Drew Michael: Red Blue Green (2021) | Transcript

Follows Drew Michael and his issues with relationships, social media, and comedy as therapy.
Drew Michael: Red Blue Green (2021)

(EMOTIONAL MUSIC PLAYING)

(MUSIC ENDS)

DREW MICHAEL: It’s nice to see you people. I have a hard time with people, so here we go.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Well, it’s always been hard for me to connect with people throughout my whole life, and I think there’s, you know, a lot of reasons for that. Um, I have a hearing loss that I’ve had since I was a kid. When I was three years old… I failed a hearing test. I took a hearing test and the doctor said, “You failed the hearing test.” Well, I didn’t know what he said, but…

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

…he said something, and my parents got upset, so I assumed I didn’t nail it, and… So he told my parents, he said, “This kid needs hearing aids.” And so instead of doing that, they didn’t. So we just…

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

…coasted until I was 21. I didn’t wear them till I was 21. I wore them for like a week when I was in fifth grade, but then this girl I had a crush on asked about them. She’s like, “What’s in your ear?” I was like, “Well, that’s the end of that forever.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

“So I’ll figure… I’ll figure it out.” It instilled this kinda sense of shame in me. You know, I took it as something was wrong with me. I put it on myself. I go, “I must be fucked up.” And then I’m like, “No, my doctor fucked up.” And then my friends were like, “No, dude, your parents, your parents fucked up.” And it’s like, “Oh, cool, well, add it to their tab.”

Like, I don’t know…

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

They got a long tab running, you know. Also, they got divorced when I was 12, which is, like, the most “fuck you” age you could possibly…

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Like, you guys weren’t, like, killing it when I was five. You couldn’t have done it then? You had to wait until I was 12? They did do the thing where they… This is a common thing I think parents do when they get divorced, they tell their kids… They told me, “It’s not your fault. Don’t worry, it’s not your fault.” It’s like, “Yeah, first of all, I wasn’t thinking that. Uh… I don’t know why you thought I thought it was on me. Have you seen you guys? Mom is cripplingly insecure, and Dad’s addicted to prostitutes. On what fucking world is this on me?”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

I didn’t have a good blueprint… for what a relationship should look like, so, you know, I’ve struggled accordingly. I’ve had issues in relationships. There’s other reasons for that, too. Like it can’t be a good thing… (CHUCKLES) It can’t be a good thing that the first… 2,000… sexual experiences of my life…

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

…were with a Dell computer. Like that can’t be…

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

It can’t be helping. It can’t be pushing me in the right direction on this pursuit of love and happiness that I’m on. Two thousand. That’s the number, by the way. I didn’t, like, write down a funny number for you. I counted.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

It’s literally 2,000, age 12 to 19 was exclusively that every single day. I bought a computer for my family with my bar mitzvah money, and then I fucked it for seven years straight.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING, APPLAUDING)

That’s how I began. That is the origin story to my sexual identity, just downloading sexist shit into my head. Then waltzing out into the world like, “Oh, yeah, I totally respect people.” How? How is that even possible? It’s so corrosive. That shit will rot your brain. And it’s certainly, for a young boy, like, it’s insane. Even now, it’s like… We like to pretend like it’s fine, but that’s only because we don’t have to acknowledge what it is that we’re doing. It’s like this virtual, wordless escapade. You never have to be accountable for what it is you’re doing. I think before… you’re allowed to click on a video… you should have to say the title out loud.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

How badly do you want this? I feel like most people are like, “I’m just gonna call my mom and reconnect… the person I need to be.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

And it’s bled in. Yeah, my relationship dynamics have always been somewhat turbulent. A lot of back and forth, break up, get back together kind of things. A lot of things that start really quickly. It’s like immediate intensity, you know? Because usually I feel like shit about myself and they feel like shit about themselves, and we come together and we’re like, “Well, we have each other. And we can do all this stuff! We can do all this stuff together now that we’re both here. We can rub each other’s heads. We can take naps together. We can, like, slow dance in the kitchen while we’re waiting for our cookies to finish baking.” How specific do you want me to get?

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

But then when I have all that stuff, I’m able to see, I’m like, “Oh, this is a very codependent relationship, this isn’t healthy. This isn’t the kind of thing I wanna be in long term. You’re not the person that’s right for me.” So I’ll be like, “Maybe we should break up.” But then they leave, they take all the stuff! I’m like, “I wanna break up with you, but you should love me still. Like, you should still give me all the things, just don’t ask me for anything.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Like, “I need you. Like, this is all built off of the back of you. Like, your love for me gave me the confidence to even feel like I could break up with you.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

“I never would’ve broken up with you if I was by myself.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

But it’s a self-esteem thing. I don’t feel… I don’t feel, like, good enough for the person that I… that would be right for me, you know? So, what if… I play this in my head. What it feels like I need to do is I need to find a girlfriend, uh, in order to be confident enough to be the type of person that I would need to be in order to attract the girl that I actually want to be with.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

On my own, I’m nothing, but in a relationship, I’m kind of a catch.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

(CHUCKLES) I feel like this is a common phenomenon, that love at first sight, that idea, it gets propagated. We all know what you mean by it, “love at first sight.” And it’s something that’s a really enchanting idea, you know? ‘Cause you’re like, you know, one minute you’re alone, the next minute you’ve found the one. It’s like, “What a… What a day.” (CHUCKLES)

