So I do standup. Here’s 25 minutes of it.
So I do standup. Here’s 25 minutes of it.
Brett Emerson claims to be a comedic genius, brilliant writer, and master storyteller. Personally, I don’t buy it. In all the years I’ve known this Frankensteinian scoundrel, I’ve been subjected to all manner of slothful and slovenly behavior, lewd anecdotes, sacrilegious tomfoolery, vulgar musicianship, and indecent exposure. Oh, but now he says he’s a stand-up comedian and he’s slithering back to La Crosse to do a big hometown hoopla for all his degenerate friends. How nice. I’m sure his act is appropriate for our fair community. People, this man is a menace to the frail fabric of society, and he doesn’t deserve to be within a hundred feet of a public forum. Unfortunately, as I am La Crosse’s go-to guy for interviewing the suburban rich and famous, I was tapped to hold a discourse with this loathsome specimen. What follows is, without question, the lowest point of my esteemed journalistic career.
Brett Emerson: You’re looking well.
Brett Emerson: Well, you’re looking amazing! What are you doing after this interview?
Emerson: Cut the crap. Just tell me about your stupid stand-up.
Emerson: Ask me nicely.
Emerson: Are you serious?
Emerson: (Makes kissing faces) Lick me.
Emerson: Fine, you idiot. Please tell me about your magical adventures in comedy.
Emerson: Wellll, since moving out of La Crosse in 2010, I’ve lived in beautiful Bellingham, Washington, located between Seattle and Vancouver and about as far northwest as one can get in the continental United States. It’s only slightly larger than La Crosse, but there’s a massive arts and music scene out here that is really inspiring.
I’ve always been a huge comedy dork, even since I was a little kid. I grew up listening to Bill Cosby and George Carlin, and I’ve watched Comedy Central since its very beginning. I’ve always had this goal of being a comedian, whether it was in the format of stand-up, sketch comedy, or film. I have notebooks full of ideas that have never made the jump from theory to reality. The problem was that I’ve never been in a place in which I could regularly get all the ideas out of my head and into those of other people.
Emerson: Well, that, and you’re astronomically lazy.
Emerson: Well, yeah.
Emerson: So how was Bellingham any different?
Emerson: A lot of what’s happened in Bellingham seems like a series of deliberate accidents. During the four day drive from La Crosse to Bellingham, I listened to nothing but stand-up, pumping myself up to get here and start looking around for stand-up open mics. When I arrived here, Bellingham didn’t seem to have much in the way of open-mics, but when I looked around for venues I discovered the Upfront Theatre, which is a fantastic little improv theater full of brilliant people who make up comedy off the tops of their heads. Just genius, creative chaos. My first impression was that I had found my tribe.
I’ve spent three years studying and performing improv with these people, using stories and characters to figure out myself. They’ve also always held a monthly stand-up show at the Upfront, but I never got on stage enough to draw together any sort of confidence or material. Other forums popped up around town, but they were always on nights I worked, so I couldn’t go.
Yet blind, stupid luck would lead me to a particular bar on a particular night four months ago, when I randomly met a guy who was starting up a new, weekly stand-up night that I could make it to. And so a terrible beauty was born. I had the good fortune of stumbling into the ground floor of Bellingham’s exploding stand-up scene, and things are getting bigger and better. I put it this way: for the first three years I lived here, I averaged five minutes of stand-up every six months. For the past four months, I’ve been doing up to thirty minutes per week. And I’m far from the only person reaping the benefits.
Emerson: I was at that awkward, shambling mess you refer to as your first stand-up show at the Casino.
Emerson: So was I, so that figures. When you have a leprechaun in the crowd heckling you, it makes you question your whole existence. Really, I just wanted to vomit every malformed joke I ever thought of out onto the audience that night, because I honestly didn’t think I’d ever get the chance again. That was forty minutes of sheer stuttering embarrassment, but I’d have also severely regretted not doing it.
One of the best things that improv has taught me is how to fail. How to enjoy failure and keep moving forward. How to adjust to things not working out the way you envisioned them and still turning the situation into something amazing. I’ve failed, a lot, and active failure feels a lot better than passive failure.
I’ve done horrible improv shows and horrible stand-up sets, sometimes so badly that I’ve wanted to run away and never put myself out in front of people ever again. And then I come back the next time, and nobody remembers that I sucked but me. People seem much quicker to remember the times when you were awesome. Except you, of course.
Emerson: Of course. For you, what are the differences between doing improv and stand-up?
Emerson: It’s the difference between forgetting and remembering, winging it and being very prepared. When an improv show is over, it’s over forever. Never replicated. I’ll maybe think about the show for the rest of the night, but the next day, it’s a past life. In contrast, I record everything I do in stand-up, and I listen to my show over, and over, and over, and over. I’ve largely stopped listening to other comedians since I became one. Not out of narcissism or arrogance, but because I became so obsessed with developing every nuance of my material that I never stop thinking about it. I’ve never been so absorbed in anything, ever.
