Wicked one-liners and soul-baring confessions converge in this uniquely intimate stand-up special from "Chappelle's Show" co-creator Neal Brennan.
Neal Brennan: 3 Mics (2017)

[announcer] Ladies and gentlemen, Neal Brennan.

[cheers and applause]

Thank you. Thank you. I’m vegan, but I’m a hypocrite about it. Like, I wear leather and I eat meat. [audience laughing] The Internet is like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, except every adventure ends with me masturbating. The Little League World Series, or, as pedophiles call it, the World Series. Good to be here. We’re shooting for Netflix. Yeah. Here’s why I like Netflix, because Netflix… You get a rating on Netflix, one through five, but you know the person giving the rating is a certain class of person who can afford eight dollars a month. Or at least knows someone who can afford… Yeah, whereas… Which, a lot of these sites, like YouTube, you got people giving thumbs up, thumbs down, that are just not qualified. Because I was on YouTube… Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. ♪ Dun-dun-dun-duh Dun-dun-dun-duh ♪ The most famous song of all time. Ten thousand dislikes! On YouTube. I’m not kidding. That many people are, like, “Your music stinks, bro!” And I know music… I’m from Tampa. “Thumbs down!”

You guys seem young. Who’s under 25? A round of applause. Under 25. [cheering] Yeah, you guys are dorks. Let me explain why. You’re the first generation ever to have fewer sexual partners than their parents, you fucking dorks. And your parents grew up in the middle of AIDS and were still, like, “Fuck it, I can’t be stopped.” You’re dorks. Your drug of choice was Adderall. You know what that means? You did drugs to get better at school. You fucking dorks. You’re not having sex because you’re too busy online trying to get likes. You know how your parents got likes? By fucking people. Yeah. They’d fuck somebody. They’d be, like, “Do you like me?” “Yeah, I like you.” “Great, I just got a like.” If they told someone about you, and you had sex with that person, that was a retweet. If you’re under 25, you’re probably in school or just got out of school.

Student loan debt is fucking awful. How many people have student loan debt, by a round of applause?

[cheers and applause]

That’s so many people. College makes me insane. The fact that they charge one price at one college and another price at another college is so dumb. It’s not like you’re getting better facts, you know? It’s not like a community college history class, they’re gonna be, like, “Well, the Revolutionary War started immediately after the Boston Tea Party. At these prices, that’s all the information we’re willing to give you.” Yeah, I was lucky enough to have dropped out. Because I realized early on that these student loans are basically small business loans, and the business is you, and you’re maybe not such a great business. If they called them small business loans, no 18-year-old kid would ever get the loan. It’s a bad idea for a business. If you had to go to the bank, to the small business desk, and ask, “I’m gonna need $150,000.” They’d be, like, “What’s your business idea?” “Here’s the idea: For the next four years,” I’m going to get black-out drunk. But also… “I’m gonna get a degree in Sociology.”

[cheers and applause]

They’d be, like, “Get the fuck out of our bank.” You’re, like, “I will, but I did have a way to pay you guys back.” I was gonna give you $80 a month for the next 240 years.”

If you’re under 25, you’ve grown up in a world of constant scandal. Because of the Internet and technology, everything’s out on the street now. There’s a new scandal every three days. I like the sports ones. The last decade’s been crazy. Oscar Pistorius, Tiger Woods, Donald Sterling. The one that got me the most, though, was Lance Armstrong. Here’s the thing: They’ve made some good documentaries about him. There’s one on Netflix called Stop at Nothing. Going into the movie, I thought what we all thought about Armstrong… Maybe he’s a piece of garbage. But now that I’ve seen the movie, it’s more complicated. He won the Tour de France seven times on drugs every time, but because of that, he was able to raise $100 million for cancer research. Say what you want, but he figured out a way to do drugs for charity. Yeah. That must have been hard to resist, too. If someone came to me: “Neal, you can cure pediatric AIDS, but you’re gonna have to do a ton of cocaine”, I’d be, like… “Let’s help some kids, huh?” I’d be willing to do Molly as well, if it helps just one child. Actually, if it helps no children, I will do Molly. “Fuck it, if it harms one child…” Lance Armstrong was everywhere. Now he’s gone. I was talking to my buddy. He was, like, “We were hard on Armstrong because we don’t like cheaters.” I was, like, “No, because we don’t give a fuck about bicycling, that’s why.” If he played a good sport, he would’ve been fine.

Baseball and football players cheat constantly. In fact, up until a couple years ago, if you were good at football, you could do crime, we were fine with it. Michael Vick, Ray Lewis. Ray Lewis tackled so many people, we were finally, like, “Ray, you get to murder one.” Because if we like you enough, we will figure out a way to justify whatever you did. Like LeBron James. At this point, LeBron could stab an old lady in public. Everybody would be, “We all talk about stabbing old ladies; LeBron had the guts to do it!” Yeah. “He’s a leader, do you understand me?” Michael Jordan could shoot up a shopping mall. Everybody would be, like, “He’s still got range from the outside.”

There’s a new NFL scandal from a player three times a week. Most famously was the Ray Rice one, the guy who punched his girlfriend in the elevator. People are always surprised. You can’t be surprised. Football players are violent. First of all, their job, in and of itself, is attempted murder. Like, that’s their job. The football roster is two guys that can catch, two that can throw, kicker, punter, 40 murderers. Whenever I read, “Ray Rice punches girlfriend on elevator,” all I see is, “Football player does football at the wrong time.” It’s their whole life. They get trained from the time they’re little kids. “Go to practice. Do football. Go to the game. Do football. Be with your girlfriend. Do football.” “Shit. I wasn’t supposed to do football that time.” I was supposed to do elevator, and I did football. I better get her body out. I don’t want her mad at me. “Better get her flip-flop. I’ll never hear the end of that.” Went back for the flip-flop because he cares.

