Wednesday, December 09, 2015

The NoZe Brotherhood: Stepping Out into Robert Askins' Light?

Robert Askins
Google Images

The writer William Hughes, reporting for the TV Club section of the A.V. Club, tells us that "HBO is developing a comedy about an underground college humor mag" (December 5, 2015), and it seems to have some connection to Baylor University's underground satirical society known as the "NoZe Brotherhood" via Robert Askins, a long-time NoZe Brother himself:
The college humor magazine is one of those institutions that still retains a bit of its last-century prestige in the comedy nerd world, a place where young talents fester and grow, eventually hatching into the Simpsons writers of the world of tomorrow. In tribute to that beautiful, awkward life cycle, HBO has announced that it's developing a new comedy series about those would risk everything to really "stick it" to that fussy old Dean - usually via a satirical essay or ribald cartoon - centering on a secret society organizing an underground humor magazine at a prestigiously conservative Christian college.

Titled Brotherhood, the new series is being written by Hand To God playwright Robert Askins, based off of his own membership in a similar group at Texas' famously Jesus-loving Baylor University. Wearing its Animal House influences on its sleeve, Askins' show - which he's producing alongside Man Seeking Woman and Portlandia's Jon Krisel - will feature characters representing a slightly more literary take on the old snobs-versus-slobs conflict, united as they are in their twin goals to "party harder than anyone else and write the funniest, most incisive campus humor magazine in history." (We can't wait for the scene where the members of the brotherhood disrupt a big community parade with a well-deployed bilingual, palindromic pun.)
Robert Askins must have entered the NoZe Brotherhood sometime after I had moved on to my graduate studies at Berkeley, and I see that he has quite recently become a sensation with his play Hand to God.

I wonder if Askins is aware of the school newpaper parody the NoZe did back in 1978 or so, when we 'cancelled' Homecoming and also ridiculed the influential W.A. Criswell, pastor of the downtown First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, whose church the famous (now infamous) placekicker for the Dallas Cowboys Rafael Septién joined as the 20,000th member. A fellow NoZe Brother and I figured that number wasn't accidental, so we wrote the Criswell article, our parody (see here and here) being that Bertrand Russell had joined Criswell's church as the 144,000th member.

I heard that Criswell was furious . . .



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