My Stand Up Comedy Routine: Stupid Job Interview Answers

I secretly want to be a stand up comic.  Seriously.

For the past month and a half, my full time job has been looking for a full time job.  Thanks to instant streaming via Netflix (via Wii), I’ve been subconsciously overloading myself with stand up comedy.  In the past week alone, I’ve made it through the first 40 of 240 episodes available for the ongoing series Comedy Central Presents.  And last week, my wife and I spent Friday night seeing a couple of stand up comics who oddly decided to make Fort Payne, AL part of their tour at a restaurant called The Smokin’ Moose.  By now, I’ve got myself convinced that my alter-ego should be a stand up comic.  I believe I could pull it off.

Like a stand up comic, I am constantly noting awkward and weird social situations, I love communicating and relating with people, and most importantly, I am just enough narcissistic to draw in an audience when I want to.  So recently I began writing my stand up comedy routine, in my head.  But because of my narcissistic ways, I am sharing what I’ve come up with so far.  Since delivery is a very important of actually being funny, note that for the duration of this post, when you see a set of ellipses points (like this…), that symbolizes the short and necessary pause for the audience to have a chance to laugh.

Announcer: Ladies and gentleman, will you please give a warm welcome to Nick Shell!

[applause]

“Alright, thanks everybody.  So, predictably, I watch a lot of stand up, and something I always think is funny is when the comedian walks out on the stage and the first thing he says is, ‘How are ya’ll doin’ tonight, everybody?!’ Because as an audience member of any congregation, whether it’s a Dave Matthews Band concert, an Easter sunrise church service… a community college graduation… or especially watching stand up comedy, my answer to that question is always, ‘Well, I don’t know yet.  I just got here.  But I’m not all happy and excited because you’re implying that I should be…”

It’s like when an adult says to a kid, ‘Are you enjoying your first week of 2nd grade?’, as the adult shakes their head ‘yes’, pressuring the child to only answer in agreement…

So, Mr. Comedian/Leader Singer of a Rock Band/Key Note Speaker at a Sales Conference in Cleveland, Ohio… I will only have a good time if I decide I want to, thank you very much…  But again, more importantly, I don’t know yet if I’m having a good time, typically when I’m asked that question.  You know, shouldn’t that be a question you’re asked near the end of event?…  Or everyone in the audience could fill out a secret ballot on a scale of 1 to 10 how good of a time they had… And they’re all emailed the results the next day… [spoken in a nerdy voice] ‘73% of the people had a good time, based on the fact they marked a 7 or higher…’

Or maybe, I’m misunderstanding the question all together.  Maybe whether or not I am in that moment having a good time is based on the events leading up to showing up to the event.  Like, before I got there, I went to Applebees and I ordered the Zesty Western Burger, without bacon because I only eat kosher, and the waiter forgot, and brought the burger to me with bacon… But because to me the combination of complaining and eating doesn’t make for an appetizing meal, I just quietly scrape the bacon off the burger with my knife which I never use.  And even though the burger is really good, I still have slightly bothered by the fact that the ‘essence of bacon’ is implemented onto the beef patty…

And then I got to the event, I had to pay 5 bucks to parking, which isn’t a lot of money, but it’s how much I could have payed for an overpriced beer there but I still buy an overpriced beer anyway- even though it’s a struggle to spend that much money on one bottle of beer when I only paid 7 dollars for a six-pack of Blue Moon which is sitting in my fridge right now…

So, am I having a good time?  You tell me…

I just recently had to find a new job when I moved from Nashville.  Has anybody else recently had to go in for a job interview?

[acknowledge the first person that says yes]

I love the stock questions they ask you.  I bet you 20 minutes before you show up, they’re like, ‘Ah, crap!  I have to interview that guy today!” And then they hurry up and Google ‘what to ask a person in a job interview’.  So they ask these seemingly intimidating questions that they themselves don’t know even what the ideal answer is supposed to be…

Like, ‘So, where do you see yourself in 5 years?’