A lot of these NFL guys get gun beef. I’m not a big gun guy. I was just in Colorado, a big gun state. I go there with my girlfriend, meet her father. Her dad’s into guns, carries a concealed weapon at all times, which makes sense, because he is in real estate. At a certain point, he pulls me aside and he’s showing me his guns, and he finally goes, “Do you got a gun at your place in L.A.” so you can protect my daughter?” I was, like, “Do I have a gun in my place? Dude, I don’t even have an umbrella.” I can’t protect your daughter from a light drizzle… “let alone an armed intruder. Your daughter’s in real danger.” Concealed weapon is one thing I don’t feel I could pull off. If I had a concealed weapon, that’s all I would think about all day. I’d go to Whole Foods, someone would cut me off, I’d be, like… “Am I about to smoke this motherfucker?” I’m pretty sure I’m about to smoke this motherfucker. Because otherwise, how will he learn… about the 12-items-or-less line… unless I fucking murder him?

Guess we gotta have guns to protect ourselves from terror. ISIS has struck a few times in the States. One was near here, in San Bernardino, California. What bugged me about that one, the husband and wife team? The woman came to the States and was able to wait eight months before the attack. I got to say, I personally couldn’t have pulled it off. If ISIS sent me over here, I’d fall in love with American culture and then fuck the whole plan up, you know? They’d call me: “You’re gonna kill the infidel next week.” “Look, fellas, Game of Thrones just started back up.” We wait a few months. “I’ll gain weight, maybe bigger explosion. I’ll let you know.” They’d text me: “Go to the park. Kill everyone.” I’d text back: “LOL!” I’m in the park now, chasing Pikachus.” ISIS has gone after a rock club in Paris and a gay club in Orlando, but you know what kind of club they haven’t gone after? A hip-hop club. Yeah. They realize it’s not gonna go down the way they want. ISIS can try, but you’re gonna turn the news on and see a reporter in the parking lot: “The gunman reached into his jacket, yelled ‘Allahu Akbar, ‘” and was immediately punched in the face by a woman named Brianna… “who said, ‘Not tonight, honey. Tonight my birthday.'” [cheers and applause]

So, I’m depressed, and not the way you normally hear that. Like, “I’m so depressed. Kobe retired.” I mean, I have clinical depression, the mood disorder. And I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. I don’t know if you know about me, but I’m the youngest of ten kids. I don’t know if you know much about math, or kids, but ten kids is too many kids. Also, my father was a violent alcoholic. He didn’t hit me that much, but he used to terrorize my brothers. My parents were old when I got here. I’m the youngest. So, they were in their forties when I got here. They were born in the 1930s. They were from the “We did the best we could” generation. If you criticized their parenting, they’d go, “We did the best we could.” I always felt, “Really? That was the best?” So, Dad, you’d get drunk, hit your kids, and think, “‘Now, this is me at my best.'” My father was also a narcissist. So, the entire mood of the house was dictated by him, and all the attention went his way. I think me and my brothers and sisters realized early on the best way to deal with him was to minimize our feelings as much as possible so as not to call attention to ourselves. But you do that long enough, and your feelings start to atrophy to the point that you’re incapable of having them. Two things I knew I could feel were ego and adrenaline, so I basically just set out to achieve a bunch of shit to give myself a surge of good feelings. Like, I got into NYU film school, which was a miracle at that time. I did so bad on my SATs. I ended up dropping out after six months, but that was a huge rush of adrenaline. Then I ended up at a comedy club… Not as a comedian, as a door guy, taking tickets and barking for people to get in. But I also started giving actual working comedians little tags for their act. “Hey, try saying this or try saying that.” And to see my jokes work onstage was a huge burst for me. Then I started getting real writing jobs. “Real” is a big word, but… I wrote for MTV’s Singled Out. You’re welcome. I wrote for All That on Nickelodeon. Yeah, applaud. [cheering] Yeah. Then, when I was 23, me and Dave Chappelle wrote Half Baked, so, at this point, my system of keeping myself afloat via accomplishments was working beautifully… until it stopped. After Half Baked, I started writing with a guy named Mike Schur. And he and I had sold a pitch, which should have made me feel great, and I remember hearing the news as I drove along, and I heard the news on my cell phone, and I just had tears coming down my face. I was, like, “I guess my plan of achievement isn’t cutting it anymore.”
So, I knew I had to go to a psychiatrist and get antidepressants. So, I did. And the antidepressants worked, sort of. They definitely raised the floor on my mood, but none of these pills are panaceas. They just kind of lessened the symptoms. Depression to me has always felt like a virus that attacks your brain with negative thoughts. The medication staved off some of the thoughts, but a lot of them would break through and would leave a void in their wake. Like, to say I have low self-esteem is not true. I have no self-esteem. I don’t have the architecture for good feelings. You could give me a trophy, it will slide right down. I just don’t have the shelving. In fact, I used to have to carry around an index card of funny things I’d written or said or directed just to try to remind myself that I was okay. Depression feels like you’re wearing a weighted vest. I always felt like I was at a disadvantage mood- or energy-wise to my peers. It was never life-threatening, it was just life-dampening. And the medication could take weights out of the vest, but I still came across as either bored or cold or superior, none of which I wanted to come across as. Although, you know who always loved my attitude? Black dudes. Always. Yeah. They’d be, like, “Neal, man, you don’t give a fuck.” And I always wanted to say, “That’s because I’m sad.” I think black dudes appreciated how openly sad I was, because black dudes aren’t allowed to be sad in public. The only way a black dude can openly express sadness in public is if he does it with a saxophone. So, I think people with depression have the reputation for feeling sorry for themselves or they fell into a bad mood and were too lazy to get out of it. But, believe me, I’m not lazy, nor did I approach this lazily. Like, I went to a psychiatrist and a psychologist. If you don’t know the difference, congrats for having a great life. I became a vegan to feel better. I quit smoking to feel better. Every exercise plan there is, I tried to feel better. Meditation. I went on a seven-day silent meditation retreat. Medication. I’ve tried every medication they have. They all have side effects, whether it’s weight gain, weight loss, nausea, grogginess, memory loss… Which, for my job, is not good… And, worst of all, dick stuff. So, I’d been on antidepressants for 17 years, and finally I was, like, “I have to try something else.” So, I was so sick of the side effects, I was like, “I need to throw a Hail Mary.”

