I always like to tell audiences… pre-program, just in case you’re brought here by a friend. Sometimes friends lead us astray. I had two very close friends. My parents invite me to go see a film. I said, “Of course I’ll go see that movie with you, because you love me. Why on earth would you want to see me suffer?” And then I sat through Steven Spielberg’s War Horse, which, if you haven’t seen, as far as I’m concerned, is a 14-hour, real-time documentary about a gentle horse struggling in vain to escape from barbed wire. This may be your war horse. If that’s the case, do as I did. Take a lap outside. Get yourself a treat. There’s probably a CVS or a Rite Aid selling ice cream… nearby because you’re a good friend. You took a risk. And in fact, your relationship has only grown deeper, because now you know you have different senses of humor when it comes to certain types of stand-up comedy. Oh! What a stinging broth intimacy can be. That’s who you are. That’s it. Did you know that on Netflix, it is possible to run out of genocide documentaries? And I’ve got to fill my queue with something. How else am I gonna feel that contentment that comes from the perception I’m not about to kill millions of people, nor are millions of people about to kill me? My queue kept suggesting a reality show called Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, which is a show wherein young ladies pick out gowns for their nuptials. And it’s very similar to a genocide documentary, in that no one is learning from history! It’s my day, it’s the most important day in a woman’s life. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. I just want a pretty dress. Bigger than the other dresses. Bigger than the other dresses. Yep. I just got married last year. Uh… As an older bride. What is that, a specter from the attic? And, uh… The thing is, what you might ask, is… Whoa. The reason it happened was I had an epiphany. I was so sick of myself asking that question of people in relationships: “How did you guys meet? Did your hands come together by accident in a garden?” And what do people in relationships always say? They always say, “Um, well, we just met and we genuinely liked each other, and, you know, there’s ups and downs. We like each other, so we stay together.” Oh. Oh, I’m sorry if you’re bored with your miracle! And it seems like to me romance takes a lot more than that. Like, you gotta want it, but no. Be available. Too busy. He’s the one. But that’s the deal breaker. The odds of falling in love with the perfect person at the perfect time are about the odds of, I don’t know, being discovered in Hollywood. Wait a minute. I asked a similarly desperate question for many years, which was, how do you make it in show business? Do you move to San Diego and disguise yourself as a bush? Moving slowly northward beneath the cover of dusk? And what do famous people always say? They always say, “Well, do you enjoy doing it?” Great. Good. Isn’t it fun, yeah, just keep doing it. Just keep it doing, you know, and, um… if you don’t enjoy it, please, you know, stop. But no one can ever take that away from you. You get to do it, and it’s a privilege. And just, you know, pretty soon you’ve been doing it a long time, you go, whoa this, this is what I do. This is what I’ve done with my life. Best of luck. Which is profoundly true. Is that what a relationship is? Is it just continuing to show up without any guarantee? I can do that! I didn’t realize there’d be ambiguity, doubt, confusion, or at least the amount that there is in a job. ‘Cause people always say, once you’ve been doing something a long time, they say, “I bet you always knew you wanted to be a comedian.” I did not want to do this show today. You guys know that. And, uh… that means me and my boo-boo, me and my snuggle man, me and my Mr. Handsome Face Turkey Butt, have a chance, because we’ve had our high times. Oh, God, when you’re starting out real cocky. Oh, our kissing is so hot, it should be on TV. La, la, la, la… And then you get the craftsmanship stage. That’s when things take more effort. That’s when I get a poor attitude, like in this job. I say, “I’d like to do an invulnerable impersonation of my mother, but I don’t wanna do it in front of a sports bar, where the Raisin Bran Bowl is playing and nobody’s listening.” Well, Princess Daffodil, that would be the whole fucking thing, so why don’t you learn to project above nine television sets and make some friends? And if you’re lucky in life, you get to have those dark times, the relationship equivalent of two weeks in Laughlin, Nevada. Bombing three shows a night for hundreds of silent, angry jet skiers. Laughing, crying, thinking, this is not at all what I wanted! But there’s always one strawberry toaster pastry left in the hallway vending machine. And you break it, and share it with the opener and the headliner. And you make it through another show. And that way you get days like today, where it all seems like it was meant to be. Happy anniversary to show business audience of over 20 years. I love you all far more deeply than the day we first met, and the fact that we all still have the free will to abandon each other at any given moment… makes it all the more compelling. I’m back, I came back! But I don’t, it’s my special, but I don’t want to come back, but I’m coming back! No, okay, okay. No, no! No! But what if I didn’t come back? But I did, I did. That’s full body peek-a-boo. Not a lot of comics who are doing that. Oh! You’re right. Um… I know.
