Anthony Jeselnik: Thoughts And Prayers (2015) – Full Transcript

There's no subject too dark as the comedian skewers taboos and riffs on national tragedies before pulling back the curtain on his provocative style

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, San Francisco. Thank you so much. So good to be here. People were surprised when I told ’em I was gonna tape my special in San Francisco. Said, “Why would you do that? That’s the most politically correct city in the world.” Not when I’m on stage, it’s not.

I love this place. One of my favorite cities to perform in. It’s a good place to hang out. Got to walk around a little bit today. Saw a baby. Saw a baby locked inside the back of a hot car. So it’s been a great day. Love that. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a monster. I tried to help the baby. Tried to throw a rock through the window. Window was down. Ruined that baby’s whole weekend. It was worth it.

I love San Francisco. One of my favorite things is how beautiful all the women are here. Yeah. Women in San Francisco are gorgeous. I say that despite what’s… going on in this crowd tonight. But you guys live here. You guys live here. You’ve seen ’em. I was in a bar last night, saw this beautiful woman. Like a supermodel. I walked up, I was like, “Hey, where you from? What do you do?” She goes, “Oh, me? I live here in San Francisco. I’m a brain surgeon.” I don’t know if this makes me sexist, but I was really impressed. You know? I mean… Most women… can’t pull off sarcasm. This is gonna be a good show. See, that joke, that joke is a test. To see if you guys are cool or not. That thing about the baby in the car, that’s just me clearing my throat. That joke’s the test. If you guys laugh at that joke, whole show goes great. You don’t laugh at that joke, whole show goes bad. And I’ve had shows go very, very bad. Doesn’t matter to me at all.

Now, this next joke, this next joke is a test to see how cool you are. I, uh… I used to have a son. Already some of you see where this is going, that’s good. That’s good. I used to have a little two-year-old son, but he died. The same way Eric Clapton’s son died. For inspiration. I’m not gonna lie, this is the best that joke has ever done. You guys kinda laughed, then started talking to each other for some reason. Then started clapping, that is amazing. Most people just boo me. But if you didn’t understand the joke… don’t worry. It’s a complicated joke, a lot of things you gotta know. That joke is like an onion. You’ve gotta know who Eric Clapton is. Not a given these days. You’ve gotta know about his kid. You gotta know how clumsy that little lad was. You gotta know about that terrible fucking song. And then you gotta think all that’s funny.

Now, I gotta get to know you guys a little bit. Starting with you for sure. I can tell you’re a big comedy fan and bat-shit insane. Did you just come from the fucking dentist or what? What is your name? – Peggy Jo. – Peggy. Peggy, what do you try to do? Not a lot, I’m disabled. You’re disabled? I know you’re disabled. Is this your husband with you? Okay. Sir, what do you do, so I can move the fuck on. – I’m an electrician. – You’re an electrician? Great. That’s an honorable job. That’s a good job to have. I’m sure you shock the shit out of her on a daily basis. Electrician. It’s a wonderful job. There’s a lot of bad jobs out there, I’ll tell you that right now. Lot of bad jobs. Hell, my Uncle John runs a summer camp for… kids about to get molested. I know, right? I know, it sounds awful. Sounds awful, but he loves it. He’s like… Says he’s never worked a day in his life. Doesn’t pay much, but the benefits…

Do you guys have any kids? How many? I have one, and he has two. Okay. You guys ever done that thing where you go online and see how many sex offenders live around you? Isn’t it crazy? Isn’t it way more than you’d think? You think it might be like one or two. No, it’s like chicken pox. I went online, 15 child molesters. Fifteen child molesters within five miles of my apartment. So, why do we always have to meet at my place? And if you’re wondering, “Anthony, this is great, but are all of these jokes gonna be about hurting children?” I don’t know, probably. Seems like something I would do.

