Piffcast: Summer Goals, Second City and Martin Morrow

Standup Comedian, writer, and Second City actor Martin Morrow (Why? with Hannibal Buress, Last Comic Standing) joins the show. Martin talks about his journey in the Chicago comedy scene, how he applies his improv training to standup, writing sketches and jokes for sensitive audiences, and the effect social media has had on the industry. He also names his Second City “Mount Rushmore” and gives some advice for future professional comedians. (12:10 mark, if you want to jump ahead)

Meanwhile, Michael and TJ go through their goals for Summer. Plus what’s on TJ’s Spotify playlist, things Mike rationally and irrationally dislikes, and much more. It’s a good bit of fun.

Don’t forget to use Promo Code “Piffcast” for great deals when getting a ride with our new friends at Lyft

Follow for more on Facebook or Twitter. You can subscribe to The Piffcast on iTunes too.

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Twitter’s 10th Anniversary: First Ever Tweets From Some Favorites

10 years ago today, some guy named Jack sent the first ever tweet.

“Jack” is Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter. He also set the standard for grammar on social media, apparently.

Do you remember your first tweet? I guess I had Brian Scalabrine and Carmelo on the mind when I wrote mine…

With the help of Twitter’s Discover feature, I was able to dig up some maiden voyage thoughts as people in Sports and Entertainment got setup on their “favorite” Social Media platform.

Movies

 

Robert Downey Jr.

 

Chris Evans

 

Chris Pratt

 

Amy Schumer

 

Emma Watson

 

Jon Favreau

 

Kevin Spacey

 

Tom Hanks

 

Ron Howard

 

Jamie Foxx

 

Kristen Bell

 

Angela Bassett

 

Ben Affleck

 

Chris Rock

 

Brie Larson

 

John C. Reilly

 

Kevin Hart

 

Television

 

Bryan Cranston

 

Aaron Paul

 

Krysten Ritter

 

Jason Segel

 

Mark-Paul Gosselaar

 

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

 

Jerry Seinfeld

 

Sarah Michelle Gellar

 

Aubrey Plaza

 

Gillian Jacobs

 

Lena Dunham

 

Norman Reedus

 

Michael J. Fox

 

Emilia Clarke

 

Eric Stonestreet

 

Sofia Vergara

 

Grant Gustin

 

Melissa Benoist

 

Chris Hardwick

 

Stephen Colbert

 

Ellen DeGeneres

 

Music

Justin Timberlake

 

Common

 

John Legend

 

Taylor Swift

 

Lady Gaga

 

Alicia Keys

 

Chance The Rapper

 

Rihanna

 

Bruce Springsteen

 

Andrew W.K.

 

Bruno Mars

 

Beyonce

 

Chris Martin

 

Axl Rose

 

Marc Roberge

 

Kanye West

 

 

Basketball

Kobe Bryant

 

Shaquille O’Neal

 

LeBron James

 

Chris Paul

 

Kevin Durant

 

Derrick Rose

 

Jimmy Butler

 

DeMarcus Cousins

 

Blake Griffin

 

Damian Lillard

 

Russell Westbrook

 

Steph Curry

 

Mark Cuban

 

Adrian Wojnarowski (#WojBombs)

Baseball

Jake Arrieta

 

Bryce Harper

 

Brandon McCarthy

 

Dan Haren

 

Andrew McCutchen 

 

Mike Trout

 

Felix Hernandez

 

Clayton Kershaw

 

David Ortiz

 

Kris Bryant

 

Frank Thomas

 

Joe Maddon

 

Ken Rosenthal

 

Football

 

Von Miller

 

Kyle Long

 

Chris Long

 

Aaron Rodgers

 

Russell Wilson

 

Cam Newton

 

Odell Beckham Jr.

 

Le’Veon Bell

 

Marshawn Lynch

 

Todd Gurley 

 

Ian Rapoport 

 

Adam Schefter

 

Jim Harbaugh

 

 

Did I miss any? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter and I’ll get back to you with anybody’s FIRST TWEET.

How Twitter Celebrates #NationalPizzaDay

Just 2 days after finally digesting your awesome Super Bowl spread…

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It’s National Pizza Day!

You may know already that there is quite an affinity for pizza on this website (See The Pizza Challenge List from last Spring) and that we also like to monitor how Social Media celebrates these National Food Days…aka, great excuses to eat something good.

