Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Nerdiness of Dark Comedy: Part 1

Dark Comedy

Mike Eagle is bad at sarcasm so he works in absurdity. He’s also kind of a nerd.

In honor of The Mike Eagle Show happening in Seattle tonight, I wanted to write some sorta big article about Mike and his latest album, Dark Comedy. After having listened to it about a dozen times since it was released, I realized that one my favorite things about it is all of the nerdy references he slips into his lyrics. So here are all of the nerdy references I noticed in the first six songs on the album. I prolly missed a bunch; let me know if you heard any that I didn’t. If you’ve already read Part 1, you can head straight to part 2 here:

[PART 2]

Still here? Okay, here we go…

1. Dark Comedy Morning Show

Rap like Wyatt vs Chet in Weird Science

Weird Science” is a 1985 comedy about two nerds who use a computer to make a woman. Wyatt is one of the nerds, Chet is his bully of a brother (played by Bill Paxton).

Rap songs like Patch Adams
Shadyac thought of it as art ’til they laughed at it

Patch Adams” is a 1998 movie about Robin Williams as a doctor who dresses like a clown. Its director, Tom Shadyac, thought it was an amazing work of art. *Cough*

Rap songs like Steven Wright
Monotone drone, people wonder if he breathing right

Steven Wright is a comedian famous for his monotone, emotionless delivery. He’s one of my faves.

It’s like Burn After Reading

Burn After Reading” is a 2008 Coen Brothers film about a bunch of complete morons in Washington D.C. who have no idea what’s going.

‘Cause Google knows what’s in my cabinet
And Facebook logs all of my favorite sandwiches

Google and Facebook are infamous for having algorithms that track its users’ every online activity.

Matching track suit like dude in Royal Tenenbaums



In the Wes Anderson movie “The Royal Tenenbaums,” Ben Stiller’s character and his sons all wear iconic matching track suits. One of my all-time favorite movies.

It’s like the In Living Color cast

In Living Color” was a television sketch-comedy show by the Wayans brothers. It was on the air 1990-1994. It’s also where Jim Carrey got his start.

Give ’em rock bottoms and a cold stone stunner

The Rock Bottom is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s professional wrestling finishing move. The Stone Cold Stunner is “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s finishing move.

Pistol whip ’em with the handle of a lightsaber

Lightsaber. C’mon, you know what a lightsaber is. It’s a laser sword.

2. Qualifiers

I see the deepest greens, I hear the darkest blues
Might not be synesthesia, might be apartment fumes

Synesthesia is a medical condition wherein certain sensory stimulation is perceived by alternate senses, i.e., you can “hear” colors or “taste” sounds.

So I take five, Dave Brubeck
I make jazz jokes so I’m flat broke

Dave Brubeck was a famous american Jazz pianist.

Mad at LOST and that black smoke

Lost” was a very famous television show that aired 2004-2010. It has some mysterious, black smoke monster in it. People were mad at it because it ended badly.

Hold up it’s my turn again
I’m playing thirteen games of Words With Friends

Words With Friends is an unbelievably popular phone app that’s basically a clone of Scrabble that you play online vs other people (like your friends, for example).

I ain’t played Call of Duty, smoke you in GoldenEye

Call of Duty is a current series of first-person shooter video games. GoldenEye is a classic first-person shooter for the Nintendo 64. It’s routinely considered one of the best FPS games of all time.

RPG, roll the die

RPG stands for Role-Playing Game. You roll die quite a lot when playing Role-Playing Games.

JPG Kobe Tai

JPG is an internet image formate. Kobe Tai is a porn actress. In other words, a picture on the internet of a porn actress.

PG-13 Cobra Kai

PG-13 is an American film rating (it stands for Parents Guidance strongly suggested – some material may be inappropriate for children under 13). Cobrai Kai was the villainous dojo in the original “The Karate Kid” movie from 1984. Strangely, though, “The Karate Kid” was only rated PG, not PG-13.

