A Visit to the Town of Yolo, California
There’s a town in Northern California, about 25 minutes outside of Sacramento called Yolo. Last weekend, while driving to Reno, I took a detour to visit.
Yolo is located in Yolo County. According to the 2010 US Census, it has a population of 452.
It is home to the Yolo Community Center—a center for the Yolo community to gather. According to a sign in the window, it’s also available to rent for Yolo weddings and other Yolo events.
There is a Yolo County Library. Which is home to First 5 Yolo, a daycare service for Yolo under-5s. A Yolo County Library fax service is also available, for sending faxes from Yolo.
There were signs asking for you to vote for Janene Beronio. She’s attempting to become a judge for the Superior Court of Yolo. A title Lil Jon has probably given himself at some point.
Liquor is also available in Yolo. From a store that has a sign which reads “Liquor Yolo.” I spoke to the owner, and he said that, though he sometimes has people coming in to ask for it, he has no plans to make any kind of Yolo merchandise. He also admitted that he wasn’t totally sure what Yolo meant, but, knew “there was a song about it or something.”
The Police Raided My Friend’s House Over a Parody Twitter Account
Jon Daniel woke up on Thursday morning to a news crew in his living room, which was a welcome change from the company he had on Tuesday night, when the Peoria, Illinois, police came crashing through the door. The officers tore the 28-year-old’s home apart, seizing electronics and taking several of his roommates in for questioning; one woman who lived there spent three hours in an interrogation room. All for a parody Twitter account.
Yes, the cops raided Daniel’s home because they wanted to find out who was behind @peoriamayor, an account that had been shut down weeks ago by Twitter. When it was active, Daniel used it to portray Jim Ardis, the mayor of Peoria, as a weed-smoking, stripper-loving, Midwestern answer to Rob Ford. The account never had more than 50 followers, and Twitter had killed it because it wasn’t clearly marked as a parody. It was a joke, a lark—but it brought the police to Daniel’s door. The cops even took Daniel and one of his housemates in for in-depth questioning—they showed up at their jobs, cuffed them, and confiscated their phones—because of a bunch of Twitter jokes.
Now Daniel’s panicking.
“I’m going to fucking jail,” he told me yesterday when he was on a break from his job as a line cook. “They’re going to haul me away for this shit.”
Quick thinking and a community-college degree in automotive mechanics can work together to create a real “shocking” meal (if you know what I mean)!
—Food Pranking April Fools’ Day
Secretly preparing a brutal brew is a sure way to make sure your victim’s day is up in smoke before he even heads to work! Forget creamer for flavoring and just substitute a little menthol!
—Food Pranking April Fools’ Day
In 2013, I saw a lot of women. They were all beautiful. I also saw a lot of garbage. It was beautiful too. I don’t remember seeing all that many men.
—Nick Gazin’s Best Photos of 2013
Is Andy Kaufman Still Alive? Probably Not
Yesterday, Defamer published an article titled “Is Andy Kaufman Still Alive?” Gothamist, theComic’s Comic, Dangerous Minds, and others posted similar stories. The posts were based on accounts of a very strange ten minutes during Monday night’s ninth annual Andy Kaufman Awards, during which Andy’s brother Michael claimed to not know if Andy was alive, and then may or may not have been reunited onstage with his long-lost niece (Andy’s daughter). I was a judge at the (untelevised) event, so I figured I’d share what I saw and clear some stuff up.
I met Michael in January when I interviewed him about “On Creating Reality,” an Andy Kaufman exhibition at Maccarone gallery in New York. I hadn’t spoken with him since then, but last week I got an email from Wayne Rada, the producer of the Andy Kaufman Awards, saying that Michael wanted me to be a judge at the finals. I said I’d be happy to, and when I got to the Gotham Comedy Club I was told that Michael would be making a “very special announcement” at the end of the show.
After the contestants finished their sets, I went to the basement with the other three judges, who told me that, with the exception of tonight, Michael was always down there with them. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but in hindsight it seems obvious that I was asked to take Michael’s place in the judging process so he could focus on making his special announcement at the end of the show.
We probably deliberated for all of about four minutes before coming back upstairs, as the host of the show was wrapping up. Before announcing the winners, he said, Michael would like to say a few words. Michael walked up to the stage and squinted a little in the lights. He’s a soft-spoken man with mannerisms eerily similar to his brother, and when he began to speak the entire room fell silent.
Danny McBride Talks About the Final Season of Eastbound & Down
Last week 19 million people watched the narrative landfill known as The Big Bang Theory. It makes me wish Charlie Sheen and the nutso Seventh Day Adventist who played his nephew on Two and a Half Men would go on a drug-fueled killing spree, using data from Nielson boxes to pinpoint the exact location of their prey. Or maybe they could just develop a primetime comedy show based on this premise. They could call it The Big Bang Theory, for Real; I know more than a few people who’d watch it.
