Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Chronic Insomnia Christmas Special: Behind the Scenes!

We Just Finished the Christmas Special!
Today we finished recording what I believe is the most deliciously inappropriate Christmas special in the history of audio transmissions. This year's X-Mas extravaganza is a lot more fun than last year's edition, which was pretty good, but the only real holiday content was me taking a whack at a Leonard Cohen carol and another song about Christmas rape. Which was not that uplifting, really.

The new edition features a nog guzzling Santa Claus, a transvestite hooker, Grant Morrison, and Tiger Woods. Things go downhill pretty fast for Old St. Nick and it's up to us to save Christmas! And save Christmas we do, in the typical Chronic Insomnia style, which involves various bodily fluids and a good measure of blasphemy. You're welcome!

Quincy giving me the "donut" symbol in studio B. He's not asking for a breakfasty baked good. He wants something else entirely.

The Method Behind the Madness
Before there was a Chronic Insomnia, Mike & I used to do a lot of improv. We still do a fair amount of that. For a regular show, I generally show up with a half dozen pages of notes as a skeleton to keep me on track, but 85% of everything you listen to is unscripted, unrehearsed, and done in one take.

Skits are usually different, though. About 10% of the time, Quincy will produce something entirely on his own that I won't even know about until I get into Studio B and Mike will say "check this out" with a devilish grin on his face. That's how "Love Taco" got done.

Maybe 20% of the time, I will come up with something completely on my own with a full script, bring it to the show, and then beg Quincy to figure out how to produce everything I have written on my sheet. Usually when I go full script, very little gets changed and I take tighter control of the reigns, using Mike to take care of some voice work for flavor. Examples of bits like that: "Black Lantern", "The Growler", and the Didio/Lindelof interviews.

If you find my beard super's OK. Roll with it. It just means that you're human.

Most of what you're hearing when you listen to a Chronic Insomnia sketch is a Mike Lamere springboard with a Ryan Lee script. Mike is the Mark Millar/Stan Lee of the group. He's a fountain of ideas. So Mike will come up with a concept, like.... "Hulk shows up on the Starship Enterprise and Sulu likes him, and then Hulk kills him engaging in hot gay sex."

And then Mike will look at me and say; "Does that sound like a good idea?" And then we'll laugh for about 10 minutes. And then I'll say; "I don't know if it works or not, you'll have to write it and then we'll see if it lands." And then Mike will give me that look that says "What the hell are you talking about? I just did write it."

And then I will generally sit down with a pen and paper after listening to Mike give me the major beats and pound out the actual dialogue. Mike almost always comes up with the skeleton, and I almost always put the meat and skin on it.

Mike at the helm of the controls in Studio B. This is where the real magic happens, folks!

And then we record it. And by we, I'm mean Mike. I couldn't record a show if you paid me $1,000. After two years of watching Quincy do what he does, I've picked up less than 3% of what it takes to be functional with the equipment. (insert joke here)

This year's Christmas special was sort of a return to our true improv past. Mike provided most of the springboards and beats, but there was never any script. It was Old School "ready, fire, aim" broadcasting. Mike would say something like "OK, Santa's going to wake up and get into his sleigh to deliver presents to Sly Stallone, or Harry Caray, or whatever." Then we turned the mics on, I'd take about 3 seconds to figure out something to say and -bang!- spit out whatever came to mind.

And that's how the story unfolded. 85% of what you're listening to was done in one take with no script....and it shows in parts. Every once in awhile the material I spat would be so choppy or wrong that we couldn't use it.

But it turned out shockingly cogent for total improv, and some of it crackles with the spontaneity. I'm particularly proud of the "wiping" bit in Santa's sleigh, which completely button-hooked Quincy and he rolled with it lightning quick like the old pro he is.

My opinion? The thing that separates us from the chaff is our experience performing together. We're probably too vulgar, but we've got undeniable stage chemistry. Recording was fun, hope you all enjoy our saucy little dish!