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

What a day that would be. And so it’s so enticing, but I’ve seen… I’ve gone that route so many times, I know what’s on the back end of it, so it’s hard for me not to be cynical about it. Now when I hear people like, “We knew right away…” Did you? ‘Cause now anytime I hear someone say about their own relationship, “We knew right away,” all I hear is, “We were both abandoned as children.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

You knew right away? Your threshold for loving a person is you saw them once? That seems like a low bar to clear.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

I feel like maybe you can’t handle the anxiety of uncertainty, so you went from zero to 100 right away to skip over that prospect of rejection and the risk that they might not be who you imagine them to be. Am I close? Am I fucking close? -Like, I feel like that…

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

…is a more accurate characterization of what we’re talking about. If you’re drawn to somebody that quickly, that strongly, that intensely, that immediately, that’s not love. You probably have unresolved trauma.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

And the other person probably represents an embodiment of the trigger of that trauma, so you’re drawn to them in this misguided attempt to retroactively fix a fucked-up period in your past. That’s not love! Don’t call that love. Don’t rebrand that as love and make the rest of us feel bad. Don’t be out in the world like, “It was love at first sight.” Say something honest like, “It was ‘I felt the way I did when my dad left’ at first sight.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

I’ll believe that. I’ll believe that, yeah. “My husband’s face looks just like the back of my father’s head, so I chased it…”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

“…to now.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

You should not be chasing. Don’t chase. Love should not be chased. (GASPS) You shouldn’t have that, like, “Are we gonna make it?” (CHUCKLES) No!

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

If you’re wondering, no. You should not be chasing. Like in movies, like, to propagate this idea, “chase them,” and that rom-com fantasy of chasing someone to an airport. Chase a therapist to an airport. Like, don’t… Like, “Don’t leave, we have so much work to do!”

Like, that’s…

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

(CHUCKLES) No, ’cause movies have to show you… They can’t show you what love actually is. We don’t wanna see it. Love isn’t entertaining. They have to show some dramatic, conflicted version of love. They don’t… We don’t wanna see love, actual love. It’s beautiful. I’m not shitting on the sentiment. It’s an amazing thing between the two people. It’s not fun to watch. Think about a couple you know, maybe you are that couple, who are truly in love, in love, like, together, good, healthy. We don’t wanna watch that. Like, if you wanna…

If you…

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

If you watched a movie about a couple in love, you would just be on your couch watching a couple on their couch, watching a better movie.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING, APPLAUDING)

You’re like, “Why… What are they watching? I’ll just watch that. Why don’t we cut out… cut out the middleman? I don’t need…”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Oh, my God. That’s not what they show you. ‘Cause we don’t wanna see… We don’t wanna see healthy, good love. We wanna see, like, a manifestation of, like, our own internal dramas played out… for entertainment value. The problem is there are people out there, like when I was a kid, who are like empty canvases, who internalized that. And so it starts to skew their view of what love could be. Like, people who don’t have a healthy blueprint are gonna absorb that and take that in. You know, I was 12 years old when the movie Titanic came out, and that was, like, iconic love story. Like, here it is, epic love, cruelly interrupted by fate. And I look at that movie now, I’m like, “Wait, what were we rooting for here? What did we want to happen? For them to get to New York? They weren’t gonna make it as a couple.” What did we think? They’re 20 years old, they’ve known each other two days. I don’t know everything about relationships, but like, hey, maybe don’t marry the artist you fucked on a cruise.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING, APPLAUDING)

Maybe that’s not the move. Five minutes after you tried to kill yourself. Do you remember that’s how they met? She was trying to kill herself by jumping off the boat, and he was like, “Hey, I’m pretty hot. What if you didn’t do that?” And so…

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

That’s how they started. They knew right away. Like, that’s the thing, is like, what happens? How is that gonna play out? Even if they get to New York, what? -They have nothing in common.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

You know what I mean? Like, all they have is the excitement that they made it. That lasts, what? Six months, a year… two years, maybe? What happens five, ten years down the road? Just sittin’ there. He’s like, “So… you want me to draw you?” She’s like, “Fuck you!”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

“I was engaged to a billionaire. I had to sell that necklace to pay the heating bill. You haven’t sold a sketch in years, Jack. How’s that art gallery going, Jack?” He’s like, “Oh, come on. Remember when we danced -with the common folk?”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

Terrible. It would’ve been terrible. People are like, “Oh, it’s so sad what happened. If they didn’t hit the iceberg…” Fuck that! The iceberg is the hero of that movie. (AUDIENCE LAUGHING) It might’ve killed Jack, but it saved the rest of Rose’s life.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

I like movies, I do. I do. I don’t like movie culture, though, like Hollywood… like the culture surrounding it. And every time I get roped into watching an award show, I’m always reminded, like, who the fuck makes these things. It’s like, “Oh, my God.” You ever watch an award show? It’s like this shouldn’t be on television. This should be, like… like, in an underground cave at Bohemian Grove. Like, why is this in front of the public? ‘Cause they try to act like they’re down-to-earth. Every time an actor wins an award, they always give some… It’s not some, like, normal speech, it’s like a lofty, sociopolitical response to the moment. It’s like, “We need to find a way. There’s a lot of problems in the world. We need to find a way to come together and not let it divide us.” Like Meryl Streep, “We need to come together.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

“Find unity and strength, and break down the barriers that keep us apart. -And find strength and unity.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

“Come together as a globe, as a nation, as a people.” I’m always like, “Yeah, uh, you’re wearing a diamond dress from Givenchy.” Like, on what fucking planet are you part of “the people”?

