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Episode 71 — Ironic Hitler Teapot

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#1 Earwolf Admin


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Posted 07 March 2013 - 12:02 AM

Cool it with the road rage and buckle up for this week’s improv4humans with humans Pamela Murphy, Mookie Blaiklock, and Greg Tuculescu! Listen as they improvise scenes about island creatures, car wrecks, and ironic random humor. We also have a special Case Closed involving an item from Matt’s dad’s old teapot collection. Be sure to pick up an improv4humans shirt from the Earwolf Store and follow @MattBesser on Twitter to send in your improv suggestions. Music by Bobby Matthews and Dragoon. You can also now get Matt Besser’s new comedy album “The Six Most Important Sets in the History of Standup” at mattbesser.com!

#2 Bruce Reid Robinson II

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 07:03 AM

Matt explaining his car-horn's voice was genius, and that whole scene. "hey there fella, I'm here. Just lettin you know!"

This episode was awesome. Always nice to hear something about Matt's dad, who is very interesting.

Edit: Matt's shirt could have been a suggestion because there has to be a story for that thing.

#3 Inthehallwaynow

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 08:39 AM

right after the spider story was finished the next thing was besser's voice and i fucking lost it hahah this was a great episode!

#4 Cabbagehead

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 09:37 AM

The improv was great today! Good shit.

#5 Hot - Slunch

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 01:31 PM

For anyone that hasn't seen it, Mookie was just in an episode of Seth Morris' 'First Dates With Toby Harris'. I love that he throws in NBA references, like Wilt Chamberlain in the 'cheating husband' scene or LeBron James Improv in the Master Class videos.


Great Case Closed, that led to some really funny scenes.

Speaking of Hitler... I came across a really weird Hitler t-shirt in a Goodwill like 8-10 years ago and bought it because I thought it was funny enough to spend 2 bucks on and have in my closet to show friends. Plus I couldn't believe it existed and was for sale at an arguably religious non-profit. I did some research on it and found the origin of the shirt:


"Ralph Engelstad is a Las Vegas casino owner and a major donor to the University of North Dakota, where he was a goalie in the late '40s. He's also a guy who's been fined $1.5 million by the Nevada Gaming Control Board for damaging the reputation of the state by holding, in two separate years, private Hitler's Birthday parties at his casino, complete with a swastika cake, German food and marching music, bartenders wearing T-shirts with the words "Adolph Hitler European Tour 1939-45," and a life-size portrait of Hitler inscribed "To Ralphie from Adolph, 1939." He says he despises Hitler, and that the parties were merely "spoofs" meant to celebrate new purchases for his collection of Nazi memorabilia."

The guy is claiming to not be a Nazi, but according to other things I've heard he was legitimately paying tribute, but acting like it was a joke.

So somehow one of the employee shirts made it to a Goodwill store in Maine. I just took pictures for you guys. Click for bigger images.

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#6 Jacob C

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 03:07 PM

Another fantastic episode. The sketches were as thoughtful as they were funny, and if this episode is an indication of what we can expect from the future of Case Closed, count me in. It was a genuinely thought-provoking discussion with well-informed guests.

#7 justinmh05

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 03:23 PM

Pam Murphy continues to be one of the absolute best Earwolf guests.

#8 Shakesbeard

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 05:36 PM

Not to be a contrarian but I found myself a little torn over this episode. It wasn't "not good" by any means, but it might just be that the last few episodes were so spectacular that this had to work hard to get out from under their shadows. I originally thought the first couple scenes were just alright, until there was the call back at the end of the horn-argument which tied it back to the guy driving through a crowd of people listening to AC/DC, THAT part was quite brilliant.

VERY interesting case-closed, and I'm happy that a picture of the Hitler teapot was posted. It was far more hilarious than I pictured. I enjoyed the double-guesting with the two writers on the phone, it led to a very good back and forth between everyone and I liked how you kept coming back to them after each subsequent scene. There were interesting arguments made on all sides and it's not often that you hear people who weigh in on case closed laugh as much as these two did. A nice, amiable environment helped for sure.

I, too, cannot stand when journalists insist on using anonymous sources in their articles and shouldn't really be allowed to rely on them. That's total bullshit.

#9 Shannon

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 05:52 PM

View PostShakesbeard, on 07 March 2013 - 05:36 PM, said:

I, too, cannot stand when journalists insist on using anonymous sources in their articles and shouldn't really be allowed to rely on them. That's total bullshit.

If that happened, Star and Us Weekly magazine, etc would cease to exist.

I really enjoyed the Case Closed segment. I thought it was very interesting. All I think I decided was that it bugs me when people do something shitty and then just claim irony. It's super boring.

And I think I can understand how having a new view on the artist wouldn't change your original perception of the art. Like, if someone painted me a really nice picture of my grandma that I really loved and thought was beautiful and a great representation of her. Then years later the artist is like, "Jokes on you dummy! I actually hate your fucking grandma!" It probably wouldn't change the fact that it's a nice picture that I really like.
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#10 LA


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Posted 07 March 2013 - 10:10 PM

The Case Closed topic was interesting enough but went on way too long, and the male guest's voice was super loud and extremely annoying, I ended up having to fast forward through most of his parts because his voice was making my head hurt.

