My friend Jason was in town last night to do stand-up at the Funny Bone comedy club. They had an amateur/semi-pro “competition” where seven newbies and three seasoned comics performed. The audience voted with applause at the end of the show. He’s been doing stand up for a few years and is trying to get in to the next level of comedian. I can’t tell you exactly what the levels are, but from what I saw last night, they go something like this:
Level 5 – Your top comedians. You know who they are. They get paid millions and sell out auditoriums. They also usually get TV shows with their character having the same name as them so there is no confusion on set.
Level 4 – These comedians travel the circuit, have guest appearances on the Late Night shows and usually play the Level 5 comedian’s In-Law on the major TV show.
Level 3 – Never going to make it big time, but still very funny. These comedians you see in snippets on Comedy Central and opening for the Level 4 comedians at the clubs. The ones you read about dying of an overdose and not recognize they are a comedian. If they find someone dead in a hotel room, alone, with a huge jar of grape jelly, it was probably a comedian.
Level 2 – On the circuit and doing shows for $20 a gig. They pray to the God they make fun of during their act that they will be noticed and make it to the next level. This is the worst part of the job because this is where most comedians dwell. Or toil. Toil’s a better word. Jason toils here.
Level 1 – Amateur Night comedians. Aspiring comedians work on their material, practice in front of their friends and stutter through jokes on the stage. You cringe at their unnecessary use of the word fuck and have to think twice about whether the ass gravy joke was funny. It wasn’t.
But, there was some very good stuff on the stage. One super hot chick (rare in the comedic world) tried to get women to embrace the word “slut.” Very funny stuff. Another guy who was unkempt and fat (not rare in the comedic world) did a bit on getting a yeast infection in his nose from doing blow off the kitchen table where his roommate had been banging a prostitute. (Yeah, not funny when I write it, but I laughed my ass off.)
There was some good stuff. But then…
Level 0 – Holy shit. Level 0 comedians. Only funny after the show when you talk about how badly they crashed and burned on stage. I can only compare these people to American Idol contestants who are told by everyone at the Karaoke bar that they can sing. They get up to perform and afterwards are surprised that they suck. “They don’t know what talent is.” I give these people credit for getting up in front of an audience, but please go over your material with someone before the show. Oh, and avoid these words and phrases (gleaned from last night’s show):
Corn and peanuts on my dick
Juices (vaginal and ass)
Fuck (I’m a big fan of the word, but keep it down to less than 23 times, champ.)
I’m not a homophobe, but I don’t like gay peoples
Eating that pussy
Mommy (while acting out the phrase above…)
And, yes, edgy comedy can be hysterical. All those examples above can be funny under the right circumstances. One girl almost accomplished it last night. But you've got to be practiced before you start throwing around “weight loss by abortion” lines.
Jason was really funny last night. He’s got some great material. Not that I’m the town crier for decency, but his act is very clean and still very funny. That takes talent.
Jason made it on to the next round (he was the funniest of the three semi-pros) and will be performing next Monday at the Funny Bone in the semi-finals. I’ll see you there.
“Hindsight is 20/20. Foresight is 50/50” – Emmanuel Gevas
I tend to reminisce. Not that everything than happened before today was better. I have had a lot of experiences and enjoy remembering them. I’m actually very happy to be living right now. I hope to be living right now for many years to come.
There is one thing I do not like looking back upon. It seems that I can look back about a year and say to myself, “What was I thinking? Idiot! What the hell was I doing?” The problem is that I do this every year. Look back a year. Wonder in amazement at the idiotic choices I was making. And then I realized something:
A year from now, I will be looking back to today and be amazed at the idiotic decisions I was making. Am making? Are maked.
So I’m screwed.
All I can say is future me is a real jerk and he should realize I'm right on the edge. I don't know what comes next.
I’m going to hate myself for writing that. At least I’ve got a year before I have to think about it again.
