I am Published, I Shan’t Perish

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My first book is no longer imaginary. We have a publication date at last. The brilliant Doctor Bethany Poston, PhD and I wrote a chapter of McFarland’s A State of Arrested Development: Critical Essays on the Innovative Television Comedy out April 15, 2015.

Best of all, Arrested Development creator Mitchell Hurwitz wrote the forward. We’re in the same book, see.

Our essay is called “Families with Low Self-Esteem: The Fünke Dynamic.” The research was a grueling round of hilarity and psychological analysis. My deadline nightmares consisted of rewriting sentences while a “Blue Man” Tobias (David Cross) floated disembodied in the corner. I cannot wait for you to read it.

Pre-order on Amazon.

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Reclaim the News

Once my mother asked where she “had gone wrong” with me and I told her “you taught me to read and bought me a radio.” It was a pink boom box for my 8th birthday and it ruined me in the most effective manner, simultaneously developing my lifelong addictions to Motown music, old radio variety shows, and world news. I kept the transistor between my pillow and the wall, allowing the frequencies to shape my mind while I slept. I came to understand the world around me from a broader perspective and that mattered to me, even at a young age. The dulcet tones of WBBM Chicago lulled me to sleep at night and kept me company as I moved about the solitary afternoons granted by eight years of homeschool. I used money earned from my paper route to buy a battery-powered radio with a long strap to sling around my shoulder so I could listen to long stretches of afternoon news reports while I rode my 10-speed bicycle through the quiet streets of West Chicago. I was extremely cool at that age, most evident in my new hobby of watching the Comedy Channel in the basement while my mom worked mornings for the church. I discovered quickly that I would get more jokes by staying abreast of global politics. Left to my own devices, I developed analytical opinions and learned the value of well-placed reference in conversation, especially where grown-ups are concerned.

As an adult myself, I am endlessly infuriated by the corporate media’s iron grip choking journalists into a culture of sensationalized self-censorship and military-industrial apologetics. Isn’t it bad enough Citizens United has corporatized Capitol Hill, disenfranchising We, the People from our “elected” representatives? I’ve had enough. Over the past year, I have cultivated a diverse feed of editorially-independent journalists that amply fill the void left by the pathetic death rattle of the mainstream media complex. If you also demand to know what is going on in our world, you must rise above the mind control programming of the 24 hours news cycle. Disengage. Occupy your own mind. Subscribe to the following programs and newsletters to take back the sanctity of news. In seeking the truth, remember to follow the journalist, not the outlet.

Breaking the Set

Friend-of-the-show Abby Martin offers revolutionary anti-Establishment coverage the MSM is too chicken shit to touch. Watch as she illuminates the dark corners of corporate oppression and calls to action an awakening of activists demanding progress of the People over profit.

Listen to Everything’s Fine with Abby Martin on The Crisman Show.

The Young Turks

TYT is the largest online news show in the world, with over 1 billion views and counting. Hosts Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian break down news, politics, entertainment, and current events without scripts or teleprompters and without any corporate bias.

The Big Picture

Author Thom Hartmann introduces his program by reminding us the press is the only industry specifically mentioned in the Constitution, because a free and open press is critical to a functional democracy. The Big Picture reveals what is actually going on in the world, going beyond merely identifying the problem and trying to fix it with rational debate and a real discussion of the critical issues facing America.

The Resident

Quick, informative, and cheeky as hell, The Resident talks about the insanities surrounding life in these United States.

Moment of Clarity

Activist and Investigative Comedian Lee Camp creatively carries on the ball-busting legacy of Bill Hicks and Lenny Bruce through stand up, documentary shorts, and sketch animation.

Newsletters Worth a Damn

BORDC Daily News Digest

The Bill of Rights Defense Committee provides a fantastic daily rundown of top civil liberties issues.

Occupy.com

Make it your homepage.

Nation of Change

One of my absolute favorite editorial newsletters, I rarely miss an issue and tend to share most every article I read either on Twitter or Pinterest.

CounterPunch

Named “America’s Best Political Newsletter” and easily the most addictive on this list.

EcoWatch

Environmental news and critical calls-to-action.

EFF Digest

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is on the front lines of digital privacy rights, and leading the fight against patent trolls now threatening the podcasting landscape. To learn more about this battle, check out Adam Corolla’s campaign against trolls (then donate to the defense fund here).

The Crisman Show Tiny Documentary (NSFW)

Presenting four years of work in under 14 minutes. The story of our indie variety show.

Directed by Graham Richards. Written by Crisman Richards. Music by Graham Richards with G Koop & O-man. Animated by Grant Pennington.

Thanks to all of you out in the aether, laughing along or at the very least, listening in a silent panic.

Everything’s Fine! with Abby Martin

Abby Martin is the host of RT America's Breaking The Set.

Abby Martin is the host of RT America’s Breaking The Set (Ian Sbalcio Photography).

