Waiting on the Bus

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Posts Tagged ‘humor’

Why fast talking YouTubers are killing comedy

Posted by Steven on December 10, 2010

When i got my Dell Studio XPS a year ago I was keen to include a monitor with a built in webcam on the off chance that I wanted to create a couple videos and place them on YouTube as a way of testing partially developed comedic material in front of a worldwide audience. My mom was intrigued by the idea because theoretically we could talk to my brother from his college dorm room and would allow her and my dad to keep an eye on him. Even if he gave only short evasive answers to every question they could at least determine if he was drunk or high. He has yet to talk to us via webcam even once. however, and with my parents now having renewed confidence that my brother will be able to remain motivated and focused enough to ignore outside distractions and graduate in high standing without the threat of a monthly interrogation looming over his head, the webcam’s potential has gone largely untapped, having been forgotten by everyone except for me. I did post a couple of videos, which you can see here and here, but I quickly discovered that my stuttering kept me from talking in the rapid fire setup punchline style used by the comedic video bloggers, supposedly because of viewer’s short attention spans.

By the time I had figured out what I was going to say and overcome any sudden disfluencies brought on by the pressure of having to talk as fast as possible, forty seconds would have already elapsed in the video and the camera’s unwavering, uncompromising eye had already captured my embarrassing stuttering episode in all its gristly detail. This forced me to start over again with no idea how many takes it was going to take to record the video, and given that I was able to do a fluent take, whether it would have the proper amount of energy and emphasis on certain lines to be funny. After a few unsuccessful attempts I’d get discouraged and wonder if I wasn’t just better off writing it down where nothing could get lost in translation. I wasn’t about to truncate something that worked better in long form just so I could get it on YouTube. Unfortunately most of the popular comedic video bloggers, whose content is assumed to be of the highest quality on the site, ignore this fact when creating videos. They’re so busy trying to adhere to the number one rule when trying to attract viewers to their channel, namely, no video must be longer than 3-5 min and other conventions imposed by other hit videos, that many annoying symptoms appear during the humor’s presentation which keep it from leaving a lasting impression.

Perhaps the most annoying habit adopted by today’s successful comedic video bloggers, including Phil Defranco and Natalie Tran, is they all talk as though someone is holding a gun to their head and can’t help but barrage the viewer with, “Like this video if you were stunned by the opening sequence” annotation balloons at the beginning of the video, followed by a flurry of quick jokes and onscreen graphics that correlate with whatever topic is being discussed, all being delivered in a series of quick cut segments that are edited together to form one coherent video. The majority of the time these visuals add little to the presentation and are just another thing trying to compete for your attention and prove to you how funny this person is supposed to be.

How funny these videos actually are is something that’s never really considered by most people beyond liking particular videos and writing the occasional comment on ones they thought were really funny, but the next time you watch the latest video from one of your favorite self made video blogging comedy gods on YouTube, try and count how many jokes actually register with you at first watch, regardless if you laugh at them or not. Since the jokes are being delivered so fast I’m willing to bet it’s a relatively small number and you’ll feel like you just watched a robot recite programmed punch lines. You’ll also likely need to watch it at least twice to get an accurate joke count. This suggests that the fast talking comedy phenomenon isn’t undertaken solely to compensate for viewers short attention spans but also so viewers are forced to watch the video multiple times to fully comprehend everything, thereby driving up the video’s hit count.

If asked what exactly motivates them to make videos, the video bloggers on YouTube upon whom fortune has smiled would go the politically correct route, saying at the most basic level, they’re just trying to convey a message to their audience and entertain them, and that they’d still make videos even if there were no guarantee of hits and receipt of a certain percentage of the overall ad revenue generated by their videos. However you can bet it goes a long way towards inflating their egos and making them hesitant to change an otherwise stale formula, even when users may call for it through a comment mutiny of negative feedback.

