Three months without a new post?!?! I’m dropping the ball here.
It happens this way because after a while the pressure to produce something funny, after so much time has passed, is overwhelming. A week long hiatus is equal to a post that will make you readers chuckle; two weeks needs a least one good belly laugh. A month gone by needs to make you laugh consistently all the way through, so what the f!@# does three months mean? It’s too much pressure; I’m not overweight or a lesbian so I have nothing witty to say.
My mother and I were talking today about on-stage personas for stand-up comedians and she said, “Black people really are the funniest”. Let me assure you, I come from a super liberal background that always taught acceptance and equality for all mankind, but I will only state this once because I don’t want to have to tip-toe around perceived racism, it’s boohockey. ANYWAYS… While discussing on-stage personas and how they work to a comics advantage, I said I felt like it is good to figure out what you are “very” of and use that to formulate your jokes. For example if a person is “very white” playing that up a little (without being a hack) is always hilarious, or “very tall” works great for lots of jokes. You are stating what the audience has already seen and judged you on, so it creates a dialogue. My favorite local comic is my friend Ray who is “very tall”, “very big” and “very white”, pair this with his stunning intellect and quick tongue and it is a recipe for brilliance and hilarity. Why can’t I be a big awkward genius? Life’s not fair.
This now begs the question, what am I very of? I’m a middle-class, average weight, average height, white jewish girl who doesn’t even have a big nose to poke fun at. So what? I’m very ordinary? That can’t be right. So I started thinking about many of the jokes I tell on stage and realized that a majority of them were about excrement. A fellow comic and friend of mine, Derek once pointed this out to me like it was news, but strangely, it was to me. I flipped through my joke book and saw things like, “my poop smells like Fritos” and “peeing in my own car” (if you ask I WILL kill you) and realized that I really had a lot of gross thoughts. The jokes that people have mentioned back to me most are my “farting during yoga” bit and “sharting while running”… what’s odd though is that this pattern was never intentional.
My mom asked me if I was going to these jokes because I thought they were an easy laugh or if they spoke to something deeper inside me (I see the joke there and I will resist taking it). As I thought about it I realized that it had nothing to do with the audience response, I simply love poop jokes. To the depths of my soul I truly love gross stories about excrement (as further proof of this I just tried to use a thesaurus for the word excrement so as not to repeat it and laughed whole heartedly at every other option… haha waste matter). My mother then reminded me that growing up she used to tell my sister and I what we called The Gross Fairy Tales. We would beg her constantly to tell us one whenever we thought to and she would simply retell the classic fairytales with a little, shall we call it, flair. Sometimes Cinderella had stinky feet so the prince couldn’t go near her to put on the glass slipper, or my personal favorite was the step sisters who missed the ball because they had diarrhea. They were easy changes to make and my mother clearly delighted in my sister and I roaring with laughter every time the wolf missed Red Riding Hood in the woods to lift his leg on a tree.
I have no doubt that these stories are somehow embedded in my psyche and now every time a person says “do do” in a sentence I laugh unapologetically. The first time I told my sharting joke at an open mic the host came up after me and said, “That pretty girl just talked about pooping herself!” So lets put it all together here, (I’m typing out loud, if that’s a thing). I always dress to impress, Coco Chanel taught me that. Mix that with the very ordinary white girl perception the audience has and I am “very put together”. Nothing is more surprising than a girl in stilettos and a silk chiffon blouse talking about the feeling of liquid poo dripping down her leg as she scrambles for the bathroom door; and nothing brings me more joy than saying it to a crowd.
So this post is to my mother, the woman who raised me on poop jokes and unlimited hugs, a combination I can only hope to emulate with my children someday. To a woman who always looked straight out of a magazine with the perfect outfit, hair and nails but then talked openly to her daughters about penises and vaginas and giggled all the way through it like a shameless kid. She told me today that she needed something to look forward to each day and that these posts would provide that for her. I can think of no better inspiration. I love you.