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Like, what do you think? Like, if there was a true people’s revolution, like a people’s uprising, it’s gonna be your blood -splattered on the sidewalk.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

They’re not gonna spare you ’cause they liked Devil Wears Prada. They’re gonna rip your fucking head off, stick it on a stake, and sell that diamond dress to a cartel for machine guns.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

They’re not gonna be like, “Oh, get in the bunker. We love the nuance of your artistic choices. It was so brave of you, how you dared, oh, how you dared to be a middle-class character.” Like, “Oh, how you pretended to be a thing people are their entire lives. How did you do it? How did you prepare for the role?” And they’re always like, “Oh, I lived amongst plumbers -for eight months.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

“I lived how they lived. I ate how they ate.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

No, that’s it, you can’t. You can’t preach togetherness and unity when you’re that rich. You just can’t do it. You’re rich. You’re super rich. That’s why you got rich, is to get the fuck away from everybody.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

That’s what money is. Money is just an escape from people. That’s why we want it. Everything money does for you. Doesn’t even have to be a lot of money. You’d be like, “Ooh, I can afford an Uber.” What’s an Uber? That is a bus for one person.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING, APPLAUDING)

It’s like, “Yeah, I like the bus. I just wish there were no people on it and it only went where I want it to go.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

Yeah, you can do that. You gotta pay for it. You wanna join a gym, there’s different kinds of gyms, right? There’s a whole spectrum of gym options. There’s a ten-dollar-a-month gym on one end. Two-hundred-dollar-a-month gym on the other end. What’s the difference? Two-hundred-dollar-a-month gym, it’s nicer. It’s not 20 times nicer. It’s not like the ten-dollar-a-month gym, the walls are falling off, and you pick up the ten-pound weight and it’s 100 pounds. You’re like, “Oh, fuck this gym! The dumbbells are Gatorade bottles filled with rocks, this gym sucks.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

No, there’s still equipment there. The 200-dollar-a-month gym, you pay 200 dollars a month so you don’t have to look at people who can only afford ten dollars a month.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

That’s what you’re paying for. You wanna be able to do a pull-up without being reminded of the dark underbelly of capitalism.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

It’s a 190-dollar surcharge to not have to make eye contact with the consolation prize in this fucked-up game we’re all playing here. That’s what you’re paying for. That’s the premium. Everything money does for you just pushes you further and further away from everybody else. You wanna fly, you buy a plane ticket. First-class ticket, way more expensive. Why? There’s less people up there. They won’t tell you that. They’ll be like, “No, you get more space.” It’s like, yeah, motherfucker, space is just the absence of people.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

It’s not a new entity. Space is a euphemism for not anybody. “No, you get all this legroom.” Yeah, ’cause they’re no people in the way of where my legs are trying to go. We could all have legroom back here if we weren’t all back here.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

Now, could you imagine if two people in economy class were, like, fighting over the armrest, and some asshole from first class came back and was like, “Hey! We need to all work together. We need to find unity and strength as a flight. We’re all flight 348, after all.” Then they swoosh the curtain and go back to their apartment in the sky. How quickly before the back rows start bundling their plastic silverware together to storm the front?

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

Like, “No, no, we’re not trying to hijack the plane, we’re just trying to kill rows one through five. Take their hot towels and orange juice and spread it around.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

That’s the fantasy. Everyone fantasizes about what they would do when they get rich. You wanna get away from everybody. Nobody fantasizes about togetherness. Nobody’s like, “Oh, dude, if I got rich… (CHUCKLES) I would get so many roommates.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

“Oh, it’d be sick, we’d have like a dishes schedule.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

No, the fantasy is, “I’m gonna build a moat around my house. People aren’t gonna be able to ring my doorbell without swimming across a crocodile-laden river.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Fuck everybody. And I got nothing against rich people. You just can’t have it both ways. You can’t bridge class with a speech. You can’t have it all and then have this, like, faux empathy. Like, “Aww… it’s so sad, people don’t have any money.” It’s like, “Well, you seem to have it.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

“Try giving it away. You don’t have to have it.” And these phony causes, every Thanksgiving, one of them comes out with, like, “It’s so terrible what happened to the Native Americans.” It’s like, “Fucking, I don’t know, give ’em the land back.”

(AUDIENCE APPLAUDING, CHEERING)

(CHUCKLES SARCASTICALLY) “No.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

“We can’t do that. Where would we put the offices of DoorDash?”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

(CHUCKLES) I swear to God, these fucking… Like North America could be, like, falling into the ocean. We could all be killing each other over grain seeds and fresh water. These people would be like on Mars, -tweeting, “Stop the violence.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

“Love is stronger than hate.” And changing their profile picture to a blue circle to show they still care about Earth.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

Going on Jimmy Fallon to promote it, like, “Yeah, we’re changing our profile pictures to blue circles to raise Earth awareness.” Jimmy’s just like, “Oh, my God, it’s genius. Such a good idea.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

“Oh, my God, how’d you think of it? It’s so important. You’re doing such important work.” (LAUGHS SARCASTICALLY)

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

“Oh, my God, it’s…” (LAUGHS SARCASTICALLY)

(AUDIENCE APPLAUDING)

(LAUGHS SARCASTICALLY)

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Jimmy Fallon. I’m sorry, is there a more Guy Smiley, useless, puppet fuck of a person…

(AUDIENCE APPLAUDING, CHEERING)

…than Jimmy Fallon? Professional napkin. Like how the fuck?