Giving the audience time to react to a joke has been a fundamental part of comedy for years, either in the form of dead silence when somebody bombs on open mic nights at their local comedy club, laugh tracks on sitcoms, or the awkward pause used to accentuate the uncomfortable nature of some jokes. This technique was first popularized by The Office in the US and serves a nearly identical purpose as a laugh track without being as obtrusive. When a performer doesn’t give the audience this necessary time to react to a joke they come off as a mix of insecure, arrogant, and disinterested. By laughing at a comedian , the audience is in effect neutralizing the anger that often fuels comedy and showing the comic that they empathize with them, thus validating his or her beliefs and keeping them from feeling as though he is nothing more than a rambling, spiteful idiot. The sketch comedy videos do a better job of respecting the audience by limiting any potential quick one liners to one character and giving other jokes time to develop before a “please subscribe” balloon appears to remind you that they’re ultimately just after subscribers like the video bloggers, but at least they’ve created something that has some staying power and won’t become outdated the day after it’s released, which is the main reason I would hesitate to create a YouTube personality for myself even if I didn’t stutter.

I don’t need that constant pressure of having to come up with something quality nearly every day when the average user doesn’t really care about quality, and YouTube only furthers this notion by promoting every video that has one or more of the following elements: dancing, old ladies, pets doing something out of the ordinary, young children with a five octave vocal range, kids playing instruments, auto tuned mash ups of already popular videos, parodies of pop culture icons that have been ripped to death, among other things. Why should I even try to achieve some level of online fame when it is tenuous at best and I’d have to deal with an ever-present fear that I’d be trumped in popularity by a video of a cat nosing a ball of yarn through an obstacle course in a matter of weeks?

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Posted in comedy, humor, YouTube videos | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

The Reese’s Puffs Conundrum

Posted by Steven on May 4, 2010

Last week I grabbed a fresh box of Reese’s Puffs out of the pantry, poured some of it into a bowl, and immediately noticed something was wrong. There was a disproportionate ratio of peanut butter flavored puffs to chocolate flavored puffs, with the chocolate puffs seeming to be a mere formality amid a sea of peanut butter flavored pieces. Ordinarily the cereal had a nice balance of chocolate and peanut butter and this kept you from feeling like you were eating predominantly Coco Puffs or Peanut Butter Captain Crunch, which I’m not a fan of. Now the peanut butter puffs just sat there announcing their presence like they’d just won a nasty, hard fought divorce settlement with chocolate.

“Look I know you don’t really like me Steve, but the truth is chocolate and I, while appearing to have a harmonious relationship, have been feuding for about five years now and it has become apparent that the only way this cereal can survive in its current state is if there’s less chocolate in each box. ”

I know I’ll end up eating the cereal, and will have to, since my mom bought one of those 20 oz family size boxes that is intended to appeal to grocery stores that like to buy shit in bulk so they can sell it at a cheaper price to parents on a budget with a minimum of six kids, and are therefore unable to buy each child a box of their preferred cereal. Everyone’s stuck eating a box of a cereal they hate until they’re too tired to care anymore. Instead longing for the day when they can announce to the world that they’re finally slain the once insurmountable box of Berry Burst Cheerios.

The color of the puffs themselves looked washed out, with jagged edges, and when I took my first bite the taste was subdued and not as sweet. I don’t want to describe it any further because I’m already bordering on a Steve Almond Candyfreak level of hyperbolic description, but that one bowl game me enough pause to wonder if I should ever eat another box of Reese’s Puffs. I slogged through an entire bowl of the stuff and none of the subsequent bites did anything to counter my original impression that the cereal had been fundamentally altered and would never be the same.

I went online and saw that general mills is making a conscious effort to reduce the sugar content of all their kids cereals so that’s probably why it tasted different to me but I just don’t understand why I hadn’t noticed it earlier. According to the article these changes went into effect in late 2009 and General Mills hopes that this measure will cause sales to increase, as the cereal is supposedly healthier with less sugar. I think they’re idiots for thinking that kids won’t slowly come to the realization their favorite cereal doesn’t taste the way they’ve come to expect. Once they’re aware of it kids aren’t going to react to this change positively and will just move on to campaigning for some cereal that hasn’t been exposed as a danger to humanity by David Zinczenko and the rest of his health army. No child whose parents can afford sugar loaded cereals should have to grow up eating a steady diet of Kirkland Signature Spiced Pecan.

Some of you may think I’m too old to be eating a cereal like Reese’s Puffs but I don’t care. If George Carlin could talk about how his Rice Krispies told him to fuck off every morning and people laughed with him instead of questioning his sanity, I think I’m entitled to talk about Reese’s Puffs.

