Movie of the Week: “Dance Apocalypse” (2008). A group of teenagers from a poor neighborhood struggle to save their beloved strip mall from an evil developer who wants to tear it down and build a dance academy. Check local listings for times.

Published in: on September 8, 2012 at 10:23 pm  Leave a Comment  


A NEAR-RIOT marred the premiere of Irving Vanderblock-Wheedle’s new experimental drama Exeunt Omnes last night, as hundreds of disgruntled patrons demanded their money back. According to one ticket-holder, as soon as the curtain rose, all the actors walked off stage and never came back. In an email exchange, Mr. Vanderblock-Wheedle said that his play is a witty and ironic commentary on modern society’s demand for incessant entertainment, and as such was worth every penny of the ticket price.

Published in: on August 17, 2012 at 10:07 pm  Comments (4)  


Dear Dr. Boli: One year ago on this day, I happened upon a vehicle bearing a “BLANDO” plate on Murray Avenue. I have kept the area under the keenest observation ever since, but I have seen no sign of the famed magician and heard no rumor of his plans. Has your staff any information on his activities? —Warmest greetings and regards, LCNSLVR.

Dear Sir or Madam: The Great Blando, for various reasons, is not allowed to operate a motor vehicle at present, so the vehicle you saw must have belonged to one of the many minor Blandos. It may be of interest to you and other readers, however, to hear some news of Mr. Blando since he retired to private life. For the past eight months, he has been working the drive-through window at a pierogi parlor in Esplen. He is prohibited by the conditions of his parole from giving acrobatic recitations in public, but his parole comes to an end on August 31, and from that moment he is a completely free man. To the questions often put to him about the possibility of a comeback, however, he resolutely refuses to make any other reply than “Do you want that with or without onions?”

Published in: on August 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm  Leave a Comment  


THIS FRIDAY’S CONCERT in the Duck Hollow Symphony Pops series, Blueprint: A Symphonic Interpretation of the Music of Jay-Z, has been postponed indefinitely, because bassoon soloist Nicephorus Fernandez, who interprets the vocal parts, has come down with what an orchestra spokesman described as a bad case of second thoughts. Because the orchestra is flat broke, no refunds can be offered, but ticket-holders will be admitted free to next week’s concert performance of The Mikado, starring Kanye West in the role of Nanki-Poo.

Published in: on July 11, 2012 at 10:06 pm  Leave a Comment  


IN HONOR OF the fifth anniversary of his celebrated Magazine on the World-Wide Web, Dr. Boli is reprinting some favorite articles and advertisements from the past five years.

PARENTS! FAMILIARIZE YOURSELVES with the new rating system for computer games. It’s designed to put you in control of what you allow your children to experience.

This game is designed to educate as well as entertain. If it is bought, it will probably never be installed; if installed, it will probably never be played; if played, it will certainly never be played again.

This game is one of the infinite number of slight variations on the ancient Chinese game of Mah Jongg, with a few animations thrown in in a feeble attempt to make it seem new and interesting.

Characters use mild language, invariably addressing one another with politeness and civility. Such games may badly distort a child’s view of the real world.

You have to kill identical trolls in exactly the same way about four hundred thousand times to get to the next level.

Game play involves activities normally associated with minimum-wage jobs, such as flipping burgers or maintaining the grounds of a country club. Some studies suggest that such games are behind a sharp rise in teenage suicide rates.

Minor characters and villains are offensive ethnic stereotypes.

The game abounds in locked doors that open when you solve a puzzle.

Installing the game without crashing Windows is the most challenging part of game play.

No matter how careful you are with the installation, the game will not run. It is therefore suitable for all ages.

Published in: on June 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm  Leave a Comment  


Dear Dr. Boli: I’ve been having an argument with my girlfriend. I say superhero movies are way better when they’re completely faithful to the comic book. She says she wants to go see some stupid play by Noel Coward instead. Who do you think is right? —Sincerely, A Man Waiting in Line at the Cine-Googleplex.

Dear Sir: Dr. Boli is not impressed by a movie unless it demonstrates rigorous fidelity to the back of the cereal box. (He feels exactly the same way about plays by Noel Coward.)

Published in: on June 14, 2012 at 11:11 am  Leave a Comment  


THE SCHEDULED PERFORMANCE by Mr. Herbert Herbertson, the noted ventriloquist, featuring Jeremy, the world’s only mute ventriloquist’s dummy, has been postponed again. Jeremy and Mr. Herbertson have had a small misunderstanding, and are refusing the speak to each other. The management of Heptagon Gardens suggests that patrons may wish to take in a movie or something instead.

Published in: on June 12, 2012 at 9:54 pm  Comments (1)  


ANNOUNCER. And now Malt-O-Cod, the only malt food drink flavored with real cod-liver oil, proudly presents…

(Music: Fanfare)

ANNOUNCER. The Adventures of Sir Montague Blastoff, Interplanetary Space Dragoon!

(Music: Theme, in and under for…)

ANNOUNCER. Tonight we find Sir Montague busy with Form 267-G, Paperwork Reduction Documentation Checklist, when Colonel Wilhelmina Darling suddenly bursts through the door.

COL. DARLING. Monty! Oh, Monty! You’ll never guess what’s happened!

SIR MONTAGUE. Well, you certainly do look happy about it, whatever it is. I’d say it would have to be some ripping good news.

COL. DARLING. I’ll say it is! I just heard I’m being promoted to brigadier!

