Tom Papa: You’re Doing Great! (2020) – Transcript

Tom Papa takes on body image issues, social media, pets, Staten Island, the "old days" and more in a special from his home state of New Jersey.
Tom Papa: You're Doing Great! (2020)

[applause, whooping]

[presenter] Ladies and gentlemen, Tom Papa.


[whistling and cheering]


Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Look at you. Look at you. New Jersey.


Yeah! That’s why I’m here. It’s the people. It’s definitely not the weather. It’s the people.

Thank you so much for coming out. I’m proud of you. Good job getting out of the house. Good job.


[chuckles] It’s nice to be back. It really is. I’ve been living in LA now. Uh. It’s a little scary. The planet doesn’t want us anymore. We’re on fire… all the time. My kids just run out on the lawn and catch ashes on their tongues, like it’s snowflakes. “Thank you, Santa.” I’m like, “Spit that out. It’s our neighbor’s house.”

The planet doesn’t want any of us though, right? Everyone’s in trouble now. Houston got it a couple times, Florida… Uh. The Bahamas, Puerto Rico… How about the poor people in Staten Island? Oh, man. Could you imagine… having to live in Staten Island?


There are people there right now… putting on their pajamas… knowing they’re going to wake up in Staten Island. And what are we doing? Just laughing, having a good time… like it’s not even going on. People in the Bahamas just had a fundraiser for the people in Staten Island. Thoughts and prayers, guys.

But thank you for coming out. You look beautiful. I hope you’re doing alright. You look happy. I travel the whole country and everybody’s freaking out. Everywhere I go, people are doing deep yoga breaths in the airport. They’re downloading meditation apps on their phone, just trying to keep it together. Calm down, you’re doing great. You’re doing great. I’m telling you, you’re doing great. Life isn’t perfect. It never was, and it never will be. We’ve all got stuff to deal with. You’re doing great.

So what, you’re fat. Who cares? We’re all fat. You’re either really fat, kind of fat, or trying not to be fat. Either way, fat’s coming. And that’s alright. Don’t hate on it. You know why you’re fat? Because you’re winners. Yeah, first generation, born at the right time, doesn’t have to fight for survival. Food always within arm’s reach, perfect temperature everywhere you go. Every day you wake up in America, it’s a perfect 72 and snacky. So, yeah, we’re going to be a little chubby. Big deal. Don’t hate on it. Don’t hate on it. Accept you. This is it, guys.

You’re a grown-up. You’re an adult. This is what you ended up looking like. Game over. So, you don’t have the body of an Olympic athlete. Well… you’re not an Olympic athlete. You’re Don from Sales. You got a fat ass, you wear khakis, you hike them up when you walk. We still like ya. So, don’t tell me what you’re quitting. I don’t care. I don’t care what your low self-esteem… decided you should quit this week. “I’m quitting meat.” “I’m quitting gluten.” I don’t care. You’re my friend. You looked awful yesterday. You’re going to look a little worse tomorrow. Yeah.

[whooping and applause]

Why are we even talking about this? Let’s get some ice cream and enjoy the day.

My wife quit sugar in January because she ate cookies like a monster… all through December, and on January 1st, came marching into the kitchen: “That’s it. I’m never eating sugar again.” [chuckling] “Yes, you are.” And you’re going to eat more than you ever ate before. Not because you’re weak, but because you’re a human being and you get sad sometimes. And to stop yourself from slitting your own throat, you eat a cookie once in a while.

I have friends in my life that don’t eat bread anymore. They don’t eat bread. [slower] They don’t eat bread. They’re going to lose three and a half pounds. No one’s ever going to know. And they don’t eat bread. Why are you even here?


Could you imagine? No toast in the morning with butter for the rest of your life? Kill yourself. Make some room for people who know how to live. I know it’s hard. I know, I feel the pressure too. Everyone in your face, telling you to do more, lose more weight, be better… I get it. I get it. They show you the ads for the gym, they show you to try to get you to join up, like the “Before” and “After” guy. I always like the “Before” guy, frankly. Yeah, he looks a little chubby. He also looks like he has a box of donuts and a lot of friends. That “After” guy’s got a weird look in his eye. Looks like he takes his shirt off when he shouldn’t.

They’re always getting in our face: “Yeah, well, other generations were skinnier.” Yeah? Well, their lives were miserable. Gandhi didn’t look like Gandhi because he was killing it at SoulCycle. He had a horrible life. He wore a diaper and ate butterflies for lunch.

Every show has a makeover segment on it now, right? They always take some woman, tell her she’s not good enough, and, therefore, no women watching are good enough. It’s always a mom… Always a mom. Just a worker. Right? Fifteen kids and 20 animals… driving around in her Cheerio-covered minivan. She didn’t think her life was going to go this way, no. She thought she was going to be a princess. That’s what they told her her whole life: “You’re a princess.” And on her wedding day, she thought she made it. They dressed her up like a snow queen. They took pictures of her next to the duck pond. She thought she did it. She woke up the next morning, they took her veil away, gave her some sweatpants and told her to get to work.


But she doesn’t care. She loves this family, dedicates her life to these people. She’s an angel here on Earth. And what does her family do in return? They pop out of a pantry on national TV and scream in her face. ‘We’re giving you a makeover!” “I thought I looked okay.” “No, you’re disgusting. We had a meeting when you were making us lunch. We decided we’re not going to look at this anymore.”

