Ode to Castro

We begin this Annual week in a state of mourning following the loss of our beloved Fidel Castro. We say our because following his retirement, Fidel, or Papa Cass as we called him, reached out to us at The Annual, hoping to find an ally in the states. At first we said no, it would be unpatriotic to work with the retired dictator, but eventually we came around. This was largely thanks to the term “retired” and promise of a great many Cuban Pesos (something we failed to realize was worthless in the United States thanks to the countless embargos placed on cuban goods).

After we formed a partnership, Papa Cass really became a Father Figure to many Annual Staffers. Unable to visit in person, we spoke with Papa Cass many times via Skype and Facetime. I personally learned how to grow and maintain a beard from the man, and on more than one occasion he assembled the whole staff and taught us how to survive an assassination attempt. These assassination survival lessons were often given while the 80 year old former-leader was out of breath and filled with adrenaline, we never knew why, but it always seemed like the attempts were fresh in his memory.

One day, little Johnny needed a ride to his Ballet lessons and Papa Cass graciously ordered a cab and spoke to Johnny on the phone the whole way to make sure he had arrived safely. On a cold night in September of 2013 a harsh storm rolled in, I was alone, but Papa Cass called to tell me a bedtime story until I was fast asleep.

Supposedly he sent us gifts but claims they were all intercepted by “those damn capitalists at the border.” He made us swear never to reveal our relationship, largely because having a second family of ragtag comedy writers would hurt his real family in Cuba. Often he would send us joke, bad jokes. They weren’t particularly blue or off-color. They were just… dad jokes. We never published them and he seemed to like that about us, we weren’t afraid to censor him just as he wasn’t afraid to censor his dissenters. We had “spunky attitudes” as Papa Cass would say.

Rest in peace Papa Cass, we are truly sorry we couldn’t give you the viking funeral you fantasized about in so many laggy skype calls.

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Kevin Cole & David Luna

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The Definitive Guide for Surviving Thanksgiving In Trump’s America

Thanksgiving, the great American gathering. For decades, the politically minded have dreaded this post-election holiday which challenges them to reach across the aisle and deconstruct what it means to be American with their right-wing relatives. The discourse over mashed potatoes hasn’t been this divided since President Obama won a second term, and even then, the worst that most endured were rants about Obamacare and the coming death panels. Two years ago, those same relatives were calling victims of police brutality “thugs” and now they’re coming to the dinner table with a sense of supremacy (white supremacy).

It’s hard to understand how white supremacy could reign supreme at Thanksgiving (provided you ignore America’s history of massacring indigenous people and focus on the food alone). Afterall, white meat is the worst part of the bird. It’s dry, it’s bland, dark meat ought to reign supreme, I digress but keep this metaphor in your back pocket in case things get testy.

For those who choose not to opt out of tense family gatherings, survival will rely largely on prayer. Sure, prayer didn’t prevent a Trump presidency, but small miracles are still possible.

In the worst case scenario you may be celebrating at a conservative relative’s house, and that’s fine, remember, the house holds no political beliefs no matter how many Trump signs are in the front yard (and if you accidentally happen to hit one as you back out of the driveway, no one will mind, the election’s already over). As an aunt helps you with your coat and whispers “this is your first time in a Trump supporter’s house” don’t take the bait. This is the first step to proving your resilience. Smile and nod and don’t lose sight of the fact that Trump has been appointing white supremacists to his cabinet, the fact that you’re related to his supporters will not normalize the monstrous things he’s about to do. From here, navigate away from politics as quickly as humanly possible, for once it will be a blessing when relatives ask what you’re doing after high school/college, when will have a girlfriend, or what are you going to do with an art major. Breathe a sigh of relief that your lack of life choices is the chosen topic of conversation as opposed to dismissing sexual assault as locker room talk.

While killing time before dinner, remember that dogs are truly man’s best friend, as are cats, or in this instance anything incapable of forming a complete sentence. Human’s have been disregarding one another to play with pets and toddlers for centuries and that tradition isn’t about to stop. How cold is outside? 36 degrees? That’s just above freezing, perfect for fetch! Get to know your family member’s beloved pet and they’ll call you when the Turkey’s ready.

No matter how experienced your uncle may be, offer to carve the turkey. You are the best insurance that no one will slice a racial epithet into the side of a pheasant. Compliment every item of food, go in depth, remember to keep them talking about anything but the election. The most important thing is to stay strong. At times the conversation may veer into pop culture and no matter how much you think American Horror Story is trash TV, that opinion is far easier for some to stomach than the fact that we made Trash-TV our President-elect.