Heard of this drug ketamine? If you know what ketamine is, it’s a horse tranquilizer that’s also a party drug, and they’ve started prescribing it for depression. I know it’s legit because I saw it on Reddit. So, I found a doctor that prescribes it. I went to his office. And I can’t explain to you how normal this doctor’s office was. A bunch of other people waiting for other doctors, fill out the form, old magazines. They call me back into his office, put an I.V. in my arm, drip ketamine into it, and I tripped my fucking face off. On a Tuesday afternoon in a doctor’s office, immobile, out, music festival level, not on this plane. Gone. And it lasted about 45 minutes, but the comedown was rough. When I came out of it, I felt like I just came out of surgery, which makes sense because it is an anesthetic. So, I decided not to do it again. Woke up the next day and felt better than I’d felt in months. I was, like, “Fuck, I’ve got to do it again.” Did it five more times in the next two weeks. But long-term, the side effects from ketamine were bad for me. I got nauseous for months, I was groggy for months. Worse than that, my eyes burned for four months straight. It was crazy. So, that didn’t work, for me. Then I heard about something called TMS. TMS is short for transcranial magnetic stimulation. All right, so, looked it up online. Go to a doctor’s office, and they put a contraption on your head, looks like kind of a halo, and they basically shoot magnetic beams into your brain, about an inch deep into your brain, to a certain area that stimulates growth and can alleviate depression, allegedly. I did that. That lasts about a half an hour. It just feels like tapping. Just feels like kind of a shitty woodpecker. You’re, like, “Okay, let’s wrap it up now.” And by the second treatment of that, I felt great. Something definitely lifted. The depression’s still with me, but not nearly as bad as it was. I ended up doing 45 half-hour sessions of TMS, which is a lot.

And the reason I itemize it is because when you have any kind of mood disorder, it’s not provable to people. All I have to show you is my work. I had 45 half-hour sessions. It’s really aggravating when you have a mood thing. You can feel people’s suspicion. Imagine if you had a cold, and people were, like, “He doesn’t really have that cold. That stuffiness is a choice.” It’s really frustrating. It speaks to people’s ignorance about depression. I’m in the Big Brothers program, because I’m an angel that fell to earth. No, I actually joined because I heard volunteering releases endorphins, which I gotta say… eh. But the kid is great. So, one day, nine-year-old kid, we’re hanging out. He sees me take an antidepressant, put it in my mouth. He’s, like, “What’s that?” I was, like, “An antidepressant. I do it to make myself feel better…” and I’ve also shot ketamine into my veins.” You know when you forget to lie? You’re, like, “Oh, here’s everything.” “And I’ve shot magnetic pulses into my head, but only, like, 45 times for half an hour.” And he’s looking at me, and I can see his wheels are spinning. When a nine-year-old is ready to say something, you’re, like, “I have no idea which way this is going.” I don’t know if this is gonna be great or crazy.” But he goes, “You do all that stuff to try to feel better?” I go, “Yeah.” And he goes, “So you’re like a cucumber… “but you’re trying to turn yourself into a pickle.” I was like, “Yeah.” [cheers and applause] Women love the movie Pretty Woman, but they do not love it when you bring your new prostitute girlfriend to their birthday party. Getting a neck tattoo is people’s way of saying, “Yeah, minimum wage is fine for me.” One hundred percent of people who eat in that dining section of the grocery store are murderers. If I were black, I would stand in front of tanning salons all day and laugh at the customers. [cheers and applause] I grew up Catholic. Anybody else?


Still doing it?

[man in audience] No.

