Well, as I’m typing this, I’m technically on “vacation” aka my kids didn’t get sick, so I’m using days off before I lose them. I don’t suffer from depression, but if I lost a vacation day, I would burn down 73% of this damn city. The plan was that I would meet my wife at the movies to watch Black Panther and drink some drafts, but on the way to work for my half day, we found out the sitter’s kid had lice and our kids were home. VACATION BABY! Time to wash everything we own, including my daughter’s 447 stuffed animals! WHOOOOOOOOOOO!
Not the worst though. Oh no, here’s the best of the rest!
Appalachia – High school Chris takes his pal Honk with the parents to Tennessee. My parents wanted to go to somewhere in Tennessee, I don’t remember, so I drug my friend along. The highlight was on the way we stopped to piss and there was a mountain with a concrete luge. Hell yeah! These rednecks with weird skin color patches told me and Honky Tonk not to release the brake fully or we would wreck, then let us race on the dual tracks. Well, because I am also a redneck and not one to listen to anyone, I fully released the brake. I was kicking his ass and in a show of intelligence, turned around to taunt my friend with various insults. My lead quickly evaporated as I hit a 90 degree turn near the bottom at 35 mph. I could have leaned into it, but I didn’t listen to the billies and was facing backwards like an ass, so I launched into the air and the first thing to hit the concrete at full speed was my neck. I realized why the billies had weird skin patches – it had been ripped off via concrete. The rest of the trip I had to turn with my whole waist to look left and right, since I couldn’t move my neck. Oh and Honk beat me in a testosterone version of the tortoise and the hare.
Cancun – Quick summation: scummy college student exploiting website took our money, then said they “overbooked.” Got flight out of Pittsburgh by finding loophole to stick them with ticket to Atlanta. Flight to Cancun delayed thanks to engine. Spend 14 hours in airport. Fly to Cancun, hotel given to others. Half sleep in tiki bar with 19 others as Mexican children steal our shoes. Friend threatens local travel site office with violence via a baseball bat – we get four star hotel for week. Flight back falls through. Repeat, but in Mexico.
Italy – Honeymoon. We leave Venice for Florence. Miss train by 10 minutes. Strange Middle Eastern guys try to pinch me for luggage by surrounding me in tunnel under tracks. I told him to “back the fuck off” and he made a slashing motion by his throat and his three companions who had suddenly appeared behind me from a hallway disappeared. Then we missed bus in Florence by five minutes. Another 4 hour delay. Then bus in Poggibonzi goes an hour the wrong direction and we miss check in in San Gimignano by an hour. No one has cell service, so I bride the last restaurant open and get the owner of our B&B out of bed to let us in. We drink the only bottle of Jim Beam in Italy and pass out for 11 hours.
I see a lot of stupid on the internet. Stupid can be understood. Evil can’t. So for the worst people on Earth award (April 2018) version, congrats to people that exploit or attack the victims of tragedies, aka “False Flag Hoaxers.” This trailer trash couple, who go by fake names anyways, so not worth mentioning, actually are emailing, calling and face to face confronting the victims of the Sutherland Springs shooting, claiming they will offer $100,000 for proof that the shooting victims actually existed. There’s a video on Vice I won’t link to, you can google it. I can’t even link to it on principle, it’s so disgusting.
Why? Their claim is that the government staged the whole thing to put fear into the common population. I’m assuming the government does this to control people through fear or restrict rights, but honestly, I can’t bother to dig deeper into their reasoning. Their claim is that you can’t get a death certificate (you can, actually). The problem is that if you produce one, they’ll just say it’s fake. So I’m here today, to debunk these mouth breathing inbreds with logic and humor, these modern day Westboro protest level vermin.
First, the same government that apparently staged this is the same one that didn’t bother to file the background check information on the shooter. He beat multiple women, fractured the skull of a baby and threatened to kill multiple people, causing a discharge from the military. So the same government that is to blame for him being able to legally purchase weapons staged the shooting…so they could have their errors exposed in allowing him to purchase a weapon through their gross incompetence? Sorry, dummy, strike one. You have no logic trail already. Say hi to your mom/aunt and dad/uncle for me.
Second, there are multiple pictures of the family that I have seen after the shooting of the families from different locations with different outfits at different ages. There ARE valid birth and death certificates, but you would deny they were real, plus let’s face it, I’ll give $100,000 to you if you prove you have $100,000. You and your live under a bridge and ask people questions wife both appear like Wal-Mart is too fancy for your wardrobe. He by the way, looks like an ex-amateur wrestling called Big Dumb whose biggest match was at East Central high school gym against the Crippler on the West Texas pro-am wrastlin’ circuit in 1987. By the way, if he actually has $100,000, I’ll use his logic and yell “Nuh-uh! Nuh-uh! That ain’t real!”
