Also, an old Maxim article I don’t think I ever linked to: Do It Yourself — everything from hide-tanning to robot-building, plus some actually useful stuff (and good one-liners) in between.
And the first of a new series today: Profiles in Manlitude. The debut model is king of the ring John L. Sullivan, the first athlete to ever earn a million dollars, which in the 19th Century is saying something. Naturally he died with ten bucks in his pocket, but don’t forget you could live for a year off that back then.
Here’s some other recent work I’ve written for the new Dirty Briefs blog.
Making up for my extended absence on Cracked, I’m slugging in and finally building up a body of work so I have the time to review and tweak the articles with fresh eyes. I took a look at some crazy ads that may or may not have aired with Six NSFW spec commercials (plus one that really aired)
Here’s a little bit that dropped off the page because the paragraph went in a different direction, but I liked it: “It is singlehandedly responsible for Original Sin. It’s like God or Ke$sha or the Fright Night remake — there’s no reason for it to exist, but we have to deal with it anyway.”
And here’s a picture that got dropped from the final edit:
I miss you, Gizmo
If you want to hire me for a day gig, click that contact button. Unless it’s clubbing puppies or being nice to Sylvia Browne.
The more I watch that Trent Bedding ad, the more protective I get of Trent Ranburger. He looks like he’s having a lot of fun.
Somewhere between folk art and pop art lies the do-it-yourself wasteland of local advertising. It wasn’t easy, but we scoured hours of badly scripted, poorly acted and unfortunately conceived local commercials to pluck the worst — but most entertaining — ads filmed by small-business owners around the land. (Or at least the ones that made it onto YouTube before they died of shame.)
8. Trent Bedding Does Austin Powers
Back in the late ’90s, you couldn’t swing your fist without clobbering someone badly imitating Austin Powers. Yet no matter how blindly we punched our way into the millennium, it didn’t stop until "The Spy Who Shagged Me" silenced our laughter forever. So there’s really no malice in watching Trent Ranburger swim around in $17 worth of spy costume; it was just what people did back then. This commercial is awful, but you’re rooting for it anyway, like watching a play performed by a cancer support group.
7. Marc Norton From Norton Furniture
Marc Norton murmurs like Peter Lorre in countless acts of insanity, casually cursing and generally being terrific. This is history’s only furniture ad to become a successful local cable show. The next time someone tells you evil clowns and comedy can’t be blended into a furniture ad, you slam their head on the table and roar, "This is Marc Norton’s genius milkshake, AND YOU WILL DRINK IT UP!"
6. The Fridge BBQ Sauce
This is just intolerable. After William "The Refrigerator" Perry stopped sacking quarterbacks and fighting COBRA terrorists, he released his own barbecue sauce. Like, literally, from his pores. So why isn’t he endorsing it? The Fridge appears for barely three seconds in his own ad, taking a backseat to a middle-aged surfer, the South of France and some orphans forced to live in a cartoon house. No, there’s no excuse for that.
This has been called the worst commercial ever — mostly for the acting, but also for the abomination before the Lord of Mr. so-called Eagleman popping out eggs. What transthropomorphic trickery transpires here? Was he once a woman? Eagles mate in midair, so was he impregnated by a flying insurance agent? Other than that, Eagleman’s fine work of tracking down uninsured drivers is commendable.
4. CPA Claycomb in Starship Defender
The first step from cult to religion is demanding the entire universe be stamped with your object of worship. Trekkies took that step long ago. They also prefer the term "Trekkers," because making up reasons to get offended is the second step. Anyway, they need a place to do their taxes, and that’s where Claycomb comes in, and where, in turn — specifically at 0:14 — a look of existential horror spreads across its employees’ faces as they look into the eyes of the Tax Monster.
3. Credit MacDaddy
Some occupations just attract awful people, like spammer or CEO of The Trump Organization. While we’ve known some swell used car salesmen, they get a bad enough rap that you wonder why one would pretend to be an even more reviled member of society like the Credit MacDaddy. It’s like a pimp and a credit executive are dueling within this man, and the prize is America’s scorn, so of course their preferred weapon had to be Middle-Aged White Person Rap. The only way this could get more embarrassing would be if he proposed to his daughter’s homeroom teacher without breaking rhyme. And got turned down. And then his pants fell down. And he had a horrifying circumcision scar. Yeah, that’d be about what it takes.
