Wednesday, September 06, 2006

First Comedy Gig

We had a journal prompt in one of my classes today that asked you to write about a childhood dream. I usually like to write to the prompt, so I go to thinking about it and remembered a story about my youth that I hadn't thought about for years. It's kind of funny, so here it is.

When I was a kid, like from the ages of six to nine or so, I used to say that I wanted to be a comedian when I grew up. I don't know where I got the idea, but I think it might have been early glimpses of Steve Martin on the telly. I was serious about this, which is weird because I was always kind of shy and quiet as a kid.

I liked to check out joke books so that I could work on my "craft," right, but I thought that kid jokes were beneath me. To get more sophisticated material, I started checking out joke books from the grown up section of the library. Most of the time, I had no idea what these jokes were about, but I thought that the less they made sense, the funnier and more mature they must be.

So third grade rolls around and I'm seven and we have show and tell day and I decide that my show and tell will be a short comedy act. I adored my third grade teacher, Mrs. Haymaker, and wanted to imress her, so I opened my grown up joke book and chose a joke that made absolutely no sense to me, thinking it must be an impressive, extremely mature joke indeed. I don't remember the joke, but I do remember it was about two drunks in a bar and the punchline was "Where in the hell is the cat?" Perfect for third grade.

So I get up there and do my little bit, and am in the middle of my big finale joke, in front of third graders and a teacher, telling this joke about two drunks, and I remember that I wasn't "feeling it" from the crowd. I decided that I would have to give some extra punch to the punchline and so I did: "Where in the Hell is the Cat?!!!?" I almost yelled it at them.

And I still had no idea what the joke was about, and the room was silent because of course none of the seven year olds did either and the teacher had no idea what to say. Finally, a kid who didn't like me raises his hand. Mrs. Haymaker calls on him and he simply says "You shouldn't swear in school." "Yes, Joe, that's right. Thank you. Thank you, Scott." I sit down. And that was my last show at that venue.

Is that funny? I think it's a little funny, anyway.

BTW, to illustrate this post, I was going to use a picture of a really fat cat, but instead have decided to use a picture of Chan Marshall, who records great music under the name of Cat Power. I hope that's not too confusing.

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