That’s So ‘Ray’ven – Ray Rice, Ray Lewis, lessons learned

Several things to be learned from the Ray Rice gf/wife-beating crime:

1. You gonna beat your wife, do it on an escalator, that way you don’t have to drag her, let the escalator do the work. You probably tired from all that punching, let people-moving technology help you out. But stay to the right so others can get by, please.

2. You gonna comment about Ray Rice, make sure you (Ray Lewis) don’t have a record indicating that you hide evidence in a murder trial. Or, if you have to comment on the Ray Rice thing, don’t say:

“There’s some things you can cover up, and there’s some things you can’t,”

That sounds like something O.J. Simpson would say. Whatever happened to the Juice? Last I heard he was doing time in Nevada for trying to steal his gear (amazingly, his kids appeared to have not inherited his egomania and have stayed out of the limelight).

3. Ray Liotta – where is Ray Liotta and why isn’t he in more films? This guy is creepy-in-a-good-way, funny, dramatic – when Ray is in a movie, he steals it. I would personally mail all of Ray Liotta’s movies to the NFL in hopes they could get on this matter, but they probably wouldn’t watch the tape until much later. Poor Ray Liotta.

If you are named “Ray”, I suggest you go back to the proper “Raymond”. There are plenty of decent Raymonds. Too many thugs apparently are named Ray. Here, then, is the one and only appearance on my site of Famous Raymonds! Here’s some highlights to fit my pre-determined theory that Rays are bad, and Raymonds are good.

Raymond Carver – writer

Raymond Chandler – writer

Raymond Burr – actor (Ironside? ) – how lame it would be if he went by Ray “Ray Burr” Rayber – sounds like “raper”

Mr. Burr ain’t killed nobody ever. I wonder if he ever just wore a t-shirt. Dude was always in suits. He would have loved Men’s Warehouse.

Aaaaaaand that’s it! What a list! Did you get tired reading it? I know I did.  This stuff should be on Buzzfeed or Yahoo “News”. (I don’t recognize the other Raymond’s on the baby names list. I’m sure all those other Raymonds are exceptionally bright and polite people). By the way, yes I did google “famous Rays” and found plenty of good guys but that was after I had written all the above and so I’m gonna ignore other Rays for this post (but a shout out to Ray Romano, Ray Bradbury, Ray Parker Jr., et all for not being major league assholes – too bad you didn’t go by Raymond. It would have made this post more sensible).

Odd thoughts a little related to the above but not really:

Seriously, domestic violence is a problem. So is non-domestic violence. All violence is a problem. Unless you need it to stop someone from doing some evil. But don’t do so much violence upon the evil-doer so as to make you just as evil. Measured violence is the key. Someone steals your iPhone, you steal their’s. You know that old biblical saying: an iPhone for an iPhone? And on the 8th Day, He did Create a Phablet with an Operating system 8.0 and thus said unto the world: Do You Want to Download and Install? Click Here?”

 

Fast Food Workers on Strike – please pull forward!

Again, some fast food workers in some major cities are striking to bring attention to their low wages, demanding $15/hour.  Nevermind what might be in the mcnugget – we’ll solve that mystery later. Let’s tackle this wage thing because as we know fast food workers have it worst than anybody in the world past or present.   I’ve heard that as the strikers marched, they chanted and sang songs but nobody could understand them through the shitty headset and microphone. ha ha!

But, let’s laugh a little about fast food! Here are some jokes I sometimes tell. They do not translate to the page that well. Just read with sarcasm.

My local McDonald’s is pretty awesome. You can go through the drive-thru and get a large coke with the lid almost all the way on. You want the fries upside down in the bag – you don’t have to ask. They got you covered.

I love In-N-Out Burger. I go through the drive-thru about 2 times a week. I know in about 30 years, I’ll have to go to go through the Walgreens drive thru to get prescriptions. Basically, Walgreens is In-N-Out Burger for old people.

I went through In-N-Out Burger the other day, ordered  it “to go” but I ended up eating it in the car. I called them when I got home, because I know they are so organized. I said “this is customer #327, and it’s time to update your records cuz I said “to go” and I ate it in the car!”    