I of course live in Los Angeles. I’ve got a nice place. Obviously. My brother’s been staying with me, which has been awful. My brother is crazy. Even my neighbors hate him. The other day I opened the door, I caught him masturbating. He looks me right in the eyes and goes, “Shut the door.” I said, “Get inside.” My family loves it when I put them in jokes. They love it. “Anthony, please, put me in your next joke.” “Are you sure? I’m gonna make you a pedophile.” “We don’t care. We wanna be part of this thing you’ve got going on.” So I wrote that joke, put my brother in. I’m in Chicago, where he lives. After the show, he comes backstage and I say, “Mikey, what’d you think about that new joke? Did you like the shout out?” And he gets all uncomfortable. He goes, “Well, crowd seemed to think it was funny… but I think it’s kinda weird that you got a joke where you wanna fuck me.” And I said, “What, Mikey? No! No, Mikey. You’re my brother. That’s a joke about you masturbating in front of my house.” And he goes, “Yeah, and then you’re like, ‘Get back inside.'” Just in case you guys are wondering whether my brother’s a fuckin’ idiot.

Yeah, I’ve got a nice place. Try to keep it nice. Not always successful. Like, I tried getting a puppy. Disaster. Had to get rid of that puppy. Had to get rid of that puppy almost immediately. The first time I left it home alone, the first time I left that puppy home alone, that damn thing tore my entire place apart, shit everywhere, and starved to death. Why are you mad? I’m the one who couldn’t get his money back. And this is traditionally where crowds really start to turn on me. After I kill a puppy with neglect. And it’s okay. It’s okay, you can get mad at me. You can hate me. You can hate me and still laugh at me. That’s how talented I am. And I’m used to it. I’m used to it.

I once dated a girl who punched me in the face as hard as she could. Once dated a girl, punched me right in the face as hard as she could. I didn’t do anything about it. I didn’t say anything about it. I just turned around and left the room. But in my head, in my head, all I was thinking was… “Now we’re even.” She was so mad. She got mad at me. She got mad at me ’cause I killed all of her plants. Killed every single one of her house plants. And she had told me. She said, “Anthony, I’m going out of town for two weeks. Give each one of these half a cup of water every other day.” But I’m a dude. All I heard was “two weeks” and “cheat on me.” Like my neighbors in L.A… My neighbors in L.A. have got this smokin’ hot 18-year-old daughter. I mean, she’s perfect. But she just got a tattoo of a butterfly over her chest. Which is horrible. Doesn’t she understand how dumb that’s gonna look some day, all stretched out over my lamp? Yeah, that’s a joke. That’s a joke where I’m a serial killer. I’m very open about it. Don’t you dare tighten up on me.

I hate sensitivity. I hate it. Even when little kids get sensitive, that makes me mad. I got a six-year-old nephew. I asked what he wants for his birthday. He said, “Uncle Anthony, I want you to get me a Barbie doll.” I said, “Fuck you.” “You six-year-old piece of shit.” And don’t get me wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care if he plays with dolls. He can wear dresses if he wants to. But I’m not getting him a Barbie doll. You see, Barbie dolls give little boys unrealistic expectations… …of how easy it’s gonna be to tear off a head. I won’t do it.

I get really mad when people get sensitive about comedy. If you’re sensitive about comedy, it’s the dumbest thing you can do. I call them the joke police. They always have one rule, one rule they have. You can’t make fun of this right now. After a couple years, they move on to something else, which is why it’s so hypocritical. Like the thing today, the thing right now you can’t make fun of, the thing that’s too sensitive at this moment? Trans-gendered people. See? You can’t do it. Can’t make fun of them. It’s too sensitive. In fact, you can’t even call them “chicks with dicks” anymore. No. No. You have to call them “men who talk too much.” Right? But I hear this all the time. People’ll be like, “Anthony, that was really funny. But, man, women must hate you. Women must come to your shows and hate the shit out of you.” And I always say, “No. No. Stupid women hate my shows.” “Stupid women hate my shows. Smart women… don’t come to my shows.” Speaking of which, what’s your name? – What? Kim. – Kim. – Kim, where you from? – San Jose. San Jose? Okay. What do you do, Kim? Um, I’m a branch manager. – Like for a bank? For a Pizza Hut? – No, for… What? What the fuck? Where’d you go to school? – UC Santa Cruz. – What’d you study? – Economics. – Economics? Okay. You ever gonna use that someday?

