Monday, September 25, 2006

Why George W. Bush isn't the devil

The president of Venezuela made a speech at the United Nations and called George W. Bush the Devil. That's ridiculous. George W. Bush is nothing like the Devil. First of all, the Devil's probably pretty smart. He can probably also pronounce the word "nuclear." Otherwise, Satan would be saying things like, [death grunt] "WE NEED MORE NUCELER WEAPONS!"

And all the demons would be like, [snickering] "He said 'nuceler.' Make him say it again. Shut up! Shh!") [innocently] "What kind of weapons, Master?"

"NUCELER ONES!"

[Innocently] "Nuclear ones, Master?"

"YES, NUCELER ONES!"

[More snickering.]

And when you look at the things the Devil does, he has nothing in common with George Bush. Because what does the Devil do? He lies, he starts wars, he wants to torture… people. [pause] Naw, it's probably just a coincidence.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Requiescat in pace

I died.


But I enjoyed it. Weird, huh? Here's what happened:


I get there at about 10:00. A pair of comic magicians or something like that -- from Las Vegas, no less -- is performing. The place is packed with about 200 people, and they're pretty into the show. I meet my contact, who is straight out of a pretty funny Seinfeld episode, because she has a Chinese last name but she's as blonde-haired and blue-eyed as I am. (Or as I used to be, back when I had hair. On my head, I mean.) She's a nice young woman, but I'm a little disappointed, because as you may have guessed, I have a touch of the Yellow Fever (also Jungle Fever, Salsa Fever, Gumbo Fever, Vanilla Fever… I'm just generally feverish, I guess. But I digress.) So that show ends at 10:05. Someone gets up and announces that the next show will start at 10:30. So the 200 people turn into 5 people.


I hang around for awhile, and meet my MC Nicole, who isn't Chinese either. I check out the view from stage. It's just a portable stage set up in one of the student union's dining rooms, so the lights are turned way up, which I don't like. Comedy usually works best in a dark room with the comic in a spotlight. I hang around "backstage" (behind a curtain) and meet Mike, one of the comic magicians, who's putting his equipment away. He's seems like a nice guy -- nice enough to leave me alone so I can psych myself up or whatever. I go through my usual "Why am I doing this? I just wanna go home now" pre-set mental routine. I don't go home. Ten-thirty rolls around, and the 5 people have turned into 10. Nicole says let's wait a few minutes. We wait about five minutes and the 10 people turn into 20. And that's it.


So Nicole hits the stage, and even though she tried out a joke on me earlier, she chickens out and doesn't say it. All she does is introduce me. There's no warm up at all. So I get up on stage and start my set.


And nobody laughs.


No, I take that back. Nicole laughs. The guys from the improv troop that's going to follow me come in about halfway through and they laugh. But the students only sort of laugh. I don't know what it is, but it's like they're too cool to laugh very much or something. Maybe it's because they can all see each other under the bright lights and they don't want to be seen losing control? No idea really. But every time they laugh it's like they're laughing in spite of themselves and they have to cut it off or something. It's pretty darn weird.


Anyway, I mostly do stuff you've read here before. The only entirely new bit is about why George W. Bush, despite Hugo Chavez, isn't really the devil. It's kind of lost on them. I do the whole repertoire. "It's not easy being big." "My confession." "Family road trip." "My Dad was cheap." "At the dentist." "Big in Japan." "Dance like a white guy." And, of course, "Mr. Happy's hat is too tight." Even that doesn't really get to them, although it seems to kill Nicole pretty good.


And that's it. I head "backstage" for awhile to recover. Mike's still there. He asks me if that's true about Japanese condoms. He commiserates with me about the lighting and the audience. The improv troop is performing. They're doing a little better -- there's five of them, and they're loud and trying to engage the audience. They're supposed to do an hour show. Good luck to them. I stop to thank Nicole and the sound guy. Nicole commiserates. She hands me my check for $100 (w00t!). I go home.


