Frankenstein & Me

Growing up as a tall kid, I was always forced to be Frankenstein whenever my friends played monsters.  I'm sure other tall kids had to put up with this. 

This continued as an adult, when my old sketch group was developing a TV show called MONSTERS ON THE RUN, I was to play the fugitive Frankenstein Monster (framed for a crime he didn't commit.  He was framed by a rich Kennedy-esque Playboy Mummy and lost his trial when a William Kunstler-esque lawyer used the case as an opportunity to blame society, saying, "You're the monsters! YOU are the monsters."  I wish we'd made that.) 

One Halloween I was the monster, my wife was the bride, my kids were the Doctor and Igor.  (You can make a cute baby look spooky by adding a unibrow and hunchback.) 

One of the first KEVIN GEEKS OUT shows was dedicated to FRANKENSTEIN.  Mary Shelly's novel is the most adapted work of literature (in your face, Madame Bovary!)  So there are so many odd interpretations to look at.  

We screened clips from Frankenstein Vs. Baragaon, Andy Warhol's Frankenstein, TV's The Monster Squad (at 1970's TV series in which Frankenstein, Dracula and the Werewolf team up to fight crime, aided by The Love Boat's Gofer and a super-computer.)  and more. 

We listened to an excellent radio adaptation by the Quicksilver Radio Theatre. 

We also watched Thomas Edison's Frankenstein film (from 1910), which I'd first seen at a Frankenstein film festival in New Jersey.  It was introduced by a religious old kook, who owned the film print and because he was letting the theater screen his movie, he insisted on speaking before the film and speaking out against evolution.  (Which, he believes is at the heart of Edison's adaptation, because the monster is not a re-animated corpse, but a man made from the earth.)  

Throughout the night we saw some radical interpretations of the classic character, and the audience really got excited seeing Boris Karloff, it's like he's THE ONE.  This PSA parody was a big hit at the show, and it still holds up. 

Here's an old AMC video I made looking at some of my favorite adaptations: 

Here's a collection of 50 Posters from various Frankenstein Movies

And in this new video Rusty Ward and I look at FRANKENSTEIN ISLAND, featuring several great clips from the movie. 

And in my newest video, I use one of my all-time favorite gags about the monster: 

(Hey, be sure to donate to the kickstarter campaign HERE)

Frankenstein is always showing up in popular culture. 

DC's WEIRD WAR TALES ran a great series of stories about CREATURE COMMANDOS, in which the Mosnter, teams up with Dracula and the Wolf man to battle Nazis.  (I don't know why writers are always pairing these three up.  I mean, in real life they seem like they wouldn't get along at all.) 

In Dickie Goodman's novelty song FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE BEATLES, the monster becomes envious of the band's popularity, so he forms a rock quartet to compete with the Fab Four.  The Liverpool lads end up feeling sorry for him and invite him to join the band, though it's never clear what instrument he plays. 

The new anthology horror-comedy CHILLERAMA features a very funny segment about THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANKENSTEIN, but as an internet nerd it's my duty to point out that the gag was made a decade earlier by Michael O'Donoghue.  (Click here to read his SPIN magazine piece, "Six Hit Movies.") 

The influence of Mary Shelley's story shows up in the oddest places, here's some holiday-themed pop-tarts that seem to play out a theme from the novel: 

"'I am alone and miserable: man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species and have the same defects. This being you must create.'"  ~ The Monster, in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Happy Halloween everybody. 

 related posts: 

King Kong and Me


SEXY NERDS & DIRTY WORDS - show recap with photos

Thanks to everybody who attended the first ever show of SEXY NERDS &D IRTY WORDS -- we had a killer line-up of guests (pictured below) and a sold-out audience filled with cool people.  (They kept an open mind and stayed "with us" as performers like to say.)

Here are some photos from the event (courtesy of ace photographer Matthew Glasson)

I opened the show with some of my filthiest material: nasty jokes, stuff I refused to tweet, and a collection of my "dirty alliteration" (which was co-written by my wife.)  These jokes were a perfect way to open the show, and the audience dug it, but I really can't share it on the web, as a potential employer might object to jokes like: "I just ate a bowl of diarrhea.  And the worst part is, I wasn't even hungry."

Then Matt Wilson joined me for a staged reading of a classic sex-talk titled "The Roommates Hatch a Plan."

Spoken Nerd poet Jared Singer read his first piece of the night, a very funny and moving autobiographical poem that touched on action figures and Saturday morning cartoons.  I love being at a show where one of the acts makes a passing reference to Yusagi Yojimbo.  Click here to see Jared performing at the Bowery Poetry Poetry Club.

