Saturday, September 16, 2006

Guest Blogger: Dobie Maxwell

Dobie Maxwell is one of the most accomplished stand-up comedians working in America today. I highly recommend his stand up act. If you are in a town that has "The Bob & Tom Show," you've probably heard Dobie many times. He is a semi-regular guest on that show. He was also one of the co-hosts of the "Morning Loop Guys" on WLUP in 2003/2004, and did a daily feature called the 60 Second Soapbox. He's previously contributed two more exclusively for this blog. (Dobie 1 & Dobie 2)

This time he's doing something a little different...

The Secret To Wedded Bliss

By Dobie Maxwell

Recently I was asked to stand up for a friend’s wedding. Just because I stand up to tell jokes as a comedian for a living doesn’t mean I do it any other time. I politely declined. I explained how I had a difficult time taking an entire weekend off and my friend was very understanding and I thought that would be the end of it. Wrong. His fiancĂ© heard about it and called me up telling me how I was letting my friend down and how all the years of a friendship didn’t need to end with a slap in the face like this and blah blah blah blah blah.

After 20 minutes on the phone (during peak cell minutes by the way) of getting verbally spanked I had had enough blah blah blahing from the future Bride of Frankenstein and by the time it was over it was ME that wanted a divorce and I wasn’t even marrying her. She went on and on and I tried to be polite but eventually I brought out the heavy artillery and pushed the red button to start the launch sequence of total destruction. It wasn’t pretty.

I hit her with the three words of death about men and weddings that drive women crazy: WE DON’T CARE. There was dead silence on the other side of the phone and I pictured the tiny little mushroom cloud rising out of her earpiece. She swore at me and hung up. I felt bad that I had to drop the big one on her but I knew my friend would understand.

Ladies can’t stand to hear those three words when it comes to men and weddings but it needs to be understood. It’s not that we don’t care about YOU, it’s the wedding we can’t stand and it’s not our fault. It’s genetic. Women and weddings go together and no matter how hard we fake it as men we could not care less and are just along for the ride. Sorry.

Women and football are the same way. For us it’s life and death and you may pretend to show interest also but in reality we know you’re faking it too. You like the tight butts in a football uniform and maybe enjoy being catty about the cheerleaders but other than that it all becomes a big blur. That’s in your nature and we don’t fault you for it. Please let us be how we are naturally and not have to fake like we care about the planning of a wedding.

Think about it. You dream of your wedding day from the time you’re a little girl. You’ll spend hours and hours thinking about it and you spend thousands of dollars on your dress. A seamstress works her fingers raw making sure that dress is fitted perfectly to your form. You keep that dress forever and it’s a cherished memory. Everybody wants your picture.

Men rent a tuxedo for $39.95 that has adjustable pants with beer and gravy stains from three weddings ago and a folded up yarmulke in the coat pocket and we’re totally ok with it. Nobody really wants our picture, we just happen to be standing next to you at the time. If we had our way we’d wear sweat pants and a ‘Git ‘R Done’ t-shirt. Sorry, but it’s true.

All we really care about as men is that there is lots of cold beer at the reception and we don’t have to sit anywhere near your buck toothed Aunt Charlene who stutters. Other than that we’re fine with whatever you choose. It’s YOUR day and we love you so just make it happen. Whenever you have a question just insert the three magic words and you’ll be ok.

This will save a lot of time and energy and pave the way for a lifetime of wedded bliss. It is no coincidence that the two places bliss is mentioned most are weddings and ignorance.

Let’s practice. Band or DJ? WE DON’T CARE. Where to register? WE DON’T CARE. Beef or chicken for dinner? WE DON’T CARE. Pretty simple isn’t it? Take that as a hint for happiness, not a negative. When you learn that we don’t care about the wedding the pressure will be off and you can make it the special day you want to remember forever.

Men would be happy if the actual ceremony could be performed in a drive thru format.

"Hi, welcome to Wedding Bell. May I help you?"

"Yes, I'd like to order the lifetime matrimony combo special please."

