The ravages of time in a bra, panties and Liberace coat.

The ravages of time in a bra, panties and Liberace coat.

I apologize for the two week absence. As the world slowly descends into a new ice age, the radio station I record at was closed repeatedly due to inclement weather, and I myself was busy stockpiling guns, sled dogs and sweet, calorically-dense seal blubber for the looming frigid apocalypse. Now that I’m safe on my throne of shotgun shells and walrus tusks wearing the crown of the Ice King, it was time to get back to the business of the Papa’s Basement Show. And what a show it was! We discuss the un-retouched photos former supermodel Cindy Crawford posted of herself and tackle whether or not they really were “beautiful” as every annoying piece of clickbait writing on your Facebook timeline declared them for 48 hours. And we also discuss the passing of Harris Wittels, an extreme overachiever in the world of comedy who passed last week of a suspected overdose at age 30. I mean, if a meditation on death, addiction and whether it’s better to burn out than fade away doesn’t have belly laughs written all over it…

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Browsers south of the Mason-Dixon line automatically block this image.

Browsers south of the Mason-Dixon line automatically block this image.

I watched the first Hot Tub Time Machine in a theaters, and I’m not embarrassed to admit that (though I probably should be). As I recall, I was hanging out with a friend of mine and I randomly had one of those existential moments where the meaningless of existence is thrust upon you like the tip of a colonoscope and you’d rather watch footage of ISIS beheading your pets than be forced to think about it a second longer. 15 minutes later, we were plopped in front of HTTM and I was able to dodge my fear that I’ve squandered my brief time on this planet by definitively wasting an hour and a half of it.

As for what happened during the original Hot Tub Time Machine, I couldn’t have told you five seconds after I walked out of the theater. It was one of the most forgetful things I’ve ever viewed, and I sat through all eight seasons of Dexter. One can surmise there was time travel accessed via a hot tub, but that’s as helpful as me staring at the cover of Old Yeller, then telling you the movie is about something named Old Yeller, and it’s probably the dog because the only humans named “Old Yeller” are biracial, octogenarian Southern men.

Since the plot is obviously asinine and of zero consequence to the film’s enjoyment factor, and I doubt the script is going to get confused with that of My Dinner With Andre anytime soon, let’s talk about the cast. First, we have Craig Robinson. While I find Craig funny enough and enjoyed him both on The Office and Eastbound And Down, I’m willing to wager that you’ve never said to yourself, “You know what I need in my life? 90 minutes of that paunchy, piano playing bastard.” Of course, 20 minutes of anyone on-screen in a comedy and I’m thinking to myself, “Why am I not as famous as this talentless asshole and instead writing about him from my mother’s house, in which I live at age 33?,” so your mileage with the man may vary. There’s also Rob Corddry, who I was ambivalent about until I learned while typing this has an extra, confusing “d” in the middle of his last name for no reason, so fuck him. Oh, and don’t forget this guy. I don’t know his name, but I’m legitimately convinced he’s just this other guy whose name I don’t know in a wig and fake eyebrows.

All of this sounds like I’m lining up to drop a gargantuan deuce upon Hot Tub Time Machine 2, but I don’t judge comedy the same way I do a drama. As long as a comedy provided a few laughs, it got the job done, whereas a drama, unless it’s strongly compelling from start to finish, I’ll consider a failure. Maybe it’s because comedy needs only to intermittently provide its hallmark visceral thrill (in this case, laughs), much like a slasher film need only provide a few scares and pornography needs only arouse. No one wipes off and walks away from a porn clip they just jerked off to thinking, “Well, yes, I came. But did I have cum better?” Nope. It’s a binary. “Am I skulking off to flush semen-filled tissues and disgusted with myself? Yes? Success!”

So, while I’m guaranteeing you that HTTM2 is no classic, it will probably give you a laugh or two. And if it doesn’t, well, this is probably the wrong website for you, Eustance Tilley . Go play some polo and hunt your manservant for sport.

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Reviewing 50 Shades of Grey Without Having Seen It

by John Papa on February 17, 2015

Dear women with bangs: You all look like the girl in kindergarten who couldn't be trusted with scissors.

