Thursday, January 30, 2014

How 'That's What She Said' Made Us Smarter

Posted By on Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 11:59 AM

  • NBC

It first appeared in 2006 on NBC's The Office. Then you heard it coming out of your own mouth.

"That's what she said."

The Atlantic is calling TWSS "the best bad joke of the late 2000s"—not because it made our minds dirtier (admit it: They were dirty already), but because it forced us all to think a little harder about what we were saying and how we said it. It's a dumb joke, a cheap trick, but every time one of your friends dropped a TWSS, you had to acknowledge you'd let your tongue slip a little.

Also, it reminded us of the naughty humor lurking in the shadows of our everyday lives. The Office wasn't a stand-up comedy show; it was a sitcom, an approximation of everyday life rather than a tincture of one comedian seeing the yuks in his or hers; and for that reason it was the perfect launching point for the kind of snark that got us second-guessing ourselves.

Puns and double entendres are as old as dirt—The Atlantic mines Shakespeare, Joyce and the Anglo-Saxon 11th century Codex Exoniensis for examples—but TWSS was able to "weaponize" these most elementary forms of wordplay. You didn't have to be a witty person to use it: You just had to know when someone wasn't being witty enough to avoid the pitfall of saying something like, "Well, that didn't take very long."

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Need Something To Do Friday?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Humor keeps life moving along. You laugh during good times, you laugh during bad times, and you most certainly laugh at videos of people getting hit in the crotch with foreign objects. Boise may not be perceived as a comedy hot spot but there is a movement in place hoping to change that.

Idaho's first-ever comedy festival promises to provide laughter to all in attendance. Featuring more than 16 comedy showcases as well as five workshops at five different venues, there should be something that tickles your funny bone. Times and locations vary, so be sure to check the full schedule online at

Times and locations vary. $10. 

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Need Something To Do Thursday?

Posted By on Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 6:00 PM

The Second City's alumni class is a who's who of comedy legends. Alan Arkin, Joan Rivers, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Tina Fey and Chris Farley all graduated from the program, just to name a few. And the list goes on. Who knows what future stars are in the ranks as we speak?

Check out the current touring group when they perform at the Liberty Theatre in Hailey. They'll be performing classic material, as well as improv based off of morning news headlines. 

7 p.m. $27-$40. Liberty Theatre, 110 N. Main St., Hailey, 208-578-9122, 

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sesame Street Pop Culture Parodies Teach Kids And Adults

Posted By on Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 9:15 AM

Sesame Street has long been on the cutting edge of early learning, drumming up creative ways to introduce children to numbers, vocabulary and other concepts. For this, it has endeared itself to generations of children who have grown up, started families and introduced their children to the beloved program.

Apart from being on top of the best-practices-for-raising-children gig, the folks at Sesame Street also know theirs isn't the only piece of pop culture youngsters are consuming and have reached out to some of them to create some parodies that are instructive for kids—and a little eerie for adults.

In "Lord of the Crumbs," Cookie Monster must use his memory and self control to mix and bake a batch of cookies with the help of a faerie princess and a wizard—a la Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings—while an impulsive version of himself, reminiscent of Gollum, encourages the sweets-loving monster to eat unhealthy things like whole cups of chocolate chips and raw eggs. 

In "The Hungry Games: Catching Fur," Cookie Monster has volunteered as Tribute on the promise of cookies but as he makes his way through the jungle, he and his friends—including a pita named after Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games—must use their wits and pattern-identifying abilities to overcome obstacles they encounter, including irate monkeys and a fog that inexplicably tickles people. 

Other installments include "Homelamb," "Cookies of the Caribbean" and "Upside Downton Abbey." All of them will tickle your pop-culture funny bone while doing a better job at reminding you of your first conscious learning experiences better than your therapist.  

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Andy Kaufman Lives... Or Not

Posted By on Thu, Nov 14, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Now, Andy did you hear about this one?

According to the brother of Andy Kaufman, the (supposedly) deceased comedian has been living in obscurity for nearly 30 years, listening and watching as young  comedians emulate him and the world occasionally speculates on whether he's actually dead.

Michael Kaufman told a crowd at the Andy Kaufman Awards last week that his brother faked his own death, from lung cancer, in 1984, disappearing to live anonymously as a family man.

