Thursday, June 29, 2006

My Dad was kind of cheap

But my own family was kind of dysfunctional. My dad wasn't exactly abusive, but he was kind of cheap. He just hated to spend money on his kids.

Like when my best friend Ronnie got a guitar, I told my Dad I wanted a guitar too. He got me a broomstick, a rubber band, and two clothespins.

The dentist told Dad I needed braces. My dad said, "How much are they?" and the dentist said "$2,000." Dad said, "I'll take care of it myself." So he clamped a vise to the headboard of my bed and made me sleep with my face in it every night for the next six years.

Some of my friends started going to camp every summer, so I said, "Dad, I wanna go to summer camp too." He said, "Summer camp? Sure, I'll take you to summer camp!" He drove me to the woods, shoved me out of the car, and said, "See you in a month!"

Then my cousin John got swimming lessons, so I said, "Can I have swimming lessons too, Dad?" (Yeah, I was a slow learner.) Dad said, "I'll give you a swimming lesson!" He took me down to the pond and threw me right in. I thought I'd never get out of that sack. I really wouldn't have minded, only everyone else was ice skating at the time.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


On the way to Victorville, we drove over Mt. Shasta. Ever been there? It's really pretty country down there, mountains, and woods, and lakes, and all that. Just beautiful. It was so beautiful it made me feel like singing. So I popped in my favorite Cannibal Corpse CD and sang along. (Death grunt) "DEATH! BLOOD! HELL! SATAN!"

Three hours later, "HELL! SATAN! BLOOD! DEATH!"

"Um, Daddy?"



"DEATH! HELL! WHAT! IS! IT! HONEY! I mean, what is it, Honey?"

"Could we maybe listen to something else for awhile?"

"Sure. I brought lots of CDs. What do you want to hear? I've got Slayer, I've got Napalm Death, maybe some Cradle of Filth?"

"Um, could we just listen to the radio for awhile?"

"Anything you say, Honey." So the first thing that comes on the radio is (sings) "I write the songs that make the whole world sing…." Barry Manilow! "GAH!" I hit the button right away.

Then I hear this little voice from the back seat. "Oh, but I like that song…."

"What? Who said that?"

"Um, me."

"I don't want to hear anymore of that kind of talk. You like that song. You can get out and walk to Grandma's house if you're going to talk like that."


(Exasperated) That Tamika.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Are we there yet?

We just went on a family road trip. Yeah, the all-American family road trip. We drove down to Victorville, California, to see Grandma. (Ever been to Victorville? Don't go. It sucks.) Fifteen hours in the car with four kids. And you can't drive more than an hour with kids before they start saying "Are we there yet?"
"Are we there yet?"
"Are we there yet?"
"Are we there yet?"
"Are we there yet?"
"Has the car stopped?"
"Have you gotten out of the car?"
"Have you given Grandma a kiss and a hug and said "Hi, Grandma'?"
"Then I guess we're not there yet, are we?"
"Oh. (Long pause) Are we almost there yet?"

Monday, June 26, 2006

Mommy and Daddy's Little Accident

I have four kids, ages 16, 14, 11, and 2. We call the two-year-old "Mommy and Daddy's Little Accident." That's just a nickname. I wanted to name her "Oops!" but my wife wouldn't let me. She said, "What kind of name is 'Oops!' for a kid?" I said, "It's better than 'Aw, crap!'"

My wife's funny about our kids' names. She wouldn't let me name our son "Version 2.0," either. So I said we should name him "Beta." She said why "Beta," and I said, "Because we have no idea how he'll turn out, but we can't release him for 18 years."

Anyway, we finally decided to name him "Rashaun." We think it goes well with his three sisters, Shamique, LaWanda, and Tamika.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Stand up again

I did standup again last night, at a pub this time. It was a lot different. The venue was completely different, of course—it was a pub not a theater. The room was long and narrow, which is about the worst possible shape for connecting with an audience. But they—the audience—were the biggest difference. The audience at the graduation show was there for the people. They were there to see their friends perform, and they extended that feeling to the whole class and were ready to laugh at anything. And they were really smart. They got some jokes that were pretty far out there.

The people at the pub were quite different. Only about half of them were in the "friends and family" category. The rest were there because they wanted to see real comedy or because they wanted to eat and drink. Mostly drink. And frankly, they didn't seem all that bright sometimes—more on that in a minute.

So a couple of people (out of nine) out-and-out died, sad to say. It wasn't a good audience. Or maybe it was just an unforgiving one. The people who had trouble were the ones who were still relying on notes and stuff, who didn't take the stage with confidence. Only one set really killed, I thought. (No, it wasn't mine.)

Anyway, I kept my set really short. I did "It's not easy being big," just the first part and the store part. R's miniature golf joke killed once again, and the store bit was fine too, although there wasn't the anticipatory laughter about the sign I got at the first show. The graduation audience was usually right with the comics or looking ahead; this one was always just a little behind. Then I did the "I dated a Little Person" bit. "I don't know who put her up to it" sailed right over their heads (no pun intended), but "poking her nose in my business" and R's "I've had it up to here" got laughs, and "our relationship left a bad taste in her mouth" got laughs and groans. "But I'm not bitter" got a really odd reaction. Only about three people got it at first, but then the laughs kept spreading and spreading, until it was funny again just because of how long it took them to get the joke. Like I said, they weren't all that bright of an audience.

