nate dern

is the News Editor at Funny Or Die and a sociology PhD student at Columbia University.

nate dern

A post I wrote for Funny Or Die’s The Occasional called “Our ‘Our Philosophy Poster’ Poster.” Check it out here. 

A post I wrote for Funny Or Die’s The Occasional called “Our ‘Our Philosophy Poster’ Poster.” Check it out here

Net Neutrality

Hello blog friends and fellow internet users,

Take 4 minutes and watch this video about why Net Neutrality is an important issue:

and if you’re convinced take 1 more minute and send the FCC a message telling them to classify broadband internet as a common carrier telecommunications service:

http://goo.gl/xHnB4n

If you’d like to devote slightly more time to researching the matter, I’d suggest reading an overview on network neutrality by Columbia Law professor Tim Wu:

http://timwu.org/network_neutrality.html

Or if you really just want to go nuts, read Wu’s book The Master Switch. It’s a history of the rise and fall of information empires. The basic gist is this: every development in the history of the American information industry (from telephony to radio to film) has followed a pattern of starting as an open system inhabited by innovators who created the technology which allowed for a community of creative users, but which then came to be dominated by a monopolist or cartel system where innovation was intentionally curbed to ensure the continuation of the monopoly/cartel. The punchline is that we are on the cusp of the internet following the same pattern.

Stay informed and make noise about this issue to your friends and government representatives. Here is a site to find out who represents you in the House and Senate online, including links with info on how to contact them: http://whoismyrepresentative.com/

Been listening to Slothrust since I found out about them from their recent appearance on The Chris Gethard Show. Power trio from the mold of The Thermals but maybe about bit more sinister and bluesy at times. Their song “Crockpot” is on heavy rotation for me at the moment. 

(Source: Spotify)

I’m a big Malcolm Gladwell fan and that’s what inspired me to write this list piece for Funny Or Die called 8 Upcoming Malcolm Gladwell Titles.
Artwork by Nate Maggio. Thanks to Dan Abramson and Zack Poitras from Funny Or Die. Also, thanks to Miranda Erokan for helping me to brainstorm these. 

I’m a big Malcolm Gladwell fan and that’s what inspired me to write this list piece for Funny Or Die called 8 Upcoming Malcolm Gladwell Titles.

Artwork by Nate Maggio. Thanks to Dan Abramson and Zack Poitras from Funny Or Die. Also, thanks to Miranda Erokan for helping me to brainstorm these. 

The Eternal Return Of The Mustache

I was recently in a web video for Harry’s along with the beautiful baritone Jim Santangeli, directed by Tom Scharpling. Harry’s is a razor company from one of the co-founders of Warby Parker. In the video, I speak to my reflection (played by Jim) and agonize over shaving my mustache:

What interests me most about this video is that years ago I created two videos by myself that see me in strikingly similar roles. 

Five years ago in 2008 while living in England I made a video for a Schick YouTube contest in which I have a mustache and argue with my reflection about shaving it. Titled “The Temptation Of The Mustache”, I somehow did not win the contest: 

Is that accent I chose for my mustache version of myself offensive? Probably.

And even before this in the summer of 2007, I made a music video to a song I made about the tragedy of shaving a beard, with the possible silver lining of keeping a mustache. The only two words to this song are “beard” and “mustache”:

I’d apologize for some of those notes I don’t hit, but don’t you think it is braver when someone who doesn’t have a good voice sings? I do.

I guess I am just doomed to keep making videos like this for the rest of my life. At least I can take comfort in having found my calling.

improvdoc:

Thanks to thecomicscomic for the write up!:

“On The Cusp, Off The Cuff,” a documentary film about improv comedians in NYC and the UCB
Watch the entire 55-minute film, plus bonus footage, online.
Featuring Allie Kokesh, J.D. Amato, John Trowbridge, Riley Soloner and Sasheer Zamata, where they were at in 2011.

improvdoc:

Thanks to thecomicscomic for the write up!:

“On The Cusp, Off The Cuff,” a documentary film about improv comedians in NYC and the UCB

Watch the entire 55-minute film, plus bonus footage, online.

Featuring Allie Kokesh, J.D. Amato, John Trowbridge, Riley Soloner and Sasheer Zamata, where they were at in 2011.

improvdoc:

Official trailer of On The Cusp, Off The Cuff - a documentary about people who do improv comedy in New York City. 

Full film available on YouTube for a limited time! Check it out here

improvdoc:

FULL FILM NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE FOR VIEWING!!!

For a limited time, On The Cusp, Off The Cuff is available for viewing on YouTube! 

It has been quite a journey! I started filming this project in January of 2011. I filmed over 60 hours of footage - improv shows, practices, team hangouts, one-on-one interviews. After I had all the footage it started to take shape into the film that you can watch now - from 60 hours down to 55 minutes (note to would-be documentarians: go ahead and make a outline first and then go get that footage, rather than letting the footage speak to you).

Thanks to everyone who agreed to be a part of the film, but especially thank you to the film’s five stars: Riley Soloner, Sasheer Zamata, John Trowbridge, J.D. Amato, and Allie Kokesh. These folks let me interview them repeatedly, bother them at intimate moments with sticking a camera in their face when they probably just wanted to be left alone, and were just generally incredibly helpful from start to finish. 

And thank you again to all of the Kickstarter donors who allowed me to make this film! 

I wrote some redneck jokes in the style of Jeff Foxworthy!

If…

* You live in the southeastern United States, specifically in a state that was once a part of the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War (1861 - 1865)

* Your household income places you in the bottommost socio-economic bracket; this includes, according to the 2012 US Census, the 16% of the U.S. population living in conditions sufficient to qualify as “poverty” and in particular the 1.5 million US households living in so-called “extreme poverty”, or less than $2 per day before government benefits

* The highest education degree or certificate that you have achieved is high school or below; professional or vocational certificates do not invalidate this condition and might actually further denote redneck status in the US

* Your skin tone is both white (caucasian) and prone to “sunburn”, a type of burn that results from overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the Earth’s sun

* You wear shirts that expose your neck in such a way as to leave it vulnerable to sunburn (see above); for example, individuals who commonly wear turtlenecks would generally not meet this condition

* You speak a dialect of American English which falls under the umbrella of what is colloquially referred to as a “southern accent”, which includes features such as the phonetic collusion of [ɛ] and [ɪ] before nasal consonants, rendering words like pen and pin to be pronounced the same

* You or someone you are directly related to was featured in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), a non-fiction book about the living conditions of white sharecropper families

* You put your new television set on top of a broken television set rather than removing said no longer functioning television set and placing your new television set on, for example, a wooden media console from Ikea or another piece of furniture more typically thought of as appropriate for holding television sets according to standard US conventions; in fact, owning any piece of furniture from Ikea would most likely preclude one from belonging to the subset ‘redneck’, which doesn’t make sense given Ikea’s general affordability; just chalk it up to the messiness of social demarcation, I guess. Anyway, if that applies to you, then…

 

…you might be a redneck!