John is not a big man. He’s pushing 5’ 6”. But he can bench press about 250 pounds. He doesn’t have the mentality that he has to quadruple his size to make up for his stature. He’s just in really good shape. You’d never know with a quick glance that John is A: strong, B: quick as shit and C: knows a little bit about Tae Kwon Do. (John knows a little about Tae Kwon Do just like I know a little about pornography.) Sadly for a few dudes out there, they made the mistake of only taking a quick glance at John. Here are their mistakes as I have been told.
One fine evening in
John threw up his own hands (donut bag held firmly,) blocked the dude’s attempted shove and punched the guy squarely in the throat. The dude dropped to his knees, grasped his throat with both hands and gagged.
John was down in
His straight line took him down several back alleys. One such alley was two big buildings, back to back, with doorway alcoves lining the length. The alcoves were deep enough to hide a person. There was also enough room for that person to have a knife.
So a guy jumped out of the doorway with a knife, right in front of John. He held out his other hand and demanded John’s wallet. John kicked the knife out of the guy’s hand and then kicked him in the chin, knocking him down. Whoa… I am not lying here. Just like in the fucking movies. Let’s review the script:
This alley looks safe to me.
Give me your wallet.
I’m kicking the knife out of your hand.
Wow. You just kicked the knife out of my hand. Just
like in the movies!
Here comes the kick to the chin the knocks you down.
Yep. I’m flat on my back.
Now several blows to the face and head.
Yep. I’m severely beaten.
I have to describe the last bit of that in a joking manner because John let loose on the guy when he was down. I don’t feel bad at all for the guy, but John really thinks he hurt him. With that done, John walked back to the apartment.
Kinko’s Parking Guys
John needed a special envelope for something he was sending in the mail. He decided to stop at the Kinko’s on campus. There is some quick, illegal parking down an alley in an apartment complex just across from the Kinko’s. John drove down the alley and parked. As he walked down the alley towards the Kinko’s, two guys with mud and water all over their pants walked towards him. John’s not one for general observation and he neglected to notice the two guys or the large puddle next to the guys as he drove down the alley to park.
The first guy (the asshole) began to confront John about the accidental splashing. The second guy (the innocent by-stander) didn’t say much and we should all start feeling bad that he chose the asshole for a friend.Now, I know John and he would have immediately apologized and given the two guys $20 each if he was given an opportunity. But instead of giving John an opportunity to apologize, the asshole threw a punch at him. John blocked the swing and kicked the guy in the chin, knocking him down. Here’s where poorly choosing your friends gets you a kick in the knee. Innocent by stander friend got a kick to the knee and he went down. Guilt by association. As John watched the second guy fall, the asshole recovered and picked John up and body slammed him. It cracked his head into the pavement and made John angry. John bounced up and gave the guy a round house kick to the head that knocked him out. Sadly, innocent by stander guy decided to stand up and John gave him a punch to the head. Innocent by stander decided to fall back down. John walked back to his car. Envelope forgotten, John drove home.
John is actually embarrassed of these events. He feels bad for the
Of course, I could take him. Little fucker.
When I moved over to the Studio division of COSI, I didn’t heed the “stay under the radar” warnings. I had several friends in the Studio so transitioning wasn’t difficult. As a matter of fact, I believe I was a little too comfortable if not cocky about the whole ordeal.
One of those cocky days corresponded with an afternoon creative meeting. This meeting had about eight people attending along with our Divisional Vice President, Joe. During the meeting, ideas were being tossed about and several of them were completely stupid. Sadly, there seemed to be a consensus amongst the group and these really crappy concepts were going to move forward to the next level of development. When I couldn’t take it any longer, I spoke up and started disagreeing with the reigning opinions. I did so calmly and professionally and didn’t mention the phrase, “You are a complete IDIOT.” My arguments had some merit and I defended my position and gave some alternate ideas to replace the crappy ones that everyone liked.
In the end, the crappy ideas were still on the plate, but Joe wanted additional research done with additions of some of my ideas incorporated into theirs. I had stuck my neck out and it seemed to impress Joe. Some of my coworkers were a little pissed, but hey, it’s not my fault their ideas stink.
