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I am a firm believer in the use of arbitration. Sometimes in arguments, perspective can be really difficult. I also stand by the avoiding violence to settle disputes. It looked like these two teams were headed straight toward an Old-West style little league slugfest.  So, thanks to Cutter's words of wisdom, the two factions may use Johnny as an umpire going forward. Arbitration, the best alternative to court, for dispute resolution should always be used responsibly and the resulting decision needs to be accepted by both parties, regardless of sore feelings. That being said, the kid was clearly safe and you're an idiot if you think otherwise
by Sean McGrath on October 3, 2010 - 11:59am.
Why I have to break up with you because you liked 500 Days of Summer
Guest post by Sean McGrath

Ok. We have to break up. I know it's kind of coming out of left field, but I am absolutely sure of my decision. But you "loved" 500 Days of Summer.  "Loved." You used the word like nine times last night after the movie was over. And you just kept talking about it, like I wasn't right there, sitting on the couch, watching it with you. You actually twirled when you were talking about it.  Good lord. Twirling?  I'm all for being inspired, or entranced, or enamored with art, but to react that way to that movie is beyond me. First of all, Zoey Deschanel comes off as a total manipulative harpy. Who invites their ex-boyfriend to their engagement party? What the fuck?

And an ex-boyfriend that she knows is still into her. But at the end, they're all calm and resolute and cool with each other. Nuh-uh.  That don't fly. Maybe he forgave her for the mind-drubbing she gave him, but that scene just kills me. This guy is the biggest coward in movie history. And you know, it's not THAT bad of a movie. It's not like it wasn't shot well, or the Gordon-Levitt can't act, it's just that it's so goddamn pretentious. "Oh, you like The Smiths, cool?" Give me a f-ing break. So they both like an extremely good band from the '80s, and all of a sudden it's like they both have the same pizza shaped birthmark on their hip or something. Liking the Smiths is not some clandestine treasure that only a few people hold dear. I won't dissect this movie completely, but I do want to discuss a spoiler so if you really do want to spend two hours grinding a fork into your thigh while you tolerate this movie, then stop reading now. Ok, still with me? At the end of the movie, Summer (Deschanel) has dumped him, and he's finally "over" her more or less. So at the BIG job interview he meets an attractive brunette in the waiting area, who's going out for the same position. They banter back and forth a bit, and then he asks her out for a drink. At first she declines, then she changes her mind and accepts (Hooray!). So, here we go, ready to feel stupid in your face? They exchange names, and guess what her name is? It's AUTUMN!   Like the season? Get it? Because he just went through a total mind fuck of a relationship with a girl named Summer, and now he meets a girl named Autumn?! What the deuce? WOW! YAAAAAAAAY!

And then he looks at the camera. Right into the lens. As if to imply, "You got to be kidding me" or "Here we go!" or "Oh, boy..." or a thousand other stupid emotions you don't want to have be the button on your movie unless you hate your audience and think they're stupid.
So there we go. That's why we are breaking up. I can't stay with someone who got duped like that. Tricked by this movie into thinking that love is.. I don't know... fair. Plus you twirled.  Give me a break.


by Sean McGrath on September 17, 2010 - 2:20pm.

Anyone can be a jokester, but it takes true finesse to craft a great piece of comedy. As co-creator and former head writer of The Daily Show and co-founder of Air America, Lizz Winstead is one of the top political satirists in America. In this three-hour workshop, Lizz will teach you all the steps to crafting smart jokes, and how to use political satire to get your point across. 

As a performer, LIZZ brought her political wit to The Daily Show as a Correspondent and later to the radio waves co-hosting Unfiltered, Air America Radio's mid morning show, where she brought Hip Hop legend CHUCK D and political big brain RACHEL MADDOW on board. 

LIZZ'S talents as a comedian and media visionary have been recognized by The New York Times, The Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly's 100 most Creative People. Her television appearances include Comedy Central Presents and regular spots on MSNBC's "The Ed Show" and "The Joy Behar Show." Most recently, Lizz wrote and produced an independent pilot of her Off-Broadway hit, "WAKE UP WORLD, a show Rachel Maddow called, "The funniest thing I have seen in years."

The workshop will be held September 12, 2010, tickets are $45 and can be purchased here:
by emilyhemson on August 27, 2010 - 3:14pm.

