As the famous saying goes: When life hands you crows, make a 22 second parody of Making a Murderer.

Background for the Smithsonian: Crows have been roaming about my neighborhood in the last few weeks. I happened upon this particular mob after getting a burrito from a nearby burrito dealer. I’d never seen so many before. They flew around and they landed on stuff and then after awhile they flew around some more, which is very typical bird behavior. Unlike most birds, however, crows are actually one of the most intelligent, capable of solving puzzles that would challenge high school students. It’s also a fact that they are servants of the Dark Lord Satan sent from the aviaries of Hades to spread doom, fear, ennui and poop upon all foolish enough to gaze skyward at their bellies, turning their eyes into embers and softening their resolve to resist the coming Soul Harvest.

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An Inspiring Self-Portrait That Inspires Inspiration

by Hank Thompson on September 14, 2015

Got carried away with Photoshop and before I knew it I had another self-portrait. Not bad, eh? Really captures who I am and what I’m all about, which is a female lion who doesn’t have a lower jaw.

Hank Self Portrait - Lion

Ok, confession time: that’s not actually me. I did draw it, though. In photoshop. I made it for a side project I recently started doing on Instagram (#instagram). It’s called ‘Crushing Inspiration’ and it’s my attempt to take down the inspiration industry, which is rampant on Instagram, among other places. Inspiration comes in many forms and all of them are bullshit.

What I do with Crushing Inspiration is I write the world’s worst inspirational quotes and I dress ’em up pretty in Photoshop with colors and textures and punctuation and then I load up each post with hashtags (#hashtag).

If you’re on Instagram, go have a look and follow if you enjoy. My secret goal is that by rotting Inspiration from the inside out I will inspire people and then I will become the thing I hate most, which is a living contradiction.

Here’s the link in case you missed it: CRUSHINGINSPIRATION ON INSTAGRAM

If you’re really into it, you can follow Crushing Inspiration on Twitter: @Slut4Inspiratio

Oh, also, #WillSmith

 

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Stand Up Schedule For Chicago, March 2015

by Hank Thompson on March 21, 2015

So excited to be back in Chicago for a busy week of Comedy. I’ll be debuting my new joke where I reveal something embarrassing about myself and then make you wish I hadn’t brought it up. Here’s where I’ll be performing.

Sat 3/21: Two Hour Comedy Hour @ The Gallery Cabaret 7pm
Sun 3/22: Cole’s Chicago Cabaret @ Cole’s Bar 8pm
Mon 3/23: Set to Scene @ Improv Olympic 8pm | Sadsacks & Wisecracks @ High Hat Club 8pm
Tue 3/24: Tuesday Ten Showcase @ Zanies in Rosemont 8pm
Wed 3/25: Blind Bet Show @ The Pony Inn 9pm
Thu 3/26: Stand Up Stand Up @ Crocodile Lounge 9pm | Parlour Car @ Bar Deville 9pm

A couple more may get added. Doing lots of podcasts and will be filming some sketches as well and will be getting all fucked up on caffeine and ice cream and rumors. Let’s do this!

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Brothers – a short film by Me (Hank Thompson)

by Hank Thompson on January 15, 2015

Please watch Brothers. It’s a short film I made.

I visited family over Christmas and was playing soccer in the street with my nephews. Though soccer and nephews are great, my real attention was on the iPhone 6 in my pocket. I’d only had it a month and had been itching to take its vaunted camera for a spin. So I did. We did. The result was Brothers. I’m calling it the world’s first and only Adorable Horror film.

The whole thing was made up on the spot, starting with throwing a soccer ball at the little one’s head and filming it in slow motion. The boys were great sports. They did and said everything I told them to, although their kid patience was tested by my constant ‘one-more-times.’ About time they learned that adults lie and that filmmaking is tedious. And yes, they both got paid. They got dinner. Several that week, in fact.

By that night I had the thing 80% edited, during which the kids learned another lesson: editing is boring! But we all enjoyed seeing the story come together and I began to suspect I might actually have something I wouldn’t be embarrassed about.

It was my first time working with ‘score’ type music, which I purchased a license for. Music rights is key if you want to submit to festivals, which I plan to do.

I put it on YouTube and my brother and I posted it on Reddit a few times. Within a day or two it had over 5000 views. A viral video management company reached out, with whom I signed, and the video was written about on a blog or two and posted on AOL, MSN, Yahoo and a few other places. Weird.

