Monday, November 17, 2014

This Is No Joke*

This is no joke. You might think this is a joke, but, trust me, this is no joke.

This isn't something where a chicken crosses the road to get to the other side, or an orange is glad you didn't say banana after knock-knock-knocking on the door for an hour. This is nothing like that. 

This isn't open mic at the Comedy Cellar in the West Village, buddy. No one is standing out in the freezing cold on the corner of 3rd and Houston shoving a flier in your face, asking, "do you like to laugh?" and trying to make you come inside and watch cringe-inducing stand-up for a $10.00 cover and a two-drink minimum. This isn't that at all.

This isn't a priest, a rabbi, and a leprechaun walking into a bar. Or a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead walking into a bar, either. Not one person (much less three people) is walking into a bar anytime soon around here, I promise you that. Because this is no joke, my friend.

This isn't Chris Rock or Kevin Hart doing an hour-long special on Comedy Central. Nor is it John Oliver or Louie C.K. charging $175 a head for balcony seats at the Beacon. Nor is it Dane Cook making 56,000 dirty-white hat wearing frat boys guffaw uproariously in Madison Square Garden with a lot of misogynistic and unfunny jokes about scrubbing the infidelity off his crotch in the shower so his girlfriend won't know he cheated on her. Nope, this isn't that.

Oh, I used to be like you, believe me. I used to think this was a whoopie cushion, or a hand-buzzer, or a pile of rubber dog shit, or a piece of plastic vomit, or gum that turns your mouth blue, or different gum that snaps your fingers like a mouse trap, or really spicy candy, or a pair of googly-eye glasses, or a fake cockroach, or itching powder, or fart spray, or a coiled-up plastic snake that comes popping out of a pretend jar of peanuts. But then I learned the hard way that this isn't any of those things. Not at all.

And if you think this is all about how many people of differing occupations and ethnicities it takes to change a light bulb, well, you are sorely mistaken, pal. 

Because mark my words: this is as serious as a heart attack, a train wreck, a sober judge, and a congressional committee hearing on Benghazi all put together in a Vitamix and blended into an arsenic and cyanide smoothie. I mean it, this is no joke. So quit laughing.

*One of the best Shouts & Murmurs I ever read in The New Yorker was this 2006 piece by Jack Handey: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2006/01/09/this-is-no-game. It really stuck with me, and I've always wanted to do my own (far inferior) parody of it/spin on it, so here it is. All credit goes to Jack Handey as to format, structure, and originality of idea.

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