Sunday, November 23, 2008
I just searched my name on YouTube and found this thing I did a while ago. It's a filmed version of one of my early audio podcast ideas. It was shot back in San Francisco and directed by Andrew Moore. I never saw the finished product until now. For a long time, I've been leery about watching myself on film, but I like how this turned out. Also, I'm not sure why Andrew decided to add R&B music underneath, but for some reason I think it adds to the humour.
Posted by Will Franken at 11:03 PM
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Oh my god, if there is one movie you have to see this year, it's BOLT!
I don't even know how to describe the experience.
It was a fucking roller coaster.
It went up, it went down--
I didn't know which way was up when the lights went down.
I can't even review it properly, it was such a metaphysical experience.
I thought of Carlos Castenada when he said, "Eat that peyote. Do it. Eat it. What are you, a pussy? Eat the fucking peyote!"
I was reminded of Jack Kerouac when he said, "What do you mean we're out of gas? What? Ethanol? Fuck ethanol, I wanna get on the road, motherfucker! I'm a rock-n-roll artist, I don't need any of this environmental shit! Fill 'er up, man--and hold the guilt!"
When I saw a BOLT! I thought of Stanley Kubrick when he said, "Shelly Duvall, if you don't scream like you mean it the next time Jack plunges that axe through that door, I'm gonna plunge that fucking axe in your heart, cunt! NOW SCREAM!!!!"
Because I'm screaming now with excitment for BOLT!
BOLT! Spelled just like it sounds. . .it's playing everywhere. On the sides of buses, on subway posters, in the underwear of pre-teen girls, even in the space between these (BOLT!) words!
Go see BOLT! Trust me, you won't regret it!
Is it sinking through your head now? Go see it!!! Why are you still reading this? Go see BOLT! and report back to me in the morning. Tell me what you thought of BOLT! And if you don't think it's the best fucking thing since bread, sliced OR unleavened OR leavened OR ANY KIND OF FUCKING BREAD AT ALL, then I've got a bridge to sell you or you should be on medicine and get your head examined and get a life because you have no taste for the finer things in life!!!!!! GO SEE BOLT!!!!! YOU FUCKING HAYSEEDS!!!!!!
For more exciting reviews of BOLT! copy the following link into your browser
Posted by Will Franken at 7:03 PM
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
From: Will Franken
Subject: Re: Hi Will
Date: Nov. 18, 2008 12:56:38 PM EST
Get over yourself. Talk about narcissism. This has nothing to do with you.
I'm serious. I never was even ever thinking about you when I wrote this--ever! Not ever once! Never! So don't say or think that it was you that I was writing about, cause it wasn't. It was a joke. You hear me? A J-O-K-E!!!!
You don't know me, okay? Nobody knows me! All right? Understand?
You don't know me! I don't need anybody! I am my own universe! I can bend the rules of time and space!
I don't like you at all!! AT ALL!!!
On Nov 17, 2008, at 11:17 PM, ________wrote:
This is ______.
This e-mail might upset you, but I have to be honest.
I looked up your blog, like you told me to, and read your latest entry and I have to say I find it creepy.
I don't know if I'm supposed to be the girl that you're having this e-mail interchange with or not, but I hope that isn't the case. I find it very disturbing.
If you think that this is funny or that this is going to help you attract women, you need some serious help.
Men should ALWAYS make the first move. You can't expect a woman to read your blog and see how you're pretending to be her in some hypothetical fantasy where she makes the first move and expect anything to happen in real life.
Anyway, I have a boyfriend. One who WASN'T afraid to make the first move.
Please stay away from me,
On Nov 16, 2008, at 2:38 PM, Will Franken wrote:
Yes, IT IS YOU!!!
I am so glad you googled my name and found my blog!
I like you and was afraid to tell you in person and that's why I wrote about you ambiguously in my blog, hoping by some chance that you would find out my name and look up my blog online and guess that it was you I was writing about and then send me an e-mail saying that you hoped it was you that I was writing about and then tell me that you actually like me!!!!
That's EXACTLY what I wanted to happen!!!
Thanks for making things easy on me!!!
