I'm 80% Loved
It seems that some 287 people have voted on the overall quality of my blog over at Bloghop. Sure, I must have voted myself about 286 times, but assuming I'm incorrect about the number of times I've said I was awesome, let's examine the numbers.
- 166 people, saints all, LOVE IT!
- 34 genuinely nice people say it is GOOD.
- 32 average folks think the old blog is just OKAY.
- 30 people, all likely degenerate child molesters, say it SUCKS.
- 25 bed-wetting, puppy-killing, Nazi/Communist/Terrorists HATE IT!
Naturally, I'm very pleased that anyone has taken the time to chime in and leave a vote for my blog. I'll try to do better.
I should also mention that the eager-to-please, attention-starved entertainer in me has completely ignored the LOVE IT & GOOD voters and is OBSESSED with the OKAY, SUCKS and HATE IT votes!
Now I don't want to sway the voting at all, as it is important for honesty and integrity in the internet. Of course I have absolutely no integrity so if you want to vote LOVE IT for this blog, simply CLICK HERE a few hundred times. ;)
The Sun is Shining on this Dog's Ass Today
Since I highly doubt I'll ever win any other writing awards or even be read by anyone outside of my little blog world I choose to be as proud of this award (and the accompanying cool t-shirt
!) as I would be if I'd won a Pulitzer. Besides, I get all squishy thinking that a bodacious babe like Jessika is thinking about me at all so I have to "stomp & shout, work it on out"
Many thanks, Jessika. I am sure that you'd win a few contests of my own if I ever ran any. You'd certainly be in the top ten of my "Hottest Bloggers that I'm Unlikely to Ever Sleep With" contest or the "Ladies that Would Surely Not Ever Talk to Me in Real Life" contest. ;)
No matter what, you'll always be one of my favorite people, especially now that I know you have such great taste in humor writing. LOL!
Not So Much Hell Gigginess
So the gig wasn't nearly as bad as I'd feared. Thankfully, there were not that many kids so I actually could do some performing and some balloon twisting with minimal anger and humiliation. If I thought I could make sure all balloon twisting jobs would be this pain-free I'd surely take more of them.
I thought I'd reprint one of my columns, "Out of the Mouths of Babes", so I could share the events of one not-so-hellish balloon twisting gig that came at the beginning of my "career". I haven't reprinted or debuted any sort of humor/essay pieces in awhile so why not fix that now? Enjoy.
Out of the Mouths of Babes
When you start out as a performer, especially a “variety artist” like a juggler you have to take a lot of crappy jobs. Birthday parties are a great example. Early on in my career I managed to book an event for my home town festival where I was to stroll around the park grounds and juggle for people waiting in line for hot dogs. Next stop...SUPERSTARDOM!
It was commonly known that I was doing this for $50.00 for my 5 hours of work, something of a humbling experience. Along with my juggling duties I was to make the dreaded balloon animals for anyone who wanted them. To add to the pain, in the crowd was my first ex-girlfriend and the guy she left me for. THIS was an awful gig!
During the day I had to try and entertain many of my small-town pseudo-friends and endure the insults from high school classmates, most of whom wanted to kick my ass most of the time. I got to watch as my former grade school teachers chatted with my parents about how I was a brat in their class and it figured I’d “end up like that”. My teenage need for a little gas money and a desire to fuel my need to become an entertainer was what kept me there.
I’ve always thought I had whatever was necessary to “make it” in the business. Perhaps my own fear of failure and lack of drive keeps me at the level I’m at now. However, what happened on that particular day provided a spark of incentive to never completely give up hope.
I ran into a man who worked at the local paper. This man wrote a story about me after I won a local talent contest. Small towns are always looking to find something to print in their papers and upon occasion, I was a suitably interesting topic.
This reporter had his little daughter with him in a stroller. I’m not sure exactly what her age was but I am confident that it was still counted in terms of months as opposed to years. This girl was about the cutest kid on the planet. She could have been on a baby food jar she was that cute. Blue eyes, blond curls, rosy cheeks, even the drool coming out of her mouth was cute. It pains me to say this because I DO NOT like kids and don’t find any of them adorable! That being said, she was adorable nonetheless.
I stood there talking to the reporter and catching up a little bit. The daughter was fascinated with my red suspenders and cool shoes. I eventually began juggling for her and trying to solicit a smile or some sort of expression from her. She did end up smiling a bit and seemed to enjoy my stupid antics.
It was a bit hard to get those reactions because she was sucking on a pacifier pretty hard and Lord knows that a baby’s binky is a sacred object. No baby or parent ever wants that thing to leave the mouth. I’m not sure if it’s because the kid will start crying or if it will deflate like a balloon and start PBbFFFtppsst-ing through the sky. All I know is that a kid of that age rarely takes the chance of losing the pacifier by smiling or laughing too hard.
By this point my Mother came by and also joined in the side conversations with my friend. I continued entertaining my audience of one and got those cute little kid laughs and grins that make parents dash for their cameras.
Now don’t think for a minute that I’m going to give you the whole maudlin “the smiles on the faces of children is why I do this” crap. It is not. I do it for the money and my own need for attention. Even when rejecting this cliché, what happened next stuck in my mind.
