Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged humor

Vag Magazine

I didn’t think it was even figuratively possible to shoot yourself in the foot while disappearing up your own behind, but the characters in Vag Magazine have proven otherwise. This eerily well-observed sketch show from the women of the Upright Citizens Brigade is watchable and rewatchable by third wave feminists and those who love them—or who love to laugh at them—especially since every episode is available on the web.

WTF? Women: How to Survive 101 of the Worst F*#-ing Situations With the Ladies

The first time I flipped through this book, I felt like throwing it in the trash. The humor is crude and the tone misogynistic. But then I sat down and read it more carefully (not that it necessarily requires a careful reading). And I discovered that reading it was a lot like watching the performance of a stand-up comedian.

Freak Nation: A Field Guide to 101 of the Most Odd, Extreme, and Outrageous American Subcultures

As the subheading states, Freak Nation is truly a field guide to American subcultures. Its format presents each group as if it were a species of bird in a bird-watching guide.

Adult Child of Hippies

The cover of Adult Child of Hippies is priceless. For anyone who started out life in the 1960s or 1970s, a version of this photograph of a mostly-naked, preadolescent girl sporting a flower in her mouth probably exists in the family album. Willow Yamauchi is banking on the fact that the rest of the book will resonate with readers just as strongly.

Literary Readings: Jonathan Franzen and Lorrie Moore (11/13/2010)

In the deeply downtrodden, recession smashed state that the publishing industry is in, and in a culture in which few people seem to have the attention span to read an entire novel (much less one nearly 600 pages long), it seemed unlikely that America would ever crown yet another Great American Novelist. However, Jonathan Franzen has been given such a title by many media outlets, some of which showed a photo of President Obama carrying Franzen's latest work, Freedom. Franzen’s readings across the country have lead to lines around the block, giving life to a dying industry. But all of the fawning and attention directed at Franzen has lead some writers, like Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner, to wonder if writing by men is automatically taken more seriously than writing by women, who are often written off as "chick lit" or left to play second fiddle.

Four Lions

Four Lions, produced and directed by Chris Morris, satirizes terrorists and the response to terrorism in modern Britain. Every character is flawed and every person is spoofed. No one is spared; police, politicians, local working stiffs, neighborhood religious fanatics, and the floozie next door are lampooned with great one-liners and riotous insults. This may sound insensitive, but the humor does not obscure hard issues. Rather, it makes them approachable: you’ll likely want to talk about this funny and unexpectedly sad film after seeing it.

Cho Dependent Tour (9/23/2010)

Margaret Cho's hour-long set at The Grove began with a story about her recent experiences as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars that parlayed into a story about using a vocal coach from American Idol while touring in support of her newly released album Cho Dependent. Apparently her vocal coach made her drink shots of olive oil when she developed a sore throat, and as a result, Cho suffered from uncontrollable flatulence and diarrhea. This was a reoccurring theme of the night (I actually wasn’t aware Cho had such a penchant for poop jokes), and while I spent half of Cho’s act loving her intensely and laughing out loud, the other half I found myself wondering if she’d lost her edge.

Jack Goes Boating

I had no idea that Phillip Seymour Hoffman had such a devoted fan base. Yeah, he won Oscars for his work in Capote and Doubt and he did liven up overrated stinkers like The Talented Mr. Ripley and Magnolia. Still, I was shocked by how many people streamed into the theatre to see his directorial debut, Jack Goes Boating. Nearly all the chairs in the 600-seat space were filled.

Cover Me: A Health Insurance Memoir

If you suspect that your experiences alone put the hell in healthcare, then Cover Me by Sonya Huber is the memoir for you. By the age of thirty-three, Huber had already endured eleven gaps in healthcare coverage, and had also been sent to collections for medical debt multiple times. She became an expert at scavenging for alternatives and at squeezing every drop of blood from the recalcitrant turnip that is the US healthcare system.

New Blood: Third Wave Feminism and the Politics of Menstruation

When I first picked up New Blood, I immediately thought about Sarah Haskins, the feminist comedienne who does the segment ‘Target Women’ (on Current TV), in which she uses humour and sarcasm to draw attention to ridiculous media representations of women and female stereotypes.

The Other Guys

Adam McKay is one of a million: a writer and director who can put together a great trailer. Too bad the feature presentation of The Other Guys is so long and boring that it chokes on its own machismo.

Dinner for Schmucks

In the formulaic plots that have developed in mainstream comedies over the last several years the re-occurring theme seems to be male idiocy. The Will Ferrells and Steve Carrells of the comedy world have delighted in creating man-children characters who don’t exist on the normal plane of human intelligence. They come equipped with stock sex jokes, like not understanding the female anatomy, or overconfidence that their incorrect knowledge of basic vocabulary is accurate.

I Can’t Think Straight

It’s always a bit tricky to adapt one’s real life experiences to the big screen, but that’s what award-winning filmmaker Shamim Sarif has done in I Can’t Think Straight. Based in London, the film depicts the budding romance between Leyla, an Indian Muslim woman raised in the UK, and Tala, an Arab Christian Palestinian woman who was brought up in a very wealthy family in Jordan.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

In the previous millennium when I was an idealistic young thing attending Barnard College, the women’s college affiliated with Columbia University, there was a lot of talk about who before us had walked the hallowed halls: anthropologist Margaret Mead; writers Edna St. Vincent Millay, Zora Neale Thurston, Francine du Plessix Gray, Patricia Highsmith and Ntozake Shange; recent United States ambassador to the U.N. Jeanne Kirkpatrick; musicians Laurie Anderson and Suzanne Vega (whose song “Luka” was then on all the airwaves); NPR’s Susan Stamberg; nationally syndicated columnist Anna Quindlen; choreographer Twyla Tharp; and a pre-Omnimedia Martha Stewart, whose daughter had also recently attended.