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

(GIGGLES SARCASTICALLY) Dude, I used to think Leno said nothing. Fallon makes Leno look like Malcolm X.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

Like, “Oh, yeah.” (BABBLES INCOMPREHENSIBLY) I’ll never get asked to do the show, but…

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

(CHUCKLES) I… I would wanna do it just one time, just to be like, “Hey, Jimmy, what do you not like?”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

“What… Is there anything… Do you have a hard stance on fucking anything?”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

He’d be like, “Oh, my God, it’s such a cool take.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

(GIGGLES) “I don’t know, I… I just kinda float around. I have no discretion, yet I’m hugely influential. Culture’s a joke.” (LAUGHS MOCKINGLY)

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

“Every time I speak, I mean less to myself. I’m murdering my identity up here.” (LAUGHS SARCASTICALLY) “It’s genius.” (LAUGHS) Shut up! Shut the fuck up! Like you could literally… You could put a gun in his mouth and… (MIMICS GUNSHOT) …blow his head off and he’d be like, “Oh, my God, my brains are on the wall! It’s so cool!”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

“How’d you do that?” He’s a horror movie villain. You can’t kill him. His weapon is just effusive nothingness. He just keeps coming. (SCREECHES) “Come back! Don’t you wanna play truth or dare with Ariana Grande?” (LAUGHS SARCASTICALLY)

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING, APPLAUDING)

Nice. (SIGHS) Look, I just think if entertainment is gonna be this ubiquitous, it can’t be this devoid of humanity. It just can’t. It… You know, ’cause I grew up, entertainment was important to me. And so, you know, I looked to it for something, and to be that devoid of substance, it feels… insulting. The problem with entertainment is that it’s all made… by the same type of person. It’s made by entertainers. Right? So it’s like…

Entertainers are psychotic.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Like, just statistically. So, look at this room right now. Almost everybody in the room is sitting nicely, looking at this, and only one person is like, “Heh, heh, my thoughts.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

“My thoughts.” And after this is over, you’ll go home to your respectable lives. And I’ll try to find another place to do, “My thoughts.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

“Soon I’ll be full.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

So you have to consider the source, right? I think about that with all media. Social media, for example, like, you know… You look at like Twitter or something like that, it’s like… Like Twitter… Who’s on Twitter? It’s just… It’s only people who think it’s like a good idea -to be on Twitter. Like…

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

It’s not everybody. It pretends to be everybody, like, “Ooh, everyone’s mad.” You look at the trending topics, “Ooh, what’s everyone talking about?” It’s not. Most people aren’t on it. Eighty percent of the public doesn’t use it. Ninety percent, I think, doesn’t use it regularly. So, like, what’s trending? Like… Most people aren’t there, so what’s really trending is shutting the fuck up. Like, most people…

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Most people are doing that, but you can’t register that. You can’t show somebody not tweeting. Like you can’t… They should show how much we don’t tweet also. They should show like a tweet, and then you scroll through blank space for like seven hours.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

And then you come across another tweet. You’d be like, “This is a barren wasteland for lunatics.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Everyone on Twitter is somebody on Twitter. There’s an inherent insanity in the medium. Right? It’s the same reason I can’t trust Yelp.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Every time I look at Yelp, I read a Yelp review, I’m like, “Yeah, but this person wrote a Yelp review.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

“Why am I listening to a person who logged in to write three paragraphs on broccoli rabe?”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

Everyone on Yelp is someone on Yel… Every Yelp review starts with someone going, “I’m gonna write a Yelp review.” Like, fuck whoever that person is. But that’s everyone on Yelp. Everyone on Yelp is someone who uses Yelp. Everyone on Twitter is someone who uses Twitter. I want a social media site where the only way to use it is to not. Like, I don’t wanna hear the thoughts that you want me to think that you think. I wanna hear what you think. I wanna hear what you don’t even let yourself think you think. You know those thoughts? You ever have like a fucking crazy thought that bubbles up, and you push it away, you’re like, “Didn’t think it! Didn’t think it. Still a good person. Didn’t… ‘Cause I didn’t think it all the way. I didn’t finish the thought that I clearly started, so somehow that’s not me.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

I want those. I want you to cut open your heart and dump it into my brain. Intimacy is what I’m looking for. Which is not… I shouldn’t go to social media for intimacy, you can’t get it. You ever see someone try to be intimate on social media? -It’s fucking terrible.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

It doesn’t work. It never works, ’cause it doesn’t have the language for intimacy. ‘Cause intimacy is amorphous. It doesn’t come with a character limit, or a soundtrack, or filter, it’s just… (GRUNTS) The language of social media, is like, snark and division and attacks and clapbacks and, “Oh, that? Oh, clearly you don’t even know about this.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

That rises. That gets a lot of attention. But we’re all, like, fucked up, right? It’s like very confusing, and there’s a big market right now for certainty. Anyone who has an answer, even if it’s the wrong one, is in demand. That’s why you get this whole rash of people who garner these followings, ’cause they’re giving people a narrative. All these like, you know, podcast hosts, demagogue type, usually a white dude who’s like, “Hey, the media and the government are all lying to you, but you know who’s not?” (LAUGHS MOCKINGLY) “Me!”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

“Me, the guy trying to sell you CBD oil and sex toys every 30 minutes. I’m your beacon of truth. Wear me, listen to me.” This is collective narcissism. It’s changed the way we think, like the way we process our own language, like how we sound. I remember in the ’16 election, they were talking about the Rock maybe running for president, and I said that to a friend, I was like, “Yo, I heard the Rock might run for president.” My buddy was like, “Is the Rock a Democrat?” And I was like, “Dude, listen to the sentence…”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

“…that you just said. Is the Rock a Democrat? I don’t know. He’s a fake wrestling character. I don’t know where he stands on healthcare.” Is the Rock a Democrat? I don’t know. Did the Yellow Power Ranger support the war in Iraq? What the fuck are we talking about?