Emerson: How do you go about developing your material?
Emerson: I’m learning the benefits of being prepared so well that you can throw the notes away. At first I had a basic idea for things I’d want to do in a set; then I’d get out there and bullshit my way through and listen to the recordings and hear what worked and what needed work. Very oral tradition. The aftermath remains the same, but when I’m working out new stuff now I’m much more apt to plot things out beforehand and bullet point each turn of phrase. I’m getting way better at memorizing my sets, which oddly frees me from the program. I was always a great test taker in school.
Emerson: Are you still a creepy little pottymouth?
Emerson: Oh, of course, but that’s not all there is. I’ve learned how to sneak in the shock rather than beat people over the head with it. Oddly, I used to be really afraid of telling jokes that were cleverly profane while wholly unafraid of verbally shitting everywhere, and yet the one joke which earned me the worst reaction, a full gasp, was a really mundane one about country music fans. To be fair, I told it like crap that night.
I’m really into terrible puns. I love silly one liners. I love conceptual comedy about ideas and inventions. I love talking about all my insane adventures and insane feelings and philosophies. I’m a filthy nerd, but I’m still a nerd, and I’m not so afraid of showing that off anymore.
Emerson: You sound happy.
Emerson: I am happy. Probably best ever happy. This level of satisfaction and ambition is completely alien territory.
Emerson: Sounds wonderful. Soooo, you wanna get out of here?
Emerson: Hell yeah, stud.
Oh God, what have I done? Brett Emerson will play the Cavalier Theater & Lounge on Thursday, September 19th at 10pm. I, unfortunately, will be there.
“The Million Dollar Man” Ted diBiase and “The Genius” Lanny Poffo Engage in Spirited Final Debate in the Race to be President of Pro Wrestling
PARTS UNKNOWN, UT ‒ The race to be the next president of pro wrestling came to its final stop last night, as “The Million Dollar Man” Ted diBiase faced “The Genius” Lanny Poffo in their last debate. Held in the Ultimate Warrior Fine Arts Center at Parts Unknown University, the candidates faced a night of tough questioning from moderator George “The Animal” Steele.
Each candidate restated his platform and agenda for the wrestling universe with little deviation from their established stances. The Genius once again expressed dismay at the state of pro wrestling’s education systems and poetic abilities, whereas the Million Dollar Man, flanked by his running mate and manservant Virgil, fell back on promoting tax cuts for pro wrestling corporations and outsourcing national security to Andre the Giant.
While the details broke little new ground, the drama between the candidates hit a fever pitch, during a particularly testy exchange on the subject of marriage equality between tag team partners. Within his statement, Poffo read a particularly nasty limerick concerning the size of diBiase’s liquid assets, provoking The Million Dollar Man’s rebuttal with a steel chair. The candidates were quickly separated by the referees at ringside, though each was clearly dazed from the melee.
The crowd, whipped into a frenzy, chanted “USA!” at both candidates.
Scott Walker has Bad Dream, Mistakenly Campaigns for Self
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO ‒ When Wisconsin governor Scott Walker ran into a room of Republican businessmen in the conference hall of the Sheraton Hotel in Colorado Springs, he launched into a stump speech which would have been appropriate but for one detail ‒ he was campaigning for himself.
Governor Walker, who survived recall in June, launched into a presentation in which he promised “his fellow Wisconsinites” that they would “beat back this pointless recall effort and get Wisconsin on the path to big business.”
Though the audience initially received Walker’s speech with loud enthusiasm, confusion soon set in. Eventually members of the audience spoke up, letting the governor know that the recall was long over and that they were, in fact, in Colorado.
Sheepishly, Governor Walker rubbed his eyes and yawned loudly before looking down and realizing that he was dressed in feetie pajamas covered in teddy bears and the words “UNIONS SUCK!” Muttering a brief apology, he shuffled off the stage and went back to bed.
When later asked about this strange display, a more rested governor Walker responded: “You ever have that dream where you’re back in middle school?”
Shredder! You lured me from Dimension X
With the promise of conquest and hot Foot Clan sex
Now my Technodrome’s home is in Earth’s molten magma,
And those turtles stay triumphant while I still haven’t shagged a
Single purple robo-ninja, shit, I’m still just a brain!
I wanna get mindfucked, but all you do is complain
Cause you can’t get your turtle soup, and the fights you always lose,
While I sit around here waiting for the secret of your ooze.
Shredder! Build me a body so you can bone it!
