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April 01, 2014 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-01

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 5

Learning to love music

Two girls, one Kroll
'Kroll Show' kills
IDin creative finale

Nic
in a
The
which:
relevan
cal bit
of thos
compa
the on
questio
every
did it g
In t
"Kroll
the an
definit(
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ity anc
- a m
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Martin
us "Mi
nightm
is any
tral ha
creativ

k Kroll delivers humoreverytime.
"Kroll Show" isn't like other
bsurd, hilarious sketch shows. Instead of having
a bunch of random jokes back to
season two back, Kroll has instead created
a twisted, anarchic world filled
By DREW MARON with reality TV-insanity and hys-
DailyArts Writer terically over-the-top characters.
One of the most interesting things
re are many criteria upon about the show is that all of the
a comedy can be judged: wit, characters interact and intersect
ace, satiri- in some broader story. In the case
e. But all of the season finale, that involved
e pale in A- one of my personal favorite
rison to sketches, PubLIZity, a fake reality
te golden Kroll Show show about two best friends (each
n of Tuesday nights named Liz, of course) who run
comedy: at 9:30 p.m. a public relations firm based on
etlaughs? their names (because they're both
he case of Comedy Central named Liz, get it?).
Show," The story this week follows the
swer is a duo repairing the image of Blis-
e yes. teritos, a snack company whose
oll Show" follows Comedy products are so loaded with flavor,
l's model of basing a show they're literally blowing the minds
I a comedian with creativ- of those who eat them - causing
d talent beyond the stage around 400 fatalities in the pro-
odel that gave us gems like cess.
rtant Things with Demetri "There's no such thing as bad
" ... and other times it gave press," says Liz (played by Nick
nd of Mencia" (I still have Kroll). The Blisteritos executive
ares). But if "Kroll Show" (guest star Seth Rogen) responds,
indication, Comedy Cen- "No this is universally terrible
s accepted that talent and press."
ity beat out generic shock The story also includes C-Czar

(also played by Nick Kroll), the
star of "Dad Academy," a show
he wants to win so he can see his
baby mama. In a twist, Nick Kroll
and Jenny Slate (who also plays
one half of the PubLIZity Duo)
directly address the viewers out of
character to talk about their roles
and why they love them or where
they came from. It's here that we
find out C-Czar's baby mama is ...
Liz (Jenny Slate's Liz that is)! Ifthe
story doesn't make any sense, well
that's kind of the point. The world
Kroll has created is one that is
just absolutely bonkers. The scene
where Liz (Nick Kroll) gets a con-
dition known as "Blisteritos Lips"
was particularly surreal.
Good sketch shows are very dif-
ficult to come by. Done poorly, they
can be annoyingly self-indulgent
and (the very worst insult you
can give to a comedian) boring.
But done well, and we get "Monty
Python" s and Stephen Frys.
Behind the vulgarity of "Kroll
Show" lies a pretty creative mind:
Nick Kroll. The guy has always
had talent but this series might
just be his crowning achievement.
It's over-the-top, nonsensical and
possibly genius for a sketch com-
edy featuring a character named
C-Czar.

I like to say that my firstconcert
came in 9th grade because, well,
I was young enough to need ear
plugs for my actual first concert.
I don't remember my age, specifi-
cally, but I do
recall the trip
to some bar
downtown,
where my
dad hoisted
me on his
shoulder and
we watched ELLIOT
a '90s staple ALPERN
called The
Cardigans
rock out onstage. I think I liked
one of their songs at the time; the
rest is a blur from so many years
ago.
But the show I like to imagine
as my real first show came in the
spring of my freshman year of
high school, well before I could
drive myself to downtown Pitts-
burgh and catch something at
Mellon Arena (where the Pen-
guins used to play, fyi.). One
weekend, my father once again
surprised me with tickets to a
concert - perhaps my favorite
band at the time, Wolfmother.
There was just one complication:
We would have to drive to Cleve-
land and back, two hours each
way, on a Sunday night.
Ordinarily, this wouldn't be a
problem. But, as this was begin-
ning of my formative years in high
school, I had a lot on my plate.
The day after that Sunday, I was
to begin conditioning practice on
the high school lacrosse team -
sure to be an absolute mire after
a night spent driving to see a rock
and roll band.
I wouldn't be stopped, though.
This was Wolfmother before
they broke up, right after they'd
released that spectacular debut
album. It's one I haven't listened
to in far too long, a blend of new-

wave
chede
favori
The T
Reg
trip, e
notori
schoo
few h
day o
this d
ence
multif
shows
Daily,
We
before
fairly
Doors
wait f
small
us thr
order,
nium.

