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excitement for Tuesday

November 30, 2005

Last night I dropped off a giant poster for the window of CB’s Gallery. A thing of beauty it is, thanks to illustrator John Leavitt. Incidentally, I saw John perform the other night in a burlesque show as Johnny Panama in an inventive act with a voodoo doll and some pasties, which I daresay may be repeated in Tuesday’s show.

I’m turning 27! On Tuesday! I can’t wait to see so many of you in one place.

Whatever shall I wear? These Wonder Woman underpants fit great.

The Jenisfamous Spectacular
Tuesday, December 6th 8pm-midnight
CB’s Gallery, 313 Bowery between 1st and 2nd Sts.

show me yours and I’ll show you mine

November 30, 2005

My new Wonder Woman underpants arrived in the mail today, and since new things in boxes are exciting, I put them on.

Then, I said, oh, there are other people here, so I put on my bathrobe, but that just made the whole thing look more ridiculous, with the triangle of the “W” logo peeking through, as though any moment I shall pull open my bathrobe to reveal my secret identity.

I don’t have a lasso of truth right now, just a cup of tea.

spare the rod, spoil the child

November 30, 2005

Fifty Cent performed at a $10 million bat mitzvah, and managed to work in the lines “Go shorty, it’s your bat miztvah, we gonna party like it’s your bat mitzvah.”

turn your c*ck into a hammer

November 30, 2005

This site has “poorly-drawn cartoons inspired by actual spam subject lines.” I rather enjoyed the one for “are you man enough for this.”

Oh, and also “I was always embarassed, but not now.”

mermaids singing, each to each

November 30, 2005

I have never in my life spent so much time alone as I have lately. Once when I was five, my Dad was stationed on the Navy base in Italy and my Mom and baby brother went to live with my grandparents until housing opened up on the base and we could go join my Dad, and that was, I think, a very personality-forming time, as I didn’t really see any other kids for seven months. Seven months is a long time to live in adult-land when you’re five. My uncle was a teenager at the time, and he taught me algebra, but he didn’t really teach me to do algebra; he just let me stare at the problems and try out numbers until I got them right, and then everyone would ooh and ah.

My grandmother has an arcade in her basement, with no fewer than three full-size pinball machines.

These days I’m just working, and working, and sometimes walking to the gym and back, and I find myself doing odd, manual-labor type tasks, carting home-improvement objects across Manhattan, disassembling furniture. I’m pretty happy, but happy in that way that you might be happy in the thick of writing your dissertation on some obscure topic, knowing that no one you know wants to talk about Neural Components of Implicit and Explicit Conditioned Place Preference Behavior, but that this is but a season, and good will come of it, and someday you will be a professor in a tweed jacket with patches at the elbows, and your dinner party repartee will be known across three to four states, and you will take up pipe smoking, and enjoy it.

I sometimes look across East Harlem, eastward, where you can see all the way to the bridge and the water, and the shapes are so foreign to anything I grew up with, and I think how?

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

Tuesday, December 6th: I formally request the honour of your presence

November 29, 2005

Massive thanks to John Leavitt for designing the poster for the vaudeville-style Jenisfamous Spectacular, which non-incidentally will take place on my 27th birthday. This is the biggest event I’ve ever done.

The lineup includes:
old timey music from Al Duvall, Singing Sadie,
and the Two Man Gentlemen Band
Latin flavor from …y las flores
burlesque performances from Molly Crabapple and Veronica Varlow
musical comedy from Adira Amram

click to enlarge
Also, there will be a hula hooping contest open to all, and prizes for best-dressed. Our Grand Prize — one lucky winner will win tickets to “Bingo – The Musical”!

The new “Grammatically Correct Comedy” t-shirts and CDs will be debuted, and original art by Molly Crabapple from the illustrated Portable Comedy Compendium, will be on display in the gallery.

You, dear readers, are so very invited. If I could engrave this blog post for you, I would.

The Jenisfamous Spectacular
Tuesday, December 6th 8pm-midnight
CB’s Gallery, 313 Bowery between 1st and 2nd Sts.

comedy topics

November 28, 2005

After the YWCA benefit comedy show I did recently, another comic commented that it was the first time she’d seen my bit about penciling in my eyebrows, and she liked it because I “don’t usually do self-deprecating material.” I had to think about that. A lot of my material isn’t super-personal — I like to make fun of advertising (like the “Campaign for Real Beauty” and the “fight HIV your way” ads), I like to talk about words and language, I sometimes talk politics, and I like to make fun of fashion and beauty rituals. I just see too many women comics whose routines center around making fun of their bodies, and I just can’t see how that’s helpful or even supportive of women in comedy. Also, if I am unhappy with any of my parts, I’m sure as hell not telling people about it.

