other.

By all means, please congratulate me on the news knowing full well that I’ve been given a sentence of freedom with no hope for parole. Have you ever seen those old married couples with forty or fifty years under their belt? You know which ones I’m referring to. The ones who have forsaken all hope at the altar long ago. The ones who can barely share a kiss just for show in front of their families during anniversaries. The couples who share a cold, dead look between themselves that says ‘I don’t care if you go first or I go first, but get me off of this fucking ride because I can’t take another second together with you!’

You KNOW the ones I’m referring to. It could be your sweet old grandparents, a couple in church or the neighbors next door, but they’re out there. THAT is what we would have become if we remained deadlocked in wedlock. By all means, give me a pat on the back, a firm handshake and a smile of relief because I am unshackled from the holy union of misery that I freely entered into. Somehow we’ve stepped into an alternate ending where we’re both allowed the possibility to be happy because we’re no longer bound to each other.

Make no mistake, I was not a good husband. On my best day, I was not husband material. To my defense, my ex-wife’s feet were not unsoiled from spending her early years up on a pedestal. That life is a distant memory though, thanks in large part to the soul-crushing, world-ending agony of the divorce itself. My old life is over and I’m not the same person. We share the same shoe size, but that’s pretty much where the comparisons end. For that, I am somewhat grateful to the woman who I spent ten years with. For that, I would like to say simply: Thank You.

If you’re single and thinking about getting married, I want you to conjure up a visual. Imagine how much money you and your partner in crime would make on the wedding night. Imagine an almost limitless number of cards, envelopes and blenders. Picture the dollar amount. Do you have it? Okay. Now double that amount, withdraw it from your individual checking account and then give it to a total stranger in a bad suit who thinks less of you than they would an insect they accidentally stepped on. That stranger is your divorce attorney.

While I enjoy the comedy of exaggeration, nothing has been exaggerated here. I personally spent twice what we made from our wedding on the year-long wholesale slaughter in a sector of the legal microcosm oxymoronically referred to as Expedited Matrimonials. It cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000 for the justice system in our less-than-fair state of New York to ‘grant’ us with the gift of divorce. Pure guess-timation (based on the sheer amount of written allegations, fables, fabrications and flat out lies from the other camp and the time that would go into producing same) leads me to believe that my ex-wife spent about three times as much.  As far as investments go, it’s an understatement to say that this one was unwise.

Much has been said about the low moral character of lawyers. Most of it is true about most lawyers, but let me add a bit more. They are blood-sucking leeches who are destroying the very fabric of our society and (by extension) the idealistic notion of justice for anyone but those wealthy enough to buy it as a commodity. Once they have their hooks into you, they will drain you of every penny you have and keep sucking until it’s clear that you won’t be paying them anymore. I don’t know of any other job on the planet where you can demand a few thousand dollars in advance for work that you haven’t even done yet. Dress the practice up and call it a ‘retainer’, but let’s call it what it is: extortion.

Lawyers like to maintain the delusion that they’re the only ones who hold favor in a court of law and that they’re on your side. The truth is that they serve two sides: the front of a dollar bill and the back of it. My lawyer actually had the gall to charge me twenty minutes on the meter for every email she read. To date, I have never opened an email that takes twenty minutes to read. This is only the tip of the iceberg where litigious greed and retainer misappropriation is concerned. I could have hired another lawyer, but that’s like picking a different scum-cleaning fish out of the lobster tank at your favorite restaurant; they’re all bottom-dwelling troglodytes who thrive on waste and the black psychic goop of the world, so why bother?

After over a year of award-winning migraines, petty back-and-forth arguments (which were transcribed, mind you) and bickering over the minutiae that you can create inadvertently over a decade, the justice system finally released us. I am free at last. This doesn’t change my view of women in the slightest. Many women have been my strongest supporters, my wisest advisors, my Mother Confessors and my best friends. I just happened to get married to a women who was diametrically opposite to me in a way that was wholly incompatible.