Zepplin and pure psy- a joint in his mouth and was
lic rock - figure that my drawing from it when we made
te song is called "Joker & eye contact. I can't imagine the
hief." Enough said? paranoia he must have felt - first
gardless, we still made the seeing the 15-year-old watching
ven though my father was him smoke weed, and then notic-
iously against me missing ing the much larger father to the
4 - even if it meant just a right. Luckily for him, I kept the
ours sleep before that first secret, due in no small part to my
f conditioning. And still, to obliviousness. I figured it was a
ay, I haven't had an experi- cigarette at the time - only in my
that compares, even after retrospection have I realized my
ple festivals and countless mistake.
s covered for The Michigan But the show turned out to be
and otherwise. a blast, my favorite long past I'd
arrived at the club an hour seen other shows (broken only
ehand and, luckily, got a spot when I saw Foo Fighters during a
close to the front of the line. downpour at Lollapalooza). And,
opened at 7 p.m. and, after a exactly as I'd anticipated, we
sull of anticipation and some got home near 2 in the morning,
amount of nerves, they let exhausted.
-ough to the main room. No The next morning, I pleaded
no reason, just pandemo- with my father to let me sleep
in, but - as expected - I was
forced to make the bus on time,
usually at a cool 7:20 a.m. When
Wolfmother I got home that afternoon, with
a couple hours left until my first
tarted it all, practice, I spent them sleeping,
so much that I woke up with a
scant 15 minutes left.
All of this is a long way of
e venue itself consisted of a explaining that, unfortunately,
section of tables and chairs my coach was not a happy man
e back, and two paths to when I showed up to the first
it down to the main floor. conditioning a few minutes past
dy had VIP tickets or any- the start time. But even as we ran
special - it was a mad dash, sprints for every minute I was
ng the weak out of the way late, I had that concert fresh in
er to secure a place near the my mind, and when I got home
Unfortunately, I was one of that night, sore and almost deliri-
weak ones, but nonetheless ous with exhaustion, I knew that
ther and I pushed our way music had become the focus of
third row, and from there, I my passion. Four years later, and
red my first show. I applied to write for the Music
you might expect, this was beat over the Sports section -
he first time I'd ever wit- and it all began with that crazed
d someone do drugs. The sprint to the front of the stage.

V
St

Th(
small
in th
make
Nobo:
thing
shovit
in ord
stage.
those
my fa
to the
watch
As
also t
nessei

show was rowdy, albeit not too
dangerous, and when I turned
to avoid a cup of beer thrown
from the first row, I saw the man
standing behind me. He held

Alpern is looking for his
Wolfmama. If found, e-mail
ealpern@umich.edu.

Mobb Deep returns to
its roots on 'Iifalious'

"Watch it, you 'Jack'-off!!"
'ack going to survive

By JOE REINHARD
Daily Arts Writer
At the pilot stage, it can be dif-
ficult for a show to establish a clear
direction. Of course, this is one of
the most, if not
the most, impor- (+1
tant objectives
of a good pilot, SUrviVing
which is why Jack
so many end up
falling short. Thursdays at
Even a qual- 9:30 p.m.
ity premiere can
have a harder FOX
time attracting
an audience if
the people watching aren't sure
what to expect from it moving for-
ward. In this regard, FOX's "Sur-
viving Jack" won't have that issue.
The episode itself isn't without its
problems, but "Surviving Jack"
secures a sense of identity with its
pilot. It also manages to be pretty
darn funny along the way, which
doesn't hurt matters.
The show may know what it
wants to be, but meanwhile its
main character Frankie Dunlevy
(Conner Buckley, "The Abduction
of Zack Butterfield") is still strug-
gling in that regard. This can be
expected, as he is a teenage boy
dealing with the problems teen-
age boys have: meeting girls,going

through puberty and fitting in. really defines what "Surviving
The show exploits the humor that Jack" is about.
can be derived from this sort of outside of the father-son rela-
experience, but with an additional tionship, the next aspect of the
factor that proves to be the best show worth noting is its '90s set-
part of the show: Frankie's father ting. The show flounders a bit here,
Jack Dunlevy. but not because it fails to capture
the time period. In fact, it's per-
haps too riddled with'90s pop cul-
ture references. The setting helps
'90s alive and define the show's direction fur-
ther (and it makes for some funny
kicking in new scenes, as Frankie and his friends
try to steal porn from hobos
FOX comedy because there's no Internet), but
it's so obsessed with the decade
series. that it becomes distracting, tak-
ing away from the humor. If the it
managed to be a bit subtler with
this element in particular, the
Played by Christopher Meloni jokes surrounding it would seem
("Law & Order: Special Victims less forced and go over better.
Unit"), Jack takes a strict, mili- Despite being indulgent with
tary-esque approach to parenting, its '90s homages, "Surviving Jack"
something that doesn't always is a show with a certain universal
go over well with Frankie. Still, appeal that's hard to replicate in
Meloni's character is not only at any age. It presents a nice mix of
the show's comedic backbone (the comedy and relatable - if exag-
show would be tough to watch gerated - family drama, so that
without him), but also its emo- during its weaker moments (such
tional core. Jack isn't one for emo- as when Meloni isn't on screen),
tions himself, but his attempts at it's still worth watching. When
trying to help his son transition the show's funny, it's really funny,
into adulthood (funny as they may and even the strict Jack Dunlevy
be) are also well-intentioned. It's himself (who was angry over how
this balance between comedy and "Jurassic Park" was too unrealis-
wholesome family drama that tic) would approve.