Anyway, here’s a somewhat germane classic, for those of you who haven’t heard it (incidentally, I have lots of new jokes, but limited abilities with audio technology, which is why I don’t release these every week):

French Women Don't Do Pilates

on adding to my file of literary magazine rejections

November 28, 2005

I opened my mail and received a rejection letter from Hayden’s Ferry Review. I sent them a short story some-odd months ago, and then I received a “you are in the second round of consideration” letter, and then finally a rejection that said “your work made it deep into the decision-making process” and that the editors had given it “several readings.”

This is a good sign, of course, for my embryonic little fiction career (I had a story published in the Powhatan Review, did some readings at Cornelia Street Cafe, and then was possessed by the incubus of comedy).

However, a long, drawn-out, we-like-you-but sort of rejection is, in a way, kind of worse than a flat-out rejection. It kind of makes you say, oh, but things could have been so good for us! What are you doing over there, you dark, handsome literary magazine? We made it so far! Why stop now?

Hayden’s Ferry, let me just say: you have no idea what you’re missing. If you could see me, I’d totally be doing that thing where I playfully slap my own ass as I walk away.

this is certainly the first time I have blogged about the Torah

November 28, 2005

You go clicking on links in your internet perusal, and somehow you end up reading Orthodoxy Today. This article is mainly arguing that homosexuality is wrong, but the reason the article is otherwise interesting is the chunk of history it offers regarding global sex practices prior to Judaism.

I was well aware (from my liberal arts education and a senior philosophy seminar on Foucault) that, among the ancient Greeks as well as in many cultures today, the idea of homosexuality did not exist or was not at issue; the real concern was (or is) who is active and who is passive. For instance, the ancient Greeks had no problem with sex between men, provided that the older man or higher-status man was the active partner. Many liberal thinkers cite this as proof that same-sex desire is universal and that certain sex practices have not always been stigmatized.

This writer, somewhat novelly, openly agrees that homosexuality has historically been widespread and accepted; the argument is then that “When Judaism demanded that all sexual activity be channeled into marriage, it changed the world. The Torah’s prohibition of non-marital sex quite simply made the creation of Western civilization possible.”

Oh, is that all?

After a lascivious breakdown of all the freak-nasty orgy fun the rest of the world was having, the author continues:

“Among the consequences of the unchanneled sex drive is the sexualization of everything — including religion. Unless the sex drive is appropriately harnessed (not squelched — which leads to its own destructive consequences), higher religion could not have developed. Thus, the first thing Judaism did was to de-sexualize God: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” by his will, not through any sexual behavior. This was an utterly radical break with all other religions, and it alone changed human history.”

Of course, there’s plenty of “men are beasts and women are monogamous” kind of thinking going on here, even with all the discussions of sanctioned prostitution in other religions and perhaps other evidence of Ancient Ladies Gone Wild. But still, it is interesting to hear an Orthodox thinker argue that “the family is not a natural unit” but rather a brilliant invention that needs to be “cultivated.” In keeping with the “invention” theme, the idea of improving upon nature, the author concludes:

Asked what is the single greatest revelation I have derived from all my researches, I always respond, “That there had to have been divine revelation to produce the Torah.” The Torah was simply too different from the rest of the world, too against man’s nature, to have been solely man-made.

I am reminded of reading Locke for the first time and thinking “Obviously. So?” Same with John Stuart Mill. When ideas have become so deeply ingrained in our culture, it is difficult to imagine a time in which they were revolutionary. And that is the impetus for this post.

"homosexuals no longer have to wear blue hats"

November 28, 2005

Some of you may have heard that the government of Kazakhstan has officially condemned Ali G’s “Borat” character. Their actual statement — even hinting at a political conspiracy! — reads:

“We do not rule out that Mr. Cohen is serving someone’s political order designed to present Kazakhstan and its people in a derogatory way. We reserve the right to any legal action to prevent new pranks of the kind. We view Mr. Cohen’s behaviour at the MTV Europe Music Awards as utterly unacceptable, being a concoction of bad taste and ill manners which is completely incompatible with ethics and civilized behaviour.”-Yerzhan Ashykbayev, Kazakh Foreign Ministry Spokesman

Borat has posted a video response, which says, in part: “I like to state, I have no connection with Mr Cohen and fully support my government’s position to sue this Jew.”

thanks to all seven-hundred and twenty one of you

November 28, 2005

I finally installed a decent statistics package on this site, and discovered that there are a lot more of you reading this than I thought. I had only been seeing the counter on the front page, whereas it seems that many of you are cleverly coming directly to the blog, perhaps via this new-fangled “bookmark” technology the kids keep telling me about.

