John Mulaney | The Salt & Pepper Diner
THE BEST JOKE IN EXISTENCE
GOD I JUST TOLD SOMEONE ABOUT THIS STORY
This is one of the best pieces of comedy that I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. I love this. I have been looking for this online for awhile.
Feelin pretty good, getting some work done and seeing a show my friends are in tonight, visiting home with my girlfriend for the first time later in the week and I’m excited! One of those weeks where I’m counting down the days til my visit. If any of my hometown friends follow me on Tumblr I do hope to see you there, I’ll be around Friday through Monday morning. Excited to see my hometown in the springtime, which I regrettably didn’t get the chance to do last year. I hope it will be nice and not too rainy and I hope the sun is out and that the air is cool and breezy and great. I have high hopes
Got some neat exciting writing stuff coming up soon, thinkin up some new projects, hope you’re all doin well
It’s been a lovely weekend, weather is getting warmer here in Chicago, I am able to go outside and live and see people and it makes me feel good. Of course I’ve been drowning in Siskel & Ebert watching lately, watching one or two episodes every day during my lunch break, letting it sink in. Sometimes I worry that I talk about Siskel & Ebert too much, because it’s one of my favorite things in the world and I could really talk about them for hours, days on end. Never ending, I don’t think I would ever get tired talking about them, what they represent means so much to me. Watching those two dudes talk about movies warms me and reminds me of what I love, and what I want to talk about. It encourages me to embrace what I love without fear and to never be cautious about speaking my mind. It’s inspiring work.
Roger died over a year ago, and his absence is so unusual. I know he’s not there anymore, I have to remind myself of this, because it doesn’t feel like he’s gone. Not entirely. The legacy, the presence of Roger Ebert, that’s going to linger for so long without ever going away because the man put so much out there. I can’t think of many public figures who put everything out there about themselves for everyone to see, so much of their own real personality. Roger felt like a real person to me, I felt like I knew him. When he died I felt like I had lost a good friend. I have only lived one year without his voice in the world, without his consistent and reliable voice of reason, a beacon. I trusted that dude, like so many people did. Part of me feels lost without him. There’s lots of critics I like, but there are few that I trusted the way I trusted Roger. What a feeling to have about someone you never met. That’s special.
He was such a presence onscreen, too. Such a personality. So was Gene. I’ve felt bad saying this, but I feel like many popular critics nowadays have a little trouble communicating their writing voices in public, when they speak. I’ve seen so many great writers, writers with voices so distinct and well-formed and strong, who get in front of a camera or try to speak publicly and something is lost. They’re shy or not very charismatic or just kind of quiet. I totally understand this - I’m kinda like this myself, and I don’t think it’s a requirement for great writers to have to be great onscreen personalities too. Not by a long shot. But I love Roger and Gene because they proved that critics can be pushy, entertaining, compelling television people. The standard “critics are all pathetic shut in losers who aren’t talented” argument just wouldn’t work with Gene and Roger. If you got in Gene Siskel’s face with that argument, the dude would dress you down. He’s swallow you whole. There’s something unique about that.
I’m a little more than halfway through Roger’s autobio Life Itself, I put it down and picked it back up after months more out of laziness than anything. I’m kind of a terrible reader, tossing away books halfway through and picking up another one, it’s a silly jumble. I can’t keep myself focused and it’s frustrating. But man, I love Roger’s writing. If there is one critic I want to write like, one that I want to be like as a person, it’s Roger Ebert hands down. He was the most popular critic of his time for a reason - he was a full and whole human being, and he put it all out there. There was nothing lost in translation between what was in his heart and what he put on the page. Really remarkable stuff. That’s what I’m working on - I’m trying to get as much of the feeling I have inside me into my writing, no buffer, no filter. It’s not easy to do but I’m trying.
Really, the inspiring thing about Roger is that despite all his academic credentials, all of the prestigious work he did, his writing was so universal and easy to understanding. He was writing for everyone. So many critics, so many writers try to willfully obscure their writing or write for a limited niche, to put themselves above their readers. Roger was better than all of them, and more popular too, and he never resorted to that. His writing was the best because it was clear, and it was true, and it was human. And beautifully worded, too. Economy of language. The dude wanted to communicate with his writing. So important. Critics need to communicate with every bone in their body. When a critic fails to communicate, they fail to be a critic, if you ask me. The audience needs to understand you, to empathize. That’s the whole function. Roger did that better than anybody.