I must have really impressed Joe because as we were leaving the meeting he said, “Doug, can I have a word with you in my office?” Wow. Joe wants to talk to ME. I knew that he wanted to discuss that he was pleased that I was speaking up and that I was a valuable addition to the team. I think I floated into his office.
Joe shut the door behind me and did not ask me to sit. He did not sit either. He crossed his arms. His lips were pursed. He paused for effect. He spoke. “Doug. Did I hear you say, “Suck my cock” today?”
I thought. I remembered. Oh shit.
Flash back four hours earlier. Erik was in the back hallway with his arms full of trash, heading for the dumpster. I was in the back hallway making blueprint copies. Erik playfully said something to the effect of, “You are new here. Why don’t you open the door.” And I said, “Why don’t you suck my cock?” I can see those words leaving my mouth, drifting through the paper thin wall and into Joe’s office and landing on his desk. Waiting for him to hand them back to me.
Yes, yes I did say suck my cock.
What followed was obviously not the congratulatory speech that I had been expecting. No pats on the back. I don’t remember what he said, but basically he took the “respect of others” angle and quietly ripped into me for 45 seconds.
There’s really no lesson here except for the “Do not say suck my cock” during your first month on the job. I don’t know if that laid the foundation for my next five years with the Studio or if Joe even remembered the event. Since that time, I usually try to hide my crude language under several layers of entendre. At least for the first two months.
Good luck, Lacey.
- Noel Bodkins
"I'd rather be lucky than rich." - some poor guy
I have been very lucky my whole life. Good things seem to happen to me or at least I get away with the bad. I read a study once that basically said “lucky” people are just more observant than “unlucky” people. For instance, a lucky person finds a $20 bill on the sidewalk, while an unlucky doesn’t see the $20 or the uneven pavement that they trip over and break their wrist.
The study also mentioned that lucky people have a positive outlook on life. If an unlucky person falls down a flight of stairs and breaks their arm, they think, “I am so freaking unlucky. Why me?” while a lucky person thinks, “Wow, I only broke my arm, I could have been killed.”
I am starting to regret liking the concept of karma because for some of the crap I’ve pulled, the hammer is gonna come down pretty hard one of these days. John and I have always said that when one of us dies and goes to the pearly gates, St. Peter will say, “Could you please step to the side and wait until your friend gets here? We want to do you both at the same time.” Of course, neither one of use believes in pearly gates and more than likely, we’ll die at the same time.
All in all, I can't believe in luck and karma because as soon as I do, the universe is going to check out it's tally sheet and see that I'm due for an audit. Try and be at least 300 yards from me when that happens.
(You should know that I tend to make up quotes and credit them to people from my past. Noel Bodkins was a chair salesman from Cleveland who had a voice like gravel rubbing together.)
In grade school, I had a friend named Fred. Fred had an older sister named Jodi. (We all thought Jodi was hot. We secretly dreamed about losing our virginity to her.)
Fred had a nickname for Jodi. JidaBean.
Every year, Fred would add a new name on to her old nickname. The next year, he added Fat Banana. JidaBean-FatBanana.
Then Bullwinkle Moose. JidaBean-FatBanana-BullwinkleMoose.
He continued this for several years.
By the time we were too old for such things her nickname was: JidaBean-FatBannana-BullWinkleMoose-HowieThorton-CrazyEddie-ShirleyPimple-TheIncredibleBulk-MalinCralin-Pimplesquim-Delbert.
I will never forget that.
And just in case you are wondering, yes, I did lose my virginity to Jodi. Do you know how hard it is to scream “JidaBeanFatBannanaBullWinkleMooseHowieThortonCrazyEddieShirleyPimpleTheIncredibleBulkMalinCralin PimplesquimDelbert” during twenty seconds of awkward sex?
The wedding was very nice and it was great to see my extended family. As the reception was winding down, my brother suggested he and I bail and go meet his buddy at a bar. The bar was called The Bug Jar. His buddy’s name was Fatty.