I would really like to be a professional blogger and sit here all day and entertain you. It’s like comedy, except with occasional cat photos, and also, no one flashes a red light at me after seven minutes. But pro-blogging ain’t going to happen with Google ads. I’m fomenting a plan as we speak. Or, as I blog, since we’re not actually speaking. Although I wish we were, dear readers. Wait, but then I wouldn’t be blogging, which would be a step further from my goal of blogging professionally. Well, maybe you could sit on the couch watching Jeopardy and shouting out the answers before Alex Trebec says them, and I’ll sit here, blogging away, occasionally throwing a glance in your direction, and thinking how sweet it is that you think Jane Austin wrote “Moll Flanders.”

just to show that all the good domain names AREN’T taken

November 27, 2005 features photos of slave girls in, well, Leia’s metal bikini. Turns out that a metal bikini costs over $300. Bummer, or I’d get one and host the Jenny Vaudeville Show in it.

Um, be sure to help with “Operation Life Size Jabba.”

There is a book! A Jenisfamous book. Now.

November 26, 2005

This is what I’ve been working on behind your back, my dears. But now it is here, and you can own it.

The Jenisfamous Portable Comedy Compendium (pre-order)

You’ve heard the jokes. Now they are lovingly illustrated by artist Molly Crabapple, and interspersed with “best of” bits from the blog, odd little footnotes, and even an intermission. This 4 x 4 inch novelty book makes a great gift item, and is available signed.

This product is available for pre-order and will ship following its print run.


Would you like it signed? Autographed CopyNon-Autographed Copy
If so, to whom (first name) ought it be inscribed?

See more merchandise in the store

Announcing the winner of the $50 photo contest!

November 26, 2005

Mr. J.D. Finch of Brattleboro, VT is the winner of the JenIsFamous $50 Photo Contest! The contest challenged readers to send in the best photo of a person or persons reading And here is the winning photo:

click for full version
When asked how this photo was accomplished, Mr. Finch replied:

While you may have imagined some technogeek trick to my “Amazing Reflecting Glasses”, the truth is they were two little pictures stuck on the lenses with Post-it sticky. There is a way you can save an image of your computer screen (alt+save screen), which I did and then pasted it into a photo application and shrunk it down to its tiny “reflection in glasses” size. I darkened the room and turned a bright lamp on my face to add a glow in my glasses to make it look more like a reflection than a pasted-on picture.

Sometimes lo-fi is the right-fi.

in which I come out of the closet as a very girly meathead

November 25, 2005

I finally realized I had been avoiding the gym because I hate doing cardio. However, I love lifting heavy things repeatedly. When I was in college, I lifted very many heavy things repeatedly. I spent two years busting my lats on the lat pulldown machine until I could finally do one pull-up. Once I could do one, I could do twelve a couple months later. When I did, people would sometimes put down their weights and watch for a minute. College was kind of great that way, even if it often involved hiking through drifts of snow to get to the gym. It’s like you needed two lockers to hold the difference between what you were wearing in a New Hampshire snowstorm and what you were going to be wearing in a weight room.

I finally realized that there is no authority figure at the East Harlem Bally’s who is going to force me do cardio, which (have I mentioned?) I hate. And also, since I’m not very good at it (I once blogged about the first-ever time I ran an entire mile, which was about a year ago, and it took thirteen minutes or something), it doesn’t seem to burn enough calories to be worthwhile anyway; I’d rather just eat less. I mean, you can spend half an hour busting your ass on a treadmill and the little calorie counter says “you burned 110 calories!” Wouldn’t it be more efficient to just put down the damn pie? “Not eating pie” is both free and time-saving.

So, up top is a photo of my actual college abs. At left is a photo of my actual college biceps. Well, one of them. I apologize for all the weird-ass cropping. Due to the presence of bad hair and ex-boyfriends, it proved impossible to fit all my formerly muscular bodyparts into a single photo. (I was once a redhead, and I had curled my hair for my college graduation, for which I was, in fact, wearing a sari-type dress).

In the end, after college, I didn’t get lazy; I had started a dotcom that ate all my time and resources and I couldn’t afford a gym. I was literally in my office eighteen hours a day, in pinstripe. I had little to no idea what I was doing, or I might have realized that staying healthy and having a balanced lifestyle would be conducive to effective entrepreneurship. At the time, I considered staying out of the gym a great sacrifice. I switched from protein shakes to Costco canned vegetable soup, fifty-four cents a can.

I can still out-arm-wrestle most women my size, and a few women bigger than me, and a few men my size (but not many men are my size, and the ones that are are generally a bit sensitive about it, so I wouldn’t recommend arm-wrestling girls in public anyway. In private, well, that’s another matter).

p.s., No, I am NOT a dominatrix. Please don’t email me about it! I can only bench press, like, sixty pounds. I don’t want to hit you. I’m a little tiny woman who wants you to open doors for her. Thank you.

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