---------------


But I actually had hella fun doing that set. During the debacle at the pub last time, I wasn't having fun at all. I was bored and out of it. I was thinking maybe I'd accomplished plenty by getting paid this one time, and it's time to quit. But I was wrong. I realized again how much I enjoy getting up and performing when I'm prepared and psyched up. And I learned a lot. I learned that I was spoiled by my "graduation" audience. They were the audience of all audiences. I don't think I can ever expect one that good again. So I'm not as good as I thought I was. I mean, I think my writing's pretty good, but my performing isn't up with it. I can't walk out and dominate an audience the way some people can. Not yet. Maybe I'll never get there. But that's OK, because I'm going to keep doing this as long as it's fun and as long as some people are laughing.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Tonight's the night

My (paid! w00t!) set at Enormous State U starts at midnight.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Last Saturday's set

Here, BTW, is the set I did last Friday for the terrible audience, with their reactions -- the reactions of the 8 people who listened, that is.

I have a big family. I don't mean they're fat or something, there's just a lot of them. Anyone here from a big family? Or a fat family? [Small laughs] I have four kids, ages 16, 14, 11, and 2. We call the two-year-old "Mommy and Daddy's Little Accident." [Laughs] That's not her real name; it's just a nickname. I wanted to name her "Oops!" but my wife wouldn't let me. [Laughs] She said, "What kind of name is 'Oops!' for a kid?" I said, "It's better than 'Aw, crap!'" [Big laughs] But we love our little accident. [Laughs]

[This bit is a riff on a comment by Mist1 on a previous post, BTW. Thanks, Mist1.] My wife's really strict about our kids' names. I wanted to name our son "Senator," but she wouldn't let me. Think about how much fun it would be to have a kid named "Senator." Haven't you ever wanted to say, "Senator, sit down and be quiet!" [Laughs] Or, "That's enough out of you, Senator!" Or, "Senator… say you're sorry, Senator!" [Laughs] Or, "All right, Senator, you're getting a spanking!" Well, not that one so much. Unless it's Senator Hillary Clinton. Rrrowll! [Groans]

Anyway, we finally decided to name our son "Rashaun." We think it goes well with his three sisters, Shamique, LaWanda, and Tamika. [Small laughs]

This last summer we went on a family road trip. You ever been on a family road trip?

You know what? Forget I asked that question. I really hate it when comedians always introduce a subject and then say "Anyone ever done this? Anyone ever done that?" It's a total crutch; they're trying to create this artificial rapport with the audience instead of just relying on humor to do make a connection. I hate that. I'm never going to do it again. [Puzzled looks]

So anyway, we drove down to Southern California, to see my Mom. It's about a 15-hour drive. 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?"

"No."

"Are we there yet?"

"No."

"Are we there yet?"

"No."

OK, so at this point I'm a little annoyed. So I decide it's time to implement one of my favorite parenting techniques. It's a highly effective technique, and I recommend it to anyone. It's called "sarcasm." [Small laughs]

"Are we there yet?"

"Has the car stopped?"

"No."

"Have you gotten out of the car?"

"No."

"Have you given Grandma a kiss and a hug and said "Hi, Grandma'?"

"No."

"Then I guess we're not there yet, are we?"

"Oh. (Long pause) Are we almost there yet?"[Laughs]

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. [No laughs. I can't decide whether to drop the joke, though; I just like it for some reason.]

The dentist told him 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. [Tiny laughs, maybe]

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!" [Small laughs]

Then my cousin John got swimming lessons, so I said, "Can I have swimming lessons too, Dad?" (Yeah, I was a slow learner.) He 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. [Groans] Really, I wouldn't have minded, but everyone else was ice skating at the time. [Big groans]

Well, so, anyway, I went to the dentist last week. Anyone here ever been… to… the… dentist? [Laughs. The people who were actually listening are very into comedy, so they got it, but I'm not sure how it will work on a normal audience.] I don't like going to the dentist. But it's not because of the drilling and shots and stuff like that. I mean, I don't like that stuff either, but what really bugs me about my dentist is that he owns this little farm too. It's just a hobby or something, but he's always talking about farm stuff, he'll say things like "So this morning I was performing a rectal examination on one of my cows...." [Groans] Yeah. "Say 'Ahh.'" That's just one of those things you don't want to hear your dentist say. You also don't want to hear your dentist say, "Hey! Where'd my ring go?" [Small laughs] or "So, um, you only chew on one side of your mouth anyway, right?" [Small laughs] And you especially don't want to hear your dentist say, "Quick, turn him over, the sedative's wearing off." [Biggish groans. That joke's also thanks to Mist1.] If you hear that, you should probably change dentists. That's why I'm thinking of switching. [Small groany laughs]

