Tag Archives: parody

Chicago Cubs End the Punchlines and Change Comedy

cubsby Legendary Lew

The curse was broken last night. The Chicago Cubs won its first World Series since 1908.

What the ’16 Cubs did also is forever break the age old tradition of portraying the team as perennial losers. To me, this was the most notable effect of the win. Comedy writers can no longer lazily rely on a Cubs joke to portray losers nor to portray a Cubs World Series win as an Earth-shattering future event.

Indiewire reminds us of the numerous Cubs references in TV and film.

However, I give my salute to the Cubs by showing what could arguably be their lowest point. 1983 Cubs manager Lee Elia went on a profane tear after a brutal loss to the Dodgers in a game. AP reporter Les Grobstein was the only reporter with a recorder on when Elia went off.

The infamous rant became one of the most noted in sports history, inspiring a producer (rumored to be Mike Bisbee) to come up with a great Cubs promo parody (NSFW):

Elia’s rant was the first thing I thought about when the Cubs won last night. Here was a guy defending a team at the lowest point, when he felt the city was not even supporting them. He even noted that two of his players were being harassed after the loss. Sure, he did insult fans, but under the pressure, could you blame him?

He was later fired, but I salute the guy who stood by his team even when they were the perennial losers, the joke of the sports world.

I hope Lee Elia’s enjoying the win and that he gets the credit he deserves for standing by his team.

Legendary Lew is the co-founder of The Underground Multiplex and host of the podcast “Mediatrocities.” You can support the current Go Fund Me campaign for updated equipment at: www.gofundme.com/HelpTUGM

“Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” Cancelled by TLC. Strike That Line! Predicted It!

The future Baby Jane Hudson

The future Baby Jane Hudson

by Legendary Lew

According to TMZ, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” star mama June had a bit of trouble with her dating preferences, choosing a convicted child molester to fulfill her needs and Phil Robertson’s moral standards.

The Learning Channel, unable to learn from what should have been a somewhat predictable common sense disaster in the making, reacted thusly:

And so, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” is no more. It seems a shame to stop production, since you could have titled a potential new series, “To Catch a Predator’s Boo Boo.”

Oh well, looks like Honey Boo Boo will have to head the ways of Baby Jane Hudson by going insane and starving her sister to death in sixty years. But for now, you can hear how Strike That Line! predicted a catastrophe for fame hungry no talents in the episode “Tinkle Tinkle Little Star.”

Palin Drunken Brawl with Pictures (!) Found by the Strike That Line Crew!

The folks at Strike That Line! were able to find pictures from the scene of the recent Alaskan brawl involving the Palins. For the first time, see exactly what Bristol Palin was referring to in her statement to police. Please note that this video is NSFW:

 

 

Mediatrocities #8: Strike That Line! Podcast with Episode Titled “Tinkle Tinkle, Little Star”

DenturaEnterprises

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, are you lucky to have stopped by here today. Well, are you? You just happened to stop by when the radio play sketch comedy was christened with its new name, Strike That Line! Confused? Startled? Intrigued? Perhaps, my friends, you should give a listen as Ernie Tarte, the world’s least known film auteur, takes on the world of reality TV.

In this episode, Hollywood TV producer Cash Johnson teams up with Dolly Dentura, CEO of Dentura Enterprises and owner of all you see above (until she changed all the logos and trademark names) to present TV’s newest reality TV series. Feast your ears as Tarte tries to make art when he should have been making tracks.

Strike That Line! is a production of The Underground Multiplex.
Starring Tyler Pistorius, Joseph R. Lewis, Barry Brennessel and Lew Ojeda. Written by Lew Ojeda, Tyler Pistorius and Joseph R. Lewis. Theme music by Lucas Herzog. Special musical guest: Honey & The 45s. Produced and directed by Lew Ojeda.

This podcast is intended for mature audiences and those with highly dysfunctional families.

 

 

TUGM Proudly Presents the World Premiere Online Release of “Sisters of No Mercy”!

It’s finally here! After nearly three years and two hundred dollars, The Underground Multiplex presents the wild, avant-garde nunsploitation comedy Sisters of No Mercy: The Real 3D Midnight Movie Xperience. Combining exploitation, comedy, classic roadshow reels, politics, music and live performance, SONM is the completion of the first collaboration between Joseph R. Lewis and me.

This came about first as a 4-minute parody trailer for a then fake nunsploitation feature. With the help of some great talented friends, we408 were able to pull off this bit in three weeks, just before I was to give a lecture on nunsploitation at Facets Night School.

The trailer debuted on YouTube in October 2010 and gained an unexpected positive response in February 2011 from the French version of  Slate Magazine, which hyperlinked the short and called it a successful parody (if the Google translation is correct). Emboldened by the responses, I casually mentioned to Joe that perhaps the nuns should go to Madison, WI during the height of protests against Governor Scott Walker and exorcise the Koch-funded “demon” from the state capitol.