It didn’t manage to cross that viral threshold where things start to snowball. Small blogs are feeder streams to larger ones, which feed the BIG ones (think: Gawker). They all need content. Magic content. So they “borrow” ideas from each other in order to attract clicks on their site. If enough large blogs post it, and if the video has high shareability — that is, it somehow enhances a person’s online identity via status gain or social bonding — then it multiplies and rebounds back to the small blogs that missed it, and suddenly you’ve got a viral video on your hands. Nothing gathers a crowd like a crowd.

That was never the intention in making it. AT ALL. I was just being a weird uncle who wants to direct films for a living. But it’s cool that it got anywhere near the potential of going viral. And it still might.

Lately, I’ve been researching this whole festival thing. It may have a place at some or it may not. I think it has a shot at iPhone filmmaking festivals, and maybe small comedy festivals, but who knows? I sure don’t. Finding out is going to cost money in the form of submission fees.

Stay tuned.

 

 

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Keep Going

by Hank Thompson on December 31, 2014

Last Saturday I performed on the same show as Bill Burr. He’s far and away my top comedian. I’ve always aspired to be as honest, authentic and hard-working as him, none of which I’ve achieved. I was standing awkwardly in the green room at Flappers when suddenly he’s right there next to me. I almost shit my mouth with excitement but I played it cool, hoping to come off as anybody other than the nobody I am. He was just dropping in to do a set– a normal night for him and a privilege he’s earned and deserves, but to be a struggling/clawing/doubting/desperate/eye-gouging stand up and get to share a stage with one of the best in the business, out honing his craft, was very validating and is something that’s going to keep my sails filled for quite a while.

It’s hard to know you’re on the right path and it’s even easier to think the one you’re on might be wrong. A stand up career is full of reasons to quit. It’s the rare moment like this that’s like a dimly lit sign on the side of the cold, lonely road. “You’re doing something right,” it reads. “Now quit reading this sign and go write some fucking jokes.”

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Meanwhile on Downton Abbey – An Animated Web-series

by Hank Thompson on December 29, 2014

For some reason, I’m making an animated web-series about Downton Abbey, called Meanwhile on Downton Abbey. For those not in the know, Downton Abbey is about a bunch of loveable British snobs who live in a castle and their even more loveable servants. All of them have genitals, expectations and complicated psyches that drive them through decisions great, small and British. Fans are loyal, and I count myself among them, after finding much comfort in season 1 years ago while reeling from a break up (that I initiated). Season 6 has aired in Britain and will be airing in America very soon.

Scripted, multi-episode projects come with numerous challenges, some expected, many not. The biggest one in I’m facing with this one is I have no idea how to do animation. How hard could it be? I told myself. Well, I made the mistake of listening and set off down the road. If you have 23 seconds, please watch the intro I made. Everything was drawn in with a mouse and then “animated” using Premiere Pro CC.

Here are some characters I drew. If you’re a fan of the show, you might recognize them:

Meanwhile on Downton Abbey Characters

There is SO much more work to do but I’ve gone too far to turn back. Partly why I’m posting this here is to help keep myself motivated to complete the project. Follow-through is the key step in following through. As I make progress on more characters and as episodes begin to take shape, I’ll keep updating here.

And yes, you’ll be relieved to find out  I’m doing most of the voices as well.

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Elections – They’re Bad For Democracy

by Hank Thompson on November 14, 2014

Voter matters. Elections don’t. Or it’s the other way around. Oh, who can tell anymore?

I hosted TYT140 again. This time I turned my attention to elections, voting and why Americans don’t seem all that interested in either. Be careful, I MAY or MAY NOT make a reference to an infamous cancelled Pepsi product.

By the way, my opinions don’t mean shit but I said them into a camera, which means now they don’t matter publicly. There are a few jokes in there I’m not embarrassed about so at least I’ve got that.

Here’s the link referenced at the end: Infinite Clicks. It’s my talk show, which I haven’t written about or promoted on my own website yet because I’m horrible at being a comedian. I’d love it if you took a minute to check it out and subscribe.

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Kotaku Did Me A Solid

by Hank Thompson on November 13, 2014

The popular gaming website, Kotaku, posted and wrote about a couple videos I made using the headline ‘Violent Shadow Of Mordor Montages Are Tragic, Pretty.’

The game has a photo mode, which lets you pause the action, move a camera around and snap cool screenshots. Instead of taking stills, I screen-recorded the camera motion at very slow speeds and then edited the footage to music. I must have screwed up because people seem to like it. Writer Yannick LeJacq wrote, “The most creative I’ve seen is using the photo editor to create surprisingly moving short films.”

