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Remembering Scott Kennedy – Mentor, Hero, Friend

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Where to start? I am still grieving over the loss of my friend, mentor, and hero, Scott Kennedy. However, I have decided to write this, because, though the pain is fresh, it needs to be done. Many comedians, from the highest ranks of the business, have weighed in, and shared their memories of Scott. My story will obviously not garner as much attention, but that’s the point of me putting them on paper. The greatest thing about Scott was his willingness to help those who couldn’t return the favor. Anyone is willing to befriend a celebrity, and a lot of people enter show business to do just that. However, character is not based on how we treat those above us on the totem pole, it’s about how we help lift up those below. Scott had more character than every comic I’ve ever met… combined.

I first met Scott at the beginning of 2005. I was 22, living in New Orleans, and I was the stereotypical aspiring comedian working at a comedy club. I had been doing comedy semi-professionally since age 18, but I was still very green.  I would fill-in for comics who missed their flights, and Improv founder, and comedy godfather Budd Friedman would book me frequently as the emcee. When I wasn’t on-stage, I was the stage manager, and I had lots of time to hang out with the comics backstage during the shows. I would spend ample time asking each and every one of them about the business, begging them for tips, wisdom, and advice. Many would blow me off, many would discourage me, and many were just plain rude.  There were a few exceptions, and chief among them was Scott Kennedy.  I liked Scott from the moment I met him. A looming hoss of a man, who looked like a follicly-challenged offensive lineman, you quickly learned his heart was bigger than his torso. Always a huge smile, bright eyes, and a spit-cup; it was always a good day when I saw the big “00” jersey coming backstage. Scott answered my questions, encouraged me, lightened up our conversations, and reminded me to remember, comedy is about jokes. The material can be dark, but at the core, audiences have to like you to laugh at you.

In August of 2005, literal and emotional disaster struck.  Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, and my life was turned upside down. My city was decimated, my friends were suddenly strewn all over the country, the club was shut down, and I lost everything I owned, with the exception of 3 t-shirts. I fell into a deep depression, and evacuated to Chicago, where I would spend the next 6 months trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do now. After my 6 month transplant, I decided to move back to New Orleans. The club reopened shortly after I returned, and Scott was able to bring much needed laughter back to the citizens of New Orleans. He was one of few comics we requested the Improv corporate office send to the club as often as possible. We needed his laughter, and I needed my friend.

In 2007, I finally felt like I had enough road-dog experience under my belt, and enough material to make a go of it in L.A.  Before I moved, I flew to L.A. on a “scouting trip” so to speak. Scott graciously allowed me to stay at his apartment, and made me feel at home. For half of my trip, Scott was on the road, and he even upgraded me from the couch to his bedroom, after he left. His open heart was endless. After I moved, Scott took me around to the clubs, introduced me to comics, and gave me all the must-have information. He even went so far as to help me land a job as a bouncer at the House Of Blues on the Sunset Strip.  In retrospect, even to this day, I am blown away by the amount of help he gave a young, green, broke straight boy from the deep south. I guess he saw a lot of himself in me, which could be wishful thinking on my part. I do know he saw something in me, enough to put his name on the line for me.  It brings tears to my eyes. The shear humility, humanity, and pure love in his heart.

Over the months and years that followed, Scott and I performed many times together. I released my first album, and in the liner notes, I thanked Scott for his guidance. I wish I could have done more to repay him, but that’s the thing about Scott, he never expected to be repaid. His kindness wasn’t a loan, it was a gift.

Of the hundreds, and likely thousands of shows I’ve done in my career, I only have one poster hung in my home. It is a promo poster from a week of shows I did with Scott, and our mutual buddy Dat Phan, at the Improv at Pechanga Resort in California in 2008. Scott and Dat were my two closest buddies in comedy, and I always want to remember the week the three of us were on the same bill. It’s comforting now, to know that I will always have a picture of Scott in my home. That framed poster will never move, and if another hurricane comes, you can bet your ass that poster is coming with me. That week the three of us played a game we often played during a long string of shows. We called it “News Boos”, and the rules were simple. Prior to a show, we would flip through the day’s USA Today newspaper (complimentary at most U.S. hotels!), and find the least funny story imaginable. We would then each HAVE to do a joke about that particular story in our act. Whoever’s joke elicited the biggest groan, would be bought a drink, after the show, by the other two. It was absolutely hilarious to see the comic’s mind at work. What each of our takes on it were, what our segues into the heinous joke would be, who would bomb, how you would win the crowd back, etc. I still laugh thinking about some of those shows.