Dear women with bangs: No matter how pretty you are, you all look like the girl in kindergarten who couldn’t be trusted with scissors.

I will never understand the appeal of 50 Shades of Grey. Well, I will, but it saddens me to think that millions of suburban housewives across the country are right now donning their sleep masks, asking their bored husbands to give them a swat across their spread-out office drone asses and then running off to titter to their gal pals that they were just dominated and they loved it. While I haven’t read or seen 50 Shades of Grey, I guarantee you’ll learn as much about domination from it as Pirates of the Caribbean can teach you about historical piracy. And you want to know why all of this hits so near and dear to my enlarged, cholesterol-ravaged heart? Because I do love me some S&M.

Let me clarify that last part before moving forward: I’m not talking creepy, “bring out the Gimp” bondage. Just old fashioned hair pulling, spanking and rough banging (PS – women love it when you refer to sex using that word). With me being the dominant partner, by the way. If the girl’s in charge of you, that’s gayer than two guys inserting their cocks in your ass simultaneously and then pulling them in different directions to gape you à la the fingers in this kid’s mouth. Which is fine if that’s your bag, of course.

In all seriousness, that it’s some sort of revelation to much of the country that a lot of women enjoy being dominated shocks me. Did my generation learn nothing from Ludacris? If you aren’t smacking a woman’s ass harder than Patton striking the face of a cowardly soldier while screwing, what exactly are you doing? Maintaining unbroken eye contact as you slowly run your fingers through her hair and the strains of “No Ordinary Love” play in the background? Merely typing that made me softer than overcooked ramen.

Returning to 50 Shades of Grey, all I can say of its central premise is that it’s asinine. A college girl (and virgin, natch) named Ana Steele starts working for young, handsome billionaire Christian Grey, who gets her to sign a sexual non-disclosure contract before introducing her to his sex room, which I assume contains assorted bindings and blindfolds. I got bored and stopped reading the book’s Wikipedia page at this point, but I can only assume because this piece of shit has mass-market appeal that: 1. Things really never get that rough, with maybe some spanking and mild restraint and 2. Christian’s heart starts to melt due to the earnest feelings that Ana holds for him and he falls for her in a way he’s never fallen for any woman before.

Let’s begin my list of problems with everything listed in that previous paragraph. First, the names. Holy shit. Gay porn star Go-Go Harder has a name that’s less on the nose than those two. Also, a very attractive 21-year-old woman who’s still a virgin probably has horrible anxiety disorder or otherwise freaks out every time a guy hits on her. Meaning a pushy-as-shit boardroom titan is probably going to have less of a chance of deflowering her than some chatroom nerd. And for the record, no handsome, young billionaire is getting hung up on any woman. With loot and looks like that, he can have Kate Upton licking his asshole like it is the last piece of an ice cream cone and there is a little froyo still stuck at the bottom.

Odds are, however, that Christian Grey would be way more into being dominated than doing the dominating. I mean isn’t it always politicians, movie stars and other wealthy guys that are used to getting their way who are found to be paying some dominatrix to shove things in their ass and call them a slut while they have cigarettes put out on their nipples? So, while I could definitely see the guy making women sign a contract before playing around with him, it’s way more likely said contract would contain verbiage along the lines of, “please don’t tell anyone that I had you drop a deuce on my chiseled abs before queening me for an hour.”

The only good thing I can say about 50 Shades of Grey is you apparently see Dakota Johnson, daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, naked an utter fuck-ton, and who doesn’t enjoy nude Hollywood royalty? Plus, sleeping with her would be awesome because you could always say, “Hey, I hope you shaved down there this time: I don’t want it looking like your dad’s face circa Miami Vice again.” You’d probably get dumped immediately for that, but it would be worth it.

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Nice to see Kanye don his finest bathrobe and make nice with Taylor Swift at the Grammys.

Nice to see Kanye don his finest bathrobe and make nice with Taylor Swift at the Grammys.

