Thursday, January 27, 2011

Episode 3: Revenge of the Tiff.

This show is like a really awesome party, except without the hangover, burning sensation, and awkward "I'll call you, really!" conversations the next morning.

Just scroll down and you can check out our latest morning after efforts, taped live at the Boxcar Theatre Studios on January 15th. Go on, scroll down, you know you want it.

Oh, but first, here's our opening skit, which got cut for time because we know that you're all busy people, but which I've generously provided for anyone who is largely sessile and needs as much stimuli as possible. Because I'm a hell of a guy.

And now, on with the show, in which our first guest had a broken hand, our second guest put a nail through his own face, our sketch group hurt only each others' feelings, our headliner is most likely bulletproof, and our musical guest heart.

The Variety Society Episode 3 from Viral Media Network on Vimeo.

You can hear more of musical guest Toddy Shipley at CD, and you can even buy his album if you're feeling super awesome.

Jeff Bodeans' Runabout is available at the App Store, which apparently is a fringe online software vendor from some computer company or another founded by some guy named Steve. Yeah, I never heard of them either, but they're cool with Jeff, and that's good enough for me.

Joe Rock can of course be heard weekdays, 7:00 PM to midnight at 107.7 The Bone, and you can keep up on the Stone Foxes over at their site.

David Blatter has his own site as well (man, it's almost like anyone can have a website these days. I feel less special. Sniff...). I'm incredibly amused to find that if you Google Mr. Blatter's name the first result is his site, but the second one is me apologizing for calling him a witch. I'm sure he's just incredibly thrilled with me.

And finally, PianoFight are always at the Off-Market theater for their incredible night of comedy, entitled...wait, "Shit Show"? You can call a show that? You can put that word right in the title? Since when?! When I wanted to call us the Fecal Affiliation I got voted down, but they get to go around saying "Shit Show" left and right? I call foul!

Oh, wait, it's not "Shit", it's S.H.I.T., some kind of acronym. That's okay then. You can do anything you want with acronyms. That's why I want to legally change my name to Ferdinand Ulysses Nabokov Keates Apollo Rudyard Theseus Ibsen Swift Thesus, so that my initials would spell, well, figure it out for yourselves.

But I'm putting that off until I'm sure that everyone can spell all that correctly, because even my present name has been misspelled in the credits (curses!). Can't win 'em all.

Our next show will be LIVE, MARCH 12TH, AT THE BOXCAR THEATRE STUDIOS, 125A HYDE ST IN SAN FRANCISCO, and we'll have an update on our very special February event within the next week. Until then, drink responsibly. I don't bring that up for any particular reason, it's just good advice.

Still more Out of Context Theatre.

I've once again been spying on my colleagues and am ready, willing, and able to spill the goods.

You may wonder how it is that I overhear so much? Well, the truth is, I spend much of my free time stalking each member of our cast and crew, shadowing them like a stealthy jungle cat, lurking in the dark.

That's right everybody, you know when you're walking home alone at night, and you think you hear something behind you but you ignore it? Well that's not the wind; it's me!

I want to take this opportunity to assure each of you that you're not safe anywhere. You can neither run or hide. I am everywhere and nowhere at once, like the chupacabra. With a word processor.


"The jokes are going to fall on deaf ears. And I mean that literally, we're only going to invite deaf people."

"So, what if Dan is a detective who is also an environmental Nazi?"

"I was doing a combination of Daniel Plainview, Ernest Hemingway, and an aged IRA terrorist, all in one."

"I don't think we can have Sam struck my lighting live."

"Those guys are basically whores, they'll promote anybody."
"So you're saying we got turned down by whores?"

"Camera two is out of tape, do not go to camera two!"
"Um, camera two, take a bourbon, you're done for the day."

"I like the idea of Natalie Portman being some feral creature who lives under my window."

"Well, it's not like we need audio for the musical act, right?"
"Just like we don't need video for puppet show."

"I'd have this episode done already if it weren't for Windows."

"We need to come up with something at the end that lets her leave her mark on the audience."
"I could flash you on the way out?"
"Yes, okay, let's rehearse that a couple times right now."


Anyone keeping track (which should be ALL of you!) will want to know that our next episode is going to shoot LIVE, MARCH 12th, AT THE BOXCAR THEATER STUDIOS IN SAN FRANCISCO!

Why no show in February? Well, we have something special planned for February...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Don't worry folks, we didn't let him drive.

I'm a Thunderhead man myself, but I suppose it's a matter of taste.
You would be amazed how many takes Dan was able to stay lucid for.

