Saturday, June 13, 2009

This is so wrong!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

First Draft of the Chronic Insomnia Story

Below is the beginning of a grand story I am writing about the formation of Chronic Insomnia back in 1983. This is the first draft and I haven't really edited it at all but I thought I would still put it out for people to read.


The name Chronic Insomnia started in 1990 when I purchased a Hi-8mm camcorder. That 8mm opened up a giant creative process that Ryan and I had been looking for since our earlier years of making audio madness. We had the idea of making a late night TV show that only the Chronic Insomniacs would watch. In actuality we started this whole thing much earlier. Let me give you the whole story.

It's 1983 and I am at my house after school. Probably watching the A-Team or Magnum P.I. with my father. Ryan has decided to come over and hang out. This is just the beginning of our friendship and we are still feeling each other out. That sounds gay, but I assure it was. I don’t really remember the catalyst that began our friendship.

Anyways Ryan comes over and I have a surprise for him: a big black boom box with a microphone on it. For some reason, which I can't recall after so many years, it wasn't surprising to Ryan that I wanted to record our voice with my tape recorder. Maybe he had already experimented with this in his own life, but from memory we just slipped right into recording. We set the boom box down on the floor of my upstairs bedroom and began a career in making each other laugh. It was a contest to see how often we could make the other one stop the recorder so the laughing wasn’t picked up.

Ryan had this nervous tick of having to play with something while recording, and this fateful day it happened to be the pieces from my "Crossbows & Catapults" set. Ryan cupped three or four pieces in his hands and juggled them above the hardwood floor of my room. Each time he dropped them it shot straight into the microphone and nearly drowned out everything we were saying. I was 11 and my technical expertise wasn't as honed so I ignored the obvious crippling effect of his nervous habit to the audio sound. We were working with a cheap ass microphone and we both sounded like the same person at times anyways, so it really didn’t matter.

In one glorious day we managed to pound out our breakthrough comedy album tentatively called “Being Stupid”. Let’s be honest here, it was stupid, but we were in 6th grade. I am not sure how Ryan and I even met, but I am sure it was in Ms. Keyo’s class when Ryan was pointing out that he could see her panty lines through her slacks. We were nothing short of subtle and sophisticated, even back then.

Our first tape wasn’t really funny, but at the time we thought we were fucking geniuses. I remember being proud of our accomplishment. Are there a few golden gems on the tape? Well not really. Most of it was pretty stupid, but was a blast to make. Which for me has been the reason for the continued work relationship. We always have a blast in everything we do. I don’t recall any recording, short film or song we did where I didn’t at least laugh a dozen times. It hasn’t felt like work even to this day. Some of the highlights on the tape, at least for me was my rendition of Bill Cosby, which turned out to be the benchmark in which all comedians and impressionists compared themselves too.

Between Ryan’s rhythm section with the Crossbows and Catapults pieces and my wonderful job of stopping and starting the tape recorder, we managed to actually finish over 35 minutes of audio carnage. To this day I still have the original cassette tape and each time I bring it out the memories flood back to me. In all honesty it’s actually a pretty good piece of audio. It’s not funny at all really, but it does show our immediate ability to just “wing” things without any sort of preparation.

At this point in my life Ryan wasn’t my only friend and it was about a year until we got back together to record our sophomore effort, which never really had a title. This time around we actually did some funny stuff. This audiotape was centered around Paul Michealson a reporter interviewing special needs people in a hospital/school environment. Sounds like a funny premise already, but it got even more hilarious when Ryan slipped into the straight roll and I went completely off the damn rails.

The year was 1984 and we were in 7th grade. Our voices were just beginning to change and during this time you could actually sort of tell us apart on the tape. At this point I had gotten a new boombox with a better microphone on it and I had learned to keep things out of Ryan’s hands while we recorded. It didn’t work totally, but I did manage to limit his random sounds by at least 50%.

This tape took us multiple days to finish, at least two. It was more thought out and actually had a little bit of a storyline. Now when I say storyline, I mean it was more linear and sort of flowed from one point to another. We were still totally winging it and we never really talked about what was going to happen outside of the actual recording. I had moved into the basement of my parent’s house and that is where I would stay for the next 12 years. We had more freedom, we could be louder, more vulgar and we took full advantage of it.

At that time I had honed my ability to play the mentally challenged and Ryan couldn’t handle more than a millisecond of my shaking and grunting so this tape was also filled with plenty of stopping and starting of the tape. Each time Ryan, as Paul Michealson, would ask my special needs person a question, I would take it up a notch and really blurt something out. I would take my hands and beat them against my chest. The angle of my hands was very important to make it look more realistic. We weren’t working with a visual medium, but my mission was to make Ryan laugh so I had to pull out all the stops.

