Sunday is the day of rest! Actually, it’s the day of YouTube. Especially during winter. The temperature dropped only a few degrees below zero and my hibernation instincts kicked in to full gear.
Thanks to some links sent to me, this day of YouTube went incredibly well, and as I can’t resist sharing, here goes with some short reviews.
Ever felt like this? Sure! While it’s not always advisable to rip up your notes and pull this approach during actual exam study time, keeping the seriousness of a situation within reasonable bounds isn’t a bad idea and this video helps along with the ride. It’s also just really funny and further confirmation of how Disney’s Frozen keeps blowing people’s minds. Oh, and there’s humorous and sarcastic rewriting of lyrics, which I do on a daily basis, yay, there are others out there!
Some more Frozen inspiration to laugh at and maybe laugh at yourself in the process, if you have memories from the past that might pop up after this video. For the record, knowing all the digits of pi is impressive. My favorite line among the laugh-out-loud rewritten lyrics: “Here’s a lock of my own hair/ Honestly, I think I’m made for you…”
Watching videos inspired by the release of the full-length movie trailer for Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast (God, I cannot wait to see it) led me to this adorable gem. This was the trigger for the pure tears I may have needed to shed today. No words, just feels, all of them.
Has this day of YouTube been somewhat Disney-centric? Nah, come on.
What would a visit to Oslo be without Norwegian comedy brother-duo Ylvis?
Magnus, Vegard, Bård and Calle greeted us on a daily basis from posters as we passed the Folketeateret on our wanderings. The actual entrance to the theater is inside a lovely, spacious passage housing several restaurants, and the smell of delicious food would be one of the first things we’d register when we would pass through. It all became very familiar and people-watching by this pretty fountain, or just relaxing briefly with a snack wasn’t frowned upon.
We had tickets to a live taping of the talkshow I kveld med YLVIS (Tonight with Ylvis), and the evening was particularly exciting as this was the last episode. We had a bite in the Burger Bar, with sweet potato fries and a delicious blue cheese dip for me – good preparation for the laughter and subsequent activities that followed the show. In an hour the faces of diners around us became familiar as well and I recognized many not only later in the theater, but even the next morning in the hotel. Many of them were (covertly) looking around, like us, possibly hoping to catch a glimpse of the Ylvis brothers, who are known popping up in various places around Oslo, the theater passage included.
Once the theater doors opened we poured in with the rest of the excited crowd – the building was beautiful inside. A long, layered glittering chandelier descended from the ceiling above a wide staircase, and the above hall with the bar was a harmonious mix of dark wood, plush seats and dim lighting. Once again that feeling of space – how do they do that everywhere? Every staff member, bartenders included, were wearing I kveld med YLVIS t-shirts. We settled by the bar with our drinks, chattering, when the bartender approached me and spoke in Norwegian. “I’m sorry?” I said politely. “I need to take your water glass, because they are going to use it in the studio,” she said, then, seeing the mingled surprise and excitement on my face, added the somewhat cryptic bit, “I’m not going to wash it.” I handed over my (still full) glass, she gave me a plastic one same as the rest of the population, and gave the original to a young guy also wearing an I kveld med YLVIS shirt.
We debated whether traces of my lipgloss would be visible on the glass, thus providing an exciting possible connection with the evening’s celebrities, but from where we were sitting it was impossible to tell. I do hope the glass did get washed, though.
A live band played on two balconies across from each other, and the guy signalling to us how to clap was doing a very good job, but the audience really didn’t need much encouragement. Finally, the lights dimmed, and the Ylvis brothers ran out on to the stage. After lots of YouTube videos, it was fantastic to see them in the flesh.
Before they even began interacting properly with the audience, which is a standard starting point of the show, a woman sitting a few rows away from the stage jumped up and began shouting something shrilly. She was quite short and I couldn’t make out what she was saying. However, Vegard and Bård leaned forward slightly, with concentrating looks on their faces, and after several attempts to understand her, it became clear what she was so desperate to get across: “I’M FROM THE UNITED STATES!” “Mah Gawd!” Bård responded immediately, getting the audience to clap with him. Another guy piped up with the same information and promptly got chastised by Bård: “You missed by 20 minutes!” After some more questions and politely acceping gifts being handed on the stage, Bård firmly declared this part of the show was over and it was all Norwegian now. Kudos, a brilliant and sharp bit of improv.