————-#—————-

If you look closely, you can see the chick who screwed up my order three years ago. I ordered a burger with no onions and got a chicken sandwich.

Finally, not that funny, more of a ‘stoner’ type thought (I’m not a stoner but I have stoner thoughts), apparently is my air-tight theory about In-N-Out Burger being the type of burger joint Hitler would run. In-N-Out Burger is a Nazi front:

1. In-N-Out Burger. Three burgers on the men (Third Reich); white uniforms? served in brown-shirt colored to-go boxes.

2. SS – secret sauce? (or special sauce)

3. Nazy Germany was basically in and out of France in a matter of years. What is on their menu – burgers (german) and….french fries (!) – it’s obvious In-N-Out Burger believes germans and french are compatriots.

4.  I consider the yellow arrow an artistic representation of a saluting arm, which intersects the “N” in In-N-Out – N=Nazi.

There it is. Couldn’t be any clearer! Not that funny but really, I am always suspicious of organization that operates so efficiently. I do love In-N-Out Burger – for the food (yes, it’s fast food but it’s tastier than the others) – and how they operate – they pay a decent starting wage. They seem to hire efficient, pleasant, hard workers.

Perhaps it’s a regional thing. Perhaps those workers in the big failed cities have so few opportunities not because of the fast food industry but for other reasons. I’ll leave that to the experts, but here’s a news flash – fast food strikes are not in the top 10 worries of most Americans.

More seriously (and if you’re reading this far, thank you). I worked fast food during high school in the late 1980s ($4.25/hour  – according to this calculator that is the equivalent of $9 so, news flash – minimum wage has always been, you know, low). It’s a good first job. It’s an easy job. Yes, it’s true, easy jobs can be stressful and not so fun, but overall, the skills required to work fast food are minimal. There was also a lot of goofing off (gee, really? a bunch of high school kids in charge at 11 pm? what could go wrong?)  Unless you have plans on being a manager and building management skills, it’s a place to learn basic human interaction and teamwork. A place to learn punctuality, cleanliness, customer service, and basic math skills. But since so many people are special and stars of their own special world, these skills are often hard to learn.  Fast food restaurants (and workers) are not a necessity like some public works employees/police/fire/hospital so I don’t see their edge in terms of getting a higher wage or forming a union (btw, if they unionize, any wage gains would probably go to the unions, so knock yourself out, strikers).  In fact, the fast food product is bad for you – like candy. Like cigarettes. Like the WB channel.  And, sorry, but it’s the type of work that a robot can and will do very soon.

 

 

 

Jokes about old people, by me

Here’s a few jokes related to age that I tell when I do stand-up.  They are not personal and probably not the best ever jokes but they’re amusing.

Joke #1

My grandma has a smart phone. She has an app on it called Instagramma. It takes pictures of things she didn’t have has a kid. It comes with an electronic pill counter. And with it you can send am Instagramma photo and a $5 check to your grandchild for his/her birthday.

Joke #2

There are dating sites for all types. There is one for people over 50 called Ourtime.com. I think there needs to be a dating site for people over 87 years old called Overtime.com – because at that age, that’s what you’ are in – overtime. Find someone fast, get it and hit it. You go out, exchange power of attorney forms….or perhaps for people over 99 years of age – call it SuddenDeathMatch.com – you find your match and begin dating within 3 hours. Short walks, salt free dinners…and not to leave younger people out of it – a dating site for 3 year olds? Naptime.com. Boom.

Joke #3:

My grandma likes to say “we didn’t have that when I was a kid” usually pointing to my phone and I’m like “give it a rest” not everything was invented in 1970. Or did you think I was calling you in 1982 from my Atari phone? Shouldn’t you be writing a check for $2 somewhere?

(okay joke #3 isn’t there yet but the way I tell it is better than on paper – always is).

George Burns was a hilarious old person. Gone too soon.