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING, APPLAUDING)

Where does Mickey Mouse stand on abortion? I don’t know. Is he a “second trimester or before” kind of mouse, or more like a hardline… (IN HIGH-PITCHED VOICE) “Life begins at conception, folks.” Like, I don’t know what Mickey thinks. Does Mickey think, or does he just do whatever the artist makes him do? Is there a consciousness in Mickey? Do any of us think, or are we just being guided by an unseen hand? Is thinking part of the illusion? Is Descartes a fraud? This is why I had to get off of Twitter. I existentially spiral. I lose who I am. I did, I deleted my Twitter a year ago. I still have Instagram because I’m stupid.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Instagram is… It’s like hell. It’s just like hell. You can download hell to your phone for free.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

It’s free. Hell is free. Instagram is just like, “Hey… uh, are you not feeling jealous today?”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

“Come hang out. Look, there’s a beer, some food you’ll never eat. Go fuck yourself. We hate you. We are trying to tear you down. We don’t give a fuck. Here’s places you’ll never go. Here’s a person that will never fuck you. Go fuck yourself. We hate you.” “We are manipulating your emotions, and then monitoring them so we can sell you shit. You want a bracelet? Yeah, we knew you would, motherfucker.” Literally. Literally! Literally. People are like, “What do those bracelets mean?” They mean I’m a fucking moron!

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

They mean I was depressed and got a targeted ad and thought these bracelets would turn it all around.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

That’s what they mean. “You are nothing. We have hollowed you out and emptied you and filled you with ourselves and the desire for more. You are powerless against it. This is a takeover. Didn’t happen the way it did in Terminator. It’s a lot more subtle, with more cat videos and 14-year-olds twerking. Is that a crime? Ha, ha. We’ll never tell you.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

I hate it. It makes me feel like shit. The only social media site that I like… is, uh, Venmo.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING, APPLAUDING)

That’s right. I like Venmo. Venmo’s a money transfer app, which everybody knows. But what not everybody knows is that on Venmo, there’s a feed, where you can like… tab over and you can see all of your friends’ and your contacts’ financial transactions, which should be illegal, but it’s there.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

It’s right there. And I like it because it’s honest. It’s the only honest social media site out there. Every other social media site is a projection of a version of yourself that you wish you were onto a canvas. Not Venmo. Venmo is the honest antidote to the horseshit of Instagram. Instagram makes you feel bad because you’re aware of your own fears and insecurities and preoccupations, but you’re not seeing anybody else’s. So you’re always gonna lean that way. So you see a picture on Instagram of, like, a couple…

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Maybe they’re on, like, a beach… looking at a gorgeous sunset. Maybe they’re eating a pizza.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

You look at this, you’re like, “What the fuck? What the fuck? The fuck is wrong with me? How come I’m not doing that shit, huh? Is there something wrong with me? Is there a hole here that everybody can see? Do I emanate darkness, do I repel love? Is there a limit to my emotional aptitude? Did my father’s genetics set that limit? Do I need to go back on antidepressants? What the fuck is going on inside of me that’s not leading me to that type of bliss? What do I have to do to get there?” But then you look at Venmo and it’s like, “Oh, no, dude, they split that pizza.”

(AUDIENCE CHEERING)

(APPLAUSE)

“I’m doing just fine.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

“I don’t need medication.” (CHUCKLES) It’s not a referendum on splitting stuff in a relationship. I think if you’re gonna split stuff, just don’t split the items. Go every other. Does that make sense? I’ll see that on Venmo. I go on Venmo, I’ll see, “Boyfriend sends girlfriend money for tacos.” I’m just, like, how the fuck do you go down on someone after you just sent them eight bucks?

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

(SCOFFS) “You’re just bitter, Drew, that you have no one to split stuff with.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

Yeah, I’m single. I’m 36… and single. I’m single and 36, which is fine. Uh, but it is almost not.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Like, it’s not bad yet, but bad is next.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

Bad is the next stop on this… train. A lot of my friends are married. And it’s cool to see. A lot of them are in, like, really great relationships, really healthy, good, loving relationships. And it’s really amazing to see. I go to their weddings, I really enjoy it. Seeing them come together, it’s a beautiful thing. And I hear a lot of the same things in the vows. There’s a common refrain in the vows, which is something about, like, you know, “I get to marry my best friend.” “I’m so lucky to have found my best friend.” “I never thought I would spend the rest of my life with my best friend.” And I hear that, I’m like, “That’s such a beautiful sentiment.” Like, the person you marry should feel… like your best friend. I’m in the back, I’m like, “Well, I’m 36, so who the fuck meets their best friend in their late thirties?”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Who’s out there like, “This is my best friend! We met when were 38!”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

“Tell him, Doug!”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

No, it doesn’t happen. They’re all having kids, too, starting families. My friends starting families, it’s beautiful to see. I don’t have my own family. I have, like, a family from which I’ve come. I don’t have…

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

…the next line on that. Like on a family tree, I’m just a node that ends.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

It’s just like, “Who’s that?” “That’s your great Uncle Drew, nobody loved him.” (AUDIENCE LAUGHING) Just a leaf on a twig. Just a Styrofoam ball with no toothpicks, if we’re using school project lingo.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

“Oh, cool, you got me a PlayStation for my birthday. I love you, Dad.” I just beat God of War for the fourth time.

