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RADIOHEAD: Burn The Witch

May 3rd, 2016

A new album appears imminent. You have been warned.

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MEDIA: Amy Schumer Is Ready For Her Close-Up

May 3rd, 2016


If Hollywood gave out trophies for agents, managers, and publicists, Schumer’s team would have won one last year, too. Trainwreck built on the accolades and viral appeal of Inside Amy Schumer, grossing $110 million in the U.S. upon its release in July. Schumer followed the film with a well-received and decently if not spectacularly rated October appearance hosting Saturday Night Live and, a week after that, the premiere of her first HBO special, Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo, directed by Chris Rock. Throughout the year Schumer graced multiple magazine covers, looking genuinely sexy for American Glamour, which put her in a powder-blue dress and bra, and ironically sexy for GQ, for which she wore Princess Leia’s “slave” costume and seductively sucked C-3PO’s left index finger. (Inside the magazine she was photographed giving a blow job to a lightsaber.) In the spring she was a candidate to take over The Daily Show, a potential opportunity she ultimately withdrew from. In 2014, she canceled a book contract for $1 million with HarperCollins and, this past September, signed a new one, for $8 to $10 million, with Simon & Schuster. (The result, a collection of essays now titled The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, will be published in August.) She was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People and one of People’s 100 Most Beautiful. All of which went toward making Schumer the biggest breakout star of 2015, unless maybe you count BB-8. MORE

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INCOMING: Speaking For The Trees

May 3rd, 2016



“I mean sometimes writers make shit up,” Jarvis Taveniere says somewhat wearily when asked about the perils of being pigeonholed in the press. “But that’s how it starts I guess, right?” Taveniere’s band, Woods, has been tagged with many different genres. Space folk, psych folk — usually something-folk. But Taveniere doesn’t necessarily see it that way. “For me, psychedelia is more about the way the instruments interact,” the Woods guitarist says. “Listening to the first few Leonard Cohen records, they’re mostly just guitar and voice with some light overdubs, but I always think of those records as so psychedelic. It’s a perception thing. You’re sitting there and, like, this big voice is sucking you in and it’s so simple. And then all the sudden the light tremolo guitar comes in out of nowhere.”

To be fair, boxing Woods’ latest album, City Sun Eater in the River of Light, their ninth in ten years, with a single catchphrase-worthy genre is an impossible task. There are many sounds on the new album  that go beyond Woods’ typical blend of woods-sunrock, folk, and experimental. The first thing you notice after hitting play – literally one second into the album’s beginning – is the atypical jazzy horn figure in the first notes of the first song, “Sun City Creeps,” which also happens to be the lead single. Lead singer and songwriter Jeremy Earl calls the album a “city record,” bucolic band name be damned. While walking down Brooklyn’s Greenpoint Avenue during the middle of summer, the title came to him as “this sort of vision that came of the hot, anxious, sunny city day.”

Woods formed soon after Taveniere met lead singer Jeremy Earl while playing in a hardcore band called I Am The Resurrection. It was the early 2000s, and Taveniere had just graduated from SUNY Purchase and Earl was in his senior year. There was an instant connection. “I was like, whatever I do musically, me and this guy can get along,” says Taveniere. “He’s up for it. He can handle it.”  The band name stems from Earl’s childhood, growing up in the “small rural town” of Warwick, in upstate New York, before moving to Brooklyn. “I have this constant love affair — on again off again — with upstate, where I’m constantly back and forth and I kind of need to be in both [New York City and upstate New York] to recharge from the other.” Taveniere concurs: “”We were both from upstate New York. I always thought of the woods as this place where I could do whatever I wanted. When I was younger it was where you’d play games or make a bike track with some jumps and then you get old and you start smoking weed and taking acid in the woods, and it just became this safe hiding place where you could just explore.” – TOM BECK


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NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t