Soul Kitchen

Soul Kitchen is a lot like cotton candy—sweet but, ultimately, not very satisfying. Like many festival favorites, the plot of this independent German film revolves around a cast of lovably quirky characters who get themselves eye-deep into trouble. Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos), a German of Greek descent, has a lot of stuff on his plate. He’s the proprietor of Soul Kitchen, a struggling eatery in a rundown section of Hamburg. The tax people, led by Frau Schuster (Catrin Striebeck), are knocking at his door.

It's Not That I'm Bitter...: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World

Challenging the norms of our modern society and how the feminist movement has evolved into a misfire of sorts (a mix of improvements with unexpected setbacks), Gina Barreca wrote her book It’s Not that I’m Bitter... to share her perspective.

I'm Sorry You Feel That Way: The Astonishing but True Story of a Daughter, Sister, Slut, Wife, Mother, and Friend to Man and Dog

Diana Joseph has weekly breakfast dates with her Satanist neighbor, a dog that tirelessly humps everything (including her petrified son), terrible relationships with men (including one that produced the previously mentioned son), and issues with her brothers.

The Last Days of Emma Blank

Emma Blank believes death is eminent. Surrounded by a sulky if compliant staff in her large home near the Dutch dunes, she shouts absurd orders in between bemoaning her fate. “Don’t worry,” she assures her impatient employees. “Before winter, I’ll be dead.” Emma’s character is frustratingly distempered. Seemingly with no idea what is good for her, she demands an eel for breakfast, then violently vomits while her staff stands around shaking their heads with annoyance. It’s clear no one in the house has any sympathy for her condition, whatever mysterious ailment it may be.

A Parallelogram (7/1/2010)

In Euclidean geometry, parallel lines never intersect. In post-Euclidean geometry, all parallel lines under specific conditions—for example, placed on a globe—will converge. In Bruce Norris’ new play, A Parallelogram, parallelogram is the term used to describe a window of sorts in space and time. The protagonist’s future self visits her through such a passage and discloses details of her life and the world to come.

Female Nomad and Friends: Tales of Breaking Free and Breaking Bread Around the World

I love reading essay collections. For a voracious reader without much free time, the ability to pick up a book, read a few self-contained pages that pack a punch, and go on to the next task is so rewarding. And unlike reading blog posts, I don’t feel the need to comment or otherwise let the author know that I was there. Female Nomad and Friends is an absolute treat for women who love to travel and connect with new people.


Every year, one of my nieces comes to visit my husband and I for a week over the summer. This year we took her to a couple of art museums, a jazz concert, and her first comic book store. We also did fun things at home like painting our nails and playing video games. On the last day of our visit, we decided to see a movie, and she wanted to see Grown-Ups. I did too, as a matter of fact. I’m happy to report that I genuinely liked the movie.

Lizzy the Lezzy

To celebrate Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, the Sundance Channel has released five digitally animated Lizzy the Lezzy short films featuring the irreverent stand up comedy and musical humor of their title character. Who is this Lizzy the Lezzy – besides an Internet and television phenom who’s been featured on AfterEllen.com and Logo TV’s Alien Boot Camp?

Get Him to the Greek

Aldous Snow (Russell Brand)—the uber-sexual, tongue-in-cheek (and anywhere else you’ll let him stick it) Brit-rocker introduced to audiences in 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall—is back in the latest film from yet another member of the Apatow Film Club for Boys.

Just Don't Call Me Ma'am: How I Ditched the South, Forgot My Manners, and Managed to Survive My Twenties with (Most of) My Dignity Still Intact

Who better, I ask you, than a Yankee like me who moved to Texas to review Just Don't Call Me Ma'am, a book by a Texas-girl who moved to the East?

Was That Supposed To Be Funny?

One can never truly pinpoint what feminism looks like. Sometimes it’s the faces of celebrities, proudly claiming the F-word; sometimes it’s a swarm of protesters gathering on the National Mall. And sometimes it’s a crown of broccoli asserting its dancing ability to a bullying stalk of asparagus.


After running through a gauntlet of elevators and security guards at the Sony Tower in midtown Manhattan, I entered a small screening room to see the French film Micmacs.


Originally written for the German public, Wetlands has made its way west to shock some freedom into the views of female sexuality and feminism. Wetlands could be the placid story of Helen, a girl using her hospital stay to get her parents back together.

Iron Man 2

Before Iron Man hit theatres in 2008, most of us thought of Jon Favreau as the guy who was so money, baby—and he didn't even know it. Critics and audiences expected little from yet another Marvel Comic-inspired film. So when director Favreau delivered an entertaining film with tons of personality (mostly in the form of the amazing Robert Downey Jr.), it was an underdog smash.

Behind the Burly Q

We can't deny that we're in the midst of a Burlesque Renaissance, at least in New York City—go to any club downtown and see for yourself.

The Spare Room

Many of us love our friends just as much as our family members. We often believe we would go to great lengths to protect them, as does Helen, the narrator of The Spare Room.