I don’t have the omniscient “I’ve based my entire career on the assumption that people are too dumb to read and interpret nutritional labels correctly, and thus will automatically eat an entire piece of Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie without thinking unless I create a sufficent amount of paranoia in their minds before they lift the fork to their mouth” Zinczenko’s data around to verify this, but I think my breakfast cereal rotation of Frosted Flakes, Wheaties, Honey Nut Cheerios is healthy enough to compensate for my having a box of Reese’s Puffs every couple of weeks. However my dad still thinks that I don’t eat healthy enough and likes to make a quick inventory of all cereal in the house by shaking each box before definitively stating whether it’s okay to buy a new box.

“You’ve got *shakes* half a box of Chex cereal here, *shakes* three fourths of a box of Wheaties and an unopened box of Honey Bunches of Oats here. Why hasn’t it been opened?”
“I don’t really like it dad, why don’t you help eat some of this cereal if it’s such a big problem?”

My dad never eats cereal because he’s too busy trying to use up a cargo load of Eight O’ Clock Coffee bean packages given to him by my mom, all the while complaining that she’s not buying new blends fast enough, or that she’s always buying the wrong ones.

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Sometimes you have to make a fool of yourself for the sake of your fraternity.

Posted by Steven on April 18, 2010

Check out this video to watch my brother (he’s the guy with the white hat) do an elaborate dance routine with the rest of his fraternity. They ended up winning first place, because as we all know my brother kicks ass academically without even giving a maximum effort and every group he’s involved in is destined to come in first.

For some unknown reason they call the paths that separate the various dorms at Marietta College “malls”, hence the school’s blog title “Writing on the Mall.” If I went there I’d call them sidewalks to stress accuracy, and to piss people off.

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Your mother’s so fat she couldn’t fit down a gopher hole!

Posted by Steven on January 8, 2009

Yesterday my brother commented that I’d gained some weight and that I was eating Twix bars with such wreckless abandon I was eating like “those kids in that one commercial, gobbling Gopher Cakes.”  I instantly  thought of the PSA he was referring to and cracked up. I first saw the commercial on the VHS copy of Dr. Doolittle with Eddie Murphy and I couldn’t stop laughing. In fact, I think it may be funnier than the movie itself. This commercial was followed by a promo for the movie Our Friend Martin

What makes this commercial so funny is that the kids play it straight until the very end when you see the Get Up. Get  Out. message. There’s not the typical PSA set up of a group of popular kids approaching the nerdy kid, pressuring him to try pot, at which point the protagonist says something like “Pot is for losers with no direction in their lives.” Because the setup is atypical, you think it’s a real commercial  and laugh at it, rather than see it as a stupid, patronizing  stereotypical PSA.

But what really elevates this commercial to hall of fame status is the jingle that encourages the kids to sit around and engage in group gluttony. It’s a punky number that lasts only 30 seconds, but it’s so catchy it seems longer. If it were released as a single it surely would’ve topped the Billboard Charts. And just when you think it’s over, the singer shouts “’till you explode!” one more time. Here are the lyrics in case you want to sing the song throughout the day:

Go for a mouthful!
Go for the fun!
Gopher Cakes are for everyone!

Just one snack is what it takes
And it’s Gopher Gopher Gopher Cakes!
Open wide, stuff your face!
There’s always room for more Gopher Cakes!

Empy the box
Every load!
Eat those Gopher Cakes til you explode!

‘Till you explode!

Get Up. Get Out. Kill Some Gophers

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WARNING: Ferns should not be used as substitute for dental floss

Posted by Steven on December 3, 2008

About a month ago I was hanging out in my room and checking out how many books have accumulated over the years in my closet. This something that should only be done during the summer, once you’ve done other time killing activities like checking your e-mail, swatting fruit fries that have invaded the house thanks to the “2 bunches for 1” banana offer from Aldi’s, and listening to every song on your mp3 player twice. Judging by some of the titles in my collection, I’d say it began somewhere in the mid 90’s and ended about 3 years ago. Still, I have some pretty good books to prop up the overall value. You’ve got classic and underrated Stephen King with It and The Eyes of the Dragon respectively, and Seabiscuit, which was made into a movie known as “Spider Man Rides a Horse”

But the one book that really took me back to my younger days was, Where The Red Fern Grows This story is is line with other young adult animal stories such as Old Yeller, and more recently, Shiloh. In most of these stories, a young boy forms a strong bond with a wild dog that is tested by his family, financial obligations, and some asshole who wants the dog dead. By the time it’s all over the kid has learned about the sanctity of life, and how audiences are suckers for an ending where the dog kicks the bucket.