I do miss him. I really do. He meant a lot to me. Man, Gene too. I wish I could have met them. I would have alot of questions. I watched an episode of S&E the other night, a great episode from 1980 called “Going To The Movies” where the boys gave an inside peek at their process - preparing to see a movie, the expectations they have, what they’re thinking when they’re watching movies, and how they write their reviews. Such a good episode, and at the end Gene talked about how much he loved the job of a film critic, what a great job their have. And Roger said, “Gene, you’re going to me a moviegoer for the rest of your life.” Gene smiled assuringly, and it really got to me, because he was right. Those dudes loved movies every day of their lives until they died. They were the best, and I miss them, and I hope someday we get more critics that attain the level of popularity and reverence that they did.
I think it can happen. I have hope that it can. Happy Easter, have a good night folks~
Yesterday, Sky Ferreira shared a very strange Grant Singer-directed video for her wounded anthem I Blame Myself. Ferreira plays a drug kingpin in the video,
Here we go again. Would be great if white pop stars would stop with this colorblind racist nonsense and then defend it angrily as if their lives were being threatened. First Lorde, then Miley, now Sky. I am just about done with this bullshit
I like that Sky song and if that video weren’t weird and racist I would think it was kind of a fun idea. Man, I love silly weird music videos. But you’re casting a group of black men as your street entourage, maybe stop for a second and think “oh jeez that’s no good”? And all of the law enforcement dudes are white? Are you really that shocked and offended by someone calling you out on something that is obviously racist? That’s what gets to me, here. Can we please not villainze people who simply point out that something is racist? Can we please not treat them like scum and try to understand where they’re coming from (as if it were that hard to understand in the first place, for the love of God)?
Good lord, never call a white person a racist, holy shit. They cannot take it. They just can’t. What a terrible thing to say to someone! Someone who loves ALL races! Jesus, I can’t take this attitude anymore, it’s so stupid and pathetic
Even if you don’t think what you did is racist, take a second and give your thing another look and maybe listen to the person who’s calling you out. Treat them with some respect. Their mission in life isn’t to bring you down and make you feel bad. You did something that made them feel terrible, and probably alot of other people too. And they’re calling you out for it. Listen to them! Get out of your hole and listen to these people. They’re not trying to tear you down for funzios. They’re serious about this shit. They’re decent people who want things to not suck. Open your ears and pull yourself out of your HOLE
Two writers dig to the bottom of why other people’s bad taste in music bothers us so much, and along the way, lay out the new rules for thinking and writing about pop.
Alright well, man I hope this is the end of it all. The Horrible, Horrible “Poptimism” Debate of 2014. So many people have been talking about this and it’s such a weird debate in that I don’t think it’s been a debate at all - really what happened here is, two old men wrote articles and every decent prominent “pro-pop” music writer wrote a response to one or BOTH of them (this doofy bud included). One of the dudes who wrote them is a jazz critic (I think), the other guy wrote a sitcom book. They’re outsiders, basically. They haven’t replied to anybody’s responses yet and I’m sure they never will because I don’t think either of them care about the state of current pop music criticism more than the actual working music critics responding to their articles. So it goes.
Yeah I posted that thing last week about never wanting to write a thinkpiece about music criticism again, or a response to a thinkpiece about music criticism again. I do still feel this way. I feel this way because the only people who care about music criticism enough to read and write thinkpieces about music criticism are music critics. I do feel this way, I see it. Non-critics and writers don’t give a hot shit and I don’t blame them, because I’m starting to not care either. And I mean this with all due respect to the very talented and nice music writers writing these responses and explorations of taste with all of the goodness of their heart, but if I read another article like this (very nice and well written) one I feel like I’m going to throw up on my sneakers and NEVER clean them up
I think that’s why I am avoiding the word “poptimism” like the plague, why it creeps me out and why I never want to be associated with it, because it’s such a critic’s term. Actual folk who listen to pop music regularly who aren’t music critics are not poptimists and wouldn’t identify with the term or know what it is. They’re just folk who like music they hear, that’s it. Beyond the fact that I think it’s too cutesy for my taste, “poptimist” icks me out as a word. Instinctively, I think. It just doesn’t work for me. It’s something a music critic would say.