It’s a packed show. Marathon man co-host Othello and I bang out a two-hour meditation on why people feel the need to live Tweet the Grammys or any other award show, how a woman’s rules of boob discretion change forever once they’ve given birth, why Mad Men and Breaking Bad came out five years too early for their own good and why my snoring (which I play horrifying clips of on air) probably means I won’t make it out of my 30s alive. If you’re into guy talk radio as it’s called, you’re going to enjoy. I guarantee it.

(To those of you that listen to the episode and want to leave iTunes feedback, here are the instructions mentioned on-air regarding how to do that. Just leave a review, send a screenshot to me via my Twitter or click here to email the screenshot and claim your “reward.”)

Click here to listen to this episode using your browser. Click here to listen using the much nicer iTunes player (and subscribe to the show to help our ranking). And mobile users click here to listen via the Stitcher app. (You can subscribe there as well and never miss an episode.)

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If you're visiting this website, then the answer is a resounding "no."

If you’re visiting this website, then the answer is a resounding “no.”

I don’t typically directly link to Papa’s Football Podcast on the main Papa’s Basement Show page. The whole point of making a separate show was to keep the football talk off of my regular podcast. (Whittling the already-paltry numbers of my listenership down even further was simply a lovely side-effect.) But the Super Bowl is a magnet of international viewership and if you don’t watch it in this country, you’re rightly labeled a freak, so I figured why not post the Super Bowl show over here, too.

If you like the episode, subscribe to it over on iTunes (and for God’s sake, give it a review after clicking that link) or visit pfpod.com to find every episode we’ve done thus far. Enjoy, and please tell your friends if you like the show. I shouldn’t have to tell you that (and the fact I did shows you my level of faith in this product), but do it anyway.

Click here to listen to this episode of Papa’s Football Podcast or hit the “play” button below. Click here to open us in iTunes, where you can subscribe to the show and leave us some rating and comment love, and click here if you want to do the same using the Stitcher ap!

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Another reason Seinfeld was evil: Making us want to plow Elaine even with her stupid Buster Brown shoes and ridiculous Andrews Sisters hair.

Another reason Seinfeld was evil: Making us want to plow Elaine even with her stupid Buster Brown shoes and ridiculous Andrews Sisters hair.

I love Seinfeld. That goes without saying. But it altered television in a way that television since (especially network comedy) hasn’t been able to recover from. Co-host Howard and I discuss what exactly I mean by that, why Roseanne was the last great American family sitcom and why it’s so, so creepy when women are in to men in uniform on the latest Papa’s Basement Show. Enjoy, share on Facebook and retweet. PLEASE, DAMN YOU!

Click here to listen to this episode using your browser. Click here to listen using the much nicer iTunes player (and subscribe to the show to help our ranking). And mobile users click here to listen via the Stitcher app. (You can subscribe there as well and never miss an episode.)

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Memories Of Howard Stern — Papa’s Basement #437

by John Papa on January 28, 2015

Stunning. Like a damn Semitic Fabio.

Stunning. Like a damn Semitic Fabio.

I’m not sure if it made for good radio, but when co-host Othello (follow him, for God’s sake) brought up Howard Stern right before the show, dammit, we had to talk about him. Anyone who spent the mid-90s through the mid-2000s with the King Of All Media will enjoy this trip down memory lane as we celebrate what he was and lament what he’s become. We also give a review of The Interview, which hit Netflix this week, and close the show with a story about a BBW model who’s in the news for making waves. Big, Godzilla-sized waves (I couldn’t help myself).

If you enjoy the show, please use the links below to subscribe, and get your friends to subscribe, too. (And follow me on Twitter while I read this list of demands Hans Gruber-style.) I like it when my audience extends beyond those that I know on a first-name basis.

Click here to listen to this episode using your browser. Click here to listen using the much nicer iTunes player (and subscribe to the show to help our ranking). And mobile users click here to listen via the Stitcher app. (You can subscribe there as well and never miss an episode.)

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NBC’s Rigged Game

by John Papa on January 22, 2015

NBC has the Super Bowl this year. What can I say? It likes its cheaters.

NBC has the Super Bowl this year. What can I say? It likes cheating.

“Of course the game is rigged. Don’t let that stop you–if you don’t play, you can’t win.”
-Robert Heinlein

Several months ago, I was one of many aspiring comedic writers across the country to participate in a contest called “NBC Playground.” In theory, it sounded fantastic: NBC wanted to give a shot to, in their own words, “(Writers) beyond the traditional talent labs of film schools and NY/LA comedy clubs.” To those of us who, for whatever reason, aren’t able to pursue our comedy dreams in NY or LA, the contest seemed like manna from the gods: Finally, someone in power wasn’t willing to assume that every person with a sense of humor flocked to these cities at age 18 like a salmon returning home to spawn. To say the least, it was refreshing.

Though I figured the odds of being selected as a finalist for the competition were slim, I still gave it a shot, submitting both a filmed pitch for a sitcom I came up with along with a video that showed a performance of some previously written work. Let me pause to say here that, for a contest so hellbent on seeking “grassroots” talent, not many people have the time or means to film professionally lit and edited footage using a camera that costs several thousand dollars. I make my own hours and have a friend who put a lot of money into video equipment so he could film himself performing puppetry. This bears repeating: I was able to enter contest that ostensibly sought the comedy of folks from all walks of life only because I’m unwed and childless in my 30s (giving me the hours needed to script, film and edit said footage), create my own work schedule and have a puppet-crazed friend who happens to own a wealth of expensive camera and lighting equipment. Yes, what a wide swath of Americana my story typifies.

NBC posted the list of its ten finalists for the Playground contest last week. Tell me if you can spot a problem:

Click the photo for a larger image if you have blind little mole eyes like me.

Click the photo for a larger image if you have blind little mole eyes like I do.

For a grassroots initiative seeking voices from outside the usual NY/LA scene, that’s a lot of folks from NY and LA. But hey, maybe they’re just regular people who happen to live in those cities yet have totally normal jobs. I mean, I can’t get mad if a hilarious dude who happens to work construction for a living in Brooklyn finally got his big break, right? So let’s see what everyday people outside of the NY/LA comedy scene managed to get their big break via this contest.

First up, we have Jeff Galante. Who, apparently, is not a trash collector at all, but a teacher at the Groundlings School. You know, that unknown theater troop that counts Jack Black, Will Ferrell, Will Forte, Kathy Griffin, Phil Hartman, Lisa Kudrow, Jon Lovitz, Melissa McCarthy, Chris Parnell, Paul “Pee-wee Herman” Reubens, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wig among its alums. I know what we’re all thinking: Will that place ever get a break?

Next up is Tyler Hall, who hails from NYC, meaning that at least he can’t be part of the LA-based Groundlings. No, instead, Tyler is a sketch writer for the Upright Citizens Brigade. That world-renowned theater has only produced Adam McKay, Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz among its most-famous graduates. Compared to The Groundlings, they’re practically a farm team.

And it goes on. Melissa Hunter is an actress associated with Above Average, the online video wing of Broadway Video, responsible for little-known NBC programs like Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers. Avery Lee is a Second City Graduate, while his writing partner, Bobby Richards, is still actively part of it. Second City, as you might know, was the source of nearly all of SNL’s early talent, boasting the likes of John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Eugene Levy, Shelly Long, Jim Belushi (nobody’s perfect) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus among its ranks. Kassia Miller is with the UCB and Jameel Saleem currently writes for ABC.

I’m not indicting the talents of those selected as finalists: I’m sure they’re all as capable as anyone else selected by NBC to work with it over the years. My only question, though, is this: Why was it necessary to sell a load of goods about wanting to see what the rest of the country had to offer comedically when your selections came from the same sources you’ve used over the past several decades?

I would imagine anyone not affiliated with a comedy theater who entered this contest feels a bit like a Rooney Rule interviewee right about now. For those of you that don’t know, the Rooney Rule in professional football mandates that a minority candidate be interviewed for any open head coaching position in the league. Which sounds nice in theory, but, in practice, translates to a black guy who knows he isn’t getting the job being flown out to whatever team has to interview him to satisfy the rule, going through a completely cursory interview and then being flown home before they pick the white guy that the entire league knew they wanted to hire a week ago.