The resulting short film was The Wisconsin Exorsisters, which brought back Sisters Amy and Angela, Mother Superior and the evil Father Neal from first trailer. That short went public in March 2011.

409When June rolled around, we had decided to extended Sisters of No Mercy into a feature. To accomplish this, the film needed extra footage, which was provided by recording the third portion of the film live before a midnight movie audience attending each screening of Session 8 of Facets Night School. Each chapter was filmed in 5 minute pieces before that evening’s lecture and screening. The resulting portions were then uploaded weekly online.

On September 30, 2011, TUGM debuted Sisters of No Mercy 3D at Facets Night School in an edited version that included a live interactive experience with the audience. They were treated to live music, a theatrical performance, juggling and dancing for a unique approach in film entertainment. This version has not been duplicated since.

Which brings us finally to today– almost three years since the inception of the nunsploitation parody. The final product we hope you’ll find funny, informative and entertaining. It could not be done without the help of the following wonderful people:

Amy J. Boyd, Angela Yonke, Adrianna Montiel, Kenzie Kl, Bruce Neal, Joe Rubin, Jason Coffman, Jason Loeffler, Jonathan Leaf, Douglas Grew, Brian Kirst, Lielie Kaehn-Jarvis, Brian Jarvis, Chris Brake, Christa Koch, Nathan Boecker, Susan Doll, Phil Morehart, all the presenters of Facets Night School and, of course, the twisted genius of Joe Lewis.

Legendary Lew Ojeda

Four Really Bad Beatles Tributes on TV and Why the Stars Shouldn’t Do Them

sgtpeppepIf you were to check YouTube right now, you would find plenty of videos of  Beatles cover bands. That’s all well and good, totally understood. It probably gets you easy paying gigs at parties and local concerts if you’re a struggling musician.

However, if you’re already a star, covering the Beatles–under certain circumstances–is probably not a good idea, even if you’ve had hit remakes of them. It’s probably a zero-sum gain for the well-known. I’ve culled up four examples of “tributes” that end up being anything but, along with the reasons why they’re misguided.

1. You’ll always be reminded you’re not the Beatles nor will you be close.

At the 46th Grammys show, the Fab Four was “honored” by the talents of Sting, Dave Matthews, Vince Gill and Pharrell Williams. Never mind the flubbed title line by Matthews (“I saw her dancing there”) and never mind the fact that they do a decent job covering it. The problem is trying to recreate the ambiance of the Beatles’ debut on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. It’s bad enough to position the performers almost exactly how they would have appeared back then (making those guys look like the touring cast of Beatlemani), but adding the pictures and constant running videos of the real Beatles as wallpaper is a reminder of the ultimate unattainable goal.

2. It’s easy to be lazy and uninspired staging a Beatles tribute.

The following is a clip from what some have written is the worst Beatles tribute ever. (I have my own choice I’m saving for last) Watching it gave me the distinct feeling the makers of the TV special “Beatles Forever” cared more about having the audience sitting around in the world’s largest living room (a few bongs scattered about would have been a nice touch).  It starts out nicely with Ray Charles, but then quickly takes the steep drop as Tony Randall, Paul Williams, Mel Tillis, Diahann Carroll, Anthony Newley and Bernadette Peters take their shots. All sitting down? Really? Hey, folks will pay attention, they’re Beatles tunes.The most somnambulistic Beatles medley ever.

3.  Staging the productions can be left to people who have no idea what The Beatles were about

On Cher’s variety show, Tina Turner (a Beatles remake hit maker) and Kate Smith joined her for a medley of the Mersey boys’ beats. Not really a bad idea, although Smith looks a little lost during some of it. What really sinks this is the garishness  of it all: Bob Mackie gowns, tinsels, rainbows, Sgt. Pepper’s outfits. The Beatles reflected the consciousness of a generation, but here the songs become fodder for a show coming to Las Vegas. Thank goodness Tim Conway pops in a couple of times to parody the production.

4. The production can be handed to someone who tries to be as experimental as The Fab Four and fails miserably

Dear readers, what follows is the rock bottom worst Beatles tribute ever shown on television. It was presented by Rolling Stone Magazine, which I assume never gave a shit about the group to produce this outrage. Ted Neely (Jesus from “Jesus Christ Superstar”) and Patti LaBelle (who sounds awful here) are part of a crew stuck in what looks like a combination of bad TV variety, very cheap and asinine Off-Off-Broadway experimental theater and self- parody. This is especially true when singers show up in a White House setting dressed in Nixon and Kissinger costumes (!). The great Richie Havens and Yvonne Elliman provide some much needed sanity, but they can’t stop the eventual onslaught, some of which has a (I think, unintentional) Rocky Horror feel to it. You won’t believe your eyes and ears.

