Monthly Archives: November 2010

Stuart Smalley Is My Copilot

Sometimes I don’t think I could make it without Stuart Smalley. NBC has done a fantastic job of getting all the good SNL/Stuart Smalley video clips off the internet, but you know who I’m talking about, right?

I'm shoulding all over myself.
I'm shoulding all over myself.

Of course, Stuart was created and played by Al Franken, the comedian turned author turned talk show host turned Senator.

I don’t know how to transition from that sentence to the next paragraph, and that’s okay. My transitions don’t have to be perfect. Whatever I write will be good enough!

Although, having a good transition shows that I care about what I’m writing, and if I leave it just good enough people will think I don’t care. Well I don’t care! … I mean, I don’t care what they think, because I do care about what I’m writing even though it might look like I don’t care.

In 1992, Franken recorded what I consider to be his best comedic work ever (not to be grandiose), a book on tape called “You’re Good Enough, You’re Smart Enough, And Doggone It People Like You: A Healing Journey Through The Dysfunctional Forest And Other Guided Visualizations.” (It’s a long title, but that’s…okay. It’s appropriate.)

This is what I like to call stamina comedy. There’s a point about 35 minutes into the hour-long recording where you just don’t think you can take any more, but if you push through the pain, the reward is amazing.

Here’s a fifteen minute sample courtesy of audible.com that I totally didn’t rip from their website. (This clip begins at about the ten minute mark.)

[wpaudio url=”http://blog.mattalgren.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/stuart-smalley-sample.mp3″ text=”It will be perfect in its imperfection. Okay.”]

Seriously, buy the audiobook. You won’t regret it, and it’s cheap as free anyway, so what do you have to lose? Also check out the companion book “I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me,” which was released at the same time.

P.S. We do not speak of the movie. EVER.

A Perfect Teenage Dream

Okay, I haven’t watched all of this week’s GLEE yet, but this video? This is exactly the world I envision, a world where a gay teenager can dream of The Big Man On Campus singing a love song to him.

In the words of Tom and Lorenzo (You do read their blog, right?):

To the straight people reading us: remember high school? Remember your favorite songs and movies, TV shows and music videos from that period? Imagine if all of that media bombardment telling you what to like, what to wear, and how to be attractive, popular, and cool, imagine that all of that aimed for and addressed everyone else but you. Imagine what it’s like when every sappy love song (or angry breakup song), every rom com, every trendy TV show and blockbuster movie, even every video game, imagine if they all depicted a form of romantic love that simply isn’t available to you. Imagine going through high school without even so much as a hint of yourself reflected in any of the things you watch and listen to, any of the things that literally every other kid is talking about. Imagine the one thing you want more than anything in the world: to be kissed, please god, just to be kissed, imagine you have never seen that depicted anywhere or referred to in any way but as something to be mocked and shunned.

We grew unexpectedly teary-eyed watching this number. Not because sappy teenage pop songs get us worked up, but because the sight of a sappy teenage pop song being sung by one cute teenage boy to another cute teenage boy is still, sad to say, an extreme rarity. All we could think while watching this number was, “My god. What would it have been like to see this at 14?” To have the media offer up a romantic fantasy that actually reflected what we secretly yearned for.

And Blaine is definitely a romantic fantasy, the kind every single teenage girl has seen over and over and over again: the devastatingly cute guy who is talented and sensitive and understands our heroine and her quirky ways. The kind that we all roll our eyes at now that we’re adults. There’s a reason he’s singing a song called “Teenage Dream.” It’s because he is one. Sure, teenage romantic fantasies are inherently silly to adults because they come from a place of such inexperience and naivete, but they serve an important function in the sexual development of kids. They train them to dream about the best possible outcome. Just as they’ve been trained their whole lives as to how to make that outcome happen.

Read more from T Lo at the link.