Month: September 2017

James Pietragallo and Jimmie Whisman’s CRIME IN SPORTS Podcast and Why Comedians Can Do Almost Anything

A lot of athletes make mistakes.  Big mistakes.  Plaxico Burress went into a strip club with a gun in his sweatpants for some reason.  Steve Howe did nearly all of the cocaine.  Darryl Strawberry did the rest of it.  James Pietragallo and Jimmie Whisman tell the stories of wayward athletes on their Crime in Sports podcast.

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GWS Companion: The Comedians of Budd Friedman’s THE IMPROV

You may have read my writing craft essay about Budd Friedman’s autobiography/biography of The Improv.  It occurred to me that many folks may not have seen the work of some of the standups who figure into the book.  That isn’t funny at all.  So here’s a journey through a very, very small fraction of the comedians who figure into the story of The Improvisation.

Robert Klein

Richard Lewis

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Budd Friedman’s THE IMPROV and Leading with Your Strongest Material

In the mood to watch some great standup comedy?  I’ve compiled a GWS Companion that features 20 of the comedians who figure into the long and storied history of The Improv.  Click here if you wish to laugh.

There are so many reasons that I love comedy, but I think the primary one is that comedians have always been the true conscience of a society.  The court jester is the only person who can speak truth to the king.  Comedians push boundaries and shape how we view the language.  (Just this morning, I heard an NPR commentator mention how a politician was using rhetoric that “ratcheted the tension to 11.”)

So much of today’s comedy can be traced to Budd Friedman and his Improv, the first comedy club of its kind.  The brick wall in the background?  The cutthroat competition and dysfunctional friendships between comics?  That was all him.  The Improv was the incubator for comics like Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Lewis, Andy Kaufman, Elayne Boosler…everyone. Continue Reading

Marta Perry’s SECOND CHANCE AMISH BRIDE and Making the Most of Restrictions

Caleb is not experiencing one of the high points of his life.  His estranged wife died, leaving him to care for two kids.  He broke his leg in an accident and cannot properly tend to his dairy farm.  And worst of all, his wife’s sister has arrived from her own Amish enclave to help out in the household.  Caleb isn’t a big fan of Jessie; perhaps she reminds him of Alice, the wife who abandoned the family before returning when she was close to death.

Jessie did her best to reach out to her sister, but failed.  And she has a secret of her own: she had a huge crush on Caleb before Alice, the prettier sister, captured his attention.  Spending time around him is painful, even all these years later.  (Purchase the book from the publisher, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon.  Here’s her Facebook page and web site.) Continue Reading