It became time for my friend and only audience member to leave. I asked him if he thought his daughter would like to have a balloon animal. You always have to ask with a kid that age because you don’t want the little buggers to bite them, pop them and maybe choke on a piece of a balloon. What a waste of a good balloon. Ba-Dum-BUMP! He said it would be fine if I gave her a little souvenir from the show.
I made a simple balloon dog, a staple in the balloon animal industry, and kneeled down to give it to her. She sat there, chubby cheeks, curls, binky, and all, staring at the balloon not knowing what to do. I tried to look friendly and non-threatening, moving slowly and telling her in a soft voice it was O.K. to take the balloon.
The moment stopped and became quiet. We all watched the kid. Eventually her small hand took the balloon out of my hand. She looked at it very carefully and inspected it as if she were the quality control expert for the entire balloon dog industry. She then looked right back at me and with her other hand took the pacifier out of her mouth. Instead of doing the typical baby thing and putting the balloon into her mouth she handed me the pacifier and smiled as she began playing with the balloon.
To all witnesses it appeared as though this was suitable payment for a job well done. We all laughed a little thinking about the thought process that made this little girl determine that my entertaining her was worthy of some sort of barter or exchange. The dad stood amazed and remarked about how she never let the pacifier out of her sight.
It was such a completely pure and genuine indication that I had done a good job entertaining this one person I almost became teary-eyed.. Her innocent gesture, this simple gift of the only thing she possessed and bestowed value upon in return for my services was profoundly more significant and fulfilling than any paycheck. I spent the rest of the day holding my head up a little higher and thinking about one of the best performances I’d ever given, and how only a few people saw the show.
I kept the pacifier and walked away. The kid started crying but I didn’t care. I was a star now! She should have thought about the consequences of her actions before giving it away. “Learn about life’s little cruelties now, baby ‘cuz it don’t get any better,” I thought. Near as I figured, I taught her a valuable lesson that day. Years later I sold the damn thing on eBay for enough money to buy a marijuana joint and a bottle of Mogen David. Good times, good times.
NO! I didn’t do any of that. What kind of jerk do you think I am? The story was just getting too sweet for my tastes.
I gave the binky back and she made attempts to give it back to me. I guess she did not understand that I was already getting paid and my contract rider had no stipulations about receiving a used pacifier. When I managed to make her understand she could keep the pacifier AND the balloon she smiled the biggest smile I’d ever seen and cradled the balloon, keeping it close to her heart.
Some performers spend their entire lives wondering if they made a difference on anyone’s lives. The worry that we’ll not be remembered or appreciated is always there. Every performer spends time fearing the possibility that we’re not connecting with our audience or we’re in the wrong profession. It’s a horrifying prospect because the applause and laughter is sometimes the only indication that we’re any good. On that day that I felt I had made the right career choice.
Hell Gig Today
In the entertainment business there are fee things on Earth I hate doing more than making balloon animals.
The bookings are always too long and they rarely pay enough to justify the trouble. Kids & parents alike become wretched pains in my ass when balloon animals are involved. They're all rude and impatient and not deserving of the little treat and fleeting happiness that comes from receiving a damn balloon animal.
Early on, most of my gigs involved these things. It is a staple in the craptacular array of "never-gonna-be-famous" world of show business. I started phasing them out of the repertoire some years back. I wanted to do more actual comedy & juggling and genuine PERFORMING! Even a strolling gig as a juggler is not as much fun as a stage show, but it beats the living hell out of being a balloon twister at some spoiled brat picnic! I'm booked as both a juggler and a balloon twister, but really, once the first damned balloon is blown up, that's ALL I'll be doing from noon to four today.
You can tell things have been slow this year when you find out that I have taken a balloon twisting gig. Thankfully July & August are very busy for me and I'm very happy about that. Of course, I have this balloon gig today and I'm dreading it in every way. It has been so slow this year otherwise I've actually...GULP...humored the possibility of reminding all the agencies that I do balloons. I'm even looking into battery-operated balloon pumps.
Lord help me! I don't want to be one of those desperate and sad freaks in his 50's working a birthday party for gas money! I need an agent, a publicist, a manager, a move to L.A. or Vegas (NO New York for me!) and the money to afford all of these things. Oh well. It's only four hours out of my life.
SPAM You Can Use
No I'm not posting another photo of a can of SPAM. That's next week. ;)
I am quite sure I did not receive this from a regular reader as the e-mail would suggest. However I am all about useless information. Therefore, Check this out & enjoy.
From: "Gillam, Ashley" agillam@WeberShandwick.com
To: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" email@example.com
Subject: Interesting site with video clips and bathroom facts
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2005 17:33:20 -0500
I thought you might be interested in adding a link to www.angelsoftpresents.com. It has a sweepstake and bizarre bathroom facts (did you know that the most common bathroom blunder is falling into the toilet when the seat is left up?). It also has cool clips of the Angel Soft "Bathroom Moments" commercials. I'll bet some of your readers can relate to those.
In Honor of Kim
Kim was bitten by a dog this past weekend.
She was kind enough to post a photo of her injuries as well as one SMOKIN' photo of her lovely self in the "before" section.
Since I have been internet crushing on her all day (Did I mention she posted a FINE photo of her not-so-bitten self?) I thought I'd post a photo of myself after one DOOZY of a blowout.