PPG Luc Robitaille

PPG could stand for any number of things. Several companies have PPG in their names. It could also stand for Parts Per Gallon. Luc Robitaille was a hockey player in the 1990s.

EDIT 7/10/14: Reader “Trevor” has enlightened me to the fact that in this context PPG most likely stands for “Points Per Game.” That makes SO much more sense.

I didn’t write the words you hear me singing
I didn’t sing a line before this one
And you are not the one I was addressing
That person took a train to Africa
And simultaneous events don’t happen
We are isolated temporally
And the part is never called the whole thing
Though it bothers us to know it so

These lyrics are from a very obscure They Might Be Giants song called “Weep Day.”

3. Thirsty Ego Raps

My man Dave Gahan is in Depeche Mode

It’s true: Dave Gahan is in the british synth-pop band Depeche Mode.

Used to have a crush on Michel’le from Death Row

Michel’le was a female hip-hop artist from the early 1990s. Death Row Records was a hip-hop record label formed in the 1990s by Dr. Dre and Suge Knight. Michel’le released an album on Death Row Records (and had children with both Dr. Dre and Suge Knight).

I still be wanting to mention Calista Flockhart
Yeah, and Jonathan Lipnicki
Madonna there’s room on the ottoman, sit with me

Calista Flockhart is an actress most famous for starring in Ally McBeal. Jonathan Lipnicki is an actor best known as the precocious child in Jerry Maguire. Madonna is one of the most famous musicians of all time, duh.

And went in the woods despite the myth of Wendigo

The Wendigo is a mythological creature of the Eastern Canadian wilds. It’s also a recurring foe in various Marvel comics.

I really wanna dress like Sun Ra

Give me the might... the menace... of SUN RA!

Give me the might… the menace… of SUN RA!

Sun Ra was a long-lived jazz musician who was active from the 1930s to the 1990s. He claimed he was from Saturn.

Like Scott Hall burning Goldberg with a cattle prod

Scott Hall and Goldberg were professional wrestlers. Scott Hall attacked Goldberg with a cattle prod at a World Championship Wrestling “Starrcade” show (don’t worry, it was all part of the show) in the late 1990s.

Analog Eagle, Joe Walsh bandana-on

Joe Walsh is a member of the band The Eagles. He wore a lot of bandanas.

We can yell “Eye of the Tiger” if he sees a gazelle

“Eye of the Tiger” is the iconic theme song of the 1976 film “Rocky.”

4. Golden Age Raps

I’m still trying to navigate the settings on my Focusrite preamp

And start our own niche and gain little weird followers
Yeah, that make the flyest orthotics
And make decent movies out of Alan Moore comics

Orthotics are inserts that make shoes more comfortable and ergonomic. Alan Moore is one of the most famous comic book writers of all time. He notoriously hates all movie adaptations of his comics (which include “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” “V for Vendetta,” and “Watchmen” to name a few).

And if your rap career ain’t hitting
You can rap over videos of kittens, it’s the golden age!

The videosphere of the internet is often derided for being full of so many kitten videos that are so popular. Shut up, I’ve only uploaded a small handful myself.

I changed my rap name to Lil’ Wonder Boy
Change your rap name to Lil’ Lord Fauntleroy

“Wonder Boy” is the title of a Tenaciuos D song. “Little Lord Fauntleroy” is a children’s book published in 1885. I don’t know much about it.

And we can rap about all the different candy bars
Try to get sponsors from Mounds and Almond Joy
And Whatchamacallit, and Nestle Crunch, and Kit-Kat
And shit, Toblerone

These are all real candy bars.

And watch Twin Peaks on your mobile phone

Twin Peaks” was the surreal, dark-comedy soap opera created by David Lynch that aired two seasons 1990-1991.

There’s Thin Mints that you can get after you finish wind sprints

Thin Mints are a type of Girl Scout Cookie. Perhaps… the best kind.

5. Very Much Money (Ice King Dream)

The Ice King is a recurring character on the cartoon “Adventure Time.” He’s a complete buffoon, but later in the series we learn he has a rather heartbreaking history.