Why did NBC feel the need to Rooney Rule the comedic talent of this country? In order to compete in this contest, the average person would have had to devote giant swaths of their scant free time or even skip work to find the hours necessary to produce the contest-necessitated material. Not to mention filming said material would have required the rental of expensive film equipment as well as the hiring of individuals trained to use it. Then, after all of that, you’re looking at the purchasing of expensive video editing software or the rental of that equipment as well. I cannot reiterate what a time-and-money-consuming effort all of this is. Had I gone through all that only to learn I had no chance of winning to begin with, I would have been livid. The irony is that this would all make for a really funny sitcom episode, but, because I don’t have five years of Groundlings training under my belt, NBC would never let me write it for them.

Think what NBC did was unfair? Tweet any of the fine comedic talent pictured here and let them know using the #NBCPlayground hashtag. And also shoot a Tweet to Jennifer Salke (@JSalke), the person in charge of this farce.

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The titties that sank talk radio.

The titties that sank talk radio.

My friend and former co-worker Othello reminisce about our days working at WJFK (now 106.7 The Fan thanks to Nipplegate). Seeing as we were both peons for the majority of our time at the station, there are no great tales about chicks rimming us for concert tickets or anything fun like that, but it’s still an entertaining walk down memory lane for anyone who has the slightest interest in radio. Othello also confesses the depths of his horrible fast food addiction much to my delight, and we wind up with a discussion of why visiting Japan would be awesome and why we are both hooked on the show Black Mirror.

Click here to listen to this episode using your browser. Click here to listen using the much nicer iTunes player (and subscribe to the show to help our ranking). And mobile users click here to listen via the Stitcher app. (You can subscribe there as well and never miss an episode.)

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First of all, kudos to me on keeping the material on this site timely: Dissecting a soft-rock hit from 1982 is something the Tinder generation is going to eat up with a spoon.

I listen to a weird swath of music. That wasn’t said in a hipster, “they’re bands you probably haven’t heard of” manner, either: They’re all bands you’ve heard of and would be ashamed to listen to. You know what I’ve been rocking on my phone lately? Rick James and Peter Cetera. Anyone who stole my phone and went through my tracks would guess I look something like this.

Which brings me to a song that Cetera sang: Chicago’s “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.” You know it, or at least you’ve heard it when your third DUI conviction forced your mom to drive you to work in her car, meaning she got to pick the radio station. It’s a beautiful song. I’m not afraid to admit that. This is one of those “it’s so unmasculine that it’s masculine to admit you enjoy it” paradoxes, like confessing to a love of Grease or being pegged.

What most people don’t know about “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”, though, is that it has a coda of sorts that is cropped from the version played on the radio. A bit of a jazzy jam by the name of “Get Away” that was tagged on to the end of the song by the rest of Chicago to reaffirm its horn-laden history even as Peter Cetera dragged them into an easy listening-limbo from which they were never to emerge again.

Why do I mention it? Because it’s maybe the most out-of-place, mood-spoiling monstrosity I’ve ever seen grafted onto a creation. A woman opening this man’s shirt moments before having sex with him would think to herself, “Oh, he just has a baby mutant spurting from his chest. Thank god it’s nothing jarring, like that horrible horn enema Chicago staple-gunned onto ‘Hard to Say I’m Sorry,’ because that really would have spoiled the mood.”

Go ahead, listen to the song. That’s a song you get a slow, deep, unironic fuck on to. Those reverb-laden drums that kick in at 1:30? They say, “ball her to our tempo. Go ahead. She’s gonna recognize what you’re doing and she’s going to LOVE IT.” The electric guitar that kicks in at 3:00? A song’s subtle way of saying “no time for love, Dr. Jones! Time to cum so we can catch Letterman’s monologue!”

And then it all goes horribly wrong. Suddenly, a wall of horns assaults the listener alongside what sounds like a cat running back and forth across the keys of a piano. If “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” is an elegant swan of a lovemaking session, “Get Away” is farting while inside your partner as you pump your fist in the air and repeatedly scream your mother’s first name in her face.

So the next time you’re out for the evening with a woman and “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” comes on the radio, you can turn to her and knowledgeably declare, “Did you know that there is a whole other part to this song that they never play on the radio?” And she’ll reply, “Whatever you want to talk about, man: It’s your hour.”

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