SIR MONTAGUE. Brigadier? Are you positively sure?

COL. DARLING. I just heard it from the station master! He just had a message from general headquarters on the communicatron that I was to report to HQ right away!

SIR MONTAGUE. Oh, dear me!

COL. DARLING. Why, Monty, aren’t you happy for me?

SIR MONTAGUE. But you know what this means, don’t you, Colonel?

COL. DARLING. I assume it means more responsibility and a higher pay grade. Why? Is it supposed to mean something else?

SIR MONTAGUE. Why, my dear, it means you’re being… Well, there’s no way to sugar-coat this, is there? It means you’re being written out of the series.

COL. DARLING. Written out? But—but no!

SIR MONTAGUE. Now, my dear, you knew something like this would come eventually.

COL. DARLING. But I thought I had a long time left! I mean—how could it happen to me? I’m only nineteen and ravishingly beautiful!

SIR MONTAGUE. True, you are, as you have been for the past thirty-four seasons. But youth is not always exempt from the inevitable debt of nature.

COL. DARLING. But—but what happens to people when they get…written out?

SIR MONTAGUE. Well, nobody knows, my dear. Some believe they go to a happy place where there are no more bad scripts to memorize and no more sponsors to kowtow to. Some Eastern religions believe they are reincarnated as characters on other radio dramas. And, of course, there are those who think that, after that, there’s, well…nothing.

COL. DARLING. I feel cold.

SIR MONTAGUE. Be brave, Wilhelmina. I shall always remember you and your fine bureaucratic mind fondly. And of course you will live on in reruns. I say, that’s something, isn’t it?

LOUDSPEAKER VOICE. Paging Colonel Wilhelmina Darling! Paging Colonel Wilhelmina Darling!

SIR MONTAGUE. It’s time, my dear.

COL. DARLING. But…but I don’t want to…

LOUDSPEAKER VOICE. Paging Colonel Wilhelmina Darling! Paging Colonel Wilhelmina Darling!

SIR MONTAGUE. You know what you must do.

COL. DARLING (sighing). Darling here.

LOUDSPEAKER VOICE. Oh, there you are. Listen, I’m awfully sorry about this, but you know how hard it is to understand people on the communicatron sometimes, and, well… I just got the papers from the facsimilator, and it turns out—I’m really sorry—that promotion wasn’t for you after all.

COL. DARLING. Not for me?

LOUDSPEAKER VOICE. No, it was for Colonel Gwendolina Barley. I just heard it wrong. I’m really sorry. I know you deserve that promotion more than some random character who doesn’t even have a speaking part.

COL. DARLING. Oh, that’s all right. Really it is.

LOUDSPEAKER VOICE. Well, you’re a very brave girl, and I’m sure you’ll get the promotion you deserve someday. Station master out.

COL. DARLING. Oh, Monty! That means I’m not being written out after all! I’m still your sidekick and occasional love interest!

SIR MONTAGUE. And that’s jolly reassuring. I wasn’t looking forward to breaking in another. Now, help us with this paperwork-reduction paperwork, will you, my dear?

(Music: Theme, in and under for…)

ANNOUNCER. Don’t miss next week’s exciting episode: Sir Montague Blastoff Fills Out a Purchase Order! Till then, remember that a day without Malt-O-Cod increases your chance of dying in an alpine avalanche by more than 18%. Don’t take chances with your growing body. Drink Malt-O-Cod every day. Malt-O-Cod is the only malt food drink with the rich, satisfying flavor of real cod-liver oil, now with the exclusive Sir Montague Blastoff rubber stamp in every package. It’s the malt food drink that’s brain food—Malt-O-Cod!

(Music: In full, then out.)

Published in: on June 5, 2012 at 10:57 am  Comments (1)  


TRY BEING SARCASTIC, because it’s not like anyone in your audience has ever heard anyone being sarcastic before.

Shout. Any statement becomes witty if it is shouted in a loud voice. Try it with the streetcar timetable.

Humor arises from the unexpected. If your audience is not laughing, try sending a confederate to sneak up behind them and beat them with sticks.

Speaking of the unexpected, here’s a tip from the pros: Vulgar language per se is always funny, because no one ever expects to hear it from the mouth of a comedian.

Consider flatulence. The mere fact that human beings have digestive processes has been entertaining audiences since Aristophanes, and there is no indication that it will ever stop entertaining them.

Remember that women think this way, but men think that way. You can build a career as a comedian on this simple observation.

Mention a figure from popular culture, such as a prominent reality-show contestant. It is not necessary to fabricate a joke or witticism on the subject: it is sufficient merely to mention the name.

If you belong to an ethnic minority, congratulations! You are already funny, and need only exaggerate the majority’s stereotyped impressions of your ethnic group’s speech patterns and character flaws.

Pay attention to trends in humor. What was funny ten years ago is still funny today…NOT.

Published in: on June 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm  Leave a Comment  


THE FOLGER SHAKESPEARE Library has announced a new project called “Shakespeare Rebooted,” which will bring Shakespeare up to contemporary standards of storytelling. The project aims to provide a new timeline for the Shakespearean universe that will place all of Shakespeare’s characters in a consistent world. The first production is a Hamlet prequel entitled Aye, Claudius!, which will reveal the tragic origin story of the “Claudius” supervillain character.

Published in: on May 29, 2012 at 8:06 am  Comments (1)  
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