I wanna unzip your fly like it was Baxter Stockman
And then I’ll make you crumble like you were one of my rock men
I’ll keep your cock Rocksteady while I Bebop your balls
And gnaw like Rat King on your fat thing in the Technodrome halls
I’ll give you schizophrenia like it was VD
Then we can teabag the Neutrinos and drop deuce on Usagi
So go ninja go ninja go! Respect what I’m sayin’
Cause you ain’t Tatsu, bitch, and I ain’t goin’ or playin’.
Shredder! Build me a body so you can bone it!
Now is the Splinter of my discontent!
Yeah, I wanted a body, but this is where you went?
Great, you can finally can open my can
But it’s attached to a tubby rubber bald eunuch man!
I’m a galactic fucking warlord, no one’s running because
You dressed me like a go-go dancing punker from Zardoz!
So stop the stomach skullfucking and give me some dread
Or I will toss your fucking salad with the fork on my head
Yesterday, churches of all denominations across the country saw a stunning rise in attendance of church services. The new parishioners were hundreds of thousands of left-wing Americans, some of whom had never set foot in a church before. When asked why they were attending the church services, these new members of their congregations replied, almost to a person, that the death of right wing pundit Andrew Breitbart had convinced them that there was a God who loved us all.
Breitbart, often characterized as the right wing’s political assassin, has spent the last few years serving as one of the greatest thorns in the side of the liberal viewpoint. One of his last marks was New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, whose sexting scandal, exposed in grandstanding style by Breitbart, caused him to resign. Such was the ire he drew from American liberals that, upon his sudden death at the relatively young age of 43, his detractors immediately declared his demise to be an act of God.
John Franklin, a small business owner from Spokane, Washington, displayed a typical attitude among these new converts. “Holy crap! I thought we were gonna have that bastard around for at least another 20 years! I wasn’t sure that God existed until he smote that son of a bitch to smithereens. Now I’m a believer!”
Kyra Archer works for Planned Parenthood in Omaha, Nebraska. As such, she has had a number of run-ins with religious authorities. Despite this, she chose to attend a local church service in order to pay her respects.
“You know, God’s a patriarchal, close-minded, jingoistic tyrant,” Archer said. “But he really did us a solid on this one. I just stopped by to tell God thanks ‒ thanks for scraping that pompous, hateful human sewage off the face of the earth.”
It’s not only the Christian faiths that saw a surge in numbers. Salim al-Ameen is one of thousands of lapsed American Muslims who attended mosque services in the wake of Breitbart’s death. al-Ameen broke with his religion after coming out as a gay man in his teenage years, yet yesterday he attended a mosque in his hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in celebration. There, he found no issue with his well-known homosexuality, the communal jubilation over Breitbart’s demise washing away all other distinctions.
“The prick is dead!” al-Ameen cheered after prayer. “Allah frickin’ rules, baby!”
Buddhist temples reported no new conversions on Thursday, as Buddhism does not have a god who could take personal interest in Andrew Breitbart’s downfall. Conversely, liberal American Hindus weren’t sure whom within their expansive pantheon to thank for the death of Breitbart.
Neopagans of many different stripes held celebrations in American forests and public parks to give thanks to their myriad gods and goddesses, yet these conclaves reported few new members. The Venerable Bear Mule Moon, head of the Pan-American Association of Pan Worshippers and Panhandlers, explained the Neopagans’ failure to capitalize on Breitbart’s death as being due to their gatherings being held in secret, their only neighbors being errant Frisbee Golfers.
“Man, we really need to start having these things in community centers,” he said.
As a response to these mass conversions, the Catholic Church has been said to be quietly looking into having God take out right wing hidden camera con artist James O’Keefe as a means to restore its prestige in America. An anonymous source within the Boston Archdiocese has also suggested that the church is exploring the option of having God take out “certain members of Fox News,” though the source refused to name names.
When asked about this rumor of God being used as a political assassin, Archer responded with strange aplomb. “Hell, if God bumps off everyone at Fox News, I’ll start protesting Planned Parenthood myself!”
GARY, INDIANA (AP) ‒ Like many other people stunned by Whitney Houston’s sudden death last week, Lavonne Pierce reacted to the singer’s demise with an outpouring of emotion.
“Whitney has meant so much to me over the years,” Pierce said as she fought off tears. “Her music has touched my life so deeply, I can’t go a single day without it coming through me in some way. And now she’s gone. I just don’t know how I’m gonna deal with it.”
When asked about her favorite Whitney moments, Pierce, a grade school substitute teacher in the Gary School District, took a deep breath and composed herself. After a moment, a wistful, peaceful look came to her face, accompanied with a hint of a smile.
“I suppose my favorite thing of Whitney’s is the same as a lot of people’s,” she answered, “I mean, ‘My Heart Will Go On’ is such an iconic song, it’s hard to name anything better. Whitney really knocked it out of the park on that one.”
