It Happened in Iowa: Part VII

Opening Commentary

Misery Loves Comedy The Gonzo Press .jpg

As mentioned before, I eventually worked up the courage to drive to Des Moines and try my hand at stand up. I think I performed at The Funny Bone, but I can not be sure for memory is fickle. Regardless, I do remember the open mic being held in a small side room. There was a bar in the back and tables in semicircle round stage. I paid the five dollar cover and tossed my name and number in the sign-up bucket. I grabbed a beer, and slumped down at an unoccupied table. The locals gathered around the bar. They laughed and chatted til the main event began. The MC brought up one terrible act after another. This included a nervous guitar player and a crazy old man who shouted about LSD, football, and everything between.

My name wasn’t called til round about 11:30. Half asleep and warmly buzzed I took my place upon the stage and grasped the mic with sweaty palms. I felt its weight in my hand and became acutely aware of the breath in my lungs. I squinted and attempted to look over my audience. Yet, I couldn’t see a single face. The white stage stage lights turned the crowd to a sea of blackness before me. Sweat beaded upon my forehead.  

I licked lips, “Are there any fans of alcohol here?” My voice was monotone. My heart pounded. Sweat beaded and rolled in my eyes. It stung. I squinted more and saw less. No one answered. I repeated the question. A girl in the back cheered. Out of pity, I believe. “Me too,” I said. I licked my lips again and continued. Voice still flat; void of emotion. “I blame my parents.” I was quiet, so was the room. The pause lasted an eternity, but eventually I recalled it was I performing, so I spoke on.

“Because I drink a lot,” I said. “I mean black out a lot.” I rubbed my forehead. It was damp. “They made me read all these Hardy Boys and Nancy Drews and other detective novels. I got it in my head that I would be a detective, but you can't be a detective.” I stared directly ahead of me. I shifted the mic into both hands. I stopped speaking. Then I spoke fast and choppy. “Unless you... Black out... You wake up... in the morning like.. ‘where did this bruise come from? Why does my shin hurt? Looks like we have a mystery on our hands!’[that exclamation point probably shouldn’t be there, but I’m just too damned embarrassed to leave it out.] You stumble out of bed and into the hall there’s a lamp knocked over. ‘Oh look, a clue.’ In the living room there’s a naked guy passed out on your couch. ‘Suspect!’ Later you take out the trash. It tears open. Several handles of svedka and a shit ton of PBR cans fall out. ‘Case closed!’’ That part wasn’t so bad. I got a few chuckles and might have even gotten a laugh if I used inflection.

A photo of yours truly taken in close proximity to the events in question.

A photo of yours truly taken in close proximity to the events in question.

Things, however, got worse.

I stood on stage expecting my detective story to have taken far longer than it did. I fumble through my mind searching for another joke. I swallowed. “So yeah I drink a lot. Last time I blacked out I ended up in a baseball diamond with one flip flop on. I ended up calling a suic-,” I couldn’t stop the words from coming out of my mouth, “-cide hotline,” what did you just say? That was way too damned honest! Throw them off course, fast! “Because I thought it was my brother.” so clearly I’m not depressed; many people accidentally call the suicide hotline instead of a sibling. It’s a common mistake. My voice trailed off as the room fell silent. I tried to think of another joke. “But yeah I drink a lot. My friends say I might have a problem,” Yup, let’s just follow the suicide hotline comment with one about alcoholism. I’m sure this room of strangers will find it both humorous and amusing. “Like we were walking home one night and walked past a half empty bottle of old crow. I snagged it and slammed it. My friends looked at me like I was disgust. I just shrugged and said I was being thrifty.”

I was quiet for a long time.

I finally said, “I was going to talk about midgets, but I don’t remember what about, so I’m going to stop here.” I walked off stage slammed the remaining third of my IPA, smoked a hand rolled cigarette and drove off into the night.

But, I didn’t go home.

I was too depressed and embarrassed to be alone.

