What Makes You Smile?

Be very, very quiet.

I’m hunting a wabbit.

Er, more specifically, I’m braising a rabbit.  An entire rabbit.

I’m going to bake this bunny into pie.

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, Michael, did you buy a frozen rabbit from the butcher, make him cut it into 1/8 pieces with his band saw, braise it, and then pull out the bones, like you would for pulled pork?

Yes.  That’s exactly what I did.  I braised it with scallions, onions, and celery.

Yes.  I feel bad about it.  But only because today is opposite day.  (no it isn’t – I’m late by a few days – GET OFF MY BACK)

It was a special occasion.  I had a tech rehearsal for my sketch team, Thunder Gulch.  We put up a new show every month on the first Monday.  It’s hard work, and I usually bake something simple for tech rehearsals, because they’re long and arduous.

But this one was more like a party.  It was Shannon O’Neil’s  birthday, first of all.  And then secondly – one of my team mates (he’s shy and doesn’t want me to say his name)  was offered a job as a writer on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  Both of those people are actors on my team, so it was party time.

My friend Kris came over.  He helped me braise the bunny and bake it into 20 miniature pies.  I’ve known him for almost a year now.  He’s got a good head on his shoulders and he learns stuff quickly.  Also, in case you don’t have eyes, he’s super cute.  So pretty.

So, this is the first time I’ve tried to make mini-pies.  There’s about 15 people involved in making Thunder Gulch happen every month – 6 actors, 7 writers, a director and a tech person.  I wanted to make at least 20 pies.  I wanted there to be more pie than people could eat.  Usually that doesn’t happen if I make a single pie for 15 peeps.

I braised the rabbit etc at a reasonable temperature.  400 maybe?  I don’t remember.  I don’t cook my pie fillings from recipes, I just go by instinct.

We added potato after the bunny had braised for a few hours in its own juice.

My butcher said it would thicken up the filling without using cornstarch or a butter roux.  He was right.

For good measure, flavor, and texture, I also added some collard and turnip greens i was making for this week’s lunches.

Give them some fiber, right?  Let the funny idiots have a little fiber, I say.

Look at that guy.  What an idiot. But not a constipated idiot.

Fiber.

(Not-Opposite Day:  Get your fiber, guys)

Me:  Come on, Kris – you’re the boss.  You’re the boss of that bunny.  Get that meat off the bone.  Pull it.

Him:  I just want to do it right.

Me:  Okay, but quickly, huh?  Aren’t there sweat-shop workers in your family?  Aren’t you Chinese?

Him:  Great.  A sweat shop joke.  Made by a white person.  Just what the world needs.  More of that.

Me:  Touche.  I shall think of a good poop joke.

There was a carefully staged spill!!!  We got some bunny bits on the floor!!

Kris was nice enough to clean it up.

Look at those socks.  Cute.

So, Kris is currently working on a really cool project for his thesis.

He wants to know What Makes You Smile?

Him: Smiling is one of those innate reactions in human life. This isn’t to say that happiness is the only reason why we smile, in fact, it isn’t. There are an infinite amount of reasons to smile and there are various types of a smile. I am fascinated, however, by what makes others smile. The kind of smile I am looking for is a Duchenne smile, or simply put a genuine smile. I see this thesis as a way of being able to change someone’s life by simply talking to them. In a world where digital interaction is on the rise and physical declining, the act of having a conversation in-person can be seen as refreshing. By asking people I have never met “what makes you smile?” an unfamiliar experience is made which can then inspire those to talk to those around them and re-create the experience.

Um.  Isn’t that the nicest thing you’ve ever heard?

You should contact him, and get interviewed.  Unless you’re too cool for that sort of thing.  You’re probably too cool for that.  You’ll probably hang around on Data Lounge all day complaining about stuff that doesn’t matter, instead.

Well, as long as you’re having fun. That’s my philosophy.

No, scratch that.  That’s not my philosophy.  I’m pretty sure the Columbine kids were having fun.  And Stalin.  He had a blast.  Manson was a good time Charlie.

New philosophy:  Don’t have any fun, if you’re an online hater.  Just hate.  It’s what you do.  It’s who you are.  Have fun!  (Opposite Day)

Anywhore.

Contact Kris, if you want to interview with him about what makes you smile.

Contact me if you want to hear sweatshop and poop jokes.

Or if you have a question you’d like me to answer.  Like, should you leave your  boyfriend?  Or, why does your younger brother act homophobic around you?  Or, how can you smile through dinner (and serve pie) when your condescending hipster friends say things like ‘you should put that in your comedy routine?’

Reminder:  Poop comes from my butt.  It’s where half of my sex happens too.  (The other half happens in YOUR butt).

Calm down.  WE WASHED OUR DIRTY GAY HANDS FIRST.

(Opposite Day – we never wash our hands because we’re filthy homos!!)

Kris liked tidy little flat top pies.  I favored bulging, abundant ones.

We put an egg wash on top of them and sprinkled with coarse sea-salt.

We spiced the filling with French Tarragon and Cumin.

What’s that hater?  Those two spices don’t work well together?  You’re wrong.  Go fuck yourself.