I had to go to Catholic school when I was a kid. Hated Catholic school. Hated Catholic school more than anything. The nuns were vicious. They would hit me with a ruler, slap me in the face. Anything to defend themselves. You guys loved the shit out of that one, huh? Hated school. When I was in the fifth grade, one of my classmates got cancer. Came down with the cancer. Which was sad. But the story is actually cool and inspiring. Every single guy… Every single guy in the school, we all… shaved our heads to make fun of him. Yeah. No, it was great. It was great, we did it for like a month. We would have kept doin’ it, but you know. You know how cancer gets.

You guys ever… You guys ever trace back your family history? Go back a couple generations in your family tree, find out embarrassing shit you wish you didn’t know? I traced my family tree back, found that I actually had family fighting on both sides in World War II. Humiliating. The piece-of-shit side of my family fought for the Nazi infantry in Germany, while the bad-ass Jeselniks were here in America spying for the Germans.

I assume everyone is drinking tonight? – Yeah! – Yeah! Whoo! That’s good. I love to drink. Love it. Do it all the time, every day, always have. I don’t know where it comes from either. Even my parents tell me, when I was just a little baby, I used to climb out of my crib every morning, and then crawl over to the liquor cabinet… to try to spend time with them.

I like San Francisco, so liberal. So liberal. Clap your hands here. Clap your hands if you own a gun. San Jose is in the house, huh? Not too bad. I once asked the crowd in Houston that question. They just started firing guns in the air. Didn’t even let me finish the question. I don’t own a gun. I’m against guns, to be honest. When I was a kid… When I was a kid, my parents had a gun. My parents said we had to have a gun. Gotta have a gun to protect the five children. Gotta have a gun to protect our five children. Of course, they eventually got rid of it… to protect their four children. I’m not gonna lie, it was fun while it lasted. I was getting pretty good towards the end.

Man, my parents were strict. Mom and dad were strict. My mom and dad once made me smoke an entire pack of cigarettes. An entire pack of cigarettes in one sitting. Just to teach me an important lesson about brand loyalty. I learned a lot from my parents. Especially my dad. Like, I’ll never forget… the first time I ever got a bad report card in school. First time I got a bad report card, I brought it home, I gave it to my dad and my dad beat me. Beat the hell out of me. But I learned something. Because the next time I got a bad report card in school, I brought it home and I gave it to my mom. Let her take the hit. Yeah.
My dad was a hard-ass. One of those guys who believed that men just learn by doing things. You know? You don’t take classes. You don’t read the instructions. You just do it and figure it out. Like, when I was a kid, I never got to take swimming lessons. No, my dad would pick me up and throw me in the water to teach himself CPR.
As a kid, my dad’s prized possession, my dad’s favorite thing in the world growing up? My dad was the proud owner of a Mickey Mantle rookie card. Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card, mint condition. Kept it between two little pieces of plastic. But I was a kid. I didn’t know any better. One day I took that card to school and I traded it to a classmate for a candy bar. You know what that card is worth today? My relationship with my father.
I mean it, my dad was no joke. My dad did not fuck around. My dad did not trust anybody. My dad did not trust anyone. In fact, he had a saying… but he wouldn’t tell me. What, too clever for you? That joke is fuckin’ amazing.

