Hello! I’ve been working hard on this story so that I could submit it to a comedy festival…and I just finished it! It’s a story about a trip I took to New Orleans with my grandpa. It’s pretty damn long, but I really do like it a lot. I’m not just saying that. Give it a darn minute of your time and see if you like it!
One of my favorite things is telling jokes that only I think are funny and nobody else thinks are funny. Which is, like, fantastic for stand up – I know.
I just think that there’s something hilarious about somebody thinking something is the funniest thing ever and everybody else just being like, “No, that’s not true. That is NOT funny. At all.”
That happened to me in real life once recently.
I was on the train listening to a podcast in my headphones and then something funny happened in the podcast and I started laughing out loud. Like, really hard.
And then I looked next to me and I saw that this really old woman who was sitting next to me had just fallen off her seat on the ground.
And then I realized that everyone in the train was looking at me like I was some asshole because they thought I was just laughing my ass off at this old, injured, helpless lady who was sprawled out on the ground of the train.
And that just made me laugh even harder! Because they didn’t get the joke. They didn’t get why I thought it was funny. And at this point I was laughing hysterically, so I couldn’t just be like, “No, people…you don’t understand: my podcast is funny.” So I thought, “Okay, fine. I don’t care. I’m just make this even funnier for me.”
So, I just went with it. I pointed at the lady on the ground and went, “Ha, she’s old! She’s old and she fell! That’s hilarious!”
And then I got up…and I started kicking her. Real hard.
And then I pulled out my switch blade and I went, “STAB! STAB!”
And then I grabbed some of the blood and I was like flicking it on peoples faces all around the train.
And they still did not get the joke. They did not think that was funny. At all.
Except for one guy who was laughing. But then I realized that he had headphones on too, so he was probably just listening to the same podcast.
You people get it though, right? That’s FUNNY. You get it. You’re totally on my side.
The featured image is a mural of Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza from the TV show Seinfeld that I found somewhere in Brooklyn. I think it was in Bushwick.
I was lucky enough to have Christmas in Hawaii this year. But, before I got there, I spent a couple of days in Los Angeles at my sister’s. One of those days she was very occupied with her boyfriend’s birthday plans, so she said, “Take my car and go visit your friend in Santa Barbara.”
So I was like, “Cool.” And I did.
I was inspired by This American Life’s Halloween episode And the Call was Coming from the Basement, a show that featured all “scary but true” stories, to write about a scary true story that happened to me. This is a story about being home alone with my siblings when I was maybe around 12 years old. My sister was around 14 and my brother, 10. At least, this is how I remember it.
Pretty much everybody I know who knows that I do stand up comedy has at one point said something to me like:
“Wow, wouldn’t it be something if I saw you on SNL one day?!”
Or, “Maybe if you work hard enough, you could be on SNL! Wouldn’t that be cool?!”
Or, “Hey buddy! You on SNL yet?! Ha!”
And I’m like, “Haha! Yeah! Whatever!”
Because everyone outside of the comedy world thinks that SNL is The Pinnacle of All Comedy. Which is totally fine to think; don’t get me wrong, I think SNL is fantastic! But it’s a very specific style of humor with a very specific format. And I don’t think that either the style or format is really right for me.
What I’m thinking in my head when somebody says one of those things to me is: “This person clearly doesn’t understand my comedic sensibility! Even if Lorne Michaels begged me to be on the show…I’d have to think twice about it!”
What I’m saying is that SNL probably wouldn’t ever want me anyways. It’s just not the gig for me. And that’s fine; I’d want to do other styles and formats of comedy that I would enjoy more anyways.
But, if I’m never going to be on SNL, I realized that I’m guaranteed to be a failure in the eyes of pretty much everyone that I know. Which is totally refreshing, and 100% takes the pressure off. I can do whatever I want! It’s SNL or bust. And I am choosing bust.
It’s like if you were to go into a test knowing that you weren’t even going to answer any of the questions. And then after you fail the test, your teacher and your parents and the school are all like, “Why’d you fail the test, Stu? You’re not very smart.”
And you’re like, “Trust me: I’m smart! The test is stupid.”
I don’t do it as much as I used to. But I still do. And I know it’s wrong, but I can’t help it. I like to knit.
Once I was in Seattle on a road trip with my friend Benji. We went to a park that ran along the bay. I got distracted looking at some sculptures and rocks on the beach, but I eventually kept walking to see that Benji had found a bench looking over the bay and had sat down. He had company with him. I walked over and saw that the man was having quite the in-depth conversation with Benji, although about what I couldn’t tell. The man was unshaven and lacked a jacket, but he didn’t immediately strike me as homeless. Benji gave me a look. I said “Hey Benji, you ready?” “Yeah, let’s go.”
I was at a crowded open mic on a Friday night – the last one of the night that everyone who doesn’t have a show goes to. A friend I had made a few days earlier (say, Jess) made her way up to the stage and started her three-minutes set. It was early in the night and so the majority of the comics were in the room paying close attention. She told a couple of new jokes that didn’t go over so well, so she asked the audience of comics “why isn’t this funny?” It was a genuine question, although it was definitely rhetorical. She was just wondering aloud.
“You’re not being silly!” Someone shouted from the back of the room. Everyone looked back. It was another comic known to be brash at open mics, let’s call him Ryan.
It was my last night in New York City. I had spent the whole summer going to stand up comedy open mics. I was leaving the next day for my hometown in the Chicago suburbs before heading all the way back for my last year of school in California just a few days after that. It was late at night, probably 1:00 in the morning and no one was out. I had just finished my final mic which started at 10:00 PM Saturday night at the Irish American Bar & Pub. My set was okay: I had a couple good jokes, but I went up late and everyone was tired. Typical. I always went up in the last group at that bar. At least, that’s the way it seemed. My friends and I had been sitting around the bar for three hours until all the comics had gone up and performed their sets. And we had gone to two other mics earlier that evening. As it turns out, that mic ended up leaving the Irish American to be hosted at another bar. And so it was not only my last mic in New York for the summer, but the last mic at the Irish American for anyone.
One night just before I graduated college, I got home late from an event or a function – I can’t recall which. My girlfriend at the time and her family were out of town, so I was taking care of her dog in my dorm room. Technically not allowed, but I’m a rebel. Especially when it comes to diabetic dogs.
Since I had been gone for most of the evening, I took the dog out to the front lawn so she could sit outside instead of inside for a while. She wasn’t a fan of moving. The energy of the campus matched that of the old dog; it was unusually dead for 2AM in the morning. There was no one around. It was peaceful and refreshingly breezy out.