Writing on the floor of a Chinese restaurant
Crown on my hip like Simon Petrikov

Simon Petrikov was Ice King’s original identity some 1,000 years prior to the events of the “Adventure Time” series. He was gradually driven insane and given powers whenever he wore a magical crown on his head. He tied the crown to his hip to keep the effects at bay when he wasn’t using it.

Cafe back room meeting with Cancer Man

“Cancer Man” is the nickname of one of the main conspiratorial antagonists of the seminal 1990s TV show “The X-Files.” He was so nicknamed because he was always smoking a cigarette.

The first scene in the film Prometheus
I wrote a brand new story that starts from there

Prometheus” is a 2012 film, a prequel of sorts to 1979’s “Alien” film. “Prometheus” is directed by Ridley Scott, who also directed the First “Alien” film. In the first scene of “Prometheus” a humanoid alien arrives on ancient Earth and sacrifices his life to feed his DNA into the primordial waters, thus making us all his descendants. Don’t know where Mike would have gone from there, but I’d be very curious to find out!

High adrenaline I’m rapping on the Cake Boss

Cake Boss” is a reality TV show about a bakery in New Jersey.

Li’l Wayne is an ancient African
Jay-Z’s been around since the 20s though

This is a reference to a couple of interesting artifacts. First is an ancient African fetish sculpture that some say bears a striking resemblance to rapper Li’l Wayne. The second is to a photograph from the 1920s that contains a person who bears a very striking resemblance to rapper Jay-Z.

Li'l Wayne is an ancient African.

Li’l Wayne is an ancient African.

Jay-Z's been around since the 20s.

Jay-Z’s been around since the 20s.



They can take selfies like Dubuffet

Jean Dubuffet was a French artist who embraced non-traditional standards of aesthetics. I imagine his selfies might be pretty weird.

6. Doug Stamper (Advice Raps)

Doug Stamper is the fictional Chief of Staff to the Vice President on the Netflix series “House of Cards.” He is played by Michael Kelly.

Don’t say ‘bro’ bruh; say manssiere

This is a reference to an episode of the TV show “Seinfeld,” wherein a couple of characters invent a bra to keep man-boobs comfortably in place. They can’t decide if it should be called a “bro” or a “mansseire.”

No perm, grow a ‘fro like Pam Grier

Pam Grier is an actress who is most well-known for appearing in various Blacksploitation films in the 1970s and a starring role as Jackie Brown in the 1997 Quentin Tarantino movie of the same name.

And never buy used from that dude Joe Isuzu

Joe Isuzu was a fictional spokesman for Isuzu cars in a series of ads from the late 1980s. He was portrayed by actor David Leisure. I really enjoyed them.

Tell your cousin, stay the fuck from off of Worldstar

Now go and read PART 2!

And that’s about it for the first six songs. Like I said, I prolly missed a whole bunch. I’ll write up the rest of the album sometime this 4th of July weekend and post it on Monday. But in the meantime, I’ll see you at The Mike Eagle Show tonight! Oh Yeeeeah!

Categories: Featured Posts.

6 thoughts on “The Nerdiness of Dark Comedy: Part 1”

  1. Mrd00d says:

    That’s a really clever way to come at an article about Open Mike Eagle and when you put it in this light, I realize that that’s probably my favorite aspect of his songs as well. I think what really caught my ear first was the “Take 5, Dave Brubeck”. I love that song and a lot of Brubeck. Your article explained a few of the references I knew existed that I wasn’t sure – like the Wayne and Jay Z bit. And Dubuffett, wow. Thumbs up, altogether. Nicely done!

    1. Thanks! Upon seeing him live last night, I heard two more references in one of these songs, so I’m gonna have to add them to this article. Hope you like Part 2 on Monday!

  2. Trevor says:

    PPG = Points Per Game

    1. Thanks you! That makes SO much more sense. I am totally not a sports guy. I’ve edited the article to clarify.

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