This Sunday, LA. Best lineup that won’t be at the Kodak Theater.
Here’s Mike & Andrew Episode 2: Pole Dancing.
And here’s a thing about it in the Comics Comic, where we talk about the series.
Here’s the first episode of Mike & Andrew Try to Lose Some Weight. MMA fighting. Enjoy.
I have a new web show coming out with Andrew DeWitt called, “Mike & Andrew Try to Lose Some Weight.” It’s going to be on Fremantle’s AWTV YouTube page, but you can also go to our Facebook page and see whatever updates we have.
Above is a promo interview we did with Sara Fletcher for The Meaty Grind. If you watch the videos when they come out, you’ll see us MMA fighting, pole dancing and taking ice baths. Because we’ve already shot those episodes. And they were really fun. So check it out if you feel like it.
A lot of people think traveling overseas is a glamorous thing. Those people are idiots. Either that, or they forget about having to cram onto a plane with dipshit strangers whose babies scream in foreign tongues. God, foreign people are the worst on airplanes. I think if they had it their way, the plane aisles would have dead cats, mule carts and a warlord - just like whatever villages they crawled onto the plane from. I don’t know what it’s like in first class. I’ve never even been seated any sooner than Group 3 - that’s my record - but I assume it’s filled with fancy prostitutes and Japanese businessmen doing blow off of Italian male models in scarves. By comparison, flying coach on an international flight is like a lawless shanty town in the worst part of the Andes Mountains. Sometimes there aren’t even flight attendants. Sometimes it’s just dirty, feral kids selling chicle. Sometimes you have to catch and kill your own chicken for sustenance. Sometimes gypsies will creep by and put spells on you. It’s fucking rough. Well, here is a story about the worst plane experience of my entire life.
In the fall of 2009, I had a 12 hour flight from Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris to LAX. Sitting next to me was an old Frenchman, who I hated more than anyone in the world for the duration of that flight. The reason I hated him is because, when I fly, I like to sit with my arms and legs in the allotted space the airline gives you for your seat. You know, like a person. And Old Frenchman wanted to sit with his hands on his hips so that his bony old French elbow was lodged in to my ribs and kidney like my body wasn’t there in the fucking seat next to him. It wasn’t okay. However you’re picturing it, I assure you it was much worse. I knew right away it was going to be a problem. And I didn’t want to keep taking kidney shots for the next 12 hours.
The first thing I tried to do was to lift up my left arm, reach over with my right and wedge my hand between his elbow and my ribs. I thought he’d take the hint. Like, “Hey, see what I’m doing over here? You’re pretty inconvenient for me. So you gonna be done with that shit now or what?” All he would do was readjust and proceed to ram his goddamn elbow into a higher or lower part of the side of my body. I gave him a look like, “You’re joking, right?” And he just stared straight ahead and thought about snails or berets or whatever.
The worst parts were when he would fall asleep.
I can proudly say I’d never slept next to a French man before (or after!) this happened, so I can only assume that all French people snore like cartoon prison guards who have a ring of keys on their hips. This man was the loudest snorer I’ve ever heard in my life. And I know a lot of drunks. He sounded like a broken garbage disposal. It would be a hour or so of CCCCCCCCLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!! while his elbow was digging a dent into me. And I couldn’t wake him up because he was in some deep dream about the Vichy Regime or his lifelong quest to catch Jean Valjean or something else lame and French.
Whenever he would wake up from me tapping his elbow, he’d look at me like it was me who was the old French asshole and not him. I’ll never forget the indignant look he gave me. I don’t know if he was some famous French guy who invented blowjobs or something, but old French guys are amazing at the ‘how dare you’ face. “How dehh you wake meh! Je me’appelle Monsieur Le Coude! I invented le blow jobba!” That’s how he sounds in my head. I don’t speak French, I’m not some fruit.
Anyway, he still didn’t get my hints. So it became time to switch from passive aggression to aggressive aggression. It was time to go to war. Because, you know who wins wars? Not the fucking French. *Sorry. Had to.*
At hour 6, he removed his sweater and was wearing a light blue button down shirt. The wheels in my head started turning. I pictured every dress shirt I’ve ever owned and how they all have pen marks all over them because I’m lousy. That’s when I had a brilliant idea. I grabbed a pen out of my backpack. Then I held it up to show it to him. While still making eye contact with Old Frenchman I clicked the cap, so the pen was ready to write. Then I folded my arms with the pen against my body and the tip facing him. It was my international way of saying, “There are consequences to your actions, Froggy. Try that elbow shit again and this shall be your Waterloo.”