All I am saying is –give it a rest.

Killer Looks: Legendary Lew Interviews Lauren Whalen on the Cult Appeal of “Drop Dead Gorgeous”

dropdead1Estrogen deficiency in midnight movie viewing is cured this weekend as Lauren Whalen of Chicago Theater Beat presents “Girls, Guns and Glitter, Don’cha Know: Drop Dead Gorgeous and the Wild World of Mock Doc.”  Legendary Lew gets the lowdown on this influential comedy which joined “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” and “Dick” as among the funniest female-centric comedies of the late 1990’s.

LL: Could you tell a little about “Drop Dead Gorgeous?”

LW: It’s a darkly funny and very quotable 1999 mockumentary about a beauty pageant gone bad. In Mount Rose, Minnesota, teenage boys get hockey scholarships or go to prison and teenage girls enter the Mount Rose American Teen Princess competition. Our heroine, Amber Atkins, is an ace tap dancer who works in the school cafeteria and at the localDrop_Dead_Gorgeous mortuary, and dreams of following in the footsteps of former “pageant girl”, Diane Sawyer. Her rival, Becky Leeman, also has her eyes on the prize – and Becky is rich, the vice president of the Lutheran Women’s Gun Club, and has the stage mother from hell who’s also the pageant organizer. And in the meantime, people are getting knocked off at an alarming rate.

“Drop Dead Gorgeous” has great turns from Kirsten Dunst (doing her best Minnesota accent, don’cha know), Denise Richards (way before Charlie Sheen), Kirstie Alley (as the horrid stage mom) and Ellen Barkin (as Amber’s beer-guzzling mama). Allison Janney is fantastic as Amber’s drunk and horny neighbor – she’s said she gets asked more about this movie than she does about “The West Wing”, if you can believe it.

LL: When people think of midnight movies, male-based films in certain genres usually come to mind–scifi, horror, exploitation. Since “Drop Dead Gorgeous” is centered around female characters at a beauty pageant, where do you think the overlap is with the usual midnight movie?

LW: Cult film is largely a boys’ club. When I worked at Facets, it took me years to get comfortable talking movies with the “cool kids” (mostly men). I’m the only female presenter this session at Night School – even when that’s not the case, I’m one of two or maybe three in an eight-week session. I can’t speak for my entire gender, of course, but I do try to present female-driven films (like “Mulholland Dr.”) or ones with strong female characters (like “Brick”) because there is a place for women in the midnight movie world.

“Drop Dead Gorgeous” isn’t a “boy movie” or a “girl movie”. (I don’t think any movie should be classified this way.) Yes, all the main characters are women and it’s about a beauty pageant, but it’s got this absurdist vibe that’s also strangely true to life. Beauty pageants are fascinating, and they are bizarre, and those in the world are obsessed. In “Drop Dead Gorgeous”, someone is literally killing to win, and there are cat fights and explosions and carnage galore. It’s this hilarious juxtaposition of sequins and bright smiles, and blood and fire. Twisted intelligence that has you laughing and shaking your head equals the quintessential midnight movie.

LL:  What engages you most about the humor in “Drop Dead Gorgeous?”

“DDG”‘s director, Michael Patrick Jann, is an alum of the comedy collective The State. If you’ve seen “Reno 911!”, “Party Down” or “Wet Hot American Summer”, you’re familiar with this group. They were a bunch Dropdead2of film and theater majors from NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts that had a show for a couple of years on MTV, then split up and infiltrated Hollywood. When I was a 14-year-old theater geek, I’d watch The State in my basement. Jann directed a lot of sketches and would often appear shirtless. I have him to thank for my entrance into puberty.

Hormones aside, The State had this really odd sense of humor that’s carried through all their work. It’s very base yet artistic, theatrical and dark, abstract but sort of childlike too. It’s smart – which appealed to me a lot as a teen, and now – but doesn’t take itself too seriously. As a director, Jann takes every opportunity for humor, whether it’s slapstick or clever or uncomfortable. He pulls absolutely no punches. Just brilliant.

Also, I just really like glitter.

LL:  What other potential midnight movies, if any, would you compare this movie to?

LW: “This is Spinal Tap”. Anything in the Christopher Guest oeuvre. “Wet Hot American Summer”. “Team America: World Police”, which has been featured at Night School in the past. “Death Proof”.

Thanks to Lauren for the interview! Be sure to check out her reviews at Chicago Theater Beat.

Girls, Guns and Glitter, Don’cha Know: Drop Dead Gorgeous and the Wild World of Mock Doc
Saturday night May 4th, 2013 at 11:59pm
Facets Multimedia
1517 W Fullerton
Chicago, IL 60614
Admission: $5, FREE for Facets Members. Become one here.
All students: receive one FREE small popcorn with valid student ID.