I used to think that my ex-wife was the most rational, sensible person I’d ever met. That went right out the window the second she left me, and it’s spiraled out even further as time marches on. My new working theory is that she used up all of her reserves for sanity in the first 33 years of her life and now she is fresh out. To her credit, she did live with me for ten years. That alone would drive most people so far around the bend that they could spend a century chewing through a straight jacket in a rubber room.

I married for the wrong Wrong Reasons, if that makes sense. I married for security. I married a woman not for love or animal attraction or any of the other fleeting and foolish romantic notions that we’ve learned how to cling to, but because I thought she could handle my particular brand of madness in my twilight years. I married the woman whom I thought would be my caretaker. In the end, even that reason failed. And now I’m at a stage where many of my peers are walking down the aisle a second time, and to that I simply say: If you burned your hand on a hot stove once, why in the FUCK would you think to do it again?

One and done. That’s it for me. I’ve noticed that most older men cling tightly to the comfort of their rituals and routines in a way that rarely permits the permanent addition of a member of the opposite sex in their lives. Others who have survived the judicial spanking machine like myself have cautioned me never to say never. With all conviction, let me confirm it for you: Never. Never again.

Some day when our son is older, I’d like to tell our son the technicolor edited-for-television version of why we parted ways. The sad truth is that we used up all the love we had left for each other creating him. Every last bit of it. I hope that my ex-wife will find happiness some day with a normal man with ordinary wants and needs, but it’s just not my responsibility anymore and I wasn’t any good at it when it was. Terribly unhappy married couples are legion and we are no longer among their ranks.

One year out, it seems like an alternate lifetime of mine that I can observe through a snow globe and set on a distant shelf to be forgotten. We joked that we would never become the newlyweds who broke up at the first sign of adversity on or around the five year speed bump and that’s exactly what we became. True love exists, but I’ll be damned if I know what that looks like. For those of you who feel compelled to describe it to me during the ides of the biggest romantic holiday of the year, you’re barking up the wrong divorcee.

–Tom Waters

Tom Waters

Tom Waters is the author of eleven books of humor, memoir and poetry. He’s also the host of Big Words I Know By Heart (YouTube), a comedy show that pushes the boundaries of the polite interview format. Since 2000, Waters has appeared in The Buffalo News, Artvoice, Buffalo Spree and Buffalo Rising as well as across the globe.

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New Video Wednesday!: “Beat Brady”

Man! Buffalo filmmaker Jason Bojangals has been PROLIFIC this season! Here’s his latest offering, “Beat Brady,” a parody of singer Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” just in time for the NFL Super Bowl XLIX. The video was recently picked up by Sports Illustrated online and has reached almost 9,300 views since it was released Monday. Featuring a plethora of fans from myriad NFL teams, as well as heavily representing Bills Nation, this lovely and melancholy plea wonders aloud, “Won’t you, Beat Brady?”

Kristy Rock

Kristy has been writing about comedians since 2005, first in Chicago, then in LA, and now in the great city of Buffalo, New York, as managing editor of BuffaloComedy.com (2012-2015). She has also published seven issues of RE:COM, a nationally-distributed print magazine about comedy (which can be downloaded for a measly $2). Otherwise, she can be found drinking wine and plotting out plans for her future distillery/goat farm/artist retreat and attempting to build a teleportation machine between the East and West Coasts.

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The No Hack Comedy Series, TONIGHT!

10929569_10203411434228689_3581678866920410388_nThe No Hack Comedy Series has been on hiatus for a couple months, due to the holidaze and #Snowpacalypse2014 (is that still a hashtag?) but tonight the teeny raucous showcase is back, nestled into the back corner of the Lenox Grill on North and Elmwood. This month’s installation will be streaming live on the WNYmedia network, in addition to live in person. Check it out, denizens of Earth!

10:30 p.m. TONIGHT, 140 North St., Buffalo, FREE. Happy Hour drink specials in effect during showtime.

Kristy Rock

Kristy has been writing about comedians since 2005, first in Chicago, then in LA, and now in the great city of Buffalo, New York, as managing editor of BuffaloComedy.com (2012-2015). She has also published seven issues of RE:COM, a nationally-distributed print magazine about comedy (which can be downloaded for a measly $2). Otherwise, she can be found drinking wine and plotting out plans for her future distillery/goat farm/artist retreat and attempting to build a teleportation machine between the East and West Coasts.