No? They never… Being Catholic’s like playing trombone. After 12th grade, you’re, like, “I don’t have to do that shit anymore.” The older I get, you know who I respect more and more? Muslims. What they believe feels foreign to us, but they’re committed to it. They’re, like, “God came to us a couple of thousand years ago”, had some simple rules: Pray five times a day, don’t eat ham, women gotta dress like ninjas. Those are the rules. Until we hear back, “we’re sticking with those rules.” Whereas Catholicism will change whenever. The new Pope is barely even Catholic. He is. And he’s trying to be, like, a cool stepdad about shit. “So, I understand drugs are called ‘Mollys’ now? I get it.” I feel the Pope just makes shit up. Last year they asked the Pope, “Can pets get into heaven?” And he thinks for a second, he goes… “Yeah.” “Fuck it, everybody gets a plus-one. I just decided.” At one point, they asked the Pope, “What do you think of gay marriage?” The Pope goes, “Who am I to judge gay people?” Dude… you’re the Pope! For the last thousand years, you’ve had two jobs: One, judging gay people, and two, covering up gay things that your coworkers are doing. Those are your jobs as the Pope. That, and dressing like an outer-space pimp… with an unlimited budget. He has red shoes and a clear car. That’s a pimp. I hang out with a lot of black dudes. White people are always, like, “What’s it like?” We don’t do anything crazy, we just eat and talk. I don’t have to rap. Here’s the shitty part about hanging with black dudes: Guys try to out-tough each other to see who had it worse growing up. I try to compete with my black friends, but they always beat me. They’ll be, like, “My fucking dad vanished on my sixth birthday.” I’m, like, “I can relate to that”, because my mother would often disappear into a good book.” Too close to call, am I right? Let’s play a game called “Sounds Racist, Isn’t Racist.” Ready? Such a horrible setup for a white person to give. No, here it is. “There have been a lot of good slave movies lately.” Sounds racist. I just enjoy them as movies. You guys think I think it’s a documentary. I get it.

Here’s what I’ve learned hanging out with black dudes: When a new slave movie comes out, can’t be your idea as the white person to go see it. Can’t be, like, “Have I got a movie for us. Follow me.” “Hi, could I get 14 for Django, please? Thank you.” Slavery is such a big deal. It’s such a big deal. If I were black, I’d talk about it constantly. A lot of white people go, “Black people talk about slavery too much as it is.” First of all, if Italians went through slavery, they’d never shut the fuck up about it, you know that. You know it. And they’d all have some heroic story of escape. “Finally, my Uncle Fabrizio was, like, ‘Fuck this shit!'” And he punched the slave master. “And he walked from North Carolina straight to Jersey.” All right. I would talk about it constantly. Constantly. If I were black and waiting tables, I’d be, like, “Here’s your check. And don’t forget: Slavery.” If a cop said, “Know why I pulled you over?” I’d be, like, “To apologize for slavery?” Look, say what you want about cops, that’s an awful job. Everything is their responsibility. It’s all your responsibility. Traffic’s your responsibility. Burglary is your responsibility. Murder is your responsibility. We’re, like, “Solve the murder.” They’re, like, “Me?” We’re, like, “Yeah, you went to high school. Solve the murder.” That’s not even the worst part about being a cop. The worst part is that, at any point during the day, anyone you’re talking to might just break out running. And you have to chase them no matter what. “God damn it, I thought we were just talking about baseball.” I don’t know what you do for work. No way you’re chasing people down, like, “We’re gonna have this meeting whether you want to or not.” We signed out the conference room, motherfucker.” I don’t think white people have enough empathy for slavery. Here’s how I know that. When all that Confederate flag stuff was happening last year in South Carolina, people in Boston and New York were especially smug about it. I was, like, “I’m sure slavery was legal in the North at some point.” I went on Google to find out, and I saw how cold white people are. I typed in “Was slavery,” and the autofill said, “Really as bad as they say?” Swear to God. Yes. And to answer the question, yes, it was as bad as they say. How bad? Well, how about this: Slaves used to break into song just to get through it. That’s pretty bad. I’ve been in some awful situations, never came close to singing about it once. I’ve been at the airport, boarding a Southwest flight that’s three and a half hours late. All the restaurants are closed because it’s after eleven. My phone’s out of battery, but I’ve never looked around and been, like…

[humming tune]
♪ Jesus, save me ♪
♪ From boarding group C ♪

I don’t think people in the South understand the Confederate flag. People in the South on the same truck will have the Confederate flag and the American flag. “Do you not follow history much?” Having both flags on the same truck is like a woman having two tattoos. “What’s this one for?” She’s, like, “This one is to commemorate my love for my husband Steve.” “How about this one?” “This one commemorates the time I tried to escape from Steve.” “But he caught me. Now we’re making the best of a bad situation.” White people have a hard time communicating with people that are non-white on a corporate level, advertising level. Like, marketing. Like, the NBA has been trying to get more Latino fans. They were doing this thing… It’s so condescending… Where a couple of games a year, they change the names of the teams to Spanish names. So, the Lakers become Los Lakers. And the Heat become El Heat. First of all, shouldn’t it be El Calor? They’re, like, “Let’s ease into this.” Sounds like a white dude’s idea for how to trick a Latino. In his head, he’s, like, “Hector, want to go see the Heat play the Lakers?” “No, thanks.” “Hey, Hector, would you like to see El Heat play Los Lakers?” Hector’s gonna be, like, “Ay-yi-yi! How do I see this game?” I think I’ve figured out a way to end racism, by the way. Here’s how we do it: We just gotta end race. From here on out, we’re gonna have nothing but mixed babies. Listen to me. Listen to me. Mixed people will end racism because you can’t hate… what you don’t know what they are. We’re too separate. Black, white, Asian, Latin, Middle Eastern. We gotta spend more time together, and we gotta fuck our way out of racism. Who’s with me? Yes. Yes. It starts tonight, and I’m calling dibs on Asians. Look… I don’t like this any more than you do, believe me. I’m saying no more black, no more white. I’m talking about khaki. Khaki-colored people with Asian-yet-round eyes, nappy yet flowing hair. I want every man in America to look like those LMFAO “party rockin’ in the house tonight” dudes. And I want every woman to look like Bruno Mars, because she is a fine bitch.