As she continued to discuss the fallen pop icon, it became clear that Lavonne Pierce had confused Whitney Houston with Celene Dion.
This reporter attempted to clarify the error, but Pierce refused to listen. “No! Whitney starred in Titanic, and she sang the theme song, too! Kevin Costner had to save her from an iceberg that was stalking her and sneaking into her ship’s quarters on the Titanic while she was out singing! Billy Zane tried to shoot her with a gun hidden in a videocamera, the jerk!”
“That rendition of ‘I’m Every Woman’ that Whitney sang with the iceberg, wow!” she added. “What a scorcher!”
Pierce went on to misremember other highlights in Houston’s career, crediting the achievements of many prominent female singers to her. “Those pet adoption commercials she made were really heartbreaking, but they really opened my eyes to the suffering of animals. That song she sang about partying on Friday was a real hoot, too! And that book she made with Anne Geddes and all those sleeping babies was a Total Cute Overload!”
When asked if she had learned any lessons from Whitney’s troubled times, Pierce nodded solemnly. “Yeah. She never should have dated that Lance Armstrong. He was no good to her. I don’t care how many times he’s won the Tour de France; if you don’t have love in your heart, it ain’t gonna work out!”
This Friday, Pierce plans to mourn privately with a few girlfriends. During the gathering she plans to play Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind” to commemorate the life of Whitney Houston. “I know that Elton wrote this song right after Princess Diana died,” Pierce noted, “but it’s so touching and timeless that I don’t think he’ll mind.”
Single Man Refuses to Support Valentine’s Day Industry, Purchases Many Anti-Valentine’s Day Products to Show It
A Bangor man, Reggie Hobbes of 713 Cat Food Factory Lane, has had enough of the commercialization of Valentine’s Day ‒ and he has bought the merchandise to let you know it.
“I’m always disgusted at this time of year,” Hobbes, age 43, said. “The greeting card industry, the out of season flower dealers, and the chocolate robber barons like to turn up the heat on the common man on the 14th of February, telling him that if he doesn’t buy a lot of meaningless crap for his girl, then he’s a failure as a guy. I’m done with all that.”
To show his contempt, Hobbes has purchased a multitude of banners, clothing, yard decorations, candy, and greeting cards which malign and deride Valentine’s Day. Wearing a black t-shirt which reads “Love is for Losers,” he showed us around his home, which was festooned with pictures of broken hearts. He plans to distribute heart-shaped candies to his friends and coworkers which bear such messages as “Get Bent” and “You Suck.” He plans on sending hateful off-Hallmark greeting cards to all his ex-girlfriends, including one with a front which reads “I miss you…” and an inside featuring a crosshairs and reading “…but my aim is improving.” There is a paper-maché sculpture of a cherubic Cupid, pincushioned with arrows, dangling from a tree in his front yard.
When asked how much all this cost, Hobbes skirted a direct number, saying only that “The cost was totally worth it.”
What’s strangest about this tale of anti-commercial commercialism is that Reggie Hobbes isn’t some loveless malcontent rebelling against Valentine’s Day out of loneliness. His wife of 13 years, Marjorie Hobbes, is supportive of his Valentine’s disdain, and their son, 10 year old Marty, helped decorate the house.
“I think hating a holiday based on love has really brought our family together,” Marjorie said.
Valentine’s Day ≠ VD, Study Shows
Dissenters of the usual Valentine’s Day traditions refer to the romantic holiday by many names, including the Hallmark Holiday and the Night of 1,000,000 Faked Orgasms. Yet according to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control, one name that is inaccurate for these romance critics to use is VD.
This study, designed to measure which holidays saw the most spread of sexually transmitted diseases, collected case data from hundreds of clinics across the country. “In terms of STD proliferation, Valentine’s Day is surprisingly small potatoes,” noted project lead Byron Torrance. “You’re actually much more likely to get the clap on Flag Day than on Valentine’s Day.”
While the report lists greater transmission rates during predictable holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day and New Year’s Eve, there are other holidays which see a surprisingly greater rate of disease spread as well. Columbus Day sees 45% more transmission of Chlamydia and 27% more syphilis, President’s Day sees 37% more cases of genital warts, Father’s Day sees 41% more gonorrhea, and Purim sees an astonishing 65% more crabs.
The main offender? “May Day,” Torrance responded. “It’s a veritable cesspool of disease. I wouldn’t touch a doorknob on that day without cleaning my hands with sanitizer afterwards. It must be something about dancing around a large phallic object that gets the blood up.”
When asked why Valentine’s Day’s rates of STD spread are so low, Torrance was at a loss. “I can’t declare with any finality,” he said, “but my best guess is that, with all the effort put into the day’s grand romantic gestures, it’s all rehearsal and no show.”