Third, you’re lucky these people are better than you. If, God forbid, one of my family or close friends were killed and you got up in my face about it, I would pull your genitals off like an angry chimpanzee. Even if you are really stupid enough to think the government (look at Congress right now…go on keep looking) would create 26 fake victims, including a 77 year old and an unborn child, which takes a whole lot of stupid, why would you confront the victim’s families? Go after the government, then. The only reason, is that you’re pure evil. As in, you have no ability to comprehend human suffering and therefore, are not fully human. Oh and use your real name, pussy. I love these tough guys online (or in his case, in person) that use fake names. Why don’t you use the fake name Cactus Ass and show how tough you are, you know, shoving cacti – you get it. You the reader, this moron probably counts to 20 by taking his shoes off (or 22-24, depending on the amount of fingers and toes he has).
There has to be legislation passed to protect these people, but I’m not smart enough to know Texas law vs. federal law. I am smart enough to know how Texas operates, so hopefully someone accidentally rolls this lumbering ogre and his toadie up over the hood of a Silverado – accidentally, of course – while um, swerving to miss an armadillo or gum wrapper or something. Sorry you have to deal with this, Sutherland Springs.
Before: “I’m tired, I was up until 3 am!” After: “I’m tired, my kid woke me up at 3 am.”
B: “We always go to that bar, let’s do something different!” (Goes to same bar) A: “We always get that takeout, let’s do something different!” (Kid eats only that takeout, goes to same restaurant)
B: “I had a bad day yesterday, I got fast food at midnight.” A: “I had a bad day yesterday, I ate my kid’s leftover dessert for the eighth straight meal.”
B: “I was so busy yesterday, I had to run to the grocery store and pick up five things.” A: “I had so much free time yesterday, all I had to do was pick up 37 things at the grocery store.”
B: “I need to get drunk!” (Gets drunk) A: “I need to get drunk!” (Has one drink, falls asleep sitting up)
B: “I got a bonus at work, I’m going to Vegas!” (Money gone in four days) A: “I got a bonus at work, I’m buying a playhouse for the kids!” (Kids play with playhouse for two days, never touch again until you go to sell it online, then suddenly interested again)
B: “I don’t watch kids’ movies.” A: “I’ve seen Trolls six times since Tuesday.”
B: “The scariest thing is waiting on a pregnancy test or getting pulled over leaving the bar.” A: “The scariest thing is changing a diaper and hearing a toot. Or whenever my kid is in the other room and it’s quiet.”
I have seen a lot of new comics over the years and heard a lot of discussions about comedy in general, so I though why not cover what goes into a good comic? The obvious and most important one to me is material. Good, funny material will cover up and hide a lot of flaws, but there’s still a ton that goes into it other than the content of the words.
Stage presence. This is a mix of confidence and practice. Most good comics I see are very comfortable onstage (although a few portray the nervous side because it fits their act). I have seen a lot of comics power through new or untested jokes better than nervous, jittery comics doing great material. The audience wants to believe you think the joke is funny. Projection of voice is part of this, some comics are funny, but you can’t hear them. That sometimes helps, I have found.
Timing. Man did I suck at this at first. I used to stomp all over laughs because “dead” air is brutal. No one wants to be stuck up there in silence so I used to hurry up and start the next joke while people were laughing. Recording your set and stage time will help with this to hear the cues and get more comfortable. Once you get past nerves, you can actually pay attention to the crowd onstage and pick up on things. This is such an important thing, I think every comic gets good at this fast or quits.
Crowd work. That leads me to crowd work. I still think this is the most overrated and overblown part of stand up. EVERYONE I talk to that hasn’t seen comedy in a while asks me if I pick on people. No. Unless they are really, really asking for it. Crowd work just has to be a quick acknowledgment of something dumb and addressing the awkwardness or maybe just taking a response to a question that leads into a great joke you didn’t have planned on telling. Hecklers are really rare and usually best ignored. Or you can just open carry a firearm. Then no one heckles.
Callbacks. Also not my primary strength, although having a flow to your set will also give this effect. It harkens back to a previous joke and plays off it, which shows good writing and uses the old joke to maximum effect. I don’t naturally write that way, but it’s a good skill to have. Oh and calling back doesn’t mean telling the same jokes over during your set, that’s called being drunk.