[cheers and applause]

So, up until five years ago, I’d never been in love before, and then I met a woman, and we fell in love, and it was great. It was as good as advertised. And then she broke up with me. Yeah. And that was really painful. That shit was as bad as advertised. That shit hurt. Then a few months passed. I met another woman. She and I started falling in love. And I was, like, “It’s official: I’m a lover.” And then she broke up with me, like that. Yeah. That one destroyed me. I was beside myself blubbering. She and I were both in a 12-step program. She basically said, “You need to go to more 12-step meetings and get some more recovery, and maybe we can get back together.” So, I started going, and came to the conclusion, like, I shouldn’t date her. And the reason why is because she’s famous. Like, in the 12-step program, I had to do a lot of unflinching, honest writing about myself, and I came to the conclusion that I’m a star-fucker. Yeah. And I don’t mean I like to have sex with celebrities. I mean, I know a lot of famous people from work, but certain ones I become friends with, and I obsess about them and worry if they’re mad at me and why they haven’t texted me back in an hour or if they heard about that thing I said about them three years ago. Like, really childish, embarrassing shit. I think I’m a star-fucker for a few reasons. Number one would be the thing we already discussed, which is ego and adrenaline. Like, meeting Taylor Swift feels good. That’s why it’s the prize in radio contests. Yeah, and if I met a famous person and we were cool and spent the day together, and they liked me, that filled me up.

There’s a movie called Devil’s Advocate… Which I’m betting you didn’t think I was gonna bring up… Where Al Pacino plays the devil. This is where Al Pacino finally just said, “I can’t play people.” “I can play archetypes or weather systems, but I can’t play people.” Al Pacino says to Keanu Reeves, “I’m just warming my hands off your fire.” That’s how it felt. I always felt I don’t have enough talent on my own. I need to warm my hands off of other people’s talent, you know? And people go, “That’s so lame of you. I act totally normal around celebrities.” Stop it. No one acts normal around celebrities. Celebrities don’t act normal around celebrities. Being near a celebrity is like driving next to a cop. You can pretend you’re acting normal. You’re performing normalcy. “Ten and two, officer. What do you know?” I also think I’m a star-fucker for professional safety. Like, if you Google me, most of the things that come up are things I’ve done with other people. Especially Dave. You want to talk about professional safety. There’s no position safer than being Dave Chappelle‘s comedy writing partner. Being on a writing team with Dave is like being on a basketball team with Michael Jordan. You just win more. And don’t get me wrong. I am Scottie Pippen. And not just because we have the same facial structure. So, I think the blubbering over the woman was the culmination of something I started ten years earlier… when Chappelle’s Show ended. By the way, if you don’t know much about Chappelle’s Show, it was a sketch show on Comedy Central. Me and Dave Chappelle made it together. We’d write it together, he’d star, I’d direct a lot of it. And imagine if you and your best friend would have a conversation and go, “We should do a sketch about this.” Then you’d make the sketch, and it would be the most popular shit week after week after week after week, to the point that it was weird. And then it was just over, like that. When that happened, I realized, “I gotta take better care of myself.” I gotta write for myself, do stand-up for myself, because I was basically just hiding behind Dave.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing. But I might have fucked up. Because I was popular as a writer and director. As a comedian, I had to start from square one. I went from getting nominated for an Emmy for directing to signing up for open mics, which is not the way you’re supposed to do it. A buddy of mine calls me Benjamin Button. He says I’m doing my career backward. What was I supposed to do? That’s what my gut told me to do. My gut told me to write with Mike Schur, then to write Chappelle’s Show, and then it told me to do stand-up. You gotta follow your gut, right? Here’s the thing about guts, though. They’re wrong, like, 85% of the time. We only acknowledge the times they’re right, but they’re wrong 85%. You just have to hope they’re not catastrophically wrong. You can be in the middle of a bad marriage, a bad relationship, a bad business partnership, and not even know it. You can spend, like, a day, a month, a year… You can spend a decade on the wrong thing, and by the time you realize it, it’s too late. That shit is breathtaking. So, yeah, like, basically, the way Chappelle’s Show ended, I was forced out of hiding. I tried to hide behind the woman, and she kind of forced me out of hiding. Like, hiding kind of comes naturally to me. And there’s part of me that still loved to do it. I love to find someone to hide behind, but this is the right thing to do. Me doing stand-up by myself is the right thing to do. It’s just more honest, you know? I could find somebody to hide behind, but that would just be… fear and habit. So, yeah, like, I can’t hide. Like, I want to hide. I’m dying to hide. But, win or lose, I can’t.

[cheers and applause]

If we talk, and you have an accent, when you walk away, I will do a very disrespectful impression of your accent. If you’re a restaurant and you close at 9:00 p.m., you’re a lunch place, you bitch-ass motherfucker. I believe that there is a God and He hears our prayers and most of the time is, like, “Nah, fuck that.” When I orgasm, I yell out, “Worldstar.”