"OK, super - would you like to add any kids with that?"

"Uh, hold on. (To wife) Honey? Did you bring the coupon? You did?"

(To clerk) "OK, yes - we'd like three kids and we've got a coupon. Two boys and a girl. And could you please supersize the boys? Thanks."

I sincerely hope all brides to be use these three magic words to insure your happiness on your big day. We love you and want you to be happy. If you want to stay happy all of your marriage here’s another hint: please don’t use the six words on us about football that send us over the edge - ‘Why did he drop the ball?’ THAT we care about.

If you missed any previous guest bloggers, click here:

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Superheroes for the 21st Century

They say that when you hit your 40s, your life is half over. We prefer to think of it as HALF EMPTY. Our age has finally caught up with our outlook on life. Remember, it is possible to turn that frown upside down...but you might pull a muscle.

"21st Century Superheroes"
By Rick Kaempfer & Dave Stern

20th Century superheroes were larger than life. They had superhuman strength, rescued damsels in distress, and stopped bullets with their bare hands.

In the 21st century we’re not so worried about the Nazi’s, the Commies, or Super-villains anymore. We're more worried about getting through everyday life. That's why we strongly recommend the cartoonists of America scale the superheroes waaaaaay back. Less is more.

We'll get you started. Here are nine free ideas.*

1. Generation X-Man
This tech-savvy superhero will be able to tell you how to use all of the features on your digital cellular phone. After Generation X-Man saves the day, your phone will ring to Beethoven's 9th Symphony, your internet hookup will be accessible, and your phone-photos will be organized so your wife can't find the pictures you took at the mall.

2. Wine-der Woman

The most attractive of the superheroes instinctively knows when she is needed. Say your boss is coming over for dinner and you're serving him the shrimp primavera, Wine-der Woman will swoop in to pick out the perfect wine for the evening.

3. The Greenspan Hornet

Who couldn’t use the stock tips and financial planning provided by this investor superhero? He is so powerful he has been known to upend the entire stock market simply by uttering a few abstract phrases. When the Greenspan Hornet is on your side, your portfolio cannot be destroyed.

4. The Lone Rogainger

Yes, my balding friend, The Lone Rogainger responds to every balding emergency. (AUDIO: The Lone Rogainger)

5. Phat Girl

Without the expert superhero help of Phat Girl, you may accidentally consume ingredients forbidden in diets like South Beach and The Zone. Carbs and meat wouldn't dare appear on your plate at the same time when she's on the case.

6. The Incredible Sulk

By day, the Incredible Sulk is no different than us. But when someone is involved in a customer service nightmare, he transforms into a rampaging squeaky wheel, ensuring no one is treated badly by faceless corporations. His mere presence is enough to get you your money back.

7. Captain Republican

This useful superhero will help you end all arguments by accusing the person you’re debating of being an un-American, anti-God, traitorous appeaser. His arch enemy "Politically Correct Man" is no match for Captain Republican's aggressive retorts.

8. Starbuck Rodgers
This superhero coffee translator will help you determine what the heck the person in front of you means when she orders a venti half-caf soy latte. He will also slap the cashier giving you attitude for asking for a "large coffee."

9. Flash
This tech-savvy superhero can help you navigate past slow-loading web pages with needless animation. Flash will save you hours of wasted time every single day.

OK, cartoonists of America. You have your assignment. Get to work. We’d do it ourselves, but we’re too busy trying to figure out how to re-record our outgoing voicemail message.

*By free, we of course mean we’ll retain the traditional 51% ownership. That might as well be free you little snots.

If you want to read any previous "Half Empty" columns, click here:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Suburban Man: Don't Bogart That Boobah

By Rick Kaempfer

If you’re a stay-at-home parent, the odds are good you will spend some time watching television with your kids. You have to. Without that occasional break, you’ll go crazy.

It's an escape...from anything even remotely resembling real life. In fact, if these shows were available during the 60s, Timothy Leary never would have felt the need to experiment.