I’m 46 years-old. Of course I’ve fallen in love many times before. It was always over 100% my fault, uh, that it didn’t work out, ’cause you know how it is. You fall in love with someone. You tell them, uh, that you love them, and then you share with them what you think is the single most horrifying fact about yourself. They’re gonna think it’s something else. But… For example, I would tell you, I love you so much. Heads up: mental illness runs in my family. If ever I start talking too fast about wanting to get in touch with the pope or some other ethical authority, you’re gonna wanna put me in a purple van, drive me to doggy day care ’cause I need to be boarded for the weekend. Some guys said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa.” Fair enough. And some guys were like, “Oh, okay.” And I rejected them. They shared with me their deepest secret, and one fantastic human being to share with me. Babe, I love you, and… I think you should know, my dad’s in the mafia. I’m not, but I do have a million in cash in case something goes down. He uses my Social Security number. He will probably try to use yours, but it’ll never be a problem.” What I said was, “Whoa, whoa, whoa.” What I could have said was, “I work in the entertainment industry. I am awash in filthy money!” The Disney Channel’s a front for Thai child prostitution. That’s an open secret. I’ve… I’ve paid in cash most nights with a gun on the table. I would be honored if your father used my Social, and at certain points in my life, it would have only raised my credit score. I had another, uh, handsome individual share with me, “Babe, a couple years back, I had a two-year, meth-fueled gay relationship, but then I got into Weight Watchers, and I gained back my confidence.” What I said, very judgmentally, was… “Whoa, whoa, whoa.” What I could have said was, “That sounds like fun!” Life is fucking hard. I hope you make up for it in points. And… if you want to talk about bizarre sexual behavior, I for a period of 15 years had a one night stand in a Hampton Inn or better up and down the I-35W corridor. They were always drunk, I was always stone-cold sober. It was planned, it was cyclical. Those are a few of the signs of a predator. Nobody’s perfect. Let’s work this out! So when my scrumptious beloved… explained to me that at the age of 52 he is not, in fact, a virgin, and I had always dreamed of having a clean boy… but he is a filthy little monkey. And he was okay with me. He said, “I know sometimes women who are post-menopausal… Um, well, anyways, if you go to the psych ward, they don’t let you have sharp stuff. And if-if you grew a beard, I’d come in and I’d shave your beard.” That’s about the most romantic thing I ever did hear tell!
Merch! Merch! Anybody? Hi. Uh, you interested in some merch? Uh, we take, uh, cash, we take credit cards. We, uh, take barter. Um, that’s a safe dating card. It takes you through the stages of dating, all the way through rape and domestic violence. You don’t have any CDs or anything? Uh, I do not sell any CDs of my stand-up comedy. I know… I bought this already, because it’s my own merch, but wouldn’t I be interested in having a little more? Hmm? ‘Cause what if I gave this one away? The signature, I’m hiding hat. And then I would need another. These are perfect for the athletic in you. Jesus Christ! Um, this is an XXL. You think, that would be too big on me, but is it not just maybe perfect? The perfect size. If you want a conversation starter, you know, and you say, okay, I wanna wear a big short that’s gonna make people ask questions, but then also acknowledge my limitations as a personality, so that, when you abruptly walk away, look down, they’re not surprised. “Oh, do you wanna be happy?” “Yes.” “Do you wanna be a success?” “Yes.” “Do you wanna buy merch?” “Yes!” I just tricked you there. It’s a pancake stress squeezer, um, and then it reads, which is very true, “Meds are more effective.” More merch available pencil. I already want 100. Wait a minute, I bought 100!
My husband has noticed, uh, something about me. I like to tear open packages of food, take caps partially off beverages, and then leave them out and around, and he said very kindly, very sweetly, “Why?” I explained, because I am raccoon. I need to get in there, okay, get what’s good, be on my way. Oh, but what if you get sick, you know, because sometimes it can go bad? You’ll fall ill. Were you not listening when I just mentioned that I am raccoon? I can digest ceiling tile. I just need to fill this up, get back to the river with my friends. Did you just bring an old salad to bed? It’s nighttime, I’m awake! Um, uh… We do not know what we’re doing, uh, so we go see a therapist, and we don’t know if it’s helping, but we have written a song about her. Scott freaked out ’cause I locked him in the garage by accident for two hours, and he’s like, “Oh, my God, I’m with somebody who didn’t even notice I’m not there!” And he told Cheryl Hirsham, and she kind of giggled, and then he felt irritated and felt unsafe. And then we all laughed. I freaked out ’cause Scott peed in the backyard, and I’m like, “Oh, my God, are we going Grey Gardens here, gonna start collecting wet newspaper and cat food?” And I told Cheryl Hirsham, and she said, “Sometimes my son pees in the backyard, and it helps scare away the deer.” That you can tell she sets in hot rollers ’cause she fucking cares about herself! And she has this Thomas Kinkade painting, I don’t know if you’ve seen it, it’s Christian painter, painter of light, a lot of… Anyways, uh, don’t judge her for it. And then she has this magazine in her lobby called Bi-Polar Magazine. Nineteen copies of the same issue. I said, “Hey, can I have one of those?” And she said, “No.” Every time we go to see Cheryl Hirsham, we can’t remember the code to get in. Is it 4-0-0-2? Wait, is it 2-0-0-4? I thought you wrote it down! You put it in your phone! I didn’t bring my phone because I thought we’re supposed to be more mindful of our time together and be off social media! It’s your fault! No, it’s your fault! Wait, wait. It’s our fault. We did all this together. We’re a team!