May 2nd, 2016



FRESH AIR: As a co-founder of the band X, John Doe helped define the punk scene that emerged in Los Angeles in the late 1970s. Doe tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that punk was about breaking rules and challenging the norms of the existing music scene. “One of the things that was going on in music at the time is everything was all brainy and white guys. [There was] so much intellectualization and so many notes and so many long songs.” Doe says. “Punk rock [was] saying, ‘Screw all of this. I’m just gonna do something and see what happens.'” In his new memoir, Under The Big Black Sun: A Personal History Of L.A. Punk, Doe brings together his own essays and stories from other musicians and scene-makers of that time. One contributor to the book is Exene Cervenka. She shared vocals and songwriting duties with Doe in X, and the two were married for a time. Cervenka tells Gross that the L.A. punk scene was open to everyone. “Anybody could belong to punk that wanted to be there. [It] didn’t matter how old you were, what you were like,” she says. “It was a free-for-all for outcasts.” Under_The_Big_Black Sun_By_John_Doe copyCervenka says the movement was centered on fighting the “corporate takeover” of culture. “We wanted things to be real, and we thought that this music was going to prevent that from happening,” she says. Dave Alvin was in the band The Blasters with his brother Phil, but also played guitar with X for a few years. He wrote a chapter for the book, and joined Doe and Cervenka for this interview. “In those days in the ’70s, in the larger pop culture, everything was being planned,” says Alvin. “It was the beginning of nothing you would hear [that] hadn’t been approved by a committee, and that went from advertising all the way down to popular music. It seemed that the sort of thing that made me turn up the radio when I was 8 years old, the car radio with my mom driving, that thing had disappeared from music. When I heard, for example, X, the first time, I saw them live, and heard the harmonies, I heard all sorts of things going on. I heard Richard & Mimi Fariña happening, whether they knew it or not. I heard the unique folk Appalachian blend, I heard all these things going on that you just didn’t hear on The Love Boat. And in those days, things like The Love Boat, kids today don’t realize just how oppressive pop culture had become.” MORE

PREVIOUSLY: The X-Man Cometh: Q&A With John Doe

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TONIGHT: The Devil & Antonin Scalia

May 2nd, 2016

Scalia vs Scalia


Former law clerks to Justice Scalia reflect on the late Justice and the future of constitutional interpretation 6:30 pm tonight at the National Constitution Center. Speakers include Steven Calabresi of Northwestern University School of Law, Lee Otis of the Federalist Society, Kevin Walsh of the University of Richmond School of Law, and Brianne Gorod of the Constitutional Accountability Center. Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, moderates. Admission is free for Members, $7 for students and teachers, and $15 for the public. Registration is recommended for all events. Tickets can be reserved here or by calling 215-409-6700.

RELATED: One might wonder how [Scalia] can stay on the court after the revelation last week that two convicted murderers he once described as lucky to be given the blessing of a lethal injection have turned out to be innocent. That’s right, this is about the case everyone’s been talking about — the two brothers, both mentally disabled, who were railroaded onto death row some 30 years ago with coerced confessions by a corrupt police department. As the New York Times reported:

The case against the men, always weak, fell apart after DNA evidence implicated another man whose possible involvement had been somehow overlooked by the authorities even though he lived only a block from where the victim’s body was found, and he had admitted to committing a similar rape and murder around the same time. The startling shift in fortunes for the men, Henry Lee McCollum, 50, who has spent three decades on death row, and Leon Brown, 46, who was serving a life sentence, provided one of the most dramatic examples yet of the potential harm from false, coerced confessions and of the power of DNA tests to exonerate the innocent.

They were 19 and 15 at the time of the murder and their conviction was based on nothing more than their coerced confessions, quote-mere-factual-innocence-is-no-reason-not-to-carry-out-a-death-sentence-properly-reached-antonin-scalia-386636one of which was said to have ended with the defendant saying, “Can I go home now?” It was a famous case, used often by law and order Republican politicians in North Carolina as an electoral cudgel with which to beat Democratic rivals over the head. The state appeals process eventually reduced the sentence of one of the defendants to life in prison but until a state commission with power to subpoena evidence looked into it, the DNA from the scene was not tested and other evidence from the crime scene that implicated another convicted rapist was never processed. When they were, they exonerated these two men.

