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Thursday, May 1, 2008

In which I try my hand at stand-up

Ah, the stage. You have bemused me for years. I've trodden your polished beams as a chorister, musician, knife-grinder, barbershop singer, inappropriately and racially insensitively cast postal worker, Achilles (or the Tortoise), a Greek messenger in Nike shoes, soloist, accompanist, graduate.

I envy Erin her future opportunities to walk across the stage. Those moments, at the focus, are powerful and beguiling. They are life, writ small and in blood. They are fantasy, writ large and in tears.

They are comedy, and tragedy.

Emily is hilarious. And whenever she tells an insanely funny joke she'll remark "That's going in the stand-up act." And because I am her soul-mate and her complement, I feel it only right that I give equal voice to my own stand-up act.

You see, I hope to someday be a Stand Up Tragedian.

Yup. Someone who does what a stand up comedian does, with the little observations and "Don'tcha just hate it" whens and "Knock Knock" jokes and such, but with a punchline that is tragic rather than comic.

Because the Sad Face of Drama ought to be equally represented at the Improv, I believe.

So, here's a little preview of my act, off the cuff. (Not for those who do not wish to weep.)

"Knock knock."

"Who's there?"


"Uvga who?"

"You've got inoperable liver cancer. I'm very sorry."

"Do you ever notice that when you go to the grocery store you can never find a parking space? But there are all of those blue-marked handicapped spaces available right at the front, closest to the door. Because some people have been in life-altering accidents that have left them incapable of living a normal life without some assistance and accommodation."

"So, I was sitting at home the other day and my roommate came in looking dissheveled. I said 'Hey, buddy. Why are you looking so dissheveled?' And he said 'Well, I was pulling into the driveway today and I ran over a box of puppies.'"

So, whaddaya think?

(Editor's Note: It's okay to laugh. The point here is that tragedy provokes similar reactions in us. We laugh almost out of self-defense. I was giggling inappropriately the entire time I was writing this.)


My_Dog_Is_Better said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
My_Dog_Is_Better said...

Who leaves a box of puppies in a driveway?! Idiots!

I think you're a Jack Handy wannabe.

By the way, I might be getting slightly obsessed with your blog. But not in a loving sisterly kind of way, more like a "How can I make fun of Shawn today?" way.

SciFi Dad said...

I'm curious to see how the mommyblogging community reacts to a box of smushed puppies.

Danielle said...

Yikes! Uvgot liver cancer?!

ScientistMother said...

wow, morbid yet oddly noir may be just right for you.

oh Sci-fi dad - are the mommy bloggers supposed to react differently than say regular bloggers?

Aunt Becky said...

I think I might be in love with you. In a platonic way, for sure.

And I'm with scifi dad, I want to see how the mommybloggers--I'm not one--take the dead puppies. You should make mention in your act about how CUTE and ADORABLE they were before they got squished under the wheels of the car.

Whit said...

Dead puppies in a box are comedic gold. I'm also a fan of kittens in a burlap sack.

for a different kind of girl said...

If there's any chance at all you can get someone with a severed body part to be your warm up act, you are so totally golden.

And then, to cap things off, if there were a small fire...

'k, the fire may be taking it too far...whatever, I'd still buy a ticket...

Heather J. said...

ick smashed puppies and liver cancer....dark, man

Mumma Boo said...

You're so twisted! (in a good-weird way) I don't see a Tonight Show appearance in your future; Kimmel, maybe?

Backpacking Dad said...

mydogisbetter: Take your best shot. No, wait. Don't. Your best is probably really good. Take your most mediocre shot.

scifi dad: They're probably react the same way everyone does: "Where's the ketchup?" Oh, I'm going to hell for that one.

danielle: thankfully not. but that would be pretty tragic.

scientist mother: don't mind him, he's a clone trooper. Did you bring the ketchup?

aunt becky: good point. I need to highlight those tragic elements more. They were also working on a cure for inoperable liver cancer.

whit: I thought about kittens in a bag, but I couldn't do it. My wife would have killed me, and that really would have been tragic.

FADKOG: why stop at one severed limb? I'll ask Stumpy to open for me.

heather j: I've been tanning.

Mumma Boo: Kimmel? NOOOOOOOO. Although, maybe if I go on I too can f*ck Matt Damon or Ben Affleck. (do a You Tube search for that one)

mamatulip said... wasn't until I got to the comments section that I got the Uvga one. I was all, "Ug. Va. Ugva? UGG VA? I DON'T GET IT!"

