Québécois comedian Mike Ward has taken some heel turns that I can’t condone, but none of what an artist says should be punishable by the government. His case for performing jokes (reiterating: jokes) about a differently abled kid was just made before the Supreme Court of Canada.
I truly feel like it’s fair if the vilest joke one can make results in losing fans, friends, sponsorships, jobs, etc, but it CANNOT get you fined or imprisoned. I’m an absolutist on that. A lot of people feel like that standpoint is gauche or even alt-right, but freedom of expression is not the same as freedom from consequence – the latter of which must exclude consequences from the law or government. Sure, Mike Ward picks on a differently abled kid; maybe he doesn’t get to do any KFC ads. Maybe people won’t buy a ticket to his next show. But the utter daftness of thinking that Mike Ward wants to harm, or see harm come to that kid is astounding. That kind of daftness has to be intentional. Some people must be so horny for daftness that they avert their eyes from one simple truth: upholding freedom of expression when it comes to jokes of bad taste is just as meaningful to your wack little simpleton musings that bore everyone including yourself:
“Maybe WE should build a wall to keep TRUMP out!” -You, who should quit comedy
“People are afraid of what’s in the vaccine but they eat Cheese Whiz and Pop Tarts!” -You again, not being sued by me for ‘grand theft of everyone’s time’
It is sad that people who saw Mike Ward’s bit harassed the kid, but Mike Ward isn’t responsible for the actions of every twit animal who grossly manufactures a call to action over it (why aren’t THEY dangled in front of the Supreme Court like a morsel of sardine for the self-righteous gullets of “justice”, huh?). This is a comedian – not a politician. This isn’t like Trump and the insurrection. It’s art. And you simply can’t/mustn’t contain art because it’s all held together by this keystone that is freedom of expression.
Here are some jokes about differently abled children. Sue me.
DEAF DANNY & THE DIFFERENTLY ABLED:
I and other comedians were quoted on a Vice piece a few years ago about Mike Ward’s Human Rights Tribunal case and I said the following:
“We have a history of rare physical conditions in our family. I have vitiligo and my brother has gigantism in his left side. When kids would harass us about the way we looked and try to make our lives shit, we stuck up for each other, along with our friends and family. We were taught by our parents that the world can be volatile and taught how to handle it with love, wit, strength and self esteem. My brother turned out to be a strong, capable man who has meaningful relationships with wonderful people; he sticks up for himself more than anyone I know, and defends the underdog with the same passion. We need people like my brother – we don’t need “feelings court.”
What really cracks me up is the way this bit has been distorted by the Anglophone media. A lot of what’s being written paints the bit out as this ruthless, continued attack on Le Petit Jérémy—but Mike only takes like 14 seconds at the end of a 2.5-minute bit to say he tried to drown the kid without success and that he’s ugly. I know that sounds callous, but it was the comedic equivalent of tearing off a band-aid after a long rant. Sometimes a lot of the value of a joke is just in the audacity it takes to say it. The wit might not be there, but some comedians are satisfied with gasps as much as laughs. That’s the risk you take in playing that card—you alienate people. But comedy isn’t about walking on steady ground all the time. It’s about stepping on the cracks and digging your toes in the earth and seeing what kinda bugs, tubers, shit and gold are in there. It’s fine if that’s not your brand, but there’s all sorts of comedy for everybody out there. You know? Some people play a harp and some people bang on a bucket with a filthy doll’s head.
Some of the critics of Mike’s bit call it “bullying,” but to me the bullies are the parents of Le Petit Jérémy. It’s such a transparent cash grab on his parents’ part. On top of the fine to Mike, ten thousand dollars for “moral” damages? You know how rich I’d be if I sued everybody who damaged my morals? I’d be living on some crazy-ass party plane that never lands and gets perpetually refilled mid-air. “Moral Damage?” The Miami Dolphins damage my morals every year. I still wear the jersey.
Some comics might not be on Mike’s side here, but I know that if they were somehow to get caught in a mess like this over some bullshit they were just trying to get a laugh with, Mike would be the first to rush to their defense. Maybe a few more of these cases need to swing this way so we can get some traction on restructuring the language of these laws, which clearly needs to happen. ‘Cause Personally, I’d never make fun of some kid with goblin-face disease, but I think I should be allowed to.”
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It’s the week of Halloween and everyone is asking me for scary movie recommendations. Something about me just screams “this guy knows where to find things that will make me sick and afraid” (maybe it’s the vomit chunks on my unholstered gun). So I thought I’d make a list. Here are 10 actually scary horror movies you may have never seen that you can stream tonight.
