Emergency Comedy Routine No. 1 / 23 January 2000

About a year ago, it was revealed that both Evany and I have the same curious fear of suddenly being thrust on a stage and forced to improv a comedy routine. We’ve both had terrifying and humiliating nightmares about such an event, and Evany has dealt with this issue by working on a few jokes that she could fall back on in case this awful thing should ever come to pass. I decided this was a shrewd plan and over the weekend I assembled a routine which I have printed out in a tiny font and now keep folded up in my wallet for emergencies. I include the content in its entirety for your reference, below.

[wait for applause to die down]

[say the following in a deaf person’s slurred voice, accompanying myself with sign language] Hi, everyone. My name is Josh. I know, I know, I told the barber to make me look like Don Johnson, not Don King!

[return to normal voice] I’m not really deaf. So I’m in my motel room, right, practicing my routine for tonight, and I realize I forgot to bring my prop microphone with me. My prop microphone looks just like a real microphone except there’s no cord and it’s made out of chocolate. It was a present from my Uncle Hyram back when I was first starting out in this business.

Uncle Hyram, get a load of this guy. He’s like, “Don’t bury me — I’m not dead!” He’s a big, big Bill Pullman fan, and who wouldn’t be? Here, let me do an impression. What if they had cast Bill Pullman instead of Bill Bixby as The Incredible Hulk? First off, that show would still be on the air because everyone would love it so much and the ratings would be through the roof, but second off, it would go a little something like this.

[turn away from audience, rip open shirt, then return to face them] AHHHHHRRRRR!!!

I suppose you probably noticed the tattoo on my chest just then. I know, I know, I told the tattoo guy to draw a potsticker, not a swastika. You think having a swastika on my chest might spoil the mood when some hot chick is ripping my shirt off, but I just tell them that it’s a mermaid or something because the hot chicks I go out with are either blind or so in love with me that I wrap them up in a reality entirely of my own creation, enshrouding them in a heavy pall of distorted facts and nightmarish hallucinations.

Which reminds me, did you hear about the guy who was having sex with a blind girl and as she ran her hands across his back, she realized the pimples there spelled out a message in Braille that said “How’s my fucking? Call me at Bill Pullman’s”?

Now you must ask yourself… [find agreeable audience member] What’s your name buddy? [name here]? Where you from, [name here]? No kidding. You know Uncle Hyram? When you see him, you tell him for me that if he buys a present for someone and it’s really something he wanted for himself, you tell him for me that next time he should buy two, one for him and one for the intended recipient because he obviously can’t control his chocolate cravings even for one goddamn minute, and I’m talking about the minute between the time the intended recipient opens the gift and the time Uncle Hyram grabs it and pretends to do some stupid impression of Bill Pullman but then he gets too close to the gift and [make quotation marks with fingers] “accidentally” licks it and then takes a big bite and then eats the whole delicious thing right in front of everybody!

Anyway, now you must ask yourself: Did I, [name here], really hear that story about the Braille prior to this show, or is this just another one of Josh’s manipulations of reality? Because it does sound familiar. But maybe I’m just remembering it from a few moments ago?

So I’m in my motel room, right, practicing my routine for tonight, and there’s a knock at my door. I open it up and it’s none other than my barber. “What the hell are you doing here?” I scream. And he says, “You are giving me a bad name in your act. I cut your hair exactly how you told me.” And I say, “I don’t use your name in the show, Ray. So no one will ever know.” And Ray of Ray’s Barber Shop on 2284 Old Middlefield Way in Mountain View, California, (650) 961-7767, says, “I guess you’re right. I’m sorry for bothering you.” And I say, “Sorry’s not good enough, old man. You better give me a joke I can use in my act!” And Ray says, “But I need all the jokes I can get to tell my customers!” And all I do is create the illusion of myself turning green and very muscular and violent, and this [quotation marks again] “tough guy” starts crying and says, “W-w-why don’t blind people like to skydive?”

[five-minute pause]

[howling] Because it scares the dog!!!

[fling the microphone down, kiss two fingers, stomp offstage]

Joshua Green Allen

Fireland is a rickety old website by Joshua Allen.

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