[cheers and applause]

So, people in your twenties, enjoy your twenties. It’s great. You’re so far from death. But dating in your twenties is the best part. You don’t know who you are, so you think anyone would be a good match for you. You end up saying, “You know what?” Maybe I’m supposed to be with someone who’s bipolar. I don’t know. I don’t care that she burnt my stuff and punched my dog in the face. “She’s Latina. They’re fiery.” Yeah, in your twenties, you don’t know anything, and then, in your thirties, women, you start to get smarter. Men kind of stay dumb. Women, here’s something men don’t realize about you. Fellas, every woman in here is settling. Yeah. They’re all settling. Because girls have huge egos. Women think they have a shot with every guy on earth. Women will be, like, “If I meet Ryan Gosling and I wear my blue dress…” [giggles] Trust, trust. So, women have these big egos. You have this guy in mind you think you deserve, but you get lonely and have to settle. Women will be, like, “I want a guy who’s tall, broad shoulders, and I want him to be cute, rich, thoughtful, romantic.” And then the world’s, like, “How about five-seven, broke, super into college football.” Girls are, like, “That’s fine.” Is he on his way now? I can’t eat alone again. “I literally cannot eat alone.” Yeah, my girl is Asian. Look, guys, I walk the walk. And… My girl’s Asian. I’ve dated Asian girls before. She doesn’t like that. She’s, like, “You’re just with me because I’m Asian?” “Yeah, clearly, that’s part of your appeal.” She doesn’t like that. Here’s the thing: “You’re not allowed to like women for the reason you like them.” If your girl’s got big boobs and says, “What do you like about me?” You can’t say, “I like your big boobs.” You cannot say that. You have to like her for some little character reason. Even though I’ve never heard a woman describe another woman by her character. I’ve never heard a woman be, like, “You have to meet my friend Jill.” Twenty-eight, from Arizona, brave. You’ll know her when she gets here by her bravery. “You really can’t miss her.” She’s gonna come rappelling down from the ceiling. Those are all the little strikes against women. Strikes against women are little. You have big egos or whatever. The strikes against men are, like, “Creep. Just lecherous creep.”

Like, we’re sexually harassing women on the street. Did you see the video of the woman who walked around New York, got harassed the whole time? Different dudes, like, “What’s up, baby? Where you going?” Ten hours straight. She put the video online. My female friends see it. They’re, like, “That’s the bullshit we deal with on a daily basis.” My guy friends, on the other hand, were baffled. “Wait a minute. When I see a hot girl now, I’m not supposed to say anything?” “Yeah, don’t say anything.” “Then these girls better stop complaining about not being able to find a good man.” As if good men are out harassing women. Like Bill Gates and George Clooney are standing on the corner: “Damn, Ma, your titty game is bananas. Shit!” “Butt cheeks on swole.” Yeah, that same guy was, like, “A lot of those guys on that tape were being nice.” Stop it. No, they weren’t. No guy yelling at a girl is being nice. It’s always sexual, always about her boobs or her butt. Never about her personality. I’ve never seen a guy on the street: “Damn, baby, you look like you got leadership skills. Shit!” You an active listener, Ma? You an active listener? “Straight up, you seem punctual.” Also, I never know what guys think is gonna happen. Do you think you’re discovering her? You’ll be, “Damn, baby, you fine as hell.” She’ll, be, like, “Me?” Plus, if she’s hot, she’s been hot since she was, like, 12, or whatever age you think I should have said. Yeah. Those are the big strikes against men. And women, you can be paranoid, overly suspicious. Every girlfriend I’ve ever had is always looking for proof that I don’t really love her. And you’re bad detectives, too, women. You read into things that are not there, draw conclusions that make no sense. One time, I took my girlfriend to dinner to a fancy restaurant. I forgot to pull the chair out for her at the table. She’s, like, “You’re not ready to be a father.” What? She was right, but how’d she know?

Women, you think however we treat you in one scenario, that’s how we’ll treat you in every scenario. Because a couple of weeks ago, I’m watching TV with my girl. I absentmindedly get up, go to the kitchen, get some chips, come back, sit down. As my butt hits the couch, I realize I didn’t ask if she wanted anything. And I can feel the nuclear reactor starting. So, women, if you don’t feel safe or protected or thought of, your brains go to the worst-case scenario fucking immediately. Like, the darkest place. I go, “Why are you upset?” She goes, “You didn’t get me chips. What are you gonna do when there’s a fire?” A fire? How did we get to a fire from here? That’s how dumb and weird my girlfriend thinks I am. I’m gonna be in a house fire… Hot flames and falling beams. Be, like, “Oh, man, this is just like that time I went to get chips!” Yeah, so… And then, back to men… Just gigantic creeps. Women, you gotta understand, it’s not even really our fault. It’s testosterone. It’s a creepy hormone. It’s got nothing but bad ideas all day. Women have estrogen. The worst thing estrogen suggests is, “Let’s get some wine and go on Etsy.” Not that bad. Whereas testosterone, everything it wants is against the law. It is like having a prison inmate living inside you. He’s, like, “Let’s fucking do it, ese!” You’re, like, “Take it easy, man. It’s 7:30 in the morning.” “I don’t give a fuck, bro. I’ll be doing dips till you’re ready.” “All day, bro.” Yeah, men never say this, and I’ll say it right now: Having testosterone is legitimately scary. I hear horrifying stories from my girlfriend. You’re at a grocery store, some creepy dude will start following you. That’s scary, women. What’s also scary: Being a guy standing in a grocery store, having a woman walk past you, and then your brain goes, “Follow her!” “For how long?” “Until further notice. Say something romantic, like ‘her titty game bananas.'” Being an adult man is basically about controlling testosterone. Marriage, especially. The marriage vows are: “Do you promise to love, honor and cherish?” It should be, “Do you promise to not let your testosterone” try to fuck the babysitter?” We’re, like, “I do.” Meanwhile, testosterone’s like, “You can’t promise that, bro. I fuck babysitters. Straight up, I fuck babysitters.” Gold-diggers. Let’s talk about them. They exist. Not as much as you’d think. Yeah, you know how I know? I have a little bit of gold. And there has not been as much digging as I’d hoped.