- Ryan

Christmas Sucks: Part 6

Exclusive Candid Photos of Quincy Christmas Shopping!

Hey. Christmas shopping really sucks. But my super producer Mike does it in style, my friends! First thing you have to do is scratch your stomach in such a manner that you show off your newly sculpted abs. "Man Among Men in 2010" is in full effect! Check out this washboard on Quincy:

Quincy likes to get in there with a good squint and check out the merchandise real careful like. He's looking at prices. He's inspecting for product flaws. This is not amateur time, folks. He's serious about that shit:

A picture is definitely worth a thousand words, folks. You don't need me to tell you that man was not meant to live like this. Quincy's yuletide agony is written across his face clearly:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Sucks: Part 5

Christmas: a time to betray your children's trust.'s the time of year to spin a web of lies and deceit about mystical bearded men to your little ones, and I say it's a good thing.

We have far too many children out there who are being fed a steady diet of "you're a special snowflake" nonsense. We are populating the world with useless halfwits who are destined to be good for nothing but the licensed therapist industry. Lie to your children early and often. Toughen them up. Do it.

How did Ryan discover there was no Santa Claus? Same way I figured out most everything reading a book. My parents had a bookshelf loaded mostly with self-help books, like "I'm OK, You're OK." I was having none of that. My personal philosophy from the age of 3 has been "I suck, but you're a frickin' IDIOT." And then there was my personal favorite from the family library....Helter Skelter.

While most little scamps were fumbling their way through Green Eggs & Ham, I was studying the Tate/LaBianca murders committed by the Manson family. And that's pretty much all you need to know about how I turned out the way I did.

One day I was paging through a parenting manual, and read through a passage guiding moms and dads through the art of teaching their kids about Santa Claus and trying to let them down easy when they finally twigged onto the truth. I was mortified, of course. Ah, delicious betrayal! They had lied to me! And I've been a better man for it, because if THOSE people were completely full of shit and able to weave tapestries of deception so I could amuse them with my fabricated wonder.....what was the rest of the world capable of? Awesome.

So what could possibly take the sting out of a season built upon untruths? How about movies based on comic books? That's what the folks at Chronic Insomnia do.

Some people think that 2009 was a significant year for comic book films. They're wrong. It was a banner year for genre entertainment, with Star Trek, GI Joe, and Transformers. But comic books? Not a whole lot.

There were some very brief appearances from minor players like The Surrogates. But the big daddy, really the only comic film worth talking about for 2009 was The Watchmen. It's largely forgotten already, but it's difficult to imagine a comic film arriving with more hype.

If you haven't seen it yet, you should probably visit Youtube and spin the Chronic Insomnia Watchmen Movie Special. It's probably our most ambitious project ever, and it turned out pretty darned good. Interesting if for no other reason than to see the Manatee in pre-weight-loss bulbous glory!

2010 figures to be a way better year for comic book films. Let's preview a bit, shall we?

Dead of Night, April
This was born in 1999 as a series of graphic novels called "Dylan Dog" from Dark Horse comics. It's about a supernatural detective named Dylan Dog, played in the film by Brandon Routh. I think this might be a nice little sleeper. I worry when a project is slanted toward grabbing big name stars. This one has serviceable talent, and the star of the show may actually end up being the script, which is preferable. I'm excited for this one.

Also, now might be a good time to pick up the original comics by Tiziano Sclavi and Angelo Stano or the TPB for Dylan Dog released earlier this year. If there is buzz about the film, those are bound to skyrocket. Take a poke through your LCS and see if you can grab these at cover or less.

Losers, April

This is an old Vertigo book by Andy Diggle, where after being betrayed and left for dead, members of a CIA black ops team root out those who targeted them for assassination. Yeah, that could work.

Kick-Ass, April

Mark Millar is an unstoppable machine! The original mini still hasn't been finished, and this movie is ready to launch in April???? Only that crazy Scottish git could pull it off. I'm telling you right now, the breakout star of the year is going to be Chloe Moretz, who plays Hitgirl in the movie. She's a whirling dervish of karate and charisma. She is going to own 2010.

Iron Man 2, May
The downside here is that Terrance Howard got a raw deal, and Whiplash is kind of a lame villain. But on the plus side, I can watch Robert Downey, Jr. play Tony Stark all day long. I'm interested to watch how this film may or may not progress toward the ultimate Avengers film. And then of course there's.....

Oliva Munn! Yeah. I'm in.

Jonah Hex, June
Jimmy Palmiotti describes this as a "heavy metal western", complete with soundtrack by....Mammoth? Hmmmmm. I'd be very scared about this becoming a giant pile of excrement, but I do have faith in Josh Brolin, who's an inspired choice to play Jonah. Yeah. Still a little scared, but I'm definitely going to go see it.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, unknown
Can't get a confirmed release date on this, but everyone involved seems to think this is coming out sometime in 2010. Scott Pilgrim has been a critical darling, and a little more female friendly than your standard comic book fare. If it gets a few more women into some comic book shops, I'm all for it. But for me, I'm not dying to see this in the theater. I'll rent it, though.

- Ryan

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mike smashes car into tree outside Studio B.

At 2:26 pm on Tuesday, Mike smashed his car into a tree outside Studio B, in the city that God forgot. Sources say that Michael was caught by his co-host Ryan Lee after cheating on him with at least 13 other podcasts. During the alleged fight, Ryan chased Mike out of the house with a golf club, beating on the back window of Michael's car. Ryan had caught Mike uploading another podcast while working on Chronic Insomnia.

Ryan was able to obtain Michael's laptop and find all of the other podcasts he's been hanging around with. Officers of the City that God forgot found Michael on the driveway snoring with his cock out. Ryan told police he was trying to help Mike out of the car with the golf club, but CPN News learned later that neighbors saw Ryan swinging a golf club at an obviously stunned Michael as he entered his Datson sedan to leave the Studio.

After further investigations by CPN News, we have learned that Michael was cheating with up 13 other podcasts while also doing Chronic Insomnia. The squeaky clean image of Michael is tarnished forever. Sponsors for Michael have said they will stand by the popular Podcast presenter through these rough times.

In a press conference late this evening, Michael made a statement on his personal Facebook page.

"I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt my infidelity has caused so many of my fans. I want to say I am sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I have done, but I want to give it the old Chronic Insomnia try.

I would like to ask everyone, mostly my fans and the good people of CPN for their understanding. After much soul searching, I have decided to step away from podcasting and take an indefinite break. I need to focus attention on my podcast partner and popular comic book podcast.

I ask for privacy for my podcast partner and all involved and I am especially grateful for those who have offered free sex and handjobs in these trying times."

How will the podcasting community continue without Michael? Reports from last year when Mike took a week off of the CPN, concluded that Comic Book Podcast downloads went down at least 40% over all. What will this do to the advertisers and sponsors of the CPN? Will this spell doom for other comic book podcasts?

Dennis Twat - Associated Press


Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Sucks: Part 4

Mistletoe: let's talk about it. Remember when sexual assault was as easy as hanging a poisonous and parasitic weed above your head? Try pulling that one in 2009, my friend. I dare you.

No, Christmas these days does indeed suck mightily. Nowadays, if you want any play, you have to be a gigantic asshole (so why is it I'm missing out, exactly?) or or something. That's a lot more work than the plant bit. Depressing.

The good news is that there is an antidote to the sexual frustration of the holidays. It's a little something I like to call "making a bunch of goddamn money from comic books." It's a fun game, and it involves nothing more difficult than listening to the Queen Whore himself, Ryan Lee.

Here's a couple that actually stand a good chance of sitting at your local comic book shop for $15 right now:

Marvel Essential Uncanny X-Men Vol 1
Currently sitting on Amazon with a low price of around $90, which is ridiculous. For those of you unfamiliar with the Marvel Essentials, they are the best bargain in comics. They reprint classic, must-have older comics material, they pack as many as 25-30 issues per book, and they all cost $20 or less. Are you kidding me? The only downside is that they're printed in black-and-white, but you can't argue the value.

Uncanny Volume 1 (note: called "Classic" X-Men in the earlier editions) collects the first 24 issues of the original run by Stan Lee. Now, what kind of a genius allows something like this to go out of print? I mean, no new reader would want to start at the beginning of the story, would they? Nah, no reason to make that available. It's unbelievable. Listen. Marvel. You know I'm available, right? Whoever is in charge over there is dropping the ball, BIG TIME.

At any rate, if you see this lying around your LCS, buy as many as they have and dump as soon as possible. Eventually somebody will figure this out and go back to press with it. But for now, take your $60+ profit and smile.

Essential X-Men Vol 1
OK, this gets a little confusing, but it sort of makes sense. "Essential Unanny X-Men" encompasses the original adventures, and "Essential X-Men" begins with the classic reboot at Giant Size X-Men # 1, that introduced the new team including Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Storm, and Colossus.

So Essential X-Men Vol 1 reprints Giant Size # 1 plus issues 94-119. Again, why would there be any demand for the first issues of the new team? I don't know how Marvel let this go out of print. But they did.

The result is that this is now a $50+ book on Amazon, and again possibly available at your LCS for $18. And that's an easy buy.

Other Essential to keep an eye on: Tomb of Dracula Vol 1, and Howard the Duck Vol 1. These are going for more than cover price right now, but haven't blown up to the point where you can really turn a profit. It's coming, though.

So have it, Insomniacs! Call it an early christmas present that you can use to earn money for more christmas presents!

- Ryan

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Sucks: Part 3

All right, let's continue to NOT enjoy Christmas together, shall we? Misery loves company, and we love the all of you!

Christmas usually falls during the winter, and that means cold and snow. At least it does here in the The City That God Forgot. Cold isn't all bad, I guess. Cold means erect nipples, and at my age... I'm pleased when anything stands at attention.

But nobody has ever properly explained to me the appeal of goddamn snow. I receive no pleasure from glistening flakes falling from the sky. I call snow by it's more proper name: "Death to Traffic."

Having slippery substances underneath your wheels grinds things down enough. The morons who all make more money than I do supply the rest of the delay. Here's an idea - if there's snow and ice on the road, I don't know....slow down a little. Maybe...leave a little space between yourself and the next vehicle. This pretty complex stuff.

And God forbid the inevitable accidents occur. Then you get the slowholios, who gear it down to three miles an hour for a glimpse at a mangled corpse. Listen. I got places to be, you degenerates. If you want to see the human body defaced in the most vomitous way possible, there are Japanese horror films available, people. That's why God gave us Takashi Miike.

There is a solution to the Christmas blues, though. Prizes from Chronic Insomnia! Right now we have two incredibly easy contests running.

Contest # 1: Send Ryan awesome pictures of Kate Beckinsale

That's right! You spend half your day sending mindless nonsense to your friends already, this one pays you back! Whoever sends me the best picture of Kate Beckinsale by midnight on December 31 gets a copy of Thor # 1 signed by superstar artist Olivier Coipel!

Where do you send your entry? Why, to "", of course. And no, I'm not kidding. This book was signed by Coipel, authenticated by Dynamic Forces, and limited to only 250 copies. Very cool.

If you want the inside track on winning this book, I have one word for you: magenta. hair. Use your photoshop skills, padawan. If you build it, the Coipel book will come.

Contest # 2: Send Chronic Insomnia the scientific name for the gynecology duck bill device!

Could I google this in about 7 seconds? Of course I could. But I'd rather have somebody else do it. Whoever sends the correct name for the duck bill that goes where Ryan cannot to "" first wins a signed copy Models, Inc # 1

OK, this one isn't signed by superstar artist Olivier Coipel. It's going to be signed by superstar jackass Ryan Lee. But hey, if the show gets picked up by NBC this year, that could be worth more than the first appearance of Gambit or something. It could happen.

Remember to send a mailing address with your entries!

- Ryan

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Sucks: Part 2

Despite all hopes to the contrary, the forecast for this holiday season is still partly asinine with a chance of SUCK. Listen....people are lining up to watch Twilight movies, OK? The world is not in a good place right now.

Here's a little tip, folks. Vampires do NOT sparkle. Kay? Not any vampires you want to hang around with. Vampires should be covered in the ichor of their prey and they don't need to see a therapist about it, either.

So until Robert Pattinson and the rest of his bedazzled little vaginapires dissapear into some richly deserved obscurity, here's something to put a smile on your face - Deadpool!

If you listen to the show at all, you know that Quincy and I adore Deadpool, or at least the Danny Way ongoing. Issue # 18 just came out on Wednesday and closed out the four part "Want You to Want Me" arc.

So how was it? Off the rails, as per usual! Wade's attempts to be accepted into the X-Fold continue to go horribly wrong. Smartass assassins are not particularly good for public relations, and the X-Men are fed up.

This latest installment features a battle between Deadpool and Colossus that is one for the ages! Of course Wade can't really do much to Osmium plating, but he can certainly put Rasputin back on his wheels with some well placed blood vomiting:

This is why Chronic fans should definitely dig this book!

<-------------- You may recall that we discussed Deadpool in depth during Chronic Insomnia episode # 108 when the arc first kicked off. I went over the character as a model of the "picaresque" anti-hero, who never learns his lesson in order that his audience might. So I didn't put much stock in this "kinder, fuzzier" Wade who wants to belong and re-connect with his humanity. Oh, somewhere in there...he really does. But you'll never see it in this book, or Deadpool loses his edge. Sorry, Wade, but a well-adjusted Deadpool is a soon-to-be-cancelled Deadpool. I knew that Danny Way was aware of this as well, and mentioned that the title of the arc held a clue about Wade's true intentions with new interest in joining the X-Crew. "Want You to Want Me" is an oldie but a goodie by a little band called Cheap Trick:

Not that you'd need to be a genius to figure this out, but I predicted that Wade's need to connect would be revealed as a "cheap trick" at the end of the story.

And voila! While everyone else is busy trying to figure out how to remove Deadpool's head from his body in rage, Wolverine figures out that this has all been a ruse from the beginning designed to resuscitate the public image of the X-Men:

Some might wonder at the end if 'Pool's motivations make sense. He wasn't paid for this. And if his desire to be accepted is all bullshit, why go through all this chaotic rigamarole? The answer is simple, to my mind. A) Wade loves chaotic rigamarole B) This wasn't about money, but he definitely got paid. He just wanted to hear Cyclops admit that he's "got moves."

And if that sounds cheap to you, hey....he tried to warn you!

- Ryan

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Sucks: Part 1

Christmas sucks gigantic iguana balls, it just does. You know it. I know it.

It's that time of year when the most popular individual sport is suicide, you leverage yourself into a financial grave throwing presents on your credit cards at 27% interest, and you can't enter a goddamn retail establishment without some bell ringing jackhole from the Salvation Army making you feel like the world's biggest asshole.

But Chronic Insomnia is hear to make it all a little bit more passable, with the kind of piss and vinegar you've come to expect. So buckle up, and here we go!

Hey - Time magazine just released it's Top 10 comics from the last decade, and it looks a little something like this:

1. The Ultimates
2. 100 Bullets
3. Planetary
4. All Star Superman
5. The Walking Dead
6. The Authority
7. Mouseguard
8. Blankets
9. Invincible
10. Y The Last Man

Rich Johnston pretty much tore this list a new arse on Bleeding Cool, whining about how there wasn't enough "diversity" represented, which is a more elite way of saying it didn't feature enough bullshit that sold 300 copies to friends of the author. The kind of boring ass material featuring stick figure art that everybody wants to pretend to like in order to appear cultured. I'll take a pass, thanks.