I should be like, “Uh… alive, working here, answering questions I can’t answer about my future… pretending to having slightly impressive psychic abilities… though I didn’t realize that was part of the job description…”

And this question, “What would you say your strengths are?

‘Well… Let me tell you… I am awesome!  I bench press 350 pounds…  I cut out the floorboard of my car and just rock it Fred Flintstone style… Whenever I see a phonebook I’m always tempted to rip it in half… Which I can totally do right now if you want me to, especially if it will get me this job…’

A little bit about me- I’m not into a sports, probably because the only sport I’m good at is Corn Hole; and that just sounds horrible.  Oh yeah, and I can solve the Rubik’s Cube in less than 5 minutes every time.  So at best, I consider myself a sports agnostic. My college degree is in English, only because at 20 years old I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew I was really good at BS-ing… so, clearly, a degree in English was the way to go.

So in review, I’m not good at sports, I don’t eat pork or shellfish, I look like a cross between Paul Rudd, David Schwimmer who played Ross on Friends, and brothers Ben Savage who played Corey Matthews on Boy Meets World and Fred Savage who played Kevin Arnold on The Wonder Years , plus I’m an entertainer… Ladies and gentleman, by default, that makes me… a Jew…

That’s right- a Jew from Alabama… You don’t see those every day, do ya?

No, honestly, it’s not all that much of a stretch.  Everyone’s got that one person in their family who is the official Family Tree Climber… You know, the only person who goes through the trouble to research the family’s ancestors and heritage. Really, they could tell the family anything and the family would kind of have to believe it.  So I’m that guy, the Family Tree Climber.  And thanks to an Ullman, a Wiseman, and a Green, I’ve done the math, and at best, I’m 1/8 Jewish.  That doesn’t really count though, does it?…

That’s like a white dude saying, ‘Yeah, I’m Asian. My great-grandfather was half-Cherokee Indian, and since the Native American Indians actually migrated from across the Bering Straight from Mongolia originally, and Mongolians are Asians, that makes me part Asian.  So it’s no coincidence now that I drive a Toyota Camry and love a good sushi roll and dated a half-Korean girl in college, because hey man, it’s all just my true heritage coming out, you know?…’

For what it’s worth, my mom is half Mexican and Italian- that’s the real reason I look so Jewish.  So my grandma is completely Mexican, but like, ‘Mexican’ before it was a racial slur.  You know what I mean?…  She doesn’t speak any Spanish and she was born in Buffalo, New York, so if anything she has a Yankee accent, but not a Mexican one…  What’s really funny though is until last year, she lived in a trailer park.

Back in the ’80’s, she was surrounded by rednecks: Camaro’s with t-tops all around, Lynyrd Skynyrd playing loudly, empty cans of Bud Light scattered along the gravel parking lot.  But by the late ’90’s, the ‘New Mexicans’ started replacing them.  I remember my grandma telling my sister and me, “I almost called the cops last week, those Mexicans killed another goat right outside my window again, then cooked it over a fire for dinner…”  I was tempted to say to her, “Uh, Grandma, you’re 100% Mexican.  You’re technically one of them.  If your parents hadn’t moved from Mexico to New York in the 1930’s, I would have grown up eating your goat meat quesadillas with fried pig ears on the side.”  But I didn’t. That’s my Mexican grandma.

Alright everyone, I got to get out of here- my time’s up.  Actually, I’m not leaving. I’m just exiting the stage.  Yeah, it’s kind of awkward, because the table where I’m sitting is right next to the bathroom… So guys that I have to pee really bad right now, I guess I’ll be seeing you in minutes when you walk towards me then immediately dart for the bathroom door pretending not to see me.

This had been fun, yeah?  See you next time.”

Show Me That Smile Again, Don’t Waste Another Minute on Your Cryin’

There’s no around it.  We  lived through a couple of decades of gathering around the fake wood grain Zenith TV on shag carpet to watch what we knew as the American sitcom.