Then they drag her ass to The Today Show. They put her in clothes she could never afford or wear. She can’t wear heels this big. They’re going to get stuck in the field when she’s putting up the soccer nets. Hair and makeup she could never replicate on her own without an extra three hours in the morning before the school bus comes. This is the worst part: On national TV, she comes waddling out in her heels, trying not to fall. Her whole family’s in front of her, they start crying, in her face. “Oh my God, you’re beautiful. You look nothing like you.”

Cut her a break. You’ve got to be nicer to each other. You’ve got to be nicer to yourself. This is hard. It’s hard what we’re doing, isn’t it? It’s hard being a person. Yeah. It’s hard. When I was little, I used to look at grown-ups with money and cars and think, “Wow, that looks fun. I can’t wait.” Then I was an adult for six weeks. I’m like, “This blows. “I have to pay for everything.” Just the physical maintenance of you every day, right? It’s endless. Just the brushing and cleaning and wiping… hopefully every day. It’s like you’re your own pet. And some people don’t take care of their pet very well. You see them on the sidewalk, their hair’s all matted, looks like they ate out of the garbage. “Where’s your collar, Dan?” “Aaah!”

God. Just the check list of stuff you’ve got to do to get out of the house. I mean, look around tonight. Right? Look around. No one’s killing it in here. You look alright, but no one’s like, “Wow, look at that guy.” And still, to look like this took some doing, didn’t it? Yeah. You made choices, put things back…

[chuckling] I was walking down Sixth Avenue in New York, this businessman walking the other way. So well thought out, everything immaculate: suit, tie, leather shoes match his briefcase… glasses… not a hair out of place. Fly open, one ball out. I understood. He did everything on the list, didn’t check that one box. Just on his way to a meeting. Probably on his way back from a meeting, actually. No, that’s the other thing. As an adult, nobody cares. Nobody helps you. Probably looked him in the eye in the meeting. “I’m not telling him, I got my own problems. I think I’m wearing my wife’s underwear today. I don’t know what the hell’s going on.” His wife probably kissed him goodbye in the morning. “So long, honey. What a jackass. He’ll figure it out. If I’ve got to see it, so should everybody else. Wouldn’t hurt to get a little sun on that guy once in a while.”

[sighs] No one cares. We’re totally alone. You are. Even the people closest to you only get so close, right? The people you sleep next to, only so close. You’ve got to give yourself little pep talks in your head. All day long, like a crazy person. ‘Cause you’re the only one looking out for you. “I’ve got my wallet, got my cell phone. Okay, okay. [sighs] Where are my keys? Where are my keys? Okay, I’ve got my keys. Alright, it’s going to be a great day. It’s going to be a great day.” The only difference between you and a crazy person is they say it out loud on the street. [loudly] “I’ve got my wallet, got my cell phone… Going to be a great day!” You’re looking at him across the street, “This guy’s nuts. We don’t yell like that. [chuckling] No, we don’t. We should get some ice cream.” [chuckles] No one cares.

Even my iPhone turned on me, my only true friend in the world. It’s taking all the photos I take and putting them in categories of its own choosing. It considers my fat face and my normal face to be two different people. And there’s a lot more of the fat face guy. Apparently, he owns the phone.

You ever catch yourself on the phone, that undershot?

[audience groaning]

[gasps] You don’t even think you’re fat, and you’re like, “I’m a monster.” “How are they not just hitting me with a dart when I come out of the front door… and taking me to the zoo to be identified?”

It’s hard. I don’t know why we don’t feel like we’re doing great. You work hard, do all the stuff you’re supposed to be doing. You’re doing your best, and still, you feel like it’s not enough. I think it’s social media. I think since social media came out. Before social media, I thought I was kicking ass. I really did. Now, every time I open my phone, someone’s in my face. “Are you killing it today?” “Are you living 100% maxed out energy?” “Are you living your best life?” No, I’m not. I’m not doing any of those things… because that’s not normal. I don’t care what The Rock’s Instagram says, that’s not normal.

You know what’s normal? How you feel right now. Right now, in your funny little gassy bodies. A little achy, a little tired, light-headed… taking deep breaths, so you don’t pass out in front of your friends. Worried about your bills, worried about how you’re getting home, worried about that thing you found on your ass. That’s normal. And it’s exhausting and that’s normal too. Being tired, which I know you are all the time. That is normal. You don’t need a five-hour energy drink. You need to lay down once in a while.

[audience whooping and applauding]

So, we beat ourselves up about it all the time. Right? All my friends… “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Two o’clock in the afternoon, every day. I get so tired. What’s wrong with me?” Nothing. Nothing. You woke up in the dark… went to a job you don’t enjoy… Already put in five hours. They gave you 20 minutes for lunch, and now you need a nap. And they won’t let you. So, you’ve got to hide in the bathroom stall from your co-workers with your feet up…


…close your eyes for ten seconds so maybe you’ll get through the goddamn day.

You’re doing fine. Social media plays with your head, though. It does. You know? It has me, too. I read all these articles… People are getting clinically depressed because they’re looking at other people’s lives on social media, and they start to think that their life pales in comparison. Calm down. First of all, no one has a great life. No one. No one. They are posting their best moments, with a filter, to make you feel shitty.


