Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Jeff Dunham Show

I finally had a chance to watch the series premiere of The Jeff Dunham Show tonight on Comedy Central in its last re-airing. In its original airing, it was reported to have broken a ratings record for the network, having the biggest audience for a season premiere in Comedy Central's history at 5.3 million viewers. Jeff Dunham's Christmas special from 2008 still holds the top spot for any Comedy Central telecast.

The first episode incorporated four of his characters in different situations, sort of like the way Chappelle's Show ran (since they made a reference to it, I will, too). The first episode featured Walter and Jeff at a couples therapist, Achmed doing stand-up comedy, Peanut on a date with Brooke Hogan, and Bubba J meeting a man who likes guns and beer. Again, like Chappelle's Show, Dunham introduced the skits first while doing some comedy through the form of ventriloquism.

The whole show flowed smoothly, and the comedy was pretty good. I came in with a really open mind, so I definitely laughed out loud a few times. The thing that bothered me, which I guess had to happen, is when the puppets were standing alone without Dunham's hand in their backs. The puppets still moved, so I am guessing they filmed the scenes with Dunham beforehand and then digitally removed him rather than just animated the characters. It was weird to see them without their puppeteer on screen, however. With the skits created for the show, the characters were able to go outside of their usual roles of just talking, but they still stayed true to their personalities.

While I'm worried about the characters becoming stable with only a stable of seven available right now, maybe this will allow Dunham to try out some new ones and see if they stick. It looks like there should be a lasting audience as long as the material stays good. Finally, take a look at the size of that live audience! I will be looking forward to upcoming episodes of this unique show, which airs new episodes at 9:00 on Thursdays, repeated at 10:30 and various other times throught the week.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Week 7 Football Picks

Totally forgot these until now, but it looks like I'm doing well so far. I was worried about picking so many road teams.

Packers (-9) @ Browns: also Survivor pick
Chargers (-4.5) @ Chiefs
Colts (-13) @ Rams
Vikings (+4.5) @ Steelers
Patriots (-14.5) @ Buccaneers (in London)
Texans (-3) vs. 49ers
Jets (-6) @ Raiders
Bills (+7) @ Panthers
Bengals (-1) vs. Bears
Falcons (+4) @ Cowboys
Dolphins (+6) vs. Saints
Giants (-7) vs. Cardinals
Eagles (-7) @ Redskins

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Week 6 Football Picks

This week looks fairly easy, but that's always when they get you. I've been doing uncharacteristically well picking games without the spread, being ahead of most of the pack on three different games, in the running for some prizes.

The Saints get to play both New York teams at home two games in a row with a bye week in between, so it's the Giants' time to visit the Superdome this week. It will be Eli Manning's first game there despite growing up as a football player in Louisiana. The Saints (-3) did better than I expected on defense against the Jets, so I think they will continue their good work this week, despite finally facing an established starter (previously: Stafford, Kolb, Edwards, Sanchez). Drew Brees has gone two weeks without throwing a touchdown, so that obviously has to stop against the Giants injured secondary.

The Jets started 3–0 after beating the Texans, Patriots, and Titans but then lost to the Saints and Dolphins. The latest game likely caused the defense to feel that they need to prove themselves. The Bills are in disarray and it's about time for Terrell Owens to go crazy, which just might happen while he has to face Darrelle Revis on Sunday. It should be a pretty easy road for the Jets (-9.5) if they do in fact get their defense back into its correct form.

Regrettably, it has to be another divisional rivalry for survivor this week. It's a rough week, with few clear good-bad matchups. The Eagles on the road against the Raiders would be the easiest pick, but I already used them against the Chiefs. The Packers are at home against the Lions, but they aren't the laughing-stock of the league this season. That honor falls to the Browns, who won the season's worst game last week 6–3 against the Bills. The Steelers (-14) are going to roll over the Browns, despite Pittsburgh's defensive injuries.

And the rest:
Bengals (-5) vs. Texans: surprisingly good Bengals defense
Packers (-13.5) vs. Lions: another season of big lines for the Lions
Ravens (+3) @ Vikings: it's time for the Vikings to lose a game
Panthers (-3.5) @ Buccaneers: would be a much bigger line in Carolina
Chiefs (+6.5) @ Redskins: so little faith in the Redskins
Rams (+9.5) @ Jaguars: Bulger is back and the Jaguars were shut out last week
Eagles (-14) @ Raiders: the Raiders didn't even come close last week
Seahawks (-3) vs. Cardinals: that home stadium makes a big difference
Patriots (-9.5) vs. Titans: time for Brady to get right against this defense
Falcons (-3.5) vs. Bears: both offense and defense clicking for the Falcons
Broncos (+3.5) @ Chargers: the better team is the underdog on the road

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Week 5 Football Picks

A little late and short, but here they are. Forgot to mention that week three won me $80 in my dad's office pool. :)