Last year was a sad year for my family. Last year, my mom should’ve been celebrating her 60th birthday. But because of drugs, alcohol and other terrible decisions, we all forgot. It was sad.
When I was a kid, I used to fantasize about getting older, growing up and having money, and buying my mom nice things for her birthday. When I was a kid, we were poor. So poor I remember, just so I could go to my senior prom, just so I could go to my senior prom, I had to sell my U.S. passport on the street. Sold my passport on the street for 300 bucks to get to go to my prom. Of course this was before 9/11 so… my bad, everybody. Weird joke to clap for, but sure. My mom actually should’ve been on one of the planes that crashed on 9/11. I think.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I loved my mother. She was my mom, of course I loved her. We fought a lot. My mom could be very racist. Very racist. And I do not tolerate racism. That’s ignorance and I hate that. When I was a kid, like nine years old, I’d come home after school. Once in a while, I’d bring a friend over to play with me at my house. Once in a while, I’d bring a black friend over. And when I did that, my mom would act weird. She’d pull me aside and say, “Anthony, who’s your new friend? Is he a drug dealer?” And I would say, “Shut up, Mom, that’s racist. Put your money away.”

I never get to see my family anymore, really. Most of them are in jail, to be honest. And we never talk, write letters or any of that shit. ‘Cause they’re all in jail for the exact same thing. My testimony.

You. – What’s your name? – Melissa. – Melissa, where you from? – Santa Clara. – What do you do? – I win things on the radio. – You win things on the radio? – Yeah. Follow-up question, how’d you get tickets to this? Let me ask you this. You ever, uh… you ever find a body in the woods? Ever do that? No? It’s okay. I have. I was walking through the woods one day and… some poor bastard had stepped in a bear trap or something. I never told anybody about it. But I went back there a week later, and he was dead. Yeah. I do crazy shit like that all the time. What can I say? I’m wacky.

The other night I was driving my car. I was driving my car and I ran over a deer… a dear, dear friend.

I’m torn constantly. At night, I do shows, but during the day, I’ve got a hobby. During the day, I go from town to town… and I shut down the local abortion clinic. You heard me. I shut down abortion clinics everywhere I go. It’s easy for me. I’m charming. I stand outside the front doors all day long and… consistently underbid them.

You guys mad about that one? It’s gonna get so much fuckin’ worse. Gotta talk to one more person. You, sir. What’s your name? – Allan. – Allan, where you from? – Frisco. – Frisco. I can tell you’re a local ’cause of how cool you are. What do you do, Frisco? – I fight fires. I fight fires. – You what? You’re a firefighter? Awesome. What do you wanna do? If you could do anything. If you could do any job in the world, what would your dream job be? – Travel the world. – Travel the world. It’s good to have a dream. I hope you go for it. It doesn’t sound like you’re even gonna get close. I think you should do it. Travel the world. Do it.
Everyone should try to live their dream, that’s my point. Everyone. I get to live my dream. I mean, not when I’m in San Francisco, but for the most part. Being a comedian was my dream. ‘Cause no one can tell me what to do. That’s all I cared about. Most people don’t ever try to live their dream. Lot of people try and they fail. Which I think is better, more noble, more respectable.
I had an uncle. All he ever dreamed about, cared about, talked about… wanted to become an astronaut. Fly into space one day. And he went for it. He went for it. And he failed. He blew it. Ended up becoming one of those pussies… …on the Space Shuttle Challenger. You guys remember that, right? I think it’s funny.

I think it’s funny how the things that happen to us when we’re kids end up staying with us for our entire lives. I got this little niece. When she was three years old, she almost drowned. And now to this day, even ten years later, she still will not go anywhere near me. Yeah, I was babysitting her… and trying to do laundry. And she accidentally fell into the washing machine. Thought I was quick. I got good reflexes. I thought I got her out before anyone would find out what happened, but nope. Turned everything pink.