I had gotten the book the summer before 5th grade and decided to read it for a book report that year. The book reports that year were different from others I’d done up to that point because we didn’t have to get up in front of the class and talk about our book’s main points. No, we had to go sit with the teacher at a table in the back of the room and tell her about our book in quiet hushed tones while she wrote down comments on a notepad. Even in 5th grade I could recognize that the whole thing was just a little too intimate and weird for a classroom setting. It was like being on a job interview that had the feel of a speed dating session—rejection starts with a ring of a bell, kids.

Because my book was one of those good ol’ American dog tales, I thought an A+ was in the bag. It was with this confidence that I breezed through my report, talking about the book’s main conflict, the rising action and the falling action, and was even fielding post report questions from my teacher pretty smoothly, until she threw one at me that wasn’t in the manual:

“Do you believe in the secret of the red fern?”

Secret of the…was I supposed to say yes?—she actually believed that shit?

Like a pro I looked her right in the eye and said, “Yes. Yes I do.”
“I see”, she said, scribbling more notes down.
“Well you may believe in the red fern and all of its mysterious power, but your breath killed it—along with any of the surrounding plant life, plus Billy’s hunting dogs Old Dan and Little Ann. It’s terrible.”

I was taken aback. Was that supposed to be a backhanded compliment? First she tried to impose her belief in the red fern on me, and now–she was calling me a murderer with bad breath. It was too much. I looked around, trying to regain my composure. I blamed the extra bowl of Peanut Butter Captain Crunch I’d had that morning—that stuff could stay on your breath for hours. They never mentioned that on the box.

I wondered what else she’d written down on that notepad of hers. Had she written “future homosexual” by my name because I was wearing a hand me down ribbed purple sweater with a coat of arms under interlocking swords on the breast pocket for the third time that week? (It wasn’t my fault, my mom was too stupid to know that injecting purple into my wardrobe would cause other students to call me gay until the end of sixth grade.)

“Do you have a breath mint, Steven?” she whispered.

“Huh? I’m not gay!”

“I never said…listen Steven—

“I don’t answer to that name any more. Just call me The Great Halitosis Fern”

PS According to this link you can check the vibe your breath is giving off to others by licking your wrist and smelling it. Try not to do this in public; you’ll look like a cat. However, if you must, do it in the privacy of a restroom stall. The process will be complicated by the surrounding smells, but I’m sure your breath will win out.

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Remembering Peter Boyle

Posted by Steven on December 10, 2006

 

 

On Tuesday night Dec 12th, Peter Boyle died from heart disease and multiple myeloma. I didn’t find out about it until the next afternoon when I went to check my e-mail. I stared at the screen and reread the headline several times, still in shock. Inside I felt hollow and had to fight back the urge to cry.

 

Ordinarily an actor’s death wouldn’t mean that much to me, but Boyle played Frank Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond, one of my favorite sitcoms and TV characters of all time. Before Raymond, he was known for playing the monster in Young Frankenstein and Wizard in Taxi Driver.

 

I started watching the show during the fifth season when I was a freshman in high school and liked it immediately. All the characters were funny in a unique way, but I got the biggest laughs from Frank. He was the one character who I could really identify with on the show: a guy who wasn’t comfortable as the center of attention or outside of his home, never really seemed to get along with his family or other people due to the way he expressed his views, and he never got any credit for trying to fit in. I never grew tired of him on the show.

 

 

As Ray Romano’s dad, Boyle was the lynchpin that held the show together. Even people who hated the show still had respect for Boyle. If a series of jokes happened to fall flat, Boyle would always manage to rescue the scene with Frank’s trademark expression “Holy crap!” Unfortunately during the show’s final season Boyle looked old and tired. He was given the same type of lines as in earlier episodes, but his voice was noticeably weaker and had lost its sharp sarcastic edge. He still gave it his all, but the show just wasn’t the same without him at 100 percent. 