So let’s take a look at what the good people are posting on this momentous day of deliciousness

We’ll update this post throughout the day. Feel free to share your #NationalPizzaDay posts with us on Facebook and Twitter!

 

NBA on TNT 

(A personal favorite photo of mine)

 

Epic Meal Time

 

Houston Texans

 

Dallas Cowboys

 

Good Morning America

 

Garfield

 

Washington Nationals

 

SLAM Magazine

 

Rock Pictures

 

Cincinnati Reds

 

NBC

 

Tumblr

 

The Walking Dead

 

Professor Snape

 

Vine

 

SI Vault

(The more Barkley pizza photos, the better.)

 

Breaking Bad

 

Blizzard Entertainment

(I think they produce World of Warcraft)

 

Chicago Sky

 

Andrew W.K.

 

Check back for updates later. Please share your own #NationalPizzaDay posts on Facebook or Twitter

Stop Blaming Millennials For Your Problems, Especially in Sports

I am tired of the lazy “Millennials are soft” narrative.

Monday night, sports fans were treated to one of 2016’s early instant classics as #1 Kansas University went 3 overtimes to fend off Buddy Hield and #2 Oklahoma 109-106 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence. It was one of the better regular season basketball games in a long time. Brent Musburger and Dick Vitale nearly lost their voices. It was a great time had by all, thanks to millennial athletes.

Meanwhile, Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver was busy doing his best Grandpa Simpson impression by blaming “Millennial Culture” for his team’s second to last place record in the Western Conference.

“My whole view of the millennial culture is that they have a tough time dealing with setbacks,” Sarver told the Arizona Republic. “I’m not sure if it’s the technology or the instant gratification of being online. But the other thing is, I’m not a fan of social media. I tell my kids it’s like Fantasyland. The only thing people put online are good things that happen to them, or things they make up. And it creates unrealistic expectations.”

It’s cool though, because local journalists are Sarver’s version of a Facebook wall to rant on, and his “instant gratification” are hot take sports talk shows like FOX Sports Live (I thought this was supposed to be a highlight show) with panelists echoing his sentiments…because none of them are millennials themselves.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 10.26.34 AM

On this particular FSL panel from Monday night, moderator Randy Travis led off the discussion with the typical “We all know Millennials are the most coddled generation…”, and I felt more compelled to change the channel than ever. Ironically, everyone on this panel was screaming “Let Johnny Manziel be Johnny Manziel” just beforehand.

I appreciate Sports Illustrated’s media reporter Richard Deitsch for pointing out exactly where I wanted to take this on Twitter.

The group in question is exactly the audience Fox Sports 1 is fighting for with ESPN too. Fox Sports Live was originally packaged to us as the “fun” sports show with entertaining highlights, anchors who get it (like Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole), and smart analysis. Instead, the network adds former ESPN First Take executive producer Jamie Horowitz – who brings Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock with (reasons millennial audiences wanted an alternative) – and we’re back to searching for something else again. ESPN then capitalizes by handing the late night SportsCenter reigns to their most millennial friendly talent, Scott Van Pelt.

In case you weren’t aware, the millennial generation covers people born between the early 80’s to the early 2000’s. These are impactful business owners (Mark Zuckerberg), soon-to-be college grads (Jack Gleeson aka Prince Joffrey from Game of Thrones), teenagers standing up for important causes (Malala Yousafzai), and kids who never saw Michael Jordan play live. They love nostalgia (reminiscing about 90’s Nickelodeon shows and NES cartridge games) and can’t wait for what’s next (standing in line around the block for the new iPhone).

Millennials are another young generation, shaped as much by previous generations as they are criticized by them. The people who can’t stand anyone younger than them actually gave birth to them and had the opportunity to raise them the way they wanted to. The irony is hilarious. Yet for every Phoenix Suns team, there’s a Golden State Warriors roster dominated by 20-somethings on top of the basketball world. The best player in the league currently and millennial athlete, Stephen Curry, had his game influenced by a specialist from the previous generation…his dad.

Obviously the disconnect isn’t limited to basketball, as Mr. Sarver generalizes. The old folks write pointed letters when Cam Newton dances in the end zone. They take to social media and sports talk radio when Jose Bautista flips his bat. Alas, when a millennial has something to say to defend their generation, they tell you to shut up and stop being so sensitive.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 11.47.02 AM

I remember that “wambulance” joke from Modern Family. It was funny the first dozen times the kindergartner on the show used it.