2. J. Michael Gallagher Approves This Ad
So you’ve just blown $5,200 on your mistress and a DUI charge, and your selfish wife wants a divorce. You’re going to need a lawyer with a bevy of lovely assistants if you want to spite your ex. Fortunately, attorney Mike Gallagher is here if you need help. It’s not like the couples doing everything to ruin each other’s lives don’t need lawyers too, but Mike Gallagher sets the bar so low he actually broke the lowest common denominator. Like a drunken voyeur, his camera sways and leers at his employees’ inappropriate attire.
1. Frankie and Johnnie’s Furniture
"I say I say I say" what the hell is going on in this freak-show of a commercial? Frankie and Johnnie take the cake for integrating such disparate elements as repetition, a bad Foghorn Leghorn impression and mysterious and possibly offensive references to "the special man." Everything’s pretty normal until about 23 seconds in, which just makes the carnage that follows even more disturbing.
At the man-cave that is AOL’s lifestyle section Asylum, I cracked wise about the shame of being left hanging on a high five. You get to watch Ryan Seacrest drag a blind man into a faux pas.
The high-five: that expression of a victory beyond any words.
"I have succeeded in my efforts," says the gesture. "Let the thunderous clap of triumph inform the land of my deeds."
But the higher the thrill, the further the fall, and there are moments when we are denied our due.
Here are some of the worst moments when a man goes from feeling hung like a horse to left hanging like a horse thief.
A few months ago, the U.S. bombed the moon, just in case our celestial prisoner was getting any notions about who’s boss. The guy in the black shirt must be important since he can’t even stick around after blowing up the moon. Take a moment for the high-five!
In his defense, NASA contains more Trekkers per capita than even the Internet circa 1994, so he probably knew better than to get near a red shirt. And, yeah, the latter shrugs it off with a jovial recovery, but that casual recline says different. Black Shirt Guy has denied his cohort his well-earned thrill, looked right in his eyes and said, "I don’t give two sticks of licorice for your lunar bomb, good sir." This was an egregious, conscious decision to deny someone a once-in-a-lifetime, wholly appropriate high-five. Shenanigans!
Speaking of guys who rule the world and drink high-end scotch, here are some dudes who attend a hockey game in sport jackets.
You can pass that one off as simply turning the wrong way. If leaving someone hanging were murder, this would be involuntary manslaughter, much like this "American Idol" clip. However, if you want to see the show break new and uncomfortable ground, watch Ryan Seacrest anti-reverse-double-backflip to leave himself hanging when he high-fives a blind man.
In a way, it’s a mark of good character. Seacrest doesn’t see a disability; all he sees is a person — a person he has awkwardly dragged into his faux pas.
A converse of that is someone twisting in the wind with just cause. Watching this Tyra Banks clip with the sound off, you might think she’s chumping that lady whose head and hand she passes over again and again and again and again. But watch the man behind her.
If you give people free money, they’re gonna go crazy. But this is an extremely unwarranted high-five that still isn’t excused. In the first place, her hands are full of bills, so you’re celebrating before the job is done. Second, did you bomb the moon? No, you got free money, through neither luck nor achievement. Third, you’re a man at the Tyra Banks show. You don’t high-five anyone except the only other guy, and then only if it’s one of the 33 percent of episodes about Ms. Banks’ breasts.
Perhaps the most painful example on this list is where the shame falls not on the man, but all the men around him. Badgers QB Scott Tolzien can’t find anyone to high-five him after a touchdown.
What? A touchdown is exactly why the high-five was invented. Scoring one is considered the greatest moment in a two-year radius of a man’s existence, unless he scored a better touchdown or his wife had twins. It is the single time it’s permissible to pat another man on the butt, hoist him by the waist and carry him more than five yards.
Worse, that’s the quarterback, for crying out loud. Imagine if at the end of "Lethal Weapon 3," everyone had jostled Mel Gibson out of the family photograph. Sure, we would have gotten a hilariously drunken screed as an alternate ending, but something would have been lost. That something is called due respect to the guy spearheading the battle.
Next time, Tolzien should take a page from Andrew Bogut’s book and high-five himself. The lesson is if no one gives a man what he deserves, he takes it anyway, even if he has to steal it from ghosts.
Your friends at Asylum hold a lot of different beliefs. Some of us believe in God, some of us believe in nothing and some of us who are clearly right believe the world was created when the evil north wind Tezca’aunhathicon scattered the ashes of the gods’ fire into the stars of the universe, as was revealed in the sacred crystals.
But we can all believe in the value of a good laugh. One plucky young satirist had the right idea recently when he minimized a brimstone preacher’s "You’re all going to hell" screed … with pancake mix.
Since he wasn’t torn apart by bears at the end of the video, we decided to round up some of our favorite videos of people heckling hateful preachers, which, naturally, led us to the Westboro Baptist Church.