Did you miss our last show 'til the end of the summer with John Roderick and Richard Russo? Well, you can hear the podcast. It was FUN. So if you've been paying attention, you may have noticed that in the spring this year we DOUBLED the number of live shows to two a month and moved to a smaller venue at the Mission for many of them.

Why'd we do this? Well, we're hoping to become a viable option for stations around the country, and the only way to do that is to increase the amount of content we offer. So we did. Because we're take-action kinda people.

Next season, starting in September, we'll ramp up and do the same thing, so please come along for the ride with us. Until then, we'll be posting updates during the summer months so you can keep up with our fascinating lives. I, for one, am planning not to garden or camp. And I'm really looking forward to that. What are you doing with your summer?

by Courtenay on June 15, 2010 - 4:41pm.
An open letter to the person in charge of new punctuation.
I have invented a new punctuation mark, and I am writing to ask you to consider introducing its usage into the American Punctuation Lexicon.
I would also like to check up on the status of the interrobang (also known as the quesclamation point). You may not remember it, but it was the combination exclamation point, question mark invented by ad executive Martin Spekter to help us with such sentences as “WHAT did you just say to me?!” and “Lindsay Lohan’s suing WHO?! Over WHAT?!” 
The fact that it was invented in 1962 and you’re still considering it doesn’t give me much hope for it, or for that matter, for the Irony Mark, or “snark,” – the backwards question mark that some are hoping can indicate sarcasm in our increasingly digital world. I think it sounds like a great idea. Whoever thought of it is a genius.
But onto my idea.  Get ready for it: The Friendly Period (exclamation point!)
Sorry. What I meant was, the friendly period! Period. 
Am I talking about an era of increased kindness? No. A new, more pleasant brand of menstruation? That will never happen.
I’m talking about a period that says, “That sentence, the one right before me, the period, is as affable as they come. That sentence, in fact, wants to buy you a beer.”
Here’s the problem: Increasingly, we’re using very cold, technological ways to communicate. No one wants to actually go through the long, drawn-out process saying hello and how are you on the phone, or, god forbid, having to see someone in person. There germs in every handshake, and people get bad haircuts that you have to lie about.
So emails and texts have become, for many, our primary means of communication. But reading something on a screen makes everything colder, so we try to warm up our communications with annoying emoticons, or, in my case, the gratuitous exclamation point. 
In a study entitled “Gender and the use of exclamation points in computer mediated communication,” (for reals!) Carol Waseleski (exclamation point!) deciphered that woman use exclamation points far more often than men in e-communication.  But it’s not because they’re more excited than men. Women use exclamation points online as indicators of a “friendly interaction.” We’ve been socialized to try to make people feel comfortable and to keep the peace. Hence sentences like, “Bill, I can’t wait to see the 4th quarter EMBO Report on the new 12-gauge ball bearings (exclamation point!)”  She’s not excited to see that report. She’s letting Bill know that she’s not angry they’re late yet. When she’s angry, she’ll use a period.
I used to abhor exclamation points, largely because I am not a perky person. 
I am a person who assumes a day is going to blow until the world convinces me otherwise in the first five minutes by handing me a 16-ounce skim half-caf mocha in bed, which never happens, so you do the math. 
So you can imagine my increased usage of exclamation points has proved to be extremely disconcerting both for me and for those who are forced to endure my emails and texts.
A sample sentence from a recent email:
Yay(exclamation point!) Dinner at McFuddernutters sounds great(exclamation point!)
In this case, the exclamation points are preventive – because the person receiving the email knows that I can be a sarcastic bitch, periods would have made it read:  
Yay. Dinner at McFuddernutters sounds great…I just hope their neverending salad bowl will fill the bottomless pit of despair I feel because I’m sitting in an establishment called McFuddernutters.
Now, what you might say is, “Hey, why don’t you stop being a sarcastic bitch, interrobang?” Good exclamated question. Answer: because I don’t want to, friendly period!
The friendly period would solve all these problems.  
Picture this: a larger, slightly squished period that’s big enough to see that there’s a half-moon of a smile three quarters of the way down its jolly round body. It’s simple, it’s not nearly as annoying as those bright yellow happy faces, and it’s stylish. Because what’s more stylish than black and white? Nothing, stupid. (Friendly period!)
I implore you, punctuation person…don’t make us wait 48 years for the friendly period to take off (friendly period.) We need help now in getting rid of the scourge of gratuitous exclamation points, and I, for one, would have significantly less punctuation shame in my life.
Please get back to me at your earliest convenience (friendly period.) Our future depends on it (irony mark.)
~Courtenay Hameister
by Courtenay on April 7, 2010 - 10:00am.
Last Saturday, Live Wire held a comedy writing workshop with John Viener and Alec Sulkin from "Family Guy." 