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Hollywood Joyce: FIN

The third and final installment of Buffalo comedian and actor Tim Joyce’s current travels West; Part I can be found here and Part II here.

Today the film is wrapping around noon PST. I slept through it, having had a late night watching Irish Traditional music at a bar called Timmy Nolan’s. Tomorrow afternoon I fly home; it is time. I really miss Connie and Hazel Motes. But I have a great story from my actual last day of shooting on Tuesday.

It was Mr. Asner’s last day on set. For about a week he had come to call me “Tim the Buffalo Chip” because of a talk we had about my home city. He was getting ready to leave and I asked his assistant if she minded if I sat next to him alone to thank him. She said, “He really likes you, he said you are a really good actor.” I hugged him (after his “Buffalo Chip” greeting) and we talked about “what’s next?” I said, “I know this is a request you get too often but would you sign an autograph?” He said sure, and I explained it wasn’t for me. I told him about a young man, Josiah Mallory, who I am mentoring in Buffalo. Josiah has a brilliant mind, great comedy and acting talent, and a very hard life which he faces with guts and humor. He’s 15.

I told Mr. Asner this and he said, “Well fuck just signing a piece of paper then. I’ll have my assistant send him a personally inscribed and autographed photo. Just give her my address.” I did; figured it might take a while or never to happen. Yesterday in my email inbox? A request for my address. The picture is signed already; they just want to send it out ASAP.

This has been a crazy fun experience. Some people took a leap of faith in me and they are on their way to great things even if I do not end up involved in those great things. But they gave this old man a shot and I did pretty good, to be honest. Now comes the really fun part with an indie film: festivals, negotiations for distribution, online presence, simply getting the damned thing out there and seen.

Oh! And I forgot! All this footage remains to be edited before that. It should drop late spring/early summer for the fests. I have a good feeling this will find a market; it is a great script.

Added up over the last 15 years I’ve spent close to 6 months here in LA doing comedy, improv, directing, running workshops, getting my heart broken by nearly having an incredibly huge break in 2000 that fell apart for reasons that make a great bar story, and now? I just acted in a film with a legend. He said behind my back I am a good actor and nicknamed me after a dried bovine turd. Not bad for a steelworker’s youngest son…Not bad at all. See you all at an open mike soon…Love.

New Video Wednesday!: ‘Jealous of the Future’

Jason Bojangals is back with this supes adorb ‘Jealous’ parody lampooning everyone’s favorite 2015 movie, Back to the Future II. The Buffalo native is on a roll with this video series; we’re already looking forward to seeing what’s next!

Kristy Rock

Kristy has been writing about comedians since 2005, first in Chicago, then in LA, and now in the great city of Buffalo, New York, as managing editor of BuffaloComedy.com (2012-2015). She has also published seven issues of RE:COM, a nationally-distributed print magazine about comedy (which can be downloaded for a measly $2). Otherwise, she can be found drinking wine and plotting out plans for her future distillery/goat farm/artist retreat and attempting to build a teleportation machine between the East and West Coasts.

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Hollywood Joyce: Part II

The second installment of Buffalo comedian and actor Tim Joyce’s current travels West; Part I can be found here.

timToday I was on set for twelve hours, which turned out to be one of the most amazing challenges I have ever faced in my creative life. To rewind: I went from cameo part to co-star (In the upcoming release “Love.Meet.Hope” starring Ed Asner) because Blake Clark, an incredibly successful comedian and actor who was originally cast in it, tore his Achilles tendon while I was in LA to do a cameo part. I got read for the bigger role last Friday night at 9:30, and got cast around 1 AM after they called around.

It is beyond unlikely what has happened, frankly, and filling big shoes is a lot of work and a lot to prove. This movie uses many fantasy and flashback scenes to tell a love story. One of the funnier scenes involves a main character involved in a fantasy about an encounter with a spectral pirate in a bar (go with me here…). The producers kept that role open for Blake Clark because they hoped, after all his loyalty to an indie film as it was pitched and picked for production, that he could at least do the comedic scene. Unfortunately, he is in a cast above his knee for three months. So this morning I did a scene as the main role I fell into and it was very powerful and sad.