Despite not speaking Norwegian, the show was fast, snappy, fun and easy to follow, especially since Magnus, Vegard, Bård and Calle were all familiar to me, and my friend was a walking Ylvis encyclopedia. Any question you asked her about Ylvis, she had the answer. And thanks to loyal Ylvis fans, videos of the show and other stuff they do in Norwegian get translated in to English quickly. It was particularly interesting to see how a talk show was filmed, even more so when we watched the whole thing again on TV the following night, and spotted ourselves in the audience.
The show concluded with Calle, Vegard and Bård doing equally fantastic imitations of the lead singer of Norwegian dansband Ole Ivars, who was present to judge. They really couldn’t have gone out better (and the bus with Ole Ivars emblazoned on it finally became clear to me, as well as Bård’s cryptic Instagram post from earlier, but not being local, I’m allowed).
But the night wasn’t over yet. After some hanging around in the passage outside, watching the numbers of those waiting dwindle, the mother of one of the girls ran outside to check some apparent commotion. The daughter held her phone at the ready and I could feel all eyes focusing on her like a traffic light. Suddenly she got up, as did several others, and then we were all hurrying outside to square at the other end…where Magnus and Calle were taking pictures with excited fans (standing in line). “Thank you for coming,” Calle said in response to my thanks for a wonderful evening, as did Magnus, and they both took time to chat with us, despite the late hour, and it was all simply lovely.
After more waiting (those burgers were good!) we heard several girls gasp, “Bård!” and he appeared, but after one female fan shoved her selfie stick at his face with the force of Arnold Schwarzenegger on a good day, he gave a slight shake of the head and made a “Nuh-uh, dude” face, disappearing in to the bar next door. Laughing, we left, having definitely put “the right amount of pressure” on this very cool evening.
If I need a laugh, these are some of my favourite selections on YouTube (and once I discover something that clicks with me, it is absolutely not difficult for me to watch it over, and over, and over again. And then one more time).
The already mentioned in this blog and always brilliant Lindsey Stirling posted this video a while ago about… dressing up as bees for Halloween. It’s cute AND funny. Nothing like grown-ups having fun in Disneyland. Plus Lindsey’s editing skills and presence in front of the camera.
Scottish comedian Danny Bhoy starts off with a comment on something else and then gets to the segment that cracks me up every time. It’s scarily accurate and ridiculously hilarious in its imitation of drunk women exiting a bar. I also think I could answer one of his questions.
Continuing on the alcohol theme, this golden oldie from very naughty and very talented Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis also successfully depicts the embarassing aspects of being drunk.
And finally, while this takes place in a bar and also includes drinks, it’s a very witty and elegantly acted scene from Criminal Minds, the kind of thing you’d like to see happen in real life.
The New York Times review quote on the cover, while intentionally good, only makes me disagree with it. Mindy Kaling is not “like Tina Fey’s little sister.” Mindy Kaling is Mindy Kaling.
Kaling herself pokes fun at this in her opening chapter. Answering a probably typical question about her book, “This sounds okay, but not as good as Tina Fey’s book. Why isn’t this more like Tina Fey’s book?”she says, “I know, man. Tina’s awesome.”
One of the most pleasant impressions from this book was of intelligence and humour, which permeated the pages, easily mixing and trading places with each other in Kaling’s written delivery. She is truthful and frank, but, to a reader’s relief, neither coarse nor crude.
Most good memoirs seem to have a common denominator: witty and natural self-deprecation. Which in turn might also be a form of owning being bullied in the past, another thing the authors of said memoirs often have in common. Kaling is able to laugh at parts of her childhood and youth which are, from a matter-of-fact point of view, not funny at all, but she is in control of her narrative and easily shares the laughter with her readers. A description of a horrifying incident had me in unexpected stitches: “The sight of a fat child falling, lifeless, from a high distance into a pond, is kind of an amazing sight, I’ll bet.” More so it wasn’t due to the wording, but to the fact that Kaling was being humorous and still making room for a serious statement in an enganging way.
She pauses plenty of times for self-reflection, and you wait for it every now and then, you come to expect that paragraph that makes you either nod or shake your head, but you understand it. “A note about me: I do not think stress is a legitimate topic of conversation, in public anyway. No one ever wants to hear how stressed out anyone else is, because most of the time everyone is stressed out. Going on and on in detail about how stressed out I am isn’t conversation. It’ll never lead anywhere. No one is going to say, “Wow, Mindy, you really have it especially bad. I have heard some stories of stress, but this just takes the cake.”