Maybe she'll get all squishy for me, seeing me all bloodied up. Who knows?
The scan doesn't really do justice to the spectacular color and severity of the injury. I had to be about 15 or 16 here.
This happened to me after school one day. I got into it with someone about something. I forget what. After much "discussion" I ended up with quite the shiner.
The person who gave me this? One of my teachers!
If that wasn't humiliating and disgusting enough, that teacher was a woman!
Yep, my drama teacher, Ms. Roupas, decided to give me one hell of a big gash on my eye. I can't blame her. If I'd spent months learning all sorts of kick-ass Hollywood make-up techniques I'd want to show them off too.
She was dying to have a little fun with her new make-up skills and I was more than happy to be her victim. The principal of the school was fooled at close range and even started taking me to see the school nurse when he saw it.
I suppose I shouldn't have come home and scared the ever-living shit out of my mother by hobbling home, but nobody ever said I was a good kid.
Hope you're feeling better, Kim. By the way, you're even a hottie with the scars!
March On, Brave Penguins!
Click to enlarge
Up two spots from last week, "March of the Penguins".
Go see this movie. You won't be sorry.
It's a Shame More People Aren't Reading The Vegas Brothers Blog
U.S. Box Office Actuals - Weekend of July 15, 2005
Just thought you'd like to know.
Check your local listings.
MANY theatres added this week!
Just A Few Words
"Nuclear" is pronounced "noo-klee-r" . If you pronounce this word as "noo-cue-lur" then you are "stoo-pid".
"Irregardless" is NOT a word. The word you want to use is "regardless". I'll use it in a sentence for you. "Regardless of how stupid you are, 'irregardless' is not a fucking word!"
"Hopefully" is possibly the world's most misused word. I myself make this mistake. If you are hopeful that something will happen, then you should simply say, "I am hopeful people will stop saying, 'irregardless' one day." If you want to use "hopefully" in a sentence correctly use this sentence as a guideline, "I look, hopefully, towards a day when people stop saying 'irregardless and mispronouncing 'nuclear.'"
"Finalize" does not exist in the dictionary. It is a made up word that everyone insists on using as if it actually existed in any respectable dictionary. It doesn't. Stop being a moron by using this word.
When in Chicago you may watch the Bears play (and lose) in "Soldier Field". Both "soldier" and "field" are singular entities. They are also not possessive words, as in "Soldier's Field". People in this damn town and beyond fuck that one up all the time and I'm tired of hearing it. From now on, please refer to "Soldier Field" as "The place where the Bears finalize their losing status by crashing like a noo-cue-lur bomb every game, irregardless of how much money they've spent on a new stadium."
Hopefully, you've learned something today.
July 22, 2005 UPDATE!
I will concede the existence on "finalize" in a dictionary as it is actually listed in a few online dictionaries. I will not accept it as proper or even a "real word" as all of the usage notes found within these listings support it as being barely above slang and certainly not proper. It seems to be gaining acceptance for use thanks to constant misuse and that is not acceptable by my standards. It also seems to becoming acceptable because it does not have any exact synonyms. I wonder how a word that doesn't exist can have a synonym in the first place.
If it is in the OED (on paper) and you can get some points for it in Scrabble we'll talk. Until then, "finalize" still "ain't" a word.
Another INSANE Weekend
I was a driving & juggling fool all of last weekend. To make things worse I was caught in several rain storms in between sweltering heat sessions. At one point I was supposed to do my comedy & juggling shows all while a SMALL distraction was happening near by. That distraction was an AIR SHOW!
Yep, I had to try and juggle and tell jokes all while the freakin' Blue Angels were blasting past us. Not an easy weekend. I had to remind myself that I was getting paid to juggle during an air show. If those checks ever arrive I'll be much happier.
This weekend I am hopeful the storms, the heat, and the damned Blue Angels won't be around. Of course, I am still very much driving like a maniac all around the Midwest.
I have a local booking tomorrow. The following day I drive up to northern Wisconsin where I meet up with my brother to watch a College Wood Bat League baseball game in Eau Claire. Saturday I perform a show at 10:30 AM in Winter, WI and then pack up the car to go ALL THE WAY back to Milwaukee for an evening gig at the zoo. I think I'll have Sunday to rest.
When it rains, it pours I guess.
So this is WAY overdue, but at least I got to it all. It seems that people just can't stop themselves from taking photos with the Flying Penguinis. They're popping up all over the darned internet and even youngsters like Missy and Kamalani are being corrupted! I don't know what to say. My guess is that Ma has to occupy her time somehow and she's decided to confuse small children across the island. LOL!
The madness seems to be centered in Hawaii these days. Check out the shots featuring the Buckleys, Becky, Bitchitude & Doyle. If I ever play Hawaii I'll be bigger than Don Freakin' Ho!
Thanks for the lunacy guys. Click on the pics for larger views!
Wanna See Lots of Pictures of Me Working?
Go HERE! These are from a gig I did last week some time.
This site will only be up for a few more days so ACT FAST!
I'll be the one who looks like Jake Blues, NOT the juggler! ;)
If you have high speed you can save lots of the photos for your own stalking pleasure.