Comedian Crisman Richards interviews RT America’s Breaking the Set host Abby Martin and offers political commentary on a Special Session of Public Dick: The Rootin’ Tootin’ Adventures of Rick Perry.  Theme music by Graham Richards.  Music by G Koop and O-man featuring Young Gully.  Promotional consideration provided by IK Multimedia.

Follow @AbbyMartin on Twitter.

Click here for #iRigCrisman contest details.

Direct Download

Subscribe on iTunes.

Listening while you drive?  Add us to your Stitcher Favorites Playlist.

Follow us on Twitter: @CrismanRichards @grichardsbros @gkoopoman

Find us on Facebook.

Everyday Theatricality by Dr Tobias Funke

Dr Tobias Funke

“All the world’s a stage…  And one man in his time plays many parts.”

-William Shakespeare


Methinks the greatest role of the actor plays out on the stage of Every Day.  It is the player’s responsibility to invent moments of theatrical opportunity.  A true actor must answer the divine call of performance; one cannot wait around for casting directors to out the actor within.  How will the world know of your closet theatricality unless you reveal the actor has been inside you all along?

There are four simple ways to bring theatricality into the savage banality of everyday existence:

Enter the room with flourish.  
A commanding stage presence is as good in the kitchen as ‘tis in the grandest auditorium.  Treat every dinner party invitation as a callback audition.  Intimate gatherings are the perfect opportunity to stretch wide your stage legs.  Reach around the mundane to arouse excitement.  Wild gesticulation tells your audience they are in for an unforgettable ride.  Strap on!

Pointing.  Punctuate the air.  Pointedly.

Don’t settle for one word when 15 are due.  The Bard never shied away from pedantic vocabulary and neither should you!  Consider the dinner party.

Any pedestrian could ask “Is this a vegetarian lasagna?”  An actor leaps at this fortuitous moment.

“Perchance, sweet wench, this noble feast is free of fowl?”

Keep the audience in suspense by increasing voice modulation.  The longer you remain in a room, the louder you should project, thus escalating every conversation to a dramatic conclusion.  Before long, the audience will anticipate — even demand — your Exeunt with flourish.

Submission by Sarah Crisman

My Happy Place: Conan’s Studio

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When I meditate I find myself beneath a bright paper moon.  To my right appears a twilit bay while golden flecks of starlight reflect the warm glow of homes tucked into the hills along the horizon.  I swivel in the office chair fit perfect to my leggy frame: from ass to knees to floor, this is the most unassumingly comfortable desk chair imaginable.

“This is your future,” Rob said, shooing me onto Conan’s stage. “Embrace it.”

I took a deep breath and a step up.  I had been practicing deep breathing since arriving earlier that day.  My friend, Nikeita and drove onto the Warner lot with unbridled enthusiasm not seen since the Animaniacs escaped the water tower.  We huddled in the wet parking garage waiting to be bused over to Conan’s studio.  We’d been working our fingers to the bone covering NAMM, somehow managing to juggle a dozen interviews, multiple studio visits, and exhausting Hollywood drama llamas inside of one weekend.  A day at Conan was our grand prize.

Nearly 20 years I imagined being on Conan’s stage. I was extra careful not to hyperventilate during the taping, lest I miss a single moment of the show.  This was no time for paramedics or blinking!  Not now.  Now is the time to absorb everything.

As soon as we climbed the stairs into TV Land (rather TBS Land), I could feel every atom surrounding me, waiting to teach me something.  Anything.  Turn of your cell phone!  Pay attention to your guests!  Tune into TBS tonight at 11!

Conan’s sound stage is proof that everything I want to be exists somewhere.  I want to be Conan when I grow up: goofy and gangly and smart.

The band played a rousing version of Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up.”  Comedy idol/gentleman, Jimmy Pardo warmed up the crowd (I did not yell “Never Not Funny!”).  Andy Richter came out on stage (I did not launch into my best “Stacy” impersonation).  Conan walked on stage (I did not burst into confetti).  Though my energy was perhaps out of control, considering he split his pants for the first time in 19 years during the monologue.  Whoops.  My wizarding skills strike again!

By the end of the show, I was a better listener.  I saw how Conan interacted with his guests, the audience, and his crew.  I learned a lot about communication just watching him listen.

Soon the audience had gone.  Conan and Andy disappeared behind the curtain.  The Basic Cable Band vanished.  Producers and crew shuffled around in the darkness.  I stood blinking at my dream office.  Rob nudged me toward the desk.  I hesitated in deciding between the host and guest spot.

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The next thing I knew, I was sitting at the desk.  We have the same dimensions, it seems.  From ass-to-knee-to-floor, the chair was a perfect fit.  It took everything in me not to lick the mug.  I did not lick Conan’s mug.

Here I am.

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For in-depth analysis of my nerdery, listen to my public radio commentary: Here I Stand, a Comic.

Follow me on Twitter to really get into my head.