“Look at us at the Eiffel Tower. Suck it, guys.” Yeah, they don’t show them for three hours stuck at Baggage Claim, or sitting in the hotel for five days because the husband’s got diarrhea from a French tart he shouldn’t have eaten. Yeah, that’s happening too, trust me.

And if your friend is douchey enough to post 50 pictures of their Hawaiian vacation while they know you’re at work, don’t get depressed, get even! Start posting pictures of you at their house. “Bob just peed in the pool. LOL.” “Sorry about all the people. Might want to change the sheets when you get back.”

[chuckling] What are we doing to ourselves with this social media? Really? What are we doing? These are people I chose to follow. My friends and family. and I never get off Instagram or Facebook and think: “Wow, good for everyone!” No, I want them all to die. When I’m on Instagram, it’s like I’m in a traffic jam with everyone I know. When you’re in traffic, you’re like, “Look at this jerk-off. Out of my way…” That’s how I am on Instagram. “Oh, ‘We’re partying again.’ They’re alcoholics, that’s what they are.” “Oh, they’re in love. No, they’re not. He cheated on her last year. I know it.”

We’ve got to control it, because it does get to you. It does. You see people with money and fame and you think, “What’s wrong with my life? Where did I screw up? Why aren’t I living like that?” No. No, that’s an illusion. A simple life is what wins. A simple life.

This is a life. This is a life. You run out of toothpaste. You need more toothpaste. You tell yourself that for a week and a half. Standing on it, squeezing it, pushing through the hole from the inside. Just trying to get one strand on your brush, so you don’t feel like a monster out in the world. You finally stop at CVS on the way home. You slide that fresh tube out of that long box… You feel like you did something, don’t you?


Yeah, you feel like a winner. Yeah. You are.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, right? That was the perfect couple we were all supposed to emulate. Two perfect people in this relationship. Look at their life. Your life, your simple life, so much better. You don’t want that life. Marriage: over. Good, they deserved it. That was arrogance. Take two perfect people, put them in one relationship? That’s not going to work. You want your marriage to last, you need a little funny-looking in it. No, you need to look across the table and think, “Where are you gonna go?”


When you’re young and stupid, you think you want a supermodel. No, you moron, you don’t want some beautiful woman asking to be taken to Europe. You want a girl with a crooked eye asking if you have jumper cables. That’s your girl. That’s a keeper. She’s not running out on you, she’s limping around in circles in the parking lot.

[whooping and cheering]

These are the good times. You hear people talk about “the good old days” all the time. Lately, “If we could just go back to the good old days.'” “The good old days.” Are you kidding me? These are “the good old days.” The good old days? We’re just figuring out how to do stuff now, and we don’t even have it figured out yet. You want to go to the good old days? They didn’t know how to do anything back there. Nothing.

You ever see the first bicycle ever made? I don’t know how to make anything. But I know you don’t take the smallest wheel you can find… and put that in the back, and the biggest wheel on earth… and put that up front. It’s a bad bike. You couldn’t even get in the seat by yourself. Your friends had to fling you up there by the ends of your handlebar mustache… and hope you landed on the seat. And once you started pedaling, you couldn’t stop. You pedaled till you died. And that was okay, because your life expectancy in the good old days… twenty-eight years old.

Please! A horrible time to live. Hospitals were a nightmare. All they did was cut your leg off. Didn’t matter what you had. Broken arm, the flu… You walked in, you hopped back out.

No medicine. No medicine. No Advil. Could you imagine? A life without Advil? [gasps] You ever go to the cabinet and realize you’re out of Advil? [gasps] I just lay on the ground and hope to die. What are you going to take, that 12-year-old Benadryl from the back? They had no TUMS. No TUMS! You ate, got gassy and exploded. These are the good old days.

Look at all your outfits. Look at these beautiful fabrics you’re wearing. And I know you had options. This isn’t your only outfit. No, not in the good old days. One hard woolen outfit. Hard leather shoes made out of pig livers… and burlap underpants. Burlap underpants! Ever see black and white pictures from back then? They’re all angry, just staring at the camera. Like, “What’s wrong with those people? Why are they so unhappy?” Burlap underpants.



No plumbing. You went into an outhouse. Into a hole in the ground… and used leaves and a stick as toilet paper. Couldn’t shower off. It wasn’t invented yet. If you wanted to get clean, once every two weeks, you dipped in a pickle barrel in the middle of the kitchen with your family. [exclaims in horror] Could you imagine? Could you imagine going last? [exclaims in horror] A pickle barrel filled with hair and vagina water.

[audience groaning]

And you were cleaner coming out than when you went in. Put on your burlap underpants, climbed on your bike and went to town.


I’ve got to say, for this taping… you guys are kicking ass.


