Stand-up comedy is an art form. In fact, it is perhaps the most misunderstood art form known to humankind.
For example, in virtually all other “stage performances” there is something known as the “fourth wall”. The fourth wall is that imaginary, invisible wall that exists between you, the stage and the performers. Otherwise, the audience may begin to wonder why four hundred people happen to be sitting in the tomb of Capulet and yet Romeo and Juliet are oblivious to their existence.
But in the world of stand-up comedy, the fourth wall both exists and does not exist… for example, when you see a comic -you need to shut your whore mouth and keep it shut, respecting that fourth wall. But things can get kind of weird if a comic doesn’t at least occasionally tear down that wall and acknowledge that you are real human beings and that he/she can see you… especially, if you aren’t so good at the whole shutting your whore mouth thing.
But the point I really want to make is -for the most part, comics are faking it. I think a lot of people actually believe that stand-up comics are just “winging it” and everything that comes out of their mouths just happens to be hilarious. Of course, in some very rare cases this is true. But generally speaking, every joke and every bit that comes out of a comic’s mouth has been rehearsed and crafted over and over again until every single word is in exactly the right place at exactly the right time… which can actually be really awkward if you’re a comic. Because nothing is more lame than someone pretending they are being spontaneous.
But in some weird way, this is actually one of the things that makes stand-up comedy a form of art. After all, art merely imitates life… but what happens when art imitates art?
Prepare to be mind raped.
In 1945 Elmyr de Hory was a struggling artist, or perhaps he was merely struggling -but then again, even the “masters” died penniless and insane so maybe this whole “art” thing was actually working out pretty well for him. In any case, to bide his time while slowly starving to death, de Hory practiced sketches in the style of his idol -Pablo Picasso… and it turns out, de Hory’s Picasso’s were good. Really good. His friends, who were also painters in their own right -often couldn’t distinguish between an authentic Picasso and a de Hory. So perhaps it’s not too surprising that a collector friend eventually offered to buy one of de Hory’s “authentic” Picasso’s and the poor, starving Hungarian immigrant couldn’t refuse.
The price: $200
Well, one thing led to another and eventually every art dealer and collector on the planet was interested in this random Hungarian fellow who seemed to have access to an unending supply of previously unknown “masterpieces” by not only Picasso, but every major name on the market and perhaps even more importantly, he was willing to part with them for cheap.
Oil magnate, Algur H. Meadows bought 56 of these masterpieces. The Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University snatched up a Matisse at a basement bargain price. Experts from all over the world marveled at the exquisite beauty and detail of these new found paintings by the masters and declared them all to be “100% legitimate”. Everyone, it seems was happy.
To this day, some experts and curators refuse to admit their masterpieces are de Hory’s. It could ruin their credibility and reputation to do so. Later, de Hory would remark, “If it weren’t for experts, there would be no forgeries.”
When the art dealers were asked why their suspicions were never raised about this man who could produce a “lost” masterpiece by almost any artist they wanted, some of them explained quite frankly, “They were so good, I didn’t want to know.”
And why would they want to know? It turns out that while de Hory thought he was scamming the art dealers, it was actually the art dealers who were scamming de Hory. de Hory was selling his masterpieces for four and five hundred dollars a pop. These same masterpieces easily fetched tens of thousands of dollars on the open market.
When de Hory found this out, he denounced all art dealers as “lying criminal scum.”
Elmyr painting another totally worthless masterpiece.
Meanwhile, the day Algur Meadows discovered that his once priceless collection of lost masterpieces was actually the world’s largest collection of worthless forgeries -he wasn’t too happy about it.
I believe his exact words were, “Bitch better have my money.”
But de Hory didn’t have Algur Meadows’ money. Whatever meager sum he had managed to squeeze from these forgeries, he spent fleeing the country and settling down on a small island near Spain called, Ibiza. Fortunately for de Hory, Ibiza’s extradition treaties with the United States were murky at best and he was able to avoid going to prison for being an art forger. Unfortunately for de Hory, Ibiza wasn’t a big fan of homosexuality -so they sent him to prison for being gay instead.
Oh sweet irony, thy name is Elmyr de Hory.
When de Hory got out, he met a man named Clifford Irving who wrote a book about his life, exposing him as the greatest art hoaxer of all time. de Hory became an overnight celeberity… which pissed off the owner’s of de Hory’s masterpieces even more. Spanish officials began asking questions. But de Hory insisted he had never signed a name to any of his paintings and no one could actually prove that he did.
After all, it’s not a crime to paint a Picasso… it only becomes a crime when you sign Picasso’s name to it… and besides, these paintings had been hailed and authenticated by the experts -were they no longer great works of art?
“Am I guilty of committing a masterpiece?” he asked.
Incidentally, around this time Clifford Irving announced he was writing yet another biography. In fact, he was writing no less than the first and only authorized biography of Howard R. Hughes. This was a sensational revelation considering virtually no one had seen or heard from Hughes since he bought the Desert Inn and locked himself in an upstairs suite.
But Irving had documents -boxes full of letters, memos and various correspondence between himself and the elusive Mr. Hughes. These hand written documents were analyzed by the leading experts of the time and were eventually declared “100% legitimate.” Based on this information, McGraw-Hill wrote a check to Mr. Irving for $750,000.00.