A Look At Some Recent Fan Mail (Longer post...Sorry)
As you may know, I offer a FREE collector's card to anyone willing to send me an e-mail and request the darned thing. Lately I've received quite a few of these e-mails. It is certainly flattering and it is always a good way to promote my act.
Of course, the special moment is somewhat ruined when I catch you blatantly lying about me, my act, or my abilities. I'm not famous nor inaccessible. I'm certainly no celebrity nor am I important in any way to anybody outside of family so don't sugar-coat your request. I promise, you'll get the card and autograph regardless. You get no bonus points for creativity.
I know what you're thinking. You want proof. Well, OK.
I'll leave the names out of here as I don't want to embarrass anyone. Here are some of the most recent requests for Andy memorabilia. We'll start with some of the less flattering, more believable requests and then go from there.
Here's one from Arkansas. It is simple and to the point. It is even amusing to me so that's always good.
May I please have one of your collector cards and please autograph it for me to add to my personal autograph collection, also if you want to get rid of some of your older cards I will take them as well LOL,I love to collect autographs and a friend of mine from Chicago saw you in a nightclub and said you are are really funny guy.Thank you for your time."
Nice. I'd have liked to know where this friend saw my act, if in fact there was a friend who saw me somewhere, but regardless it is nice to see letters like these in my inbox.
Another simple one, this time from New Jersey.
"I really enjoyed your juggling act when I saw you in Chicago a while back. You are hilarious, dude! I'd truly consider it an honor and a privilege if you could send me your autographed photo. Thanks so much for your valuable time and consideration, and best of luck in your future endeavors."
Once again, I'd like to know where this guy saw me. I assumed since it was a request from New Jersey (and based on when I received this letter), he may have seen me at Jon Spiegel's birthday bash. I answer all of my fan mail, but rarely get any sort of response in return so I don't know what the whole story is here.
Let's move on. This is a request from Belgium. I get quite a lot of international e-mails. As it happens I'm HUGE in Indonesia! This would be the first time I got such a specific request for a signature. I'm assuming the guy is either an autograph collector or some sort of identity thief. ;)
yes, I would like to receive your card signed and personalized :
could I also have an autograph on a white card or paper ?
thank you very much."
I took my penguin paper cutter out and made a real Andy souvenir for this guy. I hope he liked it...and that he's not using my signature to buy a car or something.
Now let's get past the nice and simple e-mails and get to the good stuff. How about some fan mail from a couple of German ladies!
"Dear Mr. Martello!
My girlfriend and me are great fans of you. Unfortunately we've never had the chance of meeting you personally. Therefore we would ask you, if you please could send us 2 original autograph photos of you. Many thanks in advance for your kindness. We wish you all the best for the future."
Now we're talking! In my mind these are two German supermodels that own a sex club with a martini & cigar lounge. Of course, not ever receiving an e-mail in return I'll never know. Once again, not too weird or overly flattering an e-mail, but it starts to bust out from here.
Returning back to the States...
Hello,I just thought I would write you an email telling you how much a fan I am of yours. I think you are one of the greatest ComedianÂs I have ever seen. I try to go to your shows whenever I can. I love seeing you live. How do you come up for the ideas of the things you do? I hope you keep up the great work and someday I hope to be as good as a Comedian as you are.If you don't mind I would love to have an autographed picture of you to hang on my wall. I would really appreciate it.
OK, this one came from a town in Pennsylvania that I've never worked, never visited, and never heard of. I KNOW this guy is just buttering me up. I did in fact send a response letting him know that I knew he was laying it on too think, but I did answer his questions about comedy theory and, of course, sent out the photos.
How about a word from the French?
First and foremost, I beg your pardon for my mistakes. But my English language is very poor and very bad...
I have been one of your constant young French admirers for a long time. Yes ! Believe me ! Because you are truly a great entertainer, I am sure that you are a popular artist with a lot of personality. So I would be most grateful if you had the kindness tofulfilll my dearest wish. I hope to have one of pictures personally signed by you and, if possible, personalized to me. Thank you so much in advance. I realize that you must receive many similar requests but I hope that you will find the time to answer mine. I am not an autographs dealer. I am only a young man who loves entertainment. Please, answer to me : it is some secondes of your heed but it is an everlasting remembrance for me."
Isn't that the sweetest thing? Maybe these folks find my website and enjoy the videos. Maybe they read the blog. Maybe they've read my many smart-assed columns somewhere on the web. Or maybe, they're just completely unaware that I'm so lonely and attention-starved I'd send em a card if the e-mail read, "Hey fuckwad, are ya whackin' it? Send me a card or I'll kill your pets!"
This last one, received just the other day, IS from an autograph collector. I'm assuming this guy is writing on the speculation that I'll one day hit the big time. I can respect this because if I did hit it big, perhaps I'd become a bigger asshole than I already am and start charging people for my signature at some memorabilia shows. Regardless, it is another guy that doesn't realize I'm NOBODY! It is still nice to get the requests. His card went out in today's mail. Notice how this guy really wants to make sure the thing arrives safely!
"Dear Mr. Andy Martello
My name is ******** and I am from Canada. I am an autograph collector and although I have many autographs from famous Canadian celebrities, I had only recently started a project in collecting autographs from famous groups of people from around the world.