(Opposite Day – no sex for you.)

Big thanks to Thunder Gulch for a great tech rehearsal and a great show last night.  Big thanks to Kris Louie for helping me with these 20 pies – THEY TOOK FOREVER!!!

Big thanks to the Data Lounge for being massive Jerks this weekend.

As for the rest of you?  I love you all and don’t think you’re Jerks.

(Opposite Day)

Who’s better than ARI SCOTT?

Nobody.  Nobody is better than Ari Scott.

What’s that you’re nattering about?  Okay.  I guess Jesus.  Jesus is better, if you’re speaking semantics.

I mean.  He did start one of the world’s big three problem religions, so maybe Ari IS better.   Don’t get mad, I’m not saying your beliefs are dumb, I’m merely pointing out that a lot of blood has been shed over the Christian/Jew/Muslim thing over the last few thousand years.  Right.  And still.  Now.  We’re still doing the bloodshed thing.

What?  All this secular talk is unpopular and people want to hear about Ari Scott, and her connection to pie?

Fine.  Will you pay the National Grid bill, if I get to the blog entry?  WHAT?  You don’t have 41.75 in your bank account?  Oh man.  I gotta move outta Williamsburg.  NO.  It’s not funny that you’re broke.  Yes.  I do have a sense of humor.

Clearly Ari has a sense of humor:

See that photo?  It’s funny.  Mostly out of irony, which, fuck you guys, is not dead.  I agree – the insufferable hipsters people NEARLY beat it to death in the aughts.

Ari clearly proves that irony is not dead and is still very funny.

SHE’S not a strident upper-middle class housewife with a dog, as this picture clearly suggests.

She’s a thriving, relevant New York Comedian.  Musician.  Let’s settle on Photographer and call it a day.

Point is, she doesn’t HAVE to pick.  She’s great at all of that stuff.

Check her out if you don’t believe me:

www.ariscott.com

I’ll wait here a minute and preheat my oven.

Back?  See?  I told you.

So, Ari had a 365 project in 2010.  Photos.  You can see it on her website.  Go back.  BACK.  USE THE PAGE NAVIGATOR.  THE ARROWS!!!!!!!  THE ARROWS!!!!  Okay.  Now click on the icon that says Flicker #1.  That’s her stuff, fool. She had this 365 project, where she took a self portrait every day for 365 days.  Guess what?  She finished it.

Him?  That’s John Frusciante.  Ari’s fiance.

NO SMARTASS, not the guitarist from RED Hot Chilli Peppers.  He’s a comic at UCB theater and in New York and on the Internet.   He organized a nice surprise party for Ari.  He had some of her friends bring laptops to the UCB training center and set them up like a gallery, but on iMacs.  Hot, right?  It’s a start.   She’ll be in art galleries soon, kiddo, not to worry.

By the way, John’s nick name is Fresh Titties.

Why?  Because that’s the freshest supply of tatas.  Clearly.  Stop asking questions.  WHY DO I KEEP YOU AROUND?  Put your pants on.  I remember now.

I made another Mexican Silk for this party.  I wanted to get the recipe right, and I think I did.   Didn’t I?  Oh right.  You didn’t get any of it.  BECAUSE YOU LEFT THE SINK ON.

YES, YOU DID!

Oh come on, you know you di…  never mind.

I got it right this time, with more cayenne and cinnamon to really pack that punch in the crust.

A lot of fun, funny people came to support ari and her surprise party.  I was busy obsessing about the pie, but I heard them saying nice things about her.

“I’m Leslie and I’m super cool.  I wrote a show called Love Can Suck a Dick with Megan Nurenger.  It’s super funny and it’s playing on Friday at 7:30 at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater with Pam Murphy’s award winning The C Word.  Wow this pie Michael made is world class.”

“I’m Geoff Garlock.  Yes, you really spell it that way, why? I’m in a buncha bands and I write comedy for Maude night and other stuff around UCB and New York.   AND the internet!  Do you like my new haircut?  I change my look often, and this is a capricious throwaway.  Tomorrow, preppy, maybe.  Michael Martin is funny.”

“I’m Kirk Damato.  This is my girlfriend Sarah.  No.  Not her.  Not the smiling one, that’s Pam.  Why would she be smiling if she was my girlfriend?  The smirking one.  Yes.  Yes.  I know.  I AM LUCKY. Why am I looking sullen?  Because I have a desperate need to appear interesting, just like every other comic in the world.  Speaking of comedy, I am on an improv team called Decoster at UCB.  Or I was.  It’s complicated.  Now I’m in Japan.  Look my acting adventures up on www.talkingbreakfast.tumblr.com.  The point is, I’m here for Ari’s party and to tell Michael how hilariously wonderful EVERY SINGLE THING HE’S EVER DONE IN HIS LIFE IS.”

Stop it Kirk. GUYS.  This is about Ari.

GOD.

Speaking of God, did I say something secular?  I did.  Yes.  Good.  I’m kind of secular.

Ari is a wonderful lady.  Very kind.  Very talented in many areas.  John is a good fiance.  They are lucky.  Here are photos of the event.

This man is not funny.