Did it work? No. Of course not. Why would it? But the good news is that when we landed in Los Angeles, his elbow and tricep were covered in my scribbles. You know how a piece of paper looks when you try to restart a dry pen by scribbling? Yeah. Most of his arm looked like a fuckload of that. It looked like his shirt got a tat sleeve from a 3-year-old. Even for a Frenchman, he looked ridiculous.
I took the photo above a few hours into that flight while Monsieur Snore Elbow was in sleepy town. And I kept it in my phone for a few years, just to remind myself that no matter how bad it got, it’s never as bad as sitting next to that horrible man on an airplane.
Sometimes life kicks you in the balls. Sometimes life jabs its elbow into your ribs. Sometimes, you have to grab a bull by its horns. And sometimes you gotta take a fucking pen and write all over an old French guy on an airplane to tell them who’s boss. C’est la vie.
I spent the summer of 1996 sitting on a dugout bench next to a mentally challenged kid named Derek. And this is a story about how, that summer, Derek became my hero.
I was sixteen-years-old and I was the designated hitter on my sophomore baseball team. Derek was eleven. And he was our bat boy. Derek and I both had pretty easy jobs to do. And we were equally terrible at doing them… for completely opposite reasons.
As the DH, I didn’t play in the field. I just specialized in hitting for the pitcher. But, over the course of my sophomore year, I probably hit .195. If you don’t know anything about baseball, that’s like, not a good batting average. It’s actually a super horrible batting average - especially when it’s the only thing you’re supposed to do. So I basically spent an entire summer making outs so the pitchers didn’t have to. I wasn’t so much a designated hitter as I was a designated ground-out-weakly-to-the-second-baseman-er.
On the other hand, Derek was bad at being a bat boy because he flat-out refused to go get the bats. He’d just sit there all grouchy with his arms folded over his eleven-year-old belly and say, “No. I’m not going.” Every now and then, I could hear his dad yell, “DEREK!!!” from the stands and Derek would sprint as fast as he could to the plate with his teeth gritted and his eyes filled with maniacal hatred for his dad and the bat he was about to retrieve. And, trust me, you did not want to be up to bat when Derek would tear out of the dugout in a full-on murder-sprint in your direction. I was having a hard enough time at the plate as it was. I really didn’t need to see chunky tween rage rushing at me in my peripheral.
I’m not really sure why Derek even wanted to be the bat boy in the first place, but I think it’s because he just wanted to sit in the dugout and tell us tall tales about his life. One time he turned to me in the dugout and announced, “You know that song, ‘Gangster’s Paradise’? I wrote that song.” He actually said, “You know dat song Gang-stow’s Pay-wo-dice. I wote dat song.” Because, like most popular hip-hop lyricists, he had a crazy speech impediment. If you’re offended by any of this or what I’m about to tell you, I’m sorry. But in my defense, I didn’t know Derek was ‘special.’ I just thought Derek was ‘eleven.’ I probably couldn’t tell you the difference between the two of those things now. And he happened to catch me on a bad day. Well, being awful at baseball made most days at the ballpark pretty bad, but my response to his “Gangster’s Paradise” story was, “Really? You wrote that shitty song that Coolio wrote? Did you also happen to write the Stevie Wonder song from the Seventies that Coolio ripped it off from?” And Derek just stared at me, unflinching, with steely eyes, nodding - as if to say, “Yes, in fact I did write both of those songs.” I was about to lose my mind.
That’s about the time a teammate of mine took me aside and told me, “Go easy on him, man. Derek’s retarded.” Fuck. I just felt awful. Not that knocking an eleven-year-old with a normal IQ down a peg is really any better. I know that. But Derek talked the whole goddamn game and I had acne and angsty post-Cobain teen hormones. Nonetheless, I felt like Derek being on the slow side was a vital piece of information someone should have told me. Again, I was sixteen. How was I supposed to know? Here I was, about to go for the jugular on this poor kid, when he might have actually thought he did write Coolio’s song and that he did walk through the valley of the shadow of death, take a look at his life and realize there’s nuttin’ left.