Rumors that Kaufman had faked his death have persisted since the comic's alleged passing at Cedars-Sinai Hospital 29 years ago, and Michael Kaufman's announcement that he had evidence that his brother still lived fell on the Internet like a gossipy bombshell—made more explosive when a 24-year-old woman claiming to be the comedian's daughter appeared onstage alongside her purportedly long-lost uncle.

"As much as this seems like bullshit as I type it, it was as real as anything I've ever seen. There is video. It was chilling, upsetting and absolutely intriguing. I bawled my eyes out. The entire room was freaked out. It was, if nothing else, brilliant. and incredibly mindfuckng and AWESOME," Kelly Dwyer, a Kaufman Award finalist, gushed on Facebook.

Alas, bullshit it seemed and bullshit it was.

According to The Smoking Gun, the woman who presented herself as Andy Kaufman's daughter is actually a New York actress named Alexandra Tatarsky, whose actual dad is a Manhattan psychiatrist (no kidding...). Turns out, Michael Kaufman channeled his brother's prankster spirit by recruiting Tatarsky earlier this year to perpetuate the hoax.
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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Need Something To Do Saturday?

Posted By on Sat, Jul 27, 2013 at 6:00 AM


They say laughter is the best medicine. In this case, the laughs will do more than just life spirits. At Hilarity for Charity, performers from various local comedy troupes will be on hand to yuk it up. Proceeds from the show will support Hope Beams, a local non-profit aimed at raising funds for pediatric cancer research. The laughs start at 7:30 p.m. Donations of any amount will be accepted as admission. Fatty's, 800 W. Idaho St., Boise, 83702.

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Need Something To Do Sunday?

Posted By on Sun, Jul 7, 2013 at 3:03 PM


Most comedians write their jokes alone or among close friends—which is not necessarily the best way to test the offensiveness of their material. Then, they get up on stage alone, say something nasty like this, and end up playing defense for the rest of the night against an angry audience.

This is not the case with Boise's Recycled Minds improv comedy—featuring Liquid Laughs regulars Heath Harmison and Sean Hancock—in which comedians take suggestions from the audience to craft an off-the-cuff performance. Swing by Liquid tonight at 8 p.m., grab a $5 ticket and be prepared to participate. Who knows? You might even laugh.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Need Something To Do Wednesday?

Posted By on Wed, Jul 3, 2013 at 6:00 AM


Being a comedian is a hard gig. Comedians frequently meet hostile crowds, hecklers, the thin-skinned and the wickedly drunk. Then they have to update their routines to stay fresh, keeping an eye on other comedians to see what direction the industry is taking. It's a life of relentless self-promotion and poverty, as well as humor.

But if you think you have what it takes, give it a shot tonight at Liquid's Open Mic Comedy night. The opportunity hit the stage and prove your comedic chops—likely with the help of some liquid courage—is free. Sign-ups start at 7 p.m. and the trials begin at 8 p.m. Be there or always wonder if your friends mean it when they say you're funny.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Need Something To Do Tuesday?

Posted By on Tue, Jul 2, 2013 at 6:00 AM


Science isn't the sort of thing most people think of as funny. Chalk it up to poor science education, but jokes about the law of the conservation of momentum or the reactive properties of sulphur have the dusty odor of the arcane.

Today from 7-8:30 p.m., the Boise State University Special Events Center will host Talk Nerdy to Me: Boise's Best Stand-Up Comedy. It's free and features local comedians including TJ Wharry, Ryan Noak, Chad Heft, Sean Peabody and Heath Harmison. Oh, and the host is Story Story Late-Night's Emma Arnold. The common thread of their comedy routines? Science.

The event is presented by the BSU Summer Research Community, which facilitates networking between students, faculty, researchers and the community around science, engineering, the social sciences and academic research.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Learn Guitar With David Brent, Sort Of

Posted By on Fri, May 24, 2013 at 10:00 AM


The Office recently came to its conclusion, though the original British version of the series ended nearly a decade ago.

But you can still get a fix. Ricky Gervais, creator of the series and the actor who played David Brent in the U.K. version, launched his own YouTube channel. A new series of videos on that channel will feature Brent guiding viewers through the most awkward series of guitar lessons imaginable.

"So, you've tuned in. Thank you. You want to learn to play guitar? Well I'm not going to teach you," he says. "You're going to teach you."

Then he introduces a new song called, "Life on the Road," which he says is about "repping."

Check it out below.

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