It seems like since his death, many people have posted links to Scott doing material related to his sexuality. While he was very out, and open about his homosexuality, that was like the 10th most interesting thing about Scott. Scott was not a “gay comic”. Scott was a stand-up comic, who happened to be gay. He was a professional. He didn’t need a shtick, gimmick, or label, to make it. He always knew rule number one of stand-up… know your audience. He could address his sexuality, or not, depending on the crowd. He never had any motivation to use it as a crutch, or beat people over the head with it; he didn’t preach. He made people laugh. He entertained… and he did it magnificently.

I am proud that his unwavering support of our country’s military men and women, will be Scott’s lasting legacy. His 50+ trips overseas, to war zones and battlegrounds, his commendations by top generals, and his never-ending love for those in the USA uniform, is exactly how he would want to be remembered. In addition, as if two long trips every month weren’t enough to show his love for our troops, the military branch logos tattooed on his forearm would surely do the trick.

I could talk about Scott for another 200 pages. He was, and IS, a shining example of what it means to be a good person. He selflessly gave to everyone he knew, and I was lucky enough to be counted among them. I will never forget the hand up he gave me, and I owe it to Scott to live a bit more in his light. It takes a certain type of person to be a stand-up comic. It’s hard to describe the fraternity that is comedians. Coming up, it seems like you’ll always be an outsider, and never be part of the big picture. Scott’s humanity, and loving nature, were most evident when he was able to take a person feeling that way, and say to them, “Tell ‘em you’re with me.” Somewhere out there, right this very minute, there is a killer comedy show about to take place. I hear Richard Pryor is going to be headlining. George Carlin is running a few minutes late. He had to swing by the pearly gates, and deliver a message to Scott upon his arrival. “Hey kid, tell em’ you’re with me.”

-Jonathan Bell (jonbell228@gmail.com)

 

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An Open Letter To NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

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March 21, 2012
Roger “Adolf” Goodell
Office of the Commissioner
345 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017

RE: SAINTS PUNISHMENT

Mein Fuhrer,

That is how you address a fascist dictator, hell bent on authoritarian rule, correct? My name is Jonathan Bell. I am a 30 year old season ticket holder of the New Orleans Saints. You remember them, I assume, as you just got finished raping them. As you may have guessed by this point, I am disappointed in your personal handling of the situation. Chiefly, the one year suspension of our head coach Sean Payton. My goal with this letter is to explain to you why I feel your level of severity, with regards to the punishments, was foolish, misguided, and small sighted (considering the surface area of that head of yours). I must say, your Napoleon complex is startling when one ponders the size of your melon-like head. I digress. You see, I’m just trying to let you get to know me; to see this from a fan’s perspective… It looks completely different if not seen through your own owl-like eyes. I am a fan. I work hard, I spend more than I need to on my season tickets, and I try to leave the stress at home, every other Sunday, when I go to the Superdome to cheer on my team. I don’t sit in the sky boxes, and have my assistant bring me my tea, while I stare lovingly at Bill Belichick from afar, from the comfort of my commissioner’s throne made of blood diamonds, and the pelts of 1000 baby seals. That’s right. We have not forgotten Spygate. Remember that? When your old buddy Bill, and your friend-with-benefits Tom, actually CHEATED. That slap on the wrist you gave them was so soft and flaccid, it belonged in your pants. I guess you were just saving it for us. People called you soft in high school, and shoved you into lockers, so now, 85 years later, you finally get a chance to show those bastards! You are the parking lot security guard of professional athletics. To be honest, I think you’re better suited to the W.N.B.A. I don’t know if their top job is open, but I do know your vagina would fit in better there. Or perhaps you could see about a lateral move over to the United States Table Tennis Association. There, you’d never be too far from a paddle… in case someone needed to be punished. I mean, if you are that into sadism, I could make some calls and find some underground clubs for you in New York City. You wouldn’t have to fly to Thailand every offseason anymore!