A short time after that is when Derek became my hero.
Late in the season, the varsity coach came to one of our games to scout our team. He wanted to call players up to the varsity team for the district tournament. So we all wanted to play well and impress the shit out of him to get called up. Even me. I figured, “Maybe he doesn’t know the most basic of baseball stats. Who knows?” I thought I had a chance too. Let’s just say it did not go well. Long story short, we blew our lead and lost the game. We made ridiculous errors. We stunk. We lacked things like ‘hustle’ that coaches crave so hard. And we were in big, BIG trouble for it. After the game, our sophomore coach sat in the dugout with a wad of dip in his mouth and an expression on his face that meant, Everyone Is About To Get Screamed At. But all he said in a calm-before-the-storm voice was, “Go to the outfield. *spit* Sit down. *spit* And don’t say a fucking word.” Gulp. He was like the chubby Latino version of Jack Palance from Shane.
We sat in the outfield, silently under the stadium lights and waited, with our heads down, for the varsity coach to unleash his mid-life-crisis fury on us. And that’s exactly what the fuck he did. “You want to play for MY fucking team? You don’t even deserve to wear those fucking uniforms! Goddamnit! I’m embarrassed that this is the shit I have coming up the pipe the next few years! I might as well go down to the fucking Little League diamonds and bring up one of those sonsofbitches, who actually might give a shit!!!”
It went on like that for a while. Coaches always impressed me for their swearing abilities. My sophomore football coach once lost it on me and told me to “grow a fucking brain” over and over again at a practice the same school year. And that man was a Born Again Christian. But that’s a whole other story. Anyway, back to the baseball game. After the fat fuck varsity coach had screamed his face red (at teenagers), the assistant varsity coach got tagged in. The assistant varsity coach proceeded to tell us whatever version of emasculation that adult men love giving to high schoolers so very much. Then our even-fatter sophomore coach, who was probably fighting for his job at this point, decided to also weigh in.
And then came the worst part… the thing I dreaded more than anything in the world. “You know what I think, coach?” “What’s that coach?” “I think I’ll see these boys bright and fucking early tomorrow morning. And we’re they’re gonna run. Poles, Indian runs, situations… we’re running all goddamn day.”
Running??? Are you fucking kidding me? We have to get up early? To run??? Oh God, please, NO!
If you’ve seen me, all you have to do is look at me and know I hate running. But gurl, I been hatin’ on running since the mid 90’s. So that’s when all the yelling began to sink in. Now I did feel bad we lost. Now it was life-or-death and war (and all the stupid shit coaches love to say) and not just a who-gives-a-shit sophomore high school game in Iowa. Not having to run is a much bigger motivator for me than being called a pussy by a 50-year-old fat fuck in P.E. teacher shorts. I would have been an All-American that year if the motivation was to not have to run wind sprints in Midwest summer humidity.
Derek had been listening the whole time, standing behind the coaches with his arms crossed glaring at us as if he was just as disappointed as they were. When the fat pig varsity coach’s blood pressure and lowered enough for him to talk again, he said, “I want you boys to sit here and think about this for a while.” No one talked for two beats. Then Derek screamed, “AND ANUTHA THING!!! WHEN YOU DO SOMETHING THE WONG WAY… *deep breath*… YOU GOTTA DO IT THE WITE WAY!!!”
Oh my god.
Please. Please, God, please give me the strength to hold in hold in this laugh. Please let it go away and have nobody hear it. For, I do not wish to pass out and die from heat exhaustion during extra running for me in the morn.
Luckily, the coaches broke into laughter first. Then the good players on our team. Then scrubs like me who sat on the bench and knew Derek the best. It became a goddamn giggle fest. The varsity coach had tears in his eyes from laughing. He squealed, “Fuck! Derek’s right!” And we all laughed even harder.
“Go home guys. Regular time tomorrow.”
It was 1996, so Wikipedia didn’t exist yet. But if it did, I would have logged on that night and changed Coolio’s page to say “Gangster’s Paradise” was, in fact, written by Derek. His selfless act of kindness made my night. And I wished I could have returned the favor.