#11 BlankBlankBlank

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 05:25 AM

A few things;

1) Never have I disagreed with Matt so much as I did over his Shel Silverstein blast. If you want to see how great a writer, and subtle comedian he was, read UNCLE SHELBY'S ABZ BOOK. The only complaint I had about Shel growing up was that every single theater or speech teacher I ever had, made us do prose from the books.

2) The case-closed segment was wonderful and created a great conversation last night among my friends at a hockey game. Even if the artist is trying to be 'ironic' it does not and would never count because the harm of that irony, by way of inspiring those that actually believe that, is too great. People who are supporters of the Nazi party or holocaust deniers, won't care if he ever came out later and said, 'Oh, it was just me pulling a big ironic joke on all of you'. They will take whatever they got out of the time period and the art and never care about what comes out later. I think this is a great discussion that has come up within comedy as well with people creating statements on race or discrimination in a broad sense (and I've heard this discussed on Earwolf before) but racists pick apart pieces of those things to make memes and what have you, that actually support racism and antisemitism. It isn't the fault of the comedian, but it is something that has to be considered and understood by them when doing these takes.

3) As far as it goes with citing anonymous sources in reporting, I have to defend her here (I do actually have a degree in journalism from the University of Texas). Day one in Media Ethics class, we discuss sources and my professor made it clear that as reporters we had a responsibility to use them for every fact and that we were allowed to use them without reference but only if it was for the greater good. He also put on us to police ourselves and one another on this front, meaning that if we had a suspicion that a fellow reporter was just making it up, that we should turn our attention on them. Of course, it is the job of the editor to confirm a source is real before allowing a story to go out, but in our modern age there are actually very few editors and almost no supervision. That being said the citation was pretty vague with 'laughing at studio owners' or whatever and while I think she's right to use the source, it does seem a bit iffy on what exactly is being attributed there and the story would probably be a bit stronger with a hinting at that idea without going so far as to cite anonymous witnesses.

4-God did I wanted to see the face of the man (sorry, I lost who that was) as Matt tried to get him to say the N-word.

Great episode again.

#12 Matt Besser

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 10:48 AM

Here's my opinion on "anonymous sources" - Shouldn't the anonymous source have a good reason for being anonymous? If it is to protect their safety or their careers then I get it. But sometimes it seems like the anonymous sources could have their own agendas. It's easy to talk a lot of bullshit when you're anonymous. And sometimes the journalist uses the anonymity of the source as an excuse to paraphrase what they supposedly said. That's when facts get murky. If you have greater good truth to say then put your name behind it.

#13 saddlebags

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 03:12 PM

I was wondering how Matt fit into the hitler teapot thing then when they mentioned his dad owning one...hahaha.

I thought this ep was strong all around. Loved the first scene when Matt figured out the make and model then had to figure out the song that was playing.

#14 Kickpuncher

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 03:23 PM

Hey Matt (or Brett), just curious about the production aspect of this Case Closed, which I found pretty fascinating overall - Was the call with the guests done all in one shot, then all the improv scenes, which were then edited into the call at the appropriate times? Seems like a good way to do it, particularly if the guests are journalists who might not have time to sit through a 5-minute scene rather than just fans of the show, especially if it lets you get more in-depth with the interviews rather than having to pause to do scenes.

#15 saddlebags

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 12:07 AM

I just want to reiterate that these interesting between the improv conversations are why I love I4H more than your typical improv show.

Besser you need to pitch a show to comedy central where you do a roundtable on hot button things like Bill Maher does but cut to interstitial sketches based on the things being said.

#16 Caoliq


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Posted 09 March 2013 - 09:36 PM

Instead of smashing the Hitler teapot, I would have painted on top of it, maybe try and make it more represent what my initial reaction was. That way, you get to reclaim all the thought and money you invested in it, and it derails whatever the artist intended for it. It's only fair. He was appropriating symbolic images for his art. Why can't I? I doubt he could get satisfaction out of that. Unless I happened to be Banksy, then he'd be flattered or something. Am I banksy? I can't say.

#17 Colin Fraser

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 12:59 AM

I'm jealous of Greg's German accent.

#18 klem_johansen

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 08:53 AM

Springtime for Hitler und Germany. I kept humming that to myself during that interview segment. Fascinating stuff. I happen to think that it's all a Kauffman-like double-edged prank, and he'll never admit that to anyone.

#19 Shannon

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 03:37 PM

View Postklem_johansen, on 11 March 2013 - 08:53 AM, said:

Springtime for Hitler und Germany. I kept humming that to myself during that interview segment.

OH MY GOD ME TOO!!!! I had it stuck in my head for the ENTIRE day.
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#20 Tommy Pinballs

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 08:55 AM

by the time i listened to this episode there are new articles about it on THE SALON.COM and THE WEEKLINGS.COM

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