It is so hard to love people nowadays. Uh… There is too much to keep track of. “Oh, you didn’t like my Facebook event.” I’m fucking here! You want me to Hellen Keller a thumbs up into your palm? And, uh, I love my father. I was painting him a ceramic dog bank at Color Me Mine, and of course I wanted to create something meaningful that would last forever. The plan was garishly splatter an already extremely unattractive ceramic dog bank to get the following reaction: Joel, do we have to keep this thing from Maria in the center of the living room? Marilyn! It’s a gift from our youngest daughter, and it deserves a place of honor. Oh, I just can’t stand it. I can’t stand it. Marilyn! I’m putting it in the basement. Marilyn, I get to have one goddamn thing in this house that’s mine! Are you keeping money in here? It’s my money, Marilyn. That’s a savory piece of gristle those two kids can tug back and forth over the course of their golden years. But you know how it is. You are creating something, you start out strong, but then you’re working on a Spicy V8 and you start to lose focus. And, uh, I ended up barely covering the dog in one color, brown, and shoving it into the kiln. I left sick with anger at myself. I said, “Is that all I have for my father? An unobtrusive tchotchke?” Maria! She hates it. It worked out exactly as you planned! Yeah, and I bought a China cat to sit opposite of it so there’s a real nice tension. And he’s not putting money in there, ’cause he says he can’t trust me. But when she’s looking, I put my lips to its slot and I whisper my wishes. I got secrets, Marilyn. Your mother’s been opening my mail for 45 years, which is a federal offense. I opened a birthday card from your sister. Are you hiding something? I don’t know, Marilyn. You read it. Am I? You say that you love people. I say that I love my nieces and nephews, but is that what I say when once a year I FedEx them a box of wigs? Does that… one act really make up for the fact that I never make eye contact and I am still not clear on their names? Hey, Coltnol. Oh, where are all the, the taller shadows?
I have a dear friend who I know still has a flip phone, yet I continue to send her emojis of eggplants, basketballs, pieces of pizza, knowing that all she sees are squares! I need to find a way to show people how much I love them despite all my words and actions. Here’s what I’ve come up with. What’s more constant, loving, and eternal than the Internet? You make… a three-second gif saying how you feel. I care, I care, I care, I care, I care. That way, you’re covered. That’s like a flame that never goes out. That’s like that candle outside the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, like, yeah, we can’t remember who’s all stacked up back here, but we got this still going. Whenever I walk past a cemetery, I like to say, “What happened?” Wow. That way, the next time you let somebody down like I’m letting you guys down right now, there are not nearly enough punch lines per second. Jesus, what is this, a speech? Yeah, and then after the show she gives these shoulder-based hugs. Does she even give a shit? Well, why don’t you click on my… my new Snapchat story? I love you, but I have glasses and a big mustache. Rainbow vomit. I love you. Glasses, mustache, rainbow vomit. I love you. Glasses, mustache, rainbow vomit. I have a friend who’s always trying to get me to do stuff. You want to go horseback riding? What is it? You go on a dusty trail with two lesbians who used to be a couple, but now they run a small business together. And horses bite. Okay, I’ll go once, but I’m gonna have to cry all the way there, and I’m gonna need a Dairy Queen peanut buster parfait on the way back. And that’s hot fudge, peanuts, ice cream, hot fudge, peanuts, ice cream, hot fudge, peanuts, ice cream, whip cream, cherry topper. And what I do is I go for the eye, ’cause it takes the fight right out of it! Do you wanna go swing dancing? Are people still doing that? The war is over! There’s plenty of pantyhose for everyone. It’s every Sunday from 2:00 to 4:00, just when you don’t wanna do anything. And it’s side, side, back step, side, side. I’ll go for three years, but that is it! Turns out it’s pretty fun. Do you wanna go to a fitness boot camp? It’s every day at 6:00 a.m. ’cause they’re making us into a shape, and you run and there’s no game element to distract you from the fact that you keep running and running. Here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna go for five days. Day five, Tanya, and I know it’s gonna be Tanya, is gonna say, “Come on, Maria! I wanna see you push it!” And I am never gonna go again. But will you forget to cancel the automatic debit coming from your checking account and pay for it for the next year and a half? Of course I will. I love you so much. Uh, I’m not very good with chit-chat. Uh, I like a structured communication, a la stand-up, you know? I like a hard out. You know, chit, chat, chit, chat. Ugh. Chit chat… Where are we going with this?