I play a 50-something man with a drinking problem who is sad and somewhat embittered by his choices. (Okay…everybody make your own joke here…I am moving on so as to keep the word count around 500…). It is haunting how on a film set, with the multiple takes from multiple angles, the basic feelings you are asked to portray become your mind set. In short, the work was exhilarating, but I personally felt a deep lonely sadness all morning. The emotions start to run you on a film in a way that doesn’t happen necessarily in a stage play; it explains badly and when you try to explain it, the person (me in this case) playing the part always sounds like a pretentious first person weasel. But trust me, it takes you over.

We wrapped that scene and I called Connie, my wife, feeling all of this, and then went to hair and make-up to be painted up as a pirate. After 7 more hours, these two opposite experiences were done and I’d acted in well over a hundred takes of two characters from various angles.

I lay here at my friend Brad’s place…He wrote the script and is one of the leads and a huge part of how it got into production with some well-known actors. I am grateful to him for this ride…I’m also tired, full of Indian food, and looking forward to tomorrow’s off day. Still, I’m also looking forward more enthusiastically to getting back on the set this weekend with this ephemeral family of technicians and writers and people like me who still aren’t sure how we got here.

Hollywood Joyce Checks in, Brings Tales of Sunshine and Stars

The first installment of Buffalo comedian and actor Tim Joyce’s current travels West; here he regales us with tales of legends, lifelong learning, and the love of life.

timDay Three: Night Time Shoot in Beverly Hills on the set of the summer release film “Love.Meet.Hope. I’m listening to the always hilarious/salacious partee’ of Ed Asner. When he greeted us in advance of the saddest scene we will shoot (looking at the heavenly presence of a timeless actress lying in bed as the corpse of herself) he looked at us: actors whose credits can never match his because of a combination of talent, opportunity, lifespan, and serendipity…only to hear his growling greeting: “Look at all you Goddamned losers…” Then watch him nail with heartbreaking depth a dozen takes even though at 86 his body has its inevitable wear and tear…What a surprise living is.

I am watching and working with an icon; one who smacks my ass with his cane during the rehearsal and says “I want you” and then, when asked by the actress portraying my wife, “Are you speaking to me?” replies: “I want you both.” I’m a boy from South Buffalo who got to act on the stage of Second City; got to see himself on eight various episodes of stand-up showcases on Comedy Central but never felt more than a flop. But here I am at 53 years: still writing, still performing, recently willing to rewrite it all, and sharing closeups with this legend when I’d figured a quiet sunset fade would be nice…How did this happen? I don’t know but I think the root is found in the phrase: “Never quit.”

I came to LA to act a cameo part in an indie film written and produced by a man, Brad Fowler, who has been a student/mentee of mine for ages but much more importantly is a beloved friend. This film has an array of major names (I am NOT one of them) but through random chance and a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered by the great Blake Clark—comedian turned sage turned film star in his mid-60’s—I was offered a chance to read at 9:30 on a Friday night for his supporting lead role and nailed it while mildly tipsy and jet lagged.

I’ve gone from memorizing three dozen words to making one of the core relationships of the film resonate. I’m told I’m doing well; but the reaction of strangers to a screen will be the final arbiter…Comedy took me from knowing who I was to knowing the topography of the USA and wondering why…But here I am: hopelessly past my prime and loving each moment of the experience.

First day on the set, with less than 24 hours to jump from walk-on to feature role, I was terrified. Then He came on set, busted my balls, and all day I made the extras cry with my rapport and commitment. Final take of my heartbreak monologue that day: My big close-up? I look into the eyes of a master, and even though the camera doesn’t see him he is there for me, in tears, making me better than I think I am.