I just want to say what a truly wonderful comedian you are. I recently started a project and was trying collect as many presenters and comedians as possible from the U.S.A. America is one of the most kindest places to ask and I was wondering if I could get your autograph as well.
I was wondering if you could please kindly sign an autograph photo of yourself, and send it to the below address.
I can't thank-you enough for all of this.Can you also mark clearly DO NOT BEND on the envelope. I do not wish to have the mailman bend the photo. I can't thank-you enough for all of this. It would be greatly appreciated if you can do this for me and I wish you all the best of luck in all your future endeavors. Thank-you. "
I haven't performed in Canada in over 15 years. I know I'm not on any TV shows out there. He must also be speculating that I'm a funny comedian. I wonder if my card will be next to William Shatner's.
Later this week, I'll share some actual fan letters from kids that came in the good old U.S. Mail many years ago.
For No Other Reason...
As if I really needed a reason!
Busy Weekend for a Change
Booking locally today.
Then head to Auburn Hills, Michigan for gig tomorrow.
Head back home right after gig in Michigan.
5 Hour gig in Milwaukee on Sunday.
So...I likely won't be able to post anything for a bit. I must apologize to a few folks about my lack of posting. I mean I left you with plenty to read while I'm away but I've been neglecting my posting, commenting, and blog-whoring duties of late.
Been in something of a funk lately about the biz and working my ass off to try and get things on track. I've got a lot of eggs in The Vegas Brothers basket and I'm losing patience with some of the other stuff. With all that going on I've had little incentive to blog much of anything or respond to other things.
I owe Bud some comedy input regarding a silly law.
I owe Jade some commentary about something comedy related.
I should send Jade some cash or something helpful so her neighbors with nothing can have something again.
Ma, Bitchitude, & Doyle are posting Penguinis everywhere.
Becky leaves comments a plenty here and I haven't had much of a chance to reciprocate.
I've got to get all signed up as an imaginary internet harem boy for Golfwidow.
As you can see, I'm not up to snuff with my blogging responsibilities. Many apologies.
The Aristocrats BANNED By AMC Theatres!
Those of you that have been faithfully reading my blog for some time now (both of you) know that I have been eagerly awaiting the release of "The Aristocrats", a documentary film by fellow Ringling Bros. Clown College graduate, Penn Jillette and veteran comedian Paul Provenza.
If you need a refresher course, check these past posts from Andy Land. Here & Here. There is also a reprint of a Chicago Tribune article HERE.
The film was a huge success at the Sundance Film Festival and has been touted by many of the world's most respected critics as one of the funniest films ever made. None of this comes as a surprise to me because the subject of the film is a single joke.
This joke, told by virtually every comedian that has ever graced a stage (myself included), is arguably the most disgusting, vulgar, and utterly vile jokes ever written. The punch line of the joke (sometimes known as "The Sophisticates" , is represented in the title of the film. Don't worry. Knowing the punch line doesn't really ruin the joke at all. Just one more reason why this would be a fascinating movie.
Normally this joke is only told to other performers and is not used for the stage. It is known throughout the show business community and told as something of calling card for the comics and performers. Your version of the joke may tell a lot to other comedians about your ability and style. No matter where it is told and how it is delivered, the prospect of an entire documentary film being made about a dirty joke and how comedians interpret and perform it is simply genius in concept.
As it happens, AMC Theatres is backing out of it's agreement to run the movie in two major markets, Chicago included. The film, scheduled for an August release, was banned from the theatre chain, citing the subject matter may have too limited an appeal to warrant being shown on too many screens and wouldn't make enough money. In reality, they're afraid of offending people.
In defense of "The Aristocrats" I must make mention of the fact that in the past, AMC theatres ran the John Waters, NC-17 rated sexploitation/exploration comedy, "A Dirty Shame" just last year. That particular film featured references to virtually EVERY fetish known to man and was not shy in explaining what many of them were (How many references to "blossoms" and "golden showers" do you need to have limited appeal, AMC?).
AMC also ran all three of the "American Pie" films, which featured an adolescent male having sex with an apple pie, consumption of urine & fecal matter, lesbians, and a large number of musical instruments being inserted into various orifices.
I seem to recall, "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" , being in many an AMC theatre last year. That film features Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser) sniffing cocaine off of the ass of a naked stripper, and the line "Shotgun anus" (Just watch the film. You'll get the joke.) among other fairly lewd acts.
I even recall a very controversial documentary by Michael Moore making millions on screens across the country, including AMC screens. Surely "Fahrenheit 911" had "limited appeal". I mean, half the country hated the film, right?
All of these films were rather hysterical and very popular among the movie-going populace. Those that didn't want to watch such things simply didn't go to the theatre. I'm being denied my choice to see or not see "The Aristocrats" because AMC is afraid of complaints and unwilling to honor their contracts. Too limited an appeal indeed!
Let me ask you this, AMC, do you think a movie poster boasting a cast like this would have a large appeal if the subject matter were somehow different? I'll list a few of the cast members here in case you don't feel like reading the linked IMDB listing.