I gotta say, men assume there’s gonna be a gold-digging system in place. Everything we do is to impress women. Every accomplishment by men in history was to impress women. Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb. They were, like, “This is gonna change the world.” He was thinking, “And wait till these hos see it!” You think girls want a rich guy. They’d way rather have a cute guy. In their heads, they can make a cute guy rich, but you can’t make a rich guy cute. I’ll prove it to you. Mark Zuckerberg. That guy’s got $65 billion in the bank, but girls look at his face and go, “Not enough.” If you gave girls the option between Mark Zuckerberg at full strength and, say, Channing Tatum, with, like, a traumatic brain injury… women would still be, “I’ll go with Channing. I have flash cards. I can nurse him back to health.” Because you’re cute, women. So we chase you around. You’re cute, with your heads and your bodies. It’s creepy to separate the two, but they’re both cute. Women, your bodies are great, but make no sense from a design point of view. They make no sense. Big boobs, small waist, wide hips, big butts, then short legs, small feet. If you told an architect to build a woman, he’d be, like, “It’s not safe!” Meanwhile, testosterone would be, like, “Build that shit, bro.” “Fuckin’ build that shit, bro.” My girl’s a yoga instructor. Every guy says the same thing. “Yeah. Nice and flexible then, huh?” Meanwhile, flexibility has never been an issue in my entire dating life. I’ve never once been sleeping with a girl and been, like, “You can only open your legs 120 degrees?” Clearly, you’re not fucking at my level, baby. “You need to warm them hammies up and come back to me.” Guys say endlessly dumb shit about sex. It’s this constant drone of dumb shit about sex. Buddy of mine recently is, like, “There’s over 180 sexual positions.” Stop it. There’s, like, five sexual positions that we actually use. I know there’s more than five, but it’s like a Thai food restaurant. There’s a ton of shit on the menu, but you just get Pad Thai every time. Plus, the other positions are, like, “put your foot in the toilet.” Why would I do that? Let’s go through them. There’s missionary. People shit on missionary. Stop shitting on missionary. That’s a damn fine position. It is solid, it is reliable, it gets you where you need to go. Missionary is basically… Missionary is basically the Honda Civic of fucking. First in its class six years running. There’s reverse cowgirl, good for hitting her G-spot, breaking your penis. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Stay close, stay close, stay close. A position I like, but it also creeps me out, is where men are on top, women are on the bottom, and your legs are pushed far back so your knees are touching your shoulders. I call it the Samsonite. It looks like we’re trying to stuff you in a suitcase. “Get in that luggage!” I am putting you in the overhead compartment! I am a ventriloquist, you are my puppet, “and we have another show in 20 minutes!” Good luck not thinking of me next time you do that one. What’s the side one, where you’re facing the same way? [grunting] Spoons? Let’s call this garbage. This is a garbage-ass position. “Why are we fucking like we’re underneath the bed?” And then, finally, there’s… There’s doggy style. Here’s something you might not know about doggy style: Sometimes we’ll be back there and your legs are too close together, so you’re too high for us. We have to take your legs, pull them apart and lower you like a tripod. It’s the only time in adult life where you actually use geometry. You’re, like… Isosceles.

[cheers and applause]

So, back to my dad. I almost couldn’t get a one-man show license, unless I did a full monologue about my dad. Like I said, violent guy. Abusive. Volcanic temper. But he grew up in a really tough background. He was one of 13 kids born in the heart of the Depression to Irish immigrant parents. His twin died when he was six months old. Apparently, his parents put my dad up for adoption at some point. They just openly… A couple just came and took him for a test-drive, and brought him back. Like, that was the system. Needless to say, he wasn’t approaching emotional things with a full cup. I basically tried to stay away from him. That was my M.O. Like, I started work when I was 11, and then moved to New York when I was 17. And we basically just got into a pattern of me getting my hopes up and him kind of letting me down. No one wants a bad relationship with their father. He never understood, I wanted a relationship with him, so I would always try, you know, despite his behavior. Like, when Half Baked came out, it wasn’t well reviewed… And I’d say correctly. But my dad was such a narcissist that he was mad at me somehow, like I’d embarrassed him. You know, famously, Harry Truman, the president, when he was sitting president, his daughter did a play and got a bad review, and Truman wrote the reviewer a nasty note threatening to fight him… on White House stationery. Yeah, like, that’s the way you’re supposed to do it, whereas my dad would have written, “Read your review of Neal’s movie. Spot-on.”