When you’re picketing Marines’ funerals and even the KKK makes a point of distancing itself from you, you’ve plainly failed as Americans.
Keep reading to see the best videos of Phelps and the gang getting pwned.
Our first fine fellow swoops in at the two-minute mark in Anonymous’s hallmark Guy Fawkes mask, and steals the WBC’s Hawaiian flag. Damn right, because our ancestors didn’t annex Hawaii at gunpoint just for some anti-American types to come in and wish for its destruction.
Australia isn’t as shy as the U.S. about airing foul language, at least until we annex it at gunpoint. (A hearty welcome to 2017′s addition, the Koala State!) When comedian Charles Firth decided to romance Fred Phelps’s son, they informed their audience exactly who these crazy Topekans are with exquisitely NSFW audio clips, unless you work at a sewerage treatment plant.
This next youth strides brazenly into the church’s midst and promptly Rick Rolls them. Considering the Westboro Baptists start their morning with a prayer for God to kill everyone and end it by gargling with the blood of the unbaptized, that takes a serious pair. Buy this guy a beer if you know him.
The great thing about this country is when hatemongers gather, they’re usually met by a much larger counter-protest. So here’s something you don’t hear every day — how about a cheer for the frat boys? The guys at Alpha Delta Phi decided to protest the WBC by dancing to Diana Ross. In terms of gaiety, their dance only lands a 5 out of 10, but the judges award you a perfect score for Awesome, Alpha Delta Phis!
And, of course, the video that inspired us in the first place, "You ain’t got no pancake mix!"
My Asylum article on Band and Orchestra Fails ended up on AOL’s welcome screen, so now there’s the added hilarity of criticisms from AOL users.
(Confidential to Offended in Omaha: For what it’s worth, I don’t think I wrote that “loses his s*** laughing” line. I have no problem with profanity; I just prefer mine more creative than that.)
Orchestras, symphonies and marching bands don’t get enough credit. Learning to master instruments through years of hard work earns these groups little but band-camp jokes and possible praise from New York Times critics with salt-and-pepper beards.
So, we salute you, hard-working musicians of the world, the only way we know how: by making fun of your most hilarious failures.
When faced with the mighty challenge of coordinating elaborate performances, these folks went for the far-more-demanding Internet gaffe. Read on to see (and hear) bands behaving badly.
This is the gem that inspired this list. The surest way to make someone in the Asylum offices lose his sh** laughing is to turn up your speakers and play this clip. There’s no picture to go along with the extremely flawed audio, but who needs one?
When this tuxedo-ed timpanist loses his fight with physics, the end result is disastrous … and hilarious.
What can you do when your paperwork is tamped down but your instrument itself decides to pop its strings? This musician experiences a rare moment of utter de-volumization when his viola quits all four strings at once. That’s what you get for buying a knockoff brand like Strattyvarious. You try to save a few thousand dollars, and it comes back to bite you.
All of these are embarrassing moments, to be sure, but none so humiliating as getting knocked out cold in front of nature’s most bloodthirsty beast: the teenager. Also, painful: a shot to the face from a metal bar. Watch the guy in the orange shirt just before the half-minute mark. Then watch it again in slow-mo as the laughter of his peers turns demonically sadistic.
Faces heal, but egos remain bruised forever. Arguably more painful than catching a trombone to the face at practice are these cascading pratfalls in the middle of gameday. Watch the far left at the half-minute mark as these kids start dropping … and dropping … and dropping. Then laugh. Then resume watching, because the marchers will still be hitting the ground.
For an even better view of such shenanigans, watch these 10 kids take a dive just right of the middle of the screen. Then at 0:17, a saxophonist with no empathy takes out his cell phone to record the mayhem. Injury? Check. Insult? Check.
Dueling tubas? In the Zapruder film of band fails, there’s a side-scuttling heavy metal section taking out a few competitors, "Showgirls"-style. Back, and to the left, boys. Back, and to your left.
Sometimes you do everything right and you’re still in a bad place. Whether you’re a classical concert player or a member of the spirit team, you’ll never come out worse than this bell ringer whose spirited war-gong duties render him the victim of an unfortunate camera angle.
This is the cleaned-up version that ran on Asylum, but I recommend the full version I posted originally.
Every morning, Maury Povich rises from a coffin filled with his native earth, puts on his human face and heads to work, where fresh victims wait to trade their dignity for a free paternity test.
After they’ve memorized the foul invective they’ll hurl during the show’s pre-taped introductions, they step into the studio lights of Maury’s lair. And that’s where we, the American audience, come in.