–Tim Joyce

Recently in the Buffalo Comedy Etherspace

Greetings, intrepid citizens! We wanted to give you a real quick round-up of some fun stuff to check out on the Interwebs; things we’ve shared out on the Facebook page but haven’t had a chance to mention over on here yet! We’d also like to mention right now that there will be some new programming changes here at BuffaloComedy.com in the very near future. In an effort to better serve the Buffalo comedy community (and those that love ’em!), we will be writing more general audience stories for our friends at Buffalo City Life, thus using this Internet-space to more fully promote original content by Buffalo comedians. Essentially, we will be going back to the original intent of this website when it was first formed many years ago, as we continue to write for other Buffalo cultural websites about Buffalo comedy. Sound good? Cool! More soon in that regard.

BCLSpeaking of Buffalo City Life, did you have a chance to check out our first two contributions these last few weeks? You should do that now! We interviewed Richard Satterwhite, acting president of ComedySportz Buffalo, then we chatted with the mastermind behind the new digital video project The Attic, Pat Williams. Read on!

10434344_981018611914589_3929638585328785082_nThere is a fun little DIY podcast movement happening over at Project Funny Face. The first podcast to come out of this emerging network is PiddCast, which we find truly charming. Host Jimi Pidd invites comedy friends over to his apartment to just basically hang out and chat, which often leads to philosophical jags about comedy, lots of laughter, and the serious business of life in Buffalo, among other things. Recently Project Funny Face released a new podcast called Buffalo Drunkast, in which co-hosts Brian Netzel and Jesse Winterhalter plan to sit down with one other comic and, well, get shit-hammered on air. The first episode is now available for your listening pleasure; as a disclaimer, yours TRULY was the first guest and I feel kinda okay pretty good about it. Have a listen!

whatsgoingonNewish podcast What’s Going On in Buffalo? recently interviewed comedian and radio personality Josh Potter about emerging comedy in Buffalo; this is a great listen! The guys also talk about Canalside development, the future of the Fruit Belt, and the Bills, among other topics.

In very exciting news, the Buffalo News recently gave their “Top Ten Cultural and Dining Events of 2014” round-up, and underground/local comedy in Buffalo was SPECIFICALLY mentioned. That. Is. So. Cool!!! Check that ish out right hurr. #10, y’all!!!

helium-23And speaking of great write-ups about comedy, Helium Comedy Club got another feature, this time from Step Out Buffalo. They focused a lot on drinking and dining at the club. Accolades were served all around in these areas; they also greatly enjoyed the show they checked out that night. Nice!

With the new year come a couple open mic announcements: first, the beloved Goodbar mic (2nd floor) is being moved from Sunday nights to Thursdays; this week (Thurs., Jan. 8) will be the kick off to the new day slot. 8 p.m., 1110 Elmwood Ave., FREE. Also in the new year is a brand new Monday open mic at the great Tudor Lounge; the first one kicks off Monday, January 12. Producer Heather “MamaRag” Stack will also be celebrating her birthday in true Mama Rag fashion, so come out to support the new room and get ready to do shots, shots, shots! 10 p.m., 335 Franklin St., FREE.

Did you check out Jim Norton for New Year’s at Helium? How about Eddie Pepitone in Rochester? Any great shows you’d like to mention from the latter half of 2014?

Happy New Year, everyone! Let’s ACTUALLY make this one count instead of just saying it, yeah?

P.S. Just a reminder that the open mic we sponsor, the Milkies Comedy Open Mic with Tyrone Maclin, is back after holiday hiatus and PSYCHED to see you. Stop in! Wednesday, January 7, Milkies (formerly the Elmwood Lounge), 522 Elmwood Ave. 7:45 p.m. until… whenever the list is done. Free as the wind, cheap-ass drinks, much love love love.

Kristy Rock

Kristy has been writing about comedians since 2005, first in Chicago, then in LA, and now in the great city of Buffalo, New York, as managing editor of BuffaloComedy.com (2012-2015). She has also published seven issues of RE:COM, a nationally-distributed print magazine about comedy (which can be downloaded for a measly $2). Otherwise, she can be found drinking wine and plotting out plans for her future distillery/goat farm/artist retreat and attempting to build a teleportation machine between the East and West Coasts.

