Wed, 21 May 2014
Humans love to laugh. In recent years, we've discovered that there is some truth to the adage: "Laughter is the best medicine." We pay to watch movies that make us laugh; most people live within a drive from a comedy club (or 2...or dozens). Some of the most popular podcasts out there are shows done by funny people. What is it about comedy that we love so much? That's what we're talking about on this week's episode of Men in Gorilla Suits.
We begin by discussing the very first thing we remember laughing at...and then, the very first joke we remember telling. (Spoiler alert: Christopher once memorized the entire 101 Elephant Jokes book.)
There are certain things that are synonymous with comedy -- we talk about what comes to our minds when someone mentions comedy, and then we discuss the funniest movies we've ever seen. Books can be funny as well; we devote a little time to funny books before discussing whether or not the Internet has been a good or bad thing for the development of comedy.
Want to know what stupid thing makes us laugh every time? Listen and find out...and also find out the most wrong things we find funny.
It's a great time for comedy, with podcasts and so many other ways funny people can reach an audience. Find out who we think is the most brilliant mind in comedy right now and what our go-to sources for comedy are when we're in search of a laugh.
We wrap the episode up discussing the funniest person we know personally and what was the last thing that made us laugh so hard that we almost had an unintentional body function occur.
We'd love to hear what you think is funny; as always, feel free to share in the comments.
Wed, 14 May 2014
Gorilla Christopher's sister lived to be 38 years old. She would have been 50 yesterday (May 13). It's one of many losses in Christopher's life. Shawn and Christopher have lost a lot in their time: serious losses and...pretty damn humorous losses! That's what we are talking about his week!
Mon, 5 May 2014
America gets a bad rap that's sometimes deserved. At the same time, there's no other country quite like the United States of America: for all its faults, it's a great place in so many ways. We kick off this episode with this question: America used to be called "the melting pot" -- do we think that's still true? After that, we discuss our first experience dealing with another culture and then discuss the most culturally diverse place we've ever lived.
"American culture" can be a hard thing to pin down...we devote some time talking about what we think American culture even is. Some countries try to keep other cultures from "infringing" on established culture. Do more cultures in one place strengthen a population, or have the opposite effect? And how has the Internet been helpful in people recognizing and embracing other cultures? After answering these questions, we discuss our favorite foreign cultures.
Some people are terrified of uniculturalism: so many cultures in one place that an area or country gravitates toward a new, single culture. We discuss examples of uniculturalism we've seen and talk about whether or not we feel it's a bad thing.
One of the earmarks of culture is language. We talk about how language has changed in America...and all over the world.
We wrap up this episode talking about what we consider our cultural identities to be and sharing what we believe (and hope) is the future of world culture. (Looking at the image chosen for this week's episode, it's probably pretty clear that we think the world, with all its different people, is a mighty cool thing!)
As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts about this week's topic in the comments.
Wed, 30 April 2014
If Christopher had his way, this episode would have been called "ALL HAIL GOAT SIMULATOR!!!" But that would be a bit limited in scope -- especially when the world of video games practically knows no bounds.
We live in a time when many who complain about how much time their children play Call of Duty spend just as much time on their phones playing Candy Crush and other mobile games. Lines have been blurred from the days of the Atari 2600 and arcades full of cigarette smoke and stand-up cabinet games. Today, almost everybody in America plays digital games of some sort.
We start out in the 70s and 80s, discussing the first video games we remember seeing...and asking if they were actually the first game we ever played. Then it's a hop to the future, asking what the last game we've played is. (Hint for Christopher's last game played: "BAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!")
Video games have come a long way, crushing movie box office totals and pushing well beyond what we could imagine in their infancy. We dedicate some time to discussing whether or not video games can be art.
Since we both write, we take a side road into the writing of video games, which is often secondary...but have some games hit on great writing? What's the future of writing in games? In this section we talk about:
Putting writing aside, video games get a bad rap for being the same old things. Is there truth to that, or are there original games? After that, we talk about how mobile devices have changed the way we look at video games.
We close this episode out listing some of our all-time favorite video games and discussing what we think the future of video games looks like.
So grab a handful of quarters and listen. If you're so inclined, share some of your thoughts about video games in the comments.
Thu, 24 April 2014
There's never been a more violent time to be alive than RIGHT NOW!!! Watch the news and it's clear: we are a doomed species, and it's all because we are violent. Never have we seen such horrible acts of crime and cruelty. Only...that is not at all true.