Good people. Good job. Good job. If you think you’re going to be on camera, probably not. Some of you. You guys are very bright up front. And you look really high. [Tom chuckling] Are you? You are. Yeah, you are. He’s frozen right now. He’s like, “Holy shit! “The TV is talking to me.” It’s alright. It’s alright. You look good. You’re doing well. Deep breaths, deep breaths… [chuckling] But you are going to be on camera. And you’re going to see what I’m talking about. [Tom chuckles]

Money, that’s the big one. Money. That’s the big stress. You know? That’s what gets people down more than anything else. Right? You’re obsessed. “We need more money, gotta get more money. Never have enough. More money… I need more money!” But that’s a matter of perspective too. Look, you don’t realize… We didn’t realize when we were young and poor, how rich we really were. Right? Because you had freedom, and you’ll never have it again. Yeah! Look, we all want money. We all do, right? You want as much as you can get. You want to take care of your family and your friends, to be able to get out of trouble, don’t want to be stressed week-to-week. You want to be able to buy something stupid once in a while without your spouse calling you a moron. Right? If you’re a 40-year-old man and you want to buy an Xbox, you should buy an Xbox. You don’t need your wife calling you a moron. You’ll find that out in two weeks’ time… when you realize you don’t have any time for an Xbox because you’re a 40-year-old man.

I made a horrible business decision. I got married and had two children. Horrible idea. I love them, but they just grow and get bigger and need more money and more money. At this point, it’s like I’m living with two unemployed coke addicts. Seriously, they come into my office every morning: “Hey, you got more money for me?” “What happened to the change from yesterday?’ “I don’t know. The economy, right?”

And I spoil them. I spoil the hell out of them. Because they’re girls. They’re two girls. So, forget it. They got me. Oh, they got me. I hope they don’t watch this and realize. No, they got me. And, you know, my father had money, but he didn’t spoil us, so I’m going the other way. You know? My father made money, but he was like, “I’m not going to give it to children. I’m going to spend it on what I want to spend it on.” Could you imagine living in a time where the children weren’t in charge? Sounds like a magical time to be alive. He took us to an amusement park once, he saw the line… He said, “Just look at it through the fence, you get the idea.”

My daughters make me take them out for ice cream three times a week. And I do it, like an idiot. Oh, they’re so entitled. They walk into that shop with the little sample spoons, the worst invention in retail. Just… Nom, nom, nom. “No. No” “Let me see if you did better with that one.” Nom, nom, nom. “No.” My father took us out for ice cream once. “Everyone gets one scoop of vanilla, no cones. Put out your hands.” [in English accent] “Thank you, Father. This is the most wonderful of days.” [Tom chuckles]

[sighs] Man… But now the responsibility when you have these people… Sometimes late at night, when my wife is asleep and the kids are asleep and the animals are just dreaming peacefully, without a care in the world… and I’m standing naked, alone in the hallway, rapt with fear, because I know their lives depend on me. And I can’t tell anyone about it, I can’t complain. I just have to swallow the stress and slowly lose my hair. I can’t wake my daughter up at two o’clock in the morning and just sit on the end of her bed. “Hey, honey are you awake? Hey! You ever feel like you’re not going to make it? Do you ever feel like you just can’t do it anymore? Forget about it, get some sleep. I’ll see you at breakfast.” Brutal.


No. I’ve just got to work. I’ve just got to work, the non-stop working. Oh, God. Just to go back to those easy days when you’re just single, driving around in your little shitty car. Oh! Do you remember your first car? Yeah, what was it?

[man] ’86 Subaru.

’86 Subaru. [wistful] Ohhh. Where’d you get it? Off a friend. Alright, it was an ’86 Subaru. What year are we talkin’? 1995. [laughing] Subaru before they were cool. Yeah. There weren’t a lot of hikers and lesbians driving them back then. No way. What color was it? Silver. That’s pretty cool. Was this in New Jersey? Yeah? Cruising around… all cool… Weed in your pocket in your Subaru. Remember what you paid for it?

[man] Five hundred.

Five hundred dollars? That was a lot of money back then. Oh, but you loved it, didn’t you? Oh, God. How about you, high guy, did you…? Do you remember your first car?

[replies indistinctly]

Ford F-150. Hot damn. That wasn’t here in New Jersey. No. Where was it?

[man] West Virginia.

West Virginia! [chuckles] Good for you. Yeah, you had to have a truck there, or they’d kick you out of the state. Imagine if you rolled up in the Subaru. No way! “We saw a gay guy in the center of town.” [chuckles]

My first car was a Toyota Corolla.


Baby Shit Orange. That’s what it said in the brochure. And I loved it. It was awful. If you have a horrible car right now… be proud of it, because you have freedom and you’ll never have it again. You can do anything you want with a shit car. Find a Darth Vader head… If you like Star Wars, glue it right to the hood. Can’t do that with a leased Mercedes. No, they won’t let you. You can with a Subaru. Put on a Vader mask, get in the Vader-mobile, go the wrong way down the highway. Everyone’s getting out of your way, because they know you’re poor and have nothing to lose.

[sighs] But you need dreams. You need dreams. You have to have goals at the end of all this. Obtainable, real goals… Lower your expectations. Really. No big jets and helicopters and all the rest… When this is all over for me, my dream, my dream… Bagel shop at the beach. Yeah, not owning one, working in one. I don’t need that kind of pressure. Not a good beach, either. Jersey Shore in the winter. Yeah. This dream’s coming true. All I have to do is not wet myself in the interview. I’m getting this job. I want to make bagels for you in March at the Jersey Shore. “Did you just wet yourself?” “No, I did not.” “Welcome aboard.”