Wine Break(Ep. 3 Break 3 of 3/Promos) from Viral Media Network on Vimeo.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Make the show better by evaluating it!

Thanks again to all who attended the live taping this last Saturday of Episode 3!

If you have time, would you please give us your honest, brutal opinion of how it went?

Please, DON'T spare any detail as your suggestions & feedback make it the best possible show, EVER!

Our friends at EventBrite hooked us up with SurveyMonkey, a cool platform for creating surveys, here's the link:

Evaluate/Comment on VarSoc Ep. 3 HERE!

Executive Producer

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Highlights of lowlifes.

Just got back from our latest shoot, which set an indoor record for blunt-force trauma to the face during a live taping of a micro-budget comedy show (I phoned Guinness to confirm; the old record was a surprisingly low figure).

As usual, we've chained our post-production team to a radiator and told them they're not leaving until the editing is done, so it should be available for mass consumption within the week, at which point you'll get to see:

-Dan and Jeff talk about how not gay they are. At length.

-Detailed descriptions of Jeff's massive organ (I really can't say anything more than that...)

-David Blatter gets nailed, repeatedly. I believe he also got hammered.

-The guys from PianoFight demonstrate why English majors should never play beer pong.

-Joe Rock of 107.7 The Bone antagonizes our news anchor with one hand!

-And the California Crusher issues the first (but not the last!) direct threat toward a sitting politician in our show's history.

Inexplicably, the cops did not bust us up this time, which is actually kind of a bummer because we could have used the publicity. But that means we're free to perpetrate acts of reckless comedy on the Bay Area again next month, this time in gala form.

Which is not to be confused with Galaga form, although that was my suggestion.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

If we innovate any harder we're going to go blind.

It appears that some of you (and I'm not naming names, so instead I will assign each of you an alias: Gustavo, Petruchio, and Electra), don't yet have enough incentive to come see us this Saturday. To these people I can only say:

For crying out loud, what more do you want?

But hey, okay, I get it. So we've got great guests, and we've got awesome comedy, and we've got a well-dressed host and the Official State Wrestler of California on staff, and you know that. All well and good, but you just don't feel challenged by this material, right? I can see where you're coming from.

So let's try a little experiment, something I call the (wait for it) Undesignated Non-Contextual Punchline (write that down, it's very technical. But don't steal it, it's mine!). I'm going to give you the last sentence of a joke, and then you'll have to come to the show if you want to understand what it means. And if you don't, in all likelihood you will be driven mad!

People, please understand, this is edgy, avant-garde stuff we're doing here, this is true postmodernism in its rawest form. By deconstructing your inherent assumptions about the nature of comedy, I’ve reimagined the elemental values of humor and exposed how arbitrary they are. Yeah, I do that.

What I try to do mechanically is reinvent the joke when it's not the joke. I start by reinventing, and then I disinvent it. You're all sophisticated enough to understand what I'm saying, right?

Alright, enough of that. Drum roll please? What do you mean we don't have a drum? Oh, that's right, we used it as a casserole dish that one time. Well, just drum on a table or something. And now, without further ado, on to the punchline:

"There might still be food in it, we haven't confirmed."

What in the holy yellow dog does that mean? Couldn't tell you. Well, I mean, I could, but that would upend my entire creative experiment and prevent a drastic realignment of free expression paradigms across multiple platforms. And that would be bad.

The answer, of course, can be found LIVE, JANUARY 15th, 4pm, AT THE BOXCAR STUDIOS, 125A HYDE STREET IN SAN FRANCISCO! See, now you practically have to come!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Because we're awesome, that's why!

I feel like I should in some way apologize for publicly accusing our scheduled guest, Mr. David Blatter, of being a witch.

Primarily I feel this way because our producers just told me I should feel this way, during a conversation that invoked such colorful phrases as: "keyboard monkey", "totally expendable", and "only slightly more valuable than the plants in my office, so watch your step."

Sorry David. I welcome your benign, charming, and presumably non-Satanic magical powers to our humble program, and I encourage everyone to come down and check them out LIVE, JANUARY 15th, 4pm, AT THE BOXCAR STUDIOS, 125A HYDE STREET IN SAN FRANCISCO!

In addition to Mr. Blatter, we're going to be chatting with Joe Rock of 107.7 (The Bone), who will tell us absolutely everything there is to know about the wide world of sports and the comparably narrow (but still pretty wide by the standards of other things) world of rock and roll.

That's right, I said everything there is to know, and I mean that literally, and I'm committing him to that astronomical task without even speaking to the man about it first. And I'm okay with that.

