Tim and Eric’s New Show ‘Bedtime Stories’ — The Future of Comedy?

“We’re tired of trying to make people laugh with our humor. We want to make people cry.”
-Tim Heidecker

Largely overlooked comic genie Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim once again team up for their signature, home-grown blend of deadpan, satire, and gross-out humor. Their new TV show, Bedtime Stories, featuring John C. Reilly, Zach Galifianakis, and Jason Schwartzman, premieres tonight at 12:15am on Adult Swim. From the look of the trailer, Bedtime Stories seems to be a much more cinematic, narrative-based venture than we’re used to with Tim and Eric, with higher production quality and level of accessibility.

Tim and Eric are most known for their previous show on Adult Swim, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! which ran for three years until 2010 and featured brilliantly surrealistic and often satirical humor/anti-humor, including public-access television–style musical acts, bizarre faux-commercials, and editing and special effects chosen to make the show a parody of camp. The creators of the show have described it as “the nightmare version of television.”

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In line with the content of their previous television series, Bedtime Stories embraces the absurdity of American suburbia in a uniquely dark, Twilight Zone kind of way. Heidecker and Wareheim, who cite David Lynch and the Coen brothers as their storytelling influences, said that for their new series they were inspired by Louie‘s format of multiple episodes that loosely connect with recurring cameo/celebrity appearances. Unlike most of their previous work, their new series is focused much more on narrative and storytelling. “We wanted to tell little short stories that have a darker edge, kind of a nightmarish quality to them but still funny and absurd and go the opposite direction from the lo-fi aesthetic that we’ve established,” Heidecker said in a recent interview.

“I feel like most of life is a nightmare,” Wareheim said in response. “You have a couple friends and a couple beautiful moments, but everything else … and this show kind of embraces those moments of, like, ‘I cannot believe that this is really happening.'” Wareheim continued by noting that for the tone of the new series they were going for something like The Shining. “Real psychological horror, which I think we’re almost there in some of these episodes. Like, true horror. Not gore, but true really-fucking-frightening.”

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Even though they seem to be approaching a well-earned level of funding, through all their work the comedic process is rooted in an intimate level of comfort that they’ve established since their filmmaking days at Temple University in Philadelphia, where they first met. “I’m trying to make Eric laugh and the cameraman laugh, and he’s trying to make me laugh when he’s on camera, and that’s always at the heart of everything we do,” Tim said. “And that’s really the end of the conversation.”

Upon being asked if perhaps they have taken comedy to the limit of where it can go, Wareheim responded: “We are going to take it beyond that limit. Just flip it inside out. It’s this ever-expanding universe of comedy and we’re just going to keep on trucking.”

Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories premieres tonight at 12:15am on Adult Swim.

 

McDonald’s’ Terrifying New Mascot

It’s a new era for McDonald’s and they have a new, frightening mascot. Meet “Happy”, the new animated McDonald’s mascot aimed at getting kids to eat healthy food. Happy is terrifying — an animated Happy Meal Box with huge teeth, soul-scanning eyes, a black hole mouth, and judgmental arms — the stuff nightmares are made of. Happy’s role is to scare children into eating right. (As opposed to eating all the other shit on the McDonald’s menu.)

 

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READ WITH ME:

The fast-food company wants to position Happy as a healthier spokesperson for kids to promote “improved nutrition” choice. The character’s entrance coincides with introduction of Go-GURT Low-Fat Strawberry Yogurt. It, along with apple slices, can replace the kid-size fry as the side in a Happy Meal.

McDonald’s made their reputation on being Morgan Spurlock’s unhealthy nightmare, a wallowing fast food playground for our nation’s obese children. When Spurlock feasted on nothing but McDonald’s for Super Size Me, he gained 25 pounds and his cholesterol levels rose to a dangerous level, as did fatty accumulations in his liver. He experienced mood swings, depression, heart palpitations, and sexual dysfunction. (Ready for the joke?) I call that an “Unhappy Meal!”

McDonald’s decided to was time to rebrand, partially because of Spurlock’s movie, and partially because studies showed that more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. McDonald’s trying to rebrand itself as a healthy food establishment is like having a gun manufacturer rebrand by selling squirt guns.

Happy is the “ambassador for balanced and wholesome eating.” He is encouraging kids to eat the healthy Happy Meal options: fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and water or juice. Happy is especially welcoming of the new Low Fat Strawberry Go-Gurt. Happy does this by having a psychotic stare on his box-face.

McDonald’s has had a long history of creepy mascots. Check out McDonald’s very first Ronald clown mascot—who designed this monstrosity? Did they strap a food tray atop his head and attached a Dixie cup to his nose and then call it a day? Were they promoting fast food or coulrophobia (fear of clowns)?