 

His talents on ELR were always underappreciated. He won an Emmy in 1996 for an appearance on the X Files as Clyde Bruckman, but never won one for his work on Raymond, despite being nominated seven times and the rest of the cast winning at least one Emmy. The only reason I can give to explain this is that Boyle played his character too well, but it wasn’t any fault of his. The writers of the show gave many heart to heart exchanges between the characters, but those involving Frank are hard to find. The voters must have seen him as a great actor who was unable to show the necessary lighter side of his character. What a load of bull.

 

That’s why I’m here: to present the lighter side of Frank Barone in the hopes that Boyle will get his ELR Emmy in the afterlife.

 

The best example of Frank’s compassionate side can been seen in the season five episode,

“The Canister”. An argument breaks out between Debra and Marie because she believes Debra has a special canister of hers. Debra denies this, only to have it turn up later. She quickly decides to dispose of the canister by throwing it in the garbage, but twins dig it out of there so she decides to sneak it back into Frank and Marie’s herself. Marie catches Debra with the canister, but Frank takes the blame for it, claiming he was hiding it from Marie. When Debra asks him why he covered for her, Frank replies “You’re like my daughter.”

 

 

The theme of Debra being equivalent to Frank’s daughter was used again in the season eight episode “Debra at The Lodge.” Here Debra takes a job at the lodge with Frank and all of his retired buddies, appearing to fit in. But Frank breaks lodge policy and tells Ray what is being said about Debra after she leaves, coming to her defense at the end of the episode.

 

Finally, in “Boys Therapy”, Frank tells Ray and Robert his father used to hit him as a form of discipline, but he refused to do this when raising them.

 

In my favorite episode of the series, “Meeting the Parents”, Boyle delivers some classic lines as Frank squares off with the conservative parents of Robert’s girlfriend, Hank and Pat McDougal. No doubt this episode pissed off conservative and religious voters, but I like its edginess. Here are some of Frank’s best lines in the episode:

 

(Referring to Hank McDougal) Who made you the prayer sheriff?

I bet all their stuff about church is a load of crap too. Probably spends his Sundays watching tv in a muffin shop.

 

Dear Lord please keep this in-law family the hell away from me!

 

Hank: And you can stay the heck away from us too.

 

Frank: You can say ‘heck’ all you want, He knows you mean Hell!

 

(After Hank leads a prayer asking that the two families get along)

 

I can beat that! 

Frank was best in ELR when he was just sitting in the recliner listening to a conversation and then out of the blue he would make great sarcastic comment, which is something I usually do at parties—but I’m not rewarded with a thunderous laugh track like Peter was.

 

Frank Barone was the first TV character who made wearing a cardigan cool. He proved it’s not how you wear it, it’s the attitude you have while wearing it. Before Frank wore the cardigan the only noteworthy people associated with it were Cliff Huxtable, who wore nothing but ugly sweaters on his show, and Mr. Rogers. If I get a cardigan this Christmas, I won’t comlain, because Frank Barone wouldn’t want me to complain. He’d say,

 

“You’re a pansy, just wear the damn thing with pride.”

 

Thanks for the laughs Peter.

 

This tribute video highlights his life and some of his best moments on Everybody Loves Raymond. Enjoy 

 

 

 

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The Wrigley Field Bleacher Bum Experience

Posted by Steven on September 14, 2004

Over the weekend my friend Josh and I went to the Cubs game. When Josh came to pick me up at my house, he said he had the whole day planned out: we were going to take the train into Chicago and then take a cab to Wrigley. We would pick up our tickets before the game from this one guy he knows. Josh wasn’t exactly sure where our seats were, but he insisted that they were “probably good seats.”

So we took a cab to Wrigley and had to wait awhile for the ticket guy to show up. It was crazy out there and the game hadn’t even started yet. Peanut vendors were coming up with cool rhymes and songs trying to entice people to buy peanuts outside the park. “Buy ’em on the outside, you’ll save money” they kept repeating. Little kids were running around everywhere and it was about eighty-five degrees out, so we were getting a little sick of waiting for the ticket guy to show up. Finally he did. “Hey guys what’s up how ya doing? Listen I could only get bleacher seats for today’s game. Sorry about that man.”