If the Suns are victims to “Millennial Culture”, then why are the current Chicago Cubs 7/1 World Series favorites with a projected lineup whose average age is 26? What the Suns are victims of is an organization and leadership that spends more time blaming everything but themselves for their own losing culture…and bad scouting.

Rather than sit back and criticize a generation for your problems, be proactive and either adapt or provide a productive solution. If you don’t like what you’re hearing, change the channel. Otherwise, this will be you someday.

Grandpa Simpson

For more, follow along and react on Facebook or Twitter

December in Chicago: Things To Do To Make Winter Suck Less

Consider this a cognitive therapy session to help you feel better about the season that several of your friends and family have moved away from. If you still live here after the past two winters, congratulations…you’re a midwesterner. You grew up with 4 seasons, strapped on your snow pants, found creative ways to de-ice your windshield because you forgot your scraper, and you haven’t been stomped by AT-ATs on State Street…yet.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 10.17.30 AM

I personally like snow and I know I’m not alone. I also don’t mind a trip somewhere warm in order to endure it with a tan, but I take pride in where I’m from and love that I can appreciate the other 3 seasons because of Winters here. You also get an awesome and natural excuse to stay in and binge watch Netflix shows with a glass of some-something.

So before posting your super cliche “ugh, Chicago Winter. Get me out of here” Facebook status, turn up 93.9 on your radio for 24/7 holiday tunes and consider some proactive options that you can’t get most places.

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.13.03 AM

Lions, Tigers, and beers…oh my!

You read that right. Along with a whole calendar of events, you can peruse the zoo with beers (and maybe Bears) or other adult beverages as the whole place gets lit up like you’ve never seen before. It’s free to enter, as always, and there’s a number of activities to partake in including rides, crafts, and seeing Santa. There are a few dates to mark on the calendar as well.

12/2 BrewLights

12/10 Adults Night Out

12/14, 12/21, 12/28 Family Nights

1/3 Last Day

 

Comedy Shows

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 10.13.32 AM

Want to know a great way to stay warm in Chicago? Laughing. Where better to do that than in a tiny cramped venue, brushing shoulders with the table next to you, sipping on a rum and something, and then forgetting it all with belly laugh after belly laugh.

Dave Chappelle is in the middle of a 6 day residency at Thalia Hall, Dec. 1 – 6, but good luck getting tickets for that. All 12 shows were sold out, but MAYBE a ticket or 2 will show up on StubHub. Meanwhile, you and your rowdy friends can check out any of the following clubs for standup shows:

Chicago Improv (in Schaumburg)

Laugh Factory (on Broadway)

Zanies (Chicago, St. Charles and Rosemont)

Beat Kitchen (on Belmont)

Or you can get literally spontaneous comedy at any of the improv institutions that helped put Chicago on the map in show business like Second City, iO or Comedy Sportz.

Last, but not least, John Oliver is performing at the Chicago Theater December 30th and 31st. Maybe don’t miss that.

Christkindlmarket

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 10.29.40 AM

I’m sure you’ve heard of it but in case you’ve never been, head over to Daley Plaza at Clark and Washington to see for yourself. The tradition began in Nuremberg, Germany in 1545 and was brought to Chicago in 1996. It’s considered the largest open-air Christmas festival in the city, but my favorite part is the mug of hot wine that I can mosey about with.

It’s open till Dec. 24th, so get over as soon as you can.

 

Marshall Fields

(Nobody wants to call it Macy’s this time of year)

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 10.48.19 AM

This is Christmas nostalgia at it’s finest for most of us who grew up around Chicago. Winter break from school, Mom and Dad have some last minute shopping and your family from New York is in town…where do you head to? State Street, that great street, to see the windows at Marshall Fields.

Every year there’s a different story being told around the building, and people of all ages can’t wait to see what’s next. Inside, on the 7th floor is another sight to behold. The Walnut Room has been a Chicago tradition since 1907.

Walnut Room

 

Star Wars (Chicago Style)

If the pre-sale numbers and the marketing haven’t already told you, people are excited for Star Wars. So how can you best celebrate the release of Episode 7?

The Whistler in Logan Square will be transforming their bar into the Mos Eisley Cantina on December 16th. There will be local musicians on hand as the house band from A New Hope and the cocktail menu will be overhauled with galactic themed beverages.