And when Chappelle’s Show got popular, he was interested again, but I was, like, “I don’t… Man, come on. Take a walk.” I don’t need you when things go well, I need you all the time.” Then he started to get sick, and everyone I knew that had had an ill parent was, like, “You gotta make it right with him. If you don’t, you’re gonna regret it.” So, I was like, “Okay.” I took it to heart, and I wrote him a long note, and I expressed all the things I was grateful to him for, and all the things that I was angry at him about, and sent it his way. And didn’t hear back for nine months, and then I got a voice mail where he goes, “Neal, it’s your dad. I never check that e-mail address”, and I just checked it, and I gotta say, I read your note. “Pretty fair.” I was like, “Okay, cool.” So, he’s gonna take responsibility for his behavior. “That’s great. This could really help.” So, we started talking. And we actually got along really well. Like, we had rapport. We’d read the same books and felt the same way about things, and I was definitely his son. It was cool. Then his health took a turn for the worse, and my sister was, like, “You should really come to Chicago and say good-bye, potentially.” So, I went to Chicago, and I was hopeful, you know? When you have a parent like that, it really fractures the whole family. So, I went there hopeful. He’s taking responsibility for his behavior, and hopefully we can all coalesce around him. So, I go to his hospital room, and within five minutes of sitting there, he’s trying to get me to trash two of my brothers. I was, like, “Why did I think this guy was gonna be any different?” This is just who he is.” And I spent the day with him that day, and then I went back the next day and the day after that, and on the fourth day, I got a phone call from my sister. She goes, “Hey, Neal, did you tell Dad you didn’t want to be in his will?” I was, like, “Let me guess… I’m not in it?” She’s, like, “You’re not in it, but he wants to change it.” Come talk to him about it.” So, I go down there and I talk to him, and he goes, “Neal, do you remember telling me to take my money and shove it up my ass?” And I was, like, “I remember the sentiment. I don’t think I would have said it in such a hacky, 1970s way.”

Basically, when he came around during Chappelle’s Show, he was always lording money over my brothers and sisters and their kids, and whether he was gonna help them with school or not. He was manipulative about it. I was, like, “I’m not playing your game. Stop with that money talk.” And he took it to heart… and wrote me out of his will. And we sat in his hospital room in silence. And I could tell he wanted me to grovel for it. I finally said, “Dad, I’d rather you put me in your will than not.” Just… I don’t want to have to beg.” And he fell asleep. He didn’t answer. And… I had to leave town. I had a job to do in New York, that I had to go to for, like, three days. I was gonna try to make it back, but it was that hard, end-of-life thing for someone where I don’t know if I’m gonna make it back. Or if I should just quit. I didn’t know what to do. “All right, I’ll just try to make it back.” But I knew this might be the last time I would see him, so… it was hard to know how to be… affectionate with a guy I hadn’t been affectionate with in 30 years, so… I just, like, kissed my hand and put it on his forehead and just, like, empathized with a dying man, you know? And on my way out, I saw my sister. She’s, like, “Just so you know, he wants to put you in the will.” There’s a lawyer coming tomorrow. It’s gonna be taken care of.” I was, like, “Okay, cool.” So, I went to New York, and two days later, he died, so I didn’t get to see him again. The funeral was gonna be the next week, and I didn’t want to go, because, like I said, the family doesn’t all get along, and I felt I had done the difficult part. I’d gone to my father’s deathbed and tried to make it right with him. I didn’t want to participate in the theater of a funeral. But, through various levers of guilt, I ended up going. It was tense and awkward. I stayed for a while, and then left town. And the next week, I got an e-mail on my phone, and it said, “The will of Daniel J. Brennan.” I was, like, “I guess I’ll open it.” Which, by the way, isn’t in the commercials. It’s not like, “Listen to music. Take selfies. Open wills.”

So, I opened it on the street in New York, and I’m scrolling down, and it says, like, “My son Joe gets one-tenth. My daughter Sheila gets one-tenth.” Then it got to me… and it said, “My son Neal gets nothing.” Which still hurts, you know. I know you’re thinking, “Didn’t you just say you got a little bit of gold?” It wasn’t about that. If my dad was giving out blankets, I would have wanted a blanket. Just felt like a little flick to the back of the ear. “This is what your relationship with me was like,” and now it’s over, “and there’s nothing you can do.” There’s a silver lining to it. You’ve got to squint to see it, but I guess I choose to squint. When things had thawed between my father and I… I was talking to him one day and I go, “Dad, I feel like you didn’t love us.” And he’s, like, “Yeah, you’re right, I didn’t.” Which is a horrible thing to hear, but it also felt good. Because my whole life, I felt like I was insane. I’d say to people, “I don’t think my dad loves me.” They’d be, like, “Of course your dad loves you.” I’d be, like, “No, I’m pretty sure my dad doesn’t love me.” So, for him to just say it, point-blank, “I didn’t love you,” was both excruciating and liberating. Because it meant… I wasn’t crazy. And I tried to tell my brothers and sisters what he said, but a lot of them didn’t believe me, which I get. Who wants to think their dad doesn’t love them? The way I see it now… I feel like they all got money… but I got something I needed.. Which was… the truth.

[cheers and applause]

Thank you. Sometimes the world can feel like a room that’s filling up with water. And for me, to be able to think of a joke is like an air bubble. [inhales] And I can take the oxygen I get into my lungs and it can carry me forward. Things can be overwhelming and scary and hurtful, but thankfully my brain can descramble things… and form a joke. Like, just for one second, things slow down… and I can win. Like, I can beat life. It’s the best. And it’s so personal. And it’s something I’m so grateful for. Jokes. I got one more. How about I do it and we get out of here? Cool? [cheers and applause] I like how on cop cars, “To protect and serve” is in quotes, like they’re being sarcastic.

[cheers and applause]

[music playing]


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Marlon Wayans: Good Grief (2024)

Marlon Wayans: Good Grief (2024) | Transcript

Taped at the iconic Apollo Theater, Wayans comedically explores grief after losing his parents. He reflects on his father’s lessons, joining the “Dead Mama Club,” changing aging parents’ diapers, and who’s the funniest Wayans.

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