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Friends, 2016 may not have been everyone's year, it was actually all over the place. However there have bee some downright great things I've been lucky enough to be a part of in 2016, and I'd be a fool not to speak up and share a little bit, so here we are; "10 Fun Things I saw in 2016"

1. Steve Gerrard comes to Chester PA. Stevie G is a legend of futbol/soccer/football with Liverpool FC and has been seen and cheered by millions and millions of people over the years. Steven Gerrard then signed with the LA GALAXY of MLS (non soccer folks, this was the same team David Beckham signed for) and then visited my friends at the Philadelphia Union. So Steven Gerrard who is super accomplished and has fans all across the globe, was 15 minutes away from Concord Mall where I'd hung out as a goofball teenager. Nothing better than when the world gets REALLY small. 

2.The Black Bear. This was a film I'd been very lucky to see when I was out in California with "THE OTHER RIPKEN". "The Black Bear" was a film "adapted" from a Parks and Recreation manual in Canada. It was silly, dark and unbelievably funny. In Cali, I'd gone out of my way to watch this about 3 times, and just loved how the film, all mainstream and commercial possibilities be damned, just went for it. I love the gusto it took to make this and I'm going to try and find it somewhere so you all can see it. Just be ready, it pulls no punches.

Couldn't find the film but found this image from it. SEE THIS MOVIE

3. Tribe Called Quest "We Got It From Here...Thank You For Your Service" I love Tribe, I love the back and forth between Q Tip and Phife Dawg, I loved the production and they had a phenomenal documentary out a few years ago. We lost Phife in 2016 and I thought that was it for the band. Fortunately, for humanity, Tribe had recorded a final record with Phife and it's this one. I wasn't sure what to expect but I got a booty shakin' brain quakin' heck of a fun record out of them. I spin it a lot and the volume always goes up loud each and every time.
"...THE RAMEN NOODLES" love this record

4. The I Don't Cares "Wild Stab" This one didn't get as much press as Tribe's record, but it's a Paul Westerberg/Juliana Hatfield collaboration. We got Paul's songwriting and Juliana's wonderful voice. 2 great tastes that tastes great together. I hope they record 20 more records and tour non stop Phish style. Is Paul and Juliana are reading this, and I like to think you are. Please do all of this ASAP.
Look at those faces OF COURSE they're geat

5.The Night Of. Man this on checked of all my "TV" boxes. Good guys? Yep. Bad guys? Yep. Castmembers from THE WIRE? Yep. Kitties? Yep. Loved it. Really dark at times (all of the times) and my buddy Omar (a real Omar not to be confused with Omar from The Wire, also in this show) pops up in it too. I've been lucky to work with a few cast members on this show and they really bring it. It's not a ton of episodes, hopefully you can all catch up pretty quickly.

6. Every taco truck in San Jose, CA. I love traveling, tacos and film. So getting to Cinequest to premiere THE OTHER RIPKEN was a really wonderful moment for me, but I told my nephew Alex (who's a bit of a pre teen foodie) I was going to eat as many tacos from as many different spots as humanly possible. So starting with a Texas layover and covering quite a bit of ground in the Bay Area of California, many tacos were consumed and loved equally. A spot outside my hotel gave me a taco and avocado and a tea for like 1.25 and it was STELLAR. I love you North Cali, I'll visit again soon (side note, snuck out to Santa Cruz on a press day for the film and loved it, my kind of town)

7. Kari Rhyan "Standby For Broadcast" I was super proud when Kari released her first memoir this year. Kari went to Avon Grove High School, lived in Avondale, PA and went to college in York, PA and I DID ALL OF THAT STUFF TOO. So I was excited to hear of her book, I'm always super proud of Avondale area folks doing well for themselves (DR DOG 4 EVA), so I grabbed the book not knowing much about it. It was heartbreaking, dark and viciously funny. I kept telling myself "even if I never knew Kari, this book would kick my ass all over the place". While reading I wrote down like 50 questions to ask Kari about this memoir and will likely just flood her texts with all of these questions at some point in 2017. 

8. Beck "WOW". Hey, I'm happy Beck wins grammys and is so critically acclaimed, I've been a fan for a long time. What I'd been missing though, is when Beck would just put the acoustic guitars down for a few minutes and just "Bboy" it out for a little bit...meaning, I love his well crafted beautifully sung songs like "LOST CAUSE...
but as a long time fan I've loved it when he just cranks up the bass and rattles some speakers, and low and behold, he unleashed a little of that on us last summer with "WOW". I wish it was a bigger hit, and even if it's just for a little bit, I'm happy to have "bboy" Beck back for a bit. (QUICK say "bboy Beck back for a bit" out loud real fast! Fun right? Fun's what we do here)

9.Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin on SNL.  Look whichever side you were on, the election was gonzo and I'm glad we got to laugh a little at these two parodying the candidates. Kate's Hilary Clinton doing  "bish ya brain broke" or Alec's Donald Trump impression doing "Poo-tin" or "Moe-sulll" was really a welcome laugh and break from the non stop 24/7 news chatter. 

10.Del Close Marathon. This is a crazy CRAZY 72 hour non stop flurry of comedy and sketch and jokes and performance art and all sorts of great stuff in NYC. I've had a chance to be involved in it for 3 years now, and each year it's always impressed me with its reach all over the city, great folks dropping in (Poehler! Sudeikis! Horatio Sanz! Nick Kroll! A bunch of dogs running around on stage too!) and just some really great and creative laughs. Everytime I come home from it, I come home inspired and wanting to do more with these great and funny folks. It's one of the great little secrets in NYC, I'll be back for more of it's madness next summer!

So there we are, 2016, we laughed, we cried, we danced a little and.... man, did we eat tacos. So much love to you and yours and as I hope with this year and every year, we all get to cross paths and raise a little heck together.

Take care and be good, 


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