The tape might have had a linear feel to it, but it was also filled with pretty “out there” ideas. I would just blurt out anything that popped into my head for each of his questions. I wasn’t afraid to play a woman on this tape either. Our knowledge of women was very limited and we managed to show just how ignorant we were about girls. We talked about periods and bathroom events, something similar to what we talk about today, and we thought we knew stuff. Well we really didn’t. We were just goofing around and making ourselves laugh as much as we could.

This time around the recording really spurred us on and more ideas started flooding us. It wasn’t nearly as long until we got together to record the next tape. After Paul Michealson, we really went into the experimental realm. At this point Ryan had gotten himself a boombox and we switched our location to Ryan’s house for the summer. This turned out to be a great boon since we wanted to be louder and more rowdy on tape. It was time to take the recording process up a notch once again.

The next couple tapes were actually a series of tiny segments strewn over multiple cassettes and didn’t have any sort of connection. Ryan and I experimented with sound effects and using music as filler. Our voices were changing and cracking constantly. Ryan had this dog named “Cinnamon” and we thought it would be a good idea to get her to growl into the microphone and pretend she was pissed at me for not satisfying her sexually. Was this funny, well yeah it was, but it was also filled with sugar loaded freedom screams and chants of “Too much sugar, too much caffeine” yelled into the tiny microphone on top of Ryan’s tape recorder. A tape recorder we would eventually destroy in the name of audio creativity.

I am not sure why, but at this point I wanted to try something on my own and I created a couple of audiotapes alone in my basement. Most thirteen year old kids masturbated; I actually liked recording myself, and exploring the limits of what my tape recorder could do. Earlier on I had found out that if you recorded yourself in high speed, you sounded like a chipmunk. This gave me an idea to record a Star Trek inspired highspeed tape. It turned out really stupid and was actually really hard to understand, but the intensity of the tape was unparalleled at the time.
During my foray into Alvin and Star Trek, Ryan was working on the Epy Epperman radio show. He was taking the normal route and making something with a storyline. I listened to his tape and was jealous of a few things. He was taking things to a new level of creativity and editing. I thought it was pretty funny actually and much more mainstream than anything that popped into my head at the time.

We had both gone off and explored different styles and quickly learned that without each other it just didn’t work that well. I was the crazy fucker with the extreme ideas and Ryan was intelligent one that kept us somewhat understandable. Ryan did get insane at times and I was able to intelligently think of things, but we leaned towards those stereotypes and it worked. It still works today.

At this point the year is 1986 or so and we have decided to just make simple audiotapes. You would think we would come up with more intricate storylines and flowing narrative, but it just didn’t turn out that way. We had recently found Ryan’s record player in his living room and we decided we were the Beastie Boys and we were going to scratch our brand of hip hop into our recordings. We didn’t have any phat beats to work with, but we did have old superman and Tex Ritter records to work with and for us those were much better.

Another breakthrough at this point in our recording career was an interest in making something serious. We both sounded like the worst B actors in the history of film, but the sound effects were on another level for us. We didn’t know what else to do but try and make it serious. We failed miserably. I think it must have been near Halloween or something and we had found a record of scary sound effects.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

When We Were Thin...Well Sort Of.

Here are the photos we promised on the show with Ryan being REALLY thin. Well at least thin in comparison to his overweight bloated fat ass now. Enjoy the pictures and any ladies out there that want a piece of him, just email us at: and he'll go out with you.

Ryan was the master on the wax in the early 90's. Check out that sophisticated turntable he used. He's a real catch ladies.

Is there anyone tougher than this guy? He smashed his hand through Sheetrock! Amazing!

I figure it's only fitting to include a couple of photos of myself on here. I wasn't nearly as thin back then, but my fashion sense and taste in photography was obviously up there with the greats. Who else simulates sex with large stuffed teddy bears?

Yeah this was as fun as it looked. I broke this bears cherry during the photoshoot.

Drinking from an empty bottle of wine and wearing a tennis racket cover for a hat, comedy gold!

I hope you enjoyed some photos from our past. These were all taken in the same day sometime in 1990. Just goes to show you how old we really are. We haven't aged well. It's a shame because we were fucking sexy back then.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chris Hardwick's Country Video

This is pretty goddamn funny. I don't like country music at all, but this makes me laugh every time I listen to it.

It's the guy from "Singled Out" and yeah he still looks the same even though it's been 15 years. He's one of those assholes that doesn't age.