Jason Alexander,Hank Azaria,Shelley Berman,Lewis Black,David Brenner,Drew Carey, George Carlin,Billy Connolly,Tim Conway,Andy Dick,Phyllis Diller,Carrie Fisher,Whoopi Goldberg,Gilbert Gottfried,Eric Idle,Eddie Izzard,Richard Jeni,Penn Jillette,Richard Lewis,Bill Maher,Howie Mandel,Michael McKean,Martin Mull,Kevin Nealon,Trey Parker,Kevin Pollak,Paul Reiser,Don Rickles,Chris Rock,Rita Rudner,Bob Saget,Harry Shearer,Dick Smothers,Tom Smothers,David Steinberg,Matt Stone,Rip Taylor,Teller,Fred Willard,Robin Williams, & Steven Wright
Last time I checked, many of those people were responsible for untold BILLIONS of dollars in box office sales, TV ratings, best-selling books, CD & album sales, and have won countless Emmys, Oscars, Golden Globes, & Tony Awards. Your argument doesn't stand up to this stand-up's scrutiny AMC.
Stop hiding behind mumbo-jumbo and just admit that you're too afraid to show a great film because of worries about angry letters. By the way, the F.C.C. cannot fine you for running the film on your screens. Just thought you'd like to know that.
Anyway, if any of you would like to see this film in theatres, feel free to send AMC an e-mail and voice your opinion. Regardless of if you like dirty jokes or not, this does look a little bit like a free speech issue to me (if you want to get all political, I mean). More importantly, it is just silly to think that a film that clearly would put a few paying asses in their seats would be hidden away for fear of offending a few people. It is 2005 for fuck's sake! The poster even says, in big bold letters, "No Nudity. No Violence. Unspeakable Obscenity." I think most people can figure it out before buying their ticket.
March of the Penguins - A Review of Sorts
I am sure most of you can't imagine traveling an hour in order to find a theatre playing a documentary about the mating rituals and hardships of the Emperor Penguins in Antarctica. Of course, if you know me you have no problem imagining ME doing such a thing.
In fact, that is what I did today after my stint on the telly today. After a rather fun and somewhat unusual morning of juggling, fire-eating, and plate-spinning on the WGN Morning News, April and I set out to Evanston where they were screening the most fascinating, March of the Penguins, every hour!
It is no secret that I am rather fond of penguins. It shouldn't come as a surprise that I enjoyed the film and would recommend it to anyone willing to listen to me blather on about it. However there are some things about the film that bear mentioning here as I believe most anyone, even those with absolutely no interest in Antarctic Penguin life would find this film to be truly special.
If you have any sort of appreciation for the art of film-making you have no choice but to be amazed by this stunning masterpiece. The sheer determination of the Emperor Penguins is rivaled by those of the film crew, enduring well over a year of the most awful conditions on Earth. At times the winter storms brought temperatures as low as 80 degrees below zero and that did not account for the 100 MILE AN HOUR winds. To be able to capture the vivid, exciting and certainly beautiful images was a feat in and of itself.
Next, this film was treated more like a Hollywood love story than a documentary. The story telling was emotional and heartfelt. There were plenty of times where the combination of the music, cinematography, and story being told would bring you to tears, both joyful and sorrow-filled. Even the actual mating sequence was made to look like something out of a modern romance flick, complete with mood lighting and a killer musical score.
There were times of tragedy & times of celebration. You found emotion within the faces of birds that should otherwise not have any hint of feeling or concern. The film is both triumphant and remarkable in its ability to tell a story of survival and grace so well.
You can watch this to learn something about an unusual species of bird. You can watch this for entertainment value. You can watch this as a film student. No matter how you look at this, you will walk away better for the privilege of seeing it. April and I have been talking about the damned thing ever since leaving the theatre and we're already planning on seeing it again very soon. Since it seems to be doing quite well in he theatres, I am confident it will come to a screen near you one day soon. Please, go see this fine film.
Random Celebrity Memories! Vol. Four: Sandi Patty
Let's go for the polar opposites with this one. About the only similarity to this story and the Anthony Anderson story is that they both happened ridiculously early in the morning.
In order to welcome conference guests to Chicago, I was to sing a couple of Blues Brothers tunes along with my partner, Jim Bina, at 7 or 8 AM for the National Association of Electrical Distributors conference, being held at the downtown Sheraton in Chicago. If that isn't strange enough I had to follow a performance of the Star-Spangled Banner by Christian recording mega-star, Sandi Patty.
This was not too soon after the 9/11 attacks and Sandi was making BANK singing her rousing version of the song most everywhere. I still can't quite fathom the oddity of singing "Soul Man" or "Sweet Home Chicago" immediately after Sandi Patty singing the National Anthem. In a sense, she was MY opening act. Hmmm, never thought about it like that before. Heh heh heh.
I'd LOVE to have some killer stories about how Sandi was a total diva-bitch who wreaked havoc backstage, or a tale of toking on some mondo weed she'd scored on a recent trip to Amsterdam. Heck I'd even enjoy having some torrid rambling about a wild sexcapade and hedonistic orgy we all enjoyed in her dressing room. Of course, I can't lay claim to any of these types of reminiscences.
Sandi Patty was a charming and lovely woman. She was extremely kind and friendly to everyone and was a joy to work with. Her voice was powerful and clear and most beautiful to listen to as it filled the room. She had nothing but kind things to say about my performance and we shared some similar horror stories from years on the road. We both laughed at how bizarre the juxtaposition of her act with mine was, but it all seemed to make more sense to her since I'm quite confident she made about a million times more cash than I did that day.
