Today the comedy community, and practically everyone I know, was saddened to learn of yet another WTF guest’s premature demise–making the now revered Robin Williams episode in many ways a memoriam for the beloved Academy-Award winning actor. My apologies to Marc Maron for posting the unauthorized YouTube upload of Williams’s interview, but it was readily available. Thought I’d make both versions an option. Truly a wonderful episode; just two guys at what we now know to be a turning point in their careers and personal lives. Take a listen.
The WTF episode with Guest Robin Williams
Marin County Coroner investigators claim the “the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia.” The actor was reportedly suffering from extreme depression, and had been in a rehabilitation facility for substance abuse as recently as July.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. Those of us who grew up on this guy are really feeling this. We’ll miss you, Mr. Williams. Nanoo nanoo.
I love a good fake. Fake Nikes, those crappy copies of movies you can buy on the train for two bucks, impostor cologne. I had an awesome bogus Transformer I bought at a swap meet when I was ten that I still get nostalgic about. Shoddy copies intrigue me, almost more than the masterfully done ones. I recently heard a Snap Judgement on Elmyr de Hory, the infamous art forger, that made the topic that much more compelling. Big thanks be to 99% Invisible for taking a deeper look at the art of duplication.
“Stealing plus lack of talent equals creativity”
Fake Apple stores complete with employees who think they’re actually working for Apple. Venices complete with canals and replicas of the Doge’s Palace. Eiffel Towers and an Arc de Triomphe. Orange County subdivisions. China, it seems, is having an imitation renaissance.
This episode clocks in around 12 minutes, and really speaks to the art of imitation.
According to the 99% reporter (her name escapes me) Shanghai alone has multiple towns all built in the style of famous European cities. You can traverse all of Europe in a couple hours should the mood strike you. Breakfast in Germany and lunch in France.
The gist of this episode revolved around imitation and its role in innovation, and how duplication should be revered not dismissed. Of course there are copyright issues one would have to contend with here in the States, should the designer monetize their creation. But did you know we wouldn’t have many of our own great architectural wonders were it not for copy cats? Washington, DC is one big knock off, and we LOVE it.
There was a comment in the thread that really made me think about our own lack of appreciation for our creations and kind of summed up the episode’s subtext.
“Could it be that the Chinese care about traditional Western architecture more than we Westerners do? I’m afraid we’re knocking down our great heritage buildings faster than China can copy them.”
Just saying. This episode’s a great snack if you’re feeling peckish.
I used to be 24.
I used to work evenings, at a bar four days a week. The rest of my week was wiiiiide open. So what did I do with all of that glorious free time? Pursue lofty intellectutal endeavors? Tackle personal career goals? Embrace the night life my buzzing metropolis had to offer? Occasionally. But mostly I just sat around with my dude friends and watched TV. And what did we watch you ask? Mythbusters was certainly a favorite, at least for the first two or three seasons.
My familiarity with Discovery’s urban myth debunker is probably why it was so easy for me to fall back in step with Adam Savage’s friendly, mildly narcissistic cadence.
Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project is part of Jaimie Hyneman and Savage’s Tested Network. They have a glut of videos and other shareable content. It’s a pop culture treasure trove.
On the podcast, Savage is joined by Will Smith and Norman Chan, savvy tech and culture experts who seem to be the gas in Tested’s tank. It would be easy call this show “nerd culture;” but I think we’re all over that aren’t we? It’s getting to where I ignore any new content provider that has the word “nerd” or “geek” in it. Untitled gets it right. Taking a page from Patton Oswalt, the show is about passion. And those passions could be anything: cooking, coffee, crosswords. Like most podcasts, this show boils down to engaging conversation.
Sure these hosts are fresh off a Comic-Con, and they talk about LEGOs, Oculus, and 3D printing, but they’re also pros, and they can keep the convo lively. Plus, there’s the fact that you get to listen to the guy who created this place: