Last night, I went to a book signing for Don Novello, AKA Father Guido Sarduchi, AKA Lazlo Toth. He has a new Lazlo Letters book out. He spoke about the new book and the origins of Lazlo Toth for about a half-hour. He started writing the letters during Watergate, and took the name Lazlo Toth from the man who attacked the Pieta in the Vatican with a hammer and chisel. One interesting story Novello told, he was scheduled to appear on a morning show, to promote the new book. During the pre-interview, they asked him what he wanted to read from the book, he suggested a letter to Donald Rumsfeld, in which he mentions that there must be 50 ways to leave Afghanistan ("Just take a sled, Achmed," and so on). He was told that they don't joke about such things. Novello suggested he read a letter about soup, instead. The next day he was informed the show decided he was more suited to late-night. Somewhat disturbing the chilling effects of our current political environment on the way even a somewhat insubstantial comedian like Novello is received. When asked what he was working on, he discussed a possible book of photographs, taken of the now-ubiquitous cheap plastic chair, found in such incongruous settings as Kracatowa and the Wailing Wall. Overall, Novello was very funny; a story about being arrested (in full Father Guido garb) in the Vatican was one highlight. I picked up a copy of the book and got it signed. I mentioned one of his letters which appeared in The Believer a few months ago, encouraging the Girl Scouts to sell oysters door-to-door; he said he'd provided the magazine with several letters, so hopefully future issues will feature more Toth.
Then this morning, I went to the post office. Lo and behold, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog's new CD, Come Poop With Me, arrived. I haven't listened to the CD, but I watched the included DVD. It's mostly hiliarious. The cavalcade of stars who appear to match wits with Triumph is impressive: The Dell Guy, Jared from Subway, Big Pussy from Sopranos, Conan O'Brien, Kurt Loder. Two really stand out, though: Blackwolf, made famous by Triumph's appearance at the Star Wars premiere, and Horatio Sanz as "Stinky Faye." Blackwolf sings his theme song, to the tune of "The Monster Mash", while Triumph interjects his jabs. Stinky Faye, an ancient comic very much in Triumph's mold, sings about the abomination of modern observational comics, and claims that you have to work blue. This song is funny and crude, but what is most remarkable is that it is truly disturbing, even for this jaded gen-xer. I won't spoil the surprise, but I'll just say his Nixon impression almost made me vomit. Fun times. I haven't even gotten to the CD yet, but just from the DVD I can highly recommend it. And check out his new PETA campaign.
And to switch gears dramatically, I'll remind you the Johnny Cash tribute concert is on CMT tonight.