Again, this is a nice article and I enjoyed reading it but I’m hoping personally to close the book on this subject, because I’ve been caught in this tangled mess of responses to that Ted Gioia article for the past two weeks and I feel like I’m trapped and I want out. I admittedly eye-rolled at the part about “let’s come up with some rules about being a good poptimist” because, well, I’m not interested in that. I am not interested in giving people who are shitty about other peoples’ taste in music some guidelines to be better. Those people stink and can go crawl into their very own stinkholes. They don’t deserve any rules from nice people. It’s a waste. Let them be jerks somewhere else.
I do hope those Carl Wilson/Ann Powers “poptimism rules” have some kind of impact on young music listeners, though. I mean this. I remember how great it was, when I first got way into Hanson and realized that the whole notion of taste was bunk, and then I could like whatever I wanted and it felt great. If you’re a younger person I do think that idea is eye-opening and beneficial. Young people should realize this at the earliest age possible, for real. This I sincerely believe.
At the same time - I feel my personal bias coming out here. Because I read the “be a better poptimist” rules and I roll my eyes over every single one and say well DUHHH. And maybe it’s because rules like “don’t insist that pop be hip” and “beware your own self-projections” are things I’ve been talking about alot for the past few years, stuff I’ve known for awhile. But it’s also stuff that all good music critics should know by now. Maybe I’m not being fair, but these sound like rules for being a decent, non-judgmental human being. Any grown-ass adult who doesn’t already abide by these rules without being told by Ann Powers and Carl Wilson isn’t worth educating and isn’t worth paying attention to. Yes, I understand that there are plenty of paid music writers who don’t follow these rules. But they aren’t worth our time, our thinkpieces. They aren’t worth thought. They’re barely worth whatever they were paid to write the dumb articles they wrote.
If you’re a teen, it’s different. If you’re young and you don’t abide by these rules, you have time. That’s why I hope young music fans read this article, because I feel they will learn something at a crucial time. If you’re an adult and you’re still an asshole about music tastes, you have made a conscious decision to be an asshole about music tastes and I’m done with you. You are out of the conversation. You are not worth it forever.
So yes, nice article but I hope the “poptimism” debate is over. Because every time I see someone I respect talking about the state of music crit and “poptimism” I feel like they’re trying to justify something that doesn’t need to be justified to a bunch of assholes. Let those assholes tuck themselves neatly between their own bummycheeks and let’s talk about that fuckin rad new Pharrell album, “Hunter”? “Gush”? Those grooves got me movin for days damn
in the spirit of the thing I JUST WROTE, promise for real that these are my last words on this subject. Music is the Ultimate Force, the most important thing in the world to me, it does everything to me and I love it now and forever
oh whoops gonna have to pre-emptively add Life Is Good to my favorite albums of 2012
I did an especially bad job keeping up with new music in 2012, not sure why this was, probably ‘cause I spent the first half exclusively listening to teen pop? Yea I think it was the teen pop. Anyway this record is beautifully produced and reflective, maybe the least-shitty breakup album I’ve heard. I mean it’s not that much of a breakup album (only like 3 or 4 songs cover the subject) but y’know, Nas broke up with Kelis and he probably could have been shitty about it but he wasn’t. he’s kind of bitter but he knows how to carry it without sounding vindictive. he also wrote this great song about his daughter which rules
that is Kelis’s wedding dress on the cover, oh uh oh look at that
LET’S TALK ABOUT IDEAS FOR THINGS I WANT TO DO.