(AUDIENCE MEMBER CHEERING)

It’s a good game.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

It’s not “hugging my smiling child” good.

(AUDIENCE LAUGH)

But the gameplay mechanics are pretty tight.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

I think part of the reason I don’t… have a family, well, at least what I used to tell myself, is that I do this. It’s something that I chose. I chose a different path. I remember I started doing stand-up when I was 22. I dropped out of school, and… at the time, my mother warned me. She said, “You know, it’s not very stable. You’re gonna be living hand-to-mouth, traveling a lot. You’re not gonna be able to settle down.” And she was right to an extent. But the problem was, she was telling this to a 22-year-old dude. Like the least likely candidate on Earth to settle down. I don’t know if you know any 22-year-old dudes, but they’re not technically people.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

Just unprocessed pain and skin. Like, that’s pretty much the identity there. So, 22, I’m hearing this, I’m like, “Settle down? What are you, a hundred? I don’t give a fuck. I’m going on the road, Mom. I’ma follow my dreams! Nobody is gonna stop me!” That was my attitude. Now I’m 36. Now I see the punchline. Now it’s like… (LAUGHS SARCASTICALLY) “Nobody is going to hug me as I die.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

(CHUCKLES SARCASTICALLY) Is that funny? I don’t know. I structured it as a joke. Does that make it funny? I don’t know. Does comedy have the ability to transform the emotional constitution of reality, or is it just adding a layer to an unfortunate event? I don’t know how the physics of comedy work. I used to tell myself that it was a sacrifice I was making. I was leaving that on the side to pursue this. And I used to look… It was very easy to make that argument, ’cause I used to look around and there were a lot of men who accomplished things that I considered to be great, whose personal life was kind of left by the wayside. And so it seemed to me as a necessary component. I remember in high school I learned about Isaac Newton. And Isaac Newton invented calculus. He also died a virgin.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Which begs the question, can you invent calculus while fucking people?

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

I don’t know. It’s never been done.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING, APPLAUDING)

A more modern example, Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs was an incredible innovator… uh, terrible father… right, which we know, it’s documented, but we also just knew.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

We knew. Every time we’d go into our pocket, if Steve Jobs were a good dad, we’d pull out a Samsung or a Motorola.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Every time you text someone and it shows up blue, that’s Steve Jobs not going to a piano recital -or a softball game.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

And I don’t think we have the right to judge him. Like, we are all glad he did it. Like, we encouraged that. As a society, we would all rather one girl grow up with a shitty dad than have to all of us use Windows. Are you out of your fucking mind? You want us all to click a Start button and run clunky .exe files just so one girl can open her gifts next to the guy who paid for them? Fuck that! She can get them from a nanny while the rest of us enjoy our… technological ecosystem seamlessly integrated.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

That’s what we encourage. We encourage it. True happiness has no societal value. We want productivity. Give us… Make something or shut up! Like, we don’t care. So there’s this incentive to do it. And it gets even more fucked up. Someone like Michael Jackson, who was this incredible popstar and a horrendous babysitter, you know, where it’s just like…

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

Yeah, it’s an easy one, but it’s fun. It’s fun, though. It’s so easy, but it’s so fun.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

No, but even that, like there’s such an instinct to defend these guys. Like my first instinct is to be like… see it from their side, because I think we’re such… we’re conditioned to like them on that level. So even with Michael, I was like… you know, there was a part of me… I watched that documentary about him, I was like, “Oh, that’s fucked up.” But there was a part of me that was like, “Yeah, but if not an eight-year-old boy, who was Michael Jackson supposed to date?”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

You know what I mean? What is he looking at, options-wise, that makes any sense at all? Somebody his age? He did that. He was married to Lisa Marie Presley, a grown woman, and that was weirder somehow.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

That was weirder. They made out on television. It was fucking weird. There was like an awards show presentation and at the end, they like did this kiss, it was just awful. Like, “Oh!” The whole world was just like, “Oh, my God.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

“Jesus, will somebody get this guy a kid?” -Like, “This is horrible.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

Because Michael Jackson with a kid, it upsets us morally, but it looks right.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Michael can’t date an adult. You wouldn’t set your friend up with him. (AUDIENCE CHUCKLING) Who’s he supposed to… What is he gonna do, go on like a blind date with a 35-year-old software developer? How’s that gonna go? “Hey, nice to meet you, Michael.” He’s like, “You wanna play tag? You’re it.” Like, come on.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

“Where are your…” “Tag? I thought we’d go to dinner.” “Dinner’s for dumb-dumbs. We can eat candy at my house and stay up as late as we want. Tee-hee!”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Michael can’t date an adult. I don’t even know what kind of adult would be into Michael. Like you wanna… you wanna fuck him? Listen to him sure, but, like, you wanna…

(IMITATES MICHAEL JACKSON) You wanna fuck that guy?