Look, I know you are under a lot of stress. You are facing hundreds of concussion lawsuits, and you needed a scapegoat, ASAP, to make an example of… to show you’re really being proactive. And you chose us. Thanks. I’m just saying you were a little heavy handed. You kind of seemed like a drunk frat boy his second week of college. Perhaps you are a drunken frat boy, but I can assure you, you are not in college anymore. For heaven’s sake, your hairline is receding faster than the British at the Battle of New Orleans. Its, okay, you can google that. I know the only historical text you’re familiar is Mein Kampf. Sorry, that’s just not my cup of tea. Besides, I thought you got a little self-indulgent in Chapter 4.
At the end of the day, you have crippled us. The fans get to pay for a product that is not what was promised to us. You get to keep our money, inflate our prices, and deliver a sub-par product for the next couple of years. That’s not good business, and I know you know business. The greed is thick in you. Be careful you don’t keep fiddling, Nero. I know that every year you want it to be Brady vs. Manning. I get it. You THINK that’s what people want to see. It’s not. That’s what YOU want to see. Plus, that’s so 5 years ago, man. Hang it up. You keep trying to make us watch the same movie, over and over again. You’re like the George Lukas of the NFL. Only difference being George Lukas fans know ahead of time they are being raped. You like to spring it on people. Why not be creative? Your daydreams about pillowfights with Ed Hochuli don’t have to be the only time you use a little creativity. Why not suspend Payton for 4 games, strip his salary for the entire year, and donate it to the NFL Play 60 campaign in New Orleans, or the Boys and Girls Clubs? That way, the fans get what they paid for, Sean gets punished 8 million times, and you still look like the big, mean, abusive stepfather. As I am sure you love hearing from all of the NFL’s fans, I encourage my fellow Who Dats to write you at the above address (Park Avenue, classy), or call you at 212-450-2000.

I’ll wrap it up (Great advice by the way). I don’t want to take away any more of your time from your Faces of Death DVDs, or your Son of Sam coffee table book. I know you need ample time to stroke your Tom Brady action figures, and prance in your Bill Belichick autographed thong. Just remember, the Who Dat Nation is proud, no matter how much genocide you attempt to bring upon us. We have risen before, and we will again.

Your voiceless peasant,

Jonathan Bell
Jonathan@NerdAristocracy.com

P.S. Next time, instead of worrying about defenders who want to tackle offensive players really hard, you could be more concerned with the number of attacks on opposing teams fans in many of your stadiums… or you could just keep fiddling.


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Guest Post: “Nerdgasm!” Proletariat Member April B Reviews Dragon-Con 2011 !

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Nerdgasm! (AKA 4 days at Dragon*con which is the what the classier folks called it in their Emmy award winning documentary)

See even my title is nerdy! April Conwill here, proletariat member who decided during a conversation with the podcast’s J bell that I would name myself special correspondent to Dragon*con and report back on the spectacle that is all things nerd. An attendee of small conventions over the years, this is my second dragon*con and it’s a hell of a ride.

A friend I attend the convention with tweeted this summer “if Comic-Con is nerd Christmas, then Dragon*con is nerd Mardi Gras “or Nerdy Gras as it were. This is true statement if ever there was one. There are costumes, a parade, loud drunk people, flashing lights, crowds, funny smells! It’s as if bourbon street has been magically transported to the indoors of 5 hotels in downtown Atlanta. On Labor Day weekend. Dragon*con is the largest strictly sci-fi and fantasy convention in the US, boasting over 40,000 members and growing. It has film and television actors, authors, comic book artists, musicians, comedians, and on. There is literally something for everyone of the nerdy variety. This year the guests ranged from oldies but goodies Christopher Lloyd and Beau Bridges to the reigning modern king and queen of the nerds, Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day. Literally any tv show or movie with Star something for the title was there. Practically every fandom you can think of is represented.

The goal of dragon*con is to remain in a constant state of what I like to call nerdgasm. Basically it’s that moment when something so awesomely nerdy happens that it makes all you suffered through to get it totally worth it. Last year, I shared an elevator with Jewel Staite AKA Kaylee from Firefly. My friend made special underwear for her favorite actor to sign, which he did and posed as if they were in a kung fu movie poster for their fan photo. Edward James Olmos got the whole auditorium to chant “so say we all” after the Battlestar panel. Sean Patrick Flannery was behind me on the escalator. Dennis O’Hare revealed he based his Russell Edgington Mississippi accent on Haley Barbour and told a funny story about being asked to bite a Dominican bodybuilder’s neck for a photo. Not to mention the small nerdgasms you get every 5 minutes when you see an epic cosplay. (Cosplay I only learned last year is the proper  term for dressing in costume. Why we damn nerds need a technical term, I do not know) Where else can you see Batman, Superman, the Mad Hatter, Wayne and Garth, Barf from Spaceballs, Thor, Iron-man, Han Solo, Chewy, Spock, the Joker, Alan from the Hangover, Jules and Vincent, the dude, Silk Spectre, Wolverine, Deadpool, Hal Jordan, Kenny fucking powers, the Doctor, Admiral Adama, Sookie Stackhouse, and Spike all standing around drinking together?  See attached photos/and or vids.

Sadly, I had hoped to make the Nerd Aristocracy a larger presence at Dragon*con. I tried to take photos of people holding my trusty homemade sign and I handed out stickers. But there is so much going on, it proved difficult. And some of the cosplayers refused to be in the photo with the sign because they are “under contract”. (Made me suspicious of their actual nerd cred) I also tried to record video interviews for some nerd on the street action. They had no sound because 40,000 people on sugar, red bull and alcohol tended to drown out what we were saying. So I guess Ryan and Jonathan will just have to bring the aristocracy to the con next year. Here’s hoping.

