It’s been a busy week and Optional Irony drew the short straw. Lesson of life for this week: there are only 24 hours in a day and you have to be mindful and careful about how you’re applying them. The concurrent truth is that there’s a whole 24 hours in a day, and if you’re mindful and careful about applying them you can see a lot and get a lot done.

“I know I’m normally the happy positive one-no wait, Charizard is a war criminal.” “I love that you corrected yourself in sentence.”
Myself and Michael Darling, recording Episode Six of our Mon Men Podcast

My Pokemon podcast is still going, with 5 episodes live on Spotify and iTunes, and two more recorded already, we’ve got a comfortable handle on the show’s structure, episode planning, and recording. It’s quickly become a podcast not so much about Pokemon, but a show where Pokemon are the conduit to discussions about pop culture, world building, story telling, and more. In the most recent episode recording we touched on topics such as sexual identity and the furry community, Trans Rights and AOC, and even the Notorious B.I.G. Also, it’s fun featuring my mother as part of a weekly game to kick things off.

In addition, I’ve vastly improved my skills at the back end production of audio editing and mixing that I’m truly proud of the results and product. That said: self-awareness moments like the above that lead to comedy? That’s what it’s all about. Friction makes fire, and I bring decent amount of it to the discussions to keep things lively. On the one hand, you should always find ways and things that keep you learning and growing, and never lose sight of that core. The podcast has been a surprisingly fulfilling outlet for that.

“‘Shut the fuck up, you’re crazy,’ covers such a wide span of emotion and intent. For example, you might say that to a complete stranger harassing you in the streets, but it’s also what my wife of twenty years said to me when I proposed to her twenty one years ago.”
-Ari Voukydis, UCB Improv

Ari subbed in as teacher for my Improv 101 class this week, and he dropped a number of little gems I loved. In general, I continue to love the outlet of Improv. UCB’s methodology for long form improv is well articulated in Matt Besser’s Comedy Manual, and the classes have heightened my awareness to what makes the comedies I love “work” and given me an extra toolset to use in my own writing.

Ari in particular has the science of it down. He was quick, incisive, and while he was lightning fast and precise at pointing out missed opportunities or wrong turns, he did so in a really encouraging fashion- a fantastic teacher. Then two hours into class he told us a story about twenty years ago being in class under Besser himself, and how Besser stood him up in front of the class, and tore Ari’s performance to shreds. Ari got  broken down to the atomic level by the guy who literally wrote the book on comedy, and twenty years later? He’s not only still there, he’s a master and helping so many others find their way. It was a really cool class enhanced exponentially knowing that he had stayed at it and grown to the master comedic scientist he is.

“Why is it so offensive to you to consider me as a real option?”
Russian Doll, on Netflix

I might do a full review of this one eventually, but for now Russian Doll is on the background while I’m working from home today. I’m enjoying this dark comedy twist on the Groundhog Day formula. I don’t want to spoil too much, but Elizabeth Ashley’s Ruth is more than simply a flawed egotist like Murray in Groundhog Day, and she’s reacting with much more pathos to the time loop she’s stuck in. I’ll spoil one thing: unlike GD, her loop isn’t locked to a single day, it resets whenever she dies.

There’s something more wonderfully human about this, and it’s not challenging GD so much as using the vehicle and conceit to say something different about how we live and who we try to be with the time we have. I’m intrigued and I’ll be keeping it on as I get back to work here. Happy Friday folks!

Written by Y. Balloo

Amateur novelist / Work in progress.

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