Fat Shaming My Cat – a joke

Good evening,

The last of my cat jokes is one I came up with recently after a trip to the visit with my cat Butters (yes, Butters). Goes a little something like this (or, as Hedberg would say, “It goes exactly like this…”)

 

I took my cat the vet the other day. The vet says my cat Butters is too fat. Overweight by a couple of pounds. Fat shaming my cat right there in the office, two feet away from my cat and her chocolate donut. I cover Butters’ ears.

“She can hear you,” I said. “Let’s ease up on the descriptors. “I know the book read by animal docs  “All Creatures Great and Small” exclude fatties but doesn’t mean you have to be rude.”

He goes “well, she is overweight.”

I said “No kidding? A cat named Butters is overweight? Her name isn’t Vegetable Oil for a reason.  I’d be upset if my cat named Butters wasn’t a little tubby, thank you.”

So he finishes checking Butters and she’s fine. I ask him, “So what’s the downside of having a fat cat?”

And the vet says “well, a shorter life-span.”

And I said ” ‘No, I said, what’s the downside?’ Because what I heard you just say is that my time scooping the litter box is going to be shortened a great deal, and that sounds pretty good to me.”

(so, that’s how it goes. again, better in person. cat jokes are the new airplane jokes, imo).  (by the way – I like the joke/story above because it applies a ‘viral topic’ (Fat Shaming) to a pet – if I were better storyteller, I could expand on the whole topic of fat shaming via the cat – maybe I will later.

Butters before the fat shaming
Butters before the fat shaming. She is currently in counseling and attends Weight Watchers for Cats which meets at 3 am every Tuesday. She has hired an attorney to represent her in the civil suit against the animal doctor, who she describes as “unprofessional” and “stingy” with treats.

 

 

 


Bonus story – dramatic real lives of cats:

The other day (8/26), my other cat, Mia Wallace the Cat (so named because she has brown hair and likes to throw up occasionally….) died unexpectedly. She was about 11 years old, seemingly healthy. But, on Tuesday morning, her back legs weren’t working right so I rushed her to the hospital (almost just like JT rushing UT to Lance’s house to get the little black medical book and “the shot”).  I got her to the vet, and it was quickly determined that Mia was going to Cat Heaven on the express bus.

Almost as quickly, was me going to the front desk to pay the bill for the work that had been done and the cremation to follow. The woman said “I’m sorry to hear about your cat. It’s $205.”

I was thinking “what does she charge when she’s not sorry. Jesus. Was that brainiac doctor from CNN, Sanjya Gupta, back there working on the cat? Bill Nye the Science Guy – is he working in the back?” But, whatever, you pay (seriously, the folks at the vet hospital were great) and you go home. Without your cat.

Butters and Mia. Sisters from another mister. The Fried Green Tomatoes of Cats.
Butters and Mia – couch surfing.

 

 

 

 

No more Mia Wallace cat jokes. Not right now.  This is a good example, though, of joke-telling jokes that are personal and not your ordinary stuff. Makes it easier to remember, makes (sometimes) a connection to the audience. If you are in a line-up of comedians all talking about one common subject, you may not be heard/remembered. Tell something a little personal, a little honest, something that reflects your personality/interests, then I think you will do better as a funny person (whether or not you do stand-up).

Words I dislike hearing in a stand-up comedy routine

Last week and this week I wrote a few sentences breaking down some jokes, just to see what aspects of the jokes make them funny (are you bored yet? nothing says snooze like talking about what makes something funny).

One thing that I think might help a new stand-up comic is to avoid certain words. I am by no means an expert so take with a grain of sea salt. The few examples outlined below aren’t gospel and certainly words and phrases used depend on the comic’s persona, goal, intonation (delivery), etc.. I’m just writing here, not judging. Not yet, that is, you unfunny person.