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Lance Diamond, Buffalo Legend, Has Passed Away

Our thoughts and condolences go out to the friends and family of Lance Diamond, Buffalo entertainment staple for four decades. Our city lost a great, great one last night. He will be truly missed.

“The gig is all about the people in the room at that exact moment. If there are six people then you’d better give them the best show they ever saw, because that’s how legends are made.” — Lance Diamond


Kristy Rock

Kristy has been writing about comedians since 2005, first in Chicago, then in LA, and now in the great city of Buffalo, New York, as managing editor of BuffaloComedy.com (2012-2015). She has also published seven issues of RE:COM, a nationally-distributed print magazine about comedy (which can be downloaded for a measly $2). Otherwise, she can be found drinking wine and plotting out plans for her future distillery/goat farm/artist retreat and attempting to build a teleportation machine between the East and West Coasts.

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Bat To The Future

image1By the time you read this, the year-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of Batman in Detective Comics (in 1939, for those of you who don’t have a calculator nearby) will have come and gone. He’s a character who has endured the test of time, and you may know Detective Comics by their abbreviation: DC. I caught hell some years ago for defending the cultural importance of the impending theatrical release of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (2008). It was a week-long troll battle in a lesser publication and I hate to be the guy who said I told you so, but I was right Buffalo. That film changed the superhero film forever and demolished most (if not all) box office records. I’m getting ahead of myself, though. What follows is a personal recollection/celebration of the mythos. Dates and citations have been left out, messed up or guessed at because the author is lazy.

I’ve been a Batman fan almost all of my life. As a child, I got into the comics around the same time that I caught the syndicated reruns for the high-camp television version with Adam West, three separate Cat Women and the famed ‘Bat-usi’. This led of course to Batman:The Movie, which we have to thank for the ‘Bat Shark Repellent Spray’ incident. The utility belt can only hold so much. The Caped Crusader has gone through a lot of incarnations over the decades he’s traveled through, which may be one of the secrets behind his staying power. While it was corny and cheesy (‘camp’ is an ironic form of comedy that borders on being an endangered species), the tv series hit home for at least a few seasons.

The ’80s was a great time to get into comics since the medium was growing up in terms of maturity and readership. Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns made such a gritty impact on the pulp multiverse that college courses are still taught dissecting its importance. The story zeroes in on Batman coming out of retirement in order to stomp out the threat of a mutant gang, subvert government opposition to superheroes and to square off with Superman. Miller followed this up with Batman: Year One, a mini-series that focused on the roots of billionaire Bruce Wayne’s lifelong war on crime.

Toward the end of the decade, comic icon Alan Moore applied his craft to The Killing Joke, a one-shot story where the reader is taken through a retelling of The Joker’s origin, Commissioner Gordon’s daughter is crippled by same, the Commissioner’s sanity is tried by The Joker and Batman’s is questioned at the close of the arc with a punchline and a recurring pattern of raindrops. The Joker postulates throughout the book that the difference between sanity and insanity is just one bad day. Batman tries to prove him wrong.

In the early ’90s, mainstay Grant Morrison took a turn with Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth. I re-read this book almost every year and always come away with something new in this layered psychological examination of the aberrant psyche. Batman infiltrates the asylum (which the inmates have taken control of spear-headed by the Joker) and tries to keep his head while everyone else’s is long gone. This is interspersed with the story of how Arkham Asylum came to be, which is quite haunting to say the least.

Meanwhile, in the single issues, there was the groundbreaking A Death In The Family, a story arc that was revolutionary because DC set up 1-800 lines so that readers could vote on the fate of Robin at the hands of (you guessed it) The Joker. For you younger readers, people used to have phones in their house attached to the walls that we called ‘Land Lines’. A 1-800 number was a ‘toll free’ number that residents could ‘dial’ on said ‘Land Lines’. Spoiler alert (not sure if it’s a spoiler alert twenty five years later): the readers killed off Robin. Luckily, nobody ever stays dead in comics for some reason, and that particular Boy Wonder (there have been around four) came back in Under The Red Hood.