It was a casual couple of hours, but still very informative, largely in terms of how it works in a writer's room on a sitcom, getting your spec script read, and whether you want to be Jokestein or Structureberg on the writing team ("Jokestein's fun to hang out with, but Structureberg has a nicer house.")

And there was one special bonus to the day - a visit from Sulkin's girlfriend, Sarah Silverman. Alec and Sarah's relationship has recently come into the spotlight because of a rather personal story Sarah told on David Letterman. Alec responded to this story on Live Wire while Sarah sat quietly at the side of the stage. But Sarah jumped onstage for a portion of the workshop the next day, talking a bit about how her writers work. The two shows work very differently - Sarah has 5 writers who work out of her apartment in L.A., "The Family Guy" has 18.

The funniest story Sarah told was about her dog, Duck. They filmed the pilot of the show in Sarah's apartment, and then when the show was picked up, the production company built an exact replica of the apartment on a soundstage. The first morning, Sarah left her apartment, put Duck in the car and they arrived at the soundstage. When they entered the set, Duck looked up at her, hugely confused. "How the hell did we get home again?"

All in all, a very fun day.

Alec and John "teaching."

Sarah joins in.

Sarah with Tyler Hughs' son, Boon.
by Courtenay on February 26, 2010 - 1:42pm.
Do you enjoy sketch writing? Are you working on a comic screenplay? Or do you just want to inject some more humor into your writing? 

Live Wire is sponsoring a comedy writing workshop with John Viener and Alec Sulkin of "Family Guy." Join us on Saturday, February 20th from 1-4 at Curious Comedy Theater to learn more about the three-act structure, to do a little writing, and analyze some gags. 

Sulkin is a supervising producer and writer for the show and has been nominated for three Emmys.Viener is an actor, writer and director but has only been nominated for ONE Emmy. Awkward!
Workshop Details:
Comedy Workshop with Alec Sulkin and John Viener
Curious Comedy Theater
5225 N. Martin Luther King Blvd.
For more information, call 503-548-4920 or email

Click here to register! Hope to see you there, funny people.

by Courtenay on February 19, 2010 - 8:37am.
dress.jpgCOURT: Gosh, that was pretty.

JOHN: You're such a girl.

COURT: Shut up. I really enjoyed it. And I learned something. Based on the boys' disguises, it turns out that in 1790, fake moustaches acted in much the same way as Superman's glasses. Moustache? "Hey! It's a foreigner or a clown." No moustache? "OMG, it's my boyfriend!"

JOHN: This show made me question whether or not I am a triumph of masculinity.

COURT: Right. That was one of the stand-out lines of the show. "Our moustaches are a triumph of masculinity. Plumes of love." Other notable moments: possibly the only time in opera history we've seen two women in the cowgirl and reverse cowgirl positions on their male leads onstage, the amazing moment when the stage broke apart to reveal the 2nd act set, and Ryan MacPherson's standout comic performance. I have much more to say, but I'm spent! More later. Parting message: see it. Goodnight, Portland!


by Courtenay on February 5, 2010 - 11:22pm.

Stay tuned! In just an hour and a half, The Liberators' John Breen and I will begin blogging at tonight's Opera, Cosi Fan Tutte. John knows a little about Opera, I don't. Bwuh-oh. See you soon!

by Courtenay on February 5, 2010 - 9:21pm.

Cosi.jpgJOHN: What if outside the operatic world it was commonplace to repeat everything you say over and again until your point gets across as they do in Opera? What if it were commonplace to repeat everything you say over and again until your point gets across as they do in Opera libretto? What if it were commonplace to repeat everything you say over and again until your point gets across as they do in an Opera libretto? 

COURT: Okay. You made your point. We have very little time here to update...let me just say that if you've never seen an opera before...COME TO THIS ONE. It's a farce, so think opera meets "Three's Company" meets a John Waters film. The set is stunning, the costumes are fabulous and it's actually funny. That Mozart was a freakin' HOOT. More later...our seats are waiting.  I never should've peed.

by Courtenay on February 5, 2010 - 7:28pm.

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