I want to do something involving teenagers. I Don’t know. Something that would appeal to teenagers. A teenage webcomic? A cool teen blog? This is all surface stuff but it’s the first thing that comes to mind and it’s the one thing I love more than anything. I think the voices and experiences of teenagers are really important, I remember being a teenager myself and how weird it felt, I have this weird desire to help out teenagers as much as I can. Because I remember what it felt like at that age and how shitty and boring it can be. “Sixteen Blue” and the like
Teenage content. I have no idea. If I end up making the comic I like the idea of it being “for teens only” even when it clearly isn’t. Or maybe it just is subtlely? I don’t want it to be too much of a big joke, I don’t want it to be mocking of teens or cool things, I want it to be celebratory. There’s something kind of awesome about being a teenager, about being a bored asshole at the mercy of your parents, desperately trying to make shit happen. It’s mostly boring but there’s some value to it, and there’s something cool about it. Teenagers have a sense of cool that nobody else has. I can’t explain this. I see kids hanging around and goofing off on skateboards and I think “THAT’S THE COOLEST THING EVER” and I want to celebrate that, but not in a Little Boys Room way, my own kind of way (but maybe similar to Little Boys Room, who the hell knows)
The idea - I mean I like the teenager part of the idea but I do love the idea of taking the music writing I’ve been working on and turning it into some kind of art, into some kind of comic. I really do like that idea but it’s hard to imagine where it will go. Here’s what I would like to avoid - the awkward “i’m so sweaty and nervous all the time!” vibe of the “Sean” character that we’ve seen in previous incarnations. I would love to create some kind of super-idealized version of myself, maybe have some parts of it that are self-deprecating but NOT that many. Portray an awesome Sean Rose that is showing and celebrating things that are fantastic, and cool for teenagers. Portray myself as the most powerful God on Earth, portray a Sean that is ready to mold the Earth in his own image and never look back. That sounds completely ridiculous but REALLY fucking rad
Because honestly I think I bored myself with my own comics before because everything was so nervous and sweaty and self-deprecting and kind of pathetic. I did this because I wanted people to like me and be like “aww” without realizing that putting across that kind of image, it’s kind of repulsive and I don’t think it’s even true to life for me. I have alot of insecurities like all people but I also have gained alot of confidence over the past few years and I want to reflect that in whatever the new work is that I’m doing, and I’ve been doing an OK job of that in my writing so I think it’s time to try and express that in a way that people might like and that isn’t terrible
Being self-deprecation = a crutch? It’s definitely a crutch, it was for me for many years. It still is sometimes and I’m trying to avoid it as much as I can. The comics I made for YEARS had myself as a hair-tussled sweaty man who constantly had a sad face and kept wiping his brow and shaking and falling down and getting upset! That was everything I did with comics for like 5 years straight, which I guess was cool because I was having fun doing it, but that’s not something I want to put out there anymore. I think it’s the most obvious kind of autobio comic image and I don’t think it’s worth it, but it’s the one I always default to. This is something I need to keep in mind when working on a new thing!!
The main limitaton also right now: my own art isn’t strong enough to really convey alot of the ideas I have. Not sure what I can do about this! Really need to work on my art, really need to at least sketch some ideas out and maybe get some stories out there, see where I can take this
But yes emphasis on CONFIDENCE!! And making things better & stronger. There’s no reason not to do this. Overheard the dude next to me in this Starbucks say “I dislike him because he dislikes HIMSELF so much.” Is he talking about me circa 2008????? WOW I wonder
A strong powerful comic/writing blog that is only for teenagers and that is full of confidence. This is the vaguest idea in the world but it’s a starting point. “For Teens Only” what a powerful statement, fuck adults fuck teachers fuck homework
My favorite song of the moment, this unreleased Late Registration-era Kanye song that ended up a bonus track on Graduation. Featuring none other than beautiful man John Mayer delivering by default one of his best vocal turns and a wonderful example of how Kanye uses his buds’ voices. Ye doesn’t produce songs like this anymore (gosh it was almost 10 years ago, wasn’t it?) and that’s OK. I was not aware of this song until maybe a couple of weeks ago and it warmed my heart and made things good.
It’s snowing in Chicago right now, which I’m not too worried about ‘cause it was over 80 degrees on Saturday and I know this isn’t going to last. Fuck winter, it’s over and done and there’s nothing it can do to come back til it’s December or whatever! Winter go fuck yourself I’m a free warm man now, fuck youuuu