Fatty liked to drink. A lot. And Fatty wasn’t fat. Something about weed and smoking it.
The Fatty story I heard that night before we met him at the bar included the following: drinking, a telephone pole, cops, radiator fluid and a long strand of blonde hair. Fatty was driving home with his girlfriend in the passenger seat. My brother was in the pass-out-enger seat; lying in the back of the car. Fatty was turning right at a light and decided to pass out in the middle of the turn. His car slammed into a telephone pole. Both driver and passenger mashed their faces against the windshield. Steve just rolled onto the floor. The smashing of the face into the windshield woke Fatty up and he threw the car into reverse and completed the drive a few blocks down the road to his house. Once in the driveway, they all piled out of the car and randomly fell into the front yard of Fatty’s home… they were safe. Eight blocks away, a curious police officer saw the broken glass, mangled telephone pole and trail of anti-freeze dripping off into the distance. He called in backup and began to follow the bread crumbs back to the gingerbread house. The officers found the three still in the front yard. The cops gathered IDs and questioned the three. Fatty had a past history of driving while drunk and so his girlfriend took the blame for the accident. The cops didn’t believe it. Our curious officer found a strand of blonde hair stuck in the windshield… on the passenger side. Fatty was fucked. He was taken off to jail. Poor Fatty.
Back in Rochester, we were at The Bug Jar and having a post wedding beer when we heard a horrible noise. Last Call. Fatty wouldn’t have anything to do with it. Fatty had a plan. “Let’s go to Buffalo.” As it turns out, the bars in Buffalo are open until 4:00am. Fatty said that Buffalo was only half an hour away. We could stop at his house and pick up some beers for the road. It was an awesome plan. Fatty liked to drink.
We left the bar and I drove Steve’s car to Fatty’s. Beers and weed were gathered and we hit the road. It was 2:30am.
At 2:45am we passed a sign that read “BUFFALO – 58 MILES.”
Oddly enough, it takes more than 30 minutes to drive 58 miles. My loud questioning of this fact did not faze Fatty. Fatty said, “The college is on the east side of town... we’ll be there soon. I know exactly where it is at.”
At 3:40am, after getting lost and unlost, we parked in front of a bar. We walked in just as the bartender was calling last call. My brother and his girlfriend, who had been drinking the entire trip, slumped into a booth and basically fell asleep. Fatty audibly grabbed the bartender and slurred, “Give me three pitchers.” The bartender said, “We don’t sell pitchers.” “Well give me 16 beers.” What the fuck! The bartender opened 16 cans of beer and Fatty gathered some. I gathered the rest. We went to the booth and Fatty was yelling at my brother and his girlfriend to drink. No way. They were done. I was half way through beer 1 of 16 when Fatty said to me, “Let’s get out of here.” I was very sober and felt as though I had to take care of the guy. I followed him out the door.
Next door they sold pitchers. Fatty ordered two. For some reason, he asked for six cups.
Relocated at a countertop that wrapped a column, Fatty put down the six large plastic cups. He poured the entire contents into the cups and said the following. (I’m making this into a new paragraph to add emphasis.)
“Chug all six of these beers. If you have to puke, puke in the pitcher.”
No way, I said. I had to drive home. No way.
So I started chugging the first beer. I finished it, but there was no way I was going on any further. I did have to drive these drunken fuckers home. All 71 miles.
Fatty called me several versions of the word pussy and then chugged cup number two. And cup number three. He gagged down cup number four. Half way through cup number five he started to puke. He grabbed the empty pitcher and puked in it. It looked like beer, just foamier. In an act of pure alcoholism, he chugged cup number six.
We left the bar ( I left, Fatty staggered) and gathered Steve and his girlfriend. Everyone passed out in the car, except me. I drove. And drove. I didn’t know how to get to Fatty’s house from the highway, only from our hotel. So I went to the hotel first and dropped my brother and girlfriend off. I then drove towards Fatty’s. He wanted breakfast. He puked out the car door. I dropped him off and he asked again if we were getting breakfast. I drove back to the hotel with him lurching in the driveway.