You’re gonna find out a lot about yourselves on this next one. Hey, did you guys know… Did you guys know that when a newborn baby… when a newborn baby is first born, when it’s fresh out of the womb… it can actually hear and see everything around it… for up to ten seconds after it’s decapitated? Yeah. Yeah. I never know what to say. I never know what to say to someone after they’ve lost a baby. What do you say to someone after they’ve lost a baby? “Oh, I’m sorry for your loss”? Doesn’t cut it. “Are you gonna be okay?” Not even close. That’s why I just keep my mouth shut. Let my lawyer do the talking.

I’m not good with kids. That’s my point. That’s what this whole thing’s about. I’m not good with kids. Not gonna lie. Hell, a couple of months ago, I dropped my cousin’s baby. Flat-out dropped my cousin’s baby on the ground. But I don’t feel like that was my fault. I don’t feel responsible for that one, you know? Who in their right mind… who the hell in their right mind would ever ask me, Anthony Jeselnik, to be a pallbearer?

It’s okay, people hate… people hate dead baby jokes. They hate them. They hate them. It’s like, “Anthony, why do you have to tell dead baby jokes? Why do you have so many dead baby jokes?” “No one likes them, why do you insist?” Well, I’ll tell you why. Because dead baby jokes have made me rich.

And who was it? Who was it who said the first million is the hardest? Was it Hitler? Didn’t see that one coming, did you? That was a good response. Most audiences just pretend I didn’t say it. But I like it. I like making Hitler jokes. It’s cool for me. I enjoy it. Hell, I lost my grandfather. I lost my grandfather in the Holocaust Museum. It was the Holocaust Museum of Modern Art. Which is just like a normal Holocaust museum, except you walk around all day being like, “Oh! I should have thought of that.”

My grandmother died about a year ago. And I didn’t think anything could ever be worse than when my grandmother passed away. But I was wrong. It was fine. The hard part, the upsetting part… was that we thought she died in the way that she wanted. She wanted to die in the best way possible, like uh… You, radio winner. What’s the best way you can die? This is not a trick question. – In your sleep? – Yes, thank you. Thank you, everybody wants to die peacefully in their sleep. Not me. I want to be alert, awake, surrounded by friends, in a house fire. But my grandmother wanted to go peacefully in her sleep. We thought that’s how she went. We were all excited for her. But then we did an autopsy. Found out she actually died horribly, in the worst way possible. During an autopsy. It was fucked up. Yeah. Yeah. She always said her grandkids didn’t pay enough attention to her and… and she was right. She was dead on.

But I loved my grandma. Loved her very much. My grandma taught me about a lot. Taught me what religion is. Taught me everything you can know about religion, in one quick story. I’ll tell you now. When I graduated from high school… When I graduated, my grandma came to me, gave me a big hug, said, “Anthony, I’m so proud of you. You’re my first grandchild to get to go to college. What can I do for you, what can I give you before you go to college?” And I said, “Honestly, Grandma, all I need from you is money.” Yeah, I know you guys have never been, but college is expensive. And my grandma said, “Okay, Anthony, I understand.” Couple months go by. It’s the end of summer. I’m packing up my dad’s car, getting ready to go to school, and my grandma walks up. Says, “Anthony, here, before you leave, take this.” And she handed me a brand-new Bible. King James Version. And I said, “Thanks, Grandma, that’s exactly what we talked about.” I got in the car and I went off to school. Couple of weeks go by, I’m hanging out in my dorm room, having a good time, when the phone rings. It’s my grandma. “Anthony, just calling to see how college is going.” “Grandma, college is the best. I’m having the time of my life. But to be honest, I’m starting to run low on money, and I could use a little bit, like we talked about.” She said, “Okay, well let me ask you this: Have you been reading your Bible?” And I said, “Totally, Grandma, I’m on chapter four.” She said, “Okay, Anthony, I guess I’ll talk to you later.” Hung up the phone. Couple of months go by. Now I’m really starting to struggle financially. Might have to drop out of school, so I call my grandma in a panic. I say, “Please, it’s Anthony. I’m having the time of my life in college. But if I wanna graduate, and I do, I need you to send me some money like we talked about.” She said, “Anthony, let me ask you this: Have you been reading your Bible?” And I said, “Yes, Grandma! I wish it was longer!” And she said, “Okay, Anthony. I guess I’ll talk to you later.” Finally, it’s the end of the school year. I’ve got straight A’s, but I’m dropping out of college, ’cause I have no more money left. And I’m furious, close to tears, cleaning out my dorm room, when the phone rings. It’s my grandma. “Anthony, I heard you’re dropping out of school today. How come?” And I said, “You know goddamn well how come, Grandma! ‘Cause you wouldn’t give me any money.” She said, “Anthony, let me ask you this: Did you read your Bible?” And I just hung up the phone. I was so pissed off. Took everything out of that room. Last thing I took off the shelf, the last thing I took out of that room, was that Bible my grandma had given me. Took it off the shelf, held it in my hands, and for the first time, I actually opened it up. And on the very first page, in my grandmother’s handwriting, it said, “Fuck you.”