There is a guy at my dog park who does not have a dog. And, um… You’re a very beautiful woman. Hmm, keep it coming. Turns out I do have all day. Uh, Howard’s 85 years-old and he used to be a dog trainer. You know, these dogs you have, they don’t know the difference between good and bad the same way people don’t know the difference between good and bad. The happiest days of my life, I was five years old, I was riding on my father’s shoulders, Times Square, end of World War II, V-Day. The war was over, but… you know, at that same moment the atomic bomb was being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where millions died. So was it good or was it bad? Okay, this makes much more sense than clicker training. We will sit, and we will stay, which is not a problem for our family, because, uh, everyone’s brought in a wagon. We’ve got two elderly, overweight pugs. Nobody walks. Uh, just out to get some air. And, you know, Howard’s trying to get me to teach the dogs something. You gotta give them consequences. Howard, we’re keeping them alive. Uh… Is that not cruelty enough? Well, you know, if I asked you, hey, would you raise your right hand for me, you’d say, fuck you, Howard. I don’t know you. Oh, sounds like you do know me. But if I dug you underground, put you underground for six months, no light, no sound, no human contact, and then I brought you back up and I said, “Now, will you raise your right hand for me? You’re gonna raise your right hand. Point of order.
Our, uh… Our family, I don’t know if you’ve been there, but you know when you fucked up in life in a major way, and you look around and you think, I have just enough people who love me. Even if I continued to fuck up in kind of a major way on a regular basis, I’m still gonna get treats. Why strive for some imaginary standard of behavior? Even if some of us, and I’m not gonna say who… It’s me! Shit on the carpet, sometimes three times a day, I can’t make it to the toity, Papa’s still gonna helicopter us into the-the bed for snuggles. We had a great dog named Trixie. We called her Trixie ’cause she could do so many tricks. Jesus Christ, we’re not idiots, Howard! Of course her name was Trixie ’cause she’d… Sadly, Shaq is always a Rottweiler in a Lakers jersey. Pancake is a white, overweight guinea pig. These things remain true over time! She was a great dog. The only problem was she couldn’t stop licking herself, touching herself. With us guys, it’s one and done, but with you ladies there’s no reason to stop, you know? And, uh, we would throw tennis balls at us, spray orange juice in her face. We got her this buzzer collar. That just made it worse. Yeah, our, uh, Betty, our pug Betty, she, uh, she loops her leg around Arnold’s head and forces him into a position of cunnilingus… for hours. Uh, we call it The Cherry Picker. That’s when I think our animals have so much to teach us. All right. Okay, merch door open, open! Come on in! Uh… I’m changing into a more professional voice so that you’ll feel more comfortable exchanging money and credit. Hey, come on by. Uh… We have the T-shirt, uh, the one that I’m wearing, as well. All sorts of sizes. They run big because they are made in America. Uh, and they are, uh, union, union made. Everything else made in Indochina. Now these are, they’re such good quality. Uh, they’re fresh. It’s so easy to, it’s so easy… Okay, it’s not as easy as I thought. Um, I don’t want you to feel pressure to buy anything either. If you need that pen, you… You can have it. I can have it? Okay, okay!