We should go on a date now that we know we like each other!!!
I like you,
On Nov 15, 2008, at 10:31 AM, _________ wrote:
This is _____.
I hope you don't think it's strange that I'm e-mailing you out of the blue like this. I got your last name from your friend and looked you up on google--that's how I found your blog.
I just saw the latest one of your e-mail exchange with an unnamed girl. It was really funny, but also really sweet.
In fact, I was kind of hoping that I was the girl you were pretending to be that liked you and that you liked.
You see, Will, I like you very much. I know it's crazy for the girl to make the first move and you probably totally don't respect me for being the first to say it. But I do! I like you!
I get very nervous around you. That's why i was happy to read your blog and think that maybe I was the one you were talking about.
I'll feel like such a dork if I'm not!
I like you (there! I said it!)
On Nov 14, 2008, at 10:26 PM, Will Franken wrote:
Wow, hi _____,
No, i don't think you're a dork at all! I am glad you made the first move! I was so nervous. I did not think you would ever like me!
I like the fact that you made the first move by sending me an e-mail. Because I get very nervous around you also. My heart speeds up and my throat gets dry, too.
I don't believe in rules either! I am a libertarian! That's another reason why I think it's cool that, even though you are the girl, you sent me an e-mail first!
We should go on a date this weekend!
Thanks for e-mailing me and telling me that you like me and making things easier on me!
I like you, too!
On Nov 14, 2008, at 9:59 PM, ________wrote:
This e-mail may come as a surprise to you. I don't know if you know who I am. My name is _____. I am the pretty girl with dark hair. We have talked a few times, but you probably don't remember me.
Anyway, I feel I have to tell you something. I am very attracted to you. I get very nervous around you. I don't know if you feel the same way or not, but I just felt that I should be honest about how I feel when I see you. My heart starts to speed up and my throat gets dry.
I know you probably think I'm a total dork for e-mailing you like this. You probably think it's stupid for a girl to make the first move. But I couldn't help it. I just had to say something.
I like you - there, I said it.
Anyway, hope you don't think I'm a dork for not obeying the rule that says a girl should never make the first move.
Posted by Will Franken at 7:41 PM
Monday, November 17, 2008
To all of those who ordered both the Assault in Union Square and the New York Welfare Story, the latter is still in progress and I have had to move the deadline for its completion forward a little bit. I now hope to have the NY Welfare Story completed by the end of this coming weekend.
It is very emotional. As I am writing it, I am remembering all sorts of things that are kind of painful. So it is moving slower than I had hoped for. But I want you all to have a good, honest, and entertaining product.
But please be patient.
Also, if you have not ordered your Assault in Union Square story yet, there are still PDF copies available.
I also have a crush on another girl. I tell you, I think I'm going to faint every time she comes near. I feel like a total retard. But I realized something--the feeling I get when I'm around a girl that I have a crush on is the exact same feeling I have when I'm flying through turbulence and I think the plane is going to crash. I sweat. My heart speeds up. And I'm not sure what the right way to sit is.
Crash? Crush? Get it?
Also, I have been re-reading John Stuart Mill. You know, I always blamed him somewhat for the advent of socialism, but I tell you, his grasp on the importance of individuality is unrivaled.
Posted by Will Franken at 7:27 PM
Friday, November 14, 2008
I am a child of two cities.
San Francisco is my mother and New York is my father.
One of my closest friends here in New York is a 65-year old Irish-American named Jimmy. I'd call him a father figure, but I didn't really get along with my father, so I think of him more as a grandfather figure--even though Jimmy could have had me when he was thirty, a reasonable age to have kids. Besides, both my grandfathers died when I was very young, so it's good to have a kind soul like Jimmy to fill that void.
Tonight we met for coffee at a diner in Manhattan. "How ya doing, kid?" he asked me as I sat down.
"I gotta get laid, Jimmy. It's been over a fucking year."
He patted my face with his palm like they always do in the mob movies. "Listen to him: 'I gotta do this. I gotta do that'. Take it the fuck easy, kid."
I shrugged and kvetched--like they always do in the Jewish movies. "I'm trying, Jimmy. But, man, I don't know. I can't get laid, you know?"