The truth is, we do live with violence in society, but just how bad is it? That's our topic this week.
We begin with the news...watch and you can easily believe "OMG, VIOLENCE IN AMERICA IS OUT OF CONTROL! I'M MORE LIKELY THAN EVER TO BE A VICTIM OF VIOLENT CRIME!!!" We discuss whether or not that's true. It is true that violence in America does exist, and that we have a reputation for being very violent. But are we any more violent than England, Greece, or really anywhere in Europe?
After that, we move on to ourselves, discussing whether or not we are, or have ever been, violent individuals. Find out where we stand on violence in media (television, movies, video games, and music). Can these things influence violence in society? Then we move on to this question: "What do you think causes someone to be a violent person or to commit a violent crime?" (Does one necessarily have to be a violent person to commit a violent crime?)
There's no denying that some people have a certain obsession with violence, whether it's being violent themselves, or attracted to violent things. We ask each other why we think that is before talking about the first violent thing we remember seeing.
The stories of some lives are told in scars -- we can both point to scars on our bodies as reminders that we were once young and stupid and willing to try things we knew would most likely fail. But do we carry any scars obtained through violence? Find out! Also find out, on a scale of one to ten, how much we fear violence being committed on us or on someone we love.
One cannot deny America's obsession with guns. Does gun ownership or a lack of gun control contribute to violence? Also, will humans ever grow out of being a violent species (or are we even a violent species now)?
We close out the show with two questions about violence:
We'd love to hear your thoughts about this episode and your feelings about violence. As always, feel free to comment!
Wed, 16 April 2014
There's a good chance you're listening to this podcast at work...or on your way to or from work. If you saw any social media posts about this episode, you probably saw them during work hours, on breaks from tasks at hand. Most of us work a lot; it's something we've talked about on Men in Gorilla Suits quite a bit in passing, but we've never dedicated an entire episode to working. That changes today...
We kick it all off by talking about the first job we ever had, and then we roll into the best job we've ever had. Of course, if we talk about the best job we've ever had, we really should talk about the worst job -- and we do!
If you've watched the teaser for this week's show, you know that at least Christopher has had a lot of different jobs. Shawn is no different. Neither of us are strangers to manual labor. We devote a little time to discussing what we've brought from construction and warehouse jobs over to our office gigs. After that, we share some good job interview stories.
A good manager or shop foreman can make even a not-so-great job better. We talk about what makes a good manager and whether or not we've ever worked for people fitting our descriptions of a good leader in the workplace.
Work enough, and you're going to meet some people you'd probably never have met on your own. We spend some time talking about some of the more "interesting" people we've ever worked with and share some of our stranger on-the-job stories.
We spend one minute each in a lightning round, listing as many jobs as we have had in 60 seconds. (Christopher racks up over 30 in that minute. Check out this video for a sneak peek.):
Some people almost seem bred to complain about work. We devote a bit of time to why we think so many people complain about their jobs, and then we talk about our dream jobs...and why they are our dream jobs.
With many jobs being automated or shipped overseas, we discuss what we think is the future of jobs as we know them before wrapping it all up with the dreaded job interview question: "Where do you see yourself in five years?"
We'd love to know where you see yourself in five years -- feel free to share your work stories in the comments.
Now...get back to work!
Tue, 8 April 2014
Beam aboard this week as we talk about...Star Trek!
We begin by talking about our entry points into the world of Star Trek...and then discuss our first memories of the show. We round out our geeky intro with a few minutes dedicated to our favorite incarnations of the series.
After that we talk about how much of the approximately 727 hours of filmed Trek content still holds up. From there, it's on to the worst thing about our favorite versions of the show. Who's the best character (and worst) in the history of the show? Listen and find out! We close this section out with some talk about what frustrates us about Star Trek.
Find out why we think the franchise has survived as long as it has, and why it keeps going. The "What's the most fan boyish thing you've ever done in relation to Star Trek?" section is a riot when it's Shawn's turn to talk. He wasn't kidding when he said, "No matter how fanboyish you've been about Trek, Christopher -- I have you beat!"
If you listen for no other reason, listen for the answers to this question: "Why is Worf so easy to beat up?"