It’s been sixteen years since that hot Iowa night. Coolio has long faded into obscurity. But that’s only because Derek got sick of writing his shit.
Tell me why are we so blind to see
That the ones we hurt are you and me…
Here’s the clip from last night’s Mash Up with @tomsegura. He’s funny.
This AL MVP race hurts my head. Like, I almost don’t know what to do. And I don’t want to read what any baseball columnists write about it because I’ve watched too many episodes of Homeland lately and I feel like I can’t trust anybody. It just boils down to the (potentially) first Triple Crown winner in 45 years vs. the 20th best WAR of all time. If you’re new to fancy baseball math nerd stats like WAR, you’re probably thinking that nobody has ever given a shit about them before now. You’d kinda be right. Ben “Who Gives a Shit” Zobrist of the Rays had the best WAR in the American League last season and that guy was 16th in MVP voting. The problem is that Mike Trout’s (baseballreference) WAR is 10.7. If that stat means what people are trying to say it means, then Mike Trout isn’t only the 2012 AL MVP - he just had the 20th best season in baseball history. Only Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Carl Yastrzemski, Barry Bonds, Lou Gehrig, Cal Ripken, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle, Joe Morgan and Stan Musial - basically a short list of the best baseball players of all time - have done better. Oh, and Trout, who is a rookie, just turned 21 fucking years old on August 7th. That’s insanity. By that same token, Justin Verlander (who has a WAR 0.7 points higher than Cabrera) would make the guy who’s about to win the Triple Crown the SECOND best player on his own team. See why my head hurts?
WAR is an acronym for Wins Above Replacement. It shows how many more wins a player would give his team than a scrub. For position players, it takes hitting AND fielding into account. Because, like, fielding is 50% of the game. Trout is really good at hitting AND fielding. He’s also a good baserunner. Cabrera isn’t as good in the field and on the bases. But he has more power. So this conversation is about the best hitter in baseball vs. the best all-around player (according to a stat which has a calculation that isn’t really agreed upon by any of the nerdiest of the baseball math nerds).
Here’s where this shit gets stickier: the Tigers just won the AL Central and the Angels will be going home after their last game against the Mariners. So Cabrera’s accomplishments ended up meaning something for his team and Trout’s didn’t. Sure, the Tigers have Verlander (one of the best pitchers in baseball). And they have Prince Fielder and Austin Jackson (two of the best hitters in baseball). And they’re hitting in front of Cabrera. But in 1987, Andre Dawson won the NL MVP for the last place Cubs. People complained that his season meant nothing, since it didn’t help the Cubs NOT finish in last place. So there’s also the age-old argument of what ‘Valuable’ means in the first place. Gross!
So here’s my pitch… what if (for this year only), Major League Baseball gives out two American League MVP awards. And not in a 1979 National League Keith Hernandez/Willie Stargell kind of way. You just have an Old School MVP award and give it to Cabrera. He (maybe) won the Triple Crown. The Tigers won the division. You also have a New School MVP award and you give it to Trout. It’ll be shaped like a calculator resting on top of a dog-eared copy of Bill James’ diary. Or something.
Either that or Josh Hamilton will hit two home runs in game 162 against the A’s (ruining Cabrera’s Triple Crown) and everybody can finally shut the fuck up.
Personally, I’m rooting for Cabrera. Because I’ve been a baseball fan for 25 years. And as a baseball fan you learn certain facts. Joe DiMaggio had a 56 game hitting streak in 1941. Babe Ruth had 714 career home runs. Hank Aaron had 755. Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961. The last time the Cubs won the World Series was 1908. Stuff like that. Oh, and Carl Yastrzemski was the last Triple Crown winner in 1967. I’ve wanted to see another one the entirety of my time as a fan. I doubt in 2057 sports fans will be on the edge of their seats for the next 10.7 WAR. Give the kid the AL Rookie of the Year. Let’s see if he can do this shit again.
Here’s my roast show from Portland. Featuring Pete Holmes, Matt Braunger, Myq Kaplan, John Roy, Mike Burns, Michelle Biloon, Jay Larson and Emily Maya Mills.