Friday Five, Vol. 20
Somehow, we have already made it to Volume 20 of Friday Five! The weather is warming up, which definitely put us in a good mood this week. When that didn't work, we turned to some great comedy. So check out the tv, movies, and clips that made us laugh this week -- and, as always, stick around for an addition to your weekend playlist.
Our movie-watching this week featured more classics than new releases, and one of them was so money, we just had to include it in the Friday Five. Swingers is one of our favorites, and it recently made its way back onto streaming, so we had to give it a rewatch. The 1996 comedy, which launched Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau’s careers, is a near-perfect hangout movie. It’s just a group of friends chilling, party-hopping, and cruising Los Angeles, all while trying to make it as actors. Of course, the movie also kicks off with a spontaneous LA-to-Vegas trip, which is a drive that the King Penguin team has become very familiar with lately! Despite a particularly cringeworthy scene involving an answering machine, Swingers is a quick, easy watch, and it definitely has become a comfort movie. As we get excited for a summer of finally hanging out with our friends again, Swingers brings the kind of energy we’re looking for.
That Damn Michael Che
While we’ve been watching a lot of hour-long dramas on TV recently, we were pretty psyched for HBO’s latest comedy release, That Damn Michael Che. Saturday Night Live star and standup comic Michael Che created and stars in the sketch series, which feels rooted in the format of Chappelle’s Show. Each episode centers around one topic, featuring to-camera interviews with Che, a narrative story running through, and then a couple sketches peppered in. It’s definitely a unique viewing experience, even with familiar sketch standbys like commercial parodies and Family Feud rip-offs making an appearance. Che’s DNA is (naturally) all over the show, and his distinct voice comes through clearly in every bit, often elevated by familiar faces from the New York comedy scene. The episodes are a breezy 22 minutes long, so you can either pop one on when you need a quick laugh this weekend, or just binge through all six in an afternoon.
Desus & Mero with Yo-Yo Ma
Sticking with out-of-the-box comedy, probably the best thing we watched this week came from Desus & Mero. The duo, AKA The Bodega Boys, have taken late night comedy by storm the last few years, especially after moving to Showtime. In their season finale, Yo-Yo Ma gave them a tour of Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a segment that was really special. While it seems like a strange platform for the legendary cellist, he kept up with the antics and general insanity of the two comedians, and was totally game for whatever they threw at him. The highlight of the segment was essentially karaoke, as Yo-Yo Ma played hit songs on the cello while Desus and Mero sang along. They paid tribute to DMX, covered Britney Spears, and of course had Yo-Yo Ma perform the intro to “The Thong Song.” The segment was pure and joyful, and absolutely gives off the vibes we are looking for heading into the weekend.
Bliss n Eso - “Coolin’”
The weather is finally starting to turn (at least for most of the country), which means it’s time to start putting together summer playlists. Australian rap group Bliss n Eso’s “Coolin’” is all about relaxing and partying on the beach, which makes it a perfect entry to start with. The music matches the lyrics, with a slow-bumping beat that fits any summertime hangout, day or night. And “beachy,” is probably the best word to describe the guitar part, which feels like it’s designed to be played with the windows down. Sure, all the talk about the beach, the ocean, and partying in the summer feels a bit on the nose, but sometimes, that’s all you need. Pour yourself a nice cold beverage, maybe one including tequila, and crank up some Australian rap. And while you’re at it, take a peek at the album art...
While we were jamming out to Bliss n Eso’s music this week, we also took a look back at the creator behind the album’s artwork, Billelis. The UK artist created a striking album cover featuring a black, hooded angel and a bright gold skull, and the artwork was used across marketing materials, merch, and even a giant mural promoting the album. Billelis’s work overall features a lot of sharp contrast between black and gold, and a lot of it centers around intricately designed skulls. The details are incredible, and each time you look at his work, you discover something new. He seems to take a lot of inspiration from mythology, and in general it’s just really different from what we are often looking at. He’s also worked on projects for huge properties like John Wick and Mortal Kombat, so you’ve probably seen his artwork without even knowing it! If you’re looking to expand your digital art horizons (and your Instagram feed), look no further than Billelis.