Laugh tracks.  Freeze frames to conclude the episode.  Inspirational advice during the 23rd minute of the episode accompanied with soft and cheesy keyboard music (made famous by Danny Tanner and Uncle Jesse).  Annoying catch phrases like “Did I do that?”  And most importantly and best of all, their wonderful theme songs that are so just you just want to cry, which featured a few seconds of footage from each main character for that season as the show came on.

That was 1977 through 1997.  Two solid decades of pure delight.

But these days, what do we consider to be the 30 minute sitcom?  The Office.  30 Rock.  There are others, but certainly the list doesn’t go on like it did in the days of Mr. Belvedere.

Now the theme songs don’t have words.  And we have to figure out on our own when to laugh.  And typically there’s no moral lesson to learn.  Just ironic humor.  By the 28th minute of the episode, the characters are not necessarily any better off than they were when the plot was introduced at minute 3.

But those good feelin’ sitcoms of the 1970’s, ‘80’s, and ‘90’s can never be revived.  Because we as an American audience have outgrown them. We couldn’t take The Office seriously if there were laugh tracks and if at the end of every episode Michael Scott gave Jim a heart-to-heart talk about what it takes to be a good leader.

Our preference of comedy has evolved from lighthearted insults and sight gags to dry humor stolen from the British.

Speaking of irony though, we live a double standard.  What we will not accept in modern comedy, we still accept in reruns that come on in the evenings right before our new shows.  Shows like Friends and Seinfeld which followed much of the old-school traits of sitcoms, though they weren’t family sitcoms.

We differientiate:  It’s 6pm and laugh-track infused Friends is on.  Something in our subconcious says, “It’s okay, that was the ’90’s.”  Then a few hours later 30 Rock is on and we hold it to a different standard.  We’re more sophisticated than we were at dinner.  Because we have to be clever enough to get the jokes of our dead-pan humor queen Tina Fey.

What caused us to change what we accept as humor?  The dynamics of the modern family.

Something that has a lot to do with explaining why classic family sitcoms have disappeared from cable TV is The Disney Channel, which is now included with basic cable.  But when we were younger, it cost extra every month.  So back then ABC, NBC, and CBS had to make sure the majority of their comedies were family sitcoms. 

Now, kids can watch their corny shows like iCarly in their own bedrooms while their parents watch something cooler in the living room.  Man, I miss Tony Danza.

I’m Only a Dog Person Around Smart Dogs Like Labs, Border Collies, and Shelties

Most dogs hate me.  For the most part.

In college, the next door neighbor had a Weimaraner that had that “I want to kill/eat you” look in his eyes every time he saw me on his daily walk. Finally, one crisp March morning his owner’s girlfriend was walking him and he saw his chance. Charging towards me with all his might, he broke free of the leash and took a bite out of crime (my butt).

I am blessed to be married to a woman that makes sure we live a healthy lifestyle with low fat, organic foods and daily exercise (the last time she went to McDonald’s was in 1999 and it was just to get an ice cream cone from the drive-thru.) A few weeks ago we were on our daily after-dinner walk around the neighborhood when a man walking a Yorkshire Terrier was coming toward us. The first thought when you see a Yorkie is about how “cute” and harmless it is.

Not this one. Bit me hard. Enough for me to yell, “Owww!” The owner didn’t say or do anything other than shrug his shoulders as if to say, “What did you expect? You are despised by the dog world.”

I have been often told that it may be my “fear of dogs” that make them aggressive towards me. If only that were the case. Instead, I am indifferent towards most dogs. At least towards the ones that aren’t cool.

Notably, there have been a few select breeds that particularly have taken a liking to me (and that I like back). Labs, poodles, border collies, and my personal favorite, shelties. Through a little research I learned that these dogs are among the top 7 most intelligent breeds in the world. Coincidence?

Let me close by cursing my enemies: How’s it feel to be a measly #21, Mr. Weimaraner? And Dalmatians, you seein’ spots down there at #39? Oh, and Chow Chows, I’m sorry to hear you’re at #76. Yorkie, is it true? You didn’t even make the top 80 list? Maybe next year, eh?

Check it here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Intelligence_of_Dogs_(book)#Brightest_Dogs