They say you should visualize your dreams. I do, I see it. I fantasize about it all the time. Who else works there? Juan, he’s 72. He makes the bagels. He rides his bike there. I throw in some Spanish, so he knows I’m cool. “Yo es muy guapo.” “You’re an idiot, Tom, but I like you.” And Sean, you need that guy. He’s a pothead, you need that. And Dolores, she works the register. A little older now, a little sloppy in the caboose… Doesn’t have a good dental plan, eats a lot of day-old bagels, but, you know… Beggars can’t be choosers. It’s Jersey Shore in the winter. Once in a while, she drops something at the register, bends down to pick it up, Juan and I catch each other’s eye, we think, “Yeah, I would.”

[loud laughter]

That’s my dream. But not now, not now, not now… I’ve got to get the kids out. They’ve got to move out. I’ve got to do all that. That’s another weird thing, I just realized I can’t believe they’re leaving. I have a seventeen-year-old. She’s leaving. It struck me. I was like, “Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I didn’t want any of this. I didn’t want this house. I didn’t want this dog. I didn’t want to live in this town. I did this for you. And now you’re just gonna leave?” But then I thought, “But wait, when they’re both gone, what’s stopping me? What’s stopping me from going back to the life that I had before? How much can a Corolla be on eBay?” I’m going to get a backpack, fill it with everything I liked when I was 19: some Van Halen CDs, a little weed… I’m going to walk up the driveway and blow the house up behind me like Die Hard.

[whooping, applause]

[Tom chuckles] Yeah. To be honest… I don’t want them to leave. It’s going to be rough. I don’t want to see them go. No. It’s fun… It’s… They’re not even that great, and I want them to be around.

We have a mean girl. We have a mean girl. Yeah, I didn’t know they were real. They’re real. Yeah, I feel guilty. I made it. I feed it. I’m keeping it alive. I give it money. It’s like I’m funding the terrorists. But it is complicated, because I can’t tell how mean she is. When we were little, if you were a bad kid, they came right up to your father at school: “Hey, you got a shitty one here. And your father was grateful an adult was talking to him: “Thank you. I’ll beat him immediately.” Now, they’ll get fired if they say that. It’s confusing. I can’t tell how mean she is and I love her. So it’s all… I’m sure, at some point, Hitler’s parents must have turned to each other, like, “He’s a little weird, right?” “Yeah, he’s weird. He’s six. Who has a mustache like that at six?”

She got in the car the other day, reached over my shoulder, changed the radio station… A whole Taylor Swift station came on. I went to change it… All the stations are hers now. I’m like, “When did that happen?” She goes, “Don’t worry about it. Just make it louder.” Could you imagine, as a child, getting in your father’s car, demanding he put on your music and then, “Louder, a little lower, louder… Right there, chief, right there.” When you eventually came out of your coma… they would have told you a story of how arrogant you were… and why you lost five years of your life… when you were hit in the head with a pipe… that you deserve.

But I get it. You know, this is the age when music hits your life. You don’t listen to your parents anymore. When I was her age, that’s when Prince showed up. You think I was listening to my father? My fat, bald, white father… when Prince showed up? Right? Half naked, his little nipple hairs sticking out… Full mustache, but wearing makeup. Kind of gay, but singing about sleeping with women. I was like, “I don’t know what this guy is trying to tell me, but I’m going to follow him to the end of my days.”

[whooping, applause]

From that point on, all your role models were perverts, right? Prince, David Bowie… Freddie Mercury running around with his ball bag hanging out… We didn’t even know he was gay. We didn’t even know he was gay. The name of his band was Queen. Big penises on the side of the stage, shooting fireworks… “Wow, he’s an interesting entertainer.” [chuckles]

But you know what? Honestly, I like that she’s a mean girl. I like it. What are we saying? You know? Girls should be tough. If it means being called mean, so what? It’s scary out there. Yeah, she’s tough. Go ahead. She’s got to go out there and meet men… Gotta meet men! Ugh! Gotta bring men home, big hairy men. Ugh! Who knew? Who knew that men were so awful? Who knew? I think the women knew. I think the women knew.

[whooping, applause]

Yeah, I think you knew. We had no idea. I feel bad. We should have been looking out for you. We had no… Regular guys did not know that these guys were out there. And we know a lot of secrets. We didn’t know these guys were so bad. Think of the psychotic narcissism of these men, that your hello when you meet a woman for the first time is to reach into your pants, take out your worst part… and present it to her, like it’s an award she’d be happy to receive. That’s a psychopath. I’ve been married 19 years. When I take my pants off, lights are out. Curtains drawn… I’m under the covers. I don’t even want to see it. I’m like, “I’m sorry, honey. By law, you have to take a look.”

But it’s good. It’s a great thing that’s happened. We’re correcting it, we’re getting rid of horrible people. We’re changing the workplace. It’s a positive thing. I was worried about my daughters. I was, I was like, “How am I going to teach them… how awful men are?” You know? “How are they going to know how bad guys can be?” I’m the only man in their life, and I’m pretty great. Especially to them. I was a week and a half away from just smashing a glass at the dinner table… and then Harvey Weinstein rode in like a hero…


…with tales to tell. And every week since then, there’s been another monster. My daughters will be lesbians by Thanksgiving. You’ve got to be tough. You’ve got to be tough. It’s tough out there.

One of our cats just died. That was a sad thing.

[audience] Aww!