Not only that, we'll also welcome PianoFight back to the show! See, once we get out coils around you, there's no escape; one appearance will invariably lead to another, and then probably another after that, until we basically own you. Someday we'll have the entire Bay Area under our command, and after that, the world!

But first, awesome sketch comedy from the Bay Area's longest-running sketch comedy group. That's how it works see, sketch comedy first, total world domination second, that's the formula we worked out. Seems solid.

And our headliner this time will be Jeff Bodean; actor, reality TV star, entrepreneur, eccentric billionaire, and friend of Iron Man.

No, seriously, the dude knows Iron Man, see:

Now that's some serious business right there.

According to his IMDB page, Jeff has a baritone voice, is of "average" physique, plays four instruments (including the accordion), speaks three languages, and...does magic? Wow, damn, what's with all the magic in this episode? If we don't keep an eye on these guys we'll have rabbits and doves popping out of everything, and God only knows where that'll lead.

Yep, we're booked pretty solid for this show. Why do so many people all of a sudden want to appear on our program? Well, we take it as evidence that we are just completely awesome. Frankly, we always thought so, but it's nice to have it confirmed in such stark and irrefutable terms.

Don't worry though, because as our audience, you'll have the first opportunity to ride our coattails to success. Better hop on now though, because they're bound to fill up fast, and will likely become quite exclusive in the near future.

Once again, those wishing to bask in our glory (oh, and see some awesome guests and first-class comedy, but mainly we're all about self-serving glory now) can do so LIVE, JANUARY 15th, 4pm, AT THE BOXCAR THEATER STUDIOS, 125A HYDE STREET IN SAN FRANCISCO!

This one's gonna be good. I know because a fortune cookie told me so, and they're right at least 18% of the time. I keep track.

Friday, January 7, 2011

David Blatter is after my job!

I don't have any evidence of that, but just look at this copy from his site:

"Currently he is working on an effect which involves a guitar, a sparkletts bottle, a deck of cards, and a blind-fold-wrap your mind around that combination for a minute. Don't you want to find out what happens?"

Okay, three things:

1. That's funny.

2. That sounds just like something I would write. Except maybe slightly funnier. In fact, his site is full of idiosyncratic witticisms and quirky self-deprecation! It's exactly what I would write if I were him. And if I could be him, that means he could be me!

3. I, um, only actually had those two things. I just like to do lists of three items. It's kind of my thing.

On one hand, I'm pleased that we have Mr. Blatter lined up as a guest. On the other hand, I'm chronically paranoid and insecure, and I can't shake the feeling that he is somehow here to replace me. I mean, think about it he does magic; he could make disappear and nobody would ever know how he did it!

Don't believe me? Just look! He has powers, eerie, eerie powers!

Well, those of you who want to find out exactly what Blatter plans to do with that blind-fold can come on down and check him out LIVE, JANUARY 15TH, 4pm, AT THE BOXCAR STUDIOS, 125A HYDE STREET IN SAN FRANCISCO!

I'll be there. And I'll be keeping a close eye on our guest. Your mastery of the Dark Arts doesn't frighten me, Blatter! Because I sleep with a totem made from a petrified snake and some garlic bulbs under my pillow, and it will repel your evil mojo! I'm this close to challenging you to a wizard's duel right there on the set, so don't toy with me!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Further Out of Context Theatre.

I'm not one to say that you hear some strange things around here. I'm one to write them down, and then transmit them electronically.

All parties shall remain anonymous. Except that you know that they all have to be people who work on the show, and that does narrow the field quite a bit, now that I think about it.

And I imagine that if you cast around a bit and asked the right questions, you could probably figure out who is who, because honestly, most of us aren't very smart and in all likelihood tricking us into giving each other way would be embarrassingly easy.

Also, we're very inclined to rat on one another. Doesn't even take much incentive. I'd do it for an ice cream sandwich, I'll tell you that right now.


"There are so many different ways to be offensive, we just have to decide which one we want to go with."

"That's a very good question, and the answer is that it was cold and I was being a bitch."

"Do we even have a white suit? Someone call Mr. Roarke, tell him we need to borrow his wardrobe."

"When I hear something like that it makes me want to get off the couch, take off the Snuggie, and put in an hour or two's worth of work."

"We're really sticking it to PBS. Because if anybody has it coming..."

"Why would I own a top hat?"
"You seem like the type."

"I used to call myself a scientologist, but it turns out that means something different. It was even on my business cards."

"I don't think we can tape the Crusher with strange children. They have laws about that kind of thing."