This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
by Mingjie Zhai, told from the Ego.
Special Thanks to: The New York Comedy Club @nycomedyclub
Your limit is two. Two beers, one Blue Moon and one Samuel Adams.
You take the bus from 144th street towards the comedy club on 2nd and 24th.
You know you’re in the heart of irony and paradoxes. A few hours before you had pitched to NY Comedy Club after your comedian friend gave you an insider’s perspective on comedy that you integrated into the pitch.
“I heard that Comedians are made in NY.”
Fifteen minutes later, you got the press pass to attend. The man you left behind who could have been the photographer for that evening, didn’t answer his phone any longer. You were too honest. Though you wanted to lighten him up a bit, you also know that it is not your job, but rather his fiance’s job to do that. You were relieved when he didn’t pick up but you left that voicemail anyway about encouraging him to tap into his fire or some bullshit like that. You knew you weren’t going to fix him or change him, only stoke the fire of his irritation. After you left the voicemail, you were energetically drained.
As you walked along the streets to your destination from a goodbye to a hello, you start paying attention to the signs of NY from a new filter.
Revival Whose Line is it Anyway?
Katie Haller has social anxiety and gets on stage making fun of herself for having social anxiety. The audience laughs, some awkwardly, because the audience picks it up from her, like a revealing and a tethering. Her jokes gets us uncomfortable but we love her for her authenticity. That’s why a barbie had clung onto her. It was her light and her nakedness. The barbies love her because beneath each barbie is a girl who is exactly like her–a real girl.
You adore her because you have social anxiety, except she admits/emits it onstage. Social anxiety comes from a deep knowing that something is off. And instead of calling out the other person for their bullshit you clearly see, you are supposed to play dumb and act as if you didn’t see it. And if you do call it out, then there’s that awkwardness of not playing by the rules of this world, so you act like there is something wrong with you to “save” the other person’s face.
Katie craves authenticity because she is authentic and wants the world to be more authentic so she pushes through the fear of public speaking and gets onstage to tell her truth.
“So I got ghosted recently…” she says.
Your ears perk. Sounds like a familiar story.
And when you look at her 4’11 stature you can’t help but be reminded of your friend, Destiny Muse, a spoken word poet, also adorable, 4’11, creative, and who had performed a spoken word poem on being ghosted at the first spoken word show you and her co-produced.
You get the revelation that you are just as beautiful, adorable, creative, and strong willed as the ladies revealed.
Why do men ghost? You ask yourself.
They know we know too much.
And they shun away, perhaps thinking that we would reject them if we knew too much about them, or worse yet, afraid that our think outside of the box deepness that society calls, “crazy,” is contagious.
Perhaps they ghost because they have subconsciously told themselves that they are not ready for choosing the artist path–that the business path is easier to take because the status quo is safer and more predictable.
Stick with the herd. The ghost of the ghoster would say.
Don’t listen to the woman who tells you that you can become an artist too. That you can become greater. She’s crazy. Leave her.
You realize that like girls like Katie Haller and Destiny Muse and yourself are purple cows (Seth Godin Reference).
Political Entertainment Why we Love George Carlin
Robbie Slowick loves George Carlin.
You don’t have evidence to make this statement other than the fact that he gets into the state of our world.
He says that James Bond can’t be black because James Bond gets away with too much crime. He points out that school shootings reports are now so frequent it’s in between the weather report and advertisements below the ticker, and apologizes to the Canadians in the group how bad our country has become. The New York audience collectively calls out the bullshit.
“Sorry, it’s always been a mess,” he corrects himself.
A hoity toity guy who reminds you of Stadtler from Catcher in the Rye, heckles Robbie about the state of this world. Mr. Hoity Toity is a poli sci major at an Ivy League school and they stand out among the crowd as entitled, smug and disconnected from the state of reality to get Robbie’s set. The hoity toity was clearly drunk and talking back to Robbie like he was the only audience member there.
Later after the show, you catch his girlfriend, equally snobnoxious, on his shoulder making her opinions clear to the bouncer that she was offended about how misguided Robbie’s political views were. The boyfriend is slightly embarrassed, knowing that she is talking out of her ass, half drunk, and 100% entitled to her truth; her righteous anger is annoying to both you and the bouncer. She continues huffing and puffing her righteousness in her insulated world as she continues lecturing the happenings of the world based on what she has read, those “factual” sources, defending her stance based on legacy, for she comes from a line of men who have served the country, thus giving her the power of truth as she sees it and the right to project it among a community she does not understand.
You dislike her in so many ways, because in so many ways, she reminds you of the version of you back when you were married, driving a Lexus SC430, a homeowner, and virtue signalling about teaching in the inner city, so that gave you the right to lecture a community about how they should run their lives based on your college degree you earned reading some books pulled from secondary sources about urban communities from other scholars with big titles who do “factual” research on the inner cities.
Rap and Guns.
White people fear the music and their guns.
Country and Guns.
Black people fear the music and their guns.
“I think of my dad when I don’t want to cum,” was the punchline.
You think about Anthony Weiner’s punchline. All that hard work, all that politicking, all reduced to a dick pick.
Weiner’s pic is his punchline.
How the play on words, location, and thoughts all fuse, taking the con out of the fusion, so the laugh releases the thoughts, simplified into fusion.
That’s the dramedy of comedy.
The power of truth releases your endorphins.
You order a non-alcoholic drink because even though you’re not in Los Angeles and don’t have to worry about driving home, your iPhone is still on 20% battery life in a strange yet familiar city, and intuition tells you that you’re still an alcoholic so you cut yourself off at two drinks prior to the comedy show and order their $19 non-alcoholic deal that gives you unlimited non-alcoholic liquids plus a bag of popcorn.
You’re sitting tucked next to two barbies with their tanned ken dolls on a bench being the fifth wheel, and keeping your presence to a minimum for them. You tell yourself that you’re a journalist, which you are, and that reality is empty and meaningless, and we create the meaning, so you’re sticking to your story.
The world doesn’t make any sense, only dollars, so comedians make dollars by making the world make sense.
Napoleon Neil asks the magic candy store man in Times Square how much the bag of magic skittles were.
“$20,” says the man.
“Can I get an eighth?”