Browns (+6) @ Bills: questions on both sides of the ball for both teams
Steelers (-10.5) @ Lions: Stafford is out, and Lions look like losers of old
Cowboys (-8.5) @ Chiefs: despite Romo's struggles, this should be a blowout
Vikings (-10) @ Rams: many think this is a trap after the Vikings' short week
Raiders (+15.5) @ Giants: Manning will be limited and Giants back off a little
Eagles (-14.5) vs. Buccaneers: McNabb and Westbrook both back in the lineup
Panthers (-3.5) vs. Redskins: time for Panthers to get back on track against terrible team
Bengals (+8.5) @ Ravens: should keep it within a touchdown margin
49ers (-2.5) vs. Falcons: going back and forth on this close game
Broncos (+3) vs. Patriots: looking for the student to beat the mentor
Cardinals (-5.5) vs. Texans: should be a high-scoring game, but maybe only for one side
Seahawks (-.5) vs. Jaguars: great home crowd; Hasselbeck is back
Colts (-3.5) @ Titans: can't see the Titans beating an undefeated team
Jets (-1.5) vs. Dolphins: the wildcat is great and all, but it's Henne's second start.

Survivor pick is the Eagles routing the Buccaneers with all of their weapons in the game for the first time.

Friday, October 2, 2009

NHL preview, Rangers Top 10, Week 4

My NHL Eastern Conference standings prediction:
1. Capitals - solid forwads, Varlamov/Theodore tandem nice
2. Penguins - can't make it to the top in regular season
3. Bruins - will start slow, Thomas falls back a bit
4. Devils - How do they do it? Brodeur is back
5. Rangers - Gaborik, Lundqvist, and Staal lead the crew
6. Senators - rid of Heatley, counting on Leclaire and Kovalev
7. Hurricanes - just have a feeling Ward will do well
8. Panthers - young players are coming around
9. Sabres - Miller not quite strong enough. but Olympics starter
10. Lightning - still unproven in net and on defense
11. Flyers - goaltending issues and too many "depth" players
12. Canadiens - what a traveshamockery; midgets on top line
13. Maple Leafs - just toughnesss won't make the playoffs
14. Islanders - more decent goalies than proven good forwards
15. Thrashers - hope they play well early and Kovalchuk signs

Ten members of the New York Rangers were on the Late Show w/ David Letterman on Wednesday night to present the Top 10 List of Things Never Before Spoken By a Hockey Player.
10. Instead of fighting, why don't we work things out over brunch? (Donald Brashear)
9. Between you and me, I have no idea what the hell icing is. (Dan Girardi)
8. What this team needs is a skating kitty. (Marian Gaborik)
7. I really wish these fans would watch their language (Brandon Dubinsky)
6. High scorer gets to pick which Barbara Streisand CD we listen to on the bus (Chris Drury)
5. Forget all the goals and the awards, Gordie Howe has one nice looking butt. (Marc Staal)
4. For good luck, I lick the puck. (Christopher Higgins)
3. My real dream is to work at an insurance company. (Ryan Callahan)
2. Who could concentrate on hockey when Jennifer Aniston still hasn't found love? (Henrik Lundqvist)
1. I wish Letterman was on at ten. (Sean Avery)

I like numbers four, seven, and eight the best. Staal, Lundqvist, and Avery did the best delivering the lines, along with Higgins and Dubinsky doing a good job. Kitty! I'm guessing number three is an inside joke to the show that I missed, and number one is related to Jay Leno. Avery should have been given a better one!

The week four Survivor pick is the New York Giants on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs. Coming off of a road shutout, the Giants are facing an even weaker team. While I don't expect back-t0-back shutouts, they should also be able to cover the spread of 8.5. For the rest:
Lions (+10) @ Bears: line so big when Lions showed they can play
Bengals (-5.5) @ Browns: the Browns are pathetic and line should be bigger
Seahawks (+10.5) @ Colts: surprised by how well Seneca Wallace played last week
Ravens (+2) @ Patriots: could go either way, but choosing defense
Redskins (-7) vs. Buccaneers: battle of underachievers
Titans (-3) @ Jaguars: no chance the Titans go to 0–4
Raiders (+9) @ Texans: no reason to trust the Texans defense, so high-scoring
Dolphins (+2) vs. Bills: not feeling good about this one with no Pennington
Saints (-7) vs. Jets: would have gone with the Jets, but two cornerbacks injured
Broncos (+3) vs. Cowboys: only for home-field advantage
49ers (-9.5) vs. Rams: Gore out, but 49ers will be upset about last-second loss last week
Chargers (+6.5) @ Steelers: probably decided by a field goal; Polamalu trying to play
Packers (+3.5) @ Vikings: Rodgers wants to beat his old mentor

Pacing break!,