The picks below aren’t for chicken-shit pants-shitting shit-birds. I will lay this out so you can gauge what my fear threshold is: Alien is not a horror movie; Get Out was a fine film but not scary whatsoever; and The Babadook sucks. If you want to watch a mother barely hold back from bashing her kid’s head in while some creepy prick with poor fashion sense looks on with glee, take me to Great Wolf Lodge. The films included here made me want to lock my doors, check under my bed and load the shotgun I keep under my machete rack.
Although they are marvellous and effective fright films, you won’t find titles like TheConjuring or Hereditary on this list. These are slightly deeper cuts, and they cut hard. In fact, they cut like a gun that shoots knives (which I also own – it’s called a “gknife”).
Last thing before I list these flicks: if you love horror, do yourself a solid and sign up for Shudder. It’s 60 bucks for the year and they keep pumping out more content than you could shake a monkey’s paw at. Also when the pandemic ends, come see my live horror/comedy show at Comedy Bar in Toronto called Guts For Laughs. Follow us on Twitter and IG at @GutsForLaughs. Do it, or else. Keep in mind I own firearms and this website tracks your home address. Here we go:
The Witch In The Window (Shudder)
Tiny cast. Hack first few minutes. A screw-up dad is trying to regain the love of his family by fixing up a haunted-ish house you know there’s gonna be a witch of sorts inside of. But it takes a mind-bending turn, packs some wicked jumps and pulls the rug out from under you with several switcheroos before it’s all over. Plus, If you’re Shudder and chilling, this movie is 70 minutes in & out, so you can swiftly get to the part where you say, “Hey, did you know there’s also a witch in the window of my zipper? Check it out…” and get to gettin’ fresh. That line works for everyone regardless of your sexual orientation.
Special distinction: only movie I’ve ever seen that has an honest to cripes Magic Eye painting scare.
Not to be confused with Netflix’s shameless gore-porn horror “Terrifier” starring a clown with teeth like the inside of a Crunchie bar. This Argentinian offering presents three subsequent stories that tie together. Three neighbours are experiencing some paranormal bull-shit: I can’t write about the first guy without spoiling it, but it’s one of the most memorable horror scenes I’ve ever watched because it goes on for so long and you are forced to sit in the horror of it and watch powerless as evil runs amok. Like the presidency. Second one is about a guy who sets up a camera after his furniture keeps moving around in the night and the last one is about a dead kid. And yeah: they show you the dead kid. And it ain’t just some child actor with corn syrup on his forehead. This is South America. They might have used a real dead kid. But it’s important to note this isn’t a true anthology like Creepshow. The driving throughline about investigators trying figure out what in the horny Christ is happening in this ‘hood flows smoothly in and around the intertwined tales.
Special distinction: the way director Demian Rugna frames his scares often mimics the viewpoint of a natural human eyeline, producing a stripped-down air of realism that leaves you feeling like this is what it would actually look like if your life got absolutely FARKED by malevolent forces.
Don’t get turned off by the poster! Although it depicts a creepy baby carriage, this isn’t one of those movies that shovels out the ol’ convention where a woman is pregnant with a baby but the baby is also pregnant with a demon or some shit. It’s actually an ambitious, $3.6M Mexican production that in its essence is a possession whodunnit, where a skeptical cop is trying to track down the demon who killed his child. It alternates between Spanish and English and boasts a tasteful CGI evil Jesus scene. The film kicks off with a scene so despicable, it feels like a joke a racist cabbie told you at an off-track betting bar in Cincinnati. This isn’t much of a jumpy one, but it is profoundly disturbing. Think Sinister on crank and tequila.
Special distinction: Probably the highest and most unforgiving infanticide rate of any movie I’ve seen.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (Shudder)
This film is contained to a small rural coroner’s office but it tells such a huge story. A father and son coroner duo cut into this lady and hoo-boy! Her insides are more fucked-up than the shelves at K-Mart on Boxing Day! The journey through the autopsy generates so many questions about how this woman died and even though she’s dead, you start getting the impression she doesn’t want to get autopsied ‘cause some next shit starts going down with the other corpses in this spooky-ass old coroner building. Quality jumps throughout this one too.
Special distinction: expertly frightening despite having a main antagonist who is completely inanimate.
