The 2007 Worm
The Worm Comedy Shows are now on YouTube.
For the links, see the Worm Show page here.
Morris Maduro and Curtis Loer perform during the 2007
Worm Comedy Show
presented at the 16th International C. elegans Meeting,
UCLA, June 30, 2007.
Episode III -
Revenge of the Pithed
A talk 'not
O'Wormy" (Postdoc Wasteland)
Meeting within The Matrix |
Worm Show was a 45-minute presentation at the 16th International
C. elegans Meeting at UCLA by Morris Maduro and Curtis
Loer (University of San Diego, CA). The show featured all new
material and included fake powerpoint talks, audience participation,
Chant and worm versions of popular songs. Also included was
a five-minute ‘Borat’ parody.
challenge was following the 2005 Worm Show. Over the past
two years, Curtis and I jotted down ideas and exchanged numerous
emails. Closer to the date of the
meeting, we cemented various bits to arrive at a provisional
show. This year several videos were made in advance. The most
arduous of these was the Borat parody, which required interviewing
Sternberg and three of the people in his group at Caltech, followed
by extensive post-production editing. Yikes!
the International C.
elegans community for their support
and encouragement. (And yes, I will be keeping my day job.) -
M. Maduro, 7-10-07
can we get the entire 2007 show? All the shows are on YouTube (check here). The DVD of the 2005 and 2007 shows is not really necessary as there is a DVD of the 2005, 2007 and 2009 shows, as well as one of the 2011 show, available [contact Morris]. Information on the 2005/2007 DVD, if you are interested, is here.
were those 'guitars' we were using? It's hard to tell
(especially now, since we destroyed them on stage), but they
are photographic replicas of the Gibson
Les Paul Deluxe that Pete Townshend of The Who played in
the performance video of "Baba O'Riley" from the film The
Kids Are Alright. The 'necks' of the guitars were
cartoon nematodes showing the digestive tract.
Gibson 'worm' guitar
More trivia appears on the Worm
Show DVD page.
Parodies (1m07s, 2.7MB)
trivia and technical stuff (last updated May 11, 2011):
- The announcer
at the beginning of both shows was Owen Lewis, one of the Stage Managers
at Royce Hall. We told him only our first names and he made
up the rest, though for the 2007 show we reminded him what
he said two years before.
- 'The Audience is Intoxicated' was the first piece of video made for the 2007 show. As it turned out, no beer/wine were available at the barbecue beforehand, unlike in 2005. This, along with a slightly smaller crowd, make the responses in the 2005 show seem far more lively. (Of course, this could also be because the 2007 show just wasn't as funny.) [In 2009, we got the organizers to restore the wine & beer. Yes!]
bienvenue" near the beginning of the 2007 show
is from the musical Cabaret.
- In the
'Yoda talk' and 'Chewbacca talk' all of the data slides are
from Morris' PhD thesis work as claimed (most images were taken from Genetics 141: 977-988), although he has never
RNAi of unc-119.
- In the
2005 show, the #1 sign your lab is too big ('Chat up postdoc
in hall, ask them what lab they're in, and it's yours') is
based on a true story (or at least, true hearsay).
- In the
2005 show, the 'Veeral Full' fake acknowledgment in charge
of Housing was in recognition of the fact that many late
registrants for the 2005 meeting (including Morris) had to
find off-campus accomodations.
- In the
2007 show, Morris did the voices for the video parodies (including
vocals for the fake music ad), except for Keanu
Reeves in ‘Matrix’ which
was used right from the film soundtrack.
- The spoken
language in the 'Nobel video' is Romanian ("Alo, salut,
eu, un haiduc") which means "Hello, hi, it’s
me, an outlaw." The 'ma-ya-hee' intro part doesn't mean
anything at all. [entire
- The 'Worm
Nobel Prize commemorative stamp' carries an image of an LED
in reference to the 2007
Boston Mooninite Scare.
- The music
that accompanies the 'Unsolicited Advice' segment was taken from
a Flash Game, 'Four-Second Fury' [game
link] (Caution: The music is loud !), but it is originally from the song "The Edge" by Eiffel 65 (album Europop, 1999).
- The words
of the Pink Floyd parody mention Craig Mello and transformation
to produce rollers. Mello et
al. (1991) is a frequent
citation for making transgenic worms using the su1006D allele
of rol-6 introduced
via gonadal injection of plasmid pRF4.
- The melody
of the 'Worm Gregorian Chant' is from “O
Filii et Filiae” (O Sons and Daughters...) composed
in the 15th century by Jean Tisserand (d. 1491) [A harmonized
version of this traditional Paschal hymn can be found here.
It remains popular, particularly in France.] Curtis has performed
this chant with Schola
Pacifica, a San Diego men’s chant
and early polyphony group. [While Morris has also sung in choirs
(non-professional ones), he is admittedly not much more than
a 'karaoke nut'.]
the 'Worm Gregorian Chant', we smack our scripts against
our heads in reference to a scene from Monty
Python and the Holy Grail (1975). [Curtis initially forgot
to do this, hence his half-hearted, late attempt...]
- The 'Take
Me Out To The Worm Lab' karaoke accompaniment was pitch-shifted
down several tones from the original. All other karaoke accompaniments
were in the original keys. The idea for doing some kind of
an audience karaoke was originally inspired
by U2's 1997
PopMart Tour, but it was decided that the more familiar
baseball theme converged well with the notion of a '7th Inning
- In the
'Morat' parody video, responses by the interviewees were
generally unrehearsed and edited later, a style sometimes known as retroscripting.