Maybe this is why I suck at jokes - both telling them and getting them.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

Okay. I admit. I totally laughed at the puppies. I'm sick.

Dani said...

it will never work. you'll just blend into the comedians.DAni

lilfootsmommy said...

a whole box? of puppies? really? it wasn't just one? why couldn't it be just one? or none?

and also tragedian or morbidian? either one would work!!!

Penny said...

Just wanted to say hi because you commented over at my blog.

So, hi.

Don Mills Diva said...

Awwesome. I am weeping right now - weeping!

Anonymous said...

You silly, silly man.

paul the pirate (Yar!) said...

Mommybloggers, daddybloggers... too many pigeonholes for this visitor... that being said, I printed out this entry and posted it in the mess hall of my ship- you'd fit right in here in the U.S. Merchant Marines.

Travis said...

what's black and white and red all over?

a nun with a spear in her chest..

*look somber*

Kristi said...

Sort of like 5 minutes ago when my kids came in with a tiny green caterpillar that they had been tenderly "taking care of" for the last hour, bringing it water and blankets made of kleenex and fresh leaves, etc, and on their way back out the door, the creature fell of the stick to the kitchen floor. Scrambling to find the critter, one of them stepped on it. Oh, the tragedy. All that TLC for naught.

Patti Mayo said...

I was giggling inappropriately while I was reading it...ok. not giggling. I was laughing out loud. It was a bad couple of days in medical secretary hell and I needed that post.

The puppy one is the one that made me really laugh.

thank you!

Backpacking Dad said...

mamatulip: that's alright. It's not one of my better ones anyway.

tootsie farkelpants: join the club. at least YOU didn't think of it :}

dani: yeah, I'm getting that feeling.

lilfootsmommy: I noticed that they were all a little morbid; maybe I'll go for more subtle tragedies later.

penny: hi.

don mills diva: bill me for the kleenex. :}

danielle-lee: what do you mean silly! these were utterly serious! ah. caught me.

paul the pirate: well yar!

travis: nice one. but a little too much like an actual joke, I think. I'm trying for the same form, but with almost entirely different emotional content.

kristi: that's a terrible shame. there's good eatin' on one of those.

patti mayo: you're welcome

DeeDee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DeeDee said...

Aww man! I deleted my comment and didn't mean too!

Here it is again as best I can remember it.

Dude you're twisted but I like you!

Glad to see I wasn't the only one out there being a comment whore today!!

Some of those comments you left were ummm, let's say, insightful!

Have a great weekend!!

Meg (Mad Woman) said...

I will admit to giggling quite hysterically and making Hotty Hubby wonder if I am clinically insane. Ran over puppies indeed!

I see I'm losing the race for the comments, but I'm glad I got to come read this post.

lala said...

"smushed puppies" is my new favourite band name....if only I had musical talent....

Her Bad Mother said...

Stand Up Tragedian? I would pay CASH MONEY to see that act. You gotta wear the mask, though.

Anonymous said...

What "Her Bad Mother" said, because I'm still trying to catch my breath from laughing at what "Travis" said.

Dayum, but this blogger (who happens to be a mom) needed that!

Momo Fali said...

You are just WRONG on so many why am I laughing?

Anonymous said...

Must.. resist.. self-defensive.. giggling.

Also, must fix ability to type without elipses. ;) Those tragedy-jokes are horrible, but I love them so much!

(And yeah, you're absolutely right about the person who took my phone. Hm.)

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Gotta side with Mama Tulip. I didn't get it. Oh the shame of not getting the joke so I'm blaming baby brain.

Jules said...

Forget doing standup in clubs. You could corner the market at funerals ('cause you just KNOW folks there *wanna* have a good laugh).

Misssy M said...

Backpacking Daddio - all I can say is, are you sure you're not British?

Your UK audience awaits.

(and cheers for popping over to the Misssy M Misssives, we laugh in the face of sick jokes over there...)

Anonymous said...

But ketchup does go with everything.... everything I tell you!

Anonymous said...

The inoperable liver cancer joke made me laugh loudly and inappropriately. When I read it to my husband he didn't really get it (he laughs at Barney so consider the source).I think you are onto something.

Thanks for commenting on my blog so I could find your blog and sub it. Humor and parenting are my two favorite blog subjects.

Katie said...

If you ever need stand up material give me a call, I feel like lately I could provide plenty to that sort of theme.