Check out one of the most disturbing commercials known to humanity:

Google Glass Now Available To Any Douchebag with $1500

Yes, the eyewear equivalent of the ‘fanny pack’ has just become available to any person in the US who wants to risk being punched in the face in public.

(NOTE: This is what a fanny pack looks like:

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Google announced Tuesday that it’s opening up its Explorer Program to more people who have interest in becoming a Glasshole. So far the reaction to Google Glass has been compared to the reaction you would get for shitting in the pool:

A 20-year-old tech journalist reports that he was walking through San Francisco’s Mission District on Friday evening when he had the $1,500 wearable computer ripped off his face by a woman who yelled “Glass” and took off running — an apparent protest of the controversial gadget.

Want more? Okay, here’s more…..

A San Francisco woman who says she was attacked at a bar on Haight Street after refusing to stop wearing Google Glass has released video footage of the incident that she filmed with the new technology that spurred the confrontation in the first place.

Bars in San Francisco are already popping up with signs such as this. (Either a great undercover marketing scheme, or a signal that people just plain hate you if you are adorned with this ugly device.)

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I’m still waiting for a compelling reason for anyone to want to wear Google Glass (unless accompanied by a Bluetooth headset.) Marketing videos such as this one, though pretty to look at, are sorely missing the mark, or shows that you can be the star of your very own reality show, starring….YOU!

 

Weird Events Across The U.S. This Week

SAN FRANCISCO

Carrie Brownstein

Along with Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein is one half the creative force behind Portlandia, all the while rocking with her latest musical project, the four-piece female supergroup Wild Flag, and even working on a novel.

Wednesday, May 14, 7:30pm
Nourse Theatre
275 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA

NEW YORK CITY

Video TALE

All storytellers on the bill incorporate video with their performances. Show features Nick Prueher of the fabulous Found Footage Festival – showing how he fooled morning TV shows posing as a fake chef.

Thursday, May 15th, 7:00
Videology
308 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn 11211
Free

LOS ANGELES

SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS presents SHEPARD FAIREY: 50 Shades of Black

The artwork in 50 Shades of Black is inspired by the 12-inch record cover format. Since 2006, Fairey, a DJ and music enthusiast, has continuously created artwork with the record cover template in mind.

April 16 – May 17
Subliminal Projects
1331 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

CHICAGO

“Unfinished Business: The Right to Play”

Through the Prison + Neighborhood Art Project, Stateville Correctional Center inmates find creative ways to serve out their sentences.

Through 5/1/15: Tue-Fri 10 AM-4 PM, Sun noon-4 PM
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
800 S. Halsted

 

TALE Podast: Behind the Storytelling with Kelli Dunham & Christine Gentry

Disclaimer:

The TALE is a NYC storytelling show.

Podcasts are like radio – except over the Internet and no one gets paid.

TALE Podcast is like VH1’s Behind The Music, but without guitars (or drums for that matter) – and very much so with storytelling. Basically, cohost Alex Schmidt and myself dig deeper into storytellers’ tales to find out more.

Storytelling shows are huge in New York City. To update, storytelling is the new Pilates, which is the new selfie, which is the new non-racist tweet. It’s just that popular.

TALE podcast brings you the best storytellers in NYC with cred built from places like NPR, Comedy Central, McSweeney’s, Vice, The Nation, and HBO.

This week’s stories and guest:
Kelli Dunham is everyone’s favorite ex-nun, genderqueer, nerd comic (she talks more about that combination), and the author of numerous books.

Christine Gentry’s work has been published in Word Riot, Flashquake, and Printer’s Devil Review magazines, and her oral stories have been featured on the Story Collider, RISK, and This American Life podcasts.

Alex and I find out more with what’s behind the stories.

Listen here:

Weird Events Across The U.S. This Week

NEW YORK: 

Selected Shorts: An Evening with Neil Gaiman
Wednesday, May 7 7:30pm
Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space (2537 Broadway, New York, NY)

Beloved storyteller Neil Gaiman, one of the world’s most beloved storytellers, takes the reigns of this edition of Selected Shorts.

LOS ANGELES:

Withnail & I – Will Arnett in person!

Thursday, May 8 7:30pm
Egyptian Theatre (6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90028)
$15

New York’s Modern School of Film invites Will Arnett to attend a screening of one of his favorite films, the British black-comedy, Withnail & I.

Following the screening, Will Arnett will discuss the film and its meaning(s) during a talk moderated by Modern School of Film founder Robert Milazzo,

SAN FRANCISCO:

SFMade Week
May 5 – 11
Multiple locations in San Francisco CA (San Francisco, CA)
Free

Celebrate local manufacturers and makers with a week of pop-up shops, tours, tastings, and classes.