Read on to see the train wreckage that is aMaury Povich paternity testing episode, and help us keep it from happening in the future by remembering one simple fact about condoms: They’re fairly cheap and easy to put on.
There, we just prevented 1,000 babies from ever being conceived. Take that, John Connor and Second Coming Jesus!
Happy news sends one fellow into a real-life synchronized dance number. That only happens in "Glee." (Does it happen in "Glee?" We don’t have a girlfriend right now, so no one’s ever made us watch it.) Only one thing’s for sure — when you dance this well, you’ll have women lining up to drag you into a paternity suit.
Telia appeared on the show nine times and gloated over Dion that he must be her baby’s daddy. The test results literally knock him out of his seat and catapult her across the stage. The real victim, however, is the audience member who gets left hanging at 1:24. Oh, and the child. Always, the child.
Is it us, or, in this next clip, does the victory dance steal the mother’s life force? She flees its effects, but is struck down before she can escape.
No male guest was so excited to be free of responsibility as Felix. He executed a neat backflip, which is more than most men do when their child’s born (let alone disinherited).
Not to be outdone, Aaron lands a solid backflip with no hands! And, apparently, no empathy.
Maury’s official Most Outrageous Guest pioneered the "I’m not the dad" explosive acrobatics, but still fathered six kids. Branden finally realized creating human life isn’t a Saturday afternoon hobby. It’s a good thing he stopped having kids of his own volition, because he was one away from a court-ordered vasectomy.
Although it is pretty heart-wrenching when the betrayed father cries, here there was one pretty obvious tip-off: It’s one thing not to question your child’s complexion; it’s quite another to believe you fathered a baby that adorable.
Just think how many of these kids are going to get psychologically scarred when their classmates find YouTube clips of their parents wishing they’d never been born. Povich’s compassion for these guests might be genuine, but, if he really cares about their well-being, why’s he still giving them a venue to make fools of themselves and their loved ones?
I wrote an article on National Anthem Fails for Asylum. It’s awesome, and will make you love America. I heard the CIA is using it to undercut al’Qaeda’s recruiting efforts, but I’ve said too much already. No I haven’t: Trombone lengthening carrot ball tuna hat! Silly putty! Fotzpa overshoots Tur! There, now I’ve said too much.
The National Anthem is a challenging piece to sing. It’s full of soaring notes, and there are three other stanzas no one ever learns because they’re rife with imagery from the War of 1812, aka the One We Don’t Study Because It Was a Tie.
To top it all off, our anthem is based on an English drinking song, so it wouldn’t be disrespectful of you to have a couple beers before attempting it. Heck, a good drink might even be a necessary step in remembering the lyrics.
It certainly would have relaxed the vocal cords in these screeching and stammering singers, perpetrators of some of the anthem’s worst renditions ever recorded (and then posted on YouTube).
Let’s start with an uplifting one. Natalie Gilbert has a great voice, but she forgets the words. The supportive crowd touchingly cheers her on, but she remains flummoxed. She needs a hero. And because this is America, she gets one in the form of Mo Cheeks. Coach Cheeks can’t sing, but remembers all the words. Together, they’re the Voltron of national pride. People helping people: That’s what this country is all about (and cheeseburgers).
This plucky chanteuse is French-Canadian, so there’s no shame in needing the written lyrics, especially since an American would have used a cheat sheet from the start. What happens next, however, seals this failure into a debacle worthy of its own anthem. Give her credit, though; she wins a gold medal for her positive attitude.
This next rendition isn’t so much off-key as trying every key on the chain without realizing you’re at the wrong door. It’s hard to tell if the audience is for this version or against it, but one thing’s for sure: Passion is great, but you have to at least make eye contact with the notes you hope to use.
Now for something even more uncomfortable than teasing teenage girls. This policeman in Chattanooga gave the anthem a go at a memorial for fallen officers. That’s normally where your smartass pals at Asylum politely walk the other way whistling, but then we noticed his compatriot doing his level best not to laugh. That makes it OK, right?
Just to cement our reputation as horrible people, here’s an atonal elderly veteran who leapfrogs from verse to verse, sometimes mid-sentence. Look, it’s not our fault that all these nice folks keep screwing up. This is the material life hands us because amoral killers are only chosen to sing the anthem in Nevada, where there are no laws, and the measure of a man is in the speed of his trigger finger.
If only there were some anthem failure we could all hate guilt-free. In the movie "Office Space" a character named Michael Bolton complains about "that no-talent assclown" who stole his name. "Why should I change?" he moans. "He’s the one who sucks." That’s how this next clip makes us feel. Why should we change the national anthem, Mr. Sings From His Groin? You’re the one who sucks.