What exactly was it that Justice Scalia said about them? Well, he cited this particular case in the decision on Collins v. Collins back in 1994 in which he disagreed with Justice Harry Blackmun on the constitutionality of the death penalty. This was the famous case in which Justice Blackmun disavowed his former support for capital punishment and declared that he would no longer “tinker with the machinery of death.” Scalia wrote, with characteristic sarcasm:

Justice Blackmun begins his statement by describing with poignancy the death of a convicted murderer by lethal injection. He chooses, as the case in which to make that statement, one of the less brutal of the murders that regularly come before us, the murder of a man ripped by a bullet suddenly and unexpectedly, with no opportunity to prepare himself and his affairs, and left to bleed to death on the floor of a tavern. The death-by-injection which Justice Blackmun describes looks pretty desirable next to that. It looks even better next to some of the other cases currently before us, which Justice Blackmun did not select as the vehicle for his announcement that the death penalty is always unconstitutional, for example, the case of the 11-year-old girl raped by four men and then killed by stuffing her panties down her throat. How enviable a quiet death by lethal injection compared with that!”

Yes, how very enviable. Unless the defendants are innocent, in which case it is as horrifying as the brutal slaying of the victim, particularly after 30 years spent imprisoned in a small cell waiting for the day that he will know in advance he is to die. That alone is cruel and unusual punishment. Not that Justice Scalia sees it that way. MORE



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‘America Has Never Been So Ripe For Tyranny’

May 2nd, 2016



NEW YORK MAGAZINE: When a democracy has ripened as fully as this, Plato argues, that a would-be tyrant will often seize his moment. He is usually of the elite but has a nature in tune with the time — given over to random pleasures and whims, feasting on plenty of food and sex, and reveling in the nonjudgment that is democracy’s civil religion. He makes his move by “taking over a particularly obedient mob” and attacking his wealthy peers as corrupt. If not stopped quickly, his appetite for attacking the rich on behalf of the people swells further. He is a traitor to his class — and soon, his elite enemies, shorn of popular legitimacy, find a way to appease him or are forced to flee. Eventually, he stands alone, promising to cut through the paralysis of democratic incoherence. It’s as if he were offering the addled, distracted, and self-indulgent citizens a kind of relief from democracy’s endless choices and insecurities. He rides a backlash to excess—“too much freedom seems to change into nothing but too much slavery” — and offers himself as the personified answer to the internal conflicts of the democratic mess. He pledges, above all, to take on the increasingly despised elites. And as the people thrill to him as a kind of solution, a democracy willingly, even impetuously, repeals itself.

And so, as I chitchatted over cocktails at a Washington office Christmas party in December, and saw, looming above our heads, the pulsating, angry televised face of Donald Trump on Fox News, I couldn’t help but feel a little nausea permeate my stomach. And as I watched frenzied Trump rallies on C-SPAN in the spring, and saw him lay waste to far more qualified political peers in the debates by simply calling them names, the nausea turned to dread. And when he seemed to condone physical violence as a response to political disagreement, alarm bells started to ring in my head. Plato had planted a gnawing worry in my mind a few decades ago about the intrinsic danger of late-democratic life. It was increasingly hard not to see in Plato’s vision a murky reflection of our own hyperdemocratic times and in Trump a demagogic, tyrannical character plucked directly out of one of the first books about politics ever written.

Could it be that the Donald has emerged from the populist circuses of pro wrestling and New York City tabloids, via reality television and Twitter, to prove not just Plato but also James Madison right, that democracies “have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention … and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths”? Is he testing democracy’s singular weakness — its susceptibility to the demagogue — by blasting through the firewalls we once had in place to prevent such a person from seizing power? Or am I overreacting?