We close out the episode on a couple more serious notes:
Assimilation is futile; take a moment out of your day to talk about the best (and worst) of Star Trek in the comments.
Wed, 2 April 2014
The human need to celebrate things is this week's topic. So many of us go through life jumping from celebration to celebration. We kick off this episode talking about why we have such a need to celebrate things...before asking each other if we look for reasons to celebrate anything and everything.
But let's slow down a moment and clarify things: what constitutes a celebration? Does it have to be a recurring, formal thing...or can celebrations be a small thing appreciated in a moment? From there, we move on to discussing the strangest things we've celebrated.
It seems there's some new celebration almost every week: Pi day, Pancake Day, and so many others. We devote some time to acknowledging social media's role in a myriad celebrations people mention online. (For example, today is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, meaning this!) More than social media, though, celebrations are big business. We spend some time discussing how money factors into so many celebrations.
Humans love having reasons to celebrate the things they do: we spend a little time talking about things we do to celebrate accomplishments like finishing another novel or ending big projects at work (Christopher spent part of last weekend after a big project playing this in celebration of wrapping up a big thing at his job). Even though we have celebrated some strange things, there are some celebrations we just do not get...and we discuss them for a few minutes.
Even death has become a celebratory thing in its own way, with many swapping out "funeral" for "celebration of life." But is that just a fancy way of saying funeral...or are people really celebrating after one is gone for good?
If you listen regularly, you know we don't stay maudlin too long -- we jump from talking about death to...weird celebrations like this one. After discussing some of the stranger celebrations we know about, we move on to discussing how celebrations differ in other countries; i.e. is St. Patrick's Day the rowdy plastic green fest in Ireland as it is in America?
Finally, we close out the episode by talking about our favorite celebrations.
We'd love to hear what you think about celebrations in the comments...so have at it!
Wed, 26 March 2014
It's been a good week for comic books: Hellboy turned 20, and Neil Gaiman's latest Sandman story is out -- making it 25 years with still the occasional Morpheus story. It also marked the week when we thought, "How the hell did we get to 59 episodes and not talk about comic books?!"
We couldn't go another week without fixing that problem.
We kick off the episode talking about why comic book properties are so valuable in recent years before moving on to talking about why one comic book movie (Avengers) made more than the entire comic book industry in a year. With comic book characters becoming more mainstream, we harken back to the days when many hid their comic book fandom...or kept it secret in the hope it never blew up to something popular. Then we step even further back and talk about the first comic books we remember reading.
While in the past, we devote a bit of time to the first characters or series we really got into. After that, we talk about well done comic book adaptations to other media...and not-so-well done adaptations.
Want to know our favorite series and character of all time? Listen in (Christopher couldn't limit it to just one...and he cheats and adds something he forgot before this podcast even begins!) Next, we talk about certain pop-culture icons and their love of comics...to the point of even working in the industry (Kevin Smith writing Green Arrow, for example). Does that help or hurt the industry? Was Maus the point where comic books stopped being "just for kids"...or was it sooner or later -- and what do we feel signaled the change? When comics were mainly aimed at kids, what were the silliest story lines out there?
Find out where in their history we feel our favorite characters were tops...as well as the most underused character in comics. (We call this section, "An Ode to the Awesomeness that is Solomon Grundy." And some others, because -- again -- Christopher couldn't pick just one...)
We close the episode with two questions:
Wed, 19 March 2014
We've mentioned several times on the show how we were both afraid of everything as kids. But were we ever brave? Bravery and courage are this week's topics, beginning with our definitions or bravery and courage (i.e. are they the same thing?). From there, we move on to our first acts of bravery and courage.
But it's not all about us: we spend some time discussing why society seems to admire bravery so much before asking if we're a braver society now than our grandparents' generation? How about the generation coming up -- are we braver/more courageous than them?
Say "bravery" and so many people envision a soldier. Are soldiers brave by nature -- find out what we think. Say "bravery" to others, and it evokes an image of a guy saying "Hold my beer," before another trip to the emergency room. At what point does bravery cross the line into stupidity? Is there anything wrong with not being brave and opting for safety?
Near the end, it's back to us: find out the most courageous and then the bravest things we've ever done. We close the episode out with this question: "Do you think society will become more brave or less brave in the future?"
As always, we'd love it if you were brave enough to comment...or even leave a rating of review for Men in Gorilla Suits on iTunes or Stitcher.