Words or phrases I recommend you avoid if only to be funnier:

1.  “I hate” said seriously while setting up a joke, along with negative adjectives.  Or even just stating an opinion while on stage. You lose the opportunity to be sarcastic which means you may be missing out on laughs. I suppose if you’re the type of joker who isn’t sarcastic this may not apply. But even in a social, non-stand-up comedy setting, trying to be funny with “I hate” may not be as effective as being overly sarcastic with “I love.”   Or describing anybody you really despise (ex- or current Presidents/Governors,/celebutards) with negative words aren’t as effective as overly positive praise. “I hate George Bush” (or “Obama”)  big whoop – you and a million commenters on Yahoo news have said the same thing. But “I just looooove George Bush [or Obama]- I can’t get enough of his brilliance and courage…” gets the same point across. You are performing comedy and so statements like this are easily understood as sarcasm.

What might be funnier in a typical set-up for airplane/airport jokes (let’s say the joke is about someone at a ticket counter but the person sets the place by bringing up airports/travel).

“I hate airports…stupid security, lame baggage handlers” – okay, you’ve described something we all hate. Thank you, Stand-up Describer.

Try this:

“I just love airports….brilliant, super-sharp security guards, the incredibly honest baggage handlers…”

Be sarcastically positive and you may get more laughs. The crowd should know you are being sarcastic get your point.  Just “I hate…” is too short, not funny in most cases. I suppose there are times to use this, perhaps a punctuation to an already delivered.

Perhaps some exceptions to the ‘I hate’:

If you say “I hate terrorism” while doing stand-up comedy, that is as funny as saying “I just love terrorism” – Terrorism, unlike voluntary air travel or cab rides, is so awful that it is absurd for a comic to have state the obvious – nobody really seriously enjoys terrorism. Same goes for hating Nazis – a pretty easy stand to take, tough guy.

I think can apply to other verbs or adjectives. Whatever you are introducing before the joke, set it up my either using sarcasm or exaggeration, not straight reportage.

2. “My ______ are funny” or “c’mon, that’s funny, guys!”– setting up a joke with “My friends are funny” or “my dad is funny” is like saying “I think” in a personal essay. It’s lazy (wait, I should say “It’s lazy, I think”!!). Think of a better introduction to whatever joke you’re going to tell about your funny friend/relative.

I would rather hear “My dad is just amazing, like in a Forest Gump kinda way.  The other day he let the neighbor borrow our toaster…..” than “my dad is funny. the other day he let the neighbor borrow our toaster” (this is just some type of joke set up – I don’t have a punchline, okay). The takeaway is that most anything that you are saying or describing SHOULD be funny if you are performing a set so you don’t have to tell us it’s funny.

Related to this: If you have tell the audience that what you just said is funny, then you delivered it wrong or it’s not funny.  You can communicate your displeasure in a better way than just stating that what you said was funny. Say something like “okay, then, we’ll have to agree to disagree on that last one” or something. I hate hearing (new) comic complain, while on stage, that the audience isn’t laughing. You can complain if they aren’t listening, but if they are listening and not laughing, you better find a better way to communicate.

3. “Last week” or “the other day” – this I am guilty of and I’m not sure there is a fix. For the working comedian (which I am not), I imagine they have enough to remember than to trying to pick specific days of the week to set up a joke, and they are performing longer sets so it’s not as noticeable.  It may also not be that important – more like filler that goes unnoticed by the audience.  However, I noticed the other day when I had three jokes in a row where I started  by saying “last week” – it was noticeable enough that I called myself out on it (got a laugh) but still. I think trying to deliver a joke where something “happened to me last week” is common enough that it’s okay. But avoid setting up so many jokes that ‘happened last weeks’ or ‘just the other day’.  Even if it’s “On Saturday I ran into my ex.” as opposed to “Last week I ran into my ex”

4.  “Is this thing on?” (tap mic a couple of times) – this is so goddamn old…I can’t wait until something different comes along to indicate that the mic may not be working.  Unless you are in a David Lynch movie, and are in the Great Northern trying to hold a town meeting, stop saying this.

That’s it. See, that wasn’t so tough. Just a few words/phrases to think about when performing comedy. Tighten up the writing/ideas by eliminating these lame words/phrases. Obviously one may use these and any other word but try to be original with your set-up.  We all hate airports so you don’t have to say it. I will not say I hate people who say “I hate airports” but will say “aren’t people who say ‘I hate airports’ so very clever?”.