Perhaps. The nausea comes and goes, and there have been days when the news algorithm has actually reassured me that “peak Trump” has arrived. But it hasn’t gone away, and neither has Trump. In the wake of his most recent primary triumphs, at a time when he is perilously close to winning enough delegates to grab the Republican nomination outright, I think we must confront this dread and be clear about what this election has already revealed about the fragility of our way of life and the threat late-stage democracy is beginning to pose to itself. MORE

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May 2nd, 2016


BYLINER mecroppedsharp_1BY JONATHAN VALANIA In honor of seminal L.A. punk pioneers X’s appearance on Fresh Air today — occasioned by the publication of Under The Big Black Sun: A Personal History Of L.A. Punk by X singer/songwriter/bassist John Doe —  we’re re-running this 2012 interview with post-punk-roots-rock legend John Doe wherein we extracted deep knowledge about ancient West Coast punk history. Discussed: His alias, Decatur, Baltimore, Los Angeles, The Doors, Raymond Chandler, Charles Bukowski, John Waters, Ramones, Talking Heads, how he met Exene, why Billy Zoom quit, how they got Ray Manzarek to produce them, how they lost their mojo, why they were desperate and how we got used to it, and how the one guy in PT Anderson’s Boogie Nights that’s not doing/dealing/stealing for drugs or making sleazy fuck films with girls who may or may not be underage turned out to be the villain. His name? John Doe.

PHAWKER: You were born John Nomenson Duchac, am I pronouncing that right?

JOHN DOE: You mispronounced just like everyone else does.

PHAWKER: Please school me.

JOHN DOE: No reason to. I could have said that my real name was Adolf Hitler but I didn’t think it would go over so well, or that my name was Samuel Clemens. It doesn’t matter. It’s much more fun to be John Doe than anyone else.

PHAWKER: You were born in Decatur, what was the final straw, like ‘That’s it, I’m outta here, I’m going to Los Angeles…’

JOHN DOE: That is a long-and-odd-that-you-should-ask story because I have been writing about it. My parents decided when we were going to leave Decatur when was 6 months old. I had no choice in the matter. We lived in Kingsport Tennessee which was right by the border of Tennessee and Kentucky for about 4 years then moved to Wisconsin then moved a couple places then ended up in Baltimore when I was in 3rd grade. So what is that…nine years old? Something like that. I lived in Baltimore until I was out of college. Uh, I moved to LA because I was sick of the East Coast. There are a lot of ghosts on the East Coast and there is a lot of sleet and shitty weather. Baltimore, as you know, only has one truly famous person which is John Waters. I had been to CBGB’s, I’d been to Max’s Kansas City. I’d seen the Talking Heads and The Heartbreakers and realized that that music scene was already pretty locked up by 1976. I went to LA with a friend and it was glorious. I was a huge fan of the writers that came out of LA — of Nathaniel West and Charles Bukouski and people like that. There is a freedom on the West Coast that is not available to people who grow up on the East Coast.

PHAWKER: It was sort of like, ‘Let’s go out to LA and invent punk, it hasn’t hit there yet’?

JOHN DOE: It was just getting started, you know, everywhere. It was in the air, that’s why it took hold so fast in England. The Ramones went there in what, ’74, then POW! everything happened. There were people who were also musical outcasts living in LA at the time. We got here right as it was starting.

PHAWKER: What was the first time you met Exene? What were the circumstances?

JOHN DOE: Well, I ran a poetry reading series in Baltimore. There was a fairly popular and vital poetry world in Baltimore and D.C. at that time, when poetry became a performance medium rather than just on the written page. People were writing funny stuff and there was a gay and lesbian element that was included in that. I figured the best way to meet people in LA was to be in the poetry world. Exene had just gotten a job through a government program to work at a small press called Beyond Baroque. Beyond Baroque had a writing workshop, like a poetry workshop, I think it was Tuesday nights and we met there.

PHAWKER: Was it love at first sight?

PHAWKER: Oh, you know, she cut A very eccentric figure back then, and she does now. I don’t know if it was love at first sight, definitely wasn’t for her. I mean, it took me a good eight or nine months of hanging around and being annoying for her to really…I don’t know we were friends first. Then we were romantically involved. I realized that we had some kind of soul mate connection and we will have that as long as we live.
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INCOMING: London Calling

April 29th, 2016

Magnificent Poster


The Magnificent Seven, aka Nixon’s Head, cover The Clash. Wolves, Lower cover REM. You know you wanna.

