This past summer, I wrote a profile of comic Chris Elliott that Rolling Stone posted on its website in September in conjunction with the magazine’s comedy issue. I got a quite a bit of feedback on the piece—Elliott’s fans are an avid, loyal lot—some of it expressing frustration that I had not written about two comedy specials Chris had done for Cinemax in the late 1980s: Action Family and F.D.R.: A One-Man Show. The thing is, I had intended to include them in the story, until I realized I’d already written 5,000 words—twice as much as my editor had wanted—and decided not to tempt fate any further. But now that I have my own blog, in which I can gas on about anything —Hey Tina Brown, I’m not wearing any pants!—I figure this is a good place to weigh in on those specials since they rank as some of Elliott’s best work.
If you’re not familiar with Action Family or F.D.R.: A One-Man Show and you don’t know a reputable dealer of Elliott bootlegs, then read past the jump where I’ve aggregated the YouTube links. The bad news is you have the watch them in 10-minute increments. The good news is, they’re really funny.
The police presence at my local subway stop was impossible to ignore this morning. The folding table that the NYPD occasionally sets up to search through backpacks was placed just to the right of the turnstiles, so that even if you and your bag weren’t singled out, the cops could eyeball you as you swiped your Metrocard. There was also a muted quality to the city today, as if the strivers and overachievers had turned down the volume on their ambition out of respect for the 2,751 who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks.
But there’s no question that most New Yorkers have pushed past the fear and the tension that came with taking the subway or an elevator to the high floor of a skyscraper. Our delusions of invincibility, which evaporated in the heat and the horror of seven years ago, have returned (just in time, it seems, to get us through a scary financial downturn.) The other day my wife arrived home from work to tell me that shortly after she walked into the car of a downtown express train on the A,C,E line at 34th Street, the conductor announced via loudspeaker that the train was being held in the station due to an “unattended’ bag.” Eerily, after hearing this, my wife noticed that a rather large and full-looking black messenger bag lay unattended on the floor at the other end of her car. She exited the train and watched as a number of people did the same, only to move to an adjacent car, presumably deciding that they would rather risk death than take the local.
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