Saturday, January 21, 2012

Top Ten Comedians and Conference Championship

So NFL Conference Championship week is upon us, and we have a number of possible matchups that could occur in the Super Bowl... The Harbaugh bowl is a possibility (49ers vs Ravens), the Rematch Bowl (Patriots vs Giants), the Revenge Bowl (Baltimore winning the Super Bowl in Indianapolis, the same season the Colts have the worst record in the league.), the no one believed in our QB bowl (Eli Manning or Alex Smith vs Joe Flacco).

OK, so here goes... Ravens at Patriots
Well, to use my criteria... 1.  Better Team (overall) 2.  Better Quarterback  3.  Home Field  (Of course this can mean nothing,  as last week the Giants beat Green Bay and MVP Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay... but then again, the Giants defense has played Very Well lately, their running game has improved, so maybe they really were the better team overall)
Better Team Overall:  Ravens
Listen, I know the Patriots had the better record, but they don't run the ball well, and their defense has been a sieve pretty much all season.  The Ravens are much more balanced offensively, and have a much better defense.
Better Quarterback:  Patriots - and it's not even close.  Joe Flacco should NOT be trusted, and he showed that last week in a WIN over the Texans.  He was stinky.
Home Field:  New England - Not as much of an advantage against Baltimore as it would be against someone like Houston (warm weather/dome team) or Denver (inexperienced team).  Baltimore's team has alot of proven Veterans, and they are used to playing in the cold.

However, I gotta make a Meat Loaf selection here, "Two out of Three ain't bad"... Patriots

Giants at 49ers
Better Team Overall:  ????
-this should be the 49ers, at least during the regular season... but the Giants are playing much better lately.  It's a toss up.  San Fran won a big game against the Saints last week, but barely won at home with the Saints making 5 turnovers.  Which now has me thinking it's the Giants.  Which is why it's a toss up.
Better Quarterback:  Giants
Eli Manning has played really well this season.  Not just the two playoff games.  Alex Smith played well against the Saints last week, but there isn't the body of work there.
Home Field:  San Francisco
-but how much of a big deal is this?  The Giants aren't the Saints.  And they won in Green Bay last week.  And they have a number of players who have won a Super Bowl before.  Not sure if this is going to be much of a factor.

My selection is the Giants.  I know I picked against the Niners last week too, but I also picked against the Giants.

OK, with the "Sports" portion handled for the week... now some time for the "Doofus".
Here is MY list of the top ten stand up comedians, with many, many, many exceptions.  (There are too many good ones to pick just ten, go ahead and try it... it's tough to make that final cut).

NOTE:  MOST of these clips are NSFW.  Some are, but some aren't... just thought I'd put that out there.

10.  Demetri Martin - a few years ago, I would have probably have put Demetri in the top 5 of this list.  However, other than a supporting role in the film "Contagion", I haven't heard much from him.  He's still one of the most original and hilarious standups that I've ever seen.

9.  Daniel Tosh - Tosh makes the list based on the fact that he just doesn't care if he offends anyone.  I like that in a comedian.  They are jokes, people.

8.  Robin Williams - I know, I know, I know... he's spastic, and hyper, and weird, and it's been years since he's done anything really good.  But you know what, I don't care.  When he's rolling, nobody is better.  And the funniest description of Golf I have ever heard.

7.  Louis CK- star of one of the best TV shows on television, and possibly the best Stand Up currently working.  I heard a recent interview with him where he says he basically comes up with a new act, all new material, each and every year.  He's amazing.  Here's a piece he did for CBS news on Father's Day.

6.  Chris Rock - I know he's been busy starring on Broadway the past few years, but lest we forget, Chris Rock did a series of the best HBO comedy specials in a row...Bring the Pain, Bigger and Blacker, and Never Scared.  Each one as brilliant as the last.  Here is one of my all time favorite bits:

5.  Sam Kinison - Sam Kinison passed away in 1992 when his vehicle was hit by a drunk driver.  The irony is that Sam had taped a stand up special the year before where he, if not condoned drunk driving... seemed to argue that it wasn't that big of a deal.  He was wildly inappropriate, and often hopped up illegal substances.  He was a madman, but he was truly hilarious.  This clip is from the first time I saw Sam, on the Rodney Dangerfield Young Comedians Special.  If you have never seen Sam before... a word of warning, he's not your normal "joke teller".

4.  Steven Wright - of all the comedic voices of my lifetime, and there have been many, none stand out the way that Steven Wright does.  He is truly original, and although he is still going today, I liked his stuff from the 80's the best.  Here's a clip from the Letterman show.

3.  Bill Cosby - Yes, he had the successful TV show, and yes, he's known as a pitch man, and yes, people make fun of his sweaters.  But the guy is a comedic genius.  And his 1983 stand up special "Bill Cosby Himself" is still possibly the greatest comedian special of all time.  Here's the bit on Dentists from that special, still funny today.

2.  George Carlin - the only comedian on the list I have actually seen live in concert.  Carlin was not only really funny, but also really smart.  He excelled at noticing things that others didn't.  I suppose that's the gift of a great comedian, being able to see things in a slightly different way.  George passed away in 2008 and we lost an amazing voice.  Altogether he did 14 HBO specials, and here is the famous "Stuff" bit.

1.  Jerry Seinfeld - probably the "voice" of my generation (even if he is 16 years older than me).  Here is probably the simplest of comedians... no gimmicks... no shouting... no swearing... no physical stuff...  Just a guy sharing his observations on the world.  The genius of Seinfeld is that, he is everyman...  he doesn't come across as super smart like Carlin, he's not outrageous like Kinison, he's got no "shtick" like Chris Rock, Robin Williams, Steven Wright, or even Daniel Tosh.  Just a man and his (hilarious) thoughts.

Another thought on Seinfeld... there's a reason he had such a successful television show.  Doing comedy the way he does it... just jokes, timing... no other "tricks" to get laughs... It's harder.  It's much easier to grab a quick, easy laugh for the oddball, or "original" comedian.  And I'm not saying that makes it better or worse, just harder.  You have to have good material, and you have to present it well.  And people have to like you.

Note:  I left off a TON of other comics I would have liked to include, but I had to make a cut somewhere.  The honorable mention spot, I would suppose goes to Jim Gaffigan, who always cracks me up.  He'd have been on this probably each of the last five years... but Louis CK was just too impressive this year to ignore.

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