Saturday, April 07, 2001

Brush with Greatness/Brush with Stupidity

Last Saturday night, five of us went to a taping for an HBO comedy special, thanks to a friend in the business. I was really confused about what was going on, but we showed up, milled around for a while munching on free food until they called out for "guests of the production company." Woo hoo, that was us. We must be in the front row. In fact, we were (though they later moved us back a little bit). Still wasn't sure what was going on -- there was a sign on stage saying "Welcome [Something] High Class of 1981". Huh.

Fortunately, we ran into the parents of aforementioned friend, who clued us in. This was going to be a series of sketches by a number of different comedy troupes. Most of them I hadn't heard of, although I had heard of the Groundlings. Many of the sketches were less than inspiring, but some -- such as Australia's Umbilical Brothers -- were downright entertaining. Hopefully the less entertaining ones will end up on the cutting room floor.

But then it was time for the final sketch with The Kids in the Hall. Out wanders Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald. Not to take anything away from Kevin McDonald, but I found Dave Foley 20 times funnier than anyone else in the room. He was joking around before and after the sketches in a genuinely funny manner that few people have.

After some forced laughter for the laugh track, we were on our way. We decided to head to Fado for a drink. As we rounded the corner of the building the taping was in, I heard Martin say, "It's Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald of Kids in the Hall!" Sure enough, there they were. I don't know what came over me, but I started to do my best "Teenage Girls See the Beatles" shrieking. I figured a) I would never see these guys again and b) I was far enough away to be non-threatening. Everybody was somewhat amused/vaguely embarassed.

So we wandered over to Fado, which was fairly packed with people watching the Maryland/Duke basketball game/debacle. Fortunately, there were seats available as long as we were OK with not being able to see the TV. In fact, there were two tables tucked into the corner. So we claimed one, sat down and ordered our drinks. A couple minutes later, who sits down at the table next to us than -- the Kids in the Hall. So I did see them again, and I was not nearly far enough away to avoid feeling pretty darn awkward.

You can also read another take on the evening's events that's slightly less Jon-centric.


Went to Arundel Mills last night for the first time. It's this huge "outlet" mall at Rtes. 295 and 100 in Maryland. I got a good deal on a ski jacket at Sun & Ski Sports -- all their ski stuff was on end-of-season clearance. They had a treadmill-like thing that you could "ski" on, but I declined their offer of 15 minutes for $7. Somehow, it just didn't seem the same.

Then we went to Chevy's for dinner. The fact that they didn't have a table ready was annoying until we went into the bar and discovered that they had trivia. I ended up playing a pretty decent game of Spotlight, and getting to #1 on the bar's high scores at the game. Then again, after only being in for 3 questions (out of 15) of the previous game (Triviaoke), I was #9. So it's not a trivia hot spot.

By then it was almost time for the movie. We went to see it at the Muvico Egyptian 24. First of all, Muvico is a pretty silly name for a movie theater chain. It's a Florida company that builds these mega-stadium theaters. Ever since I've started going to theaters with stadium seating, I've gotten to be a bit of a snob about them and am willing to drive further to see movies there as opposed to anywhere else. Somehow I became under the mistaken impression that O, Brother Where Art Thou? was playing there. When we went to buy tickets, we were disabused of that notion. So, we got tickets for Down to Earth, a movie starring Sam Neill about the Apollo moon landings and the attempt to get an Australian satellite dish to help televise it.

At this point, you may be saying, "Jon, don't you mean The Dish? Isn't Down to Earth that lame Chris Rock remake of Heaven Can Wait?" Well, smarty-pants, you're a step ahead of me, as we discovered when the opening credits started to roll. Oops. Not wanting to subject ourselves to what we were fairly sure was going to be a not-so-thrilling movie, we slunk out.

And changed theaters to Chocolat, which was just starting. Thank goodness. All in all an enjoyable movie about a woman who opens a chocolate store in a small village in France in 1960 and upsets the town's existing social order. I guess the one thing that bothered me about the film is that it seemed to be proselytizing the transformative power of chocolate -- which is really silly, if you stop and think too long. (So don't.) The movie grasps for profoundness, but in the end is really just...sweet. Which is fine with me.

Thursday, April 05, 2001

Why I Don't Watch Baseball Much Anymore

"There's no sense in rooting for a total loser, so let's cross the Twins right off the list. If you already are a Twins fan, well, that's your cross to bear, and you can't expect the rest of us to join your lonely crusade."
--Hugo Lindgren, "The Free-Agent Fan", Slate.