Audience awareness. What is the crowd? I still remember doing two shows one week a few years back. Art History Graduate Students and the Central Ohio Tractor Pullers Association. Different sets, by the way. Same with clean and dirty sets. My little secret is I do largely the same sets, I just use different words. Just takes a little discipline.
Preparedness. The better you know your set, the better off you’ll be onstage. I always marvel that people after a year still don’t memorize their five minute sets. I honestly think this, over anything else, helped me when I started. I used to time my sets and practice with a TV remote as a microphone. I felt like a psycho, but was able to go from not remembering a five minute set to doing 20 plus minutes within a very short amount of time. Then I had two kids, so I’m glad I did that a while back. Now I just chug coffee and hope for the best.
Using who you are onstage. I have seen a lot of comics excel at this. The audience can see what you look like. Use it to your advantage. Fat people tell food jokes. (Note to self, diet or start writing food jokes.)
Of course, if your material sucks, then none of this matters and look for another joke site on how to write. I got nothing for ya. Except make that fart noise with your tongue sticking out at the end of every joke. That works with second graders.
My child fights sleep harder than I fight sobriety. Each night is a Mortal Kombat style showdown to get her to pick PJ’s, which currently is still easier than getting her to lie down. Luckily, I have found a new weapon, my Excalibur in the battle against slumber – Elmo Visits the Dentist and It’s Check-up Time, Elmo!
In the first tale, Elmo’s pal (somehow) is the Big Bad Wolf and he has a toothache, so Elmo helps him visit the dentist. Elmo needs to help Dada visit the eye doc because I can barely read this font in the dark. G looked at me and said, “Glasses off!” Not if you want a legit story, peanut. Last time Dada wung it, Momma said Dada isn’t allowed to make up his own versions of these stories.
The story is nice and long for a kid’s book, which helps G get sleepy, but when the dentist, Dr. Bradley aka Dr. Giggles McHuckster shows up in his floral shirt and drop this joke, it’s honestly hard to utter the words.
If you can’t read it, he says “Does a train have teeth?” “Then how come it can CHOO!” I need a minute. OK, maybe two.
Finally, Elmo gets a check-up from a normal health care provider…at least until this!
Doc starts asking some invasive personal questions. It’s good for kids so you know they’re safe, but as an adult, I ain’t saying nothing. Trying to get my insurance rate up, Doctor Nosy? I went for stomach flu recently to an urgent care. I couldn’t get 12 steps from the bathroom at one point. “Do you smoke?” No. “Did you ever?” Yes, very briefly in the span of my life and not often. “When was that? How often? Still using?” I’M HERE WITH THE SHITS JIMMY. DON’T WORRY THAT I HAD A CIGGY OR TWO AFTER NINE BEERS IN 2004. FIX MY O-RING AND SHUT YER YAP.
My family uprooted and moved late last year. It was a harrowing journey, fraught with peril. OK, it was five miles because we ran out of room. Apparently you need bedrooms to put kids in these days. I remember reading about pioneer families 9 deep living in a sod house with one room and I don’t know how people didn’t all just run out into the wilderness and die. Anyways, about three weeks after we moved in, the new city passed a massive school levy with raised my taxes through the roof. Great timing!
Well, the bennies finally showed up, our new city took time off paving the roads with 24 karat gold and hosted an Easter Egg hunt for all of us serfs. FREE! Away we went to one of the 57 parks in our city (that part is nice, but I haven’t found one with a lazy river of scotch yet, so color me unimpressed). The best part for me was the temperature dropped 20 degrees and I was starting day two of a gastro-intestinal virus. Nothing like doubling over from cramps while you’re trying to teach your kid how to elbow the competition on the sly.
They also started late, which was hi-larious. I forgot to mention my wife said, “I need your coat; I didn’t know it was this cold.” Every minute they were late, my achy cramping body began to shut down more. They finally started and we realized some health nerd planted mostly somewhat nutritious things like fruit snacks in the grass. My daughter picked one up, then began to fuss because she was promised candy. Atta girl! Nutrients are for losers! I got boxed out three times by a small Asian mother with a camera who may have been Karl Malone in disguise, but after 43 seconds, it was over.
On the way out, a not very fluent in English woman opened her van door while I was putting G in her car seat, causing me to get pinned against the car. It also happened to leave a huge red streak down her door, so oh well to that. In all, we had fun, especially when my daughter sucked all the chocolate off the one Snickers fun size we found and hand the slimy nougat lump to my wife. “Momma take.” Now we just need about two dozen more of these or a free hoverboard to use next year and the tax increase will be worth it.