Next, the noted nerd, wit and long-time friend M. Sweeney Lawless revealed the conspiracy theory about putting gorillas on comic book covers.  In the 1950's, DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz observed that the best selling comic books were ones that featured primates on the cover.  Meg examined several examples, many of which you can see here with commentary by Meg and me. 

Then the audience was treated to a video-game inspired routine by burlesque performer Iris Explosion.  You can watch Iris work the room as Ms. Pac-Man.  (note: I first saw this act at Tom Blunt's amazing show MEET THE LADY.  If you like my shows, you should see what Tom does.) 

Come to think of it, Ms. Pac-Man was always pretty racy for a kids' arcade game. 

Next up was a high-concept act: Mark Douglas performed as ANDREW 12-SIDED DICE CLAY.  He's the bad-boy of the comic shop, telling jokes that are obscene, obscure and observational.  

We videotaped his set and a few days later it screened at New York Comic Con during a panel on "Geek Humor."  The live-act was a hit and the video killed at Comic Con.  Watch the video HERE and please donate money to our kickstarter campaign so we can make more videos about the 12-Sided Diceman. 

 Also that night we played GEEK BINGO (photos not available.)

The always-entertaining Mike Edison read from his new book, DIRTY! DIRTY! DIRTY!: Of Playboys, Pigs and Penthouse Paupers - An American Tale of Sex and Wonder.   You may recognize Mike from  Kevin Geeks Out About Genre Busters where he performed with his beatnik band, talking about sex, drugs and professional wrestling. 

Related: here's the 3-D trailer for Mike's new book....

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Then we got a return visit from ANDREW 12-SIDED DICE CLAY, who did some of the same jokes -- but from a different camera angle.  We got great coverage (you can see the 3-minute trailer here), the video was shot by Jeremy Carr and edited by Eric Hendricks, the same team who joined me on most of my videos, from AMC's Sci Fi Department to Comedy Central's Puppet Rodeo.  But unlike those web-series, Dice won't get financed by a corporate entity. The material is too dirty and too nerdy.  So we need the support of people like you (specifically, YOU!)  You can pledge here and learn more about our Kickstarter campaign

Also, in the video I play a hack comic who is too cool for school.  Here I am wearing a hoodie, with my hands in my pockets, not trying very hard -- because cool people don't try very hard. 

Lastly, closing out the show, Matt Wilson did some racy balloon art and he closed with a "sword swallowing" routine, set to AC/DC's "Back in Black."   We taped his set, I hope he puts it online.  In the meatime, you can see the photos here.... 

Goodnight everybody.  And again, please donate to our kickstarter page


"Why do you give into these impulses?"

Yesterday at a work Town Hall, I very publicly asked a question to a boss who made $88 million dollars last year.  Nothing offensive or explicit, but it was a smart-ass remark.  My co-workers giggled and afterwards people gave me high-fives.

I got home and re-told the story to my wife.  Afterwards she faced me with a serious look and asked "Why do you give into these impulses?"

It's a good question, my wife is one of the smartest people I've ever me and she KNOWS me.  (Most people who know me or have worked with me can probably site examples of this terrible, self-destructive behavior.)

I'm going to try and answer that question.

In no particular order:

Sometimes I'll think "it would be cool if someone did (obnoxious act or stupid remark)."  And when no one does it, I decide "I guess I'll have to do it."

*      *      * 

I fell in love with "The Loneliness of the Long-distance Runner" and its romanticization of self-destructive rebels.

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Working-class people ruin their opportunities for upward mobility, so that they don't betray their people.

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In high school I did a book report about Abraham Lincoln and fell in love with this detail: John Wilkes Booth shot himself, with the attitude that "only a Booth is worthy to take the life of a Booth."  Maybe I'm wired the same way, I want to beat my oppressors to the punch.

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I fear success.

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In my old sketch group I wrote a scene about a jerk who goes on Jeopardy and keeps losing points by including editorial commentary in his answers.  The Final Jeopardy had a clue about the 40th President of the United States.  But our man bet all his money and said "Who is mass-murdered Ronald Regan?"  He lost the game, but as far as he was concerned he won.

*      *      * 

I think Buddy handled this situation just right:

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Does any of this make sense?

If you could see the inside of my mind, you'd ask "why is the dashboard covered with so many prominently placed SELF-DESTRUCT buttons?"

I think Willy Vlautin would understand -- he writes about a lot of troubled fuck-ups who are their own worst enemies.  In an interview Willy talks about how when he was younger he owned a lot of Charles Bukowski books, and after spending a lot of money on them, he decided the books were a bad influence and if he got rid of the books, he'd turn his life around.  Maybe Vlautin is my Bukowski and I should get rid of his novels.

Don't worry, Willy.  I'll never do that.

To be continued.....