Thank you everyone. I hope you enjoyed the jokes I prepared for you tonight. And all the jokes I write, they’re all made up, they’re all fake, except for Eric Clapton and the Challenger. Everything else… everything else is fake. But everything I’m about to tell you, from here until the end of the show, that’s all true. Now… I don’t tell dark jokes because I’m a comedian. I’m a comedian because I tell dark jokes. I’m kind of fucked up, all right? I’ve always been this way. I can’t really help myself. It gets me into trouble a lot. I lose friends. It’s ruined relationships with people in my family. For instance, my grandmother actually did pass away, about six months ago. I did love her very much. She was a big fan of mine. And I was asked to speak at her funeral, which was a horrible mistake. Horrible mistake. No one should ever ask me to speak at anyone’s funeral. I asked a friend for advice. Was like, “I’ve never talked to a group of people without getting paid a lot of money. How should I handle this?” “Anthony, just go up there and tell a story. Find one moment about you and your grandma you can share with everybody. And don’t tell a joke. Try not to.” So I walked up and was like, “You know what my favorite memory was? When I was like four years old, before I learned to read, Grandma would curl up with me on the couch, she had this Southern accent, and she would read to me. She would read Mark Twain to me, and I loved it. Like… Mark Twain out of my grandma’s mouth, it would just come to life.” And then I couldn’t help myself. I said, “And I know my grandma loved it too, because it combined her two favorite things: spending time with her grandchildren, and using the ‘N’ word.” Now I promise you… I promise you… until you’ve heard your grandfather gasp at his own wife’s funeral… …at a Methodist Church in Vicksburg, Mississippi… you are not a real comedian. I am a real comedian. I am a pure comedian. I think I’m one of the best comedians of all time. But here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter if you believe me. It really doesn’t matter. The important thing is that I would pass a lie detector test. I like to test myself.