Throw Tim Burton’s Batman into the mix and you have a multimedia free-for-all at the end of the decade. Without Burton’s version, Nolan never would have gotten his painstakingly realistic incarnation off the ground. Everyone questioned the casting of Michael Keaton in the starring role and nobody came away disappointed. Nobody questioned the casting of Jack Nicholson as The Joker, who reportedly smoked entire bales of marijuana during production. I still question the decision to let Prince (who became The Artist Formerly Known As Prince shortly thereafter and then changed it back to Prince, but wouldn’t he henceforth be known as The Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince?) produce the entire soundtrack. The movie still holds up. It’s dark, campy and over-the-top in turns. What followed next on the silver screen was a slow succession of awful sequels. While Batman Returns was entertaining, it created the now standard plot device of casting too many goddamned bad guys in one movie.

*If I may take a moment, when you create a movie that’s between an hour and a half and two hours and forty five minutes long that’s based on a popular superhero, there is no adequate amount of time to explain the origin of two or three separate villains, their motivations, fears, hopes, dreams, etc. What usually happens is that a secondary or third bad guy is thrown into the mix with little or no explanation as to where the hell he came from, how he came to be or why he’s even there.*

Burton got nixed after Batman Returns because the follow-up made less money, so the increasingly flamboyant Joel Schumacher stepped in with a 2 picture Day-Glow version of The Bat that almost killed the franchise. I have two words for you: nipple costumes. Batman Forever was okay (Kilmer insisted that the rest of the people on the set called him Bruce Wayne on-screen and off), but the fight scenes are confusing and poorly shot.

Batman & Robin had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. It was horrendous, from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s painfully punny one-liners as Mr. Freeze (‘Ice to see you.’) to the inexplicable and unexplainable inclusion of Bane (again, too many bad guys for one film) to Batman and Robin air-boarding out of a plane at a commercial altitude to relative safety. Unfortunately, I was working at a movie theater at the time and between the initial viewing, an employee screening and the insistence by the girl I was dating at the time that we go to see it (she adored George Clooney during an era when he couldn’t act), I had to sit through that movie three times in rapid succession. While I own the DVD, I have only watched it once and even then it was during a Batman Movie Marathon party I threw after the DVD release of The Dark Knight. Costumes were involved, as was much alcohol. Fun and frivolity was had by most.

Some time in the mid-90’s (the dog ate my citation), during the big fad in the industry of killing off or beating the shit out of our most beloved characters for the sake of driving up the perceived value of individual issues for material gain (see also: The Death Of Superman, which everyone’s mother, brother and second cousin owns four copies of ‘mint in box’), Batman: Knightfall came out, a story arc where Bane (who by the way was created by Buffalo’s own Graham Nolan) breaks Batman’s back and Wayne is forced to recruit a substitute teacher of sorts. The aforementioned two titles (along with many, many me-too costumed killings, maimings, disfigurings and mild papercuts on both sides of the DC/Marvel fence) destroyed the market for years to come. Comics as an investment lost their wow factor around the same time that baseball and football cards went into the toilet. Whether they’ve ever recovered is up for debate.

Taking two steps back (shortly after the release of Batman Returns), Batman: The Animated Series came out on Fox television. Visually it was absolutely stunning, and the plots walked a brilliant line between a throwback to the serial-style shorts in early cinema and a tip of the hat to the modern day. We have The Animated Series to thank for the creation/inclusion of Harley Quinn, Scarface and Detective Harvey Bullock into the lexicon. The Animated Series has given birth to even more series, from Batman Beyond to Justice League/Justice League Unlimited (while not technically all about Batman, he really is the belle of the ball in the ensemble) to The Batman (with a dread-locked Rastafarian Joker?) to Batman: The Brave & The Bold to the short-lived CGI-produced Beware The Batman (which didn’t sell enough toys to renew for another season according to Cartoon Network). I’m going to make a bold prediction here and say that there’s a remote possibility that someone somewhere will release another new cartoon show about Batman at some point.