Yeah, just one more to go. [laughter] No. To be honest, this cat and I did not get along. Uh, I tried to like her, but she didn’t like me. You know a cat doesn’t like you when you come home at night, it gets on its hind legs like a human being and runs at you with its claws out.

That’s alright. It’s not my job to love the animals. They want animals. It’s my job as the father to get them animals. I get them animals. I drive them home, they live with them and love them, and when they’re about to die, I drive them back out. I’m like the warden on death row. They hear me coming with the cat carrier, they all back into the room: “Who’s he coming for this time?” “I don’t know. Grace has been walking kind of funny.” There’s one old cat with a harmonica. “Don’t pay him no mind. He comes for all of us one day.” [meowing harmonica riff]

So, I brought her in to the vet. She knows she’s not feeling well. And she knows it’s her last trip there. She sees the vet, turns to see my wife… I’m sitting there. The look of disappointment in this cat’s face like, “Really? You?” “Look, I don’t want to be here either. Let’s just get through this.” The vet’s like, “Alright, so this is what happens. We give them one shot, that mellows them out, then we give them the second shot. Does the trick.” I’m like, “I know. I’ve been here before.” And he said, “Okay. I’ll leave you two alone now, so you can say your goodbyes.” You’re in a vet’s office. You can’t be like, “No, I’m good.” “I can skip that part. Just give me that collar, I’ll get out of here. Oh, the goodbye. Right!” The cat’s like, “Get off of me.”

I didn’t think I was going to cry. I didn’t think I was going to cry, but… she was really working it. She was really working it. I felt like her last goal on Earth was to break me. You know? She just kept looking at me with those big eyes, just… And I was hanging in there. Then she went into her final purr. That sad, broken, pathetic death purr.. It was so… [low, emotional purrs] Oh, I just lost it. As soon as I broke, she just laughed. “Ha-ha!”


[chuckling] I’m nose to nose with her. I’m all sad, I’m all wet-faced. And she had a death spasm, like one of those… Her paws landed on my face and my reaction was just, “Ahhh!” The vet walks in, “Dude, dude!” Choking the cat. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” “I said there were two shots.” “I know, I was just helping out, I guess.”

And the kids, you know, they were sad but then… you promise them another pet. [chuckling] You know? Can’t do that with Grandma. Can’t do that with Grandma. [deep voice] “Hey, how are you? My name’s Flo. Where does Daddy keep the whiskey?” [chuckles] They said, “You promised we could get a dog. You said when the cats pass, we can get a dog.” I was like, “Yeah, but I meant when both the cats pass.” And the mean one started whispering to the other one… They were like, “We can make that happen.” We’ve got to get them a dog. This is going to get weird. And I said, “Alright, I’ll agree. But it has to be a boy.” I need male energy in this house.” Everything is a girl. Everything’s a girl. My wife’s a girl, I made two girls, the cats were girls… We have a lizard. It’s a girl. I’m like, “We need a boy.”

And they agreed. And we got a black Lab and her name is Bella. I like her, though. She’s cool. She’s cool. She’s got a little Rottweiler in her. We found her in Bakersfield on the side of a road. Yeah, see, I like a mutt. I like a mutt. If you like pure bred… Whatever you want to do. I’m not going to judge. I don’t know, but, you know, I watch the Westminster Dog Show and, you know, it’s a little too fancy. All these purebred… [English accent] “Now, the German Shepherd, blah, blah, blah.” “Sixteenth century… blah, blah, blah.” How about a “real dog” dog show? You know? “Here’s Ralph from Bayonne. Has trouble keeping his tongue in his mouth. Got some of his owner’s edibles out of his backpack. Hasn’t been the same since. That’s Ralph from Bayonne.” [chuckles]

But, you know, this is all a part of it. You want to prepare your kids for life, but it’s hard, right? We’re not really prepared for life. It’s hard. Everybody’s complaining, feeling like they’re not doing alright. You’re doing great. You’re doing great. I promise you. I don’t say that lightly, my friends. I don’t. I don’t know any of you and I’m telling you, you’re doing great. I’ll go one better. You’re peaking right now. I’m not kidding. You have a little money in your pocket, you can come watch this silly-ass show… It’s not going to get much better, guys. These are the good times. In the not too far distant future, people will ask you to go somewhere, and your one question is going to be: “Are there stairs?” And if there are, you’re not going.

Do what you can and don’t beat yourselves up. You’re trying. You’re doing the best you can. You try and be nice to people, you try and work out, you try and take care of yourself, but you’re going to skip and you’re going to mess up all the time, right? You are. Did you work out today, sir?



[man] Yeah.

Oh, you did? Good for you. What did you do?

[man] Two-mile run.

You took a two mile run. Good for you. How about you, West Virginia? Did you work out? No, sir. Did you work out yesterday?

I went to work.

You went to work. We’re counting that. Good for you. Where do you work?

I work in the city.

You work in the city. What do you do there?

I work in a restaurant.

You work in a restaurant. Are you a waiter?

Waiter and back of house.

Waiter and back of house. So, you’re running your ass off the whole day. All day, probably longer than this guy. Mr. “I ran for two miles in my Nike uniform.” You’re slinging food and running around like a crazy person… while high! Let me ask you, how does a guy from West Virginia, in a Ford F-150, end up in New York, working in a restaurant?