I like to test myself by joking about horrible things and nothing but. One of my favorite ways to test myself, I like to joke about tragedies the day that they happen. The day they happen. I don’t believe in too soon. I’m on a tight schedule. And I’m good at it. I’m good at it. Like, the day of… the day of the Aurora, Colorado Batman movie theater shooting. The day it happened, I went online, I went on Twitter, and I tweeted “Other than that, how was the movie?” Right? Right? Nailed it. Nailed it. And the reason I get away with that… the reason I get away with stuff like that is I’m just the guy who does it. People are used to it from me. It would be weird if I didn’t make a joke the day of a tragedy. Which is why I was very surprised when I got in a lot of trouble the day of the Boston Marathon. Now, I don’t follow the news regularly. But I know the second a tragedy happens because I get 25 text messages saying, “Don’t do it.” And whenever I see that… whenever I see that, it makes me sad. It makes me sad ’cause I know something horrible has happened. People will say, “Anthony, what’s funny about Aurora? What’s funny about the Boston Marathon? What’s funny about your grandmother’s funeral?” Nothing! Nothing is funny about those things. That’s where I come in. So I see these texts and I’m like, “Oh, no, what happened?” But I also think, “I’ve got a job to do.” So I go online, I start reading about it. I don’t want to watch the footage. But I’ll read about what happened. And I think, “How can I make someone laugh today?” And then I think, “I got it.” I go back on Twitter. And I tweet, “Guys, today, there are just some lines that should not be crossed.” “Especially the finish line.” And again, I think, “Nailed it. U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” But then my phone starts to ring. And it’s my boss. Or should I say my former boss. And they say, “Anthony, this is unacceptable. You are not just a comedian today. You’re also the host of your own TV show, with your name in the title, on our network. You take this joke down right now or you’re fired.” And I say, “Go fuck yourselves.” And I meant it. I didn’t get into comedy for money or fame. I know that sounds wrong, because I’m dripping with both. I only got into this business so that no one could tell me what to do. And they said… Sure. They said, “Well, Anthony, you don’t understand. You don’t understand at all. If you don’t take this joke down right now, if you don’t delete this joke right now, not only are you fired, but the entire cast and crew of your television show, about a hundred people, they’re also out of a job.” And I’m ashamed to tell you this. I’m embarrassed to admit it. But in that moment, I folded, and I deleted the joke. ‘Cause I’m happy to fight for what I believe in. I’m happy to take the consequences for what I’ve done. But what I could not do, cannot do, is walk up to my cameraman and say, “Hey, buddy, no work for you on Monday. I had this sweet tweet.” Couldn’t do it. But as soon as I hit delete, I got mad and I regretted it. I would fire every single one of those fucking assholes now, I’ll tell ya that. And I got mad for betraying myself and everything I believe in. I’m just as mad today as I was then. Just as mad. So mad, I had to have a meeting with the network, where they called me in for a little lecture. They’re like, “Anthony, we’re family. Why are you so upset? Can’t you see we did you a favor? Don’t you worry about your career?” Let me ask you, San Francisco, do I seem like I worry about my career? No. You know why people who win the lottery always end up going bankrupt? Because if they’re worried about their money, they wouldn’t have played the lottery in the first fuckin’ place. I do not worry about my career. And they said, “Anthony, the problem is when you make a joke on Twitter the day of a tragedy, it seems like you’re making fun of the victims, and that’s wrong.” But that’s not what I’m doing. Because, you see, the day of a tragedy, victims are not on Twitter. Am I wrong? Tell me I’m wrong. The day of a tragedy, victims have got victim shit to do. No one is ever… No one is ever putting on a tourniquet, asking, “Hey, are we trending?”

No. This is who I’m making fun of when I make a joke on Twitter the day of a tragedy. The people who see something horrible happen in the world and they run to the Internet. And they run to their social media, Facebook, Twitter, whatever they got. And they all write down the exact same thing: “My thoughts and prayers…” “My thoughts and prayers with the people in Aurora.” “My thoughts and prayers with the families in Boston.” Do you know what that’s worth? Fucking nothing. Fucking less than nothing. Less than nothing. You are not giving any of your time, your money or even your compassion. All you are doing, all you are doing, is saying, “Don’t forget about me today.” “Don’t forget about me.” “Lots of crazy distractions in the news, but don’t forget how sad I am.” Those people are worthless and they deserve to be made fun of. They’re like a wedding photographer who only takes selfies. You understand?