Meanwhile, Orson Welles knew a party when he saw one… that’s right… Orson Welles, motherfuckers -so he hopped the first jet outta Dodge and headed straight for Ibiza where Irving and de Hory were partying it up like rock stars. Let’s face it, Orson was no stranger to hoaxes himself. In 1938 he convinced half the country that we were under attack by martians. He even brought a film crew with him to Ibiza so he could make a documentary based on de Hory’s life. There was plenty of booze and merry making… scenes filmed at parties… in the streets of Ibiza… in local eateries where Welles grew fat with seafood and wine while sharing jocular stories and intellectual anecdotes…
But suddenly there was trouble in paradise… rumors began circulating that Irving’s new biography was a hoax… Welles began to wonder if he should continue shooting a film about de Hory’s hoaxes or start shooting a film about Irving’s hoax… or maybe they both were complicit in this new hoax? After all, who could have forged all of those manuscripts so expertly if not de Hory?
A press conference was hastily arranged and Howard R. Hughes himself denounced Clifford Irving and claimed to have never met the man… at least that’s what he said on the phone. After all, Howard Hughes was a recluse and the last anyone had seen of him was when he was wandering down the highway in his underwear near the Desert Inn with a pair of tissue boxes on his feet… in fact, according to Irving’s lawyer -that wasn’t Howard Hughes on the phone at all -but an imposter… a hoaxer denouncing a hoax perpetrated by the biographer of a hoaxer who was now accused of committing a hoax of his own, but really wasn’t.
Inception -eat your heart out.
Meanwhile, the seafood and wine continued to flow, Orson continued to get fatter and the whole film project fell in danger of disappearing behind the fog of an earth shattering belch reeking of wine, lobster and garlic.
Motherfuckin’ Orson “Are You Gonna Eat That” Welles
But the fucker manned up and managed to get it done… kind of. The film itself stops and starts while Orson is sitting in the editing room -seemingly editing the film at the last minute while you are actually watching it… there are long scenes throughout the film that seem completely out of context… conversations are had between multiple individuals at different times and then spliced back together as if these people were all sitting in the same room at the time the recording was made… there are shots of de Hory throwing what appear to be priceless masterpieces into his fireplace saying, “Bye-bye Picasso… bye-bye Modigliani.” … you begin to wonder what the fuck you are watching… is this a movie… and if so, what the fuck is it about… de Hory? … fraud? … Irving? … art? Did Orson Welles just rip me off by pretending to sell me a piece of art about people who ripped other people off by selling them pretend art? Is this movie even finished? Is the movie itself a hoax? How high am I?
… and what the fuck is up with that monkey and the sexy Croatian chick? Seriously, does nobody see that monkey?
Anyway, if you’re still reading this -you are clearly a deranged person who has way too much time on your hands. So click on the picture below and prepare to be simultaneously bored and mind raped by Orson Welles.
“If it is a masterpiece and you put it in a museum and admire it… it becomes real.” -Elmyr de Hory
On a side note, perhaps it’s worth mentioning -now that de Hory is dead, his forgeries are actually highly sought after. In fact, forgeries of de Hory’s forgeries are now being sold on the art market as genuine forgeries… somebody, somewhere is gonna be pissed when they discover that what they thought was an authentic Picasso fake is actually a fake Picasso fake.
Which brings me to my next subject, little Marla Olmstead.
Marla wasn’t an art forger -she was the real thing. In her heyday, Marla was considered to be perhaps the best abstract painter the art world had ever seen. Of course, the fact that she was four years old at the time was a little troubling to some.
Apparently, Marla had been painting since she was three. Eventually, a friend of the family hung her “cute” paintings in his coffee shop and a customer actually bought one for $250.00… the local paper thought this was cute, so they wrote a story about it… a gallery owner read the story and thought it was cute, so he held an exhibit for Marla.
Over the course of the next two years, the parents raked in over $300,000.000 in sales. Before long, a “genuine” Marla Olmstead piece could sell for upwards of $20,000.00.
Perhaps not surprisingly, 60 Minutes showed up wanting to do a piece on Marla. They spoke with Marla and the parents and even filmed Marla making a painting from beginning to end. They showed some of Marla’s paintings to a woman who was an expert in child prodigies and artists. She was impressed.
“You could hang these paintings on the walls of any major contemporary art museum and absolutely get away with it,” she said.
Then she was shown the video of Marla painting and her tone soured.
“This isn’t the same person who painted the works you showed me earlier. This is a cute little girl playing in paints. The finished piece is nowhere near as polished as the others. Something is wrong here.”
Marla’s parents were devistated… collectors who had spent tens of thousands of dollars on Marla’s works were devistated… gallery owners who stood to make tens of thousands of dollars more off of her works were devistated…
Now that it was widely believed Marla did not paint these “masterpieces” -they were worthless. Her paintings stopped selling and her parents desperately released a DVD featuring Marla painting another piece from beginning to end. The art world was unimpressed and Marla sank into relative obscurity only to be humored by those that had already spent thousands of dollars on her works. After all, they have a personal interest in making sure their $10,000.00 investment isn’t actually worth no more than the canvas it was painted on.
Meanwhile, Marla didn’t give a shit. She was four.
“I like turtles,” she said.
Marla “I Made Poopies” Olmstead