ByJOSH FRAZIER all bonafide rap legends. While The
Daily Arts Writer Infamous Mobb Deep is not a classic
by any means - it's too long and too
Hip Hop loves being nostalgic. predictable - Havoc and Prodigy
Many of today's biggest artists deliver a competent album that
pepper their music with callbacks regales the listener with everything
and shout-outs you would expect: boasts of beating
to an earlier cases, lots of talk about wealth and
era. Everyone, multiple "Scarface" references. In a
it seems, longs The way, the lack of inventiveness on The
for the feel of Infamous Infamous Mobb Deep is refreshing.
New York City Mobb Deep knows their strengths
in the mid-'90s. Mobb Deep and have once again painted the
In that spirit, the MobbDeep picture of street wealth.
new album from The production is catchy yet
Mobb Deep is a Infamous Records sparse, and the oft-menacing beats
throwback to the perfectly accompany tales of drug
sound that made dealing and murder. Other tracks
them famous. focus on success and opulence over
The Infamous Mobb Deep comes expensive-sounding beats, provided
19 years after the duo's greatest by Havoc himself, Boi-lda, Illmind
work, 1995's The Infamous. It's easy and The Alchemist.
to see the connection that Havoc "Whole life, we grinding for the
and Prodigy are trying to make here; dough / and leave behind a legacy,"
this album is the spiritual sequel to a Prodigy raps on "Legendary" dis-
street-rap masterpiece. The record cussing how he and Havoc will be
has a gritty, throwback feel, and the remembered. Mobb Deep will never
two rappers trade bars over stripped- be as successful as Jay Z, as critically
down beats that evoke modernity
and a classic feel at the same time.
Song titles like "Timeless" and
"Legendary"make it clear that the EM I DSTITE F THE A IPOCA
pair of Queens-bred rhymers have THERE IS AN UNSEEN HOPE.
notlost astep. WHO CAN SAVE THE UNI
It is difficult to stay relevant
after two decades of making
music, yet the veteran emcees are
on their eighth studio album -
no small feat by any means. The
17-song project is a celebration
of this accomplishment, and the
lengthy tracklist takes the listener
on a tour of NYC Hip Hop from
past to present. Nas and Busta
Rhymes, two of the East Coast's
all-time greats, are featured, and
both deliver stand-out verses that
prove once again why they are Aprilg Y-13
among New York's finest- e.Ad i
There is the requisite FrenchLIag
Montana feature, an indictment
of the present-day state of New
York rap. "All A Dream" featuresF,
all three members of The LOX
andaprominentsampleof"Juicy,"
one of the most famous rap songs
of all time. It is clear that Havoc
and Prodigy want to associate3~
themselves with elite company.
In addition to interpolating The
Notorious B.I.G., The Infamous
Mobb Deep has guest verses from
Snoop Dogg, Bun B and Juicy J,

revered as Nas or as iconic as Biggie.
There are countless New York rap
legends who have entered the public
conscious. The Wu-Tang Clan, Puff
Daddy, Big Pun, Big Daddy Kane,
Black Star, Pete Rock, A Tribe Called
Quest and countless others helped
make NYC the hip-hop capital of
the world. Still, Prodigy and Havoc
deserve to be considered members of
that elite fraternity of pivotal mem-
bers in New York rap history. The
Infamous Mobb Deep is not a great
album, but it is a serviceable remind-
er that Mobb Deep was once among
the hardest groups in rap. There is no
"Shook Ones Part II" on their new
album, but Havoc and Prodigy are as
grimy and threatening as they have
ever been. "Guts spill, have you pray-
ing to the Lord" is a pretty terrifying
line, and it is delivered with com-
plete conviction. This is the perfect
soundtrack to anempty streetcorner
at night. Even after 20 years in the
rap game, The Infamous Mobb Deep
sees the duo sounding as fresh and as

'5

At t

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