Drive. Park. I got into the room that I was sharing with my brother. It was 7:15am. I lay down in bed and looked up at the ceiling. Afterimages from the lines on the road hummed on the ceiling. I just wanted to sleep.
Knock. Knock. Knock. Steve. Doug. Do you want breakfast? It was Mom. It was 7:18am.
Two hours later I was asleep in my parent’s car. My face wedged between the seat and window. I woke up in Lancaster, six hours later.
That was a great wedding. And it’s still not half and hour from Rochester to Buffalo.
I am on the road this week for work. My flight on the way to Wilmington transferred in Atlanta. The Atlanta airport has four terminals that are joined by a tram system. You need to take a long escalator down to the tram level. I went down and hopped on the tram to head to my connecting terminal. (I also tried to stand on the tram without holding on to the grab bar. I failed and jammed my finger as I grabbed for it when the tram took off at 125 MPH.)
My stop was a popular terminal and a large group of travelers got off the tram and headed for the escalator. It was immediately apparent that something was not right. People were bunched up at the bottom. Ah, the escalator was not working and people were climbing it like stairs. I, along with the other schmucks, started hoofing up the awkward metal steps.
It was a long trek and I started to get a weird 9/11 feeling. It was creepy. Technology had failed. I was stuck in a social group of others in a similar position. The woman in front of me was struggling in heels. She had asthma or lung cancer or was just lazy, but she was laboring taking one step at a time. In a different situation, I could have carried her like hero or thrown her over the rail like a survivalist.
And then we were at the top. Several people were catching their breath. Others ran off to make up for lost time. I had 60 minutes to kill so I walked. (Actually it was 180 minutes, my flight was delayed.)
Since then on the jobsite, I’ve almost had my fingers crushed, nearly been decapitated by a falling loading dock door and just about run over by a forklift. But as I sit here in the hotel room thinking of such things, the memory of climbing the escalator keeps nudging my brain. It’s fading though.
For me, speaking the Truth seems self apparent. Why wouldn’t you tell someone what they need to hear? (Red Flag – need to hear in my opinion.) If someone’s tag is sticking out the back of their shirt, tell them. If someone is being an ass, tell them. If someone is about to make a really crappy life decision, tell them. If you’ve got a glob of mustard on your face, I’ll be the first to tell you. I think most people don’t say anything because they do not want to embarrass the guy with the mayo on his forehead. That is mayo, right?
(SIDE NOTE: Back a while ago, Greg and Doob traveled from Lancaster to Columbus to visit a newly built mall. Before they went a-malling, they had lunch at the Spaghetti Warehouse. Hours later, as they walked through the mall, Doob turned to Greg and said, “If I had spaghetti sauce on my face, would you tell me?” Greg said, “Yes. Yes I would.” Doob said, “You’ve got spaghetti sauce on your face.” I have found this phrase a great way to start the usually embarrassing “something on your face” conversation. Try it. Just not three hours later.)
Miss Sally and I, as a team, have a policy that goes against my Truth motto. Summed up it states, “Standing up for your friends requires you to forget the Truth.” In some situations, we tend not tell our friends how we really feel. It’s deceivingly simple: when a friend takes a stance, we side with them and support their decisions based on that stance. Under most circumstances, we stick with our friends whether or not we actually believe in what brilliance/nonsense they are spouting off. Luckily, we run with a group of friends who aren’t joining the KKK or debating the merits of polygamy. We usually aren’t put in a position to defend really dumb decisions.
By now you might be thinking, “Shouldn’t a true friend always be truthful?” Well, YES and NO. Let’s start with the NO.
NO (A true friend isn’t always truthful)
Our friend Lynne is very smart and spiritual. An odd combination because you would think that someone as smart as she is would not believe in fate or signs from a higher power. She’s had more than her fair share of shit dumped on her, but she seems to always come out shining. Maybe it is a good combination.