Because of my fiancée.

Because of your fiancée.

[audience] Aww!

Wow! Beautiful! How did you meet her?

We met online.

You met online. And you were like, “I found a guy from West Virginia…


…who looks like he’s got great weed.” And what’s your plan? Because I’m not judging you…


…but I feel like you’ve got to get back to the woods. Do you like New York City? You want to stay here for all of your days? I don’t think so. No. Exactly! It’s a hellhole. You want to go back to rolling hills and your Ford truck. Will you go with him?


You will. So, you’re here, you’re going to… Is this the plan?

We’re going to Europe.

You’re going to Europe? What are you going to do there?

[man] She’s from Portugal.

You’re from Portugal? This is the greatest story I’ve ever heard.

[applause, laughter]

This is a love story. You know what my love story is? I met a girl from New Jersey. Done!

[whooping, applause]

Good for you. You do whatever the hell you gotta do. I’m not giving you advice at all. You, I can talk to. No, you both look great. You’re doing what you got to do. You both look good. You know what my workout is? Apple Watch. Buzzes once an hour, tells me it’s time to stand. [buzzes] “Time to stand, Tom.” “Okay, Apple watch.” “Sorry I didn’t get up the last two days.”

A Fitbit? Get a Fitbit. Everyone should have a Fitbit. Strap something to your wrist, count what you normally do as exercise? Get it! “I walked from my car to my cubicle. Eighty steps!” “Good job, Carol. Good job. You’re an athlete now. You could run the 5K. Just a couple more steps. You could do it.”

Do what you gotta do. Just don’t die. All of you. Don’t die! That should be the only thing on your Post-it Note. “Don’t die.” And act accordingly. Right? Eat the right things when you can, walk the dog the long way, touch your toes once in a while… You don’t want to wake in the middle of the night sweating for no reason… trying to figure out which is the bad arm to be tingly. “Do we have baby aspirin? I think we’re supposed to take baby aspirin… or lick a baby? Does someone have a baby? I think I’m having a heart attack.” You’ve got to go for physicals once in a while, which isn’t the best. I just went recently. My doctor… So humiliating, isn’t it? At least when you go to an eye doctor, you’re like, “My eyes are good or bad. It’s not me.” But the doctor, it’s like, “You’ve been living like an animal.” “I’m sorry. I had a rough year.” So humiliating.

As a man, the most humiliating part… you’ve got to take your pants off in front of this guy. And I know, ladies, I know… what you deal with at the doctor’s office is much worse than us. I’m not comparing it. What you have to smoosh your boobs up against… I know. What you deal with… Look, there’s no stirrups where we go. There probably was at one time and we enjoyed it too much. But for us, the worst part… you pull your pants off, he cups your balls and makes you cough. Still. No one knows why. Just for fun. And then, I immediately turn around and assume the position… and get ready for the rear entry. And this doctor I’ve been going to for ten years goes, “No, I’m not doing that anymore.” “Well, it’s not like I wanted you to.” It’s like he was breaking up with me. I was like, “Hey, I only did this for you.” “All these times… I didn’t enjoy it once.” [chuckles]

But you do what you can. I don’t want you to die. I want you to keep going, keep doing great. And don’t do what other people tell you is a good time. It never is, never is. Right? Breakfast in bed. Perfect example. Horrible idea. It’s a bad idea. Every poor mother on Mother’s Day has got to get a tray filled with hard toast and runny eggs… and we pin her down in her bed. “Enjoy your breakfast, like a hospital patient. Good luck not spilling the juice on your nightgown. We’ll be at IHOP. See you in an hour.”

And no more cruises. Stop with the dumbass cruises. It’s a dumb idea of a good vacation. Anything you can do on those dumbass boats, you can do here on land. Waterslide, shitty magic shows… It’s all here. You don’t need to go to the middle of the ocean, where you do not belong… with two thousand other people, floating around on a giant white toilet. That’s all those boats are: horrible toilets ruining the seas. What does everybody talk about on those dumb boats? “Oh! The food! Oh, my God. Seven meals a day. They take your three meals, they add four more to it.” Yeah, great, and what does everybody do? Waddle off to their room and take a dump in the sea. Stop it.

I was in Italy, in this tiny little town… You couldn’t fit one more person there. Scariest thing I ever saw. In the middle of dinner, this cruise ship pulled into port. It was like our city was being attacked… by a bigger city. The gangplank came down. They came waddling out in their Tommy Bahama and their flip-flops, ate everything they could find, went back on the boat, took another dump in the sea. Stop it.


And while we’re at it, no more zip lining. Stop with the goddamn zip lining in beautiful places. Isn’t it enough to go to these beautiful destinations, and absorb the beauty that’s before you in the three days you have there? Do you really have to be tied into a dirty harness and a lice-ridden helmet, pushed by a non-regulated local off a platform? Why? So you can fly along a wire through the treetops of the jungle? Get a book, sit at the ocean’s edge, and calm down. Look, you want to zip line through a scary place? I get it. You want to zip line through Staten Island? You should. You should be high above that place, moving quickly… trying not to get shot as fast.

And don’t watch so much news. Don’t watch so much news. You want to feel better about yourself? Turn the news off.