He wagged his finger at me while taking a drink of coffee, which in Jimmyspeak means: Even though I'm drinking coffee, don't say anything, because when I swallow, I'm going to say something really important.
Which he did, "You gotta talk to 'em, that's what the fuck you gotta do. Fuck this 'I gotta get laid' shit. What? You think you're going to fuck some broad without talking to her first? You're gonna put your dick in some deaf and dumb pussy? There's an order to things here, kid."
I laughed, "I know, Jimmy. But I can't, man. I used to be able to, but I can't anymore."
"You're a fucking comedian, aren't you? Make 'em laugh, for Christ's sake. What? You think you're going to be able to get it up without making some bitch laugh first? I know you too well, kid. Use that sense of yoo-mer God gave ya. Anybody can have a dick."
Now it was Jimmy's turn to laugh, "Yeah, you ain't been down to the Village lately!" He smiled widely and then brought his voice down a few decibels, "Come on, kid, you know what I'm saying here. If you're gonna get laid without talking to a broad first, you might as well be raping. And there's no honor in that. That's not what we do, you understand?"
"Jesus, Jimmy. Are you crazy? I'd never rape a chick!"
He smiled and took another drink of coffee, "I'm just fucking with you, kid."
I breathed a sigh of relief, "I'm too shy to rape a chick!"
"Yeah, well that kind of shy is all right," he said, "but if you wanna get laid, you gotta talk to 'em. Okay?"
"I can't, man," I said, "It's one thing when they're in the audience and I'm on the stage. But real life? One on one? I can't. . .I can't. . ."
Jimmy brought his palm down on the Formica table, making the silverware jump. "Enough of this 'can't' shit! That's all I ever hear from you. 'I can't do this! I can't do that!'"
"Sorry, Jimmy. I can't help it."
"There he goes again!" he exclaimed with his trademark half-smile of compassion. Jimmy never gets mad at me. He only gets frustrated. "Why don't you just say 'I won't'?"
"Won't?" I asked, befuddled.
"Yeah. That's closer to the truth, isn't it?"
"You mean, 'I won't get laid?'"
"Yeah. I'd respect that a lot more than 'I can't'."
I tried it out a few times in a deep booming voice, wagging my finger sternly and pronouncing the new contraction as a term of selfish refusal. "I won't talk to women! I won't have sex! I won't get laid!"
Jimmy looked to his left and then to his right, muttering softly, "Okay, kid, bring it down a notch. I've been coming to this diner for twenty years and I don't want to get kicked out now."
I was amazed at the difference. "Wow. This 'won't' shit is pretty scary."
"And why do you think that is?" he asked me.
"Cause it makes everything a choice?"
"And 'can't' makes me a victim?"
"Give him some sunglasses, now he's seeing the fucking light."
My whole world seemed to open up just then into a beautiful garden of infinite possibility. "I feel so stupid. Can you believe I'm a fucking libertarian even?"
Jimmy chuckled knowingly, being a libertarian himself. "Easy in theory, hard in practice, right?"
"But choice is always good, no?"
"It sure is, Jimmy. It sure is."
"So the next time you want to bang some broad. . ." he took another sip of coffee, wagging his finger again until he finally swallowed, ". . .just think of Milton Friedman!"
We cackled so loudly at our inside political joke that the middle-aged group of yentas sitting in the next booth gathered their coats and purses and left in a huff.
On the way home later, I found myself on the subway sitting next to a cute shiksa in a purple beret and leather jackboots. When the train pulled up to Marcy Avenue in Brooklyn and the doors opened, the crowd thinned. I could see from the corner of my eye that the girl had plenty of room to slide over. But she didn't.
Wow, I thought, I don't repulse her. She doesn't feel the need to move away from me. I should say something.
And then, with the clockwork regularity of a bad psychological habit, the fanfare of self-defeat began.
I can't look at her. I can't talk to her. I can't approach her.
But then I remembered Jimmy's lesson from earlier and switched the contractions.
I won't look at her. I won't talk to her. I won't approach her.
