Thursday, June 28, 2018

Allard Across America

My year of travel continues:

Since mid-March, I've been in four states besides Illinois: Texas, Maryland, Iowa, and Nebraska. If you include a day trip I took to Janesville, WI just after Christmas, I've been in six states in the last six months. At long last, in about two weeks I am setting my sights on New York City. This has been over a decade in the making. I was promised a trip to NYC when I graduated college in December 2007, but money and other obstacles prevented the trip from happening until now. I'll be spending most of the weekend in upper Manhattan, and I am open to suggestions and recommendations.

Meanwhile, the first weekend in August my improv partner and I are heading back to Baltimore. After appearing in the Charm City Comedy Festival, the regionally renown Flower Shop Bangers are performing in the Baltimore Improv Fest. I guess Dan and I made a positive impression in their east coast debut two months ago.

Is there more travel on the horizon? Yes, but its tentative. At some point I'll drive to Indianapolis between now and late August to catch a minor league game. I also might take day trips to Beloit, WI and South Bend, IN for similar reasons. I'm flexible, as long as I can afford it and my car is in decent shape.


Friday, June 22, 2018


I haven't discussed current events much lately, and to be honest I'm almost afraid to.

North Korea likely came out as the big winner of last week's summit with the U.S. While not necessarily downplaying the historical significance of the meeting, in the tug of war between Kim Jong Un's over-preparedness and President Trump's improvisation and glad-handing... Kim walked all over Trump. We promised Kim that we would stop military exercises on the peninsula, and in return we received next to nothing. I guess that's the art of the deal.

Speaking of despots, I really can't add much to the fury and astonishment that has erupted over the seperation and apparent imprisonment of children at the US-Mexico border. The sad fact is, President Obama created a policy that allowed this loophole, and President Trump and his ilk took full advantage. Even so, what was set into motion was undeniably Trump's work (and Stephen Miller). It may look like the president caved, but in reality the administration is likely dreaming up something even more cruel.


Monday, June 18, 2018

My 13th Annual Fantasy Emmy Ballot

The 2017-18 TV season was almost like a blur to me. My now-mountainous DVR has made it exceedingly difficult to catch up to "peak" TV, and near impossible to check out a new or much-hyped series. In any case, I still read up on TV news and reviews, and I have some semblance of an idea of current trends. Even if I'm dead wrong (as I am 40% of the time, historically) that's beside the point.

With that said, here is my 13th annual Fantasy Emmy Ballot:

Supporting Actress, Drama: Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black; Millie Bobbie Brown, Stranger Things; Ann Dowd, The Handmaid's Tale; Lena Headey, Game of Thrones; Chrissy Metz, This is Us; Thandie Newton, Westworld.
Supporting Actor, Drama: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones; Asia Kate Dillon, Billions; Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones; David Harbour, Stranger Things; Anthony Hopkins, Westworld; Mandy Patinkin, Homeland.
Supporting Actress, Comedy: Zazie Beetz, Atlanta; Judith Light, Transparent; Kate McKinnon, SNL; Laurie Metcalf, Roseanne; Megan Mullally, Will & Grace, Jessica Walter, Arrested Development.
Supporting Actor, Comedy: Louie Anderson, Buckets; Alec Baldwin, SNL; Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Sean Hayes, Will & Grace; Marc Maron, GLOW; Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Leading Actress, Drama: Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder; Claire Foy, The Crown; Mandy Moore, This Is Us; Elizabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale; Sandra Oh, Killing Eve; Keri Russell, The Americans.
Leading Actor, Drama: Jason Bateman, Ozark; Sterling K. Brown, This is Us; Freddie Highmore, The Good Doctor; Matthew Rhys, The Americans; Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan; Jeffrey Wright, Westworld.
Leading Actress, Comedy: Pamela Aldon, Better Things; Alison Brie, GLOW; Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Tracie Ellis Ross, Black-ish; Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie.
Leading Actor, Comedy: Anthony Anderson, Black-ish; Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm; Donald Glover, Atlanta; Bill Hader, Barry; William H. Macy, Shameless; Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley.

Best Variety Talk Series: "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee," TBS; "Jimmy Kimmel Live," ABC; "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver," HBO; "The Late, Late Show with James Corden," CBS; "Late Night with Seth Meyers," NBC; "Late Show with Stephen Colbert," CBS.
Best Variety Sketch Series: "Drunk History," Comedy Central; "Joe Pera Talks With You," Adult Swim; "Portlandia," IFC; "The President Show," Comedy Central; "Saturday Night Live," NBC; "Tracey Ullman's Show," HBO/BBC.
Best Limited Series: "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story," FX; “Genius: Picasso” NatGeo; “Godless," Netflix; “The Looming Tower,” Hulu; “The Terror," AMC; “Twin Peaks,” Showtime.
Best Dramatic Series: "The Americans," FX; "The Crown," Netflix; "Game of Thrones," HBO; "The Handmaid's Tale," Hulu; "Stranger Things," Netflix; "This is Us," NBC; "Westworld," HBO.
Best Comedy Series: "Atlanta," FX; "Barry," HBO; "Black-ish," ABC; "GLOW," Netflix; "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," Amazon Prime; "Silicon Valley," HBO; "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," Netflix.