At first I didn’t understand what I was about to get myself into. I’d watched fans in the bleachers all the time on TV and it looked sort of cool, and I had never sat in the bleachers before, so I was pretty excited. The guy gave us our tickets and we walked into the park each of us getting a hotdog and soda. We walked up two steep ramps before emerging at the bottom of the bleachers.

I thought we would just go up a couple of rows, sit down and wait for the game to begin. Josh’s friend who tagged along with us had other ideas.
“Hey you guys wanna go sit under the scoreboard?” he asked.
“Sure” Josh said and I agreed.
We had to walk up about six or seven steps without the aid of a railing, which for two handicapped guys is no easy task, but we made it up without any problems and sat under the world famous Wrigley Field scoreboard. Everything will be fine, I thought.

That’s when I looked down and it hit me just how far up we were. Now I’m not afraid of heights or anything, but I gotta admit I was more than a little freaked out by how high up we were. There wasn’t a support rail in sight which meant I couldn’t even stand up during the game without risking a fall to my death. I could just imagine the Cubs play by play announcers saying
“There seems to be a dead body out there in the center field shrubbery. Now I’ve seen everything!” Heck I was afraid if I sneezed I was going to fall and die! No handicapped person should EVER attempt to sit in the Wrigley field bleachers, no matter what people say about the “unique bleacher bum atmosphere.”

If you live in Chicago or follow baseball you’ve heard the countless stories about the fans who sit in the bleachers at Wrigley. That the bleacher bums are at the game to get wasted , get a tan, and scope out the women. That they don’t really follow the game. I never wanted to believe those stories, but now after having sat in the bleachers I can tell you those stories are all true.

There was one guy sitting below us wearing a New York Jets floppy hat and after a few beers he kept yelling “Go J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets!” It’s rather Sesame Street-ish but that’s the Jets cheer.

Why did the NFL have to start this weekend? I thought

The Cubs got hammered 11-1 by Florida so the game was a wash, not that I could see any of it from where I was sitting.

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Mother nature doesn’t want to have your baby

Posted by Steven on July 27, 2004

You look outside your kitchen window. The sky is a weird, almost clear gray and you know a storm is coming. You’re well aware of this, but still you continue on with your daily activities. About a half hour later the sky is an even darker shade of gray, the clouds heavy with impending rain. A soft wind has started blowing and soon it begins to howl against the house, shaking the foundation. The trees sway back and forth. Still you continue on with your daily activates but the wind is getting so loud you can’t even hear yourself think. You figure you ca drown out the wind with the sounds from the TV. You are fully engrossed in some cheap, laugh every 15 minutes sitcom, when you hear it. Three short beeps, meaning in a few seconds a severe weather warning will start scrolling across the bottom of the screen, a death threat from Mother Nature. A warning that’ll say your county, along with a bunch of counties you’ve never heard of, is about to get hit by a nuclear tornado or some other deadly form of severe weather

All these warnings do is interfere with your television watching experience. You flip to another channel but soon these weather warnings are scrolling across the bottom of every channel. You start to get a little annoyed because these warnings are blocking information that’s vital to the show your checking out, like the inside info that tells you Jake isn’t the father of Melissa’s baby or some crap like that. You watch for a little while but you just can’t stand the message that keeps running across the bottom of the screen again and again, a message that declares: a TORNADO WARNING (this is supposed to get your attention in case you weren’t paying attention to the annoying message you can’t take your eyes off of) has been issued for Greenbow county, Hershey County, etc. “I don’t give a crap about a tornado if it interferes with my show!” you scream. “Why can’t I just watch TV without being bothered by a killer tornado warning every ten seconds?” Then suddenly there’s another loud beep and the show you were watching disappears, replaced by a message saying that the National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning and to turn to channel four for more information. You change channels frantically, desperately trying to find one that hasn’t jumped on the “we’re all going to get killed by a nuclear tornado!” bandwagon, but the NWS message is on every freakin’ channel. So you decide to tune into channel four, after all what could it hurt right?

