In keeping with the long-standing tradition in this space of describing the agonizing minutia of my life, today we’ll be talking about the functional nature of my brain. I am operating, of course, on the fundamental assumption that I am equipped with a brain that works, evidence not-withstanding.
My brain has been doing a lot of strange things lately. For instance, it recently convinced me I should be doing standup comedy. Many of the writers I’ve spoken to have argued that it was not the brain that made this decision at all, but the balls. However, I doubt this is true, as my balls have never been particularly good at decision-making, and the slender object they are
attached to is known primarily for its wide range of staggeringly bad ideas, so I’m going to go with the notion that my brain was responsible.
I’m not sure why my brain decided we should do this. Logically, I suppose, it made some degree of sense, because I’m a playwright, an actor, and a humorist, which is, on some superficial level, a decent resume to have for such a venture. My brain unfortunately chose to ignore that in my function as a humorist I go out of my way to avoid punchlines if at all possible. It also chose to ignore my total inability to tell a story in less than fifteen hundred words.
I sat down with my brain and tried to hash this whole thing out. It didn’t go well.
ME: What were you thinking?
EGO: It wasn’t my idea. Ask the Id.
ID: Touch yourself!
SUPEREGO: Stop that!!
EGO: In all fairness, the Id can’t really help himself.
SUPEREGO: We’re going to hell, we’re going to hell…
EGO: Stop whining, we don’t believe in hell.
SUPEREGO: Maybe YOU don’t. We’ll go to hell for that, too.
ID: I AM A GOD!!!!!!!!
ME: Um, hello?
EGO: Sorry, right. Standup. You wanted to know why we suggested standup.
ID: A girl! Look!
EGO: The Id thought of it. We agreed because we figured it would keep him
ID: Wooo wooo!
ME: But I don’t have any jokes!
EGO: Is that my fault?
SUPEREGO: It’s all my fault! Oh, the shame.
EGO: Stop taking the blame for everything.
SUPEREGO: You’re right, I’m sorry.
ID: Shake it baby!
EGO: Stop it. That’s a magazine cover.
ID: Find a bathroom! NOW!
EGO: We’re busy.
ME: So what am I supposed to say when I’m up there? Did you think of that???
EGO: I’m sure you’ll figure something out. Talk about your kids.
SUPEREGO: No, don’t! They’ll resent you forever!
EGO: Like the time you caught Tim drinking from the toilet.
ID: I can do this by myself, you know.
EGO: Don’t you dare!
So I did my first set entirely without the assistance of my brain. I had twenty minutes to work with, fortunately, so I had enough time to tell at least five or six jokes.
ME: That wasn’t so bad.
ID: Worship me, you bitches!
ID: On your knees!!!!!!
ME: Why are you whispering?
EGO: The Id’s been out of control since you did the show.
EGO: You know, it would have helped if you had just sucked.
ME: Uh, sorry.
EGO: Then the Id would have shrunken up and slithered away like he’s supposed to after a staggeringly humiliating experience.
ID: Feed me!!
ME: How can I help?
EGO: Do another show, and remember to suck this time.
Tragically, I did not suck the second time either, although I did try my best. I learned a few things, too, like that jokes about the Boston accent don’t do well in Boston. And in a five minute show any joke that takes more than thirty seconds to set up doesn’t work, because evidently the average live comedy audience has the attention span of a fruit fly with attention
I made the decision to try a third time to suck on my own. I’ve been afraid to talk to my brain, as I fear my Superego has atrophied, and I believe my Id recently declared war on France. I have a couple of months to go before the show, so I’m hoping some time between now and then I’ll find some short jokes.
In the meantime, I thought I’d practice by writing a column that’s less than fifteen hundred words.