Rob Kutner ’94, head writer for the TV show “Conan”:
My wife, Sheryl Zohn '95, and I have a long history of collaboration, dating back to our penning the kickline song for a Triangle show. This was something we wrote, and Mitch Magee directed, to promote my annual sketch show in New York for the Jewish holiday of Purim. Among its talented cast are Amy Sedaris, comedian Jeff Kreisler '95, and "The Office" cast member Ellie Kemper '02. Also, keep an ear out for the smuttiest reference ever to Princeton's former quota system!
Susan Sugarman, Princeton psychology professor:
Beethoven’s Wig is a group of classical musicians (and one children's songwriter) who set well-known classical pieces to lyrics for children, with the idea of inculcating an appreciation of these melodies and a little knowledge about them. If you are an adult familiar with the music (I suspect most will be), and you can let yourself go, then these might elicit anything from a chuckle to hearty laughter -- and productive confusion about whether you are enjoying them as a child or as an adult. This is the interplay Freud's theory of the comic seems to get at. And there is surely the rediscovery of the familiar that Freud's and many other accounts highlight.
Here is a link to the second CD this group produced. Viewers need to click "play" next to the track they want to hear. I recommend the first three tracks on this CD for a start. People can also click on any of the other three CDs, which are listed on the right of the page, and listen to tracks from them.
Bernard Chazelle, Princeton professor of computer science:
This video features a science lecture by the famous cosmologist, Ricky Gervais. As you can see, his teaching style is good, yet not quite up to Princeton standards. Don't get me wrong -- the Bible is a fine physics textbook. (Would you rather learn about the universe from its designer or from a part-time alchemist who waited for apples to fall on his head?) No, what tells me Dr. Gervais might not be Princeton material is his deluded belief, his God delusion if you will, that the promising author of the science text known as "The Bible" was also a first-rate scholar. I've sat on tenure committees at Princeton. Trust me, God's promotion would hardly be preordained (so to speak). I'm not the first to point out the glaring weaknesses of the case: only one book; no peer review; no acknowledgment of previous work; irreproducible results; and, worst of all, no footnotes. And what's with holding office hours only on weekends? Perhaps a “Target of Opportunity" hire, you might ask. As a minority group, aren't gods still underrepresented at Princeton? Not exactly. In my department, for example, we have an annual event designed to reassure the students that gods indeed rule the place. It's called "Meet the Faculty."
Peter McGraw, a former Princeton postdoc who is a professor of marketing psychology at the University of Colorado:
My choice is “The Man Cold,” from an English sketch comedy group called Man Stroke Woman. The clip exaggerates gender stereotypes (to an absurd degree) about how poorly men cope with illness and the burden it creates for their wives and girlfriends.
Michael Graziano ’89 *96, Princeton psychology professor:
Peter Wicks, a postdoc in the James Madison Program who has been doing stand-up comedy for 13 years:
Most sitcoms are content to point a camera at funny people saying funny things. What made the British show “Spaced” so fresh was the way that the camerawork and direction reflect how the characters interpret their lives in cinematic terms. Every episode was made with tremendous attention to detail, and many of the jokes are subtle enough to make you feel as if you are sharing a private joke with the show’s creators.