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FOODIE: Zen & The Art Of Grilled Cheese Making

April 28th, 2016




  1. First you need the following: bread – preferably the honey wheat sesame from Baker’s Street in Chestnut Hill; cheese – not the Kraft singles junk that most likely would survive a nuclear bomb; butter – not margarine (obvious). Also mix in according to emotional relevance – memories of family, friends, and gooey delectableness.

You first entered my life when I was young. It was most likely during an afternoon with my grandmother and grandfather. You were carried to my smiling face with a glass of cold chocolate milk. Together, with an episode of Scooby Doo, we grew exponentially in friendship. You attained emotional significance that day. Every play date since then you have blessed me with your presence, I’m reminded of Saturdays in the spring, watching Tiger play in the Masters, or the Phillies playing the Yankees.

  1. Place pan in pan on stove, and heat butter in order to keep the sandwich from getting stuck on pan – as I learned on one of my first attempts. Heat butter at a low temperature so the butter serves its purpose and doesn’t burn away – Mom reminds me of this a lot. Once ingredients are set out and butter is in pan, find a good cooking CD. I recommend Tom Waits’ Closing Time or Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book.

Sundays have been your day for as long as I can remember. Sitting in mass, falling asleep during the homily and struggling not to sneeze only makes me want you even more. Car rides home are upbeat, with a whole day ahead of me, one that will be spent with soccer, the lawnmower, the pool, and, inevitably, you. Mom asks, “Can I get you guys something for lunch?” Peter and I smile, already having chosen our lunch hours in advance. “Grilled cheese would be great!”, we respond. Occasionally, ham will be thrown in, but most days, cheese does the trick by itself. Peter always eats two, while I stick with one. Soon enough, Mom’s making Dad and Liv grilled cheese. It’s more than a lunch, it’s a seminal family tradition, like “The Stable” – put up at Christmas every year, a gift from my father’s aunt – or trips down into Chester to watch the Union play – which means two hypercritical boys groan about lineups and tactics, while the rest of the family laughs at them. After all, if John Hackworth and Jim Curtin can coach the Union for four years, then I can deservedly complain for at least another 3 years, or until they make the playoffs. But, back to grilled cheese, a family tradition that’s a toast to consistent excellence.

  1. Place bread on stove. Use two pieces of cheese or maybe three if you are really trying to be spontaneous. Under special circumstances – after two o’clock on either Saturday or Sunday very early mornings – it is socially acceptable to add bacon. Just remember to be active the next day. I recommend racquetball. Place cheese on bread. Try not to get too distracted by the people around you and instead focus on the making of a masterpiece. Cook till slightly brown on bottom and then flip.

This year, you joined me at college. Except finally I was making you. Even though the quality is not that of my grandmother’s or mom’s – definitely owes to the cheese – I’m convinced that Kraft singles will be the currency (along with Spam) in a post-nuclear apocalyptic world (Trying to trade for some wood and kindling? Throw in some Kraft singles!) – very few things are as pleasurable as a late night grilled cheese (other things as pleasurable: sitting down, The Beach Boys, Saturday mornings, Christmas, and waking up on the first day of summer). Now, I can make you whenever – assuming someone has washed the dishes – and I basically treat you like currency, selling you to my roommates for games of FIFA and Coca Cola.
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NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t

April 27th, 2016


Illustration by TORREN THOMAS

FRESH AIR: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, the drummer and leader of The Tonight Show’s house band The Roots, says he’s obsessed with the creative process. His new book, somethingtofoodabout, is a collection of his interviews with chefs about how art and creativity apply to their preparation and presentation of food. Speaking with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross in front of an audience in Philadelphia, Questlove likens some of the meals he’s eaten to ephemeral works of art. “Maybe I did have the equivalent of a Mona Lisa when I went to Jiro’s restaurant in Japan,” he says. “But now there is no evidence of that. You only have my story to tell you.” Instead of re-creating the “magic” of a perfect meal, Questlove’s book is an attempt to capture the process that brought the meal into existence. “I always say that I’m more obsessed with the journey of getting there than the destination,” he says. Questlove’s own journey began in Philadelphia, where his father, the late Lee Andrews, headed up the doo-wop group Lee Andrews and the Hearts. In addition to his father, Questlove points to Prince as another big influence. Questlove says that when he first met the rock icon, he was both intimidated by him and surprised that Prince was familiar with his work. “I don’t think I even said words the first time I met him,” he says. “I was just talking backwards … ‘How does he know I’m alive? How does he know I exist?'” MORE