Now I’m sure everyone here has told a joke before where nobody laughed at it. It’s fine. It’s embarrassing, but it’s fun. You can laugh at yourself. It’s not a reason to stop telling jokes. Maybe some of you have told a joke before where someone got mad at you for it. Trust me, that’s fun too. You guys ever tell a joke and then get death threats? Well, I guess that’s what makes me me. On my television show, I once did a segment that aired once and only once, before it was banned, called “Shark Party.” All right? Now… Some of you enjoyed it, but if you’ve never seen “Shark Party,” you can never see “Shark Party.” It’s been wiped off the face of the earth by the powers that be, so I will explain it to you. I love sharks. I love sharks more than anything. People… People I can barely fucking tolerate. Every single year, 100 million sharks are killed by human beings. Every year, 20, 25 people killed by sharks? So when I hear about a shark attack, I’m like, “Fuck, yeah.” Win one for the home team. So as soon as I get this show where I can do what I want, I say, “You know what? I want to have a shark party. As soon as there’s a shark attack, we’re having a shark party.” And I get lucky. About a month into my run, this guy from New Zealand gets eaten by a great white, the champagne of sharks. And I know exactly what to do. I’ve already got the script written. I walk on stage, in front of the cameras. I say, “Ladies and gentlemen, this guy from New Zealand has been eaten by a great white shark. It’s time for a shark party.” Lights go down, music comes up. Six women wearing shark dresses come out on either side of me, and we all start dancing. For way too long. A stripper wearing a giant shark head runs out and gives me a lap dance. Very tasteful. And then I stand up and we show a giant picture of the guy who got eaten. Which, in retrospect, is where it all went wrong. But I get to say my favorite thing I’ve ever said on television: “Smile, you son of a bitch. Shark party.” And in America, where I’m famous for those types of shenanigans… everybody was like, “Anthony, that was fucked up.” “It was fucked up to see you dance.” End of controversy. However, in New Zealand, where they don’t get my show, they’ve never seen me, and frankly, they don’t get out much… the New Zealand media takes the video… and they show it to the guy’s family. And they say, “What do you guys think about this?” And they say, “Crikey,” or whatever the fuck they say over there. The point is, all of New Zealand, all of New Zealand rises up against me. All 45 of those cunts rise up. And start threatening my life. Now, I don’t read the things that people write about me on the Internet. But I pay people who do. And they come to me, and they’re like, “We’ve got some terrible news. Please sit down.” They say, “You are getting a lot of death threats online from New Zealand because of ‘Shark Party.'” And I was like, “Really? New Zealand wants to kill me? That’s weird because they didn’t even kill the shark.” I said, “How many death threats am I getting?” And they were like “Oh, all of them. You are getting all of the death threats. What do you want us to do? We can send someone to talk to them. Extra security? What do you want?” I said, “No, forget about it. Leave it alone, don’t worry.”

This might be hard for some to understand. I’ve said it several times tonight. Everyone is going to die. I know full well I am going to die. And most of us don’t get to choose how we check out. But if I die because someone murders me over one of my jokes? Best case scenario. If somebody murders me over one of my jokes, I immediately become a legend. I’m a comedy God. The Mount Rushmore of comedy is me, four times. I said, “Come on then.” My security guys are like, “Okay, Anthony, well, just so you know, that is the dumbest thing we’ve ever heard.” “But you’re the boss. Okay.” And they leave. And then the next day they come back. And they say “Anthony, sorry to bother you again. I know you didn’t care yesterday, but it’s gotten much worse. You’re gonna wanna hear this.” They say, “Someone from New Zealand tracked down your mom and dad’s phone number and address in Pittsburgh, posted that online… and now your entire family is getting death threats from New Zealand.” And I have to admit, that had never occurred to me before. It never crossed my mind… that my family, my loved ones, would ever pay the price, be caught in harm’s way, for something I’ve done or I’ve joked about. And honestly, I would cut my throat for my jokes. I would give my life for what I do. But if anyone, and I mean this for a fact, if anyone ever hurt my family or killed someone I cared about because of a joke I’ve made? Even better.


4 thoughts on “Anthony Jeselnik: Thoughts And Prayers (2015) – Full Transcript”

    1. Thomas Covenant

      So a joke about a guy who runs a camp for molesting kids is okay but a joke about a famous musician’s son falling to his death isn’t? Where are your priorities?

  1. They’re just jokes. It’s just syllables formed together. They’re just words. People are monsters, these are just words

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