Fun site, I'm be back for sure.

Redneck Mommy said...


My husband ran over his puppy while driving a tractor.

I still giggle about it (I'm twisted like that) but he doesn't think it's funny.

He's still trying to bury the image of scraping up his puppy off the road.


Jeremy (Discovering Dad) said...

You have many tragic readers here man...I guess I came to the right place!

Sara Maria said...

Thanks for the visit to my blog. I enjoy your writing style. :) Now....I see you are a hockey fan and I imagine your favorite team is not the correct favorite team (number one Red Wings of course) Who is your fave team? Mine is Wings, Avs (though they SUCKED this series), Stars in that order. Good luck winning the blog visit contest! LOL

Gerbil said...

Heh. I will admit to having The Gashlycrumb Tinies memorized before I was ten and now we have a collection of twisted children's stories which no doubt Short Stuff will revel in as much as his older sibs.

Hey, why'd the monkey fall out of the tree? It was dead.
Why'd the second monkey fall out of the tree? It was stapled to the first monkey.

Lindsah said...

Oh man, you need to start a stand up tragedy career right now. I would maybe even pay to see you.

JCK said...

Your Stand Up Tragedian has wet my handkerchief. Pure crocodile tears poureth out. Oh, woe, woe is meself.

andi said...

Is it wrong that I found this hysterical? I've always been a huge fan of black comedy.

Hey, thanks for leaving a comment over at my place. :)

Daisy Duke said...

Thanks for stopping by....can't wait to be done!!

(Your daugther's birthday looks perfect!!)

Badass Geek said...

If your dream of being a stand-up tragedian gets dashed upon the rocks, you could always try to save yourself by busting out a joke like:

"How much does a pirate charge to pierce ears for earrings?"

"A buck-an-ear (bucaneer)!"

Okay, so that might not be the best joke to use, but its worth a shot.

Stephanie said...

I will forgive you this once... because I just came to your site for the very first time today... because I saw your "cement expert" response to my post. I'll try my best to laugh at all your jokes from here on out, but ummm... the first, the liver joke, ouch. My Dad died January 2nd this year from inoperable liver cancer. True Story. Go read my blog.

The rest were funny though. We should talk. My husband calls me Murphy because, well I'm sort of a walking-talking replica of Murphy's law. For example...I fell down our stairs a few days ago caring our son and wacked the crap out of the back of my head upon landing, ouch, stood up to soon and fell the rest of the stairs face forward and then knocked the crap out of the front of my head. I'm cool like that. I'd be great for your type of comedy. You either laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh.

Lastly, sorry for the suuuper long comment, your baby is darling!

My_Dog_Is_Better said...

Why have 47 people commented on this? It's not even that funny and it's not even about being a backpacking dad.

People, don't encourage him.

Backpacking Dad said...

Wow. So many more comments...I have to just thank you en masse for coming by.

Also, for those who thought this post really was just a list of dark jokes...well, it's not quite that. I was actually serious about subsituting tragic punchlines into joke forms to elicit tragic rather than humorous responses. Stephanie's father dying of inoperable liver cancer? Not funny. As the punchline of a knock knock format? Still not really funny, but what do we do with sudden feelings of tragedy? Cry? Sometimes. Maybe. Sometimes we laugh, in self-defense.

That's what this post was about. The two faces of the stage, and how closely they are connected. So closely sometimes that our responses are no different, even though we are faced with tragedy rather than comedy.

So, although they can be viewed as jokes full of dark humour, that's actually not what they are. They are full of tragedy, presented in joke form. But it's okay to laugh (that's why I inserted the Editor's Note at the end, because I figured some people might feel uncomfortable; I fear it did too much in that it made it seem like I was just cracking wise in a "Dead Baby Jokes" kind of way. That's not what I was doing.)

Sara Maria: You cannot be a Wings fan if you are also an Avs fan. NOT ALLOWED! Go Wings! Woo!!!!

Excuse me.

My_dog_is_better: I love you too sis! Gah, stop raining on my parade. :}

kittenpie said...

Giggling inappropriately? Um, yeah. But the ugva threw me off, too. Out loud, of course, you wouldn't have that pronunciation issue, so you better take this one to the streets. Or the stage, whatever. But maybe wear body armour for those without a sense of humour?

Sarah said...

I'm there with you, I love making people uncomftorable with my "jokes".

I have a line of jokes that are so inapropriate that I simply can not even mention what the theme of them is...