"Elias Nebula is practicing Japanese but no one knows."

Friday, April 13, 2012

"Unused Jokes" Or, "Backwork".

The "Unused Jokes" envelope is beginning to fill up. These jokes are ready-to-go, but they are (I predict) going to be boring to write out. They might also be boring to read. The convoluted mechanics of realizing the joke, of turning it from an idle rumour in my brain-stem to actual "physical" words on the "page," the actual "real-time" backwork involved, put me off writing these jokes down. I've got a whole new round of Dog the Bounty Hunter material around somewhere, unpublished (and so - to the greater world - unsaid), for the same reason: too much bloody backwork.


JOKE #1. Infinity Gauntlet: The Movie. Starring Klaus Kinski as Thanos.

JOKE-OID #2. Monkees Season Two Revisited.

I watched the last two episodes of The Monkees and then I watched the 1969 TV Special 33⅓ Revolutions Per Monkee.

The penultimate episode had a commentary by Mike Nesmith, who delivered it in a cool manner. Humility, remorse, chuckling at the excesses of youth. Nice. I was quite pleased because he confirmed some of the aimless ruminations of my previous "postings". For example, he recalled that the Monkees had indeed gotten cocky in the Second Season (he said they "gathered so much unwarranted power") that the character actors were required to carry the shows while the group rolled their eyes at their lines, ad-libbed badly and made their little peace signs. He said, "they would pretty much uniformly despise us or despise the show by the time they left."

DVD commentaries are often unintentionally funny. Nesmith was drawling about the show, then he'd get sidetracked on a subject and fall behind what was actually happening onscreen but he really couldn't give a fuck about that, you could tell... Incidentally, everybody on the DVD commentary tracks seemed to be compelled to remark, at some point, about Micky Dolenz's hair. The factoid that he had straightened his hair diligently in the First Season, but let it grow naturally curly in the Second. Everybody made this comment at some point. As if it were of some urgency that it be communicated to us.

Of all the things you could say... it gives you these sense that life, taken in the long view, is pretty boring, taken all in. As Emerson says, "Not much life in a lifetime."

Anyway Mike Nesmith was the only one who supported this factoid with some "local color" - he recalled how Micky would sit on the set with a pair of pantyhose on his head to keep his hair static and straight.

Nesmith was ruminating as the end credits came up, when you expect the DVD commentator to hush up and let the credits play out, but towards the last seconds he saw a credit for the man who designed the Monkeemobile and he burst out laughing at that: "The guy who designed the Monkeemobile got himself an end credit?"

Micky Dolenz had the honour of the DVD commentary track on the final episode. Micky puts the ADHD into DVD Commentary. The years since the Monkees have not brought wisdom to the Dolenz noggin. He's still hacking out the old hits. Night after night. Still Circus Boy in his mind. He makes Jerry Lewis in his prime sound sober and sagacious. The episode ends with a nice performance by Tim Buckley. Micky mused wistfully, as he watched it over over our shoulders, "I've been thinking of re-recording some Tim Buckley songs."

Yesssssss, I thought. That sounds like an excellent, commercially shrewd notion. Just what the world is crying out for right now in these difficult times: Micky Dolenz Sings Tim Buckley. The time is right. There is the threat of nuclear attack from North Korea. Time to hear Micky Dolenz's version of "Dolphins".

At one point, Dolenz was actually saying, "Oh wow. I remember buying that shirt. I liked that shirt. What did I do with that shirt."

Micky also provided the Commentary Track for the diabolically bad 33⅓ Revolutions Per Monkee. That is to be regretted because this hour-long special was so confusing that I wanted a lucid explanation of How it came to happen and more particularly Why?, and I obviously wasn't going to get any lucidity from Dolenz. It was like trying to sit through Fata Morgana back-to-back with Even Dwarfs Started Small in one bonanza of boredoom [sic].

The alternative to Micky's rhapsodies was a commentary track by Brian Auger, who is a "pivotal" figure in the hour-long special, this inexplicable cock-and-balls story. Brain [sic] was so dull and earnest in his commentary ("the Monkees were splendid chaps... I spent Thanksgiving with Mike Nesmith and his lovely family... hem, here I believe they used a green lens to...") that I ended up sticking with Micky pumping out his fitful bilgewater. Betwixt Scylla and Charybdis, always pick Scylla. After all, it has a girl's name.

At one point, - from the mouths of babes and Micky Dolenz - our guide, our Virgil, just sighed "This is so boring." The other momentary piece of rare and candid clarity slicing through spiritual materialism on this hour-long paean to self-indulgence and obfuscation came from Julie Driscoll of all people, who archly turned to the camera and observed, somewhat redundantly, that the show had degenerated into an "UTTER BLOODY SHAMBLES."

JOKE #3. "Worlds Within Worlds, Mad My Masters." Or, "Cinema Studies PhD at UEA": Clip of Duane Lee Chapman watching Storage Wars on TV. It was a scene with Dave talking to the camera.

JOKE #4. Amazing Race. The navy vet, newly returned from Afghanistan, who unwisely elected to go on the Amazing Race with his wife, who he hasn't lived with in years, immediately on returning from the War on Terror. They squabble incessantly. They say hurtful things that they can't take back.

They really went wild. They possessed the much-desired "Express Pass" which they could play at any time in the race and which would automatically get them past any obstacle on one occasion. They were counseled to use it wisely. They totally wasted it on a momentary whim and then compounded their mistake by giving up on the next task (balancing full bottles of wine on their heads) in a fit of pique and facing the two-hour penalty. As H.P. Lovecraft would say, "They went mad."

JOKE #5. People on Jeopardy really don't think about what they're saying to Alex in the biographical section. They're too nervous. Today, Dave, the reigning champion, actually informed America that his '98 Ford pickup had 140, 000 miles on the clock.

The woman whose ancestor was a judge at the Salem witch-trials.
"Did he order the deaths of anyone?" Alex asked, eyes twinkling.
"Yes he did," she replied, chuckling helplessly.

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