There’s no explaining why the San Diego Padres invited professional squawker Roseanne Barr to do to the anthem what "Hellraiser" did to D-list actresses. Still, they probably didn’t expect her to hock a spitwad at the end, a move the comedienne later explained was just her tribute to dip-chewing, seed-munching baseball players. Twenty years later, this is still the second thing people think of when you say "Roseanne Barr," after her long-running TV show.
Using great technical proficiency but little discretion, this man invents a new anthem. Take out the words, and what song is he singing? Is this one of those live mashups? Because if so, we would prefer YouTube stick with sultry songstress Allison Williams.
Here’s a rare case of an Anthembomb! Singer Rene Rancourt is pumped to belt the "Star Spangled Banner" like it was two sizes too big. The much-amused announcer’s box sings along with an R-rated version that’s pre-empted by some speedy producer-inflicted muzak. Remember muzak, kids? No? Ah, you’re better off. (NSFW language)
Speaking of gold medals, here’s America’s most famous anthem failure, as the crushing weight of Olympic gold round his neck cracks Carl Lewis‘s voice. Listen to the audience roar its contempt. That’s a man who brought more glory to our country than bald eagles and Rambo combined, but they’re laughing at him.
The roundup below is the final word in forgotten words. Watch a few clips, but don’t try to convince us Cab Calloway wasn’t just coming up with new and better ways to bend the English language.
Here’s one for you to decide. Kat DeLuna puts her own spin on the anthem, and goes Texas-sized with it. She could technically be arrested for using that much vibrato in a state where dildos are illegal. Is this creative license or fibrillation fail? Discuss.
At least we’ve never been subjected to this collection of Dutch Idol rejects mangling Tina Turner. These Nederlanders DEFINITELY don’t need another hero. And they don’t deserve to leave the Thunderdome. The action starts at 2:25, but the rehearsal’s worth watching so that if you’re ever present at a breech birth, you’ll know what to expect.
Finally, we’ll leave you with a true professional. You could all learn from 6-year-old Courtney King.
There are more reporters cavorting with — or against — people in fuzzy animal costumes than you might think. I documented them for Asylum, because the work I do is important.
Local TV news generally thrives on sternly worded reports of mangled bodies. Even when the anchors get humorous, the punch line’s always something dry and ambiguous, like "I bet you enjoyed yesterday’s sunshine as well, Diane!"
But every once in a while, some unexpected levity comes along in the form of a wacky costume. We’ve collected our favorite clips of reporters being upstaged by costumed creatures (and one sexy cop outfit).
A couple of weeks ago, we showed you a courageous man in a bear suit defying the wrath of both nature and the local news team. Here is that man again, because if you don’t want to see hurricanes, news-bombers and portly bears twice, then you, sir, are no kind of fellow we want to drink with.
It turns out the bear wasn’t the only fuzzy suit cavorting around Hurricane Ike in search of reporters. Not satisfied with local news, this chicken took on no less prestigious a target than CNN. Unfortunately for him, there was a silver fox in the henhouse, and his name was Anderson Cooper. Result: The chicken got cooped. Nobody puts Cooper in a corner!
Where do old Internet memes go to die? Santa Clara, apparently. Watch as the Peanut Butter Jelly Time banana dances in the background of this report on drugs, prostitution and college students — only two of which have anything to do with dancing bananas.
For the ultimate in disruptive costumed buffoonery, watch reporter Jim Taricani delve deep into the costumed heart of the plushy beast. When he tries to interview a woman accused of cyberstalking, he finds "Donnie Darko"–level surrealism wearing not one but two masks, the second of which is a bonnet-wearing bunny. Watch the expression on his face at the 2:12 mark when the last shred of idealism that led him to become an investigative reporter exposing the stories that matter withers away.
To counter all that costumed negativity, here’s Cincinnati reporter Bob Herzog, who loves dressing up for Halloween. The problem is that the holiday only comes once a year. The solution? Dance Party Friday! To counter criticism of his dancing, Herzog solves the problem the only way he knows how: with a full-body costume. Watch as Clifford the Big Red Dog enters the scene to solve the lack of costumes on the morning news.
Of course, Clifford’s a big name, and not always available. Thankfully, the Cincinnati Reds have enough mascots for Herzog; he can dance with a different costumed character each week. If it’s red, plushy and dances, Bob Herzog will find it.
And finally, because we love you, here is New York’s PIX News reporter Jill Nicolini arresting our vision in a sexy cop costume, just one of many wardrobe changes for the Long Island lust-magnet. What is it with traffic reporters, and their costumes? We don’t know, but we’re glad this one’s a bust.