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  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Cover Story

What's so funny?

Five comedians give you some advice

Photo: Justin Rose, License: N/A

Justin Rose

Photo: , License: N/A

Related Content

Why perform comedy in New York, when Detroit has all you need?

My best advice if you are going to tell a joke is to commit. Go big or underplay it. No middle. If you believe it is funny, then it is, and if you're good enough at believing it, you might fool someone else into thinking the same. Good luck, don't stay in school. Quit your day job.


Follow @thechrisarmy on Twitter or see



Michael McDaniel

Being funny is being yourself. 

It's the unique perspective of the individual who has the "gift of comedy." Dave Chappelle said that comedians are born, not made. I agree with that. You can only try to be someone you're not. That's no fun! Nor is it funny!

Telling a joke has to seem like you're not telling a joke. 

Telling a joke is outthinking your audience. You have to take them on a journey that seems opposite of where they believe you are going. For instance: "I just found out I'm going to be a father." Good news, right? Audience claps because they are happy for you! "... on Facebook." This shocks the audience. Then you add to it, "I deleted her as a friend ... I ain't poking nobody else!" The basic anatomy of a joke is setup, punch, then tag-twist. The series above is a display of this anatomy.


Follow @IamMcDaniel on Twitter to stay up-to-date on future performances, or see



Mike Green

I have used my sense of humor as a defense mechanism my whole life, and if I think something is funny, beware, because I will beat it into the ground until someone laughs. My kids hate it when I goof around with them 'cause they don't find me funny, so I will not stop until they laugh or go to their room.

My best example of when not to be funny happened in court when the judge told me: "Mr. Green, someone is hit by a drunk driver every minute in this country." I said, "We better find out who this guy is ..."

In high school, I had a teacher who reprimanded me for eating a snack in class. He said if I didn't have enough for everybody, I couldn't have it in class. That was all well and good, until he introduced his wife to us a month or so later, and I told him, "If you don't have enough for everybody ..."

My advice is to understand that just because something is funny doesn't mean it's the right time to say it. I can do my act, the same act, two different ways: clean enough for my grandma or priest, or dirty enough for drunk twentysomethings to enjoy.

I think that comes from doing so many shows in so many different places. 

I have worked on the altar of a church, in a church rec hall, and countless country clubs. Conversely, I have performed in a strip bar, a nudist resort and a gay bar. 

Bottom line: Know your audience.


For updates on the latest news, see


Simply Shanell

I believe that anyone can be funny. However, not everyone can be a comedian.

Being a comedian is more than being funny. Comedians are a combination of storyteller, keynote speaker, therapist, friend, political analyst and motivational speaker, while keeping it funny, entertaining and thought-provoking. Comedians ... we're healers. We make people feel good.

I can't tell you the number of times after a performance that people come up to me to tell me how much they needed "to laugh," and to thank me for making them laugh.

I once read: "Comedy is the truth exaggerated."

With that said, many comedians don't like to touch on subjects of religion, politics, etc. But in my performance, I love including politics ("America found Saddam in a hole in the ground, but can't find my babydaddy to get my back child support."), religion ("You think Jesus ever told Mary, 'I can't wait to go live with my real daddy'?"), and social issues ("I live within a gated community in Detroit; everyone on my block has bars on their windows.").

I believe that comedians have a responsibility to be funny and express a point of view without preaching. Finding a platform that fits your style of comedy is the toughest part of comedy. 

I find that Christian and family-friendly comedy works best for my style of comedy. It allows me to perform for audiences that include both grandchildren and grandparents. Working as a clean, Christian comic also challenges my creativity. I focus more on subject matter. I don't have the luxury of falling back on a cuss word, or inappropriate subject matter to get a laugh. 

Working as a clean comedian also affords me the opportunity to be seen by individuals who would have never considered hiring a comedian to perform at their parents' 50th anniversary gala. Working clean has given me the opportunity to produce comedy show fundraisers for several metro Detroit churches and nonprofit organizations such as the AARP and the Red Hat Society.


Contact Simply Shanell at She plays the Clean Side of Comedy on Oct. 6, at the Millennium Center in Southfield, with headliner Jonathon Slocumb; ticket info at


Cornelius A. Fortune resisted the urge to mention Sigmund Freud's 1905 rib-splitter The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious. His editor couldn't. Send comments to

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