So for the first day of my TV/comedy writing class, we were asked to prepare a list of the top ten favorite items on our i-pods (or equivalent), and to identify the top ten people, movies, TV shows that influenced our comic sensibilities. It is a task for which I am singularly unqualified, but I gave it my best shot, although I couldn’t resist adding a small disclaimer or two.
B Seetachitt’s Not Really A Top Ten List
I’m not so good at top tens. I had a boyfriend once who knew his favorite everything. Favorite movies, favorite rock artists, favorite Broadway musicals, flavors of ice cream, kinds of sandwich at Dagwood’s Deli. He’d ask me about my favorite stuff just to watch my brain implode. Then he’d have to talk me through it, like I was a kid with Asberger’s trying to figure out whether the dude in the picture is happy or sad.
“Do you like Vanilla?” he’d say. “Think about it, is it better than chocolate?”
“Okay, let’s go back. Do you like ice cream? Do you know if you like ice cream?”
“Do you even remember what ice cream tastes like?”
On the other hand, seldom having opinions of my own makes me exceptionally agreeable to be around. Like if I’m taking a road trip with my husband, and he says, “I’m going to listen to this song by Nelly sixteen times in a row.”
I say, “Okay.”
“And for the next five hours, we’re going to listen to the soundtrack to Wicked.”
MY IMAGINARY I-POD
Thus most of my mental musical library is not the result of my own growing taste, but simply a record of my changing environment. I didn’t have a radio of my own until I was twelve, so along with classical music, I grew up listening to my dad’s old albums: Chad Mitchell Trio, Kingston Trio, Peter Paul and Mary. I loved these because they had lyrics that told stories, even though I didn’t often get their satirical nature. However I don’t think I would invest in digital versions, so they would probably not make the i-pod list.
The summer after 8th grade, my friend Barbara visited from Utah bringing Depeche Mode (would I pay to own it again? maybe no), Thompson Twins (yes), and somehow in my first Columbia house Record Club six-for-the-price-of-one order also included Sting’s Dream of the Blue Turtles (probably).
At my friend Amy’s house after school in high school I memorized the lyrics to the Violent Femmes (no, I’m too old to shout “don’t point point point that thing at me” on the elliptical machine at the gym) and INXS (tough call). In college, my friend Kyle was a fanatic for R.E.M and we saw them in concert four times in two years (yes, at least Life’s Rich Pageant and Dead Letter Office.) He also turned me on to Sarah MacGlachlen and Lyle Lovett (yes and yes).
From my roommate during summer stock theatre I acquired a taste for Nancy Griffith (yes). Various boyfriends were into Prince. I think I read a review when it came out and fell in love with Paul Simon’s Graceland (yes-a great album for pacing a workout with).
When I started dancing I heard a lot of swing and blues, and Salsa—Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Mark Anthony, Celia Cruz, Buena Vista Social Club.
Then there are my friends I’d go camping with, Moby, Chemical Brothers (we’re into all yes territory now), Along with some Beatles, and maybe some Tom Waits and some Morphine, that’s what I might have on my i-pod if I knew how to program it.
MY REAL I-POD
What’s really on my i-pod though? The same songs my husband had on there when he gave it to me a year ago. I just finished replacing the battery this week, took it to the gym and discovered what was on there.
Raspberry Beret and Little Red Corvette–Prince
Beast of Burden—The Stones and the Bette Midler versions-I think I made him put these on there.
Fever-the Sam Butera Version
Those Jeopardy skits from Saturday Night Live,
Chris Rock talking about insurance—though I find him less funny than depressing lately
Boys in the Hood –Dynamite Hack
Eye of the Tiger-Survivor—okay I don’t really listen to that, but it just makes me smile every time I scroll through.
Les Mis soundtrack—I don’t listen to this much either, but it scrolling past inspires me to learn how to add other music sometime soon.
TOP TEN PEOPLE AND MOVIES,
Steve Martin—what a smart guy! His stand-up, early movies, L.A. Story is a flawed fave.
Mel Brooks—Young Frankenstein primarily
David Sedaris—neurotic is funny
Chris Rock—lays it out there
Mitch Hedberg—Non-sequiter, flat delivery, like Stephen Wright but better.
Ben Stiller—Zoolander and Dodgeball get me every time.
TOP TEN TV
Shows I grew up with: Mash, The Brady Bunch, Cheers, some SNL
Then: Seinfeld, Friends, Frasier
Animated: The Simpsons, The Family Guy
Recently Rented and really enjoyed: Scrubs, Arrested Development
Closest to my heart: Joss Whedon, (Buffy, Angel, Firefly),