Listen. I won't suggest that nothing good could grow in a small indy press. Anything is possible. I should probably test drive something like Ware's "Acme Novelty Library" so that I could properly undress it as pretentious tripe from an informed position.

But really, I don't have a problem with Time sticking with mainly mainstream items. I just think they got a few of them wrong. Here's my Top 10 of the "oughts":

Planetary Probably the most important book of the decade from probably the most important creator of the decade. This is Warren Ellis completely unbridled, his wildest ideas distilled inside of Cassaday's unparalleled pencils. There was nothing like this before, and I suspect we'll see nothing like it in the future.

Y the Last Man This was difficult to keep from the # 1 slot. A timeless and incredible hook. Each issue brought humor, humanity, philosophy, and a unique look at gender relations that never preached or condescended. It's hard to imagine handing this book to somebody who couldn't enjoy it on some level. Near perfect.

Authority If you read current superhero books, what your reading is directly and irrevocably influenced by what Warren Ellis laid down here. It's all been said before, but it remains the truth. Bigger than life cinematic storytelling came out of this Pandora's Box.

Astonishing X-Men Before anyone loses their mind thinking "God, why don't you suck off Warren Ellis a little more!" This is on here strictly for the Joss Whedon run. Whedon had a crucial impact on both television and comic books for the decade, and no "best of" list can justifiably omit his work, if you want my opinion. Morrison re-invented Marvel's flagship, turned it into something unrecognizable. Whedon reminded us about everything we used to love about the X-Men, and then turned the volume up to 11. Genius.

Daredevil Could be the most consistently brilliant book on the list. I mean seriously - You go from Bendis to Brubaker to Diggle? The other books on this list were dominant for pieces of the decade - Daredevil was a must read for the entire period. Simply amazing.

Walking Dead Much like Whedon, no top list of this decade can go without something Kirkman, and the obvious choice is Walking Dead. Raw, brutal, and about the only thing to survive the zombie craze that it inspired, mostly because it was always the best. Kirkman kept readers on their toes with a "nobody's safe" policy, and was without question the strongest independent seller of the decade, building a trade paperback empire. Think about this - while every other book in the comics publishing industry suffers from attrition, Walking Dead gains readers without benefit of "events" or "creator shakeups". It deserves recognition for that alone

New X-Men Morrison and Quitely blew the dust off of this dinosaur, ripped the guts out, blew it up completely, then rebuilt it interesting. What a concept! The ideas are completely out of control, the costumes went bye-bye, and when you go back and read it now, it's hard to believe Marvel actually allowed Morrison to do this to such a staple. Just count your lucky stars that they did, because it's absolutely wonderful.

Secret Six Many will call this a reach, but I just couldn't leave this off - it's too beautiful. This might be the best superhero comic I've ever read, and of course it features no heroes at all. The characterization is rich, the dialogue is extraordinary, the plot is always a heart punch, and you can always expect the unexpected. This would deserve to be on the list if it was pencilled poorly, but Nicola Scott is a rare gem on top of it. This should be the best selling book on the stands, frankly.

Spider-Man This one may have ranked higher if the JMS run had ended differently, but "One More Day" did unfortunately stain it. The good news is that Brand New Day works. However much we might despise how it got there, the current stories put Peter in a fresh spot that usually entertains. Much like Daredevil, it's hard to find a spot during the decade when this title wasn't excellent.

Fables Impossible to do one of these and ignore Vertigo. Sandman owned the 90s, and Bill Willingham stepped up to the plate and took over deftly. I'll still put Gaiman ahead of him, but this series has picked up the torch and ran with it admirably.

These are really tough to do, of course. I left off 100 Bullets, Ennis' Punisher run, Johns' Green Lantern run, and that just seems crazy. Lists are nonsense, but they're fun.

So tell me, dear Insomniacs - what else did I miss?

- Ryan