You flip to the public access losers and see that in a little black bar above some advertisement for a low budget TV show is screaming a message that a TORNADO WARNING for Greenbow has been activated. The same darn thing you’ve seen on every other channel! You flip back to your sitcom. Not even a nuclear tornado is going to keep you from watching it, no sir! You watch for a few minutes and before you know it you’ve nearly forgotten about the tornado that’s coming to kill you. Then one of the local weather hotshots comes on the TV, cutting into your show for like the fifth time in the last 15 minutes. “Hi, I’m Kevin Sunspot inside the channel 7 weather center. I wanted to alert you viewers about a tornado warning that is active for Greensbow. This tornado is brimming with nuclear radiation that could wipe out the entire planet.”

Mr. Sunspot reaches under his desk and pulls out one of those pop bottle tornado simulator kids experiments. “What do they pay these guys for?” you ask aloud. “You can see as I add some water here that this tornado possesses strong semicircular winds and has the power to knock down trees and houses. I would advise everyone to get into your basements, a bathroom; whatever you do it is imperative that you stay away from windows. Just go a safe area immediately and prepare for certain doom. I’m sorry if all the weather coverage has been cutting into your favorite shows but covering sever weather is the only time we meteorologists can get on TV and people actually give a crap about what we have to say. Thank you.” The guy disappears and you can finally get on with the most important thing in your life at the moment: watching your sitcom, then worrying about getting killed by nuclear radiation. You hear the high pitched wailing of the tornado sirens. You’ve just about had it with this tornado. Frustrated, you scream “Alright already! I’ll get in the damn basement! You just better hope I catch this episode in reruns!” You storm downstairs and turn on the Weather Channel, were they live for nuclear tornado disasters and wait for your inevitable death.

That’s what most normal, sensible people do during a severe weather situation: whine and complain about the amount of coverage the weather is getting on TV, then head to the basement. Other people run not to their basements; but to a hallway closet and think: Now where did I put my video camera?

These people want to get on the new Weather Channel show ‘Storm Stories’ so they can show off their exclusive home video of a nuclear tornado and tell their story of how they defied Mother Nature. These “storm chasers” like to chase killer tornadoes. Why? Because it makes them hornier then their wife or girlfriend ever could and it’s so much cooler to say you actually TRIED to get killed by a tornado then saying fate just had your number. Most of the home video of tornadoes is shot by soon-to-be victims. Usually a father or husband does the honors, running into the middle of an open field to get a once a lifetime look at a tornado. “Honey you gotta come look at this. It’s amazing!” he says. “Richard shut up and get in the damn basement you’re gonna get killed by that thing!” his wife Michelle screams. “I’ll be fine don’t you worry about me…Wow and I thought the special effects in Twister were awesome!” he yells, standing there in awe of the swirling death for what seems like half an hour. Then he finally realizes where he is and where the tornado is. Suddenly he doesn’t have the guts to stand a few feet from an oncoming tornado.

“Ah shit it’s coming this way! Shit!” Richard sprints back toward his house, hysterical. “Honey you and the kids have to get in the basement now! The tornado is coming this way!” “Where do you think we are you idiot? Get down here with me and the kids!” “Screw the kids we can offer them up to the tornado as a sacrifice!” the once proud father and husband yells. “Are you crazy Richard?” “We can’t lose this footage I got”, Richard says. “I’m gonna be on Storm Stories”, Richard says proudly. “Storm Stories my ass!” “The only show you’re going to be on is Dead Idiots!” Michelle yells. Richard scrambles downstairs and huddles next to his wife and children.

“I didn’t even get to ask her why we call her mother.” Richard says softly. “Richard your mother died 20 years ago. Did you imagine seeing her getting sucked into the tornado or something? ‘Cause you won’t have video of that.” “No, no I didn’t ask her why we call her Mother Nature! She doesn’t have any children! And neither does Mother Earth or Father Time! I just don’t get it.” Richard says. “Why do you wait until now to start asking philosophical questions?” Michelle asks. “You act like there’s a tornado out there about to kill us, Michelle! Just stop and think about it for a second!”
“Richard you are truly a moron.” Michelle mutters. “Well this moron is gonna be on Storm Stories. You watch Michelle; soon you’ll be eating those words.”

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