-April B

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NYPD Dirtbag has New Orleans Connections

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If you’re like me, when you saw the video below of female protesters being corralled, then pepper-sprayed, for no reason, you were infuriated. If you have yet to see it, beware, it will disgust you.

For a long time, the police in this country were villified. Along came 9/11, NYPD cops and firemen rose to the occasion, and cops got a good rep again… temporarily. Recently, the “Occupy Wall Street” protests have been occurring without much, if any, coverage from the national media outlets. Meanwhile, as depicted in NUMEROUS videos from fringe media and citizen journalists, the New York Police Department have been repeatedly brutalizing non-violent protesters, and using excessive force on whomever they can get their hands on. Unfortunately, these images destroy any goodwill the cops rightly earned during the aftermath of 9/11. We have returned to the days where a junior high education and a badge apparently give you the right to do whatever you wish to whomever you wish. This once again proves that small dicks and big guns are a bad combination. Now, I am not saying that all cops are bad. To the contrary, good cops are some of the greatest people in our society. However, when bad cops do bad things, and good cops sit idly by and watch, or do nothing, those good cops cease being good cops any longer. My father was in law-enforcement, so there are is no bigger proponent of good lawmen than myself.

The scumbag in the video above was revealed to be NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna. Bologna was also caught on video in a second unprovoked pepper-spray attack on civilians seen here:

An N.Y.P.D. spokesman said that Bologna used the spray “judiciously.” However, after the second video was revealed, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that the Internal Affairs Bureau would “look into” Bologna’s actions. Kelly went on to say that the incident was being reviewed by the Civilian Complaint Review Board. Whatever that means. Obviously, the N.Y.P.D. just wants to sweep this under the rug, and wait for public outcry to die down.

Meanwhile, our friends at Anonymous have stepped up to the plate. After seeing this gross display of misplaced authority, Anonymous members have located some personal information about Deputy Scumbag Bologna. It can be found here: SCUMBAG .

Highlights:

Name: Anthony Bologna

Phone #: (518) 989-9051

Address: 5 Sawyer Ave, Unit A, Staten Island, NY

While perusing Deputy Scumbag’s previous addresses, one thing popped out at me. Several of his previous addresses are in the New Orleans metropolitan area, including Metairie, Covington, Mandeville, and New Orleans proper. I have placed a call to a source close to the N.O.P.D., but have yet to receive a response. I am interested to hear whether or not Deputy Scumbag was ever in the employ of the New Orleans Police Department, and if so, if he was prone to police brutality then as well. I will update this article when that information becomes available. In the meantime, feel free to call Deputy Scumbag before he changes his number, or write a letter. NBC News has reported that in the wake of the leak of his personal information, “extra security” has been placed outside the home of Deputy Scumbag. My question is this to Deputy Scumbag: If you are such a badass that you pepper spray a group of docile, confined, young women, why can’t you protect yourself and your family without back-up? Are the taxpayers of New York City supposed to pay for your personal bodyguards? How about this: How about you not do things that make people want to show up at your house to see justice done?  Also, you are a sorry excuse for a human being, and I hope you rot in hell you disgusting worthless scumbag.

 

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Colbert SuperPac: Parry Write-in

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I thought it was a shame it got pulled from YouTube…

I thought it was a shame we had to watch this on MSNBC thru some fellow’s lens who is desparately trying to look as not liberal as possible on the most liberal-slanted network since PBS…

…so we Nerded it onto our site:

 

 

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Hostel Takeover

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First off, let me just congratulate myself on the wittiness of the title of this blog. See, I’m talking about hipster music in this post, and I change the spelling from “hostile” to “hostel”… because hipsters like hostels.  Amazing.

I digress. In the upcoming episode (Episode 21), I talk about the online ad-blitz I’ve been bombarded with, featuring the worst rapper in the history of all things that could remotely be defined as hip-hop, Kreayshawn. In any case, I am posting four screenshots of said examples below. I would rather see commercials for NASCAR tickets, or Axe Body Spray, or something else I will never consider buying.

Why dost the advertising world hate me?

-JB

 

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Wondering if speed would help…

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In trying to find the One Ring of Sauron to rule the different social media pipes with our venture I’m left chewing coffee beans just to attempt to focus.  Hopefully that’s just the setup; but now I have a twitter – the NA has a twitter ‘@nerdaristocracy’ and I see these 140 characters of some we’re following and it’s like walking into a singles bar with ten minutes left in happy hour and

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TITHE THE CROWN

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