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ARS POETICA: Leopold & Loeb X

April 27th, 2016

Leopold & Loeb Mugshots



AUTHOR’S NOTE: On May 21, 1924, Nathan Leopold, Jr., and Richard Loeb, two child prodigies poised to inherent their parents’ millions with the full promise of life ahead of them, killed a random fourteen year old boy. His name was Bobby Franks. To cover up the crime, they concocted a complicated ransom plot which failed. Loeb claimed he did this for the thrill of the kill: Leopold rationalized it as a way to become a Nietzschian superman. It was clear from psychiatric examination that Loeb held no regard for human life, either for others or his own, and would today be labeled a psychopath. Psychiatrists, however, noted Leopold had no criminal tendencies, and in fact had not committed any criminal acts until he had become romantically infatuated with Loeb. It was this infatuation which led him to crime: in exchange for sex, he vowed to do anything Loeb told him to do, be it criminal or otherwise. In writing this, I came to Leopold through my own life. We have comparable traumas, comparable sufferings, comparable inner torments. I consider his fate a possible fate of my own. According to Clarence Darrow, Leopold and Loeb’s defense attorney, it was their genetics and upbringing which caused this crime. If this were the case, I would be Leopold instead of the compassionate man that I am. I have no answers, and this 10-part poem — to be published one part per day for the next 10 days — has no explanation.


Leopold & Loeb 10aLeopold & Loeb10bLeopold & Loeb10c copy

Leopold & Loeb I
PREVIOUSLY: Leopold & Loeb II
PREVIOUSLY: Leopold & Loeb III
PREVIOUSLY: Leopold & Loeb IV
PREVIOUSLY: Leopold & Loeb V
PREVIOUSLY: Leopold & Loeb VI
PREVIOUSLY: Leopold & Loeb VII
PREVIOUSLY: Leopold & Loeb IX

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INCOMING: Oliver Stone’s Snowden

April 27th, 2016

This looks promising. Can’t wait to find out how it ends! In theaters September 16th.

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IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN DELCO: Talking Bagpipes And Neck Tattoos With Delco Proper‘s Tim Butterly

April 27th, 2016

Delco Proper


BY CHARLIE TAYLOR Delco Proper is a web-based Comedy Central sitcom that satirizes the land down under Philadelphia known as Delaware County, aka Delco. It is a magical place full of angry white under-performing males, bearded and beer-filled, bumping heads in the pursuit of tiny dreams forever thwarted — imagine if the 700 level was a working class inner-ring suburb of Philly instead of the drunken fight club at the the upper reaches of long-gone Veteran’s Stadium. In short, it’s Trump country, which of course makes it ripe for satire.

The show was created and written by Delco residents John McKeever and Tommy Pope, who, along with comedian Tim Butterly [pictured, below right], portray a hapless triumvirate of low-rent suburban fail. McKeever plays John, a stubbly yutz who works at the family lumber yard. Pope plays a sex-obsessed moron named Tommy capable of scoring a triple double in his local softball league (ten hits, ten strikeouts, and ten beers) and Butterly is a deranged bear-like man-child named Izzi whose sole motivation for attending a friend’s funeral is to kick the ass of a nemesis he knows will be there. There will be blood, it’s just a question of when. During the viewing or during the wake? The first episode went live last summer, and three more episodes went live earlier this year.

Phawker was Delco Proper1lucky enough to talk with Tim Butterly about the origins of the show and the promising future of this online hit. In addition, Butterly talked with us about his favorite Philly stereotypes and the true beauty of Delaware County. Tonight at Milkboy, you can catch Butterly as he joins forces with Alex Pearlman, Sidney Gantt, Jon Delcollo and other local comedy luminaries for a night of comedy called Laughs On Philly: Unpasteurized.

PHAWKER: How do you explain Delaware County to people who didn’t grow up or live around Philadelphia or its surrounding counties?

