Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The best late-night show, a YouTube hack, and a miracle of a musical

Samantha Bee (Photo: Frederick M. Brown)

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

Although it’s not exactly a secret at this point, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee is easily the best—and bleakest—late-night show on television. Bee’s smart and deeply feminist take on current events leans more toward John Oliver than the current host of her former employer, The Daily Show, as she uses each episode to focus on fewer issues in greater depth. As a triumphant “fuck you” to the late-night boys’ club, Bee’s feminism isn’t merely incidental, but an essential part of her act that lifts her above typical political-comedy fare. If you’re a woman on the internet, don’t miss her May 16 show, in which she featured the Seattle Seawards (and some fantastic double entendres) reading tweets from men who told them to bash their heads into brick walls (and much, much worse). Like I said: It can be bleak. But those same women got the last laugh, as will you. It’s rare that I finish a half-hour comedy show feeling like I can take on the world, but also like I really want to give the host a hug. [Laura M. Browning]


Looping videos on YouTube

Hey, did you know that you can make any video on YouTube loop? All you have to do is right-click the video player (mind blown, I know) and click “Loop,” and it’ll play from now until the internet finally dies. This might sound super simple and dumb, but given how much energy I’ve spent over the years clicking back to a YouTube page to replay whatever song I was listening to before autoplay whisks me away to something else, this discovery represents a fundamental positive change in my productive and creative life. No more stopping work on a Newswire every time Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet get to the end of “Having An Average Weekend” (a.k.a., the theme song from The Kids In The Hall, currently in its thousandth or so loop as I write this). Instead, I can listen to the same song forever, with no need to break out of my comfort zone, which is exactly the way I like it. [William Hughes]

Matilda: The Musical

Some friends who saw Matilda in London urged me to see the stage musical when it came to Chicago, and I can’t thank them enough. I took my kids, but there were plenty of adults there solo who just wanted to see a full-on amazing new show. Based on Roald Dahl’s novel Matilda, about a brilliant girl with awful parents who eventually finds a home, the musical combines acrobatics, inspired set design (including some gasp-worthy giant swings), salsa dance, even shadow puppetry to expand Dahl’s story into an elaborate stage show. Along the way, Matilda offers some sly takes on modern-day parenting (it begins with a snide child boasting, “My mommy says I’m a miracle”). Each song is better than the next, as the kid performers rise to the occasion (much like the ones in Annie) to dream about “When I Grow Up” or rebel against their horrid headmistress by proclaiming that they’re “Revolting Children.” I accidentally bought Matilda tickets for the same night that Iggy Pop was in town, and after a momentary pang, didn’t regret my choice for a second. If you’re lucky enough to have Matilda visit your city, don’t miss it. [Gwen Ihnat]


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