I took a long break from reading comics around 1991 because someone made fun of me in high school for bringing a comic book to class. I started reading Stephen King after that, which is a far worse thing to do to yourself than reading comics, kids. I didn’t get back into comics until 2000 when I tried to trade my entire collection in (some eight or nine long boxes of single issues) only to get sweet-talked into trading some of them in for new graphic novels. It was around this time that I discovered Kingdom Come, Mark Waid and Alex Ross’s apocalyptic masterpiece about the end times through the lens of the DC Multiverse. Bruce Wayne (post-Dark Knight Returns era) is portrayed as an incredibly cynical revolutionary in a crumbling dystopian Gotham. A dynamic duo in their own right, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale delivered a one-two punch with Batman: The Long Halloween and Dark Victory, two succinctly grown-up storylines that take place sometime shortly after Year One in terms of comic chronology. After that, I suffered through Hush, Jeph Loeb and celebrated industry hack Jim Lee’s sensationalistic series with a trendy new villain and a trendy surprise cliffhanger identity.

In 2005, a little-known director known as Christopher Nolan began his Dark Knight trilogy, a realistic application of the Batman mythology in a modern-day, post-9/11 world where super-villains more closely resemble terrorists and gadgets designed for military application can be spray-painted black and added to the Dark Knight Detective’s utility belt. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, you should check it out. It’s pretty neat-o. Much (MUCH) has been said, written, tweeted, YouTubed, Instagrammed, Meme-ed, heard on street-corners and eulogized on the back of cereal boxes about these three movies by your humble author, critics-at-large, armchair critics and anyone with a pulse, so there is no need to delve into these three movies here. They are a pivotal part of our culture, they have changed the face of the superhero film and they have ensured the on-screen legacy of Batman for at least two or three more trilogies over the next two or three decades. ‘Nuff Said.

Around 2008/2009 (disclaimer: dates may not be accurate, factual or even tangentially related to anything in this essay), DC had a massive ‘crossover’ event helmed by writer Grant Morrison called Final Crisis. The long and the short is that Batman got killed by Darkseid, one of Superman’s big enemies. Well, not really. Weren’t you paying attention when I said that nobody every STAYS dead in comics? What really happened is that Batman got shot with a bullet that sent him back in time to the dawn of man, so he had to fight his way back to the present day by quantum-leaping through individual eras in Wayne history warping in and out through some kind of fugue state. Makes sense, right? Who HASN’T that happened to, am I right? It was a pretty intriguing storyline, and if you don’t suspend your disbelief when you open a comic book, well, you end up being the stereotypical rosacea-speckled fat kid with the asthma inhaler at conventions who argues over the minutiae and credibility of very inconsequential details during panels. Don’t be that fat kid.

2014 was (without a doubt) the Year Of The Bat. DC released two animated feature length films (Son Of Batman and Assault On Arkham, which both looked like rushed Japanime to me), the entire run of the ‘Batman ’66’ live action series with Adam West, Lego Batman 3 the video game and ‘Gotham’, a new live action prequel series that’s a delightful blend of perhaps HBO’s ‘The Wire’ and ‘Muppet Babies’ (for those of you who remember and get that reference). It was a great albeit expensive year for Batman fanatics everywhere, present party included.

By my calculations, by the time we reach the 100th anniversary of Batman I will be either dead (preferably dead by stripper somehow and some way) or 64 years old. What is it about Batman that strikes such a chord in our collective unconscious that he’s maintained his chokehold on the marketplace for so long? It could be that he’s one of the only superheroes who has no alien superpowers, radioactive gifts or occult-based derring-do. He’s mortal, bruises and all; he’s a demonstration of weaponized will. He’s also got the best collection of villains in the business, better known as his ‘Rogue’s Gallery’. Maybe it’s his tragic origin story, orphaned at a young age as a child of privilege and forced to come to grips with a pessimistic worldview of a criminal society that closely resembles our own. Or it could just be the Bat Shark Repellent Spray.

Reading tentacle Bat-Manga porn by flashlight,

Tom Waters

Tom Waters

Tom Waters is the author of eleven books of humor, memoir and poetry. He’s also the host of Big Words I Know By Heart (YouTube), a comedy show that pushes the boundaries of the polite interview format. Since 2000, Waters has appeared in The Buffalo News, Artvoice, Buffalo Spree and Buffalo Rising as well as across the globe.

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