Seinfeld on How to Tell a Joke
From our senior editor Trent Gilliss’ Tumblr:
“In my world, the wronger something feels the righter it is. So too waste this much time on something this stupid… that felt good to me. “
A superb five-minute short on how Jerry Seinfeld writes a joke from The New York Times.
Seinfeld’s take on wasting time might just be the polar opposite advice given by Jon Kabat-Zinn in our podcast for this week.
Mike Wallace Interviews Music Genius Franz Liszt (video)
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
It’s been some time since we’ve posted a Friday video snack. So how about ten minutes of the comedic genius of Victor Borge with one of the toughest journalists in the business, Mike Wallace.
(A good, ol-fashioned doff of the cap to Performance Today.)
I have religious friends, and they’re like, ‘Well if you look, it’s proven.’ And you’re like, ‘No, it’s not proven.’ Don’t try to tell me that you can prove this stuff. Just say ‘I believe it,’ and I’m down with you. Don’t mix the two together. Because you can’t logically say, ‘We know that Jews came from Jerusalem and settled in America and turned into Native Americans.’ That just doesn’t make any sense. But at the same time, if you say ‘I believe this,’ I say ‘Okay. Cool man.’ Because at the end of the day, we all have certain beliefs and deeply held things that probably don’t make a lot of sense to anybody else.
The co-creator of South Park and the new Broadway musical hit The Book of Mormon talks religions with Terry Gross on Fresh Air. Looking forward to hearing the full interview on NPR sometime soon.
(Photo by Michael Yarish/Comedy Central)
Reblogged by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
Snoop Digs the Kosher Doggs
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
This altered scene of The Last Supper is popping up in the strangest places and all over Tumblr. Here, Snoop Dogg warms up the room before the main act takes the stage. You know Jesus is big when Snoop’s just the opener!
Atheists Don’t Have No Songs
by Shubha Bala, associate producer
Watch Steve Martin with the Steep Canyon Rangers sing a special song, since they say atheists don’t have any.
Watch Live Video of John Hodgman in Wits
(tonight, 8pm CT)
Trent Gilliss, senior editor
Well, with all the video streaming of live SOF events over the past year, we’ve gotten pretty dang good at making things work and, more importantly, troubleshooting when things go wrong. So, when I can, I jump at the opportunity to share my experience and help our many colleagues.*
And, I’m not going to fib, it’s also a great opportunity to collaborate differently, figure out new ways of doing things, and see some phenomenal talent from behind the glass. And tonight’s show is one of them! Plus, we’ve always wanted to do comedy on our program. This is my roundabout way of making that happen!
So, if you’re looking for some no-cost entertainment, a few good laughs, and the ability to opt in to a vigorous Twitter conversation (hashtag is #wits), stop by around 8 pm Central tonight.
* Did you know that we are part of the same organization that produces hundreds of live events and programs like A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, Marketplace, The Splendid Table with Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Performance Today, the entire Minnesota Public Radio service, etc.?
Late Night with Tutu
Colleen Scheck, senior producer
This enjoyable segment with Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson won a Peabody Award today. Of this episode the selection committee said, “As this fascinating, often funny interview attests, the Scottish-born Ferguson has made late-night television safe again for ideas.”
I love how it highlights both Tutu’s moral passion and his delightful sense of humor. And, look for our show with Desmond Tutu in late April. Note: Ferguson’s interview is broken into three segments for YouTube. Watch the second and third parts below.
The Daily Show, Heckling, and Hope
Andy Dayton, associate web producer
There was a bit of stir a few weeks ago when Jon Stewart welcomed Ann Baltzar and Dr. Mustafa Barghouti onto The Daily Show. Baltzar is author of Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories, and Barghouti is “a leading figure in the Palestinian democratic and nonviolent movement for peace.” The stir resulted from having two guests that approach the issue from a “Palestinian point of view.”
At one point in the interview a member of the audience yells “liar” to Barghouti (apparently the first heckler in the show’s 11 years), and Stewart quickly turns it into fodder for discussion asking Barghouti how he maintains hope when people “can’t even agree to begin the conversation.”
Trent had a look at the video of this exchange last Friday, and clued me in on something I completely missed — a close connection to a story Karen Armstrong tells in this week’s program. Both of these situations involve someone in the audience disrupting the discussion, and a consideration of how best to handle it. From the transcript, a story that took place at the “God 2000” conference at Oregon State University:
And then when we were on the final panel, suddenly erupted in the hall a fundamentalist who started to shriek at us incoherently. What I could make out was that he was saying that Jews and Muslims denied Jesus and therefore they were going to hell, and all of those of us who sided with Jews and Muslims were also going to hell, and this was evil. And you couldn’t hear much, because he was so incoherent with rage and despair. What I could hear, however, was the note of pain in his voice. This was not just some loony. This was somebody who was suffering and in pain, and felt profoundly threatened by what we were saying.
And the point is that we, seven of us on this panel — we’re all articulate people, we’d all been talking nonstop to each other and to the audience for the last two days. We were utterly struck dumb. None of us could say a word. We felt utterly winded by this assault. Even me, and I should have known better, because I’d just finished my book on fundamentalism. I couldn’t think of anything to say. Eventually this man was hustled out, and the moderator said, ‘Well, I wish we could have talked to him, because he is part of the conference of God, “Where Is God at 2000?” He’s part of this conversation.’ But somehow we couldn’t talk with one another. He was incoherent, we were struck dumb and useless, and this is the problem that we’re facing.
With that in mind, there’s something in Barghouti’s response that he would “very much like to meet” the man who raised his voice and heckled. Perhaps simply a willingness to start the conversation is hopeful enough.