Dead Birds (Prime, Shudder)
Another poster that makes the movie look like it cost 38 bucks and whole lotta favors to make. I swear, there’s a scene at the beginning where a guy sees a dead bird and goes, “Huh, there’s a dead bird,” and then they don’t mention birds, dead or otherwise, for the rest of the movie. Dead bird content dearth aside, this is an unconventional film that places a group of Civil War era bank robbers on a farm overnight while on their way to Mexico with a big sack of stolen gold. But this farm makes Robert Pickton’s look like Baskin-Robbins! There’s gross critters and other evils abound that start picking these stinky cowpokes off one-by-one. And what a cast of stinky cowpokes they are! Every minute a different big name pops up, including Michael Shannon, the fat beardy guy from 30 Days of Night, Elliott from E.T. and Isaiah Washington. This is probably the least scary movie on the list, but there’s so much originality and genre-bending to this creature feature paranormal haunted house western, that I thought it belonged.
Special distinction: a young Michael Shannon throwing around racial slurs. Yup – that one. Washington was able to keep the slurs to himself this time, however.
Spanish director Paco Plaza, who also made the REC series, peddled this out in 2017. It’s rife with heavy-handed allegory about the coming of age of womyn (the fyuture is fymale), but in the horror world, I’m like, what isn’t, dude? Technically Godzilla is a girl’s coming of age tale when you consider that Godzilla’s mouth-lasers are a metaphor for menstruation. Zappy, blasty menstruation. In this film, a teenager in a working class neighborhood has to take care of her younger siblings, but this foolish, stupid, naive, female, lady girl puts her dumb double-X chromosome’d hands on a Ouija board DURING an eclipse! You put your whole family in danger by opening a demonic eclipse portal, you idiotic womb-haver! But el patriarcado aside, this movie is loaded with jumps and taut tension and even though it’s about a teen, it doesn’t strictly cater to a younger audience the way Slender Man or Ma did. There’s a nun with milky eyes, shadowperson apparitions galore, and it features the “creepy naked man scare” a full year before Hereditary did it, and a full two years before my dad did it at a local figure skating meet and we never saw him again.
Special distinction: based on a true story where a Spanish girl mysteriously died in the 90s after using a Ouija board. Second leading cause of death in Spain after pronouncing your Zs like a t-h to death.
Channel Zero (Shudder)
This is a TV show where each season of six episodes is based on a different creepypasta. Episodes are 45 minutes long, which is so little to commit to. But the reason I recommend this show is that it’s light enough that you can watch it during the day and the stories are so loose and ethereal that you can have it on in the background while you I dunno – make soup or harass former lovers over the phone. The seasons are hit and miss (season one revolves around a little boy made of human teeth who eats teeth and there we go, I got fed up just typing that), but the fourth and latest season is about a woman (Miss Denmark 2008 Maria Sten) who descends into madness after rediscovering her homicidal imaginary friend, the latter of which is portrayed by a stupendously talented contortionist. There are loads of practical gore effects that’ll make you turn away and at one point they barely explicably shimmy in an army of little people dressed as crayons.
Special distinction: It’s all shot in Canada and it looks like it isn’t.
The Possession of Hannah Grace (Crave)
I was super skeptical of a “The Possession Of” movie and maybe my low expectations are what led me to enjoy this so much. In this story about a disgraced police officer (ACAB) who becomes a security guard (ASGAB) at a morgue, a stiff is dropped off that somehow, instead of just sitting there, appears to get healthier. You can imagine where this leads (they fuck – JK), but the lighting and the sound design seamlessly team up to drive a multi-sensory screwdriver into your nervous system. The creeps take their sweet-ass time and this polished production is all-in-all jumpier than bullfrogs on a griddle.
Special distinction: maybe the only film whose title starts with “The Possession/Haunting of” that is legitimately frightening.
POD (Prime, Shudder)
The key to this 2015 gem is that instead of having the terror stem from a guy in a monster suit, it comes from the unravelling mind of a schizophrenic man trying to convince his brother that he has a captured alien in his basement. The performance of this mentally unstable dude is so convincing, you can picture him asking a cashier at Taco Bell for the nuke codes. The film does an admirable job of keeping you guessing whether there’s a basement alien or not. Pod is a testament to how solid a film you can make with a wee budget, as long as you have a sturdy premise and some decent actors. Plus it’s only 76 minutes! So if you’re Shudder and chilling, it won’t be long before you can be like, “Hey did you know I also have a ‘pod’ behind this zipper?”
Special distinction: It’s got to be challenging to pull off an alien horror movie that’s actually scary, because aliens are inherently jovial visitors who just want to meet your leader and give you a hearty bumming.
Garden State (in the garbage somewhere hopefully)
It is absolutely beyond horrifying that someone gave money to Zach Braff for a script that’s just a bunch of people going “aren’t I weird?” for an hour and a half.