Needless to say, nothing happened. The shiksa got off at Myrtle Avenue and disappeared with the closing of the doors into the bittersweet anonymity of a starless November night.
I'll have to confirm with Jimmy, but I suspect there's an essential third stage to this linguistic reshuffling: Changing the negative into a positive.
I will look at her. I will talk to her. I will approach her.
Posted by Will Franken at 9:05 PM
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Hey--I just got an e-mail from the folks at the Joey Reynolds Show (WOR in New York).
Initially, I was supposed to be down at the studio at 1 a.m. (EST) tonight.
But I just received a note from the show's producer that I am requested to be down there at 11:55 p.m. (EST) tonight.
Just in case anyone is listening, I may be on earlier.
I hope I do well. I have to be honest, I am nervous. I love old-school New York radio. I am honored. I hope I do well.
Posted by Will Franken at 1:23 PM
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
My favorite medium besides live performance (in other words, I hate television)
Friday Nov. 7th 10 a.m.
Guest on Casey Ley's "Morning Show" (promoting Nov. 8th shows at the Purple Onion)
San Francisco, Los Angeles - 87.9 FM
Berlin - 104.8
Saturday, Nov. 8th, 12-2pm
Guest on Melinda Adam's Show (promoting that evening's shows at the Purple Onion)
San Francisco, Los Angeles - 87.9 FM
Berlin - 104.8
Sunday, Nov. 9th, 10pm
Guest on The John Miller Show
San Francisco, Los Angeles - 87.9 FM
AND. . .WHEN I GET BACK TO NEW YORK. . .THE BIG ONE!!!!
Wednesday, Nov. 12th, 1am
Guest on The Joey Reynolds Show!
WOR IN NEW YORK!!! RADIO 710
Call in line: 800-321-0710
I LOOOOOOVE RADIO!!!!!
LOOKING FORWARD TO PERFORMING IN SAN FRANCISCO ALSO!!!!!
Posted by Will Franken at 11:39 AM
Sunday, November 02, 2008
I'd like to say thanks to all of you who purchased the Will Franken Arrest In Union Square Park story in advance.
It was finally completed this afternoon--and weighed in at 50 pages (PDF format)
I had a lot of fun writing this story. There were many times I found myself laughing pretty hard.
Right now, I'm crying, because I'm listening to my iTunes on here and Red Sovine's country opus "Teddy Bear" just came up.
If you haven't purchased this story yet, it's really funny and really personal. You'll find things out about me that I'll never reveal on this blog.
It's $5 and you can purchase it by clicking the donate button below!
The story will then be e-mailed to you in PDF format (or by other means, if you so specify)
For those of you who purchased the double-story $7 deal, the Thirty Days On New York Welfare Story will be available following my return from San Francisco on November 12th.
Also, between now and then, I'll be taking a break from blogging to get away from the computer a bit so I can focus on writing live material again. (I need to get back in shape and rediscover my roots, as they say--but not to worry, I will be back, stronger than ever)
Posted by Will Franken at 2:26 PM
As somebody who once taught (or attempted to) in the toilet that is the New York City public school system and was strong-armed into joining the standard-lowering, money-grifting, anti-education union known as the United Federation of Teachers, this was especially priceless.
From the "Letters" section of Friday's NY Post (paying particular attention to the Editor's Note):
UFT's JUST DESERTS
I have been a teacher in the New York City school system for over twenty years. For all of that time, I have also been a very proud member of the UFT.
Over the last several years, there have often appeared very negative comments presented in your editorials about the quality of New York City teachers.
You have frequently alluded to the fact that many or most teachers cannot spell correctly.
I would personally like to correct your front-page headline "Isiah Getting Just Deserts" (Oct. 27).
Deserts are arid regions. I think you meant to say the word "dessert."
I would like to think this was just a typo. However, perhaps whoever wrote this headline was not fortunate enough to attend school in New York City.
New York Teacher
EDITOR'S NOTE: The American Heritage Dictionary, 4th Edition, defines "desert," as: n., something that is deserved or merited, especially a punishment. Often used in the plural.
OUCH! THAT'S GOTTA HURT!
Posted by Will Franken at 12:40 PM