In all the show went well and I enjoyed the day. However there were a few other noteworthy things to mention about that particular show.
Also in attendance was Hall of Fame NFL coach, Don Shula (I'll relay that story another time) and later in the day, at the same hotel (for a different function), President Bush (NOT the original, the sequel) was arriving to deliver a rousing speech, presumably about chuckling, smirking, and drooling or something of which he has expert knowledge. Most of the time I was there, in Blues Brothers attire, I was being cased by Secret Service agents who were sent there ahead of G-Dub to make sure nothing untoward was happening. Strangely, nobody minded the two men in black suits, sunglasses, and hats. Strange days indeed.
Random Celebrity Photos! Vol. Four: Anthony Anderson
A Natural Gift for Useless Skills
Since I'm hoping to get some screen time on the WGN Morning News tomorrow I thought I'd share some screen shots from the last time I was on the program. This was a couple of years back and I was there to do a plate-spinning demonstration.
Jeff Hoover, the producer of the program, has always loved vaudeville and the history of The Bozo Show. It seems a perfect fit that he works at the station where The Bozo Show aired for 40 years and was kind enough to feature my lunacy at least six times.
Jeff has always thought that a great segment would be to have as many acts that were once on The Bozo Show to come in and add a little fun to the program from time to time and that's where I came in.
On this particular day, actor/comedian, Anthony Anderson was also to be on the show promoting his now defunct WB sitcom, "All About the Andersons". Anthony's career has really taken off in recent days and now that he's been cleared of some charges of wrong-doing it seems much more comfortable to talk about meeting him and "working" with him.
Anthony is a funny guy and was well-liked around the set. He provided a morning show with exactly the kind of entertaining guest you want at 6 AM and he seemingly took over the WGN studios with some lunacy of his own. He even agreed to play along and try his hand at spinning plates and some other juggling techniques during my two 30-second "bumps" prior to my segment.
Being a hell of a good teacher I was able to get Mr. Anderson to master the rather useless skill of plate-spinning in no time and as so many Hollywood scripts like to say, hilarity ensued. We broke many plates, we entertained the crowd, we plugged our respective projects. I got some good video to use for future promo and he got the thrill of being able to say he spun plates on national TV. I'm sitting here and he's making movies and getting great reviews for his work on "The Shield". Seems about right. I'm sure he still talks about his plate-spinning debut to this day. It has to be right up there with making "Kangaroo Jack".
The Vaults Are SO Fucking Open!
My mom e-mailed me to remind me of some other juggling photos in the same theme as the Barker Lake photo. I remembered where I'd stored the damned things and thought I'd post them here to keep with the whole Andy nostalgia string of posts.
This time the photos are of me in a snow drift. Once again I didn't wear a costume and in this particular case the photos didn't turn out nearly as well as the lake picture. This is not a sleight against my mom, who took the photos. No, this had more to do with the fact that the stupid snow, which had been forecast as a major blizzard, didn't really amount to any significant accumulation or drifts. I had to "fake" the photo as best as I could by finding the deepest snow possible and kneel into it in order to create the illusion that I was submerged in snow and juggling.
The idea was that I'd be at least waist-high in snow and still juggling, giving the comical implication that I'd been there juggling for so long and was so involved in giving my performance I didn't notice the blizzard falling around me.
I found two different spots for my mom to take the snapshots and I had to walk clear around the photo area and walk in a very straight line towards my mark so you wouldn't be able to see my footprints in the snow behind me. Clever, eh? Today I'd just Photoshop the fucker and nobody would be impressed.
The photos turned out alright, but as with the previous efforts, were not suitable for any sort of real promotional purposes. About all they are good for are a few laughs and for content in this blog. Ta-daaaaaaa!
More Archival Material
Not that I think anyone will really care about the insignificant mark I'll leave on the world after I'm gone or anything. I just like to have something for you to read and look at. If it helps chronicle the journey of absolute mediocrity that is the life and times of Andy Martello then so be it.
This would have to be my Senior year of high school. I was in the theatre, which is where you could almost always find me, and I was just messing around.
I'm not sure what on Earth is so fascinating about balancing a chair on my face, but it is something people always remember and applaud a lot for. I was just bored at the time and it was very likely that I was trying to impress some of the girls in the area, even more likely trying to impress the girl taking the photo (MAJOR BABE that I'd NEVER have a chance with in a go-zillion years. She knows who she is and if she ever sees this she'll know that I wasn't making a joke all those times I told here how attractive she was.).
There's a lot to look at in this photo. First off, I was actually a fairly thin and well-proportioned guy. Who knew? Next, the photo is actually pretty good. Nice balance and composition and it can be used in many ways. I believe it is among the ONLY candid photos of me to ever appear in a year book.Also, note the Second City t-shirt. At the time I fancied going to the famed school of improvisational theatre and chase my dreams of comedy stardom.
Living in such a small town at the time, wearing such a shirt implied I was incredibly more hip and worldly than I actually was. I mean, the Second City is in...CHICAGO! People in Marengo RARELY venture out to such a place. To them, the big city was and is Rockford. Not quite the same. In any event the shirt gave me a hint of cool that was sorely lacking most all other times I'm sure. Plus is was red with black letters and red & black has been my favorite color scheme for years.