Instead I purchased faux-comradery in a run down strip club just outside of town. I told them it was my first time in a strip club. It was. This earned me free drinks and extra attention from the girls. It was a night of shots and beers and tits and legs. I bragged about my stand up set, and my Iowa State education. They listened. I handed them bills.

I made friends with a retired white haired man and middle aged one in a suit. I made them laugh. They paid for drinks and dances. By the nights end I was only down eighty bucks. I slammed one last beer and stumbled to my car.

I called a friend. I bragged.

I sped the entire drive back to Ames. I met some friends, of the sober and God loving variety, at Lutheran church just off campus. The church was hosting a late night pancake and waffles event as ploy to entice young drunks to come and sober up in the House of the Lord. It worked. I paid five dollars for a warm plate stacked high with butter slathered and syrup soaked pancakes. It was just the sustenance this debaucherous youth needed. It was sweet and filling. I sat and talked and ate and sip coffee. I talked about all things of the religious variety. Though my favorite was theology followed closely by apologetics. That night conversation covered the justification of the god man Yeshua, the imputation of Adam’s sin to all of mankind, and the book of Jacob’s renaming in honor of a king. One by one my friends stood up and wished me farewell. Off to their homes they went, and alone once again I was.

I took a piss.

Then I sat in the church parking listening to mussing Joe Rogan and smoking tobacco cigarettes. My intent was to wait out the night and spend my mother’s money at first light of day, and spend it on liquor the kind that burn. Eyelids,  however, grew heavy. In defeat I drove home at some blue sked hour.

As they say, ‘misery does love comedy.’


The Jokes

(The following is a selection of the jokes I wrote while enrolled at Iowa State University)


  1. A couple weeks ago I had orientation for my new school. The dean of communications was going around asking questions about the school. I guess she ran out of questions because she started repeating various forms of the same question: Why go to college? She’d call on random students and ask them the question: Why attend college? Why enroll in university? I was just sitting there like, “Dear god please do not ask me.” She keeps asking students all around me. In front of, behind, three seats to my left. All over. I began frantically trying to come up with an answer, you know just incase God doesn’t come through, but all I can think of is dumb shit like, “To appease the man,” or, “because the American education system, and job market are fundamentally flawed,” or, my personal favorite, “Because I’m just another brick in the wall.” Thankfully she never actually called on me. Just sniped classmates all around me until some kid three rows ahead of me mumbled something about getting a job. That’s honesty, but we don’t know why we want a job. Jobs suck. Everyone knows that. The last job I had involved cleaning up half eaten sandwiches out of bins of garlic. And that was a high end grocery store. By the way high end just means over priced. All the same shit’s for sale at aldi.

  2. So I here midget is the new ‘N-word.’ Oh god, I hope so. Just imagine how great it would be to see dwarves pass each on the street like, “Sup ma midget.”

  3. Tinder keeps sending me these notifications saying things like don’t keep your match wait. I’m just like cool it Tinder I think pop-tarts will be there for me when I’m good and ready.

  4. When I was a kid I couldn’t wait to grow up. Primarily for two reasons. A. Adult movies & B. Adult beverages. The movie: Not at all what I expected. [pause] However, I’m not exactly disappointed. The beverages: Momentary Euphoria followed by crippling regret… Yeah, basically how I imagined.

  5. You know who sucks? Squachers. That, for the uniformed, means bigfoot groupies. These full grown men, and yes they are in fact all men, gather around campfires and swap storied and squatch theories. What pisses me off is that their support for theories has absolutely nothing to do with logically thought out ideas. All that matters is who's been in the group longest. For instance, when Old Man Dave suggests the Big Feet migrate according to boysenberry season he’s regarded as a fucking genius, but when I suggest Bigfoot is a time traveling human from the future I get laughed out of the room… er woods… whatever… Clearly my theory makes the most sense because it’s grounded in science.