Over the five days since Kotaku’s post, the first video went from around 300 views to over 20,000. The second has close to 7,000. Those aren’t bad numbers for a YouTube channel with a paltry 357 subscribers, which was at an even more paltry 310 just a few days ago.

It’s rewarding to see something you do mostly in the dark with very little notice not only get some attention, but also get nice things written, like (remarking on how gross the game can be): “Turning it into something beautiful is a matter of ingenuity and craft, which this murder-filled montage demonstrate masterfully:”

Masterfully? I use the phrase ‘obsessive over detail to the detriment of my health and well-being’ but I’ll take it!

Here’s a screenshot from analytics of the first update.

Mordor Analytics 1

 

That giant spike dwarfs ANY of our previous peaks for daily views. By a TON. Won’t be long and the channel will cross the 100K view mark, which is a lot, but it’s also not, yet as anything that started at zero, each milestone means something at the moment, from the 1st subscriber (which is the guy I sit next to at work) to the 1 millionth subscriber.

Gaming is HUGE on YouTube. Many of the top performing channels are gaming channels, netting millions in revenue and billions of monthly views. Turns out people like watching other people do stuff, even if that stuff is play video games. And why not? It’s storytelling. Entertainment. Something to do between birth and death. As a professional YouTube guy (I have TWO — count ‘em: TWO — certifications) I figured why not combine something I’ve done my whole life (video games) with something else I’ve done my whole life (say stupid shit out loud) and see what happens. It’s a lot of work but it’s also a lot of fun.

Here’s a trailer I made that explains what we’re all about:

Mostly, the channel is commentary. Think: Mystery Science Theater but with video games. I do it with a friend who isn’t a comedian so our dynamic works well with me as the insane person with boundary issues and him as a healthy normal guy who gets uncomfortable but is too polite to call the police when I cross the line. We also do guides, advice and just plain fun, silly or cool videos, like these Mordor things. Here’s a third one I didn’t finish until after their post:

If you like watching some asshole yell at video games, then head over to SuckProfessor and subscribe and lets do this!

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Too Many Cooks Has Just Enough Cooks

by Hank Thompson on November 10, 2014

‘Too Many Cooks’ by Adult Swim’s Casper Kelly blew up fast and remains in a state of upward blowing. The phrase “Too Many Cooks” is trending on Twitter as I type this. Not the hashtag, the phrase itself. What does that mean, exactly? Beats me but it means A LOT of people are talking about it.

There’s a good reason for that. The video is utterly compelling. It’s the intro to a TV show called ‘Too Many Cooks’ but there is no TV show (yet). It’s a throwback to cheesy graphics and cheesier smiles, but then it takes a… well, I’m out of my mind for trying to describe it. Just watch. Hit play. Now.

Like Rob Cantor’s Shia LaBoeuf video a couple posts down, it accomplishes what appeals to me most: controlled, deliberate insanity. Nothing’s more entertaining than things that shouldn’t exist, yet somehow do, and were created with obvious effort and attention, yet by any rational accounting shouldn’t have been conceived — let alone nourished and brought to life. But I’m glad it was and so are many others.

My two word review of ‘Too Many Cooks’ is this: More cooks!

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2014 Election Tweets!

by Hank Thompson on November 5, 2014

The 2014 Midterm Elections were last night and if you’re like most Americans, you probably don’t give a shit. Well I do, because giving feels good and shitting feels better. So why not combine the two? Plus I work for a news organization and part of my job requires I pay closer attention than most to what’s going on. Here are some choice tweets from my twitter feed. Follow me here.

+++++++++++++++++

Voting matters. If you make the wrong choice, America will get worse. If you make the right choice, America will get worse slower.

This election night, like all election nights, will end the same: with my penis smelling like pizza.

Here’s a fun election night drinking game: Drink cyanide.

This election is about showing the world why we’re one of the top 196 countries on Earth.

Midterm Elections — Where less than half the people pick the 500 people who will fuck over all of the people.

For a party of racists Republicans sure love dark money.

The personhood amendment means tiny bootstraps will now be installed in women’s vaginas because that’s all a person needs.

“ARE YOU FUCKING ZLORPING ME?” – aliens visiting Earth who were just told why America votes on Tuesday

Florida Man Wins Election

Don’t blame me. I voted for Kodos.

The nice thing about American Democracy is that no matter who you vote for you’re voting against your own self-interest.

“Give it to me, Mitch McConnell! Give it to me all night!” – Lobbyists

Hey #Youth, Put down your iPod and pick up a ballot! Then put that down that ballot and go lose your virginity, ya square! #YouthVote #Vote

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