Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Interview: Lewis Black, new special, "In God We Rust," premieres midnight tonight on Comedy Central

Lewis Black's "In God We Rust"

Stark Raving Black Productions

Lewis Black's "In God We Rust" premieres tonight at midnight on Comedy Central

Tonight Comedy Central will air comedian and social critic Lewis Black's special, In God We Rust, at midnight. In God We Rust, once released as media, will be Black's tenth CD since 2000, an impressive body of material by a comedian who has clearly defined his style, effectively cornering the market on apoplectic rage for over a decade.

Here we are in the midst of another election cycle, the perfect time for another politically-tinged special from Lewis Black, who has consistently been providing commentary on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart." He's also been performing plenty of contemporary material, as noted at Comedy Central's "Indecision In The Park" show in Central Park a couple months ago, along with John Oliver, Kristen Schaal, Wyatt Cenac, Al Madrigal, and John Hodgman. Because we se him so regularly on TV, it was a bit of a surprise to learn that In God We Rust was recorded almost a year and a half ago in Minneapolis.

Read More...

Why does comedy have a liberal bias?

Versus To Air New Weekly Series : Sports Unfiltered With Dennis Miller

Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

File: Comedian Dennis Miller presents his new weekly series at Stage 9 Studios November 6, 2007 in Santa Barbara, California.

More often than not, when you see a comedian get political, they're taking shots at conservative rather than liberal ideas. The Comedy Store's Alf LaMont has an interesting piece on this up today at the Huffington Post. (You can also read my in-depth interview with LaMont going inside the Los Angeles comedy scene.)

He recently moderated a panel at South by Southwest on political humor, and as he notes, when he asked for examples of conservative humor, the only name anyone was able to throw out was Dennis Miller. I admit that, when I first opened up his article, this was the first name to come to mind for me too.

There are other notable conservative comedians, though fewer that make their conservatism part of their act. Finding a popular social conservative comedian is even harder. One bright note for conservative comedy: there seems to be more representation when it comes to libertarians, though this also includes libertarians who lean more to the left like Bill Maher.

Read More...

State of the Union taking over TV tonight, so what else is on?

63203752

Pablo Martinez Monsivais-Pool/Getty Images

President Obama delivers his State of the Union tonight; what else is on TV tonight?

The State of the Union will be delivered tonight at 9 Eastern, 6 Pacific by President Barack Obama. As a political nerd, I'll be following along (and livetweeting the speech at @WithoutABlog), but for those of you who aren't particularly interested in an hour long speech, here are some alternatives.

I'm looking out for both those of us here on the West Coast and those of you on the East Coast, below:

West Coast

  • FX, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Reruns of my favorite sitcom "How I Met Your Mother." Then there's "Two And A Half Men" at 7, during which you should immediately turn away.
  • E, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: "Kourtney and Kim Take New York." (I don't know anything about the Kardashians other than that people hate them but want to watch them as much as possible on TV anyway.)
  • Cartoon Network, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: Reruns of "Adventure Time." Check out the cult hit surreal animated series and see if it fits your sense of humor or if people who like the show are crazy.
  • Discovery Channel, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Reruns of "Dirty Jobs." (I may just be mentioning this because host Mike Rowe shares my name, except he spells it wrong, obviously.)
  • Spike TV, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.: "Kill Bil: Vol. 2." Go watch pretty/violent Quentin Tarantino pictures and be amused by how it's been edited for cable.
  • Comedy Central, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: If you want to see what's been going on in politics, but just want it to be funnier (intentionally), you can catch up on last night's "Daily Show" and "Colbert Report"...
  • Comedy Central, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.: ... then watch "30 Rock" reruns to clear your mind of politics until tomorrow's "Daily Show" and "Colbert Report," which is when they'll probably get around to talking about the State of the Union.

Read More...

Tumblr protests potential censorship, gives users heart attacks

lookatourcats.tumblr.com

Tumblr dashboard gets censored, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011

This morning, anyone who logged onto popular blog site Tumblr saw a feed that looked something like the screenshot above. Rather than animated GIFs and the other usual fare of Tumblr, text and photos were greyed out and had censored stamps on them.

While this left many users befuddled, judging by outrage both on Tumblr and Twitter, you could click to get past it. Once you did, you were taken to this page, with Tumblr urging its users to call their representative about the PROTECT-IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which Tumblr called "two well-intentioned but deeply flawed bills."

Tumblr goes on to compare the censorship that would be possible thanks to these bills to that of China and Iran.

The bills in question would allow the government to block websites that perpetuate copyright infringement, particularly foreign sites which the U.S. government has currently had difficulty combating since they're beyond their physical jurisdiction. The law would also add penalties for users who violate copyright.

Read More...

Republican presidential debate: What else is on?

The latest Republican presidential debate takes place tonight at 5 p.m. Pacific/8 p.m. Eastern, right here in Southern California at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. It's airing live on MSNBC, and later tonight here on KPCC.

As a political nerd, I plan to be glued to my set for the show. But not everyone shares my tastes. What else is on tonight?

CBS has a new episode of reality show Big Brother! As a recovering "Big Brother" addict, this would've been mighty tempting to the me of about five years ago. There are brand new episodes of adrenaline-fueled game show "Minute To Win It" and odd and great talent-fueled game show "America's Got Talent" on NBC. You can also catch reruns of ABC's Wednesday sitcom lineup including "The Middle" and the critically acclaimed "Modern Family." Or if you're a procedural fan, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" is on NBC, while "CSI" is over on CBS.

Read More...