    I am clearly not a scientist, so how did I learn about the time traveling bigfoot theory? Well, on the first night of the camping trip I ate some shrooms… Stay with me… So I’m on shroom and a chipmunk hopped over to me and looked into my eyes so deeply that our souls merged and we began to communicate telepathically. Turns out that particular chipmunk was the reincarnated Steve Jobs. So Steve starts explain the nature of bigfoot to me. And this is what he said.

    He said, “Theodore.”

    I said, “my names K. Joseph.”

    He said, “Theodore.”

    “Okay, my friends call me Kyle.”

    He said, “Theodore, you know that according to Smithsonian archaeologists humans in the B.C.E. were drastically shorter, and thus had tiny little baby man feet.”

    I said, “Well yeah, Mr. Chipmunk Steve. Everyone knows that.”

    “Well, Theodore have you ever considered that your feet are bigger?”

    “Unhun. Where we going with this?”

    “So if your feet are bigger that past man, can’t we logically deduce future men will have even bigger feet.”

    “Holy shit Steve you’re right. Wait, but what about fur? Are future people going to devolve in to hairy ape like creatures.”

    “No, no, no.”

    “Then where’s the fur come from?”

    “I’ll tell ya ‘bout the fur. First thing ‘bout fur, it ain’t fur.”

    “It ain’t? You’re awfully redneck for Steve Jobs.”

    “Ye’, the fur is most likely a protective suit composed of 4th dimensional radiation resistant fibers. Yeah, space suit. Space time. Time suit. You get it.” Then he hopped away and I stared at my hand for six hours.

  6. Ever drink so much that your vomit smells like rubbing alcohol, or step outside the morning after and see a patch of dead grass?

    No?

    Me neither.

  7. Last time I blacked out I woke up on a little league diamond with one flip flop on… It was on the wrong foot… what really gets me is I was wearing nikeis when I left the house…

    I never found those shoes.

    Well, At least I didn’t send a dick pic to a chick I bought pot from in high school… this time. Yeah that wasn’t my brightest point, but it happened. Most guys send those to their ex. Like hey babe, “look at what you’re missing out on.”

    She’s not missing anything. She can get dick.

    I’m not that way though. I’m over here like, “Can this get me a discount on the next eighth?” Yep, I’ve sent quite a few dick pics in my day. I’m not proud about it, but at least I’m unique in my approach. That counts for something, right? It’s not like those nasty bathroom pics or the ones where the guy is in bed and has his dick flopped over the bed sheets looking all sad like a homeless man on a street corner.

    Nope. I like setting that shit up. My favorite pose is the captain morgan. I pop one leg up on the sofa - it’s leather, the sofa not the dick, ladies like that - Sometimes I’ll open the blinds.You know to let in some natural light. Let the lady see some local flora and fauna in the background.

    It’s typically at this point that my roommate will wonder into the living room. After, he recovers from the initial fright I offer him a few beers to take the picture.

    Yeah, so what if I need a helper. I want that shit in focus.

  8. ever find a dump to be relaxing?

    I do.

    I really really truly do.

    The porcelain is nice and cool against my sweating tukus. No one is around to bother me. It’s simply a nice peaceful moment.

    Sometimes I even get into a meditative state. In fact, last time I took a shit I’m pretty sure I was about to enter into nirvana...

    Then I pushed out a big’en.


Closing Commentary

While looking through my comedy jokes I stumbled upon a stack of note cards that prove I attempted at least one history of agriculture homework assignment. That proof came in the form of a stack of notecards for a book report. While I doubt I finished the book. I can tell I read at least several chapters about colonial agriculture. Sadly the note cards are funnier than my stand up material. For example:

Swine attacked crops and, according to reports, were a threat to the safety and well being of small children. [This is already the funniest thing you have read today.] As a result swine were reduced to farm yards and secluded coastal areas. Along the coasts the swine consumed a plethora of shellfish which many Indians relied upon as a primary food source. In other words pigs terrorized children, and starved Indians.

Until next time, fear the pig.