As coversations come to a lull, pray that someone brings up football. Sure, you’ve never watched the sport, but you’re desperate and fortunately in the home stretch. The name of the game for this last hour is distraction, like Mike Pence attending Hamilton except not like that because your cousin still can’t wrap his brain around a black George Washington. Stay calm, practice deep breaths and as soon as someone utters the phrase “radical Islam” quietly excuse yourself to use the bathroom, and jump out the second window to safety of the concrete driveway below.

Kevin Cole

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This Friday, Meet Courtney Reynolds!

Over the summer, Annual staffer David Luna took a road trip to New York to record and interview Courtney Reynolds. Courtney is a stand up comic working in the city, he hosts the show If You’re Reading This Quit Your Day Job, every Thursday at Bungas Den.

You won’t want to miss this original Annual video made in collaboration with the Something Art Collective, so check back here on Friday morning!

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INTERNAL MEMO: Approved Terminology for Steve Bannon Coverage

Attention all Snailex Broadcast Inc. employees:

Following an incident during yesterday’s coverage of President-elect Trump’s administrative team, in which a reporter referred to Steve Bannon as “a fucking Nazi” on air, we have decided it best to review proper language for coverage of people in positions of power with a history of being rude to minorities.

Out of respect for the office of the president, we ask all reporters to refrain from using the following terms in reference to Steve Bannon:

  • Racist
  • Bigot
  • Anti-Semite
  • White Supremacist
  • White Nationalist
  • Race-baiting
  • Infrequent bather
  • A man who didn’t want his kids to go to school with Jewish children
  • Herr Goebbels
  • Some sort of monster facing abuse allegations
  • A devil on Donald Trump’s very crowded shoulder

Below are the approved terms that you may use to refer to the President-Elect’s chief strategist:

  • Breitbart Chairman
  • Champion of the Alt-Right movement
  • Semitically Challenged
  • Controversial
  • Supporter of white causes
  • Fun loving guy
  • War of Northern Aggression Enthusiast
  • A man with black friends
  • A white hot ray of sunshine
  • Old fashioned
  • A typical Trump supporter

Please pay careful attention what you say about the incoming administration or we may all be looking for work come February.

Scott Michaelson
VP of News

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U ok?

It’s been quite the week. I suppose I ought to start by saying I’m sorry I dreamt this nightmare into reality. When I wrote Great Again over summer, when we read it for an audience on Monday night, I never imagined that it would become a reality. Of course, I’m not just talking about the primary concept of a Trump presidency, but the very real potential that Ben Carson may run the Dept of Health and Human Services, the impending friendship between Putin and President-elect Trump. Just this morning David Luna sent me an article about an eventual revolt from evangelicals. I never thought we’d get as far as Act Two, certainly not this soon.

I stayed up late with Last Hurrah band leader Thom Huenger, Editor-At-Large Emily Perper, and Annual staffer IO Duarte on the night it went down. We watched the results roll in as time slowed down and we steadily went comatose, heads in our phones, refreshing twitter. Eventually we went to bed and before I knew the final results I spent my time between snooze alarms in a fetal position under the covers, praying, more than I had in past 5 years, hoping for a miracle that wouldn’t come. Then I went to work, where we broadcast a speech about the “need for unity” from a man who spent that past two years pledging to deport hispanics and ban muslims. Suddenly, this lunatic had the power and with the power came a sudden forgiveness of the immoral diarrhea that spewed from his pursed orange lips on a daily basis.

I knew I wouldn’t have anything on the site for the next few days. I didn’t know what to say or do. Nothing felt funny.  Some things still don’t. At what point can Great Again be considered a dark comedy rather than just dark?

As the initial shock passed, the motivation began to set in. The defiance. The Huffington Post originally ran an editorial note with all Trump-related articles to remind us that he is a racist sex offender. Once the man became “President-elect” they pulled that note. We’re not here to play that nice. Great Again took the gloves off with Trump as soon as he took the stage, and we’re not going to put on oven-mitts because he’s got a lofty new title.  What we need now is comedy, laughter, some good in this world. We’re going to be working our asses off over the next four years. We’re going to be here for you. New voices, bringing goofball comedy, dark comedy, cutting comedy, honest comedy. We may need to take some time here and there to process things, but this marks a new era for all of us and we at The Annual won’t let you down.

At this point, I’d typically ask you to support our patreon and help us grow, but today I’d much rather you turn your support to the Southern Poverty Law Center who will need as much help as humanly possible now that there’s a KKK-enabler headed straight for the White House.

Peace be with you all. We’ll be back on Monday with some fresh laughs.

Kevin Cole
Editor-In-Cheif