I’ve lived in Los Angeles, uh, so long that I’ve become violently positive. I am aggressively optimistic. I was, um, talking to a lady in a shop, and she said, “I’ve always wanted to open a little boutique like this, but just like a gourmet deli!” Dude, it’s already started happening. You just, you say, “I am now a grocer. I am now purveying cookies, candies, cakes, cornucopias. I am now.” Yeah, I have two kids, a full-time job. That’d be pretty tough. I know it seems impossible, but it is insane how much the universe supports you! Pretty soon you’ll be like, oh, my God, there’s a warehouse. And then like somebody’s like, I’ve got a free crate of tuna you could have! And then… I’m your first customer. Hello! Is the beef fresh? This is so powerful if you act it out. Is the beef fresh? Is it fresh? Um… Is it fresh? Um, you know what? It’s actually, uh… Probably when I think about it, it was probably just something I was just saying. I probably wouldn’t necessarily want to get into retail. Open up your fucking shop! Make real every passing fancy! My beloved husband is, of course, bearing the brunt of this unsolicited support. We were talking about Diana Nyad. She swam from Cuba to Florida, a 1,000 miles, open water, without a shark cage. He said, “Oh, I could never do that!” I said, “Yes, you can!” Maria, she’s an Olympic swimmer. She attempted five times. She almost died twice. I’m not a good swimmer. I also really don’t want to do it. Why don’t you believe in yourself? We would just incrementally increase the time you spend in the tub! I-I’d nip you with washcloths to mimic the sting of the box jelly. I was wondering why I was getting so enraged when someone suggested there are limits, and, um, it is because I think I feel terribly guilty that all my dreams came true relatively easily about 15 years ago. I just wanted to be on television. It happened. I’d like to think that, that was a result of hard work. But if you know me at all, you know that I am sleepy and I cannot remember what you just told me. That leaves luck. Luck is just another of way of saying, some of us were born sliding into home plate. Uh, I was given a full ride scholarship through the age of 25 by an organization called The Bamfords! I was talking to a group of high school students, and none of us knew why I was there. Very confusing, not a little frightening. I was saying something extremely ill-advised, like, “You could do anything you set your mind to, turtles!” Kid in the back said, “Um, it’s not that easy.” As a final lesson for Career Day, if you could take one of my head shots from 1999 of which I ordered 1,000 on rush and have never needed them, and if you guys could toss those out, I can’t seem to. And as you say to yourself, “Huh? Who was that even? I don’t even want to be what she is. It’s like, she’s all shaky.” How does she even have a job? Just know what one individual managed to accomplish with a modicum of effort… and every possible advantage. “She’s like an old baby.” Yes! That is the perfect description of what I am. Very old, and baby-like. Was getting older. I am still getting older. Heard a colleague say, “Whoa, she’s really let herself go!” And I just felt elated. uh, ’cause that… is my plan. I’m going full Detroit, abandoning all infrastructure, letting my neural pathways grow slack with disuse. People used to come here. Oh! She’s so pretty. She’s… She’s so pretty in the moonlight. She’s just a little girl. But the disgust in that man’s voice, uh, you know, like, God, is it my civic duty? Do I need to keep myself looking tight, puffy, and wet… in order to not bring down the property value of the person I’m standing next to? And then I thought about Los Angeles. We have 100,000 people living on the streets. We need more of me. More places where you can take the emotional equivalent of a shopping cart full of dead car batteries and pull it up. I’m a very good place to squat. I cannot provide you any services, but… if you’re at a party, or you stand around, don’t feel welcome, come sit next to me. I can be a shelter from the storm. Uh, I like my job, but sometimes I lie about what I do, uh… because, uh, sometimes I say I’m a bookkeeper, you know? If I’m in a closed space. I wish I am. I do all my own Quicken and QuickBooks. I have also been audited by the IRS five times! Turns out they owed me $25! Ka-blam!
Uh… ‘Cause I may be eccentric, but I save my receipts in a bucket. And, um… the reason I say that, uh, I’m a bookkeeper is because one time I was on a flight from Los Angeles to New York, and a woman said, what do you do, what I did. And she went into a PTSD stream of consciousness traumatic monologue about the worst experience I’ve… The night… when my husband, we were in the front row of a comedy show, and the comedian, it was an hour and no, no laughs. He was bombing, and, you know what? We couldn’t leave. And it was so painful. It was… weird and… I will never go see stand-up comedy ever. Well, we apologize that you experienced that with our services. If there’s any way we can win back your business, in fact, I’d love to get your e-mail address and your birthday and set you up with 20 free tickets to a comedy show! As it turns out, for the most part, as you all know, comedy tickets are… free. I then very defensively asked her what she did for a living. She then explained that she was an employee of a little Canadian corporation called Cirque du Soleil as a fucking clown. Now I, of course, have dated a clown before. And I sat through six performances of a clown as a Christ figure. Crucified clown Christ. Red rubber nose, audience armed with water balloons, asked to fling them at said clown Christ while screaming, “Jew!” If you want to talk about the deep discomfort of the arts, dive in. I wish I had paid to see that show. But I was always on the guest list. Uh, I had to take a break from work ’cause, uh, I went mental. And, uh… my