[This next part was pretty messed up, because Drunk Psycho Lady (DPL) happens to be a lesbian, so any time I mentioned women getting married she stood up and hollered and clapped her hands and stuff like that, so I have no idea how a normal audience would react.] But the other thing I don't like at my dentist's is that the dental hygienist is totally hot. Now, a lot of dental hygienists are kind of cute or whatever, but mine is incredible. I mean, if Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Alba, and Halle Berry had a lovechild, she'd look like my dental hygienist. Not that Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Alba, and Halle Berry could actually have a lovechild. I mean, they couldn't actually have a child even if they married each other. Not that they could marry each other, thanks to the Republicans. What kind of party stops Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Alba, and Halle Berry from marrying each other anyway? That's just wrong. It's obscene! Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Alba, and Halle Berry should be allowed to marry each other if they want to. I'm sorry. Sometimes, I just weep for this nation. [I did hear a couple of laughs under all the noise DPL was making.]

So anyway, my dental hygienist is really hot. Now, I know some of you men and some of you lesbians [More hollering from DPL. I like the line, but I have no idea how it worked on anyone else] are saying "But Chris, that's a good thing." Well, it's not. See, first of all, it's a completely unnatural situation when I'm with a beautiful woman -- ["What's unnatural about that?" hollers a (normal) audience member. "No, that's not the unnatural part," says I] -- the unnatural part is I'm with a beautiful woman and she's putting something in my mouth. [Small groans. I don't think my mostly female audience was too into this joke, for some reason.] That just seems wrong somehow. And when you're with a beautiful woman, you want to be at your best, right? But I don't care how smooth you are, when you're in a dentist's chair like this "Gar blargle argle blarg," you're just not at your best. [No laughs]

[Really, no laughs at all for this part. So I'm going to drop the whole dental hygienist bit. But here it is anyway.] But actually, the thing I hate most about going to the dentist is having my teeth flossed. I mean, I floss my own teeth every day and all – really – but my teeth are kind of scrunched together in places, so it takes some technique, a little delicacy and finesse to do it right. So whenever I go to get my teeth cleaned, I say to the hygienist, "My teeth are kind of scrunched together in places, so you have to floss really gently."

And she always says, "Don't worry, I'm a professional, I've been doing this for years."

"Yes, but -- gar blargle argle blarg!"

"See? No problem."

"Gar blargle argle blarg."

(Grunting and straining) "O…K…."

"Gar blargle argle blarg!"

(More grunting and straining) "Your… gums… are… bleeding… quite… a… bit… Have…you… ever… had… gum… disease?"

"GAR BLARGLE ARGLE BLARG!"

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My confession

[Made some changes.]

I have a confession to make.

I'm a racist.

[Slowly] I... hate... N------ASCAR.

I mean, what is it with these guys? They drive fast and turn left. That's a sport?

I actually met a NASCAR driver once. I said, "Why are you driving so fast out there? There aren't even any cops chasing you."

He said, "I know. I'm just trying to get home to the trailer park in time for dinner, but the durn road keeps curving off to the left."

I said, "Well, while don't you just turn the other way?"

He said, "Naw, I don't wanna do that. My buddy Dale tried to turn right once, and he done runned right into the wall."

That's why I like Formula 1. Those guys are really good. They can turn left and right. In the same race. I'd like to see a NASCAR driver try that.

But I don't get the name. "Formula 1." I get the "1"; I guess that means they're the best drivers -- the ones who can turn both left and right.

So Formula 2 must be not quite as good, and then there's Formula 3, Formula 4, Formula 5, and so on. Formula 17 is guys pushing their grandmas in wheelchairs.
[Runs back and forth pushing imaginary wheelchair.]
Granny: "Slow down, Sonny!"
Driver: "Shut up, Grandma, I'm trying to turn left!"

But what's up with the "formula" part? [I need a formula joke.]

And what happens when they have a Formula 1 race in Greece? Do they call it "Grecian Formula"? Do they only let guys with grey hair drive in it?