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

You wanna fuck him? “Here, doo-doo head.” You’re gonna fuck him? Dude, if you’re an adult and you wanna fuck Michael Jackson… you’re a pedophile.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING, APPLAUDING)

But you look at all these guys, you know, Michael Jackson, Isaac Newton, Steve Jobs, they were adored by the world but hated by the people closest to them. And I would imagine that you’d tell yourself that that’s a sacrifice… that you make, but… as I get older, I look at it differently. I don’t know if I look at it as a sacrifice anymore. Maybe… maybe not. Maybe… they just ran from responsibility into the arms of ambition. You know, maybe Apple and Pixar… are just built off the back of one man’s inability to be intimate with the people closest to him. Or with himself. And so it recasts my own path, where I’m like, maybe this isn’t a sacrifice. I’m not comparing myself to… Steve Jobs and… Isaac Newton, you know. It’s a matter of scale.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

But even in the comedy world, even the people that I looked up to… When I started, all the people that I looked up to, they’re all either, like, prematurely dead, utterly miserable, or, like, sex criminals. So… where is this headed?

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Where is this path going? Their greatness is predicated on their accomplishments, but we fail to recognize how they failed in their private moments. And I think that’s a masculine definition of greatness. Because, like, I don’t look at that as great anymore because they couldn’t confront who they were as a person. They couldn’t confront the emotional reality of their experience. That is greatness to me. To do that, that is a much greater thing. How great can something be if it’s built on avoidance? I think you have to… confront. And it’s scary. It’s a scary fucking thing to do. Like, I get it. It’s like totally scary for a lot of reasons. One, you can find out that the story you’ve been telling yourself about yourself isn’t true. You can find out that what you thought was like the harsh, brutal reality of yourself, you’re just resting on an easier narrative that could be subverted by something else. Like I used to tell myself stories about myself that have shifted over time. I used to tell myself this was a sacrifice. I used to tell myself that what I was doing up here was important, that it was fearless. That I was fearless for doing this. I had the balls to say shit that nobody else did. Things like that Michael Jackson joke, I’d be like, “That’s fearless. That’s a fearless fucking thing. You can get mad at me. That’s fearless. I’m willing to stand that down.” But as I get older, I’m like, “That’s not… I think it’s funny, but it’s not fearless.” Because my emotional experience is nowhere in there. I’m nowhere in that joke. I wasn’t molested, and I’m not a pedophile.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

That would be fearless.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

The most fearless pedophile joke you could tell is to be one and admit it publicly.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

No, worst-case scenario, worst-case scenario, the joke bombs and you don’t like it. You look at me, arms folded, shaking your head and say, “No.” Fortunately, that didn’t happen this evening, but it has happened. It could happen. You can get mad. You could think I suck. You could not like me. But, counterpoint… who are you?

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

I can barely see any of you, and I love none of you. So what is this power… that you hold over me? You’re not me. We are always our most terrifying audience. I believe that. That’s why it’s so funny when people say that, like, public speaking is the number one fear of people. They say, you hear that, “Public speaking is the number one fear of people.” It’s like, “Well, I’m sorry, was confronting yourself on an emotional level not on that questionnaire?” The fuck you talking about, public speaking? I’m public speaking right now. It’s fine. I’m public speaking as a way to avoid confronting myself on an emotional level.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING, APPLAUDING)

This is all. Like, up here it’s, like, “Dopamine!” And if I were at home, it’d be like… (SCREECHES) (SCREECHES) I have used this to avoid so many… I can’t tell you how many relationships I’ve been in where I’ve been like, “Oh, sorry, I can’t hang out with you tonight. I have to go do a show.” Or more specifically, “Sorry, I can’t be there on your birthday. I need to go do this bit about how all my relationships fall apart.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

It’s like just, “Do I need any of this?” And I think as men, we have this tendency to wanna process everything in our lives through, you know, intellect, or logic, or our thoughts, or our reason, things that we do, things that are tactile, and it’s like… you’re ignoring the entire emotional subset of your experience. And this idea that logic and emotions are separate, they’re not. Like your thoughts are not separate from how you feel. Your thoughts… Thoughts are just emotions in drag.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

It’s the same ecosystem. It’s hard to dive in… like that. Therapy’s a good way to do it. I think people… a lot of people need… They’re men… all men.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Yeah, I’m comfortable saying that. All men need to go to therapy for… 20 years. Like…

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING, APPLAUDING)

Roughly. (CHUCKLES) Sometimes guys get mad. They’re like, “Fuck you, I don’t need shit, you pandering pussy.” It’s like, “Hey. You do.”

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

“What was that?”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

Women need therapy too. But usually when a woman goes to therapy, it’s because a man in her life didn’t.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING, APPLAUDING)

I started going four times a week. It’s a program, it’s called psychoanalysis, and it’s, uh… The reason you go so often is so that you don’t have time to close up. Like, if you go once a week, you have all week to just close back up, so you stay open throughout the week so you can access parts of yourself that are much harder to access normally. And so it’s very emotional. It’s very exhausting. It’s very trying. I cry a lot. I sob… The other day, I sobbed for, like, 20 minutes straight. And this is how fucked up I am. As soon as I collected myself, my first thought was, “That shouldn’t count toward my time.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING) But that’s me trying to get out of that moment. Like that moment was hard to swallow, and so… joke, out, now we’re out of it. But I don’t think that’s how progress gets made. I think if you wanna make progress, you can’t take that left turn at a punchline. You have to go… You have to sit there and process it there. You have to go down. You have to take that Miss Frizzle Magic School Bus all the way. “We’re going to your emotional core!”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

“Look out your left window. Is that Mom going on a date instead of hanging out with you? Yes, it is.”