friend told me, hey, you’re talking a little too fast, having a lot of shit ideas. Uh, why don’t you get in my Ford Flex, and I’ll, uh, motor you over to the public storage. And, uh… I went into a psychiatric facility, which, if you haven’t been, uh, don’t feel bad if you go, and, uh… they’re uniformly awful. You’re not at the wrong one. They’re all bad, they’re all bad. Uh… It’s as if an art director came in and said, “Okay, I want to break five more chairs, and then we need… uh, at least three pieces taken out of every puzzle. And… the big screen TV, let’s have it playing Ultimate Fighting Championships at maximum volume, lose the remote.” They sat me down with the-the psych guy, and he said, you know, the usual questions. “Why are you here?” Oh, I have… explicit plans to kill myself. “Okay, great.” Uh, pretty common. “What, uh, are the circumstances?” Every moment is unbearable. “Uh, what kind of work do you do?” I’m a comedian. No response. Felt… so relieved. And he went back to his little laptop, um, and some music came out of it, and I was like, well that’s kind of weird. Uh, but I get it, uh… A lot of times, in the light booth right now actually I have a little, uh, Wimp video playing a baby tortoise trying to eat a raspberry. And it’s just so, when at work when I get bored, I have something to cheer me up. It doesn’t affect my performance at all. Um… He turned the laptop around, and he said, is this you? And I said, yes, clearly it’s me, with more make-up and better material. And, uh… he said, “I had to YouTube you because I was concerned that you were delusional.” Since when is it grandiose psychosis to claim that in any way you’re involved in the entertainment industry? It is simple courtesy to wait until someone has left the room to IMDb them. And it’s not like I said I was Richard Pryor. And had I claimed to be one of the finest comedians of our past century and been able to perform anything from his quintessential 1979 Long Beach stand-up special, or, perhaps, more weirdly, uh, been able to quote some of his lesser-known material about the difference between beating white women and black women. Uh, doesn’t age well. But the joke was on me, uh, because, uh, the psychiatrist then put me on a mood stabilizer whose primary side effects are cognitive, making it almost impossible to think or talk. Ho on! Or should I say, “Oh no.” Yeah. Seventy two hours later, you know how it is, you’ve gotta work. Oh, God, get back to work. I’m working on stuff. I’m really doing the inner work so I can get back and get, get back to work. I found myself in downtown Chicago, bleeding. I had lost all my identification and was making this noise. Ah. I called my mother and said, She… She said, “Honey, somehow, you know what? Somehow get to the airport, tell… Go to Delta Priority. Tell them you are gold medallion!” I did what my mother told me, and it turns out, uh, points is not a bad form of health-care. Got an upgrade. Uh… I was bleeding and crying, but a lot of leg room.
Merch for sale. Mer… Merch for… Merch for sale! Hi, guys. Selling, um, some items. I don’t want to force you into anything. Whatever’s within your budget. All the money goes, uh, to support uh, the psychiatric hospital that is in my hometown, Miller-Dwan. My mom’s stayed there and worked there. And this is a pencil that has hope on this side. There’s the words “Hope” so you can grind down “Hope”, very slowly. And at the bottom it says, “More merch available.” Look at that, that looks perfect on you. – It works. – You know what? It’s… Everything’s free. Everything’s free. I can’t, I can’t charge these people. Just take it, take it, take it. Take it. It’s-it’s all yours. And thank you for coming to the show. We’ve raised a dollar. Every dollar counts. That dollar might go towards a packet of graham crackers that, you know, they wouldn’t have had. I finally got back to work about a year and a half later, and everybody was really nice about it, uh, coming back. But I had one coworker say, “Hey, Bamford. Heard about what happened in Chicago. Oh, man. Jeez” Yeah, it wasn’t cool. I had to cancel-cancel like six shows. I-I still owe them a lot of money. I’m on, I’m on… a payment plan. Yeah, I’ve never bailed on a show. I had a temperature of 495 degrees. I was the temperature of a fully charred pork chop. But I did my 90-minute set, then I lost control of my bowels. That’s awesome, man. Good for you. I just wasn’t able to think or talk, and I thought that might not be as funny as I’d hoped. Yeah, comedy’s gotta be funny. And it’s gotta be funny to everybody, you know? If it’s not funny, it’s not comedy. And I test my shit out. I went to China this year. I was not welcome. I did not have a Visa. But I worked it out, and now I have a tight hour of chopstick impersonations. I do kitty cat, bunny, uh, walrus, llama. You know, I could do a ten city tour of the Gansu province if need be. That’s awesome, man. So you never get scared of performing outside of certain groups or anything? No, no. I just did a pop-up open mic at a live birth. You know, Mom’s distracted, but just to be there. You know, for baby’s first laugh.
And, uh, actually, somebody’s been using one of my closing bits that I use for younger crowds. And it really pissed me off, because I’ve been doing it since the early 90’s and I got tape on it. If you see anybody doing it, if you could tell them to cease and desist. It’s… Oh, shit, peek-a-boo is yours? Man. Yeah. You know, basically I decided to copyright the entire human experience. That’s awesome, man. I guess I just… I just don’t… I don’t have that ambition in me anymore. I don’t know if it’s the meds, but… Like even before tonight’s show, I stared into the reflection of my Diet Coke tallboy. And I said, “Hey, hey, hey, hey. Hey, kid. I wanna see 20 percent, if not five. ‘Cause you know what? So what? Who cares? It doesn’t even fucking matter.”