- In 'Morat',
just after Paul said that proper controls would
if one was setting
rats, both he and Morris burst into laughter. To keep the
video from cutting away too abruptly, the last several frames
(before laughter is evident) were added back in
- The wine
bottle on Ryan Baugh's lab bench (visible in the Morat video)
is from Charles
- The 'Morat' segment was edited in stereo, with people sitting at left on the left channel, etc. However, during YouTube processing, only the left channel was retained and the file became mono. It is a minor issue as the other person can still be heard, but it does annoy MM.
- The 'guitars' we were 'playing' are photographic replicas of Pete Townshend's #5 Gibson Les Paul, with cartoon worm necks, on 1/4" foam board. See the Worm Show 2007 page for more.
- At the
end of the 'Classic Rock Medley' the synchrony of the last
guitar 'windmills' with those of Morris was fortuitous.
The group "The Who" was famous for destroying their equipment
on stage at the end of their shows.
- A real
Toshiba laptop (a relatively outmoded one) was destroyed
at the end of the 2007 show. Some parts were loosened in
was added for effect.
- The epilogue
to the 2007 Worm Show, shown at the show itself and also
present on the DVD after the credits, is stolen nearly unchanged
from the 1986 John Hughes film Ferris
Bueller's Day Off.
Movie goers that stayed through the entire credits at the
end of the movie were treated to this final bit in which
Broderick), in a bathrobe, looks directly
at the audience and says "You're still here?..."
- The 'Worm
Show' got its start when Morris went to UCSD in fall of 2003
to speak at the local Worm Group gathering. Curtis attended,
and they got to talking afterwards about bringing entertainment
back to the worm meetings. A dozen ideas were shared right
away, and eventually the first show was given
to a small audience of a few hundred at the 2004 West Coast
Meeting at UC Santa Barbara. Much of this material was incorporated
into the 2005 show, which is why there is little
point in circulating a video for it. This is one case where
we thought that the two sequels (2005's "Episode II: A Lost
Hope" and 2007's "Episode III: Revenge of the Pithed") were
much better than the original.
- Many alternate
titles were originally conceived,
including "Worm Home Companion" (paying
homage to Garrison Keillor's similarly-named program on NPR).
Other NPR-inspired bits remained, such as the 'fake credits'
which are from the end of 'Car
Talk' (and from which we took 'Statistician - Marge Innovera')
and the fake ending credit 'Sarah Bellum', often cited by Garrison
Keillor in his program. In the 2005 show, the latter was followed
by an ad
lib impersonation of Keillor by Morris (That's
the news from Lake Wobegon...').
- If you
thought some of the jokes pushed the limits on good taste,
or just weren't funny, you should have seen some of the material
we left out.
- Our original
estimate for the timing of the 2005 and 2007 shows was 33 minutes each.
They actually ran to about 40 and 48 minutes each. Oops.
- The live
shows were run by Microsoft Powerpoint 2000 or 2003 on a
Sony Vaio WinXP laptop (Pentium III, 1.3GHz). The movies
640x480 mpeg-1 files, 30fps rendered from uncompressed AVI
using TMPGEnc at a bit rate of 2048 kbps. To facilitate editing
and navigation, each segment was a separate powerpoint file
and these were started via hyperlinks from a 'main' file.
- The 'Star
Wars' text effect was made using Hash software's amazing
program Animation:Master 8.0. This involved creating the
in MS Powerpoint
2000 or Adobe Illustrator CS2 and Adobe Photoshop 7.0, and
mapping the image onto a model in A:M. The camera point-of-view
the appearance of the text crawling from bottom to top and
receding in the distance. The video, stars and theme were assembled
in a video editor (Ulead's Media Studio Pro 6.0). There
are at least a dozen different ways of achieving the same
text effect, but Morris could not find one that gave
high resolution (i.e. where the moving text does not look
- The sound
in the first 5 minutes of the 2005 show and the first 14
minutes of the 2007 show is solely from a camcorder
in the audience. During both shows the stage recording was
started late, so the audio perceptibly changes at the point
where the stage audio track was added to the sound mix. [In 2009, Morris didn't make this mistake - third time's the charm!]
- The audience
sound in the 2007 show drops to mono in a few places, representing
a shift to audio from the second camcorder. This was
eliminate some undesired audience comments captured by the
- The 2007
show was recorded with two camcorders plus a video stream
from a camera in Royce Hall. Wendy Hung ran the camera for
the 2005 show and one of the cameras for 2007. Gina Broitman-Maduro
ran the second camera in 2007.
DVDs from the 2005 show were made one at a time by copying
to a standalone machine, which took about 45 min per DVD.
The newer discs were made in about 6 minutes each by using
a computer 8xDVD burner - a ratio of 7.5 to 1.
- Odd colors
in the 2007 video result from ‘Super Nightshot’ mode
which was used for most audience shots (and unintentionally for
the occasional stage shot).
- A black
rectangle visible on the video from the right-hand camera
in the 2007 show was used to block out an accidentally-recorded
- In playing
discs made by the LiteOn LVW-5005 recorder, some DVD players
will return to the main menu after playing a Title,
will simply continue
Title. Hence, after Worm Show 2007 finishes, the 2005 show
will probably start right away, followed by the excerpted parody videos without audience track.
- The Worm
Show DVD is compatible with Windows Vista.
- The DVDs
can be copied easily. Use a single-layer blank.
- As of August, 2007 Morris has sent out about the same amount of 2005 show DVDs, 2005/2007 show DVDs, and unc-119 mutants with rescuing DNA - about 60 each. [By the time of the 2009 show, over 100 discs were sent out.]
The 2007 Worm Comedy
Show was mentioned in the September, 2007 issue
of GENEtics, the bulletin of the Genetics
Society of America.
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