Harry Truman plays piano with Jack Benny. When Legends Gather #611 (If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger,There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats)
This ongoing spectacle of the entertainment industry censuring certain artists over their private misdeeds while ignoring or rehabilitating equally troublesome characters is pathetic. Violence, substance abuse, self-destruction and general prickishness is a blight on humanity, but it’s a blight that should be dealt with by police and judges, not the media or the public. Either the criminal justice system is working properly or it isn’t. And whether it is or isn’t, the offenses or alleged offenses have nothing to do with an artist’s work, or right to work, much less our ability to engage with and appreciate said work.”
Recent research illustrates how writing by hand engages the brain in learning. During one study at Indiana University published this year, researchers invited children to man a “spaceship,” actually an MRI machine using a specialized scan called “functional” MRI that spots neural activity in the brain. The kids were shown letters before and after receiving different letter-learning instruction. In children who had practiced printing by hand, the neural activity was far more enhanced and “adult-like” than in those who had simply looked at letters. “It seems there is something really important about manually manipulating and drawing out two-dimensional things we see all the time,” says Karin Harman James, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Indiana University who led the study.”
RIP Bernard Schwartz, you handsome devil. Photo via If Charlie Parker….
It might be useful to think of yourself as a brand sometimes; but it is crucial, always, to remember that you aren’t.”
RM: Is there any piece of advice you wish someone had told you before you started writing professionally, or doing comedy professionally?
JM: Simon Rich and I put a goat in a sketch once that had to be moved across the entire floor of Studio 8H in order to get to the third beat of a sketch. And you hear all your life that goats are stubborn, but you think, “Nah, it’s going to be okay.” But then you deal with one and they are. They hold their legs down and won’t be walked. So in this case two stagehands had to pick up the goat and run him across the stage to get him to the other place.
RM: So you wish someone had told you to never put a goat in your sketch?
JM: No, I’m glad we had the goat in the sketch. I wish someone had told me that “Yes, the rules of goats apply to you too. You’re not immune to goat stubbornness.”