I was so scared of going into a psychiatric institution, I thought, what if somebody finds out? Uh, this is what happened if somebody finds out. I was in there, and, um, somebody came up and said, “Hi, I’m one of the therapists here. Um. I know you. Not personally, but we have a friend in common, Joe De La Rosa? He’s a comic out of New Jersey. He’s fantastic. He does The Laugh Factory, The Comedy Store. I’ve never seen you there. They’re great clubs. Have you ever tried to get in on there? ‘Cause it just seems like, there’s just great crowds. But, um… anyways, I just, I wanted to let you know that this is totally confidential, and I would never tell anyone.” Oh. I’m in a county-stamped gown and a pair of electric green gripper socks that are not my own. You tell whoever the fuck you want. Because all is lost. I had a dream come true, uh, which I-I couldn’t believe it. Show business came to my hometown of Duluth, Minnesota and said the kinds of things that show business does, things like, “This is amazing. Oh, my God. It’s like a little San Francisco here. It’s like a freshwater Monaco. Why have I never heard of this Duluth, Minnesota? We definitely have to shoot here. We want to use local talent, all local catering. Let’s start getting lists of people who may be interested in acting in a television series in the area. We’ll see you next month.” And then what happened… is nothing. And, uh… I was left… I told my mom, and she was, “Honey, but they came to supper twice, and they said that I was very talented and your father had a gift, and that… everyone at the lake could play a part.” Oh, Mother. We just need to go to each person and tell them they’ve actually had one of the most authentic show business experiences… you can have. Which… is being given the full ghost. Don’t know what ghosting is? That’s when someone declares their undying love for you, and then disappears off the face of the Earth. Can’t happen in a small town. The person will just say, “I see you over there.” I tried to explain to my mom that show business is like having a friend with a terrible drinking problem. I love her so much. She’s so much fun if you get her at right… The just… the right time of… “You’re the most beautiful. So, you’re my best friend. I love you, okay? Only you. It’s just me and you, okay? And literally loving you.” The next day, she may have forgotten about that of which we spoke. I’m sorry, I don’t know who you are. This is hot dogs, they’re for principal talent only. The background extras’ hot dogs are behind two warehouses and a semi that’s running. They are the same exact hot dogs. But they are 2,000 yards away behind a truck that’s on. We live next to a frat house and, uh… it’s just as funny as you think. One night, they were playing Sweet Home Alabama uh, about 3:30 a.m. Which I did not realize was still speaking to people. And… my husband pulled up his, uh, pajama pants, all the way up to his little beard. I put on my t-shirt nightgown with the long slit that I got in 1994 from the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport with the moose on it. And we went on over there and said, “Hey. You guys, we don’t have jobs, but come on.” “Oh, so sorry. You know, so sorry about the noise, you guys. Hey, come on, you guys. Let’s shut it down! We’re waking up the whole neighborhood. Hey, so sorry about this, you know? Normally, you know, we’re just like you guys, you know? We’re total nerds.” Wait, nobody said anything about nerds. “Yeah, but it’s our senior year, so we’re just really trying to enjoy our house.” Oh, we get it. Yeah, Scott’s 52 and I’m 46. This year we’re gonna do it. We’re gonna try anal. So if you hear any, “Yelps!” It’s just pleasure. We’re just trying to enjoy our house. We have a lot of sex. A lot of fudging and wedging and lotions and potions and unguents and poultices, jams and jellies. Custards, mustards, sauces, souses, and foam soups, smoothing milks. Hustle, bustle, hustle, bustle, hustle, bustle. Hammer, anvil, hammer, anvil, hammer, anvil! I have to say it, I used to look down on people with hobbies. And, uh… I was like, “What are you doing over there for no money? You getting any cash on the back end of this hiking deal? This walk to nowhere?” And then I looked down at what I was always doing very happily for fun and for free. I was always filling out a self-help manual of some kind. I have not changed discernibly in 25 years, which means I’ve been playing a very long, super fun game of emotional Sudoku. My husband and I got a board going at home. Your great-grandfather was a violent alcoholic who was in the army who beat his son, who was a violent alcoholic in the army who beat his son, who was a violent alcoholic in the marines who beat you. You’re not in the armed services at all. You don’t drink. But you have PTSD so bad that you think you can clench your buttocks and fly the plane. That part’s done. My great-grandmother had six kids and then could never leave her attic to raise them. My grandmother died in a fire of her own making. My mother has 15 grand in a secret savings account just in case next time she goes manic she wants to stay in a nice hotel. I have this thing called Vaginismus. Anytime something interesting gets near my vago, she slams shut! And I gotta convince her