Death: Still Funny After All These Years


So, back when I was in the Garrens Comedy Troupe, we played an improv called Story Story DIE in which the players line up and tell a story, each one only speaking when pointed to by the conductor.  When we made a mistake, either by repeating a word, or saying something that made no grammatical sense, or stammering, or whatever, the conductor would call us out and lead the audience in yelling “DIE! DIE! DIE!” 

It was great.

The best part was that we then would get a suggestion — and in some rare instances, two suggestions — with which we would then be killed. These quickly improvised pantomimes were a favorite of mine. “Death By _______!” the conductor would say, and the player would have to quickly act out his or her own demise.  Aaron Johnston once died by a pantomime remote control, which had begun to zoom around the room of its own accord, until it finally nailed him in the head. (Marc E. Shaw, if I recall correctly, provided the sound effects, and absolutely nailed the sounds of a flying remote control.)  I once died by elephant saddle, accidentally hanging myself in the strap.

Well, 10 years ago or so there was a made-for-TV movie on called “Legion of Fire: Killer Ants,” which had my friend Dallen Gettling in a supporting role as a helicopter pilot. 

He dies in the movie when the ants sneak up on him as he sits reading in the helicopter. When they pounce on him, he panics and accidentally flies his copter into the air and then into a mountainside.

All I could think was “Death By Helicopter And Ants!”

Well, last night another made-for-TV movie was on the tube, this time featuring my friend Eric Smith (Eric Artell to SAG and IMDB) as an archaeology student on a dig at Cecil B. DeMille’s set for “The Ten Commandments.” Well, as luck would have it, Cecil B. DeMille apparently used actualy Egyptian artifacts, and the present-day excavation set off a curse.  

An inattentive bulldozer driver is suddenly set upon by scorpions, and he panics and accidentally drives his bulldozer into my friend Eric, neatly decapitating him.

“Death by Bulldozer and Scorpions!”

Neither of these movies were comedies, but darn if those deaths weren’t delightfully funny. 

My apologies to anyone who has lost a loved one to bulldozer decapitation.

Me on TV

We had another run-through tonight for the TV show I think I mentioned before — we’re shooting it on Tuesday, so we really want to get it down pat.

What does “down-pat” mean?

Now I need to go google it. GREAT.

The Potter Phenomenon

It’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen. EVERYone seems to be reading this book.

At work, out of the 8 people in my area, 2 of us have finished it, 2 others are still in the process, and 1 is late in the game, but still planning on it.

Then at a clinic today, I didn’t have cash or check, and they didn’t take plastic (I know!), but they said I could pay the $15 I owed them next time.  I saw the receptionist had her copy of Harry Potter out, and said “How much will you pay me to not spoil it for you? Fifteen dollars?” She started panicking and covering her ears.

Then at the drive-thru for KFC, the girl at the window saw Rebecca reading in the passenger seat, and made a comment about it, also having read it herself.

I mean, wow! That’s just amazing. JUST AMAZING. Regardless of what you think of the quality — well, DESPITE what LOTS of people think of the quality, it’s the biggest book sale in history.

My opinion: not great literature, by any scale. And they’re not even always fun for me. But boy, did I get sucked in. 

The new word I have for Potter fans: 

“people”

[insert some Harry Potter pun here]

(THERE ARE NO SPOILERS IN THIS POST.)

Hagrid is dead.

Just kidding! I haven’t even started yet. But I did purchase Book 7.

So, I was reading CNN.com and found a review of the last Harry Potter book. The review did such a good job selling me on the book that I decided I would  break down and buy it, rather than mooching off somebody else.

This was at 6:45 PM today, the book’s release date. I called Walmart, but they said they were sold out. “Can there really be that many die-hards?” I thought, and called Barnes & Noble. They still had some. “I guess not,” I thought to myself. Also: “Man I’m good-looking.”

I asked Rebecca if I should buy it, and she said “YES PLEASE!” Then she told me to try Albertson’s before anything else.  I took her at her word, and sure enough they had one copy left. Using my Albertson’s card I got a $5 discount, so it was about $23 in the end.  Probably about what I would’ve paid if I’d used Amazon, after shipping.

Anyway, I’m about to embark on the final Harry Potter journey, along with all the other Harry Potter fans (commonly referred to as “people”).

I’m still laughing at “Hagrid is dead.” Ohhhhh, boy, I’m a wise-acre.