Kaling is yet another female voice with a sense of self expressing hope for something. When reading, inner responses range from, “Girl, why?!” to “Yes, same here!” “I’m kind of a mess,” she admits candidly. But a successful, hard-working, driven mess. Taken separately from the TV shows she was involved in, the book in itself also showcases how Kaling creates and carries her own project. She is definitely as chatty as she is known to be, but her chatter is clear-spoken and attention-grabbing.
An ultimately amusing and touching non-fiction read, which I would pick up again.
It looks like I’m on a memoir reading kick now, more specifically those written by US female entertainers receiving considerable media attention. The stack of books in the abovementioned genre on my nightstand has become higher, and since it is in danger of toppling over and waking me up in the night (falling books make quite the noise), I got a move on.
Two of the books from said stack have been read. Before I pull out the parts that stuck with me the most, why did I turn to these memoirs? Because I was curious. They kept popping up in stories on sites I regularly visit and being mentioned by authors writing pieces I identified with. Quite a few of these books were bestsellers in the US and internationally, and as is sometimes the case for me with massively successful cultural phenomena, I wanted to form my own opinion. Also the authors of these books, whatever opinion one might have of their preceding and continuing work in entertainment, were hard-working women with established creative projects they felt strongly about and had pushed through themselves. I wanted to read what they had to say.
The first book was Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I opened the book straight to the middle, to be greeted by the simple statement, “If it’s not funny, you don’t have to laugh.” True, and thank you – that’s actually what got me in the reading mood before I started at the beginning. The order of events described in the book is not chronological, jumping from youth to childhood to adulthood and then back to childhood. Observations on family, friends, children, work and careers are interspersed with each other, which I found relatable, as that is basically what life is like on a daily basis. While some of the sketches described were not to my taste, quite a few experiences strike a chord, especially when Poehler switches from sarcastic to observant and humble in one chapter. Time Travel is a touching depiction of how time and friendships connect: “I believe you can time-travel three different ways: with people, places and things…In the shop, I found an old-timey bathing suit. I bought the bathing suit home and looked at it. I thought about who might have owned it before. The bathing suit didn’t fit into my life at that moment …I put this bathing suit in a drawer and it waited for me to take it traveling. And then six months later I went to Palm Springs with a bunch of wonderful women. They were my beautiful friends who helped me through a difficult year. We were going swimming and I reached into my bag to find a bathing suit….I realized I had traveled again, this time into a happier future.”
She also writes a succint and to-the-point passage about the reality of unwanted approaches women may deal with in the workplace, however small: ” But I did let him hug me. I let that creepy guy hug me. I stayed seated and he came over and hugged my stiff body while my arms stayed at my sides. All I was thinking at that moment was that if I let him hug me he would feel better and this would all be over soon. Do you think he would have hugged a male performer? Me neither. Either way, it never ends.”
Bossypants by Tina Fey followed, and I can’t help feeling I read it a little too fast, as I’m leafing through it now for this blog post and discovering passages that seem new to me. The additional catalyst for taking my own look at the book was hearing people talk about it at a party and rewatching Fey’s impression of Sarah Palin. In any case, one of the chapters I enjoyed most was titled I Don’t Care If You Like It (One in a series of love letters to Amy Poehler). The scene she describes, where Poehler speaks her mind about a, albeit jokey, reaction to her own joke, aptly sums up her creative approach to comedy entwined with views on independence: “With that exchange, a cosmic shift took place. Amy made it clear that she wasn’t there to be cute. She wasn’t there to play wives and girlfriends in the boys’ scenes. She was there to do what she wanted to do and she did not ******* care if you like it.” This is followed by a nugget of always true and handy advice that is never amiss (and also made me want to read on): “So my unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this. When faced with sexism or ageism or lookism or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: “Is this person in between me and what I want to do?” If the answer is no, ignore it and move on.”
The Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter is one of the best parts of the book, and one I confess I skipped to before reading in orderly fashion. Both humorous and heartfelt, it rounds up what a memoir is for – writing about yourself without being strictly autobiographical: “Oh Lord, break the internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers.” Regardless of whether you’re a parent or not, you will probably find yourself smiling as you read.
Just like the two women are famously friends in real life, the feeling you get after finishing reading is that the books could be friends too. Both authors mention each other and the role they play in each others lives without overdoing it, and those parts of the books are some of the most heart-warming. You believe in this friendship. Both honestly mention what it was like to write books and are open about the process of writing – yes, it’s hard! But the unstopabble part is that they both wanted to do it. Most notably, when you have experienced and achieved a lot in what occupies the main time frame of your life, the truth is that it can make a book.
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