to flower open with juice and stories. All we need is, uh… two alcoholics, a suicide, and a Seven, and we could break for popcorn. It’s so much fun! Have you ever read the work of Dr. John and Judy Gottman? They’re family therapists. You-you watch for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in all of your relationships without criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. So let’s say your friend says, “Hey, look at that sailboat!” You say “Criticism.” That’s a stupid sailboat. Contempt.” You and your fucking sailboats! Fuck. Uh, defensiveness. I’m not into sailboats, I have nothing to do with sailboats! Stonewalling. And they gave us this magnet that looks like a piece of flooring, and you hand it to your partner when you’re done speaking and you say, now you have the floor. And… It costs $900. We got our pictures taken with their cardboard cutout ’cause they couldn’t be there. And they’ve… they’ve also gave us an acronym for love, which is, Letting Others Voluntarily Evolve. It was so fucking fun! Um, my husband and I do LARP. We Live Action Role Play… as our mothers. Hey, Linda. Listen, it’s Marilyn. I got myself a new purse with my Hilton Honors Points and I just, uh, I thought of you. Oh, Marilyn, I don’t need a purse. I got nothin’ to put in one. Nowhere to go. Well, Linda, you need to treat yourself. You raised four beautiful children through very difficult circumstances, and you… I had nothing to do with it. They had a horrible childhood. I’m amazed that they even survived. Well, you know, Linda, You know, the thing, kid, the thing, yeah. I… When… I… You never worked a day in your life, Marilyn. I worked for 40 years as a nurse. I stood over men’s deathbeds as they begged for hand jobs with their dying breath. She actually says “Blowjobs”, but please don’t say that because it’s my mother. Well, I gotta tell you, once you give Maria a detail, you know? It’s kind of out of all of our hands. Uh… Linda, I get it, you know. My husband Joel, I’m a kept woman. He’s 75 years old, but he still has his appetites, you know? Sometimes I feel like I wear a diamond solitaire necklace like a yoke. Would you want to watch one of my hundreds of DVDs starring anything with Timothy Olyphant? We could have some chocolate-dipped strawberries from Shari’s Berries, still cold from the Internet. You can’t sit next to me. I don’t like people. Uh, listen, Linda. I’ll put my purse between us, and we can pretend we’re in Delta economy comfort. Give ourselves an upgrade. We deserve it. Sorry. Fine. So, it’s rude. This is more one-woman show territory. Apologies, apologies.
Okay, this is the scariest part of the show. I’m trying to believe in something, and, uh… I can’t, there’s something more, more bigger than myself, and I just, I just can’t, I can’t think of anything. And, um… But then I remember there’s this game that we used to play when we were kids, and it’s called One Big Blob. What happens: I’m it, you run away from me, frightened, afraid. I begin running after you, while chanting, one big blob! One big blob! One big blob! Eventually I end up catching one of you, and it’s gonna be you. I got you. Come on, take my hand, take my hand. And now we both have to begin chanting. One big blob! One big blob! Now you catch the person next to you. I know. One big blob! And then we start catching each other. Come on, you guys! It takes a long time, and a lot of effort. Come on, everybody! One big blob! Join hands. One big blob! One big blob! I’m gonna wait! One big blob! I don’t want to do it, either. One big blob! One big blob! One big blob! One big blob! I know it’s weird. One big blob! You can do it! One big blob! One big blob! One big blob! One big blob! That’s great. Okay, now… This is great. Isn’t it uncomfortable to be in the blob? It’s so awful! Your hands are sweaty. But you have to do it, and we gotta stay together because you have to catch the one outlier, probably that guy who’s going out the back door, the apparent winner, but is he? Because he’s alone. He is alone. And everyone must let themselves be caught because otherwise the game will never end, and it is a shit game. Everybody just wants to play soccer, a game of individual achievement and glory. So, um, anyways, if we could just blob it on a few things. Um… I could hang a religion on that. Anyways, that’s my, that’s what I love. Thank you so much for cooperating! That was amazing! That was fun! One big blob. I should have blobbed with you, Arnold. I should have blobbed with you. Thank you so much. Thank you! Thank you so much! Thank everybody on this flat, and on the balcony! Thank you so much. Thank you! I have one more song. Please have your seats, have your seats. I have one more song, and, um… I love music. And, you know, I’m not trained, uh, classically. But, uh… I’ve been working on some… Oh, those are just fart noises. Yes. Yes, they are. Oh, that’s not music. That’s what they said about Stravinsky, Philip Glass, the punks. If this is my song, how can I keep from singing? The harshest criticism… has come from fellow comics. Who said, “Jesus Christ, Maria. Aren’t you even writing anymore?” No. No, I am not. Hmm, I just wrote that. Do a serious face, serious face now. Yeah! That’s good stuff. He’s so fucking good at peek-a-boo, you guys.