Monday, September 18, 2006

SHUT THE F@#% UP, YOU MOTHERF@#%ERS!

So last Saturday I was in another free show at the pub. It didn't go all that great, mainly for two reasons. First, it was game-day night here in University Town, so the place was full -- full of drunks who were interested in celebrating the game by getting drunker, and weren't interested in comedy. So they just talked among themselves. Loudly. Second, it turns out that one of my fellow comics is a complete psycho. And a drunk. Her "act" consisted mainly of cursing and screaming at the audience to shut up. Now, there's a lot of comedy potential in screaming and cursing -- Sam Kinison, RIP, could even solve world hunger while doing it -- but Standup Comedy Rule Number 1 is "Don't scream and curse at your audience." Because, you know, um, they're the ones you want to laugh, instead of hating you? Doesn't seem all that subtle, does it? And Rule Number 2 is "Don't get so drunk that in between screaming and cursing at the audience, you forget which jokes you told (badly) and tell them again (badly)." Standup is pretty simple, after all.

Anyway, finally the bartender came over and told her to stop cursing at the customers. When she got off the stage, management escorted her out of the building (after which she called them up about 26 times and cursed at whoever answered the phone). As Kevin -- Kevin is my comedy hero; I want to be him when I grow up -- as Kevin said, we've all heard of people getting thrown out of comedy shows, but that was the first time anyone'd seen a comic get thrown out.

Friday, September 08, 2006

How to crack up an 11-year-old

My son said, "There's a boy in my class who's Russian."

I said, "Somebody should tell him to slow down."

After a short pause, laughter ensued. Much laughter.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"Woof-woof!" "AUSTIN! AUSTIN!"

My neighbor has a dog. That's OK, because I like dogs. My neighbor's dog often barks. That's OK too, because that's what dogs do. But every time the dog barks, my neighbor yells at it. "Woof-woof!" barks the dog. "AUSTIN! AUSTIN!" shouts my neighbor. Every time. And she always yells "AUSTIN!" twice. I mean, at least sometimes the dog barks "Woof-woof-woof!" or "Woof!" or "Woof-woof! Woof-woof!" But my neighbor? It's never just "AUSTIN!" It's never "AUSTIN! AUSTIN! AUSTIN!" It's never even "AUSTIN-AUSTIN!" It's always "AUSTIN! AUSTIN!" with the same slight but distinct pause between the "AUSTINS!" And it's about 50 million times more annoying than the barking dog. Would you please just shut up and let the damn dog bark? And what the hell kind of name is "Austin" for a dog anyway?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

More YouTube favorites

It's been a couple months since I posted YouTube favorites, so here are some more. (The ones with asterisks have some "bad language" in them.)

If you put a Mentos in Diet Coke, it makes a fountain. Some people can make art from this. (I listed this one last time, but that version was taken down, and it was at the end of the list anyway, so maybe not many people saw it.)

If I had to choose, I think I'd rather live in a country whose basketball players can't defend the pick-and-roll than in a country whose basketball players can't do 720° dunks.

One thing you'll notice if you watch a lot of Chinese and Japanese action films is that, in contrast to the American hero who must always fight fair even with the odds against him, Asian heroes have no qualms about teaming together and outnumbering the enemy. Sometimes, in fact, they can be downright abusive.

Of course, I can't really blame them if that monster was as obnoxious as Darth Vader.

"I love you more than bears love honey, I love you more than Jews love money, I love you more than Asians are good at math." OK, I don't love her quite that much, but I totally have a crush on Sarah Silverman.* I wonder if I'd have a chance with her. I'm not Jewish, but I am circumcised....

Whenever life is bringing me down, whenever I feel sad or troubled, the Hoff is always there to cheer me up.

All Your Snakes Are Belong to Us* is probably better than the actual movie Snakes on a Plane (but I won't know for sure until S.O.A.P. is in the $1.50 movie theater and I see it). It's better than the trailer, anyway.

It's always kind of fascinating to watch traffic accidents, but when people get crashed into and then jump up and yell at the other driver, it's just plain funny.

When even the Hoff isn't enough to cheer me up, there's still Apache.

Magic is creepy.