Special distinction: none. This movie is is pure bowel cancer for your heart, mind and eyes.
Hunter Collins is an industry pariah who makes his home in a nest of soiled egg cartons in Toronto’s toxic waste district. Twitter: @hunter_collins | Instagram: @huntercomedy
The NFL’s 101st season kicks off today and Washington finally got rid of the Redskins name and logo. Luckily for the league, that’s their only ongoing controversy, so after the national anthem, the players can get up off their knees and get back to smashing their brains into miso paste until they murder all their loved ones. Nevertheless, Washington’s abandonment of the racist effigy is an increasingly common sign of positive change. A while back, The MLB’s Cleveland Indians got rid of Chief Waygu, I’m guessing ‘cause he looked NOTHING like a massaged Japanese cow. Here in Canada’s CFL, Edmonton’s seen its last Eskimo. But let me be the first one brave enough to say: that’s just the tip of the hate-berg (I almost went with “not n’iceberg”).
On the surface, there may only appear to be a handful of problematic franchise names and logos in pro sports, but I knew that if I looked hard enough, I could force myself to see a bunch more that would get my gender-neutral undergarments in a knot. Here’s a look at the most offensive team names and logos from all four major sports.
TW: all of them
HOCKEY: -Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
This is beyond indecent. As a tanning bed addict (disorder #486 in the DSM5), I take mondo offense considering how at-risk I am of contracting cataracts – and my disease is NOT a costume. To rub it in, they gave this wacky guy a fancy colorful headdress knowing full well how hard it is for cataract sufferers to take in that breadth of hues. They should’ve had a little powwow to come up with something more sensitive.
-Eerie Otters (OHL)
The otter looks a bit Chinese. I obviously don’t think that’s a bad thing – I just don’t trust them to have done it for the right reasons. According to this guy Fred I met at a skin tag convention in Eerie, PA, the town’s “only got maybe five Chinese”. So why the Chinese otter? Probably safer to just dismantle the team, sell off all their gear and donate the proceeds to Falun Gong. Not sure if Falun Gong is good or bad, but I think they dance a lot, and if you hate dancing you’re a dancist and I’ll have you doxxed.
-Albany River Rats (AHL)
“River rat” is a heinous slur for Mexicans.
-Rockford Ice Hogs (AHL)
“Ice hog” is a heinous slur for ugly women from the Yukon.
-The Tacoma Ice River Whoores (NCAA)
Though part of me admires the old-timey spelling, we have to acknowledge that sex work is real work and that the only acceptable moniker for this team is “The Tacoma Ice River Sex Workers”. Man, that whoore is hot though.
FOOTBALL: -Kansas City Chiefs (NFL)
Firefighters’ bosses have enough to worry about already. Change the name or I’m boycotting fire.
-Dallas Cowboys (NFL)
Being a half cow/half boy is a horrific mutation I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy (the little boy from the movie “Room”). Frankly, I’d rather be an ice hog.
-New York Giants (NFL)
Oh you think it’s *COOL* to name your team after these scary freaks who bump their heads on the top of every door frame and walk around like Frankenstein in their specially tailored monster pants to meet their date they met on some website for humongous abominations like them and then they all die before 50 ‘cause their hearts are so enlarged? Only in New York!
-New York Jets (NFL)
A whole team named after John Travolta’s tragically deceased son Jet? Real classy. NOT! Only in New York!
-The Tacoma Dumb Polacks (Pacific Trucker League)
Another heinous slur, albeit for White people, so it doesn’t really count. Still, it’s a little on the nose. Granted, that nose is pretty bulbous and hard to miss.
BASEBALL: -Oakland A’s (MLB)
Literally discriminatory towards 25 of the alphabet’s 26 letters. Personally, I believe there are more than 26 letters in our alphabet, including @, # and &. I don’t know what the non-binary equivalent of this stance is, so I’ll just go out on a limb (is that ableist?) and say I believe in non-twentysixinary spelling.
-Atlanta Braves (MLB)
How DARE they… name a team… after a COLOSSAL DUMP like Atlanta? That place is like Houston with twice the piss and half the vocabulary.
-Tampa Rays (MLB)
Every guy named Ray is an asshole. They always shave their sideburns too short, eat bananas as loudly as possible, and had sex with my mom when I was in high school.
-Miami Marlins (MLB)
Congratulations! You just named your team after the worst Wayans brother. And it’s pretty hard to top Shawn!