I’m serious. Like I said, we’re blessed: the first generation that doesn’t have to fight for survival. But we’re also the first human brains that have to deal with horrible news, 24 hours a day on multiple devices. No other human being has had to deal with this onslaught. And it’s controlling us and it’s splitting us apart, and it’s turning us on each other. You’ve got to be smarter than it. You’ve got to manage it. In the old days, the only news you got was a town crier. A man in tights and a wig… came into your village. “Hear ye, hear ye! Donna has syphilis.

[loud laughter]

Enjoy your day.” And you did, because that’s all the news you really need. That’s it. Don’t buy it. You’ve got to think for yourself. You guys, I’m telling you, you’ll live a much better life.

But really, the real thing, the real thing… honestly and with all sincerity, you have to find someone to love. You need someone to love. That’s the whole answer. Really. It doesn’t even have to be a person. It could be an animal. Really! You just need two eyes looking at you across the living room. It could be a fish! It could be a fish. Just looking at you, one eye at a time. Makes you feel accounted for, makes you feel needed. It’s important. You know?

The hardest part is finding someone to trust. That’s hard. Because everyone lies to you. Everyone lies to you all the time. Your friends, co-workers, relatives, your parents… Your parents looked you in your little baby face and lied to you. I know they lied to you, because I have children and I lie to them.

I remember realizing my mother was a liar. She put out clothes for me, a new outfit for Tommy. You should have seen this outfit. For school, six years old, horrible. Red long-sleeved turtleneck shirt. Red! Long sleeved, form-fitting on my chubby body, turtleneck shirt. Tucked into orange plaid pants.


Yeah, with a belt and a buckle. So it was tucked in and cinched up tight. So, my little chubs hung over the side. And the pants didn’t go all the way down, so you saw my shoes, my hard, black, feminine dress shoes… with heels and buckles on those, like a pilgrim, like a fat little pilgrim.

I came down into the kitchen, “Are you sure, Mom? This is how I should go to school?” “Yes, you’re a handsome boy.” I went to school and got a beating… a beating… from children who cared. “Kick him again, someone’s lying to this fat bastard!” He thinks he looks good. He looks like he works the dog track at six years old.”

The hardest part, if you do find someone to love, and you’re trying to figure out if you’re going to go the distance, you have to realize, the person you’re dating isn’t the one you’re going to spend most of your years with. That’s why people split up. You have to think far out, 30 years out. What is this person going to be then? When you’re dating, that’s young and sexy. That’s the sales model. That’s what moves it off the showroom floor. You’ve got to think 30 years out. Picture your man now three times the size. Just a snowman of blubber around his existing body. And bald. He’s going to be bald, or worse, just three hairs. Like a doll that’s been caught in a fire.

No more cool clothes, comfortable clothes. Yeah. Elastic waistbands and terry cloth material. Yeah, and Crocs for adults… Yeah, that he wears with socks, because sometimes it’s cold in the morning when you’re getting the paper.

No more motorcycle in the garage, but he’s in the garage. You know why? He paints birdhouses now. Yeah, that’s why he’s not having sex with you. He’s painting birdhouses.

The same thing with your girl. Young, beautiful, long hair… When she’s old, it gets cut short, it goes straight up in a poof. Like she’s surprised. All old ladies look surprised. “Surprise! I’m still here. I almost slipped, but I didn’t.”

All she remembers about fashion is she likes flowers. That’s all she wears, a shower curtain dress filled with flowers. One on each toe, one on her surprise head. “Who wants to play cards?”

No more lace bras and panties. Underpants! Industrial-strength cotton, get-the-job-done, keep-everything-in-places-where-it-used-to-be underpants… that she hand washes in the sink. When you’re brushing your teeth and have to spit in the toilet, if you’re not aggravated, you married the right lady. And this isn’t a sad story, this is the story. If everything goes right, this is the happy ending you get. [laughs smugly]

[whooping, applause]

But if you do want a human being and you don’t have one, that’s on you. That’s your fault. You’re picky, you’re too damn picky. Lower your expectations. There are seven billion people out there. You can find one. You can find one person who doesn’t make you throw up when they take their top off. What? Everyone’s weird and gross out there? Yeah? So are you! We all are. That’s what love is, my friends. Finding someone whose flaws you can put up with. That’s it. That’s chemistry.

You ever take the first morning flight? That 6:00 a.m. flight… where you wake up at home at 4:00. You don’t even know how you got to the airport. You’re just, all of a sudden, under fluorescent lights at Security. [groans in confusion] You’re not in control of your body, no one is. I love that moment. Because there’s a sea of people who you could have woken up with, if you had made the wrong choice.

I was in on one recently, behind this older gentleman, he burped, farted and sneezed… at the same time. Just exploded out of every one of his openings, all at once. Pa-pow! Like a human tugboat. Pa-pow! It was horrible. People scattered. Changed lanes, changed flights… Went home and tried again tomorrow. His wife stood next to him, did not flinch. She probably does the same thing. The two of them, every morning firing off, making coffee… Pa-pow, pa-pow! The cat, the dog… Pa-pow, pa-pow-pow-pow! Like the grand finale on the 4th of July.

But that’s love and that’s what I wish for all of you. I thank you so much for coming out.

[loud cheering]

You guys were tremendous. Thank you so much. Thank you, New Jersey, you guys are great. I’ll see you next time.


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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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