CHICAGO:

“Holy 75th Anniversary, Batman!”
Fulton Street Collective
2000 W. Fulton, 2nd floor

Chicago comic artists celebrate Batman’s 75th birthday. Dark Knight fans will find much to admire in “Holy 75th Anniversary, Batman!” at Fulton Street Collective.

 

NYC Softee Turf Wars

I hope this doesn’t get ugly; I hope lives aren’t lost, families destroyed, and city property isn’t damaged. Apparently, NYC is strictly a one Softee town.

The New York Daily News reports:

The New Jersey-based owner of the famed Mister Softee dessert company filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court. Master Softee trucks are housed in a Long Island City garage owned by Dimitrios Tsirkos — a former Mister Softee franchisee.

This refreshing summer dessert debacle as turned into a showdown at the soft-serve corral.

To avoid confusion, this is Mister Softee

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And this is Master Softee

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Sure, you might say the coneheads look a HELL of a lot alike — but that’s just being racist. Normally, men who have dairy products and a cone for a head look quite a lot a like (and often shop at the same bowtie store).

An argument could be made that Master Softee is a blatant knockoff of Mister Softee, in the same way that Dr. Skipper is a blatant Safeway grocery store knock off of Dr. Pepper. (They just happened to go to the same medical school.) Why cry “trademark infringement”? The Softees are a big family with numerous nieces and nephews.

Master Softee drivers praised the Tsirkos team saying the Whitestone businessman doesn’t charge the annual $3,400 “royalty” fee that Conway bills his vendors.

“We are going to fight them,” said the depot manager, who would not identify himself by name. “We are going to fight them all the way.

If you see a Mister Softee truck torched this summer, I think we will know who is to blame. Master Softee is no softy.

Weird Events Across The U.S. This Week

Chicago

Final Page for The Encyclopedia Show
After five years in Chicago, the Encyclopedia Show is down to its final two entries before the big book closes for good. The live lit comedy show turns to an expansive source of inspiration: the encyclopedia. April 30, 7:30 p.m. 1225 W. Belmont, Stage 773

San Francisco 

Terminator Too: Judgement Play
From the director of Point Break Live! Comes: Terminator Too: Judgement Play.  Selected audience members join forces with Sarah and John Connor on stage. May 1, 9 p.m. DNA Lounge (375 11th Street, San Francisco)

Los Angeles

Charlie Chaplin Centennial Silent Film Festival with Theater Pipe Organ
Celebrate Charlie Chaplin’s 100th anniversary as the ‘Little Tramp’ with UCLA Royce Hall’s Christoph Bull on the massive 1921 Wurlitzer theater pipe organ. May 3, 7 p.m. $10

New York

Superfreak Weekend
Come and get your freak on! Sideshows by the Seashore hosted by Mat Fraser and featuring The Illustrated Penguin, Nati Amos and the Velvet Crayon. Sideshows by the Seashore May 3 and 4, 1 p.m. $10

Yee-Fucking-Ha! The Guns Everywhere Bill Passes in Georgia

Just when I was beginning to have faith that the world wasn’t turning into complete idiocracy, I got bitch-slapped back to reality with the Georgia “Guns Everywhere” bill, just signed into law by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.

Why do foreigners hate us? The bill makes it legal for licensed gun owners in Georgia to pack heat in bars, schools, churches and some government buildings. That’s all.

The NRA must be doing Jell-o shots down at the Atlanta airport Applebee’s over this. Their organization has called it “the most comprehensive pro-gun reform bill in state history.”  Read that statement between the lines of a liberal filter: we have devolved instead of evolved.

To paraphrase Gov. Nathan Deal: “The bill allows those who follow the rules, the right to protect themselves from the million of other gun crazy lunatics who have easy access to firearms — without a benefit of a background check and are mentally unstable.” (Again, I paraphrase.)

Praise From the Right Wing: The gun rights group GeorgiaCarry.org states the bill will “restore our right to carry and be allowed to protect ourselves anywhere we go. Or simply allow us to get drunk, leave the trigger lock off our weapon, and accidently shoot a child.” (Again, I’m paraphrasing.) He went on to say (and again I’m paraphrasing), “Let’s follow in the footsteps of Florida, and make sure all our neighborhood watch leaders have the right to shoot an unarmed teenager wearing a hoodie.”

Opponents of the bill include Americans for Responsible Solutions, the group co-founded by former Arizona congresswoman/gun shooting survivor Gabby Giffords who said (no paraphrasing here), that the bill “moves Georgia out of the mainstream.”

Remember Georgia, as NRA president Wayne LaPierre once said,  “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun — except if the good guy with a gun suddenly becomes a bad guy — then holy fuck, we’re in trouble!”