-The Tacoma DVD Copies Of 2004 Box Office Calamity Garden State (Northwestern Baseball Association For Dorks)
Forcedly quirky. Laboredly devoid of substance. Absolutely disgusting. I’m less offended by Chief Waygu.
BASKETBALL: -Boston Celtics (NBA)
This is a completely inaccurate depiction of an Irishman! No ranga-orange hair. No barf stains on his little prick bow tie. No sign of a “mudder” he deeply resents. No cuts on his knuckles from “having tried to tell Sheilagh twice”. The palsy in the eye checks out, but the loser in this logo must be a goddamn dirty protestant!
-Denver Nuggets (NBA)
Call me old fashioned, but I don’t think you should name a team that predominantly employs Black athletes the N-blank-double-G anything.
-Xinjiang Flying Tigers (CBA)
You shouldn’t give fans the false hope of seeing a tiger fly one day. “Flying” tigers? What’s next? “Skateboarding” trout? A “female” president? Get real or GTFO.
-Washington Wizards (NBA)
-Sacramento Kings (NBA)
-Houston Rockets (NBA)
Rockets are made by brilliant scientists (ableist – check!) who went to Ivy League colleges (classist – check!) and they look like huge dongs with flames coming out the ball area (patriarchy – check!).
-Utah Jizz (NBA)
-The Tacoma Maybe We Shouldn’t Let The Mentally Challenged Breed (West Coast Eugenics League)
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I wanted to make a Hellraiser parody because I LOVE the Hellraiser series. So much, in fact, that I always make sure to wake up looking like a cenobite with a Joey Fatone goatee. The first film is a rightful horror touchstone, but the rest were like watching a one-footed pigeon with palsy try to become an eagle. Each sequel gets more disjointed and less cenobite-y; Pinhead’s dialogue sounds increasingly like the heavy metal lyrics I scribbled in my grade 10 agenda; and part 6 (“Hellseeker” – man, they’re good and cramming “hell” in there) boasts my favorite horror movie line to use on conspiracy dumdums: “Welcome to the worst nightmare of all: REALITY!”
So here is a little sketch I put together while in isolation, complete with 80’s special effects, a replica Lament Configuration and hell-threats galore! I give you: “HELLABADRAISER”!
I’m going outside… to take my stand-up comedy on the road! You know what’s actually contagious? LAUGHTER! This pandemic is being blown way out of proportion *sneeze*. Personally, *cough* I feel that if I can hork a loog into a napkin *disconcerting wheeze* without seeing any lung-chunks, it’s safe to perform my art to a paying audience of whatever number it’s now illegal to gather in *projectile vomits lung chunks*. Here’s all the info for the Hunter Collins COVID 19-DATE TOUR!
FERGUS, ON – Saturday March 28 @A Loblaws Being Ransacked For Beans 9PM
OTTAWA, ON – Sunday March 29 @Some Empty Pit 9PM
KINGSTON, ON – Monday March 30 @FEMA Checkpoint 9PM
CORNWALL, ON – Tuesday March 31 @Cannibalism-Optional Beach 9PM
ST-JOHN, NB – Wednesday April 1 @Marauder’s Brothel That Used To Be A Quizno’s 9PM
HALIFAX, NS – Thursday April 2 @keep running 9PM
AJAX, ON – Friday April 3 @A Generous Oracle’s Cave 9PM
AJAX, ON – Saturday April 4 @My Cave (ate The Oracle) 9PM
SUDBURY, ON – Tuesday April 5 @Bonecruncher’s Battledome/Bed & Breakfast 9PM
OTTAWA, ON – April 6 @That Empty Pit Is Overflowing With The Carcasses of Our Fallen Now 9PM
MONTREAL, QC – Sunday April 7 @My Childhood Home Where I Find My Parents In Bed As Desiccated Corpses Holding Hands 9PM
TORONTO, ON – Monday April 8 @The Abandoned Rogers Centre (pretty cool!) 9PM
BARRIE, ON – April 9 @Insane Jack’s House of Spears 9PM
TORONTO, ON – Thursday April 10 @*DAY OFF TO CAUTERIZE SPEAR WOUNDS*
SUDBURY, ON – Saturday April 11 @Jaw-Smasher’s Battledome, Formerly Bonecruncher’s Battledome 9PM
WINDSOR, ON – Sunday April 12 @Hey, something’s happening on the other side of the border 9PM
DETROIT, MI – Sunday April 13 @Riot of the Century 9PM
BORDERS MEAN NOTHING NOW – Monday April 14 @Mountain of the Leech King 9PM
NEW GAIA – Tuesday April 15 @Being Frank With Frank D’Angelo 9PM