Then I moved along to "Mr. Happy," and penises and condoms seemed to be right up their alley, because they ate it up. (Pun intended only if you laughed.) "Einstein's brain in Bush's skull" killed again, as did the strangling, shrinking Mr. Happy. The new voice seemed to work pretty well too, although I suspect they might have just been the kind of audience that automatically laughs at any talking penis. So that went fine. I still don't really have a good way to end the bit, though.

So I got on, got laughs with the best stuff from last time, and got off in a hurry, before they could get tired of me. I think I succeeded, but I didn't really kill. And next time, I'll have to do all new material. Oh dear, oh dear.

Oh yeah, BTW, I do have the graduation video now, but I haven't really had a chance to get it online yet. On my first attempt at converting it to an AVI, I ended up with a 27-gigabyte file. I think that means I did something wrong. But I'll figure it out.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I used to date a midget

She was quite short, barely more than waist high.
She asked me out first. I don't know who put her up to it.
But after a while we didn't get along very well anymore. She was always sticking her nose in my business.
She said our relationship left a bad taste in her mouth.
But I'm not bitter.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I'm such a slut

I finally got to watch a tape of the show. I don't know when I'll get a copy -- I have to wait for the convenience of the people who taped it, and they don't seem to be in much of a hurry. But these were some of my impressions:

I talk really funny. I don't really know how to explain it—it's sort of an exaggerated California accent, but different. It's really weird—I don't think I've ever heard anyone talk quite the same way. I guess I have to work on losing that, or at least toning it way down. And I'd probably sound better if I talked more from my chest. But at least I was plenty loud enough and didn't mumble, which were two potential problems.

"It's not easy being big" got good laughs all the way through. The line I stole from R, "I bet you're really good at miniature golf," got one of the biggest. Thanks R. But in the bit about the supermarket sign, I completely spaced out on the punch line ("It doesn't mean ASK THE TALL GUY!"). I just forgot to say it. And it would have killed too. Sigh.

"Do these pants make my thighs look big?" went OK. The whole "guys want big muscles" thing and the argument with my friend were basically one long set up, and the payoff wasn't really big enough to justify it. And after I did the flex-while-checking-watch bit, some woman yelled, "Pull up your sleeve and do that." So I did. I'm such a slut. If I were female, I'd probably be one of those girls who flash guys that yell, "Show us your tits."

"Disco Ballet Fever" didn't go as well as I'd have liked. I think I was too tense, and I was trying to reproduce something I'd already done before instead of just improvising it, so the goofy dancing lost all its playfulness and spontaneity and only got a few courtesy laughs. Plus, the disco ballet dancing looked more like a dancing monkey than a ballet dancer. I probably should've called it "Disco Chimpanzee Fever" instead. OTOH, I noticed that during the "normal" dancing, I actually looked kinda cool. If I do say so myself.

"Mr. Happy" went really well, but I think he sounded a little too aggressive. It'd be funnier if he sounded dumber and happier—more like a real penis, IOW—and I need a better ending, so I'll work on that, but the whole bit killed. That's what I'll be putting on teh interweb if they ever get around to making me a copy.

Anyway, I'll be performing again on the 24th, at a pub this time. Still no pay, but the audience should be more challenging. Should be fun.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The most fun I've ever had while standing up

My stand-up comedy class graduation was tonight. It went very well. The audience wasn't all that big -- about 60 or 70 people, I guess. Of course, it was a very friendly audience -- they were all there to see their friends and family do comedy. I was a little nervous -- not very, I've actually been more nervous doing the bits in class -- but nervous enough that I forgot to say three or four jokes (none major, I think) and I forgot to make funny faces while I was dancing, so I didn't get much of a laugh from the actual dancing, but I didn't freeze or lose my place or anything like that. Overall I'm pretty satisfied with my performance.

Like I said before, my set was way too long, so I cut it down to "It's not easy being big," "Do these pants make my thighs look big," "Disco ballet fever," and "Mr. Happy's hat is too tight." Biggest laughs at the beginning and end (Mr. Happy especially killed), but laughs all the way through. And I think I got the biggest laugh of anyone who did an obligatory gratuitous George W. Bush joke. (Mine was "Me trying to put on a Japanese condom is like trying to put Einstein's brain in George W. Bush's skull -- there's just too much bone.") So yeah, I'm pretty pleased. I think I'll be doing this again.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I am The One

You scored as Neo, the "One".

"Neo is the computer hacker-turned-Messiah of the Matrix. He leads a small group of human rebels against the technology that controls them. Neo doubts his ability to lead but doesn't want to disappoint his friends. His goal is for a world where all men know the Truth and are free from the bonds of the Matrix."

I guess that just about sums me up. Except I look more like Morpheus than Neo. Only paler.

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