TIM BUTTERLY: It’s a very family oriented place – for better or for worse. I guess the ‘for worse’ clause at the end of that explains it a little bit. It’s a working class place, where you kind of have to watch what you say because people still hold you accountable. I don’t know, I guess I’m alluding to the fact that there is still a threat of violence depending on how you act around people. It informs the way you treat people, whereas the younger types that move into Philadelphia, they are a little passive-aggressive, and Delaware County is just plain aggressive.

PHAWKER: Where exactly are you from in Delco?

TIM BUTTERLY: I am from Philly actually, the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia, which is a very Delco area of Philly. We all put our sweat pants on one leg at a time and go buy breakfast at a gas station in the same way. We are still waiting for the gentrifiers to show up. So it is very similar. Tommy from the show, he is as Delco as it gets and the first time we hung out, our humor lined up perfectly because our upbringings were almost identical even though he’s from Delco and I’m from Delco East.

PHAWKER: Can you explain the premise of Delco Proper?delco-proper-600

TIM BUTTERLY: Sure, the premise of Delco Proper is that it’s about the type of fellas that grow up in a place like that. We get to play heightened versions of ourselves. We really want to show what people from our area are like. We write stories for them and we write from a place where these are the people that we actually care about. So as much as it looks like we are making fun of Delaware County, we are actually kind of celebrating Delaware County because this is what our families are like, everyone we have ever cared about – this is what they are like. We have basically written a story about John McKeever. He works at a family owned lumberyard and there’s endless potential for stories there. The main thing is that we just want these guys to live in a world that we know.

PHAWKER: How did you get hooked up with Comedy Central?

TIM BUTTERLY: The Comedy Central connection happened because John and Tommy spent years just making things for free and releasing them on YouTube. We had all been working together so long that the stuff got so good – I should rephrase that – we got so good at doing this that eventually someone was like, ‘Someone should pay these guys to do this.’ So it was only a matter of time before someone heard something. So from there, we got a meeting with Comedy Central and we pitched our lifestyle. Now, it’s on the verge of becoming a television show.

PHAWKER: Speaking of that, what are the upsides and downsides of being a web-only series?

TIM BUTTERLY: That’s a great question. The web-only thing is hard to explain to people. Young people get it and they watch most of the content on the Internet. But that’s not everybody. Our primary demographic is around 18 to 40 year old males, that’s a pretty wide age gap. Anyone over 35, they look at like you just told them that they could only watch it on frying pans. They have no idea what you are talking about.

Comedy Central just announced that they bought a pilot script for it for television. They just announced it two weeks ago so we can talk about it now. That’s our line now, that is was on the web but we always had this understanding that it was good enough for TV and we are getting closer to that opportunity.Milkboy Unpasteurized-01 -websized

PHAWKER: How do you walk the thin line between punching up and punching down, between being a biting social satirist and just making fun of poor uneducated people?

TIM BUTTERLY: I know at least internally I justify it as that is who I am, I’m not making fun of other people, I’m making fun of myself. I leave it up to the people watching it to decide if that is enough of an explanation for them. We aren’t punching down, we are punching ourselves here.

PHAWKER: Best type of humor. My final question: what is your favorite Philly stereotype to mock?

TIM BUTTERLY: I would go with sports radio caller. I think that’s an easy answer for me. They have this philosophy that covers their entire life and it’s almost like wringing out a rag. If you condensed their shit head philosophy, you have all the people calling about the Flyers on WIP.

PHAWKER: Absolutely, or the people that call onto Mike Missanelli’s show every week.

TIM BUTTERLY: “This is what I’ve been talking the whole time yo. They need to restructure the whole team, but not get rid of anybody because I like where these guys are going.”

PHAWKER: What can you tell me about Laughs On Philly: Unpasteurized?

TIM BUTTERLY: It’s just one of those awesome standup shows where I’ve been performing with all of these people for a long time so I don’t have to worry about any wieners being on the show and ruining it. I’m probably the weakest stand up on the entire thing. These are just good comics and I’m just some fat guy laughing at myself.


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