But enough bitching. Streaming and on-demand services have provided an audience for amazingly well written and produced TV shows that otherwise might’ve been canceled after their first seasons. Breaking Bad, the series finale of which aired last night on AMC and now has the entirety of the internet creaming its pants, is one such example.
Another is Eastbound & Down, which coincidentally entered its fourth and final season on HBO minutes after the tale of Walter White came to its bitter end. While in many ways a deeply dark episodic drama about a science teacher turned meth kingpin is diametrically opposed to a balls-out comedy about a washed-up Major League relief pitcher with a mullet and a penchant for cocaine and jet skis, they both share many important core elements: meandering but believable story arcs that constantly introduce new characters, locations, and conflicts; they rely on unexpected plot twists that, without careful consideration and writing, could easily alienate audiences who have been conditioned through blatant foreshadowing to know what will happen next long before the characters become aware; and protagonists who, like real people, adapt and change according to the situation at hand.
And so the story of Kenny Powers—played by the show’s co-creator Danny McBride—continues. I was fortunate enough to preview the first two episodes of the new season, which I have been absolutely assured will be the last. It takes place at an undefined point in the future, which judging from the age of Kenny and April’s son seems to be about a four or five year leap forward from when we last left the troubled couple. In case your memory is fuzzy: the first episode of the third season (which, when first announced, was said by the show’s creators to be its last run) saw April leave Kenny and their son in the middle of the night, and from there the newly single father was drafted by a minor league team in Myrtle Beach where he struggled to find his stride. In the end he manages to get an offer to reenter the majors, but instead bleaches his hair, fakes his own death, and returns home to find April and commit to becoming a family man.
In the first episode of season four it appears that Kenny has finally submitted to his fate, content with the comforting routine of being a husband and father who works at a car rental agency. But things quickly change, of course. They always do.
A few days before the season premiere, I spoke with Danny to ask about how his life has changed along with the show and to glean some insight into what happens to Kenny Powers in the end.
VICE: So is this really the last season? I am somewhat dubious, given that you guys have said that before.
Danny McBride: I think it’s definitely the last season. Maybe there will be a time where we’ll come back to this character again years from now. From the outset though, we approached every season as if we weren’t going to have an opportunity to do it again. Even when we were shooting the pilot, we kind of were like well you know maybe who knows who will pick this up, but at least we’ll have a 30-minute short film. But this season was definitely more of a surprise just because we kind of thought that we were done after the third season and, you know, HBO called us and just wanted us to do one more. [Co-creator] Jody [Hill] and I were kind of looking at each other and we felt good where we left things off last year, but they were just very persistent about it.
They pretty much asked us what would it take to get you guys to do this again. Originally, our third season was going to be about Kenny and April together. But Katy Mixon, the actress who plays April, was on Mike and Molly so we found out after we started to write the third season that we were only going to have her for two episodes, so it kind of fucked up what our plan for the whole season last year was gonna be. We had all this material, all this stuff, all the angles that we basically had to just throw out the window. So what we told HBO was “Look, we liked last season but we weren’t really able to do what our original plan was because we didn’t have Katy.” So they were like if we could get her would you guys be interested in doing it again? And sure enough, they got her, and we said, “Alright well why not, let’s do it.”
Deep Thoughts on Jack Handey’s Days Writing for ‘SNL’ and His New Novel, ‘The Stench of Honolulu’
Jack Handey—who is indeed a real person, despite common misconception—is best known for his series of hilarious faux aphorisms, Deep Thoughts. Handey is also the writer of many ofSNL’s best sketches from the 80s and 90s, such as “Toonces, the Cat Who Could Drive a Car,” “Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer,” and “Happy Fun Ball.” For the past decade, he has been a regular contributor to the New Yorker’s Shouts & Murmurs section. This summer he released his first novel, The Stench of Honolulu, which begins: “When my friend Don suggested we go on a trip to the South Seas together, and offered to pay for the whole thing, I thought, Fine, but what’s in it for me?”
Lincoln Michel talked to him for VICE about writing, funny grammar, and proper cowboy dance moves.
VICE: I’m curious about the writing process for your novel, The Stench of Honolulu. Did you write most of the jokes separately, like for Deep Thoughts, and then add them to a narrative? Or did you write the jokes as you wrote the story?
Jack Handey: Some jokes were preexisting, but most were written as the story developed.
In the early 2000s, SNL ran excerpts from a fake novel of yours called My Big Thick Novel. If I’m not mistaken, one or two of those bits ended up in The Stench of Honolulu. For example, the one with a woman named Lanani (in the novel it’s Leilani) who gets annoyed about being a “personal blowdart counter.” Did the idea for writing an actual novel originate in the My Big Thick Novel spots?
Yes, I stole that joke from My Big Thick Novel. I think the novel did have a lot of its origins in My Big Thick Novel. I like a jungle setting, because just about anything can happen there, real or supernatural. It adds to the possibility of jokes you can use.