Mos Eisley

Then there’s Adler After Dark the next evening, December 17th, as the Adler Planetarium will be hosting a Force Awakens party unlike any.

  • Star Wars Trivia
  • A screening of Space Balls 
  • Star Wars-inspired beer from Empirical Brewing
  • Lightsaber Combat Workshop!
  • human-robot interactives from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The Force is strong, yes?

 

Sauced Night Market

Sauced Night Emporium

It’s a roving night market, self-described as being “dedicated to emerging culinarians, artists and that guy from high school who’s a DJ now – an evening of food, art and debauchery set to the tune of “Hypnotize”. Intrigued? Sure you are.

December 15th, SAUCED will be at Emporium Arcade Bar in Logan Square for your not-yet-last-minute holiday shopping, great food from Chicago vendors, and craft beer. It sounds way too interesting to pass up.

 

One Of A Kind Show

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 12.11.08 PM

Love art or just any alternative to retail? This is for you. From December 3rd – 6th, 600 artists from across North America will be at the Merchandise Mart on Orleans with every kind of handmade creation you can think of.

Accessories, ceramics, sculptures, furniture, photography, paintings, glass, jewelry, fashion, etc. And here’s the show schedule:

Thursday, December 3    11am-8pm
Friday, December 4         11am-8pm
Saturday, December 5     10am-7pm
Sunday, December 6       10am-5pm

All the One Of A Kind Show info is here.

 

Topgolf

Nighttime Tee Line Golfer

(Naperville & Wood Dale)

 

I find it funny that there are still people around Chicago who haven’t caught on to Topgolf. It’s the grownup version of Chuck E. Cheese, Enchanted Castle, Leaps & Bounds, or whatever kids amusement place you used to frequent when you were younger.

It’s golf meets bowling, where each individual ball you hit has a chip inside and you aim for targets to score points against your friends. Full bar, great food, multiple monitors to watch sports, parties every night…and you it’s open year round with plenty of heat.

I actually went with my dad on the coldest of year and it was an absolute blast. Here’s proof.

FullSizeRender

If you have anymore recommendations to make December better, please pass them along on Facebook or Twitter

First Day of December and MLB Is Already Winning Twitter

Professional sports have caught up with social media and any team not having fun is just doing it wrong.

Major League baseball just started an excellent Twitter thread that will brighten your day if you need it. It began with a happy greeting and an Anthony Rizzo grinning gif…

 

…then the Indians…

 

…and the Red Sox…

 

…and then…

 

…it took on a life of its own.

 

Braves

 

Phillies

 

Tigers

 

Diamondbacks

 

Padres

 

Rockies. They were late, apparently…

 

…but had a decent excuse.

 

The DBacks allowed it.

 

Hey Blue Jays…

 

…welcome to the party.

 

…and the Defending NL Champs

 

[UPDATED]

 

The Cubs had thoughts…

 

…to which MLB happily replied.

 

 

We’ll update this post as more teams jump in on the thread. For more, follow along on Facebook and Twitter

Chicago Brewery Challenge: The Beginning

Perusing one of my favorite sites this morning, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks page, a certain story grabbed my attention…

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 11.15.35 AM

 

In the words of Barney Stinson,

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

John Lovegrove had his first beer at 7:00 AM and his 77th at 12:55 the next morning. Here’s the timeline of every brewery he stopped at and all the fun his crew of 7 had. Lovegrove had a pint at his first brewpub and another at the 50th, then drank from his one-ounce stein at the 75 others…which is very responsible.

The #SpiritOf77Breweries Challenge was an awesome project to promote the amazing breweries of Portland. I’d love to do the same for the Chicago area. By The Hop Review’s count, there are at least 66 in the city, 85 around it. Let’s see if we can hit more breweries in 18 hours than Lovegrove did.

The Chicago Pizza and Food Truck Challenges were fun (and still ongoing). Those projects took months to execute, but this will take just a day…and a lot of time to plan leading up. You have to start somewhere though and that’s what this is…the beginning.

The date and route are still TBD. Any Chicago beer enthusiasts and breweries interested in helping out are welcome! Let me know on Facebook and Twitter, or email me at piff.michael@gmail.com with serious inquiries.

Updates on the of the Chicago Brewery Challenge plan will be posted here and on social media with the hashtag

#ChiBrewChallenge

Cheers gif

Feel free to share this with anyone who wishes to partake.