In Teletubbie-Land, four brightly colored television-receptor-people (Teletubbies) live in a spaceship-shaped home. This luxurious 5000-square-foot space-age pad is located in a grassy field of wild flowers and live bunnies, and appears to come with a lawn service and live-in help (a vacuum cleaner-shaped sucking device named Nu-Nu.) The four Teletubbies, Tinky Winky (Purple), Dipsy (Green), La-La (Yellow), and Po (Red), receive messages sent by children on the televisions built into their stomachs. These videos feature exciting scenes of children cutting out pictures and waving. The Teletubbies themselves have an impressive vocabulary consisting of the following words: “Uh oh,” “No,” “Nu-Nu,” “Look,” and “Bunnies.” All of these words can produce a giggle at any time from the little baby that lives in the sun and watches over them. One last tip for parents tuning in: don’t bother writing the producers of this show to find out “what they were on” when they created it. They won’t tell. Do as I do: continue experimenting with whatever you can your hands on, until you encounter the correct hallucinogen.

The Boohbahs, five magical atoms of power, light and fun travel in their Boohball around the world, from child to child, in a psychedelic explosion of color. These pear-shaped colorful fuzzy Boobahs with strange names like Zing Zingbah dance around for thirty minutes, and say nothing at all, except their own names and the word “Boohbah.” That word sends them into an imaginary Storyworld for the Storypeople - Grandmamma, Grandpappa, Mrs. Lady, Mr. Man, Brother and Sister, Auntie and Little Dog Fido. Those characters also don’t say any words at all; they pantomime the stories. If you haven’t seen it, you have to watch it at least once. It’s the strangest show that has ever been created. I think that PBS should show it at 3 a.m. It almost certainly would become a cult hit on college campuses across the country. Don’t bogart that Boobah, dude.

Blues Clues
A real-life grown up dressed like a kid lives in a cartoon house with a cartoon dog. The dog (Blue) always wants to play with the grown up dressed like a kid (Steve or Joe), but since this is first cartoon dog since Pluto who can’t speak, Blue is forced to communicate by providing clues. While the dog doesn't speak, everything else in the cartoon house does. Steve/Joe speaks to his cartoon soap, his cartoon salt & pepper shakers (who have French accents), and his cartoon nightstand, among others. He can also jump into the pictures on the wall by dancing in a circle. The worst part about this show is the catchiness of the little songs. Is there anything more embarrassing than walking through a grocery store humming the “We just got a letter” song? I don’t think so…and I speak from experience.

There are more shows, of course, but all three of these have been in heavy rotation at my house at one time or another over the past ten years.

And they haunt my dreams.

If you missed any previous Suburban Man columns, click here:

Sunday, September 10, 2006

An Excerpt from "The Radio Producer's Handbook"

Tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of September 11, 2001, a day that I'm sure everyone reading this remembers vividly.

My experience on that day was a little odd. It involved Eddie Munster.

The following short excerpt about my experiences on that day is taken from "The Radio Producer's Handbook," which is still available here...The Radio Producer's Handbook

The John Landecker show had a “Mystery Guest” segment scheduled during the 8am hour (central time) on September 11, 2001. Rick Kaempfer was speaking with Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster) on the phone, prepping him for the mystery guest segment, when he was alerted about the first tower being hit. He politely said goodbye to Butch Patrick, turned on the television in the studio, and the show became a full-service news program. The newscaster Richard Cantu told all of the details that had been confirmed. As the show members tried to make sense of what was happening, the second tower was hit. Landecker and his co-host Leslie Keiling saw it happening and described it to the listeners. The listeners that normally would have turned on the news/talk station stayed with the program. Even today Landecker is stopped by people who were listening to the show that day. They thank him for handling the situation so professionally and feel a personal connection to him because of the real emotion he and the rest of the show members displayed on the air.

This is the crew we had working on the show that day...(from left, Rick Kaempfer, John Landecker, Leslie Keiling, Richard Cantu, and Vince Argento).