I did make a few trips to Second City to see what the prospects for taking the classes and pursuing the dream were. Turns out I didn't have the cash to take the classes (not much at the time, really) and since I'd already decided not to go to college it was made very clear to me that I wouldn't be getting any cash from the parents to go (no biggie).
I also wasn't really ready for the place. I'd just gotten back from Clown College and had been doing some performing for a few years, but I wasn't really mature enough to do what was necessary to make the place worth the time. In short, I'd have wasted the experience, something I'm very good at. The difference between then and now is that somehow, I knew THEN I'd not make the best of the time and I chose not to waste the time and money. I don't have that kind of discipline now.
In retrospect I really wish I had gone regardless of my ability to fritter away my ability. They were willing to allow me to take the beginning and advanced classes for the same price as just the beginning classes, based upon my past performing experience. I'm sure I'd be farther along in the old career today if I'd have gone. This was around 1988 or 1989 and Second City still had some hip credibility and cache' in the performing world. Don't get me wrong, you can still see some great shows and many a fine performer comes out of the place, but it is not the same as it was.
At the time I was thinking of going, Second City was celebrating their last hurrah as THE ultra-hip haven for future gods of comedy. Now, even though it still offers excellent training and numerous performing opportunities (there are some great high-end contacts within the place) it is more of a focused corporate training entity. It became easier for people to take the classes and soon every young turk with a power tie was in there taking the classes, hoping it would help them be more personable at the meetings and sales calls. It also became very trendy to say you were involved with Second City and franchise touring companies were sprouting around everywhere.
This is not meant to slam the Chicago institution so much as to state one man's opinion. I know some great people that have really helped their careers there and if the opportunity ever arose I'm sure I'd give it a try today. There is an upside to begin a real performer in with a bunch of corporate "water-cooler comedians". If you're a good performer you will stand out much better and sooner than if you were surrounded by real talents. I just think that the overall experience is tainted and the end product is not as strong.
I'm sure many a Second City alum would read this and angrily defend their comedy home and toss my ideas aside, stating that I'm just jealous or frustrated or something like that. After all, what do I know? I've never sold a scripted show as an improvisational experience and the place is creeping up on its 50th anniversary. That is certainly their right and their opinion to share, just like the ones I have shared today.
In any event, I was going through some photos recently and came across this one. Enjoy.
From the Archives
Here's a photo from August of 1987. This was taken in Winter, Wisconsin during a little summer vacation for the family. I believe we were at Barker Lake, a lake unique for having abso-fucking-lutely NO FISH in the damned thing (frustrated fisherman talking here).
The lake had a floating dock and I got it into my head that I wanted a photo of me juggling out in the middle of nowhere. Theoretically I was going to take a series of photos where I'd be juggling in the most unusual of places and then use the pictures for promotional purposes. Not a bad idea really. An "I'll juggle ANYWHERE" kind of campaign. Of course the whole thing would have made considerably much more sense had I decided to actually take the photos in costume.
Look at this slob! Torn jeans, messed up hair, tennis shoes, and a LAME t-shirt featuring that AWFUL pseudo-technology that would make crappy black & white photos out of binary numbers. Did I mention this was 1987? The photo was of me and my girlfriend at the time. What a total loser!
Still, the photo stands as one of the few photos of me that I really like. It did create the feeling I was looking for. I do look stranded in the middle of nowhere and I suppose if my family had not decided to retrieve me from the dock, I'd still be there today.
Andy Martello on WGN Morning News, July 12, 2005
OK, I'm giving you fair warning now so you can both try to watch me on your telly and know not to complain if you don't get to see much of me.
Next Tuesday, July 12, 2005, I'll be doing some sort of juggling/fire-eating/plate-spinning lunacy on the WGN Morning News. When? NO FREAKIN' IDEA (See? You can't say I didn't warn you.). The show is on between 5-9AM and I'll be on some time between 7 & 9AM doing some filler segments at this party thingy they've got going to welcome some new news folks to the station. That's just how it is folks. Watch if you want.
WGN is on just about every cable system mankind has every created. Odds are, if you have cable, you have WGN. It was the first "superstation" and it still reigns today as one of the biggies. So the odds are pretty good that you can actually find the show and tune in, if you're AWAKE and that interested in seeing me do SOMETHING.
I've been on the program before and I'll likely do a more scheduled/planned segment in a few months. Regardless, now you know about it and can tune in like loyal fans or something. ;)
Penguins Like Hot Weather
I've got photographic evidence to prove it, thanks to Jade
Two species of penguins in Cancun. Thanks, Jade!
God Bless America!
I wouldn't want to live anywhere that doesn't allow for Hot & Spicy SPAM to happen!
Regrets. I've Had a Few.
I got the sweetest mention from Golfwidow in her blog today. Click HERE to read the entire post as it is pretty cool and rather fascinating. Of course I am compelled to quote the section where I am mentioned. It is part of a MEME in case you couldn't figure that out.
"5. Someone is visiting your hometown/place where you live at the moment. Name two things you regret your city not having, and two things people should avoid.
We don't have a Sonic, and we don't have Andy Martello. And you're damned right I regret it."
Funny. Most people regret having me IN their lives.