I tell you this as a friend. It won’t be easy for you, but worthwhile things in life seldom are.
Your feelings deserve to be hurt.
No guarantee exists in life that your feelings will be unhurt. No more so than your bones or flesh. In fact; let’s start off with your bones. Remember when you were a little kid, and your bones throbbed in pain all the time? What did thegrownups call that?
“Little Girls” is the first track off of Only A Lad, the first LP from Los Angeles new-wave band Oingo Boingo. When I was only a lad, it was sort of a personal anthem. You probably know it, it starts with:
I – I – I love little girls, they make me feel so good I love Little girls, they make me feel so Bad
When they’re around they make me feel like I’m the only guy in town
Little girls, they make me feel so
Fairly innocuous, right? It’s cute, if you don’t read too much into it. Or, avoid watching the video.
Comedy stinks right now because you forced it to stink. You vilified every experience in life that makes a great comedian. You made the safe, sponsored version of laughter the norm. You’re so afraid to really laugh in front of other people, that you turned comedy from an anti-establishment weapon into a cottony security blanket.
Comedy stinks right now because of you. Because you’re afraid of your true feelings.
You probably don’t even know who this is.
Let’s take, as an example, one of these pusillanimous women that the media holds up as Queens of Comedy. You know the ones, I don’t have to name them. They’re all over glossy magazine covers at the checkout aisles, making “zany” faces to remind you they’re funny.
I need to do my job as a website manager and give you something you need, that you didn’t know you did. Don’t get spoiled, this won’t happen very often. But if I’m hurting, which I am now more than ever, it means that the rest of the world is hurting even more.
Long ago, in the Before Times, I was dating a woman with a very young daughter. I had not yet gelled as an artistic entity, and was in the process of learning that I’m really not cut out to be a father, even a surrogate one. This became apparent on two occasions. Both were attempts on my part to make a connection with a kid. Both failed hilariously.
The first was the purchase of a “children’s book”. I spent hours at Books-A-Million (down the block from Media Play) hunting for just the right one. It had to be colorful, clever, and not condescending. I refused to buy anything “kiddie”, on principle. It had to be something that enticed, thrilled, and sparked the imagination, like the books I read in my grade school library.
Last year, all I wanted to do was crack jokes about Hillary Clinton’s ever-smug face. Her daughter Chelsea, too. Throw in that awful Debbie Wasserman Shultz, and you’ve got a trifecta of ghoulish visages I was literally salivating to goof on. Caricature unflatteringly, at the least.
And I didn’t.
I didn’t make fun of the women at the Trump rally, either. I couldn’t; they were all attractive, and could possibly have shamed me as a man.
While the entire media industry decided to make fun of Donald Trump’s face, like a bus full of second-graders, I didn’t stoop to their level. And oh, they had a field day. They’re still doodling him as an anus, or a Cheeto. I’ve seen that illustration of Trump as a shit-spattered baby so many times I could forge it from memory.
If I could go back in time 20 years, and tell my 24-year-old self that I’d be signing my own comics at Criminal Records in Atlanta’s Little 5 Points, I wouldn’t believe it. Mostly because at 24 I was incredulous about the feasibility of time travel.
Three years ago, in jail, more than one dude told me I looked like Bruno Mars. I don’t see it.
I’ve guested at comic conventions before, but this was Criminal Records. They’ve had an almost mythical status since the 1990s, and their old location (it’s now Stratosphere Skateboards, another local business I highly recommend), which I visited often even before I lived here. It had cartoons drawn on the walls by Skip Williamson, Evan Dorkin and Bob Burden, just to name a few. I want to say Patty Leidy was up there too, but I’m going on memory here. Continue reading →