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

“Process it! Feel it!” You have to stay there, and leave it there. You can’t buy yourself out of the moment. Otherwise, the progress won’t get made. It’s very hard to do. And I’m up here and I, like, I want to bring you in. Like, that’s where this is going. Like I want… That’s the next step, is I want to bring you all to that place. But it’s hard because, like, I don’t know if there’s a show down there. But I wanna bring you in, but I feel conflicted. I feel like I can’t… I have to like… I feel like that’s how this works, is I go in, I mine my own life for sadness, and then I contort it into a balloon animal for you so you don’t feel ripped off.

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

I tried… to do that. I wrote… I wrote a joke… that tries to do that.

Why did the chicken…

(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)

…cross the road?

AUDIENCE: Why?

Because… he grew up… with an untreated hearing loss… which deprived him of a major sensory connection to the people around him, and it isolated him to the point of chronic torture. And his parents were too caught up in their own drama and insecurities to attend to it, so he processed it as though there was something inherently wrong with him. And his feelings are a threat to his relationships, so he just suffered in silence, feeling like he was 100 feet underwater, wondering why nobody was coming to save him. And then, he finally started wearing hearing aids, which created this insane sensation of being able to participate in a world that he didn’t understand. But because his self-worth was predicated on how special he felt, he realized that the trodden path didn’t appeal to him. So he would get high and watch stand-up comedy as a way to numb the agony of how lost he felt. And in doing so, he found a lot of connection with their points of view, and he thought, “Wow, if I could do that, people could connect to me like that.” So he decided to drop out of school and pursue stand-up comedy, and doing comedy made him feel better for a moment, but it never forced him to address any of the reasons he actually felt like shit. He so badly wanted to feel special and powerful to make up for how worthless he felt, so he would say all sorts of fucked-up things, onstage and off, as a way to separate himself. And a lot of it he stands by, but there are a lot of things he said that were flagrant and unnecessary and hurtful and racist and sexist and homophobic, all of which he justified under the guise of pushing the envelope, which he thought was an act of justified rebellion against some arbitrary authority. But too late, he learned that a lot of those boundaries are derived from real people’s feelings and experiences and he was essentially exploiting their actual pain and using it as a traffic cone to satisfy this story he was telling himself where he was a genius. And just because people laugh at something doesn’t inherently make it good. They could be just as emotionally immature or ignorant as the perspective in the joke, or they could be responding to joke structure and timing more than content. And then, one day…

(MELANCHOLY MUSIC PLAYING)

…all the world’s stages boarded up, so he sat alone in a room for a year, and he did nothing but talk to the walls and a therapist. And with no emotion to escape into, he slowly started breaking down the paradigm he’d constructed and moved into the feelings he was running from. And he discovered how badly he had been hurting his entire life, and what it actually is to hurt so badly. And he realized that there was not a single period of his life in which he was truly happy. And through that, he started to realize how much pain he had caused other people. He instantly regretted all the ways in which he’s needlessly made people feel like shit in order to protect his own conception of himself as strong. Then he wanted to disappear from the world entirely because he felt like such an incredibly bad person for having done these things. So his instinct was to beat himself up about it and tell himself what a horrible person he is, but he’s been shaming himself his entire life, and all these things he did were just ways to push people away and deprive himself of any meaningful connection, because of how badly he felt about himself, because it was too scary and painful to be open enough to connect to anyone else. So, while he hurt people, he was hurting no one more than himself, and he doesn’t want to do that anymore. He has worked so hard to clear out space within himself and feel safer in his own body and treat himself like a friend he loves as opposed to an enemy he hates, which means he no longer tolerates dynamics based on his own self-destruction, which has changed numerous relationships in his life, including the one with the art form that he loves. The fear has always been that if he makes peace with the subterranean feelings that drive all of this, he’d lose this piece of himself which has helped him survive and get to this point, a fear that he won’t be funny anymore, he won’t be special, he’ll just be, which has been an intolerable notion because he doesn’t feel like enough on his own. He’s only known how to exist by chasing, or thinking, or running, or fighting, or straining, or suffering, or striving, or analyzing, anxious energy which ultimately manifests the very same emptiness it’s borne out of. And it keeps him locked into one side of himself, but he’s making every effort to find a way to not give in to those anxieties and sit with the quiet inside of himself because he wants so badly to get to the other side.

(AUDIENCE APPLAUDING)

Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE CONTINUES)

Thank you.

(AUDIENCE CHEERING)

(MELANCHOLY MUSIC CONTINUES)

(“CARNIVAL” BY COREY LAITMAN PLAYING)

Well, I know

It’s all you can do

To put one foot

In front of the other

When the cold has got

Your bones

And there’s a virus

Hiding out in your brain

So if you’ve got to carve out

Your sterile spaces

And hide out inside

Those high up places

In the name of staying safe

And keeping sane

In this wind and this rain

Oh Funny thing, I’ve been

Watching you charm the crowd

They’re laying down

Their arms

Oh

They’re clapping out loud

Oh, but funny thing

You’ve grown so small

It’s hard to see you

There at all

Well, I know It’s all you can do

To put one foot

In front of the other

When the cold has got

Your bones

And there’s a virus

Hiding out in your brain

Oh

So if you’ve got to carve out

Your sterile spaces

And hide out inside

Those high up places

In the name of staying safe

And keeping sane

In this wind and this rain

Oh

(MUSIC CONCLUDES)

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