Lynne has a dog named Thea. Thea started to have problems with her back leg. Several hundreds of dollars later, Thea was diagnosed with bone cancer. Surgery and treatments, that were not guaranteed to work, would cost THOUSANDS of dollars. THOUSANDS!! I have a theory about pets. I do not pay for any procedure that costs more than the euthanization of the animal. That’s not entirely true, but if a cat needs $500 worth of surgery… there are plenty of healthy cats at the shelter that could use a good home.
Lynne, or should I say dirt poor Lynne, was bound and determined to get the treatments for Thea. There were a number of friends, including me, that were against this. Several friends were adamant about saving Lynne the heartache and from wasting THOUSANDS of dollars. Several friends shared the Truth with Lynne. Miss Sally said, “No matter how we feel on this, Lynne is determined to save Thea and we should support her.” So we did. It was very hard for me, but as determined as Lynne was, she needed some friends on her side. We gave her our support, secretly knowing that even if she could scrape together the money, Thea would probably relapse and die anyways.
Through a combination of luck and what others would call fate, Lynne’s mom called her with some interesting news. Due to several accounting errors, the IRS actually owed her mother THOUSANDS of dollars. The money was Lynne’s if she needed it. (Lynne’s mother was not aware of the surgery Thea needed. This was completely random. Oh wait, sorry… fate.) Turns out mom, Lynne could use the money. Lynne had just started working nights and weekends to make the needed cash and the money from her mom would pay for the initial surgery.
Thea had the surgery. Thea went through the treatments. Thea had a second surgery. Thea went through more treatments. That was five years ago. Thea, still alive and still very active, lives with Lynne in Copenhagen. (There’s another story in itself.)
Honesty isn’t always the best policy. See how smart we are... oh, right. The other side.
YES (A true friend should always be truthful)
Miss Sally has a very good friend named, for this story, Sarah. Over the years, Sarah had dated several guys and none seemed to be the right one. It was always tough on me because when she broke up, I’d have too as well. Sarah always got Miss Sally and I in the boyfriend divorce. The ex would get to keep the lawn chairs.
Then, Sarah met Mr. Right. As she dreamily described him, he was perfect. Same likes, similar backgrounds, great personality. Over the phone the guy seemed a perfect match… finally.
You can see where this is going.
From our initial contact, we really didn’t like the guy. We went on several outings, camping trips and even a reunion. The guy was an ass. We tried to like him. We tried to see past his scowl and snide remarks. It just wasn’t happening. We developed what you might call a hate for the guy. But, Sarah was in love. She saw something in this guy that we just couldn’t. When she started talking about marriage, we couldn’t have been happier! Really, we are very happy for the two of you. Really.
Other friends said, “That guy is a dick.” We said, “We trust Sarah’s judgment.”
Family said, “I don’t like him.” We said, “You need to know him like Sarah does.”
At home with the doors shut, we waited for Sarah to see the Light. Wedding plans were in full motion. We debated our now tarnished policy.
Luckily, she saw a bit of the Light. The guy was such an ass that it started leeching through Sarah’s love blinders. She started to dig her heels in on the wedding. He turned up the dick. She was feeling a whole lot of doubt about the relationship. As soon as we saw our opening, we shared the Truth with her. We hated the guy. He is bad news. Get out now.
Sarah was amazed. Why didn’t we tell her how we really felt? As good friends, she would have understood our feelings and trusted our judgment. Looking back, I think she is half right. I think we should have told her a lot earlier than we did. There is a big problem with telling someone in love that their perfect person is wrong for them. It tends to push the two closer together when you doubt their judgment. So close that anything you say or do from that point on just bounces off the love nest. It’s an easy way to lose a friend.
We learned our lesson. There is a point where Truth overrides friendship. Or perhaps that friendship is based on the ability to know when Truth needs to rear its ugly mug. A good friend should be supportive, up until a point. It’s finding that point that I leave up to Miss Sally.
I, of course, am always available to give you the Truth on an individual basis. If you are willing to listen to my version of it. And able to pay the going rate of one Captain and coke every half hour. Buy four hours, get the fifth for free.