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Greg Veis, YouTube Hunter: The Revolution will be YouTubed

Revolution isn't for the impatient. Of course, there are days that signify an irrevocable fissure in time—Crispus Attucks' getting shot, Johnson's signing the Civil Rights Act—when one era gives way to the next. But the real work of a revolution is prelude. It takes place in the innumerable tiny acts of defiance that occur in the months and years and decades before that day. And it is in this spirit that I bring you this week's column. No longer content to have my postings always make sense or be "about" something, today I'm just going to throw together some videos that make me happy. Why, I'm sure you ask yourself, must your work always have a thesis or a reason to be (as the French say)? The shackles, the chains, the grueling strictures of the quotidian (as the French also say)...why? Wherefore? Isn't chaos as natural as order? More so? Isn't it time we came to grips with the hormonal unpredictability of existence?

Well, it starts now. First, with an old Thighmaster ad from 1991:

And next with a Spike Jonze-directed Adidas ad with a beautiful song by his girlfriend and Yeah Yeah Yeah frontwoman Karen O.:

Here's a 100% rocking reenactment of Tony Romo's season-ending snap hold. Why? Because I feel like it. That's why.

Remember when Nixon was footloose, fancy free, and completely adorable? Well, of course not. But this footage of him playing the piano on the Jack Parr Show is fantastic.

Now, the happiest day of Michael Jackson's life, wherein he actually gets paid to dance with children.

Guess what? Octopus time!

And lastly, for no discernable reason whatsoever, Marion Berry, dancing:

Who's got two thumbs and feels alive and bursting at the seams? The YouTube Hunter, that's who!

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A Field Guide to Literary References in Monty Python's Flying Circus
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While it's better known for dead parrots and crossdressing lumberjacks, Monty Python has a surprisingly academic background. Five of the six members of the group (Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, John Cleese, and Eric Idle) attended either Oxford or Cambridge. Cutting their teeth writing for other BBC series, the five eventually joined up, along with American Terry Gilliam, to create Monty Python's Flying Circus. While experimenting with the bounds of sketch comedy, the group also flexed their academic muscle throughout the course of the show, making reference to many works of classic literature in the process. Here's a compendium of many of these references, excluding the ones I couldn't find on YouTube.

The Semaphore Version of Wuthering Heights

What Episode: 15
Authors/Works Referenced: Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë & Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare
Don't Miss: The extent of the semaphore, from Catherine and Heathcliff to the baby, nurse, and old man.

Poet Inspection

Episode: 17
Authors/Works Referenced: "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," William Wordsworth, "The Splendor Falls on Castle Walls," Alfred Lord Tennyson
Don't Miss: "There's Alfred Lord Tennyson in the Bathroom!"

A Tale of Two Cities for Parrots

Episode: 20
Authors/Works Referenced: A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
Don't Miss: The first line of the "special adaptation," which quickly informs how the rest will follow

Mrs. Premise and Mrs. Conclusion visit Jean-Paul Satre

Episode: 27
Authors/Works Referenced: The Roads to Freedom series, Jean-Paul Satre
Don't Miss: "Four hours to bury a cat?"

All-England Summarize Proust Competition

Episode: 31
Authors/Works Referenced: The epic 7-volume novel Rememberance of Things Past, Marcel Proust
Don't Miss: The choral adaptation

Ant Poetry Reading

Episode: 41
Authors/Works Referenced: Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," Shelley's "Ozymandias," Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade"
Don't Miss: Graham Chapman's increasingly drunk hostess

Hamlet Psychoanalysis

Episode: 43
Authors/Works Referenced: Hamlet, William Shakespeare
Don't Miss: The use of computers in modern psychiatry

Little Red Riding Hood

Episode: German Episode 1 or Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl
Authors/Works Referenced: Little Red Riding Hood, The Brothers Grimm (amongst others)
Don't Miss: John Cleese in Bavarian Drag

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Greg Veis, YouTube Hunter: Tracy Morgan is our Andy Kaufman
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People oftentimes assume Tracy Morgan is drunk or stoned to the bejesus. This is absurd to me, and cruel, too. In insinuating this, these people (let's call them "straw men") devalue a comedian who over the last several years--but particularly since he's literally (both on and off camera) morphed into his character Tracy Jordan from 30 Rock--has become something of a national treasure. Susan B. Anthony is a national treasure. Would you like to cast aspersions on her, too? Honestly. Think about it.

Not to say that Tracy's never gotten down. He's developed quite a Page Six rap sheet, as well as a real one. He was also in How High. But what he's done in the last few years has been ingenious: he's completely erased the barrier between his real self and his comedic persona. The act never stops. This is different than when you talk about certain people, comedians especially, who are always "on." That means they're consciously trying to make you laugh, but that doesn't mean they're acting or performing a specific role. Tracy Morgan, at all times, is Tracy Jordan--and because of that, he's become one of the least predictable--and most blisteringly excellent--performance artists since Andy Kaufman.

Although the writers of 30 Rock use him keenly, Tracy's shtick is really honed for talk show appearances. It's his clash with the phoniness of television's "non-fiction" that works so well. Check out this morning show appearance in El Paso:

And this two part clip from Kimmel's show:

As you can probably tell by now, dude can deliver a line. What inflection! Listen to him deliver the closing line in the ESPN commercial:

"The way I dunk on you is going to look unorthodox." Come again?

What Kaufman had over Tracy is an assemblage of personae. Right now, Tracy's only got one, and good as it is, it might not be able to sustain him that much longer. Gallagher only had one note, and although watermelon smashing had surprisingly long legs, where is he now? Tracy needs a second act. I hope he's developing it. In the meantime, it's probably best to watch this again:

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